« on: February 25, 2015, 07:14:09 pm »
TESTAMONIAL: "I was still a bit rattled by the spectacular devastation."
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The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.
The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:
Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
Shackling for prolonged periods.
Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.
A digital leak to Al Jazeera of hundreds of secret intelligence documents from the world's spy agencies has offered an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.
Over the coming days, Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit is publishing The Spy Cables, in collaboration with The Guardian newspaper.
Spanning a period from 2006 until December 2014, they include detailed briefings and internal analyses written by operatives of South Africa's State Security Agency (SSA). They also reveal the South Africans' secret correspondence with the US intelligence agency, the CIA, Britain's MI6, Israel's Mossad, Russia's FSB and Iran's operatives, as well as dozens of other services from Asia to the Middle East and Africa.
Among the revelations, the Spy Cables disclose how:
Israel's Mossad told its allies that Iran was not working to produce nuclear weapons just a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned it was barely a year from being able to do so;
The CIA made attempts to contact Hamas directly despite the US government listing the Palestinian group as a "terrorist organisation";
Britain's MI6 sought South African help in an operation to recruit a North Korean official who had previously refused their cash; and
South African and Ethiopian spies struggled to "neutralise" an assassination plot targeting a leading African diplomat.
The files unveil details of how, as the post-apartheid South African state grappled with the challenges of forging new security services, the country became vulnerable to foreign espionage and inundated with warnings related to the US "War on Terror".
Following the 9/11 attacks, South African spies were flooded with requests related to al-Qaeda, despite their own intelligence gathering and analysis telling them that they faced minimal direct threats from such groups, and that the main threat of violence on South African soil came from domestic far-right groups.
Roberta Jacobson, the assistant secretary of state in charge of the western hemisphere, who has previously served as the State Department’s coordinator for Cuban affairs, will be leading the US delegation. The meetings she will lead, which begin on Wednesday, will be the first steps toward normalising diplomatic relations between the two countries.
A senior State Department official said on Monday that the US was “looking forward to the Cubans lifting travel restrictions and caps on personnel”, and that the next step, the upgrading of the US mission to full embassy status, could happen “quickly” following this week’s talks.
Obama's State of the Union, you see, will call for $320 billion of new taxes on rentiers, their heirs, and the big banks to pay for $175 billion of tax credits that will reward work. In other words, it's fighting a two-front war against a Piketty-style oligarchy where today's hedge funders become tomorrow's trust funders. First, it's trying to slow the seemingly endless accumulation of wealth among the top 1, and really the top 0.1, no actually the top 0.001, percent by raising capital gains taxes on them while they're living and raising them on their heirs when they're dead. And second, it's trying to help the middle help itself by subsidizing work, child care, and education.
But now that the FCC is moving toward issuing a tough net neutrality order that would subject broadband to utility-style regulation — an approach endorsed by President Barack Obama — top Republicans in both chambers are making plans to legislate their own rules to ensure the agency doesn’t go too far.
“Times have changed,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the House telecom subcommittee, said when asked about the evolving GOP position on net neutrality. “The administration has latched onto this [utility-style regulation], and the FCC’s independence is nominal at best.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is not the only Salafi-Jihadist threat emanating from Syria. Its prominence in U.S. policy has overshadowed a threat of similar magnitude from Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), the official al-Qaeda (AQ) affiliate in Syria. JN rivals ISIS as a sophisticated, intelligent, strategic actor in the region and continues to enjoy a dangerous freedom to operate in Syria. The two groups share common goals, including a revived Islamic Caliphate. JN, however, is pursuing its aims through a distinct, more patient methodology that is highly threatening despite its low signature. Whereas ISIS has announced its state and tried to legitimize it by conquest, JN is following AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s method of fomenting a religious and social revolution by embedding itself within an indigenous insurgency. The Syrian war has provided JN a nearly ideal environment within which to implement this strategy on behalf of al-Qaeda, and JN has enjoyed worrying success to date.
GEOPOLITICS IS BACK. AS 2015 BEGINS, POLITICAL CONFLICT AMONG THE WORLD’S GREAT POWERS IS IN PLAY MORE THAN AT ANY TIME SINCE THE END OF THE COLD WAR.
US relations with Russia are fully broken. China is charting its own course.The ties that bind Europe are fraying on multiple fronts. Others—Gulf Arabs, Brazil, India—are hedging their plans and alliances in reaction to increasing geopolitical uncertainty. Ultimately these realignments will reshape the world order, but for now their impacts, while noteworthy, are more regional than global. China’s rise still matters less than the headlines imply. Yes, it’s the leading trade partner for more than 100 nations, but China’s political, security, and economic influence remains underdeveloped.
It will grow quickly, but we’re not there yet. Crises in the Middle East have produced a world with more refugees than at any time since the Second World War, though with muted implications elsewhere, especially given the newly limited relationship between Middle East turmoil and energy markets. Russian revisionism is a direct threat to swathes of Europe, much less so farther afield. And most of Europe has far too much keeping them busy at home.
Or at least, it’s a likely candidate for three of the consulting firm’s forecast trends to intersect: European political instability, Russian intransigence, and the weaponization of finance.
With Europe’s economy still stagnant after the financial crisis, there are already fears that populist political movements will create uncertainty in the EU. Meanwhile, Russia isn’t letting up on its aggressive anti-Western policy, despite a currency crisis and recession. President Vladimir Putin will continue to put economic pressure on Europeans, even as the US pushes for—or refuses to relax—existing financial sanctions that are hurting Russia, but also making life difficult in Europe.
And all of that could come into sharp focus in Moldova, a post-Soviet republic that is expected to continue moving toward integration with the European Union after pro-EU politicians there won a December election. Of course, those are the same sorts of agreements that precipitated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. And Russia already has a break-away province in Moldova—Transnistria, a Russian enclave protected by some 2,000 troops.
Best known for its financial allure, symbolized by Dubai’s skyscrapers, the U.A.E. is starting to flex its military and diplomatic muscles too. In the past year it has helped consolidate an army-installed government in Egypt and is said to have sent planes to bomb Islamists in Libya, as well as joining the U.S. campaign against militants in Syria.
With traditional Arab powers mired in war or political turmoil, and U.S. attention drifting elsewhere, there’s room for oil-rich Gulf states to exert more influence over the Middle East. The U.A.E. promotes itself as a template of economic success built on a liberal social model, though oil wealth and a small population may limit its relevance as a regional model, while rights groups question the extent of its tolerance.
“The role the U.A.E. wants to play is to be a leader of ideas,” said Mishaal Al Gergawi, managing director of the Delma Institute, a research center in Abu Dhabi. “You look at the U.A.E. and it breaks the taboo that Arabs can attempt something and not mess it up.”
Transnational Crime affects peace and stability operations– whether smuggling, such as drugs, arms, and natural resources or human trafficking – all of it undermines any state – most of which can ill afford to deal with it (or may be in the thick of it to support its corrupt leaders). Transnational crime further affects the ability of foreign intervention be successful. As the author observes, “Tackling corruption, neutralizing spoilers, and increasing the societies’ culture of lawfulness are necessary steps to save West Africa.” Guinea Bissau is contributing to regional and
global instability. When looking at known transnational crime smuggling routes – Guinea Bissau is front and center and the U.S. has identified as Africa’s first narco-state. The author argues that the U.S. must deal with Guinea Bissau or lose West Africa – a region currently plagued by a public health disaster. And, the author provides recommendations that built upon existing cultural values to strengthen Guinea Bissau and “shed the burden of drug smuggling.” It is our pleasure to bring to you this monograph.
Yogi Berra, the legendary American baseball player known for his pithy quotes, once remarked: “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice there is.” India’s recent pitch for an Indian Ocean Zone of Peace (IOZOP) at the Galle dialogue in Sri Lanka is a classic example of theoretical propositions not always meeting the test of practical utility. In principle, the proposal to declare the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) as a zone of peace is strikingly apposite. Increasing Chinese presence and the threat of PLA-N bases in the IOR, the growing interests of other major powers (U.S., U.K., Russia, France and Japan) in the region, and the many Chinese infrastructure projects in the region, create an imperative for India to actively limit the military maritime activity of external powers in the region. But attempting to do so through the IOZOP route will ensure that while no military activity is ever practically curtailed, Indian influence and credibility in the region will be severely eroded.
The Army plans to send a brigade of tanks and fighting vehicles into Europe by the end of this year, according to the top Army commander in the region.
“We must love all nations as we love our own,” writes Russian philosopher Vladimir Sergeevich Solovyov in his 1897 book The Justification of the Good. The “greatness and value” of nationality, he claims, lies “not in itself taken in the abstract, but in something universal, supernational … Nations live and act not for their own sake … but for the sake … of what can be of service to all.” - See more at: http://cips.uottawa.ca/the-putin-book-club/#sthash.uf8hBGnr.dpuf
IR has long been regarded as an Anglo-American social science. Recently, the discipline has started to look beyond America and England, to China (Theory Talk #51, Theory Talk #45), India (Theory Talk #63, Theory Talk #42), Africa (Theory Talk #57, Theory Talk #10) and elsewhere for non-Western perspectives on international affairs and IR theory. However, IR theorists have paid little attention to Russian perspectives on the discipline and practice of international relations. We offer an exciting peek into Russian geopolitical theory through an interview with the controversial Russian geopolitical thinker Alexander Dugin, founder of the International Eurasian Movement and allegedly an important influence on Putin’s foreign policy. In this Talk, Dugin—among others—discusses his Theory of a Multipolar World, offers a staunch critique of western and liberal IR, and lays out Russia’s unique contribution to the landscape of IR theory.
Transnistria (Transdniester Moldovan Republic/TDMR or in Russian, Pridnestrovskaya Moldovskaya Respublika/PMR) – popularly referred to as a Soviet open air museum, is a strip of land holding de facto independence sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine in Eastern Europe. Not recognised by any sovereign state, it has split from the Republic of Moldova and operates with its own government, police, and military forces. Transnistrian citizens even hold their own passports, albeit only being able to use them internally. However, Transnistria would not be able to maintain its political bargaining power without heavy support from Big Bear Russia. In light of recent events in Crimea, and in Ukraine, Transnistria becomes an interesting historical case to explore how Russia’s strategic interests are injected into vulnerable territories.
There must be something particularly trustworthy about the Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein. After all, he has managed to get some of the the most sought after terrorists to open up to him. Maybe it helped that they spent time together in prison many years ago -- when Hussein was a political prisoner he successfully negotiated for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to be released from solitary confinement. Or is it because of the honest and direct way in which he puts his ideas onto paper? Whatever the reason, the result is that a film which Hussein made about al-Zarqawi has even been shown on al-Qaida affiliated Web sites. "That showed me that they at least felt understood," the journalist says.
PARIS — The bloody denouement on Friday of two hostage crises at different ends of a traumatized Paris means attention will now shift to the gaping question facing the French government: How did several jihadists — and possibly a larger cell of co-conspirators — manage to evade surveillance and execute a bold attack despite being well known to the country’s police and intelligence services?
On its own, the Wednesday morning slaughter that left 12 people dead at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo represented a major breakdown for French security and intelligence forces, especially after the authorities confirmed that the two suspects, the brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, had known links to the militant group Al Qaeda in Yemen
There's a faction inside the 4chan community that is in favour of pornography (child, gore, non consensual), abuse, bullying, and other crimes against human and animal rights. If there are not enough reasons to put these people in jail, at least we could prevent them from spreading hate and cyber-bullying. I say that site should be shut down.
The people of tumblr should be labelled as mentally handicapped landwhales.
To protect the children of the internet. To learn more on protecting children visit 4chan.org