Canadian teen faces disputed US military tribunal

Sunday, January 22, 2006

19-year-old Canadian citizen Omar Ahmed Khadr attended a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, January 11, in front of a military tribunal at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay in his case involving charges of murder, attempted murder and aiding the enemy.

Khadr was 15 when on July 27, 2002, following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, he was present in a compound near Khost which was surrounded by US soldiers. After a fierce firefight and U.S. bombings of the compound, U.S. special operations forces Sgt. Christopher Speer, who has training as a medic, led a group of US soldiers searching the compound in the belief that everybody inside had been killed. According to U.S. army reports, Omar Khadr, who was wounded by the bombings and the only survivor in the compound, fired his pistol and threw a grenade which killed Christopher Speer and wounded three others. In response, Khadr was engaged by U.S. forces and shot three times, which left him nearly blind in one eye.

While still 15 years old, Khadr was transferred to the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, where he was kept together with adult detainees, separate from other children who received better treatment and some formal education. Now Khadr is 19 and is facing the tribunal operated exclusively by the US military.

The tribunal is referred to by different media organizations as a “war crimes court”, a “military commission” or a “military tribunal“. Its legality is presently under dispute. The USA has not ratified the international treaty creating the International Criminal Court, so the nature of the tribunal under international law is unclear. The Miami Herald reports that “military defense lawyers and legal observers [condemn] the so-called military commissions as stacked against the defendants”, but that the chief Pentagon prosecutor, Air Force Col. Morris “Moe” Davis defended the tribunal, stating that the purpose of the tribunals is to provide a fair trial while addressing an enemy whose actions had not been anticipated under the Geneva Conventions. “We have nothing to be ashamed of, and I’m proud of everybody involved in the process,” he said.

The Supreme Court of the US is expected to decide on the constitutionality of this type of military tribunal in the next few months, with oral arguments in March, to consider charges that the “tribunals” violate US obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Khadr has requested an upgrade to his legal team. The military defense lawyer appointed to him by the tribunal is a 31-year-old army captain, who has never before handled a trial defense and just recently returned from his tour of duty in Iraq.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Canadian_teen_faces_disputed_US_military_tribunal&oldid=4002162”

ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed objections to the United States Government’s ‘secret’ attempts to obtain Twitter account information relating to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and EFF cite First and Fourth amendment issues as overriding reasons to overturn government attempts to keep their investigation secret; and, that with Birgitta Jonsdottir being an Icelandic Parliamentarian, the issue has serious international implications.

The case, titled “In the Matter of the 2703(d) Order Relating to Twitter Accounts: Wikileaks, Rop_G, IOERROR; and BirgittaJ“, has been in the EFF’s sights since late last year when they became aware of the US government’s attempts to investigate WikiLeaks-related communications using the popular microblogging service.

The key objective of this US government investigation is to obtain data for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, alleged to have supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. In addition to Manning’s Twitter account, and that of WikiLeaks (@wikileaks), the following three accounts are subject to the order: @ioerror, @birgittaj, and @rop_g. These, respectively, belong to Jacob Apelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp.

Birgitta is not the only non-US citizen with their Twitter account targeted by the US Government; Gonggrijp, a Dutch ‘ex-hacker’-turned-security-expert, was one of the founders of XS4ALL – the first Internet Service Provider in the Netherlands available to the public. He has worked on a mobile phone that can encrypt conversations, and proven that electronic voting systems can readily be hacked.

In early March, a Virginia magistrate judge ruled that the government could have the sought records, and neither the targeted users, or the public, could see documents submitted to justify data being passed to the government. The data sought is as follows:

  1. Personal contact information, including addresses
  2. Financial data, including credit card or bank account numbers
  3. Twitter account activity information, including the “date, time, length, and method of connections” plus the “source and destination Internet Protocol address(es)”
  4. Direct Message (DM) information, including the email addresses and IP addresses of everyone with whom the Parties have exchanged DMs

The order demands disclosure of absolutely all such data from November 1, 2009 for the targeted accounts.

The ACLU and EFF are not only challenging this, but demanding that all submissions made by the US government to justify the Twitter disclosure are made public, plus details of any other such cases which have been processed in secret.

Bradley Manning, at the time a specialist from Maryland enlisted with the United States Army’s 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was arrested in June last year in connection with the leaking of classified combat video to WikiLeaks.

The leaked video footage, taken from a US helicopter gunship, showed the deaths of Reuters staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen during a U.S. assault in Baghdad, Iraq. The wire agency unsuccessfully attempted to get the footage released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2007.

When WikiLeaks released the video footage it directly contradicted the official line taken by the U.S. Army asserting that the deaths of the two Reuters staff were “collateral damage” in an attack on Iraqi insurgents. The radio chatter associated with the AH-64 Apache video indicated the helicopter crews had mistakenly identified the journalists’ equipment as weaponry.

The US government also claims Manning is linked to CableGate; the passing of around a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Manning has been in detention since July last year; in December allegations of torture were made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the conditions under which he was and is being detained.

Reports last month that he must now sleep naked and attend role call at the U.S. Marine facility in Quantico in the same state, raised further concern over his detention conditions. Philip J. Crowley, at-the-time a State Department spokesman, remarked on this whilst speaking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; describing the current treatment of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, Crowley was, as a consequence, put in the position of having to tender his resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Despite his native Australia finding, in December last year, that Assange’s WikiLeaks had not committed any criminal offences in their jurisdiction, the U.S. government has continued to make ongoing operations very difficult for the whistleblower website.

The result of the Australian Federal Police investigation left the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, having to retract a statement that WikiLeaks had acted “illegally”; instead, she characterised the site’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”.

Even with Australia finding no illegal activity on the part of WikiLeaks, and with founder Julian Assange facing extradition to Sweden, U.S. pressure sought to hobble WikiLeaks financially.

Based on a State Department letter, online payments site PayPal suspended WikiLeaks account in December. Their action was swiftly followed by Visa Europe and Mastercard ceasing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The online processing company, Datacell, threatened the two credit card giants with legal action over this. However, avenues of funding for the site were further curtailed when both Amazon.com and Swiss bank PostFinance joined the financial boycott of WikiLeaks.

Assange continues, to this day, to argue that his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual offences is being orchestrated by the U.S. in an effort to discredit him, and thus WikiLeaks.

Wikinews consulted an IT and cryptography expert from the Belgian university which developed the current Advanced Encryption Standard; explaining modern communications, he stated: “Cryptography has developed to such a level that intercepting communications is no longer cost effective. That is, if any user uses the correct default settings, and makes sure that he/she is really connecting to Twitter it is highly unlikely that even the NSA can break the cryptography for a protocol such as SSL/TLS (used for https).”

Qualifying this, he commented that “the vulnerable parts of the communication are the end points.” To make his point, he cited the following quote from Gene Spafford: “Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench.

Continuing, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) expert explained:

In the first place, the weak point is Twitter itself; the US government can go and ask for the data; companies such as Twitter and Google will typically store quite some information on their users, including IP addresses (it is known that Google deletes the last byte of the IP address after a few weeks, but it is not too hard for a motivated opponent to find out what this byte was).
In the second place, this is the computer of the user: by exploiting system weaknesses (with viruses, Trojan horses or backdoors in the operating system) a highly motivated opponent can enter your machine and record your keystrokes plus everything that is happening (e.g. the FBI is known to do this with the so-called Magic Lantern software). Such software is also commercially available, e.g. for a company to monitor its employees.
It would also be possible for a higly motivated opponent to play “man-in-the-middle”; that means that instead of having a secure connection to Twitter.com, you have a secure connection to the attacker’s server, who impersonates Twitter’s and then relays your information to Twitter. This requires tricks such as spoofing DNS (this is getting harder with DNSsec), or misleading the user (e.g. the user clicks on a link and connects to tw!tter.com or Twitter.c0m, which look very similar in a URL window as Twitter.com). It is clear that the US government is capable of using these kind of tricks; e.g., a company has been linked to the US government that was recognized as legitimate signer in the major browsers, so it would not be too large for them to sign a legitimate certificate for such a spoofing webserver; this means that the probability that a user would detect a problem would be very low.
As for traffic analysis (finding out who you are talking to rather than finding out what you are telling to whom), NSA and GCHQ are known to have access to lots of traffic (part of this is obtained via the UK-USA agreement). Even if one uses strong encryption, it is feasible for them to log the IP addresses and email addresses of all the parties you are connecting to. If necessary, they can even make routers re-route your traffic to their servers. In addition, the European Data Retention directive forces all operators to store such traffic data.
Whether other companies would have complied with such requests: this is very hard to tell. I believe however that it is very plausible that companies such as Google, Skype or Facebook would comply with such requests if they came from a government.
In summary: unless you go through great lengths to log through to several computers in multiple countries, you work in a clean virtual machine, you use private browser settings (don’t accept cookies, no plugins for Firefox, etc.) and use tools such as Tor, it is rather easy for any service provider to identify you.
Finally: I prefer not to be quoted on any sentences in which I make statements on the capabilities or actions of any particular government.

Wikinews also consulted French IT security researcher Stevens Le Blond on the issues surrounding the case, and the state-of-the-art in monitoring, and analysing, communications online. Le Blond, currently presenting a research paper on attacks on Tor to USENIX audiences in North America, responded via email:

Were the US Government to obtain the sought data, it would seem reasonable the NSA would handle further investigation. How would you expect them to exploit the data and expand on what they receive from Twitter?

  • Le Blond: My understanding is that the DOJ is requesting the following information: 1) Connection records and session times 2) IP addresses 3) e-mail addresses 4) banking info
By requesting 1) and 2) for Birgitta and other people involved with WikiLeaks (WL) since 2009, one could derive 2 main [pieces of] information.
First, he could tell the mobility of these people. Recent research in networking shows that you can map an IP address into a geographic location with a median error of 600 meters. So by looking at changes of IP addresses in time for a Twitter user, one could tell (or at least speculate about) where that person has been.
Second, by correlating locations of different people involved with WL in time, one could possibly derive their interactions and maybe even their level of involvement with WL. Whether it is possible to derive this information from 1) and 2) depends on how this people use Twitter. For example, do they log on Twitter often enough, long enough, and from enough places?
My research indicates that this is the case for other Internet services but I cannot tell whether it is the case for Twitter.
Note that even though IP logging, as done by Twitter, is similar to the logging done by GSM [mobile phone] operators, the major difference seems to be that Twitter is subject to US regulation, no matter the citizenship of its users. I find this rather disturbing.
Using 3), one could search for Birgitta on other Internet services, such as social networks, to find more information on her (e.g., hidden accounts). Recent research on privacy shows that people tend to use the same e-mail address to register an account on different social networks (even when they don’t want these accounts to be linked together). Obviously, one could then issue subpoenas for these accounts as well.
I do not have the expertise to comment on what could be done with 4).
((WN)) As I believe Jonsdottir to be involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), what are the wider implications beyond the “WikiLeaks witchhunt”?
  • Le Blond: Personal data can be used to discredit, especially if the data is not public.

Having been alerted to the ongoing case through a joint press release by the ACLU and EFF, Wikinews sought clarification on the primary issues which the two non-profits saw as particularly important in challenging the U.S. Government over the ‘secret’ court orders. Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the EFF, explained in more detail the points crucial to them, responding to a few questions from Wikinews on the case:

((WN)) As a worse-case, what precedents would be considered if this went to the Supreme Court?
  • Rebecca Jeschke: It’s extremely hard to know at this stage if this would go to the Supreme Court, and if it did, what would be at issue. However, some of the interesting questions about this case center on the rights of people around the world when they use US Internet services. This case questions the limits of US law enforcement, which may turn out to be very different from the limits in other countries.
((WN)) Since this is clearly a politicised attack on free speech with most chilling potential repercussions for the press, whistleblowers, and by-and-large anyone the relevant U.S. Government departments objects to the actions of, what action do you believe should be taken to protect free speech rights?
  • Jeschke: We believe that, except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals’ private Internet communications in secret. We also believe that Internet companies should, whenever possible, take steps to ensure their customers are notified about requests for information and have the opportunity to respond.
((WN)) Twitter via the web, in my experience, tends to use https:// connections. Are you aware of any possibility of the government cracking such connections? (I’m not up to date on the crypto arms race).
  • Jeschke: You don’t need to crack https, per se, to compromise its security. See this piece about fraudulent https certificates:
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent httpsEFF website.
((WN)) And, do you believe that far, far more websites should – by default – employ https:// connections to protect people’s privacy?
  • Jeschke: We absolutely think that more websites should employ https! Here is a guide for site operators: (See external links, Ed.)

Finally, Wikinews approached the Icelandic politician, and WikiLeaks supporter, who has made this specific case a landmark in how the U.S. Government handles dealings with – supposedly – friendly governments and their elected representatives. A number of questions were posed, seeking the Icelandic Parliamentarian’s views:

((WN)) How did you feel when you were notified the US Government wanted your Twitter account, and message, details? Were you shocked?
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir: I felt angry but not shocked. I was expecting something like this to happen because of my involvement with WikiLeaks. My first reaction was to tweet about it.
((WN)) What do you believe is their reasoning in selecting you as a ‘target’?
  • Jonsdottir: It is quite clear to me that USA authorities are after Julian Assange and will use any means possible to get even with him. I think I am simply a pawn in a much larger context. I did of course both act as a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in relation to the Apache video and briefly for WikiLeaks, and I put my name to the video as a co-producer. I have not participated in any illegal activity and thus being a target doesn’t make me lose any sleep.
((WN)) Are you concerned that, as a Member of Parliament involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), the US attempt to obtain your Twitter data is interfering with planned Icelandic government policy?
  • Jonsdottir: No
((WN)) In an earlier New York Times (NYT) article, you’re indicating there is nothing they can obtain about you that bothers you; but, how do you react to them wanting to know everyone you talk to?
  • Jonsdottir: It bothers me and according to top computer scientists the government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get our IP addresses from Twitter. I am, though, happy I am among the people DOJ is casting their nets around because of my parliamentary immunity; I have a greater protection then many other users and can use that immunity to raise the issue of lack of rights for those that use social media.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you believe the U.S. government should have the right to access data on foreign nationals using services such as Twitter?
Add or view comments
((WN)) The same NYT article describes you as a WikiLeaks supporter; is this still the case? What attracts you to their ‘radical transparency’?
  • Jonsdottir: I support the concept of WikiLeaks. While we don’t have a culture of protection for sources and whistleblowers we need sites like WikiLeaks. Plus, I think it is important to give WikiLeaks credit for raising awareness about in how bad shape freedom of information and expression is in our world and it is eroding at an alarming rate because of the fact that legal firms for corporations and corrupt politicians have understood the borderless nature of the legalities of the information flow online – we who feel it is important that people have access to information that should remain in the public domain need to step up our fight for those rights. WikiLeaks has played an important role in that context.I don’t support radical transparency – I understand that some things need to remain secret. It is the process of making things secret that needs to be both more transparent and in better consensus with nations.
((WN)) How do you think the Icelandic government would have reacted if it were tens of thousands of their diplomatic communications being leaked?
  • Jonsdottir: I am not sure – A lot of our dirty laundry has been aired via the USA cables – our diplomatic communications with USA were leaked in those cables, so far they have not stirred much debate nor shock. It is unlikely for tens of thousands of cables to leak from Iceland since we dont have the same influence or size as the USA, nor do we have a military.
((WN)) Your ambassador in the US has spoken to the Obama administration. Can you discuss any feedback from that? Do you have your party’s, and government’s, backing in challenging the ordered Twitter data release?
  • Jonsdottir: I have not had any feedback from that meeting, I did however receive a message from the DOJ via the USA ambassador in Iceland. The message stated three things: 1. I am free to travel to the USA. 2. If I would do so, I would not be a subject of involuntary interrogation. 3. I am not under criminal investigation. If this is indeed the reality I wonder why they are insisting on getting my personal details from Twitter. I want to stress that I understand the reasoning of trying to get to Assange through me, but I find it unacceptable since there is no foundation for criminal investigation against him. If WikiLeaks goes down, all the other media partners should go down at the same time. They all served similar roles. The way I see it is that WikiLeaks acted as the senior editor of material leaked to them. They could not by any means be considered a source. The source is the person that leaks the material to WikiLeaks. I am not sure if the media in our world understands how much is at stake for already shaky industry if WikiLeaks will carry on carrying the brunt of the attacks. I think it would be powerful if all the medias that have had access to WikiLeaks material would band together for their defence.
((WN)) Wikinews consulted a Belgian IT security expert who said it was most likely companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, would have complied with similar court orders *without advising the ‘targets*’. Does that disturb you?
  • Jonsdottir: This does disturb me for various reasons. The most obvious is that my emails are hosted at google/gmail and my search profile. I dont have anything to hide but it is important to note that many of the people that interact with me as a MP via both facebook and my various email accounts don’t always realize that there is no protection for them if they do so via those channels. I often get sensitive personal letters sent to me at facebook and gmail. In general most people are not aware of how little rights they have as users of social media. It is those of uttermost importance that those sites will create the legal disclaimers and agreements that state the most obvious rights we lose when we sign up to their services.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
((WN)) Has there been any backlash within Iceland against US-based internet services in light of this? Do you expect such, or any increase in anti-American sentiments?
  • Jonsdottir: No, none what so ever. I dont think there is much anti-American sentiments in Iceland and I dont think this case will increase it. However I think it is important for everyone who does not live in the USA and uses social services to note that according to the ruling in my case, they dont have any protection of the 1st and 4th amendment, that only apply to USA citizens. Perhaps the legalities in relation to the borderless reality we live in online need to be upgraded in order for people to feel safe with using social media if it is hosted in the USA. Market tends to bend to simple rules.
((WN)) Does this make you more, or less, determined to see the IMMI succeed?
  • Jonsdottir: More. People have to realize that if we dont have freedom of information online we won’t have it offline. We have to wake up to the fact that our rights to access information that should be in the public domain is eroding while at the same time our rights as citizens online have now been undermined and we are only seen as consumers with consumers rights and in some cases our rights are less than of a product. This development needs to change and change fast before it is too late.

The U.S. Government continues to have issues internationally as a result of material passed to WikiLeaks, and subsequently published.

Within the past week, Ecuador has effectively declared the U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges persona-non-grata over corruption allegations brought to light in leaked cables. Asking the veteran diplomat to leave “as soon as possible”, the country may become the third in South America with no ambassadorial presence. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have no resident U.S. ambassador due to the two left-wing administrations believing the ejected diplomats were working with the opposition.

The U.S. State Department has cautioned Ecuador that a failure to speedily normalise diplomatic relations may jeapordise ongoing trade talks.

The United Kingdom is expected to press the Obama administration over the continuing detention of 23-year-old Manning, who also holds UK citizenship. British lawmakers are to discuss his ongoing detention conditions before again approaching the U.S. with their concerns that his solitary confinement, and treatment therein, is not acceptable.

The 22 charges brought against Manning are currently on hold whilst his fitness to stand trial is assessed.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=ACLU,_EFF_challenging_US_%27secret%27_court_orders_seeking_Twitter_data&oldid=4515305”

Best Information On Makeup Beauty Tips

Best information on Makeup Beauty Tips

by

dr.bruswiliam

A few spritzes of perfume in the morning will not carry you through the day, no matter how expensive your bottle may be. To make your scent last, try this beauty tip: put an unscented moisturizer on first and then spray on your perfume a few seconds later. There’s so much alcohol in perfume,” Carmindy explains, “that if you spray it on dry skin, a lot of times it evaporates so quickly. But if you have moisturizer on your skin it adheres much better.

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Here is a perfect example. A beauty basic for a flawless complexion would start at a basic but very important first step which is preparing your skin with a primer before applying your foundation. How many of us skip this beauty basic? The primer serves many purposes. It will even out skin tone, fill in lines and help foundation glide on evenly so you do not need to use as much. The primer also keeps your skin looking fresh by creating a barrier that prevents makeup from sinking into it. All you need to do is apply a pea-size amount where needed before applying your foundation. Applying the primer is an essential first step and can have a huge impact on the final outcome on the appearance of your makeup.Two months before the day comes, you are advised to care for your skin. You could come to the salon in order to get the right maintenance for your skin. With performing this, your skin will be clearer and you will be ready to face your important day.

Always apply clear base coast before applying colored polish. The rule of thumb is to apply nail varnish in three strokes; down the center and one down the both remaining sides.Many people are now turning to the internet to source branded beauty products for a more attractive price than is available on the high street. Beauty shopping online is convenient, comfortable and gives you access to a wide range of skin care and cosmetics products. It’s such a convenient way to make your beauty budget stretch further. Signing up for online retailers newsletters is a great way to be kept informed of the latest offers and of course taking advantage of 3 for 2 offers on the high street on beauty basics like shampoo and conditioner is a great way to save money.To conclude, a perfect make up can completely change the way you look. The change would definitely be for good. Try and keep the whole make up simple as sometimes heavy make ups can make the matters worse.

Please feel free to check the reviews and feedbacks of the previous consumers about the present edition on beauty and wellness programs. If the customers and experts applaud about the quality of the content of the magazines on beauty and wellness, you should purchase these guide books for the upgradation of your knowledge bank. Try to collect the standard magazines which are published by the reputed publishing house or press.

Read more on

Beauty and health consultantMakeup TipsEye Care

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ArticleRich.com

International participants showcase different industry cultures at 2008 Taipei Game Show

Friday, January 25, 2008

B2B Trade Area of Taipei Game Show, criticized by trade buyers last year, but accompanied with 2008 Taiwan Digital Content Forum, moved to the second floor at Taipei World Trade Center for world-wide participants with a better exchange atmosphere this year.

Not only local OBMs (Softstar Entertainment, Soft-World International Corp., International Games System Corp., …, etc.) but also companies from New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea showcased different specialists with multiple styles. Especially on South Korea, participated members from G? Trade Show (Game Show & Trade, All-Round, aka Gstar) showcased gaming industry of South Korea and the G? upcoming at this November with brochures.

In the 2-days Digital Content Forum, world-class experts not only shared industry experiences, members from Taiwan Gaming Industry Association also discussed and forecasted marketing models for gaming industry. With participations from governmental, industrial, and academical executives world-wide, this forum helps them gained precious experiences of digital content industry from several countries.

According to the Taipei Computer Association, the show and forum organizer, the digital content industry in Taiwan was apparently grown up recent years as Minister of Economic Affairs of the Republic of China Steve Ruey-long Chen said at Opening Ceremony yesterday. Without R&Ds from cyber-gaming, and basic conceptions from policies and copyright issues, this (digital content) industry will be fallen down in Taiwan. If this industry wanted to be grown up in sustainability, gaming OBMs in Taiwan should independently produce different and unique games and change market style to market brands and games to the world.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=International_participants_showcase_different_industry_cultures_at_2008_Taipei_Game_Show&oldid=621950”

Australian Defence Department funds controversial development training

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Australia’s Department of Defence spent thousands of dollars on controversial development seminars, Australian media reported Wednesday. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training “est”, and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor.

Australia’s Defence Minister Warren Snowdon said that the government is in the process of reviewing Defence Department expenditures on career development. “We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs. … We have to be very sure that the courses that people do undertake are relevant, appropriate and indeed in line with what community expectations might be,” said Snowdon in an appearance on ABC Radio.

We’re in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs.

The Australian and Australia’s ABC News reported that Landmark Education had been listed in France as a “possible cult” in the mid 1990s. When asked about this on ABC Radio, a spokeswoman for the company in the United States, Deborah Beroset, responded: “What happened in France was that a commission established by the French parliament issued a report in which they listed almost 200 organisations as being possible cults … We were never contacted. We were inappropriately included in that list”.

In a program which aired Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program AM reported that Australia’s Defence Department spent at least AUD12,270 of taxpayer funds to send government employees to Landmark Education courses. According to AM, the Defence Department said it does not appear that further funds have been sent to Landmark Education since 2004.

In a statement released by the Defence Department, the government stated: “A search of Defence records does not indicate exactly how many individuals attended courses with this training provider, however it is believed it was a small number of individuals. … Defence has been unable to determine individual reasons for why groups within Defence choose this training provider.”

AM also reported that the use of unpaid labor by Landmark Education “has attracted the attention of the US and French governments,” and that some individuals in the mental health field have accused the company of brainwashing. When asked about the allegations by mental health experts that Landmark Education’s techniques amounted to brainwashing, Deborah Beroset responded: “Well, there is absolutely no credence to that whatsoever.”

Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff.

In a March 9 article in the Herald Sun, Peter Rolfe reported that taxpayer money was used to send at least 37 police and government staff from Victoria, Australia to seminars run by Landmark Education. Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said that “Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff,” but State Liberal MP Murray Thompson told the Herald Sun that the funds should have been put towards fighting crime. Apple Inc., Reebok, and Mercedes-Benz have sent employees to Landmark Education seminars, according to a spokeswoman for Landmark.

In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive, and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. “Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous” (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video.

Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called “est”, which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard’s company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as “The Forum” in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his “technology” and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Australian_Defence_Department_funds_controversial_development_training&oldid=4592918”

Greece declines Finland’s offer of helicopters, personnel to help fight forest fires

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greece has declined Finland’s offer of three firefighting helicopters and 25 firefighters.

The offer had been made as a result of a request by Greece for aid with the forest fires Greece is currently experiencing. Greece had stressed at the time that the most urgent need was for fixed-wing aircraft with water-bombing capabilities, assets Finland does not possess.

The Greek authorities said that the equipment Finland had offered was not suited to the task it had been proposed for. Ole Norrback, current Finnish ambassador to Greece, has already said that Finland is in a better position to aid with reforestation efforts once the fires have been quenched.

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Why I Will No Longer Vote Democrat

Submitted by: Tony Guy

used to be a Democrat but I grew up.

Like all too many other people in this country I was a Democrat. I was raised a Democrat by parents who were Democrats. The first time I was ever introduced to the actual viciousness of politics was way back when I was in first grade and we had a mock Presidential election. When I came home from school that day I told my mother about it and she asked me with a smile and who did you vote for ? I told her Eisenhower because I thought he was a nice old man. My mother s face turned instantly from a smile to a scowl and she looked at my older brother and said I ve got a G D—– REPUBLICAN for a son! For the rest of that night I felt I had done something wrong.

For far too many years after that like far too many others in this country, no matter who was running for the White House or any other political office, I was for the Democrat. Like almost all other Democrats, it didn t matter to me what the candidate was saying or what they stood for in general, I was of the universal Democrat mentality which is nothing more than my school against your school . Nothing else matters but our side winning. As ashamed as I am to admit it, (because as far as I am concerned by doing so I feel that I contributed to what happened to this country because of it), I even voted for Jimmy Carter.

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It didn t matter to me what the Democrats did or who in that party did what, because I was like everyone else and too into myself and my own life to really care. When elections came up I voted for my school .

This country was winning in Viet Nam from the time Eisenhower first sent military advisors into that country all the way through Kennedy s escalation of our presence there, and all the way up to the point where the Democrats and the Media forced our withdrawal. Which was later found out was only months ahead of North Viet Nam s plan to surrender. It was like the Democrats were rushing to see us defeated before the North Vietnamese were. Because I was like most everyone else being voluntarily na ve and too into myself, it didn t matter to me that the Democrat Darling Hanoi Jane Fonda was solely responsible for the increase in torture of American POW s and the spurring on of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Regulars to where thousands more American lives were lost. Lives that more than likely never would have been lost if she had not shown up to rally the communist troops that she admired so much. Like everyone else in this country I was too into myself to even try and notice that the Marxists were completely taking over my party along with almost the entire Media and our Public Educational System and our Universities, where they could re-write history to their advantage as they did in the Soviet Union. When elections came up, like all other Democrats I voted my school against theirs .

All that changed in 1992 when my party put up as their candidate a sexual degenerate who had even put in writing his extreme hatred of this country and its military. Being a veteran I was a patriot, and there was just no way that I could lower myself to vote for him. It was time to admit that the Democrat Party of my parents was not the Democrat Party of today.

The Democrats always billed themselves as the party of the working man and that the evil Republicans were the party of Big Business and the evil rich. Finally taking time to actually investigate this slogan I found out that it was just the opposite. The Democrat Party gets far more money from Big Business and the Evil Rich , especially the Marxist Soros. And it turned out after looking at what they do, that it s actually the Republicans that are for the working man. But the Democrats will keep on using the slogan, and their followers will blindly follow it, because that s what their parents told them to do. The Democrats are also supported by Unions who try to force their members through intimidation and even occasionally through threat of physical violence to vote Democrat, especially the openly communist SEIU. The Republicans believe in Right to Work and openly free enterprise where all Americans have a right to succeed on their own. The Republicans represent individuality whereas the Democrats now represent for the most part mob rule. But it was by controlling the mob that the Marxists were able to overthrow the government and take over Russia to begin with. One would have to be an extreme simpleton to believe that they have any less ambition for this country. That is why as they were taking over more and more of our government and the media and our educational system, that they began to press more and more for entitlements , thus financially enslaving more and more Americans to where the government is now their sole means of support and they must do what they are told to do if they want to continue receiving financial support. That includes the voting process. There are those that profess to be conservative so called blue dog Democrats in that party, but they are only an amusement to those that actually now control the party. Even though these “blue dog Democrats” profess to be conservative, they still blindly vote party lines as instructed by their parents and thus their votes are only used to further what has now become the Marxist agenda of the party.

Also, looking back on this country after World War II almost all the major advances in this country were under the Republicans. True, Kennedy gave us NASA but it was Eisenhower who was responsible for us having the roads to get not only to Florida but around this entire nation to begin with. Reagan whose very name makes all the Marxists foam at the mouth brought this nation back from the razors edge of Jimmy Carter s financial ruining of this country, and also restored World respect for this Nation after Carter s age of appeasement. Both Bush 41 and Clinton skated on Reagan s success until Clinton left office leaving us teetering on the edge of another financial failure until Bush 43 immediately cut taxes which put more money back into circulation and because of that created more jobs and brought more tax revenue into the government.

Don t get me wrong, I m not in favor of what he did near the end, but that s the beauty of not being a Democrat anymore. I don t have to blindly accept and follow the party. However, what he did near the end is absolutely Nothing compared to the one that followed him. This one has placed this country in so much debt that I have my doubts as to whether we will ever get out of it. All the while blaming all that he and his cohorts have done on those in the previous administration. And as expected the party members blindly accept that lie. But in true Marxist form the Democrats will continue to blatantly lie over and over while doing just the opposite of what they say. And even though the party members can see with their own eyes what is being done, they willingly believe it when they are told that they really don t see what they are seeing and that the party is working for them and their best interests . That s the beauty of Marxism. Make the populace dependant and they will openly follow to their ultimate destruction. The Democrat party leaders could not even prove the citizenship of this present President which naturally tends to prove that he is most definitely not a citizen of this country and thus is holding that office illegally. But twice now they have produced obviously fraudulent birth certificates and told their followers to blindly believe it and the party members did. They could now say that Red is Gray and their party members will accept it as fact. But then again through their openly obvious agenda, are they not now saying that – Red – is Red, White and Blue? And are the party members not blindly accepting that as fact as well?

No, I just cannot go along with all of that. That is why I am no longer a Democrat. I grew up, and unlike the Democrat party I left behind, I actually remained loyal to the Constitution of this Country.

About the Author: an independant political commentator who is definitely provocative but always correct. can be found at

ignoredreality.blog.com/?p=13

Source:

isnare.com

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Toyota accused of misleading public over recalls

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toyota has been accused by a U.S. House of Representatives committee with misleading the public and investigators over its recent recalls.

The accusations, in a statement from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, claim that Toyota both relied on a flawed study in its assessment of the issue of sticking accelerator pedals at the heart of the recalls, and then made misleading statements about its response. According to the authors of the letter, Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak, Toyota dismissed, rather than investigated, the idea that the cars’ computers were at fault. In a statement, James Lentz, the president of Toyota’s American division, claimed that hardware issues were to blame, and that dealers were repairing the faulty part. Toyota also released a study commissioned from the research firm Exponent that said electronic systems were not to blame.

According to the House committee, however, the study involved only six vehicles, none of which had problems with their electrical systems, and was insufficient to produce an accurate result. “Our preliminary assessment is that Toyota resisted the possibility that electronic defects could cause safety concerns, relied on a flawed engineering report and made misleading public statements concerning the adequacy of recent recalls to address the risk of sudden unintended acceleration.”

The company is under a criminal investigation, and has received two subpoenas for documents from two House committees relating to the recalls, although whether they are directly related to the letter is unclear. The documents are related to accelerator issues in several models, as well as brake problems with the Prius hybrid car, and were served earlier in in February by a federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Toyota has released upwards of 75,000 pages of documents under the requests.

In a separate, though related, development, it has emerged that Toyota last year negotiated a limited recall for two models, the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES, that were affected by the accelerator recalls, saving the company an estimated $100 million. A confidential internal presentation in July 2009 made the claim, and a month later, a Lexus ES, one of the models under the limited recall crashed in California, killing four people. The claims apparently referenced a September, 2007 recall of floor mats that could trap gas pedals, the same problem that triggered a full recall of numerous Toyota cars to fix the same problem. In the same presentation, the company claimed to have avoided recalls of another model related to rust, as well as delaying new federal safety regulations.

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Ian Thorpe starts to recover from chest pains

Friday, March 3, 2006

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe is reported to be feeling much better after suffering from chest pain for some time.

The Olympic gold medalist was due to swim in the 100m and 200m freestyle and in three relays at the Commonwealth Games, but due to his complaints his fitness has been in doubt. He has been unable to take the drugs needed to overcome his pain as they are banned from the Games.

Thorpe told the media Thursday “It’s actually the best I’ve felt in a while; the antibiotics are starting to work.”

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