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Supreme Court petitioned to reimpose California gay marriage ban

Supreme Court petitioned to reimpose California gay marriage ban 29 Jun 2013 Opponents of gay marriage filed a long-shot petition on Saturday with the Supreme Court asking the justices to immediately halt same-sex weddings taking place in California since Friday, when an appeals court lifted a 5-year-old ban on gay matrimony. Marriage ceremonies of gay and lesbian couples went ahead after a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco removed its stay of a trial judge's order striking the gay marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, as unconstitutional. The stay had been in force while supporters of Prop 8, a state constitutional amendment passed by the voters in 2008, appealed their case to the Supreme Court.

Weekend calling for near 130 degree temperatures: Phoenix, Las Vegas bake in scorching heat

Weekend calling for near 130 degree temperatures: Phoenix, Las Vegas bake in scorching heat 29 Jun 2013 The forecast called for Death Valley to reach 128 degrees Saturday as part of a heat wave that has caused large parts of the western U.S. to suffer. Death Valley's record high of 134 degrees, set a century ago, stands as the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth. Phoenix reached 116 on Friday -- 2 degrees short of the expected high -- in part because a light layer of smoke from wildfires in neighboring New Mexico shielded the blazing sun, the National Weather Service said. Phoenix was forecast to hit nearly 120. The record in Phoenix is 122.

Temps could reach 130 degrees in western US; would be 2nd hottest day on Eart

Temps could reach 130 degrees in western US; would be 2nd hottest day on Earth 28 Jun 2013 Today could be one of the hottest days ever recorded on Earth, as the western U.S. falls into the grips of a dangerous heat wave. A strong high-pressure system settling over the region on Friday and through the weekend will bring extreme temperatures. The mercury may hit 130 degrees F. in Death Valley, Calif. (The all-time high is 134 degrees.) Airlines are monitoring the soaring temperatures to make sure it's safe to fly.

Dept. of Defense takes preventative 'network hygiene' measures, blocks access to The Guardian

Dept. of Defense takes preventative 'network hygiene' measures, blocks access to The Guardian --Security concerns cited in blocking Guardian news 28 Jun 2013 The Army admitted Thursday to not only restricting access to The Guardian news website at the Presidio of Monterey, as reported in Thursday's Herald, but Armywide. Presidio employees said the site had been blocked since The Guardian broke stories on data collection by the National Security Agency. Gordon Van Vleet, an Arizona-based spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, said in an email the Army is filtering "some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks." He wrote it is routine for the Department of Defense to take preventative "network hygiene" measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information. 

WikiLeaks Volunteer Was a Paid Informant for the FBI

WikiLeaks Volunteer Was a Paid Informant for the FBI 27 Jun 2013 On an August workday in 2011, an 18-year-old Icelandic man named Sigurdur "Siggi" Thordarson walked through the stately doors of the U.S. embassy in Reykjavík, his jacket pocket concealing his calling card: a crumpled photocopy of an Australian passport. The passport photo showed a man with a unruly shock of platinum blonde hair and the name Julian Paul Assange. Thordarson was long time volunteer for WikiLeaks with direct access to Assange and a key position as an organizer in the group. With his cold war-style embassy walk-in, he became something else: the first known FBI informant inside WikiLeaks. For the next three months, Thordarson served two masters, working for the secret-spilling website and simultaneously spilling its secrets to the U.S. government in exchange, he says, for a total of about $5,000.

Inside Guantanamo Bay: Horrifying pictures show the restraint chairs, feeding tubes and operating theatre used on inmates in terror prison

Inside Guantanamo Bay: Horrifying pictures show the restraint chairs, feeding tubes and operating theatre used on inmates in terror prison --Dubbed the most expensive prison on Earth [which is why the GOP won't close it], the facility has 166 inmates currently in custody --Around 104 prisoners have been on hunger strike since February - they are being force-fed --Force-feeding is a term that is banned - it is called 'enteral feeding' at the facility in Cuba --Many of the inmates have been there more than a decade, most without charge 28 Jun 2013 It might not look out of place in a private gym – but for the various straps to keep the occupant in place and the hospital drip stand looming ominously behind. Pictured is the notorious restraint chair at Guantanamo Bay, where former inmates claim they were subjected to long hours of agonising forced feeding. The US military is still using the chair to cope with a hunger strike by 104 of the 166 prisoners which has lasted more than three months.

Mich. ban on domestic partner benefits blocked

Mich. ban on domestic partner benefits blocked 28 Jun 2013 U.S. District Judge David Lawson said plaintiffs who have lost benefits or were forced to buy expensive private health insurance have made a "plausible claim" that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The decision came nearly a year after he heard arguments in the lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. A federal judge on Friday blocked Michigan's ban on domestic partner benefits for employees who work for public schools or local governments, saying state lawmakers simply wanted to punish gays and lesbians.

Missing nuclear material may pose attack threat: IAEA

Missing nuclear material may pose attack threat: IAEA 28 Jun 2013 Nuclear and radioactive materials are still going missing and the information the United Nations atomic agency receives about such incidents may be the tip of the iceberg, said a senior U.N. official. Any loss or theft of highly enriched uranium, plutonium or different types of radioactive sources is potentially serious as al Qaeda[al-CIAduh]-style militants could try to use them to make a crude nuclear device or a so-called dirty bomb, experts say.

U.S. approves a horse slaughterhouse, sees two more plants

Gag me with a chainsaw: U.S. approves a horse slaughterhouse, sees two more plants 28 Jun 2013 A New Mexico meat plant received federal approval on Friday to slaughter horses for meat, a move that drew immediate opposition from animal rights group and will likely be opposed by the White House. The U.S. Agricultureterrorism Department said it was required by law to issue a "grant of inspection" to Valley Meat Co, Roswell, New Mexico, because it had met all federal requirements. Now, the USDA is obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plant. The USDA also said it may soon issue similar grants for plants in Missouri and Iowa.

Minot Air Force Base Hijacking Exercise

Heads up! Minot Air Force Base Hijacking Exercise 27 Jun 2013 Airmen at Minot Air Force Base got some real-world training for a worst-case scenario. The airmen simulated a hijacking scenario. "The potential for disasters tragedies to happen is always there, so we have to be as best prepared as we can be," explains MAFB Tech Sergeant Mark Bell. To better prepare for incidents, Minot Air Force Base held a hijacking exercise to review and practice emergency procedures. "We're conducting an exercise with a high jacked passenger plane with a potential unspecified chemical agent released," says Bell.

Same-sex marriages resume in California after court gives go-ahead

Same-sex marriages resume in California after court gives go-ahead 28 Jun 2013 The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that same-sex marriages can resume in California, a move that the Supreme Court paved the way for on Wednesday. Three judges on the appeals court made it possible for local governments to issue marriage certificates for gay and lesbian couples with a few words: "The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately." Very soon after, California Attorney General Kamala Harris was already at San Francisco's city hall marrying couples, according to her office.

US appoints lawyer to close Guantanamo Bay detention centre

US appoints lawyer to close Guantanamo Bay detention centre 28 Jun 2013 The Obama administration has appointed a longstanding Washington lawyer to find ways of closing the detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Department of State said Clifford Sloan, who has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations, will be responsible for closing the centre that has held some of the top terrorism captives since it was constructed shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on by the United States. Sloan's appointment comes after the Republican-led House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a US$638-billion defense bill to keep the prison operating.

C.I.A. Report Finds Concerns With Ties to New York Police

C.I.A. Report Finds Concerns With Ties to New York Police 27 Jun 2013 Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general's report. That officer believed there were "no limitations" on his activities, the report said, because he was on an unpaid leave of absence, and thus exempt from the prohibition against domestic spying by members of the C.I.A. Another embedded C.I.A. analyst -- who was on its payroll -- said he was given "unfiltered" police reports that included information unrelated to foreign intelligence, the C.I.A. report said. The once-classified review, completed by the C.I.A. inspector general in December 2011, found that the four agency analysts -- more than had previously been known -- were assigned at various times to "provide direct assistance" to the local police.

U.S. watchdog raps Pentagon for buying aircraft for Afghan unit

U.S. watchdog raps Pentagon for buying aircraft for Afghan unit 28 Jun 2013 A government watchdog criticized the Pentagon on Friday for forging ahead with controversial helicopter purchases from a Russian arms dealer despite warnings the Afghan special forces unit due to receive the aircraft could not fly or maintain them. The watchdog - the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction - urged the Pentagon to suspend the $553 million Russian arms deal as well as a $218 million contract for 18 planes from a U.S. firm until plans were in place to fully recruit and train the Afghan special forces unit. The Pentagon was already under fire for agreeing this month to buy 30 additional Mi-17 helicopters from the Russian arms dealer, Rosoboronexport. That company is a major supplier of weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is battling 'rebels' trying to overthrow his government. [Start reading.]

Immigration amendment 'chock-full of special-interest sweeteners'

Immigration amendment 'chock-full of special-interest sweeteners' 26 Jun 2013 A compromise immigration measure that would dramatically increase border security also contains provisions sought by industries that use cultural-exchange programs to recruit youngsters [cheap labor] from overseas to work as au pairs, camp counselors and in an array of other seasonal jobs. One provision tucked into the deal brokered by Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota, for instance, would allow Alaska's seafood processors to employ foreign youngsters on a summer-work travel program -- overturning a ban the Obama administration put in place last year to protect foreign exchange students from jobs the U.S. government deems dangerous. Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the labor-backed Economic Policy institute, called seafood processing an inappropriate use of the State Department-run program. "If you are in a factory for 16 hours a day in the middle of Alaska, that's not a cultural exchange program," he said.

China accuses US of hypocrisy over internet spying

China accuses US of hypocrisy over internet spying 28 Jun 2013 The Chinese Ministry of National Defence has accused the United States of hypocrisy over cybersurveillance and said the disclosures made by Edward Snowden bolstered the case for China's internet security efforts. These were the harshest public comments so far from the Chinese government about Mr Snowden's revelations. Until now, the Chinese government's comments on the disclosures have come through its foreign ministry, which has used relatively muted words to answer reporters' questions about Mr Snowden's allegations. Mr Snowden, a former CIA employee, has described US monitoring of Chinese internet sites and installations, and Prism, a National Security Agency program to mine internet information.

Ex-Pentagon general target of leak investigation, sources say

Ex-Pentagon general target of leak investigation, sources say --General Cartwright is latest alleged leaker targeted by the Obama regime, which has already prosecuted or charged eight individuals under the Espionage Act. 27 Jun 2013 Legal sources tell NBC News that the former second-highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military is now the target of a Justice Department investigation into an alleged leak of classified information about a covert U.S. cyberattack on Iran's nuclear program. According to legal sources, retired Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been notified that he's under investigation for allegedly leaking information about a massive attack using a computer virus named Stuxnet on Iran's nuclear facilities. Gen.

Accused Marathon bomber faces 30-count indictment

Accused Marathon bomber faces 30-count indictment 27 Jun 2013 A federal grand jury today handed up a sweeping indictment of Boston Marathon bombings suspect [patsy] Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, charging him with using weapons of mass destruction and killing four people. The 30-count indictment alleges that Tsarnaev had been inspired by Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] publications and left a confession in the boat where he was captured in a Watertown back yard. Seventeen of the charges carry the possibility of the death penalty. The others carry a maximum of life in prison, prosecutors said in a statement.

Snowden voiced contempt for leakers in newly disclosed chat logs from 2009

Snowden voiced contempt for leakers in newly disclosed chat logs from 2009 26 Jun 2013 When he was working in the intelligence community in 2009, Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who passed top-secret documents to journalists, appears to have had nothing but disdain for those who leaked classified information, the newspapers that printed their revelations, and his current ally, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, according to newly disclosed chat logs. Snowden, who used the online handle "TheTrueHOOHA," was particularly upset about a January 2009 New York Times article that reported on a covert program to subvert Iran's nuclear infrastructure, according to the logs, which were published Wednesday by Ars Technica, a technology news Web site. "They're reporting classified [expletive]," Snowden wrote. "You don't put that [expletive] in the NEWSPAPER." At the time of the posting, in January 2009, Snowden was stationed in Geneva by the CIA. "Jesus christ they're like wikileaks," Snowden posted.

US Marine's Iraq murder conviction overturned

US Marine's Iraq murder conviction overturned --Sergeant convicted of shooting a retired Iraqi policeman in cold blood may be released within days 26 Jun 2013 The US military's highest court has overturned a murder conviction against a Marine in one of the most significant cases against American troops from the Iraq war. The court of appeals for the armed forces threw out the conviction of Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins, who has served about half of his 11-year sentence. According to the ruling posted on the court's website on Wednesday, the judges agreed with Hutchins, who said his constitutional rights were violated when he was held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer for seven days during his interrogation in Iraq.

Drill for EDF rapid-action nuclear force, created after Fukushima meltdowns

Drill for EDF rapid-action nuclear force, created after Fukushima meltdowns --EDF's action force is made up of volunteers among staff. They sign a waiver stating they may have to work under 'emergency radiological conditions' and get no extra pay. 26 Jun 2013 For Electricite de France SA (EDF, a lot rode on its nuclear drill yesterday. Members of its new rapid-action nuclear force created after the meltdown[s] in Fukushima in Japan in 2011 gripped the nozzle of a hose, looking triumphant as it began spouting water from a canal near the utility's Chinon atomic plant on the banks of the Loire River. The rapid reaction force, which is costing the utility 150 million euros, is being designed so it can intervene within 24 hours simultaneously at as many as six reactors at any one EDF site, the utility said. The 50-strong team is expected to grow to about 300 by 2015 spread over four atomic plants.

Why Snowden Asked Visitors in Hong Kong to Refrigerate Their Phones

Why Snowden Asked Visitors in Hong Kong to Refrigerate Their Phones 25 Jun 2013 Before a dinner of pizza and fried chicken late Sunday in Hong Kong, Edward J. Snowden insisted that a group of lawyers advising him in the Chinese territory "hide their cellphones in the refrigerator of the home where he was staying, to block any eavesdropping," as my colleague Keith Bradsher reported. Why a refrigerator? The answer does not, as some might assume, have anything to do with temperature. In fact, it does not matter particularly if the refrigerator was plugged in. It is the materials that make up refrigerator walls that could potentially turn them into anti-eavesdropping devices. "What you want to do is block the radio signals which could be used to transmit voice data, and block the audio altogether," Adam Harvey, a designer specializing in countersurveillance products explained.

Sen. Wyden denounces bulk phone record collection during Sunshine Government event

Sen. Wyden denounces bulk phone record collection during Sunshine Government event 26 Jun 2013 A senator who has been instrumental in the fight for open government warned Wednesday that the government's practice of "vacuuming up the phone records of millions of law-abiding Americans" puts citizens' privacy at risk. During a panel sponsored by the American Society of News Editors, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said while the information collected by the National Security Agency involves phone numbers, location and time of the call, it might also contain vital personal details, such as relationships, medical issues, religious matters or political affiliations. "I have to believe the civil liberties of millions of Americans have been violated," Wyden said.

CLG Needs Your Help 26 Jun 2013

CLG Needs Your Help 26 Jun 2013 CLGers: CLG needs the help of its readers to exist. Some readers -- the Pentagon, DIA, DHS, DHS Client (?!), CIA, U.S. State Department, DOJ, FBI, Connecticut Cyber Alert (21,264 hits from them in one sweep yesterday morning) - all get a free pass! :) Now, our tax dollars fund these agencies so they can enjoy the CLG website, but CLG relies on donations to exist.

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Edward Snowden 'not likely to gain asylum in Ecuador for months'

Edward Snowden 'not likely to gain asylum in Ecuador for months' 26 Jun 2013 Ecuador has said it could take months to decide whether to grant asylum to Edward Snowden, potentially confining the US whistleblower to the halls of a Russian airport for weeks to come. Ricardo Patino, Ecuador's foreign minister, said Snowden's case was similar to that of the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who has been granted asylum at the country's embassy in London. "It took us two months to make a decision in the case of Assange, so do not expect us to make a decision sooner this time," Patino said during a visit to Malaysia. He said Ecuador would "consider all the risks" in granting asylum, including concerns that it could harm trade ties with the US.

Report: New bird flu deadlier than swine flu

Report: New bird flu deadlier than swine flu 23 Jun 2013 The H7N9 bird flu virus, first identified in humans earlier this year, kills about 36% of infected people admitted to hospitals in China, according to a new report published Sunday in the British medical journal The Lancet. Far more difficult to estimate, according to the study, is how many die in the general population after becoming infected, as the most severe cases are also more likely to lead to hospitalization. That estimate - a 0.16% to 2.8% overall fatality rate for those showing symptoms of infection - suggests that the H7N9 virus is less deadly than the H5N1 Bird Flu first appearing in 2003, and more deadly than the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.

Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, declines to rule on Prop. 8

Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, declines to rule on Prop. 8 26 Jun 2013 The Supreme Court Wednesday struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the ban on federal benefits for same-sex married couples, on a 5-4 vote. However, in another 5-4 decision issued minutes later, the Supreme Court declined to grapple with the question of whether the U.S. Constitution bars states from denying same-sex marriage rights. In a ruling that scrambled the court's usual ideological lines, the justices found that proponents of Proposition 8 -- California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage -- lacked jurisdiction to appeal lower court rulings that held the measure unconstitutional.

Two Major Supreme Court Rulings Back Gay Marriage

Two Major Supreme Court Rulings Back Gay Marriage 26 Jun 2013 Married gay and lesbian couples are entitled to federal benefits, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a major victory for the gay rights movement. In a second decision, the court declined to say whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Instead, the justices said that a case concerning California's ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, was not properly before them. Because officials in California had declined to appeal a trial court's decision against them and because the proponents of Proposition 8 were not entitled to step into the state's shoes to appeal from the decision, the court said, it was powerless to issue a decision. The ruling leaves in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation.

Army to eliminate 10 brigades at U.S. bases in drawdown: Odierno

Army to eliminate 10 brigades at U.S. bases in drawdown: Odierno 25 Jun 2013 The U.S. Army said on Tuesday it would eliminate 10 brigade combat teams at bases across the United States and cancel some $400 million in construction projects as it cuts about 80,000 soldiers over the next four years. General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said the move was part of the largest organizational change in the Army since World War Two as the service winds down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and responds to tighter U.S. budgets.

Texas abortion bill fails to pass after epic filibuster

Texas abortion bill fails to pass after epic filibuster 26 Jun 2013 A bill that opponents claimed would virtually ban abortion in Texas failed to pass late Tuesday after lawmakers missed a deadline by just minutes. There were chaotic scenes after a filibuster attempt fell just short and protesters cheered, clapped and shouted from 11:45 p.m. to midnight and beyond as lawmakers tried to hold the vote before the session ended at midnight (1 a.m. ET). The filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who wore a back brace, lasted almost 11 hours but ended after three challenges to her speech were upheld. The only way Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate could defeat the measure was by not letting it come to a vote on Tuesday.

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'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

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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