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Everything you wanted to Know About NSA Surveillance *but were afraid to ask (Stray)

Juan Cole | Domestic Surveillance, US politics
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There have been a lot of news stories about NSA surveillance programs following the leaks of secret documents by Edward Snowden. But it seems the more we read, the less clear things are. We’ve put together a detailed snapshot of what’s known and what’s been reported where.

What information does the NSA collect and how?

We don’t know all of the different types of information the NSA collects, but several secret collection programs have been revealed:

A record of most calls made in the U.S., including the telephone number of the phones making and receiving the call, and how long the call lasted. This information is known as “metadata” and doesn’t include a recording of the actual call (but see below). This program was revealed through a leakedsecret court order instructing Verizon to turn over all such information on a daily basis. Other phone companies, including AT&T and Sprint, also reportedly give their records to the NSA on a continual basis. All together, this is several billion calls per day.

Email, Facebook posts and instant messages for an unknown number of people, via PRISM, which involves the cooperation of at least nine different technology companies. Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others have denied that the NSA has “direct access” to their servers, saying they only release user information in response to a court order. Facebook has revealed that, in the last six months of 2012, they handed over the private data of between 18,000 and 19,000 users to law enforcement of all types — including local police and federal agencies, such as the FBI, Federal Marshals and the NSA.

Massive amounts of raw Internet traffic Much of the world’s Internet traffic passes through the U.S. even when the sender and receiver are both outside the country. A recently revealed presentation slide notes the U.S.’s central role in internet traffic and suggests domestic taps can be used to monitor foreign targets. A whistleblower claimed that he helped install a network tap in an AT&T facility in San Francisco on NSA orders in 2003. The tap sent the entire contents of high capacity fiber optic cables into a secret room filled with monitoring equipment. An unknown fraction of the intercepted data is stored in massive databases in case it is useful in the future.

Because there is no automatic way to separate domestic from international communications, this program also captures U.S. citizens’ internet activity, such as emails, social media posts, instant messages, the sites you visit and online purchases you make.

The contents of an unknown number of phone calls The details are sketchy, but there are several reports that the NSA records the audio contents of some phone calls. This reportedly happens “on a much smaller scale” than the programs above, after analysts select specific people as “targets.” There does not seem to be any public information about the collection of text messages, which would be much more practical to collect in bulk because of their smaller size.

The NSA has been prohibited from recording domestic communications since the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act but at least two of these programs — phone records collection and Internet cable taps — involve huge volumes of Americans’ data.

Does the NSA record everything about everyone, all the time?

No. The NSA routinely obtains and stores as much as it can of certain types of information, such as the metadata from telephone calls made in the U.S. (but not their content) and some fraction of the massive amount of raw data flowing through major internet cables. It is also possible for the NSA to collect more detailed information on specific people, such as the actual audio of phone calls and the entire content of email accounts. NSA analysts cansubmit a request to obtain these types of more detailed information about specific people.

Watching a specific person like this is called “targeting” by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law which authorizes this type of individual surveillance. The NSA is allowed to record the conversations of non-Americans without a specific warrant for each person monitored, if at least one end of the conversation is outside of the U.S. It is also allowed to record the communications of Americans if they are outside the U.S. and the NSA first gets a warrant for each case. It’s not known exactly how many people the NSA is currently targeting.

 

How the NSA actually gets the data depends on the type of information requested. If the analyst wants someone’s private emails or social media posts, the NSA must request that specific data from companies such as Google and Facebook. For information that is already flowing through Internet cables that the NSA is monitoring, or the audio of phone calls, a targeting request instructs automatic systems to watch for the communications of a specific person and save them.

It’s important to note that the NSA probably has information about you even if you aren’t on this target list. If you have previously communicated with someone who has been targeted, then the NSA already has the content of any emails, instant messages, phone calls, etc. you exchanged with the targeted person. Also, your data is likely in bulk records such as phone metadata and internet traffic recordings. This is what makes these programs “mass surveillance,” as opposed to traditional wiretaps, which are authorized by individual, specific court orders.

What does phone call metadata information reveal, if it doesn’t include the content of the calls?

Even without the content of all your conversations and text messages, so-called “metadata” can reveal a tremendous amount about you. If they have your metadata, the NSA would have a record of your entire address book, or at least every person you’ve called in the last several years. They can guess who you are close to by how often you call someone, and when. By correlating the information from multiple people, they can do sophisticated “network analysis” of communities of many different kinds, personal or professional — or criminal.

Phone company call records reveal where you were at the time that a call was made, because they include the identifier of the radio tower that transmitted the call to you. The government has denied that it collects this information, but former NSA employee Thomas Drake said they do. For a sense of just how powerful location data can be, see this visualization following a German politician everywhere he goes for months, based on his cellphone’s location information.

The type of data can be used to discover the structure of groups planning terrorism. But metadata is a sensitive topic because there is great potential for abuse. While no one has claimed the NSA is doing this, it would be possible to use metadata to algorithmically identify, with some accuracy, members of other types of groups like the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street, gun owners, undocumented immigrants, etc. An expert in network analysis could start with all of the calls made from the time and place of a protest, and trace the networks of associations out from there.

Phone metadata is also not “anonymous” in any real sense. The NSA already maintains a database of the phone numbers of all Americans for use in determining whether someone is a “U.S. person” (see below), and there are several commercial number-to-name services in any case. Phone records become even more powerful when they are correlated with other types of data, such as social media posts, local police records and credit card purchase information, a process known as intelligence fusion.

Does the NSA need an individualized warrant to listen to my calls or look at my emails?

It’s complicated, but not in all cases. Leaked court orders set out the “minimization” procedures that govern what the NSA can do with the domestic information it has intercepted. The NSA is allowed to store this domestic information because of the technical difficulties in separating foreign from domestic communications when large amounts of data are being captured.

These documents show that individual intelligence analysts make the decision to look at previously collected bulk information. The analyst must document why they believe the information belongs to someone who is not a “U.S. person” (roughly, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident) but they do not need to ask anyone’s permission before looking at intercepted information or asking for additional information to be collected. If the analyst later discovers that they are looking at the communications of a U.S. person, they mustdestroy the data.

However, if the intercepted information is “reasonably believed to contain evidence of a crime” then the NSA is allowed to turn it over to federal law enforcement. Unless there are other (still secret) restrictions on how the NSA can use this data this means the police might end up with your private communications without ever having to get approval from a judge, effectively circumventing the whole notion of probable cause.

This is significant because it is not always possible to determine whether someone is a U.S. person before looking at their data. For example, it’s not usually possible to tell just from someone’s email address, which is why the NSA maintains a database of known U.S. email addresses and phone numbers. If the NSA does not have “specific information” about someone, that person is “presumed to be a non-United States person.”

Also, the NSA is allowed to provide any of its recorded information to the FBI, if the FBI specifically asks for it.

Is all of this legal?

Yes, assuming the NSA adheres to the restrictions set out in recently leaked court orders. By definition, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decides what it is legal for the NSA to do.

But this level of domestic surveillance wasn’t always legal, and the NSA has been found to violate legal standards on more than one occasion. Although the NSA’s broad data collection programs appear to have started shortly after September 11, 2001, the NSA was gradually granted authority to collect domestic information on this scale through a series of legislative changes and court decisions over the next decade. See this timeline of loosening laws. The Director of National Intelligence says that authority for PRISM programs comes from section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Actand the Verizon metadata collection order cites section 215 of the Patriot Act. The author of the Patriot Act disagrees that the act justifies the Verizon metadata collection program.

In March 2004, acting Attorney General James Comey ordered a stop to some parts of the secret domestic surveillance programs, but President Bush signed an order re-authorizing it anyway. In response, several top Justice Department officials threatened to resign, including Comey and FBI director Robert Mueller. Bush backed down, and the programs were at leastpartially suspended for several months.

In 2009, the Justice Department acknowledged that the NSA had collected emails and phone calls of Americans in a way that exceeded legal limitations.

In October 2011, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the NSA violated the Fourth Amendment at least once. The Justice Department has said that this ruling must remain secret, but we know it concerned some aspect of the “minimization” rules the govern what the NSA can do with domestic communications. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court recently decided that this ruling can be released, but Justice Department has not yet done so.

Civil liberties groups including the EFF and the ACLU dispute the constitutionality of these programs and have filed lawsuits to challenge them.

How long can the NSA keep information on Americans?

The NSA can generally keep intercepted domestic communications for up tofive years. It can keep them indefinitely under certain circumstances, such as when the communication contains evidence of a crime or when it’s “foreign intelligence information,” a broad legal term that includes anything relevant to “the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.” It can also keep encrypted communications indefinitely.

Does the NSA do anything to protect Americans’ privacy?

Yes. First, the NSA is only allowed to intercept communications if at least one end of the conversation is outside of the U.S. — though it doesn’t have to distinguish domestic from foreign communication until the “earliest practicable point” which allows the NSA to record bulk information from internet cables and sort it out later. When the NSA discovers that previously intercepted information belongs to an American, it must usually destroythat information. Because this determination cannot always be made by computer, this sometimes happens only after a human analyst has already looked at it.

The NSA also must apply certain safeguards. For example, the NSA mustwithhold the names of U.S. persons who are not relevant to ongoing investigations when they distribute information — unless that person’s communications contain evidence of a crime or are relevant to a range of national security and foreign intelligence concerns.

Also, analysts must document why they believe someone is outside of the U.S. when they ask for addition information to be collected on that person. An unknown number of these cases are audited internally. If the NSA makes a mistake and discovers that it has targeted someone inside the U.S., it has five days to submit a report to the Department of Justice and other authorities.

What if I’m not an American?

All bets are off. There do not appear to be any legal restrictions on what the NSA can do with the communications of non-U.S. persons. Since a substantial fraction of the world’s Internet data passes through the United States, or its allies, the U.S. has the ability to observe and record the communications of much of the world’s population. The European Union has alreadycomplained to the U.S. Attorney General.

The U.S. is hardly the only country doing mass surveillance, though its program is very large. GCHQ, which is the British counterpart to the NSA, has a similar surveillance program and shares data with the NSA. Many countries now have some sort of mass internet surveillance now in place. Although passive surveillance is often hard to detect, more aggressive governments use intercepted information to intimidate or control their citizens, including Syria, Iran, Egypt, Bahrain and China. Much of the required equipment is sold to these governments by American companies.

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Open Letter to #Nestlé by @yasminemotarjemi #FoodSafety #Suisse #Justice #Swiss

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join this FB page please :in order to support the fight for dignity and justice of Yasmine against Nestlé : https://www.facebook.com/justiceforyasmine

Open Letter by 
Yasmine Motarjemi , Former Corporate Food Safety Manager (2000-2010), Assistant Vice President
to
Mr Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Nestlé, S.A
55 Avenue Nestlé
CH-1800 Vevey

"Nyon, 4th Septembre 2010
Dear Mr Chairman,
I was your Corporate Food Safety Manager from 2000 to 2010. I write to you today for two reasons: 
first, to share with you my concerns regarding a culture and management practices in Nestlé, which 
undermine food safety; and, second, to inform you of my personal experiences while attempting to
improve the situation.
I long nourished the hope that you would be interested in meeting the person responsible for dealing 
with everyday problems of the Company in an area as important as the safety of Nestlé products. 
However, to my regret we have never had the opportunity to meet and discuss the food safety 
situation in the Company. As both corporate-level management of food safety and my professional 
status deteriorated to the point of being unacceptable, I was compelled to report my concerns to 
Management with the expectation that a fair evaluation of the situation would be undertaken. In 
the event, my efforts were in vain. 
Mr Chairman, I always found listening to your speeches a source of motivation and inspiration. 
Moreover, Nestlé Policies and Management Principles portray a model Company, with the most 
laudable corporate values. A glance at the Company building, offices and facilities is enough to make 
any outsider believe that this is an ideal working environment. 
However, after only a short time, I was profoundly disappointed at how people are managed, the 
discrepancies between your public statements and the private deeds of managers; between the 
Company’s policies and management principles and actual practices; and between the proclaimed 
values and the prevailing fear culture (including mobbing and intimidation) that managers nourished. 
I was particularly saddened by the growing realisation that Management was not only aware of this 
situation but that it was also fully accepted by the very people who should have been, in fact, the inhouse guardians of policy compliance.I failed to see the flawless execution of policy that you promoted in your speeches. Didn’t you state 
that the management of food quality and safety depends on the quality of management? What can 
be said about food safety management when the members of Management themselves do not 
respect Company policies and principles? 
If I dared challenge the Company’s food safety and human resource practices I can assure you that it 
was not out of disrespect. On the contrary, it was because of my loyalty to the Company, my 
colleagues and the consumers we served. It was also because for me the safety of our products and 
respect for our colleagues were non-negotiable values. Involving staff in building a better company 
unavoidably includes exposing shortcomings. But surely it is better to receive timely feedback from 
within than to be publicly embarrassed later by failures.
You have often expressed your commitment to food safety. Please allow me to share with you my 
own vision in this regard. Over and above the technical and scientific aspects, the foundation of 
good food safety management is an equitable system of people management that is based on 
professionalism, fairness, objectivity, open-mindedness, respect for staff and, most importantly, for 
their dignity. I regret to say that I failed to see this approach implemented at the Nestlé Head Office. 
My own situation is a case in point. 
On several occasions I reported – first to members of Management and then, in November 2009, to 
Mr Paul Bulcke – serious shortcomings in food safety management, the professional difficulties I 
faced, and the shameful treatment that I experienced in Nestlé. I hoped that I would be given the 
opportunity to provide a full and accurate account of events during the period 2005-2010. In 
response, my contract was terminated with no opportunity to provide details of my experience. 
Nevertheless, I am prepared to meet with you, at your convenience, to share my observations on 
practices in Nestlé and their eventual repercussions on Nestlé’s reputation and consumers. I would 
also hope to use this opportunity to identify an equitable solution for my personal difficult situation, another consequence of the past events in Nestlé" 
source : http://www.rts.ch/info/3989665.html/BINARY/Mr+CEO.pdf
more here (in french) http://www.rts.ch/info/economie/3988696-une-ex-responsable-de-la-securite-alimentaire-depose-plainte-contre-nestle.html
more again (in french) 
more (in german ) : http://www.handelszeitung.ch/unternehmen/nestle-im-keim-erstickt

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Missing Students Case Highlights #Racism In #Mexico

Missing Students Case Highlights #Racism In #Mexico | News in english | Scoop.it

Missing Students Case Highlights #Racism In #Mexico

In Mexico, indigenous people, the small black minority, and the rural population are poorer and less educated, and have lower incomes, less social protection and limited access to justice and participation in politics, according to PRONAIND.

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18+ A special film for #Europe, see what they do #Ukraine fascists and #Poroshenko 19.01.2015 - 53 mn YouTube

18+ A special film for #Europe, see what they do #Ukraine fascists and #Poroshenko 19.01.2015 - 53 mn  YouTube

the fascists of the country of Ukraine will soon come your city

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Chart: Are you a jihadist? The government of #France made this #racist checklist - Washington Post

Chart: Are you a jihadist? The government of #France made this #racist checklist - Washington Post | News in english | Scoop.it

Chart: Are you a jihadist? The government of #France made this #racist checklist - Washington Post

A French government infographic itemizes supposed signs of radicalization

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Billionaires Won't Be Happy Until the US Becomes Austerity-Ravaged Greece - Truthout

Billionaires Won't Be Happy Until the US Becomes Austerity-Ravaged Greece - Truthout | News in english | Scoop.it

Billionaires Won't Be Happy Until the US Becomes Austerity-Ravaged Greece - Truthout

Billionaires don't need a social safety net, so they're using the right-wing spin machine to destroy it.

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#Spain 'Spaniards desperate, will revolt if Brussels fails to listen' - MEP for #Podemos party - RT - 6 mn

#Spain 'Spaniards desperate, will revolt if Brussels fails to listen' - MEP for #Podemos party - RT - 6 mn

It's not only Greece which is challenging the EU - Spain's echoing Athens' example and witnessing the rapid rise of a left-wing party. It's called 'Podemos', which means 'We can'.

RT spoke to Lola Sanchez, a Euro MP for Spain's Podemos Party, which is keen to follow Greece's example. She says that Brussels has no choice but to listen to Athens.

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#USA Conservative Scold #KenStarr Got a Billionaire #Pedophile Off- The Daily Beast

#USA Conservative Scold #KenStarr Got a Billionaire #Pedophile Off- The Daily Beast | News in english | Scoop.it

#USA Conservative Scold #KenStarr Got a Billionaire #Pedophile Off- The Daily Beast

Many believe Jeffrey Epstein could have been jailed for life for violating scores of underage girls, but Ken Starr and the rest of his legal team got him a deal. M.L. Nestel reports on the man who pursued Bill Clinton for sleeping with an intern who's now protecting another lecher.



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#Tartuffe Brothers : The Kochs Will Spend Nearly $1 Billion on the 2016 #USA Elections, but Deny It - Truthout

#Tartuffe Brothers : The Kochs Will Spend Nearly $1 Billion on the 2016 #USA Elections, but Deny It - Truthout | News in english | Scoop.it

#Tartuffe Brothers : The Kochs Will Spend Nearly $1 Billion on the 2016 #USA Elections, but Deny It - Truthout

If history is a guide, the Koch network will claim that much of the nearly $1 billion it will funnel through an array of nonprofit groups is not about elections at all.

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Dirty #Orwellian #Surveillance - #FBI: Give Me Back My Email to #WikiLeaks - Truthout

Dirty #Orwellian #Surveillance - #FBI: Give Me Back My Email to #WikiLeaks - Truthout | News in english | Scoop.it

"Dirty #Orwellian #Surveillance - #FBI: Give Me Back My Email to #WikiLeaks" Truthout

Given how government spying on activists was something that we used to be very concerned about, imagine how startled I was to read in the Guardian that the FBI probably has my email correspondence with WikiLeaks. Thanks to Edward Snowden we know that the NSA has been trying to vacuum up everything. But it's a different thing to read that the FBI has your stuff specifically.

Google took almost three years to disclose to WikiLeaks it had handed over emails belonging to three of its staffers to the U.S. government under a secret search warrant, the Guardian reported. The subjects of the warrants were WikiLeaks investigations editor Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, and WikiLeaks senior editor Joseph Farrell.

The court orders cast a data net so wide as to ensnare virtually all digital communications originating from or sent to the three, the Guardian said. Google was told to hand over the contents of all their emails, including those sent and received.

I have communicated by email with all three of the WikiLeaks staffers named in the Guardian article over a period of years using my Gmail account. Therefore, based on the Guardia

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New #Saudi King Rejects Death-Row Plea - in honor of @BarackObama 's visit ? #HumanRights #Barbarians - Time. com

New #Saudi King Rejects Death-Row Plea - in honor of @BarackObama 's visit ? #HumanRights #Barbarians - Time. com  

In honor of Obama's visit, the Saudi royal family beheads
"Al-Zahrani repeatedly maintained his innocence throughout his trial and appeals, and pleaded to the late Saudi King Abdullah to intervene in a video, which circulated widely in social media. The video featured al-Zahrani’s allegations that police framed him, eliciting a Twitter hashtag in Arabic “We are all Moussa al-Zahrani.”

However, King Salman, like his predecessor, chose not to intervene in the execution. Saudi Arabia continues to apply the death penalty to cases of rape, murder and other offenses according to the theocratic kingdom’s strict interpretation of Islamic law."
Angry Arab   




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Bank of England governor attacks eurozone #austerity - The Guardian

Bank of England governor attacks eurozone #austerity - The Guardian | News in english | Scoop.it

Bank of England governor attacks eurozone #austerity - The Guardian

Mark Carney says eurozone is caught in a debt trap and should ease hardline budget cuts just days after the Syriza election directly challenged policy

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VIDEO: @CIA #WhistleBlower Found Guilty Proves That Using “Proper Channels” Doesn’t Work

VIDEO: @CIA #WhistleBlower Found Guilty Proves That Using “Proper Channels” Doesn’t Work | News in english | Scoop.it

VIDEO: @CIA #WhistleBlower Found Guilty Proves That Using “Proper Channels” Doesn’t Work

Monday’s guilty verdict for former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is another example of whistleblowers attempting to go through proper channels to expose wrongdoing, and then being “flagged as troublemakers” and facing severe retaliation from the government, according to transparency advocate...

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▶ As 18 Die on Anniversary of Revolution, #Egypt Intensifies Crackdown on Activists, Journalists - 11 mn - DemocracyNow


▶ As 18 Die on Anniversary of Revolution, #Egypt Intensifies Crackdown on Activists, Journalists - 11 mn - DemocracyNow

At least 18 protesters have been killed as they marked the anniversary of the 2011 uprising in Egypt that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak, in the bloodiest demonstrations since General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power. A viral video also shows Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, a leading member of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, being shot dead Saturday at a protest near Tahrir Square. "Like all social change, the fight for democracy in Egypt and across the region is going to continue," says Karim Amer, producer of "The Square," which documented the Egyptian revolution of 2011 from its roots in Tahrir Square and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2014. "What keeps us optimistic is the same critical mass of young people you saw in 'The Square' ... who are continuing to stand up." We also speak with film's director, Jehane Noujaim, about Sanaa El Seif, an assistant producer who worked on "The Square" and is now in prison in Egypt.

See all the Democracy Now! coverage of the political turmoil in Egypt in our online archive:
http://www.democracynow.org/topics/egypt


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#Egypt Video Shows Police Shot Shaimaa al-Sabbagh - YouTube - 2:44 - Human Rights Watch #HRW

#Egypt Video Shows Police Shot Shaimaa al-Sabbagh - YouTube - 2:44 - Human Rights Watch #HRW

Photographs, videos, and witness statements strongly indicate that a member of Egypt’s security forces was responsible for fatally shooting a female proteste...

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#HRW: West’s Double Standards Fueled Rise Of Islamist Groups

#HRW: West’s Double Standards Fueled Rise Of Islamist Groups | News in english | Scoop.it


#HRW: West’s Double Standards Fueled Rise Of Islamist Groups

Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW, said that Wahhabism and western "double standards" were behind the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other militant groups in the region in 2014.


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#History #Brazil Truth Commission Alleges #Volkswagen Had Ties To Former Military Junta CorpWatch

#History   #Brazil Truth Commission Alleges #Volkswagen Had Ties To Former Military Junta CorpWatch | News in english | Scoop.it

#History   #Brazil Truth Commission Alleges #Volkswagen Had Ties To Former Military Junta CorpWatch :


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Will the Obama administration finally bring the @CIA 's torturers to justice? | Trevor Timm

Will the Obama administration finally bring the @CIA 's torturers to justice? | Trevor Timm | News in english | Scoop.it

Will the Obama administration finally bring the @CIA 's torturers to justice? | Trevor Timm

Trevor Timm: In the hearing to confirm her as attorney general, Loretta Lynch confirmed that waterboarding is torture. She should prosecute those who did it

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WATCH: Jon Stewart Mocks #KochBrothers $900 Million Campaign Pledge—'Behold Our Benevolent Overlords'

WATCH: Jon Stewart Mocks #KochBrothers $900 Million Campaign Pledge—'Behold Our Benevolent Overlords' | News in english | Scoop.it

WATCH: Jon Stewart Mocks #KochBrothers $900 Million Campaign Pledge—'Behold Our Benevolent Overlords'

t's not as if huge sums of money has ever distorted the political process before.

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The Bush Administration #Whistleblower Who Says the #US Has #NOT Closed the Door on #Torture | VICE News cc @CIA

The Bush Administration #Whistleblower Who Says the #US Has #NOT Closed the Door on #Torture | VICE News cc @CIA | News in english | Scoop.it

The Bush Administration #Whistleblower Who Says the #US Has #NOT Closed the Door on #Torture | VICE News cc @CIA

VICE News spoke to Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, about the abuses committed in the name of the War on Terror and Britain's role in the CIA's rendition program.

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#moron #pig John McCain Calls Anti-War Protesters ‘Low-Life Scum’

#moron #pig John McCain Calls Anti-War Protesters ‘Low-Life Scum’ | News in english | Scoop.it

#moron #pig John McCain Calls Anti-War Protesters ‘Low-Life Scum’

After interrupting Henry Kissinger.

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Intervention in civil wars ‘far more likely in oil-rich nations’ - The Independent

Intervention in civil wars ‘far more likely in oil-rich nations’ - The Independent | News in english | Scoop.it

Intervention in civil wars ‘far more likely in #oil -rich nations’ - The Independent

Conspiracy theorists have long insisted that modern wars revolve around oil. Now research suggests hydrocarbons play an even bigger role in conflicts than they had suspected.

According to academics from the Universities of Portsmouth, Warwick and Essex, foreign intervention in a civil war is 100 times more likely when the afflicted country has high oil reserves than if it has none. The research is the first to confirm the role of oil as a dominant motivating factor in conflict, suggesting hydrocarbons were a major reason for the military intervention in Libya, by a coalition which included the UK, and the current US campaign against Isis in northern Iraq.

It suggests we are set for a period of low intervention because the falling oil price makes it a less valuable asset to protect. “We found clear evidence that countries with potential for oil production are more likely to be targeted by foreign intervention if civil wars eru...

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#Facts People With No Religion Underrepresented By a Factor of 100 in New #USA Congress

#Facts People With No Religion Underrepresented By a Factor of 100 in New #USA  Congress | News in english | Scoop.it

People With No Religion Underrepresented By a Factor of 100 in New #USA  Congress

20 percent of Americans have no affiliation with organized religion. Only 0.2 percent of Congress says the same.

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#SaudiArabia in the Twitter Trap: Classified Security Documents #Leaked - Al Akhbar

#SaudiArabia in the Twitter Trap: Classified Security Documents #Leaked - Al Akhbar

The Mufti of Saudi Arabia was right on the mark when he recently said that Twitter was a source of “evil” and a “scourge” for his kingdom. Secret Saudi documents from the interior and defense ministries were leaked on Twitter on Tuesday.

The documents reveal much about the Saudi government’s efforts to spy on its citizens and monitor their accounts, as well as details on arrest warrants and detention of individuals who called for political reform, and the “royal hysteria” over otherwise unremarkable articles published online.

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After #Syriza ’s victory, #Podemos now poses a major threat to the #Spain political establishment - London School Economics

After #Syriza ’s victory, #Podemos now poses a major threat to the #Spain political establishment - London School Economics | News in english | Scoop.it

After #Syriza ’s victory, #Podemos now poses a major threat to the #Spain political establishment - London School Economics

Following Syriza’s victory in the Greek elections on 25 January, a number of commentators have turned their attention toward Spain, where the left-wing Podemos, which originally emerged from the Indignados protest movement, has been receiving strong polling numbers since the end of 2014. Vicente Navarro writes on the growth of Podemos and his role in shaping the party’s economic programme. He argues that the anti-austerity and pro-democracy narrative put forward by Podemos has deeply resonated with the Spanish electorate, and that the party now poses a major threat to the Spanish political establishment.

Something is happening in Spain. A party that was only founded a year ago, Podemos, with a clear left-wing programme, could well gain a majority in the Spanish Parliament if an election were held today. Following the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections on 25 January, speculation has been raised as to whether Podemos could achieve a similar feat in Spain’s parliamentary elections later this year, but what is driving the party’s success?

Support for Podemos is intricately linked to the policies pursued by the conservative People’s Party government, led by Mariano Rajoy. These policies have included the largest cuts in public social expenditures(dismantling the underfunded Spanish welfare state) since democracy was established in Spain in 1978, and the toughest labour reforms pursued in the same period, which have substantially deteriorated labour market conditions. Salaries have declined by 10 per cent since the Great Recession started in 2007, and unemployment has hit an all-time record of 26 per cent (52 per cent among the youth). The percentage of temporary, precarious work has increased, becoming the majority of new contracts in the labour market (more than 52 per cent of all contracts), and 66 per cent of unemployed people do not have any form of unemployment insurance or public assistance.

These measures have created an enormous problem in terms of a lack of domestic demand, a major cause of the long-term recession. It has only been recently that very limited growth has appeared, due primarily to the decline in the price o...

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Ushered By US Intervention, Chaos In #Yemen Threatens Wider War

Ushered By US Intervention, Chaos In #Yemen Threatens Wider War | News in english | Scoop.it

Ushered By US Intervention, Chaos In #Yemen Threatens Wider War

Yemen in danger of splitting into two – again.

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Why Putin Is the Big Winner in #Greece’s Elections #Russia - ForeignPolicy

Why Putin Is the Big Winner in #Greece’s Elections #Russia - ForeignPolicy | News in english | Scoop.it

Why Putin Is the Big Winner in #Greece’s Elections #Russia - ForeignPolicy

Greece’s election of a self-proclaimed radical leftist could hand an unexpected win to Russian President Vladimir Putin by exacerbating divisions within Europe over how to…

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