German government okays spying on USA, Britain


This video is called ‘Third Strike’ Gets Top US Spy Booted From Germany.

Translated from the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily in Germany:

July 23, 2014 18:30

Intelligence: Berlin wants to monitor allied intelligence services

In the future, counterintelligence should also include friendly countries: According to information from Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR television, the Federal Government has decided to observe US American and British intelligence on German soil as well.

By Christoph Hickmann and Georg Mascolo, Berlin

In the future, the federal government also wants to monitor allied intelligence services in Germany. After months of discussions, the Chancellor’s Office, Interior and Foreign Ministry agreed according to information from the Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR on this project. The so-called 360-degree view will allow it to keep also American and British agents on German soil in view. So far, counterintelligence of the German Verfassungsschutz secret service was especially against the Russians, Chinese and Iranians.

The decision, said to have been reached by the Chancellor’s Office Minister Peter Altmaier, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, (both CDU party) and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), is regarded as a direct response to recent revelations of espionage allegations against the United States secret service CIA.

An employee of the German secret service BND has already confessed to having worked for two years for the United States as an agent; a suspect employee of the German Defense Ministry denies such accusations vehemently. The boss of the CIA station in Berlin has by now been forced to leave Germany because of these incidents.

British government helps Bahrain dictatorship persecuting dissidents


This video is called Systematic torture in Bahrain.

From Middle East Eye:

Has Britain become Bahrain’s lapdog?

Alastair Sloan

Tuesday 22 July 2014 19:31 BST

Bahraini human rights activists are speaking out about increasing persecution at the hands of the British authorities

Could it be possible that the British government is now acting as Bahrain’s political policeman? Yes, according to Bahraini exiles living in London – most of whom have fled persecution in their homeland and now claim the British government is giving them a hard time for it.

Suspicions were first raised to me earlier this year, when two fleeing activists were detained and nearly deported back by suspiciously over-zealous UKBA officials at Heathrow airport. Both had strong asylum cases, but the seeming prejudice against them may well point to a wider pattern of discrimination.

Mohammed Ahmed, a prominent blogger and media fixer had been arrested and tortured in August 2013. He had previously been arrested and beaten in April 2012, whilst working with a journalist from the Sunday Telegraph, and because of his pro-democracy activism had a history of nasty run-ins with Bahraini security services. In February of this year, he decided he’d had enough and ran for London.

His travelling companion, Hussain Jawad was chairman of the prominent rights group the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights. He too was arrest by Bahraini security agents in November 2013, shortly after he lodged a formal complaint against the government, claiming that they were harassing human rights defenders. Over 50 bloggers across the world demanded Hassan’s release during his arbitrary detention in Bahrain where he spent 46 days in prison before being bailed. Upon his release, Jawad too decided he’d been left no other option but to flee.

Amnesty International declared Jawad a prisoner of conscience, even setting up a publically available website to detail his case, as did Frontline Defenders, an international charity which supports the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders across the globe. Yet, on arriving at Heathrow in February, both men were taken aside by UKBA officials. They were taken to separate detention centres outside London and found themselves in medium security prisons, operated by UKBA for detaining and deporting illegal immigrants.

It quickly emerged that the pair had been placed on a special programme called DFT (Detained Fast Track), a process designed for uncomplicated cases where the applicant clearly has no right to asylum and needs to be returned as soon as possible. They were denied legal aid and had their case labelled all but hopeless, despite the fact they knew they had strong grounds for asylum and would face likely persecution, incarceration and the threat of torture upon their return.

Were it not for an 11th hour intervention by specialist solicitors, Jawad and Ahmed would have faced almost certain deportation. As it is, they were released a few days later and are currently proceeding forward with their applications.

Speaking to Bahraini leaders and activists living in London (there are perhaps five hundred exiles who have fled here), they clearly believe that the UKBA detention was politically motivated, and that the Bahraini community is being “systematically targeted,” by, they suspect, the British government acting on behalf of the Bahrainis.

The detention of Ahmed and Jawad, one exile told me, was a display by the UK and Bahraini governments to show the democracy movement who was in charge.

These are strong allegations, but when asked, the spin doctors in the Home Office dismissed the allegations, explaining that they couldn’t comment on individual cases.

This is odd as the Home Office is often very vocal about terrorists like Abu Hamza or Abu Qatada, or indeed hunger-striking Isa Muazu last year, leading one to conclude that they only respond when it suits them.

When you highlight this little discrepancy though, the Home Office does have an answer. It seems that they merely don’t comment routinely on cases – so a case of one rule for terrorists and another for human rights defenders.

In May, more evidence emerged that the British could be doing the bidding of the Bahrainis, and that what had happened to Ahmed and Jawad may well be routine.

On 30 April, two Bahraini exiles living in London were raided by a counter-terrorism unit from the Metropolitan Police. It was 6:00 am. Their families were also detained. Both were charged with terrorism-related offences, which, according to the human rights activists, were most likely fabricated by the Bahraini authorities.

Given the sensitive nature of the raid, it is suspicious that a Twitter account in Bahrain tweeted about the men’s arrest at 4:00 am, two full hours before Metropolitan Police kicked down their doors in London.

“Urgent: British authorities arrest Iranian agents (Safawi) and Karim Almahroos and Abdul Rauf Alshayeb is now being handed over to Bahrain,” tweeted @mnarfezhom.

The @mnarfezhom account is, according to the research and advocacy group, Bahrain Watch, most likely operated by a member of the ruling al-Khalifa family, and functions as a cyber-vigilante, mobilising die-hard royalists.

There have also been other signs that the relationship between Bahraini human rights defenders and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office have in their words become “hostile”.

Desk officers in the FCO are regularly briefed by global human rights defenders. Nearly all of these meetings invite a participatory mood in which organisations large and small can air their concerns in a receptive environment.

This vital lobbying opportunity has increasingly been choked off to Bahrainis. In a conversation with an official in May, an activist swears that UK authorities parroted Bahraini regime propaganda. When asked why the regime was tear-gassing so excessively each night, the UK officials allegedly said that “the attacks by the Bahraini police are just self-defence against the Molotov cocktail throwing youth.” This line is all too familiar to those reading the Bahraini state press.

When the activist retorted by saying that the youth throw Molotov cocktails because of the harsh police tactics that on occasion prove fatal, the officer allegedly replied: “Well, it’s always someone else’s fault isn’t it?”

But could it really be true that the British government is aiding and abetting the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy to perpetuate its oppression? This is incredibly hard to prove but it would not be the first time that British officials have got their hands dirty to keep the al-Khalifas in power.

Colonel Ian Henderson, a colonial era British policeman who worked for the al-Khalifa family for nearly thirty years, was investigated in 2000 by the Home Office for his alleged complicity in torture while in Manama. Eventually, no charges were filed, but UK journalist Robert Fisk wrote a scathing expose that unearthed widespread instances of abuse.

If this kind of behaviour has and is happening, it is likely a case of “I scratch yours, you scratch mine.” Bahrain itself is small and not that energy-rich, but it is a key part of the GCC which all but controls OPEC. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and to a lesser extent Kuwait, have sunk vast resources – from money and fuel to soldier and weapons – to prop up the al-Khalifas who they see as a bulwark against Iranian and Shia expansion in the region.

There are also large geo-political gains to be made by keeping the Khalifas on the throne. Bahrain is conveniently positioned in the Gulf and is seen as a vital base for protecting key shipping lanes. The British and American presence in the Middle East is generally based in and coordinated out of Manama harbour, and billions in expensive defence equipment is stationed there.

While these are underlying factors for the possible collusion between the British and the Bahrainis, a new large-scale defence contract was thrown into the mix at the start of the year, which could explain why we have seen this more hostile attitude.

Negotiations about the highly-prized British BAE Systems £4bn deal to supply Saudi Arabia with 72 Eurofighter Typhoons, had been unusually tense.

There have already been suggestions that this tension may have led to unusual and secretive government “favours” being introduced to buttress the deal. Defence sales by British companies are assisted by UK government operatives from the highest levels.

Speculation on what these “sweeteners” could have been, has so far centred on the Muslim Brotherhood investigation announced by No.10 shortly after the Saudi arms deal went through. The timing played nicely into the political aims of Saudi Arabia’s rulers, and there was subsequent outrage from ambassadors, newspaper columnists and MPs, who all denounced this as and shameful “favour” for the Saudis.

But the Muslim Brotherhood investigation might not have been the only unusual favour discussed and the timing of the first reports of Bahrain persecution would also help to explain the growing mistrust, bad blood, and of host of allegations that have started flying around.

Alastair Sloan  focuses on injustice and oppression in the west, Russia and the Middle East. He contributes regularly to The Guardian, Al Jazeera and Middle East Eye. Follow Alastair’s work at www.unequalmeasures.com.

Racist Breivik’s mass murder remembered in Norway


This video from Britain is called Breivik & The EDL Leadership – Tommy Robinson & Alan Lake.

From The Local in Norway:

3 years on: Norway remembers Utøya

Published: 22 Jul 2014 09:47 GMT+02:00

Updated: 22 Jul 2014 09:47 GMT+02:00

Many people across Norway will honour the victims of the July 22nd 2011 attack on Oslo and the island of Utøya.

77 people were killed and around 90 wounded in the terror attacks carried out by Anders Behring Breivik.

On Tuesday, Oslo marks the third anniversary of the massacre with a public forum at government headquarters, at the water mirror towards Akersgata. It will be opened by John Hestnes, assistant leader of the National Support Group, formed after the killings.

Following this, the AUF (Workers’ Youth League) chairman, Eskil Pedersen, and prime minister Erna Solberg will make speeches. The prime minister will lay down a wreath, and there will be a minute’s silence to remember the victims. Representatives from the Norwegian government and parliament will be present.

There will be a performance by Norwegian pianist and singer Maria Mohn.

At 12am there will be a service of hope in Oslo cathedral. Crown Prince Haakon will be present among others.

The full Oslo event will be broadcast directly across Norwegian media.

Across Norway’s municipalities, wreaths will be laid down at memorial stones for the 77 people killed in the attacks on the government quarters and on Utøya island.

In Trondheim, there will be a memorial ceremony in the city hall park at 2pm.

The Norwegian prime minister will take part in a special memorial ceremony on Utøya at 4pm on Tuesday. The National Support Group and AUF will join Labour Party chairman Jonas Gahr Støre, AUF chairman Eskil Pedersen and leader of the support group, Trond Henry Blattmann. All will make speeches.

British nazi fuehrer Griffin resigns


This music video is called Spike JonesDer Fuehrer’s Face.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Knife-happy ex-teacher boots out BNP Griffin

Tuesday 22nd July 2014

NICK Griffin has been ousted as leader of the far-right BNP, it was announced yesterday — only to be replaced by a disgraced former teacher.

The move, agreed at the party’s national executive at the weekend, follows disastrous results in recent European and local elections.

Deputy chairman Adam Walker is to replace Mr Griffin at the helm of the racist party.

Mr Walker has a lifetime ban from teaching after he chased three boys in his car and slashed their bike tyres with a knife.

Hope Not Hate activist Matthew Collins told the Star that the move had been predicted by the campaign group as far back as May.

“The BNP is in an appalling state,” said Mr Collins. “Griffin has absolutely no purpose at all — he’s finished.

“We can expect some more bloodletting in the coming months.”

Mr Griffin has been made party president, according to the BNP website. Former party leader John Tyndall was offered the same job when Mr Griffin ousted him in 1999.

See also here. And here.

Anti-Semitic violence in Belfast condemned


This video is called Belfast Synagogue.

From the Sinn Fein site in Ireland:

Kelly condemns synagogue attacks

21 July, 2014 – by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has condemned outright an attack on a synagogue in north Belfast.

Speaking after windows at the synagogue on Somerton Road were smashed at the weekend, the North Belfast MLA said:

“I condemn outright this attack on the synagogue on Somerton Road.

“There can be no place for attacks on any place of worship, regardless of the religion or denomination.

“The local Jewish community makes a valuable contribution to our society and there is no justification for hate crimes.

“If anyone has any information on these attacks then they should contact the PSNI.”

Save North Carolina’s red wolves


From eNature.com in the USA:

Save the Red Wolf Sign Our Petition To End Illegal Poaching Of An American Icon! Take action today!

Red wolf

They once roamed the southeastern U.S. Now they’re making a last stand in the forests of eastern North Carolina.

Please sign our petition encouraging measures to protect our few remaining Red Wolves!

Dear Friend,

Red wolves once roamed across the southeastern United States. Today, they are making their last stand in the scrub forests of eastern North Carolina. Just 90-110 wild Red wolves remain in North Carolina – the only place they exist in the wild.

You can help protect our remaining Red Wolves by signing this petition!

Red wolf

Red wolves were once abundant across the Southeast — roaming from Virginia to Florida and all the way to east Texas. By 1970, however, they’d been driven to the brink of extinction by decades of persecution and systematic efforts to eliminate wolves from the American landscape. After the species was declared endangered in 1973, the last 17 wild red wolves were captured for a captive breeding program.

However, there is hope….

Red wolf releases began in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the mid 1980s, but recovery efforts have repeatedly been thwarted by illegal shootings that have kept the population from expanding. And now, rather than taking steps to curtail activities that harm red wolves, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has done little and the poaching continues.

Will you sign our petition urging action to protect our remaining Red wolves from this illegal poaching?

Please urge Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel Ashe and other decision-makers to protect our remaining Red wolves and continue the very succesful reintroduction program in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge.

So please sign this petition. Director Ashe and others need to know we ALL believe that these wolves deserve protection.

Thank you for your help– it really can help make a difference! While it may seem like “inside baseball”, reaching out to Director Ashe as we are with this petition is the BEST way to ensure he knows that we care about Red wolves and their fate in the wild.

Sincerely,

Robin McVey

Robin McVey
Public Editor, eNature.com

NSA spying on people’s sex lives


This video says about itself:

Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow, “A Conversation Across Cyberspace”

11 June 2014

“A Conversation Accross Cyberspace”

Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow in conversation at Personal Democracy Forum 2014.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Nude photos of strangers are a ‘fringe benefit’ for NSA employees, says Snowden

The former NSA contractor said that images of people in “sexually compromising situations” were regularly passed around by young employees

James Vincent

Friday 18 July 2014

Nude photos intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA) are regularly passed around by young employees as a “fringe benefit”, Edward Snowden has revealed.

The whistle-blower and former NSA employee was speaking from Moscow in an interview with The Guardian in which he also dismissed claims that he was a Russian agent and called for professionals such as doctors, lawyers and journalists to take more care to safeguard their clients’ information.

Snowden made the allegations when responding to a question about which specific examples of American surveillance had troubled him.

“You’ve got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old,” said Snowden. “They’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records. Now, in the course of their daily work they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense, for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation – But they’re extremely attractive.

“So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and show their co-worker and their co-worker says: ‘Oh hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way.’ And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom and sooner or later this person’s whole life has been seen by other people. It’s never reported. Nobody knows about it because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak.

“The fact that your private images, records of your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communications stream from the intended recipient and given to the government without any specific authorization without any specific need is itself a violation of your rights. Why is that in a government database?”

Snowden added that he had personally witnessed numerous instances of this happening and that it was “routine enough, depending on the company that you keep.”

“These are seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.”

Snowden’s claims chime with official reports from NSA administration in which employees have abused their access to surveillance streams for personal gratification. A letter published in late 2013 by the NSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) detailed 12 comparable instances, including one in which an NSA employee used his first day at work to read the private communications of a former girlfriend.

Analysts working for the NSA refer to this behaviour as LOVEINT – a play on existing surveillance parlance such as HUMINT (‘human intelligence’) and SIGINT (‘signals intelligence’).

In the 17-minute interview, Snowden also denied passing any information to the Russians, noting that if he’d done so it would have been picked up on immediately by American intelligence services. “They would see sources go dark that were previously productive, they would see new sources of disinformation appearing within these channels – and that hasn’t happened.”

He also said he would be happy to return to America if he could be granted a fair trial in which he was able to “present a public interest defence to a jury of my peers”. He also recognised that this was unlikely to happen, adding: “If I end up in chains in Guantanamo I can live with that.”

Meet Executive Order 12333: The Reagan rule that lets the NSA spy on Americans: here.

GCHQ‘s spy toolkit: Leaked documents reveal how UK manipulates information online: here.

Data law: Government slammed by human rights groups for refusing to confirm or deny existence of British ‘Tempora’ surveillance programme: here.

Death of bullied British soldier, new inquest


Private Cheryl James was found dead from a single gunshot wound in November 1995. Photograph: PA

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Deepcut barracks: fresh inquest ordered into soldier’s death

High court quashes 1995 open verdict into death of Private Cheryl James, one of four soldiers who died amid bullying claims

Friday 18 July 2014 11.09 BST

High court judges have ordered a fresh inquest into the death of Private Cheryl James, who died at Deepcut barracks.

Her family applied for a fresh investigation with the consent of the attorney general.

Pte James, 18, was found dead from a single gunshot wound in November 1995. An inquest recorded an open verdict.

She was one of four soldiers who died at the Surrey barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse.

Privates Sean Benton, James Collinson and Geoff Gray also died from gunshot wounds.

Mr Justice Mitting and Judge Peter Thornton QC both agreed that there was “an insufficiency of inquiry” at the 1995 inquest and quashed its open verdict.

Judge Thornton said “the discovery of new facts or evidence” made “a fresh investigation including a fresh inquest necessary or desirable in the interests of justice”.

Pte James was undergoing initial training at Deepcut when she was found dead with a bullet wound between her right eye and the bridge of her nose.

Her parents, Des and Doreen James, applied through human rights campaign group Liberty for a new inquest after the Human Rights Act was used to secure access to documents held by the authorities about the teenager’s death.

Mr and Mrs James said they were delighted to have a fresh inquest but added that “a meaningful inquiry into Cheryl’s death is almost 20 years late”.

They said in a statement: “When young people die in violent circumstances, a rigorous and transparent investigation should be automatic. Something went dreadfully wrong at Deepcut yet until now no one has bothered to look at how and why our daughter died.

“We can only hope that Cheryl’s legacy helps change the current ineffective and discredited military justice system.”

Liberty solicitor Emma Norton, who represented the couple, said: “Cheryl’s family refused to let her death be swept under the carpet but they’ve had to fight at every stage for answers in the face of a state that thought it could ignore the basic human rights of its troops.

“Cheryl was preparing for a life of service and deserved so much better – her family can now hope to finally get some answers.”

See also here.