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Archive for June 11th, 2010

Harper bending to U.S. on sole-source fighter purchase, documents reveal

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Oh really? And here we were thinking it was because Mackay just happened to like them best.

Related: Ottawa to spend $9-billion in sole-source deal for U.S. fighter jets | UK Report condemns WHO swine flu experts’ ties to big pharma | Mulroney-Schreiber dealings inappropriate: report | … | New $3B Defence Department plane contract requirements written to favour Italian vendor | Personal ties exposed in eHealth’s untendered contracts | Ontario eHealth approved 4.8 million in no-bid contracts | Airbus funds likely source of Schreiber’s ‘Britan’ account: witness | Former Justice Minister Accused in Suit of Accepting Kickbacks | All officers need Tasers, police associations say | Conflict questions raised over Flaherty’s budget panel | Mulroney confidant knew about Airbus commissions: CBC News investigation | Author wins award for work identifying categories of state corruption | Was Couillard used to push leasing bid? | Donations of money, property and services continue to corrupt Canadian politics | Political Intrigue in Merck’s Push for Mandatory HPV Vaccinations

Daniel Leblanc, The Globe and Mail
June 11, 2010

The $16-billion deal to buy 65 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets is one of the biggest military projects in Canadian history

The Harper government is refusing to open up the $16-billion purchase of 65 new fighter jets to a competition because of the potential negative reaction in the United States and other allied countries, internal documents show.

The purchase of F-35 Lightning II fighter jets is one of the biggest military projects in Canadian history, almost equal in size to the entire 2006 plan to acquire more than 2,000 trucks, 21 transport planes, 16 heavy helicopters and three ships for the Canadian Forces.

The fighter contract is the subject of a heated lobbying campaign in Ottawa, as rival companies try to force the government to open up the purchase to a tendering process instead of giving it out sole-sourced to Lockheed-Martin.

The controversy is expected to grow as new federal documents show that the total value of the program comes to $16-billion once 20 years of maintenance are factored in, up from the $9-billion cost for the planes that came out earlier this week.

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Japan warns of Greece-like debt crisis

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Related: Double-dip recession ‘practically inevitable’: UBS | Markets finish week with big losses on US employment, Hungarian default fears | Canadian debt: The $1.4 trillion hole we’re in | European debt fears batter TSX | Greek debt crisis: Europe feels shockwaves as bailout falters | Frustrated Icelanders vent rage by voting no in referendum | Britain grapples with debt of Greek proportions | Will Greece set off ‘global debt bomb’? | Dubai’s ‘big pyramid scheme’ grounded by debt load | A world awash in debt | Ottawa on track for largest-ever deficit | U.S. markets fall on Dubai crisis | 1 in 10 Americans delinquent in paying mortgage | Personal bankruptcies still soaring | Credit card debt balloons | US credit shrinks at Great Depression rate prompting fears of double-dip recession | Bank of England cloaks books, fears of monetary manipulation arise | Maybe we should look at Zimbabwe before trying to print our way out of a money crisis

Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press
June 11, 2010

New PM casts eye on swelling national debt

Japan could face a financial mess like the one that has crippled Greece if it does not deal urgently with its swelling national debt, the new prime minister warned Friday.

While Japan is on firmer financial footing than Greece because most of its debt is held domestically, Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s blunt talk appeared designed to push forward his agenda, which may involve raising taxes.

Speaking in his first address to parliament after taking office Tuesday, Mr. Kan said Japan cannot continue to let government debt swell while state finances are under pressure from an aging and declining population.

“It is difficult to sustain a policy that relies too heavily on issuing debt. As we have seen with the financial confusion in the European community stemming from Greece, our finances could collapse if trust in national bonds is lost and growing national debt is left alone,” he said.

Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, has the largest public debt among industrialized nations at 218.6 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2009, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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Homeland Security’s Cyber Bill Would Codify Executive Emergency Powers

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Related: Lieberman Bill Gives Feds ‘Emergency’ Powers to Secure Civilian Nets | Cyber Command: We Don’t Wanna Defend the Internet (We Just Might Have To) | Pentagon: Let us monitor your network or else | US appoints first cyber warfare general | NSA head confirmed as chief of US cyber command | Cybersecurity event seeks to spur international talks | Danger Room What’s Next in National Security Prospective U.S. Cyber Commander Talks Terms of Digital Warfare | Canadian researchers reveal another botnet in China, call for state cybersecurity | U.S. cybersecurity bill introduced in Senate | Cyberattacks push CSIS to reach out to business | United States weighs massive expansion of Internet monitoring | Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet | Google, NSA may team up to probe cyberattacks | UN agency calls for global cyberwarfare treaty, ‘driver’s license’ for Web users | Death Of The Internet: Censorship Bills In UK, Australia, U.S. Aim To Block “Undesirable” Websites | Australia introduces web filters | Obama Wants Computer Privacy Ruling Overturned | UK Internet surveillance plan to go ahead | Security boss calls for end to net anonymity | Case for Internet spying not closed | Planned Internet, wireless surveillance laws worry watchdogs | UK ISPs condemn Internet surveillance plans | UK to found new ‘cyber-security’ units attached to national eavesdropping centre | ISPs must help police snoop on internet under new bill | UK plans to integrate ‘cybersecurity’ centre with US, Canada | Cybersecurity Is Framework For Total Government Regulation & Control Of Our Lives | Obama Set to Create A Cybersecurity Czar With Broad Mandate | EU wants ‘Internet G12′ to govern cyberspace | UK Home Secretary has secret plan to surveil, ‘Master the Internet’ | Should Obama Control the Internet? | Cybersecurity law would give feds unprecedented net control | Munk Centre researchers discover botnet, call for international cyberspace ‘legal regime’ | NSA Dominance of Cybersecurity Would Lead to ‘Grave Peril’, Ex-Cyber Chief Tells Congress | Do We Need a New Internet? | Defense Contractors See $$$ in Cyber Security | RCMP to helm a Canadian “cyber-security strategy” | Sweden approves wiretapping law | Law Professor tells tech conference: plans to shut down Internet already on deck

Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic
June 11, 2010

At the beginning of the year, the chances that some sort of cybersecurity legislation would reach the president’s desk by the end of 2010 were remote. But as of today, there are a half dozen such bills circulating, and the sense of urgency is there, thanks to a huge and largely unremarked upon public lobbying campaign by the defense industry that may or may not comport with the actual level of threat. I don’t mean that as a snide aside; I just don’t know how vulnerable we are at this moment.

Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee unveils its legislation, which would create a Senate-confirmable cyber director in the executive office of the president and imbue him or her with significant emergency powers.

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Gaza flotilla attack: activist releases new footage

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Related: Freedom flotilla assault timeline unclear, Israel holding confiscated video evidence | Israel’s seizure of Gaza aid boat Rachel Corrie sparks further condemnation | Autopsy: Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range | Gaza flotilla activists unarmed: Canadian | Gaza flotilla attack: British activists tell of abuse by Israelis | Israel to reject UN call for flotilla raid probe, MV Rachel Corrie under steam | IDF: ‘Activists threw stun grenades’ | Israel to deport all detained aid flotilla activists by end of day | Ex-Mossad agent: Gaza flotilla raid ’so stupid it’s stupefying’ | Knesset member and eyewitness: Israel fired before boarding ship | Protests in Middle East, Europe, follow deadly Israeli attack on flotilla as UN convenes emergency session | Israeli troops attack ship carrying aid to Gaza killing 16 | Israeli navy prepares for action as activists’ flotilla nears Gaza | George Galloway, on aid mission to Gaza, is deported from Egypt | Cynthia McKinney Demands Immediate Release After Her Gaza-Bound Boat is Seized by Israeli Navy | Israeli troops kill apartheid wall protester | Gaza relief boat carrying former Congresswoman rammed by Israelis | Former US congresswoman, presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney barred from boarding plane to human rights conference

Haroon Siddique, The Guardian
June 11, 2010

Documentary maker Iara Lee smuggles out video despite Israeli attempt to confiscate all recordings

New footage has emerged of the Israeli assault on a convoy of aid ships headed to Gaza in which nine activists were killed.

The high-quality film was reportedly recorded by New York-based documentary maker Iara Lee aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship that bore the brunt of the Israeli attacks.

Israel attempted to confiscate all footage recorded by participants in the Gaza Freedom flotilla — including taking away mobile phones — but Lee managed to smuggle one hour of video out of the country by hiding it in her underwear, it was reported.

The 15 minutes of film posted online shows the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos’ assault on the Mavi Marmara. .

At one stage, the captain of the boat can be heard over the public address system saying: “Do not show resistance … They are using live ammunition … Be calm, be very calm.” Gunshots can be heard.

The film includes footage of an Israeli inflatable boat carrying commandos, and troops can be seen rappelling from a helicopter on to the Mavi Marmara. While they do so, two men on the Marmara can be seen using catapults aimed at the soldiers, who are high above them, although the projectiles they are firing cannot be ascertained.

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Pentagon hunts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in bid to gag website

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Run rabbit, run. Oh, and publish those cables if you have them. Sunlight only hurts those who’d rather hide under rocks, in coffins, etc.

Related: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has passport confiscated in Australia | U.S. Troops Apologize For Wikileaks Massacre Video | WikiLeaks releases video of alleged U.S. helicopter attack on Reuters reporters | Secret Document Calls Wikileaks ‘Threat’ to U.S. Army | US Counterinsurgency Manual Leaked, Calls for False Flag Operations, Suspension of Human Rights

Chris Mcgreal, The Guardian
June 11, 2010

Soldier Bradley Manning said to have leaked diplomatic cables to whistleblower, plus video of US troops killing Iraqis

American officials are searching for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks in an attempt to pressure him not to publish thousands of confidential and potentially hugely embarrassing diplomatic cables that offer unfiltered assessments of Middle East governments and leaders.

The Daily Beast, a US news reporting and opinion website, reported that Pentagon investigators are trying to track down Julian Assange — an Australian citizen who moves frequently between countries — after the arrest of a US soldier last week who is alleged to have given the whistleblower website a classified video of American troops killing civilians in Baghdad.

The soldier, Bradley Manning, also claimed to have given WikiLeaks 260,000 pages of confidential diplomatic cables and intelligence assessments.

The US authorities fear their release could “do serious damage to national security”, said the Daily Beast, which is published by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and New Yorker magazines.

Manning, 22, was arrested in Iraq last month after he was turned over to US authorities by a former hacker, Adrian Lamo, to whom he boasted of leaking the video and documents.

As an intelligence specialist in the US army, Manning had access to assessments from the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as frank diplomatic insights into Middle East governments.

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London G20: Jury acquits protester accused of being ringleader in clashes

Friday, June 11th, 2010

(London g20) Related: UK: G20 ‘Police’ Protest Troupe in Bras and Stockings Charged With Impersonating Police | G20 police ‘used undercover men to incite crowds’ | Amateur video blasts G20 death coverup | G20 ‘kettle’ police containment traps protesters, photograph a requirement for exit | UK PM reveals G20 plan to boost IMF by $1 trillion, hails new world order (again) | G20 protests: Riot police, or rioting police? | G20 protests: riot police clash with demonstrators | UK media primes London for violence in advance of G20 summit | G20 warned unrest will sweep globe | For more see the G20 Coverage page feature

Paul Lewis, The Guardian
June 11, 2010

Crown court clears Harvie Brown of violent disorder in case that challenged police version of events

His bloodied face became the symbol of violent G20 demonstrators seemingly intent on attacking police. But the man whose angry remonstrations with police at the protests in April last year were relayed live on television news, and later emblazoned across newspaper front pages, was not the rioter he was depicted as.

A jury at Isleworth crown court in Middlesex took 30 minutes to clear Harvie Brown, 31, of violent disorder this week, in a case that challenged the police version of events and established that his injuries were probably inflicted by officers.

Brown was among several hundred protesters “kettled” by police near the Bank of England on 1 April last year. Attempts to contain anti-capitalist and green activists inside cordons led to angry confrontations and clashes.

Brown was caught between lines of baton-wielding police attempting to push the crowd back. Many at the front, including Brown, from Glasgow, were unable to obey the police orders as the agitated crowd behind them tried to surge forward. Many were struck with batons.

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Tribunals can rule on Charter claims: Supreme Court

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Wouldn’t it be better if juried trials would decide on issues of law than (potentially) politicized legal experts? There has been an under-reported movement in this country towards tribunals and lone judgements without recourse to the check on power that juries can provide. Have any insight on this issue? Post it below in comments or send it in via the contact tab, thanks!

CBC News
June 11, 2010

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that administrative tribunals may rule on cases that seek to assert certain rights guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In a unanimous decision Friday, the Court said Canadians should be able “to assert their Charter rights in the most accessible form available.”

The decision was in response to an appeal made by Paul Conway, who had been found not guilty by reason of insanity of raping a relative in 1984.

Conway asked the Ontario Review Board, an administrative tribunal, for an absolute discharge in 2006, arguing that his Charter right to freedom was violated during his stays in various mental health facilities.

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Toronto G20 weekend: Private security fast-tracked, traffic jams, heavy police presence, but no sonic weapons

Friday, June 11th, 2010

A detailed breakdown of lane reductions and road closures can be seen at http://www.g8-g20isu.ca/g20/traff-circ-eng.htm.

“Oh man I am looking forward to some great hippie beating videos on youtube” -  “DA, HST, G8, G20 = Holy Crap March Break 2011 is PAID FOR!!! I love this country…..especially all the tree hugging assholes that make this possible…cheers to all of you!!- Police comment by ‘Sly’ and ‘Mcdonaja’ on Blue Line Forums

Assuming Toronto police are being truthful in stating the LRAD won’t be deployed as a pain beam (at least not for this summit, these devices are now in permanent stock) the device represents a sort of ‘megaphone escalation’. Apart from, you know, the occasional warrantless home invasion, Toronto cops seem decent folks, certainly more civil than some jurisdictions despite the pressures to implement creepy surveillance measures through TAVIS. (We seem to have gotten past the days of beatings down on the Cherry Street spit, at least.) Hey, Toronto cops – you’d probably just as soon give area residents a break and not have to work OT for this summit, right? Who needs to be pulled away from their families to deal with this sort of debacle. Here’s a suggestion – hardly anyone reads this blog anyways, you may as well vent anonymously below, or in the forum. If not, well, we know perfectly well how to read the Blueline forums anways (gasp), the point being, we need to open up this dialogue somehow outside of the chain of command. Nobody is going to be throwing balloons full of vinegar at you, sheesh.

Related: G20 activists accuse CSIS of intimidation | G8/G20: Cell phones to be jammed as motorcades move through Huntsville, Toronto | G20: Eastern Avenue Protest Jail | G20 Security unbridled: Cops bring out artillery as civil rights observers preach vigilance | Construction begins on Toronto G20 security barrier | G20 media centre with fake lake to cost $1.9M | Toronto police show off G20 summit security | Mounties shun ‘sound cannons’ in urban settings ahead of G20 | 1,100 private security guards to work G8-G20 summits | Police detail G20 security zone | Toronto Police to take up to $100-million of G20 security funds | Toronto police buy four ’sound cannons’ for G20 | Toronto and Muskoka G8/20 Summit security costs hit $1.1B | The Toronto G20 Police State Crackdown | Toronto police agree to erase security zone pass info after G20 | Toronto banks review G20 security after Ottawa RBC fire | Condo behind security fence during G20 summit | Anarchists plan ‘militant’ protests at Toronto G20 | Toronto streets get 77 more surveillance cameras for G20 | Toronto G20 should address climate issues: Nicholas Stern, UN | Toronto labour, native protesters ready for G20 demonstrations | Toronto G20 protest area moved to Queens Park | Fighter jets buzz Toronto, Muskoka in G20 test runs | Downtown Toronto To Be Transformed Into Locked-Down Police State This Summer | All Toronto G20 protests will be directed to Trinity Bellwoods Park | Police State Canada 2010 and the G20 Summit | Protesters and police get ready to square off at G20 summit | Militarized police integrate with private security for G20 Toronto concourse drill | Small army to protect Toronto during G20 summit | Toronto braces for G20 logistics crunch | Hundreds of Toronto G20 delegates granted diplomatic immunity | Toronto G20 summit security to be ‘massive’ | RCMP needs 5,500 rooms during G20 summit | G20 ’sherpas’ meet with IMF, World Bank on Ottawa | Downtown Toronto to become a fortress for G20 summit | G8/G20: Gearing up for the biggest security event in Canadian history | Toronto braces for G20 disruption, Ottawa to pick up security tab | Convention centre confirmed as location for Toronto G20 summit | G20 security could strangle downtown | G20’s Metro Convention Centre location to bump baseball, pride activities | Harper confirms June G20 summit in Toronto | Is G20 more than Toronto can handle? | With only seven months to go, G20 site may be moved to Toronto | Top Mountie says Huntsville too small for G20 | For more, see the G20 Coverage page feature

Brendan Kennedy, Henry Stancu, Jim Wilkes, Toronto Star
June 11, 2010

More than 5,000 police officers will patrol downtown Toronto when the G20 summit opens in less than two weeks, costing taxpayers more than $80 million.

The G20’s policing price tag – paid by the federal government – will be $122 million, with more than two-thirds covering officers’ salaries and overtime, said Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair. The remaining $40 million will go toward special security equipment, such as the 77 surveillance cameras recently installed in the summit area.

The multi-million dollar police presence was announced Friday at a special meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board, where Blair also said police would not use the so-called sound cannons as sonic weapons to deter protesters, as they were used at last year’s G20 summit in Pittsburgh.

“It’s not designed to be used as a weapon,” Blair said. “We will not use it as a weapon. We will use it as a communication device.”

As the Toronto and Huntsville summits approach, GTA residents are learning more and more about what life will be like when the world comes to town.

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Moscow opens Central Asian supply route for Afghan mission, NATO believes tide turning in Kandahar

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Related: Taliban support strong in Kandahar: poll | US special forces ‘tried to cover-up’ botched Khataba raid in Afghanistan | Afghan tension mounts as NATO offensive looms | WikiLeaks releases video of alleged U.S. helicopter attack on Reuters reporters | NATO prepares for major Kandahar offensive, refugee camps | British soldiers ‘tortured and murdered 20 Iraqis, then covered it up with firefight claim’ | Blackwater Guards facing Charges in Case of 17 Dead Iraqi Citizens | Afghan poll not as clear as it seems

Anne Gearan, Slobodan Lekic, The Associated Press
June 11, 2010

Leaders say handover of security responsibilities in some areas could come by year’s end

NATO leaders declared Friday that the alliance had regained the initiative in the Afghan war, promising that the gains could result in a handover of security responsibilities in some parts of the country to local authorities by year’s end.

U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates urged his alliance counterparts to seize the moment and to provide the resources needed to accelerate efforts to bolster Afghan security forces. NATO wants Afghan troops to replace its forces in the war against the Taliban, thus providing the linchpin of the alliance’s exit strategy.

“Our effort is moving in right direction (but) the road ahead will be long and hard,” Mr. Gates said after a meeting of NATO’s 28 defence ministers. “I hope that by the end of year, we will be able to demonstrate that we are making progress throughout the country.”

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