WASHINGTON (AP) – The House Friday easily approved a compromise bill setting new electronic surveillance rules that effectively shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits arising from the government’s terrorism-era warrantless eavesdropping on phone and computer lines in this country.
The bill, which was passed on a 293-129 vote, does more than just protect the telecoms. The update to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is an attempt to balance privacy rights with the government’s responsibility to protect the country against attack, taking into account changes in telecommunications technologies.
Officials on Thursday abruptly canceled a state program to spray chemicals to combat crop-eating moth in urban areas after months of public uproar over its unclear effects on the environment and human health.
A.G. Kawamura, state secretary of food and agriculture, announced that California had abandoned plans to send up pesticide-spraying planes to fight the light brown apple moth in cities. That includes the densely populated San Francisco Bay area, which had been scheduled for treatment this fall.
“I know there’s concern out there, and we want to be able to address that,” Kawamura told reporters. “Our focus is to use the technology that has moved progressively forward.”
Schoolboy hacker Omar Khan who upped his grades faces 38 years in jail
It could be a long time before Omar Khan goes to college: as long as 38 years, according to Orange County prosecutors, who have arrested and charged the 18-year-old student with breaking into his prestigious high school and hacking into computers to change his test grades from Fs to As.
If convicted on all 69 counts, including altering and stealing public records, computer fraud, burglary, identity theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy, Mr Khan could spend almost four decades in prison.
He is currently being held on $50,000 (£25,500) bail and is scheduled to appear in court today.
But if you contaminat Iraq for thousands upon thousands of years you face no charges at all:
– Government Insider: Bush Authorized 9/11 Attacks “This (9/11) was all planned. This was a government-ordered operation. Bush personally signed the order. He personally authorized the attacks. He is guilty of treason and mass murder.” –Stanley Hilton
– Rumsfeld: Why not another 9/11? In a newly-released tape of a 2006 Rumsfeld declared that the American people lack “the maturity to recognize the seriousness of the ‘threats'” – and need another 9/11.
When DeLong complained about a “lack of sympathetic ears” in Congress, and a lack of interest among the general American public, Rumsfeld responded, “What’s to be done? The correction for that, I suppose, is another attack.”
The US military cannot locate hundreds of sensitive nuclear missile components, according to several government officials familiar with a Pentagon report on nuclear safeguards.
Robert Gates, US defence secretary, recently fired both the US Air Force chief of staff and air force secretary after an investigation blamed the air force for the inadvertent shipment of nuclear missile nose cones to Taiwan.
According to previously undisclosed details obtained by the FT, the investigation also concluded that the air force could not account for many sensitive components previously included in its nuclear inventory.
One official said the number of missing components was more than 1,000.
The disclosure is the latest embarrassing episode for the air force, which last year had to explain how a bomber mistakenly carried six nuclear missiles across the US. The incidents have raised concerns about US nuclear safeguards as Washington presses other countries to bolster counter-proliferation measures.
(NaturalNews) The fate of the nation’s water supply is under debate as hearings in the House and Senate begin on the Water Restoration Act of 2007. Opponents claim this Act threatens to greatly expand the Federal Government’s roll in water management. This Act would define waters of the U.S. as “all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams) mudflats, sand flats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing”. In other words, this bill will give the federal government total control of the most basic of all commodities necessary to life on this earth.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers currently have authority over all waters considered navigable in the U.S. The Code of Federal Regulations 33 CFR 329.4 defines navigable waters as “those waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible for use to transport interstate or foreign commerce.”
The Water Restoration Act, a bipartisan bill lead/sponsored by Congressman Oberstar, is an amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Act, commonly known as the Clean Water Act. Since major amendments were enacted in 1977, the Clean Water Act protected all of the nation’s waters as Congress intended, until 2003, when the Bush administration gave in to pressure form corporate polluters and redefined the meaning of water. This happened through a bureaucratic device called a ‘guidance’, whereby the EPA instructed federal environmental law enforcers to back off from holding many polluters accountable.
Proponents of the Clean Water Restoration Act see it as restoring what was Congress’s original intent, that the Clean Water Act protect all of the nation’s waters. They see water quality and quantity issues as needing examination this spring, and believe now is the time for getting legislation to protect the water supply in order with the passage of this Act. They see the Act as offering needed protection from water pollution, from terrorists, and being in the interests of national security.
Under the Public Trust doctrine, the government is prohibited from converting something such as water to the status of a commodity. Water is considered a basic human right that must remain in the public trust, meaning that it is so important to our survival that it should never be reclassified as a commodity. Many believe that the Water Restoration Act lays the foundation for removing water from the Public Trust and facilitating it to fall under the ownership and control of corporations as a commodity. This is similar to how seeds have fallen into corporate control when they were once viewed as part of the Public Trust under the assumption that all people have a right to seeds with which to grow food for themselves.
Commodity owning corporations can now sue the government if it acts in any way to prevent them from making profits they believe they are entitled to. This ability to sue for impaired profit making can be the result of environmental regulations, of Federal laws which may prevent the corporations from hiring illegal workers, or issues of eminent domain in which an individual’s land stands in the way of corporate earnings, and the courts have not acted to protect the interests of the corporation.
All the corporation has to do to supersede federal law is claim ‘trade illegal’ provisions of NAFTA and CAFTA. Federal laws and regulations are then put aside, along with property rights. CAFTA goes a long way in establishing the privatization of water supplies, including in-land navigated waters and the right to use and access the water supplies.
Federal control over all water may lead to its privatization
If the federal government is unable to gain total control of all water from whatever source, it is highly unlikely that water can be taken from the status of Public Trust and changed to that of commodity. If in fact the Water Restoration Act allows for the complete control of the federal government over all water in the country, as it opponents claim, water can loose its status as part of the Public Trust, and become a commodity available for corporate ownership.
The Water Restoration Act federalizes all inland and coastal waters from any source. This Act is needed to set the stage for the corporate privatization guaranteed under CAFTA, and would effectively convert the entire water supply from any source into the status of a commodity.
For over two weeks 2,300 Marines have been using the city of Indianapolis and its civilian population as a “simulated urban combat zone” under the direction of FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
The exercises began on June 4th when Mayor Greg Ballard surrendered 26 sites around the city. The corporate press, Marine spokesmen, and officials with the city of Indianapolis have all been using the same talking points in an attempt to pacify local citizens and moderate any dissent. The official story has been that the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is here to do pre-deployment training in a realistic urban environment. Col. Mark J. Desens, the unit’s commanding officer, said “Our aim in Indianapolis is to expose our Marines to realistic scenarios and stresses posed by operating in an actual urban community. The city’s new mayor Greg Ballard concurs with the commander saying, “I think it’s very good training for them…actually, city fighting, urban fighting is really the most dangerous type of fighting there is.”
But the cover story has several obvious flaws, as the Marines have a multitude of facilities in which to experience “realistic scenarios.” To begin Camp Lejeune is home of MOUT Military Operations Urban Terrain or urban combat training village, modeled after an Iraqi town. Located in Kuwait is a high tech realistic urban MOUT training facility (watch video) covering 30 acres and costing taxpayers 15 million to build. The FBI in Quantico, VA has an extensive “Hogan’s Alley,” urban combat training center where the Marines could practice for pre – deployment and fire live ammunition.
In fact live fire exercises are the preferred and usually required type of training for units deploying to combat zones, the Army performs this type of training at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk Louisiana. The JRTC offers improved unit readiness by providing a highly realistic, stressful, joint and combined arms training across the full spectrum of conflict, current and future. Perhaps the biggest flaw in the cover story being sold by the controlled press and others is that, “Most of the Marines with the 26th MEU are Iraqi combat veterans.” according to Col. Hill of Camp Lejeune.
While the Marines and their spokesmen are being put front and center for public consumption the “terror drills” they are conducting have been set up by the FBI under TAMACOR. The TAMACOR program is designed to integrate federal and state law enforcement agencies with the USMC. Taken from a Department of Defense memo, “The TAMACOR Program supports the FBI by coordinating regional FBI SWAT training during USMC special operations training on non-DoD facilities.” Under TAMACOR the Marines have been training to perform law enforcement functions since 1992 when the FBI and Marines formalized the agreement with the signing of the initial MOU, Memorandum of Understanding. Civilian authorities and their appointed agents have been using these MOU’s to weaken Posse Comitatus over the years, initially using the War on Drugs as their justification.
We have learned from Major T. A. Smith, Chief Deputy of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office that the Department of Homeland Security is also behind these operations. However when questioned no one from the Department of Homeland Security or the FBI would elaborate on their involvement, referring us back Lt. Patrick, Public Affairs Officer of the 26th MEU.
Compartmentalization and keeping people in the dark about training Marines in a police role seems to be a major objective of these exercises. This is evident in the stream of propaganda coming from civilian authorities and the controlled press these last few weeks. From the Indianapolis Star we are told, “Indianapolis residence hoping to experience a bit of shock and awe.” Mark Casey a local Indianapolis blogger says, “A word to the Indianapolis wise [see if you like martial law you are “wise.”] … when you see that formation of helicopters flying low over your back yard this week, remember that its only a drill!”
According to the Indianapolis Mayor there is really no need to be concerned. “I don’t think it was necessary for any citywide meetings on this,” Ballard said. “The neighborhoods will be well-informed on what’s going on.” Perhaps some meetings would have been beneficial since the owner of one the surrendered sites, Rich Banta was not told about the plans. Banta said, “That it [Eastgate Consumer Mall] is a construction site … I’d hate to see a Ray’s Trash truck run into a helicopter.” When speaking to another city official a little bit of truth slipped out when Debbie Fletcher of the Indianapolis/Marion Country Emergency Management Agency said, “We don’t want anyone thinking that there’s an invasion happening or that we declared martial law or something like that.”
The preponderance of the evidence strongly suggest that the Marines in Indianapolis are being prepared for civilian law enforcement functions in direct violation of Posse Comitatus which prohibits federal troops from exercising state law enforcement police or peace officer powers to maintain “law and order” on non-federal property. I suspect most of the Marines in the 26th are not even aware of their role in this joint law enforcement exercises. Neither the Marines nor Indiana police have been briefed on the significance of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Due to alternative press coverage and public awareness much of what the FBI and DHS had planned for the citizens of Indianapolis has been scaled back or cancelled. Marines did execute a mock terror cell raid on and occupied apartment complex but there is little evidence of the other locations mentioned in earlier press releases being used. Largely Marine training has been restricted to Camp Atterbury and the Raytheon facility on the city’s east side, leaving the Marines biggest public exposure to be at the Indiana State Fairgrounds during a community outreach day.
It is critically important for all readers to understand that it is the military veterans of this nation who are sounding the alarm as rogue elements within our government have decided to Cross the Rubicon misusing the relationship between the public and U. S. Armed Forces to desensitize military and law enforcement personnel and encourage them to accept what was once considered unacceptable. “We’re all part of the national defense mechanism in some way,” Ballard said. “The impact on the city will be very minimal. . . . They just have to trust us that we’re doing the right thing for the city and the nation.”
The ultimate mission of the Marine Corps is to protect and defend The Constitution, not to practice waging war against America.
(NaturalNews) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced his support for the harvesting of organs from dead patients without prior consent, and said that he hopes for such a policy change to take place within the year.
“A system of this kind seems to have the potential to close the aching gap between the potential benefits of transplant surgery in the United Kingdom and the limits imposed by our current system of consent,” Brown wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.
With a waiting list for organs 8,000 patients long, and 1,000 people dying each year due to organ unavailability, the U.K. has announced plans to overhaul its organ donation system. As part of this new effort, doctors and nurses will be pressured to identify more organ donors ahead of time and to alert organ donation coordinators as patients approach death. The government seeks to appoint a doctor in each hospital as a donation “champion,” to be paired with a lay person who can do outreach on the topic.
The government admits that a conflict of interest might occur when doctors are encouraged to view still-living patients as potential organ sources.
ISRAEL’S Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has warned the radical Islamic movement Hamas that the truce due to take effect today is the last chance to avoid a massive military incursion into the Gaza Strip.
In an exclusive interview with the Herald – his first interview with the Australian media in four years – Mr Olmert said the people of Gaza were “pissed off with Hamas” and sick and tired of the years of violence.
Since Israel withdrew from Gaza three years ago, the 250,000 residents who surround Gaza have been subjected to almost daily rocket attacks from Palestinian militants.
“You think the people of Adelaide would put up with this?” demanded Mr Olmert. “Or the people of Brisbane?
“I think the strategy of Hamas, which does not want to recognise Israel’s right to exist in the first place, and the extremism, and the fanaticism, and the religious dogmatism is the enemy of peace. We are at the end of our tolerance with regard to terror in Gaza.”
An Afghan detainee is carried on a stretcher before being interrogated by military officials at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002. A study of former Guantanamo detainees has unearthed evidence that they were tortured and abused.(Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)
Medical examinations of suspected militants formerly held by the U.S. military at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba showed evidence of torture and other abuse that resulted in serious injuries and mental disorders, according to a human rights group.
The study, considered the most extensive medical check of former U.S. detainees published so far, also tracked former suspects held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, with similar findings.
For the study, Physicians for Human Rights had doctors and mental health professionals examine 11 former prisoners of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
The U.S-based human rights organization says it found evidence of U.S. torture and war crimes, and it accuses U.S. military health professionals of allowing the abuse of detainees, denying detainees medical care and providing confidential medical information to interrogators that was then exploited.
Physicians for Human Rights did not identify the 11 former prisoners to protect their privacy. Seven were held in Abu Ghraib between late 2003 and summer of 2004, a period that coincides with the known torture of prisoners at the hands of some of their U.S. jailers. Four of the prisoners were held at Guantanamo beginning in 2002 for one to almost five years. All 11 were released without charges being laid.
Those examined reported being tortured or abused, including sexually, and described being shocked with electrodes, beaten, shackled, stripped of their clothes, deprived of food and sleep, and spit and urinated on.
Prisoner subjected to electrical shocks 3 times a day
The Associated Press has obtained a report outlining the treatment of two Iraqi prisoners. One, identified only as Yasser, reported being subjected to electric shocks three times and being sodomized with a stick. His thumbs bore round scars consistent with shocking. He would not allow a full rectal exam.
Another Iraqi, identified only as Rahman, reported he was humiliated by being forced to wear women’s underwear, was stripped naked and paraded in front of female guards, and was shown pictures of other naked detainees. The psychological exam found that Rahman suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had sexual problems related to his humiliation.
The Physicians for Human Rights report came as the U.S. Senate’s armed services committee revealed documents showing military lawyers warned the Pentagon that methods it was using following the Sept. 11, 2001, airplane hijackings violated military, U.S. and international law. Those objections were overruled by a top Pentagon lawyer.
U.S. President George W. Bush said in 2004, when the prison torture was revealed, that it was the work of “a few American troops who dishonoured our country and disregarded our values.” Bush and other U.S. officials have consistently denied that the U.S. tortures its detainees.
The degradation of some prisoners by their U.S. captors is well documented by the government’s own reports. Once-secret documents show that the Pentagon and Justice Department allowed, at least for a time, forced nakedness, isolation, sleep deprivation and humiliation at its military prisons in Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib.
Health of detainees prior to detention not known
Physicians for Human Rights’ medical examiners did not have access to the 11 patients’ medical histories prior to their imprisonment, so it was not possible to know whether any of the prisoners’ ailments, disabilities and scars pre-dated their confinement. The U.S. military says an al-Qaeda training manual instructs members, if captured, to assert they were tortured during interrogation.
However, doctors and mental health professionals stated they could link the prisoners’ claims of torture while in U.S. detention to injuries documented by X-rays, medical exams and psychological tests.
“The level of the time, thoroughness and rigour of the exams left me personally without question about the credibility of the individuals,” said Dr. Allen Keller, one of the doctors who conducted the exams, in an interview with the Associated Press.
“The findings on the physical and psychological exams were consistent with what they reported.”
All 11 former detainees reported being subjected to:
Stress positions, including being suspended for hours by the arms or tightly shackled for days.
Prolonged isolation and hooding or blindfolding, a form of sensory deprivation.
Threats against themselves, their families or friends from interrogators or guards.
Ten said they were forced to be naked, some for days or weeks.
Nine said they were subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation.
At least six said they were threatened with military working dogs, often while naked.
Four reported being sodomized, subjected to anal probing, or threatened with rape.
Denver, City Park West, 8:00 pm – According to a Denver Police spokesperson, the invasion of black helicopters with uniformed men hanging off of them, experienced by this neighborhood this evening, is a practice run of Navy Seals and SWAT teams, landing at the Civic Center, Childrens Hospital, and City Park, in preparation for the Democratic National Convention. Hmmmm….
The Rocky Mountain News, after an unflattering article on the Black Hawks – yes, tinfoil hatters, black helicopters – invading Denver, came back with a clarification. It’s all part of the GWOT, or Global War on Terrorism, in response to the reservations of mayor John Hickenlooper. “The federal agencies sponsoring the ongoing multi-agency training in Denver agreed to make the proper notifications regarding the exercises to prevent surprise and inconvenience to Denver residents,” Hickenlooper said. “There seems to have been a misunderstanding about the reach and scope of these notifications, and they did not occur in the manner expected by the City.”
Mr. Hickenlooper, the feds don’t need no stinkin’ notifications. Mr. Hickenlooper also declares the “exercises” have nothing to do with the DNC. It’s all a coincidence, Mr. Mayor – sure, and I’m expecting a visit by the tooth fairy tonight, that is after Santa makes an early appearance and brings me a Lamborghini.
As Erin Rosa reports for the Colorado Independent, the original “angle” on the “exercises” “quickly disappeared,” replaced by the official version of events. “Either way, countless numbers of residents called the police department and the city’s 311 line last night wondering why their neighborhoods sounded like a war zone.”
Um, because they live in a police state?
Here’s the official explanation:
The exercise by special ops troops, supported by Denver police SWAT teams and firefighters, is intended to prepare for any terrorism threat in a “realistic urban environment,” said Lt. Steve Ruh, a spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. …
“It’s all in preparation for anything that could possibly happen with the global war on terrorism,” said Ruh, whose command coordinates all the military branches’ crack commando units – from Army Rangers to Navy SEALS.
The Special Operations Command calls itself the “Tip of the Spear” against the nation’s gravest threats.
Ruh noted that the exercises are conducted in major cities in the U.S., usually at the invitation of the cities, but that doesn’t mean those cities are necessarily possible targets for terrorism.
Oh, no, of course not, but Denver will be “targeted” by Americans, exercising their constitutional right to petition the government, who are upset with the way things are going.
There was also activity on the streets of Denver as well. On Tuesday, a special team from the Department of Defense rumbled through downtown, with big sport utility vehicles carrying sophisticated communication equipment that belong to the Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, or CST.
The CST team, based in Wyoming, is designed to respond immediately to any act of terrorism. Team members would not comment on their mission.
“Is this a normal occurrence here or is there something funky going on that we should be wondering what we ought to be doing next?” said witness Bill Whitaker.
U.S. military Special Operations commandos will continue conducting the counter-terrorism training from early afternoon until 11 p.m. through Friday night, according to the Rocky Mountain News.
None of the agencies involved informed the public or news agencies about the drill and that may have had an effect on Denver’s 911 system.
No, you think? Imagine if you had no idea the government was conducting this “exercise” and one of these Black Hawk Down birds swooped over your house, rattling the windows and upsetting your children and pets. You might think it’s a scene out of Red Dawn. Your confusion, fear, and anger, of course, would be a small price to pay in the GWOT. Never know when Osama might crawl out from under your bed.
“A new coalition of protest groups promises free concerts, art displays, classes for activists and a ‘massive’ anti-war march during this summer’s Democratic National Convention,” writes Sara Burnett for the Rocky Mountain News.
The Alliance for Real Democracy is made up of 12 groups, many led by activists in their early 20s and 30s.
Organizers said Tuesday their nonviolent events will urge an end to the war in Iraq and raise awareness of “the global climate crisis.”
The alliance is open to people of all ages, but will especially target young people. It also plans to invite convention delegates to the events.
“This is as much a part of the process as going to a very formal convention,” said Jojo Pease, an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society.
Some of the groups were previously affiliated with the Re-Create 68 Alliance, but split off after a disagreement over tactics.
Re-Create 68 has promised demonstrations that will rival those at the notorious Democratic convention in Chicago held in 1968, which was accompanied by street battles between police and anti-Vietnam War demonstrators.
Members of the Alliance for Real Democracy wouldn’t talk Tuesday about Re-Create 68 or the split.
But they released bylaws that say the group “will not use or return violence – verbal or physical – toward any person or other creature,” and will not damage property, bring weapons to protests or use illegal drugs or alcohol during events.
It will be Re-Create 68’s “tactics” – confronting the cops, verbally and physically – that will give the GWOT boys an excuse to crack-down on activists from the Alliance for Real Democracy. If you’d like more background on Re-Create 68, see the video above.