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„Menschenrechtlich fragwürdig“ - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 23:53

Hartz-IV Debatte: Parteien und Verbände plädieren mehrheitlich für Beibehaltung der Sanktionen -

Von SEBASTIAN RANGE, 30. Juni 2015 -

Am Montag beschäftigte sich der Bundestags-Ausschuss für Arbeit und Soziales mit den Sanktionsregelungen im Bereich der Grundsicherung für Arbeitssuchende nach dem Zweiten Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB II), besser bekannt als Hartz-IV.

Die Linke und Bündnis 90/Die Grünen hatten zuvor eine Überprüfung der aktuellen Sanktionspraxis gegenüber Hartz-IV Empfängern beantragt. Während die Linke für eine bedingungslose Grundsicherung plädiert, und somit die Abschaffung aller Sanktionen fordert, weil nur so dem Sozialstaatsgebot Rechnung getragen werden könne, wollen die Grünen weiterhin an der sogenannten Mitwirkungspflicht der Leistungsempfänger festhalten, das „Grundrecht auf


Feiern ohne Nazis

Linksunten Antimil - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 23:53

First Look Joins Legal Fight Over Hulk Hogan Sex Tape

The Intercept - Engl. - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 23:00

First Look Media, which publishes The Intercept, today filed a “motion to intervene” in Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker in order to keep the trial open to the public.

In 2012, Gawker published about 100 seconds from a videotape of Hogan having sex with Heather Clem, then-wife of his close friend Bubba the Love Sponge Clem®. Hogan, a professional wrestler and television personality, has sued Gawker for $100 million, and is asking a Florida court to prevent the public and press from seeing the sex tape excerpts during the proceedings.

Despite the sex tape part, and the professional wrestling part, and the man-who’s-legally-changed-his-name-to-Love Sponge®-and-trademarked-it part, Hogan’s demand raises genuine freedom of speech and governmental openness issues.

As the motion to intervene states, “The overarching principles at stake — that the public is entitled to know what takes place in the courts of the state of Florida, and the First Amendment right of Intervenors to report what happens in the courtroom to its readers — transcend this case alone.”

First Look’s request has been joined by Buzzfeed, Vox, CNN, AP and other media companies. Lynn Oberlander, First Look’s general counsel for media operations, says, “Closing a trial, or part of it, reduces the information that the public receives, and reduces transparency in how the courts function, vital information to our democracy. The public cannot and should not be excluded from the testimony about the central claim of the lawsuit.”

The motion to intervene can be read here:

DV.load('//', { width: '100%', height: '450', sidebar: false, container: '#dcv-2130518-hogan-v-gawker-motion-to-intervene' });

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

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

The post First Look Joins Legal Fight Over Hulk Hogan Sex Tape appeared first on The Intercept.

Bulk Phone Surveillance Lives Again, to Die in a More Orderly Fashion in Five Months

The Intercept - Engl. - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 20:41

A federal judge with the top-secret surveillance court on Monday breezily reinstated the NSA bulk domestic surveillance program that was temporarily halted a month ago, allowing the agency to go back to hoovering up telephone metadata for five months while it unwinds the program for good.

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Michael W. Mosman wrote in his ruling, using the French phrase that means “the more things change, the more they stay the same” to summarize the legislative and judicial back-and-forth that led to the temporary reinstatement.

By failing to agree on how to reauthorize certain sections of the Patriot Act, the Senate on May 31 engaged in a rare act of rebellion against the surveillance state, forcing the National Security Agency to shutter the program that had collected telephone metadata — information about who called who, and for how long — for more than a decade, until NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden disclosed its existence in 2013.

Two days later, however, the Senate passed a milquetoast surveillance reform bill that ordered the bulk collection program phased out by November 29, to be replaced by one in which the NSA has to request specific records, and explain why.

That led to Monday’s paradoxical decision to revive bulk collection so it can die again, theoretically in a more orderly fashion.

In his decision, Mosman also flippantly dismissed a major appellate court ruling in May that the program was illegal. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which was the government’s legal cover for bulk collection, didn’t authorize any such thing. The decision hinged on the common-sense conclusion that when the Patriot Act gave the government power to obtain phone records “relevant to an authorized investigation” that wasn’t power to collect all phone records everywhere.

“Second Circuit rulings are not binding on the FISC, and this Court respectfully disagrees with that Court’s analysis, especially in view of the intervening enactment of the USA FREEDOM Act,” Mosman wrote. “To a considerable extent, the Second Circuit’s analysis rests on mischaracterizations of how this program works and on understandings that, if they had once been correct, have been superseded by the USA FREEDOM Act.”

Although his attempts to explain how the Second Circuit was wrong were murky, Mosman was clear on the point that the appellate court’s chief concern — that Congress had never intended for the world “relevant” to be interpreted so broadly — was now moot. That’s because Congress had, through the Freedom Act, knowingly approved giving it a six-month extension.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., criticized the decision. “I see no reason for the Executive Branch to restart bulk collection, even for a few months,” he said in a statement. “This illegal dragnet surveillance violated Americans’ rights for fourteen years without making our country any safer.”

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

Photo of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper by Evy Mages/Getty Images

The post Bulk Phone Surveillance Lives Again, to Die in a More Orderly Fashion in Five Months appeared first on The Intercept.

Does Clinton Rival Martin O’Malley Have an Email Scandal of His Own?

The Intercept - Engl. - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 16:44

Ever since the story broke in March that Hillary Clinton used a private email account to conduct official business as secretary of state, the controversy has steadfastly stuck to her latest attempt at the White House. The revelation dominated national headlines for weeks and occasioned much hand-wringing among the Washington media. Pollsters even began pegging “Emailgate” to a drop in Clinton’s early popularity numbers.

Meanwhile, one of Clinton’s closest rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, has so far ducked serious scrutiny over his own handling, and deleting, of official emails conducted on a private Gmail account.

During the height of the Clinton email frenzy, I submitted a records request asking for emails pertaining to a supportive letter Gov. O’Malley sent to the FCC last August regarding Comcast’s now-failed attempt to merge with Time Warner Cable, a proposal that critics argued would give Comcast a dangerous level of monopoly power over the cable and broadband industry, reducing competition and hurting consumers.

My previous reporting has determined that Comcast lobbyists played a heavy role in soliciting, and in some cases ghostwriting, other letters of support sent to the FCC by public officials. I wanted to know if the same was true of O’Malley, who has sought to position himself as a progressive alternative to Clinton.

O’Malley’s letter to the FCC shares similarities to letters known to have been ghostwritten by Comcast; it heaps prominent praise on both the company’s local infrastructure investment and its Internet Essentials program, which provides discounted service to qualifying low-income customers.

In 2007, Comcast contributed $25,000 to O’Malley’s first inaugural gala, and the company and its employees continued to contribute thousands of dollars to his election campaigns.

My requests, filed with three different Maryland state agencies, turned up nothing regarding the drafting of O’Malley’s FCC letter.

Perhaps this should have been expected. In March, during an address at the Brookings Institution, O’Malley described his office’s policy of routinely deleting his gubernatorial emails. “We had a retention policy and, you know, unless there was open litigation or an open FOIA we would generally hold onto those for a certain number of weeks and then delete them or purge them from our system,” O’Malley said. “But we always abided by whatever the state law was on that, and I relied on my legal counsel to do that.”

“It is an open question of public policy all across our country: How long should governments retain? Ninety days? Two days? Three weeks? Who knows?” O’Malley continued. He said it was an “open and interesting question in the age of electronic information sharing.”

But in Maryland little ambiguity surrounds this issue. Maryland public records laws require that official emails remain publicly disclosable not only during an official’s tenure but also afterward for as long as such records exist. A state agency can destroy a public record only after securing a “retention schedule,” which must be approved by the state archivist, and officials who destroy public records without the “proper authority” can face criminal penalties. A review of Maryland’s database of retention schedules turned up nothing relating to O’Malley’s day-to-day gubernatorial emails.

In an email, acting State Archivist Timothy Baker said that O’Malley had properly transferred his existing records to the archive. “The transfers were consistent with the law and with policies and practices in place for over fifty years with regard to disposition of governor’s records,” Baker said. He did not respond directly to questions about O’Malley’s retention schedules.

Although the governor’s office provided the state archive with a digital drive containing messages from O’Malley’s official “.gov” address, that archive was composed overwhelmingly of incoming messages from constituents. O’Malley does not appear to have created any mechanism for public access to any messages that might remain in his Gmail archive. Instead, he relied on an apparently secret legal interpretation according to which the governor’s office does not always count as a state agency under Maryland law and is thus not obligated to comply with certain public records regulations, according to a source in state government who asked not to be identified. The official said that O’Malley was not the first governor in Maryland to make use of this interpretation.

It appears that this legal determination has never been publicly disclosed, explicitly authorized by the courts, or approved by Maryland’s legislature. The existence of the interpretation could potentially permit the governor’s office to destroy public records at its own discretion, significantly weakening the authority of the state’s Public Information Act. It might also help explain how the former governor has largely succeeded in keeping his official emails out of public view.

“Maryland regulations require public officials to retain and protect all records in their custody and have their retention schedules approved before deleting records,” says Christine Walz, an attorney at the Holland & Knight law firm in Washington, DC, whose work focuses in part on access to public information. “The regulation as it is written does not exempt the governor.”

Indeed, both Maryland’s Public Information Act and the state’s accompanying set of regulations that govern the handling of records make no mention of excluding the governor’s office from having to secure the usual authorization to destroy records. The state’s records law does grant “executive privilege” to governors, but only to withhold records from disclosure in some cases, not to destroy records, according to Walz.

In response to questions from The Intercept, the O’Malley campaign referred me to John Griffin, the former governor’s final chief of staff. Griffin made a vague confirmation of the legal interpretation in regard to O’Malley’s Gmail account but did not provide an explanation or any documentation. “The section of state law you cite does not apply to emails from the governor’s Gmail account,” Griffin said. “This conclusion was supported by judicial determination.”

The Intercept was unable to locate any record or explanation of the legal rationale that O’Malley and other governors used to disqualify their office from state records laws. O’Malley has emphasized that he has complied with open records laws, and Griffin pointed to several PDFs containing messages from O’Malley’s Gmail account that were disclosed earlier this year in response to other public records requests, saying that he helped the state’s attorney general review the “remaining emails in the governor’s Gmail account and disclosed those subject to the privileges and exemptions authorized in applicable state statute.”

“To us it is not solely about whether he complied with the law, it’s also about whether he complied with the spirit of the law and the spirit of good government,” said Noel Isama, the director of accountability and transparency at the Maryland branch of Common Cause, an organization that actively opposed the now-terminated proposal to merge Comcast and Time Warner Cable. “And that’s not being achieved by exploiting loopholes in public information law so that you can limit what you should be disclosing.”

Comcast responded to questions about its role in soliciting O’Malley’s FCC letter by saying it reached out to leaders and organizations across the country regarding the merger. “When such leaders wanted to support our transaction in public filings, we provided them with information on the transaction,” a Comcast spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Any filings were ultimately decided upon by the filers, not Comcast.” When asked who had drafted O’Malley’s letter to the FCC, Griffin said that the governor’s staff had written the letter.

One of my records requests did turn up two emails from O’Malley’s official .gov email account: a constituent’s complaint about the governor’s FCC filing and a form-letter response. “The fact that this letter was prepared and transmitted at all raises serious questions about the Governor’s motivations in sending it,” the constituent wrote, “and the possibility of the improper influence of corporate actors such as Comcast in the Governor’s Office.”

Photo: Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, speaks to supporters at his campaign headquarters on May 30, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

The post Does Clinton Rival Martin O’Malley Have an Email Scandal of His Own? appeared first on The Intercept.

HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - Völlige Entdemokratisierung - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Matthias Rude

Anmerkungen und Quellen:

(1) Joachim Gaertner: Abkommen TTIP: Das Ende der Demokratie?, 24.3.2015, Bayerisches Fernsehen, Capriccio (
(2) Stop TTIP: Klage vor dem EUGH (
(3)Global Trade Day: Weltweit 750 Aktionen in 45 Ländern gegen Freihandelsabkommen, Attac, 18.4.2015 (
(4)“My central contentions are that, while the forms of democracy remain fully in place – and today in some respects are actually strengthened – politics and government are increasingly slipping back into the control of privileged elites in the manner characteristic of predemocratic times” (Colin Crouch: Post-Democracy, Cambridge 2004, p. 6).
(5) Claudia Ritzi: Die Postdemokratisierung politischer Öffentlichkeit.


HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - Freihandel als Waffe - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Hannes Hofbauer

Anmerkungen und Quellen:

(1) David Ricardo, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. London 1817 (deutsch: Leipzig 1877)
(2) Angus Maddison, Economic Policy and Performance in Europe 1913-1970. London 1973, Kap. 10
(3) Europa-Archiv. Oberursel 1948, S. 1329
(4) Hannes Hofbauer, Westwärts. Österreichs Wirtschaft im Wiederaufbau. Wien 1992, S. 112
(5) (9.5.2015). In Europa sind außer den Zwergstaaten Vatikan und Andorra nur Belarus, Serbien und Bosnien-Herzegowina keine Vollmitglieder.
(6) Hannes Hofbauer, Die Diktatur des Kapitals. Souveränitätsverlust im postdemokratischen Zeitalter. Wien 2014, S. 47f.
(7) Radio SRF am 17. April 2015
(8) Zeitfragen vom 17. März 2015
(9) Die Presse


HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - Kommunen, Verbraucher und Beschäftigte - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Variablen im Freihandelsspiel
Jascha Jaworski

Anmerkungen und Quellen:

(1)    Zu den zweifelhaften und zugleich bescheidenen Prognosen in Bezug auf Wachstum und Beschäftigung siehe z.B.: „TTIP-Wachstumsstudien: neoliberale Holographie“,
(4)    Da in Bezug auf das erwartbar umfassendste der Abkommen, TTIP, noch verhandelt wird, und nach großem öffentlichen Druck bislang nur Positionspapiere der EU, sowie erste EU-Textvorschläge zu einzelnen Kapiteln veröffentlicht wurden ( steht das genaue Ausmaß der Auswirkungen bislang nicht fest. Vieles zeichnet sich jedoch vor dem Hintergrund des EU-Verhandlungsmandats, des verfügbaren Vertragstextes zu CETA, sowie vor dem Hintergrund bereits bestehender Freihandels- und Investitionsschutzabkommen


HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - NSU-Morde: Im Schatten der Aufklärung - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Sebastian Range

Anmerkungen und Quellen:



HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - Der Bückling - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Susann Witt-Stahl

Anmerkungen und Quellen:



HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - Das Schreckgespenst der Familie Saud - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Gerd Schumann

Anmerkungen und Quellen:

1 Le Monde diplomatique (LMD), 14.5.2010
2 Der Spiegel, 37/1992
3 GIZ,, abgerufen am 18.5.2015)
4 Holger Albrecht, 1001 Reform im Jemen. Wirtschaftsreformen, Staat  und Machterhalt, S. 71, Hamburg 2002
5 LMD, 11.1.2008
6 Der Spiegel 20/2015, »Wir versuchen, aus Fehlern zu lernen«
7 dito
8 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), 30.12.2013
9 FAZ, 9.5.2015
10 Spiegel-online, 14.1.2015
11 Guido Steinberg, Der nahe und der ferne Feind, Die Netzwerke des islamischen Terrorismus, München 2005, S. 167
12 dito, S. 168
13 junge Welt, 15.5.2015
14 German Foreign Policy (gfp), 31.3.2015
15 »Schmutziges Geld«, FAZ, 28.6.2014

HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - Protektorat ohne Perspektiven - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Kurt Gritsch

Anmerkungen und Quellen:

(1)    USAID/Kosovo Country Development CooperationStrategy 2014-2018, S. 6 (PDF-Seite 12), zit.unter, 20.5.2015.
(2)     USAID/Kosovo Country Development Cooperation Strategy 2014-2018, S. 6.
(3)    Thomas Roser, „Im Kosovo ist es kein Leben mehr“, in: Die Zeit, 12.2.2015, zit. nach, 20.5.2015.
(4)    Roser, Die Zeit, 12.2.2015.
(5)    Vjollca Hajdari, Kosovo: Illegale Flucht als letzter Ausweg, in: (1999 von Christophe Leclercq gegründetes Internet-Nachrichtenportal, das sich ausschließlich Themen mit Bezug zur EU widmet), zit. nach, 21.5.2015.
(6)     Fabian Fellmann/Lukas Häuptli, Schnellverfahren für Kosovo und Georgien, in: NZZ, 24.3.2013, zit. nach, 20.5.2015.

HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - Alles für den Profit - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Werner Rügemer

Anmerkungen und Quellen:

(1)     Werner Rügemer: Privatisierung in Deutschland. Eine Bilanz. Münster 2008, S. 88 ff.
 (2)     Werner Rügemer Elmar Wigand: Die Fertigmacher. Arbeitsunrecht und professionelle Bekämpfung von Gewerkschaften. Köln 2014, S. 155 f.
 (3)     Rügemer, Privatisierung, S. 86.
 (4)     Werner Rügemer: Global Player DHL, Hintergrund 2/2015, S. 60–65.
 (5)     Strategie 2020: Deutsche Post setzt auf Schwellenländer, Wirtschaftswoche 02.04.2014.
 (6)     Vgl. die Stimmrechtsmitteilungen nach Wertpapier-Handelsgesetz (WpHG) auf der Website der Deutschen Telekom, Abteilung investor relations.
 (7)     ARD Tagesschau 29.12.2011.
 (8)     Commerzbank verteidigt Millionengehalt für Vorstand, Süddeutsche Zeitung 15.5.2012
 (9)     Deutscher


HINTERGRUND, Heft 03 - 2015 - Feindliche Übernahme - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 08:51

Andreas von Westphalen

Anmerkungen und Quellen:

(2)     Deutsches PISA-Konsortium (Hrsg.): PISA 2000. Basiskompetenzen von Schülerinnen und Schülern im internationalen Vergleich, S. 21, 16.
(3)     Jochen Krautz: Ware Bildung. Schule und Universität unter dem Diktat der Ökonomie, S. 85.
(7)    Zitiert nach:
(15)     Richard David Precht: Anna, die Schule und der liebe Gott, S.


U.S. Will Resume Sending Weapons to Bahrain Despite Ongoing Repression

The Intercept - Engl. - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 00:07

The State Department announced it will lift its freeze on arms sales to the repressive government of Bahrain on Monday, despite the country’s myriad human rights abuses in recent years, including arbitrary detention of children, torture, restrictions for journalists and a brutal government crackdown on peaceful protestors in 2011.

“The Administration has decided to lift the holds on security assistance to the Bahrain Defense Force and National Guard that were implemented following Bahrain’s crackdown on demonstrations in 2011,” wrote John Kirby, a State Department spokesperson, in a press release on Monday.

Human rights groups were quick to criticize the decision. “There is no way to dress this up as a good move,” Brian Dooley, a program director at Human Rights First, said in a statement. “It’s bad for Bahrain, bad for the region, and bad for the United States.” Dooley said Obama should be “doing everything to stop sectarianism in the Middle East, rather than send more weapons to bolster a military drawn almost exclusively from Bahrain’s Sunni sect.”

Bahrain’s Sunni government rules a country where the majority of the population is Shiite.

Just three weeks ago, the State Department condemned the Bahrainian regime for convicting a leading opposition figure, Ali Salman.

“We do not think that the human rights situation in Bahrain is adequate,” the State Department said.

But some things are evidently more important: “Bahrain is an important and long-standing ally on regional security issues, working closely with us on the counter-ISIL campaign and providing logistical and operational support for countering terrorism and maintaining freedom of navigation.”

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

Photo of protesters running from Bahraini security forces in February 2011 by John Moore/Getty Images

The post U.S. Will Resume Sending Weapons to Bahrain Despite Ongoing Repression appeared first on The Intercept.

Modernes Strategieverständnis (III)

German Foreign Policy - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 00:00
(Eigener Bericht) - Das Bundesverteidigungsministerium orientiert sich bei der Erstellung seines neuen Weißbuchs an Szenarien aus der Zeit des Kalten Krieges. In einer programmatischen Rede über das in Arbeit befindliche militärpolitische Grundlagendokument warf Ressortchefin Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) Russland vor, "geostrategische Machtpolitik" zu betreiben und "militärische Gewalt" zur "Interessendurchsetzung" zu nutzen. Mitglieder der von der Ministerin berufenen Expertengremien bezeichneten Russland daraufhin als "Bedrohung" und forderten, die vom Westen gegenüber der Sowjetunion praktizierte Politik der "Abschreckung" neu zu beleben. Schon die Autoren des ersten Weißbuchs von 1969 bedienten sich dieser Begriffe, um einen "begrenzten" Atomkrieg gegen die vermeintlich auf "Expansion" ausgerichtete UdSSR zu legitimieren. Die daraus abgeleitete militärpolitische Doktrin beinhaltete Mitte der 1980er Jahre sogar den Einsatz von Nuklearwaffen zur "Bekämpfung des gegnerischen Potentials" auf dessen eigenem Staatsgebiet - das Territorium der Sowjetunion sei im Falle eines Krieges "nicht unverletzlich", hieß es.

Das Spiel mit dem Terror

German Foreign Policy - Sa, 30/06/2015 - 00:00
(Eigener Bericht) - Ungeachtet von Terroranschlägen wie denjenigen vom vergangenen Freitag unterstützen enge Verbündete des Westens im Nahen und Mittleren Osten bis heute jihadistische Terrormilizen. Ziel ist es, Iran und seine schiitischen Kooperationspartner sowie die mit ihm verbündete Assad-Regierung zu schwächen. Zu diesem Zweck begünstigen Staaten wie die Türkei und Saudi-Arabien die tödlichsten Feinde des schiitischen Islam - sunnitische Jihadisten. Von türkischer und saudischer Hilfe profitieren nicht zuletzt Al Qaida und der "Islamische Staat" (IS). Man habe "starke Beweise", dass Ankara den IS nach wie vor fördere, erklärt etwa ein EU-Diplomat. Ohnehin ist bereits die Gründung des IS von den westlichen Staaten ausdrücklich gebilligt worden - weil er lange als nützliches Instrument im Kampf gegen die Assad-Regierung galt. Die Türkei und Saudi-Arabien fördern zudem gemeinsam ein Bündnis einer Reihe salafistisch-jihadistischer Milizen, in dem der Al Qaida-Ableger "Al Nusra-Front" eine führende Rolle spielt. Die Bundesregierung ruft nun, während sie weiterhin umstandslos mit der Türkei und mit Saudi-Arabien kooperiert und ihnen sogar Waffen liefert, zu einem verschärften Kampf gegen den jihadistischen Terror auf. Maßnahmen gegen Ankara oder Riad wegen Terrorförderung sind im gemeinsamen Machtkampf gegen Teheran nicht geplant.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Flip-Flop on NSA Spying

The Intercept - Engl. - Pzt, 29/06/2015 - 23:33

Two years after she cancelled her state visit to Washington in outrage over revelations that the U.S. had spied on her, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is back in Washington, taking a decidedly more friendly approach to President Barack Obama.

News articles in July 2013 based on documents provided by National Security Agency whistleblower showed the NSA had been spying on Rousseff’s phone calls and emails and hacking into the state oil corporation, Petrobas, where she serves on the board. She responded by delivering a fuming speech before the United Nations general assembly, and cancelling her visit.

But now, it’s apparently all water under the bridge. Many observers attribute the change to her newfound political weakness at home and Brazil’s economic downturn. She says it’s due to a conversation she had with Obama at the Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama City in April.

Here are some examples of Rousseff on NSA spying, then:

NSA’s motivations for spying on Petrobas “is not security or combating terrorism, but economic and strategic interests” which is “incompatible with democratic co-existence between friendly nations” and “manifestly illegitimate,” Rousseff wrote in an official note, dated September 2013.

“Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and is an affront of the principles that must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations,” she told the UN in September 2013. “A sovereign nation can never establish itself to the detriment of another sovereign nation. The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country.”

And now:

“We recognize the actions taken by the U.S. … that friendly countries won’t be spied on,” Rousseff said at the April summit in Panama. “And we have a declaration from President Obama. When he wants to know something, he’ll call me.”

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

Photo: Obama with Rousseff visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. (Michael Reynolds/Getty)

The post Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Flip-Flop on NSA Spying appeared first on The Intercept.

Obama Could Fix Dark Money, But Would Rather Just Yell at Republicans About It

The Intercept - Engl. - Pzt, 29/06/2015 - 21:38

President Obama has been denouncing “dark money” since 2010, when he declared it “a threat to our democracy.” And he’s right to be concerned: Dark money — in the form of donations to politically active nonprofit organizations that do not have to disclose their donors — now amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars each election.

If he actually wanted to do something about it, he could — without any involvement by Congress. He could issue an executive order requiring corporations that do business with the federal government to disclose their dark money contributions and those by their top executives.

But last week, as 104 congresspeople and 26 senators urged him to do that, he used his spokesperson Eric Schultz to wave them off. “We believe Republicans should be taking steps to fix the campaign finance system, not trying to protect their ability to accept dark money,” Schultz said.

It’s hard to disagree with that. But it would be just as hard to disagree if a Republican spokesperson said, “We believe the Democratic president should be taking steps to fix the campaign finance system, not trying to protect his party’s ability to accept dark money.”

The federal government buys about $500 billion in goods and services every year, and most of the biggest U.S. corporations get chunks of that money and would hate to give it up. Obama used this leverage twice in 2014, first requiring federal contractors to pay their workers at least $10.10 per hour, and then forbidding contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

A new executive order on disclosure of political contributions would make a significant difference. According to a study by Public Citizen, 11 of the top 15 recipients of federal cash (including number one, Lockheed Martin) don’t fully disclose possible dark money contributions.

This past March, 50 organizations, including AFSCME, MoveOn, the NAACP and the Sierra Club, asked Obama to issue an executive order. Then in April the signatures of 550,000 people with the same request were delivered to the White House.

There’s no question that the GOP is scared of this. House Republicans tucked a provision that would protect corporations from disclosure into a spending bill — in fact, that’s what prompted Schultz’s comment.

And corporate America despises the idea. When the Obama administration floated issuing a dark money executive order in 2011, the top Chamber of Commerce lobbyist said: “We will fight it through all available means … all options are on the table.”

At that point Obama courageously gave up, and has continued giving up until today. But Republicans do still face the very real danger that his spokesperson will say mildly disapproving things about them.

Read also:

Photo: Yuri Gripas/Getty

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

The post Obama Could Fix Dark Money, But Would Rather Just Yell at Republicans About It appeared first on The Intercept.


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