New Mercury Media Presents
11/17/13 - PNN's "On Their Shoulders"
Joining News Directors Rick Spisak and his guests
Luis Cuevas Executive Director of Progressive Push
Karen Welzel Board of Directors, Democratic Progressive Caucus/Florida
Jerry Waxman Journalist
Tony Franscetta Union Organizer
Walter Barash Author & Activist
Frank Day Democratic Chair
Shawna Vercher Journalist & Activist
Many of us, knew older activists who stood protecting our Liberty, standing for Human Rights, and Peace for decades and decades back to that troublesome rabble rouser Thomas Paine. Who was it that touched your life, who reminded you we have a responsibility to our friends and our neighbors. Before we heard the call to fight the good fight, before we joined the FRAY.
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Keep in Mind the Universe is 13 billion yrs old / The Earth is 4 billion years old
Lee Camp Equator and Shell
Elizabeth Warren filibuster Abuse
1. Apple admits, ‘iPhone 5s Fingerprint Database To Be Shared With NSA’
Now-a-days, Apple is famous in the markets because its new iPhone 5S has a Fingerprint Sensor (Touch ID) as a security feature—everyone is getting amazed with that feature and eager to use. That Fingerprint scanner has been hacked already by German Hackers group ‘CCC’ but one more thing to concern about that—’will Apple share that Fingerprint database with NSA’ and the answer is YES. Tim Richardson, District Manager of Apple’s North America Marketing Department admits about the sharing of Database with NSA, he said to Jane M. Agni (A freelance writer in nationalreport.net.):
See more at: http://hackersnewsbulletin.com/2013/09/apple-admits-iphone-5s-fingerprint-database-shared-nsa.html#sthash.fVYoFqJt.dpuf
2. N.Y. Fed Asks Court to Dismiss Fired Goldman Examiner’s Lawsuit
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit by a former bank examiner who says she was dismissed after finding fault with Goldman Sachs’ conflict-of-interest policies.
ProPublica reported the allegations last month by Carmen Segarra, who the New York Fed had assigned to examine aspects of Goldman Sachs in November 2011. She was fired seven months later.
In its motion to dismiss Segarra’s lawsuit, the Fed disputed that she is a whistleblower and characterized what transpired as “a non-actionable disagreement between a supervised employee and more senior colleagues over how to interpret a Federal Reserve policy.”
Segarra had been hired as part of an effort by the New York Federal Reserve to comply with new authority it received from Congress to monitor so-called Too-Big-to-Fail financial institutions. The Fed recruited experts to act as “risk specialists” to examine different aspects of these complex firms.
Segarra, who previously had worked in some of the nation’s largest banks, was tasked with examining legal and compliance functions at Goldman. Her supervisors told her specifically to look at whether Goldman was compliant with Fed guidance that the bank had a firm-wide conflict of interest policy, according to her Oct. 10 complaint.
At the time, Goldman had been buffeted by allegations in media reports and lawsuits over how it handled conflicts of interest. Segarra determined that Goldman did not have such a firm-wide policy. Although her fellow legal and compliance specialists working at the other banks agreed with her findings, however, the Fed’s senior official onsite at Goldman, Michael Silva, ultimately did not, according to her complaint.
Silva and his deputy, Michael Koh, tried to convince Segarra to change her findings, the lawsuit says. Three business days after sending an email to them explaining that the evidence she had gathered made it impossible for her to change her conclusions, Silva fired her. Before being escorted from the building, Silva told her he had lost confidence in her ability to follow directions and not to jump to conclusions, Segarra says.
Segarra’s suit in U.S. District Court names as defendants the New York Fed, Silva, Koh and her direct supervisor, Johnathan Kim. She alleged wrongful termination, breach of employment contract and that the defendants interfered with protected conduct she was exercising as a bank examiner.
Segarra’s lawsuit cites a federal law that allows bank examiners to sue for wrongful termination if they are fired for providing information regarding “any possible violation of any law or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.”
In its motion to dismiss, the New York Fed said that Segarra worked “at will” and so there could be no “breach of contract.” It also said that she was fired for cause and that the guidance she was told to use to examine Goldman was advisory and not a regulation, so the bank could therefore not be in violation. It further argued that since some of the information Segarra used to make her determination came from Goldman, she technically did not “provide” it to the Fed.
In its filing, the Fed cited a Code of Conduct policy and a 2011 Business Standards Committee Report as evidence that Goldman had a firm-wide policy governing conflicts of interest policy. Goldman, which is not a defendant in Segarra’s lawsuit, has said that it has such a policy.
“She rushed to judgments that even her own evidence refuted,” the New York Fed’s motion said.
The 2011 Business Standards Committee Report the Fed cited mentions plans to update and provide to all employees a conflict–of-interest policy but does not detail policies or procedures. As for it its code of conduct, Segarra told ProPublica that Goldman itself did not believe it constituted a conflict of interest policy since it did not provide it to regulators as such.
“My direct management and some of my peers did not think Goldman's Code of Conduct was a conflicts-of-interest policy,” she told ProPublica in an interview. “Policies in banks are actually pretty standardized documents, with clear titles and content directly related to the title/purpose of the document, written in a language meant to be understood by every employee at every level.”
Segarra’s attorney, Linda Stengel, disputed the Fed’s contention that her client is not a whistleblower. “Obviously, Carmen is a whistleblower, and obviously, her work as a bank examiner is protected conduct,” said Stengle. “Those conclusions are simple common sense to most everyone, except FRBNY, apparently.”
Segarra’s complaint asked for reinstatement, back pay, compensation for lost benefits and damages. The Fed’s motion rejected reinstatement or damages, contending that Segarra “misappropriated and published confidential supervisory information” as exhibits in her lawsuit.
3. Banking on Irony
while the FBI, IRS, and the judicial establishment went all out to nail the bank defrauder, they allow big-time Wall Street crooks who defraud us to escape prosecution, much less jail. High-flying bankers systematically commit serial acts of blatant fraud, bilking millions of people out of billions of dollars, but they keep their positions, paychecks, perks, and prestige – free to bilk again.
The latest marquee Wall Streeter to admit to grand scale larceny, yet pay no personal penalty, is Jamie Dimon, honcho of JPMorgan Chase. Shareholders in Dimon's felonious operation have been socked with a record $13 billion in penalties, but not a penny comes from Jamie's pocket. Still, popping the bank for 13 Big Ones shows that the Justice Department is finally getting tough on corporate crime, right? Not exactly. JPMorgan's punishment will be softened significantly by this unannounced outrage: A corporation – unlike a person – can deduct criminal fines from its income taxes. That means we taxpayers will, in effect, cough-up some $4 billion to help America's richest bank pay for its wrongdoing.
This corporate tax scam puts the "con" in unconscionable. But We The People can shame Dimon and his bank's shareholders into paying the full price for their criminal acts. To help a grassroots coalition of citizen groups that are demanding just that, go to www.CampaignForFairSettlement.org.
"Man gets 10 years for defrauding banks," Austin American Statesman," November 3, 2013.
4. Issue Summary [center for democracy & technology]
The U.S. has engaged in ongoing mass surveillance of the world's Internet users.
In place of individualized suspicion and targeted collection required by the
ICCPR, the secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) approves bulk surveillance programs which permit the NSA to systematically collect communications data from the global data flows that transverse U.S. networks or are stored in U.S. based "cloud" service providers. The relevant publicly enacted laws do not provide adequate authority for these programs, which operate under enormous secrecy, depriving the public of critical public debate and the ability to know under what circumstances their communications may be accessed. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) programs are supported by secret legal interpretations, further weakening oversight. Safeguards to protect rights of people within the U.S. are inadequate under the U.S. Constitution. No safeguards are provided to non-Americans outside of the U.S. The result is a surveillance regime that violates U.S. obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
5. Malala's Book banned in Pakistan
Pakistan: debate rages over Malala book ban
"I am Malala" is accused of being against Islam and the constitution, but some prominent Pakistanis see the censoring of the book in private schools as a loss to millions of children.
“My friend told me Malala is not a Pakistani or a Muslim; her real name is Jennifer and she is a Christian,” said ten-year old Fatemah, conspiratorially. “But I don’t believe her one bit,” she added waving the book “I am Malala”. She is reading the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban.
The rather precocious 10-year old went on to say the book “gave me something important to reflect on… That what I had always taken for granted, like education, does not come that easily for thousands.” She found Malala to be a “real hero” for standing up for what she believed in. Fatemah may just be ten but her views are reflective of the debate raging in Pakistan today, especially in the media, after the book surfaced and was subsequently banned in some private schools.
On 10 November, the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF), announced the decision to ban the book from member schools for “being against the injunctions of Islam and the constitution of Pakistan”. The book will not be kept in the library of any of its schools and no co-curricular activities, including debates, will be held on it, Kashif Mirza, chairman of the APPSF told Index. Almost 25 million children, 10 million of which are girls, study at the federation’s 152,000 private school. They employ 7,250,000 teachers, 90 percent being women. The book has not officially been banned by the Pakistani government in state schools, but is not part of any school’s curriculum.
Yousafzai has been bagging one award after another internationally. In Pakistan, where the entire nation had rooted for her to win the Nobel Peace prize, the book has led to a slight dimming of that adulation. Having British award-winning journalist Christina Lamb’s name on the cover as co-author hasn’t helped. ”Lamb is reputed to be both anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam,” Mirza said.
Dr AH Nayyar, a noted educationist, said the reaction of the private school owners was that of “weak-kneed people” who are more worried about their “business interests” than what “is right and what is wrong”.
Rumana Hussain, a former principal of a private school who has written and illustrated several children’s books, finds it tragic that “the 25 million students who attend private schools in the country will not read the book. The millions who attend public schools, where the book isn’t banned but won’t be taught, bought or stocked, will not read it either.”
She lamented: “All of them will be deprived of the chance to read the account of a young Pakistani girl’s struggle for education – not only for herself but also for every Pakistani girl, every child - and get inspiration from her story.”
6. Jeremy Hammond's Sentencing Statement
Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Jeremy Hammond and I’m here to be sentenced for hacking activities carried out during my involvement with Anonymous. I have been locked up at MCC for the past 20 months and have had a lot of time to think about how I would explain my actions.
Before I begin, I want to take a moment to recognize the work of the people who have supported me. I want to thank all the lawyers and others who worked on my case: Elizabeth Fink, Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Margaret Kunstler, and Grainne O’Neill. I also want to thank the National Lawyers Guild, the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee and Support Network, Free Anons, the Anonymous Solidarity Network, Anarchist Black Cross, and all others who have helped me by writing a letter of support, sending me letters, attending my court dates, and spreading the word about my case. I also want to shout out my brothers and sisters behind bars and those who are still out there fighting the power.
The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life. I hacked into dozens of high profile corporations and government institutions, understanding very clearly that what I was doing was against the law, and that my actions could land me back in federal prison. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice—and to bring the truth to light.
Could I have achieved the same goals through legal means? I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own system of checks and balances, never mind the rights of it’s own citizens or the international community.
My introduction to politics was when George W. Bush stole the Presidential election in 2000, then took advantage of the waves of racism and patriotism after 9/11 to launch unprovoked imperialist wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I took to the streets in protest naively believing our voices would be heard in Washington and we could stop the war. Instead, we were labeled as traitors, beaten, and arrested.
I have been arrested for numerous acts of civil disobedience on the streets of Chicago, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I used my computer skills to break the law in political protest. I was arrested by the FBI for hacking into the computer systems of a right-wing, pro-war group called Protest Warrior, an organization that sold racist t-shirts on their website and harassed anti-war groups. I was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the “intended loss” in my case was arbitrarily calculated by multiplying the 5000 credit cards in Protest Warrior’s database by $500, resulting in a total of $2.5 million.My sentencing guidelines were calculated on the basis of this “loss,” even though not a single credit card was used or distributed – by me or anyone else. I was sentenced to two years in prison.
While in prison I have seen for myself the ugly reality of how the criminal justice system destroys the lives of the millions of people held captive behind bars. The experience solidified my opposition to repressive forms of power and the importance of standing up for what you believe.
When I was released, I was eager to continue my involvement in struggles for social change. I didn’t want to go back to prison, so I focused on above-ground community organizing. But over time, I became frustrated with the limitations, of peaceful protest, seeing it as reformist and ineffective. The Obama administration continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, escalated the use of drones, and failed to close Guantanamo Bay.
Around this time, I was following the work of groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous. It was very inspiring to see the ideas of hactivism coming to fruition. I was particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses. It is heart-wrenching to hear about her cruel treatment in military lockup.
I thought long and hard about choosing this path again. I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able? I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.
I was drawn to Anonymous because I believe in autonomous, decentralized direct action. At the time Anonymous was involved in operations in support of the Arab Spring uprisings, against censorship, and in defense of Wikileaks. I had a lot to contribute, including technical skills, and how to better articulate ideas and goals. It was an exciting time – the birth of a digital dissent movement, where the definitions and capabilities of hacktivism were being shaped.
I was especially interested in the work of the hackers of LulzSec who were breaking into some significant targets and becoming increasingly political. Around this time, I first started talking to Sabu, who was very open about the hacks he supposedly committed, and was encouraging hackers to unite and attack major government and corporate systems under the banner of Anti Security. But very early in my involvement, the other Lulzsec hackers were arrested, leaving me to break into systems and write press releases. Later, I would learn that Sabu had been the first one arrested, and that the entire time I was talking to him he was an FBI informant.
Anonymous was also involved in the early stages of Occupy Wall Street. I was regularly participating on the streets as part of Occupy Chicago and was very excited to see a worldwide mass movement against the injustices of capitalism and racism. In several short months, the “Occupations” came to an end, closed by police crackdowns and mass arrests of protestors who were kicked out of their own public parks. The repression of Anonymous and the Occupy Movement set the tone for Antisec in the following months – the majority of our hacks against police targets were in retaliation for the arrests of our comrades.
I targeted law enforcement systems because of the racism and inequality with which the criminal law is enforced. I targeted the manufacturers and distributors of military and police equipment who profit from weaponry used to advance U.S. political and economic interests abroad and to repress people at home. I targeted information security firms because they work in secret to protect government and corporate interests at the expense of individual rights, undermining and discrediting activists, journalists and other truth seekers, and spreading disinformation.
I had never even heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought it to my attention. Sabu was encouraging people to invade systems, and helping to strategize and facilitate attacks. He even provided me with vulnerabilities of targets passed on by other hackers, so it came as a great surprise when I learned that Sabu had been working with the FBI the entire time.
On December 4, 2011, Sabu was approached by another hacker who had already broken into Stratfor’s credit card database. Sabu, under the watchful eye of his government handlers, then brought the hack to Antisec by inviting this hacker to our private chatroom, where he supplied download links to the full credit card database as well as the initial vulnerability access point to Stratfor’s systems.
I spent some time researching Stratfor and reviewing the information we were given, and decided that their activities and client base made them a deserving target. I did find it ironic that Stratfor’s wealthy and powerful customer base had their credit cards used to donate to humanitarian organizations, but my main role in the attack was to retrieve Stratfor’s private email spools which is where all the dirty secrets are typically found.
It took me more than a week to gain further access into Stratfor’s internal systems, but I eventually broke into their mail server. There was so much information, we needed several servers of our own in order to transfer the emails. Sabu, who was involved with the operation at every step, offered a server, which was provided and monitored by the FBI. Over the next weeks, the emails were transferred, the credit cards were used for donations, and Stratfor’s systems were defaced and destroyed. Why the FBI would introduce us to the hacker who found the initial vulnerability and allow this hack to continue remains a mystery.
As a result of the Stratfor hack, some of the dangers of the unregulated private intelligence industry are now known. It has been revealed through Wikileaks and other journalists around the world that Stratfor maintained a worldwide network of informants that they used to engage in intrusive and possibly illegal surveillance activities on behalf of large multinational corporations.
After Stratfor, I continued to break into other targets, using a powerful “zero day exploit” allowing me administrator access to systems running the popular Plesk webhosting platform. Sabu asked me many times for access to this exploit, which I refused to give him. Without his own independent access, Sabu continued to supply me with lists of vulnerable targets. I broke into numerous websites he supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu’s FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu (and, by extension, his FBI handlers) to control these targets.
These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those of XXXXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXXXXX and the XXXXXX XXXXXXX. In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites in XXXXXX. I don’t know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated.
The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?
The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex, but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of “law and order” and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change.
In the immortal word of Frederick Douglas, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
This is not to say that I do not have any regrets. I realize that I released the personal information of innocent people who had nothing to do with the operations of the institutions I targeted. I apologize for the release of data that was harmful to individuals and irrelevant to my goals. I believe in the individual right to privacy – from government surveillance, and from actors like myself, and I appreciate the irony of my own involvement in the trampling of these rights. I am committed to working to make this world a better place for all of us. I still believe in the importance of hactivism as a form of civil disobedience, but it is time for me to move on to other ways of seeking change. My time in prison has taken a toll on my family, friends, and community. I know I am needed at home. I recognize that 7 years ago I stood before a different federal judge, facing similar charges, but this does not lessen the sincerity of what I say to you today.
It has taken a lot for me to write this, to explain my actions, knowing that doing so — honestly — could cost me more years of my life in prison. I am aware that I could get as many as 10 years, but I hope that I do not, as I believe there is so much work to be done. - STAY STRONG AND KEEP STRUGGLING!