Politics and Legislation
DHS Hacks Xbox, Sibel Ungagged, Knockout Gas – New World Next Week
Published on Apr 12, 2012 by corbettreport
— the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week:
Story #1: DHS/Navy Award Contract to Hack Gaming Systems
Spy Games – Homeland Security Is Trying to Hack Into Your Xbox
Feds Want Way to Hack Xboxes and Wiis for Evidence
“R & D Effort for the Development and Delivery of Computer Forensic Tools for Analyzing Network Traffic and Stored Data Created During the Use of Video Game Systems”
Background: Full Spectrum Information Warfare – Information Operation Roadmap
Flashback: PlayStation Network Hack Leaves Credit Card Info at Risk
Story #2: FBI Efforts Keep Whistleblower’s Book Unpublished
FBI Attempts to Hold Sibel Edmonds’ Book Hostage
Flashback: A Patriot Silenced, Unjustly Fired but Fighting Back to Help Keep America Safe
Story #3: Future Riots ‘May Be’ Controlled With Chemicals
Background: Sunshine Project – Online Clearinghouse of US ‘Non-Lethal’ Weapons Documents
Video: Alex Jones Loses It Over ‘Robot Helicopters with Airborne Ebola’
Television Tropes and Idioms – Knockout Gas
Bonus: Food World Order on Corbett Report Radio
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Previous Episode: ICC vs. Palestine, Orwell’s Emails, Water Wars
White House to Delay Implementation of Key Anti-Discrimination Order
By Igor Volsky
After months of dodging questions about the progress of an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting, the White House won’t issue the directive, but will instead study whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees require employment protections, ThinkProgress has learned. The news comes after White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett held a meeting with LGBT advocates to discuss the matter.
Existing studies suggest that 11 to 16 million additional employees would have gained protections as a result of the measure, since many “federal contractors do not currently have those policies, and they employ millions of workers.” Among them are Jarrod Scarbrough and Les Sewell, a gay couple who attended Monday’s Easter Egg Roll at the White House to ask Obama to sign the order. “Jarrod works for a company that the government contracts through, and we live in New Mexico — we’re actually protected, we don’t have to worry too much about being discriminated against. However, in June we’re moving to Florida where that protection, we’ll no longer have that,” Sewell explained during an appearance on MSNBC. “Without this administrative action, Jarrod could lose his job and then where would this family be?”….
The Iran Conundrum
Posted by Juan Cole
Negotiators for Iran, the U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany are to meet in Turkey this Friday, face to face, for the first time in more than a year. There are small signs of possible future compromise on both sides when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program (and a semi-public demand from Washington that could be an instant deal-breaker). Looking at the big picture, though, there’s a remarkable amount we simply don’t know about Washington’s highly militarized policy toward Iran.
Every now and then, like a flash of lightning in a dark sky, some corner of it — and its enormity and longevity — is illuminated. For example, in 2008, the New Yorker’s indefatigable Seymour Hersh reported that the previous year Congress had granted a Bush administration request for up to $400 million “to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran,” including “cross-border” operations from Iraq. Just recently, Hersh offered a window into another little part of the U.S. program: the way, starting in 2005, the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command spent years secretly training members of M.E.K., an Iranian opposition-group-cum-cult that’s on the State Department’s terror list, at a Department of Energy site in the Nevada desert.
Similarly, from time to time, we get glimpses of the U.S. basing and naval build-up in the Persian Gulf, which is massive and ongoing. As for the skies over Iran, last year the Iranians suddenly announced that they had acquired — downed, they claimed (though this was later denied by the Americans) — an advanced U.S. spy drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel. Indeed, they had the photos to prove it. Until then, there had been no publicity about American drones flying over Iranian territory and initially the U.S. military claimed that the plane had simply strayed off course while patrolling the Afghan border…..
Allen Ruff and Steve Horn, News Analysis:
Iran’s alleged “nuclear threat” has taken center stage among diplomats, military men, and politicians in Washington, Tel Aviv, and the West at-large. Despite the fact that investigative journalists Seymour Hersh, Gareth Porter and others have meticulously documented the fact that Iran, in fact, poses no nuclear threat at all, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress have laid down multiple rounds of harsh sanctions as a means to “deter” Iran from reaching its “nuclear capacity.” …
Jim Lobe, News Analysis:
“Relations between the United States and Latin America have ‘grown more distant’ in importance part due to the latter’s persistent disagreement with U.S. policies on immigration, drugs, and Cuba, according to a new report released here Wednesday on the eve of this year’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.”
Ashton: Iran nuclear talks ‘constructive and useful’
Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) — After months of tension and frustration, key world powers and Iran sounded more optimistic Saturday after “constructive and useful” talks about Tehran’s intentions for its nuclear program.
“We have agreed that the nonproliferation treaty forms a key basis for what must be serious engagement to ensure all the obligations under the treaty are met by Iran while fully respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said following the meeting with Iran’s top negotiator, Saeed Jalili.
Ashton said Saturday’s meeting in Istanbul was a basis to establish a “sustained process of serious dialogue.”
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Mar 15, 2012
The growth in the oil and gas pipelines expenditure will be fuelled by the emerging countries of China, Brazil and Venezuela as well as some mature markets such as Canada and Russia.
The overall spending on the oil and gas pipelines systems will depend on the future oil price developments, the level of natural gas demand and the expansion of unconventional oil and gas activity.
Demand for energy is expected to rise significantly during the forecast period 2012-2022, despite the fact that in the short run the growth will be hampered by the Euro-zone crisis and declining economic growth in emerging countries.
Though the industry will be faced with the restraints of a weak global economy, political instability in certain parts of the world and the expansion of LNG infrastructure, the oil and gas pipelines market is likely to provide substantial opportunities for potential investors.
This report offers an examination of the oil and gas market over the next decade, providing detailed market forecasts for the leading 30 national markets, offering in-depth analysis of the opportunities and challenges facing companies in the oil and gas pipelines market throughout the world.
Visiongain’s The Oil and Gas Pipelines Market Analysis 2012-2022 report details the prospects for this dynamic energy sector with detailed forecasts from 2012-2022. The report also describes the most important technological changes within the oil and gas pipelines industry and assesses their importance for the growth of the market over the long-term.
The various drivers and restraints of the market are evaluated in order to provide readers with specific insights into the future direction of the oil and gas pipelines market. The report includes 202 tables, charts and graphs quantifying and forecasting the market in detail.
In addition, the report offers profiles of 32 of the leading companies involved in the oil and gas pipelines business. The report will be valuable to those already involved in the oil and gas pipelines market or to those wishing to enter this important market in the future.
Michael Shuman, Op-Ed:
“Forget Internet deals; shop local and independent. Support second-hand markets by buying used, and barter and trade services when you can. Look for goods grown and made nearby.Research your purchases carefully: That organic Dagoba chocolate bar is owned by industry bad-boy Hershey. Want to give money to Coca-Cola? Buy Odwalla juice. Easy company screening at Green America’s Responsible Shopper website.”
Froma Harrop, Op-Ed:
“Long before the economic meltdown, many Americans harbored prejudices against manufacturing. They’d rather sit in a cubicle for eight hours than work with their hands at better pay. Whether a CEO or factory hand, we respond to rewards and punishments. In recent decades, our economy has piled rewards on executives and punishments on ordinary workers. Even those who know the cleaned-up truth of modern manufacturing may not qualify for modern manufacturing jobs.”
As Greece wonders whether its debt crisis will eventually spell its exit from the euro, one town in the center of the country, Volos, has formed an alternative local currency.
It works through a bartering system or exchange of goods.
The BBC’s Mark Lowen reports.
Wars and Rumors of War
Russia Expecting Attack on Iran by Summer
Russia Planning Troops Deployment On Iran’s Northern Border
By F. Michael Maloof
The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources.
The Irrationality of the Case against Iran’s Nuclear Program
“The Stupidest Idea I Ever Heard”
By Gary Leupp
President Obama has informed the Iranians they have one “last chance” to avoid attack. They must suspend higher uranium enrichment, close down the Fordow enrichment facility, and “surrender” their stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 per cent purity. Iranian officials respond matter-of-factly that such demands are “irrational.” (Some Israeli officials, eager to build the case for attack, are reportedlydelighted with the Iranian response.)
Seasoned U.S. analysts seem to agree with the Iranian assessment. Stephen M Walt writes in Foreign Policy, “For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the Obama administration is thinking about Iran… I’m puzzled.” Gary Sick, writing for CNN, predicts dire consequences of an attack on Iran and seems to question its wisdom. So why is Obama being so confrontational? So irrational?
The president as usual tries to position himself in the middle, chiding Republican opponents for “loose talk” about war while assuring Israeli prime minister Netanyahu that the U.S. will move in “lock step” with Israel. But what is the logic of offering Iran a “last chance” to stop doing what it is legally entitled to do? The only logic I can see here–and it is a perverse form–resides in the assumption that as the bombs start to fall Washington will be able to say, “We were patient, we went that last mile, and gave them their opportunity, but they defied the international community and so we (or Israel) had to attack.” It is 2003 all over again.
Recall that Obama was elected in large part due to his opposition to the war in Iraq. In a 2002 speech he declared that he opposed “the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.” But he never really denounced the campaign of lies, or expressed moral indignation at the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, the uprooting of millions, the spread of ethnic and sectarian conflicts following the U.S. attack Rather, he saw the war as a “strategic blunder.” Still, he was widely regarded as the “anti-war” candidate…..
Other People’s Blood
By Thomas L. Knapp
The usual suspects are at it again — doing their damnedest to escalate a war they have no intention of either fighting in or paying for themselves, and to involve you in it.
US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (of the “Connecticut for Lieberman” Party, in which the ordering of names conveys his boundless sense of personal entitlement) visited Turkey this week for a photo opp with officers of the “Free Syrian Army” and to grandstand for further US intervention in Syria’s year-long “civil” war.
I put the “civil” in scare quotes, because normally civil wars are mostly internal affairs. The Syrian “uprising” appears to have been both instigated and funded by Washington from the git-go, through front “non-governmental organizations” funded by the American neoconservative (and very governmental) “National Endowment for Democracy.”
While Bashar al-Assad’s “National Popular Front” regime — centered around the fascist Ba’ath Party, with some lapdog “opposition” parties permitted to participate as long as they don’t actually, um, oppose — is certainly a poster child for bad government (but I repeat myself!), there’s little reason to believe that the “uprising” enjoys strong popular support or that, if successful, it will eventuate in anything significantly better for the Syrian people.
McCain/Lieberman’s busking for US intervention isn’t about freedom, democracy or human rights. It’s about the external turf and internal stature spats over which the overgrown street gangs we call “governments” perpetually obsess.
Quoth Lieberman: “How many world leaders have to be deceived by Assad for us to realize that we cannot rely on his word, that he will only respond to power — the same kind of power that he is brutally using against his own people.”….
Still No Charges Months After SWAT Raid On Gibson Guitars
Articles of Interest
A naval commander for the 99% stands trial
Consider the story of Leah Bolger, the latest American hero up on trial:
She is a young female artist in the Midwest. She joins the Navy at 22, is made commander and serves two decades as an anti-submarine warfare specialist. After retiring she joins Veterans for Peace and becomes the organization’s first female president. Then, in October of 2011, she commits the crime of interrupting a public congressional hearing of the Super Committee to deliver a message from the 99 percent: End the wars and tax the rich to fix the deficit.
Because of her 45-second transgression, Commander Bolger now faces a court trial this Thursday morning, April 12, where she could receive a maximum jail sentence of six months. Bolger, 54, intends to plead guilty and use her court appearance to draw the connection between America’s deficit debacle and the three-quarters-of-a-trillion-dollar defense budget we, as voting taxpayers, spend as a base-mark for failed and unending military ventures overseas.
Bolger has no illusions about what Americans are up against: a corporate-run military machine that she says “is so big and complicated and intertwined with the government and Congress and the media that I don’t know where you can start unraveling the knot.” But one place to begin is with the Occupy movement, which she says has placed too little emphasis on ending America’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (IANS) Mar 13, 2012
The US has said it is willing to disclose classified information to Russia on the missile defence shield to be deployed in Europe, a move that a military analyst said could solve the impasse over the American programme.
The plans to share unspecified “secret data” on the missile defence shield with Russia were first voiced late last week by Bradley Roberts, US deputy assistant defense secretary.
Pentagon spokeswoman April Cunningham confirmed this information for a Kommersant newspaper article published Monday.
It is not yet clear exactly which data may be disclosed to Russia, which has for years strongly opposed American plans to deploy a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe, including Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic.
The White House insists the programme is aimed against a potential threat from rogue states such as Iran and North Korea but Russia says its own missiles will also fall under the shield, destroying the nuclear balance that existed since the Cold War.
In November, news leaked that the White House was in secret talks with Russia about providing it with information on the velocity burnout of the modified version of the SM-3 rocket, which is to become the staple interceptor rocket of the US missile shield by 2020. However, the US administration denied at the time that it proposed to disclose the data on the rocket’s crucial parameter to Moscow.
“If they are really going to disclose data on (rocket) speed, that’ll be the decisive argument” for Russia, said Alexander Khramchikhin, a researcher with the Moscow-based Institute for Political and Military Analysis think-tank.
Speed of interceptor rockets is the only thing the Russian military needs to know to determine whether the US missile shield really poses a risk to Russian rockets, Khramchikhin said by phone Monday.
The move would be unprecedented but not impossible, though the upcoming US presidential campaign is likely to hurt these plans, said Khramchikhin. Republican opponents of incumbent President Barack Obama, who is planning to seek reelection, have repeatedly accused him of being too soft in his dealings with Russia.
Russian officials have not commented on the proposal as of Monday.
Russian-American talks on the missile defence shield failed to progress last year, with both sides refusing to make any significant concessions. However, the matter is to be taken up again in May at an international conference in Moscow organized by the Russian Defence Ministry and a NATO summit in Chicago later the same month.
Source: Indo-Asia News Service
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald Tells Truthout How the Koch Brothers Endanger Democracy and Our Health
By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald. (Photo: Brave New Films) BuzzFlash at Truthout first got to know Robert Greenwald when he and Earl Katz, who is now chair of Public Interest Pictures, were trying to get a film about the theft of the 2000 presidential election, “Unprecedented,” off the ground. That was over a decade ago.
Since that time, Greenwald went on to form the extraordinarily innovative Brave New Films. Brave New Films has been a leading user of social media to disseminate progressive video clips and documentaries. Most recently, Greenwald launched the distribution of “Koch Brothers Exposed,” a DVD that features the best of Brave New Films’ videos, revealing the dark side of the Koch family empire. Receive it, shipped directly from Truthout, with a one-time donation to Truthout of $30 or a monthly gift of $15 or more.
Mark Karlin: First, congratulations. Another extraordinary film showing the importance of documenting public issues of vital importance. Indeed, how far your use of film for the public good has come. I remember talking with you a decade ago, when your first steps were still uncertain, but now you have built a thriving and vital progressive studio for the Internet age. How have you felt making the transition from a Sunset Boulevard Hollywood director and producer to a creator of advocacy and documentary films and Internet clips?
Robert Greenwald: All change and transitions are challenging and filled with tensions and excitement. The opportunity to work each day on the most profound issues that affect each and every one of us is a constant source of great tension. How to tell the story in the way that will have the most impact; how to structure the film so that it can reach the most people emotionally, and then, intellectually; how to take a complicated issue and make it compelling, as well as activating – these are things that keep me awake at night and have me jumping out of bed at dawn.
Mark Karlin: Now to “Koch Brothers Exposed.” The father of David and Charles Koch, Fred, was – as mentioned in the DVD – one of the founders of the John Birch Society. It appears to me that when you connect the dots of the nefarious Koch brothers’ activity – what ties their political initiatives together – they are pretty much following the John Birch Society ideology (although they claim they are libertarians). Is that something that you would agree with?…..
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