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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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'Insane, Disgusting' and 'Epic Treachery': NSA Spied on Climate Talks


'Obama admin. clearly never wanted Copenhagen talks to work,' says Bill McKibben following latest NSA revelations concerning climate talks

'Insane, Disgusting' and 'Epic Treachery': NSA Spied on Climate Talks
- Jon Queally, staff writer
Published on Thursday, January 30, 2014 by Common Dreams

While climate activists from around the world gathered outside the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009 called for "System Change, Not Climate Change' while demanding to be heard by world leaders, the U.S. delegation inside the talks was busy listening to something else: a steady stream of surveillance intelligence on other nations provided by the National Security Agency.

That's according to new documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published Thursday by reporters at the Huffington Post and the Danish newspaper Information, with help from American journalist Laura Poitras.

As the Information reports:

At the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, the world's nations were supposed to reach an agreement that would protect future generations against catastrophic climate change. But not everyone was playing by the rules. A leaked document now reveals that the US employed the NSA, its signals intelligence agency, to intercept information about other countries' views on the climate negotiations before and during the summit. According to observers, the spying may have contributed to the Americans getting their way in the negotiations.

And HuffPost's Ryan Grim and Kate Sheppard add:

The document, with portions marked "top secret," indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting. Posted on an internal NSA website on Dec. 7, 2009, the first day of the Copenhagen summit, it states that "analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries' preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies."
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:52 AM (2 replies)

O (No) Canada!: Free Airport Wi-Fi Hacked for Mass Surveillance


Program allowed surveillance agency to bulk collect metadata from all passengers passing through terminals (

O (No) Canada!: Free Airport Wi-Fi Hacked for Mass Surveillance
- Jon Queally, staff writer
Published on Friday, January 31, 2014 by Common Dreams

Canada's most secretive intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), used the free wi-fi networks provided at one of the nation's largest airports to obtain the metadata contained in the electronic devices of passengers passing through the terminals which then allowed the agency to "track" the devices going forward.

Those are the explosive revelations that Canadian citizens woke to on Friday, with a new report by CBC News—based on documents leaked to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—showing that the program by the CSEC, which is charged with foreign intelligence and barred from spying on Canadian citizens, was being used to bulk collect the personal digital information of all people using the open and public network.

Described as a "test run," the program was not known to airport officials questioned by the CBC, though the details of the technology were shared with other intelligence agencies from the so-called Five Eyes countries, which includes the U.S., New Zealand, the U.K., and Australia.

CBC reports:

The latest Snowden document indicates the spy service was provided with information captured from unsuspecting travellers' wireless devices by the airport's free Wi-Fi system over a two-week period.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:48 AM (1 replies)

NSA Scandal: Kerry To Visit Berlin To Rebuild Trust


US Secretary of State John Kerry plans to visit Berlin on Friday in an attempt to repair the damage done by the NSA spying scandal. German officials aren't expecting any official apology, and the trip comes at a difficult time in trans-Atlantic ties.

NSA Scandal: Kerry To Visit Berlin To Rebuild Trust
By Gregor Peter Schmitz and Matthias Gebauer
January 29, 2014 – 05:53 PM

United States Secretary of State John Kerry wants to step in personally to smooth out trans-Atlantic relations that have deteriorated as a result of the NSA spying scandal. A government spokesman confirmed that Kerry will visit Berlin during a trip to Germany on Friday.

Kerry is a scheduled speaker at the prestigious Munich Security Conference this weekend, but he plans to meet with his counterpart, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Friday. A meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also planned. Kerry is also expected to hold a press conference and answer questions from journalists.

Nevertheless, German diplomats are already warning against high expectations for the meeting. Already the way in which the visit has been planned suggests that the US government isn't giving the secretary of state's Germany visit its highest priority. American officials didn't alert their German counterparts of the details of when they could expect Kerry in Berlin until Wednesday.

Diplomats say they aren't expecting the secretary of state to provide any formal apology for spying by the NSA. Instead, the trip will address more general working issues. Hopes for a formal no-spy agreement between Germany and the United States have also largely vanished.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:06 AM (0 replies)

Max Mosley: Google Is So 'Arrogant They Do Whatever They Like'


In an interview, former racing boss Max Mosley discusses his successful legal battle against Google to filter out compromising sex photos, the fight for Internet privacy in the era of NSA spying and his endless quest for justice.

Max Mosley: Google Is So 'Arrogant They Do Whatever They Like'
Interview By Susanne Amann and Isabell Hülsen
January 29, 2014 – 07:08 PM

Born in London in 1940, Max Mosley served as the long-time president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body for Formula One and other international motor sports. The 73-year-old's name is one of the best-known in the motor racing world. On March 30, 2008, the now defunct, Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid published stills from video images secretly taken of an S&M party involving Mosley and uniformed women.

In July 2008, Mosley won a British High Court case against News of the World for invasion of privacy. The court ordered the newspaper to pay a fine of £60,000 (€76,000). The court also stated there was "no evidence that the gathering on March 28, 2008, was intended to be an enactment of Nazi behavior or adoption of any of its attitudes."

For years, Google continued to list search results containing links to illegal photos of Mosley. He sued in both France and Germany to have the images automatically filtered out of search results. In November 2013, a Paris court ordered Google to filter out nine images. The California-based company says it has already started the appeals process against that ruling. On Friday, a Hamburg regional court issued a similar verdict. It ordered Google to block six images showing the racing boss in a compromising setting with multiple women.

After the ruling, Mosley sat down with SPIEGEL to discuss his battle against Google and his efforts to protect his right to privacy.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:02 AM (3 replies)

Putin's Games: Influence Peddling at the Feeding Troughs of Sochi


Though the Olympic Games in Sochi don't begin until next week, the victor is already clear: Vladimir Putin. The president has used the spectacle -- and the vast construction contracts involved -- to secure his own power and to rid himself of rivals.

Putin's Games: Influence Peddling at the Feeding Troughs of Sochi
By Christian Neef and Matthias Schepp
January 29, 2014 – 02:43 PM

With his broad shoulders and massive head, the boss of Russia's railway system looks like the kind of man who is afraid of nothing and nobody. When his company lays track in Iran and North Korea, he is like a second foreign minister. With his massive budget, he is also among the most influential politicians back home in Moscow. And with a million people working for him, he is the country's largest employer.

Yakunin is fond of wearing a uniform to festive events. The silver, oak-leaf embroidery on his collar recalls the time when the heads of the Soviet rail system held the rank of general. But for the recent opening of the modern new train station in the Olympic city of Sochi, he came in civilian attire: a dark blue suit with a pink silk tie. Even without his uniform, however, he stood as stiff as a tin soldier next to his president.

Yakunin's posture revealed pride, but also a pinch of trepidation -- even if he belongs to Vladimir Putin's inner circle and has known the president for over 20 years. "In the name of the entire Russian rail collective, I would like to thank you for the trust and the assistance, but also for the control that you have consistently exerted," Yakunin said.

Control is the key word when it comes to Sochi, but also when it comes to the games of power and money that take place in Moscow back rooms, in ministry corridors and in the top floors of large companies. In these competitions, there are no medals at stake. Rather, the prize is a place among the Russian power elite. Participants are not looking for appreciative applause; they are looking for the approval of a single man: Vladimir Putin.

Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:58 AM (0 replies)

Gone With the Wind: Weak Returns Cripple German Renewables


Investments in renewable energy were supposed to be a sure thing, with wind park operators promising annual returns of up to 20 percent. More often than not, however, such pledges have been illusory -- and many investors have lost their principal to boot.

Gone With the Wind: Weak Returns Cripple German Renewables
By Gunther Latsch, Anne Seith and Gerald Traufetter
January 30, 2014 – 03:19 PM

Three broadcasting vans. Ten camera teams. Some 50 journalists. There certainly wasn't any lack of attention being paid to Carsten Rodbertus last Thursday as he stepped up to the podium in an assembly hall in northern Germany belonging to the renewable energy firm Prokon. And the company founder, with his gray ponytail, didn't disappoint. The press conference quickly became a spectacle.

Several hundred employees welcomed Rodbertus with applause and shouts of "bravo" -- and that despite the fact that he had brought an insolvency trustee along with him. Still, Robertus insisted that the company was essentially healthy. Recently, he noted, workers had labored "12 days in a row for 12 hours a day" in an attempt to ward off bankruptcy.

The fact that they weren't successful is, according to Rodbertus, the fault of the company's investors, who backed the firm to the tune of €1.4 billion ($1.9 billion). Currently, many of them are demanding the returns that they were once promised: at least 6 percent interest per year or a refund of their principle if they wished to back out. Last week, the mounting claims led Prokon to declare bankruptcy -- 75,000 stakeholders could be left out in the cold.

Thus far, it is the highest profile failure of a business model that both politicians and investors praised for being doubly beneficial. Not only would investors boost their own accounts, but they would also help the environment at the same time. And because the state guaranteed high feed-in rates for 20 years, the promises made by financial advisors -- secure returns with a good conscience -- seemed plausible.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:54 AM (2 replies)

Pakistan names team to hold peace talks with Taliban


Pakistan names team to hold peace talks with Taliban
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds 1/30/2014 at 08:53:47
By Abdus-Sattar Ghazali

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Nawaz Sharif, has announced that his government would pursue peace talks with Taliban militants despite a recent spate of attacks. Addressing a session of the National Assembly, on Wednesday, Nawaz Sharif said "Since the other side has shown intent to negotiate, we also wish to give peace yet another chance."

Nawaz Sharif's offer came days after the Taliban spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement that Taliban is ready to hold talks with Pakistan if it provides favorable atmosphere for the process. He said the government was accusing the Tehrkik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) of being reluctant to join a dialogue while also talking about operations against the militants.

It may be recalled that the government had established contacts with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) last year. The TTP proposed seven names for peace talks. However, the process came to a halt after a US drone attack killed the Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud on Nov 1, 2013.

Nawaz Sharif has also announced the constitution of a four-member team to holds talks with the Taliban. The includes his Advisor on National Affairs, Irfan Siddique, veteran journalist from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Rahimullah Yusufzai, former ambassador and expert on Afghanistan affairs Rustam Shah Mohmand and former ISI official Major Amir Shah.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:39 AM (0 replies)

Godly Denialists Won't Be Raptured from Climate Hell


Godly Denialists Won't Be Raptured from Climate Hell
OpEdNews Op Eds 1/30/2014 at 08:38:07
By Patrick Walker

As an irregular parishioner of a Columbus, Georgia Unitarian Universalist church--better symbolized by a question mark than a cross--I keep an open mind about whether an ultimately benevolent deity rules our universe. But I've long noticed (and climate's increasingly dire effects on the Bible Belt make it only clearer) that whatever god or goddess reigns in glory doesn't spare the stupid. Especially the arrogantly stupid.

But will the Bible Belt notice? Or will it take the climate equivalent of Egypt's ten plagues? Because they've started arriving here. And according to the same climate-science models that have uncannily prophesied their arrival, many more--something like ten raised to a "higher power"--are on their way. And as those same "climate prophets" further admonish, the plagues' number and severity depend heavily on how soon we repent of our pigheaded wallow in climate sin. For even at the irksome risk of confirming modern science, God seems very willing to send the plagues.

Probably that's a good thing. Because it gives us all a chance to repent of our fossil-fuel folly before being pitched headlong into climate hell. But will we? A lot depends, as it did for Babylonian king Belshazzar, on whether we learn lickity-split to read God's "handwriting on the wall." For God, as with Belshazzar, is none too obvious in His climate clues, and may force us to consult a long-belittled foreigner, like that uppity Hebrew Daniel--or modern climate brainiacs--for an "insider's" perspective. And, like latter-day Belshazzars, we face a savagely sharp learning curve to decipher God's troubling wall scrawls and repent.

But, reverting to Pharaoh's plague-riddled Egypt, one thing is extremely clear: faced with our stiff-necked sinfulness, God seems very willing to rapidly up the climate plague ante. Perhaps there's no better example--of both God's enigmatic climate signs and His readiness to up the climate ante--than the freak two-inch snowstorm that just wreaked a week of climate hell on Atlanta.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:35 AM (1 replies)

Pathological Liar Clapper Goes on Offense


Pathological Liar Clapper Goes on Offense
OpEdNews Op Eds 1/30/2014 at 08:45:27
By Donn Marten

Coming on the heels of the all hype and little substance State of the Union Address in which President Barack Obama once again established himself as the nation's preeminent con artist Americans on Wednesday were offered up the theater of the absurd of a seasoned liar engaged in standard fear-mongering. Obama may have been devoid of shame when he cynically trotted out wounded Army Ranger Cory Remsburg to a thunderous roar of bipartisan support for the perpetual warfare state but as has always been the case for our fine Director of National Intelligence James Clapper he is in a league of his own when it comes to sheer dishonesty and waving the bloody flag to support his own agenda even to the point of perjury.

Mr. Clapper, appearing in front of a Senate Intelligence committee was basking in his own standing on the smoking rubble with a megaphone moment as he dodged responsibility for the illegal NSA surveillance programs and then went on offense. You have to give it to the man, in addition to his set of stones he has zero scruples nor loyalty to the Constitution but when it comes to lying to Congress and playing the fear card he has few peers. The Clapper used the forum to lambaste former government contractor turned NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden - a man whose revelations would in a decent land where the law still applies would have sent James Clapper to prison - was in rare form. He picked up the ball from where it was left by Mike Rogers, DiFi, Peter King and others far more crude who are practically masturbating over their fantasies of the murder of Snowden and rammed it down the throats of the members of a legislative body whose popularity rating is somewhere in between pedophiles and genital herpes.

He decried Snowden and "his accomplices" -- being of course journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and others who at great risk to their careers and lives have been shining a light into the teeming next of cockroaches at Fort Meade. Brashly calling for Snowden to return all of the purloined documents immediately the man had the look in his eye of a cornered animal -- likely knowing fully well that what is in those documents could well result in even the quisling Congress holding him and his "accomplices" in the American Stasi pay for play racket accountable for the myriad of crimes that are likely contained within. I am betting that it is a lot more than data-mining Angry Birds that has Mr. Clapper on the attack, not the least of which are Snowden's assertions during a German public TV interview on Sunday that the NSA is also in the business of industrial espionage. When the Director was asked about such a thing according to The Guardian:


The iron bar hotel is beckoning because if the Snowden documents aren't returned to the scum running this country's intelligence machine as it has already been revealed that industrial espionage has been conducted against foreign interests (including Brazilian oil company Petrobas) what is still out there promises to rock the national security state in all of its resplendent rottenness to the very core. Think blackmail, market manipulation, providing cover for drug money laundering, political fixing, assassinations and God only knows what else. Were I personally in Snowden's shoes, given his probably limited time left on the planet with numerous extrajudicial murder plots likely already being assessed I would just post it all on the internet -- ALL OF IT. Because this would be the only way to get these fascists, thugs and killers under control. There is no negotiating with these people and despite his nomination for the Nobel Peace prize (far more deserving a recipient than the war criminal who resides in the White House) he is a dead man walking and really, the best way to deal with thugs is to get them first. The entire NSA is now much like the spaceport Mos Eisley in Star Wars as described by Obi-Wan Kenobi : "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy". This of course could apply the entire government of that perverse parasite that has sucked the very essence of all that was good about the once greatest country in history The United States of America that is "The Homeland", an evil empire of which James Clapper is a product.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:15 AM (0 replies)

Try #2: I need a new frame of reference (and your opinion)

Yesterday I posted a thread about needing a new frame of reference to discuss military $$$ --> http://www.democraticunderground.com/1118234 . THANKS FOR YOUR REPLIES!

There were many good replies in the thread, the the ones that jumped out at me were the ones suggesting I change my unit of measurement from $25,000 a year jobs to $50,000 a year jobs. I think $50,000 is a better unit of measure as it reflects a family actually being able to afford raising a family without making decisions like: Do I need food or heat?

Another idea was proposed: compare US military spending (pie chart above) to "Canada, United Kingdom, and various European and Scandinavian countries. And include China and Russia too. That would be telling about how much out of whack this county's priories are."

I will make it a point to find that information if it is online somewhere.

Back to yesterday's thread. We need some sort of an identifier that will be easy for folks to remember. Here's try #2. I propose we call it something that sez we're talking about $50,000 jobs. Here is a somewhat lame first try:


For every million dollars, there are 20 $50kJobs.
For every on hundred million dollars, there are 2 000 $50kJobs.
For every billion dollars, there are 20,000 $50kJobs.

Yesterday's examples using $50kJobs:

Here's a $35 billion dollar program that should be rethought: http://www.democraticunderground.com/11783348
$35 billion / $50kJobs = 700,000 50kJobs

One more: We just floated our newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt. The cost for this bad boy is $5.6 billion dollars.

$5.6 billion / $50kJobs = 112,000 $50kJobs

And two new ones:

St Roniie ordered our marvelous B-2 bombers. Unfortunately they are somewhat expensive $2.4 billion dollars a pop. We usta have 21 of these, but one crashed in Guam because of wet sensors. B-2 crash pics at: http://tinyurl.com/lu3dlz2

$2.4 billion / $50kJobs = 48,000 $50kJobs

We originally bought 21 of them, so: 21 x 48,000 $50kJobs = 1,008,000 $50kJobs

The F-35 (aka the Flying Pig) project is supposed to cost $382 billion dollars.

$382 billion $50kJobs = 7,640,000 $50kJobs

I'm very interested in your comments and suggestions.

Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:08 AM (8 replies)
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