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Chris Christie's Exxon Settlement is Bad for New Jersey

March 5, 2015 by legitgov

Chris Christie's Exxon Settlement is Bad for New Jersey --Shortchanging New Jersey by Billions | 4 Mar 2015 | The decision by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie to settle an environmental lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corporation for roughly three cents on the dollar after more than a decade of litigation is an embarrassment to law enforcement and good government. Even more troubling are the circumstances surrounding the decision, which recently came to light. As a judge deliberated whether to assess the $8.9 billion in damages New Jersey sought, the administration stepped in and agreed to take about $250 million and settle the case...The administration has so far refused to release the text of the agreement.

Discrimination in Ferguson: full extent of police bias laid bare in damning report

March 5, 2015 by legitgov

Discrimination in Ferguson: full extent of police bias laid bare in damning report | 5 Mar 2015 | The full extent of the racial persecution of black residents in Ferguson, Missouri, by the city's overwhelmingly white law enforcement authorities was disclosed on Wednesday in a damning report by the US Department of Justice. Ferguson's police department and court system "reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias", the 105-page study found, adding that "discriminatory intent" among city officials -- several of whom were found to have sent racist emails -- was partly to blame...Detailing an extensive list of individual injustices, the investigators concluded officers showed a pattern of stops without reasonable suspicion, arrests without probable cause and excessive force, all in violation of the fourth amendment to the US constitution.

Hillary Clinton asks State Dept. to release her e-mails

March 5, 2015 by legitgov

Hillary Clinton asks State Dept. to release her e-mails | 5 Mar 2015 | Hillary Rodham Clinton said she requested the State Department to disclose all of her e-mails from her tenure as the nation's top diplomat, as the revelation that she used a private e-mail address for government business loomed over her likely presidential campaign. Clinton posted on Twitter late Wednesday that she wants the public to see her e-mail, marking the first time she has commented publicly about the controversy.

New Zealand spying on Pacific allies for 'Five Eyes' and NSA, Snowden files show

March 5, 2015 by legitgov

New Zealand spying on Pacific allies for 'Five Eyes' and NSA, Snowden files show | 4 Mar 2015 | New Zealand is spying indiscriminately on its allies in the Pacific region and sharing the information with the US and the other "Five Eyes" alliance states, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. The secret papers, published by the New Zealand Herald, show that the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) collects phone calls and internet communications in bulk in the region at its Waihopai Station intercept facility in the South Island...The data is then channelled into the XKeyscore database run by the US National Security Agency, where it also becomes available to agencies in each of the "Five Eyes" countries: the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

US Ambassador Attacked in South Korea

March 5, 2015 by legitgov

US Ambassador Attacked in South Korea | 4 Feb 2015 | The U.S Ambassador to South Korea was attacked in the country's capital today while giving a speech, officials say. Photos from South Korea's official news agency show Ambassador Mark Lippert with blood on his hand and holding his face. He was attacked by what the Yonhap news agency described was "an armed man" who shouted, "No to war training!" before attacking him. He was assaulted Thursday morning local and is being treated at a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries, according to the State Department.

US-backed Afghanistan officials sanctioned murder, torture and rape, says report

March 4, 2015 by legitgov

US-backed Afghanistan officials sanctioned murder, torture and rape, says report | 3 Mar 2015 | Top Afghan officials have presided over murders, abduction, and other abuses with the tacit backing of their government and its western allies, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. A grim account of deaths, robbery, rapes and extrajudicial killings, Today We Shall All Die, details a culture of impunity that the rights group says flourished after the fall of the Taliban...When Assadullah Khalid, the former head of the country's spy agency, was badly injured in a Taliban assassination attempt, Barack Obama and the former defence secretary Leon Panetta both went to visit him in the American hospital where he was recovering. In doing so they chose to ignore a long history of accusations of rape, torture, corruption and illegal detentions, some of it from US diplomats or their allies, detailed in the HRW report. [See, it's only bad when 'ISIS' does it.]

Snowden in talks on returning to U.S., Russian lawyer says

March 4, 2015 by legitgov

Snowden in talks on returning to U.S., Russian lawyer says | 3 Mar 2015 | A Russian lawyer for Edward Snowden said on Tuesday the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of the government's mass surveillance programs was working with American and German lawyers to return home. Anatoly Kucherena, who has links to the Kremlin, was speaking at a news conference to present a book he has written about his client. Moscow granted Snowden asylum in 2013...Kucherena said last August Snowden had been granted a three-year residence permit in Russia.

People of Boston pictured from the air as they toil to get their city back from under more than eight feet of snow

March 4, 2015 by legitgov

Keep digging until you see spring: People of Boston pictured from the air as they toil to get their city back from under more than eight feet of snow | 3 Mar 2015 | It may be the first week of March, but it still looks a lot like Christmas in snow-covered Boston. The winter storms took a brief break on Tuesday, when a Boston Globe photographer set out to capture the city turned into a real-life snowglobe from the air. Boston has received some 8 1/2 feet of the snow in the past few weeks, and is just a few inches shy of their snowiest winter yet - a record that was set 20 years ago. That record could be broken as soon as Wednesday evening, when yet another storm front is expected to hit the city...The sun peaked out over snow-covered Boston on Tuesday, but a new storm system is already working its way through the New England city, with another waiting in the wings for Wednesday night. Pictured: a snow farm near the Mass Turnpike Allston dwarfs trucks and front-end loaders.

Is there a sniper on the loose in Maryland? Cops hunt for blue car linked to five mystery shootings at NSA headquarters, malls and theaters

March 4, 2015 by legitgov

Is there a sniper on the loose in Maryland? Cops hunt for blue car linked to five mystery shootings at NSA headquarters, malls and theaters that left two hurt, 12 years after the DC Sniper terrorized the capital --First shooting took place last Tuesday and most recent shooting involved office building at NSA Headquarters around 5pm on Tuesday, March 3 --Sources said police are looking into whether they are all linked | 4 Mar 2015 | Police are today investigating the possibility that one gunman has randomly opened fire on five public places in Maryland over the past week, in attacks that left two reportedly injured. What appears to be the same blue car has been linked to the attacks in which a gunman opened fire on a a driver at a mall, a Walmart, a movie theater, a truck on a highway and headquarters of the NSA over the last seven days. If the same gunman is behind all the attacks, it would be a case with chilling similarities to the DC Sniper attacks of 2002 when John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo [allegedly] killed ten people with gunfire from a hidden firing spot in the back of their blue Chevrolet sedan. Lt. Kevin Ayd, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police told the Baltimore Sun: 'They're looking into whether these are linked together.'

Shots Fired Near NSA Headquarters, Building Damaged

March 4, 2015 by legitgov

Shots Fired Near NSA Headquarters, Building Damaged | 3 Mar 2015 | U.S. Park Police are investigating a report of shots fired near the National Security Agency's headquarters Tuesday evening. A spokesperson for the police said the NSA is investigating damage to one of its buildings that appeared to be from gunshots. The incident unfolded along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32 in Fort Meade, Maryland. The NSA is located nearby.

Decrying 'insult,' some Democrats seethe after Netanyahu address

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Decrying 'insult,' some Democrats seethe after Netanyahu address | 3 Mar 2015 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was met with rounds of applause and repeated standing ovations Tuesday while addressing a joint meeting of Congress but make no mistake: Democrats were by no means joining in the acclaim. With their hands, their feet and their mouths, Democratic members made clear during and after the speech that they had significant objections to Netanyahu's remarks -- both in how they were delivered and in what they contained... Nearly a dozen House Democrats -- most of whom chose not to attend the address -- lambasted Netanyahu and the Republicans who invited him in a media briefing held shortly after the speech. [See: The complete transcript of Netanyahu's remarks.]

Iran: Netanyahu Iranophobic talk election campaign

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Iran: Netanyahu Iranophobic talk election campaign | 3 Mar 2015 | Iran calls Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial address to a joint session of the US Congress "Iranophobic" and part of Israeli hardliners' electoral campaign. On Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham called the speech a deceitful show and part of the hardliners' political propaganda in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu addressed the Congress earlier in the day, calling on the United States not to negotiate "a very bad deal" with Iran over its nuclear energy program.

Israel destroys thousands of acres of crops in Palestine

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Israel destroys thousands of acres of crops in Palestine | 3 Mar 2015 | Thousands of acres of wheat and other cereal crops have been destroyed by Israeli police in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Rakhama in Negev. According to Ali Freijat, a local resident, as many as 14 Israeli tractors escorted by in excess of 50 Israeli police vehicles destroyed the agricultural products and leveled the land early on Tuesday, Ma'an news agency reported. Reports also said on Sunday that Israel plans to carry out more demolitions in an area populated by Palestinian Bedouins near al-Quds (Jerusalem). Tel Aviv authorities say they want to build settlements and military structures in the area.

Ferguson mired in sweeping racial discrimination, federal report finds

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Ferguson mired in sweeping racial discrimination, federal report finds | 3 Mar 2015 | Black residents of Ferguson, Missouri, routinely had their constitutional rights violated through unjustified arrests, traffic stops and other actions carried out by a racially biased police department, the US Department of Justice has concluded, according to multiple reports. An extensive federal review of Ferguson's police force is said to have found that officers disproportionately used excessive force against black people, who were also subject to arrests without probable cause and stops when driving without reasonable suspicion. Racist emails sent by Ferguson officials - including one doubting Barack Obama's ability to serve a full term because "what black man holds a steady job for four years" - were also unearthed, according to reports, and are expected to be released to the public.

Canada's Terrifying Anti-Terror Bill

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Canada's Terrifying Anti-Terror Bill --Spooks Need a Tighter Leash, Not C-51's Fresh Powers (PanAm Post) | 3 Mar 2015 | ...[O]n February 23, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government -- backing a sweeping anti-terrorism bill to expand state surveillance powers and criminalize speech deemed to potentially "advocate" terrorism -- closed down debate on the same bill after only three days of discussion. Bill C-51 -- drafted in response to two recent lone-wolf attacks [false flags], including one that ended in a shootout in the Ottawa House of Commons -- broadens the scope of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), including allowing it to intercept private communications with closed-door judicial authorization...Apparently emulating the United States by ramping up state powers and surveillance in the name of security is not enough. Canadian officials routinely hand over CSE data to their counterparts south of the border, and they have already agreed to share citizens' biographic data with the US Border Patrol. Ontario police have even gone one step further and given confidential medical information to US officials, leading to Canadians being denied entry simply for having suffered a previous episode of mental illness.

House funds Homeland Security without immigration riders

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

House funds Homeland Security without immigration riders | 3 Mar 2015 | Congress ended its seven-week impasse on funding the Department of Homeland Security as the House voted Tuesday to pass a $40 billion spending bill that does not derail President Obama's immigration programs. The 257-167 vote prevents a partial shutdown of the agency, which was set to run out of money at midnight Friday. The bill funds the department through Sept. 30. The Senate approved the bill last week, and Obama is poised to sign it into law.

David Petraeus to plead guilty to giving classified secrets to mistress

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

David Petraeus to plead guilty to giving classified secrets to mistress | 3 Mar 2015 | Former CIA director and Army Gen. David Petraeus admitted Tuesday that he handed eight "black books" containing highly classified information, including codes and the identities of covert officers, to his mistress for four days in 2011 and then lied about it to the FBI. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to one count of retaining classified information in a deal in which prosecutors agreed not to charge him with more serious crimes such as obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI, the Justice Department announced Tuesday, saying it would recommend probation. Two weeks before he resigned, Petraeus was interviewed at CIA headquarters by two FBI agents, who told him they were conducting a criminal investigation of alleged security breaches, according to court documents released Tuesday...

NSA spying inquiry: UK-German intelligence-sharing dispute deepens

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

NSA spying inquiry: UK-German intelligence-sharing dispute deepens | 3 Mar 2015 | Germany's efforts to investigate National Security Agency (NSA) spying are being hampered by Britain's refusal to co-operate amid threats to break off intelligence-sharing agreements, a German newspaper has reported. The claims note a heightening of tensions between Downing Street and the German Chancellery over intelligence-sharing. According to German newspaper reports, the Bundestag's investigation into the NSA could be halted if any UK secrets are revealed.

Russia Today faces inquiry over anti-western comments in Ukraine debate

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Russia Today faces inquiry over anti-western comments in Ukraine debate | 2 Mar 2015 | (UK) Russia Today is to be investigated by media regulator Ofcom over anti-western comments in a late-night discussion on Ukraine -- its sixth ongoing inquiry into the Kremlin-backed news channel following complaints by 'viewers'. The regulator, which threatened Russia Today, or RT, with statutory sanctions after repeated breaches of broadcasting regulations on impartiality last year, faces a new investigation over its Crosstalk programme broadcast on 23 December last year. The programme is understood to have featured a number of anti-western views in the discussion between the presenter and three studio guests, prompting one viewer [MI6/CIA] troll to complain.

Deadly bacteria release sparks concern at high-security Louisiana lab for vaccine research on pathogen that escaped

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Deadly bacteria release sparks concern at high-security Louisiana lab for vaccine research on pathogen that escaped --Several countries [aka the US] have studied using the bacteria as a bioweapon. | 2 Mar 2015 |A dangerous, often deadly, type of bacteria that lives in soil and water has been released from a high-security [Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3)] laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Despite weeks of investigation by multiple federal and state agencies, the cause of the release and the extent of the contamination remain unknown, according to interviews and records obtained by USA TODAY. The Tulane incident involves the release, possibly in November or earlier, of a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei...Tulane's research, which has been halted by federal officials, was part of an effort to develop a vaccine against the bacteria [that was released].

Oil trains called legitimate and urgent threat to 4 million Pennsylvanians

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Oil trains called legitimate and urgent threat to 4 million Pennsylvanians | 2 Mar 2015 | While Congress continues to debate pipelines, crude oil will continue to travel on trains. Lots and lots of long trains, called oil trains, roll through Pennsylvania every day, often in Midstate neighborhoods. They are mostly unnoticed, frequently loaded with Bakken crude from North Dakota, and headed for refineries around Philadelphia. "Oil trains are often sent directly through high-density cities like Harrisburg, increasing the risk of a catastrophic accident," said Elowyn Corby of the environmental group Pennenvironment at a Capitol press conference Monday drawing attention to the potential dangers of oil trains.

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules

March 3, 2015 by legitgov

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules | 2 Mar 2015 | Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials' correspondence be retained as part of the agency's record. Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act. Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

Netanyahu warns Obama on Iran deal, says he means no disrespect

March 2, 2015 by walden9

Netanyahu warns Obama on Iran deal, says he means no disrespect | 02 March 2015 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Monday that the nuclear deal it is negotiating with Iran could threaten Israel's survival and insisted he had a "moral obligation" to speak up about deep differences with President Barack Obama on the issue.

Senator Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, to retire

March 2, 2015 by legitgov

Senator Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, to retire | 2 Mar 2015 | Senator Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving female senator in U.S. history, on Monday announced that she will retire at the end of her term, setting up a contest among possible successors in the heavily Democratic state of Maryland. The top Democrat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Mikulski, 78, told reporters in Baltimore that she would serve out her remaining two years in office. She has served in Congress for nearly 40 years.

Five activists arrested in US during protest against Netanyahu

March 2, 2015 by legitgov

Five activists arrested in US during protest against Netanyahu | 2 Mar 2015 | Police in the United States have arrested five activists who were protesting against crimes committed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Dozens of people gathered outside the Washington Convention Center where Netanyahu, who arrived in the US on Sunday, is due to speak. The protesters held a sit-in on the first day of the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which is one the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying groups in the US.

NORAD flight exercise scheduled for Monday through Wednesday in region

March 2, 2015 by legitgov

NORAD flight exercise scheduled for Monday through Wednesday in region | 1 Mar 2015 | The North American Aerospace Defense Command -- NORAD -- is planning to conduct exercises Monday night through Wednesday morning in the Washington area. The tests will begin between midnight and 2 a.m. each day and include a series of training flights using an aircraft and a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, according to a NORAD news release.

Sierra Leone's vice president goes into quarantine after one of his security guards dies from Ebola

March 2, 2015 by legitgov

Sierra Leone's vice president goes into quarantine after one of his security guards dies from Ebola | 1 Mar 2015 | The vice president of Sierra Leone has put himself in voluntary quarantine after one of his security guards died of Ebola. Samuel Sam-Sumana's security staff died last Tuesday, and the Vice President is now set to remain in quarantine for three weeks. Despite his quarantine, Sam-Sumana is set to become acting president later Sunday when President Ernest Bai Koroma leaves Sierra Leone to attend a EU conference on Ebola in Belgium.

Half of American voters think that inviting Israeli PM to speak on Capitol Hill was a bad idea

March 2, 2015 by legitgov

Half of American voters think that inviting Israeli PM to speak on Capitol Hill was a bad idea | 1 Mar 2015 | Half of American voters think that congressional Republican's inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak on Capitol Hill was a bad idea. Forty-eight per cent of respondents in a new poll say they disapproved of Republican House Speaker John Boehner offering the Middle Eastern leader an invitation to speak to Congress without first clearing it with President Obama. Thirty per cent of all respondents favored letting Netanyahu speak, with more than 20 per cent saying they didn't know enough to answer.

Russia ready to repel any nuclear strike, retaliate - missile forces command chief

March 2, 2015 by legitgov

Russia ready to repel any nuclear strike, retaliate - missile forces command chief | 1 Mar 2015 | Russia's Strategic Missile Forces are ready to react to any nuclear strike even if it is lightning fast, SMF Central Command chief said. A retaliatory strike would take place in all circumstances, "without hesitation," he added. "If there's a challenge to repel a lightning-fast nuclear in any given conditions - it will be done in fixed time, that's dead true," the Strategic Missile Forces Central Command's chief, Major-General Andrey Burbin, told Russian News Service on Saturday. Russia's strategic missile forces are positioned geographically in such a way that no global strike can knock them out completely, Burbin said.

Top cop: Web trolls should be given lifetime social media bans

March 2, 2015 by legitgov

Top cop: Web trolls should be given lifetime social media bans --Mr Barton is in charge of intelligence gathering for the Assoc of Chief Police Officers across all 43 UK forces. | 1 Mar 2015 |A chief constable is calling on Facebook and Twitter to ban trolls for life as social media places a huge strain on police resources. Mike Barton, head of Durham Police, says there was a 40 per cent rise in charges relating to improper use of electronic messages in England from 2010-13. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has also called for a ban on online trolls.

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