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Source: Associated Press
PA. POLICE CHIEF SUSPENDED AFTER VIDEO PROFANITIES
Jul. 31 10:24 PM EDT
GILBERTON, Pa. (AP) — A small-town police chief who appears in online videos using profanity and shooting automatic weapons has been suspended for 30 days without pay.
The borough council of Gilberton voted 5-1 at a meeting Wednesday night to suspend Chief Mark Kessler, saying he misused borough property. It said he used the weapons without permission.
Kessler has said he made the videos to draw attention to the erosion of the constitutional rights of free speech and to bear arms and he increasingly fears a government out of control.
He said after the meeting that he wouldn't apologize for making the videos and didn't regret having done so. He said he looked forward to getting back to work after the suspension.
- snip -
In one video, Kessler criticizes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's support of a United Nations treaty aimed at controlling the international arms trade, which some gun rights advocates fear could lead to restrictions on domestic weapons. Kessler then fires a weapon and screams, "Come and get it!"
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/pa-police-chief-suspended-after-video-profanities
Posted by Hissyspit | Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:28 AM (19 replies)
Source: Associated Press
@AP: R.I., Minn. becoming 12th and 13th US states to allow gay marriage along with District of Columbia: http://t.co/mkmEKigO6G - VW
NUPTIALS AT MIDNIGHT AS GAY MARRIAGE HITS MINN.
By PATRICK CONDON
— Jul. 31 10:34 PM EDT
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Dozens of Minnesota gay couples made last-minute preparations Wednesday for midnight marriages, determined to exchange vows at the earliest possible moment under a new state law legalizing same-sex marriage.
Weddings were scheduled to start at the stroke of midnight at Minneapolis City Hall, St. Paul's Como Park, Mall of America's Chapel of Love and at county courthouses around the state. One group planned a cluster of weddings in a Duluth tavern.
"I don't think either of us ever thought we'd see this day," said Mike Bolin, of the Minneapolis suburb of Richfield, who was marrying Jay Resch, his partner of six years, at Minneapolis City Hall. "We met at low points in both of our lives, and to have arrived at this point — there's going to be a lot of tears."
Rhode Island was joining Minnesota on Thursday in becoming the 12th and 13th U.S. states to allow gay marriage, along with the District of Columbia. The national gay rights group Freedom to Marry estimates that about 30 percent of the U.S. population now lives in places where gay marriage is legal. The first gay weddings in Rhode Island were planned for later Thursday morning.
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/nuptials-midnight-gay-marriage-hits-minn
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak takes a moment to himself as he prepares for the evening's weddings at City Hall, Wednesday, July 31, 2013 in Minneapolis. Dozens of Minnesota gay couples made last-minute preparations Wednesday for midnight marriages, determined to exchange vows at the earliest possible moment under a new state law legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jim Gehrz) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT
Posted by Hissyspit | Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:16 AM (10 replies)
Source: NC Policy Watch
State Health Director resigns from DHHS (with copy of resignation letter)
Post on July 31, 2013
by Sarah Ovaska
Last night, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced that state health director, one of the top positions in the agency, has resigned.
Dr. Laura Gerald, a pediatrician who had been in the position since for the last 18 months, had served as the State Health Director and the director of the state division of public health.
No reason for her resignation was given by Wos, but a copy of Gerald’s resignation letter obtained by N.C. Policy Watch indicates she was uncomfortable with the policies being pushed in DHHS.
“Although I have demonstrated the ability to produce accomplishments that require work and collaboration with diverse groups and across political aisles, I acknowledge that I have significant differences and disagreements with many of the policy and administrative directions that I see unfolding in North Carolina and in the Department of Health and Human Services,” Gerald wrote. “These differences are making it increasingly impossible to continue to be effective in my current role.”
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N.C. Policy Watch obtained a copy of Gerald’s resignation letter from a reader, and have confirmed it is real. She cites “significant differences and disagreements with many of the policy and administrative directions that I see unfolding in North Carolina and in the Department of Health and Human Services” as her reason for leaving.
Read more: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2013/07/31/state-health-director-resigns-from-dhhs/
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jul 31, 2013, 11:16 PM (14 replies)
Source: Courthouse News
@wikileaks: No deaths caused by release of Afghan War Logs, says general who headed leak investigation | Courthouse News https://t.co/5oYOsO69pF
Military Fails to Link Leaks With Any Deaths
By ADAM KLASFELD
FT. MEADE, Md. (CN) - The largest intelligence leak in U.S. history, disclosed by Pfc. Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks, did not lead to the deaths of any military sources, the government's first sentencing witness testified Wednesday.
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In 2011, then-Army Chief of Staff Mike Mullen had said that Manning and WikiLeaks "might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family."
But Manning has insisted that he sent WikiLeaks only low-sensitivity categories of files that he believed would shed light on U.S. war fighting and statecraft. Three years of journalistic scrutiny into the effects of the leaks could not uncover a case of an intelligence source who was killed or injured because of the disclosures.
The military's position took another hit Wednesday, as the former brigadier general who headed the Information Review Task Force investigating the leaks said that he had never heard that a source named in the Afghan war logs was killed.
Though the Taliban had claimed that its review of the war logs led them to an Afghan whom the U.S. military named as a source, the supposed informant the Taliban claimed to have executed was not in fact named in the leaked materials.
Read more: https://www.courthousenews.com/2013/07/31/59869.htm
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jul 31, 2013, 05:30 PM (5 replies)
New Snowden leak upstages U.S. move to declassify documents
By Alina Selyukh and Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON | Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:50pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New revelations from former security contractor Edward Snowden that U.S. intelligence agencies have access to a vast online tracking tool came to light on Wednesday as lawmakers put the secret surveillance programs under greater scrutiny.
The Guardian, citing documents from Snowden, published National Security Agency training materials for the XKeyscore program, which the newspaper described as the NSA's widest-reaching system that covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet."
Intelligence analysts can conduct surveillance through XKeyscore by filling in an on-screen form giving only a "broad justification" for the search and no review by a court or NSA staff, the Guardian said.
Snowden's revelations to media that U.S. intelligence agencies collected data on phone calls and other communications of Americans and foreign citizens as a tool to fight terrorism have sparked uproar in the United States and abroad.
Intelligence officials say the programs helped thwart terrorist attacks.
"The implication that NSA's collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false," the agency said in a statement in response to the Guardian's new report, calling XKeyscore part of "NSA's lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system."
Lawmakers have called for greater oversight of the vast surveillance system, which expanded rapidly after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE96U03320130731
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jul 31, 2013, 05:07 PM (18 replies)
Top Ten Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World
Posted on 07/31/2013 by Juan Cole
Bradley Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that his leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what he revealed and that his revelations changed the world are undeniable.
1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.
2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.
3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.
- snip -
6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.
- snip -
10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.
REST OF LIST AT LINK
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jul 31, 2013, 04:49 AM (3 replies)
Source: Washington Post
By Billy Kenber, Published: July 30 E-mail the writer
The conviction of Army private Bradley Manning on espionage charges Tuesday makes it increasingly likely that the United States will prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a co-conspirator, according to his attorney and civil liberties groups.
Judge Denise Lind, an Army colonel, found Manning guilty of several violations of the Espionage Act, and he could face life in prison. Press freedom advocates said the verdict adds to their alarm that the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of leakers will discourage whistleblowers from providing critical information on military and intelligence matters.
- snip -
Military prosecutors in the court-martial portrayed Assange as an “information anarchist” who encouraged Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents. And they insisted that the anti-secrecy group cannot be considered a media organization that published the leaked information in the public interest.
Defense attorneys denied “the claim that Bradley Manning was acting under the direction of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, but the government kept trying to bring that up, trying to essentially say that Julian was a co-conspirator,” said Michael Ratner, Assange’s American attorney and the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. “That’s a very bad sign about what the U.S. government wants to do to Julian Assange.”
A grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks is ongoing, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. But it is unclear whether any sealed indictments exist or whether Assange has been charged.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mannings-conviction-seen-as-making-prosecution-of-wikileaks-assange-likely/2013/07/30/79746700-f94f-11e2-afc1-c850c6ee5af8_story.html
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jul 31, 2013, 04:16 AM (13 replies)
Source: Los Angeles Times
Film academy elects first African American president: Cheryl Boone Isaacs
Los Angeles Times | July 30, 2013 | 6:58 PM
Veteran Hollywood marketer Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been elected the first African American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that hands out the Oscars each year.
Isaacs, a longtime academy insider who most recently held the job of first vice president, will serve a one-year term with eligibility to stay in the role for three additional years.
She was elected Tuesday evening over governor Rob Friedman, Lionsgate motion picture group co-chair, by the academy's 48-member board of governors.
- snip -
The election of Isaacs comes at a time when the academy is interested in addressing the issue of diversity. A 2012 Los Angeles Times survey found that the academy was overwhelmingly white, male and older. Though outgoing president Hawk Koch and academy chief executive officer Dawn Hudson have made strides to increase the diversity within the organization — eliminating the quota system for electing members, bringing in additional women to the board — the group is still predominantly male and white.
The addition of Isaacs to the top post means the academy will now be run by two women, including Hudson.
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/moviesnow/la-et-mn-film-academy-elects-first-african-american-president-20130730,0,2262593.story
Posted by Hissyspit | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 10:14 PM (7 replies)
Source: Associated Press
@AP: BREAKING: Egypt prosecutor orders detention of ousted president over contact with Hamas, news agency reports
@AP: MORE: Morsi is being detained over alleged contacts with Hamas to help in his escape from prison in 2011: http://t.co/gsupqkYntz -JM
OUSTED EGYPT PRESIDENT DETAINED OVER HAMAS CONTACT
Jul. 26 4:18 AM EDT
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's official news agency reports that the state prosecutor has ordered the detention of the ousted president over alleged contacts with Hamas to help in his escape from prison in 2011.
The MENA news agency said Mohammed Morsi has been detained for 15 days for investigation into the charges.
Egypt's military has been holding Morsi in an undisclosed location since deposing him on July 3.
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ousted-egypt-president-detained-over-hamas-contact
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Jul 26, 2013, 04:20 AM (10 replies)
Source: Reuters/AFP/Associated Press
Fugitive Snowden's hopes of leaving Moscow airport dashed
By Lidia Kelly
Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:35pm EDT
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden's hopes of leaving Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport for the first time in a month on Wednesday were dashed when he failed to secure permission from Russia to leave.
An airport source said Snowden, who is wanted by the United States on espionage charges for revealing details of government intelligence programs, was handed documents by his lawyer that were expected to include a pass to leave the transit area.
However, Snowden did not go through passport control and lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who is helping him with his request for temporary asylum in Russia until he can reach a country that will shelter him, said the American did not have the pass he needed.
It was not clear whether there had been last-minute political intervention or a hitch, or whether the pass had never been in his possession.
@BreakingNews: Report: Russia gives Edward Snowden documents allowing him to leave Moscow airport, source tells RIA Novosti state news agency - @AFP
@AP: BREAKING: Russian state news agency says leaker Edward Snowden has documents to enter Russia. -MM
@Reuters: Snowden granted papers needed to leave Moscow airport: source http://t.co/CFQkHqoZt4
Snowden granted papers needed to leave Moscow airport: source
Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:59am EDT
Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was on Wednesday granted documents that will allow him to leave a Moscow airport where he is holed up, an airport source said on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of U.S. government intelligence programs, was expected to meet his lawyer at Sheremetyevo airport later on Wednesday after lodging a request for temporary asylum in Russia. The immigration authorities declined immediate comment.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE96N0KH20130724
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jul 24, 2013, 07:43 AM (64 replies)