Posts Tagged ‘Obama’
British and U.S. intelligence officials say they are worried about a “doomsday” cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted material they believe former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud.
The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other sources briefed on the matter said.
The data is protected with sophisticated encryption, and multiple passwords are needed to open it, said two of the sources, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
The passwords are in the possession of at least three different people and are valid for only a brief time window each day, they said. The identities of persons who might have the passwords are unknown…
One source described the cache of still unpublished material as Snowden’s “insurance policy” against arrest or physical harm.
U.S. officials and other sources said only a small proportion of the classified material Snowden downloaded during stints as a contract systems administrator for NSA has been made public. Some Obama Administration officials have said privately that Snowden downloaded enough material to fuel two more years of news stories.
“The worst is yet to come,” said one former U.S. official who follows the investigation closely.
Lots more in the article if you need to be updated on this part of the Snowden affair.
I have to laugh over the inevitably-unnamed American officials who qualify “truth” as the same as the “worst”.
Doctors and nurses working under US military orders have been complicit in the abuse of terrorism suspects, a new independent US report says.
The study says medical professionals helped design, enable and participated in “torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” of detainees.
The report was compiled by an independent panel of military, health, ethics and legal experts.
Both the CIA and the Pentagon have rejected the report’s findings…
That last sentence ain’t exactly a surprise. I doubt if they care one way or the other.
The report says the collusion began at US prisons in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and at CIA secret detention sites after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US.
Co-author Leonard Rubenstein told the BBC’s Newsday programme that the report revealed “the legacy of torture and detainee abuse at Guantanamo and elsewhere on the medical community”.
“What we found was that the department of defence and the CIA actually changed core ethical standards to facilitate participation by health professionals in the abuse of detainees. And those distortions still exist,” he said…
The report calls on the US Senate Intelligence Committee to fully investigate medical practices at the detention sites.
Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale said that none of the critics of prisoner care had access to the detainees, their medical records, or the procedures at Guantanamo.
He described the doctors and nurses working at Guantanamo as “consummate professionals“.
And Mussolini got the trains in Italy to run on time.
As for access to prisoners? That’s a function of the isolation imposed by the screws in charge of US prisons holding detainees illegally to begin with. What meager judicial processes the prisoners have been allowed violate all core international treaties on war crimes. And even though a significant number of prisoners have been judged free of crime they haven’t been allowed repatriation.
Nope. The whole process stinks on ice – just like Obama’s so-called legalising of Bush’s crimes. Same shit, different day is all. The doctors who worked for Himmler and Hitler in Nazi death camps were consummate professionals, too.
You can download the full report [.pdf] over here – hosted by the Institute for Medicine as a Profession.
The South Lawn of the White House is decorated with ghosts and the facade with spiders, cobwebs and pumpkins for Halloween, where US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be welcoming trick-or-treating local children and children of military families…
I’m surprised the White House wasn’t picketed by religious fundamentalists who disapprove of Halloween and the president.
Spain’s public prosecutor’s office announce…that it had launched a preliminary inquiry into the alleged widespread surveillance of Spanish citizens’ private phone calls and emails by the US National Security Agency, to determine whether it could be prosecuted under Spanish law.
It was reported on Monday that the NSA had monitored 60.5m Spanish phone calls in the space of one month alone, in the latest revelations from the documents leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden…
The outcry comes days after it emerged that the NSA spied on the phone calls of scores of allies, including the personal phone of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
On Monday, the Spanish foreign minister warned the US that, if the monitoring of tens of millions of phone calls was confirmed, it could “lead to a breakdown in the traditional trust” between the two countries. José Manuel García Margallo said that the NSA’s alleged activities could have broken Spain’s privacy laws, which prohibit the collecting of data in relation to electronic communications.
Madrid had earlier on Monday summoned the US ambassador to Spain, James Costos, to meet with government officials and explain the extent of US surveillance…
Many in Spain feel that the government has not done enough to protect its own interests and had previously shown a surprisingly relaxed attitude to US spying when the allegations first began to emerge in the press last week. Human rights groups have called on the government, led by Mariano Rajoy of the rightwing People’s party, to do more to protect its citizens.
Rajoy fits snugly into the mold of Spanish right-wingers. I’d be mightily surprised if he’s interested in protecting much more than Spanish bankers, the Roman Catholic church – and his own wallet.
Germany and Brazil are drafting a U.N. General Assembly resolution that would demand an end to excessive spying and invasion of privacy after a former U.S. intelligence contractor revealed massive international surveillance programs, U.N. diplomats said on Friday.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both condemned the widespread snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency.
“This resolution will probably have enormous support in the GA (General Assembly), since no one likes the NSA spying on them,” a Western U.N. diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.
Merkel demanded on Thursday that Washington strike a “no-spying” agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, adding she wanted action from President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words.
Last month, Rousseff used her position as the opening speaker at the General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders to yaccuse the United States of violating human rights and international law through espionage that included spying on her email.
Rousseff also expressed her displeasure by calling off a high-profile state visit to the United States scheduled for this month over reports that the NSA had been spying on Brazil.
The arrogant Ugly American never really left the White House. The military-industrial complex achieved all its Cold War goals early on. Almost every president after Eisenhower was able to try his hand at a large or small war, keeping death and destruction hardware up-to-date. As often as our government lectured about peace, taxpayers ponied up for undeclared and unfunded wars, have continued to pick up the tab for 750+ military bases around the world. We are more of a danger to peace than any imperial force before us. We make the British Empire look like a traveling sewing circle.
From Congress to local polling places, there is damned little challenge to any executive mission termed necessary to national security. The War Department became the Department of Defense. God joined our pledge to the flag and our currency – and there must be a joke somewhere in that one. The sum of the four most recent presidential terms is complete agreement on our natural right to spy on everyone from laborers to prime ministers, home and away. The only difference being which mealy-mouthed interpretation of the Constitution is relied on.
Obama cheats. He uses verifiable facts.
President Barack Obama aimed to refocus the national debate and put the economy front and center with a speech at Knox College in Illinois. It was the same place he spoke as a senator in 2005 about the need for the government to help the middle class. He stuck to that theme in this speech, but now as president, he summarized the improvements that have come on his watch.
He talked about millions of new jobs, burgeoning energy production, and the nation’s improving balance sheet. “Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years,” Obama told the crowd.
In light of Obama’s ongoing battle with Republicans over taxes and spending, we thought this would be an interesting claim to examine. In this factcheck, we look at whether we are really seeing one of the most rapid declines in the deficit in many decades…
In 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, after tax cuts and new spending, the deficit was 10.1 percent of GDP. In 2012, the deficit declined to 7 percent of GDP. So that’s a decline of 3.1 percentage points.
You have to go back 63 years to the period between 1946 and 1949 to find a bigger four-year drop than what the country saw between 2009 and 2012. Right after World War II ended, the U.S. deficit stood at 7.2 percent of GDP. By 1949, America had a surplus of 0.2 percent. So that’s a decline of 7.4 percentage points.
We downloaded data from the Office of Management and Budget that shows the deficit as a percent of GDP all the way back to 1930. When we ran the numbers, we found, as Obama said, you need to go back to 1946 to find a larger change.
Barack Obama said the deficit has fallen at the fastest rate in 60 years. While economists vary on how to best measure that decline, the president used an acceptable approach and his numbers are accurate. There are no statistical tricks in play…
Which is more than you can say about the junk economics dribbling out the blowhole of Tea Party/Republican losers. Coming from a generally conservative, often pantywaist source like Politifact, I’d say this is strong proof indeed.
The European Union is threatening to freeze a crucial and controversial data-sharing deal with the US aimed at tracking terrorist funding because of the National Security Agency snooping scandal…
The terror finance tracking programme (TFTP) was agreed in 2010 under strong US pressure, requiring the EU authorities to transfer data to the US treasury from the Brussels-based system which collates global financial transaction data under the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).
MEPs on the committee called for the agreement to be scrapped following recent reports that the NSA was also tapping into the SWIFT databases to gain access to the private data of Europeans on their financial dealings.
The Dutch liberal MEP, Sophie in ‘t Veld, said the US breach of trust meant the transatlantic agreements, including another one divulging European air passenger details to the US authorities, should be ditched…
Senior EU officials and a SWIFT executive denied the reports that the NSA was grabbing the financial data, or said there was insufficient evidence to level the allegation. But Malmstrom emphasised that it was up to the Americans to clear their own names with adequate information.
Here’s the European Parliament supposed to be evaluating the progress made through this program to stop terrorist funding. They didn’t know when they agreed that they were constructing a direct connection to siphon data about the inner workings of EU banks straight into the vaults of the NSA.
Apologists for US snooping say there’s been no divergence from the original goals of the pact; but, both Snowden and then Obama have clearly pointed out the boatload of extra-curricular snooping Uncle Sugar built into the system.