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News and Opinion


I'm glad Glenn is writing about this. Check out Janet Napolitano's recent comments about how a "cyber 9/11" might be imminent and how she is pressuring Congress to pass legislation the administration wants by using a new kind of 9/11 fearmongering.  

Pentagon's new massive expansion of 'cyber-security' unit is about everything except defense
Cyber-threats are the new pretext to justify expansion of power and profit for the public-private National Security State

As the US government depicts the Defense Department as shrinking due to budgetary constraints, the Washington Post this morning announces "a major expansion of [the Pentagon's] cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold." Specifically, says the New York Times this morning, "the expansion would increase the Defense Department's Cyber Command by more than 4,000 people, up from the current 900." The Post describes this expansion as "part of an effort to turn an organization that has focused largely on defensive measures into the equivalent of an Internet-era fighting force." This Cyber Command Unit operates under the command of Gen. Keith Alexander, who also happens to be the head of the National Security Agency, the highly secretive government network that spies on the communications of foreign nationals - and American citizens.

The Pentagon's rhetorical justification for this expansion is deeply misleading. Beyond that, these activities pose a wide array of serious threats to internet freedom, privacy, and international law that, as usual, will be conducted with full-scale secrecy and with little to no oversight and accountability. And, as always, there is a small army of private-sector corporations who will benefit most from this expansion.

The Swartz suicide and the sick culture of the Justice Dept.

Some lawyers are joking when they refer to the Moakley Courthouse as “the House of Pain.” I’m not.

The ill-considered prosecution leading to the suicide of computer prodigy Aaron Swartz is the most recent in a long line of abusive prosecutions coming out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston, representing a disastrous culture shift. It sadly reflects what’s happened to the federal criminal courts, not only in Massachusetts but across the country.

It’s difficult for lawyers to step back and view the larger picture of the unflattering system from which we derive our status and our living. But we have an ethical obligation to criticize the legal system when warranted.

Who else, after all, knows as much about where the proverbial bodies are buried and is in as good a position to tell truth to power as members of the independent bar?

Yet the palpable injustices flowing regularly out of the federal criminal courts have by and large escaped the critical scrutiny of the lawyers who are in the best position to say something. And judges tend not to recognize what to outsiders are serious flaws, because the system touts itself as the best and fairest in the world.

Dirty Wars, Documentary on U.S. Covert Warfare Abroad, Wins Sundance Cinematography Award

DemocracyNow.org - The documentary "Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield" follows investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill to Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as he chases down the hidden truth behind America's expanding covert wars, focusing on the Obama administration's increasing use of armed drones and secretive units including the Joint Special Operations Command. On Saturday, the film's director Richard Rowley was awarded the Sundance Film Festival prize for best cinematography in a U.S. Documentary, honored for "elevating the art of observational cinema through sophisticated lensing and an electric-color palette." Accepting the award, Rowley said: "Almost three years ago when Jeremy and I knocked on a door in Gardez in rural Afghanistan, we were the first Americans the family had seen since the Americans kicked their door in and killed half their family. They invited us in and they shared the most difficult story of their lifetime with us because we promised them we would do everything we could to make their story heard in America."

Floods worsen in eastern Australia
Thousands of homes inundated in eastern cities after torrential rain leads to deaths of three people over the weekend.

Torrential rain over the weekend has severely flooded several cities and towns in eastern Australia, leading to three deaths in the region.

Many businesses and homes in the Queensland state capital, Brisbane, were inundated on Monday, while about 1,200 properties were flooded by record-high waters in the city of Bundaberg 385km to the north.

Helicopters were used to rescue 18 people from the roofs of their homes in Bundaberg, Australian Associated Press reported.

Queensland police on Monday confirmed that three people had died in flood waters since the weekend.

There was also flooding in the Queensland towns of Gladstone, Gympie and Ipswich.

Neonicotinoids: Commission moves to legislate to protect bees

The European Commission has said it will take legislative action to protect honey bees from the effects of neonicotinoids…





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