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State photo-ID databases become troves for police

June 17, 2013 by legitgov

State photo-ID databases become troves for police --The most widely used systems were honed on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as soldiers sought to identify insurgents. 16 Jun 2013 The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver's-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations. The facial databases have grown rapidly in recent years and generally operate with few legal safeguards beyond the requirement that searches are conducted for "law enforcement purposes." Amid rising concern about the National Security Agency's high-tech surveillance aimed at foreigners, it is these state-level facial-recognition programs that more typically involve American citizens.

GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians' communications at G20 summits

June 17, 2013 by legitgov

GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians' communications at G20 summits 16 Jun 2013 Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic. The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday -- for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.

Colorado sheriff: Wildfire damage like 'nuclear blast'

June 17, 2013 by legitgov

Colorado sheriff: Wildfire damage like 'nuclear blast' 15 Jun 2013 Firefighters on the front lines of the most destructive fire in Colorado history continued to hold the massive blaze in check Saturday, as thousands of anxious residents waited to be allowed back to their homes. Firefighting officials said about 45% of the fire just outside Colorado Springs had been contained by Saturday, up from 30% Friday. Additional evacuation orders weren't immediately lifted by 2 p.m. Saturday, and law enforcement officials continued manning checkpoints around the blaze, which has destroyed nearly 500 homes.

U.S. 'backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad'

June 17, 2013 by legitgov

U.S. 'backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad' --Leaked emails from defense contractor refers to chemical weapons saying 'the idea is approved by Washington' 29 Jan 2013 Leaked emails have allegedly proved that the White House gave the green light to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that could be blamed on Assad's government and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country. A report released on Monday contains an email exchange between two senior officials at British-based contractor Britam Defence where a scheme 'approved by Washington' is outlined explaining that Qatar would fund rebel forces in Syria to use chemical weapons.

Plane carrying George W. Bush diverted after smell of smoke

June 16, 2013 by legitgov

Plane carrying George W. Bush diverted after smell of smoke 16 Jun 2013 A plane carrying former President [sic] George W. Bush was diverted to Louisville on Saturday night after the pilot reported the smell of smoke. The Gulfstream IV aircraft was traveling from Philadelphia International to Dallas Love Field airports when the pilot reported the smell of smoke in the cockpit, said Holly Baker, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Israel Official: Iran Sanctions Must Be Tightened

June 16, 2013 by legitgov

Israel Official: Iran Sanctions Must Be Tightened 16 Jun 2013 A senior Israeli official says international sanctions are still needed to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program, despite the election of a reformist-backed president. Yuval Steinitz, Israel's minister of intelligence and strategic affairs, said Sunday that there won't be any change on Iran's nuclear policy since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei still runs the country. Steinitz is responsible for monitoring Iran's nuclear program. [How about sanctions over Israel's nuclear program?]

Iran will send 4,000 troops to aid Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria

June 16, 2013 by legitgov

Iran will send 4,000 troops to aid Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria 16 Jun 2013 The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran - even before last week's presidential election - to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad's forces against the largely Sunni [CIA-backed] rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.  Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad's government, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic's security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.

Russia slams US talks of imposing no-fly zone on Syria

June 16, 2013 by legitgov

Russia slams US talks of imposing no-fly zone on Syria 16 Jun 2013 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned against any effort by the United States and its allies to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, saying the move would be a 'violation of international law.' "You don't have to be a great expert to understand that this will still violate international law, and we really hope that our American colleagues will align their actions in accordance with the approach of the Russian-American initiative in preparation for the conference (on Syria)," Lavrov said on Saturday. The Russian foreign minister was referring to Western media reports that US F-16 warplanes and Patriot anti-aircraft missiles in Jordan might be used in creating a no-fly zone over Syria to suppress the Syrian government forces fighting the foreign-backed Takfiri militants in the country.

Rohani becomes Iran's new president

June 16, 2013 by legitgov

Rohani becomes Iran's new president 15 Jun 2013 Hassan Rohani has won Iran's 11th presidential election following a vote that saw a massive popular turnout on June 14. Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar announced on Saturday that of a total of 36,704,156 valid ballots counted, Rohani won 50.70 percent of the ballots with 18,613,329 votes. Principlist candidate Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf came in behind Rohani by a wide margin, winning 6,077,292 votes.

U.S. to keep F-16s and Patriot missiles in Jordan, fuels Russian fear of Syria no-fly zone

June 16, 2013 by legitgov

U.S. to keep F-16s and Patriot missiles in Jordan, fuels Russian fear of Syria no-fly zone 15 Jun 2013 The United States said on Saturday it would keep F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles in Jordan at Amman's request, and Russia bristled at the possibility they could be used to enforce a no-fly zone inside Syria. Washington, which has long called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, pledged military support to Syrian rebels this week, citing what it said was the Syrian military's use of chemical weapons - an allegation Damascus has denied. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved a Jordanian request for American F-16s and Patriot missiles to remain in the Western-backed kingdom after a joint military exercise there next week, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Secret Court Ruling Put Tech Companies in Data Bind

June 16, 2013 by legitgov

Secret Court Ruling Put Tech Companies in Data Bind 14 Jun 2013 In a secret court in Washington, Yahoo's top lawyers made their case. The government had sought help in spying on certain foreign users, without a warrant, and Yahoo had refused, saying the broad requests were unconstitutional. The judges disagreed. That left Yahoo two choices: Hand over the data or break the law. So Yahoo became part of the National Security Agency's secret Internet surveillance program, Prism, according to leaked N.S.A. documents, as did seven other Internet companies.

No-Confidence in NYU President - Faculty Vote

June 16, 2013 by legitgov

No-Confidence in NYU President - Faculty Vote 03 Jun 2013 At 6 PM on Friday, March 15, the online poll for the NYU Faculty of Arts and Science vote of no-confidence against President John Sexton closed. At 6:09 PM, the results were announced: of the 682 eligible full-time tenured and tenure-track professors, 569 had voted; 298 in favor of a declaration of no-confidence and 224 in favor of Sexton, with 47 abstaining. It was the highest-profile vote against a university president since Larry Summers was forced out of Harvard in 2006, and that was not its only significance: it was also one of the first major acts of faculty opposition to the top-down, corporate model of university governance that has been gaining prominence for the last four decades.

US House defence bill blocks Obama's plan to close Guantanamo Bay prison

June 15, 2013 by legitgov

US House defence bill blocks Obama's plan to close Guantánamo Bay prison --Republican-controlled chamber also limits president's attempt to reduce nuclear weapons in version at odds with Senate bill 14 Jun 2013 The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a sweeping, $638bn defence bill that would block President Barack Obama from closing the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, and limit his efforts to reduce nuclear weapons. Ignoring a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House voted 315-108 for the legislation -- which also authorises money for aircraft, weapons, ships, personnel and the war in Afghanistan. The House voted down an amendment to close the naval detention centre by 31 December 2014 by 249 votes to 174. It also backed an amendment - by 236 to 188 - to stop the president from transferring any detainees to Yemen.

Chemical weapons experts still skeptical about U.S. claim that Syria used sarin

June 15, 2013 by legitgov

Chemical weapons experts still skeptical about U.S. claim that Syria used sarin 14 Jun 2013 Chemical weapons experts voiced skepticism Friday about U.S. claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used the nerve agent sarin against rebels on at least four occasions this spring, saying that while the use of such a weapon is always possible, they've yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny. "It's not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn't bark," said Jean Pascal Zanders, a leading expert on chemical weapons who until recently was a senior research fellow at the European Union's Institute for Security Studies. "It's not just that we can't prove a sarin attack, it's that we're not seeing what we would expect to see from a sarin attack." Foremost among those missing items, Zanders said, are cellphone photos and videos of the attacks or the immediate aftermath.

CIA to use secret bases to arm 'rebels'

June 15, 2013 by legitgov

CIA to use secret bases to arm 'rebels' 14 Jun 2013 The CIA is preparing to deliver arms to rebel terrorist groups in Syria through clandestine bases in Turkey and Jordan that were expanded over the past year in an effort to establish reliable supply routes into the country for nonlethal material, U.S. officials said. The bases are expected to begin conveying limited shipments of weapons and ammunition within weeks, officials said, serving as critical nodes for an escalation of U.S. involvement in a civil war that has lately seen a shift in momentum toward the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Within the past year, the CIA also created a new office at its headquarters in Langley to oversee its expanding operational role in Syria.

Decision to arm Syrian 'rebels' was reached weeks ago, U.S. officials say

June 15, 2013 by legitgov

Decision to arm Syrian 'rebels' was reached weeks ago, U.S. officials say 14 Jun 2013 President Obama's decision to begin arming the Syrian 'rebels' followed more than a year of internal debate over whether it was worth the dual risks of involving the United States in another war and seeing U.S. weapons fall into the hands of extremist groups among the rebels. The White House said the final push came this week after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded with "high certainty" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces had used chemical weapons against the rebels.

Facebook reveals details of US requests for user data

June 15, 2013 by legitgov

Facebook reveals details of US requests for user data 15 Jun 2013 Facebook revealed Friday it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data from US authorities in the second half of last year, as it seeks to shield itself from a growing scandal. The requests covered issues from child disappearances to petty crimes and terror threats and targeted between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts, the social networking site said, without revealing how often it complied with the requests.

G8 Summit: Major Police Operation Under Way

June 15, 2013 by legitgov

GHate Police State: G8 Summit: Major Police Operation Under Way --Parts of the country will be put under effective lockdown for the summit. 14 Jun 2013 Police in Northern Ireland are mounting an unprecedented security operation ahead of next week's G8 summit. Parts of the country will be placed under effective lockdown when President Obama and the other world leaders arrive. Access routes are being secured, steel fencing erected and a stretch of water closed. US Secret Service agents have been on the ground for a week. The Police Service of Northern Ireland will also have military back-up.

US claims of Assad's chemical weapons are lies - Pushkov

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

US claims of Assad's chemical weapons are lies - Pushkov 14 Jun 2013 A senior Russian MP holds that the recent White House statement of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government is as false as the notorious reports about Iraqi WMDs. "The data about Assad's use of chemical weapons is fabricated by the same facility that made up the lies about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Obama is walking George W. Bush's path," the head of the Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee Aleksey Pushkov tweeted. The Russian MP was referring to the 2003 invasion in Iraq prompted by the US and UK claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that threatened neighboring nations.

Researchers Find Biological Evidence of Gulf War Illnesses

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

Researchers Find Biological Evidence of Gulf War Illnesses 15 Jun 2013 In the two decades since the 1991 Persian Gulf war, medical researchers have struggled to explain a mysterious amalgam of problems in thousands of gulf war veterans, including joint pain, physical malaise and gastrointestinal disorders. In some medical circles, the symptoms were thought to be psychological, the result of combat stress. But recent research is bolstering the view that the symptoms, known collectively as gulf war illness, are fundamentally biological in nature. ...Many veterans believe that their problems are the result of exposure to nerve agents, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, but that the government has been slow, or unwilling, to pinpoint causes.

Second worker dies from Louisiana chemical plant explosion

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

Second worker dies from Louisiana chemical plant explosion 14 Jun 2013 A second person died on Friday as a result of an explosion that rocked the Williams Olefins petrochemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana, and injured more than 100 workers a day earlier. Scott Thrower, 47, died as a result of injuries he suffered in the explosion, Louisiana State Police said. Zachary Green, 29, a plant operator who had worked at the facility since October, died on Thursday shortly after being hospitalized following the incident. Five people remained hospitalized in conditions ranging from critical to fair on Friday.

Assange: Britain loyal to U.S. in NSA leaker case

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

Assange: Britain loyal to U.S. in NSA leaker case 14 Jun 2013 Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said on Friday that Britain had prevented NSA leaker Edward Snowden from flying to London out of loyalty to its ally, the United States. In an interview given to Reuters and others ahead of the first anniversary of his seeking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Assange said he was concerned by reports that Britain had told airlines to stop Snowden from flying to London. "The British government refused entry to this country of Edward Snowden. Why? Presumably because it doesn't want to end up with another Julian Assange," Assange said.

Bill Clinton Urges More U.S. Involvement in Syrian Civil War

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

Bill Clinton Urges More U.S. Involvement in Syrian Civil War 14 Jun 2013 Former President Bill Clinton applauded the White House decision to help Syrian rebels and said today the U.S. must "do more" to end foment the conflict. Clinton spoke in a Bloomberg Television interview in Chicago a day after the U.S. made clear it would provide small arms and ammunition to the Syrian opposition amid battlefield setbacks by 'rebels.' President Barack Obama is authorizing lethal military aid to rebel groups under a classified order instructing the Central Intelligence Agency to arrange delivery of the weapons, according to a U.S. official familiar with the decision who asked not to be identified discussing the action.

NSA whistleblower Snowden is not welcome in UK

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

NSA whistleblower Snowden is not welcome in UK --Ex-CIA whistleblower is not welcome in the United Kingdom, officials in London have warned in a communiqué to all airlines serving British airports 14 Jun 2013 Britain has warned airlines around the world not to allow Edward Snowden, who leaked information on top-secret US government surveillance programmes, to fly to the United Kingdom. The travel alert, confirmed to the Associated Press by an unnamed British diplomat, said Snowden was "highly likely to be refused entry to the UK." The diplomat told AP that the alert had been issued to carriers that fly into the UK, and that if any airline brought Snowden into the country it would be liable to a 2,000 British pounds (2,354 euros) fine.

Iran Interior Ministry extends voting time to 2200 local time

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

Iran Interior Ministry extends voting time to 2200 local time 14 Jun 2013 Iran Interior Ministry has extended the voting deadline for the country's 11th presidential as well as the fourth city and village councils elections for a third time by one more hour to 2200 local time (1730 GMT).

Sweden warns against US aid to Syria militants

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

Sweden warns against US aid to Syria militants 14 Jun 2013 Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has warned against the humanitarian ramifications of the US decision to provide new weapons to militants in Syria, saying the scenario will spark an "arms race" in the Arab country. "I don't think the way forward is to get an arms race going in Syria. There's a risk that that would undermine the conditions for a political process," Bildt said in a Friday TV interview... Bildt expressed concern that the US scenario to arm the militants in Syria would prompt Russia to boost its military support for the Syrian government.

President Obama's Dragnet

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

President Obama's Dragnet (The New York Times) 07 Jun 2013 Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights. Those reassurances have never been persuasive -- whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency's phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism -- especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability. The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.

U.S. Military Proposal to Arm 'Rebels' Includes No-Fly Zone in Syria

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

U.S. Military Proposal to Arm 'Rebels' Includes No-Fly Zone in Syria 13 Jun 2013 A U.S. military proposal for arming Syrian rebels [aka cannibals, terrorists, and rapists] also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced from Jordanian territory to protect Syrian refugees and rebels who would train there, according to U.S. officials. Asked by the White House to develop options for Syria, military planners have said that creating an area to train and equip rebel forces would require keeping Syrian aircraft well away from the Jordanian border. To do that, the military envisages creating a no-fly zone stretching up to 25 miles into Syria which would be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials. The White House is currently considering proposals to arm the rebels in Jordan, according to U.S. officials.

US decides to keep fighters in Jordan

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

US decides to keep fighters in Jordan --The military equipment had been sent to Jordan for a major military drill, dubbed Eager Lion. 14 Jun 2013 The United States has decided to keep F-16 fighter jets and Patriot anti-missile weapons in Jordan after ending a joint military drill there this month. On Thursday a US defense official said Washington will also keep a unit of marines on amphibious ships off the coast in the region after consultations with Jordanian leaders. The US officials decided to keep the troops and weapons upon the request of Jordan amid concerns over the conflict in neighboring Syria.

'US to give military support to militants fighting Syrian government'

June 14, 2013 by legitgov

'US to give military support to militants fighting Syrian government' 13 Jun 2013 US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes says the president of United States has decided to provide militants fighting the Syrian government with military support. "The president has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition. That will involve providing direct support to the SMC," Rhodes said on Thursday, referring to Syrian Military Council (SMC). "That includes military support," he added.

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CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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