Newspaper divulges ‘top secret’ info on access to online data
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army has ordered its personnel not to go to the latest postings on the website of the British newspaper The Guardian to read revelations of information given to its reporter because it contains a “TOP SECRET slide show.”
The email, which WND received from a Department of Defense source, was addressed to a couple hundred military personnel and civilians working for DOD. The source who provided the email asked for anonymity.
“Do not go to ‘The Guardian’ news website as they have TOP SECRET slide show on the main page and you will be flagged,” according to the writer from the 304th MIBN, or military intelligence battalion.
“If someone is not included on this email inform them this website is off limits,” the email said. “If anyone has visited this page today and clicked on any ‘NSA program’ slide show please inform me immediately. It is much easier fix (sic) an issue before it becomes a problem then (sic) after it becomes a disaster.”
Following initial leaks of the highly classified slides by The Guardian based on interviews and files given to its reporter by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the Pentagon had informed all military personnel not to access the website on military office computers, even though the NSA information is in the public domain.
City gathering ‘real-time’ data on citizen movements, actions
City officials in Oakland, Calif., have decided to accept a $2 million grant from the Obama administration that would allow them to observe citizen movements and actions on a real-time basis all across the city.
The grant is to be used, following a vote by city council members Wednesday, for a “surveillance center.”
A report at OaklandLocal.com earlier this month described the proposal as a plan to create a “Domain Awareness Center” that would allow the government to watch and track data provided by license plate readers and video cameras.
The description of the plan said while it may “make privacy advocates cringe,” the strategy also includes the option of reaching out to other governmental entities to obtain additional information from surveillance cameras, including those at sports facilities that can be trained on spectators.
Renee Domingo, Oakland’s chief of emergency services, said at the time that, “If we needed ability into what was going on there, we could do so.”
The report explained that Ahsan Baig, the manager of Oakland’s information technology, reported to the Public Safety Committee the data obtained from plate readers, cameras and the like could be delivered to just about any computer the city specified, such as a laptop or an iPad.
The San Francisco Chronicle online version reported Wednesday that the council voted to accept the $2.2 million federal grant for the program.
And council members voted immediately to ban spray paint, hammers, slingshots, wrenches and other “potentially destructive items” from any protest or demonstration.
Councilman Noel Gallo said such “tools of violence and vandalism” should be banned so that damages would be minimized during events such as the recent protest against the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.
Government: Presence ‘not conducive to the public good’
WND columnist Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, co-founders of Stop Islamization of America, have been banned from entering the U.K. because, the government says, their presence “is not conducive to the public good.”
Geller and Spencer were scheduled to speak in Woolwich June 29 at a memorial for Lee Rigby – the soldier who was brutally murdered May 22 by at least two Muslim men armed with a cleaver and a knife. After beheading Rigby, the men reportedly boasted of the murder in the streets
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats pushed an assault weapons ban through a Senate committee on Thursday and toward its likely doom on the Senate floor, after an emotion-laden debate that underscored the deep feelings the issue stokes on both sides.
Exactly three months after 26 children and educators were gunned down in Newtown, Conn., the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure on a party-line 10-8 vote. The bill would also bar ammunition magazines carrying more than 10 rounds.
Thursday’s vote marked the fourth gun control measure the committee has approved in a week and shifted the spotlight to the full Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he will decide soon how to bring the measures to the chamber, where debate is expected next month.
“Americans are looking to us for solutions and for action,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. He said that despite gun-rights advocates’ claims, the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms is not at risk, but “lives are at risk” unless lawmakers can figure out how to keep firearms away from dangerous people.
The other bills would require federal background checks to more would-be gun buyers, make it easier for authorities to prosecute illegal gun traffickers and boost school safety aid.
In a written statement, President Barack Obama thanked senators “for taking another step forward in our common effort to help reduce gun violence” and said Congress should vote on all the proposals. He said assault weapons “are designed for the battlefield, and they have no place on our streets, in our schools, or threatening our law enforcement officers.”
Barring assault weapons was part of Obama’s plan for reducing gun violence. But banning the high-powered weapons has encountered strong opposition from congressional Republicans and elicited little enthusiasm among moderate Democratic senators up for re-election next year in GOP-leaning states in the West and South.
The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and her supporters say the ban would help eliminate the type of firearms and magazines that have been used with deadly effect at Newtown and several other recent mass shootings. Opponents say barring the guns would violate the right to bear arms and have little overall impact because assault weapons are involved in small percentages of gun crimes.
At one point Thursday, Feinstein responded angrily after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asked if she would also support limiting the First Amendment’s freedom of speech by denying its protection to some books.
“I’m not a sixth grader. Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years” and studied the issue for a long time, she told Cruz. She later added: “It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here a long time.”
Cruz, an outspoken conservative freshman, answered, “Nobody doubts her sincerity and her passion and yet at the same time, I’d note she chose not to answer the question.”
“The answer is obvious — no,” Feinstein said later.
She and other Democrats also argued that there are limits on many constitutional rights. Leahy said the state Board of Education in Cruz’s home state “has told people what books they should or shouldn’t read” — a reference to that conservative-led board that controls the state’s school curriculum standards.
Cruz said lawmakers should make decisions about gun legislation using “facts and data and by the Constitution, not by passion.”
Before the ban was approved, Democrats defeated Republican amendments seeking to exempt groups including sexual abuse victims and people who live near the Southwest border.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Feinstein’s measure wouldn’t stop criminals from obtaining assault weapons and complained, “We’re going to give the American citizens a pea-shooter to defend themselves with.”
Feinstein said there was no evidence that people can’t defend themselves just as well with a handgun.
At one point, Leahy, an avid gun owner, said some of the debate reminded him of movies depicting “zombie takeovers,” adding, “I’ve always been perfectly satisfied with my .45 that I have at home.”
Feinstein’s bill would ban semi-automatic weapons — guns that fire one round and automatically reload — that can take a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature like a pistol grip.
It specifically bans 157 named weapons. In an effort to avoid antagonizing those who use them for sports, the measure allows 2,258 rifles and shotguns that are frequently used by hunters.
It also exempts any weapons that are lawfully owned whenever the bill is enacted.
Many expect the assault weapons ban won’t be included in the basic bill the Senate debates next month, but will be offered as an amendment. That would mean it would likely need 60 votes to prevail in the 100-member chamber — a difficult margin for Feinstein since there are only 53 Democratic senators plus two independents who usually side with them.
“The vote is uphill. I truly understand it,” she said.
Separating the ban from more popular measures would also make it easier for red-state Democrats to vote against the ban but still leave them available to back the rest of the legislation. Several senators said they thought the ban on high-capacity magazines could pass.
The House’s Republican leaders have said they’ll wait for the Senate to act before moving on legislation. They’ve not expressed support for an assault weapons ban.
They have discussed improving how states report data on people with serious mental health and drug abuse problems to the federal background check system. Both parties see that as a major flaw that needs to be fixed.
Americans are in love with anything on wheels. This is the country of the Corvette and the Hog where driving fast is considered a national birthright despite the toll in lives and pollutants. But when tragedy strikes it is important for us to set aside the political rhetoric and have a serious discussion about assault vehicles.
Let’s talk about motorcycles.
Unlike cars, motorcycles have no practical purpose. No one commutes to work on a motorcycle. No one drives to pick up their children from soccer practice on a motorcycle. But for some people a motorcycle is a symbol of their masculinity and that symbol has become death on wheels.
Americans are in love with motorcycles. 9 percent of Americans own 11 million motorcycles as part of the 18 billion dollar motorcycle industry. Some Americans even own more than one motorcycle, even though one motorcycle is the most that any normal person could possibly need.
Motorcycle deaths have risen sharply in the last ten years and the motorcycle industry is to blame for preventing us from addressing this horrifying epidemic of highway death.
In 1994, there were 2,320 motorcycle deaths. In 2012 that number increased to 4,500 as the assault vehicles greased their wheels with the blood of innocent men, women and children.
1 in 7 US traffic deaths is now caused by the motorcycle. Or what we should properly rename the Assault Cycle. Unfortunately movies like Easy Rider glamorize motorcycle culture and the motorcycle industry preys on the vulnerable male psyche as riders chase after some escapist fantasy of personal autonomy.
Motorcycle culture has always been associated with violence, and the escalating death toll now threatens our moral standing as a country. But perhaps tragedy will serve as a wake-up call.
In Fairfield, California, an off-duty California Highway Patrolman was killed in a collision with a pickup truck. In Duarte, California, former MLB pitcher Frank Pastore died of injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident. In Florence, Kentucky, a motorcycle driver lost control of his assault vehicle and collided with a utility pole. In Tarpon Springs, Florida, a woman riding as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle fell off and was run over by a passing vehicle. These are just a few of the deaths caused by Assault Cycles that have taken place in the last week.
We cannot meet these awful tragedies with apathy. Only immediate unthinking action will suffice. A serious dialogue must begin in which all options are on the table.
No one is talking about completely banning the motorcycle, except for those who are, but we must work together to reach a sensible solution. Motorcycle owners will still be able to keep and even drive their toys, but we must take action against the deadliest overpowered assault cycles with too much horsepower.
There is no reason for any law-abiding motorcycle owner to own one of the “superbikes” whose accident rate is 30 times higher than that of cars. These insanely overpowered assault vehicles, such as the Suzuki GSXR1000 and the Kawasaki Ninja, are literal killing machines. Although assault cycles only account for 10 percent of the motorcycles on the road, they account for 25 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents.
200 horsepower is far too much for any legitimate street bike and it’s time that our elected officials stood up to the motorcycle industry and said no to the Assault Cycle.
And it cannot end there.
As pernicious as motorcycle culture is, car culture is even deadlier. Millions of children will grow up coughing and wheezing from asthma attacks because they live near a highway. And many more will die in the daily car accidents that mar our nation’s roads, bridges and tunnels.
Americans are in love with their Assault Sedans and their Murder Hatchbacks. The U.S. had 246 million registered vehicles for just 209 million drivers in a country of 311 million. There is no better evidence of the power of car culture than the fact that some people actually own more than one car.
40,000 people die in car crashes a year. That’s 400,000 a decade or 4 million over a century. That is the grim ugly face of America’s macabre love affair with cars. America leads the world in car ownership, aside from Monaco, and if we are going to take a horrible place like Monaco as our role model, then there is no hope for America.
The children, the most innocent among us, are the real victims of America’s insane car culture.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children from 2 to 14 years old. An average of 6 children die every day in car crashes… and 700 more are injured. Some of those injuries will cripple them for life.
Any decent person, even a car owner, can’t help but look at these statistics and demand immediate unthinking action of some kind.
No one is talking about banning all cars, but there’s no reason for a law-abiding driver to own a car that goes faster than 35 miles per hour. Above that speed is when most fatal accidents occur and closing that speed loophole will save millions of lives.
Cars that travel faster than 35 miles per hour, let’s call them Assault Vehicles, have no purpose except to cater to a sick car culture that values speed over the lives of innocent children. We owe it to our children to give them a better world.
An assault vehicle ban will also be good for the environment. Some drivers will discover that they can get to work faster by riding a bike than by driving their fume-spewing murder machines.
Speaking of bicycles, there has unfortunately been a sharp rise in cyclist deaths. I remember many hours of joy riding my bike up and down the street as a child, but these innocent vehicles are being upstaged on the road by killing machines that have very little in common with my 12 inch Huffy.
I have never understood why there must be any bikes with more than 6 speeds. The bike industry, the bike lobby and the bike culture is irresponsibly pushing multi-speed bikes that are completely unnecessary. These Assault Bicycles which have 18 speeds exist only to kill.
It might be best if we put an end to vehicle culture altogether. It might be best if everyone just walked. So long as they walk responsibly.
The number of pedestrian deaths has risen sharply in 2012 and the problem may lie with what I like to call, Assault Walking, or walking too fast, not to mention Assault Running.
To all the paranoid alarmists out there, no one is talking about banning you from going on a light jog or even a brisk walk; so long as you keep it under the speed indicated on your government issued Citizen Pedometer. If you wish to walk faster than that, you will have to apply for a license, undergo a psychological evaluation, give up your health insurance and then wait six weeks.
America is a great country, but we can be an even greater country if we just banned everything.