US Department of Justice whitewashes CIA spying on Senate


This March 2014 video from the United States Senate is called Senator Feinstein Accuses CIA Of HACKING Senate Intelligence Committee Computers.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Obama administration drops investigation into CIA spying on US Senate

12 July 2014

The US Department of Justice announced Thursday that it would not investigate charges that the CIA had spied on members of the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, whitewashing the brazenly illegal actions of the US intelligence apparatus. “The department carefully reviewed the matters referred to us and did not find sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation,” read the Justice Department statement.

The department will also not investigate countercharges by the CIA that Senate staffers had gained unauthorized access to CIA documents, effectively equating the two and prompting the corporate-controlled media (which has largely buried the story) to portray the action as a neutral, “hands-off” position in a murky dispute between the Senate and the CIA.

The CIA surveillance of the activities of the Senate committee—which is charged by law with oversight of the CIA—was such a flagrant violation of the constitutional separation of powers that the panel’s chairman, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, took the extraordinary step of denouncing the agency in an hour-long speech on the Senate floor on March 11.

A longtime hardline defender of the intelligence apparatus, Feinstein was visibly disturbed by what she had learned of the CIA’s actions, which she said “may well have violated the separation-of-powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution,” and also “the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”

The conflict arose over the four-year campaign by the CIA to stall the Senate committee’s inquiry into torture of prisoners at secret CIA-run prisons (“black sites”) between 2002 and 2006 under the Bush administration. Dozens of prisoners captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries were taken to these secret prisons in a half dozen countries—Thailand, Romania and Poland among them—and subjected to waterboarding and other forms of torture.

Bush ordered the “black sites” shut down and most of their prisoners transferred to Guantanamo in 2006, after the existence of the secret prisons became public knowledge. The Senate Intelligence Committee began an investigation in 2009 and has drafted a voluminous report, comprising more than 6,300 pages, including extensive details of both the torture operation and the efforts by the CIA to cover it up and lie to Congress and the American people.

The report was completed in 2012, but its publication has been repeatedly delayed by CIA stonewalling. At some point in 2013, staff members of the Senate committee became aware of an internal CIA document, dubbed the “Panetta review” after Leon Panetta, the CIA director who commissioned it, giving a summary of the evidence of torture. The review contradicted the official CIA position that the operations at the black sites conformed to international and US law.

When the Senate committee pressed for official release of the “Panetta review,” they were told that the document was privileged material for executive branch use only. CIA Director John Brennan told Feinstein in January 2014 that the CIA had conducted a search of the Senate committee’s computers in an effort to determine how the staff had obtained the document.

This search was a flagrant violation of the separation of powers set down in the US Constitution, which bars the executive branch from interfering in the internal operations and deliberations of the legislative branch.

Even more ominously, after the CIA inspector general filed a criminal referral to the Justice Department over the surveillance of the Senate committee staff, the CIA general counsel retaliated with its own criminal referral, seeking federal prosecution of the Senate staff members for alleged illegal access to classified documents. In other words, the CIA sought to criminalize any effort by Congress to supervise the CIA’s own operations.

Feinstein’s March 11 speech was a protest against this second referral, but it has been followed by four months of silence, both from congressional leaders, Democratic and Republican, and from the Obama administration. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify its torture report, but the White House handed over responsibility for declassification to the CIA itself—allowing the agency to decide what portions of the report criticizing its actions should be made public. No date has yet been set for final publication of what will be a severely redacted document.

Even the way the Justice Department announced its decision underscores the supremacy of the intelligence apparatus over the elected institutions that nominally hold sway in Washington. The department informed the CIA Wednesday that it would not investigate either criminal referral, but it waited to tell the Senate committee until Thursday.

The response of leading Senate Democrats was a further demonstration of their prostration before the intelligence agencies. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared, “I think what the CIA did to my senators is wrong. I’m going to drop it at that.”

Feinstein issued no official statement, but commented briefly to reporters, calling the Justice Department decision “good,” because it ended the possibility of prosecution of her staff: “We have a lot of young people, with families, and with this it’s a very hard thing to have hanging over your head. And they’ve done a very good job. It’s just a good day.”

The California senator said nothing about the whitewash of the constitutional issues involved in the CIA spying on the Senate committee, which she had made the axis of her Senate speech four months before.

The two leading “critics” of the CIA on the Senate panel did address that issue, although in terms that indicated they accepted the refusal of the Obama administration to investigate.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said the CIA “still has some very serious questions to answer about the unauthorized search of Senate files and whether CIA officials believe they have the authority to do this again.”

Senator Mark Udall of Colorado said, “The Justice Department’s decision is troubling and draws a false equivalency between congressional staff fulfilling their constitutional obligations and an executive branch agency potentially breaking the law.”

However, Udall made it clear that his concern was to restore credibility to the CIA torturers, assassins and spymasters, not to hold them accountable for their crimes. “Independent oversight of our intelligence agencies is essential for the American people to trust what they’re doing to protect our national security,” he concluded.

The Justice Department action was greeted by most of the press with a yawn. There were perfunctory accounts published Friday by the New York Times (on page 8) and the Washington Post (a four-paragraph wire service story). The television networks ignored the issue.

When Feinstein made her speech on the Senate floor, the World Socialist Web Site pointed to the significance of the fundamental constitutional issues raised. We wrote: “The trajectory of this conflict is an ominous warning: the criminality of the military-intelligence apparatus is metastasizing into an open onslaught on constitutional principles, including such fundamental precepts as the separation of powers.”

But we warned, “Neither Feinstein nor any other capitalist politician in Washington, Democratic or Republican, is capable of serious resistance to the emergence of a police state in the United States… democratic rights are increasingly incompatible with the capitalist profit system, characterized by rampant social inequality and deepening economic crisis.”

This warning has been amply vindicated in the whitewash announced by the Obama administration, and the virtual silence that has followed it. The defense of democratic rights, abandoned by every representative and faction of big business politics, must be taken up by the working class, fighting in its own class and social interests.

The author also recommends:

Obama and the CIA—who runs Washington?
[11 July 2014]

CIA torture and the threat of dictatorship
[3 April 2014]

The CIA, the Senate and the breakdown of American democracy
[12 March 2014]

Last Thursday, the US Department of Justice quietly announced that it would not launch a criminal investigation following the revelation in March that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had spied on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee. News of this decision—which concerns one of the most significant constitutional breaches in modern American history—was barely reported in the establishment media and prompted no significant response from any section of the political establishment: here.

Reader Appreciation Award, thank you so much Horty!


reader-app-award_thumb

My dear friend Horty of the blog It Is What It Is has been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks, Horty, so much for this generous gesture!

The rules of this award are:

Identify and show appreciation of the blogger who awarded you.
You must add the award logo to your blog.
Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.
You must nominate 5-10 of your favorite bloggers for this award.
Inform your nominees that you nominated them.

Seven things about myself:

1. Where did most visits to my blog come from today so far?

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 130
Jamaica FlagJamaica 29
Australia FlagAustralia 11
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 7
Saudi Arabia FlagSaudi Arabia 3
Philippines FlagPhilippines 3
Mexico FlagMexico 3
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 3
Canada FlagCanada 3
New Zealand FlagNew Zealand 2
India FlagIndia 2
Turkey FlagTurkey 2
Bahrain FlagBahrain 2

2. Where did most visits to my blog come from this year?

Top Views by Country for 365 days ending 2014-07-12 (Summarized)

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 71,688
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 31,834
Canada FlagCanada 9,964
Jamaica FlagJamaica 8,938
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 8,427
Australia FlagAustralia 6,695
Germany FlagGermany 5,212
France FlagFrance 4,980
India FlagIndia 4,604
Sweden FlagSweden 3,473
Greece FlagGreece 2,820
Ireland FlagIreland 2,198
Spain FlagSpain 2,088
Italy FlagItaly 1,998
South Africa FlagSouth Africa 1,919
Bahrain FlagBahrain 1,830
Belgium FlagBelgium 1,820
Philippines FlagPhilippines 1,777
Romania FlagRomania 1,595

3. Which pages and blog posts attracted most visits today do far?

Title Views
Home page / Archives 46
‘Birds descended not from dinosaurs, but from more ancient reptiles’ 9
Community Heart Award, thanks so much Horty! 8
Two million Britons strike against government austerity 5
About 4
Japanese World War II forced prostitution and art 4
Dutch in Suriname, most cruel slave-masters 4
Japanese young women’s fashion 3
Thai women’s escape from Bahraini forced prostitution 3
Steven Spielberg attacked by Facebook users for ‘killing dinosaur’ 3

4. Which pages and blog posts attracted most visits this year?

Top Posts for 365 days ending 2014-07-12 (Summarized)

Title Views
Home page / Archives 31,082
Bahraini king’s sexual harassment of Lebanese singer 3,765
About 1,891
Poisonous caterpillars infest Spurn Point in England 1,546
Most hated animals top 50 1,169
Dutch in Suriname, most cruel slave-masters 1,007
Thai women’s escape from Bahraini forced prostitution 968
Zambian lioness Lady Liuwa update 885
USA: ancient Egyptian sarcophagus as corporate boss’ plaything 869
Lesser Antillean iguana in danger 790
Rubens, Rembrandt, differences in what they painted 758
Japanese forced prostitution women’s stories 663
US women soldiers raped, then persecuted 650
Awards 626
Slavery and love in Suriname, new film 600
Frequently asked questions 596
Bahraini torture princes in Florida Ironman 559

5. Which referrers referred most to my blog this year?

Referrers for 365 days ending 2014-07-12 (Summarized)

Referrer Views
Search Engines 103,784
WordPress.com Reader 3,498
WordPress Dashboard 2,726
Facebook 2,244
Twitter 1,311
topix.com 702
en.wordpress.com 649
Reddit 566
mail.yahoo.com 464
en.gravatar.com/petrel41 361
topix.net 239

6. Which links on my blog were clicked most this year?

Clicks for 365 days ending 2014-07-12 (Summarized)

URL Clicks
en.wikipedia.org 1,096
WordPress.com Media 254
dearkitty1.wordpress.com 113
r.zemanta.com 107
hrexach.files.wordpress.com 106
gravatar.com 99
wsws.org 78
morningstaronline.co.uk 71
rspb.org.uk 68
change.org 66
sianeparkinson.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/income-inequality-and-voter-turnout-at-the-2010-british-general-election-a-study-using-individual-and-aggregate-data/ 62
avaaz.org 60
WordPress.com Reader 58
wildlifenews.co.uk 57
hrexach.wordpress.com 51

7. Most popular topics my blog has written about

Topic Views
Human rights 626
Environment 511
Crime 441
Economic, social, trade union, etc. 427
Peace and war 361
UK 327
Birds 312
Mammals 246
Biology 218

If you tag your posts effectively, this panel will show you which topics get the most traffic. Snapshot generated from your top posts over the past week.

My ten nominees are:

1. Don Charisma

2. Muck

3. Fat Wagtail’s Wildlife

4. Something Like a Storybook

5. American Blogger in UAE

6. Leeds No Borders

7.

8. A Changing Wild World

9. GOREAN STYLE ADDICTS

10. Muse Writer

Steven Spielberg attacked by Facebook users for ‘killing dinosaur’


Steven Spielberg with 'dead' Triceratops

These Facebook users should reserve their criticism for people like the king of Spain or the United States Trump dynasty, who really kill animals which are still alive today, contrary to dinosaurs

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Steven Spielberg mercilessly trolled by Facebook users who think he killed a dinosaur

This is not a joke – Facebook users riot over an image of the director on the set of Jurassic Park

Ella Alexander

Friday 11 July 2014

Steven Spielberg has been trolled by numerous Facebook users after a photo was shared of the director with a mechanical Triceratops on the set of 1993 film Jurassic Park.

The image was posted on the Facebook page of Jay Branscomb as a joke, alongside the caption:

“Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man.”

Incredibly, a fair few members of the public didn’t grasp that the picture was taken from the Jurassic Park set, believing that Spielberg had actually poached a dinosaur; dinosaurs, a breed of animals that became extinct 66 million years ago.

The image has been shared over 33,000 times attracting thousands of comments, initially from misinformed users (apparently unaware that dinosaurs are no longer) and also those lamenting their stupidity.

Tyrell Patrick branded Spielberg “a worthless son of a b****!”, while Scoomp Pi called it a “sad, disgusting scene”.

Becky Daigle said: “One day we realise that we are killing all animals on this planet and we need them to survive. But, when we realise it will be too late.”

“I did not know that Steven Spielberg is a dinosaur hunter,” said Andrea O’Donnell Koran. “I am not only outraged, but disgusted!!”

“This is no sport!!” cried Omega McCracken, as Sondre Jorstad questioned: “Why did he kill such a rare animal?”

It is hoped that some were sarcastic, but some were so detailed it’s difficult to believe they weren’t sincere.

“He’s a disgusting inhumane p***k,” said Penelope Rayzor Buchand. “I’d love to see these hunters be stopped. I think zoos are the best way to keep these innocent animals safe… assholes like this piece of s**t are going into these beautiful animals’ homes… and killing them. It’s no different to someone coming into your home and murdering you… I’m not watching any of your movies again ANIMAL KILLER.”

Branscomb shared the picture in the wake of Facebook’s decision to delete the photos of Texan cheerleader Kendall Jones, which showed her standing next to animals that she had killed, including a leopard and a lion.

See also here.

United States NSA role in censoring British daily Guardian


This video from Britain is called Revealed: the day the Guardian destroyed Snowden hard drives under watchful eye of GCHQ.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

NSA chief knew of Snowden file destruction by Guardian in UK

Revelation contrasts markedly with White House efforts to distance itself from UK government pressure to destroy disks

James Ball

Friday 11 July 2014 11.10 BST

General Keith Alexander, the then director of the NSA, was briefed that the Guardian was prepared to make a largely symbolic act of destroying documents from Edward Snowden last July, new documents reveal.

The revelation that Alexander and Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, were advised on the Guardian‘s destruction of several hard disks and laptops contrasts markedly with public White House statements that distanced the US from the decision.

White House and NSA emails obtained by Associated Press under freedom of information legislation demonstrate how pleased Alexander and his colleagues were with the developments. At times the correspondence takes a celebratory tone, with one official describing the anticipated destruction as “good news”.

On 20 July 2013, three Guardian editors destroyed all copies of the its Snowden material held in London (video), under the supervision of two GCHQ staff following a period of intense political pressure in the UK.

The decision to destroy the UK copies of the material was taken in a climate of advancing legal threats from Cabinet Office and intelligence officials. The Guardian and its publishing partners, which included the New York Times and the not-for-profit news organisation ProPublica, held other copies of the material in the US, and continued reporting revelations from the documents.

When the Guardian revealed it had destroyed several computers a month later in August, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest initially remarked it was hard to “evaluate the propriety of what they did based on incomplete knowledge of what happened” but said it would be hard to imagine the same events occurring in the US.

“That’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate,” he concluded.

However, heavily redacted email correspondence obtained by AP reporter Jack Gillum shows senior NSA officials celebrating the destruction of the material, even before it had occurred.

An email to Alexander from Rick Ledgett, now deputy director of the NSA, has the subject line “Guardian data being destroyed”, and is dated 19 July, a day before the destruction of the files. Most is heavily redacted, but Ledgett remarks: “Good news, at least on this front.”

A day later, hours after the material was destroyed, Alexander follows up with Ledgett, asking: “Can you confirm this actually occurred?”

Later that day, Clapper emails Alexander under the same subject line, saying: “Thanks Keith … appreciate the conversation today”.

The remainder of the emails are redacted, including the subject lines in many cases, meaning it is unclear who from the British government briefed the senior NSA and White House staff on the destruction, or whether US officials had any input to the decision to encourage destruction of journalistic material.

A spokeswoman for the Guardian said the revelation of the US-UK correspondence on the destruction was disappointing.

“We’re disappointed to learn that cross-Atlantic conversations were taking place at the very highest levels of government ahead of the bizarre destruction of journalistic material that took place in the Guardian‘s basement last July,” she said. “What’s perhaps most concerning is that the disclosure of these emails appears to contradict the White House’s comments about these events last year, when they questioned the appropriateness of the UK government’s intervention.”

The GCHQ declined to respond to AP’s requests for comment on the email exchange.

Also from the Guardian today:

The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control

At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney – that’s a ‘totalitarian mentality’

Emails obtained by the Associated Press show that top US intelligence officials were well aware of the British government’s plans to destroy hard drives containing evidence of massive state spying against the world’s population that were held by the Guardian newspaper last year. The emails show that US officials not only knew of the plans to destroy the material provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden while doing nothing to stop them, but also encouraged and celebrated the police state activities of the British government: here.

Germany expels CIA boss


This video from 9 July 2014 is called Germany arrests second CIA spy.

From Deutsche Welle in Germany:

NSA Scandal

Germany asks top US spy in Berlin to leave country amid undercover agent investigation

10.07.2014

The German government has advised that it will expel the top US spy in Germany. The move comes in response to the discovery that two US agents were working under cover in Germany’s secret intelligence agency.

The head of the German parliamentary board overseeing the secret services, Clemens Binninger, announced on Thursday that the head of the CIA‘s Germany station would be asked to leave the country.

The decision to expel the US Embassy’s CIA representative is designed to demonstrate Germany’s anger at the discovery of two US spies in Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND.

The first operative, who was working under cover in the German intelligence service, was arrested a week ago. He admitted to passing over 200 documents to the CIA – the United States’ foreign intelligence agency – for 25,000 euros ($34,000). The double agent worked for the BND for two years.

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that police raided properties in the Berlin area on “initial suspicion of activity for an intelligence agency.”

Raids revealed encryption programs and document hoard

According to Der Spiegel magazine, the suspect worked in the Areas of Operation and Foreign Relations division at the BND agency’s headquarters near Munich. He had security clearance and broad access to information.

Der Spiegel says when investigators raided his apartment they found a software configuration on his computer that automatically opened an encryption program in response to a user search for the weather in New York. The man was also found to be in possession of a USB stick containing 218 classified BND documents, three of which clearly related to the NSA investigative committee.

The spy was discovered when he recently sent emails in which he tried to sell secrets to Russia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday told the United States that trust was crucial between the two allies.

“More trust can mean more security,” Merkel said.

“From my point of view, spying on allies… is a waste of energy,” she said.

She said priorities should include dealing with challenges in Syria and fighting terrorists and that confidence between allies should be strengthened.

crh/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

See also here.

GERMANY’S conservative government took the rare step yesterday of showing its open dissatisfaction with Washington by kicking out the top US intelligence official in Berlin: here.

A second person is suspected of spying on Germany for the US, according to German media reports. Authorities view the case, which involves the German Defense Ministry, as “more serious” than last week’s arrest: here.

Germany to spy on US for first time since 1945 after ‘double agent’ scandal: here.

The exposure of a second US spy in Germany within five days has unleashed a major scandal. For a while, the topic even succeeded in drawing media attention away from the World Cup. The reactions in Germany include threats of counterespionage against the United States to an official demand that the head of the US intelligence agencies in Berlin leave the country: here.

Obama and the CIA—who runs Washington? Here.

NSA spying and racism


This video from London, England is called Exclusive: DN! Goes Inside Assange’s Embassy Refuge to Talk WikiLeaks, Snowden and Winning Freedom.

By Dustin Volz, National Journal, in the USA today:

‘Raghead’ Slur in Snowden Leak Prompts White House Call for Discrimination Review

On the heels of an explosive leak from Edward Snowden, the White House is pushing its intelligence agencies to review their internal policies and standards to ensure “diversity and tolerance” in its operations.

An article published Wednesday by The Intercept revealed that the National Security Agency and the FBI spied on the emails of five high-profile Muslim-Americans who were apparently guilty of no wrongdoing. One disclosed file from 2005 shows a target’s unknown name being replaced with a placeholder of “Mohammed Raghead.”

Without confirming or denying other details of the report, the White House said it has asked for an assessment of whether spy agencies are vigorous enough in their policing of potential racial or religious bias.

“As the NSA has said, the use of racial or ethnic stereotypes, slurs, or other similar language by employees is both unacceptable and inconsistent with the country’s core values,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. “The administration takes all such allegations extremely seriously, and upon learning of this matter, the White House immediately requested that the director of National Intelligence undertake an assessment of Intelligence Community policies, training standards or directives that promote diversity and tolerance, and as necessary, make any recommendations changes or additional reforms.”

Hayden did not offer further details about the scope or duration of the investigation, but did say that it had been initiated in direct response to The Intercept story.

The new leak has already prompted a swift backlash from a wide net of civil-rights groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union, which are seeking “a full public accounting of these practices.”

The coalition of 44 organizations sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday asking the Justice Department to revisit and strengthen policies discussing the proper use of race by law-enforcement officials.

“While we do not know all of the facts of the individual reported cases, we believe the government has an obligation to explain the basis for its actions,” said the letter, whose signatories included Amnesty International, Free Press, and the Human Rights Watch. “Moreover, we cannot presume that the government acted without prejudice or bias. Too often, both in the past and in the present, we have observed the government engaging in patterns of discriminatory and abusive surveillance.”

A spokeswoman for the NSA said the agency “has not, and would not, approve official training documents that include insulting or inflammatory language.”

But statements from the NSA regarding its surveillance practices continue to prove unpersuasive to the agency’s critics. The Center for Constitutional Rights likened the spying on Muslim-Americans emails to the FBI’s surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights activists in the 1960s, who were viewed as radicals by the government.

Snowden documents show NSA spied on prominent Muslim-Americans: here.

British right-wing media’s pro-ISIS provocation


Hurray for the Blackshirts, Daily Mail 1934 fascist propaganda

The Daily Mail paper in Britain has a long history of far Right sympathies, as this 1934 article by its owner, Viscount Rothermere, in support of the Blackshirts of British nazi leader Sir Oswald Mosley, shows.

By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:

Daily Mail and Evening Standard in ‘entrapment’ scandal

7 July 2014

‘Islamist extremist’ web post traced back to right-wing rags’ Northcliffe House office

RIGHT-WING hacks were accused of “entrapment” yesterday after an online post by a supposed Islamist extremist was traced back to the headquarters of the Daily Mail and Evening Standard.

A forum post on British Muslim social forum Ummah.com urged others to “pledge allegiance to the caliphate.”

New user “abuaisha10” suggested that people “get out of this evil country and pledge our allegiance to the muslim sharia law and get out of evil west (sic).

“Who wants to join me so we can wage war and jihad against the corrupt west?” the post read.

But the call to arms drew only bemusement from forum regulars.

One traced the IP address back to a known hotbed of extremist rhetoric — the papers’ Northcliffe House HQ in London.

Hope Not Hate researcher Simon Cressy described the revelations as “very disturbing.”

He said: “If it has originated from the Daily Mail, it smacks of a honeypot, it smacks of entrapment.”

The Daily Mail Group did not respond to the Morning Star’s requests for comment, while an operator with Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist hotline confirmed they would investigate the source.

“If someone is obviously trying to rally people together to commit violence, that would be an offence we would look into,” she said.

The inflammatory posting came as police continued to seek the killer of University of Essex student Nahid Al-Manea, who was brutally stabbed to death in June in what investigators believe to be a hate crime motivated by her conservative Islamic dress.

The Federation of Student Islamic Societies president Omar Ali said: “Islamophobic hate speech, be it barefaced or disguised as news or political commentary, is having a real impact on the lives and safety of Muslims in the UK.

“It is high time that those politicians, commentators and institutions that espouse pernicious narratives about Muslims and Islam take responsibility for the terrible consequences of their words,” he said.

The affair also follows a string of attacks on Britain’s Muslim communities since the killing of British soldier Lee Rigby last May.

In the days immediately after Mr Rigby’s death an English Defence League supporter was arrested for attempting to blow up a mosque in Braintree while holding worshippers at knifepoint.

In another attack two ex-soldiers were filmed lobbing firebombs at a Grimsby mosque while a young family was inside.

Four teens were arrested in connection with the torching of an Islamic boarding school in Chislehurst and three arrested over a similar attack on a mosque in Harlow.

In October a High Court judge sentenced Ukrainian national Pavlo Lapshyn to life behind bars for the racially-motivated murder of Birmingham pensioner Mohammed Saleem and a string of nail-bombings that terrorised worshippers in mosques across Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton.

SUSPICIONS, if confirmed, that a journalist located at the Daily Mail headquarters sought to stir up extremist sentiment for the sake of an inflammatory headline drag that paper to a new low: here.

NSA spying mainly on ordinary internet users


This video from the USA is called Terror Threat Shows NSA Spying on U.S. Citizens is Pointless.

From Associated Press in Washington in the USA:

NSA intercepts: ordinary internet users ‘far outnumbered’ legal targets

Washington Post report says half surveillance files collected between 2009 and 2012 belonged to US citizens or residents

Sunday 6 July 2014 05.55 BST

When the US National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary internet users, both Americans and non-Americans, according to an investigation by the Washington Post.

Nearly half of those surveillance files contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to US citizens or residents, the Post reported in a story posted on its website on Saturday night. While the federal agency tried to protect their privacy by masking more than 65,000 such references to individuals, the newspaper said it found nearly 900 additional email addresses that could be strongly linked to US citizens or residents.

The material reviewed by the Post included roughly 160,000 intercepted email and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts. It spanned president Barack Obama’s first term, 2009 to 2012, and was provided to the Post by the former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted were catalogued and recorded, the Post reported. The newspaper described that material as telling “stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes”.

The material collected included more than 5,000 private photos, the paper said.

The cache Snowden provided to the newspaper came from domestic NSA operations under the broad authority granted by Congress in 2008 with amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to the Post.

By law, the NSA may “target” only foreign nationals located overseas unless it obtains a warrant based on probable cause from a special surveillance court, the Post said. “Incidental collection” of third-party communications is inevitable in many forms of surveillance, according to the newspaper.

In the case of the material Snowden provided, those in an online chat room visited by a target or merely reading the discussion were included in the data sweep, as were hundreds of people using a computer server whose internet protocol was targeted.

See also here.

The overwhelming majority of individuals who have had their emails and other private communications intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) have not been singled out for surveillance as suspected terrorists, according to a report in Sunday’s Washington Post. This includes tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of US citizens who were monitored without a warrant or any semblance of judicial oversight: here.

“The National Security Agency spied on five American citizens despite a lack of any finding that they posed a threat to national security, The Intercept, an investigative outlet co-founded by Greenwald, is reporting Wednesday.” Meet the five men under surveillance. And if you do this, “you’re all but asking for ‘deep’ monitoring by the NSA.” [HuffPost]

Bahraini blogger arrested for humour


This video says about itself:

Bahrain Blogger Lamees Dhaif

22 June 2011

Bahrain Blogger Lamees Dhaif and her family have been harassed because of Lamees’ posts criticizing the Bahrain government. She is now based outside of Bahrain and unable to blog. She shares her story in the Arab Spring session during Netroots Nation 2011 held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Asked if she’s scared that there will be consequences of her speaking out at Netroots Nations 2011: “I know that I will pay for it with a very high price. But if I keep quiet, more and more people are paying every day.”

From Global Voices Advocacy:

Bahraini Satirist Blogger Takrooz Arrested

Translation posted 5 July 2014 7:19 GMT

The Bahrain Ministry of Interior announced the arrest of yet another netizen, who reportedly faces accusations of “inciting hatred against the regime.”

The satirist micro-blogger, nicknamed Takrooz, was arrested at the Bahrain International Airport, while on his way back from Thailand, said the ministry in a statement on June 18, 2014, without disclosing his name.

A day later, many Bahrainis were fuming on Twitter, saying the arrest was futile and served no purpose other than to further demonstrate the government’s true colours in stifling opposition voices online. Scores of netizens have been arrested by the regime since anti-government protests started in Bahrain on February 14, 2011. Among them are Mahmood Al-Yousif, Mohamed Almaskati and Global Voices author Mohamed Hassan.

Bahrain is regarded as an enemy of the Internet according to the Reporters without Borders’ 2014 report and is ranked second in the number of detained journalists per capita in 2013 according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

With nearly 18,000 Twitter followers and 100,000 tweets, Takrooz has been an active voice in charting the government crackdown on activists. Bahrain Watch, a research and transparency group, reported that Takrooz’ Twitter account was repeatedly targeted for surveillance by the Bahraini government. His tweets, in Arabic, cover abuse by law enforcement personnel, anti-corruption content and everyday concerns of the average Bahraini.

Nabeel Rajab: Bahrain’s people are a casualty of Washington’s political compromises: here.