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Journal Archives

1 million signatures collected in support of Snowden pardon

Source: The Hill

A group hoping to secure a presidential pardon for National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden delivered a petition with more than 1 million signatures to President Obama on Friday.

"Pardoning Snowden would show the world the U.S. cares (about) human rights at a time of great concern,” said Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney working on behalf of Snowden, about the Pardon Snowden Campaign petition.


“Remember, Snowden said systems we were building could be handed to a tyrant," he said.

"Luckily we listened, and passed significant surveillance reform – something administration officials have agreed was the right thing to do,” Wizner added.

Obama has argued that he cannot pardon Snowden until he is convicted of a crime, something Wizner describes as a dodge.

“The pardon power is absolute. Remember, Nixon was never convicted of anything, but pardoned by Ford,” he said.


Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/314221-org-delivers-11-million-signatures-in-support-of-snowden-pardon

Snowden deserves a full pardon, and a hero's welcome home.

Daniel Ellsberg: "Ed Snowden should be freed of the legal burden hanging over him. They should remove the indictment, pardon him if that’s the way to do it, so that he is no longer facing prison."

Bernie Sanders: "the interests of justice would be best served if our government granted him some form of clemency or a plea agreement that would spare him a long prison sentence or permanent exile."

Noam Chomsky: "President Obama should provide Edward Snowden with a form of clemency that would permit him to return home to the United States – and still more appropriately in my view, remove all threats of criminal investigation as well. Snowden should, in my opinion, be welcomed home with honors for his service to his country, and for his courage and integrity in the manner in which he performed this service."

Barry Eisler: "I wholeheartedly support a full presidential pardon for whistleblower Edward Snowden ... he deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom."

U.S. lists 17 nuclear reactors with parts from forge under probe

Source: Reuters

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Tuesday unveiled a letter showing that 17 of the country's nuclear reactors have parts from Areva SA's Le Creusot forge in France, which is under investigation for allegedly falsifying documents on the quality of its parts.

The number of reactors was more than the nine the NRC had previously disclosed.

Last month authorities in France opened an investigation into decades of alleged forgery of documents relating to the quality of parts produced at Le Creusot and used in power plants around the world.

Areva, a nuclear and renewable energy firm, furnished the information to the U.S. regulator last month but had urged the agency to keep it private, saying it was material to the business of nuclear power generators. The NRC told Areva it did not consider the information to be so and released it 10 days after receiving it.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-france-nuclearpower-idUSKBN14U2T0

Clinton warrior David Brock offers an apology - and his allegiance - to Bernie Sanders

Source: Washington Post

David Brock is sorry. The founder of Media Matters and a pair of pro-Clinton super PACs battled hard — really hard — against Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential primary. Now he wants to be Sanders's ally.

“I'm with you in the fight ahead,” Brock wrote Tuesday in an open letter to Sanders (I-Vt.), posted on Medium.


Brock told me that he hopes to win over Sanders by advocating for causes they both care about, such as combating climate change and the influence of big money in politics.

“I don't expect anyone to accept one Medium post at face value, especially in a cynical town like Washington,” Brock said. “I'll earn the trust over time, as we work together to resist the Trump administration and to preserve and protect progressive accomplishments.”


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/10/clinton-warrior-david-brock-offers-an-apology-and-his-allegiance-to-bernie-sanders/

FU, Brock.

Samsung Offices Raided as Scandal Around President Park Grows

Source: Wall Street Journal

South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung Electronics Co. early Tuesday morning amid allegations that the South Korean technology company gave money to a close friend of President Park Geun-hye who has been accused of exerting influence over government affairs.

A spokesman for Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that it seized documents from Samsung’s office of external relations in Seoul’s Gangnam neighborhood. A spokeswoman for Samsung didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The prosecutors’ raid on Samsung suggests that the growing political scandal could now be turning toward the country’s sprawling conglomerates, who have long been some of South Korea’s most influential power brokers.

In recent days, the scandal has resulted in the resignation of the president’s chief of staff and four senior aides, and brought tens of thousands of protesters out into the streets of Seoul. Ms. Park, whose single five-year term is set to expire in about a year’s time, has seen her public-approval ratings sink to record lows amid calls for her resignation.

Read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/samsung-offices-raided-as-political-scandal-widens-1478566324

CIA Releases Controversial Bay of Pigs History

Source: National Security Archive

- 2016 Change in FOI Law Overturns Agency Stonewalling
- CIA fought release for years, claimed draft would “confuse the public”
- National Security Archive FOIA case prompted Congress’s 25-year sunset

The CIA today released the long-contested Volume V of its official history of the Bay of Pigs invasion, which it had successfully concealed until now by claiming that it was a “draft” and could be withheld from the public under the FOIA’s "deliberative process" privilege. The National Security Archive fought the agency for years in court to release the historically significant volume, only to have the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2014 uphold the CIA’s overly-broad interpretation of the "deliberative process" privilege. Special credit for today’s release goes to the champions of the 2016 FOIA amendments, which set a 25-year sunset for the exemption: Senators John Cornyn, Patrick Leahy, and Chuck Grassley, and Representatives Jason Chaffetz, Elijah Cummings, and Darrell Issa.

Chief CIA Historian David Robarge states in the cover letter announcing the document’s release that the agency is “releasing this draft volume today because recent 2016 changes in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires us to release some drafts that are responsive to FOIA requests if they are more than 25 years old.” This improvement – codified by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 – came directly from the National Security Archive’s years of litigation.

The CIA argued in court for years – backed by Department of Justice lawyers – that the release of this volume, written by Agency historian Jack B. Pfeiffer, would “confuse the public.” National Security Archive Director Tom Blanton says, “Now the public gets to decide for itself how confusing the CIA can be. How many thousands of taxpayer dollars were wasted trying to hide a CIA historian's opinion that the Bay of Pigs aftermath degenerated into a nasty internal power struggle?” Archive senior analyst and Cuba Project Director Peter Kornbluh notes, “We know now why the CIA attempted to cover up this document for so long. It is a vivid historical example of what Pfeiffer called ‘the agency's dirty linen’ that CIA officials never wanted to air in public."

Read more: http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB564-CIA-Releases-Controversial-Bay-of-Pigs-History/

Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence Has Ties to U.S. Military Work in Iraq and


Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence Has Ties to U.S. Military Work in Iraq and Afghanistan

10/31/2016 09:09 pm ET
Steve Horn
Research Fellow, DeSmogBlog

TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran.

According to a summary of the investigation, TigerSwan “is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervises the overall security.”

The Morton County, North Dakota, Sheriff’s Department also recently concluded that another security company, Frost Kennels, operated in the state while unlicensed to do so and could face criminal charges. The firm’s attack dogs bit protesters at a heated Labor Day weekend protest.

Law enforcement and private security at the North Dakota pipeline protests have faced criticism for maintaining a militarized presence in the area. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and National Lawyer’s Guild have filed multiple open records requests to learn more about the extent of this militarization, and over 133,000 citizens have signed a petition calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene and quell the backlash.

The Federal Aviation Administration has also implemented a no-fly zone, which bars anyone but law enforcement from flying within a 4-mile radius and 3500 feet above the ground in the protest area. Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer on the scenes in North Dakota with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said on Facebook that “DAPL private security planes and choppers were flying all day” within the designated no-fly zone.

Donnell Hushka, the designated public information officer for the North Dakota Tactical Operation Center, which is tasked with overseeing the no-fly zone, did not respond to repeated queries about designated private entities allowed to fly in no-fly zone airspace.


Dakota Access pipeline protesters crowdsource for $5,000, get $1 million

Source: Associated Press

CANNON BALL, N.D. - The crowdsourcing goal was modest: $5,000, enough to help a few dozen people camping in North Dakota to protest the nearby construction of the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline. The fund has since topped a staggering $1 million.

The fund is among several cash streams that have provided at least $3 million to help with legal costs, food and other supplies to those opposing the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline. It may also give protesters the ability to prolong their months-long encampments that have attracted thousands of supporters, as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe pursues the fight in court.

And as the number of protest-related arrests increased this week, so did contributions - the funds raked in more than $200,000 between Thursday and Friday alone.

But demonstrators are quick to note that the amount of money raised and what they have left isn’t the same.


Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dakota-access-pipeline-protesters-crowdsource-5000-get-1-million/

12 arrested in San Francisco in Dakota Access Pipeline protest

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco police arrested a dozen people Monday who were protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Citibank headquarters in the city, officials said.

Demonstrators filled the street outside the building at 1 Sansome St. and filed into the lobby just before 9 a.m. carrying signs that read, “Water is Life” and “Citi Don’t Fund Dakota Access.”


The protestors locked themselves to one another to prevent access to the elevators in the building, said Laurel Sutherlin, a 39-year-old San Francisco resident who joined the protest.


The protest, organized by Diablo Rising Tide, demanded that Citibank halt financing of the $3.8 billion crude oil pipeline project that is expected to span 1,168 miles.

“Today was really about pulling the veil back and exposing association with this bigger controversy,” Sutherlin said. “Citibank still has the opportunity to pull out.”


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/12-arrested-in-San-Francisco-in-Dakota-Access-10425925.php

Why your Facebook friends are checking in at Standing Rock

Source: CNN

Protesters are using a new weapon in their push to block the Dakota Access Pipeline: Facebook.

By Monday, hundreds of thousands of people had checked in at Standing Rock Indian Reservation on the social networking site.

But many of them weren't anywhere near the location where demonstrators have been picketing the controversial $3.7 billion pipeline.

A post circulating on Facebook gave one possible explanation for the surge in activity, claiming that the mass check-ins were organized to prevent local law enforcement from tracking protesters on social media.


Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/31/us/standing-rock-facebook-check-ins/index.html

Ukrainians shocked as politicians declare vast wealth

Source: Reuters

An anti-corruption reform requiring senior Ukrainian officials to declare their wealth online has exposed a vast difference between the fortunes of politicians and those they represent.

Some declared millions of dollars in cash. Others said they owned fleets of luxury cars, expensive Swiss watches, diamond jewelry and large tracts of land - revelations that could further hit public confidence in the authorities in Ukraine, where the average salary is just over $200 per month.

Officials had until Sunday to upload details of their assets and income in 2015 to a publicly searchable database, part of an International Monetary Fund-backed drive to boost transparency and modernize Ukraine's recession-hit economy.


The online declaration system is intended to represent a show of good faith that officials are willing to open their finances up to public scrutiny, to be held accountable, and to move away from a culture that tacitly allowed bureaucrats to amass wealth through cronyism and graft.

However, the public reaction has been one of shocked dismay at the extravagant lifestyles conjured up by many of the disclosures.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-corruption-idUSKBN12V1EN
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