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Russia sharply steps up criticism of U.S. over Syria

September 1, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

source:washington post

By  ,

MOSCOW – Russia dramatically escalated its denunciations of American threats to attack Syrian military targets on Saturday, with President Vladimir Putin saying it would have been “utter nonsense” for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons as the Obama administration alleges.

The Foreign Ministry, in a statement issued before President Obama said he would seek congressional authorization before ordering strikes on Syria, said a U.S. attack would be a “gross violation” of international law.

Speaking out for the first time since an apparent chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, Putin called on President Obama to find a nonviolent way out of the crisis.

“I would like to address Obama as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate: Before using force in Syria, it would be good to think about future casualties,” Putin told Russian news agencies in Vladivostok during a tour of the country’s flood-stricken Far East.

“Russia is urging you to think twice before making a decision on an operation in Syria,” he said.

The White House argued Friday that intelligence shows more than 1,400 people died from exposure to chemical weapons in an attack carried out by the Syrian military.

Putin said he was sure the attack was the work of rebels trying to provoke international — and especially American — involvement in the Syrian conflict. The government of Bashar al-Assad, he said, would have had no reason to use chemical weapons at a time when it had gained the upper hand in the fighting.

Doing so, he said, would have been “utter nonsense’’ – with the clear implication that that is how he would characterize the American allegations.

On top of that, he said, the Obama administration’s “claims that proof exists, but is classified and cannot be presented to anybody, are below criticism. This is plain disrespect for their partners.”

Putin’s comments were soon underlined by a stern statement from the Foreign Ministry. After U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul had finished a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday, the ministry declared, “Russia has expressed its conviction that any forceful action against Syria that the U.S. could carry out in circumvention of the U.N. Security Council would be an act of aggression and a gross violation of international law.”

Putin said he was surprised by the vote in Britain’s Parliament on Thursday not to join a U.S. attack on Syrian military targets. “It shows that there are people guided by common sense there,” he said.

Putin said he and Obama have not discussed Syria since the alleged chemical weapons attack occurred.

The Russian president is fond of needling his opponents, often adopting a tone of apparent reasonableness tinged with a considerable amount of condescension. A U.S. assault on Assad’s government would do nothing to hurt his standing, at home or in many countries abroad, where his contempt for Washington tends to play very well.

“The U.S. president and I certainly discussed this problem at the G-8” summit in June in Northern Ireland, Putin said Saturday. “And, by the way, we agreed then that we would jointly facilitate peace negotiations in Geneva, and the Americans committed themselves to bringing the armed opposition to these negotiations. I understand this is a difficult process, and it looks like they haven’t succeeded in this.”

Obama arrives in St. Petersburg for the G-20 meeting on Thursday and leaves on Friday. The purpose of the gathering is to discuss economic growth, but the White House acknowledges there will be plenty of conversation about Syria on the side. There are currently no plans for a one-on-one meeting between Putin and Obama, who earlier this month decided not to attend a Moscow summit with the Russian president.

On Friday, the head of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of parliament, Alexei Pushkov, said the Nobel committee should strip Obama of his 2009 Peace Prize if he launches an attack on Syria.


The new anti-Semitism, and the campaign to silence American critics of Israel

August 27, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

source: mondowiess

Despite many assaults, past and present, the First Amendment of the United States constitution broadly guarantees freedom of speech.  But it is threatened by a slanderous campaign to discredit or silence American critics of the Israeli government.  The Israel lobby, guided by the Israeli government, with the help of Israeli think tanks, is organizing this effort.  In fact, Malcolm Hoenlein, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has publicly announced this campaign for the 2013-14 school year.

A key component of this attack on freedom of speech is the “new anti-Semitism,” the claim that criticism of Israel is based on hatred of Jews.  But the real purpose of the new anti-Semitism is to discredit and silence Israel’s critics in the U.S. and elsewhere, even though comparable criticisms are common place in Israel, especially in such renown newspapers as Ha’aretz, the “New York Times of Israel. “

A recent victim of this smear is Sadia Saifuddin, the University of California student recently appointed without any opposing votes as the first Muslim student representative to the University of California Board of Regents.  Even though Ms. Saifuddin is clearly qualified, with a great resume, Israel lobby stalwarts StandwithUs, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and David Horowitz attacked her nomination.  Why?  Not because Saifuddin was unqualified.  It is because she has opposed the Israeli government’s occupation of the territories it conquered in 1967, including the resulting dispossession of Palestinian property and violation of Palestinian human rights guaranteed through international law.  For these reasons she cosponsored a divestment resolution at the UC Berkeley Student Senate, and the AIPAC types — using the template of the new anti-Semitism — then claimed she was unfit to be a UC Regent because she threatened UC Jewish students

Indeed, Jewish students and faculty were once victims of real anti-Semitism on American campuses from the early 20th Century through the early 1970s in the form of admission quotas, glass ceilings on high academic and administrative positions, and discriminatory practices by fraternities and sororities.  But these types of anti-Semitic social discrimination were successfully fought and have been absent from American college campuses for over 40 years.  In fact, Jewish organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) no longer measure anti-Semitic discrimination in the United States.  This is why the ADL’s annual count of anti-Semitic incidents is restricted to verbal harassment, assaults, and property crimes, none of which have the slightest connection to Sadia Saifuddin.

With hardly any real anti-Semitism in sight, the Israel lobby concocted a new form of anti-Semitism: criticism of the Israeli government’s policies and practices.  They argue that any criticism of Israel is really a call for the destruction of the state, the alleged secret agenda of the country’s critics.  Nonsense!  And the Israel lobby knows this is nonsense because nearly all American critics of Israel are driven by opposition to a nominally Western country that – on one hand – “shares our values,” while – on the other hand – has maintained a 46-year military occupation over four million people in conquered territories, depriving them of human, civil, and economic rights.  Furthermore, in blatant violation of the 1949 4th Geneva Convention, Israel continues to construct illegal towns, cities, and factories in these areas.  These segregated “settlements”, including their access highways, are limited to Jewish Israelis. Furthermore, these settlers are subject to Israeli civilian law, not the Israeli military law imposed on their immediate Palestinian neighbors.

Another case of the new anti-Semitism targeting speech on California campuses is California State Assembly Resolution HR-35.  HR-35 characterizes any criticism of Israel as “cloaked” anti-Semitism.  Carlos Villarreal, director of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, called this resolution irresponsible and dangerous because it fails to distinguish between legitimate support for the Palestinian people and real anti-Semitism (i.e., verbal harassment and physical attacks on Jewish individuals and institutions).  This is why the ADL does not include these campus political events in its annual list of anti-Semitic activity in the United States.

HR-35 did not become California law, but it has had the effect of encouraging university administrators to enact restrictions on campus political events critical of the Israeli government.  Under an HR-35 inspired campus policy, some political speech would be silenced.  Any person or group that stood up against an obvious human rights abuse, like Israel’s 2008-09 assault on Gaza with banned phosphorus bombs, could be charged with anti-Semitism.  These bogus charges could ruin someone’s reputation and bring sanctions against university-affiliated student organizations.  Most individuals and campus groups would, therefore, remain silent.  After all, who wants to be identified and then punished as a bigot?

The intent of HR-35 is to undermine free speech when that speech entails criticism of Israel.

So what happens next?  California is about to witness a major effort by the Israel lobby, financially supported and directed by the government of Israel, to discredit campus groups that work for the end of Israel’s direct and indirect occupation of the land it conquered in 1967.  As active members of LA Jews for Peace, we strongly oppose this misuse of charges of anti-Semitism, and stand with those, Jewish and non-Jewish, who criticize the practices of the Israeli government and the support of those practices by the United States government.  Attempts to muzzle groups for political speech should be stopped in the bud.

Jeff Warner and Dick Platkin are Jewish peace activists in southern California and leaders of LA Jews for Peace.  They have organized many demonstrations against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory in general and the siege of Gaza in particular.  Warner has been on humanitarian missions to Gaza.  He is a retired research geologist and now works on environmental and climate change issues.  Platkin is a retired city planner and now works to stop “mansionization” of residential neighborhoods.   

read more:http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/the-new-anti-semitism-and-the-campaign-to-silence-american-critics-of-israel.html

Flipping Off Police Officers Constitutional, Federal Court Affirms

August 19, 2013 by  
Filed under General News


WASHINGTON — A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.

In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute, but the charges were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.

A federal judge in the Northern District of New York granted summary judgement to the officers in July 2011, but the Court of Appeals on Thursday erased that decision and ordered the lower court to take up the case again.

Richard Insogna, the officer who stopped Swartz and his wife when they arrived at their destination, claimed he pulled the couple over because he believed Swartz was “trying to get my attention for some reason.” The appeals court didn’t buy that explanation, ruling that the “nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness.”

read more:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/flip-off-police_n_2403563.html

Anti-virus software shows Facebook app stole Android users’ phone numbers without their consent

July 1, 2013 by  
Filed under General News


The mobile anti-virus and anti-malware software produced by Norton discovered that the Facebook application for Android  was secretly identifying users’ phone numbers and sending them to Facebook’s  servers.

This news is especially interesting given Facebook’s role in the recently revealed National Security  Agency (NSA) programs. Indeed, Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs  of Staff, reportedly met with Facebook executives to discuss the program.

Facebook also enjoys a cozy relationship with the intelligence community. The  former chief security officer for  Facebook left the internet giant for the NSA and the company quite  clearly works with government as the latest leaks have shown.

A student group in Europe has also filed a complaint against Facebook over the handling of  private data and last year a report revealed that Facebook was spying on smartphone users’ text messages.

In this latest instance of the violation of user privacy, Facebook’s Android  application leaked the user’s phone number even before logging in.

This happened the first time the user launched the Facebook application and  the number “will be sent over the Internet to Facebook servers.”

“You do not need to provide your phone number, log in, initiate a specific  action, or even need a Facebook account for this to happen,” Norton said in an  official post.

A “significant portion” of the hundreds of millions of people who have  installed the Facebook application were affected, according to Norton, the  makers of Symantec.

It’s worth noting that in the past, Symantec has published information on an intelligence gathering virus  based on the U.S./Israeli-made Stuxnet worm and one Symantec researcher revealed  that the U.S. targeted an Iranian nuclear research facility before it was  built. However, last year Symantec also backed CISPA, a highly controversial piece of  legislation.

Facebook told Norton that they “investigated the issue and will provide a fix  in their next Facebook for Android release.”

“They stated they did not use or process the phone numbers and have deleted  them from their servers,” Norton stated in the post.

Far more worrisome, however, is the fact that Norton says it is not the only  application guilty of leaking private data.

“Unfortunately, the Facebook application is not the only application leaking  private data or even the worst,” the company said. “We will continue to post  information about risky applications to this blog in the upcoming weeks.”

Google Play has a quite abysmal  privacy history. Earlier this year it was reported that Google was sending highly personal information to application  developers without users consent or knowledge.

Just nine days ago, it was also reported that Facebook leaked the contact information  of some six million users.

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More at EndtheLie.com –  http://EndtheLie.com/2013/06/30/anti-virus-software-shows-facebook-app-stole-android-users-phone-numbers-without-their-consent/#ixzz2XowNGeOq

Deputies Warn Man Not to Publish Video of Warden’s Strong-Armed Robbery



Florida deputies warned a man that if he dared publish a video showing a prison warden snatching his camera and refusing to return it, he would be guilty of a federal crime.

That, of course, is hogwash, but it just shows the extent that law enforcement officials will go to defend other authority figures when they’ve been caught breaking the law.

The video shows George Dedos, assistant warden at the Lake City Youthful Offender Facility, confronting Jeff Gray, who was standing on public property across the street from the prison, which is owned by Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the United States.

Dedos walks up to him and snatches his iPod, not realizing at the time that Gray had another iPod recording from his shirt pocket.

Columbia County sheriff officials respond to the incident and tell Dedos that Gray has the right to record, but they don’t come close to arresting Dedos for strong-armed robbery, which would likely have been the case had Gray snatched Dedos’ camera.

According to the incident report, which Gray obtained Monday:

Upon arrival I spoke with Assistant Warden from CCA, George Dedos, who stated that a white male, later identified as Jeffrey Gray was videotaping the facility via cell phone. George stated that he confronted Jeffrey and Jeffrey refused to stop recording, so he grabbed the cell phone. George was advised that unless the person was on CCA’s property, the person could record if he wanted to. George was also advised that if Jeffrey did publish the video, it would be a federal violation because Jeffrey was standing on federal land while videotaping without a permit, which was confirmed by forestry ranger, J. Watson.

So not only was the camera-snatching caught on video but Dedos admitted to deputies he committed the crime.

But all deputies could do was try to find a way to make Gray the guilty party, even listing him as the “suspect” in the report.

Gray posted two videos from the incident Saturday night, only hours after it took place, and I posted it on this blog early Sunday morning.

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel from the National Press Photographers Association, explained in an email why Gray was not guilty of any violation.

I see from the “offense report” that Jeffrey Grey may have been in the Osceola Forest picnic area. While some land operated by the US Parks Department requires a permit for photography or filming the Commercial Permits Section states:

“Permits are required for commercial use of the National Forests in Florida, such as filmmaking, wedding photography, and photography for use in advertising. Please contact the District Ranger’s office to determine your need for a permit and any fees that might be involved.” (see source)

“It is important to note that there is no permit required for most still photography or for non-commercial filming on National Forest Lands including wilderness areas.” (see source.)

My opinion is that if he did not have a permit and one was required (which should not have been the case) the most that could have happened is that he received a violation for not having a permit. I do not believe that posting such a video, especially if not for profit, would violate anything and certainly not federal law.

Their warning constitutes a prior restraint on his First Amendment freedoms and would most likely be struck down as it limits far too much speech than is necessary to achieve a governmental purpose. In this case I have no idea what that purpose would be other than far exceeding their authority.

Corrections Corporation of America is not having the greatest year, having recently lost four major contracts in Idaho, Texas and Mississippi.

Gray plans to file a complaint with the state attorney’s office and his lawyer is already looking into filing a lawsuit.

Click on George Dedos’ name to send him an email.
read more from Carlos Miller:http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2013/06/24/deputies-warn-man-not-to-publish-video-of-wardens-strong-armed-robbery/

D.C. police: We’ll arrest armed protesters

The District of Columbia’s police chief said Tuesday officers would arrest marchers who plan to openly carry rifles into the city in violation of District law.

“Passing into the District of Columbia with loaded firearms is a violation of the law and we’ll have to treat it as such,” Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said on NewsChannel 8.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/armed-protesters-face-arrest-91022.html#ixzz2Skb7hNCV

Illinois law banning firearms and semi-autos a violation of their own state Constitution

January 3, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

Author: Silence DoGood

Source: FederalJack

In response to the 25 dead children at Sandy Hook due to a school shooting massacre, the Illinois state house has proposed legislation to not only ban guns but criminalize the owners and even ban semi-auto weapons. The only problem with the bill or bills is that the Illinois state house is governed by the state Constitution that has been “adopted at special election on December 15, 1970,” which means that a more modern Constitution that governs the state of Illinois and it’s legislature has the right to “keep and bear arms”.

Sen. Dale Righter’s 2 Minute Drill – YouTube

“HB 815 amendment 1 & 2 and HB 1263 amendments 5 & 6 were passed out of the Illinois Senate Public Health Committee last night, advancing to the full Senate floor for a debate and possible approval later today,” according to Infowars.com.

HB 815 Amendments 1 & 2 and HB 1263 Amendments 5 & 6 that have any provisions to ban firearms which also defines guns, semi-autos, and even the term weapons that can fire bullets are all considered arms which is protected under the 1970 December 15 ratified State Constitution of Illinois. That means in the event that any officials inside the state that engage in confiscation of peoples legally registered and owned firearms, they have a right to know the names of the officers that confiscated the firearms and then file a lawsuit with the county district state courthouse that the firearms being confiscated due to a state law banning his/her firearms is in violation of Section 22 Article I of the Illinois State Constitution adopted and ratified on December 15, 1970. You can read the Amendment for yourself at ilga.gov(Illinois General Assembly website) with the quotes “Section 22. Right to Arms,” stating that “Subject only to police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Also with local police, the local municipal police departments are created by the town and city governments which are created by municipal corporation created charters, in other words a town or city Constitution per se, which are local laws that are passed by both houses of the state which allows a town or city to be officially registered with the state government and subject to the state Constitution. In other words town and city charters are subject to the laws of the state and regulated in accordance to charter laws. City and Town governments are municipal corporate entities and are also considered a legal body politic which are all legal lawyer terms but nevertheless means that all state police and even local authorities are all subject to the state Constitution and that Federal police forces are subject to the US Constitution. The thing is the US Federal Constitution has the 2nd Amendment so any attempt to confiscate or even charge individuals that own firearms are in violation of the 2nd Amendment. Any state police and local law enforcement and even State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents that attempt to use force to confiscate firearms and criminalize individuals for their firearms is in direct violation and infringement of Article I Section 22 of the Illusion State Constitution. Since all laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are void, Marbury Vs. Madison (1803) and thousands of other federal and also state rulings for example, any state or even local laws which are ordinances passed by state registered political entities subject to the State Constitution, if any state or local laws are passed infringing upon the right to keep and bear arms then those laws are invalid as if the law never existed. If a police officer enforces a law he/she knows to be invalid then they may be subject to a state lawsuit at the county or even superior court since the police have no legal subject matter jurisdiction in order to take someones firearms and would be considered theft of someones legal and protected private property. The firearms owner cannot just only be released from imprisonment for legal firearm ownership protected by the state Constitution but can sue the state government and town or city municipal corporation entities for using the color of law or charter registered by the state to illegally and unconstitutionally seize a individuals firearm ownership.

So let’s look at what a lawyer might see when he/she reads “the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Now first of all it says individual citizen meaning both a US Citizen residing in the state and even natural born resident of the state meaning somebody whom was born in that state but nevertheless means any citizen living within the boundaries of that state. It says the right to keep and bear arms which means we have the right to possess firearms as you cannot keep firearms without possession of them. By banning possession of firearms the right to keep arms will be infringed. Since the section was adopted into the state Constitution in 1970 it is a more modern drafted Constitution thus meaning it cannot be treated as obsolete simply because of the modern times we all live in which is one excuse Constitution violators like to use is that it should only apply to the old times and not the modern times. When you look-up the definition of the term “bear arms” it means to “to carry weapons”, the right to carry and keep firearms is engraved into the Illinois Constitution then we have the US Constitution which has the 2nd Amendment which also carries the right to keep and bear arms and that the militia be allowed to secure the free state.

No matter what justification the state representatives and senators can use to justify a bill to ban firearms, it would be null and void when a citizen of that state files a complaint with the State court and requests that there be questions as to whether the state law violates the Constitution of that said state. The state Attorney General that will likely be named as the defendant can give their arguments as to why he/she believes that state law is Constitutional and then the plaintiffs can argue Section 22 and Article I and explain to the justice or Superior judge what that Amendment talks about and apply it to the modern cases of firearms carry and ownership, and then the judge will give the verdict based on law and facts not based on fantasy as some activist judges like to do. Of course a proper judge will always rule in favor of valid Constitution arguments and will enforce a nullification and injunction on the state legislation in part or in whole, whatever violates the Constitution, banning any kind of firearms as it violates Section 22 Article I of the state Constitution unless the state legislature went through it’s Constitutional process of removing that Amendment or section which would be very difficult to do as it can be a lengthy process in other words the state may have to get permission from a majority of voters. Unless that provision and the 2nd Amendment are removed, any police that enforce and legislators that pass legislation banning firearms are in violation of the State Constitution. The Constitution is meant to restrict government as government cannot always be trusted so checks and balances are put in to keep the peace and order of the country and state.