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2010 November 6 | Activist News

The Road to World War 3

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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 »


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 »

jeff olsen

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 »


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 »

Daily Archives: November 6, 2010

Sweden says US has carried out secret surveillance

Associated Press
November 6, 2010

STOCKHOLM – People linked with the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm have performed surveillance activities in Sweden without the knowledge of the host nation’s authorities, a government officials said Saturday.

The surveillance has been going on since 2000, but Swedish authorities are still not aware of how widespread the practice was, said Justice Minister Beatrice Ask.

“It seems as though we haven’t been fully informed and that’s not good,” Ask said.

Ask said it is not clear whether Swedish law has been violated, but that she expects U.S. authorities to cooperate with the Swedish investigation on the matter.

She did not disclose who were the targets of the surveillance operation carried out by people who had been “assigned by the embassy to undertake the measures.”

Ask said the activities “seem to be similar” to those unveiled in Norway earlier this week, which included photographing and gathering information about individuals for surveillance and security purposes. That information was then sent to the United States.

“We welcome that those countries that have a heightened threat risk apply their own measures to reduce the risk for attacks, but of course it has to be done in line of what the Swedish law says and permits,” she said.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101106/ap_on_re_eu/eu_sweden_us

UN human rights council urges US to end death penalty

November 5, 2010
By Mark Tran

The US today faced an international clamour to abolish the death penalty during a debate at the UN human rights council in Geneva.

The council is gradually reviewing the performance of all 192 UN member states. The US took its moment in the spotlight seriously, sending a high-level delegation of around 30 officials led by Esther Brimmer, the assistant secretary of state for international organisation affairs.

The delegation was given a mostly warm welcome by delegates of the 47-member council, but was forced to listen to repeated calls for the US to put an end to the death penalty.

More than 1,200 men and women have been put to death in the US since executions resumed in 1977 after a decade without them, according to Amnesty International.

Three jurisdictions – Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma – account for more than half the country’s executions. Missouri has approximately 40 people on death row, but has not executed anyone since 2005.

At the end of 2009, 139 countries had abolished the death penalty. The US finds itself grouped with authoritarian countries such as China and Iran in still executing people.

Harold Hongju Koh, the state department’s legal adviser, said capital punishment was a subject of vigorous debate and litigation in the US and was applied for in only the most serious crimes.

He pointed out that there were strict procedural safeguards, adding that, in recent years, the supreme court had narrowed the list of offences for which the death penalty could be applied.

But he insisted that capital punishment did not violate international law, telling the council: “International human rights law does not bar it per se.”

Koh also strongly defended the use of unmanned drone aircraft to kill “high value tagets” on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and in Yemen.

“Our targeting practice complies with all human rights law,” he said. “Operations are conducted in conformity with rule of law principles. It has been long legitimate to target enemy leaders and force is directed only at lawful targets.”

Since the beginning of September, Barack Obama has authorised at least 25 targeted killings.

While the attacks have killed senior al-Qaida and Taliban figures, they have also killed civilians, including a large number of women and children, sparking anger against the US.

The fiercest criticism at the UN council came from countries at odds with the US.

The Cuban ambassador, Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, who spoke first, called on the Americans to end their embargo against his country.

Venezuela’s envoy, Germán Mundarain Hernández, said the US should “close Guantánamo and secret detention centres around the world, punish those people who torture, disappear and execute detainees arbitrarily and provide compensation to victims”.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/05/un-council-urges-us-end-death-penalty

Oakland mayor pleads for peace after sentencing

Associated Press
November 5, 2010
By Terence Chea and Trevor Hunnicutt

OAKLAND, Calif. – Police arrested more than 100 protesters who streamed through the streets Friday, some breaking windows and knocking down fences, after a former transit officer received the minimum two-year prison sentence for the slaying of an unarmed passenger.

A rally billed as a tribute to Oscar Grant turned into a march through the downtown area, where people broke car and bus windows. After police in riot gear repeatedly blocked and outflanked them, several hundred protesters splintered into smaller groups and entered residential neighbourhoods.

A group of about 100 protesters holding a banner reading “Justice for Oscar Grant” was hemmed in with officers on both sides of the street.

“We have the crowd contained,” announced Oakland police Chief Anthony Batts.

Just before 8 p.m., police began making arrests, saying the assembly was illegal.

The action was taken, Batts said, after one officer had his gun taken from him in a fight and another officer was hit by a car and suffered what police described as a non-life-threatening injury.

Police helicopters with their spotlights shining on the crowd were hovering above.

Full Article Here – http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/101105/world/ca_train_station_shooting_protests

Guy Fawkes Day 2010: Why Americans want to ‘remember, remember the fifth of November’

Christian Science Monitor
November 5, 2010

Guy Fawkes Day 2010 gives Brits occasion to burn in effigy the revolutionary who attempted to violently restore Catholicism in 1605. But some see him as a symbol for dramatic change in government.

Guy Fawkes Day 2010 marks the time back in 1605 when British revolutionary Guy Fawkes plotted to blow up Britain’s Parliament. He was discovered Nov. 5 with explosives in the basement of the House of Lords in London, moments away from lighting a match. He wanted to restore Catholicism as state religion in the Protestant nation.

Britons didn’t take kindly to Mr. Fawkes back then – King James I had him hung in Westminster’s Old Palace Yard – and they don’t think fondly of him today. Across the country, Britons gather around bonfires to burn Fawkes in effigy.

But amid rising calls in the United States and Britain to curb government spending, Guy Fawkes has become something of a rally cry.

The blog “Death and Taxes” compares Tuesday’s midterm election to something of a modern Guy Fawkes-style overthrow of government. Some commentators also compared Fawkes’ attempted government overhaul to recently elected British Prime Minister David Cameron’s push for drastic austerity measures.

The US Republican Governors Association actually owns the website RememberNovember.com, which some see as a subtle reference to the day in 1605 that Guy Fawkes attempted to oust Britain’s government. Supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Texas) frequently invoked the line “Remember, remember, the fifth of November” during the libertarian’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“It gets quite confusing,” one supporter told The New Yorker. “On a date that’s meant to be anti the guy who’s anti-Parliament, the idea here is to be giving money to someone who’s anti-Parliament.”

The movie – starring Natalie Portman

The line is actually from the 2006 film “V for Vendetta,” in which a superhero wears a Guy Fawkes mask and seeks to overthrow a totalitarian British regime. This time, he succeeds in blowing up Parliament, running a subway car of explosives into the downtown building.

“For a while,” blogger J. Grayson Lilburne wrote during the British election in May, “it was looking like the British political class was taking such stories as George Orwell’s ’1984′ and Alan Moore’s ‘V for Vendetta’ as prescriptive guidebooks.”

Starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving and based on a 1980s graphic novel, the San Francisco Chronicle called it “inflammatory filmmaking with the burners turned up high.”

Reactions to the film varied, seemingly along political lines. Some accused it of promoting terrorism. New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists, meanwhile, protested that the film watered down the original message of Guy Fawkes. Hoping to turn moviegoers to the “real” mission of Guy Fawkes, self-proclaimed anarchists gathered outside theaters in New York City passing out fliers on how to overthrow your government.

Full Article Here – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2010/1105/Guy-Fawkes-Day-2010-Why-Americans-want-to-remember-remember-the-fifth-of-November

Dead Coral Found Near Site of Oil Spill

New York Times
November 5, 2010

A survey of the seafloor near BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico has turned up dead and dying coral reefs that were probably damaged by the oil spill, scientists said Friday. 

The coral sites lie seven miles southwest of the well, at a depth of about 4,500 feet, in an area where large plumes of dispersed oil were discovered drifting through the deep ocean last spring in the weeks after the spill.

The large areas of darkened coral and other damaged marine organisms were almost certainly dying from exposure to toxic substances, scientists said.

The corals were discovered on Tuesday by scientists aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel using a submersible robot equipped with cameras and sampling tools.

The documented presence of oil plumes in the area, the proximity to BP’s well and the recent nature of the die-off make it highly likely that the spill was responsible, said Charles Fisher, a marine biologist from Pennsylvania State University who is the chief scientist on the gulf expedition, which was financed by the federal government.

“I think that we have a smoking gun,” Dr. Fisher said. “The circumstantial evidence is very strong that it’s linked to the spill.”

The discovery of the dead corals offers the strongest evidence so far that oil from the BP well may have harmed marine life in the deep ocean, a concern raised by many biologists soon after the April 20 blowout that caused the spill. At an estimated nearly five million barrels, it was the largest offshore oil spill in the nation’s history.

A brownish substance covered many of the dead or dying reefs but was probably dead tissue and sediment, not oil, Dr. Fisher said.

Oil seeps naturally from the seafloor throughout the Gulf of Mexico, but that was unlikely to have caused such a severe coral die-off, he added.

“We have never seen anything like this at any of the deep coral sites that we’ve been to,” Dr. Fisher said.
“And we’ve been to quite a lot of them.”

Further study is needed to conclusively link the coral die-off to the spill, scientists said, and the survey team took a number of samples from the site to test for the presence of hydrocarbons and dispersant.

Whether these samples will yield direct evidence leading back to the spill is unclear. “No one yet knows if the signature of whatever toxin killed these corals can be found in their skeletons after the tissue sloughs off,” Dr. Fisher said.

Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, called the findings significant. “Given the toxic nature of oil and the unprecedented amount of oil spilled, it would be surprising if we did not find damage,” she said in a statement. “This is precisely why we continue to actively monitor and evaluate the impact of the spill in the gulf.”

Full Article Here – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/06/science/earth/06coral.html?hp

Settlement in Reconstruction Fraud Case

New York Times
November 5, 2010

WASHINGTON — A New Jersey-based construction and engineering company has been hit with the largest fines ever imposed on a contractor working in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, after a whistle-blower revealed that the company had been overbilling the government.

The company, the Louis Berger Group, based in Morristown, N.J., will pay $18.7 million in criminal penalties and $50.6 million in civil penalties for overbilling the United States Agency for International Development for work in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. As part of the civil agreement, the company will pay $14.2 million of the civil penalty in the next 30 days and the balance over the next four years.

In addition, two former company officials, Salvatore Pepe, 58, of Tuckahoe, N.Y., the former chief financial officer, and Precy Pellettieri, 54, of Rahway, N.J., the former controller, pleaded guilty on Friday to defrauding the government.

Paul J. Fishman, the United States attorney in New Jersey, said that over about 10 years, the company overcharged the government by $15 million to $20 million. “This conduct is intolerable,” Mr. Fishman said at a news conference in Newark.

The agreement with the company will allow the Louis Berger Group to continue working on government contracts; further prosecution will be delayed for two years while an outside monitor reviews the company’s compliance. The company has been engaged in a broad range of projects for A.I.D. and other agencies, including the construction of roads, schools and electrical plants in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Harold Salomon, a former senior financial analyst with the company in New Jersey, first went to the government with evidence of the overbilling in late 2005 and early 2006, according to Tim McCormack, his lawyer, who is based in Washington. He will receive part of the proceeds from the fines imposed on the company, although the amount has not yet been determined, Mr. McCormack said.

Full Article Here – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/06/world/asia/06contractor.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

Secret British military video of interrogation techniques in Iraq

November 5, 2010

Clip submitted during high court proceedings shows a prisoner threatened, intimidated, subjected to sensory deprivation and complaining of starvation

Warning: This video contains material viewers may find disturbing

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2010/nov/04/secret-british-military-video-interrogation-iraq