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The NSA is reading all the stuff you think you've "encrypted"

© Associated Press
It's now a given that the NSA works to grab data from sites like Facebook - but what about the stuff that's explicitly private, the websites guaranteed to be protected and secure? The New York Times reports that American spies have been decoding our scrambled online acts for years.

Aside from data-siphoning programs like PRISM and on-demand requests for personal profiles, the basic technology that prevents someone from eavesdropping on your internet banking or password-protected emails is compromised - that little padlock icon you see in your web browser, smashed to virtual bits.

War Whore

Corporate-controlled U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee completely ignores the will of the American people and approves Syria attack resolution

Committee voted 10-7, with both Democrats and Republicans voting for and against resolution.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize President Obama to use limited force against Syria Wednesday, after adopting amendments from Sen. John McCain designed to urge Obama to "change the military equation on the battlefield."

The Senate resolution would limit hostilities to 60 or 90 days, narrow military action to Syria's borders and prohibit U.S. troops on Syrian soil. McCain's proposal didn't change that scope but urged that the end goal should be "a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria."

The vote was 10-7. Five Republicans and two Democrats voted against it. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., voted "present."


John McCain: Professional crook selling protection to financial criminals

© www.mrconservative.com
The Savings and Loan Scandal

Who is John McCain?

He passes himself off as a war hero even though fellow POWs in Vietnam say he collaborated with his captors.

So what else does he do?

He's a US Senator who is good at raising money...from anyone and that included financial criminals who needed him to run interference in Washington DC for them.

He did it during the Saving and Loan crisis of the 1980s and he did it during the Sub Prime Meltdown of the 2008.

And we're supposed to take this lying, thieving sack of s***'s word for anything as if he's some kind of statesman.

Are they serious?


16 Major firms may have received early data from Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters headquarters
© Jb Reed/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesThe Thomson Reuters headquarters building in New York City.
Readers may recall an ugly story that broke earlier this summer, when New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman rebuked the news/business information firm Thomson Reuters for selling access to key economic survey data two seconds early to high-frequency algorithmic traders. The story strongly suggested that some Thomson Reuters customers were using their two-second head start (an eternity in the modern world of computerized trading) to front-run the markets.

"The early release of market-moving survey data undermines fair play in the markets," Schneiderman said, back in the second week of July. Thomson Reuters suspended the practice of selling two-second head starts after Schneiderman insisted upon a change. Still, the firm defiantly refused to declare the change permanent and insisted that it had the right to "legally distribute non-governmental data" to "fee-paying subscribers."

It turns out that there's more to the story.

Back in June, journalist Simone Foxman at the global economic site Quartz reported that in addition to the two-second head start some Thomson Reuters customers were getting on the release of the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, other customers may have been getting their data even earlier, "nearly an hour in advance" in some cases.

Rolling Stone has since learned that a whistleblower complaint has been filed to the SEC identifying 16 of the world's biggest banks and hedge funds as the allegedly even-earlier recipients of this key economic data. The complaint alleges that this select group of customers received the data anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour ahead of the rest of the markets.


Business as usual behind the scenes: U.S., Canada and Russia conduct 'successful' joint military drill

© U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason RobertsonRoyal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets receives fuel from a CC-150T Polaris Aug. 28, 2013, at Exercise Vigilant Eagle (VE) 13.
Senior military officials from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and Russia on Thursday declared their Vigilant Eagle 13 exercise a major success.

The joint military drill kicked off on August 26, with scenarios that required the United States, Canada and Russia to respond to simulated terrorist hijackings of commercial aircraft. Both NORAD, a bi national command of the United States and Canada, and Russia had to scramble fighter jets and track and intercept the "hijacked aircraft."

Just concluding the most ambitious Vigilant Eagle exercise yet, NORAD's operations director Canadian Major General Andre Viens and Russian Commander Gen. Maj. Dmitry Gomenkov told reporters they are ready to take the lessons learned to make next year's exercise even more challenging.

Throughout the exercise series, the participants have developed tactics, techniques and procedures to effectively notify, coordinate, and conduct positive hand-off of a hijacked aircraft flying through Russian, Canadian and American airspace, Viens told reporters during a teleconference.

Eye 1

Brazil senate committee to probe US spying

Brazil cancels US trip
© RT.comBrazil's President Dilma Rousseff and US President Barack Obama (Still from RT video)
Brazil's senate has formed an Investigative Parliamentary Commission to follow up on reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

"We intend to protect national sovereignty," Xinhua quoted Senator Vanessa Graziotin of the Communist Party of Brazil as saying Tuesday.

The committee, comprising 11 main members and seven substitutes, initially has 180 days to investigate claims that the NSA monitored emails between Rousseff and several of her top aides, and tapped her phone.

The investigative period can be extended by another 180 days if the commission needs more time.

The members discussed the possibility of the state providing federal protection for Rio de Janeiro-based journalist Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda, considering them to be key witnesses in the investigation.

Greenwald was the first to break the story of Washington's global spying programme, based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.


Flashback Best of the Web: Washington warmongers turned down extraordinary 2003 Iranian offer to end its support for Hamas and Hezbollah

© Unknown
Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003, but it was rejected, a senior former US official has told the BBC's Newsnight programme.

Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion.

Offers, including making its nuclear programme more transparent, were conditional on the US ending hostility.

But Vice-President Dick Cheney's office rejected the plan, the official said.

The offers came in a letter, seen by Newsnight, which was unsigned but which the US state department apparently believed to have been approved by the highest authorities.

In return for its concessions, Tehran asked Washington to end its hostility, to end sanctions, and to disband the Iranian rebel group the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and repatriate its members.

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had allowed the rebel group to base itself in Iraq, putting it under US power after the invasion.


Russia boosts Mediterranean fleet for potential evacuation - Kremlin

© RIA Novosti. Vitaliy AnkovRussia Boosts Mediterranean Fleet for Potential Evacuation
Russia has strengthened its naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian nationals from Syria, the Kremlin chief of staff said Thursday.

Asked why Russia is boosting its task force in the region, Sergei Ivanov said: "Above all, given the presence there of amphibious landing ships, they are intended for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens."

Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said earlier on Thursday that the country's increased presence in the Mediterranean is "a legitimate, natural and predictable reaction to the situation developing" in the region.

"Our actions are in strict compliance with international law and the UN Charter," he stressed, adding that the Mediterranean Sea is "quite close to Russia's borders."


Putin warns of risks that financial crisis will recur

© Photo host agency/ Alexei KudenkoPutin Warns of Risks That Financial Crisis Will Recur
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the global economy had not yet returned to sustained and balanced growth, and that systemic risks for a recurrence of the crisis remained.

Addressing the first working session of this year's G20 summit, he said that although the US economy was growing, it was not growing fast enough, and there were no guarantees that Japan's economic growth had become a stable trend.

The situation in the euro zone is "disturbing, due to the ongoing recession," Putin said, adding that a 0.6 percent economic decline is expected this year.


Best of the Web: Kerry tells Congress that oil sheikhs will pay U.S. to execute regime change in Syria

Saudi sheikhs and Israeli leaders agree: 'We'll basically hire the US military to fight the war against Syria for us'
In a rare moment of diplomatic candor, US Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional hearing Wednesday that oil sheiks have offered to pay the United States to unseat Bashar al-Assad as Syrian strong man. The surprising admission came in response to congressional pressure on the administration to explain how yet another military operation would be paid for during a period of prolonged budgetary sequestration.

Apparently trying to assuage concerns about billions and billions of taxpayer dollars financing a "punishment strike" that most legislators know in their guts is the opening salvo in another Libyan style war of degrading the Syrian military (while untold numbers of civilians are also killed in the process), Kerry, according to The Washington Post, revealed more than he probably meant to:
Secretary of State John Kerry said at Wednesday's hearing that Arab counties have offered to pay for the entirety of unseating President Bashar al-Assad if the United States took the lead militarily.

"With respect to Arab countries offering to bear costs and to assess, the answer is profoundly yes," Kerry said. "They have. That offer is on the table."

Asked by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) about how much those countries would contribute, Kerry said they have offered to pay for all of a full invasion.

"In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing the way we've done it previously in other places, they'll carry that cost," Kerry said. "That's how dedicated they are at this. That's not in the cards, and nobody's talking about it, but they're talking in serious ways about getting this done."
The conundrum for Kerry is that you can't say "nobody's talking about it" when you've just said that an offer is on the table in case the Syrian conflict becomes a full-fledged Libyan style regime replacement operation.

So, what do our American readers think of Kerry's proposition: the Saudis and Qataris will pay for this dirty little war if you supply the cannon fodder.

Fair deal?