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snopes.com: Daylight Saving Time Origins

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 04:22

Even though there's no particular legend associated with the subject, we often receive inquiries from readers wondering how and when we started the annual practice of fiddling with our clocks twice a year, so we've put together a brief history of Daylight Saving Time.Prior to 2007, Daylight Saving Time (the second word is properly singular) began on the first Sunday in April; on that day, clocks were moved forward one hour in each time zone at 2:00 AM local time. Commencing in 2007, DST begins on the second Sunday in March (which in 2013 was March 10). Clocks are again shifted back in the fall; previously this return to "normal" time took place on the last Sunday in October, but since 2007 it occurs on the first Sunday in November (which in 2013 is November 3).

The purpose of the shift is to transfer, in effect, an hour's worth of daylight from the early morning hours of the day, when only milkmen and chickens are awake to appreciate it, and use it to push back sunset until one hour later in the day. This arrangement is claimed to cut electricity usage in the evening and help reduce traffic accidents.

The concept of something much like Daylight Saving Time was referenced by Benjamin Franklin in a satirical 1784 essay titled "An Economical Project." After several European countries put daylight time into practice during World War I, the United States formally adopted it in 1918, but it proved unpopular and was discontinued in 1919. (The U.S. still had a large agrarian sector back then, and far fewer businesses stayed open into the later evening hours, so most people tended to rise and retire earlier than they do today, negating the practicality of shifting an hour's worth of daylight away from early morning.)

Although some cities and states opted to continue daylight time after 1919, it did not return on a national level until World War II, when it was referred to as "War Time" and observed year-round between 1942 and 1945. From 1945 through 1966 there was no federal law in effect to establish guidelines for daylight time, leaving states and municipalities to observe it how and when they chose, if at

all.By 1966 the different daylight time practices throughout the country were a source of difficulty for businesses that had to follow strict time schedules, such as television networks and airlines, so that year Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which specified that Daylight Saving Time begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. (States were still free to pass laws exempting themselves from the daylight time scheme.) After the "energy crisis" of 1973 precipitated by an Arab oil embargo against the U.S., President Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Conservation Act, which put the United States on Daylight Saving Time for the fifteen-month period between January 1974 and April 1975.

In 1986 federal law was amended to start Daylight Saving Time earlier in the year, the change now occurring at 2:00 AM on the first Sunday in April and ending at 2:00 AM on the last Sunday in October. Several states and territories of the U.S. (Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands) do not observe daylight time.

In August 2005, the United States Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which changed the dates of both the start and end of daylight saving time (DST). As of 2007, DST now starts three weeks earlier (2:00 AM on the second Sunday in March) and ends one week later (2:00 AM on the first Sunday in November) than before.

Our DSTease page describes how a prankish newspaper editor put one over on the national press with his idea for a Daylight Saving Time "contest" in 1984.

Last updated: 2 November 2013

Urban Legends Reference Pages (C) 1995-2013 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson.This material may not be reproduced without permission.snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.

The Convenience of Commerce | Philip Jacob / Whirlycott

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Archived Version

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 04:25

I didn't know that the federal Department of Transportation was responsible for regulating time zones in the US. Actually, I never knew that they were regulated at all, come to think of it. A few counties in Indiana just switched time zones and I happened to notice this in the news.

It's also interesting to note this:

Under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, the Secretary of Transportation has the authority to set time-zone boundaries and must base decisions on the ''convenience of commerce.½?

It struck me as quite forthright that the decision to change a time zone should be based on commercial needs rather than whatever We The People happen to be thinking at a given point in time.

. Bookmark the

.

Palm Springs Pride - Boneyard!

Presidential Proclamation -- National Diabetes Month, 2013

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:29

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2013

NATIONAL DIABETES MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

With more than 25 million Americans living with a diabetes diagnosis, and many more going undiagnosed, diabetes affects people across our country and remains a pressing national health concern. During National Diabetes Month, we renew our dedication to combating this chronic, life-threatening illness by standing with those living with diabetes, honoring the professionals and advocates engaged in fighting diabetes, and working to raise awareness about prevention and treatment.

Diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and blindness. Type 1 diabetes, often diagnosed in children, limits insulin production and its causes are not well defined. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for more than 90 percent of diabetes cases, has been linked to older age and family history, although it is increasingly being diagnosed in younger Americans and is associated with obesity and inactivity. The risk is particularly high among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I encourage all Americans to talk to their health care provider about steps they can take to prevent or manage this disease.

With diabetes ranking among the leading causes of death in the United States, my Administration is committed to supporting Americans living with diabetes, investing in promising scientific research, advancing work toward improved treatment and care, and bolstering prevention efforts. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, beginning in 2014, no American with diabetes can be denied health insurance based on their diagnosis, and in most plans, Americans at increased risk can access diabetes screenings at no cost to them. The National Diabetes Prevention Program engages private and public partners to help people with prediabetes adopt lifestyles that can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes, and the National Diabetes Education Program focuses on delaying and preventing disease onset while also working to improve outcomes for those living with the disease.

With our next generation in mind, First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative has taken on the staggering rise in childhood obesity our Nation has seen over the past three decades, and Let's Move! is empowering families and communities to put children on a path to healthier futures. Obese children face an increased risk of adult obesity and all the health risks that come with it, including Type 2 diabetes. By connecting children with healthy, affordable food options and the opportunity to be active in their communities, Let's Move! is helping our sons and daughters reach a healthier, more promising tomorrow.

This month, as we remember those we have lost to diabetes and support those living with the illness, let us look to a day with fewer cases of diabetes, a firmer understanding of the disease, and better outcomes for all those affected. By continuing the important research, outreach, and care delivery we have already begun, we know we can get there.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as National Diabetes Month. I call upon all Americans, school systems, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, research institutions, and other interested groups to join in activities that raise diabetes awareness and help prevent, treat, and manage the disease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- National Entrepreneurship Month, 2013

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:39

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2013

NATIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

The entrepreneurial spirit has always been at the heart of our Nation's story. With inventions that changed American life and startups that lifted our economy as they grew, entrepreneurs helped make our country what it is today. During National Entrepreneurship Month, we celebrate America's innovators, support small businesses, and empower entrepreneurs to turn their visions into reality.

America is home to a long and storied line of immigrants who sought opportunity on our shores -- from entrepreneurs of the industrial revolution to startup founders of the digital age. This June, the Senate passed a commonsense immigration reform bill that would provide startup visas for immigrant entrepreneurs; eliminate backlogs for employment-based visas; and remove visa caps for those with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These principles are consistent with ensuring our country remains a land of opportunity while fostering economic growth and innovation.

For the benefit of our Nation, we must remove undue barriers that would prevent entrepreneurs from venturing out on their own. The Affordable Care Act provides opportunities for those who lack employer-based insurance to obtain quality affordable care. This gives aspiring small business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs the freedom to pursue their ideas and keep their families covered. This year, I signed an Executive Order making Government-held data more accessible to the public and to entrepreneurs as fuel for innovation and economic growth. Hundreds of companies and nonprofits are using this data to develop new products and services. They are creating jobs of the future in national priority industries such as health, energy, and education. We have also worked to support social entrepreneurship at home and around the world, and in January, my Administration organized the first-ever White House Tech Inclusion Summit -- where experts launched initiatives to give more Americans the opportunity to learn vital technology skills.

We continue to build on programs that help entrepreneurs get ahead. Since taking office, I have signed 18 small business tax cuts into law, and, as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, I extended several tax incentives to help small businesses prosper. Under last year's Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, the American people will soon be able to use regulated crowdfunding websites to invest in promising startups, social enterprises, and small businesses. The White House Startup America initiative remains dedicated to cutting red tape and accelerating innovation from the lab to the marketplace. Entrepreneurs across the country are receiving vital information about Federal Government services at www.Business.USA.gov and are competing to solve important national problems at www.Challenge.gov.

To promote entrepreneurship throughout the world, I have called on the international community to increase transparency and accountability while rooting out corruption, and in 2010, my Administration organized the first annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit. During this year's summit, the State Department announced its partnership to help double the impact of UP Global -- an organization dedicated to providing entrepreneurs at home and abroad with the resources, skills, and connections to thrive. Finally, we will soon announce the inaugural members of the President's Committee on Global Entrepreneurship, a group of some of America's most successful entrepreneurs who will commit to mentoring the next generation.

Our Nation is strongest when we broaden entrepreneurial opportunity, when more of us can test our ideas in the global marketplace, and when the best innovations can rise to the top. We all have a role to play -- from colleges and universities that cultivate hubs of innovation, to large companies that collaborate with small businesses, to foundations that support both social enterprises and high-impact startups seeking to solve the grand challenges of our time. As we observe this month and celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, let us come together and help aspiring entrepreneurs take a chance on themselves and their visions for a brighter future.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as National Entrepreneurship Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 22, 2013, as National Entrepreneurs' Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- Military Family Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:39

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2013

MILITARY FAMILY MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Throughout our Nation's history, an unbroken chain of patriots has strengthened us in times of peace and defended us in times of war. Yet the courageous men and women of the United States military do not serve alone. Standing alongside them are husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers. During Military Family Month, we celebrate the families who make daily sacrifices to keep our Nation whole, and we remember a most sacred obligation -- to serve them as well as they serve us.

Military families exemplify the courage and resolve that define our national character. For their country and their loved ones, they rise to the challenges of multiple deployments and frequent moves -- spouses who care and provide for children in their partners' absence, kids who make new friends and leave known comforts behind. They are the force behind the force, patriots who support their family members in uniform while enriching the communities they call home.

While our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are defending the country they love, their country must provide for the families they love. Through First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces initiative, my Administration has worked tirelessly to engage American citizens and businesses in this cause. Joining Forces encourages the private sector to hire veterans and military spouses, helps schools become more responsive to military children's needs, and expands access to wellness and education programs for military families. Since the initiative began in 2011, businesses have hired and trained more than 290,000 veterans and military spouses. My Administration is also taking action to improve mental health care and education for veterans, service members, and their families. Last year, I signed an Executive Order directing the Federal Government to increase access to these vital services. And this year, as a result of the Supreme Court decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Department of Defense moved swiftly to extend benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

Time and again, our service members and their families have sacrificed to protect the promise that defines our Nation -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As we work to repay this enormous debt of gratitude, I encourage every

American to do their part. Together, let us support our military children as they learn, grow, and live their dreams. And let us keep our military families strong and secure.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as Military Family Month. I call on all Americans to honor military families through private actions and public service for the tremendous contributions they make in the support of our service members and our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- National Native American Heritage Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:39

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2013

NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

From Alaskan mountain peaks to the Argentinian pampas to the rocky shores of Newfoundland, Native Americans were the first to carve out cities, domesticate crops, and establish great civilizations. When the Framers gathered to write the United States Constitution, they drew inspiration from the Iroquois Confederacy, and in the centuries since, American Indians and Alaska Natives from hundreds of tribes have shaped our national life. During Native American Heritage Month, we honor their vibrant cultures and strengthen the government-to-government relationship between the United States and each tribal nation.

As we observe this month, we must not ignore the painful history Native Americans have endured -- a history of violence, marginalization, broken promises, and upended justice. There was a time when native languages and religions were banned as part of a forced assimilation policy that attacked the political, social, and cultural identities of Native Americans in the United States. Through generations of struggle, American Indians and Alaska Natives held fast to their traditions, and eventually the United States Government repudiated its destructive policies and began to turn the page on a troubled past.

My Administration remains committed to self-determination, the right of tribal governments to build and strengthen their own communities. Each year I host the White House Tribal Nations Conference, and our work together has translated into action. We have resolved longstanding legal disputes, prioritized placing land into trust on behalf of tribes, stepped up support for Tribal Colleges and Universities, made tribal health care more accessible, and streamlined leasing regulations to put more power in tribal hands. Earlier this year, an amendment to the Stafford Act gave tribes the option to directly request Federal emergency assistance when natural disasters strike their homelands. In March, I signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which recognizes tribal courts' power to convict and sentence certain perpetrators of domestic violence, regardless of whether they are Indian or non-Indian. And this June, I moved to strengthen our nation-to-nation relationships by establishing the White House Tribal Council on Native American Affairs. The Council is responsible for promoting and sustaining prosperous and resilient Native American communities.

As we observe Native American Heritage Month, we must build on this work. Let us shape a future worthy of a bright new generation, and together, let us ensure this country's promise is fully realized for every Native American.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 29, 2013, as Native American Heritage Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- National Adoption Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:39

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2013

NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Every young person deserves the chance to learn and grow under the care of a loving family. Across our Nation, adoptive families give that chance to over a million children and teenagers. During National Adoption Month, we celebrate these families and stand alongside every child still looking for the warmth and stability of a permanent home.

Today, nearly 400,000 American children are in foster care, and each year, thousands age out of care without the security that comes from a permanent family or a place to call home. On November 23, National Adoption Day will offer a sense of hope to children waiting for adoptive parents. As we observe this day, courts across our country will open their doors to finalize adoptions that move young people out of foster care.

My Administration has worked to simplify adoption laws; reduce the amount of time young children go without parents; and ensure adoption rights for all qualified couples and individuals. We are calling for an end to discriminatory barriers that keep children from loving and stable homes. And we are working across all levels of government to eliminate roadblocks to adoption and encourage cooperation between adoption advocates, private organizations, and community and faith-based groups. This January, I was proud to sign legislation to permanently extend the Adoption Tax Credit. And to protect the young people of every nation, I signed the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act. This law will promote safe and lawful adoptions by setting Federal standards for all adoption service providers, and it will provide greater safeguards to both parents and children.

This month, we celebrate adopted children, teenagers, and their diverse families. We work to give more young people permanent families and promising futures. And we encourage our friends and neighbors to open their hearts and their homes to children in need.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as National Adoption Month. I encourage all Americans to observe this month by answering the call to find a permanent and caring family for every child in need, and by supporting the families who care for them.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:35

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2013

NATIONAL ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible and progressive brain disease that slowly erodes precious memories, thinking skills, and the ability to perform simple tasks. It affects millions of Americans, including senior citizens as well as younger Americans with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. This month, we stand with everyone confronting the painful reality of an Alzheimer's diagnosis; lend our support to the families who care for them; and renew our commitment to delaying, preventing, and ultimately curing this disease.

In research labs across our country and around the world, scientists are working to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's disease. My Administration proudly supports this promising research. Earlier this year, I proposed the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, which aims to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. By mapping the brain, we hope to better comprehend the causes of disorders like Alzheimer's disease and enhance our work on improving treatment. In September, the National Institutes of Health announced support for innovative new studies to help find effective interventions for this devastating degenerative brain disease. And my Administration also remains committed to implementing the first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, which lays out a roadmap to preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025.

Working together with scientists, patient advocates, and those living with this disease, we can give a sense of hope to millions of families, patients, and caregivers. For resources and information on living with or caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, please visit www.Alzheimers.gov.

As we offer our support to Americans with Alzheimer's disease, we also recognize those who care and provide for them, sharing their loved ones' emotional, physical, and financial strains. This month, we honor their compassion, remember those we have lost, and press toward the next great scientific breakthrough.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to learn more about Alzheimer's disease and support the individuals living with this disease and their caregivers.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- National Family Caregivers Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:35

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2013

NATIONAL FAMILY CAREGIVERS MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Across our country, more than 60 million Americans take up the selfless and unheralded work of delivering care to seniors or people with disabilities or illnesses. The role they play in our healthcare system is one we must recognize and support. During National Family Caregivers Month, we thank these tireless heroes for the long, challenging work they perform behind closed doors and without fanfare every day, and we recommit to ensuring the well-being of their loved ones and of the caregivers themselves.

Under the Affordable Care Act, patients and caregivers can benefit from a new Medicare pilot program that helps beneficiaries negotiate the transition from hospital to home. And through new Medicaid options, States can expand access to home and community-based services. With caregivers already balancing their own needs with those of their loved ones, and in many cases caring for both young children and aging parents, our Nation's caregivers need and deserve our support. With this in mind, local agencies work to connect individuals with options including adult day care, respite care, training programs, and caregiver support groups -- all shaped with the understanding that the generous women and men who take the health of their loved ones into their hands should not suffer from the toll caregiving can take.

There is no one to whom America owes more than our ill and injured service members and veterans, and while many offer kindness and assistance, it is the caregivers who truly sustain our wounded warriors as they work toward rehabilitation or recovery. In 2010, I was proud to sign the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, which provides the caregivers of our seriously injured post-9/11 veterans with training, counseling, supportive services, and living stipends. Under this law, injured veterans' family caregivers also receive access to health care.

Just as our loved ones celebrate with us in our moments of triumph, American families strengthen the fabric of our Nation by lifting each other up in the face of life's greatest challenges. And as Americans put their loved ones before themselves, we must offer our appreciation and flexibility, in our healthcare system, our workplaces, and our communities. This month, as we reflect on the generosity, grace, and strength of family caregivers, we renew our commitment to matching their dedication to the health and wellness of families across our country.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as National Family Caregivers Month. I encourage all Americans to pay tribute to those who provide for the health and well-being of their family members, friends, and neighbors.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, 2013

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:33

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

October 31, 2013

CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AND RESILIENCE MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Over the last few decades, our Nation has grown increasingly dependent on critical infrastructure, the backbone of our national and economic security. America's critical infrastructure is complex and diverse, combining systems in both cyberspace and the physical world -- from power plants, bridges, and interstates to Federal buildings and the massive electrical grids that power our Nation. During Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, we resolve to remain vigilant against foreign and domestic threats, and work together to further secure our vital assets, systems, and networks.

As President, I have made protecting critical infrastructure a top priority. Earlier this year, I signed a Presidential Policy Directive to shore up our defenses against physical and cyber incidents. In tandem with my Executive Order on cybersecurity, this directive strengthens information sharing within my Administration and between the Federal Government and its many critical infrastructure partners, while also ensuring strong privacy protections. Because of the interconnected nature of our critical infrastructure, my Administration will continue to work with businesses and industry leaders and build on all the great work done to date. With these partners, and in cooperation with all levels of government, we will further enhance the security and resilience of our critical infrastructure.

We must continue to strengthen our resilience to threats from all hazards including terrorism and natural disasters, as well as cyber attacks. We must ensure that the Federal Government works with all critical infrastructure partners, including owners and operators, to share information effectively while jointly collaborating before, during, and after an incident. This includes working with infrastructure sectors to harden their assets against extreme weather and other impacts of climate change.

Emerging and evolving threats require the engagement of our entire Nation -- from all levels of government to the private sector and the American people. This month, as we recognize that safeguarding our critical infrastructure is an economic and security imperative, let each of us do our part to build a more resilient Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2013 as Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the importance of protecting our Nation's resources and to observe this month with appropriate events and training to enhance our national security and resilience.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, 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.

BARACK OBAMA

6 Week Cycle

SPLC EXCLUSIVE: Alleged LAX shooter referenced antigovernment 'manifesto' | Southern Poverty Law Center

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 04:04

The 23-year-old man who allegedly killed a TSA official at Los Angeles International Airport yesterday was carrying a one-page ''manifesto'' that included references to the ''New World Order,'' the Federal Reserve and ''fiat currency,'' according to a knowledgeable source with ranking law enforcement contacts.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, who allegedly wounded three other TSA workers before being shot and critically wounded himself, also expressed antagonism toward the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its chief until she resigned in August, Janet Napolitano, the source said. Ciancia's note called former Secretary Napolitano a ''bull dyke'' and contained the phrase ''FU Janet Napolitano,'' the source said.

Ciancia's language and references seemed to put him squarely in the conspiracy-minded world of the antigovernment ''Patriot'' movement. The New World Order refers to a longstanding conspiracy theory that today, in its most popular iteration, claims that global elites are plotting to form a socialistic ''one-world government'' that would crush American freedoms. Often, the root of the alleged conspiracy is traced to the 1913 creation of the Federal Reserve and the adoption of fiat currency '-- paper money that is not backed by gold, as it was once was in the U.S.

So-called Patriots also increasingly see the DHS, which produces intelligence assessments of extremists that are distributed to other law enforcement agencies, as an enemy and even a collaborator in the New World Order conspiracy. Many believe DHS has targeted their movement and is somehow connected to the alleged construction of concentration camps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The purported camps are thought to be meant for those Americans who resist a coming national seizure of all weapons from U.S. citizens.The TSA, short for the Transportation Security Administration, is an agency of the DHS charged with ensuring the security of transportation, most notably air transportation. Although it has not been widely singled out by Patriots, it has been subjected to criticism by far-right homophobes, among others, who have alleged that TSA agents engaging in hand searches are really sexually groping travelers.

One witness told MSNBC that Ciancia asked people at the airport if they were TSA and, if they said they were not, moved on without trying to harm them.

Yesterday, several news organizations reported that Ciancia was carrying a hand-written document referring to his desire to kill ''TSA and pigs.'' Pete Williams and Andrew Blankstein of NBC News, who first reported that Ciancia had referred to the New World Order, also wrote that a source said his manifesto ''expressed animus toward racial minorities.'' Hatewatch was not able to confirm that allegation.

Hatewatch has no records of Ciancia and he is not known to have joined or participated in the activities of any radical groups. Reporters talking to his neighbors have not yet found any evidence of such participation or radical statements.

The attack, which Ciancia allegedly carried out using a semi-automatic 223-caliber AR-15, comes at a time when the Patriot movement has been growing by leaps and bounds, from some 149 groups in 2008 to 1,360 last year, according to counts by the Southern Poverty Law Center. That explosive growth seems to have been driven by the election of our first black president and the approaching loss of a white majority in the U.S. that he represents. Another driver is the crash of the economy, which coincided neatly with the rise to national power of President Obama.

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: First photo of shot TSA killer | New York Post

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This is the face of a madman.

A blood-drenched Paul Ciancia lays stunned on the floor at Los Angeles International Airport after brave airport cops shot him four times, including once in the face, to stop his rampage through the crowded terminal that left one TSA agent dead and six other people hurt on Friday.

LAX shooter Paul Ciancia on the floor after being shot by police.

Ciancia allegedly had a grudge against the Transportation Security Administration and a hatred for former Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

''FU Janet Napolitano,'' he apparently says in the one-page, handwritten screed, in which he proclaims that airport searches violate his rights.

In this stunning first image of the alleged shooter, Ciancia is seen with his hands cuffed behind his slim body, surrounded by law enforcement as he stares off into space, next to a thick, bright pool of his own blood on the floor.

The shot he took to the mouth knocked out teeth and split his tongue, sources said. Ciancia, a Pennsville, NJ, native, is in critical condition at UCLA Medical Center.

He walked into Terminal 3, whipped out a semi-automatic rifle and began firing away at every Transportation Security Administration employees.

TSA Agent Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, was killed and hundreds of terrified air travelers ran for safety as Ciancia stalked his way through the terminal.

His handwritten note also said he ''wanted to kill TSA and pigs,'' according to reports.

TSA Officer Slain in LAX Shooting Was Husband of Warner Bros. Marketing Budget Manager - TheWrap

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The victim, 39-year-old Gerardo Hernandez, was married to WB marketing budget manager Ana Machuca

The TSA officer who was shot and killed at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday was the husband of Ana Machuca, a manager of worldwide marketing budgets at Warner Bros., TheWrap has learned.

Transportation Safety Administration officials on Friday night identified the shooting victim as Gerardo Hernandez, 39. He was shot around 9:20 a.m. Friday morning by a lone gunman, later identified as 23-year-old Los Angeles resident Paul Ciancia.

The suspect approached the security checkpoint at LAX's Terminal 3 and opened fire, killing Hernandez. Three other people were wounded, one of them also a TSA agent, who was not identified.

Also read: LAX Shooter Kills TSA Agent, Prompts Mass Evacuation and Lockdown; Suspect Identified

Ciancia made his way into the airport terminal where he exchanged gunfire with LAX police and LAPD officers; he was taken into custody and was reportedly in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the chest.

Hernandez was the first TSA officer to be killed in the line of duty since the administration was formed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. An individual familiar with the situation said that Machuca and Hernandez had small children together.

Machuca, who has been with Warners for more than eight years, is responsible for managing the studio's annual advertising and publicity budgets, including forecasting ultimates and other financial analysis. The California State University-Northridge grad was formerly a financial analyst at Disney.

''No words can explain the horror that we experienced today when a shooter took the life of a member of our family and injured two TSA officers at Los Angeles International Airport,'' TSA administrator John Pistole said in a statement.

Warner Bros. confirmed that Hernandez was married to Machuca, but had no further comment.

Deadline.com >> Blog ArchiveUPDATED: LA Airport Shooting Leaves Cable News Networks Cautious; Celebrities Cub-Reporting - Deadline.com

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Cable news networks exercised extreme caution covering the shootout at LAX this morning when a gunman dressed in camouflage gear opened fire with a high-powered rifle at a security area and made his way deep into Terminal 3 before being wounded and apprehended '-- a shooting that left at least one TSA agent dead, another wounded, and actors and network execs reporting for news operations.

In the cable news First To Bulletin Race: Fox News Channel broke in first, at 12:42:43 PM ET, followed by CNN at 12:44:38 and MSNBC 12:46:34 to cover the shooting that left injured seven '-- six of whom were sent to local hospitals, including the gunman, who was shot multiple times in the chest by an LAPD officer.

James Francowas on the scene '-- of course he was '-- though stuck in a plane at LAX. ''At #lax Some S**tbag shot up the place'' he tweeted, also Instagramming a pic of himself stuck on the plane. Tim Daly called in to CNN and delivered one of the most colorful initial reports from the scene. He'd been in a VIP lounge at Terminal 3 when the gunman was wounded and apprehended very nearby, in the vicinity of Gate 35, he said. Very quickly after the shooting ''The LAPD burst into the lounge'...weapons drawn, herding everybody together to make sure there were no bad guys in the lounge,'' he described, noting that ''having a gun pointed at you'' in real life is a harrowing experience. He complimented authorities for doing ''an outstanding job trying to keep people calm'' and said he and others were locked in the lounge for ''almost an hour'' and when they were brought out, he saw a rifle and several clips on the ground about 30 feet away, as well as a blood and broken glass. Authorities told them to be careful not to disturb the blood or glass as they moved to the tunnel. But Discovery Channel's Mythbusters personality Tory Belleci is credited with breaking the new that something was up at LAX when he tweeted at 9:23 AM:''Something crazy is doing down at LAX. People running everywhere. We just got evacuated.'' He and Mythbusters colleague Grant Imahara were in Terminal 3 at the time of the shooting, en route to Delaware for the filming of Discovery's Punkin Chunkin.They're tentatively booked to tell their stories to CNN's Anderson Cooper tonight; Belleci was closer to the shooting, while Imahara was also in the Virgin Airlines lounge. ''During evac, I counted officers from Airport Police, LAPD, Homeland Security & other local PDs. All calm, all working together. Thanks guys!'' Imahara tweeted about two hours after the gunfire.

''There are a couple hundred people standing there not knowing what to do. Mostly people exiting the airport on foot, walking down Century (Blvd),'' CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl told the local CBS station as he stood outside the terminal. ''Holy crap, @calibadger is live from LAX on KCBS/KCAL right now as an eyewitness of the chaos there,'' tweeted TV Guide Los Angeles bureau chief Michael Schneider. Kahl told Deadline he noticed something was wrong as he approached the airport by car, discovered they could not get the car into the airport and parked at a remote location and walk in. He was stopped by police and sat outside the airport for a while, making alternate travel plans, and talking to the CBS station about what he was observing.

It was the first big live breaking news event for Shepard Smith's new Fox News Deck, which he used to full capacity. The 38-foot video wall showed chopper footage of LAX and interviews with witnesses, as did various other monitors. Smith frequently went to the set's 55-inch touchscreen monitor to read out emails and statements from officials. Like his competitors, Smith was careful with information. ''I must tell you that there are reports that someone has lost his life. Fox News does not have those confirmed and will wait for authorities to give us an indication of exactly what they can confirmed,'' said Smith at around 11:35 AM PT today; similar comments came from CNN and MSNBC. Networks began reporting sources confirmed to them that one TSA agent had been killed at around 11:38.

Related:Fox News Channel Unveils Its New Self On 17th Anniversary

''These reports are everywhere. Multiple sources have reported to multiple news organizations that he was,'' said Smith after the news conference at LAX, in re why reporters at the news conference were asking if the shooter was also a TSA officer. The FNC anchor cited the LA Times as reporting the story. ''Fox News cannot confirm that and the authorities did not confirm it for us. Quite frankly to get ahead of ourselves on that matter would be a mistake,'' Smith added. (Later, Smith noted the LAT had updated its report to say the shooter was a ticketed passenger.) CNN left it to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif) to first report on its air that the gunman was 23 year-old American citizen, and LA area resident, named Paul Ciancia. She did so while being interviewed by Jake Tapper, also revealing that at least two of those injured are TSA employees. Almost immediately after that interview Tapper turned to CNN's justice correspondent Evan Perez, who said the FBI was still working to confirm motivation, ''as with the name of the suspect, which the congresswoman just said on our air.'' Perez said the FBI had taken some material from the suspect at the scene that described ''anti federal government views'...anti-TSA expression.''

Fox News was first to return to regularly scheduled programming, Your World With Neil Cavuto, while CNN and MSNBC stuck with the LAX story.

LAX shooting: Just the facts

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Source: Northeast Intelligence Network

Sat, 02 Nov 2013 15:03

UPDATED 1 November 2013; 1700 ET: We've received many conflicting reports from individuals on-site at LAX and from open source news agencies. We are indexing each of them. It is our policy to review everything before reporting; instead of being first with the story, we would rather be correct. Additionally, we can then review the original source reports for signs of deliberate misinformation and manipulation of the facts.

Confirmed: LAX police, in conjunction with other agencies, conducted a drill for this exact same scenario just two-(2) weeks ago. NOTICE: We will continue to update after we are able to confirm the facts outside of '' and beyond - mainstream news sources.

1 November 2013; 1515 ET: A shooting incident took place at the Los Angeles International Airport this morning at 9:20 am PT. According to open source reports, an unidentified male entered terminal three-(3) at the Los Angeles Airport at approximately 0920 am local time. He is described as a male, race/ethnicity undetermined, wearing a cap and sunglasses, while reportedly carrying a long gun and a handgun.

Some witnesses report that his attire was similar to that worn by security or TSA agents. The male reportedly began shooting with the long gun at various parties, possibly focusing on TSA agents or airport security. LAX police pursued the subject, who entered into the restricted area of the terminal, not far from a Burger King restaurant located inside the terminal. There, he was engaged in a gun battle with police, and was struck at last once by an officer from LAX. According to the most recent reports, a total of seven-(7) people were injured by gunfire, with six-(6) '' including the alleged gunman, being transported to hospitals from the scene. Recent unconfirmed reports suggest that two people have succumbed to their injuries, although this remains unconfirmed.

Investigators on scene

FBI SAC David Bodich

Chief Patrick Gannon

As most first reports are wildly incorrect, we will provide more information as we get it from our sources at LAX. Tune in to The Hagmann & Hagmann Report tonight for a complete analysis.

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SnowJob

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VIDEO-No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A. - NYTimes.com

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When Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, sat down with President Obama at the White House in April to discuss Syrian chemical weapons, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and climate change, it was a cordial, routine exchange.

The National Security Agency nonetheless went to work in advance and intercepted Mr. Ban's talking points for the meeting, a feat the agency later reported as an ''operational highlight'' in a weekly internal brag sheet. It is hard to imagine what edge this could have given Mr. Obama in a friendly chat, if he even saw the N.S.A.'s modest scoop. (The White House won't say.)

But it was emblematic of an agency that for decades has operated on the principle that any eavesdropping that can be done on a foreign target of any conceivable interest '-- now or in the future '-- should be done. After all, American intelligence officials reasoned, who's going to find out?

From thousands of classified documents, the National Security Agency emerges as an electronic omnivore of staggering capabilities, eavesdropping and hacking its way around the world to strip governments and other targets of their secrets, all the while enforcing the utmost secrecy about its own operations. It spies routinely on friends as well as foes, as has become obvious in recent weeks; the agency's official mission list includes using its surveillance powers to achieve ''diplomatic advantage'' over such allies as France and Germany and ''economic advantage'' over Japan and Brazil, among other countries.

ALLIES AND SPY TARGETS President Obama with other G-20 leaders in St. Petersburg, Russia, in early September, standing between President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, left, and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Stephen Crowley / The New York Times

Mr. Obama found himself in September standing uncomfortably beside the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, who was furious at being named as a target of N.S.A. eavesdropping. Since then, there has been a parade of such protests, from the European Union, Mexico, France, Germany and Spain. Chagrined American officials joke that soon there will be complaints from foreign leaders feeling slighted because the agency had not targeted them.

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has repeatedly dismissed such objections as brazen hypocrisy from countries that do their own share of spying. But in a recent interview, he acknowledged that the scale of eavesdropping by the N.S.A., with 35,000 workers and $10.8 billion a year, sets it apart. ''There's no question that from a capability standpoint we probably dwarf everybody on the planet, just about, with perhaps the exception of Russia and China,'' he said.

Since Edward J. Snowden began releasing the agency's documents in June, the unrelenting stream of disclosures has opened the most extended debate on the agency's mission since its creation in 1952. The scrutiny has ignited a crisis of purpose and legitimacy for the N.S.A., the nation's largest intelligence agency, and the White House has ordered a review of both its domestic and its foreign intelligence collection. While much of the focus has been on whether the agency violates Americans' privacy, an issue under examination by Congress and two review panels, the anger expressed around the world about American surveillance has prompted far broader questions.

If secrecy can no longer be taken for granted, when does the political risk of eavesdropping overseas outweigh its intelligence benefits? Should foreign citizens, many of whom now rely on American companies for email and Internet services, have any privacy protections from the N.S.A.? Will the American Internet giants' collaboration with the agency, voluntary or otherwise, damage them in international markets? And are the agency's clandestine efforts to weaken encryption making the Internet less secure for everyone?

IN THE MIDEAST Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, fourth from left, was tracked in the country's north by the N.S.A.

Ayatollah Khamenei, via Twitter

Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence historian and author of a 2009 book on the N.S.A., said there is no precedent for the hostile questions coming at the agency from all directions.

''From N.S.A.'s point of view, it's a disaster,'' Mr. Aid said. ''Every new disclosure reinforces the notion that the agency needs to be reined in. There are political consequences, and there will be operational consequences.''

A review of classified agency documents obtained by Mr. Snowden and shared with The New York Times by The Guardian, offers a rich sampling of the agency's global operations and culture. (At the agency's request, The Times is withholding some details that officials said could compromise intelligence operations.) The N.S.A. seems to be listening everywhere in the world, gathering every stray electron that might add, however minutely, to the United States government's knowledge of the world. To some Americans, that may be a comfort. To others, and to people overseas, that may suggest an agency out of control.

The C.I.A. dispatches undercover officers overseas to gather intelligence today roughly the same way spies operated in biblical times. But the N.S.A., born when the long-distance call was a bit exotic, has seen its potential targets explode in number with the advent of personal computers, the Internet and cellphones. Today's N.S.A. is the Amazon of intelligence agencies, as different from the 1950s agency as that online behemoth is from a mom-and-pop bookstore. It sucks the contents from fiber-optic cables, sits on telephone switches and Internet hubs, digitally burglarizes laptops and plants bugs on smartphones around the globe.

SCOLDED John Emerson, left, the American envoy to Germany.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Mr. Obama and top intelligence officials have defended the agency's role in preventing terrorist attacks. But as the documents make clear, the focus on counterterrorism is a misleadingly narrow sales pitch for an agency with an almost unlimited agenda. Its scale and aggressiveness are breathtaking.

The agency's Dishfire database '-- nothing happens without a code word at the N.S.A. '-- stores years of text messages from around the world, just in case. Its Tracfin collection accumulates gigabytes of credit card purchases. The fellow pretending to send a text message at an Internet cafe in Jordan may be using an N.S.A. technique code-named Polarbreeze to tap into nearby computers. The Russian businessman who is socially active on the web might just become food for Snacks, the acronym-mad agency's Social Network Analysis Collaboration Knowledge Services, which figures out the personnel hierarchies of organizations from texts.

The spy agency's station in Texas intercepted 478 emails while helping to foil a jihadist plot to kill a Swedish artist who had drawn pictures of the Prophet Muhammad. N.S.A. analysts delivered to authorities at Kennedy International Airport the names and flight numbers of workers dispatched by a Chinese human smuggling ring.

The agency's eavesdropping gear, aboard a Defense Department plane flying 60,000 feet over Colombia, fed the location and plans of FARC rebels to the Colombian Army. In the Orlandocard operation, N.S.A. technicians set up what they called a ''honeypot'' computer on the web that attracted visits from 77,413 foreign computers and planted spyware on more than 1,000 that the agency deemed of potential future interest.

EARS ON THE WORLD The National Security Agency's complex at Fort Gordon, Ga. Much of the agency's eavesdropping is run from stations at home and abroad, far beyond its Maryland headquarters.

Google Earth

The Global Phone Book

No investment seems too great if it adds to the agency's global phone book. After mounting a major eavesdropping effort focused on a climate change conference in Bali in 2007, agency analysts stationed in Australia's outback were especially thrilled by one catch: the cellphone number of Bali's police chief.

''Our mission,'' says the agency's current five-year plan, which has not been officially scheduled for declassification until 2032, ''is to answer questions about threatening activities that others mean to keep hidden.''

The aspirations are grandiose: to ''utterly master'' foreign intelligence carried on communications networks. The language is corporate: ''Our business processes need to promote data-driven decision-making.'' But the tone is also strikingly moralistic for a government bureaucracy. Perhaps to counter any notion that eavesdropping is a shady enterprise, signals intelligence, or Sigint, the term of art for electronic intercepts, is presented as the noblest of callings.

SPY CHIEF James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, in September. He has strongly defended intelligence gathering practices.

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

''Sigint professionals must hold the moral high ground, even as terrorists or dictators seek to exploit our freedoms,'' the plan declares. ''Some of our adversaries will say or do anything to advance their cause; we will not.''

The N.S.A. documents taken by Mr. Snowden and shared with The Times, numbering in the thousands and mostly dating from 2007 to 2012, are part of a collection of about 50,000 items that focus mainly on its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters or G.C.H.Q.

While far from comprehensive, the documents give a sense of the agency's reach and abilities, from the Navy ships snapping up radio transmissions as they cruise off the coast of China, to the satellite dishes at Fort Meade in Maryland ingesting worldwide banking transactions, to the rooftops of 80 American embassies and consulates around the world from which the agency's Special Collection Service aims its antennas.

The agency and its many defenders among senior government officials who have relied on its top secret reports say it is crucial to American security and status in the world, pointing to terrorist plots disrupted, nuclear proliferation tracked and diplomats kept informed.

WINDOWS WITH VIEWS ON EVERYTHING Part of the National Security Agency's campus in Fort Meade, Md.

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

But the documents released by Mr. Snowden sometimes also seem to underscore the limits of what even the most intensive intelligence collection can achieve by itself. Blanket N.S.A. eavesdropping in Afghanistan, described in the documents as covering government offices and the hide-outs of second-tier Taliban militants alike, has failed to produce a clear victory against a low-tech enemy. The agency kept track as Syria amassed its arsenal of chemical weapons '-- but that knowledge did nothing to prevent the gruesome slaughter outside Damascus in August.

The documents are skewed toward celebration of the agency's self-described successes, as underlings brag in PowerPoints to their bosses about their triumphs and the managers lay out grand plans. But they do not entirely omit the agency's flubs and foibles: flood tides of intelligence gathered at huge cost that goes unexamined; intercepts that cannot be read for lack of language skills; and computers that '-- even at the N.S.A. '-- go haywire in all the usual ways.

Mapping Message Trails

In May 2009, analysts at the agency learned that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was to make a rare trip to Kurdistan Province in the country's mountainous northwest. The agency immediately organized a high-tech espionage mission, part of a continuing project focused on Ayatollah Khamenei called Operation Dreadnought.

Working closely with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which handles satellite photography, as well as G.C.H.Q., the N.S.A. team studied the Iranian leader's entourage, its vehicles and its weaponry from satellites, and intercepted air traffic messages as planes and helicopters took off and landed.

They heard Ayatollah Khamenei's aides fretting about finding a crane to load an ambulance and fire truck onto trucks for the journey. They listened as he addressed a crowd, segregated by gender, in a soccer field.

They studied Iranian air defense radar stations and recorded the travelers' rich communications trail, including Iranian satellite coordinates collected by an N.S.A. program called Ghosthunter. The point was not so much to catch the Iranian leader's words, but to gather the data for blanket eavesdropping on Iran in the event of a crisis.

This ''communications fingerprinting,'' as a document called it, is the key to what the N.S.A. does. It allows the agency's computers to scan the stream of international communications and pluck out messages tied to the supreme leader. In a crisis '-- say, a showdown over Iran's nuclear program '-- the ability to tap into the communications of leaders, generals and scientists might give a crucial advantage.

On a more modest scale, the same kind of effort, what N.S.A. calls ''Sigint development,'' was captured in a document the agency obtained in 2009 from Somalia '-- whether from a human source or an electronic break-in was not noted. It contained email addresses and other contact details for 117 selected customers of a Mogadishu Internet service, Globalsom.

While most on the list were Somali officials or citizens, presumably including some suspected of militancy, the document also included emails for a United Nations political officer in Mogadishu and a local representative for the charity World Vision, among other international institutions. All, it appeared, were considered fair game for monitoring.

This huge investment in collection is driven by pressure from the agency's ''customers,'' in government jargon, not only at the White House, Pentagon, F.B.I. and C.I.A., but also spread across the Departments of State and Energy, Homeland Security and Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative.

By many accounts, the agency provides more than half of the intelligence nuggets delivered to the White House early each morning in the President's Daily Brief '-- a measure of success for American spies. (One document boasts that listening in on Nigerian State Security had provided items for the briefing ''nearly two dozen'' times.) In every international crisis, American policy makers look to the N.S.A. for inside information.

Pressure to Get Everything

That creates intense pressure not to miss anything. When that is combined with an ample budget and near-invisibility to the public, the result is aggressive surveillance of the kind that has sometimes gotten the agency in trouble with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a United States federal court that polices its programs for breaches of Americans' privacy.

In the funding boom that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, the agency expanded and decentralized far beyond its Fort Meade headquarters in Maryland, building or expanding major facilities in Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington State and Utah. Its officers also operate out of major overseas stations in England, Australia, South Korea and Japan, at overseas military bases, and from locked rooms housing the Special Collection Service inside American missions abroad.

The agency, using a combination of jawboning, stealth and legal force, has turned the nation's Internet and telecommunications companies into collection partners, installing filters in their facilities, serving them with court orders, building back doors into their software and acquiring keys to break their encryption.

But even that vast American-run web is only part of the story. For decades, the N.S.A. has shared eavesdropping duties with the rest of the so-called Five Eyes, the Sigint agencies of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. More limited cooperation occurs with many more countries, including formal arrangements called Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes and Nacsi, an alliance of the agencies of 26 NATO countries.

The extent of Sigint sharing can be surprising: ''N.S.A. may pursue a relationship with Vietnam,'' one 2009 G.C.H.Q. document reported. But a recent G.C.H.Q. training document suggests that not everything is shared, even between the United States and Britain. ''Economic well-being reporting,'' it says, referring to intelligence gathered to aid the British economy, ''cannot be shared with any foreign partner.''

As at the school lunch table, decisions on who gets left out can cause hurt feelings: ''Germans were a little grumpy at not being invited to join the 9-Eyes group,'' one 2009 document remarks. And in a delicate spy-versus-spy dance, sharing takes place even with governments that are themselves important N.S.A. targets, notably Israel.

The documents describe collaboration with the Israel Sigint National Unit, which gets raw N.S.A. eavesdropping material and provides it in return, but they also mention the agency's tracking of ''high priority Israeli military targets,'' including drone aircraft and the Black Sparrow missile system.

The alliances, and the need for stealth, can get complicated. At one highly valued overseas listening post, the very presence of American N.S.A. personnel violates a treaty agreed to by the agency's foreign host. Even though much of the eavesdropping is run remotely from N.S.A.'s base at Fort Gordon, Ga., Americans who visit the site must pose as contractors, carry fake business cards and are warned: ''Don't dress as typical Americans."

''Know your cover legend,'' a PowerPoint security briefing admonishes the N.S.A. staff members headed to the overseas station, directing them to ''sanitize personal effects,'' send no postcards home and buy no identifiably local souvenirs. (''An option might be jewelry. Most jewelry does not have any markings'' showing its place of origin.)

Bypassing Security

In the agency's early years, its brainy staff members '-- it remains the largest employer of mathematicians in the country '-- played an important role in the development of the first computers, then largely a tool for code breaking.

Today, with personal computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones in most homes and government offices in the developed world, hacking has become the agency's growth area.

Some of Mr. Snowden's documents describe the exploits of Tailored Access Operations, the prim name for the N.S.A. division that breaks into computers around the world to steal the data inside, and sometimes to leave spy software behind. T.A.O. is increasingly important in part because it allows the agency to bypass encryption by capturing messages as they are written or read, when they are not encoded.

In Baghdad, T.A.O. collected messages left in draft form in email accounts maintained by leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant group. Under a program called Spinaltap, the division's hackers identified 24 unique Internet Protocol addresses identifying computers used by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, making it possible to snatch Hezbollah messages from the flood of global communications sifted by the agency.

The N.S.A.'s elite Transgression Branch, created in 2009 to ''discover, understand, evaluate and exploit'' foreign hackers' work, quietly piggybacks on others' incursions into computers of interest, like thieves who follow other housebreakers around and go through the windows they have left ajar.

In one 2010 hacking operation code-named Ironavenger, for instance, the N.S.A. spied simultaneously on an ally and an adversary. Analysts spotted suspicious emails being sent to a government office of great intelligence interest in a hostile country and realized that an American ally was ''spear-phishing'' '-- sending official-looking emails that, when opened, planted malware that let hackers inside.

The Americans silently followed the foreign hackers, collecting documents and passwords from computers in the hostile country, an elusive target. They got a look inside that government and simultaneously got a close-up look at the ally's cyberskills, the kind of intelligence twofer that is the unit's specialty.

In many other ways, advances in computer and communications technology have been a boon for the agency. N.S.A. analysts tracked the electronic trail left by a top leader of Al Qaeda in Africa each time he stopped to use a computer on his travels. They correctly predicted his next stop, and the police were there to arrest him.

And at the big N.S.A. station at Fort Gordon, technicians developed an automated service called ''Where's My Node?'' that sent an email to an analyst every time a target overseas moved from one cell tower to another. Without lifting a finger, an analyst could follow his quarry's every move.

The Limits of Spying

The techniques described in the Snowden documents can make the N.S.A. seem omniscient, and nowhere in the world is that impression stronger than in Afghanistan. But the agency's capabilities at the tactical level have not been nearly enough to produce clear-cut strategic success there, in the United States' longest war.

A single daily report from June 2011 from the N.S.A.'s station in Kandahar, Afghanistan, the heart of Taliban country, illustrates the intensity of eavesdropping coverage, requiring 15 pages to describe a day's work.

The agency listened while insurgents from the Haqqani network mounted an attack on the Hotel Intercontinental in Kabul, overhearing the attackers talking to their bosses in Pakistan's tribal area and recording events minute by minute. ''Ruhullah claimed he was on the third floor and had already inflicted one casualty,'' the report said in a typical entry. ''He also indicated that Hafiz was located on a different floor.''

N.S.A. officers listened as two Afghan Foreign Ministry officials prepared for a meeting between President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Iranian officials, assuring them that relations with the United States ''would in no way threaten the interests of Iran,'' which they decided Mr. Karzai should describe as a ''brotherly country.''

The N.S.A. eavesdropped as the top United Nations official in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, consulted his European Union counterpart, Vygaudas Usackas, about how to respond to an Afghan court's decision to overturn the election of 62 members of Parliament.

And the agency was a fly on the wall for a long-running land dispute between the mayor of Kandahar and a prominent local man known as the Keeper of the Cloak of the Prophet Muhammad, with President Karzai's late brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, as a mediator.

The agency discovered a Taliban claim to have killed five police officers at a checkpoint by giving them poisoned yogurt, and heard a provincial governor tell an aide that a district police chief was verbally abusing women and clergymen.

A Taliban figure, Mullah Rahimullah Akhund, known on the United States military's kill-or-capture list by the code name Objective Squiz Incinerator, was overheard instructing an associate to buy suicide vests and a Japanese motorbike, according to the documents.

And N.S.A. listened in as a Saudi extremist, Abu Mughira, called his mother to report that he and his fellow fighters had entered Afghanistan and ''done victorious operations.''

Such reports flowed from the agency's Kandahar station day after day, year after year, and surely strengthened the American campaign against the Taliban. But they also suggest the limits of intelligence against a complex political and military challenge. The N.S.A. recorded the hotel attack, but it had not prevented it. It tracked Mr. Karzai's government, but he remained a difficult and volatile partner. Its surveillance was crucial in the capture or killing of many enemy fighters, but not nearly enough to remove the Taliban's ominous shadow from Afghanistan's future.

Mining All the Tidbits

In the Afghan reports and many others, a striking paradox is the odd intimacy of a sprawling, technology-driven agency with its targets. It is the one-way intimacy of the eavesdropper, as N.S.A. employees virtually enter the office cubicles of obscure government officials and the Spartan hide-outs of drug traffickers and militants around the world.

Venezuela, for instance, was one of six ''enduring targets'' in N.S.A.'s official mission list from 2007, along with China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Russia. The United States viewed itself in a contest for influence in Latin America with Venezuela's leader then, the leftist firebrand Hugo Chvez, who allied himself with Cuba, and one agency goal was ''preventing Venezuela from achieving its regional leadership objectives and pursuing policies that negatively impact U.S. global interests.''

A glimpse of what this meant in practice comes in a brief PowerPoint presentation from August 2010 on ''Development of the Venezuelan Economic Mission.'' The N.S.A. was tracking billions of dollars flowing to Caracas in loans from China (radar systems and oil drilling), Russia (MIG fighter planes and shoulder-fired missiles) and Iran (a factory to manufacture drone aircraft).

But it was also getting up-close and personal with Venezuela's Ministry of Planning and Finance, monitoring the government and personal emails of the top 10 Venezuelan economic officials. An N.S.A. officer in Texas, in other words, was paid each day to peruse the private messages of obscure Venezuelan bureaucrats, hunting for tidbits that might offer some tiny policy edge.

In a counterdrug operation in late 2011, the agency's officers seemed to know more about relations within a sprawling narcotics network than the drug dealers themselves. They listened to ''Ricketts,'' a Jamaican drug supplier based in Ecuador, struggling to keep his cocaine and marijuana smuggling business going after an associate, ''Gordo,'' claimed he had paid $250,000 and received nothing in return.

The N.S.A., a report said, was on top of not just their cellphones, but also those of the whole network of ''buyers, transporters, suppliers, and middlemen'' stretching from the Netherlands and Nova Scotia to Panama City and Bogot, Colombia. The documents do not say whether arrests resulted from all that eavesdropping.

Even with terrorists, N.S.A. units can form a strangely personal relationship. The N.S.A.-G.C.H.Q. wiki, a top secret group blog that Mr. Snowden downloaded, lists 14 specialists scattered in various stations assigned to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani terrorist group that carried out the bloody attack on Mumbai in 2008, with titles including ''Pakistan Access Pursuit Team'' and ''Techniques Discovery Branch.'' Under the code name Treaclebeta, N.S.A.'s hackers at Tailored Access Operations also played a role.

In the wiki's casual atmosphere, American and British eavesdroppers exchange the peculiar shoptalk of the secret world. ''I don't normally use Heretic to scan the fax traffic, I use Nucleon,'' one user writes, describing technical tools for searching intercepted documents.

But most striking are the one-on-one pairings of spies and militants; Bryan is assigned to listen in on a man named Haroon, and Paul keeps an ear on Fazl.

A Flood of Details

One N.S.A. officer on the Lashkar-e-Taiba beat let slip that some of his eavesdropping turned out to be largely pointless, perhaps because of the agency's chronic shortage of skilled linguists. He ''ran some queries'' to read intercepted communications of certain Lashkar-e-Taiba members, he wrote in the wiki, but added: ''Most of it is in Arabic or Farsi, so I can't make much of it.''

It is a glimpse of the unsurprising fact that sometimes the agency's expensive and expansive efforts accomplish little. Despite the agency's embrace of corporate jargon on goal-setting and evaluation, it operates without public oversight in an arena in which achievements are hard to measure.

In a world of ballooning communications, the agency is sometimes simply overwhelmed. In 2008, the N.S.A.'s Middle East and North Africa group set about updating its Sigint collection capabilities. The ''ambitious scrub'' of selectors '-- essentially search terms '-- cut the number of terms automatically searched from 21,177 to 7,795 and the number of messages added to the agency's Pinwale database from 850,000 a day to 450,000 a day.

The reduction in volume was treated as a major achievement, opening the way for new collection on Iranian leadership and Saudi and Syrian diplomats, the report said.

And in a note that may comfort computer novices, the N.S.A. Middle East analysts discovered major glitches in their search software: The computer was searching for the names of targets but not their email addresses, a rather fundamental flaw. ''Over 500 messages in one week did not come in,'' the report said about one target.

Those are daily course corrections. Whether the Snowden disclosures will result in deeper change is uncertain. Joel F. Brenner, the agency's former inspector general, says much of the criticism is unfair, reflecting a na¯vet(C) about the realpolitik of spying. ''The agency is being browbeaten for doing too well the things it's supposed to do,'' he said.

But Mr. Brenner added that he believes ''technology has outrun policy'' at the N.S.A., and that in an era in which spying may well be exposed, ''routine targeting of close allies is bad politics and is foolish.''

Another former insider worries less about foreign leaders' sensitivities than the potential danger the sprawling agency poses at home. William E. Binney, a former senior N.S.A. official who has become an outspoken critic, says he has no problem with spying on foreign targets like Brazil's president or the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. ''That's pretty much what every government does,'' he said. ''It's the foundation of diplomacy.'' But Mr. Binney said that without new leadership, new laws and top-to-bottom reform, the agency will represent a threat of ''turnkey totalitarianism'' '-- the capability to turn its awesome power, now directed mainly against other countries, on the American public.

''I think it's already starting to happen,'' he said. ''That's what we have to stop.''

Whatever reforms may come, Bobby R. Inman, who weathered his own turbulent period as N.S.A. director from 1977 to 1981, offers his hyper-secret former agency a radical suggestion for right now. ''My advice would be to take everything you think Snowden has and get it out yourself,'' he said. ''It would certainly be a shock to the agency. But bad news doesn't get better with age. The sooner they get it out and put it behind them, the faster they can begin to rebuild.''

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Hillary Clinton Reveals Her 2016 Presidential Campaign Theme

WikiLeaks: Hillary Clinton ordered U.S. diplomats to spy on UN leaders | Mail Online

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 13:57

By Gerri Peev and Daily Mail ReporterUPDATED: 04:02 EST, 29 November 2010

Hillary Clinton ordered American officials to spy on high ranking UN diplomats, including British representatives.

Top secret cables revealed that Mrs Clinton, the Secretary of State, even ordered diplomats to obtain DNA data '' including iris scans and fingerprints - as well as credit card and frequent flier numbers.

All permanent members of the security council '' including Russia, China, France and the UK '' were targeted by the secret spying mission, as well as the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon.

Secret spy mission: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered diplomats to spy on UN leaders, including Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Work schedules, email addresses, fax numbers, website identifiers and mobile numbers were also demanded by Washington.

The U.S. also wanted 'biographic and biometric information on UN Security Council permanent representatives'.

The secret 'national human intelligence collection directive' was sent to embassies and consulates around the world.

The request could break international law and threatens to derail any trust between the U.S. and other powerful nations.

Requests for IT related information '' such as details of passwords, personal encryption keys and network upgrades - could also raise suspicions that the U.S. was preparing to mount a hacking operation.

It is set to lead to international calls for Mrs Clinton to resign.

The fishing expedition was ordered by Mrs Clinton in July 2009, but followed similar demands made by her predecessor, Condoleeza Rice.

The secret documents were simply signed 'Clinton' and 'Rice'.

Mrs Clinton called for biometric details 'on key UN officials, to include undersecretaries, heads of specialised agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG [secretary general] aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders'.

Mrs Clinton's orders followed on from those given by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, shown here with former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Rome in 2006

She also wanted intelligence on Ban Ki-Moon's 'management and decision-making style and his influence on the secretariat'.

Cables were sent to U.S. embassies in the UN, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

America has always handed over information about top foreign officials to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

But the request by Mrs Clinton paves the way for officials to be more closely spied upon, with even their travel plans tracked by U.S. diplomats.

In what could discredit the U.S.'s role in the Middle East peace process, missions in Israel, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were asked to gather biometric information 'on key Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders and representatives, to include the young guard inside Gaza, the West Bank'.

Details of the US spying mission were sent to the CIA, the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI under the heading 'collection requirements and tasking'.

International treaties ban spying at the UN.

The 1946 UN convention on privileges and immunities states: 'The premises of the United Nations shall be inviolable. The property and assets of the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action.'

The American ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman said he 'condemned' the disclosures and that the U.S. government was 'taking steps to prevent future security breaches'.

He also claimed the disclosures had 'the very real potential to harm innocent people" but insisted the cables 'should not be seen as representing U.S. policy on their own'.

He said the leaks were 'harmful to the U.S. and our interests' adding, 'However, I am confident that our uniquely productive relationship with the UK will remain close and strong, focused on promoting our shared objectives and values.

U.S. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said Mrs Clinton had warned leaders in Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and China about the cables, revealed by investigators at the Wikileaks website.

Canada, Denmark, Norway and Poland had also been warned.

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Now The NSA And The State Department Are At War | The Cable

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Newrevelations that the U.S. has been eavesdropping on world leaders like GermanChancellor Angela Merkel aren't simply straining Washington's relationship withBerlin. They're also sparking an increasingly public fight between the StateDepartment and the NSA, with the nation's spies and the nation's diplomatstrading shots about who's responsible for the mess."This is a pretty serious embarrassmentfor the U.S., and as top officials try to protect theiragencies and their reputations, they are notsticking with their talking points," a former senior U.S. officialtold The Cable.

Secretaryof State John Kerry touched off the furor when he saidsome of the NSA's overseas surveillance efforts -- which also included tappinginto tens of millions of calls in France and Spain -- had been carried outwithout the Obama administration's knowledge or explicit approval. The remarkshighlighted what appears to the White House's emerging strategy for dealingwith widespread public fury over the programs: blame it on the NSA.

"Thepresident and I have learned of some things that have been happening in manyways on an automatic pilot, because the technology is there and the ability isthere," Kerry told a conference in London. "In some cases, some ofthese actions have reached too far and we are going to try to make sure itdoesn't happen in the future."

GeneralKeith Alexander, the head of the NSA, responded by putting responsibility forthe spying efforts squarely on the State Department itself. He saiddiplomats around the world were asking for information about the "leadershipintentions" of top foreign officials, and that his agency was simply trying torespond to those intelligence requests.

Alexander,according to a report in The Guardian,was responding to a series of sharp-edged questions from James Carew Rosapepe,a former American ambassador to Romania. Rosapepe had asked the general toexplain how U.S. national security interests justified the NSA's spying effortson "democratically elected leaders and private businesses."

"Thatis a great question, in fact as an ambassador you have part of the answer. Because we the intelligence agencies don'tcome up with the requirements. The policymakers come up with the requirements,"Alexander said. "One of those groups would have been, let me think, holdon, oh: ambassadors."

Thisisn't the first time that the Obama administration has seen high-leveldisagreements play out in public, of course. In December 2009, President Obamaannounced plans to send tens of thousands of reinforcements to Afghanistan butstressed that they were being sent to carry out a narrow counter-terrorismmission targeting al-Qaeda terrorists, not a broader counter-insurgencymission. Within days, top military officials began to publicly and privatelysay they were going to undertake a counter-insurgency approach anyway.

Theincreasingly-heated NSA debate is different, however, because it risks doinglong-term damage to key White House relationships with foreign leaders likeMerkel as well as long-term damage to the relationship between theadministration and the spies it entrusts with protecting the nation from newterror attacks.

Foreign Policyreported earlier this month that senior NSA officials, including Alexander,were angryat the White House for failing to do more to defend the spy agency fromcriticism of its surveillance efforts on Capitol Hill and in foreign capitals.The administration, meanwhile, has seemed blind-sided by the continuingrevelations about secret NSA spying programs at home and abroad.

TheWhite House had two basic choices for how to respond: argue that Obama knewabout the programs and approved them, which risked further infuriating keyAmerican allies, or say that he was unaware of the NSA's efforts, which riskedpainting a picture of a surprisingly out-of-touch commander in chief. For the moment, the administration seems tohave settled on the latter.

P.J.Crowley, a former State Department spokesman, said the administration has had ahard time settling on a PR strategy because it doesn't know how many moredisclosures are yet to come, or precisely what will be in them.

"There's a drip, drip, drip that makes categorical statements inresponse to the latest news report risky," he told The Cable. "At what point do you have a sense that youknow what you're dealing with so you can start to repair and rebuild? From adiplomatic standpoint, you can only start those repairs when the shovel stopsdigging a deeper hole."

Crowley helped craft the State Department's response to theinitial WikiLeaks disclosures, but said that was relatively easy compared tothe ongoing disclosures of once-classified NSA documents by former NSAcontractor Edward Snowden.

"During WikiLeaks we had months to assess the damage and seewhat was in the archive," he said. "Forthe moment, with Snowden, it's hard to know if we're closer to the end or thebeginning."

NSA chief Keith Alexander blames diplomats for surveillance requests

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The director of the National Security Agency has blamed US diplomats for requests to place foreign leaders under surveillance, in a surprising intervention that risks a confrontation with the State Department.

General Keith Alexander made the remarks during a pointed exchange with a former US ambassador to Romania, lending more evidence to suggestions of a rift over surveillance between the intelligence community and Barack Obama's administration.

The NSA chief was challenged by James Carew Rosapepe, who served as an ambassador under the Clinton administration, over the monitoring of the German chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

Rosapepe, now a Democratic state senator in Maryland, pressed Alexander to give "a national security justification" for the agency's use of surveillance tools intended for combating terrorism against "democratically elected leaders and private businesses".

"We all joke that everyone is spying on everyone," he said. "But that is not a national security justification."

Alexander replied: "That is a great question, in fact as an ambassador you have part of the answer. Because we the intelligence agencies don't come up with the requirements. The policymakers come up with the requirements."

He went on: "One of those groups would have been, let me think, hold on, oh: ambassadors."

Alexander said the NSA collected information when it was asked by policy officials to discover the "leadership intentions" of foreign countries. "If you want to know leadership intentions, these are the issues," the NSA director said.

The exchange on Thursday night drew laughs from the audience at the Baltimore Council on Foreign Relations, but did not seem to impress the former ambassador, who replied: "We generally don't do that in democratic societies."

It also risked deepening the division between the Obama administration and the intelligence community, which have been briefing against one another throughout the week.

Alexander had previously insinuated that targets of surveillance emerged from elsewhere in the administration, but this is the first time he is known to have publicly singled out US diplomats.

Just hours earlier, secretary of state John Kerry appeared to lay the blame at the door of the NSA, when he said certain practices had occurred "on autopilot" without the knowledge of senior officials in the Obama administration.

Alexander was asked by the Guardian how he thought Merkel, who grew up in East Germany when the Stasi secret service was operating, might have felt when she discovered her phone had been monitored by the NSA. "I don't know, I don't know the answer," he said. "You know, I would say 'alleged'."

Asked why he would say "alleged", given he presumably knows the monitoring occurred, Alexander said: "I say alleged because there are no facts ... that are on the table."

But Alexander also opened the door to the US halting surveillance of foreign leaders, hinting that it might be in the best interests of the US to suspend some surveillance programs to guarantee support to combat terrorism.

"I think those partnerships have greater value than some of the collection," he said. "And we ought to look at it like that."

Alexander, who is soon stepping down from the NSA, spoke after an eight-day period in which his agency has faced a growing chorus of criticism over its activities, particularly in relation to allied nations such as Germany.

The NSA may also lose its ability to gather domestic phone data '' a program Alexander has previously sought to guard.

In his speech in Baltimore, Alexander adopted a slightly different tone, suggesting he was "not wedded" to the program if a better alternative could be found.

Competing legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate this week to reform the NSA and the secret surveillance court that is supposed to hold it to account. One bill, which has growing support on Capitol Hill, would effectively end the routine collection of phone records data.

"I am not wedded to these programs," Alexander said in his opening remarks. "If we can come up with a better way of doing them, we should. Period." Speaking specifically about the collection of phone records, he compared administering the program to holding a "hornets' nest".

"We're holding this hornets' nest for the good of the nation. We would love to put it down, we would like to cast it aside, but if we do it is our fear that there will be a gap '' and the potential for another 9/11 '' and we would not have done our duty. So our duty would be: find another way."

The reference to the September 11, 2001, attacks was consistent with previous remarks. On Wednesday, al-Jazeera published a master list of NSA "talking points", obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Under the subheading ''Sound Bites That Resonate'', the memo encourages references to 9/11 as justification for its mass surveillance.

"You know, every one of us remembers 9/11," Alexander told the audience in Baltimore. "You remember where you were, what was going on, what happened when the first plane hit, what was going on when the second plane hit '' it changed our lives."

Alexander recalled firefighters killed trying help victims of the attack, and invoked the image of a fireman, during 9/11, "handing the flag" to the military and intelligence community. "We, the military and intelligence community, said 'we've got it from here'," he said. "That is etched on our hearts and our minds forever."

'Mad Men' Was Filming at LAX During Deadly Shooting, Says Crew Member | Variety

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 20:40

''Mad Men'' was in the process of filming an episode at Los Angeles International Airport Friday morning when a deadly shooting incident occurred at the travel hub, according to tweets from a production staffer.

Plenty of other bizzers were caught up in the shooting drama and the traffic snarl that ensued around 9:30 a.m. PT as the airport was evacuated while law enforcement hunted for the shooter.

Dustin Woods, a key grip on the AMC's ''Mad Men,'' tweeted that the series was filming in American Airlines' Terminal 4 at LAX, one terminal away from where shots were fired at approximately 9:20 a.m. PT.

Woods tweeted to TV Guide's Michael Schneider that the show on which he was in production was ''Mad Men,'' noting that it was the program's first day back lensing.

AMC declined to comment.

CBS senior exec VP Kelly Kahl was on his way to the airport for a flight when the lockdown occurred. He was unable to get into LAX and wound up re-routing his travel plans through Long Beach Airport. Amid the chaos, Kahl telephoned KCBS-TV Los Angeles to provide an on-the-scene report.

Actor James Franco was stuck sitting on the ground in a plane when the shooting took place, which he chronicled via Instagram.

Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci, of Discovery Channel's ''Mythbusters'' series, were in Terminal 3 where the shooting occurred. Both were on their way to Delaware for the filming of Discovery's popular holiday special ''Punkin Chunkin.''

PHOTOS: Harrison Ford's 10 Best Movies of All-Time

''Grant and Tory are safe and being rerouted. Our thoughts are with all those affected by today's tragedy and our gratitude goes out to the members of the LAPD, Airport Police, TSA, and Virgin America staff for restoring safety to the scene,'' Discovery and Science Channel said in a statement.

Late Friday, the FBI identified the shooter as Paul Ciancia, 23, of Los Angeles.

The deadly incident continued to reverberate for thousands of travelers Friday as more than 100 flights were delayed or canceled because of the disruption.

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Feinstein debuts NSA ''reform'' bill that's really about the status quo | Ars Technica

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Sen. Feinstein chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

View all'...Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has been one of the most stalwart defenders of widespread NSA surveillance since leaks with information about the programs started seeping out nearly five months ago. Civil libertarians and reformers have been none too pleased with her rhetoric'--and they're not going to get any happier after reading the bill she introduced today.

The FISA Improvements Act has already attracted plenty of critics who view it as no improvement at all. In fact, they say, Feinstein's bill would make things much worse. It would actually enshrine the NSA "bulk data" collection programs into law and grant official Congressional approval to widespread surveillance programs that haven't ever received such affirmation before.

Her bill comes on the heels of a competing bill introduced earlier this week that reformers say would be a real step in the right direction. It would outright ban some of the programs that Feinstein is vociferously defending. Dozens of politicians have now stated they're ready to end the controversial "bulk data" programs, including the NSA's practice of keeping a log of every phone call made in the United States. In the House of Representatives, 70 members signed on to a bill proffered by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the sponsor of the original Patriot Act, which would shut the programs down. A companion bill in the Senate has a dozen co-sponsors, as well.

"I'd laugh if I weren't so offended," said Jennifer Granick, of Stanford's Center for Internet and Society, in an e-mailed comment about Feinstein's bill. "It legalizes the currently illegal bulk collection of phone records and its language'--whether sloppily or intentionally, I don't know'--encourages the NSA to conduct bulk collection of other kinds of records under 215, as well as content, without even the bill's purported 'safeguards.'"

The "enhanced criminal penalties" for unauthorized access to data actually criminalizes anyone who accesses a computer "without authorization," noted Ruthann Robson, professor of Law at City University of New York. "While couched in protecting privacy and data, this provision would also further sanction and chill whistleblowers."

"The modest improvements [the bill] makes are far outweighed by the damage it does to civil liberties,'' said Greg Nojeim, of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

In introducing the bill, Feinstein reiterated there's essentially nothing wrong with the current situation. "The NSA call-records program is legal and subject to extensive congressional and judicial oversight, and I believe it contributes to our national security," she said. "But more can and should be done to increase transparency and build public support for privacy protections in place."

Feinstein's statements about the bill make it sound reform-ish, but when closely read, it mainly constitutes re-iterations of the status quo. For instance, the bill "prohibits the bulk collection of the content of communications under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act" (no emphasis in original). The NSA and its defenders, including Feinstein and President Barack Obama, have already stated repeatedly that they don't gather content.

The legislation would also "prohibit the collection of bulk communication records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act except under specific procedures and restrictions set forth in the bill." In other words, it forbids the collection of data unless it's collected in a way that the intelligence committee approves of'--essentially the same thing that's been happening for years.

The bill includes other safeguards and reporting requirements, most of which are already in place, such as limiting the number of contacts or "hops" that an analyst can get when querying bulk communications.

The Senate Intelligence Committee passed the bill out of committee on an 11-4 vote earlier today'--a vote held in a secret, closed session.

There seems to be a showdown brewing between surveillance hawks and reformers in Congress. Both sides cross party lines in unexpected ways, and it isn't clear which side will prevail. Sensenbrenner's bill has become quickly popular, yet the Senate Intelligence Committee clearly has a strong majority in favor of these programs. Similarly, when General Keith Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper came to Congress for a hearing on Tuesday, top members of the House Intelligence Committee mostly showed support for their actions. The recent tone suggests that intelligence committees in both houses may be out of step with the sentiment elsewhere in Congress.

Amicus curiae - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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An amicus curiae (also amicus curi...; plural amici curiae, literally "friend of the court") is someone who is not a party to a case who offers information that bears on the case but that has not been solicited by any of the parties to assist a court. This may take the form of legal opinion, testimony or learned treatise (the amicus brief) and is a way to introduce concerns ensuring that the possibly broad legal effects of a court decision will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case. The decision on whether to admit the information lies at the discretion of the court. The phrase amicus curiae is legal Latin.

History[edit]The amicus curiae figure originates in Roman law.[1] Starting in the 9th century,[citation needed] it was incorporated to English law, and it was later extended to most common law systems. Later, it was also introduced in international law, in particular concerning human rights. From there, it was integrated in some civil law systems (it has recently been integrated into Argentina's law system and Honduras's 2010 civil procedures code). Today, it is used by the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Presentation[edit]The role of an amicus is often confused with that of an intervener. The role of an amicus is, as stated by Salmon LJ (as Lord Salmon then was) in Allen v Sir Alfred McAlpine & Sons Ltd [1968] 2 QB 229 at p. 266 F-G:

I had always understood that the role of an amicus curiae was to help the court by expounding the law impartially, or if one of the parties were unrepresented, by advancing the legal arguments on his behalf.The situation most often noted in the press is when an advocacy group files a brief in a case before an appellate court to which it is not a litigant. Appellate cases are normally limited to the factual record and arguments coming from the lower court case under appeal; attorneys focus on the facts and arguments most favorable to their clients. Where a case may have broader implications, amicus curiae briefs are a way to introduce those concerns, so that the possibly broad legal effects of court decisions will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case.

In prominent cases, amici curiae are generally organizations with sizable legal budgets. In the United States, for example, non-profit legal advocacy organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Landmark Legal Foundation, the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Center for Law and Justice or NORML, frequently submit such briefs to advocate for or against a particular legal change or interpretation. If a decision could affect an entire industry, companies other than the litigants may wish to have their concerns heard. In the United States, federal courts often hear cases involving the constitutionality of state laws. Hence states may file briefs as amici curiae when their laws are likely to be affected, as in the Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago, when thirty-two states under the aegis of Texas (and California independently) filed such briefs.[2]

Amici curiae who do not file briefs often present an academic perspective on the case. For example, if the law gives deference to a history of legislation of a certain topic, a historian may choose to evaluate the claim from specialized expertise. An economist, statistician, or sociologist may choose to do the same. Newspaper editorials, blogs, and other opinion pieces arguably have the capability to influence Supreme Court decisions as de facto amici curiae.[3][4] They are not, however, technically considered amicus curiae, as they do not submit materials to the Court, do not need to ask for leave, and have no guarantee that they will be read.

United States Supreme Court Rules[edit]The Supreme Court of the United States has special rules for amicus curiae briefs sought to be filed in cases pending before it. Supreme Court Rule 37 states, in part, such a brief should cover "relevant matter" not dealt with by the parties which "may be of considerable help".[5] The cover of an amicus brief must identify which party the brief is supporting, or if the brief supports only affirmance or reversal. Supreme Court Rule 37.3(a). The Court also requires that, inter alia, all non-governmental amici identify those providing a monetary contribution to the preparation or submission of the brief. Supreme Court Rule 37.6. Briefs must be prepared in booklet format, and 40 copies must be served with the Court.[6]

In the United States Supreme Court, unless the amicus brief is being filed by the federal government (or one of its officers or agents) or a U.S. state, permission of the court (by means of motion for leave) or mutual consent of the parties is generally required. Allowing an amicus curiae to present oral argument is considered "extraordinary".[7]

See also[edit]References[edit]Justice, To Assist the Court: Third Party Interventions in the UK (2009)

^Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan (2005). "Congressional Participation As Amicus Curiae Before the U.S. Supreme Court". LFB Scholarly Publishing. p. 266. ISBN 1-59332-088-4. ^Gura, Alan (7 July 2009). "Thirty-four states support second amendment incorporation". ChicagoGunCase. ^Lee, Rachel C. (April 2009). "Ex Parte Blogging: The Legal Ethics of Supreme Court Advocacy in the Internet Era". Stanford Law Review61 (6): 1535''1571. Archived from the original on 2009-05-21. ^Dawson, Keith (8 May 2009). "Bloggers Impacting the World of Litigation". Slashdot. ^Rule 37(1).^United States Supreme Court Rule, 33^FRAP 29.External links[edit]

AFP: Big US tech firms calls for reform on snooping

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Big US tech firms calls for reform on snooping

(AFP) '' 1 day ago

Washington '-- Six of the biggest US technology firms are urging Congress to rein in the National Security Agency by requiring more transparency about surveillance and improved privacy protections.

In a letter to a Senate committee, the tech giants applauded the introduction of the USA Freedom Act aimed at ending bulk collection of phone records and improve privacy protection in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

"Recent disclosures regarding surveillance activity raise important concerns both in the United States and abroad," said the letter signed by Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and AOL.

The companies, which have failed to win efforts to disclose details of their cooperation with US surveillance programs, said more transparency would "help to counter erroneous reports that we permit intelligence agencies 'direct access' to our companies' servers or that we are participants in a bulk Internet records collection program."

"Transparency is a critical first step to an informed public debate, but it is clear that more needs to be done. Our companies believe that government surveillance practices should also be reformed to include substantial enhancements to privacy protections and appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms for those programs."

The letter dated Thursday and addressed to the Senate Judiciary Committee came days after a news report said the NSA has tapped into key communications links from Yahoo and Google data centers around the world.

The Washington Post, citing documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with officials, said the program can collect data at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, including from Americans.

The report said the program dubbed MUSCULAR, operated jointly with NSA's British counterpart GCHQ, indicated that the agencies can intercept data flows from the fiber-optic cables used by the US Internet giants.

The NSA disputes key details of the report.

The bill proposed by Senator Patrick Leahy and Representatives James Sensenbrenner and John Conyers, with other co-sponsors.

Leahy and Sensenbrenner said in a joint statement they welcomed the wide support for their bill.

"The breadth of support for our bipartisan, bicameral legislation demonstrates that protecting Americans? privacy not only cuts across the party divide, but also addresses concerns raised by the technology industry and other advocates," Leahy and Sensenbrenner said.

"The time is now for serious and meaningful reform. We are committed to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to get this done so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community and protect the privacy rights of our citizens."

The Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights advocacy group, meanwhile urged other companies to speak up.

"This is a defining moment and other companies must now step up to support genuine FISA reform or explain to their users why they are not," said Leslie Harris, president and chief executive of CDT.

Copyright (C) 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More >>

Senate committee backs bill that would allow NSA data collection to continue | World news | theguardian.com

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The Senate intelligence committee approved a bill on Thursday that would provide for increased transparency of the National Security Agency's bulk collection of US phone records but allow the controversial practice to continue.

Sponsored by chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, the bill lets the NSA continue to collect phone metadata of millions of Americans for renewable 90-day periods, and allows the government to retain it. Some legislators have alternatively proposed letting phone companies hold the metadata. It passed the committee by an 11-4 vote Thursday afternoon, paving the way for a full Senate vote.

Further codifying current practice, the bill allows analysts to search through the data when if they suspect there is a ''reasonable articulable suspicion'' that a suspect is associated with international terrorism.

Additionally the bill adds new leeway for the NSA to continue surveillance begun on foreigners outside the US if they enter the country "for a transitory period not to exceed 72 hours".

The bill is a direct challenge to one introduced Tuesday by senator Patrick Leahy that would end domestic phone-records collection. It was also opposed by leading intelligence committee member Mark Udall, who said it did not go far enough.

"The NSA's invasive surveillance of Americans' private information does not respect our constitutional values and needs fundamental reform, not incidental changes. Unfortunately, the bill passed by the Senate intelligence committee does not go far enough to address the NSA's overreaching domestic surveillance programs," Udall said.

Another Democratic member of the committee, Ron Wyden, said the bill maintains "business as usual" and "remains far from anything that could be considered meaningful reform".

Feinstein defended the NSA bulk collection program, but said there was a need to rebuild public trust. ''The NSA call-records program is legal and subject to extensive congressional and judicial oversight, and I believe it contributes to our national security,'' she said in a statement. ''But more can and should be done to increase transparency and build public support for privacy protections in place.''

In her statement, Feinstein said the bill would also make a number of improvements to transparency and oversight on the NSA, including:

' Requiring an annual public report of the total number of queries of NSA's telephone metadata database and the number of times the program leads to an FBI investigation or probable cause order.

' Requiring that the foreign intelligence surveillance court impose limits on the number of people at NSA who may authorise or query the call-records database.

' Establishing criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison for intentional unauthorized access to data acquired under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) by the United States.

' Mandating the Fisa court impose a limit on the number of contacts (or ''hops'') an analyst can receive in response to a query of bulk communication records.

After the committee's hearing had ended, Feinstein strongly endorsed the NSA's main domestic program. "I think there's huge misunderstanding about this NSA database program, and how vital I think it is to protecting this country," she told reporters.

Concern over the intelligence committee's bill was expressed by independent legal experts who said the stage was now set for a showdown with the USA Freedom Act, a bill introduced by Leahy and Jim Sensenbrenner that would prohibit bulk collection of Americans' telephone records.

Elizabeth Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice said: ''The intelligence committee bill and the USA Freedom Act present two opposing visions of the relationship between law-abiding Americans and the national security state. The fundamental question is: should the government have some reason to suspect wrongdoing before sweeping up Americans' most personal information to feed into its databases? Leahy and Sensenbrenner say yes; Feinstein says no.''

Wyden suggested that recent concern about NSA spying on foreign leaders had distracted from the real focus on mass domestic surveillance in the US. ''The statements that American intelligence officials have made this week about collecting on the intentions of foreign leadership, that's consistent with the understanding I've had for years, as a member of the intelligence committee,'' he said.

''That has implications for foreign policy. My top priority is ending the mass surveillance, digital surveillance, on millions and millions of law-abiding Americans.''

Feinstein unexpectedly announced on Monday that she was ''totally opposed'' to the foreign leader spying of the sort the NSA conducts of German chancellor Angela Merkel. Feinstein has been a staunch supporter of the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.

''Americans are making it clear, that they never '' repeat never '' agreed to give up their constitutional liberties for the appearance of security,'' Wyden said. ''We're just going to keep fighting this battle. It's going to be a long one.''

Separately, Feinstein said that James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, had agreed to provide her in writing with a statement about a Washington Post story that alleged the NSA had intercepted data in transmission between Google and Yahoo data centers. She said she was withholding judgment on the story until she saw Clapper's rebuttal.

Her strong endorsement of the domestic phone records collection indicates that the powerful Senate Democrat is not yet prepared to expand the criticism of the NSA she launched on Monday, when she "totally opposed" its surveillance of foreign allied leaders '' a more traditional intelligence activity than bulk phone metadata surveillance.

Wyden would not comment on the Washington Post report on the Google and Yahoo intercepts. But the senators suggested it had implications for the privacy of Americans' communication.

''Decades ago, countries had their own kinds of communication systems. Now that you've had the merger of global communications, I think you're going to have a lot more challenges spying on foreigners with implications for US citizens,'' Wyden said.

Following the markup of the bill, the intelligence panel held a classified hearing. Clapper and his chief counsel, Robert Litt, were seen entering the Hart Senate office building ahead of the markup and the hearing. Clapper refused to comment.

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform | American Civil Liberties Union

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 05:21

Over the last several months, members of Congress have introduced at least two dozen spying reform and transparency bills. Today, a new proposal called the USA FREEDOM Act from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was introduced to significantly limit the collection and use of Americans' information under our nation's spying laws. The ACLU strongly supports the legislation.

The bill is notable for its sponsors alone.

Rep. Sensenbrenner was the lead author of the Patriot Act and now is the chair of the House's Subcommittee on Terrorism and Crime. A conservative member of Congress, he has repeatedly supported surveillance laws in the past, but now he's leading the charge for reform. According to Rep. Sensenbrenner, two consecutive White Houses have wrongly used his Patriot Act to collect the phone records of innocent Americans, and he wants it to stop. "This misinterpretation of the law threatens our First, Second and Fourth Amendment rights," Rep. Sensenbrenner recently said. "Congress never intended this. I will rein in the abuse of both the Patriot Act and the U.S. Constitution with the support of the American public."

Sen. Leahy is the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which also has jurisdiction over the Patriot Act and FISA. He also believes the government's indiscriminate collection of Americans' records must end, because the "government has not made its case that this is an effective counterterrorism tool, especially in light of the intrusion on Americans' privacy rights."

The partnership between these two very senior members of the House and Senate, on both the left and the right, gives this bill legitimacy and a real chance at passing. But the bill has more than just names attached to it '' it has substance.

It would amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act '' which is used to collect the phone records of almost every American every day '' so that it can no longer be used in such a sweeping fashion. The secret FISA court would still be able to issue subpoenas, but they would be limited to collecting things that directly pertain to a terrorist, his associates, or his activities. The bill would also require this standard for national security letters and pen registers, two other Patriot Act tools used to access Americans' records. The point here is to ensure that bulk collection doesn't just jump to another secret authority.

The bill would also make changes to the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), the sweeping 2008 law that codified the warrantless wiretapping program. It would insert a very important restriction that would prevent the government from searching through FAA-collected data for U.S. person data in the absence of an emergency or a court order. Finally, the bill includes the creation of a special advocate before the FISA court and new transparency requirements.

Although the USA FREEDOM Act does not fix every problem with the government's surveillance authorities and programs, it is an important first step and it deserves broad support. It incorporates the language and principles of past reform leaders like Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.), and it is far superior to the proposal recently described by Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), which we expect to see shortly.

All members of the House and Senate should co-sponsor the USA FREEDOM Act and fight hard for its passage.

Learn more about the NSA and other civil liberty issues: Sign up for breaking news alerts,follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

------------------------------------------------

Jesselyn Radack - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jesselyn Radack (born December 12, 1970) is a former ethics adviser to the United States Department of Justice who came to prominence as a whistleblower after she disclosed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) committed what she believed to be an ethics violation in their interrogation of John Walker Lindh (the "American Taliban" captured during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan) without an attorney present, and alleged that the Department of Justice attempted to suppress that information. The Lindh case was the first major terrorism prosecution after 9/11.[5] Her experience is chronicled in her memoir, TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the "American Taliban".

She is currently the National Security and Human Rights Director of the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower organization.

Early life and education[edit]Radack was born in Washington, D.C., and attended Brown University. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year and graduated magna cum laude in 1992 as a triple major with honors in all three majors. Since 1983 when Brown began tracking such data, only one other student has received honors in three concentrations.[6]

Radack graduated from Yale Law School and joined the Justice Department through the Attorney General Honors Program where she practiced constitutional tort litigation from 1995 to 1999 and then worked in the Department's newly created Professional Responsibility Advisory Office (PRAO) from 1999 to 2002.

John Walker Lindh case[edit]Initial inquiry into Lindh case[edit]On December 7, 2001, Radack received an inquiry from Justice Department counterterrorism prosecutor John DePue regarding the ethical propriety of interrogating Lindh in Afghanistan without a lawyer present. He told her that Lindh's father had retained counsel for his son. This was not known to Lindh. Radack responded that interrogating him was not authorized by law.[7] The principle at issue was that a person represented by a lawyer cannot be contacted by agents of the Justice Department, including the FBI, without permission of that lawyer.[8] According to Radack, her advice was approved by Claudia Flynn, then head of PRAO, and Joan Goldfrank, a senior PRAO attorney.[9]

The FBI proceeded to question Lindh without a lawyer. DePue informed Radack of the interrogation on the 10th, and she advised him that Lindh's "interview may have to be sealed or only used for national security purposes; however, I don't have enough information yet to make that recommendation".[10]

Radack continued to research the issue until December 20, 2001, when Flynn told her to drop the matter because Lindh had been "Mirandized". It was later learned that the FBI agent Christopher Reimann who read Lindh the Miranda warning had, when noting the right to counsel, ad-libbed: "Of course, there are no lawyers here".[11]

U.S. government statements on Lindh's legal rights[edit]On January 15, 2002, five weeks after the interrogation, Attorney GeneralJohn Ashcroft announced that a criminal complaint was being filed against Lindh. "The subject here is entitled to choose his own lawyer", Ashcroft said, "and to our knowledge, has not chosen a lawyer at this time".[7] On February 5, 2002, Ashcroft announced Lindh's indictment, saying that his rights "have been carefully, scrupulously honored".[12]

In early 2004 Radack indicated in an interview that she disagreed with Ashcroft's view but could see its logic, that Lindh had not himself chosen a lawyer, so he was not represented by one. "You can debate it one way or another'', she said.[6] She was more troubled by the ethical issues,[6] later citing the same ruling the government cites to support its legal position.[13] In Moran v. Burbine (1986), the Supreme Court held that police were within the law in not telling a suspect (who had waived his Miranda rights) that his sister had retained counsel for him,[6] but the Court also granted that the police behavior was unethical and could rise to a violation of legal rights in more egregious circumstances.[14]

In early 2005 Radack recalled her reaction to Ashcroft's statements more starkly: "I knew that wasn't true".[15]

Poor performance review[edit]On February 4, 2002, the day before the Lindh indictment was announced, Flynn gave Radack an unscheduled "blistering" performance evaluation, despite Radack having received a merit raise the year before.[7] It covered December 27, 2001, to September 30, 2002, two months prior to the Lindh inquiry, and did not mention that case, but it criticized her legal judgment in issues related to the case and in other matters.[6][16] Flynn had not yet signed the review. She advised Radack to find another job or the review would be put in Radack's official personnel file.[7] Radack, who had planned on being a career civil servant, soon found a new job in the private sector.[17][7]

Missing emails[edit]On March 7, 2002, while Radack was still working at PRAO, the lead prosecutor in the Lindh case, Randy Bellows, messaged Radack that there was a court order for all of the Justice Department's internal correspondence about Lindh's interrogation.[7] He said that he had two of her messages and wanted to make sure he had everything.

Radack immediately became concerned that the court order had been deliberately concealed from her.[5] She had written more than a dozen emails on the subject, and neither of the ones Bellows had received copies of reflected her fear that the FBI's actions had been unethical and that Lindh's confession, which was the basis for the criminal case, might have to be sealed.[11] Radack checked the hard-copy file and found that the thick stack of paper had been unstapled and reduced to a few sheets including only three of her emails, along with cover sheets indicating that Flynn had sent copies of those three to the Lindh prosecutors.[11][18] Radack confided in a senior colleague, former U.S. Attorney Donald McKay, who examined the file and told her that it had been "purged".[19]

With the assistance of technical support, Radack then recovered 14 email messages from her computer archives and gave them to Flynn with a cover memorandum. When Flynn asked Radack why the messages weren't in the file, Radack said she didn't know, and her supervisor said "Now I have to explain why PRAO should not look bad for not turning them over".[20] Radack took home a copy of the recovered emails to ensure they wouldn't "disappear" again.[21]

Which emails the Department of Justice supplied to the court, and when, cannot be determined directly because the court placed them under seal.[17] In March 2003 investigative journalist Jane Mayer of The New Yorker reported that "[a]n official list compiled by the prosecution confirms that the Justice Department did not hand over Radack's most critical e-mail in which she questioned the viability of Lindh's confession until after her confrontation with Flynn".[11] Radack continues to rely on Mayer's report.[13]

On December 31, 2003, Radack requested the court appoint a special prosecutor to probe the alleged suppression of the emails.[22] The government responded that it had supplied the emails to the court in its initial response to the court order seeking them, i.e., on March 1, 2002.[23] The description of the 24 documents (probably including duplicates) provided to the court at that time matches Radack's emails, including the one that states interviewing Lindh is not authorized by law.[24] DePue, the recipient of the emails, also had copies and states that they were submitted to the court.[25] The judge rejected Radack's request as "impertinent".[26]

In 2004 Radack filed suit against the government (see below). In 2005, the court found that "[t]hough Flynn informed Radack that she would send the emails to Bellows, Radack maintains that she had a 'good faith belief' that this never occurred...Radack was mistaken, for in filings submitted to the Virginia District Court on March 1, 2002, and March 11, 2002, Bellows turned over thirty-three PRAO-related documents, including Radack's fourteen emails, ex parte and under seal, for in camera review".[27]

Disclosure to Newsweek of emails believed to have been purged[edit]Radack resigned from the Justice Department on April 5, 2002. In June 2002 she heard a broadcast on NPR stating that the Department claimed they had never taken the position that Lindh was entitled to counsel during his interrogation. She later wrote, "I knew this statement was not true. It also indicated to me that the Justice Department must not have turned over my e-mails to the Lindh court..because I did not believe the Department would have the temerity to make public statements contradicted by its own court filings, even if those filings were in camera." She reasoned that ''disclosure of my e-mails would advance compliance with the Lindh court's discovery order while also exposing gross mismanagement and abuse of authority by my superiors at the Justice Department."[28]

After hearing the broadcast, Radack sent the emails to Michael Isikoff, a Newsweek reporter, who had been interviewed in the NPR story.[6] He wrote an article about the purportedly missing emails[29] that appeared online June 15, 2002.[30] He did not reveal his source for the emails.

Radack has said she did not turn the documents over to the court or prosecutors at the time she recovered them because she felt intimidated by Flynn, who had told her to drop the matter.[31] Later, no longer working in government, she reasoned, "I couldn't go to the court because Justice Department lawyers would argue (as they did when I eventually did try to tell my story to the court) that I had no standing. I couldn't go to a Member of Congress because, as a resident of the District of Columbia, I didn't have a voting representative. What I could do is disclose my story to the press--a judicially-sanctioned way of exposing wrongdoing under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, which provides protection to federal government employees who blow the whistle on what they reasonably believe evidences a violation of any law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; or an abuse of authority".[32]

Radack's reasoning assumed her emails were the position of the Department of Justice. Representatives of the Department have denied that. Michael Chertoff, then head of the criminal division that was prosecuting Lindh, viewed her emails as only a preliminary step in developing a PRAO position.[6] (Chertoff elaborated that position, and that the advice was not known to him or sought by those responsible for the decision to interview Lindh, in answers to questions from Senator Edward Kennedy, discussed below.)

Radack and some others believe her disclosure of the emails may have contributed to the plea agreement that led to a sentence of 20 years instead of possible multiple life sentences for Lindh.[33] The plea deal was reached on July 15, 2002, a month after the Newsweek article on the emails appeared online and just hours before the hearing to consider the motions to suppress the Lindh interviews was set to begin.[34] According to Lindh defense attorneys, the prosecution first approached them about a plea deal around the beginning of June.[35] On June 14, the day before the emails were disclosed, and June 17, the Lindh defense filed their arguments to suppress all the interviews conducted in Afghanistan, including the ones that Radack had advised might have to be suppressed.[36] The defense reasoning was different than Radack's; it did not assert that Lindh was represented by a lawyer at the time, which was the basis for Radack's advice in the emails.[37] Because of the plea deal, the legal questions regarding the interviews were not adjudicated.

Justice Department actions against Radack[edit]On June 19, 2002, the Lindh court ordered the Justice Department to file a pleading "addressing whether any documents ordered protected by the Court were disclosed by any person bound by an Order of this court". The Justice Department launched a criminal investigation of Radack that remained open for 15 months.[38] No potential criminal charge was ever specified, but since leaking is not a crime, the most likely charge would have been theft of government property,[17] as she had taken home copies of her emails before she resigned from the PRAO,[39] and her PRAO supervisor later insinuated she was suspected of having removed other files that had gone missing.[40] Radack says an agent of the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) told her new employer and coworkers that she was under criminal investigation[41] and would steal client files.[42][43]

Radack believes the OIG agent pressured her employer to fire her.[43] The firm was initially supportive, but after it obtained phone records of calls between Newsweek writer Isikoff and the firm's office showing that Radack appeared to be the leaker of government emails, that changed. A partner in the firm, which represented mainly government bond issuers, told her they could not be perceived to have an ex-government lawyer who broke confidence when she thought the client was wrong. When she continued to refuse to sign a statement that she did not leak the emails, she was placed on paid and then unpaid leave.[44]

When Radack was granted unemployment benefits, her now-former employer was assisted by the Justice Department, she says,[43] in challenging the benefits on the grounds of her alleged misconduct and insubordination. She won the appeal.[44]

It is not known how her employer obtained records of phone calls between her and Isikoff. They could have been obtained by the firm from the phone company, since they were records of calls to and from their phones. The firm also had records of calls Isikoff made to the Justice Department, which must have been supplied by the government, who knew because the calls were to them.[45]

The Lindh court issued an order on November 6, 2002, concluding that Radack's disclosure did not violate any order of the Court, but this order was not made available to Radack until two years later.[46]

The Department of Justice notified Radack that the criminal investigation was closed on September 11, 2003. On October 31, 2003, the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) sent letters to the bar associations of the two jurisdictions in which she was licensed to practice law referring her for a possible ethics violation. The referrals proposed that in disclosing the emails she may have knowingly revealed information protected by attorney-client privilege.[47] There is disagreement about whether the government or the public is the client of government attorneys.[6] Radack bypassed that issue by invoking the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), which she argues provides the legal basis for an exception to attorney-client privilege, i.e., for disclosure when permitted or authorized by law.[48] The Justice Department responded that the WPA may not apply to former employees, and that it does not authorize any disclosure, only prevents retaliatory personnel actions for certain disclosures.[49]

OPR did not follow its own policies in making the referrals, according to Radack, including in not allowing her to formally respond to its findings.[50] She has contrasted the way she was treated by the Department of Justice and the way the department attorneys who authored the memos giving a purported legal basis for waterboarding and other controversial interrogation methods were treated.[51]

There was never any serious investigation of how Radack's emails disappeared from the PRAO file, she believes, a conclusion reached in part because no investigator questioned her about it. She says the OIG told her attorney they had "looked into" her allegations and they were "not going to pursue it".[51]

The criminal investigation and subsequent ethics referrals prevented Radack from finding suitable work as an attorney for years, she says.[6][32][52] The Maryland Bar dismissed the referral February 23, 2005.[27] At the District of Columbia Bar the referral is still pending (as of June 1, 2012).[51]

Radack says she was placed on the "No-Fly List", by which she refers to the Selectee portion of the Terrorist Watchlist.[53] Selectees are submitted to extra security screening before boarding a flight.[54] She reports that for a time she was selected for extra security on each flight, at least 19 flights by her count, and that one airline told her she was on the list.[55] She believes she was eventually removed from the list, after she had complained to the Transportation Security Administration Ombudsman and the ACLU.[32]

Radack claims that one or more anonymous Justice Department officials have "smeared" her in the media as a "traitor", "turncoat", and "terrorist sympathizer"[43][51][56] "to alienate me from all my neighbors, all my friends",[57] sometimes specifying it was in the New York Times.[57][42][55] Google searches of the Times website confirm only that in 2003 Times journalist Eric Lichtblau wrote, "Government officials suspect [Radack] is a turncoat", without indicating whether the word was his or theirs.[58][59]

She has implied she is under a gag order, saying in the context of general remarks about gag orders, "There are certain things I cannot talk to you about, and I can't say anything more than that".[60]

In 2008 Radack said that she had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting the government actions against her.[61] For a time beginning in 2003, noted constitutional scholar and former Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan, Bruce Fein, represented Radack pro bono.[6]

Congressional questions[edit]In March 2003 U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy submitted questions about Radack's allegations to Attorney General John Ashcroft. On May 7, with no answers yet, Kennedy pressed the matter with Michael Chertoff, who oversaw the criminal division that prosecuted Lindh, and who was before the Senate Judiciary Committee as a nominee for a circuit court judgeship.[62][63]

Chertoff said Lindh was deemed not to be represented by a lawyer he had not chosen, and he denied that PRAO was consulted about Lindh. His answers did not satisfy Kennedy, who followed up with written questions. Chertoff qualified his earlier answer by saying "those at the Department responsible for the Lindh matter" did not seek PRAO advice. He added, "I am not aware that PRAO ever took an official position about the Lindh interrogation or that any views expressed by an individual PRAO attorney were documented, factually and legally substantiated, reviewed and authorized, as I would expect before an official opinion was rendered".[64]

Kennedy described Chertoff's responses as "non-responsive, evasive, and hyper-technical" and requested and received a week's delay in the committee's vote on his nomination. Kennedy was more satisfied, though still troubled, by the responses to a second round of written questions in which Chertoff acknowledged that he learned after the Lindh interviews that a lawyer in his division, DePue, had consulted PRAO. He implied DePue was not acting on behalf of those responsible for decisions in the Lindh case, and that he was peripheral to the decision process.[62][64] (The New York Times reported that DePue has "detailed numerous contacts he had with lawyers inside and outside the [criminal] division on Mr. Lindh's questioning". DePue says he was told by a supervisor that the criminal division's leadership, by which DePue inferred Chertoff, was upset that he contacted PRAO.[58])

Kennedy also questioned Chertoff about how Radack was treated. Chertoff denied any knowledge of that.[62][64] After meeting with Chertoff, Kennedy announced his support for his nomination but said, "I remain very concerned about Ms. Radack's situation. According to press reports'--and the Department has never issued any statement disputing them'--Ms. Radack was in effect fired for providing legal advice on a matter involving ethical duties and civil liberties that higher-level officials at the Department disagreed with".[62] (The New York Times reported that Justice Department officials disputed that characterization.[58]) On May 22 several Democrats on the Judiciary Committee said they wanted more time to review Radack's allegations, but the committee voted 13-0, with six Democrats voting present, to send the nomination on to the full Senate,[65] where it was confirmed 88''1 on June 9.[66]

Radack suit against the Justice Department[edit]On October 28, 2004, Radack sued the Department of Justice, alleging that its Office of Professional Responsibility violated the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Administrative Procedure Act in connection with its referral of professional misconduct allegations to District of Columbia and Maryland Bar officials.[67] The lawsuit was dismissed in 2006.[68]

After DOJ[edit]Radack served on the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee from 2005 to 2007. From 2006 until 2008, she represented government contractors blowing the whistle on fraud in the reconstruction of Iraq. Since 2008, she has served as the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project. She was one of the attorneys who represented National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake, with whom she won the 2011 Sam Adams Award, given annually by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.[2][69] They also both won the 2012 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Legal Times, National Law Journal, The Nation, and numerous law journals. She maintains a blog at the DailyKos.

See also[edit]References[edit]^Huffington Post, "D.C. Lawyer Jesselyn Radack Wins Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award For Whistleblower Work", June 3, 2012^ abBlaylock, Dylan (2011-11-17). "Radack, Drake Win Sam Adams Award". Government Accountability Project. Retrieved 2012-01-05. ^http://groups.yahoo.com/group/truthabout911/message/7495^http://dl.lib.brown.edu/dbdh/bdh_render.php?issue=1261009366316461&div=DIVL14&pid=0^ abCharlie Savage: Takeover, p.108-109. Little, Brown & Company, 2007.^ abcdefghijEmily Gold Boutilier, "The Woman Who Knew Too Much,"Brown Alumni Magazine, March/April 2004, p.35.^ abcdefJane Mayer, The Dark Side, pp. 93-97. Doubleday, 2008.^The application of the "no-contact rule" to the Department of Justice is discussed by James S. Montana, Jr., and John A. Galotto "Right to Counsel: Courts Adhere to Bright-line Limits."Criminal Justice Magazine 16:2 Summer 2001, see section "Ethical rules in lieu of constitutional protections". Radack has indicated that she was relying on that principle, e.g., in "Whistleblower Charges Justice Dept. with Misconduct in Chertoff's Prosecution of John Walker Lindh,"Democracy Now, January 13, 2005.^David McGowan, "Politics, Office Politics, and Legal Ethics: A Case Study in the Strategy of Judgment", University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-55, September 7, 2006, p. 7.^Proffer of Facts in Support of Suppression Motion, at 19, United States v. John Philip Walker Lindh, Crim. No. 02-37-A (E.D. VA 2002), cited in McGowan, p. 7.^ abcdJane Mayer, "Lost in the Jihad", The New Yorker, 10 March 2003, p. 57-59^"Transcript of John Ashcroft '' February 5, 2002". Transcripts.cnn.com. 2002-02-05. Retrieved 2010-03-22. ^ abJesselyn Radack's Post at The CenterLine: The Blog of the Center on Law and Security, New York University School of Law, 13 March 2010^Quoted by Radack in Jesselyn Radack's Post at The CenterLine: The Blog of the Center on Law and Security, New York University School of Law, 13 March 2010^Jesselyn Radack "A Whistle-Blower's Inside View of the Homeland Security Nominee", Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2005.^McGowan, p. 8-9.^ abcLaurie Abraham, "Anatomy of a Whistleblower", Mother Jones, January/February 2004 p. 62^Complaint Against United States Department of Justice, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004), ¶18.^McGowan, p.11.^Complaint Against United States Department of Justice, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004), ¶22.^Declaration of Jesselyn Radack, Exhibit 1, ¶18, Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, March 15, 2005, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004).^Boutilier^McGowan, p. 15; a copy of the government's response is at http://legalethicsforum.typepad.com/blog/files/MoDismissExh8.pdf.^McGowan, p. 13-14, 47; a copy of the government's motion that includes the description is at http://legalethicsforum.typepad.com/blog/files/ProtectiveOrderMotion.pdf.^McGowan, p. 14; a copy of his statement is at http://legalethicsforum.typepad.com/blog/files/OppDePueDecl.pdf.^McGowan, p 15; a copy of the order is at http://legalethicsforum.typepad.com/blog/files/UnsealingOrder.pdf.^ abRadack v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, Memorandum Opinion and Order, August 9, 2005, 402 F. Supp. 99 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia 2005).^Declaration of Jesselyn Radack, Exhibit 1, ¶¶20, 23-24, Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, March 15, 2005, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004); quoted by McGowan, p. 12-13.^Michael Isikoff, "The Lindh Case E-Mails," Newsweek, June 24, 2002, p.8.^Declaration of Jesselyn Radack, Exhibit 1, ¶31, Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, March 15, 2005, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004).^Emily Gold Boutilier "Mail Room: Senior writer Emily Gold Boutilier replies,"Brown Alumni Magazine May/June 2004.^ abcJesselyn Radack "Whistleblowing in Washington,"Reform Judaism Spring 2006.^Radack "Whistleblowing in Washington"; on the sentence: "'I plead guilty,' Taliban American says," CNN July 17, 2002.^Toni Locy and Kevin Johnson, "Lindh plea removes risks of trial,"USA Today Jul6 16, 2002.^Terry Frieden and Laura Bernardini, "Lindh plea bargain talks began last week," CNN July 15, 2002.^U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia High Profile Cases (Alexandria), Criminal Docket for Case #: 1:02-cr-00037-ALL^The defense arguments are summarized in Tony Locy "Court hearing begins on use of Lindh statements,"USA Today July 15, 2002.^Complaint Against United States Department of Justice, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004), ¶¶34-35, 39.^Declaration of Jesselyn Radack, Exhibit 1, ¶18, Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, March 15, 2005, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004).^Sworn Statement of Claudia J. Flynn, Exhibit 4, ¶10, Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, March 15, 2005, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004).^Complaint Against United States Department of Justice, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004), ¶35.^ ab"Jesselyn Radack Was the Justice Department Official Who Knew Too Much -- A BuzzFlash Interview"BuzzFlash (website), February 16, 2007^ abcdJesselyn Radack, "When whistle-blowers suffer", Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2010.^ abDouglas McCollam, The Trials of Jesselyn Radack, The American Lawyer, July 2003, p. 19.^Douglas McCollam "Who's Tracking Your Calls? And how far will the Department of Justice go to burn a leaker?"Columbia Journalism Review March 28, 2004; Jesselyn Radack, "Wake Up Call: U.S. Government Targets Journalists, Happened to Me in 2003, Risen in 2006, AP in 2013", Daily Kos, May 14, 2013.^Jesselyn Radack: The Canary in the Coalmine, p. 69. Sheridan, 2006; Complaint Against United States Department of Justice, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004), ¶37.^Complaint Against United States Department of Justice, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004), ¶¶39-40.^Complaint Against United States Department of Justice, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004), ¶¶30-32.^Defendant's Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, p. 19 fn. 11-12, April 22, 2005, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004)^Declaration of Jesselyn Radack, Exhibit 1, ¶40, Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, March 15, 2005, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004).^ abcdScott Horton "Traitor: Six Questions for Jesselyn Radack,"Harper's Magazine June 1, 2012.^"Whistle-Blower: Protection Act Doesn't Cover Enough People,"All Things Considered, NPR, August 01, 2013^Elaine Cassel, "Broken Wings: The Indignities of Being on the No-Fly List by Jesselyn Radack", City Pages Blogs, April 15, 2004. (Though the byline is Cassel's, Radack wrote all but the last sentence.)^"Step 1: Should I Use DHS TRIP?: More About Screening and Watchlists" U.S. Department of Homeland Security.^ abReprehensor (pseudonym) "Truthtelling with Rowley, Radack and Wright," Democratic Underground (discussion board), August 13, 2005. Interview with Radack, August 5, 2005.^Jesselyn Radack Traitor: The Whistleblower and the "American Taliban," Whistleblower Press (2012), Chapter 1: "Shoot The Messenger"^ abJenny Jiang, "Transcript: Panel Q&A on Bradley Manning and the media on June 2, 2013," All Souls Church Unitarian, Washington, D.C., What The Folly?! (blog), June 17, 2013.^ abcEric Lichtblau "Dispute Over Legal Advice Costs a Job and Snarls a Nomination,"New York Times May 22, 2003.^The Google searches used (August 9, 2013) were: site:nytimes.com jesselyn radack "traitor"; site:nytimes.com jesselyn radack "turncoat"; site:nytimes.com jesselyn radack "terrorist sympathizer".^"Jesselyn Radack at FFF Conference 2008, 5 of 6," at 5:16. Video of Jesselyn Radack speaking on "Conscience Over Career: The Prosecution of the American Taliban" at the Future of Freedom Foundation's Restoring the Republic, June 7, 2008. See also part 6 of this series of videos, where she talks about her fear of the consequences of breaking the order.^"Jesselyn Radack at FFF Conference 2008, 6 of 6," (video) at 1:11.^ abcdEdward Kennedy, Sr., "Statement of Senator Edward M. Kennedy Regarding the Nomination of Michael Chertoff to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit", May 22, 2003.^Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Eight Congress, First Session, April 30, May 7, May 22, June 25, and July 9, 2003, Serial No. J-108-1, Part 3, U.S. Government Printing Office (2003).^ abcJesselyn Radack "Giving me Flashbacks: Bush Officials Lying to Congress About Political Justice Department Firing"Daily Kos March 22, 2007.^Eric Lichtblau, "Panel Clears 3 Bush Nominees for Senate Vote", New York Times May 23, 2003.^U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 108th Congress - 1st Session, Vote Number 211, June 9, 2003.^Complaint Against United States Department of Justice, Radack v. United States Department of Justice, No. 04-1881 (D.D.C. 2004).^Radack v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, CV 04-01881 (HHK) (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia 2006).^Radack, Jesselyn (2011-11-21). Attorney Jesslyn Radack: More whistle blowers have been charged during Obama admin. then all other presidents together (Flash). Washington, D.C.: Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. External links[edit]PersondataNameRadack, JesselynAlternative namesShort descriptionAmerican whistleblowerDate of birth12 December 1970Place of birthWashington DCDate of deathPlace of death

Germany, Brazil to propose anti-spying resolution at UN | TODAYonline

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 20:28

Charges that the US' national security agency accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored the German chancellor's phone cause outrage

UNITED NATIONS '-- Germany and Brazil are drafting a UN General Assembly resolution that would demand an end to excessive spying and invasion of privacy after a former US intelligence contractor revealed massive international surveillance programs, UN diplomats said yesterday (Oct 25).

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both condemned the widespread snooping by the US National Security Agency.

Charges that the NSA accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Ms Merkel's mobile phone have caused outrage in Europe. Germany said on Friday it would send its top intelligence chiefs to Washington next week to seek answers from the White House.

In response to the disclosures about US spying, many of which came from fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the German and Brazilian UN delegations have begun work on a draft resolution to submit to the 193-nation General Assembly, several UN diplomats told Reuters.

''This resolution will probably have enormous support in the GA (General Assembly), since no one likes the NSA spying on them,'' a Western UN diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.

Ms Merkel demanded on Thursday that Washington strike a ''no-spying'' agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, adding she wanted action from President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words.

Last month, Ms Rousseff used her position as the opening speaker at the General Assembly's annual gathering of world leaders to accuse the United States of violating human rights and international law through espionage that included spying on her email.

Ms Rousseff also expressed her displeasure by calling off a high-profile state visit to the United States scheduled for this month over reports that the NSA had been spying on Brazil. REUTERS

DON'T BREW THAT CUPPA! Your kettle could be a SPAMBOT ' The Register

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Archived Version

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 03:40

5 ways to reduce advertising network latency

Russian authorities have claimed that household appliances imported from China contain tiny computers that seek out open WiFi networks and then get to work sending spam and distributing malware.

St Petersburg news outlet Rosbaltreported last week that local authorities had examined kettles and irons and found ''20 to 30 pieces of Chinese home appliance 'spy' microchips'' that ''sends some data to the foreign server''.

Just what data is being sent and to where is not discussed, which had Vulture South thinking the report might be spurious.

A bit of digging suggests it is legitimate. One source the story mentions, Gleb Pavlov of customs broker Panimport can be found at the link we've popped in on the company's name. We've also been able to find this linkto an appliances company called ''Sable Ltd'', the very name translation engines say is the employer of one Innokenty Fedorov whose company found the bugged appliances.

Next question: could someone build a spambot small enough to hide in a kettle or iron? We see no reason why not: the components are small and cheap enough. One last wrinkle: could one convert Russia's 220v electricity supply to power a small electronic device without frying it, and without making an iron or kettle look rather odd? The answer is yes: all manner of tiny PCB transformers can be had to do the job.

Which leaves just one problem in the story: the fact that the report says the WiFi slurper-equipped kit was detected because the appliances were overweight. Unless the appliances were being air-freighted a handful of grams either way would not raise eyebrows, and it is hard to imagine low-cost items like irons were considered worthy of a plane trip. We surmise that whoever made the killer kettles and infiltrated irons cobbled them together with unlovely components that made their presence obvious. ®

Supercharge your infrastructure

Obama halted NSA spying on IMF and World Bank headquarters | Reuters

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 05:38

People walk outside the International Monetary Fund headquarters at the start of the annual IMF-World Bank fall meetings in Washington, October 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON | Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:49pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has ordered the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as part of a review of intelligence gathering activities, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter.

The order is the latest move by the White House to demonstrate that it is willing to curb at least some surveillance in the wake of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of programs that collect huge quantities of data on U.S. allies and adversaries, and American citizens.

The NSA's surveillance of the Washington-based IMF and World Bank has not previously been disclosed. Details of such spy programs are usually highly classified.

In response to Reuters inquiries, a senior Obama administration official said, "The United States is not conducting electronic surveillance targeting the headquarters of the World Bank or IMF in Washington."

The Obama administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not address whether the NSA had eavesdropped on the two entities in the past.

The first official said Obama had ordered a halt to such practices within the last few weeks, about the same time he instructed the NSA to curtail eavesdropping on the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The IMF and the World Bank both declined to comment.

Representatives of the NSA and the Office of Director of National Intelligence had no immediate comment.

Loch K. Johnson, a former congressional oversight aide who is now a professor of international relations at the University of Georgia, said Obama made the right decision by curbing eavesdropping on international organizations and friendly foreign leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I think it's a good idea to cut back on surveillance" of economic-related targets, Johnson said. "The enemy is terrorism and we should focus on that. We have to focus almost all of our resources on Al Qaeda and its affiliates," he said.

Paul Pillar, a former senior analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, said that U.S. policy makers have to weigh the value of collecting intelligence on an organization like the IMF against the risk it will become public.

"In this instance the gain from that information is likely to be minimal," Pillar said.

"Sound analysis on international economic issues of concern to U.S. policymakers is apt to draw more from other sources of information, both secret and public, and from tapping relevant expertise both outside and inside government, than from eavesdropping on conversations at the IMF," he added.

It is no secret that U.S. spy agencies historically have collected and analyzed information related to economic affairs - in public briefings to Congress, top intelligence officials have discussed assessments of economic issues.

But a former senior U.S. intelligence official said that the Obama Administration had put greater emphasis and resources than predecessors into collecting and assessing economic information.

In February 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, the Central Intelligence Agency began producing a new "Economic Intelligence Brief" for him to review along with the regular President's Daily Brief on international security and threats.

Leon Panetta, Obama's first CIA director, said at the time the change was aimed at understanding the implications of the global economic crisis, and that the agency was considering hiring more economic analysts.

The former U.S. intelligence official noted that insider detail on economic policy developments - for example, financial crises affecting the economies of European countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain, and the stability of the Euro - is the type of critical information U.S. policymakers welcome.

The desire by U.S. policymakers for such information could help explain why NSA collected information on foreign leaders such as Merkel. Her cellphone number was listed in a NSA targeting document, which German media outlets apparently obtained from Snowden's cache. U.S. officials have now indicated that much NSA eavesdropping on Merkel and other allied leaders is likely to be curtailed if not halted.

(Additional reporting by Warren Strobel; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Grant McCool)

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UK: Snowden reporter's partner involved in 'espionage' and 'terrorism' | Reuters

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 19:35

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON | Fri Nov 1, 2013 7:19pm EDT

WASHINGTON Nov 1 (Reuters) - British authorities claimed the domestic partner of reporter Glenn Greenwald was involved in "terrorism" when he tried to carry documents from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden through a London airport in August, according to police and intelligence documents.

Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, was detained and questioned for nine hours by British authorities at Heathrow on Aug. 18, when he landed there from Berlin to change planes for a flight to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

After his release and return to Rio, Miranda filed a legal action against the British government, seeking the return of materials seized from him by British authorities and a judicial review of the legality of his detention.

At a London court hearing this week for Miranda's lawsuit, a document called a "Ports Circulation Sheet" was read into the record. It was prepared by Scotland Yard - in consultation with the MI5 counterintelligence agency - and circulated to British border posts before Miranda's arrival. The precise date of the document is unclear.

"Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security," according to the document.

"We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material the release of which would endanger people's lives," the document continued. "Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism..."

Miranda was not charged with any offense, although British authorities said in August they had opened a criminal investigation after initially examining materials they seized from him. They did not spell out the probe's objectives.

A key hearing on Miranda's legal challenge is scheduled for next week. The new details of how and why British authorities decided to act against him, including extracts from police and MI5 documents, were made public during a preparatory hearing earlier this week.

British authorities have said in court that items seized from Miranda included electronic media containing 58,000 documents from the U.S. National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Greenwald, who previously worked for Britain's Guardian newspaper, has acknowledged that Miranda was carrying material supplied by Snowden when he was detained.

In an email to Reuters, Greenwald condemned the British government for labeling his partner's actions "terrorism."

"For all the lecturing it doles out to the world about press freedoms, the UK offers virtually none...They are absolutely and explicitly equating terrorism with journalism," he said.

Separately on Friday, media disclosed details of an open letter Snowden issued to Germany from his place of exile in Russia, in which he says his revelations have helped to "address formerly concealed abuses of the public trust" and added that "speaking the truth is not a crime."

Snowden said he was counting on international support to stop Washington's "persecution" of him for revealing the scale of its worldwide phone and Internet surveillance.

Steven Aftergood, a secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists, said that given the nature of the material that Miranda was carrying, a harsh response by British authorities was not unexpected.

"It seems that UK authorities were attempting to seize or recover official documents, to which they arguably have a claim," Aftergood said. "The authorities' action was harsh, but not incomprehensible or obviously contrary to law."

In a separate document read into the court record, MI5, also known as the Security Service, indicated British authorities' interest in Miranda was spurred by his apparent role as a courier ferrying material from Laura Poitras, a Berlin-based filmmaker, to Greenwald, who lives with Miranda in Brazil.

"We strongly assess that Miranda is carrying items which will assist in Greenwald releasing more of the NSA and GCHQ material we judge to be in Greenwald's possession," said the document, described as a "National Security Justification" prepared for police.

"Our main objectives against David Miranda are to understand the nature of any material he is carrying, mitigate the risks to national security that this material poses," the document added.

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington had no comment on the court proceedings or documents.

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CyberWar$

Blackout movie really only to promote Doomsday Preppers Show on the NatGeo CHannel

Hillary 2016

Hillary Clinton's Lucrative Goldman Sachs Speaking Gigs | National Review Online

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Archived Version

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 03:42

Hillary Clinton spoke at two separate Goldman Sachs events on the evenings of Thursday, October 24 and Tuesday, October 29. As both Politico and the New York Times report, Clinton's fee is about $200,000 per speech, meaning she likely netted around $400,000 for her paid gigs at Goldman over the course of six days.

Last Thursday, Clinton spoke for the AIMS Alternative Investment Conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, a closed event exclusively for Goldman clients. AIMS is an annual conference that explores the latest strategies and products available to financial advisers. At the event, Clinton offered what one attendee described to me as ''prepared remarks followed by questions.''

On Tuesday, Clinton spoke at the Builders and Innovators Summit, devoted to discussing entrepreneurship and how to help innovators expand and grow their businesses. According to Politico, Clinton conducted a question-and-answer session with Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the subject of her remarks or why Mrs. Clinton in particular was invited to the events.

Keeping close to the investment world, Clinton also made visits to private-equity firms KKR in July and the Carlyle Group in September. At KKR's annual investor meeting in California, Clinton answered questions from firm co-founder Henry Kravis on the Middle East, Washington, and politics. At Carlyle Group, Clinton made a speech to shareholders moderated by Carlyle founder David Rubenstein.

Clinton's office did not respond to a request for comment.

BRICS

Infosys Set To Be Slapped With Record Fine Of $35M In US For Visa Abuse: Report

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Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:38

Infosys Ltd (NYSE:INFY), one of India's major software services providers, is likely to be slapped with a record penalty of $35 million by the U.S. federal government for violating visa laws to place its employees that are not American citizens at locations inside the country, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The government is expected to announce the fine on Wednesday after a probe by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State found that Bangalore-based Infosys misused cheaper B-1 visas, which are meant for short business visits, in place of harder-to-obtain H-1B visas, which allow companies to bring in skilled employees from overseas for long-term projects.

The investigation was carried out in the backdrop of an ongoing immigration overhaul in the U.S., which if adopted by Congress, would double the cost of processing work visas and impact Indian software companies, which rely heavily on short- and long-term work visas for their employees based at client locations in the U.S.

''This complaint and large settlement should be a wake-up call to all employers that the government is serious about enforcing the H-1B visa regulations,'' Stephen Yale-Loehr, a Cornell University immigration-law professor, told the Journal.

The comprehensive immigration reform bill will also force Indian firms to downsize their non-American workforce in the U.S. due to new restrictions on the total percentage of foreigners working in the U.S. on the H-1B visa. H-1B visa holders are allowed to stay in the U.S. for up to three years and are paid locally, meaning the pay is included in calculating federal and state income tax in the U.S., while B-1 visa holders are paid from their home country.

Infosys currently earns 63 percent of its total revenues from North America, according to a Press Trust of India report. The company provides technology services to several U.S. clients and employs thousands of people in the U.S., including both Americans and non-Americans. Infosys told the Journal that it has earmarked $35 million to settle the case and to cover legal costs.

Infosys' visa abuse first came to light when a former employee Jack ''Jay'' Palmer filed a lawsuit in the U.S. accusing the company of harassment and breach of contract after he confronted his managers about the possible violation of immigration laws by the company. The case was dismissed in August 2012, but according to the Journal, Palmer has been assisting in the federal probe against Infosys.

Meanwhile, Infosys has introduced a rotation policy for its employees working at client locations overseas, which is seen as an effort to provide more employees with an opportunity to work overseas, the Times of India reported on Monday.

The company, which employs about 157,000 people worldwide, also has set 18 months as the maximum period an employee can stay overseas when they travel for client-specific work, the report said.

DON'T BREW THAT CUPPA! Your kettle could be a SPAMBOT ' The Register

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 03:40

5 ways to reduce advertising network latency

Russian authorities have claimed that household appliances imported from China contain tiny computers that seek out open WiFi networks and then get to work sending spam and distributing malware.

St Petersburg news outlet Rosbaltreported last week that local authorities had examined kettles and irons and found ''20 to 30 pieces of Chinese home appliance 'spy' microchips'' that ''sends some data to the foreign server''.

Just what data is being sent and to where is not discussed, which had Vulture South thinking the report might be spurious.

A bit of digging suggests it is legitimate. One source the story mentions, Gleb Pavlov of customs broker Panimport can be found at the link we've popped in on the company's name. We've also been able to find this linkto an appliances company called ''Sable Ltd'', the very name translation engines say is the employer of one Innokenty Fedorov whose company found the bugged appliances.

Next question: could someone build a spambot small enough to hide in a kettle or iron? We see no reason why not: the components are small and cheap enough. One last wrinkle: could one convert Russia's 220v electricity supply to power a small electronic device without frying it, and without making an iron or kettle look rather odd? The answer is yes: all manner of tiny PCB transformers can be had to do the job.

Which leaves just one problem in the story: the fact that the report says the WiFi slurper-equipped kit was detected because the appliances were overweight. Unless the appliances were being air-freighted a handful of grams either way would not raise eyebrows, and it is hard to imagine low-cost items like irons were considered worthy of a plane trip. We surmise that whoever made the killer kettles and infiltrated irons cobbled them together with unlovely components that made their presence obvious. ®

Supercharge your infrastructure

NATO holds large-scale drills near Russia's borders >> WTF RLY REPORT

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 11:34

Voice Of Russia

Photo: EPA

Poland and the Baltic states are hosting the largest strategic war games the defense alliance has held in ten years. The drill, code-named Steadfast Jazz 2013, began on Saturday and will wrap up on November 9.

The NATO Response Force will practice defending the Baltics from an unidentified foreign invader.

The exercise gathers some 6,000 troops from all NATO members as well as non-member states '' Finland, Sweden and Ukraine. Around half of them will participate in live exercise training, which will involve dozens of armor, aircraft and naval vehicles. The other half of the personnel are headquarters staff, who will take part in command and control drills.

The week-long war games are designed ''to make sure that our rapid-reaction force, the NATO Response Force (NRF), is ready to defend any ally, deploy anywhere and deal with any threat,'' said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Around 350 vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, engineering vehicles, trucks and all-wheel drive vehicles, 1,000 mechanized infantries, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) battalion, an airborne anti-tank company, around 11 surface vessels and one submarine as well as 46 fighter jets and 11 helicopters are participating in the war games.

Eastern European members of NATO have been seeking to host large-scale alliance drills for years, and 'Steadfast Jazz' is the largest since 2006. The scenario of the games involve an unidentified foreign nation invading Estonia over a territorial dispute, and the alliance deploying its rapid-response force to fend off the aggressor.

While the name of the invading force is not stated, geography and global politics leave little doubt. For several years there was a rising concern in the three Baltic states over a perceived threat from Russia, which, according to some alarmists, could move its troops and occupy the region, which used to be part of the Soviet Union, in a matter of days or even hours. The big drill is partially meant to reassure the weary NATO members that the alliance is ready to protect them.

''Russia as a country in the last five years has been increasing its assertiveness in the Baltic,'' Latvian defense minister, Artis Pabriks, told Reuters. '''Steadfast Jazz' is important to us as these are the first exercises where we really train to defend our territory.''

The latest peak of concern in the Baltic came in September during the Zapad annual joint military exercise held by Russia and Belarus. Prior to the drill, some media in the Baltics claimed that they were training for a potential invasion.

Russia and NATO, partners in some areas like counter-terrorism, have their unresolved disputes. Arguably the most painful is the alliance's plan to deploy an American anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe. Moscow sees the plan as a threat to its national security, since it may undermine Russia's nuclear deterrence.

Despite years of effort to find a compromise, Russia's concerns over the ABM shield have not been addressed. In the latest anti-missile move, the US and Romania this week have begun revamping a military base in the eastern European country, which will host some elements of the system.

Russia's latest military build-up move is the planned deployment of additional S-300 air defense batteries in Belarus. The two countries have joint integrated strategic air defense system guarding their borders.

The tension, however, is far from the antagonism of the Cold War. NATO representatives attended the Zapad drill, while Russia sent its observers for the 'Steadfast Jazz' exercise.

Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that his country would dispatch a delegation to Steadfast Jazz 2013 military exercise.Russian President Vladimir Putin has long complained about NATO's eastward expansion into Moscow's traditional sphere of influence, particularly the former Soviet Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

In late July, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov censured what he termed as the ''Cold War'' spirit of the NATO exercise.

Voice Of Russia

Agenda 21

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Executive Order -- Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:39

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

November 01, 2013

EXECUTIVE ORDER

- - - - - - -

PREPARING THE UNITED STATES FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to prepare the Nation for the impacts of climate change by undertaking actions to enhance climate preparedness and resilience, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. The impacts of climate change -- including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise -- are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation. These impacts are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures. Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planning by the Federal Government, as well as by stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, tribal, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources; and provide for the continuity of executive department and agency (agency) operations, services, and programs.

A foundation for coordinated action on climate change preparedness and resilience across the Federal Government was established by Executive Order 13514 of October 5, 2009 (Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance), and the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force led by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition, through the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), established by section 103 of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (15 U.S.C. 2933), and agency programs and activities, the Federal Government will continue to support scientific research, observational capabilities, and assessments necessary to improve our understanding of and response to climate change and its impacts on the Nation.

The Federal Government must build on recent progress and pursue new strategies to improve the Nation's preparedness and resilience. In doing so, agencies should promote: (1) engaged and strong partnerships and information sharing at all levels of government; (2) risk-informed decisionmaking and the tools tofacilitate it; (3) adaptive learning, in which experiences serve as opportunities to inform and adjust future actions; and (4) preparedness planning.

Sec. 2. Modernizing Federal Programs to Support Climate Resilient Investment. (a) To support the efforts of regions, States, local communities, and tribes, all agencies, consistent with their missions and in coordination with the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (Council) established in section 6 of this order, shall:

(i) identify and seek to remove or reform barriers that discourage investments or other actions to increase the Nation's resilience to climate change while ensuring continued protection of public health and the environment;

(ii) reform policies and Federal funding programs that may, perhaps unintentionally, increase the vulnerability of natural or built systems, economic sectors, natural resources, or communities to climate change related risks;

(iii) identify opportunities to support and encourage smarter, more climate-resilient investments by States, local communities, and tribes, including by providing incentives through agency guidance, grants, technical assistance, performance measures, safety considerations, and other programs, including in the context of infrastructure development as reflected in Executive Order 12893 of January 26, 1994 (Principles for Federal Infrastructure Investments), my memorandum of August 31, 2011 (Speeding Infrastructure Development through More Efficient and Effective Permitting and Environmental Review), Executive Order 13604 of March 22, 2012 (Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects), and my memorandum of May 17, 2013 (Modernizing Federal Infrastructure Review and Permitting Regulations, Policies, and Procedures); and

(iv) report on their progress in achieving the requirements identified above, including accomplished and planned milestones, in the Agency Adaptation Plans developed pursuant to section 5 of this order.

(b) In carrying out this section, agencies should also consider the recommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (Task Force) established in section 7 of this order and the National Infrastructure Advisory Council established by Executive Order 13231 of October 16, 2001 (Critical Infrastructure Protection in the Information Age), and continued through Executive Order 13652 of September 30, 2013 (Continuance of Certain Federal Advisory Committees).

(c) Interagency groups charged with coordinating and modernizing Federal processes related to the development and integration of both man-made and natural infrastructure,evaluating public health and social equity issues, safeguarding natural resources, and other issues impacted by climate change -- including the Steering Committee on Federal Infrastructure Permitting and Review Process Improvement established by Executive Order 13604, the Task Force on Ports established on July 19, 2012, the Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Development and Permitting in Alaska established by Executive Order 13580 of July 12, 2011, and the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice established by Executive Order 12898 of February 11, 1994 -- shall be responsible for ensuring that climate change related risks are accounted for in such processes and shall work with agencies in meeting the requirements set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of this section.

Sec. 3. Managing Lands and Waters for Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Within 9 months of the date of this order and in coordination with the efforts described in section 2 of this order, the heads of the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies as recommended by the Council established in section 6 of this order shall work with the Chair of CEQ and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to complete an inventory and assessment of proposed and completed changes to their land- and water-related policies, programs, and regulations necessary to make the Nation's watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them, more resilient in the face of a changing climate. Further, recognizing the many benefits the Nation's natural infrastructure provides, agencies shall, where possible, focus on program and policy adjustments that promote the dual goals of greater climate resilience and carbon sequestration, or other reductions to the sources of climate change. The assessment shall include a timeline and plan for making changes to policies, programs, and regulations. Agencies shall build on efforts already completed or underway as outlined in agencies' Adaptation Plans, as discussed in section 5 of this order, as well as recent interagency climate adaptation strategies such as the National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate, released October 28, 2011; the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, released March 26, 2013; and the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, released April 16, 2013.

Sec. 4. Providing Information, Data, and Tools for Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience. (a) In support of Federal, regional, State, local, tribal, private-sector and nonprofit-sector efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and any other agencies as recommended by the Council established in section 6 of this order, shall, supported by USGCRP, work together to develop and provide authoritative, easily accessible, usable, and timely data, information, and decision-support tools on climate preparedness and resilience.

(b) As part of the broader open data policy, CEQ and OSTP, in collaboration with OMB and consistent with Executive Order 13642 of May 9, 2013 (Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information), shall oversee the establishment of a web-based portal on "Data.gov" and work with agencies on identifying, developing, and integrating data and tools relevant to climate issues and decisionmaking. Agencies shall coordinate their work on these data and tools with relevant interagency councils and committees such as the National Science and Technology Council and those that support the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive-21 of February 12, 2013 (Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience).

Sec. 5. Federal Agency Planning for Climate Change Related Risk. (a) Consistent with Executive Order 13514, agencies have developed Agency Adaptation Plans and provided them to CEQ and OMB. These plans evaluate the most significant climate change related risks to, and vulnerabilities in, agency operations and missions in both the short and long term, and outline actions that agencies will take to manage these risks and vulnerabilities. Building on these efforts, each agency shall develop or continue to develop, implement, and update comprehensive plans that integrate consideration of climate change into agency operations and overall mission objectives and submit those plans to CEQ and OMB for review. Each Agency Adaptation Plan shall include:

(i) identification and assessment of climate change related impacts on and risks to the agency's ability to accomplish its missions, operations, and programs;

(ii) a description of programs, policies, and plans the agency has already put in place, as well as additional actions the agency will take, to manage climate risks in the near term and build resilience in the short and long term;

(iii) a description of how any climate change related risk identified pursuant to paragraph (i) of this subsection that is deemed so significant that it impairs an agency's statutory mission or operation will be addressed, including through the agency's existing reporting requirements;

(iv) a description of how the agency will consider the need to improve climate adaptation and resilience, including the costs and benefits of such improvement, with respect to agency suppliers, supply chain, real property investments, and capital equipment purchases such as updating agency policies for leasing, building upgrades, relocation of existing facilities and equipment, and construction of new facilities; and

(v) a description of how the agency will contribute to coordinated interagency efforts to support climate preparedness and resilience at all levels of government, including collaborative work across agencies' regional offices and hubs, and through coordinated development of information, data, and tools, consistent with section 4 of this order.

(b) Agencies will report on progress made on their Adaptation Plans, as well as any updates made to the plans, through the annual Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan process. Agencies shall regularly update their Adaptation Plans, completing the first update within 120 days of the date of this order, with additional regular updates thereafter due not later than 1 year after the publication of each quadrennial National Climate Assessment report required by section 106 of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (15 U.S.C. 2936).

Sec. 6. Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

(a) Establishment. There is established an interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (Council).

(b) Membership. The Council shall be co-chaired by the Chair of CEQ, the Director of OSTP, and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. In addition, the Council shall include senior officials (Deputy Secretary or equivalent officer) from:

(i) the Department of State;

(ii) the Department of the Treasury;

(iii) the Department of Defense;

(iv) the Department of Justice;

(v) the Department of the Interior;

(vi) the Department of Agriculture;

(vii) the Department of Commerce;

(viii) the Department of Labor;

(ix) the Department of Health and Human Services;

(x) the Department of Housing and Urban Development;

(xi) the Department of Transportation;

(xii) the Department of Energy;

(xiii) the Department of Education;

(xiv) the Department of Veterans Affairs;

(xv) the Department of Homeland Security;

(xvi) the United States Agency for International Development;

(xvii) the Army Corps of Engineers;

(xviii) the Environmental Protection Agency;

(xix) the General Services Administration;

(xx) the Millennium Challenge Corporation;

(xxi) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;

(xxii) the U.S. Small Business Administration;

(xxiii) the Corporation for National and Community Service;

(xxiv) the Office of the Director of National Intelligence;

(xxv) the Council of Economic Advisers;

(xxvi) the National Economic Council;

(xxvii) the Domestic Policy Council;

(xxviii) the Office of Management and Budget;

(xxix) the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs;

(xxx) the United States Trade Representative; and

(xxxi) such agencies or offices as the President or Co-Chairs shall designate.

(c) Administration. CEQ shall provide administrative support and additional resources, as appropriate, for the Council to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations. Agencies shall assist and provide information to the Council, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to carry out its functions. Each agency shall bear its own expenses for participating in the Council.

(d) Council Structure. The Co-Chairs shall designate a subset of members of the Council to serve on a Steering Committee, which shall help determine priorities and strategic direction for the Council. The Co-Chairs and Steering Committee may establish working groups as needed, and may recharter working groups of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, as appropriate.

(e) Mission and Function of the Council. The Council shall work across agencies and offices, and in partnership with State, local, and tribal governments (as well as the Task Force established in section 7 of this order), academic and research institutions, and the private and nonprofit sectors to:

(i) develop, recommend, coordinate interagency efforts on, and track implementation of priority Federal Government actions related to climate preparedness and resilience;

(ii) support regional, State, local, and tribal action to assess climate change related vulnerabilities and cost-effectively increase climate preparedness and resilience of communities, critical economic sectors, natural and built infrastructure, and natural resources, including through the activities as outlined in sections 2 and 3 of this order;

(iii) facilitate the integration of climate science in policies and planning of government agencies and the private sector, including by promoting the development of innovative, actionable, and accessible Federal climate change related information, data, and tools at appropriate scales for decisionmakers and deployment of this information through a Government-wide web-based portal, as described in section 4 of this order; and

(iv) such other functions as may be decided by the Co-Chairs, including implementing, as appropriate, the recommendations of the Task Force established in section 7 of this order.

(f) Termination of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force (Adaptation Task Force), established in 2009, created the framework for coordinated Federal action on climate preparedness and resilience, driving agency-level planning and action. The Adaptation Task Force shall terminate no later than 30 days after the first meeting of the Council, which shall continue and build upon the Adaptation Task Force's work.

Sec. 7. State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

(a) Establishment. To inform Federal efforts to support climate preparedness and resilience, there is established a State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (Task Force).

(b) Membership. The Task Force shall be co-chaired by the Chair of CEQ and the Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In addition, its members shall be such elected State, local, and tribal officials as may be invited by the Co-Chairs to participate. Members of the Task Force, acting in their official capacity, may designate employees with authority to act on their behalf.

(c) Mission and Function. Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Task Force shall provide, through its Co-Chairs, recommendations to the President and the Council for how the Federal Government can:

(i) remove barriers, create incentives, and otherwise modernize Federal programs to encourage investments, practices, and partnerships that facilitate increased resilience to climate impacts, including those associated with extreme weather;

(ii) provide useful climate preparedness tools and actionable information for States, local communities, and tribes, including through interagency collaboration as described in section 6 of this order; and

(iii) otherwise support State, local, and tribal preparedness for and resilience to climate change.

(d) Sunset. The Task Force shall terminate no later than 6 months after providing its recommendations.

Sec. 8. Definitions. As used in this order:

(a) "preparedness" means actions taken to plan, organize, equip, train, and exercise to build, apply, and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, ameliorate the effects of, respond to, and recover from climate change related damages to life, health, property, livelihoods, ecosystems, and national security;

(b) "adaptation" means adjustment in natural or human systems in anticipation of or response to a changing environment in a way that effectively uses beneficial opportunities or reduces negative effects; and

(c) "resilience" means the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.

Sec. 9. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

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

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

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with U.S. obligations under international agreements and applicable U.S. law, and be subject to the availability of appropriations.

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

BARACK OBAMA

FACT SHEET: Executive Order on Climate Preparedness

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 17:14

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

November 01, 2013

President Obama Establishes a Task Force on Climate

''We're going to need to get prepared. And that's why this plan will also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid. States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready'... And we'll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers.'' '' President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013

Today, President Obama established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. The Task Force members include state, local and tribal leaders from across the country who will use their first-hand experiences in building climate preparedness and resilience in their communities to inform their recommendations to the Administration.

The President signed an Executive Order that directs Federal agencies to take a series of steps to make it easier for American communities to strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and prepare for other impacts of climate change.

President Obama has said that we have a moral obligation to our children and future generations to leave them a planet that is not polluted or damaged. That is why in June, the President launched a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The Climate Action Plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also improve our ability to prepare for the climate impacts we are already seeing across the country. Across America, states, cities, and communities are taking steps to protect themselves from extreme weather and other climate impacts by updating building codes, adjusting the way they manage natural resources, investing in more resilient infrastructure, and planning for rapid recovery from damages that nonetheless occur.

The Federal Government has an important role to play in supporting community-based preparedness and resilience efforts by establishing policies and prioritizing investments that promote preparedness, protecting critical infrastructure and public resources, supporting science and research needed to prepare for climate impacts, and ensuring that Federal operations and facilities continue to protect and serve citizens in a changing climate.

State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

State, local and tribal leaders across the country are already contending with more frequent or severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms and floods, and other impacts of climate change. The Task Force will provide recommendations to the President on removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing Federal grant and loan programs to better support local efforts, and developing the information and tools they need to prepare.

Task Force members comprise governors, mayors, county officials and tribal leaders, representing a diverse range of communities. The members of the Task Force include:

State Officials:

Governor Neil Abercrombie (HI)

Governor Jerry Brown (CA)

Governor Eddie Calvo (GU)

Governor Jay Inslee (WA)

Governor Jack Markell (DE)

Governor Martin O'Malley (MD)

Governor Pat Quinn (IL)

Governor Peter Shumlin (VT)

Local Officials:

Mayor Ralph Becker (Salt Lake City, UT)

Mayor James Brainard (Carmel, IN)

Commissioner Paula Brooks (Franklin County, OH)

Supervisor Salud Carbajal (Santa Barbara County, CA)

Mayor Frank Cownie (Des Moines, IA)

Mayor Bob Dixson (Greensburg, KS)

Mayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles, CA)

Mayor George Heartwell (Grand Rapids, MI)

Mayor Kristin Jacobs (Broward County, FL)

Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA)

Mayor Michael Nutter (Philadelphia, PA)

Mayor Annise Parker (Houston, TX)

Mayor Patsy Parker (Perdido Beach, AL)

Mayor Madeline Rogero (Knoxville, TN)

Mayor Karen Weitkunat (Fort Collins, CO)

Mayor Dawn Zimmer (Hoboken, NJ)

Tribal Officials:

Karen Diver, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (MN)

Reggie Joule, Mayor, Northwest Arctic Borough (AK)

An Executive Order to Protect Our Communities

The Obama Administration has taken significant steps to strengthen the climate resilience of America's communities and economy. More than 30 Federal agencies developed their first-ever Climate Change Adaptation Plans, outlining strategies to protect their operations, programs, and investments to better serve communities and safeguard our public resources in the face of climate change. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Administration has provided resources to rebuild the affected area to be more resilient than before, including support for more climate-resilient roads and infrastructure, and projects that protect drinking water and buffer communities from flooding. In addition, Federal agencies have partnered with states, cities, tribes, and the private sector to develop strategies to address the impacts of climate change on our freshwater resources, oceans and coasts, and wildlife. Agencies have also built new, data-driven tools to help decision makers and resource managers map and plan for future sea level rise. From Florida to Minnesota, and from Alaska to New York, Federal agencies have partnered with communities to provide funding and technical assistance to address local climate impacts such as sea level rise, flooding, and water scarcity.

To build on this progress, the Executive Order (E.O.) ''Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,'' signed today directs Federal agencies to:

Modernize Federal programs to support climate-resilient investments: Agencies will examine their policies and programs and find ways to make it easier for cities and towns to build smarter and stronger. Agencies will identify and remove any barriers to resilience-focused actions and investments'' for example, policies that encourage communities to rebuild to past standards after disasters instead of to stronger standards '' including through agency grants, technical assistance, and other programs in sectors from transportation and water management to conservation and disaster relief.Manage lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience: America's natural resources are critical to our Nation's economy, health and quality of life. The E.O. directs agencies to identify changes that must be made to land- and water-related policies, programs, and regulations to strengthen the climate resilience of our watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them. Federal agencies will also evaluate how to better promote natural storm barriers such as dunes and wetlands, as well as how to protect the carbon sequestration benefits of forests and lands to help reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Provide information, data and tools for climate change preparedness and resilience: Scientific data and insights are essential to help communities and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. The E.O. instructs Federal agencies to work together and with information users to develop new climate preparedness tools and information that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions. In keeping with the President's Open Data initiative, agencies will also make extensive Federal climate data accessible to the public through an easy-to-use online portal.Plan for climate change related risk: Recognizing the threat that climate change poses to Federal facilities, operations and programs, the E.O. builds on the first-ever set of Federal agency adaptation plans released earlier this year and directs Federal agencies to develop and implement strategies to evaluate and address their most significant climate change related risks. To implement these actions, the E.O. establishes an interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, chaired by the White House and composed of more than 25 agencies. To assist in achieving the goals of the E.O., these agencies are directed to consider the recommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

Obama Issues New Wide-Ranging Executive Order To Implement His ''Climate Change'' Agenda'...

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Archived Version

Source: Weasel Zippers

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:49

The Imperial President strikes again.

Via The Hill:

President Obama on Friday demanded ''new strategies'' to boost the nation's resilience to powerful storms, drought, heat waves and other dangerous weather linked to climate change.

Obama issued a wide-ranging executive order designed to support ''climate resilient'' infrastructure investment in states and communities.

It also calls on federal agencies to change their policies and rules ''to make the Nation's watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them, more resilient in the face of a changing climate.''

The executive order, echoing Obama's second-term climate agenda released in June, recognizes that climate change is inevitable even as the U.S. takes steps to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

It sets up a new ''interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience,'' and, to inform federal efforts, a ''State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.''

Presidential Policy Directive -- Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience | The White House

------------------------------------------------

Producer Tim on Oz wildfires

Adam

The Australian bush is dominated by eucalypt forests.

These trees require fire as part of their germination process so natural

fire cycles are an inherent part of nature here. My understanding is

that some forms of wilderness in the US is similar and has a similar

need for periodic burning. I am 55 years old and old enough to have

witnessed a big change in social and government attitudes to trees and

tree preservation. I live in the same house my grandparents lived in a

century ago. We have had a number of keen photographers in the family

over the years. As "recently" as 1968 I can see photos of our area of

suburban sydney where in panoramic view you barely saw a tree. Now the

same panoramas are mostly tree dominated. And this is in a very densely

populated and older part of the city. So there has been a big change in

the popularity and regulations governing trees since 1968. In bordering

areas of the city houses are nestled in thick eucalypt forest. The fire

cycle hasn't changed although public policy and public fashions have. At

the same time many people who have been city born and raised and have

no first hand experience of the fire cycle (as most country people do)

have adopted an all too beneficient view of forests. I love trees and

forests but I don't want to see fire kill people. We need controlled

burning often, just as the aborigines did it. That is the only way to

avoid mega fires. Trees and forests are always growing and dumping "fuel

load" on the forest floor. Once the quantity of this material reaches a

certain point major fire from any manner of sources is more or less

inevitable. Whether global warming marginally adds to or subtracts from

this cycle is largely irrelevant. A much bigger factor is how humans

manage the fuel load accumulation outside of the fire season and that

is, as usual, driven by forces of fashion, politics, budget, public

policy etc etc.

regards

Tim

Bushfires, Prescribed Burning and Global Warming | Bush Fire Front

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 29 Oct 2013 22:46

Bush Fire Front Occasional Paper No 1

April 2008

by Roger Underwood*, David Packham** and Phil Cheney***

*Chairman, The Bushfire Front Inc, PO Box 1014 Subiaco Western Australia, 6904

**Senior Research Fellow, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, Victoria.

***Honorary Research Fellow, CSIRO, Canberra, ACT

This is not a paper about climate change or the contentious aspects of the climate debate. Our interest is bushfire management. This is an activity into which the debate about climate change, in particular ''global warming'', has intruded, with potentially damaging consequences.

Australia's recent ratification of the Kyoto Treaty has been welcomed by people concerned about the spectre of global warming. However, the ratification was a political and symbolic action, and will have no immediate impact on the volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and therefore will not influence any possible relationship between CO2 emissions and global temperatures.

However, the ratification could have an impact on Australian forests. Spurious arguments about the role of fire contributing to carbon dioxide emissions could be used to persuade governments and management agencies to cease or very much reduce prescribed burning under mild conditions.

Decades of research and experience has demonstrated that fuel reduction by prescribed burning under mild conditions is the only proven, practical method to enable safe and efficient control of high-intensity forest fires.

Two myths have emerged about climate change and bushfire management and are beginning to circulate in the media and to be adopted as fact by some scientists:

1. Because of global warming, Australia will be increasingly subject to uncontrollable holocaust-like ''megafires''.

2. Fuel reduction by prescribed burning must cease because it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thus exacerbating global warming and the occurrence of megafires.

Both statements are incorrect. However they represent the sort of plausible-sounding assertions which, if repeated often enough, can take on a life of their own and lead eventually to damaging policy change.

Why we have written this paperOver the last 20 years, there has been a significant reduction in the amount of prescribed burning under mild conditions in Australian forests. This has occurred as a result of changes to the jurisdiction of public forests, and (in some cases) the transfer of responsibility for the control of forest fires from land management agencies to the emergency services.

The result is that Australia is already experiencing increasing numbers of high-intensity forest fires.

This situation will worsen if there is a further reduction in the use of prescribed fire, based on a misunderstanding about the relationship between bushfires and CO2 emissions.

In this paper we look at the facts and the science as well as the uncertainties in the relationships between bushfires, prescribed burning, carbon and global warming. Our aim is to counterbalance some of the unsupported assertions currently being presented as fact on this subject.

Plants and the carbon cycleGreen plants use the energy of the sun to convert CO2 gas from the atmosphere into solid carbon compounds in a process called photosynthesis. Sooner or later, these carbon compounds are broken down and returned to the atmosphere by the processes of:

(i) decay '' the slow rotting-away of vegetation;

(ii) respiration '' breathing out CO2 by animals which have browsed on plants; or

(iii) combustion '' burning by fire.

To permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere it is necessary to confine it in stable compounds which will not be decayed, respired or burned. The permanent removal of carbon from the atmosphere is referred to as ''sequestration''.

Carbon can be stored in highly stable structures such as diamonds and graphite (and to a lesser extent charcoal). These are, to all intents and purposes, removed from the carbon cycle. Carbon captured by the forests of past geological times and which became coal was very effectively sequestered '' until humans started to dig it out and burn it.

Carbon stored in plants is referred to as ''Terrestrial Carbon''. The rate at which plants capture and emit CO2 varies between different types of vegetation, and the way the vegetation is managed, especially the frequency and intensity of fire.

Three typical Australian vegetation typesThe three most widespread natural Australian vegetation types (or ''ecosystems'') are tropical grasslands, tropical and subtropical savannahs and tall forests.

(i) Tropical grasslands grow during the wet season, die off in the dry season and rot away or are eaten (and respired) by termites during the next wet season. Each succeeding crop of grass is replaced by a new crop so there is no overall or long-term gain or loss of stored carbon. If the grass is burnt during the dry season (and lightning caused fires are a common feature of tropical areas) the overall situation is no different, because the burnt plants would have decayed anyway.

But even in a grassfire, a small amount of carbon is converted to a stable, graphite-like substance called ''black carbon'' and incorporated into the soil.

Thus, although the overall situation is just about carbon-neutral, even grassland fires effectively sequester some carbon.

(ii) Tropical and subtropical savannahs add a level of complexity to this scene. A savannah is ''a natural parkland'', that is an area of grassland dotted with trees. In terms of area, number and frequency, most Australian bushfires occur in the savannahs of our north and inland regions. Many savannah fires are ''natural'' being started by lightning, but there is also extensive prescribed burning undertaken in these areas, especially savannahs used for cattle grazing, and on Aboriginal reserves. Over time, the carbon balance of savannah fires is also just about neutral. In some years more CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere from fires than is absorbed by post-fire regrowth, while in other years more carbon is taken up by regrowth than is lost to the atmosphere from fire (including prescribed burning and wildfires).

The difference depends upon the climatic conditions, particularly rainfall in the early regeneration period. Where fires are followed by high-rainfall years and heavy regeneration, more carbon is stored in vegetation than was released in the fire. However, taken over many years, the carbon released in fires in tropical savannahs is virtually the same as the carbon absorbed in regrowth.

If fire is deliberately excluded from these areas (which is difficult but has been achieved on some small experimental areas) there is an increase in bushfire fuels over time. Dead material on the ground rots or is consumed by termites, but fire fuel accumulates as bark on fibrous-barked eucalypts and in the woody shrubs that develop when fire is excluded. This increase in the fuel load means that late dry-season fires are more intense, causing death and damage to live trees, and burning down dead trees. Intense fires will rapidly consume logs and branches on the ground which may otherwise have taken years to rot away. Late dry-season fires in savannahs will therefore release CO2 to the atmosphere from the long-term carbon store; this carbon is will not immediately balanced by post-fire regrowth.

The management approach that will optimise storage of carbon in Australian savannahs is one of low-intensity, early dry-season burning under mild weather conditions. This protects the overstorey trees and woody shrubs which are consumed by hot late-season fires.

(iii) Tall forests store carbon in tree trunks, bark, branches and roots, in woody shrubs and mid-storey vegetation and in the litter and accumulated organic debris on the ground. Eventually all old trees begin to decay from within, and in the absence of fire, the accumulated litter on the forest floor begins to rot away. At this point, the rate of release of carbon through decay exceeds the rate of storage of carbon by new growth. Thus Australia's ''old growth'' eucalypt forests eventually stop being a carbon sink and become a source of CO2.

Australian eucalypt forests are naturally subject to periodic fire. Fires are started by lightning or humans. The material consumed in the fire is mostly the dead leaves, twigs, and limbs which have accumulated on the forest floor, plus the bark on fibrous-barked trees such as stringybarks.

Bushfires vary in their size, speed and intensity. This variation is mostly determined by the amount of ''fine fuel'' (defined as combustible material less than 6 mm in diameter). If there is no fine fuel present, then larger dead fuel (such as old logs and branches) or the living fuel in the trunks and canopies of the shrubs and trees will not ignite and burn. This is why even an intense fire goes out when it reaches an area which was burned recently, and carries no fine fuel.

However the total amount of fuel consumed by a bushfire depends on the amount of moisture in the fuel. Dry fuels burn more intensely, and these intense fires dry out and burn the fine green fuels in front and above them.

Fuel reduction by prescribed burning employs low-intensity fires lit under mild weather conditions at a time when there is still some moisture in the fuel. This ensures that the flames are generally less than a metre high and the fire is confined to the surface layer of fine fuel and the green material in the low shrubs.

A prescribed burn in wandoo forest, Western Australia

A properly managed prescribed fire will be conducted at a time when organic matter (including charcoal) in the soil will not burn. The ideal prescribed burn consumes only the surface fuels, leaving behind a layer of ash protecting the soil and the heavy logs.

The amount of CO2 released by a low-intensity fire is small and the store of carbon on the forest floor is rapidly replaced as the fine fuels re-accumulate and the low shrubs regrow.

By comparison, a hot summer bushfire burning under drought conditions will consume all of the surface fuels, including large logs and the organic matter in the soil which may have accumulated carbon for thousands of years. An intense summer bushfire will even consume the canopies of the tallest trees.

The amount of CO2 produced by a fire is directly proportional to the total amount of fuel consumed in the fire.

Thus a hot summer bushfire will release massive amounts of carbon. For example, the Victorian Alpine wildfires of 2006 released over 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To this will be added the carbon released over time from the decay of fire-killed trees.

If a tall forest regenerates following the fire, the carbon released by the fire will only be depleted for a hundred years or so. Unfortunately, the next 100 years is the very time in which computer models suggest maximum storage of terrestrial carbon is essential.

The worst possible outcome is repeated intense summer bushfires which not only kill the tall forest trees, but also sterilise the soil and incinerate soil-stored seed. By this means, a tall forest may eventually be converted to woodland and shrubland and the loss of stored carbon will be permanent.

Thus from the point of view of carbon storage in grasslands, savannahs and tall forests, the best management approach is one in which large high-intensity wildfires are minimised by periodic prescribed burns carried out under mild weather conditions.

What about the Kyoto Protocol?When it comes to bushfires and carbon accounting, the Kyoto Protocol is flawed. This is because CO2 emissions from uncontrolled bushfires are exempt from Kyoto accounting, while the emissions from prescribed burning are not. Under Kyoto ''rules'' a wildfire is considered to be a ''natural'' and unpreventable event like a volcano,; moreover, Kyoto is based on the concept that most fires around the world are grassfires or relatively low-intensity fires in savannah woodlands or open forests. Kyoto argues that carbon released by grass and woodland fires would have been released by natural decay and is soon replaced by regrowth within one or two growing seasons.

Kyoto accounting fails to take into account the large, long-term(and sometimes permanent) loss associated with high-intensity bushfires and fails to recognise that, under Australian conditions, such fires can be prevented.

Scientific research and long-experience in Australian eucalypt forests has demonstrated that forest management incorporating prescribed burning under mild conditions always reduces wildfire size and intensity. Where prescribed burning is regularly carried out, the risk of a high-intensity bushfire at a later date is greatly reduced.

There is also an important philosophical point here. Exempting wildfires from Kyoto carbon budgets ignores the profound role of humans for tens of thousands of years as contributors to the Earth's fire regimes. It is odd reasoning that there can only exist a natural regime (good) and a human-affected regime (bad). This argument leaves no room for changing human impacts.

Why is prescribed burning feared?Some people oppose prescribed burning, and through political influence are able to restrict burning programs by land management agencies. Opposition is based on a fear that periodic mild fires ''damage the environment''. This view is generally held by people who have no personal experience of the way the Australian bush is adjusted to (indeed thrives on) periodic mild fires.

The assertion that prescribed burning should cease due to its impact on global warming is relatively new. The argument is two-fold:

(i) That prescribed burns generate smoke which contains CO2 and this is therefore ''bad''; and

(ii) The amount of CO2 released from a bushfire will be equal to the sum of the CO2 that is released from the fuel reduction burns that replace the wildfire, so you might just as well have the bushfire.

At first glance, the second of these assertions appears likely to be true. However like all processes in nature the real situation is far more complicated, especially when more accurate carbon accounting is undertaken.

Fire is a powerful ecological agent. Depending on the intensity, a fire will mineralize nutrients in the litter, stimulate or inhibit germination and change the light and moisture regime on the forest floor. These variables in turn will determine the composition and rate of growth of the post-fire biota.

We believe it would be premature to consider managing fire for carbon sequestration without first considering other important factors. These include the impact of high-intensity fires on flora and fauna, soil erosion, water quality and the protection of life and community assets.

To date, insufficient research has been made into the differential impacts on the carbon cycle of bushfires and of prescribed burning in tall forests. The distinction between intense wildfires and mild prescribed burns is almost never made in the climate literature. Fires of vastly different size and intensity are lumped together simply as ''fire'', and it is assumed that the impacts and consequences are equal. They are not and the innumerable combinations of factors that make up a fire regime (such as intensity, frequency, patchiness, size, season and so on), and the interactions of fire with different soils and vegetation types, makes the research task difficult and complex.

What about smoke?Scientists are only just beginning to realise how complicated and subtle is the role of smoke and gases emitted from bushfires and prescribed burns. There are numerous interactions (some positive and some negative) between bushfire smoke, rainfall, ultraviolet radiation and the global radiation balance. Further complexities erupt when you consider the effect on incoming solar radiation of the smoke particles and gasses emitted from bushfires and prescribed burning. It is now also well known that bushfire smoke is a powerful agent encouraging the germination of many Australian native plants.

The ideal management approach in Australian forests is one that incorporates periodic prescribed burning under mild weather conditions. Firstly, this will best protect environmental and human assets. But flowing on from this will be protection of the carbon store in the forest which is lost in hot summer bushfires. Although the precise data is still being developed, this fact is readily deduced from studying grassland and savannahs, where excellent research has been done.

This research confirms that mild early season burning is preferable to late season wildfires for all reasons, especially for its ecological benefits, but also including its role in protecting carbon storage.

Is ''global warming'' leading to increased occurrence of ''megafires''?Some environmentalists suggest that global warming is leading to an increase in the number of ''megafires'' (large, high intensity and unstoppable holocaust-like bushfires).

However, if the current climate change models are correct, there will only be an increase in average annual temperatures of between 2 and 4 degrees over the next 100 years. The effect of this on bushfire behaviour, by itself, will be trivial. Fire intensity is far more significantly affected by fuel quantity, fuel dryness and wind strength, than it is by temperature.

Some climate change computer models also suggest a significant reduction in rainfall, leading to increased fuel drying and increased fuel availability at lower temperatures. This is the same effect as that of drought, a phenomenon which is common in Australia.

Drought does result in more intense fires'.....but only if nothing is done to reduce fuels before the fire occurs.

When it comes to rainfall and bushfires, the critical factor is seasonality of rain. In Australia's temperate regions, increased rainfall in late summer will generally lead to higher decay rates and generally lower fire dangers, while a corresponding decrease in winter rainfall will provide an extended opportunity for mild low-intensity burning.

The factor which ''doomsday'' commentators ignore is the opportunity for land managers to get in first, and reduce fuels before a potential megafire starts. In other words, the potential megafire can be forestalled, simply by the adoption of a program of fuel reduction prescribed burning under mild weather conditions.

Putting numbers to the relative carbon balance associated with prescribed burning and wildfire in Australian forests is extremely complex, and has the potential to engage science for at least another decade. In the meantime, we know intuitively that more CO2 is emitted in high-fuel consuming summer bushfires than from low-fuel consuming prescribed burns. However, any accounting must consider not only the frequency (i.e. more low intensity vs. fewer wildfires with greater emissions) but also the rate of decomposition of unburnt biomass and rate of carbon absorption by regrowth.

Although the principles are clear, precise data is still lacking. However, practical observations in the bush are not lacking. Land management policies can be guided by decades of records of severe forest and water catchment damage by high-intensity fires and by long experience in the management of forests to meet ecological objectives, and protection of the public at large.

Bushfires, burning and global warmingThere are many complexities, but conclusions can be drawn from the research done to date and from a first-principles understanding of carbon pathways in natural ecosystems. We conclude:

1. It is likely that the carbon emission and absorption situation found in savanna ecosystems will also apply in forests. In other words, over time, the overall situation will be carbon-neutral. But prescribed burning under mild conditions is still favoured over hot summer bushfires because less fuel is consumed, and less carbon emitted in the short term.

2. The carbon released by mild prescribed burns is recovered quickly; carbon released by large high-intensity forest fires may take decades to be replaced. Looking ahead from 2008, these decades are precisely the ones in which carbon storage needs to increase if the global warming computer models are correct. Preventing large high-intensity fires should therefore be an essential part of carbon management policy.

3. Not enough is known about the role of smoke in modulating climate. However, there is a growing body of research which shows that bushfire smoke helps to block incoming solar radiation (which heats the earth) and is an important catalyst for the regeneration of Australian plants. I

4. Fire has always been a factor in the Australian environment, and historical records indicate that it is only recently that frequent mild fire has been deliberately taken out of the forest, to be replaced by infrequent high-intensity fire.

5. The argument that wildfires are exempt, but the CO2 emitted by prescribed burns must be added-in to the national carbon accounts, is crooked thinking and is rejected.

Finally, we advocate that the Precautionary Principle must apply: this means playing safe while the research is being done.

The safe approach is not to ban prescribed burning because of an unsupported assertion that it may increase atmospheric CO2 levels, but to promote prescribed burning because it reduces the size and intensity of wildfires.

Even if new research demonstrates little difference between large high-intensity wildfires and prescribed burning in terms of the carbon balance, high-intensity fires should still be prevented. This is because of their over-riding and devastating impacts on wildlife, soils, waterways and landscapes, their capacity to kill and injure humans, the cost and danger of suppression and the damage they inflict on community and private social and economic assets.

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Monteur omgekomen bij brand windmolen Ooltgensplaat | RTV Rijnmond

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Wed, 30 Oct 2013 14:12

29-10-2013 | 16:27 door Jaimie WillebrandBij een brand in een windmolen bij Ooltgensplaat is een man om het leven gekomen. Het gaat om een monteur die boven op de turbine zat. Hoe het is met een andere monteur, die op dezelfde plek aanwezig was, is niet bekend. De brand is inmiddels zo goed als uit, aldus een woordvoerder van de politie.

De windmolen staat langs de Mariadijk en is 80 meter hoog. De brand brak dinsdagmiddag rond half vier uit en was in de wijde omtrek te zien. Het slachtoffer lag onderaan de windmolen. De man is gesprongen of gevallen, laat Wim Erkelens van de politie weten.

Diepzwarte rookVolgens een ooggetuige, die vlakbij de brand was, zaten twee monteurs op de punt van de turbine. Ook zag hij een traumahelicopter, een ladderwagen en een ambulance. Een boer uit de buurt zag dikke diepzwarte rook uit de turbine komen. Ook viel hem op dat er mannen onder de windturbine aan het rennen en schreeuwen waren terwijl er onderdelen van de turbine naar beneden vielen.

'Er was vooral veel paniek, niemand wist hoe ze het aan moesten pakken', aldus boer Cornelis Mosselman. De monteurs waren volgens de boer onderhoud aan het plegen aan de windmolens na de storm van gisteren.

In totaal waren er vier monteurs bij betrokken, twee daarvan zijn in veiligheid.

Foto'sBron iGO.nl / KabelTV G-O

Video: Monteur omgekomen bij brand windmolen OoltgensplaatAudio: Loek Houtepen van de politieSlideshow: Brand windturbine OoltgensplaatAutomatisch gerelateerde artikelen

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Nukes

FUKUSHIMA - DON'T PANIC

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Source: aangirfan

Sat, 02 Nov 2013 15:02

A number of websites WRONGLY stated that the above diagram shows radiation from Fukushima.In reality, this diagram was produced in 2011.It was made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to show the tsunami of 11 March 2011, based on data recorded in the Pacific. NOAA websiteThis is explained by Audrey Garricatle monde on 29 Oct 2013 (also Le blog de Wendy)

"The plume of cesium-137 resulting from the disaster is expected to reach the northwest coast of the U.S. early next year, but at levels safe for health." A powerful current passing near Japan, the Kuroshio has diluted the radioactivity.The Pacific continues this process of dilution.Researchers predict rates of between 10 and 30 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq / m3 ) on the coast of Oregon and Washington between 2014 and 2020, and between 10 and 20 Bq / m 3 in California between 2016 and 2025.

This graph shows the concentrations of cesium-137 in the ocean surface (between 0 - 200 meters) in April 2012 (a), April 2014 (b) April 2016 (c) and April 2021 (d)."These rates, which are about ten times higher than before the Fukushima disaster, are still very low.

"They present no danger to wildlife and consumption of seafood", says Dominique Boust of Laboratory Radioecology Cherbourg at the Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). "With an average of 20 Bq per m 3 of water, we should find two becquerels in each kilogram of fresh fish, which is within the safe limits. The maximum allowable level in Europe is 500 Bq / kg."le monde / Le blog de Wendy

Timothy1954 comments:

1. That's one isotope of one element, cesium 137. And levels have been higher than ten times above normal, earlier in this crisis. (much higher)

2. Cesium 137, cesium 134, iodine 129, iodine 131, and tritium, are being produced still by the melted down cores of reactors 1 and 2. And they escape with water vapor or with flowing water.

3. These, and strontium 90, accumulate in living creatures.The damage done from INTERNAL radiation is much greater than what you get from external sources.

4. The uranium and plutonium that has burned and become dust, is inhaled and is carcinogenic.

5. Chernobyl has killed a million people so far, and Fukushima was a hundred times worse, as of October 2011, said a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution study.

6. Fukushima's reactors one and two, at least, are still fissioning in the ground, still adding to the contamination.

CanSpeccy comments:

At present only the Japanese appear to be exposed to a substantial dose of radiation from Fukushima.

However, if one of the spent fuel pools overheats and the fuel is vaporized, the hazard will go global.

Environmental scientists tout nuclear power to avert climate change - CNN.com

Cultural Marxism

Halloween / Harvest Party-Cradlerock ES

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 19:38

WELCOME TO THE 2013-2014 SCHOOL YEAR

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Report cards will be issued on November 8. Parent /teacher conferences are scheduled for November 25, 26 and 27.

Our teachers would like to meet with a parent/guardian of each of their Language Arts students during Parent/Teacher conferences in November. We will be using PickATime, the on-line internet program again to schedule these conferences. In order to schedule your conference, you will need your child's student ID number found on their Interim Report and Report Card. PickATime will open on November 8 and close on November 18.

Halloween / Harvest Party

This school year, we are having a Costume Parade and Halloween Party. Students who

do not celebrate Halloween will participate in the Harvest Party. These activities will be held

on Thursday, October 31 beginning at 1:45 pm.

Costumes for the parade may not be of a gory Halloween nature (ghosts, blood &

guts, masks, skeletons, make-up, etc.) Absolutely no weapons will be allowed. If we feel that

the costume is not appropriate for school, the child will not wear it during the parade.

Costumes are not to be worn to school and should not require a lot of preparation or

assistance.

Below are suggested costume options:

- Appropriate book characters

- Household items

- Animals

--School supplies

- Careers

- Sports figures

- Nature/Food

- Appropriate cartoon characters/action figures

-Positive role models

If your child does not celebrate Halloween and will instead participate in the Harvest Party

on October 31st, please see the Halloween letter below. If you have any questions,

please do not hesitate to call us.

STAY CONNECTED

Important school information and our school newsletter,The Cradlerock Chronicle, is sent home electronically via HCPSSNEWS. Please update or register by logging onto www.hcpssnews.com. SUPPORT CRADLEROCK ELEMENTARY

Give With Target.

The "Give with Target" program is over for this year. Target gave away 5 million dollars to schools across the country. Cradlerock Elementary ended with 685 votes! Thank you for your support!

GIANT A+ BONUS CARDS

Beginning September 1, 2013, register your Giant Card at www.giantfood.com/aplus. Our school ID# is 01019. You must re-register even if you registered last year. Starting October 4, 2013 through March 20, 2014 Cradlerock Elementary will have the opportunity to earn cash through Giant A+ School Rewards Program. After you register your card, each shopping trip at Giant earns CASH for our school!

When Chivalry Became Benevolent Sexism | Stuff.co.nz

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 00:55

When a man holds a door open for a woman, is it chivalry or sexism? Or, to be precise, "benevolent sexism"?

Benevolent sexism has been identified as the flip side of the "hostile" sexism that would banish women to the kitchen.

It's a distincition that has been looked at by Auckland University researchers in a survey of the attitudes of more than 6500 New Zealanders.

Study author Matthew Hammond said benevolent sexism portrays women as "fragile and delicate and in need of protection" and emphasised their emotional qualities.

The study found that many women embraced benevolent sexism. Those women were also more likely to be psychologically "entitled" - a symptom of a narcissistic personality where people feel they are deserving or more special than others.

Hammond said it was predicted the two traits would go together as benevolent sexism appeared to "promise" things to women.

Television presenter Ali Mau said she believed benevolent sexism was predominantly "an older generation thing" that would probably die out with her parents' generation, or perhaps with her own generation.

"These people who protest that it's chivalrous - I think there's some deep-seated sexism there."

From an informal poll of her younger workmates, the custom of a man paying on a first date was still common, she said. "But generally the woman will insist on paying on the second date."

Auckland University law student Olivia Lubbock, 22, who was part of a feminist parody of the pop song Blurred Lines, said she hadn't experienced any hostile sexism recently but "I definitely agree there's a lot of benevolent sexism".

Particularly in the dating world, there was still an expectation that women were supposed to be "demure" and "fit into a certain stereotype" - the "good girl" of the Blurred Lines song, for example.

Lubbock said she had noticed benevolent sexism in the workplace where men offered to lift boxes for her when "I like to lift my own boxes". The old-school staple of opening doors for someone was still gratefully received but "anybody can hold a door open for anyone else".

"That's where we need to be heading rather than this notion that men need to protect women."

The link between benevolent sexism and entitlement did not surprise her.

"I think there are women whose parents actively encourage them to be entitled. As mature young women we have to be realistic - you can't expect everything to be given to you on a gold plate."

Anna Guy, the sister of murdered Feilding farmer Scott Guy, said sexism had got "a lot better than it used to be maybe 10 years ago".

Benevolent sexism was difficult to separate from a new attitude of people looking after each other and gender roles becoming more shared, she said.

"It might not be exactly equal but men also look after children and work."

Is a man opening a door for a woman "benevolent sexism"?

Guy: "It's definitely impressive. I feel like they don't have to - if they don't want to I wouldn't be offended. It's a bonus."

Olivia Lubbock: "Anyone can hold a door open for anyone else."

Study author Hammond: "I open the door for everyone. I know when I open the door for someone it's not because they are a man or a woman, it's because they are behind me . . . but they don't know that."

Alison Mau: "I open doors for men and they open doors for me. It's about who's better placed to offer the courtesy."

- (C) Fairfax NZ News

Hillary Clinton Reveals Her 2016 Presidential Campaign Theme

Everything You Think You Know About Panhandlers Is Wrong | ThinkProgress

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 03:49

A new survey of panhandlers in downtown San Francisco dispels a number of myths that society propagates about homeless people.

Conventional wisdom is that those on the sidewalk asking for a dollar are lazy freeloaders who will use the money for alcohol or drugs. Some even think that beggars are living large off of handouts, such as Fox News' John Stossel, who has bravely used his television perch to take on beggars. ''I had heard that some people beg for a living and make big bucks '-- $80,000 a year in some cases,'' Stossel told Fox & Friends. ''You really shouldn't give to these street people,'' Stossel concluded. ''You are really supporting alcoholism and drug problems.''

Researchers wanted to test out whether this widely held view of panhandlers as lazy alcoholics getting rich off others was correct. The Union Square Business Improvement District, a collection of 500 property owners in downtown San Francisco, hired GLS Research to survey panhandlers over a two-day period in March.

They found that, for the vast majority of beggars, Stossel's view was simply not true.

In San Francisco's Union Square, the typical panhandler is a disabled middle-aged single male who is a racial minority and makes less than $25 per day despite panhandling seven days a week for more than five years. Though Stossel was insistent that panhandlers just use the money for beer and pot, the majority of those surveyed did not. In fact, 94 percent used the meager funds they raised for food.

In addition, some justify doing little to fight homelessness because, in their view, many homeless people don't want help and prefer living on the streets. However, researchers discovered that, on the contrary, just 3 percent of panhandlers don't want housing.

Among the survey's findings:

83 percent are men48 percent are African American31 percent are white69 percent are single26 percent served in the military70 percent are 40 to 59 years old58 percent have been panhandling for at least five years53 percent panhandle seven days a week60 percent make $25 a day or less94 percent use the money for food44 percent use it for drugs or alcohol62 percent are disabled25 percent are alcoholics32 percent are addicted to drugs82 percent are homelessIn total, 146 people participated in the survey.

Researchers also spoke with 400 people who had given money to panhandlers in the past year. They found that the largest group of people who chose to give were young working-class Bay Area residents. Empathy was a main driver; three in five said the gave ''because they or a family member may be in need someday.''

Dinner with the OBots

Phil Simon: Big Data and Teenage Sex

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 01:20

17 FlaresFilament.io17 Flares—''Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.''

''Dan Ariely

In a word, brilliant. You'll get no argument from me.

I see myriad surveys, polls, and reports that ''most'' organizations are embracing Big Data. For instance, as Matt Asay onReadWriteWeb writes:

According to a recent Gartner report, 64% of enterprises surveyed indicate that they're deploying or planning Big Data projects (emphasis mine). Yet even more acknowledge that they still don't know what to do with Big Data. Have the inmates officially taken over the Big Data asylum?

That's a big jump (64% in 2013 compared to 58% in 2012), and it reflects a growing confidence that Big Data can help to enhance the customer experience (54% cited this as their driving motivation), improve process efficiency (42%) and launch new products or business models (39%).

So, slowly but surely, Big Data is making inroads in the enterprise, right?

Color me a skeptic, but I just don't buy these statistics. For every Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Twitter, there are thousands of mid-sized and large enterprises doing nothing. Probably more.

Is this understandable? Of course. Most organizations do a poor job managing Small Data (read: the transactional, structured, relational data that undergirds their operations.) Tony Fisher covers this in his book The Data Asset (affiliate link).

Simon SaysMaybe in a few years, Ariely's quote won't hold water. At this point, though, it's spot-on.

FeedbackWhat say you?

17 Flares1Facebook11LinkedIn0Google+3Buffer2Filament.io17 Flares—Tags: Quotes, Too Big to Ignore

Lumosity- not Neuroscience, Psychology

Book: The emperor of all maladies

Drone Nation

Obama meditating on drone strikes and telling his aides that he's ''really good at killing people

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Archived Version

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 05:49

For Halperin and Heilemann (and their publisher), this means one thing: mission accomplished.

Coming off the history-making spectacle of the 2008 race, the borderline­nihilistic presidential campaign of 2012 presents a challenge to authors seeking to spin a compelling tale. That may explain why the pair devotes considerable attention to the Republican primary contest, a more topsy-turvy drama than the trench warfare between Obama and Romney.

The book lacks the made-for-Hollywood scenes of ''Game Change'': Elizabeth Edwards ripping off her shirt to reveal her mastectomy scars in an emotional tarmac confrontation with her cheating husband, or anything Palin-related. But there's still click-bait aplenty: Obama meditating on drone strikes and telling his aides that he's ''really good at killing people''; Christie's raging temper; Romney adviser Stuart Stevens vomiting backstage after Clint Eastwood's performance art in Tampa; Romney's fascination with fat people, including his habit of ribbing male campaign staffers about dating overweight women; George W. Bush calling Rick Perry, his gubernatorial successor in Texas, ''a chicken-[expletive] guy''; Obama's team secretly polling and focus-grouping the notion of replacing Joe Biden with Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Democratic ticket; and so on. It's a book that will launch a thousand listicles.

Such goodies were mined over three years from deep-background interviews with the candidates, their aides and the small galaxy of Washington fixers who surrounded the campaigns. The authors explain their hazy sourcing in a note at the book's conclusion; media snobs will have a field day. The Halperin-Heilemann method, a number of those who sat for interviews told me, is to invite a subject to a private room at a restaurant or a plush hotel suite, ply them with booze and let the stories flow. But the alcohol was unnecessary; the wild success of the first volume guaranteed that insiders would talk this time. Indeed, in a summer's worth of casual conversations with veterans of all the campaigns, it was difficult for me to find anyone who didn't consent to an interview with the pair.

The book's loose argument is that both Obama and Romney placed their bets about the race early on and ''doubled down'' throughout the contest. It's an apt take on Obama World. The ''Obamans,'' as the authors call them, set out to annihilate Romney almost two years before the election and executed their plan with brutal efficiency. There were hiccups along the way, specifically Obama's dreary debate-prep sessions and his cringe-worthy performance in Denver, but his deputies in Chicago rarely deviated from their search-and-destroy mission. Romney's campaign, though, with its bad habit of reacting to news cycles with snap decisions, always felt more ad hoc, with tactics trumping strategy.

Though the gossip merchants of This Town might be disappointed, readers are for the most part spared staff-level infighting and post-campaign score settling. There are exceptions: Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley comes in for rough treatment, depicted as a feckless outsider lost in the youthful, clannish and data-reliant Obama-verse. Although Romney's chief strategist, Stevens '-- a popular punching bag for know-it-all Republican consultants after the loss '-- emerges mostly unscathed, we witness some flashes of impetuousness. He was frustrated, it seems, to be the lone voice on Team Romney lobbying for Christie to be on the ticket instead of Paul Ryan, who is as much a cipher in the book as he was during the campaign: rarely mentioned and barely consequential.

Bengahzi

U.S. military commandos fought in Benghazi - Washington Times

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Archived Version

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 02:12

EXCLUSIVE:

Masked from public view, two of the U.S. military's elite special operations commandos have been awarded medals for bravery for a mission that further undercuts the Obama administration's original story about the Benghazi tragedy.

SEE ALSO: No more Obama nominees until White House relents on Benghazi: Graham

For months, administration officials have claimed no special operations forces were dispatched from outside Libya to Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012, al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission and CIA annex because none was within range.

The Pentagon, under intense public criticism for not coming to the aid of besieged Americans, published an official timeline in November that carefully danced around the issue.

It said time and distance prevented any commandos outside Libya from reaching a CIA compound under attack. The timeline disclosed that a reinforcement flight 400 miles away in Tripoli contained two ''DoD personnel'' but did not describe who they were. Later, the official State Department report on Benghazi said they were ''two U.S. military personnel'' '-- but provided no other details. It made no mention of special operations forces.

But sources directly familiar with the attack tell The Washington Times that a unit of eight special operators '-- mostly Delta Force and Green Beret members '-- were in Tripoli the night of the attack, on a counterterrorism mission that involved capturing weapons and wanted terrorists from the streets and helping train Libyan forces.

When word of the Benghazi attack surfaced, two members of that military unit volunteered to be dispatched along with five private security contractors on a hastily arranged flight from Tripoli to rescue Americans in danger, the sources said, speaking only on the condition of anonymity because the special operations forces' existence inside Libya was secret.

The two special operations forces arrived in time to engage in the final, ferocious firefight between the terrorists and Americans holed up in the CIA annex near the ill-fated diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the sources added.

PHOTOS: Inside the U.S. Navy SEALs: See America's elite warriors unleashed

The two special operators were awarded medals for valor for helping repel a complex attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens, another American diplomat and two former Navy SEALs, but spared many more potential casualties.

''Yes, we had special forces in Tripoli, and two in fact did volunteer and engaged heroically in the efforts to save Americans,'' one source told The Times. ''The others were asked to stay behind to help protect Tripoli in case there was a coordinated attack on our main embassy.

''The remaining [special operations forces] were ready to dispatch the next morning, but by that time American personnel had been evacuated to the airport, local militias had provided additional security and it was determined there was no need for them to be dispatched at that point,'' the source added.

Pressed why the Pentagon and administration officials did not publicly acknowledge the special operations forces' contribution that tragic night, the sources said officials decided that their anti-terror work inside Libya was sensitive and closely guarded. In addition, U.S. officials did not have a Status of Forces Agreement in place that would have authorized the troops' presence, the sources said.

The history of the Benghazi attack is infamous in part for what the White House and Pentagon did not do: no warplanes and no rescue troops from outside Libya.

The revelation that some special operations forces did make it to Benghazi the night of the attack is the latest to undermine a carefully crafted story line put out by the president and his aides in the weeks leading into the 2012 election. The administration has since acknowledged that parts of that story line were misleading.

''On the one hand, it is an indictment of the lack of contingency planning by both CIA and DoD, especially given the rising threat profiles in Libya that were well understood '-- and appropriately reported back to D.C. by agency reps on the ground,'' said retired Army Col. Ken Allard. ''So why weren't there more than just two Delta Force guys to send? Above all: Where were the air and naval resources that should have routinely been included in any contingency planning worthy of the name?''

Armageddon

LA Times - 28 solar flares in the last seven days, and more may be coming

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Today, America's Foodstamps Program Gets A 6% Haircut: What Happens Next?

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Source: Zero Hedge

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:53

Today, one of America's best-known welfare programs with 47.6 million participants or 15% of the total population, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as "foodstamps" or EBT, is due for a substantial haircut: beginning Friday, there will be a phased in $5 billion reduction (6% of the program) for the 12 month period starting November 1st 2013. So what happens next?

Nick Colas of Convergex explains.

The U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (a.k.a. Food Stamps) is the largest means-tested social support program in the country, with $6.3 billion in direct monthly cash transfers to individuals for the purchase of food. Some 47.6 million people (15% of the total population) are in the SNAP program as of the most recent data (July 2013) and these individuals receive an average of $132 per month. This support is set for a cut on Friday, with a $5 billion reduction (6% of the program) for the 12 month period starting November 1st 2013. From a Wall Street perspective, these numbers may seem small at 0.0003% of GDP. From the perspective of Main Street, however, is means a cut of $36/month for a family of four receiving full SNAP benefits. Record levels for stocks, record level for SNAP participants'... An odd societal disconnect, to be sure.

We've written about the U.S. Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) in these pages over the years even though the topic bears no direct relationship to corporate earnings, interest rates, the Federal Reserve, or any other recognized business topic. The reason for this focus is threefold:

It is a very large visible government program with monthly data updates. There are, for example, 47,637,407 Americans in the SNAP program as of the most recent update (July 2013) from U.S. Department of Agriculture. A total of 23,074,914 households receive an average monthly benefit of $272.51. This amounts to $6.3 billion in monthly support. As a percent of the population, this is 15% of all Americans and +20% of all households in the program. It is a good measure of how deeply the economic recovery in the U.S. is reaching through the socioeconomic strata. Qualifying for SNAP means you make no more than 130% of the poverty line and generally have limited assets. Those 47.6 million people in the SNAP program are, for all intents and purposes, a record high for food stamp participation once you exclude months where the program includes disaster assistance. It generates a large amount of hate email direct to my inbox and voicemail from both ends of the political spectrum. From the right comes criticisms over certain parts of the US population using EBT cards (the debit cards used to distribute the program's payments) to buy beer and potato chips. This, yes, does occasionally happen. From the left, we get missives that feel a lot like that guy who told the world to ''Leave Britney alone!'' Food stamps, these folks argue, are part of living in a just society, which doesn't allow anyone to go hungry. Half of all the people enrolled in SNAP are children, so it is pretty easy to see their point of view as well.In the spirit of bringing our two warring readerships together, I would propose the following statement: ''Something has changed about America since the Financial Crisis, and the still widespread popularity of the SNAP program is emblematic of that shift.'' Or, in the words of Bill Parcells, ''You are what your record says you are.'' The American economic record, based on the Food Stamp data, is still pretty lousy:

Before the Great Recession of 2009, enrollment in the SNAP program ebbed and flowed with the state of the U.S. economy. There are links to the data after this note, with the high water marks in 1976, 1981, 1992-4 and cyclical lows in the late 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. From 2004 to the present day, SNAP enrollment has doubled from 23 million people to more than 46 million. The cost of the program over that period has moved from $25 billion annually to $75 billion in 2012. The notional economic ''Recovery'' which has helped domestic equities more than double from their March 2009 lows is entirely absent from the U.S. food stamp data. As mentioned, enrollments are still essentially at record highs. Sometimes big numbers are hard to visualize, so here's a few ways to think about the size of the SNAP program. For example, if every SNAP participant lived in one state, it would be 20% more populous than California. If every person in the program linked hands, human chain style, they could circle the Earth (assuming a 3 foot reach per person). We'll sidestep the inevitable political discussion for a moment longer, and point out that things are about to change in the food stamp program. On November 1st, everyone in the SNAP program will see lower payments. Here's the hows and whys:

Monthly payments increased because of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but these increases expire on Friday. The jumps were substantial '' the average benefit per person increased to $125 in 2010 from $102 in 2009 and topped out at $133/person in 2010 '' 2012. The change cuts $5 billion out of the program for the November 2013 '' 2014 period, on a base of $75 billion (based on the latest run rate of $6.3 billion/month). The USDA estimates that this will be a $36/month reduction in benefits for a family of four. The Center for Budget Policy Priorities, using USDA data, stated in a recent note that 80% of SNAP households live below the Federal poverty line ($19,500 for a family of three) and 40% live in households making less than half that amount. The SNAP program helps feed 25% of all US children and over 9 million seniors.Let's see if we can dodge the political bullet for one more paragraph, with a few more fact-based points:

The SNAP program is explicitly NOT designed to provide the only income available to economically distressed Americans for the purpose of purchasing food. There's been a raft of celebrity and CEO 'Live on SNAP benefits' challenges, where these economically fortunate individuals chose to live on $133/month in food purchases. This ignores the fact that the program is intended to be ''Assistance'' rather than 100% support. There are further cuts in the program coming in 2014 '' 2016, to the tune of $11 billion over the period. It is an odd quirk of the SNAP program that its funding is part of the annual Farm Bill in Congress. That means these future cuts could be overturned as House and Senate consider this legislation. For right now, however, these proposed reductions would take the SNAP program down to $60 billion from the current $75 billion run rate. Truth be told, the pressure within Congress is to cut these payments further, rather than to increase them. If you are looking for a capital markets impact, retailers in southern and western states are one place to look. There are 13 states with over 1 million SNAP participants: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. The economic ''multiplier'' on food stamp purchases is about 2:1, so the $5 billion reduction in 2013-2014 looks more like $10 billion in the real economy. To sum up (apolitically, of course)'... The amount of money 15% of the U.S. population uses to purchase food is about to go down, and by enough so this group will notice its absence. It may not matter to the economic data on which Wall Street hangs its fedora, but it is certainly enough to spark a political response. How this plays out, I honestly have no idea. We are in uncharted waters here, as the historical record clearly shows.

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Mac n Cheese

Kraft removing some dyes from mac and cheese

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Archived Version

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:06

Kraft plans to remove Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from some boxes containing cartoon-shaped pasta.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Kraft will remove artificial food dyes from its new pasta shape varietiesCertain pasta shapes marketed to children will not include Yellow No. 5 and 6Kraft will likely use spices such as paprika, annatto and turmeric in its new products(CNN) -- When SpongeBob SquarePants skips onto shelves in boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese next year, he may be a little less, well, yellow than your kids are used to.

Kraft has revamped its character-shaped product line for 2014, according to company spokeswoman Lynne Galia. The new versions will have six additional grams of whole grains, be lower in sodium and saturated fat, and will use spices instead of artificial food dyes to recreate the pasta's famous yellow-orange color.

"Parents have told us that they would like fun Mac & Cheese varieties with the same great taste, but with improved nutrition," Galia said in an e-mail.

The company will remove Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from boxes containing pasta shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants and those with Halloween and winter shapes. Two new shapes of the popular pasta -- Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" from Dreamworks -- will also be free of food coloring, Galia said.

Check out Eatocracy's recipe for homemade Mac & Cheese

The Center for Science in the Public Interest hailed Kraft's decision on Friday. Michael Jacobson, the center's executive director, said he is pleased with the announcement but is "puzzled" as to why Kraft would not change its iconic elbow-shaped macaroni product as well.

"As Kraft has today shown, it is clearly possible to make macaroni and cheese without these harmful chemicals," Jacobson said in a statement.

The company tries to offer a wide variety of choices to consumers, Galia responded. "Making ingredient changes isn't as simple as it would seem," she said. "All of the ingredients must work together to deliver the distinctive taste, appearance and texture consumers expect and love from Original KRAFT Mac & Cheese. Our fans have made it clear they won't settle for anything less."

In Europe, foods with Yellow No. 5 are required to include a warning label that says, "This product may have adverse effect on activity and attention in children." Instead of adding this label on its products, Kraft chose to remove the artificial dyes from its European line, and uses paprika and beta-carotene to add color. The company has not make the same change in the United States.

That "double standard" is what convinced Food Babe blogger Vani Hari to start a Change.org petition to convince Kraft to remove these dyes from all of the company's products.

"We recently discovered that several American products are using harmful additives that are not used -- and in some cases banned -- in other countries," Hari wrote on the petition.

Yellow No. 5 has been linked to hyperactivity, asthma, some skin conditions and cancer, but larger scientific studies have proved inconclusive.

Could our favorite food flavorings damage our DNA?

The Food and Drug Administration must approve color additives in the United States; Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 were approved for use in foods in 1969 and 1986, respectively.

More than 348,000 people have signed Hari's petition, and she delivered the electronic signatures to Kraft headquarters in April. She met with a public relations representative, but said she left the meeting feeling unsatisfied. Since then she has dedicated her time to pressuring the company to change.

Thousands of parents have sent her letters, she said, talking about the behavioral changes they've seen in their kids since they removed artificial dyes from their diets.

Hari doesn't have children herself, but she has two nephews that she worries about. "When I do have kids," she said, "I want to have a food system that I trust."

Hooray for healthier mac n' cheese!

Hari is thrilled that Kraft is going to alter its new line, but says there is more work to do. Other companies have removed artificial dyes from their products overseas without doing the same in America, she says. There's another campaign on Change.org asking Mars Inc. to remove the additives from M&M's.

Jacobson urged parents to continue signing Hari's petition on Change.org.

"As long as the Food and Drug Administration remains perched up in the bleachers and not on the playing field, action on the part of the consumers is the only thing that will get these companies' attention," he said.

Bank$ters

Nasdaq Crashes (Again): Is It The Usual Suspect? HFT

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 20:17

This article first appeared on Floating Path.

High frequency trading combined with a complex market structure leads to crazy anomalies on an almost daily basis. This past week we saw an entire market shut down as the NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) went offline for more than three hours. This scenario was a bit more complicated than the BATS Global Markets, Inc. Class A Common Stock (BATS:BATS) outage because Nasdaq is responsible for disseminating prices of certain stocks (and their quotes) to all market participants via an information feed known as the Securities Information Processor. The SIP is a critical piece of information for traders. Often referred to as ''the tape'' this is essentially what the majority of regular folks see when looking at prices and quotes for stocks, or what you see on the bottom of the screen on CNBC. The description from the gentlemen at Themis Trading is rather succinct.

The SIP is one of the most important and least understood pieces of our equity market. It aggregates all of those fragmented exchanges and distributes the NBBO (national best bid and offer). The NBBO is what all those dark pools use to price their merchandise and also what all those internalizers rely on to give sub penny price improvement. The SIP is the hub and the exchanges are the spokes.

What caused the outage?

Thus far there has been much finger-pointing by NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ), chiefly in the direction of NYSE-Arca. The blame game is no surprise and there has been no official cause released just yet. In the meantime, what we do know is that gigantic bursts of quotes occurred just prior to the system breaking. These quote spam methods employed by HFT can be similar to DDoS attacks, as we've seen in the past.

The charts below illustrate the disproportionate quoting that occurred. The thick red line represents the day of the outage, which officially began at 12:03 when the SIP went down.

What was the result?

NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) decide to halt trading entirely on its system and in all ''Tape C'' securities, or those listed on the Nasdaq exchange. As they were unable to provide timely and accurate information to participants, it made sense to stop all trading so as to not officially provide an unfair advantage to any single participant. Because of this, it was literally impossible to trade Nasdaq listed stocks or their options for three hours on Thursday. Popular names like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft were all halted. Quotes from industry participants obtained by the Wall Street Journal show the confusion during the time.

''It's really shocking,'' said Ramon Verastegui, head of global engineering and strategy at Soci(C)t(C) G(C)n(C)rale, during the outage. ''If we want to trade Apple, we can't.''

''This takes confidence from the markets,'' said William ''Packy'' Jones, chief executive of JonesTrading Group, which handles trading for hedge funds, mutual funds and other institutional investors. For much of the day, he said, traders were asking, in reference to published prices, ''Are these prints real, or are they not real?''

As you can see, the NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) flat-lined.

The most curious aspect of the outage is that trading continued after the SIP was broken. So while the market was seemingly closed for most traders in a stock like Apple, it continued to trade among some participants as if nothing was wrong. Any firm not relying on the SIP for trade and quote data would have been unaffected by its malfunction.

Who doesn't rely on the SIP?

High frequency trading firms do not. Via co-location and direct data feeds, HFT are plugged directly into the exchange computers allowing them to calculate the data on their own, essentially a synthetic SIP that is faster and more accurate. Nanex calls this discrepancy between direct feeds and the SIP downright illegal.

This is because exchanges are providing data to High Frequency Traders via direct feeds ahead of the SIP or consolidated feed. This is a clear violation of Reg NMS (what the SEC fined the NYSE $5 Million for). In fact, this behavior renders Reg NMS moot.

The chart below clearly shows trading in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) beyond the SIP outage and even beyond 12:23 when NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) officially said every single Tape C stock had been halted.

The same problem arose in Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)'s stock, where the NBBO was seemingly dead, only this occurred at 11:01, about an hour before the entire SIP crashed. The trades continued unaffected, assumingly by the same directly connected HFT firms.

Was this an orchestrated event?

While rumors were abound instantly invoking fears of a hacking or possible terrorist cyber attack, the cause most likely resides on American soil inside a server farm. To illustrate the ability to profit in this scenario, considering the following description.

Let's assume you were at a farmer's market with various stands selling apples. In the middle of the market was a chalkboard (the SIP) displaying prices and quantities at which apples were just bought and sold, as well as bids and offers for future sales. What if one was able to, in the blink of an eye (or less actually), erase the chalkboard while simultaneously buying a majority of the available apples? One could turn around and sell their apples to other customers at their own price since others would have nothing to base a ''fair'' sale price upon. Or once the purchases were complete, one could allow the chalkboard to be re-written with new prices. Given the sudden drop in apple supply, the price would assumingly be higher, and that individual would be the new owner of an apple cart with a sudden appreciation in value.

It is not yet known whether any HFT firm attempted to break the SIP, but it is clear they would be capable of doing so and in a position to benefit from the subsequent darkness in pricing experienced by other market participants. Further, if any HFT is responsible, willfully or otherwise, NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) is unlikely to blame them publicly. HFT is the biggest customer for a for-profit exchange, providing massive trading volumes and purchasing direct data feeds and co-location of their servers. Given this inherent conflict of interest, the argument against the current structure is valid.

UPDATE:

It is now apparent to market data experts Nanex, that the gigantic surges of quote information did not come from an HFT algorithm. In fact, the massive traffic came from the Nasdaq itself. A glitch in its software caused 50 minutes worth of quotes to be sent through the SIP in only 3 seconds of time. This massive compression of data reeked havoc on the NBBO and appears to have led to the SIP shutdown. Below is an example from one stock. Note the pattern in quotes are the same, however, the pattern on the right played out much faster.

We'll continue to monitor ongoing research and post any new updates or relevant information.

Eugenics

How IBM is making computers more like your brain. For real - CNET Mobile

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Archived Version

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 23:38

Big Blue is using the human brain as a template for breakthrough designs. Brace yourself for a supercomputer that's cooled and powered by electronic blood and small enough to fit in a backpack.

IBM Research is working on "interlayer cooling," in which water is pumped through tiny tubes penetrating chips are piggypacked using high-speed communication technology called through-silicon vias. IBM's approach is designed to deal with overheating problems that otherwise severely limit chip stacking. The protruding pipe fittings are for connecting water-cooling tubes.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)ZURICH, Switzerland -- Despite a strong philosophical connection, computers and brains inhabit separate realms in research. IBM, though, believes the time is ripe to bring them together.

Through research projects expected to take a decade, Big Blue is using biological and manufactured forms of computing to learn about the other.

On the computing side, IBM is using the brain as a template for breakthrough designs such as the idea of using fluids both to cool the machine and to distribute electrical power. That could enable processing power that's densely packed into 3D volumes rather than spread out across flat 2D circuit boards with slow communication links.

And on the brain side, IBM is supplying computing equipment to a $1.3 billion European effort called the Human Brain Project. It uses computers to simulate the actual workings of an entire brain -- a mouse's first, then a human's -- all the way down to the biochemical level of the neuron. Researchers will be able to tweak parameters as the simulation is running to try to figure out core mechanisms for conditions like Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and autism.

It's all part of what IBM calls the cognitive systems era, in which computers aren't just programmed, but also perceive what's going on, make judgments, communicate with natural language, and learn from experience. It's a close cousin to that decades-old dream of artificial intelligence.

"If we want to make an impact in the cognitive systems era, we need to understand how the brain works," said Matthias Kaiserswerth, a computer scientist who's director of IBM Research in Zurich, speaking during a media tour of the labs on Wednesday.

One key challenge driving IBM's work is matching the brain's power consumption. Over millions of years, nature has evolved a remarkably efficient information-processing design, said Alessandro Curioni, manager of IBM Research's computational sciences department. The ability to process the subtleties of human language helped IBM's Watson supercomputer win at "Jeopardy." That was a high-profile step on the road to cognitive computing, but from a practical perspective, it also showed how much farther computing has to go.

"Watson used 85 kilowatts," Kaiserwerth said. "That's a lot of power. The human brain uses 20 watts."

Bruno Michel describes Aquasar, an IBM Research prototype high-performance computing machine that uses unusually high-temperature liquid cooling.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)Dense 3D computingThe shift in IBM's computing research shows in the units the company uses to measure progress. For decades, the yardstick of choice for gauging computer performance has been operations per second -- the rate at which the machine can perform mathematical calculations, for example.

When energy constraints became a problem, meaning that computers required prohibitive amounts of electrical power and threw off problematic amounts of waste heat, a new measurement arrived: operations per joule of energy. That gauges a computer's energy efficiency.

Now IBM has a new yardstick: operations per liter. The company is judging success by how much data-processing ability it can squeeze into a given volume. Today's computers must be laid out on flat circuit boards that ensure plenty of contact with air that cools the chips.

"In a computer, processors occupy one-millionth of the volume. In a brain, it's 40 percent. Our brain is a volumetric, dense, object," said Bruno Michel, a researcher in advanced thermal packaging for IBM Research, who got his Ph.D in biophysics.

What's the problem with sprawl? In short, communication links between processing elements can't keep up with data-transfer demands, and they consume too much power as well, Michel said.

The fix is to stack chips into dense 3D configurations, with chips linked using a technology called through-silicon vias (TSVs). That's impossible today because stacking even two chips means crippling overheating problems. But IBM believes it's got an answer to the cooling problem: a branching network of liquid cooling channels that funnel fluid into ever-smaller tubes.

The liquid passes not next to the chip, but through it, drawing away heat in the thousandth of a second it takes to make the trip, Michel said. The company has demonstrated the approach in an efficient prototype system called Aquasar. (Get ready for another new yardstick: greenhouse gas emissions. Aquasar can perform 7.9 trillion operations per second per gram of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.)

IBM can deliver up to 1 watt of power per square centimeter with this technology called a flow battery, which transports electrical power stored chemically. Here, vanadium electrolytes power a microfluidics chip in a lab demonstration. Ultimately IBM hopes to use liquids both to cool and power computers.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)Liquid-based flow batteryBut that's not all the liquid will do. IBM also is developing a system called a redox flow battery that also uses it to distribute power instead of using wires. Two liquids called electrolytes, each with oppositely charged electrical ions, circulate through the system to distribute power. Think of it as a liquid battery interlaced through the interstices of the machine.

"We are going to provide cooling and power with a fluid," Michel said. "That's how our brain does it."

The electrolytes, vanadium-based at present, travel through ever-smaller tubes, said Patrick Ruch, another IBM researcher working on the effort. At the smallest, they're about 100 microns wide, about the width of a human hair, at which point they hand off their power to conventional electrical wires. Flow batteries can produce between 0.5 and 3 volts, and that in turn means IBM can use the technology today to supply 1 watt of power for every square centimeter of a computer's circuit board.

Liquid cooling has been around for decades in the computing industry, but most data centers avoid it given its expense and complexity. It's possible the redox battery could provide a new incentive to embrace it, though.

Michel estimates the liquid power technology will take 10 to 15 years to develop, but when it works, it'll mean supercomputers that fit into something the size of a backpack, not a basketball court.

"A 1-petaflop computer in 10 liters -- that's our goal," Michel said.

Performing at 1 petaflop means a computer can complete a quadrillion floating-point mathematical operations per second. Today's top supercomputer clocked in at 33.86 petaflops, but it uses 32,000 Xeon processors and 48,000 Xeon Phi accelerator processors.

Matthias Kaiserswerth, director of IBM Research in Zurich, is working toward the era of "cognitive computing," in which machines get attributes of human thinking such as perception, learning, and judgment.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)How to build a brainMore conventional supercomputers have been used so far for IBM's collaborations in brain research. The highlight of that work so far has been the Blue Brain project, which is on its third IBM Blue Gene supercomputer at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, or EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Blue Brain and Human Brain Project will take a new step with a Blue Gene/Q augmented by 128 terabytes of flash memory at the Swiss National Supercomputing Center in Lugano, Switzerland. It'll be used to simulate the formation and inner workings of an entire mouse brain, which has about 70 million neurons.

The eventual human brain simulation will take place at the Juelich Supercomputing Center in northern Germany, Curioni said. It's planned to be an "exascale" machine -- one that performs 1 exaflops, or quintillion floating-point operations per second.

The project doesn't lack for ambition. One of its driving forces is co-director Henry Markram of EPFL, who has worked on the Blue Brain project for years and sees computing as the way to understand the true workings of the human brain.

"It's impossible to experimentally map the brain," simply because it's too complicated, Markram said. There are too many neurons overall, 55 different varieties of neuron, and 3,000 ways they can interconnect. That complexity is multiplied by differences that appear with 600 different diseases, genetic variation from one person to the next, and changes that go along with the age and sex of humans.

"If you can't experimentally map the brain, you have to predict it -- the numbers of neurons, the types, where the proteins are located, how they'll interact," Markram said. "We have to develop an entirely new science where we predict most of the stuff that cannot be measured."

Liquid cooling has traditionally meant water traveling near chips, the hottest part of computers, but IBM Research has begun making chips with cooling conduits built directly in.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)With the Human Brain Project, researchers will use supercomputers to reproduce how brains form -- basically, growing them in an virtual vat -- then seeing how they respond to input signals from simulated senses and nervous system.

The idea isn't to reproduce every last thing about the brain, but rather a model based on the understanding so far. If it works, actual brain behavior should emerge from the fundamental framework inside the computer, and where it doesn't work, scientists will know where their knowledge falls short.

"We take these rules and algorithmically reconstruct a model of the brain," Markram said. "We'll say this is biological prediction, then we can go back to the experiments and we can verify if the model is right. We celebrate when the model is wrong, because that's when it points to where we need more data or we don't understand the rules."

The result, if the work is successful, will be not just a better understanding of the brain, but better cooperation among brain researchers and medical experts. That could reverse recent declines in the development of new drugs to treat neural problems, he said.

And understanding the brain could usher in the era of "neuromorphic computing."

"Any new rules, circuits, or understanding of how the brain works will allow us to design neuromorphic machines that are much more powerful in terms of cognitive power, energy efficiency, and packaging," Curioni said.

And that, in turn, could lead to profoundly more capable computers. For starters, IBM has four markets in mind: machines that could find the best places to invest money, bring new depth and accuracy to medical diagnoses, research the appropriate legal precedents in court cases, or give people help when they dial a call center.

But it's not hard to imagine that's only the beginning. When computers can learn for themselves and program themselves, it's clear the divide separating biological and artificial computing will be a lot narrower.

IBM Research investigates supercomputing, nanotechnology, medicine, and more at its Zurich labs.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

EUROLand

More than 10,000 French protesters clash with police over 'ecotax' (VIDEO, PHOTOS) '-- RT News

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 05:52

Published time: November 03, 2013 01:01Protesters wearing red caps, the symbol of protest in Brittany, take part in a demonstration to maintain jobs in Quimper, western France, November 2, 2013 (Reuters / Stephane Mahe)

Thousands of people rallied in the town of Quimper in France's Brittany region on Saturday calling for a complete end to the controversial ''ecotax.'' Police fired tear gas after demonstrators hurled stones and iron bars.

Farmers, food sector workers, fishermen, and others attended the protest, voicing concern over continuous layoffs and high taxes in the country.

Some demonstrators reportedly threw stones and iron bars at police as they gathered for speeches before marching into the city. Officers responded by firing tear gas and water cannons.

According to authorities, 10,000 people came out for the event. However, a protest organizer told French media that 30,000 people took part in the rally.

French protesters wore red caps resembling the 17th century revolt against King Louis XIV's fiscal policies.

Demonstrators came out despite the government's Tuesday decision to ''indefinitely suspend'' the green tax on heavy goods vehicles transporting over 3.5 tons of commercial goods. The move followed public outrage from farmers and food sector workers in Brittany. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stressed that the move was "a suspension, not a cancelation" of the tax.

As the northernmost region has less rail infrastructure than the rest of France, local businesses and farmers claim they are being unfairly penalized because most goods there have to be transported by road.

Residents of Brittany are angry as layoffs continue in their largely rural region. The majority of cutbacks are focused on the agricultural sector.

''How are we supposed to produce products that are made in France, made in Brittany, with all these taxes? It's impossible,'' a market gardener told France 24.

France is battling high unemployment and increasing taxes. The latest data revealed that at least 3.2 million people are now looking for work in the country.

Meanwhile, Francois Hollande has become the most unpopular French president on record, according to an opinion poll conducted in October. Major complaints against the leader include tax hikes, unemployment, and immigration policy.

Hollande's approval rating dropped to 26 percent among those questioned in the BVA poll '' the lowest level of any French president in the survey's 32-year history.

The leader has announced a total of around three billion euros (US$4.1 billion) in tax increases for next year, prompting many to protest the measures.

GAS

'NAM moet alle huizen Groningen bevingsproof maken'

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Source: VK: Home

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:50

Bewerkt door: redactie '' 01/11/13, 16:30 '' bron: ANP

(C) anp. De commissie wil dat de NAM alle gebouwen in het gebied afzonderlijk gaat inspecteren.

De Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij moet alle bijna 70.000 woningen en panden in Noord-Groningen aardbevingsbestendig maken. Dat is een van de adviezen van de commissie-Meijer, die in opdracht van de provincie Groningen onderzoek deed naar de toekomst van het gaswinningsgebied. Ook moet de NAM 895 miljoen op tafel leggen om het gebied veilig en aantrekkelijk te maken.

Het draagvlak voor de gaswinning is aan het afbrokkelen

Wim Meijer, voorzitter commissieDe commissie wil dat de NAM alle gebouwen in het gebied afzonderlijk gaat inspecteren en dan maatregelen neemt om ervoor te zorgen dat de panden bestand zijn tegen een aardbeving met een kracht van 5 op de schaal van Richter. Scholen, chemische fabrieken en huizen van mensen met psychische of fysieke klachten als gevolg van de aardbevingen, krijgen voorrang.

Het adviesrapport van de commissie telt 12 maatregelen die ervoor moeten zorgen dat de inwoners en ondernemers zich weer veilig voelen en vertrouwen krijgen in de NAM en de rijksoverheid. De maatregelen moeten ook de zorgen van inwoners wegnemen over de waardedaling van hun woning na toekomstige bevingen.

Daarnaast moeten alle adressen in het gebied een waardebon van 4000 euro krijgen om hun pand energiezuiniger te maken. De NAM zou volgens de commissie ook 330 miljoen euro moeten steken in het bevorderen van de overgang naar meer duurzame energie en het vergroenen van de chemiesector.

'Inwoners voelen zich onveilig'De commissie was tijdens gesprekken met inwoners onder de indruk van de gevoelens van onveiligheid. 'Dat is echt een slag erger dan dat de rest van Nederland zich bewust is', zegt voorzitter Wim Meijer. 'Mensen voelen zich onveilig en weten niet wat ze van de toekomst moeten verwachten. Ze willen gehoord worden. Het draagvlak voor de gaswinning is aan het afbrokkelen.'

De commissie wil dat de maatregelen worden uitgesmeerd over een periode van 20 jaar. De NAM moet dan elk jaar 45 miljoen euro in een fonds storten. Ook de provincie Groningen moet voor 100 miljoen bijdragen aan een aantal maatregelen. De commissie verwacht ook van het bedrijfsleven dat ze met geld over de brug komen.

De Groningse Commissaris van de Koning, Max van den Berg, claimde eerder dit jaar al een compensatie van 1 miljard euro voor de schade als gevolg van de gaswinning.

PedoBear

Penn State: 26 People Get $59.7M over Sandusky

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Mon, 28 Oct 2013 21:05

from AP28 Oct 2013, 12:22 PM PDTpost a comment(AP) Penn State: 26 people get $59.7M over SanduskyBy MARK SCOLFOROAssociated PressHARRISBURG, Pa.Penn State said Monday it is paying $59.7 million to 26 young men over claims of child sexual abuse at the hands of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.The school said 23 deals are fully signed and three are agreements in principle, but it did not disclose the names of the recipients. The school faces six other claims, and the university says it believes some of those do not have merit while others may produce settlements.

University president Rodney Erickson issued a statement calling the announcement a step forward for victims and the school.

"We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens again at Penn State," said Erickson, who announced the day Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 that Penn State was determined to compensate his victims.

The settlements have been unfolding since mid-August, when attorneys for the accusers began to disclose them. Penn State has not been confirming them, waiting instead to announce deals at once.

Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who helped negotiate several of the settlements, said his clients were satisfied.

"They felt that the university treated them fairly with the economic and noneconomic terms of the settlement," said Andreozzi, who also represents some others who have come forward recently. Those new claims have not been presented to the university, he said.

One client represented by St. Paul, Minn., attorney Jeff Anderson signed off on an agreement in the past week and the other is basically done, he said. Anderson counts his two clients as among the three that have been classified as agreements in principle, which Penn State said means final documentation is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

Anderson said his clients were focused on Penn State's changes to prevent future abuse.

"I have to applaud them, because they said `not until we're satisfied that no one else will get hurt,'" Anderson said. "The settlement of their cases in no way heals, in no way lessens the wound that remains open and the scars that are deep."

Penn State has spent more than $50 million on other costs related to the Sandusky scandal, including lawyers' fees, public relations expenses, and adoption of new policies and procedures related to children and sexual abuse complaints.

It said Monday that liability insurance is expected to cover the payments and legal defense, and expenses not covered should be paid from interest paid on loans by Penn State to its self-supporting units.

Clifford Rieders, a Williamsport attorney who negotiated one of the settlements, said the average payout matched other cases involving child abuse in educational or religious settings.

Rieders said the cases raised the specter of embarrassing revelations if they went to trial, and a university would have to consider the effect on the victims, its overall reputation, its ability to pay and its wider objectives.

"There are many considerations whenever you resolve a high-profile case involving serious misconduct, and I'm sure all of those and more came into play here," Rieders said.

Sandusky, 69, has been pursuing appeals while he serves a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence on 45 criminal counts.

He was convicted of abusing 10 boys, some of them at Penn State facilities. Eight young men testified against him, describing a range of abuse they said went from grooming and manipulation to fondling, oral sex and anal rape when they were boys.

The 32 claimants involved in negotiations with Penn State include most of the victims from the criminal trial and some who say they were abused by Sandusky many years ago. Negotiations were conducted in secret, so the full range of the allegations hasn't been disclosed publicly.

Sandusky did not testify at his trial but has long asserted his innocence. He has acknowledged he showered with boys but insisted he never molested them.

The abuse scandal rocked Penn State, bringing down football coach Joe Paterno and leading college sports' governing body, the NCAA, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university's football program.

Three former Penn State administrators await trial in Harrisburg on charges they engaged in a criminal cover-up of the Sandusky scandal. Former president Graham Spanier, retired vice president Gary Schultz and retired athletic director Tim Curley deny the allegations, and a trial date has not been scheduled.

Former BBC driver found dead as he was due to stand trial for sex crimes uncovered as part of Savile inquiry | Mail Online

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Tue, 29 Oct 2013 04:21

David Smith, 67, was chauffeur to Savile and other celebrities in 1980sBelieved to have committed suicide on the eve of his court appearanceOfficers found him dead at his home in Lewisham, south-east LondonBy Rebecca Camber

PUBLISHED: 18:02 EST, 28 October 2013 | UPDATED: 19:06 EST, 28 October 2013

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Chauffeur: David Smith was found dead yesterday as he was due to stand trial for sex crimes

A former BBC driver was found dead yesterday as he was due to stand trial for sex crimes uncovered as part of the Jimmy Savile inquiry.

David Smith, 67, chauffeur to Savile and other celebrities during the 1980s is believed to have committed suicide on the eve of his court appearance.

Police were called to Smith's address after receiving a court summons when he failed to appear for trial. When officers attended his home in Lewisham, south-east London, they found him dead.

Last night a spokesman said: 'Police attended a private address in Effingham Road, Lewisham on Monday 28 October as a man had failed to appear at Southwark Crown Court today.

'At approximately 2.20pm officers entered the address and found the body of a man. A forensic medical examiner attended and pronounced the man dead at the scene. Next of kin are being informed.

'Whilst officers believe they know the identity of the deceased, they await confirmation of formal identification.'

A post mortem will take place in due course. Smith, of Effingham Road, Lewisham, had failed to turn up at Southwark Crown Court for the start of his trial yesterday.

He faced two counts of indecent assault, two of indecency with a child, and one of buggery, all relating to a 12-year-old boy, between June 1 and July 21, 1984.

Probe: Smith was the first person to be charged under Operation Yewtree, the national investigation prompted after claims were made against disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile (pictured)

Smith's counsel Sandy Canavan said earlier today her solicitor had been attempting to contact Smith without success.

She said: 'He has been regularly in contact, I am concerned at the lack of contact. He is the sole carer for his very aged and very unwell mother, that may have affected why he's not here today.'

Judge Alastair McCreath said: 'He needs to be here, if his mother's poorly or not.'

He issued a bench warrant, backed for bail, with the condition that he surrender to the court by 9.30am tomorrow morning, with the case to be listed for 10am.

Smith was the first person to be charged under Operation Yewtree, the national investigation prompted after claims were made against disgraced TV presenter Savile.

Scotland Yard has led the probe, and separated its inquiries into those involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others. Smith has been investigated under the 'others' strand.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for detailsShare or comment on this article

Vaccine$

Drug Reduces Gambling Behavior In Slot Machine-Loving Rats | Popular Science

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 23:37

Scientists have found a way to reduce gambling-type behaviors in rats by blocking a specific dopamine receptor, signaling a potential treatment for pathological gambling.

In a study led by Paul Cocker, a Ph.D. student in psychology at the University of British Columbia, a group of 32 rats compulsively used a slot-machine-like system of three flashing lights that lit up when the rats pushed one of two levers. If all three lights lit up, the rats won 10 sugar pellets, delivered when they hit a "cash out" lever. When any other combination of lights flashed, the rats lost, and if they pushed the lever to cash out, they received a 10-second penalty before they could play again. If they chose a different lever, the "roll again" one, it allowed them to play again without penalty.

Like humans, the rats fell prey to the "near miss" effect, where an almost-winning combination feels a little bit like a win in itself'--though there's no reward. The rats often chose the "cash out" lever instead of the "roll again" lever when two of the three lights flashed. Near misses tend to make peoplekeep playing, and the researchers suggest that slot machines' high rate of near misses make them a particularly addictive form of gambling.

To try to reduce the rats' gambling behaviors, the researchers blocked dopamine D4 receptors, which have been linked topathological gambling. Blocking the receptors reduced the rats' tendency to treat near misses as wins, seemingly decreasing the rewarding aspect of those two flashing lights.

In human trials, the dopamine blocker used here has proved ineffective as an antipsychotic in schizophrenic patients, so it's not certain these findings would easily translate to people. ''More work is needed, but these findings offer new hope for the treatment of gambling addiction," Cocker said. Especially for all those Vegas-going rats.

The study is available inBiology Psychiatry.

NA Tech

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Google Hides Search Terms From Publishers, Marketers - Ad Age Mobile

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Tue, 29 Oct 2013 13:45

When you're Google , subtle shifts have a big impact. That was the case last month, when the search giant announced it would severely limit the information publishers '' or anyone else '' would receive on the keywords driving traffic to their websites.

Google still provides keyword data to search advertisers, but the move changed the game for organic search, leaving some publishers and advertisers in the dark.

"It's one of the most significant losses of data marketers have seen in half a decade," said Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik, who claimed that on average half of the traffic to the search-optimization vendor's clients' sites comes through organic search.

Google didn't cut off publishers completely. They can still get information on the top-2,000 most-popular keywords, just not in real-time and only through Google's webmaster tools, which limits the way publishers can adjust content on the fly to attract more organic search traffic. The shift is having an impact on the earned-media strategies of marketers.

Soon after Google turned out the lights, Rosetta partner Jason Tabeling received a panicked call from one marketer who is a huge Google advertiser that also depends heavily on organic searches.

"His concern was, why is Google doing this?" Mr. Tabeling said.

The answer to that varies, depending on whom you ask: Google is protecting users' privacy; it's pushing sites to run ads to recoup the lost keyword data; it's preventing sites from gaming its search-ranking algorithms. All a Google spokesperson would say is that the company has been increasingly privatizing people's searches and this most recent change extends that to users who are not signed in to a Google account.

Over time, Google had been showing advertisers and publishers less search-query data. Wister Walcott, exec VP-products and platform at Marin Software , said that a few months ago, "half or 40% [of queries] were dark." Now, he said, "they're all dark."

The shift is a bit like climate change -- everyone anticipates it will have an effect, but it's not felt immediately. Further, because the shift affects everyone equally, the competitive pecking order seems to be staying intact. "Clients care, but they care less because it's happening to everybody and it's not changing their business results immediately," said Rosetta's Mr. Tabeling.

The biggest impact could be on sites like The Huffington Post and Demand Media , which create keyword-laden content to drive traffic from search. Dean Praetorius, director of trends and social media at The Huffington Post, said he's "not freaking out as much as you think" because HuffPost can look to its seven-year trove of articles and "look for similar situations and language patterns" to determine search-friendly headlines.

Demand, for its part, said it uses many different data sets, and this one hasn't been significant.

But it will make it harder to decipher newly popular terms driving people their way. Mr. Tabeling said marketers will likely examine how every aspect of a web page beyond keywords affects its search ranking.

The process of crafting content to rank highly on search results pages, or search engine optimization, "is always a little bit of a guessing game," he said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said that Google had stopped passing organic search keyword data to site publishers. After the article was published, a Google spokesperson clarified that some keyword data is still relayed, but that site publishers have to use Google products to access that data. Ad Age regrets the error.

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Google Has Gone 'Dark': The Search Giant Just Ended A Bunch Of Free Data And People Are Freaking Out - Yahoo Finance

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Tue, 29 Oct 2013 13:44

AP

Google founder Sergey Brin

Late this month, Google went "dark" in terms of providing publishers with one of its major sources of free information on which words led people searching in Google to click on their sites. The move came as Google seeks to reassure users following the NSA/PRISM domestic surveillance scandal.

Now, all Google search is securely encrypted, and web site owners can no longer look at Google Analytics to see exactly which words people use when searching Google to find their sites.

A lot of people who conduct marketing on the web are freaking out about it: Now, they complain they're basically flying blind.

And they're angry, because the data that has been switched off is the "organic" search data, not the paid search data generated when people click on search ads. In other words, the only data Google is now providing about exactly what words generate incoming traffic is for people who pay to advertise on Google.

As a replacement, Google is offering similar data in its Webmaster Tools product. However, many marketers complain that the difference between organic search data in Google Analytics and the data inside Webmaster Tools is that the latter is based on a sampling, or an average set of aggregated traffic. It's not the full data set of terms that generate all Google visits to your web site. And it isn't as accurate or useful, a source tells Business Insider, because search marketing is an extremely quant-oriented business where full, accurate datasets convey significant advantages.

Google told Business Insider:

Just as before, webmasters can access a rich set of search query data for their sites via Webmaster Tools. This includes viewing the top 2,000 daily search queries as well as impressions, clicks and clickthrough rates for each query, and more. As always, we'll keep looking for ways to improve how search query data is surfaced on Webmaster Tools.

In a blog post, Google says it did this to increase users' privacy and security on the web. Now, almost all your search activity on Google will be completely anonymous. Your searches and clicks won't generate lists of words that create traffic for site publishers. Those lists were anonymous anyway '-- but they did tell publishers how users were finding their sites through Google.

They're calling it "the data apocalypse." Ad Age says:

"It's one of the most significant losses of data marketers have seen in half a decade," said Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik, who claimed that on average half of the traffic to the search-optimization vendor's clients' sites comes through organic search.

It's a punch in the face for small businesses, according to Tony Verre, CEO of Silver Arc Search Marketing:

... those who used analytics just to surmise if people/consumers and how people/consumers found them for something other than BRAND terms, just got a punch in the face (read Mom and Pop shops who can't afford online marketing services and help). The web might be a key component to survival for them, and taking away accurate data in the name of faux-privacy is a pretty big deal.

And people are mad because advertisers running search campaigns still get that keyword data for the ads that they ran, in Google Analytics. (In other words, when you click on a regular "organic" Google search result, it generates no data; when you click on an ad displayed alongside the organic search results, advertisers get to know which words generated that click.) It's a contradiction, according to Rishi Lakhani, a search consultant:

... their idea of privacy is ridiculous to say the least. You cant offer privacy, but still SELL the data to AdWords advertisers. It's the same user. It's the same action.

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Google just pulled a ''Facebook Home'': KitKat's primary interface is Google Search | Ars Technica

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 05:57

One of the headline features of Android 4.4 is a revamped home screen and app launcher. The icons are bigger, there is more transparency, and the app drawer makes better use of the screen real estate. It's also heavily integrated with Google Search and Google Now, although you might not see it at the surface level. Sure, there's the usual search bar widget and a swipe to the left will open the full Google Search app, but the integration goes much deeper than that. While developing KitKat, Google made a very interesting decision: rather than graft a few new search UI pieces onto the home screen, Google threw the existing home app in the trash and turned all home screen functionality over to the Google Search app.

Everything you see here is being drawn by Google Search.

That's right, Google Search isn't just integrated into the home screen, it is the home screen. Everything you see on the home screen'--the wallpaper, the icons, the widgets, and the app drawer'--are all drawn by the Google Search app. "GoogleHome.apk" still exists, but it is an empty shell that forwards everything to the search app.

If you need proof of this, the picture below shows the layout files for the Android 4.3 launcher and the 4.4 Google Search app. Layout files do exactly what you think they do: they determine what goes where in an Android app. As the image shows, the layout files from the 4.3 launcher have all migrated over to the Google Search app. All the necessary assets and image files have made the jump, too. I would show the GoogleHome.apk layout files for comparison, but there aren't any. The launcher has been gutted and is now just a helper app that registers Google Search as the home screen. In fact, if you install GoogleHome.apk without the 4.4 Search app, it won't work at all. It just displays a message saying it requires the Google Search app to function.

Google has adopted the Facebook Home strategy. Facebook took its normal Android app and grafted an app launcher onto it'--it replaced the Android home screen with something that revolved around Facebook. The wallpaper became images and status updates from your friends, and Facebook notifications were given top billing. Everything was designed to get you to use Facebook as much as possible. With KitKat, Google is working toward a similar idea. Google took its search app and gave it wallpapers, a home screen, and an app drawer, and now it's the first thing you see when you unlock a Nexus 5.

If Google just wanted to include a few new search pieces into the existing standalone home app, it could have easily done that. The search bar has traditionally been a widget, and there is even a widget that displays Google Now information. Both of those could have been expanded and made more configurable with a few tweaks to Android's widget framework, but instead of doing that, Google chose to make its Search app the primary interface. While Facebook certainly went further down the integration road than Google, the two companies are now clearly headed down the same path. Google Now cards are currently relegated to the left-most home screen, but it's not hard to imagine a future where particularly relevant cards start popping up on the main screen. After all, since Google Search is the home screen, Google Now cards are constantly in memory.

And yes, for those wondering, this means Google Home (more accurately, Google Search Home) will be in the Play Store. Google Home is the Google Search app, which is already in the Play Store, it's just an old version. Soon, you'll hit the update button and have 99 percent of the code for Google Home. Google Home doesn't even require KitKat; I've got it running on my Jelly Bean-equipped Nexus 4 right now.

Google App Indexing.

This isn't the only in-road Google Search has made into KitKat, either. The dialer and incoming call screen now automatically perform Google searches for phone number information (and will display Google Ads), and Google has just launched "App Indexing," a way to directly open a search result in the appropriate app from Google Search.

[Update: Google has gotten in touch with us, and they say they are not working on ads in the Dialer.]

If Google was going to stop here, there is no way it would need to merge Google Search and the Launcher into a single app. Android has begun a slow, gradual transformation into a Google Now device. Just like Facebook, Google wants to change the way you use your phone from an app-centric device to a device that revolves around its core product, but unlike Facebook, Google has the install base and clout with OEMs to make it happen. Remember, if OEMs want to ship any Google Apps, they need to ship allthe Google apps, so Google Home will most likely be included on every Android device. It won't necessarily be enabled by default on something like a Samsung device, but that's nothing some light badgering in the Search app won't fix ("For a better search experience, enable Google Home!"). Expect to see much more Google Now integration in the future.

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Powered by the crowd, EFF attacks infamous ''podcasting patent'' | Ars Technica

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Thu, 17 Oct 2013 06:33

There are lots of patents out there claiming basic Internet functionalities or business practices, but some of them just hit a nerve. That's what happened with the so-called "podcasting patent," a patent on "episodic content" owned by a company called Personal Audio LLC.

That company says that inventor Jim Logan's cassettes-by-mail business, which flopped in 1998, entitles him to a payment from every modern podcaster. Logan also has a patent on organizing playlists that he has used to sue MP3 makers including Samsung, which recently paid an undisclosed amount.

Personal Audio's cash demands against podcasters big and small. The company sued CBS, NBC, Fox, and the HowStuffWorks podcast and threatened others. That led the Electronic Frontier Foundation to denounce the patent earlier this year. If it could raise $30,000, EFF promised to file a petition attacking the patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

It blew that target out of the water, raising $76,160. Yesterday, EFF filed the petition.

"Personal Audio is not the true inventor of this technology and should not be demanding a payout from today's podcasters," said EFF lawyer Daniel Nazer. "If you look into the history of podcasting, you won't see anything about Personal Audio."

The EFF petition cites an early Internet radio show by Carl Malamud called "Geek of the Week," as well as online broadcasts by CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), as three examples of "episodic content" that came before Personal Audio's priority date of 1996.

Malamud's "Geek of the Week" Internet radio shows were distributed back in 1993 and written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, EFF notes in its petition. That should put to rest Personal Audio's audacious claim that it ''invented what is now commonly called podcasting back in 1996."

Personal Audio also claims the novelty of its invention comes from use of a "compilation file" at a particular URL that is updated when new content is available. But the EFF petition describes how a similar process was used by predecessor online services at CNN and elsewhere.

Mac OS 10.9 '' Infinity times your spam | FastMail Weblog

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Sun, 27 Oct 2013 06:06

This is a technical blog/rant. Users of FastMail who don't use Apple's email clients can safely skip it.

I've spent quite a lot of the past few days dealing with bugs caused by the Mail app in Apple's new Mavericks update.

Apple's mail client has been buggy with IMAP connections forever. It was infamous a couple of years ago for creating folders called INBOX.INBOX.INBOX.INBOX.INBOX.INBOX (until it hit the mailbox limit). We now block those at create time because they were causing ''interesting'' problems as well as being confusing.

This release has other interesting bugs that I've looked into in the past couple of days. When you uncheck the ''keep a copy of my sent email on the server'' checkbox, it auto-rechecks itself. I confirmed that report myself on our test laptop.

I also confirmed that the 'Archive' folder (special-use \Archive) doesn't appear in the folder listing, and neither do any subfolders if you have any (one of my accounts does '' one per year for the past *mumble* years).

So we know it's not the breakfast of champions. That's not a giant surprise, it's never been the strong point of that OS. The previous revision has problems too:

229.12 UID STORE 588201 +FLAGS.SILENT ($Junk Junk JunkRecorded)229.12 OK Completed 230.12 UID STORE 588201 -FLAGS.SILENT ($NotJunk NotJunk)230.12 OK Completed 231.12 UID EXPUNGE 588201231.12 OK Completed 232.12 UID STORE 588201 +FLAGS.SILENT (\Deleted)232.12 OK Completed Anyone who can read IMAP can see that it tries to expunge the message BEFORE the \Deleted flag is set, which is pointless. UID EXPUNGE only deletes messages with the \Deleted flag set.

http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4315#section-2.1

I found _that_ one because our web interface expunges all \Deleted items, so users noticed they only got the expected behaviour across multiple clients if they left the web interface open at the same time.

Millions of messagesBut this doozy takes the cake. I found it nearly a week ago when we had an IO error because a user's cache file was overflowing the 32 bit offset counter that still exists in Cyrus (I have an experiemental branch with 64 bit offsets, but it's not ready for production yet)

They had 71 unique messages in their Junk Mail folder, but included expunged messages (we keep them for a week for backup purposes) there were over 1 MILLION separate entries in the index file. We de-duplicate on store, so the fact that there were over 100,000 copies of the most prolific message in the index didn't totally flood the disk.

I noticed then that they were using 10.9'²s mail app:

3.19 ID ("name" "Mac OS X Mail" "version" "7.0 (1816)" "os" "Mac OS X" "os-version" "10.9 (13A603)" "vendor" "Apple Inc.")I wiped the expunged messages from the cache, emailed the user, and left it at that.

This morning I checked again, there were nearly a million messages again, so I enabled telemetry on the account and emailed the user a second time.

Here's what I saw in the telemetry (one of many):

44.18 SELECT "INBOX.Junk Mail" (CONDSTORE)[...]45.18 FETCH 1:* (FLAGS UID MODSEQ) (CHANGEDSINCE 213634)45.18 OK Completed (0.000 sec) 46.18 IDLE+ idling DONE46.18 OK Completed 47.18 CHECK47.18 OK Completed 48.18 UID COPY 3360991:3361069 "INBOX.Junk Mail"* 158 EXISTS * 79 RECENT48.18 OK [COPYUID 1318456612 3360991:3361069 3361070:3361148] CompletedYes you read that right. It's copying all the email from the Junk Folder back into the Junk Folder again!. This is legal IMAP, so our server proceeds to create a new copy of each message in the folder.

It then expunges the old copies of the messages, but it's happening so often that the current UID on that folder is up to over 3 million. It was just over 2 million a few days ago when I first emailed the user to alert them to the situtation, so it's grown by another million since.

The only way I can think this escaped QA was that they used a server which (like gmail) automatically suppresses duplicates for all their testing, because this is a massively bad problem.

I discovered my second attempt to contact the user about this problem in their Junk folder tonight. 10 times already!

Given that my colleague had just been paged by high disk usage on that user's server '' a usage which was growing fast, and which got reduced massively by expunging old deleted messages'... it was time to lock the account until the faulty email client is disabled. We don't lock user accounts lightly, but running a malfunctioning piece of software which is affecting other users and resisting attempts to contact qualifies, and a promise to disable the faulty software will be enough to resume service.

Yes, Mail.app was cleaning up after itself, but we keep deleted emails for a week, and even though it wasn't using disk space, over a million emails were using enough meta database space that a disk had filled up. There are only 79 actual emails in this folder with a total usage of about 2MB, yet the meta files:

91M cyrus.index906M cyrus.annotations1.2G cyrus.cacheOver 2GB of disk usage.

Solving problemsThe sad thing is '' there are about 600 copies of Cyrus on our production farm, and I can roll out a new copy in about 5 minutes. There are umpteen million copies of Mail.app out there, and I can't get them fixed on any particular schedule '' so if this happens with more than one user the only real solution that I have is to code a workaround directly into our server to protect our other users.

We already wrote a special case for another one of Apple's brilliant ideas '' make the search box default to a full text search of every mailbox. The most expensive possible option for the server.

We have rate limits for other things, but we've never considered needing a rate limit for the COPY command '' it would usually hit quota, but because these messages are expunged as fast as they are created, the quota doesn't catch this issue.

The 4 million message 32 bit limit of the UID field will become interesting on that folder soon too, which is another thing we've never hit in production before. The workaround here is at least known '' create a new folder, copy the messages across, delete the old folder, and rename the folder into place with a new UIDVALIDITY and new messages. '' as many people have pointed out to me, it's 4 billion, not 4 million '' so much for last minute ideas when writing late at night. Sorry for the confusion. It would take a lot longer then a few days to hit the limit!

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Carl Malamud - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Thu, 17 Oct 2013 06:34

Carl Malamud (born 1959) is a technologist, author, and public domain advocate, known for his foundation public.resource.org. He was the founder of the Internet Multicasting Service. During his time with this group, he was responsible for creating the first Internet radio station,[1] for putting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database on-line,[2] and for creating the Internet 1996 World Exposition.[3]

Malamud is the author of eight books, including Exploring the Internet and A World's Fair.[4][5] He was a visiting professor at the MIT Media Laboratory and was the former chairman of the Internet Software Consortium. He also was the co-founder of Invisible Worlds, was a fellow at the Center for American Progress, and was a board member of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.[6][7]

Malamud set up the nonprofit public.resource.org, headquartered in Sebastopol, California, to work for the publication of public domain information from local, state, and federal government agencies.[8] Among his achievements have been digitizing 588 government films for the Internet Archive and YouTube,[9] publishing a 5 million page crawl of the Government Printing Office,[10] and persuading the state of Oregon to not assert copyright over its legislative statutes.[11] He has also been active in challenging the state of California's copyright claims on state laws by publishing copies of the criminal, building, and plumbing codes online.[12]

He has also challenged the information management policy of Smithsonian Networks, convinced C-SPAN to liberalize its video archive access policy, and begun publishing court decisions.[13][14][15][16][17] In 2009 he proposed himself, through the "Yes We Scan" campaign, as the Public Printer of the U.S., the head of the Government Printing Office.[18] He is leading an effort, under the banner of Law.gov, to bring online all primary legal materials (including legal codes and case law) for open public access.

An early Internet pioneer, he is the author of many early books about networking such as Analyzing Novell Networks and DEC Networks and Architectures.[19][20]

^"Internet Talk Radio". museum.media.org. Retrieved 2010-05-30. ^"Securities and Exchange Commission". public.resource.org. Retrieved 2010-05-30. ^"Internet 1996 World Exposition". Retrieved 2010-05-30. ^Malamud, Carl (September 1992). Exploring the Internet: A Technical Travelogue. Prentice Hall. p. 379. ISBN 0-13-296898-3. ^Malamud, Carl (August 8, 1997). A World's Fair for the Global Village. The MIT Press. p. 304. ISBN 0-262-13338-5. ^Baker, Mitchell (2006-11-22). "Bob Lisbonne and Carl Malamud Join the Mozilla Foundation Board". The Weblog of Mitchell Baker. Retrieved 2008-05-27. ^Baker, Mitchell (2007-05-22). "Carl Malamud and Public.Resource.Org". The Weblog of Mitchell Baker. Retrieved 2008-05-27. ^http://public.resource.org/about/^http://public.resource.org/ntis.gov/index.html^http://public.resource.org/gpo.gov/index.html^http://public.resource.org/oregon.gov/index.html^Halverson, Nathan. "He's giving you access, one document at a time". The Press Democrat. Retrieved 2008-09-04. ^O'Reilly, Tim (2006-04-05). "Smithsonian Sunshine". O'Reilly Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-05-27. ^Malamud, Carl (2006-05-25). Testimony of Carl Malamud. Hearing on Smithsonian Institution Business Ventures. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-05-27 ^Fallows, James (2007-03-09). "Another win for Carl Malamud (or: news you won't see in the May 2007 issue of the Atlantic)". The Atlantic.com. Retrieved 2008-05-27. ^Malamud, Carl (2007-02-27). "Congressional Hearings, Fair Use, and the Public Domain". public.resource.org. Retrieved 2008-05-27. ^Markoff, John (2007-08-20). "A Quest to Get More Court Rulings Online, and Free". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-27. ^Doctorow, Cory (2009-02-25). "Yes We Scan! Carl Malamud for Public Printer of the USA". ^Malamud, Carl (July 1992). Analyzing Novell Networks (2nd ed.). Van Nostrand Reinhold. p. 340. ISBN 0-442-01302-7. ^Malamud, Carl (February 1989). Dec Networks and Architectures. J. Ranade Dec Series. Intertext Publications. p. 472. ISBN 0-07-039822-4. PersondataNameMalamud, CarlAlternative namesShort descriptionDate of birth1959Place of birthDate of deathPlace of death

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VIDEO-LAX Gunman Kills TSA Officer Before Taken into Custody - ABC News

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Fri, 01 Nov 2013 20:34

A gunman armed with an assault rifle entered a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport today, killed a TSA agent, penetrated deep into the terminal before he was captured by police.

Six other people were injured in the incident.

Th e shooting sent hundreds of passengers streaming out of the terminal with many fleeing onto the airport runway. Dozens of flights to and from the airport were delayed or cancelled. It also triggered a "tactical alert" for the Los Angeles Police Department.

The shooting began around 9:20 a.m. in the usually crowded terminal.

Police Chief Patrick Gannon said the shooter was armed with an assault rifle, blasted his way past airport screeners and "got back very far into the terminal." Gannon said the shooter initially opened fire before "proceeding up into the screening area" where he shot at TSA officers.

Police "tracked him through the airport... and engaged him," Gannon said, eventually taking him into custody.

The FBI quickly took a lead role in the invesitgation.

Witnesses described the shooter as a short, young, white man, carrying a long-rifle.

One of the shooting victims was a TSA officer who died of his wounds. Six others were injured and taken to nearby hospitals.

"One arrived in critical condition and two are listed in fair condition," a spokesman from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said in a statement.

An emergency physician said the patients suffered bullet wounds and other injuries.

Three other patients were taken to other hospitals.

The LAPD said it was on "tactical alert due to a major incident" at the airport and the fire department said they were assisting at a multi-patient incident.

Police said they believe there was only one gunman, but are sweeping the terminal and surrounding areas as a precaution.

An eyewitness, Leon Saryan, told ABC News Radio that a "fairly young" gunman with a rifle came down a corridor in Terminal 3 and shot perhaps 20 times.

A TSA officer holding Saryan's shoes was shot and wounded, he told ABC.

Saryan said the gunman asked him, "Are you TSA?"

"He saw me. He looked at me with a quizzical look and said, 'TSA?' And I just shook my head. So he moved on," Saryan said.

Terry Malloy, who was in the airport at the time of the shooting, told ABC News she heard at least three shots fired.

"I was sitting there, and I heard the alarm go off like when the door opens. I saw all these people charging down this ramp going in a million different directions. Everyone started looking at each other (like) what are we going to do, and I saw the ticket agent go behind the counter, and then I heard shots," Malloy said.

"I ran out to one of the piers," she said. "Someone opened one of the doors, and then we literally ran right onto the runway. We saw airport police charging down the runway with their doors open," he said.

VIDEO- LAX Airport Shooting. LAPD Chief Admits to Training For the Exact Scenario. - YouTube

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VIDEO-LAX eyewitness: 'Keep running, keep running' | Fox News Video

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 23:33

This transcript is automatically generated

INTO DROP OFF PASSENGERS TO PUT THEM ON BUSES.

WE HAVE A NUMBER OF CORRESPONDENTS ON THE GROUND AND WE ARE GETTING A LOT OF TWEETS IN HERE.

YES, WE ARE STANDING NEXT TO TERMINAL TWO.

THE AIR TRAFFIC HAS CONTINUED.

THAT IS ABOUT IT.

NOTHING NORMAL FOR LAX.

I WANT TO GET TO THE TWO WITNESSES.

IT IS ABOUT A THREE HOUR DRIVE DOWN.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW, IT IS UP STAIRS.

DOWNSTAIRS IS WHERE PEOPLE ARRIVE.

WE WERE PUTTING BELONGINGS ONTO THE BELT TO BE SCREENED AND WE HEARD 8 SHOTS RING OUT.

WE HIT THE DECK AND FOR ABOUT I DON'T KNOW 15 SECONDS WE WERE DOWN AND EVERYBODY STARTED RUNNING DOWN INTO THE GATES, THE TERMINAL THERE.

TSA WAS RUNNING WITH US.

AS WE WERE RUNNING, THERE WERE PROBABLY 15 TO 20 SHOTS THAT WE HEARD BEHIND US.

WE RAN OVER TOWARDS TERMINAL TWO UNDER PLANES AND SO ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE IN LINE TO BE SCREENED, WE STORMED THROUGH THE SECURITY GATES.

THAT IS BREACHING SECURITY TOO.

WE KEPT RUNNING AWAY FROM THE SHOTS AND WE DUCKED INTO TERMINAL TWO.

SCARY MOMENTS HERE FOR SURE AT LAX.

>> I HAVE BEEN TALKING TO MARK AND AUDREY WHILE YOU HAVE BEEN ON THE AIR.

YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR SHOE.

YOU ARE WEARING ONLY ONE SHOE.

>> I WAS AT THE SCREENING AREA.

I WAS PUTTING MY BELONGINGS IN THE TRAY I HAD ONE BOOT OFF AND I PUT MY BOOT IN THE TRAY AND WE FELL TO THE FLOOR AND ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.

IT WAS LIKE A DREAM IT WASN'T REAL IT WAS LIKE A MOVIE.

IT WAS SO INTENSE.

AND WE PANICKED.

AND JUST STARTED FLOODING THROUGH THE SCREENING XRAY MACHINES AND TSA WAS RIGHT THERE WITH US.

I'M SHAKING I'M SCARED.

THEY SAY THERE COULD BE A GUNMAN ON THE ROOF.

I JUST WANT TO GET OUT OF HERE.

>> I TALKEDED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT MOMENTS AGO.

THEY DON'T BELIEVE THERE IS A SECOND GUNMAN ANY WHERE.

PEOPLE LIKE THE HENRY'S LEFT THEIR BAGS.

>> MY ID IS IN THERE.

EVERYTHING IS BACK AT THE SCREENING.

AND WE JUST WANT TO KNOW IF IT IS OKAY.

>> ONE OF THE BYPRODUCTS OF YOU LEAVING IT THERE NOW THE BOMB SQUAD HAS TO GO THROUGH THE ENTIRE TERMINAL AND MAKE SURE THOSE BAGS ARE CLEAR.

>> YOU SAID YOU WERE HAPPY TO GET OUT ALIVE.

>> EVERYTHING THAT IS IN OUR BAGS IS REPLACEABLE.

>> LIKE YOU SAID, SCARY MOMENTS.

>> HIS DAD AND MOM ARE WITH US.

AND WE HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM THEM AND HIS DAD HAS HEALTH ISSUES WITH HIS HEART AND WE WERE SCARED FOR HIM BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT ANYTHING TO HAPPEN TO HIM AND WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT THEY ARE SAFELY OUT OF THE AIRPORT AND SAFE AND WE WANT TO RECONNECT WITH THEM.

>> YOU MIGHT SEE PEOPLE WALKING BEHIND US.

I TALKED TO SOME PEOPLE WHO RAN INTO RESTAURANTS AND I TALKED TO TSA AGENTS.

THEY SAID THEY THOUGHT THE SHOTS WERE COMING FROM DOWNSTAIRS.

>> THEY WERE LIKE AT THE BASE OF THE ESCALATETERS.

SO YES, THERE WERE NO SHOTS.

ONCE WE LEFT, THEY MAY HAVE CAME UP THE ESCALATETERS.

>> I YOU HAVE TO GO UP THE STAIRS OR UP THE STAIRS TO GET TO WHERE YOU CHECK IN AND GO THROUGH SECURITY.

MY QUESTION IS ARE TSA AGENTS ARMED? >> YOU WOULD THINK THAT THEY WOULD BE THERE TO KEEP US SAFE.

>> WHEN THEY ARE RUNNING WITH US.

>> NO DOWN THE ABOUT THAT.

VIDEO-Rob Reiner aka Meathead: Hillary Would Be 'Most Qualified Person Ever to Run for President' | MRCTV

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MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO- Israel Attacks Syria - YouTube

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VIDEO-Supporter paints picture of Snowden's life in Moscow '' CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 04:55

By CNN's Greg Clary

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has now been in Moscow for more than five months while Russia considers whether to grant his request for permanent asylum. But his day-to-day activities remain largely a mystery.

One person who knows more than most about Snowden's situation is Jesselyn Radack, who met with him recently in Moscow.

Radack is a member of the whistleblower-support organization, Government Accountability Project, and a former ethics adviser to the Justice Department. She became a whistleblower herself after raising concerns about the interrogation of ''American Taliban'' John Walker Lindh.

Radack says security is still paramount for Snowden'--she and the other visitors weren't told the location of their meeting because of security concerns.

''It appeared to be a hotel, somewhere, but I don't know Moscow, so I didn't recognize where we were really,'' Radack said.

When Snowden first arrived in Russia, he holed up in an airport transit lounge as Russia decided how to handle his case. But today, Radack said Snowden isn't simply hiding out and awaiting his fate, he's trying to adjust to the culture in which he now finds himself.

''He was pretty occupied most of the day with learning Russian and studying Russian history and getting acclimated to his new environment, to his new home as well as trying to follow the debate going on here and around the world,'' Radack said.

Specifically, Radack said, he's reading the books of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and learning Russian phrases. The New York Times reported Snowden was, ironically, reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky's ''Crime and Punishment'' although Radack couldn't confirm that.

Radack did say Snowden does make a point of keeping tabs on the buzz surrounding him and what U.S. officials are saying about him.

''He's very aware. He's on the Internet so he can see this. He had known that there had been joke about putting him on the assassination list. He also is studying the legislation really carefully and there are certain bills that he liked and didn't like because they didn't go far enough in (the) Foreign Intelligence Act or the Surveillance Act,'' Radack said.

Radack said she thinks Snowden wants to be part of the discussion about the NSA's spying practices someday, perhaps even using technology like Skype to testify before Congress.

''If in the near term, if testimonies were to occur, it would have to be through Skype. But Skype is not really safe because it can give away a location,'' Radack said.

''If that can be done in a way that would protect him, he would be glad to do that.''

Snowden did meet with German Member of Parliament, Hans-Christian Stroebele, Thursday where Snowden delivered a letter addressed to the body.

Radack said she can relate to Snowden following her own experience of taking on the government.

''I myself was called a traitor, and a turncoat and a terrorist - which obviously I am not. I am just extremely patriotic and a civically involved American,'' Radack said.

Despite all his criticisms of the NSA, Radack said Snowden still sees himself as a patriot, not a traitor as many have made him out to be.

''What he did was in purpose of trying to make the United States a better country and the free and open democratic society it always says it is.''

''He loves the U.S. and he misses the United States,'' Radack said.

VIDEO- CNN: LAX SHOOTER LINKED TO NEW WORLD ORDER CONSPIRACY THEORY - YouTube

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 02:30

VIDEO- Confessions of a RX drug rep, what we all must know. - YouTube

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 23:03

VIDEO- LAX SHOOTING DUMMY - CIAnCIA a New World Order Conspiracy Theorist - False Flag! - YouTube

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 03:56

VIDEO-October 27: Woodward-Merkel is a dude

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 23:47

September 29: Paul, Durbin, Blackburn, Van Hollen

The latest on the possible government shutdown and negotiations with Iran, with Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., Reps. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Zbigniew Brzezinski, Gerald Seib, David Ignatius, Clarissa Ward, Margaret Brennan and John Dickerson.

VIDEO- Weekly Address: Passing a Budget that Reflects our Priorities - YouTube

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 20:47

LAX shooting: Charges filed against alleged gunman - chicagotribune.com

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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 00:59

LOS ANGELES'--

Federal prosecutors on Saturday filed a murder charge against the alleged gunman in the shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport in which a Transportation Security Administration screener was killed.

Other charges related to firing a weapon inside an international airport were also filed against 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, who was identified by police as the man who opened fire inside Terminal 3 about 9:20 a.m. Friday. At an FBI news briefing Saturday, officials confirmed that Ciancia used an assault rifle in the attack.

If convicted, Ciancia faces life in prison without parole, or possibly the death penalty, authorities said Saturday.

At the briefing, FBI officials said Ciancia's intent was made "very, very clear" in a note in which he "indicated his anger and malice toward TSA officers."

David Bowdich, FBI special agent in charge, said that in Ciancia's handwritten note, his goal was to "instill fear into their traitorous minds."

Ciancia remained in critical condition Saturday morning after law enforcement sources said he was shot in the leg and head by LAX police. Because of his injuries, federal authorities had not been able to interview Ciancia, Bowdich said.

Authorities on Saturday were still trying to learn a motive. But a federal law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told The Times that the note found with Ciancia contained a rant against the government and the words ''kill TSA."

DISTURBING TEXT MESSAGE

In New Jersey, police and FBI agents descended on Ciancia's family's home in Pennsville Township.

Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings said he had been contacted by Ciancia's father before the shooting, prompted by a worrisome text message from the young man to his brother.

The police chief declined to say more about what was in the text message but said that family members told investigators they had no previous indications that Ciancia, who moved to California about 18 months ago, was troubled.

A U.S. official who asked not to be identified said federal investigators were trying to determine if the gunman had been targeting TSA agents in the rampage.

Neighbors who live across the street from the Ciancia family said the father, also named Paul, runs an auto body shop in the town.

"I believe he worked for his father," said one neighbor, Jennifer Pagan, of the younger Paul.

Her husband, Orlando Pagan, said the elder Ciancia had made several friendly gestures since they had moved into their house 10 years ago. When Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey last year, "he asked if we wanted to take our personal vehicle and put it on his property." The Ciancia property is slightly higher.

TSA AGENT'S WIDOW 'DEVASTATED'

The gunman shot at least two Transportation Security Administration employees, one fatally, said Bowdich. TSA Administrator John S. Pistole traveled to Los Angeles on Saturday to meet with the family of Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, the screener who was shot and killed on Friday. Pistole also met the two TSA officers who are recovering from gunshot wounds, officials said.

Hernandez's wife, Ana, said Saturday her husband was "always there to help anyone in need."

"We are hurting," she said. "I am truly devastated."

Flanked by TSA Administrator John Pistole, Ana Hernandez said her husband was "always excited to go to work." The youngest of four siblings, she said, Gerardo moved to the United States from El Salvador at age 15 and graduated from Los Angeles High School.

"It's devastating because he was such a great guy," one of Hernandez's friends, Kevin Maxwell, told KNBC. Maxwell said Hernandez was the "very proud" father of a boy and a girl.

Hernandez was one of two shooting victims taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. When he arrived, doctors said it was evident there was no chance of survival.

A round of shots broke into fragments inside his torso and caused chest injuries and debilitating internal bleeding.

"We made every effort to stop the bleeding and get the heart to beat on its own," Dr. David Plurad told NBC News.

TSA Administrator Pistole, who appeared outside the Hernandez home with Ana, called the incident "a senseless tragedy."

"This is a time of great reflecting for us," he said.

Pistole said officials will be examining their policies and assessing them, though he acknowledged: "We can't guard against all threats and all risks."

Los Angeles police officers will be wearing black mourning bands in memory of Hernandez, ChiefCharlie Beck of Los Angeles Police Department said on Twitter.

Meanwhile the airport said its 100-foot pylons would light the night blue through Sunday in Hernandez's honor.

Hernandez is the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty since the agency was created 69 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

''No words can explain the horror that we experienced today when a shooter took the life of a member of our family and injured two TSA officers at Los Angeles International Airport,'' Pistole said in a letter to TSA employees sent on Friday.

Authorities said that during the rampage, Ciancia approached several people cowering in the terminal, pointed the gun at them and asked if they ''were TSA.'' If the answer was no, he moved on without pulling the trigger. A witness told The Los Angeles Times that the gunman cursed the TSA repeatedly as he moved through the terminal.

Authorities said Ciancia was shot and wounded by police in an exchange of gunfire at the airport's busy Terminal 3. He was shot in the leg and head, making it difficult for authorities to gather information, a law enforcement official told The Los Angeles Times.

KCAL-TV footage appeared to show the bloodied gunman handcuffed to a gurney as he was wheeled out of the terminal. He remained in critical condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as of Saturday morning.

The incident was over in less than 10 minutes but caused chaos at the world's sixth-busiest airport and disrupted thousands of flights across the nation.

Armed with an assault rifle, the shooter touched off panic and chaos at one of the world's busiest airports. Hundreds of travelers ran for safety or frantically dove for cover behind luggage, and loud alarms blared through the terminal.

Traveler Lauren Stephens, 47, said she had just put her luggage on the scale at the ticket counter in Terminal 3 when she heard a series of gunshots. "Somebody just yelled 'Run' at the top of their lungs. ... I just left my bag and I just ran like hell. Everybody ran."

The gunman, a U.S. citizen who appeared to be acting alone, pushed through the screening gates and ran into an area where passengers were boarding flights, before law enforcement officers caught up with him in a food court, Patrick Gannon, chief of the Los Angeles Airport Police, said at a news conference.

The officers shot him at least once and took him into custody, he said.

VIDEO-Sources: Alleged LAX gunman had 'new world order' conspiracy theory tract - Investigations

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Sat, 02 Nov 2013 14:46

NBC News

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, is shown in a driver's license photo.

By Pete Williams and Andrew Blankstein, NBC News

The man who allegedly killed a TSA worker and wounded three others at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday had anti-government literature in his possession outlining an alleged conspiracy to create a single global government, law enforcement sources tell NBC News.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the material recovered from Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, after the shootout at LAX appeared to have been prepared by a group called ''New World Order.'' One source said it also expressed animus toward racial minorities.

There is no record of a radical group by that name and the term ''New World Order'' is often used by conspiracy-minded groups and individuals to describe an alleged secret plot to establish an autonomous world government that would replace sovereign nations and put an end to international power struggles.

According to ConspiracyWiki, an Internet site devoted to conspiracy theories, the doctrine was primarily limited to militant anti''government and radical fundamentalist Christian groups until the early 1990s, but has since been embraced by some left-wing groups.

Very little was known about Cianci, who had lived in the Philadelphia area before moving to California.

His brother told police in New Jersey he had received a text message from the suspect Friday morning saying he was thinking about taking his life.

Pennsville, N.J., Police Chief Allen J. Cummings then contacted the Los Angeles Police Department to do a well-being check on Ciancia at his apartment in California. He wasn't there when LAPD officers contacted his roommates about 10 a.m. local time, but they said everything was fine.

Ciancia's father, also named Paul, told NBC station KNBC that he last spoke to his son a week ago, when the son said the economy was depressed. The senior Ciancia said he didn't know if his son had a job or if he owned any weapons, but confirmed that he was in California.

Ciancia was shot by law enforcement and taken into custody after he allegedly began shooting at Transportation Security Administration workers with an assault rifle at about 9:20 a.m. local time.

Passengers at LAX describe the moments after the shooting started.

Federal officials said it was unclear whether the gunman was targeting TSA workers or was trying to shoot his way through to gain greater access to the airport. But one witness said the shooter, while walking through the terminal with his weapon, approached him with a one-word question.

"All he said was, 'TSA?' Just like that," Leon Saryan told MSNBC.

The shooting started in Terminal 3, which serves Virgin America and other airlines. Ciancia allegedly took a 223-caliber AR-15 style, semiautomatic rifle out of a duffle bag and fired on TSA officers at a screening checkpoint, authorities said. He then went farther into the terminal, where he exchanged fire with law enforcement and was shot multiple times in the chest, they said.

He was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.

Police said quick action by airport officers averted a worse tragedy.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference later Friday that the gunman had with him at least 100 more rounds of ammunition that ''literally would have killed everyone in that terminal.''

NBC's Ted Greenberg and Nyree Arabian contributed to this report.

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