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Turkey’s Role In Syria’s Insurgency

WorldConflictReport · January 1, 2013

The US and its allies have been campaigning against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in their news outlets since the unrest began in the country. The United States and Israel have tried to use Turkish Prime Minister Recep Teyyeb Erdogan as a tool to keep the Syrian government away from Hezbollah and Iran. Refugee camps in Turkey have turned into training centers by groups such as al-Qaeda and people who are not Syrian refugees by no means.

In this edition of INFocus we set out an investigative mission in Turkey to uncover its pivotal role in Syria’s insurgency. We will also describe how foreign countries such as America, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Libya are sending weapons into the country.

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Police Documents on License Plate Scanners Reveal Mass Tracking

By Catherine Crump | ACLU | July 17, 2013

Automatic license plate readers are the most widespread location tracking technology you’ve probably never heard of. Mounted on patrol cars or stationary objects like bridges, they snap photos of every passing car, recording their plate numbers, times, and locations. At first the captured plate data was used just to check against lists of cars law enforcement hoped to locate for various reasons (to act on arrest warrants, find stolen cars, etc.). But increasingly, all of this data is being fed into massive databases that contain the location information of many millions of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years.

This is what we have found after analyzing more than 26,000 pages of documents from police departments in cities and towns across the country, obtained through freedom of information requests by ACLU affiliates in 38 states and Washington, D.C. As it becomes increasingly clear that ours is an era of mass surveillance facilitated by ever cheaper and more powerful computing technology (think about the NSA’s call logging program), it is critical we learn how this technology is being used. License plate readers are just one example of a disturbing phenomenon: the government is increasingly using new technology to collect information about all of us, all the time, and to store it forever – providing a complete record of our lives for it to access at will.

Today, we are releasing all of the documents we have received (accessible through this interactive map and this issue page) and are publishing a report, “You Are Being Tracked,” which explains what these documents say about license plate readers: what they are capable of, how they are being used, and what privacy harms they can cause if protections aren’t put in place. We’re also offering more than a dozen recommendations we think local police departments and state legislatures should follow when they pass laws about this technology.

As is often the case with surveillance technology, there are unobjectionable – even beneficial – uses of license plate readers. We don’t object when they’re used to identify people who are driving stolen cars or are subject to an arrest warrant. But they should not become tools for tracking where each of us has driven.

License plate readers capture vast amounts of data on innocent people

Because of the way the technology works – these devices snap photos of every passing car, not just those registered to people suspected of crimes – virtually all of the data license plate readers gather is about people who are completely innocent. Data that we obtained through our records requests illustrates this point vividly.

Why we should worry

Should the government be logging for months, years, or indefinitely the movements of the other 99 percent of people, who are innocent?

The answer to this question is no. License plate reader information can be very revealing. While one snapshot at one point might not seem sensitive, as blankets of plate readers cover our streets, and as the government stores data for longer and longer, the technology quickly morphs into a powerful tracking tool.

As computer technology and storage capacity get cheaper every year, we need to prepare for a future not just where there are a few license plate reader cameras in every town, but one in which there are multiple cameras on every block.

What can location data reveal about people? Trips to places of worship, political protests, or gun ranges can be powerful indicators of people’s beliefs. Is it really the government’s business how often you go to the drug store or liquor store, what doctors you visit, and the identities of your friends? I’m sure all of us can remember something from our past that could embarrass us. If the government comes to suspect you of something in 2020, should it have access to databases stretching back years that could dig up facts about you that previously went unnoticed?

What’s happening now

Law enforcement data-retention policies today are all over the map. While some police departments store data briefly, others keep it for a long time, or indefinitely.

The government doesn’t have a great track record of using this kind of information responsibly. As our report details, the data can be abused for official purposes, like spying on protesters merely because they are exercising their constitutionally protected right to petition the government, or unofficial ones, like tracking an ex-spouse.

Prior to the rise of powerful surveillance technology, it simply wasn’t possible to watch all of the people all of the time. But as these natural limits erode and the impossible becomes possible, we have to make conscious choices about how technology should be used.

What’s the right line with license plate readers?

There is a reasonable way to regulate this technology. The primary law enforcement use of these systems is to take pictures of plates to make it possible to check them against “hot lists” of cars of interest to law enforcement. This can be done virtually instantaneously. While plates that generate a “hit” may need to be stored for investigative purposes, there is no need to store plates for months or years to achieve this purpose.

That is to say, the answer to regulating license plate readers is to have strict limits on how long plate data can be retained. While we don’t recommend a specific cutoff date, we think it should be measured in days and weeks, not months and certainly not years.

To their credit, some law enforcement agencies already comply with this principle. For example, the Minnesota State Patrol deletes all data after 48 hours.

Others keep data for longer, and the rationale given is always the same: Although you can’t tell immediately that someone is committing a crime, some of those people may well be doing something wrong, goes the argument. But in our society, the government doesn’t watch all of us all the time just in case we commit a crime.

This is not just an issue we’ll have to decide in the context of license plate readers, but the most important surveillance issue of our time. Should the NSA collect all data about everyone’s calls, just in case it’s useful to identify a terrorist? Why stop there? Why not store all of the contents of the calls we make as well? And emails? This is not just about communications or public movements. It’s also about what happens inside the home. As electric companies convert to “smart grids” that provide them data about the patterns of your electricity usage, it could well become apparent when you take a shower and whether you run your dishwasher more frequently than others in your demographic profile. … Full article

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran rejects claims about sending arms to Syria

Press TV – July 17, 2013

Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araqchi has dismissed reports quoting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying that Tehran may be sending weapons to Syria through Iraq’s airspace.

“So far, the Iraqi government has conducted intrusive inspections of some Iranian planes bound for Syria, and in all cases it was officially announced that these planes were not carrying military equipment, while in some cases they [Iraqi officials] said [the planes] were carrying food and medicine,” Araqchi said on Wednesday.

Araqchi said high-ranking Iraqi officials and the inspection team have repeatedly said the same thing about Iranian planes heading for Syria.

In an interview published by the London-based Asharq al-Awsat on June 13, the Iraqi minister said Baghdad started to inspect Iranian and Syrian planes at random last September, adding, “We have found non-lethal materials, like equipment, medicine and food.”

However, Zebari claimed, “Those planes might be carrying other stuff, but we have neither the deterrent means, nor the air defenses and fighter jets to prevent … arms shipments.”

Under pressure from the United States, Baghdad has searched several Syria-bound Iranian planes.

In April, Baghdad checked Iranian aircraft for three consecutive days. The searches, however, found nothing but humanitarian aid and commercial goods.

In October 2012, Iraq forced a Damascus-bound IranAir cargo plane from Tehran to land and searched it for weapons, but allowed it to continue as no prohibited items were found onboard.

The foreign-sponsored unrest in Syria has taken its toll on the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, since March 2011.

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama, Like Ike, ‘Avoided Military Adventures’? Not Quite

war_monger

By Peter Hart | FAIR | July 16, 2013

New York Times reporter Peter Baker has a piece today (7/16/13) about Barack Obama and Dwight Eisenhower that presents a somewhat confusing picture of both.

The article is about how Obama wields power–or, in the eyes of some critics, fails to take advantage of the “bully pulpit.”

The real point of the piece is to draw a parallel to Dwight Eisenhower’s “hidden hand” approach. According to an author of an Eisenhower book, Baker writes, “Mr. Obama was like the former president in avoiding major international conflict, relying more on covert action and letting Congress take the lead in legislation.”

Baker explains:

Just as Eisenhower, the 34th president, pulled troops out of Korea and avoided other military adventures, Mr. Obama has pulled out of Iraq, is leaving Afghanistan, has limited intervention in Libya largely to airstrikes and has resisted being drawn directly into the civil war in Syria.

Let’s try a rewrite–especially on the Obama years.

Obama withdrew troops from Iraq on the schedule inherited from Bush. His administration wanted to keep some troops there, but the Iraqi government would not allow it.

To say that Obama “is leaving Afghanistan” ignores the fact that he massively escalated the Afghan War, sending tens of thousands of additional troops to the country–essentially tripling the size of the U.S. military in the first 2 years of his term.

To say that Obama “limited intervention in Libya largely to airstrikes” is an odd way to describe what was a rather extensive bombing campaign in violation of the War Powers Act.

Baker does note that the White House has decided to formally begin arming the Syrian rebels–it is somewhat unclear how and/or when that will happen–and the CIA has reportedly been coordinating arms shipments into the country.

And, of course, one has to factor in ongoing drone wars in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is possible that these do not count as “military adventures,”  but I think you’d have  hard time explaining that to anyone in those countries.

As for Eisenhower, when the Times refers vaguely to “covert operations” during his term, one might want to spell out that the CIA was instrumental in the overthrow of governments in Iran, Guatemala and Congo, and that the CIA was deeply involved in supporting anti-government rebels in Indonesia fighting the Sukarno government–including dropping supplies to the rebels. His hands may have been “hidden,” but there’s no reason to not let the record speak for itself 50 years later.

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Years Ago: The Political Assassination of Dr. David Kelly

Dr Kelly Inquest Campaign
kelly
TENTH ANNIVERSARY SILENT PROTEST 
 
ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE,
 
THURSDAY 18th JULYb 2013
 
2pm  PHOTOCALL
 
 
The campaign to re-open the inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly is holding a silent, gagged, protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, on Thursday 18th July 2pm, to mark the tenth anniversary of Dr Kelly’s death and to demand the re-opening of his inquest.
 
Campaigners demand Dr Kelly’s inquest, as his right under British law, to examine all the evidence, including the fresh evidence.  The coroner ‘speaks for the dead to protect the living.’  Campaigners demand due process of British law and transparency, for the clear establishment of truth and justice. 
 
All single, unexplained deaths require an inquest under British law.  Dr Kelly’s unexplained death, according to many centuries of British law, should have been examined in a proper coronial inquest, with the option of a jury, the power to subpoena witnesses, testimony given under oath, with cross-examination and the requirement to establish suicide beyond reasonable doubt. 
 
Instead, Section 17A of the Coroners Act 1988 was quickly invoked – which is used to cover multiple deaths, as with train disasters – probably uniquely, for Dr Kelly’s single, unexplained death.  The result was the Hutton Inquiry, engaged only to look into ‘the circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly’s death’, neither overseen by a coroner, nor with the proper powers of an inquest.
 
There is fresh evidence which requires the scrutiny of a proper coronial inquest.  Thames Valley Police FoI responses reveal that there were no fingerprints on six items found with Dr Kelly’s body, including the knife with which he is said to have cut his ulnar artery, blister packs of Co-proxamol tablets, which he is said to have swallowed, an opened water bottle, a watch, spectacles and mobile phone.  No gloves were found at the scene. 
 
Lord Hutton requested the records provided to the Hutton Inquiry, not produced in evidence, be closed for 30 years, and that medical reports and photographs be closed for 70years.  The Ministry of Justice was unable to explain the legal basis for Lord Hutton’s order.
 
The Dr Kelly Inquest Campaign demands due process of law – the re-opening of Dr Kelly’s inquest – and transparency, to achieve truth and justice. 
 
For further press information contact:
 
Jayne Venables
 
 
01904 627211
07876 748255

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Detroit police arrest news photographer, lock her up with suspect

RT | July 16, 2013

Police in Detroit, Michigan have launched an internal investigation after a Detroit Free Press photographer was detained for filming a group of officers as they arrested a suspect on a public street on Thursday, July 11.

wright_mandiMandi Wright was traveling to an assignment with a newspaper reporter when the pair came upon eight officers making an arrest. The video, since posted online, shows Wright capturing a pat-down before she is approached by an officer, who orders Wright to “back up” before covering the camera lens and demanding she “turn it off.”

Wright identifies herself as a photographer for the Free Press, to which the officer responds with “I don’t care who you are.” He then reaches for the camera and Wright can be heard asking “Are you touching me?” before the images cut off. Witnesses say the two tussled before uniformed officers put Wright in handcuffs for interfering with an arrest.

Wright, 47, has accused the police of wrongfully confiscating her iPhone and briefly leaving her locked up alone with the suspect she filmed being arrested. She has also asserted that the memory card from her newspaper-issued cell phone camera went missing after an officer wrestled the device away from her, according to the Free Press.

“I was just surprised at how quickly it escalated,” Kathleen Gray, the reporter traveling with Wright, told the Free Press. “There was no effort to try to figure out who we were or what we were doing. It was just immediately going for the phone.”

The photographer was held in police custody for over six hours. Wright has said that at least part of that time was spent alone in an interrogation room with the original suspect. Deputy Chief James Tolbert said, if the latter claim is verifiable, “that could be a serious breach of department policy.”

Missing – along with a satisfactory explanation – was Wright’s SIM card, which stores files on a cell phone. The video was preserved on Wright’s iPhone’s internal memory.

Tolbert, speaking to the Free Press, refused to name the officer who first accosted Wright but said the internal investigation will examine “the whole incident, from start to end. What we did, what she did, the whole nine.”

The deputy chief told editors of the Free Press the incident had already become a point of embarrassment for the department and he reminded officers they are not authorized to impede an individual from filming.

While putting the onus on police, Free Press Editor Paul Anger was conciliatory about the incident.

“First, our photographer was doing what any journalist – or any citizen – has a right to do in a public place,” he said. “All she knew was that someone had grabbed her and her phone. We understand the difficult job that police officers do and we understand how tensions can rise. Yet some of the police actions all through this incident need scrutiny – not the actions of our photographer.”

image by @DetroitMandi

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sri Lanka: Who’s behind anti-Muslim violence?

PressTVGlobalNews | June 24, 2013

The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has shocked the world and drawn attention to rising Islamophobia in Asia. Now Muslims in Sri Lanka are under dire threat as well.

The similarities with Myanmar are striking and foreboding. Buddhist monks are at the forefront of the rising hatred, the government is taking sides against Muslims and attacks have begun.

Full scale violence is threatening to break out to create another catastrophe for Muslims in the region. There have already been a series of attacks on mosques and Muslim places of work.

Hard line, ultra nationalist groups led by Buddhist monks such as Buddhist Strength Force (BBS) and Sinhala Echo preach the same message as those of the Buddhist Rakhine in Myanmar: “Muslims are taking over, they are building too many mosques and are trying to destroy our culture.”

On this week’s INFocus we document the rising crisis in Sri Lanka and attempt to bring the world’s attention to the issue before it’s too late.

I

II

The Sri Lankan Defense Secretary recently gave his support to the monks. “It is the monks who protect this country, religion and race” he stated.

He also cautioned the ultra nationalist groups not to promote “communal hatred.” But this communiqué was delivered in English, not in Sinhala.

On this week’s INFocus, which is a sequel for last week’s episode, we try to understand the reason behind this rising hatred and where the blame truly lies.

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July 17, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Netanyahu reminds EU that Israel is above the law

netanyahu

Al-Manar | July 17, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed a European Union directive requiring member states to boycott Israelis living in the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

In an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Netanyahu pledged: “We will not accept any outside diktat about our borders.”

“This issue will be decided only in direct negotiations between the sides,” he added.

The directive included conditions for future contacts between the EU and the Zionist entity.

Netanyahu said that EU was taking steps unilaterally, while paying less attention to urgent regional matters such as the Syrian conflict and Iran’s nuclear problem.

“I would expect those who truly want peace and stability in the region would discuss this issue after solving more urgent regional problems such as the civil war in Syria or Iran’s race to achieve nuclear weapons,” he said.

“As the Prime Minister of Israel, I will not allow the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, on the Golan Heights and in Jerusalem, our united capital, to be harmed,” Netanyahu added.

The meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s office in al-Quds. Those in attendance included Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin.

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 2 Comments