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Parallel Construction: Unconstitutional NSA Searches Deny Due Process | Huffington Post

The NSA sits at the nexus of violations of both the Fourth and Fifth Amendments with a legal dodge called Parallel Construction.

Parallel Construction is a technique used by law enforcement to hide the fact that evidence in a criminal case originated with the NSA. In its simplest form, the NSA collects information showing say a Mr. Anderson committed a crime. This happens most commonly in drug cases. The conclusive information is passed to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who then works backwards from the conclusion to create an independent, “legal” body of evidence to use against Mr. Anderson. [Read more]

Snowden was ‘the one person in the f***ing NSA’ that did the right thing | Venture Beat

Over the weekend, two of the most famous whistleblowers in U.S. history, Edward Snowden and Pentagon papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, sat down at the HopeX hacker conference in New York to discuss how technology can empower dissent and protect your privacy.

What began as a calm panel on the state of whistleblowing quickly evolved into a heated discussion on whether Snowden is a traitor and why, in Ellsberg’s words, “Snowden was the one person in the f***ing NSA that did what he absolutely should have done.” [Read more]

Researchers: Lawyers blocked our Black hat demo on de-anonymising Tor | The Guardian

The Tor network promises online privacy by routing users’ internet traffic through a number of servers – or layers – while encrypting data.

The surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden is known to have used Tor to maintain his privacy, while the documents he leaked showed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) struggled to uncover identities of those on the network. [Read more]

How To Send Email Without Leaving Any Data Traces | Forbes

The unfolding revelations of government spying on private emails and communications have prompted a good deal of business for startups and bigger firms that sell tools to encrypt email to higher standards than easily available before. Such services prevent anyone intercepting a message from reading its contents — at least anyone who does not have NSA-style computing resources and abilities to decipher a message. [Read more]

High-Level NSA Whistleblower Says Blackmail Is a Huge – Unreported – Part of Mass Surveillance | BeforeitsNews

It is well-documented that governments use information to blackmail and control people.

The Express reported last month:

British security services infiltrated and funded the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange in a covert operation to identify and possibly blackmail establishment figures, a Home Office whistleblower alleges. [Read more]

Don’t Shackle the NSA Now | National Review

The Middle East is in turmoil. Syria has collapsed, essentially transforming into a giant battlefield between Sunni Islamists and Iran-backed entities. U.S. gains are still tenuous in Afghanistan, which is subject to attack from assorted terror groups, and the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops from there could empower warring militias and terror organizations, as is happening in Iraq. Meanwhile, many parts of Libya are now controlled by Islamist warlords. [Read more]


Related Articles – Michael’s Blog

Overlooked Syrian Conflict Hits New Death Toll Record | Foreign Policy

As the world focused on Ukraine and Gaza over the weekend, the bloodiest 48-hour period in Syria’s civil war went largely unnoticed. More than 700 Syrians were killed on Thursday and Friday, according to an NGO tracking the conflict, providing a stark reminder that a war that has raged for years shows no signs of winding down. [Read more]

Hamas’ ambush tactics revealed in training booklet | AL Monitor

Hamas announced in the evening of July 20 the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Shaul Aron during a clash that took place at dawn the same day. The clash occurred with Israeli forces in the al-Tuffah neighborhood in eastern Gaza on the second day of the ground operation. A spokesman for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obaida, gave the service number of the kidnapped soldier, 6092065, and that he was from the elite Israeli Golani Brigade. Israel initially denied that Hamas kidnapped the soldier, and later claimed that the soldier had been killed. [Read more]

A War We Didn’t Want | Foreign Policy

Ever since Israel unilaterally evacuated Gaza in 2005, Israelis often say that while Israel left Gaza, Gaza never left Israel. I was reminded of this as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) undertakes yet another ground operation to stop the firing of rockets into Israel. For 10 days prior to the incursion, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza fired some 1,400 rockets all over the country, driving millions of Israelis into bomb shelters. Israel tried to stop the rockets through airstrikes, but when Hamas continued to fire and rejected an Egyptian cease-fire proposal, Israel was left with little choice other than a ground operation. [Read more]

Inside Anonymous’ Cyberwar Against the Israeli Government | Mother Jones

The shadowy hacker collective known as Anonymous has announced it will launch a round of cyber-attacks this Friday against the Israeli government, in retaliation for Israel’s ongoing military intervention in Gaza. This onslaught would add to a wave of cyber assaults staged in recent weeks by hackers largely from the Middle East, Asia, and South America, who are supporting “OpSaveGaza,” an Anonymous-backed campaign targeting Israeli government websites that has succeeded in temporarily taking down the sites of the Israeli defense ministry and the Tel Aviv police department. [Read more]

Fighting jihad for Israel | Al Jazeera

Her name is Katie. She is from the Netherlands, and chose to serve in the Israeli navy instead of remaining in her country.

Will her government label her and the rest of the hundreds of Dutch youth serving in the Israeli military as jihadstrijders (jihad fighters), the name given to the hundred or so that went to Syria? Katie, a Dutch-
Israeli dual citizen, is after all a jihadist in occupied Palestinian lands. [Read more]

US citizens in Yemen accuse American embassy of confiscating passports | The Guardian

In late 2012, Khaled boarded a plane in America, bound for Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Since coming to the US at the age of 19, Khaled had worked continuously, except for a few months here and there, in various jobs, hoping to one day own his own business. [Read more]

Iraq’s Waterless Christians: The Campaign to Expel a Religion | Businessweek

Qaraqosh is one of the last refuges in northern Iraq for Christians fleeing persecution by the militants of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, who swept into the region in June. A historic Christian city of 50,000 about 19 miles southeast of Mosul, Qaraqosh is under the formidable protection of the well-armed Peshmerga—the Kurdish fighters whose autonomous region disputes the area with both ISIL and the Iraqi central government based in Baghdad. Now, in a further effort to oust Christians from land they have inhabited for two millennia, the Islamic militants have begun turning off a precious utility: water. [Read more]

ISIS Robs Christians Fleeing Its Edict in Mosul: Convert, Leave, or Die | The Daily Beast

After being issued an ultimatum from ISIS in Mosul, some of the city’s last Christian families have fled, only to be robbed of their last possessions at ISIS checkpoints. Friday at noon was the deadline for Christian families to meet ISIS’s demands: Convert to Islam, pay an anachronistic Islamic tax for non-Muslims known as jizya, leave Mosul, or be killed. But the day before the final exodus, Christians were informed jizya was no longer an option. The order came to convert, leave, or die. [Read more]

Trying to stop an Iran giveaway | Washington Post

What is striking about the announced extension of the “P5 +1″ nuclear talks with Iran is the absence of support for the president and his hapless secretary of state. It’s not surprising that giving Iran another $2.8 billion in sanctions relief while it proceeds with centrifuge research, its ICBM program, its low-level enrichment and its support for terrorism doesn’t garner applause. That said, the number of Democrats speaking out against the move and the broad agreement is noteworthy. The blowback signals the administration is going to find itself cornered in November when, as we suspect, there will be no acceptable deal in the offing. [Read more]

Turkey’s Culture Wars | New York Times

Residents walking through the conservative Fatih neighborhood here were used to seeing a billboard with the Brazilian actress and model Adriana Lima advertising a hair-removal product — until, one recent day, she appeared in a full burqa. Someone had covered Lima head to toe in black spray. Next to the image, a mysterious hand had scrawled: “Do not commit indecency!” [Read more]

‘Syria Is With You, Gaza’ | Global Voices

“Syria is being bombed, from Aleppo to Gaza” was one of the slogans raised by Syrian demonstrators in solidarity with Palestinians. “Gaza and Aleppo, glory and pride”, and “Daraa is with you, Gaza”, were others. From Syrian-Palestinian poet Raed Wahash to activists from the heart of Aleppo, where the bombs keep falling, shows of Syrian-Palestinian solidarity are constant. [Read more]


Related Articles – Michael’s Blog

I’ve been skeptical about how much the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger jet last week will actually chance the situation in Ukraine, but it may have some surprising effects elsewhere.

Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines have canceled flights to Israel after reports of a rocket landing near Ben Gurion Airport. An in-progress flight from New York to Tel Aviv was reportedly diverted to Paris today. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

There are few people who better embody the Republican Party’s self-destructive implosion on immigration reform than Marco Rubio. The Florida Republican spent the first half of 2013 championing a comprehensive immigration reform bill and helped shepherd its passage through the Senate, and he’s spent basically every moment since running away from that bill to wheedle his way back into the Tea Party’s good graces.

Pulling off this ridiculous political contortion requires that Rubio indulge in some creative shading of the history of his doomed immigration bill, and that’s precisely what he did on NPR this morning when explaining why the Senate bill stalled after passage. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” Mr. Dickens’ opening lines from A Tale of Two Cities might have been speaking of today and the various ways various countries are facing the social-ecological dilemma of our times. Some are fools, others surprisingly wise.

Take Japan and Germany for instance. The two industrial superpowers are taking starkly different approaches to energy and climate change. One is languishing, the other thriving. The results defy conventional wisdom, which says big power from nuclear and fossil fuels is best for the economy. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

The results of a massive, years-long, worldwide study on HIV-preventing drugs (PrEP) are in, and the news is great: PrEP is highly effective, extremely safe, and unlikely to lead to a drop in condom usage.

The new study, called iPrEx OLE, reinforces two important—and frequently challenged—facts about PrEP. First, not a single participant in the study who took PrEP four to seven times a week contracted HIV. (The drug is meant to be taken once daily.) Taking PrEP only two to three times a week still resulted in a 90 percent reduced risk of HIV acquisition. Taken together, these figures suggest that PrEP truly does reach near-perfect levels of effectiveness when taken as prescribed. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

Italian regulators have slapped Google with stricter regulations that should change how the company stores and collects user data, a move that closes out a year-long European investigation into Google’s privacy practices, Reuters reported.

The new regulations mean Google will need consent before tracking people’s data and using it for advertising. Google must also delete users’ data every two months. The Internet giant has until September to submit a plan detailing how it will comply with the new rules within the next 18 months. If it fails to meet the new standards, the company could face fines upwards of $1.35 million (1 million euros) if it doesn’t make the changes. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

A deadly virus spreading in the Middle East might be transmittable through the air, scientists warn.

The outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, known as MERS, in Saudi Arabia already has the world on alert: According to the most recent World Health Organization numbers, it’s infected 834 people and caused at least 288 deaths since it first appeared in 2012. Very little is understood about how the virus, which is linked to camels, is transmitted, but a new paper, published Tuesday in the journal mBio, raises a new possibility. CNN explains: [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

Congressman Thomas Massie read the 28 classified pages of the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry into 9/11 (the joint Senate and House investigation into 9/11) and immediately called for them to be released to the public:

By way of background, the former Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, outside adviser to the CIA, and Co-Chair of the congressional investigation into 9/11 – Bob Graham – says: [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

When I saw the trailer for Lucy, a new thriller starring a superhuman Scarlett Johansson, my first thought was: Yes! Hollywood finally cast a black actor as a neuroscientist! And my second thought was bummer, because that neuroscientist, played by Morgan Freeman, immediately discredits himself: “It is estimated most human beings only use 10 percent of the brain’s capacity,” he says. “Imagine if we could access 100 percent.”

Luckily, we don’t have to imagine. Unless you have a traumatic brain injury or other neurological disorder, you already have access to 100 percent of your brain! Your brain is available all the time, even when you’re sleeping. Even the most basic functions of your brain use more than 10 percent—your hindbrain and cerebellum, which control automatic bodily functions like breathing and balance, make up 12 percent of your brain, and you definitely need those just to stay alive. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog


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