Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Obama administration drowning in lawsuits
filed over NSA surveillance

AFP Photo / DPA / Angelika Warmuth / Germany out


Obama administration drowning in lawsuits filed over NSA surveillance
Get short URL Published time: July 16, 2013 17:39
Edited time: July 17, 2013 10:26
http://rt.com/usa/snowden-leaks-surveillance-suits-174/

Attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation have sued the Obama administration and are demanding the White House stop the dragnet surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency.

Both the White House and Congress have weighed in on the case of Edward Snowden and the revelations he’s made by leaking National Security Agency documents. Now the courts are having their turn to opine, and with opportunities aplenty.

Day by day, new lawsuits waged against the United States government are being filed in federal court, and with the same regularity President Barack Obama and the preceding administration are being charged with vast constitutional violations alleged to have occurred through the NSA spy programs exposed by Mr. Snowden.

The recent disclosures made by Snowden have generated commotion in Congress and the White House alike. The Department of Justice has asked for the 30-year-old former Booz Allen Hamilton worker to be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage, and members of both the House and Senate have already held their share of emergency hearings in the wake of Snowden’s series of disclosures detailing the vast surveillance programs waged by the US in utmost secrecy. But with the executive and legislative branches left worrying about how to handle the source of the leaks — and if the policies publicized should have existed in the first place — the courts could soon settle some disputes that stand to shape the way the US conducts surveillance of its own citizens.

Both longstanding arguments and just-filed claims have garnered the attention of the judicial branch in the weeks since the Guardian newspaper first began publishing leaked NSA documents attributed to Snowden on June 6. But while the courts have relied previously on stalling or stifling cases that challenge Uncle Sam’s spy efforts, civil liberties experts say the time may be near for some highly anticipated arguments to finally be heard. Now on the heels of lawsuits filed by the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, groups are coming out of the woodwork to wage a legal battle against the White House.

RT.COM: NSA is more than just a spy network, it’s global fascism

AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards



NSA is more than just a spy network, it’s global fascism

Patrick Henningsen is a writer, investigative journalist, and filmmaker and founder of the news website 21stCenturyWire.com.
http://rt.com/op-edge/nsa-network-global-fascism-167/

July 16, 2013 13:46

Despite the size and scope of Edward Snowden's NSA whistleblowing, there's little sign of Washington DC changing its practices, and even less of an indication that any of its European allies will actually hold it to account.

Germany Flip-Flops
Germany’s change of direction on this issue reveals a lot about the scale of the problem. Angela Merkel’s initial public response seemed to be that of outrage. "We are no longer in the cold war," said Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert. "If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable"(Guardian July 1, 2013).

Merkel’s public façade didn’t hold up for long after Snowden revealed in Der Spiegel magazine only days later that the US and Germany were in fact partnering in the global spy network. “They are in bed with the Germans, just like with most other Western states”, the German magazine quotes Snowden as saying, adding that the NSA has a Foreign Affairs Directorate which is responsible for cooperation with other countries (RT July 8, 2013). The Der Spiegel report also indicated how German Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and NSA work together.

HAARP Facility Shuts Down


"NOW, only 25 more of these facilities to go...."  
-Alfred Lambremont Webre

HAARP Facility Shuts Down

http://www.arrl.org/news/view/haarp-facility-shuts-down
07/15/2013

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) — a subject of fascination for many hams and the target of conspiracy theorists and anti-government activists — has closed down. HAARP’s program manager, Dr James Keeney at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, told ARRL that the sprawling 35-acre ionospheric research facility in remote Gakona, Alaska, has been shuttered since early May.

“Currently the site is abandoned,” he said. “It comes down to money. We don’t have any.” Keeney said no one is on site, access roads are blocked, buildings are chained and the power turned off. HAARP’s website through the University of Alaska no longer is available; Keeney said the program can’t afford to pay for the service. “Everything is in secure mode,” he said, adding that it will stay that way at least for another 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime a new prime contractor will be coming on board to run the government owned-contractor operated (GOCO) facility.

HAARP put the world on notice two years ago that it would be shutting down and did not submit a budget request for FY 15, Keeney said, “but no one paid any attention.” Now, he says, they’re complaining. “People came unglued,” Keeney said, noting that he’s already had inquiries from Congress. Universities that depended upon HAARP research grants also are upset, he said.

The only bright spot on HAARP’s horizon right now is that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is expected on site as a client to finish up some research this fall and winter. DARPA has nearly $8.8 million in its FY 14 budget plan to research “physical aspects of natural phenomena such as magnetospheric sub-storms, fire, lightning and geo-physical phenomena.”

The proximate cause of HAARP’s early May shutdown was less fiscal than environmental, Keeney said. As he explained it, the diesel generators on site no longer pass Clean Air Act muster. Repairing them to meet EPA standards will run $800,000. Beyond that, he said, it costs $300,000 a month just to keep the facility open and $500,000 to run it at full capacity for 10 days.


Jointly funded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Naval Research Laboratory, HAARP is an ionospheric research facility. Its best-known apparatus is its 3.6 MW HF (approximately 3 to 10 MHz) ionospheric research instrument (IRI), feeding an extensive system of 180 antenna elements and used to “excite” sections of the ionosphere. Other onsite equipment is used to evaluate the effects.

Larry Ledlow, N1TX, of Fairbanks, Alaska, said HAARP ionosonde and riometer data have been “invaluable, especially being more or less local, to understand current conditions in the high latitudes.” He said data from other sites “simply do not accurately reflect the unique propagation we endure here.”

To fill the gap, Ledlow said, several members of the Arctic Amateur Radio Club — including Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, author of Radio Science for the Radio Amateur and articles in QST — have discussed building their own instruments. “It’s all very preliminary,” he said, “but we really feel the pinch losing HAARP.” Nichols, of North Pole, Alaska, has conducted experiments at HAARP. He called the shutdown “a great loss to interior Alaska hams and many others.”

The ultra-high power facility long has intrigued hams, even outside of Alaska. In 1997, HAARP transmitted test signals on HF (3.4 MHz and 6.99 MHz) and solicited reports from hams and short-wave listeners in the “Lower 48” to determine how well the HAARP transmissions could be heard to the south. In 2007 HAARP succeeded in bouncing a 40 meter signal off the moon. Earlier this year, HAARP scientists successfully produced a sustained high-density plasma cloud in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

As things stand, the Air Force has possession for now, but if no other agency steps forward to take over HAARP, the unique facility will be dismantled, Keeney said. He pointed out that it would cost less to bulldoze the antenna field than it would to replace the 180 antenna elements.

Splashy web postings abound, blaming HAARP for controlling the weather — most recently in the case of Hurricane Sandy and the spate of tornados — and for causing other natural disasters. Quipped Keeney, “If I actually could affect the weather, I’d keep it open.”
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