Category Archives: Ethnicity

InsecurityWatch: Hyper, hacks, terror, bluster

We begin with the hyperbolic, via the Guardian:

US intelligence chief warns Congress of danger of failing to renew Patriot Act

  • Congress must accept responsibility if ‘untoward incident’ occurs
  • James Clapper also discusses Syria, Russia and North Korea

If Congress fails to renew a controversial provision of the Patriot Act by June, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, says opponents of the bill on Capitol Hill should bear the blame if an otherwise preventable terrorist attack happens afterwards.

In a question-and answer-session at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Clapper reiterated his support for renewing Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the FBI and NSA to collect domestic phone records in bulk, is set to expire on 1 June. He expressed this support strongly and pointed a finger at opponents of the legislation on Capitol Hill. Clapper, America’s top-ranking intelligence official, said if Congress decides not to renew the legislation and an “untoward incident” occurs as a result, he hopes “everyone involved in that decision assumes responsibility” and doesn’t just blame the intelligence community.

However, Clapper did indicate his support for the reforms proposed to Section 215 by Senator Patrick Leahy last year, which shift responsibility for retaining phone records to individual phone companies from the FBI. This proposal failed to receive the needed supermajority in the Senate for a final vote in 2014 on a near party-line vote where 41 Republicans and one Democrat opposed it.

From the Intercept, cognitive dissonance:

Bush White House’s Repeated Torture Denials Led CIA Torturers to Seek Repeated Reassurances

The Bush administration was so adamant in its public statements against torture that CIA officials repeatedly sought reassurances that the White House officials who had given them permission to torture in the first place hadn’t changed their minds.

In a July 29, 2003, White House meeting that included Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet went so far as to ask the White House “to cease stating that US Government practices were ‘humane’.” He was assured they would.

The memo describing that meeting is one of several documents that were unclassified last year but apparently escaped widespread notice until now. Georgetown Law Professor David Cole called attention to the trove of documents on the Just Security blog.

The documents were apparently posted in December at, a website formed by a group of former senior intelligence officials to rebut the newly released Senate report that documented the horrors that CIA officers inflicted upon detainees and the lies about those tactics’ effectiveness that they told their superiors, would-be overseers and the public.

VICE News reminds:

Violence Caused by Far-Right Extremists Has Surpassed That Caused by Domestic Jihadists, Study Says

Since the September 11 attacks, the notion of terrorism has looked somewhat one-dimensional in United States public discourse, with the majority of Americans coming to think of political violence as the acts of organized, foreign groups — from al Qaeda in the early 2000s to Islamic State (IS) today.

This frequently one-dimensional understanding in the US of terrorism has led both the public and law enforcement to overlook a very different kind of homegrown threat — one posed by antigovernment radicals, white supremacists, and other domestic and far-right ideologues.

In both cases — radical Islamism and far right extremism — a majority of terrorist attacks on US soil have been at the hands of individual “lone wolves” acting outside established groups. But violence caused by far right extremism has surpassed that caused by domestic “jihadis,” according to a study published last month by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

From the Los Angeles Times, no comment needed:

‘Jihadi John’ suspect took anger management classes, says teacher

The British-educated Muslim man now believed to be the notorious Islamic State killer “Jihadi John” reportedly took anger management classes as a student.

A teacher at Mohammed Emwazi’s high school told the BBC he used to get into fights as a teenager and had difficulty keeping his emotions in check.

“We would find that he would get very angry and worked up and it would take him a long time to calm himself down,” the teacher said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security sake, according to the BBC. “We did a lot of work as a school to help him with his anger and to control his emotions and it seemed to work.”

From the London Daily Mail, conclusion about biased cops behaving badly:

‘Racially biased’ Ferguson police sent emails laughing at black people and ticketed African Americans to make money before Michael Brown shooting, Justice Department report to reveal

  • Justice Department report due to be released later this week
  • Will find some white officials targeted black people in Ferguson, Missouri
  • Traffic tickets were used to boost police department’s coffers, officials say
  • Will also feature a racist joke circulated by officers via email
  • Expected to say attitude was ‘avoidable’ and created racial tension
  • Reached a climax when Michael Brown was fatally shot in August 2014

From the Associated Press, Attica! Attica!:

3 Attica guards plead guilty as assault trial about to begin

Three Attica prison guards charged with beating a jewelry thief until bones in his face and legs broke in 2011 pleaded guilty Monday in an agreement that will spare them jail time.

Keith Swack, Sean Warner and Matthew Rademacher admitted to misdemeanor charges of official misconduct as jury selection was about to begin for their trial in Wyoming County Court.

The guards, who had been suspended without pay since 2011, were given conditional discharges and agreed to resign.

“This is the first time in New York state history that a correction officer has been prosecuted and pleaded guilty to committing an unauthorized violent act to an inmate while on duty,” Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen said at a news conference.

A corporate media hack in Canada, via SecurityWeek:

Rogers Says Hackers Accessed Small Number of Business Accounts

A hacker group called TeamHans has leaked hundreds of megabytes of data allegedly stolen from the systems of Canadian communications and media company Rogers.

According to, the attackers leaked sensitive corporate information such as contracts, emails, documents, and even VPN data. TeamHans said it gained access to the information on February 20 after tricking support staff into changing the password for an employee’s email account.

The information found in the targeted employee’s email account led TeamHans to an online tool used by Rogers to manage contracts.

Hackable Microsoftness from SecurityWeek:

Internet Explorer Exploit Added to Angler Kit: FireEye

Hackers have modified an exploit for a vulnerability in Internet Explorer fixed last October and added it to a notorious exploit kit.

The vulnerability is a use-after-free issue patched in MS14-056, which fixed a total of 14 IE bugs altogether. According to FireEye Staff Research Scientist Dan Caselden, the exploit has been added to the Angler exploit kit. Angler is often associated with exploits for Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight.

“The Angler Exploit Kit (EK) recently implemented a modified version of k33nteam’s exploit targeting the same patched vulnerability,” Caselden blogged. “This is interesting because it is the first instance we’ve seen of an attack in the wild targeting IE deployments that are using Microsoft’s new MEMPROTECT mitigations. It shows that exploit authors are still interested in attacking IE.”

MEMPROTECT (Memory Protector) was introduced by Microsoft in July to make it difficult for hackers to execute use-after-free attacks. While the mitigations are not unbeatable, they increased the difficulty for exploit authors developing new IE exploits as evidenced by the absence of new IE exploits discovered in the wild, Caselden blogged.

Beheadings and burnings as bad fund-raising PR, via the London Telegraph:

Donations dry up for Islamic State, says US spy chief

  • Brutal beheadings have shocked Middle East and many donors have withdrawn support

Donations to Islamic State jihadists have dramatically declined in the wake of brutal executions by the group that have shocked public opinion in the Middle East, the chief of US intelligence said Monday.

“I think there is change afoot in the Mideast,” said James Clapper, director of national intelligence, referring to perceptions of the IS group in the region.

“It’s not going to occur overnight. But I think these brutalities, publicized brutalities by ISIL (IS), beheadings, immolation and the like, have really had a galvanising effect even in the Mideast,” Clapper said at an event in New York organized by the Council on Foreign Relations.

As a result, donations to the extremists in Islamic countries were dropping off, according to Clapper. “There’s been a big decline,” he said.

From the New York Times, Clintonism at work:

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

After the jump, Isis threatens Twitter over blocks, the battle for Tikrit commences, more Aussie troops on the way, Saudi terrorist prisons a suite deal, Pakistan stages an Afghan mass expulsion, an ominous North Korean hint to Washington’s master spy, Pyongyang fires off demonstrative missiles, A Red Army military crackdown, Shinzo Abe spells out a Japanese foreign military agenda, and allegations of massive U.S. military rapes in Germany as World War II drew to a close. . . Continue reading

InSecurityWatch: Spooks, hacks, war, hysteria

And much more.

We begin with a huge amount of Japanese metadata for spooks to vacuum up, via the Asahi Shimbun:

Survey: High school girls use mobile phones 7 hours daily

Female senior high school students use their smartphones or cellphones an average of seven hours a day, drawn in by a plethora of apps that keep them connected to their friends, a survey showed.

The phone time for the group was an increase from 6.4 hours in a previous study conducted in February 2014, according to the results of the latest survey released by information security company Digital Arts Inc. on Feb. 9.

“As female senior high school students typically put emphasis on communications with their friends, as many as 94.2 percent of them now use the Line (free call and messaging) app,” said Akiko Yoshida, a public relations official of Digital Arts.

From RT, update on a leaker:

Snowden fine, speaks Russian, still single – lawyer

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was given political asylum in Russia after being stranded at a Moscow airport, is adjusting to his new life quite well, his Russian lawyer reports. He has a job, his Russian’s improving and has no plans to leave.

“He is still working for a Russian company. His salary is commensurate with his skill level, so he has no problems making a living,” Anatoly Kucherena told journalists.

The lawyer, who is representing Snowden pro bono, said he wouldn’t reveal details of the American fugitive’s private life, but assured that he is quite happy with his new life in Russia.

The company built by the Washington Post’s new publisher deepens its spooky ties, via Defense One:

The CIA Is Bringing Amazon’s Marketplace to the Intelligence Community

In the coming months, Amazon will launch a separate version of its widely successful commercial cloud marketplace for the intelligence community.

Last year, the Central Intelligence Agency took the 17 agencies within the intelligence community to the cloud through a ground-breaking $600 million contract with Amazon Web Services.

In the next few months, AWS will launch a separate version of its widely successful commercial cloud marketplace for the IC that aims to shake up the way spy agencies purchase software.

On to European xenophobia fails, first from

Pegida sees ‘complete failure’ in Norway

A leading expert on the far-Right has branded the anti-Islamic movement Pegida “a complete failure” in Norway after just 25 people showed up to take part in a march in Oslo on Monday.

“Pegida in Norway has been a complete failure with infighting breaking loose already before the first demonstration,” Tor Bach, editor of Vepsen, a magazine which tracks the far-Right in Norway, told The Local. “The group has gathered less people for each demonstration, ending with 25 people showing up this week.”

Pegida’s Norway head Max Hermansen had hailed the organisation’s first Oslo march, which came shortly after January’s brutal attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, as a record for Norway, with nearly 200 protestors attending, but the numbers attending rallies have dropped consistently.

And a serious Swedish Pegida fail, via

Anti-racists swamp first Pegida rally in Sweden

Sweden’s first rally by the German-inspired anti-Islam movement Pegida in Malmö was dwarfed by a counter-demonstration about a hundred times larger, according to police estimates.

Television images showed a small group of Pegida demonstrators in a cordoned-off area of the southern city’s central square, Stortorget, surrounded by anti-racism protesters.

“There are at least 3,000, most of them counter-demonstrators,” Malmö police spokesman Lars Förstell told news agency AFP, adding that there were about 30 Pegida protesters.

From The Hill, predictable:

Court upholds NSA snooping

A district court in California has issued a ruling in favor of the National Security Agency in a long-running case over the spy agency’s collection of Internet records.

The challenge against the controversial Upstream program was tossed out because additional defense from the government would have required “impermissible disclosure of state secret information,” Judge Jeffrey White wrote in his decision.

Under the program — details of which were revealed through leaks from Edward Snowden and others — the NSA taps into the fiber cables that make up the backbone of the Internet and gathers information about people’s online and phone communications. The agency then filters out communications of U.S. citizens, whose data is protected with legal defenses not extended to foreigners, and searches for “selectors” tied to a terrorist or other target.

In 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the government over the program on behalf of five AT&T customers, who said that the collection violated the constitutional protections to privacy and free speech.

British journalists paid not thought in Britain’s cybersnooping expansion law, via the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

Former GCHQ legal director: Journalists’ communications not considered in RIPA drafting

GCHQ’s former legal director admitted tonight that journalists’ communications with their sources were barely considered when the RIPA snooping law governing how the police and intelligence services can intercept communications data was drafted.

Michael Drury, who was GCHQ’s director of legal affairs between 1996 and 2010, was partly responsible for drafting the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and was heavily involved in lobbying government over the law.

Speaking at an Oxford University seminar on interception and the law in the digital age, Drury said that at the time attention had been focused on privacy rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, rather than the right to freedom of expression under Article 10, which ensures journalists are free to do their job.

“The purpose of the Act was to ensure that interception met Article 8 privacy standards,” he said. “Very little attention was given to Article 10.”

A hack attack, via CBC News:

Newsweek’s Twitter account hacked by group calling itself CyberCaliphate

  • Same group took responsibility for hacking Pentagon accounts last month

Hackers calling themselves “CyberCaliphate” threatened U.S. President Barack Obama and his family when they took control of Newsweek magazine’s Twitter account on Tuesday with the words “Je suIS IS,” a reference to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the deadly attack at French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

The group, which also took responsibility for hacking Pentagon social media accounts last month, tweeted “#CyberCaliphate Bloody Valentine’s Day #MichelleObama! We’re watching you, you girls and your husband!”

The Twitter account showed a head wrapped in a black-and-white scarf next to a banner proclaiming “CyberCaliphate.”

More from CNN:

Newsweek Twitter, others hacked by CyberCaliphate

CyberCaliphate, a group claiming ties to ISIS, appears to have hacked multiple twitter accounts and the breaking news system of a Maryland television station.

The Twitter feeds of Newsweek and veterans’ group Military Spouses of Strength were hacked Tuesday morning by a group identifying itself as CyberCaliphate, the same organization that was confirmed to have hacked the twitter account for U.S. Central Command earlier this year. According to Newsweek,, the website of the International Business Times, was also hacked.

The group posted threatening tweets against First Lady Michelle Obama and others, and photos on the two pages that were similar to the postings on the hacked @CentComm twitter feed.

Anonymous does the reverse, via the Independent:

Operation Isis: Anonymous vows to take down accounts associated with extremist group

Anonymous has vowed fresh attacks against social media accounts affiliated with Isis, warning its supporters: “We will hunt you down and expose you.”

The hacking collective’s latest post comes after it “declared war” on jihadist websites and social networks in response to the Charlie Hebdo shooting massacre in January.

The group claimed it has disabled some Twitter and Facebook accounts used by Isis supporters.

An update from TechWorm:

OpISIS; Anonymous takes down 1800 Twitter accounts & 12 Facebook pages of ISIS supporters

  • Anonymous fulfill their promise of taking down ISIS supporters across cyber world

The hacktivist collective Anonymous has claimed victory in its fight against the terrorists by taking down as many as 1800 Twitter accounts and 50 Facebook pages belonging to various supporters of ISIS. Anonymous had announced the fight against ISIS and its cyber backers through a concerted campaign called #OpISIS last month.  The OpISIS was announced after the brutal killings of 12 people in Charlie Hebdo office in Paris.

In a new video posted on YouTube, Anonymous has warned of further action against the ISIS and their supporters.  It grandly stated that “You will be treated like a virus, and we are the cure. We own the Internet.”

In a paste on Pastebin, the hacker collective listed nearly 800 Twitter accounts, 12 Facebook pages and over 50 email addresses that it said were attacked because of their suspected ties to ISIS.

Here’s the video, via Maj Houl:

Anonymous- #OpISIS Continues…

From MintPress News, a double standard:

Israel Threatens Int’l Criminal Court With Retribution If War Crime Investigations Continue

From forcing the resignation of the head of the U.N. inquiry into Operation Protective Edge to calling for cuts to funding, Israel is pulling out all the stops to prevent the International Criminal Court from investigating war crimes allegations stacking up against it.

Israel is pulling out all the stops to prevent an examination by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in the Netherlands into alleged war crimes committed during its offensive on Gaza last summer that left over 2,300 dead and over 500,000 people homeless.

In an interview with Israel Radio last month, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “We will demand of our friends in Canada, in Australia and in Germany simply to stop funding it [the court].”

Since Jan. 16, when Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the ICC, opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine, Israel has forced the resignation of the head of the United Nations inquiry into Operation Protective Edge and called on members of the tribunal to cut funding to the court.

After the jump, how Washington inadvertently cyberarmed Iran, federal Twitterpation acquisition, allegations of deeper motives in a Chinese hack attack, Brazilian cybercrime expands, a WhatsApp hacking tool evades security, the ransomware cancer metastasizes, on to the Mideastern battlefront as boots draw closer to ground, ISIS withdrawal reveals mass graves, Yazidis take reprisals, an ISIS hostage assumes a media role, a German rapper-turned-ISIS-fighter named to Washington’s terrorist list, Niger dispatches troops to battle Boko Haram, Miss Universe departs for a peace mediation in Havana and FARC announces plans to transform from army to unarmed party, on to the Asian Game of Zones and Malaysian response to Chinese island militarization, Aussies offer Washington permanent naval basing, U.S. scholars blast Japanese “Comfort Women” denialism, A reporter files a “Comfort Women” libel suit, media shamed for letting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to play the ISIS hostage crisis, a state network poll casts a dim light on foreign military rescues, Abe’s historical whitewashing endeavors pose blowback threats, and new revelations about a dark American past. . . Continue reading

EnviroWatch: Outbreaks, climate, water, nukes

We begin with the latest measles numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that:

From January 1 to February 6, 2015, 121 people from 17 states and Washington DC were reported to have measles [AZ (7), CA (88), CO (1), DC (1), DE (1), IL (3), MI (1), MN (1), NE (2), NJ (1), NY (2), NV (2), OR (1), PA (1), SD (2) TX (1), UT (2), WA (4)]*. Most of these cases [103 cases (85%)] are part of a large, ongoing multi-state outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.

The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

The accompanying chart:

BLOG Measles

And here’s their map of the cases definitively linked to the Disneyland epicenter:

BLOG Measles map

From the Atlantic Monthly, a parallel European outbreak:

Why Is Germany So Calm About Its Measles Outbreak?

  • A bigger flare-up of the contagious disease has a different cause—and has prompted a much more placid reaction.

While the Robert Koch Institute says Germany has notched nearly 400 measles cases since October, the outbreak has been linked in part to “asylum seekers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia” rather than “reckless” parents on the West Coast.

Perhaps more importantly, the response to the outbreak in Germany has been considerably more muted. As Rick Noack pointed out, the measles surge “has neither caused a debate about the alleged risks of vaccines nor has the outbreak been featured on front pages.”

There appear to be a number of reasons for the relative calm. The first is that Germany has had its recent share of serious outbreaks, all of which were eventually brought to heel. Following a 2001 outbreak, in which over 6,000 cases were reported in Germany, the World Health Organization later set a goal to eradicate the disease by 2010 as cases dwindled to the hundreds. (Germany’s ongoing flare-up frustrates its plan of ending measles cases within the country by the end of 2015.)

Another reason is that Germany has a pretty steady vaccination rate of 95 percent (the American rate is about 91 percent). Moreover, half of the cases reported in Germany during the past few months are adults who may have fallen into an immunization gap that started in the 1970s. In the place of parents, as Deutsche Welle observes, some blame has fallen on visitors and migrants, who have increasingly become the target of campaigns by anti-immigration groups within the country.

From the Thomson Reuters Foundation, medical exclusion:

HIV-positive migrants denied care at Thai public hospitals

Zaw, an illegal Burmese migrant dying of AIDS-related illnesses, spent a weekend hunched over in waiting rooms at three Thai hospitals near Bangkok – each denying him care as he gasped for breath, his lungs full of fluid.

At a fourth hospital that admitted him, a doctor drove a large-gauge needle between his ribs, draining litres of fluid, but by then the 34-year-old was gravely ill.

Zaw died 40 days later – a death the Bangkok-based HIV Foundation that was helping him says could have been prevented with timely care.

Hospitals across the country are denying insurance and care to migrant labourers like Zaw despite an insurance scheme launched over a year ago, officials and rights advocates say.

And from StarAfrica, countermeasures for an African outbreak honored:

The Gambia bags malaria control award

The Gambia government has been conferred with the 2015 African Leaders Malaria Alliance Award (ALMA), for its excellence effort in the implementation of vector control in the country, thereby recording 95 per cent coverage of vector control, long lasting insecticide nets and residual-spray to effectively reduce the continent’s deadliest disease in the country.

According to a statement from the presidency in Banjul, which was broadcast over the national television channel (GRTS) and published by local newspapers on Monday, the award was handed to the Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy, on behalf of the Gambian leader Yaya Jammeh, at the recently concluded 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The statement revealed that President Jammeh’s sponsored in-door residual-spraying component of the vector control programme in the country, coupled with the monthly environmental cleansing exercise locally known as “set settal”, were the major contributing factors of the significant decline in malaria cases, by “38 per cent within a 5-year period, from a total of 508,846 episodes of clinical malaria reported in the year 2008 to 273,507 in 2013.”

Climate change concerns from the New York Times:

Climate Change Is of Growing Personal Concern to U.S. Hispanics, Poll Finds

Among Hispanic respondents to the poll, 54 percent rated global warming as extremely or very important to them personally, compared with 37 percent of whites. Sixty-seven percent of Hispanics said they would be hurt personally to some degree if nothing was done to reduce global warming, compared with half of whites.

And 63 percent of Hispanics said the federal government should act broadly to address global warming, compared with 49 percent of whites.

To be sure, more Hispanics than whites identify as Democrats, and Democrats are more likely than Republicans and independents to say that the government should fight climate change. In the poll, 48 percent of Hispanics identified as Democrats, 31 percent as independents and 15 percent as Republicans. Among whites, 23 percent identified as Democrats, 41 percent as independents and 27 percent as Republicans.

Over all, the findings of the poll run contrary to a longstanding view in politics that the environment is largely a concern of affluent, white liberals. Experts say that climate change is growing rapidly as a concern for Hispanics, who are likely to be more physically and economically vulnerable to the effects of global warming, such as more extreme droughts and floods, lower crop yields, and hotter temperatures.

A climate change warning from the Express Tribune:

Climate change: Karachi could submerge by 2060, Senate panel told

A top oceanographer issued an eerie warning on Monday about the possible submerging of Karachi and other coastal districts into the sea by 2060, counting the potential damage that environmental changes could inflict on the country.

“Some parts of Karachi’s Malir area have already gone under water while Sindh’s Thatta and Badin districts will also sink into the water by 2050,” Dr Asif Inam, director general of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), told a parliamentary panel.

Dr Inam was briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology, headed by Professor Sajjid Mir. The meeting was called to discuss the escalating threat of sea intrusion along the coasts of Balochistan and Sindh, as well as the post and pre-partition status of islands.

From Science, evidence from an ice core from Peru’s Quelccaya Ice Cap:

Ice core suggests humans damaged atmosphere long before the industrial revolution

For as long as people have been releasing pollution into the atmosphere, ice in Earth’s glaciers has been trapping it. The Quelccaya ice core offers a particularly vivid record of atmospheres past, thanks to the tropics’ annual pattern of wet and dry seasons. The wet season brings snow to Quelccaya, and the dry season brings dust. Once everything gets packed down into the glacier, the alternating seasons show up as stripes of “clean and dusty ice,” explains Paolo Gabrielli, an earth scientist at Ohio State University, Columbus. Anything that’s in the air at the time the snow or dust lands will eventually be trapped inside the glacier.

People were mining and smelting copper in South America as early as 1400 B.C.E., and the Incas introduced the smelting of silver ore (which often contains lead) in the 15th century C.E., explains François De Vleeschouwer, an environmental geochemist at EcoLab in Toulouse, France, who was not involved in the study. Smelting these metals in open furnaces released particles into the atmosphere, where they became part of the precipitation and dust that eventually landed, among other places, on the Quelccaya Ice Cap. Gabrielli’s team found traces of metals, including copper and lead, dating to the pre-Columbian period in the Quelccaya ice core, supporting similar evidence of Incan and pre-Incan emissions from De Vleeschouwer’s study of peat records in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The new paper is the first to quantify precolonial air pollution in South America, showing that the emissions levels “are [high] enough to consider the Incas polluters,” De Vleeschouwer says.

But it wasn’t until the Spanish colonized South America in the 16th century that air pollution really took off, Gabrielli says. The main culprit was probably the gigantic silver mine in Potosí, Bolivia, which exploited the planet’s largest deposit of the precious metal throughout the colonial period—and released unprecedented levels of lead and other metals into the South American atmosphere. Between 1450 C.E. and 1900 C.E., lead levels in the Quelccaya ice core nearly doubled, and the amount of the metal antimony in the ice increased 3.5 times, Gabrielli and his colleagues report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Belated remediation, via the Associated Press:

California pledges changes in protecting underground water

California is proposing sweeping changes in the way it protects underground drinking-water supplies from oil-and-gas operations.

State regulators said Monday that they have notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of their plan for bringing the state back into compliance with federal safe-drinking water laws. That’s after a state review found more than 2,500 times that the state had authorized oil field injections into protected water aquifers.

An Associated Press analysis found that nearly half of those injection wells were approved or began injections in the last four years.

Chief state oil and gas regulator Steve Bohlen says California will be making what he calls “long overdue” changes to ensure oil-and-gas operations aren’t contaminating potential groundwater supplies. A letter sent to the EPA on Friday details the state’s plans for dealing with the mistaken permits and seeking new regulatory changes.

Water preservation, via the Baltimore Sun:

Bill aims to end use of plastic “microbeads” in personal care products

Ever notice blue specks on your toothbrush after brushing your teeth? Some brands of toothpaste contain tiny plastic “microbeads” – as many as 300,000 in a single tube – to give the dental product color. Microbeads also are widely used in face and body washes, among other cosmetic products, to gently exfoliate dead skin.

Now, amid evidence they’re showing up in Maryland rivers and the Chesapeake Bay and concerns they could be harmful to fish as well as human health, a bill has been introduced in Annapolis to phase synthetic plastic microbeads out of personal care products and over-the-counter drugs sold in Maryland.

“The unfortunate part of them is that they enter the water ways – they’re not filtered by [wastewater] filtering systems – and then they enter the bottom of the food chain,” said Del. Dan K. Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat who’s chief sponsor of the measure.

After the jump, Polish farmers protest against GMOs and for land rights, resolving a clash between wind energy and an ancient heritage, the harms of public land privatization demonstrated, a Chinese South China Sea gas bonanza, on to Fukushimapocalypse Now!, first with a waste storage decision, another containment barrier delay, the missing fuel hunt commences, estimates of radiation release upped again, and China funds six Pakistani reactor plants. . . Continue reading

InSecurityWatch: Spooks, war, hacks, divisions

First, from teleSUR, Latin American perpetrators of a lethal Washington-backed secret purge [previously] face legal retribution:

Latin America’s Mass Murderers to Be Trialed in Italy

Former military chiefs and politicians implicated in the deaths of thousands through Operation Condor will have to face justice.

After decades of impunity, those responsible for the wave of political violence that swept Latin America under the dictatorships of 1970’s and 1980’s will be trialed this week in Rome, Italy.

Formally 33 people have been charged for their links to the operation, which left 50,000 people dead, 30,000 disappeared and 400,000 jailed.

Amongst those killed were 23 Italian citizens, which is why Italy’s justice is now ruling on the case, opened in 1999.

Operation Condor was a coordinated political assassination and persecution plan drafted by the South American military dictatorships, with the help of foreign governments. It sought to eliminate any resistance or political rivals, mostly targeting left-wing groups.

An Iranian fish-or-cut-bait mandate, via Al Jazeera America:

Iran says its time to reach nuclear deal

  • Foreign minister, after meeting with Secretary of State Kerry, says it would be unproductive to extend negotiations

With a deadline approaching to resolve a 12-year standoff over Tehran’s atomic ambitions, Iranian officials on Sunday signaled a willingness to come to an agreement, with Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif telling a gathering of the world’s top diplomats that “this is the opportunity.”

The United States and its five negotiating partners, the other members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, hope to clinch a deal setting long-term limits on Tehran’s enrichment of uranium and other activity that could produce material for use in nuclear weapons.

Negotiators have set a June 30 final deadline for a nuclear deal, and Western officials have said they aim to agree on the substance of such an accord by March.

Taking an Israeli political campaign to Congress disunites, via United Press International:

Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress creating rift in Jewish community

Pro-Israeli leaders have urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his controversial speech to Congress, while some condemn the possibility of a speech boycott.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said it was a “bad idea” for Netanyahu to carry out his speech to Congress so closely to the elections in Israel to be held March 17. The Union for Reform Judaism is one of the largest Jewish organizations in North America.

Other leaders have also called on Netanyahu to cancel his speech, stating the controversy surrounding the speech is becoming a distraction that may take away from the goal of stopping Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.

Our lone drone story, via Nextgov:

Few Privacy Limitations Exist on How Police Use Drones

[T]he Federal Aviation Administration only takes safety into consideration when it grants a law enforcement agency approval to use drones, leaving privacy protections to legislation—which, depending on the state in question, may or may not exist.

Agencies as large as the Michigan State Police and as small as the Grand Forks County [N.D.] Sheriff’s Department have received FAA approval to use drones. Most departments use them for missions like search-and-rescue or for photographing a crime scene or an accident site.

But unless a law enforcement agency is within one of the 14 states that have passed privacy legislation limiting how police can use drones, there’s little in theory keeping it from using a drone for a less innocuous end—such as surveillance without a warrant. “While the federal government retains responsibility for the airspace, under most circumstances a state/local government can impose restrictions on the agencies for which it’s responsible,” an FAA spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Pentagon cyberwarrior recruiting slows, via Nextgov:

Need a Job? Cyber Command Is Halfway Full

The Pentagon is at the midway point of staffing a projected 6,000-person Cyber Command, officials said, amid fears of a catastrophic threat to U.S. networks.

The military appears to be backing away from a long-held goal of establishing a full force by 2016.

Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Nextgov,”We are about halfway through the overall build, in terms of manning for the cyber mission forces and continue to make progress in training and equipping the teams.” She declined to provide a timeline for reaching that size.

Deutsche Welle brings a Turkish tapping takedown:

Turkey launches fresh raids over Erdogan wiretapping case

  • Turkish police have launched a fresh series of raids to round up suspects accused of wiretapping the communications of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The suspects are themselves all police officers.

Turkish media reported on Sunday that the raids had been launched in several cities as a result of 21 arrest warrants issued by the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many of the suspects, all polices officers, had been arrested and prosecutors were not available for comment. However, Turkish television station NTV broadcast footage of several suspects being led away by plain clothes police.

The warrants were issued in connection with a scandal in which wiretap recordings of senior officials were leaked and posted on the Internet, which shook the government in late 2013, while Erdogan was still prime minister.

People’s Daily offer cyber-reassurance:

Cyber security rules won’t close markets

US lobbies represented by the US Chamber of Commerce have recently asked the US government for help over China’s new cyber security regulations, saying they may hurt US firms’ overseas business opportunities.

The Chinese government has not officially published the new rules.

The US information technology firms said they will be forced to hand over source codes and adopt Chinese encryption algorithms when doing business with Chinese banks.

Observers said the US business lobbies meant to press Beijing to change its decision.

The New York Times does hacking foreshadowing:

Data Breach at Anthem May Lead to Others

Medical identity theft has become a booming business, according to security experts, who warn that other health care companies are likely to be targeted as a result of the hackers’ success in penetrating Anthem’s computer systems. Hackers often try one company to test their methods before moving on to others, and criminals are becoming increasingly creative in their use of medical information, experts say.

“The industry has become, over the last three years, a much bigger target,” said Daniel Nutkis, the chief executive of the Health Information Trust Alliance, an industry group that works with health care organizations to improve their data security.

The publicity surrounding the breach, which exposed information on about 80 million people, is already generating phishing email scams, in which criminals posing as legitimate businesses try to persuade people to sign up for bogus credit protection services and provide personal information about themselves.

A feeble turnout foils Slovakian homophobes, via the Independent:

Referendum to entrench gay marriage ban in Slovakia overwhelmingly supported but fails due to low turnout

A referendum which aimed to restrict gay rights was overwhelmingly supported in Slovakia, but failed to become legally binding as the turnout was too low.

Saturday’s poll asked voters if they agreed that marriage can only be a union between a man and a woman; that same-sex partners must be barred from adopting children; and it is for parents to decide whether their children receive sex education.

In response, a clear majority, 95, 92 and 90 per cent of those who voted agreed with the respective statements.

British Muslims stage an anti-Charlie Hebdo protest, via the hugely hyperbolic London Telegraph:

Huge crowd of Muslim protesters picket Downing Street to protest at Charlie Hebdo cartoons

  • The protesters, many of whom were divided into groups of men and women, and included children, gathered just yards from the Cenotaph

At least 1,000 Muslim protesters gathered outside the gates of Downing Street to protest against the depictions of the Prophet Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine.

The protestors, many of whom were divided into groups of men and women, gathered just yards from the Cenotaph which remembers Britain’s war dead, and blocked half of Whitehall as they demonstated.

The protest was organised by the Muslim Action Forum, which said that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons had helped “sow the seeds of hatred” and had damaged community relations.

The alternative Pegida draws a feeble Dresden turnout, via Channel NewsAsia Singapore:

Rival group to Germany’s PEGIDA draws just 500 at first rally

A new German movement that broke away from the anti-Muslim PEGIDA group drew just 500 people to its first rally in the city of Dresden on Sunday, highlighting the obstacles they face in winning further support and making a national impact.

“Direct Democracy for Europe”, led by Kathrin Oertel who was a founding member of PEGIDA but quit last month, wants tighter immigration controls, more referendums to decide policies and more money for the police.

Oertel and four other founding members broke from PEGIDA last month following the resignation of figurehead Lutz Bachmann who quit after a photo was published of him posing as Hitler and prosecutors opened an investigation for inciting hatred.

Pediga in Hitler’s would-be retirement home hits a brick wall, via

Pegida in Linz meets fierce resistance

The first protest in the Austrian city of Linz by Germany’s “anti-Islamization” movement Pegida drew just 150 supporters Sunday and was dwarfed by a counter-demo by some 2,000 people, police said.

A planned Pegida march through the centre of the northern city was abandoned after several hundred counter-demonstrators blocked their way, chanting “Auf Wiedersehen” (“Goodbye”), the Austria Press Agency reported.

During a standoff lasting around an hour a few snowballs were thrown there were no incidents of violence. “There were no arrests,” a police spokesman told AFP.

After the jump, British police make daily ISIS-related arrests, European parents grief-stricken over their ISIS-recruited children, on to the battlefront, with a combatant profile, mixed senatorial messages on boots on the ground, ISIS archaeological annihilation, lethal football violence in Cairo, on to the Boko Haram battlefront, first with a video on fatally divided families in Chad, the miserable plight of Nigerian Boko Haram violence, a young Nobel laureate targeted by fundamentalist hate make a plea on behalf of Boko Haram victims, and a Nigerian poll delay sparks protests, a 15-kilometer human chain protest against Bangladeshi violence, surviving members of a Pakistani school bombing seek recompense, a rally for Pakistani Charlie Hebdo decapitation advocates, North Korea fires off as missile salvo, a China-inspired Asian submarine arms race, partnerships in submarine subterfuge, and pepper-sprayed protesters in Hong Kong, Japan’s prime minister gains for hostage beheadings, his popularity rises, and the government grabs the passport of a would-be war photographer. . . Continue reading

Chart of the day: Changing HIV rates in the U.S.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [click on it to enlarge]:


Map/chart of the day: European Muslims

From the Pew Research Center:

BLOG Euroimuslims

InSecurityWatch: Crackdowns, fears, terror, wars

In other words, three of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. . .

We begin on the bright side with the Oakland Tribune:

Settlement reached in Occupy Oakland mass arrest

The 360 Occupy Oakland protesters who were jailed following a mass arrest outside the YMCA two years ago stand to share a $1.36 million settlement that would resolve the city’s last major Occupy-related lawsuit.

A federal magistrate last week tentatively approved the settlement, which stems from a Jan. 28, 2012, protest march that ended when police quarantined hundreds of marchers outside the fitness center on Broadway between 23rd and 24th streets and then transported them to county jails, according to court papers.

Most of those arrested were taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where they were held in cold, overcrowded cells, denied hygiene products and subjected to inadequate sanitary facilities, according to the lawsuit. Protesters were imprisoned for 12 to 85 hours. None of them was charged.

“OPD can’t arrest everybody in a crowd just because they don’t want (them) to march anymore,” said Yolanda Huang, an attorney for the protesters. “You can only arrest someone if you see that they are committing a crime. That is the premise of our law.”

Another bright spot, at least for such as esnl and other not-so-ink-stained wretches, via the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

Justice Department expands protections for reporters

Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday expanded protections for journalists, setting new standards that federal prosecutors must meet before seeking subpoenas or search warrants covering media professionals.

Prosecutors must consult with the department’s Policy and Statutory Enforcement Unit before taking steps that include issuing a subpoena to a member of the news media, using a subpoena or court order to obtain records concerning a member of the media, or questioning, arresting or charging a member of the media for actions arising out of “newsgathering activities.”

A significant change praised by media representatives was to drop the word “ordinary” from the phrase “newsgathering activities.”

From ABC News, here we go:

Ohio Man Arrested for Alleged ISIS-Inspired Plot on US Capitol, FBI Says

The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an ISIS-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.

Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, of Green Township, was arrested today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official, authorities said.

According to government documents, he allegedly planned to detonate pipe bombs at the national landmark and open fire on any employees and officials fleeing after the explosions.

The FBI first noticed Cornell several months ago after an informant notified the agency that Cornell was allegedly voicing support for violent “jihad” on Twitter accounts under the alias “Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah,” according to charging documents. In addition, Cornell allegedly posted statements, videos and other content expressing support for ISIS — the brutal terrorist group also known as ISIL — that is wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, via the Los Angeles Times:

Senior Al Qaeda leader in Yemen claims responsibility for Paris attack

Hailing the gunmen who carried out last week’s attack on a French satirical magazine as “heroes of Islam,” a senior commander of Yemen’s branch of Al Qaeda declared Wednesday in an online video that the group had organized and financed the deadly strike.

The claim of responsibility by Nasr Ansi came in a nearly 12-minute video that surfaced one week after the assault on the Paris editorial offices of the weekly Charlie Hebdo, a publication known for lampooning religions of all stripes. The SITE intelligence group, which tracks jihadist activity, said the video, produced by an Al Qaeda media arm, was originally posted on Twitter.

Yemen’s branch of Al Qaeda, considered one of the terrorist network’s most dangerous franchises, had previously praised the attack, but stopped short of claiming to have been behind it. In the video, Ansi explicitly states that the Yemen group, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, “chose the target, laid out the plan and financed the operation.”

Xinhua covers a judgment:

Al-Qaeda video claiming responsibility for Charlie Hebdo attacks “authentic”: U.S.

An Al-Qaeda video claiming responsibility for last week’s bloodshed at the French satirical newspaper was “authentic”, but U.S. officials were cautious about holding the terrorist organization responsible for the attack, a State Department spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“The (U.S.) intelligence community has now determined that the AQAP video is authentic,” said spokeswoman Marie Harf, adding that officials were still determining if the claim of responsibility was true.

“We hold the attackers responsible for the attacks clearly,” said Harf. “We’re still trying to get complete fidelity in the exact links.”

The New York Times covers a reboot:

Europe Focuses on Emerging Threats From Smaller Crews of Terrorists

The horrors of the Paris shootings, after similar assaults recently by gunmen in Canada and Australia, have underscored for European leaders the need to find ways to blunt an emerging new element of terrorism: the lone actor, or small group of actors, whose plans are hard to detect.

There continue to be threats of carefully orchestrated raids by large terrorist groups, started and planned from abroad, like the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and the bombings in Britain on July 7, 2005. In part because of the success of international intelligence agencies in detecting such complicated plots, however, there has been a sharp increase throughout Europe in what Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain this week called “a sort of roving firearms terrorist attack.”

These acts do less damage and kill fewer people than large-scale attacks, but they inspire significant fear and create high-profile propaganda that helps recruitment and fund-raising for affiliated extremist groups. Media-conscious militants now often wear GoPro cameras to create high-quality videos that can be shown online.

From Deutsche Welle, a crackdown coming in Germany:

Germany closer to confiscating Islamist IDs

The German cabinet has agreed on a plan for issuing replacement ID cards to potentially dangerous Islamists. The regular IDs of such individuals could then be taken away for up to three years.

Answering questions on the cabinet meeting in the Bundestag on Wednesday, Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that while the plan wouldn’t put a complete stop to travels by German islamists, it would certainly lower the number of departures by making it more difficult to leave the country.

“In the situation we’re in right now, effective measures that reduce the problem and not completely solve it are still sorely needed,” de Maiziere emphasized.

Without a regular ID, extremists cannot leave the country to fight alongside “Islamic State” (IS) militants in Syria or Iraq. When they return, trained in war and terrorism, these fighters pose a great potential threat to Germany.

And hints of tightening in Austria, from

FPÖ wants to ‘intern’ suspected jihadists

Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) has said that anybody who returns to Austria after suspected involvement with the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist militia should be “interned” and have their citizenship revoked.

FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache and general secretary Herbert Kickl made the comments on Tuesday – with Kickl adding that suspects would have to prove themselves that they had not been fighting with Isis if they wanted to avoid being interned.

There has been much discussion in Austria on boosting security in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris last week by Islamist gunmen.

Strache said that more than 60 suspected jihadists have already returned from Austria after fighting in Iraq and Syria and that they are “ticking time bombs”. Kickl added that internment would protect the public and said

El País covers the coming Spanish construction:

PP and PSOE to draft joint terror law

  • Paris attacks underscore need to update existing legislation to address new jihadist threat

Until now, Spain’s terrorism legislation had been aimed at fighting organized groups such as ETA, the Basque separatist organization that announced a permanent cessation of activities in 2011 after over 40 years of violence.

The new law will address the issue of lone-wolf terrorists and punish the recruitment and training of future combatants. This would make it possible to jail individuals who travel for jihadist training to countries such as Yemen or Syria.

Jihadist recruiters are active on Spanish soil, especially in the exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern coast of Africa, which are surrounded by Moroccan territory.

Intelligence services are also concerned about online videos in which known jihadists call for the reconquest of Al-Andalus, the name given to the parts of Spain and Portugal that were under Arab rule in medieval times. covers the French panopticon’s coming enhancement:

France to beef up its surveillance powers

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said that France is now engaged in a “war on terrorism”, announcing plans to ramp up intelligence capabilities, aimed at amending the faults that lead to the country’s “clear failings” over the Paris terror attacks.

Valls gave a rousing speech to the French Parliament on Tuesday, in the lawmakers’ first session since 17 people were killed in Paris in what have been dubbed as the worst terror attacks in recent times.

His proposals included beefing up surveillance of imprisoned radicals, speeding up current laws when it comes to searching suspects’ homes or wiretapping their phones, and a closer look at how to fight the rise in social media in terrorist recruitment.

“I have asked the Interior Minister to send me some propositions to strengthen our powers in the next eight days,” he said. “They should relate to internet and social networks, used more and more for recruitment and indoctrination, putting people in contact, and learning of techniques that allow them to act.”

And then there’s this from the Associated Press:

France arrests 54 in hate-speech, anti-Semitism crackdown

France ordered prosecutors around the country Wednesday to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism, announcing that 54 people had been arrested for those offences since the Paris terror attacks.

The order came as Charlie Hebdo’s defiant new issue sold out before dawn around Paris, with scuffles at kiosks over dwindling copies of the satirical newspaper fronting the Prophet Mohammed.

Like many European countries, France has strong laws against hate speech and especially anti-Semitism in the wake of the Holocaust. In a message distributed to all French prosecutors and judges, the Justice Ministry laid out the legal basis for rounding up those who defend the Paris terror attacks as well as those responsible for racist or anti-Semitic words or acts.

BBC News covers the most prominent and controversial arrest:

Paris attacks: Dieudonne held as France tackles hate speech

Controversial French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala has been detained by police for a Facebook comment appearing to back Paris gunman Amedy Coulibaly. His is one of dozens of cases opened by authorities in a crackdown on condoning or threatening terrorism.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said words of hatred and contempt had to be fought with the “utmost vigour”. Dieudonne already has convictions for inciting anti-Semitism and the courts banned several one-man shows last year.

Hours after 3.7 million people took part in rallies across France on Sunday, with the biggest in the centre of Paris, Dieudonne said on his Facebook page that the “historic” march had been as magical as the Big Bang that had created the universe.

“I’m finally going home,” he wrote. “Know that this evening, as far as I’m concerned, I’m feeling like Charlie Coulibaly [French: je me sens Charlie Coulibaly].”

And in Germany, via the Independent:

Pegida movement’s marches attract thousands as hatred of Islam and immigrants sweeps across Germany in the wake of Paris attacks

The controversial anti-Islamic Pegida movement and terror attacks in neighbouring France have polarised Germany, bringing thousands on to the streets in protest against racism and in support of press freedom. But there are disturbing signs that anti-immigrant xenophobia is on the increase.

An estimated 100,000 people took to the streets across Germany on Monday to show their support for the victims of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and to condemn intolerance. But the anti-Islamic Pegida movement rallied a record 25,000 supporters in Dresden and there are to be more Pegida marches in Cologne.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s President Joachim Gauck have been among the first to condemn the Charlie Hebdo attacks outright and dismiss Pegida – which stands for “Patriotic Europeans against Islamisation of the Occident” – as a movement followed by those with “hatred in their hearts”.

Deutsche Welle offers nuance:

PEGIDA a vehicle for discontent, fear of Islamization secondary

Protesters in the anti-Islamization movement PEGIDA are mostly dissatisfied with politics and elites in general, rather than specifically worried about Islamization, according to a survey.

The typical PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) demonstrator is male, in his late forties, educated with an above-average salary and hails from the eastern state of Saxony, according to a survey among PEGIDA protesters carried out by the Technical University of Dresden, the city where the movement started.

Around 400 people were surveyed at the end of December, although roughly 65 percent of PEGIDA protesters refused to take part.

Those who did take part mostly said that the demonstrations were “first and foremost an opportunity to express deep-seated but hitherto unarticulated resentment and discontent with the political and other elites,” according to Hans Vorländer, who headed the study.

And from the Atlantic, resurrection of fascist semantics in Germany:

The ‘Worst’ German Word of the Year

What the return of Lügenpresse, a Nazi-era phrase, says about political developments in Germany and Europe

On Tuesday, a panel of linguists in Germany declared Lügenpresse the dubious winner in the annual “Unwort des Jahres” competition. The annual, politically charged “non-word of the year” event critiques phrases that have taken on a pernicious meaning in the country over the course of a given year.

The coronation of Lügenpresse represents a troubling trend. The Nazi-era phrase, which means “lying press,” has become something of a watchword among Germany’s increasingly vociferous anti-immigrant (and largely anti-Muslim) activists. In recent months, these demonstrators have called on the media to “tell the truth” about what immigrants are doing to Germany.

Other recent winners include Sozialtourismus (“social tourism”), which in a certain context also relates to immigrants who come to Germany to indulge in state benefits, and Döner-Morde (Döner murder), which dismissively refers to murders of Turkish and Greek people. (For a compelling contrast, consider that just last week, the American Dialect Society named #blacklivesmatter as 2014’s word of the year—the first time a hashtag has won.)

After the jump, psychic costs of the ISIS hack of military account, and a Tweet announces a Canadian ISIS recruit’s death, a Pirate Party hacker captures Swedish secrets, a virulent piece of ransonware stages a comeback, the Zombie Cookie that can’t be killed, anti-Islamic ads back on Bay Area buses, France readies a Syrian war escalation, the CIA absolves itself of Senate computer misconduct, did a CIA double agent steals Germany’s spy list?, Britain’s domestic spookshop gets a gay thumbs up, trigger-happy Brazilian cops emerge as a political power, A look at Nigeria’s bloody Boko Haram ground zero, AfriLeaks created to like whistleblowers and reporters, a South Korean activist busted for praising the North, Japan’s foreign ministry challenges a U.S. textbook’s Comfort Women section and complains over the Chinese Prime Minister’s Nanjing Massacre speech, Japan’s prime minister wins a record defense budget a boosts forces for a possible island war and China complains, and Abe’s budget punishes Okinawa for electing its governor, plus a ban on Tanzania’s albino-killing shamans. . . Continue reading