* EVEN THE TROOPS ARE WAKING UP
* PARTNERS ACROSS THE GLOBE: NATO CONSOLIDATES WORLDWIDE MILITARY FORCE
By Richard Rozoff, StopNATO
[…] In short, NATO’s 21st century global expeditionary force and its top commanders. An international military coalition never authorized by the United Nations or discussed at any conference or other fora except at NATO Headquarters and at the bloc’s summits.
On the second day of the Military Committee conference in Brussels, NATO’s Allied Command Operations reported on a training course underway at the Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters in Brunssum, the Netherlands where staff officers from NATO’s Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnerships are being instructed to “work as augmentees in a Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJF HQ) environment. […]
* THE NSA IS WATCHING
By Amy Goodman, Truthdig
Three targeted Americans: A career government intelligence official, a filmmaker and a hacker. None of these U.S. citizens was charged with a crime, but they have been tracked, surveilled, detained – sometimes at gunpoint – and interrogated, with no access to a lawyer. Each remains resolute in standing up to the increasing government crackdown on dissent
The intelligence official: William Binney worked for almost 40 years at the secretive National Security Agency (NSA), the U.S. spy agency that dwarfs the CIA. As technical director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, Binney told me, he was tasked to “see how we could solve collection, analysis and reporting on military and geopolitical issues all around the world, every country in the world.” Throughout the 1990s, the NSA developed a massive eavesdropping system code-named ThinThread, which, Binney says, maintained crucial protections on the privacy of U.S. citizens demanded by the U.S. Constitution. He recalled, “After 9/11, all the wraps came off for NSA,” as massive domestic spying became the norm. He resigned on Oct. 31, 2001.
Along with several other NSA officials, Binney reported his concerns to Congress and to the Department of Defense. Then, in 2007, as then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was being questioned on Capitol Hill about the very domestic spying to which Binney objected, a dozen FBI agents charged into his house, guns drawn. They forced aside his son and found Binney, a diabetic amputee, in the shower. They pointed their guns at his head, then led him to his back porch and interrogated him. […]
* INSANITY: CISPA JUST GOT WAY WORSE, AND THEN PASSED ON A RUSHED VOTE
By Leigh Beadon, TechDirt
Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part.
The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change (pdf and embedded below—scroll to amendment #6) to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.
Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA. […]
* FEDERAL AGENTS TO BEGIN PROTECTING THE ‘RED ZONE’ FOR NATO NEXT WEEK.
By Natasha Korecki, Chicago Sun-Times
Starting next week, expect to see a showing of federal law enforcement in “battle” gear, weapons slung, in a highly visible effort to protect a perimeter that encompasses the federally operated buildings in the Loop.
Law enforcement has dubbed their efforts “Operation Red Zone.” It’s headed by the Federal Protective Service, which is working with state, federal and local law enforcement in anticipation of the NATO Summit in Chicago on May 20 and 21.
Even though the actual meetings for the summit will happen at McCormick Place, federal law enforcement is aiming to protect a vast area in the Loop where thousands of federal employees and dozens of government offices are located.
Included in the zone is the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, the Kluczynski Building, the RH Metcalfe Building and the Metropolitan Correctional Center. It also includes the so-called “State Street cluster” — other federally owned buildings on State Street. The perimeter runs from Harrison Street to the south, Adams Street to the north, State Street to the east and Franklin to the west. […]
* THE GREAT AMERICAN SOCIAL SECURITY LIE
By Rick Ungar, Forbes
[…] We are consistently led to believe that it is the ‘aging workforce’ that rests at the heart of Social Security’s funding problems. Tune in to any of the media reports covering the numbers just out and this is what you are going to see and hear.
The claim, while legitimately representing a small piece of the problem, fails to explain the lion’s share of the crisis we will experience in the Social Security Trust —and by lion’s share I mean a full 60 percent of the entitlement’s funding shortages.
The ‘aging workforce’ narrative serves to encourage and support the critics who claim that our problem is too many retirees lining up to collect their entitlements only to find that the government has failed to properly manage the Social Security trust fund—leaving the next generation of beneficiaries to be shortchanged 25 years down the line. As a result, the privatization pushers argue that Americans would be far better off looking out for their own retirement accounts so that government mismanagement will not come between hard-working citizens and their retirement money.
This is the Great American Social Security Lie. […]
* AMERICAN TAXPAYER LIABILITIES JUST WENT UP AGAIN – WHY ISN’T CONGRESS PAYING ATTENTION?
By Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario
Most Americans paid no attention this weekend when the International Monetary Fund announced it was well on its way to roughly doubling the money that it can lend to troubled countries – what the organization calls a $430 billion increase in the “global firewall.”
The United States declined to participate in this round of fund-raising, so the I.M.F. has instead sought commitments from Europe, Japan, India and other larger emerging markets.
At first glance, this might seem like a free pass for the United States. The additional I.M.F. lending capacity is available to euro-zone countries that now face pressure, such as Spain or Italy, so it might seem that global financial stability is increased without any cost to the American taxpayer.
But such an interpretation mistakes what is really happening – and actually represents a much broader problem with our budgetary thinking. The I.M.F. represents a contingent liability to taxpayer sin the United States – much as the Federal National Mortgage Association (known as Fannie Mae) and Freddie Mac (formerly the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) have in the past — and as too-big-to-fail mega-banks do now. […]
* GULF COAST WATERS CLOSED TO SHRIMPING
“We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets. People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”
By Joieau, Daily Kos
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources acted this week to close waters along the Gulf Coast to shrimping due to [EDIT: amidst] widespread reports from scientists and fishermen of deformed seafood and drastic fall-offs in populations two years after the BP oil spill. ['Official' reason is now reported to be smaller than average shrimp.]
All waters in the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay, and some areas of Bon Secour, Wolf Bay and Little Lagoon were closed to shrimpers. Reports of grossly deformed seafood all along the Gulf from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle have been logged with increasing urgency, but Alabama is the first state to actually close waters to the seafood industry.
And it’s not just the shrimp. Commercial fishermen are reporting red snapper and grouper riddled with deep lesions and covered with strange black streaks. Highly underdeveloped blue crabs are being pulled up in traps without eyes and claws…
Commercial fishers Tracy Kuhns and Mike Roberts from Barataria, LA reported to Al Jazeera when showing samples of eyeless shrimp…
“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these. Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”
* #12M THE DAY THE WORLD WILL UNITE!