Monthly Archives: November 2013

Congressional clamor starts for reining in NSA data collection

Congressional critics of the National Security Agency program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans stepped up their efforts as the Supreme Court on Monday turned away an unusual challenge to the scope of the surveillance. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/us/politics/congress-and-courts-weigh-restraints-on-nsa-spying.html?ref=world The intensifying push against the N.S.A. on both the legal and legislative fronts reflected new pressure […]

NYT ed board condemns UK attack on free press

Britain has a long tradition of a free, inquisitive press. That freedom, so essential to democratic accountability, is being challenged by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/opinion/british-press-freedom-under-threat.html?src=rechp&_r=0 Unlike the United States, Britain has no constitutional guarantee of press freedom. Parliamentary committees and the police are now exploiting that lack of […]

A sad propaganda display from CBS News on Sunday

The television program CBS  Sunday Morning gave a nod to the truth movement on their 50th anniversary coverage of the JFK assassination when they had a small bit on the persistence of conspiracies where Oliver Stone actually called the official narrative BS and blamed dark elements in the CIA.  But on the CBS News website […]

Obama, insurers admit increase in individual policy costs

 A day after Obama’s proposal to prevent cancellation of insurance policies for millions of Americans, top executives of some of the biggest insurance companies emerged from a meeting at the White House on Friday, expressing mixed feelings about whether the idea could work in every state. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/business/after-meeting-health-insurers-question-proposals-workability.html?hp&_r=0 The cancellations had left the president vulnerable to […]

Bulgarians try to occupy Parliment in protest of Deep State

Student protesters tried but failed to occupy the Bulgarian Parliament building here on Friday, then marched through the city center and broke through four police cordons in the latest of a series of angry demonstrations against the center-left government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/world/europe/students-try-to-occupy-bulgarian-parliament-building.html?ref=world There were no reports of serious violence, and the police […]

Trans fat ban helps push new GMO oils by Monsanto, Dupont

The new federal push to purge artery-clogging trans fats from foods could be just what the doctor ordered for the unpopular biotechnology industry, specifically, two developers of genetically modified crops. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/business/in-a-bean-a-boon-to-biotech.html?ref=us The developers, Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, have manipulated the genes of the soybean to radically alter the composition of its oil to make it […]

Trans-Atlantic trade agreement to subvert regulation, safeguards

A week of trade talks in Brussels have taken the European Union and the United States a little closer to a deal to liberalise bilateral trade. EU officials say the trade relationship with the US is already the biggest in the world, worth more than 2bn euros (£1.7bn) a day. If it happens, the agreement […]

Robot encroachment starts with cow herding

Robots are being developed to round up cows on dairy farms. A four-wheeled device, known as Rover, has been tested by a team at Sydney University. It was used to move a herd of cows from a field to a dairy. Researchers were amazed at how easily cows accepted the presence of the robot. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24955943 […]

Secret new trade accord Trans-Pacific Partnership leaked

Showing remarkably good timing (acting just one day after bipartisan groups of House Democrats and Republicans spoke out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Washington DC), WikiLeaks sent out the following press release today:Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) http://desultoryheroics.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/wikileaks-releases-complete-secret-tpp-draft/  Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) […]

Capitol Police want congressional inquiry in Navy Yard shooting

The union representing officers with the US Capitol Police (USCP) has called for a congressional inquiry into the decision to pull a Swat team from the scene of a mass shooting in September. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24931466  A USCP tactical response team arrived first at the Washington Navy Yard but was told by a supervisor to leave instead […]

US contractors playing both sides in Afghanistan

Despite the development of contractor blacklists and other requirements earlier in the war, American investigators have uncovered a new case that casts doubt on the military’s ability to weed out suspicious contractors from the thousands who work with the United States to build bases, ship supplies and carry out myriad other tasks. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/world/asia/afghan-companies-with-insurgent-ties-still-receive-us-contracts.html?ref=world The case […]

Green Zone to be inforced around World Trade Center complex

How much security apparatus is needed on city streets in New York? Agencies charged with guarding public safety seem to answer, “As much as we say.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/nyregion/residents-suing-to-stop-fortresslike-security-plan-for-world-trade-center.html?hp&_r=0   Against the memory of two successful attacks on the World Trade Center and numerous foiled plots, no one wants to sign off on security measures that could […]

Afghan drug trade blossoms under US military watch

Afghan opium cultivation has reached a record level, with more than 200,000 hectares planted with the poppy for the first time, the United Nations says. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24928454  The UNODC report said the harvest was 36% up on last year, and if fully realised would outstrip global demand. Most of the rise was in Helmand province, where […]

UK authorities claim mysterious MI6 spy death accidental

The death of MI6 spy Gareth Williams, whose body was found in a padlocked sports bag, has now been claimed to be an accident by police. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24927078   Last year, a coroner said it was likely Mr Williams, 31, from Anglesey, had been unlawfully killed in August 2010. But the Metropolitan Police said an evidence […]

Smartphone cameras can be hacked to steal PIN numbers

The PIN for a smartphone can be revealed by its camera and microphone, researchers have warned.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24897581?print=true  Using a programme called PIN Skimmer a team from the University of Cambridge found that codes entered on a number-only soft keypad could be identified. The software watches your face via the camera and listens to clicks through […]

Bulgarians occupy university and demand government quit

Students in the Bulgarian capital Sofia have chained the doors of the country’s biggest university as anti-government unrest continues. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24896793?print=true After occupying a lecture hall for nearly three weeks, they declared “total and effective occupation” to demand the government’s resignation. Thousands joined a student march through the city on Sunday. Unrest over poverty and corruption […]

Technocracy looks to recruit “bounty hackers” globally

Microsoft, Google and Facebook have joined forces to offers bounties to “friendly hackers” who can hunt down web bugs. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24849768  Dubbed Hackerone, the bug bounty programme offers cash rewards between $300 (£186) and $5,000 (£3,110) for discovering security holes. The size of the reward will be determined by a panel of employees. It may go […]

Brazil confronts Google on Streetview spying and theft

Brazil has demanded an explanation from internet giant Google about private wi-fi data allegedly collected while photographing for its Street View maps. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24861399 A court told the firm to present a reply by Saturday or face a daily fine of about $45,000 (£28,000) a day – up to a maximum of $450,000. US and European […]

FDA finally bans trans fat after substance killed thousands

The Food and Drug Administration proposed measures on Thursday that would all but eliminate artery-clogging, artificial trans fats from the food supply. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/health/fda-trans-fats.html?hp   They still lurk in many popular products, like frostings, microwave popcorn, packaged pies, frozen pizzas, margarines and coffee creamers. Banning them completely could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from […]

CIA pays AT&T over $10M for domestic callers private data

The C.I.A. is paying AT&T more than $10 million a year to assist with investigations by exploiting the company’s vast database of phone records, which includes Americans’ international calls, according to government officials.   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/us/cia-is-said-to-pay-att-for-call-data.html?hp&_r=0  The cooperation is conducted under a voluntary contract, not under subpoenas or court orders compelling the company to participate, according to […]