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June 29, 2011

Will Obama jail a Times reporter who embarrassed the Bush administration?

Obama Has Finally Become Dick Cheney - Atlantic Mobile
In Barack Obama's rise to national prominence, when he criticized the Bush Administration for its false claims about WMDs in Iraq, its torture of detainees, and its illegal program of spying on American citizens without warrants, he owed a particular debt of gratitude to a New York Times national security reporter. In a series of scoops as impressive as any amassed during the War on Terrorism, James Risen reported in 2004 that the CIA failed to tell President Bush about relatives of Iraqi scientists who swore that the country had abandoned its weapons program; the same year, he was first to reveal that the CIA was waterboarding detainees in Iraq; and in 2005, he broke the Pulitzer Prize winning story about the secret NSA spying program. These scoops so embarrassed and angered the Bush Administration that some of its senior members wanted Risen to end up in jail. They never managed to make that happen. But President Obama might. He once found obvious value in Risen's investigative journalism. Its work that would've been impossible to produce without confidential sources and an ability to credibly promise that he'd never reveal their identities. But no matter. The Obama Administration is now demanding that Risen reveal his source for a 2006 scoop about CIA missteps in Iran. If he refuses to cooperate, which is his plan, he faces the possibility of jail time. Somewhere, Dick Cheney is smiling. To understand why, a bit of history is required. Risen's national security reporting generally, and especially his scoop about the NSA's warrantless wiretapping, exposed illegal acts at the highest levels of government. Bush Administration officials speculated about having Risen tried and imprisoned for violating the Espionage Act, secretly surveilled his phone calls, and singled him out for harassment even when he was writing the same stories as other national security journalists, he reports in a sworn affidavit filed last week in a Virginia district court. "I was told by a reliable source that Vice President Dick Cheney pressured the Justice Department to personally target me because he was unhappy with my reporting and wanted to see me in jail," the affidavit states. "An organized campaign of hate mail from right wing groups with close ties to the White House was launched, inundating me with personal threats. Meanwhile, protestors supporting the Bush Administration picketed my office." . . .

June 23, 2011

Australia now lets ISPs censor the internet

There is no process to get a site authorized if an ISP decides they want to censor it. This is a terrible idea. Australia Heads Down the Slippery Slope, Authorizes ISPs to Filter | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Starting next month, the vast majority of Australia’s Internet users will find their access censored, following a decision by the country’s two largest providers--Telstra and Optus--as well as two smaller ISPs (itExtreme and Webshield), to voluntarily block more than 500 websites from view. The decision from the two ISPs comes after numerous failed attempts by the Australian government to set up a centralized filtering plan. In the new voluntary scheme, ISPs will block sites containing “the appropriate subsection of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) blacklist as well as child abuse URLs that are provided by reputable international organisations,” according to News.com.au. The problem with such a plan is multi-layered: First, there is no transparency in the selection of URLs to be blacklisted, and no accountability from the regulatory bodies creating the blacklists. The “reputable international organizations” providing child abuse URLs have not been named, but may include the Internet Watch Foundation, a UK-based organization that in 2008 advised UK ISPs to block a Wikipedia page containing an album cover from the 1970s that they deemed might be illegal.

June 19, 2011

Watching copyrighted streaming media now a serious felony

Watching a copyrighted film streaming over the web to your home is now a more serious crime than stealing actual movies from a store. Streaming Felony

June 12, 2011

U.S. building shadow internet, mobile hotspots to help dissidents

This is of course deeply ironic given the United States persecution of Bradley Manning, Wikileaks, and Whistleblowers in general. U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors Abroad - NYTimes.com
The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks. The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype “Internet in a suitcase.” Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet. The American effort, revealed in dozens of interviews, planning documents and classified diplomatic cables obtained by The New York Times, ranges in scale, cost and sophistication. . . .

June 09, 2011

Florida to require all welfare recipients to take drug tests at firms owned by the governor's wife

Here is a succinct response from Facebook. Also, the Supreme Court has ruled that broad drug tests are violations of the Fourth Amendment. Because they are suspicion-less searches. Except in high school, because kids have no rights. STFU, Conservatives