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Russia: HimkiLeaks Project Launches Campaign Against Corrupt Mayor

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 18-01-2011

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Written by Alexey Sidorenko

LJ-account HimkiLeaks [RUS] published several well-funded reports exposing Vladimir Strelchenko, ill-famed mayor of Khimki city Mayor. Previously, Strelchenko's name has been connected with such drastic events as repressions against environmentalists, assaults on journalists Konstantin Fetisov, Oleg Kashin, and Mikhail Beketov, etc.

Global Voices in English

NYT: Yep, Stuxnet is a joint U.S./Israeli project — ordered by Bush

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 17-01-2011

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Sweet.


Greenlit by Dubya, accelerated by Obama. Or at least, that’s what the cyborg time travelers who brought the worm back from the future would have you believe. The evidence is only circumstantial, but … there’s an awful lot of it. Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to […]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

DHS Scraps Bush-Era ‘Virtual Fence’ Project After $1B

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 17-01-2011

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The Department Of Homeland Security announced Friday that it is scrapping a Bush-era plan to build a “virtual fence” along the U.S.-Mexican border, citing costs — which have already reached around $ 1 billion.

The project, dubbed the Secure Border Initiative or SBI-Net, began in 2006 in order “to integrate new and existing border technology into a networked system that will enable [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] personnel to more effectively detect, identify, classify, and respond to incursions at the border,” through, among other things, “surveillance and detection tools such as unattended ground sensors, radar, and cameras,” according to the DHS website.

But on Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said that the project “does not meet current standards for viability and cost effectiveness.”

The New York Times reports:

Ms. Napolitano’s decision brought a long-expected close to a project carried out by the Boeing Corporation under a contract first signed in 2005 under President George W. Bush, which had been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Originally estimated to cost more than $ 7 billion to cover the 2,000-mile length of the border, it was the subject of more than a dozen scathing reports by the Government Accountability Office.

In a pilot program in Arizona, it cost about $ 1 billion to build the system across 53 miles of the state’s border. Officials said the new approach, using mobile surveillance systems and unmanned drones already in the Border Patrol’s arsenal, would cost less than $ 750 million to cover the remaining 323 miles of Arizona’s border.

Napolitano said that instead, agents “will utilize existing, proven technology tailored to the distinct terrain and population density of each border region, including commercially available Mobile Surveillance Systems, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, thermal imaging devices, and tower-based Remote Video Surveillance Systems.”

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to meet our border technology needs,” she said.









TPMMuckraker

New Proof The Stuxnet Computer Virus Slowing Down Iran’s Nuke Program Joint USA/Israeli Project

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-01-2011

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According to a top Computer expert from Germany the Stuxnet virus which as been wreaking havoc on the Iranian nuclear program is just as effective as a military strike. Actually it is more effective,  it has set back Iran’s quest for nuclear capability by at least two years which is the best that can be hoped for with a military strike. And it was done without all the “mess” and human suffering which comes with a military strike

Little by little scientists are beginning to understand Stuxnet a computer worm developed with the sole purpose of doing what sanctions were not able to do, slow down the Iranian march to nuclear weapons. During the past year, Stuxnet the computer worm with a message from the biblical Queen Esther, not only crippled Iran’s nuclear program but has caused  a major rethinking of computer security around the globe (if you want to know how Stuxnet works click here).

According to a report in the Sunday NY Times, Stuxnet was tested in the Dimona facility in Israel’s Negev desert. Dimona is the (officially non-existent)plant where Israel runs its (officially non-existent) nuclear weapons program

Over the past two years, according to intelligence and military experts familiar with its operations, Dimona has taken on a new, equally secret role — as a critical testing ground in a joint American and Israeli effort to undermine Iran’s efforts to make a bomb of its own.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”

Officially US and Israeli officials will not discuss what has been going in the middle of the Negev, but new clues point to the fact that thevirus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.

In recent days, the retiring chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton separately announced that they believed Iran’s efforts had been set back by several years.  Clinton cited the “weak” sanctions, which have supposedly damaged Iran’s ability to buy components.  Dagan, told the Israeli Knesset in recent days that Iran had run into technological difficulties (Stuxnet) that could delay a bomb until 2015.

As the virus continues to infect Iranian computers computer experts across the world are trying to figure out where Stuxnet came from. There is nothing but circumstantial evidence and it all points to the US and Israel). For example

In early 2008 the German company Siemens cooperated with one of the United States’ premier national laboratories, in Idaho, to identify the vulnerabilities of computer controllers that the company sells to operate industrial machinery around the world — and that American intelligence agencies have identified as key equipment in Iran’s enrichment facilities. Seimens says that program was part of routine efforts to secure its products against cyberattacks. Nonetheless, it gave the Idaho National Laboratory — which is part of the Energy Department, responsible for America’s nuclear arms — the chance to identify well-hidden holes in the Siemens systems that were exploited the next year by Stuxnet.

There is also the fact that computer scientists who are analyzing the computer worm have found a file name that seemingly refers to the Biblical Queen Esther.  Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament narrative in which the Jewish Queen Esther pre-empts a Persian plot to kill all the Jews. One of the key files in Stuxnet was named “Myrtus” (myrtle) by the unknown designer. The biblical Esther’s original name was Hadassah, which is Hebrew for myrtle.

Officially, neither American nor Israeli officials will even utter the name of the malicious computer program, much less describe any role in designing it.

But Israeli officials grin widely when asked about its effects. Mr. Obama’s chief strategist for combating weapons of mass destruction, Gary Samore, sidestepped a Stuxnet question at a recent conference about Iran, but added with a smile: “I’m glad to hear they are having troubles with their centrifuge machines, and the U.S. and its allies are doing everything we can to make it more complicated.”

One interesting part of the program is that it was put in motion by President Bush. Yes liberals, this time you can say it, Bush did it.

The project’s political origins can be found in the last months of the Bush administration. In January 2009, The New York Times reported that Mr. Bush authorized a covert program to undermine the electrical and computer systems around Natanz, Iran’s major enrichment center. President Obama, first briefed on the program even before taking office, sped it up, according to officials familiar with the administration’s Iran strategy. So did the Israelis, other officials said. Israel has long been seeking a way to cripple Iran’s capability without triggering the opprobrium, or the war, that might follow an overt military strike of the kind they conducted against nuclear facilities in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Langner, who runs a small computer security company in a suburb of Hamburg, had his five employees focus on picking apart the code and running it on the series of Siemens controllers neatly stacked in racks, their lights blinking.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ks5IvSibt6E/TRx21pwcvYI/AAAAAAAAA0k/nTcpPU43PXo/s1600/stuxnet.jpg

He quickly discovered that the worm only kicked into gear when it detected the presence of a specific configuration of controllers, running a set of processes that appear to exist only in a centrifuge plant. “The attackers took great care to make sure that only their designated targets were hit,” he said. “It was a marksman’s job.”

For example, one small section of the code appears designed to send commands to 984 machines linked together.

Curiously, when international inspectors visited Natanz in late 2009, they found that the Iranians had taken out of service a total of exactly 984 machines that had been running the previous summer.

Interesting coincidence?

But as Mr. Langner kept peeling back the layers, he found more — what he calls the “dual warhead.” One part of the program is designed to lie dormant for long periods, then speed up the machines so that the spinning rotors in the centrifuges wobble and then destroy themselves. Another part, called a “man in the middle” in the computer world, sends out those false sensor signals to make the system believe everything is running smoothly. That prevents a safety system from kicking in, which would shut down the plant before it could self-destruct.

“Code analysis makes it clear that Stuxnet is not about sending a message or proving a concept,” Mr. Langner later wrote. “It is about destroying its targets with utmost determination in military style.”

This was not the work of hackers, he quickly concluded. It had to be the work of someone who knew his way around the specific quirks of the Siemens controllers and had an intimate understanding of exactly how the Iranians had designed their enrichment operations.

The reason why Stuxnet had knowledge of the workings of the Iranian centrifuges may have to do with the fact that those same type of centrifuges showed up in Dimona.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/01/16/world/JP-STUX-2/JP-STUX-2-articleInline.jpg

The account starts in the Netherlands. In the 1970s, the Dutch designed a tall, thin machine for enriching uranium. As is well known, A. Q. Khan, a Pakistani metallurgist working for the Dutch, stole the design and in 1976 fled to Pakistan.

The resulting machine, known as the P-1, for Pakistan’s first-generation centrifuge, helped the country get the bomb. And when Dr. Khan later founded an atomic black market, he illegally sold P-1’s to Iran, Libya, and North Korea.

The P-1 is more than six feet tall. Inside, a rotor of aluminum spins uranium gas to blinding speeds, slowly concentrating the rare part of the uranium that can fuel reactors and bombs.

How and when Israel obtained this kind of first-generation centrifuge remains unclear, whether from Europe, or the Khan network, or by other means. But nuclear experts agree that Dimona came to hold row upon row of spinning centrifuges.

“They’ve long been an important part of the complex,” said Avner Cohen, author of “The Worst-Kept Secret” (2010), a book about the Israeli bomb program, and a senior fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He added that Israeli intelligence had asked retired senior Dimona personnel to help on the Iranian issue, and that some apparently came from the enrichment program.

“I have no specific knowledge,” Dr. Cohen said of Israel and the Stuxnet worm. “But I see a strong Israeli signature and think that the centrifuge knowledge was critical.”

…Dr. Cohen said his sources told him that Israel succeeded — with great difficulty — in mastering the centrifuge technology. And the American expert in nuclear intelligence, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Israelis used machines of the P-1 style to test the effectiveness of Stuxnet.

The expert added that Israel worked in collaboration with the United States in targeting Iran, but that Washington was eager for “plausible deniability.”

One thing can’t be denied, the Stuxnet worm has been a major obstacle to Iran’s desire to obtain nuclear weapons, saving Israel from having to attack Iran at least for a while.  Who ever developed the virus lets hope they are working on a follow-up because 2015 is not that far away.




YID With LID

Teach for Malaysia project

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 10-01-2011

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By Mong Palatino

Jude Chia blogs about the Teach for Malaysia project which aims to end education inequity in Malaysia.

Global Voices in English

Is rebuilding project hurting Michigan’s coach search? – Detroit Free Press

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 08-01-2011

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Washington Post
Is rebuilding project hurting Michigan's coach search?
Detroit Free Press
Jim Harbaugh officially spurning his alma mater for what basically came down to a Bay Area choice — take the San Francisco 49ers gig or remain a Stanford Cardinal — delivered another blow to Michigan's immense ego.
Harbaugh leaves Stanford to coach 49ersBoston Globe
Tim Kawakami: Jim Harbaugh, what took you so long?San Jose Mercury News
Jim Harbaugh hiring timelineSan Francisco Chronicle
Philadelphia Inquirer –Los Angeles Times –New York Times
all 2,849 news articles »

Sports – Google News

Issa anounces Oversight Committee HD video transparency project

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 06-01-2011

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You will be hearing the name of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) a lot now that the 112th Congress has convened. He’s the new chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, the lower chamber’s investigative arm.

In the spirit of transparency-something that was promised by the Democrats in 2008- Issa is releasing broadcast quality videos of every single Oversight Committee hearing dating back to 2009. Upcoming hearings will also be put online. You will find Team Oversight’s high-quality videos at http://www.youtube.com/HouseResourceOrg.

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Marathon Pundit

CEO calls Kasich’s decision to kill Ohio’s job-creating high-speed rail project “mind-boggling” – Pracht: “Where would Ohio be today if it opted out of the interstate highway system?”

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 04-01-2011

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John Kasich, the newly tea-party governor of Ohio doesn’t just deny climate science.  He is apparently unaware that everyone from the German military to the once staid International Energy Agency is warning of a looming peak oil crisis (see World’s top energy economist warns: “We have to leave oil before oil leaves us”).

And so the Tea Party crowd is declaring unilateral disarmament in our effort to stop the nearly $ 1 billion day outflow of money from Americans to foreign oil producer (see “Passenger rail is not in Ohio’s future”: New GOP governors kill $ 1.2 Billion in high-speed rail jobs).

Kasich can stop passenger rail for now, but he can’t stop the inexorable march of gasoline prices past $ 3 a gallon to $ 4 and then $ 5, which will ultimately reveal how inane his decision was.  The CEO of an Ohio-based railroad-car manufacturer severely criticized Kasich’s myopia, as ThinkProgress reports:

Rather than acknowledge the number of jobs created or kept afloat by Democratic policies like the Recovery Act, Republicans insist that Democrats have done nothing to help create private-sector jobs. Future House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said, “Washington has kept the private sector in bust while manufacturing a boom for the public sector.”

Boehner’s bosom-buddy Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) beat a similar drum on the campaign trail. Touting his plan to help the private-sector “quickly help create jobs,” Kasich insisted he would help “improve the atmosphere in our state for real business development” by meeting “the needs of businesses to overcome” governmental “snafus.” But Kasich undermined his rhetoric by killing Ohio’s high-speed rail project. In doing so, he derailed many businesses’ economic development plans and effectively killed the private-sector jobs he promised to create, leaving one businessman to call his decision “unbelievable,” “mind-boggling,” and “naive”:

Locally, certain not to happen is construction of a $ 15 million facility planned for Columbus by US Railcar Co. The plant would have employed up to 200 when fully staffed, said Mike Pracht, president and chief executive officer of the Columbus-based railroad-car manufacturer.

“It’s unbelievable these states would send back $ 400 million and $ 800 million in free money,” Pracht said. “It’s mind-boggling.”

“The only thing I can compare it to is the interstate-highway program back in the ’60s. Where would Ohio be today if it opted out of the interstate highway system? To suggest passenger rail would be any different is naive.”

Pracht said that in addition to the jobs his company would have added, abandoning the rail plan negates millions of dollars in potential development that would have clustered around each rail station along the 258-mile route.

Pracht’s anger is legitimate. The Cleveland developer Forest City Enterprises was planning projects that would create $ 180 million of taxable property. Dayton, OH anticipated around $ 250 million worth of downtown development around the rail station and, in Columbus, OH, the rail line “was expected to spur business development” and “provide a link between Downtown and Port Columbus.” But, as Forest City’s spokesman put it, “Clearly, it won’t happen now. It’s a governmental decision.” A decision that has already cost Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) private-sector jobs as well.

But Kasich is “unrelenting” in his mission to overtly rebuke his campaign promises. While acknowledging that the train would create private-sector jobs, Kasich’s spokesman Rob Nichols scoffed Kasich wasn’t going to build a train that “will cost taxpayers.” A curious excuse given the fact that Kasich is perfectly willing to spend taxpayer money to “pay for security improvements” at his own private residence. Because Kasich is choosing to be “the first Ohio governor in a generation” to live in his private residence rather than in the already secured governor’s mansion, Ohioans will now pay for “around-the clock security at the Kasich home” as well as at the official residence.

Decisions like these help to explain the seven point drop in his approval rating before he’s even taken office. But rather than rethink high-speed rail and his other poor economic policies, Kasich is committed to driving the state into further economic disaster. As Nichols said, “We had the debate. The train is dead. The matter is closed.”

Passenger rail is very much in Ohio’s future, no matter how much Kasich tries to stop it:

Climate Progress

Lebanese political party: Egypt church bombing part of “hellish plot…crafted in the Zionist-American Greater Middle East project”

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 04-01-2011

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We are hearing this so often, it is clearly a line that some group has settled upon and sold to the rest. “Lebanese Political Party: ‘The Alexandria Bombing Was an American-Zionist Production,’” from Translating Jihad, January 4:

[…] (Link to original Arabic.)

Lebanese Popular Congress: The Alexandria Bombing Was an American-Zionist Production

alintiqad.com, 3 Jan 2011

The Lebanese Popular Congress opined that “the wicked terrorist bombing which targeted Christian worshipers in the Churches of Saints George and Peter in Alexandria coincides with the suffering of Christians in Iraq and Palestine from crimes and displacement under the American and Zionist occupations, which share the same goal: to bring about Islamic-Christian and Islamic-Islamic sectarian fighting. This furthers a plot to divide the Arab world into rival sectarian and ethnic countries, to strike at Pan-Arab unity on one hand, and also to justify the Jewishness of the Zionist entity, and make it the only power in all the region.”

According to a report issued by the Congress, it stated that “What happened in Egypt, and what is happening in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, and Lebanon, and what will happen in other Arab-Islamic countries, is all occurring within the framework of this hellish plot, whose components were carefully crafted in the Zionist-American Greater Middle East project. No one imagines that the success of the colonialists in stripping southern Sudan from the north, or in sowing Sunni-Shi’a fitna in Lebanon, or in dividing Iraq and Yemen, will result in (anything) good for the Arab inhabitants of the region, whether Muslim or Christian. […]

Jihad Watch

In Killing Ohio’s High-Speed Rail Project, Kasich Eliminated Private-Sector Jobs He Promised To Create

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 03-01-2011

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Rather than acknowledge the number of jobs created or kept afloat by Democratic policies like the Recovery Act, Republicans insist that Democrats have done nothing to help create private-sector jobs. Future House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said, “Washington has kept the private sector in bust while manufacturing a boom for the public sector.”

Boehner’s bosom-buddy Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) beat a similar drum on the campaign trail. Touting his plan to help the private-sector “quickly help create jobs,” Kasich insisted he would help “improve the atmosphere in our state for real business development” by meeting “the needs of businesses to overcome” governmental “snafus.” But Kasich undermined his rhetoric by killing Ohio’s high-speed rail project. In doing so, he derailed many businesses’ economic development plans and effectively killed the private-sector jobs he promised to create, leaving one businessman to call his decision “unbelievable,” “mind-boggling,” and “naive”:

Locally, certain not to happen is construction of a $ 15 million facility planned for Columbus by US Railcar Co. The plant would have employed up to 200 when fully staffed, said Mike Pracht, president and chief executive officer of the Columbus-based railroad-car manufacturer.

“It’s unbelievable these states would send back $ 400 million and $ 800 million in free money,” Pracht said. “It’s mind-boggling.”

“The only thing I can compare it to is the interstate-highway program back in the ’60s. Where would Ohio be today if it opted out of the interstate highway system? To suggest passenger rail would be any different is naive.”

Pracht said that in addition to the jobs his company would have added, abandoning the rail plan negates millions of dollars in potential development that would have clustered around each rail station along the 258-mile route.

Pracht’s anger is legitimate. The Cleveland developer Forest City Enterprises was planning projects that would create $ 180 million of taxable property. Dayton, OH anticipated around $ 250 million worth of downtown development around the rail station and, in Columbus, OH, the rail line “was expected to spur business development” and “provide a link between Downtown and Port Columbus.” But, as Forest City’s spokesman put it, “Clearly, it won’t happen now. It’s a governmental decision.” A decision that has already cost Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) private-sector jobs as well.

But Kasich is “unrelenting” in his mission to overtly rebuke his campaign promises. While acknowledging that the train would create private-sector jobs, Kasich’s spokesman Rob Nichols scoffed Kasich wasn’t going to build a train that “will cost taxpayers.” A curious excuse given the fact that Kasich is perfectly willing to spend taxpayer money to “pay for security improvements” at his own private residence. Because Kasich is choosing to be “the first Ohio governor in a generation” to live in his private residence rather than in the already secured governor’s mansion, Ohioans will now pay for “around-the clock security at the Kasich home” as well as at the official residence.

Decisions like these help to explain the seven point drop in his approval rating before he’s even taken office. But rather than rethink high-speed rail and his other poor economic policies, Kasich is committed to driving the state into economic oblivion. As Nichols said, “We had the debate. The train is dead. The matter is closed.”

ThinkProgress

Tim Griffin: Rove’s US Attorney Project Comes Full Circle

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 03-01-2011

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Remember the entire point of Karl Rove’s plot to fire a bunch of US Attorneys and replace them with partisan hacks? It was to advance the political career of the new USAs.

Perhaps his most prominent success on that measure is Chris Christie. Though Christie abandons his state even in the face of blizzards-and then blames the resulting chaos on New Jersey’s cities-he is still (implausibly) mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate.

But the true measure of Rove’s success at politicizing the DOJ comes in the form of Tim Griffin.

Griffin, you’ll recall, has a history of leading the GOP’s vote caging operations in 2000 and 2004. Seemingly to reward Griffin for doing such important dirty work-and also to boost the career of such a loyal hack-Rove pushed hardest to make sure that Griffin got the US Attorney position he wanted in his native Arkansas. And though he only stayed on the job until it became clear the Republicans were trying to “gum [his appointment] to death”-to basically run out the clock on any confirmation-he was actually only US Attorney for a matter of months.

No matter, between that and solid GOP backing, Griffin won election to Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District.

And now, TPMM reports, Griffin has been placed by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, the committee that spent months investigating the politicization of justice for which Griffin was the most obvious symbol.

Well, we had the equally corrupt Hans Von Spakovsky at the FEC (not to mention as head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division), so I guess we’ll survive Tim Griffin’s “oversight” of the Judiciary Department. But if you were in any doubt about Republican’s goals to continue to politicize justice in this country, Griffin’s selection for HJC should answer that question.

Related posts:

  1. Chris Christie Was Worst US Attorney for Big Spending on Travel
  2. Glenn Fine Stepping Down as DOJ Inspector General
  3. Chris Christie-Patton Boggs Contract Shows Disturbing Trend


Emptywheel

Chile: Students from Citizen Journalism Project “Young Reporters” Talk About Their Work

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-12-2010

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By Silvia Viñas

A group of school-age citizen journalists who create content for Jóvenes Reporteros [es] (Young Reporters) describe their work in a video for the site Periodismo Ciudadano [es] (Citizen Journalism).

Global Voices in English

USA: Indigenous Youth Media Project Recovers History

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 27-12-2010

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By Juliana Rincón Parra

For a Navajo community, video has become a way to connect youth with their ancestors and the history of their people through the story of the Yellow Woman.

Camille Manybeads Tso during the production

Waves of Change tells us about Rachel Tso, who through her work with Outta Your Backpack Media has trained indigenous youth in movie making and media distribution.  In this particular example, it led to Camille Manybeads Tso producing the story of her great grandmother and making the award winning youth film: In the Footsteps of Yellow Woman.

The process of making the movie has been documented by Rachel on 3 different videos showing the different steps taken to make this place based media assignment that is also her thesis.

Outta Your Backpack Media helps indigenous youth to produce and distribute media relevant to their interests and reflecting their concerns and their voices. You can watch more of their videos on the Outta Your Backpack YouTube channel.

Global Voices in English

Mexico: Indigenous People Denounce Mining Project on Sacred Site

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-12-2010

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By Andrea Arzaba

Huicholes: A group of Native People from Mexico image by Flickr Commons user edcarsi used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license

Huicholes: A group of Native People from Mexico image by Flickr user edcarsi used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license

The Indigenous Huicholes (also known as Wixarika) People from Mexico are denouncing a Canadian mining project that is threatening one of their sacred sites. They attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference- COP16 in Cancun in order to express their concerns about the Canadian mining concessions, as blogger BJM writes on the Indigenous Environmental Network blog Red Road Cancun:

A delegation of Mexican Indians came to Cancun to denounce the transnational mining project by Canadian First Majestic Silver in an Wirikuta protected natural area.

This place is sacred to the Huichol Indians who come to the site located in the semi desert of Real de Catorce. This is one of the principal centers of prayer for the Wixarica pueblo of Huichol people located in the highlands of San Luis Potosi.

On the same issue, author Tracy L. Barnett from the digital newspaper The Esperanza Project wrote an article on the importance of this land for the Wixarika, as well as on the annual pilgrimage they make:

We were there, primarily, to get the word out about the Canadian silver mining operation that is poised to break ground in Wirikuta, the most sacred site of the Wixarika people, the place where, according to their tradition, the sun was born. This site is in some ways the center of their universe, the destination of an annual pilgrimage conducted for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, which culminates in a series of ceremonies convoking the ancestral spirits and balancing the energies of the entire planet. First Majestic Silver Corp. of Canada has been granted 22 mining concessions, for a total of 6,326 hectares, much of which lies in a federally protected ecological reserve and the UNESCO-recognized architectural treasure of Real de Catorce.

The online journal Intercontinental Cry published a post on the Wixarika's demands concerning the Wirikuta site, a sacred place for natives of Mexico, and the actions they are willing to take:

The sanctity of Wirikuta is the Wixarika's Peoples biggest concern; however, they also point out that some 3500 people are living in the concession area, in 16 population centres and “numerous localities”. If the silver mine becomes operational, each and every one may be facing water shortages and moderate to severe health problems from the company's use of cyanide. Exposure to cyanide may cause blurred vision, severe shortness of breath, headaches and general weakness as well as paralysis, cardiac arrest, seizures and death.

For these reasons, the Wixarika say they are prepared to “use all the resources necessary to stop this devastating mining project, making use of national and international legal resources that are in our favor as well as non-violent actions of civil protest that are necessary.”

Wirikuta image by Flickr user David Mannix in Mexico used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license

Wirikuta. Image by Flickr user David Mannix in Mexico used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license

Cultural Survival posted background information on possible problems if the project continues:

If this huge project is allowed to move forward, its impacts will be equally huge. Whether they dig the ore out of tunnels or excavate open pits, the mine will produce enormous quantities of tailings that could leach acid into the environment for centuries and blight the landscape in a region whose primary source of income is tourism. Dust, noise, erosion, road construction, water pollution, and blasting all affect wildlife, and the region’s notable diversity of bird species—including 16 that are threatened—could plummet. Of most concern to the region’s peasant farmers is the mine’s potential impact on the water table in this semi-desert. Mines of this size use as much water in a day as a peasant family would use in 25 years.

Cultural Survival also offers different ways to take action to help and raise awareness about the topic, as well as ideas on how to act through online activism.

Global Voices in English

“Highly improper”: NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s office helped Ground Zero Mosque project gain city approval

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-12-2010

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Pamela Geller notes: “The release today of documents, emails and various exchanges between Mayor Bloomberg and radical Rauf and his motley crew of Islamic supremacists shows evidence of collusion and inappropriate political support/favoritism of the Ground Zero mega mosque. It’s worse than we imagined. Mayor Bloomberg’s offices went to extraordinary lengths for the radicals trying to build a mega mosque at Ground Zero — even writing a letter to the community board for them, newly released documents show….The records of communication between the Office of the Mayor and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf concerning the Cordoba Initiative’s proposed Cordoba House project show that the Mayor, on more than one occasion, improperly collaborated with Rauf and co.”

Yep. Here is the latest:

“City Hall ghostwrote GZ mosque’s letter,” by Sally Goldenberg in the New York Post, December 24 (thanks to all who sent this in):

Dozens of e-mails between Mayor Bloomberg’s aides and developers of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero reveal a cordial, if not downright cozy, relationship and the length to which a top city staffer went to help the project — even drafting a letter for the group soliciting support from the community board, and providing the fax number to send it.

In one exchange, Community Affairs Commissioner Nazli Parvizi penned the draft of a letter to be sent by Daisy Khan, a key sponsor of the project known alternately as Cordoba House or Park51, to the chairperson of Community Board 1, Julie Menin, as the panel prepared to vote on its recommendation on the project.

The letter drafted by Parvizi thanked Menin for being open-minded about the plan for a mosque and cultural center — which by then had become a flashpoint issue around the nation.

Parvizi e-mailed the draft to Khan and her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — ending with the salutation, “Best, Daisy,” indicating that she actually was preparing Khan’s letter to a city agency.

She also included the fax number and mailing address for CB1 — which ultimately voted in favor of the project in May — and offered further assistance….

Opponents of the plan were furious.

“The mayor was touting, ironically, government not being involved in religion, and here you have the mayor’s staffer assisting in a public-relations campaign on behalf of a mosque and Islamic center,” said Debra Burlingame, whose brother was a pilot of one of the hijacked planes on 9/11.

“I think this is highly improper.”

So do I.

Jihad Watch