623: Fact Pattern

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 0m
June 5th, 2014
Share at 0:00

Executive Producers: Sir Phillip Pfotenhauer, Sir David Foley Arch Duke of Silicon Valley, Spoon Collection, HMFIC, Thomas Stanieszewski, Jamaican in Amsterdam

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Guy Boazy, Aaron Baer, Jackie Priester

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
Suggest a new chapter
PR
A few new forwards
Hey Adam,
Just registered www.noagenda.club , and also created forwards http://news.noagenda.club/ and http://stream.noagenda.club . If there's any other No Agenda resources that could use forwards, I'd love to add them to the list.
I'm planning on donating soon. I looked through my emails and noticed my last donation was in August of 2010. I could use some Karma, after I donate, since I'm in student loan debt that'll last for years. Private colleges are wonderful traps, though I'm already working in my industry (Graphic Design) so suppose it's paid off.
Keep hitting them in the mouth.
Thanks,
Chris
TODAY
Police vehicle lgihts
Reset The Net
Center for rights
Ethan Roeder - Executive Director
Cynics 'face far higher risk of Alzheimer's'.
Thu, 29 May 2014 23:11
Cynics could be three times more likely to develop dementia, doctors warnResearchers asked 1,449 people with average age of 71 to take two testsTrait has already been linked to the risk of heart disease and heart attacksBy Jenny Hope Medical Correspondent
Published: 20:00 EST, 28 May 2014 | Updated: 02:51 EST, 29 May 2014
393shares
114
Viewcomments
Cynics could be three times more likely to develop dementia, doctors have warned.
The trait has already been linked to heart disease and heart attacks '' but now a study suggests that those who mistrust others are at far greater risk of mental illnesses such as Alzheimer's.
Scandinavian researchers asked 1,449 people with an average age of 71 to undertake two different tests: one for dementia, and another to measure how cynical they were.
Risk: Those who mistrust others could be three times more likely to develop dementia, doctors have warned
Participants were asked how much they agree with statements such as 'I think most people would lie to get ahead' and 'It is safer to trust nobody', and then tracked for an average of eight years to see if they developed dementia.
Once results were adjusted for other risk factors '' such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, and smoking '' the University of Eastern Finland team found those with high levels of 'cynical distrust' were three times more likely to develop dementia than their least cynical counterparts.
Dr Simon Ridley, from Alzheimer's Research UK, said: 'There are likely to be many risk factors for dementia and this study suggests that a person's outlook may also have a role to play.
'However, only a small number of the volunteers studied developed dementia, and we would want to see a larger study conducted before we can be more confident in the proposed link between cynical distrust and dementia.
Trusting: Researchers found those with high levels of 'cynical distrust' were at greater risk of mental illnesses like Alzheimer's than their least cynical counterparts (right, file picture). Dr Simon Ridley (left), from Alzheimer's Research UK, said he would want a larger study conducted to confirm the link between cynicism and dementia
'It is possible that the volunteers who had a high level of cynical distrust were already beginning to develop dementia.
'It can be hard to separate whether cynical distrust could contribute to dementia, or is actually a symptom of disease.'
Nevertheless, the charity's research director stressed that 'any addition to our understanding of what might affect disease development is important.'
Share or comment on this article
Fisherman's Friend email
As a former fisherman from Dillingham, AK - Bristol bay I was very surprised to hear that there was a Dame from my old stomping grounds. If she wants I am willing to send her a CD of each episode over the summer while she is slaving away out in the bay. Last time I was up in Bristol bay there was only the one am station KDLG operated by the Dillingham high school.
If you would send her my address and this note, I will discuss with her how to get her CDs of the show over the summer. I need to know what boat she will be fishing on and the cannery they will be selling the catch to.
Bill
Hunger Games salute becomes symbol of Thai resistance
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:09
BANGKOK - Agence France-Presse
Opponents of Thailand's military coup are risking arrest by flashing the three-finger salute from the "Hunger Games" movies to defy a junta that has banned all public protests. The gesture has become the unofficial symbol of resistance against a military regime that has suspended democracy and severely curtailed freedom of expression. AFP Photo
Opponents of Thailand's military coup are risking arrest by flashing the three-finger salute from the "Hunger Games" movies to defy a junta that has banned all public protests. The gesture has become the unofficial symbol of resistance against a military regime that has suspended democracy and severely curtailed freedom of expression. "Showing three fingers has become a symbol to call for basic political rights in a country ruled by one person as if with the most sovereign power, who is General Prayut Chan-O-Cha," Sombat Boonngamanong, a prominent activist wanted by the junta, wrote on Facebook. Critics of the May 22 coup, including the youngest daughter of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, have posted photographs of themselves flashing three fingers on Facebook and other social media sites. "Dear #HungerGames. We've taken your sign as our own. Our struggle is non-fiction," wrote one Twitter user. In the "Hunger Games" movies, the residents of a dystopian future North America -- who are forced to compete in a televised death match -- initially use the gesture to mean thanks, admiration and good-bye to someone they love. It later becomes a more general symbol of their uprising against a wealthy, totalitarian regime. In Thailand some protesters say the salute is also a nod to the French revolutionary motto "liberty, equality and fraternity". The military -- which has imposed martial law, controls on the media and a night-time curfew -- has warned that people flashing three fingers could face arrest under its ban on public protests. "If they gather as more than five people and show the symbol of three fingers then it's against the law," army spokesman Winthai Suvaree told reporters. But he suggested that people posting photos on the Internet were unlikely to be detained, saying coup makers were "not paying any attention" to the three-finger salute by Thaksin's daughter. The junta mounted a show of military strength over the weekend to deter small but defiant anti-coup flashmob rallies that popped up outside shopping malls and near train stations in the capital Bangkok. Some people have taken to the streets reading George Orwell's dystopian novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four". Six people were arrested, included a woman shoved into a taxi by undercover police apparently disguised as journalists. Security forces, many carrying riot shields, were deployed, backed briefly by an armoured humvee with a soldier manning a mounted machine gun. The army has warned protesters that they -- and even their families -- face punishment under strict martial law, which has imposed sweeping curbs on freedoms. The harsh response "reveals a totalitarian mindset that discounts respect for human rights as a hindrance to exercise of power," said Brad Adams, Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch. "The Bangkok street protesters' three-fingered Hunger Games salute is a symbolic act of peaceful defiance by those who recognise -- like those in the rebellious districts in the movie -- that they face overwhelming odds but decide to bravely raise their voices nonetheless." The coup makers said they were forced to seize power after nearly seven months of anti-government protests which saw 28 people killed and hundreds of others wounded. Prayut, the army chief, has said elections are not expected to be held for at least a year to allow a new constitution to be drawn up in an effort to end a political crisis stretching back almost a decade. Critics accuse the junta of using the violence as a pretext for a long-planned power grab by the military-backed royalist establishment which loathes Thaksin, who was himself ousted in a coup in 2006.
The billionaire tycoon-turned-populist politician lives in self-exile in Dubai to avoid jail for a corruption conviction. Thaksin or his allies have won every election in more than a decade, including in 2011 under his younger sister Yingluck Shinawatra, helped by strong support among voters in the northern half of the country.
June/03/2014
PHOTO GALLERY
EUROLand
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
European Reassurance Initiative: Obama announces $1bn fund.
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:27
3 June 2014Last updated at 14:24 Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
President Obama: ''We will be expanding our exercises and training with allies to increase the readiness of our forces''
President Barack Obama has announced plans for a $1bn (£600m) fund to increase US military deployments to Europe, during a visit to Poland.
Mr Obama, who will meet Nato leaders amid concerns over the Ukraine crisis, said the security of America's European allies was "sacrosanct".
In April, 150 US soldiers were sent to Poland for military exercises amid growing tensions with Russia.
Mr Obama will also visit Belgium and France during his tour.
Meanwhile, Nato defence ministers are set to meet in Brussels to discuss the long-term security implications of Russian actions over Ukraine.
The Kremlin denies Western claims that it is supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.
'Step up partnership'"Our commitment to Poland's security as well as the security of our allies in central and eastern Europe is a cornerstone of our own security and it is sacrosanct," Mr Obama said after inspecting a joint unit of US and Polish F-16 pilots.
Speaking at a news conference in Warsaw with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, Mr Obama warned Russia against provoking further tensions in Ukraine.
He said Moscow should use its influence to call off separatists in Ukraine's east.
Mr Obama reaffirmed the US commitment to Nato's principle of collective defence, announcing plans for a $1bn European Reassurance Initiative.
The programme, which will fund additional US military rotations to Europe, will need congressional approval.
The US would also "step up partnership" with countries such as Ukraine and Moldova, he added.
Mr Komorowski said Poland would increase its military budget to 2% of its gross domestic product, a move Mr Obama welcomed as a "reminder that every [Nato] ally needs to carry their share" in the alliance.
Nato defence spending targetsNato's members have a target of spending 2% of their GDP on defence.
Countries that met or exceeded the target in 2013 included:
United States - 4.4% United Kingdom - 2.4% Greece - 2.3% Estonia - 2% Countries that spent less than the target in 2013 included:
France - 1.9% Turkey - 1.8% Poland - 1.8% Germany - 1.3% Lithuania - 0.8% Overall, European members of Nato spent 1.6 %.
Source: Nato
In a statement, the White House said the European Reassurance Initiative would not "come at the expense of other defence priorities, such as our commitment to the Asia Pacific rebalance".
Mr Obama's emphasis on relations with Asian nations has left some Eastern European leaders feeling neglected in recent years, the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw reports.
The crisis in Ukraine has been keenly felt in a region that underwent decades of dominance by Moscow, our correspondent adds.
In Belgium, Mr Obama is expected to urge Western leaders to reaffirm their united position on Ukraine at a G7 meeting of major industrial nations.
The summit was originally to be held in Russia, but Western leaders decided to change the venue following Moscow's annexation of Crimea in March.
In France, the US leader will take part in ceremonies to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.
President Vladimir Putin is also invited, but the White House has already made it clear that the American and Russian leaders will not hold formal bilateral talks.
Washington and its European allies have repeatedly urged Moscow to de-escalate tensions in eastern Ukraine, where fighting has continued between separatists and government troops.
On Monday, hundreds of rebels attacked a border command centre near the eastern city of Luhansk.
Analysis: Jonathan Marcus, BBC diplomatic correspondent, BrusselsPresident Obama's request for $1bn to bolster Europe's defences is not a lot of money in terms of the overall US defence budget.
But it may be more significant in terms of the kind of things Nato is likely to do in response to the Russian actions in Ukraine.
This is not about a return to the Cold War. Mr Obama has described Russia as merely "a regional power".
Indeed it is a moot point how much of a threat it really poses to Nato territory. But specific Nato allies are worried, so something has to be done.
Modest spending will be needed to improve readiness, to mount exercises and so on, and the US is showing that it is prepared to stump up cash.
Congress no doubt may make some comments about the Europeans needing to do the same.'¨
Nato mulls Russia's Ukraine actions
FACT SHEET: European Reassurance Initiative and Other U.S. Efforts in Support of NATO Allies and Partners
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:27
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 03, 2014
Since early March, the United States has taken action, both bilaterally and through NATO, to reassure allies of our solemn commitment to their security and territorial integrity as members of the NATO Alliance. A persistent U.S. air, land, and sea presence in the region, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, is a necessary and appropriate show of support to allies who have contributed robustly and bravely to Alliance operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere and who are now deeply concerned by Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and other provocative actions in Ukraine. The United States stands by its allies, as they have stood by us. We will continue to take actions that increase the capability, readiness, and responsiveness of NATO forces to address any threat and that aid in deterring further destabilizing activities. That is why the President today called on Congress to support a European Reassurance Initiative of up to $1 billion, which will enable us in the next year to undertake measures to:
Increase exercises, training, and rotational presence across Europe but especially on the territory of our newer allies. Many of the U.S. air and ground forces participating in these activities would rotate from the United States.As we have done in Poland, deploy detachments of U.S. planners to augment the capability of our allies to design and host a broad range of training and exercise opportunities.Increase the responsiveness of U.S. forces to reinforce NATO by exploring initiatives such as the prepositioning of equipment and improvements to other reception facilities and infrastructure in Europe.Increase participation by the U.S. Navy in NATO naval force deployments, including more persistent deployments to the Black and Baltic seas.Build the partner capacity of close friends such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine so they can better work alongside the United States and NATO, as well as provide for their own defense.This initiative will build on existing tools and authorities and will be included in the Department of Defense's FY 2015 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) request to Congress.
In addition to this initiative, we are reviewing our force presence in Europe in light of the new security challenges on the continent. These efforts will not come at the expense of other defense priorities, such as our commitment to the Asia Pacific rebalance.
With current funding, the United States and NATO have already undertaken the following specific efforts, which are indicative of the types of activities we would seek to maintain and expand with the European Reassurance Initiative:
New U.S. Measures
Land Force Deployments: In April, approximately 600 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade deployed for training rotations in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to enhance ongoing military-to-military relationships and demonstrate assurance of America's commitment to its NATO allies. These exercises are part of a series of expanded American land force training activities with European partners that are scheduled to take place over the next few months and beyond.Maritime Deployments:In early April, the United States deployed the USS Donald Cook to the Black Sea, where the ship conducted operations to improve interoperability, increase readiness, and develop professional relationships with allies. The Donald Cook conducted presence operations and a port visit in Constanta, Romania, as well as an exercise with the Romanian Navy before departing the Black Sea on April 24.From April 24 through May 12, the USS Taylor, the U.S. contribution to the Standing NATO Maritime Group, was deployed to the Black Sea, where she conducted bilateral operations with Romania and Georgia, including port visits to both countries.The USS Vella Gulf entered the Black Sea May 23 to conduct operations to promote peace and stability in the region. Highlights to date include an exercise with the Turkish Navy, a port visit in Batumi, Georgia, and combined maritime training with allied naval forces.Air Deployments:Poland Aviation Detachment (AVDET) Training: Quarterly rotations of military aircraft and airmen through the Aviation Detachment began in late 2012, and in March 2014 the United States augmented the rotations with additional F-16s and support airmen. These F-16s and airmen provide a persistent presence in Poland and enhance training and operability with the Polish Air Force. Three C-130J aircraft deployed to Powidz Air Base, Poland, on March 31 as part of a regularly scheduled two-week AVDET rotation.Air-to-Air Refueling Missions: Since mid-March, the United States has been flying refueling missions in support of NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) flights over Poland and Romania.Open Skies Treaty Flight: On March 14 the United States conducted -- at Ukraine's request -- an Open Skies observation mission over Ukraine. Preplanned but Enhanced U.S. Measures
The USS Truxtun entered the Black Sea through the Turkish Straits on March 7 to conduct port calls in Constanta, Romania, and conduct an exercise with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces. The Truxtun's stay in the Black Sea was extended so that she could visit the Port of Varna, Bulgaria, to hold an onboard maritime planning conference with Bulgarian and Romanian officers and conduct a second exercise.NATO Air Policing: On March 6, the United States deployed an additional six F-15Cs to augment the four F-15Cs already in Lithuania filling a NATO peacetime requirement to have quick reaction interceptor aircraft ''ramp-ready'' for a four-month period to ensure the integrity of the airspace above Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The U.S. rotation began in January and ended in early May. Poland, with augmentation from the United Kingdom, France, and Denmark, took over the air policing task in the Baltic region, and Canada deployed aircraft to augment NATO air policing in Southeast Europe.United States Ongoing/Steady State Measures
U.S. Force Presence: There are approximately 67,000 service members in Europe. Approximately 57,000 active duty service members are assigned to U.S. European Command, and approximately 10,000 support other organizations, such as U.S. Africa Command.NATO Response Force (NRF) Commitment: The United States has pledged several thousand service members to the NRF, including a brigade combat team from the Texas-based 1st Cavalry Division, a hospital ship, air-to-air refueling tankers, and escort ships.Army Rotational Forces: The United States sends a battalion-sized unit from the United States to Europe twice a year for up to two months per rotation. One of these battalions recently participated in NRF exercise ROCHAMBEAU in France and is currently participating in U.S. European Command-hosted multinational exercise COMBINED RESOLVE II. Additionally, elements of the unit participated in NATO Exercise STEADFAST JAZZ this past November.Missile Defense / European Phased Adaptive Approach: The U.S. contribution to European missile defense, whose aim is to protect against emerging threats from outside of the Euro-Atlantic area, includes a missile defense radar in Turkey, plans for four Aegis destroyers to be forward deployed in Rota, Spain (the first, the USS Donald Cook, arrived in February), and two planned Aegis Ashore sites -- one in Romania (2015) and one in Poland (2018).Black Sea Rotational Forces (BSRF): This force, based out of Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base, Romania, includes 250 Marines and sailors tasked with maintaining positive relations with partner nations, enhancing regional stability, and increasing interoperability while providing the capability for rapid crisis response in the Black Sea, Balkan, and Caucasus regions. In May, BSRF personnel participated in exercise PLATINUM LYNX, an infantry field training with the Romanian military to enhance familiarity and interoperability between U.S. and Romanian forces. Additional U.S. forces in Romania not associated with the BSRF include:500 U.S. troops permanently stationed at MK Air Base conducting transit center operations; and 175 U.S. Marines temporarily based out of MK Air Base as part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF). The SPMAGTF is postured to respond to a broad range of military operations in Africa and Europe, including fixed-site security, non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, theater security cooperation, and other missions as directed. Exercises in the Baltic Sea and Poland: The United States sent U.S. Marines from the Black Sea Rotational Force to the Baltics this April to participate in exercise SUMMER SHIELD. U.S. forces participated in exercises NAMEJS and FLAMING SWORD in Latvia and Lithuania, respectively, in May and are participating in multilateral exercises BALTOPS and SABER STRIKE in the Baltic region in June. The United States will also deploy 18 F-16CJs and one KC-135 tanker to Łask Air Base, Poland, concurrent with the SABER STRIKE and BALTOPS exercise. BALTOPS is an annual, multinational maritime exercise focusing on interoperability, maritime security, and cooperation among Baltic Sea regional partners. SABER STRIKE is an annual, multinational ground and air exercise focused on enhancing interoperability among U.S. Army units and the land forces of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.NATO Measures
Revised Planning: NATO is updating its defense plans and is developing a readiness action plan that includes a review of joint exercises, threat assessments, intelligence-sharing arrangements, early-warning procedures, and crisis response planning.Support to Ukraine: On March 5, NATO allies decided on a number of measures to intensify NATO's partnership with Ukraine and strengthen cooperation to support democratic reforms. Measures included an increased engagement with the Ukrainian civilian and military leadership; strengthened efforts to build the capacity of the Ukrainian military, including with more joint training and exercises; and increased efforts to include Ukraine in multinational projects to develop capabilities.Suspension of NATO-Russia Council (NRC) Activities: At an NRC meeting in April, NATO Foreign Ministers condemned Russian military intervention in Ukraine and suspended staff-level civilian and military meetings with Russia. Ambassadorial-level meetings of the NRC will continue.New Air and Sea deployments:AWACS: On March 10, the North Atlantic Council approved establishing AWACS orbits over Poland and Romania to enhance NATO's situational awareness of activities in the region and to reassure NATO allies. These aircraft will only fly over NATO territory and will come from the NATO fleet and allied contributions.Standing Naval Forces: In late April, NATO activated Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group One and sent it to patrol the Baltic Sea. The group, which consists of six ships from Belgium, Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, and Poland, is conducting port visits and participated in an annual mine clearance operation (NATO naval exercise OPEN SPIRIT 2014). On May 12, NATO tasked its augmented Standing NATO Maritime Group One to perform maritime assurance measures alongside counter-terrorism patrols in the eastern Mediterranean. The group includes five ships from Canada, Germany, Norway, Turkey, and the United States.New Exercises: NATO launched a large-scale exercise, STEADFAST JAVELIN 1, in Estonia on May 16, which tested allied forces on their ability to work together as well as maintaining NATO's readiness and combat effectiveness. The exercise reflects NATO's strong commitment to collective defense in the Baltic region. Around 6,000 troops from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated in the exercise which finished on May 23. Many participants were already in Estonia taking part in the annual Estonian-led KEVADTORM14 exercise that began on May 5 and that was merged into the NATO-led event.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Junker vs LaGarde
Power struggle for the EU Presidency: will the UK manage to block Juncker?
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:57
With the recent European Parliament (EP) elections now past, the month long wrangling over whom will be selected as EU Commission President in place of President Barroso has begun. With the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty procedure due to be enacted for the first time '' which sees the European Council (national Government's) put forward a candidate which is then ratified by the EP '' battle lines are being drawn between the two institutions over who holds the trump card and final say in selection. What would have been a contentious and heavily negotiated position in any case took a new and alarmingly confrontational twist over the weekend as reports leaked of the UK Prime Minister David Cameron's vehement opposition to Juncker's appointment, hinting that it could be the tipping point in the UK's participation in the EU.
With the European People's Party (EPP) winning the majority of seats in May's elections, their leader, Juncker, who performed admirably and steadily in the preceding television debates, was put forward as the lead candidate by the EP '' who have final say on selection which is due to take place at the end of June. Juncker, a former Luxembourg Prime Minister and long-time EU official, is broadly seen as a steady appointment, well versed in diplomatic deals and bridge building, who gains support across the political spectrum with his belief that ''without compromises, there is no democracy'' approach.
A post-election Council dinner in Brussels was convened to discuss this with opposition quickly finding its way into the open. A coalition of the UK, Sweden, Hungary, and the Netherlands formed a blocking minority almost instantly (probably over an opening espresso) with the general belief that Juncker is not the ideal candidate having been embedded in the EP for so long. There are a number of key points which must be taken into consideration before any forthright decision can be made on this blocking minority and their stance against Juncker '' who on paper has the strongest democratic mandate of any previous EU Commissioner.
The UK, Sweden, Netherlands, and Hungary have always had close ties within the EU and so a loose coalition on this point is not so unexpected. But to be clear, this minority does not have the substance or power at this point to block or veto Juncker's appointment. But by so adamantly setting out their views on Juncker, it is hard to imagine a constructive working relationship over the next 5 year term without a change in national leadership.
Another point of note should be the somewhat (in my eyes) misguided judgement by Cameron to move Conservative MEPs out of the EPP and form a new political party (ECR) back in 2009. With UK Conservative MEPs now having no say in the direction of the largest controlling EP party, where they once formed the backbone of debate and negotiations, is a blow and severely weakens their influence over legislature.
The proposed UK referendum is also playing a key role, with Cameron's promise to wrest powers back from the EU, specifically with regards to social welfare benefits of EU migrants, believed to be at jeopardy if Juncker is indeed appointed. This can be said to be Cameron's defining point, if he can prove to his own Conservative party back in the UK that he has the power and influence to block the leading Commissioner candidate not of his choosing, it will send a message that he can deliver on other promised reforms. In Cameron's eyes, this is a battle he dare not lose.
However, you mustn't just think of this as another example of UK anti-EU sentiment. According to reports, Angela Merkel did in fact waver in her support for Juncker due to the reaction and quick formalisation of the blocking minority, before later coming out to support the lead candidate. Merkel will be key player in the upcoming power struggle and for her support to waver so quickly for the German candidate '' however minimal '' shows the concern she has for this appointment. It's also worth noting that the past EU heavyweights (barring Germany) are opposed to this appointment. Italy's Matteo Renzi came out against Juncker, while Francois Hollande would prefer a French candidate in light of the terrible far-right election win for the PN which severely damaged Hollande's credibility. With the UK, France, and Italy (to name a few) all against this appointment, the key founders and most powerful economies beneath Germany have voiced their concerns, and rarely have these powers not achieved their goal when they are of similar mind.
When the next EU President is selected at the end of June, it will no doubt be after intense negotiations across the board. Personally, I am not against Juncker being appointed and find it laughable that he is described as a '''...federalist nightmare who is completely arrogant and totally fixated on future union'' (Bill Cash MP, European Scrutiny Committee, UK) in the press, but I am a staunch believer in the Commission as a plutonic space for the creation of legislature. The fear is that Juncker is too much of a politician and will not be able to balance the Council and EP together for the long-term. The core question is whether the EU is now led by the Council, or the Commission/EP. After nigh on two decades of ever-increasing union, the month ahead will prove what direction the next 5 years will take.
Ed GavaghanAn alumni of Aston University (UK) where I studied English Language & European Studies, with a one year placement at Korea University (SK) focusing on Asian politics, international trade, economics and history. Understanding the fractious Anglo-European relationship, as well as gaining first-hand knowledge of key international institutions, was at the heart of my decision to specialise in European Public Affairs at Maastricht University (NL).Previously working at the British Chamber of Commerce in Brussels, editor of EuropeanPublicAffairs.eu, and now a researcher in the UK, I have a passion for policy analysis, Tarantino films, travelling, aviators and explaining the rules of cricket to anybody who will listen.
Email: egavaghan@europeanpublicaffairs.euTwitter: @epgavaghan
Angela Merkel 'wants Christine Lagarde as EC president' - Telegraph
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:39
Ms Lagarde, 58, was finance minister under former president Nicolas Sarkozy before moving to the IMF at the height of the eurozone's debt crisis in 2011 to replace disgraced French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Her term runs until 2016.
A fluent English-speaker who headed a major US law firm before holding ministerial office in France, she is highly regarded by Ms Merkel and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble as a steady-handed compromise builder.
A German government spokesman declined to comment directly but said Ms Merkel had reaffirmed her support for former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who led the centre-right European People's Party slate in the parliamentary elections. The centre-right topped the poll but fell well short of an overall majority.
The spokesman referred to Merkel's public statements noting that a qualified majority of member states was necessary and saying she wanted to negotiate in a "European spirit" of seeking the broadest possible consensus.
The chancellor has acknowledged that Mr Juncker may not have sufficient backing among EU leaders to secure their nomination, and that other candidates could also do the job provided the result of the elections was respected. To critics, Mr Juncker represents a political class that has alienated many of Europe's voters and played into the hands of Eurosceptic parties.
German and IMF officials said Ms Merkel had a private meeting with Ms Lagarde during a visit to Washington in early May. They saw each other again in Berlin two weeks later when Ms Lagarde attended a meeting of the heads of major international economic organisations hosted by the German government.
David Cameron has led opposition to Mr Juncker's bid to succeed former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Barroso, arguing that the EU needed new leadership committed to reform in response to voters' dissatisfaction. The British government sees Mr Juncker as an old-style European federalist.
Britain has made clear that Ms Lagarde would be an acceptable alternative, as would centre-left Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
The leaders of Sweden, the Netherlands and Hungary objected to the principle of making the leading candidate of the biggest party in parliament the nominee, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said Mr Juncker has no automatic right to the job.
EU leaders mandated European Council President Herman Van Rompuy to propose by late June a package deal of senior EU appointments and a draft policy agenda for the new EU executive, which is due to take over in November.
Diplomats said Ms Merkel, Mr Hollande, Mr Cameron, Mr Renzi and Mr Van Rompuy may discuss the issue on the sidelines of a Group of Seven nations summit in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Commission candidate nominated by EU leaders must win the backing of a majority of the 751-member European Parliament, and some lawmakers have threatened to vote against anyone who was not a candidate in the election.
That raises the possibility that if the leaders do not put Mr Juncker forward, their nominee may be voted down.
The sources said Mr Hollande had not yet decided who to put forward for the EU carousel, but if Ms Merkel was open to a French candidate for one of the top jobs, Paris might offer Socialist former Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, a fluent German-speaker who was replaced in March but is well regarded in Berlin.
Other posts in the mix include the president of the European Council, who chairs EU summits, the bloc's foreign policy chief, a possible permanent chairman of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, and the president of the European Parliament.The French false downgrade was sent to subscribers of S&P's web-based Global Credit Portal
Blair's bid for EU presidency? Former PM to make staunch defence of Europe to businessmen in London.
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:50
Former PM will use CBI speech to emphasise his pro-EU credentialsHis 2009 bid for the EU presidency was allegedly blocked by Angela MerkelObservers now say he is seeking a return to European politicsBy Jason Groves
Published: 14:29 EST, 1 June 2014 | Updated: 03:08 EST, 2 June 2014
416shares
1,079
Viewcomments
Tony Blair will launch a staunch defence of the European Union today, amid growing speculation he is planning a fresh bid to become president of Europe.
The former Prime Minister will use a speech to the CBI in London to underline his pro-EU credentials, and make the case for Britain's deeper involvement in Europe.
The intervention comes just days after he held private talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about how to tackle the growing tide of Euroscepticism across Europe.
'Antidote to Farage': Former Prime Minister Tony Blair will use a speech to the Confederation of British Industry in London to underline his pro-EU credentials, and make the case for Britains deeper involvement in Europe
Mr Blair is said to have offered to tour Europe and the world persuading people that 'being in the EU is good for you', despite the dismal economic performance of the Eurozone.
His offer was seen as a fresh drive to win a top job in Europe.
In 2009, Mr Blair lost out to the little known former Belgian prime minister Herman van Rompuy in the race to become the first President of the European Council '' the group of EU leaders that has the final say on key decisions.
His bid was reportedly blocked by Mrs Merkel, who believed his Iraq War legacy was too toxic, and feared that he would use the role as a platform to outshine the EU leaders he was supposed to represent.
Powerbroker: Blair's bid for the EU presidency in 2009 was reportedly blocked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who believed his Iraq War legacy was too toxic and he would try to outshine other European leaders
His meeting with Mrs Merkel last week was widely seen as an attempt to clear the way for a second bid for the top job later this year when Mr van Rompuy steps down.
Mr Blair's office issued a denial at the weekend, saying: 'Tony Blair is not seeking any role, has not discussed any role and doesn't want any role.'
But despite the denial, some Brussels observers believe he is looking to make a return to European politics '' possibly in a specially-created role.
One Eurosceptic Labour source said Mr Blair sees himself as 'Europe's antidote to Nigel Farage'.
Share or comment on this article
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hollande hosts two dinners to keep Obama and Putin apart
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:31
IN THE PAPERS
Hollande's diplomatic balancing actRead more
WEB NEWS
Thailand: web users protest against military coupRead more
INSIDE THE AMERICAS
Hero or deserter: controversy surrounding US soldier's releaseRead more
BUSINESS DAILY
How low will Mario go? Markets braced for ECB rate cutRead more
AFRICA NEWS
Libya: Security troubles deepen amidst political turmoilRead more
MEDIAWATCH
Tiananmen: most Chinese people haven't seen 'Tank Man' photoRead more
DEBATE
Tiananmen Square, 25 Years On (part 2)Read more
DEBATE
Tiananmen Square, 25 Years OnRead more
World leaders arrive in France for D-Day celebrationsRead more
Manhunt in Canada as police officers shot deadRead more
'It's best not to argue with women,' Putin says of ClintonRead more
G7 warns Russia of further sanctions over UkraineRead more
Freed US soldier's hometown cancels rally amid furoreRead more
D-Day video: US Army's 82nd Airborne, then and nowRead more
Murray beats Monfils to reach French Open semi-finalsRead more
Syria's Assad wins presidential poll with landslide 88.7%Read more
The neglected story of African Americans on D-DayRead more
Thousands turn out for Tiananmen candelight vigil in Hong KongRead more
Hollande hosts two dinners to keep Obama and Putin apartRead more
Hollande to discuss 'disproportionate' BNP fine with ObamaRead more
Ex-soldier questioned over French Alps murders 'commits suicide'Read more
Video: French hostage kidnapped in Mali pleads for releaseRead more
Djokovic beats Canada's Raonic to reach French Open semisRead more
Can a TV show reconcile CAR's Muslims and Christians?
read more
Interactive report: Inside the Acad(C)mie fran§...
Read more
Pharrell Williams turns hand to 'feminist' ar...
Read more
A look at the European Parliament's euroscept...
Read more
Metal thieves pillage French wind turbines
Read more
Afghanistan's Abdullah calls for 'responsible...
Read more
What does France's National Front stand for?
Read more
(C) 2014 Copyright France 24 '' All rights reservedFrance 24 is not responsible for the content of external websites
France M(C)dias Monde sites
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Europe faces 'colossal humanitarian catastrophe' of refugees dying at sea.
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:08
The United Nations has been forced to consider establishing refugee holding centres in north Africa and the Middle East due to the spiralling numbers of migrants attempting perilous journeys across the Mediterranean in a desperate effort to reach Europe.
The UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, has said for the first time that the large-scale processing of migrants and refugees outside Europe, in countries such as Egypt, Libya or Sudan, may be necessary as frontline authorities claim they have been abandoned by Brussels in the face of a "colossal humanitarian catastrophe".
Hundreds of thousands of people are preparing to make treacherous crossings on unseaworthy vessels from the north African coast to Greece and Italy as this summer's "boat season" gets under way, say officials. Figures for the first few months of this year already show a dramatic increase on previous years.
Link to video: Lampedusa: ceremony and burial for dead migrantsUNHCR's European director, Vincent Cochetel, told the Guardian: "We would not be totally against external processing if certain safeguards were in place: the right to appeal, fair process, the right to remain while appeals take place."
The EU had not found effective mechanisms to prevent migrants dying at sea, he said. Instead of focusing on ever tougher border controls, the EU needed to establish safe routes.
Campaigners for refugee rights have hitherto rejected the idea of large processing camps outside Europe, fearing refugees would be at the mercy of states with poor records on human rights and justice.
"There's no way that could work," said Judith Sutherland of Human Rights Watch (HRW). "In theory, HRW doesn't have a problem with creating channels of access to asylum in the EU from outside [but] you can't imagine [the right] conditions being met in Libya today, or indeed Egypt or Morocco."
Greece, which currently holds the EU presidency, is also pressing for the establishment of holding centres in north Africa and the Middle East in order to process refugees and migrants before they reach European soil. In addition, the Greek government is calling for an international seaborne taskforce to patrol the Mediterranean in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants. Greece will table the proposals at an EU summit next month, according to senior government officials in Athens.
"The shaping of a comprehensive immigration policy is one of the main priorities of [the Greek presidency], as well as the Italian presidency, which follows ours," Greece's deputy prime minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said.
Link to video: Syria: a crisis at Fortress Europe's gates"The Mediterranean countries of the EU are working together closely. But the Greek coastline is longer than the total coastline of the other member states. Without a substantial reassessment of [policies] '... we cannot confront the crisis."
Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Greece's merchant marine minister, said processing offices should be set up in Syria or Turkey "to examine who is eligible, or not, before people get on boats, put their lives in danger and trespass our borders".
Migrants who survived the capsizing of their boat near the Greek island of Farmakonissi arrive at Piraeus, Athens, in January earlier this year. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty ImagesItaly has pledged to force the migrant issue to the top of the EU agenda when it takes over the presidency in July. "During the European presidency, Europe will not see an Italy banging its fist on the table, but an Italy that overturns the table," interior minister Angelino Alfano said last week.
The shift in the UNHCR's position '' and the growing clamour from Greece and Italy for action '' comes as the latest figures show a rapidly accelerating problem. About 42,000 people have attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Italy so far this year, according to the EU border agency, Frontex. Last year there were 3,362 arrivals by the end of April, said UNHCR.
Last week, more than 1,000 migrants stormed a razor-wire fence at Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco, in order to reach European territory, 400 of whom breached the barrier. The same day, French riot police bulldozed three camps holding hundreds of refugees in the port of Calais.
The Greek merchant marine ministry said 15,000 undocumented migrants attempted to enter Europe via sea route to Greece last year, requiring a third of the 7,000-strong Greek coastguard to be redeployed to the eastern Aegean.
The numbers have been swelled by large numbers of Syrian refugees seeking to escape the civil war, which has displaced millions of people in the past three years. Some 7,000 refugees from Syria arrived on the Italian coast in the first nine months of 2013, compared with 350 in the whole of 2012. They are the second largest group to arrive by sea in Italy this year, after Eritreans. Most making boat journeys to Greece are Syrian refugees, including women and children.
Since the Greek government erected a 10.5km barbed-wire fence along its border with Turkey, 90% of illegal migration has been channelled through the eastern Aegean, with coastguards engaged in a daily battle with human traffickers.
"It's clear that the [Greek] fence '... has rerouted the flow to the Aegean," said HRW's Sutherland. Another fence, planned for the Turkish-Bulgarian border, is likely to have a similar impact. "The sealing of that border will lead to even more sea crossings," she said.
In recent weeks there have been dozens of deaths in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas between Turkey and Greece. The Italian Red Cross has called for a "humanitarian corridor" to be opened for people fleeing war and famine.
In a statement condemning the EU's inaction, Amnesty International said: "With virtually no safe and legal routes into Europe, people are increasingly pushed into the hands of smugglers and traffickers, and are forced to risk their lives on unseaworthy vessels."
An airport hangar in Lampedusa contains the bodies of more than 300 migrants who drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean in October 2013. Photograph: Roberto Salomone/EPAAt least a third of those heading for Greece end up having to be rescued. Many boats are in poor condition and are overcrowded. In addition, "migrants travelling in small inflatables have explicit instructions from traffickers to sink boats once they see the Hellenic coastguard so they can be picked up in EU waters," Varvitsiotis said.
"We can't deal with this problem forever alone. Europe needs to have an equal burden policy."
Sicily has borne the brunt of illegal migrants heading for Italy since the temporary closure of a reception centre on the smaller island of Lampedusa, and local authorities say they feel abandoned by Brussels and Rome. They predict a continuing rise in arrivals over the summer.
"If strong action isn't taken, it will be a disaster," said Enzo Bianco, the centre-left mayor of Catania and former Italian interior minister. "Either there is a strong initiative by the Italian government and by the EU, or we will be facing a real disaster of colossal proportions. If we're in a crisis with 50,000 arrivals, imagine what will happen if there are 500,000-600,000."
At a funeral in Catania last week for 17 migrants who died off the coast of Libya, Bianco condemned Europe's "deafening silence": "Faced with a looming, colossal humanitarian catastrophe, with almost 800,000 people on the African coast ready to cross the Mediterranean '... Faced with these coffins, Europe must choose [whether to] bury our consciences of civilised men along with them."
After 366 migrants died off the coast of Lampedusa last autumn, the European Commission set up Eurosur, a surveillance operation aimed at reacting more quickly to boats in distress. This was strengthened by the Italian search and rescue operation Mare Nostrum, which has so far rescued 30,000 people from the sea at a cost of more than '‚¬9m (£7.3m) a month.
Link to video: Lampedusa, Italy: 82 bodies recovered from migrant boat wreckItaly says the headquarters of the European border authority Frontex should move from Poland to Sicily to deal with the growing crisis. "Europe is distracted. But Europe can't pretend it's nothing. The problem exists '... We need resources," said Luigi Ammatunna, the mayor of the small town of Pozzallo on Sicily's south-eastern coast, which has received 8,500 migrants this year.
The cash-strapped Greek government said it spent '‚¬65m to protect the eastern seafront last year, with only '‚¬2m contributed by the EU.
Rising numbers of refugees and migrants have fuelled support for rightwing politicians in Greece and Italy. The neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, which has focused on the issue, pulled off a surprisingly strong performance in local and European elections in Greece. The leader of the rightwing xenophobic Northern League party in Italy, Matteo Salvini, flew to Sicily last month to demand an end to the Mare Nostrum operation.
Alfano, the Italian interior minister, adopted increasingly provocative rhetoric with Brussels during the European election campaign, threatening to defy EU asylum rules and "just let them [asylum seekers] go" out of Italy to other countries.
Last week, he warned Brussels to shoulder the '‚¬300,000-a-day cost of Mare Nostrum, or the Italian government would deduct it from its EU contributions. Italy, he said, could not "become the prison of refugees who want to go to northern Europe".
Meanwhile, refugees in Sicily are being housed in makeshift accommodation, such as schools and sports halls, with inadequate reception and processing facilities. The arrival of large numbers of migrants, including many unaccompanied children, "creates problems for us '' not because we don't want them, but because we want to provide a reception worthy of the name", said Ammatunna. "Receiving these people, then treating them badly, not giving them a proper welcome, not being able to give the services that we would like to be able to give them '' this we do not want."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bo Diddley
Good explanation of 'terrorist' organization definition by Producer Drew
The "we didn't negotiate with the Taliban, Katre did" argument is hilariously weak, but an even weaker justification is being used to defend other forms of negotiation with this group. Specifically, that they are not considered a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department even though the NCTC has them om their list and we have a $10 million bounty on the leader of it. It turns out that this was brought up a a year ago almost to the day. Check out this press department briefing, featuring your good friend and mine too: Jenn Psaki! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wp1hBNsvWs
The fun begins at the 3:20 mark, where someone asks a very good question about whether or not captured Taliban forces are considered Prisoners of War. Her response is, predictably, to claim the question is "too broad" to answer and that she has nothing for him. Now, skip to 10:30. Psaki is useless in answering this as well but she does at least confirm what the reporter says is accurate: the Taliban are considered a "specially designated global terrorist entity," a designation which sprang into existence thanks to Executive Order 13224, signed into law by Prezzy Bush--can you guess when?--two weeks after 9/11. Obviously this does not make them not a terrorist, however what can legally be done with a group in the latter category is much more broad. What's interesting is that Jenn's complete inability to bring any sort of clarity to the rather important question of what the differences are between these designations is in fact mirrored by Marie Harf in June 3rd's briefing, wherein she is asked essentially the same question and gives essentially the same answer. Of course CNN isn't a real news organization so they don't "do" follow-up, but that shit is just not goddamned acceptable for the best motherfucking podcast in the universe, now, is it? Here's a fact sheet from the State Department:
http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2014/01/20140113290498.html
Of note:
"2. What is the difference between an FTO and E.O. 13224 designation?
There are several differences between these two designation authorities. For example, with regard to the consequences of a designation, while both the FTO and E.O. 13224 designations trigger an asset freeze, only the FTO designation imposes immigration restrictions upon members of the organization and prohibits the knowing provision of material support or resources to the designated organization. Another difference is that only E.O. 13224 designations provide the Department of the Treasury the derivative authority to designate additional individuals or entities providing support to already designated organizations."
Note that it says "for example," and in the followup sentences says "another..." the implication being that even this list is not exhaustive and there are other restrictions at play. However nowhere in this document is the prisoner transfer aspect listed, either explicitly allowed or prohibited. One would assume that "the United States does not negotiate with terrorists" would extend to all terror groups, not merely FTOs, but Obama doesn't seem to see things that way. Probably because when we withdraw our troupes at the end of the year, they will take over southeastern Afghanistan and we will then be forced to deal with them whether we want to or not. Even so, it seems as though they are just making things up as they go, which is the most desperate foreign policy I can imagine.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sacred [defenition]
sa·cred adjective \ˈsā-krəd\
: worthy of religious worship : very holy
: relating to religion
: highly valued and important : deserving great respect
Full Definition of SACRED
1
a : dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity
2
a : worthy of religious veneration : holy
b : entitled to reverence and respect
3
: of or relating to religion : not secular or profane
4
archaic : accursed
5
a : unassailable, inviolable
— sa·cred·ly adverb
— sa·cred·ness noun
Department of Defense: 2009 Bowe Bergdahl review is classified
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 01:24
A DOD spokesperson said he would not detail the conclusions the Army reached. | Getty
CloseThe Army conducted an investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance after his disappearance in 2009, but it remains classified to this day, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Defense Department spokesman Col. Steve Warren said he would not detail the conclusions the Army reached in its first look into what became of Bergdahl, who was returned to American special operators over the weekend after five years as a Taliban prisoner.
Continue Reading
Warren said the Pentagon has no plans to release the secret Bergdahl investigation and reporters would have to try to get it under the Freedom of Information Act.
(Also on POLITICO: Carney: Bergdahl deal separate from desertion question)
''I'll be standing by for your FOIA requests,'' he said.
Army Secretary John McHugh said Tuesday that the Army will begin a new look at Bergdahl's situation once he is psychologically and medically able to participate.
''The Army will then review this in a comprehensive, coordinated effort that will include speaking with Sgt. Bergdahl to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity,'' McHugh said. ''All other decisions will be made thereafter, and in accordance with appropriate regulations, policies and practices.''
Warren said he would not comment on reports that Bergdahl told his fellow soldiers he was leaving his unit or made clear in other ways that he was deliberately walking away '-- as compared to subsequent claims that he'd lagged behind a foot patrol.
(Also on POLITICO: GOP seeks Taliban declassification)
Bergdahl remains under medical and psychiatric care at a military hospital in Germany, Warren said, as part of a slow process of reintegration that could take weeks or months.
He still has not spoken with his parents, Warren said, but officials declined to provide many more details about the man whose exchange for five top Taliban commanders has made him a political lightning rod for politicians in Washington and other Afghanistan veterans.
Warren said he did not know whether Bergdahl realizes he has become a subject of controversy in the United States, though access to news reports and the Internet are, or will, become a part of his adjustment process.
Some Afghanistan vets and family members of fallen soldiers want Bergdahl to be punished for desertion, arguing he deliberately walked away from his unit in 2009 before he fell into the hands of the Taliban '-- and recklessly endangered those who went looking for him.
(Also on POLITICO: Slain soldier parents: Bergdahl 'deserter')
The mother of one soldier said to have died in the subsequent search for Bergdahl told Army Times that his return stirred ''very raw emotions.''
''This guy was worth my son's life?'' asked Sondra Andrews, mother of fallen Army 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said on Tuesday there will be plenty of time for the Army to determine the circumstances of Bergdahl's disappearance, but that he remains ''innocent until proven guilty.''
Dempsey also made clear, however, that Bergdahl is back under Army jurisdiction. He will not automatically be promoted this month, having been advanced twice during his time in captivity, and he'll be subject to discipline or punishment if commanders think that's in order.
''Our Army's leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred,'' Dempsey said. ''In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family.''
Warren said he did not know whether Bergdahl has been advised of his Miranda rights, whether he has an attorney or whether the things he says at this point in his debriefing could be used against him in a potential court-martial.
Warren told reporters clamoring for details about potential disciplinary actions that they were way head of the daily reality for Bergdahl, who is still adjusting after years of trauma and privation.
''Part of the reintegration process is to get the returnee in control of his emotions, in control of his feelings and able to tell his story,'' he said.
Note from HMFIC
(Please us HMFIC in place of my real name)
Following Sunday's show it has been interesting to watch the Bowe Bergdahl scandal blow up in the face of the Administration. I am extremely proud of the Warfighter community for not letting the facade of Bowe the returning hero stand. The response was immediate, visceral and deafening. While I am happy America is hearing the truth, I am also deeply saddened as the media coverage of Bowe did just what I predicted and bumped the VA scandal off the news radar.
As usual, thanks to The Best Podcast In The Universe the No Agenda Nation was ahead of the game and the lamestream media was scrambling to catch up. I am on the edge of my seat to hear your analysis and deconstruction of this saga on Thursday's show. I was so worked up when sending the note for Sunday's show I forgot to ask for a de-douching and a shot of Karma.
Thank you for your courage!
OUT!
HMFIC
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Was Chris Stevens meant to be traded for the Talibanners?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bergdahl's team leader: Intercepted radio chatter said he sought talks with the Taliban '' The Lead with Jake Tapper - CNN.com Blogs
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:12
(CNN) - Former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow was the team leader with Bowe Bergdahl the night Bergdahl disappeared.
"Bergdahl is a deserter, and he's not a hero," says Buetow. "He needs to answer for what he did."
Within days of his disappearance, says Buetow, teams monitoring radio chatter and cell phone communications intercepted an alarming message: The American is in Yahya Khel (a village two miles away). He's looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.
"I heard it straight from the interpreter's lips as he heard it over the radio," said Buetow. "There's a lot more to this story than a soldier walking away."The Army will review the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl "in a comprehensive, coordinated effort," Secretary of the Army John McHugh said Tuesday.
The review will include speaking with Bergdahl "to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity," he said.
The night Bergdahl disappeared, says Buetow, the platoon was at a small outpost, consisting of two bunkers and a perimeter of military trucks. Buetow was in one of the bunkers, and Bergdahl was supposed to be in a tent by one of the trucks.
Then a call came through on the radio.
"I'll never forget that line, 'Has anyone seen Bergdahl?'" says Buetow.
Firsthand accounts from soldiers in his platoon say Bergdahl disappeared while he was on guard duty.
Buetow says Bergdahl was about to go on guard duty, but when a fellow soldier went to wake him, he was not in his tent. He had left behind his weapons, his bullet-proof vest, and night vision gear.
"I immediately knew, I said, 'He walked away. He walked away,'" said Buetow.
Bergdahl walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera and a diary, according to firsthand accounts from soldiers in his platoon.
Read: Fellow soldiers call Bowe Bergdahl a deserter, not a hero
Buetow was involved in the immediate search for Bergdahl, pushing a patrol into a nearby local village.
"Immediately as we left the base, two small boys walked up to us, and they told us that they saw an American crawling in the weeds by himself," said the former Army sergeant. The search followed that lead, and others, for months.
"For 60 days or more, I remember, just straight, all we did was search for Bergdahl," said Buetow, "essentially chasing a ghost because we never came up with anything."
At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for him, according to soldiers involved in those operations.
The Pentagon was not able to provide details on specific operations in which any soldiers were killed during that time were involved.
Buetow says even though those operations were not "directed missions" to search for Bergdahl, there was an underlying premise of acting on intelligence to find the missing soldier.
"The fact of the matter is, when those soldiers were killed, they would not have been where they were at if Bergdahl hadn't left," says Buetow. "Bergdahl leaving changed the mission."
Many soldiers in Bergdahl's platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.
"Following his disappearance, IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical," said Buetow.
It was "very suspicious," says Buetow, noting that Bergdahl knew sensitive information about the movement of U.S. trucks, the weaponry on those trucks, and how soldiers would react to attacks.
"We were incredibly worried" that Bergdahl was giving up information, either under torture, or otherwise, says Buetow.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that no matter what the circumstances of an American soldier's capture, the United States has a duty to get him or her back.
"It's great that he's back and that we can have that very small victory, if you can even call it a victory. Because I believe what we gave up for that - we gave up a lot for what we got back," says Buetow.
For more of our interview with former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, click here, or check out the video below.
Why Was the FBI Investigating Michael Hastings' Reporting on Bowe Bergdahl? | VICE News
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 03:33
Three years into the disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, Michael Hastings '-- the journalist whose reporting cost General Stanley McChrystal his job '-- wrote a Rolling Stonestory on the missing soldier, a piece which the magazine called ''the definitive first account of Bowe Bergdahl.''
Hastings, who died in a car accident in Los Angeles in June 2013, had unparalleled access for that story.
Last POW in Afghanistan has been freed. Read more here.
He spoke to Bergdahl's parents, who had by that time stopped talking to the press, following ''subtle pressure'' from the army, and he quoted from emails the young soldier had sent to them, documenting his growing disillusion with the war and the US military.
Hastings also spoke to several unnamed men in Bergdahl's unit '-- soldiers who, we now know, had to sign a strict nondisclosure agreement forbidding them from discussing the soldier's disappearance and search with anyone '-- let alone one of the top investigative journalists in the country.
'Michael and Matt both worked really, really hard on that story, and I know for a fact that they did it in a way that completely angered the US military and the US government.'
But most controversially, Hastings' piece revealed what has been the subject of much debate and vitriol over the last few days: That a disillusioned Bergdahl had actually abandoned his post and ''walked away.''
At the time of the story's publication, the media had all but forgotten about Bergdahl '-- who was released on Saturday after five years in the hands of the Taliban, in exchange for five Guantanamo prisoners. And, with the exception of some initial chatter, Hastings' piece, which paints a deeply unflattering picture of Bergdahl's unit and its leadership, hardly had the impact of some of his other investigations.
But someone did pay attention to it: the FBI.
That, at least, is what was revealed in a heavily redacted document released by the agency following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request '-- filed on the day of Hastings' death '-- by investigative journalist Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro, an MIT doctoral student whom the Justice Department once called the ''most prolific'' requester of FOIA documents.
'Superhero' suing feds over Nelson Mandela's 1962 arrest records. Read more here.
The document, partially un-redacted after Leopold and Shapiro engaged in a lengthy legal battle with the FBI for failing to fulfill its FOIA obligations, singles out Hastings' Rolling Stone piece '-- ''America's Last Prisoner of War'' '-- as ''controversial reporting.'' It names Hastings and Matthew Farwell, a former soldier in Afghanistan and a contributing reporter to Hastings' piece.
'If this deployment is lame, I'm just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan.'
The document also included an Associated Press report based on the Rolling Stone piece, and what it identifies as a ''blog entry'' penned by Gary Farwell, Matthew's father '-- which actually appears to be a comment entry on the Idaho Statesman's website.
''The article reveals private email excerpts, from [redacted] to his parents. The excerpts include quotes about being 'ashamed to even be American,' and threats that, 'If this deployment is lame, I'm just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan,''' the FBI file reads. ''The Rolling Stone article ignited a media frenzy, speculating about the circumstances of [redacted] capture, and whether US resources and effort should continue to be expended for his recovery.''
'I'm happy the FBI is reading Rolling Stone on the job.'
The FBI file '-- as well as a Department of Justice document released in response to Leopold and Shapiro's lawsuit '-- suggests that Hastings and Farwell's reporting got swept up into an ''international terrorist investigation'' into Bergdahl's disappearance.
A spokesperson for the FBI told VICE News that the agency does not normally comment on pending investigations and that it lets FOIA documents ''speak for themselves.'' The investigation was still pending as of last month, Leopold said.
According to the files '-- and a rare public statement by the FBI following Hastings' death '-- Hastings was never directly under investigation by the agency, despite having pissed off a lot of people in very high places.
White House defends prisoner swap to free American POW. Read more here.
But it is not exactly clear why Hastings and Farwell's ''controversial'' reporting made it into a criminal investigation that was already active before they even wrote the Rolling Stone story.
'The FBI says Hastings was not a target of their investigation but his reporting was. How do you investigate someone's reporting without investigating them?'
''Michael and Matt both worked really, really hard on that story, and I know for a fact that they did it in a way that completely angered the US military and the US government, and while other reporters were steering away from it, they were totally on it,'' Leopold told VICE News. ''The FBI was investigating this, whether they were investigating Michael or investigating the story, and there was a lot of fear around it, because they characterized the story as 'controversial' '-- whatever that means.''
''Then the question became, why was the FBI looking at this, what were they looking at?'' Leopold added. ''The FBI says Hastings was not a target of their investigation but his reporting was. How do you investigate someone's reporting without investigating them?"
Farwell declined to discuss the details of the file, but told VICE News, ''I'm happy the FBI is reading Rolling Stone on the job.''
He had not known that his name, and his father's, showed up in the FBI's files until Leopold pointed it out to him. Leopold told VICE News: "When I showed Matt these files he was like, oh my god, this is basically outlining my conversations."
Farwell said: ''When it first came out it was just Michael, and Jason was like, 'Hey dude, this has your dad in it.' And I was like, 'Oh shit, they're talking about me in these redactions, that's weird.' Anyway, I signed a privacy waiver and sent it out to Jason."
Entire paragraphs in the FBI documents remain redacted '-- leaving many questions about the scope of the investigation into the journalists' work. But the un-redacted sections about Farwell characterize him as a 10th Mountain infantryman, who helped broker a meeting between Hastings and '-- presumably '-- some of the sources for the Rolling Stone story.
Now that Bergdahl is free, the lid on Pandora's box has been lifted.
In his comment on the Idaho Statesman's site, also picked up in the FBI file, Farwell Senior comes to Bergdahl'sdefense after the Rolling Stone article sparked backlash against the soldier, of a similar sort that we areseeing today. He also credits his son for brokering Hastings' meeting with the Bergdahls.
''I'm going to excuse that young kid for his choice of words, but I'm not going to excuse the leadership of his outfit, nor the misguided policies of our government in Afghanistan and elsewhere which have put our young people in harms way without a clear vision of what they are doing,'' Farwell, himself a retired Air Force officer, wrote then. ''It's my hope this Rolling Stone article helps the Bergdahl's get their son back and helps expose some misguided policies and conduct far above the pay grade of this young disillusioned soldier.''
Now that Bergdahl is free, the lid on Pandora's box has been lifted.
'Even before Bergdahl's release, ''the dam was getting ready to burst.'''
''For five years, soldiers have been forced to stay silent about the disappearance and search for Bergdahl. Now we can talk about what really happened,'' Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served in Bergdahl's battalion, wrote in the Daily Beast on Monday. ''I served in the same battalion in Afghanistan and participated in the attempts to retrieve him throughout the summer of 2009. After we redeployed, every member of my brigade combat team received an order that we were not allowed to discuss what happened to Bergdahl for fear of endangering him. He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth.''
"Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down," Bethea stated.
Soldiers forced to silence for years have now taken their accounts '-- and anger '-- about the missing soldier's ordeal to social media and the press. Republican strategists eager to turn Bergdahl into the next Benghazi have also jumped on the opportunity to offer critics of the young ''deserter'' up for interviews, as the New York Times noted today.
'As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we'll learn the facts.'
In the last few days, Bergdahl has been blamed with the deaths of ''every American soldier killed in Paktika Province in the four-month period that followed his disappearance,'' according to the Times '-- charges that the Pentagon dismissed as unsubstantiated. Today it was reported that the army will launch an inquiry into the circumstances of Bergdahl's disappearance and his personal conduct.
"The questions about this particular soldier's conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity," General Martin E. Dempsey said in a Facebook post today. "As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we'll learn the facts. Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our Army's leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred."
The Gitmo prisoner exchange puts deals above grim justice. Read more.
A US Army investigation into Bergdahl's own conduct might appease or inflame his critics. But even before Bergdahl's release, ''the dam was getting ready to burst,'' Farwell said.
''That was one of the weirdest things about the case, that everyone in the whole brigade was required to sign a pretty strict nondisclosure agreement that was enforced at a pretty high level, so basically if any of the people from that unit talked about Bowe, they thought they could be losing their careers,'' Farwell said. "It was a blanket statement, 'you will not talk about anything about this.'''
And while there is no suggestion '-- in the un-redacted bits of the FBI file on Hastings '-- that the agency was after any soldier who had taken his frustrations to the press, the fact that the FBI was looking into the reporters' sources and methods raises at least the question.
Now, everyone wants to talk about it. But Hastings' ever ''controversial'' reporting got to it first.
Follow Alice Speri on Twitter:@alicesperi
pentagon knew
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 05:32
As early as 2010, the Pentagon had confirmed that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had deserted his post in 2009, and even before he deserted he had been the subject of ''a major classified file'' by U.S. intelligence.
A 2010 investigation by the Pentagon found there was solid evidence that Bergdahl hadn't lagged behind on patrol, as first reported, and had indeed walked from his post, AP reports. The Pentagon decided at that point to draw down search-and-rescue operations.
The suspicion that Bergdahl was a deserter had long been a dirty secret among U.S. soldiers who resented the initial dangerous and invasive search operations. His unit reportedly did not go on any patrols the night he disappeared and Bergdahl has told comrades about a desire to walk to India before his capture. Additionally, fellow soldiers have blamed the ensuring search operations for strained community relations, wasted resources and, most damning of all, the deaths of U.S. troops. (PICTURE: 'Bowe Bergdahl Is Not A Hero' Tops Google Search Suggestions)
And it seems Bergdahl was causing trouble before he left his post. Fox News reports ''that many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.''
The Department of Defense official Fox spoke with said that no congressional committee had requested the classified documents, but committee chairs would probably be allowed to see if they asked.
Berghdahl was exchanged for the top five Taliban commanders held in Guantanamo Bay.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called for an investigation into the White House's unilateral release of ''the Taliban Dream Team'' on Monday.
Follow Bedford on Twitter and Facebook
Why Team Obama Was Blindsided by the Bergdahl Backlash | National Review Online
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:49
Congratulations, Mr. President! And identical congrats to your sorcerer's apprentice, National Security Adviser Susan Rice. By trying to sell him as an American hero, you've turned a deserter already despised by soldiers in the know into quite possibly the most-hated individual soldier in the history of our military.
I have never witnessed such outrage from our troops.
Exhibit A: Ms. Rice. In one of the most tone-deaf statements in White House history (we're making a lot of history here), the national-security advisor, on a Sunday talk show, described Bergdahl as having served ''with honor and distinction.'' Those serving in uniform and those of us who served previously were already stirred up, but that jaw-dropper drove us into jihad mode.
But pity Ms. Rice. Like the president she serves, she's a victim of her class. Nobody in the inner circle of Team Obama has served in uniform. It shows. That bit about serving with ''honor and distinction'' is the sort of perfunctory catch-phrase politicians briefly don as electoral armor. (''At this point in your speech, ma'am, devote one sentence to how much you honor the troops.'')
I actually believe that Ms. Rice was kind of sincere, in her spectacularly oblivious way. In the best Manchurian Candidate manner, she said what she had been programmed to say by her political culture, then she was blindsided by the firestorm she ignited by scratching two flinty words together. At least she didn't blame Bergdahl's desertion on a video.
The president, too, appears stunned. He has so little understanding of (or interest in) the values and traditions of our troops that he and his advisers really believed that those in uniform would erupt into public joy at the news of Bergdahl's release '-- as D.C. frat kids did when Osama bin Laden's death was trumpeted.
Both President Obama and Ms. Rice seem to think that the crime of desertion in wartime is kind of like skipping class. They have no idea of how great a sin desertion in the face of the enemy is to those in our military. The only worse sin is to side actively with the enemy and kill your brothers in arms. This is not sleeping in on Monday morning and ducking Gender Studies 101.
But compassion, please! The president and all the president's men and women are not alone. Our media elite '-- where it's a rare bird who bothered to serve in uniform '-- instantly became experts on military justice. Of earnest mien and blithe assumption, one talking head after another announced that ''we always try to rescue our troops, even deserters.''
Uh, no. ''Save the deserter'' is a recent battle cry of the politically indoctrinated brass. For much of our history, we did make some efforts to track down deserters in wartime. Then we shot or hanged them. Or, if we were in good spirits, we merely used a branding iron to burn a large D into their cheeks or foreheads. Even as we grew more enlightened, desertion brought serious time in a military prison. At hard labor.
This is a fundamental culture clash. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans ''so dumb'' they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don't necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle '-- the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)
President Obama did this to himself (and to Bergdahl). This beautifully educated man, who never tires of letting us know how much smarter he is than the rest of us, never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ain't a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say ''outrageous insult to our vets'' in Pashto?
Nor, during the recent VA scandal, had the president troubled himself to host the families of survivors of those vets who died awaiting care. No, the warmest attention our president has ever paid to a ''military family'' was to Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl.
(I will refrain from criticism of the bumptious attempts to cool the flames of this political conflagration by Secretary Hagel: I never pick on the weak.)
What is to be done? Behind the outrage triggered by Team Obama's combination of cynicism and obliviousness (Bergdahl was so ill we had to set those terrorists free immediately, without notifying Congress, but now he's chugging power shakes in a military hospital . . . and all this just happened to come at the peak of the VA scandal . . . ), military members don't really want to lynch Bergdahl. But they want justice.
Our military leaders need to rediscover their moral courage and honor our traditions, our regulations, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. We need a fresh, unprejudiced 15-6 investigation (the military equivalent of a grand jury). We already know, as the military has known since the first 24 hours after Bergdahl abandoned his post, that sufficient evidence exists for a court-martial, but it's important to do this by the numbers.
It's hard to believe that the resulting court-martial would not find Bergdahl guilty of desertion (although there will be heavy White House pressure to reduce the charge to Absent Without Leave, or AWOL, status, a lesser offense). If he is convicted, I for one do not want him to go to prison. I'm sure he's paid and paid for betraying his comrades, quite possibly suffering brutal sexual violence. But if he is found guilty, he needs to be formally reduced to the rank of private, stripped of all privileges and entitlements (the taxpayer should not pay for a deserter's lifelong health care '-- Bergdahl's book and film deals can cover that), and he should be given the appropriate prison sentence, which would then be commuted by the president. Thereafter, let Mr. Bergdahl go home and live with himself.
As for President Obama, how about just one word of thanks to the families of those fallen soldiers you sent out to find Bowe Bergdahl?
'-- Fox News Strategic Analyst Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and former enlisted man.
Hillary Rodham Clinton defends prisoner swap
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:00
BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a measured defense Monday of the Obama administration's controversial decision to swap five Guantanamo Bay detainees for a U.S. soldier held hostage in Afghanistan, noting that many of America's allies make similar deals.The former secretary of state was asked about the exchange by the moderator at an event in a Denver suburb. Clinton said she did not second-guess people who make such tough decisions, but said the American tradition of caring for its citizens and soldiers was a "noble" one.She also noted that countries like Israel have made similar swaps, citing that country's decision to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one of its soldiers in 2011."This young man, whatever the circumstances, was an American citizen - is an American citizen - was serving in our military," Clinton said. "The idea that you really care for your own citizens and particularly those in uniform, I think is a very noble one."Several Republicans have hammered the Obama administration for the deal, saying it had capitulated to terrorists. Additionally, some critics have suggested that Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan before being captured by the Taliban in 2009.Clinton said the most important thing will be to get as much information as possible from Bergdahl about his time in captivity, saying he could be a valuable intelligence asset and shed light on the Taliban's workings. She noted the Guantanamo detainees were supposed to be kept in the Gulf emirate of Qatar for a year.She added that she understood regrets about the deal but that the Obama administration feared Bergdahl wouldn't survive much longer. She described it as an example of the "hard choices" in government that is also the title of her forthcoming book."You don't want to see these five prisoners go back to combat. There's a lot that you don't want to have happen. On the other hand you also don't want an American citizen, if you can avoid it, especially a solider, to die in captivity," Clinton said. "I think we have a long way to go before we really know how this is going to play out."Clinton appeared as part of a public speaking series called Unique Lives & Experiences.
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl release: Email exchange reveals extent of US failure in Afghan war
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:59
Within hours, he was picked by the Taliban who held him for five years until his exchange for five senior Taliban leaders held in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay.
''The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at,'' wrote Sergeant Bergdahl in an email later published by Rolling Stone magazine. ''It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. The few good SGTs [sergeants] are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same.''
Sgt Bergdahl had joined the army when it was short of soldiers to send to Afghanistan as part of the ''surge'' in the number of combat brigades there. With too few men, it had started to issue ''waivers'' to recruits facing felony charges or drugs problems who previously would have been turned down for the army. For Sgt Bergdahl, a crack shot, well-educated and with a romantic vision of what professional soldiering involved, disillusionment set in fast.
His company was understrength and demoralised. He complained that three good sergeants had been forced to move to another company and ''one of the biggest shit bags is being put in charge of the team''. The commander of his battalion was a ''conceited old fool'' and other officers were as bad: ''In the US army you are cut down for being honest... but if you are a conceited brown-nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do whatever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank.''
Sgt Bergdahl had taken seriously the counter-insurgency strategy supposedly aimed at winning the ''hearts and minds'' of Afghans. Instead, he found that US soldiers regarded Afghans with aggressive contempt: ''I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.''
He spoke of seeing an Afghan child run over by an American heavy-armoured truck, an event which his parents believe may have led him to leave his base. His father responded to his last message with an email in which the subject line was titled: ''Obey Your Conscience.''
The life stories of the six men '' five Afghans and one American '' exchanged this weekend shows how quickly the mood of armies in Afghanistan can switch from full confidence in victory to frustration and defeat. In the summer of 2001 the Taliban rightly believed they were close to taking over the whole of Afghanistan as their enemies were penned into the mountains of the north-east.
But 9/11 changed all that and by November the Americans were cock-a-hoop that they had won an easy success. Eight years later Sgt Bergdahl's reasons for going Awol illustrate how far Afghanistan turned into a demoralising and unwinnable war for the US.
The Taliban had also seen hopes of victory turn sour in a much shorter period. Mullah Mohammed Fazl, also known as Mullah Fazel Mazloom, was the leader of 10,000 Taliban fighters held responsible for massacres of Hazara and Tajiks in northern Afghanistan.
He surrendered to the opposition Northern Alliance in 2001. With him was the governor of Balkh province, Mullah Norullah Noori. They were taken to the battleship USS Bataan and then to Guantanamo.
Ever since exploratory talks started between the US and the Taliban, the first demand of the latter was for these two men to be released. Other prisoners include Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa who was a founding member of the Taliban in 1994. In these early days after the fall of the Taliban, an over-confident US saw no reason why former Taliban leaders should be conciliated. Among those senior Taliban security official reported to have vainly reached out to the Americans are the two remaining detainees.
Who could have imagined at the end of 2001 that 13 years later the US would be exchanging prisoners with the Taliban? For the US, getting back their only prisoner detaches them further from Afghanistan, the handover of the five leaders is a sign of their legitimacy and strength.
(CRIMINAL EVENT) KIDNAPPING RPT B CO 1-501 PIR : 0 INJ/DAM -- WikiLeaks War Diaries
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 21:01
Limited script-free view:At 0430Z, TF 1 Geronimo reported a B Co missing soldier after he did not show up for the 0900L morning roll call at Mest OP, grid 42SVB 59236 47877 Yahya Khail District, Paktika. A full search was ordered. At 0535Z, TF 1 Geronimo initiated DUSTWUN procedures for the missing soldier. At 0645Z, all remaining units had reported in 100% accountability. Geronimo TOC ordered blocking positions set in and around Mest OP. At 0707Z, Predator (VooDoo) was on station in support. At 0940Z, a Pathfinder and tracking dog team arrived at Mest OP in support. At 0945Z, Predator (Pfingston) arrived on station in support. At 1012Z, LLVI receives traffic that an American Soldier with a camera is looking for someone who speaks English. At 1303Z, Graphic 33(2x F-18) arrived on station in support. At 1309Z, FF receive intelligence that a U.S. soldier has been captured. At 1351Z, VooDoo and Pfingston RIP with Predator (Sijan). At 1520Z, Sijan RIPs with Predator (Kisling) and DUDE-21 (2x F-15) arrives on station to support. Between 1725Z and 1800Z, B Co conducted 2 breaches of suspected enemy locations with NSTR. Additional forces were moving into the area to place blocking positions and conduct searches based on all of the aerial and ground based intelligence sources available throughout the day and through the night. ISAF Tracking #06-2426 Event Title:CAPTURED SOLDIER Zone:null Placename:ISAF# 06-2426 Outcome:null S:1 X US SOLDIER A: MISSSING SOLDIER L:VB 592 478 T:300430zJUNE09 U: Bco 1-501 R: INITIATE DUSTWUN TIMELINE: 0430z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS SOLDIER IS MISSING UPDATE: 0505z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS B6 HAS BEEN NOTIFIED. B6 ORDERS ALL VEHICLES, LATRINES, BUNKERS, AND ANP FACILITIES ARE TO BE SEARCHED. BOTH IN MEST AND SHARAN UPDATE: 0520z BLACKFOOT TOC NOTIFIED 1 GERONIMO TOC THAT BR# BBB 5187 IS MISSING UPDATE: 0535z 1 GERONIMO TOC INITIATES DUSTWUN FOR MEST OP VB 592 478 NET CALL WAS SENT OUT NEED 100% ACCOUNTABILITY OF ALL PERSONEL UPDATE: 0536z STOW MAIN AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL UPDATE: 0538z SEMINAL MAIN AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL UPDATE: 0541z BLACKFOOT TOC AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL UPDATE: 0542z SHAMSHEER TOC AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL UPDATE: 0543z STOW MAIN REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL UPDATE: 0545z KUSHAMOND AND APACHE TOC AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL UPDATE: 0550z VOLUNTEER 22 AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL UPDATE: 0551z VOLUNTEER 22 REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL UPDATE: 0555z MOHAWK AND APACHE TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL UPDATE: 0605z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS 100% EXCEPT THE SOLDIER THAT IS MISSING UPDATE: 0620z SHAMSHEER TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL UPDATE: 0623z KUSHAMOND TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL UPDATE: 0644z SEMINOLE MAIN AND EASY TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL UPDATE: 0645z GERONIMO TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL UPDATE:GERONIMO TOC INFORMS MOHAWK 6, BLACKFOOT 6, BLACKFOOT 3-6, THE ETT FROM KKC, AND THE PRT W SYOPS TO START MOVEMENT TO MEST OP ( VB 592 478) TO SET UP BLOCKING POSITIONS TO TRY AND FIND MISSING US SOLDIER. ALSO HAVE REAPER, SHADOW, PREDATOR, GUARDRAIL, AWT, AND CAS ENROUTE TO ASSIST IN THE SEARCH UPDATE 0707z PREDATOR ON STATION ATT. CALLSIGN VOODOO UPDATE: 0940z PATHFINDER TEAM WITH TRACKING DOGS ARE WHEELS DOWN AT MEST UPDATE: 0945z PREDATOR ONSTATION ATT. CALLSIGN PHINGSTON UPDATE: 1012z GUARDRAIL REPORTS PICKED UP LLVI TRAFFIC AT GRID VB 6597 3366 THAT STATES (UIM INDICATES THAT AN AMERICAN SOLDIER IS TALKING AND IS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH. INDICATES AMERICAN SOLDIER HAS CAMERA) UPDATE: 1111z PATHFINDER TEAM WHEELS UP AT MEST ENROUTE TO SHARANA FOR ARF UPDATE: 1212z YUKON 6 REPORTS ALL OPERATIONS WILL CEASE UNTIL MISSING SOLDIER IS FOUND. ALL ASSESTS WILL BE FOCUSED ON THE DUSTWUN SITUATION AND SUSTAINMENT OPERATIONS. UPDATE: 1241z FTF PLT WILL SET UP BLOCKING POSITIONS AT GRID VB 6721 4407, VB 721 450, VB 793 421 WILL BE PUTTING IN TWO PLATOONS. 1 X PLATOON ON LAST TWO GRIDS. THIRD PLATOON WILL GO TO SHARANA AND ACT AS AERIAL QRF UPDATE: 1303z CAS IS ONSTATION ATT CALLSIGN GRAPHIC 33 2 X F18s UPDATE: 1309z BATT 04 FREQ 168.4 U2 RECEIVED INTEL THAT CONFIRMS THE CAPTURE OF A U.S. SOLDIER UPDATE: 1320z GRAPHIC 33 OFF STATION ATT UPDATE: 1326z APACHE TOC REPORTS LLVI TEAM IS READY TO BE MOVED TO MEST JUST WAITING ON AIR TRANSPORTATION UPDATE: 1333z GUARDRAIL IS OFF TRACK ATT. UPDATE: 1346z PREDATOR IS APPROX 20 MIN OUT CALLSIGN SIJAN UPDATE: 1351z VOODOO AND PHINGSTON ARE OFF STATION ATT UPDATE: 1352z PATHFINDER PLT HAS BEEN INFILLED NEAR QALOTS VIC GRID VB 659 336 UPDATE: 1430z PATHFINDER PLT IS BACK ON FOB SHARANA UPDATE: 1520z SIJAN IS OFF STATION ATT UPDATE: 1534z PREDATOR IS 30 MIN OUT. CALLSIGN KISLING UPDATE: 1537z DUDE 21 IS ON STATION 2 X F15s UPDATE: 1543z INTERCEPTED RADIO TRANSMISSION THAT THE TALIBAN HAD 3 X CIVILIANS AND 1 X U.S. SOLDIER CAPTURED UPDATE: : 1613z MOHAWK 6 IS BEING PUSHED 750m TO THE NE. TO GRID VB 66702 44149. DUDE 21 REPORTS SEEING 17 PAX AT THAT GRID UPDATE: 1625z BLACKFOOT 2-6 HAS EST. HLZ AT 6800 3190 AND READY TO RECEIVE AIRCRAFT ATT UPDATE: 1630z DUDE 21 HAS 15 MIN LEFT ON STATION. HAWG 63 IS COMING ON STATION UNK ETA UPDATE: 1645z DUDE 21 EYES ON VB 66702 44149 . BUILDING HAS 9 PAX HEADING EAST TOWARDS VILLAGE UPDATE: 1656z TF ATK TM2 WU SAL IOT RIP W/ TF ATK TM1 UPDATE: UPDATE: 1-40 CAV HAS INTEL THAT TALIBAN IS PLANNING TO MOVE THE U.S. PAX TO GARDEZ UPDATE: 1725z MOHAWK 6 CURRENTLY CONDUCTING BREACH OF OBJ BRAVO WITH ANP VB 66902 44163 UPDATE: 1730 MOHAWK 6 NSTR ON OBJ BRAVO MOVING TO OBJ A VB 66702 44149 UPDATE: 1735z MOHAWK 6 WITH ANP BREACHING OBJ ALPHA UPDATE: 1758z REDRIDGE COVERAGE EXTENDED TO 1900Z, THEN RTB FOR REFUEL AND RELAUNCH UPDATE: 1757z WHEELS UP ON SHADOW UPDATE: 1800z MOHAWK 6 NSTR ON OBJ ALPHA. MOVING TO OBJ CHARLIE VB 66895 44133 UPDATE: 1817z SHADOW CONDUCTING HANDOVER WITH KISLING ATT UPDATE: 1822z BLACKFOOT 26 PUSHING TOWARDS MOHAWK ELEMENT UPDATE: 1831z PLAYER 11 WU SHR TO HLZ SAKER UPDATE: 1840z WD CHALK 1 ON HLZ SAKER UPDATE: 1910z REDRIDGE OFF STATION UPDATE:1940z BLACKFOOT 26 LINK UP W/ MOHAWK 6 UPDATE: ATK 6 WU FROM SHR WITH DOG 36 UPDATE: 2301z JACKAL 16 AND REAPER 6 WHEELS UP OE EN ROUTE HLZ's OSPREY AND KESTREL UPDATE: 2334 ROMEO 01 CLEARING QOLATS ATT W/ ABP AND DOG TEAM UPDATE: 2353 ROMEO 01 HAS CONDUCTED SEARCH OF FIRST QOLAT VIC VB 607 465 W/ NSTR *******01JULY************* UPDATE: 01 0234z LLVI TRAFFIC REPORT: 163.2125/0227Z/42SVB4076446756 0.47KM X 0.16KM AZ 95.8/1- I SWEAR THAT I HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING YET. WHAT HAPPENED. IS THAT TRUE THAT THEY CAPTURED AN AMERICAN GUY? 2- YES THEY DID. HE IS ALIVE. THERE IS NO WHERE HE CAN GO (LOL) 1- IS HE STILL ALIVE? 2- YES HE IS ALIVE. BUT I DONT HAVE THE WHOLE STORY. DONT KNOW IF THEY WERE FIGHTING. ALL I KNOW IF THEY WERE FIGHTIING. ALL I KNOW THAT THEY CAPTURE HIM ALIVE AND THEY ARE WITH HIM RIGHT NOW. UPDATE: 0237z LLVI TRAFFIC FROM FIELD TEAM: Freq-168.65 LOB-135 SS-26 UIM SAYS "CUT THE HEAD OFF" UPDATE: 0433z LLVI TRAFFIC FROM C3 plt AT BAKI KHEL LLVI SUGGESTS THAT THE AMERICAN SOLDIER IS WITHIN TWO KM. BOLO FOR ANY WHITE VEHICLES UPDATE: 0610z LLVI TRAFFIC FROM REDRIDGE: freq 162.1 1- W ARE READY FOR THEM. 2- ALL THE NUMBERS ARE MESS IT. WE ARE WWAITING FOR THEM. 1- LOL THEY KNOW WHERE HE IS BUT THEY KEEP GOING TO WRONG AREA. 2- OK SET UP THE WORK FOR THEM. 1- YES WE HAVE A LOT OF IED ON THE ROAD. 2- GOD WILLING WE WILL DO IT. 1- WE WERE ATTACKING THE POST HE WAS SITTING TAKING EXPLETIVE HE HAD NO GUN WITH HIM. HE WAS TAKING EXPLETIVE, HE HAS NOT CLEANED HIS BUTT YET. 2- WHAT SHEAM FOR THEM. 1- I DONT THINK HE W 2-YES LOOK THEY HAVE ALL AMERICANS, ANA HELICOPTERS THE PLANES ARE LOOKING FOR HIM. 1- I THINK HE IS BIG SHOT THAT WHY THEY ARE LOOKING FOR HIM. 3-CAN YOU GUYS MAKE A VIDEO OF HIM AND ANNOUNCE IT ALL OVER AFGHANISTAN THAT WE HAVE ONE OF THE AMERICANS. 1- WE ALREADY HAVE A VIDEO OF HIM. UPDATE: 0633z APACHE RED1 1-40CAV HEELS UP ENROUTE TO GRID VB 625 216 UPDATE: 0643z REDRIDGE IS OFF STATION ATT UPDATE: 0645z OUTBREAK 70 REPORTS APACHE RED1 IS 7 MIN OUT FROM HLZ FALCON UPDATE: 0650z DUDE 03 ON STATION 2 X F15s UPDATE: 0654z PLAYER 01 (CH-47) REPORTS APACHE RED1 IS ON GROUND AT HLZ FALCON UPDATE: 0811z GUARDRAIL IS ON STATION ATT UPDATE: 0910z REDRIDGE ON STATION 0910Z UPDATE: 0913z DELAWARE 3-6 REPORTS THEY HAVE RECEIVED INTEL THAT THE BODY OF THE MISSING U.S. SOLDIER IS DUE EAST OF THEIR CURENT POSITION. VB 7169 5264 UPDATE: 0958z DUDE 03 OFF STATION ATT UPDATE: 1013z NDS REPORTS THEY HAVE INTEL THAT THE CAPTURED U.S. SOLDIER IS BEING HELD AT GRID VB 6649 1717 UPDATE: 1102z SENDING JACKAL 6 TO GRID VB 66205 17538 TO CHECK OUT TENTS IN THE AREA AIRCRAFT ARE IN ROUTE TO PICK UP SITE APPROX 30MIN OUT UPDATE: 1137z OUTBREAK 70 REPORTS 1 MIN OUT TO PZ UPDATE: 1140z OUT BREAK 70 REPORTS JACKAL 6 HAS BEEN INFILLED AT GRID VB 66205 17538 UPDATE: 1212z BLACKFOOT 6 REPORTS AREA 3 IS 100% COMPLETE (CLEARED) UPDATE: 1245z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS AREA 4 IS 100% COMPLETE (CLEARED) UPDATE: 1302z CHARLIE 72 REPORTS RESUPPLY IS COMPLETE UPDATE: 1312z SENDING OURBREAK 70 REPORTS HAVE FM COMMS WITH JACKAL 6 AND IS ENROUTE TO PICK THEM UP AT GRID VB 764 175 UPDATE: 1329z BIGTIME 51 / 56 IS WHEELS UP WITH JACKAL 6 ENROUTE TO GRID VB 764 175 UPDATE: 1337z BIGTIME 51 / 56 IS WHEELS DOWN AT GRID VB 764 175 JACKAL 6 IS INFILLING ATT. UPDATE: 1348z FTF SP MOVING TO CLEAR AREA 5 UPDATE: 1418z OUTBREAK 70 REPORTS CHECKING OFF STATION ATT UPDATE: 1459z REDRIDGE ON STATION ATT UPDATE: 1618z WE RECEIVED LLVI TRAFFIC FROM GRID VB 447 423 SENDING PRT 6 AND SHADOW TO CHECK OUT A TENT IN THAT LOCATION. UPDATE: 1816z FTF HAS CLEARED 70% OF SECTOR 5 UPDATE: 1820z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS THE ANP CDR AT MEST OP RECEIVED A ICOM CALL FROM TALIBAN STATING THAT THEY WANT TO TRADE 15 TALIBAN FOR THE AMERICAN. TALIBAN WILL CALL BACK IN 10 MINUTES. FREQ 156.288 UPDATE: 1933z STOWE 6 OF THE ETT REPORTS THAT SOLDIER MAY BE BEING HELD NEAR SHIN CHA VILLAGE WHERE A WHITE STATION WAGON WAS SEEN TRAVELING WITH 2 ANP TRUCKS. THE LISCENSE PLATE NUMBER IS 7534 UPDATE: 2018z PRT HAS NSTR AT THE TENTS VIC VB 447 423 UPDATE: 2310 373rd HAS INFORMATION THAT RADIO TRAFFIC AND VEH DESCRIPTION MATCHES PREVIOUS DESCRIPTIONS GIVEN. THE HAVE AN OBJECTIVE GRID OF VB 55106 42935 UPDATE: 2335z WHEELS UP SHR FOR 373rd ON OBJECTIVE UPDATE: WHEELS DOWN ON OBJ *******2ND JULY*********** UPDATE: 0157z 373rd REPORTS PAX ON GROUND HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF MISSING U.S. SOLDIER UPDATE: 0215z CLEARED BLDGS 17,11,12,13. HAVE 32 PAX UNDERCONTROL ATT UPDATE: 0230z CLEARING BLDGS 14-16 ATT UPDATE: 0246z B36 IS AT VB55052 42881. 373 HAS PUKED AT LEAST 2 PEOPLE THERE AND DETAINED 25 FOR TACTICAL QUESTIONING, ACCORDING TO B36 PROBABLY ONLY LOOKING AT PERMANENTLY DETAINING 2-4 MAMS UPDATE: 0409z 373rd REPORT READY FOR EXFIL WITH 3 X DETAINEES UPDATE: 0447z 2ND PLT HAS ESTABLISHEED A BLOCKING POSITION EAST OF YAYA KHEL AND MOHAWK 6 IS CONDUCTING ASHURA BF6 IS CONDUCTING KLE WITH ELDERS OF MEST AND COMMANDERS OF ANP UPDATE: 0451z 373rd REPORT EXFIL IS COMPLETE UPDATE: 0522z PLAYER 04 /02 WHEELS UP ENROUTE TO MEST TO DROP OFF CSM WOLFE WITH EOD AND ROBOT. SAPPER 16 IS ALSO ONBOARD FOR FOLLOW ON MISSION. UPDATE: 0540z DOG 3-6 IS BREAKING DOWN OP AND MOVING TOPZ POSTURE FOR AIR ASSAULT O GRID VB 4350 4161 UPDATE: 0542z HAWG 51 REPORTS HAVE EYES ON A SECOND TENT AT GRID VB 44157 41066 ALSO HAS A WHITE SUV OUTSIDE OF TENT UPDATE: 0547z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS 1G3 AND MOHAWK6 ARE CONDUCTING MEETING WITH LOCAL ELDERS ATTEMPTING TO GET INFO THEY ARE JUST EAST OF YK DC UPDATE: 0551z HAWG 51 REPORTS EYES ON A THIRD TENT APPROX 700m AWAY FROM THE FIRST TENT AT GRID VB 43072 42069 UPDATE:0553z OUTBREAK 70 REPORTS CSM WOLF AND EOD ROBOT HAVE BEEN DROPPED OFF AND ARE ENROUTE TO PICK UP DOG 36 FOR AIR ASSAULT UPDATE: 0620z OUTBREAK 70 REPORTS WHEELS UP WITH DOG ELEMENT ON HLZ MERLIN ENROUTE TO AIR ASSAULT LOCATION. VB 4350 4161 UPDATE: 0638z GERONIMO TOC REPORTS CHANGE OF MISSION AIR ASSAULT GRID HAS CHANGED TO GRID VB 43051 41960. GRID IS WHERE RES SUV FROM FIRST TENT HAS STOPPED UPDATE: 0644z PREDATOR REPORTS HAS EYES ON RED SUV AND THAT THE SUV IS MOVING TO THE SOUTH EAST UPDATE: 0645z PREDATOR REPORTS HAVE LOST EYES ON DUE TO CLOUD COVER TRYING TO REAQUIRE RED SUV ATT UPDATE:0649z PREDATOR REPORTS HAS REAQUIRED EYES ON RED SUV MOVING WEST DOWN A WADI AT GRID VB 43145 41550 UPDATE: 0653z HAWG 51 REPORTS RED SUV HAS STOPPED AT GRID VB 42811 41479 BESIDE A FOURTH TENT HAVE RELAYED INFORMATION TO OUTBREAK 70 FOR AIR ASSAULT TO LAND IN THAT VIC. UPDATE: 0757z PLAYER 02 / 04 WHEELS DOWN IN VIC GRID VB 4281 4147 UPDATE: 0708z GREONIMO 3 REPORTS HAV EJUST FINISHED WITH THE KLE WITH 2 X ELDERS FROM MEST AND THE MEST ANP COMMANDER.THE ELDERS WERE ASKED BY THE TALIBAN TO A TRADE BETWEEN THE U.S. AND TALIBAN. THE TALIBAN TREMS ARE 15 OF THEIR TALIBAN BROTHERS IN U.S. JAIL AND SOME MONEY IN EXCHANGE FOR PVT BERGDAHL. THE ELDERS ASSURED ME THAT PVT BERGDAHL IS ALIVE AND THAT HE IN NOT BEING HARMED. THE ELDERS ARE GOING TO TO HAVE ANOTHER MEETING WITH THEMSELVES TO DISCUSS HELPING US THIS AFTERNOON. THEY REQUESTED TO HAVE ANOTHER MEETING WITH ME THE SAME TIME TOMORROW. THE MEST ANP COMMANDER IS ALSO WILLING TO HELP IN EVERY WAY HE CAN; EVEN TO THE EXTENT OF REQUESTING ASSESTS/MONEY FROM DAWLAT KHAN TO AID THE MEST ELDERS TO HAVE RESOURCES (CAR, FUEL, ARM TO DEFEND THEMSELVES) FACILITATING MEETING WITH THE TALIBAN. THE ELDERS ALSO ASSURE THAT THEY WILL DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO TAKE POSSESSION OF PVT BERGDAHL. THEY SAID THAT THEY WILL APPEAL TO THE TALIBAN BY SAYING THAT THEY ARE WHITE BEARDED MEN AS ELDERS. DURING OUR MEETING, THEY WANTED FOR ME TO TALK TO PVT BERGDAHL VIA ICOM TO ENSURE THAT HE IS DOING OKAY. TRIED TO GET COMMS WITH NO LUCK. UPDATE: 0713z GERONIMO 3 REPORTS THE RG-31 HAS STRUCK AN IED AT GRID VB 655 457 NO INJURIES REPORTED ATT CURRENTLY SEEARCHING FOR SECONDARIES AND ALSO HAVE AN EXPLOSIVE DOG WITH THEM CHECKING OUT ARE. MOHAWK 6 IS ENROUTE TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE UPDATE: 0726z SAPPER 17 IS ON GROUND REPORTS FLT GRI VB 6731 2087 UPDATE: 0740z GERONIMO 3 REPORTS THE UNDERCARRAGE OF THE RG-31 HAS BEEN DAMAGED THE WHEELS ARE STILL INTACT REQUEST QRF FOR RECOVERY ASSETS NEED A FLAT BED FOR THE MINE ROLLER AND A TOW TRUCK FOR TH RG-31 UPDATE: 0743z C2-6 REPORTS THEY HAVE STOPPED A WHITE CARGO TRUCK, THAT TRIED TO FLEE. C2-3 CAUGHT THEM IN THE ASV. TRUCK HAD MULTIPLE BLUE CONTAINERS FILLED WITH A SUBSTANCE POSSIBLE HME THEY WILL BRING THEM BACK. NOT CONNECTED TO TRUCK CONFIRMED NOT VBIED. LN ALSO HAVE VIDEO CAMS OF MULTIPLE MALES HOLDING PKMS GETTTING NAMES NOW AND RUN THEM FOR DIRS UPDATE: 0747z C2-3 REPORTS THE VEH THEY STOPPED HAD 4 PAX MAN WITH PHONE AKHON ZADA SAIB UPDATE: 0815z OUT BREAK 70 REPORTS THEY HAVE PICKED UP THE JACKAL ELEMENT AND ARE ENROUTE TO OE TO DROP THEM OFF UPDATE: 0830z REAPER 6 REPORTS THEY HAVE 2 X PAX IN CUSTODY THEY HAVE AN ANTI- COALITION FORCES VIDEO ON ONE AFGANISTAN SIM CARD AND ALSO HAVE 2 ADDITIONAL PAKISTAN SIM CARDS. THEY HAVE 25,000 PAKISTAN RUPEES AND PHONE NUMBERS OF RELIGIOUS OFFICIALS UPDATE: 0904z THE NAMES OF THE FOUR PAX ARE 1. HALIM 17 YOA 2. PEER MOHAMED 30 YOA 3. MOHAMED ABRAHAM 30 YOA 4. MOHAMMAD RAHIM 20 YOA ( TALIBAN VIDEOS AND PHOTOS) UPDATE: 0909z GERONIMO 3 REPORTS THEY REQUEST THAT THE QRF WITH RECOVERY ASSETS STOP AT MEST OP. THEY WILL BE ABLE TO SELF RECOVER WITH THE HELP OF THE MOHAWK ELEMENT THAT IS ON SITE. UPDATE: 0928z EASY 3-7 SP 6/22/1 HEADING TO VIC VB 655 457 TO RECOVER THE RG31 THAT STRUCK THE IED UPDATE 0934z C 2-3 REPORTS THEY HAVE PHOTO SLIDE SHOW OF TALIBAN IN BABU KHEYL AND PHOTOS OF ASV AND HUMMV GETTING HIT WITH DSHKAS AND TALIBAN GATHERINGS UPDATE: 1022z C2-3 REPORTS THE VEH IS A WHITE MAZDA JINGLE TRUCK. WAS ENROUTE GROM GAZNI TO BABU KHEYL UPDATE: 1103z EASY 3-7 ARRIVES AT MEST OP. LINKING UP WITH GERONIMO 3 AND MOHAWK 6 TO RECOVER DAMAGED RG-31 UPDATE: 1126z HAWG 57 IS OFF STATION ATT UPDATE: 1151z ODA TEAM REPORTS THEY ARE IN CONTACT WITH 3-5 ENEMY PAX AT GRID VB 948 367 UPDATE: 1203z RECEIVED INTEL FROM BDE THAT A HUMIT REPORT HAS THE MISSING U.S. SOLDIER IN VIC GRID VB 550 362 UPDATE: 1338z GERONIMO TAC RP FOB SHARANA UPDATE: 1352z BLACKFOOT 6 REPORTS ALL AREAS EXECPT AREA 2 HAVE BEEN SEARCHED AND CLEARED UPDATE: 1636z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS PFC. BERGDAHL ID CARD IS ON HIS PERSON. UPDATE:******03JULY**************** UPDATE: 0933z INFILL COMPLETE FOR OPERATION PAYANDEH KHELON OBJ 1 JENICE VB5559 3623 AND OBJ 2 CUDA 5554 3493 UPDATE: 1012z ROMEO 1 REPORTS ON PHASE LINE PINK ON OBJ 1 CURRENTLY CLEARING BUILDINGS 18 AND 19. ON PHASE LINE BLACK PUSHING TO BROWN ON OBJ 1. UPDATE: 1145z ROMEO 1 REPORTS PHASE LINE RED UPDATE: 1210z ROMEO 1 REPORTS COMPLETE ON OBJ 1 AND 2 AWAITING EXTRACTION UPDATE: 1420zROMEO 01 WU FORM OBJ UPDATE: 1440z WD SHR UPDATE: 2300z W/U OP PR MEST UPDATE: 2312z ROMEO 01 INFILL COMPLETE UPDATE: 2346z ROMEO 01 REPORTS NO NAMES AT OBJECTIVE MATCH NAMES GIVEN BY HUMINT. THE WINDOWS AT OBJ DO NOT MATCH THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN. UPDATE: HAWG 7-3 OBSERVING 7 PAX HIDING IN TREES @ VB 87903 93063 *********04JULY*********** UPDATE: 0005z SIJAN OBSERVING PAX ON NORTH EAST CORNER OF COMPOUND ROOF UPDATE: 0055z SIOUX ELEMENT FINISHING KLE UPDATE: 0124z CAS,ISR, AND AWT PULLED FOR TIC WITH A/3-509. EXFILL POSTPONED. QRF ALERTED AND PUSHED TO THERE POSITION. UPDATE: 1248z SPOT REPORT MISSING US SOLDIER WAS LAST SEEN IN A VILLAGE AT GRID LOCATION VB 611 818; A BAG WAS COVERING HIS HEAD AND HE WAS WEARING DARK KHAKI APPAREL. HE WAS BEING TRANSPORTED IN A BLACK TOYOTA CORROLLA WHICH IN ADDITION WAS BEING ESCORTED BY 3-5 MOTORCYCLES. ***********05JULY******** UPDATE: 2150Z YUKON REPORTED TO 1GERONIMO S-2 THAT DIVISION REPORTED THAT THIS IS WHERE THE SOLDIER IS BEING HELD 42SUB 85326 32454. WARRIOR ALPHA IS CURENTLY SEARCHING THAT GRID ***********06JULY******** UPDATE: 0044z TFS INFIL COMPLETE OBJ YUKON 7 ATT UPDATE: 0046z TFS OBJ YUKON7 CONDUCTING EXPLOSIVE BREACH ON SOUTH SIDE OF 50 SERIES COMPOUND UPDATE: 0050z TFS OBJ YUKON 7: ASSAULT COMMENCING UPDATE:0056zTFS OBJ YUKON 7: 40/50 SERIES BLDGS SECURE. INITIAL SLANT 50 SERIES: 1/0/0/0 UPDATE: 0107z TFS OBJ YUKON 7: 2 X SQUIRTERS FROM 50 SERIES BLDG DETAINED UPDATE: 0109z TFS OBJ YUKON 7: MOVING TO ASSAULT 20 SERIES BLDGS UPDATE: 0119z TFS OBJ YUKON 7: 20 SERIES CLEAR, FOUND PC TOWER, THUMBDRIVES AND DOCEX IN BLDG 32 UPDATE: 0128Z TFS OBJ YUKON 7: BLD 21 CLEAR, SLANT 6/0/0 ; BLD 32 CLEAR, SLANT 2/0/0/1 UPDATE: 0135 TFS OBJ YUKON 7: INTERCEPTING VHF TRAFFIC 158.17 OF POSSIBLE CACHE AND ENEMY FORCES IVO 42S UB 81365 05862, APPROX 12KM SOUTH OF OBJ YUKON 7 UPDATE: 0149 0118Z/158.17MHZ/ACM ACTY/42SUB81350589/1.2NM-0.3NM/332DEG/CS:AKMAL/UI ACM SAYS HE IS HIDDEN. CS AKMAL CALLS CS ZAKIR SND CS HAKBAD AND ONE OF THEM SAYS THEY ARE ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE WEAPONS CACHE./ADDL CS:ZAKIR, HAKBAD, HUMKAR, MONTISIM, KAMIAB/IDNO:1540// UPDATE: 0150Z TFS OBJ YUKON 7: ENTIRE OBJ SECURE, SSE ONGOING UPDATE: 0151Z TFS OBJ YUKON 7: ADDITIONAL TRAFFIC ON 156.34 UPDATE: 0237 TFS OBJ YUKON 7: JSTARS PICKING UP LOTS OF MOVEMENT LEAVING LOCATION ENTERING MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN AT 42S UB 79873 06961, APPROX 2KM NW OF VHF TRAFFIC INTERCEPTS UPDATE: 0327Z TFS OBJ YUKON 7: EXFIL COMPLETE UPDATE: 0744Z WHEELS UP ON AIRASSAULT DUSTWUN VI TGT GRID VB 06770 18975. HLZ MOCKINGBIRD VB 0701 1898, HLZ SWALLOW VB 0643 1856 UPDATE: 0804 PREDATOR HAS EYES ON TGT WHEN 4 X PAX MOVED OUT OF THE KUCIE TENT. WHEN THEY MOVED OUT OF THE TENT PREDATOR WITNESSED AT LEAST 2 X EXPLOSIONS IN THE TENT. UPDATE: 0811Z WHEELS DOWN ON HLZ MOCKING BIRD UPDATE: 0815Z PREDATOR AS EYES ON 1 ENEMY PAX MOVING ALONG RIVER BED TO THE NW GRID VB 05715 19216 UPDATE: 0826Z 1 X ENEMY PAX MOVES FROM RIVER BED UPDATE: 0828Z 1 X ENEMY PAX STOPPED AT GRID VB 05107 18740 UPDATE: 0829Z 1 X ENEMY PAX MOVING AGAIN UPDATE: 0831Z 1 X ENEMY PAX HAS STOPED MOVING AND IS LAYING DOWN IN AN OPEN FIELD AT GRID VB 04970 18720 UPDATE: 0838Z ROMEO 1 REPORTS 3 X KIA MAM AND THEY HAVE CLEARED THE KUKIE TENT FOUND MULITIPLE AK-47S AND RPGS ON THE KIA UPDATE: 0906Z ROMEO 1 REPORTS TIC 300 M NORTH OF THE ORIGINAL TGT ALSO SEE 3 KUCIE TENTS IN THE VIC OF THE SAF UPDATE: 0909Z ROMEO 1 REPORTS NO LONGER IN CONTACT MOVING TO CLEAR KUCIE TENTS UPDATE: 0927Z PREDATOR HAS EYES ON 1 X ENEMY PAX MOVING AGAIN TO THE SOUTH WEST. UPDATE: 0942Z PREDATOR OBSERVED 1 X ENEMY PAX LINK UP WITH 3 ADDITIONAL PAX AND MOVE INTO A QALOT VB 04108 18094 UPDATE: 1006Z ROMEO 03 REPORTS HAS 2 X PAX WITH GSW 1 IS A FEMALE 2 IS A 15 MONT OLD WITH RICHOCHET WOUND STILL TRYING TO GET SEVERITY OF THE WOUNDS. BOTH NONCOMBATANTS ARE REFUSING TREATMENT UPDATE: 1014Z WHEELS UP ON QRF ELEMENT ENROUTE TO GRID VB 03992 16452 UPDATE: 1048Z UPDATE ON ORIGINAL SQUIRTERS LOCATION GRID VB 02892 06872 UPDATE: 1054Z WHEELS DOWN FOR QRF ON GRID VB 03992 16452 UPDATE: 1106Z SIOUX 6 REPORTS THEY HAVE 3 X DETAINEES UPDATE: 1250Z ROMEO 1 REPORTS THEY ARE IN PZ POSTURE ALONG WITH SIOUX 6 ON HLZ ROBIN AT GRID VB 04246 18467 *********7JULY*********** UPDATE: 0112 TM SHA EXFIL, NSTR UPDATE: 0150Z FTF PLATOON CLEARS 600, 510, 700, 70AND EAST OF 510 UPDATE: 0150 Z ROMEO 01 CURRENTLY CONDUCTING TSE ON 11 PACKS THAT WERE STOPPED IN A WHITE VAN COMING FROM BUILDING 30, ALSO THE MOSQUE IS SAYING IN A SPEAKER PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS THE AMERICANS ARE HERE THERE ARE TO MANY TO FIGHT UPDATE: 0300Z ROMEO 01 DETAINS A MAN NAMED TAJ MUHHAMED FOR HAVING CIRCUIT BOARDS, BLACK POWDER, COPPER WIRE, SHOTGUN. UPDATE: 0400z ROMEO 01R CLERED WELL SYSTEM VIC BLDG 180. WITH A STAIR SYSTEM AND GENERATORS IN IT UPDATE: 0441Z ROMEO 01 REPORTS THAT ALL BUILDINGS HAVE BEEN CLEARED ON THE OBJECTIVE WILL BE IN PZ POSTURE IN APPROX 45 MIN UPDATE: 1900Z TF 373, OBJ YR3, AF ENROUTE TO OBJ, TOT 2030 UPDATE: 1904Z TF 373 OBJ'S MALLARD 1&3, INFILS COMLETE ************8july********* UPDATE: 0004Z 373 OBJ MALLARD 3: BSO HANDOVER COMPLETE, PREPPING TO EXFIL ATT, 3 X DETAINEES UPDATE: 0027Z TF 373 OBJ MALLARD 3, EXFIL COMPLETE, 3 X DETAINEES; ALL TF 373 OBJ'S EXFIL COMPLETE ATT **********10JULY********* UPDATE:
Report: Bergdahl Scheduled For Promotion CBS DC
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 23:54
Get Breaking News FirstReceive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign UpWASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) '-- Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is reportedly scheduled for a promotion.
CNN's Barbara Starr reports that a defense official said that Bergdahl will be promoted because he has not been classified as a deserter. The official also told CNN that the Army needs to hear from Bergdahl as to why he wandered away from base and how he got captured..
Bergdahl was promoted twice after he was taken prisoner in June 2009. He was promoted to the rank of specialist in June 2010 and then sergeant in June 2011.
Bergdahl is hospitalized at a U.S. military in Germany as questions mount at home over the swap that resulted in his freedom in exchange for the release of five detainees who were sent to Qatar from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo, Cuba.
Even in the first hours of Bergdahl's handoff to U.S. special forces in eastern Afghanistan, it was clear this would not be an uncomplicated yellow-ribbon celebration. Five terrorist suspects also walked free, stirring a debate over whether the exchange would heighten the risk of other Americans being snatched as bargaining chips and whether the released detainees '-- several senior Taliban figures among them '-- would find their way back to the fight.
U.S. officials said Sunday that Bergdahl's health and safety appeared in jeopardy, prompting rapid action. ''Had we waited and lost him,'' said national security adviser Susan Rice, ''I don't think anybody would have forgiven the United States government.'' She said he had lost considerable weight and faced an ''acute'' situation. Yet she also said he appeared to be ''in good physical condition'' and ''is said to be walking.''
One official, who spoke on grounds of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to discuss the subject by name, said there were concerns about Bergdahl's mental and emotional as well as physical health.
On Monday, a U.S. military hospital in Germany reported Bergdahl in ''stable condition and receiving treatment for conditions requiring hospitalization'' after arriving from Afghanistan. The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center said Bergdahl's treatment ''includes attention to dietary and nutrition needs after almost five years in captivity'' but declined to release further details. It said there ''is no pre-determined amount of time involved in the reintegration process'' for the 28-year-old soldier.
Two officials said Monday that the Taliban may have been concerned about his health, as well, since the U.S. had sent the message that it would respond harshly if any harm befell him in captivity.
Republicans in the U.S. said the deal for Bergdahl's release could set a troubling precedent. Arizona Sen. John McCain said of the Guantanamo detainees who were exchanged for him: ''These are the hardest of the hard core.''
And in Kabul Monday, the Afghan Foreign Ministry called the swap ''against the norms of international law'' if it came against the five imprisoned Taliban detainees' will. The ministry said: ''No state can transfer another country's citizen to a third country and put restriction on their freedom.''
Tireless campaigners for their son's freedom, Bob and Jani Bergdahl thanked all who were behind the effort to retrieve him. ''You were not left behind,'' Bob Bergdahl told reporters, as if speaking to his son. ''We are so proud of the way this was carried out.'' He spoke in Boise, Idaho, wearing a long bushy beard he'd grown to honor his son, as residents in the sergeant's hometown of Hailey prepared for a homecoming celebration.
The five detainees left Guantanamo aboard a U.S. military aircraft flying to Qatar, which served as go-between in the negotiations. They are to be banned from leaving Qatar for at least a year. Among the five: a Taliban deputy intelligence minister, a former Taliban interior minister with ties to the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a figure linked by human rights monitors to mass killings of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001.
Questions persisted, too, about the circumstances of Bergdahl's 2009 capture. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to comment on earlier reports that the sergeant had walked away from his unit, disillusioned with the war.
Such matters ''will be dealt with later,'' Hagel said.
But the former Pentagon official said it was ''incontrovertible'' that he walked away from his unit.
The military investigation was broader than a criminal inquiry, this official said, and it didn't formally accuse Bergdahl of desertion. In interviews, members of his unit portrayed him as a naive, ''delusional'' person who thought he could help the Afghan people by leaving his army post, the official said.
U.S. military and intelligence agencies had made every effort to monitor Bergdahl's location and his health, the official said, through both signals intelligence and a network of spies.
Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served as an officer in Bergdahl's unit, said in an article Monday on the Daily Beast website that Bergdahl was not on patrol, as some reports have suggested.
''There was no patrol that night,'' he wrote. ''Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I've talked to members of Bergdahl's platoon_including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I've reviewed the relevant documents. That's what happened.''
Hagel, visiting troops in Afghanistan, was met with silence when he told a group of them in a Bagram Air Field hangar: ''This is a happy day. We got one of our own back.''
At the White House on Monday, press secretary Jay Carney said the exchange ''was absolutely the right thing to do.'' In much the same tone as the president over the weekend, he said: ''The United States does not leave our men and women behind in conflict.''
''In a situation like this, you have a prisoner of war, a uniformed military person that was detained,'' Carney said.
Asked in an NBC ''Today'' show interview about victory claims by the Taliban, Carney replied, ''I caution anyone against buying the propaganda of terrorists.''
In weighing the swap, U.S. officials decided that it could help the effort to reach reconciliation with the Taliban, which the U.S. sees as key to more security in Afghanistan. But they acknowledged the risk that the deal would embolden insurgents.
Republicans pressed that point. ''Have we just put a price on other U.S. soldiers?'' asked Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. ''What does this tell terrorists, that if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists?''
(TM and (C) Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Obama gave Congress five hours notice of Gitmo transfer
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 21:49
House Republicans said Monday that the Obama administration gave Congress just five hours notice that they were about to start moving five detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar.
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee said that violates current law, which requires a 30-day notice.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard P. ''Buck'' McKeon, R-Calif., is not happy about how his committee was notified about the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The administration announced over the weekend that it was moving five detainees to Qatar as part of an agreement that will allow U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan, to return home. That deal was immediately criticized by Republicans who said it amounts to negotiating the release of hostages with terrorists, while others said there is evidence that Bergdahl was an Army deserter.
Republicans are also upset that they received almost no warning of the agreement. In a release to reporters, the GOP said the Defense Department notified the committee on Saturday by phone ''that the exchange was underway and the detainees would depart Guantanamo in the next five hours.''
''A phone call does not meet the legal standard of congressional notification,'' it said. It added that formal congressional notification was only received by the committee on Monday, June 2, ''more than 72 hours after the detainees were released.''
The 30-day notification requirement was signed into law by President Barack Obama. However, Obama attached a signing statement to that bill saying the executive branch needs flexibility to make these sorts of decisions.
Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a television interview Monday that he would hold a hearing on the agreement and the lack of proper notification to Congress. In the meantime, his committee noted that the law requires officials to find that the risks associated with releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees is mitigated, and that detailed information about the release must be transferred to Congress.
The language also says no money can be used by the government to transfer detainees to their country of origin.
These requirements were included in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2014, a bill that sets out defense policy through the end of the current fiscal year.
Bergdahl's father's deleted tweet a smoking gun?
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 20:12
Take a look at this tweet from released Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl's father '-- which has since disappeared from his account.
Folks, this is either a very bad case of Stockholm Syndrome or something far more nefarious is at stake. Regardless, there is more to this than meets the eye of Obama making a unilateral decision and announcement on a Saturday '-- when he believes no one is watching.
This is not just going to slip away and we're not going to get caught up in the emotion of Bergdahl's release. He wasn't ''captured'' '-- he deserted his assigned post.
EXCLUSIVE: Outraged parents of officer who died searching for 'deserter' Bergdahl hit out at Obama for 'cover-up just like Benghazi', claiming they were told LIES over how hero son died | Mail Online
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:48
Lt Darryn Andrews, from Dallas, Texas, died at the age of 34 on Sept 4, 2009 during his second tour of AfghanistanTop brass told his parents, Sondra and Andy, that he had been looking for a top Taliban commanderBut former comrades have now claimed the truth is that he was looking for Bowe BergdahlSaid to be one of six soldiers who died looking for the POWFather said: 'For his family it's good to get him back but we will never be able to get our son back because of the actions of this guy'Lt Andrews' parents revealed their son thought Bergdahl was a 'deserter'Lt Andrews was posthumously given a silver star for his braveryAt time of his death his wife Julie, 30, had already given birth to their son, six. Their daughter was born three-and-a-half months after he diedFather Andy against trade with terroristsThe Facebook group 'Bowe Bergdahl is NOT hero!' has 5,400 membersBergdahl e-mailed his parents saying he 'was ashamed to be an American'By Daniel Bates
Published: 12:15 EST, 2 June 2014 | Updated: 13:47 EST, 2 June 2014
1,804shares
21
Viewcomments
The furious parents of an officer who they claim was killed while searching for freed Taliban prisoner Bowe Bergdahl today said that they have been lied to as part of a 'cover up just like Benghazi'.
The mother and father of Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews are angry that they have been told different stories about how their son died.
First his commanders said that their son was blown up while hunting a Taliban commander - but only now that Bergdahl has been freed after five years in captivity are they learning the truth.
Scroll down for video
Hero: Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews died in a Taliban ambush on Sept 4, 2009, after he tried to save colleagues who had been injured in an IED explosion. Top brass had told his parents that he died searching a Taliban commander. Now former comrades have come forward to say they were really looking for Bergdahl
Cover-up: Mr Andrews claimed soldiers said they had 'to sign a letter saying that they would not discuss this', but now they have approached the family to tell the 'truth'. He added: 'I have no way of proving that apart from what they said. We cannot tell you how devastated we are that the government would do this. They lied to us'
Fury: 'It's a big cover-up like Benghazi, just like everything Obama has done. We want the truth to come out'
Family man: At the time of his death Lt Andrews had a young son and his wife Julie gave birth to their daughter three months after the attack that took his life
Lt Andrews' parents told MailOnline that their own son branded Bergdahl a 'deserter' before he was killed.
In an exclusive interview his father Andy Andrews told MailOnline: 'For his family it's good to get him back but we will never be able to get our son back because of the actions of this guy (Bergdahl).
'I think people need to be aware that the guy was not a hero and American lives have been lost trying to save this deserter'.
Lt Andrews was one of six men who died while apparently searching for Bergdahl, who is said to have voluntarily left his post in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.
His release was brokered with the Taliban in exchange for five Guantanamo detainees and has ignited fury among many whose lives were changed forever as a result.
'It's a big cover-up like Benghazi, just like everything Obama has done. We want the truth to come out'- Andrew Andrews
During the months-long hunt for him vital resources were re-deployed to help with the hunt and scarce surveillance drones and helicopters were assigned to the task instead of other duties.
Former colleagues of Bergdahl claim that this put them at risk - and led to lives being lost.
What is undisputed is that Lt Andrews, who was from Dallas, Texas, died at the age of 34 on September 4, 2009 while serving with the 25th Infantry Division on his second tour of Afghanistan.
At the time his family say they were told that his men were hunting a Taliban commander and that the truck at the front of their group ended in a hole after being hit by an Improvised Explosive Device.
As the men got out to try and move the truck, a Taliban fighter with a rocket propelled grenade emerged and fired at them.
Lt Andrews was the only one to see it and tackled three of his men to prevent them being hit. He took a direct hit and died.
No hero: Lt Andrews' parents revealed that their son told them before he died that he thought Bergdahl was a 'deserter'
Stretched: Sondra Andrews, 66, said that her son's unit should have had 30 men at the time they were ambushed but only had 20 because they were stretched too thin with the search
Parents of freed US soldier express gratitude and joy
Private First Class Matthew Michael Martinek, 20, also later died in hospital due to his injuries.
Lt Andrews was posthumously given a silver star for his bravery. At the time of his death his wife Julie, 30, had already given birth to their son, six. Their daughter was born three-and-a-half months later and is now four.
Speaking to MailOnline from his home in Cameron, Texas, Mr Andrews said: 'When my son was killed there was no mention of searching for this guy (Bergdahl) but once all this has come out we got several emails and calls from soldiers who were with him in Afghanistan.
'They say their mission was to search for Bergdahl. He (Lt Andrews) was killed in the search. We have no documentation of that.
'The soldiers said they had to sign a letter saying that they wouldn't discuss this... We cannot tell you how devastated we are that the government would do this. They lied to us'
'The soldiers said they had to sign a letter saying that they would not discuss this. I have no way of proving that apart from what they said. We cannot tell you how devastated we are that the government would do this. They lied to us.
'It's a big cover-up like Benghazi, just like everything Obama has done. We want the truth to come out.'
Sondra Andrews, 66, said that her son's unit should have had 30 men at the time they were ambushed but only had 20 because they were stretched too thin with the search.
She said: 'We want the truth to come out for the sake of our family...He (Bergdahl) in effect kept the men from their primary duties'.
In the wake of their son's death, a number of his colleagues spoke with Mr and Mrs Andrews - and allegedly lied to their faces with the official story.
Mrs Andrews said that she excused them, but not their superiors.
Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, (left) and Private First Class Morris Walker, 23, (right) were killed in an IED explosion on August 18, 2009. They were looking for Bergdahl when they died
Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, (left) a 27-year-old father of two, who died in a firefighter on August 26, 2009. Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, (right) was killed in an IED blast on September 5, 2009.
Tragic: Pfc. Matthew M. Martinek died in the same incident as Lt Andrews
She said: 'When he was buried, soldiers from his outfit came down and that's the story they told us. They are the same people now telling us something else.
'I think it needs to be noted how duty driven they young men are. There's an amount of respect they deserve for that. I resent the commanding officers and not the troops'.
Mr Andrews, 68, who served in the US Navy between 1968 and 1972, added: 'I resent the men that gave the order (to search for Bergdahl) but not the men who got it'.
Lt Andrews graduated from Cameron Yoe High School in Dallas where he was a offensive and defensive lineman on the football team.
His twin brother Jarrett was quarterback and his brother has set up a memorial page for Andrew.
Lt Andrews was inspired to join the military by his grandfather John E. Brown who was a prisoner of war in Germany during the Second World War.
Both Mr and Mrs Andrews told MailOnline that they condemned the decision to strike a deal with the Taliban to free Bergdahl.
Mrs Andrews said: 'I have a long history with the military and it's not done. You don't negotiate with the enemy.
'The Taliban prisoners are going to reintegrate and come back against the U.S. I feel like we have wasted too many lives.'
President Obama speaks with the parents of Sgt. Bergdahl
US soldier free after almost five years captivity in Afghanistan
Mr Andrews added that he was stunned and that he could not 'believe they have done this'.
He said: 'There was a two to three month gap between Bergdahl disappearing and my son being killed and I spoke to him about it.
'He said that he was a deserter. I resent him (being) pushed as a hero. For his family it's good to have him back but we will never be able to get our son back because of the actions of this guy.'
Anger has been mounting against Bergdahl since his release and the Facebook page 'Bowe Bergdahl is NOT a hero!' has 5,400 members and bears pictures of all six paratroopers who lost their lives while looking for their captured comrade.
'I have a long history with the military and it's not done. You don't negotiate with the enemy. The Taliban prisoners are going to reintegrate and come back against the U.S. I feel like we have wasted too many lives'
A White House petition to punish Bergdahl for being absent without leave (AWOL) also has nearly 2,000 online signatures.
The other men who are said to have died looking for Bergdahl are: Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, and Private First Class Morris Walker, 23, who were killed in an IED explosion on August 18, 2009.
Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, a 27-year-old father of two, who died in a firefighter on August 26, 2009.
Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, was killed in an IED blast on September 5, 2009.
'Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him,' former Sergeant Matt Vierkant told CNN.
Good for them: Andy Andrews told MailOnline that he felt relief for Bob Jani Bergdahl. But he added: 'We will never be able to get our son back... I think people need to be aware that they guy was not a hero and American lives have been lost trying to save this deserter'
Anger: Andy Andrews added that he was against the deal Obama (pictured with Bergdahl's parents at the White House this weekend) made to bring the prisoner home. He said: 'I have a long history with the military and it's not done. You don't negotiate with the enemy'
'I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,' Mr Vierkant said.
A former superior of the 28-year-old soldier, Greg Leatherman, said he hopes the military investigates Bergdahl and questions whether he did, indeed, desert his post in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.
Sgt. Evan Buetow, who fought in Bergdahl's platoon in Afghanistan, told radio hosts with NewsMax.tv on Monday that he's upset with the prisoner exchange Obama approved.
The released Taliban leaders, he said, can't be stopped from re-entering the battlefield and killing Americans.
'I don't want him treated as the example soldiers should look up to, because he's the exact opposite of that'- Sgt Evan Buetow, who fought with Bergdahl
'There's no doubt in my mind that they'll go right back out and do what they were doing before,' Buetow said.
Bergdahl, he said, made a 'premeditated' decision to desert his post and meet with the enemy.
'I don't want him treated as the example soldiers should look up to, because he's the exact opposite of that,' Buetow insisted.
He said 'I'm glad he's home,' but only because there will finally be an opportunity to investigate the disappearance that cost six other soldiers their lives as they searched for Bergdahl.
'I want closure,' Buetow said. 'I want the truth.'
Buetow rotated out of active duty and left the armed forces in 2012.
Many members of the military community voice support for Bergdahl, however.
When a discussion on the Facebook page of his battalion filled up with negative comments, a moderator chimed in: 'I challenge any one of you who label him a traitor to spend 5 years in captivity with the Taliban or Haqqani, then come back and accuse him again. Whatever his intent when he walked away or was captured, he has more than paid for it.'
'Wasted lives': Lt Andrews' father hit out at the lives that have been sacrificed in Afghanistan and added that he was angry the deal has been done with terrorists who will just start attacking the US again. Pictured are Lt Andrews' wife and two children who he will never see grow up
Valor: Lt Andrews was posthumously awarded a silver star for his actions. He served two tours in Afghanistan
Stories from the soldiers in Bergdahl's unit have begun to emerge of a young man whose mind had begun to wander.
Mr Leatherman said Bergdahl 'always looked at the mountains in the distance and talked of "seeing what's on the other side."'
Rolling Stone magazine also quoted emails Bergdahl is said to have sent to his parents that suggest he was disillusioned with America's mission in Afghanistan, had lost faith in the U.S. Army's mission there and was considering desertion.
Bergdahl told his parents he was 'ashamed to even be American'.
Bergdahl, who mailed home boxes containing his uniform and books, also wrote: 'The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong.'
The military seems to tacitly acknowledge that Bergdahl violated military regulations of some kind. However, officials also say he's unlikely to be disciplined for it.
One source told CNN: 'Five years is enough.'
Soldiers described a massive effort by the U.S. Army to recover Bergdahl after he was taken captive - one in which soldiers were ordered to go on patrols and take risks in ways they never would otherwise.
Twitter user Cody, who claims he served with Bergdahl, said the search left Bergdahl's comrades vulnerable.
'While searching for him, ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously. Enemy knew we would be coming,' he wrote.
Five Taliban Guantanamo prisoners arrive in Qatar
US hopes prisoner swap might bring Taliban breakthroughs
'So without (Bergdahl) going missing we wouldn't have been in certain places.'
Furthermore, drones, planes, helicopters, soldiers and even food were diverted to the mission. CNN reports that the lack of resources led to a delay in the military closing Combat Outpost Keating. On October 3, Taliban insurgents overran the base and killed eight American soldiers.
Former Private First Class Jose Baggett, 27, who served in Bergdahl's company, told CNN that he lost two friends in the search for the captured soldier. And he blames Bergdahl for the deaths.
He said: 'He walked off. He left his guard post. Nobody knows if he defected or he's a traitor or he was kidnapped.
'What I do know is he was there to protect us and instead he decided to defer from America and go and do his own thing.
'I don't know why he decided to do that, but we spend so much of our resources and some of those resources were soldiers' lives.
Share or comment on this article
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
F-Eussia / Ukraine /Syria
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Syrian Election Pictures - syriavote.noagendanotes.com
Bashar al-Assad re-elected Syrian president
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 23:22
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won a landslide victory in presidential poll securing 88.7 percent of the vote, parliament speaker Mohammad al-Laham has said.
Assad's two challengers, Hassan al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar, won 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.
The victory gives Assad a third seven-year term in office despite a raging civil war which grew out of protests against his rule.
The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court said on Wednesday that the turnout in the country's presidential election this week was 73.42 percent.
"I declare the victory of Dr Bashar Hafez al-Assad as president of the Syrian Arab Republic with an absolute majority of the votes cast in the election," Laham said in a televised address from his office in the Syrian parliament.
The opposition and its international backers have denounced the election as a farce.
Voting was held only in government-controlled areas, excluding vast chunks of northern and eastern Syria that are in rebel hands.
Multiple candidates
For the first time in decades, there were multiple candidates on the ballot. In previous presidential elections, Assad and before him his father, Hafez, were elected in single candidate referendums in which voters cast yes-no ballots.
Assad faced two practically unknown competitors - Maher al-Hajjad and Hassan al-Nuri.
Minutes after results were announced, people took to the streets in Damascus to celebrate.
Celebratory shots fired by Assad supporters killed at least three people in the capital and wounded dozens more, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the US Secretary of State John Kerry said during a visit to neighbouring Lebanon that the elections were "a great big zero."
"They are meaningless, and they are meaningless because you can't have an election where millions of your people don't even have the ability to vote, where they don't have the ability to contest the election, and they have no choice," Kerry told reporters in Beirut.
The European Union on Wednesday urged Assad to re-engage in talks, condemning the vote as illegitimate.
"These elections are illegitimate and undermine the political efforts to find a solution to this horrific conflict," it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, an international delegation led by allies of Assad praised the elections saying they were democratic and transparent.
392
Uprooted Palestinian: International Observers Endorse Syrian Elections
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:32
Syria's first multi-candidate presidential election in more than 40 years has begun earlier today. Facing strong and mostly hypocritical critisism from the West, the poll is about to demonstrate the real scale of public support President Assad is enjoying inside the country, heroically resisting foreign-sponsored aggression for more than three years. Expected pro-Assad voting in Syria would completely ruin Western narrative about a ''tyrant killing his people'', so international mainstream media are dumn or emphatically skeptical about elections in a ''war-torn country'' (as if Ukraine or Afghanistan were peaceful resorts during balloting). Fortunately, there is a group of brave and unindifferent citizens present there in Syria ready to share their observations with the international audience.On June 1, I met with a delegation of North Americans going to observe the Syrian elections on June 3. I hope to be in Damascus shortly, if possible to likewise observe Syria's historic election. Below is a brief bio of the delegates and my conversation with these anti-war, justice activists.Joseph Iosbaker, 55, from Chicago, works with the Anti-War Committee, is also on the national administrative committee of United National Antiwar Coalition.Judith Bello, 63, on national Administrative Committee of United National Antiwar Coalition, is a founding member of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Pakistan in her justice work, writes on Counter Punch and Counter Currents.Elias Hazineh, 62, Palestinian-Canadian entrepreneur and activist, has acted as an advocate for new Canadians for many years, assists immigrants and refugees in Canada as an immigration consultant, translator, and formerly, as an advisor to federal Members of Parliament on immigration and refugee issues.Scott Williams, 25, International Action Centre and also a National Coordinator with the anti-imperialist youth organization based in the US called FIST -Fight Imperialism, Stand Together, was a union organizer of low-wage workers in the USA, has been active in student movements as well as the Occupy Wall St movement.Dr. Paul Larudee, 68, former Fulbright-Hays lecturer in Lebanon, former faculty member at several universities in the San Francisco Bay Area, an organizer with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine and co-founder of the movement to break the Israeli siege of Gaza by sea, a co-founder of the Global March to Jerusalem and the Syria Solidarity Movement.What is the purpose of the delegation, how did it come together?Paul Larudee: After we came back from Syria in April'--the Syria Peace Pilgrimage'--we had thoughts about sending observers to the elections. Rick Sterling was very active on this idea, as was Roohulla Rezvi on the Iranian side. Without knowing about our effort, Roohulla arranged for visas for an international delegation. The Syrian government recognized the importance of bringing in observers from the West.We want to provide a narrative that we are pretty sure the mainstream media won't be providing. '...get facts on the ground, through observation, on what is really happening through this election and how people feel about it'...What is the importance of this election?Elias Hazineh: We have an obligation after we see what we observe, to get back to our respective societies and inform them. Be an eyewitness and tell them the alternative view that is not being broadcast by mainstream media. In my case, I'll be going to communities, churches, schools, and speak about my experience.How is the Canadian media portraying the situation in Syria and also the upcoming election? Elias Hazineh: The mainstream media in north america has been of one opinion: that it's a sham, it couldn't happen under war. And yet they don't mind an election in Afghanistan happening under war, nor in Ukraine. Unfortunately the public is asleep. You need an alternative to tell them what is happening. Otherwise, the Syrian side of the equation is not heard in north america. In Canada we do have alternative media that have a better voice. The churches have been good, the unions have been good.. but not on a large scale. So hopefully we'll be able to enhance that, to be helpful to the movement in Canada and also in the United States.What do you think about the importance of the elections, and why have you joined this delegation?Scott Williams: Self-determination for oppressed people is absolutely vital. For the people of Syria to determine, very specifically, who they support and how to move forward is crucial. With the elections in Egypt, the US has supported a government which has no popular support, they can't even get people to vote, they can't even pay people to vote. Syrians all over the world are dying to vote in this election. We see that as a defiant and courageous act. As much as possible we want to bring this back to the US, to support them and oppose imperialism.Judith Bello: I think it is very important to show the face of a people who want some sort of social structure. Even people who originally opposed the government in Syria now choose to live in a country with an organized government and an organized society. In all the years that this struggle has been going on, and the United States has been supporting it, the opposition has never organized anything, even though they've been given a lot of money and support from outside. They've mostly focused on destruction.After the start of the conflict in Syria, the government had the constitution re-written, they invited opposition parties, brought them into government positions, asked their opinions in terms of re-writing the constitution. So there is a real opening-up of the Syrian society, while a monolithic Western press has denied that there is any real openness to the society, or that the government is responsive to the people. In fact, the government has been very responsive, under the most horrific circumstances.I think they need to be given a chance for this new level of organization to unfold. Gradually, real change can happen in Syria, and to deny that is to deny them their only real hope of having democracy at this point.Joe Iosbaker: I think being an observer in these elections is a continuation of our anti-war work. The reason there is a war in Syria is that the United States decide that the Assad government wasn't compliant enough with US and Israeli interests. And they set out, like gangsters, to take him out. They used the same tools they've used all over the world, the so-called ''colour revolutions''.But they were shocked when the people in Syria rallied around their government and beat back the foreign mercenary armies.This election is happening at a time when the Syrian government enjoys unprecedented popularity.The people of Syria are being put through hell. As an anti-war activist from the US, this is our obligation, we have to be here to make a statement against what our government is doing.Paul Larudee: I'm sympathetic with the point of view that the election in Syria is not fully free and fair and open. But it's probably more free and fair and open than the ones in the US and Canada.Clearly the Syrian president has a lot more support than the US president or the Canadian Prime Minister.In order to present this narrative, I think it's very important to have a presence in Syria, to be able to make this statement.Many Syrian embassies around the world have closed for the Syrian election, denying Syrians abroad the chance to vote.Joe Iosbaker: There hasn't been a Syrian embassy in the US for years. The only we have is the Syrian representative at the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari, and they've restricted him to a 25 mile circle. He was the only source of information for anyone in the United States about what was going on in Syria.Paul Larudee: He was effective, traveling around the country speaking about what was going on in Syria.Judith Bello: The United States did have an embassy and ambassador in Syria, until shortly after the beginning of this conflict. The US Ambassador, Robert Ford, was meeting with the people initiating the violence and openly supporting them. The American ambassador was being subversive. The Syrian representative in the US was speaking publicly, whereas the American ambassador was speaking privately to subversive forces there and helping to organize them. Clearly the US isn't exercising diplomacy as it is normally defined.Paul Larudee: The former US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, his previous overseas post was in Iraq, under John Negroponte, the Ambassador there. So then we wonder why there are something resembling death squads in Syria.Who are the Syrian American Council?Paul Larudee: They are a very well-financed minority of Syrians in the West, who are advocating the US and other forces to go in and remove the Assad administration. They are actually advocating bombing and causing more havoc in Syria than there is now, because their only objective is to get rid of the Assad administration.What is the relation between the Geneva Conventions and the current elections?Joe Iosbaker: There are a couple of reasons an actual meeting happened in Geneva. When, last summer, Obama wanted to launch a cruise missile attack on Syria, he was prevented from doing that by a few different things. The foreign armies were suffering disastrous defeats on the battle ground, long before Hezbollah got involved in the Bekaa Valley, the foreign armies were losing. The US was already desperate. When Obama attempted to rally his partners in NATO to endorse the attack, he couldn't even get the lapdogs, couldn't even get the UK to join.Judith Bello: With Geneva, they were trying, via the trappings of the United Nations, to legitimize what remains a government that has nothing to do with Syria and is being presented as a technocratic replacement for the government in Syria. That is the trend internationally, to put in place technocratic governments which appear to be democratic but aren't actually democratically supported, and are plugged into the IMF. This is setting them up to bleed off their resources in the future.In Geneva, initially they were just trying to negotiate between the ''Free Syrian Army'' and the ''Syrian National Council''. Even that was not successful. So then they brought in some representatives of the Assad government, but they stood by the unreasonable demand that Assad would have to step down. In a sense it was asking the government to have a coup against their central leader, which they of course weren't going to do. So they made Geneva irrelevant to the situation in Syria.Judith Bello: He's lived for years in Saudi Arabia and has close ties with the Sauds. He is not welcome in Syria, nor was his predecessor, Ghassan Hitto, who spent most of his adult life in Texas. He has no base in Syria, except he provides money and weapons to the insurgency. He is a false front, being put forth by the US as a potential leader, the ''government in exile''.**The delegation is now in Syria and will be observing voting stations in various cities, including Homs, Latakia and Damascus. Other North American delegates include: -Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Canadian, author of The Globalization of NATO(Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He has also contributed to several other books ranging from cultural critique to international relations. He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy.-Tony Seed, Canadian, specializes in international relations; Canadian foreign and military policy; media & disinformation, published Dossier on Palestine, October 2002.-Jim W. Dean, American, Managing Editor, VeteransToday.com, also partnering with New Eastern Outlook, has covered Syria, Iran for years, and now Ukraine extensively.-Jane Stillwater, American, 71, has been a freelance journalist, travel writer and blogger since 2000, also works part-time as a paralegal.International delegates include:-Roohulla Rezvi, Kashmiri activist-Feroze Mithiborwala, India, Founder General secretary of the India Palestine Solidarity Forum, Founder, Asia to Gaza Convoy, General coordinator, Asian Peoples' Solidarity for Palestine, Central Committee Member, Global March to Jerusalem-Jatinbabu Desai, India, Journalist, Columnist, Secretary, Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace & Democracy-Dilip Kumar -Banerjee, India, Photo Journalist with more than 30 years of field experience.-Anahita Shireen Mukherji, India, Assistant Editor at The Times of India, has MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. (2012-13).-Mansor bin Puteh, Malaysia, filmmaker-Muhammad Abbas Komeili, Pakistan, Chief of Jafaria Alliance Pakistan-Safdar Abbas, Pakistan, Senior News Reporter in Daily Express News Paper-Nasir Shirazi, Pakistan, Political Secretary of Majlis Wehdat Muslameen Pakistan-Khurram Nawaz Khan, Pakistan, Central President of Pakistan Awami Tehreek-Salim Ghafouri. Iran, Head of International Union of Unified Ummah, Documentary film-maker and producer, Peace activistThe views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For sale: Heavily subsidized, unprofitable state-owned Ukrainian coal mines
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:39
Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers on May 29 ordered the State Property Fund to prepare an auction of 38 state-owned coal mines as part of a cost-saving measure in line with International Monetary Fund requirements. Most of these mines are loss-making and, moreover, enjoy direct subsidies from the central government to stay afloat.
Last year, the mines were propped up with nearly $1.8 billion of financial aid to ensure salaries get paid. Former President Viktor Yanukovych, a native of the coal-mining Donbas region, paid special attention to the needs of miners, many of whom were his electorate.
However, the current government's austerity measure plans to cut subsidies to the coal mines by $230 million, coupled with privatization plans are part of this policy, said First Deputy Energy Minister Yuriy Zyukov on May 29.
Only some 120 coal mines in function in Ukraine, while another 70 are either temporarily or permanently shut. Thus, more than 30 percent of the functioning mines will be put up on the auctioning block.
Fifty percent of the market is comprised of privately-owned mines, while billionaire Rinat Akhmetov's DTEK energy company remains the biggest player in the private segment after it privatized many of the profitable.
Meanwhile, state-owned coal mines have increased their net losses by 2.1 percent this year, reaching $410 million.
''The decision to hold a privatization is right,'' says Denys Sakva, energy expert at Dragon Capital investment house. The new owner may actually bring some changes into the mines' business model and turn them into profitable assets. He sees that various insiders, who know the real condition of the mines, as key bidders.
The average price for a mine is expected to be Hr 1, admits Institute for Energy Strategies analyst Yuriy Korolchuk with a smile. ''The government just wants to get rid of these mines in order to avoid paying out grants,'' he adds. Requirements on investing capital in modernizing the mines' extraction process may accompany the cheap prices.
As Europe's fourth largest coal producer, Ukraine extracted 86 million tons in 2013, consuming only 61 million and exporting another 6 million. Coal production surplus stands at 19 million which is the reason why so many Ukrainian coal mines generate losses '' they simple do not have enough demand. Moreover, illegal mines '' so called kopanky '' are bringing even more cheap coal to the market.
Another reason for low market interest is the poor quality of the surplus coal.
Toronto-listed East Coal, a company that owns two mines in Luhansk Oblast, initiated bankruptcy proceedings in November 2013 after they did not succeed in selling their coal on the market.
Two other major privately-owned players on the market '' Warsaw-listed Coal Energy and Sadovaya '' are experiencing significant problems with finding market demand too.
All this may discourage investors from purchasing the coal mines in Donbas, while regional unease due to a Kremlin-backed separatist movement adds even more problems to the privatization process.
However, Zyukov of the Energy Ministry says that domestic coal prices grew by 34 percent in May which will bring substantially larger revenue to producers. Moreover, the government made a decision to sell all the coal, extracted by state-owned mines, through Vugillya Ukrainy, another state-owned corporation. As a big player on the market, Vugillya Ukrainy will have much more power to influence prices and, thus, to help the mines achieve bigger profits.
Earlier state mines had been selling coal to private companies at relatively cheap prices. There have been whole schemes of intermediaries between the mines and ultimate clients and mere speculation was taking place. As a result, the mines' revenues remained low, while clients still had to pay high prices.
Even state-owned energy companies sometimes were buying coal from fictitious intermediaries, allowing them to make money out of nothing, which may be seen as a heavy Yanukovych-era corruption, according to Ekonomichna Pravda.
Interestingly, the Ukrainian government earlier had a plan to gasify the surplus coal in a bid to reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies. However, Zyukov announced that plans regarding construction of coal gasification plants in Ukraine have been cancelled.
''I think, we don't have the proper technology today that could be used and allow to invest the money effectively,'' he said.
Korolchuk of Institute for Energy Strategies sees this as a big loss for local energy and chemicals mogul Dmytro Firtash, whose whole business model is based on low gas prices and who could become a major client for the gas derived from coal.
Meanwhile, a $3.66 billion loan on this project received from China will be used for different projects, added Zyukov.
Kyiv Post associate business editor Ivan Verstyuk can be reached at verstyuk@kyivpost.com.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Russia to 'restrict' US-run GPS satellites
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:38
2 June 2014Last updated at 07:56 ET By Joe MillerTechnology ReporterRussian authorities have "implemented measures" to restrict the use of satellite bases in its territories that serve the US-owned GPS network.
The country's space agency said it would rule out "any military use" of the ground-based stations.
The move comes amid Russian attempts to build a US base for its GPS rival, the navigation system Glonass, which have been blocked by the US government.
However experts say the move will have no effect on GPS users worldwide.
GPS bases in Russia will be "stopped completely," if an agreement on Glonass stations in the US is not reached by 31 August, warned deputy prime minister, Dmitriy Rogozin.
GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite navigation network owned and run by the US government.
It is used to provide accurate positioning for both civilian and military devices.
Ground-based monitor stations feed back geodesic information to space, which improves the system's accuracy.
Continue reading the main storyThe US does not depend for the command and control of GPS on monitoring stations in Russia''
End QuoteProf David LastNavigation systems expertIn a statement, Russia's Federal Space Agency, Roskosmos, said it would "rule out" the use of information from network stations operating on the signals of the GPS system and located in the Russian Federation, "for purposes not covered by existing agreements, including military uses".
However, experts say the move will have a minimal effect, if any, on GPS users worldwide, with a possible loss of accuracy for some users in Russia.
Local usersProf David Last, a consultant on navigation systems and previous president of the Royal Institute of Navigation, told the BBC the US "does not depend for the command and control of GPS on monitoring stations in Russia".
While there are a handful of stations around the world which monitor GPS under US government control, Russia only hosts smaller Continuously Operating Reference Stations (Cors), which primarily provide meteorological data and monitor earthquakes, but also feed some data to GPS satellites
"Their purpose is to increase reliability [of GPS] for local users," said Prof Last.
"Closing them will only have an effect on GPS users in Russia."
Cors are independently owned and run.
Russia's Glonass, which was established in the late 1970s, is the only global rival to GPS, and has been subject to failures in recent months.
The country's space agency has been trying to improve the system's accuracy, and wants to put a base station for Glonass in the US - a move which has been all but ruled out by the White House.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Documents Show How Russia's Troll Army Hit America
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:47
Russia's campaign to shape international opinion around its invasion of Ukraine has extended to recruiting and training a new cadre of online trolls that have been deployed to spread the Kremlin's message on the comments section of top American websites.
Plans attached to emails leaked by a mysterious Russian hacker collective show IT managers reporting on a new ideological front against the West in the comments sections of Fox News, Huffington Post, The Blaze, Politico, and WorldNetDaily.
The bizarre hive of social media activity appears to be part of a two-pronged Kremlin campaign to claim control over the internet, launching a million-dollar army of trolls to mold American public opinion as it cracks down on internet freedom at home.
''Foreign media are currently actively forming a negative image of the Russian Federation in the eyes of the global community,'' one of the project's team members, Svetlana Boiko, wrote in a strategy document. ''Additionally, the discussions formed by comments to those articles are also negative in tone.
''Like any brand formed by popular opinion, Russia has its supporters ('brand advocates') and its opponents. The main problem is that in the foreign internet community, the ratio of supporters and opponents of Russia is about 20/80 respectively.''
The documents show instructions provided to the commenters that detail the workload expected of them. On an average working day, the Russians are to post on news articles 50 times. Each blogger is to maintain six Facebook accounts publishing at least three posts a day and discussing the news in groups at least twice a day. By the end of the first month, they are expected to have won 500 subscribers and get at least five posts on each item a day. On Twitter, the bloggers are expected to manage 10 accounts with up to 2,000 followers and tweet 50 times a day.
They are to post messages along themes called ''American Dream'' and ''I Love Russia.'' The archetypes for the accounts are called Handkerchief, Gay Turtle, The Ghost of Marius the Giraffe, Left Breast, Black Breast, and Ass, for reasons that are not immediately clear.
According to the documents, which are attached to several hundred emails sent to the project's leader, Igor Osadchy, the effort was launched in April and is led by a firm called the Internet Research Agency. It's based in a Saint Petersburg suburb, and the documents say it employs hundreds of people across Russia who promote Putin in comments on Russian blogs.
Osadchy told BuzzFeed he had never worked for the Internet Research Agency and that the extensive documents '-- including apparent budgeting for his $35,000 salary '-- were an ''unsuccessful provocation.'' He declined to comment on the content of the leaks. The Kremlin declined to comment. The Internet Research Agency has not commented on the leak.
Definitively proving the authenticity of the documents and their authors' ties to the Kremlin is, by the nature of the subject, not easy. The project's cost, scale, and awkward implementation have led many observers in Russia to doubt, however, that it could have come about in any other way.
''What, you think crazy Russians all learned English en masse and went off to comment on articles?'' said Leonid Bershidsky, a media executive and Bloomberg View columnist. ''If it looks like Kremlin shit, smells like Kremlin shit, and tastes like Kremlin shit too '-- then it's Kremlin shit.''
Despite efforts to hire English teachers for the trolls, most of the comments are written in barely coherent English. ''I think the whole world is realizing what will be with Ukraine, and only U.S. keep on fuck around because of their great plans are doomed to failure,'' reads one post from an unnamed forum, used as an example in the leaked documents.
The trolls appear to have taken pains to learn the sites' different commenting systems. A report on initial efforts to post comments discusses the types of profanity and abuse that are allowed on some sites, but not others. ''Direct offense of Americans as a race are not published ('Your nation is a nation of complete idiots'),'' the author wrote of fringe conspiracy site WorldNetDaily, ''nor are vulgar reactions to the political work of Barack Obama ('Obama did shit his pants while talking about foreign affairs, how you can feel yourself psychologically comfortable with pants full of shit?').'' Another suggested creating ''up to 100'' fake accounts on the Huffington Post to master the site's complicated commenting system.
WorldNetDaily told BuzzFeed it had no ability to monitor whether it had been besieged by an army of Russian trolls in recent weeks. The other outlets did not respond to BuzzFeed's queries.
Some of the leaked documents also detail what appear to be extensive efforts led by hundreds of freelance bloggers to comment on Russian-language sites. The bloggers hail from cities throughout Russia; their managers give them ratings based on the efficiency and ''authenticity,'' as well as the number of domains they post from. Novaya Gazeta, Russia's only independent investigative newspaper, infiltrated its ''troll farm'' of commenters on Russian blogs last September.
Russia's ''troll army'' is just one part of a massive propaganda campaign the Kremlin has unleashed since the Ukrainian crisis exploded in February. Russian state TV endlessly asserts that Kiev's interim government is under the thumb of ''fascists'' and ''neo-Nazis'' intent on oppressing Russian-speaking Ukrainians and exerts a mesmerizing hold on many in the country's southeast, where the channels are popular. Ukraine has responded by banning all Russian state channels, barring entry to most Russian journalists, and treats some of the more obviously pro-rebel Russian reporters as enemy combatants.
The trolling project's finances are appropriately lavish for its considerable scale. A budget for April 2014, its first month, lists costs for 25 employees and expenses that together total over $75,000. The Internet Research Agency itself, founded last summer, now employs over 600 people and, if spending levels from December 2013 to April continue, is set to budget for over $10 million in 2014, according to the documents. Half of its budget is earmarked to be paid in cash.
Two Russian media reports partly based on other selections from the documents attest that the campaign is directly orchestrated by the Kremlin. Business newspaper Vedomosti, citing sources close to Putin's presidential administration, said last week that the campaign was directly orchestrated by the government and included expatriate Russian bloggers in Germany, India, and Thailand. Novaya Gazeta claimed this week that the campaign is run by Evgeny Prigozhin, a restaurateur who catered Putin's re-inauguration in 2012. Prigozhin has reportedly orchestrated several other elaborate Kremlin-funded campaigns against opposition members and the independent media. Emails from the hacked trove show an accountant for the Internet Research Agency approving numerous payments with an accountant from Prigozhin's catering holding, Concord.
Several people who follow the Russian internet closely told BuzzFeed the Internet Research Energy is only one of several firms believed to be employing pro-Kremlin comment trolls. That has long been suspected based on the comments under articles about Russia on many other sites, such as Kremlin propaganda network RT's wildly successful YouTube channel. The editor of The Guardian's opinion page recently claimed that the site was the victim of an ''orchestrated campaign.''
Russian-language social networks are awash with accounts that lack the signs of real users, such as pictures, regular posting, or personal statements. These ''dead souls,'' as Vasily Gatov, a prominent Russian media analyst who blogs at Postjournalist, calls them, often surface to attack opposition figures or journalists who write articles critical of Putin's government.
The puerility of many of the comments recalls the pioneering trolling of now-defunct Kremlin youth group Nashi, whose leaders extensively discussed commenting on Russian opposition websites in emails leaked by hackers in 2012. Analysts say Timur Prokopenko, former head of rival pro-Putin youth group Young Guard, now runs internet projects in the presidential administration.
''These docs are written in the same style and keep the same quality level,'' said Alexei Sidorenko, a Poland-based Russian developer and net freedom activist. ''They're sketchy, incomplete, done really fast, have tables, copy-pastes '-- it's the standard of a regular student's work from Russian university.''
The group that hacked the emails, which were shared with BuzzFeed last week and later uploaded online, is a new collective that calls itself the Anonymous International, apparently unrelated to the global Anonymous hacker movement. In the last few months, the group has shot to notoriety after posting internal Kremlin files such as plans for the Crimean independence referendum, the list of pro-Kremlin journalists whom Putin gave awards for their Crimea coverage, and the personal email of eastern Ukrainian rebel commander Igor Strelkov. None of the group's leaks have been proven false.
In email correspondence with BuzzFeed, a representative of the group claimed they were ''not hackers in the classical sense.''
''We are trying to change reality. Reality has indeed begun to change as a result of the appearance of our information in public,'' wrote the representative, whose email account is named Shaltai Boltai, which is the Russian for tragic nursery rhyme hero Humpty Dumpty.
The leak from the Internet Research Agency is the first time specific comments under news articles can be directly traced to a Russian campaign.
Kremlin supporters' increased activity online over the Ukraine crisis suggests Russia wants to encourage dissent in America at the same time as stifling it at home. The online offensive comes on the heels of a series of official laws and signals clearly suggesting Russia wants to tighten the screws on its vibrant independent web. In the last 30 days alone, Putin claimed the internet was and always had been a ''CIA project'' and then signed a law that imposes such cumbersome restrictions on blogs and social media as to make free speech impossible.
''There's no paradox here. It's two sides of the same coin,'' Igor Ashmanov, a Russian internet entrepreneur known for his pro-government views, told BuzzFeed. ''The Kremlin is weeding out the informational field and sowing it with cultured plants. You can see what will happen if they don't clear it out from the gruesome example of Ukraine.''
Gatov, who is the former head of Russia's state newswire's media analytics laboratory, told BuzzFeed the documents were part of long-term Kremlin plans to swamp the internet with comments. ''Armies of bots were ready to participate in media wars, and the question was only how to think their work through,'' he said. ''Someone sold the thought that Western media, which specifically have to align their interests with their audience, won't be able to ignore saturated pro-Russian campaigns and will have to change the tone of their Russia coverage to placate their angry readers.''
Pro-Russian accounts have been increasingly visible on social networks since Ukraine's political crisis hit fever pitch in late February. One campaign, ''Polite People,'' promoted the invasion of Crimea with pictures of Russian troops posing alongside girls, the elderly, and cats. Russia's famously internet-shy Foreign Ministry began to viciously mock the State Department's digital diplomacy efforts. ''Joking's over,'' its Facebook page read on April 1.
Other accounts make clear attempts to influence Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the country's restive southeast. Western officials believe many of the Twitter accounts are operated by Russian secret services. One was removed after calling for and celebrating violent attacks on a bank owned by a virulently anti-Putin Ukrainian oligarch.
''This is similar to media dynamics we observed in the Syrian civil war,'' said Matt Kodama, an analyst at the web intelligence firm Recorded Future. ''Russian news channels broke stories that seemed tailored-made to reinforce pro-Assad narratives, and then Syrian social media authors pushed them.''
Other documents discuss the issues the Russian commenters run into when arguing with the regular audience on the American news sites, particularly the conservative ones. ''Upon examining the tone of the comments on major articles on The Blaze that directly or indirectly cover Russia, we can take note of its negative direction,'' the author wrote. ''It is notable that the audience of the Blaze responds to the article 'Hear Alan Grayson Actually Defend Russia's Invasion of Crimea as a Good Thing,' which generally gives a positive assessment of Russian actions in Ukraine, extremely negatively.''
But praise can be as problematic as scorn. ''While studying America's main media, comments that were pro-Russian in content were noticed,'' the author wrote. ''After detailed study of the discussions they contained, it becomes obvious: the audience interprets those comments extremely negatively. Moreover, users of internet resources assume that the comments in questions were either written for ideological reasons, or paid for.''
The documents align with the Kremlin's new attention to the internet. Putin, who swiftly monopolized control over television after coming to power in 1999 and marginalized dissent to a few low-circulation newspapers, largely left the ''Runet'' alone during his first two terms in power, allowing it to flourish as a parallel world free of censorship and skewed toward the educated urban middle class. Dmitry Medvedev, Putin's prot(C)g(C) who was president from 2008''12, made a show of embracing social media, but it never sat well with officials and Putin supporters. The gulf between Medvedev's transparency drive and Russia's Byzantine bureaucracy's reluctance to change only highlighted his impotence, earning him the nickname ''Microblogger'' for his small stature.
''In the best case they looked funny, in the worst, their actions exposed their real motives,'' said Katya Romanovskaya, co-author of KermlinRussia, a popular parody account mocking Medvedev's clumsy efforts. ''Twitter is an environment where you can instantly connect with your audience, answer direct questions, and give explanations '-- which Russian officials are completely incapable of. It goes against their bureaucratic and corrupt nature.''
The current internet crackdown comes after protests by middle-class Muscovites against Putin's return to the presidency in early 2012, which were largely organized on Facebook and Twitter. All but a few officials have since abandoned the medium and many did so en masse last fall, raising suspicions they did so on Kremlin orders.
''Putin was never very fond of the internet even in the early 2000s,'' said Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist who specializes in security services and cyber issues. ''When he was forced to think about the internet during the protests, he became very suspicious, especially about social networks. He thinks there's a plot, a Western conspiracy against him. He believes there is a very dangerous thing for him and he needs to put this thing under control.''
Last month, the deputy head of the Kremlin's telecommunications watchdog said Twitter was a U.S. government tool and threatened to block it ''in a few minutes'' if the service did not block sites on Moscow's request. Though the official received a reprimand (as well as a tongue-lashing on Facebook from Medvedev), the statement was widely seen as a trial balloon for expanding censorship. Twitter complied with a Russian request for the first time the following Monday and took down a Ukrainian nationalist account.
A new law that comes into effect in August also forces bloggers with more than 3,000 followers to register with the government. The move entails significant and cumbersome restrictions for bloggers, who previously wrote free of Russia's complicated media law bureaucracy, while denying them anonymity and opening them up to political pressure.
''The internet has become the main threat '-- a sphere that isn't controlled by the Kremlin,'' said Pavel Chikov, a member of Russia's presidential human rights council. ''That's why they're going after it. Its very existence as we know it is being undermined by these measures.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vice President Biden to Travel to Ukraine
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 21:45
The White House
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
June 02, 2014
The Vice President will lead a Presidential delegation to Kyiv on June 7 to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko. The Vice President will also hold meetings with Ukraine's leaders to discuss President-elect Poroshenko's agenda, the situation in the east, and how the United States can assist Ukraine with fighting corruption, strengthening its democratic institutions, and putting its economy back on a path towards sustainable growth.
Additional details about the Vice President's trip will be released at a later date.
Putin Offers to Meet Obama as East Ukraine Battles Rage.
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 23:24
President Vladimir Putin offered the first face-to-face talks with Barack Obama since pro-Russian separatists unleashed an insurgency that's claimed almost 200 lives in Ukraine.
The Russian leader, who rejected accusations his military is present in Ukraine, said he's ready to meet Obama this week in France during 70th anniversary commemorations of the allied landings in the north of the country in World War II. Meanwhile, Obama met Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, where he pledged to step up non-lethal military aid.
''That's his choice -- I'm ready for dialogue,'' Putin said, according to an excerpt of an interview with French radio Europe 1 and the TF1 television channel posted today on Europe 1's website. ''I hope this isn't a new phase of the Cold War.''
The White House repeated that there are no plans for the U.S. president to have a separate meeting with Putin, while not ruling out the possibility. French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron all have scheduled meetings with Putin while in France.
Related:
The U.S. and the European Union are at odds with Russia over Ukraine, where the government is reinforcing the nation's borders to stem an influx of fighters into its easternmost regions. Poroshenko, who'll be inaugurated on June 7, has said he'll bolster a military operation to counter the separatist groups that control swathes of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Ukraine's hryvnia, this year's worst-performing currency against the dollar with a 31 percent drop, was 0.2 percent stronger at 5 p.m. in Kiev. Russia's benchmark stock index rose for a third day, adding 0.1 percent.
Tanks, PlanesPutin called on Ukraine's government to engage its opponents through negotiations rather than ''tanks and planes.'' He said Russia has no intention of annexing its neighbor's territory after absorbing the Black Sea Crimean peninsula in March, a move the U.S. and the EU consider illegal.
In Warsaw, billionaire chocolate magnate Poroshenko told reporters he's committed to a ''peaceful'' process, while Obama pledged to step up non-lethal military aid to Ukraine, including body armor and night-vision goggles. A banner proclaiming ''Solidarity with Ukraine'' and Ukrainian flags were on display among the crowds in the Polish capital.
Russia's 'Provocation'''The United States is absolutely committed to standing behind the Ukrainian people and their aspirations,'' said Obama, who yesterday warned Russia against further ''provocation.'' Obama said he's been ''deeply impressed'' by Poroshenko's vision and experience as a businessman.
The U.S. leader, who began a four-day European trip yesterday, says Putin needs to use his influence with the rebels to convince them to stop attacking Ukrainian forces, free seized buildings and lay down arms. Russia says the U.S. and the EU should persuade Ukraine to call off its military campaign.
Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, said Obama, who arrived in Brussels this afternoon, wants to discuss with Hollande, Merkel and Cameron, what they'll be telling Putin. ''We all have to speak with one voice'' and ''we should be aligned in our support for Ukraine'' and in urging Russia to cease support for separatists, he said.
10-Hour BattleIn Ukraine's troubled east, the National Guard said one of its units was attacked in Luhansk overnight in a 10-hour fight that involved machine guns, mortars and grenade launchers. Six militants were killed, it said on its website.
Insurgents killed two soldiers, wounded at least 42 more and shot down two helicopters in the mainly Russian-speaking eastern regions yesterday, Vladyslav Seleznyov, a military spokesman, said by phone. A large number of rebels were killed in Luhansk, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said, ordering the cabinet to consider imposing martial law.
Turchynov arrived in the eastern city of Slovyansk today to help coordinate the military operation. Ukraine said yesterday that it's deploying heavy weaponry and armored vehicles to strengthen its border with Russia.
181 DeadAt least 181 people have been killed since unrest broke out in eastern Ukraine, Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitsky said in Kiev. That includes 59 soldiers, one of them a general whose helicopter was shot down by militants on May 29. Another 293 people have been wounded and 220 kidnapped, he said.
Putin said yesterday during a meeting with his human-rights ombudsman, Ella Pamfilova, that he supports the creation of a ''humanitarian corridor'' to allow Russian aid to reach people in Ukraine affected by the fighting.
Russia still has thousands of troops on Ukraine's border, even after a partial pullback, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday before a two-day meeting of defense ministers.
''There has been steady pressure to destabilize and undermine the government in Kiev and challenges to Ukrainian armed forces as they attempt to bring order,'' U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO's top military commander, told reporters today in Brussels.
Military FundObama announced a $1 billion fund yesterday to bolster military training and assistance for NATO allies near Russia. The U.S. will position more equipment in Europe and strengthen partnerships with allies such as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia that aren't part of the alliance, he said.
Obama's trip offers a series of venues for possible talks on the Ukrainian conflict. He'll meet other Group of Seven leaders in Brussels starting today, though they won't decide on further steps to sanction Russia during the talks, according to a German official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. president will also attend a dinner with Francois Hollande June 5, the same day the French president hosts Putin, before they travel on to the D-Day commemorations in Normandy on June 6. Vice President Joe Biden is due to attend Poroshenko's inauguration in Kiev, according to the White House.
To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net; Volodymyr Verbyany in Kiev at vverbyany1@bloomberg.net; Daria Marchak in Kiev at dmarchak@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net Andrew Langley
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
'De G7 pijpt Poetin' - De Standaard
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:43
De G7 vergadert vandaag onder andere over de relaties met Rusland. Ondanks de verbanning van het land van de bijeenkomsten, noemt Femen Frankrijk de wereldleiders hypocriet. 'Vandaag boycotten ze Poetin, maar daarna zullen ze in Frankrijk met hem op het podium staan om D-Day te herdenken (vrijdag in Normandi, red.).'
Ukraine and Russia in gas "crunch" talks
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:51
Ukraine and Russia are to enter crunch talks on Monday to settle a long-running dispute over the price of gas deliveries.
Ukraine's third "gas war" with Russia in less than a decade erupted when Moscow - stunned by the sudden ouster of an ally who had just rejected a European Union alliance that the Kremlin greatly feared - nearly doubled the price it charges its neighbour for the fuel.
Kiev accused Moscow of "economic aggression" and refused to cover a bill that Russia puts at $5.17bn.
Russian gas transits through Ukraine supply about 15 percent of European needs and a top EU envoy is now urgently seeking a compromise that could save 18 member states from seeing their deliveries start dwindling from Wednesday.
A final round of talks was set for Monday in Brussels after Ukraine's Naftogaz state energy firm - bowing to both EU and Kremlin pressure - transferred a $786 million payment to its Russian counterpart Gazprom to keep the talks alive.
Gazprom now says it is willing to discuss a lower price and analysts believe that a compromise is in sight because Russia would prefer to avoid complicating its relations with Europe further.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk added to the general positivity surrounding Monday's meeting by promising to settle Russia's entire bill using part of a new Western financial rescue package.
"We will pay our bills," Yatsenyuk told German public television in an interview aired on Sunday.
"First we have to sign a (new price) contract. And then, 10 days later, Ukraine will pay."
But Yatsenyuk also warned that Ukraine would follow the example of other Gazprom clients who had won their own price disputes through the courts by filing for arbitration in Stockholm by the end of Monday if no agreement was reached.
298
Gazprom prepares for the worst with South Stream gas pipeline
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 23:20
MOSCOW, June 4 (UPI) --Russian energy company Gazprom it's ready for the "worst-case scenario" in terms of financing its South Stream gas pipeline for Europe, a top executive said.Gazprom last month said it signed the necessary contracts needed to start construction of the onshore section of the pipeline later this year.
The company says lingering debt issues with Ukraine, through which the company sends most of its gas to Europe, are creating energy security risks and South Stream could address those problems. Some European officials, however, have said the pipeline would only make the region more dependent on Russian gas.
Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive officer at Gazprom, said the company is ready to start construction despite the opposition.
"If you ask me if I'm ready for the worst case scenario, I'd say 'Yes, we are ready,'" he said Tuesday.
A resolution passed in April by the European Parliament calls on members of the European Union to reconsider the pipeline.
Gazprom said the pipeline has an optimum capacity if 2.2 trillion cubic feet per year. First gas should run through the pipeline by late 2015 and it should reach peak capacity by 2018.
Bulgaria to build South Steam despite Commission warnings
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:45
The European Commission asked the Bulgarian government to suspend work on Gazprom's South Stream gas pipeline, pending a decision on its conforming with EU law, it was announced today (3 June). But the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which is the senior partner in the country's minority government, was quick to reply that its construction will continue as planned.
The Commission has opened an infringement procedure against Bulgaria, and has asked the country's authorities halt the building of South Stream, it announced today.
''We don't block South Stream, but we want the project to be in line with EU law,'' said Sabine Berger, spokesperson for energy commissioner G¼nther Oettinger. Her colleague Antoine Colombani said on behalf of internal market commissioner Michel Barnier that the Bulgarian authorities had been informed by letter and explained the of breach to EU legislation on public contracts.
On 27 May, Bulgaria awarded the construction of South Stream on its territory to the Russian Stroytransgaz consortium. A major shareholder (63%) in Stroytransgaz is the Volga Group, which is owned by Gennady Timchenko, who was placed on the US's sanctions list against Russia in mid-March. Timchenko is believed to be the 6th richest man in Russia, according to Forbes, and has close ties to President Vladimir Putin.
On the same day when EU leaders held their last summit, Commission President Jos(C) Manuel Barroso made it clear that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria regarding South Stream [read more].
'Urgent to act'
Colombani said that it was ''urgent to act'', because work on building the pipeline in Bulgaria was about to start.
Bulgaria has said it had conducted the South Stream tender according to normal procedures, and that the tender announcement had been published last December. Colombani said, however, that EU internal market rules covering the award of public contracts had not been respected by Bulgaria.
''To be more precise, South Stream Bulgaria, which has been set up for this project, has been awarded to design, finance and operate the gas pipeline without the transparent and competitive procedure which is expected in such cases,'' he said.
A second concern, according to Colombani, was that the intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Bulgaria provides for the possibility for subcontracting part of the works to other firms, ''in preference to Russian and Bulgarian bidders without publication in the official journal''.
EurActiv has been reporting since last December that the EU executive had raised these concerns in a letter dated 14 August 2013, which analysed the Bulgaria-Russia agreement in great detail [read more]. However, the Bulgarian authorities have been dismissing such claims.
''The position of the Bulgarian Socialist Party is that we must show character and conclude the building of South Stream,'' said Dimitar Dabov, a high official of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). BSP leader Sergei Stanishev is President of the Party of European Socialists (PES).
Dabov said that Bulgaria had complied with all the requirements regarding South Stream.
'Highly politicised line'
''If there is pressure, it's political pressure'', Dabov said, as quoted by Dnevnik, the EurActiv partner in Bulgaria.
EurActiv also spoke to Russian Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, who also said that if confirmed, the Commission's approach ''appears to be in line with a highly politicised line towards the South Stream project''.
The full text of the interview with Chizhov will be published tomorrow.
Construction work on Trans Adriatic Pipeline prepared to begin in 2015
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:40
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 4
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
The construction work on the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is being prepared, it will begin in 2016, TAP's Managing Director Kjetil Tungland said at the 21st Caspian International Oil and Gas Conference in Baku on June 4.
"We are now in the process of securing the access to the lands. The next step will be awarding the necessary contracts. We will start inviting for bids this summer", he said.
Tungland stressed that it is important to develop the whole Southern Gas Corridor chain step by step.
He said that TAP explores all supply opportunities, adding that Italy is not only market in the supply chain.
"Italy is interconnected with other European gas markets and it is important that these interconnections are in place," he said.
The TAP project was selected by the consortium of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field development as the transportation route to the European markets.
The approximately 870 km long pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) near the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.
Construction of the pipeline will be split into five lots - three in Greece and two in Albania. The initial capacity of the pipeline will be 10 billion cubic meters per year, but it can easily be expanded to 20 billion cubic meters per year. TAP's shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Statoil (20 percent), Fluxys (16 percent), Total (10 percent), E.ON (9 percent) and Axpo (5 percent).
Tungland further noted that Albania is a fascinating market, yet the country doesn't have any gas networks, and it is essential to establish them.
"TAP supports Albanian government in this initiative," he said, adding that more potential partners are welcomed to join the process.
The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) last year expressed interest in creating a gas infrastructure in Albania. Albanian leadership, in turn, has stated that the construction of a gas transportation infrastructure in the country is a priority, and welcomed SOCAR's intentions.
Follow us on Twitter @TRENDNewsAgency
Ukraine's Yatsenyuk Urges EU to Block Russia's South Stream Pipeline
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:39
KIEV, June 3 (RIA Novosti) '-- Ukraine's Acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged the European Union on Tuesday to block Russian South Stream gas pipeline, currently under construction and expected to transfer Russian oil and gas to central and southern Europe via Black Sea bypassing Ukraine.
"We call on the European Union to block the South Stream. Ukraine is a reliable transit country, we have fulfilled and will continue to fulfil our obligations," Yatsenyuk told the parliament.
Aiming to diversify Russia's gas supply routes to Europe due to Ukrainian gas debt of $3.5 billion, which Russia fears may lead to possible transit disruptions, Russian gas giant Gazprom launched the pipeline construction in the Russian city of Anapa in 2012 and expects to complete the first line in late 2015. In total, the 15.5-billion-euro project will include four 930-kilometer long parallel lines.
Commercial deliveries through this pipeline to Europe are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016, with the pipeline becoming fully operational in 2018.
Russia annually pumps about 100 billion cubic meters of gas to European countries via Ukraine, which makes up 80 percent of its total gas supplies to Europe.
Earlier Russia initiated legal proceedings in the World Trading Organization against the EU's Third Energy Package, under which the owners of line pipes located in the region cannot be the companies that deal with gas production. The initiative creates serious obstacles for the construction of South Stream.
On Sunday, EU's Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said a political solution to the construction of the South Stream was impossible unless Russia recognized the legitimacy of the government in Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier that Russia respected the will of Ukrainian people and was ready for dialogue with the newly elected leader.
Putin said last month Russia was planning to follow through with the project, as well as with Nord Stream, and if the EU interfered with the latter, Russia would consider building the pipeline via countries that were not part of the EU.
Nord Stream's twin 1,224-kilometer Opal pipeline runs along the Baltic Sea bed from Portovaya Bay in Russia to Lubmin on Germany's Baltic Sea coast, with an annual capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas. When fully operational, the integrated twin pipeline system has the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Russia's massive gas fields to the EU.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FACT SHEET: U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:34
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 04, 2014
The United States is working to bolster Ukraine's ability to secure its borders and preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of Russian occupation of Crimea and a concerted effort by Russian-backed separatists to destabilize eastern Ukraine. President Obama has approved more than $23 million in additional defensive security assistance since early March.
This assistance includes:
A new tranche of $5 million for the provision of body armor, night vision goggles, and additional communications equipment. This is in addition to the approximately 300,000 Meals Ready to Eat (delivered in March), as well as assistance for the provision of materiel using Foreign Military Financing to support Ukraine's armed forces with medical supplies, service member equipment (e.g., helmets, sleeping mats, water purification units), explosive ordnance disposal equipment, and handheld radios.The United States also has allocated Cooperative Threat Reduction funding to support Ukraine's State Border Guard Service with supplies (e.g., clothing, shelters, small power generators and hand fuel pumps, engineering equipment, communications equipment, vehicles, and non-lethal individual tactical gear). To date, Embassy Kyiv has purchased and delivered 20-person shelters, sleeping bags, fuel filter adapters, barbed wire, patrol flashlights, perimeter alarm systems, fuel pumps, concertina wire, vehicle batteries, spare tires, binoculars, excavators, trucks, generators, food storage freezers, field stoves, and communications gear to the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service, for use in monitoring and securing their borders.Senior Leader Engagement
On April 1, senior U.S. defense officials met with their Ukrainian counterparts in Kyiv for bilateral defense consultations, during which they held substantive discussions on regional security, defense cooperation, and areas for growth in the U.S.-Ukraine defense relationship.Senior defense officials met with Ukrainian counterparts in Kyiv in early June to discuss ongoing U.S.-Ukraine defense cooperation and U.S. support to Ukraine's defense reform efforts.In early June, U.S. European Command will hold a general/flag officer steering group meeting with Ukrainian counterparts in Kyiv to set the strategic direction for future military-to-military cooperation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Suspect in Brussels shooting linked to Western-backed Syrian opposition
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 06:21
By Kumaran Ira2 June 2014A 29-year-old French citizen, Mehdi Nemmouche, was arrested by police at Saint-Charles station in the southern French city of Marseille on Friday, on a bus from Amsterdam via Brussels. He faces charges of carrying out the May 24 shooting at the Jewish museum in Brussels that killed four people: a French national, an Israeli couple, and a Belgian museum employee.
Nemmouche apparently traveled to train with Al Qaeda-linked Islamist opposition militias in Syria that France, the United States, and their European and Middle East allies have backed to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This underscores that the reactionary policies of the Socialist Party (PS) government of French President Fran§ois Hollande may have played a significant role in the crime.
At a press conference yesterday, French and Belgian prosecutors gave a preliminary report on the suspect, who is being held by France's domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI (General Directory of Interior Security)
The Belgian prosecutor alleged that Nemmouche ''took the bus on May 29 in Brussels. His bag contained an impressive quantity of high caliber munitions, and a Kalachnikov [ rifle] with inscriptions claiming membership in the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a group active in Syria. He was also in possession of a video in which he claims responsibility for committing the attacks in Brussels ... He is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I cannot guarantee that it is his voice that one hears in the recording.''
According to investigators, the same type of gun was used in the May 24 attack. Police also found among his belongings a baseball cap worn by the shooter, as seen on CCTV footage of the shooting released by Belgian police.
The French prosecutor, Fran§ois Molins, said that the suspect had spent more than a year training with Islamist opposition militias in Syria. ''During his last stay in jail, he was noticed for extremist [Islamist] proselytism,'' Molins said. ''On December 31, 2012, three weeks after he was freed, he traveled to Syria ... He spent over a year in Syria, where he seems to have joined the ranks of combatant groups, jihadist terrorist groups.''
Nemmouche, originally from the city of Roubaix in northern France, had a difficult childhood. He was reportedly placed in foster care at the age of a few months, before going to live with his grandmother at age 17. He faced conditions of soaring unemployment and escalating social crisis common to youths in working class neighborhoods in French cities.
Nemmouche's former lawyer, Soulifa Badaoui, told BFM-TV that he was ''intelligent, neither religious nor violent. Suffering from gaps in education, he lived in an environment marked by family problems.''
Nemmouche reportedly was jailed several times between 2007 and 2012 for petty crimes, including driving without a license and robbery. He may have turned to radical Islam during a jail sentence for robbery served in 2012. Upon leaving jail in December 2012, he allegedly traveled to Belgium, Great Britain, Lebanon, Turkey, and from there to Syria.
While Nemmouche was abroad, he was followed by the French security services. According to Le Monde, ''At that time, he was put on the database of wanted persons (FPR) and the Schengen database. Thus he was located in Germany in March 2014, as he returned from Southeast Asia, and was the subject of a surveillance file at the DGSI. Until Friday, he had never returned to France.''
How Nemmouche was able to obtain large caliber weapons and plan a major attack, while being actively followed by the DGSI and other European agencies, remains unclear. It raises serious questions, however, about what type of operations the European intelligence agencies themselves are carrying out with Syrian operatives inside Europe.
Yesterday, Hollande praised the French police for carrying out Nemmouche's arrest. He said, ''We have the will ... to follow these jihadists and to prevent them, as they return from a struggle which is not theirs, which is not ours, from harming us.'' He added, ''We will fight them, we will fight them, we will fight them.''
Hollande's comments are a cynical attempt, using lies and evasions, to distance his government from the Syrian Islamist opposition forces now suspected of being tied to the Brussels attack. The proxy war in Syria'--which Hollande ludicrously claims is ''not theirs'' and ''nor ours'''--has been stoked by the NATO powers, including Paris, and their regional allies, who have armed Al Qaeda-linked militias as the main striking force against Assad.
Far from trying to ''fight'' them, Paris continues to press Washington to support Syria's Islamist militias more aggressively. Just last month, amid renewed talk of a NATO war with Syria, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he regretted that Washington and Paris had not attacked Syria last autumn. (See: ''Amid diplomatic offensive against Syria, France presses for war'')
Since the imperialist powers began stoking a civil war in Syria, hundreds of Europeans have joined the Western-backed jihadist forces in Syria. In February, French authorities said that more than 600 Frenchmen have gone to Syria, are planning to go, or have returned, and more than twenty have been killed. As of mid-January, a dozen French adolescents were in Syria or in transit, according to official estimates.
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shut Up Slave!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Text - S.J.Res.19 - 113th Congress (2013-2014): A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 22:35
There is one version of the bill.
Shown Here:Introduced in Senate (06/18/2013)Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this legislative text may be shown by tags (e.g., or ) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF or HTML/XML.
[Congressional Bills 113th Congress][From the U.S. Government Printing Office][S.J. Res. 19 Introduced in Senate (IS)]113th CONGRESS 1st SessionS. J. RES. 19 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections._______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES June 18, 2013 Mr. Udall of New Mexico (for himself, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Harkin, Mr. Schumer, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Tester, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Coons, Mr. King, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Franken, Ms. Klobuchar, and Mr. Udall of Colorado) introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary_______________________________________________________________________ JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States: ``Article-- ``Section 1. To advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and electoral processes, Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on-- ``(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and ``(2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates. ``Section 2. To advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and electoral processes, each State shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to State elections, including through setting limits on-- ``(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, State office; and ``(2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates. ``Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press. ``Section 4. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.''.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
US journalist facing jail term for refusing to testify in CIA officer's trial
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 21:45
June 3, 2014by Ian Allen
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.orgA leading American journalist is facing a possible jail term after the United States Supreme Court refused to consider his appeal against testifying at the trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency officer. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, who worked for the CIA from 1993 until 2002, was arrested in early 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was charged with leaking classified information about Operation MERLIN, a botched CIA covert operation targeting Iran's nuclear weapons program. The operation was publicly revealed for the first time in New York Times reporter James Risen's 2006 book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. In chapter 9 of the book, Risen details a bungled operation by the CIA's Iran Task Force to pass to the Iranians a series of faulty nuclear bomb design documents. Risen alleges that the CIA operation backlashed and may actually have helped the Iranian nuclear weapons program, as Iranian nuclear engineers would have been able to ''extract valuable information from the blueprints while ignoring the flaws''. Risen was summoned to testify in Sterling's trial, but refused, arguing that having to identify the source of his allegation about Operation MERLIN would infringe on press freedom. On the other side of the argument, the United States government claimed that the freedom of the press does not permit journalists ''to refuse to provide direct evidence of criminal wrongdoing by confidential sources''. Risen filed a case in a Virginia court, arguing that he should not be forced to comply with the subpoena issued to him to testify at Sterling's trial. After the court upheld the subpoena, Risen's legal team filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. But the Court has now refused to hear the case, which means that Risen will have to testify in Sterling's trial or face a possible jail sentence. Risen toldThe New York Times that he would ''continue to fight'', while his lawyer said he hoped ''that the government will not seek to have [Risen] held in contempt for doing nothing more than reporting the news and keeping his promises'' to his confidential sources. Last week, US Attorney General Eric Holder commented that ''as long as I'm attorney-general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail'', a statement interpreted by The Times as a hint that the Justice Department would not pursue a jail sentence for Risen. A precise date for Sterling's trial has not yet been set. The former CIA officer faces up to 120 years in prison if convicted.
Supreme Court refuses to take reporter's case on revealing confidential source - The Washington Post
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:50
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene on behalf of a New York Times reporter and author who has been subpoenaed to reveal a confidential source.
The court without comment turned down requests from reporter James Risen and a host of media groups to overturn a lower court order and find that reporters are protected by the Constitution from testifying about their sources.
In a 2006 book, ''State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,'' Risen detailed classified information about the CIA's efforts to disrupt Iran's nuclear program. Prosecutors want Risen to testify in its prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA analyst.
A district judge had said Risen did not have to testify. But a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond disagreed in a 2 to 1 decision. The majority said that under Supreme Court precedent, the First Amendment does not protect reporters from revealing who supplied them with unauthorized leaks.
''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 Circuit Judge William Byrd Traxler Jr.
Circuit Judge Roger Gregory disagreed. ''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.''
Gregory said there was plenty of circumstantial evidence linking Sterling to Risen and that Risen's direct testimony was not crucial to the government's case.
Risen has said he will go to prison rather than testify. But U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. last week said at a meeting with journalists that would be unlikely.
''As long as I'm attorney general, no reporter will go to jail for doing his job,'' Holder told those in attendance.
The Washington Post was among the news organizations filing a brief on Risen's behalf.
The case was Risen v. U.S.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Holder announces task force on 'homegrown' terrorists
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:36
Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder, Jr. on Monday announced the creation of a task force within the Justice Department to combat an ''escalating danger'' from ''homegrown'' terrorists within the United States.
The Justice Department, in a news release accompanying Holder's weekly video address, cited a Congressional Research Service report last year that said domestic terrorists were responsible for more than two dozen incidents in the U.S. since 9/11.
Holder, in the video, cited the Boston Marathon bombings last year and shootings at Fort Hood in 2009 and 2014 as examples of ''the danger we face from these homegrown threats.''
The FBI was criticized for its decision not to share information with local law enforcement agencies about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers authorities say were behind the bombings.
The task force will chiefly comprise leaders from the FBI, the Justice Department's National Security Division and U.S. Attorneys. Called the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, it is a recreation of a task force formed by former Atty. Gen. Janet Reno after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The task force fell into disuse after 9/11.
Though the original task force, which was little known, focused mainly on right-wing zealots, Holder's version is aimed at U.S. citizens or visitors radicalized via the Internet. Holder said the government will continue to fight terrorists abroad.
''But we also must concern ourselves with a different type of threat. We face an escalating danger from self-radicalized individuals within our own borders,'' he said.
''Horrific terror incidents like the tragic shootings at Fort Hood and last year's Boston Marathon bombing demonstrate the danger we face from these homegrown threats,'' Holder said in the video posted on the department's website.
''Now -- as the nature of the threat we face evolves to include the possibility of individual radicalization via the Internet -- it is critical that we return our focus to potential extremists here at home,'' Holder said.
Copyright (C) 2014, Los Angeles Times
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Six Week Cycle
FBI: San Francisco man had bomb components - MontereyHerald.com :
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:15
Click photo to enlargeSan Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, right, talks about the arrest of Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II, during a news conference outside the federal building as FBI Special Agent in Charge David Johnson, left, looks on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in San Francisco. The San Francisco social media maven and former political consultant wanted on suspicion of possessing explosives is in FBI custody after a three-day manhunt. The San Francisco police caught Chamberlain, 42, on Monday afternoon in his car near Crissy Field, just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) '-- A search of a social media expert's apartment in San Francisco turned up ball bearings, screws and components needed to make a homemade bomb designed to kill or maim, the FBI said in an affidavit unsealed Tuesday.
Investigators said they found the materials inside a bag at the apartment of Ryan Kelly Chamberlain during a search over the weekend. The discovery prompted a manhunt for the 42-year-old Chamberlain that ended with his arrest Monday in San Francisco.
The bag also contained a circuit board, screw top glass jar with batteries, a wire and a powdery green substance believed to be explosive material, FBI Special Agent Michael Eldridge said in the document.
"FBI bomb technicians believe that the circuit board described above was designed to serve as a remote control, allowing detonation of the device from afar," Eldridge said. "They further believe that the device was designed to maim or kill a human being or human beings."
The FBI has not said what, if any, specific plans Chamberlain might have had for the device, or how they were alerted to the material.
Though Chamberlain was considered armed and dangerous, FBI spokesman Peter Lee reiterated Tuesday that he did not seem to pose an immediate threat to public safety.
Chamberlain appeared in federal court Tuesday after being charged with one count of possession of an illegal destructive device. He was accompanied by a public defender and did not enter a plea. He had on the same shorts and sweatshirt when police arrested him near the Golden Gate Bridge.
On Saturday, as authorities arrived to search the apartment, they spotted Chamberlain and a woman leave and drive away.
Chamberlain returned on foot about 30 minutes later, when Eldridge said he identified himself and asked if they could talk in a nearby coffee shop. After a short discussion, Chamberlain asked if he could leave, and Eldridge said he could, the document states.
Authorities tried to follow him as he drove off but decided to pull back when he began speeding and running lights, Eldridge said. Authorities then searched the apartment and found the bomb materials.
"There were particular items that were found when we executed the search warrant that caused us great concern, concern for the public's safety in the event he decided to use those in such a fashion," FBI Special Agent in Charge David Johnson said. "It was going to be a significant problem."
Chamberlain was arrested by police officers who responded to a report that a person matching Chamberlain's description had been spotted, Police Chief Greg Suhr said.
Chamberlain had spotted the officers and was taken into custody after a brief chase and struggle, Suhr said. He described Chamberlain as someone who was in crisis and getting "more desperate by the moment."
Morgan Manos, who saw the arrest, captured it on video and sold it to TV stations, told reporters at the scene that Chamberlain looked surprised and frantic.
"They took him down hard," Manos said.
Alex Clemens, a partner of the San Francisco-based Barbary Coast Consulting, said Chamberlain is well known in city political circles and had been a fixture on the campaign trails for more than a decade. His work ended in the field several years ago.
Clemens, who briefly hired Chamberlain in 2009 for a project, said people who know Chamberlain are stunned.
"I believe there's been a failure in his support system. I'm sad for that," Clemens said. "I hope he will reach out to those who will help him."
'--'--'--
Associated Press writers Garance Burke and Channing Joseph in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Cyber!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SQUIRREL!-Cyber Attack 'To Hit In Next Two Weeks'
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:49
Computer users are being urged to protect their machines from malware which allows hackers to steal financial data.
British investigators have been working with the FBI to trace the hackers behind ongoing attacks, and the botnet system used by the targets has been temporarily disrupted.
But the UK's National Crime Agency says people have just two weeks before the system could be functioning again, and urged people to protect their computers from an expected "powerful computer attack".
Bogachev is said to use the online monikers 'lucky12345' and 'slavik'Between 500,000 and one million machines have so far been infected worldwide, according to court documents.
US officials have accused a Russian hacker of masterminding the scam - and prosecutors say those involved have already raked in more than $100m (£60m).
The NCA is urging people to back up important files and make sure their security software and operating system are up to date.
Two pieces of malware software known as GOZeuS and CryptoLocker are responsible for the alert.
They typically infect a computer via attachments or links in emails.
If a user clicks on GOZeuS, it silently monitors activity and tries to capture information such as bank details.
"(The links or attachments) may look like they have been sent by genuine contacts and may purport to carry invoices, voicemail messages, or any file made to look innocuous," the NCA warned.
"These emails are generated by other victims' computers, who do not realise they are infected, and are used to send mass emails creating more victims."
The Cryptolocker malware is activated if the first attack is not profitable enough.
It locks a user from their files and threatens to delete them unless a "ransom" of several hundred pounds is paid.
Some 234,000 machines were hit by Cryptolocker - bringing in $27m (£16m) in payments - in its first two months, the US Justice Department said.
Computers running Windows software are said to be most vulnerableMore than 15,500 computers in the UK are infected and "many more" are at risk, according to the NCA.
Stewart Garrick, a senior investigator with the NCA, told Sky News the threat was mainly against individuals or businesses running Windows-based computers.
Thirty-year-old Russian Evgeniy Bogachev is the alleged leader of the gang behind the attacks, FBI executive assistant director Robert Anderson told a news conference in Washington DC.
US and other agents seized servers around the world this weekend and freed 300,000 computers from the infection.
"They (the FBI) have disrupted the network and taken control of it," said Sky's Tom Cheshire.
"So when the hackers try to speak to the computer that's affected, that line of communication has been cut off.
"You now have a chance to clean up. The first thing you should do is update your operating system - especially if you're on Windows, then look to scan your computer for viruses and it should be able to find it."
For more information visit www.getsafeonline.org/nca.
Global police operation disrupts aggressive Cryptolocker virus | Technology | The Guardian
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:55
US authorities named Russian national Evgeniy Bogachev as the face of a malicious software scheme responsible for stealing millions from people around the world, after a successful campaign to disrupt two major computer networks.
Digital police from across the globe announced they had seized control over the weekend of two computer networks that had been used to steal banking information and ransom information locked in files on infected computers. But they warned people with infected computers to take action now to prevent further attacks.
US and European officials announced they had managed to crack the malicious software (malware) known as Gameover Zeus that had been used to divert millions of dollars to bank accounts of criminals. The authorities have also cracked Cryptolocker '' a viral scam that shutout hundreds of thousands of users from their own computers and ransomed the data.
The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) told British victims that they have a two-week window to protect themselves, after working with the FBI, Europol and other law enforcement bodies to temporarily seize control of the global network of infected computers.
The US authorities identified Bogachev, of Anapa in the Russian Federation, as Gameover Zeus's main administrator. At a press conference, deputy attorney general James Cole called him ''a true 21st-century criminal who commits cybercrimes across the globe with the stroke of a key and the click of a mouse '...These crimes have earned Bogachev a place on its list of the world's most-wanted cyber criminals.''
According to the FBI's ''cyber most wanted'' list Bogachev has been using variants of the Zeus malware since 2009 and communicates using the online monikers ''lucky12345'' and ''slavik''. Gameover Zeus (GOZ) started appearing in 2011 and is believed to be ''responsible for more than one million computer infections, resulting in financial losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars''.
"He is known to enjoy boating and may travel to locations along the Black Sea in his boat," according to the FBI.
The Cryptolocker software locked PC users out of their machines, encrypting all their files and demanding payment of one Bitcoin (currently worth around £300, or $650) for decryption.
It's believed Cryptolocker, which the FBI estimated acquired $27m in ransom payments in just the first two months of its life, has infected more than 234,000 machines.
A chief suspect from Russia has been identified, but is still at large, Troels Oerting, head of Europol's European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) told the Guardian. He said other arrests related to the operation were ''in progress''.
The global effort to stop the spread of the Cryptolocker ransomware has focused on its delivery method, GOZ. The malware connected infected machines by peer-to-peer connections '' in theory making it harder for the authorities to track and stop.
GOZ was designed to steal people's online banking login details, who were usually infected by clicking on attachments or links in emails that looked innocuous. However, it also dropped Cryptolocker on their computers.
"Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals," said Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit.
"By making use of this two-week window, huge numbers of people in the UK can stop that from happening to them. Whether you find online security complicated or confusing, or simply haven't thought about keeping your personal or office computers safe for a while, now is the time to take action."
Affected users are being advised to update their operating system software and security software, and also to "think twice before clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails".
Not-for-profit body Get Safe Online has worked with the NCA to launch a dedicated section of its website to provide guidance and tools, although at the time of publication the website appeared to be offline.
Behind the scenes, the law enforcement groups have been taking over points of control in GOZ's peer-to-peer network: an action known as "sinkholing" in the security world. By doing this, they have been able to cut off criminal control over the infected computers.
Dismantling peer-to-peer operated malware is difficult, but it has been done before: for example one case of a data-stealing virus called ZeroAccess, which infected as many as 1.9m PCs in 2013.
In that case, security researchers from Symantec managed to send lists of fake peers to infected machines, which meant they could no longer receive commands from the controllers of the malicious network, known as a botnet.
Symantec researchers said today that key nodes in GOZ's network had been disabled, along with a number of the domains used by the attackers.
Oerting told The Guardian the entire GOZ's operations infrastructure had been sinkholed, meaning the malware should ''not reappear for '... considerable time''.
Although arrests have not yet been made, Oerting believes the eventual impact will be ''great''. ''[It will not last] forever, but the infrastructure is gone and the criminals will have to build and distribute from scratch,'' he added.
BBC News - Android Simplelocker ransomware encrypts SD card files
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 19:44
4 June 2014Last updated at 12:57 ET By Leo KelionTechnology desk editorA security firm says it has found the first confirmed case of ransomware that encrypts files held by Android devices.
Eset reports that the Trojan - called Simplelocker - targets SD cards slotted into tablets and handsets, electronically scrambling certain types of files on them before demanding cash to decrypt the data.
The message is in Russian, and payment is requested in Ukrainian currency.
One expert said the threat was noteworthy, but limited at this stage.
"File-encrypting malware has proved to be a lucrative criminal enterprise so it is unsurprising that Android has become a new target," said Dr Steven Murdoch, of the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory.
"Smartphone users should be very cautious of installing software from sources other than the operating system-provided application store, and should pressure their phone supplier to promptly provide security updates to defend against known vulnerabilities."
He noted that networks often lagged or failed altogether to provide Google's security patches for older Android handsets.
Porn alertSlovakia-based Eset said affected device owners were presented with a message saying that their phone was locked because they had viewed and distributed "child pornography , zoophilia and other perversions".
It goes on to instruct the victims to pay 260 hryvnias ($22, £13) via the Ukrainian MoneXy cash transfer system.
"After payment your device will be unlocked within 24 hours. In case of no PAYMENT YOU WILL LOSE ALL DATA ON your device!" it added.
The security firm said that the types of files that could be encrypted included jpeg and gif images, dox and txt text files, and mkv, avi and mp4 media.
It added that information about the infected device would also be uploaded to the server computer used by the cyber-thieves, potentially to help them ensure the right data was decrypted when a payment was received.
This server was hosted on a hidden part of the internet called Tor, Eset added, making the scam hard to trace.
"Our analysis... revealed that we are most likely dealing with a proof-of-concept or a work in progress - for example, the implementation of the encryption doesn't come close to 'the infamous Cryptolocker' on Windows," wrote security researcher Robert Lipovsky.
"Nevertheless, the malware is fully capable of encrypting the user's files, which may be lost if the encryption key is not retrieved.
"While the malware does contain functionality to decrypt the files, we strongly recommend against paying up - not only because that will only motivate other malware authors to continue these kinds of filthy operations, but also because there is no guarantee that the crook will keep their part of the deal and actually decrypt them."
Although this is the first reported instance of Android ransomware encrypting files, there have been other types.
Last month a security researcher known as Kafeine reported about a variant that prevented Android apps from launching, effectively making infected devices useless, unless a $300 payment was made.
Before that, the security firm Symantec reported about an app that caused pop-up warnings to repeatedly appear, which could not easily be closed unless a fee was paid.
Powerful computer virus could start emptying bank accounts in a fortnight unless Britons protect against attack now, National Crime Agency warns
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:34
00m cybercrime mastermindMore than 15,000 in the UK may already be infected by 'Gameover Zeus'The virus could cost the British economy millions, experts warnThe software can also lock computers and demand a ransom to unlockRussian Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev accused of being virus mastermindAlleged gang also consists of British criminals, according to prosecutorsBut he may never be arrested as Russia do not extradite accused criminals to other countriesBy Chris Greenwood
Published: 15:11 EST, 2 June 2014 | Updated: 15:54 EST, 3 June 2014
4,706shares
1,072
Viewcomments
The U.S. Justice Department has filed papers accusing Russian Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, pictured, as being the leader of the gang behind the software
He is wanted for being the alleged mastermind in a global multi-million dollar cyber crime which has put thousands of British computer users at risk.
But the Russian man suspected of being behind the so-called Gameover Zeus ransom virus may become a thorn in the FBI's side - in the same way as ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. over claims he leaked secret surveillance documents.
Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev was last night accused of being the head of an international gang behind the software.
But there are already fears that the 30-year-old may never be arrested as Russia does not extradite accused criminals to other countries.
It comes as Computer users were last night warned to take urgent action to protect themselves from a global cyber virus pandemic.
Police across the globe launched an unprecedented attack on high-tech criminals behind software causing misery to millions.
The computers of more than 15,000 people in the UK are already infected with a virus that could cost our economy 'millions', the National Crime Agency (NCA) warned.
But the grip of those behind the so-called 'malware' has been weakened by a counter attack on the servers which control the software.
Prosecutors have pointed the finger at Bogachev who they claimed was the head of a set-up consisting of criminals in the UK as well as in Russia and Ukraine.
Computer experts said computer users must install anti-virus software and update their operating systems to the latest versions to stop it regaining its hold.
Those who fail to do so risk having their valuable data, including precious photographs, music and personal files held to ransom.
The FBI called the alleged ringleader, 30-year-old Evgeniy Bogachev, one of the most prolific cyber criminals in the world and issued a 'Wanted' poster, pictuted, that lists his online monikers and describes him as a boating enthusiast
In the worst cases, victims could lose access to their bank accounts which could be systematically drained by the criminal network.
The software, called Gameover Zeus, has spread worldwide but has been temporarily disabled by the international effort by law enforcement agencies.
Potential victims can protect themselves but have only a short time to do so before the hackers can rebuild their network.
The international effort by forces including the NCA, Interpol and Europol, targeted the 'command and control' servers behind the virus.
Hackers will be able to install new ones, but it is thought that there will be a window of opportunity of at least two weeks for computer users to protect themselves.
Many of those whose computers have already been infected will be contacted by their internet service providers.
The software installs itself on a computer when the victim clicks on a link in an unsolicited email or via a website.
Scroll down for video
In the worst cases, victims could lose access to their bank accounts which could be systematically drained
PRIME SUSPECT: THE RUSSIAN BOAT-LOVER WANTED BY THE FBICould Russian Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, pictured, be the behind the global cyber virus pandemic?
He is the man suspected of being behind a gang that has sparked a global cyber virus pandemic.
But the FBI has already spent years looking for Russian Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev who uses the online names 'lucky12345' and 'slavik'.
The 30-year-old is wanted for his alleged involvement in a 'racketeering enterprise' that installed malicious software known as 'Zeus' on victims' computers.
The software was used to capture bank account numbers, passwords, personal identification numbers, and other information needed to log into online banking accounts.
The FBI believes Bogachev knowingly acted in a role as an administrator while others involved in the scheme conspired to distribute spam and phishing emails, which contained links to compromised websites.
Victims who visited these web sites were infected with the malware, which Bogachev and others allegedly used to steal money from the victims' bank accounts.
This online account takeover fraud has been investigated by the FBI since the summer of 2009.
Starting in September 2011, the FBI began investigating a modified version of the Zeus Trojan, known as Gameover Zeus (GOZ).
It is believed GOZ is responsible for more than one million computer infections, resulting in financial losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
On August 22, 2012, Bogachev was indicted under the nickname 'lucky12345' by a federal grand jury in the District of Nebraska on a number of charges including Bank Fraud, Conspiracy to Violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Aggravated Identity Theft.
On May 19, 2014, Bogachev was indicted in his true name by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania on charges of Conspiracy, Computer Fraud, Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud and Money Laundering.
Then just days ago on May 30, a criminal complaint was issued in the District of Nebraska that ties the previously indicted nickname of 'lucky12345' to Bogachev and charges him with Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud.
He is described as white with brown hair (though his head is usually shaved) and brown eyes. He is 5ft 9ins tall and weighs around 180 pounds (82kg).
Bogachev was last known to live in Anapa, Russia. He is believed to enjoy boating and may travel to locations along the Black Sea in his boat. He also owns property in Krasnodar, Russia.
It then sends out more emails to lure further victims, without the knowledge of the computer users, and spreads quickly across the internet.
The virus lays dormant until it spots an opportunity to steal personal details such as online banking information and passwords.
It then transmits this information back to the criminal network who use it to drain the victim's accounts.
In a further twist, if the user is not a 'viable' victim then the software locks the information on the computer and holds it to ransom.
At the moment the software demands one Bitcoin, an untraceable form of online currency favoured by criminals, which is around £300.
The U.S. Government admitted that at least one police force has been forced to pay this ransom to release sensitive files.
The software can lock the information on a computer and hold it to ransom - one Bitcoin, an untraceable form of online currency favoured by criminals, which is around £300. File picture
Last night, the U.S. Justice Department filed papers accusing a Russian named Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev as being the leader of the gang behind the software.
The complaint claims the software has been responsible for the loss of more than $100m from individuals and a string of major companies.
Bogachev's operation, prosecutors say, consisted of criminals in Russia, Ukraine and the UK who were assigned different roles within the conspiracy.
Andy Archibald, of the NCA, said: 'Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals.
'By making use of this two-week window, huge numbers of people in the UK can stop that from happening to them.
'Whether you find online security complicated or confusing, or simply haven't thought about keeping your personal or office computers safe for a while, now is the time to take action.
'Our message is simple: update your operating system and make this a regular occurrence, update your security software and use it and, think twice before clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails.'
While Bogachev has not been arrested, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said U.S. authorities were in contact with Russia to try to bring him into custody.
Computer users who fear they could fall victim to the virus are advised to install anti-virus software and ensure their operating system has the latest security updates.
It is thought that the gang first check if a target's keyboard is in Russian and only strike if it is another language.
Eunice Power is one British victim who has been blackmailed by the cyber criminals.
After corrupting files on her computer, the gang offered to fix the problem for several hundred pounds.
US says Russian national committed cyber crimes
HOW USERS CAN PROTECT THEIR COMPUTERS AGAINST MALWARE ZEUSPotential victims can protect themselves but have only a short time to do so before the hackers - whose attempts have been temporarily thwarted - can rebuild their network.
The US Department of Homeland Security urged users to install anti-virus software on their computer and ensure that the latest operating systems were also installed on their computers.
If systems do not offer automatic updates, people should enable it, the department said.
It also advised changing passwords, as original passwords may have been compromised during the infection.
The National Crime Agency advised computer users to consult the Government-backed getsafeonline.org website.
From that website, computer users can download tailored anti-virus software which has been provided for free by eight companies.
Symantec also advised computer users to review all their bank and credit card statements for irregularities.
It also advised being cautious when handling unsolicited or unexpected emails, particularly during the two-week window before hackers rebuild their network.
Experts have also warned users to back-up all valuable data.
Many of those whose computers have already been infected will be contacted by their internet service providers.
Miss Power, a chef who runs a business from home, told Channel 4 News: 'I could actually feel perspiration coming out through me.
'I lost everything: family photographs, recipes, payroll, my accounts package. It was devastating.'
The attack was so complex that an external storage unit that was connected to the computer at the time was targeted by the gang, preventing Miss Power from accessing it.
AEV Ltd, a varnish factory in Birkenhead, was hit with 'utter disaster' when the criminals hacked into the company's bank account to fake two payments costing £100,000.
The criminals created two fake payment pages and tricked an employee of the company into authorising them.
Managing director Jonathan Kemp said: 'It started out as a normal day and ultimately by the afternoon in a period of three minutes we were £100,000 down.'
Although the company was refunded by the bank, Mr Kemp said he spoke to other companies who had been hit by the scam, accumulating their losses at £3.5 million.
Stewart Garrick, from the National Cyber Crime Unit, said that solicitor firms, police stations in America and academic institutions had been targeted.
Charlie McMurdie, former head of the national ecrime unit, described the threat as a 'cyber plague' and warned that it could also be used to target mobile phones.
She said: 'Once one of these plagues is released everybody will pick up on it, adapt it and people around the world will be using these sorts of virus to carry out crime.
'It's not just computers, this kind of malware is now being hitting our mobile phones.'
'It can have a significant impact on individuals and companies.'
She said that the virus 'had been known about for a long period of time' and said that warnings about the virus had been issued over the last few months.
Share or comment on this article
US disrupts hacking schemes that stole millions
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:01
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Justice Department can continue to intercept information from 350,000 computers worldwide that are known to be infected with a data-stealing virus being spread by an alleged Russian computer hacker and his conspirators, a federal judge said.Justice Department attorneys told U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab the affected computers will remain linked to a government-provided substitute Internet server until the malicious software can be removed. The substitute server lets the government track the Internet addresses of the infected computers and pass them on to Internet service providers or government agencies in countries, so that computer-owners can be alerted to infections.The hackers are allegedly led by a 30-year-old Russian man, Evgeniy Bogachev, who is not in custody. The hackers infected computers with a piece of malicious software that captured bank information used to drain more than $100 million from accounts or another that locked computer files until ransom payments were made.Tuesday's hearing on the preliminary injunction was held in Pittsburgh, where the Justice Department has charged Bogachev with siphoning more than $370,000 from a western Pennsylvania plastics firm using the virus known as Gameover Zeus.The injunction issued Tuesday extends a temporary order the judge issued last week when Justice Department attorneys notified the court of the scam in sealed documents.Since then, the government has moved to seize key computer servers in Canada, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which were used to spread the ransom-demanding virus known as Cryptolocker. Victims included the Swansea, Massachusetts, police department, which paid a $750 ransom using the virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock its computer files.Other businesses, including an eastern Pennsylvania assisted living company and a North Carolina pest control firm, paid $70,000 and $80,000, respectively, to have employees or computer experts fix their Cryptolocker-infected computers.Schwab issued his order based on a 28-page report filed by a Pittsburgh FBI computer expert, Special Agent Elliott Peterson. Among other things, the report says 230,000 computers had been infected by Cryptolocker since mid-2013, including 120,000 in the United States. It's unknown how many of those computer owners paid ransoms to unlock their files, the report said.The Cryptolocker servers have been "dismantled," Justice Department attorney Ethan Arenson told the judge.Additionally, "350,000 infected computers have been liberated from the Gameover Zeus botnet" - an automated network spawned by the data-stealing virus - by connecting them to the government's substitute server, Arenson said.Those computer owners can get help removing the malicious software at a website maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, https://www.us-cert.gov/gameoverzeus .Judge Schwab granted the injunction after no one representing Bogachev or the other alleged hackers appeared in court to contest it. The judge ordered the government attorneys to file a report by July 11 to update the progress being made to fix infected computers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Secret Service Software Will 'Detect Sarcasm' in Social Media Users - Nextgov.com
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 23:08
Aliya Sternstein | Nextgov | June 2, 2014 | 0 Comments
Matthew Holst/APThe Secret Service is purchasing software to watch users of social networks in real time, according to contract documents.
In a work order posted on Monday, the agency details information the tool will collect -- ranging from emotions of Internet users to old Twitter messages.
Its capabilities will include ''sentiment analysis,'' "influencer identification," "access to historical Twitter data," ''ability to detect sarcasm," and "heat maps" or graphics showing user trends by color intensity, agency officials said.
The automated technology will "synthesize large sets of social media data" and "identify statistical pattern analysis" among other objectives, officials said.
The tool also will have the "functionality to send notifications to users,'' they said.
A couple of years ago, the Homeland Security Department, the agency's parent, got in trouble with lawmakers and civil liberties groups for a social media program that would work, in part, by having employees create fake usernames and profiles to spy on other users.
A House Homeland Security Committee panel called DHS officials into a hearing after reports the department tasked analysts with collecting data that reflected negatively on the government, such as content about the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to a Michigan jail. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued DHS for more information on the program.
Employees within the Secret Service's Office of Government and Public Affairs will be using the new system, agency officials said.
Here is a full list of the software's required functions:
Real-time stream analysis;Customizable, keyword search features;Sentiment analysis;Trend analysis;Audience segmentation;Geographic segmentation;Qualitative, data visualization representations (heat maps, charts, graphs, etc.);Multiple user access;Functionality to have read-only users;Access to historical twitter data;Influencer identification;Standard web browser access with login credentials;User level permissions;Compatibility with Internet Explorer 8;Section 508 compliant;Ability to detect sarcasm and false positives;Functionality to send notifications to users;Functionality to analyze data over a given period of time;Ability to quantify the agency's social media outreach/footprint;Vendor-provided training and technical/customer support;Ability to create custom reports without involving IT specialists; andAbility to search online content in multiple languages.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SnowJob
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Edward Snowden NSA whistleblowing story to be filmed by Oliver Stone | Film | theguardian.com
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:41
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. His story is being adapted into a film by director Oliver Stone. Photograph: Guardian
He has tackled the Kennedy assassination and the Watergate break-in, the Vietnam conflict and the Bush administration's "war on terror". Now the Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone is set to whip up fresh controversy with his adaptation of The Snowden Files, an account of the ongoing NSA scandal written by the Guardian journalist Luke Harding.
Stone's thriller will focus on the experiences of the American whistleblower Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency who leaked thousands of classified documents to the former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald back in June 2013. The film is to be produced by Stone's regular business partner Moritz Borman, with Harding and other Guardian journalists serving as production and story consultants.
"This is one of the greatest stories of our time," Stone, 67, said in a statement. "A real challenge. I'm glad to have the Guardian working with us." Stone's previous films include Platoon, JFK and W. The director has also made documentaries on Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, together with a 2012 TV series, Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States.
Snowden's revelations, first reported in the Guardian, lifted the lid on a culture of mass government surveillance, sparked a global furore and forced the Obama administration onto the back foot. Secretary of state John Kerry later conceded that the NSA's programme had "reached too far" and should be curtailed. Snowden's fate, however, remains in the balance. The former NSA employee has been granted temporary asylum in Russia but faces a 30-year prison sentence if he returns to the US.
Published earlier this year, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man charts the political awakening of the twentysomething Snowden, a committed Republican who found his libertarian values increasingly at odds with his government's surveillance programme. A review in the New York Times hailed Harding's book as "a fast-paced, almost novelistic narrative that is part bildungsroman and part cinematic thriller."
Oliver Stone, who will direct the biopic. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images "The story of Edward Snowden is truly extraordinary, and the unprecedented revelations he brought to light have forever transformed our understanding of - and relationship with - government and technology," said Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian's editor-in-chief. "We're delighted to be working with Oliver Stone and Moritz Borman on the film."
Conceived as a European co-production, the film is due to start shooting before the end of 2014. But time is of the essence. Stone's film looks set to face competition from No Place to Hide, a rival project adapted from the book by Glenn Greenwald and overseen by James Bond producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
To his critics, Snowden remains a traitor whose actions have caused possibly irreparable damage to US intelligence capabilities. In the wake of last year's revelations, the ex-CIA director James Woolsey argued that if Snowden was convicted of treason, he should face the death penalty.
Supporters, by contrast, view the whistleblower as a patriot who acted purely in the public interest. "To me, Snowden is a hero," Stone said in July of last year. "He revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the fourth amendment."
The Guardian and the Washington Post both went on to win the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service for their groundbreaking reporting of NSA surveillance. On accepting the prize, Rusbridger paid tribute to Snowden's role in breaking the story. "The public service [citation] in this award is significant," he said. "Because Snowden performed a public service."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Google Online Security Blog: Making end-to-end encryption easier to use
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 22:42
posted by Stephan Somogyi, Product Manager, Security and PrivacyYour security online has always been a top priority for us, and we're constantly working to make sure your data is safe. For example, Gmail supported HTTPS when it first launched and now always uses an encrypted connection when you check or send email in your browser. We warn people in Gmail and Chrome when we have reason to believe they're being targeted by bad actors. We also alert you to malware and phishing when we find it.Today, we're adding to that list the alpha version of a new tool. It's called End-to-End and it's a Chrome extension intended for users who need additional security beyond what we already provide.
''End-to-end'' encryption means data leaving your browser will be encrypted until the message's intended recipient decrypts it, and that similarly encrypted messages sent to you will remain that way until you decrypt them in your browser.
While end-to-end encryption tools like PGP and GnuPG have been around for a long time, they require a great deal of technical know-how and manual effort to use. To help make this kind of encryption a bit easier, we're releasing code for a new Chrome extension that uses OpenPGP, an open standard supported by many existing encryption tools.However, you won't find the End-to-End extension in the Chrome Web Store quite yet; we're just sharing the code today so that the community can test and evaluate it, helping us make sure that it's as secure as it needs to be before people start relying on it. (And we mean it: our Vulnerability Reward Program offers financial awards for finding security bugs in Google code, including End-to-End.)
Once we feel that the extension is ready for primetime, we'll make it available in the Chrome Web Store, and anyone will be able to use it to send and receive end-to-end encrypted emails through their existing web-based email provider.
We recognize that this sort of encryption will probably only be used for very sensitive messages or by those who need added protection. But we hope that the End-to-End extension will make it quicker and easier for people to get that extra layer of security should they need it.
You can find more technical details describing how we've architected and implemented End-to-End here.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trish Regan - Bloomberg
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 21:19
Emmy-nominated investigative journalist Trish Regan is an anchor on Bloomberg Television and host of Bloomberg's daily business program, "Street Smart," which airs weekdays from 3-5 pm ET. In addition to covering the final hours of trading in the U.S., Regan anchors primetime specials for Bloomberg TV and helps to lead the network's coverage of the 2012 Presidential campaign.
Prior to joining Bloomberg in December 2011, Regan was an anchor at CNBC, where she anchored primetime documentaries and reported on major economic news, including the U.S. banking collapse of 2008 and the European debt crisis. While at CNBC, Regan reported from the G-8 summit in Germany, covered Brazil's economic boom and challenges, and interviewed Colombian President lvaro Uribe on investing in emerging markets. Regan was also a regular contributor to NBC's ''Nightly News with Brian Williams,'' the ''Today'' show, and the syndicated ''Chris Matthews Show.''
Regan joined CNBC from CBS News where she was a correspondent reporting for the ''CBS Evening News'' and a contributor to "Face the Nation" and "48 Hours." Her coverage focus at CBS News was the U.S. economy. Regan is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations and is a graduate of Columbia University.
NSA Use of Facial Recognition Stays Within Legal Boundary - Bloomberg
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 19:42
The U.S. National Security Agency complies with legal restrictions when it comes to using facial-recognition technology on citizens, according to the agency's new director.
''We do not do this in some unilateral basis against U.S. citizens,'' Admiral Michael S. Rogers said at a Bloomberg Government cybersecurity conference in Washington today. ''We have very specific restrictions when it comes to U.S. persons.''
The NSA will encounter the communications and images of Americans while pursuing its mission of collecting foreign intelligence and trying to prevent terrorism, Rogers said. In those cases, it can't collect intelligence on U.S. citizens unless it meets the appropriate legal constraints, said Rogers, who became NSA director in April.
Rogers inherits an agency grappling with a domestic and international backlash over spying exposed in documents leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden. Congress is considering measures to rein in some of NSA's data collection. In a wide-ranging interview, Rogers said he wants to change the public focus on what the agency does to how the agency exists to protect the country and the constraints it works under.
The New York Times reported June 1 that the NSA was collecting millions of online images and using facial-recognition technology to track suspected terrorists, citing documents leaked by Snowden. Facial-recognition technology uses software to match an image of a person against existing databases, such as police records.
Legal JustificationThe NSA doesn't access motor vehicle or passport databases to examine images of U.S. citizens, Rogers said.
''In broad terms, we have to stop what we're doing if we come to the realization that somebody we're monitoring or tracking has a U.S. connection that we were unaware of,'' Rogers said about using the technology. ''We have to assess the situation and if we think there is a legal basis for this and we have to get the legal authority or justification.''
In trying to shift terms of discussion, U.S. agencies, corporations and citizens need to come to terms with how data is collected and used, Rogers said.
''The idea that you can be totally anonymous in the digital age is increasingly difficult to execute,'' he said. ''We have framed this debate much too narrow from my perspective. This is much bigger than the National Security Agency.''
Rogers said Snowden's actions were illegal because he stole sensitive documents. However, he said Snowden was ''probably not'' acting on behalf of others, such as the Russian government.
Senate BillThe Senate's intelligence committee will hold a hearing next week to help develop legislation curbing the NSA's collection of bulk telephone records and other electronic data, said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel.
''We do need to make some changes in the way we handle our monitoring of individuals,'' Chambliss said at today's conference. ''It is a very delicate balance, a very delicate line we have to walk.''
The House went ''a little too far'' in a bill it passed in May making changes to the NSA's program of collecting bulk phone records, which could slow down counterterrorism investigations, Chambliss said. The House bill would require the government to get approval from a secret court in order to direct carriers to search their records.
Chambliss called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow an open debate on the chamber's floor.
Cybersecurity BillChambliss said he also is close to reaching an agreement with Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and chairman of the Senate intelligence panel, on another bill related to cybersecurity.
The bill would give companies legal protections for sharing information about hacking threats with the government, as long as they did so through a new portal that would have to be created, Chambliss said.
''There's a real possibility'' the Senate will pass the bill this year, Chambliss said. The House has already passed similar legislation.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Strohm in Washington at cstrohm1@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Romaine Bostick at rbostick@bloomberg.net Elizabeth Wasserman
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Happy in Russia, but I'd love to live in Brazil -- Snowden
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:58
Published time: June 02, 2014 08:32Edited time: June 02, 2014 18:44US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden (RIA Novosti / Valery Melnikov)
If Brazil were to offer political asylum to Edward Snowden, he would gladly accept. The whistleblower told Brazilian TV that he is certain that if he returned to the US he would be tried unfairly for revealing the NSA's global spy program.
Why would Stockholm Internet Forum blacklist Snowden from Internet freedom debate? Read here
In an interview with Fantastico, a weekly program broadcast by Brazilian Globo News, Snowden opened up about his life in Russia and said he has no regrets over what he has done. The interview is thought to have been filmed two weeks ago when a selfie of Snowden posing with David Miranda, Laura Poitras and journalist Glen Greenwald appeared online.
''I felt it was my responsibility to go public,'' he told Globo, referring to the classified data on US spy programs that he turned over to the press for publication. ''I left the free press to do what it does best: help citizens to make an informed decision about what kind of society they want to live in.''
He told Brazilian TV he is happy and living in Russia is not as bad as people make it out to be. Snowden received temporary political asylum in Russia last August after the US government canceled his passport, effectively stranding the whistleblower in one of Moscow's airports for over a month. Washington has filed for Snowden's extradition and has formally charged him under the Espionage Act.
''It's difficult being away from family and not being able to go home or be an active member of society,'' said Snowden.
His temporary political asylum in Russia will expire in two months and the whistleblower admits he has no concrete plans for the future.
''My asylum here runs out in August. If Brazil were to offer me asylum, I would be more than happy to accept,'' said Snowden, maintaining he had already filed an application for asylum last year. When told during the interview that the Brazilian government claims it never received an application for asylum, Snowden responded, ''That's news to me.''
''When I was in the [Moscow] airport, I sent applications to various countries. Brazil was one of them. It was an official application.''
For the time being, Snowden says he is taking one day at a time and is able to live a relatively normal life in Russia as he is not widely recognized when he goes out.
''People recognize me when I go to computer stores, but when I'm buying food or looking at magazines, no one recognizes me,'' said Snowden, refraining from answering whether or not he wears a disguise when he goes out. When asked if he thinks the Russian government is keeping tabs on him, Snowden said there was probably some sort of surveillance program, but he had not noticed anything.
Snowden has been condemned as a criminal in the US for revealing the espionage antics of the National Security Agency. US Secretary of State John Kerry called the whistleblower a ''coward'' and a ''traitor'' last week and called on him to face justice in the US. Snowden, however, argues his actions were always in the best interests of the US.
''You cannot be a traitor unless you have changed your allegiance to an enemy state. My allegiance has not changed. I continue to work for the American government. I don't want to destroy the government, I want to improve it, make it better.''
His leaked documents informed the public that the US government, in conjunction with European allies, gatherers and stores millions of pieces of metadata indiscriminately from regular citizens. In addition to monitoring ordinary people, the NSA also bugged the personal communications of high-ranking businessmen and world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fluoride in my cup
Studies referenced by Lancet and Harvard
Rodger Dodger
SB Co. Sheriff Bill Brown reelected
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:26
5 hours 39 minutes ago by KSBY Staff
Supporters of Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown are happy and relieved he's headed for another four years in office.
Sheriff Brown says he's excited for the upcoming term. He says there are a couple of key issues he wants to address: the $120 million Northern County Jail Project, and he wants to continue to emphasize public safety despite budget cuts over the years.
"It is a very touching feeling to see so many wonderful people come together and give you validation of what you're doing and say we have confidence in you, and we trust that you know what you're doing," said Brown.
Brown's opponent, Sandra Brown, works as a sergeant in his department, which he said was rough, but he plans to get back to business next week. Sandra Brown won 42.98 percent of the votes.
Packet Inequality
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hundreds of Cities Are Wired With Fiber'--But Telecom Lobbying Keeps It Unused | Motherboard
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 03:16
Image: Flickr/ Savannah River SiteIn light of the ongoing net neutrality battle, many people have begun looking to Google and its promise of high-speed fiber as a potential saving grace from companies that want to create an "internet fast lane." Well, the fact is, even without Google, many communities and cities throughout the country are already wired with fiber'--they just don't let their residents use it.
The reasons vary by city, but in many cases, the reason you can't get gigabit internet speeds'--without the threat of that service being provided by a company that wants to discriminate against certain types of traffic'--is because of the giant telecom businesses that want to kill net neutrality in the first place.
Throughout the country, companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, and Verizon have signed agreements with cities that prohibit local governments from becoming internet service providers and prohibit municipalities from selling or leasing their fiber to local startups who would compete with these huge corporations.
Because ISPs often double as cable and telephone companies, during contract negotiations with governments, they'll often offer incentives to the government'--such as better or faster service, earlier access to (their company's) cable internet for residents, and the like'--in exchange for a non-compete clause.
To be clear, these are often strictly local agreements between cities and cable giants.
In Washington DC, for instance, the country's first 100 Gbps fiber network has been available to nonprofit organizations since 2006'--but not to any of the city's residents. During a re-negotiation with Comcast in 1999 in which the company threatened to cut off cable service to the city, Comcast agreed to provide some of its fiber access to the city for the government's "exclusive use."
"The 1999 agreement was conditioned in important ways," former Obama administration assistant and Harvard University researcher Susan Crawford wrote in a recent paper examining the city's fiber network. "First, the city agreed not to lease or sell the fiber. Second, the contract required that the city not 'engage in any activities or outcomes that would result in business competition between the District and Comcast or that may result in loss of business opportunity for Comcast.'"
Comcast never even made its fiber available to the city, but that agreement, and a future one with Verizon, has, in part, kept the city's DC-NET fiber network out of residents' homes.
''The intent was never to take the business away from Verizon or Comcast,'' Anil Sharma, director of operations for DC-NET, told Washington City Paper last year. ''Our target audience always was community anchor institutions.''
What happened in DC is not uncommon. According to MuniNetworks, a group that tracks community access to fiber nationwide, at least 20 states have laws or other regulatory barriers that make it illegal or difficult for communities to offer fiber access to their residents. Even in states where there are no official rules, non-compete agreements between government and big business are common.
These are the cities and towns where residents can access community fiber. Image: MuniNetworksWhat happens then are so-called "middle-mile" projects, where government buildings, schools, and nonprofit groups can be wired up, but expanded access to consumers is met with stiff lobbying opposition and threats from larger ISPs.
"A full fiber-to-the-premises model, on the other hand, might attract the attention of the entire national communications industry and related industries," New America Foundation researchers wrote in a May report called "The Art of the Possible: An Overview of Public Broadband Options." "That is because the competition enabled by a high-capacity fiber-to-the-premises infrastructure would be perceived as a direct challenge to the interests of incumbent players in the current market structure."
There are, however, glimmers of hope.
Cities are beginning to see the importance of providing their residents with cheap, fast, and open broadband networks, and at least 89 cities and towns nationwide now offer fiber to their residents as a publicly owned utility. Patrick Lucey, one of the authors of the New America report, told me that the number of communities that actually offer fiber "doesn't capture the amount of conversations and attention that broadband infrastructure is getting."
Officials in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which offers gigabit fiber to more than 39,000 residents, said that they initially invested in fiber to "control their own destiny." Wilson, North Carolina, a city of 50,000 people, offers the fastest internet speeds in the entire state and has noticed a population growth and a marked increase in the number of businesses relocating to and forming in the city.
"A lot of these small communities have decided to make the decision to try to try to keep young people from moving away and have decided to invest in this," Lucey said. "It's not just about having broadband internet so you can watch Netflix, it's about making sure schools and first responders have the bandwidth capabilities they need. To have libraries and hospitals wired up and to give residents the chance to take advantage of it."
Fiber availability (from any company) for US residents. Image: US Broadband MapMeanwhile, cities that are already wired up but don't have restrictive agreements with a major ISP are looking for ways to lease or sell it off to smaller, local ISPs'--but, unfortunately, the business model appears elusive in many places. Despite the fact that this fiber often exists in the ground, it's expensive and cumbersome for a city'--without the help of an ISP'--to go the "last mile" to residents' homes unless it has already planned to do so (though dozens have decided to do it on their own anyway, and have had success).
San Francisco's average internet speeds don't even rank in the top 100 municipalities in the country, but, like many other places, most of the city is wired with municipal fiber that's used by government officials, police stations, and city colleges. In 2008, the city made some of that network available to low-rise public housing projects, but still doesn't offer fiber to its other residents.
"We've met with them several times over the past three years, but they can't figure out how to work with a local company," Alex Menendez, who helps run MonkeyBrains, a small ISP based in the city, told me. "They don't run a business and can't figure out how to sell it, how to price it. We would love to do fiber to the home, but it doesn't make sense for us to use the city's at the current pricing."
Menendez told me that, after paying what the city wants to charge, he'd have to sell fiber access to customers at $200 a month just to break even.
Instead, the company is trying a pilot program with the city to offer fiber to businesses in certain office buildings. The plan is to build an "island of fiber" in seven buildings in the city'--but he doesn't see the company, or the city for that matter, offering up fiber to its residents.
It's not for a lack of interest. I asked him if more people have signed up since the FCC offered up its plan to create an internet "fast lane."
"It's definitely picked up. It's been a steady flow'--we have more business than we're staffed for, and we have more business than we can do," he said. "These folks care about net neutrality, and our customers like being able to call a number and talk to someone who really controls a good size of the business."
Unfortunately, those people'--and millions of others around the country'--will have to settle for Internet speeds that are relatively run-of-the-mill, while tons of unused fiber sits beneath them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FCC May Redefine What It Means to Have 'Broadband' Internet
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:36
The Federal Communications Commission is all up in your interwebs lately. First, they're debating net neutrality, then they considered making broadband Internet a public utility, after that they're allowing paid prioritization, and now they're looking to redefine what "broadband" actually means.
High-speed Internet, as defined by the government, is four megabits per second. Anything less does not technically count as broadband Internet. You're reading this article, and if it happened to load with pictures, your speed is probably faster than 4 Mbps. While 4 Mbps might have been fine in the past, the amount of digital content jam packed into websites (see all of those links and images below and to the side of this piece?) demand higher web speeds. Video and music streaming is also on the rise '-- both require ever faster connections.
Because of our need for e-speed, the FCC is now considering redefining how many Mbps broadband requires. The FCC is debating setting that speed at 10 Mbps, or perhaps even 25 Mbps. Netflix HD streaming requires at least 5 Mbps, and that's if you're not using your connection for anything else. If you like watching a movie while video chatting, uploading pictures to Facebook, and maybe looking at some cat memes in your other browser window, you're going to need closer to 10 Mbps to be happy.
An FCC official told the Washington Post that the redefinition of speeds will also cover uploading speeds. In the event that downloading is redefined at 10 Mbps, the upload speed would be defined at 2.9 Mbps. It's currently set 1 Mbps for a "broadband" connection.
More Mbps, more cat videos, more problems for the FCC.
By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. Although Nextgov does not monitor comments posted to this site (and has no obligation to), it reserves the right to delete, edit, or move any material that it deems to be in violation of this rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Top ISPs threaten to innovate less, spend less on network upgrades
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:48
Think you hate your Internet service provider now? Pretty much all the top ISPs in the country just told the Federal Communications Commission that if they face extra regulation, they will stop investing as much as they do today in network upgrades, and they will have to stop being so innovative.
Further ReadingAT&T is just spouting "scary mumbo-jumbo," net neutrality proponent says.
The threat came today in a letter signed by the chief executives of AT&T, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Frontier, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable, 15 other companies, and industry groups such as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the CTIA Wireless Association.The companies warned the FCC not to classify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would open Internet service up to stricter ''common carrier'' rules under Title II of the Communications Act. The US has long applied common carrier status to the telephone network, providing justification for universal service obligations that guarantee affordable phone service to all Americans and other rules that promote competition and consumer choice.
Consumer advocates say common carrier status is needed for the FCC to impose strong network neutrality rules on Internet service providers. Such rules would force ISPs to treat all third-party Web services equally, not degrading competing services or speeding up Web services in exchange for payment.
Not surprisingly, that's the last thing ISPs want.
''Today's regulatory framework helps support nearly 11 million jobs annually in the US and has unleashed over $1.2 trillion of investment in advanced wired and wireless broadband networks, as well as an entirely new apps economy,'' the letter said. ''We see an average of over $60 billion poured into cable, fiber, fixed and mobile wireless, phone, and satellite broadband networks each and every year. And broadband gets better every year: the average broadband speeds jumped 25 percent in 2013 alone, highlighting there are no 'slow lanes' in today's Internet.''
"Even the potential threat'' of common carrier rules resulted in a 10 percent market cap decrease for ''some ISPs'' when the FCC considered Title II previously in 2009 and 2010, the ISPs' letter to the FCC claimed. ''Today, Title II backers fail to explain where the next hundreds of billions of dollars of risk capital will come from to improve and expand today's networks under a Title II regime,'' the ISPs wrote. ''They too soon forget that a decade ago we saw billions newly invested in the latest broadband networks and advancements once the Commission affirmed that Title II does not apply to broadband networks.''
ISPs have continually touted their investment in broadband infrastructure, although Vox pointed to the cable industry's own data today to show that investment has actually decreased.
Verizon, meanwhile, has slowed down its FiOS investments and led an astroturf campaign in New Jersey to end an obligation to build out broadband service to all residents.
Nonetheless, the ISPs' letter claimed that only the status quo, aka a ''stable regulatory framework,'' can ''promote future investment, innovation, and consumer choice."
''Under Title II, new service offerings, options, and features would be delayed or altogether foregone. Consumers would face less choice, and a less adaptive and responsive Internet,'' they wrote. ''An era of differentiation, innovation, and experimentation would be replaced with a series of 'Government may I?' requests from American entrepreneurs. That cannot be, and must not become, the US Internet of tomorrow.''
This alarmist warning comes days after AT&T claimed that common carrier rules would basically ruin the whole Internet for US customers. Consumer advocacy groups arguing on behalf of Title II have dismissed these arguments, saying AT&T falsely claimed that the FCC has no discretion in how to deploy common carrier rules. Using Title II would let the FCC ban paid prioritization agreements in which Internet service providers charge Web services for access to faster paths over their networks, proponents of common carrier rules say.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has so far resisted calls to classify broadband as a Title II service, but in the face of widespread protest decided to ask the public to weigh in on whether the FCC should issue common carrier rules on Internet service.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sonic.net CEO: Tiered Pricing 'Doesn't Make Sense' | Multichannel
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 14:31
In the view of Sonic.net CEO Dane Jasper, ISPs that charge based on speed tiers and data usage are employing policies that some consumers might view as fair, but are likewise artificially contrived by those service providers.
Installing tiered broadband services is ''just configuration. That's cost-less,'' Jasper said in a recent interview, noting that his true costs are in elements such as the loop, the building out fiber, the consumer premises equipment, providing customer care, and the sales and marketing of the product.
But he acknowledges that many consumers believe that tiered pricing is a fair proposition, because they are used to a pay-more-to-get-more model. For example, they're typically willing to shell out more for a porterhouse steak than for a petite filet.
''The difference is that in the steak [example], there's more cow. It's not artificial. There's a higher materials cost,'' Jasper said. ''But when it comes to broadband performance and speed, the limits are artificial. They sound fair, but they're entirely contrived. There isn't a cost around speed. We believe that tiered pricing doesn't make sense.''
Jasper and Sonic.net will be taking that ideology to task in the months ahead as it prepares the deployment of a fiber network to about 8,000 homes in the Bay Area city of Brentwood that will deliver a 1 Gbps broadband/voice service mix that will sell for about $40 to month.
That's the same price Sonic.net charges for a broadband/voice duo it offers on its more widely deployed copper-based plant, which reaches about 5 million California homes in 110 cities, including Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sacramento region. A small portion of Sonic.net's existing plant is all-fiber, serving Gigabit and voice service to residents in Sebastopol in the North Bay, and to a business park in Santa Rosa.
On the copper side, the big difference is speed. In that part of its footprint, Sonic.net matches a feature-filled voice product with a 20 Mbps service based on ADSL2+ technology, also for $40 per month.
''We just sell the pipe as fast as it will go,'' Jasper said.
Sonic.net is also conducting some VDSL2 trials with commercial customers that pump out 200 Mbps down by 20 Mbps upstream by bonding together eight copper pairs, but the ISP expects its single-line residential offering to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 50/10, though the ISP needs more real-world data to determine what will be realistic.
Head Start in Brentwood
In Brentwood, the commitment to the city is to start connecting homes within nine months, and to complete the buildout to 8,000 locations within fifteen months. ''We're actively in the design phase,'' Jasper said.
Sonic.net will have somewhat of a head start in that part of Brentwood, Jasper explained, because the city had foresight in 1999 to set subdivision improvement standards that included an obligation requiring developers to build conduit for future fiber buildouts. That means less digging around the
neighborhoods, through Sonic.net will still need to interconnect the patchwork of individual subdivisions.
To spur interest, Sonic.net has taken a page from the Google Fiber playbook by opened a pre-signup portal that will determine where the ISP builds out 1-Gig first. Sonic.net will also offer those residences an option to get a 5 Mbps Internet service for five years for free, in exchange for a one-time $300 connection fee.
Sonic.net has also agreed to build out at least one Brentwood neighborhood that doesn't have the pre-built fiber conduits, and will use a demand-based approach to make that determination. Demand for that conduit-free neighborhood ''needs to be substantial,'' Jasper said.
Under this initial sign-up period, Sonic.net is not asking for a service commitment (that will happen in a later phase), but as part of the survey the ISP is also gauging interest on whether prospective customers would also be interested in a TV package. Jasper said about 550 residents completed the survey during the first six days it was posted.
Sonic.net's long-term goal, though, is to overbuild itself and convert all customers to fiber.
''And when that happens, the price stays the same. They'll just get an uncapped, untiered, unlimited fiber service,'' Jasper said.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ottomania
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Erdogan accuses CNN of acting 'like spies'
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:49
Published time: June 03, 2014 16:48Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
Turkey's prime minister has accused CNN of behaving like spies in an address to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party, after the US channel's reporter was arrested live on air last Saturday during a crackdown on protesters in Istanbul.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan ramped up his rhetoric against the western media Tuesday and blasted Ivan Watson, a correspondent for CNN International who was detained during a live broadcast on the anniversary of the Gezi Park protests on May 31.
This is not the first time Erdogan has criticized the activities of the foreign media in Turkey. Last year he accused them of being biased in their reporting of the Gezi Park protests.
''CNN International made an eight-hour broadcast during last year's Gezi events. Why? To stir up trouble in my country. This year, they have been caught red-handed,'' Erdogan said during a weekly address to his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament.
''International media organizations who came to Istanbul for provocative and exaggerated broadcasts were left empty-handed,'' Erdogan added, in an apparent reference to the arrest of Watson.
The embattled Turkish PM, who has limited the freedom of speech in his own country, including slapping a ban on Twitter and YouTube, accused CNN of being spies.
''[CNN] doesn't care about a free, impartial and independent press. They are assigned to work like spies,'' he said.
Demonstrators who were marking a year since nationwide protests against Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule were violently dispersed by police Saturday.
In Istanbul, riot police fired tear gas and water cannon against protesters who had amassed on the city's side streets in order to stop them reaching Taksim Square, the center of last year's uprising. A total of 76 people were detained and 14 were injured in clashes with police, according to Turkey's Human Rights Association (Ä°HD). Istanbul police chief Selami Altinok put the figure of arrests late Saturday at up to 120, the Anadolu news agency reported.
RT's correspondent Sara Firth, who was on the scene in Istanbul, tweeted that there were thousands of police in the area of the city surrounding Taksim. She was caught in the tear gas used by police officers.
The police detained Watson's news team as it was in the middle of a live broadcast on Taksim Square.
''Turkish police released the CNN team after half an hour. Officers apologized for another officer who kneed me while I was being detained,'' Watson said on Twitter.
Erdogan has also denounced Der Spiegel and the BBC's Turkish service over their reporting of the Soma mining disaster last month.
Der Spiegel was forced to withdraw their Turkey reporter Hasnain Kazim after he received death threats following his reporting of the mine disaster.
Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported that Kazim received around 10,000 threats from supporters of Erdogan's AKP Party via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook, after he wrote an article with the headline ''Go to hell, Erdogan,'' a direct quote from a miner in Soma who was incensed at the prime minister's remark that mining accidents were natural disasters.
Last year's nationwide protests were initially sparked by plans to uproot trees in Istanbul's iconic Gezi Park next to Taksim Square and build a shopping mall on it.
Demonstrators complained that it was one of the last green spaces in the center of Istanbul, and the police's heavy-handed response caused the protests to mushroom in size and intensity.
Three weeks of violent protests followed, leaving six people killed and thousands injured. Another half a dozen people were killed in the ensuing months as the protests continued to simmer.
Erdogan has previously called the protesters extremists and accused them of trying to derail his government's economic achievements over the past few years.
Many of the protesters at Gezi who were from a variety of political backgrounds and mainly young, accuse Erdogan, who is a religious conservative, of authoritarian rule.
Erdogan also insisted in his Tuesday address that the police were evenhanded in their handling of the Gezi protests and promised to screen footage of police crackdowns in other parts of the world.
''So I don't have the right to defend my police? Can such a thing be possible? Go and do this in the United States. Go and do it in Britain and Spain. Those who continually show our police as a target should see how they act in the world,'' he said.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Russia and Turkey agree on Gulen
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:51
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) talks with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu during their meeting in Moscow, Jan. 25, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)
Author: Vitaly Naumkin Posted June 1, 2014
Relations between Russia and Turkey today remain stable and friendly, despite being severely tested by the Syrian crisis and the deterioration of Russia's ties with the West due to the events in Ukraine.
Summary'Ž Print Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Moscow this week, where he found some common ground with the Russian government on Gulen, while continuing to disagree on Syria.According to Russian Turkey experts Natalia Ulchenko and Pavel Shlykov, "in the current format, relations between Moscow and Ankara have reached their 'growth limits': The current model of mainly economic cooperation has largely exhausted itself, while the potential for collaboration on political issues remains untapped." Thus, the situation around Syria has taken "the trust deficit to a whole new level." So, can Moscow keep up the momentum in its dealings with Ankara, or will existing differences cause significant damage?
One of the main issues on the agenda for the talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, held during the latter's visit to Moscow in late May (just after the presidential elections in Ukraine), was Crimea. Although Turkey has not recognized the legality of Russia's annexation of Crimea, the Turkish foreign minister has pointed to the positive side of this move. Turkey, where nearly 5 million descendants of the Crimean Tatars live, is not indifferent to the fate of their kinsmen in Crimea. As was reported, Davutoglu intended to speak in favor of the fact that they "should benefit from rights of autonomy like when they were under Ukrainian administration." It was still unclear, however, to which rights of autonomy the Turkish foreign minister was referring.
During his visit, Davutoglu emphasized that Turkey considers the Crimean Tatars "the indigenous population of the peninsula," noting its "multi-cultural structure." His statement was therefore significant, that "a revival of Cold War behaviors in the world and specifically in the Black Sea basin would not serve any country's interest." The Turkish foreign minister received, with obvious approval, Lavrov's statement that "for the preservation of the Crimean Tatar culture, centres, schools and theatres will be opened." Lavrov's remarks that both parties should assess the problems in Ukraine and Syria on the basis of mutual understanding imply that while disagreements remain, they are unlikely to spill over into an open polemic.
Incidentally, during the Ukrainian crisis both Turkish and Russian media started discussing Ankara's possible claims on Crimea. Recall that the Crimean Khanate '-- once a vassal of Turkey '-- became independent from the Sublime Porte with the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji in 1774. It then came under the protectorate of the Russian Empire until finally becoming part of it in 1783. With the Treaty of Jassy in 1791, Russia secured the entire Northern Black Sea littoral, including Crimea. In 1954, some Turkish media, despite the thaw in relations between Russia and Turkey (in May 1953, Moscow had announced the withdrawal of territorial claims against Turkey, put forward after the Second World War), considered the February 19 transfer of Crimea by the USSR leadership from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian SSR a violation of the Russian-Turkish agreement reached a century and a half earlier. Turkish authorities did not officially react, however.
In the new reality, as I can tell from the results of the visit, the Crimean problem not only didn't poison Russian-Turkish relations, but has even revealed some new prospects for cooperation, taking into account long-term Turkish interests and concerns. Thus, Russian officials, commenting on the outcome of the talks, paid special attention to the energy cooperation between the two countries. According to Lavrov, Russia and Turkey noted that the implementation of the South Stream pipeline project and the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, are progressing well. Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin stated that the laying of this pipeline through Serbia and Bulgaria is on schedule: the pipeline will be built through Serbia during 2014, while the first gas delivery will flow through it in 2016.
Paradoxically, what today promotes the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey is Moscow's extremely negative attitude toward the activities and ideas of Fethullah Gulen. In the past, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) were allied with the leader of this Islamic sect '-- which is taking root in many countries around the world and in which a significant portion of Turkey's population is involved, including prominent officials and, in particular, members of the security structures and the judges '-- Moscow's position acted as an irritant for Ankara. Now, however, with the Cold War flaring up between the leader of the AKP and Gulen, who resides in the United States, Moscow's position creates an interest in joint actions to limit his influence. Recall that all Gulenist schools have been closed in Russia, and in 2012 numerous books by this ideologue were included in the federal list of extremist literature by a Russian court decision.
Yet, in Russian public opinion the attitude toward Gulen as an ideologue is ambiguous. This can be convincingly illustrated, in particular, by the assessments included in a paper by an associate at the influential Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Vasily Ivanov, entitled "Fethullah Gulen's Movement: an extremist organization masquerading as supporters of 'the dialogue of civilizations.'" The author believes that Gulen's sect "glamorizes the idea of armed jihad." He lashes out at those Russian experts who try to "position Gulen as a pacifist and even as a supporter of the idea of 'non-violent resistance to evil.'" Examining the interview '' "distributed by the Gulenists" '-- with Russian expert in Islamic studies and professor at the Higher School of Economics Leonid Syukiyaynen, Ivanov writes that in it the leader of the sect "is disingenuously compared with the Indian philosopher Mahatma Gandhi, and it is deceitfully claimed that 'between Gulen and Gandhi there exists a similarity in rejecting all kinds of violence.'"
It should be noted that, even before the split between his supporters and the AKP, Gulen's rejection was shared by many Western and Turkish authors who raised concerns over the Islamization of Turkey and the prospect of losing the secular nature of the state as inscribed in the constitution. Thus, Rachel Sharon-Krespin from the Middle East Media Research Institute wrote in 2009: "Today, Turkey has over 85,000 active mosques, one for every 350 citizens '-- compared to one hospital for every 60,000 citizens '-- the highest number per capita in the world and, with 90,000 imams, more imams than doctors or teachers." She drew attention to the danger of Gulen's activities for Western societies, citing as an example a television appearance by five former Dutch teachers at Gulenist schools, in which they declared that "the Gulen community was moving step-by-step to topple the secular order."
Russian analysts paid attention to reports that a Turkish court recently issued an arrest warrant for '-- and requested that Interpol detain '-- a group of senior Israeli army personnel involved in the killing of nine Turkish citizens on board the Mavi Marmara ferryboat, which was carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. They are then-Israeli Chief of Staff Gabriel Ashkenazi, navy commander Eliezer Marom, chief of military intelligence Amos Yadlin and air force intelligence chief Avishai Levi. Referring to inside sources, Rasim Ozan Kutahyali '-- a columnist for Al-Monitor '-- claims that the Gulen movement was behind this move, as it strives to spoil Erdogan's game as he has begun the process of normalizing relations with Israel.
What seems to be important for mutual understanding between Russia and Turkey is Ankara's desire to develop relations with Orthodox Serbia, something in which Belgrade is also expressing a clear interest. Turkey has shown solidarity with the people of this country '-- who were subjected, like Bosnia and Herzegovina (and, to a lesser extent, Croatia), to the most destructive floods in history '-- by providing Serbs with financial and other material assistance. A large share of material assistance, as is known, was given by Russia, which also actively participated in the evacuation of those affected.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/06/russia-turkey-davutoglu-syria-crisis-ukraine-tatar.html
The 'managed democracies' of Putin and Erdogan.
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:08
One started his career in the KGB, the other in the IETT (Istanbul Municipality Bus Company). Yet today each stands at the pinnacle of political power in his respective homeland. One breaks "oligarchs" '-- that is, business giants '-- via jail or exile, the other imprisons more journalists than any other politician on the planet. One pockets kickbacks from construction at the Winter Olympics, the other winks at workplace safety violations in his crony's coal mine until a disaster like the recent death of 300 miners forces a wake-up. Both are examples of what has been called "managed democracy," the use and abuse of elections by strongmen who see the institutions of political freedom as nothing more than "streetcar stops" on the road to power, as one of them memorably put it.
ADVERTISEMENT
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are the Bobbsey Twins of the Black Sea. These two leaders of neighboring countries connected by a long history are also the very models of modern authoritarian rule. In principle, Erdoğan and Putin are democratically elected and constitutional leaders. In practice, they are well on their way to dictatorship. As Erdoğan once said, "Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off."Each one flaunts aggressive masculinity. The often bare-chested, horse-riding Putin holds a black belt in judo and his publicists make sure everyone knows it. As for Erdoğan, as a young man he played semi-pro soccer in a rough neighborhood of Istanbul that now houses Erdoğan Stadium. But their real talent was for amassing political power, and they show no signs of letting go.
Putin and Erdoğan each appeals to his nation's affinity for a strongman who brings order and prosperity even at the price of liberty. They each have had dramatic economic success, Putin in making Russia a petrochemical giant, Erdoğan in overseeing the greatest manufacturing, investing and building boom in Turkey's history. Meanwhile, they have persecuted opponents, muscled their way into control of television and increasingly digital media too, broken up demonstrations with brutal force, and funneled wealth and power into the hands of their cronies and supporters. Each dreams of a lost empire '-- Putin, the Soviet Union, and Erdoğan, the Ottoman Empire, and each wants to make his country great and powerful again.
Putin is the more chilling because of his ability to project power abroad. Not that Erdoğan hasn't tried, but he hasn't had much success into turning Turkey back into the arbiter of the Middle East, as it was in Ottoman days. Putin uses Russia's mineral wealth to buy influence in Europe. As Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) put it pungently, "Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country." Putin has been frustrated by Ukraine's streak of independence and democracy, but he has simply lashed back with his growing military force. He has gotten away with aggression in Crimea and he is likely to dominate eastern Ukraine if not annex it outright. Worse still, neither he nor Erdoğan is going away any time soon.
Putin has been either prime minister or president of Russia since 1999. His current, six-year term of office ends in 2018 and he is eligible to run for reelection. In 2024, term limits will kick in but Putin, who will be 71 then, could simply switch to prime minister, as he did in 2008, when he had no trouble maintaining his dominance of the state, since the de jure president was his protege Dmitry Medvedev. In short, Putin is well on his way to being president for life. It's hard not to suspect that Erdoğan has a similar ambition.
Erdoğan has been Turkey's prime minister since 2003, but term limits will soon put an end to that. Few doubt but that he will run in August in his country's first direct election for president. Although stymied in his attempt to change the constitution to grant more authority to the president, Erdoğan will surely find other ways to turn the presidency into a power base if he wins. The president holds office for five years and is eligible for a second term, which would bring Erdoğan to 2024 if he succeeds twice, at which point he would be 70.
Why do they Putin and Erdoğan each insist on holding on to power? As Mel Brooks said, "it's good to be the king," especially when the king has an agenda. No doubt each one has unfinished business to carry out, and surely each is convinced '-- or assured by his toadies '-- that he is indispensable. But they may well feel they have no choice. Once a strongman puts down the reins of power, he has to face his enemies' knives, metaphorical or otherwise. A similar logic long ago pushed Julius Caesar across the Rubicon and into war with the Roman Senate rather than give up his command. As Caesar later learned, it is unsafe for a dictator to give up his bodyguard, much less his office.
Strauss is the Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies at Cornell University.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Obama Nation
The Contraction of the U.S. Economy - No, it wasn't the Harsh Winter
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:02
Trying to predict the market is going to do is like attempting to predict the weather (though meteorologists arguably have a better track record than economists). It doesn't help when the numbers are cooked beyond recognition.
According to some, 2014 was supposed to be the year that the U.S. economy finally pulled shakes off the last remnants of the recession. A boost in new home construction was going to send a ripple of goodness throughout the economy and inflation was going to remain stable.
So far those predictions have not panned out. Rather than growing, the U.S. economy actually contracted 1% in the first quarter, inflation is rising across the board (to such a degree that even mainstream pundits are forced to acknowledge it), wages are stagnant, and a record number of Americans have completely exited the workforce, yet somehow the stock market keeps hitting new highs, and of course a rebound is just around the corner.
The official explanation for the contraction: an unusually harsh winter. This is just a temporary bump in the road. From here on out we're going up, up, up. No one in the mainstream media dares ask the obvious question: might this have something to do with the fact that the Federal Reserve began to taper down QE3 in that same period?
Of course they won't ask that question. The implications of an honest answer would be far too damaging.
Since 2009 the Federal Reserve has engaged in an unprecedented streak of money creation, which they have affectionately dubbed quantitative easing (or QE). QE3, which began in 2012, differed from previous bailouts or stimulus programs in that it had no defined end date. QE3 would continue until the Federal Reserve saw fit. So for the past two years they have injected roughly 85 billion dollars into the banking system every month.
Early this year the Fed announced that they were going to begin 'tapering' down QE3, and at this point they are only pumping around 40 billion dollars into the system each month. Eventually they say this program will be wound down completely, and interest rates will be allowed to rise. Interest rates have been held artificially at around zero since 2008.
The idea that this massive influx of money can be withdrawn, and interest rates normalized without having any effect on the economy is nonsense. That's like saying that you could remove the sun without having any effect on the earth's temperatures. Of course the effects may take a while to show themselves. The amount of sunlight hitting earth peaks in mid June in the northern hemisphere, but temperatures continue to rise well into August across most of the United States. Likewise, money that was printed months ago is still running its course, that's why we're seeing prices rise across the board, and record highs in the stock market. However for the average Joe, this hasn't translated into an improved standard of living.
By the official numbers, unemployment is down, sitting around 6%, however no one likes to mention the fact that the government arrives at this figure only by omitting those who have given up and are no longer looking for a job. As of May, 2014, 92 million working age Americans have completely left the labor force. That's almost 1/3 of the U.S. population, and they are not being counted! Just by itself, this is an astounding figure, but it is completely in line with several other real world indicators. For example, according to a study by Pew research, more than 1 in 3 millennials (people between the age of 18 and 31) are living with their parents, and the USDA estimates that roughly 101 million Americans are currently receiving food assistance from the federal government. Taken as a whole, the message is clear, at least one third of America's population is struggling financially to some degree.
But don't worry, we're in a recovery. Hey just look at the S&P 500.
This disconnect between the performance of the stock market and the reality on the ground has been growing, and the cause should be obvious to any honest observer. QE3 is just a new spin on trickle down economics, and trickle down economics doesn't work.
If you inject billions of dollars into the banking system, it will boost the stock market, but though most mainstream economist consider this and GDP to be the primary measures of economic health, it's not going to help those who actually work for a living. That should be obvious at this point. Furthermore, this disconnect can't continue forever. The stock market may ride a wave of irrational exuberance to a new set of highs for a while (or the Fed may pull back from the taper), but what goes up, must come down. When it does, they'll have a new excuse ready.
Get moreGet more content from us through googleplus!
Bank$sters
This New Libor 'Scandal' Will Cause A Terrifying Financial Crisis - Forbes
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 01:21
Log in with your social account:Or, you can log in or sign up using Forbes.New PostsMost PopularHighest-Paying DiplomasListsMost Powerful WomenVideo10 Years Of Power Women12 Stocks to BUY NowHelp|Connect
|Sign up|Log in
Ex-banker falls 1000ft off cliff in fatal Highlands hiking accident
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:51
A former banker has died after plunging 1000ft off a cliff in a hillwalking accident in the Highlands.
Daniel Leaf, 55, from Edinburgh, was involved in the accident while on a walking trip on Saturday.
Members of the group he was with called the emergency services after the fall at The Prow on Ben Alder.
The father-of-one was airlifted to hospital by a Navy rescue helicopter, but died from his injuries shortly afterwards.
Mr Leaf was a senior manager at the Bank of Scotland before moving to investment firm Saracen Fund Managers (SFM) in 2011.
A SFM statement said: "Daniel will be remembered as a talented investor, a dedicated member of our team, a good friend and a fine man.
"We will all miss him dearly and our thoughts are with his wife Sandra and son Sam at this sad time."
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "We received a report that a man had fallen in the Highlands around 3pm while he was walking with a party of other people.
"It appears that they saw him falling and it quickly became apparent he had suffered serious injury. A helicopter was dispatched and he was airlifted off the mountain.
''Due to the nature of the fall a mountain rescue team was not required."
Last year saw among the highest number of recorded deaths in the hills for decades, with 12 people losing their lives.
Feedback:We want your feedback on our site. If you've got questions, spotted an inaccuracy or just want to share some ideas about our news service, please email us onweb@stv.tv.
Download:The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone fromthe Apple storeand for Android fromGoogle Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.
Join in:For debate, chat, comment and more, join our communities on theSTV News Facebook pageor follow@STVNews on Twitter.
77,000 foreign banks to share tax info with IRS
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 21:17
Starting in March 2015, these financial institutions have agreed to supply the IRS with names, account numbers and balances for accounts controlled by U.S. taxpayers.
Under the law, foreign banks that don't agree to share information with the IRS face steep penalties when doing business in the U.S. The law requires American banks to withhold 30 percent of certain payments to foreign banks that don't participate in the program'--a significant price for access to the world's largest economy.
The 2010 law is known as FATCA, which stands for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. It was designed to encourage'--some say force'--foreign financial institutions to share information about U.S. account holders with the IRS, making it more difficult for Americans to use overseas accounts to evade U.S. taxes.
Read MoreCredit Suisse on extent of fallout from guilty plea
"The strong international support for FATCA is clear, and this success will help us in our goal of stopping tax evasion and narrowing the tax gap," said Robert Stack, deputy assistant treasury secretary for international tax affairs.
Under the law, U.S. banks that fail to withhold the tax would be liable for it themselves, a powerful incentive to comply. U.S. banks are scheduled to start withholding 30 percent of interest and dividend payments in July, though recent guidance from the Treasury Department gives U.S. banks some leeway on timing as they gear up their systems.
The withholding applies to stocks and bonds, including U.S. Treasurys. Some previously owned securities would be exempt from the withholding, but in general, previously owned stocks would not.
Read MoreWork in one state? Live in another? This may be big
Private investors who use foreign financial institutions to facilitate trades also face the withholding penalty. Those private investors could later apply to the IRS for refunds, but the inconvenience would be enormous.
Treasury released the list of complying banks on Monday so American financial institutions will know it is OK to send them payments without withholding the tax. Treasury is expected to update the list next month, after another push to complete information-sharing agreements.
"I think having 77,000 on this first list is a pretty big success," said Denise Hintzke of Deloitte. "It appears to me that people are taking it pretty seriously and intend to comply."
Banks in many countries are prevented by local privacy laws from sharing account information with foreign governments. To get around these restrictions, the Treasury Department has been negotiating agreements in which foreign governments will collect the information from their banks and then share it with U.S. authorities. Here's a list of countries with information-sharing agreements.
Read MoreRegulators: Deficiencies in 28% of Deloitte audits
Russia was negotiating one of these agreements when the U.S. broke off talks in March. Nevertheless, 515 Russian financial institutions applied to the IRS directly and have been accepted into the program. More could apply in the coming weeks.
'--AP
Vaccine$
Study documents MERS spread from camel to person
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 00:43
NEW YORK: A new report offers the strongest evidence yet that a mysterious Middle East virus spreads from camels to people.
Researchers studied the illness of a 44-year-old camel owner in Saudi Arabia, who died in November of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. Through repeated tests, they were able to show: the man and one camel were infected with the same virus; the camel got it first; and the man got sick after putting medicine on the animal's runny nose.
The virus had previously been detected in camels, and officials believe it had spread from camels to people in some MERS cases, though clear proof of that was lacking.
"Earlier work had different pieces of the puzzle that made this story likely. But in this small episode, all the pieces came together" to offer definitive evidence, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
The new study was published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.
MERS is a respiratory illness that begins with flu-like fever and cough but can lead to shortness of breath, pneumonia and death. Since it first appeared two years ago, roughly 800 illnesses have been reported to international health agencies, including about 300 deaths. Most cases have been in Saudi Arabia and neighboring nations. Those outside the region - including two in the United States - have been mostly people who had traveled from the Middle East.
Still unknown is how often camel-to-human spread occurs and whether other animals or environmental sources could be transmitting the virus. Health care workers and family members have gotten it after close contact with MERS patients.
The new report details the case of a man who owned nine camels and kept them in a barn in southwest Saudi Arabia. In October, four of his animals got sick. A week later, he developed flu-like symptoms. He was hospitalized in the city of Jeddah in early November, and died there two weeks later. The camels recovered.
Breast cancer gene now linked to lung cancer among smokers - Science - News - The Independent.
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:48
Mutations in the BRCA-2 gene are known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers but for the first time scientists have shown that defects in the same gene significantly raise the probability of developing lung cancer.
If smokers carry BRCA-2 mutations then their lung cancer risk increases from 15 per cent '' the risk that smokers already face '' to 25 per cent over the course of their lifetime, the medical researchers found.
BRCA-2 is one of two ''tumour-suppressor genes'' that are strongly linked with breast and ovarian cancers when they are mutated. However, until now the gene has not been associated with lung cancer.
The study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, compared the DNA of 11,348 Europeans with lung cancer with 15,861 people who were free of the disease. The scientists found a BRCA-2 defect known as c.9976T increased the risk of developing lung cancer by about 1.8 times '' on top of the risks from smoking.
This means that about a quarter of smokers who carry the BRCA-2 defect will develop lung cancer at some point in their lives.
''Smokers in general have nearly a 15 per cent chance of developing lung cancer, far higher than in non-smokers,'' said Professor Richard Houlston of the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
''Our results show that some smokers with BRCA-2 mutations are at an enormous risk of lung cancer '' somewhere in the region of 25 per cent over their lifetime,'' Professor Houlston said.
A family of drugs known as the PARP inhibitors have shown some success in treating people with BRCA mutations who have developed breast or ovarian cancers. It is not known yet whether the same drugs are likely to work on lung cancer patients with similar mutations, the researchers said.
Lung cancer kills more than a million people worldwide each year and it is by the far the biggest cancer killer Britain, Professor Houlston said.
''We know that the single biggest thing we can do to reduce death rates is to persuade people not to smoke, and our new findings make plain that this is even more critical in people with an underlying genetic risk,'' he said.
Agenda 21
France experiments with paying people to cycle to work
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:36
PARIS (Reuters) - France has started a six-month experiment with paying people to cycle to work, joining other European governments in trying to boost bicycle use to boost people's health, reduce air pollution and cut fossil fuel consumption.
Several countries including the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Britain have bike-to-work schemes, with different kinds of incentives such as tax breaks, payments per kilometer and financial support for buying bicycles.
In France, some 20 companies and institutions employing a total of 10,000 people have signed up to pay their staff 25 euro cents (34 U.S. cents) per kilometer biked to work, the transport ministry said in a statement on Monday.
French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier, noting that commuting using public transport and cars is already subsidized, said that if results of the test are promising, a second experiment on a larger scale will be done.
The ministry hopes that the bike-to-work incentive scheme will boost bike use for commuting by 50 percent from 2.4 percent of all work-home journeys, or about 800 million km, with an average distance of 3.5 km per journey.
In Belgium, where a tax-free bike incentive scheme has been in place for more than five years, about 8 percent of all commutes are on bicycles. In the flat and bicycle-friendly Netherlands, it is about 25 percent, cycling organizations say.
The Brussels-based European Cyclists' Federation has European Union funding to study best practices among various cycling incentive schemes, the group's Bike2Work project manager Randy Rzewnicki said.
City bike-loan schemes have played a large role in boosting bicycle commuting and cities including Barcelona, London and Stockholm have followed the model of the Velib in Paris.
($1 = 0.7328 euros)
(This story is refiled to correct spelling of fossil in first paragraph.)
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Louise Ireland)
Pope Francis tells couples not to own pets at the expense of raising children as it will lead to 'the bitterness of loneliness' later on.
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:08
Pope was speaking at a special Mass for 15 couples in the Vatican yesterdayHe told them not to put off having children as it is key to Christian marriageCriticised couples who put living a comfortable life ahead of raising a familySaid showering pets with affection was not a replacement for loving a childBy John Hall
Published: 23:34 EST, 2 June 2014 | Updated: 04:51 EST, 3 June 2014
1,714shares
510
Viewcomments
Pope Francis has warned couples not to substitute cats and dogs for children, saying it will only lead to solitude and the 'bitterness of loneliness' in old age.
Celebrating daily Mass in the Vatican yesterday, the Pope said owning pets may be 'more comfortable' than raising children, but did not offer the same opportunities for love and godliness.
He made his comments during a special service with 15 couples - all of whom have been married between 25 and 60 years - in the chapel at his Santa Marta residence.
Words of warning: The Pope said owning pets may be 'more comfortable' than raising children, but did not offer the same opportunities for love and godliness. He also criticised couples who decide not to have children
The Pope criticised couples who decide not to have children during the service, saying they had been seduced by the myth that a life of material comfort is better than raising a family.
'You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,' he said.
'It might be better - more comfortable - to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?', the Pope added.
'Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness,' he went on to say.
The remarks came over the Pope told those gathered that the three most important aspects of a Christian marriage are fidelity, perseverance and 'fruitfulness', according to Vatican Radio.
On Sunday the Pope appeared at the Stadio Olimpico football stadium in Rome to tell a rally of 50,000 members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement that Satan is trying to destroy the domestic family
The pope's remarks come just a week after Italy announced a record low birthrate for 2013, dropping 64,000 over the past five years.
With the birth of only 515,000 babies last year, the fall marks a worrying trend as the country's population ages.
On Sunday the Pope appeared at the Stadio Olimpico football stadium in Rome to tell a rally of 50,000 members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement that Satan is trying to destroy the domestic family.
During the event the Pope heard testimony from a number of local people - including a family of five.
After listening to them speak, the Pope said families face attacks from the devil 'because Jesus grows in parents' love and children's lives.'
He then asked God to bless families and to give them strength to withstand the devil's attacks.
Share or comment on this article
Obama administration global warming regulation incorporates shift already underway
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:30
By Gabriel Black4 June 2014On Monday, the Obama administration announced the draft of an environmental regulation that it claims will reduce carbon emissions from existing electricity production in the United States by 30 percent between 2005 and 2030.
The proposal, touted as a landmark environmental regulation bill is a ruse. It masks the fact that, without legislation, the current shift to gas power plants has already set the nation on track to meet the 30 percent reduction. Additionally, the target ignores the greenhouse gases released by ''fracking'' natural gas, which is replacing coal, and falls far short of the immediate reductions in CO2 emissions, across all sectors, needed to prevent catastrophic global warming levels.
The concrete proposal is a series of state-by-state CO2 emission mandates, set out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). States will be given the option to switch from coal to natural gas, to upgrade existing coal plants, to engage in carbon trading schemes with other states, invest in renewable energy, and improve energy efficiency.
States such as Washington, which only has one coal-fired plant and relies overwhelmingly on hydropower, will be given larger percentage reduction mandates. States like Kentucky and West Virginia, which rely almost exclusively on coal, will be given smaller targets. The EPA says the overall reduction in CO2 emissions from the nation's power production will be 30 percent.
The proposal, however, and much of its press coverage, hides the fact that the country is already more than halfway toward completing this target. Using 2005 as the starting year allows the Obama administration to pose as taking serious action on greenhouse gasses, when, in fact, this target would constitute a slowdown in the shift that is already occurring.
According to the EPA, between 2005 and 2012, carbon pollution from electricity production was reduced 16 percent. This reduction was the result of a shift to natural gas, away from coal, gains in energy efficiency, and the ongoing stagnation of the economy. Were this seven-year trend to continue, in 2030 carbon emissions from power plants would be at 57 percent of their 2000 levels, far above the proposal's 30 percent.
The National Journal writes that the Obama administration's decision to use 2005 as a baseline year for the change ''is more in line with what power-plant operators asked for than what environmentalists demanded.'' Frank O'Donnell, the president of Clean Air Watch, told the Journal, ''It sounds like a riddle: When is 30 percent not really 30 percent? When it's 30 percent of an inflated baseline.''
The change underway, that Obama is in essence simply consecrating, stems from the shift from coal to gas in the US power supply.
The shale boom has transformed the power generating landscape, favoring gas. In 2000, coal generated 52 percent of the nation's electricity, but by 2012 the number had dropped to 37 percent. Meanwhile, gas nearly doubled its share, generating 16 percent of the nation's electricity in 2000 and 30 percent in 2012.
A report by Shrink That Footprint finds that the fall in overall carbon emissions since 2005 is primarily because of the US natural gas boom and its effect on the energy market. According to the EPA, natural gas-powered plants emit 800-850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. Coal plants average 1,768 pounds per megawatt-hour.
However, a problem with these statistics is that they focus on the known carbon emissions from power plants, at the site of generation.
Much of the natural gas being used comes from the fracking boom in the US. (The gas is used almost exclusively for domestic purposes because we do not possess sufficient export terminals to trade with other nations.) This fracking process releases methane, another greenhouse gas. Fracking also requires a tremendous amount of energy, which in turn releases greenhouse gases. Neither of these figures factor into the EPA's estimate of greenhouse gas production from gas versus coal power plants.
Coal companies, and their constituents, have reacted with hostility to the measure. The shift from coal powered generators to gas powered plants threatens the profits of coal companies. Gas has nearly doubled its share of the energy market while coal has lost more than a fourth of its share. Through this measure, Obama is supporting the power shift towards gas.
Legislators and governors in coal-centered states such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma have expressed outrage, with many threatening to sue. While Republicans have led this charge, many Democrats have joined in.
Seeking to distance herself from Obama, Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee Alison Grimes poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into an advertising campaign in which she vows to ''fiercely oppose anyone who works against Kentucky's coal industry.''
Energy production in the United States accounts for 38 percent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation comes in second, at around 32 percent of the total emission.
According to the self-acknowledged optimistic estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the entirety of global CO2 emissions would need to be reduced by 70 percent in 2050, relative to 2009 levels, to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Obama's tepid and spotty reduction of 30 percent, from 2005 to 2030, solely in the power sector, falls far short of the rational, organized, international effort needed to prevent catastrophic shifts to the climate and biosphere. The answer to global warming will not be found within a social system in which the world is divided into competing nation states and all decisions are subordinated to private profit.
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Global Warming Makes Couples Cheat, Says Dating Website | Miami New Times
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:06
If you're married in Miami, you might want to get out of town this summer. No, not to avoid the hurricanes -- to avoid a nasty divorce.A new report blames global warming for rising rates of infidelity, especially bad news for couples in Miami, where rising tides and raging hurricanes remind us all how much extracurricular sex we could be having on a daily basis.
See also: Rolling Stone Predicts Miami Will Be Underwater By 2030
Victoria Milan, a dating website for people looking to cheat on their significant other, surveyed 5,000 of its members, both men and women. A shocking 72 percent of them responded that yes, their own Al Gore-esque stress about unpredictable weather is the cause of their extramarital dalliances. Guess the fact of their existing committed relationships was just an inconvenient truth.
Survey respondents also reported they're more likely to sneak a little on the side in hot weather than in cold. That makes sense -- after all, which would you say is sexier, a steamy Miami day or a polar vortex?
"Summer loving is something everyone experiences when they're growing up, and the excitement and thrill of doing something a bit naughty never fades," Victoria Milan's CEO and founder, Sigurd Vedal, explains in a statement. "It's no surprise that one half of a couple feels the itch when the weather warms up."
So let's recap: Hot, unpredictable weather makes for unfaithful partners. Just when you thought your hope of finding true love in Miami had hit rock bottom, a story like this comes along to prove there's even farther to fall. But hey, we'll all be underwater in 15 years anyway, right?
Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.
2TTH
N121JM GLF4 Crash at KBED | LiveATC.net
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 18:50
As a pilot and aviation enthusiast with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's in computer science I felt the need to crunch some number prior to the final NTSB report that should be due out in 12-18 months. The information that follows is based on the facts available today along with many (but reasonable) assumptions. The facts are:1. 49 seconds from roll start to final stop2. 165 knots top speed attained3. 100 knots at impact4. 7,762' of pavement (including overrun at departure end)5. 854' of terrain after end of pavement to stop locationMy assumptions are primarily acceleration and deceleration rates associated with takeoff thrust, breaking, reverse thrust, impact with objects, and types of surfaces. For my calculations I used V1=117, VR=127, and V2=137 (although V2 isn't really a factor) all speeds in knots.
Based on those facts and assumptions, I came up with this timeline (all times indicate elapsed SECONDS from start of roll):15 secs. - 80 knots announcement, 1,080' of runway used, 6,682' of pavement remaining22 secs. - V1 (117 knots), 2,277' of runway used, 5,485' of pavement remaining24 secs. - VR (127 knots), 2,700' of runway used, 5,062' of pavement remaining26 secs. - V2 (137 knots), 3,159' of runway used, 4,603' of pavement remaining31 secs. - 165 knots (max speed), 4,464' of runway used, 3,298' of pavement remaining40 secs. - cross over departure threshold into overrun - estimated speed: 146 knots44 secs. - end of paved surface - estimated speed: 126 knots48 secs. - impact with light system before ditch - estimated speed: 95 knots49 secs. - impact with ditch and full stop - estimated entry speed: 89 knots (11 knots slower than what NTSB stated)
I see two critical time periods, both of which are just seven seconds each. First, from 15-22 seconds between 80kts and V1, did the pilots put back pressure on the stick to confirm the elevator was functional? This could have provided the first indication of a problem. The second critical period was from 24-31 seconds after the VR announcement to max speed (at which point I assume they stopped accelerating). They covered over 1,300' during that span at which point they did not have the necessary stopping distance. I don't say this to second-guess the pilots, I'm just pointing out where critical runway distance was consumed and the speeds they were dealing with. The final 18 seconds presumably was used to attempt a full stop.
It will be interesting to see how this matches the final NTSB analysis and report. The bottom line is even though the entire event lasted a mere 49 seconds the actual time that the pilots had to assess the problem and determine a course of action was very much shorter. As previous posts mentioned, pilots are trained not to abort a takeoff after V1, a fact which surely contributed to the second critical time period mentioned above.
Please let me know if you see any glaring mistakes or incorrect assumptions. I'm not always right, but I'm never intentionally wrong.
Data recorders found in rubble of Hanscom crash - Metro - The Boston Globe
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 18:45
BEDFORD '-- Investigators on Monday recovered the flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders from the private jet that hurtled off the runway at Hanscom Field two nights earlier, critical pieces of evidence that could show why the Gulfstream IV failed to take off and shattered in a fiery crash that killed seven people.
The discovery was announced by the National Transportation Safety Board shortly after 6 p.m., following a day in which more than a dozen investigators scoured the charred remains of the private jet in a steep, narrow gully about 600 yards beyond the runway. A crane had been brought to the site to help uncover the recorders.
Continue reading below
While the cause of the crash remained uncertain Monday, pieces of information about the flight's final seconds emerged. No hydraulic fluid was found on the runway, ruling out a leak of such fluid as a cause. And authorities said there was no evidence of a delay in takeoff.
Monday also brought identification of the doomed jet's flight crew.
Luke Schiada, who is leading the NTSB inquiry, said investigators are gathering information about the crew's history, as well as reviewing weather information, maintenance records, witness interviews, and surveillance footage.
Bedford police on Monday released transcripts of 911 calls reporting the 9:40 p.m. crash. ''Something just exploded at the end of Fayette'' Road in Bedford, a female caller told a Bedford emergency dispatcher. ''Fire. There's fire. . . . It was a big boom. It shook the house.''
In another call, a male voice said: ''I think there was an airplane crash. . . . There's a giant column of smoke and flames.''
Continue reading below
The seven victims included Lewis Katz, the 72-year-old co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, three acquaintances, and three crew members. Katz had flown to Massachusetts on Saturday to attend a fund-raiser at the Concord home of historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin and her husband, former presidential adviser Richard Goodwin.
The pilot and copilot, identified by the Middlesex district attorney's office, were veteran aviators. The pilot, James McDowell, 51, of Georgetown, Del., listed 18,500 hours of flying experience in his most recent application for a medical certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, Schiada said.
Copilot Bauke ''Mike'' De Vries, 45, of Marlton, N.J., had logged 11,200 hours in the air, Schiada said. The plane, built in 2000, had been airborne for 4,950 hours.
FAA records show that McDowell was a certified pilot, flight instructor, ground instructor, and mechanic. Notes from a medical certification in February indicate that he needed glasses for near vision.
Other victims included the flight attendant, Teresa Ann Benhoff, 48, of Easton, Md.; Anne Leeds, a retired preschool teacher from Longport, N.J.; Marcella Dalsey, executive director of the Drew A. Katz Foundation; and Susan K. Asbell, who served with Dalsey on the strategic planning committee of the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County, N.J.
Schiada said he would not speculate on the cause of the crash at this early stage of the investigation.
One of the items being looked at is the position of the plane's wing flaps, which were set at 10 degrees in the cockpit, Schiada said. He declined to say whether that was normal, and said investigators wanted to examine the wings to see what position the flaps were actually set in.
The founder of a corporate-aircraft business in Seabrook, N.H., said the deep experience of the pilots, combined with lengthy skid marks at the scene, indicate that a catastrophic emergency, possibly a fire, prompted the crew to abort the flight to Atlantic City.
''The fact that the plane got to that gully with its wings attached, and its engines attached, indicates that they tried to abort the flight right where those skids marks begin,'' said Greg Raiff, chief executive of Private Jet Services. ''It had to be something critical. That airplane was moving at a very good clip when somebody tried to stop it.''
NTSB investigators brought reporters to the crash scene Monday. The jet's broken skeleton lay strewn across the sides and bottom of the gully, about 600 yards from the end of the runway. A strong smell of smoke and burned debris hung in the air as investigators from the NTSB, the FAA, Gulfstream, and Rolls-Royce, which manufactured the engines, pored over the scene.
The nose of the plane was generally intact but had been sheared from the fuselage, which was smashed into a jumble of glinting metal.
Cabin seats for passengers were blackened and scorched, the wings lay flattened near stagnant, brown water at the bottom of the ditch, and the jet's two engines were tilted upward near the lip of the gully.
Ruts from the jet's landing gear, one from each wing and one from the nose, had dug deep into grass that extended 800 feet from the end of the runway pavement to the ditch. In the grass lay the nose gear and the left main landing gear, both of which had broken off.
On Monday, a person who answered a phone listed for McDowell, the pilot, said the family did not want to comment.
De Vries's family could not be reached, but neighbors described the copilot as an easygoing man who kept a meticulous garden. They often saw him sitting on his front porch or working in the yard with his wife.
Haesook Lee, 65, said De Vries's wife knocked on her door Sunday to tell her of his death. Lee said she had seen De Vries probably two days before the crash and will miss him.
Benhoff, the flight attendant, worked for SK Travel '-- the North Carolina corporation that owned the plane, according to FAA records '-- said her 29-year-old stepson, Matt Benhoff. She was close to the Katz family, he said, and Katz's wife had once attended Benhoff's birthday party.
''I think she helped take care of the food and the travel and the car arrangements'' for Katz's trips and often flew with the two pilots, Benhoff said.
''It's absolutely been devastating,'' Benhoff said. ''We're all just trying to take it one minute at a time.''
Katz and his acquaintances boarded the jet after a celebratory kickoff for the Concord River Institute, a multidisciplinary training program for teachers, administrators, and students founded by Michael Goodwin, the son of the hosts.
Katz amassed a fortune from investments in parking lots and the cable network for the New York Yankees. In 2012, he was part of a group that purchased the media company that includes the Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the news website Philly.com. Last week, Katz and H.F. ''Gerry'' Lenfest bought out the other partners to take control of the company.
Katz also had owned two professional sports teams, the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association and the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League, and had been a longtime minority owner of the New York Yankees.
A public memorial service for Katz is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Temple University in Philadelphia, where Katz was an alumnus and trustee; he gave the university its largest single donation.
Bedford Police on Monday released the audio recordings of the 911 calls made after Saturday evening's plane crash at Hanscom Field. Listen to the audio below:
More coverage:
' Gulfstream IVs have few blemishes on safety record
' Photos: Plane crash at Hanscom Field
' Audio: 911 calls made after the crash
' Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner killed in crash
' Ex-Pennsylvania Gov. Rendell invited on jet that crashed
' Inquirer sale to proceed as planned, partner says
Martin Finucane of the Globe staff and correspondent Zachary T. Sampson contributed. Brian MacQuarrie is at brian.macquarrie@globe.com; Travis Andersen at travis.andersen@globe.com.
22TH-BBC News - Philadelphia Inquirer's Lewis Katz dies in plane crash
Sun, 01 Jun 2014 21:12
1 June 2014Last updated at 10:39 ET The co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lewis Katz, has been killed in a plane crash near Boston.
The businessman was on board a private jet that burst into flames as it was trying to take off on Saturday night from Hanscom Field airport.
All seven passengers on the aircraft were killed. The cause of the crash is being investigated.
Mr Katz and his partner acquired full control of the Inquirer last week, promising to revive the newspaper.
He was also the co-owner of the Philadelphia Daily News and the news website, Philly.com.
A report on the Philadelphia Inquirer's website quotes Bill Marimow, the paper's editor, describing Mr Katz as "an exceptional man, whose presence enriched the lives of everyone he came in contact with".
"We've lost a great friend," he was quoted as saying.
Last week, Mr Katz and his partner, Harold HF Lenfest, paid $88m (£36m; 44m euros) to buy out the other owners of the company that operates the Inquirer.
They had vowed to fund in-depth journalism, retain Marimow as editor, and revive the struggling paper's fortunes.
Mr Katz formerly owned hockey and basketball teams in New Jersey.
PedoBear
BBC News - Jimmy Savile abuse reports 'reach 500'
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 02:55
1 June 2014Last updated at 19:10 ET There have been at least 500 reports of abuse by ex-BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, NSPCC research for Panorama has found.
Most of the alleged victims were between the ages of 13 and 15, but the youngest was two.
Meanwhile, leaked memos reveal the extent of Savile's influence at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, where he was appointed to lead a task force to reform the hospital.
Panorama has been told about 16 reports of abuse at the hospital.
The Department of Health and BBC are due to publish reports into Savile later this year.
The NSPCC said its helpline had received 50 more reports of abuse by Savile since its joint report with the Metropolitan Police was published in January 2013.
These included reports from victims themselves, people who knew victims of abuse and people reporting information which was considered useful to the ongoing investigations.
The earliest incident dated back to the mid-1940s, with the most recent in 2007.
The report says most of the abuse took place on BBC premises, in hospitals and at children's homes.
Peter Watt, director of child protection at the NSPCC, said: "There's no doubt that Savile is one of the most, if not the most, prolific sex offender that we have ever come across."
Broadmoor allegationsMeanwhile, a joint investigation by Panorama and Radio 4's the World at One has seen confidential memos which reveal how Jimmy Savile took control at Broadmoor in 1988. He was recommended by a senior civil servant to lead a task force to reform the hospital.
His appointment was approved by Edwina Currie, when she briefly had responsibility for Broadmoor as Health Minister in 1988.
Confidential government documents obtained by the BBC reveal that civil servants referred to Jimmy Savile as "Dr Savile" and said that he was going through Broadmoor "like a dose of salts".
Mrs Currie told the BBC: "Our efforts to try to improve matters at Broadmoor came up against a very severe brick wall. And it was the senior civil servant in charge of Broadmoor who thought he might be able to do something. Bear in mind Savile had been in and out for donkey's years. So why not ask if he could help to improve matters?"
Continue reading the main story Shelley Jofre presents Savile: The Power to Abuse BBC One, Monday 2 June at 2030 BST At the time Savile was appointed, the Prison Officers' Association at Broadmoor had just voted to take industrial action, but the documents show Savile thought he could deal with the dispute.
He told Mrs Currie he had discovered some staff were sub-letting hospital housing and fiddling their overtime claims.
"He made it quite clear, he told me, that he would use that against the staff if they misbehaved and didn't call off the overtime ban," she said. "I made a note of it at the time because I was so surprised."
Mrs Currie said there were no complaints about Jimmy Savile at the time. The BBC has learned that there have now been at least 16 reports to the police of abuse by him at the hospital.
Dr Chandra Ghosh, who was a senior psychiatrist at Broadmoor, said she understood why more people had not made official complaints.
"These were people that nobody believed. So if they had in fact turned round and said he had abused them or raped them, nobody would have believed them. You know, this was Mr Savile, you know, Jim'll Fix It," she said.
The BBC has spoken to a woman who was invited to Broadmoor by Savile to sing for patients as a 14-year-old. She says Savile indecently assaulted her at the hospital.
The woman, who does not want to be identified, said: "He gave me a cuddle and so he was touching my breasts, and he kissed me and he tried to put his tongue in my mouth. It was the most scariest experience I think of my life. It was a very scary, horrible place."
"West London Mental Health NHS Trust - which now runs Broadmoor - expressed sympathy for any victims but said it can't comment while its joint investigation with the Department of Health is ongoing. It says any complaints involving Savile are part of that investigation."
The Department of Health is investigating 33 hospitals' links with Savile. Reports are expected to be published shortly. The BBC's inquiry is due to publish in September.
BTC
Halsey Minor's back, and he's a Bitcoin championC-Ville Weekly
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 23:14
The last time Halsey Minor's name made national headlines was a year ago last week, when the former Charlottesville investor declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in an effort to clear his slate of more than $100 million in debt. Minor profited wildly when he sold his Web startub CNET to CBS for $200 million in 2008, but his personal fortune rapidly collapsed, contributing to the failure of the long-stalled Landmark Hotel project downtown.
Now the former tech mogul is back in the news, and while it's still a financial story, it's not what you might think: Minor has founded and is leading a company called Bitreserve, which is attempting to create a transparent marketplace for the volatile online currency Bitcoin.
Bloomberg Businessweek ran a story this week that quotes Minor as saying Bitreserve.org is a Cayman Islands-based company with U.S. subsidiaries ''because of confusion as to how the U.S. government will treat Bitcoin.''
Minor, 49, broke a long silence in the Bloomberg story, telling of rash risk-taking that led to financial ruin and his deep depression after he lost custody of his children in a divorce. ''I took risks I didn't otherwise need to take,'' he told Bloomberg's Brad Stone. ''I didn't need to take a $23 million loan for art. The great difference between my mistake and the banks' is that I actually had to pay for mine.''
Some of those risks involved Virginia real estate. Besides the failed Landmark'--which was the center of a separate federal bankruptcy proceeding that ultimately led to a courthouse auction, but which remains a skeletal eyesore on the Downtown Mall'--Minor also bought the historic Carter's Grove Plantation from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for $15.3 million in 2008. The 400-acre property goes back on the market this week by order of a U.S. bankruptcy court.
As far as stable, risk-averse investments go, Bitcoin probably isn't high on most people's lists. The currency is based around an open-source software system that isn't overseen by any bank or regulatory body. It has its hopeful champions, but it had what you could call a bad moment back in February: The Tokyo-based exchange that was handling the vast majority of Bitcoin transactions shuttered without warning, announcing that the equivalent of about $450 million in the virtual currency had vanished.
According to the Bloomberg story, Minor's Bitreserve will solve the problems of volatility and uncertainty with transparency. There will be real-time balance sheets and annual audits, said Bitreserve CEO Tim Parsa, who, according to his LinkedIn profile, spent ''12 years starting and running media, telecom, and technology companies in Mexico'' before teaming up with Minor.
Bitrserve.org'--which, despite its philanthropic-sounding URL, is a for-profit enterprise'--is still in beta, but it's looking for members, and is offering online signup.
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Snowden a 'traitor': Andreessen
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:09
NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a "traitor," venture capitalist Marc Andreessen told CNBC. The secrets he's revealed have hurt Silicon Valley by association, and President Barack Obama is doing nothing to change that perception on the world stage.
"The Snowden reveals keep coming out. The [Obama] administration is letting the NSA out to dry. They're letting the American tech industry out to dry," Andreessen said in a "Squawk Box" interview that aired Thursday.
Read MoreSnowden: Here's why I'm in Russia
The fallout from the Snowden leaks have hurt U.S. technology firms' ability to sell their products overseas, he added.
Read MoreIs Big Brother really watching you?
"For me obviously he's a traitor," Andreessen said. "If you look up in the encyclopedia 'traitor' there's a picture of Ed Snowden."
"I think I am in the distinct minority out here," he added. "I think most in Silicon Valley would pick the other designation."
Andreessen said he was not surprised that the National Security Agency was spying. "The biggest surprise for me was that people were so shocked, because I thought we've been funding this agency for 50 years that has tens of thousands of employees and spends tens of billions of dollars a year."
VIDEO-The MSNBC interview that was so awkward Morgan Freeman stopped to ask the host, 'What are you doing?'
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:38
MSNBC, the cable news outlet of NBC/Universal does not exactly hide the fact that politically it leans to the left, the far left. The network's obvious dedication to the cause of the Democrats is also recognized in the cable news industry. Earlier this week, CNN host Anthony Bourdain railed against his competitor's obsession with daily rants about ''stupid Republican morons.''
The political myopia of the also-ran network is not the channel's only problem. Witness MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts totally lose his focus and concentration during an interview with Morgan Freeman.
Freeman was in New York City on a promotional tour for the Science Channel series, ''Through The Wormhole.'' The Oscar-winner was on ''Morning Joe,'' talking about the possibility that the ocean is a sentient being, asking Roberts, ''What does it think of us? What will happen down the road, if we keep doing what we're doing?''
A stunned Roberts did not respond immediately. He appeared to be entranced, and admitted to just that. After a short, uncomfortable pause, the news anchor finally gathered his composure and found the words to tell Freeman, ''I don't know. I'm so distracted by your melodic tones, I can't think.''
Freeman seemed taken aback and asked, ''Thomas, what are you doing?'' Roberts fumbled a bit more, talking about Freeman's voice before finally managing to put together a sentence about the oceans.
Watch the surreal exchange here.
Is this any way to run a network?
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.
VIDEO-Have You Noticed the One Word Defenders of the Bergdahl Exchange Have Been Using to Defend It? | Video | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:34
');jQuery.ajax({ url: "/_k2/collectXML.asp", type: "POST", dataType: "xml", contentType: 'text/xml', data: xmlPayload, success: onK2Success, error: onK2Error, complete: removeLoadSpinner });};});jQuery('#cf-finder').on('submit', function() {_gat._getTrackerByName()._trackEvent('Channel Finder', 'Submit', 'ZipCode');var cfid = jQuery('#cf-provider').val()if(window.xmlResponse.children('provider').eq(cfid).length === 1) {window.provider = window.xmlResponse.children('provider').eq(cfid);if(window.provider.children('STATUS').text() === '1') {jQuery('#cf-screen-1').hide(0);jQuery('#cf-screen-2').show(0);} else {jQuery('#cf-screen-1').hide(0);jQuery('#cf-screen-3').show(0);}}jQuery('.cf-channel-text').each( function() { jQuery(this).text(decodeURIComponent(window.provider.children('NAME').text())); });jQuery('.cf-number-text').each( function() { jQuery(this).text(window.provider.children('CHANNEL').text()); });if(window.provider.children('PHONE').text() !== '') {jQuery('.cf-email-option').hide(0);jQuery('.cf-phone-option').show(0);jQuery('.cf-phone-text').each( function() { jQuery(this).text(window.provider.children('PHONE').text()); });} else {}return false;});jQuery('#cf-continue').on('click', function() {_gat._getTrackerByName()._trackEvent('Channel Finder', 'Continue', 'Provider');jQuery('#cf-screen-3').hide(0);jQuery('#cf-screen-4').show(0);return false;});jQuery('#cf-email-skip').on('click', function() {_gat._getTrackerByName()._trackEvent('Channel Finder', 'Skip', 'Provider');jQuery('#cf-screen-4').hide(0);jQuery('#cf-screen-5').show(0);return false;});jQuery('#cf-email-submit').on('click', function() {_gat._getTrackerByName()._trackEvent('Channel Finder', 'Email', 'Provider');fname = jQuery('#cf-fname').val();lname = jQuery('#cf-lname').val();email = jQuery('#cf-email').val();providertext = window.provider.children('NAME').text()if(jQuery('#cf-optin').is(':checked')) {optin = 'YES';} else {optin = 'NO';}xmlEmailPayload = xmlEmailPayload.replace('[[[ZIP]]]', window.zipcode).replace('[[[FNAME]]]', fname).replace('[[[LNAME]]]', lname).replace('[[[EMAIL]]]', email).replace('[[[OPTIN]]]', optin).replace('[[[PROVIDER]]]', providertext).replace('[[[K2USERID]]]', window.xmlResponse.children('K2USERID').text());jQuery.ajax({ url: "/_k2/UserXML.asp", type: "POST", dataType: "xml", contentType: 'text/xml', data: xmlEmailPayload });jQuery('#cf-screen-4').hide(0);jQuery('#cf-screen-5').show(0); return false;});});Channel FinderFind TheBlaze on your TV This zipcode is invalid, please try again
Channel FinderTheBlaze is available on channel .Spread the word!If you can't find TheBlaze, please call to upgrade your package
Channel FinderUnfortunately, TheBlaze is not available on .But you can help! Call at or press CONTINUE to email your provider and urge them to add TheBlaze to your channel lineup.
But you can help! Press CONTINUE to email your provider and urge them to add TheBlaze to your channel lineup.
ContinueRequest TheBlazePlease complete the form
AUDIO-More Americans Than You Might Think Believe In Conspiracy Theories : NPR
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 02:57
Research from the University of Chicago indicates that at least 50 percent of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory.
Copyright (C) 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
NPR's social science correspondent, Shankar Vedantam, drops by with juicy new research. He's here with us again. Shankar, what's on your mind?
SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: I want to talk about conspiracy theories today, David. And this is everything from whether the U.S. government was secretly behind the 9/11 attacks to whether President Obama was actually born in the United States. What proportion of the U.S population would you say subscribes to one of these theories?
GREENE: Ten, 15 percent, maybe? I don't know.
VEDANTAM: Yeah, I would've guessed at most 20 percent. And that's why this new research by Eric Oliver and Thomas Wood at the University of Chicago took me aback. They find that 50 percent of the country subscribes to at least one of these conspiracy theories. So 19 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks. 25 percent believe the recent financial crisis was caused by the small cabal of Wall Street bankers. 11 percent of people believe the government is mandating a switch to compact florescent light bulbs because the light bulbs make people obedient and easy to control.
GREENE: Oh, wow. Shankar, I wonder if it's worth reminding people exactly what a conspiracy theory is.
VEDANTAM: Here's how I think about it. A conspiracy theory is where you believe in a theory where no matter how much disconfirming evidence comes in, you somehow convert that disconfirming evidence into part of the conspiracy. So with Barack Obama's birth certificate, for example, the moment the birth certificate came out from Hawaii, the people who believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States would say the Hawaiian hospital now is in on the conspiracy as well.
GREENE: Conspiracy theories have been around for a while. I mean, there are questions about whether Pearl Harbor was a way to get the United States and World War II. I mean, there are questions about JFK's assassination. You're not saying that 50 percent believe in all these things, but just 50 percent of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory like this.
VEDANTAM: Yeah, I think what this research is suggesting is that the willingness to believe in one of these theories is really widespread across the spectrum. And different groups of people might believe different theories, but the propensity to believe seems really widespread.
GREENE: Where does that propensity come from?
VEDANTAM: Well, that's what the research was trying to address. And you know, the stereotype about people who believe such theories is that they're poorly educated, or superstitious or that they are political partisans. It turns out the consistent predictor of such beliefs is something that you might almost call an All-American attitude - a belief in individualism, distrust of authority. And together those things translate into a desire to avoid being controlled by large secret forces.
GREENE: Many things that make us Americans might make us sort of more likely to at least believe in one of these things.
VEDANTAM: That's exactly what the researchers are trying to say.
GREENE: Interesting stuff as always. Shankar, thanks for coming in.
VEDANTAM: Thanks, David.
GREENE: That NPR's Shankar Vedantam. This is NPR News.
Copyright (C) 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.
VIDEO-CNN Source: WH Was Afraid Congress Would Veto Exchange
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 00:53
BLITZER: Our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger has been looking into this, doing some reporting. If the president or his white house chief of staff or secretary of defense had actually consulted or notified members of the House and Senate, the intelligence committees, the armed services committees, might some of the political uproar have been mitigated, if you will?
BORGER: I was speaking to one national security source today, who is not inside this administration, but who said, you know, sometimes you don't want to ask a question when you know what the answer's going to be.
BLITZER: Because they would have been opposed?
BORGER: Because they would have said no. Look, these are discussions, Wolf, that had gone on for years with Congress about the question of rescue, for example, or the question of some kind of a trade. This issue had been brought up. It was very clear that there were -- it was controversial. And so, you know, notification is one thing. Consultation is another. When you hear the Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee complain that she wasn't notified, the question I have is, you know, it's easier to complain about process than it is to complain about substance. She may also disagree on the substance but it's easier to talk about the fact you weren't notified. We don't know what she does believe on this. But, you know, I think they would have been able to get some people inside the tent with them, maybe.
BLITZER: Yeah, I think even White House officials acknowledge they should have notified Dianne Feinstein, Mike Rogers, the respective chairs of the intelligence committee. And they sort of apologized. Dianne Feinstein says Tony Blinken, the Deputy National Security Advisor called to apologize why the administration did not give her a heads up.
BORGER: But if they had consulted her and she said no ''I don't think it's a good idea.
BLITZER: The president had clearly made up his mind what he wanted to do.
BORGER: Exactly.
BLITZER: But As a courtesy, he should have -- they should have notified '' I think they themselves.
BORGER: I agree.
VIDEO-Reid: 'I Felt So Unclean' from Unlimited Campaign Spending | MRCTV
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 22:40
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-Cruz: Senators who Signed on to Campaign Finance Amendment 'Should Be Embarrassed' | MRCTV
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 22:31
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-State Dep't Says There Are 'Probably Very Good Reasons' Not to Give Details of Taliban Deal With Qatar | MRCTV
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 22:21
patrick.goodenoughPatrick covered government and politics in South Africa and the Middle East before joining CNSNews.com in 1999. Since then he has launched foreign bureaus for CNSNews.com in Jerusalem, London and the Pacific Rim. From October 2006 to July 2007, Patrick served as Managing Editor at the organization's world headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Now back in the Pacific Rim, as International Editor he reports on politics, international relations, security, terrorism, ethics and religion, and oversees reporting by CNSNews.com's roster of international stringers.
show more
VIDEO-Sen. Chambliss: 'I'm Very Suprised' Army Investigators Didn't Mention Bergdahl's Note | MRCTV
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 22:16
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-Bergdahl Deal: David Gregory Auditioning For WH Spox Spot? | MRCTV
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 22:11
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-Susan Rice says Taliban prisoner swap was 'sacred obligation' | Mail Online
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 21:45
Obama's national security adviser told CNN that the president pulled the trigger on a hostage exchange after Qatar's emir promised that the five Taliban the US released would not be able to reenter the terror battlefield She also rearticulated Obama's pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, saying its existence attracts kidnappers who want a bargaining chip to free their comradesRice refused to discuss the circumstances of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's capture, and didn't address reports that he was AWOL and looking to join the TalibanShe was careful to use talking-point language on ABC, saying that Obama was only required to determine that Qatar's promises about the Taliban fighters' restrictions 'substantially mitigates' the risk to the USBy David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor
Published: 12:56 EST, 1 June 2014 | Updated: 02:25 EST, 2 June 2014
80shares
54
Viewcomments
National Security Adviser Susan Rice defended the Obama White House's Taliban prisoner exchange on Sunday morning, telling CNN and ABC audiences that releasing five high-level terror targets to the nation of Qatar in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl won't put American national security at risk.
'We felt that as the war is winding down, it was our sacred obligation, given the opportunity to get him back, that we do so,' Rice told CNN's Candy Crowley on the 'State of the Union' program.
'We did so in a way that resulted in the Taliban prisoners being monitored and kept in a secure way in Qatar.'
And addressing the thorny question of whether negotiating with terrorists might lead to more kidnappers' demands for more detainee releases from Guantanamo Bay, Rice insisted that the military detention center is still slated for closure.
'The terrorists are intent on doing what they want to do,' she said, 'But Candy, we have a commitment to close Guantanamo Bay. The president's been very clear about that.'
'The existence of Guantanamo Bay is itself a detriment to our national security, which is why the president has prioritized closing it, and why we intend to get that done.'
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
Gitmo is still slated for closure, Susan Rice insisted on Sunday, saying that mothballing the military detention center would remove the incentive for terror groups to demand hostage exchanges
Obama has been accused of violating U.S. laws by approving a prisoner exchange of five Guantanamo detainees for the release of America's only prisoner of war. The five Afghans are among the most senior members of the Taliban being held at the controversial camp, and include one who had direct ties to Osama bin Laden
Obama wasn't required to notify Congress before letting five Taliban fighters out of Guantanamo Bay, Rice said, because Sgt. Bergdahl's reportedly deteriorating health gave the president an emergency exception to a law he signed a year ago -- but Obama has written in the past that the notification requirement itself was unconstitutional
Rice also said President Barack Obama had spoken personally with Qatari Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on Tuesday 'when this looked like it was a real possibility.'
The amir, she said, promised Obama 'directly and personally' that there would be restrictions on the five released Taliban fighters '' 'that these prisoners will be carefully watched, that their ability to move will be constrained.'
'We believe that this is in the national security interest of the United States,'she said.
The only condition of their release that has been made public is a promise that they will not be permitted to leave Qatar for one year.
'Are they free to be in the country, free to communicate with whoever they want?' Crowley asked, 'or are they in detention in Qatar?'
Rice pledged that 'there are restrictions on their movement and behavior. I'm not at liberty to get into detail about the precise nature of those restrictions.'
'But suffice it to say that we are satisfied,' she added, 'that that substantially mitigates the risk to the United States and to our national security and we feel confident that the assurances given to us will be upheld.'
Rice's choice of words '' 'substantially mitigates' '' will be a crucial element in the Obama administration's defense of its decision.
On ABC's 'This Week' program, host George Stephanopoulos cited a federal law that 'requires assurances that they're not going to be able to return to the battlefield' and harm American interests.
Rice leapt in to correct him.
'The law says that we need to have sufficient confidence that the risk can be substantially mitigated,' she protested.
'And we do have ... that confidence based on a detailed understanding with the government of Qatar based on President Obama's personal communication with the emir of Qatar on Tuesday.'
Rice also dismissed public concerns about the nature of Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance from his U.S. Army unit.
President Barack Obama joined Jani and Bob Bergdahl, the parents of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in the Rose Garden of the White House on Saturday to announce that their son had been released to U.S. Special Forces after five years in captivity
Rice dismissed concerns about how Bergdahl came to be captured five years ago, saying that 'the point is that he is back'
Sgt. Bergdahl's capture was first announced to the world in a July 2009 video in which one of his captors displayed his dog tags
'There are a lot of questions about how he originally was captured and whether or not he had deserted, had left his post,' said Stephanopoulos. 'Is that going to be investigated? And if it's found that he did indeed leave his post, will he be disciplined '' or has he already paid the price?'
Rice downplayed concerns about any part Bergdahl may have played in his own capture.
'Certainly anybody who has been held in those conditions, in captivity, for five years has paid an extraordinary price. But that is really not the point,' she replied. 'The point is that he is back.'
Some Republicans in Congress are complaining that Obama broke a federal law that he himself signed in 2013, by failing to notify lawmakers before transferring anyone out of the island detention center.
The law also requires Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to explain why prisoners are being released, and to assure Congress that the freed terror suspects won't be able to reengage in any activities that might harm the U.S. or its global interests.
The Washington Post reported Saturday night that Obama added a 'signing statement' when he inked the bill into law, 'contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander-in-chief and that he therefore could override it.'
Obama's national security adviser said Qatar's emir had given the White House 'sufficient assurances' that the released detainees won't be able to harm the United States or its interests
Bowe Bergdahl's release was celebrated in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, but unconfirmed reports have circulated since Saturday describing a different Army sergeant -- one who deserted his post and went off in search of Taliban fighters to join, not to fight
While campaigning for president in 2008, Obama habitually excoriated President George W. Bush for issuing signing statements, calling them an unconstitutional "end-run' around Congress.
''Congress' job is to pass legislation,' then-Senator Obama explained during a May 19, 2008 campaign stop in Billings, Montana. 'The president can veto it or he can sign it. But what George Bush has been trying to do as part of his effort to accumulate more power in the presidency.'
'He's been saying, "Well, I can basically change what Congress passed by attaching a letter saying I don't agree with this part or I don't agree with that part, [and] I'm going to choose to interpret it this way or that way." That's not part of his power, but this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he goes along.'
Susan Rice has been an infrequent guest on Sunday morning political talk shows since September 2012 when she told five separate audiences on a single Sunday that a terror attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya was the result of an anti-Muslim YouTube video.
That explanation was later debunked, and evidence shows that the Obama administration knew almost immediately that an al-Qaeda-linked terror group called Ansar al-Shariah had launched a premeditated attack.
Four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, died in the military-style assault. But Obama was weeks away from re-election, and insisting that his foreign policy had taken al-Qaeda off the battlefield.
Share or comment on this articleRevealed: Bowe Bergdahl left letter telling comrades at...Who sneaked a camera into Obama's hotel gym? Security...Revealed: Father of girl, 12, who stabbed 'school friend 19...OJ SIMPSON EXCLUSIVE - False names, hounded out of jobs,...The trade that turned toxic for Obama: Taliban twist the...Two 12-year-olds obsessed with online ghost stories 'lured...EXCLUSIVE: V. Stiviano reveals the injury she claims she...Utah high school teacher, 34, accused of having sex with...EXCLUSIVE: 'She couldn't tell the difference between dreams...Take a look inside the historic Tennessee mansion one lucky...'Maybe it's not about the happy ending, maybe it's about the...Married gym teacher, 39, 'repeatedly had sex with student,...
VIDEO-NSA Director "I Go Home And My Family Asks Me HEY What Are You Doing With My Phone?!" - YouTube
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 21:04
VIDEO-Milªnio: Sonia Bridi entrevista Edward Snowden - GloboNews - V­deos do programa Milªnio - Catlogo de V­deos
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 18:43
Fernando Gabeira foi a Cod", no nordeste maranhense, conhecer a chamada "capital da magia", ou "meca da feiti§aria". Com 118 mil habitantes e 240 terreiros, Cod" cultiva rituais de umbanda, candombl(C) e terec´. Esse ºltimo, menos conhecido fora do Mar
VIDEO-The One Question From Anderson Cooper That Caused Jay Carney to Momentarily Fumble for His Words | Video | TheBlaze.com
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 18:16
Outgoing White House press secretary Jay Carney was grilled on CNN Tuesday night over the controversial deal President Barack Obama made to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl '-- and one particular question appeared to have him momentarily lost for words.
''Were you aware that, that Bergdahl's father would speak Arabic and Pashto in his remarks?'' Anderson Cooper asked.
''But, I '-- I, uh'-- I'm not sure that '-- of the relevance of that question,'' a seemingly caught off-guard Carney responded. ''Is that a reason not to be happy for a father, that his son who has been held in captivity by a brutal enemy is being returned to him and the United States? I mean, I think that's entirely beside the point.''
Watch the clip (starts at roughly 5:30 point):
Earlier in the interview, Cooper had grilled Carney over whether it can ''still be said that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists.''
''It can be, Anderson, because when you put on the uniform of the United States and you go and fight on behalf of your country in a foreign land at war, and you're taken captive by the enemy, the principle that we don't leave our men and women behind doesn't have an asterisk attached to it depending on who's holding you,'' Carney answered. ''The principle is inviolate, and that's what we pursued here.''
That response didn't appear to quell Cooper who continued pressing.
''Even if it was a group like Al Qaeda, there would be negotiations with them?'' he asked.
''Again '-- but that's not the case here,'' Carney said. ''What I'm saying is he was a prisoner in an armed conflict, and we were engaged in an effort for five years to try to recover him. As an admiral said on TV today, he said when one of your shipmates goes overboard, you go get them. You don't ask whether he jumped or he was pushed or he fell. You go get him first and then you find out.''
'--
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter
VIDEO- Sharyl Attkisson on Life After CBS News - YouTube
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 18:01
VIDEO-Pelosi Confronted By Teen Reporter On NSA | Truth Revolt
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:40
Finally, a reporter asks House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) some tough questions. Unfortunately, this reporter is a teenager from the YouTube "TeenTake" and not someone from the Capitol Hill press corps.
When Andrew Demeter asked Pelosi, ''Why do you support the NSA's illegal and ubiquitous data collection?'' she had a bit of a "deer in the headlights" look on her face.
''Well I, I do not, I have questions about the metadata collection that they were, uh, collecting,'' Pelosi stammered in response.
Demeter, unlike his professional counterparts in the mainstream media, actually challenged Pelosi with a follow-up: "You did vote for a bill to continue funding for the NSA, though.'' Pelosi responded, ''Yeah, of course.'' Demeter pressed the issue calling NSA data gathering a "clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.''
Pelosi continued to stammer, hem and haw her way through an um-laden response before finally landing on some familiar turf: She blamed the Bush Administration.
VIDEO-Report: White House Accuses Soldiers Who Served with Bergdahl of 'Swift Boating' | The Weekly Standard
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:38
Appearing on the Today Show this morning, Chuck Todd reports that, in response to allegations of possible desertion by Bowe Bergdahl, White House sources are accusing the soldiers that served with him of "swift boating." Prior to the allegations made by those who served with Bergdahl, National Security Advisor Susan Rice had said Bergdahl served with "Honor and distinction." From the transcript of the Today Show:
Every [White House] aide I've talked to said they expected there to be controversy involving the decision to release five members of the taliban from gitmo, and the fact that this would then escalate that debate, which has been simmering for a good five years, which is what to do with those detainees, how do you release them, where do you release them. They did not expect this backlash on bergdahl himself. I've had a few aides describe it to me as we didn't know that they were going to swift boat Bergdahl. And that's a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over john kerry's military service, so there's some fighting words there.
Here's the video of Todd on the Today Show:
VIDEO-About ExposeFacts
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:21
Launched by the Institute for Public Accuracy in June 2014, ExposeFacts.org represents a new approach for encouraging whistleblowers to disclose information that citizens need to make truly informed decisions in a democracy. From the outset, our message is clear: ''Whistleblowers Welcome at ExposeFacts.org.''
ExposeFacts aims to shed light on concealed activities that are relevant to human rights, corporate malfeasance, the environment, civil liberties and war. At a time when key provisions of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments are under assault, we are standing up for a free press, privacy, transparency and due process as we seek to reveal official information'--whether governmental or corporate'--that the public has a right to know.
While no software can provide an ironclad guarantee of confidentiality, ExposeFacts'--assisted by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and its ''SecureDrop'' whistleblower submission system'--is utilizing the latest technology on behalf of anonymity for anyone submitting materials via the ExposeFacts.org website. As journalists we are committed to the goal of protecting the identity of every source who wishes to remain anonymous.
The seasoned editorial board of ExposeFacts will be assessing all the submitted material and, when deemed in the public interest, will arrange for journalistic release of information to appropriate news outlets. The editorial board emphasizes to potential whistleblowers that all submitted materials and sourcing are handled with the utmost journalistic integrity.
In exercising its judgment'--regarding authenticity, importance, sensitivity and the potential best news outlets for submitted materials'--the editorial board is able to call on the expertise of the ExposeFacts advisory board, which includes more than 40 journalists, whistleblowers, former U.S. government officials and others with wide-ranging expertise. We are proud that Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was the first person to become a member of the ExposeFacts advisory board.
While undemocratic authority thrives on secrecy, ExposeFacts is implementing strategies for greater civic transparency. One of our key goals is to bring whistleblowing to the forefront of public consciousness'--in a process that widely seeks documentation of official government and corporate actions that cannot withstand the light of day. By openly and clearly facilitating the release of such information, ExposeFacts aims to support and strengthen journalism that is methodical, uncompromising, accurate and truly independent.
As a nonprofit organization dedicated to public education, the Institute for Public Accuracy has worked for more than 15 years to provide media outlets with crucial information and analysis, highlighting key facts below the surface of the news. Based in the National Press Building in Washington, D.C., IPA is able to draw on working relationships with large numbers of media organizations and independent journalists. IPA is providing substantial in-kind backup for ExposeFacts.org, constructing this effort on solid ground in terms of technical requirements, staffing, journalistic rigor and capacity to do wide public outreach.
Additionally, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has agreed to provide major assistance to IPA'--generously donating software, installation and training for security best practices, as well as long-term consultation. This has enabled IPA to set up and operate the ExposeFacts.org website from the outset with the most suitable existing secure technology, vetted by top experts in the field.
Some other media outlets also use such technology. But the nonprofit work of ExposeFacts is distinguished by an approach that combines top-notch journalistic skills with real independence, bold outreach and vigorous promotion'--committed to exposing realities of anti-democratic power while teaming up with whistleblowers who can provide key documentation.
IPA's roster of several thousand experts, built since the late 1990s, will give ExposeFacts enormous range and depth'--with the capacity to draw on vast knowledge and professional experience in such areas as intelligence, the military, diplomacy, government surveillance, civil liberties, banking, Wall Street abuses, corporate malfeasance and whistleblowing. This expertise is invaluable as ExposeFacts assesses incoming documents and other materials. In tandem with journalistic release of information, IPA fully utilizes its longstanding capabilities to directly reach thousands of journalists with context and experts available for interviews.
VIDEO-Neil deGrasse Tyson Shows Weather Is Not Climate With One Very Simple Demonstration
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:56
Weather and climate are obviously two separate things, but Neil deGrasse Tyson is here in case you need reminding.
"Weather is what the atmosphere does in the short-term, hour-to-hour, day-to-day," the "Cosmos" host explains in the clip above. "Weather is chaotic, which means that even a microscopic disturbance can lead to large scale changes. That's why those 10-day weather forecasts are useless ... Climate is the long-term average of the weather over a number of years. It's shaped by global forces that alter the energy balance in the atmosphere, such as changes in the sun, tilt of the Earth's axis, the amount of sunlight the Earth reflects back into space and the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the air."
Tyson compares weather to the irregular, sporadic pattern of his dog. Though it's difficult to predict where the dog is going, we can know the range of his meandering because he's on a leash. Conversely, Tyson's straight path is like the climate, which is broadly predictable by observing long-term changes in global forces.
Both man and dog have their own patterns, but both are going in the same direction.
The "Cosmos" episode that aired on June 2 uses the planet Venus as an example of what happens when the greenhouse effect runs rampant. In the episode, Venus is shown with boiling oceans and yellow skies.
VIDEO-State Department: Soldiers Who Served With Bergdahl Don't Know What They Are Talking About |
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:33
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf engaged in a heated exchange Tuesday with a reporter over the circumstances surrounding Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's capture five years ago, saying she does not think his squad mates have the best idea of what happened when he disappeared.
When Fox News reporter Lucas Tomlinson asked, ''Does the State Department consider Sergeant Bergdahl to be a deserter?'' Harf replied, ''The State Department '-- no, Lucas. Look, what we've said is we are going to learn the facts about what happened here.''
''He's been in captivity, Lucas. I think he's probably the person who knows best what happened on that night,'' Harf said.
Tomlinson shot back, ''Well, I think his squad mates have the best indication what happened that night.''
''I don't think that that's the case,'' Harf responded.
H/T freebecon
VIDEO: FPI Fellow James Kirchick Discussed the Afghanistan Prisoner Swap on PBS Newshour
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:10
The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America's global economic competitiveness.Read More
VIDEO-'Reset the Net!' Reddit, Greenpeace, Amnesty unite in anti-NSA hit campaign '-- RT News
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:36
Published time: June 02, 2014 18:08screenshot from youtube by fightforthefutu
Opponents of mass government surveillance are braced for the June-5 campaign for a free and secure internet, led by some of the world's largest websites. A massive electronic 'Thunderclap' is planned for the first anniversary of Snowden's revelations.
Some 200 websites have joined the #ResetTheNet campaign, urging internet users, developers and content providers to use ''NSA-resistant'' software, and tools to protect the global net against intrusive government surveillance.
The sites, which vary from individual pages to internet giants like Reddit, Imgur and Boing Boing, various rights groups, including Amnesty International and Greenpeace will place an internet ''splash screen'' on Thursday in support of the campaign.
The screen will give tips on ensuring web privacy, and simply by submitting an email on the campaign's website, users can download a ''privacy pack of free software tools that make end-to-end encryption easy.''
At the same time, Fight for the Future, which launched the project, is calling for supporters to reach out to millions of people on social media in a giant June-5 'Thunderclap'.
''Don't ask for your privacy. Take it back. Today we #ResetTheNet to stop mass spying. Encrypt everything! Learn how:http://thndr.it/1euOUIl " will be the message posted simultaneously by thousands of social media users in a web-delivered 'Thunderclap' that will bag an estimated social reach of about 3.7 million people, and counting.
According to the project's page, the choice of the June-5 date was deliberate. It will be a year to the day when the first revelations of the US National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless and huge-scale web surveillance were published by the Guardian.
It soon turned out that the report was based on leaked classified data obtained from CIA employee and NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who left for Hong Kong to escape persecution. The whistleblower was eventually trapped in a Moscow airport, in transit to South America, after the US revoked his passport. RT extensively covered the dramatic story that unfolded and culminated in Snowden receiving temporary asylum in Russia.
The 'Reset the Net' project comes slap-bang in the middle of the ongoing campaign for net neutrality under the hashtag #SaveTheInternet. For those still unfamiliar with the issue, the latest episode of Juice Rap News ingeniously sums it all up.
.
VIDEO-Massive explosion at Netherlands Shell oil plant injures 2
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:05
Published on Wednesday, 4 June, 2014 at 07:15
More videos can be found on our video page
(AFP) A massive explosion at a Shell oil plant in the Netherlands followed by a fire left two people injured Wednesday, authorities said.
"Their injuries are minor," said regional officials on their Twitter account, adding that the explosion happened during a shift change.
Jac Klijs, the mayor of Moerdijk, southeast of the Netherlands' main port of Rotterdam where the factory is located, said the two had suffered burns.
He expected them to be discharged from hospital early Wednesday.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.
Local radio and television network Omroep Brabant quoted residents as saying that "two powerful bangs" rocked the area around 10:45 pm.
Explosion at Shell oil plant in Moerdijk, the NetherlandsVideo screen grabThe ground "shook like in an earthquake", they said.
A huge flame shot up from the site and was visible kilometres around but the Moerdijk mayor, quoted by ANP news agency, said the smoke was not dangerous.
Authorities did advise people in the area to stay indoors and keep windows closed.
All road and river traffic near the site was suspended.
Anglo-Dutch Shell's 320-hectare chemical plant makes oil-based chemicals for use in synthetic fibres, paints and antifreeze, among others.
Don't miss out on the news '' sign up to receive the wort.lu newsletter in English delivered to your inbox six days a week.
VIDEO-REichard Clarke-June 02, 2014 | Democracy Now!
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 21:31
Non-Commercial NewsNeeds Your Support
DONATE TODAY '†'
[{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/1953_iran_coup","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"1953 Iran Coup"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/1973_chilean_coup","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"1973 Chilean Coup"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/2012_election","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"2012 Election"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/9-11","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"9/11"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/9-11_anniversary","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"9/11 anniversary"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/aaron_swartz","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Aaron Swartz"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/abortion","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Abortion"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/abu_ghraib","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Abu Ghraib"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/academic_freedom","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Academic Freedom"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/academy_awards","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Academy Awards"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/aclu","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"ACLU"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/acorn","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"ACORN"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/addiction","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Addiction"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/afghanistan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Afghanistan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/africa","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Africa"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/african_american_history","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"African-American History"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/agriculture","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Agriculture"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/aids","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"AIDS"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/alabama","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Alabama"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/alec","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"ALEC"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/algeria","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Algeria"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/aminatou_haidar","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Aminatou Haidar"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/angola_3","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Angola 3"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/animal_rights","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Animal Rights"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/anjali_kamat","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Anjali Kamat"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/anonymous","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Anonymous"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/anthony_shadid","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Anthony Shadid"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/apartheid","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Apartheid"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/arab_spring","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Arab Spring"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/arabs_and_muslims_in_america","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Arabs and Muslims in America"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/archive","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Archive"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/arctic","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Arctic"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/argentina","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Argentina"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/arizona","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Arizona"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/arizona_shooting","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Arizona shooting"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/arkansas","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Arkansas"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/arms_trade","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Arms Trade"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/army","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Army"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/art_politics","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Art & Politics"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/asmaa_mahfouz","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Asmaa Mahfouz"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/atomic","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Atomic"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/atomic_bomb","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Atomic Bomb"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/aurora_shooting","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Aurora Shooting"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/author_interviews","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Author Interviews"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bahrain","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Bahrain"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bainport","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Bainport"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bangladesh","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Bangladesh"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bank_of_america","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Bank of America"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/barbara_ehrenreich","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Barbara Ehrenreich"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bart","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"BART"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bhopal_disaster","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Bhopal Disaster"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/birth_control","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Birth Control"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/black_panthers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Black Panthers"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/blackwater","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Blackwater"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bolivia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Bolivia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/books","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Books"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/border_patrol","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Border Patrol"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/boston_marathon_bombing","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Boston Marathon Bombing"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bp_oil_spill","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"BP Oil Spill"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bradley_manning","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Bradley Manning"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/britain","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Britain"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/burma","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Burma"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/bush","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Bush"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/cafta","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"CAFTA"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/california","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"California"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/campaign_finance","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Campaign Finance"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/canada","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Canada"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/cancn_climate_summit","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Canc\u00fan Climate Summit"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/catholic_church","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Catholic Church"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/central_park_five","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Central Park Five"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/chad","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Chad"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/chalmers_johnson","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Chalmers Johnson"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/charter_schools","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Charter Schools"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/chelsea_manning","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Chelsea Manning"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/chicago","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Chicago"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/chile","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Chile"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/china","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"China"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/citizens_united","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Citizens United"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/civil_rights","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Civil Rights"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/climate_change","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Climate Change"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/cmus","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"CMUs"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/coal","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Coal"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/cointelpro","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"COINTELPRO"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/colombia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Colombia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/colorado","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Colorado"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/columbus_day","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Columbus Day"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/congo","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Congo"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/connecticut","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Connecticut"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/copenhagen_climate_summit","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Copenhagen Climate Summit 2009"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/corporate_power","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Corporate Power"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/cuba","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Cuba"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/cuban_five","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Cuban Five"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/cyprus","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Cyprus"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dadt","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"DADT"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dalai_lama","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Dalai Lama"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/danny_chen","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Danny Chen"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/danziger_bridge","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Danziger Bridge"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/darfur","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Darfur"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/david_cay_johnston","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"David Cay Johnston"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/death_penalty","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Death Penalty"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/debt","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Debt"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/defense_of_marriage_act","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Defense of Marriage Act"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/deficit","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Deficit"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/democracy","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Democracy"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/democratic_party","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Democratic Party"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dennis_brutus","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Dennis Brutus"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/detroit","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Detroit"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dick_cheney","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Dick Cheney"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/disability_rights","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Disability Rights"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dixie_chicks","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Dixie Chicks"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dnc_2012","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"DNC 2012"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/qatar_climate_summit_2012","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Doha Climate Summit 2012"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/domestic_spying","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Domestic Spying"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/domestic_surveillance","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Domestic Surveillance"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/domestic_violence","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Domestic Violence"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/domestic_workers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Domestic Workers"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dont_ask_dont_tell","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/donald_rumsfeld","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Donald Rumsfeld"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dr_george_tiller","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Dr. George Tiller"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/dream_act","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"DREAM Act"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/drone_attacks","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Drone Attacks"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/drones","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Drones"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/drug_war","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Drug War"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/durban_climate_summit_2011","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Durban Climate Summit 2011"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/earth_day","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Earth Day"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/east_timor","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"East Timor"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/economy","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Economy"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ecuador","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ecuador"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/eddie_vedder","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Eddie Vedder"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/education","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Education"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/edward_snowden","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Edward Snowden"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/egypt","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Egypt"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/el_nino","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"El Nino"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/el_salvador","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"El Salvador"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/elections_2010","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Election 2010"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/election_2011","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Election 2011"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/election_2012","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Election 2012"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/elena_kagan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Elena Kagan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/environment","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Environment"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ethiopia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ethiopia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/expanding_the_debate","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Expanding The Debate"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/extraordinary_rendition","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Extraordinary Rendition"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/extreme_weather","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Extreme Weather"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/exxon_valdez_disaster","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Exxon Valdez Disaster"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/famine","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Famine"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/fbi","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"FBI"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/fcc","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"FCC"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/fda","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"FDA"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/fema","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"FEMA"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/film","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Film"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/financial_meltdown","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Financial Meltdown"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/florida","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Florida"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/food","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Food"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/foodstamps","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Food Stamps"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/france","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"France"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/freedom_of_the_press","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Freedom of the Press"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/fukushima","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Fukushima"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/gay_marriage","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Gay Marriage"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/gay_rights","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Gay Rights"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/gaza","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Gaza"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/flotilla","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Gaza Flotilla"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/georgia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Georgia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/global_warming","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Global Warming"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/goldman_sachs","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Goldman Sachs"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/goldstone","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Goldstone"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/greece","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Greece"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/green_party","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Green Party"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/green_scare","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Green Scare"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/green_zone","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Green Zone"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ground_zero_workers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ground Zero workers"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/guam","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Guam"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/guantanamo","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Guantanamo"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/guatemala","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Guatemala"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/gun_control","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Gun Control"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hacking","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hacking"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hacktivism","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hacktivism"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/haiti","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Haiti"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/haiti_earthquake","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Haiti Earthquake"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hamas","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hamas"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/harry_belafonte","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Harry Belafonte"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/healthcare","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Healthcare"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hiroshima","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hiroshima"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hiroshima_nagasaki","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hiroshima Nagasaki"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hiv","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"HIV"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/honduras","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Honduras"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/howard_zinn","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Howard Zinn"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hugo_chavez","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hugo Chavez"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/human_rights","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Human Rights"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hunger_strike","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hunger Strike"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hurricane","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hurricane"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hurricane_katrina","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hurricane Katrina"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/hurricane_sandy","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Hurricane Sandy"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/idaho","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Idaho"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/idle_no_more","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Idle No More"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/illinois","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Illinois"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/immigrant_rights","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Immigrant Rights"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/immigration","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Immigration"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/india","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"India"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/indiana","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Indiana"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/indigenous","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Indigenous"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/indonesia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Indonesia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/internet","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Internet"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/iowa","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Iowa"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/iran","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Iran"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/iraq","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Iraq"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ireland","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ireland"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/islam","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Islam"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/israel","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Israel"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/israel_and_palestine","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Israel & Palestine"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/italy","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Italy"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ivory_coast","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ivory Coast"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/japan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Japan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/jean_bertrand_aristide","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Jean-Bertrand Aristide"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/jeff_luers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Jeff \"Free\" Luers"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/jeff_biggers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Jeff Biggers"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/jeremy_hammond","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Jeremy Hammond"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/jeremy_scahill","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Jeremy Scahill"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/john_brennan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"John Brennan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/john_walker_lindh","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"John Walker Lindh"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/journalism","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Journalism"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/juan_cole","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Juan Cole"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/juan_gonzalez","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Juan Gonzalez"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/juan_manuel_garca_passalacqua","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Juan Manuel Garc\u00eda-Passalacqua"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/julian_assange","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Julian Assange"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/karl_rove","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Karl Rove"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/kashmir","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Kashmir"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/kenneth_chamberlain","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Kenneth Chamberlain"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/kenya","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Kenya"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/keystone_xl","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Keystone XL"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/koch_brothers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Koch Brothers"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/labor","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Labor"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/laos","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Laos"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/latin_america","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Latin America"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/lebanon","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Lebanon"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/legistlation","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Legistlation"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/leonard_peltier","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Leonard Peltier"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/lgbt","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"LGBT"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/liberia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Liberia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/library","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Library"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/libya","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Libya"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/lobbying","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Lobbying"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/lobbyists","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Lobbyists"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/london","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"London"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/lori_berenson","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Lori Berenson"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/lou_dobbs","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Lou Dobbs"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/lpfm","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"LPFM"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/luis_posada_carriles","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Luis Posada Carriles"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/lynne_stewart","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Lynne Stewart"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/malcolm_x","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Malcolm X"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/maldives","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Maldives"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/mali","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Mali"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/manning_marable","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Manning Marable"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/march_on_washington","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"March on Washington"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/marijuana","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Marijuana"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/marriage_equality","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Marriage Equality"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/martin_luther_king","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Martin Luther King"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/media_analysis","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Media Analysis"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/media_consolidation","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Media Consolidation"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/media_policy","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Media Policy"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/medicaid","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Medicaid"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/medical_experimentation","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Medical Experimentation"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/medicare","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Medicare"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/mexico","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Mexico"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/michael_moore","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Michael Moore"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/michelle_bachmann","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Michele Bachmann"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/michigan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Michigan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/middle_class","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Middle Class"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/middle_east","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Middle East"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/military","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Military"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/military_industrial_complex","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Military Industrial Complex"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/military_industrial_complex","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Military-industrial complex"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/minnesota","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Minnesota"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/mississippi","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Mississippi"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/mitt_romney","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Mitt Romney"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/money_politics","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Money & Politics"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/monsanto","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Monsanto"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/montana","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Montana"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/mountaintop_removal","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Mountaintop Removal"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/muammar_gaddafi","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Muammar Gaddafi"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/mubarak","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Mubarak"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/mumia_abu_jamal","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Mumia Abu-Jamal"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/murdoch_media_scandal","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Murdoch Media Scandal"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/music","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Music"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/muslim","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Muslim"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nagasaki","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Nagasaki"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/naomi_klein","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Naomi Klein"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nasa","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"NASA"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/national_conference_for_media_reform","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"National Conference for Media Reform"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nsa","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"National Security Agency"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/native_american","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Native American"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nato","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"NATO"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/natural_gas_and_oil","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Natural Gas & Oil Drilling"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ndaa","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"NDAA"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nelson_mandela","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Nelson Mandela"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/net_neutrality","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Net Neutrality"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nevada","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Nevada"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/new_jersey","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"New Jersey"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/new_mexico","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"New Mexico"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/new_orleans","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"New Orleans"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/new_york","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"New York"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/newtown_shooting","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Newtown Shooting"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nigeria","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Nigeria"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/no_child_left_behind","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"No Child Left Behind"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nobel_peace_prize","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Nobel Peace Prize"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/north_carolina","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"North Carolina"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/north_korea","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"North Korea"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/norway","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Norway"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nra","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"NRA"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nuclear_power","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Nuclear Power"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nuclear_proliferation","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Nuclear Weapons"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/nypd_muslim_spy_program","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"NYPD Muslim Spy Program"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/obama","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Obama"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/occupy_wall_street","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Occupy Wall Street"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ocean","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ocean"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/offshore_drilling","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Offshore Drilling"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ohio","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ohio"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/olympics","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Olympics"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/open_source","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Open Source"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/osama_bin_laden","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Osama bin Laden"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/oscar_grant","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Oscar Grant"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/oscars_2010","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Oscars"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/osha","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"OSHA"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/pakistan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Pakistan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/palestine","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Palestine"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/paraguay","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Paraguay"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/paul_ryan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Paul Ryan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/peace","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Peace"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/pennsylvania","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Pennsylvania"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/pentagon","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Pentagon"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/peru","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Peru"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/pete_seeger","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Pete Seeger"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/philippines","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Philippines"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/pipeline","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Pipeline"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/police","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Police"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/police_brutality","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Police Brutality"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/poverty","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Poverty"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/pr_industry","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"PR Industry"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/prison","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Prison"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/privacy","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Privacy"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/private_contractors","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Private Contractors"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/privatization","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Privatization"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/protests","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Protests"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/psychology_and_justice","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Psychology and Justice"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ptsd","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"PTSD"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/puerto_rico","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Puerto Rico"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/pussy_riot","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Pussy Riot"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/qatar","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Qatar"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/race_in_america","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Race in America"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/rachel_corrie","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Rachel Corrie"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/racism","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Racism"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/rape","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Rape"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/red_cross","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Red Cross"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/regulation","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Regulation"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/religion","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Religion"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/republican","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Republican"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/republican_party","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Republican Party"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/rick_perry","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Rick Perry"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/right_livelihood_award","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Right Livelihood Award"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/right_wing_militias","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Right-wing Militias"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/rio_20","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Rio+20"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/rnc_2008","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"RNC 2008"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/rnc_2012","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"RNC 2012"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/robert_redford","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Robert Redford"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ronald_reagan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ronald Reagan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/russia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Russia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/rwanda","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Rwanda"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/saudi_arabia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Saudi Arabia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/school_of_the_americas","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"School of the Americas"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/sec","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"SEC"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/secure_communities","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Secure Communities"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/september_11","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"September 11"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/sex_workers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Sex Workers"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/sexual_assault","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Sexual Assault"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/sharif_kouddous","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Sharif Abdel Kouddous"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/shirley_sherrod","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Shirley Sherrod"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/sikh","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Sikh"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/social_media","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Social Media"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/social_security","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Social Security"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/soldier_suicides","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Soldier Suicides"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/solitary_confinement","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Solitary Confinement"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/somalia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Somalia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/south_africa","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"South Africa"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/south_korea","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"South Korea"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/spain","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Spain"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/sports","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Sports & Politics"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/state_of_the_union","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"State of the Union"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/steubenville","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Steubenville"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/stop_frisk","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Stop-and-Frisk"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/student_loans","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Student Loans"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/students","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Students"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/sudan","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Sudan"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/suicide","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Suicide"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/sundance_film_festival","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Sundance Film Festival"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/supreme_court","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Supreme Court"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/syria","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Syria"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/tar_sands","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Tar Sands"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/tax_havens","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Tax Havens"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/tax_protest","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Tax Protest"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/tax_reform","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Tax Reform"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/taxes","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Taxes"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/tea_party","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Tea Party"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/telecommunications","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Telecommunications"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/texas","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Texas"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/thailand","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Thailand"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/tibet","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Tibet"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/torture","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Torture"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/trans_pacific_partnership","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Trans-Pacific Partnership"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/trayvon_martin","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Trayvon Martin"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/troy_davis","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Troy Davis"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/tuition","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Tuition"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/tunisia","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Tunisia"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/turkey","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Turkey"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/us_economy","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"U.S. Economy"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/us_hikers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"U.S. Hikers Freed from Iran"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/us_labor_protests","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"U.S. Labor Protests"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/us_social_forum","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"U.S. Social Forum"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/uganda","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Uganda"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/ukraine","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Ukraine"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/undocumented","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Undocumented"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/unemployment","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Unemployment"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/unions","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Unions"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/united_nations","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"United Nations"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/uranium","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Uranium"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/uraguay","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Uruguay"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/usa_patriot_act","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"USA PATRIOT Act"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/usps","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"USPS"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/utah","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Utah"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/venezuela","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Venezuela"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/verizon","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Verizon"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/vermont","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Vermont"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/vermont_yankee","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Vermont Yankee"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/veterans","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Veterans"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/vietnam","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Vietnam"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/voting","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Voting"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/wall_street","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Wall Street"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/walmart","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Walmart"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/wangari_maathai","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Wangari Maathai"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/war","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"War"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/war_on_terror","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"War on Terror"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/warsaw_climate_summit_2013","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Warsaw Climate Summit 2013"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/water","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Water"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/wells_fargo","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Wells Fargo"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/west_memphis_three","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"West Memphis Three"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/west_papua","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"West Papua"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/western_sahara","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Western Sahara"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/whistleblowers","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Whistleblowers"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/white_power","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"White Power"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/wikileaks","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Wikileaks"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/wiretapping","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Wiretapping"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/wisconsin","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Wisconsin"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/wisconsin_sikh_temple_shooting","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shooting"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/womens_health","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Women's Health"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/womens_rights","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Women's Rights "},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/womens_rights","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Women\u2019s Rights"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/working_class","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Working Class"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/world_peoples_summit_on_climate_change","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"World Peoples' Summit on Climate Change"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/wto","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"WTO"},{"data-clicky-href":"#widget/topics/find","link":"/topics/yemen","data-clicky-title":"Widget: Find A Topic","label":"Yemen"}]
VIDEO-Sharyl Attkisson on Journalism's Very Dangerous Trend
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:45
Sharyl Attkisson, an award-winning investigative reporter who resigned from CBS News earlier this year, says the news media are heading down a dangerous path with attempts to ''censor or block stories'' that don't align with their preferred agenda.
''There's a tendency in the news media, on the part of some managers, to censor or block stories that don't fall in line with the message they want sent to the viewers,'' Attkisson said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal. ''I think that's really a very dangerous perspective to have.''
In the first of three segments, Attkisson shared her views on journalism and life after CBS News. Her newest investigative report'--about oxygen trials conducted on premature babies'--was published by The Daily Signal today. She will serve as a senior independent contributor to the news organization, which made its debut Tuesday.
Attkisson made headlines in March when she left CBS News after a 20-year career at the TV network. In subsequent interviews, she cited her inability to get her stories on the air.
''What I'm seeking out now,'' Attkisson said, ''is the opportunity to bring under-served stories to a broad audience through an editorial process that doesn't censor, that doesn't try to direct a story to go in a certain unnatural direction.''
Attkisson is writing a book, due out later this year, called ''Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington.'' She has criticized the administration's lack of transparency surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Her critique of the White House is shared by other journalists, including from former New York Times editor Jill Abramson and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen, who faces jail time over a dispute with the Obama administration.
In the interview, Attkisson explained what was troubling about the news business and why she agreed to contribute to The Daily Signal:
The Daily Signal promised to be a good outlet for an under-served story'--in this case, the one about the baby oxygen trials'--in a way that the story could naturally tell itself. And in a fearless way because there are people who do want to shy away from these types of stories that are critical of government or powers that be. I think those are some of the most important stories that need to be told today.
>>> Read More: Did Government's Experiment on Preemies Hide Risks?
AUDIO-The Common Core Curriculum Void : NPR Ed : NPR
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:42
hide captionJust some of the more than 700 math books that have been reviewed for Common Core alignment by professor William Schmidt and his team at Michigan State's Center for the Study of Curriculum.
Cory Turner/NPRJust some of the more than 700 math books that have been reviewed for Common Core alignment by professor William Schmidt and his team at Michigan State's Center for the Study of Curriculum.
Cory Turner/NPRRight now, America's schools are in a sprint. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. That means new learning benchmarks for the vast majority of the nation's young students '-- millions of kids from kindergarten through high school. And, for many of them, the Core will feel tougher than what they're used to. Because it is tougher.
It's a seismic shift in education meant to better prepare kids for college, career and the global economy. But new standards as rigorous as the Core require lots of other changes '-- to textbooks, lesson plans, homework assignments. In short: curriculum and the materials needed to teach it. And that's the problem. Right now, much of that stuff just isn't ready.
Before we get further into the problem, let's be clear: The Common Core is a set of standards, not curriculum. There's a difference. Standards are goals we set for kids. For example, one Common Core math standard says fifth-graders should be able to use place value understanding to round decimals to any place.
Curriculum is what teachers do every day in the classroom to achieve that goal. Again, different. But, if you change standards, you've got to change curriculum too. And that's the challenge right now with the Common Core. Because most states have made big changes to their standards, forcing districts and schools to do the same to their curricula.
"There's been no time in American history where this number of school districts wanted to swap out all their reading and math materials at all grades for new things," says Jay Diskey, with the Association of American Publishers.
This race to update and upgrade all that stuff ends next year, when those millions of kids take their first Common Core test '-- a test that, for some, will come with consequences.
"We can no longer just pick something up and hand it to teachers and say, 'Go with it,' " says Kate Gerson, a senior fellow with the USNY Regents Research Fund.
How did we get here? If states adopted the Core in 2010, why do some teachers still not have good teaching materials?
A Quick History Lesson
Back then, as states rushed to adopt, educational publishers '-- big and small, established and new '-- saw an opportunity.
"The marketplace was flooded," says Alissa Peltzman at Achieve, which helped develop the Core Standards. She says districts and schools were inundated with sample products '-- some new, some revised, much of it claiming to be in sync with the new standards.
"If you put yourself in the place of an educator, a district administrator, someone responsible for making decisions about material," Peltzman says, "it's really hard to step back and know which materials really are high quality, and which materials are going to lead to increases in student achievement."
"I think anybody you talk to will say it was a disgrace," says Amber Northern, vice president for research at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank that supports the Common Core. "Some of this stuff is kind of snake-oil salesman, you know? Developing good materials takes time, and I don't think they trusted when these materials came out that they were Common Core-aligned despite the sticker."
Despite The Sticker
At the center of this story is a little gold sticker or stamp '-- or so it was described to me by administrators, educators and experts: Peltzman, Gerson, Northern, half a dozen teachers in Michigan, an associate state superintendent of schools in West Virginia '-- the list goes on. They all tell the same story. When publishers tried to cash in on the Core, many of their books had these stickers on them. Usually gold, with the words "Common Core" or "CCSS" in big letters. The message to schools and to teachers was clear: This will help you teach the Core. Here's the problem, says Amber Northern:
"That sticker appeared quickly, right after the adoption. There's no way they could have gone back and actually re-evaluated, re-assessed their materials, and truly made a good-faith effort to align those materials that quickly. It just was simply impossible."
How bad were they?
The Storage Room
One answer lies in a storage room on the campus of Michigan State University, in the College of Education's Erickson Hall. It's a little dark, like a bear's cave '-- only, instead of bones everywhere, there are math books, on shelves, tables and rising from the floor like stalagmites. This is the domain of professor William Schmidt. He runs Michigan State's Center for the Study of Curriculum. And his team has analyzed some 700 math books '-- many with that gold seal '-- to see just how well they line up with the Common Core Standards.
Schmidt says he'll often review a book that's chock-full of material that has nothing to do with the Core: "Maybe as much as half or more of the book. And so, in effect, if [teachers] follow the book from page one to page whatever, they're going to be led astray, and they're not going to cover the central material."
Of the many books his team reviewed, Schmidt says, "virtually none of them" line up "straight on to the Common Core."
Professor Schmidt says his team has reviewed several brand new textbooks, and they're much better. But the landscape, in general, is still pretty bad.
Blaming the Core
As messy as this sounds, it's easy to blame the Core. But that's like a hitter in baseball blaming his bat when he strikes out. This isn't about the standards. It's about how they've been implemented. Some critics compare it to the botched rollout of Obamacare, hoping "ObamaCORE" hurts the President and Democrats in the coming midterm elections.
But there's one problem with that argument, and it's in the name itself: the Common Core State Standards. They aren't federal. Washington's not on the hook here. States are. Governors signed on '-- Democrats and Republicans alike '-- because they saw something necessary and ambitious. And implementing ambitious is never easy.
"We should not be surprised that this is hard, but that doesn't mean we should walk away from it," says Mary Cullinane, the chief content officer for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt '-- one of the top educational publishers.
She disagrees that publishers were just trying to cash in on the Core. The truth is more complicated. The problem, Cullinane insists, is that building good textbooks takes time.
"This isn't like building a song for 99 cents and then you put it out there, and if somebody doesn't like it they just don't listen to it anymore," she says. "Teachers are being held accountable. Kids are being held accountable. Communities are being held accountable."
This time next year, kids across the country will take a new generation of standardized test. And Cullinane is right: In some cases, students, teachers and schools will be judged on the results.
These tests '-- everyone promises '-- will be aligned to the Common Core. The same cannot be said for the tools teachers and kids have to prepare for them.
This story is Part One of a two-part series on Common Core implementation. In Part Two: how teachers, districts and states are working together to build new Common Core classroom materials from the ground up.
VIDEO-Fellow soldiers call Bowe Bergdahl a deserter, not a hero - CNN.com
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 20:03
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Soldiers who served with Bergdahl say he should face military trialQuestions surround the circumstances of Bergdahl's disappearanceHe was released after five years of captivity in Afghanistan on Saturday(CNN) -- The sense of pride expressed by officials of the Obama administration at the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is not shared by many of those who served with him, veterans and soldiers who call him a deserter whose "selfish act" ended up costing the lives of better men.
"I was pissed off then, and I am even more so now with everything going on," said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. "Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."
Vierkant said Bergdahl needs to not only acknowledge his actions publicly but face a military trial for desertion under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A reporter asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday whether Bergdahl had left his post without permission or deserted -- and, if so, whether he would be punished. Hagel didn't answer directly. "Our first priority is assuring his well-being and his health and getting him reunited with his family," he said. "Other circumstances that may develop and questions, those will be dealt with later."
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
Americans detained abroad
HIDE CAPTION
Released detainees arrive in Qatar
Released detainees arrive in Qatar
Released detainees arrive in Qatar
Released detainees arrive in Qatar
HIDE CAPTION
Guantanamo detainees swapped for Bergdahl
Guantanamo detainees swapped for Bergdahl
Guantanamo detainees swapped for Bergdahl
Guantanamo detainees swapped for Bergdahl
Guantanamo detainees swapped for Bergdahl
HIDE CAPTION
After 5 years, what's next for Bergdahl?
Following his release from five years of captivity in Afghanistan on Saturday, Bergdahl was transferred to a military hospital in Germany.
A senior Defense official said Bergdahl's "reintegration process" will include "time for him to tell his story, decompress, and to reconnect with his family through telephone calls and video conferences."
Said Bergdahl's former squad leader, Greg Leatherman: "I'm pleased to see him returned safely. From experience, I hope that he receives adequate reintegration counseling. I believe that an investigation should take place as soon as health care professionals deem him fit to endure one."
Another senior Defense official said Bergdahl will not likely face any punishment. "Five years is enough," he told CNN on condition of anonymity.
Questions surround the circumstances of Bergdahl's disappearance. Conflicting details have since emerged about how the militants managed to capture Bergdahl. Published accounts have varied widely, from claims that he walked off the post to that he was grabbed from a latrine.
According to firsthand accounts from soldiers in his platoon, Bergdahl, while on guard duty, shed his weapons and walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera and a diary.
At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl, and many soldiers in his platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.
Many of Bergdahl's fellow troops -- from the seven or so who knew him best in his squad to the larger group that made up the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division -- told CNN that they signed nondisclosure agreements agreeing to never share any information about Bergdahl's disappearance and the efforts to recapture him. Some were willing to dismiss that document in hopes that the truth would come out about a soldier who they now fear is being hailed as a hero, while the men who lost their lives looking for him are ignored.
Idaho hometown prepares for homecoming
Many are flocking to social media, such as the Facebook page "Bowe Bergdahl is NOT a hero," where they share stories detailing their resentment. A number of comments on his battalion's Facebook page prompted the moderator to ask for more respect to be shown.
"I challenge any one of you who label him a traitor to spend 5 years in captivity with the Taliban or Haqqani, then come back and accuse him again. Whatever his intent when he walked away or was captured, he has more than paid for it."
E-mails reported by the late Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone in 2012 reveal what Bergdahl's fellow infantrymen learned within days of his disappearance: He told people that he no longer supported the U.S. effort in Afghanistan.
"The future is too good to waste on lies," he wrote to his parents. "And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."
Bergdahl wrote to them, "I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting."
CNN has not independently verified the authenticity of the e-mails.
A former member of Bergdahl's squad who has yet to identify his last name publicly but goes by "Cody" tweeted this weekend that before he disappeared, Bergdahl once told him, "If deployment is lame, I'm going to get lost in the Mountains and make my way to China."
Leatherman told CNN that Bergdahl "always looked at the mountains in the distance and talked of 'seeing what's on the other side.' "
Cody noted in his Twitter recollections a story that others from Blackfoot Company relay. While soldiers were searching for Bergdahl, a platoon "came upon some children, they asked him have they seen an American. The children said 'yes, he was crawling on his belly through weeds and acting funny a while ago,' " according to Cody.
Bergdahl's parents: 'It isn't over'
The platoon went to the village where the children said the American had gone. "Villagers said an American did come through the area and was wanting water and someone who spoke English," Cody shared.
Former Pfc. Jose Baggett, 27, of Chicago, was also in Blackfoot Company and said he was close to two men "killed because of his (Bergdahl's) actions."
"He walked off," Baggett told CNN. "He left his guard post. Nobody knows if he defected or he's a traitor or he was kidnapped. What I do know is, he was there to protect us, and instead he decided to defer from America and go and do his own thing. I don't know why he decided to do that, but we spend so much of our resources, and some of those resources were soldiers' lives."
Many soldiers on the ground at the time said insurgents were able to take advantage of the intense search for Bergdahl.
"A huge thing in-country is not building patterns. Well when you are looking for a person everyday that creates a pattern. While searching for him, ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously. Enemy knew we would be coming. IEDs started being placed more effectively in the coming weeks. Ambushes were more calculated, cover and concealment was used," Cody tweeted.
On August 18, 2009, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen and Pfc. Morris Walker were killed by an IED in the search for Bergdahl. Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss was killed on August 26; 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews and Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek were killed after being attacked in Yahya Khail District on September 4; Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey was killed September 5 by an IED at the Forward Operating Base, Sharana.
Moreover, other operations were put on hold while the search for Bergdahl was made a top priority, according to officers who served in Afghanistan in that time. Manpower and assets -- such as scarce surveillance drones and helicopters -- were redirected to the hunt. The lack of assets is one reason the closure of a dangerous combat outpost, COP Keating, was delayed. Eight soldiers were killed at COP Keating before it was ultimately closed.
One soldier with the 509th Regiment, a sister unit of the 501st, told CNN that after Bergdahl disappeared, the U.S. Army essentially was told to lock down the entire province of Paktika. He described sitting in the middle of a field with his platoon, vulnerable, with capabilities and personnel mismanaged throughout the region. Different platoons ran out of water, food and ammunition.
Two mortarmen -- Pvt. Aaron Fairbairn and Pfc. Justin Casillas -- were killed in a July 4, 2009, attack.
"It was unbelievable," the soldier said. "All because of the selfish act of one person. The amount of animosity (toward him) is nothing like you've ever seen before."
That Bergdahl was freed in an exchange for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay is a further source of consternation.
"I don't understand why we're trading prisoners at Gitmo for somebody who deserted during a time of war, which is an act of treason," Vierkant said.
Who are the Gitmo detainees?
VIDEO-82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper dies in airborne training incident | abc11.com
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:52
FORT BRAGG, NC (WTVD) --
An 82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper died Friday during a T-11 airborne training exercise at Holland Drop Zone.Sgt. Shaina B. Schmigel, 21, of Medina, N.Y., was an intelligence analyst with the 37th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
"All of the Paratroopers in the brigade are deeply saddened by the loss of an extraordinary and much-respected member of our team," said Lt. Col. Albert Paquin, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this time of great loss. Our chaplains and our health care professionals are available to help comfort and support all of her fellow Paratroopers affected by this tragedy."
Schmigel joined the Army in Aug. 2010. She completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and advanced training at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. She also trained at Fort Benning in Georgia before reporting to the 82nd Airborne Division where she was assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team in June 2011.
Schmigel deployed to Iraq from July to November 2011.
She earned many awards and decorations, including the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. She also earned the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster.
The cause of death is under investigation.
Report a Typo
(Copyright (C)2014 WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
VIDEO-Reset the Net
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 01:52
If your app talks to a server, use SSL & cert pinning, and make sure all third party code like ads & analytics does too. If it's a messaging app, consider end-to-end encryption. Then on June 5th, send a push notification to promote a mobile privacy pack.
VIDEO-Candy Crowley Grills Susan Rice If U.S. Negotiated With Terrorists On Prisoner Swap | Crooks and Liars
Sun, 01 Jun 2014 21:23
CNN's Candy Crowley sat down with national security adviser Susan Rice on "State of the Union" where they discussed the U.S.'s role in getting the Taliban to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner of war in Afghanistan. TPM highlights that Crowley is persistent in getting Rice to admit that the U.S. did negotiate with terrorists to release Bergdahl:
"Point blank, did the U.S. negotiate with terrorists for his release?" Crowley asked.
"Candy, what we did was ensure that, as always, the United States doesn't leave a man or a woman on the battlefield," Rice responded. "And in order to do this '-- it's very important for folks to understand '-- if we got into a situation where we said, 'Because of who has captured an American soldier on the battlefield, we will leave that person behind,' we would be in a whole new era for the safety of our personnel and for the nature of our commitment to our men and women in uniform."
Crowley continued to press Rice.
"I think the question now is, and you point to the kinds of warfare we're having now, but no longer can it be said that the U.S. doesn't negotiate with terrorists," Crowley said.
Rice would not say that the U.S. negotiated with terrorists. She instead claimed the the U.S. was presented with a "new kind of situation with a prisoner of war":
''When we are in battles with terrorists, and the terrorists take an American prisoner, that prisoner is still a U.S. serviceman or woman. We still have a sacred obligation to bring that person back."
Details about Bergdahl's release are still unknown but Crowley really wanted Rice to admit the U.S. did negotiate with Taliban on this. USA Today has a little more info:
The handover was the result of indirect talks between the United States and the Taliban's political leadership, with Qatar acting as a mediator, according to a senior administration official who provided information to reporters on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue.
U.S. efforts to obtain Bergdahl's release began in November 2010, but a break in the effort occurred several weeks ago, when an opportunity rose to resume talks, the official said. Bergdahl's release and the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Qatar is part of a broader reconciliation effort in Afghanistan, the official said.
U.S. officials hope the transfer will build greater trust between the Taliban and the Afghan government so the two sides can negotiate a solution, the official said.
Obama defended the exchange, saying the government of Qatar pledged to "put in place measures to protect our national security."
'†' Story continues below '†'
Fox Neocon John Bolton: Obama 'Despicable' For Negotiating American POW Release
Reince Priebus: Benghazi 'Disqualified' Hillary From Running For President
Van Rompuy welcomes Japan PM with an Haiku
Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:34

Art

Image
Load image
Image
Load image

2nd Half

20140604_me_more_americans_than_you_might_think_believe_in_conspiracy_theories.mp3

Bo Diddley

Bergdahl Wiki Dissection.docx
Chip hammers the Last Man Standing strategy home.mp3
Harf-Highest levels-no details on the deal!.mp3
Harf-soldiers dont know what theyre talking about.mp3
Pooper & Carney-Last Man Standing theory?-Military SETUP.mp3
Rice on ABC with Stephanopolous-A joyous day.mp3
Rice on ABC with Stephanopolous-honor & distinction.mp3
Rice on ABC with Stephanopolous-POW.mp3
Rice on Crowley-Last man standing.mp3
Sacred Duty.mp3
Saxy Chambliss-strange army didnt mention Bergdahls note.mp3
Today Show-Chuck Todd-WH didnt know abt Bowe.mp3

Drone Nation

Dick Clarke on drones as gas explosions.mp3

Elite$

Haiku Herman Japanese.mp3
Haiku Herman welcomes Japanese PM.mp3

EUROLand

Obamas Billion Dollar War-1-.mp3
Obamas Billion Dollar War-2-Nudelman-Kagan-rennaicance.mp3

JCD Clips

chris hayes.mp3
cruz on corporations and silencing bloggers.mp3
cruz outlines major donors.mp3
cruz part two.mp3
cruz wrap part one.mp3
explain citizens united.mp3
franken.mp3
harry reiud opening.mp3
hidden gov org.mp3
imopeach question with rubio.mp3
jeff sessions.mp3
mich mcconnell.mp3
money is speech.mp3
oreilly asks perfect question.mp3
reid has places to go.mp3
saxby after secret meeting.mp3
schumer attacks cruz.mp3
susan rice.mp3

Ministry of Truth

Sharyl Attkisson on media manipulation.mp3

Shut Up Slave!

Cruise-amendment is attack on free speech.mp3
Reid felt 'unclean' about finance.mp3

SnowJob

Adm Mike Rogers on Snowden and THE LAW.mp3
Adm Mike Rogers-Bloomberg shill-facial recognition.mp3
Andreesen boo hoo snowden.mp3
NOI-990.pdf
Reset The Net.mp3
Teen stumps Pelosi on NSA questions.mp3
Loading troll messages...