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Upcoming nuclear arms reduction treaties must involve all countries that have atomic weapons at their disposal – Lavrov

RIA Novosti | June 22, 2013

MOSCOW – Any upcoming treaties on nuclear arms reductions will have to involve all countries that have atomic weapons at their disposal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.

Lavrov was commenting on US President Barack Obama’s proposal from earlier this week to slash US and Russian nuclear arsenals by one third from the limit imposed by the bilateral New START treaty in 2010.

The New START limits deployed nuclear warheads to 1,500 per country, though the actual slashing of nuclear arsenals is still ongoing.

Moving beyond the New START will make nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia comparable to those of other countries with nuclear weapons, Lavrov said.

“This means that further moves possibly proposed for reduction of actual strategic offensive arms will have to be reviewed in a multilateral format,” Lavrov said on Rossia-1 television.

“And I’m talking not just official nuclear powers, but all countries that possess nuclear weapons,” the minister said.

In addition to the United States and Russia the list of confirmed nuclear powers currently includes Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Israel is often accused of possessing nuclear weapons, and Iran of developing them, but neither confirmed the allegations.

The number of atomic weapons at the disposal of nuclear powers other than Russia and the United States is considered to be between 100 and 300 per country, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

Lavrov also said that Russia will be taking into account US plans for a missile defense shield in Europe when deciding on further nuclear arms reduction. He added that Obama acknowledged the “necessity” of this approach.

Russia has argued for years against the US missile defense shield plans, insisting that it could disrupt the strategic parity between the two former Cold War rivals.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 3 Comments

Possible new leak at Hanford site, higher radioactivity levels detected

RT | June 22, 2013

A tank containing highly radioactive waste may be leaking into the soil at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation (the US’s most contaminated nuclear site) in Washington state, employees have told media.

State and federal officials are investigating reports that workers detected elevated radioactivity levels under tank AY-102 during a routine inspection on Thursday.

According to technician Mike Geffre, who works for contractor Washington River Protection Solutions, an inspection was made of a pit under the tank. Its water samples had an 800,000-count of radioactivity and a high dose rate, which means that workers must reduce time spent in the area.

“Anything above a 500 count is considered contaminated and would have to be disposed of as nuclear waste,” Geffre explained. “Plus, the amount of material we’ve seen from the leak is very small, which means it’s a very strong radioactive isotope.”

If the waste escapes the tank and gets into the soil, it may reach groundwater and potentially the Columbia River.

“This is really, really bad. They are going to pollute the ground and the groundwater with some of the nastiest stuff, and they don’t have a solution for it,” Tom Carpenter, executive director of the Seattle-based advocacy group Hanford Challenge, a watchdog group that conducts environmental sampling to monitor for radioactive and chemical contamination, told AP.

There are 177 tanks holding up to 56 million gallons of waste, 149 of which are single-shell. Six of those tanks were discovered in February to be leaking at a rate of about 1,000 gallons annually.

AY-102 is one of Hanford’s 28 tanks with two walls, which was installed when single-shell tanks began leaking and some of the most radioactive liquid in those tanks was pumped into the sturdier double-shell tanks. The tanks are now beyond their intended life span.

Two radionuclides comprise much of the radioactivity in Hanford’s tanks: cesium-137 and strontium-90. While both take hundreds of years to decay, exposure to either can increase the risk of cancer.

Officials say that leaking tanks pose no immediate threat to the environment or public health, with the closest communities being several miles away.

“These last few months just seem like one body blow after another,” said Ken Niles of Oregon’s Energy Department. “It’s true this is not an immediate risk, but it’s one more thing to deal with among many at Hanford.”

“The Energy Department has been actively monitoring double-shell tank AY-102 since it was discovered to have a slow leak from the primary tank,” the department said in a statement. “Workers detected an increased level of contamination during a routine removal of water and survey of the leak detection pit.”

Additional testing is expected to take several days, though the state will demand an accelerated plan to deal with all the waste at Hanford, said Washington Governor Jay Inslee, adding that the potential leak “raises very troubling questions.”

An engineering analysis team will conduct additional sampling and video inspection to determine the source of the contamination, Spokeswoman Lori Gamache said.

The Energy Department announced last year that AY-102 was leaking between its two walls, but gave reassurances then that no waste had escaped. However, Seattle’s KING5 television station has reported that the cleanup contractor and the department knew a year earlier that the tank was leaking.

At the height of World War II, the federal government created Hanford as part of a secret project to create the atomic bomb. The site ultimately produced plutonium for the world’s first atomic blast and for one of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan; it continued production through the Cold War.

These days, it has a reputation as the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site, with a cleanup expected to take several decades. It costs up to US$2 billion annually and has already set taxpayers back US$40 billion, with US$115 billion more expected to be needed.

The biggest challenge thus far has been removing highly radioactive waste from the 177 aging underground tanks and constructing a plant to treat that waste, which will be encased in glass-like logs for permanent disposal. Workers designing and building the unique plant have encountered numerous technical problems, however, as well as delays and rising costs. The plant is unlikely to begin operating before 2019, far beyond the original 2011 deadline.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Four Injured, Palestine TV Reporters Kidnapped In Kufur Qaddoum

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC | June 22, 2013

The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Kufur Qaddoum village, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, reported Friday that dozens of Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest, wounding four residents, and kidnapped reporters of the official Palestine TV.

The Committee said that the soldiers violently attacked and beat reporter Ahmad Shawar and cameraman Bashar Nazzal, working for the Palestinian TV, confiscated their cameras, and threw the rest of their equipment in the trash.

An  Israeli army spokesperson claimed that the kidnapped journalists “attacked the soldiers”, and that they have been transferred to an interrogation facility.

Morad Shteiwy, coordinator of the Popular Committee in the village, has reported that the army surrounded the village since early morning hours Friday, and invaded it in an attempt to prevent the residents from holding their weekly protest against the illegal Annexation Wall and settlements.

“The large number of soldiers deployed in the village could not prevent the determined residents from holding their protest”, Shteiwy said, “the soldiers violently attacked the protesters and fired dozens of gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated metal bullets”.

He further said that resident Aqel Mahmoud Shteiwy, 25, was shot with a rubber-coated bullet in his hand, and that one of his fingers was amputated, and added that resident Yousef Mustafa Shteiwy, 21, was shot in the chest, Bassam Ayyoub Shteiwy, 26, was shot in the back and Bashar Mahmoud Shteiwy, 22, was shot in the abdomen.

Also on Friday, soldiers used tear gas, chemical water and rubber-coated steel bullets to attack the weekly protests at the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, where residents and their international and Israeli supporters, managed to reach the wall; two protesters were injured and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

In Bil’in, gas bombs fired by Israeli troops caused a fire that damaged olive trees owned by local farmers. Soldiers also fired tear gas at residents who tried to put out the fire.

At the nearby village of al Nabi Saleh, Israeli soldiers attacked the villagers and their supporters before leaving the village.

Dozens of soldiers stormed the village and fired gas bombs into resident’s homes. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

In al Ma’sara village, near Bethlehem, dozens of soldiers stopped the villagers and their supporters at the village entrance and then forced them back, using rifle-buts and batons to push people back, no injuries were reported.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US officials arrive in Qatar for peace talks with Taliban

Press TV – June 22, 2013

The US special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan has arrived in Qatari capital city of Doha to hold controversial peace talks with the Taliban militants.

James Dobbins, the US envoy in charge of nascent dialogue with the group, arrived in Doha on Saturday after the militants opened an office in the Persian Gulf Arab monarchy.

The US officials said Dobbins will also take part in meetings between Secretary of State John Kerry and Qatari leaders scheduled for later Saturday. The discussions will lay the ground for a full-scale dialogue with the militant group.

President Barack Obama’s administration has supported peace talks with the Taliban after the US-led forces lost ground against the militants in recent months across Afghanistan.

Senior Pakistani officials have welcomed the dialogue between Taliban and the United States in Doha, but the Afghan government has expressed serious concerns about the ongoing US-led peace process with Taliban militants in Qatar.

On Thursday, Afghan Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing Kabul’s anger and frustration at the opening of Taliban office in Qatar.

“The manner in which the office was established was in clear breach of the principles and terms of references agreed with us by the US government,” the statement read.

Senior officials in Kabul say the move contradicts the US security guarantees, noting that the Taliban militants will be able to use the office to raise funds for their campaign in Afghanistan.

The Kabul government has suspended strategic talks with Washington to discuss the nature of US presence after foreign troops withdraw in 2014.

President Hamid Karzai has also announced that his government will not join any US negotiations with the Taliban unless the talks are led by the Afghans.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s High Peace Council stated that none of its members will travel to Qatar to sit at talks with the Taliban.

The council has been making efforts to initiate dialogue with discontented Afghans and militants who have engaged in warfare with the US-led forces and Kabul’s Western-backed government.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after more than 11 years, insecurity remains across the country.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Zionist “news” in English, French and Arabic, 24 hours a day

AFP – June 22, 2013

TEL AVIV — A new Israel-based 24-hour TV news channel broadcasting in English, French and Arabic is to go on air on July 1, its CEO says. […]

With 150 journalists on its staff, i24 news aims “to decode the world news from the heart of the Middle East,” he said. […]

Finance will come mainly from Franco-Israeli businessman and telecoms tycoon Patrick Drahi.

Full article

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Qatar: Arming Syrian rebels to bring peace, justice

Al-Akhbar | June 22, 2013

Qatar’s prime minister said on Saturday the only way to resolve the civil war in Syria was to arm rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad.

“Force is necessary to achieve justice. And the provision of weapons is the only way to achieve peace in Syria’s case,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told ministers from Western and Arab states who support the Islamist rebels determined to overthrow the Syrian government.

“We cannot wait due to disagreement among Security Council members over finding a solution to the problem,” he said.

The remarks came during a meeting in Qatar on Saturday between ministers from 11 countries including the United States, European and Arab countries, to tighten coordination of their stepped up support for Syria’s anti-government militants.

After a series of military offensives by government troops, including the recapture of a strategic border town two weeks ago, US President Barack Obama said the United States would increase military support for the rebels.

Two Gulf sources told Reuters on Saturday that Saudi Arabia had also accelerated delivery of advanced weapons to the rebels.

“In the past week there have been more arrivals of these advanced weapons. They are getting them more frequently,” one source said, without giving details. Another Gulf source described them as “potentially balance-tipping” supplies.

Speaking before Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Doha, a US official said the United States wanted to ensure that “every kind of assistance” offered by the 11 countries attending the meeting go through the Supreme Military Council, led by General Salim Idriss, a former commander in Syria’s army.

Idriss last month during an interview with Al Arabiya gave a 24-hour deadline for Lebanese Hezbollah troops to leave Syria, threatening Lebanon with unspecified repercussions should they fail to do so.

Lebanon has come under a wave of attacks by suspected Syrian rebels since the western-favored Idriss issued the threat.

A diplomat who had seen the draft communique of the meeting said there was no mention of establishing a no-fly zone or specific mention of weapons supplies to the rebels.

The United States and Russia, which back opposing sides in the conflict, hope to bring them together for negotiations in Geneva originally scheduled for this month.

Moscow opposes arming rebel forces that it says include terrorist groups, and has warned that a swift exit by Assad would risk a dangerous power vacuum.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Reassured by NSA’s Internal Procedures? Don’t Be. They Still Don’t Tell the Whole Story.

By Kurt Opsahl and Mark Rumold | EFF | June 21, 2013

Yesterday, the Guardian released two previously-classified documents describing the internal “minimization” and “targeting” procedures used by the NSA to conduct surveillance under Section 702. These procedures are approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on an annual basis and are supposed to serve as the bulwark between the NSA’s vast surveillance capabilities and the private communications of Americans. As we noted earlier today, the procedures, themselves, aren’t reassuring: far too much discretion is retained by NSA analysts, the procedures frequently resolve doubt in favor of collection, and information is obtained that could otherwise never be obtained without a warrant.

Which would be bad enough, if it were the end of the story. But it’s not.

The targeting and minimization documents released yesterday are dated a few months after the first publicly known scandal over the new FAA procedures: In April 2009, the New York Times reported that Section 702 surveillance had “intercepted the private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans . . . on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress.” In June 2009, the Times reported that members of Congress were saying NSA’s “recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged.” Rep. Rush Holt described the problems as “so flagrant that they can’t be accidental.”

Presumably, following these “flagrant” abuses (and likely in response to the Congressional criticism of the original procedures), the government refined the procedures. The documents released yesterday are the “improved” targeting and minimization procedures, which appear to have been reused the following year, in 2010, in the FISC’s annual certification.

But these amended procedures still didn’t stop illegal spying under Section 702.

Unless the government substantially changed the procedures between August 2010 and October 2011, these are the very procedures that the FISC eventually found resulted in illegal and unconstitutional surveillance. In October 2011, the FISC issued an 86-page opinion finding that collection carried out under the NSA’s classified minimization procedures was unconstitutional. The opinion remains secret, but it is very likely that yesterday’s leaked NSA documents show the very minimization procedures the Director of National Intelligence admitted the FISC had found resulted in surveillance that was “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment” and “circumvented the spirit of the law.”

And for good reason: the procedures are unconstitutional. They allow for the government to obtain and keep huge amounts of information it could never Constitutionally get without a warrant based on probable cause. As we explained, the procedures are designed such that the NSA will routinely fail to exclude or remove United States persons’ communications, and the removal of those communications are wholly entrusted to the “reasonable discretion” of an analyst.

EFF has been litigating to uncover this critical FISC opinion through the Freedom of Information Act and to uncover the “secret law” the government has been hiding from the American public. And EFF isn’t alone in fighting for the release of these documents. A bipartisan coalition of Senators just announced legislation that would require the Attorney General to declassify significant FISC opinions, a move they say would help put an end to precisely this kind of “secret law.”

When the government, and others, claim these procedures ensure your privacy is respected, know this: they’re only telling you half the story.

Take action now — to put an end to secret law, to demand the American public gets the full story, and to finally put an end to the NSA’s domestic spying program.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Suspected Syrian rebels fire over 12 rockets at Lebanon

Al-Akhbar | June 22, 2013

At least 12 rockets fired from Syria struck a Lebanese border village Saturday, hitting some homes but causing no injuries in the latest attack on Lebanon by suspected rebels, state news reported.

Lebanon’s National News Agency said rockets struck the homes Mohammed Kouja, Walid Kouja, and Taj Eddeine in the northern Akkar village of Dababiyeh.

The army rushed to evacuate the town of frightened residents, the report added.

The attack comes one day after a rocket reportedly fired from a Lebanese village northeast of the capital struck a mountainous area near the presidential palace in Baabda.

The grad, fired overnight Monday, knocked out a power line and caused a huge rumble in surrounding areas. Authorities later in the day discovered what they believed to be the launch site of the rocket hidden in a brush covered area near Ballouneh.

A second rocket that failed to launch was reportedly found at the site. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, and its target remains unclear, but Syrian rebels have upped a campaign against Lebanon in recent months in what they claim is retaliation for Hezbollah’s intervention in the Syrian conflict.

Monday’s attack was the second such case of rockets being fired by suspected rebels against Lebanese targets from inside Lebanon. Last month, two rockets struck a southern suburb of Beirut injuring four Syrian workers.

Those rockets, launched from hills several kilometers southeast of Beirut, hit the Chiyah district where Hezbollah maintains strong support.

But dozens of rockets fired from Syria have hit Lebanon in recent weeks, killing and wounding a number of people since they began over the course of the Syrian conflict, now over two years old.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama picks official who approved of dragnet NSA surveillance to head FBI

RT | June 21, 2013

e1d59-showpicturePresident Barack Obama announced Friday afternoon that he’s selected James Comey to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Comey, 52, worked as the deputy attorney general for the United States under President George W. Bush and will replace outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller when he steps down later this year after he is confirmed by the Senate.

All three men were on hand at the White House Friday afternoon when President Obama formally made his pick after weeks of speculation suggested Comey would be the likely nominee.

Comey, said Obama, embodies the “core principals of fidelity, bravery and integrity” expected of FBI agents and applauded “his fierce independence and his deep integrity.”

In fact, that independence is the focus of perhaps the most widely reported instance from the Bush White House involving Comey. While serving as deputy attorney general in the Department of Justice, Comey rejected the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program that has recently reemerged as the center of controversy.

“In a confrontation he has called the most difficult night of his career, [Comey] rushed to the hospital bedside of his boss, John Ashcroft, in 2004 to stop two senior Bush White House aides from getting the ailing attorney general’s approval to reauthorize a post-9/11 program that allowed government wiretaps to be used without warrants,” the Associated Press recalled this week.

Comey’s insistence in keeping the program off the books was made notwithstanding an earlier decision to favor the surveillance program, though. Glenn Greenwald reported for The Guardian last month that Comey “approved a legal memorandum in 2004 endorsing radical executive power theories and warped statutory interpretations, concluding that the Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program was legal, thus making it more difficult to prosecute the Bush officials who ordered it.”

The internal conflict within the administration that erupted years later over that program almost led to Comey, Ashcroft and Mueller offering their resignation, apparently. As Greenwald noted, though, the then-deputy attorney general declined to follow up on his threat after slight adjustments were made to the NSA spy program.

“But the reason they didn’t end up resigning ,” he wrote, “was because Bush officials ‘modified’ that NSA program into something those lawyers could and did endorse: the still-illegal, still-radical NSA eavesdropping program that spied on the communications of Americans without warrants and in violation of the law.”

Those practices have come under question in recent weeks after Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former intelligence contractor, leaked documents showing the size and scope of the surveillance programs. Mr. Mueller said those disclosures caused “significant harm” to the nation’s security and that the admitted leaker is the “subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.”

“One of the great vulnerabilities terrorists understand is their communications,” Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee last week. “If we lose our ability get their communications, we are going to be exceptionally vulnerable.”

After being picked by Pres. Obama to replace Mueller on Friday, Comey said, “I don’t know whether I can fill those shoes.” Mueller was FBI chief for 12 years, making him the second-longest serving official to ever head the bureau.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Leaves 700 troops in Jordan as CIA Trained Militants Fighting in Syria

Al-Manar | June 22, 2013

US President Barack Obama said the United States left around 700 combat-ready troops in Jordan after a training exercise in the country.soldiers in Jordan

In a letter to US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Friday, Obama said that the deployment was made at the request of the Jordanian government. He stated that about 700 of the US troops deployed to Jordan as part of a military training exercise, which ended on Thursday, would stay in the country.

“The troops will stay until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer required”, Obama claimed, but provided no further details.

“This detachment that participated in the exercise and remained in Jordan includes Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control, and communications personnel and systems,” Obama said.

This came as a report by The Los Angeles Times said CIA operatives have been secretly providing the Syrian militants with training on the use of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons for months.

Since the opening of a new US base in the desert in southwest of Jordan in November 2012, the CIA operatives and US special operations troops have covertly trained the militants in groups of 20 to 45 at a time in two-week courses, the report said.

The militants receive training with Russian-designed 14.5-millimeter anti-tank rifles, anti-tank missiles, and 23-millimeter anti-aircraft weapons, according to a militant commander in the Syrian province of Dara’a.

“Those from the CIA, we would sit and talk with them during breaks from training and afterward, they would try to get information on the situation inside” Syria, the report quoted the unnamed commander as saying.

The training program has also been conducted in Turkey, the report said.

Yahya Bittar, another militant commander, said the training is conducted by US, Jordanian and French operatives, adding that up to 100 militants have been sent back across the border to Syria after taking the course in Jordan over the past month.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

UN rejects US claim on Syria chemical weapons

Press TV – June 21, 2013

UN experts say they do not confirm the claims by the United States, France and Britain that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the militants.

“We are not able to say who has used chemical agents or chemical weapons,” said Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the United Nations human rights investigation committee on Syria, on Friday.

Speaking to reporters after an informal meeting with UN Security Council ambassadors, Pinheiro said he would not comment on evidence, including multiple blood, tissue and soil samples, that the US, Britain and France have sent to the UN about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The technical data presented by the three countries is of limited value to the UN which, according to its rules, can pass a final judgment on the situation only after its own inspectors personally collect evidence.

Based on the unsubstantiated claim that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the militants, President Barack Obama ordered the CIA last week to provide arms to the anti-Syrian groups, saying the government of President Bashar al-Assad had crossed Washington’s red lines.

In an article on the Washington Post on Friday, Colum Lynch and Joby Warrick write that the US move “rests on unverifiable claims” that lack transparency.

Weapons experts say Obama’s declaration of Washington’s red line in terms of more involvement in Syria “handed the Syrian opposition a powerful incentive to fabricate evidence” against the Assad government regarding the chemical arms use, the article said.

“If you are the opposition and you hear” that the White House has drawn a red line on the use of nerve agents, then “you have an interest in giving the impression that some chemical weapons have been used,” said Rolf Ekeus, a Swedish scientist who headed UN weapons inspections in Iraq during the 1990s, the article read.

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

British spy agency has access to global communications, shares info with NSA

RT | June 21, 2013

The British spy agency GCHQ has access to the global network of communications, storing calls, Facebook posts and internet histories – and shares this data with the NSA, Edward Snowden has revealed to the Guardian in a new leak.

GCHQ’s network of cables is able to process massive quantities of information from both specific targets and completely innocent people, including recording phone calls and reading email messages, it was revealed on Friday.

“It’s not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight,” Snowden told the Guardian. “They [GCHQ] are worse than the US.”

The Government Communications Headquarters agency has two different programs, aimed at carrying out this online and telephone monitoring – categorized under ‘Mastering the Internet’ and ‘Global Telecoms Exploitation.’ Both have been conducted in the absence of any public knowledge, reports the Guardian.

“If you remember, even the NSA said that they did not record phone calls, but according to these latest revelations by Edward Snowden, that up to ‘600 million’ telephone events last year were recorded a day by the GCHQ,” said RT’s Tesa Arcilla from London.

“There’s no doubt as to what the objectives of these programs were, having put them in place,” she said, emphasizing the titles.

The agency is able to store the volumes of data it amasses from fiber-optic cables for up to 30 days in an operation codenamed Tempora. The practice has been going on for around 18 months.

GCHQ which was handling 600m telephone ‘events’ a day, according to the documents, had tapped into over 200 fiber-optic cables and had the capacity to analyze data from over 46 of them at a time.

The cables used by GCHQ can carry data at 10 gigabits per second, which in theory, means they could deliver up to 21petabytes of information per day. The program is continuing to develop on a daily basis with the agency aiming to expand to the point it is able to process terabits (thousands of gigabits) of data at once.

By May last year, some 300 GCHQ-assigned analysts and 250 from the NSA had been specially allocated large quantities of data to trawl through as a result of the operations.

The Guardian reports that 850,000 NSA and outside contractors had potential access to the databases. However, the paper does not explain how it came to such an enormous figure

“These revelations reveal the scale of and the scope of cooperation between UK and US intelligence services,” said RT’s Gayane Chichakyan from Washington. “From these revelations we learned how dramatically it has expanded over the years.”

“The document shows the FISA court lets the NSA use data snagged ‘inadvertently.’ They basically give a warrant to target suspects,” she said, recalling Lieutenant General Keith Alexander’s quote after a 2008 visit to the Menwith RAF base in England: “Why can’t we collect all the signals all the time? Sounds like a good summer project for Menwith,” he had said.

The GCHQ project was first trialed in 2008. The intelligence organization has been labeled an ‘intelligence superpower’ on account of its technical capabilities, which by 2010 gave it the strongest access to internet communications out of the ‘Five Eyes’ – an international intelligence sharing alliance, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and US, brought into existence in 1946.

The mass-surveillance has seen the interception of data from transatlantic cables that also carry data to western Europe through ‘intercept partners’ commercial companies that had entered into private agreements with GCHQ. Many have been paid off for their cooperation.

GCHQ feared that exposure of the names of the companies involved could lead to “high-level political fallout,” and took measures to ensure names were kept secret. Warrants had reportedly been issued to compel the companies to cooperate so that GCHQ could engage in spying through them.

“They have no choice,” said a Guardian intelligence source.

Snowden previously warned that he would be releasing further information pertaining to mass security operations carried out on the unwary public, stating in a previous Q & A with the Guardian that the “truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment