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U.S. Seeks to Reject ACLU Request For Information On Drone Strikes

June 22, 2012 by legitgov

U.S. Seeks to Reject ACLU Request For Information On Drone Strikes 21 Jun 2012 The United States government is seeking to reject a lawsuit demanding information about drone strikes that target suspected terrorists overseas, saying releasing details on the program would have a major effect on counterterrorism [sic] efforts. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in New York after a Freedom of Information Act request they submitted to the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and the CIA, was denied. The rights group is seeking the release of a copy of the memo outlining the Obama administration's program that targets suspected terrorists overseas. In its response, the government asked for a summary judgment dismissing the complaints and defended its decision not to release the requested information.

Lack of banker prosecutions debated after ING sanctions case

June 22, 2012 by legitgov

Lack of banker prosecutions debated after ING sanctions case 21 Jun 2012 Even though Dutch bank ING Bank Nv agreed last week to forfeit a record $619 million (397 million pounds) for improperly helping Iranians and Cubans evade sanctions by pumping billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system, individual bankers have so far escaped prosecution. This lack has fuelled charges that U.S. and local enforcers would rather collect fines than punish individual executives, and that doing so can weaken sanctions enforcement.

Drone strikes threaten 50 years of international law, says UN rapporteur

June 22, 2012 by legitgov

Drone strikes threaten 50 years of international law, says UN rapporteur --US policy of using drone strikes to carry out targeted killings 'may encourage other states to flout international law' 21 Jun 2012 The US policy of using aerial drones to carry out targeted killings presents a major challenge to the system of international law that has endured since the second world war, a United Nations investigator has said. Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions, told a conference in Geneva that President Obama's attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, carried out by the CIA, would encourage other states to flout long-established human rights standards. In his strongest critique so far of drone strikes, Heyns suggested some may even constitute "war crimes". [People --both in America and in countries occupied by the US --need to get *a lot better* at shooting them down.]

Romney Would Repeal Obama's Executive Action on Immigration

June 21, 2012 by legitgov

Romney Would Repeal Obama's Executive Action on Immigration 21 Jun 2012 Mitt Romney will face a skeptical audience that is opposed to nearly all of his positions on illegal immigration when he addresses a conference of Latino leaders in Orlando on Thursday. Romney has come under growing pressure on the immigration issues ever since President Obama announced a White House policy change that halts the deportations of some undocumented youth. In his speech Thursday, Romney will again say that as president, he would implement an immigration plan that would replace Obama's rule.

Flu vaccine production methods triggered seizures: CSL

June 21, 2012 by legitgov

Flu vaccine production methods triggered seizures: CSL 21 Jun 2012 Australian drug giant CSL has admitted its vaccine production methods probably triggered seizures in children, in the first results from its two-year investigation into the Fluvax fits. But CSL refused to say yesterday if it would pay compensation to the families of children hospitalised after being immunised with Fluvax, which has been banned for pediatric use after sending one in 100 children into febrile fits in 2010. The preliminary results of CSL's two-year investigation conclude that its manufacturing methods may have failed to fully split the viruses used to make flu vaccines. As a result, gene fragments and lipids from "inactivated virus" -- as well as "residual whole virus or clusters of both" -- may have created higher levels of immune-stimulating hormones, known as cytokines.

C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition

June 21, 2012 by legitgov

C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition --State Department authorized $15 million in 'nonlethal' aid 21 Jun 2012 A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers. The Pentagon continues to fine-tune a range of military options, after a request from President Obama in early March for such contingency planning. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators at that time that the options under review included humanitarian airlifts, aerial surveillance of the Syrian military, and the establishment of a no-fly zone.

Drone strikes: activists seek to lift lid on open secret of targeted killings

June 21, 2012 by legitgov

Drone strikes: activists seek to lift lid on open secret of targeted killings 19 Jun 2012 The CIA's covert targeted killing programme will come under fresh scrutiny on Wednesday, the deadline for Barack Obama's administration to respond to a lawsuit over the agency's refusal to confirm or deny its existence. The federal lawsuit is part of a three-year battle by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union for details of the drone programme, one of the US government's most important security operations in the war against al-Qaida [al-CIAduh]. Under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in 2010, ACLU seeks the legal memo underlying the killing programme, the basis for drone strikes that have killed American citizens and the process by which individuals are placed on a kill list. [Anonymous needs to hack Obama's drone kill list and make some *edits.*]

Swarms of cyborg insect drones are the future of military surveillance

June 21, 2012 by legitgov

Swarms of cyborg insect drones are the future of military surveillance 20 Jun 2012 The real high-tech story of surveillance drones is going on at a much smaller level, as tiny remote controlled vehicles based on insects are already likely being deployed. Over recent years a range of miniature drones, or micro air vehicles (MAVs), based on the same physics used by flying insects, have been presented to the public. The University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab recently showed off drones that swarm, a network of 20 nano quadrotors flying in synchronized formations. The SWARMS goal is to combine swarm technology with bio-inspired drones to operate 'with little or no direct human supervision' in 'dynamic, resource-constrained, adversarial environments.'

Arrest made for video post, threat to Pitt officials

June 21, 2012 by legitgov

Arrest made for video post, threat to Pitt officials 20 Jun 2012 Federal prosecutors charged an Ohio man with posting a YouTube video [!] and making a comment [?] that threatened University of Pittsburgh officials. FBI agents from Pittsburgh and Cincinnati this morning arrested Alexander Waterland, 24, of Loveland, Ohio, and he’s scheduled to appear in an Ohio federal court today. U.S. Attorney David Hickton would not say during a news conference whether prosecutors believe Waterland is connected to a series of bomb threats that preceded the YouTube post and disrupted classes and other activities at Pitt for six weeks.

Assange faces arrest for breaching bail conditions

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Assange faces arrest for breaching bail conditions 21 Jun 2012 British police say they will arrest Julian Assange for breaching his bail conditions if he steps outside the Ecuadorian embassy in central London. Mr Assange spent Tuesday night in the embassy, where he is seeking diplomatic immunity and political asylum. But he now faces arrest for breaching the conditions of his bail, which stipulates that he must stay at his bail address between 10:00pm and 8:00am. Mr Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual assault.

GOP-run House panel finds Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

GOP-run House panel finds Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt 20 Jun 2012 The House Government Oversight and Reform Committee has voted along party lines, 23-17, to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing comply with a subpoena for documents related to the Fast and Furious George W. Bush gun-running scandal [that Holder stopped]. The vote came after the Obama administration this morning claimed executive privilege over the records. The next step would be a vote of the full House, but a floor vote is not expected before next week, Republican aides said.

Obama asserts executive privilege in Holder case

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Obama asserts executive privilege in Holder case 20 Jun 2012 President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege Wednesday to withhold documents on a 'gun-smuggling' probe, sharpening a battle between the White House and Congress over efforts to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. The claim of executive privilege, announced in a letter from Holder's deputy to Representative [hypocrite] Darrell Issa, came on the day Issa chaired a House deliberation on whether to hold Holder in contempt over failure to hand over sufficient documents related to a flawed program that saw guns knowingly smuggled across the border to Mexico. The program [which began under the Bush regime and was stopped by Eric Holder] called "Fast and Furious" was a botched government effort to track arms flows into Mexico, and Republicans have seized on trying to determine exactly when Holder knew of the program destroy an African American Attorney General.

'Troops must be punished for Qur'an burning'

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

'Troops must be punished for Qur'an burning' 20 Jun 2012 A US military investigation has recommended disciplinary action for up to seven troops over their role in the burning of Qur'ans at a base in Afghanistan, a US official said on Tuesday. No final decision has been made yet on the findings of a probe that examined the torching of Qur'ans at a US air base in February that sparked deadly riots, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation called for administrative punishment but no criminal charges of up to six Army troops and one member of the Navy, the official told AFP.

Turkish party: CIA, Mossad responsible for Syria massacres

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Turkish party: CIA, Mossad responsible for Syria massacres 20 Jun 2012 A Turkish political party says the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel's spy agency Mossad are responsible for massacres in Syria, Press TV reports. A Turkish paper quoted the Deputy Chief of Turkey's Felicity Party, Temel Karamollaoglu as saying, "Not only the Syrian crisis will not be solved, but also it will lead to civil war." On the one hand, Western countries claim that they do not support armed conflicts in Syria, but on the other, the US is obviously making attempts to arm the Syrian rebels, who are fighting the Middle Eastern country's government, he said. "Due to having common interests in Syria, the US, Israel, and the EU make no attempt to stop bloodshed in the country."

15,000 American forces stationed in Kuwait: Senate account

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

15,000 American forces stationed in Kuwait: Senate account 20 Jun 2012 A US Senate report indicates that the United States has now nearly 15,000 troops in three bases across Kuwait - triple the average number of American forces in the Middle East country before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee released the report on Tuesday, considering how to promote the US interests in the Persian Gulf region after the American forces left Iraq last year. According to the report, having the military bases throughout the region is a "lily pad" model to allow for a rapid escalation of military forces.

US Senate blocks bid to restore $4.5 billion for food aid

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

US Senate blocks bid to restore $4.5 billion for food aid 20 Jun 2012 The US Senate has overwhelmingly rejected a bid to preserve some $4.5 billion in food stamps funding, as part of the massive farm bill. The request to keep that spending in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, had been offered by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y). But her plea went down 33 to 66. Sixty votes were needed to pass. Gillibrand had warned that reduction in the SNAP would result in half-a-million US households losing an average $90 in monthly food benefits.

Greek conservatives hope to seal coalition deal

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Greek conservatives hope to seal coalition deal 20 Jun 2012 Greek conservatives hope to form a coalition government on Wednesday which must persuade mistrustful foreign lenders to allow more leeway in pushing through a deeply unpopular austerity program. Exasperated with Greece's repeated failure to honor its promises on budget cuts and reform, euro zone officials have nevertheless begun to accept the program may be impossible to implement without changes, as the country is already off track and its economy is sliding deeper into recession. One senior euro zone official said trying to enforce the original terms of the 130 billion euro bailout package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund would mean "signing off on an illusion".

Fed members gave their own banks $4 trillion during bailout

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Fed members gave their own banks $4 trillion during bailout 15 Jun 2012 A report released by the US Government Accountability Office explains how the Federal Reserve divvied up more than $4 trillion in low-interest loans after the fiscal crisis of 2008. When the Federal Reserve looked toward bailing out some of the biggest banks in the country, more than one dozen of the financial institutions that benefited from the Fed's 'Hail Mary' were members of the central bank's own board, reports the GAO. At least 18 current and former directors of the Fed's regional branches saw to it that their own banks were awarded loans with often next-to-no interest by the country's central bank during the height of the financial crisis.

Men in Afghan police uniform shoot dead Nato soldier

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Men in Afghan police uniform shoot dead Nato soldier 18 Jun 2012 A Nato soldier in eastern Afghanistan has been shot dead by three men in Afghan police uniform, officials say. The men fled the area after Sunday's attack, Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says. It says the incident is under investigation. There have been a growing number of cases where Afghan soldiers have killed Nato colleagues.

Russia denies war games report

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Russia denies war games report 19 Jun 2012 The Russian Defense Ministry Tuesday denied Iranian reports of planned war games with Iran, China and Syria off the Syrian coast. The semi-official Iranian Fars news agency, citing what it called "informed sources," said some 90,000 troops from the four countries were expected to participate in land, air and sea maneuvers off the Syrian coast, including air defense and missile units. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman call the report a "further attempt to escalate the situation in Syria," RIA Novosti reported. Syria also denied any upcoming military exercises were planned.

Syria: Russia to send marines to naval base

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Syria: Russia to send marines to naval base 18 Jun 2012 Russia confirmed that it was preparing to send an elite unit of marines to its naval base in Syria on Monday, sharply raising the stakes in its confrontation with the West over the future of the Assad government. The planned deployment was designed to send a powerful signal that Russia would not tolerate foreign military intervention in Syria, according to a Western defence source. It was apparently ordered after the Kremlin came to conclusion that Western powers were preparing to circumvent the United Nations Security Council - where Russia holds a veto - by unilaterally authorising Nato military action in Syria.

Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria 19 Jun 2012 A Russian ship believed to be carrying helicopters and missiles for Syria has been effectively stopped in its tracks off the coast of Scotland after its insurance was cancelled at the behest of the British government. The British marine insurer Standard Club said it had withdrawn cover from all the ships owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line, including the MV Alaed. "We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria," the company said in a statement. [Why aren't US ships ever stopped in *their* tracks?]

Outrage Over Perceived Light Sentence for Colonel

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Outrage Over Perceived Light Sentence for Colonel 18 Jun 2012 Servicemembers and legal experts around the world reacted with outrage and scorn to what many regarded as an exceptionally light sentence for an Army colonel convicted of fraud, adultery, bigamy and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. Col. James H. Johnson III, the former commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, was sentenced to a reprimand and a $300,000 fine by a jury of fellow colonels in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Thursday. He pleaded guilty to 13 charges and was convicted of two others, all relating to an illicit affair he had with an Iraqi woman and his efforts to steer government funds to the woman's father during a 2005 deployment.

Talk of drones patrolling US skies spawns anxiety

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Talk of drones patrolling US skies spawns anxiety 19 Jun 2012 The prospect of thousands of drones patrolling U.S. skies by the end of this decade is spawning anxiety across the political spectrum that Americans' privacy may be at risk. The concern has spilled over into Congress, where there are bipartisan efforts by lawmakers to address the civil liberties issues raised by drones. The drone market is expected to almost double over the next 10 years, from current worldwide expenditures of nearly $6 billion annually.

NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You 18 Jun 2012 The surveillance experts at the National Security Agency won't tell two powerful United States Senators how many Americans have had their communications picked up by the agency as part of its sweeping new counterterrorism powers. The reason: it would violate your privacy to say so. That claim comes in a short letter sent Monday to civil libertarian Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall. The two members of the Senate's intelligence oversight committee asked the NSA a simple question last month: under the broad powers granted in 2008's expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, how many persons inside the United States have been spied upon by the NSA? In a letter acquired by Danger Room, I. Charles McCullough [the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the nominal head of the 16 U.S. spy agencies] told the senators that the NSA inspector general "and NSA leadership agreed that an IG review of the sort suggested would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons," McCullough wrote.

Julian Assange seeking asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in London

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Julian Assange seeking asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in London --WikiLeaks founder walked into embassy and asked for asylum under United Nations human rights declaration 19 Jun 2012 The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has sought political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, sparking a new crisis in the tortured history of his extradition to Sweden. Assange walked into the embassy in Knightsbridge and asked for asylum under the UN human rights declaration. He said: "I can confirm I arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum. This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito."

Six nabbed for cyber attacks on Quebec websites

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Six nabbed for cyber attacks on Quebec websites 19 Jun 2012 Six people have been arrested in connection with attacks that paralyzed Quebec websites. The arrests were made in an operation that involved five police forces - the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec, and three municipal forces. Members of the group are expected to face a variety of charges, including mischief, conspiracy, and unlawful use of a computer. Three of them are minors. The arrests took place in Rimouski, Sherbrooke, Forestville, Montreal and Longueuil, Que.

Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuclear crisis

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuclear crisis 19 Jun 2012 The government failed to make use of detailed U.S. maps showing how radiation spread shortly after the Fukushima nuclear crisis began [March 2011], sources familiar with the matter revealed Monday. The sources said the maps were neither publicized nor used to evacuate residents living near the poorly protected Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. From March 17 to 19, U.S. military aircraft collected radiation data in an area with a 45-km radius from the plant for the U.S. Department of Energy. The data showed that more than 125 microsieverts of radiation per hour was leaking as far as about 25 km northwest of the plant, meaning residents in the area were being exposed to their annual permissible dose within just eight hours.

Google reports 'alarming' rise in censorship by governments

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Google reports 'alarming' rise in censorship by governments [LOL, they should know! Try getting the CLG Newsletter w. a Gmail account, and see what I mean.] 17 Jun 2012 There has been an alarming rise in the number of times governments attempted to censor the internet in last six months, according to a report from Google. Since the search engine last published its bi-annual transparency report, it said it had seen a troubling increase in requests to remove political content. Many of these requests came from western democracies not typically associated with censorship. UK police asked the company to remove five YouTube accounts for allegedly promoting terrorism. Google agreed.

Mont. GOP displays bullet-riddled 'Obama outhouse'

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Mont. GOP displays bullet-riddled 'Obama outhouse' 17 Jun 2012 A bullet-riddled outhouse labeled "Obama Presidential Library" containing a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama and graffiti that read "For a Good Time," and a reference to first lady Michelle Obama was on display at the Montana Republican Convention in Missoula. The Missoulian reports the display on Saturday also contained "For a Good Time" references to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, her name circled in red. The display, painted to look as if it had numerous bullet holes, was parked outside Missoula's Hilton Garden Inn that drew some 500 convention goers. The convention also included a raffle for a 12-gauge shotgun, shovel and duct tape, a reference to "Shoot, Shovel and Shut Up," involving the illegal killing of wolves or federally protected species such as grizzly bears. [I want a raffle for same - to be used on the killers of wolves and grizzly bears. --LRP]

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