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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

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U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

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Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

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The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Category Archives: media control

Japan Held Nuclear Data, Leaving Evacuees in Peril

New York Times
Aug. 8, 2011
By and

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — The day after a giant tsunami set off the continuing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, thousands of residents at the nearby town of Namie gathered to evacuate.

Given no guidance from Tokyo, town officials led the residents north, believing that winter winds would be blowing south and carrying away any radioactive emissions. For three nights, while hydrogen explosions at four of the reactors spewed radiation into the air, they stayed in a district called Tsushima where the children played outside and some parents used water from a mountain stream to prepare rice.


The winds, in fact, had been blowing directly toward Tsushima — and town officials would learn two months later that a government computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases had been showing just that.

But the forecasts were left unpublicized by bureaucrats in Tokyo, operating in a culture that sought to avoid responsibility and, above all, criticism. Japan’s political leaders at first did not know about the system and later played down the data, apparently fearful of having to significantly enlarge the evacuation zone — and acknowledge the accident’s severity.

“From the 12th to the 15th we were in a location with one of the highest levels of radiation,” said Tamotsu Baba, the mayor of Namie, which is about five miles from the nuclear plant. He and thousands from Namie now live in temporary housing in another town, Nihonmatsu. “We are extremely worried about internal exposure to radiation.”

The withholding of information, he said, was akin to “murder.”

In interviews and public statements, some current and former government officials have admitted that Japanese authorities engaged in a pattern of withholding damaging information and denying facts of the nuclear disaster — in order, some of them said, to limit the size of costly and disruptive evacuations in land-scarce Japan and to avoid public questioning of the politically powerful nuclear industry. As the nuclear plant continues to release radiation, some of which has slipped into the nation’s food supply, public anger is growing at what many here see as an official campaign to play down the scope of the accident and the potential health risks.

Seiki Soramoto, a lawmaker and former nuclear engineer to whom Prime Minister Naoto Kan turned for advice during the crisis, blamed the government for withholding forecasts from the computer system, known as the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, or Speedi.

“In the end, it was the prime minister’s office that hid the Speedi data,” he said. “Because they didn’t have the knowledge to know what the data meant, and thus they did not know what to say to the public, they thought only of their own safety, and decided it was easier just not to announce it.”

Full Article Here – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/world/asia/09japan.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all 

Defense Department Initiative Seeks to Analyze Social Media Patterns

Techland
Aug. 2, 2011
By

It’s no stretch to imagine that cyberspace will likely serve as another front in the wars of the future. But now, the Pentagon is reportedly kicking things into high gear with a new initiative which sets to track intel across social media. The program could cost up to $42 million and is currently soliciting research proposals.

The new Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program was submitted under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an arm of the Department of Defense. The goal is to “develop a new science of social networks built on an emerging technology base” to help the agency keep abreast with communication technologies, namely Twitter.

The program’s plan is fourfold:

1. Detect, classify, measure and track the (a) formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes), and
(b) purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation.
2. Recognize persuasion campaign structures and influence operations across social mediasites and communities.
3. Identify participants and intent, and measure effects of persuasion campaigns.
4. Counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations.

It makes sense: Twitter’s gotten a lot of shine as a tool for mass mobilization, none more famous than during the Arab Spring. With over 200 million tweets being sent per day, Twitter has become an unprecedented medium for the mass transmission of information, and the Library of Congress is already archiving every tweet sent.

Full Article Here – http://techland.time.com/2011/08/02/defense-department-initiative-seeks-to-analyze-social-media-patterns/#0_undefined,0_ 

Message From Anonymous

You Tube
July 21, 2011

Anonymous To Build Its Own Social Network Called AnonPlus

Mashable
July 18, 2011
By Stan Schroeder

Hacker collective Anonymous is preparing to launch its own social network called AnonPlus. The move comes after Google banned Anonymous’s Google+ account called “Your Anon News” due to a violation of its community standards.
Details about the project are scarce. Currently, AnonPlus.com is merely a splash page, containing a message that explains the group’s motives behind the project. “Welcome to the Revolution,” it says, “a new social network where there is no fear…of censorship…of blackout…nor of holding back”.

Another message on the site explains that the project is for “all people not just anonymous,” adding that the actual site will go up soon but it will not happen overnight.
A link to the developer forum, where a possible user interface and design ideas are discussed, shows that the project is indeed in a very early stage.

Pentagon Wants a Social Media Propaganda Machine

Wired
July 15, 2011
By Adam Rawnsley

You don’t need to have 5,000 friends of Facebook to know that social media can have a notorious mix of rumor, gossip and just plain disinformation. The Pentagon is looking to build a tool to sniff out social media propaganda campaigns and spit some counter-spin right back at it.

On Thursday, Defense Department extreme technology arm Darpa unveiled its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program. It’s an attempt to get better at both detecting and conducting propaganda campaigns on social media. SMISC has two goals. First, the program needs to help the military better understand what’s going on in social media in real time — particularly in areas where troops are deployed.


Second, Darpa wants SMISC to help the military play the social media propaganda game itself.

This is more than just checking the trending topics on Twitter. The Defense Department wants to deeply grok social media dynamics. So SMISC algorithms will be aimed at discovering and tracking the “formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes)” on social media, according to Darpa’s announcement.

Not all memes, of course. Darpa’s not looking to track the latest twists on foul bachelor frog or see if the Taliban is making propaganda versions of courage wolf. Instead, it wants to see what ideas are bubbling up in among social media users in a particular area — say, where American troops are deployed.

More specifically, SMISC needs to be able to seek out “persuasion campaign structures and influence operations” developing across the social sphere.  SMISC is supposed to quickly flag rumors and emerging themes on social media, figure out who’s behind it and what. Moreover, Darpa wants SMISC to be able to actually figure out whether this is a random product of the hivemind or a propaganda operation by an adversary nation or group.

Of course, SMISC won’t be content to just to hang back and monitor social media trends in strategic locations. It’s about building a better spin machine for Uncle Sam, too. Once SMISC’s latches on to an influence operation being launched, it’s supposed to help out in “countermessaging.”

Darpa’s announcement talks about using SMISC “the environment in which [the military] operates” and where it “conducts operations.” That strongly implies it’s intended for use in sensing and messaging to foreign social media. It better, lest it run afoul of the law. The Smith-Mundt Act makes pointing propaganda campaigns at domestic audiences illegal.

Full Article Here – http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/07/darpa-wants-social-media-sensor-for-propaganda-ops/

Utility planted ‘citizens’ to support restart of reactors

Kyodo News
July 12, 2011

FUKUOKA — About 50 Kyushu Electric Power Co. employees and affiliates were involved in attempting to orchestrate an email campaign, posing as ordinary citizens, in support of the restart of its nuclear reactors on a government-sponsored TV program, according to an internal investigation by the utility.

The staged emails account for about a fifth of all supportive opinions received in the program aired in late June, according to sources informed about the investigation. The number of those involved may increase as the investigation is still ongoing.

At a special committee on nuclear safety of the Kagoshima Prefectural Assembly Monday, Akira Nakamura, at the time head of the utility’s nuclear power control department, said he was told by a supervisor to enliven discussions on the program, aimed at winning support for restarting two reactors at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture.

Both Kagoshima and Saga are served by Kyushu Electric.
He thus instructed a subordinate to make the program known among other employees and affiliates. But while Nakamura neglected to follow up on the matter, the subordinate went ahead and asked others to post the comments.
The subordinate sent emails to three Kyushu Electric offices and four subsidiaries, according to the utility.
Sources at Kyushu Electric said the supervisor involved was then Executive Vice President Mamoru Dangami, who retired from the post in late June.

The moment nuclear plant chief WEPT as Japanese finally admit that radiation leak is serious enough to kill people The moment nuclear plant chief WEPT as Japanese finally admit that radiation leak is serious enough to kill people

Daily Mail
Mar. 18, 2011
By David Derbyshire

The boss of the company behind the devastated Japanese nuclear reactor today broke down in tears – as his country finally acknowledged the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency admitted that the disaster was a level 5, which is classified as a crisis causing ‘several radiation deaths’ by the UN International Atomic Energy.

Officials said the rating was raised after they realised the full extent of the radiation leaking from the plant. They also said that 3 per cent of the fuel in three of the reactors at the Fukushima plant had been severely damaged, suggesting those reactor cores have partially melted down.

After Tokyo Electric Power Company Managing Director Akio Komiri cried as he left a conference to brief journalists on the situation at Fukushima, a senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis.

He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: ‘The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, frankly speaking, were among many things that happened that had not been anticipated under our disaster management contingency plans.

‘In hindsight, we could have moved a little quicker in assessing the situation and coordinating all that information and provided it faster.’

Nuclear experts have been saying for days that Japan was underplaying the crisis’ 
severity.

It is now officially on a par with the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979. Only the explosion at Chernobyl in 1986 has topped the scale.

Deputy director general of the NISA, Hideohiko Nishiyama, also admitted that they do not know if the reactors are coming under control.

He said: ‘With the water-spraying operations, we are fighting a fire we cannot see. That fire is not spreading, but we cannot say yet that it is under control.’

But prime minister Naoto Kan insisted that his country would overcome the catastrophe

‘We will rebuild Japan from scratch,’ he said in a televised speech: ‘In our history, this small island nation has made miraculous economic growth thanks to the efforts of all Japanese citizens. That is how Japan was built.’

It comes after pictures emerged showing overheating fuel rods exposed to the elements through a huge hole in the wall of a reactor building at the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant.

Full Article Here – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1367684/Nuclear-plant-chief-weeps-Japanese-finally-admit-radiation-leak-kill-people.html#ixzz1H0muwQyZ

BP attempts to clean up Gulf via Twitter

Guardian
Feb. 1, 2011

By Alex Hannaford

Should we be surprised that BP’s tweets attempt to put a positive spin on the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill?

New study finds methane bacteria has eaten all the methane from the oil spill earlier than expected.”

This is a tweet from whoever is employed to sit, fingers poised (there’s already been 18 tweets today, as I write, and it’s only 4pm) behind the Twitter app for BP America. But click on the full story they’ve linked to and you’ll see marine ecologist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia in Athens counter:

“Not so fast … Just because you can’t find methane in the spot where you lowered your [instruments] doesn’t mean there’s no methane out there somewhere … the more parsimonious explanation for why the group found no BP methane: They lost track of the freaking plume.”


“BP’s cleanup operations are ‘on track’ with the goal of cleaning Gulf beaches by spring tourist season,” BP Tweets, linking to a Q&A with Mike Utsler, the oil company appointee responsible for overseeing the cleanup, who adds: “The beaches are beautiful.” Er, not according to Ed Overton, a Louisiana State University chemist who analysed the spill for the US government and was quoted in an Associated Press report at the end of December that said it was unlikely they would clean the beaches by the time college students began flocking to the Gulf coast for spring break. “There is so much oil under the sand, mud and oyster shells that tar balls may be washing up for months, if not years.”

BP America’s Twitter missives remind me of Saddam’s old information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf – spouting propaganda that paints an image of a Gulf where everything is just fine and dandy. But all you need do is actually read many of the stories they’re linking to in their entirety – or dig a little deeper – and a different picture emerges.

A Tweet on Monday read: “New Orleans area hotels ended 2010 on high note & $5M from BP ‘helped a great deal’.”

What BP perhaps forgot to tweet – and what I’ll tell you here, in order to jog their memory – was that in neighbouring Alabama, there have been “huge tourism losses”, according to the state’s Coastal Recovery Commission. Across Mobile Bay, in the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores resorts, “hotel and condominium occupancy was cut in half from 2009″ and lodging revenues countywide were “off by $58m”.

To be fair, BP’s chief tweeter did not think it appropriate to mention Alabama, but instead, posted some pictures of its beaches. “Cloudy, but beautiful in Gulf Shores, Alabama, today,” they wrote. Unfortunately for BP, it can’t do much about the very public tweets in response to theirs. One follower, @cliftonchavis, replied: “Your despicable blood money hasn’t helped anyone. Go eat some toxic shrimp out of the Gulf!”

BP has tweeted links to claims forms, so those affected by the spill can request compensation. What it hasn’t tweeted is that Gulf coast lawmakers complain that the compensation system has been “slow, inconsistent and lacking in transparency”; or that nine months since the spill, 57% of those claims remain unpaid – in Alabama alone.

Remember the bright yellow and orange “booms” that corralled the oil during the spill? “BP teams will test Gulf waters for any remaining boom anchors and use a ‘safe and proven’ method for removal,” BP tweeted. Read the story it links to and you find that there are an estimated 3,500 of those “orphaned anchors” in St Bernard Parish alone. “Thousands more are estimated in Jefferson and Plaquemines.” A member of the local council says the anchors will be removed by any means necessary – even “if we need to initiate litigation against BP”.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/01/bp-twitter-oil-spill 

Al Jazeera Says Egypt Raided Offices; Arrested, Then Released Six Journalists

Wall Street Journal
Jan. 31, 2011

Al Jazeera, the Doha, Qatar-based satellite news outlet, said security forces in Egypt raided its operations there, confiscating equipment and temporarily arresting six Al Jazeera staff.

Wadah Khanfar, Al Jazeera’s director-general, said in an email distributed to colleagues Monday that the raids were “a futile attempt to censor all information coming out of the country.” He promised that the network would continue to report there despite the raid and arrests.

Al Jazeera’s website, in a notice sent out via Twitter, said the journalists had all been released by late afternoon Monday.


Egypt temporarily shut down Al Jazeera broadcasts over the weekend, but service was restored after several hours.

Full Article Here – http://blogs.wsj.com/dispatch/2011/01/31/al-jazeera-says-egypt-raided-offices-arrested-then-released-six-journalists/

Egypt shuts down Al Jazeera bureau

Al Jazeera
Jan. 30, 2011

The Egyptian authorities are revoking the Al Jazeera Network’s licence to broadcast from the country, and will be shutting down its bureau office in Cairo, state television has said.

“The information minister [Anas al-Fikki] ordered … suspension of operations of Al Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today,” a statement on the official Mena news agency said on Sunday.

In a statement, Al Jazeera said it strongly denounces and condemns the closure of its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government. The network received notification from the Egyptian authorities on Sunday morning.

“Al Jazeera has received widespread global acclaim for their coverage on the ground across the length and breadth of Egypt,” the statement said.

An Al Jazeera spokesman said that the company would continue its strong coverage regardless.
‘Designed to stifle’
“Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists,” the statement said.

Full Article Here – http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113085252994161.html