Secrecy News Stories
Excerpts of Key Secrecy News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important secrecy news stories reported in the major media that suggest a major cover-up.
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This comprehensive list of secrecy news stories is usually updated once a week
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Obama punishes leakers only when embarrassed
2012-06-12, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-06-19 10:39:14
The Obama administration is the most forceful, vigilant and merciless in cracking down on whistle-blowers and leakers in nearly a century. The liberal law professor in the White House is no softie when it comes to punishing voices who undercut his pronouncements and policies. Since 1917, when the Espionage Act was passed to safeguard national secrets, prior presidents have brought three cases. Since taking office, Obama has used the law six times. In most of these cases, the White House went after whistle-blowers and leakers whose claims embarrassed the Obama administration. Examples of such prosecutions include the massive WikiLeaks disclosure of some 250,000 diplomatic cables along with lesser-known instances such as information about rough interrogations and botched computer operations. The common thread: The White House looked bad. Similar prosecution could happen again with the drone and cyber-war stories, but don't count on it. In these two cases, the results enhanced Obama's image, a result that won't draw presidential ire. Also, the news accounts that showed the president in charge of drone targets and approving a computer-jamming worm didn't disclose direct intelligence details or names. But there's a disturbing pattern, especially as the November election draws closer. This White House is bothered by the ever-present suggestion that it's weak on terrorism or hesitant to look tough against looming enemies - and it's willing to go to extraordinary means to pursue leaks of unflattering stories.
Note: For lots more on government secrecy and corruption from reliable sources, click here and here.
Air Force's secret X-37B space plane lands in Calif. after mystery mission
Posted: 2012-06-19 10:37:33
The U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane finally returned to Earth Saturday (June 16), wrapping up a mysterious mission that lasted more than year in orbit. The unmanned X-37B spacecraft, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle-2 (OTV-2), glided back to Earth on autopilot, touching down at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:48 a.m. PDT. The landing brought to an end the X-37B program's second-ever spaceflight, a mission that lasted more than 15 months with objectives that remain shrouded in secrecy. The X-37B stayed in orbit for 469 days this time, more than doubling the 225 days its sister ship, OTV-1, spent in space last year on the program's maiden flight. Officials at Vandenberg said the spacecraft conducted "on-orbit experiments" during its mission. The space plane was designed to stay aloft for 270 days, but the Air Force kept it flying well beyond that milestone. Exactly what the spacecraft, which is built by Boeing's Phantom Works division, was doing up there for so long is a secret. The details of the X-37B's mission ... are classified, as is its payload. This secrecy has led to some speculation, especially online and abroad, that the X-37B could be a space weapon of some sort — perhaps a sophisticated satellite-killer. Some experts also suspect that the vehicle may be an orbital spy platform.
Note: For lots more on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.
Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor
2012-04-19, USA Today
Posted: 2012-06-05 09:47:45
A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites. Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names. The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY's reporting on the military's "information operations" program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan — campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored. For example, Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 — just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker's byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company. If the websites were created using federal funds, it could violate federal law prohibiting the production of propaganda for domestic consumption. Some postings ... accused them of being sponsored by the Taliban. "They disputed nothing factual in the story about information operations," Vanden Brook said.
Note: For more on a proposed amendment to a U.S. bill which would make it legal to use propaganda and lie to the American public, click here.
Bradley Manning, America's martyr for open government
2012-05-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-06-05 09:29:29
Today marks two years of imprisonment of Private Bradley Manning. The US government was going to use Manning as a warning to anyone else who might feel compelled to report on war crimes, or any other crimes they witness from within the system. Blow the whistle, goes the warning, and you will be buried alive by the state, shredded by the same secrecy machine a whistleblower would try to expose. Because of courage and creativity of activists, Bradley Manning has not been forgotten, even if that was the aim of authorities, and he never shall be forgotten. His case has been largely shunned by most of the mainstream media, especially in the US. This needs to change, because if he is indeed found guilty of being a whistleblower of such magnitude that it shook the entire secrecy machine of our world out of its comfort zone, his acts would need to be honored as an inspiration to change the way governments hide the reality of their actions from the people they are supposed to be serving and informing. Manning should not be convicted in secret: the media should be given access to the court filings; and the media should be pushing harder for the first amendment of the US constitution to be honored in the Manning case.
Note: For key reports on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.
Vatican denounces leaks of papal correspondence, documents as ‘criminal,’ promises justice
2012-05-19, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2012-05-28 14:12:20
The Vatican has denounced as “criminal” a new book of leaked internal documents that shed light on power struggles inside the Holy See and the thinking of its embattled top banker, and warned that it would take legal action against those responsible. Pope Benedict XVI has already appointed a commission of cardinals to investigate the “Vatileaks” scandal, which erupted earlier this year with the publication of leaked memos alleging corruption and mismanagement in Holy See affairs and internal squabbles over its efforts to comply with international anti-money laundering norms. The publication Saturday of His Holiness, by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, added fuel to the fire, reproducing confidential letters and memos to and from Benedict and his personal secretary. The bank has been trying for some two years to remedy its reputation as a shady tax haven beset by scandals, which include the collapse of Italy’s Banco Ambrosiano and the death of its head, Roberto Calvi, who also helped manage Vatican investments and was found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982.
Note: For lots more on this most revealing case of Vatican corruption and media complicity in keeping silent, click here and here. And to learn who is being accused of leaking these documents, click here.
Emanuela Orlandi 'was kidnapped for sex parties for Vatican police'
2012-05-22, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-05-28 14:09:57
A teenage girl whose disappearance in Rome has remained a mystery for 30 years was kidnapped for sex parties by a gang involving Vatican police and foreign diplomats, the Roman Catholic Church's leading exorcist has claimed. The tomb of a mafia don buried in a basilica in Rome is to be opened in an attempt to solve a mystery that has dogged the Vatican for three decades. Emanuela Orlandi, who was 15 at the time of her disappearance, was the daughter of a Vatican employee. Father Gabriele Amorth, who was appointed by the late John Paul II as the Vatican's chief exorcist and claims to have performed thousands of exorcisms, said Emanuela Orlandi was later murdered and her body disposed of. In the latest twist in one of the Holy See's most enduring mysteries, he said the 15-year-old schoolgirl was snatched from the streets of central Rome in the summer of 1983 and forced to take part in sex parties. "This was a crime with a sexual motive. Parties were organised, with a Vatican gendarme acting as the 'recruiter' of the girls. "The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle," Father Amorth, the honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists, told La Stampa newspaper.
Note: Though Father Amorth is a controversial figure, these claims most certainly deserve to be investigated. For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on sexual abuse scandals within elite institutions like the Vatican and governments, click here. And for a shocking Discovery Channel documentary showing that sophisticated child abuse rings lead to the very highest levels of government, click here.
Where drones in Pakistan undermine U.S. interests
2012-04-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-04-24 11:49:35
The CIA's use of unmanned aircraft to kill ... began under President George W. Bush in 2004. The covert operations became more frequent under the Obama administration, which viewed them as a way ... to hit Taliban fighters headed to the Afghanistan battlefield from sanctuaries in Pakistan's remote tribal areas. To Pakistanis, the drone strikes represent a brazen breach of their nation's sovereignty and a callous disregard for the lives of civilians who are in the vicinity of the so-called smart missiles. There is no precise count of casualties, but Pakistani officials suggest the deaths have numbered in the hundreds, with thousands more wounded. Opposition to the drone strikes is one of the rare issues that unites a country that is riven with divisions of geography, class, culture and tribal affiliations. Because the drone operations are covert, the Obama administration refuses to answer substantive questions about their necessity or results. In a recent meeting with U.S. journalists, diplomats at the American Embassy in Islamabad refused to discuss the program even on a background basis. Unlike the Bush team, the Obama administration has refused to keep Pakistani military leaders in the loop.
Note: For lots more on the illegal methods employed by the CIA and Pentagon in its "endless war", click here.
Investigating the Investigation
2012-04-13, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2012-04-17 10:10:53
On April 19, 1995, a huge truck bomb destroyed a large part of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City ... killing 168 people, including 19 children. In a matter of days the FBI established that the bombing was the work of a conspiracy. The first conspirator arrested was Timothy McVeigh, a 27-year-old Army veteran. The second conspirator arrested was Terry Nichols. "Oklahoma City," an extraordinarily well-researched book, asserts that the FBI investigation of the bombing was badly flawed and missed, or disregarded, evidence of a larger conspiracy. The authors, Andrew Gumbel and Roger Charles, are both highly regarded investigative reporters who have been immersed in this case for more than a decade. They were given access to vast amounts of material assembled by the defense teams, including 18,000 FBI witness interviews. The book ... outlines how federal prosecutors, eager to wrap up the McVeigh and Nichols cases, avoided raising questions about possible co-conspirators that the defense could use to confound a jury. Among the glaring gaps in the investigation was the failure of the FBI to attempt to match the more than 1,000 unidentified latent fingerprints found in the investigation. [And] almost all the eyewitnesses to the crime claimed that McVeigh was not alone. No fewer than 24 witnesses said that they saw McVeigh, just before and after the crime, with a man who could not have been ... Mr. Nichols. The FBI concluded that these witnesses had all been confused. Certainly eyewitness testimony can be unreliable, but 24 mistaken witnesses—and no accurate ones?
Note: Many aspects of the Oklahoma City bombing were covered up. For a compilation of media videos showing without doubt there were other bombs in the building which later were completely ignored, click here. For other major media articles showing major manipulation, click here click here, here, and here.
WikiLeaks' War on Secrecy: Truth's Consequences
2010-12-02, Time Magazine
Posted: 2012-04-17 09:45:52
WikiLeaks' publication starting Nov. 28 of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables was the largest unauthorized release of contemporary classified information in history. It contained 11,000 documents marked secret. The WikiLeaks revelations could change history. The number of documents and other communications [classified as secret] has skyrocketed nearly 10 times, from 5,685,462 in 1996 to 54,651,765 in 2009. Governments are calling more things secret when they are really not. The number of people with access to that Everest of information has grown too. In its deep investigation of American secrecy earlier this year, the Washington Post found that some 854,000 people inside and out of government had top-secret clearance, the highest classification. [Julian Assange] has launched a crusade predicated on the idea that nearly all information should be free and that confidentiality in government affairs is an affront to the governed. In the process, he has published everything from a video of U.S. troops killing civilians in Iraq to the documents behind the so-called Climategate scandal. "When trusted insiders no longer have faith in the judgment of government regarding secrets, then they start to substitute their own judgment," says William J. Bosanko, head of the Information Security Oversight Office. "The world is moving irreversibly in the direction of openness, and those who learn to operate with fewer secrets will ultimately have the advantage over those who futilely cling to a past in which millions of secrets can be protected," says a former intelligence-community official.
Note: For an abundance of major media articles showing the problems with excessive secrecy, click here.
Fed Struggles with Perceptions of Transparency
Posted: 2012-04-02 20:50:43
PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour economics correspondent: As the Federal Reserve moved rapidly and radically last year to prevent what it feared was an economic meltdown, it bailed out some institutions, but not others, forced mergers, [and] created hundreds of billions of dollars. The net result: increased suspicion of the Fed itself. That's nothing new. The 1913 act of Congress that established America's central bank was ... a compromise between government ... and private banking interests, which owned the 12 regional Fed branches. [All along,] some Americans have been suspicious of the Fed for operating above politics, too close to bankers, and behind closed doors. Simply Google "Federal Reserve." You encounter everything from skepticism to fear of conspiracy. NARRATOR: With the power to regulate the money supply is also the power to bring entire economies and societies to its knees. DONALD KOHN, Federal Reserve vice chairman: We bring information to bear from the private sector, from foreign governments and foreign central banks that they tell us in confidence about what's going on in their businesses. WILLIAM GREIDER, author, "Secrets of the Temple": You could say, "We have to have our meetings in secret because things will be said that are national security secrets, but we'll vet the transcript and release it four weeks later." Why not do that? SOLMAN: A House bill ... would give the Government Accountability Office the right to audit the Fed's interest rate decisions. Chairman Bernanke opposes it as compromising the Fed's independence.
Note: If you look at the top of any U.S. currency, you will see the words "Federal Reserve Note." U.S. dollars are issued and controlled by the Federal Reserve, which is privately owned, though subject to minimal federal oversight. To see just how much control the Federal Reserve has over the issuance of U.S. currency, see their webpage at this link. For lots more on hidden manipulations of the Federal Reserve, click here.
Does the Federal Reserve Have Too Much Power?
Posted: 2012-04-02 20:48:34
Question: A group proposing a change in monetary policy based on the writings of Stephen Zarlenga (monetary.org) [argues] that the government should print the money, not the Fed or any other private body. H.R. 2990 proposed by Dennis Kucinich is based on these ideas. Are they reasonable to you? Paul Solman: As the Treasury borrows more and more money by issuing bonds and selling them to all comers, it commits itself, "with the full faith and credit" of the United States, to pay back its creditors in full. That means it will either raise taxes in the future or -- and this is the relevant point -- get the Fed to create more money by purchasing bonds on the open market. This is called "monetizing the debt." There's a legitimate case that the Fed has too much power, is insufficiently beholden to the people in what's supposed to be a democracy, since no one on the Fed is chosen by popular election and private bankers are heavily represented on its board. This has long been the argument of financial journalist William Greider, author of a major book on the Fed, "The Secrets of the Temple." Greider: "The idea of giving the Federal Reserve still greater power [is] dangerous. First of all it rewards failure. But secondly, it puts them in the position as arbiter of who shall fail and who shall succeed. It asks to be able to choose what are the 30 or 40 or 50 banks and industrial firms that it regards as systemic risks for the society and ... it will protect those from failure. The government stands behind them and the rest of us are on our own."
Note: If you look at the top of any U.S. currency bill, you will see the words "Federal Reserve Note." Thus, though U.S. dollars are printed by the Treasury, they are issued and controlled by the Federal Reserve, which is privately owned, though subject to minimal federal oversight. To see just how much control the Federal Reserve has over the issuance of U.S. currency, see their webpage at this link. For lots more on hidden manipulations of the Federal Reserve, click here.
Pentagon says it has no records of bin Laden's death; CIA hasn't answered open records request
2012-03-15, Minneapolis Star Tribune/Associated Press
Posted: 2012-03-27 09:13:21
Government officials have openly discussed details of the mission [to kill Osama bin Laden] in speeches, interviews and television appearances, but the administration won't disclose records that would confirm their narrative of that fateful night. The Associated Press asked for files about the raid in more than 20 separate [FOIA] requests, mostly submitted the day after bin Laden's death. The Pentagon told the AP this month it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden's body on the Navy aircraft carrier where the al-Qaida leader's body was taken. The Pentagon said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden's body if he were killed. It said it searched files at the Pentagon, U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., and the Navy command in San Diego that controls the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier used in the mission. The Defense Department told the AP in late February it could not find any emails about the bin Laden mission or his "Geronimo" code name that were sent or received in the year before the raid by William McRaven, the three-star admiral at the Joint Special Operations Command who organized and oversaw the mission. It also could not find any emails from other senior officers who would have been involved in the mission's planning.
Note: WantToKnow team member Prof. David Ray Griffin, in his book Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?, lays out the extensive evidence that bin Laden died in December 2001, and that since that time Pentagon psyops had been keeping him "alive" with fake videos and audiotapes to maintain a crucial pretext for the ever-expanding "war on terror." Could it be that the Pentagon will produce no records of its purported "death raid" because in fact it will reveal major manipulations involving bin Laden's death?
Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act
2012-03-16, New York Times
Posted: 2012-03-20 10:22:14
For more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public — or even others in Congress — knew about it. On [March 15], two of those senators — Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado — went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained. The Justice Department has argued that disclosing information about its interpretation of the Patriot Act could alert adversaries to how the government collects certain intelligence. It is seeking the dismissal of two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits — by The New York Times and by the American Civil Liberties Union — related to how the Patriot Act has been interpreted. The dispute centers on what the government thinks it is allowed to do under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, under which agents may obtain a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing them to get access to any “tangible things” — like business records — that are deemed “relevant” to a terrorism or espionage investigation. The interpretation of Section 215 that authorizes this secret surveillance operation is apparently not obvious from a plain text reading of the provision, and was developed through a series of classified rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on surveillance and other government restrictions of basic civil liberties, click here.
Leaked Vatican documents cloud cardinal ceremony
2012-02-17, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2012-02-21 11:45:08
A scandal over leaked Vatican documents and reports of political infighting, financial mismanagement and administrative chaos in its frescoed halls have cast a cloud over this weekend's ceremony to create 22 new cardinals. Reports abound in the Italian media of cardinals and their supporters jockeying for prominence ahead of a future papal election, and of a Vatican bureaucracy in disarray as [84-year-old Pope] Benedict focuses his waning strength on other matters. The Vatican spokesman has been doing serious damage control of late amid reports and leaked documents alleging corruption in the running of the Vatican city state and money laundering at the Vatican bank. The scandal began last month with the publication of letters from the former No. 2 Vatican administrator, who begged the pope not to be transferred after he exposed millions of euros in cost overruns in the Vatican administration. He was then removed and named the Vatican's U.S. ambassador in Washington. Subsequent news reports focused on four priests under investigation for allegedly using Vatican bank accounts to launder cash. The pope's top banker, meanwhile, remains under investigation for allegedly breaking Italy's anti-money laundering law by trying to transfer cash from two Vatican bank accounts without identifying the sender or the recipient.
Note: For other revealing news articles on major child abuse scandals in the Catholic church, click here.
Rothschild loses libel case, and reveals secret world of money and politics
2012-02-11, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-02-21 11:26:03
Nathaniel Rothschild, scion of the banking dynasty and friend of seemingly everyone in the spheres of finance, business and politics, ... has lost his libel case against the Daily Mail, which he sued for "substantial damages" over its account of his and [Lord] Mandelson's extraordinary trip to Russia in January 2005. Mr Rothschild claimed he was subjected to "sustained and unjustified" attacks in the May 2010 article, which portrayed him as a "puppet master", dangling his friend Lord Mandelson in front of the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to ease the passage of colossal business deals. It began on Mr Rothschild's private jet from the World Economic Forum in Davos to Moscow, where they met Mr Deripaska, the aluminium plant manager who became the richest oligarch of them all, and continued on Mr Deripaska's private jet to his chalet in Siberia. The judge rejected the notion that Mr Rothschild and Mr Mandelson had flown out as friends, not business associates, and said Mr Rothschild's behaviour had in part been "inappropriate". "That conduct foreseeably brought Lord Mandelson's public office and personal integrity into disrepute," the judge said. That leading politicians, bankers and businessmen associate with each other in fashions that blur the boundaries between work and pleasure is a secret too great to be maintained with any success, but it doesn't make the details, on the rare occasions they actually emerge, any more palatable.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.
Can Congress Steal Your Constitutional Freedoms?
2011-12-01, Fox News
Posted: 2012-02-21 11:21:08
Can the president use the military to arrest anyone he wants, keep that person away from a judge and jury, and lock him up for as long as he wants? In the Senate’s dark and terrifying vision of the Constitution, he can. Last week ... the Senate Armed Services Committee decided to meet in secret. Behind closed doors, it drafted an amendment to a bill appropriating money for the Pentagon. The amendment would permit the president to use the military for law enforcement purposes in the United States. Essentially, this legislation would enable the president to divert from the criminal justice system, and thus to divert from the protections of the Constitution, any person he pleases. And that person, under this terrifying bill, would have no recourse to a judge to require the president either to file charges against him or to set him free. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Note, the Founders used the word “person.” Thus, the requirement of due process must be accorded to all human beings held by the government -- not just Americans, not just nice people, but all persons. If this legislation becomes law, it will be dangerous for anyone to be right when the government is wrong. It will be dangerous for all of us. Just consider what any president could get away with. Who would he make disappear first? Might it be his political opponents? Might it be you?
Note: The author of this op-ed, Andrew P. Napolitano, is a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey. His most recent book is It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom.
Bilderberg mystery: Why do people believe in cabals?
2011-06-07, BBC News
Posted: 2012-02-21 11:14:42
The secretive Bilderberg Group ... is bringing together the world's financial and political elite this week. Conspiracy theories abound. It's only recently that the media has picked up on the Bilderbergers. Meetings are closed to the public and the media, and no press releases are issued. In the manner of a James Bond plot, up to 150 leading politicians and business people are to gather in a ski resort in Switzerland for four days of discussion about the future of the world. Meetings often feature future political leaders shortly before they become household names. Under the group's leadership of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and one-time EU vice president, Viscount Davignon, the aim is purportedly to allow Western elites to share ideas. But conspiracy theorists have accused it of everything from deliberately engineering the credit crunch to planning to kill 80% of the world population. Denis Healey, co-founder of the group, told the journalist Jon Ronson in his book Them that ... "The confidentiality enabled people to speak honestly without fear of repercussions." Secret cabals extend beyond the Bilderberg Group. The Illuminati ... is alleged to be an all powerful secret society. The Freemasons [is another] secret fraternity society. The conspiracy theorists may get overexcited, but they have a point, says Prof Andrew Kakabadse. The group has genuine power that far outranks the World Economic Forum, which meets in Davos, he argues. And with no transparency, it is easy to see why people are worried about its influence. The theme at Bilderberg is to bolster a consensus around free market Western capitalism and its interests around the globe, he says. "There's a very strong move to have a One World government in the mould of free market Western capitalism."
Note: Why is there so little reporting on this influential group in the major media? Thankfully, the alternative media has had some good articles. And a Google search can be highly informative. For many other revealing news articles from major media sources on powerful secret societies, click here. And for reliable information covering the big picture of how and why these secret societies are using government-sponsored mind control programs to achieve their agenda, click here.
If You Thought SOPA Was Bad, Just Wait Until You Meet ACTA
Posted: 2012-01-31 15:58:33
When sites like Wikipedia and Reddit banded together for a major blackout January 18th, the impact was felt all the way to Washington D.C. The blackout had lawmakers running from the controversial anti-piracy legislation, SOPA and PIPA, which critics said threatened freedom of speech online. Unfortunately for free-speech advocates, these pieces of legislation are not the only laws which threaten an open internet. Few people have heard of ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, but the provisions in the agreement appear quite similar to – and more expansive than – anything we saw in SOPA. Worse, the agreement spans virtually all of the countries in the developed world, including all of the EU, the United States, Switzerland and Japan. Many of these countries have already signed or ratified it, and the cogs are still turning, with the final real fight playing out in the EU parliament. The treaty has been secretly negotiated behind the scenes between governments with little or no public input. The Bush administration started the process, but the Obama administration has aggressively pursued it. Indeed, we signed ACTA in 2011. According to critics, ACTA bypasses the sovereign laws of participating nations, forcing ISP’s across the globe to act as internet police. Worse, it appears to go much further than the internet, cracking down on generic drugs and making food patents even more radical than they are by enforcing a global standard on seed patents that threatens local farmers and food independence across the developed world.
Note: For lots more on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.
Secret trial revelations prompt US-Israeli diplomatic storm
2011-09-07, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-01-31 15:38:18
A court case against a translator who leaked US government secrets was conducted in secret because it centred on the revelation that the FBI had eavesdropped on Israeli embassy phone calls, it was revealed yesterday. The extraordinary limitations in place for the prosecution of Shamai Leibowitz, who was sentenced to 20 months in prison for disseminating classified information, meant that even the judge sentencing him did not know what he was supposed to have leaked. "All I know is that it's a serious case," Judge Alexander Williams said last year. "I don't know what was divulged other than some documents, and how it compromised things, I have no idea." But now Richard Silverstein, the blogger to whom Leibowitz passed his information, has come forward to defend his source. Leibowitz passed him about 200 pages of verbatim records of phone calls and conversations between embassy officials, saying that he believed the documents revealed Israeli officials trying unlawfully to influence US policy and edging towards military action against Iran. There has been dismay among civil liberties and open government advocates who point to pledges made by Mr Obama before his election to seek new transparency in Washington. Instead, his administration has launched a record number of prosecutions under the Espionage Act – five including the Leibowitz case. Previously, there had been only four such prosecutions opened by all previous administrations.
Note: For lots more on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.
Mystery surrounds Air Force's secretive X-37B space plane landing plan
Posted: 2012-01-31 15:29:12
The United States Air Force's secretive X-37B space plane has been circling Earth for more than 10 months, and there's no telling when it might come down. "Because it is an experimental vehicle, they kind of want to see what its limits are," said Brian Weeden, a technical adviser with the Secure World Foundation and a former orbital analyst with the Air Force. The X-37B looks a lot like NASA's now-retired space shuttle, only much smaller. The unmanned vehicle is about 29 feet long by 15 feet wide (8.8 by 4.5 meters), with a payload bay the size of a pickup truck bed. For comparison, two entire X-37Bs could fit inside the payload bay of a space shuttle.
Just what the X-37B does for so long while circling our planet remains a mystery, because the space plane's payloads and missions are classified. Partly as a result of the secrecy, some concern has been raised — particularly by Russia and China — that the X-37B might be a space weapon of some sort. But the Air Force has repeatedly denied that charge, claiming that the vehicle's chief task is testing out new technologies for future satellites. The spacecraft is flying repeatedly over the stretch of Earth from 43 degrees north latitude to 43 degrees south latitude. The space plane may be observing the Middle East and Afghanistan with some brand-new spy gear, perhaps instruments optimized to observe in wavelengths beyond the visible-light spectrum.
Note: For lots more on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.