Archive for December, 2013


Synchronized Fireworks Show – 4 [FWSIM]

Armadillo1991

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Journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke via satellite to hackers in Hamburg, Germany. (Screen grab)Journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke via satellite over the weekend to an international audience gathered in Hamburg, Germany for the Chaos Computer Club meeting, an annual convention for the global hacker community.

In the nearly hour long keynote speech Greenwald confessed the importance of those committed to online freedom and the democratization of the internet. He spoke glowingly of his colleague and fellow journalist Laura Potrais—”without her, none of this would have happened”—and the whistleblower Edward Snowden who risked his life of freedom to reveal the scope of the surveillance network of the US National Security Agency.

“It is really hard to put into words what a profound effect his choice has had on me, and on Laura, and on the people with whom we’ve worked directly, and on people with whom we’ve indirectly worked, and then millions and millions of people around the world,” Greenwald said of Snowden. “The courage and the principled act of conscience that he displayed will shape and inspire me for the rest of my life, and will inspire and convince millions and millions of people to take all sorts of acts that they might not have taken because they’ve seen what good for the world can be done by even a single individual.”

He also took time to focus on the way the NSA revelations made possible by the leaked documents have helped expose the complacency of mainstream journalists too often willing to accept the government line as opposed to acting as an adversarial force against state and corporate power.

“It really is the central view of, certainly, American and British media stars,” declared Greenwald, “that when, especially people with medals on their chests, who are called generals, but also high-ranking officials in the government, make claims, that those claims are presumptively treated as true without evidence, and that it’s almost immoral to call them into question, or to question their veracity.”

Video of the speech:

Greenwald’s complete remarks, as transcribed at GitHub, follows:

Thank you everybody, for that warm welcome, and thank you as well to the Congress organizers for inviting me to speak.

My reaction, when I learned that I had been asked to deliver the keynote to this conference, was probably similar to the one some of you had, which was, “wait, what?”

[audience laughs]

And the reason is that my cryptographic and hacker skills are not exactly world-reknowned. You know, the story has been told many times of how I almost lost the biggest national security story in the last decade, at least because I found the installation of PGP to be insurmountably annoying and difficult.

[audience applauds]

There’s another story, that’s very similar, that illustrates the same point, that I actually don’t think has been told before, which is: prior to my going to Hong Kong, I spent many hours with both Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden, trying to get up to speed on the basics of security technology that I would need in order to report on this story. They tried to tutor me in all sorts of programs, and finally concluded that the only one, at least at that time, for that moment, that I could handle, was TrueCrypt.

They taught me the basics of TrueCrypt, and when I went to Hong Kong, before I would go to sleep, I would play around with TrueCrypt. I kind of taught myself a couple of functions that they hadn’t even taught me and really had this sort of confidence.

On the third or fourth day, I went over to meet both of them, and I was beaming with pride. I showed them all of the new things that I had taught myself how to do on TrueCrypt, and pronounced myself this Cryptographic Master. That I was really becoming advanced.

I looked at both of them, and I didn’t see any return pride coming my way. Actually, what I saw was them trying, really hard, to avoid rolling their eyes out of their heads at me, to one another.

I said, “Why are you reacting that way? Why isn’t that a great accomplishment?” They sort of let some moments go by. No one wanted to break it to me, until finally Snowden piped in and said, “TrueCrypt is really meant for your little kid brother to be able to master. It’s not all that impressive.”

[audience laughs]

I remember being very deflated, and kind of going back to the drawing board. Well, that was six months ago. In the interim, the importance of security technology and privacy technology has become really central to everything it is that I do. I really have learned an enormous amount, about both its importance and how it functions. And I’m far from the only one. I think one of the most significant outcomes of the last six months, but one of the most underdiscussed, is how many people now appreciate the importance of protecting the security of their communications.

If you go and look at my inbox from July, probably 3-5% of the emails I received were composed of PGP code. That percentage is definitely above 50% today, and probably well above 50%. When we talked about forming our new media company, we barely spent any time on the question. It was simply assumed that we were all going to use the most sophisticated encryption that was available to communicate with one another.

And I think, most encouragingly, whenever I’m contacted by anyone in journalism or activism, or any related fields, they either use encryption, or are embarrassed and ashamed that they don’t, and apologize for the fact that they don’t, and vow that they’re soon going to.

It’s a really remarkable sea-change, even from the middle of last year, when I would talk to some of the leading national security journalists, in the world, who were working on some of the most sensitive information, and virtually none of them knew what PGP or OTR or any other of the leading privacy technologies were, let alone how to use them. It’s really encouraging to see this technology spreading so pervasively.

I think that this underscores an extremely important point, one that gives me great cause for optimism. I’m often asked whether I think that the stories that we’ve been learning over the last six months, the reporting and the debates that have arisen will actually change anything and impose any real limits on the US surveillance state.

Typically, when people think the answer to that question is yes, the thing that they cite most commonly is probably the least significant, which is that there’s going to be some kind of debate, and our representatives in democratic government are going to respond to our debate, and they’re going to impose limits with legislative reform.

None of that is likely to happen. The US government and its allies are not going to voluntarily restrict their own surveillance powers in any meaningful way. In fact, the tactic of the US government that we see over and over, that we’ve seen historically, is to do the very opposite, which is that when they get caught doing something that brings them disrepute and causes scandal and concern, they’re very adept at pretending to reform themselves through symbolic gestures, while at the same time, doing very little other than placating citizen anger and often increasing their own powers that created the scandal in the first place.

We saw that in the mid-1970s, when there was serious concern and alarm in the United States, at least as much as there is now, if not more so, of the US government’s surveillance capabilities and abuse. What the US government did in response was that they said, “Well, we’re going to engage in all of these reforms, that will safeguard these powers. We’re going to create a special court that the government needs to go to to get permission before they can target people with surveillance.

That sounded great, but then they created the court in the most warped way possible. It’s a secret court, where only the government gets to show up, where only the most pro-national security judges are appointed. So this court gave the appearance of oversight, when in reality it’s the most grotesque rubber stamp that is known to the Western world. They almost never disapprove of anything. It simply created the appearance that there was judicial oversight.

They also said they were going to create Congressional committees. The intelligence committees that are going to have as their main function overseeing the intelligence committees, and making certain that they no longer abuse their power. What they did instead was immediately install the most servile loyalists of the intelligence committees as head of this “oversight committee”.

That’s been going on for decades, and today we have two of the most slavish, pro-NSA members of Congress as the heads of these committees who are really there to bolster and justify everything and anything the NSA does, rather than engage in real oversight. So, again, it’s designed to prettify the process while bringing about no real reform.

This process is now repeating itself. You see the President appoint a handful of his closest loyalists to this “independent White House panel” that pretended to issue a report that was very balanced and critical of the surveillance state, but in reality, introduced a variety of programs that, at the very best, would simply make these programs slightly more palatable from a public perspective, and in many cases, intensify the powers of the surveillance state, rather than reining them in in any meaningful way.

So the answer to whether we’re or not going to have meaningful reform definitely does not lie in the typical processes of democratic accountability that we’re all taught to respect. But they do lie elsewhere. It is possible that there will be courts that will impose some meaningful restrictions by finding that the programs are unconstitutional.

It’s much more possible that other countries around the world who are truly indignant about the breaches of their privacy security will band together and create alternatives, either in terms of infrastructure, or legal regimes that will prevent the United States from exercising hedgemony over the Internet or make the cost of doing so far too high. I think, even more promising is the fact that large private corporations, Internet companies and others will start finally paying a price for their collaboration with this spying regime.

We’ve seen that already, when they’ve been dragged into the light, and finally now are forced to account for what it is that they’re doing, and to realize that their economic interests are imperiled by the spying system, exercising their unparallelled power to demand that it be reined in. I think that all of those things are very possible as serious constraints on the surveillance state.

But I ultimately think that where the greatest hope lies is with the people in this room and the skills that all of you possess. The privacy technologies that have already been developed: the Tor Browser, PGP, OTR, and a variety of other products are making real inroads in preventing the US government and its allies from invading the sanctity of our communications.

None of them is perfect. None of them is invulnerable, but they all pose a serious obstacle to the US government’s ability to continue to destroy our privacy. And ultimately, the battle over Internet freedom, the question of whether or not the Internet will really be this tool of liberation and democratization and whether it’ll become the worst tool of human oppression in all of human history will be fought out, I think, primarily, on the technological battlefield.

The NSA and the US government certainly knows that. That’s why Keith Alexander gets dressed up in his little costumes, his dad jeans and his edgy black shirt and goes to hacker conferences.

[audience applauds]

And it’s why corporations in Silicon Valley, like Palantir Technologies, spend so much effort depicting themselves as these kind-of rebellious, pro-civil-libertarian factions, as they spend most of their time in secret working hand-in-hand with the intelligence community and the CIA to increase their capabilities, because they want to recruit particularly younger brainpower onto their side, the side of destroying privacy and putting the Internet to use for the world’s most powerful factions.

What the outcome of this conflict is, what the Internet ultimately becomes really is not answerable in any definitive way now. It depends so much on what it is that we, as human beings, do. One of the most pressing questions is whether people like the ones who are in this room, and the people who have the skills that you have, now and in the future, will succumb to those temptations, and go to work for the very entities that are attempting to destroy privacy around the world, or whether you will put your talents, skills and resources, to defending human beings from those invasions, and continuing to create effective technologies to protect our privacy. I am very optimistic, because that power does lie in your hands.

[audience applauds]

I want to talk about another cause for optimism that I have, which is that the pro-privacy alliance is a lot healthier and more vibrant. It’s a lot bigger and stronger than, I think, a lot of us, even who are in it, often appreciate and realize. Even more so, it is rapidly growing. And, I think, inexorably growing.

I know, for me, personally, every single thing that I have done, over the last six months, on this story, and all of the platforms I’ve been given, like this speech and the honors that I’ve received, and the accolades that I’ve been given, are ones that I share completely with two people who have been critically important to everything that I have done.

One of them is my unbelievably brave and incomparably brilliant collaborator, Laura Poitras.

[audience applauds]

You know, Laura doesn’t get a huge amount of attention, which is how she likes it, but she really does deserve every last recognition, honour and award because although it sounds cliche, it really is the case that without her, none of this would have happened.

We have talked every single day, virtually, over the last six months. We have made almost every decision, certainly every significant one, in complete partnership and collaboration. Being able to work with somebody who has that high level of understanding about Internet security, about strategies for protecting privacy, has been completely indispensable to the success of what we’ve been able to achieve.

And then, the second person who has been utterly indispensable and deserves every last accolade, and to share in every last award, is my [? 14:46] of sorts, Edward Snowden.

[audience applauds]

It is really hard to put into words what a profound effect his choice has had on me, and on Laura, and on the people with whom we’ve worked directly, and on people with whom we’ve indirectly worked, and then millions and millions of people around the world. The courage and the principled act of conscience that he displayed will shape and inspire me for the rest of my life, and will inspire and convince millions and millions of people to take all sorts of acts that they might not have taken because they’ve seen what good for the world can be done by even a single individual.

[audience applauds]

But I think that it’s so important to realize, and to me, this is the critical point, is that none of us, the three of us, did what we did in a vacuum. We were all inspired by people who have done similar things in the past. I’m absolutely certain that Edward Snowden was inspired in all sorts of ways by the heroism and self-sacrifice of Chelsea Manning.

[audience applauds and cheers]

And I’m quite certain that, in one way or another, she (Chelsea Manning) was inspired by the whole litany of whistleblowers and other people of conscience who came before her to blow the whistle on extreme levels of corruption, wrongdoing and illegality among the world’s most powerful factions. They in turn were inspired, I’m certain, by the person who is one of my greatest political heroes, Daniel Ellsberg, who did this forty years ago.

[audience applauds]

Even beyond that, I think it is really important to realize that everything that has been allowed to happen over the last six months, and I think, any kind of significant leak and whistleblowing of classified information in the digital age, both past and future, owes a huge debt of gratitude to the organization which really pioneered the template, and that’s WikiLeaks.

[audience applauds]

You know, we didn’t completely copy, to the letter, the model of WikiLeaks. We modified it a little bit, just like WikiLeaks modified what it has decided it’s best tactics and strategies, as it went along and I’m sure people who come after us will modify what we have done to improve on what we have done and to avoid some of our mistakes and some of the attacks that have actually been successful. But I think the point that is really underscored here, and it was underscored for me, probably most powerfully, when Edward Snowden was rescued from Hong Kong, from probable arrest and imprisonment for the next thirty years by the United States, not only by WikiLeaks, but by an extraordinarily courageous and heroic woman, Sarah Harrison.

There’s a huge network of human beings, around the world, who believe in this cause, and not only believe in it, but are increasingly willing to devoote their energies and their resources, and their time, and to sacrifice for it. There’s a reason that that’s remarkable, and it kind of occurred to me in a telephone call that I had with Laura, probably two months or so ago. Although we’ve communicated every day, we’ve almost never communicated by telephone. One of the few exceptions was we were going to speak at an event at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and we got on the phone the night before to sort-of talk about what ground she would cover, and what ground I would cover.

What she said to me is, “You know, it’s amazing if you think about it.” She went through the list of people who have devoted themselves to transparency and the price that they have paid. She said Edward Snowden is stuck in Russia facing thirty years in prison, Chelsea Manning is in prison, Aaron Swartz committed suicide. People like Jeremy Hammond and Barret Brown are the subjects of grotesquely overzealous prosecutions by virtue of the acts of transparency they’ve engaged in. Even people like Jim Risen, who is with an organization like the New York Times, faces the possibility of prison for stories that he’s published.

Laura and I have been advised by countless lawyers that it is not safe for us to even travel to our own country, and she said, “It’s really a sign of how sick our political future has become, that the price for bringing transparency to the government, and for doing the job of the media, and the Congress, that they’re not doing, is this extreme form of punishment.”

You know, she was right, and she had a good point. I had a hard time disagreeing with the thing that anybody would. But I said, you know, there’s actually another interesting point that that list reveals. The thing that’s so interesting to me about that list is that it actually keeps growing, as long as it is. The reason why that’s so amazing to me is because the reason the people on that list, and others like them, pay a price, is because the United States knows that it’s only hope for continuing to maintain its regimen of secrecy, behind which it can engage in those radical and corrupt acts, is to intimidate, deter and threaten people who are would-be whistleblowers and transparency activists from coming forward and doing what it is that they do by showing them that they would be subjected to even the most extreme punishments and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.

[audience applauds]

It’s an effective tactic. It works for some people, not because those people are cowardly, but because they’re rational. It really is the case that the United States and the British government are not only willing, but able to essentially engage in any conduct, no matter how grotesque, no matter how extreme, no matter how lawless, with very little opposition that they perceive is enough to make them not want to do it. So there are activists who rationally conclude that it’s not worth the price for me to pay in order to engage in that behaviour. That’s why they continue to do it. But the paradox is that there are a lot of other people, I think even more people, who react in exactly the opposite way.

When they see the US and the UK government showing their true face, showing the extent to which they’re willing to abuse their power, they don’t become scared or deterred, they become even more emboldened. And the reason for that is that when you see that these governments are really capable of that level of abuse of power, you realize that you can no longer, in good conscience, stand by and do nothing. It becomes an even greater imperative for you to come forward and shine a light on what they’re doing, and if you listen to any of those whistleblowers or activists, they’ll all say the same thing.

It was a slow process to realize that the acts in which you engage are justified but they were finally convinced of it by the actions of these governments themselves. It’s a really sweet irony, and I think it calls for serious optimism that it is the United States and its closest allies who are sowing the seeds of dissent, who are fuelling the fire of this activism with their own abusive behaviour.

[audience applauds]

Now, speaking of the attempt to intimidate and deter, and the like, I just want to spend a few minutes talking about the current posture of the United States government, with regard to Edward Snowden. It’s become extremely clear, at this point, that the US government, from the highest levels on down, is completely committed to pursuing only one outcome. That outcome is one where Edward Snowden ends up spending several decades, if not the rest of his life, in a small cage, probably cut off, in terms of communication, with the rest of the world. And the reason why they’re so intent on doing that is not hard to see. It’s not because they’re worried, that society needs to be protected from Edward Snowden, and from him repeating these actions. I think it’s probably a pretty safe bet that Edward Snowden’s security clearance is more or less permanently revoked.

[audience laughter]

The reason they’re so intent on it is because they cannot allow Edward Snowden to live any sort of a decent and free life because they’re petrified that that will inspire other people to follow his example, and to be unwilling to maintain this bond of secrecy when maintaining that bond does nothing but hide illegal and damaging conduct from the people who are most affected by it.

And what I find most amazing about that is not that the United States government is doing that, that’s what they do. It’s who they are. What I find amazing about it is that there are so many governments around the world, including ones that are capable of protecting his human rights, and who have been the biggest beneficiaries of his heroic revelations, who are willing to stand by and watch his human rights be crushed, him be imprisoned for the crime of showing the world what’s being done to their privacy.

[audience applauds]

It has really been startling to watch governments, including some of the largest in Europe, and their leaders, go out in public and express intense indignation over the fact that the privacy of their citizens is being systematically breached, and genuine indignation when they learn that their privacy has also been targeted.

[audience laughs, applauds]

Yet, at the same time, the person who sacrificed in order to defend their basic human rights, their rights to privacy, is now having his own human rights targeted and threatened in recrimination. And I realize that for any country like Germany or France, or Brazil, or any other country around the world, to defy the dictates of the United States, that there’s a cost of doing that. But there was an even greater cost to Edward Snowden to come forward and do what he did in defence of your rights, and yet he did it anyway.

[audience applauds]

I think that what’s really important to realize is that countries have the legal and the international obligations, by virtues of the treaties that they’ve signed, to defend Edward Snowden from political persecution, and prevent him from being in a cage for the rest of his life, for having shone a light on systematic abuses of privacy, and other forms of abuses of secrecy. But they also have the ethical and moral obligation as the beneficiaries of his actions, to do what he did for them, which is to protect his rights in return.

[audience applauds]

I want to spend a little bit of time talking about one of my favorite topics, which is journalism. When I was in Hong Kong, with Laura and Ed Snowden, and I’ve been reflecting on this a lot in the course of writing a book that I’ve been writing over the course of the past couple of months about everything that’s happened, one of the things I realized in looking back on that moment and also in talking to Laura about what took place there was that we spent at least as much time talking about issues relating to journalism and a free press as we did talking about surveillance policy. The reason is that we knew that what we were about to do would trigger as many debates over the proper role of journalists vis a vis the state and other power factions as it would the importance of Internet freedom and privacy, and the threat of the surveillance state.

We knew, in particular, that one of our most formidable adversaries was not simply going to be the intelligence agencies on which we were reporting, and who we were trying to expose, but also their most loyal, devoted servants, which calls itself the United States and British media.

[audience applauds]

And so we spent a great deal of time strategizing about it, we resolved that we were going to have to be very disruptive of the status quo. Not only the surveillance and political status quo, but also the journalistic status quo. And, I think, one of the ways we can see what it is we were targeting these and the behaviour of the media over the past six months since these revelations have emerged almost entirely without them and despite them.

One of the more remarkable things that has happened to me is I gave an interview, three weeks or so, or a month ago, on BBC, it was on this program called Hard Talk, and I, at one point, thought I had made what I thought was the very unremarkable and uncontroversial observation, that the reason why we have a free press is because national security officials routinely lie to the population in order to shield their power and to get their agenda advanced, and that the goal and duty of a journalist is to be adversarial to those people in power, and that the pronouncements that this interviewer was citing about how these government programs are critical to stopping terrorists should not be believed unless there’s actual evidence shown, that they’re actually true.

[audience applauds]

When I said that, he interrupted me, (and I’m sorry, I don’t do pompous British accents well, so you’ll just have to transpose it into your own imagination onto what I’m saying), and he said, “I just need to stop you, you have said something so remarkable!” He was like a Victorian priest scandalized by seeing a woman pull up her skirt a little bit above her ankles.

[audience laughs]

He said, “I just cannot believe that you would suggest that senior officials, generals in the United States and British government, are actually making false claims to the public! How can you possibly say something like that?”

[audience laughs, applauds]

And that is not abberational. It really is the central view of, certainly, American and British media stars, that when, especially people with medals on their chests, who are called generals, but also high-ranking officials in the government, make claims, that those claims are presumptively treated as true without evidence, and that it’s almost immoral to call them into question, or to question their veracity.

Obviously, we went through the Iraq war, which those two very sane governments specifically and deliberately lied, repeatedly, to their people, over the course of two years, to justify an aggressive war that destroyed a country of 26 million people. But we’ve seen it continuously over the last six months as well. The very first document that Edward Snowden ever showed me was one that he explained would reveal unquestionable lying, by the senior national intelligence official of President Obama, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. That was the document that revealed that the Obama administration had succeeded in convincing a secret court to [? 32:47] phone companies to turn over, to the NSA, every single phone record, of every single telephone call, local and international, of every single American, even though that National Security official, James Clapper, before the Senate, just months earlier, was asked, “Does the NSA collect whole data about the communications of Americans?” and he answered, “No, sir,” what we all now know is a complete lie.

There are other lies that the NSA and the US government’s top officials have told. And by ‘lie’ I mean, advisedly, things they know to be false that they’re saying anyway to convince people of what they want them to believe. Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA, repeatedly said that they are incapable of accounting for the exact number of calls and emails that they intercept from the American telecommunications system, even the program that we ended up exposing, Boundless Informant, counts with exact mathematical precision, exactly the data that he said he is incapable of providing. Or the NSA and the GCHQ, which have repeatedly said, that the purpose of these programs is to protect people from terrorism, and to safeguard national security, and that they never, unlike those evil thieves, engage in spying for economic reasons.

And yet, report after report that we revealed, from spying on the Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras, to the spying on [? 34:19 -> 34:22] American states at economic summits where economic accords were negotiated, to energy companies around the world in Europe, Asia and Latin America, just completely negate these claims, prove that they are lies. And then we have President Obama, who repeatedly says things like, “We cannot, and do not, spy on the [? 34:41 -> 34:42] communications of Americans without warrants, even though the 2008 law that was enacted by the Congress, of which it was a part, had [? 34:49 -> 34:50] the US government to ease up on American [? 34:53] without warrants.

And what you see here, is real lying. And yet, at the same time, the same media that sees it acts scandalized if you suggest that their claims should not be taken at face value, without evidence, because their role is not to be adversarial. Their role is to be loyal spokespeople to those powerful factions that they pretend to exercise oversight.

[audience applauds]

Just one more point on that, which is to understand just how the American and British media function. You can pretty much turn on the TV, at any moment, or open an Internet website, and see very brave American journalists calling Edward Snowden a criminal and demanding that he be extradited to the United States, and prosecuted and imprisoned. They’re very very brave when it comes to declaring people who are scorned in Washington, and who have no power, and have become marginalized. They’re very brave in condemning them, standing up to them, and demanding that the rule of law be applied to them faithfully. “He broke the law, he must pay the consequences.”

And yet, the top national security official of the United States government went to the senate and lied to their faces, everybody now knows, which is at least much of a serious crime as anything Edward Snowden is accused of.

[audience applauds]

You will be very hard pressed to find even a single one of those brave, intrepid journalists, ever thinking about, let alone expressing the idea that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper ought to be subject to the rule of law and be prosecuted and imprisoned for the crimes that he committed because the role of the US media and their British counterparts is to be voices for those with the greatest power, and to protect their interests and serve them.

Everything that we’ve done over the last six months, and everything that we’ve decided over the last month about forming a new media organization, is all about trying to subvert that process and reanimate, and reinstill the process of journalism for what it was intended to be, which was as a true adversarial force, a check against those with the greatest power.

[audience applauds]

So I just want to close with one last point, which is, the nature of the surveillance state that we’ve reported over the last six months. Every time I do an interview, people ask similar questions such as, what is the most significant story that you have revealed, or what is it that we have learned about the last story that you just published. And what I’ve really begun saying is that there really is only one overarching point that all of these stories have revealed.

And that is, and I say this without the slightest bit of hyperbole or melodrama, it’s not metaphorical and it’s not figurative, it is literally true, that the goal of the NSA, and its Five Eyes partners in the English-speaking world: Canada, New Zealand, Australia and especially the UK, is to eliminate privacy globally. To ensure that there can be no human communications that occur electronically, that evades their surveillance network.

They want to make sure that all forms of human communication, by telephone or by Internet, and all online activities, are collected, monitored, stored, and analyzed by that agency, and by their allies. That means that to describe that is to describe a ubiquitous surveillance state. You don’t need hyperbole to make that point, and you don’t need to believe me when I say that that’s their goal. Document after document within the archive that Edward Snowden provided us declare that to be their goal. They are obsessed with searching out any small little crevice on the planet where some form of communication might take place without their being able to invade it.

One of the stories that we’re working on now (I used to get in trouble when I was at The Guardian for previewing my stories, I’m not at The Guardian anymore so I’m going to do it anyway), is: the NSA and the GCHQ are being driven crazy by the idea that you can go on an airplane and use certain cellphone devices or Internet services and be away from their prying eyes for a few hours at a time. They are obsessed with finding ways to invade the systems of online, onboard Internet services and mobile phone services. The very idea that human beings can communicate, even for a few moments, without them being able to collect, and store, analyze, and monitor what it is that we’re saying, is simply intolerable. That is their institutional mandate.

And when I get asked questions, when I do interviews in different countries, well, “Why would they want to spy on this official?” Or, “Why would they want to spy on Sweden?” Or, “Why would they want to target this company here?” The premiss of that question is really flawed. The premiss of the question is that the NSA and the GCHQ need a specific reason to target somebody for surveillance. That is not how they think. They target every form of communication that they can possibly get their hands on. And if you think about what individual privacy does for us, as human beings, let alone what it does for us on a political level, that it really is the thing that lets us explore boundaries and engage in creativity, and use the mechanisms of dissent without fear. When you think about the world in which privacy is allowed to be eliminated, you’re really talking about eliminating everything that makes it valuable to be a free individual.

The surveillance state, by its necessity, by its very existence, breeds conformity, because when human beings know that they’re always susceptible to being watched, even if they’re not always being watched, the choices that they make are far more constrained, are far more limited, cling far more closely to orthodoxy, than when they can act in the private realm, and that’s precisely why the NSA and GCHQ, and the world’s most powerful [? 41:49] throughout history now, always as their first goal, have the elimination of privacy at the top of their list, because it’s what ensures that human beings can no longer resist the decrees that they’re issuing.

[audience applauds]

Well, thank you, once again very much.

_________________________________

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DAHBOO77

Published on Dec 30, 2013

The more more rain and flooding, the better the chances are for seeing sinkholes!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic…

…..

130ft-deep SINK-HOLE opens up in sodden Derbyshire fields as forecasters warn wild, wild weather will continue for a MONTH

  • Met Office says that strong winds and heavy rain are expected to continue until the end of January
  • New storms will sweep across the UK this week sending the number of flooded homes to more than 2,000
  • Tens of thousands of homes were without power over Christmas and 130 were connected on Sunday after five days
  • Government urges power networks to cancel New Year holidays as more storms head for Britain in coming week
  • Some 126 flood alerts and 8 more serious flood warnings are in place across the country, with number set to rise
  • Dartford Bridge was closed for second time in a week, with south-bound drivers diverted via the east bore tunnel

By Rebecca Evans and Gerri Peev and Martin Robinson

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Torrential downpours over Christmas have caused a rare sink-hole to appear in the Peak District, which is 130ft deep and growing.

Part of the Milldam lead mine near Buxton in Derbyshire caved-in overnight on Sunday and swallowed a field as terrible weather continued to plague most of Britain.

Electricity engineers visited the site yesterday to assess how to re-route cables after two poles were left standing precariously either side of the 160ft wide hole, caused when water erodes the earth underneath and causes the whole area to collapse.

Meanwhile it emerged yesterday that Britain should brace itself for an entire month of violent weather, which could cause the number of homes currently flooded more than double to 2,000 by the end of the week.

Rural idyll: With the rolling Peak District in the background, the 130ft deep and 160ft wide gash in the landscape has appeared overnight after the earth beneath it collapsed

Rural idyll: With the rolling Peak District in the background, the 130ft deep and 160ft wide gash in the landscape has appeared overnight after the earth beneath it collapsed

Power problems: Engineers will examine the site for damage to cables which they may have to re-route

Power problems: Engineers will examine the site for damage to cables which they may have to re-route

Trouble: The River Afton in New Cumnock, Ayrshire, broke its banks after heavy rain ovenight causing major flooding in the area and blocking a main road

Trouble: The River Afton in New Cumnock, Ayrshire, broke its banks after heavy rain ovenight causing major flooding in the area and blocking a main road

Three day forecast

Yesterday commuters suffered a miserable return to work after Christmas as bad weather again caused havoc on the roads and railways.

A number of major road routes were blocked by flooding or by fallen trees while landslips added to the problems for train travellers whose services were already disrupted by planned engineering work.

Persistent rain swept across the country yesterday and will return to drench New Year’s Eve revellers.

SINKHOLES TAKE SECONDS TO OPEN AND CAN STRETCH FOR MILES

Sinkholes are found worldwide and can be more than 2000ft deep and dozens of miles wide.

The ground beneath is normally made of easily-dissolved rocks such as limestone, carbonates and salt beds.

When groundwater flows through these rocks, it eats away at them, leaving behind subterranean holes and caverns.

When the roof of one of these caverns collapses, the land above it falls in too, often in seconds. The world’s largest is Qattara near Cairo, measuring 80km long by 120km wide.

Similar smaller holes have engulfed residential streets, often claiming lives.

Then from New Year’s Day tomorrow, storms and rain can be expected for the foreseeable future, forecasters warn. ‘There is no end in sight,’ said a Met Office spokesman.

The Environment Agency said there was a continuing risk of flooding, particularly in the south west of England, as rivers respond to heavy rainfall overnight.

For the past five days energy companies have scrambled to reconnect power to tens of thousands of homes left in the dark since Christmas Eve but bosses have admitted that their efforts were hampered by engineers being on holiday.

At its peak, more than half a million homes were left without electricity, but as of Sunday night this figure was down to 130, which are now said to be reconnected.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said he has pressed energy companies to stop staff taking new year holidays as a second week of storms looks set to derail the festive period.

‘Quite clearly some of the power companies let their customers down badly,’ he told BBC Breakfast.

‘It seems obvious at this stage that they let too many of their staff go away for the Christmas holiday, they didn’t have enough people manning the call centres and that wasn’t acceptable.’

He continued: ‘We have had bad weather overnight and we are looking to more bad weather unfortunately on New Year’s Day, New Year’s night. We made it very clear at Cobra – we do expect the power companies and we also expect those local councils that did not perform, that they have adequate staff to cater with what I am afraid may be more difficult times and more flooding.’

The minister added that he had chaired another emergency meeting to make plans for the continuing bad weather forecast for later this week.

‘I don’t want to see people left without power for days again,’ he said. ‘The Environment Agency will once again be out day and night and I have met their teams in Kent to see for myself how preparations are going.’

More disruption: After a nightmare Christmas week roads all over the UK have been blocked by floods and landslides caused by heavy rain, still making the Monday commute completely miserable for many

More disruption: After a nightmare Christmas week roads all over the UK have been blocked by floods and landslides caused by heavy rain, still making the Monday commute completely miserable for many

Danger: A vast swathe of rain has crossed the UK and now sits over the north-west and most of Scotland, which means there is a continued heightened flood risk

Danger: A vast swathe of rain has crossed the UK and now sits over the north-west and most of Scotland, which means there is a continued heightened flood risk

However, Labour’s environment spokesman criticised Mr Paterson for ‘pointing the finger’ at workers when he was ‘not been seen for days’ himself.

‘As the country faces more severe weather, households that went a week without power and suffered devastating flooding expect to see some action from ministers at long last, not attempts to pass the buck,’ Maria Eagle said.

‘Of course the energy companies must explain why it took so long to get power restored, but Owen Paterson has a nerve pointing the finger at staff being on holiday when he himself has not been seen for days.’

Energy bosses will be called before MPs to explain why so many homes were left without power for so long, it emerged yesterday.

Tim Yeo, chairman of the energy select committee, said the firms’ performance was ‘unacceptable’ and warned that they had to be ‘properly scrutinised’ by the power watchdog in future.

‘I’m very concerned about how long the network distribution companies took to restore power to thousands of customers,’ he told the Daily Telegraph. ‘The committee will call them in when the House gets back.

‘I’m already concerned that these distribution companies are not properly scrutinised by Ofgem, despite being effectively monopolies. Their performance over Christmas was unacceptable.’

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of one of the country’s biggest power distributors, UK Power Networks, said: ‘We could not have avoided the damage caused by the storm but we could have responded to it better.

‘A lot of our employees had gone away for holidays so it meant we had a level of depletion in our resources – and that caused problems with getting people’s power restored.

‘It’s difficult to justify saying the company has performed well when customers have been without power for five days, but once we had an idea of how bad it was we were able to mobilise as many engineers and office staff as possible.’

The company, which owns electricity lines and cables in London, the South-East and East of England, said it will triple payments for 48 to 60-hour outages from £27 to £75 for those affected on Christmas Day as ‘a gesture of goodwill’.

Despite being a normal working day for many, many rail and some Tube services were disrupted because of engineering work.

Picture of Britain: Dozens of flood alerts and more serious flood warnings remain in place across the country, with the majority in the west and south-west of the UK

Picture of Britain: Dozens of flood alerts and more serious flood warnings remain in place across the country, with the majority in the west and south-west of the UK

Read More and Watch Videos Here

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By Jacob Appelbaum, Judith Horchert and Christian Stöcker

Entering through the back door: A State Trooper truck is seen in front of the Fort Meade, Maryland headquarters of the National Security Agency. Zoom

DPA

Entering through the back door: A State Trooper truck is seen in front of the Fort Meade, Maryland headquarters of the National Security Agency.

After years of speculation that electronics can be accessed by intelligence agencies through a back door, an internal NSA catalog reveals that such methods already exist for numerous end-user devices.

Editor’s note: This article accompanies our main feature story on the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit. You can read it here.


When it comes to modern firewalls for corporate computer networks, the world’s second largest network equipment manufacturer doesn’t skimp on praising its own work. According to Juniper Networks’ online PR copy, the company’s products are “ideal” for protecting large companies and computing centers from unwanted access from outside. They claim the performance of the company’s special computers is “unmatched” and their firewalls are the “best-in-class.” Despite these assurances, though, there is one attacker none of these products can fend off — the United States’ National Security Agency.

ANZEIGE

Specialists at the intelligence organization succeeded years ago in penetrating the company’s digital firewalls. A document viewed by SPIEGEL resembling a product catalog reveals that an NSA division called ANT has burrowed its way into nearly all the security architecture made by the major players in the industry — including American global market leader Cisco and its Chinese competitor Huawei, but also producers of mass-market goods, such as US computer-maker Dell.

A 50-Page Catalog

These NSA agents, who specialize in secret back doors, are able to keep an eye on all levels of our digital lives — from computing centers to individual computers, and from laptops to mobile phones. For nearly every lock, ANT seems to have a key in its toolbox. And no matter what walls companies erect, the NSA’s specialists seem already to have gotten past them.

This, at least, is the impression gained from flipping through the 50-page document. The list reads like a mail-order catalog, one from which other NSA employees can order technologies from the ANT division for tapping their targets’ data. The catalog even lists the prices for these electronic break-in tools, with costs ranging from free to $250,000.

In the case of Juniper, the name of this particular digital lock pick is “FEEDTROUGH.” This malware burrows into Juniper firewalls and makes it possible to smuggle other NSA programs into mainframe computers. Thanks to FEEDTROUGH, these implants can, by design, even survive “across reboots and software upgrades.” In this way, US government spies can secure themselves a permanent presence in computer networks. The catalog states that FEEDTROUGH “has been deployed on many target platforms.”

Read More Here

 

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Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit

By SPIEGEL Staff

Photo Gallery: A Powerful NSA Toolbox Photos
Google Earth

The NSA’s TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency’s top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.

In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors. They wanted to drive to work or head off to do their grocery shopping, but their garage door openers had gone dead, leaving them stranded. No matter how many times they pressed the buttons, the doors didn’t budge. The problem primarily affected residents in the western part of the city, around Military Drive and the interstate highway known as Loop 410.

 

ANZEIGE

In the United States, a country of cars and commuters, the mysterious garage door problem quickly became an issue for local politicians. Ultimately, the municipal government solved the riddle. Fault for the error lay with the United States’ foreign intelligence service, the National Security Agency, which has offices in San Antonio. Officials at the agency were forced to admit that one of the NSA’s radio antennas was broadcasting at the same frequency as the garage door openers. Embarrassed officials at the intelligence agency promised to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, and soon the doors began opening again.

It was thanks to the garage door opener episode that Texans learned just how far the NSA’s work had encroached upon their daily lives. For quite some time now, the intelligence agency has maintained a branch with around 2,000 employees at Lackland Air Force Base, also in San Antonio. In 2005, the agency took over a former Sony computer chip plant in the western part of the city. A brisk pace of construction commenced inside this enormous compound. The acquisition of the former chip factory at Sony Place was part of a massive expansion the agency began after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

On-Call Digital Plumbers

One of the two main buildings at the former plant has since housed a sophisticated NSA unit, one that has benefited the most from this expansion and has grown the fastest in recent years — the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. This is the NSA’s top operative unit — something like a squad of plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked.

According to internal NSA documents viewed by SPIEGEL, these on-call digital plumbers are involved in many sensitive operations conducted by American intelligence agencies. TAO’s area of operations ranges from counterterrorism to cyber attacks to traditional espionage. The documents reveal just how diversified the tools at TAO’s disposal have become — and also how it exploits the technical weaknesses of the IT industry, from Microsoft to Cisco and Huawei, to carry out its discreet and efficient attacks.

The unit is “akin to the wunderkind of the US intelligence community,” says Matthew Aid, a historian who specializes in the history of the NSA. “Getting the ungettable” is the NSA’s own description of its duties. “It is not about the quantity produced but the quality of intelligence that is important,” one former TAO chief wrote, describing her work in a document. The paper seen by SPIEGEL quotes the former unit head stating that TAO has contributed “some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen.” The unit, it goes on, has “access to our very hardest targets.”

A Unit Born of the Internet

Defining the future of her unit at the time, she wrote that TAO “needs to continue to grow and must lay the foundation for integrated Computer Network Operations,” and that it must “support Computer Network Attacks as an integrated part of military operations.” To succeed in this, she wrote, TAO would have to acquire “pervasive, persistent access on the global network.” An internal description of TAO’s responsibilities makes clear that aggressive attacks are an explicit part of the unit’s tasks. In other words, the NSA’s hackers have been given a government mandate for their work. During the middle part of the last decade, the special unit succeeded in gaining access to 258 targets in 89 countries — nearly everywhere in the world. In 2010, it conducted 279 operations worldwide.

Indeed, TAO specialists have directly accessed the protected networks of democratically elected leaders of countries. They infiltrated networks of European telecommunications companies and gained access to and read mails sent over Blackberry’s BES email servers, which until then were believed to be securely encrypted. Achieving this last goal required a “sustained TAO operation,” one document states.

This TAO unit is born of the Internet — created in 1997, a time when not even 2 percent of the world’s population had Internet access and no one had yet thought of Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. From the time the first TAO employees moved into offices at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, the unit was housed in a separate wing, set apart from the rest of the agency. Their task was clear from the beginning — to work around the clock to find ways to hack into global communications traffic.

 

Read More Here

 

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democracynow democracynow

 

Published on Dec 30, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – On Saturday, 1.3 million Americans lost their last lifeline from the federal government: an emergency unemployment insurance program. Although long-term unemployment is still at its highest level since World War II, Congress failed to renew the program in the budget deal it passed just before adjourning for winter recess. The program provided up to 47 weeks of supplemental unemployment insurance payments to jobless people looking for work. Now, just a quarter of unemployed Americans will receive jobless benefits — the smallest proportion in half a century. Allowing the program to sunset is expected to have wide-scale ramifications for the economy at large, axing job growth by around 300,000 positions next year and pushing hundreds of thousands of households to the brink of poverty. We are joined by Imara Jones, economic justice contributor for Colorlines.com.

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The Telegraph

Sun expected to ‘flip upside down’ as magnetic field reverses its polarity

According to NASA the sun is about to flip upside down and it could happen any day now

8:00AM GMT 15 Nov 2013

The sun’s magnetic field is about to flip upside down as it reverses its polarity.

In August Nasa said the reversal would happen in three to four months time, although that it would be impossible to pinpoint a more specific date.

Solar physicist Todd Hoeksema from Stanford University said that the reversal would have “ripple effects” across the whole of the solar system.

According to Nasa the sun’s magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years.

In comparison the last time the Earth’s magnetic field flipped was almost 800,000 years ago.

When this happens the opposing magnetic poles switch places so the magnetic field is flipped.

The pole reversal happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun’s “inner magnetic dynamo” reorganises itself.

The exact internal mechanism that drives the magnetic shift is not yet entirely understood by researchers, although the sun’s magnetic field has been monitored on a daily basis by Scientists at Stanford’s Wilcox Solar Observatory.

Read More Here

Stanford scientist explains sun’s magnetic reversal

StanfordUniversity StanfordUniversity

Published on Nov 8, 2013

The sun’s magnetic field is poised to reverse its polarity. The effects of the event, which occurs every 11 years, will ripple throughout the solar system and be closely monitored by Stanford solar physicists.

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Sun Flips Poles! Sun’s Magnetic Field Reverses Polarity!

Published on Dec 30, 2013

The Cycle of flipping is complete. We are Now at the mid point of solar cycle 24. The pattern runs in 22 year cycles!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sci…

http://zeenews.india.com/news/space/s…

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Sun has ‘flipped upside down’ as new magnetic cycle begins

The sun’s magnetic field has fully reversed its polarity, marking the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24, which will be completed in 11 years time

The sun has “flipped upside down”, with its north and south poles reversed to reach the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24, Nasa has said.

Now, the magnetic fields will once again started moving in opposite directions to begin the completion of the 22 year long process which will culminate in the poles switching once again.

“A reversal of the sun’s magnetic field is, literally, a big event,” said Nasa’s Dr. Tony Phillips.

“The domain of the sun’s magnetic influence (also known as the ‘heliosphere’) extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. Changes to the field’s polarity ripple all the way out to the Voyager probes, on the doorstep of interstellar space.”

 

Read More and Watch Video Here

To mark the event, Nasa has released a visualisation of the entire process.

NASA | The Sun Reverses its Magnetic Poles

Published on Dec 5, 2013

This visualization shows the position of the sun’s magnetic fields from January 1997 to December 2013. The field lines swarm with activity: The magenta lines show where the sun’s overall field is negative and the green lines show where it is positive. A region with more electrons is negative, the region with less is labeled positive. Additional gray lines represent areas of local magnetic variation.

The entire sun’s magnetic polarity, flips approximately every 11 years — though sometimes it takes quite a bit longer — and defines what’s known as the solar cycle. The visualization shows how in 1997, the sun shows the positive polarity on the top, and the negative polarity on the bottom. Over the next 12 years, each set of lines is seen to creep toward the opposite pole eventually showing a complete flip. By the end of the movie, each set of lines are working their way back to show a positive polarity on the top to complete the full 22 year magnetic solar cycle.

At the height of each magnetic flip, the sun goes through periods of more solar activity, during which there are more sunspots, and more eruptive events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. The point in time with the most sunspots is called solar maximum.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/PFSS

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11429

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/iTunes/f…

Or find NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/NASA.GSFC

Or find us on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/NASAGoddard

 

 

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SFGate

Published 7:43 pm, Sunday, December 29, 2013

This bald eagle is one of four that were brought to a Utah rehabilitation center with body tremors and paralysis before they eventually died. Twenty bald eagles have died in the state in the past few weeks, and a new ailing eagle surfaces almost daily. Scientists say the birds were not shot by hunters or poisoned. Photo: Associated Press
This bald eagle is one of four that were brought to a Utah rehabilitation center with body tremors and paralysis before they eventually died. Twenty bald eagles have died in the state in the past few weeks, and a new ailing eagle surfaces almost daily. Scientists say the birds were not shot by hunters or poisoned. Photo: Associated Press

Salt Lake City

Bald eagles are dying in Utah – 20 in the past few weeks alone – and nobody can figure out why.

Hundreds of the majestic birds – many with wing spans of 7 feet or more – migrate here each winter, gathering along the Great Salt Lake and feasting on carp and other fish that swim in the nearby freshwater bays.

Earlier this month, however, hunters and farmers across five counties in northern and central Utah began finding the normally skittish raptors lying listless on the ground. Many suffered from seizures, head tremors and paralysis in the legs, feet and wings.

Many of the eagles were brought to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, where Buz Marthaler and other handlers tried to save the birds. Within 48 hours most were dead.

“It’s just hard to have your national bird in your arms, going through seizures in a way it can’t control – when you can see its pain but don’t know what’s happening to it,” said Marthaler, 56, co-founder of the facility in Ogden.

State wildlife specialists are also baffled. For weeks, officials have sent birds for necropsies at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., hoping the results would offer clues.

Read More Here

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 Science X network

Phys.Org

Bald eagle deaths in Utah alarm and mystify scientists

Dec 29, 2013 by John M. Glionna

Bald eagles are dying in Utah – 20 in the past few weeks alone – and nobody can figure out why.

Hundreds of the majestic birds – many with wing spans of 7 feet or more – migrate here each winter, gathering along the Great Salt Lake and feasting on carp and other fish that swim in the nearby freshwater bays.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-12-bald-eagle-deaths-utah-alarm.html#jCp

Earlier this month, however, hunters and farmers across five counties in northern and central Utah began finding the normally skittish raptors lying listless on the ground. Many suffered from seizures, head tremors and paralysis in the legs, feet and wings.

Many of the eagles were brought to the mammoth Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, where Buz Marthaler – a longtime animal caretaker – and other handlers tried to save the birds. Within 48 hours most were dead.

Earlier this month, however, hunters and farmers across five counties in northern and central Utah began finding the normally skittish raptors lying listless on the ground. Many suffered from seizures, head tremors and paralysis in the legs, feet and wings.

Many of the eagles were brought to the mammoth Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, where Buz Marthaler – a longtime animal caretaker – and other handlers tried to save the birds. Within 48 hours most were dead.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-12-bald-eagle-deaths-utah-alarm.html#jCp

“It’s just hard to have your national bird in your arms, going through seizures in a way it can’t control – when you can see it’s pain but don’t know what’s happening to it,” said Marthaler, 56, co-founder of the facility in Ogden.

“As a human being, you just have problems with that. And when you lose one, it just grabs your heart.”

State wildlife specialists are also baffled. For weeks, officials have sent birds for necropsies at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., hoping the results would offer clues.

They began to rule out obvious possibilities: The birds were not shot by hunters, and officials don’t believe the birds were poisoned. “There doesn’t seem to be anything suspicious in that regard,” said Mitch Lane, a conservation officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, who has responded to numerous reports of downed or sick eagles.

Read More Here

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  • A 300-yard section of the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road sunk into the Pacific Ocean on Saturday
  • Several small earthquakes shook the area on December 19 and cracks were seen in the lead up to the collapse
  • Road might be closed for up to year according to some media reports

By Alex Ward

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Cliff-side cracks: A cement truck driver was rescued from his vehicle after huge section of the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road cracked and slid 300 feet into the Pacific Ocean

Cliff-side cracks: A cement truck driver was rescued from his vehicle after huge section of the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road cracked and slid 300 feet into the Pacific Ocean

A cement truck driver is lucky to be alive after the coastal highway he was driving on in Mexico cracked and sunk some 300 feet down a mountainside into the sea near the U.S. border.

The driver was rescued by heavy machinery before his truck, along with a 300-yard section of the road, which leads to port city Ensenada on the Baja California peninsula, slid into the Pacific Ocean.

While it remains unclear what caused the landslide, fractures in the Tijuana-Ensenada toll road were seen after several small earthquakes ranging from 1.3 to 4.3 in magnitude shook the area on December 19, according to some media reports. By Saturday morning huge cracks appeared in the cliff-side, exacerbated by heavy rain, before it slid into the sea.

The landslide caused gaping holes, one more than 40 feet deep and 200 feet long.

 The collapse occurred about 58 miles south of the American border, closing the scenic road near the San Miguel toll booth.

Some media reports suggest that the road may remain closed for up to a year with vehicles advised to use a smaller, alternate freeway.

 

Mexican coastal highway slides into sea after earthquake

Fault line: Days before the road collapsed, several small earthquakes were recorded in the area and cracks started to appear in the road

Fault line: Days before the road collapsed, several small earthquakes were recorded in the area and cracks started to appear in the road

Read More  and  Watch Video Here

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Earthquakes, Rain to Blame for Collapse of Scenic Highway in Mexico

weather.com and Associated Press Published: Dec 30, 2013, 9:06 AM EST

Overlay

Highway Crumbles into Pieces

MEXICO CITY — Part of a scenic highway on Mexico’s West coast collapsed Saturday after a series of small earthquakes rocked the area.

The highway, popular with tourists, is 58 miles south of the U.S. border and Tijuana. The road leads to the port city of Ensenada, on the Baja California peninsula. Mexican officials say a 300-yard section collapsed and the road fell about 100 feet.

American Forces Network

The highway leads to Ensenada is a popular scenic route for tourists. (American Forces Network)

The road was closed shortly after the collapse. Traffic is now being diverted onto a smaller highway. No one was injured in the collapse.

The Mexican highway agency told the Associated Press that seven small earthquakes, combined with recent heavy rainfall, were to blame for the collapse. The road runs over a known geological fault, according to Mexican officials.

 

Read More and Watch Videos Here

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NC WARN Hosts Dr. Steve Wing

NC WARN NC WARN·

Published on Dec 9, 2013

Epidemiologist Dr. Steve Wing discusses the human impacts of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima based on his experience visiting the area.

 

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Epidemiologist back from Fukushima: “We’re talking about a sacrifice zone and millions of people live in this area” — Exceeds allowable radiation dose for nuclear workers 40 kilometers from Fukushima plant (VIDEO)

 

At 18:00 in

Epidemiologist Dr. Steve Wing, University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill, discusses the human impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster based on his visit to the area: This reading here, just to put it in perspective, the guard there if he stood there for a year, right where he is now in this picture, he would exceed the allowable radiation dose for a nuclear workers inside a plant. And this is 40 kilometers away. So we’re talking about a sacrifice zone, and millions of people live in this area.

So the guard — can you see on the ground behind the guard there’s a metal plate? He’s supposed to stand on that metal plate, and that’s his protection. And he’s wearing a surgical mask, and he has a helmet. It made me feel kind of bad, that here is someone that’s working in a radiation exposed job and he’s been issued a surgical mask and a helmet as though he’s supposed to feel protected.

 

 

Related Posts

  1. Cesium in fish off Chiba coast exceeds radiation limit for first time — 200 kilometers from Fukushima plant — Due east of Tokyo February 18, 2013
  2. Video: Kids walk in park 3 times more radioactive than ‘radiation control area’ — 100 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi — “Must be closed immediately” June 4, 2013
  3. Japan Expert: Second explosion was “more like a bomb” at Fukushima — Spent nuclear fuel flew 30 kilometers away, pellets collected by military — Very strange materials like europium were found — Should have evacuated out to 300 kilometers (VIDEO) October 7, 2013
  4. Video: Years later, deaths occur frequently in city 85 kilometers from Fukushima plant — Area is contaminated and residents don’t know it March 3, 2013
  5. U.S. Physician: Of course Fukushima contamination will impact our health, “This is random murder” — TV: Scientists say it’s suicidal for gov’t to allow residents to live near radiation hotspots by plant (VIDEO) November 17, 2013

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MissingSky101 MissingSky101

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Deteriorated joints may be cause of water leaks
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says deteriorated resin filler probably caused water leaks from barriers surrounding contaminated water tanks.
Tokyo Electric Power Company found a total of 225 tons of water leaked from 2 concrete barriers at the plant on Tuesday.
It also found that the remaining water in the barriers contained radioactive strontium at a level of up to 44 times higher than the government limit.
TEPCO says it drained the water from the barriers and no cracks were seen at the bottom of the concrete.

Tohoku utility applies for reactor safety check
Tohoku Electric Power Company has applied for a government safety screening of one of the reactors at its Onagawa plant with a view to restarting it. The plant is located on the Pacific coast of Miyagi Prefecture.
The application is the first for a reactor affected by the March 2011 disaster in northeastern Japan.

UN Official ‘Astounded': Homeless are taken to work in Fukushima, ready to die — Pastor: “At end of month, they’re left with no pay” — Police: They end up in debt to employers after food and housing fees deducted (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/un-official-astoun…

Plight of homeless in Fukushima cleanup
http://news.yahoo.com/video/plight-ho…

‘High Alert': Mystery illness killing bald eagles in Western U.S. — Wings paralyzed, full blown seizures — Experts: “Very big concern”… “Never seen anything like this”… “We just don’t know what’s going on” (VIDEOS)
http://enenews.com/high-alert-mystery…

LA Times: Experts suggest bald eagle deaths are related to Fukushima radiation — Idaho officials reporting similar sickness — “It’s hard to have your national bird in your arms, going through seizures” (AUDIO)
http://enenews.com/la-times-experts-c…

Radio: Experts warn ocean currents spreading Fukushima contamination across world — Official 4,000 miles away: Radiation in seafood imports increased noticeably; Time for all stakeholders to be on alert (AUDIO)
http://enenews.com/radio-experts-warn…

Reports: Highly significant quantity of fission products are flushed into environment by water used on Fukushima molten fuel, including plutonium and curium — Radioactivity to recirculate for many generations in ocean food chain, meat content will increase with time
http://enenews.com/reports-highly-sig…

Newspaper: Is Fukushima impacting king salmon in Alaska? “Unprecedented declines in recent years…startling”; No comment, says NOAA biologist — Record low seen in major fishery on Canada’s west coast, “alarming decrease”
http://enenews.com/newspaper-is-fukus…

Epidemiologist back from Fukushima: “We’re talking about a sacrifice zone and millions of people live in this area” — Exceeds allowable radiation dose for nuclear workers 40 kilometers from Fukushima plant (VIDEO)
http://enenews.com/epidemiologist-bac…

Contamination level in seaside of reactor2 still gets highest every time measured / All βnuclide 2,100,000,000 Bq/m3
http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/12/co…

Tritium density keeps increasing beside groundwater bypass wells / 34,000,000 Bq/m3 from the latest data
http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/12/tr…

Evaluation of the situation of
cores and containment vessels of
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
Units-1 to 3 and examination into unsolved
issues in the accident progression
Progress Report No. 1
December 13, 2013
Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-…

…..

Fukushima Unit 3 Has Deadly Steam Blowout! Radiation Alert West Coast!

DAHBOO77

Published on Dec 29, 2013

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