Microsoft Downs Cryptome Site After Top-Secret Guide Published

Surveillance guide gets Cryptome site into hot water.

microsoft
The sign at a main entrance to the Microsoft corporate campus. The Redmond Microsoft campus today includes more than 750,000 m² (approx. 8 million square feet) and over 30,000 employees.

The noted government whistleblowing website Cryptome has been taken down after Microsoft saw red over its publication of a top-secret Internet surveillance guide normally shown only to law enforcement agencies.

The 22-page Global Criminal Compliance Handbook contains a reasonably detailed rundown on the information gathered by Microsoft from its various Windows Live operations, including Hotmail, Messenger, MSN Groups, and even the gaming platform, Xbox Live. The guide explains the information that is retained by Microsoft from customer activities, for how long it is saved, and how it can be accessed by police and security services in accordance with US legal requirements.

After discovering the document on the site, Microsoft is reported to have demanded its removal, citing the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), a request that was rejected by Cryptome editor and founder, John Young. Microsoft then persuaded domain hoster Network Solutions to pull the site, which remains offline as of the morning of 25 February (GMT).

Microsoft botnet take down will not stop spam, says researchers

Was Microsoft well advised to come down so heavily on a site that has come to be seen in civil liberties circles as an important bulwark against government secrecy?

Read moreMicrosoft Downs Cryptome Site After Top-Secret Guide Published

CAUGHT: The Man That Impersonated Jim Rogers And Called For The Pound To Collapse Within Weeks

See also: – Financier Jim Rogers denies saying pound will collapse (Market Watch):

“I did not know about this press release. I didn’t say those things,” Rogers told MarketWatch.com in a phone interview from Singapore Friday.

“I am on record as saying the U.K. has serious problems over the next few years and the pound sterling has serious problems over the next few years as well,” Rogers said in the interview. “I would say the same about a lot of currencies. All paper money is suspect these days.”

Rogers said he has no position in the pound, long or short, and that he holds no U.K. assets.

He said he is long the euro, however.

“I think the euro probably will survive this bout with the Greeks,” Rogers said.


vince-stanzione
Vince Stanzione

Actually, Jim Rogers didn’t say that the pound will collapse in the very near future…

It was all made up by Vince Stanzione whose company put out the following press release as what appears to have been a publicity stunt:

FT Alphaville (Pic & Quotes):

Pound Could Collapse Within Weeks, Predicts Billionaire Financier Jim Rogers

February 25, 2010 – Press Dispensary – The UK Pound is on the brink of a collapse which will herald a downturn worse than 2008/9, it could well happen within weeks and the British government is powerless to prevent it. And this in turn will foreshadow a global economic winter that could come before the end of 2010 and make the last two years seem like a mild spring day.

Rogers found the claim ‘outrageous’ and rushed to correct misunderstandings with the media. Meanwhile, the culprit, Vince Stanzione, says it was a mix up and that his company’s press release wasn’t meant to be sent out.

Regardless, it was great exposure for his ‘Trading Day Seminar’ either way… and a ray of attention for this self-described renaissance man:

. . . a self-made multi-millionaire based in Europe. Beginning aged 16 at NatWest Foreign Exchange in London, he quickly made his mark and then left to form his own company, since when he has been involved in mobile communications, premium rate telephony, interactive gaming, publishing and television and financial trading. He currently lives most of the year between Spain and Monaco and trades his own funds, mainly in currencies and commodities. He also teaches a small number of students and produced the best-selling course on Financial Spread Betting. Vince Stanzione is the author of ‘How to Stop Existing & Start Living’ and ‘Making Money From Financial Spread Trading’, is the Spread Betting Expert for Growth Company Investor and writes monthly columns for The City Magazine, Canary Wharf and Vicinitee Magazine.

Jason Bourne lives.

Vincent Fernando | Feb. 26, 2010, 9:01 AM

Source: The Business Insider

US Senator Judd Gregg Warns of ‘Financial Meltdown’ Risk

I don’t think that the US has five to seven years left before it will experience the greatest financial collapse in history.


The US is heading for a debt-driven “financial meltdown” within five to seven years, according to Judd Gregg, the outgoing Republican senator for New Hampshire.

In a robust and at times testy video interview for the Financial Times’s View from DC series, Mr Gregg also complimented China for showing rising alarm about the US’s mounting levels of public debt.

“We have had China say that they are looking for other places to put their reserves and that is probably a smart decision on their part,” said Mr Gregg, who will not seek re-election in November. “So the warning signs are pretty clear and the path is unsustainable and, at this point, unless we take different actions, unavoidable.”

Related article: China to Purchase 191.3 Tons of IMF’s Gold

But the senator, who was the most high-profile Repub­lican invited by Barack Obama, the president, to join his administration last year, an offer Mr Gregg accepted and then turned down, said he doubted that the two parties would get together to tackle it.

Last month 16 Republicans and 37 Democrats voted to establish a fiscal commission – seven votes short of what was needed to prevent a filibuster.

Mr Gregg also played down prospects for the non-statutory fiscal commission that Mr Obama set up by executive order last week. “It was just an edict that came from a Democratic president,” he said, adding, that “it’s the only game in town right now”.

Mr Gregg also disputed non-partisan economic studies that showed last year’s $787bn (€585bn, £520bn) stimulus cushioned the impact of the recession. “The facts are wrong,” he said. “I can understand how a Keynesian would make that argument. I find them absurd on their face.”

Read moreUS Senator Judd Gregg Warns of ‘Financial Meltdown’ Risk

US ambassador: US troops to stay in Haiti for time being

American troops will remain in Haiti for the foreseeable future to help the quake-ravaged country get back on its feet, the US ambassador to the Caribbean nation told AFP Thursday.

“There are about 6,500 soldiers in Haiti at the moment. There were some 20,000 for the emergency effort launched in the wake of January 12,” ambassador Kenneth Merten said.

“What is planned for the moment is more and more staff from USAID on the ground and fewer and fewer troops. Gradually, they’ll leave. In my opinion, we will need some American troops to stay here for the foreseeable future.”

But he dismissed any notion that Haiti would be put under some kind of foreign governorship, an idea mooted by French lawmaker Jacques Myard in the days after the January 12, 7.0-magnitude quake hit.

“I don’t see any reason for the country to be put under governorship. We have been working for a long time, since the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier, for a democratic nation in Haiti.”

Read moreUS ambassador: US troops to stay in Haiti for time being

US Lobbying Run Amok: Eight Health Care Lobbyists For Every Member Of Congress

President Obama will meet with 22 high-ranking lawmakers on Thursday to discuss health care reform and how to accomplish it.

But if newly released information about lobbying in 2009 is any indication, the private sector and its interests may already be secured.

For every member of Congress, there were eight lobbyists working to influence health care reform last year, according to research by The Center for Public Integrity.

That’s about 4,525 total lobbyists from 1,750 companies that include 207 hospitals, 105 insurance companies and 85 manufacturing companies.

The biggest group by far were the trade and advocacy organizations, which accounted for a whopping 745 companies lobbying for their own vision of health care in the US.

One of the most powerful political groups in the capital, the AARP deployed no less than 58 lobbyists to fight for their cause.

Read moreUS Lobbying Run Amok: Eight Health Care Lobbyists For Every Member Of Congress

More UBS Clients Win Ruling Blocking Data Transfers to US

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A pedestrian enters the UBS headquarters on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich (Bloomberg)

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — A Swiss court ordered tax officials to drop two more cases involving UBS AG account holders, adding urgency to the government’s effort to find a political solution that will preserve a data-sharing agreement with the U.S.

The Federal Administrative Court, in a decision published today, told Switzerland’s tax authority to comply with an earlier ruling that blocked it from sending the U.S. information on 26 UBS customers. The court in Bern said Switzerland may only lift bank secrecy rules when there is evidence of tax fraud.

The ruling increases pressure on the Swiss to find a way to salvage the agreement to hand over data on as many as 4,450 UBS account holders as part of a U.S. crackdown on tax evasion. Ministers said this week they will ask the parliament to approve the U.S. settlement to get around the court rulings.

Read moreMore UBS Clients Win Ruling Blocking Data Transfers to US

Bulgaria: More Than 400 Tax Inspectors Caught Over Unpaid Traffic Fines

SOFIA (Reuters) – There were some embarrassed faces at Bulgaria’s tax office on Thursday after an investigation found more than 400 tax inspectors had failed to pay their traffic fines.

Oddly Enough

The Balkan nation has launched a crackdown on civil servants who don’t pay what they owe, as part of plans to stamp out rampant fraud and raise revenues during the recession, the national revenue agency said.

Those tax officials caught will have money deducted from their February salaries to pay the fines.

More than 50,000 civil servants also face being checked for unpaid taxes and fines in March, a sign of the pressure Sofia is under at home and abroad to demonstrate results in its fight against graft and crime.

In July the European Union is due assess the government’s record and failure to show progress could threaten access to more EU aid after in 2008 Brussels froze millions in aid over fraud.

Read moreBulgaria: More Than 400 Tax Inspectors Caught Over Unpaid Traffic Fines

Canada On The Verge Of Approving Enviropigs – Millions Of Canadians Will Soon Be Eating Mouse/Pig Hybrids

enviropigs

The Canadian government is on the verge of approving the introduction of extremely bizarre genetically modified pigs into the Canadian food supply.

These new mouse/pig hybrids have been dubbed “enviropigs” and are being touted as being much better for the environment.  This new “breed” of Yorkshire pigs was created by scientists in Ontario at the University of Guelph, who spliced in genes from mice to decrease the amount of phosphorus produced in the pigs’ excrement.

So soon millions of Canadians will be eating meat from mouse/pig hybrid creatures and most of them will not even realize it.  It is expected that approval for this new “brand” of pigs will be sought in the United States as well.

But this is hardly the first time that scientists have mixed two kinds of animals together in an attempt to create creatures that will be beneficial for humanity.

The truth is that scientists around the world are now creating bizarre hybrid “animals” on a regular basis.  Over the past couple of decades the field of genetic modification has made extraordinary advances, and now researchers and scientists seem very eager to exploit these new technologies.

So what kind of weird, mysterious creatures have scientists been creating?

Well, what would you think of a cat that glows in the dark?

They really exist.

A genetically modified cat named Mr. Green Genes was the very first fluorescent cat created in the United States.  Under an ultraviolet light, Mr. Green Genes puts off a very strange bright green glow.

So perhaps in the future not only can your cat cuddle up to you and keep you warm – it could also serve as a night light.

But U.S. researchers were not even the first ones to do this to cats.  A team of scientists in South Korea had previously created a cat that glows red under ultraviolet light.

Now why in the world would scientists do this kind of a thing?

Well, because they can.

But scientists have created creatures that are even more bizarre than fluorescent cats.

spidergoat
One Canadian company is actually producing spider goats.

Yes, it is true.  A Canadian company known as Nexia has created goats that are genetically modified to be part spider.

The reason for this bizarre genetic modification is to get goats that will produce spider silk protein in their milk.  This spider silk protein is then collected, purified and spun into incredibly strong fibers.

Reportedly, the fibers that are produced are more durable than Kevlar, more flexible than nylon, and stronger than steel.

This substance has industrial and military applications that are apparently extremely valuable.

But when you tell most people that spider goats exist they will just laugh at you.

If that is the response that you get when you tell someone about spider goats, just show them the following video.

The YouTube video posted below contains a television news report that discusses how these spider goats are created and what this company is doing with the spider silk that these spider goats are producing….

So does all of this tampering with the environment disturb you?

After all, at least scientists are not creating human/animal hybrid creatures, right?

Wrong.

Read moreCanada On The Verge Of Approving Enviropigs – Millions Of Canadians Will Soon Be Eating Mouse/Pig Hybrids

Blackwater Guards Stole Hundreds Of Weapons In Kabul And Went On Deadly Rampage

More than 500 AK47 rifles had been removed from the bunker by Blackwater staff without permission.

blackwater-now-xe

Private American security guards working for the US military in Afghanistan removed hundreds of handguns and automatic weapons from stores intended for the exclusive use of the Afghan police and used them on drunken shooting rampages that killed two Afghan civilians and injured at least two more.

The guards included a former US Marine with a criminal record of assault and battery and a former soldier discharged from the US Army after testing positive for cocaine, Congress heard yesterday.

Justin Cannon, Christopher Drotleff and a guard using the name “Eric Cartman” from the cartoon South Park were employees of a subsidiary of the Blackwater Worldwide group, implicated in a litany of extrajudicial shootings since 2003 in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Cannon and Drotleff have been charged with killing two Afghans and injuring a third in an incident last May when they opened fire on a car carrying four civilians in Kabul, while under the influence of alcohol. The men, who were hired to train Afghan soldiers, had no permission from US authorities to carry guns.

Read moreBlackwater Guards Stole Hundreds Of Weapons In Kabul And Went On Deadly Rampage