We begin with war underway from the Observer:
Kobani: time running out for hundreds of besieged civilians
- UN warns of possible massacre if town falls after Isis takes control of government buildings
Islamic State (Isis) fighters are closing in on the centre of besieged Kobani, where the Kurdish militia have sworn that they will fight to the death, and hundreds of desperate civilians are trapped in streets rank with the smell of rotting bodies.
The extremist group is trying to cut off the city’s border crossing into Turkey, its last link to the outside world, and penetrate the western enclave where the Kurdish People’s Protection fighters (YPG) are most firmly entrenched. Those units stopped at least five suicide car bombs sent to blast through their last layers of defence in the past two days, activists and politicians inside the city said. But Isis is throwing fighters and ammunition at the exposed road to the border, and if that falls it would be a devastating blow to the Kurdish units.
“If they cut off the border, then everyone inside is going to die,” said activist and journalist Mustafa Abdi, who lived in Kobani until a week ago and edits the website kobanikurd.com.
Canadian boots headed for Mideast ground, from CBC News:
ISIS mission: Canadian advance team leaves for Kuwait next week
About 120 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will depart from Trenton, Ont., next week to join the fight against ISIS in Iraq, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson announced on Saturday.
Nicholson said the team will be preparing for the arrival of CF-18 fighter jets and other aircraft in the coalition campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“The deployment of the Theatre Activation Team is a key step in arranging the initial preparations for the CAF units that will deploy in support of Operation IMPACT. Responsible for initiating the infrastructure support required in-theatre, this team plays an important role in support of our mission,” the minister said in a statement.
“The government continues to work with our allies to degrade the ISIL terrorist threat at home and abroad” he said.
More northern exposure from CBC News:
RCMP has intervened 28 times against people tied to foreign militant groups
- Cases include people who have returned to Canada after working with groups abroad
CBC News has learned the RCMP has disrupted or intervened in 28 instances involving people who fall into its high-risk travel category. That includes people who have returned home after joining a government-designated terrorist group abroad and are intending to travel again, or people who are sympathizers in Canada and are about to travel abroad.
Intervention and disruption is a process the Mounties use as they gather evidence that may lead to future charges. It can include conducting interrogations, talking to family members, surveillance and even referring some cases to Passport Canada to have the suspect’s passport revoked.
The 28 cases CBC News has learned about all fall into the high-risk travel group and are being monitored closely by both the RCMP and CSIS.
CBC/Radio-Canada raises a question:
Did censoring a 9/11 report pave the way for ISIS?
A former U.S. senator and co-chair of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks says the rise of ISIS could have been stemmed if 28 pages from the inquiry’s report had not been classified.
As co-chair, Bob Graham was one of the authors of the report, 28 pages of which have remained classified since it was published in 2002. At the time U.S. President George W. Bush said releasing the information posed a threat to national security.
Some who have had read the excised pages say they relate to Saudia Arabia’s support for the 9/11 hijackers. Graham says that Saudi Arabia has a long history of ideological and financial support for Wahhabism, a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. ISIS ascribes to that interpretation.
“I believe that had the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11 been disclosed by the release of the 28 pages and by the declassification of other information as to the Saudi role and support of the 9/11 hijackers that it would have made it much more difficult for Saudi Arabia to have continued that pattern of behaviour…and I think would have had a good chance of reigning in the activity that today Canada, the United States and other countries either are or are not considering going to war with,” said Graham in an interview with Brent Bambury host of Day 6 on CBC Radio.
Another leaker lurking, via the Guardian:
Second leaker in US intelligence, says Glenn Greenwald
- Citizenfour, new film on spying whistleblower Edward Snowden, shows journalist Greenwald discussing other source
The investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has found a second leaker inside the US intelligence agencies, according to a new documentary about Edward Snowden that premiered in New York on Friday night.
Towards the end of filmmaker Laura Poitras’s portrait of Snowden – titled Citizenfour, the label he used when he first contacted her – Greenwald is seen telling Snowden about a second source.
Snowden, at a meeting with Greenwald in Moscow, expresses surprise at the level of information apparently coming from this new source. Greenwald, fearing he will be overheard, writes the details on scraps of paper.
The specific information relates to the number of the people on the US government’s watchlist of people under surveillance as a potential threat or as a suspect. The figure is an astonishing 1.2 million.
Legal revelations, via The Hill:
Snowden: I’d ‘love’ to have a fair trial
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden tried to negotiate with government officials about being able to stand trial for alleged crimes, he said in an interview with the New Yorker on Saturday.
“I had told the government again and again in negotiations if they’re prepared to offer an open trial, a fair trial, in the same way that Dan Ellsberg got, and I’m allowed to make my case before a jury, I would love to do so,” he said over a video feed. “But they declined.”
Ellsberg, who released the controversial Pentagon Papers in 1971 that detailed U.S. decision-making in Vietnam, essentially faced the same set of charges levied against Snowden. Ellsberg wrote in a May op-ed that even though his opportunity to speak at his own trial was limited, it would be even worse for Snowden.
Unraveling the net wth JapanToday:
States and corporations grab for reins of the Internet
As the U.S. steps back from overseeing the group entrusted to essentially run the Internet, states and corporations are grabbing for the reins.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has gone from being behind the scenes tending to the task of managing website addresses to being center stage in a play for power on the Internet.
“Governments want to exert control over the sweeping trans-national power of the Internet that is effecting their policies, politics, social fabric and/or their economic conditions,” ICANN chief executive Fadi Chehade told AFP just days before the group gathers in Los Angeles beginning Sunday to tackle an array of hot issues.
Google this, from the Japan Times:
After court loss, Google rethinks search results linking man to criminal group
Google Inc. has informed the man who successfully sued the U.S. Internet giant that it is considering complying with a Japanese court order to remove some online search results found to infringe on his privacy rights, his lawyer said Friday.
Google told the plaintiff Friday it wants to know which results should be erased as it looks into whether to heed the Tokyo District Court’s decision Thursday ordering that some of them be removed.
The man wanted 237 results removed as typing his name into Google brings up many articles hinting he may have been involved in a crime in the past. On Thursday the court ordered that 122 search results be deleted.
On to cops and robbers, first with filthy lucre from the Washington Post:
Asset seizures fuel police spending
Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.
The details are contained in thousands of annual reports submitted by local and state agencies to the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, an initiative that allows local and state police to keep up to 80 percent of the assets they seize. The Washington Post obtained 43,000 of the reports dating from 2008 through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The documents offer a sweeping look at how police departments and drug task forces across the country are benefiting from laws that allow them to take cash and property without proving a crime has occurred. The law was meant to decimate drug organizations, but The Post found that it has been used as a routine source of funding for law enforcement at every level.
Protesting with the Guardian:
Thousands march through St Louis to condemn police shootings of teens
- Demonstrators call for arrest of officers and end to profiling
- Police chief meets with marchers as fragile peace holds
Thousands of people marched through downtown St Louis on Saturday, to demand the arrest of the white police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson two months ago and to condemn racial profiling.
The organisers claimed the protest drew about 3,000 people – far fewer than they had predicted – from across the country as part of a “Weekend of Resistance” against police forces in many parts of the country that are seen to target people of colour in general and young African Americans in particular.
“We’re fighting for our lives,” a St Louis rapper, Tef Poe, told the crowd.
From the Guardian again, public and private:
Security firm involved in shooting of St Louis teen has history of lawsuits
- Company that employed off-duty police officer who shot Vonderrit Myers Jr has paid out settlements over other incidents
The security company for which a St Louis police officer was working when he shot dead a black 18-year-old this week paid out tens of thousands of dollars to settle lawsuits over incidents involving other off-duty police officers working for it, according to the plaintiffs in those suits.
Vonderrit Myers Jr was killed on Wednesday evening by a 32-year-old city police officer who was working a shift as a security guard for GCI Security. St Louis police said that Myers shot three times at the officer, who has not been named, and that the officer fired repeatedly in response.
The shooting has drawn attention to the widespread practice of St Louis police officers working second jobs as private security guards. The officer who shot Myers was wearing his police uniform at the time, something permitted by the department. GCI alone was reported in 2012 to employ 168 police officers.
After the jump, more drone deaths in Pakistan and conflicting numbers, a deadlock in Hong Kong, blaming Uncle Sam, hints that is Macau may be next, shots traded across the Korean border, in Japan, Comfort Women have their say and a ruling party legislator retracts racist remarks. . . Continue reading