Comcast Defends Role As Internet Traffic Cop

 

By Cecilia Kang

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008; Page D01

Comcast said yesterday that it purposely slows down some traffic on its network, including some music and movie downloads, an admission that sparked more controversy in the debate over how much control network operators should have over the Internet.

In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast said such measures — which can slow the transfer of music or video between subscribers sharing files, for example — are necessary to ensure better flow of traffic over its network.

In defending its actions, Comcast stepped into one of the technology industry’s most divisive battles. Comcast argues that it should be able to direct traffic so networks don’t get clogged; consumer groups and some Internet companies argue that the networks should not be permitted to block or slow users’ access to the Web.

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Revealed: 800 public bodies now have powers to ‘snoop’ on our phones and emails

Almost 800 public bodies have assumed powers to “snoop” on our phone records or private correspondence, it emerged yesterday.The “surveillance state” powers have been handed to prison bosses, the police, Environment Agency, NHS Trusts, fire chiefs, Post Office and 474 local councils.

Local authorities made 1,700 requests to access mobile phone records and other private information in the last nine months of 2006 – using them to catch “criminals” such as fly-tippers.

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The Expanding Police State

The Secret Raids of Alberto Gonzales

Operation Falcon: 10,000 Swept Up

By MIKE WHITNEY

18/05/08 “Counterpunch” — – There’s only one way to make sure that the machinery of state-terror is operating at maximum efficiency; flip on the switch and let er rip. That was thinking behind last month’s massive roundup of 10,000 American citizens in what was aptly-christened Operation Falcon.

Operation Falcon was a massive clandestine dragnet that involved hundreds of state, federal and local law-enforcement agencies during the week of April 4 to April 10, 2005. It was the largest criminal-sweep in the nation’s history and was brainchild of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his counterpart in the US Marshal’s office, (Director) Ben Reyna.

Read more and listen to speeches by Mike Whitney and Jeremey Scahill on the militarization of America and on the looming martial law.

Freedom of Speech and H.R. 1955 pt. 1

Read the full text on the page above.

French Author Accused of Outing Secrets

Saturday December 8, 2007 4:46 AM
By VERENA VON DERSCHAU

Associated Press Writer

PARIS (AP) – A French anti-terrorist judge has filed preliminary charges against an investigative journalist and author accused of publishing defense secrets, judicial officials said Friday.

Authorities are investigating articles by Guillaume Dasquie, including one that reported French intelligence had suspected al-Qaida of planning a plane hijacking nine months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Dasquie was detained Wednesday after investigators from the DST counterespionage agency searched his residence, the judicial officials said. On Thursday, investigating judge Philippe Coirre, who handles anti-terrorist cases, filed preliminary charges, the officials said.

The charges are for “possessing secret defense documents” and “divulging secret defense documents or intelligence,” the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

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Terror watch list swells to more than 755,000

WASHINGTON — The government’s terrorist watch list has swelled to more than 755,000 names, according to a new government report that has raised worries about the list’s effectiveness.

The size of the list, typically used to check people entering the country through land border crossings, airports and sea ports, has been growing by 200,000 names a year since 2004. Some lawmakers, security experts and civil rights advocates warn that it will become useless if it includes too many people.

“It undermines the authority of the list,” says Lisa Graves of the Center for National Security Studies. “There’s just no rational, reasonable estimate that there’s anywhere close to that many suspected terrorists.”

The exact number of people on the list, compiled after 9/11 to help government agents keep terrorists out of the country, is unclear, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Some people may be on the list more than once because they are listed under multiple spellings.

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Why, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, Government Surveillance Threatens Your Freedom:

“I’ve got nothing to hide, so electronic surveillance doesn’t bother me. To the contrary, I’m delighted that the Bush Administration is monitoring calls and electronic traffic on a massive scale, because catching terrorists is far more important that worrying about the government’s listening to my phone calls, or reading my emails.” So the argument goes. It is a powerful one that has seduced too many people.Millions of Americans buy this logic, and in accepting it, believe they are doing the right thing for themselves, their family, and their friends, neighbors, community and country. They are sadly wrong. If you accept this argument, you have been badly fooled.

This contention is being bantered about once again, so there is no better time than the present to set thinking people straight. Bush and Cheney want to make permanent unchecked Executive powers to electronically eavesdrop on anyone whom any President feels to be of interest. In August, before the summer recess, Congress enacted the Protect America Act, which provided only temporary approval for the expanding Executive powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). These temporary powers expire in February 2008, so Congress is once again addressing the subject.

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NSA Spying: What Did Pelosi Know?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has admitted knowing for several years about the Bush administration’s eavesdropping on Americans without a court warrant. She said she was briefed on it when she was ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. But was she told that the illegal surveillance began well before 9/11?

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Pain Compliance. Coming Soon to an Antiwar Demo Near You?

Last September, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne indicated the military would use “nonlethal weapons” against “fellow citizens” before they use them in “a wartime situation.” In other words, the American people are considered little more than guinea pigs, especially dissenting Americans in need of “crowd control.”

Before zapping antiwar demonstrators with an ADS beam—that’s short for “Active Denial System”—the military or police may request they remove glasses, contact lenses, and take coins and keys out of their pockets. “Precautions used to test U.S. military’s microwave weapon ADS for crowd control have raised questions about its safety, says a report,” explains United Press International. “These precautions raise concerns about the ADS in real crowd-control situations, the New Scientist reported… The ADS fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam, which is supposed to heat skin and to cause pain but no physical damage, the report said. Until now little information about its effects had been released.”

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Police State UK : Teenager Charged With Terrorism For Owning A Book

“Possessing” Information Can Now Brand You A Terrorist

By Darryl Mason

The Anarchists’ Cookbook, like the many widely available CIA sabotage manuals (an illustrated version was distributed to civilians in Nicaragua during the 1980s), contains recipes for making explosives. The book has been out of mainstream circulation for years. But in the UK, a 17 year was caught with a copy of the Anarchists’ Cookbook in his possession. He’s now been charged as a terrorist.

The boy wasn’t charged with attempting to carry out an act of terrorism, or even plotting an act of terrorism. He was charged because he had a book. Obviously the wrong book. But a book, all the same.

Philip K Dick’s concept of pre-crime – arresting someone before they even attempt to break the law – is now a rock solid reality in the UK, the US and Australia, thanks to the vaguely defined sprawl of anti-terror laws.

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The Attack on MoveOn.org and Other Dangerous ‘Fingerprints’

Yeah, I didn’t like the wording of the ad either. But the attack on MoveOn.org by the Senate last week is not an aberration but is part of a dangerous — and accelerating — trend of echoes from the past.Students of history know that the National Socialists in Germany, before they came to power, made multiple assaults on democracy by pushing for laws and that expanded penalties for opponents’ speaking out against certain subjects. What they — and then Stalin, who studied Hitler — perfected was the identification of a `third rail’ of untouchable subjects that one could never approach critically without facing escalating penalties — job loss, personal attacks, or, just a little later, criminal charges. These subjects were the war, the party itself, and the military. Making these subjects sacred and untouchable allowed National Socialists to commit any number of crimes by explaining that the abusive actions were taken in the name of the off-limits-to-criticism ideals.

Then once they came to power, they developed an ever-expanding network of laws criminalizing ever expanding minor actions critical of the state or of the military or the paramilitary forces; they developed broad definitions of `treason’ and of what it meant to `impugn the honor of the nation’ — so that soon it became a crime against the state, defined as an assault on patriotism and a form of treason, to listen to the BBC or to speak up for an imprisoned Jew or communist.

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US House votes to tighten Iran nuclear sanctions

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US House of Representatives aimed a sharp jab at Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday, slapping new energy sanctions on Tehran, and branding its Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.A measure targeting the elite military corps and the lucrative Iranian energy sector sailed through the House by 397 votes to 16, hours before Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

The legislation is aimed at depriving Iran of proceeds from energy sales which could be diverted into funding its nuclear program, which the West says is intended to produce atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

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Iranian University Chancellors Ask Bollinger 10 Questions

I would like answers to these questions as well.

Seven chancellors and presidents of Iranian universities and research centers, in a letter addressed to their counterpart in the US, Colombia University, denounced Lee Bollinger’s insulting words against the Iranian nation and president and invited him to provide responses to 10 questions by Iranian academics and intellectuals.

The following is the full text of the letter:

Mr. Lee Bollinger
Columbia University President

We, the professors and heads of universities and research institutions in Tehran, hereby announce our displeasure and protest at your impolite remarks prior to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent speech at Columbia University.

We would like to inform you that President Ahmadinejad was elected directly by the Iranian people through an enthusiastic two-round poll in which almost all of the country’s political parties and groups participated. To assess the quality and nature of these elections you may refer to US news reports on the poll dated June 2005.

Your insult, in a scholarly atmosphere, to the president of a country with a population of 72 million and a recorded history of 7,000 years of civilization and culture is deeply shameful.

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Hypocrisy Surrounding Ahmadinejad’s Visit Was Stunning

When you see one person and nation being demonised, you have to assume that it is for a purpose. It is time for some perspective: why should we take it for granted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the supreme evil being and a superklutz at the same time?

The ungracious introduction to Ahmadinejad’s talk by Lee Bollinger, the Columbia University president, read more like a plea to Fox News and the ADL to give him a break for not calling off the event. Think of all the people who took umbrage at President Bush’s intellect and morals being belittled last year. Did Bollinger not realize that he was doing Hugo Chavez imitations?

As the born-again atheist author of Rum, and a not infrequent imbiber, I am no great fan of Ahmadinejad. But he was elected by a much clearer majority, with a much bigger turnout, than his equally religious, teetotalling colleague President Bush. And for those impressed by that sort of thing, the Iranian president volunteered for the front in the war against Saddam Hussein – in contrast to Bush, who dodged the draft, and most of the present White House team, who were then enthusiastic backers of Saddam.

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Halleluja, Amy is on record for new 911 investigation.

Check the we are change page.

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