Psychology

Peter Brimelow — Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster — Videos

Posted on July 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Catholic Church, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medicine, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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peter_brimelow

VDARE.com

What Price Mass Immigration – Peter Brimelow Introduction

 

Peter Brimelow of VDare on How Republican Party Has to be More White

Alien Nation: America’s Immigration Disaster

Mr. Brimelow discussed his book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, published by Random House. The book focuses on U.S. immigration policy and cycles of control on immigration. Mr. Brimelow argues that legislation passed in 1965 has resulted in negative trends in immigration to the United States, including an influx of immigrants from a very few countries that he says are engulfing America. The author says that the latest immigration wave consists of immigrants who are less educated, less skilled, and less likely to share American ideals, which he argues is a detriment to American culture.

Peter Brimelow Reflects on Immigration in America, Post-Alien Nation

Michael Coren Interviews Peter Brimelow

Peter Brimelow, Immigration Road to Hell

Peter Brimelow speaks CPAC 2012

Inequality and Immigration (1 of 3)

Inequality and Immigration (2 of 3)

Inequality & Immigration (3 of 3)

Peter Brimelow On Western Culture At The Thomas Jefferson Club

The Libertarian Case Against Open Immigration | Peter Brimelow

Related Articles and Videos

George J. Borjas: Costs of Immigration – Economics Roundtable

 

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Militarization of Police Departments and SWAT Team in America — Who is the enemy? The American People — War on Drugs — War on Terror — War on Americans — Videos

Posted on June 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Rifles, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

Obama Expands Militarization of Police

Are Police Declaring War on Americans?

RISE Of The WARRIOR COP: The Militarization Of America’s Police Forces

Radley Balko on The Militarized Police State

MILITARIZATION OF POLICE – PENTAGON is ARMING the U.S. POLICE with MRAP Military COMBAT VEHICLE’s

 

Barney Fife Meets Delta Force 

Hypermilitarized police departments are more dangerous than whatever they fight. 

 

Nestled awkwardly among the usual guff, the outrage website Salon this week took a welcome flyer and accorded space to something genuinely alarming. “A SWAT team,” the headline screamed, “blew a hole in my 2-year-old son.” For once, this wasn’t hyperbole.

The piece’s author, Alecia Phonesavanh, described what it felt like to be on the business end of an attack that was launched in error by police who believed a drug dealer to be living and operating in her house. They “threw a flashbang grenade inside,” she reported. It “landed in my son’s crib.” Now, her son is “covered in burns” and has “a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs.” So badly injured was he by the raid that he was “placed into a medically induced coma.” “They searched for drugs,” Phonesavanh confirmed, but they “never found any.” Nor, for that matter, did they find the person they were looking for. He doesn’t live there. “All of this,” she asks, “to find a small amount of drugs?”

 

Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway. The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend. Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are “happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night” — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might “search homes, usually for drugs.” Such raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.”

 

Were the military being used in such a manner, we would be rightly outraged. Why not here? Certainly this is not a legal matter. The principle of posse comitatus draws a valuable distinction between the national armed forces and parochial law enforcement, and one that all free people should greatly cherish. Still, it seems plain that the potential threat posed by a domestic standing army is not entirely blunted just because its units are controlled locally. To add the prefix “para” to a problem is not to make it go away, nor do legal distinctions change the nature of power. Over the past two decades, the federal government has happily sent weapons of war to local law enforcement, with nary a squeak from anyone involved with either political party. Are we comfortable with this?

The Right’s silence on the issue is vexing indeed, the admirable attempts of a few libertarians notwithstanding. Here, conservatives seem to be conflicted between their rightful predilection for law and order — an instinct that is based upon an accurate comprehension of human nature and an acknowledgment of the existence of evil — and a well-developed and wholly sensible fear of state power, predicated upon precisely the same thing. As of now, the former is rather dramatically winning out, leading conservatives to indulge — or at least tacitly to permit — excuses that they typically reject elsewhere. Much as the teachers’ unions invariably attempt to justify their “anything goes” contracts by pointing to the ends that they ostensibly serve (“Well you do want schools for the children or don’t you? Sign here”), the increasingly muscular behavior of local police departments is often shrugged off as a by-product of the need to fight crime. This, if left unchecked, is a recipe for precisely the sort of carte blanche that conservatives claim to fear.

Leaving aside the central moral question of the War on Drugs — which is whether the state should be responding to peaceful transactions and consensual behavior with violence — there is, it seems, considerable room between law enforcement’s turning a blind eye to the law and its aping the military in its attempt to uphold it. The cartels of Mexico and drug lords of America’s larger cities are one thing; but two-bit dealers and consumers of illicit substances are quite another. In the instance that Salon recorded, the person that authorities “were looking for, wasn’t there.” “He doesn’t even live in that house,” Phonesavanh confirmed. But suppose that he had, and that he’d been dealing drugs as charged? Does this alone make the case for the tactics? I suspect not. Instead, attempting to catch a violator in the act by releasing military vehicles full of machine-gun-wielding men, storming a home in the dead of night, and performing a no-knock raid that results in a two-year-old’s being pushed into a coma might, one suspects, be overkill — in many similar cases, literally so. The question for conservatives should be this: If cowboy poetry is no justification for federal intrusion, can drug dealing be said to serve as an open invitation for the deployment of the ersatz 101st?

In the more febrile of the Right’s quarters, the sight of MRAPs being delivered to the chief of police in Westington, Mont., has given rise to all forms of regrettable silliness — to visions of black helicopters and reeducation camps and an America on the verge of being taken by force by the gun-toting rangers of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Nevertheless, a small amount of latent paranoia has served America well, and Chekhov’s advice that “one must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it” should be applied to governments as rigorously as to aspiring playwrights. Once the holders of the monopoly on violence are accorded the latest weaponry, there will always be the temptation to use it. Likewise, once one has taken the mental and linguistic leap of ascribing to domestic law enforcement the imprimatur of “war,” one may be inclined to reach for the trigger that little bit more quickly. The disaster at Waco, Texas, was, it seems, more cock-up than conspiracy. But the recognition in the aftermath that the whole bloody mess could have been avoided if local officers had taken the time to chat with the victims should haunt us to this day. Rushing in at 100 miles per hour rarely works out, whatever the ill that one is attempting to resolve.

The Left’s current inclination is to spin offenses out of straw — having no major battles left to fight, it seeks to detect microaggressions; with overt bigotry so thin on the ground, the dog whistles have come out; and with the barriers to the Declaration’s maxim having been largely removed, the focus has shifted to the structural and the invisible. But first-degree burns and holes in the chest are different things altogether — not to be dismissed or downplayed — and that the issue is being raised by an outlet known for its absurdity should not dull its impact. Will the Right wake up to the threat, applying its usual mistrust of power to a favored group, or will its usually alert advocates leave themselves willfully in the dark until, one day, a flashbang with their name on it is tossed through the window to wake them up with a start?

 

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George Washington Flogged and Hung Deserters, Barack Obama Trades Terrorists for Deserter/POW? — Negotiates With Terrorists For Deserter! — Videos

Posted on June 7, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Energy, Faith, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, Homicide, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Religion, Resources, Science, Security, Shite, Sunni, Terrorism, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 270: May 30, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 269: May 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 268: May 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 267: May 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 266: May 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 265: May 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 264: May 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 263: May 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 262: May 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 261: May 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 260: May 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 259: May 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 258: May 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 257: May 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 256: May 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 255: May 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 254: May 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 253: April 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 252: April 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 251: April 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 249: April 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 248: April 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 247: April 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 245: April 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Story 1: George Washington Flogged and Hung Deserters, Barack Obama Trades Terrorists for Deserter/POW? — Negotiates With Terrorists For Deserter! — Videos

washington_a_life_by_ron_chernow-460x307

Revolution – American History in HD – Documentary

Army Sergeant Who Served With Bowe Bergdahl Says He Needs To Be Tried For Desertion

Army deserter benefits

Ralph Peters: POW Bowe Bergdahl Was A Deserter

Carney on Whether Bergdahl is a ‘Deserter’

State Dept: Bergdahl Was Not a Deserter

Ted Cruz: I would Have Used Military Force to Rescue Afghan POW Bergdahl

6/2/14 Background of the 5 detainees we traded for Bergdahl, a deserter and possibly traitor

Military Psy Ops Expert: Bowe Bergdahl Is A Traitor!

Was Bowe Bergdahl Working With The Sopranos Of Afghanistan?

US Soldier Bowe Bergdahl release: Taliban detainees ‘arrive in Qatar’

Cruz Hits Obama Administration For POW Release; Rice Defends Move As ‘Sacred Obligation’

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl Recovering in Germany After Being Freed From Captivity in Afghanistan

Fellow Soldiers Call Bowe Bergdahl A Deserter, Not A Hero

The Real Price We Paid! Six Soldiers Died Looking For ‘Deserter’ Bowe Bergdahl!

(EXCLUSIVE) Obama Speech On US Soldier Freed By Taliban In Afghanistan

US Soldier Released After Five Years Of Captivity – Bowe Bergdahl Released By Taliban

Kelly File | 5 Gitmo Prisoners demanded for P.O.W

New video of Army POW Bowe Bergdahl surfaces

Ralph Peters, Bill O’Reilly Dub Bowe Bergdahl “Crazy, Disturbed”

War Deserters – USA

Soldiers’ Traumas – From World War Two to Afghanistan | Frontline Club Talks

Afghanistan: Outside The Wire

Never Ending War in Afghanistan Full Documentary

Russia’s War in Afghanistan : Documentary on 10 Years of Soviet War in Afghanistan

AFGHANISTAN After US Withdrawal: Return Of The TALIBAN & CIVIL WAR

Bob Bergdahl, the father of current POW, Sgt Bowe Bergdahl speaks Out!

Benghazi Cover Up – CIA Employee Suspended For Refusal To Sign Non-Disclosure On Benghazi

THE EXECUTION OF PRIVATE SLOVIK

Is Ransomed U.S. Soldier Bowe Bergdahl a Deserter? UPDATED: Was Release of Taliban Prisoners Illegal?

Two GOP lawmakers charge that the Obama administration violated a law requiring the White House to give Congress a month’s notice before transferring or releasing Gitmo captivies. From the AP via Business Insider:

The White House said it moved as quickly as possible given the opportunity that arose to secure Bergdahl’s release. Citing “these unique and exigent circumstances,” the White House said a decision was made to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement of 30 days advance notice to Congress.

 

For President Barack Obama (and thus America), foreign policy in every way remains a disaster. The latest incident? In swapping five Taliban leaders for a U.S. soldier who was held prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, Obama may have just exchanged somecertifiably bad guys for…a deserter from the U.S. Army. CNN’s Jake Tapper explains:

The sense of pride expressed by officials of the Obama administration at the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is not shared by many of those who served with him—veterans and soldiers who call him a deserter whose “selfish act” ended up costing the lives of better men.

“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. “Bowe Bergdahldeserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

There’s this:

According to first-hand accounts from soldiers in his platoon, Bergdahl, while on guard duty, shed his weapons and walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera, and a diary.

At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl, and many soldiers in his platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika Province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.

 

This is all completely apart from the question of whether exchanging prisoners for prisoners is a good idea while the U.S. still has over 30,000 troops in Afghanistan (and more than 100 detainees in Gitmo). And once again, yesterday, Susan Rice—she of Benghazi talking points fame—was making spurious claims on Sunday talk shows. She emphasized that Bergdahl had been“captured” on the battlefield, which may not be exactly right. Or even at all right.

I caught a few minutes of MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier today and co-host Mika Brzezinski cautioned that whatever else we know about the five-for-one prisoner deal (which involves the Taliban going to Qatar, where they will be monitored by the government there for at least a year), we don’t know everything. Which is likely accurate and besides the point: Leaving aside the Obama administration’s constant invocations about its super-fantastic dedication to transparency, this White House has managed to make itself toxic to increasing swaths of the public and drive faith in its best intentions and ability to cross the street through the floor.

Here’s hoping that after more than a dozen years of poorly conceived and executed wars—and declining public support for the idea of America as globocop—that official foreign policy will start to appreciate the idea that we cannot undertake large and small-scale military interventions lightly.

http://reason.com/blog/2014/06/02/is-ransomed-us-soldier-bowe-bergdahl-a-d

 

The Gitmo detainees swapped for Bergdahl: Who are they?

Together with the announcement that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released after nearly five years of captivity came the news that five detainees at Guantanamo Bay were being transferred to Qatar.
A plane carrying the detainees left the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo, Cuba, after the announcement that Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2009, had been exchanged for the five men.
Saturday’s transfer was brokered through the Qatari government, a senior Defense official said. According to senior administration officials, Qatar agreed to take custody of the detainees and provide assurances they would not pose a threat to the United States, including a one-year ban from travel out of Qatar.
Two senior administration officials confirmed the names of the five released detainees as Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Nori, Abdul Haq Wasiq and Mohammad Nabi Omari.
They were mostly mid- to high-level officials in the Taliban regime and had been detained early in the war in Afghanistan, because of their positions within the Taliban, not because of ties to al Qaeda.
CNN profiled them two years ago, when their names first surfaced as candidates for a transfer as part of talks with the Taliban:
Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa
Khairkhwa was an early member of the Taliban in 1994 and was interior minister during the Taliban’s rule. He hails from the same tribe as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and was captured in January 2002. Khairkhwa’s most prominent position was as governor of Herat province from 1999 to 2001, and he was alleged to have been “directly associated” with Osama bin Laden. According to a detainee assessment, Khairkhwa also was probably associated with al Qaeda’s now-deceased leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. He is described as one of the “major opium drug lords in western Afghanistan” and a “friend” of Karzai. He was arrested in Pakistan and was transferred to Guantanamo in May 2002. During questioning, Khairkhwa denied all knowledge of extremist activities.
Mullah Mohammad Fazl
Fazl commanded the main force fighting the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in 2001, and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban regime. He has been accused of war crimes during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s. Fazl was detained after surrendering to Abdul Rashid Dostam, the leader of Afghanistan’s Uzbek community, in November 2001. He was wanted by the United Nations in connection with the massacre of thousands of Afghan Shiites during the Taliban’s rule. “When asked about the murders, he did not express any regret,” according to the detainee assessment. He was alleged to have been associated with several militant Islamist groups, including al Qaeda. He was transferred into U.S. custody in December 2001 and was one of the first arrivals at Guantanamo, where he was assessed as having high intelligence value.
Mullah Norullah Noori
Noori served as governor of Balkh province in the Taliban regime and played some role in coordinating the fight against the Northern Alliance. Like Fazl, Noori was detained after surrendering to Dostam, the Uzbek leader, in 2001. Noori claimed during interrogation that “he never received any weapons or military training.” According to 2008 detainee assessment, Noori “continues to deny his role, importance and level of access to Taliban officials.” That same assessment characterized him as high risk and of high intelligence value.
Abdul Haq Wasiq
Wasiq was the deputy chief of the Taliban regime’s intelligence service. His cousin was head of the service. An administrative review in 2007 cited a source as saying that Wasiq was also “an al Qaeda intelligence member” and had links with members of another militant Islamist group, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. Wasiq claimed, according to the review, that he was arrested while trying to help the United States locate senior Taliban figures. He denied any links to militant groups.
Mohammad Nabi Omari
Omari was a minor Taliban official in Khost Province. According to the first administrative review in 2004, he was a member of the Taliban and associated with both al Qaeda and another militant group Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. He was the Taliban’s chief of communications and helped al Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Omari acknowledged during hearings that he had worked for the Taliban but denied connections with militant groups. He also said that he had worked with a U.S. operative named Mark to try to track down Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/31/us/bergdahl-transferred-guantanamo-detainees/index.html

 

The bizarre tale of America’s last known POW

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the last known American POW, was freed after five years in captivity — an ordeal that began and ended in Afghanistan under a shroud of mystery.

The Taliban turned over Bergdahl Saturday morning to US special forces in exchange for five notorious Islamic militants who had been held at Guantanamo Bay and will be sent to Qatar, where they will stay for a year under the terms of the trade.

At least one of the prisoners, ranking Taliban leader Khairullah Khairkhwa, had direct ties to Osama bin Laden.

Bergdahl was picked up by helicopter in western Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border.

After climbing aboard, the 28-year-old Idahoan, trying to communicate with his rescuers over the roar of the rotors, scrawled “SF?” on a paper plate — asking his rescuers whether they were special forces.

“Yes,” one of the men shouted. “We’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

The Army infantryman — himself nicknamed “SF” by his comrades for his gung-ho interest in special-forces tactics — began to weep.

Bergdahl’s parents, who had lobbied continuously for his ­release, had not seen him by Saturday night, but intimated that he faces an arduous recovery from his ordeal.

Bergdahl is speaking in what appears to be Pashto, said his dad, Bob Bergdahl. It was not clear whether his son can still even speak English, Bob said.

When the father spoke to his son — for the first time in five worried years — it was to say both in Pashto and English, “I am your father, Bowe.”

“We will continue to stay strong for Bowe while he recovers,” said his mom, Jani.

The search for Bergdahl began soon after he went missing on June 30, 2009, in the same rugged wilds of southeastern Afghanistan where NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed.

Bergdahl’s mysterious disappearance from the small military outpost there and the subsequent revelation that he was in enemy hands prompted questions that still linger.

But in the weeks before his capture, Bergdahl had made murky statements that suggested he was gravitating away from the soldiers in his unit and toward ­desertion, a member of his platoon told Rolling Stone.

“He spent more time with the Afghans than he did with his platoon,” former Spc. Jason Fry told the magazine in 2012.

As a teen, the home-schooled son of Calvinists took up ballet — recruited to be a “lifter” by “a beautiful local girl,” Rolling Stone reported, “the guy who holds the girl aloft in a ballet sequence.” The strategy worked: Bergdahl — who also began dabbling in Budd­hism and tarot card reading — soon moved in with the woman.

Even as a teen, he could fire a .22-caliber rifle with precision.

At age 20, he traveled to Paris and started learning French in hopes of joining the French Foreign Legion.

His application was rejected, and he was devastated, the magazine reported.

Bergdahl would drift for years, working mainly at a coffee shop near home. He briefly considered moving to Uganda to help villagers being terrorized by militias before deciding on a different ­adventure.

“I’m thinking of joining the Army,” he told his folks after ­already having signed up.

Bergdahl’s dream was to help Afghan villagers rebuild their lives and learn to defend themselves, his dad told the magazine.

“The whole ‘COIN’ thing,” Bob explained, referring to America’s strategy of counter-insurgency. “We were given a fictitious picture, an artificially created picture of what we were doing in ­Afghanistan,” the dad said.

Bowe Bergdahl would detail his disillusionment with the Afghanistan campaign in an email to his parents three days before he went missing.

“I am sorry for everything here,” he wrote. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.”

Bergdahl also complained about fellow soldiers. The battalion commander was a “conceited old fool,” he said, and the only “decent” sergeants, planning to leave the platoon “as soon as they can,” told the privates — Bergdahl then among them — “to do the same.”

“I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools,” he concluded. “I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

Bob Bergdahl responded in an email: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”

One night, after finishing a guard-duty shift, Bowe Bergdahl asked his team leader whether there would be a problem if he left camp with his rifle and night-vision goggles — to which the team leader replied “yes.”

Bergdahl then returned to his bunker, picked up a knife, water, his diary and a camera, and left camp, according to Rolling Stone.

The next morning, he was reported missing, and later that day, a drone and four fighter jets ­began to search for him.

Weeks of searching turned into months. The military pushed his parents and fellow soldiers to sign nondisclosure agreements. But before everyone signed, a comrade from his unit publicly called on Facebook for Bergdahl’s execution as a deserter.

Propaganda videos of his captivity — which featured Bergdahl denouncing American foreign policy — were released.

At least once, in 2011, the prisoner, looking more haggard, fought back and tried to escape.

“He fought like a boxer,” a Taliban fighter told Newsweek.

Why Bergdahl was captured in the first place remained a mystery by the time high-level US government talks began in 2012 regarding a trade for his release.

“Frankly, we don’t give a s–t why he left,” one White House official said at the time. “He’s an American soldier. We want to bring him home.”

There was fierce debate over exchanging him for the five Taliban combatants. Sen. John McCain, himself a former POW, once described the five as “the five biggest murderers in world history,” according to Rolling Stone.

We Lost Soldiers in the Hunt for Bergdahl, a Guy Who Walked Off in the Dead of Night

Nathan Bradley Bethea

For five years, soldiers have been forced to stay silent about the disappearance and search for Bergdahl. Now we can talk about what really happened.
It was June 30, 2009, and I was in the city of Sharana, the capitol of Paktika province in Afghanistan. As I stepped out of a decrepit office building into a perfect sunny day, a member of my team started talking into his radio. “Say that again,” he said. “There’s an American soldier missing?”

There was. His name was Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, the only prisoner of war in the Afghan theater of operations. His release from Taliban custody on May 31 marks the end of a nearly five-year-old story for the soldiers of his unit, the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. I served in the same battalion in Afghanistan and participated in the attempts to retrieve him throughout the summer of 2009. After we redeployed, every member of my brigade combat team received an order that we were not allowed to discuss what happened to Bergdahl for fear of endangering him. He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth.

And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.

On the night prior to his capture, Bergdahl pulled guard duty at OP Mest, a small outpost about two hours south of the provincial capitol. The base resembled a wagon circle of armored vehicles with some razor wire strung around them. A guard tower sat high up on a nearby hill, but the outpost itself was no fortress. Besides the tower, the only hard structure that I saw in July 2009 was a plywood shed filled with bottled water. Soldiers either slept in poncho tents or inside their vehicles.

The next morning, Bergdahl failed to show for the morning roll call. The soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Blackfoot Company discovered his rifle, helmet, body armor and web gear in a neat stack. He had, however, taken his compass. His fellow soldiers later mentioned his stated desire to walk from Afghanistan to India.

The Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey later wrote that “[w]hether Bergdahl…just walked away from his base or was lagging behind on a patrol at the time of his capture remains an open and fiercely debated question.” Not to me and the members of my unit. Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not “lag behind on a patrol,” as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.

Our deployment was hectic and intense in the initial months, but no one could have predicted that a soldier would simply wander off. Looking back on those first 12 weeks, our slice of the war in the vicinity of Sharana resembles a perfectly still snow-globe—a diorama in miniature of all the dust-coated outposts, treeless brown mountains and adobe castles in Paktika province—and between June 25 and June 30, all the forces of nature conspired to turn it over and shake it. On June 25, we suffered our battalion’s first fatality, a platoon leader named First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw. Five days later, Bergdahl walked away.

His disappearance translated into daily search missions across the entire Afghanistan theater of operations, particularly ours. The combat platoons in our battalion spent the next month on daily helicopter-insertion search missions (called “air assaults”) trying to scour villages for signs of him. Each operations would send multiple platoons and every enabler available in pursuit: radio intercept teams, military working dogs, professional anthropologists used as intelligence gathering teams, Afghan sources in disguise. They would be out for at least 24 hours. I know of some who were on mission for 10 days at a stretch. In July, the temperature was well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit each day.

These cobbled-together units’ task was to search villages one after another. They often took rifle and mortar fire from insurgents, or perhaps just angry locals. They intermittently received resupply from soot-coated Mi-17s piloted by Russian contractors, many of whom were Soviet veterans of Afghanistan. It was hard, dirty and dangerous work. The searches enraged the local civilian population and derailed the counterinsurgency operations taking place at the time. At every juncture I remember the soldiers involved asking why we were burning so much gasoline trying to find a guy who had abandoned his unit in the first place. The war was already absurd and quixotic, but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was all the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition.

On July 4, 2009, a human wave of insurgents attacked the joint U.S./Afghan outpost at Zerok. It was in east Paktika province, the domain of our sister infantry battalion (3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry). Two Americans died and many more received wounds. Hundreds of insurgents attacked and were only repelled by teams of Apache helicopters. Zerok was very close to the Pakistan border, which put it into the same category as outposts now infamous—places like COP Keating or Wanat, places where insurgents could mass on the Pakistani side and then try to overwhelm the outnumbered defenders.

One of my close friends was the company executive officer for the unit at Zerok. He is a mild-mannered and generous guy, not the kind of person prone to fits of pique or rage. But, in his opinion, the attack would not have happened had his company received its normal complement of intelligence aircraft: drones, planes, and the like. Instead, every intelligence aircraft available in theater had received new instructions: find Bergdahl. My friend blames Bergdahl for his soldiers’ deaths. I know that he is not alone, and that this was not the only instance of it. His soldiers’ names were Private First Class Aaron Fairbairn and Private First Class Justin Casillas.

Though the 2009 Afghan presidential election slowed the search for Bergdahl, it did not stop it. Our battalion suffered six fatalities in a three-week period. On August 18, an IED killed Private First Class Morris Walker and Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen during a reconnaissance mission. On August 26, while conducting a search for a Taliban shadow sub-governor supposedly affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss was shot in the face and killed. On September 4, during a patrol to a village near the area in which Bergdahl vanished, an insurgent ambush killed Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews and gravely wounded Private First Class Matthew Martinek, who died of his wounds a week later. On September 5, while conducting a foot movement toward a village also thought affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey stepped on an improvised land mine. He died the next day.

It is important to name all these names. For the veterans of the units that lost these men, Bergdahl’s capture and the subsequent hunt for him will forever tie to their memories, and to a time in their lives that will define them as people. He has finally returned. Those men will never have the opportunity.

Bergdahl was not the first American soldier in modern history to walk away blindly. As I write this in Seoul, I’m about 40 miles from where an American sergeant defected to North Korea in 1965. Charles Robert Jenkins later admitted that he was terrified of being sent to Vietnam, so he got drunk and wandered off on a patrol. He was finally released in 2004, after almost 40 hellish years of brutal internment. The Army court-martialed him, sentencing him to 30 days’ confinement and a dishonorable discharge. He now lives peacefully with his wife in Japan—they met in captivity in North Korea, where they were both forced to teach foreign languages to DPRK agents. His desertion barely warranted a comment, but he was not hailed as a hero. He was met with sympathy and humanity, and he was allowed to live his life, but he had to answer for what he did.

The war was already absurd and quixotic, but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition.

I believe that Bergdahl also deserves sympathy, but he has much to answer for, some of which is far more damning than simply having walked off. Many have suffered because of his actions: his fellow soldiers, their families, his family, the Afghan military, the unaffiliated Afghan civilians in Paktika, and none of this suffering was inevitable. None of it had to happen. Therefore, while I’m pleased that he’s safe, I believe there is an explanation due. Reprimanding him might yield horrible press for the Army, making our longest war even less popular than it is today. Retrieving him at least reminds soldiers that we will never abandon them to their fates, right or wrong. In light of the propaganda value, I do not expect the Department of Defense to punish Bergdahl.

He’s lucky to have survived. I once saw an insurgent cellphone video of an Afghan National Police enlistee. They had young boys hold him down, boys between the ages of 10 and 15, all of whom giggled like they were jumping on a trampoline. The prisoner screamed and pleaded for his life. The captors cut this poor man’s head off. That’s what the Taliban and their allies do to their captives who don’t have the bargaining value of an American soldier. That’s what they do to their fellow Afghans on a regular basis. No human being deserves that treatment, or to face the threat of that treatment every day for nearly five years.

But that certainly doesn’t make Bergdahl a hero, and that doesn’t mean that the soldiers he left behind have an obligation to forgive him. I just hope that, with this news, it marks a turning point for the veterans of that mad rescue attempt. It’s done. Many of the soldiers from our unit have left the Army, as I have. Many have struggled greatly with life on the outside, and the implicit threat of prosecution if they spoke about Bergdahl made it much harder to explain the absurdity of it all. Our families and friends wanted to understand what we had experienced, but the Army denied us that.

I forgave Bergdahl because it was the only way to move on. I wouldn’t wish his fate on anyone. I hope that, in time, my comrades can make peace with him, too. That peace will look different for every person. We may have all come home, but learning to leave the war behind is not a quick or easy thing. Some will struggle with it for the rest of their lives. Some will never have the opportunity.

And Bergdahl, all I can say is this: Welcome back. I’m glad it’s over. There was a spot reserved for you on the return flight, but we had to leave without you, man. You’re probably going to have to find your own way home.

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/02/we-lost-soldiers-in-the-hunt-for-bergdahl-a-guy-who-walked-off-in-the-dead-of-night.html

 

Five of the Most Dangerous Taliban Commanders in U.S. Custody Exchanged for American Captive

3:42 PM, MAY 31, 2014 • BY THOMAS JOSCELYN

The Obama administration announced today that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held by the Taliban for several years, has been freed from his captors. Reading the stories of his newfound freedom it is impossible not to feel joy for Bergdahl and his family. NBC News reports that Bergdahl held up a sign once he was on board an American helicopter that read, “SF?” The operators quickly confirmed that they were in fact U.S. Special Forces: “Yes, we’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

Gitmo

“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said in a statement. The president rightly noted: “Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.”

Unfortunately, America is not the only party in this war that is committed to leaving no man behind. So are the Taliban and other al Qaeda-linked groups. But the president did not say who America exchanged for Bergdahl: five of the most dangerous Taliban commanders in U.S. custody.

The Taliban has long demanded that the “Gitmo 5” be released in order for peace talks to begin in earnest. The Obama administration has desperately sought to engage the Taliban as American forces are drawn down in Afghanistan, but those talks have gone nowhere to this point.  At first, the administration set preconditions for the talks, including that the Taliban break its relationship with al Qaeda. When it became clear that this was a non-starter, the administration decided to make the Taliban’s desired break with al Qaeda a goal, and no longer a precondition, for its diplomacy.

There is little hope that the peace talks will be more successful now. But the president seems to believe that Bergdahl’s exchange for the Gitmo 5 (who are reportedly being transferred to Qatar) may break the ice. “While we are mindful of the challenges, it is our hope Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery could potentially open the door for broader discussions among Afghans about the future of their country by building confidence that it is possible for all sides to find common ground,” Obama said in his statement.

The Obama administration says that security measures have been put into place to make sure that the Gitmo 5 do not pose a threat to American national security. Let’s hope that is true; it certainly has not been the case with many ex-Gitmo detainees in the past.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has profiled these jihadists previously on multiple occasions, and what follows below is culled from these accounts.

There are good reasons why the Taliban has long wanted the five freed from Gitmo. All five are among the Taliban’s top commanders in U.S. custody and are still revered in jihadist circles.

Two of the five have been wanted by the UN for war crimes. And because of their prowess, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) deemed all five of them “high” risks to the U.S. and its allies.

The Obama administration wants to convince the Taliban to abandon its longstanding alliance with al Qaeda. But these men contributed to the formation of that relationship in the first place. All five had close ties to al Qaeda well before the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, it is difficult to see how their freedom would help the Obama administration achieve one of its principal goals for the hoped-for talks.

Here are short bios for each of the five Taliban commanders. All quotes are drawn from declassified and leaked documents prepared at Guantanamo.

Mullah Mohammad Fazl (Taliban army chief of staff): Fazl is “wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites.” Fazl “was associated with terrorist groups currently opposing U.S. and Coalition forces including al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), and an Anti-Coalition Militia group known as Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami.” In addition to being one of the Taliban’s most experienced military commanders, Fazl worked closely with a top al Qaeda commander named Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, who headed al Qaeda’s main fighting unit in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 and is currently detained at Guantanamo.

Mullah Norullah Noori (senior Taliban military commander): Like Fazl, Noori is “wanted by the United Nations (UN) for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims.” Beginning in the mid-1990s, Noori “fought alongside al Qaeda as a Taliban military general, against the Northern alliance.” He continued to work closely with al Qaeda in the years that followed.

Abdul Haq Wasiq (Taliban deputy minister of intelligence): Wasiq arranged for al Qaeda members to provide crucial intelligence training prior to 9/11. The training was headed by Hamza Zubayr, an al Qaeda instructor who was killed during the same September 2002 raid that netted Ramzi Binalshibh, the point man for the 9/11 operation. Wasiq “was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against U.S. and Coalition forces after the 11 September 2001 attacks,” according to a leaked JTF-GTMO threat assessment.

Khairullah Khairkhwa (Taliban governor of the Herat province and former interior minister): Khairkhwa was the governor of Afghanistan’s westernmost province prior to 9/11. In that capacity, he executed sensitive missions for Mullah Omar, including helping to broker a secret deal with the Iranians. For much of the pre-9/11 period, Iran and the Taliban were bitter foes. But a Taliban delegation that included Kharikhwa helped secure Iran’s support for the Taliban’s efforts against the American-led coalition in late 2001. JTF-GTMO found that Khairkhwa was likely a major drug trafficker and deeply in bed with al Qaeda. He allegedly oversaw one of Osama bin Laden’s training facilities in Herat.

Mohammed Nabi (senior Taliban figure and security official): Nabi “was a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles.” Nabi “had strong operational ties to Anti-Coalition Militia (ACM) groups including al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), some of whom remain active in ACM activities.” Intelligence cited in the JTF-GTMO files indicates that Nabi held weekly meetings with al Qaeda operatives to coordinate attacks against U.S.-led forces.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/five-most-dangerous-taliban-commanders-us-custody-released-pow-exchange_794017.html?page=2

 

The best biography of George Washington yet

Ron Chernow’s extraordinary new book paints the first president as a man in a struggle to contain his emotions

Two unforgettable images run through Ron Chernow’s great book, “Washington: A Life,” and they have nothing to do with cherry trees or wooden teeth or silver dollars thrown across the Potomac.

The first is the image of a gallows. It appears early in the narrative, when Colonel George Washington of the Virginia Militia, seeking to terrify his untutored, undisciplined, ragamuffin soldiers into obedience, builds a 40-foot-high gibbet. Soon after, he sentences 14 of his men to death for desertion and insubordination. Though he will eventually spare 12 from the noose, he will still punish them with absolutely fierce and shocking floggings, an average of 600 lashes per prisoner. “Washington made a point of hanging people in public,” Ron Chernow writes, “to deter others.” It is an expression of “his blazing temper.” It is also a result of his experience as explorer and soldier in the Virginia wilderness, “which darkened his view of human nature.” His lifelong practice will be to see “people as motivated more by force than kindness.” When he hangs his first man, the year is 1756, Virginia is still a British colony, and Washington is 24 years old.

These gallows will recur. They are what novelists call a “through-line” or motif, a pattern of figures within a story. To a historian they are that and more. They are a kind of portal into Washington’s famously elusive, enigmatic character.

Gallows and nooses were, of course, an ordinary part of Washington’s time and world. To hang a disobedient solider — or rebel — was commonplace in 18th century warfare. The British government routinely punished treason this way, with the additional flourish of disemboweling the offender while he was still alive, and then decapitating him. When Benjamin Franklin cautions the Continental Congress that “we must all hang together, or we will all hang separately,” only the first part of his famous sentence is metaphorical.

 

FORMER OFFICER: SOLDIERS WERE ‘THREATENED’ IF THEY QUESTIONED BERGDAHL STORY

by 

A former U.S. officer who served in Afghanistan with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl claims that soldiers were threatened by U.S. authorities if they questioned his story.

After he was captured, Bergdahl said on a video from his captors that he lagged behind on patrol, although other sources in the military suggested anonymously that he walked away from his post.

“Not only has this nebulous non-story been put out for years but you know these soldiers of 4th Brigade 25th Infantry Division were threatened with legal repercussions if they spoke about Bergdahl. Everybody officially mandated silencing of what we saw has been so frustrating,” Bethea explained on BBC World Service Radio today.

Bethea served in Sgt. Bergdahl’s unit, and was an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2014

CNN’s Jake Tapper also reported that many of Bergdahl’s fellow troops signed nondisclosure agreements agreeing to never share any information about Bergdahl’s disappearance and the efforts to recapture him.

Bethea explained that now he was safe, more soldiers would be trying to tell the truth of his disappearance.

BBC interviewed Bethea after he wrote an article for the Daily Beast, asserting that Bergdahl was a deserter.

“He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth,” he wrote. “And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”

Bethea admitted that it would probably be unlikely that Bergdahl would face a court martial, because it would cast doubt on the deal the United States made with the Taliban to secure his release.

“I would at least like to see an official statement on what happened,” he said, referring to the Department of Defense.

Bergdahl is currently at an American military hospital in Germany, where he is being evaluated.

Bethea said that he would reserve judgement whether or not Bergdahl betrayed his country.

“I’m not going to call the guy a traitor just because it sounds like a stronger or harsher word than deserter,” Bethea said, admitting that he didn’t know what happened to him after he was captured.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/02/Former-Officer-Soldiers-Were-Threatened-if-They-Questioned-Bergdahl-Story

 

AWOL and Desertion

By 

Many people confuse the terms, AWOL and Desertion. Some people believe that AWOL is when someone is absent for less than 30 days, and someone absent from the military for 30 days or more is a deserter. That’s not quite true.

Unauthorized absence from the military fall under three articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ): Article 85Desertion,Article 86AWOL, and Article 87Missing Movement. Of the three, Desertion is the most serious offense.

Missing Movement

A military member has violated Article 87 if he/she is ordered to be on a ship or an aircraft, or deploy with a unit on a certain date and time, and then fails to show up. It doesn’t matter if the member failed to show up through intention or because of neglect, but it is required that the member knew about the movement. A viable defense would be that the member missed the movement through physical inability (as long as that physical inability wasn’t a result of misconduct or neglect). The possible punishment is more severe if the member missed the movement on purpose. It’s not uncommon for Missing Movement to be charged in conjunction with AWOL or Desertion, depending on the circumstances.

AWOL

AWOL, or “Absent without Leave,” is usually called “Unauthorized Absence” (or UA) by the Navy and Marine Corps, and AWOL by the Army and Air Force. The use of “UA” by the Navy/Marine Corps and “AWOL” by the Army/Air Force is historical. Prior to enactment of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 1951 the services were governed by separate laws. However, its official title under the current UCMJ is “AWOL” (a rose by any other name is still a rose). It simply means not being where you are supposed to be at the time you are supposed to be there. Being late for work is a violation of Article 86. Missing a medical appointment is a violation. So is disappearing for several days (or months, or years). The maximum possible punishments, which I’ll discuss later in this article, depends on the exact circumstances of the absence.

Desertion

Did you know that desertion can result in the death penalty? It’s true. The maximum punishment for desertion during “time of war” is death. However, since the Civil War, only one American servicemember has ever been executed for desertion — Private Eddie Slovik in 1945.

The offense of desertion, under Article 85 carries a much greater punishment than the offense of AWOL, under Article 86. Many people believe that if one is absent without authority for 30 days or more, the offense changes from AWOL to desertion, but that’s not quite true.

The primary difference between the two offenses is “intent to remain away permanently,” or if the purpose of the absence is to shirk “important duty,” (such as a combat deployment).

If one intends to return to “military control” someday, one is guilty of AWOL, not desertion, even if they were away for 50 years. Conversely, if a person was absent for just one minute, and then captured, he could be convicted of desertion, if the prosecution could prove that the member intended to remain away from the military permanently.

If the intent of the absence was to “shirk important duty,” such as a combat deployment, then the “intent to remain away permanently” to support a charge of desertion is not necessary. However, Such services as drill, target practice, maneuvers, and practice marches are not ordinarily “important duty.” “Important duty” may include such duty as hazardous duty, duty in a combat zone, certain ship deployments, etc. Whether a duty is hazardous or a service is important depends upon the circumstances of the particular case, and is a question of fact for the court-martial to decide.

More About AWOL and Desertion

Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)
ART. 85. DESERTION
 More of this Feature
• UCMJ Menu
• Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
 Join the Discussion
Military Law
 Related Resources
• Court Martials
• Nonjudicial Punishment (Art 15)
• Administrative Discharges
• Military Lawyers 

 From Other Guides
• Crime & Punishment
• Current Events: Law
• Government
• US Government Info

 

 

(a) Any member of the armed forces who–

(1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;

(2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or

(3) without being regularly separated from one of the armed forces enlists or accepts an appointment in the same or another on of the armed forces without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated, or enters any foreign armed service except when authorized by the United States;

is guilty of desertion.

(b) Any commissioned officer of the armed forces who, after tender of his resignation and before notice of its acceptance, quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away therefrom permanently is guilty of desertion.

(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

Note: For specific details concerning this offense, including elements of proof, maximum punishments, and detailed explanation, see Punitive Articles of the UCMJ.

Next Article > ART. 86. ABSENCE WITHOUT LEAVE >

 

 

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National Security Agency (NSA) — Who’s The Enemy? — The American People — House Judiciary Committee Guts NSA Reform Bill — USA Freedom Act — Broadly Defined Bulk Collection Will Continue — Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on U.S. Freedom Act — Videos

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James Bamford Says NSA “Exploiting” U.S. Citizens With Info About Their Online Porno Viewing Habits

 

 

 

Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on USA FREEDOM Act

Yesterday, C4L sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee strongly opposing the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act.

The original version of the act was sold to Americans as a way to rein in the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, and it would have been a first step towards real reform of the surveillance state since 9/11.

But, that’s seldom the way Congress works. In an effort to “pass something this year,” the Judiciary Committee watered down the legislation and it passed out of the committee unanimously.

Want proof the recent changes to USA Freedom Act make it unworthy of support from civil libertarians? Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s biggest cheerleaders in the House,just reported it out of their committee by voice vote.

What’s more likely, that Rogers and Ruppersberger had a change of heart on the NSA? Or that Judiciary watered down the USA FREEDOM Act enough to the point that its “reform” is devoid of any substantive changes?

The bill is now earning plaudits from the same guys who said the original version would “make America less safe,” and from the administration that never wanted you to know they were spying on you in the first place.

Read Campaign for Liberty’s letter to the Judiciary Committee below:

Letter to Judiciary Committee – USA FREEDOM Act

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/congress-pulls-bait-switch-usa-freedom-act/

 

USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

Surveillance reform bill designed to prevent collection of US phone data in bulk and is first to proceed onto the House floor

Jim Sensenbrenner
The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner, said the bill ‘makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.’ Photo: Chip Somodevilla /Getty

Six months after it was written to restrain the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance, a privacy bill cleared a major legislative obstacle on Wednesday, even as its advocates worried that the compromises made to advance the bill have weakened its constraints on mass data collection.

The USA Freedom Act, designed to prevent the US government from collecting US phone data in bulk, passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 32 to zero bi-partisan vote, making it the first surveillance reform bill to proceed out of committee and to the House floor.

But an internal committee breakthrough on Monday that won the support of chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, significantly recast the bill, softening its prohibitions on aspects of bulk collection and requiring transparency around it.

The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who also wrote the 2001 Patriot Act, said the bill “makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.”

While changes to the bill now permit the government to gather call records up to two degrees of separation away from a specific target – potentially millions of records – Sensenbrenner urged his colleagues “not to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” expressing confidence that the revamped USA Freedom Act was on “the fast track to passage.”

Supporters in and outside of Congress concede the latest compromises have left the USA Freedom Act less protective of civil liberties than it was when introduced in October. Its distinctions from a rival bill written by the leaders of the House intelligence committee, the NSA’s strongest Capitol Hill advocates, are somewhat blurred, prompting civil libertarians to become less enthusiastic of a measure they have championed as a fix to the broad NSA powers exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and longtime USA Freedom Act supporter, said that the new version of the bill was a “less than perfect compromise” that still makes “important, vital, substantive changes” to US surveillance.

The revised USA Freedom Act, “while still better than any other proposal on the board, is a setback from the original,” said Amie Stepanovich of Access, a human rights and digital rights advocacy group.

While the USA Freedom Act has nearly 150 House co-sponsors, and a stalled Senate companion commands 20 votes in the upper chamber, it was clear on Wednesday that the House intelligence committee will continue attempts to outmaneuvre its rival.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, until now a fervent critic of the USA Freedom Act, is now praising a bill he has long criticized, and which several congressional sources said he attempted to influence ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is retiring this year, called the changes to the USA Freedom Act a “huge improvement,” adding in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine that the bill’s architects have “come a lot closer [and] now we’re just trying to work out the wording.”

Rogers is scheduled to mark up his alternative bill, the Fisa Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday, a decision USA Freedom Act supporters view as a desperation move. But on Wednesday, Rogers’ committee announced it will also mark up the USA Freedom Act on Thursday, prompting Capitol Hill speculation that Rogers will attempt to merge his bill with the Freedom Act rather than attempt to rally more votes.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had earlier thrown his support behind Rogers’ bill. But now Boehner is said to be monitoring the committe process and keeping his options open. Congressional sources expected Boehner to schedule a vote on a surveillance proposal – of whatever form – as early as the week of 19 May, so the issue does not derail the annual defense budget authorization, though nothing is scheduled yet.

Both bills as originally crafted prevent the NSA from collecting US phone data in bulk, as it has done in secret since 2001, a position that President Barack Obama now embraces. The major difference between the two bills remains the role of judges in authorizing data collection. The Rogers bill permits the government to collect phone and email data absent a judges’ prior order, which the revised USA Freedom Act requires in all but emergency cases.

Additionally, the revised USA Freedom Act permits the government to get phone data two “hops,” or degrees of separation, from the target of the order, which can mean millions of call records reaped from a single court order. The legal standard for that order, for counterterrorism purposes, will be “reasonable articulable suspicion” of connection to an agent of a foreign power, the NSA’s desired framework.

Significantly, the new version of the USA Freedom Act all but stripped out a provision preventing the NSA from combing through its foreign communications dragnets for Americans’ information, something Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon dubbed the “backdoor search provision,” an absence that has deeply upset supporters. Those dragnets exist pursuant to a major 2008 piece of legislation, known as Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act.

Congressional sources pointed to new language tightening up prohibitions on the NSA intentionally targeting Americans’ communications at the outset as a palliative. But they conceded the absence of the backdoor search ban was a major change – one they said the NSA’s advocates fought hard for, an indication of how central the NSA considers a power it has rarely forthrightly acknowledged using. They indicated that USA Freedom Act supporters lacked the votes within the committee to pass the bill that retained the backdoor search prohibition.

An attempt by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, to restore the backdoor search provision failed Wednesday. Goodlatte said restoring it would “disrupt this bipartisan agreement.”

Kevin Bankston of the Open Technology Institute said he was “incredibly disappointed” at the new USA Freedom Act’s effective blessing of backdoor searches.

“Especially when we’re expecting the government’s own surveillance watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, to issue a report on just that issue within a month or so, closing the door to reform on Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act would be premature,” Bankston said in a statement.

But the Judiciary Committee restored a provision initially struck from the original USA Freedom Act permitting increased transparency for companies receiving surveillance orders for their customers’ data, the absence of which had alarmed supporters.

The language, added back to the bill Wednesday by Representative Suzan Delbene of Washington, had been cut in order to codify a January deal the Justice Department reached with phone and Internet companies allowing them to list received orders only in bands of 1,000 and with a time lag. Congressional sources said companies lobbied hard to restore transparency language.

The Obama administration has withheld endorsement of either bill in public, confusing supporters. But in recent weeks, its guidance to Capitol Hill on surveillance reform included a requirement for up-front judicial authorization for data requests, which only the USA Freedom Act possesses.

“At this stage, I think I’d just say we will be watching closely as these bills go through the process,” said Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman said shortly before the vote.

Hours after the vote, Hayden issued a statement welcoming the USA Freedom Act as “a very good first step”:

“In March the president laid out his proposal to reform Section 215, and called upon Congress to act quickly to pass implementing legislation. We applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approaching this issue on a bipartisan basis. The Judiciary Committee passed bill is a very good first step in that important effort, and we look forward to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence action on it tomorrow,” Hayden said.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the provision cited by the NSA and blessed by the secret Fisa Court for bulk data collection.

Some legislators, distressed by the changes to the USA Freedom Act, are considering a different option for surveillance reform.

As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

But Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a Democrat, said the USA Freedom Act was “the first, best and perhaps only chance in a decade” to constrain widespread surveillance.

“This is our chance. We have to seize it,” Nadler said on Wednesday.

Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who sponsored the USA Freedom Act in the Senate, hailed the committee vote, but said he was concerned that the text does not reform the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national-security letters and makes insufficient changes on transparency and to the Fisa Court.

“I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA Freedom Act this summer,” Leahy said in a statement.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/07/usa-freedom-act-clears-house-committee-nsa-surveillance

 

USA Freedom Act

The USA Freedom Act, formally titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection and Online Monitoring Act, is a bill that was introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress on October 29, 2013.

The House version, introduced by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner as HR 3361, was referred to the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations January 9, 2014,[3] and the Senate version, S. 1599, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] An amended version out of the House Judiciary Committee contained many provisions raising concerns among civil libertarians,[5] including an extension of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[6][7] The bill will be considered in the Senate through the summer of 2014.[8]

Purpose

The USA Freedom Act[9] would end the bulk collection of Americans’ metadata, end the secret laws created by the FISA court, and introduce a “Special Advocate” to represent public and privacy matters.[10][11][12] Other proposed changes include limits to programs like PRISM, which “incidentally” retains Americans’ Internet data,[13] and greater transparency by allowing companies such as Google and Facebook to disclose information about government demands for information.[14]

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill, stated that its purpose was:

To rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.[10][15]

According to the bill’s sponsors, their legislation would amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act to ensure that any phone records obtained by the government were essential in an investigation that involved terrorism or espionage, thereby ending bulk collection,[16] while preserving “the intelligence community’s ability to gather information in a more focused way.”[17] A May 2014 amended version of the bill would also extend thecontroversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[18] The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19]

The bill is made up of several titles: FISA business records reforms, FISA pen register and trap and trace device reforms, FISA acquisitions targeting persons outside the United States reforms, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reforms, Office of the Special Advocate, National Security Letter reforms, FISA and National Security Letter transparency reforms, and Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority.[20]

Background

Many members of Congress believed that in the wake of the Snowden disclosures, restoration of public trust would require legislative changes.[21] More than 20 bills have been written since the disclosures began with the goal of reining in government surveillance powers.[13]

Sensenbrenner, who introduced the USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162) in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks to give more power to US intelligence agencies, and who has described himself as “author of the Patriot Act”,[22] declared that it was time to put the NSA’s “metadata program out of business”. With its bulk collection of Americans’ phone data, Sensenbrenner asserted that the intelligence community “misused those powers”, had gone “far beyond” the original intent of the legislation, and had “overstepped its authority”.[21][23]

An opinion piece by Leahy and Sensenbrenner, published in Politico, described the impetus for proposed changes,[24] saying:

The intelligence community has failed to justify its expansive use of [the FISA and Patriot Act] laws. It is simply not accurate to say that the bulk collection of phone records has prevented dozens of terrorist plots. The most senior NSA officials have acknowledged as much in congressional testimony. We also know that the FISA court has admonished the government for making a series of substantial misrepresentations to the court regarding these programs. As a result, the intelligence community now faces a trust deficit with the American public that compromises its ability to do its job. It is not enough to just make minor tweaks around the edges. It is time for real, substantive reform.[17]

Markup in House Judiciary Committee

In May 2014, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee posted a “Manager’s Amendment” on its website. Title VII of the Amendment read “Section 102(b)(1) of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking “June 1, 2015″ and inserting “December 31, 2017″, extending the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[25] The Electronic Privacy Information Center(EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19] James Dempsey, of the CDT, believes that the Patriot Act unnecessarily overlooks the importance of notice under the Fourth Amendment and under a Title III wiretap,[26] while the American Library Association became so concerned that they formed a resolution condemning the USA PATRIOT Act, and which urged members to defend free speech and protect patrons’ privacy against the Act.[27]

The Guardian wrote “civil libertarians on the Judiciary Committee had to compromise in order to gain support for the act. Significantly, the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion‘ – a standard preferred by the NSA – of wrongdoing, and can collect call records two degrees or ‘hops’ of separation from the individual suspected”.[5] Kara Brandeisky of ProPublica said “some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute”.[28]

The National Journal wrote “one tech lobbyist noted concern that a provision that would have allowed companies to disclose to customers more information about government data requests has been dropped. In addition, an external special advocate that would oversee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would no longer be selected by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Instead, the court’s judges would designate five ‘amicus curiae‘ who possess appropriate security clearances.”[29]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated it remained “concerned that this bill omits important transparency provisions found in the USA FREEDOM Act, which are necessary to shed light on surveillance abuses”. In addition, the EFF said it believed “this bill should do more to address mass surveillance under Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, a section of law used to collect the communications of users worldwide”.[30] The Open Technology Institute commented “several other key reforms—such as provisions allowing Internet and phone companies to publish more information about the demands they receive, which OTI and a coalition of companies and organizations have been pressing for since last summer—have been removed, while the bill also provides for a new type of court order that the President has requested, allowing for continuous collection by the government of specified telephone records.”[31]

Despite the criticism from civil liberties groups, Mike Rogers, a defender of the NSA‘s surveillance practices and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, praised the amendments. Rogers, who had his own bill which would codify the NSA’s surveillance practices in to law, called the proposed amendments a “huge improvement”. Foreign Policy wrote “any compromise to the Judiciary bill risks an insurrection from civil libertarians in Congress. Michigan Republican Justin Amash led such a revolt last year when he offered an NSA amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have stripped funding for the NSA’s collection program.” “Just a weakened bill or worse than status quo? I’ll find out,” Representative Amash said.[32]

After passage of the marked up bill, USA Freedom Act co-author and Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy commented that he “remain concerned that the legislation approved today does not include some of the important reforms related to national security letters, a strong special advocate at the FISA Court, and greater transparency. I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA FREEDOM Act this summer.”[8]

Reaction

The Act has bipartisan support, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. As of May 8, 2014, it had 150 co-sponsors in the House[1] and 21 in the Senate.[2] Viewed as one of the most comprehensive of the similar bills introduced since the NSA leaks, the USA Freedom Act has support or qualified support from a diverse range of groups such as the ACLUMozilla, and the NRA.[13][33]

Representative Justin Amash, author of the narrowly-defeated Amash Amendment, a proposal that would have de-funded the NSA, backed the legislation. “It’s getting out of control” he commented, “[Courts are issuing] general warrants without specific cause…and you have one agency that’s essentially having superpowers to pass information onto others”.[23]

According to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, even if the Freedom Act becomes law, the NSA could continue its bulk collection of American’s phone records. He explained that “it’s going to depend on how the [FISA] court interprets any number of the provisions” contained within the legislation.[16] Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at Stanford Law School, stated:

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.[16]

Opponents of global surveillance have called for the bill to be strengthened. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a statement saying “we consider this bill to be a floor, not a ceiling”. The ACLU wrote that “although the USA Freedom Act does not fix every problem with the government’s surveillance authorities and programs, it is an important first step and it deserves broad support.”[34][35]

International human rights groups remain somewhat skeptical of specific provisions of the bill. For example, Human Rights Watch expressed its concern that the “bill would do little to increase protections for the right to privacy for people outside the United States, a key problem that plagues U.S. surveillance activities. Nor would the bill address mass surveillance or bulk collection practices that may be occurring under other laws or regulations, such as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or Executive Order 12333. These practices affect many more people and include the collection of the actual content of internet communications and phone calls, not just metadata”.[36] Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International‘s Security and Human Rights Program, agreed that “any proposal that fails to ban mass surveillance, end blanket secrecy, or stop discrimination against people outside the U.S. will be a false fix”.[37]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  4. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) S.1599″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  5. Jump up to:a b The Guardian: Chairman of key House committee agrees to proceed with NSA reform bill
  6. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act

    Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking ‘‘June 1, 2015’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2017’’.

  7. Jump up^ The Guardian: USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

    As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

  8. Jump up to:a b Office of Senator Patrick Leahy: Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Action by the House Judiciary Committee to End Bulk Collection
  9. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status: 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361 CRS Summary”. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  10. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan. “The USA Freedom Act: a look at the key points of the draft bill”Guardian.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Wilhelm, Alex (2013-10-29). “Proposed USA FREEDOM Act Would Dramatically Curtail The NSA’s Surveillance”TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  12. Jump up^ ‘Patriot Act’ Author Seeks ‘USA Freedom Act’ to Rein In NSA – US News and World Report. Usnews.com (October 10, 2013).
  13. Jump up to:a b c Gallagher, Rhan. “U.S. Lawmakers Launch Assault on NSA Domestic Snooping”Slate.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  14. Jump up^ “USA Freedom Act Would Leash the National Security Agency”Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Sensenbrenner, Jim. “The USA Freedom Act”House.gov. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  16. Jump up to:a b c Granick, Jennifer (2013-12-16). “NSA’s Creative Interpretations Of Law Subvert Congress And The Rule Of Law”Forbes. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  17. Jump up to:a b Leahy, Sen. Patrick; Sensenbrenner, Rep. Jim (29 October 2013). “The case for NSA reform”Politico. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  18. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  19. Jump up to:a b “Analysis of Specific USA PATRIOT Act Provisions: Expanded Dissemination of Information Obtained in Criminal Investigations”AnalysisElectronic Privacy Information Center. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  20. Jump up^ “Bill Text 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361.IH”THOMASLibrary of Congress. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
  21. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan (2013-10-10). “Patriot Act author prepares bill to put NSA bulk collection ‘out of business’”Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  22. Jump up^ Editorial Board (2013-06-06). “President Obama’s Dragnet”. New York Times.
  23. Jump up to:a b Krietz, Andrew (2013-10-15). “Amash-backed bill aimed to end NSA spying programs garners even bipartisan support”. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  24. Jump up^ Shabad, Rebecca (2014-01-16). “Sen. Leahy on NSA claim: ‘Baloney’”The Hill.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  25. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  26. Jump up^ James X. Dempsey“Why Sections 209, 212, and 220 Should be Modified” (undated). Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  27. Jump up^ “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users”American Library Association. January 29, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  28. Jump up^ ProPublica: What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do
  29. Jump up^ National Journal: House Panels Race Against Each Other to Reform NSA Spying
  30. Jump up^ EFF Statement on Rep. Sensenbrenner’s USA FREEDOM Act Amendment
  31. Jump up^ Open Technology Institute: OTI Statement on New Version of Surveillance Reform Bill, The USA FREEDOM Act
  32. Jump up^ Foreign Policy: Key NSA Defender: Congress ‘A Lot Closer’ On Surveillance Reform
  33. Jump up^ Handerson (2013-10-29). “The Freedom Act will Help Rebuild User Trust in the Internet”The Mozilla Blog. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  34. Jump up^ Kurt Opsahl and Rainey Reitman (2013-11-14). “A Floor, Not a Ceiling: Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act as a Step Towards Less Surveillance”. Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  35. Jump up^ Michelle Richardson (2013-10-29). “The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform”. American Civil Liberties Union.
  36. Jump up^ Human Rights Watch: US: Modest Step by Congress on NSA Reform
  37. Jump up^ Amnesty International: Congress Must Put Human Rights at the Center of Surveillance Reform

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_Freedom_Act

 

XKeyscore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo for the XKeyscore program

XKeyscore or XKEYSCORE (abbreviated as XKS) is a formerly secret computer system first used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data it collects worldwide every day. The program has been shared with other spy agencies including Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst.[1]

The program’s existence was publicly revealed in July 2013 by Edward Snowden in The Sydney Morning Herald and O Globo newspapers, though the codename is mentioned in earlier articles, and like many other codenames can also be seen in job postings, and in the online resumes of employees.[2][3]

The scope of XKeyscore

XKeyscore is a complicated system and various authors have different interpretations about its actual capabilities. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald explained XKeyscore as being a system which enables almost unlimited surveillance of anyone anywhere in the world, while NSA said that usage of the system is limited and restricted.

According to The Washington Post and national security reporter Marc Ambinder, XKeyscore is an NSA data-retrieval system which consists of a series of user interfaces, backend databases, servers and software that selects certain types of data and metadata that the NSA has already collected using other methods.[4][5]

According to Snowden and Greenwald

On January 26, 2014, the German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk asked Edward Snowden in its TV interview: “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” and he answered:[1]

“You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.”
“…You can tag individuals… Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity.”

According to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, low-level NSA analysts can via systems like XKeyscore “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”[6]

He added that the NSA’s databank of collected communications allows its analysts to listen “to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future”.[6]

According to the NSA

Further information: SIGINT

In an official statement from July 30, 2013, the NSA said there is no “unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.” The NSA also states that there are “stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities.”[7]

The agency defended the program, stressing that it was only used to legally obtain information about “legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests. [...] XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. [...] These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully — to defend the nation and to protect U.S. and allied troops abroad.”[8]

Workings

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a worldmap with the locations of XKeyscore servers

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the query hierarchy

An NSA presentation about XKeyscore from 2008 says that it’s a “DNI Exploitation System/Analytic Framework”. DNI stands for Digital Network Intelligence, which means intelligence derived from internet traffic.[9] In an interview with the German Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Edward Snowden said about XKeyscore: “It’s a front end search engine”.[10]

Data sources

XKeyscore consists of over 700 servers at approximately 150 sites where the NSA collects data, like “US and allied military and other facilities as well as US embassies and consulates” in many countries around the world.[11][12][13] Among the facilities involved in the program are four bases in Australia and one in New Zealand.[12]

According to an NSA presentation from 2008, these XKeyscore servers are fed with data from the following collection systems:[14]

  1. F6 (Special Collection Service) – joint operation of the CIA and NSA that carries out clandestine operations including espionage on foreign diplomats and leaders
  2. FORNSAT – which stands for “foreign satellite collection”, and refers to intercepts from satellites
  3. SSO (Special Source Operations) – a division of the NSA that cooperates with telecommunication providers

In a single, undated slide published by Swedish media in December 2013, the following additional data sources for XKeyscore are mentioned:[15]

  1. Overhead – intelligence derived from American spy planes, drones and satellites
  2. Tailored Access Operations – a division of the NSA that deals with hacking and cyberwarfare
  3. FISA – all types of surveillance approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
  4. Third party – foreign partners of the NSA such as the (signals) intelligence agencies of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, etc.

From these sources, XKeyscore stores “full-take data”, which are indexed by plug-ins that extract certain types of metadata (like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, log-ins, and user activity) and index them in metadata tables, which can be queried by analysts. XKeyscore has been integrated with MARINA, which is NSA’s database for internet metadata.[9]

However, the system continuously gets so much Internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content data remain on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for up to 30 days.[16] A detailed commentary on an NSA presentation published in The Guardian in July 2013 cites a document published in 2008 declaring that “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”[17]

Capabilities

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the differences between the various NSA database systems

For analysts, XKeyscore provides a “series of viewers for common data types”, which allows them to query terabytes of raw data gathered at the aforementioned collection sites. This enables them to find targets that cannot be found by searching only the metadata, and also to do this against data sets that otherwise would have been dropped by the front-end data processing systems. According to a slide from an XKeyscore presentation, NSA collection sites select and forward less than 5% of the internet traffic to the PINWALE database for internet content.[16]

Because XKeyscore holds raw and unselected communications traffic, analysts can not only perform queries using “strong selectors” like e-mail addresses, but also using “soft selectors”, like keywords, against the body texts of e-mail and chat messages and digital documents and spreadsheets in English, Arabic and Chinese.[9]

This is useful because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous” and therefore those activities can’t be found by just looking for e-mail addresses of a target. When content has been found, the analyst might be able to find new intelligence or a strong selector, which can then be used for starting a traditional search.[9]

Besides using soft selectors, analysts can also use the following other XKeyscore capabilities:[9][18]

  • Look for the usage of Google Maps and terms entered into a search engine by known targets looking for suspicious things or places.
  • Look for “anomalies” without any specific person attached, like detecting the nationality of foreigners by analyzing the language used within intercepted emails. An example would be a German speaker in Pakistan. The Brazilian paper O Globo claims that this has been applied to Latin America and specifically to Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.[11][19]
  • Detect people who use encryption by do searches like “all PGP usage in Iran”. The caveat given is that very broad queries can result in too much data to transmit back to the analyst.
  • Showing the usage of Virtual private networks (VPNs) and machines that can potentially be hacked via TAO.
  • Track the source and authorship of a document that has passed through many hands.

Most of these things cannot be detected by other NSA tools because they operate with strong selectors (like e-mail and IP addresses and phone numbers) and the raw data volumes are too high to forward them to other NSA databases.[9]

In 2008, it was planned to add a number of new capabilities in the future, like:

Significance

The NSA slides published in The Guardian during 2013 claimed that XKeyscore had played a role in capturing 300 terrorists by 2008.[9] This claim could not be substantiated as the redacted documents do not cite instances of terrorist interventions.

A 2011 report from the NSA unit in Griesheim (Germany) says that XKeyscore made it easier and more efficient to target surveillance. Previously, analysis often accessed data they were not interested in. XKeyscore allowed them to focus on the intended topics, while ignoring unrelated data. XKeyscore also proved to be an outstanding tool for tracking active groups associated with the Anonymous movement in Germany, because it allows for searching on patterns, rather than particular individuals. An analyst is able to determine when targets research new topics, or develop new behaviors.[20]

To create additional motivation, the NSA incorporated various features from computer games into the program. For instance, analysts who were especially good at using XKeyscore could acquire “skilz” points and “unlock achievements.” The training units in Griesheim were apparently successful and analysts there had achieved the “highest average of skilz points” compared with all other NSA departments participating in the training program.[20]

Usage by foreign partners of the NSA

Germany

Excerpt of an NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden that reveals the BND‘s usage of the NSA’s XKeyscore to wiretap a German domestic target

According to documents Der Spiegel acquired from Snowden, the German intelligence agencies BND (foreign intelligence) and BfV (domestic intelligence) were also allowed to use the XKeyscore system. In those documents the BND agency was described as the NSA’s most prolific partner in information gathering.[21] This led to political confrontations, after which the directors of the German intelligence agencies briefed members of the German parliamentary intelligence oversight committee on July 25, 2013. They declared that XKeyscore has been used by the BND since 2007 and that the BfV uses a test version since 2012. The directors also explained that this program is not for collecting data, but only for analyzing them.[22]

Sweden

As part of the UKUSA Agreement, a secret treaty was signed in 1954 by Sweden with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for the purpose of intelligence collaboration and data sharing.[23] According to documents leaked by Snowden, the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has been granted access to XKeyscore.[24]

 

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Speaker of House Boehner To Establish Select Committee on Benghazi — Oversight Committee Subpoenas Secretary of State John Kerry — Videos

Posted on May 4, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Drones, Education, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Narcissism, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Strategy, Talk Radio, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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A covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is a military, intelligence or law enforcement operation that is carried clandestinely and, often, outside of official channels. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation. It is normally sponsored by taxes from the government.

Under United States law, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the sole US Government agency legally allowed to carry out Covert Action. The CIA’s authority to conduct Covert Action comes from the National Security Act of 1947. President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 titled in 1984. This order defined covert action as “special activities”, both political and military, that the US Government could legally deny. The CIA was also designated as the sole authority under the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and in Title 50 of the United States Code Section 413(e). The CIA must have a “Presidential Finding” issued by the President of the United States in order to conduct these activities under the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act. These findings are then monitored by the oversight committees in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result of this framework, the CIA “receives more oversight from the Congress than any other agency in the federal government.” The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, responsible for Covert Action and “Special Activities”. These special activities include covert political influence and paramilitary operations. The division is overseen by the United States Secretary of State.

The following persons are known to have participated in covert operations, as distinct from clandestine intelligence gathering (espionage) either by their own admission or by the accounts of others: Robert Baer Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, Czechoslovak British-trained agents sent to assassinate one of the most important Nazis, Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942 as part of Operation Anthropoid. Aaron Franklin, World War II US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer who created a fake group of the German Army, made up of POWs, with the mission of killing Hitler. As a colonel, he was the first commander of United States Army Special Forces. Charles Beckwith, US Army colonel who was an early exchange officer with the British Special Air Service (SAS), and created the Delta Force (1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta) based on the SAS. Gary Berntsen, CIA field officer and team leader during Operation Enduring Freedom Wendell Fertig, United States Army Reserve officer who organized large Filipino guerrilla forces against the Japanese in World War II Virginia Hall, American who first worked for the British Special Operations Executive, then for the American Office of Strategic Services in German-occupied France. Only U.S. woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. Eric Haney, founding member of Delta Force. Michael Harari, Israeli Mossad officer who led assassination operations (Operation Wrath of God) against PLO members accused of the 1972 Munich Massacre. Bruce Rusty Lang, commander of a mixed United States Army Special Forces & Montagnard (Degar/Bru people) commando Recon Team (RT Oklahoma) of Command and Control North, Studies and Observations Group. Previously served on Project 404, U.S. Embassy Laos, Assistant Army Attaché (“Secret War” in Laos 1970). Edward Lansdale, United States Air Force officer (and eventually major general) seconded to the CIA, and noted for his work with Ramon Magsaysay against the Hukbalahap insurgency in Philippines during the early 1950s, and later involved in Operation Mongoose against Cuba. T. E. Lawrence, British “Lawrence of Arabia” who organized Arab forces during World War I. Alain Mafart, French DGSE officer convicted, in New Zealand, for sinking the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. Richard Meadows, United States Army Special Forces officer known for many operations, including the POW rescue attempt at Son Tay, North Vietnam, and for deep operations in support of Operation Eagle Claw.

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130519-benghazi-timeline-spreasheeet

 

 

 

Boehner to Establish Select Committee on Benghazi

Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House.  These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen.  In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.

“The administration’s withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built.  And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?

“The House committees that have been investigating this attack have done extraordinary work, using their subpoena power, holding dozens of hearings, and conducting hundreds of interviews.  Without this work we would not know much that we do today.  But it’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight.  This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level.  I intend for this select committee to have robust authority, and I will expect it to work quickly to get answers for the American people and the families of the victims.

“Four Americans died at the hands of terrorists nearly 20 months ago, and we are still missing answers, accountability, and justice.  It’s time that change.”

 

http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/boehner-establish-select-committee-benghazi

 

Boehner announces special committee on Benghazi, Kerry subpoenaed

 

House Republicans moved on two fronts Friday to dig for answers on Benghazi, with Speaker John Boehner announcing a special committee to investigate and a key panel subpoenaing Secretary of State John Kerry to testify.

In a significant shift, Boehner announced that the House will vote on establishing a select committee to investigate, on the heels of newly released emails that raised additional questions about the White House’s response.

Top Republicans claimed those emails should have been released to Congress months ago, and Boehner signaled those concerns prompted him to rethink the need for a select committee.

“Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House. These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen,” he said in a statement.

“In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.”

Boehner has long faced pressure from rank-and-file members to form such a panel to probe the attacks which killed four Americans including a U.S. ambassador, and until now had resisted. Fox News is told the speaker made the decision Thursday to go forward with a vote.

The committee is expected to be bipartisan, and Fox News is told Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is among those being considered to lead it.

House GOP Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the “continued obstruction” made clear that a select committee is needed. Many of the details are still being worked out but Boehner claimed the panel, if approved in a vote by the full House, would have “robust authority.”

He called the alleged “withholding” of documents a “flagrant violation of trust.”

“This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level,” Boehner said.

But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid blasted the decision as an election-year stunt. “There have already been multiple investigations into this issue and an independent Accountability Review Board is mandated under current law,” Reid said in a statement. “For Republicans to waste the American people’s time and money staging a partisan political circus instead of focusing on the middle class is simply a bad decision.”

The movement comes after newly released emails raised questions about the White House role in pushing faulty claims about the attacks.

The emails in question were obtained and published by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. One email showed White House adviser Ben Rhodes discussing a “prep call” with then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, before she went on several Sunday shows and made controversial and flawed statements linking the attack to an anti-Islam Internet video.

The email from Rhodes emphasized the role of the Internet video — leading to GOP charges that this “smoking gun” shows the White House politicized the tragedy.

The White House maintains the “prep call” was in reference to protests elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

On the heels of those documents, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also announced Friday that it has issued the subpoena for Kerry to testify at a May 21 hearing. The chairman of that committee has accused the administration of hiding records following an earlier subpoena.

“The State Department’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack has shown a disturbing disregard for the Department’s legal obligations to Congress,” Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to Kerry.

He added: “Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game. Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee to answer questions about your agency’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.”

Before the subpoena was announced, Boehner also called on Kerry to testify before Congress in light of these revelations.

A State Department official voiced surprise at the announcement, telling Fox News that the department has been cooperating with the committee all along.

White House officials have pushed back hard on Republican claims that the Rhodes email was a “smoking gun” that proves the administration politicized the attack.

Former White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told Fox News on Thursday that he wished the documents had been released earlier.

“I bet you every single person in that White House wished that email has been released earlier. I wish it too because it tells us nothing new, It tells us what we said privately was what we said publicly, because that is what we thought had occurred,” Vietor said.

As for the special committee, one of the biggest backers of such a panel, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., commended Boehner for the decision.

He also cited Fox News’ reporting. “In the case of Benghazi, much credit goes to FOX News’ Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier for their tenacious commitment to this story and investigation,” he said in a statement.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/02/house-committee-subpoenas-kerry-over-benghazi-documents/

 

 

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Vikings — Videos

Posted on April 30, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Economics, Education, European History, Fiscal Policy, history, History of Economic Thought, Language, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Strategy, Video, War, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

The Vikings : Documentary on the Life, Culture, and Legacy of Vikings (Full Documentary)

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National Government Bureau of Land Management Saves The Desert Tortoises And Confiscates Cattle on Federal Land While Beef Prices Skyrocket — Update: BLS Retreat — Videos

Posted on April 12, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Constitution, Economics, Federal Government, Freedom, Friends, Government Land Ownership, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Regulations, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, Water, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Story 1: National Government Bureau of Land Management Saves The Desert Tortoises And Confiscates Cattle on Federal Land While Beef Prices Skyrocket — Videos

federal_land_ownership by statefed_land_ownership

Federal-Lands-States

fedland_nevadanevada-county-map

George Carlin -”Who Really Controls America”

Bobby Fuller I fought the law

Nevada Cattle Rancher Wins ‘Range War’ With Feds, All Cows Are Released

 

SHOCKING: Harry Reid behind This Bundy Cattle Ranch Standoff in Nevada

Cliven Bundy on Nevada Rancher standoff with feds: It’s for freedom and liberty – Lone Wolf

Showdown at Nevada Cattle Ranch

BREAKING: Feds prep for Waco style raid of Bundy Ranch

Lone Rancher ShowDown to Fight Feds for land April 9-14,Waco 2

Cliven Bundy bullied by the Fed’s

Food prices at grocery store skyrocketing

Beef Prices Skyrocketing

Land ownership in the American West

Revolution NOW in Nevada to Save Cliven Bundy

Yesterday Cliven Bundy’s friends & family Move In & Police Moved Out

We won ONE battle!

Range war 2014 Cliven D Bundy!

Cliven Bundy Under Siege, Call To Arms

The Heat is On: Desert Tortoises and Survival (Full video)

George Carlin on The Environment

Kevin Costner – OPEN RANGE – Full Movie

 

Nevada Cattle Rancher Wins ‘Range War’ With Feds

PHOTO: Federal agents clash with armed protestors over a ranchers 20-year tax fight.

 

AUTO START: ON OFF

A Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters.

Cliven Bundy went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.

Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870 and threatened a “range war” against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.

“I have no contract with the United States government,” Bundy said. “I was paying grazing fees for management and that’s what BLM was supposed to be, land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay.”

The federal government had countered that Bundy “owes the American people in excess of $1 million ” in unpaid grazing fees and “refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so.”

However, today the BLM said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cattle and was pulling out of the area.

“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” BLM Director Neil Kornze said.

“We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner,” he said.

The roundup began April 5, following lengthy court proceedings dating back to 1993, federal officials said. Federal officers began impounding the first lot of cows last weekend, and Bundy responded by inviting supporters onto his land to protest the action.

“It’s not about cows, it’s about freedom,” Utah resident Yonna Winget told ABC News affiliateKTNV in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“People are getting tired of the federal government having unlimited power,” Bundy’s wife, Carol Bundy told ABC News.

By Sunday, April 6, one of Bundy’s sons, Dave Bundy, was taken into custody for refusing to disperse and resisting arrest, while hundreds of other protesters, some venturing from interstate, gathered along the road few miles from Bundy’s property in solidarity. Dave Bundy was later released.

A spokesman for the Bundy encampment told ABC News roughly 300 protesters had assembled for the protest, while a BLM representative estimated there were around 100 people.

“We want a peaceful protest, but we also want our voices heard,” said Cliven Bundy’s sister, Chrisie Marshall Bundy.

But clashes between demonstrators and authorities took a violent turn on Wednesday, with cell phone video showing some being tasered at the site, including Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy. Two other protesters were detained, cited and later released on Thursday, according to the BLM.

As the movement grew by the day, and demonstrators rallied together, bonding by campfires at night, local protest leaders warned people not to wear camouflage and keep their weapons inside their vehicles.

Both sides said the issue is one of fairness, with the federal government maintaining that thousands of other cattle ranchers are abiding by the law by paying their annual grazing fees, while Bundy’s family and supporters say the government’s actions are threatening ranchers’ freedoms.

“It’s about the freedom of America,” said another of Bundy’s sisters, Margaret Houston. “We have to stand up and fight.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/nevada-cattle-rancher-wins-range-war-federal-government/story?id=23302610

Feds Back Down From Bundy Siege After Infowars Exposé of Chinese Land Grab

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Huge victory for property rights as establishment handed crushing defeat

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Infowars.com
April 12, 2014

UPDATE: Feds Back Down In New Bundy Standoff, Agree to Release Cattle

The federal government backed down and ended their siege against Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy less than 24 hours after an Infowars exposé connecting the land grab to Harry Reid and a Chinese-backed solar farm went viral, becoming the biggest news story on the Internet.

Last night, we revealed how the feds were using the Bureau of Land Management to bully and intimidate ranchers like Bundy, pushing them off public land in order to pave the way for lucrative “green energy” projects backed by the Communist Chinese government and linked to Nevada Senator Harry Reid.

The story went viral, taking the number one spot on the Viral News Chart website and becoming the most trafficked story on the web thanks to syndication by news powerhouse the Drudge Report.

This morning, the Sheriff of Clark County, Nevada, Douglas Gillespie, announced to thousands of Bundy supporters gathered in Bunkerville that a deal had been brokered with Cliven Bundy that would see the BLM cease its roundup of the rancher’s cattle.

A press release has already been put forth that the BLM is going to cease this operation,” stated Gillespie, to a huge roar from the crowd of Bundy supporters.

Further reports established that, “the BLM wants to proceed with the sale of the cattle already gathered during the roundup but is reportedly willing to share the revenue from the sale with Bundy.”

This represents a huge victory in the fight against big government and the federal agenda to seize public land in the name of pursuing notoriously corrupt and wasteful “green energy” projects.

It serves to remind us of the power of media spotlight and grass roots activism in affecting real change.

The victory also illustrates the increasing irrelevance and declining influence of mainstream media. The national corporate media was forced to reluctantly carry this story only in the last couple of days, before which it had already generated a firestorm of interest solely as a result of grass roots media like Infowars.com, Drudge and other burgeoning independent news outlets.

If this operation was a test on behalf of the feds of where Americans draw their line in the sand, then the outcome spells disaster for big government, which has been handed a huge defeat in the battle to restore constitutional freedoms and property rights in the face of out of control tyranny.

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/paul.j.watson.71
FOLLOW Paul Joseph Watson @ https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet

*********************

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

This article was posted: Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 1:19 pm

http://www.infowars.com/feds-back-down-from-bundy-siege-after-infowars-expose-of-chinese-land-grab/

US senator joins critics of federal cattle roundup

A Republican U.S. senator added his voice Wednesday to critics of a federal cattle roundup fought by a Nevada rancher who claims longstanding grazing rights on remote public rangeland about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he told new U.S. Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze in Washington, D.C., that law-abiding Nevadans shouldn’t be penalized by an “overreaching” agency.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval pointed earlier to what he called “an atmosphere of intimidation,” resulting from the roundup and said he believed constitutional rights were being trampled.

Heller said he heard from local officials, residents and the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and remained “extremely concerned about the size of this closure and disruptions with access to roads, water and electrical infrastructure.”

The federal government has shut down a scenic but windswept area about half the size of the state of Delaware to round up about 900 cattle it says are trespassing.

BLM and National Park Service officials didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to criticisms of the roundup that started Saturday and prompted the closure of the 1,200-square-mile area through May 12.

It’s seen by some as the latest battle over state and federal land rights in a state with deep roots in those disputes, including the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and ’80s. Nevada, where various federal agencies manage or control more than 80 percent of the land, is among several Western states where ranchers have challenged federal land ownership.

The current showdown pits rancher Cliven Bundy’s claims of ancestral rights to graze his cows on open range against federal claims that the cattle are trespassing on arid and fragile habitat of the endangered desert tortoise. Bundy has said he owns about 500 branded cattle on the range and claims the other 400 targeted for roundup are his, too.

BLM and Park Service officials see threats in Bundy’s promise to “do whatever it takes” to protect his property and in his characterization that the dispute constitutes a “range war.”

U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, noted that BLM officials were enforcing federal court orders that Bundy remove his animals. The legal battle has been waged for decades.

Kornze, the new BLM chief, is familiar with the area. He’s a natural resource manager who grew up in Elko, Nev., and served previously as a senior adviser to Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid aide Kristen Orthman said her boss “hopes the trespassing cattle are rounded up safely so the issue can be resolved.”

Sandoval, a former state attorney general and federal district court judge, weighed in late Tuesday after several days of media coverage about blocked roads and armed federal agents fanning out around Bundy’s ranch while contractors using helicopters and vehicles herd cows into portable pens in rugged and remote areas.

“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” the governor said in a statement.

Sandoval said he was most offended that armed federal officials have tried to corral people protesting the roundup into a fenced-in “First Amendment area” south of the resort city of Mesquite.

The site “tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution” and should be dismantled, Sandoval said.

BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon and Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover have told reporters during daily conference calls that free-speech areas were established so agents could ensure the safety of contractors, protesters, the rancher and his supporters.

The dispute between Bundy and the federal government dates to 1993, when land managers cited concern for the federally protected tortoise and capped his herd at 150 animals on a 250-square-mile rangeland allotment. Officials later revoked Bundy’s grazing rights completely.

Cannon said Bundy racked up more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees over the years while disregarding several court orders to remove his animals.

Bundy estimates the unpaid fees total about $300,000. He notes that his Mormon family’s 19th century melon farm and ranch operation in surrounding areas predates creation of the BLM in 1946.

Since the cattle roundup began Saturday, there has been one arrest.

Bundy’s son, Dave Bundy, 37, was taken into custody Sunday as he watched the roundup from State Route 170. He was released Monday with bruises on his face and a citation accusing him of refusing to disperse and resisting arrest. A court date has not been set.

His mother, Carol Bundy, alleged that her son was roughed up by BLM police.

Meanwhile, federal officials say 277 cows have been collected. Cannon said state veterinarian and brand identification officials will determine what becomes of the impounded cattle.

 

Defiant Nevada rancher faces armed federal agents in escalating confiscation standoff

A long-simmering dispute between a Nevada cattle rancher and the federalBureau of Land Management has reached a boiling point, and participants have their fingers crossed it won’t erupt into violence.

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Since 1993, Cliven Bundy has been battling the agency, as well as the National Park Service, the Center for Biological Diversity and the courts, to graze his cattle on 150 square miles of Gold Butte scrub land in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. He stopped paying his grazing fees back then, saying he “fired” the Bureau of Land Management as land manager. His Mormon ancestors had tilled the unforgiving soil since 1887, long before the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act allowed the federal government to seize control, TheBlaze reported.

“I have raised cattle on that land, which is public land for the people of Clark County, all my life. Why I raise cattle there and why I can raise cattle there is because I have preemptive rights,” he asserted, explaining to TheBlaze that this includes the right to forage, too.

Furthermore, Bundy has argued that it is the United States trespassing on Clark County, Nev., land, not he, and that he is a better steward of the land. He points out that the manure from his cows fertilizes the soil, that he’s built water sources for wildlife, and that his cattle prevent the vegetation from growing overly dense and creating a fire hazard.

But environmentalists, federal officials and the courts disagree. Armed federal officials and contract cowboys have been brought in to execute a 2013 court order and remove the trespassing cattle.

“It’s high time for the BLM to do its job and give the [endangered desert] tortoises and the Gold Butte area the protection they need and are legally entitled to,” senior Center for Biological Diversity scientist Rob Mrowka told theMesquite Local News. “As the tortoises emerge from their winter sleep, they are finding their much-needed food consumed by cattle.”

Bundy’s herd also hinders the plants’ ability to recover from wildfires, tramples rare species, damages ancient American Indian cultural sites and endangers recreationists, Mrowka added.

The Bureau of Land Management website says Bundy has defied trespass laws for more than two decades, ignored rules and fees that other cattle ranchers have observed and refused “repeated attempts to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” according to TheBlaze. While Bundy stated that he owed the BLM $300,000 in back grazing fees, spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon put the figure closer to $1.1 million.

Plus, the roundup of the approximately 900 unwelcome cattle could cost as much as $3 million. But the 68-year-old Bundy has remained unintimidated.

The Bureau of Land Management “has overstepped its boundaries by not letting me access my rights,” he said, and contended that it had inserted “200 armed officers watching our every move and stealing our cattle.” Bundy’s wife, Carol, said snipers are patrolling the family’s ranch.

Spokeswoman Cannon responded that “There are law enforcement and other personnel in place as needed to ensure that the BLM and National Park Service’s employees and contractors are able to conduct operations safely.”

Bundy has vowed to do whatever it takes to protect his property, and his 14 children and hundreds of supporters stand behind him. Dave Bundy, his son, was arrested on Sunday afternoon while attempting to film the contract cowboys at work, and cited for failing to disperse and resisting arrest.

Thus far, 234 cows have been impounded as the Bureau of Land Management has temporarily closed the public recreation area. Bundy’s plea to the Clark County Sheriff to intervene was stymied as the action fell under federal jurisdiction.

While the last rancher in southern Nevada argues “it’s a freedom issue,” federal officials are executing the “no trespassing” court mandate.

Whether violence and bloodshed can be avoided remains to be seen.

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2014/04/09/defiant-nevada-rancher-faces-armed-federal-agents-in-escalating-confiscation-standoff-111391

Armed Fed Agents and Snipers? Nevada Rancher Is Taking on the Gov’t in a Battle That’s Reaching a Breaking Point

Armed federal agents deployed last week to northeast Clark County, Nev., for what can only be described as a major escalation in a decades-long standoff between a local cattle rancher and the U.S. government.

Cliven Bundy, right, and Clance Cox, left, stand at the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville Nev. Saturday, April 5, 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management started taking cattle on Saturday from rancher Bundy, who it says has been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 25 years. Bundy doesn't recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher) AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher

Cliven Bundy, the last remaining rancher in the southern Nevada county, stands in defiance of a 2013 court order demanding that he remove his cattle from public land managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

The 67-year-old veteran rancher, who has compared the situation to similar confrontations with government officials inRuby Ridge and Waco, Texas, told TheBlaze that his family has used land in the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area since the late 1800s.

“I have raised cattle on that land, which is public land for the people of Clark County, all my life. Why I raise cattle there and why I can raise cattle there is because I have preemptive rights,” he said, explaining that among them is the right to forage.

“Who is the trespasser here? Who is the trespasser on this land? Is the United States trespassing on Clark County, Nevada, land? Or is it Cliven Bundy who is trespassing on Clark County, Nevada, land? Who’s the trespasser?”

Claiming that all other options have been exhausted, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. National Park Service responded to Bundy’s inflexibility on the issue by calling on federal agents and contract cowboys to restrict access to the public land and to confiscate Bundy’s “trespass cattle.”

“Cattle have been in trespass on public lands in southern Nevada for more than two decades. This is unfair to the thousands of other ranchers who graze livestock in compliance with federal laws and regulations throughout the West,” the Bureau of Land Management stated on its website about the case.

“The Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially. An impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is now being conducted as a last resort,” it added.

Federal employees and contractors have so far impounded approximately 234 of Bundy’s estimated 900 “trespass cattle.”

The restrictions on the land are expected to stay in place until May 12. Earlier news reports stated that federal officials were considering auctioning the cattle to buyers in nearby counties in Utah. However, a Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman told TheBlaze Monday that the agency has no plans to ship impounded cattle for auction “in the near future.”

Embattled Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, left, and his son Dave Bundy talk to a reporter on the corner of North Las Vegas Boulevard and East Stewart Avenue in downtown Las Vegas Monday, April 7, 2014. The 37-year-old Dave Bundy was taken into custody by federal agents on Sunday afternoon along state Route 170 near Mesquite. He was released Monday after being issued citations for failing to disperse and resisting arrest. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call "trespass cattle" that rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.(AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, K.M. Cannon) AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, K.M. Cannon

The government’s move to assert itself in the Gold Butte area shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the fact that it’s a move years in the making. In fact, the tense relationship between Bundy and federal government dates back to well before the 2013 court order.

The fight began when Bundy stopped paying the Bureau of Land Management’s grazing fees in 1993, arguing in court filings that he had no obligation to pay the agency because his Mormon ancestors had worked the land decades before the agency was formed.

Bundy claims he owes roughly $300,000 in back fees, but the federal government says it’s more than that.

“It’s a freedom issue. It’s not about cows. It’s a state rights issue.”

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“That number, the $300,00, that was a number estimated through Sept. 11, 2011,” Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon said in a phone call with reporters Monday. “Since then, the estimated amount owed by him – so including the $300,000 – totals $1.1 million.”

In addition, the cost of removing the rancher’s cattle from the public land will cost taxpayers roughly $3 million, according to initial estimates.

The land was finally declared off-limits for cattle in 1998 and became a designated habitat for the federally protected desert tortoise. That same year, a judge ordered Bundy to remove his cattle. He refused to comply.

Contractors for the Bureau of Land Management round up cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy with a helicopter near Bunkerville, Nev. Monday, April 7, 2014. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call "trespass cattle" that rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher) AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher

All throughout his decades-long struggle with the federal government, the veteran rancher has maintained that Washington has no right to order him from the land.

The Bureau of Land Management has “overstepped its boundaries by not letting me access my rights, not recognizing state’s sovereignty, and having over 200 armed officers watching our every move and stealing our cattle,” Bundy said.

The rancher’s wife, Carol, said there now appear to be snipers stationed around the family’s 150-acre ranch.

Asked about the Bundys’ sniper claim, Cannon would neither confirm nor deny the allegation.

“There are law enforcement and other personnel in place as needed to ensure that the BLM and National Park Services employees and contractors are able to conduct the operation safely,” Cannon said. “Specific operations information regarding this impoundment will not be released.”

“Who is the trespasser here? Who is the trespasser on this land?”

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But the presence of what appear to be heavily armed agents isn’t the only thing that has the Bundys on edge: Their son, Dave, was arrested and allegedly roughed up Sunday for filming federal agents while outside an area designated for First Amendment activity on the restricted property. He was held overnight.

The 37-year-old Bundy was arrested “following failure to comply with multiple requests by BLM law enforcement to leave the temporary closure area on public lands,” Cannon said. She declined to comment on the claim that he was brutally treated.

Dave Bundy was released from custody Monday and cited for refusing to disperse and resisting issuance of a citation or arrest, she added. Cannon could not explain why Dave was held overnight.

The rancher said that he hopes Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie intervenes soon and ends the face-off once and for all.

“The federal government has no authority here,” Bundy said. “The sheriff has the authority. All he has to say is, ‘no’ and that’ll get the federal government out of here. I think he has that much power.”

It seems unlikely at this point, however, that the sheriff will intervene, as he has opted to let federal agents handle the situation. The sheriff has in the past advised Bundy on seeking legal counsel while the sheriff has extended federal deadlines.

The sheriff’s office referred media inquiries to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which confirmed to TheBlaze Monday that federal officials are handling the Bundy operation.

Dave Bundy, son of embattled Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy, to a reporter about his arrest during an interview on the corner of North Las Vegas Boulevard and East Stewart Avenue in downtown Las Vegas Monday, April 7, 2014. The 37-year-old Bundy was taken into custody by federal agents on Sunday afternoon along state Route 170 near Mesquite. He was released Monday after being issued citations for failing to disperse and resisting arrest. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call "trespass cattle" that rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, K.M. Cannon) AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, K.M. Cannon

“That incident is being handled by another agency,” a Las Vegas police spokeswoman said. “It’s something we’re referring people to the BLM.”

Asked about Bundy’s claim that the sheriff’s office has ignored him, the spokeswoman added: “There’s nothing further that’s coming from this department about that incident, this operation. We’re just referring everything over to BLM. It’s not our operation. There’s no statement that has been issued about it.”

But with or without the sheriff, Bundy remains defiant.

A Bureau of Land Management ranger stands guard at the entrance of a staging area near Mesquite, Nev. Saturday, April 5, 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management started taking cattle on Saturday from rancher Cliven Bundy, who it says has been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 25 years. Bundy doesn't recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher) AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher

“It’s a freedom issue. It’s not about cows. It’s a state rights issue. I really hope that we can learn and defend our liberties here and keep on fighting until the end,” he said. “I don’t when the end is going to be, but I believe that America is the greatest land in the world and it needs to be protected.”

“Our rights and liberties need to be protected and we’re going to stand for that,” he added.

 

 

Nevada Governor Blasts Feds’ ‘First Amendment Area’ in Bundy Dispute

“Constitutional rights sacred to all Nevadans”

Paul Joseph Watson

Infowars.com

April 9, 2014

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has inserted himself into the escalating standoff between cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and federal officials by blasting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over their creation of a ‘First Amendment Area’ outside of which free speech is banned.

Image: First Amendment Area (YouTube).

The ‘First Amendment Area’ set up by BLM agents is a crudely taped off piece of land inside which supporters of Bundy, who is engaged in a long running dispute with feds over grazing rights on a 600,000 acre expanse in northeastern Clark County, are allowed to express their free speech.

However, protesters have completely ignored the area, instead staging large demonstrations on Bundy’s ranch. The only presence inside the ‘First Amendment Area’ are signs which read “1st Amendment is not an area” and another that states, “Welcome to Amerika – Wake Up” alongside a hammer and sickle logo.

“Most disturbing to me is the BLM’s establishment of a ‘First Amendment Area’ that tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution,” said Sandoval in a statement. “To that end, I have advised the BLM that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others and that the ‘First Amendment Area’ should be dismantled immediately.”

“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans. The BLM needs to reconsider its approach to this matter and act accordingly,” asserted the Governor.

The Bundy family responded to Sandoval’s statement by saying they were disappointed that he didn’t take a more firm stance to back them in their dispute with the BLM, but they were pleased with his sentiments regarding the ‘First Amendment Area’.

“Whenever you designate an area, then you’re restricting it everywhere else. When you designate an area like that for first amendment rights, you [don't] give the people any rights. You [take them] away, and every other location,” said Ryan Bundy.

The Bundy family came face to face with the consequences of violating the free speech zone on Sunday when Dave Bundy was arrested for taking video footage from a state highway of BLM agents rounding up his family’s cattle. Video footage later proved that armed snipers had their guns trained on the family during the incident.

On Sunday, Cliven Bundy promised to launch a “range war” on federal officials after they began rounding up his cattle. Authorities are justifying the move by pointing out they are simply enforcing a 1993 rule change which prevents Bundy’s livestock from grazing on the land in order to protect the endangered desert tortoise.

Bundy and his supporters see the spat as something entirely different, portraying it as a clash between out of control big government and patriotic American family farmers.

With Bundy’s ranch under constant surveillance from armed agents ensconced inside what Ryan Bundy described as a “military compound,” some fear the standoff could lead to a Ruby Ridge or Waco-style tragedy.

http://www.infowars.com/nevada-governor-blasts-feds-first-amendment-area-in-bundy-dispute/

Wake up America,’ says family involved in BLM cattle dispute
By Faith Heaton Jolley and Dave Cawley
April 7th, 2014 @ 6:56pm

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CLARK COUNTY, Nevada — A man has been released after being arrested Sunday during an ongoing dispute over grazing rights between the Bureau of Land Management and a family in southern Nevada, and the family is calling for action.

A federal judge in Las Vegas first ordered Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy to remove his trespassing cattle in 1998, according to reports from the Associated Press. Similar orders were issued in July 2013, and again in October.

Saturday, the BLM began taking some of the 908 cattle from Bundy. The BLM says Bundy’s cattle have been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 25 years. However, Bundy said he doesn’t recognize federal authority on land that he says belongs to the state of Nevada.

The BLM released a statement on its website saying, “Cattle have been in trespass on public lands in Southern Nevada for more than two decades. This is unfair to the thousands of other ranchers who graze livestock in compliance with federal laws and regulations throughout the west. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS) have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially.”

The situation escalated Saturday after Cliven Bundy’s son, Dave Bundy, 37, was arrested. Members of the Bundy family had gathered to film and take pictures of the removal of their cattle in an effort to document the event, according to Cliven Bundy’s daughter, Bailey Bundy Logue.

The family members had parked on the side of Nevada state Route 170, but the highway was included in the temporary closure of public lands, according to BLM representative Kirsten Cannon. Dave Bundy was arrested and cited with a criminal charge of refusing to disperse and resisting officers. Cannon said all public lands are closed within the designated closure area during the removal of the trespassing cattle.

Wake up America. Look what our ancestors fought for and we need to stand up for that. We need to realize what’s happening. They are taking everything away from us. This isn’t only about one family. This is about everyone’s family.

–Bailey Bundy Logue

Logue said Dave Bundy was taking pictures and recording on his iPad when he was asked by federal employees what he was doing. Logue said that Dave Bundy told the BLM workers that he was “exercising (his) First Amendment rights.”

“He did not resist arrest, but they continued to beat him,” Logue told KSL. “They put him on the ground and were standing on his head and had a dozen officers on top of him and dogs.”

The Bundy family was asked to leave the premises after Dave Bundy’s arrest. Logue said that there were snipers and uniformed men on the scene during the cattle impoundment.

“That’s scary,” Logue said. “I was angry, but there was nothing I can do. We were so outnumbered. With nothing but weapons of our cameras, we did our best at taking pictures. But when you’re in that situation your mind is not thinking very straight.”

Dave Bundy was released Monday afternoon. However, the Bundy family said they feel that their First Amendment rights were violated and that they were entitled to meet on state Route 170 to take pictures.

“That is against our First Amendment right,” Logue said. “They say it’s a First Amendment area, but we have rights everywhere. Since when have we had First Amendment areas? That’s not what it says in the Constitution.”

The Bundy family said they organized a rally for people to meet to support their First Amendment rights and their rights to public land. The rally was held near state Route 170 and I-15 on private land and around 100 people held a peaceful protest, Cannon said.

“We have got together hundreds of people from all over the world and they are here, not because this is about cattle,” Logue said. “We are asking people to come and stand up for their rights. We have lost all state sovereignty. I mean (it’s like) martial law in our home town, in America.”

Cannon said 134 cattle had been impounded by federal employees as of Monday afternoon, but the location will not be released during the ongoing operation. The cattle roundup was estimated to take between 21 to 30 days with further temporary closures during the operation.

“Wake up America,” Logue said. “Look what our ancestors fought for and we need to stand up for that. We need to realize what’s happening. They are taking everything away from us. This isn’t only about one family. This is about everyone’s family. This is martial law and it’s in America and so what are you going to do to have it stay out of America?”

Cliven Bundy reportedly owes the BLM and U.S. government $1 million in back grazing fees, according to Cannon.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=1070&sid=29387272&fm=most_popular

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NSA Metadata To Be Held By Telephone Companies — Great Distraction — Still Collecting and Intercepting All Americans Telephone Calls and All Information Transmitted Over The Internet and Telephone Exchanges — Stop Deceiving The American People Mr. President — Videos

Posted on March 30, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Comedy, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Employment, European History, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Quotations, Radio, Rants, Raves, Security | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: NSA Metadata To Be Held By Telephone Companies — Great Distraction — Still Collecting and Intercepting All Americans Telephone Calls and All Information Transmitted Over The Internet and Telephone Exchanges — Stop Deceiving The American People Mr. President — Videos

Obama: NSA Proposal Satisfies Public Concerns

 

Obama announces overhaul of NSA metadata collection

NSA – Changes To Metadata Program – Special Report All Star

President Obama Names Michael Rogers As New Head Of The NSA

Background Articles and Videos

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Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF’s Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl’s lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.

Speaker: Kurt Opsahl
EventID: 5255
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Language: english

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

Inside the NSA

Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales

AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic

For years the National Securities Agency, has been spying on each & every keystroke. The national headquarters of AT&T is in Missouri, where ex-employees describe a secret room. The program is called “Splitter Cut-In & Test Procedure.”

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All – Op-Docs: The Program

The filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

William Benny – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

‘After 9/11 NSA had secret deal with White House’

The story of Whistleblower Thomas Drake

Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013

Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower

The Truth About Edward Snowden

N.S.A. Spying: Why Does It Matter?

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet

AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-1/2

AT&T Whistleblower Urges Against Immunity for Telecoms in Bush Spy Program

The Senate is expected to vote on a controversial measure to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act tomorrow. The legislation would rewrite the nation’s surveillance laws and authorize the National Security Agency’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping. We speak with Mark Klein, a technician with AT&T for over twenty-two years. In 2006 Klein leaked internal AT&T documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the National Security Agency access to its fiber optic internet cables.

AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-2/2

Enemy Of The State 1998 (1080p) (Full movie)

Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.[1] The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[2] Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.[3]

The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity.[1] William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.[4]

There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.[4]

During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”.[2] One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.[1]

In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon.[5] The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_Wind_%28code_name%29

PRISM

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[1][2][3][Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN.[8][9] It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[10] The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.

A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.”[11] The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012.[12] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.[13][14]

According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum.[15] Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet”[16] to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.[17]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US

Details of information collected via PRISM

PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[1] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).[18][19][20][21] PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC.[11] Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017.[2][22] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[22]

PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden.[2][1] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[1][2] The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012).[23] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”[1]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[11] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[2][11]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally.[1] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[1]

Response from companies

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[2][1]

Initial Public Statements

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[2][24] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[25][26]

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

  • Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”[25]
  • Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”[25] “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”[26]
  • Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”[25]
  • Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.”[25] “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”[26]
  • Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”[27]
  • Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”[25]

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[13] The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[1] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[26]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[28]

Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.[29]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[30] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[31]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[32] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[32] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[32] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[32] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers”[29] and the companies’ denials.[32]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[32] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[32] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[32] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[33]

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000″ user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[34]

Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.[35]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[36]

Response from United States government

Executive branch

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[13] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[37] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[37] Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[37] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[38] In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.[39]

Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”[15]

On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[40][10] The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10]

The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[10]

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[41] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[41]

In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[42]

Legislative branch

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[43] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[44] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

  • June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”[45]

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.[46]
  • June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”[47]
  • June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”[48]

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

  • June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”[49]

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives

  • June 11 “He’s a traitor”[50] (referring to Edward Snowden)

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

  • June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.”[51] “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”[51]

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”[46]
  • June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”[52]

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  • June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.[46]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

  • June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,[53]

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

  • June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”[54]
  • June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”[45]

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

  • June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”[52]

Judicial branch

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.

Applicable law and practice

On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10] Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”[55] In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.”[55] When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”[55] They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.[55]

After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret.[55] The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.

If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.[55]

If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it.[55] A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.[55]

Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive.[55] In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order.[55] The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.[55]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”[56]

Involvement of other countries

Australia

The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[57]

Canada

Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[58]

Germany

Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[59]

Israel

Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[60] the Business Insider article[61] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[62]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.[63][64]

Domestic response

Unbalanced scales.svg
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[65] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[66]

Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”[67] Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.”[67] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[68]

In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case.[69] An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.”[69] Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”[69] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[70] In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.[71]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[72] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[72][73] George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.[74]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[75]

On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.[76]

International response

Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California.[77][78] When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”.[79] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[80] Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”[81]

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.[82]

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”.[83] He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.[84]

The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.[85]

William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism[86] saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”[86] David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.”[86][87] Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority.[87] The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”[82]

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[88]

Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.”[89] The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.[90]

Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.[91]

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”[92][93]

Related government Internet surveillance programs

A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”[94]

A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.[95]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29

ThinThread

ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun.[1] The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority.[2] The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.

ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections.[3] A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.[4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinThread

Trailblazer

Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail.[1][2] It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.

NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.

The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation.[3][4] The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.[5]

Background

Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens.[4][3] Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.[3]

In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000.[6][7][8] SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman.[9] SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.[10][11]

Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. [12][5]

The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” [13]

In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs’” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.”[5] The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]

In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule.[15] In 2006 the program was shut down,[3] after having cost billions of US Dollars.[16] Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.[17]

The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.[3]

Whistleblowing

According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”[3]

In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying.[3][18][19] A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy.[19] Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter.[19] Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed.[20] She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.[19]

Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.[3]

In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG)[19] had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure.[21] It had cost more than $1 billion.[8][22][23]

In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative.[18] Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.[3]

In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun.[24][17][25] Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.[17]

In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union.[3][18] None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.

In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917,[17][26][27] part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”.[24][17][28][18] The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.[3]

In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.[5]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AXwwSq_me4

Boundless Informant

Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities.[1] It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian.[2] According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.

Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.[3][4]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.

Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).[5][6][7]

NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.[8]

Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian.[1][9] The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.[10]

Technology

According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.[11]

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.[12][13][14][15]

The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”[16]

Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.[17][18]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boundless_Informant

ECHELON

ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement[1] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes).[2][3] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[4]

ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.[5]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.[6] Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[5] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[4] The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.[5]

Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:

  • the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
  • the National Security Agency of the United States,
  • the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
  • the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
  • the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
  • the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands

The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.[5]

Capabilities

The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[5] During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication,[7] and could be intercepted at great distances.[5] The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”[5]

The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber.[8] The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%.[5] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[9] Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.[5]

One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt.[5] A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.[5]

Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.[10]

Controversy

See also: Industrial espionage

Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes.[10] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[5][11] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[12] An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[13][14]

In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.[5]

Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.

Hardware

According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits.[citation needed] The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.[15]

Name

The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.”[5] The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).

Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK.[16] At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.[17]

Ground stations

The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report[5] lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:

Likely satellite intercept stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:

  • Hong Kong (since closed)
  • Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
  • Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)[18]
  • Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
  • GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
  • Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
  • Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
  • Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
  • GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
  • GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
  • CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
  • Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)

Other potentially related stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:

  • Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
  • BadAibling Station (BadAibling, Germany – U.S.)
    • relocated to Griesheim in 2004[19]
    • deactivated in 2008[20]
  • Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
  • Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
  • Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
  • Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
  • Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
  • Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

Room 641A

Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.[1][2]

Description

Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T.[1] The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic[3] and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.”[4] Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.[2]

The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.[1]

The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T.[5] Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.

Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.

Lawsuit

Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings[4]

More complicated diagram of how it allegedly worked. From EFF court filings.[3] See bottom of the file page for enlarged and rotated version.

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.[6] A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

A top secret document leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian in 2013, originally due to be declassified on 12 April 2038.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_government_surveillance_projects

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Nuclear Security Summit 2014 — Loose Nuke War Game — 1 Nuclear Weapon — NYC or Washington? — You Choose — Videos

Posted on March 26, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Films, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Nuclear Security Summit 2014 — Loose Nuke War Game — 1 Nuclear Weapon — NYC or Washington? — You Choose — Videos

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Merkel miffed at Barack Obama and David Cameron ‘nuclear war game’

World leaders played an interactive nuclear war game designed to test their responses to a terrorist atomic “dirty bomb” attack that threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands of people

 

David Cameron joined Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Xi Jinping and other world leaders to play a “nukes on the loose” war game to see how they would cope with a terrorist nuclear attack.

The German chancellor grumbled at being asked to play games and take tests with the Prime Minister, US and Chinese presidents around a table with dozens of heads of state at a nuclear summit in The Hague.

Her complaints were overruled because Mr Obama was keen on the idea and in on the surprise.

In the war game, played out by actors in a series of short films, a terrorist attack with an atomic “dirty bomb” takes place in the financial heart of an unnamed but Western metropolis. “It could be the City of London, or Wall Street, Milan or anywhere”, summit leaders were told.

As the scenario unfolded, it emerged that the terrorists are from an unidentified global terror network and they have stolen nuclear material from an unidentified country that had poorly secured its radiological and nuclear stockpiles.

The bomb is being built in a clandestine laboratory with stolen uranium. It is an improvised explosive device but deadly and the clock is ticking, the leaders were told. Hundreds of thousands of people could be about to die.

“They had to give an answer on their own, in real time. It was like a test. It put them on the spot. Should they inform the public or keep them in the dark,” said a diplomatic source.

“Should they work with other countries or stand alone to try to thwart or minimise the attack? How should they make the cold calculation of how to get a more sustainable human cost in terms of deaths?”

Each world leader had a computer tablet with a touch screen options to make one of four responses to a series of four scenario films played by actors and mimicking the famous 1983 Cold War Hollywood thriller “War Games”, where a computer hacker triggers a nuclear missile scare.

In a competitive environment, with a ticking clock, the leaders had to make rapid choices before the results were presented to the group, anonymously stripped of their identities and followed by discussion.

Perhaps predictably at a world summit on nuclear security, the war game found that shared, collective international decisions were able to stop the terrorist network before they could actually build the dirty bomb.

US officials said that the unconventional approach had been designed to give a “scare you to death” shock to make leaders seriously think about the security of nuclear materials.

But not everyone was happy about playing the war game with the grumbling led by Mrs Merkel who was unimpressed with role-playing at such a high-powered gathering. Mr Obama, who helped plan the game, overrode the moaning. He had Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, his lead national security adviser on the issue, helpfully by his side.

“Leaders had their doubts about participation on their own without their expert civil servants. It was about discussion and problem solving without leaders relying on written statements to read out. At the end the leaders were more enthusiastic,” said a spokesman for the summit.

 

Would you survive a nuclear blast?

Nuclear Blast Mapper on the PBS “Race for the Superbomb” web site show how horribly destructive thermonuclear weapons are. The fission bomb detonated over Nagasaki had an explosive power equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT. Blast Mapper’s 1-million ton hydrogen bomb, hypothetically detonated on the earth’s surface at any location you choose, has 50 times the explosive power of that 1945 explosion. Video clips of actual A-bomb detonations and their effects can also be viewed at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/bomb

The adjoining map of the Tri-Cities, Washington, shows circles of destruction from a 1 megaton surface blast centered on Columbia Center mall.

Blast map key

NOTE: Blast pressure within the circles is greater than the indicated values and is less outside the circles. The zones of destruction in the map are broad generalizations and do not take into account factors such as weather and topography. Fatality numbers do not include the significant delayed effects of trauma, fire, or radioactivity.

12 psi (pounds per square inch), Radius: 1.7 miles

At ground zero lies a crater 200 feet deep and 1000 feet in diameter. The rim of the crater is composed of highly radioactive soil and debris. Nothing recognizable remains within about 0.6 mile from the center except, perhaps, the remains of some buildings’ foundations. At 1.7 miles, only some of the strongest buildings — those made of reinforced, poured concrete — are still standing. Ninety-eight percent of the population within this area are dead immediately.

5 psi, radius – 2.7 miles

Virtually everything is destroyed between the 12 and 5 psi circles. The walls of typical multi-story buildings, including apartment buildings, are completely blown out. The bare, structural skeletons of some buildings rise above the debris as you approach the 5 psi circle. Single-family residences within this area are completely blown away — only their foundations remain. Fifty percent of the population between the 12 and 5 psi circles are dead. Forty percent more are injured.

2 psi, radius – 4.7 miles

Any single-family residences that are not completely destroyed are heavily damaged. The windows of office buildings are blown away, as are some of their walls. Everything on these buildings’ upper floors, including the people who were working there, are thrown onto the street. Substantial debris clutters the entire area. Five percent of the population between the 5 and 2 psi circles are dead. Forty-five percent are injured.

1 psi, radius – 7.4 miles

Residences are moderately damaged. Commercial buildings have sustained minimal damage. Twenty-five percent of the population between the 2 and 1 psi circles have been injured, mainly by flying glass and debris. Many others have suffered flash burns from thermal radiation generated by the explosion.

Fallout effects

Radiation effects are for downwind areas.

Assumptions: wind speed – 15 mph, time frame – 7 days

3,000 rem*, distance – 30 miles

Much more than a lethal dose of radiation. Death can occur within hours of exposure. About ten years will need to pass before levels of radioactivity in this area are low enough to be considered safe by U.S. peacetime standards.

900 rem, distance – 90 miles

A lethal dose of radiation. Death occurs from two to fourteen days.

300 rem, distance – 160 miles

Causes extensive internal damage, including harm to nerve cells and the cells that line the digestive tract. Also results in a loss of white blood cells and temporary hair loss.

90 rem, distance – 250 miles

No immediate harmful effects, but does result in a temporary decrease in white blood cells. Two to three years will need to pass before radioactivity levels in this area are low enough to be considered safe by U.S. peacetime standards.

*rem stands for “roentgen equivalent man.” It is a measurement used to quantify the amount of radiation that will produce certain biological effects.

NOTE: This information is drawn mainly from “The Effects of Nuclear War” (Office of Technology Assessment, Congress of the United States, Washington DC, 1979).

http://www.wcpeace.org/nuc_weapons-1.htm

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The Plane — The Plane — Where is the plane? — Crashed Landed — Where? Where? — Fantasy Island! Fantasy Island? — New Reality TV Series Publicity Stunt — Reality: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Hijacked — Destination Unknown — Malaysian Prime Minister News Conference — Videos

Posted on March 15, 2014. Filed under: Airplanes, American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crashed, Crime, Culture, Diasters, Economics, Education, Faith, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, history, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Weather, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Missing airliner may have flown on for 7 hours

By , and , Updated: Saturday, March 15, 12:40 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday that a missing passenger jet was steered off course after its communications systems were intentionally disabled and could have potentially flown for seven additional hours.

In the most comprehensive account to date of the plane’s fate, Najib drew an ominous picture of what happened aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, saying investigators had determined there was “deliberate action by someone on the plane.”

Najib said the investigation had “refocused” to look at the crew and passengers. A Malaysia Airlines representative, speaking to relatives of passengers in Beijing, said the Malaysian government had opened a criminal investigation into the plane’s disappearance.

(See: New map shows possible search corridors for the Malaysia Airlines flight.)

The plane’s whereabouts remain unknown one week after it disappeared from civilian radar shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur. But Najib, citing newly analyzed satellite data, said the plane could have last made contact anywhere along one of two corridors: one stretching from northern Thailand toward the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, the other, more southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to the remote Indian Ocean.

U.S. officials previously said they believed the plane could have remained in the air for several extra hours, and Najib said Saturday that the flight was still communicating with satellites until 8:11 a.m. — 7 ½ hours after takeoff, and more than 90 minutes after it was due in Beijing. There was no further communication with the plane after that time, Najib said. If the plane was still in the air, it would have been nearing its fuel limit.

“Due to the type of satellite data,” Najib said, “we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.”

A U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation on Friday said the only thing the satellite can tell is how much it would need to adjust its antenna to get the strongest signal from the plane. It cannot provide the plane’s exact position or which direction it flew, just how far the plane is, roughly, from the last good data-transmission location when the digital datalink system was actually sending data up to the satellite.

The U.S. official said the search area is somewhere along the arc or circumference of a circle with a diameter of thousands of miles.

The new leads about the plane’s end point, though ambiguous, have drastically changed a search operation involving more than a dozen nations. Malaysia on Saturday said that efforts would be terminated in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, the spot where the plane first disappeared from civilian radar.

Malaysian authorities are now likely to look for help from other countries in Southeast and South Asia, seeking mysterious or unidentified readings that their radar systems might have picked up.

The plane, based on one potential end point, could have spent nearly all its flight time over the Indian Ocean as it headed to an area west of Australia. But if the plane traveled in the direction of Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan, it would present a more perplexing scenario in which it would have evaded detection for hours while flying through a volatile region where airspace is heavily monitored: Burma, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan and western China are all in the neighborhood of that path, as is the United States’ Bagram air base, which is in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials in Afghanistan would not comment on the possibility that the plane had flown over that country, but that scenario seems unlikely given the tight western control over Afghan airspace.

Afghan officials said they rely on Americans on such matters. “We do not know what has happened to the plane or if it has overflown Afghan air space. We do not have a radar. Go and ask the Americans,” said a senior Afghan official.

A Pakistani official said his country has not yet been asked by Malaysia to share its radar data, but will provide them if asked.

“Given the strong radar system that we have, and also that India and other countries in the region have, it’s very difficult for a plane to fly undetected for so long,” said Abid Qaimkhan, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Malaysia has confirmed that a previously unknown radar trail picked up by its military was indeed MH370. That blip suggests the plane had cut west, across the Malaysian peninsula, after severing contact with the ground. Malaysia received help in analyzing that radar data from the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and the British Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Malaysian investigators now believe that the Boeing-777 airliner, bound for Beijing with 227 passengers, deliberately cut a series of communications systems as it headed toward the boundary of Malaysian airspace. U.S. officials and aviation experts say the plane could have been hijacked by somebody with aviation knowledge or sabotaged by a crew member.

Investigators have not yet presented a clear scenario of what could have happened on board. Reuters reported that Malaysian police on Saturday searched the home of the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, who had more than three decades of commercial flight experience. A senior Malaysian police official refused to confirm the search.

Zaharie had a flight simulator at his home, something that appeared in a YouTube video posted from his unconfirmed YouTube account. Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said Friday that “everyone is free to do their own hobby” and that it isn’t unusual for pilots to have home simulators.

U.S. officials have said that the plane, shortly after being diverted, reached an altitude of 45,000 feet and “jumped around a lot.” But the airplane otherwise appeared to operate normally. Significantly, the transponder and a satellite-based communication system did not stop at the same time, as they would if the plane had exploded, disintegrated or crashed into the ocean.

Najib said Saturday that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, was disabled just as MH370 reached the eastern coast of Malaysia. The transponder was then switched off, Najib said, as the aircraft neared the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace.

According to the Malaysian government, a satellite that tracked the aircraft was located more than 22,000 miles above sea level. Even after the ACARS system was disconnected, the satellite still received some basic signal from the plane — what one U.S. official described as a “handshake.” Though no data was being transmitted, the satellite continued to reach out to the plane on an hourly basis and received confirmation that the plane was still flying.

“There’s no circuit breaker that would allow you to shut off the handshake,” the official said.

That satellite handshake took place on a system operated by Inmarsat, a British satellite company that provides global mobile telecommunications services.

U.S. officials declined to say how closely that handshake allowed them to track the path of the missing plane. But one U.S. official explained that the satellite wasn’t able to read the plane’s exact location or even what direction it flew. Instead, the satellite was able to determine how far the plane had traveled since the last known spot where ACARS was transmitting data. That could explain how Malaysia created two possible arcs where the plane might have traveled.

Najib said Saturday that the search for MH370 had entered a “new phase.” The U.S. Navy, already positioned to the west of the Malaysian peninsula, was planning to meet tonight to discuss whether and how to redeploy its assets, spokesman Cmdr. William Marks said.

Indian officials said Saturday morning that they were still awaiting new orders in response to the Malaysian prime minister’s statement that the official search focus shift from the South China Sea to the two “corridors” west of Malaysia.

“Nothing is certain. These are all probabilities,” said Captain D.K. Sharma, a spokesman for the India Navy. “Let the new orders come. Let’s see how we respond.”

India has now expanded its search from the area around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands — where five vessels and four planes have been deployed — to the north and west, by adding four additional aircraft to scour the massive Bay of Bengal — two P-8I anti-submarine and electronic intelligence planes and three other military aircraft, including a C-130J and two Dorniers. Search teams from the Indian military had spent much of the day Friday searching the jungles on remote islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, most of which are uninhabited, but so far have come up empty.

Other nations along the Bay of Bengal are now the expanding search as well. Gowher Rizvi, an adviser to Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina, said that country had deployed two aircraft and two frigates in the Bay of Bengal.

Harlan reported from Kuala Lumpur, and Gowen reported from New Delhi. Liu Liu contributed from Beijing. Tim Craig contributed from Pakistan, Joel Achenbach, Adam Goldman and Sari Horwitz contributed from Washington and Rama Lakshmi contributed from New Delhi.

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Neocon Warmonger Senate John McCain Off To Beat The War Drums — Go Home Senator — American People Want No US Intervention Into Ukraine! — Drums Beating Along The Black Sea — Videos

Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Energy, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Security, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

John McCain moves to start World War 3 in Ukraine

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Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 1/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 2/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 3/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 4/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 5/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 6/6

‘They knew they were right’ A Critique of Neoconservatism 2/5

‘They knew they were right’ A Critique of Neoconservatism 3/5

‘They knew they were right’ A Critique of Neoconservatism 4/5

‘They knew they were right’ A Critique of Neoconservatism 5/5

 

 

 

Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned

Betrayal of the Constitution: The Neocons Now Run the GOP | John F. McManus

 

John McCain: NeoCon and his NeoCon advisor

 

Roundtable: As Crimea Threatens Secession, Does East-West Split Hasten Ukraine’s Polit. Divide? 1/2

Roundtable: As Crimea Threatens Secession, Does East-West Split Hasten Ukraine’s Polit. Divide? 2/2

 

Who Is Provoking the Unrest in Ukraine? A Debate on Role of Russia, U.S. in Regional Crisis (1/2)

 

Who Is Provoking the Unrest in Ukraine? A Debate on Role of Russia, U.S. in Regional Crisis (2/2)

 

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Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Energy, European History, Faith, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear Power, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014 Will be posted by Friday noon.

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Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

Donald Rumsfeld on Russia, Ukraine, Obama !

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch Two)

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch One)

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Videographic: Sidestepping Russia’s gas monopoly

Ukrainian Protests and Russian Influence (Dispatch)

Crimea in the middlegaspipelines

Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

On 1 March 2014, the White House released a press release stating that Russia had breached its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum:

President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

—Office of the Press Secretary

Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994

Published December 5, 1994

The Presidents of Ukraine, Russian Federation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of December 4, 2009 confirmed their commitment.

Excerpt:

“Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon State,

Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,

Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation, including the end of the cold war, which have brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces,

Confirm the following:

1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;

2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or

political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;

4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear

weapons are used;

5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;

6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.

Signed in four copies having equal validity in the Ukrainian, English and Russian languages.

For Ukraine:

(Signed) Leonid D. KUCHMA

For the Russian Federation:

(Signed) Boris N. YELTSIN

For the United Kingdom of Great

Britain and Northern Ireland:

(Signed) John MAJOR

For the United States of America:

(Signed) William J. CLINTON

U.S./U.K./Ukraine Press Statement on the Budapest Memorandum Meeting

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 5, 2014

On 5 March 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a meeting in Paris with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, William Hague, and the Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andriy Deshchytsia.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the urgent question of the Budapest Memorandum, the agreement signed by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Russia in 1994. The United States had conveyed an invitation to the Russian Federation to the meeting. We deeply regret that the Russian Federation declined to attend.

The Budapest Memorandum sets out the obligations of signatories in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. Under its terms, the three parties commit to refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The Memorandum also obliges the UK, US and Russia to consult in the event of a situation arising where the memorandum commitments are questioned.

Ukraine voluntarily surrendered the world’s third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in exchange for these assurances. The three Governments treat these assurances with utmost seriousness, and expect Russia to as well. Russia has chosen to act unilaterally and militarily. The United Kingdom and United States will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and we commend the new Ukrainian government for not taking actions that might escalate the situation. Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity can only degrade Russia’s international standing and lead to greater political and economic consequences.

In the meeting, the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine discussed steps needed to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and called on Russia to engage in consultations with Ukraine as they have committed to in the Budapest memorandum.

The United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine agreed that direct talks between Ukraine and Russia, facilitated as needed by members of the international community, are crucial to resolving the current situation. They also agreed that international observers should be deployed immediately in Ukraine, especially in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The three governments reaffirmed the importance of protecting the rights of all Ukrainian citizens, and believed that international observers would help address any concerns regarding irregular forces, military activity and the treatment of all Ukrainians irrespective of their ethnicity or spoken language.

 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/03/222949.htm

The Budapest Memorandum and Crimea

With tensions rising in Crimea and pro-Russian forces controlling the peninsula’s main airports, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called on Russia to “not violate the Budapest Memorandum.” So what is the “Budapest Memorandum” and what does it have to do with Crimea?

What exactly is the “Budapest Memorandum”?

The “Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances” is a diplomatic memorandum that was signed in December 1994 by Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document under which signatories made promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises.

In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state. They did so by applying the principles of territorial integrity and nonintervention in 1975 Helsinki Final Act — a Cold War-era treaty signed by 35 states including the Soviet Union — to an independent post-Soviet Ukraine.

Which principles in the Helsinki Final Act, reiterated in the “Budapest Memorandum,” are relevant to the current situation in the Crimea?

In the “Budapest Memorandum,” Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States promised that none of them would ever threaten or use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. They also pledged that none of them would ever use economic coercion to subordinate Ukraine to their own interest.

They specifically pledged they would refrain from making each other’s territory the object of military occupation or engage in other uses of force in violation of international law.

All sides agreed that no such occupation or acquisition will be recognized as legal and that the signatories would “consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.”

Is there anything legally binding about the “Budapest Memorandum” regarding Russia’s obligations to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity?

“That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” says Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law.

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere.”

Kellman concludes that there are a host of other sources of international law that oblige Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity — including the provisions of the CSCE treaty and the UN Charter.

http://www.voanews.com/content/the-budapest-memorandum-and-crimea/1862439.html

: The forgotten treaty which could drag the US and UK into WAR with Russia if Putin’s troops intervene in Ukraine

  • The agreement sees signatories promise to protect Ukraine’s borders
  • It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma in 1994
  • Ukrainian parliament has now reached out directly to all the countries who signed the treaty
  • Putin currently has 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders and it is reported some have crossed into the country
  • President Obama says he is ‘deeply concerned’ by the news
  • The US and Britain have both made ‘crisis calls’ to President Putin to warn him to respect territorial boundaries

By JILL REILLY and LIZZIE EDMONDS

A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country.

Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.

The revelation comes as reports suggest the Kremlin was moving up to 2,000 troops across the Black Sea from Novorossiysk to their fleet base at Sevastopol.

At least 20 men wearing the uniform of the Russian fleet and carrying automatic rifles surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post in a standoff near the port yesterday.

Last night it was still unclear the exact scale of Russian boots on the ground in Crimea or the identity of gunmen who have taken over airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol – though reports suggest they are Russian marines or Moscow- controlled militias.

The action came as President Obama delivered blunt warnings to Moscow.

‘We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,’ he told reporters at the White House.

‘Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,’ he said in a brief appearance.

‘The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.’

U.S. officials also said the President could scrap plans to attend an international summit in Russia and take negotiations on deepening trade ties with the country off the table in response to Russian involvement in the Ukraine.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel added: “This could be a very dangerous situation if this continues in a provocative way.”

Asked about options in a CBS News interview, he said that “We’re trying to deal with a diplomatic focus, that’s the appropriate, responsible approach.”

Both the U.S. and the UK are advising against all non-essential trips to Ukraine – especially Crimea.

former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option 'if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.'

former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’

NATO also asked Russia not to take action that could escalate tension. However Moscow responded by telling the organization to ‘refrain’ from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its ‘non-bloc’ status.

Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’

It promises to protect Ukraine’s borders, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

Kiev has demanded the agreement is activated after insisting their borders had been violated.

In response Mr Brenton said in a BBC radio interview: ‘If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia’.

Ukraine accused Russia of a ‘military invasion and occupation’, saying Russian troops have taken up positions around a coast guard base and two airports on its strategic Crimea peninsula.

Russia kept silent on the accusations, as the crisis deepened between two of Europe’s largest countries.

Any Russian military incursion in Crimea would dramatically raise the stakes in Ukraine’s conflict, which saw pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych flee last weekend after three months of anti-government protests. Yanukovych vowed Friday at a news conference in Russia to ‘keep fighting for the future of Ukraine,’ though he called any military action ‘unacceptable.’

Moscow has vowed to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Crimea, where it has a major naval base, and Ukraine and the West have warned Russia to stay away.

Russia did not confirm its troops were involved in Friday’s action in Crimea, which would be a major escalation.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a resolution demanding that Russia halt steps it says are aimed against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.

THE BUDAPEST REFERENDUM

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was a international treaty signed on February, 5, 1994, in Budapest.

The diplomatic document saw signatories make promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine.

The agreement promises to protest Ukraine’s borders in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document.

It was an unprecedented case in contemporary international life and international law.

Whether is it legally binding in complex.

‘It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,’ says Barry Kellman is a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law told Radio Free Europe.

‘I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation,’ Ukraine’s newly named interior minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote in a Facebook post.

The chief of Ukraine’s security council, Andriy Parubiy, seemed to strike a less strident tone later in the day, saying gunmen had tried to ‘seize’ the airports in the Crimean cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol but insisting in comments to the Interfax news agency that ‘de-facto the airports are controlled by the law enforcement bodies of Ukraine.’

Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service also said about 30 Russian marines from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – which is based in Sevastopol – had taken up position outside the Ukrainian Coast Guard base in the area. It said the marines said they were there to prevent any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists.

Russia’s defense ministry had no comment.

Yanukovych made his first public appearance since fleeing Ukraine in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, not far from the Ukrainian border. It was the first confirmation that he had left the country, and he said he was ‘forced’ to do so only after his family received threats.

‘I intend to keep fighting for the future of Ukraine,’ he said.

Yanukovych said he supports Crimea’s residents who are worried about ‘nationalists’ in Kiev and added that Russia cannot stand by while events in Ukraine unfold. He denied, however, that this amounts to a call for military intervention.

‘Any military action in this situation is unacceptable,’ he said. 

Tensions rising: A Russian soldier on an armoured personnel carrier halted on a road in Ukraine around 20 miles from Sebastapol, where there is a large Russian military presence

+11

Tensions rising: A Russian soldier on an armoured personnel carrier halted on a road in Ukraine around 20 miles from Sebastapol, where there is a large Russian military presence

The prosecutor-general’s office in Kiev said it would seek Yanukovych’s extradition to Ukraine, where he is wanted on suspicion of mass murder in last week’s violent clashes between protesters and police, during which over 80 people were killed.

At the airport serving Simferopol, commercial flights were landing and taking off despite dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings patrolling with assault rifles. They didn’t stop or search people leaving or entering the airport, and refused to talk to journalists.

One man who identified himself only as Vladimir said the men were part of the Crimean People’s Brigade, which he described as a self-defense unit ensuring that no ‘radicals and fascists’ arrive from other parts of Ukraine. There was no way to verify his account.

The airport deployments came a day after masked gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles seized the parliament and government offices in Simferopol and raised the Russian flag. Ukrainian police cordoned off the area but didn’t confront the gunmen. They remained in control of the buildings Friday.

The Russian foreign and defense ministries had no comment. Russia’s state RIA Novosti and Interfax cited an unnamed official from the Russian Black Sea Fleet denying involvement, saying Russian servicemen stationed in Crimea have not moved into the airports and denying that the Russian military was in control there.

Tensions between the two countries were high, however. Russia continued with massive combat readiness exercises involving most of its troops in western and southern Russia that it said were unrelated to the Ukraine conflict. The moves were reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.

Russian military forces are blockading an airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, an act Ukraine's new interior minister has announced branded an 'armed invasion'

+11

Russian military forces are blockading an airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, an act Ukraine’s new interior minister has announced branded an ‘armed invasion’

As events in the Crimea region heighten tensions with neighboring Russia, this morning armed men also took over the other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, according to a Facebook post by Mr Avakov

+11

As events in the Crimea region heighten tensions with neighboring Russia, this morning armed men also took over the other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, according to a Facebook post by Mr Avakov

Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea

+11

Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea

The move came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine's new prime minister that the U.S. welcomes the formation of the country's new government

+11

The move came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine’s new prime minister that the U.S. welcomes the formation of the country’s new government

The Kremlin, in a statement published late Thursday, said President Vladimir Putin had instructed the government to ‘maintain contacts with the counterparts in Kiev in what concerns trade and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine.’

Moscow has been sending mixed signals about Ukraine but pledged to respect its territorial integrity. Putin has long dreamed of pulling Ukraine, a country of 46 million people considered the cradle of Russian civilization, closer into Moscow’s orbit.

Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors announced they had launched a criminal investigation against Yanukovych and his son Aleksander over ‘aggravated money laundering.’

They said police and Geneva’s chief prosecutor conducted a search and seized documents Thursday at the premises of a company owned by Aleksander Yanukovych.

Ukraine's ex-President Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being ousted, telling a news conference that he was going to fight for his country's future

+11

Ukraine’s ex-President Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being ousted, telling a news conference that he was going to fight for his country’s future

Switzerland and Austria both said they would freeze any assets Yanukovych and his entourage might have in those countries.

Ukraine’s population is divided in loyalties between Russia and the West, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the European Union while eastern and southern regions look to Russia for support.

Crimea, a southeastern peninsula of Ukraine that has semi-autonomous status, was seized by Russian forces in the 18th century under Catherine the Great, and was once the crown jewel in Russian and then Soviet empires.

It became part of Ukraine in 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred jurisdiction from Russia, a move that was a mere formality until the 1991 Soviet collapse meant Crimea landed in an independent Ukraine.

In a bid to shore up Ukraine’s fledgling administration, the International Monetary Fund has said it is ‘ready to respond’ to Ukraine’s bid for financial assistance; Ukraine’s finance ministry has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default.

The European Union is also considering emergency loans for a country that is the chief conduit of Russian natural gas to western Europe.

And Putin, in his statement, asked his government to ‘hold consultations with foreign partners including the IMF and the G8 nations to provide financial aid to Ukraine.’

Associated Press journalists approaching the Sevastopol airport found the road leading up to it blocked by two military trucks and a handful of gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms and carrying assault rifles.

A car with Russian military plates was stopped at the roadblock. A man wearing a military uniform with a Russian flag on his sleeve got out of the car and was allowed to enter on foot after a brief discussion with the gunmen.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2570335/Former-British-Ambassador-Moscow-warns-Russia-invaded-Ukraine-difficult-avoid-going-war.html

Fact Check: Could a Little-Known International Agreement With Ukraine Force U.S., Britain Into War With Russia?

The United States and Britain “reaffirmed” their commitment to protect Ukraine’s borders in exchange for the nation giving up its nuclear weapons in a little-known agreement known as the “Budapest Memorandum signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994.

The Daily Mail notes reports “if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.”

Sir Tony Brenton, who served as a British ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said war is certainly on the table if it’s determined that the Budapest Memorandum is “legally binding.”

According to the Daily Mail, Kiev has asked that the agreement be honored as it claims its borders have been violated.

“If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia,” Brenton told BBC radio.

Ukraine has accused Russia of a “military invasion,” though details are still coming in.

The unsettling news comes after President Barack Obama warned Russia about military action in Ukraine on Friday.

But a closer look at the Budapest Memorandum shows the specifics might be more complex than some are assuming. Article one of the agreement states:

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine … to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

Reaffirming a “commitment” to Ukraine’s borders and being legally required to go to war are two very different ideas.

There will surely be much debate over whether the Budapest Memorandum is a legally binding agreement requiring action. The U.S. going to war with Russia is likely a last resort for the Obama administration.

According to rferl.org, the Budapest Memorandum is a diplomatic memorandum, not an official treaty.

Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law, told the website that the answers to questions about whether the agreement is binding are “complex.”

“That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” he said.

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere,” the professor added.

Armed men described as Russian troops took control of key airports in Crimea on Friday and Russian transport planes flew into the strategic region, Ukrainian officials said, an ominous sign of the Kremlin’s iron hand in Ukraine. President Barack Obama bluntly warned Moscow “there will be costs” if it intervenes militarily.

The sudden arrival of men in military uniforms patrolling key strategic facilities prompted Ukraine to accuse Russia of a “military invasion and occupation” – a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis.

Unidentified armed men patrol outside of Simferopol airport, on February 28, 2014. Ukraine accused today Russia of staging an 'armed invasion' of Crimea and appealed to the West to guarantee its territorial integrity after pro-Moscow gunmen took control of the peninsula's main airport. (Source: AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Unidentified armed men patrol outside of Simferopol airport, on February 28, 2014. Ukraine accused today Russia of staging an ‘armed invasion’ of Crimea and appealed to the West to guarantee its territorial integrity after pro-Moscow gunmen took control of the peninsula’s main airport. (Source: AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama urged Russia to respect the independence and territory of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.

“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” Obama said.

“Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world,” he continued. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

He did not say what those costs might be.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/28/fact-check-could-a-little-known-international-agreement-force-u-s-britain-into-war-with-russia/#

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is an international treaty signed on 5 December 1994, providing security assurances by its signatories relating to Ukraine‘s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear-powers, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. China and France later gave individual statements of assurance as well.[1][clarification needed]

The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a result Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.[2][3]

Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, the US stated that Russian involvement is in breach of its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum, and in clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.[4][5]


According to the memorandum, Russia, the US, and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the 
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:

  1. Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
  2. Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
  3. Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
  4. Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
  5. Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
  6. Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.[6]

Analyse

Under the treaty, the signatories offered Ukraine “security assurances” in exchange for its adhesion to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The memorandum bundled together a set of assurances that Ukraine already held from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Final Act, United Nations Charter and Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Ukrainian government nevertheless found it politically valuable to have these assurances in a Ukraine-specific document. [7] [8]

The Budapest Memorandum was negotiated as a political agreement. It refers to assurances, not defined, but less than a military guarantee of intervention. According to Stephen MacFarlane, a professor of international relations “It gives signatories justification if they take action, but it does not force anyone to act in Ukraine.”[7][8]

Issues

Tuzla Island crisis

Main article: Tuzla Island

Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996 in return for “security assurances” from five nuclear powers, including Russia who was seen by Ukraine as the main threat to its territorial integrity.[2] In 2003, Russian construction efforts were seen as an attempt to annex Tuzla Island off the Crimean coast of Ukraine.[2] The Russian threat to Tuzla led to the Ukrainian leadership appealing to NATO for consultations on security, as outlined in the 1997 NATO-Ukraine Charter, without result.[2] The dispute led to negotiations over delimitation of the maritime borders. In a 2012 preliminary agreement, Ukraine and Russia agreed that Tuzla Island would be considered Ukraine’s territory.[9][needs update]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia after hosting the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial on the Ukraine crisis in Paris, France, on March 5, 2014.

2014 Crimean crisis

Main article: 2014 Crimean crisis

In February 2014, unidentified troops seized or blockaded various airports, as well as other strategic sites throughout Crimea.[10] Official Ukrainian sources have said that the troops are Russian, attached to the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed in Crimea,[11] likely placing Russia in violation of the Budapest Memorandum. The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the movement of armoured units attached to the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, but asserts that they are acting within the scope of the various agreements between the two countries. Other official Russian sources deny that the units in the area of Sevastopol International Airport, specifically, are attached to the Black Sea Fleet.[12]

On 1 March 2014, the White House released a press release stating that Russia had breached its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum:

President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

—Office of the Press Secretary[4]

[5]

In response to the crisis, the Ukrainian parliament has requested that the Memorandum’s signatories reaffirm their commitment to the principles enshrined in the treaty, and further asked that they hold consultations with Ukraine to ease tensions.[13]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994″. Council on Foreign Relations. December 5, 1994. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d The Crimea:Europe’s Next Flashpoint, By Taras Kuzio, November 2010
  3. Jump up^ [1]
  4. Jump up to:a b Office of the Press Secretary. “Readout of President Obama’s Call with President Putin”. whitehouse.gov.
  5. Jump up to:a b Washington Post Editorial Board. “Condemnation isn’t enough for Russian actions in Crimea”. Washington Post.
  6. Jump up^ Memorandum on Security Assurances [2]
  7. Jump up to:a b Are the US and the UK bound to intervene in Ukraine?france24, 03-03-2014
  8. Jump up to:a b Ukraine crisis’ impact on nuclear weapons, 4-March-2014
  9. Jump up^ http://en.ria.ru/russia/20120713/174576071.html
  10. Jump up^ Higgins, Andrew; Reevell, Patrick (28 February 2014). “Armed, masked men appear at airports in Crimea”The Boston Globe. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Booth, William; DeYoung, Karen (28 February 2014). “Reports of Russian military activity in Crimea prompts stern warning from Obama”The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  12. Jump up^ “Movement of Russian armored vehicles in Crimea fully complies with agreements – Foreign Ministry”. RT. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  13. Jump up^ “Ukrainian parliament appeals to Budapest Memorandum signatories”. Interfax Ukraine. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.

External links

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 1 of 4. From Rus to Ukraine

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 2 of 4. Ukraine or Little Russia?

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 3 of 4. Together Forever

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 4 of 4. Independence

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Independent Party — A New Third Party To Challenge Both Democratic and Republican Parties — Price $10 Billion — Who Will Fund It? — American People — Videos

Posted on February 17, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Education, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 174: November 25, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 171: November 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 170: November 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 169: November 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

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Story 1: Independent Party —  A New Third Party To Challenge Both Democratic and Republican Parties —  Price $10 Billion — Who Will Fund It? — American People — Videos

How the GOP Can Attract Young People: Rand Paul and Glenn Beck

Third Party Time? Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Stein, and Gary Johnson Weigh In

The State of the Two Party System

The Evolution of America’s Major Political Parties

Third Parties in America

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The Economy Still Stagnating As The 10 Million Plus Jobs Gap Continues — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Raves, Regulations, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Transportation, Unemployment, Video, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Making Sense of Today’s January Jobs Report

February 7th 2014 CNBC Stock Market Squawk Box (January Jobs Report)

gdp_large

sgs-emp

non-farm-payrolls-wide-201312

Employment Level

145,224,000

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

employment_level
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138451(1) 138599 138752 139309 139247 139148 139179 139427 139393 139111 139030 139266
2011 139287(1) 139422 139655 139622 139653 139409 139524 139904 140154 140335 140747 140836
2012 141677(1) 141943 142079 141963 142257 142432 142272 142204 142947 143369 143233 143212
2013 143384(1) 143464 143393 143676 143919 144075 144285 144179 144270 143485 144443 144586
2014 145224(1)

Civilian Labor Force

155,460,000

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Civilian_Labor_Force_Level

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153404(1) 153720 153964 154642 154106 153631 153706 154087 153971 153631 154127 153639
2011 153198(1) 153280 153403 153566 153526 153379 153309 153724 154059 153940 154072 153927
2012 154328(1) 154826 154811 154565 154946 155134 154970 154669 155018 155507 155279 155485
2013 155699(1) 155511 155099 155359 155609 155822 155693 155435 155473 154625 155284 154937
2014 155460(1)

Labor Force Participation Rate

63.0%

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

labor_participation_rate

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.9 63.8 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.7 63.6 63.6
2013 63.6 63.5 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.5 63.4 63.2 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.8
2014 63.0

Unemployment Level

10,236,000

Series Id:           LNS13000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

unemployment_level

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 5708 5858 5733 5481 5758 5651 5747 5853 5625 5534 5639 5634
2001 6023 6089 6141 6271 6226 6484 6583 7042 7142 7694 8003 8258
2002 8182 8215 8304 8599 8399 8393 8390 8304 8251 8307 8520 8640
2003 8520 8618 8588 8842 8957 9266 9011 8896 8921 8732 8576 8317
2004 8370 8167 8491 8170 8212 8286 8136 7990 7927 8061 7932 7934
2005 7784 7980 7737 7672 7651 7524 7406 7345 7553 7453 7566 7279
2006 7064 7184 7072 7120 6980 7001 7175 7091 6847 6727 6872 6762
2007 7116 6927 6731 6850 6766 6979 7149 7067 7170 7237 7240 7645
2008 7685 7497 7822 7637 8395 8575 8937 9438 9494 10074 10538 11286
2009 12058 12898 13426 13853 14499 14707 14601 14814 15009 15352 15219 15098
2010 14953 15121 15212 15333 14858 14483 14527 14660 14578 14520 15097 14373
2011 13910 13858 13748 13944 13873 13971 13785 13820 13905 13604 13326 13090
2012 12650 12883 12732 12603 12689 12702 12698 12464 12070 12138 12045 12273
2013 12315 12047 11706 11683 11690 11747 11408 11256 11203 11140 10841 10351
2014 10236

Unemployment Rate

6.6%

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

unemployment_rate_U_3
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.7 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.8 9.4
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.2 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.8 7.9
2013 7.9 7.7 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 7.0 6.7
2014 6.6

Employment-Population Ratio

58.8%

Series Id:           LNS12300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment-Population Ratio
Labor force status:  Employment-population ratio
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 64.6 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.4 64.5 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.3 64.4
2001 64.4 64.3 64.3 64.0 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.2 63.5 63.2 63.0 62.9
2002 62.7 63.0 62.8 62.7 62.9 62.7 62.7 62.7 63.0 62.7 62.5 62.4
2003 62.5 62.5 62.4 62.4 62.3 62.3 62.1 62.1 62.0 62.1 62.3 62.2
2004 62.3 62.3 62.2 62.3 62.3 62.4 62.5 62.4 62.3 62.3 62.5 62.4
2005 62.4 62.4 62.4 62.7 62.8 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.8 62.7 62.8
2006 62.9 63.0 63.1 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.3 63.3 63.4
2007 63.3 63.3 63.3 63.0 63.0 63.0 62.9 62.7 62.9 62.7 62.9 62.7
2008 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7 62.5 62.4 62.2 62.0 61.9 61.7 61.4 61.0
2009 60.6 60.3 59.9 59.8 59.6 59.4 59.3 59.1 58.7 58.5 58.6 58.3
2010 58.5 58.5 58.5 58.7 58.6 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.3 58.2 58.3
2011 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.2 58.2 58.3 58.4 58.4 58.5 58.5
2012 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.6 58.6 58.5 58.4 58.6 58.8 58.7 58.6
2013 58.6 58.6 58.5 58.6 58.7 58.7 58.7 58.6 58.6 58.2 58.6 58.6
2014 58.8

Unemployment Rate – 16-19 Yrs

20.7%

Series Id:           LNS14000012
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate - 16-19 yrs.
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 to 19 years

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 12.7 13.8 13.3 12.6 12.8 12.3 13.4 14.0 13.0 12.8 13.0 13.2
2001 13.8 13.7 13.8 13.9 13.4 14.2 14.4 15.6 15.2 16.0 15.9 17.0
2002 16.5 16.0 16.6 16.7 16.6 16.7 16.8 17.0 16.3 15.1 17.1 16.9
2003 17.2 17.2 17.8 17.7 17.9 19.0 18.2 16.6 17.6 17.2 15.7 16.2
2004 17.0 16.5 16.8 16.6 17.1 17.0 17.8 16.7 16.6 17.4 16.4 17.6
2005 16.2 17.5 17.1 17.8 17.8 16.3 16.1 16.1 15.5 16.1 17.0 14.9
2006 15.1 15.3 16.1 14.6 14.0 15.8 15.9 16.0 16.3 15.2 14.8 14.6
2007 14.8 14.9 14.9 15.9 15.9 16.3 15.3 15.9 15.9 15.4 16.2 16.8
2008 17.8 16.6 16.1 15.9 19.0 19.2 20.7 18.6 19.1 20.0 20.3 20.5
2009 20.7 22.3 22.2 22.2 23.4 24.7 24.3 25.0 25.9 27.2 26.9 26.7
2010 26.0 25.6 26.2 25.4 26.5 26.0 25.9 25.6 25.8 27.3 24.8 25.3
2011 25.5 24.1 24.3 24.5 23.9 24.8 24.8 25.1 24.5 24.2 24.1 23.3
2012 23.5 23.8 24.8 24.6 24.2 23.7 23.7 24.4 23.8 23.8 23.9 24.0
2013 23.5 25.2 23.9 23.7 24.1 23.8 23.4 22.6 21.3 22.0 20.8 20.2
2014 20.7

Average Weeks Unemployed

35.4 Weeks

Series Id:           LNS13008275
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Average Weeks Unemployed
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number of weeks
Age:                 16 years and over
average_weeks_unemployed
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 13.1 12.6 12.7 12.4 12.6 12.3 13.4 12.9 12.2 12.7 12.4 12.5
2001 12.7 12.8 12.8 12.4 12.1 12.7 12.9 13.3 13.2 13.3 14.3 14.5
2002 14.7 15.0 15.4 16.3 16.8 16.9 16.9 16.5 17.6 17.8 17.6 18.5
2003 18.5 18.5 18.1 19.4 19.0 19.9 19.7 19.2 19.5 19.3 19.9 19.8
2004 19.9 20.1 19.8 19.6 19.8 20.5 18.8 18.8 19.4 19.5 19.7 19.4
2005 19.5 19.1 19.5 19.6 18.6 17.9 17.6 18.4 17.9 17.9 17.5 17.5
2006 16.9 17.8 17.1 16.7 17.1 16.6 17.1 17.1 17.1 16.3 16.2 16.1
2007 16.3 16.7 17.8 16.9 16.6 16.5 17.2 17.0 16.3 17.0 17.3 16.6
2008 17.5 16.9 16.5 16.9 16.6 17.1 17.0 17.7 18.6 19.9 18.9 19.9
2009 19.8 20.2 20.9 21.7 22.4 23.9 25.1 25.3 26.6 27.5 28.9 29.7
2010 30.3 29.9 31.6 33.3 33.9 34.5 33.8 33.6 33.4 34.2 33.9 34.8
2011 37.2 37.5 39.2 38.7 39.5 39.7 40.4 40.2 40.2 39.1 40.3 40.7
2012 40.1 40.0 39.4 39.3 39.6 40.0 38.8 39.1 39.4 40.3 39.2 38.0
2013 35.4 36.9 37.0 36.6 36.9 35.7 36.7 37.0 36.8 36.0 37.1 37.1
2014 35.4

Median Weeks Unemployed

16.0 weeks

Series Id:           LNS13008276
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Median Weeks Unemployed
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number of weeks
Age:                 16 years and over

median_weeks_unemployed

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 5.8 6.1 6.0 6.1 5.8 5.7 6.0 6.3 5.2 6.1 6.1 6.0
2001 5.8 6.1 6.6 5.9 6.3 6.0 6.8 6.9 7.2 7.3 7.7 8.2
2002 8.4 8.3 8.4 8.9 9.5 11.0 8.9 9.0 9.5 9.6 9.3 9.6
2003 9.6 9.5 9.7 10.2 9.9 11.5 10.3 10.1 10.2 10.4 10.3 10.4
2004 10.6 10.2 10.2 9.5 9.9 11.0 8.9 9.2 9.6 9.5 9.7 9.5
2005 9.4 9.2 9.3 9.0 9.1 9.0 8.8 9.2 8.4 8.6 8.5 8.7
2006 8.6 9.1 8.7 8.4 8.5 7.3 8.0 8.4 8.0 7.9 8.3 7.5
2007 8.3 8.5 9.1 8.6 8.2 7.7 8.7 8.8 8.7 8.4 8.6 8.4
2008 9.0 8.7 8.7 9.4 7.9 9.0 9.7 9.7 10.2 10.4 9.8 10.5
2009 10.7 11.7 12.3 13.1 14.2 17.2 16.0 16.3 17.8 18.9 19.8 20.1
2010 20.0 19.9 20.5 22.1 22.3 25.0 22.2 20.9 20.2 21.4 21.0 22.0
2011 21.5 21.2 21.7 20.9 21.6 22.1 21.8 22.2 21.9 20.7 20.9 20.6
2012 20.9 20.0 19.6 19.2 19.8 19.8 17.2 18.2 18.7 20.0 18.6 17.8
2013 16.0 17.7 18.1 17.3 16.9 16.2 15.8 16.5 16.4 16.5 17.0 17.1
2014 16.0

Not in Labor Force, Searched for Work and Available

2,592,000

Series Id:                       LNU05026642
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:                    (Unadj) Not in Labor Force, Searched For Work and Available
Labor force status:              Not in labor force
Type of data:                    Number in thousands
Age:                             16 years and over
Job desires/not in labor force:  Want a job now
Reasons not in labor force:      Available to work now
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 1207 1281 1219 1216 1113 1142 1172 1097 1166 1044 1100 1125 1157
2001 1295 1337 1109 1131 1157 1170 1232 1364 1335 1398 1331 1330 1266
2002 1532 1423 1358 1397 1467 1380 1507 1456 1501 1416 1401 1432 1439
2003 1598 1590 1577 1399 1428 1468 1566 1665 1544 1586 1473 1483 1531
2004 1670 1691 1643 1526 1533 1492 1557 1587 1561 1647 1517 1463 1574
2005 1804 1673 1588 1511 1428 1583 1516 1583 1438 1414 1415 1589 1545
2006 1644 1471 1468 1310 1388 1584 1522 1592 1299 1478 1366 1252 1448
2007 1577 1451 1385 1391 1406 1454 1376 1365 1268 1364 1363 1344 1395
2008 1729 1585 1352 1414 1416 1558 1573 1640 1604 1637 1947 1908 1614
2009 2130 2051 2106 2089 2210 2176 2282 2270 2219 2373 2323 2486 2226
2010 2539 2527 2255 2432 2223 2591 2622 2370 2548 2602 2531 2609 2487
2011 2800 2730 2434 2466 2206 2680 2785 2575 2511 2555 2591 2540 2573
2012 2809 2608 2352 2363 2423 2483 2529 2561 2517 2433 2505 2614 2516
2013 2443 2588 2326 2347 2164 2582 2414 2342 2302 2283 2096 2427 2360
2014 2592

Total Unemployment Rate U-6

12.7%

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.2 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.1 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 16.0 16.1 16.3 15.9 15.6 15.2
2012 15.1 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.8 14.8 14.9 14.7 14.7 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.4 14.3 13.8 13.9 13.8 14.2 13.9 13.6 13.6 13.7 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                      USDL-14-0168
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, February 7, 2014

Technical information:
Household data:        (202) 691-6378  •  cpsinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/cps
Establishment data:    (202) 691-6555  •  cesinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:         (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov

                                 THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- JANUARY 2014

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 113,000 in January, and the unemployment rate
was little changed at 6.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment grew in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and mining. 

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 |                        Changes to the Employment Situation Data                    |
 |                                                                                    |
 |Establishment survey data have been revised as a result of the annual benchmarking  |
 |process and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors. Also, household survey data|
 |for January 2014 reflect updated population estimates. See the notes at the end of  |
 |this release for more information about these changes.                              |
 |                                                                                    |
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 10.2 million, and the unemployment rate, at
6.6 percent, changed little in January. Since October, the jobless rate has decreased by
0.6 percentage point. (See table A-1.)  (See the note and tables B and C for information
about the effect of annual population adjustments to the household survey estimates.) 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.2 percent), adult
women (5.9 percent), teenagers (20.7 percent), whites (5.7 percent), blacks (12.1 percent),
and Hispanics (8.4 percent) showed little change in January. The jobless rate for Asians
was 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down by 1.7 percentage points over the year.
(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.6 million,
declined by 232,000 in January. These individuals accounted for 35.8 percent of the
unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million over the year.
(See table A-12.)

After accounting for the annual adjustment to the population controls, the civilian labor
force rose by 499,000 in January, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.0
percent. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, increased by 616,000 over
the month, and the employment-population ratio increased by 0.2 percentage point to 58.8
percent. (See table A-1. For additional information about the effects of the population
adjustments, see table C.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as
involuntary part-time workers) fell by 514,000 to 7.3 million in January. These individuals
were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to
find full-time work. (See table A-8.)

In January, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed
from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in
the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in
the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for
work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 837,000 discouraged workers in January, about
unchanged from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for
work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.8 million persons
marginally attached to the labor force in January had not searched for work for reasons such
as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 113,000 in January. In 2013, employment growth
averaged 194,000 per month. In January, job gains occurred in construction, manufacturing,
wholesale trade, and mining. (See table B-1.)

Construction added 48,000 jobs over the month, more than offsetting a decline of 22,000 in
December. In January, job gains occurred in both residential and nonresidential building
(+13,000 and +8,000, respectively) and in nonresidential specialty trade contractors
(+13,000). Heavy and civil engineering construction also added 10,000 jobs.

Employment in manufacturing increased in January (+21,000). Over the month, job gains
occurred in machinery (+7,000), wood products (+5,000), and motor vehicles and parts
(+5,000). Manufacturing added an average of 7,000 jobs per month in 2013.

In January, wholesale trade added 14,000 jobs, with most of the increase occurring in
nondurable goods (+10,000).

Mining added 7,000 jobs in January, compared with an average monthly gain of 2,000 jobs
in 2013.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in January (+36,000).
The industry added an average of 55,000 jobs per month in 2013. Within the industry,
professional and technical services added 20,000 jobs in January. 

Leisure and hospitality employment continued to trend up over the month (+24,000). Job
growth in the industry averaged 38,000 per month in 2013. 

Employment in health care was essentially unchanged in January for the second consecutive
month.  Health care added an average of 17,000 jobs per month in 2013. 

Employment in retail trade changed little in January (-13,000). Within the industry, sporting
goods, hobby, book, and music stores lost 22,000 jobs, offsetting job gains in the prior 3
months. In January, motor vehicle and parts dealers added 7,000 jobs.

In January, federal government employment decreased by 12,000; the U.S. Postal Service
accounted for most of this decline (-9,000).

Employment in other major industries, including transportation and warehousing, information,
and financial activities, showed little or no change over the month.

In January, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged
at 34.4 hours. The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.7 hours, and factory
overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and
nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.5 hours. (See
tables B-2 and B-7.)

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to
$24.21. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 46 cents, or 1.9 percent. In
January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees
increased by 6 cents to $20.39. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +241,000 to
+274,000, and the change for December was revised from +74,000 to +75,000. With these
revisions, employment gains in November and December were 34,000 higher than previously
reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses since
the last published estimates and the monthly recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual
benchmark process also contributed to the revisions in this news release.

_____________
The Employment Situation for February is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 7, 2014,
at 8:30 a.m. (EST).

                                  Revisions to Establishment Survey Data

In accordance with annual practice, the establishment survey data released today have been
benchmarked to reflect comprehensive counts of payroll jobs for March 2013. These counts
are derived principally from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which
enumerates jobs covered by the UI tax system. The benchmark process results in revisions
to not seasonally adjusted data from April 2012 forward. Seasonally adjusted data from
January 2009 forward are subject to revision. In addition, data for some series prior to
2009, both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, incorporate revisions.

The total nonfarm employment level for March 2013 was revised upward by 369,000 (+347,000
on a not seasonally adjusted basis, or 0.3 percent). The average benchmark revision over
the past 10 years was plus or minus 0.3 percent. 

This revision incorporates the reclassification of jobs in the QCEW. Private household
employment is out of scope for the establishment survey. The QCEW reclassified some
private household employment into an industry that is in scope for the establishment
survey--services for the elderly and persons with disabilities. This reclassification
accounted for an increase of 466,000 jobs in the establishment survey. This increase of
466,000 associated with reclassification was offset by survey error of -119,000 for a
total net benchmark revision of +347,000 on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Historical
time series have been reconstructed to incorporate these revisions. 

The effect of these revisions on the underlying trend in nonfarm payroll employment was
minor. For example, the over-the-year change in total nonfarm employment for 2013 was
revised from 2,186,000 to 2,322,000 seasonally adjusted. Table A presents revised total
nonfarm employment data on a seasonally adjusted basis for January through December 2013.

All revised historical CES data, as well as an article that discusses the benchmark and
post-benchmark revisions and other technical issues can be accessed through the CES
homepage at www.bls.gov/ces/. Information on the data released today also may be obtained
by calling (202) 691-6555.

Table A. Revisions in total nonfarm employment, January-December 2013, seasonally adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    |                                    |                                
                    |                Level               |      Over-the-month change     
                    |---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Year and month  |    As     |           |            |    As    |         |           
                    |previously |    As     | Difference |previously|   As    | Difference
                    |published  |  revised  |            |published | revised |           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    |           |           |            |          |         |           
          2013      |           |           |            |          |         |           
                    |           |           |            |          |         |           
 January............|  134,839  |  135,261  |     422    |    148   |    197  |      49   
 February...........|  135,171  |  135,541  |     370    |    332   |    280  |     -52   
 March..............|  135,313  |  135,682  |     369    |    142   |    141  |      -1   
 April..............|  135,512  |  135,885  |     373    |    199   |    203  |       4   
 May................|  135,688  |  136,084  |     396    |    176   |    199  |      23   
 June...............|  135,860  |  136,285  |     425    |    172   |    201  |      29   
 July...............|  135,949  |  136,434  |     485    |     89   |    149  |      60   
 August.............|  136,187  |  136,636  |     449    |    238   |    202  |     -36   
 September..........|  136,362  |  136,800  |     438    |    175   |    164  |     -11   
 October............|  136,562  |  137,037  |     475    |    200   |    237  |      37   
 November...........|  136,803  |  137,311  |     508    |    241   |    274  |      33   
 December (p).......|  136,877  |  137,386  |     509    |     74   |     75  |       1   
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   p = preliminary

                Adjustments to Population Estimates for the Household Survey

Effective with data for January 2014, updated population estimates have been used in the
household survey. Population estimates for the household survey are developed by the U.S.
Census Bureau. Each year, the Census Bureau updates the estimates to reflect new information
and assumptions about the growth of the population since the previous decennial census. The
change in population reflected in the new estimates results from adjustments for net
international migration, updated vital statistics and other information, and some
methodological changes in the estimation process. 

In accordance with usual practice, BLS will not revise the official household survey estimates
for December 2013 and earlier months. To show the impact of the population adjustments, however,
differences in selected December 2013 labor force series based on the old and new population
estimates are shown in table B. 

The adjustments increased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional population in
December by 2,000, the civilian labor force by 24,000, employment by 22,000, and unemployment
by 2,000. The number of persons not in the labor force was reduced by 22,000. The total
unemployment rate, employment-population ratio, and labor force participation rate were
unaffected. 

Data users are cautioned that these annual population adjustments can affect the comparability
of household data series over time. Table C shows the effect of the introduction of new
population estimates on the comparison of selected labor force measures between December 2013
and January 2014. Additional information on the population adjustments and their effect on
national labor force estimates is available at www.bls.gov/cps/cps14adj.pdf.

Table B. Effect of the updated population controls on December 2013 estimates by sex, race, and
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, not seasonally adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
                                        |      |     |      |       |        |       |            
                                        |      |     |      |       |  Black |       |            
                                        |      |     |      |       |    or  |       |  Hispanic  
                  Category              | Total| Men | Women| White | African| Asian | or Latino  
                                        |      |     |      |       |American|       | ethnicity  
                                        |      |     |      |       |        |       |            
________________________________________|______|_____|______|_______|________|_______|____________
                                        |      |     |      |       |        |       |            
  Civilian noninstitutional population..|    2 |  29 |  -27 |   -65 |     48 |    33 |     -57    
    Civilian labor force................|   24 |  24 |    0 |   -17 |     34 |    15 |     -38    
      Participation rate................|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |    .0 |     .0 |    .0 |      .0    
     Employed...........................|   22 |  22 |    0 |   -16 |     31 |    14 |     -34    
      Employment-population ratio.......|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |    .0 |     .0 |    .0 |      .0    
     Unemployed.........................|    2 |   3 |   -1 |    -1 |      4 |     1 |      -4    
      Unemployment rate.................|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |    .0 |     .0 |    .0 |      .0    
    Not in labor force..................|  -22 |   4 |  -27 |   -48 |     14 |    18 |     -18    
________________________________________|______|_____|______|_______|________|_______|____________

   NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Estimates for the above race groups
(white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented
for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

Table C. December 2013-January 2014 changes in selected labor force measures,
with adjustments for population control effects
(Numbers in thousands)

______________________________________________________________________________
                                       |           |            |             
                                       |           |            |  Dec.-Jan.  
                                       | Dec.-Jan. |    2014    |   change,   
                                       |  change,  | population |  after re-  
                Category               |    as     |   control  |  moving the 
                                       | published |   effect   |  population 
                                       |           |            |   control   
                                       |           |            |  effect (1) 
_______________________________________|___________|____________|_____________
                                       |           |            |             
  Civilian noninstitutional population.|    170    |       2    |     168     
    Civilian labor force...............|    523    |      24    |     499     
      Participation rate...............|     .2    |      .0    |      .2     
     Employed..........................|    638    |      22    |     616     
      Employment-population ratio......|     .2    |      .0    |      .2     
     Unemployed........................|   -115    |       2    |    -117     
      Unemployment rate................|    -.1    |      .0    |     -.1     
    Not in labor force.................|   -353    |     -22    |    -331     
_______________________________________|___________|____________|_____________

   (1) This Dec.-Jan. change is calculated by subtracting the population 
control effect from the over-the-month change in the published seasonally
adjusted estimates.
   NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 |                                                                                    |
 |                            Change to the Household Survey Tables                   |
 |                                                                                    |
 |Effective with this release, household survey table A-10 includes two new seasonally|
 |adjusted series for women age 55 and over--the number of unemployed persons and the |
 |unemployment rate. These replace the series that were previously displayed for this |
 |group, which were not seasonally adjusted.                                          |
 |                                                                                    |
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 |                                                                                    |
 |               Updated Veteran Weighting Methodology for Household Survey           |
 |                                                                                    |
 |Beginning with data for January 2014, estimates for veterans in table A-5 of this   |
 |release incorporate updated weighting procedures. The new weighting methodology more|
 |accurately reflects the current demographic composition of the veteran population.  |
 |The primary impact of the change was an increase in the "Gulf War-era I" veteran    |
 |population and a decrease in the number of veterans in the "Other service periods"  |
 |category. The updated methodology had little effect on unemployment rates for       |
 |veterans, regardless of gender or period of service. Additional information on the  |
 |effect of the change on labor force estimates for veterans is available at          |
 |www.bls.gov/cps/vetsweights2014.pdf.                                                |
 |                                                                                    |
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]

CategoryJan.
2013Nov.
2013Dec.
2013Jan.
2014Change from:
Dec.
2013-
Jan.
2014Employment status Civilian noninstitutional population244,663246,567246,745246,915-Civilian labor force155,699155,284154,937155,460-Participation rate63.663.062.863.0-Employed143,384144,443144,586145,224-Employment-population ratio58.658.658.658.8-Unemployed12,31510,84110,35110,236-Unemployment rate7.97.06.76.6-Not in labor force88,96391,28391,80891,455- Unemployment rates Total, 16 years and over7.97.06.76.6-Adult men (20 years and over)7.46.76.36.2-Adult women (20 years and over)7.26.26.05.9-Teenagers (16 to 19 years)23.520.820.220.7-White7.16.15.95.7-Black or African American13.812.411.912.1-Asian (not seasonally adjusted)6.55.34.14.8-Hispanic or Latino ethnicity9.78.78.38.4- Total, 25 years and over6.55.85.65.4-Less than a high school diploma12.010.69.89.6-High school graduates, no college8.17.37.16.5-Some college or associate degree7.06.46.16.0-Bachelor’s degree and higher3.83.43.33.2- Reason for unemployment Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs6,6755,7315,3665,407-Job leavers984890862818-Reentrants3,5203,0653,0362,937-New entrants1,2741,1691,2011,184- Duration of unemployment Less than 5 weeks2,7532,4392,2552,434-5 to 14 weeks3,0772,5852,5062,429-15 to 26 weeks1,8671,7421,6511,689-27 weeks and over4,7074,0443,8783,646- Employed persons at work part time Part time for economic reasons7,9837,7237,7717,257-Slack work or business conditions5,1174,8694,8844,405-Could only find part-time work2,6132,4992,5922,571-Part time for noneconomic reasons18,55618,85818,73119,165- Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted) Marginally attached to the labor force2,4432,0962,4272,592-Discouraged workers804762917837– December – January changes in household data are not shown due to the introduction of updated population controls.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Jan.
2013
Nov.
2013
Dec.
2013(p)
Jan.
2014(p)
EMPLOYMENT BY SELECTED INDUSTRY
(Over-the-month change, in thousands)
Total nonfarm 197 274 75 113
Total private 219 272 89 142
Goods-producing 43 68 -13 76
Mining and logging 3 1 1 7
Construction 23 32 -22 48
Manufacturing 17 35 8 21
Durable goods(1) 9 19 2 15
Motor vehicles and parts 3.5 4.7 3.3 4.7
Nondurable goods 8 16 6 6
Private service-providing(1) 176 204 102 66
Wholesale trade 16.9 16.8 10.2 13.9
Retail trade 26.9 22.3 62.7 -12.9
Transportation and warehousing 9.8 32.4 10.6 9.9
Information -1 1 -10 0
Financial activities 8 -4 3 -2
Professional and business services(1) 45 73 4 36
Temporary help services 4.9 36.6 30.1 8.1
Education and health services(1) 17 25 -4 -6
Health care and social assistance 23.5 24.4 1.1 1.5
Leisure and hospitality 47 37 20 24
Other services 7 -1 7 4
Government -22 2 -14 -29
WOMEN AND PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES(2)
AS A PERCENT OF ALL EMPLOYEES
Total nonfarm women employees 49.4 49.5 49.5 49.4
Total private women employees 48.0 48.0 48.0 47.9
Total private production and nonsupervisory employees 82.6 82.6 82.6 82.6
HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES
Total private
Average weekly hours 34.4 34.5 34.4 34.4
Average hourly earnings $23.75 $24.15 $24.16 $24.21
Average weekly earnings $817.00 $833.18 $831.10 $832.82
Index of aggregate weekly hours (2007=100)(3) 97.5 99.6 99.4 99.5
Over-the-month percent change 0.2 0.5 -0.2 0.1
Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2007=100)(4) 110.5 114.8 114.6 114.9
Over-the-month percent change 0.4 0.8 -0.2 0.3
HOURS AND EARNINGS
PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES
Total private
Average weekly hours 33.6 33.7 33.5 33.5
Average hourly earnings $19.95 $20.30 $20.33 $20.39
Average weekly earnings $670.32 $684.11 $681.06 $683.07
Index of aggregate weekly hours (2002=100)(3) 104.9 107.1 106.6 106.7
Over-the-month percent change -0.2 0.5 -0.5 0.1
Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2002=100)(4) 139.8 145.3 144.8 145.3
Over-the-month percent change 0.1 0.8 -0.3 0.3
DIFFUSION INDEX(5)
(Over 1-month span)
Total private (264 industries) 64.0 66.9 56.4 61.2
Manufacturing (81 industries) 56.8 65.4 59.9 54.3
Footnotes
(1) Includes other industries, not shown separately.
(2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries.
(3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours.
(4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls.
(5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
(p) Preliminary
NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2013 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.

Weakness Continues as 113,000 Jobs Are Added in January

Employers added jobs at a slower-than-expected pace in January, the second month in a row that hiring has been disappointing and a sign that the labor market remains anemic despite indications of growth elsewhere in the economy.

Payrolls increased by 113,000, the Labor Department reported Friday morning, well below the gain of 180,000 that economists expected. The unemployment rate, based on a separate survey of households that was more encouraging, actually fell by a tenth of a percentage point, to 6.6 percent.

The data for January come after an even more disappointing report on the labor market for December, which was revised upward only slightly Friday, to show a gain of just 75,000 jobs, from 74,000. The level of hiring in January was also substantially below the average monthly gain of 178,000 positions over the last six months, as well as the monthly addition of 187,000 over the last year.

The two weak months in a row will prompt questions about whether the Federal Reserve acted prematurely when policy makers in December voted to begin scaling back the central bank’s expansive stimulus efforts.

The new data is not expected to alter the Fed’s course, economists said, but another poor report on hiring next month might force policy makers to rethink their plan when they next meet in late March.

“In one line: grim,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a note to clients Friday morning.

While seasonal adjustments may have played a role and upward revisions for hiring in October and November were more encouraging, he said, “The payroll rebound clearly is disappointing; none of the ground lost in December was recovered.”

Other economists conceded the picture for January was hardly bright, but cautioned it was too soon to conclude there had been a fundamental loss of momentum in the economy, especially given seasonal fluctuations in the data and the possibility that weather inhibited some hiring.

“We’re not seeing the takeoff that people wanted to see, but it’s not a disaster,” said Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas. “The 113,000 figure is definitely way below trend, but we want another month or two of data before we can draw conclusions.”

One mystery economists will be focusing on is why employment gains have not kept up with economic growth as measured by gross domestic product, which picked up substantially in the second half of 2013. The annualized pace of expansion was 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, and 4.1 percent in the third quarter.

One reason may be that new technologies are allowing employers to make do with fewer workers, for instance the use of automated customer service systems instead of call centers, or Internet retailers’ taking over from brick-and-mortar stores where sales associates prowl the floors.

Another shift is evident from the yawning gap in employment for college graduates versus workers who lack a high school diploma. For people with a college degree or higher, the jobless rate was 3.1 percent, compared with 9.6 percent for Americans who did not finish high school.

Wintry conditions that held back hiring were blamed for the weakness in December, a theory popular among more optimistic economists after those numbers came out in early January.

But despite what seems like an endless series of snowstorms on the East Coast and arctic conditions in the Midwest recently, the reference week for the latest survey was Jan. 12-18, when conditions were fairly normal as Januaries go, limiting some of the impact of the weather in this report.

In the report on January, one sector holding back payrolls was the government, which shrank by 29,000 jobs in January. Excluding that loss, private employers added 142,000 positions, a slightly better showing.

Several other sectors which had been strong in recent months – education and health care as well as retailing – also lost positions, contributing to the overall weakness.

The falloff in hiring in the health care sector was especially notable. In December and January together, just 2,600 health care positions were filled. By contrast, as recently as November, nearly 25,000 health care workers were added to payrolls.

Although this area of the economy is going through a transformation as President Obama’s new health care plan is slowly introduced, that is unlikely to have caused the abrupt slowdown in hiring, said Ethan Harris, a head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. If anything, he said, the law should create new jobs in the sector as health care coverage is expanded, even if higher costs for some employers result in job cuts elsewhere in the economy.

As for retail, which lost nearly 13,000 jobs in January, some of that reduction could have essentially been because of excessive hiring in December, Mr. Harris said, when stores added nearly 63,000 positions as the holiday shopping season peaked. The cuts may also have been spurred by weak results at some retailers, with chains like J. C. Penney announcing major job cuts last month, and Loehmann’s, the venerable discounter, now in liquidation.

The employment-population ratio, which has been falling as more workers drop out of the job market, edged up 0.2 percentage points to 58.8 percent. In recent years, the exit of people from the work force has reduced the unemployment rate, but it is a sign that people are giving up hope of finding a job in the face of slack conditions, hardly the way policy makers would like to see joblessness come down.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/business/us-economy-adds-113000-jobs-unemployment-rate-at-6-6.html?_r=0

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2014
BEA 14-03

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables,
contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa S. Mataloni: (202) 606-5304 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Recorded message: (202) 606-5306
Jeannine Aversa: (202) 606-2649 (News Media)
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product, 4th quarter and annual 2013 (advance estimate)
      Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013
(that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the
Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the third quarter, real GDP increased 4.1 percent.

      The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter advance estimate released today is based on
source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 4
and "Comparisons of Revisions to GDP" on page 5).  The "second" estimate for the fourth quarter, based
on more complete data, will be released on February 28, 2014.

      The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory
investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions
from federal government spending and residential fixed investment.  Imports, which are a subtraction in
the calculation of GDP, increased.

      The deceleration in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected a deceleration in private inventory
investment, a larger decrease in federal government spending, a downturn in residential fixed
investment, and decelerations in state and local government spending and in nonresidential fixed
investment that were partly offset by accelerations in exports and in PCE and a deceleration in imports.

      The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents,
increased 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent in the third.
Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.7 percent in
the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in the third.

_______
FOOTNOTE.  Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise
specified.  Quarter-to-quarter dollar changes are differences between these published estimates.  Percent
changes are calculated from unrounded data and are annualized.  "Real" estimates are in chained (2009)
dollars.  Price indexes are chain-type measures.

This news release is available on www.bea.gov along with the Technical Note and Highlights 
related to this release.
_______

      Real personal consumption expenditures increased 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter, compared
with an increase of 2.0 percent in the third. Durable goods increased 5.9 percent, compared with an
increase of 7.9 percent.  Nondurable goods increased 4.4 percent, compared with an increase of 2.9
percent.  Services increased 2.5 percent, compared with an increase of 0.7 percent.

      Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with
an increase of 4.8 percent in the third.  Nonresidential structures decreased 1.2 percent, in contrast to an
increase of 13.4 percent.  Equipment increased 6.9 percent, compared with an increase of 0.2 percent.
Intellectual property products increased 3.2 percent, compared with an increase of 5.8 percent.  Real
residential fixed investment decreased 9.8 percent, in contrast to an increase of 10.3 percent.

      Real exports of goods and services increased 11.4 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with
an increase of 3.9 percent in the third.  Real imports of goods and services increased 0.9 percent,
compared with an increase of 2.4 percent.

      Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 12.6 percent
in the fourth quarter, compared with a decrease of 1.5 percent in the third.  National defense decreased
14.0 percent, compared with a decrease of 0.5 percent.  Nondefense decreased 10.3 percent, compared
with a decrease of 3.1 percent.  Real state and local government consumption expenditures and gross
investment increased 0.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.7 percent.

      The change in real private inventories added 0.42 percentage point to the fourth-quarter change
in real GDP after adding 1.67 percentage points to the third-quarter change.  Private businesses
increased inventories $127.2 billion in the fourth quarter, following increases of $115.7 billion in the
third quarter and $56.6 billion in the second.

      Real final sales of domestic product -- GDP less change in private inventories -- increased 2.8
percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent in the third.

Gross domestic purchases

      Real gross domestic purchases -- purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever
produced -- increased 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 3.9 percent in the
third.

Disposition of personal income

      Current-dollar personal income increased $69.4 billion (2.0 percent) in the fourth quarter,
compared with an increase of $140.0 billion (4.0 percent) in the third.  The deceleration in personal
income primarily reflected downturns in personal dividend income and in farm proprietors’ income and
a deceleration in personal current transfer receipts that were partly offset by an acceleration in wages
and salaries.

      Personal current taxes increased $23.7 billion in the fourth quarter, in contrast to a decrease of
$11.0 billion in the third.

      Disposable personal income increased $45.7 billion (1.5 percent) in the fourth quarter, compared
with an increase of $151.0 billion (5.0 percent) in the third.  Real disposable personal income increased
0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 3.0 percent in the third.

      Personal outlays increased $118.6 billion (4.0 percent) in the fourth quarter, compared with an
increase of $113.4 billion (3.9 percent) in the third.  Personal saving -- disposable personal income less
personal outlays -- was $545.1 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $618.0 billion in the third.

      The personal saving rate -- personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income -- was
4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 4.9 percent in the third.  For a comparison of personal
saving in BEA’s national income and product accounts with personal saving in the Federal Reserve
Board’s financial accounts of the United States and data on changes in net worth, go to
www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/Nipa-Frb.asp.

Current-dollar GDP

      Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the nation's output of goods and services -- increased
4.6 percent, or $189.6 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $17,102.5 billion.  In the third quarter,
current-dollar GDP increased 6.2 percent, or $251.9 billion.

2013 GDP

	Real GDP increased 1.9 percent in 2013 (that is, from the 2012 annual level to the 2013 annual
level), compared with an increase of 2.8 percent in 2012.

      The increase in real GDP in 2013 primarily reflected positive contributions from personal
consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, residential fixed investment, nonresidential fixed investment,
and private inventory investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from federal
government spending.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

      The deceleration in real GDP in 2013 primarily reflected a deceleration in nonresidential fixed
investment, a larger decrease in federal government spending, and decelerations in PCE and in exports
that were partly offset by a deceleration in imports and a smaller decrease in state and local government
spending.

      The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.2 percent in 2013, compared with an
increase of 1.7 percent in 2012.

      Current-dollar GDP increased 3.4 percent, or $558.4 billion, in 2013, compared with an increase
of 4.6 percent, or $710.8 billion, in 2012.

      During 2013 (that is, measured from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013) real
GDP increased 2.7 percent.  Real GDP increased 2.0 percent during 2012.  The price index for gross
domestic purchases increased 1.1 percent during 2013, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in
2012.

________
BOX.	  Information on the assumptions used for unavailable source data is provided in a technical note
that is posted with the news release on BEA's Web site.  Within a few days after the release, a detailed
"Key Source Data and Assumptions" file is posted on the Web site.  In the middle of each month, an analysis
of the current quarterly estimate of GDP and related series is made available on the Web site; click on
Survey of Current Business, "GDP and the Economy."  For information on revisions, see "Revisions to GDP, GDI,
and Their Major Components."
________

      BEA's national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business;
and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov.  By visiting
the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.

                                      *          *          *

                          Next release -- February 28, 2014 at 8:30 A.M. EST for:
                  Gross Domestic Product:  Fourth Quarter and Annual 2013 (Second Estimate)

                                      *          *          *

Release dates in 2014

Gross Domestic Product

           		2013: IV and 2013 annual    	2014: I     	2014: II       	  2014: III

Advance...		January 30            	        April 30	July 30		  October 30
Second....		February 28          	        May 29      	August 28	  November 25
Third..... 		March 27             	        June 25     	September 26	  December 23

Corporate Profits

Preliminary...          ......	                        May 29         August 28         November 25
Revised....... 		March 27             	        June 25        September 26      December 23

                                            Comparisons of Revisions to GDP

     Quarterly estimates of GDP are released on the following schedule:  the "advance" estimate, based on
source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency, is released near the end of the
first month after the end of the quarter; as more detailed and more comprehensive data become available,
the "second" and "third" estimates are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively.
The "latest"” estimate reflects the results of both annual and comprehensive revisions.

     Annual revisions, which generally cover the quarters of the 3 most recent calendar years, are usually carried
out each summer and incorporate newly available major annual source data.  Comprehensive (or benchmark)
revisions are carried out at about 5-year intervals and incorporate major periodic source data, as well as
improvements in concepts and methods that update the accounts to portray more accurately the evolving U.S.
economy.

The table below shows comparisons of the revisions between quarterly percent changes of current-dollar
and of real GDP for the different vintages of the estimates.  From the advance estimate to the second estimate (one
month later), the average revision to real GDP without regard to sign is 0.5 percentage point, while from the
advance estimate to the third estimate (two months later), it is 0.6 percentage point.  From the advance estimate to
the latest estimate, the average revision without regard to sign is 1.3 percentage points.  The average revision
(with regard to sign) from the advance estimate to the latest estimate is 0.3 percentage point, which is larger
than the average revisions from the advance estimate to the second or to the third estimates.  The larger average
revisions to the latest estimate reflect the fact that comprehensive revisions include major improvements, such as
the incorporation of BEA’s latest benchmark input-output accounts.  The quarterly estimates correctly indicate the
direction of change of real GDP 97 percent of the time, correctly indicate whether GDP is accelerating or
decelerating 72 percent of the time, and correctly indicate whether real GDP growth is above, near, or below trend
growth more than four-fifths of the time.

                           Revisions Between Quarterly Percent Changes of GDP: Vintage Comparisons
                                                     [Annual rates]

       Vintages                                   Average         Average without     Standard deviation of
       compared                                                    regard to sign      revisions without
                                                                                         regard to sign

____________________________________________________Current-dollar GDP_______________________________________________

Advance to second....................               0.2                 0.5                  0.4
Advance to third.....................                .2                  .7                   .4
Second to third......................                .0                  .3                   .2

Advance to latest....................                .3                 1.3                  1.0

________________________________________________________Real GDP_____________________________________________________

Advance to second....................               0.1                 0.5                  0.4
Advance to third.....................                .1                  .6                   .4
Second to third......................                .0                  .2                   .2

Advance to latest....................                .3                 1.3                  1.0

NOTE.  These comparisons are based on the period from 1983 through 2010.http://bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm
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Senator Session Warns Republicans — Immigration Bill is Bad Politics, Bad Policy and Bad Economics — Videos

Posted on January 30, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Climate, College, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Food, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, IRS, Language, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Private Sector, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Reviews, Security, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 Senator Session Warns Republicans — Immigration Bill is Bad Politics, Bad Policy and Bad Economics — Videos

Sen Sessions: Immigration Increases Income Inequality – The Real Story W Gretchen Carlson

Jeff Sessions Elite Group With Special Agendas Behind Legislation That Impacts All America

Jeff Session Mocks Gang Of Eight and Special Interest Forces Immigration Debate

Jeff Sessions: ‘Elite Group With Special Agendas’ Behind Legislation That Impacts All Amer

The entire memo is here and worth a read:

Sessions Warns House GOP: Immigration Bill Is Bad Politics, Bad Policy

Offers a better way forward.

By DANIEL HALPER

Yesterday afternoon, before President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Senator Jeff Sessions’ staff hand-delivered to each Republican member of the House an important memo on the so-called immigration reform bill being debated on Capital Hill. The 3-page document, written by Sessions, argues that pushing the current immigration legislation forward is bad politics, bad policy, and that there’s a better way for Republicans.

Jeff Sessions

Sessions believes House Republicans are at risk of falling into President Obama’s trap. “[A]ccording to news reports, House Republican leaders are instead turning 2014 into a headlong rush towards Gang-of-Eight style ‘immigration reform,’” writes Sessions. “They are reportedly drafting an immigration plan that is uncomfortably similar to a ‘piecemeal’ repackaging of the disastrous Senate plan—and even privately negotiating a final package with Democrat activists before consulting with their own members.”

It’s bad politics, Sessions writes. “In the rush to pass an immigration bill, there has been a near absence of any serious thought about the conditions facing American workers. The last 40 years has been a period of record immigration to the U.S., with the last 10 years seeing more new arrivals than any prior 10- year period in history. This trend has coincided with wage stagnation, enormous growth in welfare programs, and a shrinking workforce participation rate. A sensible, conservative approach would focus on lifting those living here today, both immigrant and native-born, out of poverty and into the middle class—before doubling or tripling the level of immigration into the U.S.

A sensible immigration policy would also listen to the opinion of the American people. Not the opinions of the paid-for consultants trotted out with their agenda-driven polls to GOP member meetings—but the actual, honest opinion of the people who sent us here. There is a reason why none of the corporate-funded ads for amnesty breathe a word about doubling immigration levels. According to Rasmussen Reports, working and middle class Americans strongly oppose large expansions of our already generous immigration system. Those earning under $30,000 prefer a reduction to an increase by an overwhelming 3-1 margin.

And bad policy, the senator from Alabama details. “Coordinating with a small group of the nation’s most powerful special interests, last year President Obama and Senate Democrats forced through an immigration bill which can only be described as a hammer blow to the American middle class. Not only would it grant work permits to millions of illegal immigrants at a time of record joblessness, it would also double the annual flow of new immigrant workers and provide green cards to more than 30 million permanent residents over the next decade. These new workers, mostly lesser-skilled, will compete for jobs in every sector, industry, and occupation in the U.S. economy.”

He adds, “House Republicans, in crafting immigration principles, should reply to the President’s immigration campaign with a simple message: our focus is to help unemployed Americans get back to work—not to grant amnesty or to answer the whims of immigration activists and CEOs. In turn, that message could be joined with a detailed and unifying policy agenda for accomplishing that moral and social objective.”

As for Sessions’ “Better Agenda,” he lays it out very precisely:

The GOP’s 2014 agenda should not be to assist the President in passing his immigration plan. Rather, it should be a consuming focus on restoring hope and opportunity to millions of discouraged workers. The GOP’s 2014 agenda should be a national effort—announced proudly and boldly—to reduce the welfare rolls and get America back to work, including:

  •  More American energy that creates good-paying jobs right here in the U.S.
  •  A more competitive tax and regulatory code that allows U.S. businesses and workers tocompete on a level global playing field
  •  A trade policy that increases U.S. exports and expands domestic manufacturing
  •  An immigration policy that serves the interests of the American people
  •  Converting the welfare office into a job training center
  •  Making government leaner and more accountable to U.S. taxpayers
  •  Restoring economic confidence by continuing our effort to balance the federal budget

An all-out immigration push is inimical to these goals.

Rep. Ryan: GOP Looking at Legal Status, Chance for Citizenship

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), a leading GOP advocate for tackling immigration, confirmed Wednesday that Republicans are looking to give illegal immigrants legal status right away, with the chance for a green card—and citizenship—down the line.

Officials familiar with the planning had said as much before. But Mr. Ryan is the first member of the GOP leadership to lay out the Republican vision publicly.

At issue is how to handle more than 11 million people already in the U.S. illegally. Most House Republicans oppose the Senate approach, whereby all qualified illegal immigrants would first win legal status, then have the chance to apply for legal permanent residence (also known as a green card), and then for citizenship. House Republicans call that a “special path to citizenship” that is unavailable to those who followed the law.

House Republicans have been talking since last summer about a different approach, and Mr. Ryan laid it out on Wednesday in an interview with MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.”

First, illegal immigrants would be offered a “probationary” status, allowing them to work while the government tightened border security and interior enforcement. Officials have explained that this would allow people to work legally while they wait for permanent legal status. (Officials have explained that this group could revert to illegal status if enforcement benchmarks are not met.)

Mr. Ryan said it would make sure that the Obama administration went ahead with the enforcement provisions. “We want to make sure that we write a law that he can’t avoid,” Mr. Ryan said.

After that, they would be eligible for a “regular work permit,” he said.

“If those things are met, you satisfy the terms of your probation, you’re not on welfare, you pay a fine, you learn English and civics, and the border’s been secured and interior enforcement independently verified, then you can get a regular work permit,” he said.

At that point, this group could apply for green cards using the same system available to any newcomer.

“That’s the kind of process we envision,” he said. “Which is not a special pathway to citizenship and it’s not going to automatically in any way give an undocumented immigrant citizenship.”

Some Democrats and immigration advocates have signaled that they could accept this approach, depending on the details. It’s unclear whether enough Republicans would feel the same. The idea will get its first full airing on Thursday afternoon, when House Republicans are scheduled to discuss immigration at their retreat in Cambridge, Md.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/01/29/rep-ryan-gop-looking-at-legal-status-chance-for-citizenship/

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President Obama’s State of the Union 2014 Address — The Young and The Jobless Betrayed By Obama — Videos

Posted on January 29, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Babies, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Fraud, government, government spending, Health Care, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Narcissism, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Private Sector, Psychology, Public Sector, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

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