New Snowden Docs Show U.S. Spied During G20 in Toronto Surveillance during 2010 summit ‚closely co-ordinated with Canadian partner‘ CSEC By Greg Weston, Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher November 28, 2013 „Information Clearing House – „CBC News“ -Top secret documents retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden show that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government allowed the largest American spy agency to conduct widespread surveillance in Canada during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits. The documents are being reported exclusively by CBC News. The briefing notes, stamped „Top Secret,“ show the U.S. turned its Ottawa embassy into a security command post during a six-day spying operation by the National Security Agency while U.S. President Barack Obama and 25 other foreign heads of government were on Canadian soil in June of 2010. The covert U.S. operation was no secret to Canadian authorities. An NSA briefing note describes the American agency’s operational plans at the Toronto summit meeting and notes they were „closely co-ordinated with the Canadian partner.“ The NSA and its Canadian „partner,“ the Communications Security Establishment Canada, gather foreign intelligence for their respective governments by covertly intercepting phone calls and hacking into computer systems around the world. The secret documents do not reveal the precise targets of so much espionage by the NSA — and possibly its Canadian partner — during the Toronto summit. But both the U.S. and Canadian intelligence agencies have been implicated with their British counterpart in hacking the phone calls and emails of foreign politicians and diplomats attending the G20 summit in London in 2009 — a scant few months before the Toronto gathering of the same world leaders. Notably, the secret NSA briefing document describes part of the U.S. eavesdropping agency’s mandate at the Toronto summit as „providing support to policymakers.“ Documents previously released by Snowden, a former NSA contractor who has sought and received asylum in Russia, suggested that support at other international gatherings included spying on the foreign delegations to get an unfair advantage in any negotiations or policy debates at the summit. It was those documents that first exposed the spying on world leaders at the London summit. More recently, Snowden’s trove of classified information revealed Canada’s eavesdropping agency had hacked into phones and computers in the Brazilian government’s department of mines, a story that touched off a political firestorm both in that country and in Ottawa. The documents have rocked political capitals around the world. NSA spies on everyone from leaders of U.S. allies to millions of Americans. Personal information has been scooped up by the agency’s penetration of major internet and phone companies. Economic and political espionage The spying at the Toronto summit in 2010 fits a pattern of economic and political espionage by the powerful U.S. intelligence agency and its partners such as Canada. That espionage was conducted to secure meeting sites and protect leaders against terrorist threats posed by al-Qaeda but also to forward the policy goals of the United States and Canada. The G20 summit in Toronto had a lot on its agenda that would have been of acute interest to the NSA and Canada. The world was still struggling to climb out of the great recession of 2008. Leaders were debating a wide array of possible measures including a global tax on banks, an idea strongly opposed by both the U.S. and Canadian governments. That notion was eventually scotched. The secret NSA documents list all the main agenda items for the G20 in Toronto — international development, banking reform, countering trade protectionism, and so on — with the U.S. snooping agency promising to support „U.S. policy goals.“ Whatever the intelligence goals of the NSA during the Toronto summit, international security experts question whether the NSA spying operation at the G20 in Toronto was even legal. „If CSEC tasked NSA to conduct spying activities on Canadians within Canada that CSEC itself was not authorized to take, then I am comfortable saying that would be an unlawful undertaking by CSEC,“ says Craig Forcese, an expert in national security at University of Ottawa’s faculty of law. By law, CSEC cannot target anyone in Canada without a warrant, including world leaders and foreign diplomats at a G20 summit. But, the Canadian eavesdropping agency is also prohibited by international agreement from getting the NSA to do the spying or anything that would be illegal for CSEC. Canada’s ‚Five Eyes‘ partners The NSA isn’t Canada’s only partner in the covert surveillance business. They are part of a multinational partnership that includes sister organizations in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand — the so-called „Five Eyes.“ CSEC has roughly 2,000 employees and an annual budget of about $450 million. It will soon move into a new Ottawa headquarters costing taxpayers more than $1.2 billion, the most expensive federal government building ever constructed. By comparison, the NSA is the largest intelligence agency in the U.S., with a budget of over $40 billion and employing about 40,000 people. It is currently building what is believed to be one of the largest and most powerful computers in the world. CSEC is comparatively much smaller but has become a formidable and sophisticated surveillance outlet. Canadian eavesdroppers are also integral to the Five Eyes partnership around the world. The documents obtained by the CBC do not indicate what, if any, role CSEC played in spying at the G20 in Toronto. But the briefing notes make it clear that the agency’s co-operation would be absolutely vital to ensuring access to the telecommunications systems that would have been used by espionage targets during the summits. Much of the secret G20 document is devoted to security details at the summit, although it notes: „The intelligence community assesses there is no specific, credible information that al-Qa’ida or other Islamic extremists are targeting“ the event. No matter. The NSA warns the more likely security threat would come from „issue-based extremists“ conducting acts of vandalism. They got that right. Protest marches by about 10,000 turned the Toronto G20 into an historic melee of arrests by more than 20,000 police in what would become one of the largest and most expensive security operations in Canadian history. By the time the tear gas had cleared and the investigations were complete, law enforcement agencies stood accused of mass-violations of civil rights. Add to that dubious legacy illegal spying by an American intelligence agency with the blessing of the Canadian government. CBC contacted the Canadian and U.S. governments for comment, and answers to specific questions. U.S. State Department officials would not comment directly on the spying issue. Instead they pointed to the fact President Obama has ordered a review of all NSA operations in the wake of the Snowden revelations. In Canada, officials at CSEC offered no comment . Copyright © CBC 2013
Satellite Image © 2013 Human Rights Watch
By Josh Lyons
The tell-tale signs of a devastating attack are obvious – even via satellite.
Satellite images of the remote, gold mining village of Camp Bangui in the Central African Republic show dozens of black “burn scars” – all that is left of more than 200 homes reduced to ashes following a November 10 attack by former Seleka fighters who have been wreaking havoc in the region.
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Tips are not optional, they are how waiters get paid in America
- theguardian.com, Friday 1 February 2013 15.12 GMT
I was a waitress at Applebee’s restaurant in Saint Louis. I was fired Wednesday for posting a picture on Reddit.com of a note a customer left on a bill. I posted it on the web as a light-hearted joke…
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on how women’s economic empowerment can help stamp out hunger and poverty – video
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, head of UN Women and former deputy president of South Africa, says economic empowerment can help women find their voice, gain independence and ascend to leadership roles. Such growth will give women greater autonomy over their lives, which is key to eradicating hunger and poverty, she says.
Soaring UK personal debt wreaking havoc with mental health, report warns
Personal debt in Britain has reached £1.4tn – almost the same amount as Britain’s national economic output – according to a report that warns debt is wreaking havoc on people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Poorer people are „bearing the brunt of a storm“ during which average household debt has risen to £54,000 – nearly double what it was a decade ago, the report by the Centre for Social Justice thinktank warns.
The report, entitled Maxed Out, found that almost half of…
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For Pope Francis the liberal, this promises to be a very bloody Sunday
- The Guardian, Monday 18 November 2013 20.30 GMT
He is a pin-up for liberals and progressives, „the obvious new hero of the left„. So says the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland of Pope Francis, and it’s true that most of the surprises have been good ones.
His statements denouncing capitalism are of the kind that scarcely any party leader now dares to breathe. He appears to have renounced papal infallibility. He intends to reform the corrupt and scheming Curia, the central bureaucracy of the Catholic church. He has declared a partial truce in the war against sex that his two immediate predecessors pursued (while carefully overlooking the rape of children) with such creepy fervour.
It’s worth noting that these are mostly changes of emphasis, not doctrine. Pope Francis won’t devote his reign to attacking gays, women, condoms and abortion, but nor does he seem prepared to change church policy towards them. But it’s not just this that spoils the story. There is a strange omission that puts the pope on the wrong side even of John Paul II. It’s his failure so far to engage with or even acknowledge the past horrors over which the church has presided.
From the destruction of the Cathars to the Magdalene laundries, the Catholic church has experimented with almost every kind of extermination, genocide, torture, mutilation, execution, enslavement, cruelty and abuse known to humankind. The church has also, at certain moments and places across the past century, been an extraordinary force for good: the bravest people I have met are all Catholic priests, who – until they were also crushed and silenced by their church – risked their lives to defend vulnerable people from exploitation and murder.
It’s not just that he has said nothing about this legacy; he has eschewed the most obvious opportunities to speak out. The beatification last month of 522 Catholics killed by republican soldiers during the Spanish civil war, for example, provided a perfect opportunity to acknowledge the role the church played in Franco’s revolution and subsequent dictatorship. But though Francis spoke at the ceremony, by video link, he did so as if the killings took place in a political vacuum. The refusal in July by the four religious orders that enslaved women in Ireland’s Magdalene laundries to pay them compensation cried out for a papal response. None came. How can the pope get a grip on the future if he won’t acknowledge the past?
Nowhere is the church’s denial better exemplified than in its drive to canonise the Franciscan missionary Junípero Serra, whose 300th anniversary falls on Sunday. Serra’s cult epitomises the Catholic problem with history – as well as the lies that underpin the founding myths of the United States.
You can find his statue on Capitol Hill, his face on postage stamps, and his name plastered across schools and streets and trails all over California. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II, after a nun was apparently cured of lupus, and now awaits a second miracle to become a saint. So what’s the problem? Oh, just that he founded the system of labour camps that expedited California’s cultural genocide.
Serra personified the glitter-eyed fanaticism that blinded Catholic missionaries to the horrors they inflicted on the native peoples of the Americas. Working first in Mexico, then in Baja California (which is now part of Mexico), and then Alta California (now the US state of California), he presided over a system of astonishing brutality. Through various bribes and ruses Native Americans were enticed to join the missions he founded. Once they had joined, they were forbidden to leave. If they tried to escape, they were rounded up by soldiers then whipped by the missionaries. Any disobedience was punished by the stocks or the lash.
They were, according to a written complaint, forced to work in the fields from sunrise until after dark, and fed just a fraction of what was required to sustain them. Weakened by overwork and hunger, packed together with little more space than slave ships provided, they died, mostly of European diseases, in their tens of thousands.
Serra’s missions were an essential instrument of Spanish and then American colonisation. This is why so many Californian cities have saints‘ names: they were founded as missions. But in his treatment of the indigenous people, he went beyond even the grim demands of the crown. Felipe de Neve, a governor of the Californias, expressed his horror at Serra’s methods, complaining that the fate of the missionised people was „worse than that of slaves“. As Steven Hackel documents in his new biography, Serra sabotaged Neve’s attempts to permit Native Americans a measure of self-governance, which threatened Serra’s dominion over their lives.
The diverse, sophisticated and self-reliant people of California were reduced by the missions to desperate peonage. Between 1769, when Serra arrived in Alta California, and 1821 – when Spanish rule ended – its Native American population fell by one third, to 200,000.
Serra’s claim to sainthood can be sustained only by erasing the native peoples of California a second time, and there is a noisy lobby with this purpose. Serra’s hagiographies explain how he mortified his own flesh; they tell us nothing about how he mortified the flesh of other people.
In reviewing Hackel’s biography a fortnight ago, the Catholic professor Christopher O Blum extolled Serra for his „endless labour of building civilisation in the wilderness“. He contrasted the missionary to „the Enlightened Spanish colonial officials who wanted … to leave the Indians to their immoral stew“. „The Indians there not only went around naked much of the year – with the predictable consequence of rampant promiscuity – but were divided into villages of 250 or fewer inhabitants … ready-made for the brutal petty tyrant or the manipulative witch doctor“. The centuries of racism, cruelty and disrespect required to justify the assaults of the church have not yet come to an end.
I would love to see the pope use the tercentenary on Sunday to announce that he will not canonise Serra, however many miracles his ghost might perform, and will start to engage with some uncomfortable histories. Then, perhaps, as Jonathan Freedland urges, I’ll put a poster of Francis on my wall. But not in the bedroom.
Sharing fast and slow: The psychological connection between how we think and how we spread news on social media
Editor’s note: This summer, we told you about the work of Sonya Song, the current Knight-Mozilla Fellow at The Boston Globe, who was working on a major analysis of what works and what doesn’t on Facebook when it comes to sharing news stories. She’s expanded that initial research into a deep look at the psychological motivations behind sharing and the touchstones that can make a post spread to new audiences. Here, crossposted from her blog, she summarizes her remarkable findings.
In the previous study, I presented data analysis that examined how users read and share Boston Globe posts on its Facebook Page. In this extended analysis, I’ve included qualitative analysis with a focus on cognition, content and emotion. My goal is to help newsrooms better promote their stories on and attract more attention from social media. …
Please, read whole, very interesting aricle here: http://www.niemanlab.org/2013/11/sharing-fast-and-slow-the-psychological-connection-between-how-we-think-and-how-we-spread-news-on-social-media/
it´s a politicum…
Analysis: Wrongful convictions sharpen focus on death penalty
For people wrongly convicted and sent to prison for crimes they did not commit, the opportunities for justice are few and far between.
„There have been no consequences for the prosecutor in my case,“ said Anthony Graves, a Texas man who was exonerated three years ago after serving more than a decade on death row for a murder he…
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