Saturday, June 18, 2011

F.B.I. Giving Agents New Powers in Revised Manual

Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four seems more prophetic than ever. Source: NYTimes.com

The F.B.I. is giving significant new powers to its agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention. The F.B.I. soon plans to issue a new edition of its manual, called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide.

The F.B.I. recently briefed several privacy advocates about the coming changes. Among them, Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent who is now a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that it was unwise to further ease restrictions on agents’ power to use potentially intrusive techniques, especially if they lacked a firm reason to suspect someone of wrongdoing.

“Claiming additional authorities to investigate people only further raises the potential for abuse,” Mr. German said, pointing to complaints about the bureau’s surveillance of domestic political advocacy groups and mosques and to an inspector general’s findings in 2007 that the F.B.I. had frequently misused “national security letters,” which allow agents to obtain information like phone records without a court order.

Valerie E. Caproni, the F.B.I. general counsel, said the bureau had fixed the problems with the national security letters and had taken steps to make sure they would not recur. Ms. Caproni said it was too cumbersome to require agents to open formal inquiries before running quick checks. She also said agents could not put information uncovered from such searches into F.B.I. files unless they later opened an assessment.

The new rules will also relax a restriction on administering lie-detector tests and searching people’s trash. Under current rules, agents cannot use such techniques until they open a “preliminary investigation,” which —unlike an assessment —requires a factual basis for suspecting someone of wrongdoing.

This is a Suspicious News Bried. Read more at NYTimes.com.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.1

Far out: Magic mushrooms could have medical benefits, researchers say

Source: Yahoo! News

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have been studying the effects of psilocybin, a chemical found in some psychedelic mushrooms, that's credited with inducing transcendental states. Now, they say, they've zeroed in on the perfect dosage level to produce transformative mystical and spiritual experiences that offer long-lasting life-changing benefits, while carrying little risk of negative reactions.

The breakthrough could speed the day when doctors use psilocybin--long viewed skeptically for its association with 1960s countercultural thrill-seekers--for a range of valuable clinical functions, like easing the anxiety of terminally ill patients, treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and helping smokers quit. Already, studies in which depressed cancer patients were given the drug have reported positive results. "I'm not afraid to die anymore" one participant told The Lookout.

The Johns Hopkins study--whose results will be published this week in the journal Psychopharmacology--involved giving healthy volunteers varying doses of psilocybin in a controlled and supportive setting, over four separate sessions. Looking back more than a year later, 94 percent of participants rated it as one of the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lifetimes.

More important, 89 percent reported lasting, positive changes in their behavior--better relationships with others, for instance, or increased care for their own mental and physical well-being. Those assessments were corroborated by family members and others.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Yahoo! News.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.1

Friday, June 17, 2011

Call Off the Global Drug War - Jimmy Carter

Today is the 40th anniversary of the failed War On Drugs and it has cost us over $1 Trillion. How much has the war on drugs cost us his year?


Source: NYTimes.com

“Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.” --Jimmy Carter

In the 1980s Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries. This approach entailed an enormous expenditure of resources and the dependence on police and military forces to reduce the foreign cultivation of marijuana, coca and opium poppy and the production of cocaine and heroin. One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at NYTimes.com.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.1

Monday, June 13, 2011

House Panel to Weigh Subpoena Authority in 'Fast and Furious' Gun Case

Source: FoxNews.com

A hearing in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is laying the groundwork to compel U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to turn over documents related to "Operation Fast and Furious," a secret Obama administration program that put thousands of guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

Fast and Furious aimed to track gun sales to Mexico, allegedly, say critics of the program, to build up evidence to publicly blame cartel violence on U.S. gun store owners and lax American gun laws. In the past two months, the Department of Justice, on behalf of ATF, has ignored subpoenas and seven letters demanding details of the program. It has refused to provide a single document to the oversight committee, according to chairman Darrell Issa.

One of the documents that exposed the operation shows ATF officials knowingly allowed the sale of 1,318 guns to 15 suspects after they had been positively identified as gun smugglers. A majority of those guns went south of the border and only about 250 have been recovered in the U.S. by police at crime scenes.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at FoxNews.com.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.1

Sunday, June 12, 2011

#OpESR

Source: New York Times

The concern about the attack was so significant that the World Bank, an international agency focused on economic development, whose headquarters is across the street from the I.M.F. in downtown Washington, cut the computer link that allows the two institutions to share information.

A World Bank spokesman said the step had been taken out of “an abundance of caution” until the severity and nature of the cyberattack on the I.M.F. is understood. That link enables the two institutions to share nonpublic data and conduct meetings, but users of the system say that it does not permit access to confidential financial data.

Companies and public institutions are often hesitant to describe publicly the nature or success of attacks on their computer systems, partly for fear of providing information that would be useful to the individuals or countries mounting the efforts. Even so, Google has recently been aggressive in announcing attacks and, in one recent case, of declaring that its origin was China, an accusation the Chinese government quickly denied.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at New York Times.

YouTube

Transcript –A99 OpESR Communication #2 Ctrl+Alt+Bernanke

  • 90 days ago, we requested Ben Bernanke’s resignation as Federal Reserve chairman.
  • Mr. Bernanke has not complied with our request.
  • The Federal Reserve’s policies are systematically looting the country to enrich one-tenth of one percent of the population.
  • The Federal Reserve has deliberately driven tens of millions of people into poverty.
  • The Federal Reserve is responsible for Crimes Against Humanity.
  • The Federal Reserve gave trillions of American taxpayer dollars, in secrecy, to the people who were most responsible for causing our economic crisis.
  • Our tax dollars were handed out as all-time record-breaking bonuses to top executives at the “Too Big to Fail” global banks.
  • The Federal Reserve gave American taxpayer dollars to foreign banks and corporations.
  • The Federal Reserve directly subsidized tax evasion by funneling taxpayer dollars into to the Cayman Islands.
  • The Federal Reserve gave American tax dollars to their primary dealer banks, so the banks could then lend that same money back to the US government at higher interest rates, leading to significant profits for the banks, at the further expense of the American public.
  • Through bailout programs the Federal Reserve socialized financial losses onto American taxpayers and privatized profits into the hands of global banks.
  • The Federal Reserve aids and abets trillions of dollars in accounting fraud.
  • The Federal Reserve routinely manipulates the stock market.
  • The Federal Reserve deliberately caused inflation in the price of food, gas and basic necessities, while devaluing the dollar.
  • The Federal Reserve represents the central planning force behind a global banking cartel that has deliberately impoverished people throughout the world.
  • US Politicians have not taken action to break up the Federal Reserve and the “Too Big To Fail” Banks.
  • US Politicians have not taken action to prosecute the people who caused our economic crisis.
  • US Politicians have not taken action to end the system of political bribery, the campaign finance and lobbying racket, which allows global bankers to control our political process.
  • Democrats have failed us
  • Republicans have failed us.
  • No one is defending our interests.
  • We cannot remain passive while our future is going up in flames.
  • It is time for us to stand up for ourselves.
  • It is time for you to stand up for yourself.
  • We must restore the rule of law and fight back against the organized criminal class.
  • We must now launch Operation Empire State Rebellion.
  • The operation will commence on June 14th.
  • As a first step, we are calling upon you to occupy a public space until Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke steps down.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.1

U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors Abroad

Source: NYTimes.com

The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks. The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype “Internet in a suitcase.”

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at NYTimes.com.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.1

Friday, June 10, 2011

War on drugs: U.S. can not justify its drug war spending, reports say

Source: latimes.com

Reporting from Washington—As drug cartels wreak murderous havoc from Mexico to Panama, the Obama administration is unable to show that the billions of dollars spent in the war on drugs have significantly stemmed the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States, according to two government reports and outside experts.

The reports specifically criticize the government's growing use of U.S. contractors, which were paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate fields of coca, operate surveillance equipment and otherwise battle the widening drug trade in Latin America over the last five years.

"We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that wrote one of the reports, which was released Wednesday.

"I think we have wasted our money hugely," agreed Bruce Bagley, who studies U.S. counter-narcotics efforts and chairs international studies at the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Fla. "The effort has had corrosive effects on every country it has touched."

Obama administration officials strongly deny that U.S. efforts have failed to reduce drug production or smuggling in Latin America.

...

The latest assault on the United States' counter-narcotics strategy comes a week after a high-profile group of world leaders called the global war on drugs a costly failure.

The group, which included former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, recommended that regional governments try legalizing and regulating drugs to help stop the flood of cash going to drug mafias and other organized crime groups.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at latimes.com.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9

Thursday, June 9, 2011

U.N. Agreement Should Have All Gun Owners Up In Arms

Source: Forbes

Larry Bell's opinion blog says that the United Nations has proposed a global “Small Arms Treaty” premised to fight “terrorism”, “insurgency” and “international crime syndicates” that threatens our Constitutional right for law-abiding citizens to own and bear arms. While the terms have yet to be made public, if passed by the U.N. and ratified by our Senate, it will almost certainly force the U.S. to:


  • Enact tougher licensing requirements, creating additional bureaucratic red tape for legal firearms ownership.
  • Confiscate and destroy all “unauthorized” civilian firearms (exempting those owned by our government of course).
  • Ban the trade, sale and private ownership of all semi-automatic weapons (any that have magazines even though they still operate in the same one trigger pull –one single “bang” manner as revolvers, a simple fact the ant-gun media never seem to grasp).
  • Create an international gun registry, clearly setting the stage for full-scale gun confiscation.
  • In short, overriding our national sovereignty, and in the process, providing license for the federal government to assert preemptive powers over state regulatory powers guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment in addition to our Second Amendment rights.

    This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Forbes.

    Here's my opinion: I can imagine the US government enacting tougher licensing requirements for firearms ownership and participating in some sort of international gun registry. There have been many debates about these types of changes in the House and Senate in the past. However, I cannot imagine our government trying to confiscate “unauthorized” firearms or banning semi-automatic weapons. These actions would almost certainly trigger a revolution.
    Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9
  • Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Great White Sharks are much less aggressive when listening to AC/DC

    Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

    Eyre Peninsula's Matt Waller has added another tip to the 'don't get eaten' handbook with his discovery that Great White's are much less aggressive when listening to ACDC -particularly 'You Shook Me All Night Long'.

    "Their behaviour was more investigative, more inquisitive and a lot less aggressive -they actually came past in a couple of occasions when we had the speaker in the water and rubbed their face along the speaker which was really bizarre."

    This is a Suspicious News brief. Read more at Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
    Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Leaked U.S. cable lays out North American ‘integration’ strategy

    Source: National Post

    The cable, released through the WikiLeaks website and apparently written Jan. 28, 2005, discusses some of the obstacles surrounding the merger of the economies of Canada, the United States and Mexico in a fashion similar to the European Union.

    This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at the National Post.
    Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9