And more. . .
We begin with a very real security threat from Salon:
Americans see economic inequality as a bigger threat than nuclear weapons
- Asked to name top threat to the world, a plurality of Americans say it’s the gap between rich and poor
Pew polled people in 44 countries for the survey. In the U.S., 27 percent of respondents named income inequality as the biggest danger to the world, followed by religious and ethnic hatred (24 percent), nuclear weapons (23 percent), pollution and the environment (15 percent), and AIDS and other diseas (7 percent). Europe, which was also hard hit by the Great Recession and whose leaders have since embarked on an agenda of economic austerity, joined the U.S. in seeing economic inequality as the top global threat.
The findings are part of Pew’s spring 2014 Global Attitudes poll. Earlier this month, Pew unveiled data from the survey showing that a plurality of Americans support raising taxes as a means of combating economic inequality.
The percentage of Americans naming inequality as the top global threat has increased sharply since the Great Recession. In 2007, just 17 percent of Americans told Pew that they considered inequality the biggest threat.
And on to the highest profile conflict of the moment from BBC News:
Islamic State ‘being driven out of Syria’s Kobane’
The Islamic State (IS) militant group has been driven out of most of the northern Syrian town of Kobane, a Kurdish commander has told the BBC.
Baharin Kandal said IS fighters had retreated from all areas, except for two pockets of resistance in the east. US-led air strikes have helped push back the militants, with another 14 conducted over the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the new UN human rights commissioner has called IS a “potentially genocidal” movement. Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein described the group as the antithesis of human rights.
From TheLocal.dk, the latest player in the bombing war:
Danish F-16s carry out first mission against Isis
For the first time since parliament approved Denmark’s military involvement in northern Iraq, Danish jets took to the air to support an American-led mission.
Danish F-16 fighter jets participated in their first mission over northern Iraq on Thursday, the Defence Ministry announced.
“The jets took part in an operation over Iraq in close cooperation with our coalition partners. Our people have made dedicated and highly professional efforts to be ready and I am very pleased that the Danish F-16s are now actively contributing to the international coalition’s fight against the Islamic State,” Defence Minister Nicolai Wammen said in a statement.
Another high-flyer from the Guardian:
UK to send armed drones to assist campaign against Isis
- Foreign secretary says drones will carry out surveillance over Iraq, and defence secretary says they will add to strike capability
Britain is to send heavily armed Reaper drones to the Middle East to help in the fight against forces from the Islamic State in Iraq.
Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, told MPs that the Reaper drones would add to Britain’s surveillance operations over Iraq. Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, said the drones would add to Britain’s “strike capability”.
Hammond told the Commons: “We are in the process of redeploying some of our Reaper remotely piloted aircraft from Afghanistan to the Middle East to add to our surveillance capabilities.”
Blowback from the Guardian:
Threat of extremist attack in UK is escalating, say police
- About 50 people a week referred to deradicalisation programmes, with 218 terror-related arrests so far this year
Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has said that several plots this year to murder people on Britain’s streets “directed by or inspired by terrorism overseas” have already been disrupted, with police activity to prevent extremist attacks at its highest level for years.
Scotland Yard assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said Britain’s counter-terrorism network was battling increasing radicalisation via the internet, with fears that young British people are being brainwashed by material including depictions of beheadings, suicides, murder and torture. About 50 people a week are being referred to deradicalisation programmes, he said.
Activity to stop an attack was said by one source to be the highest since the aftermath of the 7 July 2005 attack on London’s transport system, with the threat level escalating as the year has worn on.
From BBC News, gee, we’re shocked:
US ‘hid Iraq chemical weapons incidents’
US troops and Iraqi police were wounded by exposure to abandoned chemical weapons in 2004-11 in a series of incidents largely kept quiet by the Pentagon, a US newspaper has reported.
The New York Times said the weapons were built by Saddam Hussein’s regime during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war.
Soldiers and police uncovered about 5,000 warheads, shells or bombs.
The Times based its report on dozens of pages of classified documents, and interviews with soldiers and officials.
And from the Intercept, an ominous development:
New Zealand Cops Raided Home of Reporter Working on Snowden Documents
Agents from New Zealand’s national police force ransacked the home of a prominent independent journalist earlier this month who was collaborating with The Intercept on stories from the NSA archive furnished by Edward Snowden. The stated purpose of the 10-hour police raid was to identify the source for allegations that the reporter, Nicky Hager, recently published in a book that caused a major political firestorm and led to the resignation of a top government minister.
But in seizing all the paper files and electronic devices in Hager’s home, the authorities may have also taken source material concerning other unrelated stories that Hager was pursuing. Recognizing the severity of the threat posed to press freedoms from this raid, the Freedom of the Press Foundation today announced a global campaign to raise funds for Hager’s legal defense.
In August, one month before New Zealand’s national election, Hager published Dirty Politics, which showed that key figures in Prime Minister John Key’s National Party were feeding derogatory information about their opponents to a virulent right-wing blogger named Cameron Slater. Hager published evidence in the form of incriminating emails, provided by a hacker, demonstrating coordination between National Party officials and Slater. The ensuing scandal forced the resignation of a top Key ally, Justice Minister Judith Collins, and implicated numerous other National Party officials and supporters. Despite the scandal, the National Party won a resounding victory in the election, sending Key to a third term as prime minister.
From Al Jazeera America, The Most Transparent Administration in American History™ is a sore loser:
US may appeal release of Guantanamo tape
Federal judge asked to halt plans for releasing video showing Guantanamo Bay hunger striker being force-fed his meals.
The United States government has asked a federal judge to halt plans for releasing videotapes showing a Guantanamo Bay hunger striker being force-fed his meals.
In court papers filed on Wednesday night, the Justice Department told US District Judge Gladys Kessler that the government may appeal an order by the judge that would, for the first time, lead to disclosure of classified information in a proceeding involving a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.
The Justice Department told Kessler that she was substituting the court’s judgment for that of executive branch officials, contrary to established precedent.
intelNews covers old school spookery:
Senior Polish defense official detained for ‘spying for Russia’
A high-ranking official in Poland’s Ministry of National Defense has reportedly been arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia.
Poland’s Dziennik Gazeta Prawna said early on Wednesday that a man had been detained by Polish security personnel because it was thought he had been acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign country. Another source, Poland’s commercial news Radio Zet, reported that two men had been arrested, a colonel in the Polish Army and a lawyer with dual Polish-Russian citizenship.
Later in the day, an official statement from the office of the Senior Military Prosecutor said simply that Poland’s “Ministry of National Defense detained a Polish Army officer on suspicion of being a member of a foreign intelligence service.”
And RT covers Cold War 2.0, the latest complication:
US tanks arrive in Latvia to ward off ‘perceived’ Russian threat
US tanks have arrived in Latvia as NATO flexes its muscles in an apparent show of strength towards Moscow. The machines are being deployed across the Baltic States and Poland over the next two weeks and will be used for training exercises.
The 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood in Texas, was deployed in Adazi, not far from the Latvian capital of Riga. 150 soldiers used five M1A2 Abrams tanks, as well as 11 Bradley Fighting Vehicles in a training demonstration.
The commander of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, John Di Giambattista said, “This is more than just a training mission. This is more than just a trip across the Atlantic; this is more than a multinational training exercise. This is how we demonstrate our nations’ commitment to reassure our NATO allies,” Reuters reports.
After the jump, neo-Nazi legislators to stand trial in Greece, Another FBI blast at citizen encryption coupled with a shot at China, hackers game the latest online ad tech, cybercam spookery, another corporation found selling our their “secure” devices, an NSA exec’s curious enterprises, an intriguing story about what Greenwald and company haven’t published, “smart meter” hacking, the latest Cold War 2.0 move, more mass grave found as search for Mexican students intensifies and anger rises, an Aussie/Japanese Channel sub deal draws closer, Korean military talks stall, another Korean nuclear threat [from the U.S.], on to Hong Kong as the crackdown intensifies, America responds, and pointless talks are proposed, Taiwan frets over Chinese maritime moves and Japan looks to America for critical help, Japanese lawmakers pay a provocative visit [Abe does it with an offering], and an even more provocative moved aimed at banishing any admission of World War II war guilt. . . Continue reading