US indirectly supports al-Qaeda in Syria: Franklin Lamb
Press TV has conducted an interview with Franklin Lamb, international lawyer, about French paper Le Figaro saying after Saudi Arabia, the US is second in line to lead al-Qaeda forces fighting against the Syrian government.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Let’s jump right in. Give us your opinion on the revelations by the French newspaper.
Lamb: Well I think they are credible. I think they are widely believed and have been over the past nearly one year as more and more similar reports and evidences surface.
So I think that even if we accept that Turkey and Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and I think we must, are overtly supporting al-Qaeda and the terrorist groups, I think the West is doing it indirectly maybe sub-rosa, maybe not totally comfortable with it but the combination of both forces means that the al-Qaeda has enormous fire power and enormous encouragement to expand its operations because of the funding from the West and the [Persian] Gulf.
Press TV: And how do you perceive the level and the extent of the involvement of those regional parties as revealed by Le Figaro, as you mentioned we have got Qatar, Turkey, of course Saudi Arabia and even former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's name has come up?
Lamb: Well I think in an operation like this if they are in for an inch, they are in for a mile. There is no such thing as a penny operation here it is going to be substantial and we see that consistently.
Remember Libya; it was going to be a little operation. That was an all-out war. So I think history teaches us very clearly that they are going to have massive, massive arms in order to “achieve their victory”.
So I think it is going to increase unless a stop is put to it.
Oct 30 2013
Report: The NSA is spying on data from Google and Yahoo, too
New docs show NSA taps Google, Yahoo data center links
Tapping overseas cables grabs more data than the PRISM court-approved process.
US intelligence access to the mounds of data held by Google and Yahoo goes far beyond the court-approved PRISM program, which was described in some of the first National Security Agency (NSA) leaks to come out this summer. Top secret documents published today by The Washington Post reveal that the NSA has tapped into overseas links that Google and Yahoo use to communicate between their data centers.
The newly revealed program, codenamed MUSCULAR, harvests vast amounts of data. A top-secret memo dated January 9, 2013 says that the NSA gathered 181,280,466 new records in the previous 30 days. Those records include both metadata and the actual content of communications: text, audio, and video.
The program is a strikingly aggressive one on the part of the NSA against US-based Internet companies. Operating overseas gives the NSA more lax rules to follow than what governs its behavior stateside.
In one of the documents (a hand-drawn sheet), an NSA presenter explains how the agency gets in to the mid-point where the "Google Cloud" touches the "public Internet." With a smiley-face drawing added, the slide explains: "SSL Added and removed here!"
The MUSCULAR program taps directly into the fiber optic cables that Google and Yahoo use to transmit data between their own data centers—a situation the companies have tried to avoid, in part by purchasing or leasing thousands of miles of their own fiber optic cables, explains the Post. The program is conducted overseas in conjunction with GCHQ, the UK's top intelligence agency.
Google has already said the company is moving swiftly to further encrypt the flow of information between its data centers as a reaction to government snooping. It spoke to the Post about that process in a separate story, published on September 6.
Under the PRISM program, Internet companies like Google and Yahoo are compelled to put data for certain users in a kind of digital lock-box for government use through a process overseen by courts.
The MUSCULAR program revealed today apparently takes place without the companies' knowledge. Google told the Post that it is "troubled by allegations of government intercepting traffic between our data centers, and we are not aware of this activity."
Yahoo emphasized that it has "strict controls in place to protect the security of our data centers, and we have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or any other government agency."
Neither the White House nor the office that oversees the NSA said anything about the program to the Post. They would not confirm or deny its existence.
The newly published documents are part of the massive trove of information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to journalists at the Post and The Guardian.
The Post contacted two engineers close to Google about the slides, and the paper describes how they "exploded in profanity" upon viewing the smiley-face slide—an apparent celebration of government conquest over Google's security. "I hope you publish this," one source said.
October 28, 2013
UK PM threatens to act against papers over Snowden leaks
British Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated that the government may take action against newspapers which publish “damaging” intelligence leaks from American whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Cameron suggested that the UK government could impose court injunctions on papers or use D-notices in order to prevent the publication of documents revealing US espionage activities.
He also said it would be very difficult for the government to “stand back” if the press did not show enough restraint on reporting the US National Security Agency (NSA) leaked files.
"If they (newspapers) don't demonstrate some social responsibility it will be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act," Cameron told MPs.
Moreover, the British premier said the daily Guardian had "gone on" to print “damaging” data following an initial agreement to destroy other sensitive material.
Cameron’s remarks came in reply to a question from Conservative MP Julian Smith on reports that secrets leaked by former CIA employee have hampered the work of Britain's intelligence agencies.
Earlier in June, Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs, under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
The US intelligence whistleblower also admitted his role in the leaks in a 12-minute video recorded interview published by the Guardian.
A month later, the paper reported that it had been forced by authorities in Britain to destroy the classified documents it received from former NSA contractor.
Earlier this month, Cameron said the NSA files, leaked by Snowden to the newspaper, have damaged the UK's national security.
Speaking during prime minister's questions in the House of Commons, he also urged MPs to investigate whether the paper has broken the law by publishing the classified documents.
Photo: British Prime Minister David Cameron
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 28 2013 (IPS)
But it refuses to single out the NSA or the United States, which stands accused of spying on foreign governments, including political leaders in Germany, France, Brazil, Spain and Mexico, among some 30 others.
Photo: The electronic surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left, pictured with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon) reportedly goes back to 2002, even before she was elected to office. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten
A murdered gangster, Eddie Kugel, is sent to Hell. After a few escape attempts, Eddie is told by Satan that if he will inhabit the body of a good judge back on earth and start blocking justice from being served, he can win back his soul. Eddie does so, thinking to revenge himself on the man who murdered him, his old gangster underling. Try as he might however, Eddie is unable to cause any mischief and even his plot to revenge himself upon his old buddy doesnt work out. To make things worse, he also falls in love with the judges fiancée. Once Satan sees that his plan isnt working, he comes back to earth to recapture the now somewhat reformed Eddie. Eddie wont go until his gets a promise from Satan that the judge and his fiancée wont come to any harm.
Iggy Pop with Lou Reed & Angie Bowie
Rock legend Lou Reed rides his bike in New York City
Velvet Underground - (from left) Sterling Morrison, Lou Reed, Moe Tucker and Doug Yule.
The NSA Has Hacked Mexican and Brazilian Government Email For Years
Beginning in May 2010, the NSA gained access to the Mexican Presidencia domain on the Mexican Presidential network and began monitoring then-president Felipe Calderon’s email account, according to a document leaked to Der Spiegel by Edward Snowden. The document also shows that the NSA has been surveilling the Brazilian government.
Hacking the Mexican presidential email was part of a campaign called “Flatliquid,” which provided U.S. cabinet members with “diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico’s political system and internal stability,” according to the document obtained by Spiegel.
This revelation about NSA hacking may, not surprisingly, lead to increased tension between the U.S. and Mexico. Relations were already strained by a report aired on Brazil’s TV Globo network indicating that the NSA had done surveillance in the summer of 2012 on Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who was running for president at the time.
Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (2R) as U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (2L) greets Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala at the Phipps Conservatory for the G-20 Summit on September 24, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
German Minister Says Confidence in US Shaken; Spain Also Reports Massive Phone Spying
October 28, 2013
(CNN) -- The release of further allegations of National Security Agency surveillance efforts caused the Spanish government to summon the U.S. ambassador Monday, and The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House ordered a halt to some eavesdropping on foreign leaders after learning of it this summer.
Quoting unidentified U.S. officials, the newspaper's website said the wiretapping of about 35 foreign leaders was disclosed to the White House as part of a review of surveillance programs ordered by President Barack Obama after NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information on the NSA's phone monitoring systems.
The White House ordered a halt to the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and unspecified other leaders, the newspaper reported. The Journal report did not specify who gave the shutdown order or the date it was issued.
White House: Reviewing surveillance of allies
Accusations of US spying 'disingenuous' Germany sending intel team to D.C. Damage control on NSA Scandal
Sharing secrets: U.S. intelligence leaks Sharing secrets: U.S. intelligence leaks
Responding to the report for the White House, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden did not directly address surveillance of foreign leaders. Instead, she described the ongoing review as "including when it comes to our closest foreign partners and allies."
Merkel said last week that reports of American spying on her and other leaders had "severely shaken" relationships between the United States and European nations.
The German leader said she told Obama last week that eavesdropping among friends "is never acceptable." The White House said at the time that Merkel's communications were not being monitored -- without saying whether she had been targeted in the past.
Should the president know wiretap details?
The officials quoted by The Wall Street Journal said it was understandable that Obama did not know about the phone tapping of Merkel and other leaders for nearly five years of his presidency. Because the NSA has so many eavesdropping programs, it would not have listed all of them for the president, according to the officials.
"The president doesn't sign off on this stuff," one official was quoted as saying. But the official said that policy was under review, the Journal reported.
The Journal report said some surveillance of foreign leaders continues, and surveillance of others is being phased out.
NSA denies chief told Obama about Merkel tap
Separately, the NSA on Sunday denied a report by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that NSA Director Keith Alexander told Obama about the surveillance of Merkel in 2010.
"Gen. Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel," NSA spokeswoman Vanee' Vines told CNN.
German intelligence officials are scheduled to meet with their American counterparts in Washington this week to ask about surveillance programs.
Other news media reports, based on documents leaked by Snowden, have said the NSA monitored the communications of the leaders of Brazil and Mexico.
Germany and Brazil are drafting a United Nations resolution on privacy in electronic communication, officials in those countries said last week.
Report: NSA monitored 60 million Spanish calls in 30 days
The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported Monday that the NSA collected data from 60 million phone calls in Spain in one 30-day period.
One of the authors of the El Mundo article was Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first reported on documents supplied by Snowden for the British newspaper The Guardian.
The El Mundo article cited what it said was an NSA report titled, "Spain -- last 30 days." The 60 million calls were not recorded, but the NSA collected serial numbers of devices, phone numbers, locations and durations of calls, the newspaper said.
Even before the latest report, the Spanish government had summoned U.S. Ambassador James Costos to a meeting Monday in Madrid. That followed a report by another Spanish newspaper, El Pais, that quoted unnamed sources as saying the NSA spied on Spanish officials and politicians.
A Spanish Foreign Ministry statement said Monday that the government "conveyed to the United States the importance of preserving a climate of confidence" in bilateral relations. It's important to know that "some practices, which if they are true, are inappropriate and unacceptable between partners and friendly nations," the statement said.
A statement by Costos repeated the administration's past statements that the surveillance policies are under review. It said the policies have "played a critical role in protecting citizens of the United States" and played "an instrumental role in our coordination with our allies and in protecting their interests as well."
"We will continue to confer with our allies, such as Spain, through our regular diplomatic channels to address the concerns that they have raised," the Costos statement said. "Ultimately, the United States needs to balance the important role that these programs play in protecting our national security and protecting the security of our allies with legitimate privacy concerns."
The French daily newspaper Le Monde reported last week on claims that the NSA intercepted more than 70 million phone calls in France in 30 days. That report did not specify whether the calls were recorded or whether the interceptions were limited to data about calls.
CNN's Al Goodman contributed reporting to this story from Madrid, Spain. It was written by CNN's David Simpson and Tom Cohen.
The Belgian-Rwandan singer and marketing genius Stromae has repeated a promotion stunt that he had performed in Brussels and Montreal earlier this year, in Brasilia. His stunt was paid by the Fast food company McDonald's.
Stromae: 'Great place to hang out any day of the week. I love the food. The pizza is delicious!! My favorite is the margherita, but they have plenty of options for pizza fanatics. Although you get served fast food style (wait in line and order) I'm definitely going back again and again!'
Oct 25, 2013 at 2:31p ET
7.3-magnitude quake rocks Japan
An earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck early Saturday morning off Japan’s east coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Japan’s emergency agencies declared a tsunami warning for the region that includes the crippled Fukushima nuclear site. NHK reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima plant, ordered workers near the coast to move to higher ground.
October 27th, 2013
Israeli soldiers blocking the entrances of Ni’lin village
Since last week the village of Ni’lin is being target daily by mid-night raids from the Israeli occupation forces. The soldiers have been shooting tear gas into people’s homes while they are sleeping. Only two people have been arrested but ten houses have been invaded by the soldiers.
The arrested are Naha Nafi, 21, and Tariq Kawaja, 24. Another three young men were sought after but could not be found.
The situation has escalated in the last two days. Israeli soldiers have started blocking the entrances of Ni’lin preventing people from entering or leaving the village. For the villagers who commute to Ramallah for work or studies this collective punishment has caused huge problems.
However, 11 pm on Saturday night a big number of Israeli jeeps invaded the village, seemingly just to cause disturbance. The soldiers began harassing villagers, firing their rifles without any apparent reason. As youths gathered to drive the soldiers out of the village they were directly fired upon with rubber coated steel bullets. One young man was hit in his leg and many bystanders suffered from tear gas asphyxiation. Also at this occurrence tear gas was fired into the homes of sleeping villagers.
At present the entrances to Ni’lin is still being blocked by the Israeli military. The villagers are awaiting their next move with anxiety.
Photo: July 2008 - An Israeli soldier shot and killed a Palestinian child during a nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall in Ni’lin village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.