Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Iran, a country with a population of 70 million, enjoys various ethnicities and religions. In this episode of Iran, Pedram Khodadadi will tell you about Iranian Jews and their life in this cradle of civilization.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
New details on government watchlists and the no-fly list are cause for concern.
The prospect of being on a government watchlist is one that both tantalizes and strikes fear into the minds of most Americans. Sure, you may read articles on websites that are critical of U.S. policy, participate in protests with community members, post rants on social media, and have an extreme dislike for politicians – but is that really enough to warrant being placed on a list of potential threats?
More Americans may find themselves asking this question now that new details on the government’s terrorism watchlists and no-fly list have emerged.
Last Wednesday The Intercept released a 2013 document from the National Counterterrorism Center which details the rules for placing individuals on terrorism watchlists, including the no fly list. The 166-page document details what the government defines as terrorism, which includes everything from assassination and hostage-taking to destruction of government property or computers, and any act that is “dangerous” to property or intended to influence government through intimidation.
The document covers two lists: the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), and the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). Chapters of the document include information on what triggers placement on the lists, and what type of information officials are to collect when encountering suspected individuals. Placement on the TIDE or TSDB must be based on “articulable intelligence or information”. The document also says “single source information” such as posts on social media sites “should not automatically be discounted”. Under the guidelines if you are suspected of terrorism ties your family and “associates” can also be placed on the list.
Another worrisome detail of the document is known as “threat-based expedited upgrade.” This upgrade is unilaterally initiated by the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and allows for whole “categories of people” to be placed on the list based on intelligence that a certain type of person may commit terrorism. If the upgrade is approved by senior officials it could potentially last until “until the threat no longer exists.” The lack of oversight creates a situation where individuals could be placed on the list and left on indefinitely.
The guidelines also state that after a suspect has been acquitted of terrorism-related crimes they can remain on the list, even after death. The authorities state that it is common practice for terrorists to use names of the deceased as aliases in an attempt to go unnoticed. For this reason you may find yourself on a watchlist in the afterlife.
Up until now little has been known about the procedures behind the No-Fly list and Watchlists. As the Intercept notes, Attorney General Eric Holder has previously invoked state secrets privilege to keep the details of the lists hidden, stating, “The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security.”
Despite the governments best efforts, victories in court have affirmed the rights of Americans. Earlier this year Rahinah Ibrahim became the first person to successfully have their name removed from the no-fly list. Ibrahim had been detained and questioned at San Franciso International Airport in 2005, after being accused of having ties to a Malaysian terror group. Even with a victory in court however, only scant details were allowed to be released by the judge.
In early June another blow was dealt to the governments no-fly list when a federal judge in Oregon ruled that the process citizens must undergo to attempt to remove themselves was unconstitutional. The court ruled the process for removing oneself “falls far short of satisfying the requirements of due process.” The American Civil Liberties Union represented 13 American citizens who had been barred from flying. In August 2013 the same court ruled the listsviolated an individuals constitutionally protected right to travel. Previously the U.S. government has claimed that flying was not a right. The judge also stated that placement on the lists smeared the individuals as potential terrorists thus violating their constitutional right to be free from reputational harm.
The government must now draft new rules for including individuals on the no-fly list, including alerting individuals as to whether or not they are on such a list. Currently the government neither confirms nor denies placement on the list. Equally disturbing is the fact that the FBI (and presumably other branches of the government) seem to be interested in coercing those on the lists into being informants. The ACLU documents several cases where the FBI told individuals they could fly home if they would tell the government where the bad guys were. The agency has even offered payment and removal from the list in exchange for informing.
Since 9/11 the no-fly list has grown to include tens of thousands of names. As recent court battles and the leaked document highlight, government agencies are operating with little oversight, using vague, and broad terminology to designate Americans as “known or suspected terrorists.” These designations can have disastrous affects on an individuals life. Despite the recent rulings and a renewed public debate on the lists, it is likely the U.S. government will continue to fight for the right to place Americans on the list and deny them their right to travel.
The ACLU has created a “Know Your Rights” guide in the event you ever find yourself being denied the right to fly.
The New York Police Department is scanning through thousands of innocent cell users’ data in order to find evidence related to the mysterious appearance of two white flags on top of the Brooklyn Bridge last week.
Law enforcement sources speaking with the New York Daily News confirmed the use of the controversial technique, known as a “tower dump,” which allows officers to obtain all call, text and data transmissions through cell towers during any specific time period.
“Investigators could find names through cell phones if those involved made calls while near the Brooklyn Bridge in the wee hours Tuesday,” the article briefly mentions. “Cops are analyzing data from the two nearest cell phone towers…”
Although some law enforcement groups claim they request a warrant beforehand, a New York magistrate judge ruled last month that government agencies are not required to do so, even though the technique seizes vast amounts of personal information.
Even with a warrant, countless Constitutional lawyers have called the practice outright illegal.
“To turn over everybody’s telephone data to the police unrelated to any suspicion of crime, I think that’s an unreasonable search and seizure,” First Amendment attorney Jay Bender noted last year. “I don’t think that’s permitted by the Constitution.”
The federal government’s refusal to reveal what is done with all the collected cellular data prompted a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU earlier this year.
“This entire phenomenon is shrouded in secrecy,” said Christopher Soghoian of the ACLU. “The vast majority of people whose information is being collected are innocent of any crime. They’re never told their information was requested and they’re never told their information ended up in a government database.”
A 2013 investigation in South Carolina uncovered that law enforcement agencies throughout the state are permitted to hold onto all information for up to seven years.
Democratic Senator Edward Markey received a staggering glimpse of just how often the technique is used in 2012 after requesting the data from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
In 2012 alone, more than 9,000 cell tower dumps were carried out for an assortment of crimes. For their compliance, the cellular companies received more than $26 million in tax payer money from law enforcement groups.
While supporters of the dragnet surveillance tactic will undoubtedly argue that the event on the Brooklyn Bridge is a matter of “national security,” other investigations have found that tower dumps are most often used for petty crimes such as breaking and entering a motor vehicle and larceny.
Read more: http://www.storyleak.com/ny-police-harvest-innocent-cell-users-data-to-track-flag-vandals/#ixzz38rSTYUmH
Look what happens to the Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab when the verse about fighting #Allah and His Messenger is being recited...
watch how the prayer directly affects him, as the Almighty warns him.
"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should b is e cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement." - Surah Ma'idah, Verse 33
Monday, July 28, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Nicholas Valtz was found floating in Napeague Harbor.
Banker Deaths Climb to 15, as Goldman Sachs Managing Director Found Dead
In other news, billionaire Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist of a Boston-based firm with $117 billion in assets under management, says he is positive another horrific stock market crash is coming and will be “unlike any other” the modern world has seen…
Photo: Mohamed Farag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped in the West Bank, were found late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words. "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay," he said, initiating a campaign that eventually escalated into the present conflict in the region.
But now, officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas's handiwork after all.
Non-plagiarizing BuzzFeed writer Sheera Frenkel was among the first to suggest that it was unlikely that Hamas was behind the deaths of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. Citing Palestinian sources and experts the field, Frenkel reported that kidnapping three Israeli teens would be a foolish move for Hamas. International experts told her it was likely the work of a local group, acting without concern for the repercussions:
[Gershon Baskin] pointed out that Hamas has earlier this month signed an agreement to form a unity government with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, bridging, for the first time in seven years, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza.“They will lose their reconciliation agreement with Abbas if they do take responsibility for [the kidnappings],” Baskin added.
Repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation have sparked debate over whether Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into a confrontation. Israeli intelligence is also said to have known that the boys were dead shortly after they disappeared, but to have maintained public optimism about their safe return to beef up support from the Jewish diaspora. Writing for Al Jazeera, Musa al-Gharbi argued that Israel was deliberately provoking Hamas:
All the illegal and immoral actions related to Operation Brother’s Keeper were justified under the premise of finding and saving the missing teens whom the Israeli government knew to be dead — cynically exploiting the tragedy to whip up public outcry in order to provoke and then confront Hamas. This pattern of deception continues under the ongoing military offensive in Gaza. For example, last week in collaboration with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Abbas, in its efforts to alienate Hamas, Israel announced a bad-faith cease-fire proposal, which Hamas was not consulted on and never agreed to but whose violation supposedly justified Israel’s expansion and intensification of the military campaign into Gaza.
Despite continued negotiations, the violence shows no signs of letting up, and after Thursday night's massive protests in the West Bank, there is still no ceasefire agreement. On Friday, it became clear that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's attempts to broker a seven-day truce were rejected by Israeli officials. Instead, Israel will apparently widen its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, despite international outcry about the civilian death toll. According to unnamed officials, the proposed truce was too generous to Hamas's demands.
Hamas, meanwhile, still hasn't weighed in on the agreement, whose details are being kept secret, but continued to launch rockets into Israel. International peace talks are set to resume in France this weekend, and we're keeping our fingers crossed.