Saturday, May 24, 2014

U.S. TO RELEASE MEMO THAT SANCTIONED KILLING OF AMERICAN CITIZEN

Source: AL Jazeera

The Obama administration intends to publicly reveal a secret memo outlining its legal justification for using drones to kill U.S. citizens it accuses of terrorism overseas, it emerged Tuesday.
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The decision to release the document came a day before the Senate is to vote on advancing President Barack Obama's nomination of the memo's author, Harvard professor and former Justice Department official David Barron, to sit on the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had vowed to attempt to block Barron's confirmation with a filibuster if the document was not made public. Paul issued a statement Tuesday saying he still opposes Barron's nomination.

Top Donor for House Education Chair is For-Profit College Facing Federal and State Fraud Probes

Source: Republic Report

As reported yesterday by OpenSecrets, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has no serious opposition in her bid for reelection, yet has received more than $800,000 in campaign contributions. More than half of that money has come from outside North Carolina, much of it from corporate special interests.

...the for-profit colleges have cash to spend, because their industry has been getting as much as $33 billion per year from taxpayers.
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The single biggest donor group to Foxx, by almost a factor of two, is Santa Ana, California-based, for-profit Corinthian Colleges.
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the for-profit colleges have cash to spend, because their industry has been getting as much as $33 billion per year from taxpayers.
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Corinthian, which operates Everest, Heald and WyoTech colleges, has a troubling record. The company faces a major lawsuit from California attorney general Kamala Harris, who has charged that Corinthian has engaged in “false and predatory advertising, intentional misrepresentations to students, securities fraud and unlawful use of military seals in advertisements.”

Ending Pain Could Make Us Live Longer

Source: VICE Motherboard

...Knocking out a pain receptor that goes wild in older people seems to extend the lives of mice by roughly 15 percent.

Assuming an average age of 80 years or so, you're looking at a good half decade or more of high-quality life, if the results of the study can be translated to humans.

After bin Laden backlash, CIA promises: No more vaccination campaigns for spyinng

Source: Yahoo News

“I wanted to inform you that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) directed in August 2013 that the agency make no operational use of vaccination programs, which includes vaccination workers,” President Obama’s top counterterrorism and homeland security advisor, Lisa Monaco, wrote to the deans of 12 public health schools. Yahoo News obtained a copy of the May 16 letter (below).

“Similarly, the Agency will not seek to obtain or exploit DNA or other genetic material acquired through such programs,” Monaco wrote. “This CIA policy applies worldwide and to U.S. and non-U.S. persons alike.”

The Central Intelligence Agency had enlisted a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, to collect intelligence under the guise of an immunization effort in the city of Abbottabad as part of planning for the high-risk May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound there.

Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas

Source: The Intercept

By Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald andLaura Poitras

The Intercept has confirmed that as of 2013, the NSA was actively using MYSTIC to gather cell-phone metadata in five countries, and was intercepting voice data in two of them. Documents show that the NSA has been generating intelligence reports from MYSTIC surveillance in the Bahamas, Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines, and one other country, whichThe Intercept is not naming in response to specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence. The more expansive full-take recording capability has been deployed in both the Bahamas and the unnamed country.
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The Bahamas’ Listening Devices Act requires all wiretaps to be authorized in writing either by the minister of national security or the police commissioner in consultation with the attorney general. ... The office of the Bahamian data protection commissioner, which administers the act, said in a statement that it “was not aware of the matter you raise.”
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The NSA documents don’t reflect a concerted focus on the money launderers and powerful financial institutions – including numerous Western banks – that underpin the black market for narcotics in the Bahamas. Instead, an internal NSA presentation from 2013 recounts with pride how analysts used SOMALGET to locate an individual who “arranged Mexico-to-United States marijuana shipments” through the U.S. Postal Service.
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The presentation doesn’t say whether the NSA shared the information with the DEA. But the drug agency’s Special Operations Divison has come under fire for improperly using classified information obtained by the NSA to launch criminal investigations – and then creating false narratives to mislead courts about how the investigations began.
The tactic – known as parallel construction – was first reported by Reuters last year, and is now under investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
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SOMALGET operates under Executive Order 12333, a Reagan-era rule establishing wide latitude for the NSA and other intelligence agencies to spy on other countries, as long as the attorney general is convinced the efforts are aimed at gathering foreign intelligence.

In 2000, the NSA assured Congress that all electronic surveillance performed under 12333 “must be conducted in a manner that minimizes the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of information about unconsenting U.S. persons.” In reality, many legal experts point out, the lack of judicial oversight or criminal penalties for violating the order render the guidelines meaningless.
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