Archive | July 17, 2013

How Scientology Changed The Internet

Entrance of the Church of Scientology Madid, SpainThe Scientology cult is at war with the Internet reports Dave Lee at BBC News:

What do Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Anonymous and copyright law have in common? The answer is they have all been influenced by the Church of Scientology International (CSI), as it took on ex-members and critics who took their protests on to the internet. As the Church successfully removes another website, just how big an influence has Scientology had on the internet we all use?

Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.

It was just the latest twist in the Church’s long-running feud with “negative” Scientology content online, one that has lasted almost two decades.

Back in May 1994, at a time when most major organisations were yet to figure out how exactly to deal with the relatively unknown power of the internet, the Church’s Elaine Siegel had a few ideas, outlined in a leaked email to “all Scientologists on the internet”.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

CIA Used James Bond Films as Public Relations Tool

Seems to me that they might have relied too heavily on Bond for ideas, at least when it came to assassination attempts on Castro.

Picture: Felix Leiter (C)

Picture: Felix Leiter (C)

Via EurekAlert:

The real-life CIA copied outlandish gadgets from Goldfinger and From Russia With Love, according to a University of Warwick analysis of declassified letters and interviews revealing the bond between Ian Fleming and Allen Dulles.

However the relationship between the former CIA director and the spy thriller writer went far deeper than raiding the novels for technological inspiration.

Through Dulles, the agency actively leaned on the British author to paint it in more positive light at a time when US film-makers, authors and journalists were silent about the activities of the CIA, fearful to even mention it by name.

Dr Christopher Moran from the University of Warwick has trawled through declassified letters and media reports from the 1950 and 60s for the study, “Ian Fleming and the Public Profile of the CIA”, published in the Journal of Cold War Studies.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Relatives Of Michael Hastings Hire Private Investigator After His Remains Were Cremated Without Permission

Further fuel for conspiracy theories? San Diego 6 News reports that the body of journalist Michael Hastings, who died last month in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles, was cremated against his family's wishes, destroying any evidence (of sobriety, of drug or alcohol use, or otherwise) in his body at the time of death, as the circumstances of the accident that killed him remain unclear:
Continue Reading

Police Investigating ‘Third Man’ Who May Have Link to Boston Bombings

Pic: Aaron Tang (CC)

I have a feeling that it will be a very long while before we have the full story of what happened that day, if ever.

Via Reuters:

A Boston-area man accused of threatening to blow up an airplane allegedly had all the materials needed to build a pressure-cooker bomb before this kind of weapon was used in the Boston Marathon attack in April, according to comments made by the man’s mother in a recently unsealed police affidavit.

While investigators working with the FBI are looking to see if there are any links between the two cases, they have drawn no conclusions, according to two law enforcement sources. Prosecutors and the FBI declined to comment.

Keep reading.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Bush-Cheney Illegal NSA Spying Began Before 9/11, Telecom CEO Claims

NSA spyingThe spying’s purpose isn’t to keep us safe from the terrorists. Digital Journal writes:

Contradicting a statement by ex-vice president Dick Cheney on Sunday that warrantless domestic surveillance might have prevented 9/11, 2007 court records indicate that the Bush-Cheney administration began such surveillance at least 7 months prior to 9/11.

The Bush administration bypassed the law requiring such actions to be authorized by FISA court warrants. Former QWest CEO John Nacchios said that at a meeting with the NSA on February 27, 2001, he and other QWest officials declined to participate. AT&T, Verizon and Bellsouth all agreed to shunt customer communications records to an NSA database.

Other sources corroborate the former CEO’s allegations, which were made in the course of his legal defense against insider trading charges. Both Slate and National Journal have published reports in which sources are quoted which support the former CEO’s claims.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Vampire Burial Ground Unearthed In Poland

vampire burial groundThenews.pl reports on what lies beneath:

Archaeologists in Gliwice, southern Poland have discovered a burial ground where the dead were laid to rest in accordance with practices for alleged vampires. Four skeletons were found at the site, where mandatory digs were being carried out prior to the construction of a ring road.

In each case, the deceased had been buried with the head between the legs. According to folk beliefs, this prevented a possible vampire from finding his or her way back to the land of the living.

“It’s very difficult to tell when these burials were carried out,” archaeologist Dr. Jacek Pierzak told the Dziennik Zachodni newspaper. However, it is believed that they took place in the early modern period.

The last recorded instance of a vampire burial within current Polish borders was in Stare Mierzwice, Masovia, in 1914. A corpse was dug up in the village [with] its head cut off and placed between the legs.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Official Trailer: ’12 Years a Slave’

12 YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life.

Read the rest

Continue Reading