NEWS FOR VALENTINES WEEKEND!! DID YOU MISS ANYTHING? HERE IS 70+ NEWS STORIES TO MAKE UP FOR IT!
THE ELITE 1%__________________
Anonymous are about to wage war on rich and powerful covering up child sex abuse in ‘nightmarish’ Friday 13th protest
Masked protesters will march on the homes of “elite” paedophiles and public figures they claim have been involved in the “nightmarish” cover-up of child sex abuse.
In a video released on YouTube, Anonymous says it has exposed a club of people in positions of trust and responsibility that have been murdering and torturing children.
(Indepedent, feb 13th)
Hackers steal up to $1 billion from banks
A report from a cybersecurity firm says an international hacking ring has stolen up to $1 billion from banks around the globe in what would be one of the biggest banking breaches known.
The hackers have been active since at least the end of 2013 and infiltrated more than 100 banks in 30 countries, according to Russian security company Kaspersky Lab.
After gaining access to banks' computers through phishing schemes and other methods, they lurk for months to learn the banks' systems. Then the hackers have programmed ATMs to dispense money at specific times or set up fake accounts and transferred money into them.
Most of the targets have been in Russia and Eastern Europe. But Kaspersky says banks in the U.S., Asia and elsewhere in Europe were also targeted.
(AP, feb 15th)
The country’s last black-owned banks are in a fight for their survival
Capital Savings Bank opened shop in Washington in 1888, making it the nation's first black-owned bank at a time when the mere notion of offering financial services to the African American community was a novel idea. Now black-run banks are in a fight for survival, even though many advocates argue that many African Americans remain starved for banking services.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. counted 25 black-owned banks remaining in the country last year, down from 48 in 2001. That decrease came even as the overall number of minority-owned banks increased slightly, going from 164 to 174. In addition, the majority of black-owned banks that remain open are on shaky ground and struggling to hold on in the face of the economic devastation that has ravaged many of their customers. Analysts say 60 percent of black-run banks lost money in 2013.
(washington post, feb 13th)
Helen Mirren has described the Royal Family as “aliens”.
The actress, who is reprising her role as Queen Elizabeth II in play The Audience on Broadway, has given her take on the royal lifestyle to the New York Times.
“The world they live in is so beyond our understanding,” she told the newspaper. Mirren, who won an Oscar for her performance as the monarch in film The Queen, went on: “You’ve never queued for anything. Ever, for anything. Every time you go in the street, the traffic is stopped for you. It’s a world you can’t imagine. They are, in a way, aliens.
“But inside that, they are the same flawed, insecure, vulnerable, complicated human beings we are. It’s my job to get into the person who’s inside that world.”
(Indepedent, feb 13th)
Bush blows away GOP rivals with 2016 war chest
Jeb Bush’s money juggernaut is far eclipsing the efforts of his would-be rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, putting his two political committees on pace to amass an unprecedented sum of tens of millions of dollars by early spring.
The former Florida governor’s overwhelming dominance in the race to line up financial backers has come at a speed that has impressed longtime Republican money players, who say wealthy party backers have rapidly migrated to Bush since 2012 nominee Mitt Romney decided against another White House run two weeks ago.
At one Manhattan fundraiser for Bush at the Park Avenue home of private-equity titan Henry Kravis this week, about 25 attendees paid a minimum of $100,000 each just to get in the door. It’s one of six events for Bush’s political action committees — including one next weekend in Palm Beach — with such a price tag.
“I think they will come up with an eye-popping figure,” said veteran GOP fundraiser Fred Malek.
Bush’s press for dollars has been so intense — averaging one fundraiser a day — that his Republican competitors do not even claim they can compete at his level and acknowledge that he is the unrivaled financial leader.
(washington post, feb 13th)
Jeb Bush hands out cash to win allies ahead of 2016 election
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on Friday he is giving out more than $100,000 to fellow Republicans, in a sign that he is banking on his fundraising prowess to build allies across the country ahead of a potential White House bid.
The brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush has emerged as an early frontrunner in what could be a crowded Republican field in the 2016 presidential election.
Bush's political committee, Right to Rise, announced it was handing out $10,000 to Republican state parties in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida - states that will be among the first to hold nominating contests in the 2016 primaries that decide the party candidates for the election.
His committee also gave out $5,200, the legal maximum, to 14 Republican lawmakers. Among the recipients: Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative David Young of Iowa; Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Frank Guinta of New Hampshire; and Senator Tim Scott and Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.
(reuters, feb 13th)
Ron Paul: Ukraine Coup Planned By Nato And EU
As Ron Paul recently exclaimed, the war propagandists are very active and are winning over the support of many unsuspecting American citizens. So we thought the followingg 90 seconds of ‘pure Paul’ would provide a refreshingly different perspective as he explains, “I’m not pro-Russia, I’m not pro-Putin, I’m pro-facts.”
“The Ukraine coup was planned by NATO and EU… The best thing we can do for Ukraine is get the foreigners out.”
Ron Paul continues:
"Our government has no more credibility in telling us the truth about the facts that require us to expand our military presence in this region than Brian Williams.
Constant war propaganda has proven too often to be our nemesis in supporting constant war promoted by the neoconservatives and the military industrial complex.
The only way that Congress can be persuaded to back off with our dangerous interventionism, whether it’s in the Middle East or Ukraine, is for the American people to speak out clearly in opposition."
(zero hedge, feb 15th)
Ukraine’s Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh said his radical movement rejects the Minsk peace deal and that their paramilitary units in eastern Ukraine will continue “active fighting” according to their “own plans.”
The notorious ultranationalist leader published a statement on his Facebook page Friday, saying that his radical Right Sector movement doesn’t recognize the peace deal, signed by the so-called ‘contact group’ on Thursday and agreed upon by Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia after epic 16-hour talks.
Yarosh claimed that any agreement with the eastern militia, whom he calls “terrorists,” has no legal force.
In his statement, Yarosh claimed that that the Minsk deal is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution, so Ukrainian citizens are not obliged to abide by it. Thus if the army receives orders to cease military activity and withdraw heavy weaponry from the eastern regions, the Right Sector paramilitaries, who are also fighting there “reserve the right” to continue the war, he said.
The Right Sector paramilitary organization continues to deploy its combat and reserve units, to train and logistically support personnel, while coordinating its activities with the military command of the Ukrainian army, paramilitary units of the Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry, he said.
(Russia Today, feb 13th)
Eastern Ukraine leaders order ceasefire, voice amendments to constitution
Martial law will be implemented in whole country if ceasefire fails
The eastern Ukrainian militias will stop all military action on Sunday in accordance with the Minsk peace deal, but will suppress any provocations which may be organized by Kiev forces, said Aleksandr Zakharchenko, head of Donetsk People’s Republic.
As hours are left till the Minsk ceasefire agreement is set to start, leaders of the restive Ukrainian republics say their regions have ratified the peace deal.
The militias will stop all military action outside the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Zakharchenko said. However, he said that the self-defense forces will reply to any provocative actions by the Kiev troops, including assaults and precision fire.
The DPR leader also said that rebels won’t release a large group of Ukrainian troops, who have been entrapped near the village of Debaltsevo since early February.
(Russia Today, feb 14th)
Despite Truce, Shelling Continues in Parts of Ukraine
The first day of a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine was marred by deadly artillery fire on Sunday, and both the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists accused each other of violating the new accord.
Some lingering violence was expected, given the recent intensity of the combat, yet over all, Ukrainian officials said, the accord reached last week was holding.
(NYT, feb 15th)
A Russian intelligence-gathering ship is again plying the waters off the southern United States in operations aimed at spying on U.S. ballistic missile submarines based in the area, defense officials said.
The intelligence collection ship, Viktor Leonov, has been closely watched by U.S. Navy ships and aircraft for the past several days near Jacksonville, Fla., close to the Naval Submarine Base at Kings Bay, Ga. The ship also conducted operations there in April.
The spying comes amid heightened U.S.-Russia tensions over the crisis in Ukraine, where Russian forces annexed the Crimea last year and are continuing to arm pro-Moscow rebels in the eastern part of the country.
(free beacon, feb 14th)
ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS VS THE WORLD_______________
Poll: Most back ground troops in ISIS fight
Two-thirds of Americans want the U.S. to put some boots on the ground to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
Two-thirds of Americans want the U.S. to put some boots on the ground to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and a majority wants Congress to authorize President Obama’s plan for military action, according to a new NBC News/Maris poll released Friday.
A majority of Americans polled, 54 percent, said their member of Congress should vote to authorize U.S. military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), while 32 percent are opposed to it.
Positions on ground troops break down to 40 percent who support a “limited number” of troops on the ground, mostly in line with the president’s authorization. Twenty-six percent want the military to deploy a “large number of U.S. ground forces.”
(the hill, feb 14th)
As Congress mulls America's war with the Islamic State terror group, more than 4,000 Fort Carson soldiers prepared Thursday to leave for Kuwait, where they will take over as America's largest ground force in the troubled region.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team bid farewell to the post in a ceremony and soon will serve as U.S. Central Command's Reserve force in the Middle East - the first soldiers into battle if a major combat force is used to battle Islamic State fighters.
(Gazette, feb 15th)
The Islamic State is expanding beyond its base in Syria and Iraq to establish militant affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, American intelligence officials assert, raising the prospect of a new global war on terror.
(NYT, feb 14th)
The Islamic State has reportedly seized al-Baghdadi, in Iraq’s Anbar Province, 5 miles from an air base staffed by Marines, as the terror group continues its push beyond its bases in Syria and Iraq in an attempt to establish militant affiliates in other countries.
Hundreds of Islamic State fighters reportedly captured most of al-Baghdadi, which is 55 miles from the capital Ramadi, on Thursday.
On Friday, Iraqi soldiers had retaken several government buildings, but early Saturday, the soldiers withdrew, handing the town back to the militants, The New York Times reported, citing local security officials.
One local Iraqi official told Reuters that, “Ninety percent of al-Baghdadi district has fallen under the control of the insurgents.”
(Fox news, feb 15th)
An Iraqi tribal leader said Saturday that ISIS militants are gaining ground in Anbar province, predicting a "collapse within hours" of Iraqi army forces there if tribal forces withdraw.
Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, a Sunni Muslim leader of the Albu Nimr tribe, called for more U.S. intervention -- including ground troops, arming tribes directly or at least pressuring the Iraqi government to give the tribes more firepower.
While U.S. officials have said that ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, is on the defensive in Iraq and Syria, al-Gaoud says that's definitely not the case where he is.
"In Anbar, we are losing ground, not gaining," he said.
(CNN, feb 14th)
ISIS Slaughters 21 Coptic Christians in Libya
ISIS has reportedly executed 21 Coptic Christian hostages in Libya. The Christians were reportedly captured around New Year’s Day
(Gateway pundit, feb 14th)
Video: ISIS Parades Captured Peshmerga Soldiers Through Kirkuk in Cages
ISIS released video this week showing 17 Peshmerga fighters in cages. The Islamists paraded the captured soldiers through the streets of Kirkuk.
(gateway pundit, feb 14th)
Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram carried out their first known attack on the neighboring country of Chad early Friday, a lawmaker told NBC News.
The attack appears to be the latest example of Boko Haram exporting its campaign of violence beyond Nigeria’s borders and striking nations that have in recent weeks pledged troops to combat the militants. Boko Haram has vowed to carve out its own state based on hard-line Islamic law.
(NBC news, feb 13th)
Violent attacks by Boko Haram have caused many to flee their homes, creating a humanitarian crisis within Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Refugees say they have witnessed brutal acts of savagery, with men’s throats being slit and women being held as “war booty”.
(BBC, feb 13th)
Weird Video: Islamic Preacher Arrives in UK With Police Escort
This strange video shows an Islamic preacher being escorted by British police through Birmingham airport, while his followers greet his arrival with rhythmic chanting.
Although very few details are available, the chanting was characteristic of Sufi Muslims, whose beliefs are based on Islamic mysticism. The chant is apparently some kind of meditative mantra.
Some complained that taxpayer money shouldn’t have been spent on a police escort for whoever this is, while other respondents thought this kind of behavior in an airport was inappropriate.
(infowars, feb 13th)
When a white guy in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was charged with putting bullets in the heads of three Muslims, you might expect the multicultural left to be screaming “Islamophobe,” “hate crime” and demanding sensitivity training in schools and in workplaces.
But we haven’t heard that.
Because Craig Hicks, the suspect charged in the murders, is an atheist, a fan of the Southern Poverty Law Center and likes MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “The Science Guy” Bill Nye, same-sex marriage groups and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
So he’s immune to the label.
(WND, feb 13th)
Spy agencies fund climate research in hunt for weather weapon, scientist fears
US expert Alan Robock raises concern over who would control climate-altering technologies if research is paid for by intelligence agencies
A senior US scientist has expressed concern that the intelligence services are funding climate change research to learn if new technologies could be used as potential weapons.
Alan Robock, a climate scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has called on secretive government agencies to be open about their interest in radical work that explores how to alter the world’s climate.
Robock, who has contributed to reports for the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), uses computer models to study how stratospheric aerosols can cool the planet in the way massive volcanic eruptions do.
But he was worried about who would control such climate-altering technologies should they prove effective, he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose.
(Guardian, feb 15th)
Scientists seek international authority on climate geoengineering
US scientists and legal experts are calling for a strong, international authority to regulate any man-made interventions meant to combat global warming, amid fears that the technology could be harmful to the environment.
The field known as geoengineering is not currently regulated by any institution or treaty, Edward Parson, professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles, explained Saturday.
“If some nations decide this year to embark on a crude untested experimental attempt to do it, we cannot prevent it,” Parsons said in San Jose, California at the American Society for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting.
The lawyer called for creation of an international institution with authority to make decisions related to geoengineering, adding that “some favor a UN body, some favor smaller discussions among great powers or some favor a transnational NGO.”
(Phys.org, feb 15th)
South Sudan Calls off Elections Amid Violent Power StruggleThis is the second such postponement since war broke out between Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar 14 months ago. According to Reuters, thousands have been killed and more than a million displaced since December 2013. Kiir and Machar had begun negotiating a power-sharing deal earlier this month, terms of which included a transitional government in place by July. Why Is South Sudan a Hellhole?
(Gawker, feb 14th)
Yemeni militia defiant ahead of UN vote
Shiite militiamen who seized power in Yemen vowed to defy “threats” as the U.N. Security Council prepared to adopt a resolution Sunday calling on them to step aside or face consequences.
Yemen is a traditional U.S. ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda, but the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country has descended into chaos since the militia known as Houthis overran the capital in September.
In another city they captured last year, Ibb in central Yemen, Houthis fired on hundreds of protesters to disperse them on Sunday, wounding several.
Following their seizure of Sanaa and Ibb, the crisis deepened when they ousted the government and dissolved parliament on February 6, tightening their grip after Western-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi resigned in protest at their advance.
(AP, feb 15th)
Italy is a dying country as people stop having babies
Italy’s birth rate has fallen to its lowest level since the foundation of the modern state in 1861, prompting fresh alarm in a society that has been steadily ageing for decades.
The number of births per 1,000 people has fallen to just 8.4 per cent, down from 38.3 per centwhen Italy’s territories and kingdoms were unified a century and a half ago.
In Britain and the United States, the figures are 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
Last year 509,000 babies were born in Italy, 5,000 fewer than in 2013.
(telegraph, feb 14th)
Report: US cuts Israel out of Iran talks
White House denies Channel 2 report claiming US has stopped updating Israel about developments in nuclear negotiations with Iran in response to Netanyahu's planned Congress speech, after Boehner admits he failed to tell administration he had invited PM.
(ynet news, feb 15th)
Pope Francis steers Catholic Church away from sex to real-world politics
He’s met with a transgender man, told Catholics not to breed like rabbits and washed the feet of a Muslim woman. While all this may sound like he’s ready to overturn dogma, Pope Francis’ real interest is geopolitics.
In less than two years in office, Francis has nudged the conversation away from abusive priests and used the image makeover to wade into such as matters as Cuba-U.S. relations and climate change. In September, he will become the first religious leader who serves as a head of state to address a joint session of Congress.
(Amestrib, feb 12th)
U.S. AND WORLD ECONOMY_______________
U.S. sends China millions in foreign aid despite $1.3 trillion debt
China has become one of the world’s largest two economies, and is wealthy enough to buy up at least $1.3 trillion of the U.S. debt. But that hasn’t stopped Uncle Sam from continuing to send foreign aid to Beijing.
In 2014 the U.S. State Department and its USAID program provided nearly all of the $12.3 million in taxpayer-funded aid set aside for China. And another $6.8 million is on tap for Beijing this year, according to ForeignAssistance.gov.
(washington times, feb 12th)
The Number of U.S. Oil Rigs Continues to Tumble. Production rises despite falling number of oil rigs.
U.S. oil rigs continued to get hammered this week despite still-rising levels of production.
Drillers idled 98 rigs, dropping the number to 1,358 and marking the 10th consecutive decline, Baker Hughes reported on Friday. The total U.S. rig count is down 30 percent since October, an unprecedented retreat.
The collapse in oil prices has wiped out more than 100,000 oil jobs worldwide. That hasn’t shown up yet in U.S. jobs numbers, and American oil production is at its highest seasonal levels in decades. Still, there’s mounting anecdotal evidence of an industry in distress, and the rig counts appear to be in free fall.
Rig counts are a controversial signal for U.S. oil watchers. Some see it as a leading indicator of production. Rigs are used to explore for new deposits and to drill new wells, so when rig counts decline, that will inevitably affect production down the line.
(Bloomberg, feb 13th)
Why The Price Of Oil Is More Likely To Fall To 20 Rather Than Rise To 80
This is just the beginning of the oil crisis
This is just the beginning of the oil crisis. Over the past couple of weeks, the price of U.S. oil has rallied back above 50 dollars a barrel. In fact, as I write this, it is sitting at $52.93. But this rally will not last. In fact, analysts at the big banks are warning that we could soon see U.S. oil hit the $20 mark. The reason for this is that the production of oil globally is still way above the current level of demand. Things have gotten so bad thatmillions of barrels of oil are being stored at sea as companies wait for the price of oil to go back up. But the price is not going to go back up any time soon. Even though rigs are being shut down in the United States at the fastest pace since the last financial crisis, oil production continues to go up. In fact, last week more oil was produced in the U.S. than at any time since the 1970s.
(economic collapse blog, feb 16th)
PHARMACY SHELVES BARE IN VENEZUELA
Tweeting for Treatment in Venezuela
In Venezuela, several hundred tweets like this go out every day under the hashtag “#ServicioPublico,” meaning “public service.” But few cries for help are answered, and the country is facing a critical shortage of basic medical supplies. The crisis is only getting worse. A crumbling economy and lack of access to foreign currency (worsened by the recent drop in oil prices) means domestic distributors cannot pay their suppliers. That, in turn, has led international medical suppliers to cut shipments and hold back on maintenance of Venezuela’s health care infrastructure. Bills have piled up to the tune of some $245 million — and that doesn’t include money owed to drug companies, maintenance firms or other health careproviders.
(Ozy, feb 13th)
President Obama’s executive action sparing millions of illegal immigrants from deportation will be the biggest federal program rollout since ObamaCare — and administration officials are hoping its launch, set for May, will be a lot smoother.
“The deputy secretary and I are very focused on this, and I believe we’re going to get it right,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Fox News on Thursday.
Still, Republican opposition to the plan that would block deportation of as many as 5 million illegal immigrants — most of them parents of children already here legally — is nearly as intense.
DHS has leased a massive office building in Crystal City, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, where a thousand federal workers and a thousand more contractors will process applications. Though forecasting turn-out of applicants is largely a guessing game, DHS predicts as many as 1.3 million people may apply in the first six months alone.
(Fox news, feb 14th)
Obama giving immigrants ‘amnesty bonuses’ despite economic woes
"I think these amnesty rewards, and that's what they are, need to be stopped"
Millions of immigrants benefiting from President Barack Obama’s executive actions could get a windfall from the IRS, a reversal of fortune after years of paying taxes to help fund government programs they were banned from receiving.
Armed with new Social Security numbers, many of these immigrants who were living in the U.S. illegally will now be able to claim up to four years’ worth of tax credits designed to benefit the working poor. For big families, that’s a maximum of nearly $24,000, as long as they can document their earnings during those years.
Some Republicans are labeling the payments “amnesty bonuses,” one more reason they oppose Obama’s program shielding millions of immigrants from deportation.
(AP, feb 14th)
Executive Amnesty Contains ‘Sneaky’ Path to Citizenship
“Your Department’s recent changes to this deferred action program seem to be a sneaky attempt to place potentially hundreds of thousands of unlawful immigrants on a path to citizenship,” House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) wrote in a Friday letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
(national review, feb 13th)
A training memo for federal agents who patrol Arizona advises them they are under no obligation to detain an alcohol impaired driver and they face no liability by allowing them to continue driving.
The memo was shared exclusively with CBS 5 News Friday night. It was circulated among Customs and Border Patrol agents who work Arizona's Tucson sector. The memo gives agents three options of what they can do with a driver they suspect to be impaired:
-Do not detain them
-Detain the impaired individual at the request of a state or local law enforcement officer
-Detain the impaired individual without a request from a state or local law enforcement officer
The memo also explains the ramifications of each option and what liability the agent could face. Only in the "do not detain them" option would the agent be free from any liability.
Border Patrol agents are not certified peace officers in Arizona, meaning they do not have the lawful authority to arrest someone suspected of breaking state law.
"The question is how much authority does Border Patrol have to enforce state laws against U.S. citizens," former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Alex Lane said. "Do we want Border Patrol checkpoints to also be DUI checkpoints?"
(KPHO, feb 13th)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other TPP signatories to accept the United States’ excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains extremeDRM anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users, likely leading to more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.
Here, we’d like to explore yet another set of rules in TPP that will chill users’ rights. Those are the criminal enforcement provisions, which based upon the latest leak from May 2014 is still a contested and unresolved issue. It’s about whether users could be jailed or hit with debilitating fines over allegations of copyright infringement.
(EFF, feb 13th)
Friday on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show,” FCC commissioner Ajit Pai said President Barack Obama is about to succeed in his attempt to take “alarmingly unprecedented direct involvement” into the FCC’s plan to regulate the internet, which he explained will mean “billions of dollars in new taxes,” slower broadband speeds and “less competition.”
(breitbart, feb 13th)
Homeland Security to be put in charge of info sharing
President Obama will announce a new executive order on the sharing of cybersecurity threats and information at Friday's cybersecurity summit at Stanford University, the White House said.
Most importantly to Silicon Valley, the president's proposal is expected to cement the role of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the National Security Agency, as the government lead for information-sharing with the private sector.
"Hopefully the rules will prohibit the use of the information shared being used for surveillance," said Greg Nojime, a senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington D.C.
Given the anger and anxiety that resulted from revelations by Edward Snowden about the extent of NSA surveillance, knowing that Homeland Security is in charge may calm concerns among Valley companies.
Many tech companies have dealt with extensive push back from their customers both in the United States and overseas over the issue of privacy and protection of the information they hold.
The intent of the executive order is to create a process for establishing rules of the road on information sharing between the privacy sector and the government, Nojime said.
This would be in the form of a hub-and-spoke system, where companies would share information with the government, which would then send it back out to other companies.
However, the president's order wouldn't provide protection from liability for the companies doing the sharing.
(USA today, feb 12th)
The National Security Agency, still reeling from massive leaks caused by Edward Snowden, is preparing to be hit with another major loss of secrets, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
The leaks are expected to be published in the near future by a news outlet that was not further identified by the officials familiar with details of the compromise. The NSA is aware of the news outlet’s forthcoming disclosures and is taking steps to try and minimize any damage they will cause.
According to the officials, the latest NSA disclosure of secrets is not the result of an insider stealing documents, as occurred in the case of fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Instead, the leaks will reveal certain NSA technical cyber intelligence gathering capabilities. The officials did not provide details about the leaks.
(free beacon, feb 15th)
The Federal Aviation Administration released Sunday its long-awaited proposal for governing small commercial drones, setting a plan for remote-controlled aircraft to share the skies with passenger planes.
The FAA proposal would allow drones weighing up to 55 pounds to fly within sight of their remote pilots during daylight hours. The aircraft must stay below 500 feet in the air and fly less than 100 mph.
People flying drones would need to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautics test and be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration, but a certificate wouldn’t require the flight hours or medical rating of a private pilot’s license.
“We have tried to be flexible in writing these rules,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “We want to maintain today’s outstanding level of aviation safety without placing an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry.”
(Usa today, feb 15th)
Outgoing senior Obama adviser John Podesta reflected on his latest White House stint Friday, listing his favorite moments and biggest regrets from the past year. Chief among them: depriving the American people of the truth about UFOs.
Podesta’s longtime fascination with UFOs is well-documented, as his brief political hiatus following four years as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff freed him up to pursue his otherworldly passion.
At a 2002 press conference organized by the Coalition for Freedom of Information, Podesta spoke on the importance of disclosing government UFO investigations to the public.
“It’s time to find out what the truth really is that’s out there,” he said. “We ought to do it, really, because it’s right. We ought to do it, quite frankly, because the American people can handle the truth. And we ought to do it because it’s the law.”
(YAHOO, feb 13th)
Frustrated Republicans taste limits of majority control
It wasn't supposed to be like this for Republicans. A month into their control of both chambers of Congress, they are confronting the very real possibility of a shutdown of the Homeland Security Department later this month.
Instead of advancing a conservative agenda and showing voters they can govern, the GOP has been unable to overcome Senate Democrats' stalling tactics in a dispute over immigration.
"I suppose elections have consequences except in the United States Senate," complained GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, summing up the frustration for many House Republicans. "Tell me how it would be different if Harry Reid were still running the place," he added, naming the Senate Democratic leader who was booted into the minority in November's midterm elections.
Although their party is now setting the floor schedule and calling hearings, Republicans are finding to their chagrin that important things haven't changed from when they were in the Senate minority.
Republicans are six votes short of the 60 needed to advance most legislation, and Senate rules grant numerous rights to the minority party. That means if Democrats remain united, they have the ability to block GOP bills just as they did while in the majority.
Democrats have been united against House-passed legislation funding the Homeland Security Department through September, the end of the budget year, while also rolling back President Barack Obama's executive policies on immigration.
(AP, feb 13th)
MEDIA, INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY______________
How Jon Stewart turned lies into comedy and brainwashed a generation
Though Stewart has often claimed he does a “fake news show,” “The Daily Show” isn’t that. It’s a real news show punctuated with puns, jokes, asides and the occasional moment of staged sanctimony.
It contains real, unstaged sound bites about the day’s events and interviews about important policy matters.
Stewart is a journalist: an irresponsible and unprofessional one.
(ny post, feb 15th)
What happens when you ‘report abuse’? The secretive Facebook censors who decide what is – and what isn’t abuse
Chris Green is the first reporter to be allowed into the Dublin office where staff must decide where freedom of speech begins and ends
(Indepedent, feb 14th)
Technology giant Apple (AAPL.O) is learning how to make a self-driving electric car and is talking to experts at carmakers and automotive suppliers, an automotive source familiar with the talks said on Saturday.
The Cupertino, California-based maker of phones, computers and watches is exploring how to make an entire vehicle, not just designing automotive software or individual components, the source said.
“They don’t appear to want a lot of help from carmakers,” the source, who declined to be named, said.
Apple is gathering advice on parts and production methods, the source said, adding that Apple appeared not to be interested in combustion engine technology or conventional manufacturing methods.
(Reuters, feb 14th)
Google Vice President Warns of Digital Dark Age
Record of 21st century may disappear as obsolete computers get trashed
Vint Cerf, one of the ‘fathers’ of the Internet, has said he is very concerned that images and documents will be lost eventually as the computers they are saved on become obsolete. Currently the Vice-President of Google, Mr Cerf has said that as systems fall out of use, the data stored on them could be lost.
He is concerned that in the future, there will be little or no record of the 21st century as we enter what he terms a digital Dark Age.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mr Cerf said he is now focusing his attention on this problem that threatens to eradicate our history. Currently many of our memories, family photos and other information is stored either on hard drives or on the cloud.
(news channel daily, feb 14th)
A top futurist and former advisor to the FBI and Interpol warns that criminal hackers could one day kidnap people with AI-enhanced brains and threaten to wipe their memories in return for a ransom.
Marc Goodman, who has also worked with the US Secret Service, told Singularity Hub of his concerns about mind reading and neurohacking
Asked to imagine the weirdest future crime scenario, Goodman responded, “I think holding people’s memories hostage in demand of an extortion payment would be a fairly horrific crime. Of course, this is all theoretical now. We do not have the capacity to do this. But I thoroughly believe it will be forthcoming.”
Goodman also pointed to recent experiments with EEG technology which illustrated how brain waves could be read to obtain someone’s credit card pin number 30% of the time.
“I think we’ll see more of that, which could lead to all kinds of problems. Forget memorizing passwords—somebody could just pull that data from a brain scan,” said Goodman.
(Infowars, feb 13th)
Cyber-blowback: U.S. unwittingly ‘taught’ advanced cyber-warfare to Iran, N. Korea
The US has unwittingly been helping rival nations how to perfect the art of cyber-warfare.
That’s the conclusion in documents revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, showing that Iran may have learned of sophisticated cyber-attacks from the US itself.
A document of the US National Security Agency (NSA), leaked by Edward Snowden, has recently been published by The Intercept. It reveals that the US cyber-attacks on Iran could have pushed the Middle Eastern country to developing its own, advanced cyber warfare, striking back against the US and its allies.
The document, prepared for a meeting between the NSA and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in 2013, concluded that Iran’s numerous cyber-attacks “are in retaliation to Western activities against Iran’s nuclear sector and that senior officials in the Iranian government are aware of these attacks.”
The document also revealed that, in relation to Tehran’s reaction to the US attack of a virus-destroyer, Wiper, “Iran, having been a victim of a similar cyber-attack against its own oil industry in April 2012, has demonstrated a clear ability to learn from the capabilities and actions of others.”
The US was not the only country subject to Iran’s reprisal cyber-activities, as the developed viruses also endangered America’s allies. In 2012, four months after the Iranian Oil Ministry and the National Iranian Oil Company were attacked by malware, developed by the US in cooperation with Israel, the Saudi Oil Company Aramco was hit by a virus of probable Iranian origin, Shamoon, which led to the destruction of data on tens of thousands of computers, in many ways copying the way Wiper operated.
(Russia Today, feb 13th)
Large Hadron Collider detects ‘Superparticles’
Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider are saying that they are on the verge of detecting a new particle which is much more interesting than the Higgs boson.
This particle is expected to up and running in March this year prior to it’s upgrading for energy boost.
This procedure could compel the first alleged supersymmetric particles to emerge with a gluino being a possible contender.
(Microcap observer, feb 15th)
Plan to broadcast messages to alien worlds leaves cosmologists worrying
A plan to beam powerful radio messages to possible alien civilisations on distant planets has caused consternation among some scientists who believe it could spell doom for humanity on Earth.
Leading figures behind the 50-year-old Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti), which uses radio telescopes to listen passively for unnatural signals from space, have now proposed an “active” form of search known as Meti – Messages to Extraterrestrial Intelligence. These signals will be aimed at the parts of the galaxy where Earth-like planets and life may exist, based on the growing number of “exoplanets” beyond our solar system identified by the Kepler space telescope, which include many in the so-called “habitable zone” of a star.
However, critics say the proposal betrays the founding principles of Seti, which were about listening rather than transmitting. They fear that sending signals of our existence could lead to visits from malign extraterrestrials intent on doing harm to humans.
(Indepdendent, feb 13th)
By 2016, there will likely be a 6-foot tall police robot patrolling the streets and handing out parking tickets. The Telebot, developed by Florida International University’s Discovery Lab, has been field-tested and is undergoing final tune up.
With a swiveling head and dexterous fingers, the humanoid robot is controlled remotely by a person wearing an Oculus Rift headset and motion-tracking vest, arm bands, and gloves. The voice of the remote operator is transmitted through the robot to the unfortunate citizen on the receiving end.
The menacing look of Telebot is no accident. Its design is one “…that can intimidate and display a sense of authority.”
A fully autonomous robot officer is already in the works. The Knightscope K5 does not wield weapons but serves as a total surveillance machine for cops or private clients. It has facial recognition and scans 1,500 license plates per minute, captures audio and 360-degree video, tests the air for chemicals, and maps its surroundings with 3D radar and laser. It can learn to distinguish “suspicious activities” from normal activities.
When the K5 puts all this data together and detects what it perceives as trouble, it alerts local authorities. In a few years, this Dalek-like robot will be recording people’s actions and conversations in public places all over.
Robots have been used for years to detonate or disable bombs. Nothing controversial there. But police robots are increasingly being developed for use against people. Large remote-controlled robots are now fitted with arms that can breach doors or hold live weapons.
In a display of just how badly things can go, in 2011 a police robot burned down a mobile home after triple-warhead gas grenades were fired into the home instead of flameless grenades.
(free thought project, feb 15th)
Amid NYPD’s Work Stoppage, New York City Sets Record, 11 Days in a Row with No Murders
Lack of police action praised by New York residents
The NYPD hasn’t had to call on its homicide team in 11 days — this is the longest stretch ever in the history of the department.
The irony here is that the NYPD has been involved in a work stoppage since the end of December.
Early numbers obtained by the New York Post showed certain arrest levels to be staggeringly low:
Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.
Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300.
Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.
Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.
A report put out by the Citizens Budget Commission last month showed a drastic decline in the amount of traffic tickets written.
(free thought project, feb 13th)
Man arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer
Elton Bandoo told police he was startled awake by a loud bang and screams from his mother that the family was being robbed in their North Miami Beach home.
Seconds later, Bandoo grabbed his .40-caliber handgun and fired, wounding North Miami Beach police officer Lino Diaz. Bandoo told police the split-second decision that will forever change his life was made out of fear to protect his family.
Bandoo said he was sleeping when he suddenly “heard a lot of noise, then heard his mother screaming ‘I think we’re getting robbed. I think we’re getting robbed,’ ” according to his arrest affidavit.
Police say they launched a flash grenade into the home, but only after “announcing in a loud and clear voice” that they were there to serve a federal search warrant. Police said they wore clearly marked Special Response Team outfits and that the armored vehicle out front was marked with police decals on both sides.
(Miami Herald, feb 13th)
Cop Handcuffed 12-yo Boy to Basketball Goal, Beat & Tased Him in Front of Horrified Neighbors
Investigators claim the officer never tased the boy but just fired it off to scare the child
Deputy Alton Walter of The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested and charged with False Imprisonment and Cruelty to Children in the 1st Degree. He faces the two felonies, after handcuffing a 12-year-old child to a basketball goal and beating him, sending him to the hospital with injuries.
The mother of the child said he was making some new friends and staying out a bit later, so she was mildly concerned. To help try to keep her son on the right path, a family friend suggested having a deputy they knew come over and talk to the child.
The boy’s mother was at work on Tuesday evening when she received a call from Walter asking if it was okay to stop by for the talk. Believing her son would be safe in the hands of an officer, she accepted the offer. She claims she could never have expected what happened next.
(free thought project, feb 13th)
Drunken Cop Who Drove Head-on Into Other Cop After Fleeing from Hit & Run, Invokes Blue Privilege
Officer's shockingly low bail raises questions
43-year-old police officer Shawn Norton was released from jail on a meager $100 bail after he was caught driving drunk and leaving the scene of an accident.
The 16-year veteran of the police department was reportedly so drunk when he was arrested that he could not even stand, and had trouble getting out of his vehicle.
Just before midnight on Wednesday night, Norton was driving drunk when he got into a car accident with another vehicle and kept on driving.
A witness followed Norton and reported his vehicle to police, who tracked him down and arrested him. When police found Norton, he was driving in a vehicle with severe front-end damage near the intersection of Hartshorn Street and John Carver Road. When police pulled up behind him and put on their flashing lights Norton continued to drive away, making several turns.
(free thought project, feb 15th)
How ubiquitous is Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide, really? Researchers have discovered that a chemical in the world’s most used herbicide – RoundUp – is tainting the world’s food supply at large. It was recently found that this chemical, known as glyphosate, is present concerning amounts in honey and soy sauce.
For the study, researchers from Abraxis LLC and Boston University purchased sample sizes of various foods to analyze levels of glyphosate. Bought from the Philadelphia, US metropolitan area, the following foods were analyzed:
69 samples of honey
26 samples of pancake and corn syrup
28 samples of soy sauce
11 samples of soy milk
20 samples of tofu
The minimum limit of quantification (LOQ) of the method were determined for honey, pancake syrup, and corn syrup to be 15 ppb; soy sauce, soy milk, and tofu 75 ppb. What this means is that products could have contained minimal levels of glyphosate even though they turned up negative.
While glyphosate residues above the limit weren’t detected in the soy milk, pancake and corn syrup, and tofu, shocking residues were found in the honey. Of the 69 honey samples tested, 41 of them (59%) had glyphosate concentrations above the method LOQ (15 ppb), with a concentration range between 17 and 163 ppb and a mean of 64 ppb.
And it wasn’t just commercial honey that was tainted; 5 of the 11 samples of organic honey contained high levels of glyphosate – with a range of 26 to 93 ppb and a mean of 50 ppb.
(Natural Society, feb 13th)
Adding another genetically modified food to the growing list of biotech creations, the USDA has now approved the first GMO apple for commercial planting inside the United States. Slated for your dinner table, the new GMO apple is reportedly ‘resistant to turning brown when sliced or bruised.’
Coming just months after the USDA approved the first genetically modified potato, the news reminds us of the USDA’s declaration to give Monsanto and other biotech organizations ‘speedy approval’ when it comes to approving genetically modified foods. In other words, less testing and more rubber stamping.
(Infowars, feb 14th)
The world’s oceans are clogged with plastic debris, but how much of it finds its way into the seas annually? Enough to place the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic trash on every foot (30 cm) of every nation’s coastline around the globe.
That’s according to scientists who released research on Thursday estimating that a staggering 8 million metric tones of plastic pollution enter the oceans each year from the world’s 192 coastal countries based on 2010 data.
Based on rising waste levels, they estimated that more than 9 million tons would end up in the oceans in 2015.
Experts have sounded the alarm in recent years over how plastic pollution is killing huge numbers of seabirds, marine mammals, sea turtles and other creatures while sullying ocean ecosystems.
(Reuters, feb 13th)
Measles, illegals: More evidence shows link
(WND, feb 13th)
New, More Aggressive HIV Mutation Discovered in Cuba
New strain progresses so rapidly that victims won't have time to seek antiretroviral treatment
A new strain of HIV (Human Imunodeficiency Virus) detected in Cuba can mutate into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) after only three years.
Medical experience with HIV shows this collection of diseases normally transforms into HIV anywhere from six to 10 years without proper treatment.
(china topix, feb 15th)
Sierra Leone quarantines 700 homes after Ebola case
(AFP, feb 13th)
Russian city wakes up to find it is covered in BLUE snow: Bizarre weather strikes remote area that was hit by a meteorite in 2013
-Residents in Chelyabinsk woke up to odd-coloured snow in the streets
-Some locals complained of having sore throats after contact with it
-It sparked fears that the snow was contaminated with toxic materials
-Local reports claimed it was actually a 'minor' dye spill from a factory
(daily mail, feb 13th)
Study: Oklahoma's daily small quakes raise risk of big ones
Small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily and linked to energy drilling are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes, federal research indicates.
This once stable region is now just as likely to see serious damaging and potentially harmful earthquakes as the highest risk places east of the Rockies such as New Madrid, Missouri, and Charleston, South Carolina, which had major quakes in the past two centuries.
(AP, feb 14th)