Amongst the posts on Chris Nosworthy’s Facebook page were details of an afternoon stroll through the park, a happy birthday message to a man called Nigel and a YouTube video of a dog walking on its back legs.
Mr Nosworthy defended the contents of his Facebook page and strongly refuted claims the he is ‘non-racist’.
“My friends, family and the people who know me will tell you I’m a total racist,” he insisted.
“I’m also pretty sure that dinosaurs were wiped out by Jews,” he added.
UKIP Facebook page
A UKIP spokesperson revealed that a full investigation would be carried out and action would be taken “if necessary”.
“It might just be that Chris has been a bit naïve and made an error of judgement.
“We also shouldn’t rule out the possibility that his account was hacked by leftist flag-burning gays from the BBC.
“He’s already been for a precautionary AIDS test.”
Complete News – “Monsanto and government merge into one” – anti-Monsanto protests planned worldwide – YouTube
Considered one of the most important films in the history of silent pictures, as well as possibly Eisenstein’s greatest work, Battleship Potemkin brought Eisenstein’s theories of cinema art to the world in a powerful showcase;
his emphasis on montage, his stress of intellectual contact, and his treatment of the mass instead of the individual as the protagonist. The film tells the story of the mutiny on the Russian ship Prince Potemkin during the 1905 uprising.
The Mutiny on the Potemkin
The Russian navy in the year of the abortive revolution of 1905 still preserved the harsh conditions and brutal punishments of an earlier age. The Potemkin was a new battleship of the Black Sea fleet, commissioned in 1903, with a crew of 800. It was not a happy ship and some of the crew harboured revolutionary sympathies, in particular a forceful young non-commissioned officer named Matyushenko, who took a leading part in what followed. At sea on June 14th (June 27th, Old Style), the cooks complained that the meat for the men’s borscht was riddled with maggots. The ship’s doctor took a look and decided that the maggots were only flies’ eggs and the meat was perfectly fit to eat. Later a deputation went and complained to the captain and his executive officer, Commander Giliarovsky, about worms in their soup. Their spokesman was a seaman named Valenchuk, who expressed himself in such plain language that Giliarovsky flew into a violent rage, pulled out a gun and shot him dead on the spot. The others seized Giliarovsky and threw him overboard. As he floundered in the water he was shot and killed.
Others of the crew joined in. The captain, the doctor and several other officers were killed and the rest of the officers were shut away in one of the cabins. The Potemkin hoisted the red flag and a ‘people’s committee’ was chosen to take charge. The chairman was Matyushenko.
The ship made for the port of Odessa, where disturbances and strikes had already been going on for two weeks, with clashes between demonstrators, Cossacks and police. The trains and trams had stopped running and most of the shops had closed. People began to gather at the waterfront after the Potemkin arrived in the harbour at 6 am on the 15th. Valenchuk’s body was brought ashore by an honour guard and placed on a bier close to a flight of steps which twenty years afterwards would play an immortal and immensely magnified role in the famous ‘Odessa steps’ sequence of Sergei Eisenstein’s film. A paper pinned on the corpse’s chest said, ‘This is the body of Valenchuk, killed by the commander for having told the truth. Retribution has been meted out to the commander.’
Citizens brought food for the seamen and flowers for the bier. As the day wore on and word spread, the crowd steadily swelled, listening to inflammatory speeches, joining in revolutionary songs and some of them sinking considerable quantities of vodka. People began looting the warehouses and setting fires until much of the harbour area was in flames.
Meanwhile, martial law had been declared and the governor had been instructed by telegram from Tsar Nicholas II to take firm action. Troops were sent to the harbour in the evening, took up commanding positions and at about midnight opened fire on the packed crowd, which had no escape route. Some people were shot and some jumped or fell into the water and drowned. The sailors on the Potemkin did nothing. The casualties were put at 2,000 dead and 3,000 seriously wounded.
Calm was quickly restored and Valenchuk was allowed a decent burial by the authorities, but the sailors’ demand for an amnesty was turned down and on June 18th the Potemkin set out to sea. The crew were hoping to provoke mutinies in other ships of the Black Sea fleet, but there were only a few minor disturbances, easily put down. The mutineers sailed west to the Romanian port of Constanza for badly needed fresh water and coal, but the Romanians demanded that they surrender the ship. They refused and sailed back eastwards to Feodosia in the Crimea, where a party landed to seize supplies, but was driven off. The Potemkin sailed disconsolately back to Constanza again, and on June 25th surrendered to the Romanian authorities, who handed the ship over to Russian naval officers.
The incident had petered out, though it caused the regime serious alarm about the extent of revolutionary feeling in the armed forces. Its most lasting legacy was Eisenstein’s film, The Battleship Potemkin, (1925) and a riveting essay in propaganda rather than history.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were refugees from brutal Chechen conflict
With their baseball hats and sauntering gaits, they appeared to friends and neighbors like ordinary American boys. But the Boston bombing suspects were refugees from another world — the blood, rubble and dirty wars of the Russian Caucasus.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was a southpaw heavyweight boxer who represented New England in the National Golden Gloves and talked about competing on behalf of the United States. His tangle-haired 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, was a skateboarder who listened to rap and seemed easygoing to other kids in his Cambridge, Mass., neighborhood.
What we know about Tamerlan and Dzhohkar Tsarnaev
The brothers suspected of being the Boston Marathon bombers lived in Kyrgyzstan (and possibly elsewhere) before emigrating to the United States in the early to mid-2000s.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who grew up in U.S., were refugees from brutal conflict in Caucasus.
Tamerlan is now dead, killed in a shootout with police. Police said Friday night they had taken Dzhokhar into custody after he was cornered in a boat stored in a back yard in Watertown, Mass., after a massive manhunt . Hidden behind the lives they had been leading in Massachusetts is a biography containing old resentments that appear to have mutated into radical Islamic violence.
Sean Collier, slain MIT cop, volunteered at gym where Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev boxed
Here’s a photo of alleged Boston terrorist’s dramatic arrest
This is the image an entire nation has anxiously longed to see: the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old who allegedly terrorized, then paralyzed, an entire city.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev Death Photo Surfaces: Autopsy Picture On Reddit Of Slain Boston Bombing Suspect No. 1
The post-autopsy photo of a bloodied, naked body with a wide gash on his left side appeared on social news network Reddit Friday afternoon amid the ongoing police investigation in Watertown, Mass. The post was entitled “Autopsy pic of Tamerlan Tsarnaev (NSFW),” (WARNING: The image is very graphic.)
The father of the two suspects in the Boston bombing, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has told Russian and Western media that he believes his sons have been framed by US intelligence.
A report from the Russian agency Interfax says that a correspondent spoke with Anzor Tsarnaev, who resides in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.
From the Interfax report:
“I learned about the incident from TV. My opinion is: the special services have framed my children, because they are practicing Muslims. Why did they kill Tamerlan? He was supposed to be caught alive. The younger is on the run now. He was a sophomore at a medical school in the U.S. We expected him to come home for vacation. Now I don’t know what’s going to happen. Tell you once again: I believe special services have framed my children.”
Reports on Twitter also claim that Anzor has said that “all hell will break loose,” if his remaining son, who is currently on the run in a suburb of Boston, is killed.
The AP reports that the father of the suspects also spoke with their own reporters. During a short conversation Anzor Tsarnaev was said to have told the reporters that his children were ‘true angels’. He also said that he has two more daughters who live in New York.
He described his younger son as “an intelligent boy” who was studying medicine, and said that both his children are innocent.
“They were set up, they were set up!” he exclaimed. “I saw it on television; they killed my older son Tamerlan.”
The father is then said to have become more agitated and abruptly ended the call angrily, saying, “Leave me alone, my son’s been killed.”
Mother says my sons are innocent
Boston bombing suspects’ mother_ My sons are innocent, this is a set up
This movie is now 103 years old and it is still captivating… amazing. Now a little bit of Movie History
The Movie is only 12 minutes long
Frankenstein is a 1910 film made by Edison Studios that was written and directed by J. Searle Dawley. It was the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The unbilled cast included Augustus Phillips as Dr. Frankenstein, Charles Ogle as the Monster, and Mary Fuller as the doctor’s fiancée.
Shot in three days, it was filmed at the Edison Studios in the Bronx, New York City. Although some sources credit Thomas Edison as the producer, he in fact played no direct part in the activities of the motion picture company that bore his name.
Rediscovery and preservation
For many years, this film was believed to be a lost film. In 1963, a plot description (reprinted above) and stills were discovered published in the March 15, 1910 issue of an old Edison film catalog, The Edison Kinetogram.
In the early 1950s a print of this film was purchased by a Wisconsin film collector, Alois F. Dettlaff, from his mother-in-law, who also collected films. He did not realize its rarity until many years later. Its existence was first revealed in the mid-1970s. Although somewhat deteriorated, the film was in viewable condition, complete with titles and tints as seen in 1910. Dettlaff had a 35 mm preservation copy made in the late 1970s. He also issued a DVD release of 1,000 copies.
BearManor Media released the public domain film in a restored edition on March 18, 2010, alongside the novel Edison’s Frankenstein, which was written by Frederick C. Wiebel, Jr.
On 14th October 2010, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the film, English writer and director Dave Mitchell released an online re-boot of the original film called “Frankenstein 1910 2010”, with new title-cards based more on Mary Shelley’s original novel, as well as re-tinting of the frames, and the use of Saint-Saens’ “Danse Macabre” as the new soundtrack. The new version title cards focus on the concept of the rejected creation’s words to his creator, who he perceives as his friend.
The film’s most well-known shot
Does Democracy and Justice still apply in the USA?
The federal trial against alleged computer criminal Barrett Brown has been delayed by six months. Now the activist once called the “spokesperson” of the Anonymous hacker movement will wait in prison for one full year before being tried.
Brown, 31, was scheduled to stand trial later this month for a slew of charges that have handed down in three separate indictments filed by the government since last September. Per the request of his attorneys, however, legal proceedings have been pushed back for six months, delaying the trial until September 2013.
Doug Morris, a public defender appointed to serve as Brown’s defense counsel, asked for an extension in order to evaluate the evidence against his client, the Associate Press reports. US District Judge Sam Lindsay obliged on Wednesday this week.
The AP adds that Brown’s trial for one indictment is now slated for September 3, 2013, with trials for his second and third indictments scheduled to start on Sept. 23. Brown was arrested on Sept. 12 last year and has been in law enforcement custody for the nearly six months since.
The AP describes Brown as having Brown “once served as de facto spokesman for Anonymous, a shadowy movement that has gotten attention for cyberattacks,” although he says he’s never represented himself as such. Although Brown has aligned himself with the Anonymous movement on several occasions in the past and have spoken broadly on matters relating to the group, he wrote from prison last year, “I am not and never have been the spokesman for Anonymous, nor its ‘public face’ or, worse, ‘self-proclaimed’ ‘face’ or ‘spokesperson’ or ‘leader.’”
Brown’s legal issues began last March when FBI agents raided his Dallas, Texas home with search warrants for computers that contained information pertaining to, among other things, the Anonymous collective, offshoot LulzSec and a number of private businesses that were investigated by both groups as well as Brown’s own Project PM, an independent think-tank he designed in part “to develop new methods by which to use the internet for positive change and to encourage others to adapt such methods.”
One day after the March 2012 raid, Brown wrote the FBI “fully intended to take a certain laptop, and did” when the feds raided his mother’s house shortly after the first incident. He also said that federal agents threatened both he and his mother with conspiracy to obstruct justice for the next few months, spawning Brown to lash out at the FBI in a series of YouTube videos and Twitter posts created in September 2012.
“I know what’s legal, I know what’s been done to me… And if it’s legal when it’s done to me, it’s going to be legal when it’s done to FBI Agent Robert Smith — who is a criminal,” claimed Brown in one of the clips uploaded to the Web. “That’s why Robert Smith’s life is over. And when I say his life is over, I’m not saying I’m going to kill him, but I am going to ruin his life and look into his fucking kids… How do you like them apples?”
Hours after that video was uploaded to the Web, a SWAT team raided Brown’s Dallas, Texas apartment and placed him in custody for nearly one month before he was charged with threatening a federal officer. Once behind bars, though, Brown’s legal issues escalated.
While in custody, the Justice Department unsealed two separate indictments against Brown: In December, Brown was charged with sharing an Internet hyperlink that contained over 5,000 credit card account numbers, the card holders’ identification information and the authentication features for the cards. One month later, Brown was charged with obstructing justice by “knowingly and corruptly conceal and attempt to conceal records, documents, and digital data contained on two laptop computers,” as he hinted at nearly one year earlier.
Attorney Jay Leiderman, who is not representing Brown in this case, wrote on his personal blog when the third indictment was unsealed that the hacktivist could face a century in prison if convicted on all counts.
“He is alleged to have made threatening YouTube videos aimed at the FBI agent that raided his home, he is alleged to have shared a link that contained credit card and access information, and he supposedly hid laptops when the FBI came-a-knocking. That’s right, that sorta stuff could cost you 100 years these days,” he wrote.
Brown is alleged to have shared a link to the credit card details in a chat room after seeing it posted in another. The trove of data contained within the link related to subscriber data pilfered by Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a private intelligence company hacked by Anonymous in December 2011. Thousands of emails obtained in that compromise were later given to the whistleblower website WikIleaks and have been subsequently published online.
Upon release of the credit card numbers, Brown disavowed the hack. He said, “Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers, which the hackers in question could not have expected to be as easily obtainable as they were. Rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm’s servers.”
Jeremy Hammond, a hacker and activist from Chicago, has been behind bars for over one year while awaiting trial for charges relating to the Stratfor hack. Federal proscutors say he spearheaded the hack as a member of the groups Anonymous and LulzSec. He stands to face the rest of his life in prison if convicted.e
The popular image of the “warfare between science and religion” is perpetuated by the media, for whom a controversy is more dramatic than the more subtle and discriminating positions between the extremes of scientific materialism and biblical literalism.
There are two distinct groups of people asserting incompatibility between science and religion: Those privileging science and those privileging religion.
Competing efforts to wield power – the struggles for influence, status, and the right to define and perform authoritative societal roles – is central to the rhetoric of conflict between science and religion.
I suspect it is the biggest parade in the far East. All monies raised go to local charities.
See video below.
Some photos from the event.
A lady from Brazil
Young George from the Tara Court
“The big question of course is who knew about the trade in Irish horses on false passports, and when” BBC Spotlight on the horse meat scandal broadcast 5th March 2013
On 5th March 2013, the BBC in Northern Ireland broadcast a Spotlight special on the horse meat scandal in which the horse meat trade in (the Republic of) Ireland was scrutinized. You can watch the 40-minute special in three parts on YouTube here(see below). This edition of Spotlight reminded me of the special last year on the Sean Quinn international property dealings – crisp, information-rich, simply and engagingly presented; it is the best TV coverage so far on the horse meat scandal in the (Republic of) Ireland that I have seen.
The programme reported that 24,637 horses had been slaughtered in Ireland in 2012, and that this was far more than in the 9,405 in the entire UK. It reported the mark-ups, that traders were buying a lorryload of horses for GBP 1,000 and selling it for GBP 5,000.
“In the Republic, we also know of one approach to the Department of Agriculture which had hard evidence of wrong-doing, in fact that approach was made by our insider” BBC Spotlight
It also uncovered allegations that our own Department of Agriculture had been told about concerns about Irish horses with false passports, and the “insider” on which the programme relied, alleged he was told by the Department to “let the mess clean itself up”, presumably meaning that eventually the supply of horses would dry up, and meanwhile no-one would be any the wiser having already consumed horse meat. A separate Irish whistleblower had written to the UK authorities last year with allegations about false passports and Ossory Meats, and the UK authorities say that it is standard practice for such allegations to be shared with the Irish authorities.
The programme uncovered evidence of passports being switched, with a risk being that medicine-contaminated or unhealthy horses were being presented at slaughterhouses with bogus passports, as if they were fit for human consumption. Ossory Meats in Banagher, county Offaly threatened a Midlands horse sanctuary with libel proceedings for suggesting that a horse was switched by their company for one which is still alive today.
Jennifer O’Leary who presented the special, reported that our own agriculture minister, Simon Coveney was contacted for comment, as was his Department, but none was forthcoming with the Minister too busy and his Department unable to comment on ongoing investigations. The Department did claim that it was not informed about the second whistleblowing about Ossory Meats to the UK authorities.
The programme reported that in the instance of their informer, it was four years ago that the horse meat scandal started. That criminals were forging passports and inserting microchips on an “industrial scale”. PhenylButazone or “Bute” and another steroid Cortizone were routinely given to the horses.
How did the BBC verify the claims? They visited a site where the insider said horses died if they were too sick for export or transports, the BBC found horse remains. The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reporting that one horsetrader named by the insider had been found with 40 forged Irish horse transports and box of microchips. One horsetrader, against whom the insider made allegations, was arrested transporting horses and also cannabis.
In the Dail this week, the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty asked Minister Coveney about the programme, and the parliamentary questions are shown below. Yesterday, the Department published a report in which it said that it was two months ago, 14th January 2013 that it learned of the horse DNA scandal. The press release is here and the report is here.
So, on the face of it, we have a scandal that is at least four years old, we have criminals making huge sums of money from the trade in horses on false passports, with chipping and false passports used on an “industrial scale”, we have the horses routinely provided with bute and Cortizone and evidence of passport switching. We have allegations that the Department of Agriculture knew about the issues some time ago, but the Department refuses to comment. According to the Department of Agriculture report yesterday “On Friday 8 th March, the Department carried out identification checks on horses presented for slaughter at Ossory Meats. In respect of the horses presented, 25 of them had irregularities, these irregularities related to passport and microchip identifiers. In some cases, while the microchip in the equine matched the passport, the marking on the horse and the passports were very different. In other cases horses presented as yearlings were in fact much older. These animals were humanely slaughtered and destroyed. The company has since been suspended from operations.”
The BBC programme looked at just one angle to the horse meat scandal – the initial slaughtering of horses – it didn’t examine how horses then got into the human food chain. But its examination of how loose the systems are at the horse slaughter end of the chain will only exacerbate the worry that things were just as bad at the food-labelling and beef processing plant part of the chain later on. And perhaps now, that the Department of Agriculture has concluded its investigation, it might find time to comment on what it knew and when.
Stills above are screengrabs from the BBC Spotlight programme.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5 March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he will confirm that his Department responded to an approach two years ago which raised concerns about Irish horses and the food chain; and if the approach was responded to by his Department with a statement “the mess will clean itself”
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5 March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he can confirm that he was requested to provide a comment to the programme makers but responded that he was too busy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he will confirm that information was provided to his Department two years ago which raised concerns about Irish horses and the food chain; and if so, the way in which his Department responded to those concerns.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5 March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he proposes to investigate the claims made in the programme regarding passports for low weight and less valuable horses to the meat trade being switched for higher weight and more valuable horses to the meat trade.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5th March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he will confirm the number of horses slaughtered in the State in 2012, and if he will quantify the way the slaughtered animals were subsequently processed.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme on 5 March 2013 on the horse meat scandal, if he will confirm that he is satisfied with the operation of Ossory Meats in Banagher County Offaly; and if any of the concerns raised in the programme will be investigated by his Department.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney: I propose to take questions 13081/13, 13082/13, 13083/13, 13084/13, 13085/13 and 13086/13 together.
11,402 horses were slaughtered in slaughter plants approved by my Department in 2012. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has advised that 12,960 horses were slaughtered in local authority approved slaughter plants in 2012. I understand that the bulk of the meat from these animals was exported for human consumption, some following further processing in approved cutting plants in Ireland. The remainder was exported as full carcasses. The main export markets are Belgium, France and Italy.
Under EU law, responsibility for compliance with food safety and traceability requirements rests in the first instance with food business operators (FBOs). This is augmented by official controls, applied at different stages in the food supply chain. My Department implements official controls in relation to horse identification at marts and other sales venues, in abattoirs under its supervision and at points of entry to the country.
All equines (which include horses, ponies and donkeys) are required to be identified in accordance with EU and national legislation. Equines issued with a passport after 1 July 2009 must have a corresponding microchip implanted by a veterinarian, which is recorded in the passport and creates a link between the passport and the animal. The passport includes information on any veterinary medicines administered to equines. An equine for slaughter for human consumption must be accompanied to the slaughterhouse by its passport and the information on the passport determines whether the animal can be slaughtered for human consumption. Horses treated with certain veterinary medicines such as phenylbutazone, known in the industry as ‘bute’, are permanently excluded from the human food chain in order to protect public health and the passport of the horse in question is endorsed by the prescribing veterinary practitioner to this effect.
My Department has detailed procedures for the slaughter of horses in abattoirs under its supervision and has communicated these and the checks required both to its staff and the business operators. It has liaised with passport issuing agencies in Ireland and has developed protocols to allow abattoir operators to check the details of passports with these agencies to seek to ensure that they are valid and that only those horses eligible for slaughter are slaughtered. Where forged or tampered passports accompanying horses to slaughter are detected, it is the policy that such animals are destroyed and removed from the food chain.
Ongoing vigilance is maintained in relation to official controls in this area. In that connection, the European Communities (Equine) (Amendment) Regulations, S.I. No. 371/2012, introduced recently, provide for the updating of S.I. No. 357/2011 (European Communities (Equine) Regulations 2011) to strengthen the powers of the Minister in relation to approval of an issuing body for equine passports, authorised officers and prosecutions in relation to equine identification.
My Department is establishing a centralized equine database. The intention is that this database will be used at abattoirs to assist in verifying the authenticity of horse passports for the equine presented and to record its date of slaughter.
I can confirm that my Department has received a number of complaints in this area, some of which have been non-specific in nature. Information received in relation to alleged illegal activities in this State is taken seriously and investigated as appropriate by my Department and in certain cases by the Gardai. There is ongoing contact in this regard between the Department and the authorities in Northern Ireland and Britain. It must also be noted however that some claims have been made in the public domain in relation to this issue which, when examined by my Department, did not stand up to close scrutiny or warrant further investigation.
While my Department does not comment on ongoing investigations, appropriate corrective action is taken if non-compliances are detected. I can advise that during 2011-2012 the Department issued Compliance Notices to two horse slaughter plants under its supervision. This led to temporary suspension of activities while corrective measures were put in place. In addition the approvals of one organisation to maintain a stud book and issue horse passports were revoked during 2012.
With regard specifically to the BBC Spotlight programme on 5th March, it would not be appropriate for me to comment publicly on allegations made. I was not available for interview for this particular programme because of other commitments but I can advise that my Department did comment on queries received from the programme makers. I understand that some of the allegations made in this programme relate to activities outside the State, in which case appropriate checks would be a matter for authorities in the jurisdictions concerned. I understand issues were also raised in relation to an equine slaughter plant in this jurisdiction, which at the time concerned was under the supervision of a local authority. At present there are two local authority supervised equine slaughter plants in operation – one in Co. Offaly and one in Co. Limerick. I have decided to take both these plants under the supervision of my Department.
via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.
via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.
Google Says the FBI Is Secretly Spying on Some of Its Customers
The terrorists apparently would win if Google told you the exact number of times the Federal Bureau of Investigation invoked a secret process to extract data about the media giant’s customers.
That’s why it is unlawful for any record-keeper to disclose it has received a so-called National Security Letter. But under a deal brokered with the President Barack Obama administration, Google on Tuesday published a “range” of times it received National Security Letters demanding it divulge account information to the authorities without warrants.
It was the first time a company has ever released data chronicling the volume of National Security Letter requests.
National Security Letters allow the government to get detailed information on Americans’ finances and communications without oversight from a judge. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs and has even been reprimanded for abusing them. The NSLs are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions and businesses like Google to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, websites visited and more as long as the FBI says the information is “relevant” to an investigation.
In each year from 2009 to 2012, Google said it received “0-999″ National Security Letters.
But in its talks with the authorities over releasing figures, Google said national security was on the mind of the Obama administration.
“You’ll notice that we’re reporting numerical ranges rather than exact numbers. This is to address concerns raised by the FBI, Justice Department and other agencies that releasing exact numbers might reveal information about investigations. We plan to update these figures annually,” Richard Salgado, a Google legal director, wrote in a blog post.
Salgado was not available for comment.
What makes the government’s position questionable is that it is required by Congress to disclose the number of times the bureau issues National Security Letters. In 2011, the year with the latest available figures, the FBI issued 16,511 National Security Letters pertaining to 7,201 different persons. (.pdf)
Google said the number of accounts connected to National Security letters ranged between “1000-1999″ for each of the reported years other than 2010. In that year, the range was “2000-2999.”
Google noted that the FBI may “obtain ‘the name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records’ of a subscriber to a wire or electronic communications service. The FBI can’t use NSLs to obtain anything else from Google, such as Gmail content, search queries, YouTube videos or user IP addresses.”
Google often must disclose that data via other means, as described here.
Under the Patriot Act, Google or others who receive a NSL must disclose the sought-after information if the authorities say the request is “relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”
National Security Letters are a powerful tool because they do not require court approval, and they come with a built-in gag order, preventing recipients from disclosing to anyone that they have even received an NSL. An FBI agent looking into a possible anti-terrorism case can self-issue an NSL to a credit bureau, ISP or phone company with only the sign-off of the special agent in charge of their office.
What’s more, the lack of court oversight raises the possibility for extensive abuse.
In 2007 a Justice Department Inspector General audit found that the FBI had indeed abused its authority and misused NSLs on many occasions. After 9/11, for example, the FBI paid multimillion-dollar contracts to AT&T and Verizon requiring the companies to station employees inside the FBI and to give these employees access to the telecom databases so they could immediately service FBI requests for telephone records. The IG found that the employees let FBI agents illegally look at customer records without paperwork and even wrote NSLs for the FBI.
That said, we should applaud Google for trying to be transparent on the issue, regardless of the Obama administration’s preposterous national-security concerns.