We begin with demilitarization in a California college town from Sacramento’s KOVR-TV:
Davis City Council Tells Police To Have Plan For Getting Rid Of MRAP Military Vehicle In Next 60 Days
The Davis City Council has told the police department it must get rid of a military vehicle it received in the next 60 days.
The controversy over the mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle attracted a large crowd on Tuesday that was largely against it.
The council adopted the resolution to come up with a plan to get rid of the vehicle. A petition is circulating asking the council to press the police to either get rid of or destroy the vehicle.
From the Washington Post, imitation, flattery, and all that:
Captives held by Islamic State were waterboarded
At least four hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State, including an American journalist who was recently executed by the group, were waterboarded in the early part of their captivity, according to people familiar with the treatment of the kidnapped Westerners.
James Foley was among the four who were waterboarded several times by Islamic State militants who appeared to model the technique on the CIA’s use of waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The victims of waterboarding are often strapped down on gurneys or benches while cold water is poured over a cloth covering their faces; they suffer the sensation of feeling they are drowning. “The wet cloth creates a barrier through which it is difficult — or in some cases not possible — to breathe,” according to a May 2005 Justice Department memo on the CIA’s use of the technique.
From Reuters, an intervention to protect the deep political agenda:
Exclusive: U.S. may use secrets act to stop suit against Iran sanctions group
The U.S. government is considering using a powerful national security law to halt a private lawsuit against a non-profit group, United Against A Nuclear Iran, according to a source familiar with the case.
Greek businessman and ship owner Victor Restis last year sued UANI for defamation after the New York-based group, whose advisors include former intelligence officials from the United States, Europe and Israel, accused him of violating sanctions on Iran by exporting oil from the country.
Earlier this year, U.S. government lawyers declared their interest in the lawsuit, warning that information related to UANI could jeopardize law enforcement activities.
Invasive Indian media demands, via the Guardian:
Indian journalists protest at publisher’s social media demands
- Give us your Facebook and Twitter passwords, says Times of India company
The publisher of the Times of India wants its journalists to convert their personal social media accounts into company ones and, in order to do so, has asked them to reveal their Facebook and Twitter passwords.
Bennett Coleman & Co (BCCL) — India’s largest media conglomerate – was forced to amend its original demands after protests from journalists.
It had told staff they must sign contracts agreeing that management could continue to post updates on their personal accounts even after they had left the company. It also prohibited staff from posting news links on their own accounts.
From The Daily Dot, give the man a job at Comcast:
Iranian Ayatollah condemns high-speed Internet as ‘un-Islamic’
Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, a senior Iranian cleric, believes that high-speed mobile Internet like 3G networks are “un-Islamic” and that they violate “human and moral norms,” Radio Liberty reports.
Shirazi further asserts that Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace should do more to prevent access to “negative features” of the Web like anti-Islamic movies or pornography.
“Authorities should not merely think about the financial earnings of this program, and consider it as a type of religious intellectualism and academic freedom,” Makarem Shirazi wrote on his website.
From the Independent, medium and message:
Graffiti dying out as people vent spleen on Twitter, says top cop
Graffiti and other forms of public vandalism are dying off as people turn to social media to vent their anger instead, the most senior police officer in Scotland has said.
Sir Stephen House, the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, suggested that disaffected members of the public are increasingly using services such as Twitter and Facebook to make angry or abusive comments instead of spray-painting buildings, leading to a decline in recorded vandalism.
“Social media in some instances has replaced graffiti as a way of making your views heard. We have had to deal with offensive comments made on Twitter. My view is that 10 to 15 years ago, that would have been sprayed on the side of a building,” Sir Stephen told a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority.
He cited figures which show that vandalism, fire-raising, malicious damage and related crimes have been falling dramatically in Scotland in recent years. Between April and June this year 13,453 such offences were committed, down nearly eight per cent on the same period in 2013. The figure has more than halved since 2009/10, when it was 28,146.
From the Toronto Globe and Mail, clever, eh?:
Canadian couple detained in China were spies disguised as ‘ordinary citizens’: state media
A Canadian couple detained by Chinese authorities were spies disguised as “ordinary citizens,” according to new information published by China’s state media.
Kevin and Julia Garratt have been accused of stealing Chinese military and national defence research secrets. They were detained Aug. 4, but not formally arrested, and China has offered little information on what they are accused of doing. The Christian couple ran a coffee shop near the border with North Korea, worked to bring humanitarian aid into that secretive country and worked to train North Korean Christians inside China.
Their detention by China’s State Security Bureau has been seen by Canadian authorities as reprisal for the arrest of Su Bin, a Chinese immigrant to Canada suspected of masterminding the electronic theft of U.S. fighter jet secrets.
British Columbian dronal angst via CBC News:
Peeping drone ‘an invasion of privacy,’ B.C. homeowner says
- Oak Bay woman says drone was buzzing her home, but police say no laws were broken
A Victoria-area resident says she spotted a drone buzzing around her property, but police say their hands are tied.
Laura Moffett says the man, who was flying the drone in a park across the street, was allegedly trying to peek inside her home in Oak Bay.
“It’s an invasion of privacy. We have a skylight above, and on the weekend I had my nieces and nephews around playing in the pool, and what if he had been doing it then and taking videos?” said Moffet.
But Oak Bay police Sgt. Chris Goudie says the actions weren’t criminal, and police won’t be recommending any charge.
More dronal business from the Atlantic:
Inside Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program
After two years of development, the Silicon Valley company reveals to The Atlantic that it has substantial research effort into building flying robots than can deliver products across a city in a minute or two.
A zipping comes across the sky.
A man named Neil Parfitt is standing in a field on a cattle ranch outside Warwick, Australia. A white vehicle appears above the trees, a tiny plane a bit bigger than a seagull. It glides towards Parfitt, pitches upwards to a vertical position, and hovers near him, a couple hundred feet in the air. From its belly, a package comes tumbling downward, connected by a thin line to the vehicle itself. Right before the delivery hits the ground, it slows, hitting the earth with a tap. The delivery slows, almost imperceptibly, just before it hits the ground, hardly kicking up any dust. A small rectangular module on the end of the line detaches the payload, and ascends back up the vehicle, locking into place beneath the nose. As the wing returns to flying posture and zips back to its launch point half a mile away, Parfitt walks over to the package, opens it up, and extracts some treats for his dogs.
The Australian test flight and 30 others like it conducted in mid-August are the culmination of the first phase of Project Wing, a secret drone program that’s been running for two years at Google X, the company’s whoa-inducing, long-range research lab.
From Network World, the feds are on the case:
FBI, Secret Service studying ‘scope’ of reported bank cyberattacks
A U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman said Wednesday the agency is working with the Secret Service to determine the “scope” of reported cyberattacks against several financial institutions.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Russian hackers struck JPMorgan Chase and another bank earlier this month. A subsequent report in the New York Times said the attacks hit JPMorgan Chase and four other U.S. financial institutions. The Times reported that “gigabytes” of information were stolen, including customer account information.
A JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman did not confirm the attacks, saying that “companies of our size unfortunately experience cyberattacks nearly every day. We have multiple layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.”
From Al Jazeera English, cybercrime in Africa:
Cracking down on cybercrime in Ivory Coast
- Ivory Coast tackles internet fraud scourge, but analysts say criminals continue to outsmart authorities.
The story is the same at almost every internet café in the main Ivorian city of six million inhabitants, with thousands of small and large computer halls for public use, which locals say have been seized by cybercriminals, who spend seven days a week in front of computer screens seeking fast cash.
“You can’t find any cybercafé in Abidjan without these rogues,” says Armand Zadi, founder of Internet pour l’Avenir, or Internet for the Future, an NGO that campaigns against abusive use of the internet in the West African country.
“They have abandoned schooling and believe they can succeed in life through internet scams because they see other young men in town who make money from it and later branch out into legitimate businesses. Our fear is growing that they could become role models for other youths,” he says.
From the Guardian, a secret in peril:
Zuma’s position weakens as he loses battle to keep ‘spy tapes’ under wraps
- Secret recordings were key to dropping of corruption and fraud allegations against the South African president
Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, suffered a court defeat on Thursday that could open the way for more than 700 corruption charges against him to be reinstated.
The decision, after a five-year legal battle, is a setback for Zuma, who is already besieged by criticism over taxpayer-funded upgrades of his private residence and concerns over his health.
South Africa’s supreme court of appeal dismissed Zuma’s bid to block the release of the so-called “spy tapes” containing conversations that were used as grounds to drop fraud and corruption allegations against him shortly before he became president in 2009. The tapes were said to reveal a political conspiracy against Zuma before a crucial African National Congress conference in 2007, where he defeated sitting president Thabo Mbeki in a bitter leadership struggle. They are said to show evidence of collusion between the former heads of an elite police unit and the national prosecuting authority to manipulate the prosecutorial process – though some are sceptical of the claim.
After the jump, the latest from Asia and the Game of Zones, including Aussie insecurity, an Aussie leak, border troubles and hints of an internal crackdown in Pakistan, hints of an Indo/Japanese nuclear deal, a Chinese beatdown and more Sino/American semantic volleys, Japan postures and gets a Chinese lecture, Chinese TV gets tough on Japanese history, a Japanese crackdown on dissent and an insular buildup, a consequences of a leak on Taiwan. . . Continue reading