Nothing has ever changed the world as quickly as the Internet.
Less than a decade ago, "60 Minutes" went to the Pentagon to do a story on something called information warfare, or cyberwar as some people called it. It involved using computers and the Internet as weapons.
Much of it was still theory, but we were told that before too long it might be possible for a hacker with a computer to disable critical infrastructure in a major city and disrupt essential services, steal millions of dollars from banks all over the world, infiltrate defense systems, extort millions from public companies, and even sabotage our weapons systems.
Today it's not only possible, all of that has actually happened. And there's a lot more we don't even know about.
It's why President Obama has made cyberwar defense a top national priority and why some people are already saying that the next big war is less likely to begin with a bang than with a blackout.
"Can you imagine your life without electric power?" Ret. Adm. Mike McConnell asked "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft...
It looks like that California Governor Arnold Swarzenegger placed a hidden obscenity in a veto statement that was sent to the lawmaker whose bill was vetoed. The lawmaker, San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, was at odds over Swarzenegger and recently made a scene at an event where he heckled the Governor. You can see the words by reading the first letter of the left hand margin. Other veto notes have spelled words like "poet" and "soap" but nothing this long or this crude. Very unstatesmanlike. The veto note is below:
OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM (IPS) - Israeli authorities are increasingly targeting and intimidating nonviolent Palestinian grassroots activists involved in anti-occupation activities who are drawing increased support from the international community.
Several weeks ago masked Israeli soldiers stormed the home of Ehab Jallad from The Jerusalem Popular Committee for the Celebration of Jerusalem as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2009.
"Around 3am the soldiers started kicking and banging on the door and threatened to break it down if I didn't open immediately. My young daughters were terrified as they didn't know what was happening," recalled Jallad, a young Palestinian architect from Jerusalem.
"The soldiers then proceeded to ransack my home before confiscating my laptop, several computers, files with my contacts and my ipod. When I asked them why they were doing this and told them I wanted to call my lawyer, they told me to shut up and threatened to beat me up," Jallad told IPS.
This is just the latest incident in which the Israeli authorities have arrested and taken Jallad in for questioning over his organization of cultural events marking East Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture. Jallad has also been monitoring the protests outside al-Aqsa Mosque during the last few weeks.
"The Israeli officer questioning me said he knew I was in contact with the media but stated this would not help. He further warned me that I was being monitored, and if I continued with my activities my family and I would be subjected to further raids and harassment," said Jallad.
The same morning that Jallad was arrested Israeli security forces raided a warehouse used by Jerusalem community groups and cultural events organizers.
"They vandalized material we use for cultural events and confiscated other material," Jallad told IPS.
To date Jallad has not been charged with anything. But a war between Palestinians and Israel continues unabated over Israel's continued Judaization of East Jerusalem.
This has involved the expulsion of Palestinian residents from their homes in the eastern sector of the city and the expropriation thereof to make way for Israeli settlers.
A number of Palestinian families continue to live in tents pitched on streets outside their former homes as they watch Israeli settlers go about their daily business in their former homes.
Periodic violence between the two groups has broken out during the last few weeks with the Israeli police selectively arresting only Palestinians.
The Jerusalem Municipality has deliberately limited building permits for East Jerusalemites despite a chronic housing shortage, while the settlement of Israeli settlers in the area has been actively encouraged. Palestinian homes built without permits are regularly destroyed.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) envisions East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Under international law East Jerusalem is part of the occupied West Bank.
The PA has tried to counter Israel's Judaization efforts by asserting its presence in the contested part of the city. Organizing cultural events has been part of the effort.
Hatem Abdul Qader, a PA official for Jerusalem Affairs, has been arrested by Israeli security forces several times over the last few months. He has also been banned from the city for several weeks on a number of occasions.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Othman, 33, from the northern West Bank village Jayyous, continues to languish in solitary confinement in a dirty Israeli prison cell devoid of natural light or windows.
Othman has been labeled a "security threat" by the Israelis ever since his arrest on 22 September as he crossed into the West Bank from Jordan. Othman had returned from a trip to Norway where he met with senior officials to discuss human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Norwegian government has divested its funds from Elbit, an Israeli company which supplies drones and other military technology.
During his incarceration Othman has been subjected to hours of interrogation, handcuffed, seated in stress positions and denied sleep. Like Jallad he has had no involvement in military activities which could constitute a security threat to the Jewish state. He too, has not been charged with any infringement of the law.
But Othman, a political activist, has been joining the "Stop the Wall Campaign" against the illegal Zufim settlement built by Russian billionaire Lev Leviev. The Stop the Wall Campaign is fighting against Israel's construction of a barrier on West Bank land.
The wall cuts through swathes of Palestinian territory dividing Palestinians from their agricultural fields, and trapping some Palestinian communities in pockets of territory between Israel and the West Bank.
The wall was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice, and several years ago an Israeli high court ordered the Israeli military to reroute parts of the wall, arguing that compromised the livelihoods of Palestinian farmers.
Othman is also involved in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign which has been drawing increased international support.
Othman's supporters believe his main "crimes" are his activities on behalf of the campaign which wants to see a boycott of Israel along the lines of the former boycott against apartheid South Africa.
"I think Israel is worried about its reputation amongst the international community now that more people are waking up to the human rights abuses and injustices being committed here," Jallad told IPS.
"I think in some ways we are perceived as more of a threat than an armed cell of Hamas fighters precisely because we are nonviolent and what we are fighting for is reasonable."
All rights reserved, IPS - Inter Press Service (2009). Total or partial publication, retransmission or sale forbidden.
Today, a federal Court of Appeals dismissed Canadian citizen Maher Arar's case against U.S. officials for their role in sending him to Syria to be tortured and interrogated for a year. Arar is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). The court concluded that Arar's case raised too many sensitive foreign policy and secrecy issues to permit relief. It leaves the federal officials involved free of any legal accountability for what they did.
Maher Arar is not available to comment in person, but is issuing the following statement: "After seven years of pain and hard struggle it was my hope that the court system would listen to my plea and act as an independent body from the executive branch. Unfortunately, this recent decision and decisions taken on other similar cases, prove that the court system in the United States has become more or less a tool that the executive branch can easily manipulate through unfounded allegations and fear mongering. If anything, this decision is a loss to all Americans and to the rule of law."
Said Georgetown law professor and CCR cooperating attorney David Cole, who argued the case, "This decision says that U.S. officials can intentionally send a man to be tortured abroad, bar him from any access to the courts while doing so, and then avoid any legal accountability thereafter. It effectively places executive officials above the law, even when accused of a conscious conspiracy to torture. If the rule of law means anything, it must mean that courts can hear the claim of an innocent man subjected to torture that violates our most basic constitutional commitments."
CCR Senior Staff Attorney Maria LaHood said, "With this decision, we have lost much more than Maher Arar's case against torture - we have lost the rule of law, the moral high ground, our independent judiciary, and our commitment to the Constitution of the United States."
The case was re-heard before twelve Second Circuit judges after a rare decision in August 2008 to rehear the case sua sponte, that is, of their own accord before Arar had even sought rehearing.
Mr. Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen, was detained at JFK Airport in September 2002 while changing planes on his way home to Canada. The Bush administration labeled him a member of Al Qaeda and sent him not to Canada, his home and country of citizenship, but against his will to Syrian intelligence authorities renowned for torture. He was tortured, interrogated and detained in a tiny underground cell for nearly a year before the Syrian government released him, stating they had found no connection to any criminal or terrorist organization or activity.
In January 2004, just three months after he returned home to Canada from his ordeal, CCR filed a suit on Mr. Arar's behalf against John Ashcroft and other U.S. officials, the first to challenge the government's policy of "extraordinary rendition," also known as "outsourcing torture."
The Canadian government, after an exhaustive public inquiry, found that Mr. Arar had no connection to terrorism and, in January 2007, apologized to Mr. Arar for Canada's role in his rendition and awarded him a multi-million-dollar settlement. The contrast between the two governments' responses to their mistakes could not be more stark, say Mr. Arar's attorneys. Both the Executive and Judicial branches of the United States government have barred inquiry and refused to hold anyone accountable for ruining the life of an innocent man.
Two Congressional hearings in October 2007 dealt with his case. On October 18, 2007 Mr. Arar testified via video at a House Joint Committee Hearing convened to discuss his rendition by the U.S. to Syria for interrogation under torture. During that hearing - the first time Mr. Arar testified before any U.S. governmental body - individual members of Congress publicly apologized to him, though the government still has not issued a formal apology. The next week, on October 24, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted during a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing that the U.S. government mishandled his case.
In a strongly worded dissent, Judge Guido Calabresi wrote, "I believe that when the history of this distinguished court is written, today's majority decision will be viewed with dismay."
Joshua Sohn of DLA Piper US LLP, Katherine Gallagher of CCR, and Jules Lobel, professor at University of Pittsburgh Law School and CCR cooperating attorney, are co-counsel in Mr. Arar's case.
The Center for Constitutional Rights represents other victims of the Bush administration's programs, from Iraqis tortured and abused at Abu Ghraib prison to Muslim and Arab men rounded up and abused in immigration sweeps in the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11, to Guantanamo detainees in the recent Supreme Court case.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
Travis Bishop from the Ft. Lewis stockade Mood:
caffeinated Now Playing: prisoner of conscience needs your letters and solidarity Topic: PROTEST!
SOLIDARITY = LOVE
Travis Bishop from the Ft. Lewis stockade
Serving a 12-month prison sentence as an Amnesty Internationaldesignated "prisoner of conscience," Travis refused to deploy to Afghanistan based on his religious beliefs after having had filed for a conscientious objector discharge.
The support I have gotten for my decision has been extraordinary. I can never repay the help and support I’ve gotten, but I will try hard to once I’m released.
Things here at Fort Lewis are grim. I was in isolation the first ten days I was here. It was hell, and I never want to go back to that. Now I’m in a bay of around 20 guys and it’s a little better, but we are treated like children, or murderers, by most of the guards. They forget very quickly that we were all soldiers once… They barley even show us common human courtesy and respect.
I’m two months into my sentence. With good behavior I should be out of here on June 14, 2010. This place is an assault on my mind, body and spirit. This whole atmosphere is foreign to me, and I think they pride themselves on that.
If anyone wants to write me, please tell them that I would love to get mail. Letters are the best part of the day. I’m going to try very hard to answer every letter. If someone sends me a letter, and it gets sent back to them [rejected by the military], wait about a week, and then send it to me again. This gives me time to put their address on my approved mail list. Only put your name—no organizations. The only things people can send me are letters—pen and paper only. No stickers or glitter or anything like that. The mail system is very strict here. Again, thank you to everyone for your support.
Please write to Travis at:
David Travis Bishop Box 339536 Fort Lewis, WA 98433
Note that the Army will likely reject your first letter, and maybe your second also. Please keep trying to send Travis mail as he really wants to hear from you. When your letter is rejected, sometimes Travis gets to see the envelope. If so, he is then able to add your name to his approved correspondence list.
MNN. Oct. 29, 2009. On October 14th 2007, Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, was killed by the RCMP at the customs venue in Vancouver Airport. He was tasered, knocked down and hit again. He screamed in pain on the floor. They fired again, again and again until he died.
Dziekanski had come from Poland to visit his mother, who had been waiting for him at the arrivals level for 7 hours.
A bystander video taped his death with his cell phone. The RCMP were all buffed up with body armor, hand guns, pepper spray and collapsible batons. They said they feared for their safety when he picked up the stapler and waved it at them.
The state is spending millions on an highly publicized investigation into his death.
What’s the difference between this and the attack on Kahentinetha Horn at the Akwesasne border on June 14, 2009? The CBSA Canadian Border Services Agency video taped this vicious assault which they hide for reasons of National Security. Many witnesses have signed affidavits.
Horn was pulled over by the border guards to wait for hours. CBSA and a squad of heavily equipped commandos appeared. They surrounded her car, grabbed her and used stress tactics that brought on a heart attack. The border guards tried to push her to bend forward so the blood would rush into her heart and kill her. She survived.
This attack has been kept out of mainstream news. Every request to the RCMP, OPP and Attorney General of Canada to investigate this crime has been stopped. Canada does not want a review of their agents torturing and trying to kill a 69 year old woman who was peacefully crossing the border at Akwesasne.
Horn went to the Federal Court of Canada to file an action to investigate this crime. FCC issued an order that she must pay for all of the Crown’s costs starting with a $20,000 deposit. They declared she lives in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake and therefore is not a resident of Canada. This is an admission that we are sovereign.
Many have been brutalized at this border. The colonial Akwesasne Mohawk Council is hiring a high profile lawyer, paid by Canada, to mount a class action suit against Canada, mainly to avoid the sovereignty, international border and land issues. Indigenous victims will be urged to take a settlement. The deal will probably try to absolve Canada of guilt and responsibility in the eyes of their law.
Canada knows this is an international nation-to-nation issue. The lawyer will say the ruling is a great victory for the Indigenous, blah, blah, blah. Canada will keep pretending they are in control of their Indians.
The foreigners need guns to assert their illegitimate authority.
In Akwesasne we are in our homes, doing nothing wrong. When some antagonistic armed border goon confronts us, our guard goes up. An issue is created and we could be killed. Armed camps are being created around us to force us to defend ourselves against their brutality and weapons. Since they have guns, shouldn’t we have guns to defend ourselves from them?
Any law abiding peaceful and compliant individual, black, white, yellow or brown, who shows up at the border is confronted with tasers and guns. They can become a victim, attacked and killed. Because it’s at the border the goons think they can walk away scot free with no fear of retaliation.
Is Canada at war with us? Why are they pointing us at us? The corporations, Wall Street, bankers, military and lawyers now control governments. Anyone asserting self-determination and sovereignty or questioning their lack of jurisdiction in a resource rich territory is considered an enemy. We have been declared terrorists or enemy combatants and denied civil, sovereign and human rights.
Dziekanski was a visitor with more rights to an investigation than us. He was killed to desensitize the public to what state agents will do to enforce their will. The RCMP took 7 hours to plan his killing and to work up the nerve to do it. In the Horn case, they spent over an hour and botched it.
Kahentinetha MNN Mohawk Nation News, www.mohawknationnews.com firstname.lastname@example.org Note: Your financial help is needed and appreciated. Please send your donations by check or money order to “MNN Mohawk Nation News”, Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0. Or go to PayPal on MNN website. Nia:wen thank you very much. Go to MNN BORDER category for more stories; New MNN Books Available now!
NOTE: Charges could not be brought against the CBSA border guards unless the victims paid the crown’s court costs. Federal Court of Canada Prothonotary Mireille Tabib made an order on October 23, 2008 that Mohawks residing in Akwesasne and Kahnawake are not residents of Canada. Two supporting FCC orders were made by Judge Francois Lemieux on January 29, 2009; and Claude Morissette on March 16, 2009. FCA T-1309-08 and T-288-09.
Protester Arrested on Courthouse Steps in Portland 10.29.09 Mood:
loud Now Playing: Torture Protester Activist Arrested - Video Coming Soon Topic: PROTEST!
Protester Arrested on Courthouse Steps in Portland 10.29.09
One protester was arrested today in Portland Oregon for peacefully handing out fliers on the 9th circuit Courthouse front porch (steps)
After being (rudely) told (by security guards) to leave the steps, the protester replied just as rudely (but louder) "Get out of my face" to the security guard. Well that caused the guard to go into "over ride"
Like 2 men in a bar the guard was not gonna have "anyone tell him" ...and the cuffs came out as a dozen citizens watched from the sidewalk, yelling "Faschism, let him go, Liar, etc"
The protester who it is rumored is a doctor was pulled (on his feet) into the building (Pioneer Courthouse)
The rude fascist arrest was all captured on video and I will be posting it here latter this evening (asap) on www.Joe-Anybody.com
The rotunda of Al Faw Palace in Baghdad where Oregon National Guard troops have been assigned.CAMP VICTORY SOUTH, Iraq -- Saddam Hussein's artistic sensibilities, like those of many self-important dictators, were somewhat blunted. He was given to pseudo-classical motifs, clumsy statuary and, of course, he had a fondness for heroic images of himself.
Yet here at the former Al Faw Palace compound, now the center of a massive military base on the western edge of Baghdad, Saddam's vision found something approaching beauty.
The Al Faw compound is a complex of substantial, buff-colored buildings, built on man-made peninsulas and ringing a series of lakes formed by canals from the Tigris River. There remains much for an architectural critic to disdain, but there is also the foundation for an upscale resort that could impress even jaded world travelers.
There are just a few things to do before Iraq can hang out the welcome sign:
Lose the concertina wire.
And the sandbags.
And the blast walls.
And the Porta-Potties.
And the uniformed Ugandans who stand at the checkpoints with rifles slung over their shoulders.
And the stream of paired Black Hawk helicopters, racing over the near horizon.
And the signs warning of the authorization of deadly force against intruders.
And, if possible, minimize the frequency of unexplained explosions, which tend to bring visitors out to the sidewalk with questions on their lips. ("Controlled det, I think," muttered one last week.)
In fact, Al Faw, for all its hard edges, is a showpiece for the U.S. military. Late-night comic Stephen Colbert performed here. The Army hosts band parties on the patio overlooking the lakes. The military even has set up an honest-to-goodness hotel in the pillared hunting lodge that looks west toward Al Faw.
Today, the hotel is a project of the Oregon Army National Guard, whose soldiers check in guests, show them to their rooms and explain when the dining room opens for breakfast. It turns out the Army needed somebody to operate a hotel at Camp Victory, the better to entertain visitors, distinguished and otherwise. So the job was assigned to the incoming soldiers of Oregon's 41st Brigade.
So bring your duffel bag to the front desk and say hello to the uniformed soldier behind the desk. He (or she) will be happy to guide you to the Chief Joseph Room, across the parking lot full of armored Humvees. He'll be happy to show where the soldiers fish for the carp, eels and other unlovely species that populate the lake. And, good host that he is, he'll advise you against eating anything you pull out of these waters.
Then, when the door closes behind you, you'll lie on your bed and think, "If only Saddam could see me now."
Associate Editor Mike Francis is in Iraq reporting on the Oregon National Guard soldiers assigned to tours of duty there. Read more and comment at: blog.oregonlive.com/oregonatwar/