02/29/12

Permalink Goodbye, First Amendment: ‘Trespass Bill’ will make protest illegal

Just when you thought the government couldn’t ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it. - The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. In the bill, Congress officially makes it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, which, on the surface, seems not just harmless and necessary, but somewhat shocking that such a rule isn’t already on the books. The wording in the bill, however, extends to allow the government to go after much more than tourists that transverse the wrought iron White House fence. Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country.


Permalink Just one in eight of Google users have read its new privacy policy

Fewer than one in eight Google users have bothered to read the internet giant's new privacy policy, a poll found yesterday. The great majority are in the dark about the way the biggest search engine operator will use information about what they look for and what they do on-line, it said. The findings came amid deepening concerns about the abuse of private information by internet companies. Its new privacy policy, which comes into effect on Thursday, sets out how the search engine company will exploit detailed information on its users, down to the locations where they use their smartphones, and how it will distribute it to other organisations. The company's new policy replaces around 60 different existing privacy policies. Nick Pickles, of Big Brother Watch, said:

'The impact of Google's new policy cannot be understated, but the public are in the dark about what the changes actually mean.'Companies should not be allowed to bury in legal jargon and vague statements how they may monitor what we do online, where we use our phones and even listen to what we say in calls. 'This change isn't about Google collecting more data, it's about letting the company combine what's in your emails with the videos you watch and the things you search for.'

BBC: Google 'fails to meet EU rules' on new privacy policy


Permalink Netanyahu will "urge" Obama to publicly back attack on Iran

Intensive preparations underway to ensure a successful meeting between the two leaders next week in Washington, despite lack of trust between two sides. [Translation: Intensive preparations underway to make sure Obama will do as he's told.] - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to publicly harden his line against Iran during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on March 5, according to a senior Israeli official. Israel wants Obama to make further-reaching declarations than the vague assertion that "all options are on the table," the official said. In particular, Netanyahu wants Obama to state unequivocally that the United States is preparing for a military operation in the event that Iran crosses certain "red lines," said the official; Israel feels this will increase pressure on Iran by making clear that there exists a real U.S. threat.


Permalink Israel Won't Warn U.S. Before Strike On Iran: AP Source

Israeli officials say they won't warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel's potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran's nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered the message to a series of top-level U.S. visitors to the country, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House national security adviser and the director of national intelligence, and top U.S. lawmakers, all trying to close the trust gap between Israel and the U.S. over how to deal with Iran's [alleged] nuclear ambitions. Netanyahu delivered the same message to all the Americans who have traveled to Israel for talks, the U.S. official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive strategic negotiations.

Sydney Morning Herald: Israel won't warn US before Iran strike
Jason Ditz: Israel Won’t Warn US Before Attacking Iran

Justin Raimondo: The ‘Trust Gap’/The US-Israeli divide: it’s a chasm - While diplomats speak a language made up almost entirely of euphemisms, the reality is that the “trust gap” is a veritable chasm. For the Israelis to tell us – their chief benefactors and defenders – they have no intention of warning us before undertaking an action which will put US troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the entire region in mortal danger, is beyond outrageous. It is an overtly hostile act. In effect, what they are threatening amounts to the Middle Eastern Pearl Harbor. The irony is that the means to launch such an attack were given to them by us.


Permalink US Drone War Reaches Philippines

The U.S. launched a drone strike in the southern Philippines early this month that reportedly killed 15 members of the Islamic terrorist groups Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah, raising concerns about the legality of U.S. drones in the country. - One of those killed was reportedly Zulkifli bin Hir (aka Marwan) had a $5 million bounty on his head from the U.S. State Department. Not all of the identities of those killed were released. The airstrike prompted angry reactions from some in the Philippines weary of U.S. breach of their sovereignty. One Philippine representative, Luz Ilagan, called for repealing the U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement and an end to U.S. military intervention in national affairs. Ilagan also called for a probe into what she referred to as the “extensive and intensive intrusion of the U.S. military in Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) operations”. She added, “If these reports are true, then U.S. troops are participating in and conducting operations beyond what is allowed in the Visiting Forces Agreement and directly transgressing our sovereignty. More importantly, their participation in these operations is a potential magnet for the Philippines’ participation in a brewing U.S.-instigated regional conflict.”


Permalink Pentagon: We Dumped 9/11 Victims in Landfill

The Dover Air Force Base scandal continues to grow today, as the Pentagon is now admitting that not only the remains of slain soldiers, but the remains of a number of civilians killed on 9/11 were disposed off in a Virginia landfill. - The scandal initial broke late last year, with the revelation that the Air Force had disposed of unclaimed soldiers’ remains in the landfill, and later they said records showed at least 274 US soldiers were dumped in this manner. The new report says that the base cremated “unidentified” remains from the 9/11 attacks and then shipped them off to be dumped by a contractor. Retired Gen. John Abizaid, who was leading the panel that issued the report, declined to offer further details.


Permalink US Has 'Secret Indictment' Against Wikileaks' Assange

Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in Sweden, fears extradition to Stockholm will open the way for his extradition to the US on possible espionage or conspiracy charges over WikiLeaks' publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked classified US reports. - Raw Story reports:

The U.S. Department of Justice is refusing to comment on whether it has prepared espionage charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, even after emails allegedly stolen from the Austin, Texas firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) and published Tuesday revealed that the company claims to have a sealed indictment against him. [...]

Speaking to Raw Story Tuesday morning, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said that they cannot comment “on whether anyone has been charged in a sealed indictment.”

On Monday, Wikileaks began publishing documents it is calling "The Global Intelligence Files" which includes over 5 million e-mails from the US-based "Global Intelligence" company Stratfor, the Global Intelligence Company described by Barons as the Shadow CIA. The Age, along with 25 other media outlets, has access to the emails through an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks.


Permalink US ambassador suggests nuclear submarine sale to Australia

A front page article in the Australian Financial Review on February 22 reported that the US ambassador in Canberra, Jeffrey Bleich, has floated the possibility of Washington selling or leasing nuclear submarines to Australia—a first for any country. - While Defence Minister Stephen Smith restated the Labor Party’s position that it would not consider the “nuclear option”, the report is a further indication of Washington’s moves to strengthen military ties with Australia as it aggressively confronts China. According to the Review, Bleich stressed that “Washington viewed Australia’s subs program as crucial to security in the Asia-Pacific region.”


Permalink Monsanto Pays 93 Million to Victims In Settlement

Monsanto tentatively agreed to a $93 million settlement with some residents of Nitro, West Virginia. Nitro is a small town that got its name from manufacturing explosives during WWI. It was also the site of a Monsanto chemical plant that manufactured 2,4,5-T herbicide that was half of the Agent Orange recipe. Herbicide 2,4,5-T was contaminated with the caustic by-product dioxin. This settlement may open the floodgates to successfully suing Monsanto for its poison.


Permalink Anonymous brings down Interpol website in retaliation for 25 arrests

Interpol's main website has been downed by the Anonymous hacker group in retaliation for the international police agency’s hacker arrests worldwide. And such attacks will continue, the hacktivists promise. - The website Interpol.int was unreachable for a half hour on Wednesday. Access was later restored, although the loading time remains slow. The attack appears to have been conducted using a botnet. Anonymous Twitter accounts tweeted “interpol.int seems to be #TangoDown. We can’t say that this surprises us much," and "Looks like interpol.int is having some traffic issues. Now who would have expected that?” - The attacks came as Interpol announced the arrests of 25 suspected Anonymous members, aged between 17 and 40, who it alleges planned coordinated cyber-attacks against Colombia’s defense ministry and presidential websites, Chile’s Endesa electricity company and national library, among other targets. The arrests were part of Operation Unmask, during which police in Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Spain seized computers, mobile phones, credit cards and cash at 40 locations in 15 cities.


Permalink Farrakhan - February 26, 2012

Love him, hate him, ignore him, think he's a fraud or for real, Louis Farrakhan says some things rarely addressed in a public forum. Covering topics such as Obama and his failures, Obama's critics, jewish influence, the mossad, 9/11 and even fast foods in an excerpt from his 'Saviors Day' keynote speech, Farrakhan is interesting to say the least.


02/28/12

Permalink WikiLeaks releases first 200 of 5m Stratfor emails

WikiLeaks has released the first 200 of a cache of 5m emails obtained from the servers of Stratfor, a US-based intelligence firm. The emails originated not from a whistleblower, but instead from a series of hacking attacks against Stratfor in December 2011, carried out by the online activist collective Anonymous. Anonymous apparently passed the emails to WikiLeaks in the weeks following the attack. The whistleblowing website then recruited, according to its statement, 25 media partners to work on the document cache.

AWIP: WikiLeaks begins disclosing intelligence firm's e-mails


Permalink WikiLeaks: Leaked Statfor emails state Israel destroyed all of Iran's nuclear facilities

Israel, Kurdish fighters destroyed Iran nuclear facility, email released by WikiLeaks claims. In exchange released by website, worker at Stratfor intelligence firm doubts validity of a source claiming an Israeli ground force had already wiped out Iran's nuclear infrastructure. - The mega-leaks website, WikiLeaks, has partnered with the hackers cooperative Anonymous, to publish internal emails of the American strategic intelligence company Stratfor. In one of the hacked emails, Stratfor officials discuss information obtained from one of their sources who reports that Israeli commandos, in cooperation with Kurdish fighters, have destroyed Iranian nuclear installations. WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, will hold a press conference today in London where he plans to reveal new details from the Stratfor emails, including details on the company's dealings with the American government and major corporations, and its network of paid sources.


Permalink Dad goes to jail for 4-year-old daughter’s drawing

It was a kindergarten class piece of art that Jessie Sansone probably won’t want to hang on the refrigerator anytime soon. - After Jesse Sansone’s 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun, cops handcuffed the clueless father and dragged him off to jail. It was there that the dad was stripped of his clothes and searched by the authorities. Sansone was never charged with a crime. Sansone wasn’t expecting to be greeted by police when he went to pick up his three children from school last week. Faculty there had become concerned, however, after the man’s 4-year-old daughter drew an image last Wednesday that they thought warranted investigation. It was a picture of a man holding a gun, and when teachers asked the girl to explain it, she said it was a depiction of her father. “He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters,” teachers say the girl explained. The father says he doesn’t own a gun. Nor does he kill monsters.

“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” Sansone, 26, tells The Record out of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. “I was in shock. This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school,” he says.

After seeing the image in question, the school’s staff became shocked as well. So much so, in fact, that they rang up child welfare officials and local law enforcement and arranged for them to meet the girl’s father at the end of the school day. By that evening, Sansone had been handcuffed, whisked away to jail and forced to remove his clothes so he could be subjected to a strip search. Authorities took all three of Sansone’s children and dragged them to Family and Children’s Services to be interviewed. His wife, Stephanie Squires, tells The Record that authorities never explained themselves.


Permalink Israel pushes US to sketch more hawkish policy on Iran: Report

Israel is reportedly fuming over what it describes as the United States’ soft stance on Iran’s nuclear energy program, pushing the White House to adopt a more hawkish position against Tehran. - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials have reportedly put the US President Barack Obama administration under pressure due to their rage over the “deliberate attempts” by the White House to undermine the effectiveness of Israel’s war threats against Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. According to the report, the Israeli premier has told US officials that he wants Obama to outline specifically what Washington considers as the "red lines" that Iran cannot cross. “Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials also are pressing for Obama to publicly clarify his insistence that ‘all options are on the table,’” regarding Iran, the report said.

Bill Van Auken: US, Britain gear up for war on Iran


Permalink The Mossad Has Long Given Marching Orders to AIPAC

AIPAC’s Washington policy conference next month is drawing intense scrutiny and unprecedented resistance. AIPAC has worked quietly for years to tripwire the United States into war with Iran. Soon it will “ask” Congress and the president to define “nuclear weapons capability” as the threshold for war, essentially demanding an immediate attack. Because Iran presents no military threat to the United States, many Americans wonder exactly where such costly and potentially disastrous policies are formulated. Recently declassified FBI files reveal how Israeli government officials first orchestrated public relations and policies through the U.S. lobby. Counter-espionage investigations of proto-AIPAC’s first coordinating meetings with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the head of Mossad provide a timely and useful framework for understanding how AIPAC continues to localize and market Israeli government policies in America.


Permalink Obama using Espionage Act to 'silence and prosecute federal workers'

The Obama administration, which promised during its transition to power that it would enhance "whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers," has been more prone than any administration in history in trying to silence and prosecute federal workers. The Espionage Act, enacted in 1917 to punish those who gave aid to US enemies, has been used six times since the current president took office. In the most recent case, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who became a Democratic staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was charged under the Espionage Act with leaking information to journalists about other C.I.A. officers, some of whom were involved in the agency's interrogation program, which included waterboarding.


Permalink Vaccination rights attorney threatened with criminal charges

Vaccination rights attorney Patricia Finn threatened with criminal charges; New York State demands she surrender names of all clients. - Vaccine rights attorney Patricia Finn is being targeted by the Ninth Judicial District of New York State, which has threatened to strip her of her license to practice law and even file criminal charges against her. Finn is one of several "vaccine rights" attorneys across America who helps parents assert their rights to protect their children from potentially deadly vaccines. She's considered a hero by many, but a villain by the status quo for daring to stand up against the vaccine-pimping medical police state that exists in America today.


Permalink Upper class more likely to be scofflaws due to greed, study finds

The upper class has a higher propensity for unethical behavior, being more likely to believe – as did Gordon Gekko in the movie “Wall Street” – that “greed is good,” according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley.

In seven separate studies conducted on the UC Berkeley campus, in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationwide, UC Berkeley researchers consistently found that upper-class participants were more likely to lie and cheat when gambling or negotiating; cut people off when driving, and endorse unethical behavior in the workplace.

“The increased unethical tendencies of upper-class individuals are driven, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed,” said Paul Piff, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley and lead author of the paper published today (Monday, Feb. 27) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Piff’s study is the latest in a series of UC Berkeley scholarly investigations into the relationship between socio-economic class and prosocial and antisocial emotions and behaviors, revealing new information about class differences during a time of rising economic tension.

Raw Story: Upper class people more likely to cheat: study
AWIP: The rich are different — and not in a good way, studies suggest


Permalink Pennsylvania poised to enact most restrictive abortion law of 2012

Even as the transvaginal ultrasound bill in Virginia was causing national outrage, Pennsylvania conservatives were quietly pushing a even more restrictive abortion bill. The legislation is designed with so many difficult and differing restrictions that long-time abortion policy analyst Elizabeth Nash at the Guttmacher Institute told Raw Story, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” In addition to mandating the much-maligned transvaginal ultrasound requirements since rejected by the state of Virginia, Pennsylvania legislators proposed strongly encouraging women to view and listen to the ultrasounds, forcing technicians to give the women personalized copies of the results and mandating how long before any abortion the ultrasound much be preformed — and that’s just for starters.

Raw Story: Brownback: ‘Go work somewhere else’ if you want contraception


Permalink Syria: Constitution won huge support; rebels reject results

Amid reports of fresh atrocities in the besieged city of Homs, the Syrian government said Monday that an overwhelming majority of voters - 89 percent - had approved a new constitution that is billed as President Bashar Assad's most serious concession yet in the nearly year-old uprising against his rule. - Opposition activists, backed by the Free Syrian Army guerrilla movement, rejected the results and vowed to continue their fight to end the Assad dynasty's four-decade hold on the country. They renewed their calls for foreign assistance such as weapons and "safe zones" along the borders, saying that the bloodshed of the past year renders moot any more regime promises of reform. The results, however, bolstered Assad's support from China and Russia, the two nations that had vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution earlier this month that called for new sanctions on Assad.

Stephen Lendman: Syrians Overwhelmingly Approve New Constitution


Permalink Hundreds of Israeli soldiers show up in village targeted for demolition - Video

At dawn last Wednesday, February 22nd, between 250 and 300 Israeli soldiers came through the occupied Palestinian village, Al Aqaba, as part of their training. They were going on little to no sleep, so they took the opportunity to sleep in their jeeps, on the street, and between village houses. After they awoke, they proceeded eastward towards the valley.


Permalink U.S. troops repeatedly desecrate Koran

The contention that they are "accidents" is balderdash, this is U.S. military doctrine taught from the top down. - The US claim that they were unaware of the sacredness and importance of the Qur’an defies logic as Americans have repeatedly desecrated Islam’s holy book, a political analyst tells Press TV. The comment comes as the US has asked the Afghan government to protect the foreign troops in the war-ravaged country from public outrage over the recent desecration of the Holy Qur'an by US-led forces.


Permalink Australia: Key 2010 coup plotter quits government after leadership vote

Within hours of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s defeat of Kevin Rudd in yesterday’s Labor Party leadership ballot, Labor Senator Mark Arbib announced that he was quitting politics. A career apparatchik within the powerful New South Wales Right faction, Arbib played the key role in removing Rudd and installing Gillard as prime minister in the June 2010 coup. In this, he worked closely with Washington, having been a secret “protected source” for the US embassy in Canberra from early on in his political career. Arbib indicated that his decision to resign was centrally bound up with the coup. While insisting that he “stands by the decision” to axe Rudd, the senator declared that “we need to close the door on that period and we need to start afresh.” He continued: “I want to be able to mend some of the conflict that has happened in the past... What I’m trying to do is try to ensure that the party gets over the past week, the past period, it’s a gesture of goodwill to the party.”

AWIP/WSWS: Australia’s political coup leaders and their big business connections
Mike Head: Australian media organisations, Labor MPs attack persecution of Julian Assange
Patrick O’Connor: WikiLeaks cables reveal secret ties between Rudd coup plotters and US embassy


Permalink St Paul's protest: Occupy London camp evicted

Police and bailiffs have evicted anti-capitalist protesters and removed tents from the Occupy London camp at St Paul's Cathedral. - The operation, which began just after midnight, was mostly peaceful but there were 20 arrests. A St Paul's spokesman said: "We regret the camp had to be removed by bailiffs." The City of London Corporation said it "regretted" that it had become necessary to evict the protesters. Occupy London, which campaigns against corporate greed, set up the camp on 15 October. The campaigners were refused permission to appeal against a High Court decision to allow their eviction to proceed.

Russia Today: Occupy London camp destroyed by police in riot gear PHOTOS, VIDEO


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