“This draft bill is the most ludicrous, dangerous, technically illiterate tech policy proposal of the 21st century so far.” – Kevin Bankston, director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.1 Last week, privacy advocates and security experts widely denounced draft encryption … Continue reading →
“This draft bill is the most ludicrous, dangerous, technically illiterate tech policy proposal of the 21st century so far.” – Kevin Bankston, director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.1
Last week, privacy advocates and security experts widely denounced draft encryption legislation leaked to The Hill newspaper as a radical assault on privacy that would make the American people less safe.2, 3
The Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016 (CCOA) would undermine Americans’ privacy, make encryption illegal and force companies to weaken the security of their products and services. We need to make sure this dangerous legislation doesn’t gain any traction in Congress.
The CCOA, which is being drafted by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-AL) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), is bad policy for a number of reasons. It would:
Make end-to-end encryption illegal by requiring companies to provide “information or data” to the government “in an intelligible format” anytime they are served with a court order. It would also require companies to decrypt secure communications “in a timely manner” or give technical assistance to law enforcement agencies attempting to do so. As Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement, “for the first time in America, companies who want to provide their customers with stronger security would not have that choice – they would be required to decide how to weaken their products to make you less safe.”4
Undermine Americans’ privacy by increasing the risk that their private information and information entrusted to businesses is accessed by criminals, hackers and government entities, both domestically and abroad.
Make American technology companies less competitive by making it illegal for them to offer secure communications protected by end-to-end encryption, which is currently relied upon by Google, Apple, Facebook, WhatsApp and countless other companies.6 Foreign companies would not be bound by this constraint. As the executive director of a trade group that represents thousands of app developers put it, “the senators might as well take a hatchet to the entire Internet economy.”7
Force platforms to censor applications by requiring license distributors to ensure that all “products, services, applications or software” they distribute are able to provide the content of communications to law enforcement agencies “in an intelligible format.” This would put Apple, Google and any other company that operates a platform for software applications in the untenable position of vetting every app to make sure they aren’t secure, and censoring those that are secure.8
As we saw with the FBI’s recent attempt to force Apple to create a backdoor to access San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone, law enforcement agencies are determined to undermine Americans’ privacy and security, and gain access to encrypted communications. The Obama administration’s sudden reversal in that case in March – which came only after it said a third party had helped it access the content of the phone without Apple’s help – doesn’t change its desire to force companies to weaken the security of their own products. Indeed, in an April 8 letter to a district court judge presiding over a separate case, the Department of Justice maintained that “the government continues to require Apple’s assistance in accessing the data that it is authorized to search by warrant.”9
As this debate continues to play out over the coming weeks and months, we need to forcefully reject the dangerous language in the draft Burr-Feinstein bill and any other legislation that would put Americans’ privacy and security at risk by undermining encryption.
Published on Jan 11, 2016 Members of an anti-government militia have occupied the headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in a remote region of eastern Oregon for over a week, protesting what they claim is an overreaching federal government. The … Continue reading →
Published on Jan 11, 2016
Members of an anti-government militia have occupied the headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in a remote region of eastern Oregon for over a week, protesting what they claim is an overreaching federal government. The occupation is being led by Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan, two sons of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher best known for an armed standoff with the federal government in 2014 over a cattle grazing dispute.
The protest was sparked by the re-sentencing of two Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven, to five years in a federal prison for deliberately starting fires on their property that spread to the bordering Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
While the media has referred to the situation as an armed standoff, more specifically, the “Oregon Standoff,” the federal authorities have kept their distance, and the local authorities, led by Harney County Sheriff David Ward, are also treading lightly.
VICE News traveled to Harney County, Oregon to meet with militia leaders, attend town hall meetings, and speak with local ranchers whom the protesters claim to be representing.
President Obama is aware of the Oregon situation, but the White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.
“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.
As news of the encampment spread, along with photos of armed men on a snowy refuge, it drew national attention even as it was affecting people in the region. Officials in the area shuttered local schools for at least a week, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that the refuge “is closed until further notice” because of the situation.
Their illegal occupation of federal land has lasted for four days and militia leader Ammon Bundy refuses to leave until the land is turned over to local control.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who was briefed Sunday morning by the FBI, said the occupation was being monitored closely by state, federal and local authorities.
“The FBI is on this every minute,” Wyden said in an interview. “But based on comments from what we’ve heard in the community and what’s been reported, we may be in just the early stages of this.”
Wyden compared the frustrations of the activists to those of all rural Oregonians, who face a troubled economy yet to fully recover from the decline of the timber industry and dwindling federal dollars to replace lost timber income.
“There’s enormous frustration about the economy and a very powerful sense in rural communities that nobody listens to them, that they don’t have any power, that their voices don’t matter,” Wyden said. “But the next step isn’t to be led by some outsiders into doing something that doesn’t help anybody.”
“We plan on staying as long as we have to,” he said. “It’s a very peaceful protest.”
He said the occupying group has made “no direct demands,” but the participants have stated that they will leave if the federal government gives up control of the nearby Malheur National Forest.
They are also demanding freedom or a reduced sentence for two Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment sparked the current standoff, Bundy said.
Bundy’s father, Cliven, is a Nevada rancher who has sparred with the government for years and who in 2014 had an armed standoff with federal agents trying to prevent him from illegally grazing his cattle on federal land. After the federal authorities backed down, experts said that the showdown “invigorated” anti-government groups in the United States.
The elder Bundy told a reporter in Oregon that “150 militia men” had occupied the federal land over the weekend, at least one person who saw them leave for the refuge said there were “maybe a dozen” people. On Monday, Ammon Bundy did not answer a reporter’s shouted question about the number of people there.
After occupying federal property, Bundy claimed that he planned to use the refuse as a militia base for years to come and would not rule out violence if law enforcement attempts to remove them.
The Oregon militia is a radicalized group committing acts of terror and anarchy. They must be held responsible for their unlawful actions.
State and federal authorities were preparing to establish a law enforcement command post to coordinate a response. So far the occupation had gone unchallenged.
Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward pleaded with the activists to leave the area. “It’s time to go home, return to your families,” he said at a news conference Monday.
In Burns, a city about 30 miles north of the refuge, hundreds had rallied to support the Hammonds over the weekend. Some residents were angry that the peaceful demonstrations were overshadowed by the armed takeover of federal property.
“That was very peaceful. That was very appropriate,” Patty Hodge, a bartender, said of Saturday’s protest. “What happened [with the occupation] angered everyone in Harney County, and from what I understand, it angered the militia.”
Law enforcement officials also dismissed the occupiers as being separate from the protest over the Hammonds, saying they came to the region with a specific and different goal.
“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”
Republican presidential candidates were largely quiet about the takeover Sunday, including those who had supported the elder Bundy and made their own calls for limiting federal control over Western land.
On Monday, some began to speak more about the issue. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called on the occupiers to “stand down peaceably” and avoid a violent confrontation, while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told KBUR radio that while the government has too much control over land in the West, “you can’t be lawless.”
“I’m sympathetic to the idea that the large collection of federal lands ought to be turned back to the states and the people, but I think the best way to bring about change is through politics,” said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. “That’s why I entered the electoral arena. I don’t support any violence or suggestion of violence toward changing policy.”
JANUARY 5, 2016 DEEP GREEN RESISTANCE NEWS SERVICE
By Steve Russell / Indian Country Today Media Network
Some of the same armed “militia” involved in the Cliven Bundy affair in Nevada have occupied federal land in Oregon formerly reserved for the Northern Paiute. Ironically, the “legal” basis for starting a fight with the federal government is that sovereignty “really” belongs to Oregon rather than the Paiutes, who have seen their federal trust land shrink from over one and a half million acres to a tiny remnant of 760 acres in Burns, Oregon, where this current armed standoff began.
Last year, news broke that Nestlé, the largest bottled water producer in the world, had been extracting water from the drought-stricken San Bernardino National Forest on a permit that was supposed to expire in 1988 — and hadn’t been re-evaluated … Continue reading →
Last year, news broke that Nestlé, the largest bottled water producer in the world, had been extracting water from the drought-stricken San Bernardino National Forest on a permit that was supposed to expire in 1988 — and hadn’t been re-evaluated by the U.S. Forest Service in nearly 40 years!
Now, the Forest Service is proposing to renew Nestlé’s permit for another five years, even as drought conditions persists in the western U.S.1
That’s unacceptable. But our pressure can make a difference. The latest Forest Service plan comes after intense public pressure on the agency, including petitions from more than 190,000 CREDO activists. In a major step forward, the proposal triggers a re-evaluation of the impact of Nestlé’s water withdrawals under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We have to make sure the review is as comprehensive as possible, which will show that Nestlé’s water extraction must be put to a stop.
Nestlé has been taking a self-reported 25 million gallons a year from the forest’s Strawberry Creek — which is only at 10 percent of its 90—year average level.2 As the water level drops over the summer, Nestlé’s continued withdrawals pose a risk to the creek ecosystem by making water levels even lower.
Incredibly, Nestlé pays only $524 (yes, five hundred and twenty four dollars!) each year to draw out the tens of millions of gallons it sells to the public under the Arrowhead Mountain label.
But this isn’t just about Nestlé or the San Bernardino National Forest — it’s a symbol of a much deeper problem in federal lands management that continues to prioritize corporate profits over protecting and preserving public resources.
Sally Jewell, secretary of the Department of the Interior, recently laid out a vision for re-evaluating our federal lands management to prioritize protection and preservation.3 But the U.S. Forest Service, which is under the Department of Agriculture, controls a full 25 percent of federal lands.
Pushing for the Forest Service to stop rubber-stamping Nestlé’s corporate water profiteering sends an important signal in the fight to preserve our public lands and resources.
A wide range of water conflicts appear throughout history, though rarely are traditional wars waged over water alone. Instead, water has historically been a source of tension and a factor in conflicts that start for other reasons. However, water conflicts arise for several reasons, including territorial disputes, a fight for resources, and strategic advantage. A comprehensive online database of water-related conflicts—the Water Conflict Chronology—has been developed by the Pacific Institute. This database lists violence over water going back nearly 5,000 years.
These conflicts occur over both freshwater and saltwater, and both between and within nations. However, conflicts occur mostly over freshwater; because freshwater resources are necessary, yet limited, they are the center of water disputes arising out of need for potable water and irrigation. As freshwater is a vital, yet unevenly distributed natural resource, its availability often impacts the living and economic conditions of a country or region. The lack of cost-effective water supply options in areas like the Middle East, among other elements of water crises can put severe pressures on all water users, whether corporate, government, or individual, leading to tension, and possibly aggression. Recent humanitarian catastrophes, such as the Rwandan Genocide or the war in Sudanese Darfur, have been linked back to water conflicts.
A recent report “Water Cooperation for a Secure World” published by Strategic Foresight Group concludes that active water cooperation between countries reduces the risk of war. This conclusion is reached after examining trans-boundary water relations in over 200 shared river basins in 148 countries, though as noted below, a growing number of water conflicts are sub-national.
From California to the Middle East, huge areas of the world are drying up and a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. US intelligence is warning of the dangers of shrinking resources and experts say the world is ‘standing on a precipice’
Perhaps this chapter from THE WORLD’S WATER Volume 8 The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources will be of interest (you should have heard of this book – The World’s Water is the most comprehensive and up-to-to date source of information and analysis on freshwater resources.)
The Syrian Conflict and the Role of Water
‘Starting in 2006, however, and lasting into 2011, Syria experienced a multi-season extreme drought and agricultural failures, described by Shahrzad Mohtadi as the “worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago” (Mohtadi 2012).
Robert Worth of the New York Times noted that this drought contributed to a series of social and economic dislocations (Worth 2010). The United Nations estimated that by 2011, the drought was affecting 2–3 million people, with 1 million driven into food insecurity. More than 1.5 million people—mostly agricultural workers and family farmers—moved from rural regions to cities and temporary settlements near urban centers, especially on the outskirts of Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Damascus, and Dara’a.
A research paper published in 2012 suggested that climate change is already beginning to influence long-term droughts in the region including Syria by reducing winter rainfall (Hoerling et al. 2012). That study suggests that winter droughts are increasingly common and that human-caused climate change is playing a role. Martin Hoerling of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory, one of the study’s authors, stated, “The magnitude and frequency of the drying that has occurred is too great to be explained by natural variability alone” (NOAA 2011).
If the international community wants to reduce the risks of local and international political conflicts and violence over water, more effort will have to be put into recognizing these risks and improving the tools needed to reduce them. ‘
other reports have also shown the link between climate change and the war in Syria. For example,
the last of these states ‘We conclude that human influences on the climate system are implicated in the current Syrian conflict.’
A leading panel of retired generals and admirals, the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board, recently labeled the impacts of climate change “catalysts for conflict” in vulnerable regions. The Pentagon concluded similarly in last year’s Quadrennial Defense Review that the effects of climate change are “threat multipliers,” enabling terrorism and other violence by aggravating underlying societal problems.
The CNA report states:
‘The nature and pace of observed climate changes—and an emerging scientific consensus on their projected consequences—pose severe risks for our national security. During our decades of experience in the U.S. military, we have addressed many national security challenges, from containment and deterrence of the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cold War to political extremism and transnational terrorism in recent years. The national security risks of projected climate change are as serious as any challenges we have faced. ‘
The Pentagon report states:
‘Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.’
and on the Turkana in northern Kenya:
Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (chapters 4-6 look at Kenya)
Dear Friends, Next week the Senate is planning to vote on H.R. 4038, a bill that would slam the door in the face of Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have been victimized by ISIS and Assad. Please write to your … Continue reading →
Fear and cowardice are not the way forward. ISIS has done terrible things but our reaction to them should not be to punish their victims. Refugees already face an intense, often multi-year screening process to ensure that they are not a threat. We should not make it harder for them. Instead our country should protect victims of torture, abuse, and other forms of violence. Please write to your Members of Congress today and tell them that you oppose H.R. 4038.
P.S. You can also extend a hand of welcome to refugees in your local community. We encourage you to think of ways you can also help local refugee families – whether by raising money, contributing time or goods, or making clear to your local elected leaders that you believe your community should be a welcoming one.
Uploaded on Nov 15, 2010
Trailer from the multi-award winning documentary Climate Refugees
About Climate Change Adaptation in Europe The European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT) aims to support Europe in adapting to climate change. It is an initiative of the European Commission and helps users to access and share information on: Expected climate … Continue reading →
The European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT) aims to support Europe in adapting to climate change. It is an initiative of the European Commission and helps users to access and share information on:
Adaptation case studies and potential adaptation options
Tools that support adaptation planning
On Nov. 10, Bill Nye will release a new book titled “Unstoppable.” As only Bill Nye can, he uses the book to explain the science behind climate change, debunks popular myths, and asks readers to take action in their own lives to create a sustainable future. The book is shot through with optimism, but Nye has no illusions about what lies ahead. The message is simple: Climate change is real; humans are causing it; and we have no choice but to build a better and cleaner world.
Some extraordinary phenomena have taken place in recent times; Hurricane Katrina, the heat wave of 2003, polar bears swimming in search of ice and vast swarms of insects enveloping an African village. But are these isolated incidents or are they omens of a greater global change?
Sir David discovers that the world is warming at an unprecedented rate, and finds out why this is now far beyond any normal allowance for cyclical fluctuation. But are humans to blame? These changes are already in motion whatever we do now, but Sir David believes that we may be able to act to prevent a catastrophe. People around the world are having to adapt their way of life as the climate changes; the Inuit in the Arctic whose hunting is now limited, the Pacific island inhabitants forced to move as their homes disappear beneath the waves, and the Siberian homes slowly sinking into the permafrost. Sir David investigates some of the possible scenarios for the future, including rising sea-levels, insect plagues and an increase in diseases.
the CIA reportedly is ending a key program that shared the agency’s climate change data — some of it gathered by surveillance satellites and other clandestine sources.
Investigative magazine Mother Jones broke the story last week that the intelligence agency is shutting down the Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis program. MEDEA allowed a select group of scientists access to classified information about climate change. Mother Jones said that the data included not only satellite observations, but also ocean temperature and tidal readings gathered by U.S. Navy submarines.
The CIA began gathering climate data for global security purposes during the Cold War, when it tracked the effect of climate change on Soviet grain harvests. According to one document mentioning MEDEAon the CIA website, the program was created in the early 1990s, in part through the efforts of then-U.S. Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn.), as part of an effort to share intelligence related to environmental problems.