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Source: The Intercept
UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law
By Ryan Devereaux
19 Feb 2014, 5:23 AM EST
A British lower court has ruled that London police acted lawfully in employing an anti-terror statute to detain and interrogate David Miranda for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport last summer, even while recognizing that the detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom.”
In a decision released Wednesday morning Lord Justice John Laws, Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley and Mr Justice Peter Openshaw said that while Miranda’s detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom” it was justified and legitimate due to “very pressing” issues of national security.
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After the police’s justification was made public in November, leading UK human rights groups and a member of the British parliament expressed outrage, saying it appeared baseless and threatened to have damaging consequences for investigative journalism, the Guardian reported .
Greenwald told The Intercept the UK has the unique distinction of being the only foreign government that has equated the NSA coverage he and Poitras are responsible for to terrorism.
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“We made clear long ago that we would not ever be deterred in any way in reporting aggressively on these documents by this kind of thuggish behavior from the British government, and we have been and will continue to be very true to our word,” Greenwald added. “It is ironic that as the world rightfully condemns the Egyptian military regime for imprisoning Al Jazeera journalists on the ground that their journalism is a form of ‘terrorism’, the UK Government yet again shows the repressive company it keeps by doing the same.”
Read more: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/19/uk-court-david-miranda-detention-legal-terrorism-law
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Equating journalism with terrorism has a long and storied tradition. Indeed, as Jonathan Schwarz has documented, the U.S. Government has frequently denounced nations for doing exactly this. Just last April, Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine dramatically informed the public that many repressive, terrible nations actually “misuse terrorism laws to prosecute and imprison journalists.” When visiting Ethiopia in 2012, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns publicly disclosed that in meetings with that nation’s officials, the United States “express our concern that the application of anti-terrorism laws can sometimes undermine freedom of expression and independent media.” The same year, the State Department reported that Burundi was prosecuting a journalist under terrorism laws.
It should surprise nobody that the U.K. is not merely included in, but is one of the leaders of, this group of nations which regularly wages war on basic press freedoms. In the 1970s, British journalist Duncan Campbell was criminally prosecuted for the crime of reporting on the mere existence of the GCHQ, while fellow journalist Mark Hosenball, now of Reuters, was forced to leave the country. The monarchy has no constitutional guarantee of a free press. The UK government routinely threatens newspapers with all sorts of sanctions for national security reporting it dislikes. Its Official State Secrets Act makes it incredibly easy to prosecute journalists and others for disclosing anything which political officials want to keep secret. For that reason, it was able to force the Guardian to destroy its own computers containing Snowden material precisely: because the paper’s editors knew that British courts would slavishly defer to any requests made by the GCHQ to shut down the paper’s reporting.
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Feb 19, 2014, 05:38 AM (64 replies)
Must-Read: Yes, 1 Percenters Are That Bad - "What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society"
Today at 12:05 AM 321 Comments
One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society
By Kevin Roose
Recently, our nation’s financial chieftains have been feeling a little unloved. Venture capitalists are comparing the persecution of the rich to the plight of Jews at Kristallnacht, Wall Street titans are saying that they’re sick of being beaten up, and this week, a billionaire investor, Wilbur Ross, proclaimed that “the 1 percent is being picked on for political reasons.”
Ross's statement seemed particularly odd, because two years ago, I met Ross at an event that might single-handedly explain why the rest of the country still hates financial tycoons – the annual black-tie induction ceremony of a secret Wall Street fraternity called Kappa Beta Phi.
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• Warren Stephens, an investment banking CEO, took the stage in a Confederate flag hat and sang a song about the financial crisis, set to the tune of “Dixie.” (“In Wall Street land we’ll take our stand, said Morgan and Goldman. But first we better get some loans, so quick, get to the Fed, man.”)
A few more acts followed, during which the veteran Kappas continued to gorge themselves on racks of lamb, throw petits fours at the stage, and laugh uproariously. Michael Novogratz, a former Army helicopter pilot with a shaved head and a stocky build whose firm, Fortress Investment Group, had made him a billionaire, was sitting next to me, drinking liberally and annotating each performance with jokes and insults.
“Can you fuckin’ believe Lasry up there?” Novogratz asked me. I nodded. He added, “He just gave me a ride in his jet a month ago.”
The neophytes – who had changed from their drag outfits into Mormon missionary costumes — broke into their musical finale: a parody version of “I Believe,” the hit ballad from The Book of Mormon, with customized lyrics like “I believe that God has a plan for all of us. I believe my plan involves a seven-figure bonus.” Amused, I pulled out my phone, and began recording the proceedings on video. Wrong move.
The grand finale, a parody of "I Believe" from The Book of Mormon
“Who the hell are you?” Novogratz demanded.
I felt my pulse spike. I was tempted to make a run for it, but – due to the ethics code of the New York Times, my then-employer – I had no choice but to out myself.
“I’m a reporter,” I said.
Novogratz stood up from the table.
"You’re not allowed to be here," he said.
I, too, stood, and tried to excuse myself, but he grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go.
“Give me that or I’ll fucking break it!” Novogratz yelled, grabbing for my phone, which was filled with damning evidence. His eyes were bloodshot, and his neck veins were bulging. The song onstage was now over, and a number of prominent Kappas had rushed over to our table. Before the situation could escalate dangerously, a bond investor and former Grand Swipe named Alexandra Lebenthal stepped in between us. Wilbur Ross quickly followed, and the two of them led me out into the lobby, past a throng of Wall Street tycoons, some of whom seemed to be hyperventilating.
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The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.
Posted by Hissyspit | Tue Feb 18, 2014, 12:59 PM (14 replies)
Source: The Intercept
Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters
By Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher
18 Feb 2014, 1:50 AM EST
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The efforts – detailed in documents provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – included a broad campaign of international pressure aimed not only at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but at what the U.S. government calls “the human network that supports WikiLeaks.” The documents also contain internal discussions about targeting the file-sharing site Pirate Bay and hacktivist collectives such as Anonymous.
One classified document from Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s top spy agency, shows that GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site. By exploiting its ability to tap into the fiber-optic cables that make up the backbone of the Internet, the agency confided to allies in 2012, it was able to collect the IP addresses of visitors in real time, as well as the search terms that visitors used to reach the site from search engines like Google.
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A third document, from July 2011, contains a summary of an internal discussion in which officials from two NSA offices – including the agency’s general counsel and an arm of its Threat Operations Center – considered designating WikiLeaks as “a ‘malicious foreign actor’ for the purpose of targeting.” Such a designation would have allowed the group to be targeted with extensive electronic surveillance – without the need to exclude U.S. persons from the surveillance searches.
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In a top-secret presentation at the conference, two GCHQ spies outlined how ANTICRISIS GIRL was used to enable “targeted website monitoring” of WikiLeaks (See slides 33 and 34). The agency logged data showing hundreds of users from around the world, including the United States, as they were visiting a WikiLeaks site –contradicting claims by American officials that a deal between the U.K. and the U.S. prevents each country from spying on the other’s citizens.
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An entry from August 2010 – headlined “United States, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Iceland” – states: “The United States on August 10 urged other nations with forces in Afghanistan, including Australia, United Kingdom, and Germany, to consider filing criminal charges against Julian Assange.” It describes Assange as the “founder of the rogue Wikileaks Internet website and responsible for the unauthorized publication of over 70,000 classified documents covering the war in Afghanistan.”
Read more: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/18/snowden-docs-reveal-covert-surveillance-and-pressure-tactics-aimed-at-wikileaks-and-its-supporters
Posted by Hissyspit | Tue Feb 18, 2014, 02:16 AM (16 replies)
Newly published secret grand jury orders & other docs shed light on US investigation of WikiLeaks now entering 5th yr
By Alexa O'Brien on February 17, 2014 10:51 AM |
Newly published documents, including sealed court orders from the secret Department of Justice grand jury investigating WikiLeaks, shed light on the manner and scope of the criminal and intelligence probes into Julian Assange and civilians associated with the online publisher of censored material.
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I am publishing for the first time, two court orders that detail the U.S. Department of Justice's surveillance of a Jacob Appelbaum, a WikiLeaks associate, security expert and journalist, who has recently collaborated on articles in Der Spiegel detailing NSA surveillance.
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Recently released emails also reveal that the secret Sonic order for Appelbaum's information was part of a small portion of sealed grand jury materials, which were turned over to Manning's defense at her trial.
Other recently released emails reveal that the three and a half year old Department of Justice grand jury probe was already empaneled on September 23, 2010, two months before the Attorney General publicly acknowledged an ongoing U.S. criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
The Department of Justice has also characterized the WikiLeaks criminal probe as a national security investigation. Evidence may also indicate that the case has been categorized as terrorism related. If that is so, it raises questions about the methods (beyond traditional criminal law enforcement) that the Obama administration is employing against the online publisher, its employees, associates, and supporters.
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Typically, the Department of Justice simply indicts, keeps the indictment sealed, issues a warrant, and then sits and waits. It is a violation of federal law for an official to disclose the instance of a sealed indictment before an accused is in the custody of law enforcement.
Once an indictment is unsealed or an investigation is concluded, all the secret orders and search warrants related to the case are simultaneously unsealed. All the secret orders and search warrants related to the WikiLeaks investigation that are publicly known, including those published here, remain under seal.
In the Assange case, however, there are public relations concerns, says Stanley Cohen, U.S. defense attorney on numerous high profile terrorism and cyber-crime cases. "The Department of Justice could also list a target as an un-indicted co-conspirator and still get the benefit of him or her fitting within the history and evidence chain presented to the grand jury," says Cohen. An unindicted co-conspirator can later be charged whether on his or her own, or by a superseding indictment along with those previously charged, Cohen added.
In the end, however, Assange (or any other civilian) could be extradited by criminal complaint or by indictment.
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Feb 17, 2014, 08:40 PM (0 replies)
NJ Port Authority probing whether officer drove Chris Christie ally through Bridgegate area
Monday, February 17, 2014 17:13 EST
Steve Strunsky/The Star-Ledger February 17, 2014 at 2:21:00 PM EST
Gov. Chris Christie's office says he never spoke about September's George Washington Bridge lane closures with a Port Authority Police lieutenant he knows personally, and whose conduct during the closures is now the subject of an internal review.
Christie office also said governor had never spoken about the closures to Lt. Thomas "Chip" Michaels' brother, Jeffrey Michaels, a Republican lobbyist and former GOP legislative aide.
"The Governor has never had any conversations with either Jeff or Chip Michaels on this topic," Christie spokesman Colin Reed, said in a statement this morning.
Christie's office was reacting to word that Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye had ordered the agency’s police chief to investigate the lieutenant's actions during the Sept. 9-13 closures.
A source close to the Port Authority Police Department told The Star-Ledger on Sunday that the probe will focus on reports that Michaels, a 15-year veteran of the department and a member of its GWB unit, chauffeured former Port Authority official David Wildstein through Fort Lee's traffic-congested streets on the first of four days of closures.
Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/17/nj-port-authority-probing-whether-officer-drove-chris-christie-ally-through-bridgegate-area/
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Feb 17, 2014, 06:09 PM (0 replies)
Why soldiers are increasingly relying on food stamps
AIMEE PICCHI /MONEYWATCH
Feb 17, 2014 1:09 PM EST
The recent surge in food-stamp spending has prompted some critics to worry that the $76 billion program is creating an over-reliance on government handouts.
What these critics may not realize is that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is also increasingly relied upon by members of the U.S. armed forces, with patrons of military commissaries using food stamps to purchase $103.6 million worth of groceries in fiscal 2013.
That's a 5 percent rise from 2012, and almost double the $52.9 million spent in 2009. That's a faster pace of growth than the general population, since overall SNAP spending rose just 51 percent from 2009 through 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
One reason for jump in food-stamp usage among soldiers could be the relatively low pay awarded to junior members of the military, with the least experienced active duty soldiers bringing home a little over $18,300 per year. That would qualify a soldier living in a two-person household for food stamps.
But another significant issue facing military families is a relatively high unemployment rate for spouses, with female spouses between the ages of 18 to 24 suffering from a 30 percent unemployment rate, according to a February study published by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. That's almost three times higher than their civilian cohorts, the study found.
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Feb 17, 2014, 03:21 PM (1 replies)
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Feb 17, 2014, 09:51 AM (75 replies)
Source: Associated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Michael Sam received a standing ovation when he appeared on the arena video boards during Missouri’s basketball game against Tennessee on Saturday.
The All-America defensive end who could became the first openly gay player in the NFL, later blew a kiss to the student section and shook hands with fans.
Sam and football team were honored at halftime for their Cotton Bowl over Oklahoma State.
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A Facebook event created this week called for the community to stand together for Sam outside Mizzou Arena on Saturday during a planned protest by members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. Nearly 5,000 people said they would attend, though not as many turned out in the 30-degree chill.
Read more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2014/02/fans-give-michael-sam-standing-ovation-at-missouri-basketball-game
Posted by Hissyspit | Sat Feb 15, 2014, 11:01 PM (10 replies)
Source: Associated Press
VW WORKERS AT TENNESSEE PLANT REJECT UNION
By ERIK SCHELZIG and TOM KRISHER
— Feb. 14, 2014 10:05 PM EST
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have rejected the United Auto Workers union.
The 712 to 626 vote is a devastating blow to the union and its efforts to organize other Southern plants run by foreign automakers.
About 1,500 workers were eligible to vote during three days of balloting that ended Friday night.
Experts say it was the best chance for the union to gain a foothold in the South, where it's been shunned by other workers.
Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the plant to make their sales pitch.
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/uaw-vote-volkswagen-plant-tenn-ends-friday
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Feb 14, 2014, 10:22 PM (141 replies)
Health Care With Heart: France vs. USA
Today's must-read, via Reuters: Anya Schiffrin's account of the cancer care her father--renowned editor and writer Andre Schiffrin, who died last December--received in France. Anyone enmeshed in the U.S. healthcare system will weep with longing for the humane and thoughtful way the French receive healthcare. Imagine this: quiet waiting rooms with no billing departments. Contrasting the ordeal of getting care in New York with their experience in Paris, she writes:
Every time I sit on hold now with the billing department of my New York doctors and insurance company, I think back to all the things French healthcare got right. The simplicity of that system meant that all our energy could be spent on one thing: caring for my father.
The French way of cancer treatment
By Anya Schiffrin FEBRUARY 12, 2014
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My parents were pleasantly surprised by his new routine. In New York, my father, my mother and I would go to Sloan Kettering every Tuesday around 9:30 a.m. and wind up spending the entire day. They’d take my dad’s blood and we’d wait for the results. The doctor always ran late. We never knew how long it would take before my dad’s name would be called, so we’d sit in the waiting room and, well, wait. Around 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. my dad would usually tell me and my mom to go get lunch. (He never seemed to be hungry.) But we were always afraid of having his name called while we were out. So we’d rush across the street, get takeout and come back to the waiting room.
We’d bring books to read. I’d use the Wi-Fi and eat the graham crackers that MSK thoughtfully left out near the coffee maker. We’d talk to each other and to the other patients and families waiting there. Eventually, we’d see the doctor for a few minutes and my dad would get his chemo. Then, after fighting New York crowds for a cab at rush hour, as my dad stood on the corner of Lexington Avenue feeling woozy, we’d get home by about 5:30 p.m.
So imagine my surprise when my parents reported from Paris that their chemo visits couldn’t be more different. A nurse would come to the house two days before my dad’s treatment day to take his blood. When my dad appeared at the hospital, they were ready for him. The room was a little worn and there was often someone else in the next bed but, most important, there was no waiting. Total time at the Paris hospital each week: 90 minutes.
There were other nice surprises. When my dad needed to see specialists, for example, instead of trekking around the city for appointments, he would stay in one room at Cochin Hospital, a public hospital in the 14th arrondissement where he received his weekly chemo. The specialists would all come to him. The team approach meant the nutritionist, oncologist, general practitioner and pharmacist spoke to each other and coordinated his care. As my dad said, “It turns out there are solutions for the all the things we put up with in New York and accept as normal.”
As an anti-Communist socialist, Schiffrin opposed both the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the U.S. war in Vietnam. He was one of the founders of the organization that became Students for a Democratic Society. In 1968, he signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
Schiffrin's daughter Anya is married to the economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz. His daughter Natalia is married to international lawyer Philippe Sands.
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Feb 14, 2014, 02:48 PM (54 replies)