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Fri, 21 Jan 2022
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Israel threatens to halt flights from Denmark

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...or maybe not if you're flying from Denmark
Israel has threatened to halt all direct flights to Denmark after Copenhagen refused to allow Israeli security personnel to perform security checks at the country's main airport.

Tel Aviv had demanded that Israeli security personnel carry out independent security checks on passengers flying from Copenhagen to Tel Aviv on the newly-launched Israeli Arkia Airlines' Copenhagen-Tel Aviv route.

Israel had also demanded that Danish aviation authorities allow armed Israeli guards patrol certain 'Israeli security zones' at Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport.

Danish aviation authorities, however, rejected both demands, saying they are in sharp contrast with laws of freedom and human dignity.

Vader

Feinberg Can't Do Public Job, Take Secret Pay

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© N/A
The deadline for submitting claims to the $20 billion BP oil spill compensation fund is midnight Tuesday. The wrangling over payouts will go on, perhaps for years. Yet the administrator of the fund, Kenneth Feinberg, stubbornly refuses to say how much he's being paid by the oil company, eroding the trust of frustrated claimants and the public.

If BP had funneled the $20 billion through government, which hired Feinberg to administer it, his pay would have been public from day one. BP was allowed to skip the government intermediary, but BP didn't hire Feinberg - President Obama appointed him, straight out of a real public job as White House overseer of executive pay at bailed-out companies.

Obama said as Feinberg took the job: "I'm confident he will assure that claims are administered as quickly, as fairly and as transparently as possible."

Bizarro Earth

Feds Finally Release List Of Chemicals Found In Oil Spill Dispersants

corexit,plane

It took over a year, but earlier this month the Environmental Protection Agency finally released a partial list of the chemical components in oil dispersants used to "clean up" portions of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

EPA released a list of the 57 ingredients in all of the dispersants eligible for use in oil spills and identified the specific ingredients of some of them - in particular, Dispersit, Mare Clean, and COREXIT 9500 and COREXIT 9527, which were used in response to the oil disaster in the Gulf.

"This disclosure was long overdue," said Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelman Lado. "These dispersants were used in massive quantities, nearly 2 million gallons, exposing workers, community residents, and wildlife to toxic chemicals, without adequate information about whether they were adding injury to the already tragic circumstances."

Bad Guys

Israel: Netanahyu orders defense establishment to stop Gaza-bound flotilla

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© Ronen Zvulun / Reuters
Cabinet accepts Navy's plan to prevent upcoming flotilla from arriving in Gaza; ministers agree that flotilla members will be allowed to unload humanitarian cargo at Egyptian port of El-Arish and Ashdod port.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday ordered the defense establishment not to allow any ship to reach Gaza's shores, Israel Radio reported.

Netanahyu made the comments during a meeting of the security cabinet over preparations Israel was taking to deal with a new flotilla expected to be setting sail for Gaza this week.

Pumpkin

50 day lullaby of Lulzsec is over .. for now

Update: Anon picks up baton

After fifty days of wreaking security busting mayhem on websites round the globe, Lulzsec says it's hanging up its hacking hats.

Perhaps to forestall accusations either that its members were sinking the LulzBoat in response to rival TeamPoison's threat to expose its members, or that they're clearing out the basement before the police arrive, LulzSec issued its farewell on the PirateBay on Sunday claiming that its demise had been planned: "Bon voyage. Our planned 50 day cruise has expired," the note said.

"For the past 50 days we've been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could," the group wrote in its farewell statement.

Mr. Potato

US: Defense Secretary Robert Gates: A straight shooter retires

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© The Associated Press / Alex Brandon
Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.
He served two presidents as a pragmatic, independent, non-ideological voice of reason.

Our leaders are not held in particularly high regard these days. Corruption, venality, ideological rigidity and self-serving politics have helped create a national atmosphere of discord and divisiveness and have helped push politicians and government officials down, down, down in the polls.

So it is worth taking note of Robert Gates, the U.S. secretary of Defense since late 2006, who is stepping down this week. Gates, a 67-year-old former CIA director, served in his current job under two presidents: George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And though the two were as different as two presidents could be, Gates served them both as a pragmatic, independent, non-ideological voice of reason, by all appearances driven less by self-promotion than by concern for the national interest and the common good.

He wasn't always one of our favorites. Back in the 1980s, Gates was a little too close to (but never indicted in) the Iran-Contra scandal, in which American officials traded arms for hostages in Iran and used the profits to fund the right-wing Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua. He was known as a hotheaded and impulsive Cold Warrior, a hard-liner against the Soviets and other governments of the left. He even advocated airstrikes against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in 1984.

Gates has mellowed since then, but even now we don't agree with all of his positions, including his vehement campaign in recent weeks for only a "modest" reduction in troop levels in Afghanistan this year and next.

Bizarro Earth

Syrian Protesters Warn of 'Volcano' This Week

Syrian troops continue to shoot and kill mourners and refugees flee to Lebanon as the protest movement warns of a "volcano" this week. Various sources reported that up to 18 civilians, including two mourners, were gunned down Friday by soldiers and secret police loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.


Hourglass

Assange Shakes Up Legal Team

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© Agence France-Presse
Legal eagles: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addresses the media as he leaves Court in south-east London earlier this year. The Australian has recruited new lawyers to his team.
Julian Assange is bringing in the UK's most high-profile lawyers as he tries to avoid extradition to Sweden.

The move comes ahead of an important July 12 appeals hearing in the UK High Court, which will rule on whether Assange - who heads Wikileaks - should be handed over to Swedish authorities for questioning.

The website chief has denied wrongdoing and has not been formally charged. The allegations arose as WikiLeaks was in the midst of a controversial release of a bevy of US State Department cables.

Attorneys Gareth Peirce and Ben Emmerson will represent Assange at the upcoming hearing, their offices confirmed separately. His long-time lawyer, Mark Stephens, declined to say whether he was still representing Assange.

"I'm not prepared to go into that," Stephens said by phone. Asked if he had parted ways with Assange, Stephens said: "That's not entirely accurate."

Star of David

State Dept Threatens Prison for US Participants in Gaza Aid Flotilla

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Israeli officials have been ratcheting up their rhetoric in demanding that the world unite to stop humanitarian aid from being delivered to the people of the Gaza Strip, calling such attempts an existential threat to Israel and a "deliberate provocation" by the world.

While this hasn't resulted in European nations or others stopping humanitarian groups from moving forward with the aid, it has shifted the Obama Administration's position from opposition to open threats.

Now, the US State Department is not only railing against the flotilla as "irresponsible" but is threatening criminal charges against American participants, claiming that the attempt to deliver aid to Gaza amounts to "conspiring to deliver material support" to Hamas and could lead to lengthy prison sentences.

Laptop

LulzSec dumps hundreds of Arizona, US Police documents

Border cops' private laundry aired

Lulz Security's string of embarrassing hacks continued as the group released hundreds of internal documents belonging to various Arizona law enforcement agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Many of the documents released over BitTorrent are stamped "law enforcement sensitive" and "for official use only," and the dump of some 700 files contains material from a variety of agencies, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety has reportedly acknowledged that its computer systems were compromised and the department's website had been inaccessible for more than eight hours at time of writing. A post on LulzSec's website, said hackers targeted the agency for its enforcement of a recently enacted Arizona law that makes it a crime for aliens to be in the state without carrying immigration documents and gives police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the US illegally.