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Red Cell

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This Week and Here

Arms in the air

Proclamation -- Captive Nations Week, 2013

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Source: White Press Office Feed

Sat, 20 Jul 2013 12:55

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

July 19, 2013


As citizens of the oldest democracy on earth, we believe that all people are created equal with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Together, we have kept that most basic promise shining bright for more than two centuries -- upholding civil rights and expanding their reach, advancing freedom's march and widening the circle of opportunity for all.

Our commitment to universal rights is also a foundation for American leadership abroad. In the course of our Nation's history, countries worldwide have pledged themselves to a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Corrupt dictatorships have given way to new democracies, forcing out the stale air of authoritarian rule with a fresh breath of freedom.

We know that work is not yet complete. Even as the light of liberty and justice has spread across the globe, too many people still labor in the darkness of tyranny and oppression. In too many parts of the world, fundamental freedoms remain unrealized, and the protections of law extend only to a privileged few.

Captive Nations Week is an opportunity to reaffirm America's role in advancing human rights worldwide. It is a task that can begin here, with the example we set and the understanding that we are stronger when all our people are granted opportunity -- no matter what they look like, where they worship, or who they love. And it can continue by extending a hand to those who reach for freedom abroad. Different peoples will determine their own paths. But we must reject the notion that those who live in distant places do not yearn for freedom, self-determination, dignity, and the rule of law, just as we do.

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower first marked this day, he noted that it should recur "until such time as freedom and independence shall have been achieved for all the captive nations of the world." We have come a long way since then -- but despite our progress, that time has not yet come. So let us keep striving to bring it about -- supporting those who seek the same freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and extending the blessings of peace and prosperity here at home and around the world.

The Congress, by joint resolution approved July 17, 1959 (73 Stat. 212), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week of July of each year as "Captive Nations Week."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 21 through July 27, 2013, as Captive Nations Week. I call upon the people of the United States to reaffirm our deep ties to all governments and people committed to freedom, dignity, and opportunity for all.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand thisnineteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


Hundreds dead in U.K. heat wave - The Globe and Mail

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Archived Version

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 04:54

When the temperature in July hits 30 C in Canada, most people take it in stride. Not so in Britain where a six-day heat wave has sent the country into a near frenzy.

Ambulance calls in some areas are up 20 per cent, hospital waiting rooms are jammed with people suffering sunburns and heat stroke, nearly two dozen grass fires have broken out in parks across London, and part of the Waterloo subway station had to be shut down because the extreme heat buckled the track. Most alarmingly, an estimated 650 people have died as a result of the soaring temperatures.

This is the longest stretch of 30-degree days in seven years and the thermometer in some cities has reached 32 C. While that is still a ways off the record high of 38 C set in 2003, this month has been so hot and sunny it is on track to be England's driest July since 1766.

Things have gotten serious enough for the national weather service, known as the Met Office, to issue a ''Level 3'' heat health alert for much of the country. That's one level below a national emergency.

Britons are ill-prepared for summer heat and almost no one saw this scorcher coming. July temperatures are normally around 21 C in England and air conditioning is rare. The country endured one of the coldest, wettest springs on record this year and the early forecast was for a cool summer. Instead it has been unexpectedly dry and boiling, at least by British standards.

The heat has been the talk of the country and newspapers have devoted special sections on how to keep cool '' put your pillow in the fridge was one tip. The BBC joined in and quoted one expert who suggested people consider ''wearing looser clothes, like the robes favoured by the Bedouin.''

If all that wasn't enough, a group of researchers released a study that said 650 people had died because of the heat wave. ''Our previous studies have shown that as temperatures rise above a certain threshold, the risk of death increases,'' said lead researcher Ben Armstrong, a professor in epidemiological statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a world-leading centre for global health.

He added that the toll was derived from a review of death rates over a 14-year period, which showed premature deaths increased when the temperature rose above a certain threshold, for example 25 C in London. Roughly two-thirds of those who have died in the current hot spell are people over the age of 75, Prof. Armstrong said.

When asked how he is coping with the hot weather, Prof. Armstrong laughed and said he has curtailed his bicycling. ''But I'm only 63, so I'm not too worried,'' he added.

The Met Office said the hot weather was due to a high pressure system that has been hovering over Britain for days. And it's showing no sign of moving. Temperatures are forecast to remain above normal into next week and there is no rain in sight. ''It's very unusual to get hot weather in the U.K.,'' said Met spokeswoman Lindsay Mears. ''We've been getting a huge, huge, huge number of calls.''

So how is she and other staff at the Met beating the heat? ''We've got air conditioning,'' she said. ''But when we go out the door, it feels like we are in another country.''

Obama wil Broas toch als ambassadeur VS in Nederland

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Source: VK: Home

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 04:55

19/07/13, 06:33 '' bron: ANP

(C) ap. Barack Obama

De Amerikaan Timothy Broas wordt mogelijk alsnog ambassadeur van de Verenigde Staten in Nederland. President Barack Obama nomineerde Broas donderdag (lokale tijd) opnieuw voor de post, meldden Amerikaanse media. De Amerikaanse Senaat moet de benoeming nog goedkeuren.

Advocaat Broas moest zich vorig jaar nog terugtrekken voor de post. Hij was opgepakt terwijl hij beschonken achter het stuur zat. Ook verzette hij zich volgens de politie tegen zijn aanhouding, maar daar is hij niet voor veroordeeld.

OngepastBroas kreeg uiteindelijk een kleine boete, maar zijn diplomatieke ambities gingen noodgedwongen een tijdje de ijskast in. 'In de aanloop naar de rechtszaak vond hij het ongepast om zich te laten overwegen voor de benoeming', zei de advocaat van Broas tegen persbureau Reuters.

Advocaat Broas gold als een belangrijke fondsenwerver voor president Obama. De ervaren jurist stelde vorig jaar zichzelf een geschikte kandidaat te vinden om ambassadeur in Nederland te worden. Zijn tientallen jaren in de advocatuur gaven hem de managementervaring die nodig is voor de post, zei hij tegen senatoren.

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Drone Nation

FAA Warns Against Shooting Guns At Drones

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 12:27

WASHINGTON '-- People who fire guns at drones are endangering the public and property and could be prosecuted or fined, the Federal Aviation Administration warned Friday.

The FAA released a statement in response to questions about an ordinance under consideration in the tiny farming community of Deer Trail, Colo., that would encourage hunters to shoot down drones. The administration reminded the public that it regulates the nation's airspace, including the airspace over cities and towns.

A drone "hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air," the statement said. "Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane."

Under the proposed ordinance, Deer Trail would grant hunting permits to shoot drones. The permits would cost $25 each. The town would also encourage drone hunting by awarding $100 to anyone who presents a valid hunting license and identifiable pieces of a drone that has been shot down.

Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, 48, author of the proposal, said in an interview that he has 28 signatures on a petition '' roughly 10 percent of the town's registered voters. Under Colorado law, that requires local officials to formally consider the proposal at a meeting next month, he said. Town officials would then have the option of adopting the ordinance or putting it on the ballot in an election this fall, he said.

The proposed ordinance is mostly a symbolic protest against small, civilian drones that are coming into use in the United States, Steel said. He acknowledged that it's unlikely there are any drones in use near Deer Trail.

"I don't want to live in a surveillance society. I don't feel like being in a virtual prison," Steel said. "This is a pre-emptive strike."

He dismissed the FAA's warning. "The FAA doesn't have the power to make a law," he said.

The FAA is working on regulations to safely integrate drones into the skies over the U.S., where manned aircraft are prevalent. The Congress gave the FAA until 2015 to develop the regulations, but the agency is behind schedule. FAA officials have estimated that once regulations are in place, thousands of drones will be in use across the country for a wide variety of purposes, from helping farmers figure out which crops need watering to tracking sea lions in remote rocky outcroppings to aiding search and rescue missions.

But the Deer Trail proposal is the latest ripple in a spreading backlash against drones. Dozens of laws aimed at curbing the use of the unmanned aircraft have been introduced in states and cities. Privacy advocates have expressed fear that police will use drones to cheaply and effectively conduct widespread surveillance without warrants.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a drone industry trade group, was concerned enough last year about people threatening to shoot down drones that it issued a statement warning that such comments were "irresponsible, dangerous and unlawful."

Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the group, expressed similar concerns Friday, saying drones "are being designed to serve the public good....The myriad of important uses will be imperiled if they become targets. ... The suggestion that Americans take up arms against unmanned aircraft also endangers citizens on the ground."


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Also on HuffPost:

US drone strikes guided from outback

Book Club This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral?Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!?inAmerica's Gilded Capital eBook: Mark Leibovich: Kindle Store

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 11:47



NSA continues to collect millions of American cell phone records thanks to secretive FISA court

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 10:27

End The Lieby Madison Ruppert

The highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court extended the National Security Agency's authority to gather and store millions of phone records belonging to American cell phone users, a practice which has continued unabated since 2006.

The true extent of this program was revealed in early June after Edward Snowden leaked a court order showing that the FISA court ordered Verizon to hand over information on all of their U.S. subscribers to the NSA.

Since that time, more information about the massive scope of NSA surveillance programs has continued to be published, leading to international outcry and a lawsuit filed by a large, diverse coalition.

The most interesting aspect of this latest renewal of the NSA's collection program is that it was actually confirmed in an official statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

That was the first time that U.S. officials have publicly acknowledged what The Washington Post called, ''a routine renewal of the legal framework for one of the government's most sensitive and controversial data-collection programs.''

The Office of the DNI's statement said that they sought to renew ''the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the [FISA] Court renewed that authority.''

The FISA court responsible for reauthorizing the collection of millions of records is shrouded in secrecy but lawmakers have begun to push back in an attempt to get some of the opinions declassified.

Indeed, the opposition in Congress has become quite noticeable.

''This is unsustainable, outrageous and must be stopped immediately,'' said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), during a Judiciary Committee hearing earlier in the week.

''How do we keep this from evolving into an unchecked weapons that can be used against people's rights?'' asked Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), according to USA Today.

The statement said that they were publicly acknowledging the FISA court's action ''in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program.''

In addition, it was stated that Obama administration officials are reviewing if addition information about the NSA surveillance programs could be released publicly in a way that is ''consistent with the protection of national security.''

It is important to note that the Office of the DNI's statement made no mention of specific cell phone carriers. One might wonder if that is because at least one lawsuit has been filed over the collection of Verizon records.

Despite statements from critics who maintain that the surveillance program is, in fact, illegal, the Obama administration maintains that it is all above board.

DNI counsel Robert Litt, for instance, maintained that ''these programs are legal'' because they are authorized by Congress, the courts and the White House, according to the Associated Press.

In addition, Litt maintained that the exposure of the programs could hinder the US government's ability to detect threats against the United States.

''Only time will tell the full extent of the damage caused by the unlawful disclosures of these lawful programs,'' Litt said.

Attorney General Eric Holder has also maintained that the information leaked about the NSA surveillance programs is extremely damaging to national security.

Given the fact that the government is now openly talking about the widespread surveillance of the American people, one must wonder just how dangerous it really is.

Via End The Lie

NSA is more than just a spy network, it's global fascism '-- RT Op-Edge

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Archived Version

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 13:30

Patrick Henningsen is a writer, investigative journalist, and filmmaker and founder of the news website 21stCentury

Despite the size and scope of Edward Snowden's NSA whistleblowing, there's little sign of Washington DC changing its practices, and even less of an indication that any of its European allies will actually hold it to account.

Germany Flip-FlopsGermany's change of direction on this issue reveals a lot about the scale of the problem. Angela Merkel's initial public response seemed to be that of outrage. "We are no longer in the cold war," said Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert. "If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable"(Guardian July 1, 2013).

Merkel's public fa§ade didn't hold up for long after Snowden revealed in Der Spiegel magazine only days later that the US and Germany were in fact partnering in the global spy network. ''They are in bed with the Germans, just like with most other Western states'', the German magazine quotes Snowden as saying, adding that the NSA has a Foreign Affairs Directorate which is responsible for cooperation with other countries (RT July 8, 2013). The Der Spiegel report also indicated how German Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and NSA work together.

The embarrassment of this Snowden bombshell seemed to force Germany down a notch, with Merkel opting for a new policy of appeasement instead. So was the initial rift between the US and Germany mere political theatre?

Merkel told Die Zeit that there was "a need to discuss the balance between privacy and security, but protection against terrorism was not possible without the option of electronic surveillance''. She then added, "(I want) the necessary discussions with the United States to be conducted in the spirit which, despite the many justified questions, never forgets that America has been our most loyal ally over the decades and still is" (Reuters July 10, 2013).

But it's Merkel's last statement which indicates that she may be just as out of touch with public opinion as the culture of denial which still dominates Washington DC. "For me, there is no comparison at all between the state security (Stasi) of the GDR and the work of intelligence services in democratic states," Merkel told Die Zeit (Reuters July 10, 2013). Incredible.

No real accountabilityPutting the overall theme of government abuse of power into perspective, this week provided a solid example of what should happen in an advanced civilized democracy. Luxembourg's long-serving Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker announced his resignation this week over a spying scandal involving illegal phone-taps, alongside a number other highly corrupt activities.

In normal times, what happened in Luxembourg should also happen in other countries like the US, or Great Britain - but these are far from normal times. What passes for normal in this bizarre epoch is anyone's guess, and the same goes for what is deemed to be 'legal', especially in the United States.

Snowden's revelations should have been a watershed moment, but instead in 2013, there appears to be no parliamentary controls to regulate the practice of warrantless digital surveillance and data theft on the part of government agencies, and even less chance of justice in the courts, where adjudicators have been rendered impotent to enforce the law which have been buried under an avalanche of emergency war-time edicts and executive orders.

Well before the Snowden affair this year, Germany effectively cleared the legal path for one of the corporations within the NSA collective. Through the use of administrative courts and the EU, the Administrative Court of Schleswig, Germany upheld two decisions on February 14th, 2013 which ruled that German data protection laws do not apply to data processing by Facebook (file numbers 8 B 60/12 and 8 B 61/1).These controversial judicial procedure were initiated by Facebook Inc. (USA) and by Facebook Ltd. (Ireland, EU), and reversed a previous order by the Independent State Center for Data Protection of Schleswig-Holstein (ULD) which had ruled to allow users to sign in on Facebook using a pseudonym and to unblock those user-accounts that had been blocked due to the users not using their real name and personal data. At the time this was seen as a victory for Facebook the corporation '' when in fact it was really a victory for the NSA - who harvests its data from Facebook.

NSA and GCHQ: A Joint VentureBased on these latest Snowden leaks, we've learned more about the true nature of America's NSA and Britain's GCHQ partnership in this international spy network, sharing their data and communications. Through the UK Government's Communications Headquarters known as TEMPORA, the British agency is able to tap over 200 fiber optic cables landing in the UK, saving everything - up to 27 petabytes a day, which are then parsed out to 300 GCHQ analysts and 250 NSA colleagues who then sift through it.

Over a decade of Patriot Acts, FISA laws and Wikileaks cables has left Americans and Europeans alike in a precarious state akin to Stockholm Syndrome, where their love of digital communications almost trumps their concerns for privacy. This same ambiguity has been echoed by Obama and Merkel, who both claim that protection against terrorism is not possible without the option of electronic surveillance. But the narrative which was originally framed around Washington's invasion of its citizens' privacy has since gone international. It's now about governments partnering with each other - and with corporations, in the largest global digital dragnet imaginable.

The extent of the US National Security Agency (NSA) overseas spying in Europe has stunned the European public for sure, and appears to have rattled the political classes in Germany and Brussels '' but only for now.

According to Edward Snowden's revelations in the German magazine Der Spiegel last week, the NSA snoops through approximately 20-60 million German phone connections, and 10 million internet data sets a day. According to the Snowden report, all in all, the NSA combs through around half a billion German phone calls, emails and text messages on a monthly basis.

To add insult to injury, it's been said the US intelligence regards Germany as a ''third class partner'', on par with the likes of China and Iraq, making them fair game for NSA targeting. It's not just Berlin, as the NSA are also said to have bugged EU diplomatic offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks.

So where is the crisis of international diplomacy between the US and Europe? Under normal circumstances, this might morph into a major diplomatic crisis pitting the EU members on one side and the US on the other '' but alas, these are not really normal times. Germany and the EU came out swinging, well, sort of.

President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz hit out immediately stating:

''If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations''.

Brussels immediately passed a non-binding resolution, which said that unless the US provided full disclosure about its email and communications data, then two EU-US transatlantic information-sharing deals could be revoked. Those deals are the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) and Passenger Name Records (PNR). Both were rammed through the EU Parliament during the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It gives the US Treasury carte blanche on all European stored data on international financial transfers, and gives US Homeland Security carte blanche on all passenger check-ins and ticket bookings on flights.

Few believe that the EU will actually make good on their threats, seeing the initial reaction as a mere face-saving exercise, leading to no real action by MEPs in Brussels.

Global Data Industry: A Digital CartelThe corporate aspect should not be underrated in terms of its central role in the international digital data trade. Edward Snowden's PRISM revelations of government controlled NSA wiretapping and data theft are nothing new, as former CIA analyst Russell Tice prove almost a decade ago in 2005 by showing that the NSA were engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional wiretaps on American citizens. But the NSA cannot operate without the partnership of these companies '' all of whom have offices and operational hubs in most foreign markets.

Herein resides the key aspect in all of this - that in order for agencies like the NSA and GCHQ to get easy access to all of our digital communications and data, they still need the cooperation of corporations to do it. In the US, it's now known what role major ISPs and mobile carriers like Verizon and AT&T play in this equation within US borders, including the existence of NSA-controlled SG3 collection rooms embedded within the companies facilities. Shocking enough, but not nearly as shocking if you consider the role of transnational corporations in enabling the NSA access to your digital threads.

Internationally, citizens have already signed over most of their privacy simply by using the digital services of US multinationals like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, Yahoo and others. All of these corporation operate within a 'profit-first' ethical vacuum where, in many cases, they are actually charging the NSA for the privilege of consuming their customers' communications and data. According to the recent Snowden leaks, the level of collusion between Microsoft Corp and the NSA is astonishing, where Microsoft allows the NSA to skirt encryption protocols on Outlook, Skype video and cloud services, and where data captured by the NSA is routinely passed on to both the FBI and the CIA (Guardian July 12, 2013).

The horrible irony here is too obvious to ignore: the US government, through its NSA, is giving away taxpayer dollars so these corporations can profit from handing over all of your personal communications and data.

Such an unholy alliance between partnering governments and transnational corporations could be defined as fascism, but the global nature of this operation might require a new term to define what means as a global phenomenon.

Amidst the international Snowden media circus, it's important not to forget that what has enabled agencies like the NSA and GCHQ to act with impunity, is the fact that both these governments have excelled in capitalising on a post-September 11th paranoia that has hijacked the national consciousness in both the US and the UK. The entire basis upon which their relentless war-time remit has been erected can be described in three words: ''War on Terror''.

It's already clear to the global citizenry that the US federal government and its NSA are out of control, and should be reined in as soon as possible in order to preserve any remaining moral standing for a country which has exhausted nearly all of its goodwill internationally '' as well as domestically.

Judging by Washington's stoic and unapologetic stance thus far, goodwill doesn't seem to be a high priority yet. Until the problem is properly addressed, there will remain a gaping hole of moral leadership in the international community.

What political leaders are slow the realize is that when the goodwill has been exhausted, so has the trust, and that's a very slippery slope indeed.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Venezuela halts normalization talks with U.S.

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Archived Version

Source: The Daily Star >> Live News

Sun, 21 Jul 2013 07:05

CARACAS, Venezuela: Venezuela says it's ending talks with the United States to restore normal relations because Washington's U.N. ambassador-designate criticized its human rights record.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Friday that Samantha Power's remarks compelled it to halt the process begun in Guatemala last month by its foreign minister, Elias Jaua, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Power said in Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday that Venezuela is guilty of a "crackdown on civil society," along with Cuba, Iran and Russia.

Jaua and Kerry had said they would fast-track talks to resume ambassadorial-level ties absent since 2010.

Those prospects dimmed after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro later offered asylum to U.S. leaker Edward Snowden. Kerry subsequently called Jaua and threatened unspecified action if Snowden wound up in Venezuelan hands.

Documents Show Undersea Cable Firms Provide Surveillance Access to US Secret State

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Archived Version


Fri, 19 Jul 2013 05:05

Documents published last week by the Australian web site Crikey revealed that the US government "compelled Telstra and Hong Kong-based PCCW to give it access to their undersea cables for spying on communications traffic entering and leaving the US."

The significance of the disclosure is obvious; today, more than 99 percent of the world's internet and telephone traffic is now carried by undersea fiber optic cables. An interactive submarine cable map published by the Global Bandwidth Research Service is illustrative in this regard.

Since the late 1960s as part of its ECHELON spy project, the United States has been tapping undersea cables to extract communications and signals intelligence. In fact, projects such as Operation Ivy Bells, a joint Navy-NSA secret intelligence program directed against the former Soviet Union was designed to do just that.

Prefiguring the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping scandal which broke in 2005, the Associated Press reported that a $3.2 billion Navy Seawolf class submarine, a 453-foot behemoth called the USS Jimmy Carter, "has a special capability: it is able to tap undersea cables and eavesdrop on the communications passing through them."

A year later, AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein told Wired Magazine that NSA was tapping directly into the world's internet backbone, and was doing so from domestic listening posts the telecommunications' giant jointly built with the agency at corporate switching stations.

Whatever submarine operations NSA still carry out with the US Navy and "Five Eyes" surveillance partners (Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the US), access to information flowing through undersea cables mean that the US government is well-positioned to scoop-up virtually all global communications.

Since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began spilling the beans last month, it should be clear that the American government's capabilities in amassing unprecedented volumes of information from cable traffic, also potentially hands the US and their corporate collaborators a treasure trove of sensitive economic secrets from competitors.

Economic Espionage

Reporting by Australian journalists confirm information published July 6 by The Washington Post. There we learned that overseas submarine cable companies doing business in the United States must maintain "an internal corporate cell of American citizens with government clearances," a cadre of personnel whose job is to ensure that "when US government agencies seek access to the massive amounts of data flowing through their networks, the companies have systems in place to provide it securely."

Inked just weeks after the 9/11 provocation, the 23-page Telstra document specifies that access to undersea cable traffic by the FBI and "any US governmental authorities entitled to effect Electronic Surveillance," is an explicit condition for doing business in the United States.

Similar agreements were signed between 1999 and 2011 with telecommunication companies, satellite firms, submarine cable operators and the US government and were published earlier this month by the Public Intelligence web site.

It has long been known that the Australian secret state agency, the Defence Security Directorate (DSD), is a key participant in US global surveillance projects. Classified NSA maps provided by Snowden and subsequently published by Brazil's O Globo newspaper, revealed the locations of dozens of US and allied signals intelligence sites worldwide. DSD currently operates four military installations involved in a top secret NSA program called X-Keyscore.

Snowden described X-Keyscore and other programs to Der Spiegel as "the intelligence community's first 'full-take' Internet buffer that doesn't care about content type . . . 'Full take' means it doesn't miss anything, and ingests the entirety of each circuit's capacity."

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, along with the "US Australian Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs," three other DSD facilities, "the Shoal Bay Receiving Station near Darwin, the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Facility at Geraldton and the naval communications station HMAS Harman outside Canberra," were identified as X-Keyscore "contributors." The paper also reported that "a new state-of-the-art data storage facility at HMAS Harman to support the Australian signals directorate and other Australian intelligence agencies" is currently under construction.

The Herald described the project as "an intelligence collection program" that "processes all signals before they are shunted off to various 'production lines' that deal with specific issues and the exploitation of different data types for analysis--variously code-named Nucleon (voice), Pinwale (video), Mainway (call records) and Marina (internet records). US intelligence expert William Arkin describes X-Keyscore as a 'national Intelligence collection mission system'."

Two of the Australian bases illustrated on the X-Keyscore map sit adjacent to major undersea cable sites transiting the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Cozy arrangements with Telstra and other firms however, hardly represent mere passive acceptance of terms and conditions laid out by the US government. On the contrary, these, and dozens of other agreements which have come to light, are emblematic of decades-long US corporate-state "public-private partnerships."

As Bloomberg reported last month, "thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with US national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence."

It's a two-way street, Bloomberg noted. Firms providing "US intelligence organizations with additional data, such as equipment specifications" use it "to help infiltrate computers of its adversaries." In return, "companies are given quick warnings about threats that could affect their bottom line." Such sensitive data can also be used to undermine the position of their foreign competitors.

We now know, based on documents provided by Snowden, that the "infiltration" of computer networks by US secret state agencies are useful not only for filching military secrets and mass spying but also for economic and industrial espionage.

That point was driven home more than a decade ago in a paper prepared by journalist Duncan Campbell for the European Parliament.

"By the end of the 1990s," Campbell wrote, "the US administration claimed that intelligence activity against foreign companies had gained the US nearly $150 billion in exports."

"Although US intelligence officials and spokespeople have admitted using Comint [communications intelligence] against European companies . . . documents show that the CIA has been directly involved in obtaining competitor intelligence for business purposes."

At the time the Telstra pact was signed, the Australian telecommunications and internet giant was "50.1% owned" by the Australian government. Reach Global Services, is described in the document as "a joint venture indirectly owned 50% by Telstra" and "50% owned" by Hong Kong's Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited (PCCW).

With controlling interest in more than 40 undersea fiber optic cables, and with landing rights in global markets that include Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, North America and Europe, the joint venture was then the largest commercial telecommunications carrier in Asia with some 82,000 kilometers of undersea cables. Reach also operates international satellite systems that cover two-third's of the planet's surface.

Such assets would be prime targets of "Five Eyes" spy agencies under terms of the UKUSA Communications Intelligence Agreement.

Telstra and PCCW restructured their partnership in 2011, with the Australian firm now controlling the lion's share of an undersea cable network that stretches "more than 364,000 kilometres and connects more than 240 markets worldwide," the South Morning China Post reported. Inevitably, the restructuring will afford the US government an even greater opportunity for spying.

Network security agreements hammered out among undersea cable firms and the US government have profound implications for global commerce. Their geopolitical significance hasn't been lost on America's closet "allies."

The Guardian revealed last month that the US is "spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington." In addition to the EU mission, target lists include "the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey."

That list has since been supplemented by further disclosures.

Snowden told the South China Morning Post that NSA hacked into the "computers at the Hong Kong headquarters of Pacnet, which owns one of the most extensive fibre optic submarine cable networks in the region."

Recently, the firm signed major deals with the Chinese mainland's "top mobile phone companies" and "owns more than 46,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cables."

According to the paper, Pacnet "cables connect its regional data centres across the Asia-Pacific region, including Hong Kong, the mainland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. It also has offices in the US."

The South Morning China Post also disclosed that Tsinghua University, "China's premier seat of learning" has sustained extensive attacks on the school's "network backbones."

Available documents based on Snowden disclosures and other sources seem to suggest that President Obama's militaristic "pivot to Asia" is also an aggressive campaign to steal commercial and trade secrets from US imperialism's Asian rivals.

Whether or not these revelations will effect negotiations over the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a NAFTA-style "free trade" agreement between the US and ten Pacific Rim nations, including Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Singapore--all prime US-UK targets of PRISM, TEMPORA and X-Keyscore--remains to be seen.

'Legal' License to Spy

If we have learned anything since Snowden's revelations began surfacing last month, it is that the US secret state relies on a body of "secret laws" overseen by a Star Chamber-like FISA court described in the polite language The New York Times as a "parallel Supreme Court," to do its dirty work.

Along with leaked NSA documents, published agreements between telecommunications firms, internet service providers and the US government should demolish the fiction that blanket surveillance is "legal," "limited in scope" or chiefly concerned with fighting "crime" and "terrorism."

Proclaiming that "US communications systems are essential to the ability of the US government to fulfill its responsibilities to the public to preserve the national security of the United States, to enforce the laws, and to maintain the safety of the public," the Telstra summary posted by Crikey should dispel any illusions on that score.

On the contrary, the agreement reveals the existence of a vast surveillance web linking private companies to the government's relentless drive, as The Washington Post explained, to "collect it all."

'— All customer billing data to be stored for two years;'— Ability to provide to agencies any stored telecommunications or internet communications and comply with preservation requests;'— Ability to provide any stored metadata, billing data or subscriber information about US customers;'— They are not to comply with any foreign privacy laws that might lead to mandatory destruction of stored data;'— Plans and infrastructure to demonstrate other states cannot spy on US customers;'— They are not to comply with information requests from other countries without DoJ permission;'— A requirement to:

. . . designate points of contact within the United States with the authority and responsibility for accepting and overseeing the carrying out of Lawful US Process to conduct Electronic Surveillance of or relating to Domestic Communications carried by or through Domestic Communications Infrastructure; or relating to customers or subscribers of Domestic Communications Companies. The points of contact shall be assigned to Domestic Communications Companies security office(s) in the United States, shall be available twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week and shall be responsible for accepting service and maintaining the security of Classified Information and any Lawful US Process for Electronic Surveillance . . . The Points of contact shall be resident US citizens who are eligible for US security clearances.

In other words, an "internal corporate cell of American citizens," charged with providing confidential customer data to the secret state, as The Washington Post first reported.Additional demands include:

'— A requirement to keep such surveillance confidential, and to use US citizens "who meet high standards of trustworthiness for maintaining the confidentiality of Sensitive Information" to handle requests;'— A right for the FBI and the DoJ to conduct inspection visits of the companies' infrastructure and offices; and'— An annual compliance report, to be protected from Freedom of Information requests.

This is not a one-off as the other 27 Agreements published by Public Intelligence readily attest.For example, the 31-page 2011 Agreement between the US government and Level 3 Communications, which operates in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific, which acquired Global Crossing from from the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore Technologies Telemedia (the focus of The Washington Post's July 6 report), was expanded beyond the FBI and Department of Justice to include the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, NSA's "parent" agency.

As with the 2001 Telstra agreement, "Access" to Level 3's systems by governmental entities is defined as "the ability to physically or logically undertake any of the following actions: (a) read, divert, or otherwise obtain non-public information or technology from or about software, hardware, a system or a network; (b) add, edit or alter information or technology stored on or by software, hardware, a system or a network; and (c) alter the physical or logical state of software, hardware, a system or a network (e.g., turning it on or off, changing configuration, removing or adding components or connections)."

NSA, the principle US spy agency charged with obtaining, storing and analyzing COMINT/SIGINT "products, i.e., user data, has been handed virtually unlimited access to information flowing through Level 3 fiber optic cables as it enters the US.

This includes what is described as "Domestic Communications," content, not simply the metadata, of any phone call or email that transit Level 3 systems: "'Domestic Communications' means: (a) Wire Communications or Electronic Communications (whether stored or not) from one US location to another US location; and (b) the US portion of a Wire Communication or Electronic Communication (whether stored or not) that originates or terminates in the United States."

So much for President Obama's mendacious claim that "nobody is listening to your phone calls"!

Access to the entirety of customer records and communications is clearly spelled out in the section entitled "Electronic Surveillance."

Note: the "USC." provisions refer to (18) the Stored Communications Act which compels disclosure to the government of stored wire, electronic and transactional data; a provision that greatly weakened the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. 50 USC outlines the role of War and National Defense in the United States Code and includes "foreign intelligence," "electronic surveillance authorization without court order," "internal security," including the "control of subversive activities" and the "exercise of emergency powers and authorities" by the Executive Branch.

'Electronic Surveillance,' for the purposes of this Agreement, includes: (a) the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications as defined in 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510(1), (2), (4) and (12), respectively, and electronic surveillance as defined in 50 U.S.C. § 1801(f); (b) Access to stored wire or electronic communications, as referred to in 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq.; (c) acquisition of dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information through pen register or trap and trace devices or other devices or features capable of acquiring such information pursuant to law as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3121 et seq. and 50 U.S.C. § 1841 et seq.; (d) acquisition of location-related information concerning a service subscriber or facility; (e) preservation of any of the above information pursuant to 18 U.S.C.§ 2703(f); and (f) Access to, or acquisition, interception, or preservation of, wire, oral, or electronic communications or information as described in (a) through (e) above and comparable state laws.

Level 3 is further enjoined from disclosing what is described as "Sensitive Information," that is, "information that is not Classified Information regarding: (a) the persons or facilities that are the subjects of Lawful US Process; (b) the identity of the Government Authority or Government Authorities serving such Lawful US Process; (c) the location or identity of the line, circuit, transmission path, or other facilities or equipment used to conduct Electronic Surveillance; (d) the means of carrying out Electronic Surveillance."In other words, we do the spying; you hand over it over and keep your mouths shut.

The electronic driftnet thrown over global communications is expedited by direct access to Level 3's equipment by the US government.

'Principal Equipment' means the primary electronic components of a submarine cable system, to include the hardware used at the NOC(s) [Network Operations Center], landing station(s) and the cable itself, such as servers, repeaters, submarine line terminal equipment (SLTE), system supervisory equipment (SSE), power feed equipment (PFE), tilt and shape equalizer units (TEQ/SEQ), optical distribution frames (ODF), and synchronous optical network (SONET), synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH), wave division multiplexing (WDM), dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM), coarse wave division multiplexing (CWDM) or optical carrier network (OCx) equipment, as applicable.

Who oversees the set-up? On paper it appears that Level 3 control their operations. However, the Agreement specifies that the firm must utilize "primary US NOCs for any Domestic Communications Infrastructure" and it "shall be maintained and remain within the United States and US territories, to be operated by Level 3, exclusively using Screened Personnel."Who signs off on "screened personnel"? Why the US government of course, which raises the suspicion that corporate employees are little more than spook assets.

But here's where it gets interesting. "Level 3 may nonetheless use the United Kingdom NOC for routine day-to-day management of any of the Cable Systems as such management is in existence as of the Effective Date."

Why might that be the case, pray tell?

Could it be that fiber optic cables transiting the UK are already lovingly scrutinized by NSA's kissin' cousins across the pond? GCHQ, as The Guardian disclosed, is merrily ingesting "vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them" with the American agency.

Therefore, since UK undersea cable traffic is already under close "management" via the British agency's TEMPORA program, described as having the "'biggest internet access' of any member of the Five Eyes electronic eavesdropping alliance," it makes sense that Level 3 is allowed to "use the United Kingdom NOC" as a hub for its "Domestic Communications Infrastructure"!

In conclusion, these publicly available documents provide additional confirmation of how major corporations are empowering the US surveillance octopus.

By entering into devil's pacts with the world's "sole superpower," giant telcos and internet firms view the destruction of privacy rights as just another item on the balance sheet, a necessary cost of doing business in America.

And business is very good. >>

Shut Up Slave!

101 million FOOD assistance not just SNAP [47 million]

Disney Slave Programming

The show, Marvel Super Hero Squad, owned by Disney and geared for 4-8 year olds, is

a kiddy take on Marvel Superheroes. I've seen many episodes and it never takes

anything seriously. But in season 1, episode 22, "flat man," a very boring

superhero, doesn't believe in global warming. The main protagonist spends the

episode arguing with him about global warming, while the bad guys try to melt the

polar ice caps. The ice caps end up melting and flat man end ups underwater. At the

end of the episode, Flat Man is dripping wet from the polar ice caps melting and he

says, "global warming doesn't exist, did I also mention the earth is flat?"

Matt Millbauer

False Report: TSA Airport Car Searches

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Archived Version

Source: The TSA Blog

Sat, 20 Jul 2013 22:42

It's has been reported that TSA Officers at airports are now searching cars. The news started to spread after a story ran this week stating that a woman found a notice informing her that her car had been searched by TSA.The short version: While we deploy numerous layers of security, TSA officers are not inspecting cars or mandating that they be searched.In this case, it turns out the car was searched by an employee of a car parking service. Each airport authority, along with its state and local law enforcement partners, is responsible for securing airport property, including the outer perimeter. At this particular airport, car searches are part of their ''airport security plan.''An airport security plan addresses a myriad of security requirements that each airport must adhere to in order to protect the traveling public, which includes the physical security of the airport property.While the airport security plan is approved by the TSA, it is up to each airport authority and its state and local law enforcement partners to follow the plan that has been implemented.If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us byclicking here.

Big Media's push for extreme new Internet censorship rules stalls secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership talks

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 07:19


Big Media lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats are holding closed-door meetings in Malaysia this week, as they continue secret talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a highly secretive and extreme trade deal being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Reports from Malaysia indicate that the TPP talks are stalled over five key issues '' including a key chapter on copyright and Intellectual Property rights that would censor and criminalize Internet use. This is not good news for Big Media lobbyists, who are demanding the TPP include extreme new copyright rules that could end the open Internet as we know it. Big Media is spending a fortune on lobbying as they try to shore up an old-fashioned, high-cost command and control media business model that no longer makes sense in the Internet age.

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Shadow Puppte Theatre

John Chris. Inglis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Archived Version

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 13:00

Inglis was born in Baltimore, Maryland on 29 October 1954. He graduated from Andover High School, Linthicum in 1972. Inglis is a Distinguished Eagle Scout.[2]

A 1972 graduate of Andover High School (Linthicum, Maryland) Chris Inglis attended the United States Air Force Academy, graduating in 1976 as a Distinguished Graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Mechanics.

Inglis' military schools include Undergraduate and Instructor Pilot Training, Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and the Air War College. He was designated by the Air Force as an Outstanding Graduate of the Air War College

Second-ranking NSA official forced out of job by director - Baltimore Sun

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 13:13


WASHINGTON -- The National Security Agency's second-highest official is being forced out by the agency's director, who is moving to install his own leadership team nine months into his tenure, current and former government officials said yesterday.

Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the NSA's director, announced in a memo to agency employees last week that Deputy Director William B. Black Jr. would be taking a new position in mid-August as the NSA's liaison officer to its British intelligence counterpart, the officials said.

The change is essentially a swap because Black's successor, John C. "Chris" Inglis, is now the agency's British liaison, a position often considered a final stop before retirement.

Bush approves

President Bush approved Inglis' appointment May 8, according to Alexander's memo, the text of which was obtained by The Sun.

"Alexander is clearing the decks," said Matthew Aid, a former NSA analyst who is now the agency's historian, "getting rid of the remnants of the old regime and bringing in his own people."

Alexander has been looking to replace Black since taking over in August but decided that it was smarter to delay the decision, said a former government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of personnel decisions.

"He has chosen this way of axing" Black, the former official said.

An NSA spokeswoman would not comment on the decision but said a "transition date" was set for August.

NSA insiders had expected Alexander to replace Black quickly. Alexander and his predecessor, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, had clashed and had contrasting leadership styles.

As deputy director, Black was intimately involved in the agency's most sensitive operations, including the warrantless surveillance program.

Last year, Black received one of the Pentagon's Distinguished Civilian Service awards. Hayden, his former boss, said this month that he had brought Black on board in 2000 as a "change agent."

Inside the agency, Black was controversial because of his management style and because of the ties he forged between his former employer, Science Applications International Corp., and the NSA, former intelligence officials said. Black had served at the NSA for nearly four decades before taking a management job at Science Applications in 1997.

The company won a number of large contracts with the NSA after Black returned to the spy agency, including a $280 million contract to oversee the NSA's Trailblazer program, which sought to overhaul the way the NSA sifts and analyzes data. Trailblazer ultimately proved a flop and has been abandoned.

Black insisted that he make all major decisions on Trailblazer, and that approach was typical of his management style, which circumvented other senior NSA managers, a former senior intelligence official said.

Black's successor, Inglis, was the top deputy at the agency's signals directorate, which is responsible for intercepting and analyzing communications, before assuming his most recent post in Britain.

In his memo, Alexander noted Inglis' leadership, professionalism and experience abroad as key attributes that his new deputy will bring to his assignment, which he is to begin Aug. 14.

Alexander noted that Inglis will be tackling projects to improve the NSA's ability to exploit enemies' use of global technology networks, an area in which the spy agency has struggled in recent years. At the NSA, Inglis has spent much of his career honing eavesdropping technology. At a 2002 conference, he criticized some NSA leaders for being afraid to embrace new technologies, Aid said.

Inglis, a 1976 Air Force Academy graduate and a pilot, holds several engineering and computer science graduate degrees.


A former government official said he was disappointed that Alexander had selected an NSA insider as his new top deputy.

"He's been reluctant to go outside to get help," the former official said. "NSA has been a management nightmare for a long time. There is nobody internally who has any experience about how to manage anything effectively."

It is not uncommon for top officials in positions such as Black's to seek overseas assignments in their final years at the agency, said Ira Winkler, a former NSA analyst.

Such assignments pay 25 percent more than those in the United States, he said, and retirement pay is based on an employee's salary for the last three years of his career.

"It makes a hell of a lot of sense," Winkler said.

obam inyerrsted in. ray kelly dhs - Google Search

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 02:22

WebImagesMapsShoppingNewsMoreAny timePast hourPast 24 hoursPast weekPast monthPast yearAll resultsVerbatimShowing results forobamainterested in. ray kelly dhsSearch instead for obaminyerrsted in. ray kelly dhsNews for obama interested in. ray kelly dhsNYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly receptive to Homeland Security job, says US Rep. Peter KingNew York Daily News- 2 days ago

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly receptive to Homeland Security job, says ... King's comments come a day after Obama lauded Kelly in a TV ...

Obama: 'I'd want to know' if NYPD's Kelly is interested in DHS postThe Hill- 4 days ago

Obama apparently considering NYC's top cop for Homeland 3 days ago

Ray Kelly Is Not Not Interested in That DHS Job -- Daily Cached2 days ago ...Ray Kelly Is Not Not Interested in That DHS Job. By Adam ... Related. Obama:Ray Kelly Is 'Very Well Qualified' for Homeland Security Job.What's the Upside for Obama in a Ray Kelly DHS... - The Atlantic Cached1 day ago ... Schumer proposed the idea that NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly might make agood Homeland Security director, the response from the left was ...The Push for Ray Kelly as Head of DHS Heats Up | FDL Cached1 day ago ... The push to make New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly the new ...Obamasaid he would be like to know if Kelly would be interested in the ...What's the Upside for Obama in a Ray Kelly DHS... - Yahoo! html- Cached1 day ago ... Chuck Schumer of New York first proposed the idea last week that New York CityPolice Commissioner Ray Kelly might make a good director of ...Obama: 'I'd want to know' if NYPD's Kelly is interested in DHS post in-dhs-post-- Cached4 days ago ...Obama described New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly as ...Ray Kelly was interested in a job as Homeland Security Secretary.EXCLUSIVE: Ray Kelly 'definitely' interested in Homeland Cached2 days ago ... Exclusive: Ray Kelly 'definitely' interested in Homeland Security chief ... PresidentObama on Tuesday called Kelly, 71, ''very well-qualified'' to ...Obama insider says stop-frisk hurts Kelly's chances of heading UXp6sK4FN41b2MlaG4BzcO- Cached1 day ago ...Ray Kelly may want to lead the Department of Homeland Security, but the Obamaadministration is worried about the heat it would take for ...Obama wants to know if NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly wants Cached3 days ago ... New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks to attendees for Memorial Day... New York's police commissioner for homeland security secretary. ... New Yorkaffiliate he wants to know if Ray Kelly is interested in the job.Obama wants to know if NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly wants Cached3 days ago ... President Obama suggested Tuesday he is considering New York's policecommissioner for homeland security secretary. ... New York Police CommissionerRay Kelly speaks to attendees for Memorial Day ceremonies at ... Univision'sNew York affiliate he wants to know if Ray Kelly is interested in the job.12345678910NextAdvanced searchSearch HelpSend feedback

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Agenda 21

Houston firm looks to build DC power lines in AC world - The Tell - MarketWatch

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:35

Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners thinks big. The three-year-old energy infrastructure developer plans to gather permits and rights-of-way for new multi-billion-dollar transmission lines to carry electricity from the U.S.'s vast wind power resources in the middle of the Lower 48 to the population centers on the coasts. The lines would cost up to $8 billion to build, under their latest estimate.

It's a mammoth undertaking, with Clean Line's staff of about 40 people focused on engineering, public hearings, and reams of paperwork to satisfy regulatory requirements from local municipalities to the U.S.'s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

One way Clean Line's proposal differs from other transmission methods is in its use of direct current transmission instead of alternating current. Nearly all of the big power lines in the U.S. operate on alternating current, or AC, a method that won a big fight more than 100 years ago between AC booster Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, a proponent of DC.

Michael Skelly, Clean Line's co-founder, and Jimmy Glotfelty, a former director of the George Bush Administration's energy transmission office, argue that DC lines would save money. Since DC lines carry more power per cable than AC lines, only one row of towers would be needed to handle the power load instead of a row of three-across for AC lines.

In another boost for DC lines, China has embraced the technology and is moving ahead with DC transmission lines for its new grid, they said.

''We have enough wind to power the country many times over,'' Skelly said in an interview.

So far, Clean Line Energy Partners has drawn investor support from the Zilkha family of Houston as well as ZBI Ventures, a unit of Ziff Brothers Investments, which is the principal vehicle of the New York-based Ziff family. Terms of the financing have not been disclosed.

Skelly said Clean Line continues to bear down on the regulatory process but that once the company gets its approvals as expected by 2014, it shouldn't have too much trouble raising capital to build the lines.

''One Clean Line project would enable and deliver the same amount of electricity as three Hoover dams,'' Skelly said. ''We'll have access to an ocean of investor money once the permits are set up.''

While Clean Line Energy Partners has lofty goals, it's not easy to get big infrastructure projects up and running nowadays. But if they manage to clear some of the bureaucratic hurdles, the favorable corporate debt market could be a boost to their plans.

''Steve Gelsi

Follow The Tell on Twitter @thetellblog

Obama Nation

White House stays silent on renewal of NSA data collection order

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Source: The Guardian World News

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 00:07

The Obama administration is refusing to say whether it will seek to renew a court order that permits the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records on millions of Verizon customers when it expires at the end of this week.

Officials declined to discuss what action they intend to take about the order at the center of the current surveillance scandal, which formally expires at 5pm Friday.

The looming expiration of the order, issued by the secretive Fisa court, provides an early test of Barack Obama's claim to welcome debate over "how to strike this balance" between liberty and security. Beyond the question of the phone records collection, the court order authorizing it is a state secret.

On Thursday, the administration would not answer a question first posed by the Guardian six days ago about its intentions to continue, modify or discontinue the Verizon bulk-collection order. The White House referred queries to the Justice Department. "We have no announcement at this time," said Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon. The NSA and office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to questions.

A spokesman for the Fisa court, Sheldon Snook, said the court "respectfully declines to comment".

Bipartisan criticism is mounting in Congress about the NSA's collection and stockpiling of millions of Americans' phone records without individual warrants or suspicions of connections to terrorism.

Congressman James Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin and a senior member of the House judiciary committee, told the Guardian: "By renewing the Fisa court order, the Obama administration would reconfirm its support for the dragnet collection of telephone metadata, despite public outcry."

Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, asked if he thought Obama should let the Verizon order expire, said: "Yes. This type of secret bulk data collection is an outrageous breach of Americans' privacy. If the administration feels this program is vital to our national security, it should declassify the secret court interpretations that justify broad data collection so Congress and the American public can debate it in the light of day."

Judge Roger Vinson, until recently a member of the court that reviews the government's surveillance requests, approved the order for "all call data records or telephony metadata" from customers of Verizon Business Services on 25 April. The court has reauthorized the bulk phone records collection, in secret, every 90 days for about seven years.

At least two other major telecoms, AT&T and Sprint, reportedly receive similar orders. The dates of their expiration are unclear.

Obama administration and intelligence officials describe the collection of phone records '' detailing phone numbers dialed, duration of the calls, and the times they occurred '' as critical to uncovering terrorist plots. While the court orders permit the NSA to collect and store tens if not hundreds of millions of American phone records, NSA director General Keith Alexander has cited the phone records collection as contributing to the discovery of about 10 domestic plots.

Officials argue that Americans' liberties are protected because court criteria forbid the searches of the phone-records database absent "reasonable articulable facts," although NSA officials decide for themselves when those criteria are met. NSA claims to have searched through the database fewer than 300 times in 2012.

"It's the old adage: if you're looking for the needle in the haystack, you have to have the entire haystack to look through," deputy attorney general James Cole testified to the House judiciary committee on Wednesday. "But we're not allowed to look through that haystack willy-nilly."

But there is concern and even anger among legislators about the propriety and legality of the NSA's access to the haystack.

Sensenbrenner, the author of the Patriot Act, whose Section 215 provision the government uses to justify the bulk phone records collection, warned Cole and other officials on Wednesday: "You have to change how you operate Section 215, otherwise in the year and a half, or two and a half years, you're not going to have it anymore."

Sensenbrenner told the Guardian: "I would advise the president to reconsider his misinterpretation of Section 215 and rein in abuse."

Other members on the House Judiciary Committee, Republicans and Democrats, expressed strong opposition to the phone records collection. "This is unsustainable. It's outrageous, and must be stopped immediately," said congressman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat. "Do I have a reasonable expectation of privacy in anything but maybe a letter I hand-deliver to my wife in a [secure facility]?" asked Blake Farenthold, a Republican from Texas.

Last week, senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and a member of the Senate intelligence committee, commented that the Obama administration was "getting concerned about the bulk phone records collection" and speculated it might "move administratively" to restrict it.

"The bulk collection of ordinary Americans' records is at odds with the American values embodied in the Bill of Rights and the fourth amendment, and I continue to be opposed to the secret interpretations of the Patriot Act that are used to justify this bulk collection," Wyden told the Guardian.

"I have worked with my colleague Senator Udall and others to introduce legislation that would end this bulk collection, and I hope that while Congress considers legislation the intelligence community will examine the use of such bulk collection authorities and bring them more in line with the constitutional privacy protections the American people deserve."

Udall urged the White House to restrict the bulk collection in advance of the Wyden-Udall legislation.

"The federal government's dragnet, bulk collection of phone data runs contrary to our constitutional values and unnecessarily violates millions of law-abiding Americans' privacy," Udall, also member of the Senate intelligence committee, told the Guardian.

"I am strongly opposed to the Section 215 program continuing as it exists today and when the Verizon order was issued. Sen. Wyden and I have introduced a plan to narrow the scope of the Section 215 program, but the White House should in the meantime more narrowly focus its counter-terror efforts under the Patriot Act."

On Friday morning, hours before the expiration of the phone-records bulk collection order, the top lawyer for the director of national intelligence, Robert S Litt, is scheduled to speak at the Brookings Institution in Washington about the controversial surveillance and the laws bounding it.

At Wednesday's hearing, Litt was asked by Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House judiciary committee, if the administration thought if a surveillance program "of this magnitude '... could be indefinitely kept secret from the American people?"

"Well," Litt replied, "we tried."


Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: aangirfan

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 13:48

In recent decades, cars made in Detroit have been generally inferior to those made in Germany and Japan.Now, Detroit has become the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy - with debts of possibly $20 billion.Healthcare and other benefits for retired people are likely to be affected.

In March 2013, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of taking bribes and rigging contracts.The USA is good at producing ignorant, brainwashed people, but not much else. BOEING Dreamliner fire at Heathrow linked to ANOTHER lithium battery /

Frankenstein food firm MONSANTO 'quits' Europe"In 1943, the Packard Motor Car Company promoted three blacks to work next to whites in their assembly lines."In response, 25,000 whites walked off the job, effectively slowing down the critical war production."During the protest, a voice shouted in the loudspeaker, "I'd rather see Hitler and Hirohito win than work next to a nigger."[29]Over the course of three days, 34 people were killed. Of them, 25 were African''American. [30]In the 1950s, Detroit had a population of 1.8 million.Now the population is around 700,000."Much of the middle-class population, and scores of businesses, have left Detroit, and taken their tax dollars with them.""The globalists murdered Detroit through the various free trade agreements.

"Through NAFTA, GATT, and CAFTA, American auto manufacturing were free to ship their factories overseas in search of near slave labor markets.

"The passage of these free trade agreements made it possible to hire foreign slave laborers and without the now prohibited tariffs on imports, the globalist controlled corporations could ship slave labor manufactured products back into the United States.

"Our government failed to protect manufacturers and the net effect is that we are beginning to see third world conditions inside of the United States in cities such as Detroit and it is spreading like wildfire.

"Since the 1970'²s, America has lost 86% of its manufacturing jobs."

Who Killed Detroit City and Why? | Dave Hodges

Motown Memory Lane: Obama 'wasn't going to let Detroit go bankrupt'

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Source: Twitchy » US Politics

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 00:11

Obama: ''I wasn't going to let Detroit go bankrupt. Or Toledo go bankrupt. Or Lordstown go bankrupt. I bet on American workers.''

'--Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 26, 2012What a difference less than a year makes, huh?

Obama campaign, 2012: "Romney wanted to'--and would have'--''let Detroit go bankrupt'''... Via @mattdizwhitlock'--SunnyRight (@sunnyright) July 18, 2013

President Obama: ''We refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt.'' OFA.BO/qZTtqA'--Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 13, 2012


Well, this is awkward RT @BarackObama: Obama: ''I wasn't going to let Detroit go bankrupt. Or Toledo go bankrupt. I bet on American workers.'''--Tyler Seuc (@SeucT) July 18, 2013

Damn near made it a year. Good job. Good effort. ''@BarackObama: Obama: ''I wasn't going to let Detroit go bankrupt."'--Ryan Hillesland (@Hillesland358) July 18, 2013

Toledo and Lordstown are screwed:'...#Detroit#Bankrupt'--Andrew T. Lane (@DreLane) July 18, 2013

Didnt we bail out Detroit so they wouldn't go broke? Thought things were booming according to @BarackObama'--Reaganette (@Ezinger44) July 18, 2013

Hey @BarackObama great job preventing Detroit from going bankrupt!'--Brady N. R. Sprague (@BradySprague) July 18, 2013

Yeah, so about this'... MT @BarackObama: Obama: ''I wasn't going to let Detroit go bankrupt."'--Bill Murphy (@billmurphy) July 18, 2013

@BarackObama you bet on Detroit, Solyndra and others as well.. #Fail'--drdr jojo (@drdrjojo) July 18, 2013

I thought @BarackObama was going to save #Detroit from bankruptcy. What happened??'--Christian Cmara (@Reaganista) July 18, 2013

Great Work! @BarackObama President Obama: ''We refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt.'' #tcot'--Chuck Finley (@DanLynch902) July 18, 2013

Oops, I've done it again! BarackObama: Obama: ''I wasn't going to let Detroit go bankrupt. Or Toledo go bankrupt. I bet on American workers.'''--Palmer (@Jonijam) July 18, 2013

RT @BarackObama: If we could save just one Detroit'...whoops.'--Matthew H. (@Matthops82) July 18, 2013


At least he closed Gitmo, right?RT @zerohedge: "I Refused To Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" '' Barack Obama, October 2012'-- (@CatsPolitics) July 18, 2013

Yeah '... with his track record, he really ought to lay off the promises.

So I guess that "Obama saved Detroit" talking point needs a really big asterisk.'--Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) July 18, 2013

@JonahNRO As your colleague @jimgeraghty would say, "All Obama statements come with an expiration date. All of them."'--Michael Hanthorn (@PornPops69) July 18, 2013

Follow @twitchyteam


'The face of terror': Boston sergeant suspended over leak of Tsarnaev's arrest photos

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 05:05

After Boston Magazine published previously unseen photographs of the night of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev's capture, in response to a now controversial Rolling Stone cover, the man who released the pictures has had his badge revoked.

The new images, which were provided by Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer with the Massachusetts State Police, were accompanied by a statement written by Murphy, who was angered by the magazine cover of Tsarnaev, arguing that it promoted an unfair image of the suspected terrorist.

''The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine,'' wrote Murphy.

On Thursday evening Murphy told CNN that he had been placed on leave from his job pending a review next week. Earlier in the day, a police spokesman had told reports that the agency had not authorized publication of the photos Murphy had taken.

''Today's dissemination to Boston Magazine of photographs of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev and police activity related to his capture was not authorized by the Massachusetts State Police. The department will not release the photographs to media outlets. The State Police will have no further comment on this matter tonight.''

Unlike the Rolling Stone cover, which takes what critics describe as a glamorous, stylized portrait of the youngest Tsarnaev brother - the eldest having been killed during a confrontation with police - Murphy's photographs depict Tsarnaev at the moment of his capture, bloodied and emerging from a boat in the residential backyard where police converged on him in Watertown, Massachusetts just prior to his surrender.

Most striking to what has become that key image is a sniper's clearly visible red laser target on Tsarnaev's forehead as he surrenders to authorities.

Additional images taken on April 19 show Tsarnaev lying on the ground and receiving emergency medical care, as well as photos of police and emergency response workers during the manhunt through the Boston suburbs.

"This guy is evil," Murphy tells Boston magazine. "This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."

Though Rolling Stone is known for producing controversial images, these are generally of individuals remarkable for their musical or cultural impact. The choice to depict the bombing accomplice on its cover has been interpreted by many as offensive to his victims.

According to Murphy, who is also responsible for photographing the funeral ceremonies of police officers, the August magazine cover is a sad reminder for victims of the bombings.

''It's irritated the wounds that will never heal'--again. There is nothing glamorous in bringing more pain to a grieving family.''

A number of Boston-area and US retail chains said on Wednesday that they would not stock the Rolling Stone edition out of concern from the developing controversy. >>

Rolling Stone's Jihadist Rock Star

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Source: FrontPage Magazine » FrontPage

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 04:57

In a transparent and despicable cry for attention, Rolling Stone magazine has put a picture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its August issue, being released to newsstands today. An outcry of national proportions has ensued, best expressed by bombing survivor James ''Bim'' Costello, 30, of Malden, MA, who needed several pigskin grafts, and has three friends who lost legs in the atrocity. ''I think whoever wrote the article should have their legs blown off by someone, struggle through treatment and then see who they would choose to put on the cover,'' he said.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was equally reviled by the decision. ''Why are we glorifying a guy who created mayhem in the city of Boston?'' he fumed. ''Why would we want to heroize this guy? He's a terrorist. We don't want him in our neighborhoods. We don't want him on magazines. We don't want him anywhere.'' Menino also sent a letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jan Wenner, castigating the decision to give Tsarnaev ''celebrity treatment,'' further noting such treatment ''reaffirms a terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their 'causes.'''

Menino also nailed the obvious motivation behind the decision. ''To respond to you in anger is to feed your obvious marketing strategy,'' he added.

It is a marketing strategy that is backfiring. At least five retailers, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, the Roche Bros grocery chain, and Tedeschi Food Shops, a Massachusetts-based convenience store chain, have announced they will not be selling the issue. A statement released by CVS, which operates in 7,300 locations nationwide, illuminated the prevailing sentiment. ''CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect,'' it said. ''As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones.''

Outrage was also expressed on social media sites. ''This cover makes him look like some kind of cool rock god'... it's horrible'' said one Twitter user. ''Why give the guy the cover of Rolling Stone?'' asked another. ''Kill an 8-year-old, land on the cover of Rolling Stone,'' tweeted Brian Ries, senior editor at Newsweek. ''TIME gave Charles Manson the cover and all the magazines carried pictures of the Columbine shooters on the covers, too. Don't make martyrs out of these people,'' said another enraged user. All of them reflect the reality that the Twitter feed, ''#Boycott Rolling Stone'' is becoming an increasingly popular topic on the service.

At the magazine's Facebook page, where more than 5,400 people left comments in the first 12 hours the cover was posted online, the overall sentiment was equally incendiary. ''Whoever subscribes to this worthless rag should cancel their subscriptions TODAY!!! This is unacceptable!!'' said one. ''I shared this on my news feed, but not in support of your magazine, I shared it to show people how low you have gone by putting this terrorist on your cover. Rolling Stone, go and read all the shares of your picture, there are a lot of angry people that you would make such a disgusting choice,'' said another. ''Very un-American. F**k you Rolling Stone. I thought it was supposed to be an honor to be on your cover?'' read yet another disgusted reader.

The last comment cuts to the heart of the issue. For decades, getting one's picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone was considered the ultimate affirmation of rock stardom. So much so, the phenomenon was immortalized in a song ''Cover of the Rolling Stone,'' written by Shel Silverstein and performed by Dr. Hook. It is virtually inconceivable that Rolling Stone publisher Jan Wenner would be oblivious to the obvious connection most people would make with regard to giving a thug bomber the ''star treatment.''

More likely it was precisely the point. In modern-day America, fame and infamy are interchangeable attention-getters, and Rolling Stone is in desperate need of attention. In the first half of 2010, the magazine suffered a 26.9 percent decline in newsstand sales, compared to an overall drop of 5.6 percent for the industry, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. In a list of magazines sorted by their paid circulation in the United States, it currently ranks 53rd, with an overall circulation of 1.47 million, of which 1.34 million are subscriptions. As of June 2012, 75,000 of the 26 issues released per year were sold in stores.

Thus, store sales are not critical. On the other hand, the social media firestorm currently being led by an independent Facebook page, ''Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine for their latest cover'' may change the equation. It has garnered more than 155,000 ''likes'' at the time of this writing, and many on the page are urging subscribers to drop their subscriptions.

In a self-serving statement, Rolling Stone defended its decision. ''Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families,'' it said. ''The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone's long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.'' The magazine further insisted ''the fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.''

All of which could have been accomplished without putting Tsarnaev on the cover in the all-too-familiar celebrity pose, along with the headline ''The Bomber'' in large lettering, followed by the sub-heading, ''How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.''

Unsurprisingly the magazine's choice had its defenders. ''The problem here isn't the cover itself, or the image: it's the reaction,'' wrote's Tyler Coates. Author Tony Castro contended the publication ''is obviously still doing what it has''trailblazing.'' After conceding the cover was ''a big turnoff for many,'' he defended it, even if it had been touched up for publication. ''Was it touched up? Probably, but likely no more than the mug of New England Patriots' star quarterback Tom Brady on all those sports magazine covers and his Uggs ads,'' he wrote. ''If you're going to buy covers with touch-ups of your heroes, you better also expect touch-ups of your villains.'' The Atlantic Wire's Eric Levenson contends ''the brouhaha over the cover photo ignores the main reason Rolling Stone used that selfie in the first place; the piece is excellent,'' he writes.

Levenson is disingenuous at best, and the Daily Caller's Matt K. Lewis explains exactly why. ''The disparity between the number of people who see a cover versus the number of people who read a story is staggering,'' he writes. ''What is more, even the words splashed on the cover are easily overcome by the image. Anyone who knows anything about optics and public relations knows this to be true.''

It is virtually impossible to believe that one of promotional advertising's oldest adages, ''image is everything,'' is lost on the editors of Rolling Stone. It is certainly not lost on the clueless cadre of dimwitted young ''fangirls'' caught up in the ''Free Jahar'' movement that has had thousands of them swooning over the alleged mass murderer. Such swooning includes blogs with pictures similar to the one published by Rolling Stone. Since several stories about this odious phenomenon were published in May, along with explanations about the psychological motivations that animate it, namely the twisted desire for fame above everything else, the idea that Rolling Stone is surprised by the outrage its cover engenders strains credulity. Moreover, by publishing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's picture on the cover, Rolling Stone feeds into the exact same need for fame that has driven some of the nation's worst mass murderers.

As for the magazine's professed desire to ''gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens,'' spare us all such pious nonsense. First and foremost, a carefully planned and executed terrorist attack that wounded 264 people, many of whom had limbs blown off, and killed three, including an 8-year-old boy, is not a ''tragedy.'' It is a cold-blooded atrocity, the ''complete understanding'' of which can be reduced to two words: radical Islam. Furthermore, the article itself, entitled ''Jahar's World,'' is a long, detailed effort that comes across as an attempt to elicit some level of empathy for Dzhokhar. It is a function of the left's ceaseless efforts to cast sociopaths (especially liberal-aligned sociopaths) as sympathetic, relatable figures with ''dysfunctional childhoods'' and ''broken homes,'' shifting the proximate cause of their evil acts to ''society'' or ''the system.''

Conspicuously missing from the article? Any details about the victims of the bombings. Jen Regan, fianc(C) of Marc Fucarile, who is still hospitalized as a result of the attack, offers some much-need perspective in that regard.

For over 3 months now, Marc has had to wake up every day in a hospital dealing with pain, dozens of surgeries and intensive rehab therapy. Our entire family has been focused on Marc's recovery while we anxiously await when he can return home. The new Rolling Stone cover is disgusting. It sensationalizes Marc's pain as well all the other victims and survivors. It is an insult to the families and people impacted that day. We know that the people of Boston are better than this and will continue to rise above this meaningless story and keep the focus where it belongs on the victims, survivors and their families who face a lifetime of challenges. We look forward to welcoming Marc home soon and thank everyone for their continued support.

The victims are the real face of this atrocity. That Rolling Stone chooses to ignore such an obvious reality in favor of giving an alleged Islamic jihadist the so-called ''rock star treatment'' is a utter disgrace.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

FBI Refuses To Release Autopsy Of Unarmed Man They Executed While Questioning About Boston Bombing

Never Seen Before Photos Of A Bloody Boston Bombing SUSPECT Climbing Out Of Boat & Being Arrested


Obama wil Broas toch als ambassadeur VS in Nederland

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Source: VK: Home

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 04:55

19/07/13, 06:33 '' bron: ANP

(C) ap. Barack Obama

De Amerikaan Timothy Broas wordt mogelijk alsnog ambassadeur van de Verenigde Staten in Nederland. President Barack Obama nomineerde Broas donderdag (lokale tijd) opnieuw voor de post, meldden Amerikaanse media. De Amerikaanse Senaat moet de benoeming nog goedkeuren.

Advocaat Broas moest zich vorig jaar nog terugtrekken voor de post. Hij was opgepakt terwijl hij beschonken achter het stuur zat. Ook verzette hij zich volgens de politie tegen zijn aanhouding, maar daar is hij niet voor veroordeeld.

OngepastBroas kreeg uiteindelijk een kleine boete, maar zijn diplomatieke ambities gingen noodgedwongen een tijdje de ijskast in. 'In de aanloop naar de rechtszaak vond hij het ongepast om zich te laten overwegen voor de benoeming', zei de advocaat van Broas tegen persbureau Reuters.

Advocaat Broas gold als een belangrijke fondsenwerver voor president Obama. De ervaren jurist stelde vorig jaar zichzelf een geschikte kandidaat te vinden om ambassadeur in Nederland te worden. Zijn tientallen jaren in de advocatuur gaven hem de managementervaring die nodig is voor de post, zei hij tegen senatoren.

Belgium: King Albert makes way for son Philippe

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Source: The Daily Star >> Live News

Sun, 21 Jul 2013 07:04

BRUSSELS (AP) - Belgium will get a new king Sunday when the current monarch, Albert, abdicates following a 20-year reign and hands over the throne to his son Philippe.

At 79, Albert will first sign away his rights as the largely ceremonial ruler of the kingdom in the presence of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, who holds the political power in this 183-year-old parliamentary democracy.

After the morning ceremony at the royal palace, Philippe, 53, will take the king's oath before the nation's legislators at the parliament building a short walk across the Royal Park in the heart of the city.

Afterward, King Philippe and new Queen Mathilde are expected to greet the crowds below in a balcony scene at the palace before fireworks end a slew of ceremonies marking the day.

Albert announced his abdication plans less than three weeks ago, so there was little time to turn the occasion into a huge international event and no foreign royals were expected at the crowning. Since the royal transition coincides with Belgium's national day celebrations, a military parade had already been planned.

Philippe will face a tough task in the coming months. The fractious nation, ever-more divided by language, holds parliamentary elections in June 2014 amid calls for even more autonomy for the 6 million Dutch-speaking Flemings and 4.5 million French-speakers. The monarchy could find its role even more diminished.

After the last elections in 2010, it took a record 541 days before a government could be formed amid much bickering about how much more power should be sapped from the central state to profit the separate language groups.

Unlike his five predecessors, Albert tried to avoid politics as much as possible and Philippe is expected to do likewise.

Philippe has been groomed for the job as a leader of foreign trade delegations over the past two decades. He and Mathilde have four children.

Belgische prins met zonnebril in kathedraal

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Source: VK: Home

Sun, 21 Jul 2013 10:19

21/07/13, 10:15 '' bron: BuzzR

(C) reuters.

Prins Laurent was een opvallende verschijning tijdens de dankdienst in Brussel voorafgaand aan de nationale feestdag en de inhuldiging van zijn broer als nieuwe koning. De prins droeg namelijk bij aankomst bij de Sint-Michiels en Sint-Goedelekathedraal een zonnebril.

(C) Archiefbeeld. EPA.

Deze hield hij gedurende de hele dienst op. Waarom prins Laurent de bril ophad is niet bekend. Hij was samen met zijn vrouw Claire bij de dienst.

Naast Laurent waren natuurlijk ook koning Albert II, koningin Paola, het toekomstige vorstenpaar Filip en Mathilde, koningin Fabiola, prinses Astrid en haar man Lorenz aanwezig in de kathedraal.


Syria conflict in stalemate - PM

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Source: BBC News - Home

Sun, 21 Jul 2013 10:17

21 July 2013Last updated at05:57 ETThe Assad government may have got "stronger" in recent months, but more can be done to help Syria's opposition forces, David Cameron has said.

The UK prime minister told the BBC there was a "stalemate" on the ground, but work must continue internationally to try to find a solution.

UK military chiefs have warned of the risks of arming rebel groups.

Mr Cameron said there was "too much extremism" among the opposition, but moderate groups still deserved support.

Syrian government forces have taken the initiative in recent months, and have been bolstered by the capture of the strategically important town of Qusair in the west of the country in June.

Most of the much bigger city of Homs has been recaptured by government troops backed by Lebanon's Hezbollah.

'Evil man'Washington and London have been looking at ways to increase logistical support for opposition groups and the UK announced last week it was sending £650,000-worth of protective clothing to guard them against chemical and biological attacks.

But reports have suggested support for supplying weapons to rebel groups is receding, due to strong political opposition and widespread concerns about arms falling into the wrong hands.

Mr Cameron told the Andrew Marr show that President Bashar al-Assad was an "evil" man who was doing "terrible things to his people".

But he also said the UK "should have nothing to do" with elements of the opposition also reported to have committed atrocities.

Continue reading the main storyIt is a very depressing picture and it is a picture which is on the wrong trajectory''

End QuoteDavid Cameron"It is a very depressing picture and it is a picture which is on the wrong trajectory," he said of the conflict.

"There is too much extremism among the rebels. There is also still appalling behaviour from this dreadful regime using chemical weapons. There is an enormous overspill of problems into neighbouring countries."

He added: "I think he [Assad] may be stronger than he was a few months ago but I'd still describe the situation as a stalemate."

'Head in sand'Despite the UK's concerns about the actions and views of some opposition groups, Mr Cameron said the UK had a duty to support those pushing for a "democratic, free and pluralistic" country.

"You do have problems with part of the opposition which is extreme, that we should have nothing to do with. But that is not a reason for pulling up the drawbridge, putting our head in the sand and doing nothing.

"What we should be doing is working with international partners to help the millions of Syrians who want to have a free democratic Syria, who want to see that country have some form of success."

Mr Cameron also said reports in the media that his wife had been a strong influence on his policy were a "total urban myth".

Samantha Cameron visited a refugee camp in Lebanon in March in her role as ambassador for Save The Children, in which she met families and children displaced by the conflict.

It has been suggested that she has since pressed for a stronger humanitarian response.

The UN says the refugee crisis is the worst for 20 years, with 1.7 million forced to seek shelter in neighbouring countries and an average of 6,000 people fleeing every day this year.

Mr Cameron said his wife had been "very moved" by what she had seen and heard from people who had lost loved ones and whose communities had been destroyed.

But he added: "She does not influence my policy on this. I have been very passionate about this for a long time."

US General: 'We Are Preparing for Military Action in Syria'

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Source: The Top Information Post

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 13:53

President Barack Obama is considering using military force in Syria, and the Pentagon has prepared various scenarios for possible United States intervention.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Obama administration is deliberating whether or not it should use the brute of the US military in Syria during a Thursday morning Senate hearing.

Gen. Dempsey said the administration was considering using ''kinetic strikes'' in Syria and said ''issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government,'' the Associated Press reported from Washington.

Dempsey, 61, is the highest ranking officer in the US military and has been nominated by Pres. Obama to serve a second term in that role. The Senate Armed Services Committee questioned him Thursday morning as part of the nominating process when Dempsey briefly discussed the situation in Syria.

Last month, the Obama administration concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons during the ongoing battles. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said, ''The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete.''

Pres. Obama said previously that the use of chemical weapons would cross a ''red line'' and likely trigger American intervention. When the White House concluded Assad had relied on chemical warfare, Rhodes said, ''both the political and the military opposition . . . is and will be receiving US assistance.''

That claim was met with skepticism, though. The Syrian Foreign Ministry called Obama's claims a ''caravan of lies.'' Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, later presented to the UN evidence supplied to his government that suggested the Syrian opposition fighters used chemical weapons.

With regards to foreign intervention, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said, ''Providing arms to either side would not address this current situation.'' Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and his father, former congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) have also cautioned the White House against aiding Syrian rebels.

''You will be funding today the allies of al Qaeda'' by aiding Syrian rebels, Sen. Paul said in May.

On his part, the retired lawmaker from Texas insisted that the administration's lead up to possible intervention is ''identical to the massive deception campaign that led us into the Iraq War.''

That isn't to say the GOP is entirely opposed to taking any action. Although directly using the American military '-- either through boots-on-the-ground or unmanned aircraft '-- has been rarely discussed in public, Sens. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), two long-time leaders within the Republican party, have been relentless with efforts to equip opposition fighters.

''I don't care what it takes,'' Graham told Foreign Policy's The Cable earlier this year. ''If the choice is to send in troops to secure the weapons sites versus allowing chemical weapons to get in the hands of some of the most violent people in the world, I vote to cut this off before it becomes a problem.''

Other US officials have previously said Washington is considering implementing a no-fly zone above Syria, and last month the Pentagon left a fleet of F-16 fighter planes and its Patriot anti-missile system on the border of neighboring Jordan following a routine military drill.


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Kinetic Strikes: General Dempsey says U.S. considering use of force in Syria

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 05:04

Source: Haartez

The Obama administration is deliberating whether to use military power in Syria, where a civil war entering its third year has killed almost 93,000 people, the nation's top military officer told a Senate panel Thursday.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said during congressional testimony that he has provided President Barack Obama with options for the use of force in Syria.

Speaking about what he termed ''kinetic strikes,'' Dempsey added that the ''issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government.'' But he declined to provide further details, as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee pressed him for greater clarity on the strategy for ending the war and removing Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.

''The decision on whether to use force is the decision of our elected officials,'' Dempsey said. ''It would be inappropriate for me to try to influence the decision with me rendering an opinion in public with what type of force we should use.''

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Jim Rogers Blog: Jim Rogers : The Euro may Collapse after the German election in 2013

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 02:43

Jim Rogers :...out of Europe you are going to see currency turmoil , interest rates going to the roof , bonds defaulting , bankruptcy , it is not going to be a lot of fun it might lead to an ultimate solution , there is nothing like a crisis to cause people to address issues , but often when n they have the crisis the politicians look for the easy way instead of the right way and they just make it worse down the road.Jim Rogers is an great investor, author and respected financial commentator. He is a regular guest on different TV programs like these of Barron's, FT, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fortune and CNBC. Rogers is the president of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests.


Statement by the President

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Source: White Press Office Feed

Sun, 21 Jul 2013 06:56

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

July 20, 2013

Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Helen Thomas. Helen was a true pioneer, opening doors and breaking down barriers for generations of women in journalism. She covered every White House since President Kennedy's, and during that time she never failed to keep presidents '' myself included '' on their toes. What made Helen the ''Dean of the White House Press Corps'' was not just the length of her tenure, but her fierce belief that our democracy works best when we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account. Our thoughts are with Helen's family, her friends, and the colleagues who respected her so deeply.

John Casablancas, Modeling Visionary, Dies at 70 -

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 08:12

John Casablancas, the modeling agent whose shrewd and sometimes scandalous packaging of beautiful women ushered in the era of supermodels, died on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro. He was 70.

The cause was cancer, said Lorraine Caggiano, his executive assistant. Mr. Casablancas, who lived in Miami, was being treated in Brazil.

Head-turningly handsome, Mr. Casablancas courted scandal in his own life as well, accused of having sexual relations with teenage models and pursuing a playboy's life of excess.

For 30 years, through the Elite Model Management agency he founded in Paris in 1972, he shaped the careers of models who became household names, among them Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Carol Alt, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Andie MacDowell, Kim Alexis, Paulina Porizkova, Iman, Heidi Klum and Gisele B¼ndchen.

By the end of its first decade, Elite had become a serious and brash competitor to the well-established New York agencies, like Ford and Wilhelmina, triggering a series of raids, defections and gossipy lawsuits that forever changed the modeling industry and were voraciously covered in the tabloids as the ''Model Wars.''

Mr. Casablancas was at the center of it all, unabashedly mixing business with his pleasure. Where Jerry and Eileen Ford, who founded Ford Models in 1946, had brought an almost puritanical sense of ethics to the modeling business, introducing modern accounting practices and standardized pay and working hours, Mr. Casablancas planted the flag of a provocateur, encouraging his young charges to enjoy a lifestyle of Champagne and wild parties, and sometimes more. He also made the most successful ones very rich.

''I had the understanding of a guy who loved beautiful women, and above all who liked the sensuality of it all,'' Mr. Casablancas said in a 2010 video interview with the blog Modelinia. ''All of the other agents were either women or gay guys. They had their own approach, which in certain instances was probably superior to mine, but I had something I thought was unique. I looked at my models as women.''

He was largely responsible for glamorizing the business and turning models into idols, their egos expanding in direct proportion to their earnings potential. In 1990, at the height of the supermodel moment, Ms. Evangelista, then married to G(C)rald Marie, the president of Elite in Paris, made a comment to Vogue that came to define the vainglorious world of modeling that Mr. Casablancas had created: ''We don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day.''

Mr. Casablancas demanded top dollar for his models, developing them as celebrities and media personalities, the stars of music videos and presenters on MTV. In 1988, to make Ms. Crawford a recognizable face beyond fashion, he encouraged her to pose for Playboy magazine. The ensuing publicity led to a job as host of ''House of Style,'' and then a Pepsi commercial. In 1995, she topped the Forbes list of highest paid models, earning $6.5 million.

The success of Elite, with more than $100 million in annual model bookings during the years it was run by Mr. Casablancas, represented a turning point in modeling, for better and worse. As Wilhelmina Cooper, one of his rivals, said of the typical top model in 1978: ''She is now picking or choosing who she wants to work for, instead of just taking what her agency tells her to.''

Mr. Ford, who accused Elite of poaching models and sued the company in the late 1970s, described Mr. Casablancas's methods at the time as ''sleazy.''

Beyond his feuds with other agencies, Mr. Casablancas was frequently criticized for having sexual relationships with young models. His public affair with Stephanie Seymour in 1983, when he was 41 and she was 16, ended his second marriage, to Jeanette Christjansen, a former model and the 1965 Miss Denmark.

Mr. Casablancas scoffed at the criticism, but his reputation was severely tarnished in 1999 as a result of a BBC One undercover expos(C) that showed Elite's agents in Europe, including Mr. Marie, boasting of drug use and sexual conquests with young models. Though he was not implicated in the scandal, Mr. Casablancas resigned from the agency the following year.

John Casablancas was born on Dec. 12, 1942, in Manhattan, the third of three children of Fernando and Antonia Casablancas, a Spanish couple who, after fleeing the country's civil war, grew wealthy from operating a family textile-machinery business with factories around the world. At 8, he was sent to the Le Rosey boarding school in Switzerland, along with many children of the international jet set, and began a somewhat wayward life for the next two decades.

After attending several European universities without graduating, and taking jobs in finance, public relations and real estate, he accepted a position offered by a family friend to become the marketing manager of a Coca-Cola factory in Brazil. Still in his early 20s, he invited his French girlfriend, Marie-Christine, to join him, and married her at her father's insistence.

When the couple returned to Paris a few years later, he took a job with her brother in public relations for an architecture firm, but their marriage was soon on the rocks. Mr. Casablancas was living in a tiny hotel in 1967 when he met Ms. Christjansen, who was 19 and on a modeling assignment for the photographer Gunnar Larsen.

''I thought he was the best-looking man I'd ever laid eyes on,'' Ms. Christjansen told New York magazine in 1988.

After the affair began, Mr. Casablancas had a daughter, Cecile, with his wife.

Ms. Christjansen's unhappiness with her agency inspired him to start a business, Elys(C)e 3, representing photographers and models. After a rough start, he created a new company with Alain Kittler, a classmate at Le Rosey, to focus only on those they regarded as the best models. They named it Elite.

Mr. Casablancas said he had seen an opportunity for models with personality and sex appeal to command wider attention in magazines and on runways.

''I introduced women with shape, short hair, brunettes, brown eyes,'' he said in the Modelinia interview. ''Fashion is not about a Disney-like type of catalogish model. Fashion is about really exciting girls that have something to say, that express something.''

Shortly after opening a New York office in 1977, Elite was sued for $10 million by Ford and Wilhelmina, but the cases were unsuccessful and resulted only in more publicity for Mr. Casablancas. In 1978, he married Ms. Christjansen and had a son, Julian, with her while the agency continued to thrive.

Elite was the dominant name in global modeling well into the 1990s, until a series of problems, including the BBC One documentary and a class-action lawsuit that accused several agencies of price fixing, led it to seek bankruptcy protection in 2004.

Its assets were most recently acquired by Pacific Global Management Group in 2011.

In 2000, Mr. Casablancas announced that he was selling his Manhattan home and moving to Rio de Janeiro, where he had married Aline Wermelinger in 1993. His marriage to Ms. Christjansen had ended in the late 1970s after their son's birth. Ms. Wermelinger was then 17, having met Mr. Casablancas the previous year when she participated in Elite's Look of the Year contest. She and their three children '-- John Jr., Fernando Augusto and Nina '-- survive him, as do his children with his previous wives. Cecile Casablancas is a jewelry designer, and Julian Casablancas is the lead singer of the rock band the Strokes. He is also survived by a brother, Fernando.

After leaving Elite, Mr. Casablancas created a modeling school, a model-scouting organization called Star System, and what he called a ''cybermodel agency,'' named Illusion 2K, which briefly promoted a computer-animated model named Webbie Tookay. Her greatest attribute, Mr. Casablancas said, was that she would never complain.

''One of my biggest regrets is that I created the supermodel,'' he said in the London newspaper The Telegraph in 2000. ''They can be impossible. Elite single-handedly brought modeling rates to a peak no one could have imagined, but the girls never thanked me for it. I've had enough.''

Correction: July 20, 2013

An earlier version of a photo caption accompanying this article misspelled the surname of one of the models pictured with John Casablancas. She is Joan Severance, not Severence.

"Simply Thank You Helen Thomas!" Andrea Mitchell

Helen Thomas "Died In Her HOME" At Age 92

"Do You Consider Yourself Anti-Semitic?" A: "HELL NO!" Helen Thomas Never Backs Down For ONE Second


GVS-Wake-Up Call for New Yorkers as Police Seek Abducted Boy -

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Thu, 18 Jul 2013 19:56

In cases of child abduction, law enforcement officers often rush to alert as many people as they can since the grim reality is that the odds of finding a child worsen with each passing moment.

So countless bleary-eyed New Yorkers were jolted upright just before 4 a.m. on Wednesday when their cellphones suddenly started blaring with a message about a 7-month-old boy who had been abducted hours earlier by his mother, who had a history of mental illness, from a foster care agency in Harlem.

It was a watershed moment in the intersection of law enforcement and technology: the first mass Amber Alert sent to cellphones in the city since a national wireless emergency alert system was established. And, the police later said, it directly led to the child's being located.

While many people saw the value in getting the alert, many others were not as embracing, recounting their panic, confusion and irritation on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. Dozens of readers vented their frustration over the unexpected early wake-up on The New York Times's Web site, with one man suggesting it might have annoyed people to the point that they would turn off future alerts, and others questioning whether an alert would really help find the child.

An Amber Alert was sent out overnight after Marina Lopez abducted her son, Mario Danner Jr., from a child-welfare building, the authorities said.

New York City Police Department

But it also illustrated the growing reach of a vast public communications network that connects more people than ever before, using the ubiquitous cellphones that many people keep with them at all times and even sleep beside at night.

While cellphone users can adjust their settings or ask their carriers to turn off Amber and other emergency alerts, they do not have the option of tuning out completely. The highest level of alert intended for catastrophic events '-- known as the presidential alert '-- cannot be disabled, though not a single one has yet been issued.

Lee Tien, a staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who focuses on privacy and government surveillance issues, said the cellphone alerts could potentially undermine the relationship people have with their electronic devices. ''We've always insisted that these emergency alerts be opt-in and that there be very careful controls on them because fundamentally the big issue here is who controls your device,'' he said.

In the case of the mass alert on Wednesday, the events started unfolding after the authorities said that Marina Lopez, 25, of Queens, had abducted her son, Mario Danner Jr., on Tuesday afternoon.

The baby had been placed in foster care within the last three months. Ms. Lopez was reported to be bipolar and had shown recent outbreaks of violence, the authorities said.

The New York Police Department asked the State Police on Tuesday night to issue an Amber Alert, which was initially broadcast on television, radio and the Internet. It was transmitted, through the wireless emergency network, to cellphone users in New York City and surrounding counties in the early hours on Wednesday after investigators discovered that the child might be riding in a car. The cellphone alert, which must be 90 characters or fewer, included the car's license plate.

''You have a lot of people on the road at that hour,'' said Robert Hoever, director of special programs at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which tracks Amber Alerts across the country. ''You're looking for those eyes and ears to try to find that child.''

By Wednesday afternoon, the police said that they had found Ms. Lopez and her son in ''good condition.'' Ms. Lopez was arrested and charged with custodial interference. The police said she was found after the Amber Alert led to a tip to the department's Crime Stoppers hot line.

The child was abducted from New York Foundling, a foster care agency. ''While stringent protocols are in place, we are thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event,'' the agency said in a statement. ''Our agency monitors over 50 supervised visits a week with the children in our care and only two such incidents have occurred in the last 20 years.''

The Amber Alert was transmitted via a national cellular network, known as the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, which was mandated by Congress in 2006 as a way to supplement radio and television broadcasts. It was built through a partnership of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and the wireless industry. FEMA, which administers the network, has authorized designated federal, state and local agencies, including the New York State Police, to use it. After receiving an alert from an agency, FEMA transmits it to cellular carriers, which then relay it to cellphone users.

The first alerts went out in 2011, and most of them have been weather-related warnings, FEMA officials said. The alerts are automatically received by many newer cellphones, which are linked to the network, as well as by some prepaid phones and even older phones that have updated software installed.

The cellular phone industry estimates that more than 300 million people use cellphones in the United States, said Amy Storey, a spokeswoman for CTIA, a wireless trade association that represents over 200 companies. Phone carriers are not required to transmit alerts through the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, but all of the largest companies do so, as well as some smaller ones, she said.

Ms. Storey said the alerts were sent through a separate technology from the one used for text-messaging, and were not subject to delays in service or heavy traffic. In addition, alerts are issued for specific locations and automatically download to cellphones in an area even if the owners do not live there. So on Wednesday, some commuters who live in New Jersey did not get the alert until they arrived in Manhattan.

Amber Alerts were first issued in the 1990s in the Dallas-Fort Worth area after a local girl was abducted and murdered. The alerts, which initially were broadcast on TV and radio, later spread to road signs and social media sites. In 2005, the alerts were transmitted to cellphone users who opted to receive the messages through their carriers. By 2012, there were about 700,000 cellphone numbers receiving the alerts.

The Wireless Emergency Alerts system, however, can reach millions of people. More than 50 alerts for abducted children have been carried on cellphones around the country since December, Mr. Hoever said, including an alert in Suffolk County on Long Island in February that was the first in New York State.

One former state law enforcement official, Michael Balboni, said the alert system should be used prudently.

''It is crucial that emergency notification systems take every precaution to never 'cry wolf' or alert needlessly,'' said Mr. Balboni, former deputy secretary of public safety for the state. ''The risk is evident: If the public loses faith in the system, they may stop participating and the purpose of the system will be lost.''

Nick Seeley, 23, who recently moved to New York from Oklahoma, said he was not bothered by the message, or by the precision with which it found him.

''I just kind of assume with cellphones these days they can pinpoint where you are,'' he said.

Joseph Goldstein and Andy Newman contributed reporting.


Why Is DOJ Hiding New Fast & Furious Murders?

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 07:41

Blacklisted NewsBy Tim BrownFreedom Outpost

In the wake of the revelation that a Mexican police chief was found murdered with one of the weapons from the Obama administration's Fast and Furious Operation, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Attorney General reminding him that he has an obligation to inform Congress when weapons from his Fast and Furious operation are found at crime scenes.

In the July 12, 2013 letter to Holder, Grassley pointed to the LA Times article that reported the death of the Mexican Police Chief back on January 29, 2013. ''According to the Times article, ''internal Department of Justice record,'' including a trace record, show that in February 2010, convicted Operation Fast and Furious target Jacob Montelongo purchased the weapon recovered from the suspects following the killing of the local Mexican police chief,'' wrote Grassley and Issa.

They then added, ''Records we obtained during our investigation of Operation Fast and Furious indicate that the weapon was entered into ATF's ''suspect gun database'' after its purchase. Montelongo purchased at least 1009 weapons in Arizona during Fast and Furious, which were contemporaneously tracked in ATF's database.''

''Since the beginning of this investigation, we have followed the link between Fast and Furious weapons and crimes committed on both sides of the border. On numerous occasions we have asked the Department to keep us apprised of Fast and Furious weapon recoveries '-- especially as they relate to violent crimes,'' Grassley and Issa wrote.

The letter not only deals with the police chief's death, but also expanded to talk about those deaths as a result of Fast and Furious uncovered by the television network Univsion and the death of a Mexican beauty queen and Mexican military member in a shootout in November of 2012, which was the result of the use of a Fast and Furious weapon.

''Despite our repeated requests, it has been over a year since we last heard from the Department on the issue,'' Grassley and Issa wrote. ''The Department hid from Congress this recent internal trace record showing a link between the murder of a police chief and Fast and Furious. Such actions do little to promote trust between the Department and Congress, and only provide further evidence that the Department is actively trying to conceal all information pertaining to Fast and Furious from Congress.''

To that, I ask Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa, ''Ya think?'' This is what you guys have been face with all along: stonewalling. Words are no long enough. It's been nearly two years that Congress has been ''investigating'' Fast and Furious and still they don't have the documents they've requested. The Obama administration and Eric Holder have thumbed their noses at you and you just sit there and take it.

The following questions were then asked of the Justice Department:

1) With regard to the weapon used to kill Mexican police chief Luis Astorga:

a. When did the Department notify the Mexican Government about the connection of this weapon to Fast and Furious? Who at the Department provided this information to the Mexican Government?

b. Was the Department planning on notifying Congress that a Fast and Furious weapon had been recovered?

c. Why did the Department fail to report the recovery of this weapon to Congress?

d. Was this weapon traced to any other crimes in Mexico or the United States?

e. When did the Department first learn of the connection between this weapon and Fast and Furious? How?

f. Were any other weapons connected to Fast and Furious recovered along with the murder weapon?

g. Was there an attempt to discuss this recovery or weapon with Montelongo?

2) Is the Department aware of any recoveries of the other three weapons that Montelongo purchased on February 22, 2010?

3) As of the date of this letter, what is the total number of weapons associated with Fast and Furious that have been recovered in the U.S. and successfully traced?

4) As of the date of this letter, what is the total number of weapons associated with Fast and Furious that have been recovered in Mexico and successfully traced?

5) Of the U.S. recoveries, how many were recovered in relations to an incident of a violent nature?

6) Of the Mexican recoveries, how many were recovered in relation to an incident of a violent nature?

7) How many other trace records does the Department possess that link killings in Mexico or the United States to Operation Fast and Furious?

They were given a deadline of July 25, 2013 to respond. As in the past, one wonders if there are any teeth to that deadline should the DOJ be unwilling to answer the above questions. I won't hold my breath given their past track record.

Via Blacklisted News


VIDEO-Military And Civilian Survivors Of Benghazi Consulate Attack Forced To Sign Gag Orders - YouTube

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 13:26

VIDEO-Fake Signs On Bay Area Highways Say Drones Looking For Speeders CBS San Francisco

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:13

Highway signs saying ''Speed enforced by drones'' have been spotted on Bay Area roadways. The signs are fakes according to the California Highway Patrol. (CBS)

MARIN COUNTY (KPIX 5) '-- Several signs have cropped up on Bay Area highways, telling drivers that drones are enforcing speed limits. The California Highway Patrol told KPIX 5 the signs are fakes and that they do not have drones.

''As people are driving by and they see something like this, it's definitely a distraction,'' said Officer Andrew Barclay of the California Highway Patrol.

''The first officer who saw this on Highway 37 was out patrolling his beat'...did a double take, flipped around, came back, and confirmed it was what he saw.''

The metal signs say, ''Speed enforced by drones.'' They also show a drone firing a weapon.

Barclay said the signs violate Section 21465 of the California Vehicle Code, which prohibits imitation signs from being posted on highways.

According to Barclay, whoever made the signs knew what they were doing. ''Professional materials, it is a black & white reflective sign, just like the signs that we use on the side of the road for speed limits, and everything else,'' he said.

''One of the signs that we found on Highway 37 was actually mounted using tamper-resistant bolts,'' Barclay said. ''The other two signs were strapped using metal strapping on poles on the side of the freeway.''

Barclay said the agency does not have the unmanned aircraft.

''At CHP we definitely do not have drones. We use radar, lidar, pace, we have planes and we have helicopters, but we do not have drones,'' he said. ''Along with not having drones we definitely do not have any drones that would fire any type of weaponry.''

KPIX 5 learned several more signs have popped up on Bay Area roadways on Thursday. The Highway Patrol is investigating and checking in with sign makers to see if they filled the unique order.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Shameless: Harry Reid blames wildfires started by lightning on climate change [video]

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Source: Twitchy » US Politics

Thu, 18 Jul 2013 23:54

Blame God? Don't give Harry any ideas, now.

Senator Harry Reid's off on another climate change kick, blaming wildfires in the western U.S. on man-made climate change:

Apparently there were no large wildfires before industrialization.

One of the fires Reid cited, in Nevada, was sparked by lightning, as was the terrible Yarnell fire in Arizona.

Many tweeters aren't buying what Harry's selling:

Must everything be shamelessly politicized? When it comes to Harry Reid, there is no other option.


Liberals blame Ariz. firefighters' deaths on global warming

VIDEO-Congressman: Benghazi Survivors Forced to Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements - YouTube

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Thu, 18 Jul 2013 19:54

VIDEO-Boston Cop Suspended! For Unauthorized Release Of Photos Of Bloodied Bombing SUSPECT - YouTube

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 13:17

Employee Monitoring Software | Network Monitoring Tools | SPECTOR 360

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 03:20

Monitor all employee activity across Windows, Mac, and BlackBerry devicesData TheftIdentify those insiders with access to valuable corporate data that obtain copies or send data out through email, cloud-based storage or webmail.

Data LossKnow when data is inappropriately copied to a USB drive or laptop that could be lost or stolen.

Data Corruption/DeletionHave proof and context when data is maliciously destroyed or altered.

Employee FraudBe alerted to actions that can be associated to corruption, asset misappropriation, and financial statement fraud committed by one or more employees.

Identity TheftDistinguish multiple logons indicating employees utilizing credentials of other employees to gain access and participate in one of the previous Insider Threat forms.

Productivity LossSee which employees are wasting time on personal activities on the Internet. While not a threat that would take a business down, productivity loss can be material.

SPECTOR 360 monitors, captures, and analyzes ALL user and user group activity including: email sent and received, chat/IM/BBM, websites visited, applications/programs accessed, web searches, phone calls, file transfers, and data printed or saved to removable devices.

SPECTOR 360 features automated, remote installation of the Windows and Mac clients and requires no client installation on BlackBerry devices.

Take a Tour of SPECTOR 360The Top 5 Reasons organizations turn to SPECTOR 360 User Activity Monitoring:

Track and enforce electronic Acceptable Use PoliciesProtect valuable Intellectual Property and trade secretsIdentify security breaches and risksMonitor and audit compliance requirementsBenchmark user productivityYou can also use SPECTOR 360 to:

Recover lost communications such as email, chat, and IMAssist Help Desk with computer recoveryEliminate or minimize legal liabilityObtain data to support accusations of wrongdoing or provide proof of innocenceEliminate or minimize security breachesDetect the use of organization resources to conduct illegal or unethical activitiesSPECTOR 360 also distinguishes between active time and focus time. This means that you can tell the difference between an application opened and left idle, and one that is opened and actively used. When working to optimize productivity, improve training, and gather application metering data, this distinction is invaluable.

To learn more details about each of the capture and analysis capabilities in SPECTOR 360, click on the icons below:

Beyond its powerful capture and analysis functions, SPECTOR 360 offers instant keyword alerts and complete audit trails so you can dig deep into the issues most critical to your organization. Keyword alerts are an invaluable way to quickly and instantly learn if users have acted in ways that require immediate notification or action. The keyword alerts can be customized, allowing you to insert tokens for the key data fields you are interested in, including fields such as "triggering event," "user" or "user group," "time stamp," or "computer name."

Additionally, SPECTOR 360 offers complete Administrator Audit trails and reports of Control Center Activity. This feature ensures all vital changes, such as client installs, client uninstalls, changes in profiles, and changes in user group members are captured and displayed in an intuitive "before" and "after" manner.

In the final analysis, SPECTOR 360 offers what is perhaps the most elusive and valuable business benefit of all: the peace of mind you attain by having captured, analyzed, and acted...appropriately, decisively, and with confidence.

SPECTOR 360 takes the recorded activity from each user's PC, Mac, or BlackBerry, and feeds that information into a database and provides more than 75 built-in, easy-to-read, comprehensive Quick View reports. Plus, it's easy to create unlimited custom reports to suit your organization's specific needs.

Using SPECTOR 360's powerful Quick View reports, you will quickly find answers to questions such as:

How are users communicating with customers and each other?Are employees or contractors visiting inappropriate or dangerous websites?Which applications are used most? See this information detailed by Active Time, Total Time, and Focus TimeWho is accessing, transferring, and printing sensitive IP?Who is ignoring Acceptable Use Policies by posting information to Facebook on organization time?Who is leaking confidential information or valuable trade secrets ... accidentally or for personal gain?Which users are disclosing information in violation of industry compliance rules and regulations?Who is involved in antiquated, outdated, or inefficient work processes?Which users are transferring data to removable media like USB drives, CDs, or DVDs?What information is being messaged or emailed specifically from your BlackBerry devices?

In addition to the most advanced and comprehensive User Activity Monitoring available, SPECTOR 360 permits you to proactively control how users access the web by integrating Internet Filtering. Using SPECTOR 360's Internet Filtering feature on your Windows and Mac clients, you can block access to specific web sites or to categories you deem inappropriate. With more than thirty predefined Internet Filtering categories, using SPECTOR 360 you can restrict Internet access by individual, group, department, division, or the entire organization.

Global organizations of all sizes and industries use SPECTOR 360 to address the following top-of-mind issues:

Protect their assets and reduce insider theftImprove efficiency and optimize productivityTrack and review activity around compliance and regulatory mandatesDownload a free trial of SPECTOR 360 and see how it can improve your organization's competitiveness, protect its reputation, and minimize losses.

Judge Rules Bradley Manning Should Have Known Terrorist Use The Internet So He Was Aiding The Enemy

VIDEO-TOP Secret Court Approves Renewal Of Govt Spying On EVERY SINGLE PHONE CALL MADE IN THE U.S.! - YouTube

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VIDEO-"Obama Talks About Ray Kelly As New Head Of DHS He's The Poster Child For Racial Profiling!" - YouTube

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 12:58

VIDEO-"Do You Consider Yourself Anti-Semitic?" A: "HELL NO!" Helen Thomas Never Backs Down For ONE Second - YouTube

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Sun, 21 Jul 2013 12:45

VIDEO-Charlie Rose | Mark Leibovich

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VIDEO-Brad Thor's Testy TV Exchange After He Offers to Buy George Zimmerman a New Gun | Video |

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Archived Version

Sun, 21 Jul 2013 11:33

Bestselling author Brad Thor is offering to buy George Zimmerman a new gun and all the ammunition he wants after the Justice Department put a hold on releasing the evidence from Zimmerman's murder trial, thus delaying the return of his handgun.

Author Brad Thor is offering to buy George Zimmerman a new gun.

Thor made the offer in a series of tweets Friday, then doubled down in a contentious TV interview in Chicago.

''Read this carefully, as I don't want 2 be misunderstood: SCREW the #DOJ. If they won't give #Zimmerman his gun back, I'll buy him a new one,'' he tweeted shortly after midnight Friday.

He followed up with a tweet to Zimmerman's brother Robert Zimmerman Jr.: ''Whatever gun he wants + however much ammo, consider it done. I'm buying. Done deal.''

Thor was confronted about his offer Friday morning in an appearance on Chicago morning program ''Windy City Live.''

''At what point do we let an American citizen get done with the justice process?'' Thor asked. ''I mean this is a big deal, this could happen to anybody. If the government can keep hounding you, this guy's life is ruined at this point. I know we have a dead child here but he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. Trayvon Martin wasn't on trial, George Zimmerman was, and he's not guilty' what point does he get to recommence his life?''

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A show panelist asked whether ''it's really a good idea to give George Zimmerman a gun back?''

''He's not guilty!'' Thor said. ''And as a matter of fact don't you think he needs a gun now more than ever with all the death threats against him?''

Co-host Val Warner questioned why Zimmerman would ''even risk going through the same thing again'' if he had another gun.

''That's his decision, Val, it's not for us to decide if we're going to curtail his liberty or not, that is his Second Amendment right to possess a firearm, defend himself, defend his family, and it is not up to you, it's not up to me, to decide what's right for George Zimmerman. He's an American citizen, he gets to decide what's right for him,'' Thor said.

Warner said it could be Zimmerman's decision ''after everything is over.''

''When's it over? How much more does he have to go through?'' Thor said. ''There's not a shred of evidence that he is a racist and yet the Department of Justice is freezing everything.''

In an email to TheBlaze Friday afternoon, Thor said he had yet to hear from the Zimmerman family about his offer.

As for what type of gun he'd buy for Zimmerman, Thor said ''he'll need to decide for himself.''

''That's the beauty of guns,'' Thor said.

Read this carefully, as I don't want 2 be misunderstood: SCREW the #DOJ. If they won't give #Zimmerman his gun back, I'll buy him a new one.Hey @ - #IStandWithGeorge. Whatever gun he wants + however much ammo, consider it done. I'm buying. Done deal.There may be some confusion, so let me make this clear: I'm buying George Zimmerman any gun he wants + as much ammo as he wants. #caringHow many people would like to see me buy a new gun in Chicago and present it on TV to George #Zimmerman?In fact, if George #Zimmerman also wants an AR15 or a shotgun - I'm also happy to buy... #2A#NRA''