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Tue, 19 Oct 2021
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Judge OKs feds' access to WikiLeakers Twitter info

Rebuffs constitutional challenges

A federal judge in Virginia has given investigators access to the Twitter records of four WikiLeaks associates, including the email addresses associated with the accounts and the IP addresses used to access them.

Friday's decision by US Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan, rejected arguments by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation that the request for records violated federal law and Free Speech and Privacy rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. She also denied the groups' request to unseal investigators' application seeking the data from Twitter.

"The Twitter Order does not demand the contents of any communication, and thus constitutes only a request for records under §2703(c)," Buchanan wrote, referring to a provision of the 1994 Stored Communications Act that permits the prosecutors to obtain contact details, IP addresses and other information related to records stored online. "The Twitter Order does not demand the contents of any communication, and thus constitutes only a request for records under §2703(c)."

Heart - Black

UK: NHS reforms: will family doctors become accountants?

GP consortiums competing for patients will break up the health service, critics say
NHS protesters
© Andy Rain/EPA
Supporters demonstrate against the government's new health and social care bill.

Among the 50 GPs feted by the prime minister in January at a champagne reception in Downing Street were the leading lights of the National Association of Primary Care, a group of family doctors who many see as the brains behind health secretary Andrew Lansley's plans.

The physicians sipping bubbly at No 10 were part of the first wave of GP shadow consortiums - doctors tasked with reshaping hospital services in the runup to finally being handed the NHS purse strings. Treading the corridors of power that chilly winter evening was Charles Alessi, an executive member of the NAPC, who two weeks earlier had penned a tabloid comment piece backing the radical pro-market plans of the government.

While the association is careful to say it is not aligned to any party, it did come up with the central plank of the health secretary's policy: dissolve England's primary care trusts, which currently commission hospital care on behalf of patients, and instead allow GP practices, essentially private businesses run by doctors, to form consortiums to buy treatments using £80bn of Treasury money. The loss of the primary care trusts will see 24,000 jobs go.


Bahrain king declares martial law over protests

© Associated Press
This screen grab taken from Bahrain TV shows troops arriving in Bahrain from Saudi Arabia on Monday, March 14.
Cairo - Bahrain's king declared a three-month state of emergency Tuesday and gave the country's military chief wide authority to battle a Shiite-led protest movement that has threatened the Sunni monarchy and drawn in forces from around the Gulf.

The martial law-style order was read out on Bahrain state TV a day after more than 1,000 Saudi-led troops arrived to help prop up the U.S.-backed regime in the first major cross-border military action to challenge one of the revolts sweeping across the Arab world.

On Tuesday, clashes broke out across the tiny island nation, with a doctor reporting that hundreds of protesters were injured by shotgun blasts and clubs and that one died from a bullet to the head. One of the Saudi soldiers was also shot and killed by a protester, said a security official in Saudi Arabia.

Further underlining the regional implications of the unrest in Bahrain, Shiite power Iran denounced the intervention of foreign troops as "unacceptable" and predicted it would complicate the kingdom's political crisis.

Iran holds no deep political ties to Bahrain's Shiite groups, but some Iranian hard-liners have hailed their efforts over the years for greater rights for their community, which represents a majority of the nation's population. In the month of protests, the Shiite-led opposition is also pressing for political freedoms.


Germany: Nuclear Disaster 'Will Have Political Impact as Great as 9/11'

© Reuters
A combination photo showing an explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on Monday.
The nuclear disaster in Fukushima makes it hard to ignore the vulnurabilities of the technology. It could spell the end of nuclear power, German commentators argue on Monday. The government in Berlin may now cave in to mounting pressure to suspend its 12-year extension of reactor lifetimes, they say.

The nuclear accident at Japan's Fukushima plant following Friday's earthquake and tsunami has led to anxious questions in Germany about the safety of its own nuclear reactors and is putting the government under intense pressure to rethink its decision to extend plant lifetimes by an average of 12 years.

German media commentators across the political spectrum are saying the accident in a highly developed nation such as Japan is further evidence that nuclear power isn't safe. One commentator in the conservative Die Welt went as far as to liken the global impact of the Fukushima explosions to that of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


Franken: They're 'after the Internet'

© Associated Press
Austin, Texas - Sen. Al Franken claimed Monday that big corporations are "hoping to destroy" the Internet and issued a call to arms to several hundred tech-savvy South by Southwest attendees to preserve net neutrality.

"I came here to warn you, the party may be over," Franken said. "They're coming after the Internet hoping to destroy the very thing that makes it such an important [medium] for independent artists and entrepreneurs: its openness and freedom."

Net neutrality, he added, is "the First Amendment issue of our time."

Receiving a hero's welcome from the liberal crowd, Franken took repeated shots at big telecoms, singling out Comcast.


P.J. Crowley resigns over Manning remark

© Associated Press photo
Crowley’s public criticism angered some at the Pentagon and across the administration.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley has resigned after publicly crossing swords with the Pentagon over the treatment of an Army soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military reports and sensitive diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.

The chain of events that led to Crowley's exit was set in motion Thursday when Crowley appeared at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology seminar and called the Pentagon's handling of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is detained at the brig at Quantico, "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."

Crowley's public criticism angered some at the Pentagon and others across the administration because it put him directly at odds with Defense Department officials who have spent weeks trying to defend Manning's treatment. The soldier is being detained under near-constant lockdown, and he filed a formal complaint about being forced to strip each night at bedtime.

The State spokesman's predicament may have worsened further Friday afternoon, when ABC's Jake Tapper asked Obama during a White House press conference whether he agreed with Crowley.

"With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are," Obama said. "I can't go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety as well."

Bad Guys

Ukrainian police search for Palestinian allegedly kidnapped by Mossad

Ukrainian police said Friday that they are investigating the whereabouts of a Palestinian engineer reportedly kidnapped by Israeli secret agents several weeks ago.

Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, 'disappeared under unknown circumstances' on February 18 while riding a passenger train from the eastern city of Kharkiv to the capital Kiev, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

His Ukrainian wife, Veronika Abu Sisi, told the German Press Agency dpa that he later telephoned her and said he was being held in a secret Israeli prison.

'Dirar said Israeli secret agents had grabbed him and snuck him out of Ukraine,' she said. 'He has done nothing, and I am absolutely shocked.'

Bad Guys

Pakistan: Ex-ISI official alleges CIA, RAW, Mossad behind Baloch insurgency

The insurgents in Balochistan are Indians operating in connivance with US security firm Blackwater, former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Punjab chief Brigadier (retired) Mohammad Aslam Ghuman has alleged.

"Pervez Musharraf provided safe passage to the Indian intelligence agency RAW, which has established dozens of consulates in Afghanistan along the border with Balochistan," The Nation quoted Ghuman, as saying.

He claimed that days after the Russian federation collapsed, US' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Israel's Mossad carried out a comprehensive analysis and recommended launching a major operation inside Pakistan, especially Balochistan, to shake the state.


US: Clinton admits no 'real news' in US media

Hillary Clinton
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admits that American media outlets do not offer real news despite being the "most technologically advanced."

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, Clinton said Washington is losing the "information war" in the world. She cited the quality of news channels like the Doha-based Al-Jazeera as one of the reasons justifying her opinion, The Huffington Post reported on Thursday.

"We're the most technologically advanced country in the world, so slowly but surely we've been trying to take back the airwaves in Afghanistan against Taliban with the most primitive kind of communication equipment. Now, take that as one example where I don't think we were very competitive, and we have worked like crazy to change that, and then go to the most extreme where you've got a global, a set of global networks, that al-Jazeera has been the leader in, that are literally changing people's minds and attitudes," she said.

Clinton also compared Al-Jazeera with US media outlets, and pointed out that the network is becoming increasingly popular in the United States because it disseminates "real news."


US drone strikes kills 5 in Pakistan


Terrorists in the skies: Over 1,100 Pakistanis were killed in unauthorized US drone attacks last year.
A non-UN sanctioned US drone attack has killed at least five people and wounded several others in Pakistan's northwest tribal area of South Waziristan, intelligence officials in the region say.

The five were killed on Sunday morning when a US drone aircraft fired two missiles at a vehicle in Azam Warsik, a militant hotbed on the Afghan border, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Meanwhile, locals said US predator drones were still hovering over the South and North Waziristan tribal regions.

The attack comes two days after two US drone attacks killed at least six people and wounded several others in North Waziristan Province near the border with Afghanistan.

The US frequently carries out such attacks on Pakistan's tribal areas. Attacks by unmanned American planes have left dozens of people dead in the volatile region over the past weeks.

Nearly 1,200 people were killed in 124 unauthorized US drone attacks in Pakistan in 2010.