The CIA set up a network of front companies in Europe and elsewhere after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as part of a constellation of “black stations” for a new generation of spies, according to current and former agency officials.
But after spending hundreds of millions of dollars setting up as many as 12 of the companies, the agency shut down all but two after concluding they were ill-conceived and poorly positioned for gathering intelligence on the CIA’s principal targets: terrorist groups and unconventional weapons proliferation networks.
The closures were a blow to two of the CIA’s most pressing priorities after Sept. 11 – expanding its overseas presence and changing the way it deploys spies.
The bogus companies were located far from Muslim enclaves in Europe and other targets. Their size raised concern that one mistake would blow the cover of many agents. And because business travelers don’t ordinarily come into contact with Al-Qaida or other high-priority adversaries, officials said, the cover did not work.
European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy may have surprised us with his rogue call for copyright term extension from Brussels last week, but there are battles to be fought closer to home, too.
On 7 March, a Private Member’s Bill proposed by Pete Wishart MP will have its second reading in the House of Commons. It is vital that you write to your MP now to ask him or her to attend the Commons on 7 March and stand up and object to this Bill. If you don’t the Bill is likely to pass through to committee stage without debate.
What can you say to persuade your MP to show up to the Commons on a Friday? Perhaps you might point out that all the economic evidence points against term extension. Or that every other UK citizen is expected to contribute to their pension out of income earned in their working life. Or that retrospectively extending copyright term won’t encourage Elvis Presley to record any more new tracks. Or that if governments continue to draft intellectual property legislation on behalf of special interest groups, it will only further erode the respect that ordinary citizens have for the letter of the law.
However you choose to pitch it, you should find the ORG briefing pack on copyright term extension useful. And remember to specifically ask your MP to oppose this Bill on 7 March in the House of Commons. Writing to your MP doesn’t take long, and we’ve developed a handy guide to help you get the results you want.
Spoons are made of ordinary matter.
There’s deep understanding behind that statement – go read the whole thing.
consider the amount of progress made between the above, and this:
Today, Norway appears to be a much safer country for petty file sharers. The Hollywood lawyer Espen Tøndel has been told by Kripos (serious crime police) that they will not be spending time investigating small-time pirates.
Like many lawyers in the anti-piracy arena, Tøndel tries to blur civil and criminal law to obtain leverage. The police are clear – their priority is investigating real crimes, such as murder and robbery and sadly for him, file-sharing does not fall into those categories. Tøndel must now make his claims against alleged pirates in a civil court.
Following this major setback, Tøndel wrote to the Department of Justice and demanded a meeting with them. He complained that copyright holders need to go through the criminal system as without the help of the police, all they have is an IP address. They cannot sue an IP address, they need a real name and identity.
Unfortunately for Tøndel, the response wasn’t what he’d been hoping for -the Department of Justice completely refused him a meeting- leaving him to start suing IP addresses, which he’s not allowed to do. Ouch.
I think they didn’t think this one through…
A large number of readers are submitting the news that Microsoft has made a major announcement about interoperating with others including specifically the FOSS world. The impetus is the ongoing EU antitrust case against Microsoft. The announcement comes in the context of the release of 30,000 pages of API documentation for Microsoft Vista, Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 — and a listing of patents that apply to these technologies, and a pledge not to sue open source developers who use the APIs. InfoWorld summarizes by saying that Microsoft “promised greater transparency in its development and business practices.” Fortune is blunter, saying “Microsoft declares truce in open source war.” Here’s Microsoft’s FAQ on the open source interop initiative.
Only an idiot would take their word on issues like this.
Especially since it’s a trap.
(from the doc…)
- iii. Open Source Compatibility. Microsoft will promise not to sue open source developers for development and non-commercial distribution of implementations of these Open Protocols. Companies that engage in commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able to obtain a patent license from Microsoft, as will enterprises that obtain these implementations from a distributor that does not have such a patent license.
So basically they’ll be sending the hounds over to the Ubuntu camp, Red Hat and anyone else who doesn’t want to pay their fees. Any developer of GPL products should steer well clear from any of their bait.
And note that they’re publishing the doc in a format that itself isn’t in any way “interoperable”:
Microsoft are going to have to change an awful lot before people are willing to trust them.
David Miliband has admitted two US “extraordinary rendition” flights landed on UK territory in 2002.
The foreign secretary said in both cases US planes refuelled on the UK dependent territory of Diego Garcia.
He said he was “very sorry” to have to say that previous denials made in “good faith” were now having to be corrected.
The renditions – the transport of terror suspects around the world for interrogation – only came to light after a US records search, he said.
BBC world affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds said the revelations were “a serious embarrassment for the British government”.
In a major file-sharing legal case in the United States, a renowned P2P expert has offered his critique of the expert witness report offered by the RIAA. Prof. Johan Pouwelse’s testimony will be a devastating blow to the music industry as he labels RIAA expert Doug Jacobson’s report as “borderline incompetent”.
In the late spring of 2001, Vice President Cheney held a series of top secret meetings with the representatives of Exxon-Mobil, Conoco, Shell and BP America for what was later called the Energy Task-force. Their job, ostensibly, was to map out America’s Energy future. Since late 2001 several public interest groups, including the very conservative Judicial Watch, sued to have the proceedings of those meetings opened to public scrutiny. In March 2002, the Commerce Department turned over a few documents from the Task-force meetings to Judicial Watch, among which was the map of Iraq’s Oil Fields, dated March 2001 (above) and a list of the existing “Foreign Suitors” for Iraq Oil. Since that time, Cheney’s office has fought fiercely (and so far, successfully), right up to the Supreme Court, to keep the proceeding secret and to keep any of the private industry officials from disclosing any information about the meetings. Since we all now know the Bush administration’s energy policy, there can be only one explanation for the extraordinary efforts Cheney has taken to keep this secret–he was discussing the potential for a takeover of Iraq’s oil with the companies that might manage the resource, even before 9/11 gave him the excuse to do it.
“We have the usual small army of stupid lawyers that think we will piss our pants because they send us a scary letter,”
Obama doesn’t need negative ads if Clinton supporters keep making videos like this:
Johnny Lee is a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University who took a standard Nintendo Wii remote and turned a monitor in to something special. You can check out the video above and actually find a sample program here on his website.
The Secret Service told Dallas police to stop screening for weapons while people were still arriving at a campaign rally for Barack Obama, a report said.
Police stopped checking people for weapons at the front gates of Reunion Arena more than an hour before the Democratic presidential hopeful appeared on stage Wednesday, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported.
Police said the order to stop using metal detectors and checking purses and laptop bags constituted a security lapse, the newspaper reported.
They apparently really want him to look like Kennedy.