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Israel's incoming defense minister evaded war crimes arrest, called Palestinians "cancer"

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© Wikipedia
Israel’s next “defense” minister poses for a photo with notorious racist blogger Pamela Geller
This is Moshe Ya'alon, the Likud parliamentarian set to become minister of "defense" in Israel's new hard-right coalition government due to be sworn in early next week.

In a 2002 interview with Israeli paper Haaretz, when he was Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, Ya'alon said the "Palestinian threat" was "like cancer" and an "existential threat." He explained that his solution was "applying chemotherapy."

The "chemotherapy," was the massive destruction his forces visited on Palestinian society during the second intifada. Israeli forces infamously fired over a million bullets at Palestinian demonstrators within the first few days of that popular uprising.

Under pressure, Ya'alon later back-pedaled, saying his statements were "inopportune," but that he had been "taken out of context" reported financial publication Globes in Hebrew.

Handcuffs

Bell officials guilty of defrauding California town, jury finds

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Former city manager Robert Rizzo, former assistant city manager Angela Spaccia, former councilman Victor Bello and ex-mayor Oscar Hernandez appear in court, Sept. 22, 2010. Rizzo and Spaccia have not been put on trial yet.
Small town officials were charged with unlawfully inflating salaries

The 36,000-person town of Bell, Calif., once had a city manager earning twice as much as the U.S. president, despite a quarter of the population living in poverty. Now, five former town council members have been found guilty of a slew of offenses after 18 days of jury deliberations.

Robert Rizzo, the former city manager, was characterized during the trial as the ringleader of the alleged fraud by the defendants, who claimed they were kept in the dark about city business.

Jurors didn't buy the argument, finding the five defendants each guilty of several felony charges of "misappropriation of public funds" for payment received as members of Bell's solid waste and recycling authority. The defendants were each found not guilty of charges relating to their service on the town's public financing authority.

A sixth defendant, Luis Artiga, was found not guilty of 12 charges brought against him. He sobbed in court as the verdicts were read.

Magnify

Christine Lagarde's flat raided by French police

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© Eric Vidal/Reuters
Christine Lagarde's lawyer said the police raid and wider investigation would help exonerate the IMF chief from any criminal wrongdoing.
IMF chief's residence searched amid inquiry into her handling of €285m payout to Nicolas Sarkozy supporter Bernard Tapie

Police have searched the Paris home of the head of the International Monetary Fund as part of a fraud investigation centred on a supporter of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Christine Lagarde's flat was raided along with that of her office manager and the home of businessman Bernard Tapie, a former politician, actor, singer and television celebrity.

The IMF chief has been the subject of preliminary investigations for "complicity in the embezzlement of public funds", since 2011, when Tapie was awarded €284m of public money in compensation in a financial dispute while she was economy minister.

The search came hours after the French government was rocked by a separate scandal after the budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac was put under criminal investigation amid claims he hid money from the French taxman in a secret Swiss bank account. Lagarde and Cahuzac have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Lagarde's lawyer, Yves Repiquet, said Wednesday's searches would vindicate his client. "They will serve to establish the truth and will contribute to the exoneration of my client of any criminal wrongdoing," he told Reuters.

Vader

NATO brands civilian 'hacktivists' as terrorists and 'legitimate' targets for elimination

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Politically motivated civilian hackers, or "hacktivists," who conduct online attacks as part of a nation's cyberwar efforts could lawfully be targeted with deadly force, according to a new study commissioned by NATO's cyberwarfare center.

"An act of direct participation in hostilities by civilians renders them liable to be attacked, by cyber or other legal means," reads the study, "The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare."

An international group of experts in the laws of warfare wrote the manual, at the invitation of NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia. It is not a statement of official policy by NATO or any of its member governments, but it reflects a consensus view of a large group of legal scholars and practitioners, including several senior military lawyers from NATO countries.

The manual is being launched next week in Washington, and the issue it raises, of hacktivists who join hostilities online, is far from merely hypothetical.

Laptop

Chutzpah! NATO dictates 'international law' on cyberwarfare

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Handbook drawn up for Nato's Co-operative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is first attempt to codify how international law applies to state-sponsored online attacks

State-sponsored cyber-attacks must avoid sensitive civilian targets such as hospitals, dams, dykes and nuclear power stations, according to an advisory manual on cyber-warfare written for Nato, which predicts that online attacks could in future trigger full-blown military conflicts.

The first attempt to codify how international law applies to online attacks includes a provision for states to respond with conventional force if aggression through hacking into computer networks by another state results in death or significant damage to property.

The handbook, written by 20 legal experts working in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the US Cyber Command, says full-scale wars could be triggered by online attacks on computer systems. It also states that so-called "hacktivists" who participate in online attacks during a war can be legitimate targets even though they are civilians.

Comment: NATO preaching to others about international law; it's like handing over school administration to pedophiles. NATO's decree that it's foul play to 'cyber-attack' hospitals apparently doesn't extend to the real thing:

NATO Missiles Target Libyan Hospital, Kill 50 Children

These same 'cyber' attacks, like 'terrorist' attacks, are generally sourced to the countries that spend most time talking about them:

Korea and US DDoS attacks: The attacking source located in United Kingdom

See also: NSA chief says America is ready to cyberattack

Mashable.com
Thu, 14 Mar 2013
For the first time, NSA chief and head of the U.S. Cyber Command Gen. Keith Alexander admitted America is ready to attack in cyberspace. Never before has a U.S. official acknowledged that the U.S. government is working on or is in possession of malware capable of attacking a foreign nation in a cyber conflict, despite the fact that at least one attack - the famous Stuxnext worm - has been attributed to the U.S.

On Wednesday, in his annual testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, Alexander took the cyberwar rethoric coming out of Washington up a notch. "I would like to be clear that this team, this defend-the-nation team, is not a defensive team," he said. "This is an offensive team."



Handcuffs

NASA researcher arrested on China-bound plane

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© Getty Images
The Justice Department has filed charges in a case that raises more questions than answers. The central figure is Bo Jiang, a researcher at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

Jiang was arrested Saturday night on a plane as it pulled away from the gate at Dulles International Airport bound for China. An FBI affidavit filed in support of the charges against Jiang says he "was leaving the United States abruptly to return to China on a one-way ticket."

The affidavit also says Jiang was questioned by federal agents about electronic devices he was carrying. He allegedly said that he was carrying a cell phone, a memory stick, an external hard drive and a new computer.

But agents discovered several items that Jiang failed to disclose, including "an additional laptop, an old hard drive and a SIM card." Federal prosecutors then filed charges that Jiang lied to federal investigators. He appeared briefly in federal court in Norfolk Monday and will remain in custody at least until a detention hearing on Thursday.

Document

Hacker begins distributing confidential memos sent to Hillary Clinton on Libya, Benghazi attack

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© Getty Images
Armed with confidential memos to Hillary Clinton that were stolen from the e-mail account of a former White House aide, a hacker has distributed some of the documents to a wide array of congressional aides, political figures, and journalists worldwide.

In a series of weekend e-mail blasts, the hacker known as "Guccifer" disseminated four recent memos to Clinton from Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of the former Secretary of State.

The 64-year-old Blumenthal, who worked as a senior White House adviser to President Bill Clinton, had his AOL e-mail account hacked last week by "Guccifer," who has conducted similar illegal assaults against a growing list of public figures, including Colin Powell, relatives and friends of the Bush family, and a top United Nations official.

The hacker's e-mails went to hundreds of recipients, though the distribution lists were dotted with addresses for aides to Senate and House members who are no longer in office. But many of the addresses to which the Blumenthal memos were sent are good (though it is unclear whether karl@rove.com is a solid address for the Republican mastermind).

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Red Flag

CNN asked Rand Paul about abortion exceptions: This Is how he answered

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© Getty Images
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Republican Senator Rand Paul boldly declared last week when he introduced the Life at Conception Act that "human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore is entitled to legal protection."

However, during an interview on Tuesday with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the Kentucky senator seemed to soften his tone when asked about abortion in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk.

"Just to be precise, if you believe life begins at conception, which I suspect you do, you would have no exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother. Is that right?" Blitzer asked.

"What I would say is that there are thousands of exceptions. I'm a physician and every individual case is going to be different," Sen. Paul responded. "Everything is going to be particular to that individual case and what is going on that mother and the medical circumstances of that mother."

Stormtrooper

Who is the one conservative that Rush Limbaugh says has every Democrat 'scared to death'?

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Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday said Dr. Ben Carson has the entire Democratic Party "scared to death" for several reasons.

"He is able to articulate and explain conservatism in a way that is persuasive, without raising his voice at all," Limbaugh said. It sounds like your dad talking to you, not your dad, your best buddy talking to you."

Should Carson ever decide to run for office, like his supporters want him to, the left would have a very hard time demonizing him, Limbaugh explained.

Snakes in Suits

Local sheriff recycles a terrible presidential assassination joke

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© Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office-Facebook
Plymouth County Sheriff Joe McDonald Jr.
Plymouth County Sherriff Joe McDonald attended the Republicans' rival St. Patrick's Day breakfast in Scituate on Sunday, and he's taking some serious criticism from left-leaning blogs for a joke he made suggesting that President Obama could help the nation by getting assassinated. The joke, it turns out, isn't just bad - it's also really, really old. According to an early edition of a Boston Globe article that has since removed the account, the joke goes like this:
McDonald offered a joke about Barack Obama being visited in a dream by three past presidents, who offered advice on how to improve the country. Lincoln's advice: "Go to the theater."
As Ted Nugent can tell you, joking about the assassination of a president typically doesn't go over well. At the breakfast, McDonald's line got "scattered laughter." In the blogosphere, it's getting condemnation.

St. Patricks Day breakfasts are a gauntlet for politicians to test out their best stand-up routines, so it's notable that McDonald failed not just for tastelessness, but for stealing his comedy. Indeed, politicians have been making this joke - replacing Obama with whichever president they dislike - since at least the Reagan years. Rarely has it gone over well. And it's not just an example of Republicans' poor taste. Cruddy comedians on both sides of the aisle have made use of it. (You think it's tasteless to make these jokes in the current era of gun violence, so imagine making it about a president who has actually already survived an assassination attempt!)