The Kirsten Dirksen YouTube Channel

December 27th, 2014

Inexpensive dwellings. Vehicle living. Small scale food production. Off grid.

Kirsten Dirksen YouTube Channel

The Snowden Avalanche

December 25th, 2014

Cryptogon reader Derek Swannson let me know about his new book: The Snowden Avalanche.

NSA Reports It May Have Broken Laws With Decade of Spying on U.S. Citizens

December 25th, 2014

Oh sure, it’s just a few bad apples, combined with people making mistakes plus some coincidences.

Nothing to see here. Maintain Christmas stupor. Situation normal.

Via: Bloomberg:

The National Security Agency today released reports on intelligence collection that may have violated the law or U.S. policy over more than a decade, including unauthorized surveillance of Americans’ overseas communications.

The NSA, responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, released a series of required quarterly and annual reports to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board that cover the period from the fourth quarter of 2001 to the second quarter of 2013.

The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. They were posted on the NSA’s website at around 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Story: The CIA Torture Report Is Causing Political Ripples Overseas

In a 2012 case, for example, an NSA analyst “searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting,” according to one report. The analyst “has been advised to cease her activities,” it said.

Other unauthorized cases were a matter of human error, not intentional misconduct.

Helicopter Drone Makes First Flight from Navy Destroyer

December 25th, 2014

Via: Defensetech:

A helicopter drone developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. has made its first flight from a U.S. Navy destroyer, the company announced.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout on Dec. 16 completed 22 autonomous takeoffs and landings aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, according to a Dec. 23 release from the Falls Church, Virginia-based defense contractor.

“This is the first sea-based flight of the MQ-8C and the first time an unmanned helicopter has operated from a destroyer,” Capt. Jeff Dodge, who manages the program for Naval Air Systems Command, said in the release. The technology offers greater endurance, he added, allowing “ship commanders and pilots to have a longer on station presence.”

CDC Reports Potential Ebola Exposure in Atlanta Lab

December 25th, 2014

Via: Washington Post:

Researchers studying Ebola in a highly secure laboratory mistakenly allowed potentially lethal samples of the virus to be handled in a much less secure laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, agency officials said Wednesday.

One technician in the second laboratory may have been exposed to the virus and about a dozen other people have been assessed after entering the facility unaware that potentially hazardous samples of Ebola had been handled there.

The technician has no symptoms of illness and is being monitored for 21 days. Agency officials said it is unlikely that any of the others who entered the lab face potential exposure. Some entered the lab after it had been decontaminated. Officials said there is no possible exposure outside the secure laboratory at CDC and no exposure or risk to the public.

“At this time, we know of only the one potential exposure,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a telephone interview.

Urban Farming Guys MakerSpace

December 24th, 2014

Via: Urban Farming Guys:

U.S. Military Shot Down MH370, Claims Former Airline Boss

December 23rd, 2014

Via: Daily Mail:

A former airline boss and writer claims the U.S. downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 because the military feared it had been taken over by hackers and was about to be used in a 9/11-style attack.

Marc Dugain, the former chief executive of now-defunct Proteus Airlines, said the jumbo jet was shot down near a U.S. military base on the remote island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean after it was hacked.

Russia: Ex-Minister Kudrin Warns of ‘Full-Fledged Crisis’

December 22nd, 2014

Via: Reuters:

Russia’s government has pushed the country into an economic crisis by not tackling its financial problems fast enough, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Monday, as evidence mounted of trouble spreading through the economy.

The central bank bailed out its first victim of the collapsing currency, authorities announced a tax on grain exports to protect domestic stocks and a Reuters poll of 11 economists predicted that Russia’s gross domestic product would fall 3.6 percent next year.

Russia has been hit by what Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev recently called a “perfect storm” of plummeting oil prices, sanctions related to its military action in Ukraine, and a flight of investors’ capital — made worse by a lack of structural reforms that means the economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil revenues.

Hardship on Mexico’s Farms, a Bounty for U.S. Tables

December 21st, 2014

This Los Angeles Times series looks and reads like distopian sci-fi. High tech green houses stretch across the land to the horizon. Workers exist in abject squalor. Or are they slaves? It depends on the the facility and the arbitrary whims of the crooks in charge. (View the image galleries, if you dare.)

And when you think you’ve seen it all, wait for the coup de grâce: Some workers wind up in debt to the company store.

This is a bad one; definitely among the worst I’ve ever posted here. And Americans are filling their bellies with it.

There are four parts to the series. The link below is to part one.

Via: Los Angeles Times:

The tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers arrive year-round by the ton, with peel-off stickers proclaiming “Product of Mexico.”

Farm exports to the U.S. from Mexico have tripled to $7.6 billion in the last decade, enriching agribusinesses, distributors and retailers.

American consumers get all the salsa, squash and melons they can eat at affordable prices. And top U.S. brands — Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Subway and Safeway, among many others — profit from produce they have come to depend on.

These corporations say their Mexican suppliers have committed to decent treatment and living conditions for workers.

But a Los Angeles Times investigation found that for thousands of farm laborers south of the border, the export boom is a story of exploitation and extreme hardship.

Research Credit: ottilie

CIA Travel Advice to Operatives

December 21st, 2014

Via: Wikileaks:

The highlighted box titled “The Importance of Maintaining Cover––No Matter What” at the end of the document provides an example of an occasion when a CIA officer was selected for secondary screening at an EU airport. During the screening his baggage was swiped and traces of explosives found. The officer “gave the cover story” to explain the explosives; that he had been in counterterrorism training in Washington, DC. Although he was eventually allowed to continue, this example begs the question: if the training that supposedly explained the explosives was only a cover story, what was a CIA officer really doing passing through an EU airport with traces of explosives on him, and why was he allowed to continue?

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