Cover for No Agenda Show 636: Appification Nation
July 20th, 2014 • 3h 20m

636: Appification Nation


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

ADAM CURRY - Heroin WTF!-Brothers face weapons, heroin charges | Regional: Poconos & Coal - Home
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 01:57
STROUDSBURG, Pa. -Police arrested two brothers Wednesday morning on weapons and drug charges at a Monroe County motel.
Twenty-five-year-old Adam A. Curry, of Wayne, Passaic County, N.J. was wanted in N.J. on a parole violation.
When police learned that he was staying at the Flower Field Inn and Cottages at gate around 6 a.m.
Stroud Area Regional Police said 26-year-old Brian A. Curry, also of Wayne, answered the door.
Police said Brian had a bundle of heroin in his possession, and Adam Curry was found hiding under a bed.
Drug paraphernalia and a holster for a gun were in plain view, police said.
After obtaining a search warrant, police said they seized a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, 130 bags of suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia.
According to their criminal records, neither brother was permitted to possess a gun.
Adam Curry was charged with being a fugitive from justice, and both were charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, and related charges.
Both men are in Monroe County Correctional Facility.
Brian Curry was unable to post $100,000 bail.
Adam Curry's bail was $100,000 plus an additional $50,000 for being a fugitive. He also was unable to post bail.
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Sun, 20 Jul 2014 00:23
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Presidential Proclamation -- Captive Nations Week, 2014
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:13
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 18, 2014
As the grip of the Cold War tightened, America pledged our solidarity to every nation held captive behind the Iron Curtain and every individual who refused to accept that fate. We stood with them through a long twilight struggle until -- from Europe to South America to Southeast Asia -- democracy took root, a wall tumbled down, and people who had known only the blinders of fear began to taste the blessings of freedom. During Captive Nations Week, we celebrate this progress and stand with all whostill seek to throw off their oppressors and embrace a brighterday.
In recent years, convulsions in the Middle East and North Africa have laid bare deep divisions within societies. Dictators have answered peaceful movements with brutality. Extremists have tried to hijack change, seeking to replace one form of tyranny with another. And around the world,authoritarian regimes continue to deprive men, women, and children of their most basic human rights.
America extends our support to all peoples seeking to build true democracy, real prosperity, and lasting security. While the road to self-determination is long and treacherous, history proves it is passable. This week, as we carry forward that age-old struggle -- of liberty against oppression, of unity against intolerance -- let us once again demonstrate the enduring strength of our ideals.
The Congress, by joint resolution approved July 17, 1959 (73 Stat. 212), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week of July of each year as "Captive Nations Week."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 20 through July 26, 2014, as Captive Nations Week. I call upon the people of the United States to reaffirm our deep ties to all governments and people committed to freedom, dignity, andopportunity for all.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Presidential Memorandum -- Proposed Amendment to the 1958 Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | The White House
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:12
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 18, 2014
SUBJECT: Proposed Amendment to the 1958 Agreement Betweenthe Government of the United States of Americaand the Government of the United Kingdom ofGreat Britain and Northern Ireland forCooperation on the Uses of Atomic Energy forMutual Defense Purposes
I have reviewed and concur with the positions taken in your joint letter to me of July 9, 2014, recommending approval of a proposed Amendment to the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for Cooperation on the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defense Purposes of July 3, 1958, as amended (the "1958 Agreement").
I note from your joint recommendation and concur with your assessment that the United Kingdom, by participating with the United States pursuant to an international agreement, is making substantial and material contributions to the mutual defense and security. The proposed Amendment to the 1958 Agreement will permit cooperation that will further improve our mutual defense posture and support our interests under NATO. I hereby: approve the proposed Amendment to the 1958 Agreement; determine that performance under the proposed Amendment will promote and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to the common defense and security; approve the program outlined in this Amendment and determine that such program will promote and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to the common defense and security; and authorize the execution of the proposed Amendment for the Government of the United States in a manner specified by the Secretary of State.
28 | A new resource for the growing movement to declassify a 28-page finding about foreign government involvement in 9/11
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 20:59
Seeking the American government's analysis of the 9/11 attacks, most people look to the 9/11 Commission Report. There is, however, another report that commands equal attention: the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.
President George W. Bush censored 28 pages of this report'--an entire section said to describe the involvement of specific foreign governments in the attacks. After reading it, Congressman Thomas Massie described the experience as ''disturbing'' and said, ''I had to stop every two or three pages and rearrange my perception of history''s that fundamental.''
In the interest of achieving justice for victims and preventing future attacks, knowledge of foreign government involvement in 9/11 must be shared with the American people'...and with the world. was launched in July 2014 to help build awareness of this classified material and to bolster the growing, bipartisan movement to pressure Congress and the President to finally disclose it. Use to study the issue, follow efforts to declassify the 28 pages and learn how you can help pressure the government to do the right thing.
New agents sign for WikiLeaks in Germany and Iberia
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 23:32
Just Licensing signs Bavaria Sonor for German speaking markets and Lixesa for Spain and Portugal.
Just Licensing, the master agent for the WikiLeaks brand and Julian Assange's name and likeness, has signed deals for the brand with Bavaria Sonor for German speaking markets and Lixesa for Spain and Portugal.
The agreements continue the firm's plans to build a network of powerful agents in all key territories for WikiLeaks.
''Telling the truth is about to become fashionable,'' said Olafur V Sigurvinsson, Just Licensing CEO.
''From the widespread interest that we see already, these two edgy brands: WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, are poised to make waves in fashion, accessories and other consumer product categories that people use to express themselves.
"So I am extremely pleased to announce agency agreements with Bavaria Sonor and Lixesa to bring WikiLeaks branded merchandise to market. We look forward to working with both companies to build and execute outstanding licensing programs as we roll out across Europe.''
Jos(C) F(C)lix Garc­a, Lixesa managing director, added: ''People today are passionate about freedom, transparency and simply being told the truth.
"The support WikiLeaks enjoys in Spain is phenomenal. Research has shown that 85 per cent of people support WikiLeaks, so we believe that we will see rapid traction in the marketplace.''
New Hams
AC Anaysis
Prelude: Part of the KAGAN plan
In Ukraine, the US is using a divide and conquer
strategy to pit the EU against trading partner Moscow. The State
Department and CIA helped to topple Ukraine’s elected President Viktor
Yanukovych and install a US stooge in Kiev who was ordered to cut off
the flow of Russian gas to the EU and lure Putin into a protracted
guerilla war in Ukraine. The bigwigs in Washington figured that, with
some provocation, Putin would react the same way he did when Georgia
invaded South Ossetia in 2006. But, so far, Putin has resisted the
temptation to get involved which is why new puppet president Petro
Poroshenko has gone all “Jackie Chan” and stepped up the provocations by
pummeling east Ukraine mercilessly. It’s just a way of goading Putin
into sending in the tanks.
But here’s the odd part: Washington doesn’t have a back-up plan. It’s
obvious by the way Poroshenko keeps doing the same thing over and over
again expecting a different result. That demonstrates that there’s no
Plan B. Either Poroshenko lures Putin across the border and into the
conflict, or the neocon plan falls apart, which it will if they can’t
demonize Putin as a “dangerous aggressor” who can’t be trusted as a
business partner.
So all Putin has to do is sit-tight and he wins, mainly because the
EU needs Moscow’s gas. If energy supplies are terminated or drastically
reduced, prices will rise, the EU will slide back into recession, and
Washington will take the blame. So Washington has a very small window to
draw Putin into the fray, which is why we should expect another false
flag incident on a much larger scale than the fire in Odessa. Washington
is going to have to do something really big and make it look like it
was Moscow’s doing. Otherwise, their pivot plan is going to hit a brick
wall. Here’s a tidbit readers might have missed in the Sofia News
Agency’s novinite site:
“Ukraine’s Parliament adopted .. a bill under which up to
49% of the country’s gas pipeline network could be sold to foreign
investors. This could pave the way for US or EU companies, which have
eyed Ukrainian gas transportation system over the last months.
…Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was earlier quoted as saying that
the bill would allow Kiev to “attract European and American partners to
the exploitation and modernization of Ukraine’s gas transportation,” in a
situation on Ukraine’s energy market he described as “super-critical”.
Critics of the bill have repeatedly pointed the West has long been
interest in Ukraine’s pipelines, with some seeing in the Ukrainian
revolution a means to get access to the system. (Ukraine allowed to sell up to 49% of gas pipeline system,
Boy, you got to hand it to the Obama throng. They really know how to
pick their coup-leaders, don’t they? These puppets have only been in
office for a couple months and they’re already giving away the farm.
And, such a deal! US corporations will be able to buy up nearly half
of a pipeline that moves 60 percent of the gas that flows from Russia to
Europe. That’s what you call a tollbooth, my friend; and US companies
will be in just the right spot to gouge Moscow for every drop of natural
gas that transits those pipelines. And gouge they will too, you can bet
on it.
Is that why the State Department cooked up this loony putsch, so their fatcat, freeloading friends could rake in more dough?
This also explains why the Obama crowd is trying to torpedo Russia’s
other big pipeline project called Southstream. Southstream is a good
deal for Europe and Russia. On the one hand, it would greatly enhance
the EU’s energy security, and on the other, it will provide needed
revenues for Russia so they can continue to modernize, upgrade their
dilapidated infrastructure, and improve standards of living. But “the
proposed pipeline (which) would snake about 2,400 kilometers, or roughly
1,500 miles, from southern Russia via the Black Sea to Bulgaria,
Serbia, Hungary and ultimately Austria. (and) could handle about 60
billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, enough to allow Russian
exports to Europe to largely bypass Ukraine” (New York Times) The
proposed pipeline further undermines Washington’s pivot strategy, so
Obama, the State Department and powerful US senators (Ron Johnson, John
McCain, and Chris Murphy) are doing everything in their power to torpedo
the project.
What Happened
Indeed appears SAM strike on MH17
SA-11 BUK is apparent weapon
President Obama quickly mentioned the 'proof' and warned for 'tampering of evidence' as well as 'lies and other propaganda'
Blame Putin
Aids scientists, Putin hatres gays
RT girl resigns
Make it osund like "Pro-Russian Sepratists' were 'boneheads'
How Was It Done
SA-11 needs radar to identify and to 'illuminate' the target
SA-11 is a SAHR (semi-active radar homing) missile system. The basic
mode of operation is that a targeting radar is used to identify and
track the target. A missile is then fired into the approximate
direction of where the intersection point is predicted to be. While the
missile is on it's way (unguided at that point) a second radar signal
is sent from the targeting radar, illuminating the target for the
missile. The missile then follows the radar signal reflected from the
target aircraft. On reaching a specified distance the missile explodes
and sends a cloud of shrapnel into the target.
Ideally the illumination signal is sent from a different location than
the missile is fired from to achieve maximum precision and to prevent
interference - however, the SA-11 has an integrated TELAR version
(called BUK) which is a combined radar/missile carrier unit.
Furthermore the illumination signal carries an identification code that
the missile requires to separate multiple illumination signals it might
receive (due to the operation of multiple systems in close proximity or
because the same battery is actively engaging multiple targets at the
same time).
Given the knowledge of the missile identifier (which is non-static but
usually programmed well ahead of time to reduce the need of personel at
the carrier) any illumination radar can be used to direct the missile
into the target.
It appears from the US and Ukrainian claims, that both the tracking AND the illumination radar was from the same unit
Shadow civilian flights to hide, as documented June 18th
Lastest in June 18 the Ukrainian airforce started to use the tactic of
shadowing civilian aircraft. Multiple sources attest this, a more
entertaining one is a youtube video from June 18
( beginning at 1:16). In it,
a woman that claims to be a separatist from Slawjansk says the
following (unverified translation): "The following happened just a
short while ago: There was a regular passanger plane/civilian plane
flying over Slawjansk. An Ukrainian figther plane hid behind the
passanger plane, then dove below it, dropped it's bombs on Slawjansk,
and then rose to hide behind the passanger plane again. This means that
it was a provocation. They want the separatists to shoot down the
passanger plane so that they can be labeled as terrorists that shoot
down passanger planes. Hundreds of passangers would be killed, it would
be a global catastrophy, we would be called terrorists - but that is a
lie, we are regular people that want to protect their city and houses."
EU Radar outages on June 5th and June 10th
Aircraft above FL250 'dissapeared'. Simple jamming of Mode A and Mode C transponders in a specific region or ares
Only planes above 7km altitude were affected, with the majority of
planes at 10km
- Only some of the planes were affected
- For some Mode A failed, for some Mode C failed to be read
- The source of the problem was external to both plane(s) and ground
- The source has not been identified yet
- Primary radar was not affected
In that same period, Electronic Warfare training
In the region region (NEWFIP 2014, NATO Electronic Warfare Force Integration Period.
June 9th to June 20th)
- Part of the training operating SSR MILMODE/IFF equipment, attacking
same equipment etc
The German Document on the NEWFIP excercizes
NATO Electronic Warfare Force Integration Period
"Mit der Übung „NEWFIP" werden Verfahren der elektronischen Kampfführung
geübt. Die Übung „NEWFIP 2014" fand im Zeitraum 2. Juni bis 6. Juni
2014 im Raum Keeskern& statt. Daran teil nahmen die 59. Fliegerbasis
Szentgyörgyi Dezsö, das 12. Luftabwehr-Raketen- regiment Arrabona, das
Luftführungs- und Leitzentrum (CRC) sowie das 54. Radarregiment
Veszpr&n. teil."
The NEWFIP exercise serves to train methods of electronic warfare. The
exercise was conduction in the area of Keeskern between June 2. and 6.
Participants were the 59. Figther unit Szentguoergyi, 12. Anti-Aircraft
Missile Regiment Arrabona, Air Combat Control, and the 54. Radar unit
Likely scenario
SA-11 uses SSR interogation and SSR interception (passively listening
to interogations by other grounds) for target reconaisance - as do most
widely sold airdefense targeting systems. If MH-17 read without
problem, it would have returned the flight-control issued identifyer,
the operators would have ignored it and that's it. However... Imagine
that the reponses on Mode A/C were suppressed (cheap standard jamming
as happens all the time by accident when two planes fly in a line of
sight from the ground antenna and are less then 4km apart). And that
instead a transponder being on the same line of sight from the ground
would have answered to NATO MILMOD (Mode 4/5) requests from a third
party. The SU-11 controllers would have immediately identified it as a
NATO military plane, or if Mode 2 for a Ukrainian plane... In that case
the ATR of the control unit would have pre-selected the plane wrongly,
making MH-17 a "confirmed target". This would be far-fetched if not for
the NATO electronic warfare training doing exactly these scenarios just
a month ago, and if that separatist women were not claiming the
beginning of the use of shadowing tactics in the same timeframe.
Who Did It
Ukrainian Gov most likely
Could be any other NATO player, but they seem the obvious choice
Putin had warned is own staff not to fly anywhere over Ukraine ever since the NEWFIP training
World now 'involved' with the Ukraine problem, reaction and the 'solution' will be inveiled soon, no doubt
To get the Ukraine struggle onto the world radar
Hillary said on the day of the event: EU needs alternatives to Gazprom
Ukraine pipes 49% sold to Chevron & Exxon
Put control in US hands
Seal off the west and south of Russia (primary objective) and to keep Europe occupied/busy (secondary objective). This serves to maintain unipolarity - it binds Europe and Russia at the same time. Basic geostrategy of the US since the mid-90s
Atlantic power projection without investing military assets of the USA (primary objective) while increasing military spending of NATO partners (secondary objective). This serves to allow the USA to re-focus on the Pacific - and it's what explains the Westpoint speech. NATO command has been publicly speaking about both a lot lately.
Command integration. This again is focused mostly on Europe and NATO. The main target here is Germany which needs to be "convinced" to remove the parliamentary reservation on military activity and to put a secondary command structure into the EU. The parliamentary reservation has recently been touched in a speech by the NATO secretary (public). The secondary command on EU level has been mentioned in the contract that rules the current government coalition in Germany.
Germany wants NONE of that, except the EU command integration. There's a huge difference of goals between Germany/EU and US/UK these days. The "Atlanticians" in Germany try to comply, but the opposing forces are busy ruining their day. Both sides try to keep the public in line and not cause a major conflict - hence kicking out a few spies, dealing with Snowden, talking with the "Berlin Crew". But people in the biz are concerned. Very.
NYTimes headline: With Jet Strike, War in Ukraine Is Felt Globally
WASHINGTON — From the start, the telephone call did not go well. Dispensing with pleasantries, President Vladimir V. Putin launched into an edgy and long-winded complaint about the new American sanctions imposed on Russia the day before.
President Obama, on the phone from the Oval Office on Thursday morning, responded that Russia was arming rebels in Ukraine
— citing among other things the antiaircraft weapons that the United
States believed they had been sent. “This is not something we’re making
up,” Mr. Obama said, according to an American official.
Then, more
than halfway through the tense, hourlong call, Mr. Putin noted, almost
in passing, that he had received a report of an aircraft going down in
Mr. Putin was vague about the details, and the
conversation moved on. But in that instant, the monthslong proxy war
between East and West took a devastating turn, one that would shift the
ground geopolitically amid the charred wreckage and broken bodies in a
Ukrainian wheat field.
Producer Ryan Limerick
The McCain in Ukraine is mainly for the plane.
Thijs Brouwers analysis of Witteveen and Lange
Willem Witteveen:
Aangezien jullie in de show bespraken dat het vliegtuigongeluk een goed voorbeeld is van de Hegelian Dialectic, is het natuurlijk meer dan grappig
dat 1 van de prominente slachtoffers een vertaler is van de werken van Hegel in het Nederlands. De dialectiek kan niet mooier.
coincedence?.. (pagina's over willem zijn al aangepast met zijn overlijden. Ik persoonlijk sta er wel van te kijken een ochtend na de ramp)
Joep de Lange:
ja hoor, jullie bespreken het topic AIDS in de show tijdens de crash van de malaysian airlines, en zie daar,
100 prominente aidsonderzoekers aan boord en dood. shit mannen, dat is wel heel scherp hoor!
De besproken onderwerpen Truvada en Gilead leveren interessante artikelen op als je ze combineert met een prominente aids bestrijder aan boord.
AIDS is weer hip aan het worden! Ik zeg; alle hipsters aan de aids!
(wiki al aangepast met het 'feit' dat het vliegtuig is neergeschoten, 1 ochtend na de ramp, zonder officiële conclusies.)
(search: joep lange truvada)
(search: joep lange gilead)
(onderstaand is een symposium gesponsord door GILEAD en georganiseerd door JOEP LANGE)
(organisaties Joep Lange)\Pg150.asp\Pg150.asp
(search: pharmaccess gilead)
'Rusland belangrijke handelspartner' - Economie - VK
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 13:03
Bewerkt door: redactie '' 09/10/13, 15:52 '' bron: ANP
(C) anp. remier Mark Rutte en de president van Rusland Vladimir Poetin heffen het glas tijdens een diner in het Scheepsvaartmuseum in Amsterdam
In de relatie tussen Nederland en Rusland spelen wederzijds belangrijke economische belangen. Nederland is onder meer via olieconcern Shell een van de grootste investeerders in Rusland, terwijl Rusland steeds belangrijker wordt voor de Nederlandse energievoorziening.
Het land bezit in Gazprom 's werelds grootste gasproducent. Het concern werkt al geruime tijd samen met Gasunie, vooral op het gebied van gastransport via pijpleidingen. Rusland is ook een graag gezien investeerder in Nederland. Zo kwam in april nog de deal rond voor de bouw van een Russische olieterminal in de Rotterdamse haven, een project waarmee een investering van 800 miljoen euro is gemoeid.
Op het gebied van de handel is Nederland een van de grootste partners van de Russen. De invoer uit Rusland bestaat voor 90 procent uit minerale brandstoffen (olie en aardgas). Vanuit ons land gaan er vooral machines, vervoermiddelen, chemische en landbouwproducten naar Rusland. Ook voedingsmiddelen en levende dieren zijn belangrijke exportproducten.
'Zuivelexport is bescheiden en die gaat vooral om kaas. Dat is goed voor 2 procent van de export naar Rusland', vertelt Peter Hein van Mulligen, econoom bij het CBS.
Vorig jaar kwam 5,2 procent van onze invoer uit Rusland en ging 1,6 procent van de export naar Rusland. Over de eerste 7 maanden van dit jaar zijn de cijfers niet veel anders. 'Qua import is Rusland onze zesde handelspartner, in export is het de nummer 11', aldus de econoom.
De waarde van de import uit Rusland bedroeg vorig jaar ruim 20 miljard euro. De Nederlandse export naar Rusland had een waarde van 7 miljard euro.
Kremlin: Poetin en Rutte op (C)(C)n lijn | Mh17 |
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 06:09
Exclusieve artikelen van de Telegraaf redactie
zo 20 jul 2014, 06:51
MOSKOU - Het 'žzeer intense'' telefoongesprek tussen premier Mark Rutte en president Vladimir Poetin haalde in Rusland op een andere manier de media dan in Nederland. Volgens de persdienst van het Kremlin zitten de leiders op (C)(C)n lijn, blijkt uit een officile verklaring die werd overgenomen door persbureau ITAR-TASS.
Poetin en Rutte 'žbenadrukten dat er een internationaal onderzoek moet worden uitgevoerd door de Internationale Organisatie voor de Burgerluchtvaart (ICAO), met deelname van alle belanghebbende partijen'', citeert het persbureau uit de bondige verklaring van de presidentile persdienst. Ook benadrukten de leiders volgens het Kremlin dat al het nodige gedaan dient te worden om te zorgen dat internationale experts toegang krijgen tot het rampgebied.
Rutte stelde zaterdag ook al dat Poetin tijdens het gesprek had toegezegd 'žalles te doen''. Volgens de premier ging het om een 'žzeer intens telefoongesprek'' waarbij hij de Russische president opriep zijn invloed aan te wenden om ervoor te zorgen dat Nederlandse lichamen snel van de rampplek in Oekra¯ne worden weggehaald. De zorgen van de premier werden niet meegenomen in de Engelstalige persverklaring van het Kremlin.
(C) 1996-2014 TMG Landelijke Media B.V., Amsterdam.Alle rechten voorbehouden.e-mail: redactie-i@telegraaf.nlGebruiksvoorwaarden | Privacy | Cookies | Cookie-voorkeuren
Dutch state liable over 300 Srebrenica deaths.
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:54
16 July 2014Last updated at 11:49 ET Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
The BBC's Anna Holligan: "Lawyers representing the soldiers say they did try to protect the refugees"
A Dutch court has ruled that the Netherlands is liable over the killings of more than 300 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys at Srebrenica in Bosnia-Hercegovina in July 1995.
The men and boys were among 5,000 Bosniaks, mostly women and children, sheltering with Dutch UN peacekeepers.
But the Dutch state was cleared over the deaths of more than 7,000 other men killed in and around Srebrenica.
The Srebrenica massacre is considered Europe's worst since World War Two.
"The whole valley was scattered with personal belongings and remains of clothing. There were no bodies - carrion would have removed any remains left by then"
Jamie Adam, UN Mine Action Centre for Bosnia-Hercegovina
Horror of Srebrenica's mass graves from the air
CompensationThe case was launched by relatives of the victims under the name "Mothers of Srebrenica".
The Hague district court said that the Dutch peacekeeping forces, Dutchbat, did not do enough to protect more than 300 of the Bosniaks and should have been aware of the potential for genocide to be committed.
It said the state should have known they would be killed by Bosnian Serbs when they handed them over from the UN compound of Potocari.
"It can be said with sufficient certainty that, had Dutchbat allowed them to stay at the compound, these men would have remained alive. By co-operating in the deportation of these men, Dutchbat acted unlawfully," the court added.
Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
Munira Subasic, president of the "Mothers of Srebrenica": "The court definitely did not recognise justice for other groups of victims."
Analysis: Anna Holligan, BBC News, The HagueThis was a bittersweet judgement for the "Mothers of Srebrenica".
Three of the women came to court bearing the hopes of thousands of survivors on their shoulders. They sat united on the front bench in a dignified silence, as the cameramen jostled to capture their reactions.
The verdict means the mothers, wives and children of more than 300 Bosniaks who were deported from the Dutch-administered compound in Potocari on 13 of July 1995 will be entitled to compensation. But the Mothers of Srebrenica's relatives were not among that group.
For them, it was never about the money. As their lawyer put it, 'How do you put a price on life?'
For the "Mothers of Srebrenica" the verdict failed to deliver the justice and accountability they have dedicated their lives to pursuing.
It said that the Dutch state must accept some degree of responsibility for what happened and pay compensation to the families of more than 300 victims.
But the court stopped short of holding the Netherlands liable for the fate of the majority of men killed in Srebrenica, saying that many of the male refugees at the time had not fled to the UN compound but "fled to the woods in the vicinity of Srebrenica".
The BBC's Anna Holligan, in the courtroom, says it was a hugely significant ruling but a heart-breaking verdict for the women because the Dutch state was only found partly responsible for the deaths of more than 300 of more than 7,000 men killed.
This, she says, means many of the relatives of the victims will not be entitled to compensation.
"Obviously the court has no sense of justice,'' said Munira Subasic, a representative of the relatives' group.
"How is it possible to divide victims and tell one mother that the Dutch state is responsible for the death of her son on one side of the wire and not for the son on the other side?'' she added.
During the 1992-1995 war, Bosniaks from the surrounding area sought refuge in the town of Srebrenica as the Bosnian Serb army carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing, expelling non-Serb populations.
The UN declared Srebrenica a "safe area" for civilians in 1993. It fell in July 1995, after more than two years under siege.
Thousands of Bosniaks went to the UN base just outside Srebrenica at Potocari.
However, the Dutch soldiers told them they would be safe and handed the men and boys over to the Bosnian Serb army.
The women and young children were transported to a Bosniak-majority area.
The two key figures of the wartime Bosnian Serb leadership - one-time President Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic - are on trial for war crimes at the UN tribunal in The Hague.
Timeline of Srebrenica siege:6-8 July 1995: Bosnian Serb forces start shelling Srebrenica enclave
9 July: Bosnian Serbs step up shelling; thousands of Bosnian Muslim refugees flee to Srebrenica
10 July: Dutch peacekeepers request UN air support after Bosnian Serbs shell Dutch positions. Large crowds of refugees gather around Dutch positions
11 July: More than 20,000 refugees flee to main Dutch base at Potocari. Serbs threaten to kill Dutch hostages and shell refugees after Dutch F-16 fighters bomb Serb positions. Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic enters Srebrenica and delivers ultimatum that Muslims must hand over weapons
12 July: An estimated 23,000 women and children are deported to Muslim territory; men aged 12-77 taken "for interrogation" and held in trucks and warehouses
13 July: First killings of unarmed Muslims take place near village of Kravica. Peacekeepers hand over some 5,000 Muslims sheltering at Dutch base in exchange for the release of 14 Dutch peacekeepers held by Bosnian Serbs
14 July: Reports of massacres start to emerge
Timeline: Siege of Srebrenica
The former Yugoslavia was a Socialist state created after German occupation in World War II and a bitter civil war. A federation of six republics, it brought together Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, Slovenes and others under a comparatively relaxed communist regime. Tensions between these groups were successfully suppressed under the leadership of President Tito.
After Tito's death in 1980, tensions re-emerged. Calls for more autonomy within Yugoslavia by nationalist groups led in 1991 to declarations of independence in Croatia and Slovenia. The Serb-dominated Yugoslav army lashed out, first in Slovenia and then in Croatia. Thousands were killed in the latter conflict which was paused in 1992 under a UN-monitored ceasefire.
Bosnia, with a complex mix of Serbs, Muslims and Croats, was next to try for independence. Bosnia's Serbs, backed by Serbs elsewhere in Yugoslavia, resisted. Under leader Radovan Karadzic, they threatened bloodshed if Bosnia's Muslims and Croats - who outnumbered Serbs - broke away. Despite European blessing for the move in a 1992 referendum, war came fast.
Yugoslav army units, withdrawn from Croatia and renamed the Bosnian Serb Army, carved out a huge swathe of Serb-dominated territory. Over a million Bosnian Muslims and Croats were driven from their homes in ethnic cleansing. Serbs suffered too. The capital Sarajevo was besieged and shelled. UN peacekeepers, brought in to quell the fighting, were seen as ineffective.
International peace efforts to stop the war failed, the UN was humiliated and over 100,000 died. The war ended in 1995 after NATO bombed the Bosnian Serbs and Muslim and Croat armies made gains on the ground. A US-brokered peace divided Bosnia into two self-governing entities, a Bosnian Serb republic and a Muslim-Croat federation lightly bound by a central government.
In August 1995 the Croatian army stormed areas in Croatia under Serb control prompting thousands to flee. Soon Croatia and Bosnia were fully independent. Slovenia and Macedonia had already gone. Montenegro left later. In 1999 Kosovo's ethnic Albanians fought Serbs in another brutal war to gain independence. Serbia ended the conflict beaten, battered and alone.
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Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, at the Security Council Meeting on Ukraine, July 18, 2014
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:55
Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, at the Security Council Meeting on Ukraine
Thank you, Mr. President.
Yesterday, we were all shocked by the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. All 298 people aboard '' 283 passengers and 15 crew '' were killed. As we stared at the passenger list yesterday we saw next to three of the passengers names a capital ''I.'' As we now know, the letter ''I'' stands for infant.
To the families and friends of the victims, it is impossible to find words to express our condolences. We can only commit to you that we will not rest until we find out what happened. A full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation must begin immediately. The perpetrators must be brought to justice. They must not be sheltered by any member state of the United Nations.
Let me share with you our assessment of the evidence so far.
We assess Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 carrying these 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was likely downed by a surface-to-air missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine.
The airliner was traveling at a cruise altitude of 33,000 feet and its speed was typical for an airliner along an established flight corridor frequented by commercial traffic. The flight was transmitting its assigned transponder code corresponding with its flight plan, and flight tracking data was publicly available on the internet. There was nothing threatening or provocative about MH17.Of the operational SAM systems located near the border, only the SA-11, SA-20, and SA-22 SAM systems are capable of hitting an aircraft at this flight's altitude of 33,000 feet. We can rule out shorter-range SAMs known to be in separatist hands, including MANPADS, SA-8 and SA-13 systems, which are not capable of hitting an aircraft at this altitudeEarly Thursday, an SA-11 SAM system was reported near Snizhne by a Western reporter and separatists were spotted hours before the incident with an SA-11 system at a location close to the site where the plane came down.Separatists initially claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane and posted videos that are now being connected to the Malaysian airlines crash. Separatist leaders also boasted on social media about shooting down a plane, but later deleted these messages.Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel. Thus, we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems.The Ukrainians do have SA-11 systems in their inventory. However, we are not aware of any Ukrainian SAM systems in the area of the shoot-down. And, more importantly, since the beginning of this crisis, Ukrainian air defenses have not fired a single missile, despite several alleged violations of their airspace by Russian aircraft.
This also follows a pattern of actions by Russian-backed separatists. On June 13th, separatists shot down a Ukrainian transport plane, carrying 40 paratroopers and nine crew. On June 24th, as this Council was meeting to welcome Ukraine's unilateral ceasefire, we received word that separatists downed a Ukrainian helicopter, killing all nine on board.On July 14th, separatists claimed credit for the downing of a Ukrainian military cargo plane, flying at 6,000 meters, and on July 16, they claimed credit for the downing of a Ukrainian fighter jet.If indeed Russian-backed separatists were behind this attack on a civilian airliner, they and their backers would have good reason to cover up evidence of their crime. Thus, it is extremely important that an investigation be commenced immediately.
In the first instance, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should act as a first responder, laying the foundation for efforts by other international organizations and individual nations including those whose citizens who were victims of this tragedy. Yesterday, President Obama assured Ukraine's President Poroshenko that U.S. experts will offer all possible assistance upon his request. President Poroshenko has invited the independent and credible International Civil Aviation Organization to join an investigation.
International investigators must be granted immediate, full, and unfettered access to the crash site. All those concerned '' Russia, pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine '' should agree to support an immediate ceasefire to facilitate access by international investigators. In this regard, we look to the SMM also to reach agreement with separatists and others in the region to make this possible. All evidence must remain undisturbed, and any evidence removed from the site by the Russian-backed separatists operating in the area should be promptly returned and handed over. Russia needs to help make this happen.
While it may take us some time to firmly establish who shot down a plane filled with innocents, most Council members and most members of the international community have been warning for months about the devastation that would come if Russia did not stop what it started, if it did not reign in what it unleashed.
The context for yesterday's horror is clear: separatist forces '' backed by the Russian government '' continue to destabilize Ukraine and undermine the efforts of Ukraine's elected leaders to build a democratic Ukraine that is stable, unified, secure, and able to determine its own future.
Russia says that it seeks peace in Ukraine, but we have repeatedly provided this Council with evidence of Russia's continued support to the separatists. Time after time, we have called on the Russian government to de-escalate the situation, by stopping the flow of fighters and weapons into Ukraine, pressing separatists to agree to a cease-fire and release all hostages, and support a roadmap for negotiations. Time after time, President Putin has committed to working towards dialogue and peace: in Geneva in April, in Normandy in June, and in Berlin earlier this month. And every single time, he has broken that commitment.
Here is what we know:
In the last few weeks, Russia has increased the number of tanks, armored vehicles, and rocket launchers in southwest Russia. More advanced air defense systems have also arrived.Moscow has recently transferred Soviet-era tanks and artillery to the separatists and several military vehicles crossed the border.After recapturing several Ukrainian cities last weekend, Ukrainian officials discovered caches of weapons long associated with Russia stockpiles, including MANPADS, mines, grenades, MREs, vehicles, and a pontoon bridge.Ukrainian forces have discovered large amounts of other Russian-provided military equipment, including accompanying documentation verifying the Russian origin, in the areas that they have liberated from separatists in recent days.Recruiting efforts for separatist fighters are expanding inside Russia and separatists have openly said that they are looking for volunteers with experience operating heavy weapons such as tanks and air defenses. Russia has allowed officials from the ''Donetsk Peoples' Republic'' to establish a recruiting office in Moscow.Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who has long had a distinguished career in the Ukrainian military, was taken by separatists in mid-June. She is now being held '' where? - in a prison in Voronezh, Russia. According to the Ukrainian government, she was transferred to Russia by separatists.Russia continues to redeploy new forces extremely close to the Ukrainian border.In addition, this past Monday, a Ukrainian Air Force cargo plane was shot down in Ukrainian airspace; and on Wednesday, a Ukrainian fighter jet was also shot down in Ukrainian airspace. In both instances, the Ukrainian government believes that these planes were fired on from Russian territory.
It is because of these continued destabilizing Russian actions that the United States imposed sanctions on the defense, energy, and financial sectors of the Russian economy'--including financial institutions. These measures include freezing the assets of Russian defense companies and blocking new financing of some of Russia's most important banks and energy companies. These sanctions are significant, but they are also targeted '' designed to have the maximum impact on the Russian calculus while limiting the impact on the Russian people and limiting any spillover effects on our interests or those of our allies. The European Union has also announced expanded sanctions against Russia this week. The message is unified and clear: If President Putin continues to choose escalation over de-escalation, the international community will continue to impose costs on Russia.
But this is not what any of us want. We and our allies remain committed to a diplomatic solution, as are the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people, who have seen their neighbors, friends, and family members killed in a needless conflict. President Poroshenko has consistently backed up his words with actions. He proposed a comprehensive peace plan and declared a unilateral ceasefire, both of which were cynically rejected by the illegal armed groups and their backers in Moscow.
President Poroshenko's plan offered amnesty to separatists who lay down their arms voluntarily, and who are not guilty of capital crimes. He committed to providing a safe corridor for Russian fighters to return to Russia; he established a job creation program for the affected areas; included an offer of broad decentralization and dialogue with eastern regions, including the promise of early local elections; and granted increased local control over language, holidays, and customs. President Poroshenko also has reached out to the residents of eastern Ukraine and is pursuing constitutional reform which will give local regions more authority to choose their regional leaders and protect locally-spoken languages. He has said he will meet with separatist at any safe location inside or outside of Ukraine.
The United States' goal throughout the crisis in Ukraine has been consistent: to support a stable, peaceful, and democratic Ukraine. We will not be satisfied with a temporary halt to violence. Russia must stop destabilizing Ukraine, and allow all of the people of Ukraine to decide their country's future through a democratic political process.
As we sit here, the remains of nearly 300 people '' of innocent infants, children, women, and men '' are strewn across a blackened, smoldering landscape in Ukraine. Those victims came from at least nine different nations. They could just as easily have come from any of ours. We must treat all of them as our own victims.
We have a duty to each and every one of those individuals, their families, and their countries to determine why that jet fell out of the sky and to hold the perpetrators accountable. We must stop at nothing to bring those responsible to justice. This appalling attack occurred in the context of a crisis that has been fueled by Russian support for separatists -- through arms, weapons, and training -- and by the Russian failure to follow through on its commitments and by its failure to adhere to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter.
This tragedy only underscores the urgency and determination with which we insist that Russia immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, support a sustainable cease-fire, and follow the path toward peace that the Ukrainian government has consistently offered.
This war can be ended. Russia can end this war. Russia must end this war.
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:09
SA-11 GADFLYFAS | Military | DOD 101 | Systems | Missiles | ROW ||||Index | Search |
SA-11 GADFLY9K37M1 BUK-1MThe SA-11 GADFLY is a medium-range, semi-active, radar-guided missile using solid-rocket propulsion that provides defense against high-performance aircraft and cruise missiles. The SA-11 represents a considerable improvement over the earlier SA-6 GAINFUL system, and can engage six separate targets simultaneously, rather than the single target capability of the SA-6. Single-shot kill probability are claimed to be 60-90% against aircraft, 30-70% against helicopters, and 40% against cruise missiles, a significant improvement over the SA-6. The system is more mobile, taking only about 5 minutes to move from road march to engagement. The new system also offers significantly greater resistance to ECM than previous systems. The SA-11 system is comprised of the TELAR (9A310M1), Loader/Launcher (9A39M1), SNOW DRIFT Surveillance Radar (9S18M1), and Command and Control vehicle (9S470M1). The Mach 3 semi-active homing 9M28M1 missile has a maximum slant range of 28 km and a minimum range of 3 km. It is capable of engaging targets between altitudes of 30 and 14000 m and can sustain 23 g maneuvers. The solid fuel missile is 5.6 meters long with a diameter is 0.4 m and a wing span is 1.2 m. The launch weight is 650 kg, which includes a 70 kg HE warhead with a 17 meter lethal radius. The SNOW DRIFT warning and acquisition radar provides target height, bearing and range data. The SNOW DRIFT has a detection range of 85 km against high-flying targets, 35 km against targets at an altitude of 100 meters, and 23 km against targets flying nap-of-the-earth (NOE). The radar's tracking range extending from 70 km for high-flying targets to 20 km for NOE targets. Tracking of helicopters hovering at 30 m can be made as far as 10 km. Once a target is identified it is turned over to an TELAR via a data link for tracking and attack. The SNOW DRIFT receives early warning from brigade-level surveillance radars such as the SPOON REST.
The H/I-band FIRE DOME monopulse guidance and tracking engagement radar has an effective guidance range of 3-32 km and an altitude envelope 15 meters to 22 km, and can engage approaching targets moving at a maximum of 3000 km/h (1860 mph). The radar guides as many as three missiles against a single target.
The SA-11 GADFLY system also can be fitted with a supplementary electro-optical sighting system for use in a severe jamming environment, which would overwhelm the normal semi-active radar homing system -- in which case the missile uses radio-command guidance.
The TELAR, based on the GM-569 tracked chassis, carries four ready to fire missiles on a turntable that can traverse a full 360½ and FIRE DOME radar. The tracked Surveillance Radar vehicle uses the same chassis and carries the SNOW DRIFT radar. The Command and Control vehicle works in conjunction with the SNOW DRIFT radar. The Loader/Launcher vehicle (LLV) resembles the normal TELAR, but replaces the FIRE DOME fire control radar with a hydraulic crane for reloading 9M38 missiles. The LLV can load itself in rear areas from the 9T229 transporter in 15 minutes, and take those missiles to reload the TELAR in about 13 minutes. The LLV can also launch missiles, though it requires radar guidance from a nearby TELAR. SA-11 GADFLY
Missile Characteristics:
Length (m)
Diameter (m)
Weight at launch (kg)
Propulsion system
Launch rails/tubes
2 or 4 canister tubes
Semiactive radar homing
Warhead (type)
Max. velocity (Mach)
3 (est.)
Max. altitude (m)
15,000 (est.)
Min altitude (m)
25-30 (est.)
Operational range (km)
30 (est.)
3 (est.)
Reload time (min)
Associated radars
U/I acquistion radar; U/I tracking radar; possible STRAIGHT FLUSH
4 missiles mounted side-by-side on launch rails Entire missile system mounted on turntable Vehicle:
Tracked, transporter, erector, and launcher (TTEL)
Sources and ResourcesFM 100-2-3 The Soviet Army: Troops, Organization and EquipmentField Order of Battle Handbook S-2 Section 11th Special Forces Group (Airborne)FC 100-51 Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD)Vaara 2000 sotaharjoitus Puolustusvoimat, F½rsvarsmakten, the Finnish Defence Forces.FAS | Military | DOD 101 | Systems | Missiles | ROW ||||Index | Search | by Webmaster
Updated Tuesday, June 20, 2000 12:33:29 PM
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 06:49
Ukrainian government Buk battery radar was operational when the Malaysian plane was downed.
The Russian Defense Ministry has said that neither the Buk missile defense system, nor any other military equipment, has crossed the Russian border into Ukraine.Such border crossings ''can't be performed in secrecy,'' the official representative for the Russian Defense Ministry told journalists in Moscow.
Ukrainian Buk battery radar was operational when Malaysian plane downed - Moscow
The videos containing these alleged conversation by 'the Ukranian rebels' were all made well before the plane was shot down. Malaysia MH17 crash: 10 questions Russia wants Ukraine to answer
Above are "tweets by a Spanish Air traffic controller at Kiev Airport."
The Spanish air controller suggests that the order to down MH17 came from the Ukranian Ministry of the Interior.
(Which may or may not be run by Mossad and its friends)The Spanish air controller also said that the MH17 flight was escorted by Ukrainian fighter jets minutes before it was downed.
The presence of the Ukraine fighter jets reported by the Spanish air traffic controller was confirmed by eyewitness reports in the Donetsk region:2 Ukrainian fighters seen following Malaysian jet.
Source: Tweets by Spanish Air Controller - @spainbuca
10:21 '' 17 de jul. de 2014Kiev Authorities, trying to make it look like an attack by pro-Russians.10:25 '' 17 de jul. de 2014[Miitary] has taken control of Air Traffic Control in Kiev.10:35 '' 17 de jul. de 2014They are threatening us in the control tower at Kiev airport.11:48 '' 17 de jul. de 2014 The B777 plane flew escorted by Ukraine jet fighter until 2 minutes before disappearing from the radar.11:54 '' 17 de jul. de 20142 jet fighters flew very close minutes before; wasn't downed by a fighter.12:01 '' 17 de jul. de 2014Shot down by Kiev. Here we know it and military air traffic control also.13:31 '' 17 de jul. de 2014
Military confirm It was Ukraine, but still does not know where the order came from.
15:26 '' 17 de jul. de 2014
The report indicates where the missile had come out [from], and specified it is not from the rebel areas.16:06 '' 17 de jul. de 2014Military commanders here (ATC) control tower, confirm that the missile is from the Ukranian army.Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was escorted by two Ukrainian fighter jets until 3 minutes before it disappeared from radar.Radar records were immediately confiscated after MH17 had been shot down.
Ukrainian military air traffic controllers, in internal communication, acknowledged that the Ukrainian military was involved.Some Ukranian military chatter said they did not know where the order to shoot down the plane originated from.Ukrainian millitary escorted B777 until 3 minutes before ... / 2 Ukrainian Fighter Jets Escorted MH17 before it was Shot DownKid hit by the Israelis in July 2014. One Palestinian Child has been Killed by Israel Every 3 Days for the Past 13 Years.France's Jewish-controlled government has banned protests against Israeli action in Palestine.'Socialist' Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said mass demonstrations planned for the weekend should be halted.
Read more:
Top AIDS researchers have been killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine.The researchers had been heading to Australia for a conference."A number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine," Michael Kessler of the International AIDS Society (IAS) said in a statement.16 years ago, AIDS research pioneer Jonathan Mann also died in a plane crash.Crash claims top AIDS researchers heading to Melbourne: reports - Sydney Morning Herald
The videos containing these alleged conversation by 'the Ukranian rebels' were all made well before the plane was shot down. Below is a screenshot from a piece of forensic software showing the creation date for each video uploaded to the SSU youtube account..
UTC 2014-07-16 20:32 is over 18 hours before the MH17 disaster.
Nationalities of those on MH 17
No Americans Or Israelis On Doomed Flt.17, 9M-MRC
0 Americans (or possibly one)· 189 Netherlands
· 44 Malaysia
· 27 Australia
· 12 Indonensia
· 9 UK
· 4 Belgium
· 4 Germany
· 3 Philippines
· 1 Canada
· 1 New Zealand
Four passengers' nationalities remain to be verified.
ITAR-TASS: Russia - 2 Ukrainian fighters seen following Malaysian jet minutes before crash
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 13:28
MOSCOW, July 18, /ITAR-TASS/. Two Ukrainian fighters were following the passenger Boeing-777 of Malaysian Airlines several minutes before the crash, Russia's television Channel One said on Friday, citing a tweet made a Spanish air traffic controller of Kiev's airport Borispol.
According to the Spanish air traffic controller, two Ukrainian fighters had been seen near the Malaysian jet three minutes before it disappeared from radars.
This information is confirmed by eyewitnesses in the Donetsk region who saw Ukrainian warplanes near the passenger jet. They say they heard sounds of powerful blasts and saw a Ukraine warplane shortly before the crash.
A Boeing-777 of the Malaysian Airlines that was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, disappeared from the radars and crashed on Thursday evening near the settlement of Grabovo in Ukraine's Donetsk region. All those who were onboard the plane - 280 passengers and 15 crew members - died. According to preliminary data, passengers included citizens of the Netherlands, the United States, Great Britain, France, and Malaysia. According to Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, there were no Russians among the passengers.
Flugsicherung: Radarst¶rungen durch Nato-Man¶ver - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:53
Berlin - Die bisher mysteri¶sen Probleme bei der Flugsicherung in Deutschland und –sterreich am 5. und 10. Juni dieses Jahres sind m¶glicherweise doch durch Nato-Man¶ver zur elektronischen Kampff¼hrung ausgel¶st worden. Die Bundesregierung berichtete k¼rzlich in einer Antwort an die Linksfraktion erstmals, dass die Nato an beiden Tagen in Ungarn und Italien eine 'bung zur elektronischen Kampff¼hrung mit dem Namen "NEWFIP" durchgef¼hrt hatte. Bisher war nur bekannt, dass ein solches Man¶ver am ersten Tag der St¶rungen stattfand.
Bisher r¤tselten Experten ¼ber die durchaus gef¤hrliche St¶rung bei der Flugsicherung. So verloren die Bodenkontrolleure des Flugverkehrs am 5. Juni von 13.55 bis 16 Uhr f¼nf und am 10. Juni von 13.22 bis 14.40 Uhr das sogenannte Sekund¤rsignal von insgesamt 54 Verkehrsfliegern in S¼ddeutschland. Auch in Tschechien, Polen und –sterreich gab es das gleiche Ph¤nomen: Zwar sahen die Lotsen die Flugzeuge noch auf dem Radar, allerdings meldeten diese wichtige Daten wie Geschwindigkeit und Flugh¶he nicht mehr.
Fluglotsen schlugen Alarm
Die Fluglotsen am Boden schlugen wegen der St¶rung umgehend Alarm. Aus Sicherheitsgr¼nden wurde sofort die Dichte des Flugverkehrs, also die Zahl der Flugzeuge im Luftraum, vermindert, um m¶gliche Zusammenst¶Ÿe zu verhindern. Durch die SicherheitsmaŸnahme entstanden bei den Airlines Versp¤tungen von insgesamt rund 40 Stunden. Das Verkehrsministerium schreibt nun, die Ursache f¼r die St¶rung, im Fachjargon "Spurl¼cke" genannt, sei eindeutig "durch eine externe Quelle" ausgel¶st worden.
Nach der St¶rung war vermutet worden, dass das Nato-Man¶ver "NEWFIP" in der ungarischen Region Kecskemet die Ursache f¼r die Spurl¼cke am 5. Juni gewesen sein k¶nnte. An der 'bung, bei der als elektronische Kampff¼hrung auch das St¶ren des Radars geprobt wird, nahmen damals die 59. ungarische Fliegerbasis Szentgy¶rgyi Dezs¶, ein Luftabwehr-Regiment und das Radarregiment Veszprem teil. Da die St¶rung aber am 10. Juni erneut auftauchte - damals wurde in Ungarn nicht mehr ge¼bt - wurde die These wieder verworfen.
Durch die Antwort der Bundesregierung aber wird der Verdacht wieder aktuell. So berichtet das Verkehrsressort, auch vom 9. bis zum 20 Juni habe die Nato im Rahmen der Operation "NEWFIP" ge¼bt - dieses Mal aber nicht in Ungarn, sondern in Italien. Ebenso berichtet das Ministerium, dass eine m¶gliche Rolle der Milit¤rallianz derzeit vom Hauptquartier des Allied Air Commands der Nato in Ramstein gepr¼ft w¼rde. Ein Ergebnis liege aber noch nicht vor.
Der Linken-Politiker Andrej Hunko, der die Fragen an die Bundesregierung gestellt hatte, kritisierte die zust¤ndigen Stellen wegen ihrer Informationspolitik. "Es liegt auf der Hand, dass das Nato-Man¶ver urs¤chlich f¼r die St¶rungen war", sagte Hunko zu SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Deswegen ist es emp¶rend, wie die deutsche Flugsicherung den Vorfall bis heute herunterspielt". "Dass die Nato den Fall nun lediglich intern aufkl¤ren soll", so der Bundestagsabgeordnete, "l¤sst bei mir keinerlei Beruhigung aufkommen."
ISIS in control of 60 percent of Syrian oil: sources ASHARQ AL-AWSAT
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:55
Al-Qaeda-splinter group expanding oil production efforts in Syria
A picture taken on July 1, 2014 shows a North Oil Company gas field located near a checkpoint held by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), some 30 kilometres southwest of the disputed Iraqi city of Kirkuk. (AFP Photo/Marwan Ibrahim)
London, Asharq Al-Awsat'--The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is preparing to seize one of the few remaining major oil production centers in Syria not under its control, according to Syrian opposition officials.
''ISIS is already in control of more than 60 percent of Syria's oil, with a total production rate of 180, 0000 barrel per day'' and now plans to seize facilities in the northern province of Hassakah, an official from the Ministry of Energy in the interim Syrian opposition government, Yamin Al-Shami, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Having seized control of the majority of oil fields in Raqqa province, in central Syria, and Deir Ezzor province, along the Iraqi border, ISIS is preparing to mobilize fighters in a new push towards the town of Rmelan, home to the largest oil fields in Hassakah. Rmealn is under the control of Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG.
Shami warned that oil production constitutes a significant source of revenue for ISIS, adding that the Islamist militant group is able to sell a barrel of crude oil for around 18 US dollars. Brent crude, a global benchmark, currently sells at around 107 US dollars.
Oil is transported from ISIS-held areas with the help of local and foreign brokers, Shami said.
Despite its recent advances in Iraq, ISIS has been unable to take control of oil resources comparable to those it holds in Syria, and its recent attempt to capture the key Baiji refinery was successfully deterred by Iraqi forces. But Iraq's oil infrastructure is far from secure, and there are frequent reports that huge amounts of crude oil are being smuggled out of the country by militants.
''Militant groups, along with ISIS, are stealing crude oil from fields near the Hamrin mountains'' in northeastern Iraq, a local administrative official, Shallal Abdool, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
''Kurdish Peshmerga forces that control the area have seized more than 50 tankers loaded with stolen crude oil,'' he added.
When asked about the destination to which oil is being taken, Abdool said: ''There are many sides inside and outside Iraq that buy crude oil . . . and there are smugglers and brokers in Iraq who buy it for a cheap price in order to sell it abroad.''
Valerie Marcel, of London-based Chatham House think tank, said: ''Fighters from ISIS can sell oil on the black market to buyers from Turkey, the Kurdistan region and Iran.''
''ISIS's use of temporary refineries allows them to sell oil more easily.''
But, pointing to the fact that oil smuggling has been a problem for decades, others played down worries about ISIS's oil activities.
''Oil smuggling operations from these sites exist and have been taking place for a long time before ISIS took over Nineveh province,'' the governor of Salah Al-Din province, Ahmed Abdullah Al-Jubouri, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Layal Abu Rahal contributed reporting from Beirut. Dalshad Abdullah contributed reporting from Erbil. Najla Habriri and Mina Al-Droubi contributed reporting from London.
'Hundreds killed' in Syrian gas field capture - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:57
Fighters from the Islamic State group killed 270 soldiers, guards and staff when they captured a Syrian gas field earlier this week in the bloodiest clashes between the al-Qaeda splinter group and President Bashar al-Assad's forces, a monitoring group said.
The fighters seized the Shaer gas field in the desert east of the ancient site of Palmyra on Thursday.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had earlier reported 90 deaths, but upped the toll on Saturday.
The Observatory, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of sources in the country on both sides, quoted "trusted sources" as saying that the Islamic State had "killed and executed" 270 people during the assault.
SpotlightIn-depth coverage of escalating violence across Syria
It said at least 40 fighters of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, were killed in the offensive.
It was not immediately possible to verify the report. Syrian state media made no mention of the attack.
"Since the beginning of the year there have been clashes between the Islamic State and the regime in some areas, but these are the largest," the Observatory's director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Gruesome footage apparently recorded by the fighters at the gas field and distributed online showed dozens of bodies, some of them mutilated, strewn across a desert landscape.
Homs governor Talal Barazi confirmed the attack, but did not give a death toll.
"The armed men were present in the area beforehand, but they have now expanded their area of control with this new operation," he told the AFP news agency on Thursday.
The Islamic State was once the Iraqi affiliate of al-Qaeda, but al-Qaeda disowned it in February after tensions mounted over its expansion into Syria.
The Islamic State, which proclaimed a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq last month, has in recent weeks taken over the entire countryside of oil-rich Deir Az Zor province.
Deir Az Zor borders Homs province as well as Iraq, where the group has spearheaded a major offensive that has seen large swathes of territory fall out of the Iraqi government's control.
Syrian President Assad sworn in for 3rd term
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:52
BEIRUT (AP) '-- In a lavish ceremony, a smiling and confident President Bashar Assad was sworn in for a third seven-year term on Wednesday, praising his supporters for "defeating the dirty war" and denouncing insurgents who have "failed in trying to brainwash you or break your will."
As he declared victory, the Western-backed push to topple him or reach a political deal seem increasingly elusive. And while new conflicts in the region have grabbed attention, Syria's 3-year-old civil war is grinding on without reprieve, with 170,000 dead and a third of the country displaced.
While combat continues along all major front line towns and cities across the country '-- opposition activists say more than 400 people have been killed in the past three days alone '-- much of the fighting has now shifted.
Rebels once focused on Assad's forces are now simultaneously fighting increasingly belligerent jihadis seeking to expand a cross-border fiefdom they carved out with neighboring Iraq.
The stunning takeover by militants of the Islamic State group of large areas of northern and eastern Syria and parts of neighboring Iraq has created a new adversary for the West '-- one that threatens their national security far more than Assad ever did.
No longer the focus of attention, Assad's forces continue to steadily advance against rebels in key areas, most recently in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and a much coveted prize for both sides of the conflict.
"This is a critical moment for the West to give promised aid to the moderate forces," said Hussam Al-Marie, a spokesman for the Western-backed Free Syrian Army in northern Syria. "If not enough aid is given, we could see the annihilation of several battalions, who have said they'll fight to the last bullet."
Assad appeared keenly aware Wednesday of the advantage he now holds over the weak and arms-strapped rebels as he took the oath of office Wednesday.
Looking confident and self-assured and striking a victorious tone, he suggested that he was fighting terrorism on behalf of the entire world "which will sooner or later be subjected to similar terrorism."
"Congratulations for your victory and congratulations for Syria and its people who have defied all kinds of terrorism," he said, addressing the Syrian people.
The war in Syria and recent turmoil in Iraq and now Gaza, he said, were all connected. "These are all part of a series (of conspiracies) planned by Israel and the West."
Syrian state TV showed Assad arriving at the People's Palace on Qassioun Mountain, the scenic plateau that overlooks the capital from the north, to a red carpet reception by a military band.
Wearing a dark blue suit and a blue shirt and tie, Assad placed his hand on Islam's holy book, the Quran, pledging to honor the country's constitution before a hall packed with members of parliament and Christian and Muslim clergymen.
A barrage of mortar shells struck the capital during his 80-minute speech, killing four people and wounding 30 others, according to the state-run news agency.
Reflecting security concerns, the inauguration was for the first time held at the presidential palace and not in the Syrian parliament as has been the tradition, drawing criticism from the opposition which described the event as "political theater."
The grandiose ceremony at the presidential palace in Damascus caps what has been a recent reversal of fortune on the battlefield for Assad's forces battling the rebellion against him. In the past year, troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters have managed to seize the momentum in the civil war, dislodging outgunned rebels bogged down in infighting from several key areas.
Throughout the crisis, Assad has maintained that the conflict that has torn his nation apart was a Western-backed conspiracy executed by "terrorists" '-- and not a popular revolt by people inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings, seeking democracy and disenchanted with his authoritarian rule.
As the conflict slid into civil war, Assad refused to step down and last month, he was re-elected in a landslide victory. the opposition and its Western allies dismissed the vote as a sham. The voting did not take place in opposition-held areas, effectively excluding millions of people from the vote.
Speaking to reporters in Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Assad "has no more credibility now than he did before the so-called presidential election."
"We will continue to help the Syrian people stand up against Bashar Assad and support those who fight for the right of all Syrians to choose their own futures," she said.
Syria's civil war, now in its fourth year, has killed more than 170,000 people and displaced one third of the country's population.
Remaining residents are trapped in an ever-shrinking space wedged between Assad's forces and the Islamic militants who have callously imposed their strict interpretation of Islam in areas under their control.
Warplanes carry out airstrikes on opposition-held areas on daily basis. Helicopters drop barrel bombs '-- crude explosives known by Syrians as "barrels of death" '-- randomly, smashing homes and shops and leaving death in their trail.
Some rebels concede that their priority is now to fight off the grave menace posed by the expansionist ambitions of Islamic State jihadis.
Addressing his fighters headed off to battle IS extremists last month, senior rebel commander Zahran Alloush used expletives to describe the jihadis. In a contentious speech uploaded by activists on the Internet, he said the reward for fighting the Islamic State group was double the reward for fighting Assad's forces.
The rare on-camera diatribe captured the bitter loathing rebels once reserved only for Assad's troops and inner circle.
"We shall crush them, God willing," Alloush said.
Associated Press writers Albert Aji in Damascus, Bassem Mroue and Sam Kimball in Beirut and Matt Lee in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.
5 White Guys
Flash - China announces heavy investments in Argentina - France 24
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:21
Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping announced huge investments in hydroelectric power, shipbuilding, railways and a deal to help Argentina build its fourth nuclear plant.
No total dollar figure was given.
Xi has pressed a charm offensive with Latin America since arriving in Brazil earlier this week.
Friday saw Argentina in the spotlight, with Xi signing more than 20 agreements with President Cristina Kirchner on the first day of his three-day visit.
Among the agreements was a bilateral "strategic partnership," similar to others signed with emerging nations such as Brazil.
"I want to emphasize that we have signed an agreement to raise the level of our relations in order to turn them into a strategic partnership, along with investments in oil, mining, the nuclear field, agriculture and plant diseases," Xi said, from the Casa Rosada presidential complex.
China will contribute $4.4 billion toward the construction of two hydroelectric dams in Argentina's southern Santa Cruz province and an additional $2.1 billion to remodel strategic rail transport for carrying goods, especially food.
It will also contribute $423 million for construction of 11 ships.
"In today's world, the best opportunities occur for emerging nations, as demonstrated in the recent BRICS summit in Brasilia," Kirchner said.
Xi was in Brazil this week for a summit of the BRICS group of emerging powers -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- and South American presidents.
The gathering saw the countries agree to launch a New Development Bank to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations and an emergency reserve, drawing praise from Latin American presidents who see them as alternatives to Western-dominated financial institutions.
Following the BRICS summit, Xi signed deals with Brazil Thursday, met with regional leaders and proposed a $20 billion infrastructure fund that highlights Beijing's growing interests in the region.
The visit is Xi's second to Latin America since taking office last year, when he toured Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Amid its push to expand business in South America, China has invested some $23 billion in Argentine hydrocarbons, mining, finance and agricultural exports.
China is Argentina's third-largest trading partner behind the South American Mercosur bloc and the European Union, and one of its main destinations for food exports.
Date created : 2014-07-19
Hillary 2016
Warren Gaining Popularity
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:15
DETROIT (AP) -- At a summertime getaway for liberals, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has captured the hearts of Democratic activists beginning to think about an heir to President Barack Obama. But their minds tell them that Hillary Rodham Clinton could help them hang onto the White House.Warren, whose tough-on-Wall-Street message makes progressives swoon, received a rousing reception at the annual Netroots Nation summit on Friday, where people interrupted her fiery speech with chants of "Run, Liz, Run," even though she has repeatedly denied interest in running for the president. In the hallways, Democratic fans of Warren said Clinton isn't necessarily their preferred option - but probably their best shot."We've known Hillary since, really, 1991. There's a sameness that works against her a little bit with the activist base," said Kyle Tanner, 39, of Chicago. "But she's mounted amazing electoral operations. There's a huge advantage to that."Clinton remains a dominant figure as Democrats begin to consider the 2016 presidential campaign, which will begin in earnest after the fall midterm elections. Many liberals question Clinton's ties to Wall Street and are seeking a fresh face, even though polls suggest the former secretary of state gives them their best chance of electing the nation's first female president.If Clinton runs, a major question will be whether she can energize what some call the "Elizabeth Warren wing" of the party, who volunteer for campaigns, donate money and helped power Obama to two victories. A populist mood pervaded the meeting Friday, with many activists urging punishment for Wall Street banks and steps to address income inequality. Others raised concerns that many of Obama's promises - to reform immigration, address climate change and rebuild the economy - remain unfulfilled."If I had my choice, it'd be Elizabeth Warren," said James Conlon, 40, a Seattle-area field organizer for the National Education Association. "So many of the other folks like Hillary Clinton are a little bit too entrenched and they have too many big-money interests that have been supporting them."Warren sought to tamp down the presidential chatter, but her 17-minute speech sounded like a campaign call-to-arms, with vows to fight for tougher rules against Wall Street, for environmental protections and equal rights. To Warren, Wall Street and lobbyists represent the opposition."We can whine about it. We can whimper about it. Or we can fight back," Warren said. "I'm fighting back." A grassroots group called "Ready for Warren" passed out blue "Run Liz Run" signs and plastic hats throughout the Cobo convention center.Gaye Tannenbaum, 61, talked up Warren as an ideal presidential candidate. Tannenbaum, who votes in Kansas but lives in Uruguay, said Clinton has been "beaten up" in political fights and the party was seeking a relative newcomer.But Michelle Coyle Edwards, a 33-year-old from Alexandria, Virginia, said she was excited about a Clinton candidacy."I feel like the momentum's really behind Hillary right now, and I want to focus where something can actually happen," she said.Another potential candidate, Vice President Joe Biden, wasn't the subject of much buzz along the sidelines but his speech was well-received.Biden portrayed himself as a champion of liberal causes, recalling his unplanned public support for gay marriage during the 2012 campaign, a move that nudged Obama to announce his backing for same-sex marriage."I come out of the civil rights movement and there's not a way in God's green earth that I could sit there and be asked a question about the civil rights issue of our day and remain silent," Biden said Thursday.Clinton was invited to speak at Netroots Nation but declined amid an extensive tour to promote her book, "Hard Choices." Ready for Hillary, a group that is laying the groundwork for a Clinton campaign, maintained a presence at the conference.The former New York senator faced skepticism during her only appearance at the event in August 2007. In a Democratic presidential debate, Clinton declined to give up taking campaign donations from lobbyists, drawing boos and hisses from liberal bloggers. She said many lobbyists "represent corporations that employ a lot of people."More recently, Clinton has echoed the nation's economic frustrations, pointing to the need to address the gap between the wealthy and poor. In an interview with PBS's Charlie Rose, Clinton said if she runs for president she would have a "very specific agenda.""You have to run a very specific campaign that talks about the changes you want to make in order to tackle growth," Clinton said, pointing to widespread economic progress made when her husband was president.---Thomas reported from Washington.---Follow on Twitter David Eggert and Ken Thomas
Elizabeth Warren Fires Up Netroots Nation: 'We Will Overturn Hobby Lobby!'
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:28
The annual Netroots Nation progressive conference came to Detroit, Michigan this week and on Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivered a fiery speech that laid out her positions and platform and could serve as a template for a potential future run for president. To chants of ''Run Liz Run,'' the senator told the crowd that ''deep down,'' the fight between the left and right in America is over ''values.''
Warren defined the conservatives' ''internal motto'' as ''I got mine, the rest of you are on your own.'' By contrast, she said progressives are guided by the ''principle'' that ''we all do better when we work together and invest in building a future'... not just for some of our kids, but for all of our kids.''
She proceeded to lay out ''progressive values'' that are also ''America's values,'' like stronger regulations on Wall Street, a belief in science, net neutrality and raising the minimum wage. ''These are the values we are willing to fight for!'' she said to applause.
''We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt, and we are willing to fight for it,'' she said. ''We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity. And that means protecting social security, Medicare and pensions, and we will fight for them!''
''I can't believe I have to say this in 2014,'' Warren said, echoing a speech she made on the Senate floor earlier in the week. ''We believe in equal pay for equal work and we're willing to fight for it. We believe that equal means equal and that's true in marriage, it's true in the workplace, it's true in all of America.''
Finally, she ended her speech by taking on the recent Supreme Court ruling that gave corporations like Hobby Lobby the right not to cover certain contraceptives for their employees.
''Oh, and we believe that corporations are not people, that women to have a right to their bodies,'' she said to escalating cheers. ''We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it!''
Back in April, Warren insisted, ''I'm not running for president.'' But it sure sounded like she was campaigning for something.
Watch the climactic end to her speech below, via Netroots Nation:
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[Photo via screengrab]
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About Us | Netroots Nation
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:33
Photo credit: Marta Evry
The big picture: We amplify progressive voices by providing an online and in-person campus for exchanging ideas and learning how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. Through our annual convention and other events, we strengthen the community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere.
The big event: The ninth annual gathering of the Netroots will be held July 17''20 in Detroit, MI. Netroots Nation 2014 will include 80 panels, 40 training sessions, inspiring keynotes, film screenings and other engaging sessions designed to educate, stimulate and inspire the nation's next generation of progressive leaders.
Each year, thousands of bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists come together to make new connections, hone their organizing skills, share best practices and build stronger relationships with others working on the issues they care most about. And each year, some of the brightest minds in progressive politics come to Netroots Nation to speak with'--and hear from'--our community.
Photo credit: Steve Stearns
Past conferences have featured a Presidential Leadership Forum that drew seven Democratic candidates including then-Senator Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; a surprise visit from Al Gore; interactive Q&A sessions with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid; an appearance by President Bill Clinton; and a chance to hear from three Nobel laureates. As The New York Times said, Netroots Nation is ''becoming as much a part of the Democratic political circuit as the Iowa State Fair.''
Think of it as a giant family reunion for the left. And while we're this country's largest progressive gathering, we're also expanding overseas. We held the first Netroots UK in 2011 and the first Netroots Sweden in 2012. A second Netroots UK was held in June 2012.
''It's like a political rally, a think tank retreat and a non-stop party with your best friends all rolled into one. It's a celebration of the past achievements and future goals of the ever-expanding Netroots. It's an event where progressive leaders and candidates come to hear, in person, what you have to say. You'll leave the convention deliriously proud of how far we've come '... and where we're headed.'''--Bill Harnsberger aka Bill in Portland Maine, Daily Kos
Elizabeth Warren bashes Wall Street in West Virginia '' CNN Political Ticker - Blogs
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 07:14
Shepherdstown, West Virginia (CNN) '' Elizabeth Warren doesn't roll deep.
The Massachusetts senator and reigning champion of progressives everywhere arrived right on time Monday afternoon for a campaign event in West Virginia, this one for Democratic Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant, Warren's latest stop in a national political tour boosting 2014 candidates. Her slight frame slid gingerly out of the passenger side of a blue SUV '' her own car, with Bay State plates '' and she greeted a volunteer with a golly-gee smile.
''Oh! Looks like it started to sprinkle out here!'' Warren said, peeking up at the sky.
There was no entourage, no security detail. Just an aide left behind to park the car. Not knowing where to go, Warren wandered right into the side entrance of the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown and strode up to a police officer standing idly.
''Hi, I'm Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts,'' she said matter-of-factly.
''Well it's nice to meet you!'' the officer replied. Her aide arrived, conveniently in time to box out an advancing reporter, and escorted her down a hallway.
The low-key arrival was not, it turns out, an indicator of the reception she would receive inside.
In a ballroom packed with nearly 400 West Virginians, Warren was greeted like a bona fide celebrity, met with multiple standing ovations, a cascade of selfie attempts and a few shouts of ''2016!''
What followed was a pugnacious and folksy speech packed with the kind of full-bodied populist rhetoric that has thrust her into 2016 presidential conversation alongside Hillary Clinton '' whether she wants to be there or not.
''The way I see this, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, all those other guys on Wall Street, they've got plenty of folks in the United State Senate willing to work on their side,'' she said, jabbing her hands into the air to make her points. ''We need more people in the U.S. Senate willing to work on the side of America's families.''
Tennant, she said, ''is strong, she is independent, and she won't let anybody roll over her.''
Warren talked about her working class upbringing in Oklahoma, telling the story of her mother taking on a minimum wage job at Sears, an effort to save their home after her ill father could no longer work. She humble-bragged about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau '' the ''little consumer agency'' she helped launch '' noting that it's already recovered $4 billion from banks and credit card companies for American customers. And she bashed Republican opposition to her student loan bill, which would have lowered interest rates but was blocked in the Senate, saying the GOP's first priority is defending big banks.
''The Republicans say no to raising the minimum wage, they say no to equal pay for equal work, they say we have to cut Social Security in order to make our budget balanced, they say no to those pension promises,'' Warren said sternly. ''They say it's more important to stand up for Wall Street than it is to stand up for families across this county. Well I tell you what. They can say it, but they are going to lose.''
That the country's most famous liberal showed up here, in a conservative-trending state that hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996 despite its deep Democratic roots, was a bit unusual.
Tennant, trailing her Republican opponent Shelly Moore Capito by 10 points in the polls, has been distancing herself from President Obama throughout her campaign, pushing back most recently against new Environmental Protection Agency's rules aimed at reducing coal emissions by 30% over the next 15 years. Tennant on Monday went so far as to call the regulations ''disgusting.''
But Warren, too, has praised the EPA proposal '' putting Tennant in the tricky spot of explaining why she would appear with Warren but not the President. Tennant gamely tried to defuse the situation in a session with reporters, many of whom made the short drive from Washington to the state's eastern panhandle.
''We don't agree on everything,'' Tennant said. ''We are here today to talk about education, about lifting the middle class, about saying no to Wall Street.'' As for Obama? ''If the President came to West Virginia, he would have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to these energy jobs and our coal jobs,'' Tennant said.
She framed her speech the same way '' embracing Warren's middle class populism in full, but distancing herself from anything touching on Obama and coal.
Tennant was rolling out a new education plan and lavished praise on Warren's student loan reform bill. More than once, she blasted ''corporate greed'' '' and threw darts at House Republicans for proposing Medicare cuts and allowing unemployment benefits to expire last year. Those were none-too-subtle jabs aimed at Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who was five hours away in Charleston campaigning for Capito, an effort to steal some of Warren's earned media thunder.
''Washington was all too happy to help out Wall Street but when our friends and neighbors in West Virginia needed a helping hand when they were looking for work, Washington had no help for them,'' Tennant said.
That was just the warm-up act. Warren was the main event, attracting an adoring audience that included a number of high school and college students who said they appreciated her student loan push.
Without prompting, others said they hoped she would seek the Democratic presidential nomination.
''She speaks up for the underdog,'' said Warren McKimmie, a self-described liberal from Harper's Ferry. ''She is the only one who speaks up for the underdog. I am very torn because I want a Democrat in the White House, but I'm not sure its Hillary. To me she would be more of the same. Warren is a fighter for us.''
On the way to her car after the rally, Warren was asked how it felt to be met by such friendly audiences on the campaign trail. Similar crowds have met her in Kentucky and Oregon and Ohio '' and she's a shoo-in for a standing ovation at the liberal Netroots Nation conference later this week in Detroit.
''People understand what's going on,'' Warren said. ''They know what's at stake in the races in 2014, and they are willing to get out there and fight. That's what I see in those crowds. That's what I love in those crowds.''
Before reporters could follow up with other questions, Jane Yearout '' the head of the Berkeley County Democratic Party '' ran up to her car screaming. Like Warren, she said was an Oklahoma native, and she wanted a hug. Warren gave her one, then departed.
$500K Clinton lunch bidder told: It costs double to bring kids.
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:17
A mogul spent six figures to win lunch for two with Bill and Hillary Clinton at a charity auction benefiting the Clinton Foundation '-- but when the winner asked to bring his two kids along, he was told he'd have to double his bid to $1 million.
Spies said Charitybuzz CEO Coppy Holzman was talking about the recent Clinton auction hosted by his website at a swanky Hamptons Magazine party for ArtHamptons last Friday.
One witness said Holzman regaled guests with a tale that ''lunch for two with Bill and Hillary went for $500,000 to benefit the Clinton Foundation.'' And the winning bid came from ''a Chinese business mogul who then asked if he could bring his two children along to the meeting.''
But, our spy said, the high bidder was then told by the Clinton camp he could only bring his kids for a cool $1 million.
''The couple opted to leave the children at home,'' the source cracked.
The estimated value of the lot to spend ''45 minutes to 1 hour'' with the Clintons was $250,000, according to Charitybuzz's site. If the $500,000 winner of the May 29 auction even gets a full hour with the Clintons, that's $8,333.33 per minute. But at least they will be allowed to take ''a photo.''
Holzman was a guest at the Hamptons party, where a line of surfboards designed by artists including Peter Max was being auctioned by Charitybuzz to benefit Southampton Hospital.
Others circulating included Hamptons mag cover girls Ali Wentworth, Katie Lee and Stephanie March, as well as Beth Stern, Chris Wragge, Samantha Yanks and Debra Halpert.
A scathing New York Times piece last summer criticized the Clinton Foundation, saying, ''For all of its successes, [it] had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, threatened by conflicts of interest.''
A Clinton Foundation rep said the winning bidder was ''actually an American citizen of Chinese heritage'' in California. And, ''Without our knowledge, the Charitybuzz staff decided to ask him if he would be interested in adding more people to the lunch for an additional donation. We don't know if they specified an amount.''
A Charitybuzz rep did not comment.
War on Crazy
Mental-health monitoring goes mobile | MIT News Office
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:30
Behavioral health analytics startup sees smartphones as ''automated diaries'' containing valuable insight into the mental well-being of people with mental illnesses.
Smartphones produce significant behavioral data '-- such as location, calling and texting records, and app usage '-- that map out a user's daily patterns. Finding significant deviations in these patterns may signal that something's amiss, says CEO and co-founder Anmol Madan SM '05, PhD '11.
''If someone is depressed, for instance, they isolate themselves, have a hard time getting up to go to school or work, they're lethargic and don't like communicating with others the way they typically do,'' Madan explains. ''Turns out you see those same features change in their mobile-phone sensor data in their movement, features, and interactions with others.''
That's the concept driving's recently released commercial app, based on years of MIT Media Lab research, which is becoming increasingly popular in the health care industry. By passively analyzing mobile data, the app can detect if a patient with mental illness '-- such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders, or schizophrenia '-- is acting symptomatic.
Symptoms may include lethargy (decreased movement captured by motion sensors) or infrequent texts (captured by the message log). If the app detects an unusual pattern, it sends text messages to both the patient and his or her health care provider, who can keep tabs and intervene if necessary.
Currently, the app is being used by thousands of patients at more than 25 health care institutions and academic centers across the United States, driving several thousand alerts in the past few months.
It has also been used in research. At the University of California at San Francisco, for instance, the app is being used to look at the role behavioral data plays in heart disease. And with Forsyth Medical Center in North Carolina, is studying how data can help discern behavioral differences in diabetes patients. If a diabetic patient becomes depressed, for example, she may stop taking medication '-- something called ''noncompliance'' '-- which could lead to costly visits to the doctor or emergency room. But with the app, a nurse could call and remind the patient to continue taking medication.
In a recent trial at the University of California at Davis, the app was used as a low-cost method of monitoring youth with psychosis. ''Early intervention in psychosis is crucial,'' Madan says, ''but it requires expensive, intensive patient assessment and monitoring.'', on the other hand, can be used to collect data and, potentially, prompt early intervention of symptomatic patients to prevent relapses, improving outcomes and reducing costs. The data provided by in this study was used to model daily fluctuations in patient symptoms, and results indicated that is a feasible platform for monitoring those with early psychosis.
Catching deviations
To use the app, patients fill out a brief survey about their conditions, treatment, and health care provider. The app then begins passively collecting millions of interaction and location data points. Motion data is captured by a phone's accelerometers. Global positioning systems pinpoint where a person visits. It also logs the duration and frequency of phone calls and texting patterns '-- though it ignores information about who a patient contacts.
For a few days, the app records a person's normal patterns. After that, algorithms look for significant deviations; if there are any, the app spells them out on the screen. A text may read, for instance, ''On Wednesday, you spoke with two fewer people'' (signaling isolation), or ''You traveled 50 percent less on Thursday'' (signaling lethargy).
If the algorithms detect enough deviations to determine that ''the patient is behaving in a way that's inconsistent with usual,'' Madan says, it alerts the health care provider via's Web platform. The provider may see a text readout explaining, for instance, that the patient is increasingly acting isolated or lethargic. Or they may see a green box next to the patient's name turn to red, signaling a need for intervention.
''In most of those cases, the institutions have already set up care-management programs and teams responsible for keeping people healthy, so when they get the alert, they call and see what's really going on,'' Madan says. ''Then, they make that decision of having the patient come in to see a doctor or handle the issue over the phone.''
A major aim of, Madan says, is to use such ''big data'' analytics to move health care toward preventative measures '-- intervening before patients end up in emergency rooms, running up medical bills. ''Acting on that information while it's still the right time, when patients can correct their behavior, could certainly change the way we deliver care,'' Madan says.
From the lab to ''the trenches''
The core technology for is based on research by Madan; Alexander ''Sandy'' Pentland, the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, who cofounded the company and now serves as an advisor; and several colleagues in the Human Dynamics Lab. They spent years experimenting with ''reality mining'': applying algorithms to mobile data to see how people move, behave, and '-- potentially '-- spread disease. Shifts in how people use their phones and where they travel, they found, can reflect the onset of a cold, anxiety, or stress.
Eventually, that research sprouted some interesting findings about how people with depression behave when they're symptomatic, Madan explains. ''I realized this was something that could find meaning beyond the 80 people in my study; it could have significant impact on the way we think about health care. That was the driver to start a company,'' he says. Madan and Pentland soon recruited a third co-founder, Karan Singh MBA '11, now's head of sales and marketing, to help grow the business.
At the time, Madan had already dabbled in MIT's entrepreneurial ecosystem, having previously entered the $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, which helped him ''get over the hump'' of building a business by teaching him how to create a business plan.
Taking classes at the MIT Sloan School of Management '-- such as 15.390 (New Enterprises) '-- and chatting with mentors from the Venture Mentoring Service and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship further helped Madan and Singh understand the nuances of building a startup, including recruiting talent, engaging early customers, speaking with investors, and scaling the product.
''After testing the entrepreneurial waters, these resources and classes were fundamental for me personally to make the transition from researcher to entrepreneur,'' Madan says. ''They provided me with the rich information and network required to be successful.''
Today, has offices in San Francisco and Cambridge, and is poised to grow significantly. In the past five years, Madan says, there's been an explosion in sensing data (such as wearables), accompanied by a massive shift in the health care system to focus on keeping patients healthy.
''There's a movement in bringing sensors and new technologies into the clinical workflow, so health care providers can have access to real-time information and react in a timely manner,'' he says.
The startup is working ''in the trenches,'' as Madan likes to say, seeking ways to broadly implement its technology. This involves training health care providers in using the technology and finding how best to manage interventions. Madan says: ''We're looking to really scale through the health care system in the next couple of years.''
Shut Up Slave!
Journalists will face jail over spy leaks under new security laws in Australia ~ Orrazz
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:19
Australian journalists could face prosecution and jail for reporting Snowden-style revelations about certain spy operations, in an ''outrageous'' expansion of the government's national security powers, leading criminal lawyers have warned.A bill presented to parliament on Wednesday by the attorney general, George Brandis, would expand the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio), including creation of a new offence punishable by five years in jail for ''any person'' who disclosed information relating to ''special intelligence operations''.The person would be liable for a 10-year term if the disclosure would ''endanger the health or safety of any person or prejudice the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation''.Special intelligence operations are a new type of operation in which intelligence officers receive immunity from liability or prosecution where they may need to engage in conduct that would be otherwise unlawful.The bill also creates new offences that only apply to current and former intelligence operatives and contractors in a move which appeared to directly address the risk of documentary disclosures being made following revelations by the US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden '' who Brandis has previously labelled as a ''traitor''.The leading criminal barrister and Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said the ''troubling'' legislation could be used to prosecute and jail journalists who reported on information they received about special intelligence operations.''I thought the Snowden clause [in the bill] was bad enough but this takes the Snowden clause and makes it a Snowden/Assange/Guardian/New York Times clause,'' he said.''It's an unprecedented clause which would capture the likes of Wikileaks, the Guardian, the New York Times, and any other media organisation that reports on such material.''Barns, who has worked on terrorism cases and has also advised Wikileaks, said Asio could secretly declare many future cases to be special intelligence operations. This would trigger the option to prosecute journalists who subsequently discover and report on aspects of those operations.
Grits for Breakfast: All Ten: DPS now fingerprinting every driver at renewal
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:50
Reversing a decade long policy implemented after the Texas House shot down the idea in 2003, the Texas Department of Public Safety earlier this year began taking all ten fingerprints of drivers when they apply for a license or a renewal. Previously they required only a thumbprint or an index finger if for some reason a thumbprint couldn't be taken.But the Dallas News' Dave Lieber reported (June 7) that DPS license facilities now require drivers to give them all ten fingerprints, a policy change that took effect earlier this year with no publicity from the agency.
Long-time readers may recall that DPS sought similar authority back in 2003 and was smacked down by the Texas House. In 2004, Grits wrote a post titled "Why would they want all ten fingerprints?," and the question remains. Surely no more than a thumbprint would be required to prevent license fraud?
No, the real issue is they want to run fingerprints against state and national criminal databases. At first, DPS spokesman Tom Vinger told Lieber ''As a point of clarification, fingerprint information collected at driver's license offices is not run against the national fingerprint database. This is not authorized by the federal government or state statute.'' But soon he changed his tune. A month later, Lieber quoted "DPS spokesman Vinger say[ing] the system has already led to the capture of three individuals wanted for crimes."
At The, Jon Cassidy assessed this development in a way that jibed with my own recollection of where this issue had been left: All ten fingerprints is overreach. Did they think no one would notice? This idea was shot down in the Texas House 111-26 back in 2003 and I doubt it'd fare any better now. The Lege should take the opportunity next spring to reverse this decision, if DPS doesn't, and order the agency to expunge all but a thumb or index fingerprints for each driver.
That took a lot of chutzpah.
Police to doorstep sex crime suspects | Herald Scotland
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 03:35
POLICE are to issue their first ever warnings to men they suspect of sex crimes but cannot find enough evidence against to prosecute.
In a revolutionary new prevention tactic, officers will doorstep individuals who repeatedly come to their attention and who they believe - but cannot yet prove - pose a serious danger to women.
Senior Police Scotland officers hope such visits will have a chilling effect on persistently predatory men, in what they stress is a preventative move that does not mean they have given up ­criminal investigations.
Louise Raphael, the detective ­superintendent who leads Scotland's new national rape task force, said: "If there are people who we are not able to get a sufficiency of evidence against, because of the challenging nature of the crimes they are suspected of, then until now the only alternative we have had has been to do nothing.
"We either take them through the criminal process or we do nothing. Well, I don't think doing nothing is acceptable given we have a fundamental responsibility to prevent crime."
The new scheme - called Persons of Interest - will be launched shortly as a pilot in one of Scotland's 14 divisions. It will see officers visit such suspects and issue them with letters, but only on the authority of Ms Raphael or, in the future, another officer of her rank. The fact an individual has been targeted in such a way will not be shared with his employer or family, in a bid to stay on the right side of human rights legislation. Such suspects would almost certainly already have been spoken to by the police, often under caution while detained for questioning.
Police Scotland has overhauled ­attitudes to rape and sex offences since it came in to being 15 months ago - Ms Raphael is eager to tackle under­reporting, to see more victims come forward and to help build up the real picture of the crime. Nearly 1700 rapes were recorded in 2013-14, up one-quarter from a year before. Almost one-third took place more than 12 months before they were reported.
More reports, and information from other agencies and individuals on suspicious behaviour, can build up solid intelligence profiles.
She said: "We have been very keen to tap in to under-reporting of rapes. We can't encourage people to come forward to the police without putting in place a prevention strategy. We can't physically prevent sex crimes in the way we can physically prevent disorder. So we have to move our prevention upstream."
The Persons of Interest scheme is designed to chime with recent Police Scotland anti-rape messages, which are aimed firmly at raising the understanding of consent among men. Of particular concern are those who target drunk or otherwise vulnerable women who are incapable of agreeing to sex. "Some men might think they are just taking advantage of women who are drunk or have been separated from their friends on a night out," said Ms Raphael. "They need to realise that if a women can't consent they are committing rape."
Those likely to find the police at their door are the kind of ­predatory nightclub "sleazy" ­individuals for whom bouncers and bar staff are now trained to look out, sources said.
Similar warning tactics have already been put in place to deal with those whose behaviour with their partners has caused concern about domestic violence.
But QC Brian McConnachie, who has defended and prosecuted rape cases, is far from convinced by the tactic. "There is a risk that this could be abused," he said. "You know what communities are like, and word can quickly go round the police have been at somebody's door. The police should focus on gathering evidence for a prosecution. I should have thought interviewing somebody under caution would have a much more chilling effect than visiting them. So I don't see the point."
Sandy Brindley, of Rape Crisis Scotland, who has campaigned for better rape conviction rates, said: "Prevention should be a big part of what the police do."
PORT-AU-PRINCE: Olympics Committee sports complex opens in Haiti - Haiti -
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:53
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- 'ŽA group of diplomats relived childhood dreams Tuesday as they practiced jump shots, played table tennis and jockeyed to score GOOOOAAAALLLL on the soccer field.
Led by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach toured Haiti's newest sports complex: a still underconstruction $18 million facility.
The complex, with courts for basketball and outdoor handball, rooms for boxing and table tennis and an expansive multipurpose center, was donated by the International Olympic Committee after Haiti's devastating Jan.12, 2010 earthquake.
''We wanted to help because we had seen the Haitian people terribly suffering under this earthquake,'' Bach said about the decision behind the gift. ''We want to demonstrate that sport is an important tool to rebuild the country.''
Before declaring the center opened, Bach told Haiti's youth that it was a day of hope for them.
''Sports,'' Bach said, ''stands for social cohesion. It stands for self confidence; stands for fair play and for the future of youth.'''Ž
Haitian President Michel Martelly agreed, saying that while the complex is an opportunity for Haiti's youth to discover their talents, it's an important part of helping form individuals.
''Playing for children is important,'' he said. ''It's important for kids to play with one another.''
Martelly pointed out that in 30 years, no Haitian government had ever built a sports complex in the country. His administration, he said, had restored 12 '-- mainly soccer stadiums.
Martelly also defended the complex's location on the outskirts of the capital, near the sprawling post-quake slum, Canaan. Many have questioned the location because of the distance from the city center and near the mountainside slum that the Haitian government, with assistance from the United States, is now trying to organize and provide infrastructure.
''We are one country. We are one people,'' Martelly said during the inauguration ceremony, Canaan's shacks and denuded mountainside visible in the backdrop. ''We cannot exclude Canaan.''
''We built this for Canaan, too,'' he added.
The event was also attended by Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Albeto Moreno, who last year traveled to Haiti to promote sports development. The IDB is one of the organizations that has contributed to the complex's funding.
''This is great, just to watch all of these kids doing sports,'' Moreno said. ''My dream is to see one day a couple of Olympians and Haitians winning models. Not that Haitians need any more pride because they do have pride, but I think it will do a lot for this country.
''You've seen it around the Caribbean, look at what (sprinter) Usain Bolt did for Jamaica and how the whole question of athletics has become a big thing in the Caribbean.''
Ban, the United Nations chief, said sports can be a strong social changer. The biggest beneficiaries he said of the complex will be Haiti's disenfranchised youth.
''People on the margins will have a place to belong again,'' he said. ''This center will also be an arena for promoting teamwork, fair play and mutual understanding, values that are far beyond the playing field.
''We can see yet again sports go beyond the competition, beyond the events such as World Cup, even beyond star athletes,'' he added.
Ban ended his two day visit to Haiti on Tuesday, calling his fifth visit here ''inspiring,'' and reiterating his call for the country to stage its long overdue elections.
''These encounters have given me a strong sense of the significant progress that Haiti has achieved in the last 10 years with the support of the MINUSTAH peacekeeping operations,'' he said.
But Ban also said he was ''especially concerned'' that Haiti could regress given the ongoing stalemate over the country's legislative and local elections.
''Sadly, for now I have little concrete news of progress from these long overdue elections'' to report to the Security Council, he said. '''ŽThe holding of elections in October is essential.''
Peeling the onion: Almost everyone involved in developing Tor was (or is) funded by the US government | PandoDaily
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:07
By Yasha LevineOn July 16, 2014
''The United States government can't simply run an anonymity system for everybody and then use it themselves only. Because then every time a connection came from it people would say, ''Oh, it's another CIA agent.'' If those are the only people using the network.''
'--Roger Dingledine, co-founder of the Tor Network, 2004
In early July, hacker Jacob Appelbaum and two other security experts published a blockbuster story in conjunction with the German press. They had obtained leaked top secret NSA documents and source code showing that the surveillance agency had targeted and potentially penetrated the Tor Network, a widely used privacy tool considered to be the holy grail of online anonymity.
Internet privacy activists and organizations reacted to the news with shock. For the past decade, they had been promoting Tor as a scrappy but extremely effective grassroots technology that can protect journalists, dissidents and whistleblowers from powerful government forces that want to track their every move online. It was supposed to be the best tool out there. Tor's been an integral part of EFF's ''Surveillance Self-Defense'' privacy toolkit. Edward Snowden is apparently a big fan, and so is Glenn Greenwald, who says it ''allows people to surf without governments or secret services being able to monitor them.''
But the German expos(C) showed Tor providing the opposite of anonymity: it singled out users for total NSA surveillance, potentially sucking up and recording everything they did online.
To many in the privacy community, the NSA's attack on Tor was tantamount to high treason: a fascist violation of a fundamental and sacred human right to privacy and free speech.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation believes Tor to be ''essential to freedom of expression.'' Appelbaum '-- a Wikileaks volunteer and Tor developer '-- considers volunteering for Tor to be a valiant act on par with Hemingway or Orwell ''going to Spain to fight the Franco fascists'' on the side of anarchist revolutionaries.
It's a nice story, pitting scrappy techno-anarchists against the all-powerful US Imperial machine. But the facts about Tor are not as clear cut or simple as these folks make them out to be'...
Let's start with the basics: Tor was developed, built and financed by the US military-surveillance complex. Tor's original '-- and current '-- purpose is to cloak the online identity of government agents and informants while they are in the field: gathering intelligence, setting up sting operations, giving human intelligence assets a way to report back to their handlers '-- that kind of thing. This information is out there, but it's not very well known, and it's certainly not emphasized by those who promote it.
Peek under Tor's hood, and you quickly just realize that just everybody involved in developing Tor technology has been and/or still is funded by the Pentagon or related arm of the US empire. That includes Roger Dingledine, who brought the technology to life under a series of military and federal government contracts. Dingledine even spent a summer working at the NSA.
If you read the fine print on Tor's website, you'll see that Tor is still very much in active use by the US government:
''A branch of the U.S. Navy uses Tor for open source intelligence gathering, and one of its teams used Tor while deployed in the Middle East recently. Law enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveilling web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations.''
NSA? DoD? U.S. Navy? Police surveillance? What the hell is going on? How is it possible that a privacy tool was created by the same military and intelligence agencies that it's supposed to guard us against? Is it a ruse? A sham? A honeytrap? Maybe I'm just being too paranoid'...
Unfortunately, this is not a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory. It is cold hard fact.
Brief history of Tor
The origins of Tor go back to 1995, when military scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory began developing cloaking technology that would prevent someone's activity on the Internet from being traced back to them. They called it ''onion routing'' '-- a method redirecting traffic into a parallel peer-to-peer network and bouncing it around randomly before sending it off to its final destination. The idea was to move it around so as to confuse and disconnect its origin and destination, and make it impossible for someone to observe who you are or where you're going on the Internet.
Onion routing was like a hustler playing the three-card monte with your traffic: the guy trying to spy on you could watch it going under one card, but he never knew where it would come out.
The technology was funded by the Office of Naval Research and DARPA. Early development was spearheaded by Paul Syverson, Michael Reed and David Goldschlag '-- all military mathematicians and computer systems researchers working for the Naval Research Laboratory, sitting inside the massive Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling military base in Southeast Washington, D.C.
The original goal of onion routing wasn't to protect privacy '-- or at least not in the way most people think of ''privacy.'' The goal was to allow intelligence and military personnel to work online undercover without fear of being unmasked by someone monitoring their Internet activity.
''As military grade communication devices increasingly depend on the public communications infrastructure, it is important to use that infrastructure in ways that are resistant to traffic analysis. It may also be useful to communicate anonymously, for example when gathering intelligence from public databases,'' explained a 1997 paper outlining an early version of onion routing that was published in the Naval Research Labs Review.
In the 90s, as public Internet use and infrastructure grew and multiplied, spooks needed to figure out a way to hide their identity in plain sight online. An undercover spook sitting in a hotel room in a hostile country somewhere couldn't simply dial up on his browser and log in '-- anyone sniffing his connection would know who he was. Nor could a military intel agent infiltrate a potential terrorist group masquerading as an online animal rights forum if he had to create an account and log in from an army base IP address.
That's where onion routing came in. As Michael Reed, one of the inventors of onion routing, explained: providing cover for military and intelligence operations online was their primary objective; everything else was secondary:
The original *QUESTION* posed that led to the invention of Onion Routing was, ''Can we build a system that allows for bi-directional communications over the Internet where the source and destination cannot be determined by a mid-point?'' The *PURPOSE* was for DoD / Intelligence usage (open source intelligence gathering, covering of forward deployed assets, whatever). Not helping dissidents in repressive countries. Not assisting criminals in covering their electronic tracks. Not helping bit-torrent users avoid MPAA/RIAA prosecution. Not giving a 10 year old a way to bypass an anti-porn filter. Of course, we knew those would be other unavoidable uses for the technology, but that was immaterial to the problem at hand we were trying to solve (and if those uses were going to give us more cover traffic to better hide what we wanted to use the network for, all the better'...I once told a flag officer that much to his chagrin).
Apparently solving this problem wasn't very easy. Onion router research progressed slowly, with several versions developed and discarded. But in 2002, seven years after it began, the project moved into a different and more active phase. Paul Syverson from the Naval Research Laboratory stayed on the project, but two new guys fresh outta MIT grad school came on board: Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson. They were not formally employed by Naval Labs, but were on contract from DARPA and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Center for High Assurance Computer Systems. For the next several years, the three of them worked on a newer version of onion routing that would later become known as Tor.
Very early on, researchers understood that just designing a system that only technically anonymizes traffic is not enough '-- not if the system is used exclusively by military and intelligence. In order to cloak spooks better, Tor needed to be used by a diverse group of people: Activists, students, corporate researchers, soccer moms, journalists, drug dealers, hackers, child pornographers, foreign agents, terrorists '-- the more diverse the group that spooks could hide in the crowd in plain sight.
Tor also needed to be moved off site and disassociated from Naval research. As Syverson told Bloomberg in January 2014: ''If you have a system that's only a Navy system, anything popping out of it is obviously from the Navy. You need to have a network that carries traffic for other people as well.''
Dingledine said the same thing a decade earlier at the 2004 Wizards of OS conference in Germany:
''The United States government can't simply run an anonymity system for everybody and then use it themselves only. Because then every time a connection came from it people would say, 'Oh, it's another CIA agent.' If those are the only people using the network.''
The consumer version of Tor would be marketed to everyone and '-- equally important '-- would eventually allow anyone to run a Tor node/relay, even from their desktop computer. The idea was to create a massive crowdsourced torrent-style network made up from thousands of volunteers all across the world.
At the very end of 2004, with Tor technology finally ready for deployment, the US Navy cut most of its Tor funding, released it under an open source license and, oddly, the project was handed over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
''We funded Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson to work on Tor for a single year from November 2004 through October 2005 for $180,000. We then served as a fiscal sponsor for the project until they got their 501(c)(3) status over the next year or two. During that time, we took in less than $50,000 for the project,'' EFF's Dave Maass told me by email.
In a December 2004 press release announcing its support for Tor, EFF curiously failed to mention that this anonymity tool was developed primarily for military and intelligence use. Instead, it focused purely on Tor's ability to protect free speech from oppressive regimes in the Internet age.
''The Tor project is a perfect fit for EFF, because one of our primary goals is to protect the privacy and anonymity of Internet users. Tor can help people exercise their First Amendment right to free, anonymous speech online,'' said EFF's Technology Manager Chris Palmer.
Later on, EFF's online materials began mentioning that Tor had been developed by the Naval Research Lab, but played down the connection, explaining that it was ''in the past.'' Meanwhile the organization kept boosting and promoting Tor as a powerful privacy tool:
''Your traffic is safer when you use Tor.''
Playing down Tor's ties to the military'...
The people at EFF weren't the only ones minimizing Tor's ties to the military.
In 2005, Wired published what might have been the first major profile of Tor technology. The article was written by Kim Zetter, and headlined: ''Tor Torches Online Tracking.'' Although Zetter was a bit critical of Tor, she made it seem like the anonymity technology had been handed over by the military with no strings attached to ''two Boston-based programmers'' '-- Dingledine and Nick Mathewson, who had completely rebuilt the product and ran it independently.
Dingledine and Mathewson might have been based in Boston, but they '-- and Tor '-- were hardly independent.
At the time that the Wired article went to press in 2005, both had been on the Pentagon payroll for at least three years. And they would continue to be on the federal government's payroll for at least another seven years.
In fact, in 2004, at the Wizards of OS conference in Germany, Dingledine proudly announced that he was building spy craft tech on the government payroll:
''I forgot to mention earlier something that will make you look at me in a new light. I contract for the United States Government to built anonymity technology for them and deploy it. They don't think of it as anonymity technology, although we use that term. They think of it as security technology. They need these technologies so they can research people they are interested in, so they can have anonymous tip lines, so that they can buy things from people without other countries knowing what they are buying, how much they are buying and where it is going, that sort of thing.''
Government support kept rolling in well after that.
In 2006, Tor research was funded was through a no-bid federal contract awarded to Dingledine's consulting company, Moria Labs. And starting in 2007, the Pentagon cash came directly through the Tor Project itself '-- thanks to the fact that Team Tor finally left EFF and registered its own independent 501(c)(3) non-profit.
How dependent was '-- and is '-- Tor on support from federal government agencies like the Pentagon?
In 2007, it appears that all of Tor's funding came from the federal government via two grants. A quarter million came from the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), a CIA spinoff that now operates under the Broadcasting Board of Governors. IBB runs Voice of America and Radio Marti, a propaganda outfit aimed at subverting Cuba's communist regime. The CIA supposedly cut IBB financing in the 1970s after its ties to Cold War propaganda arms like Radio Free Europe were exposed.
The second chunk of cash '-- just under $100,000 '-- came from Internews, an NGO aimed at funding and training dissident and activists abroad. Tor's subsequent tax filings show that grants from Internews were in fact conduits for ''pass through'' grants from the US State Department.
In 2008, Tor got $527,000 from again from IBB and Internews, which meant that 90% of its funding came U.S. government sources that year.
In 2009, the federal government provided just over $900,000, or about 90% of the funding. Part of that cash came through a $632,189 federal grant from the State Department, described in tax filings as a ''Pass-Through from Internews Network International.'' Another $270,000 came via the CIA-spinoff IBB. The Swedish government gave $38,000, while Google gave a minuscule $29,000.
Most of that government cash went out in the form of salaries to Tor administrators and developers. Tor co-founders Dingledine and Mathewson made $120,000. Jacob Appelbaum, the rock star hacker, Wikileaks volunteer and Tor developer, made $96,000.
In 2010, the State Department upped its grant to $913,000 and IBB gave $180,000 '-- which added up to nearly $1 million out of a total of $1.3 milliontotal funds listed on tax filings that year. Again, a good chunk of that went out as salaries to Tor developers and managers.
In 2011, IBB gave $150,00, while another $730,000 came via Pentagon and State Department grants, which represented more than 70% of the grants that year. (Although based on tax filings, government contracts added up to nearly 100% of Tor's funding.)
The DoD grant was passed through the Stanford Research Institute, a cutting edge Cold War military-intel outfit. The Pentagon-SRI grant to Tor was given this description: ''Basic and Applied Research and Development in Areas Relating to the Navy Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.''
That year, a new government funder came the scene: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Sweden's version of USAID, gave Tor $279,000.
In 2012, Tor nearly doubled its budget, taking in $2.2 million from Pentagon and intel-connected grants: $876,099 came from the DoD, $353,000 from the State Department, $387,800 from IBB.
That same year, Tor lined up an unknown amount funding from the Broadcasting Board of Governors to finance fast exit nodes.
Tor at the NSA?
In 2013, the Washington Post revealed that the NSA had figured out various ways of unmasking and penetrating the anonymity of the Tor Network.
Since 2006, according to a 49-page research paper titled simply ''Tor,'' the agency has worked on several methods that, if successful, would allow the NSA to uncloak anonymous traffic on a ''wide scale'' '-- effectively by watching communications as they enter and exit the Tor system, rather than trying to follow them inside. One type of attack, for example, would identify users by minute differences in the clock times on their computers.
The evidence came out of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks. It appeared that the surveillance agency had developed several techniques to get at Tor. One of the documents explained that the NSA ''pretty much guaranteed to succeed.''
Snowden's leaks revealed another interesting detail: In 2007, Dingledine gave at a talk at the NSA's HQ explaining Tor, and how it worked.
The Washington Post published the NSA's notes from their meeting with Dingledine. They showed that Dingledine and the NSA mostly talked about the technical details of Tor '-- how the network works and some of its security/usability tradeoffs. The NSA was curious about ''Tor's customers,'' and Dingledine ran down some of the types of people who could benefit from Tor: Blogger Alice, 8 yr. old Alice, Sick Alice, Consumer Alice, Oppressed Alice, Business Alice, Law Enforcement Alice'...
Interestingly, Dingledine told the NSA that ''the way TOR is spun is dependent on who the 'spinee' is'' '-- meaning that he markets Tor technology in different ways to different people?
Interestingly, the Washington Post article described Dingledine's trip to the NSA as ''a wary encounter, akin to mutual intelligence gathering, between a spy agency and a man who built tools to ward off electronic surveillance.'' Dingledine told the paper that he came away from that meeting with the feeling that the NSA was trying to hack the Tor network:
''As he spoke to the NSA, Dingledine said in an interview Friday, he suspected the agency was attempting to break into Tor, which is used by millions of people around the world to shield their identities.''
Dingledine may very well have been antagonistic during his meeting with the NSA. Perhaps he was protective over his Tor baby, and didn't want its original inventors and sponsors in the US government taking it back. But whatever the reason, the antagonism was not likely borne out of some sort of innate ideological hostility towards the US national security state.
Aside from being on the DoD payroll, Dingledine has spends a considerable amount of his time meeting and consulting with military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to explain why Tor's so great, and instructing them on how to use it. What kind of agencies does he meet with? The FBI, CIA and DOJ are just a few'... And if you listen to Dingledine explain these encounters in some of his public appearances, one does not detect so much as a whiff of antagonism towards intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
In 2013, during a talk at UC San Diego, Dingledine cheerfully recalled how an exuberant FBI agent rushed up to thank him during his recent trip to the FBI:
''So I've been doing a lot of talks lately for law enforcement. And pretty much every talk I do these days, sone FBI person comes up to me afterwards and says, 'I use Tor everyday for my job. Thank you.' Another example is anonymous tips '-- I was talking to the folks who run the CIA anonymous tip line. It's called the Iraqi Rewards Program'...''
Dingledine's close collaboration with law enforcement aside, there's the strangely glib manner in which he dismissed news about the NSA hacking into Tor. He seemed totally unconcerned by the evidence revealed by Snowden's leaks, and played down the NSA's capabilities in his comments to the Washington Post:
''If those documents actually represent what they can do, they are not as big an adversary as I thought.''
I reached out to Dingledine to ask him about his trip to the NSA and whether he warned the Tor community back in 2007 that he suspected the NSA was targeting Tor users. He didn't respond.
How safe is Tor, really?
If Dingledine didn't appear to be fazed by evidence of the NSA's attack on Tor anonymity, it's strange considering that an attack by a powerful government entity has been known to be one Tor's principle weaknesses for quite some time.
In a 2011 discussion on Tor's official listserv, Tor developer Mike Perry admitted that Tor might not be very effective against powerful, organized ''adversaries'' (aka governments) that are capable monitoring huge swaths of the Internet.
''Extremely well funded adversaries that are able to observe large portions of the Internet can probably break aspects of Tor and may be able to deanonymize users. This is why the core tor program currently has a version number of 0.2.x and comes with a warning that it is not to be used for ''strong anonymity''. (Though I personally don't believe any adversary can reliably deanonymize *all* tor users . . . but attacks on anonymity are subtle and cumulative in nature).
Indeed, just last year, Syverson was part of a research team that pretty much proved that Tor can no longer be expected to protect users over the long term.
''Tor is known to be insecure against an adversary that can observe a user's traffic entering and exiting the anonymity network. Quite simple and efficient techniques can correlate traffic at these separate locations by taking advantage of identifying traffic patterns. As a result, the user and his destination may be identified, completely subverting the protocol's security goals.''
The researchers concluded: ''These results are somewhat gloomy for the current security of the Tor network.''
While Syverson indicated that some of the security issues identified by this research have been addressed in recent Tor versions, the findings only added to a growing list of other research and anecdotal evidence showing Tor's not as safe as its boosters want you to think '-- especially when pitted against determined intelligence agencies.
Case-in-point: In December 2013, a 20-year-old Harvard panicked overachiever named Edlo Kim learned just how little protection Tor offered for would be terrorists.
To avoid taking a final exam he wasn't prepared for, Kim hit up on the idea of sending in a fake bomb threat. Ðо cover his tracks, he used Tor, supposedly the best anonymity service the web had to offer. But it did little mask his identity from a determined Uncle Sam. A joint investigation, which involved the FBI, the Secret Service and local police, was able to track the fake bomb threat right back to Kim '-- in less than 24 hours.
As the FBI complaint explained, ''Harvard University was able to determine that, in the several hours leading up to the receipt of the e-mail messages described above, ELDO KIM accessed TOR using Harvard's wireless network.'' All that Tor did was make the cops jump a few extra steps. But it wasn't hard, nothing that a bit of manpower with full legal authority to access network records couldn't solve. It helped that Harvard's network logging all metadata access on the network '-- sorta like the NSA.
Over the past few years, U.S. law enforcement has taken control and shutdown a series of illegal child porn and drug marketplaces operating on what should have been untraceable, hyper-anonymous servers running in the Tor cloud.
In 2013, they took down Freedom Hosting, which was accused of being a massive child porn hosting operation '-- but not before taking control of its servers and intercepting all of its communication with customers. The FBI did the same thing that same year with the online drug superstore Silkroad, which also ran its services in the Tor cloud. Although, rookie mistakes helped FBI unmask the identity of Pirate Dread Roberts, it is still a mystery how they were able to totally take over and control, and even copy, a server run in the Tor cloud '-- something that is supposed to be impossible.
Back in 2007, a Swedish hacker/researcher named Dan Egerstad showed that just by running a Tor node, he could siphon and read all the unencrypted traffic that went through his chunk of the Tor network. He was able to access logins and passwords to accounts of NGOs, companies, and the embassies of India and Iran. Egerstad thought at first that embassy staff were just being careless with their info, but quickly realized that he had actually stumbled on a hack/surveillance operation in which Tor was being used to covertly access these accounts.
Although Egerstad was a big fan of Tor and still believes that Tor can provide anonymity if used correctly, the experience made him highly suspicious.
He told Sydney Morning Herald that he thinks many of the major Tor nodes are being run by intelligence agencies or other parties interested in listening in on Tor communication.
''I don't like speculating about it, but I'm telling people that it is possible. And if you actually look in to where these Tor nodes are hosted and how big they are, some of these nodes cost thousands of dollars each month just to host because they're using lots of bandwidth, they're heavy-duty servers and so on. Who would pay for this and be anonymous? For example, five of six of them are in Washington D.C.'...''
Tor stinks?
Tor supporters point to a cache of NSA documents leaked by Snowden to prove that the agency fears and hates Tor. A 2013 Guardian story based on these docs '-- written by James Ball, Bruce Schneier and Glenn Greenwald '-- argues that agency is all but powerless against the anonymity tool.
'...the documents suggest that the fundamental security of the service remains intact. One top-secret presentation, titled 'Tor Stinks', states: ''We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time.'' It continues: ''With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users,'' and says the agency has had ''no success de-anonymizing a user in response'' to a specific request.
Another top-secret presentation calls ''the king of high-secure, low-latency internet anonymity''.
But the NSA docs are far from conclusive and offer conflicting bits of evidence, allowing for multiple interpretations. But the fact is that the NSA and GCHQ clearly have the capability to compromise Tor, but it might take a bit of targeted effort.
One thing is clear: the NSA most certainly does not hate or fear Tor. And some aspects about Tor are definitely welcomed by the NSA, in part because it helps concentrate potential ''targets'' in one convenient location.
Tor Stinks'... But it Could be Worse
' Critical mass of targets use Tor. Scaring them away might be counterproductive.
' We can increase our success rate and provide more client IPs for individual Tor users.
' We will never get 100% but we don't need to provide true IPs for every target every time they use Tor.
Tor network is not as difficult to capture as it may seem'...
In 2012, Tor co-founder Roger Dingledine revealed that the Tor Network is configured to prioritize speed and route traffic through through the fastest servers/nodes available. As a result, the vast bulk of Tor traffic runs through several dozen of the fastest and most dependable servers: ''on today's network, clients choose one of the fastest 5 exit relays around 25-30% of the time, and 80% of their choices come from a pool of 40-50 relays.''
Dingledine was criticized by Tor community for the obvious reason that funneling traffic through a handful of fast nodes made surveilling and subverting Tor much easier. Anyone can run a Tor node '-- a research student in Germany, a guy with FIOS connection in Victorville (which is what I did for a few months), an NSA front out of Hawaii or a guy working for China's Internet Police.
There's no way of knowing know if the people running the fastest most stable nodes are doing it out of goodwill or because it's the best way to listen in and subvert the Tor network. Particularly troubling was that Snowden's leaks clearly showed the NSA and GCHQ run Tor nodes, and are interested in running more.
And running 50 Tor nodes doesn't seem like it would too difficult for any of the world's intelligence agencies '-- whether American, German, British, Russian, Chinese or Iranian. Hell, if you're an intelligence agency, there's no reason not to run a Tor node.
Back in 2005, Dingledine admitted to Wired that this was a ''tricky design question'' but couldn't provide a good answer to how they'd handle it. In 2012, he dismissed his critics altogehter, explaining that he was perfectly willing to sacrifice security for speed '-- whatever it took to take get more people to use Tor:
This choice goes back to the original discussion that Mike Perry and I were wrestling with a few years ago'... if we want to end up with a fast safe network, do we get there by having a slow safe network and hoping it'll get faster, or by having a fast less-safe network and hoping it'll get safer? We opted for the ''if we don't stay relevant to the world, Tor will never grow enough'' route.
Speaking of spooks running Tor nodes'...
If you thought the Tor story couldn't get any weirder, it can and does. Probably the strangest part of this whole saga is the fact that Edward Snowden ran multiple high-bandwidth Tor nodes while working as an NSA contractor in Hawaii.
This only became publicly known last May, when Tor developer Runa Sandvik (who also drew her salary from Pentagon/State Department sources at Tor) told Wired's Kevin Poulsen that just two weeks before he would try to get in touch with Glenn Greenwald, Snowden emailed her, explaining that he ran a major Tor node and wanted to get some Tor stickers.
Stickers? Yes, stickers.
Here's Wired:
In his e-mail, Snowden wrote that he personally ran one of the ''major tor exits''''a 2 gbps server named ''TheSignal''''and was trying to persuade some unnamed coworkers at his office to set up additional servers. He didn't say where he worked. But he wanted to know if Sandvik could send him a stack of official Tor stickers. (In some post-leak photos of Snowden you can see the Tor sticker on the back of his laptop, next to the EFF sticker).
Snowden's request for Tor stickers turned into something a bit more intimate. Turned out that Sandvik was already planning to go to Hawaii for vacation, so she suggested they meet up to talk about communication security and encryption.
She wrote Snowden back and offered to give a presentation about Tor to a local audience. Snowden was enthusiastic and offered to set up a crypto party for the occasion.
So the two of them threw a ''crypto party'' at a local coffee shop in Honolulu, teaching twenty or so locals how to use Tor and encrypt their hard drives. ''He introduced himself as Ed. We talked for a bit before everything started. And I remember asking where he worked or what he did, and he didn't really want to tell,'' Sandvik told Wired.
But she did learn that Snowden was running more than one Tor exit node, and that he was trying to get some of his buddies at ''work''to set up additional Tor nodes'...
H'mmm'....So Snowden running powerful Tor nodes and trying to get his NSA colleagues to run them, too?
I reached out to Sandvik for comment. She didn't reply. But Wired's Poulsen suggested that running Tor nodes and throwing a crypto party was a pet privacy project for Snowden. ''Even as he was thinking globally, he was acting locally.''
But it's hard to imagine a guy with top secret security clearance in the midst of planning to steal a huge cache of secrets would risk running a Tor node to help out the privacy cause. But then, who hell knows what any of this means.
I guess it's fitting that Tor's logo is an onion '-- because the more layers you peel and the deeper you get, the less things make sense and the more you realize that there is no end or bottom to it. It's hard to get any straight answers '-- or even know what questions you should be asking.
In that way, the Tor Project more resembles a spook project than a tool designed by a culture that values accountability or transparency.
[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]
Forbes Said Valued at $475 Million in Sale to Chinese Group.
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:13
The Forbes family, an emblem of American wealth and pioneer of business journalism, is giving up control over the media empire it cultivated for almost a century by selling a majority stake to a Hong Kong-based group.
The transaction valued Forbes Media LLC at $475 million, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the terms are private. The agreement, announced today, will hand over Forbes magazine and its widely followed ranking of the world's richest people to a collection of investors led by Integrated Asset Management (Asia) Ltd., founded by investor Tak Cheung Yam, Forbes said in a statement.
Steve Forbes will remain chairman and editor-in-chief, and the Forbes family will hold a minority stake. While the handover is bittersweet, he said it allows the business to move forward.
''Companies should always remind themselves what their purpose is,'' he said in a brief interview. ''The buyers are entrepreneurs, and they understand entrepreneurial capitalism, and they have a vested self-interest in not messing with the editorial.''
Forbes, a two-time U.S. presidential candidate, put the magazine's parent company Forbes Media LLC up for sale in November following years of dwindling profits as digital media cut into print advertising revenue. Forbes was originally seeking at least $400 million when it hired Deutsche Bank AG to run the sale after receiving interest from potential buyers, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.
New OwnersThe new investor group also includes Wayne Hsieh, cofounder of Asustek Computer Inc., who is based in Singapore, Forbes said. Elevation Partners, the investment firm run by Roger McNamee, will sell its stake in Forbes as part of the transaction.
Chief Executive Officer Mike Perlis will continue to lead the company, which includes the magazine, digital properties, conferences and research.
The transaction is expected to close this year. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft provided legal advice to Forbes Media. Credit Suisse Group AG advised the investor group, whose legal counsel came from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and LKP Global Law LLP.
Other foreign suitors had included China's Fosun International Ltd. (656); Singapore's Spice Global Investments Pvt, whose businesses range from finance to health care and entertainment; and Germany's Axel Springer SE, publisher of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, people with knowledge of the matter said in February.
Declining DynastiesThe sale marks the continued decline of American media dynasties, a once-thriving and elite group that had included the Chandlers, who owned the Los Angeles Times until a 2000 merger with Tribune Co.; the Bancrofts, who sold the Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch; and the Graham family, which landed a new owner for the Washington Post in Inc. founder Jeff Bezos.
The few holdouts include the Ochs-Sulzberger family, who still control the New York Times; the Hearst family of Hearst Corp.; and the Newhouses, who own Conde Nast Inc.
The Forbes family had tried to stabilize its fortune by selling a 45 percent stake in the company to venture capital firm Elevation Partners in 2006 for about $240 million. They also raised money through asset sales including the Manhattan headquarters building, their collection of Faberge eggs and the licensing of their name to a real-estate venture and an online for-profit education company.
The publisher also aggressively pursued online marketing deals, known as ''native advertising,'' allowing paying advertisers to publish their own content on the Forbes website.
Forbes FinancesDuring the sale process, Forbes executives emphasized the brand as a platform for events and conferences as well as real-estate developments -- a way to extend beyond its traditional media roots.
Forbes projected revenue of $144.6 million for 2013 and $162.8 million for 2014, according to the pitch book obtained by Ken Doctor, a media analyst for Outsell Inc. Doctor published the contents of the documents on the website of Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab.
The company also estimated that its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization would reach $33.4 million this year, according to the documents. Magazines typically sell for 5 or 6 times Ebitda, implying a value closer to $200 million for Forbes, Doctor said.
Even so, Forbes' influence across the globe made it a sought-after property, especially in growing economies, according to Doctor.
''Forbes used to just be a magazine, now it's a worldwide business brand,'' he said in a February interview. ''How many people in their 20s and 30s are in emerging business markets -- Asia, Africa, Latin America? That's my sense of the great growth potential of the Forbes brand.''
Ranking BillionairesBillionaires around the globe have been enamored of Forbes ever since it began ranking the world's rich, according to Stewart Pinkerton, who wrote about the family in his 2011 book ''The Fall of the House of Forbes.''
Bloomberg News competes with Forbes and publishes its own ranking of the world's rich, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
B.C. Forbes founded the magazine in 1917 and it prospered under his son Malcolm, becoming a champion of capitalism and a showcase for American wealth -- including Malcolm's. Steve, B.C.'s grandson, ascended to president and CEO of Forbes and editor-in-chief of the magazine in 1990. He ran unsuccessfully for U.S. president as a Republican candidate in the 1996 and 2000 primaries.
While the company prospered during the dot-com boom, the subsequent bust in 2000 and migration of advertising from print to online sites took a toll on its finances.
The family got a $400 million buyout offer from fashion publisher Conde Nast in 2004, which it turned down because it wasn't high enough, according to Pinkerton's book.
Other publishers are also selling storied magazine brands as they struggle with the decline in print advertising. IAC/InterActiveCorp sold Newsweek to IBT Media in August, and McGraw-Hill Cos. sold Businessweek to Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, in 2009.
To contact the reporter on this story: Edmund Lee in New York at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sarah Rabil at Crayton Harrison
Should Ghana Sign the $3 billion Loan Agreement with China or not?
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:13
Feature Article of Monday, 5 March 2012
Columnist:Bidi, Kwame E
Investment thrives on risk, doesn't it? The higher the risk, the higher the returns. However, the return can go in either direction --a big win or a big loss. Ghanaians like to frame it slightly differently and for a good reason '' a gargantuan win or loss. It is the task of the wise investor to carefully assess their risks, both obvious and hidden, subject them to rigorous quantitative and qualitative analyses before taking a decision. This is especially critical when the investment is being made with the taxpayers' money.
The government of Ghana is about to make a very big loan deal with the Chinese government. The protracted loan has generated a lot of controversy in Ghana starting from 2011. It involves Ghana taking a $3 billion loan and paying back with 13,000 barrels of oil daily for the next 15.5 years. It's called ''trade-by-barter'' and its underlying principle is simple: use what you have to get what you need. China has a healthy load of cash, much of which has to be invested outside of its economy to ensure macro-economic stability. Ghana has oil and needs capital to bring its infrastructure to a point that maximizes gains from the product. So, the two countries have decided to help each other out through trade. It's that simple. The complication, however, comes from the fairness of terms of the agreement.
Going by the current price of crude oil ($107/barrel), the government will have to pay back 7.9 billion to the Chinese government by the duration of the contract. Thus, interest on the loan alone is almost 5 billion -- about 1 billion short of double the actual loan amount. Excellent return on investment for the Chinese government! But what about Ghana?
Two renowned professors hold diametrically opposed views on the loan. The US-based Ghanaian Professor of Economics at American University and President of Free Africa Foundation, George Ayittey, who came up with the initial figures, is of the opinion that the deal is bad for Ghana. The Professor-President of Ghana, John Evans Attah Mills, however, believes the deal is good for the nation and is bent on pushing it through. Professor Mills completed his doctoral thesis in the area of taxation and economic development and is obviously not a newcomer to quantitative analysis. So why are the two professors at odds with each other on the Chinese loan? And by the way, Daily Guide reported on February 29 that government of Ghana's lawmakers have already voted in favor of the loan agreement.
Does the deal make an investment sense to you from the figures above? Should the government go ahead and take this level of risk with taxpayers' money? Before you jump to a hasty conclusion and risk breaking a leg or two, pause and reflect for a few minutes. Well, as it turns out, the answer is not that simple when the assumptions behind the figures are laid bare. The decision even becomes slightly...well, call it "nightmarish" when the raw numbers are toasted in the microwave of econometric analysis. Did I say toast in a microwave?
First, the figures presented earlier assume that the current price of crude oil ($107/barrel) will stay constant over the 15.5 years of the contract's life. Second, it does not control for future rate of inflation. Third, the computation fails to factor in future discount rate over the contract period. Bright Simons, the Director of Research at an Accra-based think-tank, was quick to add one more factor which almost eluded me initially: the figures assumed a zero rate of depreciation for the Ghanaian currency (Cedi) over 15.5 years. At this stage, I guess you're beginning to appreciate why the deal has "occupied" the Ghanaian airways for over a year. The Ghana government's financial analysts surely did price projection for crude oil over the 15.5-year period, taking into account historic prices of crude oil as well as interest and inflation rates. They might have also analyzed potential national and global events that could affect the future price of crude oil. Examples are the financial health of major trade partners in Europe, the US and Asia; global economic growth projections (because it affects demand for energy), and market analysis for alternative energy sources. Perhaps, they also controlled for the future of conflict-ridden oil producing nations such as Nigeria (thanks to Boko Haram) and Iraq.
In fact, government officials are more optimistic about the loan than most critics could imagine. The Chief Executive officer of Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Dr. Adjah-Sipa Yankey, is reported by Reuters as saying the $700 million gas project which the loan will finance will be able to pay off the $3 billion loan after five years. "Once we start operations, in between four-and-a-half to 5 years we will generate enough money to pay of[f] the entire loan and start making profits", Dr. Yankey said to to Reuters in 2011.
And, yes, critics of the loan, including Professor Ayittey, and many opposition party members, have done their own analyses, too. The opposition Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, is reported as saying the nation stands to lose $2.325 billion from the loan agreement. He continued, "'... [The] negotiated agreement makes mockery of the people of Ghana, and'...smells of corruption..." Another opposition Member of Parliament is quoted by as saying the contract "...breached the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 815 of 2011, section 18(7) which precludes collateralization of the nation's oil for a period not more than ten (10) years.'' It is important to point out that a major rival financial institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is also opposed to the loan deal.
On their recent posts, Professor Ayittey and Kofi Korsah further clarified the terms of the loan agreement. According to Ayittey, the infrastructure projects, which the loan is meant to develop under the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA), will be built with Chinese construction workers, not Ghanaian workers. This is happening at a period when the unemployment rate is hovering around 11% (2000 est). He labeled the deal as a "chopstick mercantilism with a human face.'' Kofi Korsah, a London-based Ghanaian, mentioned that per terms of the contract, the loan will be disbursed not in bulk but in tranches over a five-year period, which further goes in favor of China.
It is important to keep in mind that the Chinese government is in business to make money, obviously. The Chinese financial analysts likely did their own financial analysis and made projections before crafting the terms and conditions of the loan. Should their assumptions hold, they hope to make a good profit from the deal. A profit for China could mean a loss for Ghana and vice versa. However, for a small economy like Ghana, with no benefit of scale, unlike that of China, even a slight loss could have far-reaching consequences. It is nonetheless possible that the deal would be mutually beneficial, although China still stands a better chance, given the present terms of the agreement -- at least from a layman's perspective.
The onus lies on the government of Ghana to double-check its facts and assumptions (both explicit and implicit) before signing the contract, as it has far-reaching ramifications for the nation's nascent economy. Another option is for the government to push for re-negotiation of aspects of the loan to make it fairer for both parties. Given the information above, should the government of Ghana commit the nation to the $3 billion loan agreement with China or not? Which of the professors' views do you side with? Is the answer still as simple as it seemed from the beginning?
Kwame E. Bidi
The author is a 2009 graduate of University of Ghana currently studying for his Master's degree at Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for major online news media in Ghana and other parts of Africa. His scholarly interest lies in political economy and international development.
Runa Sandvik | a.nolen
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 03:21
'Member those stickers?
Regular readers know that I've supported Snowden very strongly over the past twelve months. Readers also know that I believe Tor is a US intelligence op designed to get 'interesting' targets to self-select for US surveillance.
Runa Sandvik, the patient Tor developer.
Well, Runa Sandvik has now decided to tell the world that a few weeks prior to Snowden's leaks, she met Snowden in Hawaii where he hosted a ''Crypto Party'' meet-up for her to promote Tor and for him to promote the (now disgraced) encryption software TrueCrypt. Sandvik doesn't live in Hawaii, she *just happened* to be going on vacation there when Snowden emailed her asking for a bunch of Tor bumper-stickers. She then suggested that she could give a talk about Tor to Snowdens' work buddies, which Snowden followed by offering to organize the ''Crypto Party'' for her visit. Twenty people showed up for the event.
Kevin Poulsen's WIRED article, Snowden's First Move Against the NSA was a Party in Hawaii, stresses that Snowden organized the little party and Sandvik was a serendipitous addition, but this is a misrepresentation if you read what Sandvik says carefully'' it was more like a collaborative effort between the two. Although Sandvik has decided to talk, Snowden didn't seem to want to contribute to Sandvik's WIRED story.
(Through his lawyer, ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, Snowden declined to comment for this story).
Runa Sandvik is a Washington D.C.-based ''technologist'' journalist, who used to be a Tor developer and now is part of the Freedom of the Press Foundation'sTechnical Advisory Board , as is Kevin Poulsen, who wrote the WIRED article I'm quoting from. Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald sit on the Freedom of the Press Foundation's board of directors, though it took the FPF over a month to get Snowden's details up on their directors' website after Daniel Ellsberg made the announcement that Snowden would join them. (FPF is a huge Tor supporter, surprise.)
According to Runa Sandvik, Snowden was a Tor activist before becoming internationally famous for his leaks. Not only did he organize an event to help educate people about Tor, but he also ran a couple of Tor exit nodes himself and tried to recruit other people at his work (NSA contractors?) to do the same.
You'll remember that Tor exit nodes are the most sensitive nodes on the Tor network, because these nodes are where the encrypted information appears to come from just before it reaches its final destination. Exit nodes are Tor's 'Achilles' heel', because these exit nodes attract attention from 'enemy' intelligence and law enforcement. If these exit nodes stay running over a long period, then they're signaling that they're run by US/ US-aligned spooks, because no one else has the resources to deal with the day-to-day legal finagling necessary to keep their Tor host online. I explain that more fully here.
'Spoiled Onions', the Swedish government's not-so-subtle criticism of how their American partners are running Tor, focuses on how the Russians can use exit nodes to monitor the Tor network.
In short, you don't run exit nodes unless 1) the US of A ultimately has your back or 2) you're very, very foolish. This is how the 'Crypto Party' went down, according to Sandvik:
Sandvik began by giving her usual Tor presentation, then Snowden stood in front of the white board and gave a 30- to 40-minute introduction to TrueCrypt, an open-source full disk encryption tool. He walked through the steps to encrypt a hard drive or a USB stick. ''Then we did an impromptu joint presentation on how to set up and run a Tor relay,'' Sandvik says. ''He was definitely a really, really smart guy. There was nothing about Tor that he didn't already know.''
Sandvik goes on to explain her dealings with Snowden further:
The roots of Snowden's crypto party were put down on November 18, 2012, when he sent an e-mail to Sandvik, a rising star in privacy circles, who was then a key developer on the anonymous web surfing software Tor.
In his e-mail, Snowden wrote that he personally ran one of the ''major tor exits''''a 2 gbps server named ''TheSignal''''and was trying to persuade some unnamed coworkers at his office to set up additional servers. He didn't say where he worked. But he wanted to know if Sandvik could send him a stack of official Tor stickers. (In some post-leak photos of Snowden you can see the Tor sticker on the back of his laptop, next to the EFF sticker).
''He said he had been talking some of the more technical guys at work into setting up some additional fast servers, and figured some swag might incentivize them to do it sooner rather than later,'' Sandvik says. ''I later learned that he ran more than one Tor exit relay.''
Sexy nerd Asher Wolf in typical 'technorati' avatar style.
In Poulsen's article, he suggests that Australia-based ''crypto party movement'' founder Asher Wolf was contacted, *by someone*, for help setting up 'Snowden's' Crypto Party. Poulsen goes on to say that Snowden used the same Cincinnatus@lavabit email to contact Sandvik that he used to contact Greenwald two weeks later, and that Snowden gave Sandvik his real name and address using Cincinnatus@lavabit. Snowden then used 'Cincinnatus' to post on the public 'Crypto Party' wiki board!
Snowden used the address '-- the same account he would use again less than two weeks later in his initial approach to journalist Glenn Greenwald. Snowden followed up by sending Sandvik his real name and street address in Hawaii, for the stickers.
Snowden used the Cincinnatus name to organize the event, which he announced on the Crypto Party wiki, and through the Hi Capacity hacker collective, which hosted the gathering. Hi Capacity is a small hacker club that holds workshops on everything from the basics of soldering to using a 3D printer.
Er, so much for the super-spy tech wizard legend, Ed. Asher Wolf, the promoter-being-promoted by WIRED, says this about her contact with *whoever* emailed her for tips:
In Melbourne, Wolf received an e-mail asking for advice on putting together the Oahu event. She offered some tips: Teach one tool at a time, keep it simple. ''If I'd known it was someone from the NSA, I'd have gone and shot myself,'' she says.
Yes, Asher Wolf, I'm sure you'd shoot yourself if it got out that you had *anything* to do with the NSA. We've got that in writing.
So you see, a.nolen readers, either I was wrong to lionize Snowden (probably the case) or Snowden was an unwitting dupe being used all along by US intelligence (less likely, I believe). So, this is a sad day of reckoning for your blogger. Snowden was and probably still is NSA/CIA. (Is there really a difference?)
A few things to think about going forward.
1) Why did Runa wait so long to talk?
Surprisingly, she [Runa Sandvik] was never contacted by the FBI''who would probably not find her cooperative anyway. ''That puzzled me a bit,'' she says. ''His girlfriend was filming it''the whole thing was on film. But the video was never put online, I'm told because the audio was bad.''
Last week Glenn Greenwald published his book on Snowden, No Place To Hide, which revealed the Cincinnatus nickname for the first time, leading me andothers to the Oahu crypto party post. It turns out Snowden sent his first anonymous e-mail to Greenwald just 11 days before the party. At the time of the event, he was still waiting for Greenwald to reply.
My thoughts: I'm not the only blogger to unmask Tor. Tor-Outing has gained critical mass. Perhaps Runa piped up now in a desperate attempt to save Tor as an intelligence asset by sprinkling it with Snowden's pixie dust.
2) Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, who was lambasted for being an exotic dancer, seems to have got off pretty light, given that we now know she was more than a pretty face in the Snowden Saga. Watch this space.
3) Snowden's leaks are damaging to US intelligence, yet Snowden and his helpers are *clearly* US intelligence agents. Why did they leak Snowden's damaging information? Were they trying to cover up something more damaging? Is the real hero in the Snowden Saga someone we'll never hear about, because Snowden successfully sucked up everyone's attention with documents *that most of us will never see* ?
4) Russia and the US are cooperating over Snowden. If I can figure out that Snowden is, at best, being used by US intelligence, the Ruskies have done so looong ago. If they were acting against US interests, they could have blown Snowden's cover by calling him a spy and sending him home. But they didn't. If I were the Swedes, I'd reassess my relationship with Washington, pronto.
Either way, one less hero for my pantheon. :(
Agenda 21
Obama: Climate Change a Direct Threat to US Cities - ABC News
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:17
Harsher storms, worsening flooding and rising seas threaten the public's safety and health across the country, President Barack Obama warned Wednesday as he urged local communities to prepare for the effects of climate change.
Joined by top federal officials and local, state and tribal leaders at the White House, Obama said communities experiencing negative effects firsthand know that climate change is already upon us. He said boosting the nation's resilience and fighting climate change shouldn't be a partisan issue for lawmakers in Washington.
"Climate change poses a direct threat to the infrastructure of America," Obama said.
To help communities prepare, Obama announced new federal resources and grants. Some of the money will help rural communities dealing with drought and help Native American tribes train their officials to deal with climate change. The funding will also promote development of three-dimensional mapping of the U.S. for use in flood and erosion mitigation.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee were among those attending the fourth and final meeting of Obama's 26-person task force, whose mandate was to advise Obama on how the administration can help communities already dealing with climate change. Facing staunch opposition to climate legislation from Congress, Obama has been seeking ways to use existing authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better respond to climate-related events.
FBI warns driverless cars could be used as 'lethal weapons' | Technology |
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:30
Google's driverless car may remain a prototype, but the FBI believes the ''game changing'' vehicle could revolutionise high-speed car chases within a matter of years. The report also warned that autonomous cars may be used as "lethal weapons".
In an unclassified but restricted report obtained by the Guardian under a public records request, the FBI predicts that autonomous cars ''will have a high impact on transforming what both law enforcement and its adversaries can operationally do with a car.''
In a section called Multitasking, the report notes that ''bad actors will be able to conduct tasks that require use of both hands or taking one's eyes off the road which would be impossible today.''
One nightmare scenario could be suspects shooting at pursuers from getaway cars that are driving themselves.
Self-driving cars use lidar (laser ranging), radar, video cameras and GPS technology to build up a digital 3D map of their surroundings, including buildings, roads, pedestrians and other vehicles. The cars can then be programmed to navigate safely to a destination while avoiding obstacles and (usually) obeying the rules of the road.
The report, written by agents in the Strategic Issues Group within the FBI's Directorate of Intelligence, says, ''Autonomy '... will make mobility more efficient, but will also open up greater possibilities for dual-use applications and ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon that it is today.''
This presumably reflects fears that criminals might override safety features to ignore traffic lights and speed limits, or that terrorists might program explosive-packed cars to become self-driving bombs.
It directly contradicts the message that many developers of self-driving vehicles are trying to communicate: that these cars '' immune from road rage, tiredness and carelessness '' can be even safer than human operators.
Google says of its latest driverless vehicles: ''They'll be designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention. Our software and sensors do all the work. The vehicles will be very basic but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button.''
The FBI expects that fully autonomous vehicles will help to reduce the high number of accidents in which first responders are involved. ''The risk that distraction or poor judgement leading to collision that stems from manual operation would be substantially reduced,'' according to its report.
In the US, about 80 people die every year in crashes involving emergency vehicles, while London's Metropolitan police cars have experienced as many as a dozen traffic accidents a day.
The report says that self-driving cars can "optimise" three-point turns and similar awkward manoeuvres that might otherwise delay responders pursuing a suspect or heading for a crime scene.
The FBI also claims that tailing suspects will be much simpler with the next generation of robot cars. ''Surveillance will be made more effective and easier, with less of a chance that a patrol car will lose sight of a target vehicle,'' says the report.
''In addition, algorithms can control the distance that the patrol car is behind the target to avoid detection or intentionally have a patrol car make opposite turns at intersections, yet successfully meet up at later points with the target.''
The FBI believes that autonomous cars could be approved by Congress for use by the American public within the next five to seven years.
Sounding one note of caution, however, it admits in the report that ''autonomous cars would likely face many hardships with evasive driving or car chases.'' Sensible words. Google's current state-of-the-art vehicle is limited to just 25mph.
' Google's driverless car: no steering wheel, two seats, 25mph
UK teen pregnancy plummets... they're too busy on Facebook
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:14
Fewer than 30,000 babies were born to under 20s in England and Wales last yearAnalysts suggest that one of biggest changes in recent years is rise in social mediaThe average age of a new mother was 30, up from 29.8 in 2012Published: 18:48 EST, 16 July 2014 | Updated: 03:46 EST, 17 July 2014
A drastic fall in the number of teenage pregnancies is partly the result of youngsters spending much of their time on Facebook and other social media, experts said yesterday.
Fewer than 30,000 babies were born to girls under 20 in England and Wales last year, official figures showed '' down from more than 45,000 in 2006. The total is now at its lowest since 1951.
The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, also showed the average age of a new mother was 30, up from 29.8 in 2012. It is the oldest age of motherhood since such calculations were first made in 1938, and ONS officials said it was certainly the highest ever.
The spectacular fall in teenage pregnancy does not appear to be connected to Labour's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, which concentrated on more sex education and the distribution of condoms
The spectacular fall in teenage pregnancy does not appear to be connected to Labour's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, which concentrated on more sex education and the distribution of condoms. The strategy was halted in 2010 but numbers of babies born to teenagers have dropped by more than a quarter since then.
Analysts suggest that one of the biggest changes in recent years is the rise in social media, which means teenagers are interacting on their phones and computers rather than mixing out on the streets '' where they are more likely to indulge in underage sex.
Professor David Paton of Nottingham University said the rise in numbers of girls going into higher education and increasing influence of aspirational immigrant families who discourage single motherhood has also had an impact, as has the morning after pill and new and effective long-term contraception through injections or implants. However, he added: 'Facebook use amongst teenagers was just getting off the ground in a significant way in 2007. It is hard to deny that social networking applications have changed the way teenagers interact in fundamental ways.
'Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that, for at least some teenagers, the amount of time spent interacting virtually with friends on a smartphone has led to fewer physical opportunities to engage in drinking, drugs and underage sex?'
The rise among older mothers has also that meant for the first time, more babies were born in 2013 to women over 40 than teenage girls.
With so many youngsters spending so much time online, they are not finding the time to sleep around
Older motherhood, the breakdown from the ONS said yesterday, follows more women going into higher education and careers, rising costs of having children and housing, and the 'instability of partnerships'.
The ONS count of births in England and Wales last year showed a sharp fall overall in births in 2013 to 698,512, down 4.3per cent from the 729,674 born in 2012. It was the lowest for six years and put the decade-long baby boom into reverse.
More children born to parents who are married
However birthrates among immigrants, who have higher fertility rates than women among the longstanding population, remained high. The share of babies born to women who were themselves born outside England and Wales went up, from 25.9 per cent in 2012, to 26.5 per cent last year.
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Workplace Discrimination: Ageism in Silicon Valley | TheBlot
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:55
A former engineer with the social media website Twitter is suing the company claiming he was fired for being too old.
According to a complaint filed in a California court last week, 57-year-old Peter Taylor claims he was let go from the company in September for being too old and too sick.
Taylor was hired by Twitter in January 2011 to work as a managing engineer in the social network's data center. According to Taylor, he received many accolades for his work at the company, received positive employment reviews and was awarded 20,000 restricted stock units for saving the company $10 million during his employment.
But then he got sick, and that's where Twitter's attitude toward Taylor changed, the former employee says.
In April 2013, Taylor was diagnosed with kidney stones, a disability under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. Within the next two months, he had surgery to remove the stones, scheduling his hospital visits around his work schedule so that he could continue to fulfill his job duties, according to his complaint.
DOCUMENT: Click here to read the civil complaint
When Taylor started asking for additional assistance following his surgery, he says his bosses at Twitter ''refused to accommodate'' his disability.
Several months later, his managers at Twitter let him go. According to Taylor, one manager made a ''critical remark'' about the man's age. Taylor says he was replaced with ''several employees in their 20s and 30s.''
Taylor is seeking unspecified damages as well as attorney's fees. Twitter says the company will vigorously defend itself and the lawsuit is without merit.
The lawsuit will certainly add more fuel to the ongoing debate about ageism in Silicon Valley. For those who work in the industry, it's no secret that young startups and large companies alike prefer to hire younger talent '-- industry experience and age can, and often does, work against prospective employees.
One reason? Tech bosses feel younger people have less commitments in life and can better focus on a company's product.
''Young people just have simpler lives,'' Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in 2007. ''We may not own a car. We may not have family. Simplicity in life allows you to focus on what's important.''
Those with less experience are also seen as bringing innovation to the table at a cheaper cost, an attractive quality for many budding Silicon Valley startups. Older technophiles are often perceived as coming with older ideas, a higher price tag and a potential myriad of health problems that can slow development and stifle innovation.
''Especially in social media, cloud computing and mobile apps, if you're over 40 you're perceived to be over the hill,'' Kris Stadelman, the director of the NOVA Workforce Board, told The New York Times in 2012.
The opportunities are popping up in places where older technology workers may not want to work: Mobile apps like Snapchat, Grindr and WhatsApp are looking for engineers right now, and have been for months, but its unlikely that lifers from Cisco and Hewlett-Packard are applying for those jobs.
And the kids who are graduating from college with their sights set on Silicon Valley? They'll likely apply to startups where they can help build a potentially world-changing product '-- or prestigious tech companies like Facebook and Google where they'll feel a sense of validation and security.
That was certainly true for a handful of young tech workers who took Peter Taylor's job at Twitter last year. Now a court will determine if Taylor is the latest example of Silicon Valley pushing out the old to make way for the new.
Amazon debuts Kindle Unlimited on any device for $9.99 a month
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:11 on Friday debuted Kindle Unlimited,allowing customers to access more than600,000 Kindle books, and listen as much as theywant to thousands of Audible audiobooks for $9.99 a month.
Kindle Unlimited subscribers will also receivea complimentary three-month Audible membershipfrom all Kindle devices or with Amazon'sfree Kindle reading apps.
Read MoreCramer: Critical signals coming for Amazon, Netflix bulls
"With Kindle Unlimited, you won't have to think twice before you try a new author or genre'--you can just start reading and listening," Russ Grandinetti, Senior Vice President for Kindle, said in a press release.
'--By CNBC staff
AP News : Experts: Social media can feed Munchausen by proxy
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 00:12
By JIM FITZGERALDPublished: TodayWHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - Experts say the case of a mother accused of poisoning her 5-year-old son to death with salt appears be an example of how social media feeds into Munchausen by proxy, a disorder in which caretakers purposely harm children and then bask in the attention and sympathy.
Lacey Spears, of Scottsville, Kentucky, has pleaded not guilty to charges of depraved murder and manslaughter in the January death of her son, Garnett-Paul Spears, whose sodium levels rose to an extremely dangerous level with no medical explanation.
As Spears moved around the country - Alabama, Florida and eventually New York - she kept friends updated on her son's frequent hospitalizations with photos and musings on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and a blog.
"My sweet angel is in the hospital for the 23rd time," she tweeted in 2009. A series of reports on the case by The Journal News, which covers the New York suburbs, found she kept it up right through her son's death, with 28 posts in the last 11 days of Garnett's life, including, "Garnett the great journeyed onward today at 10:20 a.m."
Dr. Marc Feldman, a psychiatrist and forensic consultant in Birmingham, Alabama, who wrote the book "Playing Sick," said he believes the Internet has contributed to the number of Munchausen by proxy cases, estimated from one study to be more than 600 a year in the U.S.
In a case exposed in 2011 in Great Britain, a childless 21-year-old woman joined an Internet forum for parents, claiming to have five children and chronicling her nonexistent baby's battle with celiac disease and bacterial meningitis. Doctors at Seattle Children's Hospital found three cases of mothers who falsely blogged that their children were near death and were rewarded with support.
"There are instantly accessible and endlessly supportive groups out there that will pray with you and cry with you if you purport your child to be ill," Feldman said.
Mark Sirkin, director of the mental health counseling program at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, said that with social media, "you can expand your circle from the people you know to strangers who you've never met - you're just getting that much more attention."
While prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Spears case have yet to mention Munchausen in court papers or hearings, experts say the disorder could play a role because Spears fits the pattern of caregivers who invent, exaggerate or cause a health problem in someone in their care and then seek to portray themselves as a hero.
Spears, who was living in suburban New York when her son died, is accused of administering sodium through a feeding tube he had in his stomach while he was hospitalized at Westchester Medical Center. Prosecutors say she did it in the bathroom, where there were no surveillance cameras.
"This mother was intentionally feeding her child salt at toxic levels," Westchester County prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said at Spears' arraignment. She also alleged that Spears had done Internet research on the effects of sodium and that Spears had tried to dispose of a bag tainted with sodium by asking a friend to "get rid of it and don't tell anybody."
According to court documents, Spears told police she used only "a pinch of salt" for flavor when feeding her son fruits and vegetables through his tube.
Spears said the feeding tube was necessary because Garnett couldn't keep food down. Some friends told The Journal News they saw no sign of that. They were also confused by her claims that Garnett's father was killed in a car accident. A man who says he's the father lives in Alabama.
Her attorney Stephen Riebling said last week that the defense would focus "on the relevant facts, not fiction."
Spears' lawyers won't comment on whether a psychiatric defense is planned.
But by using a "depraved murder" charge, the district attorney seems to be taking a disorder like Munchausen into consideration.
The charge alleges "extreme recklessness" and "depraved indifference to human life" rather than an intentional killing, so prosecutors don't have to prove that Spears meant to kill her son.
Feldman said it's difficult for jurors to believe a mother would purposely hurt her child just to get attention.
"These mothers tend to be psychopathic," he said. "They don't experience guilt and they lack empathy."
Louisa Lasher, an Atlanta-area consultant in child abuse cases, said parents who have the syndrome "do not love children in the way that most people do."
Munchausen by proxy has been suspected in several court cases over the years. In 1979, a California woman was convicted of murder for slowly poisoning one child; the case was cracked when a second baby came down with similar symptoms. In 2010, a Tennessee woman pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges she injected saltwater into her infant son's feeding tube. A woman in Minnesota is accused of smothering her son; she said she wanted more attention from doctors.
Most cases rarely end in death because the child "is the goose that lays the golden egg for somebody who's so needy of attention," Sirkin said. "It would defeat the purpose to kill the child." Often when a death occurs, it's because of a miscalculation, Feldman said.
As for treatment, Sirkin said long-term psychotherapy is required.
"It's not like a snake phobia where you can take somebody through some behavioral training and they'll be over it," he said. "This is a personality type that takes years in the making, and I think it probably involves psychotherapeutic treatment that would also take years."
More than 300 vials labeled influenza, dengue found at same lab where scientists recently found forgotten samples of small pox.
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:13
The freeze-dried samples were found in a building at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, that has been used by the Food and Drug Administration since 1972The vials were intact and sealed, and scientists have yet to establish whether the viruses are dead or aliveOn July 1, a scientist was cleaning out a cold room between two laboratories at the same facility when he discovered viles of smallpoxThe find was disturbing because for decades after smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, world health authorities said the only known samples left were safely stored in super-secure laboratories in Atlanta and in RussiaBy Ap and Daily Mail Reporter
Published: 19:55 EST, 16 July 2014 | Updated: 09:24 EST, 17 July 2014
The same federal scientist who recently found forgotten samples of smallpox at a federal lab also uncovered over 300 additional vials, many bearing the names of highly contagious viruses and bacteria.
Food and Drug Administration officials said Wednesday the undocumented collection contained 327 carefully packaged vials, listing pathogens like dengue, influenza and rickettsia.
Last week the government only disclosed that it had recovered six glass vials of smallpox dating from the 1950s.
Forgotten: Forgotten viles of various diseases and bacterias have been discovered in storage at the National Institute of Health
The new revelations raise serious concerns about the government's ability to secure its collections of potentially deadly pathogens.
'The reasons why these samples went unnoticed for this long is something we're actively trying to understand,' said FDA deputy director for biologics Dr. Peter Marks.
The samples, including those labeled smallpox, were found in 12 boxes in a corner of a cold storage room at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, that has been used by the Food and Drug Administration since 1972.
FDA officials estimate the collection was assembled between 1946 and 1964 by government scientists.
'The fact that these materials were not discovered until now is unacceptable,' said Karen Midthun, of FDA's director for biologics. 'However, upon finding these materials our staff did the right thing '-- they immediately notified the appropriate authorities who secured the materials and determined there was no exposure.'
Smallpox: This 1975 file electronmicrograph from the Centers for Disease Control shows the smallpox virus
FDA scientists said they have not yet confirmed whether the newly disclosed vials actually contained the pathogens listed on their labels. The agency is conducting a nationwide search of all cold storage units for any other missing samples.
Investigators destroyed 32 vials containing tissue samples and a non-contagious virus related to smallpox. Several unlabeled vials were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing and the remaining 279 samples were shipped to the Department of Homeland Security for safekeeping.
FDA officials said there is no evidence anyone was exposed to any of the agents, which were packed in heat-sealed glass vials with no signs of leakage.
The finding of freeze-dried smallpox samples was disturbing because smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, and world health authorities said the only known samples left were safely stored in super-secure laboratories in Atlanta and in Russia.
Investigation: The CDC, pictured, and the FBI are investigating the six vials of smallpox found in a storage room
It was the second recent incident in which a U.S. government health agency appeared to have mishandled a highly dangerous biologic agent.
Last month, scores of employees at the CDC in Atlanta were feared exposed to anthrax because of a laboratory safety lapse. The CDC began giving them antibiotics as a precaution.
In separate congressional testimony Wednesday, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden acknowledged that systemic safety problems have for years plagued federal public health laboratories that handle dangerous germs such as anthrax and bird flu. Frieden added that his agency had long thought of the lapses as unrelated accidents.
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West Africa Ebola outbreak spreading out of control -- WHO.
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:56
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said an Ebola outbreak in West Africa is spreading out of control.
The death toll has risen to more than 600 since February.
''It is very difficult for us to get into communities where there is hostility to outsiders,'' explained WHO spokesman Dan Epstein.
''We still face rumours, and suspicion and hostility. '...People are isolated, they're afraid, they're scared,'' he told a news briefing in Geneva.
''It's probably going to be several months before we are able to get a grip on this epidemic and this outbreak and reduce the numbers of cases, so there will be ups and downs, that's a normal part of this outbreak,'' added Epstein.
Sierra Leone recorded the highest number of deaths followed by Liberia and Guinea.
Experts believe patients are being hidden. Friends and relatives believe hospitalisation is a death sentence.
In Liberia, health workers have been chased away by armed gangs.
Fungus in Nova Scotia soil helps to foil antibiotic-resistant bacteria - The Globe and Mail
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:55
A soil sample from Nova Scotia has yielded a compound that could help fight antibiotic resistance.
Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton have discovered that a fungus found in the sample produces a chemical that inactivates the dangerous NDM-1 resistance gene, making bacteria containing it vulnerable to the antibiotics the gene normally helps them evade.
More Related to this StoryThe scientists liken the compound to an adjuvant, a chemical that enhances the power of vaccines.
''Simply put, the molecule knocks out NDM-1 so the antibiotics can do their job,'' said Gerry Wright, the biochemistry professor who leads the team which conducted the research.
Their finding was published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.
The precursor chemicals that antibiotics are based on exist in nature and are often found in soil. For years, pharmaceutical companies searching for new versions of these important drugs maintained libraries of bacteria and fungi found in soil, testing the chemicals they produced to see if they could be used to fight infections. But as new finds dwindled, companies largely withdrew from this field, leaving little in the antibiotic pipeline.
With the rise in antibiotic resistance and the emergence of multidrug resistance factors like NDM-1, which confers resistance to almost all existing antibiotics, experts have warned the world is facing a future in which antibiotics no longer work. That could mean surgeries and procedures we view as standards of modern medicine would be too dangerous to undertake because of the risk of infection.
Prof. Wright figured that if soil has been a source of antibiotics, it might also contain small molecules that might counteract resistance when taken in combination with antibiotics. So he and his team began to compile their own library from soil samples taken from across Canada. It now contains about 10,000 samples.
''If we accept that finding things that just kill bacteria outright is going to be hard to find, then why don't we try things that incapacitate resistance? And those same collections should be great sources of inhibitors of resistance,'' he explained in an interview.
''People in my lab, whenever they were on vacation, I just told them to take a couple of teaspoons of soil from wherever they were. '... In a teaspoon of soil, there are probably a billion bacteria.''
The researchers grew the microbes found in the soil samples, extracting the compounds those bacteria and fungi produce. They then began to add them to dishes containing an antibiotic and E. coli bacteria that were resistant to the drug because they had been engineered to contain the NDM-1 gene.
In fewer than 1,000 attempts '' a small number for this type of work, Prof. Wright says '' they found a compound that did knock out the NDM-1 gene's powers.
To confirm the finding, they tested the antibiotic and combination on 229 strains of resistant bacteria isolated from patients around the world over the past decade. The combination was effective at restoring antibiotic susceptibility in 88 per cent of these strains.
To test it further, the McMaster team infected mice with what should have been a lethal dose of Klebsiella pneumoniae that contained the NDM-1 gene. More than 95 per cent survived the experimental infection.
But mice are not men and much testing remains to be done to see if this compound could be used safely and successfully in people.
''The next stage for us is to do the sort of hard slog '' toxicology and pharmacology studies to make sure we're not seeing any changes in physiology that might send this compound into the dust bin. So far, the experiments are positive. But they could all turn in a second,'' Prof. Wright acknowledged.
A commentary on the finding suggested it is hopeful, but warned there could be hurdles on the road to use in people.
For one thing, it noted the combination has previously been shown to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which is naturally produced by humans. It causes blood vessel constriction and increases blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are often prescribed ACE-inhibitor drugs.
The authors of the commentary, Djalal Meziane-Cherif and Patrice Courvalin from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, said it remains to be seen if AMA would trigger serious side-effects in people, though they noted that was not the case in mice.
They also warned that resistance to the combination could arise '' something Prof. Wright accepts as a fact of life.
''The organisms are going to keep evolving different ways to get around them [antibiotics] and they're going to collect these [resistance] genes in multiple packages. So maybe in the future we'll be looking at cocktails of three compounds, four compounds,'' he said.
''That's common '... in HIV, it's common in oncology, it's common in tuberculosis treatment. It's just not common in treating infection. '... It just might be in the future.''
Follow us on Twitter: @globeandmail
Super Food!
Kale suppliers say rapid rise of vegetable's popularity is leading to worldwide shortage - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 03:36
Green curly kale is one of the most popular varieties of the trendy vegetable which used to be primarily used as a garnish.
One of the world's major kale seed suppliers says it has run out of every variety of the trendy vegetable.
"You could describe it as embarrassing to us, but it's just one of those things that's happened on a global basis," Tony Hubbard from Bejo Seeds, which is based in the Netherlands, said.
"It's caught us out well and truly, we put our hands up to that."
Mr Hubbard runs the company's Australian office and has been in the seed business for 44 years.
He says while he has seen individual vegetable varieties take off, he has never seen a whole crop boom like kale has.
Farmers have also been struggling to keep up with demand for kale, which is a member of the cabbage family.
Fifth generation growers Deborah and Darren Corrigan planted 1,500 seedlings a couple of years ago as a trial, after watching the vegetable take off in the United States.
They are now putting in 150,000 every week at their Clyde property, south-east of Melbourne.
"It was crazy," Ms Corrigan said.
"I was ringing around Australia to try and get plants to bring back into Victoria to grow."
Ms Corrigan says they have been going to extreme efforts to ensure a healthy supply of the vegetable known as a "superfood".
"We were adding extra fertiliser, we were doing everything we can," she said.
"It was really exciting but really scary at the same time."
Australia's biggest kale growers says its popularity is off the chartsThe Corrigans are among the biggest growers of kale in the country, supplying both the major supermarkets.
Photo Kale farmer Deborah Corrigan checking on her crops. Ms Corrigan says the prospect of running out of crops is "scary".ABC LandlineThey grow three types - green curly kale, red curly kale and the flatter-leaved Tuscan kale.
Brad Gorman, who runs the Coles Fresh Produce division, says he has also been surprised by the response.
"Kale's growth has been off the charts. It is by far our fastest growing product," he said.
"Kale's been around for three years and for a product to be growing at this rate after that amount of time I think is almost unprecedented."
While kale is a novelty for many Australians, it is not a new crop.
Until the Middle Ages the frost tolerant green was the most widely eaten vegetable in much of Europe and has remained a staple in some countries including the Netherlands and Germany.
"It's one of the main vegies in the winter," long-time kale grower Joh Bruynen said.
"It can be harvested right through the winter. You take the snow off the bush and shake it and then you cut it off."
Kale pioneer waited for decades for the vegetable's health benefits to be confirmedJoh Bruynen is one of the pioneers of kale in Australia importing his first seeds from the Netherlands, where he was born, in 1956.
"I had trouble selling it because they didn't know what it was," the 83-year-old said.
"I brought it to the market and the butchers bought it to decorate their shops because it looked like parsley which they used in between the meat."
His son Steve Bruynen has taken over the family's market garden at Pearcedale in Victoria and has no such trouble finding buyers.
"I've had to drop growing red cabbage and leeks have gone because I need the ground to grow the kale," he said.
While the Bruynens have been fans of kale for decades, they did not know how rich the vegetable is in anti-oxidants and important minerals until a few years ago.
And it is kale's reputation as a very healthy food that has sparked the current boom and shortage of seeds.
Mr Hubbard says he hopes more seeds will be available by September or October.
For more on this story watch Landline at noon on ABC.
VIDEO-China bank funds Argentina development | euronews, world news
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:37
Argentina has agreed to borrow around 6 billion euros from China to build hydroelectric dams in the Patagonia region.
The loan from the China Development Bank will also fund a long-delayed railway project in Argentina.
The two countries signed a similar deal in 2009.
China is Argentina's second-largest trading partner after neighbouring Brazil.
Argentina is the world's third-largest exporter of soy and corn. China is the mail buyer of its soy beans.
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:37
VIDEO-ING: Future Bitcoin Protocol Should Include Central Bank Functions
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:23
A new video report from eZonomics by ING, a money management resource operated by Netherlands-based multinational banking company ING, suggests that bitcoin could one day be supplanted by an improved protocol that seeks to control digital currencies in a similar way to government-backed central banks.
In the video clip, ING economist Teunis Brosens theorizes that in order to function as efficiently as traditional currencies, a bitcoin algorithm needs to be developed that ''smoothly matches money supply and demand''.
Brosens further suggested that such a technological advancement could be wildly popular in the marketplace, stating: ''The inventors of that successful algorithm would make such a momentous step forward that they would surely qualify for the Nobel Prize in economics.''
The statements came as part of an introductory video on bitcoin by eZonomics by ING, an ING resource that seeks to increase financial education by providing practical information on money management.
Where bitcoin falls shortThe video finds Brosens introducing the basics of cryptocurrencies before discussing how the technology meets the traditional definitions of money.
He suggests that ING believes bitcoin only meets one of the three central tenets of traditional currency due to its volatility and lack of oversight, saying:
''Real currencies dampen these fluctuations by regulating money supply and prices through interest rates, but it is an explicit goal of bitcoin to do away with central authorities.''
Price fluctuationsThe video further emphasized the varying price of bitcoin as a weakness, citing the ''several fluctuations'' in bitcoin price that have occurred in bitcoin's five-and-a-half-year history.
Brosens summed up this viewpoint, adding:
''Money is a means of exchange, unit of account and store of value. Cryptocurrency may take the first box if it is accepted more widely, but the second and third are problematic because the value of bitcoin is very volatile.''
The video arrives shortly after a recent report by another major Dutch financial company, payments specialist Innopay, which saw the financial entity speaking with a variety of bitcoin experts as part of a wider fact-finding effort.
To learn more about this report and its conclusions regarding bitcoin's future, read our full coverage.
Image via YouTube
bankingBitcoin protocolcentral bankING
VIDEO-United Nations Security Council Meeting On Downed Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet - YouTube
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:07
VIDEO-Fake screener probes passengers at SFO - SFGate
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:27
(07-16) 17:46 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A man suspected of being drunk posed as a security screener at San Francisco International Airport long enough to direct a couple of women into a private booth for pat downs before real security staffers caught on to him, authorities said Wednesday.
The 53-year-old San Francisco man was arrested on suspicion of public drunkenness after creating a stir at the A-side security checkpoint of the International Terminal about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Sgt. Wesley Matsuura of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities are investigating whether the man should be booked on other counts, such as false imprisonment.
Matsuura would not give the man's name, saying the case has gone hush-hush since the federal Transportation Security Administration, which oversees airport security, took over the investigation into how the breach happened.
Two other airport law enforcement sources tell us the incident started when the man entered the security area wearing khaki pants, a blue polo shirt and blue rubber gloves - an outfit that might have been mistaken for those worn by screeners with the private Covenant security firm.
The man, apparently without saying much, steered a woman into one of the private screening booths used to pat down selected passengers, our sources say. What happened inside isn't known, because the woman soon disappeared to catch a flight.
A few minutes later, the man directed a second woman toward the booth, our sources say. This time, however, he caught the attention of real screeners, who figured something was wrong because male screeners are prohibited from taking women into the booth for a pat-down without a female screener also being present.
Covenant screeners detained the alleged fake until San Francisco police officers arrived. Because officers couldn't find any women who had actually entered the booth with the man, they booked him only for alleged public drunkenness.
If investigators can track down the alleged victims, however, he could face more serious charges.
The incident raises disturbing questions about who's screening the screeners at SFO.
"They will be (investigating) this for a week," said one law enforcement source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the case. "Someone has to pay for this."
TSA and Covenant reps could not be reached for comment.
San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross typically appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Matier can be seen on the KPIX TV morning and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS radio Monday through Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call (415) 777-8815, or e-mail
VIDEO- Evidence to Frame Russia For MH17 Shoot Down Fabricated? - YouTube
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 00:17
VIDEO-I, spy: Edward Snowden in exile | World | The Guardian
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 00:06
Fiction and films, the nearest most of us knowingly get to the world of espionage, give us a series of reliable stereotypes. British spies are hard-bitten, libidinous he-men. Russian agents are thickset, low-browed and facially scarred. And defectors end up as tragic old soaks in Moscow, scanning old copies of the Times for news of the Test match.
Such a fate was anticipated for Edward Snowden by Michael Hayden, a former NSA and CIA chief, who predicted last September that the former NSA analyst would be stranded in Moscow for the rest of his days '' ''isolated, bored, lonely, depressed'... and alcoholic''.
But the Edward Snowden who materialises in our hotel room shortly after noon on the appointed day seems none of those things. A year into his exile in Moscow, he feels less, not more, isolated. If he is depressed, he doesn't show it. And, at the end of seven hours of conversation, he refuses a beer. ''I actually don't drink.'' He smiles when repeating Hayden's jibe. ''I was like, wow, their intelligence is worse than I thought.''
Oliver Stone, who is working on a film about the man now standing in room 615 of the Golden Apple hotel on Moscow's Malaya Dmitrovka, might struggle to make his subject live up to the canon of great movie spies. The American director has visited Snowden in Moscow, and wants to portray him as an out-and-out hero, but he is an unconventional one: quiet, disciplined, unshowy, almost academic in his speech. If Snowden has vices '' and God knows they must have been looking for them '' none has emerged in the 13 months since he slipped away from his life as a contracted NSA analyst in Hawaii, intent on sharing the biggest cache of top-secret material the world has ever seen.
Since arriving in Moscow, Snowden has been keeping late and solitary hours '' effectively living on US time, tapping away on one of his three computers (three to be safe; he uses encrypted chat, too). If anything, he appears more connected and outgoing than he could be in his former life as an agent. Of his life now, he says, ''There's actually not that much difference. You know, I think there are guys who are just hoping to see me sad. And they're going to continue to be disappointed.''
When the Guardian first spoke to Snowden a year ago in Hong Kong, he had been dishevelled, his hair uncombed, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. The 31-year-old who materialised last week was smartly, if anonymously, dressed in black trousers and grey jacket, his hair tidily cut. He is jockey-light '' even skinnier than a year ago. And he looks pale: ''Probably three steps from death,'' he jokes. ''I mean, I don't eat a whole lot. I keep a weird schedule. I used to be very active, but just in the recent period I've had too much work to focus on.''
Edward Snowden '' video interviewThere was no advance warning of where we would meet: his only US television interview, with NBC's Brian Williams in May, was conducted in an anonymous hotel room of Snowden's choosing. This time, he prefers to come to us. On his arrival, there is a warm handshake for Guardian reporter Ewen MacAskill, whom he last saw in Hong Kong '' a Sunday night after a week of intense work in a frowsty hotel room, a few hours before the video revealing his identity to the world went public. Neither man knew if they would ever meet again.
Snowden orders chicken curry from room service and, as he forks it down, is immediately into the finer points of the story that yanked him from a life of undercover anonymity to global fame. The Snowden-as-alcoholic jibe is not the only moment when he reflects wryly on his former colleagues' patchy ability to get on top of events over the past year. There was, for instance, the incident last July when a plane carrying President Evo Morales back to Bolivia from Moscow was forced down in Vienna and searched for a stowaway Snowden. ''I was like, first off, wow, their intelligence sucks, from listening to everything. But, two, are they really going to the point of just completely humiliating the president of a Latin American nation, the representative of so many people? It was just shockingly poorly thought out, and yet they did it anyway, and they keep at these sort of mistakes.'' It was as if they were trying not to find him. ''I almost felt like I had some sort of friend in government.''
He is guarded on the subject of his life in exile. Yes, he cooks for himself '' often Japanese ramen, which he finds easy to sling together. Yes, he goes out. ''I don't live in absolute secrecy '' I live a pretty open life '' but at the same time I don't want to be a celebrity, you know. I don't want to go somewhere and have people pay attention to me, just as I don't want to do that in the media.''
He does get recognised. ''It's a little awkward at times, because my Russian's not as good as it should be. I'm still learning.'' He declines an invitation to demonstrate for us (''The last thing I want is clips of me speaking Russian floating around the internet''). He has been picking his way through Dostoevsky, and belatedly catching up with series one of The Wire, while reading the recently published memoir of Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower.
In October last year, he was photographed on a Moscow tourist boat. ''Right. I didn't look happy in that picture.'' And pushing a loaded shopping trolley across a road? ''You know, I actually don't know, because it was so far away and it was blurry. I mean, it could have been me.'' Does he go out in disguise? He is deadpan: ''Before I go to the grocery store, I make sure to put on, you know, my Groucho Marx glasses and nose and moustache'... No, I don't wander around in disguise.'' The only props in evidence today are an American Civil Liberties Union baseball cap and dark glasses, tossed on to the bed. Some disguise.
He is not working for a Russian organisation, as has been reported, but is financially secure for the immediate future. In addition to substantial savings from his career as a well-compensated contractor, he has received numerous awards and speaking fees from around the world. He is also in the process of securing foundation funding for a new press freedom initiative, creating tools that allow journalists to communicate securely.
Secrets, lies and Pulitzer: a year of revelationsBut push Snowden further on his life in Moscow and he clams up. There are all sorts of plausible reasons for his reticence. He thinks it reasonable to assume he is under some form of surveillance, by both the Russians and the Americans. There is a small chance that he could be harassed, or worse, if his routine or whereabouts became known. Nor does he want to be ''Russianised'': pictures of him in Red Square would not play well back home.
He feels the world has got some things wrong about him, but even so he would rather not correct the record publicly. He was exasperated to be marked down as a conservative libertarian, for example (he is, he says, more moderate than has been reported), but declines to be more specific about his actual politics. It would simply alienate some people, he believes. He thinks journalists have speculated too much about his family (his father has visited him in Moscow), and misunderstood his relationship with Lindsay, the girlfriend he left behind in Hawaii; life is more complicated than the headlines. But, again, he won't go on the record to talk about them.
At the same time, the people closest to him have plainly told Snowden he has to raise his profile if he wants to win over US hearts and minds. And, from his periodic self-corrections and occasional stop-start answers, it is evident he is on a mission to make friends, not enemies. At the end of a diplomatic answer to a question about Germany, he breaks off in frustration. ''That's probably too political. I hate politics. Really, I mean, this is not me, you know. I hope you guys can tell the difference.''
The Snowden-as-traitor camp will take his reluctance to vouchsafe too many details as confirmation that he is, if not a double agent, then a ''useful idiot'' for the Kremlin. He tackles some of these criticisms head on. He didn't take a single document to Russia. He has no access to them there. He never initially sought to be in Russia '' it happened ''entirely by accident''. It's a ''modern country'... and it's been good to me'', but he would rather be free to travel. He repeats his criticisms of Russia's record on human rights and free speech, and tacitly concedes that his televised question to Vladimir Putin in April this year was an error.
What about the Russian spy thesis, advanced by the Economist writer Edward Lucas, among others? Lucas has said that, had Snowden come to him with the NSA documents, he would have marched him straight to a police station. ''Yeah, he's crazy,'' Snowden sighs. ''He's not credible at all.'' One of the Lucas charges was a ''fishy'' September 2010 trip to India, where he speculates Snowden may have met unspecified Russians or intermediaries, and attended a hacking course. ''It's bullshit,'' Snowden exclaims. ''I was on official visits, working at the US embassy. You know, it's not like they didn't know I was there. And the six-day course afterwards, it wasn't a security course, it was a programming course. But it doesn't matter. I mean, there are always going to be conspiracy theories. If my reputation is harmed by being here, there or any other place, that's OK, because it's not about me.
''I can give a blanket response to all the Russia questions,'' he adds. ''If the government had the tiniest shred of evidence, not even that [I was an agent], but associating with the Russian government, it would be on the front page of the New York Times by lunchtime.''
What about the accusation that his leaks have caused untold damage to the intelligence capabilities of the west? ''The fact that people know communications can be monitored does not stop people from communicating [digitally]. Because the only choices are to accept the risk, or to not communicate at all,'' he says, almost weary at having to spell out what he considers self-evident.
''And when we're talking about things like terrorist cells, nuclear proliferators '' these are organised cells. These are things an individual cannot do on their own. So if they abstain from communicating, we've already won. If we've basically talked the terrorists out of using our modern communications networks, we have benefited in terms of security '' we haven't lost.''
There still remains the charge that he has weakened the very democracy he professes he wants to protect. Al-Qaida, according to MI6 chief Sir John Sawers, have been ''rubbing their hands with glee''. ''I can tell you right now that in the wake of the last year, there are still terrorists getting hauled up, there are still communications being intercepted. There are still successes in intelligence operations that are being carried out all around the world.''
Why not let the agencies collect the haystacks of data so they can look for the needles within?
Snowden doesn't like the haystack metaphor, used exhaustively by politicians and intelligence chiefs in defence of mass data collections. ''I would argue that simply using the term 'haystack' is misleading. This is a haystack of human lives. It's all the private records of the most intimate activities, that are aggregated and compiled again and again, and stored for increasing frequencies of time.
''It may be that by watching everywhere we go, by watching everything we do, by analysing every word we say, by waiting and passing judgment over every association we make and every person we love, that we could uncover a terrorist plot, or we could discover more criminals. But is that the kind of society we want to live in? That is the definition of a security state.''
Snowden with Ewen MacAskill (left) and Alan Rusbridger. Photograph: Alex Healey for the GuardianWhen did he last read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four? ''Actually, quite some time ago. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think we are exactly in that universe. The danger is that we can see how [Orwell's] technologies now seem unimaginative and quaint. They talked about things like microphones implanted in bushes and cameras in TVs that look back at us. But now we've got webcams that go with us everywhere. We actually buy cellphones that are the equivalent of a network microphone that we carry around in our pockets voluntarily. Times have shown that the world is much more unpredictable and dangerous [than Orwell imagined].''
But the life he describes inside the closed walls of the NSA does have echoes of Big Brother omniscience. Snowden, sipping Pepsi from a bottle and speaking in perfectly composed sentences, recalls the period when he was working as an analyst, directing the work of others. There was a moment when he and, he says, other colleagues began to have severe doubts about the ethics of what they were doing.
Can he give an example of what made him feel uneasy? ''Many of the people searching through the haystacks were young, enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old. They've suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility, where they now have access to all your private records. In the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated in any sort of necessary sense '' for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. But they're extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says, 'Oh, hey, that's great. Send that to Bill down the way', and then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom, and sooner or later this person's whole life has been seen by all of these other people.''
The analysts don't discuss such things in the NSA cafeterias, but back in the office ''anything goes, more or less. You're in a vaulted space. Everybody has sort of similar clearances, everybody knows everybody. It's a small world. It's never reported, because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak. The fact that records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communication stream, from the intended recipient, and given to the government, without any specific authorisation, without any specific need, is itself a violation of your rights. Why is that in the government database?''
How often do such things happen? ''I'd say probably every two months. It's routine enough. These are seen as sort of the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.''
And the auditing is really not good enough to pick up such abuses? ''A 29-year-old walked in and out of the NSA with all of their private records,'' he shoots back. ''What does that say about their auditing? They didn't even know.''
He emphasises that his co-workers were not ''moustache-twirling villains'' but ''people like you and me''. Still, most colleagues, even if they felt doubts, would not complain, having seen the fate of previous whistleblowers, who ended up vilified and ''pulled out of the shower at gunpoint, naked, in front of their families. We all have mortgages. We all have families.''
As the leaden skies darken beyond the net curtains, Snowden breaks to order a bowl of ice-cream (chocolate, vanilla and strawberry sorbet). Afterwards, he warms to his theme, explaining how he and his colleagues relied heavily on ''metadata'' '' the information about our locations, searches and contacts that needed no warrants or court orders, but that betrays a huge amount about our lives. ''To an analyst, nine times out of 10, you don't care what was said on the phone call till very late in the investigative chain. What you care about is the metadata, because metadata does not lie. People lie on phone calls when they're involved in real criminal activity. They use code words, they talk around it. You can't trust what you're hearing, but you can trust the metadata. That's the reason metadata's often more intrusive.''
What about his own digital habits? He won't use Google or Skype for anything personal. Dropbox? He laughs. ''They just put Condoleezza Rice on their board, who is probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine. She's one of the ones who oversaw [the warrantless wire-tapping program] Stellar Wind and thought it was a great idea. So they're very hostile to privacy.'' Instead, he recommends SpiderOak, a fully encrypted end-to-end ''zero-knowledge'' filesharing system.
Photograph: Alex Healey for the GuardianWhy should we trust Google any more than we trust the state? ''One, you don't have to. Association with Google is voluntary. But it does raise an important question. And I would say, while there is a distinction '' in that Google can't put you in jail, Google can't task a drone to drop a bomb on your house '' we shouldn't trust them without verifying what their activities are, how they're using our data.''
He is extremely alarmed by the implications of the NSA and GCHQ documents, which showed their engineers hard at work undermining the basic security of the internet '' something that has also concerned Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web. ''What people often overlook is the fact that, when you build a back door into a communication system, that back door can be discovered by anyone around the world. That can be a private individual or a security researcher at a university, but it can also be a criminal group or a foreign intelligence agency '' say, the NSA's equivalent in a deeply irresponsible government. And now that foreign country can scrutinise not just your bank records, but your private communications all around the internet.''
The problem with the current system of political oversight is twofold, he says. First, the politicians and the security services are too close: no politician wants to defy intelligence chiefs who warn of the potential consequences of being seen to be ''weak''. And then there's the problem that, in most societies, the job of monitoring the security agencies goes to the most senior politicians or, in the UK, retired judges '' most of whom, he believes, do not have the technical literacy to understand what it is they should be looking for, or regulating.
''What last year's revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default.'' This has big implications for anyone using email, text, cloud computing '' or Skype, or phones, to communicate in circumstances where they have a professional duty of confidentiality. ''The work of journalism has become immeasurably harder. Journalists have to be particularly conscious about any sort of network signalling; any sort of connection; any sort of licence plate-reading device that they pass on their way to a meeting point; any place they use their credit card; any place they take their phone; any email contact they have with the source. Because that very first contact, before encrypted communications are established, is enough to give it all away.'' To journalists, he would add ''lawyers, doctors, investigators, possibly even accountants. Anyone who has an obligation to protect the privacy of their clients is facing a new and challenging world.''
But ask Snowden if technology is compatible with privacy, and he answers with an unequivocal ''absolutely'', mainly because he believes that technology itself will come up with the solutions.
''The question is, why are private details that are transmitted online any different from the details of our lives that are stored in our private journals? There shouldn't be this distinction between digital and printed information. But the US government, and many other countries, are increasingly seeking to make that distinction.''
Snowden is not against targeted surveillance. But he returns to the philosophical, ethical, legal and constitutional objections to security agencies routinely seizing digital material from innocent people, when they would not dream of entering their houses to plant spy cameras, or walk off with personal diaries and photographs. If these things are wrong in analogue life, why not in our digital lives? And where, he asks repeatedly, is the evidence that it is cost-effective? Or even effective?
Surely he would concede there are occasions when it is of benefit to police or intelligence agencies to be able to trawl collected records after a crime or terrorist event has taken place? He concedes there are ''hypotheticals'' in which such a capability might have its uses, but he counters with questions of proportionality. America is not at war; terrorism should be treated as a criminal problem. He might personally draw the line in a different place in the event of a war, but, in any event, this is something that should be determined by democratic discussion.
''You have a tremendous population of young military enlisted individuals [in the NSA] who may not have had the number of life experiences, to have felt the sense of being violated. And if we haven't been exposed to the dangers of having our liberties violated, how can we expect these individuals to reasonably represent our interests?''
He cites the German Stasi as an organisation staffed by people who thought they were ''protecting the stability of their political system, which they considered to be under threat. They were ordinary citizens like anyone else. They believed they were doing the right thing. But when we look at them in historic terms, what were they doing to their people? What were they doing to the countries around them? What was the net impact of their mass, indiscriminate spying campaigns?''
The skies over Moscow are darkening as Snowden prepares to go. We give him a fragment of a smashed-up hard drive, a memento of the Guardian's tangles with GCHQ: a year ago this weekend, senior editors destroyed computers used to store Snowden's documents while GCHQ representatives watched. ''Wow, that is the real deal,'' he mutters as he examines the scarred circuit board. And then he speculates '' maybe only half joking, for the tradecraft never quite goes '' that it might have a tracking device in it. He says that he faces a logistical nightmare in getting home undetected tonight. A driver is waiting for him outside.
Edward Snowden with a fragment of a smashed-up Guardian laptop. Photograph: Alan Rusbridger for the GuardianWill he be watching that night's World Cup semi-final between Holland and Argentina? ''You know, this is probably going to surprise a lot of people, but I'm not particularly athletic. I'm not a great sports fan.''
He wonders if we will want to shake his hand. We do. An adviser has warned him not to be offended if visitors are anxious about a photograph of a handshake that might come back to haunt them.
He means, if it turns out Snowden really is a Russian spy?
''Right, exactly. If you guys were running for office, then you'd be in trouble.''
And with that he picks up his rucksack and slips out of the room, back into the curious world of semi-anonymous exile that may be his fate for a long time to come.
'Watch the video interview here and read an edited transcript.
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VIDEO-10 MINS Mark-Edward Snowden urges professionals to encrypt client communications | World news | The Guardian
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 20:44
Link to video: Edward Snowden: 'If I end up in chains in Guantnamo I can live with that'The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.
Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.
"What last year's revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default," he said.
The response of professional bodies has so far been patchy.
A minister at the Home Office in London, James Brokenshire, said during a Commons debate about a new surveillance bill on Tuesday that a code of practice to protect legal professional privilege and others requiring professional secrecy was under review.
Snowden's plea for the professions to tighten security came during an extensive and revealing interview with the Guardian in Moscow.
The former National Security Agency and CIA computer specialist, wanted by the US under the Espionage Act after leaking tens of thousands of top secret documents, has given only a handful of interviews since seeking temporary asylum in Russia a year ago.
Edward Snowden during his interview with the Guardian in Moscow. Photograph: Alan Rusbridger for the GuardianDuring the seven hours of interview, Snowden:
' Said if he ended up in US detention in Guantnamo Bay he could live with it.
' Offered rare glimpses into his daily life in Russia, insisting that, contrary to reports that he is depressed, he is not sad and does not have any regrets. He rejected various conspiracy theories surrounding him, describing as "bullshit" suggestions he is a Russian spy.
' Said that, contrary to a claim he works for a Russian organisation, he was independently secure, living on savings, and money from awards and speeches he has delivered online round the world.
' Made a startling claim that a culture exists within the NSA in which, during surveillance, nude photographs picked up of people in "sexually compromising" situations are routinely passed around.
' Spoke at length about his future, which seems destined to be spent in Russia for the foreseeable future after expressing disappointment over the failure of western European governments to offer him a home.
' Said he was holding out for a jury trial in the US rather a judge-only one, hopeful that it would be hard to find 12 jurors who would convict him if he was charged with an offence to which there was a public interest defence. Negotiations with the US government on a return to his country appear to be stalled.
Snowden, who recognises he is almost certainly kept under surveillance by the Russians and the US, met the Guardian at a hotel within walking distance of Red Square.
The 31-year-old revealed that he works online late into the night; a solitary, digital existence not that dissimilar to his earlier life.
He said he was using part of that time to work on the new focus for his technical skills, designing encryption tools to help professionals such as journalists protect sources and data. He is negotiating foundation funding for the project, a contribution to addressing the problem of professions wanting to protect client or patient data, and in this case journalistic sources.
"An unfortunate side effect of the development of all these new surveillance technologies is that the work of journalism has become immeasurably harder than it ever has been in the past," Snowden said.
"Journalists have to be particularly conscious about any sort of network signalling, any sort of connection, any sort of licence-plate reading device that they pass on their way to a meeting point, any place they use their credit card, any place they take their phone, any email contact they have with the source because that very first contact, before encrypted communications are established, is enough to give it all away."
Journalists had to ensure they made not a single mistake or they would be placing sources at risk. The same duty applied to other professions, he said, calling for training and new standards "to make sure that we have mechanisms to ensure that the average member of our society can have a reasonable measure of faith in the skills of all the members of these professions."
He added: "If we confess something to our priest inside a church that would be private, but is it any different if we send our pastor a private email confessing a crisis that we have in our life?"
The response of professional bodies in the UK to the challenge varies, ranging from calls for legislative changes to build in protection from snooping, to apparent lack of concern.
Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said he shared Snowden's concerns about the vulnerability of the professions to surveillance by spy and law enforcement agencies.
"If you think your HIV status is secret from GCHQ, forget it," he said. "The tools are available to protect data and communications but only if you are important enough for your doctor or lawyer to care."
Timothy Hill, technology policy adviser at the Law Society, which represents UK lawyers, said the profession was concerned.
"Legal professional privilege '' the right to consult a legal adviser in confidence '' is a long established common law right. Its fundamental role in our legal system needs to be reasserted."
The society is pressing to have existing legislation rewritten to include explicit protection for legal professional privilege from government surveillance.
"There needs to be a debate about the implications of the Snowden revelations for professional privilege in the digital age," Hill said. "It is not happening. This is not being debated in parliament."
He said the society was seeking to strengthen law firms' cybersecurity awareness but that a stronger statutory framework was essential.
Michelle Stanistreet, the National Union of Journalists general secretary, echoed the concerns. "For democracy to function, it needs to have a free press and journalists who are able to do their job without fear or hindrance. But this is becoming increasingly under threat."
She added: "Last year's revelations show that unencrypted communications can mean that journalists may be unwittingly handing over their contacts, footage or material, against their will."
The General Medical Council provides guidance to UK doctors about protecting information against improper disclosure.
Niall Dickson, the GMC chief executive, said: "Modern communication offers huge benefits for patients in terms of research, access to professionals, as well as speed of care and treatment. But of course it also carries risk, and confidentiality and trust are at the heart of the doctor-patient relationship.
"We recognise that keeping up with advances in technology and its implications for confidentiality are challenging for all healthcare professionals. We do have guidance which explains what doctors need to do if they are concerned about the security of personal information or systems they have been given to use. But in this rapidly changing area, we also need to keep on top of this ourselves, and we do regularly review our guidance to take account of changes in the external environment."
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VIDEO-Sherrie Questioning All: Bombshell! Air Traffic Controller who was in Kiev said it was Ukrainian Military who shot down MH17 - Military Jets shadowing it
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 06:41
An air traffic controller who was there yesterday in Kiev said it was the Ukrainian Military who shot down the plane and they were all taken off their duties immediately afterwards. Fighter jets had been shadowing plane.
Previous articles:U.S. only country blaming Russia for MH17
Ukrainian Air Traffic Control routed MH 17 through War Zone and had them fly lower than they had requested.
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VIDEO-MH17: US satellites tracked missile's path to airliner
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 05:53
Ralph Vartabedian, WJ Hennigan July 18, 2014
A Buk M2 missile system similar to the one believed to have shot down MH17. Photo: AP
Advanced US satellites played a key role in the determination by intelligence officials that a surface-to-air missile shot down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.
The assessment was almost certainly based on a technical branch of spycraft known as measurement and signature intelligence, or MASINT, analysts said. The method detects, tracks and identifies a variety of electronic signatures, including radar.
The US operates fleets of listening satellites and early warning satellites that could have identified the location of a missile launch site and its trajectory as it shot up to the 33,000-foot cruising altitude of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.
The Pentagon would have detected the launch because of its heat signature, said Riki Ellison, founder and chairman of Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a group that lobbies for missile defence spending.
The US Air Force has satellites in high-Earth orbit that use infrared sensors to detect heat from missile and booster plumes against Earth's background. Called the Defence Support Program, the system provides early warning for intercontinental ballistic missile launches.
The satellites are sensitive enough to sense hot spots in forest fires, according to the US Air Force.
US radar installations and other assets in the region would assist in tracking any surface-to-air missile, which Ukrainian officials have said probably came from a Russian-made Buk system. The information would be relayed to US European Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
"They would have known exactly where it was launched, where it was headed, and the rate at which it was traveling," Ellison said.
Separately, the US operates sensitive listening satellites that can capture a wide range of electronic emissions from foreign nations' defence systems, allowing analysts to determine the origin of the signals and the type weapon that was used.
For instance, the Buk missile uses a strong radar search and tracking system to find its targets and then helps guide a missile to the target. At some point in its flight, the missile begins to use its own radar system, emitting a unique signal.
The combination of unique signals over a period of seconds or minutes would allow a US satellite to triangulate the point of launch and track the trajectory of the missile.
Los Angeles Times
VIDEO-Russian hackers placed 'digital bomb' in Nasdaq - report - Jul. 17, 2014
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:49
That's according to an investigative report by Bloomberg Businessweek, which revealed the details of a 2010 cybergrenade that never detonated.
Although it had been reported previously that hackers had snooped around the Nasdaq's computer network, specific information about the attack had remained secret until this week.
Hackers broke into Nasdaq's network four years ago with custom-made malware that had the potential to spy and steal data. But it could also cause digital destruction, potentially disrupting Nasdaq's computer system.
It's still unclear who the attackers were. A federal official briefed on the investigation said the FBI has not developed enough evidence to conclude a foreign government was responsible behind the hack.
Related story: Google's superhero plan to rid the world of cyberattacks
George Venizelos, the FBI's New York assistant director in charge, explained in a statement to CNNMoney that the agency is still investigating the break-in.
Bloomberg's story points its finger at the Russian government, which Russia called "pure nonsense." Yevgeniy Khorishko, the Washington embassy's press secretary, said there was nothing more to say about the matter.
However, those familiar with the investigation say the more likely attacker is an independent Russian hacker from the city of St. Petersburg named Aleksandr Kalinin. The U.S. Secret Service and FBI say they caught him relentlessly attacking Nasdaq computers between 2007 and 2010. Cybersecurity professionals who covertly share information about attacks on major U.S. banks and financial players concur that Kalinin is the likely culprit.
Nasdaq tried to reassure listed companies and traders that hackers walked away empty-handed -- and the digital bomb never went off.
"The events of four years ago, while sensationalized by Businessweek, only confirmed what we have said historically: that none of Nasdaq's trading platforms or engines were ever compromised, and no evidence of exfiltration exists from directors' desks," said Ryan Wells, a company spokesperson.
Yet the fact that the bomb never went off isn't the point. The details of the attack make clear -- in real terms -- the national security threats long feared by technology experts.
Hackers halting trades for a day and tanking the stock market is now a real possibility, said Christopher Finan, who served as a White House cybersecurity expert sometime after the Nasdaq incident. He said the U.S. government needs to focus more on protecting against these kind of attacks from occurring in the future.
"It's not farfetched, and people should understand this can happen," Finan said. "This shows we're not seeing enough investment in infrastructure for systems with national consequences."
Related story: A plague of computer viruses that extort you
It's yet another sign hack attacks can have the ability to paralyze a nation. The U.S.-made Stuxnet worm destroyed centrifuges at an Iranian nuclear plant in 2009. Iran ruined 30,000 computers at Saudi oil producer Aramco in 2012. North Korean hackers froze some of South Korea's banks and media networks in 2013.
First Published: July 17, 2014: 3:17 PM ET
VIDEO-President Obama Remarks Situation Ukraine | Video |
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 19:44
July 18, 2014President Obama spoke about the Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.'‚He also spoke about'... read more
President Obama spoke about the Malaysia Airlines flight shot down over eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.'‚He also spoke about the conflict between Israel and Palestine and the Israeli Defense Forces ground campaign in Gaza.'‚He then responded to questions from reporters. close
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*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO-BBC News - MH17 crash: Ukraine PM's anger over 'international crime'
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The Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down and called it an international crime which must be investigated by the international tribunal in the Hague.
The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, carrying 298 people, when it crashed in rebel-held territory on Thursday.
The two sides in Ukraine's civil conflict have accused each other of shooting the jet down with a missile.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said that Ukraine bore responsibility for the tragedy.
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Bill Clinton says he made a deal with his wife Hillary that after she supported his political career for 26 years, he would do the same whatever career she chose.
The former US president told BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis that Hillary had not asked his opinion on whether she should run for the White House, and they did not feel entitled to win the presidency.
VIDEO-Fired NYTimes Editor: Gender Not 'The Whole Explanation' - Yahoo News
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:22
By Liz Goodwin
Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric on Thursday that she doesn't believe she was abruptly fired last May solely because she is a woman.
''I don't see gender as being the whole explanation, by any means, of what happened,'' Abramson said in the wide-ranging interview about her dismissal and what she hopes young women can learn from her example.
"I don't see gender as being'...the whole explanation, by any means, of what happened, but it's somewhat irksome to me to see so much focus on the issue of why was I fired. "
In the interview, Abramson confirmed reports that her ouster was in part due to what some at the Times perceived to be her abrasive ''management style.'' During the interview, she said she recognized that at times she was ''brusque'' and ''push[ed]. . . too hard,'' but suggested the approach reflected her high standards and a desire to "get the story behind the story." Said Abramson: ''I am the editor I am.''
Abramson said she was amused and surprised that she briefly became such an object of scrutiny after her sacking that a bevy of reporters trailed her while she walked her dog around the block. ''It's somewhat irksome to see so much focus on the issue of why was I fired,'' she said, adding that people should care about The New York Times' product more than the ''palace intrigue'' that goes on behind the scenes. Abramson insulated herself from the controversy, refusing to read any news stories about it at first.
But her firing sparked a larger discussion about whether female leaders are held to a different standard from men who hold the same jobs. Abramson, the first woman to lead the paper in its 162-year history, was criticized for a hard-charging leadership style that would have gone unremarked upon in a man, some argued. She had also recently looked into why she was paid less than her male predecessor, Bill Keller, according to the New Yorker. The Times said Keller and Abramson's pay was ''comparable'' and that her dismissal was over her management style.
But the story of pay inequality quickly spread on social media and elsewhere, with women using ''#TeamJill'' hashtags on Twitter to express their frustration with the double standard they see for women leaders.
Two months later, Abramson is talking about the double standards that women face in the workplace.
''I think that women are scrutinized and criticized in a somewhat different way, and that certain qualities that are seen in men as being the qualities of a leader '... are somehow not seen in as attractive a light when a woman is involved,'' she told Couric.
The lifelong New Yorker said she did briefly work with a management coach who watched her conduct a few meetings and gave her feedback. ''I may not have been her most successful student, given the outcome,'' Abramson joked. The management coach pointed out that at times, she didn't appear to be listening closely enough to her employees, Abramson told Couric.
Ultimately, though, she believes she was a good newsroom leader, who pushed her reporters and editors to do their best work. ''I don't have too many regrets about the kind of journalist or the editor I was,'' she said. One of her few regrets as an editor is that she did not raise more objections about the Times' coverage of Iraq before the war, when the paper reported too credulously about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. ''I wish I had been paying a lot more attention,'' she said, adding, ''That's a period I have spent a fair amount of time doing some soul-searching on.''
Abramson declined to say whether she believes her inquiries about whether she was being paid as much as her male predecessor had anything to do with her firing, saying that was ''another layer of autopsy,'' she didn't want to go into. ''I think that it's important for women in the workplace to learn how to negotiate well for themselves, and to be paid fairly and as well as men at their same level who have the same talents,'' Abramson said.
When asked if women might be discouraged from negotiating for themselves given what happened in her case, the former editor said that they might, but that they should still push for what they're owed. ''Every aspect of your work life if you are standing up for something '... can be risky, but you still need to do the right thing,'' she said.
Abramson has remained mostly quiet about how and why she was ousted, even as she found herself in the center of a controversy about the gender pay gap and women in leadership. This week, she broke her silence and appeared on Fox News to talk about the Obama administration's lack of transparency and told Cosmopolitan magazine in an interview that she cried when she read a Politico story last year that quoted anonymous staffers calling her ''condescending'' and ''stubborn.''
When Couric asked about rumors that a dispute with her former deputy, Dean Baquet, who succeeded her as executive editor, contributed to her firing, she balked. ''Now we're really in the grassy knoll, Katie, and I don't want to go in there with you,'' she said. She said she doesn't want to contribute to the ''endless speculation'' about what ended her 11-year run at the Times.
Abramson will be teaching narrative nonfiction in the fall at Harvard University, where she attended college, and is working on an investigative news story in the meantime. But don't expect all the juicy details of her firing to appear in a book any time soon '-- Abramson says she's not interested in writing it. ''I doubt it,'' she said. ''Really, I think there are maybe 20 people in the universe who would be interested in that.''
VIDEO- An Interview With America's Ambassador To Ukraine: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 58) - YouTube
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:31
VIDEO-John McCain warns of MH17 'repercussions' if Russian forces or pro-Russian separatists downed flight | Mail Online
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:29
Hawkish GOP senator threw down the gauntlet and warned Vladimir PutinRussia's president called the idea of involvement by his government or its proxies 'stupidity'McCain suggested that separatist forces in eastern Ukraine may have mistaken the Boeing 777 jet for a Ukrainian government military planeHe also blasted President Barack Obama for what he said were anemic sanctions leveled at Putin following Russia's annexation of CrimeaBy David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor
Published: 18:52 EST, 17 July 2014 | Updated: 04:00 EST, 18 July 2014
U.S. Senator John McCain said Thursday that there would be 'hell to pay, and there should be,' if Russian forces or pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine were behind the missile attack that brought down Malaysian Airlines flight 17.
'This was an airliner headed towards Russian airspace,' the Arizona Republican said on MSNBC. 'And it has the earmarks '' and I'm not concluding '' but it has the earmarks of a mistaken identification of an aircraft that they may have believed was Ukrainian.'
'If that's true, this is a horrible tragic event which was certainly unanticipated by anybody no matter who they are. And there will be incredible repercussions if this is the case.'
'If it is the result of either separatist or Russian actions mistakenly believing that this is a Ukrainian warplane,' McCain warned, 'I think there's going to be hell to pay and there should be.'
Scroll down for video
McCain unleashed: The hawkish senator warned that there would be 'hell to pay' if Russia or its proxies were responsible for downing a passenger plane
A Russian 'Buk' air defense missile like this one is believed to have shot down Malaysian Airlines flight 17, with Russia and Ukraine pointing fingers of blame at each other
The senator's comments came as recovery workers began to pick through mounds of luggage, airplane sections and even human remains in a nine-mile debris field where the Boeing 777 went down Thursday.
He also told host Andrew Mitchell that President Barack Obama has mishandled the Ukraine crisis by going soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin and refusing to arm Ukrainian government forces.
'The United States '' it has been insulting in how small and how little help we have given,' he complained. 'I mean, they have been begging us for defensive weaponry [but] we have not given it to them.'
He also slammed the White House for the shallowness of economic sanctions the U.S. has pushed on Moscow after Putin annexed a region of Ukraine that was populated mainly by ethnic Russians.
'The sanctions so far in exchange for Crimea have been minuscule,' said McCain.
'These latest enacted by the Obama administration, I think, are helpful. But if you ask the Ukrainian government that's struggling, they said they need weapons [with] which to defend themselves.'
Earlier in the day McCain went directly after Putin, telling Roll Call that if the plane was fired on by 'separatists, which are also Russian, Vladimir Putin should be paying a heavy price.'
He also cautioned that it was too soon to know for sure what happened as the aircraft, carrying 295 souls between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur, flew at 32,000 feet over the easternmost part of Ukraine and nearly into Russian airspace.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) talked to Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev after word reached Moscow of the attacked aircraft
Wreckage: Firefighters contained blazes at the site of the crash near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine
Putin on Thursday called the idea of Russian government involvement in the plane's destruction 'stupiditry' and blamed Ukraine.
'This tragedy would not have occurred if there was peace in that land,' he said, at least if hostilities had not resumed in the southeast of Ukraine.'
'And without question, the state over whose territory this took place bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.'
U.S. officials said Thursday that they are certain the passenger plane was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.
The Associated Press reported that Soviet-era 'Buk' missile systems have been spotted in an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by separatist fighters.
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VIDEO-Leading HIV researchers lost as flight MH17 is downed in Ukraine - Telegraph
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:24
"He was a kind man and a true humanitarian,'' Seema Yasmin, a United States medical professor, said in a series of tweets.
"How do we measure how much a person has done for humanity? People like Joep change the course of epidemics ... What a HUGE loss to the world.'' The International Aids Society said that Dr Lange's death meant "the HIV/Aids movement has truly lost a giant.
"At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy," it said in a statement.
The conference in Melbourne from July 20 to 25 featured the world's leading researchers, as well as advocates and guests such as Bill Clinton and Sir Bob Geldof.
Delegates at a pre-conference in Sydney were reportedly informed that 108 delegates were aboard the flight.
"It's going to be a very sombre mood at the conference in Melbourne, especially for those of us who have been coming to these conferences for many years," Clive Aspin, a health researcher, told Fairfax Media.
David Cooper, a leading Australia HIV researcher, said he had been a friend and colleague of Dr Lange for 30 years.
"[He had] an absolute commitment to HIV treatment and care in Asia and Africa," Professor Cooper told The Conversation.
"Joep was absolutely committed to the development of affordable HIV treatments, particularly combination therapies, for use in resource-poor countries. The joy in collaborating with Joep was that he would always bring a fresh view, a unique take on things, and he never accepted that something was impossible to achieve."
VIDEO-MH17: Hillary Clinton says Russian-backed rebels likely shot down plane | World | The Guardian
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:31
The White House has reacted to the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine by criticising Russia's support for separatist rebels and urging the Kremlin to take "concrete steps" to ease tensions in the country.
A series of remarks by Barack Obama, Joe Biden and John Kerry stopped short of directly blaming pro-Russia rebels for the missile attack on a civilian airliner that killed 298 people.
But Hillary Clinton, the former US secretary of state, was more potent in her statements, saying in a television interview that indications pointed at the Russian-backed side and action was needed to "put [Vladimir] Putin on notice that he has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by".
Clinton said in an interview with Charlie Rose on the American PBS network: "The questions I'd be asking is, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment? It's obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who could have had the expertise to do that? Because commercial airlines are big targets, but by the time they got over that part of Ukraine they should have been high, so it takes some planning [to target such a plane].
"And the Ukrainian government has been quick to blame it on terrorists, which is their name for the Russian insurgents. And there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents.
Hillary Clinton said Russian-backed rebels were most likely responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. Video: Courtesy of Charlie Rose/Reuters"Now, how we determine that will require some forensics, but then if there is evidence pointing in that direction, the equipment had to have come from Russia. What more the Russians may or may not have done, we don't know.
"Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this. It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals."
Joe Biden, the vice-president, said the plane had "apparently had been shot down. Shot down, not an accident. Blown out of the sky."
"We see reports that there may have been American citizens on board and obviously that's our first concern. And we are now working every minute to confirm those reports as I speak," Biden said at the start of a conference address in Detroit.
"This is truly a grave situation. Nearly 300 souls have been lost. The families have our consolation and our prayers. And there are many of them who need answers, and we will get those answers and we will take the next steps accordingly. We are in touch with the Ukrainian government, I was on the phone as I said for the better part of half an hour with President Poroshenko, I'm in contact with our president, as well as our national security team."
The White House press office issued a statement that did not directly blame the Russian side in the conflict but said: "While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fuelled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel and training."
"This incident only highlights the urgency with which we continue to urge Russia to immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support a sustainable ceasefire and path toward peace that the Ukrainian government has consistently put forward."
The president, Barack Obama, who spoke to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, by telephone, referred to the "terrible tragedy" and said efforts were under way to determine whether Americans had been killed. "The world is watching," he said during a speech in Delaware. "The United States will offer whatever assistance we can to determine what happened and why, and as a country our thoughts are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home."
In its press statement the White House said: "We continue to seek information to determine whether there were any American citizens on board.
"It is critical that there be a full, credible and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. We urge all concerned '' Russia, the pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine '' to support an immediate ceasefire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains.
"It is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way and that all potential evidence and remains at the crash site are undisturbed. The United States remains prepared to contribute immediate assistance to any international investigation, including through resources provided by the NTSB and the FBI."
John Kerry, the secretary of state, said the US sent its condolences to the victims' families and the countries involved, and would help with the international investigation.
VIDEO-Audio ''Proof'' of Ukrainian Rebel Responsibility for Malaysian Flight Downing is Fake | Blog
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:30
Smells more and more like a Syran gas attack.
To get to levels of zerohedge paranoia '... wasn't there NATO exercises in the Black Sea that have "successfully concluded" just um'... yesterday? More shades of TWA 800. History is weird.
Smells more like an Israeli Hamas saga; Blame Hamas for every crime that is committed against Israel so Washington can continue to supply weapons and money'...' for the Israeli, hope it works for us too.
Madame Clinton already knows what a little bird told her:'...
Oh'... the improbability of it being an MH airliner has just gone down.
Someone must have thought " '... so which ones are passing over here tomorrow '... yeah, make it this MH, after all they already lost one, LOL"
Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal (KLWCT) found former Israeli army general Amos Yaron and the state of Israel guilty of crimes against humanity and genocide stemming from the massacre of Palestinians in Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982.
For the past two weeks, Malaysia has been strongly condemning Israel's aggression on Gaza.
'...and, possibly, for the past two weeks, Israel's been thinking about how to punish Malaysia.
VIDEO- ESPYS Social Media Reporter Chokes On Live TV - YouTube
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:33
VIDEO-MSNBC's Live 'Eyewitness Exclusive' Goes Very, Very Wrong When 'Sergeant' Calls in to Discuss Plane Crash in Ukraine | Video |
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 23:31
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