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No Coup

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SnowJob

The Press Cabal

Jacob Applebaum-Interview with Whistleblower Edward Snowden on Global Spying - SPIEGEL ONLINE

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 02:12

Shortly before he became a household name around the world as a whistleblower, Edward Snowden answered a comprehensive list of questions. They originated from Jacob Appelbaum, 30, a developer of encryption and security software. Appelbaum provides training to international human rights groups and journalists on how to use the Internet anonymously.

Appelbaum first became more broadly known to the public after he spoke on behalf of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a hacker conference in New York in 2010. Together with Assange and other co-authors, Appelbaum recently released a compilation of interviews in book form under the title "Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet."

Appelbaum wound up on the radar of American authorities in the course of their investigation into the WikiLeaks revelations. They have since served legal orders to Twitter, Google and Sonic to hand over information about his accounts. But Appelbaum describes his relationship with WikiLeaks as being "ambiguous," and explains here how he was able to pose questions to Snowden.

"In mid-May, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras contacted me," Appelbaum said. "She told me she was in contact with a possible anonymous National Security Agency (NSA) source who had agreed to be interviewed by her."

"She was in the process of putting questions together and thought that asking some specific technical questions was an important part of the source verification process. One of the goals was to determine whether we were really dealing with an NSA whistleblower. I had deep concerns of COINTELPRO-style entrapment. We sent our securely encrypted questions to our source. I had no knowledge of Edward Snowden's identity before he was revealed to the world in Hong Kong. He also didn't know who I was. I expected that when the anonymity was removed, we would find a man in his sixties."

"The following questions are excerpted from a larger interview that covered numerous topics, many of which are highly technical in nature. Some of the questions have been reordered to provide the required context. The questions focus almost entirely on the NSA's capabilities and activities. It is critical to understand that these questions were not asked in a context that is reactive to this week's or even this month's events. They were asked in a relatively quiet period, when Snowden was likely enjoying his last moments in a Hawaiian paradise -- a paradise he abandoned so that every person on the planet might come to understand the current situation as he does.""At a later point, I also had direct contact with Edward Snowden in which I revealed my own identity. At that time, he expressed his willingness to have his feelings and observations on these topics published when I thought the time was right."

Editor's note: The following excerpts are taken from the original English-language version of the interview. Potential differences in language between the German and English versions can be explained by the fact that we have largely preserved the technical terms used by Snowden in this transcript. Explanations for some of the terminology used by Snowden as well as editor's notes are provided in the form of footnotes.Interviewer: What is the mission of America's National Security Agency (NSA) -- and how is the job it does compatible with the rule of law?

Snowden: They're tasked to know everything of importance that happens outside of the United States. That's a significant challenge. When it is made to appear as though not knowing everything about everyone is an existential crisis, then you feel that bending the rules is okay. Once people hate you for bending those rules, breaking them becomes a matter of survival.

Interviewer: Are German authorities or German politicians involved in the NSA surveillance system?

Snowden: Yes, of course. We're1 in bed together with the Germans the same as with most other Western countries. For example, we2 tip them off when someone we want is flying through their airports (that we for example, have learned from the cell phone of a suspected hacker's girlfriend in a totally unrelated third country -- and they hand them over to us. They3 don't ask to justify how we know something, and vice versa, to insulate their political leaders from the backlash of knowing how grievously they're violating global privacy.

Interviewer: But if details about this system are now exposed, who will be charged?

Snowden: In front of US courts? I'm not sure if you're serious. An investigation found the specific people who authorized the warrantless wiretapping of millions and millions of communications, which per count would have resulted in the longest sentences in world history, and our highest official simply demanded the investigation be halted. Who "can" be brought up on charges is immaterial when the rule of law is not respected. Laws are meant for you, not for them.

Interviewer: Does the NSA partner with other nations, like Israel?

Snowden: Yes. All the time. The NSA has a massive body responsible for this: FAD, the Foreign Affairs Directorate.

Interviewer: Did the NSA help to create Stuxnet? (Stuxnet is the computer worm that was deployed against the Iranian nuclear program.)

Snowden: NSA and Israel co-wrote it.

Interviewer: What are some of the big surveillance programs that are active today and how do international partners aid the NSA?

Snowden: In some cases, the so-called Five Eye Partners4 go beyond what NSA itself does. For instance, the UK's General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has a system called TEMPORA. TEMPORA is the signals intelligence community's first "full-take" Internet buffer that doesn't care about content type and pays only marginal attention to the Human Rights Act. It snarfs everything, in a rolling buffer to allow retroactive investigation without missing a single bit. Right now the buffer can hold three days of traffic, but that's being improved. Three days may not sound like much, but remember that that's not metadata. "Full-take" means it doesn't miss anything, and ingests the entirety of each circuit's capacity. If you send a single ICMP packet5 and it routes through the UK, we get it. If you download something and the CDN (Content Delivery Network) happens to serve from the UK, we get it. If your sick daughter's medical records get processed at a London call center '... well, you get the idea.

Interviewer: Is there a way of circumventing that?

Snowden: As a general rule, so long as you have any choice at all, you should never route through or peer with the UK under any circumstances. Their fibers are radioactive, and even the Queen's selfies to the pool boy get logged.

Interviewer: Do the NSA and its partners across the globe do full dragnet data collection for telephone calls, text and data?

Snowden: Yes, but how much they get depends on the capabilities of the individual collection sites -- i.e., some circuits have fat pipes but tiny collection systems, so they have to be selective. This is more of a problem for overseas collection sites than domestic6 ones, which is what makes domestic collection so terrifying. NSA isn't limited by power, space and cooling PSC constraints.

(C) SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013All Rights ReservedReproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH

Jacob Applebaum-Snowden confirms NSA created Stuxnet with Israeli aid '-- RT News

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 02:09

The Stuxnet virus that decimated Iranian nuclear facilities was created by the NSA and co-written by Israel, Edward Snowden has confirmed. The whistleblower added the NSA has a web of foreign partners who pay ''marginal attention to human rights.''

In an interview with Jacob Applebaum published in German daily Der Spiegel on Monday, Snowden stated that the US and Israel were behind the computer worm. Stuxnet infiltrated Iranian nuclear facility networks in 2009-2010 and was used to change the speed of thousands of gas-spinning centrifuges, sabotaging nuclear research.

Washington and Tel Aviv were thought to have been behind the cyber-attack, however, this was never confirmed by either government.

''The NSA and Israel wrote Stuxnet together,'' Snowden told Applebaum in the interview that was carried out in May.

Snowden stressed that the National Security Agency (NSA) often cooperates with foreign partners through a special body known as the Foreign Affairs Directorate (FAD). Referring to Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, also known as the 'Five Eye Partners,' he said their practices often go further than those of the NSA.

In particular he flagged the system used by the UK's General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), TEMPORA as one of the worst offenders.

''TEMPORA is the signals intelligence community's first 'full-take' internet buffer that doesn't care about content type and pays only marginal attention to the Human Rights Act,'' said Snowden.

The UK buffer is able to hold a vast quantity of internet data for up to three days, said the whistleblower.

''You should never send information over British lines or British servers. Even the Queen's 'selfies' with her lifeguards would be recorded, if they existed.''

While Snowden conceded that monitoring abroad had its limits and the NSA has to prioritize the information it collects, he stressed that monitoring on its own territory was ''practically limitless.''

Private enterprise is also involved in the NSA's mass collating of internet data, but proving their complicity is very difficult.

''The names of the cooperating telecom companies are the crown jewels of the NSA... Generally you can say that multinationals with headquarters in the USA should not be trusted until they prove otherwise,'' Snowden pointed out.

When asked about how one could avoid falling into the traps of NSA surveillance, Snowden said anyone who had been targeted ''was just owned.'' The analyst charged with following an individual receives a report every day, meaning the ''target's machine doesn't belong to them anymore, it belongs to the US government.''

Snowden's interviewer, 30-year-old Jacob Applebaum, has also fallen foul of US law enforcement in the past. Applebaum co-wrote a book with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange detailing tips on how to evade cyber-surveillance while surfing the web.

The book called 'Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet', was also co-written by Jeremie Zimmermann and Andy Muller-Maguhn. Assange invited his co-authors on to the Julian Assange show, which aired on RT last year in March, to discuss cyber resistance.

''Two of them, besides myself, have been targeted by law enforcement agencies as a result of their work to safeguard privacy and to keep governments accountable. Their words, and their stories, need to be heard,'' Assange told the New York Times.

The members of the Cypherpunks movement shared their stories with Julian Assange whilst sitting down to discuss the problems of privacy, online communication and freedom on the internet.

US citizen Edward Snowden is believed to be eluding an extradition order to the US on charges of espionage in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. Snowden has sent a number of applications for political asylum. Thus far Venezuela and Nicaragua have confirmed receipt of the applications, but are yet to grant asylum. However, Snowden is still unable to travel as his passport has been voided by the US authorities.

How we broke the NSA story - Salon.com

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 03:18

Shortly after Salon's biographical sketch on Laura Poitras went live, the award-winning documentary filmmaker agreed to a phone interview, her first since she helped reveal the scope of the National Security Agency's digital surveillance. ''I feel a certain need to be cautious about not wanting to do the work for the government,'' she told Salon, but agreed to clarify some parts of her role in the story.

Poitras is still in Hong Kong, where she is filming the story behind the story '-- including her co-author on the Guardian story and former Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald '-- for her forthcoming documentary on whistle-blowers and leaks. In a wide-ranging interview, she explained how she first made contact with Snowden, her reaction to the possible future investigation into his leaks, and why Snowden didn't go to the New York Times. What follows is a lightly edited transcript.

So how did this all begin?

I was originally contacted in January, anonymously.

By Edward Snowden?

Well, I didn't know who it was.

What was the format?

Via email. It said, I want to get your encryption key and let's get on a secure channel.

And he didn't say what it was about?

He just said '-- that was the first, and the second was, I have some information in the intelligence community, and it won't be a waste of your time.

Do you get a lot of those kinds of requests?

No, I don't.

Did you immediately know what was the best, most secure protocol to go about it?

I actually did. I have a lot of experience because I've been working with '-- as you note in your thing, I've done filming with WikiLeaks, I know Jacob Appelbaum. I already had encryption keys but what he was asking for was beyond what I was using in terms of security and anonymity.

How did it proceed from there?

So that's where I'm not going into a lot of details, but sort of ongoing correspondence. I didn't know, I didn't have any biographical details or where he worked, had no idea. He made claims and said he had documentation. At that point it was all completely theoretical, but I had a feeling it was legit.

Why do you think he contacted you? Were you the first person he contacted?

I can't speak for him. Glenn and I just touched base about, what was your story, because we connected later in the spring. He, I think, got an email in February. But I didn't know he'd gotten an email.

He told me he'd contacted me because my border harassment meant that I'd been a person who had been selected. To be selected ''and he went through a whole litany of things '-- means that everything you do, every friend you have, every purchase you make, every street you cross means you're being watched. ''You probably don't like how this system works, I think you can tell the story.'' '... Of course I was suspicious, I worried that it was entrapment, it's crazy, all the normal responses you have to someone reaching out making, claims. He said he'd seen a piece that I'd done on Bill Binney in the Times.

I can say from conversations I had with him after that, I think he had a suspicion of mainstream media. And particularly what happened with the New York Times and the warrantless wiretapping story, which as we know was shelved for a year. So he expressed that to me but I think also in his choices of who he contacted. I didn't know he was reaching out to Glenn at that point.

And you and Glenn were already colleagues, right, you sit on a board together?

At that point the foundation had just opened. So we knew each other and we were colleagues and friends.

How did it get to the point where you knew it was going to be a story, and how did you decide where it was going to be published?

Those are the details I'm not going to go into. What I can say is that once I had a few pieces of correspondence, I said, let me ask a couple of people about this, people who have experience, and I sat down with a couple of people, one of whom was Bart Gellman '... and he said, it looks like this person could be legit. And that was probably February.

These disputes that have been played out on the internet about who got in touch with whom and who needed assurances ''

In a situation like this, this is a confidential source and has been until very, very recently, actually has been a person whose identity I did not know. To actually go on the record and talk about '-- it seems to be a violation of a lot of relationships with someone who's trusted you. There's partly that, so I've been hesitant. I've asked, you know, like, Bart, don't go try and tell my story. I'll tell my story, you know, about my reporting. I don't need reporters reporting on my reporting. So maybe that stuff contributed to different timelines. But that seems now '-- I'm not quite sure, what makes the most sense. Because I don't want to tell the whole story now, I don't think it's the right time. And I want to tell it in my own words. I'm a storyteller. I'll tell it when I'm ready to tell it, in detail.

But it makes sense to go on the record to explain why I was attached to both of those stories.

So you ended up getting in touch with Bart and Glenn because you wanted their help to vet the claims in documents?

There weren't documents yet '... I wanted to know if this correspondent '-- it was possible something else would be entrapment or just crazy, that's always an option. I had an instinct that it was legit. I wanted to talk to people who knew.

So then they said, my paper would be happy to publish it?

No, it was just colleagues saying, this was happening, what do you think. There was nothing to '-- it was just somebody wanting to start a conversation and claiming to have information '... There was no material at that point.

So how did it then become two separate stories in the Washington Post and the Guardian?

The source also has a relationship with Glenn. Which I can't speak to.

I know that Glenn said he had more stories to come. Do you have more footage you're planning on using in your documentary?

Of course. I'm here working.

Are you still in touch with him?

I'm not going to comment on that.

Do you know where he is?

Not going to comment.

Are you going to be working on more stories in print before your documentary comes out?

I really can't predict.

Are you going to be sticking around Hong Kong for awhile or do you think you'll come to the U.S.?

I haven't decided. I'm trying to figure that out right now. But I'm actually based right now outside the U.S.

Are you worried about retaliation in any investigation that goes forward?

You know what? I'm not. I've been harassed for a long time, I wouldn't be surprised if that continues. Being here and seeing the kind of '-- actually, Glenn was really inspiring. Really incredible courage in journalism and just saying, we need to talk to him about these things. It's not OK that we have a secret court that has secret interpretations of secret laws; what kind of democracy is that? I felt like, this is a fight worth having. If there's fallout, if there's blowback, I would absolutely do it again, because I think this information should be public. Whatever part I had in helping to do that I think is a service.

People take risks. And I'm not the one who's taking the most in this case.

And you feel like the person who is taking the most risk '-- meaning Snowden '-- is aware of all the possible ramifications of it?

You can see it in the video, right? I think he is. I think he wanted to reveal his identity because he didn't want to create a situation where he was anonymous and everyone would have been investigated. In these investigation cases, there are repercussions for many, many people. I think he wanted to take responsibility.

Did he always plan to reveal his identity?

I don't know. At some point I became aware of that but I don't know what his intention was.

It's this complicated situation because we have a source who decided to reveal himself. I still feel like I have journalistic obligations to the source even though they've made that choice '... There's something that Glenn said that I actually want to contradict. He said we began ''working with'' him. There was no working with. We were contacted. It was totally cold contact.

Since he contacted you before he started working at Booz Allen, the implication people were drawing was that he went to Booz Allen with the express intention of leaking this.

That's completely absurd. I had no dialogue about what the information was '-- there were claims, that's all I received.

So the implication that you sent him into Booz Allen to spy was incorrect.

Are you kidding? I didn't know where he worked, I didn't know he was NSA, I didn't know how '-- nothing. There was no like, Oh do you think you '..., no nudging. It's like the crazy correlations that the NSA does. There's no connection here. We were contacted, we didn't know what he was up to, and at some point he came forward with documents.

Board of Directors & Staff | Freedom of the Press Foundation

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Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg is a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is best known as the whistleblower who gave the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971. Ellsberg is also the author of three books: Papers on the War (1971), Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002), and Risk, Ambiguity and Decision (2001). In December 2006, he won the Right Livelihood Award, known as the ''Alternative Nobel Prize,'' in Stockholm, Sweden, ''for putting peace and truth first, at considerable personal risk, and dedicating his life to inspiring others to follow his example.''

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a lawyer, journalist, blogger, and author. He worked as a constitutional and civil rights litigator before becoming a contributor to Salon, and now writes for The Guardian about civil liberties issues. He is the author of three New York Times bestselling books, including his latest, With Liberty and Justice for Some. Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He was the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and won the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive detention of Bradley Manning.

John Cusack

John Cusack is an actor, director, producer, and screenwriter who has appeared in over 60 films. He's also a political activist and regularly speaks out and writes on issues of human rights, government transparency, and accountability'--amongst other things.

John Perry Barlow

John Perry Barlow is co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is also a retired Wyoming rancher (and native), a former lyricist for the Grateful Dead, and the co-founder and board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization which has been protecting the free flow of information on the Internet since 1990. He was a founding Fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He has been writing about Cyberspace since 1988 and was first to apply that name to the global social space it presently describes. Barlow's piece on the future of copyright, ''The Economy of Ideas,'' is taught in many law schools, and his ''Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace'' is posted on thousands of websites. Recently, The Guardian named him one of the twenty most influential champions of the Open Internet. He is presently engaged in starting a company, Algae Systems, that aspires to turn sewage into carbon negative jet fuel. He is the father of three daughters and his primary aspiration is to be a good ancestor. He dreams of a world where all general useful knowledge can be available to anyone, of any station, merely for the price of curiosity.

Josh Stearns

Josh Stearns is a journalist and organizer working for press freedom and the future of news through media and tech policy. As the Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director at Free Press, Stearns runs national advocacy campaigns to amplify the voice of local people in the policy debates that shape our media. Since 2011 he has been tracking journalist arrests and press suppression across the US, an effort the earned him ''Storify of the Year'' and the Lew Hill Media Ally Award for his use of cutting-edge technology and First Amendment advocacy. His articles have appeared in Mother Jones, Orion Magazine, Yes Magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Laura Poitras

Laura Poitras is a documentary filmmaker. Her 2003 film Flag Wars won a Peabody Award. Her 2006 film My Country, My Country was nominated for an Academy Award. Her 2010 film The Oath was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding investigative journalism. She is currently working on a documentary about state surveillance, WikiLeaks, Internet freedom, and whistleblowers. She is the recipient of a 2012 MacArthur Fellowship. Her work was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial.

She has been detained and interrogated about her work at the U.S. border over 40 times.

Rainey Reitman

Rainey Reitman is a co-founder and chief operating officer of Freedom of the Press Foundation. She's also a founder and steering committee member for the Bradley Manning Support Network, a network of individuals and organizations advocating for the release of accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning. She serves on the board of the directors for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, a nonprofit whose mission is to organize and support an effective, national grassroots movement to restore civil liberties, and on the steering committee for the Internet Defense League, which organizes Internet users to combat imminent threats to online rights. Reitman is also Activism Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Trevor Timm

Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Harvard Law and Policy Review and PBS MediaShift. He currently works as an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Previously, Timm helped the longtime General Counsel of The New York Times, James Goodale, write a book on the First Amendment.

Xeni Jardin

Xeni Jardin is a founding partner and co-editor of award winning blog Boing Boing. Executive Producer and host of Webby-honored "Boing Boing Video," online and in-flight on Virgin America. Has contributed to such diverse venues as NPR, Wired, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and a frequently-sought tech expert in broadcast news.

Donation Information | Freedom of the Press Foundation

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Tax-Deductible

The Foundation for National Progress, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the Freedom of the Press Foundation's fiscal sponsor and provides users a way to give tax-deductible donations. Our tax ID number is 94-2282759. Your gift is tax-deductible to the full extent provided by law.

Checks and Money Orders

We are pleased to receive anonymous donations in the mail. Please make checks and money orders payable to "Foundation for National Progress," and make sure to write "Freedom of the Press Foundation" in the memo field. Please mail checks and money orders to:

Foundation for National Progressc/o Freedom of the Press Foundation222 Sutter Street, Suite 600San Francisco, CA 94108

If you'd like to designate your donation to particular transparency journalism organization, please specify how you'd like your money allocated in an attached note. Otherwise, your money will be donated directly to the Freedom of the Press Foundation's general fund.

Freedom of the Press Foundation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Freedom of the Press Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 to fund and support free speech and freedom of the press. The organization is headed by both mainstream and alternative journalists such as Daniel Ellsberg and Xeni Jardin as well as activists, celebrities, and filmmakers.

The mission is to help "promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government",[2] and it offers a way to crowd-source funding for WikiLeaks and independent journalistic organizations.[3] Supported organizations includes WikiLeaks, MuckRock News, the National Security Archive, The UpTake, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Center for Public Integrity and Truthout.[4]

The Freedom of the Press Foundations selects organizations and individuals to support based on four criteria: 1. Record of engaging in transparency journalism or supporting it in a material way, including support for whistleblowers; 2. Public interest agenda; 3. Organizations or individuals under attack for engaging in transparency journalism; and 4. Need for support. The foundation's goal is to prioritize support for organizations and individuals who are in need of funding or who face obstacles to gaining support on their own.

In May 2013, The Freedom of the Press Foundation began crowd-funding donations to hire a professional court stenographer to take transcripts during the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, after the government refused to make its transcripts available to the public.

See also[edit]References[edit]External links[edit]

Freedom of the Press Foundation takes 8% from each donation for operational costs.

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''A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.''

'--Judge Murray Gurfein, Pentagon Papers case, June 17, 1971

Our MissionThe Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to helping defend and support aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government. We accept tax-deductible donations to a variety of journalism organizations that push for government transparency and accountability.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is built on the recognition that this kind of transparency journalism '-- from publishing the Pentagon Papers and exposing Watergate, to uncovering the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program and CIA secret prisons '-- doesn't just happen. It requires dogged work by journalists, and often, the courage of whistleblowers and others who work to ensure that the public actually learns what it has a right to know.

But in a changing economic and technological age, media organizations are increasingly susceptible to corporate or government pressure. This can lead to watered-down or compromised coverage, or worse: censorship.

Increasingly, non-profit media and transparency organizations are emerging as a critical component of the journalism landscape. Leveraging the power of the Internet, these organizations are helping to reinvent and reimagine independent watchdog reporting.

Right now, too many of those organizations are struggling for funding, relying on a few large foundations or competing for donors. Our goal is to broaden the financial base of these types of institutions'--both start-ups and established non-profit organizations '-- by crowd-sourcing funding and making it easy for people to support the best journalism from an array of organizations all in one place.

Using the same networked, collaborative approach, the Freedom of the Press Foundation will also provide support for organizations and individuals that have been unjustly censored or cut off from funding for doing their job as journalists. Given the variety of corporate and government pressures on journalism outlets around the world, the need has never been greater.

How It Works:The process is simple. On our website, you can donate to as many as four journalism and transparency organizations at once. We'll feature a ''bundle'' of four organizations and provide a bit of background on each. Every two months we will release a new bundle of deserving organizations or individuals. Once you enter the total amount you wish to donate, you can use the sliders to determine the percentage you want each entity to get.

You can also donate directly to the Freedom of the Press Foundation to help further our mission. Twice a year, we will distribute a grant to projects our Board of Directors has vetted and selected.

Freedom of the Press Foundation takes 8% from each donation for operational costs.

Criteria for choosing organizations:Record of engaging in transparency journalism or supporting it in a material way, including support for whistleblowers.Public interest agenda.Organizations or individuals under attack for engaging in transparency journalism.Need for support. The foundation's goal is to prioritize support for organizations and individuals who are in need of funding or who face obstacles to gaining support on their own.You can go here to see a description of the organizations we are currently crowd-funding donations for.

GuideStar Exchange Reports for Foundation for National Progress

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Basic Organization InformationFoundation for National Progress

Also Known As:FNP, MoJo, MJ, Mother JonesPhysical Address:San Francisco, CA 94108 EIN:94-2282759Web URL:www.motherjones.com NTEE Category:A Arts, Culture, and Humanities A30 Media, Communications Organizations A Arts, Culture, and Humanities A33 Printing, Publishing A Arts, Culture, and Humanities A99 Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. Year Founded:1976 Ruling Year:1975 Sign in or create an account to see this organization's full address, contact information, and more!

Mission StatementFor over thirty years, the mission of the Foundation for National Progress has been to produce revelatory journalism that in its power and reach seeks to inform and inspire a more just and democratic world. We measure the effectiveness of our public-interest reporting in three ways: 1. The size and nature of audience; 2. The influence of our stories on the larger commercial media industry; and 3. The impact of our reporting when used by people working for progressive change).

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Buckingham became president and CEO in February 2010. Prior to this she held the position of COO/CFO; she joined Mother Jones in 2002. She has spent more than 20 years in senior finance and management positions in the publishing and high-tech industries working for a range of publishing companies and Internet startups, including Sony Corp.'s Internet incubator and at International Data Group.

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The Foundation for National Progress supports the following four programs: Mother Jones magazine: Published six times per year, Mother Jones magazine offers in-depth investigative reports, news analysis, essays, and images on the most important social and political issues of our time. The print magazine currently has a paid circulation of approximately 225,000 readers and subscribers. With a long history of independent, uncompromising journalism, people have come to trust and rely on the information they garner from the pages of Mother Jones magazine. MotherJones.com: In 1993, Mother Jones became the first general interest magazine on the internet. From its inception, MotherJones.com has broadened the reach and impact of Mother Jones magazine through its blend of original content and ability to provide readers with information beyond the scope of a print publication, including timely news analysis, interactive multi-media projects, enhanced in-print investigative pieces, and in-depth reports. Over the past year, traffic to MotherJones.com has more than doubled too nearly 875,000 unique visitors each month. in addition, weekly newsletters are sent out to over 50,000 subscribers informing a broad spectrum of people about the most important issues of the day, and the ways in which they can get involved and create change. The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program: Named after a long-time investigative reporter and journalism educator, The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program is one of the few independent programs in the nation through which aspiring journalists can get in-the-field experience in critical investigative reporting skills, and nurture the social and professional networks that will enable them to break into reporting. Each year, three cycles of four interns join the staff. Since the program's inception in 1980, more than 800 interns have passed through Mother Jones. More than six out of ten of our former interns are currently working as journalists or in another media related profession. In addition, the program provides invaluable experience to young people seeking to gain hands-on experience in nonprofit administration, with intern and fellowships in departments throughout the Foundation, including summer placements for high school students. The Media Consortium: The Foundation for National Progress is the sponsor for The Media Consortium, a network of more than 40 leading progressive independent journalism organizations. The Consortium?s goals are to create smart, powerful, and passionate journalism that changes the terms of the American political and cultural debate, to redefine ?independent progressive media? so that it reaches and serves the audience of the 21st century, to create a cooperative infrastructure that supports a sustainable future for progressive journalism, and to help get the message out to millions of Americans looking for honest, fair, and accurate journalism.

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Board of Directors | Mother Jones

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Archived Version

Thu, 11 Jul 2013 03:30

ChairPhil is a photographer. He straddles the digital/analog border with a 4X5 camera and film, scanning, Photoshop, and toned silver prints. For dozens of thousand-word equivalents answering the question, "What does he photograph?" see his website, at www.strausphoto.com.

Phil is on the board of directors of the Center for Defense Information where he's underwritten the launch of the Straus Military Reform Project. He is supporting a MotherJones.com project on militarism.

He's recently begun playing the piano and composing music and returned to running after a ten-year lapse due to now-eliminated arthritis. He's looking forward to a return to the study of mathematics. Phil has been a devoted go player for over 35 years.

He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Margaret Harris. They've recently become empty-nesters. Phil has degrees in psychology and engineering. For other details of his past life, ask his cousin, Jane Butcher.

PresidentBuckingham became president and CEO in February 2010. Prior to this she held the position of COO/CFO; she joined Mother Jones in 2002. She has spent more than 20 years in senior finance and management positions in the publishing and high-tech industries working for a range of publishing companies and Internet startups, including Sony Corp.'s Internet incubator and at International Data Group.

Vice PresidentMonika Bauerlein is co-editor of Mother Jones, where, together with Clara Jeffery, she spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, the addition of a seven-person Washington Bureau, and an overhaul of the organization's digital strategy that tripled MotherJones.com's traffic. Previously she was Mother Jones' investigative editor, focusing on long-form projects marrying in-depth reportage, document sleuthing, and narrative appeal. She has also worked as an alternative-weekly editor (at Minneapolis/St. Paul's City Pages), a correspondent for US and European publications in Washington, D.C. and at the United Nations, an AP stringer, corporate trainer, translator, and pastry chef (a very short stint). She lives in Oakland with her husband and their three children.

Vice PresidentClara Jeffery is co-editor of Mother Jones, where, together with Monika Bauerlein, she has spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by the addition of an eight-person Washington bureau, an overhaul of the organization's digital strategy and a corresponding tripling of traffic, and the winning of two National Magazine Awards for general excellence. Before joining the staff of Mother Jones, she was a senior editor of Harper's magazine. Eight pieces that she personally edited have been finalists for National Magazine Awards, in the categories of essay, profile, reporting, public interest, and fiction. Works she edited have also been selected to appear in various editions of Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Clara cut her journalistic teeth at Washington City Paper, where she wrote and edited political, investigative, and narrative features, and was a columnist. Jeffery is a graduate of Carleton College and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Born in Baltimore and raised in Arlington, Virginia, she now resides in the Mission District of San Francisco with her partner Chris Baum and their two-year-old son Milo. Their burrito joint of choice is El Metate.

Vice PresidentSteven Katz is Publisher for Mother Jones and its non-profit publisher, the Foundation for National Progress. He joined MoJo in 2003 after several years as Vice President of Development for Earthjustice, the nation's leading non-profit environmental law firm. While at Mother Jones, Steve helped found and was the first Project Director for The Media Consortium, a network of more than 40 independent, progressive media organizations around the United States.

Steve has thirty years' experience working in the fields of the environment advocacy, the arts, social justice, and neighborhood-based housing development. Prior to joining Earthjustice in 1995, he was Managing Director for the California urban environmental advocacy organization, Communities for a Better Environment, from 1989 to 1994. During the mid and late 1980s, Steve worked in the non-profit arts world, including three years as Managing Director for the San Francisco-based touring ensemble, A Traveling Jewish Theatre. He also was Associate Director for Housing and Planning at Brooklyn's Flatbush Development Corporation for two years in the early 1980s, and Development Coordinator for the Bronx-based sweat equity urban homesteading group, People's Development Corporation, from 1976 to 1978.

Steve has been on a number of non-profit boards, among them Earthshare of California, the As You Sow Foundation, the Marin Center for Peace and Justice, and Turtle Island Restoration Network. Steve received his PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1987, and his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1974. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Rachelle, and his son, Noah.

SecretarySara Frankel has worked in media companies since starting her first job as a Mother Jones intern in 1986. She subsequently worked as an editor and feature writer for both weekly magazines and a daily newspaper. Since receiving her MBA in 1994, she has held a range of business positions in electronic media companies, most recently running an Internet company she founded in 1999. She is currently working as a business consultant in New York.

For 25+ years Harriett was a partner at New York based Frankfurt Balkind, an award -winning brand strategy and communications agency with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Known for its innovative integrated approach, the agency was purchased by Interpublic/Hill Holliday during 2002. At Frankfurt Balkind, Harriett was responsible for business development and led client liaison and brand strategy teams for companies whose needs required multi-disciplinary marketing '' identity, print, video, digital, web. Clients ranged from AT&T, Avon, Saks Fifth Avenue, Pitney Bowes, Hearst, Goldman Sachs, HBO, and Sony to the MTA (Grand Central Station) and New Visions for Public Schools.

Today Harriett is co-founder of Strat B in New York, providing brand strategy, messaging and marketing communications for established companies such as Time Warner Cable Media and start-ups like Cindy Levine Group. She is a partner of Bemis Balkind, a premier Los Angeles based entertainment marketing agency.

Harriett's career began in San Francisco where she lived for 13 years and worked in retail and banking prior to joining Landor Associates, a brand and creative design consultancy. Moving to New York, she headed advertising and public relations for Reeves Communications, who later became one of her first clients when she started Levin Associates; the other was Gips+Balkind design firm, subsequently, Frankfurt Balkind. Harriett has been published in industry publications such as Communication Arts, Graphic Design: USA, and Direct Marketing News. She has a monthly blog-azine, "Secrets no one ever told you," www.snoety.com, directed primarily to 45+ women who are interested in new ideas and thoughts on living, and she serves on the Industry Council of Eurica Media Lab. She has one son, Devin, who is 25 and lives in Brooklyn.

Harriet is the director of the HKH Foundation, which makes grants in areas relating to the environment, the arms race, and civil liberties, and is also director of the Blue Mountain Center, an upstate New York workplace for artists, writers and activists. Ms. Barlow has also founded and co-founded 12 public interest organizations and has been a member of the board of directors of over 50 non-profits.

Jane is co-Chair of the Conference on World Affairs, Chair of the Dean's Advisory Committee for Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado, is on the Advisory Board of the Autry National Center and also on the Biotech Advisory Board at the University of Colorado. She is the founder of the consulting firm Conventional Wisdom, Ltd.

Andre CarothersAndre Carothers has more than 25 years experience in non-profit management, philanthropy, program development, and organizational and leadership development. He is currently an independent consultant. He is the co-founder, former Executive Director, and now a Senior Fellow at the Rockwood Leadership Institute, a national non-profit training and consulting organization. He serves as Chairman of the Board of the Rainforest Action Network and is a Board Member of International Rivers. He is also senior adviser to the Weinmann Charitable Trust, and Executive Director of the Furthur Foundation and the New Place Fund. From 1984 to 1997 he worked at Greenpeace USA as editor of their national newsmagazine, campaign manager and member of the Board of Directors. He was a regular columnist for ''E'' Magazine and has written extensively on environment and civic issues for many publications. He has authored numerous reports, articles and conference presentations on topics ranging from the economics of timber extraction in Papua New Guinea to the integration of spiritual practice into social activism. He received an MA in environmental science from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Diane FilippiDiane Filippi is the Director of the SPUR Urban Center in San Francisco. Prior to joining SPUR, Ms. Filippi was a founder and Managing Principal of SMWM, an architectural and urban design firm in San Francisco.

As the Director of the SPUR Urban Center, Diane has been a guest speaker on Urban Centers to national and international audiences.

A few of Diane's other activities include:Chair, Rail-volution, Washington DC and Portland, Oregon - currentBoard Member, Association of Architectural Organizations, Chicago - currentBoard Member, ULI District Council - currentChair, Urban Land Institute, San Francisco District CouncilBoard Member, San Francisco Chamber of CommerceChair, San Francisco Friends of the LibraryChair, Keep Libraries Alive Political CampaignChair, State of California Friends of the LibraryChair, Libraries for the Future, New York

For the past 8 years, Diane has been named one of San Francisco's 100 Most Influential Women. In 2010, she was honored as a permanent member of San Francisco Most Influential Women Hall of Fame.

In 1996, Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. in recognition of service to the people of San Francisco and the San Francisco Public Library, declared February 20 to be Diane Filippi Day in San Francisco.

Dave GlasscoDave is a self-described "father, geek, and musician who lives in Austin, Texas." He is a Texas native, and true to the Austin ethos, he's creative, passionate, and active in his community.

Dave graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in government. He later attended the Berklee College of Music, but returned to Austin to open Satellite Studio. Currently he is the President of the board of The Participatory Culture Foundation, which supports open video on the web. Dave is also very active in Texas and national politics and sits on the board of Be One Texas.

Erik is a co-founder and president of the Seattle-based Quixote Foundation. The Quixote Foundation was founded in 1997 by Erik's father, Arthur, to advance progressive causes through the action, education & policy work of dynamic nonprofit groups. Erik's wife, Lenore is the Executive Director of the Quixote Foundation.

Adam is a writer and was one of the co-founders of Mother Jones. He is the author of seven books: Half the Way Home: a Memoir of Father and Son; The Mirror at Midnight: a South African Journey; The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin; Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels; King Leopold's Ghost: a Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa; Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves; and To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. In 1997-98, he spent five months as a Fulbright Lecturer in India, and he teaches a writing class at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

Kim Keller is the Executive Director of the David & Anita Keller Family Foundation, a Bay Area-based family foundation committed to human rights as the cornerstone to peace and justice. She is deeply engaged and passionate about international human rights and strategic philanthropy. In addition to serving on the boards of the Foundation for National Progress (Mother Jones) and Accountability Counsel, Kim is an active member of The Philanthropy Workshop West, Global Philanthropy Forum, and the International Human Rights Funders Group. In 2011, she volunteered with the Carter Center as an election observer during the Liberian presidential election.

Prior to directing her family's foundation, Kim worked in social science research and policy analysis for Bay Area non-profits including the Prevention Research Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and for the Department for Veterans' Affairs.

Kim holds degrees from Wellesley College and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Rick is a founding principal of Melcher & Tucker Consultants, a Chicago-based strategic marketing and communications firm advising small and midsize companies and not-for-profit organizations. Since he co-founded the business in 2000, Rick has helped clients with strategic planning, media and capital campaigns, and in building alliances. Prior to his current endeavors, Rick worked at two leading public policy web sites, and spent two decades at Business Week magazine, managing bureaus in Chicago and London, and where he received the Citation for Excellence from the Overseas Press Club for reporting on Europe and the Center for Education Reform's award for Excellence in Journalism.

Rick is a board member of the Foundation for National Progress, and serves on the national board of trustees and the Chicago advisory board of Facing History and Ourselves. He is also on the executive committee of the board of directors of Chicago Commons and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. A graduate of Duke University, Rick and his wife, Barbara, are the parents of three children.

Carolyn Mugar is and has been for twenty years the Executive Director of Farm Aid. Previous to that, she was an organizer with the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers International Union. Both unions have since merged several times. She also founded the Armenia Tree Project based in Watertown Massachusetts and Yerevan, Armenia and is very active on Armenian issues, going back and forth to Armenia several times a year. She likes to bike a lot. She walked the whole Camino in Spain over four years ago. She went to college and received a higher education.

Staff Representative

Maddie is the research editor at Mother Jones, managing a team of editorial fellows who fact-check the magazine's website and print issues and help make its explosive stories bulletproof. She also writes about culture, food politics, and environment for MoJo, and enjoys interviewing writers and comedians for its media section. Before Mother Jones, she worked at several educational nonprofits in the Bay Area and wrote for The Rumpus. She studied literature at Middlebury College and originally hails from Boulder. When not enjoying the victual paradise of San Francisco, you can find her skiing and hiking in the mountains.

Jon Pageler has been a Vice President of Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks company, since 2003 and is currently responsible for Marketing Communications. At Diageo, Mr. Pageler's responsibilities include overseeing the marketing communications efforts in North America, as well as coordinating these efforts with the other Diageo markets worldwide. Prior to becoming the Head of Marketing Communications for North America, Mr. Pageler served as the Brand Communications Strategist in Diageo's world Headquarters in London.

Mr. Pageler began his tenure with Diageo in Napa, as the Diageo Chateau & Estate Wine Company's executive in charge of Corporate Relations in the role of Vice President Corporate Relations, Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines.

From 2000 to 2003, prior to joining Diageo, Mr. Pageler worked for the Crisis Management and Strategic Communications firm, Westhill Partners, where, among other responsibilities, he managed the firm's largest client, Diageo. Mr. Pageler came to Westhill from his role as Scheduler and, ultimately, Trip Director on the Bill Bradley for President Campaign, where he served for two years. From 1995 through 1998, Mr. Pageler held positions on several political campaigns including as the Scheduler for Charles Schumer's successful bid to unseat US Senator Al Damato and as Campaign Manager for Charlie King's unsuccessful bid for New York State Lieutenant Governor.

Prior to that Mr. Pageler worked for the American Red Cross as a communications specialist and as an Investigator for the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a non-profit criminal defense firm based on 125th Street in Manhattan.

Mr. Pageler graduated with honors and a BA in Philosophy from Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota in 1990.

Ken is a technologist, designer, musician and amateur chef.

Working at the intersection of design and technology, Ken has led several software and design projects over a 30-year career, most recently as CTO at Groupon.com He is currently an investor and advisor to several early stage start-ups, including DesktimeApp.com, TheNounProject.com and Kitchensurfing.com

Ken serves on the board of The Old Town School of Folk Music and The Awesome Foundation of Chicago, and is partner and board member at City Winery Chicago.

Ken has had a lifelong interest in cooking and the politics of food. He recently completed the 'La Technique' program at The French Culinary Institute, NYC and is a founding member of The Kitchen Community Chicago, a non-profit based in Boulder, CO that is building 'learning gardens' in Chicago schools.

Ken is a 20-year transplant from the Boston area to Chicago where he lives with his wife, Amanda Lao and their 2 year old rooftop garden.

Susan has been active in the arts, education, civil rights and women's issues for most of her life. She has been a on the board of Pitzer College since 1990 and the chair since 2001. She also serves on the board of directors of Chicago-based Urban Gateways: Center for the Arts in Education, the largest arts-in-education organization in Cook County, Ill. Urban Gateways reinforces the arts curriculum in Chicago public and parochial schools by sponsoring artists to teach visual arts, dance, theater and music. Susan is also chair of the board of directors of the Chicago Foundation for Women, whose goal is to increase philanthropic giving by women for a variety of causes, including shelters for abused women and girls and programs on domestic violence and sexual assault. Susan is married to Nick Pritzker, whose family are owners of the Hyatt Hotel chain.

Dr. Nan Schaffer is a conservationist and internationally recognized expert on the rhinoceros and reproduction. Although her research programs focused on reproductive issues in a variety of mammals, Dr. Schaffer's greatest contributions to science and conservation center on the five species of rhinoceros. In 1998, concerned with the continued decline of these critically endangered species, Dr. Schaffer refocused her efforts and founded SOS Rhino, an international non-profit organization focused on saving rhinoceroses in their natural habitats. SOS Rhino's community-based conservation programs built on the capacity of all stakeholders to conserve by raising local awareness and promoting protection of habitats and animals.

In addition to her contributions to science and conservation, Dr. Schaffer is also a philanthropist and activist in the LGBT community. She was the first woman invited to join the Board of IMPACT, the predecessor to Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest LGBT political action committee. In 1985 she co-founded Outlines, one of the first lesbian newspapers in the Midwest, which became The Windy City Times, the oldest and only surviving LGBT newspaper in Chicago. In addition to her political and publishing efforts, Dr. Schaffer supported numerous LGBT organizations with her time, wisdom and financial resources, and in 2004, she was inducted into the Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame.

In her retirement, Dr. Schaffer has continued her philanthropy, activism and conservation efforts. She serves as a governing member of the Chicago Zoological Society's Board of Trustees and continues to consult with Malaysian government officials and leaders of rhinoceros conservation programs.

Staff RepresentativeKate Sheppard covers energy and environmental politics in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. She was previously the political reporter for Grist and a writing fellow at The American Prospect. She can be reached by email at ksheppard (at) motherjones (dot) com. Her work has also been featured in the New York Times Room for Debate blog, The Guardian's Comment is Free, High Country News, The Center for Public Integrity, The Washington Independent, ForeignPolicy.com, Washington Spectator, Who Runs Gov, In These Times, and Bitch. She was raised on a vegetable farm in southern New Jersey (yes, they do exist), but has adapted well to life in the nation's capitol. She misses trees and having a Congressional representative with voting power, but thinks D.C. is pretty great anyway.

Kevin Simmons is the founder and co-director of two nonprofit art spaces: High Concept Laboratories (HCL), and Los Del Patio. HCL collaborates with Chicago-area artists and performers to foster the creation and development of new works, and also curates classes, screenings, lectures, and other events for the community. Los Del Patio, located in Panama City, Panama, entails a gallery, cafe/bar, center for studios and workshops, as well as professionally-oriented programming pertaining to the production and presentation of contemporary art. He is the president of Opera Cabal, a Chicago-based avant-garde contemporary opera company, and in addition to serving on the board of the Foundation for National Progress / Mother Jones Magazine, he is a board member of Molly Shanahan / Mad Shak Dance Company, The Canary Project, and the Azuero Earth Project. A former AmeriCorps*VISTA Site DIrector with LIFT, he studied political science and public policy at Princeton University and has worked in development and programming for a variety of environmental projects in Panama, including the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center and the Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo / Museum of Biodiversity in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

$1.1 Million of Soros Money Tied To Magazine That Released McConnell Tape | CNS News

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Archived Version

Thu, 11 Jul 2013 04:02

George Soros isn't behind everything the left does, but it sure seems like he helps fund it all. The lefty magazine Mother Jones released a tape, reportedly obtained from a Democratic Super PAC in Kentucky, in an effort to hurt Mitch McConnell's bid for reelection in the U.S. Senate. But, Mother Jones has funding baggage of its own.

Mother Jones is the news outlet of The Foundation for National Progress, the left-wing "umbrella organization that exists to publish and support Mother Jones." It also founded the Media Consortium. The FNP received $485,000 in Soros funding in 2008. The Media Consortium, also still under the umbrella of the FNP, has received $675,000 since 2000, adding up to $1,160,000. Those figures come from 990 forms from Soros' Open Society Foundations.

The Media Consortium is designed to be a progressive "echo chamber," where left-wing media outlets can network and share ideas. Other members of the Consortium include such liberal outlets as The Nation, Alternet and The American Prospect.

The McConnell tape, released by Mother Jones and promoted by other media outlets, including all three major networks, was recorded by the liberal Democratic Super PAC Progress Kentucky, which has raised nearly $5 million in a campaign to replace McConnell in the U.S. Senate. The FBI is currently investigating the legality of the recording. Mother Jones was also the news outlet that released the "47%" video of Mitt Romney back in September of 2012.

Soros's donations go to fund an extensive network of liberal media outlets, which have received more than $52 million. Those operations include a wide range of liberal news operations as well as the infrastructure of news - journalism schools, investigative journalism and even industry organizations. Since 2000, Soros has given away more than $550 million to liberal organizations in the United States through his Open Society Foundations.

Progress Kentucky also made the news back in February, when the group tweeted out a racially-charged comment about McConnell's wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, suggesting that she was working to outsource jobs to China. The tweets have since been deleted, and Progress Kentucky issued a statement apologizing for the incident.

See more "Right Views, Right Now."

Obit of CIA Journalist

PR

Amy Goodman: This Year's Best-Kept Secret: The Next Generation of Community Radio - Truthdig

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Archived Version

Thu, 11 Jul 2013 01:06

This Year's Best-Kept Secret: The Next Generation of Community RadioPosted on Jul 10, 2013By Amy Goodman

A microphone and a radio transmitter in the hands of a community organizer imparts power, which some liken to the life-changing impact when humans first tamed fire. That's why the prospect of 1,000 new community radio stations in the United States, for which the Federal Communications Commission will accept applications this October, is so vital and urgent.

Workers toiling in the hot fields of south-central Florida, near the isolated town of Immokalee, were enduring conditions that U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy called ''slavery, plain and simple.'' Some worked from dawn to dusk, under the watch of armed guards, earning only $20 a week. Twenty years ago, they began organizing, forming the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Ten years later, working with the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Prometheus Radio Project, the workers started their own radio station, Radio Consciencia, to serve the farmworker community and inform, mobilize and help the struggling workers forge better lives.

As the largest media corporations on the planet have been consolidating during the past two decades, putting the power of the media in fewer hands, there has been a largely unreported flowering of small, local media outlets. An essential component of this sector is community radio, stations that have emerged from the Low-Power FM (LPFM) radio movement. This October, community groups in the U.S. will have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to apply to the FCC for an LPFM radio-station license. But the mainstream media are hardly reporting on this critical development.

''This is a historic opportunity for communities all over the country to have a voice over their airwaves,'' Jeff Rousset, national organizer of the Prometheus Radio Project, told me on the ''Democracy Now!'' news hour. ''The airwaves are supposed to belong to the public. This is a chance for groups to actually own and control their own media outlets.'' The Prometheus Radio Project formed in 1998. It was named after the Greek mythological hero who first gave fire to humans to make their lives more bearable.

Back in the 1980s and '90s, ''pirate'' radio stations, unlicensed by the FCC, were launched in communities across the U.S. by people frustrated with the failures of the commercial and public media system, which was increasingly closed to the communities and seemingly beholden to corporate underwriters and interest groups. Harassed for their broadcasting efforts by federal agents, the pirates formed Prometheus, intent on changing the federal laws and opening the radio dial to a new generation of noncommercial, community-based stations. After 15 years of organizing, they won. Rousset said, ''We're going to turn static into sound and use that to amplify people's voices all over the country.''

Across the U.S. from Immokalee, farmworkers in rural Woodburn, Ore., were fighting against oppressive conditions similar to the tomato and watermelon pickers in Florida. The largest Latino organization in Oregon, PCUN, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (in English, the Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), founded an LPFM radio station, Radio Movimiento (Movement Radio). PCUN's president, Ramon Ramirez, explained: ''We've been able to use Radio Movimiento: La Voz del Pueblo ... not only to organize farmworkers, but also to provide information. ... For example, we're broadcasting in four indigenous languages from Mexico and Central America, and we're giving those folks a voice in the community that they never had.''When I was covering the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, in early 1994, I attended the first press conference held by the Zapatista military commanders, including Subcomandante Marcos and Comandante Ramona. They called it specifically for Mexican radio journalists. Radio, Marcos said, was the most accessible form of mass communication. Even the poorest village had at least one radio around which people could gather, he said.

Social-media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have been rightly credited with supporting social movements like the Arab Spring in recent years. But the fact remains that most people in the U.S. receive their news from traditional sources, especially radio and television, more so in groups separated by the ''digital divide'''--the poor, immigrants and other marginalized communities.

LPFM applications must be filed in October, and significant advanced planning is required by any applicant group that hopes to succeed. The Oregon workers knew nothing about radio. Prometheus recruited 300 media activists from around the world to help get them on the air with a radio ''barn raising'' where volunteers literally built the station from the ground up.

The airwaves are a public treasure, and we have to take them back. The Prometheus Radio Project is waiting to hear from you.

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of ''Democracy Now!,'' a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,000 stations in North America. She is the co-author of ''The Silenced Majority,'' a New York Times best-seller.

(C) 2013 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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Baustin

CNN moves to 24/7 Zimmerman format

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Archived Version

Source: The View From Falling Downs

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 02:16

That's right folks, they've made it official; you don't ever again have to miss a single moment of the biggest news story in the world; the Zimmerman trial.Nevermind exploding planes in San Francisco, exploding trains in Canada, imploding governments in the Middle East.

CNN knows that the only story you care about is the one where that white dumbshit in Florida killed that black kid.

While young black males are by far the most likely to get shot in America, what makes this case special is that he was shot by a white civilian and not a cop or a gangsta.

Mind you, Zimmerman was an achingly wannabe cop, but he didn't have his badge yet.

So that must be why it's a big story.

The hundreds of black kids who have been shot down since Trayvon Martin are merely so many footnotes.

He Was Taller Than I Expected And Spoke With A Heavy Russian Accent Which He NEVER Had Before

2TTH

Michael Hastings' wife vows to ''take down whoever did this'' | Hang The Bankers | He Who Controls the Money Supply, Controls the World

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Archived Version

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:14

The wife of Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings, who was killed in what many people believe was a suspicious car crash last week, has vowed to ''take down whoever did this,'' according to the man who released an email in which Hastings told friends he was being harassed by the government.

Staff Sergeant Joseph Biggs, who yesterday told Fox News that Hastings was working on ''the biggest story yet'' about the CIA before his untimely death, was responsible for releasing an email Hastings wrote 15 hours before his car crash in which the journalist stated he was ''onto a big story'' and needed ''to go off the rada[r] for a bit.''

Biggs tweeted that the reason he released the email was because Hastings' other friends and colleagues who received it were ''too scared'' to do so.

After the email was released, Hastings' wife Elise Jordan thanked Biggs and vowed to ''take down whoever did this,'' according to Biggs.

Biggs, who met Hastings when he was an embedded journalist in Afghanistan in 2008, added, ''I won't let a man die in vein [sic] because I'm too scared of what will happen to me. If I sent that email to Mike he wouldn't rest, he would fight.''

In his interview with Fox News yesterday, Biggs also said that Hastings ''drove like a grandma'' and that it was totally out of character for him to be speeding in the early hours of the morning.

Earlier this week, former counter-terror czar under two different presidents Richard Clarke told the Huffington Post that the fatal crash of Hastings' Mercedes C250 Coupe was ''consistent with a car cyber attack.''

Hastings had made numerous powerful enemies as a result of his exposure of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal in 2010, receiving several death threats in the process.

According to Hastings' colleague Cenk Uygur, the writer was, ''incredibly tense and very worried, and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material,'' and also a ''nervous wreck'' in response to the surveillance of journalists revealed by the AP phone tapping scandal and the NSA PRISM scandal.

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith added that Hastings had told friends and family ''he was concerned that he was under investigation.''

Another close friend who wishes to remain anonymous said that Hastings was ''very paranoid that he was being watched by the FBI.''

SEE ALSO:- Evidence indicates journalist Michael Hastings was assassinated- Richard Clarke: Hastings accident ''consistent with a car cyber attack''- Another whistleblower dead: journalist Michael Hastings

Source: http://www.infowars.com/michael-hastings-wife-vows-to-take-down-whoever-did-this/

ELise Jordan transcribed McChrystal tapes personally Michael Hastings' Wife Obliterates New York Times For Dismissive Obituary

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:11

In the 24 hours since the tragic death of journalist and author Michael Hastings was first reported on Tuesday, those who knew him, worked with him, and covered his work have offered numerous remembrances of the man best known for his Polk Award-winning Rolling Stone piece, ''The Runaway General.''

That article, which presented a dim view of the U.S. strategy in the Afghanistan war and exposed a military command structure working to actively undermine its civilian leadership, also contained several accounts of less-than-professional behavior and comments by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the International Security Assistance Force commander, the disclosure of which led to McChrystal tendering his resignation in June 2010.

But it's an obituary in The New York Times that has sounded a discordant note amid the rest of the encomiums. And now Hastings' widow, Elise Jordan, is firing back at Times brass.

In its obituary of Hastings, posted online Wednesday evening, the paper of record casts doubt on the accuracy of his profile of McChrystal. Here's the salient part of the obit, penned by Margalit Fox:

An inquiry into the article by the Defense Department inspector general the next year found ''insufficient'' evidence of wrongdoing by the general, his military aides and civilian advisers. The inspector general's report also questioned the accuracy of some aspects of the article, which was repeatedly defended by Mr. Hastings and Rolling Stone.

(Fox also identifies Hastings' piece as a ''cover story.'' It was not. Rolling Stone featured Lady Gaga on the cover of the issue containing ''The Runaway General.'')

But the notion that McChrystal was somehow ''cleared'' in this matter is a story to which the Times has long tried to stick. When the inspector general's report was first released, the Times headlined it: "Pentagon Inquiry Into Article Clears McChrystal and Aides." It did no such thing.

That said, it's unclear whether the Times' reaction to Hastings' story is rooted in professional jealousy or a knee-jerk defense of the establishment. The inspector general's report said it could not confirm some elements of Hastings' reporting, but that was to be expected. Hastings quotes the general and his aides making disparaging remarks about their civilian superiors. Such people would be unlikely to acknowledge having said such things, especially considering that Hastings allowed some of them to remain nameless.

Jordan did not take kindly to the Times' remembrance, and in an email to Times' editor Jill Abramson, asked the paper correct its report before printing it in the morning paper. Abramson sent the note to Bill McDonald, obituaries editor, who rejected the request. Both emails were provided to The Huffington Post:

Dear Jill, I was shocked and saddened to read a blatant mischaracterization of my late husband Michael Hastings's Rolling Stone story ''The Runaway General'' in his obituary.

The obituary states: ''An inquiry into Mr. Hastings's article by the Defense Department inspector general the next year found 'insufficient' evidence of wrongdoing by the general, his military aides and civilian advisers. The inspector general's report also questioned the accuracy of some aspects of the article, which was repeatedly defended by Mr. Hastings and Rolling Stone's editors.''

If a reporter at the Times actually would read and properly analyze the Pentagon report, they would find exactly the opposite. The report clearly states: ''In some instances, we found no witness who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported. In other instances, we confirmed that the general substance of an incident at issue occurred, but not in the exact context described in the article.''

As Rolling Stone stated in response to the Pentagon report, ''The report by the Pentagon's inspector general offers no credible source '-- or indeed, any named source '-- contradicting the facts as reported in our story, 'The Runaway General.' Much of the report, in fact, confirms our reporting, noting only that the Pentagon was unable to find witnesses 'who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported.' This is not surprising, given that the civilian and military advisers questioned by the Pentagon knew that their careers were on the line if they admitted to making such comments.''

Unfortunately, the mischaracterization in the obituary reflects a longstanding -'' and ongoing ''- misrepresentation of the facts in and surrounding this story by the Times. Your archived story of the Pentagon report, for example, still carries the headline: ''Pentagon Inquiry Into Article Clears McChrystal and Aides,'' even though the report did no such thing. Insufficient evidence to prosecute is not the same as ''clearing'' someone of a misdeed. It is as if a district attorney had found no witnesses to prosecute a suspected murderer '' the only other witnesses being his accomplices -'' and the Times ran a story headlined, ''DA Clears Alleged Killer.''

I personally transcribed and have all the tape recordings of Michael's interviews during his time with McChrystal and his staff. I can personally verify that some of the most damning comments were made by McChrystal himself, and many others made by his aides in his presence were greeted with his enthusiastic approval. Michael refused to give further evidence to the Pentagon investigators, even though he could have directly attributed a host of insubordinate comments to others on the general's staff, in part because he believed that it was not the role of a journalist to open his notebooks to the military, and in part because he felt that what was needed when it came to the war in Afghanistan was not a change in personnel, but in policy.

I trust you'll make these corrections online and before you print tomorrow's paper.

Here's McDonald's reply:

Dear Ms. Jordan Jill Abramson passed along your email concerning our obituary about Mr. Hastings. First, I hope you'll accept our condolences. I must say, however, that I don't believe we've mischaracterized the Defense Department report from 2011. As the report stated, ''Not all of the events at issue occurred as reported in the article. In some instances, we found no witness who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported. In other instances, we confirmed that the general substance of an incident at issue occurred, but not in the exact context described in the article.'' In other words, as the obit states, ''the inspector general's report '... questioned the accuracy of some aspects of the article.'' I don't know how else you could interpret the passage quoted above (''not all of the events occurred as reported,'' incidents occurred ''not in the exact context described''). I think it's also clear that it's not The Times that is questioning the article's accuracy; it was the Defense Department. We're simply reporting what it publicly said, while noting that your husband received a Polk Award for the article and was vigorously defended by Rolling Stone. So we see no reason to change the obituary. Again, I'm very sorry about your loss.

Jordan's letter to Jill Abramson also was sent to New York Times national news editor Sam Sifton, and to New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan.

Also on HuffPost:

Elise Jordan-The Phillips Foundation -

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:09

Project: Muslim Girls and Women as Equal AmericansBio:Elise Jordan is a journalist and commentator whose writing on politics and foreign policy has been published in the Atlantic.com, Newsweek/Daily Beast, Marie Claire, National Review Online, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, and the Weekly Standard. Elise is a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, and has also commentated on the BBC, CTV, Fox Business Network, and National Public Radio. During the Bush administration, Elise worked at the State Department as speechwriter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and in the White House Office of Presidential Speechwriting. In 2007, she joined the National Security Council, where she worked on press and communications strategy for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. While at the White House, Elise worked for extended periods at the U.S. Embassy Baghdad and for the Commanding General's Strategic Advisory Group at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is on the board of UNICEF's Next Generation Steering Committee, an effort to promote UNICEF's humanitarian mission among under forty year old supporters, and the advisory board to the G(irls)20 Summit, a summit for young women from G20 nations and the African Union. A 2004 graduate of Yale College with a degree in history, Elise was born and raised in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

http://www.theatlantic.com/elise-jordan/http://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity-lifestyle/articles/living/women-soldiers-afghanistan

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704013004574517323667596310.html

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/017/288gfbig.asp?page=2&pg=1

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/negotiations_only_boost_the_taliban_gFe1VDjVNQ8ujBKy81rclJ

Obama Nation

Secret move keeps bin Laden records in the shadows.

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Mon, 08 Jul 2013 12:46

WASHINGTON (AP) '-- The nation's top special operations commander ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.

The secret move, described briefly in a draft report by the Pentagon's inspector general, set off no alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps also the Freedom of Information Act.

An acknowledgement by Adm. William McRaven of his actions was quietly removed from the final version of an inspector general's report published weeks ago. A spokesman for the admiral declined to comment. The CIA, noting that the bin Laden mission was overseen by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta before he became defense secretary, said that the SEALs were effectively assigned to work temporarily for the CIA, which has presidential authority to conduct covert operations.

"Documents related to the raid were handled in a manner consistent with the fact that the operation was conducted under the direction of the CIA director," agency spokesman Preston Golson said in an emailed statement. "Records of a CIA operation such as the (bin Laden) raid, which were created during the conduct of the operation by persons acting under the authority of the CIA Director, are CIA records."

Golson said it is "absolutely false" that records were moved to the CIA to avoid the legal requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

The records transfer was part of an effort by McRaven to protect the names of the personnel involved in the raid, according to the inspector general's draft report.

But secretly moving the records allowed the Pentagon to tell The Associated Press that it couldn't find any documents inside the Defense Department that AP had requested more than two years ago, and could represent a new strategy for the U.S. government to shield even its most sensitive activities from public scrutiny.

"Welcome to the shell game in place of open government," said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a private research institute at George Washington University. "Guess which shell the records are under. If you guess the right shell, we might show them to you. It's ridiculous."

McRaven's directive sent the only copies of the military's records about its daring raid to the CIA, which has special authority to prevent the release of "operational files" in ways that can't effectively be challenged in federal court. The Defense Department can prevent the release of its own military files, too, citing risks to national security. But that can be contested in court, and a judge can compel the Pentagon to turn over non-sensitive portions of records.

Under federal rules, transferring government records from one executive agency to another must be approved in writing by the National Archives and Records Administration. There are limited circumstances when prior approval is not required, such as when the records are moved between two components of the same executive department. The CIA and Special Operations Command are not part of the same department.

The Archives was not aware of any request from the U.S. Special Operations Command to transfer its records to the CIA, spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman said. She said it was the Archives' understanding that the military records belonged to the CIA, so transferring them wouldn't have required permission under U.S. rules.

Special Operations Command also is required to comply with rules established by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that dictate how long records must be retained. Its July 2012 manual requires that records about military operations and planning are to be considered permanent and after 25 years, following a declassification review, transferred to the Archives.

Also, the Federal Records Act would not permit agencies "to purge records just on a whim," said Dan Metcalfe, who oversaw the U.S. government's compliance with the Freedom of Information Act as former director of the Justice Department's Office of Information and Privacy. "I don't think there's an exception allowing an agency to say, 'Well, we didn't destroy it. We just deleted it here after transmitting it over there.' High-level officials ought to know better."

It was not immediately clear exactly which Defense Department records were purged and transferred, when it happened or under what authority, if any, they were sent to the CIA. No government agencies the AP contacted would discuss details of the transfer. The timing may be significant: The Freedom of Information Act generally applies to records under an agency's control when a request for them is received. The AP asked for files about the mission in more than 20 separate requests, mostly submitted in May 2011 '-- several were sent a day after Obama announced that the world's most wanted terrorist had been killed in a firefight. Obama has pledged to make his administration the most transparent in U.S. history.

The AP asked the Defense Department and CIA separately for files that included copies of the death certificate and autopsy report for bin Laden as well as the results of tests to identify the body. While the Pentagon said it could not locate the files, the CIA, with its special power to prevent the release of records, has never responded. The CIA also has not responded to a separate request for other records, including documents identifying and describing the forces and supplies required to execute the assault on bin Laden's compound.

The CIA did tell the AP it could not locate any emails from or to Panetta and two other top agency officials discussing the bin Laden mission.

McRaven's unusual order would have remained secret had it not been mentioned in a single sentence on the final page in the inspector general's draft report that examined whether the Obama administration gave special access to Hollywood executives planning a film, "Zero Dark Thirty," about the raid. The draft report was obtained and posted online last month by the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group in Washington.

McRaven, who oversaw the bin Laden raid, expressed concerns in the report about possible disclosure of the identities of the SEALs. The Pentagon "provided the operators and their families an inordinate level of security," the report said. McRaven also directed that the names and photographs associated with the raid not be released.

"This effort included purging the combatant command's systems of all records related to the operation and providing these records to another government agency," according to the draft report. The sentence was dropped from the report's final version.

Since the raid, one of the SEALs published a book about the raid under a pseudonym but was subsequently identified by his actual name. And earlier this year the SEAL credited with shooting bin Laden granted a tell-all, anonymous interview with Esquire about the raid and the challenges of his retiring from the military after 16 years without a pension.

Current and former Defense Department officials knowledgeable about McRaven's directive and the inspector general's report told AP the description of the order in the draft report was accurate. The reference to "another government agency" was code for the CIA, they said. These individuals spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name.

There is no indication the inspector general's office or anyone else in the U.S. government is investigating the legality of transferring the military records. Bridget Serchak, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, would not explain why the reference was left out of the final report and what, if any, actions the office might be taking.

"Our general statement is that any draft is pre-decisional and that drafts go through many reviews before the final version, including editing or changing language," Serchak wrote in an email.

The unexplained decision to remove the reference to the purge and transfer of the records "smells of bad faith," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. "How should one understand that? That adds insult to injury. It essentially covers up the action."

McRaven oversaw the raid while serving as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, the secretive outfit in charge of SEAL Team Six and the military's other specialized counterterrorism units. McRaven was nominated by Obama to lead Special Operations Command, JSOC's parent organization, a month before the raid on bin Laden's compound. He replaced Adm. Eric Olson as the command's top officer in August 2011.

Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command, referred questions to the inspector general's office.

The refusal to make available authoritative or contemporaneous records about the bin Laden mission means that the only official accounts of the mission come from U.S. officials who have described details of the raid in speeches, interviews and television appearances. In the days after bin Laden's death, the White House provided conflicting versions of events, falsely saying bin Laden was armed and even firing at the SEALs, misidentifying which of bin Laden's sons was killed and incorrectly saying bin Laden's wife died in the shootout. Obama's press secretary attributed the errors to the "fog of combat."

A U.S. judge and a federal appeals court previously sided with the CIA in a lawsuit over publishing more than 50 "post-mortem" photos and video recordings of bin Laden's corpse. In the case, brought by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, the CIA did not say the images were operational files to keep them secret. It argued successfully that the photos and videos must be withheld from the public to avoid inciting violence against Americans overseas and compromising secret systems and techniques used by the CIA and the military.

The Defense Department told the AP in March 2012 it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden's body on the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier from which he was buried at sea. The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden's body if he were killed. It said it searched files at the Pentagon, Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and the Navy command in San Diego that controls the Carl Vinson.

The Pentagon also refused to confirm or deny the existence of helicopter maintenance logs and reports about the performance of military gear used in the raid. One of the stealth helicopters that carried the SEALs in Pakistan crashed during the mission and its wreckage was left behind.

The Defense Department also told the AP in February 2012 that it could not find any emails about the bin Laden mission or his "Geronimo" code name that were sent or received in the year before the raid by McRaven. The department did not say they had been moved to the CIA. It also said it could not find any emails from other senior officers who would have been involved in the mission's planning. It found only three such emails written by or sent to then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and these consisted of 12 pages sent to Gates summarizing news reports after the raid.

The Defense Department in November 2012 released copies of 10 emails totaling 31 pages found in the Carl Vinson's computer systems. The messages were heavily censored and described how bin Laden's body was prepared for burial.

These records were not among those purged and then moved to the CIA. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. James Gregory said the messages from the Carl Vinson "were not relating to the mission itself and were the property of the Navy."

___

AP Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier contributed to this report.

___

Follow Richard Lardner on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rplardner

Executive Order -- Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions | The White House

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Archived Version

Mon, 08 Jul 2013 05:36

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

July 06, 2012

EXECUTIVE ORDER

- - - - - - -

ASSIGNMENT OF NATIONAL SECURITY ANDEMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COMMUNICATIONS FUNCTIONS

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section1. Policy. The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions. Survivable, resilient, enduring, and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential to enable the executive branch to communicate within itself and with: the legislative and judicial branches; State, local, territorial, and tribal governments; private sector entities; and the public, allies, and other nations. Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies, and improve national resilience. The views of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public must inform the development of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications policies, programs, and capabilities.

Sec. 2. Executive Office Responsibilities.

Sec. 2.1. Policy coordination, guidance, dispute resolution, and periodic in-progress reviews for the functions described and assigned herein shall be provided through the interagency process established in Presidential Policy Directive-1 of February 13, 2009 (Organization of the National Security Council System) (PPD-1).

Sec. 2.2. The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) shall: (a) issue an annual memorandum to the NS/EP Communications Executive Committee (established in section 3 of this order) highlighting national priorities for Executive Committee analyses, studies, research, and development regarding NS/EP communications;

(b) advise the President on the prioritization of radio spectrum and wired communications that support NS/EP functions; and

(c) have access to all appropriate information related to the test, exercise, evaluation, and readiness of the capabilities of all existing and planned NS/EP communications systems, networks, and facilities to meet all executive branch NS/EP requirements.

Sec. 2.3. The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Director of OSTP shall make recommendations to the President, informed by the interagency policy process established in PPD-1, with respect to the exercise of authorities assigned to the President under section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (47 U.S.C. 606). The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Director of OSTP shall also jointly monitor the exercise of these authorities, in the event of any delegation, through the process established in PPD-1 or as the President otherwise may direct.

Sec. 3. The NS/EP Communications Executive Committee.

Sec. 3.1. There is established an NS/EP Communications Executive Committee (Executive Committee) to serve as a forum to address NS/EP communications matters.

Sec. 3.2. The Executive Committee shall be composed of Assistant Secretary-level or equivalent representatives designated by the heads of the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Commerce, and Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the General Services Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission, as well as such additional agencies as the Executive Committee may designate. The designees of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense shall serve as Co-Chairs of the Executive Committee.

Sec. 3.3. The responsibilities of the Executive Committee shall be to: (a) advise and make policy recommendations to the President, through the PPD-1 process, on enhancing the survivability, resilience, and future architecture of NS/EP communications, including what should constitute NS/EP communications requirements;

(b) develop a long-term strategic vision for NS/EP communications and propose funding requirements and plans to the President and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), through the PPD-1 process, for NS/EP communications initiatives that benefit multiple agencies or other Federal entities;

(c) coordinate the planning for, and provision of, NS/EP communications for the Federal Government under all hazards;

(d) promote the incorporation of the optimal combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to obtain, to the maximum extent practicable, the survivability of NS/EP communications under all circumstances;

(e) recommend to the President, through the PPD-1 process, the regimes to test, exercise, and evaluate the capabilities of existing and planned communications systems, networks, or facilities to meet all executive branch NS/EP communications requirements, including any recommended remedial actions;

(f) provide quarterly updates to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Director of OSTP, through the Co-Chairs, on the status of Executive Committee activities and develop an annual NS/EP communications strategic agenda utilizing the PPD-1 process;

(g) enable industry input with respect to the responsibilities established in this section; and

(h) develop, approve, and maintain a charter for the Executive Committee.

Sec. 4. Executive Committee Joint Program Office.

Sec. 4.1. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish an Executive Committee Joint Program Office (JPO) to provide full-time, expert, and administrative support for the Executive Committee's performance of its responsibilities under section 3.3 of this order. Staff of the JPO shall include detailees, as needed and appropriate, from agencies represented on the Executive Committee. The Department of Homeland Security shall provide resources to support the JPO. The JPO shall be responsive to the guidance of the Executive Committee.

Sec. 4.2. The responsibilities of the JPO shall include: coordination of programs that support NS/EP missions, priorities, goals, and policy; and, when directed by the Executive Committee, the convening of governmental and nongovernmental groups (consistent with the Federal Advisory Committees Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.)), coordination of activities, and development of policies for senior official review and approval.

Sec. 5. Specific Department and Agency Responsibilities.

Sec. 5.1. The Secretary of Defense shall: (a) oversee the development, testing, implementation, and sustainment of NS/EP communications that are directly responsive to the national security needs of the President, Vice President, and senior national leadership, including: communications with or among the President, Vice President, White House staff, heads of state and government, and Nuclear Command and Control leadership; Continuity of Government communications; and communications among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches to support Enduring Constitutional Government;

(b) incorporate, integrate, and ensure interoperability and the optimal combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to obtain, to the maximum extent practicable, the survivability of NS/EP communications defined in section 5.1(a) of this order under all circumstances, including conditions of crisis or emergency;

(c) provide to the Executive Committee the technical support necessary to develop and maintain plans adequate to provide for the security and protection of NS/EP communications; and

(d) provide, operate, and maintain communication services and facilities adequate to execute responsibilities consistent with Executive Order 12333 of December 4, 1981, as amended.

Sec. 5.2. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall: (a) oversee the development, testing, implementation, and sustainment of NS/EP communications, including: communications that support Continuity of Government; Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal emergency preparedness and response communications; non-military executive branch communications systems; critical infrastructure protection networks; and non-military communications networks, particularly with respect to prioritization and restoration;

(b) incorporate, integrate, and ensure interoperability and the necessary combination of hardness, redundancy, mobility, connectivity, interoperability, restorability, and security to obtain, to the maximum extent practicable, the survivability of NS/EP communications defined in section 5.2(a) of this order under all circumstances, including conditions of crisis or emergency;

(c) provide to the Executive Committee the technical support necessary to develop and maintain plans adequate to provide for the security and protection of NS/EP communications;

(d) receive, integrate, and disseminate NS/EP communications information to the Federal Government and State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, as appropriate, to establish situational awareness, priority setting recommendations, and a common operating picture for NS/EP communications information;

(e) satisfy priority communications requirements through the use of commercial, Government, and privately owned communications resources, when appropriate;

(f) maintain a joint industry-Government center that is capable of assisting in the initiation, coordination, restoration, and reconstitution of NS/EP communications services or facilities under all conditions of emerging threats, crisis, or emergency;

(g) serve as the Federal lead for the prioritized restoration of communications infrastructure and coordinate the prioritization and restoration of communications, including resolution of any conflicts in or among priorities, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense when activities referenced in section 5.1(a) of this order are impacted, consistent with the National Response Framework. If conflicts in or among priorities cannot be resolved between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, they shall be referred for resolution in accordance with section 2.1 of this order; and

(h) within 60 days of the date of this order, in consultation with the Executive Committee where appropriate, develop and submit to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, a detailed plan that describes the Department of Homeland

Security's organization and management structure for its NS/EP communications functions, including the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, Wireless Priority Service, Telecommunications Service Priority program, Next Generation Network Priority program, the Executive Committee JPO, and relevant supporting entities.

Sec. 5.3. The Secretary of Commerce shall: (a) provide advice and guidance to the Executive Committee on the use of technical standards and metrics to support execution of NS/EP communications;

(b) identify for the Executive Committee requirements for additional technical standards and metrics to enhance NS/EP communications;

(c) engage with relevant standards development organizations to develop appropriate technical standards and metrics to enhance NS/EP communications;

(d) develop plans and procedures concerning radio spectrum allocations, assignments, and priorities for use by agencies and executive offices;

(e) develop, maintain, and publish policies, plans, and procedures for the management and use of radio frequency assignments, including the authority to amend, modify, or revoke such assignments, in those parts of the electromagnetic spectrum assigned to the Federal Government; and

(f) administer a system of radio spectrum priorities for those spectrum-dependent telecommunications resources belonging to and operated by the Federal Government and certify or approve such radio spectrum priorities, including the resolution of conflicts in or among such radio spectrum priorities during a crisis or emergency.

Sec. 5.4. The Administrator of General Services shall provide and maintain a common Federal acquisition approach that allows for the efficient centralized purchasing of equipment and services that meet NS/EP communications requirements. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the procurement authorities granted by law to an agency or the head thereof.

Sec. 5.5. With respect to the Intelligence Community, the DNI, after consultation with the heads of affected agencies, may issue such policy directives and guidance as the DNI deems necessary to implement this order. Procedures or other guidance issued by the heads of elements of the Intelligence Community shall be in accordance with such policy directives or guidelines issued by the DNI.

Sec. 5.6. The Federal Communications Commission performs such functions as are required by law, including: (a) with respect to all entities licensed or regulated by the Federal Communications Commission: the extension, discontinuance, or reduction of common carrier facilities or services; the control of common carrier rates, charges, practices, and classifications; the construction, authorization, activation, deactivation, or closing of radio stations, services, and facilities; the assignment of radio frequencies to Federal Communications Commission licensees; the investigation of violations of pertinent law; and the assessment of communications service provider emergency needs and resources; and

(b) supporting the continuous operation and restoration of critical communications systems and services by assisting the Secretary of Homeland Security with infrastructure damage assessment and restoration, and by providing the Secretary of Homeland Security with information collected by the Federal Communications Commission on communications infrastructure, service outages, and restoration, as appropriate.

Sec. 6. General Agency Responsibilities. All agencies, to the extent consistent with law, shall: (a) determine the scope of their NS/EP communications requirements, and provide information regarding such requirements to the Executive Committee;

(b) prepare policies, plans, and procedures concerning communications facilities, services, or equipment under their management or operational control to maximize their capability to respond to the NS/EP needs of the Federal Government;

(c) propose initiatives, where possible, that may benefit multiple agencies or other Federal entities;

(d) administer programs that support broad NS/EP communications goals and policies;

(e) submit reports annually, or as otherwise requested, to the Executive Committee, regarding agency NS/EP communications activities;

(f) devise internal acquisition strategies in support of the centralized acquisition approach provided by the General Services Administration pursuant to section 5.4 of this order; and

(g) provide the Secretary of Homeland Security with timely reporting on NS/EP communications status to inform the common operating picture required under 6 U.S.C. 321(d).

Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) For the purposes of this order, the word "agency" shall have the meaning set forth in section 6.1(b) of Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009.

(b) Executive Order 12472 of April 3, 1984, as amended, is hereby revoked.

(c) Executive Order 12382 of September 13, 1982, as amended, is further amended by striking the following language from section 2(e): "in his capacity as Executive Agent for the National Communications System".

(d) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(e) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(f) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

BARACK OBAMA

Your Life is Now Classified: NSA Rejecting All FOIA Requests by American Citizens

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Source: BlackListedNews.com

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 20:32

Clayton Seymour, a 36-year-old IT specialist from Hilliard, Ohio, recently sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the NSA, curious as to whether any data about him was being collected.

What he received in response made his blood boil.

''I am a generally law abiding citizen with nothing I can think of that would require monitoring,'' Seymour wrote to me, ''but I wanted to know if I was having data collected about me and if so, what.''

So Seymour sent in an FOIA request. Weeks later, a letter from the NSA arrived explaining that he was not entitled to any information. ''When I got the declined letter, I was furious,'' he told me. ''I feel betrayed.''

Seymour had decided to request his NSA file after coming across a recent post of mine instructing Americans on how to properly request such files from the FBI and NSA. A Navy vet and two-time Obama voter who supported the President's platform of greater governmental transparency, Seymour was shocked by the letter he received.

The letter, which first acknowledges the media coverage surrounding its surveillance systems, quickly moves to justify why none of that data can be obtained by an American citizen in a standard FOIA request:

Seymour isn't the only one who has recently had an FOIA request denied by the NSA '' dozens of citizens have emailed me to say they've received a similar, if not identical, letter. And it's clear from the exemption the NSA is using that every single American is having their FOIA requests similarly rejected.

Unjustly so.

It should be noted that there are legitimate exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act, the first of which states that documents requested may be denied if they are ''properly classified as secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.''

However, the central problem is this: Seymour's letter from the NSA points to Executive Order 13526, signed by President Obama in 2009, as justification for the NSA's FOIA exemption.

This order signed by Obama established a uniform system for classifying national security information, and stipulates that ''information shall not be considered for classification unless its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security.''

This qualification appears in section 1.4 of the executive order, after which follow many categories of information which maybe marked as classified. The category the NSA points to in justifying the classification of all its data is this:

(c) intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology

Meaning: the NSA is classifying every single bit of data it receives from ordinary American citizens based on the premise that it has been gathered covertly.

Meaning: the NSA's advertised justification for not granting FOIA requests is to protect our country. However, the real justification is the NSA's covert violation of Americans' Fourth Amendment right not to be subject to unwarranted searches and seizures (in this case of their personal, digital data).

The NSA, it seems, has classified every single piece of data on American citizens that it has seized and saved, even benign data culled from people like Seymour, who are no threat to U.S. national security.

''I believe in the concept of America,'' Seymour told me. ''[But] not its current execution.''

I sense the Founding Fathers would agree with him.=

Linchpin for Obama's plan to predict future leakers unproven, isn't likely to work, experts say | McClatchy

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 01:35

WASHINGTON '-- In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for ''high-risk persons or behaviors'' among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.

Obama mandated the program in an October 2011 executive order after Army Pfc. Bradley Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from a classified computer network and gave them to WikiLeaks, the anti-government secrecy group. The order covers virtually every federal department and agency, including the Peace Corps, the Department of Education and others not directly involved in national security.

Under the program, which is being implemented with little public attention, security investigations can be launched when government employees showing ''indicators of insider threat behavior'' are reported by co-workers, according to previously undisclosed administration documents obtained by McClatchy. Investigations also can be triggered when ''suspicious user behavior'' is detected by computer network monitoring and reported to ''insider threat personnel.''

Federal employees and contractors are asked to pay particular attention to the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors '' like financial troubles, odd working hours or unexplained travel '' of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do ''harm to the United States.'' Managers of special insider threat offices will have ''regular, timely, and, if possible, electronic, access'' to employees' personnel, payroll, disciplinary and ''personal contact'' files, as well as records of their use of classified and unclassified computer networks, polygraph results, travel reports and financial disclosure forms.

Over the years, numerous studies of public and private workers who've been caught spying, leaking classified information, stealing corporate secrets or engaging in sabotage have identified psychological profiles that could offer clues to possible threats. Administration officials want government workers trained to look for such indicators and report them so the next violation can be stopped before it happens.

TSA officers watch for suspicious behavior at airports (Carey Wagner/Sun Sentinel/MCT)''In past espionage cases, we find people saw things that may have helped identify a spy, but never reported it,'' said Gene Barlow, a spokesman for the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, which oversees government efforts to detect threats like spies and computer hackers and is helping implement the Insider Threat Program. ''That is why the awareness effort of the program is to teach people not only what types of activity to report, but how to report it and why it is so important to report it.''

But even the government's top scientific advisers have questioned these techniques. Those experts say that trying to predict future acts through behavioral monitoring is unproven and could result in illegal ethnic and racial profiling and privacy violations.

''There is no consensus in the relevant scientific community nor on the committee regarding whether any behavioral surveillance or physiological monitoring techniques are ready for use at all,'' concluded a 2008 National Research Council report on detecting terrorists.

''Doing something similar about predicting future leakers seems even more speculative,'' Stephen Fienberg, a professor of statistics and social science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a member of the committee that wrote the report, told McClatchy.

The emphasis on individual lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors comes at a time when growing numbers of Americans must submit to extensive background checks, polygraph tests and security investigations to be hired or to keep government or federal contracting jobs. The U.S. government is one of the world's largest employers, overseeing an ever-expanding ocean of information.

While the Insider Threat Program mandates that the nearly 5 million federal workers and contractors with clearances undergo training in recognizing suspicious behavior indicators, it allows individual departments and agencies to extend the requirement to their entire workforces, something the Army already has done.

Training should address ''current and potential threats in the work and personal environment'' and focus on ''the importance of detecting potential insider threats by cleared employees and reporting suspected activity to insider threat personnel and other designated officials,'' says one of the documents obtained by McClatchy.

The White House, the Justice Department, the Peace Corps and the departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Education refused to answer questions about the program's implementation. Instead, they issued virtually identical email statements directing inquiries to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, declined to comment or didn't respond.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said in her statement that the Insider Threat Program includes extra safeguards for ''civil rights, civil liberties and privacy,'' but she didn't elaborate. Manning's leaks to WikiLeaks, she added, showed that at the time protections of classified materials were ''inadequate and put our nation's security at risk.''

Reply from the National Security Council

Even so, the new effort failed to prevent former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden from taking top-secret documents detailing the agency's domestic and international communications monitoring programs and leaking them to The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers.

The initiative goes beyond classified information leaks. It includes as insider threats ''damage to the United States through espionage, terrorism, unauthorized disclosure of national security information or through the loss or degradation of departmental resources or capabilities,'' according to a document setting ''Minimum Standards for Executive Branch Insider Threat Programs.''

McClatchy obtained a copy of the document, which was produced by an Insider Threat Task Force that was set up under Obama's order and is headed by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Attorney General Eric Holder. McClatchy also obtained the group's final policy guidance. The White House, the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined requests for both documents, neither of which is classified.

Although agencies and departments are still setting up their programs, some employees already are being urged to watch co-workers for ''indicators'' that include stress, divorce and financial problems.

When asked about the ineffectiveness of behavior profiling, Barlow said the policy ''does not mandate'' that employees report behavior indicators.

''It simply educates employees about basic activities or behavior that might suggest a person is up to improper activity,'' he said.

''These do not require special talents. If you see someone reading classified documents they should not be reading, especially if this happens multiple times and the person appears nervous that you saw him, that is activity that is suspicious and should be reported,'' Barlow said. ''The insider threat team then looks at the surrounding facts and draws the conclusions about the activity.''

Departments and agencies, however, are given leeway to go beyond the White House's basic requirements, prompting the Defense Department in its strategy to mandate that workers with clearances ''must recognize the potential harm caused by unauthorized disclosures and be aware of the penalties they could face.'' It equates unauthorized disclosures of classified information to ''aiding the enemies of the United States.''

All departments and agencies involved in the program must closely track their employees' online activities. The information gathered by monitoring, the administration documents say, ''could be used against them in criminal, security, or administrative proceedings.'' Experts who research such efforts say suspicious behaviors include accessing information that someone doesn't need or isn't authorized to see or downloading materials onto removable storage devices like thumb drives when such devices are restricted or prohibited.

''If you normally print 20 documents a week, well, what happens if the next week or the following week you have to print 50 documents or 100 documents? That could be at variance from your normal activity that could be identified and might be investigated,'' said Randy Trzeciak, acting manager of the Computer Emergency Response Team Insider Threat Center at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute.

''We've come up with patterns that we believe organizations might be able to consider when determining when someone might be progressing down the path to harm the organization,'' said Trzeciak, whose organization has analyzed more than 800 cases and works with the government and private sector on cyber security.

But research and other programs that rely on profiling show it remains unproven, could make employees more resistant to reporting violations and might lead to spurious allegations.

The Pentagon, U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security have spent tens of millions of dollars on an array of research projects. Yet after several decades, they still haven't developed a list of behaviors they can use to definitively identify the tiny fraction of workers who might some day violate national security laws.

''We are back to the needle-in-a-haystack problem,'' said Fienberg, the Carnegie Mellon professor.

''We have not found any silver bullets,'' said Deanna Caputo, principal behavioral psychologist at MITRE Corp., a nonprofit company working on insider threat efforts for U.S. defense, intelligence and law enforcement agencies. ''We don't have actually any really good profiles or pictures of a bad guy, a good guy gone bad or even the bad guy walking in to do bad things from the very beginning.''

Different agencies and departments have different lists of behavior indicators. Most have adopted the traditional red flags for espionage. They include financial stress, disregard for security practices, unexplained foreign travel, unusual work hours and unexplained or sudden wealth.

But agencies and their consultants have added their own indicators.

For instance, an FBI insider threat detection guide warns private security personnel and managers to watch for ''a desire to help the 'underdog' or a particular cause,'' a ''James Bond Wannabe'' and a ''divided loyalty: allegiance to another person or company or to a country besides the United States.''

A report by the Deloitte consulting firm identifies ''several key trends that are making all organizations particularly susceptible to insider threat today.'' These trends include an increasingly disgruntled, post-Great Recession workforce and the entry of younger, ''Gen Y'' employees who were ''raised on the Internet'' and are ''highly involved in social networking.''

Report from Deloitte

Some government programs that have embraced behavioral indicators have been condemned as failures. Perhaps the most heavily criticized is the Transportation Security Administration's Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, program.

The program, which has cost $878 million and employs 2,800 people, uses ''behavior detection officers'' to identify potential terrorists by scrutinizing airline passengers for signs of ''stress, fear or deception.''

DHS' inspector general excoriated the program, saying in a May 2013 report, ''TSA cannot ensure that passengers at United States airports are screened objectively, show that the program is cost-effective or reasonably justify the program's expansion.''

Interviews and internal complaints obtained by The New York Times quoted TSA officers as saying SPOT has led to ethnic and racial profiling by emphasizing certain profiles. They include Middle Easterners, Hispanics traveling to Miami and African-Americans wearing baseball caps backward.

Another problem with having employees report co-workers' suspicious behaviors: They aren't sure which ones represent security threats.

''Employees in the field are not averse to reporting genuine security infractions. In fact, under appropriate conditions they are quite willing to act as eyes and ears for the government,'' said a 2005 study by the Pentagon's Defense Personnel Security Research Center. ''They are simply confused about precisely what is important enough to report. Many government workers anguish over reporting gray-area behaviors.''

Even so, the Pentagon is forging ahead with training Defense Department and contractor managers and security officials to set up insider threat offices, with one company emphasizing how its course is designed for novices.

''The Establishing an Insider Threat Program for Your Organization Course will take no more than 90 minutes to complete,'' says the proposal.

Officials with the Army, the only government department contacted by McClatchy that agreed to discuss the issue, acknowledged that identifying potential insider threats is more complicated than relying on a list of behaviors.

Response from the Army

''What we really point out is if you're in doubt, report, because that's what the investigative personnel are there to do, is to get the bottom of 'is this just noise or is this something that is really going on?''' said Larry Gillis, a senior Army counterintelligence and security official.

The Army implemented a tough program a year before Obama's executive order after Maj. Nidal Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim, allegedly killed 13 people in a 2009 rampage at Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan, who has not gone on trial, has said he was defending the Afghan Taliban.

Gillis said the Army didn't want a program that would ''get people to snitch on each other,'' nor did it want to encourage stereotyping.

''We don't have the luxury to make up reasons to throw soldiers out,'' Gillis said. ''It's a big deal to remove a soldier from service over some minor issue. We don't want to ruin a career over some false accusation.''

But some current and former U.S. officials and experts worry that Obama's Insider Threat Program could lead to false or retaliatory accusations across the entire government, in part because security officials are granted access to information outside their usual purview.

These current and former U.S. officials and experts also ridiculed as overly zealous and simplistic the idea of using reports of suspicious behavior to predict potential insider threats. It takes years for professional spy-hunters to learn their craft, and relying on the observations of inexperienced people could lead to baseless and discriminatory investigations, they said.

''Anyone is an amateur looking at behavior here,'' said Thomas Fingar, a former State Department intelligence chief who chaired the National Intelligence Council, which prepares top-secret intelligence analyses for the president, from 2005 to 2008.

Co-workers, Fingar said, should ''be attentive'' to colleagues' personal problems in order to refer them to counseling, not to report them as potential security violators. ''It's simply because they are colleagues, fellow human beings,'' he said.

Eric Feldman, a former inspector general of the National Reconnaissance Office, the super-secret agency that oversees U.S. spy satellites, expressed concern that relying on workers to report colleagues' suspicious behaviors to security officials could create ''a repressive kind of culture.''

''The answer to it is not to have a Stasi-like response,'' said Feldman, referring to the feared secret police of communist East Germany. ''You've removed that firewall between employees seeking help and the threat that any employee who seeks help could be immediately retaliated against by this insider threat office.''

CORRECTION: A story about the Obama administration's Insider Threat Program gave the wrong name and title for Deanna Caputo, the principal behavioral psychologist at MITRE Corp.

Obama's Insider Threat Program Resembles Nazi Gestapo | Dprogram.net

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 01:35

SS propaganda poster of the Day of the German police (1941). Wikimedia Commons

(KurtNimmo) '' The techniques employed by Obama's Insider Threat Program are reminiscent of those used by the Gestapo in Nazi Germany. Unlike the Nazis, however, Obama's effort '' the result of an unconstitutional executive order issued in October, 2011 '' is limited, for now, to federal government employees.

From McClatchy:

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for ''high-risk persons or behaviors'' among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.

('...)

Under the program, which is being implemented with little public attention, security investigations can be launched when government employees showing ''indicators of insider threat behavior'' are reported by co-workers, according to previously undisclosed administration documents obtained by McClatchy. Investigations also can be triggered when ''suspicious user behavior'' is detected by computer network monitoring and reported to ''insider threat personnel.''

Federal employees and contractors are asked to pay particular attention to the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors '' like financial troubles, odd working hours or unexplained travel '' of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do ''harm to the United States.'' Managers of special insider threat offices will have ''regular, timely, and, if possible, electronic, access'' to employees' personnel, payroll, disciplinary and ''personal contact'' files, as well as records of their use of classified and unclassified computer networks, polygraph results, travel reports and financial disclosure forms.

The effort is not limited to preventing whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. ''The initiative goes beyond classified information leaks,'' McClatchy explains. ''It includes as insider threats 'damage to the United States through espionage, terrorism, unauthorized disclosure of national security information or through the loss or degradation of departmental resources or capabilities,' according to a document setting 'Minimum Standards for Executive Branch Insider Threat Programs.'''

In his book, The Third Reich in Power, Richard J. Evans describes a similar pattern in Nazi Germany. The Gestapo, the official secret police of Germany in the 1930s and all of occupied Europe during the Second World War, relied on a large network of informers comprised largely of average citizens. The end result of the Gestapo's panopticism '' as described by Canadian historian Robert Gellately '' was the creation of widespread fear and the belief that the state was all-seeing, an attribute fictionalized by George Orwell in his seminal novel, Nineteen Eighty Four.

Critics will argue that Obama's effort is limited to the federal workforce and it does not threaten society at large. Developments since September 11, 2001, however, reveal that a Gestapo-like panopticism '' a social theory originally developed by French philosopher Michel Foucault in his book, Discipline and Punish '' is already at work in American society.

Because of the Department of Homeland Security's ''see something, say something'' program and the TSA's intrusive and humiliating search techniques and revelations of the NSA's overarching electronic surveillance grid '' a high-tech electronic panopticon '-- it can be categorically stated that America is now a Stasi police state.

Mission creep under the rubric of the so-called war on terror is now commonplace. The Department of Homeland security was established in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks to address the supposed threat Americans face from foreign terrorists.

''Over the last decade, the feds have established a number of efforts to nationalize law enforcement and create a number of organizations designed to supposedly 'protect the homeland' from not only terrorists '' most handled by the FBI and the CIA '' but all sorts of domestic criminals, including those who engage in victimless crimes such as drug use and prostitution,'' we reported last March.

There are now dozens of organizations feeding off tax dollars dispensed by the feds '' from FEMA's Citizen Corps to Volunteers in Police Service and Infragard and beyond. In many ways, these federally-funded and organized groups rival the police state apparatus active in Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union.

For example, the DHS now ''protects victims'' from ''domestic violence and other violent crimes'' that have nothing to do with the late CIA asset Osama bin Laden or the would-be nineteen hijackers who trained on U.S. military bases. The mega-bureaucracy now doles out money to everything from ''Juvenile Accountability'' to anti-counterfeiting, border security, and computer incident response.

But it really shines when it comes to acting as a political surveillance tool for the establishment. It has successfully exploited the global jihad terror myth to spy on antiwar and patriot groups and recently the Occupy movement. So-called fusion centers '' centralized high-tech Orwellian snoop hubs '' now dot the landscape and feed data into the DHS leviathan.

Obama's Insider Threat Program sets a precedent for similar action outside government. In fact, Infragard '' a public-private partnership between business and government (the very essence of fascism) '' serves as an apparatus that shares data with the government's intelligence network.

The ACLU put it mildly when it said there ''is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations '-- some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers '-- into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI.''

Source: Infowars

US diplomats cry foul as Obama donors take over top embassy jobs

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Source: The Guardian World News

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 22:16

Barack Obama has rewarded some of his most active campaign donors with plum jobs in foreign embassies, with the average amount raised by recent or imminent appointees soaring to $1.8m per post, according to a Guardian analysis.

The practice is hardly a new feature of US politics, but career diplomats in Washington are increasingly alarmed at how it has grown. One former ambassador described it as the selling of public office.

On Tuesday, Obama's chief money-raiser Matthew Barzun became the latest major donor to be nominated as an ambassador, when the White House put him forward as the next representative to the Court of St James's, a sought-after posting whose plush residence comes with a garden second only in size to that of Buckingham Palace.

As campaign finance chairman, Barzun helped raise $700m to fund President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. More than $2.3m of this was raised personally by Barzun, pictured, according to party records leaked to the New York Times, even though he had only just finished a posting as ambassador to Sweden after contributing to Obama's first campaign.

State Department veterans are increasingly concerned about the size of donations raised by political supporters who go on to take up top foreign postings. Thomas Pickering, who recently led the investigation into lethal attacks on the US embassy in Libya and represented the US at the United Nations, claimed the practice had become nothing more than "simony" '' the selling of public office.

"All these people want to go to places where the lifestyle issues [are pleasant], and to some extent that produces this notion that life in these western European embassies is like Perle Mesta," he told the Guardian, referring to the "hostess with the mostest" who was ambassador to Luxembourg between 1949 and 1953 and who was known for her lavish parties.

"It has the effect of diminishing perhaps the sense that the US is treating these countries with the respect they deserve," Pickering said.

Susan Johnson, president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), which represents career US diplomats, added: "The giving of ambassadorships to people who have raised a lot of money for the campaign has increased and that's a concern to us in particular.

"There was some thought that with Obama being such a 'change agent' that he might really do things differently '' but it has just been a bigger let down."

Clutch of foreign appointmentsObama has made a clutch of foreign appointments recently. The 16th century Villa Taverna in Rome has just gone to John Phillips, a Washington lawyer who raised at least $500,000. John Emerson, a Los Angeles fund manger, will get to meet future contacts as ambassador to Germany after he raised $1.5m. Jane Stetson, heiress to the IBM fortune, is tipped as frontrunner for Paris after she raised $2.4m for Obama.

In total, nine sought-after postings in Europe, the Caribbean or Asia have been given to major donors in recent weeks, with a further three in France, Switzerland and Hungary earmarked to come soon. Of these 12, the precise bundling data is available for 10. According to a Guardian analysis, using the figures leaked to the New York Times, the average amount raised by each donor is $1.79m.

Official campaign finance records give only minimum figures for how much each donor raised among friends and family (a process known as bundling). Even using the published 'minimum' donations declared for these bundlers, the amount raised by donors rewarded with foreign postings has soared. The appointees to those same 10 embassies raised at least $5m in 2013, compared to a minimum of $3.3m in 2009, at least $1.3m under George W Bush in 2005 and at least $800,000 for Bush donors in 2001.

Many of the capitals have grown resigned to the process. "All that really matters is that the ambassador is close to the White House '' and his top fundraiser usually is," said one British diplomat, speaking anonymously about Barzun's appointment.

But to State Department veterans, the notion that only fundraisers can get messages through the West Wing is even more alarming. "To some extent, this question of having the ear of the president, and who has it, shows the seriousness of the issue," said Ambassador Pickering.

Johnson, the AFSA president, said many donors have less political influence than their host countries like to imagine. "Some foreign countries like the idea that they are getting a friend of the president, but our experience has been that genuine friends are pretty small; most of these people are friends of friends; and they don't get to call the president right away," she said.

"In a few exceptional cases they are not detracting from credibility of diplomatic service, but at the scale it's being done it is undermining the concept of a career diplomatic service and weakening the strength and capacity of the diplomatic service."

Johnson estimates the percentage of ambassador posts given to political appointees rather than career diplomats has remained roughly steady under Obama at around 30%, but most of these are in parts of the world unattractive to wealthy donors. The share taken by political appointees in western Europe and wealthier Asian capitals has reached between 70% and 85%, the AFSA estimates.

One factor cited by defenders of the practice is that private means are needed to fund the lifestyle led by ambassadors, but the importance of this is disputed by State Department veterans.

"In the embassies I've been in, normally you have a representation budget," said Johnson. "Whether we skimp on it in places like London and Paris and these people add to it so they can serve the best champagne and canapes I don't know, but I don't think it's necessary to be wildly wealthy any more."

She also said many are disappointed by the reality of embassy life. "If the dog ruins the furniture, you have to pay for it. It's like being a guest in someone's house."

Dysfunctional leadershipThis can cause problems of its own. A report by the State Department inspector general into a crisis at the embassy in the Bahamas found that Obama campaign finance chair Nicole Avant presided over "an extended period of dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement, which has caused problems throughout the embassy". Prior to her appointment as ambassador, Avant was vice president of Interior Music Publishing and was absent from the embassy 276 days between September 2009 and November 2011, according to the report. In response to the report Avant said she "had inherited a dysfunctional embassy".

Another official report into the Obama campaign donor appointed to Luxembourg, Cynthia Stroum, found she had been "aggressive, bullying, hostile and intimidating" and left her embassy in a "state of dysfunction". Stroum resigned after the report.

State Department veterans say motivations vary among political donors. "Some go to pleasant islands where the climate and residence are delightful, others just want the title, like British people lust after peerages," said AFSA's Johnson. "People think: gee, I really want to call myself ambassador, so I can go buy myself one. Others are perceived to want to just meet people, broaden their contacts of future business contacts people who can help them in their day job."

The White House insists all its ambassadors are well qualified, regardless of their campaign history. "I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles," said Obama in a statement issued with Barzun's appointment.

The Foreign Service Act of 1980, states that "contributions to political campaigns should not be a factor in the appointment of an individual as a chief of mission."

At at time when the US is reaching the limits of its "hard power", career foreign service staff argue it is time for professional diplomacy to mount a comeback.

"We tried a lot of military stuff and have we come to the realisation that not every problem out there can be solved by troops, no-fly zones and drones," concludes Johnson.

"Diplomacy and managing the inter-relationships between countries is actually important, and we ought to be taking it more seriously, preparing people for it and seeing it as a long-term career '' not as just something you do for a few years while you are preparing to do something else."

Obama claims broccoli is his favorite food

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Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:31

Obama claims broccoli is his favorite foodTop News

Obama claims broccoli is his favorite food

Tue, Jul 09 18:31 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama likes burgers, hot dogs and such, but when it came time to answer a kid journalist's question about his favorite food, broccoli was the first word that sprang from his lips.

This revelation came on Tuesday at a White House event that recognized children who won a healthy recipe contest, as part of first lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign.

Having fun with the children, Obama agreed to take two questions from the journalists among them. The first asked what was Obama's favorite food. Broccoli was the presidential reply, according to a White House aide.

This from a politician who has literally eaten his way across the country: Burgers in a Washington suburb with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; ribs in Asheville, North Carolina; hot dogs at a basketball game in Dayton, Ohio; and a tasty pastry called a kringle in Wisconsin.

Obama's disclosure puts him starkly at odds with the culinary tastes of George H.W. Bush, who as president famously declared his dislike for broccoli.

"And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm president of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!" Bush said in 1990.

Steamed broccoli growers shipped thousands of pounds of broccoli to the White House in protest, and the vegetable was farmed out to homeless shelters.

Obama was clearly enjoying the spirit of the anti-obesity event, called the "Kids' State Dinner," which recognized winning recipes like "picky eater pita pizza pockets" and "sweet potato turkey sliders."

"Food can be fun. It can be healthy," Obama said. "You are setting up habits that are going to be great your entire life."

He joked that he's not much of a cook. "(In) my family, when they cooked vegetables, they were all boiled." Since then, he said, he has learned that healthy food can also taste good.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

Obama claims broccoli is his favorite foodTop News

Obama claims broccoli is his favorite food

Tue, Jul 09 18:31 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama likes burgers, hot dogs and such, but when it came time to answer a kid journalist's question about his favorite food, broccoli was the first word that sprang from his lips.

This revelation came on Tuesday at a White House event that recognized children who won a healthy recipe contest, as part of first lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign.

Having fun with the children, Obama agreed to take two questions from the journalists among them. The first asked what was Obama's favorite food. Broccoli was the presidential reply, according to a White House aide.

This from a politician who has literally eaten his way across the country: Burgers in a Washington suburb with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; ribs in Asheville, North Carolina; hot dogs at a basketball game in Dayton, Ohio; and a tasty pastry called a kringle in Wisconsin.

Obama's disclosure puts him starkly at odds with the culinary tastes of George H.W. Bush, who as president famously declared his dislike for broccoli.

"And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm president of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!" Bush said in 1990.

Steamed broccoli growers shipped thousands of pounds of broccoli to the White House in protest, and the vegetable was farmed out to homeless shelters.

Obama was clearly enjoying the spirit of the anti-obesity event, called the "Kids' State Dinner," which recognized winning recipes like "picky eater pita pizza pockets" and "sweet potato turkey sliders."

"Food can be fun. It can be healthy," Obama said. "You are setting up habits that are going to be great your entire life."

He joked that he's not much of a cook. "(In) my family, when they cooked vegetables, they were all boiled." Since then, he said, he has learned that healthy food can also taste good.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

Hitler's National Security Court

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Mon, 08 Jul 2013 14:04

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Tuesday, 16 March 2010 07:38

by Jacob G. HornbergerLet's make no bones about it. Adolf Hitler, who served as chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, could easily be the inspiration for those here in the United States now calling for the creation of a special national security court for trying terrorists. After all, it was Hitler who first established a national security court, and he did it for the same reason that U.S. proponents are now calling for such a court: the concern that regular courts would fail to convict people that government officials knew were terrorists.

Hitler's national security court, which he established in 1934, was called the People's Court. It consisted of a tribunal of judges, both civilian and military. There was no trial by jury consisting of regular citizens. The most famous of the lead judges of the People's Court was a man named Roland Freisler, who presided over the now-famous trials of Hans and Sophie Scholl and the other members of the White Rose.

Hitler established the People's Court after the terrorist bombing of the German parliament building, the Reichstag. After a trial in a regularly constituted German court, many of the people charged with that terrorist act were acquitted, which, needless to say, outraged Hitler as much as it would have outraged current U.S. proponents of a national security court. After all, Hitler argued, those people who were acquitted were terrorists '-- otherwise they wouldn't have been charged and prosecuted '-- and, therefore, they deserved to be convicted and punished, not acquitted and released.

To ensure that terrorists and other criminals were never again acquitted, Hitler established the People's Court. Like the national security court that some Americans are now advocating for the United States, the purpose of the court was to create the appearance of justice while ensuring that terrorists and other criminals were convicted and punished.

Proceedings before the People's Court would easily serve as a model for U.S. advocates of a national security. The trial of Hans and Sophie Scholl was over in less than an hour. Criminal defense lawyers were expected to remain silent during the proceedings, and did so. Defendants were presumed guilty and treated as such. Hearsay was permitted, as was evidence acquired by torture. There was no due process of law. Confessions could be coerced out of defendants. The judges on the tribunal would berate, humiliate, convict, and then swiftly issue sentences, including the death penalty.

For a good example of how a national security court would operate here in the United States, see Part 13 and Part 14 of the great movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days .

Yes, I know what the American proponents of a national security court would say in response: Just because Hitler was the first to establish such a court doesn't necessarily mean that it is a bad thing. They would point out that Hitler's People's Court had an extremely high conviction rate, and they would claim that it kept the German people safe. Why, perhaps they might even recommend that a bust of Hitler be placed in America's national security court, much as the U.S. Social Security Administration has posted a bust of Otto von Bismarck, who was known as the Iron Chancellor of Germany, on its Social Security website.

Proponents of a U.S. national security court would also undoubtedly point out that Hitler's National Socialist regime also embraced such much-vaunted American socialist programs as public (i.e., government) schooling, social security, national health care, government-business partnerships, and a military-industrial complex. And they would remind us that Hitler's socialist autobahn system served as the inspiration for America's giant boondoggle of a public-works project known as the Interstate Highway System.

But shouldn't the fact that it was Adolf Hitler who first came up with the idea of a national security court to make sure that terrorists and other criminals were duly convicted and punished at least be enough to raise eyebrows among the American people?

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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Obama on signing statements and fisa

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Mon, 08 Jul 2013 21:33

1. Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.

2. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites -- a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that ''any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.'' The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

3. Does the Constitution empower the president to disregard a congressional statute limiting the deployment of troops -- either by capping the number of troops that may be deployed to a particular country or by setting minimum home-stays between deployments? In other words, is that level of deployment management beyond the constitutional power of Congress to regulate?

No, the President does not have that power. To date, several Congresses have imposed limitations on the number of US troops deployed in a given situation. As President, I will not assert a constitutional authority to deploy troops in a manner contrary to an express limit imposed by Congress and adopted into law.

4. Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?

Signing statements have been used by presidents of both parties, dating back to Andrew Jackson. While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability.

I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law. The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation. The fact that President Bush has issued signing statements to challenge over 1100 laws '' more than any president in history '' is a clear abuse of this prerogative. No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president's constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush Administration has gone much further than that.

5. Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?

No. I reject the Bush Administration's claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.

6. Does executive privilege cover testimony or documents about decision-making within the executive branch not involving confidential advice communicated to the president himself?

With respect to the ''core'' of executive privilege, the Supreme Court has not resolved this question, and reasonable people have debated it. My view is that executive privilege generally depends on the involvement of the President and the White House.

7. If Congress defines a specific interrogation technique as prohibited under all circumstances, does the president's authority as commander in chief ever permit him to instruct his subordinates to employ that technique despite the statute?

No. The President is not above the law, and the Commander-in-Chief power does not entitle him to use techniques that Congress has specifically banned as torture. We must send a message to the world that America is a nation of laws, and a nation that stands against torture. As President I will abide by statutory prohibitions, and have the Army Field Manual govern interrogation techniques for all United States Government personnel and contractors.

8. Under what circumstances, if any, is the president, when operating overseas as commander-in-chief, free to disregard international human rights treaties that the US Senate has ratified?

It is illegal and unwise for the President to disregard international human rights treaties that have been ratified by the United States Senate, including and especially the Geneva Conventions. The Commander-in-Chief power does not allow the President to defy those treaties.

9. Do you agree or disagree with the statement made by former Attorney General Gonzales in January 2007 that nothing in the Constitution confers an affirmative right to habeas corpus, separate from any statutory habeas rights Congress might grant or take away?

Disagree strongly.

10. Is there any executive power the Bush administration has claimed or exercised that you think is unconstitutional? Anything you think is simply a bad idea?

First and foremost, I agree with the Supreme Court's several decisions rejecting the extreme arguments of the Bush Administration, most importantly in the Hamdi and Hamdan cases. I also reject the view, suggested in memoranda by the Department of Justice, that the President may do whatever he deems necessary to protect national security, and that he may torture people in defiance of congressional enactments. In my view, torture is unconstitutional, and certain enhanced interrogation techniques like ''waterboarding'' clearly constitute torture. And as noted, I reject the use of signing statements to make extreme and implausible claims of presidential authority.

Some further points:

The detention of American citizens, without access to counsel, fair procedure, or pursuant to judicial authorization, as enemy combatants is unconstitutional.

Warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of FISA, is unlawful and unconstitutional.

The violation of international treaties that have been ratified by the Senate, specifically the Geneva Conventions, was illegal (as the Supreme Court held) and a bad idea.

The creation of military commissions, without congressional authorization, was unlawful (as the Supreme Court held) and a bad idea.

I believe the Administration's use of executive authority to over-classify information is a bad idea. We need to restore the balance between the necessarily secret and the necessity of openness in our democracy '' which is why I have called for a National Declassification Center.

11. Who are your campaign's advisers for legal issues?

Laurence Tribe, Professor of Law, Harvard University

Cass Sunstein, Professor of Law, University of Chicago

Jeh C. Johnson, former General Counsel of Department of the Air Force (1998-2001)

Gregory Craig, former Assistant to the President and Special Counsel (1998-1999), former Director of Policy Planning for U.S. Department of State (1997-1998)

12. Do you think it is important for all would-be presidents to answer questions like these before voters decide which one to entrust with the powers of the presidency? What would you say about any rival candidate who refuses to answer such questions?

Yes, these are essential questions that all the candidates should answer. Any President takes an oath to, ''preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." The American people need to know where we stand on these issues before they entrust us with this responsibility '' particularly at a time when our laws, our traditions, and our Constitution have been repeatedly challenged by this Administration.

(C) Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Bank$ters

Wall Street beats the City in bidding war to run Libor - Business News - Business - The Independent

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 05:20

The New York Stock Exchange yesterday beat off the London Stock Exchange in the bidding to run the disgraced Libor benchmark, triggering howls of protest in the UK at yet another "capitulation" to the might of Wall Street.

As US financial news networks ran wall-to-wall headlines declaring "London loses Libor", MPs responded with shock that such a key indicator for the global financial markets was now to be run by New York.

The decision was made by a committee led by City grandee Baroness Hogg, whose daughter Charlotte has just taken up office as Mark Carney's chief operating officer at the Bank of England. She said the award to NYSE Euronext would "play a vital role in restoring the international credibility of Libor".

John Mann, a Labour MP on the Treasury Select Committee, said: "This is a wholesale surrender. Because the Government did not get on top of this scandal and the regulator messed around, we let America take the lead on investigating Libor fixing and they are now getting the prize."

The Serious Fraud Office originally declined to investigate the Libor scandal, while the Financial Services Authority was seen as having been sluggish to act, giving the impression that Wall Street's watchdogs were making all the running.

In one concession to the UK, the rate will be physically based in NYSE's London headquarters and regulated by the Bank of England's Financial Conduct Authority. There are no current plans to change the name. At present, Libor, whose very name '' the London Interbank Offered Rate '' denotes its British heritage, is issued by the British Bankers Association after being collated by Thomson Reuters. It will be replaced by a new company, NYSE Euronext Rate Administration, early next year.

As well as the London Stock Exchange, data companies Thomson Reuters and Markit are also thought to have bid. In addition to collating and distributing the Libor data, NYSE will also issue new guidelines to banks about how they should calculate the rates they submit.

In the scandal, it emerged that banks were colluding with each other to fix their Libor submissions up or down in order to hit certain targets.

The contract award follows growing concern in the UK that the US regulators have been using the financial scandal as a way of securing more power for Wall Street.

NYSE paid a nominal £1 for the contract and will now license its use to customers, as it does with other benchmarks it operates, such as the French shares index, the CAC-40.

A comparison of the charges from the US and the UK laid against Tom Hayes, currently on trial in London over the Libor scandal, show how the US action makes no mention of the Wall Street banks he worked for. The UK charges cite his work at Citigroup and his alleged conspiring with JPMorgan.

Margin Calls Coming On US Too-Big-To-Fail Banks

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Source: WTF RLY REPORT

Mon, 08 Jul 2013 05:53

TradingFloor.comby Steen Jakobsen

This week's biggest news is not the Nonfarm Payrolls, or the European Central Bank or even Portugal's government falling. No '' this week's big deal is the openness with which the Federal Reserve is preparing a major margin call on the too-big-to-fail banks in the US.

This has been a long time coming since the introduction of the Dodd-Frank law back in 2010 but it is a game changer. Remember all macro paradigm shifts come from policy impulses, often mistakes.

Fed approves step one in a three step plan

Under the final rule, minimum requirements will increase for both the quantity and quality of capital held by banking organisations. Consistent with the international Basel framework, the rule includes a new minimum ratio of common equity tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of 4.5 percent and a common equity tier 1 capital conservation buffer of 2.5 percent of risk-weighted assets that will apply to all supervised financial institutions. The rule also raises the minimum ratio of tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets from four percent to six percent and includes a minimum leverage ratio of four percent for all banking organisations. In addition, for the largest, most internationally-active banking organisations, the final rule includes a new minimum supplementary leverage ratio that takes into account off-balance sheet exposures. (See the press release here)

I know you are thinking: Wow, this is the most interesting thing I have seen in years but alas it is '' because it is in fact a major margin call on the US holding banks.

Note how this adoption is only the first set of a series of new rules. Let me introduce you to: Daniel Tarullo, The Federal Reserve Governor in charge of regulation after the implementation of the Dodd-Frank law in 2010. (As a consequence of Dodd-Frank, the Fed got a permanent regulatory governor.)

I had nothing else to do so I read his latest speeches which are surprisingly clear (considering that he's a policy guy).

Governor Daniel K. Tarullo At the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, D.C.

May 3, 2013 Evaluating Progress in Regulatory Reforms to Promote Financial Stability

The speech considers the ''additional charges'' which are coming and today's Basel III was only item number one:

First, the basic prudential framework for banking organisations is being considerably strengthened, both internationally and domestically. Central to this effort are the Basel III changes to capital standards, which create a new requirement for a minimum common equity capital ratio. This new standard requires substantial increases in both the quality and quantity of the loss-absorbing capital that allows a firm to remain a viable financial intermediary. Basel III also established for the first time an international minimum leverage ratio which, unlike the traditional US leverage requirement, takes account of off-balance-sheet items.

Second, a series of reforms have been targeted at the larger financial firms that are more likely to be of systemic importance. When fully implemented, these measures will have formed a distinct regulatory and supervisory structure on top of generally applicable prudential regulations and supervisory requirements. The governing principle for this new set of rules is that larger institutions should be subject to more exacting regulatory and supervisory requirements, which should become progressively stricter as the systemic importance of a firm increases.

This principle has been codified in Section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires special regulations applicable with increasing stringency to large banking organizations. Under this authority, the Federal Reserve will impose capital surcharges on the eight large US banking organizations identified in the Basel Committee agreement for additional capital requirements on banking organisations of global systemic importance. The size of surcharge will vary depending on the relative systemic importance of the bank. Other rules to be applied under Section 165'--including counterparty credit risk limits, stress testing, and the quantitative short-term liquidity requirements included in the internationally-negotiated Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR)'--will apply only to large institutions, in some cases with stricter standards for firms of greatest systemic importance.

An important, related reform in Dodd-Frank was the creation of orderly liquidation authority, under which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation can impose losses on a failed systemic institution's shareholders and creditors and replace its management, while avoiding runs and preserving the operations of the sound, functioning parts of the firm. This authority gives the government a real alternative to the Hobson's choice of bailout or disorderly bankruptcy that authorities faced in 2008. Similar resolution mechanisms are under development in other countries, and international consultations are underway to plan for cooperative efforts to resolve multinational financial firms.

A third set of reforms has been aimed at strengthening financial markets generally, without regard to the status of relevant market actors as regulated or systemically important. The greatest focus, as mandated under Titles VII and VIII of Dodd-Frank, has been on making derivatives markets safer through requiring central clearing for derivatives that can be standardised and creating margin requirements for derivatives that continue to be written and traded outside of central clearing facilities. The relevant US agencies are working with their international counterparts to produce an international arrangement that will harmonise these requirements so as to promote both global financial stability and competitive parity. In addition, eight financial market utilities engaged in important payment, clearing, and settlement activities have been designated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council as systemically important and, thus, will now be subject to enhanced supervision.

A margin call is coming'...

To illustrate the case, here's several quotes and links from today's media:

Crenews.com: Federal regulators on Tuesday are scheduled to unveil and vote on the final provisions they have set for the US's implementation of international banking standards that could result in banks pulling back on their commercial real estate activities, including lending, mortgage servicing and CMBS investments. Industry groups are lobbying to lessen the potential impact of the rules.

See also USA Today: Most banks are already in compliance with the rule, according to the Fed, though it estimates about 100 banks will need to raise roughly USD 4.5 billion in capital by 2019.The new rules simplify the risk calculations for mortgages, a process that community lenders had argued was too complex and would limit their ability to provide home loans. Community and regional banks comprise more than 90% percent of US lenders, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC). The Fed unanimously approved the 792-page set of standards, which were mandated by the 2010 financial overhaul law. The FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are also expected to approve the new standards

Reuters: However, the Fed warned it was drafting four more rules that would go beyond what the Basel accord called for, including one on leverage and another on a capital surcharge. (See full version of this story here.)

Conclusion

Why is this important? Because part of the Fed's new remit since Dodd-Frank makes it responsible for bubbles in banking '-- it is even more interesting because clearly, to me at least, this is a major part of why Bernanke and Dudley at the FOMC are willing to ignore the lower inflation. This low inflation has both monetarist and Keynesians up in arms, and as it is often the case, the REAL reason for major macro paradigm shifts comes from policy mistakes in this case pro-cyclical regulation.

Prepare yourself and please do read the above. If not we are doomed to focus on QE-petering while Fed gives the whole banking industry a major margin call.

Via TradingFloor.com

Home Grown

Deja vu all over again: Canadian pressure cooker bombers were poor and mentally feeble

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Source: Dr. Jones reports

Thu, 11 Jul 2013 05:18

The lawyer for one of two Surrey, B.C., residents accused of planning to bomb the province's legislature on Canada Day says the case has elements of entrapment.

John Stewart Nuttall and Amanda Korody were charged earlier this month with knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity, making or possessing an explosive device and conspiracy to place an explosive device with the intent to cause death or injury. Court documents show Korody and Nuttall are each facing an additional charge of conspiracy to murder persons unknown.

Nuttall and Korody briefly appeared in court in B.C. provincial court in Surrey Tuesday morning as provincial court charges against the pair were stayed so the case can move to B.C. Supreme Court for a direct indictment.

Speaking outside the courtroom, Nuttall's lawyer Tom Morino alluded to U.S. police forces being involved in the investigation, but said it could be tough to prove whether police set a trap for the pair.

"Entrapment is a very high hurdle to clear," he said. "I think it's safe to assume there were certain elements of that. Whether or not that officially constitutes the legal definition of entrapment, that remains to be seen."

Morino says he'll ask for a four-week to six-week adjournment after the pair is indicted in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Nuttall and Korody smiled at each other in court, and Nuttall appeared to be clutching a Qur'an.

Friends question allegationsNuttall, 38, and Korody, who is 28 or 29, are alleged to have turned ordinary pressure cookers into improvised explosive devices filled with rusted nails, nuts, bolts and washers.

Police have claimed the two were inspired by ''al-Qaeda ideology,'' but say there's no evidence the two were acting ''at the direction of a terror group.''

Police released this image of 'inert' explosive devices seized in the thwarted bomb plot.(RCMP)The couple's friends have said they find it hard to believe the pair could have organized such a plot.

Korody has been described as a bright and creative but impressionable young woman who could have been led astray.

Nuttall, meanwhile, is described as a talented musician with the mentality of a 16-year-old.

The couple's landlord described them as having limited means and questioned how they could have financed such a plot.

CBC News reporter Steve Lus, who was allowed inside the couple's basement suite, said the couple lived in squalor, and described a living space strewn with discarded methadone bottles, video games and DVDs.

'Too much' into religionHowever, one friend said the couple's behaviour changed once they found Islam and became increasingly religious.

Ashley Volpatti told CBC News the couple started exhibiting odd behaviour about six months ago '-- becoming distant, declining to socialize and selling off Nuttall's guitars '-- before they were kicked out of a Surrey mosque.

Volpatti said she wasn't sure why they were kicked out, but described the pair as being ''way too much into their religion.''

A neighbour told CBC News she overheard Nuttall having a loud telephone conversation in which he mentioned jihad.

The couple had also been active in the local paintball community, but stopped attending last August.

Spy vs Spy

Poll shows ''Massive Swing'' In Public View Of Terror/Liberty Trade Off

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Source: Dprogram.net

Thu, 11 Jul 2013 01:36

Majority of Americans see Snowden as hero, despite relentless government and media attacks

(SteveWatson) '' A new scientific poll out this week finds that former NSA leaker Edward Snowden is viewed by the majority of Americans in a positive light as a whistleblower, and not a ''traitor'', as the mainstream media and government officials would have it.

The poll from Quinnipiac, also reveals that a plurality of registered voters believe that government anti-terrorism programs have gone too far in stripping away liberties.

When given the two options, 55% of poll respondents said that they believed Snowden to be a ''whistleblower'', while only 34% see him as a ''traitor.''

The terms were used as an acknowledgement of the media talking point that has been repeated again and again since Snowden fled the US to Moscow, from where he is still seeking political asylum.

The poll found that the description of Snowden as a whistle-blower and not a traitor was the majority opinion in practically every demographic of voter, regardless of party, gender, income, education or age.

Only amongst black voters did more people say they thought Snowden to be a traitor, with the margin at 43% to 42%.

''The verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment,'' commented Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac's polling institute.

Several elected officials, including House Speaker John Boehner, have referred to Snowden as a traitor, and have called for him to be given the harshest possible punishment.

The findings have bolstered the results of similarpolls undertaken when the news first broke last month in early June, and underscore the fact that people no longer believe the idea that exposing government surveillance of Americans makes the country less safe.

Perhaps the more telling revelation from the poll is the fact that by a 45-40% margin, voters now believe that the government goes too far in restricting civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism efforts.

Those figures represent a monumental reversal from just over three years ago when the public told Quinnipiac by a 63-25 margin that the government didn't go far enough.

''The massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti-terrorism efforts, and the public view that Edward Snowden is more whistle-blower than traitor are the public reaction and apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents,'' said Peter Brown.

Put simply, Americans are no longer buying the idea that the threat of terrorism warrants their own government spying on them en mass. Neither do they believe that it is right to punish and demonize anyone who speaks out about it, just as an authoritarian regime would.

The poll also revealed that both Democrats and Republicans were evenly divided on whether government counter-terrorism measures have become excessive. By a margin of 49 percent to 36 percent, independent voters said the government has taken things too far.

''The fact that there is little difference now along party lines about the overall anti-terrorism effort and civil liberties and about Snowden is in itself unusual in a country sharply divided along political lines about almost everything,'' Brown said.

''It would be naive to see these numbers as anything but evidence of a rethinking by the public about the tradeoffs between security and freedom,'' Brown added.

In related news, Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the Snowden leaks has revealed that Snowden has this week ''vehemently denied media claims that he gave classified information to the governments of China or Russia.''

'' He also denied assertions that one or both governments had succeeded in 'draining the contents of his laptops'. 'I never gave any information to either government, and they never took anything from my laptops,' he said.''

Greenwald explains how the claim was generated in the media without a shred of evidence, and subsequently spread everywhere as ''truth'', being repeatedly cited in an effort to demonize Snowden.

Source: Infowars

Public Opinion Shifts on Security-Liberty Balance - NYTimes.com

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Wed, 10 Jul 2013 21:43

A new Quinnipiac poll has found a significant shift in public opinion on the trade-off between civil liberties and national security. In the new survey, released on Wednesday, 45 percent of the public said they thought the government's antiterrorism policies have ''gone too far in restricting the average person's civil liberties'' '-- as compared with 40 percent who said they have ''not gone far enough to adequately protect the country.''

By comparison, in a January 2010 Quinnipiac poll that posed the same question, only 25 percent of the public said the government had gone too far in restricting civil liberties, while 63 percent said it hadn't gone far enough to protect the country.

Although the shift in opinion is apparent among virtually all demographic groups, it has been somewhat more pronounced among Republicans, who may be growing more skeptical about President Obama's national security policies. Whereas, in the 2010 survey, 17 percent of Republicans said the government had gone too far to restrict civil liberties while 72 percent said it had not gone far enough to protect the country, the numbers among G.O.P. voters were nearly even in the new poll, with 41 percent saying that antiterrorism programs had gone too far and 46 percent saying they haven't gone far enough.

We generally caution against reading too much into a single poll result. But there are several reasons to think that the shift detected by the Quinnipiac poll is meaningful. First, the magnitude of the change was considerably larger than the margin of error in the poll. Second, the poll applied exactly the same question wording in both 2010 and 2013, making a direct comparison more reliable. Third, this was a well-constructed survey question, describing both the benefit (protecting the country) and the cost (restricting civil liberties) of antiterrorism programs in a balanced way.

What is less clear how much of the shift was triggered by the recent disclosures about the National Security Administration's domestic surveillance programs, as opposed to reflecting a longer-term trend in public opinion. A Fox News poll conducted in April, just after the Boston Marathon bombings but before the N.S.A. story broke, found that only 43 percent of the public was ''willing to give up some of your personal freedom in order to reduce the threat of terrorism'' '-- considerably lower than in other instances of the survey. However, Fox News had last posed this question in 2006. Either way, it seems safe to conclude that the climate of public opinion on this issue has changed considerably since the years closely following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Quinnipiac poll also asked about Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who disclosed details about the agency's programs to newspapers. The Quinnipiac poll, in contrast to other recent surveys, found ostensibly sympathetic views toward Mr. Snowden, with 34 percent of respondents describing him as ''more of a traitor'' while 55 percent said he was ''more of a whistle-blower.''

Whereas I find Quinnipiac's broader question on national security to be quite meaningful, I'm not sure that the one about Mr. Snowden tells us very much. The problem is that the sympathetic response toward him in the poll may reflect a sympathetically worded question.

The poll described Mr. Snowden as ''the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone scanning program.'' However, Mr. Snowden has also released information to the news media about other N.S.A. activities, such as those it has conducted in China. Some Americans may be pleased by Mr. Snowden's disclosures about how the N.S.A. conducted surveillance against U.S. citizens '' but displeased that he has also disclosed details about its international surveillance. The Quinnipiac poll should probably have described a fuller spectrum of the information that Mr. Snowden has released.

The NSA Has Inserted Its Code Into Android OS, Bugging Three Quarters Of All Smartphones

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Archived Version

Source: Zero Hedge

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 01:49

Over a decade ago, it was discovered that the NSA embedded backdoor access into Windows 95, and likely into virtually all other subsequent internet connected, desktop-based operating systems. However, with the passage of time, more and more people went "mobile", and as a result the NSA had to adapt. And adapt they have: as Bloomberg reports, "The NSA is quietly writing code for Google's Android OS."

Is it ironic that the same "don't be evil" Google which went to such great lengths in the aftermath of the Snowden scandal to wash its hands of snooping on its customers and even filed a request with the secretive FISA court asking permission to disclose more information about the government's data requests, is embedding NSA code into its mobile operating system, which according to IDC runs on three-quarters of all smartphones shipped in the first quarter? Yes, yes it is.

Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA's programming in Android OS. "All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com." Scigliano says, declining to comment further.

From Bloomberg:

Through its open-source Android project, Google has agreed to incorporate code, first developed by the agency in 2011, into future versions of its mobile operating system, which according to market researcher IDC runs on three-quarters of the smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter. NSA officials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee' Vines said in an e-mailed statement. NSA researcher Stephen Smalley, who works on the program, says, ''Our goal is to raise the bar in the security of commodity mobile devices.''

See, there's no need to worry: the reason the NSA is generously providing the source code for every Google-based smartphone is for your own security. Oh but it's open-sourced, so someone else will intercept any and all attempts at malice. We forgot.

The story continues:

In a 2011 presentation obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek, Smalley listed among the benefits of the program that it's ''normally invisible to users.'' The program's top goal, according to that presentation: ''Improve our understanding of Android security.''

Well one wouldn't want their bug to be visible to users now, would one...

Vines wouldn't say whether the agency's work on Android and other software is part of or helps with Prism. ''The source code is publicly available for anyone to use, and that includes the ability to review the code line by line,'' she said in her statement. Most of the NSA's suggested additions to the operating system can already be found buried in Google's latest release'--on newer devices including Sony's Xperia Z, HTC's One, and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S4. Although the features are not turned on by default, according to agency documentation, future versions will be. In May the Pentagon approved the use of smartphones and tablets that run Samsung's mobile enterprise software, Knox, which also includes NSA programming, the company wrote in a June white paper. Sony, HTC, and Samsung declined to comment.

Apple appears to be immune from this unprecedented breach of customer loyalty, if only for now, although open-sourced Linux may not be as lucky:

''Apple (AAPL) does not accept source code from any government agencies for any of our operating systems or other products,'' says Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for the company. It's not known if any other proprietary operating systems are using NSA code. SE for Android is an offshoot of a long-running NSA project called Security-Enhanced Linux. That code was integrated a decade ago into the main version of the open-source operating system, the server platform of choice for Internet leaders including Google, Facebook (FB), and Yahoo! (YHOO). Jeff Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, says the NSA didn't add any obvious means of eavesdropping. ''This code was peer-reviewed by a lot of people,'' he says.

But that's not all:

The NSA developed a separate Android project because Google's mobile OS required markedly different programming, according to Smalley's 2011 presentation. Brian Honan, an information technology consultant in Dublin, says his clients in European governments and multinational corporations are worried about how vulnerable their data are when dealing with U.S. companies. The information security world had been preoccupied with Chinese hacking until recently, Honan says. ''With Prism, the same accusations can be laid against the U.S. government.''

In short: the (big brother supervised) fun never stops in Stasi 2.0 world. Just buy your 100 P/E stocks, eat your burgers, watch your Dancing With The Stars, pay your taxes, and engage in as much internet contact with other internet-addicted organisms as possible and all shall be well.

Oh, and from this...

To this (courtesy of @paradism_)

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Judge: Chevron can access its critics' private user information | EarthRights International

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Wed, 10 Jul 2013 01:16

After more than eight months of silence, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan recently issued a long-awaited decision on the enforceability of a subpoena served by Chevron on Microsoft in connection with Chevron's lawsuit claiming that it has been the victim of a conspiracy in the $18.2 billion judgment against it for massive environmental contamination in Ecuador. But Kaplan's decision begs more questions than it answers.

The sweeping subpoena was one of three issued to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft, demanding IP usage records and identity information for the holders of more than 100 email accounts, including environmental activists, journalists and attorneys. Chevron's subpoena sought personal information about every account holder and the IP addresses associated with every login to each account over a nine-year period.

This could allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities or even buildings where the account-holders were checking their email so as to ''infer the movements of the users over the relevant period and might permit Chevron to makes inferences about some of the user's professional and personal relationships.'' (see Order, below, p6). Confronted with this affront to their privacy and rights of speech and association, the account-holders, represented by ERI and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), brought ''motions to quash'' the subpoenas in courts in California and New York on First Amendment grounds.

Judge Kaplan, who presides over Chevron's conspiracy lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, and who has been accused of prejudice against the Ecuadorians and their lawyers, managed to sit by ''special designation'' in the Northern District of New York so that he could decide the enforceability of the subpoena to Microsoft as well.

And decide he did. Kaplan's decision upheld Chevron's sweeping subpoena with an argument that is as breathtaking as the subpoena itself. According to Judge Kaplan, none of the accountholders could benefit from First Amendment protections since the accountholders had ''not shown that they were U.S. citizens.''

Now, let's break this down. The account-holders in this case were proceeding anonymously, which the First Amendment permits. Because of this, Judge Kaplan was provided with no information about the account holders' residency or places of birth. It is somewhat amazing then, that Judge Kaplan assumed that the account holders were not U.S. citizens. As far as I know, a judge has never before made this assumption when presented with a First Amendment claim. We have to ask then: on what basis did Judge Kaplan reach out and make this assumption?

Whether or not this assumption was correct '' and whether or not it matters '' the account-holders were never given the chance to submit evidence on the question of their citizenship. Judge Kaplan is hoping he made a lucky guess, but First Amendment rights, and the account-holders they protect, are entitled to more respect than judicial guesswork.

BBC News - Luxembourg PM Juncker to resign over spy scandal

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Wed, 10 Jul 2013 21:53

10 July 2013Last updated at16:37 ETLuxembourg will hold new elections after Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker announced he would resign following a secret service scandal.

Mr Juncker, Europe's longest-serving head of government, told parliament he would step down on Thursday.

The move came as his junior coalition partner called for the dissolution of parliament and early elections.

It follows claims he failed to stop illegal security agency activity such as phone-taps and corruption.

Mr Juncker has been prime minister since 1995 and was head of the eurozone finance ministers group between 2005 and January 2013.

'Not my top priority'"I will convene the government tomorrow morning at 10:00 (08:00 GMT) and will go to the Palace to suggest snap elections to the Grand Duke," he said on Wednesday.

Luxembourg's parliament had reviewed a report alleging a series of cases of misconduct by the country's SREL security agency, which the prime minister oversees.

It included claims of illegal bugging of politicians, the purchase of cars for private use and payments in exchange for access to local officials.

Mr Juncker has denied any wrongdoing.

"The intelligence service was not my top priority," he told parliament in a two-hour speech.

"Moreover, I hope Luxembourg will never have a prime minister who sees SREL as [his or her] priority."

But there were demands for action from the Luxembourg Socialist Workers Party (LSAP), Mr Juncker's coalition partner.

"We invite the prime minister to take full political responsibility in this context and ask the government to intervene with the head of state to clear the path for new elections," LSAP President Alex Bodry said.

It was not immediately clear whether the outgoing prime minister and head of Luxembourg's Christian Social People's Party was planning to fight the next election, which must be held within three months.

As the head of state, only the Grand Duke can officially dissolve parliament.

The current government would remain until elections take place, but it would be unable to pass any new laws.

However, with parliament due to go on its summer break, it is unlikely the government will have to face any important decision-making for some months.

NSA and CIA have maintained in Brasilia staff to collect data filtered satellite - News - World - Nominuto.com

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 18:22

Roberto Kaz e Jos(C) Casado ,O Globo, 8 de julho de 2013Funcionou em Bras­lia, pelo menos at(C) 2002, uma das esta§µes de espionagem nas quais agentes da Agªncia de Seguran§a Nacional (NSA, na sigla em inglªs) trabalharam em conjunto com a Agªncia Central de Inteligªncia (CIA) dos Estados Unidos. N£o se pode afirmar que continuou depois desse ano por falta de provas.

Documentos da NSA a que O GLOBO teve acesso revelam que Bras­lia fez parte da rede de 16 bases dessa agªncia dedicadas a um programa de coleta de informa§µes atrav(C)s de sat(C)lites de outros pa­ses. Um deles tem o t­tulo ''Primary Fornsat Collection Operations'' e destaca as bases da agªncia.

Sat(C)lites s£o vitais aos sistemas nacionais de comunica§µes, tanto quanto as redes de fibras "ticas em cabos submarinos. O Brasil n£o possui nenhum, mas aluga oito, todos do tipo geoestacionrio - ou seja, que permanecem estacionados sobre uma regi£o espec­fica da Terra, em geral na linha do Equador.

H tamb(C)m um conjunto de documentos da NSA, de setembro de 2010, cuja leitura pode levar conclus£o de que escrit"rios da Embaixada do Brasil em Washington e da miss£o brasileira nas Na§µes Unidas, em Nova York, em algum momento teriam sido alvos da agªncia. N£o foi poss­vel confirmar a informa§£o e nem se esse tipo de prtica prossegue.

Essa mesma documenta§£o expµe os padrµes da NSA para monitoramento de informa§µes em escrit"rios estrangeiros, nos EUA. S£o softwares de espionagem operados a partir de implantes f­sicos nas redes digitais privadas e em computadores: Highlands (C) o codinome de um programa de coleta direta de sinais digitais; o Vagrant funciona atrav(C)s de c"pias das telas de computadores; e o Lifesaver, via c"pia dos discos r­gidos onde ficam armazenadas as mem"rias das mquinas. Os trªs programas teriam sido usados para espionar dados brasileiros.

Os documentos da NSA foram vazados por Edward Snowden, t(C)cnico em redes de computa§£o. Ex-empregado da CIA, ele trabalhou na agªncia nos ºltimos quatro anos como especialista subcontratado de empresas privadas. H um mªs, o jornal britnico ''The Guardian'' publicou reportagens com as primeiras revela§µes de Snowden sobre opera§µes de vigilncia de comunica§µes realizadas dentro e fora das fronteiras dos Estados Unidos.

No domingo, O GLOBO mostrou que, na ºltima d(C)cada, a NSA espionou telefonemas e correspondªncia eletr´nica de pessoas residentes ou em trnsito no Brasil, assim como empresas instaladas no pa­s. N£o h nºmeros precisos, mas em janeiro passado, por exemplo, o Brasil ficou pouco atrs dos Estados Unidos, que teve 2,3 bilhµes de telefonemas e mensagens espionados.

Para tanto, a agªncia contou com parceiros corporativos no uso de ao menos trªs programas de computa§£o. Um deles (C) o software Prism, que permite acesso aos e-mails, conversas online e chamadas de voz de clientes de empresas como Facebook, Google, Microsoft e YouTube, entre outras. Outro programa (C) o Boundless Informant, para rastrear registros como hora, local, etc., de e-mails enviados ou recebidos. H tamb(C)m o X-Keyscore, capaz de reconhecer uma mensagem escrita em diferentes idiomas em correspondªncia de e para o Brasil. E ainda existe o Fairview, pelo qual (C) poss­vel monitorar grandes quantidades de informa§µes trocadas por pessoas e empresas em distintos lugares.

Bras­lia se destacou como ºnica esta§£o na Am(C)rica do Sul no mapa descritivo das opera§µes americanas de espionagem por sat(C)lites estrangeiros.

Tamb(C)m era uma das duas cidades-base do Fornsat, que hospedaram espiµes da NSA e da CIA designados para trabalhar em conjunto nesse programa. Na linguagem caracter­stica usada na documenta§£o copiada por Snowden, eles compunham uma for§a-tarefa, a Special Collection Service (SCS). Al(C)m de Bras­lia, haveria outro grupo em Nova D(C)lhi, na ndia.

A NSA descreve, em apresenta§£o interna datada de 2002, como opera esse cons"rcio de agªncias americanas de espionagem. O foco, segundo a documenta§£o oficial, est em "converter sinais de inteligªncia captados no exterior a partir de estabelecimentos oficiais dos Estados Unidos, como embaixadas e consulados." Acrescenta: "A NSA trabalha junto com a CIA. (...) Agentes da NSA, disfar§ados de diplomatas, conduzem o acervo". O documento foi feito uma d(C)cada atrs e n£o foi poss­vel confirmar se a prtica prossegue.

Essas duas agªncias mantinham equipes SCS em 75 cidades, conforme o documento de 2002. N£o foi poss­vel saber se atualmente continuam. Dessas, 65 eram capitais nacionais. Mas os documentos da NSA deixam claro que apenas nas esta§µes de Bras­lia e de Nova D(C)li, existiam for§as-tarefa SCS com trabalho diretamente relacionado ao programa de espionagem atrav(C)s de sat(C)lites de outros pa­ses, o Fornsat.

A a§£o conjunta proporciona ''inteligªncia considervel sobre comunica§£o de lideran§as'', esclarece o documento da NSA de 2002. Ela (C) facilitada, ressalta, pela ''presen§a dentro de uma capital nacional''.

Complexo para a coleta

O nºmero de ''alvos'' (C) grande: ''Sistemas de comunica§£o de sat(C)lites comerciais estrangeiros s£o usados no mundo inteiro por governos estrangeiros, organiza§µes militares, corpora§µes, bancos e indºstrias.'' A estrutura desse sistema de coleta de informa§µes, segundo a NSA, se baseia nas alian§as da agªncia com empresas privadas, proprietrias ou operadoras: ''A NSA, em conjunto com seus parceiros estrangeiros, acessa sinais de comunica§£o de sat(C)lites estrangeiros.''

No mapa sobre opera§µes do sistema Fornsat aparecem de forma claramente identificveis duas importantes bases militares dos EUA.

Uma (C) da pr"pria NSA, a de Sugar Grove - ''Timberline" (C) o seu codinome. Fica no condado de Pendleton, em West Virginia (EUA). Segundo reportagem de 2005 do jornal ''New York Times'', funciona como uma esp(C)cie de central do sistema de coleta de informa§µes por sinais digitais no lado Leste dos Estados Unidos.

Um outro ponto-chave de coleta de dados (C) a base de Misawa, no Jap£o. Ali est£o estacionadas unidades da For§a A(C)rea dos EUA (basicamente, o 35º Fighter Wing) e um grupamento da For§a A(C)rea de Autodefesa do Jap£o.

Como as agªncias de espionagem de outros pa­ses, a NSA sustenta grandes investimentos anuais em tecnologia. ‰ o resultado de uma obsess£o por Inteligªncia ''acabada'' - a produ§£o diria de um conjunto de informa§µes de qualidade para quem det(C)m o poder de decis£o na pol­tica governamental dom(C)stica e externa. Mas como tudo (C) segredo nesse ramo, os abusos e os fracassos jamais s£o conhecidos.

Tags: Bras­liasat(C)lite

New Cell Phone Spying Revelations: Phones Near Targeted Individual Remotely Activated As Bugs

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Source: Dprogram.net

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 03:03

July 9th, 2013

(MarkDice) '' New Cell Phone Spying Revelations: Phones Near Targeted Individual Remotely Activated As Bugs If Their Phone's Mic is Muffled or Has the Battery Removed.

Tags: battery removed, bugs, cell phone spying, dice, mark, mic, targeted remotelyThis entry was posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 at 7:49 pm and is filed under Dictatorship, Education/Mind Control, Fascism, Film/Video, Martial Law/Police State, NWO. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Battleground Texas

Daily Kos: Interview with Victorian Prude the woman forcibly removed from testifying in Texas

Sister Act: Gov. Perry's Little-Known Sister is a Lobbyist for Lucrative Doctor-Owned Hospitals | The Texas Observer

United Surgical Partners International - Advocacy

Chiners AFRICOMM

Nigerian leader secures $1.1bn on China trip

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Source: AL JAZEERA ENGLISH (AJE)

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 20:02

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, have presided over the signing of accords between their governments to facilitate $1.1bn in low-interest loans for much-needed infrastructure in Nigeria.

The ceremony took place on Wednesday in Beijing at the start of Jonathan's four-day visit.

China, which is increasingly looking to Africa for oil and other natural resources, is offering Nigeria loans to help fund airport terminals in four cities, roads, a light-rail line for its capital, a hydropower plant and oil and gas infrastructure.

Jonathan's visit comes a few months after Xi's trip to Africa, which took him to the Republic of Congo, Tanzania and South Africa. All three countries are rich in natural resources.

Xi said China and Nigeria had been brought together by a common task of pursuing national development.

"China and Nigeria share the same goal of achieving prosperity for both countries, and this shared task brings our two countries together."

Jonathan is visiting with a dozen of his cabinet ministers, including those for petroleum resources, trade and transport, as well as several state governors, senior government officials and business-people.

"China is a very good country, has a very robust economy. And that's why when I was coming, I came with quite a number of cabinet ministers and other very senior government functionaries," Jonathan said.

Following a meeting between Xi and Jonathan, representatives from both countries signed five deals, including a lending agreement between China's Import-Export Bank and the Nigerian finance ministry for the expansion of the airport terminals and an economic and technical cooperation pact.

Details of the agreements were not immediately available.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister, said the loans being finalised during the trip were part of $3bn approved by China at interest rates of less than 3 percent.

Chinese companies are already building roads across Nigeria in contracts worth $1.7bn.

China's demand for crude oil produced in Nigeria is expected to rise tenfold to 200,000 barrels a day by 2015, according to information provided by a team accompanying the Nigerian president.

341

Trains Bad, Pipelines Good

Lac-Megantic, Quebec Train Incident '-- Roadwolf's Blog

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 11:46

I have been loosely following this story over the past few days. And I have largely declined comment, until I gathered the information. As it turns out, it seems that the crew left the train parked, in neutral and removed the reverser handle, which is basically the key to the train. With this handle removed the train could not of been placed into powered movement. These keys are assigned to train crews when they are assigned their locomotive, and if they leave the train they are supposed to bring the reverser handle with them.

The train may remain running however, and railroads rarely will turn off large diesels which are idle unless they are forced to by environmental regulations. It just will not be able to be put in gear, so to speak.

Railroad air breaks operate like truck breaks. You apply pressure to release them. This means that this article here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100871020 is full of bullshit. Shutting down a locomotive would not release the breaks. If anything it may be more likely to release the air pressure, and hold the breaks on.

The only way I could see the fire crews, possibly causing the train to roll, would be to manipulate the trains break controls to release the breaks while the engine was still on. Waiting a while for the engine to pressurize the break line, and then decouple the trainline air break hose from the cars, before shutting the engine down (if in-fact this is what they did). That way the engine shuts down and bleeds its breaks, but the cars would remain pressurized (they can remain pressurized when uncoupled) with no breaks. The engines breaks alone wouldn't of been able to hold a long train stationary on a grade.

Alternatively; Assuming the fire crew did not shut the engine down (or shut down only one engine of a multi-engine set), and instead fumbled around inside the train cab, not understanding what the controls did; a firefighter could of inadvertently released the trains breaks without realizing it. The train wouldn't of started to show signs of movement for about a minute or so as it pressurized the line. Also note, they may have shut down the engine that was on fire, however the other engines must of been still running. The trainline air is common to the whole train, and if an engine is off, the other engines can still pressurize it.

That is quite a mistake for a fire crew to accomplish. Another common theory is that it was more like something a 'terrorist' would do.

Adam Curry (of No Agenda) has a theory about pipelines. Specifically that pipelines in the mid-east are the cause of much of the turmoil which is going on over there. Everyone wants to be in control of the flow of fuel. And pipelines are easy enough to target. Well, as it seems, so are freight trains.

However, This incident smells like a 'terrorist' related incident. Perhaps not a typical one however. I wouldn't expect Al Queda to be claiming responsibility for it anytime soon. But I believe that this is perhaps either politically motivated or corporate warfare. In either case I believe it could possibly be being masked as an accident.

It is interesting to note that I received my August 2013 issue of Trains magazine in the mail today, and on page 6, was a lengthy article proclaiming the safety and convenience of transporting crude oil by rail. The article touts rails dominance in transporting crude oil, and outlines the Keystone XL proponents as 'attacking' the railroads. The article also makes light of Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper's push for the Keystone XL pipeline, and his general distaste with transporting crude oil by rail. The article itself does not mention the incident in Quebec, and I am sure it was printed and mailed out before the incident took place. Kinda spooky how the article was placed in print just before this happened.

Crude oil is also thick and needs to be heated by steam in order to flow as a fluid. These insulated tank cares are fitted with steam pipes which can be hooked to a steam generator at the point of delivery to warm up the crude. But without this action, the crude remains in a thick tar-like state inside the car.

I am unsure about the properties of crude oil. I have never seen it myself, or played with it. But I do know that it has a lot of impurities which need to be refined out in order for it to become useful. I know if you throw a match into diesel, or oil, or thicker, less refined oil products, they tend not to ignite, and rather extinguish the flame. I imagine the same is true for crude oil. So how did this explode into a blaze of fire?

This is sad because if this is true, this could raise the security around rail travel more then it is, and ruin the hobby of railfanning for good. Coincidentally, in the same issue of Trains Magazine, on page 10, there is a article about terrorism, railfans and the railroads.

The rail transport industry is always under attack somehow, and they really aren't the multi-billion dollar ventures that other corporations are. That being said, they provide the cleanest and most convenient method for transporting bulk loads long distances. They are also union based, and generally care about their employees and safety. They can't afford not to.

It will be interesting to see what the 'official' findings come up with, but to me, it looks quite suspicious.

Tags: News // Add Comment >>

Quebec rail tragedy shows need for oil pipelines | Columnists | Opinion | Toronto Sun

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 11:14

Wynne's wind fiasco

There's a simple way to understand the real story of electricity generation in Ontario '-- as opposed to the bafflegab coming from Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals.

0Admired, respected, trusted!

Those of us lucky enough to live in Canada shouldn't be surprised that for the third year in a row, our home and native land has been judged the world's most reputable country.

0See more from Lorrie Goldstein >>

UPDATE 2-Quebec firemen cut power to runaway train's brakes, railway says

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Mon, 08 Jul 2013 23:16

By: Richard Valdmanis and P.J. Huffstutter

(Releads with comments by railway chairman)

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, CHICAGO, July 8 (Reuters) - Airbrakes that would have prevented the Quebec train disaster failed because they were powered by an engine that was shut down by firefighters as they dealt with a fire shortly before the calamity occurred, the head of the railway that operated the train said on Monday.

The runaway oil tanker train derailed in Lac-Megantic shortly after one o'clock in the morning on Saturday, exploding in a deadly ball of flames and killing at least five people, with another 40 still missing and feared dead.

The train had been parked at a siding on a slope near the town of Nantes, which is 12 km (8 miles) west of Lac-Megantic. The volunteer Nantes fire service was called out late on Friday night to deal with an engine fire on one of the train's locomotives.

Nantes Fire Chief Patrick Lambert told Reuters the crew had switched off the engine as they extinguished a "good-sized" blaze in the engine, probably caused by a fuel or oil line break in the engine.

The problem was that the engine had been left on by the train's engineer to maintain pressure in the air brakes, Ed Burkhardt, chairman of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA), said in an interview. As the pressure gradually "leaked off", the air brakes failed and the train began to slide downhill, he said.

The fire service said it contacted a local MMA dispatcher in Farnham, Quebec, after the blaze was out. "We told them what we did and how we did it," Lambert said.

Asked whether there had been any discussion about the brakes, he replied: "There was no discussion of the brakes at that time. We were there for the train fire. As for the inspection of the train after the fact, that was up to them."

It was not immediately clear what the MMA dispatcher did after speaking with the fire service. Burkhardt said the fire service should have also tried to contact the train's operator, who was staying at a nearby hotel.

"If the engine was shut off, someone should have made a report to the local railroad about that," he said.

Andre Gendron, 38, lives on a wooded property next to the rail yard in Nantes. He said he was burning a campfire outside his trailer on Friday night when he heard the fire trucks.

"About five minutes after the firemen left, I felt the vibration of a train moving down the track. I then saw the train move by without its lights on," Gendron told Reuters.

"I found it strange its lights weren't on and thought it was an electrical problem on board. It wasn't long after that I heard the explosion. I could see the light from the fires in Lac Megantic."

The center of Lac-Megantic, a lakeside town of 6,000 near the border with Maine, was still cordoned off on Monday morning. One of the destroyed buildings was a music bar popular with young people, and witnesses reported fleeing the area around the building as the heat and flames closed in.

Police said they had been unable to examine much of the town center overnight because the area was still too dangerous. Dozens of rail tanker wagons, some of them destroyed, were sprawled around the accident site.

"It's an area that is still extremely risky... The fire service decided they could not allow us to go there for security reasons. We'll see what we can do today," police spokesman Benoit Richard told reporters on Monday.

Canadian crash investigators said they will look at the two sets of brakes on the train, the airbrakes and the handbrakes, as they probe what could turn out to be Canada's deadliest rail accident since 1956.

Burkhardt said that after the pressure leaked out of the airbrakes, the handbrakes would not have been strong enough to keep the train in place.

Montreal Maine & Atlantic is one of many North American railroads that have vastly stepped up shipments of crude oil as pipelines from North Dakota and from oil-producing regions in Western Canada fill to capacity, and the accident is bound to raise concern about the practice of transporting oil by rail.

(Additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Lac-Megantic; Writing by David Ljunggren and Janet Guttsman; Editing by Peter Galloway)

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, CHICAGO, July 8- Airbrakes that would have prevented the Quebec train disaster failed because they were powered by an engine that was shut down by firefighters as they dealt with a fire shortly before the calamity occurred, the head of the railway that operated the train said on Monday.

Report: Railway head says train in Canada tampered with - CNN.com

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:32

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

Train derails, explodes in Canadian town

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

The railroad CEO says the locomotive was shut down by responders to an earlier fireA Canadian official says there is no sign of sabotage in the Lac-Megantic crashSome residents of the town are allowed to return home, officials sayAt least 13 people are dead and about 37 are unaccounted forLac-Megantic, Quebec (CNN) -- The driverless train that barreled into a small Quebec town and derailed, unleashing a deadly inferno that killed at least 13 people, may have had its brakes inadvertently disabled, the chairman of the company operating the train said Tuesday.

Firefighters in the nearby town of Nantes put out a blaze on the train hours before it rolled into Lac-Megantic. Ed Burkhardt, chief executive officer and president of Rail World, the parent company of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, told media outlets there's evidence the engine powering the brakes was shut down at some point.

Pressed to elaborate by CTV, Burkhardt wrote in an e-mail exchange, "We are now aware the firefighters shut down the locomotive. By the time (Montreal, Maine & Atlantic) people found out, it was too late."

In earlier comments to the Montreal Gazette, he said the matter needs further investigation, and his company has begun an internal inquiry.

"There are a number of missing pieces here," Burkhardt told the paper, saying he didn't suspect "the event was malicious or an act of terrorism."

The company did not immediately return phone calls from CNN about the report.

Asked during a news conference if authorities suspected sabotage, Ed Belkaloul, manager of rail operations for Canada's Transportation Safety Board's eastern region, said there was no evidence to that effect.

The train began rolling -- unbeknownst to dispatchers and rail traffic controllers -- about an hour after the fire in Nantes was reported. It picked up speed because the track between Nantes and Lac-Megantic lies on a 1.2% downward slope, which Belkaloul said was relatively steep.

Seventy-two tanker cars carrying crude oil jumped the track early Saturday, setting off a huge fireball. At least 37 people are missing. Officials in the town 130 miles east of Montreal say some victims were likely vaporized by the intense blaze, which burned for 36 hours after the crash.

The fire is under control, authorities said Tuesday morning. Of the roughly 2,000 residents evacuated, about 1,200 will be permitted to return home immediately. Another 800 cannot go back yet, the officials said.

Notices were placed on doors instructing residents how to clean and air out their homes. Officials suggested throwing out any food and boiling all water because the city's water treatment plant is not operational.

Firefighters are now using infrared detectors to find any remaining hot spots in the wreckage. They've stopped hosing down the area because it was inhibiting the investigation, officials said.

Rolling oil bomb?

The train had already been on fire hours before the Saturday accident, Canadian broadcaster CBC reported, sourcing fire officials. Firefighters in the town of Nantes, 7 miles northwest of Lac-Megantic, extinguished a small blaze on the freight train.

When they left, the train was still parked where it was supposed to stay for the night, the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway said.

But air brakes holding it in place failed, allowing the train to barrel downhill into Lac-Megantic, the company said. It was not clear if Burkhardt was suggesting to CTV that firefighters were responsible for disabling the brakes, but he told Reuters earlier that the brakes were disabled when firefighters shut down the engine powering them.

Investigators plan to check the brakes once the crumpled, burned tankers are accessible.

The train rolled into town much faster than a train under an engineer's control would have.

"Usually they're traveling between 5 and 10 miles an hour," said Quebec police officer Benoit Richard. "On that night, this train was going at least between 30 and 40 miles an hour."

Sonia Pepin recalls hearing the train like never before. The tracks are a few feet from her home, and her whole house shook, she said.

Investigators with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada found the locomotive event recorder, which they can analyze for information on throttle position and speed, among other data.

Oil transport safe?

Petroleum products have increasingly been transported via rail in the past five years, according to the railroad industry, and Canada has had multiple issues with derailments in recent months.

Last month, four Canadian Pacific rail cars carrying flammable petrochemicals used to dilute oil derailed on a flood-damaged bridge spanning Calgary's Bow River, according to the Calgary Herald.

In another incident involving Canadian Pacific, five tankers containing oil derailed in rural Saskatchewan in May, spilling 575 barrels of crude, the Toronto Sun reported.

A month earlier, 22 Canadian Pacific rail cars jumped the tracks near White River, Ontario. Two of the cars leaked about 400 barrels -- almost 17,000 gallons -- of oil, The Globe and Mail in Toronto reported.

Canadian Pacific was also involved in a stateside spill in March. Fourteen cars on a mile-long, 94-car train derailed in western Minnesota, about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis, spilling about 30,000 gallons of crude, Reuters reported.

A rail car can carry roughly 700 barrels of oil, with 42 gallons per barrel.

Popular Quebec performer missing

The runaway train rumbled toward Lac-Megantic while patrons at the Musi-Cafe were enjoying a summer night of live music. Some were sitting on the pub's front porch.

The Musi-Cafe is no longer standing, one of an estimated 40 buildings leveled in the crash and explosions. Some of its patrons have been counted among the 13 confirmed dead.

"We know that there will be many more," said police Lt. Michel Brunet.

Authorities believe some of those still missing were in the pub at the time of the accident. Quebecois musician Guy Bolduc had been performing there.

The pub's Facebook page is filling up with messages of condolence, as has a page created for the victims of the disaster. Bolduc's fans are searching for him on social media.

"All of his fans, all over Quebec, but also his fellow singers (of whom I am one) hope to see him again alive!!! Come on my GuyBol, come out of your hiding place," one member wrote.

A 'war zone'

When 1,200 evacuees from the Canadian town return Tuesday, they will find Lac-Megantic gutted for blocks.

"Hot zones" lingering more than two days after the train derailment hampered authorities' efforts to search for missing people.

Forensic specialists have asked victims' families for hair samples, clothing, anything to help identify their loved ones.

In a town of just 6,000 residents, most everyone is affected by the deaths and destruction.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has described the scene as a "war zone."

Flash flooding traps Toronto train passengers, stalls rush hour traffic

CNN's Holly Yan, Umaro Djau, Jonathan Mann, Pierre Meilhan and Deanna Hackney contributed to this report.

Railway air brake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Archived Version

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:31

An air brake is a conveyance braking system actuated by compressed air. Modern trains rely upon a fail-safe air brake system that is based upon a design patented by George Westinghouse on March 5, 1868. The Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO) was subsequently organized to manufacture and sell Westinghouse's invention. In various forms, it has been nearly universally adopted.

The Westinghouse system uses air pressure to charge air reservoirs (tanks) on each car. Full air pressure signals each car to release the brakes. A reduction or loss of air pressure signals each car to apply its brakes, using the compressed air in its reservoirs.

Overview[edit]In the air brake's simplest form, called the straight air system, compressed air pushes on a piston in a cylinder. The piston is connected through mechanical linkage to brake shoes that can rub on the train wheels, using the resulting friction to slow the train. The mechanical linkage can become quite elaborate, as it evenly distributes force from one pressurized air cylinder to 8 or 12 wheels.

The pressurized air comes from an air compressor in the locomotive and is sent from car to car by a train line made up of pipes beneath each car and hoses between cars. The principal problem with the straight air braking system is that any separation between hoses and pipes causes loss of air pressure and hence the loss of the force applying the brakes. This could easily cause a runaway train. Straight air brakes are still used on locomotives, although as a dual circuit system, usually with each bogie (truck) having its own circuit.

In order to design a system without the shortcomings of the straight air system, Westinghouse invented a system wherein each piece of railroad rolling stock was equipped with an air reservoir and a triple valve, also known as a control valve.

The triple valve is described as being so named as it performs three functions: Charging air into an air tank ready to be used, applying the brakes, and releasing them. In so doing, it supports certain other actions (i.e. it 'holds' or maintains the application and it permits the exhaust of brake cylinder pressure and the recharging of the reservoir during the release). In his patent application, Westinghouse refers to his 'triple-valve device' because of the three component valvular parts comprising it: the diaphragm-operated poppet valve feeding reservoir air to the brake cylinder, the reservoir charging valve, and the brake cylinder release valve. When he soon improved the device by removing the poppet valve action, these three components became the piston valve, the slide valve, and the graduating valve.

If the pressure in the train line is lower than that of the reservoir, the brake cylinder exhaust portal is closed and air from the car's reservoir is fed into the brake cylinder to apply the brakes. This action continues until equilibrium between the brake pipe pressure and reservoir pressure is achieved. At that point, the airflow from the reservoir to the brake cylinder is lapped off and the cylinder is maintained at a constant pressure.If the pressure in the train line is higher than that of the reservoir, the triple valve connects the train line to the reservoir feed, causing the air pressure in the reservoir to increase. The triple valve also causes the brake cylinder to be exhausted to the atmosphere, releasing the brakes.As the pressure in the train line and that of the reservoir equalize, the triple valve closes, causing the air pressure in the reservoir and brake cylinder to be maintained at the current level.Unlike the straight air system, the Westinghouse system uses a reduction in air pressure in the train line to apply the brakes. When the engine driver applies the brake by operating the locomotive brake valve, the train line vents to atmosphere at a controlled rate, reducing the train line pressure and in turn triggering the triple valve on each car to feed air into its brake cylinder. When the engine driver releases the brake, the locomotive brake valve portal to atmosphere is closed, allowing the train line to be recharged by the compressor of the locomotive. The subsequent increase of train line pressure causes the triple valves on each car to discharge the contents of the brake cylinder to the atmosphere, releasing the brakes and recharging the reservoirs.

Under the Westinghouse system, therefore, brakes are applied by reducing train line pressure and released by increasing train line pressure. The Westinghouse system is thus fail safe'--any failure in the train line, including a separation ("break-in-two") of the train, will cause a loss of train line pressure, causing the brakes to be applied and bringing the train to a stop, thus preventing a runaway train.

Modern air brake systems serve two functions:

The service brake system, which applies and releases the brakes during normal operations, andThe emergency brake system, which applies the brakes rapidly in the event of a brake pipe failure or an emergency application by the engine driver (generally referred to as the automatic brake).When the train brakes are applied during normal operations, the engine driver makes a "service application" or a "service rate reduction'', which means that the train line pressure reduces at a controlled rate. It takes several seconds for the train line pressure to reduce and consequently takes several seconds for the brakes to apply throughout the train. In the event the train needs to make an emergency stop, the engine driver can make an "emergency application," which immediately and rapidly vents all of the train line pressure to atmosphere, resulting in a rapid application of the train's brakes. An emergency application also results when the train line comes apart or otherwise fails, as all air will also be immediately vented to atmosphere.

In addition, an emergency application brings in an additional component of each car's air brake system: the emergency portion. The triple valve is divided into two portions: the service portion, which contains the mechanism used during brake applications made during service reductions, and the emergency portion, which senses the immediate, rapid release of train line pressure. In addition, each car's air brake reservoir is divided into two portions'--the service portion and the emergency portion'--and is known as the "dual-compartment reservoir''. Normal service applications transfer air pressure from the service portion to the brake cylinder, while emergency applications cause the triple valve to direct all air in both the service portion and the emergency portion of the dual-compartment reservoir to the brake cylinder, resulting in a 20''30% stronger application.

The emergency portion of each triple valve is activated by the extremely rapid rate of reduction of train line pressure. Due to the length of trains and the small diameter of the train line, the rate of reduction is high near the front of the train (in the case of an engine driver-initiated emergency application) or near the break in the train line (in the case of the train line coming apart). Farther away from the source of the emergency application, the rate of reduction can be reduced to the point where triple valves will not detect the application as an emergency reduction. To prevent this, each triple valve's emergency portion contains an auxiliary vent port, which, when activated by an emergency application, also locally vents the train line's pressure directly to atmosphere. This serves to propagate the emergency application rapidly along the entire length of the train.

Use of distributed power (i.e., remotely controlled locomotive units midtrain and/or at the rear end) mitigates somewhat the time-lag problem with long trains, because a telemetered radio signal from the engine driver in the front locomotive commands the distant units to initiate brake pressure reductions that propagate quickly through nearby cars.

Enhancements[edit]Electro-pneumatic or EP brakes are a type of air brake that allows for immediate application of brakes throughout the train instead of the sequential application. EP brakes have been in use in German high-speed trains (most notably the ICE) since the late 1980s, and in British practice since 1949, fully described in Electro-pneumatic brake system on British railway trains. Electro-pneumatic brakes are currently in testing in North America and South Africa in captive service ore and coal trains.

Passenger trains have had for a long time a 3-wire version of the electro-pneumatic brake, which gives seven levels of braking force. In most cases the system is not fail-safe, with the wires being energized in sequence to apply the brakes, but the conventional automatic air brake is also provided to act as a fail safe, and in most cases can be used independently in the event of a failure of the EP brakes.

In North America, WABCO supplied HSC (High Speed Control) brake equipment for several post-World War II streamlined passenger trains. This was an electrically controlled overlay on conventional D-22 passenger and 24-RL locomotive brake equipment. On the conventional side, the control valve set a reference pressure in a volume, which set brake cylinder pressure via a relay valve. On the electric side, pressure from a second straight-air trainline controlled the relay valve via a two-way check valve. This "straight air" trainline was charged (from reservoirs on each car) and released by magnet valves on each car, controlled electrically by a 3 wire trainline, in turn controlled by an "electro-pneumatic master controller" in the controlling locomotive. This controller compared the pressure in the straight air trainline with that supplied by a self lapping portion of the engineers valve, signaling all of the "apply" or "release" magnets valves in the train to open simultaneously, changing the pressure in the "straight air" trainline much more rapidly and evenly than possible by simply supplying air directly from the locomotive. The relay valve was equipped with four diaphragms, magnet valves, electric control equipment, and an axle-mounted speed sensor, so that at speeds over 60 mph full braking force was applied, and reduced in steps at 60, 40 and 20 mph, bringing the train to a gentle stop. Each axle was also equipped with anti-lock brake equipment. The combination minimized braking distances, allowing more full-speed running between stops. The "straight air" (electro-pneumatic trainline), anti-lock, and speed graduating portions of the system were not dependent on each other in any way, and any or all of these options could be supplied separately.[2]

Later systems replace the automatic air brake with an electrical wire (in the UK, at least, known as a "round the train wire") that has to be kept energized to keep the brakes off.

More recent innovations are electronically controlled pneumatic brakes where the brakes of all the wagons (cars) and locomotives are connected by a kind of local area network, which allows individual control of the brakes on each wagon, and the reporting back of performance of each wagon's brakes.

Limitations[edit]The Westinghouse air brake system is very trustworthy, but not infallible. Recall that the car reservoirs recharge only when the brake pipe pressure is higher than the reservoir pressure, and that the car reservoir pressure will rise only to the point of equilibrium. Fully recharging the reservoirs on a long train can require considerable time (8 to 10 minutes in some cases[3]), during which the brake pipe pressure will be lower than locomotive reservoir pressure.

If the brakes must be applied before recharging has been completed, a larger brake pipe reduction will be required in order to achieve the desired amount of braking effort, as the system is starting out at a lower point of equilibrium (lower overall pressure). If many brake pipe reductions are made in short succession ("fanning the brake" in railroad slang), a point may be reached where car reservoir pressure will be severely depleted, resulting in substantially reduced brake cylinder piston force, causing the brakes to fail. On a descending grade, the unfortunate result will be a runaway.

In the event of a loss of braking due to reservoir depletion, the engine driver may be able to regain control with an emergency brake application, as the emergency portion of each car's dual-compartment reservoir should be fully charged'--it is not affected by normal service reductions. The triple valves detect an emergency reduction based on the rate of brake pipe pressure reduction. Therefore, as long as a sufficient volume of air can be rapidly vented from the brake pipe, each car's triple valve will cause an emergency brake application. However, if the brake pipe pressure is too low due to an excessive number of brake applications, an emergency application will not produce a large enough volume of air flow to trip the triple valves, leaving the engine driver with no means to stop the train.

To prevent a runaway due to loss of brake pressure, dynamic (rheostatic) braking can be utilized so the locomotive(s) will assist in retarding the train. Often, blended braking, the simultaneous application of dynamic and train brakes, will be used to maintain a safe speed and keep the slack bunched on descending grades. Care would then be given when releasing the service and dynamic brakes to prevent draw gear damage caused by a sudden run out of the trains slack.

Another solution to loss of brake pressure is the two-pipe system, fitted on most modern passenger stock and many freight wagons. In addition to the traditional brake pipe, this enhancement adds the main reservoir pipe, which is continuously charged with air directly from the locomotive's main reservoir. The main reservoir is where the locomotive's air compressor output is stored, and is ultimately the source of compressed air for all systems that use it.

Since the main reservoir pipe is kept constantly pressurized by the locomotive, the car reservoirs can be charged independently of the brake pipe, this being accomplished via a check valve to prevent backfeeding into the pipe. This arrangement helps to reduce the above described pressure loss problems, and also reduces the time required for the brakes to release, since the brake pipe only has to recharge itself.

Main reservoir pipe pressure can also be used to supply air for auxiliary systems such as pneumatic door operators or air suspension. Nearly all passenger trains (all in the UK and USA), and many freights, now have the two-pipe system.

Accidents[edit]The air brake can fail if one of the cocks where the pipes of each carriage are joined together is accidentally closed. In this case, the brakes on the wagons behind the closed cock will fail to respond to the driver's command. This happened in 1953 to the Federal Express, a Pennsylvania Railroad train pulling into Washington DC's Union Station, causing the train to crash into the passenger concourse and fall through the floor. Similarly, in the Gare de Lyon train accident a valve was accidentally closed by the crew, reducing braking power.

There are a number of safeguards that are usually taken to prevent this sort of accident happening. Railroads have strict government-approved procedures for testing the air brake systems when making up trains in a yard or picking up cars en route. These generally involve connecting the air brake hoses, charging up the brake system, setting the brakes and manually inspecting the cars to ensure the brakes are applied, and then releasing the brakes and manually inspecting the cars to ensure the brakes are released. Particular attention is usually paid to the rearmost car of the train, either by manual inspection or via an automated end-of-train device, to ensure that brake pipe continuity exists throughout the entire train. When brake pipe continuity exists throughout the train, failure of the brakes to apply or release on one or more cars is an indication that the cars' triple valves are malfunctioning. Depending on the location of the air test, the repair facilities available, and regulations governing the number of inoperative brakes permitted in a train, the car may be set out for repair or taken to the next terminal where it can be repaired.

Standardisation[edit]The modern air brake is not identical with the original airbrake as there have been slight changes in the design of the triple valve, which are not completely compatible between versions, and which must therefore be introduced in phases. That said, the basic air brakes used on railways worldwide are remarkably compatible.

Vacuum brakes[edit]The main competitor to the air brake is the vacuum brake, which operates on negative pressure. The vacuum brake is a little simpler than the air brake, with an ejector with no moving parts on steam engines or a mechanical or electrical "exhauster" on a diesel or electric locomotive replacing the air compressor. Disconnection taps at the ends of cars are not required as the loose hoses are sucked onto a mounting block.

However, the maximum pressure is limited to atmospheric pressure, so that all the equipment has to be much larger and heavier to compensate. This disadvantage is made worse at high altitude. The vacuum brake is also considerably slower acting in both applying and releasing the brake; this requires a greater level of skill and anticipation from the driver. Conversely, the vacuum brake had the advantage of gradual release long before the Westinghouse automatic air brake, which was originally only available in the direct-release form still common in freight service. A primary fault of vacuum brakes is the inability to easily find leaks. In a positive air system, a leak is quickly found due to the escaping pressurized air; discovering a vacuum leak is more difficult, although it is easier to repair when found because a piece of rubber (for example) can just be tied around the leak and will be firmly held there by the vacuum.

Electro-vacuum brakes have also been used with considerable success on South African electric multiple unit trains. Despite requiring larger and heavier equipment as stated above, the performance of the electro-vacuum brake approached that of contemporary electro-pneumatic brakes. However, their use has not been repeated.

See also[edit]References[edit]^"Welcome to Saskrailmuseum.org". Contact Us. September 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03. ^Westinghouse 24RL air brake manual^EMD Enginemen's Operating ManualAAR wheel dynamometer - braking: [1]Compressed Air Operations manual, ISBN 0-07-147526-5, McGraw Hill Book CompanyExternal links[edit]Information

Patents

US 16220 Carson Samuel: Air engine 1856-12-09US 88929 Westinghouse George: Steam power brake 1869-04-13

Internet Freedom

Iran launches 'national email service'

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Archived Version

Source: The Guardian World News

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 20:38

An internet cafe in Tehran. Hassan Rouhani has expressed more liberal attitudes to social media than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

Iran has launched its own "national email service", requiring all citizens to sign up to it to "safely" communicate with government officials.

Prior to use, account holders will have to provide their local post office with their full name, national identification number and postcode.

Mohammad Hasan Nami, Iran's minister for information and communication technology, said all citizens would be assigned a national email address, but did not say whether this would affect access to other email providers.

"For mutual interaction and communication between the government and the people, from now on every Iranian will receive a special email address along with their postcode," Nami was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.

"With the assignment of an email address to every Iranian, government interactions with the people will take place electronically."

Users will have to go to mail.post.ir to sign up to the service, which is not free, and receive an @post.ir email address. Mehr reported that the website can provide services to 100 million users and its emailing service is compatible with Farsi as well as English, French and Arabic. Each account is also said to have 50MB capacity, which can be upgraded to 2GB.

Independent experts, however, doubt the plan will materialise across the country as the newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, who has taken a softer line on internet and web censorship, is due to be sworn-in in August.

Amin Sabeti, an Iranian media and web researcher, said the authorities had previously boasted about similar "national email services", including mail.iran.ir, but none has yet been come into force in earnest. Government employees are also being encouraged to use the national email providers instead of services such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail, which are popular in Iran.

Sabeti said there are serious security problems with the new service, which he said does not encrypt data and would be easy to hack.

Hadi Nili, an Iranian journalist, said Iranians use foreign services such as Gmail because they believe it provides anonymity and privacy, and said there is a lack of trust in the new service.

In an echo of some of the questions about the NSA surveillance by the US government revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, he added: "Iranian users are worried how much the government can access their data and also how secure the new service is in the face of cyber attacks and intrusions from other parties."

Some 40% of Iran's 75 million population are estimated to have access to the internet and many services are provided online, such as bill payment and online banking.

Under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran has announced various ambitious plans for its online community including an "Islamic Google Earth".

In 2012, the authorities said they were carrying out tests to launch Iran's "national internet", a countrywide network aimed at substituting services run through the world wide web. At the time, Iran's police also imposed tighter regulations on internet cafes, requiring owners to keep detailed records of their customers each time they use their services.

Iran has been a victim of western-backed cyber attacks against its nuclear programme and is therefore suspicious of western online services such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. In contrast to the current officials, Rouhani has said he considers Facebook a welcome phenomenon.

At least two institutions have been set up in recent years to enforce an online crackdown. Iran's cyber police, known as Fata, is in charge of policing the country's online community, identifying bloggers and users breaking its "Islamic" laws. The supreme council of virtual space is another body tasked with blocking access to websites deemed inappropriate. At least five million websites are blocked in Iran.

Last year the death of blogger Sattar Beheshti in jail, while he was being interrogated by Fata forces, prompted a national outcry.

Egypt

Psaki-Global Strategy Group - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:26

Global Strategy Group (GSG) is an American public affairs and research firm; specializing in research, strategic communications, digital strategy, grassroots and grasstops organizing, marketing and branding. GSG clients include political candidates, corporations and advocacy organizations worldwide. In the United States, the company works with Democratic Party candidates and office holders.

Clients of the firm, which has been called "a ubiquitous presence in New York's circles of power" in a 2008 New York Times article, have included New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who used the firm in his successful 2006 campaign, New York state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and New York Governor David A. Paterson. The New York state Democratic Party also uses the firm, as do many New York state members of Congress. The firm is also one of the "top consultants to corporations and other special interests," according to an article in the Times.[1]

"They have carved out the niche of being the premier Democratic political polling firm," William T. Cunningham, a political consultant, said in 2008.[1] Political clients include or have included Iowa Governor Chet Culver, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, presidential candidate Al Gore Congresswomen Loretta and Linda Snchez. The New York state Democratic Party and New York state members of Congress also consult with the firm. GSG has managed political campaigns in Albania, Aruba, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Greece, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Republic of Georgia, Trinidad and Venezuela.

In 2008, the firm's annual revenues were said to total about $20 million, and it had 50 employees.[2] In addition to New York City, Global has offices in Washington, D.C. and Hartford, Connecticut.[3]

Along with its political roster of clients, GSG has been retained by large corporations, nonprofits and advocacy organizations like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Cond(C) Nast, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Scholastic, Silverstein Properties, Starwood, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), United Way and Yale University, among others. As of 2009 GSG was using the marketing tag, "Campaign to Win."

The firm was mentioned on the TV show The West Wing and is also referenced in a Trivial Pursuit board game question.

History[edit]Jonathan Silvan, CEO, Jefrey Pollock, President and Jeffrey Plaut, Partner, started GSG together in 1995 as a boutique polling firm,[1] conducting market research for political and corporate clients.

Since its founding, the firm has broadened its work beyond research and polling to include various communications services, such as public relations, planning and running political campaigns, paid media and advertising, grassroots and grasstops advocacy, and new media and interactive services and products.

Executives[edit]The firm's top executives include:

Jon Silvan, founding partner and CEO, has guided Global Strategy Group's growth from a boutique market research firm into a nationally recognized, full-service public affairs and research firm. Jon's clients include companies, organizations and individuals at the top of their fields, including World Trade Center developer Silverstein Properties, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), General Electric, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA). Jon earned a dual degree in political communications and economic development from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and he currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY). Jon lives in New York City with his wife Marnie and their three children.[4]Jefrey Pollock, president and founding partner, leads the firm's research practice. He has advised several U.S. Governors '' including Brian Schweitzer (MT), Joe Manchin (WV) and Chet Culver (IA) '' Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Arlen Specter (PA), and many other members of Congress. He has also consulted on behalf of many of the world's leading NGOs and corporations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Con Edison and Starwood. Jefrey earned degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, where he is currently an Adjunct Professor of Public Policy and Administration.[5]Jeffrey Plaut, founding partner, serves as a strategic advisor and pollster to candidates and campaigns across the country. Recent clients include the New Jersey Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, U.S. Representatives Mike McMahon (NY) and Nydia Velazquez (NY), the Empire State Pride Agenda and The Daily Show. Jeffrey also leads the firm's public affairs practice for unions, nonprofits and associations. An alumnus of Brown University, Jeffrey is a graduate of the Coro Foundation Fellowship for Public Affairs, an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University and advisory board member of the Bellevue/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture.[6]Britt Power, partner, specializes in developing research and positioning strategies for clients looking to extend and promote their brands. Britt's clients count on her when they are looking to launch services or products, expand their client base or gain a competitive edge within their industry. She is an experienced moderator and focus group facilitator and currently heads the firm's Qualitative Research Department. Her client list includes some of the world's most recognized brands, including Cond(C) Nast, ESPN, Scholastic, Time Inc. and Victoria's Secret. Britt earned a degree in communications from New York University.[7]Scott Elder, partner, specializes in conducting strategic research for corporations, domestic political campaigns and associations. In a project manager role, Scott oversees the research process from survey design to data collection, data processing and analysis. Recent clients include Merrill Lynch, United Water, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Los Angeles Police Protective League. He also runs the firm's market research practice for the trial consulting industry. Scott earned his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington in Seattle.[8]Alan Sexton, Executive Vice President for Communications. Prior to joining GSG, Alan led the public affairs practice at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in New York, where he oversaw all aspects of the group's work. An expert in corporate reputation, crisis management, brand positioning and influencer engagement, Alan was named one of the industry's ''40 Under 40'' leaders by PR Week in 2010. While at Ogilvy, Alan managed global and U.S. communications campaigns for some of the agency's best-known clients, including American Express, BP, the Ford Motor Company, LexisNexis and DHL. Alan's track record of crafting successful campaigns for his clients has been recognized numerous times. In 2008 he and his client, FM Global, one of the world's leading commercial property insurance companies, won the PR News Platinum award for Global Campaign of the Year. The FM Global program was also named as a Global Campaign of the Year finalist in the 2009 PR Week awards, and shortlisted for two SABRE awards in 2008. Prior to Ogilvy, Alan spent several years with The Harbour Group, a public affairs and lobbying firm based in Washington, D.C. Before that, he worked on issues management and media relations campaigns as a member of the Public Affairs Practice at Ogilvy PR in Washington, D.C. Alan began his career in communications with a small public affairs firm in Dublin, Ireland, where he worked with a diverse group of clients that included British Nuclear Fuels and the Irish Hospital Consultants Association.[9]Stephen Sigmund, senior vice president, Stephen Sigmund serves as Global Strategy Group's Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Communications. Steve most recently served as the Chief of Public and Government Affairs for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he was the chief communications and government affairs strategist for the nation's largest regional public authority and led the organization's public efforts on the World Trade Center redevelopment. Steve has strong experience in New York City and New Jersey government and politics. He was the Communications Director and Senior Policy Advisor for City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Acting Communications Director for Governor Jon Corzine in New Jersey. Steve's experience extends into the private sector as well. Steve was a Vice President at Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, a nationally recognized strategic and crisis communications firm. At RLM, Steve played a leading role on key top-tier clients like America Online, EMI Music and Pfizer. He was also a Vice President at AOL Time Warner and was Senior Director for the company's Corporate Responsibility efforts, which included an ambitious initiative to improve technology literacy in public schools. In addition to his broad professional experience, Steve has written pieces for The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Trenton Times, and New York Observer, and he has served as an Adjunct Professor for Columbia University's Strategic Communications Program since 2003.[10]Justin Lapatine, senior vice president, manages Global Strategy Group's public affairs practice area where he develops and executes full service campaigns on behalf of corporate, advocacy and political clients. Justin has managed grassroots, grasstops and coalition building campaigns for Silverstein Properties, the YES Network and Ultimate Fighting Championship. Named a ''Rising Star'' by Campaigns & Elections in 2006 and one of ''40 Under 40'' by City Hall News, Justin serves as consultant to the New York State Senate Democrats, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Candidate Bill de Blasio. Before joining GSG, Justin worked for Gore Lieberman in the 2000 presidential race and for Mark Green in the 2001 New York City Mayor's race. Justin earned a B.A. in Political Science and History from Duke University and a Masters in Political Science from Columbia University.[11]Tanya Meck, Senior Vice President, leads Global Strategy Group's Connecticut office, based in Hartford and has extensive experience in public affairs, corporate communications and advocacy campaign coordination. Prior to joining GSG, Tanya served as Assistant Secretary of the State of Connecticut and Chief of Staff for the Secretary's office. She has worked as a corporate communications director for a Fortune 500 company, as a non-profit development director, and as a political consultant to local, state and federal elected officials. Her professional experience includes television and radio appearances, keynoting seminars and conferences, and emceeing events. A Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, she majored in Behavioral Science and was an All-American athlete. Tanya earned her Master's Degree in Public Policy Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.[12]Clients[edit]Political clients[edit]Corporate clients[edit]Nonprofit & advocacy clients[edit]References[edit]^ abcConfessore, Nicholas, "In Consulting Group's Rise, Hints of How Albany Works", article, The New York Times, September 29, 2008, retrieved same day^Web page titled "Jefrey Pollock, 35, President, profiled in Crain's 40 under 40", quoting from a brief article in Crain's New York, retrieved September 29, 2008^Website, Global Strategy Group, retrieved November 07, 2010^Web page titled "Jon Silvan, CEO" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved November 7, 2010^Web page titled "Jefrey Pollock, President" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved November 7, 2010^Web page titled "Jeffrey Plaut" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved November 7, 2010^Web page titled "Britt Power, Partner" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved November 7, 2010^Web page titled "Scott Elder, Partner" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved November 7, 2010^Web page titled "Alan Sexton, Executive Vice President" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved August 1, 2011^Web page titled "Stephen Sigmund, Senior Vice President" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved November 7, 2010^Web page titled "Justin Lapatine, Senior Vice President" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved November 7, 2010^Web page titled "Tanya Meck, Senior Vice President" at Global Strategy Group website, retrieved August 1st, 2011^ abcdefghijWeb page titled "Political" (a list of political clients), at Global Strategy Group website, accessed September 29, 2008External links[edit]

Law says the U.S. is required to cut aid after coups. Will it?

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:42

(Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

Outside observers might not have much trouble calling the events in Egypt on Wednesday a military coup. When a khaki-clad, beret-wearing general commandeers state TV to announce that the constitution is suspended and the president no longer president, ''coup'' seems like a pretty safe word.

But it's not quite as safe for the Obama administration. According to a section of the Foreign Assistance Act, a law first enacted in 1961, the United States is required to suspend foreign aid to any country that suffers a military coup. The law, according to its text, ''restricts assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.'' So if the U.S. determines that there was a coup in Egypt, that would seem to require an end to its aid for the country.

The United States sends enormous amounts of aid to Egypt, much of it direct military aid contingent on the 1979 Camp David Accords that established peace between Egypt and Israel. But it's not all military: Just in March, the Obama administration announced $250 million in aid to help Egypt through its ongoing economic struggles.

The Obama administration had suggested that it might follow through on the threat implicit in the Foreign Assistance Act. According to the Associated Press, U.S. officials told members of the Egyptian military that any coup would yield ''consequences'' for the U.S. aid they depend on.

It is probably unlikely that the Obama administration will want to substantially cut aid to Egypt. (Put aside the Camp David money for a moment '-- it's not clear to me that this is effected by the Foreign Assistance Act, and even if it is, it's very difficult to imagine Congress or the White House being willing to jeopardize this lynchpin of peace with Israel.) Like many aid programs, the hundreds of millions of dollars that goes to Egypt is not meant as a present or a reward; it's considered to ultimately serve U.S. interests. Egypt's troubled economy has been a key contributor the political instability there. That instability is bad for everyone, including U.S. interests.

If the Obama administration believes that its aid money to Egypt will ease its political transition, then it's unlikely to cut it substantially, even if that risks the appearance of hypocrisy. (It is possible that the U.S. might suspend some aid, perhaps in a symbolic gesture.) As University of North Carolina political science professor Greg Weeks points out on his blog, the Obama administration faced a similar dilemma during the 2009 Honduran political crisis that included a military coup. At first it called the events a coup, then it backpedaled, apparently to avoid triggering sanctions or other measures it wished to avoid. Politics superseded the letter of the law in that case and it may well happen again. But if you notice people in Washington getting on the White House's case to either label the events a ''coup'' or to not do so, this is why.

definition of coup - Google Search

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:42

coup - definition of coup by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus ...b. A sudden appropriation of leadership or power; a takeover: a boardroom coup.3. Among certain Native American peoples, a feat of bravery performed in ...Coup - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster DictionaryDefinition of coup from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary with audiopronunciations, thesaurus, Word of the Day, and word games.Coup d'(C)tat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaA coup d'(C)tat also known as a coup, a putsch, or an overthrow, is the suddendeposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state ...coup: definition of coup in Oxford dictionary (British & World English)oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/coup- CachedDefinition of coup in British and World English in Oxford dictionary. Meaning,pronunciation and example sentences. English to English reference content.Coup | Define Coup at Dictionary.coma highly successful, unexpected stroke, act, or move; a clever action oraccomplishment. 2. (among the Plains Indians of North America) a brave orreckless deed ...coup - definition of coup by Macmillan Dictionarywww.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/coup- Cached - SimilarDefine coup. What is coup? coup meaning and more by Macmillan Dictionary.coup - Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionaryoald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/coup- Cachedcoup - Clear definition, audio pronunciation, synonyms and related words, realexample sentences, English grammar, usage notes and more in Oxford ...Urban Dictionary: coupUsually done by a military - an overthrow of the current government by force.Sometimes bloody, sometimes not. Either way, the military ends up in ...Definition of Coup D'Etat | Chegg.comwww.chegg.com/homework-help/definitions/coup-detat-53- CachedDefinition of coup d'etat and related terms and concepts.palace coup noun - definition in British English Dictionary...dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/palace-coup- Cachedpalace coup noun - definition, audio pronunciation, synonyms and more forpalace coup noun: a situation in which a leader is removed from power by the ...Searches related to definition of coup

About - Global Strategy Group

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:30

Jon SilvanFounding Partner and CEO

Jefrey PollockFounding Partner and President

Jeffrey PlautFounding Partner

Britt PowerPartner

Scott ElderPartner

Justin LapatinePartner, Public Affairs

Joseph Del PrioreSenior Vice President and CFO

Nick GourevitchSenior Vice President and Director of Research

Bill BurtonExecutive Vice President, Managing Director

Tanya MeckSenior Vice President and Managing Director

Jim PapaSenior Vice President and Managing Director

Alan SextonExecutive Vice President, Communications

Stephen SigmundOf Counsel

Roy OcchiogrossoManaging Director

Chris AllenVice President and Director, Competitive Intelligence

Meira BernsteinAssociate, Communications

Bob BibelVice President, Director of Finance

Khristyn BrimmeierVice President, Communications

Anna BrowerSenior Associate, Communications

Jonathan BrownVice President and West Coast Research Director

Allison BryanAssociate, Communications

Jennifer BurnerDirector, Communications

Drew CaskoVice President, Human Resources

Carlos CorralesOffice Manager

James DeloreyVice President, Research

Rick FrombergVice President, Grassroots

Mark GershSenior Adviser

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Julie HootkinSenior Vice President, Research

Alex HoweVice President, Communications

Elissa JanofskyAdministrative Assistant to the President

Carter JohnsonVice President, Communications

Liana KlippelExecutive Assistant to the CEO

Kelsey LabrotAdministrative Assistant

Ben LeeSenior Associate, Research

Jonathan LesserAssociate, Communications

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Marshall MaherVice President, Digital + Social

Marcia MaxwellDirector, Grassroots

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Hugh McMullenDirector, Digital + Social

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Will MatthewsSenior Associate, Research

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Sarah VazquezReceptionist

Michelle WoodruffDirector, Corporate and Advocacy Research

Arshad Mohammed | Journalist Profile | Reuters.com

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:13

Jun 13, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) '' Among the consequences facing U.S. President Barack Obama if he decides against arming Syria's rebels is that Arab and European states may step in more aggressively, perhaps further fracturing rebel forces.

Having watched government forces seize the strategic town of Qusair from the rebels last week, Obama's senior national security advisers have held a series of meetings on what more, if anything, they are willing to do to help the opposition.

Jun 10, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) '' The United States could decide as early as this week whether to arm Syrian rebels, U.S. officials said on Monday, as Secretary of State John Kerry put off a Middle East trip to attend meetings on the subject.

The meetings are taking place as the battlefield has tilted against the rebels in the Syrian civil war as Lebanese Hezbollah has entered the fray on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, helping his forces retake the strategic town of Qusair last week.

Jun 10, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) '' The United States could make a decision as early as this week on whether to arm Syrian rebels, U.S. officials said on Monday, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry put off a Middle East trip to attend meetings on the subject.

However, the U.S. government has debated for months whether to provide weaponry to the rebels in their civil war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces and has so far decided against.

Jun 5, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) '' Samantha Power, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her study of U.S. failure to prevent genocide and is seen as an advocate of an activist U.S. foreign policy, would get a bigger platform for her views as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The former journalist, Harvard University professor and White House national security staffer was chosen on Wednesday to serve in the high-profile post as U.S. President Barack Obama weighs whether to do more to end Syria's civil war.

Jun 2, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) '' Four months into his term, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is trying, simultaneously, to end two of the world's most intractable conflicts: the Syrian civil war and the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians.

The two issues, according to an aide, have consumed the vast majority of Kerry's time and energy '' he has already flown more than 100,000 miles to 23 countries, including four trips to Israel '' since he took office February 1.

Jun 2, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) '' Four months into his term, Secretary of State John Kerry is trying, simultaneously, to end two of the world's most intractable conflicts: the Syrian civil war and the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians.

The two issues, according to an aide, have consumed the vast majority of Kerry's time and energy '' he has already flown more than 100,000 miles to 23 countries, including four trips to Israel '' since he took office February 1.

May 28, 2013

PARIS (Reuters) '' Holding a conference to end Syria's civil war will be a ''tall order'', Russia's foreign minister said on Monday after talks with his U.S. counterpart, but he saw some chance of success.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said they would do their utmost to bring Syria's warring parties to the table, as fighting intensified and new allegations of chemical weapons use surfaced.

May 27, 2013

PARIS (Reuters) '' The U.S. and Russian foreign ministers met on Monday to discuss a planned conference aimed at ending Syria's civil war against a backdrop of widening regional violence and new allegations of chemical weapons use.

John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov began one-on-one discussions in Paris, a U.S. official said, with such issues as when to hold the meeting on Syria, how to bring the warring parties to the table and whether to include Iran all likely to be on the table.

May 26, 2013

DEAD SEA, Jordan (Reuters) '' Secretary of State John Kerry sketched out a plan on Sunday to spur Palestinian growth with up to $4 billion in private investment, but did not say where the money would come from.

Kerry drew a picture of prosperity in the West Bank that could spread to Israel and Jordan, while acknowledging it would not fully materialize without movement toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

May 25, 2013

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) '' Secretary of State John Kerry urged Egypt to act swiftly on economic reforms to secure a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan, saying the measures were needed to get further aid from the U.S. Congress, an American official said.

Kerry met Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi for about an hour on the sidelines of an African Union summit on Saturday, discussing Syria's civil war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, human rights in Egypt and the country's faltering economy, the official said.

22 USC § 8422 - Authorization of assistance | Title 22 - Foreign Relations and Intercourse | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute

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The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Thursday, June 27, 2013

An empty table indicates that we see no relevant changes listed in the classification tables. If you suspect that our system may be missing something, please double-check with the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.

How To UseMultiple entries for a section are listed most recent first, within the section.

The Session Year indicates which session of Congress was responsible for the changes classified. The Congress number forms the first part of the Public Law number; each Congress has two sessions.

Abbreviations used in the Description of Change column:

An empty field implies a standard amendment."new" means a new section or new note, or all new text of an existing section or note."nt" means note."nt [tbl]" means note [table]."prec" means preceding."fr" means a transfer from another section."to" means a transfer to another section."omitted" means the section is omitted."repealed" means the section is repealed."nt ed change" and "ed change" - See the Editorial Classification Change Table [pdf].The Public Law field is linked to the development of the law in the Thomas system at the Library of Congress.

The Statutes at Large field is linked to the text of the law, in the context of its volume of the Statutes at Large, at the Government Printing Office. Please note that it takes a while for these pages to get posted, so for very recent legislation, you need to look at the "enrolled" version at the Thomas site.

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22 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

US still plans to send F-16s to Egypt in coming weeks

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Source: ynet - News

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 21:46

Official says no current change in plan to deliver fighter jets to Egyptian military in AugustReuters

The United States will go through with the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the coming weeks, US officials told Reuters on Wednesday as Washington deliberated whether to call the ouster of Egypt's elected leader a military coup.

A decision to call last week's overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a coup would, by law, require the Obama administration to halt aid to the Egyptian army.

Related stories:

Egypt is the second-largest recipient of US aid behind Israel, receiving $1.5 billion a year. The jets were part of that aid package, a US defense official confirmed.

One defense official said the delivery of the four F-16s was likely to take place in August.

"There is no current change in the plan to deliver F-16s to the Egyptian military," a second US official said on condition of anonymity.

Islamists who back Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, blame the United States for allowing what they call a military coup. The country's military and interim political leaders say Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood incited violence when Egyptians took to the streets to protest the president's policies.

The White House also pointed out that millions of Egyptians had wanted a change in government and said it would wait before deciding how to describe Morsi's ouster.

"We are evaluating how the authorities are responding to and handling the current situation," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday.

The United States has already disbursed $650 million in military aid to Egypt for fiscal year 2013 which ends in September, and another $585 million is pending, the first US official said.

Another eight F-16s were due to be delivered in December.

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Saudi Arabia and UAE to lend Egypt's central bank up to $8 billion

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 20:33

Source: RT

The United Arab Emirates will give Egypt $1 billion and lend it a further $2 billion. Saudi Arabia has also said it has approved a $5billion aid package to Cairo.

The UAE loan would be in the form of a $2 billion interest free deposit in Egypt's central bank, state news agency WAM said on Tuesday. The UAE is also to give Egypt $1 billion.

The UAE delegation to Cairo included the Gulf country's national security adviser, foreign minister and energy minister.

The UAE visit was to ''show full support to the people of Egypt - political support, economic support,'' Badr Abdelatty an Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters.

The UAE was one of the first countries to congratulate Egypt following the army's decision to oust the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi.

Saudi Arabia also approved a $5 billion aid package to Egypt Tuesday, comprising a $2 billion central bank deposit, $2 billion in energy products and $1 billion in cash, Ibrahim Alassaf, the Saudi Finance Minister told Reuters.

Meanwhile Washington has said that there will be no immediate cut off of US aid to Egypt, although the 700 million for 2013 has not yet been disbursed and aid for 2014 has not yet been discussed.

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Elite$

HILLARY CLINTON'S SECRET PLASTIC SURGERY MAKEOVER - Globe Magazine

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 18:48

Hillary Clinton is finally ready to divorce her womanizing hubby Bill after undergoing a secret plastic surgery makeover to look years younger! ONLY this week's GLOBE has startling before and after photos of Hillary and reveals what finally pushed her into the $120 million divorce - including Bill's refusal to take a DNA test to determine if he's the father of a hooker's love child.

Ex-NYU professor arrested for stalking Citigroup's chief economist - Daily News

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 12:22

Mark Kohn/Hollandse Hoogte/ReduxDutch economist Heleen Mees was apparently obsessed with chief Citigroup economist Willem Buiter, sending him thousands of emails over a two-year period and even continuing to contact him after he filed a cease-and-desist.

A SEXY DUTCH economist's obsession with another number cruncher added up to a whole lot of trouble.

Heleen Mees, 44, was busted for stalking and harassing chief Citigroup economist Willem Buiter '-- sending him photos of herself masturbating and images of other naked women, the Daily News has learned.

A one-time NYU professor, Mees sent Buiter more than 1,000 emails over a two-year period, authorities said.

RELATED: MARION COTILLARD STALKER GETS PROBATION

Some of them were laced with threats, while at least one was a hyper-sexual come-on. ''What can I do to make it right? Shall I lick your b---s?'' Mees allegedly wrote in one email.

''Shall we adopt a child?'' she wrote in another.

At least one message was far darker. ''Hope your plane falls out of the sky,'' Mees wrote to Buiter, court papers say.

RELATED: 'CHARLIE BROWN' VOICE ACTOR SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR IN JAIL

The pair were once lovers '-- but at some point, the romance apparently soured and Mees unleashed her wrath on her fellow Dutchman. A noted researcher and columnist who speaks five languages, Mees barraged Buiter with an avalanche of emails between July 1, 2011, and Monday.

In addition to sending him X-rated images of herself, she sent him a photo of dead birds on May 3.

Mees also targeted Buiter's economist wife, Anne, and children, sending them unwanted messages as well, court papers say. Buiter demanded she stop, and still the loony stalker kept harassing him.

RELATED: HUGH JACKMAN'S STALKER ORDERED TO TAKE PSYCH EXAM

Even after Buiter sent Mees a cease-and-desist letter Feb. 27, she allegedly wouldn't stop, sending the object of her twisted desire several hundred more emails. ''Defendant's actions have caused him severe annoyance and alarm, and fear for his physical safety of his wife and children,'' the criminal complaint says.

Mees '-- who once founded a female-empowerment organization called Women on Top '-- was arrested at 11:45 p.m. Monday.

She was arraigned Tuesday on stalking, harassment and aggravated harassment charges. She was ordered held on $5,000 bail.

RELATED: WOMAN HARASSED HERSELF ON FACEBOOK: COPS

Mees' Legal Aid lawyer, Vaneshka Hyacinthe, said her client ''had a longstanding relationship'' with Buiter and ''the emails go in both directions.''

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum issued Mees an order of protection and demanded she stay away from Buiter and his family.

''Do not call them, do not go to their home, school, businesses, place of employment . . . no email, no text messages, instant messages, no phone calls, letters, fax or voice messages,'' the judge said.

Buiter, who previously served as chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, declined comment at his posh apartment building on the upper West Side.

A spokesman for the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service said Mees taught a course there last fall.

A doorman at her building in DUMBO, Brooklyn, described her as a generous tipper and frequent traveler who is always seen with her bike and laptop.

With Edgar Sandoval and Nicholas Wells

Shut Up Slave!

There's Alien Gas Flowing Through New York City's Subways.

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 02:04

No need to fear, though: it's an experiment to see exactly how gases are dispersed through the hundreds of miles of New York City subway tunnels.

2nd Avenue Subway Station, Sans GasDan Nosowitz

Starting today, New York City authorities will be releasing perfluorocarbon gas into several subway stops, some above and some below ground. Sounds scary, but isn't: perfluorocarbon is a harmless gas, odorless and colorless, and it's being used in the largest airflow experiment ever undertaken.

Perfluorocarbon tracers, or PFTs, are used because they're artificial and do not occur in nature, so a very small amount can be detected fairly easily. The work of detection will be done by a large team from three national labs: the Brookhaven, Argonne, and Los Alamos National Laboratories. About 100 interns in addition to professionals from the labs will be constructing and monitoring small black-and-grey boxes in dozens of locations all around the city, all dedicated to checking the air for these tracers.

Those locations aren't merely in the subway; the thing about New York's extensive, massively complex subway system is that it's the quickest way for airborne contaminants to race through (nearly) all portions of the five boroughs. So these testing boxes will be installed on subway platforms, sure, but also on telephone poles above ground.

The experiment is only the latest in a series of airflow experiments in the New York City subways. The New York Times claimed that a clandestine test was carried out in the 1960s by smashing a "bulb" of similar tracer gas in the subways to see if the city was prepared for such an attack. (It wasn't. An engineer involved in that test said a rush hour attack of that sort would "put New York out of commission.")

But this time, the test is anything but clandestine. The city released details of the experiment to the press, and each box has a phone number and a website that will provide information to anyone who is (reasonably, to be fair) a little alarmed about strange boxes that have something to do with strange gases flowing through the subway tunnels.

The study is funded, at a cost of $3.4 million, by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, and today's is the first of three non-consecutive tests that will be done between now and July 28th.

[via NYTimes]

Agenda 21

More Frequent, Devastating Hurricanes Coming Due to Climate Change - AccuWeather.com

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Wed, 10 Jul 2013 15:03

More Frequent, Devastating Hurricanes Coming Due to Climate ChangeJuly 09, 2013; 8:04 AM

Strong hurricanes could hit Asia and the U.S. East Coast more often this century, a new study finds.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence that hurricanes are becoming more intense as global warming heats the oceans. This means Category 1, 2 and 3 storms will have fiercer winds, bumping them up to Category 3, 4 and higher. Overall, the study's modeling approach predicts a 40 percent global increase in tropical cyclones of Category 3 and higher during the 21st century.

The findings were published in today's (July 8) issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The new study also projects that these strong storms will become more frequent in the North Pacific, the North Atlantic and the South Indian Oceans.

"We see an increase, in particular, toward the middle of the century," said Kerry Emanuel, study author and an MIT climatologist. "The results surprised us, but we haven't gotten so far as to understand why this is happening."

Scientists actively debate whether tropical cyclones (the broad name for hurricanes, typhoons and tropical storms) will become more frequent, more intense or both as a result of climate change. Global warming has heated the oceans along with the atmosphere, and sea-surface temperature is one of the most important influences on hurricane strength. But other factors - such as climate cycles, like the El Ni±o Southern Oscillation, and interactions with other storms, which can weaken or strengthen storms - also alter tropical storm strength. Hurricanes are also marvelous heat transporters, affecting climate by moving energy around the planet. [Hurricanes from Above: See Nature's Biggest Storms]

"For scientists, this is far from a solved problem," said Emanuel, who has been a main participant in the debates on the future of hurricanes. "The main message is, we have to continue to regard there being a not-trivial risk of increasing problems from tropical cyclones because of climate change."

Hurricane Sandy Credit: NOAA | NASA.

How global warming fuels hurricanes

Hurricanes feed off warm ocean water. In the ocean's hurricane nurseries, heat rising from the ocean turns into water vapor. As the vapor rises and cools, it condenses into rain. This releases heat, which helps strengthen circulating tropical cyclones. Warmer oceans mean more water vapor, and more intense storms.

Emanuel relies on a technique called downscaling to estimate how future climate change will shift hurricane strength and frequency. In the new study, he used the latest global climate models, called CMIP5, which project future climate change but are too coarse to resolve "small" features, such as hurricanes. Emanuel ran the models at higher-resolution and randomly generated disturbances similar to tropical cyclones, and then used a theoretical model to predict how strong the storms would become. Emanuel first presented this approach, with an earlier version of the CMIP models (CMIP3), in a 2008 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

One limitation of relying on global climate models to predict future hurricanes is that these models do not capture the past decade's climate variability, such as relatively stable temperatures between 1998 and 2008, said Peter Webster, a climatologist at Georgia Tech who was not involved in the study. (The hiatus is attributed to natural variability in Earth's climate system, superimposed on the longer-term warming trend.)

"It should be remembered that the study is a model interpretation of how things might be," Webster said. "So, elegant as [the study] is, it is not going to tilt the scales on global warming one way or the other. The scales will be tilted substantially once we understand the role of tropical cyclones in climate and how tropical cyclones, in turn, modify climate itself."

More storms in Asia, Atlantic Coast

In the new study, the North Pacific Ocean basin showed the strongest change in tropical-cyclone frequency and intensity. This means Asia and its global supply chains will be hit hardest by the changes, with higher-intensity storms striking more often, said Matthew Huber, a climatologist and director of the Purdue University Climate Change Research Center who was not involved in the study. [How Strong Can a Hurricane Get?]

In addition, the model predicts that the North Atlantic and South Indian Oceans will also see an increase in storm frequency and intensity. This contradicts Emanuel's earlier research and other studies based on the previous generation of climate models, which predicted fewer but stronger hurricanes in the North Atlantic, the basin where storms that threaten the East Coast and Southeast form. However, a recent study of coastal storm surge records in the southern United States supports Emanuel's new data.

But Huber said Emanuel's results for the East Coast are not well supported by previous research and should be viewed as less certain.

But something the scientists do agree on is that coastal cities need to improve their defenses, as sea level rise alone will increase the vulnerability of such areas to storm surge.

"The result represents a significant upward revision of previous estimates of tropical cyclone activity in a warmer world, so it is unlikely that communities and states are prepared for, or even preparing for, the magnitude of future risks appropriately," Huber said.

EmailBecky Oskinor follow her@beckyoskin.Follow us@livescience,Facebook&Google+. Original article onLiveScience.com.

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By Becky Oskin, Staff WriterContinue Reading on LiveScience.com >

Vaccine$

Report Suggests Malaria Drug May Have Played Role In U.S. Soldier's Deadly Rampage - Forbes

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Scientists: H7N9 Avian Flu Has Pandemic Potential

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 00:58

MOSCOW, July 11 (RIA Novosti) - The H7N9 avian flu, responsible for dozens of deaths in China, has a potential to mutate into a strain that can easily pass from human to human, sparking a global pandemic, an international team of scientists said.

The H7N9 strain infected 132 people in China, killing 43 of them as of July 10, according to a Xinhua statement quoting Chinese health authorities. A team of scientists of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tokyo has thoroughly analyzed samples of the virus and published their findings in the Nature magazine on Wednesday.

"H7N9 viruses have several features typically associated with human influenza viruses and therefore possess pandemic potential and need to be monitored closely," Yoshihiro Kawaoka, one of the world's leading experts on avian flu who headed the team, was quoted as saying by the Science Daily.

The group found out that the virus is able to infect and replicate in several species of mammals, whose immune system is close to human, such as ferrets and monkeys. The study suggests that the ability of the H7N9 virus to infect and replicate in human cells may be due to just a few amino acid changes in the genetic sequence of the virus.

They also established that approximately one third of ferrets became infected by droplet spread.

"H7N9 viruses combine several features of pandemic influenza viruses, that is their ability to bind to and replicate in human cells and the ability to transmit via respiratory droplets," he said. "These two features are necessary, although not sufficient, to cause a pandemic."

In monkeys, the virus could efficiently infect cells in both the upper and lower respiratory tract. Conventional human flu viruses are typically restricted to the upper airway of infected nonhuman primates.

"If H7N9 viruses acquire the ability to transmit efficiently from person to person, a worldwide outbreak is almost certain since humans lack protective immune responses to these types of viruses," Kawaoka said.

However, the study found that the H7N9 strains showed certain sensitivity to antiviral drugs effective against the conventional seasonal flu virus.

Syria

U.S. arms showing up in hands of pro-Assad militias

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 02:29

M-16 rifles have been spotted with Shiite militias fighting in Syria.(Photo: Garrett Hubbard for USA TODAY)

Story HighlightsEasy flow of weapons is a reason why some U.S. officials oppose sending arms to SyriaIran likes to show it has obtained weapons, analysts sayWeapons include rifles, carbines and grenade launchersU.S. and Western weapons have been reaching Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting to keep Bashar Assad's forces in power in Syria.

Analysts say it's unclear if the weapons were captured, stolen or bought on the black market in Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya. Propaganda photographs from Shiite militias posted on dozens of websites and Facebook pages show the weapons were acquired in new condition, said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a site affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Many of the weapons are things the militias "shouldn't really have their hands on," Smyth said. Iranians love to show "they have weapons and systems that are very close to the Americans."

The ability of Assad's allies to obtain U.S. weapons is one of many reasons the United States should not supply Syrian rebels with weapons, which President Obama said he would start to do last month, said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Syria is "already overflowing" with weapons being supplied to the Assad regime and to the rebels "that could one day be turned against the U.S.," Ros-Lehtinen said.

It's "extremely difficult" to distinguish between friend and foe in Syria, she said, and "no amount of safeguards can guarantee that weapons will not fall into the wrong hands."

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the administration has taken steps "to do everything possible to ensure that any aid is making its way into the right hands" in Syria. That is why the United States and its partners have agreed to direct military aid through the secular-leaning, anti-Assad Free Syrian Army's Supreme Military Council and its chief, Gen. Salim Idris.

Many of the U.S. weapons in the hands of pro-Assad militia could have reached the black market after a major U.S. sales to Iraq in 2009, said Christopher Harmer, a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Almost 10 years of fighting there left thousands of loose weapons floating around Iraq and available for sale on the black market.

The U.S. sale included 80,000 M-16s, 25,000 M-4s and 2,550 M-203 grenade launchers, according to an announcement Dec. 9, 2009, by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

U.S. arms are transferred to foreign militaries only under strict controls that prohibit transfers to third parties without State Department approval, said Neil Hedlund, a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which administers U.S. assistance to foreign militaries.

Nevertheless, U.S. weapons have often been diverted to militant groups across the Middle East, said Nic Jenzen-Jones, an independent arms specialist based in Perth, Australia. He noticed U.S. weapons in images from the Syrian battlefield since last year, primarily in the hands of Syrian rebel forces.

"The most likely source is Lebanon," where the United States has supplied the Lebanese military and Israeli soldiers armed with American rifles fought as recently as 2006, he said. "Weapons are not fragile, they last for quite some time and will keep on killing as long as there's ammunition and people to fire them."

Smyth points to photos on social media sites linked to the Iranian military showing "martyred" Shiite fighters toting U.S.-made M-16s and M-4s fitted with laser and holographic sights and M-203 grenade launchers.

Based on more than 30 online forums and 100 Facebook pages, Smyth has found images of U.S. and Belgian weapons in the hands of members of various Iran-backed militias. Liwa'a abu Fadl al-Abbas uses Iraqi, Lebanese and Afghan fighters. Liwa'a Zulfiqar uses Iraqi fighters who prefer working with Iraqi and Shiite commanders, under the leadership of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps rather than Syrian leadership, Smyth said.

Similar weapons appear in the hands of rebel fighters, including fighters with al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate the State Department has designated a terrorist group, in videos and photos from the civil war. This year, Eliot Higgins, a British military analyst, discovered video footage and photos posted to jihadi social media sites showing that al-Nusra had weapons purchased with Saudi money in Croatia and transferred to Syrian rebels through Jordan.

"This operation was run with full U.S. knowledge, and the arms were only meant to go to the FSA," Higgins said, referring to the secular-leaning Free Syrian Army that U.S. officials prefer to deal with. "After a couple of months, they began to appear in the hands of groups like Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, showing they had spread beyond the FSA."

Harmer said there's a propaganda aspect to everything Iran does, and the images probably have a dual purpose, for both domestic and Western consumption.

"They're heavily involved through state-owned media and attempting to influence Shiite groups throughout the Middle East," Harmer said. "It's absolutely plausible Iran is purposely highlighting U.S. weapons in their hands."

Their goal is to show the world that Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen have a much higher degree of training and professionalism, and they're using Western tools to keep Assad in power, Smyth said.

Many of the most recent martyrdom photos resulted from fighting in Qusair, a strategic town on the border with Lebanon that regime forces retook after a three-week battle joined by fighters from Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite militia.

One of the photos shows Jusoor Muhammed Isma'il, a Lebanese Hezbollah fighter, whose death was announced May 24. In the photo, Isma'il stands in a clearing in the woods by a rudimentary camp stove. Slung from his shoulders is an M-4 fitted with what looks like an EOTech targeting sight and an M-203 grenade launcher.

EOTech is an American company that sells holographic accessories to the military and civilians that help shooters aim in a hurry. Pentagon contract documents show the company sold $25 million worth of its sites to the U.S. Special Operations Command in May 2010.

In other images, Shiite militia fighters wear camouflage fatigues and tactical gear, including body armor, kneepads, gloves and elbow pads, much like U.S. troops wore to battle in Iraq. In one post, Hezbollah fighters gloated about using netting on their helmets to aid in camouflage, like Israeli forces do. "We're fighting the Zionists with their own tools," the author wrote.

Fears Syrian War Spreading Into Lebanon

Syrian opposition coalition elects president - Times Of India

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 18:27

ISTANBUL: The main Syrian opposition National Coalition elected Ahmad Jarba as its president on Saturday after a close runoff vote held in Istanbul, coalition members said.

Jarba is a tribal figure from the eastern province of Hasaka who has connections with Saudi Arabia. He defeated businessman Mustafa Sabbagh, Qatar's point man in the opposition.

Ahmad Jarba - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 18:28

Ahmad Jarba, born in the Qamishli tribe in 1969, is a Syrian leader and politician, President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces[1], the main opposition group of the Syrian Civil War, since 6 July 2013. His election took place in the second round of voting of a three days meeting organized by the Coalition in order to renew its board. He obtained 55 votes, three more than his rival Mustafa Sabbagh, who was supported by Qatar.

Jarba holds a bachelor of law and is also member of the Revolutionary Council of Syrian Clans representing Al-Hasakah and has close ties with Saudi Arabia Government.

Divide & Conquer

Why Did The Obama Administration ''Organize And Manage'' Protests Against George Zimmerman? | InvestmentWatch

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 02:08

July 10th, 2013

by Michael Snyder

Is the Obama administration at least partially responsible for turning the George Zimmerman trial into such a huge national spectacle? Judicial Watch has obtained documents which prove that the Community Relations Service, a division of the Department of Justice, was sent to Sanford, Florida in late March 2012 ''to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman''. This included spending quite a bit of money, arranging meetings between the NAACP and local leaders, and providing police escorts for protesters. Someone needs to ask Obama why the federal government was doing this. A story that should have never made national headlines now threatens to unleash a firestorm of racial fury unlike anything we have seen since the Rodney King verdict. One young man, a neighborhood watch captain, shot and killed another young man. This kind of thing happens in American cities every single night. George Zimmerman says that he did it in self-defense. He should be allowed to have his day in court and that should be the end of the matter. But instead, this thing has been hyped into a massive national spectacle and it is being used to divide us along racial lines. And it appears that we have clear evidence that the Obama administration was involved in doing the hyping.

The documents that Judicial Watch was able to obtain contain some absolutely startling information. Apparently the role of the Obama administration in these protests was quite substantial'...

*****

JW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the DOJ on April 24, 2012; 125 pages were received on May 30, 2012. JW administratively appealed the request on June 5, 2012, and received 222 pages more on March 6, 2013. According to the documents:

March 25 '' 27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being ''deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.''March 25 '' 28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 ''in Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.March 30 '' April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL ''to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.''March 30 '' April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford, FL ''to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.''April 3 '' 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL ''to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.''April 11 '' 12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford, FL ''to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male.''*****

But the involvement of the Department of Justice went far beyond just spending money and helping to organize and manage the protests.

Apparently, the Department of Justice was involved in setting up meetings between the NAACP and local officials, and the Department of Justice even arranged police escorts for protesters'...

On April 15, 2012, during the height of the protests, the Orlando Sentinel reported, ''They [the CRS] helped set up a meeting between the local NAACP and elected officials that led to the temporary resignation of police Chief Bill Lee according to Turner Clayton, Seminole County chapter president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.'' The paper quoted the Rev. Valarie Houston, pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church, a focal point for protestors, as saying ''They were there for us,'' after a March 20 meeting with CRS agents.

Separately, in response to a Florida Sunshine Law request to the City of Sanford, Judicial Watch also obtained an audio recording of a ''community meeting'' held at Second Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on April 19, 2012. The meeting, which led to the ouster of Sanford's Police Chief Bill Lee, was scheduled after a group of college students calling themselves the ''Dream Defenders'' barricaded the entrance to the police department demanding Lee be fired. According to the Orlando Sentinel, DOJ employees with the CRS had arranged a 40-mile police escort for the students from Daytona Beach to Sanford.

Under what conditions is it ever acceptable for the federal government to arrange police escorts for protesters?

And why did the Obama administration want to help them?

What was the goal?

As a result of all of the hype that this case has been given, we now have more racial tension in the United States than we have had in a very, very long time.

And it is becoming apparent to everyone what could potentially happen if George Zimmerman is acquitted. In fact, law enforcement officials are so concerned about violence in the aftermath of the verdict that they have released a video encouraging young people not to commit violent acts'...

On Monday, the Broward County Sheriff's Office released a video calling on the public not to riot in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, expected this week or next in Florida. The Sheriff's Office released a statement explaining that it was ''working closely with the Sanford Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies'' to coordinate ''a response plan in anticipation of the verdict.''

The video, titled ''Raise Your Voice, Not Your Hands,'' focuses on attempting to channel reaction into non-violent response. It depicts two youngsters, one black teenage boy, one Hispanic teenage girl. ''Raise your voice!'' says the girl. ''And not your hands!'' says the boy. ''We need to stand together as one, no cuffs, no guns,'' says the girl. ''Let's give violence a rest, because we can easily end up arrested,'' says the boy. ''I know your patience will be tested,'' says the girl, and then both conclude, ''but law enforcement has your back!''

This never should have happened.

This case should never have been hyped like this.

Instead of being encouraged to look at each other as individuals and fellow American citizens, our politicians and the media continue to hype racial division and strife.

Are we ever going to learn how to love one another?

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Book Club

Backing Hitler

Hey man

During the July 4th episode you guys played a clip about the LA subway and the police etc. Well in that news clip about it there is a call for more ratting on your fellow shitizen. Which I thought to be interesting because I study useless things like governments, the various institutions that make them up and how they oppress the citizens in them.

In a book by Robert Gellately called 'Backing Hitler: Consent & Coercion in Nazi Germany' he notes in Chapter 8 p.188 ".... the Gestapo side of Hitler's dictatorship was driven forward by ordinary citizens who reported their suspicions and allegations" He goes on to elaborate on this on page 201 "The evidence suggests that in Hitler's dictatorship the police thrived not only on what happened to victims before the courts, but as much and even more on the stories and myths that spread about what happened or could happen to anyone who had a brush with the police. "...P 202 " Only rarely did the neighborhood Party hacks overhear someone listening to the radio. To judge by this sample, these officials were less omnipresent than contemporaries believed. Citizens in a dictatorship often project onto such men in uniform, even the lowly block leader, far more power and influence than they actually possess or exercise. The Gestapo files show that citizens themselves were the ones who usually tipped off these officials, who then served as conduits, funneling information from the population to the Gestapo. Out of a total of 670 cases I studied closely over the last chapters the Nazi Party and its affiliations and all their members provided the telling information on 61 cases or just under 10% of them all."

With this in mind when one looks at the data on page 187 it shows that some 73% of all cases came from the people themselves. So in short I thought this would be some information worth thinking about anyways love your show.

-Denny

Tech News

Samsung pays Apple $1 Billion sending 30 trucks full of 5 cent coins

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 03:49

Thirty trucks filled with 5-cent coins pulled up to the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. Initially, the security team at Apple, who protects the tech giants facility, told the trucks that they were in the wrong place. But, just minutes later, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, received a phone call from the Samsung CEO explaining how the billion fine was being paid in the form of coins.

The funny part is that the signed document does not specify a single payment method, so Samsung is entitled to send the creators of the iPhone their billion dollars in the way they deem best.

This dirty but genius geek troll play is a new headache to Apple executives as they will need to put in long hours counting all that money, to check if it is all there and to try to deposit it crossing fingers to hope a bank will accept all the coins.

Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics, told the media that his company is not going to be intimidated by a group of ''geeks with style'' and that if they want to play dirty, they also know how to do it.

You can use your coins to buy refreshments at the little machine for life or melt the coins to make computers, that's not my problem, I already paid them and fulfilled the law.

A total of 20 billion coins, delivery hope to finish this week.

Let's see how Apple will respond to this.

Commentscomments

Flight 214

The Lowdown on Korean Pilots

Subject: the lowdown on Korean pilots

After I retired from UAL as a Standards Captain on the 400, I got a job as a simulator instructor working for Alteon (a Boeing subsidiary) at Asiana. When I first got there, I was shocked and surprised by the lack of basic piloting skills shown by most of the pilots. It is not a normal situation with normal progression from new hire, right seat, left seat taking a decade or two. One big difference is that ex-military pilots are given super-seniority and progress to the left seat much faster. Compared to the US, they also upgrade fairly rapidly because of the phenomenal growth by all Asian air carriers. By the way, after about six months at Asiana, I was moved over to KAL and found them to be identical. The only difference was the color of the uniforms and airplanes. I worked in Korea for 5 long years and although I found most of the people to be very pleasant, it’s a minefield of a work environment ... for them and for us expats.

One of the first things I learned was that the pilots kept a web-site and reported on every training session. I don’t think this was officially sanctioned by the company, but after one or two simulator periods, a database was building on me (and everyone else) that told them exactly how I ran the sessions, what to expect on checks, and what to look out for. For example; I used to open an aft cargo door at 100 knots to get them to initiate an RTO and I would brief them on it during the briefing. This was on the B-737 NG. Many of the new captains were coming off the 777 or B744 and they were used to the Master Caution System being inhibited at 80 kts. Well, for the first few days after I started that, EVERYONE rejected the takeoff. Then, all of a sudden they all “got it” and continued the takeoff (in accordance with their manuals). The word had gotten out; I figured it was an overall PLUS for the training program.

We expat instructors were forced upon them after the amount of fatal accidents (most of the them totally avoidable) over a decade began to be noticed by the outside world. They were basically given an ultimatum by the FAA, Transport Canada, and the EU to totally rebuild and rethink their training program or face being banned from the skies all over the world. They hired Boeing and Airbus to staff the training centers. KAL has one center and Asiana has another. When I was there (2003-2008) we had about 60 expats conducting training KAL and about 40 at Asiana. Most instructors were from the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand with a few stuffed in from Europe and Asia. Boeing also operated training centers in Singapore and China so they did hire some instructors from there.

This solution has only been partially successful but still faces ingrained resistance from the Koreans. I lost track of the number of highly qualified instructors I worked with who were fired because they tried to enforce “normal” standards of performance. By normal standards, I would include being able to master basic tasks like successfully shoot a visual approach with 10 knot crosswind and the weather CAVU. I am not kidding when I tell you that requiring them to shoot a visual approach struck fear in their hearts ... with good reason. Like this SFO Asiana crew, it didn’t‚ compute that you needed to be a 1000’ AGL at 3 miles and your sink rate should be 600-800 Ft/Min.

After 5 years, they finally nailed me. I still had to sign my name to their training and sometimes if I just couldn’t pass someone on a check, I had no choice but to fail them. I usually busted about 3-5 crews a year and the resistance against me built. I finally failed an extremely incompetent crew and it turned out he was the a high-ranking captain who was the Chief Line Check pilot on the fleet I was teaching on. I found out on my next monthly trip home that KAL was not going to renew my Visa. The crew I failed was given another check and continued a fly while talking about how unfair Captain Brown was.

Any of you Boeing glass-cockpit guys will know what I mean when I describe these events. I gave them a VOR approach with an 15 mile arc from the IAF. By the way, KAL dictated the profiles for all sessions and we just administered them. This captain requested two turns in holding at the IAF to get set up for the approach. When he finally got his nerve up, he requested “Radar Vectors” to final. He could have just said he was ready for the approach and I would have cleared him to the IAF and then “cleared for the approach” and he could have selected “Exit Hold” and been on his way. He was already in LNAV/VNAV PATH. So, I gave him vectors to final with a 30 degree intercept. Eah time he failed to “extend the FAF” so he couldn’t understand why it would not intercept the LNAV magenta line when he punched LNAV and VNAV. He made three approaches and three missed approaches before he figured out that his active waypoint was “Hold at XYZ.” Every time he punched LNAV, it would try to go back to the IAF ... just like it was supposed to do. Since it was a check, I was not allowed (by their own rules) to offer him any help. That was just one of about half dozen major errors I documented in his UNSAT paperwork. He also failed to put in ANY aileron on takeoff with a 30-knot direct crosswind (again, the weather was dictated by KAL).

This Asiana SFO accident makes me sick and while I am surprised there are not more, I expect that there will be many more of the same type accidents in the future unless some drastic steps are taken [to teach third world pilots basic flying]. They are already required to hire a certain percentage of expats to try to ingrain more flying expertise in them, but more likely, they will eventually be fired too. One of the best trainees I ever had was a Korean/American (he grew up and went to school in the USA) who flew C-141s in the USAF. When he got out, he moved back to Korea and got hired by KAL. I met him when I gave him some training and a check on the B-737 and of course, he breezed through the training. I give him annual PCs for a few years and he was always a good pilot. Then, he got involved with trying to start a pilots union and when they tired to enforce some sort of duty rigs on international flights, he was fired after being arrested and JAILED!

Koreans are very very bright and smart so I was puzzled by their inability to fly an airplane well. They would show up on Day 1 of training (an hour before the scheduled briefing time, in a 3-piece suit, and shined shoes) with the entire contents of the FCOM and Flight Manual totally memorized. But, putting that information to actual use was many times impossible. Crosswind landings are also an unsolvable puzzle for most of them. I never did figure it out completely, but I think I did uncover a few clues. Here is my best guess. First off, their educational system emphasizes ROTE memorization from the first day of school as little kids. As you know, that is the lowest form of learning. so they act like robots. They are also taught to NEVER challenge authority and in spite of the flight training heavily emphasizing CRM, never-challenge-authority still exists either on the surface or very subtly. You just can’t change 3000 years of culture.

The other thing that I think plays an important role is the fact that there is virtually NO civil aircraft flying in Korea. It’s actually illegal to own a Cessna-152 and just go learn to fly. Ultra-lights and Powered Hang Gliders are OK. I guess they don’t trust the people to not start WW III by flying 35 miles north of Inchon into North Korea. But, they don’t have the kids who grew up flying (and thinking for themselves) and hanging around airports. They do recruit some kids from college and send then to the US or Australia and get them their tickets. Generally, I had better experience with them than with the ex-Military pilots. This was a surprise to me as I spent years as a Naval Aviator flying fighters after getting my private in light airplanes. I would get experienced F-4, F-5, F-15, and F-16 pilots who were actually terrible pilots if they had to hand fly the airplane. It was a shock!

Finally, I’ll get off my box and talk about the total flight hours they claim. I do accept that there are a few talented and free-thinking pilots that I met and trained in Korea. Some are still in contact and I consider them friends. They were a joy! But, they were few and far between and certainly not the norm.

This is a worldwide problem involving automation and the auto-flight concept. Take one of these new first officers that got his ratings in the US or Australia and came to KAL or Asiana with 225 flight hours. In accordance with their SOP, he calls for the autopilot to be engaged at 250 feet, just after takeoff. How much actual flight time is that? Not even one minute. Then he might fly for hours on the autopilot and finally disengage it (MAYBE?) below 800‚ after the gear was down, flaps extended and on airspeed using the autothrottle. Then he might bring it in to land. Again, how much real “flight time” or real experience did he get. Minutes! Of course, on the 777 or 747, it’ the same only they get more inflated logbooks.

So, when I hear that a 10,000 hour Korean Captain was vectored in for a 17-mile final and cleared for a visual approach in CAVU weather, it raises the hair on the back of my neck.

[Steve comment: Those of you who know me recognize that I have long been critical of 1. modern “foolproof airplanes” that teach a “pilot” to work a computer rather than hand flying; and 2. third world pilots. I leave it to your own judgment about whom and what I speak.

For a perfect example, my Godfather was Mem Weir of EAL. He retired on the B707-720. In climb out, if the copilot clicked on the auto-pilot before reaching cruise, Mem would click it off and tell the copilot to let him fly it up to altitude as he felt he needed the added experience. He gave it back to the copilot at altitude. Then, same scenario upon descent. If the copilot stayed on the autopilot for descent, Mem clicked it off “for his added experience” and gave it back to the copilot for the approach. How many of you reading this flew with Mem and learned the lesson; it only took one leg to learn how Mem (and later others with whom I flew) wanted it done.]

VIDEOS

VIDEO-Marathon suspect's hearing frustrates some - Boston News, New England News, WHDH-TV 7NEWS WHDH.COM

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 12:54

BOSTON (AP) -- Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings got little satisfaction from suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's first public appearance since the deadly attacks. "Not guilty" was all he said, over and over.

The blase-looking 19-year-old, his arm in a cast and his face swollen, entered his pleas Wednesday during a seven-minute arraignment in federal court.

Bombing victims showed little reaction in the courtroom after a federal marshal warned them against any outbursts, but some made their views known afterward -- as did a group of chanting Tsaraev supporters.

"I thought that maybe he would come with a different attitude or maybe look a little different, maybe look like he cared a little bit. But he didn't show me that," said Peter Brown, whose two nephews each lost their right legs in the explosions.

Tsarnaev gave a small, lopsided smile to his two sisters upon arriving in the courtroom. He appeared to have a jaw injury and there was swelling around his left eye and cheek.

Leaning into the microphone, he told a federal judge, "Not guilty" in his Russian accent. Then he was led away in handcuffs, making a kissing gesture toward his family with his lips. One of his sisters sobbed loudly, resting her head on a woman seated next to her.

Tsarnaev, who has been hospitalized since his capture with wounds suffered in a shootout and getaway attempt, faces 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill, in connection with the April 15 twin explosions that left three people dead and more than 260 wounded. Tsarnaev also is charged in the killing of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer and the carjacking of a motorist during a getaway attempt. He could get the death penalty if prosecutors choose to pursue it.

The proceedings took place in a heavily guarded courtroom packed not only with victims and their families but with police officers, the public and the media.

The Russian immigrant and former college student looked much as he did in a photo widely circulated after his arrest, his hair curly and unkempt. Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, he appeared nonchalant, almost bored, during the hearing. The cast covered his left forearm, hand and fingers.

MIT Police Chief John DiFava, who was in the courtroom, said Tsarnaev looked "smug."

"I didn't see a lot of remorse. I didn't see a lot of regret," he said. "It just seemed to me that if I was in that position, I would have been a lot more nervous, certainly scared."

DiFava added: "I just wanted to see him. I wanted to see the person that so coldly and callously killed four people, one of whom being an officer of mine."

Authorities say Tsarnaev orchestrated the bombing along with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died following a gun battle with police several days after the attack. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested on April 19, hiding in a bloodstained boat in a suburban backyard after a manhunt that paralyzed much of the Boston area.

Tsarnaev's lawyer, Judy Clarke, an expert in death penalty cases, asked that the judge enter not-guilty pleas for him, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler said: "I would ask him to answer."

On the same day as the arraignment, Boston's police commissioner appeared on Capitol Hill and complained to a Senate panel that the Justice Department failed to share information on terrorism threats with local officials before the bombing.

"There is a gap with information sharing at a higher level while there are still opportunities to intervene in the planning of these terrorist events," Commissioner Edward F. Davis III said.

Reporters and spectators began lining up for seats in the Boston courtroom at 7:30 a.m. as a dozen Federal Protective Service officers and bomb-sniffing dogs surrounded the courthouse. Four hours before the 3:30 p.m. hearing, the defendant arrived at the courthouse in a four-vehicle motorcade.

About a dozen Tsarnaev supporters cheered as the motorcade arrived. The demonstrators yelled, "Justice for Jahar!" as Tsarnaev is known.

Lacey Buckley, 23, said she traveled from her home in Wenatchee, Wash., to attend the arraignment. She said she believes he is innocent. "I just think so many of his rights were violated. They almost murdered an unarmed kid in a boat," she said.

A group of friends who were on the high school wrestling team with Tsarnaev at Cambridge Rindge and Latin waited in line for hours, hoping to get a seat.

One of them, Hank Alvarez, said Tsarnaev was calm, peaceful and apolitical in high school.

"Just knowing him, it's hard for me to face the fact that he did it," said Alvarez, 19, of Cambridge.

Prosecutors say Tsarnaev, a Muslim, wrote about his motivations for the bombing on the inside walls and beams of the boat. He scrawled that the U.S. government was "killing our innocent civilians," and also wrote: "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."

Martin Richard, 8, Krystle Marie Campbell, 29, and Lingzi Lu, 23, were killed by the two bombs, which were fashioned out of pressure cookers, gunpowder, nails and other shrapnel. Numerous victims lost legs.

(Copyright (c) 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

VIDEO-ABC-CLIMATE-Catalyst: Extreme Weather - ABC TV Science

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Wed, 10 Jul 2013 20:41

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NARRATIONHeat waves that kill tens of thousands. Apocalyptic floods. Blizzards in the Middle East. How is it that a slightly warmer atmosphere can create weather that swings from one extreme to the next? From lazy jet streams to baking soils, in this report we explain the mechanisms behind some of the most catastrophic events of the decade.

Anja TaylorUnderstanding exactly how a warmer world drives weather wild is crucial to predicting just how bumpy a ride we're in for.

NARRATIONIn 2003, a heatwave settled over Europe. But this was no ordinary heatwave. By the time it was over, more than 40,000 people were dead.

Dr Erich FischerSo 2003 was remarkable in many aspects. It was far warmer than ever before - two to five degrees on average over the whole summer.

NARRATIONIt was likely the hottest weather event in Europe in 500 years. Yet, just seven years later, an even more intense heatwave hit Russia, setting the country on fire. Summer temperatures reached up to 13 degrees above average, and the death toll from heat stress and respiratory illness was estimated at more than 50,000.

Dr Erich FischerIt was much larger in spatial extent, so it covered almost two million square kilometres. Really, we're not that used to such extremely hot summers. So it is surprising to see a clustering of such strong events. It wasn't only the two, there were three other very warm summers within the same decade.

Anja TaylorGlobal average temperatures have only increased by 0.8 of a degree Celsius. One would think that this would just lead to slightly warmer summers. But, actually, it's greatly increasing the chances of extremely hot weather.

NARRATIONThis past year in Australia, we've seen plenty of heat. At the Bureau of Meteorology, forecasters have been watching record after record tumble.

Dr Karl BraganzaJanuary was the hottest month on record. The summer was the hottest on record. And the sea surface temperatures around Australia were the hottest on record. We had temperatures in Bass Strait, south of Melbourne and south of Adelaide, up to six degrees above average. But, in terms of heatwaves, what we find is the elevated ocean temperatures reduce the amount of cold outbreaks we get. And, particularly during April, we had a prolonged heatwave with very hot night-time temperatures, and those sustained night-time temperatures are indicative of warmer waters to the south of Australia, and that's what we saw.

NARRATIONAlthough an exceptional year, it's not outside the range of what's now considered normal. If you plot temperature records, they fall in a typical bell-curve pattern, with the majority only a small deviation from the average, and the outliers representing extreme hot or cold events. With a 0.8 degree rise in temperature, a much larger portion now sits in the warmer-than-average section, and hot to extremely hot days are far more frequent.

Dr Karl BraganzaSuddenly, you've actually doubled the frequency of those events - and, in Australia's case, up to five times an increase in the frequency of extreme heat compared to the middle of last century. And that has all sorts of implications. Just in January alone, we did about 1,600 spot-fire forecasts. That's this very detailed forecast for the firefighters. And that's the equivalent of the last several years.

NARRATIONWorldwide, heatwaves have been increasing in duration and frequency since the 1950s.

Dr Lisa AlexanderWhat we thought as kind of exceptional in the past has really started to become the norm.

NARRATIONBut even in the context of global warming, the European and Russian heatwaves are way off the charts. Is this just natural variability, or is something else happening to make temperatures soar? The Swiss Institute of Technology is a world leader in climate modelling. Here, Dr Erich Fischer has focused intensive research on the causes of the 2003 scorcher and other recent severe heatwaves in Europe.

Dr Erich FischerWhat's mainly the key factor is always the atmospheric circulations, so there needs to be a high-pressure system in place to get such an extreme heatwave.

NARRATIONBut there was something else they all had in common - dry soils.

Dr Erich FischerAll of them were actually preceded by very dry conditions in the spring. So we think that these conditions were already preconditioning the later heatwave.

NARRATIONLow rainfall in the spring months led to an early and rapid loss of soil moisture. And dry soils can be a double whammy on an evolving heatwave.

Anja TaylorWhen the sun's rays hit the land surface, a lot of their energy goes into evaporating moisture from the soil and from plants as they transpire. But when soils dry out and plants stop transpiring, the sun's energy is no longer channelled into that process. Instead, it's free to heat the surface.

NARRATIONThe result is a jump in temperatures. It was dry soils that turned the European heatwave of 2003 into a deadly scorcher.

Dr Erich FischerWith the very same conditions in the atmosphere, but wet soils rather than dry soils, the 2003 summer would have still been a very warm summer, but much less extreme, with much less devastating impacts.

NARRATIONAn early snow melt and dry soils also amplified the Russian heatwave of 2010. What's disturbing is that many regions appear to be trending to patterns of lower rainfall in winter and spring months, making those areas more prone to mega heatwaves.

Dr Erich FischerEurope and central Europe was always thought to be always humid basically. So, it was a surprise that in that event more dry conditions was actually enough to amplify the heatwave - something that usually only occurs over dry regions, such as the Mediterranean or the central US or Australia, for instance.

Anja TaylorFrom where I'm standing, heatwaves seem a long, long way away. So do dry soils. And although this summer has been the hottest on record, it's also had some torrential downpours. So how is it that it can be getting hotter, drier and wetter at the same time?

NARRATIONIt's simple physics. When air gets warmer, it can carry more water vapour - much more. So any rise in temperatures should lead to considerably more moisture being sucked from the Earth's surface. But what goes up must eventually come down.

Dr Susan WijffelsRainfall, as we all know from personal experience, is really spotty. I mean, it can be raining, you know, in your suburb, and next door not raining at all. And so that spatial sort of graininess of rainfall makes it an incredibly hard thing to measure - and, in particular, to measure over larger areas accurately.

NARRATIONTo find out if a warmer climate is cranking up the water cycle, scientists have been searching for clues in the restless, churning oceans.

Dr Susan WijffelsMost of the evaporation and most of the rainfall in the world actually cycles through the ocean surface, not through the land. Because it covers 75 percent of the Earth, most of the action's actually happening over the ocean.

NARRATIONEvery time rain falls or water evaporates from the sea, surface salinity changes.

Dr Susan WijffelsWhen we look at the ocean salinity field right now, we see this beautiful reflection of what happens in the atmosphere. So the places that are very rainy - say, the Tropics, where there's a large amount of rainfall all the time - the surface salinity field is very fresh. When we go to the parts of the atmosphere where we find deserts on land, there are desert equivalents over the ocean, where evaporation dominates, and that's where we find the surface of the ocean is very, very salty.

NARRATIONKeeping track of how salty seas change, more than 3,000 ocean robots called 'Argo floats' have been bobbing about on the global currents, beaming back data over time. The oceans are always mixing, so results are smoothed out instead of patchy like land records. Argo data and long-term records from research vessels reveal an unmistakable trend.

Dr Susan WijffelsOver the last 50 years, that contrast has gone up quite markedly. So, for instance, the Atlantic Ocean is becoming saltier and saltier and saltier. And the Pacific is becoming fresher and fresher. Essentially translates to the fact that the wet areas have become wetter and the dry areas have become drier.

NARRATIONThe big surprise is how fast the change is occurring. For every degree rise in air temperature, the water cycle is intensifying by percent. That's double the climate-model predictions.

Dr Susan WijffelsThe intensity of the storms are likely to go up, because the moisture in the atmosphere is actually the feeder energy stop that drives storms. And we expect droughts and floods to amplify as well.

NARRATIONAnd that's what's happening. These days, when it rains, it really pours. In January 2011, Toowoomba set a terrifying example of what can happen when too much water comes down too fast.

ManThe house... We are moving!

NARRATIONThe town experienced an inland tsunami as 100mm of rain fell in under an hour.

Dr Lisa AlexanderYou get very intense rainfall events in a very short period of time, like you did in Toowoomba. The soil just can't absorb that much water. And then you do start getting these very large inland flooding events.

NARRATIONBy studying over 8,000 rain gauges across the world, Australian scientists have confirmed that extreme rainfall events have also been intensifying. That means we're getting more water from a big storm than we would have 30 or 40 years ago. Around 7 percent more per degree rise in temperature.

Dr Lisa AlexanderIt surprised us all, I have to say, that we got the answer we expected. So... Because usually, in science, you don't always end up with the answer you expect. So, to sort of see this coming out consistently in the data, was... was somewhat of a surprise.

Dr Susan WijffelsWe're already starting to detect and see big changes in the extreme events. And we've only really warmed the Earth by 0.8 of a degree. If we were to warm the Earth by 3 or 4 degrees, the changes in the hydrological cycle could be near 30 percent. I mean, that's just a huge change, and it's very hard for us to imagine.

Anja TaylorWell, that explains heatwaves and floods, but it doesn't take a genius to work out that higher temperatures don't set the scene for blizzards. In marked contrast to a sweltering March last year, this year the US suffered through nailbiting cold. In fact, much of the Northern Hemisphere was buried under record-breaking snowfalls. How can global warming possibly explain that?

NARRATIONTo understand how, you need to consider the basic drivers of climate. As the sun heats the Earth unevenly, it sets up temperature gradients on many different scales. These create the winds and currents that influence weather.

Dr Karl BraganzaAll the ocean currents are driven by basically the temperature gradient between the Equator and the Pole, and it's the same in the atmosphere.

NARRATIONThe atmospheric gradient between the Tropics and the Poles creates the major westerly winds called 'jet streams'. Wind rushes down a slope from a warm, puffed up atmosphere to a cold, compressed atmosphere.

Dr Jennifer FrancisThe stronger that gradient, the stronger the force that that wind is being pulled by, if you will, and then, because the Earth is spinning, instead of flowing directly from the south to the north, it actually gets turned to the right by the spinning of the Earth.

NARRATIONThese fast-moving wavy winds encircle the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and mark the divide between cold, polar air and warm, tropical air.

Dr Jennifer FrancisThey swing north and then they swing south, and the weather that you experience is completely related to where you are relative to one of these waves.

NARRATIONBut what happens when you mess with a temperature gradient? It's a hotly debated topic, and, right now, we're running an extraordinary real-world experiment by turning up the thermostat in the Arctic.

Dr Jennifer FrancisIt's hard to get your mind around how fast the Arctic is changing. It's really mind-boggling - even to someone like me, who's been studying it for decades now.

NARRATIONThe Arctic is warming faster than anywhere on Earth, largely to do with the feedback effect of melting sea ice. White, bright ice bounces the sun's rays back into space before they have a chance to warm the surface. But when a small rise in temperatures melts some of the ice, the dark ocean below is exposed. This absorbs almost all the sun's energy, and heats up, causing more ice to melt, leading to more warming and so on.

Dr Jennifer FrancisWhat we're seeing is the Arctic sea ice disappearing at just an amazing rate. This is the ice that's floating on top of the Arctic ocean. This past summer, it was half as big as it was only 30 years ago.

NARRATIONResearch by Dr Jennifer Francis has shown that Arctic summers with a low sea ice extent leads to a gentler atmospheric gradient.

Dr Jennifer FrancisThe force that's creating those winds in the jet stream is getting weaker as well.

NARRATIONLike fast-flowing mountain rivers meander when they slowly cross the coastal plain, Jennifer predicted a weaker, slower jet stream would display a much wavier pattern.

Dr Jennifer FrancisWe were able to determine that, in fact, these waves are actually getting larger in the north-south direction, which we know through weather theory that those waves then tend to move more slowly from west to east.

NARRATIONAnd a lazy, meandering jet stream can have an extraordinary effect on weather.

Dr Jennifer FrancisA big dip south, for example, will allow that cold air from the Arctic to plunge farther south. And, conversely, if you have a big swing northward in one of what we call a 'ridge', then that allows the warm, tropical air to extend farther northward. So, in both of these cases, we tend to get more unusual weather patterns setting up.

NARRATIONThat's exactly what happened when frigid Arctic weather plunged into Europe and south-eastern US this March, bringing record snowfalls and leading many to wonder what happened to global warming. The year before, the US was caught in a jet-stream upswing. Unprecedented heat smashed over 1,000 temperature records and set the scene for a staggering drought and massive agricultural losses. This decade the Northern Hemisphere has seen some catastrophic results from a highly deformed jet stream. While a big, stagnant high settled over Russia in 2010, cold air from Siberia plunged into Pakistan, colliding with warm, wet air from the Bay of Bengal. As Russian burned, Pakistan drowned under a deluge that lasted nearly two months.

Dr Jennifer FrancisAs the jet stream takes on this wavier character, what this means is that the weather that you're experiencing in your location is going to stick around longer. It's going to feel like those weather conditions just won't give up and bring something else. It feels like it's stuck.

NARRATIONHow jet streams are being affected by a warming Arctic is still highly unpredictable, with many other interactions affecting their speed and movement. But one thing's certain - we'd better get used to wacky weather.

Dr Karl BraganzaAnd we talk about climate change in the future of 1, 2, 3 degrees - that's actually hard to imagine.

Dr Jennifer FrancisIt's going to be a difficult next few decades, I think.

Anja TaylorWhen it comes to extreme weather, the connection is pretty clear. The warmer the world, the wilder it gets. And, with the speed that emissions still enter the atmosphere, we're right on track for an unrecognisable future.

Reporter: Anja TaylorProducer: Anja TaylorResearcher: Anja TaylorCamera: Kevin May, Scott Ross, Jodi Silver, Anja Taylor, Dirk FrenkelSound: Steve Ravich, Markus Graber, Allen Freeman, Dave FraserEditor: Andrew GloverDr Erich FischerInstitute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH

Dr Karl BraganzaBureau of Meteorology

Dr Lisa AlexanderClimate Change Research Centre, UNSW

Dr Susan WijffelsMarine and Atmospheric Research, CSIRO

Professor Jennifer FrancisInstitute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University

Dr Erich Fischer Heatwave Research

Heatwaves increasing

Water cycle intensifying

Rainfall extremes intensifying

Jet stream changes linked to sea ice

Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes '' geophysical research letters

Deformed Jet stream linked to extreme Pakistan floods/Russia Fires

Frozen jet stream links Pakistan floods, Russian fires

Met office meeting about jet streams

Has global warming brought an early summer to the US?

^ top

VIDEO-RCMP makes arrests in plot to bomb B.C. legislature

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 11:17

RCMP makes arrests in plot to bomb B.C. legislature

By Kim Bolan

A Surrey man and woman have been charged after a foiled domestic terrorist plot targeting the B.C. legislature on Canada Day.

RCMP say investigators outside the legislature on Monday recovered explosive devices inside pressure cookers similar to the type of bombs used in the Boston Marathon bombings.

John Stewart Nuttall, 38 and Amanda Marie Korody, 29 are charged with knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity, possession of an explosive substance and conspiring to commit and indictable offence.

Both were arrested on Monday at 2 p.m. without incident in Abbotsford and are in custody in Surrey.

''We detected this threat early and disrupted it,'' said RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia. He said although the police believe the threat was real ''at no time was the security of the public at risk.''

The investigation began in February when the Canadian Security Intelligence Service tipped the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team about a possible terror plot, leading to the four-month investigation dubbed Project Souvenir.

Both Nuttall and Korody are Canadian born, but were inspired by al-Qaida ideology, Malizia said.

He said RCMP believe the suspects had planned to build and place explosive devices in Victoria for the purpose of causing death on Canada Day.

There is no indication of a link to the Boston bombings, say the RCMP.

RCMP Asst. Com. Wayne Rideout said that Nuttall and Korody's ''self-radicalized behaviour was intended to create maximum impact and harm to Canadian citizens at the B.C. Legislature on a National holiday.''

''They took steps to educate themselves and produced explosive devices designed to cause injury and death,'' he said.

Rideout said the RCMP used a variety of techniques to ''monitor and control'' the accused throughout their conspiracy, though he said he couldn't provide specifics now that the case is before the courts.

''The suspects were committed to acts of violence and discussed a wide variety of targets and techniques.

In order to ensure public safety, we employed a variety of complex investigative and covert techniques to control any opportunity the suspects had to commit harm,'' Rideout said.

However, like the suspects in that case, police are alleging the suspects are self-radicalized.

Nuttall, born in 1974, has a criminal record including a 2010 conviction for possessing weapon for dangerous purpose. He also has convictions for robbery, mischief and breaching probation conditions.

Victoria lawyer Tom Morino said he has represented John Nuttall in the past, and was contacted by him on Monday evening.

''He and I spoke for quite some time last night about the allegations,'' said Morino, adding he also spoke with Korody, who he said is in a relationship with Nuttall.

Standing in the shadow of the B.C. Legislature Tuesday morning, Premier Christy Clark said the province should remain strong in the face of an attempted terror attack.

''Let me say this about those who would resort to terror: You will not succeed,'' Clark told reporters.

''You will not succeed in damaging our democratic institutions. But just as importantly, you will not succeed in tearing down the values that make this country strong,'' she said.

Clark said she was alerted about the plot on Monday, not long before the two suspects were arrested.

In her comments, Clark urged people to remain vigilant, but not to let Monday's unsuccessful attack change how we live our lives.

''We will be vigilant, but instead of letting fear grip us we will go to work here in this legislature,'' she said, speaking not long before the Legislature was set to reconvene Tuesday afternoon.

''We will not let suspicion darken our hearts. Instead we will remain open hearted, depending on one another, trusting in one another and we will not be seized by anger,'' she added.

Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews applauded the work of the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation.

''Yesterday's arrests demonstrate that terrorism continues to be a real threat to Canada,'' Toews said in a statement.

''The RCMP has assured me that at no time during the course of this investigation was there an imminent risk to the safety of Canadians.''

Terrorism in Canada at a glance:

Canadians have been the targets '-- and sometimes the perpetrators '-- of terrorist attacks in the modern era. Here's a brief look at some major events:

1985

June: Air India flight 182 is blown up off the coast of Ireland, killing 331 people, mostly Canadians. One person, Inderjit Singh Reyat, a militant Sikh nationalist, is convicted for manslaughter related to the attack.

2001

September: 24 Canadians are killed in the 9/11 attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the hijacked airliner that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

2004

March: Ottawa software engineer Momin Khawaja is arrested and charged with participating in an international plot to bomb locations in London, England on behalf of Islamic extremists. He is convicted in 2008 and given a life sentence.

2006

August: Eighteen men from the Toronto area are arrested and charged with various terrorist offences including attempting to assassinate the prime minister, blow up the Peace Tower and bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange. The group is linked to al-Qaida. Eleven are eventually convicted of a number of crimes with sentences ranging from two-and-a-half years to life.

2009

October: Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana is arrested in Chicago by the FBI and charged with providing material support to the Pakistan militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. He is convicted in 2011 and in January, 2103, sentenced to 14 years in prison.

2010

August: Two Ottawa men, Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh and Misbhuddin Ahmed, and one man from London, Ont., Dr. Khurram Sher, are arrested and charged with participating in a terrorist group and conspiring to participate in acts of terror. The attacks were supposedly planned for Canada, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

2013

April: Ali Medlej and Xristos Katsiroubas, from the same high school in London, Ont., are identified as two insurgents who were killed in January during a terror attack on a gas plan in Algeria. A third friend, Aaron Yoon, is in jail in Mauritania serving a two-year sentence for terror-related offences. A fourth man from London, Mujahid Enderi, is also sought by police.

April 22: Police say they have arrested Chiheb Esseghaier, from Montreal, and Raed Jaser, from Toronto, in a terrorism plot targeting a Via Rail passenger train route. They are charged with conspiring to carry out an attack and commit murder at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group.

'-- With files from Kirsten Smith and Jonathan Fowlie, Postmedia News and The Canadian Press

VIDEO-Remembering Michael Hastings '' Reliable Sources - CNN.com Blogs

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:07

Guy MontagHere's an excerpt, ''What Burns Faster, Memories or Flames,'' from the post, ''More Lies Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth,'' at the Feral Firefighter blog:

''A woman I loved [Andi Parhamovich] was killed in Baghdad in January 2007 '' al-Qaeda in Iraq took credit for it '... The memorial service with me crying over an empty coffin.''

- Michael Hastings, ''The Operators'' (2012). . ..

''Twenty-five hundred degrees Fahrenheit, fire burns down'...''

''I find her personal writings and her diary'... I find a note that says: 'career, death card.' Another, dated January 12, says that she and I will 'take the journey home together.'''

''The men cannot get the doors open. They cannot get into the car'... The grenade doesn't make a sound when it is dropped'... The explosion. In less than a second, the gas tank will catch fire.''

''She sees her life. It all comes at once.''

''There is more noise; there is a loud noise. What is faster, sound or memories?''

''The flames are hot. It is so hot now. What burns faster, memories or flames?''

''She sees what happens. '... Her father'... holding a picture of her, inconsolable. She sees her mother shaking softly in church, looking at her face, framed in a picture. '... She watches her fianc(C)e writing with tears in his eyes.''

''It is almost over now. ''

''She sees the rest of her life. She sees the ring. She sees a pure white wedding dress and an aisle. She sees her parents and brothers and sisters and friends smiling proudly. She sees the children and the house. She sees the reunions in Ohio; she feels the warmth and hears the laughter and feels the love for her.''

''The noise continues, but she is gone.''

- Michael Hastings, ''I Lost My Love In Baghdad'' (2008). . .

'''... I didn't think I could love again. I feel very blessed and fortunate that Elise [Jorndan] would have me. The fact that she was able to get past that'--I feel pretty lucky.''

- Michael Hastings, from CNN Reliable Sources interview

VIDEO-Fox News Watch: Why Did Greenwald Expose NSA Leak Story?

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Mon, 08 Jul 2013 05:58

Fox News Watch: Why Did Greenwald Expose NSA Leak Story? 7 Jul 2013, 10:30 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 3:39 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 2:52 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 1:52 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 12:24 PM PDT 7 Jul 2013, 9:45 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 9:30 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 9:00 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 4:59 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 1:17 PM PDT 7 Jul 2013, 10:09 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 9:41 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 8:48 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 8:47 PM PDT7 Jul 2013, 8:33 PM PDT

VIDEO- REALLY? Edward Snowden: 'The US government will say I aided our enemies' '' video interview | World news | guardian.co.uk

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Glenn Greenwald on security and libertyPrevious |Next |IndexIn the second part of an exclusive interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden contemplates the reaction from the US government to his revelations of top-secret documents regarding its spying operations on domestic and foreign internet traffic, email and phone use. This interview was recorded in Hong Kong on 6 June 2013

' Watch the first part of the exclusive interview with Edward Snowden

' Read the Guardian's full NSA files coverage

Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald in Hong KongSource: Guardian USLength: 7min 07secMonday 8 July 2013Share Tweet this Email Share Autoplay settings Send to a friendSender's name

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VIDEO-"Daniel Ellsberg May Have Been Misguided But He Was Certainly Patriotic" Zbigniew Brzezinski - YouTube

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 15:58

VIDEO-how somebody behaves and how they govern-state psaki

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:46

1:24 p.m. EDT

MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Elise, welcome back from Israel.

QUESTION: Thank you, everybody.

MS. PSAKI: Good to see you here. I don't have anything at the top. I imagine what may '' oh, and Arshad's back, too. What a day. I imagine what's probably on your minds, but why don't we start there?

QUESTION: Well, let's '' just so you don't forget that we are, in fact, human beings, let's start with the condition of the Secretary's wife and whether there are any updates on that after the statement that '' since the statement that was put out in Glen's name earlier.

MS. PSAKI: There are not; and you all should have seen, and if you have not we're happy to provide to any of you, the statement that was issued by Glen Johnson just about in the last hour, which stated that after conducting tests overnight and this morning, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital determined that Mrs. Heinz Kerry is no longer in critical condition. She's undergoing further evaluation, and Secretary of State John Kerry, her son, and other family members remain with her at the hospital in Boston, as they have been since she became ill.

As you all know, Mrs. Heinz Kerry is, of course, a private citizen, though she's married to a public official, and I will not be providing updates from here on her condition. But any updates would come from Glen Johnson who is in Boston.

QUESTION: Do you know which son it is, or is that something you can't get into?

MS. PSAKI: I don't have that level of detail.

QUESTION: Okay. If any '' unless anyone has more questions on that, I'd like to move to Egypt.

QUESTION: Please.

QUESTION: Okay. So what is the Administration's thinking about what '' the developments, the situation '' the deteriorating situation on the ground in Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, we remain, of course, deeply concerned by the increasing violence across Egypt and Egypt's dangerous level of political polarization. We strongly condemn any violence as well as any incitement to violence. We express our condolences for those who have been killed and hope those who are wounded recover quickly. We call on the military to use maximum restraint responding to protesters, just as we urge all those demonstrating to do so peacefully.

And finally, during this transitional period which we are in and have been in for the last couple of days, Egypt's stability and democratic political order are, of course, at stake. Our focus is on returning stability to the region, returning that to the country, and we are hopeful that they will be able to emerge from this crisis. We know they will not be able to unless people of the country come together in a nonviolent and inclusive way.

QUESTION: So have you --

QUESTION: Do you think it might have been helpful if the Egyptian military had exercised maximum restraint last week when it ousted the democratically elected government?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, I would point you to the statement the President made just over the weekend about those steps. Of course, we remain in the same place on that, and our view is in the same place on that as is the Secretary's. But right now we're focused on the path forward. And of course this is an incredibly complex and difficult situation on the ground. You've seen, because we've read out a number of these calls, how engaged the Secretary has been, not just with officials in Egypt, but also with officials in the region who all have a stake. And that just portrays how important we think resolution is here in this case.

QUESTION: So you can't address more directly whether it would have been better for the military not to have intervened?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think the President's statement makes pretty clear what our position is on that and where our focus is here is where we can go moving forward.

QUESTION: But since then '' may I? But since then, President Morsy appears to be under house arrest, many members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained or are unaccounted for. And this seems to be part of the reason that there is all of this violence right now going on between pro-Morsy supporters and members of the opposition. So do you think, right now, the actions of the military are contributing to stability or to '' actually causing some of the chaos that's going on right now?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Elise, I mean, this is a situation where it's very volatile on the ground, there are lots of parties contributing to that volatility. We're of course paying close '' very close attention to that and are very engaged in it both on the ground and here in Washington. And we have been urging, and continue to urge both publicly and privately, the military to use maximum restraint in how they're behaving.

QUESTION: Well, but do you see the arrest of President '' the house arrest of President Morsy, other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, as exercising maximum restraint here? I mean, could you speak to '' I understand that you want to leave '' the President said at the time about what they did with deposing him, but could you speak to what they're doing right now and whether you think that's in line with what the President called for?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, this is a situation that is very fluid every single day --

QUESTION: I understand it's fluid, but I mean --

MS. PSAKI: And there's a lot of volatility on the ground, there's a lot of violence on the ground, all of which we're concerned about. Our goal here is to move all sides to a political solution, a political transition. Obviously, there are a lot of factors in that. So that's why we're in touch with all the different parties and why we'll continue to be.

QUESTION: Have you '' I'm assuming that the review as to the legal determination of what happened is not yet complete. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: That is correct.

QUESTION: Do you know, one, the State Department takes the lead in this kind of thing, correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, this is obviously the policy moving forward for Egypt and how we'll approach it.

QUESTION: I mean the legal office here takes the lead in determining whether '' making the legal determination about whether there in fact was a coup. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, they certainly play a significant role. In terms of the exact legal tick-tock, I don't have that in front of me.

QUESTION: Are the developments '' are the events that are going on right now on the ground and since the actual ouster of the President, are those being factored into the review to determine whether there was a coup?

MS. PSAKI: Certainly, the events that have happened, how things happened last week, how it's been handled since and how things will be handled moving forward are all factors being considered.

QUESTION: In the review.

MS. PSAKI: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Okay. Is it '' still, is it correct that the Administration's position is is that continued U.S. military aid '' FMF '' is in the U.S. national security interest?

MS. PSAKI: Well, that is why we have provided the aid. Of course, aid and providing that in the future is being '' is part of the review and you're very familiar, as all of you are, with the process and what it would mean if we make certain determinations.

QUESTION: Yeah, no, I understand that. I just wanted to make sure that the Administration still believes that it continuing the assistance to the Egyptian military is in '' is a U.S. national security priority.

MS. PSAKI: Well, broadly speaking, Matt, yes.

QUESTION: Yes. Okay.

MS. PSAKI: That is why we have --

QUESTION: So second --

MS. PSAKI: Let me just finish, because I think this is an important point you're raising '' is that broadly the reason we have provided this aid in the past doesn't mean we have supported even prior to this every action taken by the Government of Egypt. But there are security interests in the region; there are security interests for the United States, but I'm not going to predetermine for you. It's a wide-ranging, high-level interagency process determining the next steps on our policy for Egypt.

QUESTION: But it is also correct, after you responded, ''Yes,'' that it is '' continued aid is in the U.S. national security interests. So that's one.

Number two is a coup '' to determine a legal determination that a coup happened would require a suspension or cutoff in all non-humanitarian assistance to Egypt, including the 1.3 billion in FMF. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, because we're not there, we haven't made that determination.

QUESTION: I know, but the '' that determination would trigger a cutoff or suspension of the assistance; is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I don't want to be analyzing what the legal options are here. That is being closely looked at. There are a number of factors that are being closely looked at. I know we'll continue to talk about this in the days ahead, but I'm not going to get ahead of where we are in the process.

QUESTION: But I'm not asking you to get ahead of anything. If anything, I'm asking you just to confirm what the law says, which is that if there is a determination that a coup happened, that a democratically elected government was overthrown by unconstitutional means, that that would require a suspension or a cutoff in assistance.

QUESTION: Or a waiver.

MS. PSAKI: Well, that is '' there is a broad legal definition that is applicable in many cases, right, Matt? But we're also looking at what happened here on the ground. There are millions of people on the ground who do not think it was a coup. We factor lots of factors in. We're in the analysis process right now, and I'm not going to get ahead of where that may or may not go.

QUESTION: But why does the fact that there are a lot of people on the ground in Egypt who don't think it was a coup have any bearing on this? I mean, the determination is not being made by people on the ground in Egypt; the determination, as Matt rightly points out, is normally made by the Legal Adviser's Office at the State Department.

MS. PSAKI: And through an interagency process, Arshad, that, of course, takes a lot of factors into play here, and I just don't want to get ahead of that process and that determination.

QUESTION: But why does it make any difference what people on the ground think? I mean presumably the people who ousted the civilian, democratically elected government have a different view.

MS. PSAKI: Because taking a look at what happened on the ground is a factor in the process.

QUESTION: And is it '' one more on this one, please. Historically, it is the Legal Adviser's Office, as I have understood it, that, as Matt said, takes the lead on making that determination. If in this instance they are not taking the lead, then who ultimately will make what is a legal determination here? I mean, it's not just a policy determination; it's a legal one in response to a law. If it's not the Legal Adviser's Office, who is it? Is it the White House counsel's office? Is somebody at the Justice Department? I mean, what is the legal authority within the government that ultimately will make this call if it is not the Legal Adviser's Office?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, I wasn't implying that the Legal Office at the State Department does not have a very significant role that they play and that they are continuing to play in any case like this. There are a number of determinations that are being made about our policy moving forward in Egypt. That is happening at a very high level. So I was just conveying that that decision-making process and those conversations continue to be in place and happening now.

QUESTION: But I still don't get who makes the ultimate call on what is a legal determination. Is it the Legal Adviser? Is it the Secretary of State? Is it the President? Is it somebody else?

MS. PSAKI: Well, there are a number of factors that go into it. I will check and see if there is a specific historical, legal tick-tock of the exact order of decision-making for you.

QUESTION: Would you clarify something on ''

MS. PSAKI: Sure, Said.

QUESTION: -- something that you said? You said that you are in touch with all parties. Are you in touch with the Muslim Brotherhood? How are you in touch with them?

MS. PSAKI: We have been in touch, and that should not be at all unexpected given we are in touch with all parties in Egypt. In those conversations we have conveyed the following message '' I'm just getting to your next question here, but then you can ask another one. We urge them to engage in the political process and to support the process to full civilian government through elections that are currently '' that's the path we're asking them to move toward.

QUESTION: So you're saying --

QUESTION: Okay. But you're in touch with ''

QUESTION: -- just to clarify, so when you say that '' I'm sorry, Said. When you say that you're engaging them to accept the process towards a civilian transition of ''

MS. PSAKI: To engage in the political process.

QUESTION: So are you asking them to kind of abandon their fight to get Morsy back into power or to accept his ouster?

MS. PSAKI: That's not a determination for us to make. We're asking them to engage in the process moving forward from here.

QUESTION: But Jen, they did engage in the process ''

MS. PSAKI: They did.

QUESTION: -- and their candidate won, and now their candidate is not the winner; now their candidate is the loser, and he is the loser because he was ousted by the military. Why should they engage in the process again if they did it the first time and essentially got screwed?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I know I said this so many times people were tired of it on Wednesday in that a democratic process is not just about casting your ballot. There are other factors in terms of '' in addition to that, including how somebody behaves and how they govern, and this is a case where millions of people have spoken in the country. We are not judging that, but again, that's a real factor here.

QUESTION: Millions of people spoke when they went to the polls last '' whenever it '' a year ago and elected President Morsy. It's not his fault that the opposition couldn't get their act together and present a decent candidate or present '' I just don't understand how you can tell them with a straight face to please engage in the democratic process when they did, they won, and now their guy is gone.

MS. PSAKI: Well ''

QUESTION: Why should they '' why should they?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, because obviously ''

QUESTION: Because you say they should?

MS. PSAKI: No. That's not at all what I was going to say. Millions of people in the country have spoken and have expressed some legitimate grievances, and there is an opportunity moving forward to have folks from the Muslim Brotherhood engage in the process.

QUESTION: But millions of people participated in the democratic process before, and just because some people '' millions maybe '' were unhappy with that, they took to the streets, and it was not a democratic move that happened. So I just don't understand how the Administration expects itself to be taken seriously, by the Muslim Brotherhood in particular, when you say that you should go back and engage in a process that didn't work out for you the first time.

QUESTION: Well, a couple of things here.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Go ahead.

QUESTION: First of all, when you make this legal determination, are you '' about whether this was a coup '' so you are taking into consideration the millions of people that signed this petition and called for his '' for him to be removed from power. Is that right?

MS. PSAKI: Well, there are a number of factors that are taken in. There are very significant consequences, I think as everybody is aware, that go along with this determination, and certainly it is relevant that this is a highly charged issue for tens of millions of Egyptians who have differing views about what happened, but we are going to take the time necessary. I know it feels urgent right now; it certainly is, but these determinations take time.

QUESTION: I'm not saying '' I mean is it relevant that it's an emotionally charged issue, or is it relevant that millions of people '' 22 million if I'm correct '' signed a petition that called for him '' for the military to take him from power? I mean, is that relevant to your determination of whether this was a democratic act or not?

MS. PSAKI: Again, certainly there are lots of factors that are taken into consideration here at a very high level, and those conversations are ongoing.

QUESTION: Is that one of them though?

MS. PSAKI: Well, certainly what's happened on the ground, where we are now, and how it's handled moving forward are all factors.

QUESTION: When you are talking to the military about exercising restraint, are you urging them to release President Morsy and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood from house arrest?

MS. PSAKI: We're not taking positions on specific cases. Of course, we have been very publicly and privately expressing concern about arbitrary arrests, but beyond that, we're not taking positions on individuals. We know this will be --

QUESTION: The President of '' I mean --

MS. PSAKI: We know this will be looked into over the '' and there will be a process for doing that.

QUESTION: Can I go back to my question, please?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Who is talking to who the Muslim Brotherhood? Who are you talking to in the Muslim Brotherhood leadership?

MS. PSAKI: I'm not going to get into specifics on that, just to say that we are in touch with all parties, including representatives from the '' of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party.

QUESTION: And related to Elise's last question on the status of President Morsy, are you aware of his status, where is he, what kind of condition is he under, and so on? Are you getting any reports on his status?

MS. PSAKI: I just don't have any update on that. We have not, of course, been in touch with him, that I'm aware of, since he was arrested last week.

QUESTION: Do you call the interim leader to release him, like some of the leaders did over the weekend?

MS. PSAKI: I think I just answered that question when Elise asked it.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Why has the Secretary not called for his release?

QUESTION: Excuse me.

QUESTION: Why not?

MS. PSAKI: Because we're not taking positions on specific cases. I understand that he is '' has been the president, was the president, and that is a unique case. But again, I don't have a specific position on each case from the U.S. Government.

QUESTION: Well, but it's not on each case; it's on the case of the democratically elected president of the country. It seems to me to be odd that you would not wish to take a position when the democratically elected '' odd to say the least '' when the democratically elected president of a country is removed from power. So can you explain to me how you justify not taking a position on this specific case?

MS. PSAKI: We're just not taking a position on this specific case.

QUESTION: You just don't want to.

MS. PSAKI: We have not.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes, ma'am. A question about Brazil?

MS. PSAKI: Oh, wait, I think there's probably more on Egypt, and we'll come back to Brazil, I promise.

QUESTION: In the answer '' the first answer to Arshad's question, you said he was the democratically-elected president, he was the president. Does the mean that you no longer regard him as the person who was elected --

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, he was elected a year ago --

QUESTION: -- but he is no longer the president in your eyes?

MS. PSAKI: I think there's been '' I'm not '' I think it's been pretty clear, Matt, what's happened here on the ground.

QUESTION: So I just want to make sure --

MS. PSAKI: And we're looking --

QUESTION: -- I understand that the Administration no longer regards Mohamed Morsy as the president of Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: I'm not taking a specific position on that, Matt. I'm conveying that --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) past tense, though, which is a position.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I was conveying when he was elected. That was what I was trying to convey.

QUESTION: But when he was elected --

QUESTION: Until a week ago '' until a week ago, you recognized him as the legitimately-elected leader of Egypt. So in the interim, a coup takes place; now he's no longer the legitimate leader of Egypt? Is that what you '' can you say that clearly?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, we're '' this is a situation where we are taking a very close look at what's happened on the ground. I understand the great level of interest in this. It's only a couple of days old. There are ongoing conversations at a very high level here in the government.

QUESTION: Okay. In retrospect though, retroactively, do you consider Morsy to be '' to have been elected, perhaps, wrongly or not fairly or whatever?

MS. PSAKI: I'm not doing retrospectives. I think we spoke on the election at the time. I don't have anything new for you on that. Obviously, we're focused on where things are now and where we can go moving forward.

QUESTION: So, Jen, who's in charge in Egypt right now, then?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think, as you know, there's an interim government. There are a number of players that's being worked through. Part of the Secretary's focus over the weekend has been continuing to encourage a move towards that transitional government and towards elections, but again, it's a very fluid situation on the ground.

QUESTION: Well, there's an interim president; I don't think they've agreed on the government yet as such.

MS. PSAKI: That's true, it's still being determined for --

QUESTION: So who is the Secretary '' who is his counterpart that the Secretary can talk to within that structure?

MS. PSAKI: Well, he's been in touch with a number of officials there that we read out over the course of the weekend.

QUESTION: No, I don't '' sorry, I missed it. Who did he talk to over the weekend?

MS. PSAKI: Let's see. I mean, I'm happy to provide you of the list that we sent out broadly. He spoke with '' I mean, he was on the phone for dozens of hours, I would say, over the course of the weekend. ElBaradei he spoke with a number of times over the course '' he also spoke with leaders in the region. Obviously, as I mentioned at the top, there is a great stake for good reason from leaders like the Qataris and the Emiratis, who he spoke with. And I'll get you the rest of the list, Jo, afterwards just so you have it.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Talking about his contacts --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- I mean, I '' as much as I remember, this press release of the statement was released at the end of Saturday, and almost now 48 hours passed.

MS. PSAKI: The Secretary's statement? And the President, and the President. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Yes, and you released the first one, which was about the contacts.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Any new contacts was done yesterday or today?

MS. PSAKI: I don't have any '' he was --

QUESTION: Because this one that you mentioned was released on Saturday, so it --

MS. PSAKI: It was.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. PSAKI: It was. He was in touch with a number of those same officials yesterday as well.

QUESTION: So the other question is related to the '' to being in touch with the different parties, especially Muslim Brotherhood, and it was reported today in The New York Times that there are contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood, whatever leadership if I can say, because most of them they are under house arrest or they are not there anymore, they are hiding. What kind of contacts were done in order to '' it specifically was said in The New York Times story, to accept the reality, which is whatever is the status quo now? Can you confirm or deny this report or this activity in general?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think I just confirmed earlier that we have had officials in touch with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and I conveyed what message we're sending during those conversations.

QUESTION: Is it correct that the last conversation anyone had with Morsy from the U.S. side was the President, late Monday a week ago? Is that correct, or do you know of a new contact?

MS. PSAKI: I'd have to double-check on that, Matt. I'm not aware of another one, but I'm happy to check on that for all of you.

QUESTION: Jen, do you support an early presidential elections, or do you call for an early presidential elections in Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: Well, clearly a part of the process is the creation of the transitional government, and then, of course, elections as well.

QUESTION: Jen, are you concerned that what's going on in Egypt right now might well happen again in countries like in Tunisia, for example? Are you reaching out to the Tunisian Government and Tunisian army, for example, to '' I mean, to avoid such a situation?

MS. PSAKI: Well, clearly there is a focus on moving toward a resolution in Egypt, given the impact on stability there and stability in the region. And that's one of the reasons that we are so engaged, and the Secretary has been engaged with many different leaders in the region. I don't have any specific calls to the Government of Tunisia to read out to you.

QUESTION: Yesterday was big demonstrations in Cairo regarding not just for the support of the army, and especially for the '' what the people are considering a cooperation of Americans and Muslim Brothers to whatever kind of reality was created in the last year or so, almost a year. So do you have anything to say about that? Because it was big signs of the President and Morsy together, and Patterson was part of it, and all these things.

MS. PSAKI: Just to say that any notion that we have taken sides in this and that we are siding with one side or the other is incorrect.

QUESTION: Jen?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I know you ordered the evacuation of nonessential personnel.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Could you tell us who remains in Cairo? Is the Ambassador still there? And then roughly how many staff you still have at the Embassy?

MS. PSAKI: The Ambassador is. I'd have to get you an update on the specific number of staff or how we're characterizing that. Happy to do that.

QUESTION: Have you talked to Ankara regarding Egypt over the weekend? It seems that the Turkish leaders are pretty upset that the Western world have not called coup what happened in Egypt.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I'm not going to comment specifically on the comments of the Turkish leaders. But I can tell you that the Secretary has been in touch on multiple occasions with Foreign Minister Davutoglu over the course of the weekend about the events in Egypt.

QUESTION: How will this affect your relationship with the '' I mean, the neighbor countries in terms of this disappointment by your allies, especially Turkey, actually? Because the Prime Minister is accusing the Western world in this, especially U.S.A. not characterizing this incident as a coup. How your relationship will be affected from this?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, we are clearly going through the process of making our own determination, and I don't want to get ahead of that. We have been in close contact, as I mentioned the Secretary has been, with the Foreign Minister over the weekend. As you know, they have a very close working relationship on a number of issues, and they had many conversations about Egypt. But I don't want to speak for any other country, but it's clear that there are many countries in the region who have a stake in the stability of Egypt, and that's what our focus is on as well.

QUESTION: And about the perception of '' among some Egyptians about this ''Mother America'' story which appeared on New York Times, I mean, the involvement '' about the U.S. involvement on this incident and '' et cetera --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- but how did public diplomacy of U.S. with the Egyptians will be affected from in near future after this incident?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we just have to keep conveying what's accurate, which is that we're on the side of the Egyptian people. We're not taking sides, but we are in touch with all parties and our interest is in moving towards a stable Egypt, and that's why we're so engaged.

QUESTION: Do you have anything to say about this perception within Egyptians about the U.S. involvement? I mean, is it fair, or how do you see it?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we're just working to convey what is accurate.

QUESTION: How would you respond to people who would say that by insisting that you're not taking sides in this, that you in fact are taking a side because you're not sticking up for the person who was elected, who you recognized as a democratically elected president of a country?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think it's not as simple as that, and not as black-and-white as that '' I'm responding to your question '' and that there were millions of people who have expressed legitimate grievances. There have been steps that have been taken by others as well that we haven't been supportive of, including some by the military. And so we aren't taking sides because we don't think that is in the interests of Egypt and the interest of moving this process forward toward stability.

QUESTION: Right. But generally, when there are people who are unhappy, and however many the numbers are, in a country, the United States would say, well, you can get involved politically, and if you're unhappy with your leadership, you change it at the ballot box. Is that not correct?

In this case, did you think the situation was so bad that you could actually come to consider condoning a military coup?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, Matt, we're not condoning anything here.

QUESTION: By not taking a position --

MS. PSAKI: We haven't even made decision about what --

QUESTION: -- you are condoning it in the interim.

MS. PSAKI: -- has taken place.

QUESTION: You do recognize that, right?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: By having no opinion, you are in essence saying that nothing was wrong, that this wasn't '' you do get that, that's what people look at it --

MS. PSAKI: I would disagree with Matt '' what I would '' with you, Matt, on that. What I would say is that each circumstance is different. You can't compare what's happening in Egypt with what's happened in every other country, and that's how we're handling this situation.

QUESTION: Jen? You said that you support an early election. Does this mean that you don't recognize Morsy as the Egyptian president anymore?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I think I've been pretty clear about the steps that were taken. There have been steps that have been taken in Egypt. We're doing our own evaluation of what's happened on the ground, and I'm certain we'll continue to discuss that.

QUESTION: But you're not doing anything about U.S. aid right now; U.S. aid to Egypt continues?

MS. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: So just now you said you're not taking sides because you don't think that's in the interests of Egypt and Egyptians. Exactly why? Do you fear that it's going to inflame tensions even further if you do, or --

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don't think we see the benefit of inserting the U.S. view in a situation that continues to be volatile. We want to play a role in helping to move towards stability, and that's where our focus is.

QUESTION: But, like, what '' but by doing what, though? I mean, you're not calling either side out on their actions that you would consider either excessive, undemocratic, violent, so --

MS. PSAKI: I think we've called all sides to reduce violence --

QUESTION: You just urge '' to urge restraint.

MS. PSAKI: We've called all sides to increase restraint. This is a case where the situation is unfolding on the ground. And what we're doing is we are in touch with close partners in the region, we're in close touch with officials in Egypt, we are making our own determinations, but obviously, there are a lot of factors that go into that. So we have a very high level of engagement here. But our focus is on encouraging stability, reducing violence, and moving toward that.

QUESTION: Jen. One last thing. I want to ask you about the current president --

MS. PSAKI: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- the temporary president of Egypt, Adly Mansour. Do you consider him to be the legitimate leader of Egypt currently?

MS. PSAKI: He's the interim, as you know. Beyond that, I don't have a further definition for you. Obviously, they'll be '' our hope is that there are elections.

QUESTION: So I just '' will you let us know when the heat from the flames of the burning hoops that you're jumping through to avoid taking a position on this get too hot, or will that just be obvious from what you're saying at the podium?

MS. PSAKI: Matt, if you're having a good time today, I'll be back here tomorrow. We'll do this again.

QUESTION: Syria?

QUESTION: Sorry, more on Egypt.

MS. PSAKI: Let's just see if there's any more Egypt. Dana?

QUESTION: I just want to be clear. So part of the legal definition of a coup is whether people on the ground were in support of the ouster of a president?

MS. PSAKI: I was not defining that as a legal definition as much as a factor that is being discussed and considered in our policy moving forward in Egypt.

QUESTION: I mean, I know you said you can't compare other situations, but, like, for example, in 2010, there was a coup in Niger, and a week before, tens of thousands of people protested, U.S. had already even suspended aid to Niger because they found the president to be dictatorial. And yet when the military did take over, the very next day the State Department came out and said '' called it a coup.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think that just further illustrates the fact that each circumstance is different. We're going to take the time to make an evaluation here. There are a number of factors that impact our policy moving forward. Of course, the legal implications and the legal requirements are a part of that, and those are all being discussed.

QUESTION: Could you '' do you think that you could provide us with some talking points or some of the actual standards that determine whether something is '' a situation is labeled a coup or not? Are there '' is there like a list? Are there standards that are held to as this determination is being made? Is that something you can provide to us?

MS. PSAKI: If there is a legal definition to provide, I'm happy to provide that. I will see what we have.

QUESTION: Yeah, I think there is (inaudible). I mean, it's well defined. You can find it.

MS. PSAKI: Said, are you a lawyer on the side? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, I'm not. I'm just saying '' (laughter).

QUESTION: Senator McCain just issued a statement saying that while he understood that this was done with the acquiescence of millions of Egyptians, that he can only conclude that this was a coup in which the military played a decisive role and that current U.S. law is very clear about the implications of foreign aid, and he calls for a withdrawal of U.S. aid.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I know that a number of elected officials, including Senator McCain and many yesterday, have spoken out about their views, and that is certainly to be expected. But we're making our own determination and we're going to take the time to do that.

QUESTION: And you have no comment on the African Union suspending Egypt for what they're calling a coup either?

MS. PSAKI: I don't.

QUESTION: Change subjects?

MS. PSAKI: Any more on Egypt?

QUESTION: Let me just --

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Is it your view that the law on suspending aid if the legal determination of coup is made '' of a coup is made is able to be interpreted, that it can be '' sorry, interpreted is not the right word '' that there '' it is open to interpretation?

MS. PSAKI: Well, the --

QUESTION: That if a '' that it is possible under the law that if a democratically elected president is removed by a military in an unconstitutional manner, it might not meet the standard, the legal standard, of --

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, let me just be very clear --

QUESTION: I just --

MS. PSAKI: -- that our focus is absolutely on abiding by the law. That is being analyzed and looked at right now. There are also a number of other factors that go into our policy related to Egypt, so I didn't want to do one without the other.

QUESTION: All right, okay. So that just leads me to believe that you're not particularly '' in this case, and you say it's a case-by-case basis '' but in this case, you're not particularly interested in interpreting the law as it is written; you're interested in trying to find a way to skirt the requirements of the law that --

MS. PSAKI: I think the Legal Office is certainly determining and analyzing the law as it is written, Matt.

QUESTION: Right. So you'll let us know when those hoops (inaudible) --

MS. PSAKI: But I'm not going to get ahead of their own analysis, and I'm not a lawyer and I'm not aware that you are either, but you never know.

Do we have any more on Egypt? Okay.

QUESTION: Can I ask a question about Brazil?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Could you confirm whether, with or without the consent or an agreement with the Brazilian Government, the United States Government has maintained a database of monitoring or a monitoring center in Brasilia or have ever collected data at the Embassy of Brazil in Washington or at the Embassy of Brazil in the United Nations using physical devices installed in computers and using software such as Highlands, Vagrant, and Lifesaver?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as has been our policy, we're not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity. As a matter of policy, we have been clear that the United States does gather foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations. I can tell you that we have spoken with Brazilian officials regarding these allegations. We plan to continue our dialogue with the Brazilians through normal diplomatic channels, but those are conversations that, of course, we would keep private.

QUESTION: To clarify, the physical presence of devices of the United States in consulates or embassies of Brazil anywhere in the world, can you confirm that existence or not?

MS. PSAKI: I do not have anything more for you on that.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Can I have a follow-up on Latin America --

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: -- and Mr. Snowden --

QUESTION: No, no. Still Brazil?

MS. PSAKI: Okay, go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes, yes. I wonder regarding the reaction of Brazilian officials, among them the Minister of Foreign Relations Antonio Patriota, I wanted to know how much this issue can contaminate the visit of President Dilma Rousseff to United States in October.

MS. PSAKI: Well, clearly, as I mentioned, we've been already in touch with Brazilian authorities regarding these allegations and we're planning to continue that dialogue. We work with Brazil on a wide range of issues and we are hopeful that we can continue to discuss and resolve through normal diplomatic conversations.

QUESTION: Who's in this side of the diplomatic channel in the U.S. side? Who is talking to the Brazilian Government? Can you tell us?

MS. PSAKI: I don't have any specific readout of officials for '' on that for you.

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry has talked with Minister Antonio Patriota or --

MS. PSAKI: Not that I'm aware of in recent days. I'm happy to check on that for you and see if there has been a call I'm just not aware of.

QUESTION: Is that the first time that the United States have faced these sort of queries from Brazil, these sort of clarifying requests from Brazil?

MS. PSAKI: I'd leave that to you to determine historically if this has been an issue in the past. But obviously, this is a unique case. We all know the history here. We're in close contact and we'll continue those conversations.

QUESTION: Since 2001, has Brazil agreed to collaborate with United States in data mining or data reporting?

MS. PSAKI: I just don't have anything more on this for you.

QUESTION: Jen, is that (inaudible) Turkish Government --

MS. PSAKI: Hold on, let's finish on Brazil and then we can go to you next, if that's okay.

QUESTION: Actually, it's on Venezuela.

MS. PSAKI: Oh, okay.

QUESTION: Okay. It is regarding Mr. Snowden, as you probably are aware that Mr. Snowden has been granted asylum. Venezuela has granted asylum to Mr. Snowden among two other countries in Latin America. I was wondering if you have any reaction on that or if this is going to have any impact considering that the U.S. and Venezuela are trying to work on their bilateral relation.

MS. PSAKI: So let me say first that, of course, as in all of our communications with foreign governments regarding Mr. Snowden, we have advised the Government of Venezuela of the felony charges against him and urged that he should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel other than as necessary to return him to the United States. We've had our differences with Venezuela on some issues, but we've also been able to work together on some. And this is a case where, as someone who's facing felony charges, we're hopeful that any government involved would take that into account and support his return to the United States.

As you know, this is all, at this point, a hypothetical given he still remains in the transit room, if that's the right term, in the airport in Moscow.

QUESTION: Is it your determination that in order for him '' that he is physically unable to make it from Russia to Venezuela or Bolivia or one of those countries without transit '' without having to refuel through a third country that wouldn't necessarily provide him with '' that wouldn't agree not to '' would agree to extradite him?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it's speculating a few steps down the path here, because obviously we know that he would need to transfer somewhere out of there. We've been very clear to governments across the board of our desire to have Mr. Snowden returned to the United States. I don't think there's any secret of that. In terms of the paths or steps, I mean, you'd have to either look at the airport maps or talk to the various governments that could be the options.

QUESTION: So where do things stand right now in terms of '' is your '' kind of '' I know you're casting a wide net in countries not to admit him or to extradite him and not to give him asylum, but, like, where is kind of the frontline of your diplomacy right now in this? This is with Russia, to try and urge them to send him back or --

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don't want to get into too many levels of specifics here, but obviously we have been in touch with a wide range of officials. It's no secret where he is located now. We agree with the comments of President Putin last week that we wouldn't want this to impact our relationship. We certainly feel that anyone '' any country granting asylum to Mr. Snowden would create grave difficulties in our bilateral relationship, and that's a message that we've conveyed publicly and, of course, privately in conversations as well.

QUESTION: Jen --

QUESTION: Specifically on Venezuela, you said we've had our disagreements with Venezuela, but we have been able to cooperate on some issues. Is that what you said?

MS. PSAKI: I did.

QUESTION: Can you name one issue since the election of Chavez that the United States and Venezuela have cooperated on?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think I was making a broad point there and making a point about the fact that the Secretary also --

QUESTION: In other words, no.

MS. PSAKI: Let me finish. The Secretary also had a meeting, as you know, with the Foreign Minister that was a potential opening. We're not getting ahead of where we are, but of course we would look closely and it would certainly impact our bilateral relationship if any country, including Venezuela, were to grant him asylum.

QUESTION: Right, right. No, no. I just want to '' so you would point to the meeting that happened in Guatemala as a sign of cooperation, as one of the few areas of cooperation between Venezuela and the United States since President Chavez was elected. I realize this is now President Maduro.

MS. PSAKI: Yes.

QUESTION: But I'm asking you if you can '' you would say that that's evidence of cooperation, a meeting?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think what we're looking to do --

QUESTION: Can you name --

MS. PSAKI: -- is re-step our relationship here. That's where we're hoping to go.

QUESTION: Right. And this would be a problem?

MS. PSAKI: This would be a problem. Absolutely.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Jen, can I ask '' Kommersant Daily in Russia has reported today that '' quoting State Department sources '' that the Putin administration has been told that if this is not resolved by September, this could threaten a potential state visit by President Obama.

MS. PSAKI: I believe the White House disputed that this weekend. I would point you to them for any specific comment on that.

QUESTION: I don't think they did, because my White House colleague said that he wasn't getting any information from the White House about this.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would point you to them for any comment on that specifically.

QUESTION: But, I mean, is the State Department '' is there any knowledge at the State Department that this would be the case?

MS. PSAKI: None that I'm aware of.

QUESTION: Can I make a follow-up on what you said regarding that you have told Venezuela about the inconvenience of granted asylum to Mr. Snowden?

MS. PSAKI: And just to be clear, it's not '' it's broadly any country where he could move through transit --

QUESTION: It's not specifically to Venezuela, so you have --

MS. PSAKI: It is any country where he may be moving in transit, where he could end up, and certainly any country that were to grant asylum, that could have an impact, of course, on our bilateral relationship.

QUESTION: But you haven't been in touch with Venezuela or with any government official in that regard?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I know we've communicated that publicly. I'm not aware of the most recent private calls or private conversations.

QUESTION: Because I wanted to know if it's with the new person, the charge d'affaires, who is coming to Washington. Did you make that specific request to him, or --

MS. PSAKI: I'd have to check on the channel for you and see if that's something we can share more details on.

QUESTION: On that, do you know if there's been a second meeting between Roberta Jacobson and Venezuelans?

MS. PSAKI: I --

QUESTION: Has the rapprochement gone beyond --

MS. PSAKI: Sure, Matt. I'm not aware. I'd have to check on that for you as well.

QUESTION: If I could follow up on the question of the '' Mr. Snowden. There seems to be an indication that the Russian Government has given its blessing to his going to Venezuela. Will there be an effort by the United States and its allies to deny passage to any airplane that will carry him there?

MS. PSAKI: I'm not going to speak to that. Of course, our position here is very clear. I don't think there's any secret that we would like to see him returned. We've communicated that publicly and privately to any area where he may be stopping in transit, any area where he could possibly end up. So it's hard for me to see where there would be anybody who'd be confused about where we stand.

QUESTION: So you're just '' so just to put a fine point on it, you will '' you don't want to characterize the lengths that the United States Government would go to to prevent Mr. Snowden from going to a '' to get asylum in Venezuela or any other country.

MS. PSAKI: I'm not going to speculate on that. I'm not going to speculate on that. It's purely a hypothetical.

QUESTION: But you could see though where leaders feel that you're '' especially in Latin America, when you see what happened with the President of Bolivia's plane and all the speculation that the U.S. was involved in getting '' being '' forcing it to land and being checked for whether he was on it '' you can see where the leaders of particularly Latin America think you're taking extraordinary measures.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don't think any of that, Elise, has been validated or confirmed out there, in terms of the sources of that or the reasons for it, and I would refer you to any of those countries to speak to that. But beyond that, this is an individual who has been accused of three felony charges, who's been accused of leaking classified information. We've been clear we would like to see him returned, and I don't think it should come as a surprise that if he were granted asylum that would impact our bilateral relationship.

QUESTION: So does this issue of Mr. Snowden kind of supersede all other interests that you have with any of these countries?

MS. PSAKI: Certainly not. Certainly not. This is an issue where, again, we've been very clear where we stand. But we work with all of these countries on a range of different issues. It's different from country to country. But the Secretary met with Foreign Minister Lavrov, as you know, just maybe ten days ago, and this was an issue that was discussed briefly. But the thrust of their conversation was on Syria.

QUESTION: I think it was less than ten days ago.

MS. PSAKI: Was it less than? Maybe it's just time is taking longer than I thought. So that is a good example. But there are countless examples, country by country, on all the issues we work together on.

QUESTION: Does the U.S. condemn explicitly that what happened with the Bolivian President? Because tomorrow is going to be a meeting to this at the OAS to this (inaudible) specifically what happened with the Bolivian President. So what will be the U.S. position on that?

MS. PSAKI: I would just refer you to any of the countries there who were involved ''France, Spain, Italy, Portugal '' for any further comment on that.

QUESTION: There's been a report that Snowden has obtained a second passport. Have you heard about this?

MS. PSAKI: I don't have anything on that for you. I haven't actually heard that.

QUESTION: Is there concern by the State Department that the question of Snowden here is providing, as Chairman Rogers and Senator Menendez said, a way for the Latin American nations to get back at the United States because of its supposedly mining of information in Latin America?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I think you'd have to speak to any of these individual countries. But we have broad bilateral relationships with a number of these countries. We hope that will continue. We hope to work with them on a range of issues, and our focus here is not targeted at any one country, it's targeted at having Mr. Snowden return to the United States.

QUESTION: Do you deny though that you urged any of those countries to kind of deny airspace to the President of Bolivia's plane in order to check the plane?

MS. PSAKI: We just haven't had any specific comment on that, Elise, and we're referred everybody to the specific countries for more details.

QUESTION: Jen, I mean, the Turkish Government has request an explanation for these eavesdropping allegations. Do you have anything to share with us on it?

MS. PSAKI: Just that we've been in touch bilaterally with any country that raises an issue. I mentioned that the Secretary has been in touch with Foreign Minister Davutoglu. They speak quite frequently, as you know, about a range of issues '' Egypt, Syria. I'm not aware of whether this has come up or not in any recent conversations; I would refer you to them. But certainly we take up this issue as it's brought up, we enjoy important relationships on a range of issues, including sharing of information with a number of countries, and we'll continue those conversations diplomatically.

QUESTION: Turkey?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: The protests are going on in Turkey as of this weekend, even today. And my first question is: What is your understanding, current understanding? I know that you have been in contact with the Turkish administration. The second is that a few weeks ago, you said that you had full confidence, I believe, in Turkish authorities to go on with the investigations against '' about police brutality. Do you have any update? Did you receive an update from Turkey at least?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, we have been following this very closely for a number of weeks. We've talked about it quite a bit in here; we continue to. We've called on all parties, and I'll call on them again, to ease tensions and resolve the situation through dialogue, and we urge all sides to exercise restraint and avoid violence. I don't have any other update. As you mentioned, they'll be looking into various incidents that have happened over the course of the last several weeks, but I would refer you to the Government of Turkey for any update on that.

QUESTION: U.S.-China?

MS. PSAKI: Sure, China. Mm-hmm. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Do you have any readout on U.S.-China working group on cybersecurity? I think it's being held today.

MS. PSAKI: It is. You're right, it is being held today. And let me just take this opportunity to remind everybody that today is the first civilian-military cyber working group meeting. The representative from the United States is '' it is being led, I should say, by State Department Coordinator for Cyber Issues Christopher Painter '' he's chairing the working group '' and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Eric Rosenbach will be the Defense Department lead. This is a working group that was announced back in April, when the Secretary was in Beijing, and this first meeting we're hopeful will enable the two sides to share perspectives on international laws and norms in cyberspace, raise concerns as needed, develop processes for future cooperation, and set the tone for future constructive and cooperative bilateral dialogues. I expect there'll be more of a readout as the meetings conclude later this afternoon.

QUESTION: I just want to check on that. When you say that you're hoping that they'll be able to come up with or to share perspectives on international laws and norms on cybersecurity and that kind of thing, your position would be that the United States respects all international laws and norms when it comes to cybersecurity and protection of private information, correct?

MS. PSAKI: I do, Matt.

QUESTION: You do.

MS. PSAKI: I'm not sure where you're going with this, but I'm interested to see.

QUESTION: I just want to see how much you can '' I --

MS. PSAKI: I think we've been very clear in expressing our concern.

QUESTION: So you believe that any --

MS. PSAKI: China has expressed their own concerns.

MS. PSAKI: You believe that any U.S. Government programs that deal with cyber '' computers, cyber information '' comply with existing international laws and regulations and they fit the norm, the international norms. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Yes, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay. Everything the U.S. Government has done with respect to computers and cybersecurity is legal under international law? You would say the Administration believes that?

MS. PSAKI: Matt, do you have any specific program questions or specific --

MS. PSAKI: That's '' yes. Well, no, I just wanted to know that the Administration's position is that it has respected all relevant international laws and norms when it comes to computer security and cybersecurity.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think we've differentiated '' this is a relevant point here, as you look at me '' we've differentiated here between our concerns we've had about steps taken by China as it relates to economic data, data threatening infrastructure. That's a concern I'm certain will be raised during these meetings, and that's the purpose of the cyber working group.

QUESTION: Okay. But you, the Administration, does not believe that it has violated laws or '' international laws or norms as it relates to cybersecurity with this data mining that's been going on?

MS. PSAKI: I'm not going to speak to all of our different programs, Matt, but I'm not aware of any violation.

QUESTION: The Administration is not '' your position is that the Administration is not breaking any international laws when it comes to computer security. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: I have --

QUESTION: From the --

QUESTION: -- U.S.-China?

MS. PSAKI: Okay. Go ahead. One more on U.S.-China.

QUESTION: Could you characterize that meeting more? Are you going to figure out some rules or, I mean, just exchange view '' both viewpoint of the cyber issue? Or --

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, as I mentioned at the end there, there's going to be more of a readout. I know we're going to be doing a backgrounder later this afternoon on the S&ED meetings, and I expect a readout of the working group meetings today will be a part of that, and they can give you more of an overview and understanding of what was discussed and where they landed.

QUESTION: Is that just a one day, today? The working group just meets for one day, or are they meeting for over --

MS. PSAKI: I believe it's today, focused on today. Of course, this is an issue that '' which will be continued to be discussed.

QUESTION: But how about tomorrow? Tomorrow, I think you have also the security dialogue between U.S. and China. Cyber issue going to be a topic?

MS. PSAKI: It is one of the issues I'm certain will be in docket of issues discussed.

QUESTION: Jen, can I just ask, obviously, understandably, the Secretary is with his wife at the moment. Has any determination been made yet who will lead the main U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue if he's unable to be in Washington?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we're making determinations as it relates to his schedule kind of day by day here. We haven't made any determinations that have changed his schedule yet for later this week. If we do, we will, of course, communicate that with all of you as well as what would happen in his place. But that's ahead of where we are currently.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

QUESTION: Can we change topics?

QUESTION: Just on more on China.

QUESTION: Go onto Syria?

MS. PSAKI: Oh, one more on China. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes. Is that correct, Snowden's allegation on the U.S. hacks on Chinese computer is going to complicate your cyber dialogue with China?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, I'm not going to validate the range of accusations being made by Mr. Snowden. I will say that, of course, this is an open conversation and the U.S. will raise our own concerns, and certainly I would send you to the Chinese for them to talk about what their concerns may be.

QUESTION: Can we go to Syria?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the election of Mr. Jarba to head of the National Coalition?

MS. PSAKI: I do.

QUESTION: Syrian National Coalition?

MS. PSAKI: And I believe we put something out yesterday too, but let me reiterate that here.

QUESTION: That's just '' you're just going to repeat what you said yesterday?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I'm sure we'll have a dialogue here with questions, but I may start there. We welcome the July 6th election of Syrian Coalition President Jarba and look forward to working with him and with his team. We hope to make progress together to prevent the total collapse of Syria into chaos, and the rebuilding '' push to rebuild the social fabric, and we look to him and the new leaders to reach out to all Syrian communities and bring greater unity of purpose and further organization to the coalition as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.

QUESTION: Are you aware of Mr. Jarba's reputation as an obstinate and a hardliner, who is not even liked by other members of the opposition?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, he is somebody who has been elected by the opposition. We're going to be working with him and we're eager to do that.

QUESTION: And do you believe --

QUESTION: Do you have a comment on the resignation of the Prime Minister, though, Ghassan Hitto, which came almost directly afterwards?

MS. PSAKI: I don't have anything specific for you on that. I know I saw the reports as well. Obviously there's been a transition in the leadership, or they're going through a transition in the leadership, I should say, of the opposition. So --

QUESTION: Is this going to hinder the efforts, America's efforts to work with the opposition towards a cohesive body which can then go into some kind of negotiation in Geneva?

MS. PSAKI: I don't '' we don't expect that it will. Obviously, the election of the coalition president was an important step forward. Obviously, there's more that needs to do '' they need to do, but we felt that was an important step and is a positive sign.

QUESTION: You made a very strong statement --

QUESTION: So you said you're going to work with them to help '' or to prevent the collapse of Syria into total chaos? Exactly where do you think Syria is now? Is it '' it's not total chaos? You think it's '' it could go that way?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, we've been very clear about our concerns about what's happening on the ground in Syria.

QUESTION: You would not describe --

MS. PSAKI: We're hopeful that they will --

QUESTION: -- it as total chaos now? It's still --

MS. PSAKI: We are hopeful that the new coalition president and the rest of the leadership will be partners working with us in moving towards a transition.

QUESTION: Sorry, Jen, but I just want '' are you aware of his statement against any negotiation with the regime? Mr. Jarba?

MS. PSAKI: We have seen that statement, of course, and our objective, as you know, is, of course, to move towards a political solution and a political transition in resolving this crisis. We've talked a bit in here about the number of factors that will go into bringing all sides to the table. And since the ground game is, of course, among '' the ground situation, I should say, is among the factors that will guide the opposition's participation in the Geneva conference, which they are a key participant, we will continue to consult closely with them and with others in determining the best time to have the conference. So yes, of course, we've seen the comments and we're going to continue to discuss and work with them.

QUESTION: I have a new topic.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: On Syria?

QUESTION: Sure.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Also, similarly, I wondered if you'd seen the reports that the Baath parties had some kind of reorganization and ousted Farouk al-Sharaa from the Baath Party leadership, although he's staying as vice president. He seems to be one of the few, if not the only person within the Baath party that had been calling for some kind of political resolution to the conflict. Again, the same question, I guess: Is this going to hinder your attempts to build some kind of reconciliation between the two sides?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we have, of course, seen the reports of the cabinet reshuffle in the Baath -- ruling Baath Party. We '' as we've said many times before, we don't recognize the legitimacy of Assad, the legitimacy of his regime. We continue to ask him to step aside, but we know that we need to find a way to work with all parties to get back to the table.

So I wouldn't draw a connection between the reshuffle and our ability to do that. There are a number of factors, including the ability of the opposition to feel comfortable coming to the table, coming to Geneva, the ground situation determining what participants are the most productive, and as well as the agenda that will actually move things forward.

QUESTION: But I guess if he was one of the lone voices who was talking about a political reconciliation or a political solution to the conflict, and he's now out of the picture, that means that you're going to have a more hardline, if it's possible, leadership to deal with in Damascus.

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, we're not quite at that point yet because we're still determining when we could have a conference, how we can bring both sides together. Obviously, the Russians are our partner in this. And we will see where this goes and how it impacts things in the days and weeks ahead.

QUESTION: On Syria.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Just two questions.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: There are recent claims again around Homs --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that there are new chemical weapon attacks. Would you be able to confirm that?

MS. PSAKI: I can't confirm it. We have, of course, seen news reports and ground updates from opposition context '' contacts detailing the possible use of chemical weapons. We are still seeking more information and unfortunately don't have any independent confirmation at this time.

QUESTION: So it has been about six weeks now that the U.S. Government officially declared that the redline has been crossed.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And then the President Obama long time ago said that that would be the game-changer. Where is that game-changer step that the U.S. Government is supposed to take?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think if you remember at the time, just a couple of weeks ago, we did make an announcement that we had changed the scale and scope of our aid '' I still am not in a position to detail exactly what that means '' and that the Administration, high levels of the Administration, which includes, of course, the President and the Secretary of State, the national security team, all are considering additional options, all options aside from boots on the ground. So both of those steps have been in play, including expanding the scale and scope and continuing to consider additional options.

QUESTION: So Syrians '' you can assure the Syrians that the game-changing step is on its way? It's coming?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think we've made steps to provide additional kinds of aid. I don't have any further detail on that for you.

QUESTION: So you are saying that you already took the game-changing step? I cannot figure out --

MS. PSAKI: We announced that at the time. I don't have any new update for you on any new decisions that have been made.

QUESTION: So you've announced, but you did not take the step?

MS. PSAKI: I don't have any new additional updates on the timing or status.

QUESTION: But my question is --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You announced but you did not take the step? I'm trying to understand.

MS. PSAKI: Again, I don't have any new update for you on the status. I still am not in a position to discuss specifics on that front.

QUESTION: Can I change topic, Guyana? It's been reported that a U.S. Embassy official has been removed for allegedly being involved in a sex-for-visa scandal. Does the State Department have a comment on that?

MS. PSAKI: I think I do have something. Just give me a moment here. Well, we are aware of the allegations of improprieties relating to a consular officer formerly assigned to Georgetown, Guyana. This Department takes all allegations of misconduct by employees seriously. We are reviewing the matter thoroughly. If the allegations are substantiated, we will work with the relevant authorities to hold anyone involved accountable.

QUESTION: So is he '' he's back here in Washington now?

MS. PSAKI: I don't have an update on their location.

Elise.

QUESTION: The report also says that this gentleman is currently been suspended, or has been relieved of his actual duties while this matter has been investigated.

MS. PSAKI: I don't have any further update on it for all of you. I'm happy to check on that and see if there's anything else --

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. PSAKI: -- that I'm able to provide.

QUESTION: ''Recently withdrawn from normal duties pending completion of an official investigation.''

MS. PSAKI: Okay. I'm happy to check on that.

Catherine.

QUESTION: New topic?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Pakistan. They compiled a report and did a report, some 300 page report, the Abbottabad Commission about the OBL raid and the aftermath and how he could have been in the country for so long. Was the report shared with the United States at any point? Or do you have a comment on it? It also called the unilateral military action an act of war.

MS. PSAKI: I'd have to check on that for you. I've seen, of course, the reports, but I just don't have anything new or any further comment on it.

Arshad.

QUESTION: A small one on Singapore. Back in May, the Singaporean authorities announced plans for new regulation of Internet --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- news websites. Today, a group of U.S.-based internet companies '' Facebook, eBay, Yahoo, and Google '' essentially criticized that decision. Does the U.S. Government have any position on those regulations, and in particular on the one that I believe would require websites to take down any story '' news story which the Singaporean Government deemed to be unacceptable within 24 hours?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Well, we are deeply concerned by the new restrictive Singaporean policy requiring the licensing of news websites. We raise Internet freedom regularly in bilateral and multilateral dialogues with foreign governments, including Singapore. We urge Singapore to ensure that freedom of expression is protected in accordance with its international obligations and commitments. We closely monitor and often speak out, as you all know, on both Internet freedom and media freedom throughout the world. This case is no different, and we are concerned, of course, to see Singapore applying press restrictions to the online world.

QUESTION: So can you assure us that the reason that you push for Internet freedom and that kind of thing in all these countries around the world isn't to make it easier for this government to listen in and bug people?

MS. PSAKI: I just '' I want to make sure --

QUESTION: No?

MS. PSAKI: -- that the AP and Reuters stories are available to all the people of Singapore.

QUESTION: Thank you. I've got a small one on Cambodia.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says he's going to go back. Do you have anything '' facing arrest, I think, if he does?

MS. PSAKI: Yeah, I think I do have something on that. Let me see here. Matt, I know I do. Let me get that to you and anyone else right after the briefing.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Sure. All right. Last one here, in the red and white shirt in the back.

QUESTION: Can I return to Snowden really quickly and ask --

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: The Government of Bolivia issued a statement, I believe, saying that the act of governments who forced President Morales' plane down was state terrorism. Do you have any response to that, given that the countries involved were close U.S. allies?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, I would refer you, and I continue to refer you, to the individual governments here for any further comment on the circumstances of last week.

QUESTION: The U.S. has no response?

MS. PSAKI: I don't have anything more for you on it.

QUESTION: Okay. And just to follow up, does '' is there any more information on where the original information or the leak came from that Snowden was on that plane? Does the U.S. have any more idea --

MS. PSAKI: I don't have anything for you on that, no.

Thanks, everyone.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:30 p.m.)

DPB # 113

VIDEO-KImberly Dvorak-San Diego 6 - Details of Reporter Hastings' Death Remain Elusive

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:38