JFP 10/11: End shutdown = protect Pentagon cuts; Syria analysts had Pentagon conflicts of interest

Just Foreign Policy News, October 11, 2013
End shutdown = protect Pentagon cuts; Syria analysts had Pentagon conflicts of interest

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I) Actions and Featured Articles
**Action: Tuesday: End the Shutdown, Protect the Pentagon Cuts
Now some Republicans are saying that they want cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits as the price of re-opening the government and lifting the debt ceiling. That means they want to take your Social Security check and Medicare benefits so they can turn off planned cuts to the Pentagon budget. By stopping Social Security cuts, we can make sure the Pentagon cuts stay in place.
On Tuesday, MoveOn is organizing events at Congressional offices, pressing for a clean end to the shutdown. Find an event or host one here.
http://civic.moveon.org/event/events/create.html?action_id=331

**Action: With U.S. Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?
Sign our petition at MoveOn, urging prominent Keynesian economists Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, and Joe Stiglitz to publicly acknowledge that turning off planned cuts to the Pentagon budget by cutting Social Security and raising taxes on the middle class would destroy American jobs, because as a 2011 University of Massachusetts study showed, every other form of federal spending in the domestic economy, including tax cuts to promote personal consumption, creates more jobs than unnecessary Pentagon spending. So if you move money from the domestic economy to the Pentagon budget, you destroy jobs. Every American needs to know this before a "Grand Bargain" is imposed that cuts Social Security and raises taxes on the middle class to protect the bloated Pentagon.
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ask-a-keynesian-with?source=c.url&r_by=1135580

FAIR video: Brian Williams vs Brian Williams on Iran nukes (2 minutes)
How many times will Brian Williams be surprised by what he has already reported?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBnT74yFv38

Summary:
U.S./Top News (you can use this link to go straight to the articles and skip this summary)
1) Military analysts who made frequent media appearances during the recent debate over a possible U.S. strike on Syria have ties to defense contractors and other firms with stakes in the outcome, according to a new study, but those links were rarely disclosed, the Washington Post reports. The report by the Public Accountability Initiative details appearances by 22 commentators who spoke out during this summer’s Syria debate in large media outlets and currently have industry connections that the group says can pose conflicts of interest.

In several media appearances in September, Stephen Hadley, a former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, was a forceful advocate for strikes, the Post notes. He argued in a Washington Post op-ed that failure to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people would damage U.S. credibility if military action were threatened over Iran’s nuclear program. While Hadley’s role in the Bush administration was noted, there was no mention of his ties to Raytheon, manufacturer of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which likely would have been fired in strikes against Syria.

Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff, made frequent appearances as well, including as a Fox News military analyst, during which he supported U.S. action against Syria, the Post notes. His military career and his affiliation with the Institute for the Study of War were regularly cited. But there was no disclosure of Keane’s ties to General Dynamics. General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works is the lead designer and builder of the destroyers from which the Tomahawk missiles would have been launched.

2) The Obama administration announced a modest and temporary freeze on military assistance to Egypt, the New York Times reports. To signal its displeasure at the Egyptian military’s bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, officials said, the United States would withhold the delivery of several big-ticket items, including Apache attack helicopters, Harpoon missiles, M1-A1 tank parts and F-16 warplanes, as well as $260 million for the general Egyptian budget.

Critics on Capitol Hill, however, said the administration was failing to send a signal to leaders who seized power in a coup, imposed martial law and carried out a systematic repression of the Islamist opposition, the Times says. "The administration is trying to have it both ways, by suspending some aid but continuing other aid," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who is chairman of the subcommittee that appropriates aid to Egypt. "By doing that, the message is muddled."

3) Robert Springborg, an Egypt specialist at the Naval Post-Graduate School, said the Administration's announcement it was suspending some aid should be seen more as a "political and symbolic" gesture than one "where the capacities of the Egyptian military will be really impacted," Inter Press Service reports. "The military isn’t going to change their fundamental strategy over a few tanks and planes," he said. "This will have zero impact on what the military and the government do over the next few months."

"The problem is that the kind of assets we provide for border security and counter-terrorism can be readily put to use in suppressing the opposition in Egypt," noted Wayne White, a former deputy director of the State Department’s Middle East intelligence office. "The F-16s and tanks [now suspended] are not relevant to the ongoing repression, so this may not do anything to reduce it," he told IPS.

His concern was echoed by Amnesty International, whose U.S. director, Frank Jannuzi, warned that Washington should "stop providing arms or allowing back-door sales of weapons or equipment that Egypt’s security forces will likely use to violate human rights," including shotguns, military rifles, machine guns, ammunition, spare parts for Apache attack helicopters, and armoured Caterpillar bulldozers.

4) Many in Tripoli believe a U.S. commando raid was merely a pretext for militiamen who briefly kidnapped the Prime Minister, the New York Times reports. These same militiamen had been pressing the government for the prime minister’s resignation, the Times notes. Two years after the fall of Qaddafi, the government is struggling to build any sense of national unity, let alone control the unruly, heavily armed militias, the Times says.

5) Activists opposed to basing the F-35 in Burlington had been primed to speak during a special public forum and hear City Council consider two F-35-related resolutions - only to see the issue scratched from the agenda by the city when it discovered it didn't have proper liability insurance for the airport, the Burlington Free Press reports. But activists came to the meeting anyway and expressed their opposition. City Council President Joan Shannon said she hoped that City Council would consider the F-35 resolutions during a special meeting on Oct. 28.

6) In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press, according to a scathing report from the Committee to Project Journalists authored by former Washington Post editor Leonard Downie. "I think we have a real problem," said New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane. "Most people are deterred by those leaks prosecutions. They’re scared to death. There’s a gray zone between classified and unclassified information, and most sources were in that gray zone. Sources are now afraid to enter that gray zone. It’s having a deterrent effect." At the same time, designated administration spokesmen are often unresponsive or hostile to press inquiries, even when reporters have been sent to them by officials who won’t talk on their own. "This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered," said David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times.

Honduras
7) Charges against indigenous leaders in Honduras that Amnesty International has called spurious and demanded be dropped were initiated within days of newspaper reports that the U.S. Ambassador called on the Honduran government to prosecute those who promote land occupations, writes Annie Bird for Rights Action.

[We have a petition for the US government to press Honduran authorities to drop the charges against Berta Caceres, Tomas Gomez and Aureliano Molina, as demanded by Amnesty International: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/drop-bogus-charges-on?source=c.url&r_by=1135580]

Israel/Palestine
8) The World Bank says that Israeli restrictions in the West Bank cost the struggling Palestinian economy more than $3.4 billion a year, the Los Angeles Times reports. More than half of West Bank lands are largely off-limits to Palestinians due to Israeli restrictions, the World Bank report said. Increasing access to these lands could boost gross domestic production by as much as 35%, generate $800 million in additional annual revenue for the Palestinian Authority, cut its deficit in half and reduce reliance on foreign aid, it said.

9) Palestinian residents said that Israeli Jewish settlers torched three Palestinian cars and scrawled graffiti on a mosque in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Thursday, in the latest incident in a rising trend of attacks, Reuters reports. The Palestinian government says incursions by hardline settlers are becoming more frequent.

Contents:
U.S./Top News

1) Media analysts in Syria debate have ties to defense contractors
Holly Yeager, Washington Post, October 10
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/report-cites-conflicts-of-interest-by-media-analysts-in-syria-debate/2013/10/10/b2df6b50-3119-11e3-9c68-1cf643210300_story.html

Military analysts who made frequent media appearances during the recent debate over a possible U.S. strike on Syria have ties to defense contractors and other firms with stakes in the outcome, according to a new study, but those links were rarely disclosed.

The report by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit watchdog, details appearances by 22 commentators who spoke out during this summer’s Syria debate in large media outlets and currently have industry connections that the group says can pose conflicts of interest.

In some cases, the potential conflicts were clear-cut - such as board positions and shares in companies that make weapons that probably would have been used in any U.S. action. In other instances, including work for private investment and consulting firms whose clients are not disclosed, it was not possible to know whether those speaking had an interest in the debate.

The report also notes the prominent role of seven think tanks during the debate and their close links to defense companies.

"We found lots of industry ties. Some of them are stronger than others. Some really rise to the level of clear conflicts of interest," said Kevin Connor, the group’s director and a co-author of the report. "These networks and these commentators should err on the side of disclosure."

In several media appearances in September, Stephen Hadley, a former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, was a forceful advocate for strikes. He told Bloomberg TV that Republicans should back the president’s use-of-force resolution and argued in a Washington Post op-ed that failure to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people would damage U.S. credibility if military action were threatened over Iran’s nuclear program.

While Hadley’s role in the Bush administration was always noted, there was no mention of his ties to Raytheon, manufacturer of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which likely would have been fired from Navy destroyers stationed in the eastern Mediterranean in strikes against Syria. Hadley has been on the board of directors of Raytheon since 2009 and, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing from June included in the new report, owned 11,477 shares of Raytheon stock, now worth about $875,000. Hadley was also paid $128,500 in cash compensation by the company last year, according to a filing with the SEC.

In one appearance, CNN noted that Hadley is a principal at RiceHadleyGates, an international strategic consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and Washington.
[...]
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, a former commander of the U.S. Central Command, also made several media appearances to discuss the Syrian situation and cautioned that the kind of limited intervention that was being proposed has in the past been difficult to accomplish. But in the five appearances covered by the study, his ties to the defense industry were not disclosed.

Zinni has been on the board of directors of BAE Systems, a top defense contractor, since 2002 and was board chairman from 2009 to 2012. The company specializes in cybersecurity, intelligence analysis and several weapons systems. Zinni, in addition, sits on the board of advisers of DC Capital Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on investments in intelligence, homeland security and other sectors.

Reached by e-mail, Zinni said his board memberships are public. "The media who contact me for comment should post any relevant info re my background including my board positions if they desire," he wrote.

Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff, made frequent appearances as well, including as a Fox News military analyst, during which he supported U.S. action against Syria. His military career and his affiliation with the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank where he is board chairman, were regularly cited.

But there was no disclosure of Keane’s ties to General Dynamics, where he has been on the board since 2004, and to SCP Partners, a venture capital firm focused in part on investments in defense and security, where he is a venture partner. General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works is the lead designer and builder of the destroyers from which the Tomahawk missiles would have been launched. Keane’s office said he was not available to comment.
[...]

2) In Crackdown Response, U.S. Temporarily Freezes Some Military Aid to Egypt
Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler, New York Times, Oct. 9, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/world/middleeast/obama-military-aid-to-egypt.html

Washington - The Obama administration on Wednesday announced a modest and temporary freeze on military assistance to Egypt, even as American officials emphasized their desire to avoid rupturing a security relationship that stretches back more than three decades.

To signal its displeasure at the Egyptian military’s bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, officials said, the United States would withhold the delivery of several big-ticket items, including Apache attack helicopters, Harpoon missiles, M1-A1 tank parts and F-16 warplanes, as well as $260 million for the general Egyptian budget.

But in a sign of how the administration is balancing its interests, senior officials said the United States would continue aid for counterterrorism programs as well as for Egypt’s efforts to protect its borders and secure Sinai, which has become a haven for extremists.

In announcing the decision, administration officials reiterated that the Egyptian military’s brutal repression of supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, was not acceptable. But in explaining their specific steps, American officials sounded as if they were reaffirming a valuable relationship rather than delivering a rebuke.

"This is not meant to be permanent; this is meant to be the opposite," a senior administration official said. "It is meant to be continually reviewed." Still, the official added, "it’s fair to say that holding up hundreds of millions of dollars of assistance is a pretty clear message."

Among the assistance that will be untouched, officials said, are programs to train and educate Egyptian military officials in the United States; the delivery of spare parts for many American-supplied weapons; and aid for health care, education and the promotion of business in Egypt.
[...]
The administration also continued to take the position that it was not obligated to classify Mr. Morsi’s ouster as a coup - a judgment that could have required a wholesale suspension in aid. The aid that the administration is holding back, officials said, could be restored if Egypt’s interim leaders take steps toward restoring democracy.

The announcement laid bare the underlying calculations that have shaped the United States’ effort to respond to the upheaval in Egypt ever since the crackdown began in July, leaving more than 1,000 people dead.

American officials have long doubted that cutting back military aid would have any effect on the behavior of Egypt’s military-backed government. The United States also does not want to jeopardize security interests in Egypt, notably counterterrorism efforts, the stability of the Sinai Peninsula and the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Critics on Capitol Hill, however, said the administration was failing to send a signal to leaders who seized power in a coup, imposed martial law and carried out a systematic repression of the Islamist opposition.

"The administration is trying to have it both ways, by suspending some aid but continuing other aid," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who is chairman of the subcommittee that appropriates aid to Egypt. "By doing that, the message is muddled."
[...]
The details and tone of what American officials called their "recalibration" of United States military assistance prompted a nonchalant reaction from Egyptian officials. Israeli officials, on the other hand, initially expressed concern.

The reactions - with the aid recipient appearing less worried than its ostensible rival - illustrated the awkward triangle that has grown up around the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel and that the United States helped seal three decades ago.

Egyptians officials know that they can count on Israel to lobby Washington on their behalf to keep the aid flowing. They also know that, while the aid is vital to the Egyptian military, appearing dependent on the United States, or even appearing eager for American support, is deeply unpopular with the Egyptian public.

3) U.S. Suspends More Military Aid to Egypt, Arousing Skepticism
Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, Oct 10 2013
http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/10/u-s-suspends-more-military-aid-to-egypt-arousing-scepticism/

Washington -
[...]
"This sort of step should have been taken more forthrightly earlier on," Emile Nakhleh, a former director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis office, told IPS in reference to the military cuts. "This is better than nothing at all, but we haven’t really conveyed a clear message."

Khaled Elgindy, an Egypt expert at the Brookings Institution, complained that Wednesday’s announcement was "sort of a half-measure that doesn’t appear to be part of a broader, overarching American vision for Egypt, or the region."

"It’s very important to send a message when it comes to democratic and human rights standards, but I don’t think we’ve done that effectively," he told IPS. "We’ve done it in a way that muddles that message and that makes it possible for any side in Egypt to characterise it in whatever way they want."

Robert Springborg, an Egypt specialist at the Naval Post-Graduate School, said Wednesday’s announcement should be seen more as a "political and symbolic" gesture than one "where the capacities of the Egyptian military will be really impacted."

"The military isn’t going to change their fundamental strategy over a few tanks and planes," he said in a phone interview. "This will have zero impact on what the military and the government do over the next few months."
[...]
"The problem is that the kind of assets we provide for border security and counter-terrorism can be readily put to use in suppressing the opposition in Egypt," noted Wayne White, a former deputy director of the State Department’s Middle East intelligence office who is currently based at the Middle East Institute.

"The F-16s and tanks [now suspended] are not relevant to the ongoing repression, so this may not do anything to reduce it," he told IPS.

His concern was echoed by Amnesty International, whose U.S. director, Frank Jannuzi, warned that Washington should "stop providing arms or allowing back-door sales of weapons or equipment that Egypt’s security forces will likely use to violate human rights," including shotguns, military rifles, machine guns, ammunition, spare parts for Apache attack helicopters, and armoured Caterpillar bulldozers.

Some lawmakers close with the Israeli lobby, which has strongly opposed cuts in military aid to Egypt out of fear they could diminish the Egyptian army’s commitment to uphold the 1979 Camp David peace accords with Israel, urged the administration to reconsider.

"I am disappointed that the Administration is planning to partially suspend military aid to Egypt," said Eliot Engel, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a statement issued before the actual announcement. "During this fragile period we should be rebuilding partnerships in Egypt that enhance our bilateral relationship, not undermining them."
[...]

4) Show of Power by Libya Militia in Kidnapping
Carlotta Gall, New York Times, Oct. 10, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/world/africa/libya.html

Tunis - Libya’s prime minister, Ali Zeidan, was hauled from his bed at 2:30 a.m. Thursday by a group of militiamen who stormed into the luxury hotel where he lives in downtown Tripoli, a kidnapping that would be extraordinary by almost any standard.

But this was Libya, where militias have unrivaled authority.

A few days earlier, a group of armed men barged into Mr. Zeidan’s office to demand back pay. They refused to leave for hours and ransacked an office when they did leave. Other militias have hampered production of oil, shut down the water running to the capital, forced power cuts, and participated in gunrunning and drug trafficking - all with impunity.

Two years after the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the long-reigning dictator, an air of revolution still hangs over the streets of the nation’s capital, Tripoli, as a weak state struggles to build any sense of national unity, let alone control the unruly, heavily armed militias. It initially seemed that the gunmen may have grabbed the prime minister because they were angry over Washington’s claim that his government approved a commando raid to capture a Libyan citizen suspected of links to Al Qaeda and terrorist attacks.

But these same militiamen had been pressing the government for the prime minister’s resignation, and thus many in Tripoli believe the commando raid was simply a pretense. When he was freed unharmed a short time later, Mr. Zeidan demonstrated just how vulnerable the central government is, thanking the "true revolutionaries" who worked for his release and appealing to armed groups to help build the state.
[...]
All across Tripoli, militia members fill the gap left by a weak central government. The men guarding government buildings and the main intersections still wear a variety of American military fatigues and are stationed at antiaircraft guns mounted on the backs of pickup trucks. Graffiti from the moment of liberation is still scrawled on walls and buildings. "Game over Gaddafi," one reads in English.

Weapons from Colonel Qaddafi’s enormous arsenals are now in private hands. Every household has a gun. There are about 200,000 armed militiamen in the country, all on the government payroll, yet many are loyal only to their own commanders, not the central government.

Formed during and after the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi, Libya’s militias have evolved into a patchwork of often competing regional and political allegiances. They reflect two emerging political blocs: one drawn from prominent families from the western region around Tripoli, based in the Nafusah Mountains town of Zintan, and the other in the bustling midcoast city of Misurata, known for its strong revolutionary record.

Militias from the two regions clashed in Tripoli during Ramadan in what residents said was a grab for government property. Zintan militias have refused to turn over to the central authorities a son of Colonel Qaddafi, Seif al-Islam, and temporarily shut down the oil pipeline that flows from Libya’s southern oil fields to the port of Zuwarah to press demands with the central government.

In eastern Libya, around Benghazi, the birthplace of the uprising, some of the largest militias are loosely or explicitly Islamist, and they often clash with former Qaddafi army units that defected in the revolt. Other militias push for a greater degree of autonomy from the capital.

Libya’s tribes have also emerged as powerful, and disruptive, players. When a militia in Tripoli kidnapped the daughter of Colonel Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief after she visited her father in prison, the chief’s powerful tribe in the south retaliated swiftly by cutting the water to the capital for a week, an extraordinary burden for residents in the desert heat of late summer.
[...]

5) F-35 vote postponed, but opponents speak
Lack of liability insurance pulls issue from City Council agenda
April Burbank, Burlington Free Press, Oct. 7, 2013
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20131007/NEWS07/310070035/F-35-vote-postponed-opponents-speak

Activists on both sides of Burlington’s F-35 fighter jet debate had been primed to speak during a special public forum Monday and hear City Council consider two F-35-related resolutions - only to see the issue scratched from the agenda because of a snag in city insurance coverage.

They came anyway.

Opponents of the F-35 held a rally in City Hall, forced inside because of rain, then entered Contois Auditorium and filled a half-hour public comment period at the City Council meeting, holding signs and raising their hands in solidarity each time someone spoke against the planes.

City Council President Joan Shannon, D-Ward 5, postponed the Council’s F-35 discussion Thursday because the city had discovered that it lacked liability insurance to cover public officials making airport-related decisions. The insurance would also cover the City Attorney’s Office as it advises the council on legal matters for the airport.

Shannon said that City Council would move forward with discussing the F-35s as soon as insurance coverage was in place, at which time the special public comment time would be rescheduled.

"The city is doing the right thing, the prudent thing, to protect itself with insurance," South Burlington resident Chris Hurd said at the rally. "Insurance provides compensation for damages. More important for the city is to prevent the damages to thousands of families. No one can be adequately compensated for hearing loss, heart disease or the cognitive impairment of their children."
[...]
The Burlington City Council has not yet passed a resolution stating its position.

Both of the resolutions that the City Council had planned to consider Monday would have opposed the F-35s, said Rachel Siegel, P-Ward 3. "The first one says that we will not rent to the Air National Guard if they have the F-35s," Siegel said during the rally. "We have a compromise resolution which says that we will not rent to the Air National Guard if they accept the F-35s during this first round of basing.... We are not the place for a brand-new plane."

Siegel said she had been assured that the City Council would try to make a decision on the resolutions during a 30-day review period that began with the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement on Friday.
[...]
Shannon said she hoped that City Council would consider the F-35 resolutions during a special meeting on Oct. 28, contingent on resolution of the insurance issue.

"We’re so close to getting the support that we need," City Councilor Max Tracy, P-Ward 2, told the crowd at the rally as he and Siegel encouraged phone calls and comments to council members. "We’re about building consensus around stopping this plane."

6) The Obama Administration and the Press
Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America
Leonard Downie Jr, Committee to Protect Journalists, October 10, 2013
http://cpj.org/reports/2013/10/obama-and-the-press-us-leaks-surveillance-post-911.php

U.S. President Barack Obama came into office pledging open government, but he has fallen short of his promise. Journalists and transparency advocates say the White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press. Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists. A CPJ special report by Leonard Downie Jr. with reporting by Sara Rafsky

Washington, D.C. - In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press. Those suspected of discussing with reporters anything that the government has classified as secret are subject to investigation, including lie-detector tests and scrutiny of their telephone and e-mail records. An "Insider Threat Program" being implemented in every government department requires all federal employees to help prevent unauthorized disclosures of information by monitoring the behavior of their colleagues.

Six government employees, plus two contractors including Edward Snowden, have been subjects of felony criminal prosecutions since 2009 under the 1917 Espionage Act, accused of leaking classified information to the press—compared with a total of three such prosecutions in all previous U.S. administrations. Still more criminal investigations into leaks are under way. Reporters’ phone logs and e-mails were secretly subpoenaed and seized by the Justice Department in two of the investigations, and a Fox News reporter was accused in an affidavit for one of those subpoenas of being "an aider, abettor and/or conspirator" of an indicted leak defendant, exposing him to possible prosecution for doing his job as a journalist. In another leak case, a New York Times reporter has been ordered to testify against a defendant or go to jail.

Compounding the concerns of journalists and the government officials they contact, news stories based on classified documents obtained from Snowden have revealed extensive surveillance of Americans’ telephone and e-mail traffic by the National Security Agency. Numerous Washington-based journalists told me that officials are reluctant to discuss even unclassified information with them because they fear that leak investigations and government surveillance make it more difficult for reporters to protect them as sources. "I worry now about calling somebody because the contact can be found out through a check of phone records or e-mails," said veteran national security journalist R. Jeffrey Smith of the Center for Public Integrity, an influential nonprofit government accountability news organization in Washington. "It leaves a digital trail that makes it easier for the government to monitor those contacts," he said.

"I think we have a real problem," said New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane. "Most people are deterred by those leaks prosecutions. They’re scared to death. There’s a gray zone between classified and unclassified information, and most sources were in that gray zone. Sources are now afraid to enter that gray zone. It’s having a deterrent effect. If we consider aggressive press coverage of government activities being at the core of American democracy, this tips the balance heavily in favor of the government."

At the same time, the journalists told me, designated administration spokesmen are often unresponsive or hostile to press inquiries, even when reporters have been sent to them by officials who won’t talk on their own. Despite President Barack Obama’s repeated promise that his administration would be the most open and transparent in American history, reporters and government transparency advocates said they are disappointed by its performance in improving access to the information they need.

"This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered," said David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times.
[...]

Honduras
7) Rio Blanco Dam: Honduran Rights Defenders to be Jailed while Transnational Investors are Above the Law
Annie Bird, Rights Action, October 6, 2013
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/10846

[We have a petition for the US government to press Honduran authorities to drop the charges against Berta Caceres, Tomas Gomez and Aureliano Molina, as demanded by Amnesty International. That petition is here:
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/drop-bogus-charges-on?source=c.url&r_by=1135580]

The Lenca indigenous communities the Rio Blanco region of Intibuca, Honduras are struggling to survive. For over a hundred years, outsiders have attempted to take the bountiful Lenca lands on the shores of the Gualcarque River, attempts the communities have been able to resist. But last year, the Honduran DESA corporation, with international investment, and the Chinese giant hydroelectric dam builder SINOHYDRO moved in to steal the communities’ land.

In 2010, in the aftermath of the coup, while the Honduran government was still not recognized by most nations in the region, a concession was granted to build the Aguan Zarca dam on the Gualcarque River. The communities filed a formal complaint with the public prosecutor for violations of their rights. Over the years they filed four more legal complaints against government authorities, DESA and SINOHYDRO.

During 2012 the communities saw their lands taken by force, their crops destroyed, the spring that provides their drinking water stolen and their solar energy plant destroyed. Through all this their legal complaints were ignored. The final straw came when the companies cut off access to their river–the river the communities use for irrigation, fishing, bathing, and to water cattle. The communities stood up and blocked the access road DESA and SINOHYDRO had built into the river. They continue to maintain the blockade.

In response, DESA filed charges against internationally respected Lenca human rights defenders Berta Caceres, Tomas Gomez and Aureliano Molina. The three grassrots leaders are charged with inciting the road block. Berta has been ordered to await trial in prison. Amnesty International has stated that if any of the three go to jail they will be considered prisoners of conscience.

This is a political trial. COPINH has been one of Honduras’ most outspoken defenders of resource and land rights. The charges against COPINH leaders were initiated within days of newspaper reports that the U.S. Ambassador called on the Honduran government to prosecute those who promote land occupations. The head- spinning speed of the prosecution is a stark contrast to the years communities have waited for investigation and prosecution of their complaints.
[...]
Given the bias in the justice system in this case and many others involving indigenous peoples’ land in Honduras, national and international support will be critical to get the leaders out of prison and protect the communities and their rights and property.

Israel/Palestine
8) World Bank: Israeli restrictions cost Palestinian economy billions
Batsheva Sobelman, Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2013, 10:50 a.m.
http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-israel-palestinians-west-bank-economy-20131008,0,6970724.story

Jerusalem - Israeli restrictions in the West Bank cost the struggling Palestinian economy more than $3.4 billion a year, according to a report released by the World Bank on Tuesday.

More than half of West Bank lands are largely off-limits to Palestinians, the report said. Increasing access to these lands could boost gross domestic production by as much as 35%, generate $800 million in additional annual revenue for the Palestinian Authority, cut its deficit in half and reduce reliance on foreign aid, it said.

The report focuses on the economic potential of the approximately 61% of West Bank lands designated as Area C under the 1993 Oslo peace accords.

The agreement stipulated that the lands be gradually transferred to the Palestinian Authority by 1998, but they remain under Israeli security and administrative control. More than 320,000 Israeli settlers live in Area C, and about 70% of these lands fall under their regional councils.

The area has great economic potential, with possibilities for agriculture, Dead Sea minerals exploitation, stone mining and quarrying, construction, tourism and telecommunications, according to the report.

"Unleashing the potential from that 'restricted land' -- access to which is currently constrained by layers of restrictions -- and allowing Palestinians to put these resources to work, would provide whole new areas of economic activity and set the economy on the path to sustainable growth," said Mariam Sherman, the bank's outgoing country director for the West Bank and Gaza.

9) Settlers vandalise Palestinian mosque in West Bank - resident
Noah Browning, Reuters, Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:47pm BST
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/10/10/uk-israel-palestinians-vandalism-idUKBRE9990J820131010

Burqa, West Bank - Jewish settlers torched three Palestinian cars and scrawled graffiti on a mosque in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Thursday, in the latest incident in a rising trend of attacks, residents said.

Two months after Israeli and Palestinian negotiators revived stalled peace talks, the Palestinian government says incursions by hardline settlers are becoming more frequent.

The phrase "Zion's redemption", a Star of David and the name of an Israeli soldier who was killed last month in the West Bank were spray-painted on the wall of the local mosque-cum-primary school in the village of Burqa.

"It's the fifth or sixth attack on our village...They do these things and leave, confident because they're armed and they have the protection of the army," Deputy Mayor Sayel Kanan told Reuters.

"They weren't content to just move onto our lands and keep quiet, but they attack us and chase our farmers away."

The mosque was partially set ablaze in 2011, in an incident that villagers blamed on settlers from the neighbouring outpost of Givat Assaf.

Settlers have attacked Palestinian communities 586 times so far this year, up from 370 in all of 2012, said Ghassan Daghlas, who tracks settler violence for the Palestinian Authority (PA).
[...]

------

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The simple facts that the 10Gb Ethernet ports are included on their servers and are backwards compatible with the standard 1Gb Ethernet deployed in their environment, companies are going to acknowledge the technology.

Jenny Johnson, a former Chris nemesis, fired off several Tweets ... Good morning! Hope everyone is having an easy BREEZY Sunday! I bet the "Crazy Eyes" costume Chris Brown is wearing right now is WAY better than Julianne Hough's. Except when you lose your temper, the police handle that. RT @chrisbrown: When u lose something let GOD handle it. Finally, Chris' on-off girlfriend Karrueche Tran fired off a pair that some mulberry outlet thought were a shot at Chris, but may have been a response to her critics as well:
I hate waking up to bad news What is wrong with some of y'all? Did y'all parents not love y'all enough? Y'all gotta quit this negative s--t 24 f--king 7. What do you think of Chris' latest run-in with the law? Did you see it coming? Should it land him behind bars for a long time? Should we hear his side? In the stroll seen (and read about) 'round the world, Duchess Kate and Prince William have finally settled on a stroller for their baby boy, Prince George.

Khloe later added a photo of a cake decorated with a golf ball and another with a helicopter and aded: "He deserves not one but TWO cakes. A few of his favorite things." Even Kris Jenner was on hand for the celebration, though she didn't wish Bruce any birthday wishes in public. Instead, she donned fake glasses and a phony mustache and wrote on Instagram: Just another family Sunday dinner!!" Kim Kardashian, meanwhile, celebrated her 33rd mulberry official birthday with a major blowout at Tao nightclub in Las Vegas Friday.
No word if she was on hand for Bruce's big night Sunday, but give the gal a break it not. She has a wedding to plan! EEK!!! Mom! Mama! Mommy! MOTHER! If it's a moniker for the family matriarch, she's probably heard it. From her kids and everywhere else, too. Some of these mommy terms, however, are less than endearing. In fact, they're downright insulting. It's time to stop saying them. While the explanations here are ours, Michelle Zipp's list included:

creates more jobs than unnecessary Pentagon spending. So if you move money from the domestic economy to the Pentagon budget, you destroy jobs.

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