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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

Journal Archives

Exposing the Dark Forces Behind the Snowden Smears

Who is planting anti-Snowden attacks with Buzzfeed, and why is the website playing along?

June 28, 2013

Since journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed the existence of the National Security Agency’s PRISM domestic surveillance program, he and his source, the whistleblower Edward Snowden, have come in for a series of ugly attacks. On June 26, the day that the New York Daily News published a straightforward smear piece on Greenwald, the website

Buzzfeed rolled out a remarkably similar article, a lengthy profile that focused on Greenwald’s personal life and supposed eccentricities.

Both outlets attempted to make hay out of Greenwald’s involvement over a decade ago on the business end of a porn distribution company, an arcane detail that had little, if any, bearing on the domestic spying scandal he sparked. The coordinated nature of the smears prompted Reuters media columnist Jack Shafer to ask if an opposition research firm was behind them. “I wonder who commissioned the file,” he mused on Twitter.

A day before the Greenwald attacks appeared, Buzzfeed published an anonymously sourced story about the government of Ecuador, which had reportedly offered asylum to Snowden (Ecuador has just revoked a temporary travel document issued to Snowden). Written by Rosie Gray and Adrian Carasquillo, the article relied on documents marked as “secret” that were passed to Buzzfeed by sources described as “activists who wished to call attention to the [Ecuadorian] government’s spying practices in the context of its new international role” as the possible future sanctuary of Snowden.



Exploding Number Of Elderly Prisoners Strains System, Taxpayers

Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, James "Whitey" Bulger" and Anthony Marshall -- three high-profile defendants who stand to spend their twilight years behind bars.

By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer, NBC News

The 89-year-old son of late philanthropist and socialite Brooke Astor became the oldest person ever hauled off to New York prison for a non-violent crime last Friday, four years after he was convicted of plundering his mother's massive fortune.

Apparently too frail to stand, Anthony Marshall was pushed to his jail cell in a wheelchair trailed by an oxygen tank. A pillar of Upper East Side privilege had become a monument to age and infirmity.

Marshall now joins the ranks of other high-profile, graying defendants – including accused former mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and convicted financial fraudster Bernard "Bernie" Madoff – who stand to spend their twilight years behind bars.

And they’re by no means alone: Prisoners older than 55 make up the single fastest-growing segment of the U.S. prison community – a largely invisible shadow population.
The number of elderly Americans doing hard time is swelling at a staggering rate and will only continue to balloon, researchers say.

An estimated 246,000 convicts above age 50 were in jail cells across the country last year, according to a June 2012 American Civil Liberties report.



Scenic Fruit Recalls Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels Over Hepatitis A Risk

Scenic Fruit Co. of Gresham, Oregon is voluntarily recalling 5,091 cases of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels because it has the potential to be contaminated with Hepatitis A virus.

The Woodstock Organic Pomegranate Kernels are imported from Turkey, and are sold in eight-ounce resealable plastic pouches with UPC Code 0 42563 01628 9.

The lot numbers and expiration dates of the three recalled lots are:

C 0129 (A,B, or C) 035 with a best by date of 02/04/2015
C 0388 (A,B, or C) 087 with a best by date of 03/28/2015
C 0490 (A,B, or C) 109 with a best by date of 04/19/2015

The products in question were shipped from February 2013 through May 2013 to UNFI distribution centers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington State. The products would have been further distributed by the UNFI distribution centers to retail stores in other states, according to a statement by FDA.



Is it just me or does it seem that a disproportionate number of food recalls involve supposed 'organic' foods as of late?

Iran, Russia to Hold Joint Navy Drills in Caspian Sea

ASTRAKHAN, June 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian and Iranian navies are planning to hold joint exercises in the Caspian Sea in the second half of this year, a Russian military commander said Friday.

Nikolai Yakubovsky, deputy commander of Russia’s Caspian Flotilla, made the announcement after a meeting with the commander of a group of Iranian guided-missile boats that were visiting the port of Astrakhan.

Iranian navy representatives welcomed the opportunity to take part in the joint exercises, but declined to discuss the plans in more detail.

In 2009, Russia and Iran held their first joint naval exercise in the Caspian, involving about 30 ships.



Russia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba to Discuss Snowden Asylum in Moscow

Mérida, 28th June 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Diplomats from Russia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba will meet in Moscow on Monday to discuss the situation of U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

The ex-NSA contractor has requested asylum in Ecuador to avoid what he fears would result in judicial persecution if he is extradited to the United States.

Snowden released information to the Washington Post and UK Guardian from 6 June revealing the existence of a U.S. government intelligence program Prism, which uses data from internet companies to collect information on people’s communication across the globe.

He is now wanted by U.S. federal prosecutors on three charges related to espionage: theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorised person.



Total Surveillance: The Response to Snowden’s Leak Ignores the Reality of Political Repression

Although Edward Snowden’s recent revelations about the breadth and scope of the surveillance-industrial complex didn’t add many facts to the public record of the ongoing post-9/11 security state saga, it certainly brought the issue to the forefront, forcing everyone to confront the stark realities of disappearing privacy and diminishing liberties. Many who defend the government (and corporate) spying argue that the right to privacy and anonymous free speech must be balanced against safety and security.

Many of these defenders are comfortable with government surveillance as long as the government doesn’t abuse its ability to spy and collect citizens’ data. If it will help catch terrorists before they attack, the argument goes, then it’s worth it, even if the idea of total surveillance is kind of creepy and we all wish this wasn’t the trade off we have to make. I agree with this commenter, responding to David Simon’s June 7th blog post in which the former Baltimore Sun journalist and Wire creator defended the NSA near-total surveillance, primarily because, Simon claims, there has been no evidence that the government has abused its surveillance power:

I’m not sure that actually having lived in a totalitarian society, like I have in communist Bulgaria, is a prerequisite to grasping that total surveillance, or the fear of it, kills free expression, and at some point even thinking. Self-censorship becomes way of life. And the power of the secret police that hears and knows everything and can pressure anyone into submission is huge. The Stasi strongmen could have only dreamt of the richness of detail Google and Facebook are providing to the NSA. Not to mention the automated analytical tools that are already available it [sic] are currently being developed. The possibilities of power misuse are just too big to ignore.

True enough in theory, and even scarier when we consider the overwhelming evidence that at least one goal the corporate-state surveillance apparatus is fulfilling is the political repression of activists on both the left and the right who advocate fundamental, democratic change to a badly broken system.



Sponsors Of Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Ask Supreme Court To Halt Weddings They Say Were Premature

Source: Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO Less than 24 hours after California started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, lawyers for the sponsors of the state's same-sex marriage ban filed an emergency motion Saturday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stop the weddings.

Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly on Friday when it allowed same-sex marriage to resume by lifting a hold it had placed on same-sex unions while a lawsuit challenging the ban made its way to and through the Supreme Court.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks says the Supreme Court's consideration of the case is not done yet because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider their decision holding that Proposition 8's backers did not have legal authority to defend the ban.

Read more: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/apArticle/id/DA77L1P01/

Police Find Automatic Weapons, Grenades, Tank At Dead Survivalist’s Home

Authorities have discovered a large cache of automatic weapons, explosives and even a tank at the New York home of a survivalist who may have killed himself on Tuesday night.

Carmel Police on Thursday were forced to evacuate a Mahopac neighborhood while investigating the death of 41-year-old Jonathan Orser, a former Marine Corps reservist.

Carmel Police Chief Michael Johnson told The Journal News that Orser had “over 100 firearms, rifles and shotguns, 15,000 to 20,000 rounds of ammunition, buckets of black (gun) powder, hand grenades” and other military ordinance at his home.

Johnson said that the blasting caps alone “could have caused the whole house to go up and maybe surrounding houses.”

The 725th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit based in Fort Drum, N.Y. was called in early Friday morning to take possession of the ordinance.



Max Scherzer 12-0: Detroit Tigers Ace Could Start All-Star Game

Max Scherzer is now 12-0 after being the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night (June 28). Scherzer has been unbeatable for the Detroit Tigers this season and according to a report from ESPN, became the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to accomplish this feat. He has certainly stepped up big time during the 2013 MLB season and so far has out-shined teammate Justin Verlander when it comes to getting the job done.

Against the Rays, he allowed three runs on just four hits over seven innings. Striking out nine hitters along the way, he helped the Tigers improve to 43-35 on the season and hold on to their lead in the American League Central. There has been some debate about whether he is the best pitcher in baseball right now because of his ERA, as it is at 3.10 and many pitchers are doing better than that in the AL this season. He also has 131 strikeouts and a 0.90 WHIP though.

As the 2013 MLB All-Star Game draws closer, it would be hard to argue if the AL manager decided to start an undefeated pitcher. At 12-0 already, Max Scherzer definitely has shown that he is pitching extremely well this season, but his win-loss record might gloss over some of his other numbers. Still, heading into July without a single loss on his record is a very impressive accomplishment.


Rising Star In Israel's Ruling Likud Party Emerging As Powerful Right-Wing Foil To Netanyahu

TEL AVIV, Israel — Danny Danon says he has no problem with his party leader, Israel's prime minister — so long as he doesn't make peace.

The ambitious deputy defense minister isn't a household name internationally yet, but at home he has emerged as an unlikely opponent to Benjamin Netanyahu and his strongest opposition within the hawkish ruling Likud Party.

A soft-spoken lawmaker with a penchant for sharp suits, Danon is suddenly a major stumbling block toward Palestinian statehood as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry embarks on his latest push to restart long-dormant peace talks.

While Netanyahu attempts to convince the world of his peaceful intentions and sincere commitment to establishing a Palestinian state as part of a final peace settlement, Danon has repeatedly defied the prime minister's stance while generating the type of political power that could hinder Netanyahu's ability to make concessions.

His rising influence has raised Palestinian suspicions that Netanyahu is unwilling —and unable — to make peace. From his plush office on the 15th-floor of the gleaming, state-of-the-art Defense Ministry complex in Tel Aviv, Danon does nothing to dispel the suspicions.


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