'Operation Free Assange': Anonymous takes down Interpol website 27 Aug 2012 Hactivist group Anonymous claims to have taken down the websites of Interpol and a British police force as part of a campaign calling for the freedom of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Several Twitter accounts associated with the loose-knit Anonymous collective have announced that the website of International Criminal Police Organization was taken down. The site was unavailable as of 9:18 pm GMT. The hackers also claim to have taken down the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), a UK police unit responsible for operations against serious and organized crime. [Awesome!]
California Republicans plan to drown out any Ron Paul uprising 26 Aug 2012 California's delegation to the Republican National Convention was planning today to counteract any uprising by Ron Paul supporters on the convention floor, with officials preparing "delegate whips" to lead the effort. The state delegation, marginalized in most matters because of California's heavily Democratic electorate, could be significant in drowning out any chants supporting Paul: The 172-member delegation is the nation's largest, and unlike some split delegations is fully committed to Romney. In a private meeting at the delegation's beachfront hotel, Jeff Randle, the senior Romney adviser who is in charge of the California delegation, told 16 delegate whips to be prepared for a potential Paul uprising, including leading pro-Romney chants.
Ron Paul delegates get nosebleed seats 26 Aug 2012 The GOP is shoving the Ron Paul Revolution to the margins -- of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Republican National Convention seating chart, obtained by POLITICO Sunday, shows the delegations from Nevada, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota and Oklahoma all located on the outer fringe of the convention floor. Each are states with significant Paul followings. Groups with pretty good seats include those from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. None has electoral votes that can impact the outcome of the election.
Breaking: Israeli warplanes attack north of Gaza Strip 27 Aug 2012 Israeli warplanes have launched at least three airstrikes on several targets in the northern Gaza Strip, according to security sources. Israeli F-16 warplanes attacked the blockaded coastal enclave on Monday night. Several powerful explosions were also heard in the area.
GOP fears ghost of Katrina at RNC 2012 27 Aug 2012 The official message couldn't be clearer: the Republican National Convention will proceed Tuesday morning. But quietly, Republicans have begun to whisper a grim word that sums up all their fears about the 2012 party gathering: Katrina. Some Republicans in Tampa worry the juxtaposition of events could revive memories of the disastrous 2005 storms, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the government's terrible handling of them. Public outrage over the George W. Bush administration's response to those catastrophes -- Katrina especially -- shadowed the president [sic] and the GOP for years.
Obama attacks Romney's 'extreme views' while pledging implement more Republican proposals in second term 26 Aug 2012 President Barack Obama said Mitt Romney has locked himself into "extreme positions" on economic and social issues and would surely impose them if elected, trying to discredit his Republican rival at the biggest political moment of his life. Mr Obama also offered a glimpse of how he would govern in a second term of divided government, insisting rosily that the forces of the election would help break Washington's stalemate. He said he would be willing to make a range of compromises with Republicans [as he's done since January 2009], confident there are some who would rather make deals than remain part of "one of the least productive Congresses in American history." [LOL! Obusha condemns RMoney's 'extreme views' as he pledges to implement them!]
GOP Convention: Chris Matthews tees off on Reince Priebus 27 Aug 2012 MSNBC host Chris Matthews angrily called Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus's ideas "insane" Monday after the chairman said President Barack Obama was "looking to Europe for guidance" on his policies. Referring to Mitt Romney's reference last week to his own birth certificate, Matthews said, "That cheap shot about 'I don't have a problem with my birth certificate' was awful. You are playing that little ethnic card there. You can play your games and giggle about it, but the fact is your side is playing that card."
Deputies: RNC protester arrested with machete strapped to his leg 26 Aug 2012 A Republican National Convention protester was arrested while he allegedly carried a machete strapped to his leg, according to deputies. According to Hillsborough County Sheriff's officials, Jason T. Wilson, of Tallahassee, was arrested as he walked in the RNC Event Zone carrying a "full size" machete. Wilson was arrested and taken to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on charges of prohibited items in event zone and resisting arrest with violence.
Abramoff: Lobbyist Money 'Well Spent' at Republican National Convention 27 Aug 2012 Former super lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who served 43 months on fraud, bribery and tax evasion charges, has come to the Republican National Convention in Tampa seeking redemption through honesty... "Virtually every interaction that a lobbyist has with a Congressman is money well spent, from the lobbyist's point of view," Abramoff told ABC News. In Tampa, that lavish spending is well underway -- largely undeterred by stormy weather.
Soon-to-be Hurricane Isaac moving straight toward New Orleans 27 Aug 2012 With its massive size and ponderous movement, Isaac could become a punishing rain machine depending on its strength, speed and where it comes ashore along the Gulf Coast. The focus has been on New Orleans as Isaac takes dead aim at the city seven years after Hurricane Katrina, but the impact will be felt well beyond the city limits. The storm's winds could be felt more than 200 miles from the storm's center.
Isaac menaces U.S. Gulf Coast 7 years after Katrina 27 Aug 2012 Tropical Storm Isaac closed in on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast on Monday, triggering some mandatory evacuation orders and disrupting U.S. offshore oil production as it threatened to make landfall between Florida and Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane. The wide, slow-moving storm swiped south Florida on Sunday and strengthened over the warm Gulf waters. It was expected to reach land Tuesday night or early Wednesday, the anniversary of devastating Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.
Romney's storm-delayed convention limps into motion 27 Aug 2012 Forget the loud music, cheering crowds and funny hats. Instead of opening with a bang as originally planned, Mitt Romney's Republican convention started with a whimper on Monday as party leaders staged a low-key session while Tropical Storm Isaac churned through the Gulf of Mexico. The tone was deliberately subdued after Isaac led Republicans to scrap most of their first day's schedule in Tampa, complicating plans to showcase Romney to voters as the presidential candidate heads into a 10-week sprint to his November 6 election battle against Democratic President Barack Obama.
Isaac seen strengthening to Category 2 hurricane 27 Aug 2012 Tropical Storm Issac is forecast to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane before it makes landfall somewhere between Florida and Louisiana, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Monday. Isaac was expected to have sustained winds of 100 miles per hour on Wednesday and could reach land Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
Gulf coast states prepare as hurricane warnings issued from Louisiana to Florida panhandle 26 Aug 2012 Gulf coast states are preparing to be hit by Tropical Storm Isaac after the U.S. National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for an area stretching from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle on Sunday. Isaac is expected to hit somewhere between southeastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said. The warnings stretched from east of Morgan City, La. -- which includes the New Orleans area -- to Destin, Fla.
NYC Police Commissioner: Deadly force warranted outside Empire State Building --Nine civilians suffered injuries caused by police bullets. 27 Aug 2012 New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is defending two officers' decision to kill an armed gunman outside the Empire State Building, which led to nine bystanders being wounded. Kelly on Monday called the shooting appropriate since the officers had just been told Jeffrey Johnson had killed a co-worker around the corner and Johnson was pointing his weapon at them. That assessment is supported by experts on police tactics and firepower.
Empire State Building shooting victim says NYPD fired 'randomly' into street 24 Aug 2012 Questions have been raised over the New York Police Department's handling of a shooting near the Empire State Building after armed officers injured nine passers-by as they pursued a gunman who had just shot dead his former boss. One of those injured by police told the Guardian that officers appeared to fire "randomly" as they confronted Jeffrey Johnson, 58. Reports suggest that while Johnson drew his gun when he was confronted by officers, he did not fire; all those injured appear to have been shot by police. [As I stated Friday: So the purpose of this particular op was to get people acclimated to the notion that the police -- and/or anti-terrorism units, DHS, or other federal agencies -- can open fire on crowds and we're supposed to accept such an action as 'necessary.' --LRP]
All shooting victims outside Empire State Building were hit by police gunfire --Officer Craig Matthews shot seven times. Officer Robert Sinishtaj fired nine times. 25 Aug 2012 All nine people wounded during a dramatic confrontation between police and a gunman outside the Empire State Building were struck by bullets fired by the two officers, police said Saturday, citing ballistics evidence. Based on ballistic and other evidence, "it appears that all nine of the victims were struck either by fragments or by bullets fired by police," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters on Saturday at a community event in Harlem.
Trapwire surveillance system exposed in document leak --Documents from US Department of Homeland Security show it paid $832,000 to deploy Trapwire in Washington DC and Seattle 13 Aug 2012 According to documents released online by WikiLeaks last week, Trapwire is being used in a number of countries to try to monitor people and threats. Founded by former CIA agents, Trapwire uses data from a network of CCTV systems and numberplate readers to figure out the threat level in huge numbers of locations. The documents outlining Trapwire's existence and its deployment in the US were apparently obtained in a hack of computer systems belonging to the intelligence company Stratfor at the end of last year.
US arms sales hit record high of $66.3bn in 2011 --Report: Figure was largest single-year sales total in history of US arms sales 27 Aug 2012 The United States' weapons sales tripled in 2011, reaching to a record high of USD 66.3 billion, with Persian Gulf Arab countries as the main customers, a new Congressional report said. A new report from the Congressional Research Service said that the country's weapons sales in 2011 was an "extraordinary increase" over the USD 21.4 billion in deals in 2010.
Up to 100 Korans burned in Afghanistan: U.S. military investigation 27 Aug 2012 A U.S. military investigation released on Monday determined that American troops burned up to 100 Korans and other religious materials in Afghanistan during a February incident that led to deadly riots and strained relations between the two countries. Six soldiers received administrative punishments over the incident, which the investigation concluded was due to factors that included a lack of trust between Americans and Afghans.
U.S. troops punished over Koran burning, urination video --Military did not disclose precise punishments for troops 27 Aug 2012 The U.S. military said on Monday it was disciplining U.S. troops over two incidents that provoked outrage in Afghanistan early this year, one involving a video depicting Marines urinating on corpses and another over burned copies of the Koran. But the administrative punishments fell short of criminal prosecution and it was unclear whether they would satisfy Afghan demands for justice. Afghan President Hamid Karzai branded the Marine's actions in the video as "inhuman," and he initially called for a public trial for the soldiers over the Koran incident.
Taliban responsible for 25% of attacks on NATO troops: ISAF 27 Aug 2012 About 25 percent of the green-on-blue attacks by Afghan security forces against US-led troops in Afghanistan come from Taliban infiltrators, a top NATO commander says. US General John Allen, the chief commander of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, said by his estimation a quarter of the "insider" attacks were insurgency-based. The figure is much higher than the 10 percent estimated by the United States Department of Defense, the Pentagon.
Afghan soldier kills two US-led troopers 27 Aug 2012 An Afghan soldier has killed two US-led forces in Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan, Press TV reports. A member of the Afghan National Army on Monday turned his weapon on the US-led soldiers with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), in the latest instance of what is commonly referred to as 'green-on-blue' or 'insider' attacks.
France, partners working on buffer zones in Syria: Hollande 27 Aug 2012 French President Francois Hollande has confirmed that his government is working with its partners on the possible establishment of buffer zones inside crisis-hit Syria. The socialist president also said on Monday that France will recognize a provisional Syrian government as soon as it has been formed, urging foreign-sponsored insurgents fighting to establish one as soon as possible, AFP reported.
Worthless 'Bomb Detectors' Put Iraqi Lives at Risk --ADE 651 "bomb detectors" in use in Iraq were made by British firm Advanced Tactical Security & Communications Ltd. (ATSC) 23 Aug 2012 An Iraqi soldier walks past a line of cars at an entrance to Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, looking for the silver antenna of the bomb detector he holds to swing left, indicating a threat. But however closely the camouflage-uniformed soldier watches the plastic pistol-gripped "detector" as he paces slowly past the cars, it will not lead him to any bombs or weapons, except by chance -- it, like others used at checkpoints across Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, is worthless. Evidence that the devices do not work has been available for years, but that has not stopped Iraq from continuing to employ them at checkpoints across the country, including those guarding highly sensitive areas such as the Green Zone, where the Iraqi government is headquartered.
Iraqi Man Pleads Guilty in Kentucky Terrorism Case 22 Aug 2012 An Iraqi man pleaded guilty Tuesday to 10 charges of conspiring to send weapons, cash and explosives to al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] in Iraq and two counts of lying to federal immigration agents to get into the United States and stay in the country. Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 24, gave simple "yes" and "I plead guilty" answers to questions from U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell in federal court in Louisville. The surprise plea came a week before Hammadi was set to stand trial on the charges in Bowling Green, Ky., where he and a co-defendant were arrested in May 2011 after a federal sting operation.
Military says 'trial' of accused Fort Hood shooter can go ahead 27 Aug 2012 Proceedings may resume in the court martial of alleged Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan, a military court ruled on Monday, less than a week after it stopped the trial to consider whether Hasan's beard could be forcibly shaved. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces did not say whether Colonel Gregory Gross, the military trial judge, could order Hasan shaved. Gross has threatened to have Hasan shaved if he does not get rid of the beard himself before his next court appearance, saying the beard breaks Army regulations.
New state laws make undercover probes of farm operations risky --Prompted by the agriculture industry agri-terrorists, states are debating, and in some cases adopting, 'ag-gag' laws 24 Aug 2012 The undercover investigator who secretly videotaped alleged animal abuses at a meat processing plant in California's San Joaquin Valley would have been a criminal for doing the same thing in Utah, potentially subject to a year in jail. Since March, it's been a misdemeanor in Utah to videotape an agricultural operation without the owner's approval. Nor is Utah alone in trying to shield farms from private investigators and prying media. Kansas, Iowa and North Dakota have all tightened access.