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04.08.14

News Links: Abuses of Power, Public Reactions

Posted in News Roundup at 1:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drones

Venezuela

Ukraine

Power Abuses and Looting

  • GM’s immunity in recall questioned

    General Motors Co. is shielded from legal liability for nearly all accidents that occurred before its July 2009 exit from bankruptcy. That protection has emerged as one of the most controversial aspects of the automaker’s ignition switch recall.

  • Will the Government Rescue GM Again?
  • Energy Privatized: The Ultimate Neoliberal Triumph

    On December 21, 2013 Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, posed for the cameras holding the official decree ending the 75-year history of the national oil company, PEMEX. The decree also closed the era in which Mexico’s electrical generating and distribution system had been under the control of two public institutions—Central Light and Power (LyFC), from 1960 to 2009, and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), from 1937 to 2013. In a literal sense, neither PEMEX nor CFE will cease to exist, but they will quickly become mere shadows of what they were: the two largest firms operating in Mexico. In response to these comprehensive changes, noted public intellectual Arnaldo Córdova has acknowledged that “the Constitution is dying,” while Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas declared: “Never, throughout our history as an independent nation, has the country seen such a dismantlement of the protections to our sovereignty and self-determination.”1 For its part, the Mexican government immediately saturated the news media with full-page ads, the most prominent of which declared: “The oil will continue to belong to the Mexicans.”

  • Sentencing Corrupt Bankers to Death by Firing Squad

    One duo now on death row embezzled roughly $25 million from the state-owned Vietnam Agribank. Their co-conspirators caught decade-plus prison sentences.

    In March, a 57-year-old former regional boss from Vietnam Development Bank, another government-run bank, was sentenced to death over a $93-million swindling job.

    According to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre news outlet, several of his colluders were sentenced to life imprisonment after they confessed to securing bogus loans with a diamond ring and a BMW coupe. And last week, in an unrelated case, charges against senior employees from the same bank allege $47 million in losses from dubious loans.

    None of this would impress Bernie Madoff, mastermind of America’s largest ever financial fraud scheme. The combined amount from all three Vietnamese cases adds up to less than 1 percent of his purported $18-billion haul.

    But these death sentences nevertheless are high profile scandals in Vietnam.

    That’s the point. Human rights watchdogs contend that splashy trials in Vietnam are acts of political theater with predetermined conclusions. The audience: a Vietnamese public weary of state corruption. But these sentences also sound loud alarm bells to dodgy bankers who are currently running scams.

  • The Rich Will Destroy London Like They Destroy Everything Else

    London’s housing market is being turned into a billionaire’s casino…

Privacy

  • HSTS: A secure standard that isn’t respected enough

    Not so, according to a post by Jeremy Gillula, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). In a blog he complains that most Web sites still don’t support HTTPS Strict Transport Security (HSTS), a standard that was approved in the fall of 2012 by the Internet Engineering Steering Group.

NSA

  • US Supreme Court passes on NSA surveillance case

    Supreme Court declines an early look at a challenge to the NSA’s bulk collection of American’s phone records — but that doesn’t mean it won’t hear the case down the road.

  • Supreme Court Ducks NSA Surveillance Case

    The move isn’t surprising, as it is unusual for the Supreme Court to allow escalations straight from district courts without letting the US Court of Appeals have a go at it first.

  • US Supreme Court declines to hear NSA mass phone-slurp case

    Lawyer Larry Klayman won the first round of the case against America’s top online spying agency in December, when District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon found in favor of the plaintiff, saying the NSA tactics were an “arbitrary invasion” that was “almost Orwellian.”

  • Did UK spooks use NSA data to spy on Britons?

    “British intelligence agencies do not circumvent domestic oversight regimes by receiving from US agencies intercept material about British citizens which could not lawfully be acquired by intercept in the UK”.

  • NSA logs reveal flood of post-Snowden FOIA requests

    The National Security Agency (NSA) has been flooded with thousands of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from journalists, civil rights groups and private citizens who have asked the agency to turn over the top-secret records that former contractor Edward Snowden leaked to the media, Al Jazeera can reveal.

  • Executive of telecom giant that aided NSA spying is on India’s cyber security panel

    Sensitive government committees aimed at boosting India’s cyber security and formulating its internet policy have featured intensive participation by representatives of US telecom giant AT&T, a company with a record of voluntary participation in online spying by the US, and a strong interest in ensuring rules of the internet road favour large corporations.

  • NSA ‘ally’ AT&T’s exec is member of Indian govt.’s cybersecurity committee
  • Privacy roundup: Public wary of tech companies, plus NSA-spying news
  • New Captain America movie with clear anti-NSA message is a massive hit abroad

    When the original Captain America movie came out, many wondered how well it would play in massive new Asian markets like China. Would a superhero movie with an in-your-face, pro-America message fare well? Well, the first movie in the franchise was a bit weak outside the U.S. — it grossed $194 million in all international markets combined. Fairly mediocre.

  • National View: Tech titans must do more than criticize NSA snooping

    When it suits them — and when events affect their bottom line — these companies like to make a stink about democracy and free speech. After humblebragging about calling President Barack Obama to complain about NSA snooping, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered a paean to the Internet’s utopian spirit:

    Together, we can build a space that is greater and a more important part of the world than anything we have today, but is also safe and secure. I’m committed to seeing this happen, and you can count on Facebook to do our part.

    Sounds good!

    But while Facebook claims to take seriously the security concerns of its billion-plus users, it’s also in the business of mining and exploiting its customers’ data.

  • The NSA Has Been Ordered To Disclose How Much Water It Uses
  • Defendant targets use of warrantless NSA wiretaps in criminal prosecutions

    When federal prosecutors charged Colorado resident Jamshid Muhtorov in 2012 with providing support to a terrorist organization in his native Uzbekistan, court records suggested the FBI had secretly tapped his phones and read his emails.

    But it wasn’t just the FBI. The Justice Department acknowledged in October that the National Security Agency had gathered evidence against Muhtorov under a 2008 law that authorizes foreign intelligence surveillance without warrants, much of it on the Internet. His lawyers have not been permitted to see the classified evidence.

Snowden

Hayden

Militarism

  • Why Do Soldiers Commit Suicide And Global Warlords

    Soldiers do not go to fight the unknown enemies on their own. They are indoctrinated and pushed to war paradigm by the political monsters who use them as digits and numbers – to compile official statistic, and to support the economy of dehumanization. Consequently, the fighting soldiers – men of conscience lose unity of the human consciousness – unity of material and spiritual factors of life and balanced characteristic– fair and foul. It is a tragic conjuncture of inner revolt of human consciousness for a crime that is not part of the human nature and character and not visible to scientifically expert minds – the doctors who simply identify mental health issues of those suspected of syndrome to commit suicide. These are the net causalities of man’s insanity against man. The real reasons are hardly mentioned in expert reports.

CIA

  • Torture, The CIA, And How We Lost Our Herd Immunity

    Dick Cheney, Patient Zero in this particular outbreak, and a towering public combination of inhumanity and cowardice, is out in public bragging about how deeply infected he is. (His daughter, Liz, went on TV over the weekend and suggested that we should ignore the decade of torture inspired by her father and concentrate instead on the true crime of the past 20 years…Benghazi.) Over the weekend, the inexcusable Fred Hiatt loaned the space over which he presides at The Washington Post to Jose Rodriguez, a truly monstrous figure in the events in question, so that Rodriguez could spread the infection even further through the subject population.

  • Doctor Zhivago: How the CIA turned fiction into propaganda
  • CIA Used “Dr. Zhivago” as Cold War Weapon
  • CIA Debunks Its Own Claims About Torture

    High-Level U.S. Officials Debunk CIA Claims About Bin Laden

  • Time to expose the CIA’s ‘dark side’

    The partial declassification of a report critical of interrogation and detention policies used by the CIA after 9/11 is a crucial part of confronting the abuses of our past.

  • Eric Holder Calls For Release Of ‘As Much As Possible’ Of CIA Torture Report
  • Robinson: Senate must release CIA torture report
  • Jon Stewart Explains the CIA Torture Report: “We Are a Moral People, in Hindsight”

    New details emerged last week outlining the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush Administration, after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify a comprehensive report. But don’t ask the government officials behind the program to actually call it torture. As Jon Stewart explained on last night’s The Daily Show, it was more along the lines of “super-aggressive, terrorist suspect spa treatments.”

  • It’s Time the CIA Gets Some Serious Oversight

    Every once in a while, the CIA’s “Because I said so” club lets loose with a bit of preposterous condescension that reminds us why, along with extraordinary rendition and drone strikes, we’re also a nation of transparency and checks and balances. In this case, the crowing comes from Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service and the administrator of that agency’s post-9/11 enhanced interrogation (i.e., torture) program. We shouldn’t believe the “shocking” results of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation, Rodriguez says, especially those that lay bare the lies and exaggerations promulgated by the CIA and the ineffectiveness of the program itself.

    Why not? Because Rodriguez was there, and you weren’t. Never mind that Rodriguez hasn’t actually read the report, or the fact that CIA-sponsored torture isn’t a yoga class, so “being present” doesn’t really count as the endeavor’s ultimate objective. And never mind the findings of the “Internal Panetta Review,” conducted by the CIA, that, according to Senator Feinstein, “documented at least some of the very same troubling matters already uncovered by the committee staff—which is not surprising, in that they were looking at the same information.”

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