Wednesday, March 04, 2015

News Updates from CLG, 3 March 2015

News Updates from CLG
3 March 2015
All links are here:

Previous edition: Net Neutrality Prevails in Historic FCC Vote, which Yahoo relegated to the sp*m bin.

Breaking: Shots Fired Near NSA Headquarters, Building Damaged | 3 Mar 2015 | U.S. Park Police are investigating a report of shots fired near the National Security Agency's headquarters Tuesday evening. A spokesperson for the police said the NSA is investigating damage to one of its buildings that appeared to be from gunshots. The incident unfolded along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32 in Fort Meade, Maryland. The NSA is located nearby.

NSA Bulk Telephone Metadata Program Reauthorized Until Parts of PATRIOT Act Potentially Sunset | 28 Feb 2015 | In a post on its official Tumblr, the United States' Office of the Director of National Intelligence noted that it sought and received a reauthorization of its telephony metadata program, authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The program collects metadata on phone calls, including those of United States citizens. The reauthorization lasts until June 1, 2015. Why that date? The NSA has your answer, ready-made: The Government sought renewal of this authority to and including June 1, 2015 in order to align the expiration date of the requested order for this program with the June 1, 2015 sunset of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

NSA spying inquiry: UK-German intelligence-sharing dispute deepens | 3 Mar 2015 | Germany's efforts to investigate National Security Agency (NSA) spying are being hampered by Britain's refusal to co-operate amid threats to break off intelligence-sharing agreements, a German newspaper has reported. The claims note a heightening of tensions between Downing Street and the German Chancellery over intelligence-sharing. According to German newspaper reports, the Bundestag's investigation into the NSA could be halted if any UK secrets are revealed.

Canada's Terrifying Anti-Terror Bill --Spooks Need a Tighter Leash, Not C-51's Fresh Powers (PanAm Post) | 3 Mar 2015 | ...[O]n February 23, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government -- backing a sweeping anti-terrorism bill to expand state surveillance powers and criminalize speech deemed to potentially "advocate" terrorism -- closed down debate on the same bill after only three days of discussion. Bill C-51 -- drafted in response to two recent lone-wolf attacks [false flags], including one that ended in a shootout in the Ottawa House of Commons -- broadens the scope of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), including allowing it to intercept private communications with closed-door judicial authorization...Apparently emulating the United States by ramping up state powers and surveillance in the name of security is not enough. Canadian officials routinely hand over CSE data to their counterparts south of the border, and they have already agreed to share citizens' biographic data with the US Border Patrol. Ontario police have even gone one step further and given confidential medical information to US officials, leading to Canadians being denied entry simply for having suffered a previous episode of mental illness.

Top cop: Web trolls should be given lifetime social media bans --Mr Barton is in charge of intelligence gathering for the Assoc of Chief Police Officers across all 43 UK forces. | 1 Mar 2015 |A chief constable is calling on Facebook and Twitter to ban trolls for life as social media places a huge strain on police resources. Mike Barton, head of Durham Police, says there was a 40 per cent rise in charges relating to improper use of electronic messages in England from 2010-13. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has also called for a ban on online trolls.

David Petraeus to plead guilty to giving classified secrets to mistress | 3 Mar 2015 | Former CIA director and Army Gen. David Petraeus admitted Tuesday that he handed eight "black books" containing highly classified information, including codes and the identities of covert officers, to his mistress for four days in 2011 and then lied about it to the FBI. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to one count of retaining classified information in a deal in which prosecutors agreed not to charge him with more serious crimes such as obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI, the Justice Department announced Tuesday, saying it would recommend probation. Two weeks before he resigned, Petraeus was interviewed at CIA headquarters by two FBI agents, who told him they were conducting a criminal investigation of alleged security breaches, according to court documents released Tuesday...

Venezuela president says has captured U.S. pilot accused of 'recruiting citizens to stage a coup' --5 other U.S. nationals and 4 missionaries [CIA trolls] have been detained recently | 28 Feb 2015 | An 'American airplane pilot' with 'Latino roots' has been detained by Venezuela's government, accusing of spying and recruiting citizens to stage a coup, President Nicolas Maduro declared. The President said the pilot, who has not been named, was part of a group of six U.S. nationals arrested in the state of Táchira, near the Colombian border, in the last few days. Addressing a rally on Saturday, Maduro said the man had 'documentation' that suggested he was involved in 'espionage' and 'recruitment'.

Barack Obama would veto bill that forces him to submit text of any Iran nuclear agreement to Congress | 1 Mar 2015 | Barack Obama would veto a bill recently introduced in the US Senate allowing Congress to weigh in on any deal the US and other negotiating countries reach with Iran on its nuclear capabilities, the White House said on Saturday. "The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran. If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council. The US and five other major powers are seeking to negotiate an agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Decrying 'insult,' some Democrats seethe after Netanyahu address | 3 Mar 2015 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was met with rounds of applause and repeated standing ovations Tuesday while addressing a joint meeting of Congress but make no mistake: Democrats were by no means joining in the acclaim. With their hands, their feet and their mouths, Democratic members made clear during and after the speech that they had significant objections to Netanyahu's remarks -- both in how they were delivered and in what they contained... Nearly a dozen House Democrats -- most of whom chose not to attend the address -- lambasted Netanyahu and the Republicans who invited him in a media briefing held shortly after the speech. [See: The complete transcript of Netanyahu's remarks.]

Netanyahu warns Obama on Iran deal, says he means no disrespect | 02 Mar 2015 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Monday that the nuclear deal it is negotiating with Iran could threaten Israel's survival and insisted he had a "moral obligation" to speak up about deep differences with President Barack Obama on the issue.

Five activists arrested in US during protest against Netanyahu | 2 Mar 2015 | Police in the United States have arrested five activists who were protesting against crimes committed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Dozens of people gathered outside the Washington Convention Center where Netanyahu, who arrived in the US on Sunday, is due to speak. The protesters held a sit-in on the first day of the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is one the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying groups in the US.

Half of American voters think that inviting Israeli PM to speak on Capitol Hill was a bad idea | 1 Mar 2015 | Half of American voters think that congressional Republican's inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak on Capitol Hill was a bad idea. Forty-eight per cent of respondents in a new poll say they disapproved of Republican House Speaker John Boehner offering the Middle Eastern leader an invitation to speak to Congress without first clearing it with President Obama. Thirty per cent of all respondents favored letting Netanyahu speak, with more than 20 per cent saying they didn't know enough to answer.

Netanyahu's 'scaremongering' will not stop nuclear deal, says Iranian official | 28 Feb 2015 | Iran's top nuclear negotiator said on Saturday that "scaremongering" by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won't stop the Islamic Republic and world powers from reaching a final nuclear deal. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the world should not allow the hard-line Israeli leader to undermine peace. He was referring to Netanyahu's planned speech to Congress next week on the emerging nuclear deal that he considers dangerous. "Through scaremongering, falsification, propaganda and creating a false atmosphere even inside other countries, [Israel] is attempting to prevent peace," Zarif told reporters during a joint news conference with his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni.

Israel destroys thousands of acres of crops in Palestine | 3 Mar 2015 | Thousands of acres of wheat and other cereal crops have been destroyed by Israeli police in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Rakhama in Negev. According to Ali Freijat, a local resident, as many as 14 Israeli tractors escorted by in excess of 50 Israeli police vehicles destroyed the agricultural products and leveled the land early on Tuesday, Ma'an news agency reported. Reports also said on Sunday that Israel plans to carry out more demolitions in an area populated by Palestinian Bedouins near al-Quds (Jerusalem). Tel Aviv authorities say they want to build settlements and military structures in the area.

Egyptian court declares Hamas terrorist organization | 28 Feb 2015 | Egyptian court has declared the Palestinian movement Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization. Hamas called the decision "shocking and dangerous." The decision follows Egyptian court's ban on the Izza-Din al-Qassam Brigades, an armed wing of Hamas, in Egypt that was pronounced in January..."They are now saying that the [Palestinian] resistance and struggle against the occupation is a crime," Ghazi Hamad, a deputy foreign minister for Hamas in Gaza told Al Jazeera following the ruling.

Police in German city warn of Islamist terrorism threat -- The announcement is the latest in a recent series of such warnings in various cities. | 28 Feb 2015 | Police in the northwestern German city of Bremen said on Saturday that they had received information "from a federal authority" about "activities of potential Islamist offenders." They said that "coordinated and appropriate security measures" were being taken to combat the threat of a terrorist attack, including in public spaces. A police spokesman told the DPA news agency that all relevant buildings were being protected.

MI5 Made Emwazi Feel Like 'A Dead Man Walking' | 1 Mar 2015 | The Londoner identified as "Jihadi John" told a journalist in 2010 that harassment by British security services had made him fear he was a "dead man walking", it has been revealed. Years before his reign of terror in Islamic State videos began, Mohammed Emwazi emailed a reporter to claim that several run-ins with intelligence officials had left him contemplating suicide. The 26-year-old described coming face-to-face with someone who he suspected was a British spy - months after he graduated from the University of Westminster. Emwazi was attempting to sell a laptop when he became suspicious of the mystery buyer, according to messages he sent to a Mail on Sunday reporter.

Russia Today faces inquiry over anti-western comments in Ukraine debate | 2 Mar 2015 | (UK) Russia Today is to be investigated by media regulator Ofcom over anti-western comments in a late-night discussion on Ukraine -- its sixth ongoing inquiry into the Kremlin-backed news channel following complaints by 'viewers'. The regulator, which threatened Russia Today, or RT, with statutory sanctions after repeated breaches of broadcasting regulations on impartiality last year, faces a new investigation over its Crosstalk programme broadcast on 23 December last year. The programme is understood to have featured a number of anti-western views in the discussion between the presenter and three studio guests, prompting one viewer [MI6/CIA] troll to complain.

Russia ready to repel any nuclear strike, retaliate - missile forces command chief | 1 Mar 2015 | Russia's Strategic Missile Forces are ready to react to any nuclear strike even if it is lightning fast, SMF Central Command chief said. A retaliatory strike would take place in all circumstances, "without hesitation," he added. "If there's a challenge to repel a lightning-fast nuclear in any given conditions - it will be done in fixed time, that's dead true," the Strategic Missile Forces Central Command's chief, Major-General Andrey Burbin, told Russian News Service on Saturday. Russia's strategic missile forces are positioned geographically in such a way that no global strike can knock them out completely, Burbin said.
Boris Nemtsov killed in Moscow | 28 Feb 2015 | Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov died in the center of Moscow after he was shot at four times. A number of leading figures from all sides of political spectrum called his murder a "provocation". Saturday, February 28: Irina Khakamada, a former party colleague of Boris Nemtsov through the 1990s and early 2000s has chipped in with her thoughts about his murder. "I have three potential theories for who was behind his death. The first is out-of-control extremists, who thought that they could do anything. The second, the more radical elements within the government structure, who are sending a message to Putin that they do not want the conflict with Ukraine to end, and the third is people who want destabilize Russia," she told Snob magazine.

NORAD flight exercise scheduled for Monday through Wednesday in region | 1 Mar 2015 | The North American Aerospace Defense Command -- NORAD -- is planning to conduct exercises Monday night through Wednesday morning in the Washington area. The tests will begin between midnight and 2 a.m. each day and include a series of training flights using an aircraft and a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, according to a NORAD news release.

House funds Homeland Security without immigration riders | 3 Mar 2015 | Congress ended its seven-week impasse on funding the Department of Homeland Security as the House voted Tuesday to pass a 40 billion spending bill that does not derail President Obama's immigration programs. The 257-167 vote prevents a partial shutdown of the agency, which was set to run out of money at midnight Friday. The bill funds the department through Sept. 30. The Senate approved the bill last week, and Obama is poised to sign it into law.

Homeland Security shutdown averted as House backs one-week funding deal | 28 Feb 2015 | The House of Representatives finally agreed to pay for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday night, just two hours before a lapse in funding that would have forced thousands of key government workers to go without pay. But an increasingly bitter divide among Republicans forced congressional leaders to settle for just a one-week extension of the existing budget arrangement, buying them only a few short days next week to reach a longer term deal.

SF bomb squad investigates suspicious package in Mission District | 28 Feb 2015 | A building at 23rd and Bartlett streets in San Francisco's Mission District was evacuated due to a suspicious package containing pipes and wires. Police said they were called to the scene just before 8 p.m.

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Can Stay in Boston, Court Rules | 27 Feb 2015 | The trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can stay in Massachusetts, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that any high-profile case would receive significant media attention, but that knowledge of such case "does not equate to disqualifying prejudice." Tsarnaev's lawyers argued that intense media coverage of the case and the large number of people personally affected by the deadly attack made it impossible for him to find a fair and impartial jury in Massachusetts.

Deadly bacteria release sparks concern at high-security Louisiana lab for vaccine research on pathogen that escaped --Several countries [aka the US] have studied using the bacteria as a bioweapon. | 2 Mar 2015 |A dangerous, often deadly, type of bacteria that lives in soil and water has been released from a high-security [Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3)] laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Despite weeks of investigation by multiple federal and state agencies, the cause of the release and the extent of the contamination remain unknown, according to interviews and records obtained by USA TODAY. The Tulane incident involves the release, possibly in November or earlier, of a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei...Tulane's research, which has been halted by federal officials, was part of an effort to develop a vaccine against the bacteria [that was released].

Sierra Leone's vice president goes into quarantine after one of his security guards dies from Ebola | 1 Mar 2015 | The vice president of Sierra Leone has put himself in voluntary quarantine after one of his security guards died of Ebola. Samuel Sam-Sumana's security staff died last Tuesday, and the Vice President is now set to remain in quarantine for three weeks. Despite his quarantine, Sam-Sumana is set to become acting president later Sunday when President Ernest Bai Koroma leaves Sierra Leone to attend a EU conference on Ebola in Belgium.

California Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines, Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated | 26 Feb 2015 |Parents in California are distraught after losing their infant son after being vaccinated. He died in his sleep and was taken to the hospital already deceased...More than one year and four months have passed and the family has yet to receive his autopsy report. It turns out their son was given a vaccine not approved for his age and an extra dose of the hepatitis B vaccine that he shouldn't have received until later on. This harrowing story is a reminder that vaccines can be lethal...Crystal Downing shares with us what happened to her son Matthew, in hopes to remind parents to research vaccines before offering their child to be injected with whatever the doctor says.

Oil trains called legitimate and urgent threat to 4 million Pennsylvanians | 2 Mar 2015 | While Congress continues to debate pipelines, crude oil will continue to travel on trains. Lots and lots of long trains, called oil trains, roll through Pennsylvania every day, often in Midstate neighborhoods. They are mostly unnoticed, frequently loaded with Bakken crude from North Dakota, and headed for refineries around Philadelphia. "Oil trains are often sent directly through high-density cities like Harrisburg, increasing the risk of a catastrophic accident," said Elowyn Corby of the environmental group Pennenvironment at a Capitol press conference Monday drawing attention to the potential dangers of oil trains.

Exelon-backed bill seeks $2 more a month for 'bailout' of nuclear plants | 27 Feb 2015 | Electricity users would have to dip into their pockets a little more to help cover costs of Exelon's [deadly] nuclear power plants under legislation unveiled Thursday that the influential corporation maintained would [pretend to] save jobs and keep service steady and reliable. Exelon is backing the proposal because it could prop up what the company says are three money-losing nuclear plants that produce relatively clean energy compared with other sources of power. Opponents question whether Exelon would get an unnecessary bailout when a trio of its other nuclear plants are in the black, and supporters of a separate bill prefer a broader approach that would build up renewable resources.

Exxon Mobil, Big Contributor to Republican Governors Association When Christie Was Chairman, Settles $9B Environment Case in New Jersey for $250M | 27 Feb 2015 | A long-fought legal battle to recover 8.9 billion in damages from Exxon Mobil Corporation for the contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in northern New Jersey has been quietly settled by the state for around 250 million. The lawsuits, filed by the State Department of Environmental Protection in 2004, had been litigated by the administrations of four New Jersey governors, finally advancing last year to trial. A month ago, with a State Superior Court judge believed to be close to a decision on damages, the administration of Gov. Chris Christie (R) twice petitioned the court to hold off on a ruling because settlement talks were underway. Exxon contributed $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association in May 2014, when Mr. Christie was serving a one-year term as its chairman; the company has contributed annually to the group since at least 2008, records show.

EPA sued over shrinking monarch butterfly population | 28 Feb 2015 |A leading environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, accusing regulators of dismissing dangers about a certain chemical used in herbicides, including Monsanto's widely used Roundup. The lawsuit, filed Friday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in federal district court in New York, argues that an ingredient in the herbicide -- glyphosate -- has had devastating effects on monarch butterflies, causing the population to halve in seven years. Glyphosate destroys milkweed, the only food consumed by monarch butterflies in their migration.

In Honor of International Polar Bear Day, Spectacular Pictures of a Threatened Species | 27 Feb 2015 | A polar bear watches her cubs on the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada. The bay is famous for polar bears, but their population is in decline. According to Steven C. Amstrup, chief scientist for Polar Bears International (PBI), rising temperatures have extended the duration of summer, melting ice in the Hudson Bay and forcing polar bears to live on shore for longer stretches of time. "They live on the sea ice, and they catch their food from the surface of the sea ice," he said. "When they're on the shore, they lose about two pounds of body weight a day. They've adapted to being food-deprived for quite a while, but there are limits as to how far they can go."

Ferguson mired in sweeping racial discrimination, federal report finds | 3 Mar 2015 | Black residents of Ferguson, Missouri, routinely had their constitutional rights violated through unjustified arrests, traffic stops and other actions carried out by a racially biased police department, the US Department of Justice has concluded, according to multiple reports. An extensive federal review of Ferguson's police force is said to have found that officers disproportionately used excessive force against black people, who were also subject to arrests without probable cause and stops when driving without reasonable suspicion. Racist emails sent by Ferguson officials - including one doubting Barack Obama's ability to serve a full term because "what black man holds a steady job for four years" - were also unearthed, according to reports, and are expected to be released to the public.

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules | 2 Mar 2015 | Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials' correspondence be retained as part of the agency's record. Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act. Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

Senator Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, to retire | 2 Mar 2015 | Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving female senator in U.S. history, on Monday announced that she will retire at the end of her term, setting up a contest among possible successors in the heavily Democratic state of Maryland. The top Democrat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Mikulski, 78, told reporters in Baltimore that she would serve out her remaining two years in office. She has served in Congress for nearly 40 years.

Senator Rand Paul wins straw poll in boost to 2016 presidential prospects | 28 Feb 2015 | Senator Rand Paul won a straw poll of conservative activists on Saturday, giving his potential bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 a boost...Whether the victory for Paul will have long-lasting benefit is unclear since his libertarian views may not have broad appeal in the Republican Party. Paul, a 52-year-old Kentucky Republican, outdistanced most other potential candidates by taking 25.7 percent of the vote at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a gathering of activists on Washington's outskirts of Washington.

Missouri Candidate for Governor Dies of 'Apparent Suicide' | 26 Feb 2015 | Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, who had recently launched a Republican campaign for governor, fatally shot himself Thursday in what police described as an "apparent suicide" -- just minutes after inviting reporters to his suburban St. Louis home for an interview. Just 13 minutes before police got an emergency call from his home, Schweich had a phone conversation with The Associated Press about his plans to go public that afternoon with allegations that the head of the Missouri Republican Party had made anti-Semitic comments about him.

CLG needs your support. Or, please mail a check or m*ney order to CLG:
Citizens for Legitimate Government (CLG)
P.O. Box 1142
Bristol, CT 06011-1142
Contributions to CLG are not tax deductible.

No comments: