Edward Snowden

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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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‘Anonymous’ Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US

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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Don’t forget Haiti, top U.N. aid official urges donors

Reuters
Sept. 30, 2011
By Joseph Guyler Delva

(Reuters) – International aid donors should not forget the plight of 600,000 earthquake survivors still living in a critical situation in camps in Haiti, the top U.N. humanitarian official said on Thursday.

On a visit to the poor Caribbean state that is still struggling to rebuild from a destructive January 2010 earthquake, Valerie Amos said she was concerned that Haiti’s remaining humanitarian needs might be neglected by rich countries grappling with problems in their own economies.

Other disasters such as the drought and famine affecting millions in the Horn of Africa also demanded attention.


“Part of my job is to make sure we do not forget about Haiti … The situation of the people in the camps is still very critical,” Amos told Reuters in the wrecked capital Port-au-Prince.

She said a U.N. humanitarian appeal this year for Haiti was only half funded. According to figures from the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA, of the total $382 million required from donors this year, only $199 million had been funded.

“It’s a case we need to make,” Amos added.

While the total of quake survivors living in fragile tent and tarpaulin camps in Port-au-Prince had fallen since last year by more than half to around 600,000, Amos said these people still required humanitarian help.

“We have to support 600,000 people. We have to improve the water sanitation. Because of a lack of funding some of our NGO partners have pulled out. So the facilities are not as good as they were previously,” she said.

“It’s absolutely critical because if we do not in particular sort out the water sanitation we will have a resurgence of cholera,” the U.N. official said, recalling the threat of a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 6,300 people since it broke out in October, months after the quake.

Despite billions of dollars pledged by donors, the huge international humanitarian operation that followed the 2010 earthquake has been criticized as slow to deliver results, especially in rubble removal and survivor resettlement.

Full Article Here – http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/full-coverage/10373941/forget-haiti-aid-official-urges-donors/

Watchdog: Regulators bowed to banks on bailout

Associated Press
Sept. 30, 2011
By Marcy Gordon

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators bowed to pressure from big banks seeking a quick exit from the financial bailout program and did not uniformly apply the government’s own conditions set for repaying the taxpayer funds, a new watchdog report says.

The report was issued Friday by the office of Christy Romero, the acting special inspector general for the $400 billion taxpayer bailout of the financial industry and automakers. It found that regulators, to varying degrees, “bent” to pressure from the banks in late 2009 and relaxed the requirements put in only weeks earlier.

The regulators also were motivated by a desire to cut the government’s stake in the banks it had bailed out in September 2008 when the financial crisis struck, the report says.

Meanwhile, the banks wanted to get out quickly from the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, because they wanted to avoid its limits on executive compensation and the stigma associated with receiving rescue money, according to the report.

The report focused on the sales of stock to raise capital and bailout repayments by four major banks: Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., which each received $45 billion from the government; Wells Fargo & Co., which received $25 billion; and PNC Financial Services Group Inc., which got $7.6 billion.

Because the regulators failed to enforce the policy for repayments set by the Federal Reserve, the new report says, “the process to review a TARP bank’s exit proposal was … inconsistent.” That policy required banks to issue at least $1 in new common stock for every $2 in bailout money they repaid.

But the banks doggedly resisted the regulators’ demands to issue common stock, seeking instead to use cheaper and “less sturdy” alternatives such as selling assets or issuing preferred stock, the report found. Issuing common stock is a better way to shore up a bank’s capital base, it said.

When Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo repaid the government in December 2009, only Citigroup fully met the 1-for-2 requirement, the report said.

The regulatory agencies overseeing the banks, which negotiated the repayment terms with them, were the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Treasury itself ran the bailout program, and the report said its involvement in individual banks’ repayment proposals was greater than was previously known publicly.

It said Treasury encouraged the banks to speed repayment, raising the criticism that Treasury officials put that goal ahead of ensuring that the banks were strong enough to exit TARP safely.
 
Full Article Here – http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Watchdog-Regulators-bowed-to-apf-3217329384.html?x=0

Bahrain sentences medics who treated protesters

BBC News
Sept. 30, 2011

A court in Bahrain has jailed 20 medics who treated protesters for up to 15 years each, after convicting them of incitement to overthrow the regime.

They treated people injured when a protest movement calling for more rights for the country’s Shia majority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom was crushed.

But a spokesman for the government said the group was involved with “hardline protesters” who sought regime change.

The medics had been released on bail after many staged a hunger strike.


In a separate case, the special security court sentenced a protester to death for killing a policeman.

‘Surprise’ sentence

The Bahraini doctors and nurses were sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison on charges that include possessing unlicensed arms, seizing medical equipment, and provoking sectarian hatred.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15105270

U.S. Chamber of Commerce ups lobbying for Keystone XL

UPI
Sept. 29, 2011

DETROIT, Sept. 29 (UPI) — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it has launched a lobbying effort in seven states for government approval of the $13 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline project.

Matt Letourneau, director of communications and media at the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said Wednesday an “education and engagement” campaign had begun in Midwestern states that would be most affected by the 1,660-mile underground pipeline, called the Keystone XL pipeline, that would connect oil wells in Alberta, Canada, with refineries and delivery stations in Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, The Detroit News reported Thursday.


Although opposed by environmental groups for fueling the country’s dependence on foreign oil, the project is expected to create 3,000 construction jobs in Michigan by 2020, the Chamber said.

The U.S. State Department has indicated it will decide on the merits of the pipeline by the end of the year.

 

A Massive Union Just Voted To Side With The Wall Street Protesters

Business Insider
Sept. 29, 2011
By Linette Lopez

According to Daily Kos, The New York Transit Workers Union (TWU) voted to support the Wall Street Protestors at their meeting last night.

A member of TWU Local 100 told a reporter that they would join the protest Friday at 4PM.

Here’s more about them from their website:

The TWU has four main divisions: Railroad; Gaming; Airline; Transit; and Utility, University and Service. The Union has 114 autonomous locals representing over 200,000 members and retirees in 22 states around the country.


Occupy Wall Street has been picking up some decent support from unions in the past few days. Yesterday we reported that the Teamsters Union declared their support for protestors, and we also found out that the United Pilots Union had members at the protest demonstrating in uniform.

Today we learned the Industrial Workers of the World put a message of support on their website as well.

That’s good for the protestors, sure, but the bottom line is whether or not these unions can produce bodies. Experience says that when they want to, unions can be quite good at doing that very thing.

And it seems that they’re interested. In many of their statements of support, they say that their members are part of “The 99%” that Occupy Wall Street protestors keep talking about.
But what does that even mean? Naturally, we had to get to the bottom of it, so we found the We Are The 99% blog. It’s made of a collection of pictures people holding up signs about how the sorry state of the economy has effected them. Here are some examples:

  • A guy in a lab coat with a stethoscope around his neck (you can’t see his face) holds a sign saying: “Ivy League medical student over 100,000 in debt committed to a life of helping the homeless and mentally ill. We are the 99%.”

Full Article Here – http://www.businessinsider.com/a-massive-union-just-voted-to-side-with-the-wall-street-protesters-2011-9?utm_source=twbutton&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=clusterstock#ixzz1ZMyu60N3
 

Army Tracking Plan: Drones That Never Forget a Face

Wired
Sept. 28, 2011
By Noah Shachtman

Perhaps the idea of spy drones already makes your nervous. Maybe you’re uncomfortable with the notion of an unblinking, robotic eye in the sky that can watch your every move. If so, you may want to click away now. Because if the Army has its way, drones won’t just be able to look at what you do.

They’ll be able to recognize your face — and track you, based on how you look. If the military machines assemble enough information, they might just be able to peer into your heart.

The Pentagon has tried all sort of tricks to keep tabs on its foes as they move around: tiny transmitters, lingering scents, even “human thermal fingerprints.” The military calls the effort “Tagging, Tracking, and Locating,” or “TTL.” And, as the strategy in places like Afghanistan has shifted from rebuilding societies to taking out individual insurgents, TTL has become increasingly central to the American effort. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been devoted to it.


The current technologies have their limits, however. Transmitters can be discovered, and discarded. Scents eventually waft away. Even the tagged can get lost in a crowd.

But there are some things that can’t be so easily discarded. Like the shape of your face. Or the feelings you keep inside. That’s why the Army just handed out a half-dozen contracts to firms to find faces from above, track targets, and even spot “adversarial intent.”

“If this works out, we’ll have the ability to track people persistently across wide areas,” says Tim Faltemier, the lead biometrics researcher at Progeny Systems Corporation, which recently won one of the Army contracts. “A guy can go under a bridge or inside a house. But when he comes out, we’ll know it was the same guy that went in.”

Full Article Here – http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/09/drones-never-forget-a-face/

Palestinians in Israeli Jails Start Hunger Strike, Official Says

Bloomberg
Sept. 29, 2011
By Saud Abu Ramadan

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) — More than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails started a hunger strike and campaign of disobedience today to protest against their treatment, a Palestinian official said.

The action will include refusal to wear uniforms or obey the instructions of prison authorities, Eassa Qaraqea, minister of prisoner affairs in the Palestinian National Authority Cabinet, told Voice of Palestine radio. The prisoners “have the right to protest against the inhuman measures practiced against them,” he said.
Palestinians demand the release of all prisoners as part of a permanent peace agreement with Israel. Israel says prisoners who were involved in the killing of Israelis cannot be freed.

Over 100 NYPD Officers Refuse to Work in Support of Occupy Wall Street Movement

in5d
Sept. 27, 2011
By Gregg Prescott, M.S.

In a bizarre twist of fate, a growing movement of New York City Police Department officers are banding together with the Occupy Wall Street movement, while the main stream media continues to relatively ignore this escalating event.

The Occupy Wall Street movement issued the following statement on their website:

Today we received unconfirmed reports that over one hundred blue collar police refused to come into work in solidarity with our movement. These numbers will grow. We are the 99 percent. You will not silence us.

The news was released shortly after the identity of Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna was revealed after he allegedly pepper sprayed a deaf woman.

A second video of Officer Bologna has surfaced with yet another pepper spray assault on peaceful protesters. Notice how Officer Bologna weasles himself into the crowd, then scurries away in the hope that he would not be noticed by anyone:

On Wednesday, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly stated that the Internal Affairs Bureau will look into the decision of a high-ranking officer to use pepper spray on a number of female protesters this past Saturday at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is growing and has expanded to cover other cities, such as Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL, with numerous protests scheduled for other cities, such as Sarasota, FL, Washington DC, Lexington, Kentucky and San Francisco, California.


Occupy Washington, D.C. begins on October 6, 2011.

The movement has moved into a global position with the new Occupy Together website, which organizes occupation protests from around the world.

It is with hope and intent that the officers who are using excessive force on peaceful protestors realize that the only ones they are hurting is themselves through the destruction of the Constitution and the right for free speech. As the Occupy Wall Street movement grows, it is hopeful that officers from other cities will join in on the side of humanity and peace.

Full Article Here – http://www.in5d.com/over-100-nypd-officers-refuse-to-work-in-support-of-occupy-wall-street.html

Occupy Wall Street- MSNBC Reporter SLAMS NYC Police Brutality!

YouTube

Cornel West at ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest: The elite will tremble

Raw Story
Sept. 27, 2011
By Eric W. Dolan

Public intellectual and Princeton professor Cornel West appeared at the “Occupy Wall Street” protest on Tuesday, the eleventh straight day of the demonstration.

He gave a speech during the General Assembly in Liberty Park applauding the “sweet spirit in this place” and denouncing “the greed of Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who squeeze the democratic juices out of this country.”

“I am so blessed to be here,” West said. “You got me spiritually break-dancing on the way here.
Because when you bring folk together, of all colors, of all cultures, of all genders, of all sexual orientations the elite will tremble in their boots. And we will send a message that this is the U.S.
Autumn, responding to the Arab Spring.”

“Don’t be scared to say revolution,” he added.

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/09/cornel-west-at-occupy-wall-street-protest-the-elite-will-tremble/