Olduvaiblog: Musings on the coming collapse

Home » Liberty (Page 3)

Category Archives: Liberty

"We'll Destroy Twitter" Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge

“We’ll Destroy Twitter” Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge.

It appears the madness is contagious. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in an ongoing and huge corruption probe, lashed out at “international conspiracies” in a speech at a rally in Bursa. “We’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey.” With the looming elections – sure to fair and equitable to all – he warned he would “settle scores” after winning. Indeed…

Via Bloomberg,

“We’ll dig up Twitter and so on — all of them — from the roots.”

“When people say, ‘Sir, the international community would say this or that,’ it doesn’t interest me at all,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says today, according to state-run Anatolia news agency.

Erdogan, quoted at a rally in Bursa, also says:

Court decision has been made regarding Twitter, without elaborating on the decision

“International conspiracies are a part of this”

“They’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey”

Vietnam jails blogger for critical posts – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

Vietnam jails blogger for critical posts – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

A Hanoi court finds dissident Pham Viet Dao guilty of “abusing democratic freedoms” in the latest crackdown on dissent.

Last updated: 19 Mar 2014 10:12

Human Rights Watch said the number of political trials in Vietnam has increased every year since 2010 [Reuters]
A Vietnamese court sentenced a dissident blogger to 15 months in prison for posting online criticism of the government, the latest case in an intensifying crackdown against dissent in the one-party communist country.

At a two-hour trial at the Hanoi People’s Court, Judge Ngo Tu Hoc said on Wednesday that Pham Viet Dao was guilty of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe the interests of the state” by posting dozens of articles that “distorted, vilified and smeared the senior leaders”.

Dao, 61, confessed to the court and apologised for the “erroneous” details in some of his posts, but said he did not do that on purpose.

“I don’t think that my articles have had bad impact on society,” said Dao, who refused a lawyer and defended himself at the trial.

‘Sincere confession’

“The defendant’s acts are dangerous to the society, causing anxiety among the public and reducing people’s trust in the leadership of the (Communist) Party and the state,” the judge said.

Hoc said the court handed down a light sentence because of Dao’s “sincere confession,” clean criminal record and contribution to the country.

Several Western diplomats and foreign reporters followed the court proceedings via a closed circuit television screen in a separate room.

Dao, a former Cultural Ministry official and member of the Vietnam Writers Association, was arrested at his Hanoi home last June. His membership to the Communist Party was suspended after his arrest.

Earlier this month, a court in the central city of Danang sentenced a well-known blogger, Truong Duy Nhat, to two years in jail on the same charges.

New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement on Tuesday calling for Dao’s “immediate and unconditional” release.

“The Vietnamese authorities are shaming themselves before domestic and international public opinion by staging yet another political trial of a peaceful critic,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch says that the number of people sentenced in political trials in Vietnam has increased every year since 2010, and that at least 63 people were imprisoned for peaceful political expression last year.

NSA Recorded the CONTENT of 'EVERY SINGLE' CALL in a Foreign Country … and Also In AMERICA? Washington's Blog

NSA Recorded the CONTENT of ‘EVERY SINGLE’ CALL in a Foreign Country … and Also In AMERICA? Washington’s Blog.

Yes, They’re Doing It To Americans As Well…

The Washington Post reports – based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden – that the NSA is recording “every single” phone call in one foreign country (at the request of the NSA, the Post is withholding the name of the country. However, the Post notes that the NSA is also planning on expanding the program to other nations).

The Post also reports that the NSA has the ability to “reach into the past” and retroactively go back and listen to the calls later.

Sadly, this is also occurring in America.

Specifically, there is substantial evidence from top NSA and FBI whistleblowers that the government is recording the content of our calls … word-for-word.

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – says that the content and metadata of alldigital communications are being tapped by the NSA.

Tice notes:

They’re collecting content … word-for-word.

***

You can’t trust these people. They lie, and they lie a lot.

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald show:

But what we’re really talking about here is a localized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency.

It doesn’t mean that they’re listening to every call, it means they’re storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they’re collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.

CNET reported last year:

Earlier reports have indicated that the NSA has the ability to record nearly all domestic and international phone calls — in case an analyst needed to access the recordings in the future. A Wired magazine article last year disclosed that the NSA has established “listening posts” that allow the agency to collect and sift through billions of phone calls through a massive new data center in Utah, “whether they originate within the country or overseas.” That includes not just metadata, but also the contents of the communications.

***

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence committee, separately acknowledged this week that the agency’s analysts have the ability to access the “content of a call.”

NBC News reported last year:

NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.

Former FBI counter-terrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN:

There’s a way to look at digital communications in the past.

In other words, if an analyst wants to spy on you, he can pull up your past communications (Remember, the private Internet Archive has been archiving web pages since the  1990s. So the NSA has undoubtedly been doing the same thing with digital communications).

Tice and top NSA whistleblower William Binney confirmed to PBS that the NSA is recording every word of every phone call made within the United States:

[PBS INTERVIEWER] JUDY WOODRUFF: Both Binney and Tice suspect that today, the NSA is doing more than just collecting metadata on calls made in the U.S. They both point to this CNN interview by former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente days after the Boston Marathon bombing. Clemente was asked if the government had a way to get the recordings of the calls between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife.

TIM CLEMENTE, former FBI counterterrorism agent: On the national security side of the house, in the federal government, you know, we have assets. There are lots of assets at our disposal throughout the intelligence community and also not just domestically, but overseas. Those assets allow us to gain information, intelligence on things that we can’t use ordinarily in a criminal investigation.

All digital communications are — there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past. And I can’t go into detail of how that’s done or what’s done. But I can tell you that no digital communication is secure.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Tice says after he saw this interview on television, he called some former workmates at the NSA.

RUSSELL TICE: Well, two months ago, I contacted some colleagues at NSA. We had a little meeting, and the question came up, was NSA collecting everything now? Because we kind of figured that was the goal all along. And the answer came back. It was, yes, they are collecting everything, contents word for word, everything of every domestic communication in this country.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Both of you know what the government says is that we’re collecting this — we’re collecting the number of phone calls that are made, the e-mails, but we’re not listening to them.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, I don’t believe that for a minute. OK?

I mean, that’s why they had to build Bluffdale, that facility in Utah with that massive amount of storage that could store all these recordings and all the data being passed along the fiberoptic networks of the world. I mean, you could store 100 years of the world’s communications here. That’s for content storage. That’s not for metadata.

Metadata if you were doing it and putting it into the systems we built, you could do it in a 12-by-20-foot room for the world. That’s all the space you need. You don’t need 100,000 square feet of space that they have at Bluffdale to do that. You need that kind of storage for content.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what does that say, Russell Tice, about what the government — you’re saying — your understanding is of what the government does once these conversations take place, is it your understanding they’re recorded and kept?

RUSSELL TICE: Yes, digitized and recorded and archived in a facility that is now online. And they’re kind of fibbing about that as well, because Bluffdale is online right now.

And that’s where the information is going. Now, as far as being able to have an analyst look at all that, that’s impossible, of course. And I think, semantically, they’re trying to say that their definition of collection is having literally a physical analyst look or listen, which would be disingenuous.

 

Binney tells Washington’s Blog:

It would have to come from the upstream collection/recording “Fairview etc” [background here and here] with – probably – telcom cooperation. That’s how the former FBI agent Tim Clemente could say on CNN that they had ways of getting back to the content of the phone call from one of the bombers to his wife prior to the bombing. Now we are starting to see some of the monitoring of US citizens on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) [background]. Up till now it’s been mostly the internet that we hear about.

What’s new about the PSTN network is the content. We have heard a lot about phone metadata but not content. This is what I have been saying for a long time: that they are taking and storing content too. It’s not just about metadata. So [NSA’s claim that it doesn’t record the phonecalls of Americans is] just another government lie.

NSA Recorded the CONTENT of ‘EVERY SINGLE’ CALL in a Foreign Country … and Also In AMERICA? Washington’s Blog

NSA Recorded the CONTENT of ‘EVERY SINGLE’ CALL in a Foreign Country … and Also In AMERICA? Washington’s Blog.

Yes, They’re Doing It To Americans As Well…

The Washington Post reports – based upon documents leaked by Edward Snowden – that the NSA is recording “every single” phone call in one foreign country (at the request of the NSA, the Post is withholding the name of the country. However, the Post notes that the NSA is also planning on expanding the program to other nations).

The Post also reports that the NSA has the ability to “reach into the past” and retroactively go back and listen to the calls later.

Sadly, this is also occurring in America.

Specifically, there is substantial evidence from top NSA and FBI whistleblowers that the government is recording the content of our calls … word-for-word.

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – says that the content and metadata of alldigital communications are being tapped by the NSA.

Tice notes:

They’re collecting content … word-for-word.

***

You can’t trust these people. They lie, and they lie a lot.

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald show:

But what we’re really talking about here is a localized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency.

It doesn’t mean that they’re listening to every call, it means they’re storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they’re collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.

CNET reported last year:

Earlier reports have indicated that the NSA has the ability to record nearly all domestic and international phone calls — in case an analyst needed to access the recordings in the future. A Wired magazine article last year disclosed that the NSA has established “listening posts” that allow the agency to collect and sift through billions of phone calls through a massive new data center in Utah, “whether they originate within the country or overseas.” That includes not just metadata, but also the contents of the communications.

***

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence committee, separately acknowledged this week that the agency’s analysts have the ability to access the “content of a call.”

NBC News reported last year:

NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.

Former FBI counter-terrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN:

There’s a way to look at digital communications in the past.

In other words, if an analyst wants to spy on you, he can pull up your past communications (Remember, the private Internet Archive has been archiving web pages since the  1990s. So the NSA has undoubtedly been doing the same thing with digital communications).

Tice and top NSA whistleblower William Binney confirmed to PBS that the NSA is recording every word of every phone call made within the United States:

[PBS INTERVIEWER] JUDY WOODRUFF: Both Binney and Tice suspect that today, the NSA is doing more than just collecting metadata on calls made in the U.S. They both point to this CNN interview by former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente days after the Boston Marathon bombing. Clemente was asked if the government had a way to get the recordings of the calls between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife.

TIM CLEMENTE, former FBI counterterrorism agent: On the national security side of the house, in the federal government, you know, we have assets. There are lots of assets at our disposal throughout the intelligence community and also not just domestically, but overseas. Those assets allow us to gain information, intelligence on things that we can’t use ordinarily in a criminal investigation.

All digital communications are — there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past. And I can’t go into detail of how that’s done or what’s done. But I can tell you that no digital communication is secure.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Tice says after he saw this interview on television, he called some former workmates at the NSA.

RUSSELL TICE: Well, two months ago, I contacted some colleagues at NSA. We had a little meeting, and the question came up, was NSA collecting everything now? Because we kind of figured that was the goal all along. And the answer came back. It was, yes, they are collecting everything, contents word for word, everything of every domestic communication in this country.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Both of you know what the government says is that we’re collecting this — we’re collecting the number of phone calls that are made, the e-mails, but we’re not listening to them.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, I don’t believe that for a minute. OK?

I mean, that’s why they had to build Bluffdale, that facility in Utah with that massive amount of storage that could store all these recordings and all the data being passed along the fiberoptic networks of the world. I mean, you could store 100 years of the world’s communications here. That’s for content storage. That’s not for metadata.

Metadata if you were doing it and putting it into the systems we built, you could do it in a 12-by-20-foot room for the world. That’s all the space you need. You don’t need 100,000 square feet of space that they have at Bluffdale to do that. You need that kind of storage for content.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what does that say, Russell Tice, about what the government — you’re saying — your understanding is of what the government does once these conversations take place, is it your understanding they’re recorded and kept?

RUSSELL TICE: Yes, digitized and recorded and archived in a facility that is now online. And they’re kind of fibbing about that as well, because Bluffdale is online right now.

And that’s where the information is going. Now, as far as being able to have an analyst look at all that, that’s impossible, of course. And I think, semantically, they’re trying to say that their definition of collection is having literally a physical analyst look or listen, which would be disingenuous.

 

Binney tells Washington’s Blog:

It would have to come from the upstream collection/recording “Fairview etc” [background here and here] with – probably – telcom cooperation. That’s how the former FBI agent Tim Clemente could say on CNN that they had ways of getting back to the content of the phone call from one of the bombers to his wife prior to the bombing. Now we are starting to see some of the monitoring of US citizens on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) [background]. Up till now it’s been mostly the internet that we hear about.

What’s new about the PSTN network is the content. We have heard a lot about phone metadata but not content. This is what I have been saying for a long time: that they are taking and storing content too. It’s not just about metadata. So [NSA’s claim that it doesn’t record the phonecalls of Americans is] just another government lie.

Activist Post: Irony in Canada: 300 Arrested at Protest Against Police Brutality

Activist Post: Irony in Canada: 300 Arrested at Protest Against Police Brutality.

Ryan Remiorz, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Amanda Warren
Activist Post

On Saturday March 15, 288 people were rounded up and arrested while protesting police brutality in Montreal, Quebec Canada.

The official reason for the arrests was that the protesters did not alert the proper authorities in regards to their location and intentions – their itinerary, police said.

Arrests were made although the organization responsible for leading the protests, the Collective Opposing Police Brutality (COPB), has organized protests in the same location for the past 18 years.

Police still claim they require prior notification for a demonstration.

Police spokesman Ian Lafrenière said:

They refused to share their itinerary, and they refused to give us any details. When we got there, we asked them not to jump onto the street, and they answered by going into the street and yelling at us that they were not cooperating.

In addition, police claim that crowds were unruly and that they were refusing to stay out of the street and were blocking traffic against police commands. Protesters, however, disagree and accused police of lying about the sequence of events.

Claudine Lamothe reported:

It looks good in the media — the police can say (all of these) people were arrested, were breaking windows and stuff, but it’s not true. They were doing nothing.

What is clear, however, is that the police swooped in and began making arrests before the protest largely got off the ground according to RT. After only a few minutes, riot police arrived on Jean-Talon street, surrounded the protesters and initiated a mass arrest.

Protesters claim an extremely heavy police presence with not only riot police, but officers on horses and even helicopters.

COPB’s protest this year was focused on drawing attention to the issue of “social cleansing” where they claim authorities try to get rid of people they deem unwanted. For instance, the group cites an

Incident in January when an unnamed Montreal police officer threatened to tie a homeless man to a lamppost in temperatures of minus 30 if he did not move along. Following the incident, Lafrenière told the Montreal Gazette that the officer had been reprimanded for his “unacceptable” behavior.

Perhaps most ironic, one person was reported by officers as having sustained injuries to his face during police intervention and was aided by paramedics on site.

This writer couldn’t help notice some of the language used to describe the protest. One report called the protest an “annual stand-off” and RT said that the protesters were “brandishing banners.”

Recent other articles by Amanda Warren

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : If Spying on Senate is So Bad, Why is it OK For Them To Spy On Us?

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : If Spying on Senate is So Bad, Why is it OK For Them To Spy On Us?.

written by ron paul
sunday march 16, 2014
Ronpaul Tst

The reaction of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to last week’s revelations that the CIA secretly searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers reveals much about what the elites in government think about the rest of us. “Spy on thee, but not on me!”

The hypocrisy of Sen. Feinstein is astounding. She is the biggest backer of the NSA spying on the rest of us, but when the tables are turned and her staff is the target she becomes irate. But there is more to it than that. There is an attitude in Washington that the laws Congress passes do not apply to Members. They can trample our civil liberties, they believe, but it should never affect their own freedom.

Remember that much of this started when politicians rushed to past the PATRIOT Act after 9/11. Those of us who warned that such new powers granted to the state would be used against us someday were criticized as alarmist and worse. The violations happened just as we warned, but when political leaders discovered the breach of our civil liberties they did nothing about it. It was not until whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and others informed us of the abuses that the “debate” over surveillance that President Obama claimed to welcome could even begin to take place! Left to politicians like Dianne Feinstein, Mike Rogers, and President Obama, we would never have that debate because we would not know.

Washington does not care about our privacy. When serious violations are discovered they most often rush to protect the status quo instead of defending the Constitution. Senator Feinstein did just that as the NSA spying revelations began to create pressure on the Intelligence Community. Her NSA reform legislation was nothing but a smokescreen: under the guise of “reform” it would have codified in law the violations already taking place. When that fact became too obvious to deny, the Senate was forced to let the legislation die in the committee.

What is interesting, and buried in the accusations and denials, is that the alleged CIA monitoring was over an expected 6,000 page Senate Intelligence Committee report on the shameful and un-American recent CIA history of torture at the “gulag archipelago” of secret prisons it set up across the world after the attacks of 9/11. We can understand why the CIA might have been afraid of that information getting out.

When CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou exposed the CIA’s role in torturing prisoners he was sent to prison for nearly three years. But Senator Feinstein and her colleagues didn’t lift a finger to support him. So again you have the double standards and hypocrisy.

The essence of this problem has to do with the difficulty in managing the US empire. When the government behaves as an empire rather than as a republic, lying to the rest of us is permissible. They spy on everybody because they don’t trust anybody. The answer is obvious: rein in the CIA; remove its authority to conduct these kinds of covert actions. Rein in government. Lawmakers should not defend Fourth Amendment rights only when their staffs have been violated. They should do it all the time for all of us. The people’s branch of government must stand up for the people. Let’s hope that Sen. Feinstein has had her wake-up call and will now finally start defending the rest of us against a government that increasingly sees us as the enemy.

On 3rd Anniversary Of Syrian Civil War, Children Face Malnutrition, Poverty, Death (How To Help)

On 3rd Anniversary Of Syrian Civil War, Children Face Malnutrition, Poverty, Death (How To Help).

The Huffington Post  | by  Eleanor Goldberg
Main Entry Image

Saturday marks three years since the start of the bloody civil war in Syria that hasclaimed more than 140,000 lives and has made life for children in the area particularly insufferable.

The number of children affected by the crisis doubled to 5.5 million in the past year, according to UNICEF.

Before the violence began, Syrian children held a world of potential in their hands. In March 2011, 97 percent of school-age children were enrolled in school and literacy rates surpassed the regional average, according to a recent UNICEF report. Two years later, just 30 percent of Syrian children had access to education.

Instead of pursuing their passions, 1 in 10 refugee children are working as cheap laborers in cafes and repair shops. Many have no choice but to beg on the street.

Today, Syria’s most vulnerable population faces horrible conditions:

Some of the health crises that have cropped up include malnutrition and a resurgence of polio. Newborn babies face imminent death, according to a Save the Children report. Children are also drinking from polluted wells and eating rotten rice, according to UNICEF.

They’re feared to become the “lost generation” as their opportunities increasingly fade.

“I used to have a dream, but it’s been blown away by the winds of this place,” Heba, a 17-year-old living in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, told UNICEF in December.“My dream was to go to university and study pharmacy. It was on my mind and in my heart, but it’s been reduced to ash.”

Learn how to support the efforts of the U.N. and other organizations which are working to protect Syrian refugees, below.

UNICEF
The organization is working to provide medical care and sanitation to children affected by the crisis in Syria. UNICEF seeks to prevent a “lost generation” by implementing education solutions and protecting children at risk. Learn more here.

UNHCR
The U.N. refugee agency is leading the Syrian refugee response. The organization has camps in Jordan and continues to offer humanitarian assistance in neighboring Lebanon and Iraq. With thousands fleeing Syria every day, the organization is working to keep up. The site offers multiple ways to take action:

Share the U.N.’s how-to-help page on Twitter or Facebook here.

Subscribe to the UNHCR newsletter to keep up to date.

And learn more here.

Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps has been working in Syria since 2008. Now, with the escalating humanitarian crisis, the organization is responding to the needs of refugees in camps in Lebanon and Jordan by increasing access to clean water and providing psychological support for children. Learn more here.

International Red Cross
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are working together to feed the millions of Syrian refugees, provide medical care to those in need and war-surgery training to doctors treating casualties in neighboring Lebanon. Learn more here.

Save the Children
In response to the humanitarian crisis and plummeting temperatures, Save the Children is providing children with warm blankets, clothes, shoes and winter-aid packages for infants. Learn more here.

War Child
War Child, a U.K.-based charity dedicated to helping children affected by conflict, has been working in Lebanon creating six “safe spaces” in schools which provide art and music therapy for affected children, and has helped 400 youngsters enroll in school. Learn more here.

Crimea Annexation Into Russia: Putin Approves Draft Treaty To Absorb Peninsula

Crimea Annexation Into Russia: Putin Approves Draft Treaty To Absorb Peninsula.

Reuters
Posted: 03/18/2014 2:57 am EDT Updated: 03/18/2014 3:59 am EDT
President Vladimir Putin approved a draft treaty to make Crimea part of Russia, the  Kremlin announced on Tuesday. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)


MOSCOW, March 18 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has approved a draft treaty to make Crimea part of Russia, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, confirming that Russia plans to make the southern Ukrainian region part of Russia. It said he would sign the treaty with Crimea’s leader.

Putin signed an order on Monday “to approve the draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on adopting the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation”.

The order was part of a series of steps to bring Crimea into Russia after voters there approved the move in a weekend referendum that Ukraine and the West have called denounced by Ukraine and the West as illegal.

LIVE BLOG

OldestNewest

Share +

Putin calls for three languages in Crimea — Russian, Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar — to be under equal footing. http://t.co/kjYPpSM5kf

— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 18, 2014

Share +

Putin: “When Crimea wound up in another state, Russians thought they’d not just been stolen, but robbed”

— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 18, 2014

Share +
7:09 AM – Today

Standing Ovation For Putin

Thundrous applause in the Federal Assembly as Putin addresses Crimeapic.twitter.com/wjVe8CZbX5

— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) March 18, 2014

Share +

Russian President Vladimir Putin is addressing Russia’s parliament. Here is a live feed of it on Russia Today:

–Luke Johnson

Share +

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk gave a televised address Tuesday in Russian, seeking to assure speakers of the language.

“Association with NATO is not on the agenda,” he said. “Despite the armed aggression of Russia against Ukraine, I will do everything possible not only to keep the peace but also to build a genuine partnership with Russia and good neighbor relations.”

Many Ukrainians speak Russian, and it is predominant in the South and East of the country.

–Luke Johnson

Share +
6:15 AM – Today

Crimea Currency To Change

Crimea’s deputy prime minister announced on Tuesday that the region plans to adopt the Russian ruble as its official currency, RTE reported.

The region, which declared itself independent from Ukraine yesterday, will drop the hyrvnia in April.

For more, click here.

Share +
5:07 PM – 03/17/2014

PHOTO: Lenin Square In Simferopol

ukraine

A few people walk through a nearly empty Lenin Square in central Simferopol on March 17, 2014. Crimea declared independence today and applied to join Russia while the Kremlin braced for sanctions after the flashpoint peninsula voted to leave Ukraine in a ballot that has fanned the worst East-West tensions since the Cold War. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Share +

Philipp Missfelder, foreign policy spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour his country could function if Russia were to cut off its gas supplies to the European economic dynamo.

“If the Russians would stop the gas supply for us, or we would raise sanctions on the oil and gas sector, we will be able to have in the interconnected and linked European energy market – of course with higher prices – the energy supply for Germany,” Missfelder said.

Read the entire report here.

— Ryan Craggs

Share +

Ukraine will sign a deal for closer political association with the European Union on Friday, according to a statement from E.U. foreign ministers.

The political provisions are part of an E.U. association agreement rejected by former President Viktor Yanukovych in November, sparking months of protests that preceded his downfall.

Reuters reports the economic and trade cooperation portion of the association agreement will be addressed after Ukraine’s presidential elections, scheduled for May 25.

Find the full statement here.

— Charlotte Alfred

Share +

The Daily Beast reports Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to fire back at the United States with sanctions targeting U.S. officials. The Russian sanctions come in response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement Monday the U.S. was imposing sanctions on high-level Russian officials and fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. More from The Daily Beast:

Putin is expected to release his retaliation list as early as Tuesday and while the final list is still being crafted, it will include top Obama administration officials and high profile U.S. senators, in an effort to roughly mirror the U.S. sanctions against Russian officials and lawmakers, according to diplomatic sources. At the top of the list in Congress is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who recently co-authored a resolution criticizing Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Read the full text here.

— Ryan Craggs

Share +
4:14 PM – 03/17/2014

What Does Putin’s Declaration Mean?

According to The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe, Putin’s declaration of Crimea as an independent state doesn’t mean any one thing, for now.

The way Ioffe sees it, Crimea faces two options: A replay of the 2008 land dispute over Abkhazia between Russia and Georgia, or annexation by Russia. But, as Ioffe writes:

What we know now is that we know nothing now. Putin, as always, is moving slowly, but deliberately, carefully leaving his options open while testing the waters of international response. He may decide to keep Crimea as a vassal state stuck in the limbo of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or he may move to make it another republic inside the Russian Federation.

Read the full article on The New Republic.

— Ryan Craggs

Share +

Tati Cotliar for L’Officiel Ukraine http://t.co/aPlYKqPWmN

— Next Models (@NextModels) 9 months ago

Share +

From Reuters:

The White House said on Monday the United States was reviewing Ukrainian requests for military aid but insisted that Washington for now was limiting its assistance to economic support as it seeks a diplomatic path with Russia.”We’re reviewing requests by the Ukrainian government and military,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. “Our focus is on steps that Russia can take to de-escalate.”

— Charlotte Alfred

Share +

Reuters reports Ukraine has begun digging a defensive trench in the region of Donetsk, near the country’s border with Russia.

The trench includes concrete barriers, according to governor Sergei Taruta, and is intended to restore order in the aftermath of Russia’s takeover in Crimea. Like all regional leaders, Taruta was appointed by Ukraine’s central government.

“Our border is not a castle. But it is equipped so that vehicles cannot cross it in either direction,” Taruta said. “This is not based on one or another scenario, but rather intended to maintain a solid border.”

Read the full report here.

— Ryan Craggs

Share +
2:44 PM – 03/17/2014

Putin Declares Crimea Independent

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree making Crimea a “sovereign and independent” state Monday. It was not immediately clear whether the 37-word decree, which takes effect immediately, was a precursor to annexation or a shift in strategy to make Crimea an independent country.

–Luke Johnson

Share +

BREAKING: Crimean Prime Minister says #Putin just signed order making #Crimea an independent state. http://t.co/l9WxgpyePk

— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) 4 years ago

Share +

crimean parliament
A couple hold a Russian flag outside the Crimean parliament building in central Simferopol on March 17, 2014. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Click here for more photos of celebrations in Crimea.

Share +

Vadislav Surkov, a top adviser and spinmeister to Vladimir Putin known as a “grey cardinal” inside the Kremlin, brushed off U.S. sanctions with particular aplomb.

“I see the decision by the administration in Washington as an acknowledgment of my service to Russia. It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad,” he told the Moskovsky Komsomolets. “The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

–Luke Johnson

Share +

White House spokesman Jay Carney did not rule out direct U.S. sanctions against Russia’s Putin during a press conference on Monday.

“The authority exists to apply sanctions to a variety of individuals and entities,” Carney told reporters, according to Reuters. “We’re not going to rule out individuals or rule out actions.”

Putin is currently not on the list of individuals targeted by U.S. sanctions, nor is Russia foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

— Eline Gordts

Share +

crimea
Cossack men install a Russian flag and a Crimean flag on the roof of the City Hall building on March 17, 2014 in Bakhchysarai, Ukraine. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“Most Transparent Administration Ever” Rejected Record Number Of FOIA Requests | Zero Hedge

“Most Transparent Administration Ever” Rejected Record Number Of FOIA Requests | Zero Hedge.

One upon a time everyone got a hearty chuckle when Obama declared, on the very first day of his ascension to the throne, that his administration would be the “most transparent in history.” And if they didn’t then, they certainly will now following news that it none other than Obama’s own administration – made infamous for spying on everyone who uses electronic communication courtesy of one whistleblower – that it has refused a record number of Freedom of Information (don’t laugh) requests on the basis of, drumroll, national security. So between the NSA, whose job is to ensure national security, and all those pesky meddlesome investigators, whose only curiosity is to peek behind the secrecy of the Obama administration, there should be precisely zero acts of terrorism on US soil. Like last year’s Boston bombing for example. Oh wait…

From AP:

The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The administration cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. Most agencies also took longer to answer records requests, the analysis found.

The government’s own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that half way through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records despite its promises from Day 1 to become the most transparent administration in history.

Last year, the government denied 6,689 out of 7,818 requests for so-called expedited processing, which moves an urgent request for newsworthy records to the front of the line for a speedy answer, or about 86 percent. It denied only 53 percent of such requests in 2008.

The U.S. spent a record $420 million answering requests plus just over $27 million in legal disputes, and charged people $4.3 million to search and copy documents. The government waived fees about 58 percent of the time that people asked, a 1 percent improvement over the previous year.

Sometimes, the government said it searched and couldn’t find what citizens wanted.

And yes, if you were wondering, the government did spend thousands on “How to Google… for Idiots” classes for its employees.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, whose top official has testified to Congress repeatedly about NSA surveillance programs disclosed by contractor Edward Snowden, told the AP it couldn’t find any records or emails in its offices asking other federal agencies to be on the lookout for journalists to whom Snowden provided classified materials. British intelligence authorities had detained one reporter’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow airport and questioned him under terrorism laws. DNI James Clapper has at least twice publicly described the reporters as “accomplices” to Snowden, who is charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Likewise, Cook, departing as the editor at Gawker, was exasperated when the State Department told him it couldn’t find any emails between journalists and Philippe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s personal spokesman when Clinton was secretary of state. BuzzFeed published a lengthy and profane email exchange about the 2012 attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi between Reines and its correspondent, Michael Hastings.

“They said there were no records,” Cook said of the State Department.

The snyde tone in the AP piece is amusing: it is almost as if the AP thinks it is justified in its berating of America’s most totalitarian regime. One would almost think the AP had scores of its phone lines tapped directly by the Department of Justice. Oh wait, we did it again.

In category after category — except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees — the government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.

In a year of intense public interest over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times — a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year, when it cited that reason 3,658 times. The Defense Department, including the NSA, and the CIA accounted for nearly all those. The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency cited national security six times, the Environmental Protection Agency did twice and the National Park Service once.

And five years after Obama directed agencies to less frequently invoke a “deliberative process” exception to withhold materials describing decision-making behind the scenes, the government did it anyway, a record 81,752 times.

I’m concerned the growing trend toward relying upon FOIA exemptions to withhold large swaths of government information is hindering the public’s right to know,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It becomes too much of a temptation. If you screw up in government, just mark it top secret.”

But why the concern citizen, and member of Congress – it is not as if the CIA was spying on you. Oh crap: there we go again.

That said, we suggest simply assuming that St. Obama of Hawaii is merely from the government and thus is here to assit. It helps when the time for the frontal lobotomy arrives. Plus all other thoughts are racist.

For all those unlucky few who still do have a frontal lobe, are able to process logic and remember how to read, the remainder of the AP article can be found here.

"Most Transparent Administration Ever" Rejected Record Number Of FOIA Requests | Zero Hedge

“Most Transparent Administration Ever” Rejected Record Number Of FOIA Requests | Zero Hedge.

One upon a time everyone got a hearty chuckle when Obama declared, on the very first day of his ascension to the throne, that his administration would be the “most transparent in history.” And if they didn’t then, they certainly will now following news that it none other than Obama’s own administration – made infamous for spying on everyone who uses electronic communication courtesy of one whistleblower – that it has refused a record number of Freedom of Information (don’t laugh) requests on the basis of, drumroll, national security. So between the NSA, whose job is to ensure national security, and all those pesky meddlesome investigators, whose only curiosity is to peek behind the secrecy of the Obama administration, there should be precisely zero acts of terrorism on US soil. Like last year’s Boston bombing for example. Oh wait…

From AP:

The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The administration cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. Most agencies also took longer to answer records requests, the analysis found.

The government’s own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that half way through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records despite its promises from Day 1 to become the most transparent administration in history.

Last year, the government denied 6,689 out of 7,818 requests for so-called expedited processing, which moves an urgent request for newsworthy records to the front of the line for a speedy answer, or about 86 percent. It denied only 53 percent of such requests in 2008.

The U.S. spent a record $420 million answering requests plus just over $27 million in legal disputes, and charged people $4.3 million to search and copy documents. The government waived fees about 58 percent of the time that people asked, a 1 percent improvement over the previous year.

Sometimes, the government said it searched and couldn’t find what citizens wanted.

And yes, if you were wondering, the government did spend thousands on “How to Google… for Idiots” classes for its employees.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, whose top official has testified to Congress repeatedly about NSA surveillance programs disclosed by contractor Edward Snowden, told the AP it couldn’t find any records or emails in its offices asking other federal agencies to be on the lookout for journalists to whom Snowden provided classified materials. British intelligence authorities had detained one reporter’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow airport and questioned him under terrorism laws. DNI James Clapper has at least twice publicly described the reporters as “accomplices” to Snowden, who is charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Likewise, Cook, departing as the editor at Gawker, was exasperated when the State Department told him it couldn’t find any emails between journalists and Philippe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s personal spokesman when Clinton was secretary of state. BuzzFeed published a lengthy and profane email exchange about the 2012 attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi between Reines and its correspondent, Michael Hastings.

“They said there were no records,” Cook said of the State Department.

The snyde tone in the AP piece is amusing: it is almost as if the AP thinks it is justified in its berating of America’s most totalitarian regime. One would almost think the AP had scores of its phone lines tapped directly by the Department of Justice. Oh wait, we did it again.

In category after category — except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees — the government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.

In a year of intense public interest over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times — a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year, when it cited that reason 3,658 times. The Defense Department, including the NSA, and the CIA accounted for nearly all those. The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency cited national security six times, the Environmental Protection Agency did twice and the National Park Service once.

And five years after Obama directed agencies to less frequently invoke a “deliberative process” exception to withhold materials describing decision-making behind the scenes, the government did it anyway, a record 81,752 times.

I’m concerned the growing trend toward relying upon FOIA exemptions to withhold large swaths of government information is hindering the public’s right to know,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It becomes too much of a temptation. If you screw up in government, just mark it top secret.”

But why the concern citizen, and member of Congress – it is not as if the CIA was spying on you. Oh crap: there we go again.

That said, we suggest simply assuming that St. Obama of Hawaii is merely from the government and thus is here to assit. It helps when the time for the frontal lobotomy arrives. Plus all other thoughts are racist.

For all those unlucky few who still do have a frontal lobe, are able to process logic and remember how to read, the remainder of the AP article can be found here.

%d bloggers like this: