NASA employee suspended for political blogging

Feds investigate other employees who mix politics and their jobs

WASHINGTON — Any employee can get in trouble for personal blogging on company time, but U.S. government workers, as one NASA employee has discovered, can get into a special kind of legal trouble if they also write about politics. They risk violating a 1939 law called the Hatch Act, which requires federal employees to keep their jobs and political activities separate.

A National Aeronautics and Space Administration employee was suspended for 180 days for “numerous” blog posts about politics, sending “partisan e-mails” and soliciting for political contributions, according to an announcement last week by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The employee wasn’t identified.

The intent of the Hatch Act is to prohibit “the use of the mechanism of government from influencing the outcome of an election,” said James Mitchell, an OSC spokesman. If a person is seeking money for candidates on company time and on company equipment, “that person might as well have been soliciting within the office,” he said.

The suspension was the result of agreement reached with NASA by the special counsel. The employee, whose suspension began March 30, could have been fired from his job.

The OSC is investigating similar cases at other agencies, Mitchell said. In some instances, the practice may be due to intra-office e-mails about particular candidates.

“We have a lot of cases open right now in this election year,” Mitchell said. The NASA case, which involved a midlevel employee at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, may be a defining one, he said.

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Lieberman Demands YouTube Censorship

Joe Lieberman, senator and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, wants to censor what you watch on Google and YouTube. Lieberman has sent a letter to Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, accusing the corporation of allowing “offensive material” on its site, namely “videos produced by al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups.” Joe wants these taken down immediately and demands Google “prevent them from reappearing.” No word if Schmidt has responded, but a letter sent by a bigwig commissar such as Lieberman is nothing to take lightly. Schmidt and his corporate lawyers have likely confabbed.

“Today, Islamist terrorist organizations rely extensively on the Internet to attract supporters and advance their cause. The framework for much of this Internet campaign is described in a bipartisan staff report released last week by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which I am privileged to chair, titled Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat,” writes Lieberman. “The report explains, in part, how al-Qaeda created and manages a multi-tiered online media operation that produces content intended to enlist followers in countries all over the world, including the United States. Central to this media campaign is the branding of content with an icon or logo to guarantee authenticity that the content was produced by al-Qaeda or allied organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Islam (a.k.a Ansar al-Sunnah) or al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb.”

Or how about an “allied organization” such as the CIA, military intelligence or one of its cutouts? An expert computer analyst has presented evidence that so-called ‘Al-Qaeda’ tapes are routinely digitally doctored and has also unwittingly exposed an astounding detail that clearly indicates a Pentagon affiliated organization in the U.S. is directly responsible for releasing the videos,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote last August. Neal Krawetz, a researcher and computer security consultant, examined the image quantization table of a 2006 Ayman al-Zawahiri tape and made a fascinating discovery – al-Qaeda’s As-Sahab logo (supposedly the media arm of al-Qaeda) was placed on the tape at the same time as the IntelCenter logo. As it turns out, IntelCenter, notorious for releasing al-Qaeda videos, is run by Ben Venzke, former director of intelligence at a company called iDefense, a Verisign company. Jim Melnick, a senior military psy-op intelligence officer who worked directly for Donald Rumsfeld, is billed as iDefense’s director of threat intelligence. In short, there is a distinct possibility the al-Qaeda videos mentioned by Lieberman are fake.

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NATIONAL DRILL: U.S. Tests Response To Set of Calamities

Executive Branch ‘Runs’ Government From Outside D.C. as Mock Crises Mount

Thousands of key federal employees are being whisked from the Washington area by helicopter and car for a three-day test of their ability to run the government from remote locations during a disaster.

The exodus, which began yesterday and will continue today, involves the White House and other parts of the executive branch. Congress and the judiciary are not part of the exercise, which is being overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.

Since the late 1990s, every federal agency has been required to have a plan to quickly resume operations after a catastrophe. But the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks raised doubts about many agencies’ preparations.

This week’s “continuity of government” drill is one of the largest by the federal government since 9/11, officials said. It is part of a national eight-day exercise in which officials are responding to a cascade of nightmarish events. The drill started Thursday, with terrorists sabotaging a tanker carrying poisonous gas in Washington state.

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UN secretary-general calls food price rise a global crisis

VIENNA, Austria – A sharp rise in food prices has developed into a global crisis, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.

Ban said the U.N and all members of the international community were very concerned and immediate action was needed.

He spoke to reporters at U.N. offices in Austria, where he was meeting with the nation’s top leaders for talks on how the United Nations and European Union can forge closer ties.

“This steeply rising price of food — it has developed into a real global crisis,” Ban said, adding that the World Food Program has made an urgent appeal for additional $755 million.

“The United Nations is very much concerned, as (are) all other members of the international community,” Ban said. “We must take immediate action in a concerted way.”

Ban urged leaders of the international community to sit down together on an “urgent basis” to discuss how to improve economic distribution systems and promote the production of agricultural products.

An estimated 40 percent increase in food prices since last year has sparked violent protests in the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia.

On Thursday, U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization chief Jacques Diouf said immediate efforts should focus on helping farmers in developing countries grow more crops.

Josette Sheeran, the World Food Program’s executive director, has likened the price increases to a “silent tsunami,” and said requests for food aid are coming in from countries unable to cope with the rising prices.

She noted that the price of rice has more than doubled since March. The World Bank estimates that food prices have increased by 83 percent in three years.

By VERONIKA OLEKSYN, Associated Press WriterFri Apr 25, 12:44 PM ET

Source: AP

Engineer Charged In Giving Israeli Consulate Nuclear Weapons Documents

MyFoxNY.com — New York — A U.S. Army mechanical engineer has been arrested on charges that he slipped classified documents about nuclear weapons to an employee of the Israeli Consulate.

The arrest of Ben-ami Kadish is being detailed Tuesday by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan and FBI officials.

A criminal complaint says the activities occurred from 1979through 1985. Kadish worked at the U.S. Army’s Armament Research,Development and Engineering Center in Dover, N.J.

The complaint says Kadish took home classified documents several times, and the Israeli government worker photographed them in Kadish’s basement.

The documents included information about nuclear weapons, a modified version of an F-15 fighter jet, and the U.S. Patriot missile air defense system.

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2008, 11:35 AM EDT

Source: Fox

Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Martial Law


Nationwide initiative trains volunteers to teach congregations to “obey the government” during seizure of guns, property, forced inoculations and forced relocation

A Pastor has come forward to blow the whistle on a nationwide FEMA program which is training Pastors and other religious representatives to become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to “obey the government” in preparation for a declaration of martial law, property and firearm seizures, and forced relocation.

In March of this year the Pastor, who we shall refer to as Pastor Revere, was invited to attend a meeting of his local FEMA chapter which circulated around preparedness for a potential bio-terrorist attack, any natural disaster or a nationally declared emergency.

The FEMA directors told the Pastors that attended that it was their job to help implement FEMA and Homeland Security directives in anticipation of any of these eventualities. The first directive was for Pastors to preach to their congregations Romans 13, the often taken out of context bible passage that was used by Hitler to hoodwink Christians into supporting him, in order to teach them to “obey the government” when martial law is declared.

It was related to the Pastors that quarantines, martial law and forced relocation were a problem for state authorities when enforcing federal mandates due to the “cowboy mentality” of citizens standing up for their property and second amendment rights as well as farmers defending their crops and livestock from seizure. It was stressed that the Pastors needed to preach subservience to the authorities ahead of time in preparation for the round-ups and to make it clear to the congregation that “this is for their own good.”

Read moreSecret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Martial Law

IMF alert on starvation and civil unrest


“Children will be suffering from malnutrition” … a UN peacekeeper with locals in Port-au-Prince,
where hunger-provoked protests and looting have left six dead. Photo: AP

THE poorest countries face starvation and civil unrest if global food prices keep rising, says the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Hundreds of thousands of people would starve, he said in Washington. “Children will be suffering from malnutrition, with consequences for all their lives.”

He predicted that rising food prices would push up the cost of imports for poor countries, leading to trade imbalances that might also affect developed nations.

“It is not only a humanitarian question,” he said.

Global food prices have risen sharply in recent months, driven by rising demand, poor weather and an increase in the area of land used to grow crops for biofuels.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says 37 countries face food crisis. The president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, urged members on Sunday to provide $US500 million ($540 million) by May 1 to help alleviate the problem.

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Haitian President Fails to Restore Order

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A desperate appeal from the president Wednesday failed to restore order to Haiti’s shattered capital, and bands of looters sacked stores, warehouses and government offices.

Gunfire rang out from the wealthy suburbs in the hills to the starving slums below as 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers were unable to halt a frenzy of looting and violence that has grown out of protests over rising food prices.


Police officers disperse demonstrators in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, April 09, 2008.
(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Many of the protesters are demanding the resignation of the U.S.-backed president, Rene Preval, and on Tuesday U.N. peacekeepers had to fire rubber bullets and tear gas to drive away a mob that tried to storm his palace.

He delivered his first public comments Wednesday, nearly a week into the protests. With his job on the line, Preval urged Congress to cut taxes on imported food and appealed to the rioters to go home.

“The solution is not to go around destroying stores,” he said. “I’m giving you orders to stop.”

But gunfire rang out around the palace after the speech, as peacekeepers tried to drive away people looting surrounding stores.

The streets remained in the control of bands of young men carrying sticks and rocks, who set up roadblocks of burning tires and stopped passing cars. Businesses were closed and most people locked themselves indoors, as mobs looted stores, warehouses and government offices.

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Nations to establish independent new world order – Ahmadinejad

Stressing that era for the US Government to consider itself the owner of the entire world is over, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here, “Resorting to countless capabilities, world nations would establish an independent new world order, if hegemonic powers would keep on exerting pressure over them.” President Ahmadinejad made the comment in an interview with Japan’s Kyodo news agency, adding, “Today is beginning of an era for the domineering of the world nations who will soon impose their will, like many governments that are fed up with the status quo of the unjust international relations and willing to alter them, and this is an event that would definitely take place.”

OPPRESSIVE POWERS HAVE BECOME ISOLATED
The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran pointed out that the oppressive powers of the world had assumed they could isolate the Iranian nation, but the reverse has happened today, since Iran enjoys excellent and friendly ties with most world nations based on mutual respect.

President Ahmadinejad further reiterated, “On the contrary, the US government is suffering from having achieved the worst international status today. They had assumed if they would sit at the UN Security Council and decide over a matter it would be done for sure, while they had better realize if such decisions remain unheeded it means that they need to harmonize with world nations.”
He added, “It is to their own benefit to do so, since otherwise they would be fully isolated in the long run.”
Ahmadinejad added, “Today no nation, including the Japanese nation, likes the politicians of the oppressive powers, such as the US president, and I can assure you that even the Americans do not like their own president.”

Read moreNations to establish independent new world order – Ahmadinejad