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Gender: Male
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 11,266

Journal Archives

Sibel Edmonds: NSA, Snowden & Government Blackmailing

Sibel talks for just over an hour on NSA, FISA, Snowden, other whistle-blowers.
(Feel free to BOOKMARK, if you don't have time to watch now)

Greenwald: How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages

How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages
Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe
The Guardian * Thursday 11 July 2013

• Secret files show scale of Silicon Valley co-operation on Prism
• Outlook.com encryption unlocked even before official launch
• Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls
• Company says it is legally compelled to comply

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

The documents show that:

Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport"


Practicing Un-Medicine

This article was especially meaningful for me, since I just (finally) am recovering
fully from a supposedly "simple" procedure (removing a "low-grade" malignant
tumor from my bladder). My "simple procedure" lasted over 2-weeks, being in
and out of two different hospitals THREE times, due to "complications", to the point
where I was genuinely concerned about ever escaping the Medical Matrix.

Thankfully, the 3rd hospitalization was apparently charmed, and I am now 9/10 of
the way fully recovered. Anyway, as you read this you'll understand why it got
my attention.

~~~~~ * ~~~~~ * ~~~~~ * ~~~~~ * ~~~~~ * ~~~~~ * ~~~~~ * ~~~~~ *

Practicing Un-Medicine
OpEdNews Op Eds * 7/20/2013 at 06:22:15
By Walter Brasch

Clutching a sheaf of newspaper clippings in one hand and a medical bag in the other, Dr. Franklin Peterson Comstock III, knocking down pregnant ladies, students, the elderly, and even two burly construction workers who were waiting for a bus, rushed past me, leaving me in a close and personal encounter with the concrete. Since he had given up medicine to invest in a string of service stations and an oil distributorship, I assumed what was in his medical bag was the morning's take from obscene profits.

"Medical emergency!" Comstock cried out. "Gang way!"

"You've returned to medicine?" I shouted after him.

"I'm going into un-medicine!" he shouted back. "I'm getting the big bucks not to operate!" This was a story too good to let by, so I gave up any hope of the 7:11 "D"-line bus arriving by 7:30, and chased after him.

"Slow down!" I panted. "You'll kill yourself!"

"No time to slow down," he said widening the distance, leaving a trail of broken bodies. "There's money to be gotten!"

"If you kill yourself before you get there--" I didn't know where, I just knew it was somewhere--"you'll never see a cent of it!" That stopped him, giving me time to catch up, catch my breath, and catch Comstock's latest scam. "Now, Comstock," I said, the air returning to my lungs, "if you're not going to operate, why the medical bag?"

"That's so I can get money from the Department of Agriculture," he replied.

"You're going to hold up an Ag Stabilization office?"

"In a way," he said, shoving a sheaf of the newspaper clippings at me. Some said that when doctors didn't operate, the death rate dropped."

"O.K., so surgeons kill patients. Tell me how that'll help you make a mint."

"Don't be so impatient," said Comstock. "Here! Read this!" This was a newspaper article that reported a study by the Centers for Disease Control showed that of 35 million people hospitalized last year, almost two million got worse because of exposure to unsanitary hospital procedures. "See! Even if we get them through surgery," said Comstock, "They'll die in the hospitals anyhow! Isn't that wonderful!" Wonderful wasn't exactly the word I had in mind.

"Aren't doctors supposed to make people healthier?" I brazenly asked.

"I guess we can do that too while we're making money," said Comstock, thoughtfully stringing out his scheme. "But making people healthy isn't as financially productive as not growing crops." He thrust yet another newspaper article at me. During the past decade, the Department of Agriculture paid more than $200 billion in subsidies to farmers, about three-fourths of them agricorporations; about $2 billion of that was for subsidies to individuals and corporations not to do any farming. Farmers and agricorporations merely had to prove they once farmed the land. They could even sell 40 acres to a sub-developer to build houses, and entice future homeowners with seemingly eternal payments for not having race paddies in their basements. Comstock even showed me governmental data that revealed that dozens of members of Congress were getting annual six-figure subsidies. Rep. Stephen Fincher, a Tea Party Republican from Tennessee, even took more than $3.3 million in farm subsidies, while calling for a significant decrease in the food stamp program for the poor.

"So, that's the scam," I said. "You're not going to grow rice so you can make more money?"

"You fall off the turnip truck?" he asked. "I'm not doing surgery!"

"That's good news," I sighed.

"Darn right!" he patriotically exclaimed. "With every doctor wanting to get the big bucks from surgery, there's a glut of surgeons. Because of competition, us surgeons can't make as much from one surgery as before, so we have to do more surgeries just to stay even. That's more work for us. More time in hospitals. More deaths from surgery. More deaths from hospital care. Higher insurance rates. That forces us to do even more surgeries to keep up. That's definitely not in the nation's interest." I agreed.

"But the government can fix it!" said a beaming Comstock, former surgeon-turned-oil-entrepreneur. "All the government has to do is pay us not to perform surgery, and you'll see happier doctors. There might even be a few lives that are saved in the process.

A noble thought, I agreed. A very noble thought.


Brandon Toy's Act of Conscience

Brandon Toy's Act of Conscience
By Consortium News * via OpEdNews Op Eds
7/19/2013 at 22:57:47

We, the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII), salute Brandon Toy, who chose to walk away from his job with a U.S. defense contractor to protest the U.S. government's violation of human and civil rights. Mr. Toy properly followed the dictates of his conscience. His very public renunciation (see below) of misdeeds by the U.S. military-industrial-surveillance complex is an act of protest that, we hope, will inspire others to hold their own governments to account.

Secrecy is a tool states use most commonly in order to mask unethical, unconstitutional, criminal and foolish behavior. Brandon Toy's informed rejection of a system that is violating the basic rights of its own citizens depends on whistleblowers, who in turn rely on courageous, professional journalists to inform the public.

As committed truth-tellers and whistleblowers from several countries, members of SAAII placed our careers, livelihoods, and, in some cases, our personal freedom on the line so that people like Mr. Toy would have the needed information to weigh career against moral duty.

We note the words of former Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey, who in a 15 July email to whistleblower Edward Snowden -- confirmed as authentic by Sen. Humphrey in a separate message to Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald -- praised Mr. Snowden for "exposing what I regard as a massive violation of the U.S. Constitution."

SAAII is proud to have chosen Mr. Snowden as the 2013 recipient of the Sam Adams Award, which we announced on July 8. We look forward to presenting the award to Mr. Snowden in person, as is our custom, when circumstances permit.

We believe courageous public acts like that of Brandon Toy deserve the support of people everywhere. These actions are essential to making defense of the Constitution and basic human rights and freedoms a shared duty of every citizen, rather than the isolated act of a few.

MORE: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Brandon-Toy-s-Act-of-Consc-by-Consortium-News-130719-661.html

Fuck McDonalds! I stopped going there 23 years ago

or thereabouts, and haven't stepped foot in one since.
I was not quiet about it either. Fuckers.

Ironically, my first job was at one of the first McDonalds
to open in Portland Oregon, in about 1960.

On edit, ^^ this ^^ was actually the very first McDonalds
IN THE ENTIRE NORTHWEST USA. I didn't know that,
until just now, looking it up.

BREAKING: Bradley Manning Wins Sean MacBride Peace Award! Bam.

OpEdNews Op Eds * 7/19/2013 at 09:09:34

U.S. whistleblower and international hero Bradley Manning has just been awarded the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau, itself a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for which Manning is a nominee this year.

A petition supporting Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize has gathered 88,000 sinatures, many of them with comments, and is aiming for 100,000 before delivering it to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo. Anyone can sign and add their comments at ManningNobel.org

The International Peace Bureau (IPB) represents 320 organizations in 70 countries. It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910. Over the years, 13 of IPB's officers have been Nobel Peace laureates. See ipb.org

The Sean MacBride prize has been awarded each year since 1992 by the International Peace Bureau, founded in 1892. Previous winners include: Lina Ben Mhenni (Tunisian blogger) and Nawal El-Sadaawi (Egyptian author) - 2012, Jackie Cabasso (USA, 2008), Jayantha Dhanapala (Sri Lanka, 2007) and the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2006). It is named after Sean MacBride, a distinguished Irish statesman who shared the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize, and is given to individuals or organisations for their outstanding work for peace, disarmament and human rights.

The medal is made of "peace bronze," a material created out of disarmed and recycled nuclear weapons systems, by fromwartopeace.com The prize will be formally awarded on Sept. 14 in Stockholm, at a special evening on whistleblowing, which forms part of the triennial gathering of the International Peace Bureau.


"Summer Camp" for professional killers

Is it just me? ... or is this more than a little creepy?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ *

Sleep-Away Camp for Postmodern Cowboys
By JOSH EELLS * NYTimes Magazine * July 19, 2013

The men of Team America were missing an assault rifle. “Everybody pulled a rifle, right, guys?” Eric asked. A 38-year-old ex-Navy lieutenant, he had blond hair to his shoulders and a few days’ worth of deployment stubble. “We’re supposed to have eight,” Brian said. He and Eric worked SWAT together in Virginia and sometimes hunted together, too.

Brandon, 33, had six 9-millimeter Glock pistols stuffed in his pockets. He surveyed the room: “Two . . . four . . . six. . . . “ Carey, a sniper, tried to stifle a laugh. “Good thing they don’t have a counting event.”

It was a spring Saturday at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (Kasotc) in Jordan. The members of Team America were in their barracks after a morning at the range, cleaning their guns so the desert sand wouldn’t jam the actions. Kasotc — it rhymes with aquatic — sits in the blasted-out canyon of a rock quarry on Yajouz Road about 15 miles north of Amman. It’s a state-of-the-art counterterrorism-training base, with 6,000 acres ringed by sentry towers and razor wire. The sound of gunfire echoed off the limestone cliffs, spooking the sheep on nearby bluffs.

Team America were at Kasotc for the fifth-annual Warrior Competition in which 32 teams from 17 countries and the Palestinian territories would compete against one another on mock missions. Organizers have referred to it as “the Olympics of counterterrorism”: over the next four days, the teams would raid buildings, storm hijacked jets, rescue hostages and shoot targets with live ammunition, all while being scored for speed and accuracy. It was a stage-managed showcase for the 21st-century soldier — not the humble G.I., but the post-9/11 warrior, the superman in the shadows, keeping the world safe from murky threats. Bill Patterson, a former U.S. Special Forces soldier who oversees training at the base, said, “When you’re on that Black Hawk at 2 in the morning, on your way to target, and the bad guy you’ve been hunting for months is in that building, and there’s 25 guys with machine guns and only 6 of you — that’s a thrill you’ll never forget.”

Around 11 a.m., two Boeing Little Bird attack helicopters roared overhead, sending the base’s resident black tabby scurrying for cover. It was time for the opening ceremony. As the teams gathered on the parade ground, they sized one another up. The Swiss team, the Skorpions of the Zürich Stadtpolizei, looked like off-duty ski instructors in their matching black jackets and mirrored sunglasses. The Lebanese Black Panthers, the SWAT team for Lebanon’s Internal Security Force, strutted in black hoodies and combat boots. The Jordanian special ops team stood straight-backed in their red berets, quietly confident in their home-field advantage. And the Russians, a bunch of ex-Spetsnaz and K.G.B. members who now worked for a private bodyguard service based in London and owned by an Iranian, showed off Chechen bullet wounds and waved the flag of the Russian Airborne. Its motto: “Nobody but Us.”

Everyone agreed that the Canadians would be tough. They were from Canada’s Special Operations Regiment. Recently back from a tour in Afghanistan, they sported combat beards, intimidating tattoos (Revelation 6:8, “And behold, a pale horse: and its rider’s name was Death”) and the kind of burly frames that come from carrying big guns over tall mountains for weeks at a time. “They look like the dudes from ‘300,’ ” a member of one of four U.S. teams said. Another said, “They look like werewolf lumberjacks.”

But most eyes were on the Chinese. China had two teams, both from the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force. The Snow Leopards were the favorite: formerly the Snow Wolf Commando unit, they were a counterterrorism squad established ahead of the Beijing Olympics. There was a rumor going around that they had been to eight more-specialized competitions and never finished lower than second. (The Chinese maintained this was their first competition.) They marched to the mess hall in formation and did push-ups for fun. By comparison, the American teams — three Army and one Marine Corps, who were at that moment posing for team pictures and smoking cigars — looked like high-school kids on a field trip.

More + VIDEO at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/magazine/sleep-away-camp-for-postmodern-cowboys.html?hp

NYTimes: In major ruling, Court Orders NYTimes Reporter to Testify (i.e. "out" his sources)

In Major Ruling, Court Orders Times Reporter to Testify
By CHARLIE SAVAGE * New York Times * July 19, 2013

WASHINGTON — In a major ruling about press freedoms, a divided federal appeals court on Friday ruled that James Risen, an author and reporter for The New York Times, must testify in the criminal trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency official charged with providing him with classified information.

In a 118-page set of opinions, two members of a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. — the court whose decisions cover the Pentagon and the C.I.A. — ruled that the First Amendment provides no protection to reporters who receive unauthorized leaks from being forced to testify against the alleged sources who leaked to them.

“Clearly, Risen’s direct, firsthand account of the criminal conduct indicted by the grand jury cannot be obtained by alternative means, as Risen is without dispute the only witness who can offer this critical testimony,” wrote Chief Judge William Byrd Traxler Jr., who was joined by Judge Albert Diaz.

Mr. Risen has vowed to appeal any loss at the appeals court to the Supreme Court, and to go to prison rather than testify about his sources. On Friday, he referred a request to comment to his lawyer, Joel Kurtzberg, who wrote in an e-mail: “We are disappointed by and disagree with the court’s decision. We are currently evaluating our next steps.”

Judge Roger Gregory, the third member of the panel, filed a vigorous dissent, portraying his colleagues’ decision as “sad” and a serious threat to investigative journalism.

“Under the majority’s articulation of the reporter’s privilege, or lack thereof, absent a showing of bad faith by the government, a reporter can always be compelled against her will to reveal her confidential sources in a criminal trial,” he wrote. “The majority exalts the interests of the government while unduly trampling those of the press, and in doing so, severely impinges on the press and the free flow of information in our society.”

The Justice Department offered no immediate comment. The ruling raises an awkwardly timed question for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who has portrayed himself as trying to rebalance the department’s leak investigations in response to the furor over its aggressive investigative tactics, like subpoenaing Associated Press reporters’ phone records and portraying a Fox News reporter as a criminal conspirator in order to obtain a warrant for his e-mails.

MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/20/us/in-major-ruling-court-orders-times-reporter-to-testify.html?hp


IF you don't want storm troopers at your door at 7am, that is.

NSA "Joke": US Military Intervene over Facebook Event
By Judith Horchert * Der Spiegel

As a joke, a German man recently invited some friends for a walk around a top secret NSA facility. But the Facebook invitation soon had German federal police knocking at his door. They had been alerted by the American authorities.

Normally, Daniel Bangert's Facebook posts tend to be of the serious variety. The 28-year-old includes news items and other bits of interest he encounters throughout the day. "I rarely post funny pictures," he says.

As a joke, a German man recently invited some friends for a walk around a top secret NSA facility. But the Facebook invitation soon had German federal police knocking at his door. They had been alerted by the American authorities.

Normally, Daniel Bangert's Facebook posts tend to be of the serious variety. The 28-year-old includes news items and other bits of interest he encounters throughout the day. "I rarely post funny pictures," he says.

He described the outing as though it were a nature walk. He wrote on Facebook that its purpose was to undertake "joint research into the threatened habitat of NSA spies." He added: "If we are really lucky, we might actually see a real NSA spy with our own eyes." He suggested that those interested in coming should bring along their cameras and "flowers of all kinds to improve the appearance of the NSA spies' habitat."

Perhaps not surprisingly, not many of his friends showed much interest in the venture. But the authorities did. Just four days after he posted the invitation, his mobile phone rang at 7:17 a.m. It was the police calling to talk about his Facebook post.

'I Couldn't Believe It'

Bangert's doorbell rang at almost the exact same time. The police on the telephone told him to talk with the officers outside of his door. Bangert quickly put on a T-shirt -- which had a picture of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on it along with the words "Team Edward" -- and answered the door. His neighbor was outside too so as not to miss the fun.


PS: I already know that in THIS case the police came like they should, during the day

Car Crash that Killed Rolling Stone Reporter Michael Hastings Still Being Investigated

The story that Hastings was working on involved disgraced General Petraeus' mistress, which is one of the reasons Hastings' untimely "accident" stinks to high Heaven. Petraeus has an unfortunate habit of leaving dead bodies of potential whistleblowers and/or "leakers" in his wake: See Col Ted Westhusing's "suicide" in Iraq.

~~~~~~~~ * ~~~~~~~~~ * ~~~~~~~~ * ~~~~~~~~ * ~~~~~~~~~ * ~~~~~~~~ *

Car Crash that Killed Rolling Stone Reporter Michael Hastings Still Being Investigated
Rumors that Hastings' body was cremated against his family's wishes only fueling conspiracy theories.
July 17, 2013 * AlterNet * By Steven Rosenfeld

Los Angeles County law enforcement officials have not yet closed their investigation into the high-speed car crash and ensuing inferno that killed Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings in the early morning hours of June 18 th in the city’s Hancock Park neighborhood.

Hastings was killed when his Mercedes crashed into a tree and exploded, sparking theories that the reporter, who was said to be working on a major exposé of the CIA, could have been assassinated. In 2010, his Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, then the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, contained critical remarks about the White House and prompted the general’s reassignment.

“The latest is there is no foul play suspected—that’s all you would get from us,” a Los Angeles Police Department press officer said Wednesday. “According to our traffic investigators, there’s no foul play. That’s all speculation.”

A handful of news organizations have unearthed video of Hastings car speeding through a red light moments before the crash, as well as live footage of the crash scene before the L.A. Fire Department and Police Department arrived on the scene. That crash scene footage contains eyewitness accounts describing how the car was seen spinning out of control and bursting into a fully engulfed fire upon impact.

There has been speculation that a bomb was planted near the gas tank, as well as suggestions that perhaps the Mercedes’ on-board computer controls were hacked—causing the rapid acceleration and crash despite whatever Hastings might have been doing behind the wheel to counter that. There are also reports that Hastings’ body was cremated by the L.A. Coroner’s office against his surviving family’s wishes, implying that physiological evidence was purposely destroyed.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles Department of Coroner Captain John Kades said that his office has not closed its investigation because it is awaiting the results of a range of autopsy tests—which will take another four to six weeks to complete. Hastings’ body was delivered at his family’s request to a funeral home, he said, where it was subsequently cremated. This procedure for transferring remains was routine, he said.

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