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Die Renaissance des Westens (II)

German Foreign Policy - mer, 13/05/2015 - 00:00
(Eigener Bericht) - Deutsche Militärpolitiker eröffnen die Debatte über eine neue nukleare Aufrüstung innerhalb der NATO. Wie ein hochrangiger Mitarbeiter der Berliner "Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik" in einem aktuellen Diskussionsbeitrag schreibt, habe das westliche Kriegsbündnis im Rahmen des Ukraine-Konflikts "wieder an Bedeutung" gewonnen. In diesem Zusammenhang müsse nun auch die "nukleare Abschreckung" neu thematisiert werden. Zum "Gesamtpaket der Abschreckung", das auf die Tagesordnung zu setzen sei, gehörten neben der Nuklearbewaffnung allgemein auch speziell die US-Atombomben, die in Europa gelagert seien - nicht zuletzt in Deutschland. Auch jenseits der wieder heraufziehenden Atomkriegsgefahr zeichnet sich im Schatten der westlichen Neuformierung eine weitere Brutalisierung künftiger Kriege ab. Wie ein ehemaliger Chef des Planungsstabes im Bundesverteidigungsministerium erklärt, müsse Berlin die Beschaffung von Uranmunition durch die Bundeswehr in Betracht ziehen, um russische Panzer bekämpfen zu können. Uranmunition ist auch nach ihrer Nutzung höchst schädlich; weite Gebiete etwa im Irak, in denen sie von NATO-Staaten eingesetzt wurde, sind bis heute verseucht.

Many of the NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to NSA Contractors

The Intercept - Engl. - mar, 12/05/2015 - 20:44

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest. Such conflicts have become particularly important, and worth pointing out, now that the debate about NSA surveillance has shifted from simple outrage to politically prominent legislative debates.

As one example of the opaque link between NSA money and punditry, take the words of Stewart Baker, who was general counsel to the NSA from 1992 through 1994. During a Senate committee hearing last summer on one of the reform bills now before Congress, the USA FREEDOM Act, which would partially limit mass surveillance of telephone metadata, Baker essentially said the bill would aid terrorists.

“First, I do not believe we should end the bulk collection program,” he told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “It will put us at risk. It will, as Senator King strongly suggested, slow our responses to serious terrorist incidents. And it is a leap into the dark with respect to this data.”

Previously, in December 2013, Baker wrote in The New York Times that “Snowden has already lost the broader debate he claims to want, and the leaks are slowly losing their international impact as well.” He made similar comments in multiple news outlets, and testified before Congress to defend virtually every program revealed by the Snowden documents. Baker at one point told intelligence committee lawmakers that The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald was simply on a campaign to “cause the greatest possible diplomatic damage to the United States and its intelligence capabilities.”

Baker has identified himself at various points as a former government official with the NSA and Department of Homeland Security and as a Washington, D.C. attorney. But the law firm at which Baker is a partner, Steptoe & Johnson, maintains a distinct role in the world of NSA contracting. At the time of his pro-NSA advocacy in 2013 and 2014, the company was registered to lobby on behalf of companies which have served as major NSA contractors, including Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Leidos and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).

Asked about his law firm’s lobby work for NSA contractors, Baker responded, “If you’re looking for someone with a ‘financial stake in the surveillance debate’ you should start with your boss, Glenn Greenwald, who has a $250 million stake in continuing to present the debate as ‘Snowden good. NSA evil.’ And, of course, there’s you. You’ve got a ‘financial stake’ in keeping your job. Which means that you won’t have the balls to publish my reply.” (Pierre Omidyar made a $50 million contribution and $250 million commitment to First Look Media. Glenn Greenwald is the co-founding editor of the First Look publication The Intercept, not the holder of a $250 million stake.)

Due to the secretive nature of the agency’s work, NSA contracts are often shielded from public disclosure, and identifying financial links between pundits and the agency’s web of partners is tricky. But the work of journalists and whistleblowers such as James Bamford, who was assigned to an NSA unit while serving in the Navy, gives us a sense of which companies work for U.S. intelligence agencies. Drawing largely from these disclosures, The Intercept has identified several former government and military officials whose voices have shaped the public discourse around government spying and surveillance issues but whose financial ties to NSA contractors have received little attention. These pundits have played a key role in the public debate as the White House and the agency itself have struggled to defend the most controversial spying programs revealed by Snowden’s documents.

Retired general says “what the NSA has been doing has been right,” cashes big checks from NSA contractor

Jack Keane (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty)

Fox News Military Analyst Jack Keane appears regularly on the network to opine on national security issues. His credentials are strong. Keane served as a four star general, as vice chief of staff of the Army, and is currently the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War.

Keane has appeared on Fox News to discuss surveillance issues multiple times, coming down squarely in support of the NSA. Last year, as President Obama was developing reform proposals mirroring key provisions in the FREEDOM Act, including limits on the collection of phone records, he dismissed concerns about civil liberties.

“Well, I believe what the NSA has been doing has been right on the mark,” Keane told Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs. Backing down from any of the NSA programs, Keane said, would make America “less secure and more vulnerable.” In another appearance on Fox, Keane called the bulk collection of American phone records “vital for national security.”

Since 2004, Keane has served as board member to General Dynamics, a firm that contracts with the NSA — as occasionally disclosed publicly, as in October 2014, in 2010, and in 2009. For his service as a board member, Keane has earned about a quarter of a million dollars a year in cash and stock awards. According to a December 2010 Boston Globe article, Keane has also worked as a consultant to other military contractors, pushing government officials to hire his clients for government work, but failed to register his activities under the Lobbying Disclosure Act because he said his lobby activity fell below the statutory requirement for registration.

A spokesman for Keane said he “appears on TV news as much as 30 times per month, covering multiple topics at each appearance as a military analyst. He does not recall making comments on the topic you have mentioned.”

Ex-CIA chief imagined Snowden “hanged by his neck” while earning money from funder of NSA contractors

James Woolsey (Mark Wilson/Getty)

Mark Wilson/Getty

In June of 2013, following the first Snowden disclosures, retired General Wesley Clark and former Central Intelligence Agency Chief James Woolsey cast aspersions on the whistleblower who brought the NSA’s privacy violations to light.

“The American people,” Clark said confidently during an interview on CNN, “are solidly behind the PRISM program and all that’s going on.” Appearing on Fox News, Woolsey referred to Snowden’s disclosure of documents as “damaging because it gives terrorists an idea of how we collect and what we might know.” Woolsey would later comment that Snowden “should be hanged by his neck” if convicted for treason.

The men are, and were at the time, advisors to Paladin Capital Group, an investment advisor and private equity firm whose Homeland Security Fund was set up about three months after the September 11 attacks to focus on defense and intelligence-related startups. Woolsey confirmed he is paid by Paladin Capital; Clark did not respond to a request for comment. In 2014, Paladin’s portfolio was valued at more than $587 million. At the time of Woolsey and Clark’s anti-Snowden statements, it included a stake in Endgame Systems, a computer network security company that had worked with the NSA, having reportedly counted the agency among its largest customers. Paladin was also invested in CyberCore, which had provided technological work to the NSA. Later, in 2014, Paladin invested in Shadow Networks, formerly known as ZanttzZ, which also provided tech work to the NSA.

RNC chair called Snowden a “traitor” — and took $1 million from NSA contractor

Jim Gilmore (Scott Olson/Getty)

Getty Images

In March 2014, former Republican National Committee Chair Jim Gilmore took to the pages of the Washington Times to write that, “Mr. Snowden’s traitorous act is a perfect example of the dual threat we face from state and non-state actors.” He also promoted his view that conservatives should not embrace Snowden’s disclosures about mass surveillance during a testy debate with libertarians at the Conservative Political Action Conference last year.

At CPAC, Gilmore touted his credentials on the issue of homeland security as “the governor of Virginia during the 9/11 attack” and chairman of an advisory board on homeland security issues. But since 2009, Gilmore has also worked for a major NSA contractor as member of the board of CACI International, for which he has been compensated with more than $1 million in cash and stock awards. CACI, the firm whose contractors were behind the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, has steadily increased its stake in the cyberintelligence business, acquiring the firm Six3 Systems, an NSA contractor, for $820 million two years ago.

In an email to The Intercept, Gilmore acknowledged his relationship with CACI and noted that he served on advisory committee for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), an NSA contractor. “I cannot confirm whether any [of] these companies contracted with NSA,” he wrote. “I do not feel I have a conflict of interest that would prevent me from commenting on public policy issues related to national security. Also, I have been very vocal in the past as to warning against the loss of civil freedoms due to reaction to the dangers we face in today’s world.”

Overseer of pro-NSA reports got big checks from NSA contractor

John Hamre (Alex Wong/Getty)

Getty Images

Establishment think tanks, such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, have also influenced the debate around NSA surveillance. CSIS put out a report defending surveillance programs along with a statement of principles calling for policymakers to recognize and maintain the “irreplaceable role” of American intelligence.

The surveillance report was released last May by a group of former government officials, including CSIS president John Hamre. The year the report came out, Hamre received close to a quarter of a million dollars as a board member to NSA contractor Leidos, as he had the year prior. In 2013 and again in 2012, Hamre took close to quarter of a million dollars as a board member at SAIC, which has served as a major NSA contractor and which split to form Leidos. (Hamre did not respond to a request for comment.) Also responsible for the report was former NSA director Mike McConnell — only identified by “Former Director of National Intelligence” rather than as vice chairman of NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, his role at the time. (McConnell “was not representing Booz Allen in his participation” in the report, a Booz Allen spokesperson said, responding to a request to McConnell for comment.)

“If journalists are writing about this they should not be naive about the immensity of the security establishment,” said Columbia Journalism School professor Todd Gitlin.

Gitlin says that he understands why media outlets would call upon former government officials to discuss NSA issues given that they have “earned their expertise by virtue of their institutional experience.” But, he adds, the onus for disclosure ultimately lies with reporters and news programs, who should be asking these experts to reveal potential conflicts of interest and to explain the basis of their assertions about national security.

“The security industrial complex, in which the revolving door is a fixture,” Gitlin remarks, “requires a high degree of caution on the part of journalists and a high degree of scrutiny.”

To critics of mass surveillance, the role of these pundits tied to the NSA contracting industry exposes deeper problems.

“The media is happy to let these people defend the surveillance state on air but less interested in reporting on how it butters their bread,” said Kevin Connor, the director of the Public Accountability Initiative, a think tank that studies political elites.

After Connor released a well-publicized report on television pundits with ties to defense contractors who stood to benefit from U.S.-led missile strikes in Syria, many of those pundits remained on the airwaves, continuing to advocate intervention without disclosing how their companies would benefit from such policies. “If you are an insider, you are a trusted expert, even if you happen to have a financial stake in the debate,” Connor continued, adding, “it also serves as a useful reminder of the myriad ways in which corporate America is implicated in the surveillance apparatus, profiting from it, and protected by it.”

For the NSA’s private sector partners, the Snowden disclosures not only invited unwelcome scrutiny of the surveillance industry, but also fears that Congress might cut back on intelligence spending.

Speaking with investors following the Snowden leaks, Bill Varner, an executive with ManTech International, which has contracted with the NSA, raised the possibility of losing business. “It is too soon to tell if there will be any fallout in terms of reduced mission scope for the intelligence community or for contractor support to that community,” he said. Speaking on an earnings call shortly after the first revelations, a financial analyst also worried that “negative media attention from Mr. Snowden” could impair future intelligence business for Booz Allen Hamilton, the contractor that briefly employed Snowden. Booz Allen’s stock dropped nearly 5 percent following the news of his leaks. But within weeks, the company’s shares rebounded.

Alleen Brown and Sheelagh McNeill contributed research to this report.

Photo Illustration: Gilmore: Scott Olson/Getty; Keane:  T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty; Baker: Stephen Lovekin/Getty

The post Many of the NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to NSA Contractors appeared first on The Intercept.

Stephen Kim, Ex-State Department Official in Leak Case, Released from Prison

The Intercept - Engl. - mar, 12/05/2015 - 20:29

(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)

Stephen Kim, a former State Department official who last year pleaded guilty to leaking classified information about North Korea to a Fox News reporter, was released from prison today after 10 months of confinement.

The indictment and conviction of Kim, part of a crackdown by the Obama administration on leakers and whistleblowers, involved the government also accusing the reporter, James Rosen, of being a potential “co-conspirator” in the Espionage Act case. The government secretly collected emails Rosen exchanged with Kim in 2009 as well as records of their phone calls. These actions led to widespread criticism in the media that the government was infringing on first amendment protections for a free press, and were the focus of a lengthy investigation by The Intercept.

Kim, an expert on North Korea and its nuclear weapons program, was released from a federal prison in Maryland this morning and a few hours later checked into a halfway house in Washington, D.C. His sister, Yuri, who lives in Zurich, said in an email to The Intercept, “We are so happy to have Stephen back in our embrace again. I cannot wait to hug him again.”

Read Also:

Photo: AP Photos

The post Stephen Kim, Ex-State Department Official in Leak Case, Released from Prison appeared first on The Intercept.

“You Can Read My Notes? Not on Your Life!”: Top Democratic Senator Blasts Obama’s TPP Secrecy

The Intercept - Engl. - mar, 12/05/2015 - 19:49

(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., today blasted the secrecy shrouding the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

“They said, well, it’s very transparent. Go down and look at it,” said Boxer on the floor of the Senate. “Let me tell you what you have to do to read this agreement. Follow this: you can only take a few of your staffers who happen to have a security clearance — because, God knows why, this is secure, this is classified. It has nothing to do with defense. It has nothing to do with going after ISIS.”

Boxer, who has served in the House and Senate for 33 years, then described the restrictions under which members of Congress can look at the current TPP text.

“The guard says, ‘you can’t take notes.’ I said, ‘I can’t take notes?’” Boxer recalled. “‘Well, you can take notes, but have to give them back to me, and I’ll put them in a file.’ So I said: ‘Wait a minute. I’m going to take notes and then you’re going to take my notes away from me and then you’re going to have them in a file, and you can read my notes? Not on your life.’”

Boxer noted at the start of her speech that she hoped opponents of the trade promotion authority bill — the so-called fast-track legislation required to advance the TPP — would be able to block the bill via a filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to file a motion to invoke cloture on the measure later this afternoon.

“Instead of standing in a corner, trying to figure out a way to bring a trade bill to the floor that doesn’t do anything for the middle class — that is held so secretively that you need to go down there and hand over your electronics and give up your right to take notes and bring them back to your office — they ought to come over here and figure out how to help the middle class,” Boxer said.

In 2012, U.S. chief TPP negotiator Barbara Weisel said that “constantly evolving TPP chapter texts cannot be released to the public.” The same year, then-U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk claimed that secrecy was justified because openness and debate last decade killed talks surrounding the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Sam Knight is a writer and reporter living in Washington, D.C. He is the co-founder of the watchdog news site The District Sentinel

Photo: Getty

The post “You Can Read My Notes? Not on Your Life!”: Top Democratic Senator Blasts Obama’s TPP Secrecy appeared first on The Intercept.

You Can’t Read the TPP, But These Huge Corporations Can

The Intercept - Engl. - mar, 12/05/2015 - 19:36

(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)

The Senate today is holding a key procedural vote that would allow the Trans-Pacific Partnership to be “fast-tracked.”

So who can read the text of the TPP? Not you, it’s classified. Even members of Congress can only look at it one section at a time in the Capitol’s basement, without most of their staff or the ability to keep notes.

But there’s an exception: if you’re part of one of 28 U.S. government-appointed trade advisory committees providing advice to the U.S. negotiators. The committees with the most access to what’s going on in the negotiations are 16 “Industry Trade Advisory Committees,” whose members include AT&T, General Electric, Apple, Dow Chemical, Nike, Walmart and the American Petroleum Institute.

The TPP is an international trade agreement currently being negotiated between the US and 11 other countries, including Japan, Australia, Chile, Singapore and Malaysia. Among other things, it could could strengthen copyright laws, limit efforts at food safety reform and allow domestic policies to be contested by corporations in an international court. Its impact is expected to be sweeping, yet venues for public input hardly exist.

Industry Trade Advisory Committees, or ITACs, are cousins to Federal Advisory Committees like the National Petroleum Council that I wrote about recently. However, ITACs are functionally exempt from many of the transparency rules that generally govern Federal Advisory Committees, and their communications are largely shielded from FOIA in order to protect “third party commercial and/or financial information from disclosure.” And even if for some reason they wanted to tell someone what they’re doing, members must sign non-disclosure agreements so they can’t “compromise” government negotiating goals. Finally, they also escape requirements to balance their industry members with representatives from public interest groups.

The result is that the Energy and Energy Services committee includes the National Mining Association and America’s Natural Gas Alliance but only one representative from a company dedicated to less-polluting wind and solar energy.

The Information and Communications Technologies, Services, and Electronic Commerce committee includes representatives from Verizon and AT&T Services Inc. (a subsidiary of AT&T), which domestically are still pushing hard against new net neutrality rules that stop internet providers from creating more expensive online fast-lanes.

And the Intellectual Property Rights committee includes the Recording Industry Association of America, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Apple, Johnson and Johnson and Yahoo, rather than groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which shares the industry’s expertise in intellectual property policy but has an agenda less aligned with business.

Maira Sutton, a global policy analyst with the EFF, points to the Recording Industry Association of America as an organization that has been “very much in favor of copyright term extensions limiting fair use.” The pact could make it difficult for countries to shorten copyright terms that currently extend long past an author’s life, or for artists to repurpose copyrighted material to make art or music. Apple, Sutton notes, is notorious for creating technology that comes riddled with restrictions on what users and programmers can do with them, a practice that could be bolstered in the TPP.

There does exist a Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee and a Labor Advisory Committee, but their members are far outnumbered by those from industry. A Washington Post analysis from February 2014 noted, “Of the 566 committee members [in the 28 committees], 306 come from private industry and an additional 174 hail from trade associations. All told they represent 85% of the voices on the trade committees.”

Last year the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the part of the executive branch that runs trade negotiations, proposed creating a Public Interest Trade Advisory Committee, but civil society groups widely refused to participate in a process that would muzzle them from talking about what they saw in the trade agreement.

“It’s hard to have influence if you have 20 people from the industry and one from civil society. There’d have to be a pretty serious effort to achieve more balance,” says Karen Hansen-Kuhn, director of international strategies for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a Minneapolis-based organization that is concerned about food safety and farming-related provisions of the agreement. 

“The best outcome would be if Congress were to put in place a new system. So [in future negotiations], when negotiating objectives are laid out, at a certain point Congress would weigh in on whether those objectives have been met,” Hansen-Kuhn says. “If fast track is rejected I think it opens the possibility of doing things differently.”

Photo: President Barack Obama speaks to Nike Employees and other Oregonians at Nike Headquarters May 8, 2015 in Beaverton, Oregon about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pacts (Natalie Behring/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

The post You Can’t Read the TPP, But These Huge Corporations Can appeared first on The Intercept.

Jindal, Railing Against “Hyphenated Americans,” Used to Tout Indian-American Identity

The Intercept - Engl. - mar, 12/05/2015 - 17:50

(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)

“We are not African-Americans, we are not Asian-Americans, we are not Indian-Americans,” Bobby Jindal, R-La., said to roaring applause at the South Carolina Freedom Summit in Greenville on Saturday. As Jindal tours the early primary states for a likely presidential bid, the Louisiana governor’s disdain for “hyphenated Americans” has become a central part of his campaign.  Jindal took it up a notch in Greenville, referencing the use of hyphenated identities in his claim that President Barack Obama “tries to divide us by race,” .

Watch recent clips of Jindal’s campaign against “hyphenated Americans” during speeches to CPAC, the First in the Nation convention in New Hampshire, and at the United Freedom Summit in South Carolina:

 

But not long ago, Jindal embraced his hyphenated identity, using it to boost his quick ascent up the political ladder.

In Congress, Jindal co-sponsored a resolution to recognize the accomplishments of the “Indian American” community. He also regularly spoke proudly of his heritage as an Indian-American during media interviews and embraced the term for years as he raised millions of dollars in campaign cash from the Indian-American community.

A former Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration, Jindal began his rise to elected office in 2003 with his first bid for governor. During the campaign, Jindal raised money from Indian-American-organized fundraisers in New York and Washingtion. At a fundraiser in Georgetown, Jindal thanked the crowd, saying he was “especially grateful to the Indian-American community because with your support we’ll be able to go on television,” according to India Abroad.

Following his defeat, Jindal appeared at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association to accept an award. India Abroad covered that event as well:

“The first reason I wanted to come today was to thank you. I came to you as a 31-year-old Indian American and said I want to be the next governor of Louisiana, and you embraced me. No other group was nearly as generous or as supportive [as AAHOA]. You truly were my family.”…

“As I am raising my children, I am truly realizing what’s important about being an Indian American,” Jindal said. Recalling the journey of his parents to the United States, he said, “They started with nothing and my mother was pregnant with me when she flew over to the States. My father didn’t have a job, and he came here and found a job. But they did OK because the Indian-American community embraced them and helped them get started.”

“My grandmother wasn’t there when I was born, but the Indian-American community was,” Jindal said, to roars of approval.

Later that year, Jindal won a seat in the House of Representatives after David Vitter left the House to take a seat in the U.S. Senate. Jindal again tapped the Indian-American community for support, raising cash from Indian-American political action committees and from cultural organizations across the country. According to one estimate, he raised more than $2 million from Indian-Americans for that race alone.

Following his 2004 victory, Jindal was invited to both the State Department luncheon and White House state dinner with Indian Prime Minister Moanmohan Singh. India Abroad asked Jindal about the honor:

INDIA ABROAD: Were you accorded the unprecedented honor because you were the first Indian American Congressman in nearly 50 years? Was it an appreciation of you as an Indian American Congressman or the Indian-American community as a whole?

JINDAL: Absolutely. No question about it.

Watch a compilation of clips of Jindal celebrating his Indian-American identity:

Jindal’s current crusade against “hyphenated” Americans began earlier this year in a speech to a conservative think tank in London.

Jindal claimed that, “in the West, non-assimilationist Muslims establish enclaves and carry out as much of Sharia law as they can without regard for the laws of the democratic countries which provided them a new home.” Unlike these Muslims communities, Jindal claimed, his family came to this country to become “not Indian-Americans, simply Americans.” Jindal argued that although he is not saying anyone “should be shy or embarrassed about their ethnic heritage,” he was “explicitly saying that it is completely reasonable for nations to discriminate between allowing people into their country who want to embrace their culture, or allowing people into their country who want to destroy their culture, or establish a separate culture within.”

Jindal railed against the threat of hypenated Americans — including “Indian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and all the rest” — claiming that such divisions are what “we must be on guard against.”

The post Jindal, Railing Against “Hyphenated Americans,” Used to Tout Indian-American Identity appeared first on The Intercept.

„Es läuft alles auf eine totale humanitäre Katastrophe hinaus“

Hintergrund.de - mar, 12/05/2015 - 14:04

Über Saudi-Arabiens Angriff auf den Jemen

Interview mit HISHAM AL-OMEISY -

Seit Wochen tobt im Jemen ein erbitterter Machtkampf. Saudi-Arabien fliegt Luftangriffe, im Land selbst ringen Milizen in unterschiedlichen Koalitionen um Einfluss. Die Bevölkerung im ärmsten Land der arabischen Welt sieht sich einer dramatischen Lage gegenüber, in der es immer schwieriger wird, zu überleben. Thomas Eipeldauer hat für Hintergrund mit dem in Sanaa lebenden Aktivisten und politischen Analysten Hisham Al-Omeisy gesprochen.


Im Jemen gibt es derzeit viele Frontlinien. Lassen Sie uns mit den Luftangriffen und der Attacke

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Nächstes Wochenende 15./16. Mai ! Cinemobile – Mobiles Kino in Murnau

Stop G7 - Elmau 2015 - mar, 12/05/2015 - 08:12
kundgebung – ausstellung – filme gegen den g7-gipfel in murnau

Ödön-von-Horvath-Weg/Bahnhofstraße
Freitag 15. Mai von 16 bis 22 Uhr
Samstag 16. Mai von 12 bis 22 Uhr
cinemobile programm

VeranstalterIn: la mirada distinta, Stattpark Olga
Freitag 18 Uhr: Bamako 20 Uhr: Herrenpartie
Samstag 18 Uhr: Le Havre 20 Uhr: Und dann der Regen

Bereits im Vorfeld dieser Machtdemonstration wollen wir unsere Kritik an der Politik der G7-Staaten öffentlich machen. Mit Informationen und Argumenten, aber auch mit Mitteln der Kunst und der Kultur wollen wir zur Diskussion einladen.


Daher haben wir am 8. und 9. Mai eine Kundgebung in Garmisch-Partenkirchen und am 15. und 16. Mai in Murnau angemeldet. Mit Rednerinnen und Rednern unterschiedlicher sozialer Organisationen soll die Kritik am Umgang mit Flüchtenden, an neoliberaler Wirtschafts- und Sozialpolitik und an Militarismus und Krieg formuliert werden.
Begleitet werden die Kundgebungen durch künstlerische Kritikformen. So zeigen wir unter anderem Kurzfilme und die Ausstellung der Gruppe „KunstKooperative“, die anlässlich des G7-Gipfels erstellt wurde. In unserem „cinemobile“ zeigen wir jeweils um 18 und 20 Uhr herausragende Spielfilme aus drei Kontinenten, die unsere Kritikpunkte thematisieren.

Bremen: Böhrnsen tritt nach Wahlschlappe ab

Hintergrund.de - mar, 12/05/2015 - 08:04

(11.05.2015/hg/dpa)

Bremens Bürgermeister Jens Böhrnsen zieht Konsequenzen aus den Verlusten seiner SPD bei der Landtagswahl und tritt nicht wieder als Regierungschef an. „Als Spitzenkandidat der SPD übernehme ich selbstverständlich Verantwortung für das enttäuschende Wahlergebnis für meine Partei am 10. Mai 2015“, teilte er in einer Erklärung am Montag mit. Er wolle den Weg für eine personelle und inhaltliche Neuaufstellung seiner Partei frei machen.

Böhrnsen regiert im Stadtstaat seit 2005 und ist damit dienstältester Ministerpräsident in Deutschland. Die SPD fuhr nach einer amtlichen Hochrechnung bei der Wahl am Sonntag mit 32,9 Prozent der Stimmen ihr schlechtestes Ergebnis seit 1946 ein. Auch die Grünen

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Russische und chinesische Marine beginnen Übung im Mittelmeer

Hintergrund.de - mar, 12/05/2015 - 08:04

(11.05.2015/hg/dpa)

Zur Vertiefung ihrer militärischen Zusammenarbeit in Krisenzeiten haben Russland und China eine gemeinsame Marineübung im Mittelmeer begonnen. Zehn Kriegsschiffe liefen am Montag bei einer Eröffnungszeremonie aus dem russischen Schwarzmeerhafen Noworossijsk nahe der Halbinsel Krim aus, wie Agenturen berichteten. „Die Übung richtet sich nicht gegen eine Dritte Partei und hängt nicht mit der politischen Lage in der Region zusammen“, sagte Vize-Verteidigungsminister Anatoli Antonow in Moskau.

Ziel der zehntägigen Übung (bis 21. Mai) sei es, Maßnahmen zum Schutz der Schifffahrt zu entwickeln. Ein weiteres gemeinsames Seemanöver der beiden Länder ist im August im Japanischen Meer geplant.

In Zeiten der Krise zwischen dem Westen und

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Author Reported Essentials of Hersh’s bin Laden Story in 2011 — With Seemingly Different Sources

The Intercept - Engl. - mar, 12/05/2015 - 00:46

(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)

R.J. Hillhouse, a former professor, Fulbright fellow and novelist whose writing on intelligence and military outsourcing has appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times, made the same main assertions in 2011 about the death of Osama bin Laden as Seymour Hersh’s new story in the London Review of Books — apparently based on different sources than those used by Hersh.

Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011. Three months later, on August 7, Hillhouse posted a story on her blog “The Spy Who Billed Me” stating that (1) the U.S. did not learn about bin Laden’s location from tracking an al Qaeda courier, but from a member of the Pakistani intelligence service who wanted to collect the $25 million reward the U.S. had offered for bin Laden; (2) Saudi Arabia was paying Pakistan to keep bin Laden under the equivalent of house arrest; (3) Pakistan was pressured by the U.S. to stand down its military to allow the U.S. raid to proceed unhindered; and (4) the U.S. had planned to claim that bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but was forced to abandon this when one of the Navy SEAL helicopters crashed.

Hersh’s article makes the same key claims about the bin Laden raid, with this description of his sources:

The major US source for the account that follows is a retired senior intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. He also was privy to many aspects of the Seals’ training for the raid, and to the various after-action reports. Two other US sources, who had access to corroborating information, have been longtime consultants to the Special Operations Command.

Hillhouse’s post states that her information came from “Sources in the intelligence community.” In interviews today via telephone and email, she explained that the passage by Hersh “suggests that we did not share sources” because “to the best of my knowledge, my sources were not privy to aspects of the SEAL’s training raid … and they also did not consult for SOC.” In addition, Hillhouse said, “I would be shocked if … my sources would talk to [Hersh], given their politics and given the sensitivity that the administration had toward this story.”

Hillhouse wrote another post on August 11, 2011 with more detail, and her story was picked up by numerous papers outside the U.S., such as the New Zealand Herald

At that point, according to Hillhouse, “my understanding was there was great concern with the security guys … Everything that I’ve written on national intelligence, [that] was the first time I ever had a [former] senior member of the intelligence community signal me to basically go black … I’ve never been waved off like I was signaled to [then].” Because of this, Hillhouse says, she destroyed her notes from her conversations with her sources.

Hillhouse also claims that one of her sources told her a particular detail that she did not include in 2011 because she could not confirm it: that the Navy SEALs threw bin Laden’s body out of the helicopter while traveling over the Hindu Kush mountains from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Hersh’s story includes an assertion from his main source that “during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains.” While this seems bizarre in retrospect, it would be plausible if the SEALs had believed at the time that the Obama administration planned to say publicly that bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike.

Hillhouse believes that “Everything that [Hersh] has said has been spot on” but “You can’t help but notice that everything he is saying in the story, which is true, was first broken by me.”

Via email, Hersh stated: “I did hear from someone this morning that Ms. Hillhouse was tweeting about her knowledge of the bin Laden raid but my children have forbidden me to tweet (they live in terror of my so doing) or to go on twitter … or any social media for that matter.”

The Intercept cannot corroborate the reporting of either Hillhouse or Hersh, or their statements about the sources for their articles, nor can we rule out the possibility that Hersh’s sources based their beliefs on Hillhouse’s writing. In reporting that appears to back up major elements of that of Hillhouse and Hersh, NBC today asserted that a Pakistani intelligence officer “walk in” told the CIA about bin Laden’s location in the year before the raid on his compound.

Photo of Raelynn Hillhouse: Donna Hillhouse

The post Author Reported Essentials of Hersh’s bin Laden Story in 2011 — With Seemingly Different Sources appeared first on The Intercept.

Die Brexit-Debatte

German Foreign Policy - mar, 12/05/2015 - 00:00
(Eigener Bericht) - Deutsche Europaparlamentarier schlagen für Großbritannien einen "neuen Status" in der EU vor. Das Vereinigte Königreich dürfe in Brüssel "nicht als Dauerblockierer" auftreten, fordert Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Europaabgeordneter der FDP; London müsse jetzt entscheiden, "wo es sich von Europa lösen will und ob man eine neue Form der Mitgliedschaft will". Hintergrund ist der Wahlsieg der britischen Konservativen am vergangenen Freitag, dem voraussichtlich spätestens Ende 2017 ein Referendum über die britische EU-Mitgliedschaft folgen wird. Deutsche Wirtschaftsvertreter warnen, ein Austritt Großbritanniens aus der EU wäre nicht nur für die weltwirtschaftliche Stellung Europas, sondern vor allem auch für deutsche Unternehmen nachteilig: Das Land ist einer der wichtigsten Auslandsstandorte deutscher Firmen und hat der Bundesrepublik 2014 einen Handelsüberschuss von 41,8 Milliarden Euro verschafft. Auch weltpolitisch würde die EU durch einen "Brexit" erheblich geschwächt, warnt ein Experte, der die EU-Staaten auffordert, sich in die innerbritische Debatte über die EU-Mitgliedschaft einzumischen. So könnten Unternehmen etwa aus Deutschland, die Standorte in Großbritannien unterhalten, ihrem dortigen Personal nahebringen, dass ein britischer EU-Austritt mit dem Verlust von Arbeitsplätzen verbunden sei. Solchen Hinweisen werde sich die britische Wahlbevölkerung voraussichtlich nicht verweigern.

Reid to McConnell on NSA Bulk Surveillance: “You Can’t Reauthorize Something That’s Illegal”

The Intercept - Engl. - lun, 11/05/2015 - 23:12

(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday used last week’s appellate court ruling that NSA bulk collection of call records is illegal to bash his Republican counterpart for wanting to keep it going through 2020.

“My friend, the Majority Leader, keeps talking about extending the program for five and a half years,” Reid said from the floor of the Senate, referencing Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “How can you reauthorize something that’s illegal?” Reid asked. “You can’t. You shouldn’t.”

“Extending an illegal program for five and a half years? That is not sensible,” he said. “What should happen is that we should move forward and do something that is needed here — and that is, do it all over again.”

On Sunday at a speech in Boston, McConnell called the bulk phone call metadata collection program “an important tool to prevent the next terrorist attack,” and said that the U.S. “is better off with an extension of the Patriot Act than not.” Three provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire on June 1, including one that the NSA has claimed justifies the program.

Reid offered an alternative Monday, saying that McConnell should seek to advance the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would end the bulk collection of metadata from domestic phone companies. He pointed out that a version of the bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee in April by a 25 – 2 vote, and predicted that the legislation would be advanced by a full House vote this week.

Reid also painted the bill as an escape hatch for McConnell — and said he would back a revolt that’s being openly planned, should the Senate Majority Leader attempt to move for a clean extension of the Patriot Act. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., have already threatened filibusters.

“This is the only bipartisan, bicameral solution we have today that will end the illegal bulk collection and reform and reauthorize key provisions of FISA,” Reid said.

“Otherwise … I’m not the only one, Mr. President,” he added. “I’m told, walking over here, that the junior senator from Kentucky is not going to let an extension … take place. So why don’t we just go ahead and get it done now.”

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The post Reid to McConnell on NSA Bulk Surveillance: “You Can’t Reauthorize Something That’s Illegal” appeared first on The Intercept.

CIA’s Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to 42 Months for Leaking to New York Times Journalist

The Intercept - Engl. - lun, 11/05/2015 - 20:53

Alexandria, VA — Jeffrey Sterling, a CIA agent convicted of sharing classified information with a New York Times reporter, was sentenced today to three and a half years in prison, a significantly shorter term than had been expected.

Sterling’s lawyers had asked the judge not to abide by sentencing guidelines calling for 19 to 24 years behind bars. They argued Sterling should be treated with the same leniency shown to former Gen. David Petraeus, who was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and avoid prison after admitting to leaking classified information to his biographer and then-girlfriend, Paula Broadwell. Sterling’s lawyers also pointed to the case of former CIA agent John Kiriakou, who was recently released from jail after a 30-month sentence for disclosing the name of a covert agent to a reporter, and to the 13-month-sentence handed down to Stephen Kim, who pleaded guilty to talking about a classified document with a Fox News reporter.

“[Sterling] should be treated similarly to others convicted for the same crimes and not singled out for a long prison sentence because he elected to exercise his right to trial,” his lawyers stated in a pre-sentencing memorandum, noting that Sterling had taken his case to a jury rather than reaching a pre-trial plea bargain with prosecutors. “[T]he court cannot turn a blind eye to the positions the government has taken in similar cases.”

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema seemed to agree.

“To put you at ease, the guidelines are too high,” Brinkema said as the sentencing hearing got underway, glancing at Sterling and his lawyers, Ed MacMahon and Barry Pollack.

She went on to say that Sterling’s case was similar to Kiriakou’s, for which she had also been the presiding judge, because both involved the disclosure of the identity of an intelligence agent. She said Sterling should serve more time because Kiriakou had pleaded guilty whereas Sterling pleaded innocent and was found guilty by a jury. Brinkema added that “a clear message” had to be sent to people in the intelligence community that a price will be paid for revealing the identities of intelligence agents and assets, though she also said, in what appeared to be a reference to Petraeus not serving any prison time, that the judicial system had to be fair.

Speaking to the media after the hearing, Pollack said, “We think (the jury) got it wrong. That said, the judge today got it right. She looked at all of the good work Jeffrey Sterling had done throughout his life and gave him a fair sentence under the circumstances. Today closes a sad chapter in a long saga.”

The sentence, while one of the longest for a leaker in the Obama era, was far lower than some people had expected. Jesselyn Radack, director of National Security and Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, told The Intercept that she had expected “a lot worse” than 42 months. “Any jail time is excessive in light of what Gen. Petraeus got, but in light of what the government was seeking, between 19 and 24 years, this is the least worst outcome,” she said. Radack noted, however, that the offense for which Brinkema sent Kiriakou and Sterling to prison was also committed by Petraeus, because the information he shared with Broadwell included the identities of covert agents.

But in a series of its own pre-sentencing memos, the latest filed just a day before Brinkema issued her decision at the Alexandria federal courthouse, the prosecution claimed that Sterling’s conviction on nine counts in January was far more serious because he had been “willfully compromising a then-ongoing, extremely sensitive, closely-held operation designed to infiltrate and disrupt the nuclear weapons program of Iran and other rogue states, putting CIA assets at risk and exposing classified methods to our adversaries.”

Sterling, a 47-year-old former case officer in the agency’s Iran Task Force, was a handler of a Russian scientist turned spy who was the focal point of a complicated effort to provide Iran with faulty blueprints for nuclear centrifuges that, if used, would disrupt the nation’s effort to build its own nuclear weapons. According to James Risen, the Times reporter who wrote a book in 2006 disclosing the operation, the Iranians realized the blueprints were faulty and extracted accurate information from them. The prosecution disputes Risen’s reporting, contending that the operation was a success.

Prosecutors had tried to force Risen to disclose his source, but he refused. Nonetheless, the government used phone logs and emails between Risen and Sterling to show the jury that they talked in 2003, not long before Risen wrote his first story, which was not published by the Times after the Bush Administration warned of serious harm to national security. Those contacts, coupled with what the government portrayed as an effort by Sterling, who is black, to embarrass the agency after he filed a racial discrimination complaint, were enough to persuade a federal jury to convict him on criminal charges under the Espionage Act.

Though lighter than expected, Sterling’s sentence continues a trend of what appears to be highly selective punishment of leakers. Classified information is regularly leaked by government officials who want to make themselves or the government look good. Such “authorized leaks” are rarely prosecuted. For instance, an array of highly classified information about the killing of Osama bin Laden — which made the Obama administration look resolute and militarily effective — was leaked to the press and no one was punished in connection with the leaks. It tends to be only unauthorized leaks, particularly those that highlight wrongdoing or ineptitude, that the Department of Justice takes an interest in.

Sterling’s sentence, though more severe than those for Petraeus, Kiriakou and Kim, is not the harshest for leaking under the Obama administration. Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, is currently serving a 35-year sentence for leaking a cache of diplomatic and military cables to Wikileaks, the website that publishes secret government and corporate documents.

Updated to add comments from Brinkema and Radack. May 11 3:52 pm ET

Read Also:

Photo: Peter Maass

The post CIA’s Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to 42 Months for Leaking to New York Times Journalist appeared first on The Intercept.

Dead Man Walking Nun: “Tsarnaev Feels Remorse”

The Intercept - Engl. - lun, 11/05/2015 - 20:11

Sister Helen Prejean, the Roman Catholic nun whose relationship with death row prisoners was dramatized in the 1993 film Dead Man Walking, testified today as the final defense witness at the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Her testimony, while brief, offered the first answer to one of the enduring questions about Dzhokhar’s role in the crime: Does he feel remorse?

“No one deserves to suffer like they did,” Tsarnaev told Prejean, according to her testimony, on one of several visits she has made with him over the past several months. “He lowered his eyes … his voice, it had pain in it,” Prejean said, describing Tsarnaev’s feelings of guilt over the harm he had done to the marathon bombing victims. “He said it emphatically … I had every reason to believe he was sincere.”

Since his arrest, Tsarnaev has been held under highly restrictive “special administrative measures” that have limited his communication with the outside world. In recent years, federal authorities have imposed such restrictions in high-profile terrorism cases in an attempt to prevent defendants from issuing statements to the public. In Tsarnaev’s case, the special administrative measures and his decision not to testify in his own defense — which is exceedingly common in capital cases — have combined to leave his feelings about his crime a mystery.

As a clergywoman, Prejean was permitted to meet with Tsarnaev despite the special restrictions imposed on him. Her resulting testimony about Tsarnaev’s remorse contradicted widespread public speculation that Tsarnaev has been unrepentant about the bombing he conducted with his deceased older brother. His posture in court seemed to buttress the testimony: Tsarnaev looked at Prejean throughout her testimony, and she, in turn, paused to smile at him at certain moments. When she described his feelings of remorse and shame, Tsarnaev bowed his head toward the table in front of him.

Following Prejean’s testimony, defense counsel rested their case in the sentencing portion of the trial. Having already been found guilty on 30 counts related to the 2013 marathon bombing, Tsarnaev’s defense team is now fighting only to spare him the death penalty for his role in the attack. Arguing that he will face “unrelenting punishment” while serving a life sentence at the ADX Supermax facility in Florence, Colorado, his lawyers have sought to describe execution as an inappropriately harsh sentence given his age and degree of involvement in the plot relative to his deceased older brother, Tamerlan. Jurors are expected to begin their deliberations on his sentence next week.

The strategy of Tsarnaev’s lawyers throughout the sentencing phase has been to portray Tamerlan as the primary actor in the bombing. At the same time, the defense team has sought to humanize their client through the testimony of those who knew him personally and can give insight into his thoughts and character.

Last week, in the midst of her testimony at the trial, Tsarnaev’s former college friend, Alexa Guevara, 21, broke down and wept on the stand while recalling her memories of Tsarnaev. Fighting to compose herself, she told the court she was crying because, “I really miss the person that I knew. He was a good friend.” Describing how, after seeing her sketchbook one day, Tsarnaev had encouraged her to apply for art school, Guevara said, “He told me I have talent, and I shouldn’t let it go to waste. He made me feel like somebody believed in me.”

The testimony of Guevara and of other friends, relatives and teachers who knew Tsarnaev has helped paint a more complex portrait of the defendant than the callous, middle-finger waving, aspiring jihadist the press has commonly depicted. Indeed, in spite of the bombing, many of the people whose lives actually intersected with Tsarnaev’s appear to have loved him.

In a Facebook posting after her testimony last week on behalf of Tsarnaev, his former middle school teacher, Becki Norris, wrote, “I’ve discovered the painful truth that when you care deeply for someone, that doesn’t stop even if they do unfathomably horrible things.” Speaking of her enduring affection for Tsarnaev, whom she had known since childhood, she said, “Yes, he did the unforgivable. And yes, I still love him. And — this one is hard to fathom, I know — he still needs love.”

A former coach on Tsarnaev’s high school wrestling team disassociated the boy he knew from the one now on trial for his life in the bombing case, testifying last week that he was simply not “the same Dzhokhar that I knew.”

In her testimony today, Prejean described Tsarnaev as respectful and apparently sincere in his interactions with her. “The first time I met him, I thought, oh my God, he’s so young,” Prejean said. “We talked about his crimes. I thought he was genuinely sorry for what he did.” Adding that she had not been paid “one dime” for her testimony, Prejean testified, “I would not tell the jury Dzhokhar was remorseful if I didn’t really believe it.”

 Image: Jane Flavell Collins/AP

The post Dead Man Walking Nun: “Tsarnaev Feels Remorse” appeared first on The Intercept.

Email Exchange Between CBC and Public Safety Minister Blaney’s Spokesman on BDS Prosecutions

The Intercept - Engl. - lun, 11/05/2015 - 19:51

As I wrote about this morning, the CBC reported today that “the Harper government is signalling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel.” Various devotees of Israel, such as David Frum, spent the morning insisting that the CBC story is false. Now, the Harper government is following suit, issuing a (nonresponsive) statement that reads, in its entirety: “This [CBC] story is inaccurate and ridiculous. These laws have been on the books for many years and have not changed.”

Below is the email exchange between the CBC reporter, Neil Macdonald, and the spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney that leaves no doubt that the Harper government did exactly what the CBC reported: namely, cited various criminal hate speech laws when asked what, specifically, the Canadian Government would do to enforce its so-called “zero tolerance policy” against advocates of boycotting Israel. They added that “we will not allow hate crimes to undermine our way of life, which is based on diversity and inclusion”:

Email from Blaney spokesman Josée Sirois to CBC’s Macdonald:

Good afternoon Mr. Macdonald,

We received your voicemail on our media relations line.

Glad to assist with your request. If you could please send us your
question(s) and your deadline, we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Josée

Josée Sirois
Spokesperson / Porte-parole
Media Relations / Relations avec les médias
Public Safety Canada / Sécurité publique Canada

Email from Macdonald to Sirois:

Josee:

This is the link to the Blaney speech I was referring to.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/blaney-promises-to-fight-anti-semitism-zero-tolerance-for-attacks-on-israel-1.2200481

To be clear, I am not asking you for a boilerplate statement on what the Canadian government thinks of BDS, or Israel, or antisemitism. I think I understand that pretty well.

My question is what does “zero tolerance” for BDS mean?

How does that translate into government action? And does the MOU signed between Canada and Israel in January, which also speaks about combating anti-semitism (and the MOU characterizes BDS as antisemitism) have any force in Canadian law? Are the authorities who work for Mr. Blaney actually doing anything about the BDS movement that Mr. Blaney professes zero tolerance for?

nm

Email from Sirois to Macdonald

Good morning Mr. Macdonald,

A short note to let you know that your request was passed along to our colleagues at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. They indicated they would follow-up with you directly.

If you need to reach out to them, please call (343) xxxxxxx.

Kind regards,

Josée

Josée Sirois
Spokesperson / Porte-parole
Media Relations / Relations avec les médias
Public Safety Canada / Sécurité publique Canada

Email from Macdonald to Sirois:

Hi, Josee

It is your minister I will be quoting, not the foreign affairs minister.

For the record, and I want to be quite clear, I am asking what the public safety minister, whose authority includes intelligence and law enforcement, meant when he said canada is adopting “zero tolerance” toward BDS.

His comments have elicited concerns from various Canadian NGOs, and I will be exploring and recording those concerns, and I have a duty to offer minister blaney’s office the opportunity to comment.

Are you telling me you are declining comment on his behalf?

I’d appreciate a response. I understand you have no obligation to respond, but I am bound to ask, and to reflect any response or non-response in my story.

All the very best,
Neil Macdonald

Email from Sirois to Macdonald (emphasis in original):

Good evening Neil,

As previously mentioned, DFATD will be addressing your questions regarding the work being done with Israel regarding BDS.

With regards to Canadian criminal law, I can tell you that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of laws against hate crime anywhere in the world. There are three existing hate propaganda provisions in the *Criminal Code*: advocating or promoting genocide against an identifiable group (subsection 318(1) of the Criminal Code); inciting hatred in a public place against an identifiable group that is likely to cause a breach of the peace
(subsection 319(1) of the Criminal Code) and wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group (subsection 319(2) of the Criminal Code). “Identifiable group” includes any section of the public distinguished by, among other characteristics, religion or national or ethnic origin. Section 320 of the *Criminal Code* provides for the seizure and forfeiture of hate propaganda kept for sale or distribution in premises within the jurisdiction of the court. Section 320.1 authorizes a judge to order the deletion of hate propaganda stored on and made available to the public through a computer system within the jurisdiction of the court.

In addition, the *Criminal Code* of Canada has specific legislation to address crimes motivated by hate. Paragraph 718.2(a)(i) of the *Criminal Code* provides that evidence that an offence was motivated by hate, bias or prejudice, including that based on national or ethnic origin or religion, shall be considered by the judge when determining the sentence of an offender.

Section 430(4.1) of the *Criminal Code* also creates a specific crime of mischief in relation to a building that is primarily used for religious worship, including a church, mosque or synagogue or a cemetery, where the mischief is motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin.

In addition, the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program helps communities fight against hate-motivated crimes. It is an example of our Government’s strong commitment to preventing crime and making our streets safe. This program invests in security infrastructure enhancements at not-for-profit community centres, educational institutions, and places of worship linked to a community with a history of being victimized by hate-motivated crime. This program helps to ensure community members can practice their faith, culture, and activities peacefully, without fear of harm. We will not allow hate crimes to undermine our way of life, which is based on diversity and inclusion.

Kind regards,

Josée

Josée Sirois
Spokesperson / Porte-parole
Media Relations / Relations avec les médias
Public Safety Canada / Sécurité publique Canada

The post Email Exchange Between CBC and Public Safety Minister Blaney’s Spokesman on BDS Prosecutions appeared first on The Intercept.

Dear Oil Industry: Secretary Moniz Seeks Arctic Advice from Petrol Profiteers

The Intercept - Engl. - lun, 11/05/2015 - 17:13

(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)

The promotional video opens with a crescendoing tune as the words “National Petroleum Council” appear from behind neon green and blue Northern lights, shimmering in a starry sky.

Collaboration. Prudence. Traditional knowledge. All values that guided members of the National Petroleum Council — or NPC — as they responded to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz’s request for advice on how the government could “ensure prudent development” of the U.S. Arctic’s largely untapped fossil fuel reserves.

Back in October 2013, Moniz had penned a letter to the NPC, opening with a reflection on what it might take to build “a clean energy economy,” “tackle the issues of climate change” and “protect our environment.” And since a “core component” of the Obama’s administration policy for the Arctic includes “responsibly developing Arctic oil and gas,” Moniz wanted the NPC’s suggestions on how to do that.

The result was a several-hundred-page document titled “Arctic Potential: Realizing the Promise of U.S. Arctic Oil and Gas Resources.” The gist: any risks associated with extracting offshore oil in remote Arctic waters are manageable using “existing, field-proven technology.” Also, the U.S. should lengthen the drilling season and lease durations so that it’s easier to start making money.

You might assume the NPC is an industry lobbying group. But as I explained last week, the National Petroleum Council is one of hundreds of “federal advisory committees.” Such committees aren’t always dominated by industry, but the NPC certainly is: it’s member-funded and its 210 members are largely drawn from the fossil fuel business. So while the official lobbyists for the oil and gas industry may have to tug at Moniz’s sleeve to get him to listen to their suggestions, the dynamic is reversed with the NPC: Moniz goes to the group for help. And its more than happy to provide advice on issues that impact its members’ bottom line — as well as the security and well-being of everybody else on the planet (who, of course, do not have representation at the NPC).

The video’s burbling soundtrack continues, sounding like a for-profit college ad that runs at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, guaranteeing you job security in the field of your dreams if you just sign up. To the NPC’s talking heads, it’s all about balance.

“There’s a lot of balancing interests. There’s the balance between conservation and resource development. There’s the balance between traditional knowledge and what we call ‘Western science and engineering,’” says Richard Glenn, executive vice president for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, a company owned by Alaskan Iñupiat shareholders that holds title to huge tracts of Alaskan land with oil and gas reserves.

Glenn does not mention the balance between the multimillion dollar investments of the NPC’s members and the scientific evidence that burning more fossil fuels will lead to climate chaos. Nor did Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil CEO and chair of the NPC’s Committee on Arctic Research, in an interview with the Associated Press on the report. According to Tillerson, “There will come a time when all the resources that are supplying the world’s economies today are going to go in decline … [Arctic oil reserves] will be what’s needed next. If we start today it’ll take 20, 30, 40 years for those to come on.” In other words, Exxon has moved smoothly from spending millions of dollars to deny that climate change is happening, to saying that it’s here, and we have to let the company take advantage of the melting ice to burn more fossil fuels.

Yet it’s Shell President Marvin Odum who takes the prize as the NPC member with the most obvious interest in justifying Arctic oil extraction. Shell is pushing to gain the permits necessary to become the only company drilling offshore in the U.S. Arctic this summer, in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

Not to worry, though, NPC Director Marshall Nichols assures viewers of the promo video: “The council is not an advocacy group, it is not involved in any of the usual trade association activities, and it does not lobby.”

Apparently the Energy Department agrees. At the March 27 annual NPC meeting, Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall helped unveil the report and declared, “The study’s recommendations align with the Department of Energy’s mission, the president’s strategy for the Arctic and the president’s all-of-the-above approach to developing.”

She said the industry group’s advice may influence the department as research agendas are set in 17 national laboratories, as policy is developed by the new Arctic Executive Steering Committee and as the U.S. steps into its leadership role in the international Arctic Council. It took only three weeks for the report to be cited in the Energy Department’s Quadrennial Energy Review.

The result of this warming is a new frontier with increasingly accessible resources,” she told the council members, adding later, “Your leadership and cooperation will position us to lead in the Arctic.”

The post Dear Oil Industry: Secretary Moniz Seeks Arctic Advice from Petrol Profiteers appeared first on The Intercept.

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