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DayPage for November 20th, 2013 – Rex Latchford, with another DayPage…
A U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed three people. The victims were described as alleged al-Qaeda fighters hit as they traveled in a vehicle. A delegation of Yemenis appeared before a congressional panel to testify on the impact of drone strikes. One of the speakers, Faisal bin Ali Jaber, lost his brother-in-law and nephew in a U.S. attack last year. According to the LA Times, CIA officials recently confirmed a U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed a young boy in June. The victim was the younger brother of a militant also killed in the attack.
At least 28 people have been killed in a spate of bombings today across the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Dozens more were injured.
Not surprisingly, a newly disclosed report shows the Obama administration was warned about problems with the federal healthcare website as early as last spring. The consulting firm McKinsey & Company detailed a number of problems with the site, including a “significant dependency on external parties/contractors.” Well, duh. And as anyone with any experience in business knows, Politics and IT Management are an all-to-common toxic cocktail.
New disclosures show repeated violations by the National Security Agency in its collection of Americans’ private information. One declassified ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court says the NSA improperly shared personal email addresses and other information with other government agencies. In an opinion addressing the NSA’s unlawful intelligence sharing, FISA court judge John Bates wrote: “NSA’s record of compliance with these rules has been poor … Most notably, [the] NSA generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information outside of NSA until it was ordered to” by the FISA court. Despite these violations, FISA court judges allowed the NSA’s data collection to continue.
Indonesia has recalled its ambassador to Australia in the latest diplomatic fallout to result from the Snowden-released NSA documents. They show the NSA used Australia as part of its global spying operations. Australian intelligence agencies reportedly tried to tap the phone of Indonesia’s president and other top officials. Australian embassies across Asia were involved in a surveillance ring led by the United States.
And finally… A U.S. government official has claimed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is NOT currently under sealed indictment. Assange has reportedly been the target of a three-year grand jury investigation in Virginia. Speaking to The Washington Post, an anonymous law enforcement official said: “Nothing has occurred so far. But it’s subject to change … The investigation is ongoing.” This is likely to be of small comfort to Assange, who has been trapped in the Ecuadorian consulate in London for over a year by the US’s proxy, the UK.
That’s it, that’s all, for DayPage, a production of Radio InfoWeb, it’s heard on the Liberty Network, and can be downloaded, feed burnt, and podcasted at DayPage.net. Join me next time for yet another… DayPage.
Written and produced by Mincka Bito
The following rush transcript probably contains errors and/or omissions…
Rex Latchford here with another DayPage…
In the ever-growing octopus of the Spy Scandal unleashed by Edward Snowden that has uncovered the Total Surveillance State, the Obama administration released hundreds of pages of newly declassified documents related to the NSA late Monday. This included an 87 page ruling in which the FISA court first approved a program to track American’s emails during the Bush administration. The documents were released in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, which are despised by most administrations… so… in reality…
Is this a long-overdue effort of the Obama administration to point the spy finger at the Bush administration? That would be… instead of trying to carry on and embellish the Bush era spying?
The documents about the FISA ruling were just one of the trove of documents.
Documents released by Edward Snowden demonstrate that it IS possible to shut down the obsessive spying on citizens by the government. The Bush administration temporarily shut down its bulk collection of citizens email after Justice Department lawyers raised legal concerns in March 2004. But then, email collection resumed.
James Clapper, director of National Intelligence and infamous for baldly lying to congress about the extent of surveillance of US citizens, said that the new releases had been made – with extensive redaction – in response to a request by President Obama.
At first glance, the documents as a whole reflect confusion and conflict within the domestic spying community over the extent of spying appropriate and how it should be carried out. It’s good to know that there was some questioning going on, but obviously these concerns lost out to the desire for “total information awareness”.
The full scope and details will require the collective efforts of the Third Estate to parse and distill, so we can expect a steady stream of goodies to result. Could this be a disinformation effort to quote “balance” unquote Snowden disclosures against what the Administration’s domestic spy apparatus would like us to believe? Stay tuned!
That’s DayPage for this day, collect them all at DayPage.net, it’s a production of Radio InfoWeb and heard on the Liberty Radio Network. Join us next time for another DayPage.
The following rush transcript probably contains errors and/or omissions…
I’m Rex Latchford in New York, with another DayPage…
Here’s some of what’s happening on this day…
The computer hacker Jeremy Hammond has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for hacking into the computers of the private intelligence firm Stratfor. Hammond has admitted to being a member of the group Anonymous and to stealing files from Stratfor, as well as other government and corporate sites. Some five million Stratfor emails ended up on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, showing how the firm monitors activists and spies for corporate clients. Hammond pleaded guilty earlier this year in part to avoid a longer sentence of at least 30 years in prison. He has already spent 18 months behind bars, some of it in solitary confinement. On Friday, Hammond attorney Sarah Kunstler said Hammond’s sentencing judge had overlooked his political motivations.
[Audio Clips from Hammond Verdict Press Conference – Edited for brevity and clarity]
Those clips were from Attorney Sara Kunsler’s Press Conference after the Hammond Verdict.
Hammond’s 10-year sentence is one of the longest ever in a criminal hacking case. During his sentencing, Hammond said an FBI informant had directed him to hack into the websites of several foreign governments, including Brazil, Iran and Turkey. According to Hammond, the FBI used him and other hackers to disrupt vulnerabilities in the home pages of foreign states.
In Japan, a dangerous operation is underway at the earthquake-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Engineers are removing more than 1,500 radioactive fuel rods from a storage pool as part of the plant’s decommissioning. The rods could release toxic gases if they break or are exposed to air. Some of the tasks underway as part of Fukushima’s decommissioning have never been attempted anywhere else.
Protests were held in more than 260 cities worldwide on Saturday to mark two months since the detention of the Greenpeace “Arctic 30” for protesting gas drilling by Russia. The 28 activists and two journalists are facing charges of “hooliganism” which carry up to seven years in prison. Saturday’s rallies focused on urging Russia’s state-controlled oil company, Gazprom, and its partner, Shell, to back calls for the Arctic 30’s release.
The Supreme Court on Monday turned away an unusual challenge to a National Security Agency program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans, as congressional critics of the data collection stepped up efforts to force more disclosure about the scope of the surveillance.
The intensifying efforts to gain transparency and put restraints on N.S.A. on both the legal and legislative fronts is running into stiff resistance from congressional leaders of both parties, as well as the Obama administration. This puts the administration and legislature at direct odds with growing public sentiment. Once again, Government of by and for the Government.
EPIC filed this last challenge directly with the Supreme Court arguing that the FISA court had exceeded its jurisdiction when it ordered the bulk collection of phone records. In urging the Supremes to throw out the case, the Federal Government said the proper way to mount a challenge is to file in Federal District Court… exactly where the Administration could firmly put down such a challenge on its own.
John Boener wants to quash any effort to address the NSA excess during the legislative session, and Harry Ried is afraid of harming national security. That’s National Security as in Federal Government’s Security, no doubt.
Meanwhile Angela Merkel is once again speaking out against NSA spying and bugging, referring to NSA documents released by Edward Snowden as “accusations” rather than fact unchallenged by the NSA. The German Government wants Snowden’s testimony, but won’t offer asylum unless he applies while on German soil. That would be tricky, as the US would most certainly try to snatch him if he were to travel there.
Indonesia has recalled it’s ambassador to Australia, a US spy-pal that the NSA’s documents show was spying on the Indonesian leader. The latest leaked NSA documents named the Indonesian President, his first lady, the vice president, and other senior ministers as targets of snooping, spying, and monitoring.
And that’s just about enough for this DayPage. You can collect them all at DayPage.net, a production of RadioInfoWeb and heard on the Liberty Radio Network. Join us again next time for another DayPage.
From New York, Rex takes a look at the not-so-Sunday Boulder Weekly for the latest “This Modern World” cartoon by Tom Tomorrow on the topic of the latest in the Obamacare saga.
Rex Latchford is in Los Angeles.
A transcript of this DayPage will be posted later.
Contains clips from NBC News and Fox News.