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Archive for August 8th, 2013


Greek Youth Unemployment Soars To Record 65%

RIP Greekovery.

What little hope there may have been that bad and/or deteriorating Greek economic data had peaked in the early part of 2013 and the country was set for a long overdue “recovery” was promptly extinguished following today’s latest release of the Greek May labor force survey.

The headline news was ugly:

  • The number of employed was 3,621,153, a decline of 14,889 from April, and down 171,356 from a year earlier
  • The number fo unemployed was 3,318,671, an increase of 43,467 from April, and up 193,668 from a year earlier
  • The unemployment rate was a record high 27.6%, up from 26.9% in April and 23.8% a year earlier

And that was the “good” news. The bad news? Greek youth (15-24 year old) unemployment halted its decline over the past few months only to explode higher from 57.5% in April to a whopping 64.9% in May! Needless to say this is a record high, and means that two thirds of all eligible for work youths can not find a job. That this is the most combustible combination for social upheaval if not war, is well known to anyone who has opened even one history book.

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Foster Children Put on Psychotropic Medication, Big Money for Foster Parents

Mint Press News explores the use of psychotropic medication in the foster care system, and specifically in Texas, starting with an example: Hours after Texas Child Protective Services removed 5-year-old Tristen from the care of his mother and placed him in a foster home, Tristen’s foster parents took him to see a psychiatrist, citing concerns the young boy was depressed. That day, a psychiatrist prescribed Tristen three medications: one for anger, one for depression and one to help the 5-year-old relax.

Now an adult and out of the foster care system, Tristen says he recognizes he was depressed that day, but he says he never needed any medication — his feelings were only natural given the circumstances.

“They just took the thing that meant the most to me,” he said. “My family.”

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Unhappy With U.S. Foreign Policy? Pentagon Says You Might Be A ‘High Threat’

Watch out for “Hema.”

A security training test created by a Defense Department agency warns federal workers that they should consider the hypothetical Indian-American woman a “high threat” because she frequently visits family abroad, has money troubles and “speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy.”

That slide, from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), is a startling demonstration of the Obama administration’s obsession with leakers and other “insider threats.” One goal of its broader “Insider Threat” program is to stop the next Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden from spilling classified or sensitive information.

But critics have charged that the Insider Threat program, as McClatchy first reported, treats leakers acting in the public interest as traitors — and may not even accomplish its goal of preventing classified leaks.

insider threat

DISA’s test, dubbed the “CyberAwareness Challenge,” was produced in October 2012, a month before the Obama administration finalized its Insider Threat policy. The slide about Hema is included in a section of the training about “insider threats,” which are defined by an accompanying guide as “threats from people who have access to the organization’s information systems and may cause loss of physical inventory, data, and other security risks.”

Both Hema’s travel abroad and her political dissatisfaction are treated as threat “indicators.” Versions of the training for Defense Department and other federal employees are unclassified and available for anyone to play online.

“Catch me if you can,” the training dares.

In a statement to The Huffington Post, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said, “DISA was sensitive to any civil liberty concerns that might arise from any portion of the curriculum, which is why it coordinated with 26 federal agencies to ensure the maximum amount of input was received before going live.”

“When considering personnel for a position of trust that requires a security clearance, there are many potential indicators that must be considered when evaluating for insider threat concerns,” he explained. “The department takes these variables into consideration based on past examples of personnel who engaged in spying or treasonous acts.”

Several million people across the federal government have taken the training since it was released, Pickart said, and there has been only one complaint. He added that the next version of the security awareness training, to be released in October, is being updated so that its insider-threat test focuses more on behavior, “not personal characteristics or beliefs.”

Notably, the CyberAwareness Challenge is given to a wide range of federal employees whose roles have far less to do with security threats than that of a National Security Agency contractor like Snowden. The Department of Housing and Urban Development even requires its private business partners accessing a tenant rental assistance database to complete the training.

The Defense Department version of the “CyberAwareness Challenge” shows a healthy familiarity with Manning’s disclosures to WikiLeaks: In one training slide, the user is asked what to do when contacted by a reporter from “WikiSpills.”

Identifying “WikiSpills,” even hypothetically, as a legitimate journalist organization is quite different from how military prosecutors have approached the real WikiLeaks in the trial of Manning. There the military has suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took few steps to verify the leaks he received before publication and acted as a virtual co-conspirator with his source.

Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said the DISA training slide was “ignorant and clumsy.”

“The item ‘speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy’ simply does not belong on the list,” Aftergood wrote in an email to HuffPost. “It is not a threat indicator. It could apply to most members of Congress, if not to most Americans. By presenting the matter this way, the slide suggests that overt dissent is a security concern. That is an error.”

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Feds Are Suspects in New Malware That Attacks Tor Anonymity

05 Aug 2013 Security researchers tonight are poring over a piece of malicious software that takes advantage of a Firefox security vulnerability to identify some users of the privacy-protecting Tor anonymity network. The malware showed up Sunday morning on multiple websites hosted by the anonymous hosting company Freedom Hosting. That would normally be considered a blatantly criminal “drive-by” hack attack, but nobody’s calling in the FBI this time. The FBI is the prime suspect. “It just sends identifying information to some IP in Reston, Virginia,” says reverse-engineer Vlad Tsyrklevich. “It’s pretty clear that it’s FBI or it’s some other law enforcement agency that’s U.S.-based.”

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Costa Rica Will Stop Sending Cocaine to Miami

05 Aug 2013 According to an official press release from the Organization of Judicial Investigations (OIJ in Spanish), Costa Rica will no longer send cocaine or other controlled substances to the United States, at least for the time being. The announcement comes in the wake of news reports about nearly 24 tons of cocaine transported by the U.S. Air Force to Miami on Saturday, July 27, 2013.

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Obama Nominates Defense Contractor Executive as Air Force Secretary

–The nomination raises questions about Pentagon-contractor relations at a time when the Pentagon is forced to rethink its budget, as well as questions about the revolving door between the Pentagon and the defense industry.

07 Aug 2013 President Obama [aka Obusha] has nominated defense industry executive Deborah Lee James to the post of secretary of the U.S. Air Force, according to the White House. James is the president of the technology and engineering sector at the McLean, Va.-based Science Application (SAIC), where she has been an executive since 2004. If confirmed by the Senate, James would succeed Michael Donley, who retired in June.

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Pacific Ocean poisoned, millions at risk?

Fukushima: Pacific Ocean poisoned, millions at risk?. 50782.jpeg

Bad news from Fukushima. Over two years since the nuclear explosion which wrecked the facility after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Pacific Ocean is being poisoned daily with lethal doses of highly toxic substances. This has been going on for over two years and according to some analysts, millions of people are at risk. Including in the USA.

Michael Snyder is among many researchers investigating the tonnes of toxic waste pouring every single day from Fukushima for some 750 days, and it continues, every single second of every minute of every day, week and month. In his article “Radioactive Water From Fukushima Is Systematically Poisoning The Entire Pacific Ocean” published originally in the website The Truth on August 6, 2013, he claims that “a massive amount of highly radioactive water is escaping into the Pacific Ocean from the ruins of the destroyed Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan.”

The article identifies tritium, cesium and strontium as the toxic substances pouring into the Pacific Ocean and being spread far and wide by ocean currents, rain and wind. Due to the fact that these substances are toxic and are almost certainly in the food chain, then people consuming contaminated Pacific seafood are probably already contaminated and possibly have rising levels of toxicity building up inside them.

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No more free sun: Arizona’s biggest power utility wants to tax solar

‘Arizona’s biggest power utility, Arizona Public Service (APS), has announced their intention to implement what would effectively be a tax on the sun. The whole idea behind net-metering is that if you install a solar system on the roof of your house or business, you can buy power from the grid when you need it, and sell extra power when you have a surplus. Often these rates are advantageous to provide an incentive for renewable energy adoption, a very fair thing considering all the subsidies, direct and indirect, that fossil fuels have had for decades.

But APS would like to start charging a monthly fee to sell clean power back to the grid (in their Orwellian language, they call it a “convenience charge”). A source says that that the fee could be of around $100/month or $1,200/year, enough to change the economic attractiveness of small systems. It’s not entirely clear if the fee scales up for larger systems, but that seems likely.’

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News You Don’t Want to Read About Fukushima

Fukushima

This has to be the worst picture I have ever seen. For all of us who thought we were safer down here in South America, a hemisphere removed from the jet streams blowing radiation directly from Fukushima over the United States, we can now see how false that belief is. In this video and a graph from NOAA (at the bottom of the newsletter) we see that La Nina is splitting the jet stream sending radiation increasingly over Hawaii and then on to South America.

In a petition to United States Senators we read, “Although the initial meltdown of three reactors, from the earthquake/tsunami of March 11, 2011, occurred over 2 years ago, the complex is still highly unstable, and leaking radiation constantly into the air and water. The Pacific Ocean is more and more contaminated. West Coast marine mammals are dying by the thousands, and West Coast babies are sick. The FDA is not testing food for radiation, although many fish are contaminated, and there have been reports of milk, mushrooms, seaweed being radioactive. Nor is the air along the coast being checked by official agencies.”

Radiation levels are rising! The situation is getting worse, not better, but we are not hearing about that in the news until today’s headlines, Japan nuclear body says radioactive water at Fukushima an ‘emergency’. Tepco confirms radioactive contamination flowing out into the sea. The head of Japan’s new Nuclear Regulation Authority, created since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami wrecked Fukushima, said this month he believed contamination of the sea had been continuing since the accident

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