A CIA Contractor’s Christmas

Day One. Partridge in a pear tree:

During the night-shift at the NSA, Booz Allen contractors suddenly have their online Christmas shopping interrupted when Booz Allen proprietary counterterrorist data-mining algorithms note an unusual spike in internet chatter of “persons of interest” using the term “partridge in a pear tree.”  Their NSA Contracting Officer’s Technical Rep is alerted.

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Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorship

Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

“People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. “They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.”

The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations.

Marshall said the committee would seriously review the operating licenses of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland.

WikiLeaks’s payment processor, the Icelandic company DataCell ehf, said it would take immediate legal action against the companies to make donations possible again.

“DataCell who facilitates those payments towards Wikileaks has decided to take up immediate legal actions to make donations possible again,” DataCell CEO Andreas Fink said last week. “We can not believe WikiLeaks would even create scratch at the brand name of Visa.”

“It will probably hurt their brand much much more to block payments towards WikiLeaks than to have them occur,” Fink added.

 

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InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County retaliates against blogger Sharon Gilbert

San Bernardino County executives have come down hard on one of their own employees who also operates a local political blog.

A blog popular with readers, but not county leaders.

Sharon Gilbert, an almost thirty-year county employee, has taken on county government with great success through her website www.iePolitics.com. A widely-read blog in Southern California’s Inland Empire, which consists primarily of San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

Ms. Gilbert has a network of sources that aid her in routing out issues with local governments and exposing problems. A resource that has contributed to the blogs success.

However, Gilbert has paid a steep price for her crusading.

More than a year ago, at the direction of ousted county administrative officer Mark Uffer, county human resources officers overrode a physicians off-work order and pulled the plug on Gilbert’s disability benefits coverage.

An off-work order, which had the concurrence of a county-approved physician.

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Startups Backed By The CIA

The spy agency has a venture capital arm that is funding an array of companies developing bleeding-edge technologies.

Tiny cameras. Hearing devices for the teeth. Wi-fi for refrigerators. These are some of the products made by companies that have caught the eye of In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Cuban Rum Steps Up in World Markets

Havana, Nov 26 (ACN-RHC) The worldwide prestige of Cuban rum is reaffirmed by the growing demand of Ron Legendario, whose sales show an annual 10 percent increase.

The trademark’s deputy director of marketing, Carlos Sanchez, stated that Ron Legendario is currently available in more than 15 European countries.

Ron Legendario is produced in six factories across the country, three of them located in Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and Villa Clara and one in Havana, Sanchez said. Legendario is distributed in Europe by the Valencian Legendario SL company, which is currently seeking entry into other markets.

The trademark’s leading product is the Legendario Elixir de Cuba 7-year-aged rum, which is the richest, smoothest, sweetest and most delicate rum produced in the island.

Other Legendario spirits commercialized by the Spanish company are
Dorado, Añejo, Añejo Blanco, Carta Blanca Superior and Gran Reserva 15 Years.

 

Ignoring You is Not a Cognitive Defect

So a bunch of high school teachers are upset that their students are bored with them. Well, that’s not how they say it. Instead, the New York Times has the backs of boring, stupid teachers everywhere: “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” If kids didn’t have iPhones, they would pay attention in school.

Really?

What’s the last book you’ve read. How often do you – a big, bad, enlightened adult – sit down without the television or radio on? How often do you seek the lengthy solitude of reflection and reading? Can you even sit in silence for an hour?

Adults rarely read, and that’s fine. Adults spend most of our time in a distraction from our impending death. Or is there another justification for TV?

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US contacts allies about WikiLeaks move

The United States has briefed its key allies, including Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia ahead of the mass release of classified documents by WikiLeaks.

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks plans to release around three million leaked documents, including cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world.

The website had previously posted online secret details of US military operations in war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan.

United States Department of State Spokesman Philip Crowley says the United States is “gearing up for the worst-case scenario.”

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VicPD Officer Ordered to Stay Quiet

Maryland Citizens Face Felony Charges for Recording Cops

In Maryland, it is a felony to record thuggish cops as they push around skateboarding teenagers, beat sports patrons, and pull guns on motorists for speeding.

“Several Marylanders face felony charges for recording their arrests on camera, and others have been intimidated to shut their cameras off,” reports WJZ 23 in Baltimore.

Maryland cops are using a Maryland law that states conversations in private cannot be recorded without the consent of both people involved in order to go about their business of harassing, intimidating, and assaulting citizens.

It is legal according to Maryland’s attorney general for cops to videotape citizens with dashcams but illegal for citizens to do the same.

State authorities are upset after a video appeared on the internet showing the merciless beating of a university student by thug cops at the University of Maryland in April.

In 2009, a video surfaced showing a Baltimore cop pushing around and verbally assaulting a teenager. Numerous videos in other states show cops beating and even murdering citizens.

Click “read more” for videos.

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Radley Balko on the Militarization of Police

Pirates take over small-town radio signal

Residents of San Mateo County, California are hearing an unusual sound on the 89.3 frequency of their FM radios these days. Commercial-free radio programmed by real, local people.

San Francisco-based Pirate Cat Radio has put KPDO on the air full-time. The station’s new home, nestled among coastal farmlands, is about an hour south from the studio cafe in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Pirate Cat Radio founder Daniel Roberts and his crew took over the radio frequency May 8, after years of defying the Federal Communications Commission by broadcasting without a license. Roberts was recently fined by the FCC for just that, as Jennifer Waits writes in Spinning Indie.

So, faced with staying off the air for good, Roberts – also known as Monkey – worked out an agreement with Pescadero Radio Service to operate the unused frequency and began training locals to host their own shows. News stories about Pescadero, like the investigation uncovering two labor camps in rural Pescadero where families have been drinking unhealthy levels of nitrate-contaminated water for years, will make their way to the radio airwaves for the first time.

KPDO’s license was going to disappear, Roberts told The Daily Journal, until he brought an engineer in to resurrect the station. Local residents have very little else to turn to for locally-originated content on the radio. Waits writes:

Daniel was dismissive when I asked him about KLSI, saying that the station is run by a guy from out of town and that it’s “basically a jukebox from Florida.” Daniel said that the owner of KLSI runs a bunch of radio stations and that he’s not connected with the local community and added, “Scum of the earth are people who treat radio like real estate.” I told Daniel that I’d heard that University of California, Santa Cruz, had been helping out with KPDO about a year ago and asked him what happened. He said that UC Santa Cruz had made an offer to purchase the station, but that the owner of KLSI contested that purchase. Apparently because of the related legal fees, UC Santa Cruz pulled out, leaving the future of KPDO uncertain. I asked Daniel why KLSI wasn’t taking issue with his takeover of KPDO and he said that it’s because he’s just running the station and the license isn’t being transferred.

Roberts will continue to manage the Pirate Cat Radio cafe 50 miles north.

Senator Kerry recognizes resounding failure of Radio and TV Marti

Washington, May 4 (Cubadebate-RHC) Radio and TV Martí, financed media by the U.S. government for subversion in Cuba, “must undergo a huge reform to ensure its survival”, estimated a U.S. congressional report released Monday.

The report of the Senate’s US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations identified numerous flaws on the “materials”, they’ve been broadcasting to Cuba for decades, “as low journalistic standards, very small audience and lack of support from Congress.”

“It is disappointing that after 18 years Radio and TV Marti have been unable to penetrate the Cuban society or influence the Cuban government,” said Sen. John Forbes Kerry, chairman of the Committee, while presenting the report entitled “Immediate action needed to ensure Radio and TV Marti’s survival. “

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Groups Call ‘Privacy’ Legislation Orwellian

Privacy groups gave an overwhelming thumbs down Tuesday to proposed legislation by Rep. Frederick Carlyle “Rick” Boucher (D-Virginia) that for the first time would mandate the length of time online consumer information could be kept.

The proposal would require websites to discard data collected from their users after 18 months. Some suggested the retention limit for consumer data should be shorter, perhaps just days, to allow a company enough time to mine it before deleting it.

“It’s very Orwellian to call this a privacy bill,” said Evan Hendricks, editor and publisher of Privacy Times.

Boucher said in a statement the bill’s goal “is to encourage greater levels of electronic commerce by providing to internet users the assurance that their experience online will be more secure.”

The legislation, which Boucher released Tuesday as a “discussion” draft, also largely keeps intact the status quo of the so-called “opt-in” or “opt-out” paradigms. The measure is likely to remain in draft for months, privacy groups said.

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Oklahoma Passes Bill Outlawing Militia Recruitment

Last week the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill that equates recruiting militia members to recruiting gang members.

“Recruiting membership in an unauthorized militia or the Ku Klux Klan would be a crime if legislation approved Thursday by the House of Representatives becomes law. ‘This is making unauthorized militias illegal,’ said Rep. Mike Shelton, the amendment’s author,” News OK reported on Thursday.

Shelton wants to send people to prison who do not ask the state for permission to form a militia. If the bill becomes law, it will likely be challenged as unconstitutional. However, the bill and its passage in the Oklahoma House reveals there is support on the part of lawmakers to deny citizens their rights under the First Amendment (specifically, the right to peaceably assemble).

A news report video on the law can be viewed here.

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Bluebear: Exploring Privacy Threats in BitTorrent

BitTorrent is arguably the most efficient peer-to-peer protocol for content replication. However, BitTorrent has not been designed with privacy in mind and its popularity could threaten the privacy of millions of users. Surprisingly, privacy threats due to BitTorrent have been overlooked because BitTorrent popularity gives its users the illusion that finding them is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The goal of this project is to explore the severity of the privacy threats faced by BitTorrent users.

We argue that it is possible to continuously monitor from a single machine most BitTorrent users and to identify the content providers (also called initial seeds) [LLL_LEET10, LLL_TR10]. This is a major privacy threat as it is possible for anybody in the Internet to reconstruct all the download and upload history of most BitTorrent users.

To circumvent this kind of monitoring, BitTorrent users are increasingly using anonymizing networks such as Tor to hide their IP address from the tracker and, possibly, from other peers. However, we showed that it is possible to retrieve the IP address for more than 70% of BitTorrent users on top of Tor [LMC_POST10]. Moreover, once the IP address of a peer is retrieved, it is possible to link to the IP address other applications used by this peer on top of Tor.

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President Chávez launched its first tweet at midnight

Caracas, May 28. ABN.- Tal como lo había prometido, el presidente de la República, Hugo Chávez Frías, escribió cerca de la medianoche de este martes su primer mensaje en la popular red social Twitter. ABN .- As promised, the President of the Republic, Hugo Chávez Frías, wrote about midnight on Tuesday its first message on the popular social network Twitter.

“Epa, ¿qué tal? “Hey, how are you? Aparecí como lo dije: a la medianoche. Appeared as I said at midnight. Pa’ Brasil me voy, y muy contento a trabajar por Venezuela. Pa ‘Brasil I go, and very happy to work in Venezuela. Venceremos”, señala el primer “tweet” del mandatario venezolano. Venceremos, “the first” tweet “the Venezuelan leader.
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Argument transcript released in Ontario v. Quon U.S. Supreme Court case

A 70-page transcript of Monday’s argument in the U.S. Supreme Court case involving Ontario Police Department has been posted to the court’s website.

Click here for background on the case.

Court takes up Ontario employees’ privacy case
By MARK SHERMAN (AP)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appears likely to rule against public employees who claimed a local government violated their privacy by reading racy text messages they sent on their employers’ account.

Several justices said today that the employer, the Ontario, California., police department, acted reasonably in monitoring the text messages in view of its written policy warning employees they have no guarantee of privacy in the use of office computer and electronics equipment.

Justice Stephen Gerald Breyer said he didn’t see “anything, quite honestly, unreasonable about that.”

While the case involves government workers, the decision could have broader privacy implications as courts continue to sort out privacy issues in the digital age. Many employers, including Ontario, tell workers there is no guarantee of privacy in anything sent over their company- or government-provided computers, cell phones or pagers.

The case arose when the Ontario department decided to audit text message usage to see whether its SWAT team officers were using them too often for personal reasons. Three police officers and another employee complained that the department improperly snooped on their electronic exchanges, including many that were said to be sexually explicit.

Researchers hijack Google’s personalized search suggestions to reconstruct users’ search histories.

See also: Private Information Disclosure from Web Searches

Personalization is a key part of Internet search, providing more relevant results and gaining loyal customers in the process. But new research highlights the privacy risks that this kind of personalization can bring. A team of European researchers, working with a researcher from the University of California, Irvine, found that they were able to hijack Google‘s personalized search suggestions to reconstruct users’ Web search histories.

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Three More Domestic Spying Programs Revealed

The Department of Homeland Security is acknowledging the existence of three more government programs charged with spying on American citizens in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The programs — Pantheon, Pathfinder and Organizational Shared Space — used a variety of software tools to gather and analyze information about Americans, according to documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The DHS turned over the papers in response to a December 2008 Freedom of Information Act request. The documents shed new light on the proliferation of domestic intelligence and surveillance efforts after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to the CIR:

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Google Reveals Number Of Goverment Censorship Requests Around The World

Google has done something pretty cool: it has released information on the number of government requests received to remove content, and the percentage of those requests Google complied with:

Like other technology and communications companies, we regularly receive requests from government agencies around the world to remove content from our services, or provide information about users of our services and products. The map shows the number of requests that we received between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, with certain limitations.

We know these numbers are imperfect and may not provide a complete picture of these government requests. For example, a single request may ask for the removal of more than one URL or for the disclosure of information for multiple users.

CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

Google, NSA alliance posing security threats to users

A deal between internet giant Google and the US National Security Agency on cyber-attacks may pose serious threats to other countries’ national security and internet users.

Analysts worry the collaboration would allow Google’s data to flow to the spy agency. Journalists and experts have announced their concern over the deal as the National Security Agency (NSA) is known for intercepting private data.

During the Cold War, NSA worked with companies like Western Union to intercept and read millions of telegrams.

During the so-called US war on terror, the NSA has teamed up with telecommunications companies to eavesdrop on phone calls and internet traffic.

Google, founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, has become the world’s largest internet search engine.

It runs more than 1 million servers in data centers around the world, processes more than 1 billion search requests and 20 petabytes of user-generated data every day.

Report to Congress about the USA PATRIOT Act

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, released a new report Report to Congress on Implementation of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

This report details “Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), Public Law 107-56, directs the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) to undertake a series of actions related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations allegedly committed by DOJ employees. It also requires the OIG to provide semiannual reports to Congress on the implementation of the OIG’s responsibilities under Section 1001.”

Feds Can Search, Seize P2P Files Without Warrant

The authorities do not need court warrants to view and download files traded on peer-to-peer networks, a federal appeals court says.

Wednesday’s 3-0 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concerned a Nevada man convicted of possessing child pornography as part of an FBI investigation. Defendant Charles Borowy claimed the Fourth Amendment required court authorization to search and seize his LimeWire files in 2007.

The San Francisco-based appeals court, however, cited the nation’s legal standard, reiterating that warrants are required if a search “violates a reasonable expectation of privacy.” (.pdf)

Borowy, the court noted, “was clearly aware that LimeWire was a file-sharing program that would allow the public at large to access files in his shared folder unless he took steps to avoid it.”

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FBI probes US school webcam ‘spy’ case

The FBI is investigating a Pennsylvania school district officials accused of secretly activating webcams inside students’ homes, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will explore whether Lower Merion School District officials broke any federal wiretap or computer-intrusion laws, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Days after a student filed a suit over the practice, Lower Merion officials acknowledged on Friday that they remotely activated webcams 42 times in the past 14 months, but only to find missing student laptops. They insist they never did so to spy on students, as the student’s family claimed in the federal lawsuit.

Families were not informed of the possibility the webcams might be activated in their homes without their permission in the paperwork students sign when they get the computers, district spokesman Doug Young said.

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Justice Lawyers Try to Define Cyber War

Run for the hills! The Department of Justice‘s lawyers are trying to figure out just what would constitute an act of war during a cyber attack. OK, it may not be that bad, but the specter of a room full of government lawyers trying to decide what constitutes an act of war when it occurs via the Internet is not terribly reassuring.

To be fair, no one has come up with a decent answer to what turns out to be a very thorny question. The hardest question to answer in cyber war is the one that used to be pretty simple: who attacked us. But the structural anonymity of the web allows attackers to mask their origins.

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Supervisors order surveillance sweeps for ‘bugs’

SAN BERNARDINO – County supervisors spent $22,500 last month to sweep their offices and other parts of the government center for secret recording devices and other hidden surveillance equipment.

The first sweep of the fourth and fifth floors of the county building occurred Jan. 23, and the purchase order provides for four more sweeps at undisclosed future dates.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Ovitt, who requested the counter-surveillance, declined a request for an interview Friday. But a county spokesman insisted the sweeps had nothing to do with an ongoing government corruption scandal that has implicated the offices of Ovitt, Paul Biane and former supervisor Bill Postmus.

“This is something the county periodically does and the county was doing this long before there was a (District Attorney’s) investigation,” David Wert said.

In all, Wert said, the county has spent $42,865 on sweeps in recent years but refused to disclose when previous sweeps occurred.

Last week, District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and state Attorney General Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr., announced criminal charges against Postmus and former assistant assessor Jim Erwin in a wide-ranging corruption case.

Court documents also allege Biane and Ovitt’s chief of staff Mark Kirk – identified as John Does – accepted $100,000 bribes to secure a $102 million settlement payment for developer Colonies Partners LP of Rancho Cucamonga.

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Censorship of Arab News Media

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to censor some of the Arab news media, particularly satellite channels if Washington deemed, with Israeli backing, that these satellite channels are broadcasting content that is in conflict with American and Israeli interests in the region.

It is strange that this U.S. legislative step, which was opposed by only three members of the House of Representatives, came on the heels of the president’s success in turning a new page in the Islamic and Arab world by drawing a new framework for their relationship, based on mutual respect and common interests rather than opportunities, particularly as stated in his speech at Cairo University.

Note that the United States claims to defend human rights and freedom of the press but accuses the “terrorists,” wherever they are, of lacking respect for democracy and human rights. At the same time, the U.S. is behaving contrary to what it preaches because it considers the basic measure for freedom of the press to be something that does not harm American or Israeli interests.

Full text of H.R. 2278 can be found at THOMAS.

For more information on H.R. 2278, see Gov Trak.

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Announcing Venezuela’s first and only English Language Newspaper, THE CORREO DEL ORINOCO INTERNATIONAL

Caracas, 22 January 2010 – This Friday, Venezuela celebrates the launching of its first and only English language newspaper, the

Correo del Orinoco International.

While in the past other English-language publications have existed, none remain in circulation today, and no others have been created during the Bolivarian Revolution.

Editor-in-Chief Eva Golinger explained,

“This will be the first newspaper of its kind in Venezuela. We will produce news and information for an international audience, but from the Venezuelan perspective. Most of the news that’s out there in English comes from international news agencies that report with a biased perspective and tend to ignore important human interest stories that paint a positive picture of the Hugo Chávez government.”

“Our most important mission is to combat the massive media manipulation and information blockade against Venezuela and to inform the international community about many incredible events taking place daily inside Venezuela that rarely receive attention from the corporate media”.

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Pentagon Report Calls for Office of “Strategic Deception”

The Department of Defense needs to get better at lying and fooling people about its intentions. That’s the conclusion from an influential Pentagon panel, the Defense Science Board (DSB), which recommends that the military and intelligence communities join in a new agency devoted to “strategic surprise/deception.”

Tricking battlefield opponents has been a part of war since guys started beating each other with bones and sticks. But these days, such moves are harder to pull off, the DSB notes in a January report (.pdf) first unearthed by InsideDefense.com. “In an era of ubiquitous information access, anonymous leaks and public demands for transparency, deception operations are extraordinarily difficult. Nevertheless, successful strategic deception has in the past provided the United States with significant advantages that translated into operational and tactical success. Successful deception also minimizes U.S. vulnerabilities, while simultaneously setting conditions to surprise adversaries.”

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Most U.S. Union Members Are Working for the Government, New Data Shows

[ You allow your police to form labor unions, then think you can ever be free from crime?  Or free at all?  Stupid Merikins. ]

For the first time in American history, a majority of union members are government workers rather than private-sector employees, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Friday.

In its annual report on union membership, the bureau undercut the longstanding notion that union members are overwhelmingly blue-collar factory workers. It found that membership fell so fast in the private sector in 2009 that the 7.9 million unionized public-sector workers easily outnumbered those in the private sector, where labor’s ranks shrank to 7.4 million, from 8.2 million in 2008.

“There has been steady growth among union members in the public sector, but I’m a little bit shocked to see that the lines have actually crossed,” said Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president for labor at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

According to the labor bureau, 7.2 percent of private-sector workers were union members last year, down from 7.6 percent the previous year. That, labor historians said, was the lowest percentage of private-sector workers in unions since 1900.

Among government workers, union membership grew to 37.4 percent last year, from 36.8 percent in 2008.

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DOJ Finds FBI Violations Over Phone Conversation Requests

A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of Exigent Letters and Other Informal Requests for Telephone Records

The U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General has just released a report which concludes that the Federal Bureau of Investigation violated U.S. laws by claiming terrorism emergencies which allowed it to collect more than 2,000 records on U.S. telephone calls between 2002 and 2006. This report follows two previous DOJ OIG reports on the matter, commonly referred to as ‘National Security Letters‘, which are also available at the Justice Inspector General website.

The Washington Post first broke this story yesterday and DOJ has now made the unclassified version available to the public.

Back Away from GPS: AF Chief

In the face of threats from jamming and attacks on satellites the United States must lessen its dependence on the Global Positioning System and develop alternatives to GPS, the top Air Force general said today.

Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, told a conference organized by Tufts University’s Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis that GPS signals are particularly vulnerable in time of war since enemies know of the reliance U.S. forces place on its highly accurate signal. Everyone has read about the amazing accuracy of smart bombs and cruise missiles but few remember that those weapons depend on receiving a signal from a constellation of satellites orbiting the earth.

Schwartz’s call is driven by serious threats to GPS, according to officials familiar with the issue who would not discuss current threats in detail but confirmed that GPS has been jammed or interfered with recently.

The fact that the U.S., which invented GPS and most of what depends on it (ATMs, gas pumps, trucking companies and lost spouses), would consider stepping away from the system marks a cultural and technological milestone

Among the tools that could be used to lessen the dependence of troops on GPS are highly accurate digital maps which can be distributed electronically or even rely on that quaint old technology known as printing. In more developed environments cell phone tower networks can be used as does Apple’s iPhone. Of course, the US would have to control the cell phone network for that to work.

Schwartz’s comments come as the Space Posture Review, scheduled for release with the QDR but now delayed for as long as a year, has tentatively recommended that the U.S. scrap building five more GPS satellites and engage European allies on sharing their proposed Galileo global navigation satellite system.

Taser adds mobile phone monitoring tool to its arsenal

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Stun gun maker Taser International wants to help parents, not with jolts of electricity but with a tool which allows parents to effectively take over a child’s mobile phone and manage its use.

“Basically we’re taking old fashioned parenting and bringing it into the mobile world,” Taser chairman and co-founder Tom Smith said at the Consumer Electronics Show here, where the Arizona company unveiled the new product.

“Because when you give your child his mobile phone you don’t know who they’re talking to, what they’re sending or texting, all of those things,” Smith told AFP.

The phone application, called “Mobile Protector,” allows a parent to screen a child’s incoming and outgoing calls and messages, block particular numbers and even listen in on a conversation.

A dashboard on a parent’s phone or a personal computer shows the mobiles being monitored and the permitted callers such as friends and family.

“You can start it out very restrictive and then as they get older you can relax those restrictions as that trust factor’s gained,” Smith said.

An alert is triggered when an unknown number calls a child’s phone.

“I can click on this and it’s going to say here’s the person’s who’s calling,” Smith said.

“I can either choose to block that call, allow that call or even answer that call and find out who it is before I release it through to my child.

“If it’s Grandma, who I forgot to add, I can just click ‘always allow’ and I’ll never see that alert again,” he said.

Smith said that when listening in on a call “it’s going to announce that to both parties.” “We’re not doing spyware. This is a collaboration effort,” he said.

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Gerald Celente Interview – Words of wisdom

Gerald Celente in Wikipedia

Trends Research Institute

Trends Journal

iePolitics.com back on line

Sharon Gilbert’s iePolitics is back on line
with a new address:

http://www.iePolitics.com

Welcome back!

THREADS Cell Phone Analysis

THREADS, the flagship product for Direct Hit Systems, combines patented techniques in cell phone forensics, phone analysis, text mining, and visualization to provide focused leads and actionable intelligence. Although THREADS software incorporates many powerful analytical tools, it’s straight-forward interface makes solving cases easier for all levels of investigators, from the trained tactical analyst down to the detective on the street. THREADS cell phone analysis is more than just ordinary phone analysis. It delivers actionable leads by uncovering hidden relationships and spotting conspiracies.

For more information, click here

Right-wing radio host, Hal Turner, was an FBI informant

The New Jersey Record reports that ultra-right-wing radio host/blogger Harold Charles “Hal” Turner worked for over five years for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Turner was tried last month for threatening three federal appellate judges in Chicago: Judges Richard Allen Posner, Frank Hoover Easterbrook, and William Joseph Bauer. Turner’s case ended in a mistrial and he is scheduled to be retried in March. According to the Record, Turner was paid and coached by the FBI while he broadcast neo-Nazi and white supremacy views over the radio and internet:.

As Turner took to his radio show and blog to say that those who opposed his extremist views deserve to die, he received thousands of dollars from the FBI to report on such groups as the Aryan Nations and the white supremacist National Alliance, and even a member of the Blue Eyed Devils skinhead punk band. Later, he was sent undercover to Brazil where he reported a plot to send non-military supplies to anti-American Iraqi resistance fighters. Sometimes he signed “Valhalla” on his FBI payment receipts instead of his own name.

His dual life of shock jock and informant offers a window into the murky realm of domestic intelligence in the years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in particular, the difficult choices for the FBI in penetrating controversial fringe groups with equally controversial informants. In interviews, he said the FBI coached him to make racist, anti-Semitic and other threatening statements and now he feels double-crossed by the bureau after his arrest. The documents reviewed by The Record, however, show repeated instances of federal agents admonishing Turner for his extremism.

Turner blames the FBI, saying that while agents never said he could threaten judges, they coached him on the limits of what he could say. As a result, Turner said he felt he had wide latitude. “I was given specific instructions,” he said.

Federal Agencies Need Not Confirm or Deny Electronic Surveillance under FOIA

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed that the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice do not need to confirm or deny the existence of electronic surveillance records under the Freedom of Information Act. The appellate court found that federal agencies are allowed to file “Glomar” responses, which were first judicially recognized in 1976 and grant an agency express refusal to even confirm or deny the existence of any records responsive to a FOIA request in the national security context.

The lawsuit was brought by advocates for former Guantanamo Bay detainees after the agencies invoked FOIA exceptions to information request regarding warrantless electronic surveillance conducted by the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

Get more particulars here.

Rival Gangs Doing Business Together in L.A.

LOS ANGELES — Some neighborhoods in Southern California are experiencing a kind of truce between rival gangs that used to fight each other.

The decrease in gang violence in recent years has led some experts to theorize that gangs are now working together.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Los Angeles told La Opinión that although they are not investigating a particular case of collaboration between rival gangs, they are aware of a trend in which gangs of different ethnicities are working together.

“We know Latino gangs are working with African-American gangs to get drugs or arms, and we are already doing intelligence work,” said Robert Clark, special agent with the FBI’s Criminal Division. “It’s a trend we are seeing among different groups. And I think if they see an opportunity to collaborate across these barriers, they’re going to take it,” he added.
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NYC Government Releases Guide To Heroin Use

The New York City Health Department and Mental Hygiene has released a 16-page pamphlet that, among other things, teaches the city’s citizens how to shoot heroin. Also useful for tourists who need to learn these things fast during their visit. From the New York Post:

The city spent $32,000 on 70,000 fliers that tell you how to shoot heroin, complete with detailed tips on prepping the dope and injecting it into your arm.

The 16-page pamphlet features seven comics-like illustrations and offers dope fiends such useful advice as “Warm your body (jump up and down) to show your veins.”

The manual does have some sound advice. It stresses the importance of kicking the habit, seeking professional help and not sharing needles. The Health Department defended its brochure, saying it was helpful and necessary, and has been distributed only to addicts or those at risk of becoming abusers.

Group slams Chertoff on scanner promotion

Since the attempted bombing of a US airliner on Christmas Day, former Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.

What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. Chertoff disclosed the relationship on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.

An airport passengers’ rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff’s use of his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.

“Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive,’’ said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, which opposes the use of the scanners.

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Ecuador launches state-run news agency

Ecuador has established its first state-run news agency amid efforts by the lawmakers in the Andean nation to create a government-controlled watchdog which regulates privately-owned news outlets.

Quito has launched the Ecuadorian and South American News Agency (ANDES) to “strengthen the image” of the country, the office of President Rafael Correa said on Tuesday, AFP reported.

The state-run news outlet will cooperate closely with other news agencies across the continent, including Venezuela‘s Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Télam from Argentina, Spain‘s EFE and Peru‘s Andina de Radiodifusión y Television, the presidential office said.

Ecuadoran president Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado‘s attempt to regulate the private news channels in the country has faced with political oppositions both from the local news outlets and opposition groups.

Critics of Correa maintain that his actions threaten the freedom of expression.
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Iran bans contact with groups involved in soft war

Iran has banned Iranian citizens from cooperating with 60 international institutions and a number of media outlets due to their involvement in the post-election unrest.

Iran’s deputy intelligence minister for foreign affairs announced on Monday that 60 European and US foundations and institutions played a role in inciting post-election violence in the Islamic Republic.

Cooperating and signing contracts with these foundations and institutions, which are conducting soft warfare against Iran, is illegal, and receiving facilities from them is also prohibited, he said.

He urged Iranian citizens to avoid any unusual relations with these organizations and with foreign embassies and nationals.

He also stated that political parties are prohibited from receiving financial assistance from foreign countries.

He went on to say that institutions and media outlets like BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and VOA (Voice of America) are trying to help efforts to overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

The Soros Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the East European Democratic Centre (EEDC), Wilton Park, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the United States National Defense University are some of the institutions and foundations on the Intelligence Ministry list of banned organizations.
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The Nevada gambler, al-Qaida, the CIA and the mother of all cons

The intelligence reports fitted the suspicions of the time: al-Qaida sleeper agents were scattered across the US awaiting orders that were broadcast in secret codes over the al-Jazeera television network.

Flights from Britain and France were cancelled. Officials warned of a looming “spectacular attack” to rival 9/11. In 2003 President George W. Bush‘s homeland security tsar, Thomas Joseph Ridge, spoke of a “credible source” whose information had US military bracing for a new terrorist onslaught.

Then suddenly no more was said.

Six years later, Playboy magazine has revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency fell victim to an elaborate con by a compulsive gambler who claimed to have developed software that discovered al-Jazeera broadcasts were being used to transmit messages to terrorists buried deep in America.

Dennis Montgomery, 56, the co-owner of a software gaming company in Nevada, who has since been arrested for bouncing $1m worth of cheques, claims his program read messages hidden in barcodes listing international flights to the US, their positions and airports to be targeted.

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Jeb Stipe / Ty McDowell Procured Rapist Case

Jebidiah James Stipe Ty Oliver McDowell

CASPER — A man accused of violently raping a woman inside her Casper home about two weeks ago believed he was acting out a sexual fantasy the woman requested on an Internet site, according to his attorney.

Ty Oliver McDowell, 26, has been charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault, one count of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated burglary.

During a preliminary hearing in Natrona County Circuit Court on Tuesday, public defender Timothy Charles Cotton suggested that his client is accused of raping a woman he thought wanted to play out a lurid sexual fantasy.

Police, though, say the woman didn’t post the Craigslist ad that spurred McDowell’s alleged actions. Instead, authorities determined that Jebidiah James Stipe — with whom the alleged victim had a brief romantic relationship — posted the ad on Dec. 5. He pretended to be the woman named in the advertisement, investigators say.

Conspiracy charge

Stipe, a Carbon County native, has been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault. The 27-year-old Marine currently based in Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, remains in the West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino County, California

[ Booking # 0912090115 - 05/14/1982 - 170 / 5'6" - Brown / Blue - Arrested 12/16/2009 16:40 at 6527 Whitefeather Road, Joshua Tree - Charges: PC1551.1 - No Bail, no appearance date set as of today ]

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Ohio bill would prohibit broadcasting of 911 calls

Two Ohio state senators have proposed a bill that would prohibit the broadcasting of 911 telephone calls and levy a $10,000 fine for infractions.

The Society of Professional Journalists wrote a letter to the bill co-sponsors urging them to reconsider the proposed measure, saying it would diminish the media’s ability to report on breaking events.

“If audio recordings are banned from the public airwaves then it will be virtually impossible for citizens to hear how calls are being handled and effectively hold emergency response centers accountable,” the letter said. “Ohio courts traditionally have ruled in favor of disclosure of 911 tapes for all to hear for good reason — it ensures the public trust in its institutions regarding the safety and welfare of citizens.”

The bill’s proponents have argued that it would protect the identity of individuals placing emergency calls, but SPJ pointed out in its letter that identifying information would will be available in written transcripts.

Obama Curbs Secrecy of Classified Documents

WASHINGTON — President Obama declared on Tuesday that “no information may remain classified indefinitely” as part of a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch’s system for protecting classified national security information.

In an executive order and an accompanying presidential memorandum to agency heads, Mr. Obama signaled that the government should try harder to make information public if possible, including by requiring agencies to regularly review what kinds of information they classify and to eliminate any obsolete secrecy requirements.

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CRS Report – Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping

Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping, December 3, 2009

“Depending on one’s perspective, wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping are either “dirty business,” essential law enforcement tools, or both. This is a very general overview of the federal statutes that proscribe wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping and of the procedures they establish for law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering purposes. Although the specifics of state law are beyond the scope of this report, citations to related state statutory provisions have been appended. The text of pertinent federal statutes and a selected bibliography of legal materials appear as appendices as well.”

Cell Phone Application directs border-crossing immigrants to water

SAN DIEGO — A group of California artists wants Mexicans and Central Americans to have more than just a few cans of tuna and a jug of water for their illegal trek through the harsh desert into the U.S.

Faculty at University of California, San Diego are developing a GPS-enabled cell phone that tells dehydrated migrants where to find water and pipes in poetry from phone speakers, regaling them on their journey much like Emma Lazarus‘s words did a century ago to the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” on Ellis Island.

The Transborder Immigrant Tool is part technology endeavor, part art project. It introduces a high-tech twist to an old debate about how far activists can go to prevent migrants from dying on the border without breaking the law.

Immigration hardliners argue the activists are aiding illegal entry to the United States, a felony. Even migrants and their sympathizers question whether the device will make the treacherous journeys easier.
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