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May 01, 2009

Prosecutors drop AIPAC spying charges - judge had permitted secrets, Bush advisors' testimony

My td;dr take: Though the article takes pains to say the decision to drop the charges was handled at a low level -- not by the White House -- the Obama administration has followed two paths so far: 1) Let the Bush Administration skate on war and other crimes; 2) Don't piss off Israel. So, same shit, different day. Israel can spy in the US with impunity. U.S. to Drop Spy Case Against Pro-Israel Lobbyists - NYTimes.com
Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman, who were lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a leading pro-Israel lobby, were charged with violating the World War I-era Espionage Act. ... Judge T.S. Ellis 3d, who was to preside over the trial rejected several government efforts to conceal classified information if the case went to trial. Moreover, he ruled that the government could only prevail if it met a high standard; he said prosecutors would have to demonstrate that Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman knew that their distribution of the information would harm U.S. national security. Over government objections, Judge Ellis said that the defense could call as witnesses several senior Bush administration foreign policy officials to demonstrate that what occurred was part of the ongoing process of information trading and did not involve anything nefarious. The defense lawyers were to call as witnesses Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, Stephen J. Hadley, the former national security advisers and several others. Government policymakers indicated they were clearly uncomfortable with senior officials testifying in open court over policy deliberations. The government’s motion to dismiss filed before Judge Ellis cited some of these reasons. The motion, filed by the acting prosecutor in Alexandria, Va. and not by any senior Obama Justice Department official, said that before proceeding with the case the government was obliged to consider “the likelihood that classified information will be revealed at trial, any damage to the national security that might result from a disclosure of classified information and the likelihood the government would prevail at trial.” Noting that the prosecutors disagreed with some of Judge Ellis’s ruling, the motion said that, “the landscape of this case has changed significantly since it was first brought.”

April 29, 2009

LOL: On 4chan and losing the game

When I last posted up about this I kinda knew the mARBLECAKE part, but didn't think it was of general interest. But then the rest of the hack was explained and then mind blown by Internet. Mojonaut ** =mike stanfill= ** was kind enough to point out how slowpoke I was with this link to Music Machinery and a description of Anonymous' skill and tenacity:
The next tactic used was to see if they could find a flaw in the reCAPTCHA implementation. One thing they discovered about reCAPTCHA was that it always presents two words to a user for decoding - one word is a control word known by the reCAPTCHA system, while the other is an unknown word.... Anonymous realized was that if they always labeled the unknown scanned text with the same word - and if they did this thousands and thousands of times eventually a large percentage of the unknown words would be mislabeled with their word. All they had to do was look at the two words in the captcha, enter the proper label for the ‘easy’ one (presumably that would be the one that the two optical scanners would agree upon) and enter the word “penis” for the hard one. If they did this often enough, then soon a significant percentage of the images would be labeled as ‘penis’ and the ability to autovote would be restored.
: pollresults.jpg The Raw Story | Time’s ‘Most Influential Person’ list hacked by 4chan
Zombocom, the creator of this ultimate hack, told Music Machinery that the point of the mysterious "Marblecake" message spelled out by the winners' names was to add his own signature to the joke:
Marblecake was an irc channel where the “Message to Scientology” video originated. Many believe we are “dead” or only doing hugraids etc, so I thought it would also be a way of saying : we’re still around and we don’t just do only “moralfag” stuff.
Does Zombocom's hack foretell a future where both political and moral influence will be superseded by the internet's seeming ability to reality at will? We can only wait and find out.

Continue reading "LOL: On 4chan and losing the game" »

April 23, 2009

Fructose-Sweetened Beverages Linked to Heart Risks - NYTimes.com

Fructose-Sweetened Beverages Linked to Heart Risks - NYTimes.com
Some research has suggested that consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, used as a sweetener in a wide variety of foods, may increase the risk of obesity and heart disease. Now, a controlled and randomized study has found that drinks sweetened with fructose led to higher blood levels of L.D.L, or "bad" cholesterol, and triglycerides in overweight test subjects, while drinks sweetened with another sugar, glucose, did not. Both L.D.L. and triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.