Now Playing: Who has been naughty or nice - Friday at 12/16/11 @4-5:30PM
Topic: STOP THE WARS PROTEST
Drones: A deeply unsettling future
The rapid expansion of a drone arms race has emerged both domestically and abroad, leaving everyone vulnerable.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2011 11:54
Original Article was found here:
San Francisco, California - On Sunday, Iran claimed to have taken down a US drone in Iranian airspace - not by shooting it out the sky, but with its cyber warfare team.
Reports confirm that the US believes Iran is now in possession of "one of the more sensitive surveillance platforms in the CIA's fleet", but deny Iran's involvement. Of course, Iran’s claim of overtaking the drone with its cyber warfare team should be tempered with a serious dose of scepticism, as cyber security experts say the facts may not add up. But this is just the latest story in a series of incidents that raises worrying questions about security problems caused by drones. And given the coming proliferation of drone technology both domestically and abroad, this should be a concern to citizens all over the world.
Two years ago the Wall Street Journal reported Iran-funded militants in Iraq were able to hack into drones' live-video feeds with "$26 off-the-shelf software". In another unnerving incident, Wired reported in October that a fleet of the Air Force's drones was infected with a computer virus that captured all of drones' key strokes. Technicians continually deleted the virus to no avail. How did the drones get infected? The military is "not quite sure". Worse, the Air Force's cyber security team didn't even know about the virus until they read about it in Wired.
Wired reported in a separate story that an upcoming Congressional report will detail how hackers broke into the US satellite system. With one satellite, hackers "achieved all steps required to command" it, "but never actually exercised control".
Last summer, a drone caused a scene in the nation's capital, when, as New York Times wrote, "fighter jets were almost scrambled after a rogue Fire Scout drone, the size of a small helicopter, wandered into Washington's restricted airspace". A similar incident took place in Afghanistan where military planes had to shoot down a "runaway drone" when pilots lost control.
The US, of course, leads the world in drone use for both surveillance and combat missions. Attacks are carried out in Pakistan every four days on average. Many times, the US isn't even sure exactly who they are killing. Despite the fact that the location of vast majority of drone bases are classified, journalist Nick Turse pieced together a startling picture of the massive US fleet. He determined that the US has at least 60 drone bases operated by either the US military or the CIA around the world, and "most of these facilities have remained unnoted, uncounted, and remarkably anonymous - until now".
But drone use is not just relegated to US military. Drone manufacturers already command a $94bn market, according to some estimates, and the drone arms race is in full swing. As the Washington Post reported, the constant buzz of drones and threats of attack now dominates the lives of civilians in Gaza. And Turkey plans to have Predator drones in operation by June 2012.
Meanwhile, Chinese contractors unveiled 25 types of unmanned aircraft last year. In all, at least 50 countries now have some sort of unmanned aerial vehicles, and the New York Times reports that "the number is rising every month". That number also includes Iran, which is seeking to upgrade its fleet. Even the Libyan rebels had their own surveillance drone - provided to them by Canadian defence contractors - before they were in full control of their own country.
The technology itself is also developing at an alarmingly rapid pace. The New York Times reports that researchers in the US are working on "shrinking unmanned drones, the kind that fire missiles into Pakistan and spy on insurgents in Afghanistan, to the size of insects", along with oversized drones that can capture video of an entire city. There are birdlike drones, underwater drones, drones within drones, facial recognition drones, and perhaps most terrifying, completely autonomous drones - currently being tested in Georgia - which will require no human control at all.
As Micah Zenko, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told me last month, "It's a very impressive and responsive tool that should be used sparingly. Even if we’re responsible now, we might not be forever."
But in the US, drones will become yet another way authorities can compromise the privacy of ordinary citizens, as the FAA plans to propose new rules for their domestic flight. As Newsweek reported, police forces and border patrols in the US are buying the technology from defence contractors, and one has already been spotted flying over Houston. Police departments are already using GPS and cell phone tracking without warrants, this will another powerful surveillance weapon in their arsenal. As privacy advocates warn, "drones can easily be equipped with facial recognition cameras, infrared cameras, or open Wi-Fi sniffers". And while these drones will be used for many surveillance purposes (a scary thought in and of itself), contractors admit they are equipped to carry weapons, such as Tasers.
Whether they are being used for surveillance or all-out combat, drones will soon pose serious risks for all of the world's citizens. They can offer governments, police departments, or private citizens unprecedented capabilities for spying, and given their security vulnerabilities, the potential consequences could be endless.
Trevor Timm is an activist and blogger at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He specialises in free speech issues and government transparency.
Follow Trevor Timm on Twitter: @WLLegal
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
A staggering number of wives in Iraq lost their husbands in the years of violence following the U.S. invasion in 2003, a study released Sunday showed.
The Los Angeles-based Relief International ...
... found that 1.5 million of the estimated 15 million Iraqi women are widows, and three out of every five of them were widowed during the war.
The study warned that ignoring their suffering could lead them to prostitution, drugs, and terrorism. "The Iraqi state has neglected the widows with their enormous problems, and the solutions lie in the establishing of bodies to take care of and solve the problems of these women," the report said.
Bradley Manning Spilled The Beans Protest
Does it make any sense to finally, after fighting for over 40 years, surrender to the warmongers, the elitists, to those who will not look past their bank accounts. To take down that sign that says, Justice for All?
I have quit so many times I feel those around me grow weary of my whining about the state of affairs in the world, nationally or here in Portland, Oregon. Does it make sense at this stage of decline to continue the good fight? Why get up early in the morning to go to a bridge, in the wind and rain, when others just look straight ahead; "Don’t tell me about things, I don’t want to know" seems to be the response to our signs about wars, occupations, torture, corruption, and a host of other nasty things that happen every day in our land of the free. We do get people to honk, wave or yell at us in support, but they will not join us. There is some comedy in all of this, the democrats are losing to a group of people who are insane, corrupt to the core, lunatics! How is that possible? Just watch some of the polling that is coming out about President Obama’s ratings, they are below 50%. Sometimes my neighbors must hear me yelling at the TV set, "You are losing because you will not take a stand, fight the bastards and you will walk back into the White House on a landslide." There are all kinds of theories out there why the dems will not fight back or go on the offensive; but none explain the logic behind the actions of the party of the working people.
I am not offering any explanation, I just ask people why they are not in the streets when they do know how bad things are in our body politics. The most popular reason given is fear. Fear of being arrested, fear of losing a job when you are barely holding on, fear of that knock on the door in the middle of the night. I understand fear, it makes some sense to me, but that is not the only reason people offer me. Another reason given is that it "does no good." Voting is a waste of time, politicians do not listen to their constituents, the two party system is rigged and protesting has become so non-violent that yelling at people is a no no, all reasons I have been told; what to do?
What makes me keep going day after day when I have more problems with liberals than with T-Baggers? I don’t like people who think that protests should be nice, that you ask for permits, that you meet with the cops and work things out before the event to make sure no one gets hurt, to say positive things to politicians when they do something good. T-Baggers to me are people who are being manipulated by the corporations via politicos and not knowing it, they are just sad. It is the Cocktail Libs that I hate the most, you met them. They are the people who make money off of the struggle, they never put their own asses on the line but beg others to get into the streets, they are frauds. There are heroes like David Swanson, Cindy Sheehan, Chris Hedges, Code Pink, Veterans For Peace, the list is long, (thank god) but we are fighting a system that will not change and that is a problem. When do we retreat and regroup or just surrender knowing that this empire is falling apart and just let it fall? There is a wide difference among people of good will. Some say the hell with protesting, let us create our own community, some say let us help this empire fall so we can get on with the business of rebuilding our communities, some say let us be more direct with our protest, no more being nice, let us break things. It is much easier to be on the criminal side, "It is just business, it is not personal." A good quote from The Godfather makes sense here because our biggest problem is with corruption. All our politicians find themselves in a corrupt system that feeds itself on honest people who go to DC to do good. All, and I mean all politicians who have been in DC for more than two terms are part of what Immanuel Kant called Radical Evil.
I first heard this concept from a man named Chris Hedges a few weeks ago, someone I honor as a true hero. I thought it sounded great and read to clarify my understanding. It seems to stand for people who know that something is wrong but do nothing to change it. Most of us have heard of the saying, "First they came for the communist, and I said nothing because I am not a communist……..and then they came for me." Most Americans practice Radical Evil every day, the polls tell us that 70-80 % of our citizens are against the F-Wars but do nothing to stop them. We who are, have been or will be in the streets wonder where are all the rest of the people who say they know that these wars are wrong but do nothing to stop them--you are practicing RE. So what’s the way home, what is going to happen that will show the world that we will change for the better? How can we the people force our members of congress to act in the interest of the nation? How can we get rid of little joe lieberman?
I believe we may fail and America will go the way of all empires, we could end up following the footsteps of the British Empire, Rome, or the Persian Empire and many others, we could over extend ourselves and go broke. Many would-be politicians will continue to say our best days are ahead, don’t believe them, they are fools. Many of us still think we can change the course of our own destruction by sit ins, protests, pleading, working harder--it just may not happen! We may be off/over the cliff and the only event left is the crash, how bad will it be? What if the only thing we can do is soften the impact of the ground rushing towards us. So what to do?
The United States must be broken up into three or four different countries, we are so far apart it makes sense to separate. This will take place similar to what happened after the British were forced to walk away from India and the Moslems wanted their own country called Pakistan. There will be great violence just like what happened to India in 1947. I hope I am wrong, in these times it would be so great to be wrong. Well, se ya in the streets; I am off to protests these F-Wars. There is always tomorrow to surrender, today not so much!
I stole this from my noble friend and real activist, this is a very good article and should be read several times by would be activist.
Drowning Government in a Hurricane (Why Wait for a Bathtub?)
By davidswanson - Posted on 27 August 2011
"Shrinking government" in American political discourse has, for decades now, meant the following. We enlarge the government's budget through taxation and penalties on working people and through borrowing and printing money. We not only tax the wealthy and corporations less, but we massively subsidize them with public funds. We move away from taxes and fees meant to limit the damage greed can do to the world, and we defund regulation of and law enforcement against the oligarchy. We transfer an ever greater share of the budget to the military. We expand the domestic and international surveillance-police states while merging the two. This, again, we call "shrinking government."
"Shrinking government" means a larger and more oppressive but less representative and less useful government. The military gets the money and gets privatized (employs non-competitive corporations working exclusively for the government). Education and public services get slashed and get privatized. Vote counting gets privatized. The privatized money gets to flow into election campaigns. The districts are re-gerrymandered with the latest modern technology. The media conglomerates get a monopoly and the monopoly limits electoral possibilities. "Shrinking government" means shrinking popular influence on government while government grows. But it grows in its ability to wage wars, occupy territories, and subsidize coal, oil, nuclear, and gas. It shrinks in its ability to give people anything in return for their taxes and fees. If this process continues it must result in ever greater repression or in revolt.
I received a strange e-mail inviting me to a personal meeting with Congressman *earl blumenauer and **J Street (founded in 2008) members at the congressman’s office in Portland, Oregon. There were two reasons I laughed at the invitation, the last time I saw the congressman face to face, he ran away. I was a volunteer at ***Fish on Hawthorne Street and the congressman was scheduled to come and thank the volunteers for their work. I was at the desk that faced the rear of the building when earl came into the main room, took one look at me and departed without saying anything to the volunteers, it was a strange moment. This invitation was weird but not just on that level, there was another reason that it was curious to me; I don’t support J Street. I sent in my RSVP and told my friends in the protest community that I would go. I was not going to protest, I was going to listen and watch the interaction between powerful lobbyists and the earlman. The meeting was fascinating for me; the expression on blumenauer’s face when he saw me in this group was worth the trip there. Willie Smith, a senior staff member, was gracious but seemed nervous that I was there. Our group of Individuals For Justice had protested in front of earl’s den for over two years every Thursday during the noon hour to get him to call for the impeachment of cheney the dick and george the bush. blumenauer never even requested an investigation into why we went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. We stopped our protest the day obama took over as our president. There was great hope that he would have his Justice department investigate war crimes by the criminals who held the White House for eight long years, it never happened. I was ten feet away from this man who tells all who will listen he is a progressive. I kept my word to Willie, I did not embarrass the gathering by yelling out questions or take my shirt off to reveal a message underneath to the earlman or J Street. I just wanted to observe this group of lobbyists at work and the congressman’s reaction. It was fascinating.
In one conversation the possibility of “my” congressman going to Israel came up. Through a staffer I was congratulating blumenauer for not going with the 81 members of the House who are going this summer on AIPAC’s dime when I heard there was a possibility that he would go under J Street’s dime. I was red in the face but what the hell, to make a scene would be foolish because this group of groupies were falling all over the earlman. I was given a political button that said “ Pro-Israel, Pro Peace” which was confusing for me because if one stands for peace in the Middle East it seemed to me the message must read “Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, Pro-Peace.” I asked why the Palestinians were not included on the button. The answer I got was so convoluted that I almost laughed. It seems that if J Street made such a comment they would be totally rejected by the Jewish community. Wow, they cannot even mention the other side of the conflict! blumenauer was surrounded by signs with the same message on them. The staffer I was talking to during the picture taking, (I was not invited to be in the picture) seemed to be convinced that J Street are the good guys, not like AIPAC. I did not laugh at this because I felt sick to my stomach.
The history of AIPAC comes out of another group that was called, American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, things got so hot for this group that Israel had to create a new gang called American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The question for me is J Street just another change in image because AIPAC is in so much heat? J Street’s image seems to show a better side of Israel than AIPAC, it is almost good cop bad cop except the good cop here is masked and just as corrupt as the bad cop.
The American Jewish community is against the occupation of Gaza, the slaughter of Palestinians and says it wants a two state solution, sounds good? When I asked them how they feel about the leadership of the Palestinians going to the UN and asking to be recognized as a member of the UN, their answer was they take no position on that question. I pointed out that if you are calling for a two state solution and one combatant is a recognized state, it is logical to believe if the other side is asking to be recognized as a nation you would cheer--no! Can’t touch that one. So what is the difference in AIPAC and J Street? Smoke and Mirrors come to mind. J Street allows good people to join and support an organization that sounds like they support peace in the Middle East but make the conditions so difficult that it will never happen. There needs to be one country and all must be treated equally. I did point out that it seemed to me that what J Street is saying to the Palestinians is “Stop whining, we know you want to be up front on the bus, but we do let you on the bus, so be quiet, after all we don’t make you walk.” This organization is full of good people who are being scammed again by the Israeli government and they don’t even know it; so sad! I could like these people and some I recognized from other actions, but like the T-baggers they are being manipulated by their leadership and don’t want to know the truth. There is a true story told by a long ago friend that went something like this:
“One day my mother came into my room and saw a prescription for birth control on my dresser”
“Who owns this medicine?” asked her mother,
Carol, (not her real name) told her mother that the medicine was hers.
“Don’t tell me you have a prescription for birth control.”
“Mom, my name is on the prescription.”
“Don’t tell me that.”
“OK, they are not mine.”
“Good, let us never speak of this again.”
J Street does not want to talk about being “Pro-Israel, Pro Palestine, Pro-Peace; they want peace on Israeli terms and that will never happen. The back of the bus remains over crowded, the front has lots of seats.
*will not cap due to disrespect and/or disgust
*** Fish, an emergency food outlet who helps people in Portland.
There is something going on in Washington DC that makes me smile; people are risking arrest for the environment, and after that another gathering in October to say “Enough” to wars, cuts, and 15 other demands. People are waking up and you should be part of it. Those who can go should go, those who cannot must support in every other way possible. Financially supporting another person who can go to DC but for the lack of money is a wonderful way to join in, I cannot go but will put up $100 to help others make the trip. Friends of mine also are putting up money, some are going for the October 2011 mass arrest. Thousands have signed up to sit down at Freedom Plaza and not leave. The question for you, will you stay as a spectator or join in one of these mass protests---it is time. I will be writing about these protests and try to keep you updated, will you support these actions with more than words?
Read the article that follows and smile our Tahrir Square, (Egypt) is happening and you can be part of if. See ya in the streets here in Portland, it is happening and that is a good thing.
“Massive Protest at White House Against Alberta Tar Sands Pipeline
By Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian UK
20 August 11
Campaigners say the two-week protest will be the biggest green civil disobedience in a generation.
Protest at the White House against a pipeline from the Alberta tar sands is emerging as the biggest green civil disobedience campaign in a generation, organisers said.Approximately 1,500 people signed up to court arrest during the two-week action outside the White House, which begins on Saturday morning.
The campaign is seen as a last chance to persuade Barack Obama to stop a planned 1,600-mile pipeline that will carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta across rich American farmland to the Gulf of Mexico.
The State Department is expect to produce its final environmental analysis of the pipeline by the end of the month. Obama will then have 90 days to decide whether going ahead with the project would be in the national interest.
The Keystone XL project has been a major focus of environmental protests. Greenhouse gas emissions of tar sands crude are 40% higher than conventional oil, and the open-pit mining has devastated Alberta's boreal forest.”
Just talked to my money lady Patty, I cannot go to DC for the October 6th gathering because of health reasons, but can help another go. I will have $100 set aside by September 15th to assist with transportation for a person who wants to go but cannot afford the trip. Will you join me in trying to get people there who can go but don’t have enough money? I cannot afford more but it may help; will you? You can e-mail me and let’s talk. I have volunteered to be the Oregon representative to get people to DC. The reason I volunteered is there was nobody listed for all of Oregon and I think I can put the time and effort in; I do believe, “It Is Time.” In a conference call yesterday it was clear that they want people in DC and support protest around the country are secondary, there will be mass arrest and they also need people to act as support people for food, bail etc. etc. I will be on the Hawthorne Bridge this Friday at 4:00 PM and if you want to talk that is a good place to do it. Please help in anyway you can, this seems like a big deal. You can go to http://October2011.org for more info.
October 6th in Washington DC will be a time for all activists to stand up and say ENOUGH! David Swanson, Veterans For Peace, Code Pink, Ray McGovern, Chris Hedges, Ann Wright, and so many other heroes will take a stand for Justice and Peace by gathering in Freedom Square and not leaving until our government agrees to their demands--it will be a time!
We who cannot go must support them in every way possible, one way that will be important is getting the word out about this event. We must pressure all TV and radio stations in Portland who say they are Progressive to do a show or, at the very least, a portion of their show on this event and have representatives appear on their shows.
How many of you would be willing to throw a picket line around a TV show or radio show that refuses to get the word out about this event? We must start this now as Oct 6 is approaching at an alarming rate. We need people to contact KBOO, KPOJ, TV stations 2,6,8 and our local newspapers to first request their participation and then picket them if necessary. For more info on the event in DC go to:
Here is a good video by two wonderful people Joe-Anybody and Malcolm from Veterans For Peace talking about October 6---enjoy
What do you think?
Joe Walsh-Lone Vet
After posting on Indi Media about the Oct 6 Event, the question of nonviolence came up and this was my response:
Individuals For Justice will request all who take part in any protest here in Portland, Oregon to practice nonviolence because the main event in DC is calling for nonviolence and it is a tactic that works. I am not a pacifist but do practice nonviolence and will this time because to do otherwise would make a mockery of what we say we are supporting. There will be no permits, no peace monitors, no preaching of how to behave. That is the best I can do given what we will try to accomplish. We will mimic what they do in Washington, DC in the sense by going to Pioneer Square holding a gathering with music and no speeches. We will sit down and stay as long as we can. We will be told that we must leave the square and that is the point that you have to decide at what level of protest you will engage in. Some will leave and act as support from that moment on, others will stay and know that they may be arrested. Those who are arrested when released will decide if they will return to a meeting place and sit again. Some of us will stay as long as the people in DC stay, and will need others to bring water and food. All of these are things that I see as being in support of the main event in DC, they are subject to voting by the group. Each group will determine what they want to do and contribute, you must be comfortable in your decision because you are risking a great deal. Those are my thoughts and are subject to change as each group decides what they will do. My vision is that there should be many levels of commitment and each will play a very important role. The thing you should think about is going to DC---but if you cannot, what are you willing to do to support it? I am on the Hawthorne Bridge every Friday from about 4:00 PM till about 5:30 PM protesting the wars, and in front of City Hall every Wednesday at 0900 to call for the replacement of all three people up for reelection in 2012. Come and talk, you don’t want to miss this action, it may be the beginning of our standing up as a people and saying, ENOUGH!!! I hate going to meetings and will talk to anyone who is interested in supporting what will happen in our capital.
As far as the radio and TV stations we should put pressure on them now. First notification and requesting info on what they will do to cover the event and then you will decide how to react, there are no rules for the confrontation with the MSM. KBOO and KPOJ I would suspect they would be friendly but the others may take a bit of convincing.