My Top News Stories: April 20, 2012

Defense Secretary Urged LA Times Not to Publish Photos

On April 18th, the LA Times published 2 (of 18) photographs of U.S. soldiers posing with Afghan corpses.  The photographs were provided to the LA Times by a soldier hoping to prevent such security breakdowns in the future, and Editor Davan Maharaj said, “After careful consideration, we decided that publishing a small but representative selection of the photos would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops.”  These photos are yet another example in a long line of disturbing treatment of Afghans and Iraqis by military forces.  After the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib, the Thrill Kill team keeping fingers as trophies, video of troops urinating on corpses, and the massacre of 17 villagers in Kandahar (including women and children) by a soldier on his fourth tour of duty, is it time to ask ourselves whether the real bad apple is the entire mission- the dehumanization of these foreign people?  Instead, the Pentagon blames the messenger, the supposedly free press.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “We had urged the L.A. Times not to—not to run those photos. And the reason for that is those kinds of photos are used by the enemy to incite violence, and lives have been lost as a result of the publication of similar photos in the past. We regret that they were published.”


The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act would do away with the tiny bit of privacy we have left on the internet.  Like SOPA and PIPA, CISPA is yet another attempt by our government to spy on and censor us.  CISPA, which is supported by Google, would allow companies to violate our privacy by sharing our information, like browsing history or e-mails, with each other and the government.  The transfer of “cybersecurity efforts from civilian agencies to the military” is especially alarming considering in early 2011, the Pentagon said that cyber attacks constitute acts of war and will be responded to with military action.  I wonder what will be considered a danger and by whom?  Welcome to China! Please contact your representatives now to tell them to vote against CISPA.

30,000 Drones Over U.S.A by 2020? Congress Says A-Ok

The FAA Reauthorization Act, passed earlier this year, will allow government and commercial drones to fly over American airspace.  Thought drones were only used on those terrorists over in Pakistan?  Like every other tyrannical practice of our government, drones are now openly being used on their long-term target- us.  With little to no oversight in the legislation, we would have no idea who was even flying the drones if it weren’t for a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  The Federal Aviation Administration finally released who currently has a permit to fly drones today.  They include Raytheon, General Atomics, Telford Aviation, AAI Corp, Honeywell, Unmanned Systems Inc, L-3, and Aurora Flight Companies, as well as government agencies DARPA, the FBI, the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, & Homeland Security, and branches of the military.  And on Thursday, two Congressman, Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Edward Markey (D-MA), wrote a letter to the FAA demanding transparency.  They say the FAA has“the responsibility to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected and that the public is fully informed about who is using drones in public airspace and why.”


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