Poachers kill rhino at French zoo; cut off horn with chainsaw
Paris -- Poachers broke into a zoo near Paris on Monday and killed a 4-year-old rhinoceros before cutting off its horn with a chainsaw.
The rhinoceros, named Vince, was found dead today at the Thoiry Zoo, west of the French capital, according to The Independent. The animal had been shot three times in the head.
The animal's second horn was partially cut off, the paper said. That means the poachers likely ran out of time or their equipment failed. Two other rhinos at the zoo are safe and healthy. More
America may miss out on the next industrial revolution
Robots are inevitably going to automate millions of jobs in the US and around the world, but there’s an even more complex scenario on the horizon, said roboticist Matt Rendall. In a talk Tuesday at SXSW, Rendall painted a picture of the future of robotic job displacement that focused less on automation and more on the realistic ways in which the robotics industry will reshape global manufacturing.
The takeaway was that America, which has outsourced much of its manufacturing and lacks serious investment in industrial robotics, may miss out on the world’s next radical shift in how goods are produced. That’s because the robot makers — as in, the robots that make the robots — could play a key role in determining how automation expands across the globe. More
GOP senators’ new bill would let ISPs sell your Web browsing data
Republican senators yesterday introduced legislation that would overturn new privacy rules for Internet service providers. If the Federal Communications Commission rules are eliminated, ISPs would not have to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other third parties.
As expected, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and 23 Republican co-sponsors introduced the resolution yesterday. The measure would use lawmakers' power under the Congressional Review Act to ensure that the FCC rulemaking "shall have no force or effect." The resolution would also prevent the FCC from issuing similar regulations in the future.
Flake's announcement said he's trying to "protect consumers from overreaching Internet regulation." Flake also said that the resolution "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared," but he did not explain how it will achieve that. More
'Black Hitler' to stand for election for far-right party in Finland
A Finnish pastor who has been dubbed 'the black Hitler' is to stand for election in the country's municipal elections.
Joao Bruno Putulukeso will stand for the ultra-nationalist True Finns party (also known as simply The Finns) in an attempt to moderate its uncompromising image.
Putulukeso, who came to Finland from Angola, will stand in the eastern city of Vaasa under the slogan "love is the weapon of victory," according to news agency EFE. He has said: "I want immigrants to understand that the True Finns are not enemies of the immigrants. Immigrants must respect the law and the rules, and then they can integrate in peace."
Despite his stated intentions, Putulukeso's decision to stand for the far-right party has caused uproar on social media and led some to call him "the black Hitler." More
FBI Used Best Buy's Geek Squad To Increase Secret Public Surveillance
Recently unsealed records reveal a much more extensive secret relationship than previously known between the FBI and Best Buy's Geek Squad, including evidence the agency trained company technicians on law-enforcement operational tactics, shared lists of targeted citizens and, to covertly increase surveillance of the public, encouraged searches of computers even when unrelated to a customer's request for repairs.
To sidestep the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against warrantless invasions of private property, federal prosecutors and FBI officials have argued that Geek Squad employees accidentally find and report, for example, potential child pornography on customers' computers without any prodding by the government. Assistant United States Attorney M. Anthony Brown last year labeled allegations of a hidden partnership as "wild speculation." But more than a dozen summaries of FBI memoranda filed inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse this month in USA v. Mark Rettenmaier contradict the official line. More
Marijuana Grow Lights Interfering with Ham Radio Transmissions
Amateur radio operators across the country have recently been noticing a harsh audible buzz when switching on their equipment. The source of the interference has been traced to cheap electrical ballasts used to regulate indoor lamps that are used to grow marijuana. The cheap ballasts that are causing the problems often have fake FCC-compliance stickers, which may go unnoticed by amateur growers.
Marijuana grow lights can be powerful enough to generate the same amount of radio interference as a 1,000 watt AM radio station, and one of the cheap ballasts popular among home marijuana growers was found to produce 640 times as much interference as a legal, FCC-approved unit. More
Electronic Media Searches at Border Crossings Raise Concerns
PORTLAND, OREGON — Watchdog groups that keep tabs on digital privacy rights are concerned that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are searching the phones and other digital devices of international travelers at border checkpoints in U.S. airports.
The issue gained attention recently after at least three travelers, including a Canadian journalist, spoke out publicly about their experiences. The episodes have gained notice amid an outcry over President Donald Trump's travel ban and complaints of mistreatment of foreign travelers, but the government insists there has been no policy change in the new administration.
Border Protection says searches increased fivefold in the final fiscal year of the Obama presidency, but still amounted to less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of all international arrivals. More
The Other WWII American-Internment Atrocity
Most American school children learn that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, leading us to join World War II.
This week marks the 75th anniversary of Japanese-Americans being subsequently rounded up and interned as suspected enemies of the state.
But there's another tragic and untold story of American citizens who were also interned during the war. I'm a member of the Ahtna tribe of Alaska and I've spent the better part of 30 years uncovering and putting together fragments of a story that deserves to be told. More
Swedish, Danish citizens arrested on terror accusations in Turkey
A Swedish citizen and a Danish citizen have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of planning acts of terror in Europe, according to Turkish media.
The pair are said to have been trained by Isis since 2014.
"We have received information from Turkish security services stating that a Swedish citizen has been arrested in Turkey," Nina Odermalm Schei, press chief with Swedish security agency Sapö, told news agency TT.
The 45-year-old Danish citizen is of Lebanese heritage, while the 38-year-old Swede has links to Iraq. According to the Anatolia news agency and other Turkish media, the pair have received training in terrorism during visits to Syria over several years, where they claimed to be participating in relief work. More
Berkeley Riots: How Free Speech Debate Launched Violent Campus Showdown
Last week's riot at University of California Berkeley has raised some big questions about the future of the free speech movement. A divided campus – which once incubated the ideals of the 1960s – was sent into lockdown as it struggled to balance inclusive values with its legacy of fighting for the right to voice your opinion, however ugly it may be.
When the Berkeley College Republicans invited inflammatory Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus, over 100 faculty members signed letters of protest, urging the administration to cancel his visit, while an op-ed by veterans of the free-speech movement defended his right to speak.
The university decided that the Berkeley College Republicans, a separate legal entity from the school itself, had the right to host Yiannopoulos – but many in the community didn't agree with that decision, pointing to other schools that have successfully prevented his appearances. More
More states confirm suspected cyberattacks sourced to DHS
2 other states’ election agencies confirm cyber-attacks linked to same DHS IP address as 11/15 cyber-attack on GA network.
The two states reporting the suspected cyberattacks were West Virginia and Kentucky.
"We need somebody to dig down into this story and figure out exactly what happened," said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
In the past week, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office has confirmed 10 separate cyberattacks on its network over the past 10 months that were traced back to DHS addresses. More
The New Dark Age – Exploiting Faith to Coerce Climate Obedience
Climate worriers appear to be increasingly looking for ways to exploit people’s religious faith, to coerce ordinary people into accepting green destitution; into abandoning mechanised transport, into letting farmland return to wilderness.
For much of the history of civilisation, during the Dark Age, ordinary people were prey to the unscrupulous – to tyrants who exploited the honest faith of ordinary people, to coerce acceptance of inequity and injustice. Then along came the Age of Reason, and the Age of Enlightenment. Instead of simply accepting whatever they were told, ordinary people started to question, to demand answers, to know the evidence. People started to demand rational government, justice, liberty and fair treatment.
The Climate activist appeal to reason has failed – their evidence sucks, their models don’t work, public interest is plummeting, and their habit of calling people names, when their shoddy science is questioned, is starting to wear thin. More
Why cheap, outdated Android phones widen the digital security divide
In late November, the security team at Check Point Software Technologies revealed a new malware campaign named Gooligan, which breached the security of more than a million Android phones.
The malware, which can find its way onto phones via phishing links or apps downloaded outside the Google Play store, can steal authentication token information and use it to access Google-related accounts – including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, G Suite and more – without entering a password. Gooligan also can install and rate apps from Google Play and even install adware to generate revenue. The malware, which has been found in at least 86 apps outside the Google Play store, could affect users running versions 4 or 5 of the Android operating system, which were released between 2011 and 2014. More
An Entire Town's Police Force Just Resigned
A small Indiana town is entirely without a police force after a series of resignations Monday. (Editor's note: Criminals, please don't read any farther.) The AP reports Bunker Hill's town marshal and four unpaid reserve deputies submitted their letters of resignation during Monday's town council meeting.
In his letter of resignation, town marshal Michael Thomison accused the council of asking him and his deputies to "be involved in illegal, unethical, and immoral things," according to the Kokomo Tribune. Those activities included requests for confidential information and criminal background checks on fellow council members. Thomison tells Fox 59 deputies were threatened when they refused those requests and were forced to share one set of body armor while dealing with criminals. More
For Many Low-Wage Workers, Retirement Is Only a Dream
It was a striking image. A photo of an 89-year-old man hunched over, struggling to push his cart with frozen treats. Fidencio Sanchez works long hours every day selling the treats because he couldn’t afford to retire.
The photo and his story went viral and thousands of people donated more than $384,000 for his retirement.
His story is a window into a dark reality: Many low-wage workers say they can’t afford to retire.
With no money saved for retirement, home care worker Gwen Strowbridge, 71, of Deerfield, Florida, plans to stay on the job until she can’t physically work anymore. More
The UN doesn’t like the way you live
Participants at the UN’s Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador are exhorted on blue and white (the UN’s colors) billboards to do their best for the world’s cities. Our personal favorite read “Compact Cities.”
According to speakers addressing the conference, only by transforming cities and other human settlements into densely populated urban centers will future generations have any prospect of meeting the challenges facing them, first and foremost climate change (formerly known as “global warming”).
An endless parade of people described as “urban experts, “ warned that whatever plans were adopted at Quito would be pointless unless they were accompanied by comprehensive monitoring. But what would be the criteria by which a city’s performance could be evaluated?
Not to worry, said Michael Cohen of the New School in New York , his graduate students had developed the criteria that would assess cities’ compliance with the UN’s plans to ensure that urban areas take the lead in combating climate change. More
We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned
A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide." The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.
We wondered who was behind that story and why it was written. It appeared on a site that had the look and feel of a local newspaper. Denverguardian.com even had the local weather. But it had only one news story — the fake one.
We tried to look up who owned it and hit a wall. The site was registered anonymously. So we brought in some professional help. More
The nasty rise of ‘flash mob robbers’
In just 90 seconds, they’d made off with over $10,000 in cosmetics.
Groups known as “flash-mob robbers” storm a store, steal thousands in merchandise in minutes and bolt as quickly as they arrive. Among the most notorious are the Rainbow Girls — a group of female thieves, named for their brightly hued hair — who’ve hit dozens of stores in the Bay Area. Their high-stakes heists have included Ulta where the beauty burglars stole an estimated $11,000 worth of goods in less than two minutes. The mostly girl gang has also walked off with a combined more than $130,000 worth of luxury goods from Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton Christian Dior and Sunglass Hut according to charges filed against a dozen members of the Rainbow Girls in the Bay Area in October. More
DEA regularly mines Americans' travel records to seize millions in cash
WASHINGTON — Federal drug agents regularly mine Americans’ travel information to profile people who might be ferrying money for narcotics traffickers — though they almost never use what they learn to make arrests or build criminal cases.
Instead, that targeting has helped the Drug Enforcement Administration seize a small fortune in cash. DEA agents have profiled passengers on Amtrak trains and nearly every major U.S. airline, drawing on reports from a network of travel-industry informants that extends from ticket counters to back offices, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Agents assigned to airports and train stations singled out passengers for questioning or searches for reasons as seemingly benign as traveling one-way to California or having paid for a ticket in cash. More
The great Mexican wall deception: Trump’s America already exists on the border
At the federal courthouse, Ignacio Sarabia asks the magistrate judge, Jacqueline Rateau, if he can explain why he crossed the international boundary between the two countries without authorization. He has already pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor commonly known as “illegal entry” and is about to receive a prison sentence. On either side of him are eight men in the same predicament, all still sunburned, all in the same ripped, soiled clothes they were wearing when arrested in the Arizona desert by agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Once again, the zero tolerance border enforcement program known as Operation Streamline has unfolded just as it always does here in Tucson, Ariz. Close to 60 people have already approached the judge in groups of seven or eight, their heads bowed submissively, their bodies weighed down by shackles and chains around wrists, waists and ankles. The judge has handed out the requisite prison sentences in quick succession — 180 days, 60 days, 90 days, 30 days. More
Just how secure are electronic voting machines?
It's no secret, given the hacks that have plagued the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. But security researchers warn that it's just the beginning.
"There's not even a doubt in my mind that there are other actors out there that have yet to be found," Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz told CNNMoney. "I'm sure there will be other hacks that come out over the course of this election and certainly beyond that."
Kurtz, whose firm was brought in by the DNC to investigate the hack, called the hack a watershed moment. He said Crowdstrike has been fielding calls from Washington as political parties wrap their heads around a new type of threat: Hackers trying to manipulate the U.S. election. More
This Guy Trains Computers to Find Future Criminals
When historians look back at the turmoil over prejudice and policing in the U.S. over the past few years, they’re unlikely to dwell on the case of Eric Loomis. Police in La Crosse, Wis., arrested Loomis in February 2013 for driving a car that was used in a drive-by shooting. He had been arrested a dozen times before. Loomis took a plea, and was sentenced to six years in prison plus five years of probation.
The episode was unremarkable compared with the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police, which were captured on camera and distributed widely online. But Loomis’s story marks an important point in a quieter debate over the role of fairness and technology in policing. Before his sentence, the judge in the case received an automatically generated risk score that determined Loomis was likely to commit violent crimes in the future. More
G20 to set up forum to combat world oversupply- EU diplomat
HANGZHOU (CHINA) - The Group of 20 leading economies will set up a global forum to combat world industrial oversupply, a senior European Union diplomat said Monday at a summit in China.
The final communique will say that "measures like subsidies are a root cause of market distortions" and a forum will be set up "to monitor the process" of cutting overcapacity, the official told reporters.
The global steel industry is assailed by huge oversupply with Chinese demand plummeting as its economic growth has slowed. More
A Stability Police Force for the United States
Establishing security is the sine qua non of stability operations, since it is a prerequisite for reconstruction and development. Security requires a mix of military and police forces to deal with a range of threats from insurgents to criminal organizations. This research examines the creation of a high-end police force, which the authors call a Stability Police Force (SPF).
The study considers what size force is necessary, how responsive it needs to be, where in the government it might be located, what capabilities it should have, how it could be staffed, and its cost. This monograph also considers several options for locating this force within the U.S. government, including the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in the Department of State, and the U.S. Army's Military Police. The authors conclude that an SPF containing 6,000 people — created in the U.S. Marshals Service and staffed by a “hybrid option,” in which SPF members are federal police officers seconded to federal, state, and local police agencies when not deployed — would be the most effective of the options considered. More
Asylum center placed with a view of naturist camp
It would take a lot of a poor planning to top the location of a new asylum center.
In Germany, 400 naturists have been told to get dressed when a new asylum center for Muslim men opens next month.
The asylum center is namely placed with a view of the naturist camp. The German naturist camp was founded 111 years ago.
The 400 members of the Familiensport-und FKK-Bund Waldteichfreunde Moritzburg nudist group have been told they will not be able to skinny dip in the lake that will separate them from the prying eyes of residents in the new £1.2million facility. More
US Airstrikes Kill Up to 200 Civilians in Northern Syria Villages, ‘Mistook Them for ISIS’
US and coalition airstrikes against the northern Syrian villages of Tokhar and Hoshariyeh have killed at least 56 civilians, including 11 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Other groups claimed the civilian toll was as high as 200.
The villages are ISIS-held villages near the city of Manbij, which US-backed rebels are attacking. This civilian toll comes less than 24 hours after an incident in which US airstrikes against Manbij itself killed 20 civilians.
The village attacks, however, have really raised eyebrows, and as the death toll is still getting sorted out, it could well stand as the deadliest US coalition attack on civilians in the entire war.
The Pentagon rarely accounts for civilians killed in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, occasionally issuing statements with dramatic undercounts of the number of civilians they’ve killed since the war began. US attacks in and around Manbij alone had killed over 100 before the village incidents. More
The Origins of the War on Cops
When I joined the Los Angeles Police Department some 35 years ago, it was common practice among officers that upon returning to our cars after handling a radio call, having lunch, or what have you, we would check the ground beneath it for the presence of a bomb.
To me, with my paltry experience at the time, the exercise seemed silly. No one I knew had found a bomb under his car, why should I think I would find one under mine?
But this was the early 1980s, and the officers who trained me, many of them veterans of the Vietnam war, had come through the tumult of the ‘60s and ‘70s, with the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, and all the other revolutionary groups whose aim it was to overthrow the government and whose practices included attacks on police officers. These officers explained to me that some years earlier someone had indeed attempted to blow up an LAPD car, and that the device had been designed to detonate only when the car moved from its parking place. More
Armed police to patrol French beaches amid terrorism fears
Tourists visiting French resorts this summer will see armed police patrols on the beaches, as the country beefs up security measures for the holiday season.
Officers belonging to the CRS riot police force, who have previously been equipped with batons and handcuffs, will be allowed to wear special holsters carrying weapons for the first time. Bulletproof vests will also be at their disposal.
The move comes two weeks after an unarmed French police chief and his partner were killed in a stabbing in front of their house outside Paris. Isis claimed responsibility for the attack, which has sparked a debate in France about whether the forces should carry weapons outside working hours. France remains in a state of emergency following November’s deadly attacks, which left 130 dead. More
Hillary Clinton Oversaw US Arms Deals to Clinton Foundation Donors
In 2011, the State Department cleared an enormous arms deal: Led by Boeing, a consortium of American defense contractors would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns over the kingdom's troublesome human rights record.
In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, Saudi Arabia had contributed $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, and just two months before the jet deal was finalized, Boeing donated $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to an International Business Times investigation released Tuesday.
The Saudi transaction is just one example of nations and companies that had donated to the Clinton Foundation seeing an increase in arms deals while Hillary Clinton oversaw the State Department. IBT found that between October 2010 and September 2012, State approved $165 billion in commercial arms sales to 20 nations that had donated to the foundation, plus another $151 billion worth of Pentagon-brokered arms deals to 16 of those countries—a 143 percent increase over the same time frame under the Bush Administration. The sales boosted the military power of authoritarian regimes such as Qatar, Algeria, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman, which, like Saudi Arabia, had been criticized by the department for human rights abuses. More
Move-In Day: Riot Police Take Over College Dorms To Support RNC 2016 Police State
CLEVELAND — The needs of the massive militarized police force mobilized for this year’s Republican National Convention are disrupting an entire week of summer classes at a local university.
Jane Morice, crime reporter for cleveland.com, reported that about 300 officers from the California State Highway Patrol and Pittsburgh Police Department were sworn in on Saturday as “special officers” for RNC functions. An additional 400 Ohio State Highway Patrol officers, along with additional forces from Ohio University, also took part in a swearing-in ceremony. More
Family forced to move to give room for migrants
In August, Uffe Rustan and his children are forced to move out of their home that they are renting from the municipality in the city of Lidingö in Sweden.
The reason is that a newly arrived family of migrants from the Middle East is to move in instead, reports the local newspaper.
You can not put a family on the streets to be replaced with another family, says Uffe Rustan. More
Spy agency accidentally shared Canadians’ data with allies for years
A federal spy agency inadvertently shared logs of Canadians’ phone calls and Internet exchanges with intelligence allies such as the United States for years, a newly disclosed report says.
The revelation that the Communications Security Establishment compromised Canadians’ privacy while sharing clandestinely captured data appears in a confidential watchdog’s report obtained by The Globe and Mail from court filings related to a lawsuit against the Canadian government.
The report said software that was supposed to remove identifying information on Canadians from material CSE captured during international surveillance operations had failed. This meant that Canada’s intelligence allies received data that Canadian laws say they should not see. More
America’s Legacy Will Be Its Downfall: Empire Always Comes Home
As Western media outlets and the U.S. State Department attempt to gin up public sentiment surrounding alleged bombings of alleged hospitals that may or may not have even existed and that, even if they did, were nothing more than field hospitals for terrorists, the Syrian people are suffering under unimaginable conditions. These true victims, of course, are completely ignored by the same outlets that cry and pine over the deaths and setbacks of jihadists, rapists, torturers, and murderers.
Amidst the constant propaganda and dehumanizing method of reporting “news” in the West, both the humanity and the wishes of the Syrian people are lost completely.
In a video posted by the ANNA News Agency, one is able to see footage of Aleppo where Western-backed terrorists are lobbing missiles and bombs against civilian targets, film that would never be played on Western televisions under the guise of protecting a violence-ridden and violence-obsessed public from the “graphic images” of the results of their own intellectual laziness and lack of moral conviction. Graphic images are no problem when it is movie time, of course, but when violent images come home to roost, trigger warnings are required and censorship is always invoked. That is, unless the necessity of stirring up public support for foreign wars is dire enough to warrant its presentation. More
Why Bolivia turned away Bill Gates' chicken donation
Bolivia's outrage yesterday at being a beneficiary of Bill Gates's "Coop Dreams" — a project with Heifer International to donate 100,000 chickens to poor countries — shocked many. But upon closer examination of Bolivia's political climate, none of us, Gates included, should be surprised. Under its current president Evo Morales, Bolivia has a robust history of rejecting US aid, whether governmental or philanthropic.
Over the last decade, the landlocked Andean country has undergone sweeping political changes. Morales, an activist and prominent coca farmer (yes, it's legal to grow coca in Bolivia; no, it's not legal to turn it into cocaine), became Bolivia's first indigenous president in 2006. He won hearts and minds with his socialist party, Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), which campaigned on a pro-environmental, pro-indigenous platform.
Since then, he has been reelected twice and along the way enacted sweeping reforms. In 2008, he established a new constitution and renamed the country Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, the plurinational state, in recognition of its cultural diversity. (Bolivia has 37 official languages.) More
Introducing Glencore, rapacious global lord: A David vs. Goliath battle is brewing in Texas
Giant corporate entities have become so far-flung and impersonal that “human relations” departments have been created within the soulless structures to cloak the fact that there’s really nothing human about them. HR is mostly known for sending the corporate rank and file peppy motivational memos that boil down to: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”
The beatings of American workers (wage slashing, axed benefits, union busting, mass firings, offshored factories, and brutish abuse of worker rights) have been increasing in frequency, intensity, and scope — mostly ordered by CEOs in the posh, faraway headquarters of multi-tentacled global empires. These detached autocrats are wrecking the lives of hardworking people for no reasons but institutional greed, calculated self-interest … and because our corporate-coddling government lets them get away with it. Let’s meet one of the most powerful of these lords of rapacious global capitalism — Glencore.
Never heard of Glencore? Neither had I until February, when I visited some members of the United Steelworkers Union outside a Glencore-owned aluminum plant (Sherwin Alumina) on the Texas Gulf Coast. In 2014, after months of negotiating a new contract, Glencore suddenly tossed these workers a take-it-or-leave-it offer that would drastically cut wages, increase healthcare costs, and eliminate pensions for new hires. (Glencore’s profit that year was $4.6 billion). Fed up, 98 percent of the union’s members voted against the contract. Glencore’s reaction was to lock them out and replace them with contract workers. More
How to Hack an Election
It was just before midnight when Enrique Peña Nieto declared victory as the newly elected president of Mexico. Peña Nieto was a lawyer and a millionaire, from a family of mayors and governors. His wife was a telenovela star. He beamed as he was showered with red, green, and white confetti at the Mexico City headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which had ruled for more than 70 years before being forced out in 2000. Returning the party to power on that night in July 2012, Peña Nieto vowed to tame drug violence, fight corruption, and open a more transparent era in Mexican politics.
Two thousand miles away, in an apartment in Bogotá’s upscale Chicó Navarra neighborhood, Andrés Sepúlveda sat before six computer screens. Sepúlveda is Colombian, bricklike, with a shaved head, goatee, and a tattoo of a QR code containing an encryption key on the back of his head. On his nape are the words “” and “” stacked atop each other, dark riffs on coding. He was watching a live feed of Peña Nieto’s victory party, waiting for an official declaration of the results. More
Beauty Business Goes Big Brother: CIA Funding Skin Cream That Can Harvest your DNA
Skincential Sciences, a company with an innovative line of cosmetic products marketed as a way to erase blemishes and soften skin, has caught the attention of beauty bloggers on YouTube, Oprah’s lifestyle magazine, and celebrity skin care professionals. Documents obtained by The Intercept reveal that the firm has also attracted interest and funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The previously undisclosed relationship with the CIA might come as some surprise to a visitor to the website of Clearista, the main product line of Skincential Sciences, which boasts of a “formula so you can feel confident and beautiful in your skin’s most natural state.”
Though the public-facing side of the company touts a range of skin care products, Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin, revealing unique biomarkers that can be used for a variety of diagnostic tests, including DNA collection. More
Here's how the US government plans to break the encryption on your smartphone
We've got our first proper look at an attempt by US senators to legislate against encryption. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr, both of whom sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee, are introducing a bill intended to tackle the rising use of strong encryption technology that cannot be decrypted by anyone without the correct key - including law enforcement and the companies responsible for creating it. Burr, a Republican, is the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Feinstein, a Democrat, is the vice-chair. A discussion draft of the bill began circulating on Thursday.
The Feinstein-Burr efforts received a blow earlier this week when Reuters reported that the White House will not be endorsing it. President Obama has previously spoken out against the alleged dangers of encryption, warning against an "absolutist stance on privacy" and asserting people are "fetishizing our phones above every other value, and that can't be the right answer." More
Former Top Obama Official Says Operation Choke Point Had ‘Collateral’ Consequences
One of President Barack Obama’s former top Justice Department officials behind Operation Choke Point said Thursday the program had “unintended but collateral consequences” on banks and U.S. consumers.
“Unfortunately, as the investigations continue, so too have one of the unintended but collateral consequences of such vigilance: mass de-risking,” wrote Michael J. Bresnick, who previously served as executive director of Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, under which Operation Choke Point was created. “Members of the industry have raised their hands in frustration and simply avoided lines of business typically associated with higher risk. This reaction to [the Justice Department’s] enforcement initiative, and similar matters brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is certainly understandable.”. More
Mystery solved! Box on Phoenix utility pole belongs to ATF
PHOENIX - The bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives came forward Thursday, admitting that a box spotted and removed from an SRP power pole on 21st and Glendale avenues belonged to them and was part of an ongoing investigation.
ATF officials would not elaborate on the investigation and would not say if they were conducting surveillance in the area.
"I don't feel safer," said Brian Clegg, who called ABC15 about the box on the power pole behind his house. Clegg was suspicious there could be cameras installed in the boxes but ATF would not confirm that.
"I feel that my privacy has been violated," said Clegg. "It's right behind my house." More
Mexican mayor's killers start revealing drug war secrets
MEXICO CITY - Members of the gang that killed a mayor in southern Mexico have begun revealing some of the secrets of their trade to officials.
Temixco Mayor Gisela Mota was beaten and shot to death just one day after taking office, on Jan. 2.
She had entered office with a pledge to fight organized crime, and instead became one of an estimated 100 mayors assassinated over Mexico's decade-long war on drug cartels. Following Mota's killing, two suspects were killed in a clash with police and three others arrested after a chase. Officials said those taken into custody were a 32-year-old woman, an 18-year-old man and a minor. They gave few other details, though state Attorney General Javier Perez Duron said the suspects had been tied to other crimes.
According to officials, the minor who was captured revealed the site of clandestine graves holding the remains of four other people. More
Schoolboy pledges allegiance to ISIS instead of American flag - DHS starts investigation
A Connecticut student pledged allegiance to ISIS instead of the United States of America during the daily Pledge of Allegiance just before Christmas break.
The 15-year-old boy now has to attend classes in a separate Board of Education building. The teen is accused of making statements in favor of Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) during the Pledge, Ansonia Police Lieutenant Andrew Cota said Thursday.
“As this is a juvenile matter there is no other information being released,” he added.
The police quickly handed the case over to Homeland Security, which assured everyone there was no danger to the community, the Connecticut Post reported. Federal officials declined to comment further.
Regular classes were dismissed “out of an abundance of caution,” Floyd Dugas, an attorney for the Board of Education, said. More
Community in Total Shock as Muslim Refugee Rapes Girl to Death and Then Continues After She Died
An immigrant from Somalia, age 34, was arrested for brutally attacking a woman next to the parking garage of a Sheraton hotel in Sweden.
The woman perished while being raped.
Police stated that the perpetrator continued to rape the woman’s corpse well after she was deceased. The Somalian was captured by police while still in the act of raping the murdered woman’s body.
Sweden and Norway have been plagued by a massive epidemic of violent rapes. More
Alabama Police Department Planted Drugs on Young Black Men For Years
The Alabama Justice Project has obtained documents that reveal a Dothan Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigation was covered up by the district attorney. A group of up to a dozen police officers on a specialized narcotics team were found to have planted drugs and weapons on young black men for years. They were supervised at the time by Lt. Steve Parrish, current Dothan Police Chief, and Sgt. Andy Hughes, current Asst. Director of Homeland Security for the State of Alabama. All of the officers reportedly were members of a Neoconfederate organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center labels “racial extremists.” The group has advocated for blacks to “return” to Africa, published that the civil rights movement is really a Jewish conspiracy, and that blacks have lower IQ’s .
Both Parrish and Hughes held leadership positions in the group and are pictured above holding a confederate battle flag at one of the club’s secret meetings. The documents shared reveal that the internal affairs investigation was covered up to protect the aforementioned officers’ law enforcement careers and keep them from being criminally prosecuted. More
The Big Lie in the War Against Drugs
If you've shopped at a gardening supply store in the last year, and if you happen to live with someone who drinks tea, guess what?
Your local sheriff could just send a SWAT team into your house.
It's not a far-fetched scenario, in fact it actually happened, here in the US, just three short years ago.
Back in 2012, a Kansas SWAT team raided the home of Robert and Addie Harte and tore their house apart looking for evidence of a major marijuana growing operation.
The investigation began when a state trooper stationed at a gardening supply store (yes, they had the gardening store staked out!) spotted Robert Harte and his son purchasing supplies to grow hydroponic tomatoes. More
Cops Kicked Down Door, Killed Man Who Insisted on Warrant
A dad was shot several times and died in an officer-involved shooting in Spring Lake Sunday morning, witnesses said.
The incident occurred just before 3:40 a.m. at a residence near the intersection of Stage Road and W. Everett Drive when deputies arrived on scene to conduct an assault investigation, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to authorities, “a confrontation with an individual resulted in a shooting.
” The person involved in the confrontation was pronounced dead at the scene, while the deputy received minor injuries.
Clayton Carroll told WNCN that his roommate, 33-year-old John Livingston was shot several times by a Harnett County Sheriff deputy during the incident. More
7 Ways Police Will Break the Law, Threaten, or Lie to You to Get What they Want
Because of the Fifth Amendment, no one in the U.S. may legally be forced to testify against himself, and because of the Fourth Amendment, no one’s records or belongings may legally be searched or seized without just cause. However, American police are trained to use methods of deception, intimidation and manipulation to circumvent these restrictions. In other words, cops routinely break the law—in letter and in spirit—in the name of enforcing the law. Several examples of this are widely known, if not widely understood. More
Chinese J-31 jet designs raise concerns over cybersecurity
U.S. cybersecurity experts are raising red flags as a leaked document with specs for China's new J-31 fighter jet made its way across Chinese blogs, bearing a striking resemblance to the U.S.-made F-35 Joint Strike fighter.
Like the F-35, the J-31 features a twin engine, and has similar flight capabilities.
However, the F-35 is still fitted for carrying a heavier load of weapons, and features more advanced computer software, according to the leaked document, first reported by Janes. China was suspected of stealing F-35 data in 2009.
U.S. military experts maintain the Pentagon still has an edge over new Chinese developments in military technology, however many in the defense community have pointed out the gap between the two countries has been shrinking. More
US mass shootings prompt surge in weapons sales
Business has been brisk for Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns in North Carolina, since the Oregon community college shooting last week that left 10 people dead, including the 26-year-old suspect.
Mr Hyatt saw an even bigger surge in customers after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 26 people dead, including 20 children, before the gunman killed himself.
After that incident, President Barack Obama made his first major push for stricter gun laws. In the wake of the Oregon shooting, Mr Obama on Friday again urged Americans to challenge the powerful gun lobby, saying he could not do it alone.
However, the calls for tighter gun laws lead to an increase in weapons sales. “Once the public hears the president on the news say we need more gun controls, it tends to drive sales,” said Mr Hyatt, who owns one of the largest gun retailers in the US. “People think, if I don’t get a gun now, it might be difficult to get one in the future. The store is crowded.” More
The Next Snowden - New Whistleblower Leaks Huge Dossier on Drones & Obama’s Assassination Program
Newly leaked government documents have provided an unprecedented window into the secret U.S. drone assassination program across the globe. In the "Drone Papers,"
The Intercept reveals drone strikes have resulted from unreliable intelligence, stemming in large part from electronic communications data, or "signals intelligence," that officials acknowledge is insufficient. The documents also undermine government claims that the drone strikes have been precise. In Afghanistan, strikes on 35 direct targets killed at least 219 other people. Among other revelations, they also suggest the strikes have hurt intelligence gathering and that unknown male victims have been labeled as "enemies killed in action" unless evidence later proves otherwise. The documents were leaked to The Intercept by an unnamed U.S. intelligence source. More
Nordic states fret over migrant threat to borders
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Saturday she feared for Europe’s borderless Schengen zone and urged countries to shore up their external frontiers in the face of the migrant crisis.
“The challenge for the Nordic region is not an internal one, but the fact that Schengen’s outer borders have broken down,” Solberg said.
“We must now make sure that the outer borders work,” she added as Europe struggles to cope with its worst refugee crisis since World War Two.
Schengen, which permits citizens of 26 states including non-EU member Norway to travel without passport formalities, is creaking under the strain of an unending flood of new arrivals with Germany, Austria and Slovakia reimposing border checks. More
Passengers delayed for 90 minutes after security officials discover pilot had 'sneaked bluetooth recorder into the cockpit'
A flight was delayed after the pilot was found to have sneaked a bluetooth voice recorder into the cockpit.
The Indigo aircraft had landed at Karipur Airport in India from Dubai at 10am local time on Sunday when an inspection took place.
The plane was scheduled to fly onwards to Mumbai, but was delayed by 90 minutes when the device was found 'inside a cavity' in the cockpit.
The Times of India reports that the pilot was fined around £50 (RS5,000) for taking the recorder into the cockpit.
A customs official told the news-site: 'Airline staff can bring in only bring personal items like toiletries worth Rs1,500 (£15) and the Bluetooth recorder was valued at over Rs15,000 (£150).' More
The Radically Changing Story of the U.S. Airstrike on Afghan Hospital: From Mistake to Justification
When news first broke of the U.S. airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the response from the U.S. military was predictable and familiar. It was all just a big, terrible mistake, its official statement suggested: an airstrike it carried out in Kunduz “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.” Oops: our bad. Fog of war, errant bombs, and all that.
This obfuscation tactic is the standard one the U.S. and Israel both use whenever they blow up civilian structures and slaughter large numbers of innocent people with airstrikes. Citizens of both countries are well-trained – like some tough, war-weary, cigar-chomping general – to reflexively spout the phrase “collateral damage,” which lets them forget about the whole thing and sleep soundly, telling themselves that these sorts of innocent little mistakes are inevitable even among the noblest and most well-intentioned war-fighters, such as their own governments.
The phrase itself is beautifully technocratic: it requires no awareness of how many lives get extinguished, let alone acceptance of culpability. Just invoke that phrase and throw enough doubt on what happened in the first 48 hours and the media will quickly lose interest. More
Another mass shooting in America': Oregon killings a grim familiarity for US
The US is reeling from another school shooting, the 45th this year, after a 26-year-old gunman murdered as many as nine people and wounded seven more at a community college in Oregon before he was killed.
The gunman was named as Chris Harper Mercer, a 26-year-old man who lived near Umpqua college in the rural town of Roseburg. He is thought to have been born in England before moving to the US as a young boy.
Investigators were focusing on reports from survivors that Mercer told students to state their religion before he opened fire.
The police were also looking at reports that hours before the attack he posted messages on an internet chat site warning people to stay away from school. Investigators said they were attempting to trace people on the site who discouraged him while others urged him on. It does not appear anyone reported the messages to the authorities before the shooting. More
Man Dies in Police Raid on Wrong House
A 61-year-old man was shot to death by police while his wife was handcuffed in another room during a drug raid on the wrong house.
Police admitted their mistake, saying faulty information from a drug informant contributed to the death of John Adams Wednesday night. They intended to raid the home next door.
The two officers, 25-year-old Kyle Shedran and 24-year-old Greg Day, were placed on administrative leave with pay. “They need to get rid of those men, boys with toys,” said Adams’ 70-year-old widow, Loraine. John Adams was watching television when his wife heard pounding on the door.
Police claim they identified themselves and wore police jackets. Loraine Adams said she had no indication the men were police.
“I thought it was a home invasion. I said ‘Baby, get your gun!,” she said, sitting amid friends and relatives gathered at her home to cook and prepare for Sunday’s funeral. More
Man Who Was Serving Life In Prison For Marijuana To Be Set Free
Jeff Mizanskey, a 61-year-old Missouri man who was serving life in prison for nonviolent marijuana offenses, will be set free in a matter of days, his attorney confirmed Monday to The Huffington Post.
"We were notified today that he will be granted parole and be released within '10 to 25 days,'" lawyer Dan Viets said about the Missouri Department of Corrections' decision. Mizanskey had met with the parole board just last Thursday.
After two decades in prison, Mizanskey became eligible for parole in May when Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) commuted his life sentence, while granting pardons to five other nonviolent offenders who had already completed their punishments. Parole was an option that Mizanskey did not have previously because he had been sentenced as a "prior and persistent drug offender" under Missouri's three strikes law, which was repealed last year. More
College student had his life savings seized by the cops even though he was never charged with a crime
A 24-year-old college student named Charles Clarke was about to board a flight to Florida last year when police officers searched his bag and seized his life savings of $11,000.
Clarke wasn't charged with any crime, but over a year later, the police still have his money. There are no plans to return his cash.
"I was scared, it was a ton of emotions going through my mind," Clarke explained to Business Insider.
"I didn't know what to do or what was going to happen; I just knew I was losing my life savings and that I wouldn't have anything when it was gone."
Clarke's nightmare unfolded in February 2014, when police approached him and told him that his checked bag smelled like marijuana. The bag had a lot of cash in it, he says, because he was visiting family in Cincinnati while he and his mom were in the process of moving, and he didn't want to lose the money. More
Honolulu council expands ban after complaints about homeless
HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council voted to expand a ban on sitting and lying on sidewalks in an ongoing struggle to deal with homelessness that followed complaints from tourists about too many transients living near the beach.
The council approved two bills Wednesday extending the ban to pedestrian malls and the banks of city-owned streams, even though some members acknowledged the restrictions are ineffective and just pushing people around. Honolulu originally banned sitting and lying down in the hotspot Waikiki under pressure from the tourism industry.
At the time, there were plans to create a safe zone for camping in an industrial part of the city, but that plan stalled. More
How Human Resources Manipulates and Spies on You, Even When You’re Not at Work
It comes to no surprise to most people that corporate Human Resources departments work in conjunction with IT to monitor employee activities at the workplace.
They monitor your movements with keycards and video cameras; they register when you log in and out of your work computer; and they even track your keystrokes, your email (including your personal account) and web browsing on their workstations. It can be argued that they have the right, as it is their equipment and you are on company time.
However, more and more workers are being spied on and manipulated by Human Resources in more insidious ways, and they probably don’t even know it. More
America proves too tough for hitchhiking robot after vandals end cross-country trip
It seems the tough streets of Philadelphia were too much for a friendly little robot from Ontario. All the Hitchbot wanted to do was see the United States.
But just two weeks after starting its cross-country journey in Boston, Hitchbot's trip has come to an unfortunate end.
Last night, the cute little robot was vandalized and apparently decapitated in the city of brotherly love.
It's a particularly unfortunate end for Hitchbot because the friendly little guy relies on human kindness. See, it can't move on its own; all it can do is recognize human speech and communicate. It also posts updates to social media thanks to a wireless connection. More
Woman accuses Portland police officer of demanding sex acts, massage
A Portland Police Bureau officer is under investigation after a woman visiting from Las Vegas said he arrived at her Pearl District hotel room to follow up on her domestic assault complaint, stripped naked and ordered her to give him a massage.
Officer Jeromie Palaoro is the subject of a bureau criminal and internal affairs investigation into his alleged actions at the Marriott Residence Inn on Northwest 9th Avenue on July 5.
The woman, Roni Reid-James, tells WW that Palaoro showed her his service revolver before taking off his clothes, groped her and asked for sexual favors, then warned her not to tell anyone because he was writing the report on her assault complaint. She says he stayed in her hotel room for seven hours.
“It was terrifying,” Reid-James says. “I didn’t feel like I could leave. I didn’t know who I was supposed to call: I’m with a police officer.” More
Huge Spike in number of South Africans wanting to Emigrate
Emigration specialists reveal a spike in the number of South African citizens investigating or applying for foreign citizenship or residence abroad.
South African citizens can enter 97 countries with a South African passport without requesting a visa beforehand. Still, there are growing numbers who apply for foreign citizenship or residence, which some see as a “safety net” that provides better education and business opportunities.
“Until the end of last year , we would get an emigration inquiry about once every two weeks. Now we are fielding about nine or 10 emigration inquiries a day”, Chris Watters, a lawyer working on immigration and emigration issues, told the Mail & Guardian. He said his law office in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, had seen a spike in demand in the past six months. More
Former Blackwater gets rich as Afghan drug production hits record high
In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year.
Yet one clear winner in the anti-drug effort is not the Afghan people, but the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater.
Statistics released on Tuesday reveal that the rebranded private security firm, known since 2011 as Academi, reaped over a quarter billion dollars from the futile Defense Department push to eradicate Afghan narcotics, some 21% of the $1.5 bn in contracting money the Pentagon has devoted to the job since 2002.
The company is the second biggest beneficiary of counternarcotics largesse in Afghanistan. Only the defense giant Northrop Grumman edged it out, with $325m. More
How to end boom and bust: make cash illegal
A proposed new law in Denmark could be the first step towards an economic revolution that sees physical currencies and normal bank accounts abolished and gives governments futuristic new tools to fight the cycle of “boom and bust”.
The Danish proposal sounds innocuous enough on the surface – it would simply allow shops to refuse payments in cash and insist that customers use contactless debit cards or some other means of electronic payment.
Officially, the aim is to ease “administrative and financial burdens”, such as the cost of hiring a security service to send cash to the bank, and is part of a programme of reforms aimed at boosting growth – there is evidence that high cash usage in an economy acts as a drag. But the move could be a key moment in the advent of “cashless societies”.
And once all money exists only in bank accounts monitored, or even directly controlled by the government the authorities will be able to encourage us to spend more when the economy slows, or spend less when it is overheating. More
Around 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11 last year, Duval Arthur, director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, got a call from a resident who had just received a disturbing text message. “Toxic fume hazard warning in this area until 1:30 PM,” the message read. “Take Shelter. Check Local Media and columbiachemical.com.”
St. Mary Parish is home to many processing plants for chemicals and natural gas, and keeping track of dangerous accidents at those plants is Arthur’s job. But he hadn’t heard of any chemical release that morning. In fact, he hadn’t even heard of Columbia Chemical. St. Mary Parish had a Columbian Chemicals plant, which made carbon black, a petroleum product used in rubber and plastics. But he’d heard nothing from them that morning, either. Soon, two other residents called and reported the same text message. Arthur was worried: Had one of his employees sent out an alert without telling him? More
Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill
A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the cash spigot in the hopes of getting it passed.
“We’re very much in the endgame,” US trade representative Michael Froman told reporters over the weekend at a meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on the resort island of Boracay. His comments came days after TPP passed another crucial vote in the Senate.
That vote, to give Barack Obama the authority to speed the bill through Congress, comes as the president’s own supporters, senior economists and a host of activists have lobbied against a pact they argue will favor big business but harm US jobs, fail to secure better conditions for workers overseas and undermine free speech online. More
Family Raided by SWAT and Dog Shot for Not Paying Utility Bill
St. Louis, MO — Nothing says Police State USA quite like a SWAT team raiding a family home and killing their dog because they are unable to pay their natural gas bill.
The woman whose dog was killed and home destroyed by SWAT officers is Angela Zorich, and her story about her police state experience will shock the conscience.
According to a federal lawsuit filed this month, Zorich was the victim of a massive military-style raid and subsequent puppycide. The raid was carried out because police said they needed “to check if her home had electricity and natural gas service.”
“This is an example of police overreaching and using excessive force to get a family out of their house,” said Kenneth Chackes, the attorney who represents Zorich. More
I SPY FROM INSIDE: Nano-Robotics And The Invasion of Privacy
"Science is a double-edged sword; it creates as many problems as it solves, but always on a higher level."
In November of 2012, the National Health Federation published a book review on the Physics of the Future by Machio Kaku. NHF was the first to alert the public and the health-freedom community in particular about "the need for a Constitution for the Race of Mankind" as we understood we were about to be violated. The excellent, albeit lengthy, book's major flaw was not carrying the technological innovations in regards to nano-robots through to the ultimate conclusion and NHF noted it: the invasion of privacy and increased vulnerability to outside control of internal bodily processes via monitoring by healthcare professionals. More
Michigan Cops Legally Rob 'Every Belonging' from Medical Marijuana Patient
Medical marijuana user Ginnifer Hency told a group of Michigan lawmakers last week that a drug task force raided her home and kept ‘every belonging’ she owned — including her vibrator — even after a judge dismissed the charges against her.
Forbes contributor Jacob Sullum reported last week that Hency testified before the Michigan state House Judiciary Committee about what happened when her home in Smiths Creek was raided last July.
Hency explained that her neurologist had recommended medical marijuana to treat pain associated with multiple sclerosis. She is also registered in the state of Michigan as a caregiver for five other patients, giving her the ability to distribute medical marijuana. More
China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour
The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code.
The regulations were announced last year, but have attracted almost no attention thus far in China and abroad. This week Rogier Creemers, a Belgian China-specialist at Oxford University, published a comprehensive translation of the regulations regarding the Social Credit System, which clarifies the scope of the system. In an interview with Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant he says: 'With the help of the latest internet technologies the government wants to exercise individual surveillance'. More
Automakers to gearheads: Stop repairing cars
Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.
In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle. Allowing them to continue to fix their cars has become "legally problematic," according to a written statement from the Auto Alliance, the main lobbying arm of automakers.
The dispute arises from a section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that no one thought could apply to vehicles when it was signed into law in 1998. But now, in an era where cars are rolling computing platforms, the U.S. Copyright Office is examining whether provisions of the law that protect intellectual property should prohibit people from modifying and tuning their cars. More
Abbott announces 'no jab, no pay' policy
A government decision to withhold family and childcare payments from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children has prompted mixed reaction from medical professionals, some fearing it will drive the anti-vaccination movement further underground.
On Sunday the prime minister, Tony Abbott, and the social services minister, Scott Morrison, said that from next year people who claimed to be “conscientious objectors” to vaccination would no longer receive the childcare benefit, childcare rebate and the family tax benefit part A end-of-year supplement. Those refraining from vaccinating their children on religious grounds may still do so, but only if their religious organisation has a formally registered objection approved by the government. More
E-file fraud: Identity thieves filing taxes to steal refunds
By its very nature, tax season unleashes a certain amount of angst, but this year may produce a higher level of foreboding due to a slew of data breaches that have imperiled electronic filing of tax returns.
"Tax fraud this year is very prevalent, primarily because of these recent high-profile data breaches," said Julie Miller, a spokeswoman for Intuit, a Mountain View software maker whose signature products include the TurboTax program. "We are seeing tax refund fraud being driven by identify theft. That has implications for people who use TurboTax online or any online tax preparation."
Scammers are using Social Security numbers and other information collected in data breaches to steal a person's identity and file for their tax return. Frequently, the first time that a taxpayer becomes aware that their data has been compromised is after they file their return, are waiting for a refund, and receive a notice from the IRS that somebody has already filed their tax return. More
Hillary Clinton's 2016 run announcement gets chilly reception
Hillary Clinton’s arrival in Los Angeles today, was coincidentally greeted by street art which appeared overnight in South Central Los Angeles. Posters mocking Clinton that read “THIS BITCH AGAIN” were spotted near the iconic Watts Towers, the University of Southern California and major South Los Angeles intersections.
The posters include one photo of the Ex-First Lady rolling her eyes and another of her infamous “What difference does it make?” grimace made while deflecting inquiries from the Congressional Benghazi committee about the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens. More
What ISIS Really Wants
What is the Islamic State?
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. More
Police Raid Texas Political Meeting, Seize Phones, Fingerprint and Photograph All Attendees
It seemed like a typical congressional meeting for the Republic of Texas. Senators and the president gathered in the center of a Bryan, Texas, meeting hall, surrounded by public onlookers, to debate issues of the national currency, develop international relations and celebrate the birthday of one of their oldest members.
But this wasn't 1836, and this would be no ordinary legislative conference. Minutes into the meeting a man among the onlookers stood and moved to open the hall door, letting in an armed and armored force of the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff's Office, the Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Agents of the Texas District Attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.
In the end, at least 20 officers corralled, searched and fingerprinted all 60 meeting attendees, before seizing all cellphones and recording equipment in a Valentine's Day 2015 raid on the Texas separatist group. More
Got $172? That's the typical Obamacare penalty
One of the last big unanswered questions about the Affordable Care Act is how taxpayers will react when they have to pay penalty fees for the first time this tax filing season. We’re beginning to find out.
Obamacare, as the ACA is known, requires most Americans to have health insurance or fork over a “shared responsibility payment” — aka, a penalty fee -- which is assessed each year when people file their tax returns. The fee for 2014 is $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is more. But a long list of exemptions provides an out for many uninsured people, and this year is the first test of whether the penalties and exemptions will generate outrage or generally seem fair.
Darrek Smith of Portland, Ore., priced out his health insurance last year, and decided the $180 monthly premium for a modest “bronze” plan was more than he could afford. On paper, his income of $40,000 or so seems like more than enough to cover the cost. But he’s divorced and pays child support in addition to his own housing costs, which leaves virtually no spare cash. So unless the 31-year-old brewmaster can convince the IRS to grant him an exemption, he’ll get hit with a penalty of about $400 when he files his taxes. “There’s a big gaping hole in that they judge people based solely on what it seems like they can afford, and not on circumstances,” Smith says. More
The 'Crime' of Having a Hidden Compartment in Your Car
Last fall, Ohio state troopers pulled 30-year-old Norman Gurley over for speeding. Detecting an “overwhelming smell of raw marijuana,” officers spent hours searching the vehicle and found no contraband.
But they did discover an empty secret compartment. For that, police hauled Gurley, who has no criminal record, off to jail. Gurley became the first person arrested under a new Ohio statute that makes it a crime to “knowingly operate … a vehicle with a hidden compartment … used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment … of a controlled substance.”
Lawmakers in Ohio are not alone in enacting or envisioning bans on unauthorized empty space. California, Georgia, Illinois, and Oregon have similar prohibitions on the books. Legislators in Iowa, Maryland, and New Jersey may add them this session. Similar bills have been filed in Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia in recent years. More
Drug-Carrying Drone Crashes in Tijuana Parking Lot
A small drone helicopter carrying six pounds of methamphetamine crashed in a supermarket parking lot in Tijuana, new evidence of a high-tech route for drug smuggling.
The drone was identified by enthusiasts online as a Spreading Wings 900, made by a Chinese company. It can fly for about 18 minutes carrying around six pounds. The craft retails for $1,400.
Tijuana police said it appeared the 3-foot diameter drone had been overloaded. It crashed Tuesday evening near the San Ysidro port of entry. More
Sweet Deal: Corporations Get $760 from the Government for Every Dollar They Spend on Elections
The 2012 and 2014 elections were the most expensive in American history and were financed largely by corporate money. So why are American companies so eager to put up so much cash for political influence? Because it pays. A lot.
A report issued last month by the Sunlight Foundation, a government accountability group, found that for every dollar the nation’s most politically active companies spent on political influence, they received $760 from the government in the form of federal business and support. In total, the yearlong study reported that 200 of the country’s top campaign donors spent $5.8 billion on political lobbying and campaign contributions between 2007 and 2012 and received a whopping $4.4 trillion in return.
By contrast, the federal government paid the nation’s 50 million social security recipients $4.3 trillion during the same time period. More
'Some Sort of Hell': How One of the Wealthiest Cities in America Treats Its Homeless
SAN JOSE, Calif.—When San Jose dismantled the "Jungle," the nation’s largest homeless encampment, many of its residents with nowhere to go scattered. They found hiding places in the scores of small, less visible encampments within the city, where more than 5,000 people sleep unsheltered on a given night.
But one group of about three dozen evictees gathered what they could salvage in backpacks and trash bags, and crossed a bridge to a spot about a mile away. They found a clean patch of grass near Coyote Creek, the same creek that the Jungle abutted. There, they pitched tents donated by some concerned citizens, assigned themselves chores and hoped for the best.
Instead, they got marching orders. After weathering the hardest rains to fall in these parts in a decade, the campers found 72-hour eviction notices on their tents. Once again, a little more than a week after their forced flight from the Jungle, they had no idea where they might live. More
Texas Cop Tasers 76-Year-Old Man with Expired Inspection
A Victoria police officer is under investigation after a 76-year-old man accused him of using excessive force during a traffic stop.
The officer, Nathanial Robinson, 23, was placed on administrative duty Friday pending the outcome of an internal investigation into whether he violated the use of force policy when he tased Victoria resident Pete Vasquez, said Chief J.J. Craig. The officer was hired after graduating from the police academy two years ago.
The incident happened Thursday after Robinson saw an expired inspection sticker on the car Vasquez was driving back to Adam's Auto Mart, where he helps with mechanical work. More
Obamacare 2015: Higher costs, higher penalties
With the Affordable Care Act to start enrollment for its second year on Nov. 15, some unpleasant surprises may be in store for some.
That's because a number of low-priced Obamacare plans will raise their rates in 2015, making those options less affordable. On top of that, penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families' pocketbooks.
"The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage," said senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. "This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock."
In 2014, Obamacare's first year, individuals are facing a penalty of $95 per person, or 1 percent of their income, depending on which is higher. If an American failed to get coverage this year, that penalty will be taken out of their tax refund in early 2015, Adams noted. More
The Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state, professor warns
For some, the Elf on the Shelf doll, with its doe-eyed gaze and cherubic face, has become a whimsical holiday tradition — one that helpfully reminds children to stay out of trouble in the lead-up to Christmas.
For others — like, say, digital technology professor Laura Pinto — the Elf on the Shelf is “a capillary form of power that normalizes the voluntary surrender of privacy, teaching young people to blindly accept panoptic surveillance and” [deep breath] “reify hegemonic power.” I mean, obvs, right?
The latter perspective is detailed in “Who’s the Boss,” a paper published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, in which Pinto and co-author Selena Nemorin argue that the popular seasonal doll is preparing a generation of children to uncritically accept “increasingly intrusive (albeit whimsically packaged) modes of surveillance.” More
Tanzania’s Masai face homeland eviction…so Dubai royals can hunt
Masai people living in northern Tanzania are facing eviction from their historical homeland, as the government has reportedly reneged on a promise and is proceeding with plans to remake the land into a hunting reserve for Dubai's royal family.
There are about 40,000 Masai people living on the 1,500 square kilometer “wildlife corridor” bordering Serengeti National Park. They are known for their semi-nomadic ways and have their own distinctive culture. The original proposal by a company based in the United Arab Emirates to turn the land into a commercial hunting park was turned down last year.
But the deal seems back on track now and the Masai people were notified to leave their ancestral lands by the end of the year, the Guardian reported. More
Obamacare’s architect says Americans are too stupid to understand it
Jonathan Gruber is an MIT economics professor who is heavily involved in crafting public health policy, being a key architect of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that’s better and more aptly referred to as Obamacare. For his “consulting” work in crafting Obamacare, Gruber was paid almost $400,000 ($392,600 to be exact), according to Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), on Fox News’s “On the Record,” Nov. 12, 2014.
But both Gruber and the Obama administration kept his work on Obamacare a secret, and instead portrayed him as an independent economist who supports Obamacare. Gruber was frequently quoted by journalists and lawmakers who did not know of his connection to the administration; nor did Gruber disclose his connection when writing opinion articles.
News came of Gruber being caught on video saying that, to ensure its passage, Obamacare was deliberately and intentionally written in a confusing way so as to conceal the law’s true costs from the American people who are too stupid to understand the law. More
Lenders Can Now Disable Your Car When You're Driving on the Freeway
Imagine this scenario: You’re on an important trip miles from home and stopped in traffic, but before you can continue on your way, your car shuts down. You’ve got enough gas in the tank and no mechanical problems.
But you’re stranded far from home because you’re a few days late on your car payment and the lender won’t let you drive until the debt is paid.
If this sounds like part of a dystopian future in which repo men are now cyborgs, it’s not. It’s happening today and becoming a big part of the new automotive landscape. Car dealers and automotive lenders are targeting those with poor credit by installing GPS-based kill switches, or starter-interrupt devices, on the cars that they sell. More
Florida Cop Breaks 14-Year-Old Girl’s Arm During Warrantless Cell Phone Search
Florida parents are calling for a Greenacres Police Department officer to be fired after he reportedly broke their 14-year-old daughter’s arm while attempting a warrantless search of her cell phone.
According to an arrest report published by the Broward-Palm Beach New Times this week, Officer Jared Nash explained that he approached the 14-year-old girl at John I. Leonard High School on Oct. 21 because he believed that she had video of a fight on her cell phone.
Nash described the girl, who was talking on the cell phone, as “uncooperative.” He said that she pushed him back as she tried to get past him to walk away.
“When she did this I took a hold of her left arm,” he wrote, adding that he gave her a verbal command to “stop and put the phone down.” More
Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required
ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.
The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime.
Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.
“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”
The federal government does. More
TSA agents 'opened urn full of mother's ashes in airport security and spilled them' inside grieving son's baggage
Agents from the Transportation Security Administration allegedly ruined a son's plan to fulfill his mother's last wishes by spilling her ashes inside his luggage during an airport luggage screening.
Shannon Thomas , from Cleveland, Ohio, had flown from his home to Puerto Rico to spread his late mother's ashes in the Caribbean Sea.
But when he opened his suitcase he found the urn carrying the remains had opened and spilled - and he also found a TSA notice saying they had searched the bag.
Mr Thomas, who is suing the TSA for negligence, causing emotional stress and the 'outrageous' treatment of human remains, alleges that the agency broke its own rules by opening the urn, then didn't put the lid back on properly. More
Suspicious package in Manchester turns out to be part of game
MANCHESTER, Tenn. - A suspicious package nearly shut down a portion of Manchester Monday. On Tuesday News 2 learned a game was the reason for the massive response.
“The Homeland Security was here, the Manchester Police Department, the fire Department, the bomb Squad,” said David Pennington. He is one of the owners of Jiffy Burger on Hillsboro Boulevard.
He said it all started around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon when a woman noticed something suspicious in the back of his restaurant. Pennginton said the woman spotted a man drop an ammo box in a corner outside near gas lines before getting in his car and taking off.
She feared the worst so she contacted an employee, who contacted an owner, who called police. All the nearby businesses were shut down for about five hours. Pennington estimates his business lost about $2,000. More
Why Does a Florida County Need Eight $18 Million Helicopters?
Earlier this week we published a link to an online database where you can look to see what kind of military equipment your local county is stockpiling. Several other publications have linked to this database as well.
I heard from a couple of people that it might not be a 100% comprehensive list, but others are discovering that, whether it is comprehensive or not, there is a lot to be learned from looking in that database.
Imagine looking and finding out that your county police bought 8 Apache Helicopters and had done so over three years ago. That is exactly the experience from one person who searched the database for purchases in Brevard County, Florida. More
Homeland Security Raids Home to Seize Land Rover for Violation of EPA Standards
Some 40 Land Rover owners across the U.S. woke up Tuesday morning to police and federal investigators knocking on their doors and demanding they hand over their trucks. Officials say it's part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the illegal importation of Land Rovers into this country, Jalopnik has learned.
But that will likely come as little consolation to the 40 owners of the Land Rover 90s, 110s and Defenders, many of whom contest what federal authorities claim about the legality of their cars.
News of the seizures first appeared on the Land Rover Defender forum Defender Source around 8 a.m. Tuesday, when one user posted to say that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security came to his home at 6:45 a.m. to seize his truck. That user was quickly joined by several others, who said their Land Rovers were confiscated by investigators who came to their homes with federal warrants. More
Impoverished Mother Dies In Jail Cell Over Unpaid Fines For Her Kids Missing School
A mother of seven died in a Pennsylvania jail over the weekend while serving a two-day sentence. Eileen DeNino, 55, was put in the cell where she died because she could not pay thousands of dollars in fines relating to her children’s truancy from schools in the Reading, PA area.
The cause of DeNino’s death is not yet known, but investigators “found no evidence that the death was suspicious,” according to the Eagle. She was reportedly on medication for high blood pressure and other health issues. “Prison officials said they issued no medication to DeNino before her death,” however.
DeNino had been cited 55 times since 1999, according to the Reading Eagle. On top of the individual fines for truancy, the Pennsylvania courts applied a variety of fees that amplified DeNino’s debt. “DiNino’s court file shows a laundry list of court fees for one case alone: $8 for a ‘judicial computer project’; $60 for Berks County constables; $10 for postage,” the Associated Press writes. More
Family sues Orange County Sheriff's Office over violent SWAT team search
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A mother and her daughter are suing the Orange County Sheriff's Office after one of them was injured during a SWAT team search.
The women, who didn't want to be identified, said the Sheriff's Office SWAT team came looking for a family member who didn't live at the home back in 2010.
"I got up and went towards the door and literally once I went towards the door, boom!" the daughter said.
The woman was a minor at the time of the incident and said she was home alone when deputies showed up.
"I was 17. I was 5 feet 2 inches and 100 pounds wet," she said. "And they came in shooting."
The SWAT team apparently opened fire inside the home and a family dog was killed. More
'Terror Reporting' Has Gone Way Too Far
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Five California men sued the Department of Justice, claiming they were entered into a counterterrorism database for innocent activities such as a professional photographer taking pictures, a computer consultant buying computers at Best Buy, and in one case, waiting for one's mother at a train station.
The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus on behalf of lead plaintiff Wiley Gill et al., challenges the Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) database, which flags people with potential connections to terrorism.
The men, all U.S. citizens, say they were put into the database for innocuous activities such as photographing landmarks, or viewing a website about videos in his own home.
One says his "suspicious activity" was "standing outside a restroom at a train station while waiting for his mother. More
Violence in Iraq means huge profits for contractors
U.S. companies are reaping big benefits from the Iraqi government’s battle with ISIS militias. Three sales, including some big-ticket items, announced last month will put nearly $1 billion in the pockets of American defense contractors if Congress approves the sales.
Beechcraft Defense Co. and eight other contractors are selling 24 AT-6C Texan II aircraft, plus spares and other equipment to Iraq. That deal is worth about $790 million. The plane is used for “light attack and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”
AM General has a deal to send 200 of its venerable Humvees to help guard oil installations. The contract, which includes spares and equipment such as radios and machine gun mounts, is worth $101 million.
Raytheon has a $90-million deal for seven aerostats along with 14 Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) Tower systems to be used for command and control by the Iraqi military. More
Small Town in Florida Obtains MRAP Armored Vehicle
The Walton County Sheriff’s Department, a department formerly known for community-oriented policing, has joined the ever growing list of departments across the country that have chosen to abandon common sense and deploy an IED resistant armored vehicle.
Walton County is a part of Florida that is so crime free you can leave your doors unlocked. When Hollywood location scouts were looking for a community so perfect that it appeared to be fake, they came to Walton County. The Truman Show, staring Jim Carey, was filmed on location in a small Walton County community. The twins in the movie, were both Walton County lawmen on set to direct traffic. They were so personable and friendly, they wound up in the movie. Yes, they are really named Ron and Don.
It’s hard to imagine that community being policed by the 30,000 lbs International MaxxPro MRAP. The weapon, just back from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, was recently acquired by the department. Now that it is painted black and labeled as a SWAT vehicle it is ready to be used not against Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah, but against Americans on Main Street. More
FBI Raids Home of Dangerous Doomsday Prepper: Agents Find Legally Owned Firearms, Barrels of Food
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies blasted alerts all over the country earlier this week advising Americans to be on the lookout for ‘Doomsday Prepper’ Martin Winters, who police say was stockpiling over fifty “high powered” rifles, deadly booby traps and food in preparation for an “end times” event. Neighbors interviewed by mainstream news were terrified about the allegations, leaving some with the impression that Winters was “crazy” because he allegedly claimed that he would kill federal agents if necessary.
While SWAT officials indicated the likelihood that they would have to engage Winters in a firefight was high, friends and family suggested otherwise, saying that Winters may have had views different from most people but insisting that he is a “good guy” who wouldn’t hurt others unless it was necessary to do so in self defense. Police went so far as to suggest that Winters had essentially gone off the reservation and that he didn’t care whether he lived or died, and that he was “plotting” a confrontation with the federal government. More
The Pentagon Has a Plan to Stop the Zombie Apocalypse. Seriously.
The U.S. military has always been the one place in government with a plan, forever in preparation mode and ready to yank a blueprint off the shelf for almost any contingency.
Need a response for a Russian nuclear missile launch? Check. Have to rescue a U.S. ambassador kidnapped by drug lords? Yup, check, got that covered. How about a detailed strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse? As it turns out, check.
Incredibly, the Defense Department has a response if zombies attacked and the armed forces had to eradicate flesh-eating walkers in order to "preserve the sanctity of human life" among all the "non-zombie humans."
Buried on the military's secret computer network is an unclassified document, obtained by Foreign Policy, called "CONOP 8888." It's a zombie survival plan, a how-to guide for military planners trying to isolate the threat from a menu of the undead -- from chicken zombies to vegetarian zombies and even "evil magic zombies" -- and destroy them. More
War Gear Flows to Police Departments
NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki.
Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.
The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice. More
The Bitter End Of The Savings Account
Governments, by definition, are violent institutions. And taxation, by definition, is theft. These are blatant facts to all but the most indoctrinated and brainwashed. However, governments worldwide are ramping up all manner of other thefts by almost any means necessary.
Cyprus made headlines with what was called a “bank bail-in” in 2013 and Ireland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Italy have all stolen funds from retirement accounts. The European Union has even said that it reserves the right to steal directly from European savers in the form of negative interest rates. All of this has been perfectly predictable in the march to The End Of The Monetary System As We Know It (TEOTMSAWKI).
It’s time now to add two more countries to that list: Australia and Belgium. More
Virginia cops constantly photograph random people’s license plates
Police officers in Alexandria, Virginia, frequently take pictures of the license plates of random vehicles all over the city — meaning that people’s addresses, work locations and daily routines are well known to the authorities who collect such information and store it for stretches of time.
The disturbing discovery was made by Katie Watson, an investigative reporter with Watchdog.org’s Virginia bureau. Watson submitted a public records request with the Alexandria Police Department for all information the police had about her. Watson already knew that the police used automatic license plate recognition software to collect information. What she didn’t know was how pervasive the surveillance was.
“From my research and interviews on police and ALPR technology for Watchdog.org, I was pretty sure they would have something of my records,” she told The Daily Caller. “But I have to admit I was pretty shocked to see police had taken pictures of my license plate while my car was safely inside my apartment complex’s parking lot.” More
Idaho Family Terrorized by Midnight Paramilitary Raid
David and Connie Johnson were asleep when they heard a noise Connie later described as the “walls caving in.” Seconds later their front door was forced open and two armored strangers burst into the two-room apartment the middle-aged couple share with their adult son, Aaron.
Several other assailants were clustered behind the two who had forced open the door. One of them was a female holding a leash that barely restrained a large, snarling dog. One of the intruders pointed as assault rifle at David’s head and threatened to shoot him. Another invader, a female, bellowed, “Put your hands up! This dog will bite you!”
David was seized and shackled. Connie and Aaron were also dragged from their home. Neighbors who were drawn by the commotion poked their heads out and were ordered to go back into their rooms.
At no point in this encounter did the intruders identify themselves as police officers. More
Dem. lawmaker, co-sponsor of child porn laws, resigns; state office, home raided for child porn
The day after a Democrat Illinois lawmaker cruised to victory in his party’s primary Tuesday, he gave up his seat in the wake of a child pornography raid.
State Rep. Keith Farnham stepped down from representing Elgin, a city about 35 miles northwest of Chicago, days after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided his home and his state office in Springfield. Items that were seized included the laptop computer Farnham used on the House floor.
The search warrant sought material that “in any format and medium concerning minors visually depicted while engaged in sexually explicit conduct.” More
Autopsy determines Texas cop fatally shot student in back
SAN ANTONIO -- An autopsy report released to the I-Team Thursday indicates a University of the Incarnate Word student shot and killed in December likely died from a gunshot wound to this back.
Cameron Redus, 23, was shot five times at close range by UIW Corporal Christopher Carter, following a traffic stop a few blocks north of campus December 6.
The autopsy, performed by the Bexar County Medical Examiner December 7, shows Redus was shot in the left eye, the upper chest, the back, the left elbow and the right hip.
The report indicates the wounds are numbered for identification purposes only and do not necessarily represent the sequence of when they occurred. More
Global Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as Governments Binge
The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
The $30 trillion increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a $3.86 trillion decline in the value of equities to $53.8 trillion in the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The jump in debt as measured by the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS in its quarterly review is almost twice the U.S.’s gross domestic product.
Borrowing has soared as central banks suppress benchmark interest rates to spur growth after the U.S. subprime mortgage market collapsed and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy sent the world into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yields on all types of bonds, from governments to corporates and mortgages, average about 2 percent, down from more than 4.8 percent in 2007, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index. More
Parents Blackmailed By Doctor: Consent To Vaccine Or We Take Your Newborn
Aliea Bidwell and Ben Gray were as excited as any other couple when their baby boy was born. Vaccine blackmail was the furthest thought from their minds.
But because a pediatrician on call didn’t like their decision to refuse a vaccine, she threatened to kidnap their newborn (through legal channels, of course), if they did not consent on day one to something they neither wanted nor felt was worth the risks. It was vaccine blackmail. They were given no choice.
Aliea and Ben are certainly not the first parents to refuse vaccines, and the hospital staff showed no indication of any problem with honoring their request, until Dr. Terry M. Bierd, MD, staff pediatrician at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, came in. It was the hepatitis B vaccine that was the problem. She told baby Aaron’s family that if they did not allow her to give the hepatitis B vaccine, she would call security and DHR (Alabama’s Child Protective Services). The baby would be given the vaccine anyway, at 12 hours old, and then be taken into state custody. More
Hawaii Law Lets Police Have Sex With Prostitutes
Honolulu police officers have urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations, touching off a heated debate.
Authorities say they need the legal protection to catch lawbreakers in the act. Critics, including human trafficking experts and other police, say it's unnecessary and can further victimize sex workers, many of whom have been forced into the trade.
Police haven't said how often — or even if — they use the provision. But when they asked legislators to preserve it, they made assurances that internal policies and procedures are in place to prevent officers from taking advantage of it. More
EPA Bullies Wyoming Family and Threatens Them With Massive Fines…Over a Duck Pond
All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children.
But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine.
“I have not paid them a dime nor will I,” a defiant Johnson told FoxNews.com. “I will go bankrupt if I have to fighting it. My wife and I built [the pond] together. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. It was our dream.” More
Maine man sparks police standoff with gun tattoo on stomach
They thought he was packing heat — turns out it was just his ink.
Maine man Michael Smith woke up to police with assault rifles drawn on his front lawn Tuesday morning after authorities believed he had a flashed a gun during an argument.
A shirtless Smith had angrily shooed a tree removal company off of his property — spooking the landscapers with they thought was a handgun tucked in his pants.
But the weapon he was weilding was only a life-sized tattoo of a handgun with the barrel of the pistol tucked just below the beltline.
“Obviously it was a misunderstanding and he didn’t have a weapon, but we had to respond to the initial report as if he did,” Maine State Police Trooper Scott Duff told the Morning Sentinel. “We take all precautions when we don’t have the details.” More
NYC inmate Jerome Murdough 'baked to death' in Rikers Island cell
NEW YORK -- Jerome Murdough was just looking for a warm place to sleep on a chilly night last month when he curled up in an enclosed stairwell on the roof of a Harlem public housing project where he was arrested for trespassing.
A week later, the mentally ill homeless man was found dead in a Rikers Island jail cell that four city officials say had overheated to at least 100 degrees, apparently because of malfunctioning equipment.
The officials told The Associated Press that the 56-year-old former Marine was on anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, which may have made him more vulnerable to heat. He also apparently did not open a small vent in his cell, as other inmates did, to let in cool air.
"He basically baked to death," said one of the officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss specifics of the case. More
‘Photography is not a crime:’ Kansas teen charged after filming cops speeding
A Topeka, Kansas teenager pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of inattentive driving and having a television receiver in front of him while driving, after filming police officers citing him for a traffic stop he complained were speeding.
Addison Mikkelson, 17, made headlines last year after he filmed police arresting him for jaywalking. In that video, displayed below, he asked officers what he was being charged with and his camera was thrown to the ground.
Officers said he was “obstructing justice,” though the video seemed to suggest they were unhappy with his recording the incident.
On Monday, he plead not guilty to new charges.
In a second video he posted Sunday, he filmed a patrol car allegedly speeding and failing to use a turn signal, and then was pulled over for what police say was inattentive driving and driving behind a television receiver. No receiver is shown.. More