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Sep 19, 2014

Author : Mohammad Tomazy , posted on Sep 19, 2014 , 11:14 PM |
Uruguayan president José Mujica
Uruguay’s José Mujica lives in a tiny house rather than the presidential palace, and gives away 90% of his salary. He’s legalised marijuana and gay marriage. But his greatest legacy is governing without giving up his revolutionary ideals.

Mujica could live in the presidential palace, a hundred-year-old mansion in the old-money Prado district, but he would rather be here. “We think of it as a way of fighting for our personal freedom,” he said. “If you complicate your life too much in the material sense, a big part of your time goes to tending that. That’s why we still live today as we did 40 years ago, in the same neighbourhood, with the same people and the same things. You don’t stop being a common man just because you are president.”.
Source: Luis Manuel's blog

Author : Mohammad Tomazy , posted on Sep 19, 2014 , 1:16 PM | Tags :
Results of the Scottish independence referendum (BBC)
With the results in from all 32 council areas, the "No" side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for "Yes", according to BBC.

Generally speaking, old citizens and pro-Union parties have succeeded to keep connexion with England, as part of UK. However, most of independency voters were youths and Scottish nationalists.



Author : Mohammad Tomazy , posted on Sep 19, 2014 , 1:21 AM |
Photo: Iñaki Larrea/Flickr Creative Commons

Valle de Pineta in the Pyrenees of Huesca

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein wrote these words in a letter in 1950, to a man named Robert S. Marcus who was grieving for the loss of his son to polio. Though they were originally words of condolence for death, they can be read as words of inspiration for embracing life, all life.

Source: mnn.com


Author : Mohammad Tomazy , posted on Sep 19, 2014 , 1:07 AM | Tags : , ,
Gen. Dempsey, Capitol Hill (CNN)

During his testimony in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, America’s top military official General Martin E. Dempsey admitted that the United States’ Arab allies in the middle east are funding ISIS.

Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked by Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, “Do you know any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL?”

His response: “I know major Arab allies who fund them.”

“Yeah, but do they embrace them?” responded Graham. “They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight Assad. They were trying to beat Assad. I think they realized the folly of their ways.”

Source: Luis Manuel's blog
Author : Mohammad Tomazy , posted on Sep 19, 2014 , 12:54 AM | Tags : , , ,
National Security Agency (NSA)

Almost exactly a year ago, one of the many Snowden revelations came out, this time concerning the fact that the NSA was giving raw domestic communications data to Israeli military intelligence. This was somewhat shocking, because it basically was allowing Israeli intelligence to sift through communications data (both metadata and actual communications), including on Americans, without any restrictions. As was noted at the time:
Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis. 

The disclosure that the NSA agreed to provide raw intelligence data to a foreign country contrasts with assurances from the Obama administration that there are rigorous safeguards to protect the privacy of US citizens caught in the dragnet. The intelligence community calls this process "minimization", but the memorandum makes clear that the information shared with the Israelis would be in its pre-minimized state.
James Bamford, the long-time NSA watcher and chronicler, has a new article in the NY Times, where he now connects that free and unencumbered data sharing with revelations of abuse by the very Israeli military intelligence unit the data went to. Bamford notes that, when he interviewed Snowden over the summer, Snowden had called out the data sharing with Israel as one of the most shocking finds:
Among his most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom.

Typically, when such sensitive information is transferred to another country, it would first be “minimized,” meaning that names and other personally identifiable information would be removed. But when sharing with Israel, the N.S.A. evidently did not ensure that the data was modified in this way.

Mr. Snowden stressed that the transfer of intercepts to Israel contained the communications — email as well as phone calls — of countless Arab- and Palestinian-Americans whose relatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories could become targets based on the communications. “I think that’s amazing,” he told me. “It’s one of the biggest abuses we’ve seen.”
And, indeed, Bamford notes, it's now been more or less confirmed that the information that NSA was sharing was used to persecute innocent Palestinians. This is only coming out now because dozens of veterans of the unit publicly called out the abuses and refused to continue to participate in the process:
It appears that Mr. Snowden’s fears were warranted. Last week, 43 veterans of Unit 8200 — many still serving in the reserves — accused the organization of startling abuses. In a letter to their commanders, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to the head of the Israeli army, they charged that Israel used information collected against innocent Palestinians for “political persecution.” In testimonies and interviews given to the media, they specified that data were gathered on Palestinians’ sexual orientations, infidelities, money problems, family medical conditions and other private matters that could be used to coerce Palestinians into becoming collaborators or create divisions in their society.
Everything about this is disturbing. There have long been concerns about the NSA and other intelligence agencies using the information they have access to try to coerce innocent people, threatening to embarrass them or reveal secrets. Other Snowden documents have revealed that the NSA in fact had plans on how to do something similar, using things like the porn surfing habits of people they didn't like to embarrass and discredit them -- even if they weren't part of any terrorist organization. While the NSA insisted it never did such things, this latest revelation suggests that the NSA clearly enabled the Israelis to do exactly that -- often using communications and metadata of Americans, handed over willy-nilly to the Israelis to do just that.

Meanwhile, kudos to the Israeli veterans for blowing the whistle on this kind of activity.

Source: Information clearance house

Sep 17, 2014

Author : Mohammad Tomazy , posted on Sep 17, 2014 , 11:40 PM |

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