FDA staffers sue agency over surveillance of personal e-mail Information garnered this way eventually contributed to the harassment or dismissal of all six of the FDA employees, the suit alleges. All had worked in an office responsible for reviewing devices for cancer screening and other purposes. Copies of the e-mails show that, starting in January 2009, the FDA intercepted communications with congressional staffers and draft versions of whistleblower complaints complete with editing notes in the margins. The agency also took electronic snapshots of the computer desktops of the FDA employees and reviewed documents they saved on the hard drives of their government computers. FDA computers post a warning, visible when users log on, that they should have “no reasonable expectation of privacy” in any data passing through or stored on the system, and that the government may intercept any such data at any time for any lawful government purpose. “Who would have thought that they would have the nerve to be monitoring my communications to Congress?”
Greece shows us how to protest against a failed system | John Holloway I do not like violence. I do not think that very much is gained by burning banks and smashing windows. And yet I feel a surge of pleasure when I see the reaction in Athens and the other cities in Greece to the acceptance by the Greek parliament of the measures imposed by the European Union. More: if there had not been an explosion of anger, I would have felt adrift in a sea of depression. The joy is the joy of seeing the much-trodden worm turn and roar. The violence of the reaction in Greece is a cry that goes out to the world. The attack that is so acute in Greece is taking place all over the world. We are all Greeks. The flames in Athens are flames of rage, and we rejoice in them. Love and rage, rage and love. That pushing through of a different world is not just a question of rage, although rage is part of it. For this coming Saturday action throughout the world has been called for in support of the revolt in Greece.
To My Old Master In 1864, after 32 long years in the service of his master, Jourdon Anderson and his wife, Amanda, escaped a life of slavery when Union Army soldiers freed them from the plantation on which they had been working so tirelessly. They grasped the opportunity with vigour, quickly moved to Ohio where Jourdon could find paid work with which to support his growing family, and didn’t look back. Then, a year later, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Jourdon received a desperate letter from Patrick Henry Anderson, the man who used to own him, in which he was asked to return to work on the plantation and rescue his ailing business. Jourdon’s reply to the person who enslaved his family, dictated from his home on August 7th, is everything you could wish for, and quite rightly was subsequently reprinted in numerous newspapers. (This letter, along with 124 other fascinating pieces of correspondence, can be found in the bestselling book, Letters of Note.
Post-Crash Fascism Climate change is happening faster than initially predicted, and its impacts are already upon us in the form of more extreme weather events, desertification, ocean acidification, melting glaciers and incrementally rising sea levels. The scientists who construct the computer models that analyze climate data believe that even if we stop dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, CO2 levels are already so high that we are locked into a significant increase in global temperatures. Disruptive climate change is a certainty even if we make the economic shift away from fossil fuels. Incipient climate change is already starting to express itself in the realm of politics. Climate change arrives in a world primed for crisis. The current and impending dislocations of climate change intersect with the already-existing crises of poverty and violence. Societies, like people, deal with new challenges in ways that are conditioned by the traumas of their past. Planning for apocalypse
The Right to Know, the Responsibility to Protect: State Actions Are Inadequate to Ensure Effective Disclosure of the Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Fracking Do you know how many natural gas wells are operating in your state or near the watershed that supplies your drinking water? You should. Most of those wells rely on a process known as hydraulic fracturing (or natural gas fracking) that employs toxic chemicals to crack open shale beds and release methane gas. Both the chemicals used in fracking and the methane gas released pose a risk to local water supplies and the health of those who live nearby. Click image to enlargeSource: Al Granberg/ProPublica Community groups, individual citizens, and public officials have a right to know which chemicals are used in the fracking process. Before receiving a drilling permit, the owners and operators of natural gas wells should gather baseline information on nearby water sources and water and air quality. Read the report in medium-resolution PDF format [6 MB] Read the report in high-resolution PDF format [7.5 MB]
America's Real Criminal Element: Lead Illustration: Gérard DuBois When Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor of New York City in 1993, he campaigned on a platform of bringing down crime and making the city safe again. It was a comfortable position for a former federal prosecutor with a tough-guy image, but it was more than mere posturing. Throughout the campaign, Giuliani embraced a theory of crime fighting called "broken windows," popularized a decade earlier by James Q. Giuliani won the election, and he made good on his crime-fighting promises by selecting Boston police chief Bill Bratton as the NYPD's new commissioner. The results were dramatic. But even more remarkable is what happened next. All in all, it seemed to be a story with a happy ending, a triumph for Wilson and Kelling's theory and Giuliani and Bratton's practice. The PB Effect What happens when you expose a generation of kids to high lead levels? Second, and far more puzzling, it's not just New York that has seen a big drop in crime. Did Lead Make You Dumber?
Ex-Pentagon general target of leak investigation, sources say James Cartwright, a retired general and trusted member of President Barack Obama's national security team, has been informed that he's the target of a Justice Department criminal investigation into a leak about a covert cyberattack on Iran's nuclear program. NBCs Mike Isikoff reports. By Michael Isikoff, National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News Legal sources tell NBC News that the former second ranking officer in the U.S. military is now the target of a Justice Department investigation into a politically sensitive leak of classified information about a covert U.S. cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program. According to legal sources, Retired Marine Gen. Last year, the New York Times reported that Cartwright, a four-star general who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 2007 to 2011, conceived and ran the cyber operation, called Olympic Games, under Presidents Bush and Obama. Related story The worm that turned: How Stuxnet helped heat up cyberarms race
The worm that turned: How Stuxnet helped heat up cyberarms race IRIB Iranian TV via Reuters TV file Workers are seen in what was described by Iranian state television as the control room at a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran, in this image taken from video released on Feb. 15. By Robert Windrem, Senior investigative producer, NBC News When the worm dubbed “Stuxnet” wriggled into public view in July 2010, computer security experts recognized almost immediately that it was no ordinary piece of malware. “This particular attack targets the industrial supervisory software SCADA,” Juraj Malcho, head of the Virus Lab at the Slovakia-based security firm ESET, wrote at the time. It took months of analysis before experts were able to identify the target of the cyberattack: Iran’s nuclear program. The worm, they discovered, was a powerful new tool for mayhem, capable of both surveillance and harming computers. Stuxnet only burst into the limelight, they said, after escaping from those systems and spreading “into the wild” across the Internet.