From Pacific Standard:
Your Television May Be Watching You More Than You Watch ItVizio, one of the most popular brands on the market, is offering advertisers “highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale.”
From Pacific Standard:
Your Television May Be Watching You More Than You Watch ItVizio, one of the most popular brands on the market, is offering advertisers “highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale.”
Los Angeles has always been one of the bastions of the surveillance state, where all means, fair and foul, were used to investigate and discredit not only criminals but activists who were deemed a threat to the city’s powerful business interests.
Bombs, sex, blackmail, and — quite possibly — murder were tools in the hands of the city’s “Red Squad” and its successors, the Public Disorder Intelligence Division, the Organized Crime Intelligence Division, and the Anti-Terrorist Division.
We have written before about our own journalistic experience with these organizations, as have other journalists, and the record is indeed grim [see this timeline from the Anderson Valley Advertiser for more details].
While a series of lawsuits forced significant reforms in LAPD’s surveillance regime, they have been significantly undone thanks to the political expediency of the “War on Terror.”
From the Laura Flanders Show via Telesur English:
Hamid Khan: The Surveillance-Industrial Complex
Surveillance, spying, and infiltration has a long history in the United States — from the Police Red Squads in the 1880s to the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to today. This week’s guest says The “surveillance-industrial complex” has profound but poorly understood impacts on our political, structural, economic, and cultural lives. Hamid Kahn is the director of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, and serves on the boards of several organizations, including the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Political Research Associates, and Youth Justice Coalition. Also in this episode, we meet the students that forced Columbia University to divest from private prisons. All this, and Laura discusses US government spying on Black Lives Matter movement activists.
In October, 2011, Larry Aubry described one notorious Los Angeles Police surveillance program for readers of his column in the LA Sentinel, a publication serving that city’s African American community:
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Order 11 (SO 11) is the lead model of the National Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) initiative launched in 2008. SO 11 trains and authorizes LAPD officers to gather street level intelligence and information based entirely on “observed behavior.” Such purely, and/or largely subjective and arbitrary police action signals a “surveillance industrial/governmental complex” at the local level. Through SO 11, LAPD and the Department of Homeland Security have established a vague and ambiguous reporting system combined with vague and virtually unlimited authority. SO 11 solidifies a system that normalizes racial profiling and places the brunt of repressive policies on Blacks, other communities of color and immigrants.
SO 11’s fundamental premise is that each and every person is a suspect, hence, a threat to national security. It codifies “suspicious activities” through a LAPD, Suspicious Activities Report (SAR) that documents “any reported or observed activity or criminal act, or attempted criminal act which an officer “believes may reveal a nexus to foreign or domestic terrorism,” which is downright scary.
Here are excerpts from LAPD Special Order on SAR, APPENDIX B: “Information reported in a SAR may be the result of observations or investigations by police officers, or may be reported to them by private parties. Incidents (over 40 listed) which shall be reported on a SAR include the following: “Engages in suspected pre-operational surveillance (used binoculars or cameras, takes measurements, draws diagrams, etc.); appears to engage in counter-surveillance efforts (doubles back, changes appearance, evasive driving, etc.); engages security personnel in questions focusing on sensitive subjects (security information, hours of operation, shift changes, what security cameras film, etc.);
“Takes measurements (counts footsteps, measures building entrances or perimeters, distances between security locations, distances between cameras, etc.; takes pictures of video footage (with no apparent aesthetic value, i.e., camera angles, security equipment, security personnel, traffic lights, building entrances, etc.); in possession of, or solicits, sensitive event schedules (i. e., Staples, Convention Center) ” , etc., etc…….” God forbid!
And Darwin Bond-Graham and Ali Winston wrote about the newest twists in LAPD’s panopticon ambitions for LA Weekly in February 2014:
Los Angeles and Southern California police. . .are expanding their use of surveillance technology such as intelligent video analytics, digital biometric identification and military-pedigree software for analyzing and predicting crime. Information on the identity and movements of millions of Southern California residents is being collected and tracked.
In fact, Los Angeles is emerging as a major laboratory for testing and scaling up new police surveillance technologies. The use of military-grade surveillance tools is migrating from places like Fallujah to neighborhoods including Watts and even low-crime areas of the San Fernando Valley, where surveillance cameras are proliferating like California poppies in spring.
The use of militarized surveillance technology appears to be spreading beyond its initial applications during the mid-2000s in high-crime areas to now target narrow, specific crimes such as auto theft. Now, LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff are monitoring the whereabouts of residents whether they have committed a crime or not. The biggest surveillance net is license plate reading technology that records your car’s plate number as you pass police cruisers equipped with a rooftop camera, or as you drive past street locations where such cameras are mounted.
If history teaches anything, it’s that the forces of repression will exploit any tragedy to augment their own powers. The history of the LAPD offers ample proof.
From Russell Brandom, writing for The Verge:
[W]hichever cameras are used, it’s increasingly clear police will control the footage. In a recent survey of 25 departments with body camera programs, only two made the footage available to individuals filing complaints against the department, and only four had systems to prevent tampering or unauthorized access. There are a number of pending state bills that would clarify policy standards, but it’s unlikely the rules will get any stricter about sharing video. If anything, the current systems will cut off more radical solutions like sharing video outside the police department. “We see that starting to fade,” one camera manufacturer told me, referring to citizen access systems. “The more you bring transparency into the process, the less need there is for that.”
America’s prison and jail inhabitants are being robbed.
Not by fellow inmates [though that surely happens], but by the corporations who own a growing percentage of the telephones inmates use to call family, friends, and their attorneys — contacts essential to their personal and legal well-being.
The charges are often simply extorionate, with charges of $12.59 simply to connect at one Southern California jail, plus another $1.15 for every minute after the connection is made.
This report from RT America’s Lindsay France looks at the scandal:
Brutality behind bars: Private companies profiting on inmate, family communications
Many inmates in the US federal and county prison systems are struggling to keep communicating with family members, and an investigation is showing that telecommunication companies are taking advantage of the ‘Pay-to-play’ systems, forcing people to making expensive phone calls. In the second part of her special report, Lindsay France takes a look at this controversial trend and at how companies are exploiting lax regulations.
But that’s not all.
There’s a far greater scandal brewing, one with raising profound issues of inmate rights and constitutional law.
Prisoners are being robbed of their right to the cornerstone of the American criminal justic system.
From Jordan Smith and Micah Lee for The Intercept:
An enormous cache of phone records obtained by The Intercept reveals a major breach of security at Securus Technologies, a leading provider of phone services inside the nation’s prisons and jails. The materials — leaked via SecureDrop by an anonymous hacker who believes that Securus is violating the constitutional rights of inmates — comprise over 70 million records of phone calls, placed by prisoners to at least 37 states, in addition to links to downloadable recordings of the calls. The calls span a nearly two-and-a-half year period, beginning in December 2011 and ending in the spring of 2014.
Particularly notable within the vast trove of phone records are what appear to be at least 14,000 recorded conversations between inmates and attorneys, a strong indication that at least some of the recordings are likely confidential and privileged legal communications — calls that never should have been recorded in the first place. The recording of legally protected attorney-client communications — and the storage of those recordings — potentially offends constitutional protections, including the right to effective assistance of counsel and of access to the courts.
“This may be the most massive breach of the attorney-client privilege in modern U.S. history, and that’s certainly something to be concerned about,” said David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project. “A lot of prisoner rights are limited because of their conviction and incarceration, but their protection by the attorney-client privilege is not.”
So there you have it.
Inmates are being robbed of their money when the place calls, then, it appears, robbed of their rights when they finally connect with their lawyers.
They ought to be a law.
Oh, wait. There is.
From a 1990 ruling by the federal appellate court’s Ninth Circuit:
The appellate court recognized that while prison administrators are given deference in developing policies to preserve internal order, these policies will not be upheld if they unnecessarily abridge the defendant’s meaningful access to his attorney and the courts. The opportunity to communicate privately with an attorney is an important part of that meaningful access.
From Advertising Age via the Consumer Trap:
Under the radar, Verizon, Sprint, Telefonica and other carriers have partnered with firms including SAP, IBM, HP and AirSage to manage, package and sell various levels of data to marketers and other clients. It’s all part of a push by the world’s largest phone operators to counteract diminishing subscriber growth through new business ventures that tap into the data that showers from consumers’ mobile web surfing, text messaging and phone calls.
[M]arketers and agencies are testing never-before-available data from cellphone carriers that connects device location and other information with telcos’ real-world files on subscribers. Some services offer real-time heat maps showing the neighborhoods where store visitors go home at night, lists the sites they visited on mobile browsers recently and more.
SAP’s Consumer Insight 365 ingests regularly updated data representing as many as 300 cellphone events per day for each of the 20 million to 25 million mobile subscribers. SAP won’t disclose the carriers providing this data. It “tells you where your consumers are coming from, because obviously the mobile operator knows their home location,” said Lori Mitchell-Keller, head of SAP’s global retail industry business unit.
The global market for telco data as a service is potentially worth $24.1 billion this year, on its way to $79 billion in 2020, according to estimates by 451 Research based on a survey of likely customers. “Challenges and constraints” mean operators are scraping just 10% of the possible market right now, though that will rise to 30% by 2020, 451 Research said.
We begin with a positive development, via CNN:
Ferguson police chief resigns, says it’s ‘hard pill to swallow’
Embattled Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned Wednesday, a week after a scathing Justice Department report slammed his department. Jackson and the city “have agreed to a mutual separation,” Ferguson officials announced.
“It’s a really hard pill to swallow,” Jackson said in a text message responding to CNN’s request for comment. He also confirmed his resignation in a letter to Ferguson’s mayor.
“It is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position as chief of police for the city of Ferguson, Missouri,” Jackson said, adding that serving the city as police chief “has been an honor and a privilege.”
From BuzzFeed News, young-uns quick on the trigger:
Younger Police Officers Are More Likely To Shoot People Than Older Ones
Research shows that younger officers are more likely to be involved in shootings, even though age is rarely mentioned as a factor in the aftermath. “It’s a dirty little secret that we’re hiring police officers too young,” a veteran Boston officer said.
The age of an officer is perhaps the least-discussed factor in a fatal encounter with police, and the maturity of an officer rarely comes up in news conferences after an incident. Age wasn’t mentioned in the Justice Department’s deep, 86-page analysis of Brown’s fatal shooting released last week.
Yet research shows that younger officers are more likely to be involved in shootings, and that the risk of shootings declines as officers age. That may be because younger officers are more likely to be working on the street than behind a desk, according to researchers, but it could also be that younger officers are predisposed to react with deadly force.
Unions for the Ferguson Police Department, New York City Police Department, and Cleveland Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.
What’s a little snooping between friends?, via the Guardian:
Australian spy officer was sent to New Zealand to lead new surveillance unit
- New revelations also show NZ’s spy agency, GCSB, had access to NSA program to hack phones and computers of targets in the Asia-Pacific
Australia’s defence intelligence agency sent an officer to work with New Zealand’s spy agency to help them develop their cyber capabilities and lead a new operational unit, new documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal.
On Wednesday the New Zealand Herald and the Intercept published new revelations about the role of New Zealand’s spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) which disclose new details about its role gathering intelligence from Vietnam, China, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Pacific nations and other countries.
The disclosures also reveal that the GCSB had access to an NSA program codenamed WARRIORPRIDE used to access phones and computers that “can collect against an Asean target”. A March 2013 report describes New Zealand working towards improving its cyber capabilities to improve detection, discovery of new tools and disruption of the source of intrusions.
From the Verge, flying high to get the downlow:
The CIA helped develop planes that scrape cell phone data
The US may be using cellphone-sniffing planes to find suspects across the world, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. In November, the Journal revealed the US Marshal’s secret program to locate specific fugitive through airplane equipped to mimic cell towers. Flying over an urban area, the planes can pinpoint the location of a single number amid a million or more phones. The new report shows the technology first originated with the CIA, which guided the initial deployment of the planes by the Marshal Service. Furthermore, Journal sources say continues to be used to locate intelligence targets overseas.
If true, the report unveils a powerful weapon in US intelligence efforts abroad, but also reveals a troubling trend of foreign intelligence tools used for domestic law enforcement purposes. The plane-mounted cellphone detector is a potentially ingenious tool for intelligence gathering, but it seems to have moved from CIA intelligence work to domestic fugitive tracking with little to no oversight, a troubling reminder of how easily tools designed for the War on Terror can be put to domestic ends. Electronic privacy advocates have already raised doubt about the practice. “There’s a lot of privacy concerns in something this widespread, and those concerns only increase if we have an intelligence agency coordinating with them,” the EFF’s Andrew Crocker told the Journal.
Norse cops busted for doing what American cops — and spooks — do routinely, via TheLocal.no:
Norway police broke law with fake base stations
Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) persistently violated the law as it established a network of fake mobile phone base stations across Oslo last year, Norway’s Aftenposten has revealed.
According to the paper, police and PST deliberately ignored a requirement that they should inform the country’s telecoms authority before setting up ‘IMSI catchers’, which mimic mobile base stations, allowing their operators to intercept and eavesdrop on mobile phone calls made nearby.
The newspaper last December identified a series of “fake base stations” outside Norway’s parliament, outside its government headquarters, and outside the residence of the prime minister, using a German CryptoPhone 500 to identify them.
It now appears that many, if not all of the devices, were set up by Norway’s own security services.
From Agence France-Presse, a Dutch metadata and email collection defeat:
Dutch court nixes data storage law, says privacy breached
A Dutch court on Wednesday struck down a law requiring telecoms and Internet service providers to store their clients’ private phone and email data, saying it breached European privacy rules.
“The judge ruled that data retention is necessary and effective to combat serious crime. Dutch legislation however infringes on the individual’s right to privacy and the protection of personal data,” the Hague district court said.
“The law therefore contravenes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,” the court said in a statement. Seven groups and organisations including privacy watchdog Privacy First and the Dutch Association of Journalists dragged the Dutch state to court last month over the issue.
From SecurityWeek, don’t phone it in:
Dropbox Android SDK Flaw Exposes Mobile Users to Attack: IBM
IBM researchers discovered a flaw in Dropbox’s Android SDK which can leave mobile users vulnerable to attack.
The issue was not in the Dropbox service or the mobile app itself, but rather in the company’s SDK that third-party developers include to let users easily connect to their Dropbox files, Michael Montecillo, director of security intelligence at IBM Security, told SecurityWeek.
The vulnerability (CVE-2014-8889) was present in the SDK versions 1.5.4 through 1.5.1.
From the Associated Press, Cold War 2.0 intensifies:
Ukraine’s neighbor Poland to test resilience to attack
Poland will hold an exercise this year to test its resilience to a “crisis” like the conflict in neighboring Ukraine, President Bronislaw Komorowski said Wednesday.
Komorowski spoke to reporters during an annual meeting of army commanders and the defense minister that examines Poland’s defense potential and outlines key security tasks.
He said the nation needs to raise its defense potential in the face of threats, including the armed conflict that involves Poland’s two neighbors, Russia and Ukraine.
More casualties in the Forth Estate, via Fox News Latino:
2 Journalists murdered in Guatemala
Two journalists, one who worked for the daily Prensa Libre and another employed by Radio Nuevo Mundo, were murdered in front of a government office building in Suchitepequez, a province in Guatemala, emergency services officials said.
Danilo Lopez and Federico Salazar were gunned down on Tuesday in the city of Mazatenango’s central park by two individuals riding a motorcycle.
Lopez, a reporter for Prensa Libre, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Salazar, who worked for Radio Nuevo Mundo, died at a hospital in the city.
From RT, the Hexagon at high alert:
France to keep 10,000 troops on streets as terror threat remains high
As the threat of attacks by Islamist extremists remains high in France, President Francois Hollande has decided to continue the deployment of 10,000 troops on the streets across the country.
“The threat of terrorist attack against our country remains high. The head of state has decided to maintain the level of the army on the national territory at 10,000 troops in support of security forces from the Interior Ministry,” Hollande’s office said in a statement after a meeting of senior ministers, AFP reported.
A total of 7,000 troops will be monitoring and protecting religious buildings that are “particularly threatened,” the statement added.
From TheLocal.it, ISIS insanity:
Italian police: ‘Isis flag’ was jacket in tree
Police called to investigate an alleged Isis flag hanging outside an apartment building in Italy made a surprise discovery, finding what they feared may be extremist propaganda was, in fact, a resident’s washing put out to dry.
Police were called to an apartment block in Porto Recanati, on Italy’s eastern coast, after locals raised the alarm that an Isis sympathizer may be within their midst.
The officers searched the building and questioned residents, but were unable to recover the mystery black cloth spotted hanging from a tree next to the apartment block.
On further investigation police discovered that the supposed propaganda tool was nothing more than a jacket, swept into the trees after being hung out to dry, Corriere della Sera reported on Wednesday.
From Agence France-Presse, Britain’s NSA goes all how-to:
UK spies write ‘how to catch a terrorist’ guide
Secrecy is a cornerstone of spycraft, but Britain’s GCHQ communications agency has gone public with a guide on how to catch a “terrorist” as the government calls for increased online snooping powers.
In an apparent effort to make the secret services more transparent, the five-step guide illustrated with the image of an old-school spy in a trenchcoat was published on the monitoring agency’s website.
Entitled “How does an analyst catch a terrorist?”, it takes readers through the ways in which GCHQ analysts identify a suspicious stranger spotted overseas.
Under the scenario, the guide says an MI6 source based overseas spots a leader of the Islamic State group handing a stranger a message containing information “that will cause carnage across London”.
After the jump, the Saudi/Swedish schism widens after a denunciation and an arms deal ended, on to the ISIS battlefront, first with another archaeological assault, ISIS on the brink of losing Tikrit while another city threatens to fall under ISIS guns, America’s top general voices concerns of events after an ISIS collapse, Washington frets over its own anti-Assad forces, hundreds of medics killed in the Syrian conflict, the UN’s plan to send Syrian refugees to northern Europe, and ISIS hacks Japanese websites while Anonymous down an ISIS social network, it’s on the the Boko Haram front and the claim of hundreds slain, France pledges more troops to the effort, and the U.S. backs a U.N. call for a regional anti-Boko Haram command, Indonesian fears of an ISIS insurgency and Indonesia threatens to flood Australia with refugees, Chinese island-building draws a Philippine demand, Japan mulls extending North Korean sanctions, the U.S. Marine commandant frets an Okinawan base relocation, and after Ringling Brothers retires its elephants, the Pentagon ponders using them as bomb detectors. . . Continue reading
We begin with cops, first with the Christian Science Monitor:
From Wisconsin to Georgia, police shooting investigations are changing
In the past three days, three unarmed black men in three cities were shot by police. In two out of three cases, the shootings will be examined by an outside investigator as jurisdictions try to instil greater accountability.
The decision by police in Dekalb County, Ga., to hand an investigation into the officer-related shooting of an unarmed, and naked, black man to the state bureau of investigation is part of a dramatic re-think, amid continuing street protests, of how to adjudicate cases where unarmed civilians die at the hands of US police officers.
Dekalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander tied the decision to investigate the death of Air Force veteran and aspiring R&B singer Anthony Hill to a broader movement toward having independent investigators handle officer-involved shootings, especially in cases where unarmed black men are killed.
The killing of Mr. Hill became the third shooting of an unarmed black man in a span of three days across America. The shootings in Aurora, Colo., Madison, Wisc., and Chamblee, Ga., have put police on guard against another wave of public backlash like the one that swept the US last year in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
More from the New York Times:
Georgia Investigators Look Into Police Shooting of Naked, Unarmed Man
A witness to the fatal police shooting of a naked, unarmed man here said Tuesday that the man had approached the officer with his hands in the air, prompting the frightened officer to shoot at close range with a handgun.
The witness, Pedro Castillo, 43, is a maintenance man at the Heights at Chamblee, the apartment complex northeast of Atlanta where Anthony Hill, 27, was shot and killed Monday afternoon. Mr. Castillo, speaking Spanish, said that Mr. Hill, a black man, had seemed out of sorts. He was naked and on all fours in the parking lot when the police officer, who is white, arrived in his squad car, parking a good distance away. Mr. Castillo said.
When Mr. Hill saw the officer, Mr. Castillo said, he stood up and moved toward him with his hands raised, and the officer, obviously frightened, yelled for him to stop. Mr. Castillo said that he had not seen a scuffle, but that he did see the officer pull out the handgun and shoot Mr. Hill.
And from Al Jazeera America, revenge by hacking:
Cyber attack hits Madison police department after shooting of unarmed teen
- Anonymous, the loose network of hackers, has taken credit for the attack on the Madison PD’s computer systems
Cyber attackers have compromised computer systems at the Madison Police Department in retaliation for the police shooting death of a 19-year-old unarmed black man in the Wisconsin capital city, a police spokesman said Tuesday.
The cyber attack appears to be continuing and could be hitting other city and county websites beyond the police department, said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.
The attack, which began Monday afternoon, was thought to be initiated by Anonymous, an international network of activist computer hackers, in response to the fatal shooting of Tony Robinson by a white Madison police officer on Friday.
On to Ferguson with CNN and a resignation:
Judge resigns, Ferguson cases moved after scathing DOJ report
Ferguson’s municipal judge has resigned and the city’s court cases are getting moved after the U.S. Justice Department said the court discriminated against African-Americans.
“To help restore public trust and confidence in the Ferguson municipal court division, the Supreme Court of Missouri today transferred Judge Roy L. Richter of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, to the St. Louis County Circuit Court, where he will be assigned to hear all of Ferguson’s pending and future municipal division cases,” the Supreme Court said in a statement Monday.
“Extraordinary action is warranted in Ferguson, but the court also is examining reforms that are needed on a statewide basis,” Chief Justice Mary R. Russell said in the statement.
The announcement came the same day Municipal Court Judge Ronald Brockmeyer resigned as Ferguson’s judge.
More from the Guardian:
Ferguson judge behind aggressive fines policy resigns as city’s court system seized
- Ronald J Brockmeyer, accused in a scathing report of aggressively using the municipal court to raise revenue for the city, has stepped down
A scathing report by the Department of Justice last week concluded that Ferguson’s police and court system was blighted by racial bias. Investigators accused Brockmeyer and his court officials of aggressively using the municipal court to raise revenue for the city. The policy is blamed by many for damaging relations between the city’s overwhelmingly white authorities and residents, two-thirds of whom are African American.
Brockmeyer, 70, was singled out by investigators as a driving force behind Ferguson’s strategy of using its municipal court to generate revenues aggressively. Investigators found that Brockmeyer had boasted of creating a range of new court fines, “many of which are widely considered abusive and may be unlawful”.
Ferguson is accused in a class-action federal lawsuit, brought by public defenders and legal non-profits, of imprisoning impoverished residents in the city jail for being unable to pay fines of a few hundred dollars for minor offences. While jailing residents, Brockmeyer owes more than $172,000 in unpaid taxes to the US government, the Guardian disclosed last week. A staff member at Brockmeyer’s law offices in St Charles County did not return a call seeking comment.
And the New York Times covers another quitter:
Ferguson City Manager Cited in Justice Department Report Resigns
The city manager of Ferguson, whom a Department of Justice report blamed for overseeing the financially driven policies that led to widespread discrimination and questionable conduct by the police and the courts here, has agreed to resign. The announcement came during a City Council meeting on Tuesday, about a week after the scathing Justice Department report was released.
The manager, John Shaw, 39, had held the post since 2007. As Ferguson’s chief executive, he was the city’s most powerful official.
Mr. Shaw, who has not spoken publicly since the report was issued, offered a staunch defense in a page-long letter to the community that city officials distributed during the Council meeting.
From the Thomson Reuters Foundation, tackling gender-based murder:
Brazil passes femicide law to tackle rise in gender killings
Brazil, where a woman is killed every two hours, is imposing tougher punishments on those who murder women and girls, as part of a government bid to stem a rise in gender killings.
President Dilma Rousseff said the new law gave a legal definition to the crime of femicide – the killing of a woman by a man because of her gender – and set out jail sentences of 12 to 30 years for convicted offenders.
The law also includes longer jail terms for crimes committed against pregnant women, girls under 14, women over 60 and people with disabilities.
From Der Spiegel, Berlin sounds an alarm over Washington war-mongering:
Breedlove’s Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine
- US President Obama supports Chancellor Merkel’s efforts at finding a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. But hawks in Washington seem determined to torpedo Berlin’s approach. And NATO’s top commander in Europe hasn’t been helping either.
It was quiet in eastern Ukraine last Wednesday. Indeed, it was another quiet day in an extended stretch of relative calm. The battles between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists had largely stopped and heavy weaponry was being withdrawn. The Minsk cease-fire wasn’t holding perfectly, but it was holding.
On that same day, General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again “upped the ante” in eastern Ukraine — with “well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery” having been sent to the Donbass. “What is clear,” Breedlove said, “is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day.”
German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn’t understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn’t the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
A response to other Washington war-mongering, via the Los Angeles Times:
Iran leader says GOP senators’ letter implies U.S. ‘not trustworthy’
Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday said that a letter from 47 Republican senators warning that any agreement on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program must receive congressional approval suggests that the U.S. is “not trustworthy.”
The open letter released Monday also warned Iran’s leaders that the next U.S. president could revoke a deal reached with President Obama.
“This kind of communication is unprecedented and undiplomatic,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, according to a state-run television website. “In fact it implies that the United States is not trustworthy.”
More from the Guardian:
Senate Democrats denounce Republican letter to Iran as call for war
- Republicans’ attempt to ‘sabotage’ negotiations between western nations and Iran could escalate into military response, senators say
Prominent Senate Democrats have accused their Republican rivals of wanting to start a war with Iran on Tuesday, a day after conservative senators penned an open letter to Tehran.
Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer said that the 47 signatories to the letter are trying to “sabotage” talks between western powers and Iran. Boxer described the Republicans’ letter as “bizarre, inappropriate” and a “desperate ploy to scuttle a comprehensive agreement” that she said is “in the best interests of the United States, Israel and the world”.
“It appears that for most of my Republican colleagues in the Senate, a war in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq were not enough,” said Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with the Democratic Party, in a statement. “They now apparently want a war in Iran as well.” The Vermont senator called the letter “an outrage”.
After the jump, a Wikimedia suit targets the NSA, the curious case of the rich Spanish cop, old school terror thwarted in the Emerald Isle, neo-nazis busted in an Austrian xenophobic protest, anger follows a German mayor’s resignation under neo-nazi pressure, Sweden ends a lucrative Saudi arms trade, more French arrests of men linked to a slain terrorist, Spain claims a win over an Islamist attack cell, Iraq pushes ISIS back in Tikrit, The ten-year-old soldiers of ISIS, and an ISIS play in Libya facilitated by chaos, an ISIS announcement of more gay men executed, and a child executes an alleged spy, Chinese ISIS recruits head home to Xinjiang, the curious state of that ISIS/Boko Haram hookup, the Boko Haram campaign heats up with stronger foes and a new Nigeria raid, the CIA’s stealthy spookery to crack the iPhone, the man who makes Edward Snowden’s encryption tool, new software enables capture of Facebook login sites, cell phone records track and keep your every move, Spain’s ubiquitous downloading pirates, a rape documentary banned in India gets a gilded U.S. debut, a free speech protest meets a brutal Myanmar crackdown, China prepares a foreign NGO crackdown, Beijing decries Japanese media Nanjing Massacre revisionism, On to Tokyo and a Shinzo Abe advisor’s plea for a prime ministerial acknowledgment of Japanese WWII aggression, Japan’s military popularity hits an all-time high, and Angela Merkel tells Abe to get straight with South Korea on Comfort Women. . . Continue reading