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David Seaton: Will This All End with a Bang or a Whimper?

U.S. corporate profits and efficiency are getting absurd. On Friday we saw record quarterly profits of $1,450 billion, making up a record share of GDP at 10.1%. We're also at record corporate efficiency of $15,278.72 -- up 22.3% from last year (...). That last one says it all. Rampant job cuts and salary cuts, with new responsibilities for old workers, during the recession turned corporations into profit-making machines. Stimulative policies from the government and the Federal Reserve helped plenty. New technology also helps with efficiency. Unfortunately there are no signs that corporations are turning revenue into jobs. Business Insider

Employment

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The problem with US manufacturing is not that it has been shrinking - despite the "offshoring" of textile and electronics manufacturing to China, US manufacturing output rose by 3.9 per cent a year between 1997 and 2007. However productivity grew 6.8 per cent annually in the same period, so millions of jobs were lost. If manufacturing carries along the same path, McKinsey estimates that it could shed another 2.3m jobs by 2020, while the economy needs to create 21m more jobs to return to full employment. The mini-recovery in manufacturing jobs - 164,000 were added in the six months to April - recently stalled. John Gapper - Financial Times

Over time, advanced economies will need to invest in human capital, skills and social safety nets to increase productivity and enable workers to compete, be flexible and thrive in a globalized economy. The alternative is - like in the 1930s - unending stagnation, depression, currency and trade wars, capital controls, financial crisis, sovereign insolvencies, and massive social and political instability. Nouriel Roubini - Project Syndicate

MIB

'American-Israeli FBI employee gave tapped conversations to liberal Israeli blogger out of fears of Israeli attack on Iran'

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© Marc Israel Sellem
'NY Times': American-Israeli FBI employee gave tapped conversations to liberal Israeli blogger out of fears of Israeli attack on Iran.

A dual US-Israeli citizen working as an FBI translator was sentenced to 20 months in prison after he was caught passing on recorded conversations from FBI wiretaps of the Israeli embassy in Washington, the New York Times reported Monday. The report brings to light US efforts to spy on its allies.

The documents that were leaked included conversations with "US supporters of Israel and at least one member of Congress," the report said.

According to the Times, Shamai K. Liebowitz, a lawyer who was working as a Hebrew language translator for the FBI, passed on the sensitive information out of fears that Israel may have been planning an attack on Iran, and was aggressive in its influence of the US Congress and public opinion.

Magnify

US: Ex US internal-security overlord bigs up cyber menace

lobsterxray
© The Register

Chertoff fears 'dangerous intrusions'

Cyberattacks are the top threat to future national security, according to the former head of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Michael Chertoff.

It's well known that Chertoff, who is now the co-founder and managing principal of private security consultancy the Chertoff Group, has a healthy respect for the power of technology. Investments by the DHS during his tenure there included SBInet (known here at The Reg as the Eye-o-Sauron stare-towers); handheld lobster spy-beam scanners; and Project Hostile Intent, a non-invasive mind probe to separate the dastardly from the law-abiding.

However, Chertoff now worries that power will be used more and more often to attack financial and political systems, as we've already seen happen in Estonia and Georgia.

In April 2007, websites of the Estonian parliament, banks, ministries and the media were the victims of a number of cyberattacks while the country rowed with Russia over Soviet-era war memorials in its capital Tallinn. The following year, websites in Georgia were attacked before and during the military action with Russia. Russia denied being behind either attack and experts were unable to come up with the culprits, highlighting the difficulty of tracing many cybercrimes.

Camera

UK: Hurry up with webcams in courts, says Sky News boss

Media chief feels justice system needs more credibility

Streaming trials on the internet will help people have confidence in the British justice system, Sky News boss John Ryley claimed in an open letter to the Justice Secretary today.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke promised to open up British courts to cameras eight months ago in a meeting with Sky, the BBC and ITN - but as yet only dealings in the Supreme Court are filmed and published online.

John Ryley, Head of Sky News, has decided to hustle Clarke along with an open letter where he states that:

"I believe that if television cameras were allowed to broadcast the remarks made by judges when they pass sentence, it would go a long way to making the process more transparent and would dramatically improve public confidence in the system."

Ryley adds a claim that Sky News's Supreme Court Live feed, which started in May 2011, gets 90,000 visitors a day. (Though obviously only when the court is in session - it's currently off till October when the legal term starts again.)

Laptop

Diginotar hackers targeted CIA, Mossad and MI6

Dutch government identifies over 500 rogue certificates

The Dutch government has revoked trust in Diginotar and released a list of over 500 fraudulent certificates issued by the hackers who broke into the company's infrastructure last month. Some of them are for the domains of the CIA, Mossad and the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).

The Diginotar breach was discovered a week ago when a rogue *.google.com certificate issued by the certificate authority (CA) was used in attacks against Gmail users in Iran. The company admitted suffering an intrusion back in July which resulted in fraudulent certificates being issued for a number of domains.

The browser vendors reacted promptly by removing the Diginotar CA root certificate from their products, but kept the one for Diginotar's PKIoverheid sub-CA, which was used to sign Dutch government certificates.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, but the security lapses identified are so serious that the Dutch minister of internal affairs announced in an urgent press conference at 1:15am on Saturday that the PKIoverheid sub-CA should no longer be trusted either.

Ever since the company's first public statement about the incident, the security community has wondered how many rogue certificates were issued and what domains were targeted. The Dutch government has now shed some light on this by releasing a list of 531 fraudulent certificates associated with Diginotar.

Bad Guys

Foreign Ministry officials admit: Turkey citizens routinely humiliated at Israel's airport

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© David Bachar
Security staff questioning Israeli Arab passengers at Ben-Gurion Airport
Dozens of Israelis say they were humiliated at Istanbul airport, forced to strip to their underwear on Monday; Foreign Ministry officials say humiliation of Turkish citizens happens on regular basis in Israel.

Foreign Ministry officials told Haaretz on Monday that over the past year, there were dozens of complaints on the part of Turkish citizens who claimed they were humiliated by Israeli security personnel at Ben-Gurion airport.

The officials also said that almost every Turkish citizen who arrives at Ben-Gurion airport undergoes a routine procedure of extensive, humiliating examinations that also include undressing to one's underwear.

"Turkish citizens are always separated from the rest of the passengers at the airport," said a Foreign Ministry official.

"When their luggage is thoroughly examined and they undergo extensive questioning they understand it comes from security needs, but when they get to the strip search part it breaks them and they are humiliated. Many Turkish businesspeople and tourists have complained about this in the past. This humiliation ceremony of Turkish citizens is a routine matter."

Bad Guys

Psychopathic state is eager to unleash hell: Israel Defense Forces general says that likelihood of regional war is growing

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© Agence France-Presse
Is Israel moving closer to regional war?
Senior IDF officer warns of 'radical Islamic winter' that may lead to regional war, could prompt use of WMDs; new, more lethal weapons discovered in hands of terrorists during latest round of fighting in Gaza, Major General Eisenberg says.

Recent revolutions in the Arab world and the deteriorating ties with Turkey are raising the likelihood of a regional war in the Middle East, IDF Home Front Command Chief, Major General Eyal Eisenberg warned Monday.

"It looks like the Arab Spring, but it can also be a radical Islamic winter," he said in a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

"This leads us to the conclusion that through a long-term process, the likelihood of an all-out war is increasingly growing," the IDF general said.

Bad Guys

Hellenic Republic on a downward spiral: Greece, Israel agree on military cooperation

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© RIA Novosti. Edward Pesov
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
The Defense Minister of Greece Panos Beglitis and his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak signed a memorandum on military cooperation in Jerusalem on Sunday, the Greek Ministry of Defense reported.

The contents of the memorandum is undisclosed. Panos Beglitis said that the two governments are intend to cooperate closely.

Bad Guys

How private firms have cashed in on the climate of fear since 9/11

A US homeland security helicopter
© US Coast Guard/AFP/Getty Images
A US homeland security helicopter patrol over New York in 2003.

The past ten years have seen the growth of a national security industrial complex that melds government and business

Charles Smith always enjoyed visiting US troops aboard. Though a civilian, he had worked for the army for decades, helping to run logistical operations from the Rock Island arsenal near Davenport, Iowa.

He helped keep troops supplied, and on trips to Iraq made a point of sitting down with soldiers in mess halls. "I would always ask them: what are we doing for you?" Smith told the Guardian.

Smith eventually got oversight of a multibillion-dollar contract the military had struck with private firm KBR, then part of the Halliburton empire, to supply US soldiers in Iraq. But, by 2004, he noticed problems: KBR could not account for a staggering $1bn (£620m) of spending.

Gear

Sarah Palin 'Big Announcement' Flakes Out

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© Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall
Timothy Jacques of Bellvue, Nebraska, stands in the rain while waiting for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to speak to Tea Party members during the Restoring America event, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, in Indianola, Iowa.
For all the tea party supporters who showed up in Iowa to hear what Fox News called a "major announcement" from Sarah Palin, perhaps her message should have been "psych." Palin spent a majority of her 40-minute speech thrashing the current administration for its policies and little else.

Only about 2,000 people showed up to hear a Tea Party of America public figure speak about how bad things are in America. At the Restoring America event, Palin said many things she would do. Bloomberg reports Palin wouldn't approve any bailouts yet get rid of corporate income taxes. The former governor of Alaska also said the tea party has been "mocked."

One thing Palin didn't say was whether or not she was running for president. Despite many signs in the crowd saying "Run Sarah, Run" she was coy about her political ambitions. The night before her speech, Palin said she could see more room for candidates yet she liked the current field running in the GOP primaries for 2012.