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NSA's Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data Five years ago, Congress killed an experimental Pentagon antiterrorism program meant to vacuum up electronic data about people in the U.S. to search for suspicious patterns. Opponents called it too broad an intrusion on Americans' privacy, even after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
But the data-sifting effort didn't disappear. The National Security Agency, once confined to foreign surveillance, has been building essentially the same system.
The central role the NSA has come to occupy in domestic intelligence gathering has never been publicly disclosed. But an inquiry reveals that its efforts have evolved to reach more broadly into data about people's communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs brought to light since the 2001 terrorist attacks. (Wall Street Journal)
Report: NSA’s Warrantless Spying Resurrects Banned ‘Total Information Awareness’ Project Total Information Awareness — the all-seeing terrorist spotting algorithm-meets-the-mother-of-all-databases that was ostensibly de-funded by Congress in 2003, never actually died, and was largely rebuilt in secret by the NSA, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman.
In a fantastic story Monday, Gorman pulls together threads and lays out what many have suspected and alleged in lawsuits — the NSA is collecting and sifting through immense amounts of data about who Americans talk to, what they are interested in, how they spend their money and where they travel in order to find secret terrorism cells inside America.
The NSA is engaged in a widespread mining of so-called transactional data — domestic telephone records, credit card purchases, travel data, international financial data, internet searches, subject lines and headers of emails — pulling in immense data about Americans and foreigners, which it then uses to find particular targets — or even, according to Gorman — to decide what cities to target for blanket surveillance. (Wired)
'Hillary Clinton's a monster': Obama aide blurts out attack in Scotsman interview Mr Goolsbee, Mr Obama's top economic policy adviser, had told Canadian officials a public pledge to force a renegotiation of Nafta with tougher labour and environmental rules was "more about political positioning". But the Clinton camp said Mr Obama could not tell the public of Ohio, where many manufacturing jobs have been lost, one thing and then tell a foreign government something else behind closed doors. (The Scotsman)
Al Gore Purchases Carbon Credits From A Company He Himself Owns Al Gore, self appointed expert on global warming has been purchasing carbon credits in an effort to offset his palatial lifestyle. What he didn't tell us, however, is that the company he is buying the credits from is actually owned by him. Ching, ching...
Al Gore tells critics, when criticized for his exhorbinant lifestyle, one that includes mansions, private plane flights and a host of other CO2 producing activities, explains that he is actually living a "carbon neutral" existence. How is this possible you ask? He purchases carbon credits, which are to ensure that CO2 emissions are being reduced elsewhere.
As Wikipedia explains, a carbon offset "is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases."
What he isn't telling you, however, is that he purchases those carbon credits from Generation Investment Management, a company that is actually partially owned and chaired by Gore himself. (Digital Journal)
The FBI Deputizes Business The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law. (The Progressive)
Media Advisory: Security and Prosperity Partnership Ministerial Meeting The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, and the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, will meet their Mexican and U.S. counterparts - Secretary of Economy Eduardo Sojo Garza-Aldape, Secretary of the Interior Juan Camilo Mourino Terrazo, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in Los Cabos, Mexico, on February 27-28, 2008, to discuss the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). (Marketwire)
Concentration Camps in America If you type the phrase “concentration camps” into your Internet search engine, you will find page after page of references to martial law and the construction of concentration camps in the United States on behalf of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
A close examination reveals that many of these references lack sufficient facts to support their conclusions; however, taken as a whole, there is an abundance of factual information showing an alarming trend in the deployment of federal and military forces to restrain and detain American citizens.
Among the Internet sites are those listing between 600 and 800 locations in the United States where the government is establishing “concentration camps.” Many of these are former or active military bases; however, several provide detailed information about their location and improvements, including maps, videos, and satellite photographs... (William John Cox)
Mexican Campaign Against NAFTA Finds Its Focus: Hundreds of thousands are organizing against NAFTA and its encroaching powers. Some of the 300,000-plus protesters marched against the increasing price of corn, pesticides, and fertilizer. Some marched against the secretary of agriculture. Some marched to get a free lunch. There were marchers against genetically modified organisms (GMO). But at the other end of the march was a contingent of tractors, which had traversed the country to make a dramatic procession down the Avenida Reforma, that sported pro-GMO stickers sponsored by Monsanto.
Despite these various and sometimes divergent interests, the Mexican campaign against NAFTA is finding a focus. One of the best attended sessions of the recent Mexico Social Forum was on the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a so-called "NAFTA-plus" closed-doors agreement stirring concern throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico that the most undemocratic corporate domination is yet to come. The SPP needs to be on the radar of citizens of all three countries because it ties the issues together into a particularly sinister package. Security, natural resource control, militarization as a response to the drug war, the abandonment of small farmers, and links between NAFTA and immigration are all now brought together within the SPP -- and within the social movements that oppose it. (Alter Net)
The Hamilton Project: Same Corporatist Whine In New DLC Vessels The key advisory role played by Rubin and Altman, two pre-eminent Democratic Party economic centrists, has drawn criticism from more left-leaning economic voices, who also tweak the presumptive nature of the project, given that not a single vote has yet been cast in the 2008 campaign. "One wag told me that their effort looks a lot like drafting the 2009 budget," said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank aligned with the more populist, labor-friendly segment of the Democratic Party. (Fire Dog Lake)
U.S. mortgage crisis spreads past subprime loans As U.S. home prices fall and banks tighten lending standards, people with good, or prime, credit histories are falling behind on their payments for home loans, auto loans and credit cards at a quickening pace, according to industry data and economists (New York Times)
Wrong Paul: Fantasy, fallacy and factual fumbles from the Republican insurgent. Ron Paul doesn't have much of a chance of winning the Republican nomination, but he persists with his well-funded campaign and even talks of turning it into a permanent "Revolution" that will continue far beyond 2008.
We've given his statements little attention until now. But here we look at some of his more outlandish claims:
* Paul claims that a secret conspiracy composed of the Security and Prosperity Partnership and a cabal of foreign companies is behind plans to build a NAFTA Superhighway as the first step toward creating a North American Union. But the NAFTA Superhighway that Paul describes is a myth, and the groups supposedly behind the plans are neither secret nor nefarious.
* Paul says that the U.S. spends $1 trillion per year to maintain a foreign empire and suggests that we could save that amount by cutting foreign spending. Paul gets that figure by including a lot of domestic programs that he isn't planning to cut, like the U.S. Border Patrol and interest payments on the debt.
* Paul has run television ads touting an endorsement from Ronald Reagan, but he fails to mention that, in 1988, Paul wanted "to totally disassociate" himself from the Reagan administration.
- The problem with Paul's claim is that there are no plans to build a NAFTA Superhighway. Or a North American Union, for that matter. And while the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America does exist, it's just a boring bureaucracy.
Like many conspiracy theories, this one is a mixture of fact and fiction. That scary-looking map, with lines that rumor suggested were drawn to scale, is the product of an actual group called North America's SuperCorridor Organization (NASCO), which is a consortium of public and private entities. But contrary to conspiracy theorists, the map does not show a new highway. Those bright blue lines show only I-35 and I-29 – interstates that already exist. On its Web site, NASCO says it and some of the local governments along I-35 have been referring to that route as the "NAFTA Superhighway" for years. NASCO advocates improvements to existing roads, but is not lobbying for, or planning to build, any new thoroughfares. (Newsweek)
Russia Threatens Nuke Strike Top-ranking Russian military figure Says America had better watch out - Recent statements coming from one of Russia’s highest-ranking military commanders indicate that America and Israel plan to go ahead with war on Iran despite the release of the National Intelligence Estimate late last year. Russia’s military chief of staff General Yuri Baluyevsky threatened the use of nuclear weapons in case of a major threat. He said that, although they have no plans of attacking anyone, they nevertheless "consider it necessary for everyone around the world community to clearly understand, that to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military forces will be used, including, preventively, the use of nuclear weapons." (American Free Press)
Al-Qaida Web site was hosted in Phoenix A Web site used by al-Qaida to recruit car bombers, encourage war on the West and provide a forum for Islamic militants went online from Phoenix this week.
The site, a well-known and popular forum for Islamic terrorists and their sympathizers, was the first to report the death of senior al-Qaida leader Abu Laith al-Libi in Pakistan this week.
The north Phoenix company hosting the site took it down Wednesday, just hours after being contacted by The Arizona Republic.
The Web site, www.ek-is.org, facilitates discussions on weapons, explosives and propaganda and often serves as a question-and-answer center for terrorists, a review of the Web site shows.
Bob Cichon, president of Phoenix-based CrystalTech Web Hosting Inc., said he was unaware of the site's content when his company posted it earlier this week. He said his company, which hosts thousands of Web sites, has no association with extremists or terrorists.
(The Arizona Republic)
Timeline: Porton Down Laboratory The Ministry of Defence's announcement that it is to award £3m in compensation to 360 veterans of chemical weapons tests has put the spotlight on the Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, near Salisbury (BBC)
9/11 Commission controversy The analysis shows that much of what was reported about the planning and execution of the terror attacks on New York and Washington was derived from the interrogations of high-ranking al-Qaida operatives. Each had been subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques." (MSNBC)
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