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Woman fired for uninstalling app on company phone that tracked her 24 hrs a day

RT | May 11, 2015

A California woman has sued her former employer, which fired her shortly after she disabled a GPS tracking feature on her company iPhone. The app was used to monitor employees even on their personal time, the lawsuit alleged.

Myrna Arias has claimed that her boss, John Stubits, at money transfer service Intermex in Bakersfield boasted about monitoring employees’ locations while they were not on the job, according to the lawsuit filed in Kern County Superior Court.

Arias, a sales executive for the company, said she was “scolded” and subsequently fired — even though she “met all quotas during her time with Intermex — after she uninstalled Xora, a mandatory job-management app that was applied to company phones.

“After researching the app and speaking with a trainer from Xora, Plaintiff and her co-workers asked whether Intermex would be monitoring their movements while off duty,” the suit says.

“Stubits admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she installed the app on her phone. Plaintiff expressed that she had no problem with the app’s GPS function during work hours, but she objected to the monitoring of her location during non-work hours and complained to Stubits that this was an invasion of her privacy. She likened the app to a prisoner’s ankle bracelet and informed Stubits that his actions were illegal. Stubits replied that she should tolerate the illegal intrusion….”

The suit alleged invasion of privacy, retaliation, and unfair business practices, among other accusations.

“This intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person,” the lawsuit claimed.

Arias’ attorney told Ars Technica that the mandatory app was intrusive in its constant monitoring.

“The app had a ‘clock in/out’ feature which did not stop GPS monitoring, that function remained on,” Gail Glick said.

“This is the problem about which Ms. Arias complained. Management never made mention of mileage. They would tell her co-workers and her of their driving speed, roads taken, and time spent at customer locations. Her manager made it clear that he was using the program to continuously monitor her, during company as well as personal time.”

Arias is seeking damages in excess of $500,000. Intermex did not immediately respond to Ars Technica for comment.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Shambles… Energy Professor Declares Germany Energiewende “A Failure”

By Pierre L. Gosselin | NoTricksZone | May 5, 2015

Volkmar Pott's photo.

The editor-in-chief of the Iserlohner Kreisanzeiger und Zeitung (IKZ) daily Thomas Reunert dedicated an entire page on the topic of wind energy last Sunday, bearing the headline: “The Norwegians Are Giving Us The Finger!

It is an interview with a former professor from the University of Bielefeld, Dr. Kurt Gehlert, 75, an expert in mining. It focuses on the state of Germany’s Energiewende (transition to green energies), particularly wind power and the illusions of energy storage technology.

The sub-heading reads

Dr. Kurt Gehlert is certain that the Energiewende has already failed. Or we will drown and cover ourselves in wind turbines.”

Germans pushing the Energiewende are aiming to see 80% of Germany’s energy needs being met by green energies by 2050. Some are even calling for doing away with natural gas, in addition to coal and oil.

But the monster-sized insurmountable obstacles loom as German policymakers begin to scramble in a confused state of denial.

Germany’s alternative baseload-capable sources, such as hydro and biogas, are severely limited and account for only 11.5% of Germany’s total energy supply today. Moreover there still does not exist a viable technology for storing the irregular supply of wind and solar power. Gehlert says these technologies are nowhere near being capable of taking on the role of providing a reliable baseload.

The 75-year old professor points out that although there is a huge capacity of wind and solar energy already in place, often both are not available because they are weather-dependent. Gehlert tells the IKZ that the media like to give the public the impression that the technology is not far away, but the reality is that it is nowhere near in sight.

Energy storage concepts such as accumulators, power-to-gas, compressed air storage are plagued by low efficiencies and sky-high costs. He reminds readers that using electric car batteries as a storage media is also a pie-in-the-sky-vision. Gehlert tells IKZ :

It sounds like a good idea and so let us illustrate it using a rough calculation. In 2020 it is planned to have 1 million electric cars on the roads in Germany. If we tap into them and remove 50% of the average 25 kwh charge capacity, then we will extract enough power from them (12.5 x 1000000 =12.5 gigawatt-hours) to cover Germany’s needs each day for 25 minutes and 17 seconds; Germany’s total daily consumption is 712 gigawatt-hours. And then all the electric car owners will have only 50% of the range available for their next trip.”

 Gehlert also tells the IKZ that pump-storage is also not a solution for Germany, calculating:

In Germany about 125 times more storage lakes than what exists today would need to be constructed by 2050. This area and topography simply does not exist at all.”

On the idea of using Norway’s, Switzerland’s or Austria’s mountainous regions to build the necessary pump-storage capacity, Gehlert tells the IKZ :

The Swiss are reacting allergically, and the Norwegians are giving us the finger.”

Go ruin your own landscape, and leave ours alone.

And even if it was possible to use pump-storage in foreign countries, Gehlert tells the IKZ that in order to bring the power from the above-mentioned mountainous countries to the big consumption centers in Germany’s industrial heartland, it would require the construction of about 70 high voltage power lines ranging from 300 to 1200 km in length!

Gehlert also scoffs at the idea of using wind-power-to-gas as a method for storing energy, which would be used to fire gas turbines to produce electricity in times of low-winds. And expanding the calculation to 50% constant electrical power from wind energy would require about 470,000 German wind turbines (Currently there are about 25,000). Gehlert elaborates:

The figure is difficult to fathom. Germany has an area of approximately 360,000 square kilometers. That means each of the 470,000 wind turbines would have 0.76 sq km.. The city of Iserlohn alone has an area of 125.5 square kilometers and so would have 165 wind turbines.”

The IKZ asks Gehlert to summarize:

The Energiewende under the given conditions in Germany is a failure […]. The policymakers state in a worried manner: Our predecessors have left behind a disillusioned population.”

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Tories’ repeal of Human Rights Act will spark constitutional crisis, erode civil liberties – experts

RT | May 11, 2015

Newly appointed Justice Secretary Michael Gove will push ahead with Conservative plans to repeal the Human Rights Act – a move experts warn could spark a constitutional crisis and blight Britain’s reputation on human rights worldwide.

Conservative Party sources, fresh from last week’s general election victory, told the Guardian the human rights reforms are imminent.

Civil liberty advocates warn the soon-to-be implemented measures would erode the right to life, the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, the right to protest and the right to freedom from torture and discrimination.

Although the Tories were keen to push ahead with the legal changes during their last term in government, the move was blocked by the party’s ex-coalition partner the Liberal Democrats. But as a majority government, the Conservatives are now poised to push ahead with the reforms.

Central to the Tories’ election manifesto was a pledge to repeal the Human Rights Act (HRA) and significantly curb the power of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Britain. The legal reforms are expected to surface in PM David Cameron’s plans for his first 100 days, which will be outlined in the Queen’s Speech on May 27.

Under these changes, the Conservatives would replace the HRA with a Tory-styled British Bill of Rights. Britain’s Supreme Court would no longer be answerable to the ECHR, with the Strasbourg-based court losing the power to order changes to UK law.

The plans were drawn up in 2014 by then-Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling. At the time, Grayling proposed Britain withdraw from the ECHR if the Council of Europe rejects the Conservatives’ British Bill of Rights.

Constitutional crisis

Considerable doubt exists among experts that the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog responsible for ensuring the Convention is upheld, will accept the Tories’ proposals. As a result, it is widely believed Britain will disengage from the European Convention on Human Rights and undermine Europe’s’ civil liberties framework in the process.

Britain’s withdrawal from the ECHR has been strongly opposed by former Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke and the UK’s ex-Attorney General Dominic Grieve. Grieve has long condemned the proposal, warning its consequences would be devastating.

In December, he said the government’s threat to potentially abandon the Strasbourg court undermines international law and could fray the constitutional fabric that holds the United Kingdom together. Echoing grieve, analysts warn such a withdrawal would spark a constitutional crisis in the UK.

They suggest the move would be flatly rejected by Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and would mean the Conservative government has violated Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Dr Paul O’Connell, a Reader in Law at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), says the Conservatives’ proposed bill is shrouded with ambiguity.

“The notion of a British Bill of Rights is still quite vague, and more rhetoric than substance at present,” he told RT on Monday.

O’Connell, whose expertise lies in the field of human rights law, international law and the relationship between law and social change, said repealing the Human Rights Act would prove disruptive for Britain.

O’Connell rejected the notion such a move would breed a constitutional crisis in the UK, but argued the policy change would lead to a “recalibration of the culture of British law.”

“Withdrawing from the ECHR is difficult, it’s hard to imagine that the new government will, in fact, seek to do this,” he said.

“They may, however, take a harder line with decisions from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and may lobby other members of the Council of Europe to reform the Court.”

Eroded civil liberties

Mairi Clare Rodgers, media director at human rights group Liberty, argued the Conservatives’ plans to scrap the Human Rights Act hold serious implications.

The Act has proven vital in protecting journalists’ sources, safeguarding British soldiers, offering much needed-answers to grieving families, and holding power to account, she said.

Mairi also emphasized the HRA’s role in defending those who suffer from domestic violence, rape victims and those who require specialist care.

Executive director at Reprieve, Clare Algar, said successive UK governments have undermined Britons’ ability to hold politicians to account.

“We hope that Mr Gove ignores the myths and spin that many others have used against human rights legislation, and considers instead the important central principles,” she told RT.

“This is something which helps defend the weak from the strong, and the individual citizen from the abuses of government.”

Amnesty International UK’s Allan Hogarth said the Human Rights Act has been misrepresented by a series of myths.

“Despite all the myths peddled about the Human Rights Act, this valuable piece of legislation has helped ensure that principles of fair trial, free speech and the right not to be tortured are properly respected in our country,” he told RT.

“Whatever the politicking in the coming weeks, the Human Rights Act should be protected and Michael Gove should stand firm over the Act’s fundamental principles of justice and decency.”

Read more: Human rights debate in Britain is ‘regressive’ – Scottish watchdog

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

An NPT pop quiz

By John Loretz | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | May 11, 2015

Can you name the “official” NPT nuclear-weapons states?

If you said the US, Russia, the UK, France, and China…you’re wrong.

No, this wasn’t a trick question having something to do with North Korea. The fact is the NPT doesn’t contain a single word that confers any kind of special status on its five nuclear-armed members. The word “official” never appears. Neither does the word “recognized.” Nor does any other word that even hints at the notion that these five states have a right, temporary or otherwise, to the nuclear weapons they had when they joined the Treaty. (France and China did not even become Member States until 1992.)

The nuclear-armed states are mentioned only twice—and never by name—throughout the entire text of the NPT. Article IX provides a generic definition: “For the purposes of this Treaty, a nuclear weapon State is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January, 1967.”

Then, of course, there’s Article VI, which says “Each of the Parties to the Treaty [not just the nuclear-armed Parties, mind you] undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

That’s it. No language anywhere that says—or could be interpreted to mean—that the nuclear weapons held by these five states got grandfathered in and are therefore permitted—or even tolerated for some indefinite time—under the treaty.

If you catch yourself using these words or any others that convey the same false impression, try to eliminate them from your personal glossary of nuclear terms.

While I’m on the subject, we keep hearing from certain states at the NPT Review Conference and elsewhere (you’ll find them in the glossary under “weasels”) that they don’t support the ban treaty because we will only eliminate nuclear weapons if we “engage” with the nuclear-weapons states.

Have they not noticed that this is exactly what we’re doing? Granted, the nuclear-armed states want nothing to do with negotiating a ban—which fact, alone, proves its effectiveness. “Engagement,” to the P5 and the weasels, means letting them define the terms and the pace of nuclear disarmament, and not rocking the boat with “unrealistic” demands and distractions. Once we have it, however, the ban treaty will set new terms for engagement. It will inform the nuclear-armed states that they are outlaws and that they need to “engage” with that and become respectable, law-abiding world citizens, like it or not.

If you ask me, the nuclear-armed states, to their distress, haven’t been so engaged since the end of the Cold War. The humanitarian impacts movement, the Austrian Pledge, and the campaign for a ban treaty have been the agents for that engagement. That’s official.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Theatre community slams Israel lobby attack on touring Palestinian play

MEMO | May 11, 2015

Leading actors, directors and other figures from the theatre world have condemned efforts by pro-Israel groups to silence a Palestinian production set to tour Britain.

‘The Siege’, by the Jenin-based Freedom Theatre, was attacked in the Mail on Sunday last week, after organisations such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews expressed concern about whether the Arts Council-funded project “promoted terrorism.”

Now, in response to what they describe as the “demonization” of Palestinian theatre, a letter signed by Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance, Young Vic artistic director David Lan and playwright Caryl Churchill among others, expresses support for the Freedom Theatre.

Neither the Daily Mail nor the Board of Deputies has seen Freedom Theatre’s play The Siege, yet both somehow feel qualified to suggest that it is “promoting terrorism”. Not for the first time, Palestinian voices are in danger of being drowned out by a vociferous pro-Israel lobby that smears all Palestinians as terrorists and antisemites. This lobby wants us to believe that theatre-goers in the UK cannot be trusted to hear these voices and make their own judgements.

The letter, an initiative of Artists for Palestine UK, comes as the Freedom Theatre prepares to embark on a 10-city tour of Britain over May-June, including dates in Manchester, London, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Glasgow.

Writer and performer Mark Thomas, a signatory to the letter, noted that “free speech for Palestinian artists is increasingly threatened, more often than not by supporters of Israel’s apartheid occupation. Palestinian voices not only have a right to be heard, we have duty to listen to them.”

The piece in the Mail by Sunday claimed that the play, based on dramatic events in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2002, would be “an unashamedly one-sided drama” based on the testimonies of “men with blood on their hands.”

None of those smearing the play have seen the production, as they have admitted.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Larry Mendte Gets It So Wrong: How Persistent Iraq Mythologies Inspire Bad Analysis on Iran

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | May 8, 2015

Earlier this week, Kayvon Afshari, communications director for the American Iranian Council, appeared on Another Thing with veteran broadcaster Larry Mendte to discuss the state of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and the prospect, in the face of powerful opposition, of a final deal being reached in the coming weeks.

While Afshari’s pro-diplomacy optimism was backed up by important facts not often heard in the media, Mendte made a number of comments that betrayed his role as an ostensibly objective and informed interviewer.

Right off the bat, for instance, Mendte describes the ongoing talks as a negotiation about an “Iranian nuclear arms deal.” That’s a bizarre – albeit revealing – way to begin, namely because that’s not what this is. If anything, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a nuclear arms deal, one signed back in 1968 by Iran and ratified two year later, as it proscribes all non-nuclear weapons signatories to forever forgo the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

What Iran is negotiating with six world powers about is accepting verifiable limits and constraints on its peaceful, civilian, non-weaponized, non-military, safeguarded nuclear energy program in exchange for the lifting of international and unilateral sanctions and the normalization of its nuclear dossier.

This is not an “arms deal,” as Iran has no “arms” to give up. The United States intelligence community and its allies have long assessed that Iran doesn’t even have a nuclear weapons program, let alone nuclear weapons. Iranian officials, for decades, have consistently maintained they will never pursue such weapons on religious, strategic, political, moral and legal grounds. The IAEA has found no credible evidence that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program.

As the conversation gets underway, Mendte repeats the tired claim that Iran is just biding its time under intense and intrusive scrutiny until – years from now – when it will suddenly emerge with a deadly nuclear arsenal manufactured out of thin air:

The way I understand the deal, and I think some of the people that are critical of it, is that there’d be a decade-long moratorium and then, the president has admitted in an article, in an interview, that after that decade-long moratorium, Iran could start up a nuclear program just like that. As a matter fact, they could advance the program during that decade and then be able to start up, for 10 years. This just puts off the inevitable. Is that fair?

Obviously this is not “fair” and Mendte’s understanding of the deal, or anything having to do with Iran or its nuclear program for that matter, is effectively nonexistent.

Afshari rightly points out to Mendte that Iran already has a nuclear program, one that is legal and guaranteed under the NPT, also noting, “It’s not as though there’s going to be no inspections after ten years. There’s still going to be strict inspections, but they’ll be loosened after that initial ten years.”

Mendte is quick to jump in. “We had strict inspections in Iraq. That didn’t turn out really well,” he patronizingly tells Afshari, continuing, “The reason we went into Iraq, people forget, in the first place, is because the inspectors were thrown out and not allowed in. [There were] supposed to be UN inspections and he [Saddam Hussein] didn’t allow it.”

When Afshari replies that the analogy is a stretch as Iran has never kicked out inspectors and that Iraq’s nuclear program was very different than Iran’s, Mendte is undeterred, insisting on playing out his analogy. “There was a nuclear arms deal in place” before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, he says, “and what I’m saying is that lead to the Iraq War. I mean, I know there [were] other factors including 9/11, including President Bush wanting to go after Iraq, but that was the catalyst: the fact that they left out UN inspectors, if you remember at the time.”

While Afshari is a gracious guest and tries to steer the conversation back on track, he really shouldn’t have been so accommodating to Mendte’s version of history. Basically, he should have told him was flat-out wrong. Beyond the fact that Mendte seems to have forgotten that Bush administration claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were false (and that there was no “nuclear arms deal in place” with Iraq), his claim about international inspectors is also completely and totally bogus. How so, you ask?

Saddam never kicked inspectors out of Iraq.

This claim is a canard, a wholesale myth, a straight-up falsehood. It was built up by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq and dutifully reinforced by the mainstream media. In fact, between late November 2002 and mid-March 2003, weapons inspectors from the IAEA and the U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) conducted more than 750 inspections at 550 sites in Iraq.

In January 2003, UNMOVIC chief Hans Blix told reporters that inspectors had been “covering the country in ever wider sweeps” for months but “haven’t found any smoking guns.” An Associated Press dispatch from the time noted, “In almost two months of surprise visits across Iraq, U.N. arms monitors have inspected 13 sites identified by U.S. and British intelligence agencies as major ‘facilities of concern,’ and reported no signs of revived weapons building.”

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei delivered a report to the U.N. Security Council on March 7, 2003, during which he spoke of increased Iraqi cooperation with international inspections and thoroughly dismantled Bush administration claims about aluminum tubes, high-strength magnets, and importing yellowcake from Niger. ElBaradei concluded, “After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq” and clearly stated the intention “to continue our inspection activities.”

Inspections ended abruptly eleven days later, on March 18, 2003, for one reason: the United States was about to start dropping bombs all over the place.

“In early March,” Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker” blog wrote in 2011, Blix “began getting warnings from senior U.S. and British officials about the safety of the inspectors. Then the company that supplied helicopters for the teams withdrew its equipment from Iraq.”

News reports at the time leave no doubt as to what really happened.

“In the clearest sign yet that war with Iraq is imminent, the United States has advised U.N. weapons inspectors to begin pulling out of Baghdad, the U.N. nuclear agency chief said Monday,” reported the Associated Press on March 17, 2003. The article continued:

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the recommendation was given late Sunday night both to his Vienna-based agency hunting for atomic weaponry and to the New York-based teams looking for biological and chemical weapons.”

“Late last night… I was advised by the U.S. government to pull out our inspectors from Baghdad,” ElBaradei told the IAEA’s board of governors.

Within hours, the evacuation began. “U.N. weapons inspectors climbed aboard a plane and pulled out of Iraq on Tuesday after President Bush issued a final ultimatum for Saddam Hussein to step down or face war,” AP reported the next day. “U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday ordered all U.N. inspectors and support staff, humanitarian workers and U.N. observers along the Iraq-Kuwait border to evacuate Iraq after U.S. threats to launch war.”

“[A]t no time did Iraq throw out the inspectors,” wrote Kessler, in an attempt to forever put these talking points to rest. “[I]nspectors voluntarily ended their mission because of the threat of military action by the United States and its allies.

Larry Mendte’s regurgitation of Rumsfeldian propaganda – 13 years after the illegal and disastrous invasion of Iraq – should cast doubt on his credibility as a broadcaster. Let’s hope a correction and mea culpa are forthcoming – not to mention an apology to Afshari.

*****

UPDATE:

May 10, 2015 – I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by Larry Mendte’s inability to grasp basic facts. A quick look at some of his past rants on Iran makes clear he’s long bought into the most bellicose and alarmist propaganda pushed by Iran hawks and is incapable of any semblance of critical thought. He sees the U.S. invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq as warnings to other nations, not as lessons to be learned about jingoism, faulty intelligence, war crimes, and imperial adventurism. He thinks Iran has a “nuclear weapons program.” He thinks sanctions “brought Iran to the negotiating table.” He says he knows that Iran wants a nuclear bomb.

Larry Mendte bloviates like he’s in a Darrell Hammond sketch. With one exception: he should be taken far less seriously.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media | , , | Leave a comment

Nilesat takes Yemen broadcaster al-Massirah off air

Press TV – May 11, 2015

Yemen’s Arabic broadcaster, al-Massirah, has been taken off the air by Egyptian satellite company Nilesat, while YouTube has removed the channel’s uploaded files showing the devastation caused by Saudi Arabia’s bombardment of the country.

The channel, which is affiliated to Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, said on its Twitter account that Nilesat suspended its transmission on Sunday evening.

Al-Massirah also tweeted that the suspension was a result of “Saudi-American pressure” on the satellite company.

Nilesat has not explained why it has blocked the channel.

The channel has been broadcasting the images of the victims of and the damage caused by the Saudi aggression against Yemen.

Video sharing website YouTube also removed the videos and images uploaded by al-Massirah that showed the humanitarian catastrophe in the impoverished Middle Eastern country.

Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

According to the latest UN figures, the Saudi military campaign has so far claimed the lives of over 1,400 people and injured close to 6,000 people, roughly half of whom have been civilians.

Saudi Arabia has been blocking the delivery of relief supplies to the war-stricken people of Yemen in defiance of calls by international aid groups.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 2 Comments

Obama lying about Osama bin Laden’s death: Seymour Hersh

Press TV – May 11, 2015

US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says President Barack Obama’s narrative of the killing of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was false.

In an article published on the London Review of Books website on Sunday, Hersh wrote that high-level lying “remains the modus operandi of US policy, along with secret prisons, drone attacks, Special Forces night raids, bypassing the chain of command, and cutting out those who might say no.”

Citing a retired senior US intelligence official, the journalist explained that how the killing of bin Laden was the “high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election.”

“The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account,” Hersh said.

“The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders — General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI — were never informed of the US mission. This remains the White House position despite an array of reports that have raised questions,” Hersh wrote.

He also said bin Laden had been a prisoner of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency at the Abbottabad compound since 2006.

“Kayani and Pasha knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms… that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US, and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration’s account were false,” according to the journalist.

Washington announced on May 2, 2011 that bin Laden was killed by US forces in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

A number of media reports later said the US government was moving to hide files about the US military’s suspected raid on Osama bin Laden.

The lack of transparency over bin Laden’s death has cast further doubt over the announcement.

Regarding President Obama’s announcement of the raid to Americans, Hersh said, “Obama’s speech was put together in a rush.”

He also said the White House refused to respond to his requests for comment.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 2 Comments

NSA Spying Ruled Illegal, But Will Congress Save the Program Anyway?

By Ron Paul | May 10, 2015

This week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA’s metadata collection program was not authorized in US law. The PATRIOT Act, under which the program began, was too vague, the court found. But the truth is the Act was intended to be vague so that the government could interpret it in the broadest possible way.

But this is really more of a technicality, because illegality and unconstitutionality are really two very different things. Even if Congress had explicitly authorized the government to collect our phone records, that law would still be unconstitutional because the Constitution does not grant government the power to access our personal information without a valid search warrant.

Even though the court found the NSA program illegal, it did not demand that the government stop collecting our information in this manner. Instead, the court kicked the ball back in Congress’ court, as these provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire at the end of the month and the Appeals Court decided to let Congress decide how to re-authorize this spying program.

Unfortunately, this is where there is not much to cheer. If past practice is any lesson, Congress will wait until the spying program is about to expire and then in a panic try to frighten Americans into accepting more intrusions on their privacy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill as a stop-gap measure to allow time for a fuller debate on the issue. His stop-gap? A five year re-authorization with no changes to the current program!

The main reform bill being floated, the FREEDOM Act, is little better. Pretending to be a step in the right direction, the FREEDOM Act may actually be worse for our privacy and liberties than the PATRIOT Act!

One silver lining in the court decision is that it should exonerate Ed Snowden, who risked it all to expose what the courts have now found was illegal US government activity. That is the definition of a whistleblower. Shouldn’t he be welcomed back home as a hero instead of being threatened with treason charges? We shouldn’t hold our breath!

This week Snowden addressed a conference in Melbourne, Australia, informing citizens that the Australian government watches all its citizens “all the time.” Australia’s program allows the government to “collect everyone’s communications in advance of criminal suspicion,” he told the conference. That means the government is no longer in the business of prosecuting crimes, but instead is collecting information in case crimes someday occur.

How is it that the Australian government can collect and track “pre-crime” information on its citizens? Last month Australia passed a law requiring telecommunications companies to retain metadata information on their customers for two years.

Why do Australia’s oppressive laws matter to us? Because the NSA “reform” legislation before Congress, the FREEDOM Act, does exactly what the Australian law does: it mandates that US telecommunications companies retain their customers’ metadata information so that the NSA can access the information as it wishes.

Some argue that this metadata information is harmless and that civil libertarians are over-reacting. But, as Ed Snowden told the Melbourne conference, “under these mandatory metadata laws you can immediately see who journalists are contacting, from which you can derive who their sources are.”

This one example of what happens when the government forces corporations to assist it in spying on the people should be a red flag. How can an independent media exist in the US if the government knows exactly whom journalists contact for information? It would be the end of any future whistleblowers.

The only reform of the PATRIOT Act is a total repeal. Accept nothing less.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , , , , , | 2 Comments