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02.18.14

War on Everything (Minds, Lawyers, Journalists, Gamers, Surfers, Foreigners)

Posted in News Roundup at 8:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Categorised outline of news from yesterday evening and so far today

Honours

War on Journalism

  • U.S. press freedom rank plummets
  • US Press Freedom Threatened

    First Amendment rights matter most. Without them all other freedoms are at risk. Post-9/11 policies threaten them.

    Bush waged war against them. Obama escalated it. He promised transparency, accountability and reform. He called whistleblowing “acts of courage and patriotism.” He said one thing. He did another.

    Press freedoms are endangered. An October Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) report discussed Obama and the press.

    Journalists say he’s waging war on dissent. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He’s heading America on a fast track to tyranny.

War on Free Thought/Reading

Surveillance in Video Games

  • Secret Surveillance: How to fly under the NSA’s radar

    “Now even when you’re just recreationally playing video games, you can’t have fun either. You have to be careful what you say. You don’t want to say a word that can flag you and you get a visit from a law enforcement officer or something,” Marmolejo said.

  • Report: Valve anti-cheat scans your DNS history

    Valve is looking at your browsing history right now, if a recent report is to be believed. It seems that the company’s Valve Anti Cheat system (VAC) reportedly looks at all the domains you have visited, and if it finds that you’ve frequented hack sites, who knows what actions it will take.

War on Lawyers

  • Edward Snowden’s Lawyer Claims Harassment from Heathrow Airport Border Police

    Jesselyn Radack, a human rights lawyer representing Edward Snowden, has claimed that she was detained and questioned in a “very hostile” manner on Saturday by London Heathrow Airport’s Customs staff.

    Radack told civil liberties blog Firedoglake that she was taken to a room to be questioned by a Heathrow Border Force officer who showed very little interest in her passport documents but subjected her to questioning about whistle-blowers Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.

  • ‘Why Have You Gone to Russia Two Times in Three Months?’—Heathrow Customs Agent Interrogates Snowden Lawyer
  • Snowden’s Lawyer Interrogated By UK Authorities At Heathrow Airport

    She was “stone face cold” during the interrogation but afterward was shaking and in tears. “How did he know to bring up those names?”

    This blatant attempt to intimidate Snowden’s lawyer, who was informed that she was on an “inhibited persons list,” comes in the wake of news that a US law firm was spied upon as it advised the Indonesian government in a trade dispute with Australia. It confirms that for the US and UK governments, nothing is exempt from their total surveillance, not even information traditionally covered by attorney-client privilege.

Australia

NSA Leadership

  • Outgoing NSA director: ‘It’s not our mission’ to spy on everyone in the world

    The National Security Agency (NSA) will send its recommendations for where to store telephone metadata records to President Obama later this week, the outgoing NSA director said Friday in a speech defending his agency’s surveillance tactics. General Keith Alexander, who is retiring as NSA director next month, did not say where he thinks the data should be held. President Obama recommended on January 17th that the government stop holding Americans’ phone call records, but pushing the data out to either telephone companies or to a third party are both seen as having significant drawbacks.

  • Clapper admits NSA should have been ‘transparent from the outset’ on surveillance

    The Director of National Intelligence has admitted that, in hindsight, the US intelligence community would have been smarter to disclose some details about how telephone records belonging to millions of Americans have been collected for years.

Partisanship

  • Hang together against NSA spying

    Last June, on behalf all Americans, I filed two class action lawsuits against President Barack Hussein Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, NSA Director Keith Alexander, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal Judge Roger Vinson of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), who authorized and issued an illegal order allowing the NSA to intercept and collect so-called telephonic and Internet metadata on nearly the entire U.S. citizenry. Metadata allows the government to access and track the most intimate details of a person’s private and professional life.

  • NSA unites right, left ends of political spectrum
  • NSA Surveillance Exposes Political Party Divisions

Drones

  • Iowa Land Of…. Reaper Drones And Hellfire Missiles?

    There will be drone legislation introduced in the Iowa legislature addressing privacy and surveillance issues. How much more ought we be concerned with the killing of civilians (a fate much worse than losing privacy) done with the dollars, and in the name of, Iowans.

  • Obama’s itchy trigger finger on drone strikes: what happened to due process?

    The once-extraordinary circumstances required for the US to assassinate a human being have become all too ordinary

  • Air Weapons: Hellfire Crushes The Competition

    In service since 1984, the American AGM-114 Hellfire missile has not only proved enormously useful in the war on terror, it has also defeated numerous efforts to replace it with something better. It didn’t help that an improved Hellfire, Hellfire II, appeared in 1994 and over 30,000 have been produced so far. These have been the most frequently used American missiles for over a decade, with over 16,000 fired in training or (mostly) combat since 2001.

Militarism

Torture

  • Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower Threatened with ‘Diesel Therapy,’ Suffers Shakedowns for Talking to Press

    The federal correctional institution of Loretto, Pennsylvania, where former CIA officer John Kiriakou is serving a thirty-month jail sentence, appears to be scrambling to find any way they can to stop him from sending letters from prison. He has written another letter that details what seem to be clear acts of retaliation.

    Since August of last year, Firedoglake has been publishing “Letters from Loretto,” by Kiriakou, an imprisoned whistleblower who was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the George W. Bush administration. He was convicted in October 2012 after he pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter. He was sentenced in January 2013 of this year and reported to prison on February 28, 2013.

    Firedoglake has been publishing Kiriakou’s “Letters from Loretto” since the summer of last year. In fact, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) considers copies of Kiriakou’s letters to be a danger to the Loretto prison: a threat to the “security, good order or discipline of the institution” or “to the protection of the public” or a document that “might facilitate criminal activity.”

    In Kiriakou’s most recent letter from prison, written on February 10, he reports a threat allegedly made by a “senior prison official,” who told him months ago that officials have discussed putting him in “diesel therapy” for the rest of his sentence.

Coup

  • Colorful past behind Libyan ‘coup maker’

    On the same day, former military chief Major General Khalifa Hifter called for the parliament and government to be suspended, in an announcement some described as a coup attempt.

    [...]

    It is quite interesting that the newspaper chose to place Hifter’s “ridiculous” coup in an Egyptian context. There is a more immediate and far more relevant context which the newspaper and its veteran correspondents should know very well. It is no secret that Hifter has had strong backing from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for nearly three decades.

  • Is US Supporting Oligarch Coup Attempt In Venezuela?

    Venezuela is a country engulfed in myth in the US media. It is almost impossible to get the truth from corporate media outlets. Indeed, Venezuela may be the most lied about country in the US media. Sadly, groups that had been previously trusted like Human Rights Watch have joined the anti-Venezuela propaganda campaign and their reports on the country have been rebutted in great detail. In this current round of misinformation, the presence of propaganda against Venezuela also been evident in the social media.

    The misinformation in the United States is because Venezuela is the lynch pin of the movement of Latin America away from US domination. Further, the oligarch class in Venezuela continues to control much of the media and big business interests. They are able to have a big influence on the economy, create scarcity of key goods and can impact the value of Venezuelan currency by flooding Venezuela with off-market US dollars. The oligarchs lost big in recent municipal elections and have lost national elections to Chavez and Maduro repeatedly. Not only is Venezuela a challenge to US hegemony in the Americas, it is a challenge to big finance capitalism. It has rejected the corporate-based neoliberal economics that the US is pushing throughout the world to the detriment of most people and the benefit of the wealthy. For all these reasons Venezuela is a top target of the United States and the oligarchs in Venezuela.

Police

  • Farmers Rise Up Against Agribusiness, Face Down Riot Police in Brazil

    Thousands of farmers marched on Brazil’s capital Wednesday in the face of riot police, tear gas and rubber bullets, demanding justice for the millions of landless farmers they say have suffered for years under the country’s agricultural policies.

    The farmers, organized by the Landless Workers Movement (MST), numbered around 16,000 in the streets of Brasília where they were confronted by riot police in the city center as they headed towards the presidential palace.

    Many of the MST protesters today are angry that President Dilma Rousseff is backtracking from the policies of the past two administrations and allowing “agro-business to undercut chances of land reform.”

  • Ex-cop acquitted of killing homeless man chased out of restaurant by angry residents

    If a recent night out at Denny’s is any indication, public life may not go back to normal any time soon for one California police officer even after being acquitted of murder.

    Former Fullerton, California, police officer Manuel Ramos was one of two officials accused of beating a homeless schizophrenic man named Kelly Thomas to death back in 2011. Thomas was beaten and tasered multiple times during the confrontation, which left him in a coma. He died five days later in a hospital bed.

  • Father trying to stop family fight beaten to death by Oklahoma cops

    A Valentine’s Day outing turned tragic for one Oklahoma family who claims five police officers beat their father to death during a confrontation outside a local movie theater.

    The death is currently under investigation, and three police officers have been placed on administrative leave as the probe unfolds.

    The incident occurred February 14 in Moore, Oklahoma, when an argument erupted between Nair Rodriguez and her daughter Lunahi. Nair slapped her daughter during the dispute and ended up leaving the theater. When Luis Rodriguez chased after his wife in a bid to stop her, law enforcement officials intervened and asked for his identification.

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