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Posts Tagged ‘Scandal’

Nobel Prize: A tale of ignoble peace laureates

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 11, 2012

One man introduced indefinite detention and expanded the deadly global drone war. Another was the architect of the deliberate mass killing of civilian populations in Indochina. What do they have in common? Both are Nobel Peace laureates.

Gandhi never got one. Al Gore did. In one of the stranger ironies befitting of both Kafka and Orwell, sometimes the makers of permanent war are awarded for bringing temporary peace. Sometimes they don’t even get that far.

With the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize set to be announced in Oslo, Norway on Friday, the shadow of Barack Obama still looms large. In 2009, the committee awarded the current US president “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Nominations for the award are due by February 1, meaning Obama had served as America’s executive for less than two weeks when the Norwegian Nobel Committee selected him. Perhaps it was wishful thinking.

Since then, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, making it legal to indefinitely detain US citizens. There are also the deadly drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan, the war waged in Libya, the Afghan surge and a secret “kill list” revealed this year by The New York Times, which grants a select few American officials the option to mark perceived national security threats – foreign citizens or otherwise – for assassination. Ironic, yes, but they never could have known.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Petraeus mistress reveals real motive behind Benghazi attack (VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 13, 2012

The fallout from former CIA head David Petraeus’ resignation might be more significant than first thought: as all eyes turn to the ex-intelligence chief’s mistress, it’s apparent that she may have been privy to what really happened in Benghazi.

Two months after the storming of an US consulate in Benghazi, questions remain largely unanswered about both how and why insurgents entered the facility on September 11 and executed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The discussion became a heated issue on the campaign trail leading up to Election Day, and conflicting accounts from the White House, State Department and Congress all led to a mess of confusion that has only further spun out of control following the unexpected stepping down of Petraeus on Friday.

In the immediate aftermath of the CIA chief’s resignation, skeptics quickly suggested that there was more to the story, especially given Petraeus’ role as head of the country’s intelligence agency and the relatively unscathing extramarital affair that he rightfully admitted to in citing his departure from office. As journalists and investigators tried to dig deep for info on the alleged mistress, Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell, as expected the story took a drastic turn by Sunday when it was revealed that she may have been briefed on the truth of the Benghazi scandal while the rest of the country claws for answers. Read the rest of this entry »

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No DNA link to Assange in condom central to sex assault case

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 18, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

A ripped condom given to Swedish police by one of Julian Assange’s accusers does not contain the WikiLeaks founder’s DNA, forensic scientists have reportedly found.

In a 100-page document shown to Assange’s lawyers, it was revealed that the torn prophylactic, having been examined by staff at two forensic laboratories, did not bear conclusive evidence that Assange had ever worn it, the Daily Mail reported on Sunday.

Assange’s lawyers said the lack of DNA evidence on the condom, which was allegedly used during a supposed August 2010 sexual assault, indicates that a fake one could have been submitted.

The woman in question, now aged 33, claims to have been molested by Assange at her flat in Stockholm. She says that at one point he deliberately broke a condom in order to have unprotected sex with her.

Assange claims he had consensual sex with the woman, but denies intentionally tearing the condom. He had previously told police that he continued to stay at her residence for the week following the alleged incident, saying his accuser never made any mention of the ripped condom.

But DNA purportedly belonging to Assange was present on a condom submitted by a second woman, who has accused him of rape, prompting Swedish authorities to push ahead with their bid to have him extradited from the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

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Assange lawyer: A man who committed no crime is persecuted (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 11, 2012

Julian Assange (AFP Photo/Carl Court)
Julian Assange (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

Baltasar Garzon is no stranger to conflict when it comes to fighting injustice carried out by state powers. In an exclusive interview with RT, the Spanish jurist explained why WikiLeaks founder and whistleblower Julian Assange is “worth defending.”

The seemingly intractable battle between Ecuador and Britain over Julian Assange has brought a spotlight on the dangerous path whistleblowers tread in exposing abuses of state power.

With Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June, the small Latin American country’s decision to grant the WikiLeaks founder political asylum sits in heavy contrast to the fact that he lives under lock and key like a fugitive, in constant fear of arrest.

In the midst of this international standoff, Garzon spoke at length with RT’s sister channel Actualidad RT about why the UK was only bluffing when British authorities threatened to storm the Ecuadorian embassy, why he has no doubt the US is pursuing a case against his client, and the irony that Assange is being persecuted for exposing gross human rights violations, while the perpetuators who committed those criminal acts remain free. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shock discovery: 248 human embryos found trashed in Russian forest (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 24, 2012

Up to 250 human embryos found trashed in Russian forest (Still from NTV coverage video)

Up to 250 human embryos found trashed in Russian forest (Still from NTV coverage video)

A fishing trip in Russia’s Urals ended with cries of horror as a man found canisters filled with human embryos, some already shaped to baby bodies.

Lids on the bright blue containers apparently unlocked as the canisters hit the ground, and many embryos spilled out. The little bodies, no longer than 15 centimeters, shrank, turning into mummies.

A friend of mine called at night and said he went finishing and wanted to get some wood for his fire. He found some abandoned water canisters and wanted to take them for his house. And when he came up, he saw… little baby bodies,” a local told Russia’s Channel 4.

Arriving Monday morning, police found 248 embryos aged 12-16 weeks in and around the four canisters. Labels attached to tiny hands and legs listed family names of assumed mothers and some digit codes, which may refer to the pregnancy period, date of abortion or the hospital where the body originated from.

The 50-liter canisters filled with formalin seem to have been thrown out of a vehicle not far from a road leading to Nevyansk, a town on the slopes of the Ural Mountains.

Nevyansk authorities immediately said the canisters could not have originated in their town.

Our area is too small; we can’t have so many stillborns, miscarriages or artificial abortions,” they said.

Later it was revealed that the horrifying content was “biological waste” from at least three hospitals in Ekaterinburg, the region’s major city.

It appears a waste disposal company has failed to carry out its duties properly,” remark local authorities as the investigation continues. The Ministry of Health has been requested to determine which companies provide embryo disposal services to Ekaterinburg hospitals. Read the rest of this entry »

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US could put Assange to death if it gets him – former senior NSA official

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2012

If America gets its hands on the WikiLeaks founder, they may go as far as execute him, a known National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake told RT, adding that in the US, security has become a state religion.

An expert on electronic eavesdropping, Drake sacrificed his career to blow the whistle on perceived wrongdoings within the NSA. He was charged under the Espionage Act, though the charges were dropped only last year.

He told RT that in America’s ‘soft tyranny’, everyone is subject or suspect in terms of surveillance.

RT: What was the potential harm of the program that you challenged while working with the NSA?

Thomas Drake: There was a very large flagship program called Trailblazer that was designed to catapult the NSA into the twenty first century to deal with the vast amounts of data generated by the digital age. Given the massive fraud and abuse that the NSA had created with the Trailblazer program, as well as the super secret surveillance program, the NSA completely violated the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment. In particular, the stature called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was the first commandment at the NSA: you did violate Americans’ privacy without a warning, and if you did – there is a criminal penalty for doing so. And I found this out to my horror and shock, that shortly after 9/11, the NSA entered a secret agreement with the White House in which the NSA would become the executive agent for this secret surveillance program. Read the rest of this entry »

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Assange rejects police request to surrender

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 29, 2012

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that he rejects the British police’s request to hand himself in and will remain in the Ecuadorean embassy and continue his appeal for asylum on grounds of political persecution.

Earlier on Thursday, police issued an order for Assange to appear at a police station to begin the extradition process.

The letter from the Metropolitan Police sent to the Ecuadorian Embassy said it “requires him to attend a police station at a date and time of our choosing. This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Court finds Bush and Blair guilty of war crimes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 2, 2012

George W. Bush (R) and Tony Blair (AFP Photo / Jim Watson)

George W. Bush (R) and Tony Blair (AFP Photo / Jim Watson)

Those who lobbied to have George W. Bush and Tony Blair tried for their role in the Iraq War have finally got their wish. Though the verdict of the court carries no legal weight, its supporters believe its symbolic value is beyond doubt.

The court in Malaysia where the trial took place may not have the power to convict, but the verdict against the former British and American leaders was unanimous.

“War criminals have to be dealt with – convict Bush and Blair as charged. A guilty verdict will serve as a notice to the world that war criminals may run but can never ultimately hide from truth and justice,” 
the statement from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation read.

The foundation was set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who was always a staunch opponent of the war against the regime of Saddam Hussain in 2003. He previously branded Blair and Bush “child-killers”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Grass stained: Israel slams Nobel Prize-winner over ‘anti-nuke’ poem

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2012

Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)

Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)

The Israeli government has slammed a poem by prominent German writer and Nobel Prize-winner Gunter Grass criticizing Israel’s stance on nuclear armament. The country labels a comparison Grass made of Israel to Iran “shameful”.

In his lyrical warning What Must be Said, published on Wednesday in the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, Grass claimed it is not Iran, but “Israel’s atomic power [which] endangers an already fragile world peace,” as its nuclear program was developed without any supervision.

Grass called upon Germany to stop supplying Israel with submarines because “we [Germans] may be providing material for a crime that is foreseeable.”

In response, the Israeli Government insisted the country has never threatened any country’s security, as opposed to Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Israel a threat to world peace’ – Nobel laureate

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2012

German author and Nobel Prize laureate Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / DDP / Michael Gottschalk)

German author and Nobel Prize laureate Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / DDP / Michael Gottschalk)

German Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass is in the international spotlight after labeling Israel a “threat to world peace” in his new poem. Germany and Israel have both responded by strongly criticizing the writer.

In his prose poem entitled “What must be said” published on Wednesday in the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, the 84-year-old Grass criticizes Israel’s role in the conflict with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program. In his opinion it is Israel’s nuclear program that is the real threat to the world, not Iran’s.

Grass emphasizes that Israel has been intensifying its nuclear potential for years, with no international supervision, while any military purpose of Iran’s nuclear program has yet to be proven.

The writer also calls for Germany to stop supplying Israel with submarines, as he believes that Israel is planning to arm them with nuclear warheads. Read the rest of this entry »

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Digital arms merchants make millions on keeping computers hackable

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 25, 2012

Image from mygadgetnews.com

Image from mygadgetnews.com

Why would someone keep a way to make the world a safer place secret? Because keeping it unsafe is profitable. The logic works for gun-runners just as well as for hackers reportedly earning six-digit figures from governmental agencies.

French firm Vupen Securities has a bad name in the information security industry over its taunting producers of the software they hack. Last May it clashed with Google, after demonstrating a way to take over the giant’s web browser Chrome.

The confrontation was taken to a new level at the Pwn2Own competition in early March. Vupen used two zero-day vulnerabilities in Chrome, for the first time hacking it during a public event.

In a zero-day attack, the hacker uses a glitch in software that is not known to the producer and thus cannot be closed by a patch. Just as before, the team refused to unveil their secrets, which means every computer running Chrome can be hacked in the same way. Read the rest of this entry »

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China sells Iran hi-tech surveillance system defying US sanctions?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 23, 2012

An Iranian-Kurd woman talks on her mobile phone in Marivan in Kurdistan province (Reuters / Morteza Nikoubazl)

An Iranian-Kurd woman talks on her mobile phone in Marivan in Kurdistan province (Reuters / Morteza Nikoubazl)

Iran’s largest telecom company has obtained a powerful surveillance system from a Chinese manufacturer. Despite the boycott from Western companies, Tehran will be able to monitor landline, mobile and Internet communications of potential dissidents.

The deal between the China-based ZTE Corporation and the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) was signed back in December 2010. As Reuters says in its comprehensive report, the system was part of a $130.6 million contract for networking equipment supplied by ZTE.

TCI is predominantly state-controlled and has a near monopoly on Iran’s landline telephone services, as well as having much of the country’s Internet traffic flowing through its network. Read the rest of this entry »

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Official: ‘US govt already seized hundreds of foreign domains’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 10, 2012

US government has taken control of 750 domains over the past few years

US government has taken control of 750 domains over the past few years

US seizure of a Canadian gambling website caused online outcry as it was registered abroad and thought to be outside American jurisdiction. But this is far from isolated; it has emerged that the US has seized hundreds of foreign domain names.

US customs official Nicole Navas confirmed that the US government has taken control of 750 domains, “most with foreign-based registrars” over the past few years.

Operation “In Our Sites”, an initiative run by US and Immigration Customs Enforcement, is dedicated to shutting down illegal websites that it believes are involved in the distribution of copyright goods and copyright works. It was initially created in 2010 to police US-owned domains, but now appears to have extended its reach using federal court orders to shut down websites.

“The ramifications of this are no less than chilling and every single organization branded or operating under .com, .net, .org, .biz etc. needs to ask themselves about their vulnerability to the whims of US federal and state lawmakers,”said EasyDNS, a multinational domain-hosting company. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘We are legion’: Anonymous hacks French presidential website

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 22, 2012

'We are legion' (image from http://guerrillamediaticaglh.blogspot.com)

A group of hackers known as ‘Anonymous’ attacked the French president’s website on Friday, apparently in retaliation of the country’s official support of an American clampdown on the popular file-sharing website, Megaupload.

Anonymous inserted their online slogan “We are legion” into the website’s navigation bar, where it stayed until the end of the day.

The French government reiterated its stance on the issue and denounced the people behind Megaupload.com as criminals and their actions as massive violations of copyright law.

“It is delinquency, it is theft,” AFP quoted the French Culture Minister, Frederic Mitterrand, as saying. “The truth is that they are stealing on a large scale.”

The US authorities have indicted seven people for “massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.Com and other related sites.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran sentences American ex-Marine to death for spying

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 9, 2012

Amir Mirzai Hekmati (image from http://www.presstv.ir)

American Amir Mirzai Hekmati, who also holds Iranian citizenship, has been sentenced to death by a judge in Iran for spying for the CIA, local media reported on Monday.

The 28-year-old received the death penalty for “cooperating with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and trying to implicate Iran in terrorism,” the verdict said, according to the country’s semi-official Fars news agency.

Last month, Fars reported that the prosecution had applied for capital punishment because the suspect “admitted that he received training in the United States and planned to imply that Iran was involved in terrorist activities in foreign countries” after returning to the US.

According to reports, Hekmati, born in the US to an Iranian immigrant family, was shown on Iranian state television in mid-December saying in fluent Farsi and English that he was a Central Intelligence Agency operative sent to infiltrate the Iranian intelligence ministry.

Fars then reported Hekmati repeated his confession in court on December 27, saying “I was deceived by the CIA. Although I was appointed to break into Iran’s intelligence systems and act as a new source for the CIA, I had no intention of undermining the country.” Read the rest of this entry »

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