Puppet MastersS


Chess

Voting Laws May Stop More Than 10 Million Hispanic U.S. Citizens from Registering to Vote: Study

Romney, Obama
Washington - New voting laws in 23 of the 50 states could keep more than 10 million Hispanic U.S. citizens from registering and voting, a new study said on Sunday, a number so large it could affect the outcome of the November 6 election.

The Latino community accounts for more than 10 percent of eligible voters nationally. But the share in some states is high enough that keeping Hispanic voters away from the polls could shift some hard-fought states from support for Democratic President Barack Obama and help his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.

The new laws include purges of people suspected of not being citizens in 16 states that unfairly target Latinos, the civil rights group Advancement Project said in the study to be formally released on Monday.

Laws in effect in one state and pending in two others require proof of citizenship for voter registration. That imposes onerous and sometimes expensive documentation requirements on voters, especially targeting naturalized American citizens, many of whom are Latino, the liberal group said.

Nine states have passed restrictive photo identification laws that impose costs in time and money for millions of Latinos who are citizens but do not yet have the required identification, it said.

Magic Wand

Faked gold bars hit NYC

gold bars
Diamond District finds 10 tungsten-filled bars

Federal agents are investigating the peddling of bogus gold bars in Midtown.

The Post has learned as many as 10 fake gold bars - made up mostly of relatively worthless tungsten - were sold recently to unsuspecting dealers in Manhattan's Midtown Diamond District.

The price of gold has risen more than 600 percent since January 2000, while the S&P 500 index is down 0.6 percent over the same period.

The 10-oz. gold bars are hugely popular with Main Street investors, and it is not known how many of the fake gold bars were sold to dealers - or if any fake bars were purchased by the public.

One gold dealer discovered that four of the 3-inch-by-1-inch gold bars he bought - worth about $72,000 retail - were counterfeit.

"It has the entire street on edge," said Ibrahim Fadl, 62, who has been the owner of Express Metal Refining, a Midtown gold-refinery business, for the last 11 years. "I and the others on the street work off of trust; now that trust is strained."

Document

'Long Overdue': 55 Names of Unfairly Imprisoned US Guantanamo Bay Inmates Released

Image
© Agence France-Presse/Virginie Montet
It has been three years since the US government approved a list of Guantanamo Bay detainees for release. On Friday, the names of those 55 inmates who had been authorized for transfer were made public.

­The Department of Justice stated that there was no longer a "need to withhold" the information. However, the prisoners in question remain on the island.

The US government has previously said that a list could not be released as it would hinder efforts to repatriate and resettle prisoners in other countries. A large proportion of the men are believed to be Yemeni.

In January 2010, President Obama suspended further transfers to Yemen, saying the country's atmosphere was too "unsettled" to be certain that detainees wouldn't engage in terrorist activities.

Shane Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights claims the list still "seems to not include the Yemenis cleared for conditional release."

Stormtrooper

Academi (Ex-Blackwater) to Teach US Spies Survival Skills

Image
© http://blackwaterusa.com
The Pentagon has awarded Academi, the security company previously known as Blackwater, part of a $20 billion five year contract to train military intelligence agents. It comes despite the firm earlier being fined by a US court for illegal arms trade.

­The US Defense Intelligence Agency announced on Thursday that it would hire six private security companies, including Academi, for the contract. The contractors are to train agents "before they leave on overseas deployments, to provide them with a foundation of hard and soft skills relevant to living and working in hostile and austere environments," the document says.

Academi declined to comment on the contract when asked by Wired's Danger Room blog, saying it is not finalized yet. But it may be one of the first US governmental contracts it received after changing ownership and re-branding for a second time. Blackwater dropped its scandal-tainted name and became Xe Services in 2009, but in late December 2011 changed it again.

In August, Academi struck a deal with the US Justice Department and agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle what the company described as a "legacy matter" left behind by former managers and owners, including founder Erik Prince, who sold his interest in 2010.

Target

US Threatens Sanctions Against Ukraine Over Tymoshenko Case

Yulia Tymoshenko
© RIA Novosti / Sergey StarostenkoYulia Tymoshenko
The US Senate has threatened to impose political sanctions on Ukraine over the jailing of former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, urging Kiev to immediately release the opposition leader.

The Senate adopted a resolution on Saturday that stressed that the Tymoshenko trial was "politically motivated" and urged her immediate release citing her poor health condition.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry dismissed the resolution, saying in a statement that commenting on it would be "unreasonable".

It further claimed the resolution had been passed in great haste just minutes before the end of the session, with "less than half a dozen acting members of the chamber" still present.

"The friends of the Tymoshenko team did everything to bring into the Ukrainian media space yet another falsified pretext for groundless arguments and discrediting of the upcoming parliamentary election. These efforts go against Ukraine's national interests and are bound to fail," the ministry lashed out.

In October 2011, Tymoshenko - President Viktor Yanukovich's main political rival - was found guilty of abuse of office over a 2009 gas deal with Russia. Since then the former prime minister has been serving a seven-year sentence at a jail in the city of Kharkov.

Megaphone

Police State: US Law Enforcement to Use Russian Software to Store Millions of Voices

Image
© Reuters / Robert Galbraith
The US government has already proven its intent to see all evil, with the use of Orwellian programs like TrapWire. But it can now hear all evil too, as law enforcement agencies implement a tool able to store, analyze and identify voices in seconds.

'Voice Grid Nation' is a system that uses advanced algorithms to match identities to voices. Brought to the US by Russia's Speech Technology Center, it claims to be capable of allowing police, federal agencies and other law enforcement personnel to build up a huge database containing up to several million voices.

When authorities intercept a call they've deemed 'hinky', the recording is entered into the VoiceGrid program, which (probably) buzzes and whirrs and spits out a match. In five seconds, the program can scan through 10,000 voices, and it only needs 3 seconds for speech analysis. All that, combined with 100 simultaneous searches and the storage capacity of 2 million samples, gives SpeechPro, as the company is known in the US, the right to claim a 90% success rate.

According to Slate.com's Ryan Gallagher, who spoke with SpeechPro president Aleksey Khitrov, the software is already being used in many different countries and for 'noble causes' only - like in Mexico, where Voice Grid helped identify and apprehend kidnappers during a ransom call, thus saving their victim's life.

Both the FBI and the NSA have expressed interest in the program, which is also expected to be used at 911 call centers and police precincts. And sample lists would, of course, contain 'persons of interest' - known criminals, terror suspects or people on a watch list.

Or would it?

Airplane

Only 15% 'Not At All Concerned' About Drones Invading Privacy

Drones
© alittlereality.blogspot.com
A poll conducted by Monmouth University and cited in a Government Accountability Office report published yesterday indicates that only 15 percent of Americans say they are "not at all concerned" that the use of drones by law enforcement will invade their privacy.

At the same time, 67 percent say they are opposed to police using drones to issue speeding tickets.

The GAO report said that law enforcement agencies are "the greatest potential users" of small drones within the United States.

"Domestically, state and local law enforcement entities represent the greatest potential users of small UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] in the near term because they can offer a simple and cost effective solution for airborne law enforcement activities," said the GAO report.

"For example, federal officials and one airborne law enforcement official said that a small UAS costing between $30,000 and $50,000 is more likely to be purchased by state and local law enforcement entities because the cost is nearly equivalent to that of a patrol car and much less than a manned aircraft," said GAO. "According to an industry trade group, local law enforcement can potentially choose from about 146 different types of small UAS being manufactured by about 69 different companies in the U.S."

Comment: For more information about the use of drones please read:
Sott Focus: Policing the Herd: Domestic Drones for 'Domestic Terrorists' by Richard Swander
Celebrating our "Warrior President"
Obama's Death Panels: Jeremy Scahill at the Drone Summit
Spy in the Sky: Is It Only a Matter of Time Before Drone Technology is Used in Civil Society?
Police State: "Robots R'US": Military-Style Drones on 63 Military Bases In The USA


Mr. Potato

Ahmadinejad travels to United Nations for last address as President of Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President will address UN General Assembly for final time as President of Iran, accompanied by a 100-person entourage.

Eternally controversial Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in New York City and will make his final address as president to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly - a visit that comes at a particularly tense time for US-Middle Eastern relations.

The Tehran Times reports that 100 people will accompany the Iranian president to New York City, and that many more were denied visas to join him.

Target

Spy Device Disguised as Rock Blown Up Near Iran Nuclear Site

Image
© Reuters
A photograph of the suspected uranium-enrichment facility near Iran's holy city of Qom.
A spy device camouflaged as a rock exploded when it came into contact with Iranian troops near an underground nuclear enrichment plant, The Sunday Times reported this week.

Last month, Revolutionary Guards at the Fordo nuclear facility, near the northern city of Qom, came across the rock and attempted to move it, according to sources who spoke to the newspaper.

The guards, who had been on patrol to check terminals connecting data and telephone links to the site, reportedly witnessed the disguised spy device exploding when they came into contact with it.

Experts who surveyed the scene of the explosion, according to the newspaper, analyzed remnants of the device and found it had been able to intercept data from computers at the nuclear plant, where uranium is enriched.

News of the explosion was reportedly first kept secret by the Iranians. But last week, Fereydoun Abbasi the Iranian vice-president and the head of the nuclear energy agency, revealed that the power lines between Qom and the Fordo facility were blown-up in August.

The finding has sparked speculation over whether the spy device could have been a significant source of intelligence for Western countries, which has now been lost.

Nuke

Iran Accuses Germany's Siemens of Alleged Nuclear Sabotage, Company Denies Ties to Project

Siemens
Tehran, Iran - Iran accused Germany's Siemens on Saturday of implanting tiny explosives inside equipment the Islamic Republic purchased for its disputed nuclear program, a charge the technology giant denied.

Prominent lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Iranian security experts discovered the explosives and removed them before detonation, adding that authorities believe the booby-trapped equipment was sold to derail uranium enrichment efforts.

"The equipment was supposed to explode after being put to work, in order to dismantle all our systems," he said. "But the wisdom of our experts thwarted the enemy conspiracy."

Siemens denied the charge and said its nuclear division has had no business with Iran since the 1979 revolution that led to its current clerical state.

"Siemens rejects the allegations and stresses that we have no business ties to the Iranian nuclear program," spokesman for the Munich-based company Alexander Machowetz said.