Monday, December 8, 2008

Hoax call to Zardari "put Pakistan on war alert"

Pakistan put its forces on high alert after someone pretending to be India's foreign minister made a phone call to President Asif Ali Zardari threatening war after the Mumbai attacks began, Dawn newspaper said on Saturday.

"It's true," a diplomat with knowledge of the exchanges told Reuters when asked whether the report was correct.

Dawn said the Nov. 28 caller threatened military action unless Pakistan acted immediately against the perpetrators of the slaughter in Mumbai, launched two days earlier.

For the next 24 hours nuclear-armed Pakistan's air force was put on "highest alert" as the military watched anxiously for any sign of Indian aggression, the report said.

Tensions have been running high since India blamed Islamist militants based in Pakistan for the three-day rampage in its financial capital, which killed 171 people.

"War may not have been imminent, but it was not possible to take any chances," Dawn quoted a Pakistani official as saying.


The episode triggered intense international diplomacy, with some world leaders fearing India and Pakistan could slip into an accidental war, the newspaper said.

Dawn said the caller, posing as Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, also tried to telephone U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but due to specific checks by U.S. officials the call was not put through.

According to Dawn, Rice called Mukherjee in the middle of the night to ask why he had adopted such a threatening tone, but he assured her that he had not spoken to Zardari.

Pakistan's senior envoy to Britain confirmed that Pakistan had feared an attack.

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U.S. is losing global cyberwar, commission says

The U.S. faces a cybersecurity threat of such magnitude that the next President should move quickly to create a Center for Cybersecurity Operations and appoint a special White House advisor to oversee it. Those are among the recommendations in a 44-page report by the U.S. Commission on Cybersecurity, a version of which will be made public today. The bipartisan panel includes executives, high-ranking military officers and intelligence officials, leading specialists in computer security, and two members of Congress.

To compile the report, which is entitled "Securing Cyberspace in the 44th Presidency," commission members say they reviewed tens of thousands of pages of undisclosed documentation, visited forensics labs and the National Security Agency, and were briefed in closed-door sessions by top officials from Pentagon, CIA, and British spy agency MI5. From their research, they concluded that the U.S. badly needs a comprehensive cybersecurity policy to replace an outdated checklist of security requirements for government agencies under the existing Federal Information Security Management Act.

The report calls for the creation of a Center for Cybersecurity Operations that would act as a new regulator of computer security in both the public and private sector. Active policing of government and corporate networks would include new rules and a "red team" to test computers for vulnerabilities now being exploited with increasing sophistication and frequency by identity and credit card thieves, bank fraudsters, crime rings, and electronic spies. "We're playing a giant game of chess now and we're losing badly," says commission member Tom Kellermann, a former World Bank security official who now is vice-president of security at Boston-based Core Strategy.

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Wikipedia article censored in UK for the first time

For the first time, U.K. Internet Service Providers have censored a Wikipedia article, one that includes an album cover image of a naked and possibly underage girl.

An unintended side effect of the block left U.K. users of the online encyclopedia unable to edit other articles, Wikimedia said.

The article concerns the album "Virgin Killer" by German band The Scorpions. The record has generated controversy due to its cover photo ever since it was released in 1976.

The URL (uniform resource locator) of the article was added to a blacklist published by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a nonprofit group that works with law enforcement to block and remove child pornography from Web sites.

Some 95 percent of U.K. ISPs use IWF's blacklist, although non-residential Internet connections are not affected, according to the Wikimedia Foundation.

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Demonstrators occupy Greek consulate in Berlin

A group of 30 demonstrators has occupied the Greek consulate in Berlin in protest against the killing by police of a teenager in Athens on Saturday night that sparked violent protests in the Greek capital. The Berlin protesters are behaving peacefully.

A group of demonstrators occupied the Greek consulate in Berlin on Monday morning in protest at the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy by Athens police on Saturday that triggered the worst rioting Greece has seen in 25 years.

Some 30 people pushed their way into the lobby of the consulate at Wittenbergplatz in western Berlin at around 9.40 a.m. local time, said SPIEGEL TV reporter Martin Heller, who is on the scene.

Around 120 German police cordoned off the area outside the consulate and negotiations are underway with the demonstrators, who were behaving peacefully and had made no demands, police said. At around 11 a.m., 10 people wearing hats and scarves to mask their faces appeared on the balcony of the consulate and shouted: "Police Assassins" and "Alexandros, That Was Murder!"

The Greek embassy in Berlin, located in the east of the city, has not been occupied.

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Bailouts or co-operatives?

As capitalism goes into crisis (again), there have been bailouts of the financial sector as well as calls for the bailing out of certain industries. In America, the big three car companies having been asking for state help. There are many reasons for rejecting this:

'When it comes to bailing out the auto industry, count me in the “let them starve” camp. The auto industry has been outsourcing American jobs for 25 years now with little regard for the devastated communities they've left in their wake (seriously, re-watch Roger & Me sometime). The big three have also used their lobbying might to oppose every environmental regulation in their sights. And on top of all of that, their cars suck.'

As true as this is, the problem is that the workers who are left will be harmed by this. As such, I think it is wise for anarchists to have some practical suggestion on what to do – beyond, of course, calls for social revolution (which is correct, but fails to take into account where we are now and is, as a result, abstract sloganeering).

May I suggest that in return for any bailouts, the company is turned into a co-operative? This is a libertarian alternative to just throwing money at capitalists or nationalising workplaces.

For example, Proudhon argued in 1848 he “did not want to see the State confiscate the mines, canals and railways; that would add to monarchy, and more wage slavery. We want the mines, canals, railways handed over to democratically organised workers' associations . . . these associations [will] be models for agriculture, industry and trade, the pioneering core of that vast federation of companies and societies woven into the common cloth of the democratic social Republic.”

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Advocating Internet control in the 'free world'

UK-based children's organization calls for int'l cooperation in Internet content control

The international community needs to cooperate more closely to regulate Internet contents, an official from a U.K.-based children's organization said Tuesday.

"As more and more contents such as games go online, international cooperation around Internet material is going to become a much bigger issue," said John Carr, secretary of the Children's Charities Coalition for Internet Safety.

He was in Seoul this week to speak at an international conference under the theme of "Paradigm Change in Content Regulation and Future Challenges," hosted by the Korea Communications Standards Commission.

"International institutions need to be united to press on the world's Internet and high-tech companies to take responsibility for ensuring children's safety online," Carr said.

"So far, to the extent that it has worked at all, international cooperation has only worked on a large scale in relation to child pornography. Even then, the number of countries involved is limited."

Berlusconi plans to use G8 presidency to "regulate the Internet"

Italian president and media baron Silvio Berlusconi said today that he would use his country's imminent presidency of the G8 group to push for an international agreement to "regulate the internet."

Speaking to Italian postal workers, Reuters reports Berlusconi said: "The G8 has as its task the regulation of financial markets... I think the next G8 can bring to the table a proposal for a regulation of the internet." Click here to find out more!

Italy's G8 presidency begins on January 1. The role is taken by each of the group's members in rotation. The holder country is responsible for organising and hosting the G8's meetings and setting the agenda. Italy's last G8 presidency in 2001, also under Berlusconi, was marred by riots at the annual meeting in Genoa.

Berlusconi didn't explain what he meant by "regulate the internet", but the mere mention of it has prompted dismay among Italian commentators. Berlusconi owns swathes of the Italian mass media...

New Internet censorship plan rattles public

A pilot test of the Rudd Government’s plan for mandatory Internet filtering will begin on Christmas Eve. However, an Opposition movement, including Internet service providers and technical experts, have voiced their concerns about the effects of the plan on civil liberties.

The cyber-safety plan will use two filters, one of which is optional and aims to protect Australian children from the dangers of the Internet. The other filter will be mandatory and will also block “unwanted content”, a category which is not yet defined for the public.

Supporters of the plan believe that the Government has an obligation to protect children. The Australian Christian Lobby, Family First Senator Steve Fielding and Independent Nick Xenophon are advocates for the filtering.

[ ... ]

The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) blacklist stands at 1300 websites. Most of these contain child pornography, violence, terrorist-related and other illegal content.

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, wants to add another 10,000 to the list, including sites about euthanasia, anorexia and online gambling.

The list of banned websites will not be made publicly available.

The media has compared the censorship plan to China’s Great Firewall. At present, China, Burma, Iran and Saudi Arabia are some of the countries that have mandatory Internet censorship.

“The main similarity [with China] is that it’s a secret [blacklist] that you can’t opt out of,” said Ms Kelareva.

Countries such as the UK and Canada currently have optional filtering aimed at preventing accidental access.

The issue has inspired some Australians to join activist groups such as AAIC, which formed in November. Public demonstrations will take place on December 13 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide...

German false flag operation busted

Germany declined to comment on Saturday on reports that three Germans arrested on suspicion of throwing explosives at an EU office in Kosovo were intelligence officers.

The explosive charge was thrown on Nov. 14 at the International Civilian Office (ICO), the office of EU Special Representative Pieter Feith, who oversees Kosovo's governance, but caused only minor damage. The men were detained on Thursday.

The three were questioned on Saturday by a Pristina district court judge who ordered them to be detained until Dec. 22.

A defence lawyer told reporters that the three were suspected of having committed an act of terrorism.

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin confirmed that three Germans had been arrested, but declined to make any further comment as an investigation was under way.

A police source in Kosovo told Reuters: "They are members of the BND", but gave no further details.

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Fearmongering as a primary industry

As reported in The Guardian:

A congressional investigation into weapons of mass destruction today offered a chilling prediction of terrorists mounting an attack using biological or nuclear weapons within the next five years.

The six-month inquiry singles out Pakistan as one of the likeliest sources of such an attack. The target could be the US or some other part of the world.

The report, by the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, concludes that "unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013".

It adds that "terrorists are more likely to be able to obtain and use a biological weapon than a nuclear weapon".

President George Bush welcomed the report, saying the threat posed was the greatest facing the US and was "dangerously real". He said that after the 9/11 attacks, he had put in place policies tackling the threat and he was leaving a good foundation for his successor.

The incoming Barack Obama administration, which is to make proliferation of weapons of mass destruction a priority, was briefed on Capitol Hill today about the findings in the 132-page report.

The commission, which was led by the former Democratic senator Bob Graham and by former Democratic senator Jim Talent, was given six months to complete the report. It follows on from the work of the commission that investigated the 9/11 attack...

Musical Innerlube: Protest songs

Phil Ochs - What are you fighting for?

A Perfect Circle - Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drum

STOP - Dear Mr President

Neil Young - Let's Impeach the President

Fucking Usa

Warzone: Athens, Greece

Riots erupted overnight on December 6th in the center of Athens as citizens retaliated in anger over the murder of a 15 year old boy by a police officer.

The story, according to news sources is that a group of youths attacked a police car, throwing molotov cocktails. The police officers, after attempting to defend themselves, then threw tear gas while one drew his gun firing twice in the air and once straight ahead, hitting one of the youths in the chest. He died upon arrival at the hospital.

Here are some sources to verify this side of the story:

All accounts according to these stories sound eerily similar. What they also share in common is the lack of reason or motivation on behalf of the youths who supposedly initiated this attack.

The Official, in attempt to show goodwill to both sides, will not give a biased interpretation of events leading up to the incident. What we will do however, is attempt to fill in the gaps of this story by offering the following theories on the motivations of the attack on the police vehicle:

a) Sparked by jealousy, the youths attacked the police officers, cause women dig men in uniform
b) In disdain of her lame attempts at fame, it was rumoured that Paris Hilton was in the police car
c) The youths, having run out of vodka and rum, only had molotov cocktails to offer the officers
d) The youths got up Saturday morning and thought, 'nice weather out, lets go bomb the police'

Now dear readers, it is up to you to form your own opinions. In the meantime, here are some images and video taken by yours truly, documenting the chaos that took place today...

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CIA failed in Somalia - Money for warlords backfired

The covert effort by the CIA to finance warlords in Somalia has drawn sharp criticism from U.S.government officials who say the campaign thwarted counterterrorism efforts inside the country and empowered the same Islamic groups it was intended to marginalize.

The criticism, expressed privately, flared even before the apparent victory this week by Islamist militias dealt a sharp setback to U.S. policy in the region, U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the debate said.

The officials said the CIA effort, run from the agency's station in Nairobi, channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past year to secular warlords inside Somalia with the aim, among other things, of capturing or killing a handful of suspected members of Al Qaeda who are believed to be hiding there.

The officials said the decision to use proxies was born in part from fears of committing large numbers of U.S. personnel to counterterrorism efforts in Somalia, a country that the United States hastily left in 1994.

Then, attempts to capture the warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid and his aides ended in disaster and the death of 18 U.S. soldiers.

The U.S. effort of the past year occasionally included trips to Somalia from Nairobi by CIA case officers, who landed on warlord-controlled airstrips in the capital, Mogadishu, with large amounts of money for distribution to militias, said experts outside the U.S. government and American officials involved in policy making.

Among those who have criticized the CIA operation as shortsighted have been senior Foreign Service officers at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. Earlier this year, Leslie Rowe, the embassy's second-ranking official, signed off on a cable back to the State Department in Washington that detailed grave concerns throughout the region about the U.S. efforts in Somalia, said several people with knowledge of the report.

Around that time, the State Department's political officer for Somalia, Michael Zorick, who had been based in Nairobi, was reassigned to Chad after he sent a cable to Washington criticizing the policy of paying Somali warlords.

One U.S. official who traveled to Nairobi this year said that officials from various government agencies working in Somalia had expressed concern that U.S. activities were not being carried out in the context of a broader policy.

"They were fully aware that they were doing so without any strategic framework," the official said. "And they realized that there might be negative implications to what they are doing."

The details of the U.S. effort in Somalia are classified, so officials from several agencies agreed to discuss them only after being assured of anonymity. The officials included supporters of the CIA-led effort, as well as critics.

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