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FBI’s New Secretive Surveillance Unit Can Spy on Skype and Wireless Communications

Reports Declan McCullagh on cNet News:

The FBI has recently formed a secretive surveillance unit with an ambitious goal: to invent technology that will let police more readily eavesdrop on Internet and wireless communications.

The establishment of the Quantico, VA-based unit, which is also staffed by agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency, is a response to technological developments that FBI officials believe outpace law enforcement’s ability to listen in on private communications.

While the FBI has been tight-lipped about the creation of its Domestic Communications Assistance Center, or DCAC — it declined to respond to requests made two days ago about who’s running it, for instance — CNET has pieced together information about its operations through interviews and a review of internal government documents.

DCAC’s mandate is broad, covering everything from trying to intercept and decode Skype conversations to building custom wiretap hardware or analyzing the gigabytes of data that a wireless provider or social network might turn over in response to a court order…

Read More: cNet News

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American Airlines Boots Woman From Flight For “Offensive” Pro-Choice T-Shirt

Government In My WombReports David Ferguson on RAW Story:

A woman traveling home from an abortion rights seminar was detained and forced off an American Airlines flight Tuesday because the captain and crew found her T-shirt “offensive,” according to the blog RH Reality Check.  The woman, who asked not to be named, was wearing a T-shirt with a slogan made famous by Oklahoma state senator Judy McIntyre (D), who marched earlier this year to protest Oklahoma’s “fetal personhood” law, carrying a sign that read, “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d fuck a senator.”

The woman, who detailed her experience in an email to RHRC blogger Jodi Jacobson, said she was sleeping for most of her first flight with a shawl covering her shirt.  ”Right before we were set to land the flight attendant from first class approaches me and asks if I had a connecting flight? We were running a bit behind schedule, so I figured I was being asked this to be sure I would make my connecting flight.  She then proceeded to tell me that I needed to speak with the captain before disembarking the plane and that the shirt I was wearing was offensive.”

Read More: RAW Story

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Montana Wins 22 States (and Counting) Backing Over The Citizens United Fight

Seal Of MontanaFeel great if you live in the Treasure State. Reports the AP via the Guardian:

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia are backing Montana in its fight to prevent the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision from being used to strike down laws restricting corporate spending in political campaigns.

The states led by New York are asking the high court to preserve Montana’s state-level regulations on corporate expenditures, according to a copy of a brief written by New York’s attorney general’s office and obtained by the Associated Press.

The supreme court is being asked to reverse a state court’s decision to uphold the Montana law. Virginia-based American Tradition Partnership is asking the nation’s high court to rule without a hearing because the group says the state law conflicts directly with the Citizens United decision that removed the federal ban on corporate campaign spending. The Supreme Court has blocked the Montana law until it can look at the case…

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U.S. Lets China Bypass Wall Street for Treasury Orders

US TreasuryThe quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Via Reuters:

China can now bypass Wall Street when buying U.S. government debt and go straight to the U.S. Treasury, in what is the Treasury’s first-ever direct relationship with a foreign government.

The relationship means the People’s Bank of China buys U.S. debt using a different method than any other central bank in the world.

The other central banks, including the Bank of Japan, which has a large appetite for Treasuries, place orders for U.S. debt with major Wall Street banks designated by the government as primary dealers. Those dealers then bid on their behalf at Treasury auctions.

China, which holds $1.17 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, still buys some Treasuries through primary dealers, but since June 2011, that route hasn’t been necessary. The documents viewed by Reuters show the U.S. Treasury Department has given the People’s Bank of China a direct computer link to its auction system, which the Chinese first used to buy two-year notes in late June 2011.

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Ron Paul Going Full Force to Republican National Convention (Video)

Via RT:
Ron Paul is the candidate that continues to be ignored by the mainstream media, but he is still in the game. The Texas congressman and his supporters continue to push towards the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, but many doubt Paul's delegate strategy will give him the GOP nod. So what can we expect from Paul at the RNC? Brian Doherty, senior editor at Reason.com, joins us with more on Paul's new strategy heading to the RNC.
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Congressmen Seeks To “Lift” U.S. Propaganda Ban on Americans

Ride With HitlerThere was a ban on propaganda? "Propaganda that was supposed to target foreigners could now be aimed at Americans, reversing a longstanding policy," writes Michael Hastings at BuzzFeed Politics:
An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned. The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee's official website. The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns...
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Chicago Police Start Preemptive Arrests on Eve of NATO Summit

No NATOAnyone in the Windy City, please chime in. Via RT:

Authorities in Chicago are gearing up for a weekend of anti-NATO activity in the Windy City, but it’s already being reported that law enforcement there might be a little too eager to begin arrests. The home of known activists was raided Wednesday.

The National Lawyers Guild confirms that law enforcement agents broke down the door of a 6-unit apartment building in the Chicago, Illinois neighborhood of Bridgeport at around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Once inside, they entered the apartment of known activists with guns drawn and then cuffed the residents.

For two hours, tenants were shackled and questioned by officers with the Organized Crime Division of the Chicago Police Department. The Chicago Tribune writes that police reports detailing the incident have been obtained by the newspaper and confirm that nine people were arrested in the raid for allegedly making or possessing Molotov cocktail explosives.

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Indefinite Detention Blocked By New York Judge

USDCSDNYReports Bob Van Voris and Patricia Hurtado on Bloomberg:
Opponents of a U.S. law they claim may subject them to indefinite military detention for activities including news reporting and political activism persuaded a federal judge to temporarily block the measure. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Defense Department, claiming a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces. The complaint was filed Jan. 13 by a group including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The plaintiffs contend a section of the law allows for detention of citizens and permanent residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to people engaged in hostilities against the U.S., such as al-Qaeda.
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Ron Paul Halts Presidential Race, But Not His Quest for Liberty

Hard-core Ron Paulers probably won’t like the criticism in the later part of this article, and it’s hard to disagree with the economics of his campaign presented here, but the tone of the article starts out surprising warm from someone in the mainstream media. As Andrew Rosenthal writes in the New York Times:

Ron Paul announced today that he will no longer spend campaign money to compete in states that have not yet voted, which is probably wise. Mr. Paul has spent around $34 million so far to accumulate 104 delegates. That’s $326,923 and change per delegate.

So, I thought, he’s dropping out. Or at least “suspending” his bid, a semantic difference that allows politicians to go on raising money while not actually doing any campaign work. But no, Mr. Paul said in an email to supporters that he will continue accumulating delegates to the Republican National Convention in August.

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Only on Wall Street: Lose $2 Billion of Your Company’s Money and Make $15 Million Yourself

One Chase Manhattan Plaza

Photo: Leoboudv (CC)

It’s great to have a job where even if you seriously screw up, you still make plenty of dough. Via RT:

Ina Drew helped make bank for JPMorgan Chase as the firm’s chief investment officer — until a blunder on her part cost the company roughly $2 billion. Drew resigned as CIO on Monday, but that’s not to say she is stepping down with nothing to show.

Despite being responsible for an in-house trading loss that totaled as much as $2.3 billion in losses for JPMorgan Chase, Drew stands to walk away from the Wall Street firm with a payout that could bring her as much as $15 million.

Drew’s departure from JPMorgan Chase was publicized early Monday, only days after she was named in a major economic goof-up that garnered criticism directed towards one of Wall Street’s most iconic institutions.

The bank is still slated to hold its annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday this week, with a new CIO already stepping up to the plate.

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