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 »

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‘Anonymous’ Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US

Business Insider Mar. 2, 2012 By Michael Kelley Anonymous is front and center these days: the amorphous hacktivist group has been publishing internal data of U.S. banks while prominent members are prosecuted More »

Monthly Archives: November 2010

UK police arrest 153 during London student rally

Associated Press
November 30, 2010 
By GILLIAN SMITH

LONDON — British police made 153 arrests during student demonstrations in London on Tuesday against proposed university tuition hikes, officials said.

Police reported the arrests following a day of cat-and-mouse between demonstrators and riot officers that culminated in a violent standoff in the capital’s Trafalgar Square.

Students are furious over the coalition government’s decision to allow schools to triple the cap imposed on tuition fees, allowing the best universities to charge up to 9,000 pounds ($14,000) per year in a bid to reduce the burden on Britain’s debt-laden public sector. British students currently pay up to 3,000 pounds ($4,675).


Earlier this month, activists tried to ransack the governing Conservative Party’s headquarters in London in a protest, touching off a wave of demonstrations.

“We need to keep up this momentum because eventually we’ll get through to them and we can start negotiations,” said Shayan Moghedam, 17, from Woodhouse College in north London. “This is not something that can just be ignored and the fact that students keep coming out week after week proves that.”

Moghedam was one of thousands of young demonstrators marching, staging sit-ins at university campuses and — in at least one case — occupying local government offices.

The demonstrations were mostly nonviolent — Police in Birmingham praised students for their sensible and “wholly peaceful” protest. But in London, demonstrators veered from the planned route and scattered across the wintry streets. Lines of police in fluorescent yellow vests stood guard outside Parliament, where lawmakers were debating the merits of the fee hikes.

As evening fell, protesters congregated in Trafalgar Square, vandalizing Nelson’s Column — erected in the honor of the British naval hero — and attacking nearby businesses. Police said two officers were injured in the clashes.

Elsewhere, thousands of students from the southwest English city of Bristol’s two universities marched on the city’s shopping district. The demonstration was largely peaceful, although at one point protesters lit flares and pelted police with ketchup and mustard.

Full Article Here – http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/top/all/7317879.html

Millions Face Loss of Unemployment Benefits

ABC News
November 30, 2010
By LYNEKA LITTLE

The nation’s long-term unemployed will be left high and dry if Congress allows emergency unemployment benefits to grind to a halt today.

The unemployment bill, along with an extension of the Bush tax cuts, are among the hottest issues in the lame-duck session of Congress that began Monday. The jobless bill has a pricetag of as much as $65 billion and the tax-cut extension could cost $3.7 trillion over the next decade, all on top of a deficit that tops $13.7 trillion.

Unemployment insurance has for many decades provided about 26 weeks of benefits, but the current Congress has extended the benefit to 99 weeks in four separate bills.


The consequences of ending the extended benefits aren’t entirely clear though most agree it could hurt the recovery.

“If for some reason it is not authorized it would be catastrophic for the economy,” says Judy Conti, a federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy organization for employment rights.

“There will be no safety net in terms of greater job loss,” Conti says. “If the program is not reauthorized by the end of the year, 2 million will prematurely lose benefits. It could lead to great homelessness. The ripple effect would be devastating.”

Full Article Here – http://abcnews.go.com/Business/unemployment-deadline-looms-millions-face-loss-benefits/story?id=12267837

The Military Is Secretly Trucking Hundreds Of Nuclear Warheads Across The U.S.

Jalopnik
November 30, 2010

Nondescript 18-wheelers are secretly transporting nearly 1,000 of the U.S. Navy’s 100-kiloton W76 nuclear warheads from a submarine base near Seattle to a plant in Texas. Worse news? It’s by an agency recently investigated for problems with alcohol abuse.

An item in Washington’s Kitsap Sun this weekend confirms something we all expect to be true but is rarely talked about: the transportation of nuclear weapons across the United States.

The quantity of nuclear warheads is astounding, with the report indicating as many as 1,000 of the approximately 30-year-old 100-kiloton W76 warheads are being transported from Naval Base Kitsap-
Bangor near Seattle to the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, nearly 1,800 miles away, for updates that’ll extend the life of the weapon by 30 years.


The W76 wahreads, currently used as the main warhead for the Trident 1 and Trident II Submarine-launched missiles, are designed to create a fireball more than half-a-mile in diameter if exploded.
Transportation of these items will be carried out by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Secure Transportation. Convoys of escorted and unmarked nuke trucks like the ones pictured above will carry them on their journey.

Full Article Here – http://jalopnik.com/5702510/the-military-is-secretly-trucking-hundreds-of-nuclear-warheads-across-the-us

Student protests turn violent in Rome

Associated Press
November 30, 2010

ROME – Students protesting state university budget cuts clashed Tuesday with riot police who used tear gas and police vans to seal off much of Rome’s historic center to stop the demonstrators from reaching Parliament.

There were no reports of serious injuries or damage. Less violent protests were staged in cities across the country.

The demonstrations came hours before lawmakers approved the contested reform bill many students and professors say will give the private sector too much involvement in the state university system. Protesters claim the funding cuts mean faculty positions will go unfilled.


The protests turned briefly violent as students — about 3,000 in all with a core group of about 200 — poured onto the main thoroughfare of the historic center, throwing eggs, tomatoes and smoke bombs at police.

At one point, protesters tried to overturn a police van. Riot police charged after them, using tear gas.

The heavy police presence, designed to prevent the protesters from reaching the square outside the Chamber of Deputies, blocked bus and tram routes for hours and jammed traffic on the main roads leading into the center.

Romans and tourists alike were further inconvenienced when the students then marched on Rome’s main train station and occupied several tracks, the ANSA news agency reported.

Despite the problems, many onlookers said they understood the students’ concerns.

“Given the situation, I’m hoping for a new ’68,” said Nicola Roncolli, a 67-year-old retiree, referring to the massive student protests of 1968. He said his detours around a rain-soaked city center were a “necessary evil” and that he would have be marching alongside the students except that he’s not well.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101130/ap_on_re_eu/eu_italy_student_protests_3

Greenpeace takes ‘corporate spies’ to federal court

Raw Story
November 29, 2010
By Nathan Diebenow

The American branch of an international environmental group is suing two chemical companies, their PR firms, and the private investigators they hired allegedly for spying and racketteering.

“The message of this lawsuit is: when companies engage in espionage, they will be discovered and exposed. These unacceptable and underhanded tactics interfered with valuable work we were undertaking to protect public health and expose environmental crimes,” Phil Radford, executive director of Greenpeace USA, said in an advisory.

Greenpeace USA’s federal lawsuit filed Monday alleges that Dow Chemical and Sasol hired a private spy firm Beckett Brown International (BBI) through public relations firms Dezenhall Resources and Ketchum to spy on the environmental group.


“Plaintiffs allege that between 1998 and 2000, Defendants conspired to and did surveil, infiltrate, and steal confidential information from Greenpeace with the intention of preempting, blunting, or thwarting its environmental campaigns,” the lawsuit said.

“These unlawful activities included trespassing on the property of Greenpeace, infiltrating offices, meetings, and electronic communications under false pretenses and/or by force, and by the means, stealing confidential documents, data and trade secrets of Greenpeace,” it added.

Greenpeace said that at the time the spying happened, it was spearheading a campaign with communities such as Lake Charles, Louisiana, affected by dioxin. The group alleges that a BBI operative infiltrated a local Lake Charles citizens group.

During this two year period, the PR firms and BBI, which itself is composed of former secret service agents and police officers, stole thousands of confidential documents and continued its surveillance, the lawsuit maintained.

Journalists working for Mother Jones made the group aware of the covert surveillance in 2008.

“Contained in the trove were a variety of internal Greenpeace records, including strategy memos, campaign plans, donor lists, and documents that included credit card information and the social security numbers of Greenpeace employees,” James Ridgeway and Daniel Schulman wrote Monday.

The reporters also found records from other organizations, such as Friends of the Earth, GE Food Alert, the Center for Food Safety, and Fenton Communications, they said.

“While Greenpeace can only sue on our own behalf, we do so to send a message to any big corporation that plans to spy on, intimidate and interfere with communities fighting for a better world for their children,” Radford said.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/greenpeace-sues-corporate-spies-dow-sasol-pr-firms/

Pakistani man threatens to sue CIA if not compensated for relatives’ deaths

Washington Post
November 29, 2010
By Karin Brulliard and Shaiq Hussain

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – A Pakistani man who said two of his relatives were killed in a U.S. drone strike said Monday that he planned to sue the CIA in Pakistani courts for “wrongful death” if he is not compensated within two weeks, a move that could renew debate over the legality of the covert program.

Kareem Khan, a journalist from the semi-autonomous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan, said he was seeking $500 million in damages from U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, CIA director Leon Panetta and the CIA station chief in this capital city. Khan said the strike killed his brother, his son and another man.
He said that they were not connected to Taliban and al-Qaeda militants who are based in the region and are the targets of regular CIA drone strikes.


The U.S. carries out unmanned drone strikes in the tribal areas with the cooperation of the Pakistani government, but neither nation publicly acknowledges the clandestine program, and it is unlikely U.S. officials would cooperate with a court case. The attacks have increased sharply this year, and the vast majority have targeted militants in North Waziristan.

The drone strikes are highly controversial in Pakistan, where they are frequently blamed for civilian casualties and characterized as a violation of national sovereignty. But victims rarely come forward with their accounts or photographic evidence, and danger and government travel restrictions in the tribal belt make it all but impossible to investigate such claims independently.

Speaking anonymously, U.S. and many Pakistani officials insist the strikes are precise.

Legal experts and human rights activists are divided on the legality of unmanned drone strikes, but some say that those involved could be held responsible in court for errant attacks. In congressional testimony in April, Loyola Law School professor David Glazier said CIA drone pilots could be “liable to prosecution under the law of any jurisdiction where attacks occur for any injuries, deaths or property damage they cause.”

Full Article Here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/29/AR2010112903499.html?hpid=topnews

Exclusive: WikiLeaks Will Unveil Major Bank Scandal (Bank of America)

Forbes
November 29, 2010
By Andy Greenberg

First WikiLeaks spilled the guts of government. Next up: The private sector, starting with one major American bank.
In an exclusive interview earlier this month, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes that his whistleblower site will release tens of thousands of documents from a major U.S. financial firm in early 2011.

Assange wouldn’t say exactly what date, what bank, or what documents, but he compared the coming release to the emails that emerged in the Enron trial, a comprehensive look at a corporation’s bad behavior.


“It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume,” he told me.

Read Forbes’ full interview with Assange and our cover story on what he and WikiLeaks means for business here.

“You could call it the ecosystem of corruption,” Assange added. “But it’s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest.”

WikiLeaks recent priority has clearly been the publication of hundreds of thousands of government documents: 76,000 classified documents from the war in Afghanistan, another 392,000 from Iraq, and on Sunday, the first piece of an ongoing exposure of what will likely be millions of diplomatic messages sent between the U.S. State Department and its embassies.

But that government focus doesn’t mean WikiLeaks won’t embarass corporations, too. Since October, WikiLeaks has closed its submissions channel; Assange says the site was receiving more documents than it could find resources to publish. And half those unpublished submissions, Assange says, relate to the private sector. He confirmed that WikiLeaks has damaging, unpublished material from pharmaceutical companies, finance firms (aside from the upcoming bank release), and energy companies, just to name a few industries.

Whether and when those secrets come out is solely a matter of Assange’s discretion. “We’re in a position where we have to prioritize our resources so that the biggest impact stuff gets released first.”

Full Article Here – http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/11/29/exclusive-wikileaks-will-unveil-major-bank-scandal/

Mark Ruffalo ‘added to terrorism watchlist’ over Gasland

Guardian
November 29, 2010
By Ben Child

Actor Mark Ruffalo has reportedly been placed on a US terror advisory list after campaigning in support of a documentary highlighting the alleged dangers of natural gas drilling.

Ruffalo attracted the attention of Pennsylvania’s Office of Homeland Security when he organised screenings for Gasland, which won the special jury prize at this year’s Sundance film festival, and said he was concerned about the impact of drilling on water supplies. The actor has addressed the subject in the latest edition of American GQ.

Gasland, directed by Josh Fox, follows the film-maker as he visits communities in Pennsylvania where natural gas has been drilled. Fox decided to document his trip after a natural gas company wrote to him in 2008 offering to lease his family’s land in Milanville, Pennsylvania for $100,000 (£64,000).

The documentary attracted attention for a particular scene in which a local man shows that he is able to set his tapwater on fire (see 2.25 of video, above). Others claim they are suffering from numerous health issues due – they believe – to their water having been contaminated.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/nov/29/mark-ruffalo-terrorism-watchlist-gasland

Policeman to face misconduct charge over G20 death

AFP
November 29, 2010

LONDON (AFP) – A riot squad officer who struck a man and pushed him to the ground during last year’s London G20 protests was on Monday served with gross misconduct allegations by the police over his death.

Ian Tomlinson, 47, was filmed being hit with a baton and being pushed over by Police Constable Simon Harwood as he walked through demonstrations in the City of London financial district on April 1.

Thousands of anti-capitalist protesters had gathered ahead of the Group of 20 summit in London, attended by world leaders, but it turned violent and riot police were sent in.

Tomlinson, a newspaper seller who had a history of alcohol problems, collapsed and died minutes after being struck.

Prosecutors said in July this year they did not have enough evidence to bring criminal charges over the death, sparking outrage from Tomlinson’s family.

Full Article Here – http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/101129/world/britain_g20_protest_police

Climate change could cut clean water to three billion people: report

Raw Story
November 28, 2010
By Nathan Diebenow

Almost half of humanity could lose clean water access due to climate change, according to a British report to be released tomorrow ahead of an international climate change conference in Mexico.

“The main message is that the closer we get to a four-degree rise, the harder it will be to deal with the consequences,” Dr. Mark New, a climate expert at Oxford University, told The Observer.

The report will assume that global temperatures will rise 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)  this century even if nations agree to curb carbon emissions this year.

Climate change scientists believe that a mass global movement to “decarbonize” human activity in order to stay below this temperature is virtually impossible, especially after the UN climate talks in Copenhagen failed last December.


Still, nearly 200 countries will take part in the 12-day conference in the Mexican resort of Cancun.

Instead of grappling for an overarching treaty, negotiators are being asked to notch up progress on half a dozen issues to help revive faith in the UN climate arena.

The European Union’s chief negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzger, said there was “no guarantee” the talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would follow this new, pragmatic, incremental path.

“But what I can hear very clearly over the last weeks and months (is) that all parties want to make headway here in Cancun,” he told a press conference.

“They want to show the world that this process can deliver, it can move the international climate agenda forward.”

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/climate-change-cut-clean-water-billion-people-report/