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02.14.14

Health Watch: Sleep, Pesticides, Legalised Drug Cartels, GMO, and Major Cuts to Health

Posted in News Roundup at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Cuts to public health in the UK and increased subsidies to corporations that are harming everybody’s health

  • The myth of the eight-hour sleep

    We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night – but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

  • A Valuable Reputation

    In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a click, a signal that a third party might be on the line. Other scientists seemed to remember events differently, he noticed, so he started carrying an audio recorder to meetings. “The secret to a happy, successful life of paranoia,” he liked to say, “is to keep careful track of your persecutors.”

  • NHS hires drugmaker-funded lobbyist

    Conflict of interest concerns as Specialised Healthcare Alliance, funded by pharmaceutical companies, advises NHS England

  • Pharma drug development only for wealthy countries?
  • Landmark GM canola case to rest on negligence principle

    Lawyers representing a West Australian farmer who is suing his neighbour over genetically-modified canola which allegedly contaminated his property, say the court case will hinge on the principle of negligence.

    The landmark case was taken by Kojonup organic farmer Steve Marsh.

    The lawyers say neighbour Michael Baxter had a duty to contain his own crop of GM canola, and the contamination resulted in Mr Marsh losing his organic accreditation for 70 per cent of his property.

  • Massive: Russia Considers Complete Ban on GM Food Production

    While the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, along with Monsanto and other poison makers try to slip a labeling-by-choice campaign past citizens in the US, Russia is preparing a bill that would heavily restrict the import of genetically modified agricultural produce, as well as stop it altogether from being produced domestically.

  • “Fakethrough!” New Report Shows How Easily Media Was Duped by Claims of GMO “Breakthroughs”

    Despite a full-court press defending the supposed benefits of genetically engineered “golden rice,” it has never entered production. According to Jonathan Latham of Independent Science News, the science media has utterly failed to report accurately on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — on their failures and criticisms rather than just their potential successes. A transgenic high-protein cassava, a type of starchy edible root, was lauded in the scientific press but fizzled not long after. So did a supposedly virus-resistant sweet potato that was widely hailed in the media. According to Jonathan Latham of Independent Science News, these and others are just a few examples of what he says is the utter failure of the science media to report accurately and critically on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — on their failures rather than just their touted successes.

  • Will Monsanto Become The NSA Of Agriculture?

    Monsanto is best-known for its controversial use of genetically-modified organisms, and less well-known for being involved in the story of the defoliant Agent Orange (the company’s long and involved story is well told in the book and film “The World According to Monsanto”, by Marie-Monique Robin.) Its shadow also looms large over the current TPP talks: the USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator is Islam A. Siddiqui, a former lobbyist for Monsanto. But it would seem that the company is starting to explore new fields, so to speak; as Salon reports in a fascinating and important post, Monsanto is going digital

  • You’d Be Shocked at What These Fashion Editors Are Editing Out of Their Photos
  • 7,000 key NHS clinical staff made redundant amid enforced cuts

    An “arbitrary” straitjacket on the NHS’s budget by Whitehall is leading to job losses, recruitment freezes and inadequate care for patients, the leader of the country’s doctors warns on Tuesday.

  • Manawatu school removes wi-fi over cancer fear (radiation fears have been downplayed by lobbying and fake, companies-funded ‘studies’)

    Two Manawatu fathers have won a major battle in their fight to have wi-fi removed from their local school, TVNZ reports.

    Fathers Damon Wyman and David Bird have been leading a campaign to remove the wireless networking from Te Horo School and replace it with cable-based internet due to concerns it could cause cancer and other health problems.

    Science Media Centre manager Peter Griffin says the death of Te Horo pupil Ethan Wyman from a brain tumour was a tragedy for his family, friends and school mates, but that to blame it on wi-fi is wrong.

Environment Watch: Extinction, Pollution, and Business Lobby Against Reforms

Posted in News Roundup at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at some of the mess we are in (along with other species) and the role played by greed

Links 14/2/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Will Steam Machines Be the Death of Windows?

    Over time the GNU project grew as thousands of programmers throughout the world donated free software code to Stallman’s pet, causing everyone involved save lots of time and even more money. All that was left was a kernel to put the GNU project’s free, opensource software on. In comes Linus Torvalds.

  • Full SteamOS Ahead!

    Although its timetable may not always be ideal, Valve has come through for Linux users lately. Not only has it released a native Linux version of Steam (with many native games!), it also has expanded its Linux support as the basis for its standalone SteamBox. The first step toward a Steam-powered console is the operating system. Thankfully for nerds like me, Valve released its operating system (SteamOS) to the public.

  • Steam Brings A Game Tagging System
  • The Swapper Atmospheric Puzzle Platformer Is Getting Closer To A Linux Release
  • Jagged Alliance: Back In Action To Go Gold For Linux This Month

    The currently in-beta Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is due to be pushed out properly to Linux users on the 14th of February.

  • Valve Open-Sources Steamworks VR API Code

    Valve has opened up their Steamworks virtual reality (VR) API and posted the code to GitHub.

  • Valve Releases Source Code For Their Virtual Reality API

    In a move that will please developers Valve has opened up the source code to their VR API so anyone can now dive in.

  • Steam client update ‘dramatically’ improves in-home experience

    Valve has pushed another update to it’s Steam Client which brings many improvements to In-Home Steaming. Before you go ahead to download the client keep in mind that there is an issue with the updater which may download two or three times before ‘settling down’, as Sloken writes on the Steam Community page.

  • Fake Debian Developers Are Trying to Get Steam Keys from Valve

    The distribution of Steam keys to the Debian and Ubuntu developers is being handled by a third-party company called Collabora, which is consulting Valve in open source matters.

  • A Look at Warzone 2100

    I’m not really much of a computer gamer. That said, I’m both ashamed and oddly proud of the hours (probably thousands!) I spent playing Dune 2000 back when it was cutting-edge gaming technology. There’s just something about real-time strategy games that appeals to those of us lacking the reflexes for the more action-packed first-person shooters. If you also enjoy games like Dune 2000, Starcraft, Warcraft, Civilization or other RTS classics, Warzone 2100 will be right up your alley.

  • SteamOS beta gets update

    Valve has updated SteamOS beta which brings better support for wireless cards. If you are running beta of SteamOS you will be getting these updates. Those who are using stable version may change to beta version to get advantage of these packages. The update adds additional packages to the repo to support gdb, NFS, and creating an alchemist chroot.

  • Valve Ships Another SteamOS Linux Beta Update

Links 14/2/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 14/2/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

02.13.14

Skynet Watch: Oppression Grows, New Smears (Libel) Against Snowden

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Afternoon and evening news picks about an apparatus of indiscriminate surveillance and merciless assassination

  • How The Copyright Industry Made Your Computer Less Safe

    I’ve already written one piece about Cory Doctorow’s incredible column at the Guardian concerning digital rights management and anti-circumvention, in which I focused on how the combination of DRM and anti-circumvention laws allows companies to make up their own copyright laws in a way that removes the rights of the public. Those rights are fairly important, and the reason we have them encoded within our copyright laws is to make sure that copyright isn’t abused to stifle speech. But, anti-circumvention laws combined with DRM allow the industry to route around that entirely.

  • I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found out is chilling

    A decade and a half later, and given the recent Edward Snowden-fueled brouhaha over the National Security Agency’s snooping on Americans, I wondered how much had changed. Today, about 250 million Americans are on the Internet, and spend an average of 23 hours a week online and texting, with 27 percent of that engaged in social media. Like most people, I’m on the Internet, in some fashion, most of my waking hours, if not through a computer then via a tablet or smart phone.

  • Good Leaks and Bad Leaks

    The fall of the United States in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index seems attributable mostly to the war on whistleblowers. “The whistleblower is the enemy,” the report states, singling out the harsh treatment of Barrett Brown, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

  • Leaked NSA Memo: Fueling the Perception Snowden Did Not Work Alone & Is No Whistleblower

    A number of media organizations have published stories based on a leaked National Security Agency memo that suggests NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “swiped” the password of a co-worker, a civilian NSA employee, who has been forced to resign for sharing his password. The forced resignation by the civilian NSA employee is being reported as part of disciplining people for allowing breaches of security to happen, not as a part of the NSA’s effort to find people to take the fall for something the agency did not prevent from happening.

  • A piracy tool rehabilitated by the NSA spying scandal

    BitTorrent has no more control over how others use the code its founder developed than Google has over what people search for, but it has spent the past few years struggling to shake off the stigma of its technology being used by pirates.

  • Huawei may be one of the few winners of the NSA revelations

    I am used to very polite answers from Huawei executives about how they want to be more open, transparent and gain the trust of the wider community outside of its home market, and Dr Li didn’t disappoint. However, as he continued, it dawned on me there had been at least one winner following the revelations of Edward Snowden in 2013…

  • How Mobile Advertisers Help the NSA Gather User Data

    “Let us be very clear: Millennial Media has not and does not work with, nor pass information to, the NSA, GCHQ, or any other such agencies,” stated a Millennial spokesperson who said the company did not want to be interviewed for this story.

  • Former NSA chief Hayden praises Obama for “doubling down” on Bush-era spying

    Michael Hayden, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA), used a lecture at Oxford University Monday to candidly praise the Obama administration for constructing and exponentially strengthening the NSA’s illegal spying apparatus.

  • NSA official says proposed reforms ‘not putting us out of business’
  • Is drone war losing its fire in shadow of NSA scandals?

    After an ambitious year marked by an explosion of privacy and accountability legislation nationwide, the drone war marches on in 2014.

    But has another, more urgent privacy battle — the global snooping assault by the U.S. National Security Agency — taken some of the fire out of the anti-drone movement?

  • NSA ‘probably developing Mask-type malware’

    As reported previously, Mask was discovered recently by Kaspersky Lab as hitting targets in more than 30 countries and infecting at least 380 separate organisations. The malware uses several techniques to compromise PCs and servers, reportedly tapping various undocumented vulnerabilities in software to ensure success.

  • Why the WH says NSA surveillance ‘is lawful’

    Obama asked Holder and Clapper to develop additional possible reforms by the time the NSA’s phone records programs needs to be reauthorized in March.

  • The NSA isn’t concerned with dorms; there’s no privacy to invade

    The key is finding a way to reap the benefits of self-reflection and letting your guard down outside the walls of the dorm. In other words, replicating the effects of “privacy” without literal privacy. It could be in a library, coffee shop, Chipotle, Bascom (when it isn’t an arctic precipice), a friend’s apartment, the handicap stall or during a long walk or run.

  • The Dangerous Seduction of Drones

    Senior Obama administration officials say our government is sharply scaling back its drone strikes in Pakistan. That’s a step in the right direction. It would be even better if the entire U.S. program of targeted killings in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia were scrapped.

  • NSA-based drone strikes: A deep philosophical problem

    A target that emerges from electronic surveillance cannot be assumed to align with a body on the ground to kill

  • Podcast: Due process, lethal drones and American citizens
  • World churches condemn use of drones

    The World Council of Churches (WCC) today issued a statement condemning the use of drones which indiscriminately target civilian populations, injuring and killing innocent civilians in complete violation of international human right law

  • Too Secret for Congress

    The Los Angeles Times had a great story today that helps explain why few Americans — including the ones who make the country’s laws — know much about the drone program that is the vanguard of the endless war against terror. The basic reason, of course, is that the Obama administration wants to keep everyone in the dark, but the lengths to which officials will go can sometimes be surprising.

  • How Nazi Scientists Taught The CIA To Use LSD Against Soviet Spies
  • U.S. hired Nazis to test LSD and CIA interrogation techniques, book says
  • CIA ‘Hired Top Nazi Doctors to Test LSD on Russian Spies’

News Roundup: Privacy, Surveillance, and Assassination

Posted in News Roundup at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another set of new links (from yesterday’s and today’s news) covering a very disturbing trend that exploits technology for imposition of power

  • American Petroleum Institute kept tabs on enviros

    In 2010 the American Petroleum Institute (API) paid the global intelligence firm Stratfor more than $13,000 a month for weekly intelligence bulletins profiling activist organizations and their campaigns on everything from energy and climate change to tax policy and human rights, according to documents published by WikiLeaks in 2012.

    The weekly reports provided details on a wide range of environmental organizations including Greenpeace, NRDC, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. API was interested in anticipating which groups might be out to “attack” them.

  • Utah Legislator Vows to Fight NSA by Cutting Off Its Water Supply

    Step aside, Rand Paul: the NSA has a new enemy. While the Kentucky senator announced his own class-action lawsuit against the NSA on Wednesday, Marc Roberts, a first-term Republican lawmaker in Utah, is planning to introduce legislation that will choke the water supply at the NSA data center under construction in the state.

  • Protest outside Federal Building in Providence urges limits on NSA surveillance

    Local protesters joined the National Day of Action against government surveillance by rallying outside the Federal Building on Exchange Street in Kennedy Plaza.

    About 20 people held up signs and a large banner that said: “Dear U.S. Government: Stop Spying On Us!!” Organized jointly by Rhode Island MoveOn.org and the R.I. Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights, the protest was part of a national effort called The Day We Fight Back.

  • Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Courts

    It is instructive to note that all of this will be done by the same government that operates under an explicit constitutional directive purportedly protecting people from “unreasonable searches and seizures” and specifying that “… no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause … and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”[3] Indeed, one of the most instructive aspects of the NSA scandal is the way the agency has succeeded, for an extensive period of time, in warding off legal challenges to the constitutionality of its surveillance programs. This is instructive from the point of view of libertarian theory, since it illustrates the degree to which the much-vaunted “checks and balances” within the State apparatus, highlighted in the recent Obama speech, are really illusory. In practice, the judicial and executive branches of government tend to act as a legitimizing mechanism for the actions of government agencies, with rare “checks and balances” and“reforms” coming only when the legitimacy of the system is under potent attack from some outside source.

  • Edward Snowden asylum demand dropped by European parliament

    The European parliament is to ditch demands on Wednesday that EU governments give guarantees of asylum and security to Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower.

  • Protest to Stop NSA Surveillance Generates 85,000 Calls to Congress

    Never underestimate the newfound digital power of advocacy groups to lobby lawmakers. Tuesday’s protest against government surveillance, dubbed The Day We Fight Back, generated more than 85,000 phone calls and 175,000 emails to members of Congress, thanks to more than 6,000 websites that agreed to host a banner to direct voters to act.

  • Privacy board testifies to Congress on report rebuking NSA surveillance– live

    Panel says program is illegal and ineffective

  • White House’s NSA snooping violates separation of powers, congressmen say

    Deputy Attorney General James Cole may have misled Congress earlier this month when he said the National Security Agency doesn’t look at phone data it collects from members of Congress, three lawmakers wrote in a letter on Wednesday.

    Because the NSA could track even phone numbers only distantly related to a suspected source believed to be involved in terrorism, it’s entirely possible that a member of Congress‘ records were tracked, said Wisconsin Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Republican author of the Patriot Act, and two other congressmen, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York.

  • Reps.: Obama’s NSA Is Lying About Spying on Congress

    And it looks like they’re going to remain convinced of that no matter what.

  • Congressional trio criticise James Cole’s NSA testimony as misleading

    Sensenbrenner, Issa and Nadler wrote to Cole on Wednesday for a public clarification of the statement, which they described as “not entirely accurate” – and in doing so drew attention to a little-noticed procedure used by the NSA.

  • EU calls for US to have less control of the internet following NSA revelations

    The EC called for reform today in the way which the internet is run, saying it needs to be more transparent and accountable. Specifically, the EC wants to ensure that one country, specifically the US, doesn’t maintain a dominating influence.

  • Steelie Neelie: ICANN think of more ‘credible’ rules for internet. (Cough *NSA* cough)

    EU vice president Neelie Kroes wants the US to slacken its grip on how the internet is managed in the aftermath of revelations about mass surveillance of innocent citizens.

    She said today that reform was needed to make internet governance more inclusive, transparent and accountable around the globe, with particular emphasis unsurprisingly placed on the role the European Union could play in reshaping that control.

  • NSA actions pose ‘direct threat to journalism’ leading watchdog warns

    Agency’s dragnet of communications data threatens to destroy the confidence between reporter and source on which most investigations depend, Committee to Protect Journalists said

  • Who’s watching?

    DUTCH houses are famous for having large front parlour windows that look directly onto the pavement, affording passersby a clear view of everything happening inside. It is commonplace to associate these windows with the Calvinist Dutch enthusiasm for transparency, a moral imperative to display that one has nothing to hide. One might think that such a compulsively transparent nation would be less upset than others to learn that its electronic communications were being monitored, but in fact Dutch citizens reacted with fury last August to documents released by Edward Snowden, showing that America’s National Security Agency had apparently collected huge amounts of information on Dutch phone calls and other communications—1.8m of them in December 2012 alone. The interior minister, Ronald Plasterk, issued a report in October denying any Dutch government complicity, and in television appearances accused the Americans of carrying out unauthorised surveillance in the Netherlands and promised to call them to account.

  • US Congressman aims to cut water supply to NSA datacentre
  • NSA Surveillance Proponent Unsure if Program Will Continue

    A vocal proponent among US Senate liberals for controversial National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance efforts says the program could be shut down, and experts are unsure how many Americans’ phone numbers have been gathered.

    Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, one of the few proponents of the NSA data-collection programs among Democratic progressives, said Wednesday he is “not assuming” that lawmakers will opt to “keep the bulk collection.”

  • Reforms won’t hamper NSA’s efforts, official says

    Many of the new privacy protections and surveillance reforms ordered by President Obama will probably not harm the National Security Agency’s ability to do its job, the agency’s deputy said.

    “They’re not putting us out of business,” Deputy Director Rick Ledgett said in a recent interview at the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. “They’re not putting an unbearable burden on us. There is a cost to implementing those procedures. But the cost is reasonable, and the effects are not hurting our mission in a significant way.”

  • US plunges in World Press Freedom index after NSA leaks, attacks on whistleblowers

    Press freedom in the United States has suffered “one of the most significant declines” in the last year after sacrificing information to national security, with the NSA surveillance scandal topping the list of wrongdoing.

    That’s according to The World Press Freedom Index for 2014 from Reporters Without Borders (RWB), which put the US in 46th place out of 180 countries, a 13-place drop from last year.

  • Obama’s Kill List

    Obama heads an administration Murder, Inc. agenda. He appointed himself judge, jury and executioner.

  • How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error

    After seven years of litigation, two trips to a federal appeals court and $3.8 million worth of lawyer time, the public has finally learned why a wheelchair-bound Stanford University scholar was cuffed, detained and denied a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii: FBI human error.

    FBI agent Kevin Kelley was investigating Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 when he checked the wrong box on a terrorism form, erroneously placing Rahinah Ibrahim on the no-fly list.

    What happened next was the real shame.

  • Karim Khan, Anti-Drone Activist Who Lost Family Members to U.S. Strike, Goes Missing in Pakistan

    An anti-drone activist and journalist has gone missing in Pakistan just days before he was due to travel to Europe to speak with Parliament members about the impact of the U.S. drone wars. The legal charity Reprieve says Karim Khan was seized in the early hours of February 5 by up to 20 men, some wearing police uniforms. He has not been seen since. Khan’s brother and son were both killed in a drone strike. In addition to public activism, Khan was also engaged in legal proceedings against the Pakistani government for their failure to investigate the killings of his loved ones. We are joined by filmmaker Madiha Tahir, who interviewed Khan for her documentary, “Wounds of Waziristan.”

  • Jail time, fines in drone protest

    A judge in Onondaga County found 13 anti-drone-aircraft activists guilty of disorderly conduct for protesting at a Syracuse-area military base where airmen with the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing remotely fire missiles from unmanned aircraft flying in Afghanistan.

    DeWitt Town Judge David Gideon on Friday sentenced 12 of the 13 peace activists for blocking entrances to the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base on Oct. 25, 2012, according to a De Witt court clerk. The dozen protesters each received 15 days in jail, $375 fines and two-year restraining orders prohibiting them from being near Col. Earl A. Evans, a commander at the base, the clerk said. Gideon is expected to sentence the remaining activist, Vietnam veteran Elliott Adams, on Feb. 25. The 67-year-old from Sharon Springs, Schoharie County, received permission from the judge to miss Friday’s court appearance because he was out of the state.

  • Will Obama kill unknown American with secret memo?

    Every time you think the war on terror can’t get any weirder, it does.

    [...]

    All this helps explain why the Obama administration apparently feels it cannot kill an American citizen without first taking the political temperature in the U.S. When a government program has the odor of illegality, no one wants to use it unless the use will not be heavily criticized. That’s no way to run national security and it’s no way to run a constitutional democracy, either.

  • Obama is first ‘war god’ in history – journalist

    - Looking at the way the White House has handled requests from (ACLU) America’s Civil Liberties Union and other rights activist groups demanding more clarification and more transparency on the drone program, what do you think the White House is afraid of if the information comes out in the open?

  • The very public growth of The Intercept

    The Intercept, the new startup title funded handsomely by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, debuted Monday and created buzz both for simply showing up and for its content: An article examining the use of drones to kill government-selected targets abroad, plus a collection of aerial images of the United States’ national security campuses.

  • Blog digest February 13: ‘DNI admits CIA’s not-really-secret drone program’
  • JPMorgan Vice President’s Death Shines Light on Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA

    Just last month, JPMorgan Chase acknowledged that it facilitated the largest Ponzi scheme in history, looking the other way as Bernie Madoff brazenly turned his business bank account at JPMorgan Chase into an unprecedented money laundering operation that would have set off bells, whistles and sirens at any other bank.

    The U.S. Justice Department allowed JPMorgan to pay $1.7 billion and sign a deferred prosecution agreement, meaning no one goes to jail at JPMorgan — again. The largest question that no one can or will answer is how the compliance, legal and anti-money laundering personnel at JPMorgan ignored for years hundreds of transfers and billions of dollars in round trip maneuvers between Madoff and the account of Norman Levy. Even one such maneuver should set off an investigation. (Levy is now deceased and the Trustee for Madoff’s victims has settled with his estate.)

  • If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination

    President Obama is now considering whether to order the Central Intelligence Agency to kill a U.S. citizen in Pakistan. That’s big news this week. But hidden in plain sight is the fact that Amazon would be an accessory to the assassination.

    Amazon has a $600 million contract with the CIA to provide the agency with “cloud” computing services. After final confirmation of the deal several months ago, Amazon declared: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

  • Did the CIA Use Methods Developed by the Nazis?

    The program, writes Jacobsen, evolved into Project MKUltra, a secret US program studying mind and behavior control techniques, complete with experiments on human subjects. MKUltra also enjoyed the help of ex-Nazi scientists.

  • Sen. Levin’s bid to boost drone oversight falters in Congress

    An effort by a powerful U.S. senator to broaden congressional oversight of lethal drone strikes overseas fell apart last week after the White House refused to expand the number of lawmakers briefed on covert CIA operations, according to senior U.S. officials.

    Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who chairs the Armed Services Committee, held a joint classified hearing Thursday with the Senate Intelligence Committee on CIA and military drone strikes against suspected terrorists.

    But the White House did not allow CIA officials to attend, so military counter-terrorism commanders testified on their own.

02.11.14

Latest News About Surveillance, Torture, and Assassination

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The steep decline to lawlessness and elimination of dissent

  • Take Action to Protect Your Privacy on The Internet

    The value of privacy is something that most people can appreciate but there are those that wish to systematically dismantle this basic human right. Today, however, in a battle to mirror and celebrate the fight against SOPA and its inspiration Aaron Swartz, the Internet will tell the NSA and their mass surveillance partners that erosion of freedoms will never be accepted.

  • The Day We Fight Back protests internet surveillance
  • The Day We Fight Against Surveillance and in Support of Privacy

    Over the last year the public across the globe was made aware of massive global surveillance conducted by the NSA and its partners or counterparts, but also by private tech companies. In response, and in celebration of the victory against SOPA, PIPA and ACTA two years ago and in memory of one of its key architects, Aaron Swartz, La Quadrature du Net joins this day of mobilisation The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance, which will mark actions by civil rights groups from all over the world. This day is a perfect occasion for all citizens to get informed, and to act to defend our privacy against private and public surveillance. Below are actions carried out by La Quadrature and its supporters today.

  • [Video] Reclaim Our Privacy

    Thanks to the generosity of supporters who helped crowd-fund it, and of Benoît Musereau who volunteered to direct it, La Quadrature du Net publishes ”Reclaim Our Privacy”, a three-minute movie that explains the threat to, the importance of protecting, and the tools to reclaim our privacy online. If you want to contribute to the funding of this movie, it is still possible to do so here. Any funds received above the target amount will be shared between Benoît Musereau and La Quadrature du Net. The movie is released under CC BY-SA, so feel free to share or remix it!

  • Join our new campaign to fight mass surveillance
  • Orwell was hailed a hero for fighting in Spain. Today he’d be guilty of terrorism

    If George Orwell and Laurie Lee were to return from the Spanish civil war today, they would be arrested under section five of the Terrorism Act 2006. If convicted of fighting abroad with a “political, ideological, religious or racial motive” – a charge they would find hard to contest – they would face a maximum sentence of life in prison. That they were fighting to defend an elected government against a fascist rebellion would have no bearing on the case. They would go down as terrorists.

  • Number of data interception requests to GCHQ ‘possibly too large’, says official

    Interception communications commissioner Sir Anthony May says requests amount to 570,000 a year

  • Five surveillance myths stalling NSA reform, debunked

    The Day We Fight Back deserves truth amidst the administration’s half-truths and trolling. From thwarted attacks (zero) to President Obama’s new rules (not good enough), this is what you need to know to make real reform happen

  • What the NSA leaks proved about surveillance

    Analysis: U.S. knows about citizens’ phone calls and emails and spies on allied foreign governments and companies

  • Maryland lawmakers want to cripple the NSA’s headquarters

    Legislators in Maryland want to turn the lights out on the NSA — literally. A bill introduced last Thursday to its House of Delegates would bar state agencies, utilities, and pretty much anything that receives state funds from providing assistance to federal agencies that collect electronic data or metadata without a specific warrant to do so. Namely, the delegates are thinking of the National Security Agency, which is headquartered just outside their state’s capital.

    [...]

    The campaign to shut off the NSA’s water and electricity actually stems from the Tenth Amendment Center, which drafted model legislation on which Maryland’s proposal is based. In particular, the Tenth Amendment Center is also hoping to see the NSA’s water supply turned off in Utah, where the agency operates another large data center. Though it’s a roundabout way of dealing with the NSA and unlikely to be a widely supported measure, Smigiel thinks it’s fitting: “I think it was Mark Twain who said, ‘Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over.’”

  • Snowden and the War On Whistleblowers: An Interview With Annie Machon

    Machon talked about the Courage Foundation last December at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress (30C3) in Hamburg, Germany; it is one of the most important annual meetings for hackers around the globe. There, Machon won the audience’s admiration with her talk on what she calls, “the war on whistleblowers.” She believes that these wars are mainly used as a pretext to erode civil liberties worldwide and intervene in other countries’ affairs.

  • 11 Disturbing Facts About the NSA That Will Piss You Off

    International payments, banking and credit card transactions are flagged and monitored by the NSA. It has specifically targeted big credit card companies like VISA.

  • Uh Oh, NSA: People Are Protesting Online and IRL Today

    Two weeks ago, we called your attention to the forthcoming “Day We Fight Back,” an Internet movement designed to fight back against the NSA’s data collection program. Guess what? The day is finally here. Watch out, government.

    Today, as planned, dozens of participating websites like Upworthy and Piwik are posting banners on their home pages, encouraging viewers to call up and email their local legislators and complain about the NSA.

  • NSA link sparks UN to act on Hammarskjöld probe

    Hammarskjöld died during the night of September 17th, 1961 in a plane crash in what is now Zambia, where he was headed to mediate in the ongoing conflict in neighbouring The Congo in his role as then UN Secretary General.

    The diplomat’s death has been the subject of numerous rumours and conspiracy theories over the past five decades centred around whether the crash was an accident, or if Hammarskjöld was killed.

    Evidence available has left investigators puzzled, with pilot error deemed unlikely after witnesses claimed to have seen the plane going down on fire.

  • Dutch ministers in hot water over ‘NSA’ phone grabs

    Two Dutch ministers faced a grilling in Parliament Tuesday after revealing the country’s intelligence services grabbed metadata from some 1.8 million intercepted telephone calls.

    Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk and Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis are fending off calls for their resignations after revealing last week that the Dutch secret services intercepted the data — an act previously attributed to the US National Security Agency (NSA).

  • EU privacy head on EU data protection reform, its implications, and NSA/GCHQ-gate

    As the European Union and the Commission drive efforts to conclude the most ambitious overhaul of the continent’s data protection legislation since 1995 in advance of European Parliament elections this spring, Business Cloud News sat down with European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx to discuss the law’s development, its implications for cloud service providers once in place, and the revelations surrounding the NSA and GCHQ’s widespread digital surveillance activities.

  • NSA Whistleblower: USA Freedom Act Will Not Go Far Enough To Protect Civil Liberties
  • Utah senators wary of giving NSA millions in tax relief

    A bill that would exempt the National Security Agency’s data center in Bluffdale from paying taxes on its massive electric consumption met some resistance from legislators Tuesday, but remained on track.

    The bill would codify a commitment made by former Gov. Jon Huntsman not to tax the utilities for the data center in an attempt to lure the massive NSA operation to Utah.

  • Global Surveillance: The Day We Fight Back

    Last week I wrote about an inquiry being conducted by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament into the laws that govern the UK’s intelligence agencies (now closed, I’m afraid.) That’s just one sign of the tectonic shift that has taken place in this area in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about massive, global surveillance being carried out by the NSA and GCHQ.

  • Remembering Aaron Swartz: icon of the open web

    One year after the tragic death of the campaigning hacker, a global campaign against surveillance is building the Don’t Spy On Us campaign in his spirit

  • Edward Snowden revelations: GCHQ ‘using online viruses and honey traps to discredit targets’
  • Happiness Brussels Spies on the NSA

    Coming off the latest (not so surprising) revelations of the misuse of NSA data, Happiness Brussels has launched “Spy on the NSA,” a site which gives the the NSA a taste of its own medicine in support of www.thedaywefightback.org, “a massive digital protest against mass surveillance taking place across the internet today.” Among those participating today as well are Reddit, Amnesty International, Tumblr, Upworthy and Greenpeace.

  • A New iPhone App Catalogues and Maps U.S. Drone Killings

    On Monday, the new publication First Look reported that electronically obtained metadata controls who, how, and when U.S. drones kill abroad. Journalists Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill write that that kind of information doesn’t only determine who is killed: Metadata on phone SIM cards determines how victims of the strikes are found.

  • Rubio: Obama Administration Leaked Drone Info to Appear ‘Deliberative’

    The administration of President Barack Obama leaked sensitive information about the possibility of using a drone to kill an American who joined al-Qaida in order to position themselves as politically “deliberative,” Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday.

  • Tweaking the Constitution to Make Extrajudicial Killing Easier

    A thought experiment to get assassination advocates back on the right side of the law

  • Anti-drone activist Kareem Khan seized by armed men in Pakistan

    For British MPs, the issue has taken on fresh significance after it emerged that intelligence operatives at GCHQ have been providing targeting information to their US counterparts.

  • Is A Policy A Law? Is Murder Murder?

    Notice those words: “legally” and “policy.” No longer does U.S. media make a distinction between the two.

  • No Left Left in the United States

    Human rights need to have a home. Presently in both the United States and much of the world it has taken a back seat to right and left. In a world that cares about people, human rights shouldn’t take a back seat to any political party. Universal human rights should drive.

  • Dick Cheney’s dark legacy: It’s his world, we’re just living in it

    Torture, secrecy, military adventurism. Dick Cheney, more than anyone else, set the course for America after 9/11

  • Criminal Investigation into CIA Prisons Drags on in Krakow

    Poland’s criminal investigation into secret CIA prisons located on its territory has been in progress since 2008. Now run from the Prosecutor’s Office in Krakow, the process has recently been extended, once again, to February 2014.

    [...]

    “It is significant that the ECHR was the first court to conduct a public hearing on al-Nashiri’s claims of torture and secret detention. The Polish authorities have failed to conduct an effective investigation, and US courts have also failed to deliver justice to date”, added Singh, who also represented al-Nashiri in Strasbourg.

  • What Cold War CIA Interrogators Learned from the Nazis

    At a secret black site in the years after the end of WWII, CIA and US intelligence operatives tested LSD and other interrogation techniques on captured Soviet spies—all with the help of former Nazi doctors. An excerpt from Annie Jacobsen’s Operation Paperclip, published this week.

  • CIA’s Drones, Barely Secret, Receive Rare Public Nod

    The worst kept secret in Washington national security circles is no more. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper publicly acknowledged for the first time at a Senate hearing Tuesday that the Central Intelligence Agency has a drone program.

    The CIA’s drone program, which operates in Pakistan and Yemen, has been the subject of news reports for years. But U.S. officials have continued to steer clear of publicly acknowledging the program, glossing over CIA’s role, because it has remained officially covert. That covert status allows the CIA to operate in countries where local governments don’t support the strikes.

  • Ex-CIA Director Woolsey Makes Ass of Self

    That has got to be one of the silliest statements of the new year. If Woolsey honestly believes the U.S. government is anti-Semitic, that it is driven by anti-Jewish sentiments, he needs to explain why the U.S. has generously made Israel, the spiritual and geographical homeland of the Jewish people, a virtual client-state, having given/lent/made available billions upon billions of dollars over the years.

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