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(AP file photo)

WASHINGTON The House on Thursday passed legislation to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records, the first legislative response to the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Although the compromise measure was, in the words of Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, significantly “watered down,” it passed by a vote of 303-120, with nine members not voting.

“We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Schakowsky, an intelligence committee member, said in summing up the feelings of many Republicans and Democrats who voted for the measure but wanted tougher provisions. Dropped from the bill was a requirement for an independent public advocate on the secret intelligence court that oversees the NSA.

The USA Freedom Act would codify a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA’s practice of collecting the “to and from” records of nearly every American landline telephone call under a program that searched the data for connections to terrorist plots abroad.

The bill doesn’t ask the phone companies to hold records for any longer than they already do, which varies by carrier. The bill would give the NSA the authority to request certain records from the companies to search them in terrorism investigations in response to a judicial order. The phone program was revealed last year by Snowden, who used his job as a computer-network administrator to remove tens of thousands of secret documents from an NSA facility in Hawaii.

The measure now heads to the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, has said she is willing to go along with a similar idea.

NSA officials were pleased with the bill because under the existing program, they did not have access to many mobile-phone records. Under the new arrangement, they will, officials say.

“I believe this is a workable compromise that protects the core function of a counterterrorism program we know has saved lives around the world,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the House Intelligence Committee chairnan.

Privacy and civil-liberties activists denounced the measure, saying it had been “gutted” to win agreement from lawmakers such as Rogers who supported the NSA phone-records program.

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U.S. House passes law to end NSA's bulk collection of photo records

May 252014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

24th MAY 2014

OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY HAKAINDE HICHILEMA

AFRICAN FREEDOM DAY 2014

On 15 April 1958, in Accra, Ghana, African leaders and political activists gathered at the first Conference of Independent African States. The Conference called for the founding of African Freedom Day, a day to mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. Five years later, specifically On 25 May 1963, leaders of thirty-two then independent African states met to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU). By then more than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence, from imperial European states. This meeting changed the African freedom day date from 15 April to 25 May. The day was then declared African Liberation day. This is very significant in the sense that indeed Africans must be liberated in line with their own aspirations. The question is; has Africa achieved the aspirations of its founding leaders in this regard? Have the negative experiences we as a people went through under the york of colonialism been reversed?

Independence for African countries came at a great cost. Gallant men and women shed their blood for our independence. We saw in the initial stages of independence that we the African people enjoyed political freedom while we continued to grapple with economic freedom. Within a few years of independence, we saw the greed of the few leaders exceed the needs of the majority of the people. Political freedoms were quickly taken away. Ruling parties declared countries one party states. This period was characterised by an unprecedented levels of political oppression where the state machinery was used to silence any form of dissent, in many cases, brutally. Ruling parties soon blurred the line between the party and the government, creating a state of affairs where state resources became party resources firmly controlled by the ruling class. Political sycophancy became the order of the day. Zambia was no exception to this unfortunate dark era of political intolerance. Dissenting voices were brutally crashed. The nation was put under a perpetual state of emergency which was used with swift ruthlessness. Zambians against all odds rose against the system and dismantled the one party system in 1990. We saw a serious attempt to reverse this gain during the failed third term project.

We are now seeing a very worrying trend in Zambia where opposition party political meetings are being disrupted by the highly compromised police formation. Opposition leaders are being dragged before courts of law on flimsy charges. Innocent Zambians gathering to accompany their political leaders are being overrun by vehicles, assassination attempts have become the order of the day. The list of the evidence that shows the reversal of political freedoms are too numerous for one message.

No serious attempt is being made in Africa generally and in Zambia particularly to give the people economic freedom. Life has been reduced to dog eat dog to survive. The basic social services such as education, health, water and sanitation are all in free fall. If people cannot receive quality education, cannot access health care and do not have access to clean water and sanitation facilities, what sort of liberation are we talking about? If people cannot criticize the Government openly without fear of victimization, then what kind of liberation are we talking about? Africa has some of the longest serving Presidents, most of whom (if not all) have manipulated constitutions to perpetuate themselves in power. Africa has the indignity of having six of the of top ten worlds longest serving Presidents in the world. The longest serving President the world over, at 37 years and still counting, is from Africa. Such a record is not something to be proud about.

What do we promise as UPND? There can be no liberation if people are not economically liberated. We therefore promise economic liberation by enacting laws that will guarantee citizens participation in the economic activities of the country. We also promise the citizens free quality education. People have to be educated to make informed decisions including choosing the kind of leaders they want. We promise quality health care. We cannot have an educated people, who are economically liberated but not healthy. That will affect productivity negatively. We promise a Zambia that will be food secure. We cannot have a people that are in a good economy, educated, health but hungry. Most importantly, what I, Hakainde Hichilema personally promise to deliver, is freedom of expression and assembly through a people driven constitution. My personal commitment and that of our party UPND to a people driven Constitution is unequivocal. Zambia claims to be liberated from colonialism yet the public order act that was used by the colonialists is still in force. We seem to have changed the DJ but left the same music playing with some of it repeating ad infinitum. Countrymen and women, let us take this opportunity to take a hard look of where we are coming from and where we want to go. Where we want to go will then determine what kind of manpower we need to get us there.

Have a blessed day.

More here:
HHs African Freedom Day Message

Now that Robert Copeland has finally resigned as a police commissioner in Wolfeboro, N.H., after referring to President Obama with a vile racial epithet, there seems to be a move afoot in some quarters to portray him as a victim of political correctness and a martyr in the cause of free speech. He is neither, and to think so betrays a thorough misunderstanding of constitutional rights.

Copelands remark, which contained a racial slur preceded by an obscenity, was overheard in a restaurant in March by a resident. She brought it to the attention of the town manager and the other two members of the police commission, an elected body that hires, fires and disciplines police officers and sets their salaries. When confronted about it, Copeland, 82, was hardly apologetic, writing in response that, I believe I did use the N word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. For this, I do not apologize he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.

Earlier this month, about 100 residents attended a public meeting that was held to discuss the issue. Given that Wolfeboro, a wealthy resort town of 6,300 residents, has no mechanism for removing public officials between elections, many of those who attended were there to urge him to resign. Eventually he did, much to the relief of other town officials, who feared that his widely reported remark might lead to a boycott by potential visitors this summer.

Both at the meeting and subsequently, defenders of Copeland have suggested that the public outcry that greeted his remark was an example of the thought police stifling his free speech rights. Actually, the whole affair was a vindication of free speech.

The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. That is, government may not interfere with freedom of expression. It does not guarantee, however, that free speech will be free of the consequences it may incur in the marketplace of ideas.

In this instance, Copeland exercised his right to speak his mind if, in fact, he still has one and defended vigorously his right to do so. That did not mean that those who learned of his views were obliged to treat them with tolerance or refrain from exercising their own speech rights. Constituents of an elected official are under no obligation to remain silent when that official expresses views, even privately, that they find repugnant. In fact, many residents of Wolfeboro may have felt that their silence could have been interpreted as an endorsement of, or at least acquiescence in, Copelands slur.

So they were perfectly free to call on him to resign, and people living farther away certainly had a right to express themselves by threatening a tourist boycott. Just because a person has a right to say something doesnt mean that he has a right not to be contradicted, or to be immune from public condemnation.

The faith of the nations founders was that so long as government was barred from prohibiting speech it deemed dangerous or offensive, unsound views would be exposed as such in the welter of public debate, and wiser counsel would prevail. Thats what happened in this case.

More:
Editorial: Free Speech Vs. Free Speech

May 232014

President Obama’s BlackBerry was more difficult to create than you’d think.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

“It just really bothered a lot of people — nobody wanted to put anything out there that wasn’t completely secure,” said retired NSA technical director Richard “Dickie” George in an interview with CNNMoney.

George’s role was to review the BlackBerry’s algorithms and write and engineer diagrams for the phone.

In response to Obama’s request, the NSA set up a lab where dozens of experts performed surgery for several months on a high-profile patient: the soon-to-be presidential BlackBerry. The course of treatment was to manipulate the device’s innards to weed out potential threats to secure communication.

In the end, that meant taking most of the fun out of the phone: the president can’t play Angry Birds, for example.

“You try to get rid of any functionality that’s not really required. Every piece of functionality is an opportunity for the adversary,” George says.

According to George, the president simply wanted a phone that enabled him to communicate with his advisers. Though the president was a well known BlackBerry (BBRY) addict at the time, the choice of smartphone model was the NSA’s, not Obama’s, George explained.

What functionality the president’s phone actually possesses is secret — and the NSA won’t even confirm that he can use it to send a text or write an email (but it’s a pretty safe bet it isn’t used for Oval Office selfies).

Related: Let’s talk about text, baby

Read the rest here:

NSA guy who made Obama's BlackBerry

This June 6, 2013, file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. A presidential advisory panel has recommended dozens of changes to the government’s surveillance programs, including stripping the NSA of its ability to store Americans’ telephone records and requiring a court to sign off on the individual searches of phone and Internet data.AP/File

WASHINGTON The House on Thursday passed legislation to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records, the first legislative response to the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Although the compromise measure was significantly “watered down,” in the words of Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, it passed by a vote of 303 to 120, with 9 members not voting.

“We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Schakowsky, an intelligence committee member, said in summing up the feelings of many Republicans and Democrats who voted for the measure but wanted tougher provisions. Dropped from the bill was a requirement for an independent public advocate on the secret intelligence court that oversees the NSA.

The USA Freedom Act would codify a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA’s practice of collecting the “to and from” records of nearly every American landline telephone call under a program that searched the data for connections to terrorist plots abroad.

The bill instructs the phone companies to hold the records for 18 months–which they already were doing– and lets the NSA search them in terrorism investigations in response to a judicial order. The phone program was revealed last year by Snowden, who used his job as a computer network administrator to remove tens of thousands of secret documents from an NSA facility in Hawaii.

The measure now heads to the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, has said she is willing to go along with a similar idea.

NSA officials were pleased with the bill because under the existing program, they did not have access to many mobile phone records. Under the new arrangement, they will, officials say.

“I believe this is a workable compromise that protects the core function of a counter terrorism program we know has saved lives around the world,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Privacy and civil liberties activists denounced the measure, saying it had been “gutted” to win agreement from lawmakers such as Rogers who supported the NSA phone records program.

Originally posted here:

House approves bill curbing NSA phone data collection

This June 6, 2013, file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. A presidential advisory panel has recommended dozens of changes to the government’s surveillance programs, including stripping the NSA of its ability to store Americans’ telephone records and requiring a court to sign off on the individual searches of phone and Internet data.AP/File

WASHINGTON The House on Thursday passed legislation to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records, the first legislative response to the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Although the compromise measure was significantly “watered down,” in the words of Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, it passed by a vote of 303 to 120, with 9 members not voting.

“We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Schakowsky, an intelligence committee member, said in summing up the feelings of many Republicans and Democrats who voted for the measure but wanted tougher provisions. Dropped from the bill was a requirement for an independent public advocate on the secret intelligence court that oversees the NSA.

The USA Freedom Act would codify a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA’s practice of collecting the “to and from” records of nearly every American landline telephone call under a program that searched the data for connections to terrorist plots abroad.

The bill instructs the phone companies to hold the records for 18 months–which they already were doing– and lets the NSA search them in terrorism investigations in response to a judicial order. The phone program was revealed last year by Snowden, who used his job as a computer network administrator to remove tens of thousands of secret documents from an NSA facility in Hawaii.

The measure now heads to the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, has said she is willing to go along with a similar idea.

NSA officials were pleased with the bill because under the existing program, they did not have access to many mobile phone records. Under the new arrangement, they will, officials say.

“I believe this is a workable compromise that protects the core function of a counter terrorism program we know has saved lives around the world,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Privacy and civil liberties activists denounced the measure, saying it had been “gutted” to win agreement from lawmakers such as Rogers who supported the NSA phone records program.

Here is the original post:

House approves curbs on NSA record-gathering

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is sponsoring a commercial featuring Ron Reagan on Comedy Central Thursday night, where he concludes with: “Ron Reagan. Lifelong atheist. Not afraid of burning in hell.”

The son of President Ronald Reagan has long been an outspoken atheist and is an honorary officer of FFRF.

The ad will air during The Daily Show, which begins at 10 p.m., and again during the Colbert Report, which airs at 10:30 p.m. It will also appear during the reruns two hours later, for a total of four showings.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of FFRF, said that Reagan “had done an ad for us for Air America Radio when that was on. I had in mind we could recreate this as a visual for several years and we finally made it happen.”

You can watch the ad here.

While airing the ads during two of Comedy Central’s most popular shows was quite costly compared to other times, Gaylor said the audience is the right fit for the message.

“Both shows are highly irreverent, and yet are considered news sources for young people, so it was the right national audience,” she said. “It’s kind of a splashy way to debut the ad, and then we’ll air it during cheaper times.”

Here’s the entire text of the 30-second spot: “Hi, Im Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and Im alarmed by the intrusions of religion into our secular government. Thats why Im asking you to support the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nations largest and most effective association of atheists and agnostics, working to keep state and church separate, just like our Founding Fathers intended. Please support the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Ron Reagan. Lifelong atheist. Not afraid of burning in hell.”

Gaylor and her husband, Dan Barker, who is also co-president of FFRF, are in Canada for a conference.

“The irony of this whole thing is they don’t get Comedy Central in Canada,” she said.

Go here to read the rest:
Freedom From Religion ad by Ron Reagan airs on Comedy Central



Romania: America needs NATO because of Russian aggression – Biden
VideoID: 20140520-023 SOT Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States (English): “So I'm here to say on behalf of the President, what I hope you already know: you can count on us. Period….

By: RuptlyTV

Excerpt from:

Romania: America needs NATO because of Russian aggression – Biden – Video



Religious Freedom Minute: California Family Council
Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute, sits down with Jonathan Keller, CEO of the California Family Council, to talk about religious freedom. California Family Council: http://www.Cal…

By: PacificJustice

The rest is here:
Religious Freedom Minute: California Family Council – Video



Religious Freedom Minute: Politics Faith
Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute, sits down with Tony Nassif from Politics Faith to talk about religious freedom. Politics Faith: http://www.PoliticsAndFaith.org Pacific…

By: PacificJustice

Continued here:
Religious Freedom Minute: Politics & Faith – Video

JAKARTA, May 22 (Bernama) — The Gerindra Party says presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto will guarantee the freedom of the press in Indonesia.

It is convinced that under his leadership, there will be no more restrictions on press freedom such as those seen during the New Order era.

“If Pak Prabowo is elected president, I’m sure that we would enjoy much more press freedom,” Gerindra’s patron council member, Martin Hutabarat was quoted as saying on Wednesday by Jakarta Post.

Martin said the press in Indonesia was currently forced into submission by Law No.40/1999 on the press and was heavily influenced by globalisation.

He said members of the House of Representatives needed to support the 1999 Press Law that came about at the beginning of the reformation era.

“The direction of press freedom in Indonesia has been determined by the House instead of the president. So what we have now is different from what happened in the New Order era,” said Martin.

As a member of the House’s Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, Martin said that in the context of globalisation, it would no longer be possible for Indonesia to put restrictions on the press.

Thus, he said, he was not sure that any president chosen in the upcoming election including Prabowo could send the Indonesian press back to its old ways.

“The main enemy of the press is not the president. It’s likely that the president would be powerless in facing the press,” said Martin.

He said it would likely be media investors and owners who would restrict press freedom.

See the original post here:
There Will Be Press Freedom Under Prabowo's Leadership – Gerindra



Edward Snowden Alleged NSA Leaker Lashes Out at President Obama Threatens More Leaks

By: Sha Stargell

See the article here:

Edward Snowden Alleged NSA Leaker Lashes Out at President Obama Threatens More Leaks – Video

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced today that former President Lech Walesa of Poland and former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa will receive the 2014 International Freedom Conductor Award at a gala celebration August 23 at 6 p.m.

See the article here:
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces International Freedom Conductor Awards for Tenth Anniversary

Dear readers, we need to review this First Amendment thing again.

Since former Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Bob Copeland admitted calling President Barack Obama the n-word in public (Copeland resigned under pressure this week), some have claimed that demanding his resignation violates his right to free speech. Thats not how the First Amendment works.

Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, the amendment states. The 14th Amendment then applied that restriction to the states as well. Copeland was an elected government official who said something awful (he called President Obama the n-word), stuck by it, and doubled down on it. The Founding Fathers would hardly have objected to the idea that the people should hold elected officials accountable for what they say.

The First Amendment is not a shield to deflect all barbs tossed in response to ones words. It protects against government censorship and punishment, not the reproach of the people. Copeland remains free to call people names as often as he wishes. And the people of Wolfeboro remain free to hold their elected officials to higher standards of behavior.

Read this article:
Copeland's rights They were not violated

If the court sides with the meat industry, the fallout could have far-reaching consequences, as it would potentially undermine a wide range of labeling laws, particularly COOL regulations, which require companies to disclose where their products and ingredients are produced and manufactured through the display of packaging labels. Most American consumers are familiar with common COOL labels like “Made in China” or “product of the United States” from everything from sneakers to frozen hamburger patties, even if they are not aware of how exactly they are regulated.

The meat industry made its case during Mondays en banc review — an uncommon type of proceeding conducted before all 11 judges on the court rather than the typical three-judge panel –that the COOL laws as revised in 2013 infringe on companies First Amendment rights by compelling speech.

Chief Judge Merrick Garland said that in order to decide that First Amendment rights were being violated under the regulations, the court would have to strike down at least half a dozen statutes on the books since the 1930s, according to Politico. He also pointed out that many products far beyond the scope of the meat industry, including the razor he shaved with Monday morning, are required to display COOL labels, Politico reported.

As such, a decision by the court that the COOL labels infringe on companies free speech rights could mean changes for industries that rest far beyond the food realm.

A three-judge panel of the court handed down a decision on March 28 suggesting that the en banc hearing on just the First Amendment issues be held at a future date, but otherwise affirming a district courts decision not to allow a preliminary injunction against the 2013 COOL laws. The case is known as American Meat Institute vs. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

We suggest that the full court hear this case en banc to resolve for the circuit whether, under Zauderer, government interests in addition to correcting deception can sustain a commercial speech mandate that compels firms to disclose purely factual and non-controversial information, the three-judge panel wrote in the March 28 decision.

The National Farmers Union and other American farmers and food production industry groups like the U.S. Cattlemens Association and the Consumer Federation of America continue to support the laws, which provide clarity about food origins.

The information required by the regulation to be provided is factual and noncontroversial, NFU President Roger Johnson said, according to the Ohios Country Journal agricultural publication. I am hopeful that the full Circuit will affirm the panels prior decision and continue to deny the preliminary injunction requested by appellants.

But the American Meat Institute has consistently argued that the laws will have serious negative impacts on the meat industry.

It is incomprehensible that USDA would finalize a controversial rule that stands to harm American agriculture, when comments on the proposal made clear how deeply and negatively it will impact U.S. meat companies and livestock producers, AMI Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel Mark Dopp said last year. This rubber stamping of the proposal begs the question of the integrity of the process: many people spoke, but no one at USDA listened.

See the rest here:
Food Labeling Laws Could Be Undermined By First Amendment Court Challenge

We like to think that as we age, we get wiser. But time after time we are confronted with the fact that age by no means guarantees wisdom.

Case in point: Robert Copeland, a police commissioner in Wolfeboro, N.H., who was heard to call Pres. Barack Obama a particularly offensive racial slur preceded by a particularly offensive modifier. Apparently, Copeland cursed the president in a private conversation in a public spot and was overheard by at least one other person.

What was the 82-year-old’s response after getting called out for uttering this despicable pejorative?

“I believe I did use the N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse (sic),” he wrote in an e-mail response to the controversy. “For this I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

Copeland is the head of the town’s three-member police commission, which is responsible for hiring police officers. Because Copeland is an elected official and because there is no recall mechanism in Wolfeboro, the only way for him to be relieved of his position was to resign. On Monday afternoon, after pressure from the town manager, the board of selectmen, residents and people around the Granite State and the nation, Copeland resigned. But that’s surely not the end of the story.

Defenders of and apologists for Copeland have cited his First Amendment rights to say what he wants, when he wants and where he wants. But Keli Goff, writing for The Root, notes Copeland’s position of authority makes his comments especially disturbing.

“While freedom of speech is clearly one of the bedrocks of American culture, the right not to fear those sworn to serve and protect us should be another. But for too many, particularly men of color, that fear is all too real.”

Ken White, writing for Popehat.com, notes that while racist speech is not sanctionable, it should have social consequences.

“When you talk, people will draw conclusions about your intentions based on your words.”

That’s exactly what is concerning to Goff. If this is the way Copeland speaks, how does his opinion influence who he approved for hire in Wolfeboro’s police department?

See the original post here:
Our opinion: Free speech and the discussion we're not having

WASHINGTON As U.S. National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers seeks to repair the damage to the agency caused by leaks about its electronic spying programs, the abuses of government revealed in the wake of the Watergate scandal are very much on his mind. As a teenager growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, Rogers recalls watching news broadcasts with his family and being horrified by how the CIA, FBI and NSA had illegally spied on hundreds of thousands of Americans. I can remember being very impassioned with my father, and telling him: ‘Dad, what kind of nation would we ever want to be that would allow something like this to happen?’ Rogers recalled. Four decades later, and six weeks into his new job as director of the NSA, the agency is facing similar accusations: that it has used its vast and intrusive surveillance powers to trample on privacy. Unlike 1975′s congressional investigation into intelligence gathering by the CIA, FBI and NSA, today’s allegations of rampant U.S. surveillance have unfolded on a global scale, damaging American relations from Brazil to Germany and Indonesia. While Rogers dismissed direct comparisons – noting that the NSA programs exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden last year had all been deemed lawful – he said he understood the concerns that have been raised about balancing individual privacy rights against security needs. We have been down that road in our history, and it has not always turned out well. I have no desire to be part of that, Rogers, 54, told the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington. Still, Rogers’ declaration that he wants to continue the NSA’s controversial search of phone records, known as metadata, has prompted critics to question if the new director really favors change at all. In his first interview since taking office, Rogers, a four-star Navy admiral, stressed the need for transparency and accountability. To repair the agency’s ties with internet and telecom firms, as well as U.S. allies, the NSA has to shed some of its secretive culture and be more candid about what it is doing, he said. Some say Rogers’ position falls short of what is needed. I don’t think it’s a public relations problem. What they have is a trust problem, said cryptography author Bruce Schneier, who worked with the Guardian newspaper to analyze some of Snowden’s documents. Schneier said that transparency would have to be imposed from above – either by the White House or Congress – for it to be credible. A “crippy” rises Highly thought of in Navy and intelligence circles, Rogers is a career cryptologist – a specialist in the breaking and making of codes – with little experience in the public spotlight. During the 70-minute Reuters interview, he seemed confident but guarded, speaking in sharply punctuated sentences and batting away questions about events that took place before he took over the Fort Meade, Maryland-based NSA. I’m not focused on wasting my time on what was or has been, said Rogers, who is also commander of the U.S. military’s Cyber Command. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain welcomed Roger’s call for greater transparency and accountability, but said he remained skeptical that any administration official would be held responsible for any NSA programs that exceeded congressional authority. I expect Admiral Rogers to be much more transparent, McCain told reporters on Wednesday. Do I believe that people will be punished? Nobody’s ever been punished for the torture of prisoners by the CIA. With short-cropped hair that as yet shows no signs of gray, Rogers can be alternately deadly serious – talking about mission sets and second-order effects – and self-deprecating. Returning two years ago to New Trier High School in Chicago’s suburbs, where he graduated in 1977, Rogers told a class: I was terrible at math, according to an account in the Chicago Sun-Times. Failing to gain admission to the U.S. Naval Academy, but determined to be a Navy officer, Rogers enrolled in Auburn University and went through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. His career was unusual in other respects. After six years as a surface warfare officer, considered the Navy’s premier career path, he became a cryptologist or crippy. Rogers has now risen higher in the Navy than any cryptologist before him. A former senior U.S. intelligence official who knows Rogers said talent spotters in the Navy channeled him into intelligence duties broader than cryptology. In 2007, he became intelligence chief for U.S. Pacific Command and two years later, intelligence director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Before becoming NSA chief, he led Fleet Cyber Command, the Navy’s cyber warfare and electronic spying unit. Underscoring the sensitivities surrounding the NSA post, President Barack Obama personally interviewed Rogers before nominating him for the job. Rogers sailed through his Senate confirmation hearing, although only after having to explain how hackers believed to be from Iran were able to penetrate a Navy computer network. “A powerful message” Rogers faces big challenges. Morale among the NSA’s tens of thousands of employees has taken a hit, and Rogers said many people in the agency found it both uncomfortable and perplexing to be under public scrutiny. Retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, a former director of both the NSA and CIA, said it was instructive that Obama chose Rogers, and veteran NSA civilian Richard Ledgett to be his deputy, at a time when the president was under enormous pressure to conduct a house cleaning of the agency. It was, Hayden said, a vote of confidence in the NSA and its staff, and a sign that, despite some reforms, Obama plans no sharp cutback in the agency’s aggressive global surveillance. They were the obvious choices before Snowden, and they were the choices after Snowden. This is a powerful message to send to the workforce, Hayden said. A second former senior U.S. intelligence official who knows Rogers predicted he would be a much more inclusive leader than his predecessor, the sometimes-combative Army General Keith Alexander, who led the agency for more than eight years. When Rogers is not wearing his NSA hat, he runs Cyber Command, a rapidly growing organization tasked with defending U.S. military computer networks, penetrating and mapping adversary networks, and conducting offensive cyber warfare. Rogers, who has been married to his wife, Dana, for 29 years and has a son in the Navy and one in college, may have days where he wishes he had neither job. In a video message to NSA employees after he took command, Rogers is said to have remarked that he had promised his wife he would be retired by now.

Continued here:

NSA's Future Rests on Admiral Rogers' Shoulders

Fifty years ago this fall, the Free Speech Movement was born at the University of California-Berkeley. Rebelling against strict rules barring political speech on campus, thousands of students began a series of protests. In December 1964, after more than 700 students were arrested during an occupation of the administration building, there was a turning point. The UC Berkeley Academic Senate lopsidedly endorsed the argument that students speech rights should be no different on or off campus.

There would be years more squabbling about what was allowed at Berkeley. But gradually the concept of campus as a place where vigorous debate and dissent was not just accepted but championed took hold at American universities.

Now we are witnessing a growing phenomenon in which campus protests are used to try to prevent debate. Across the nation, commencement speakers have been uninvited or have backed away from their commitments after facing intense criticism from groups of students and some professors.

The most notable example came at Rutgers, where former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was deemed non grata over the Bush administrations use of torture and its launching of the Iraq War.

This reduces the debate over national security to a cartoon. Hillary Clinton was among the Senate Democrats who backed the war. And President Barack Obama may have banned enhanced interrogations, but hes ramped up a drone killing program that has sparked international anger. Is assassination less morally objectionable than torture?

But Rutgers students dont have to worry about any such complexity. Theyve got their villain.

The villain at Haverford College was former UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, whom students said should not be allowed to speak until he apologized (yet again) for how he responded to a campus Occupy protest in 2011 and supported reparations for those protesters. Birgeneau declined their demands but chose not speak.

Thankfully, another speaker at Haverfords weekend ceremonies pointed out the arrogance of the students. They should have encouraged him to come and engage in a genuine discussion, not to come, tail between his legs, to respond to an indictment that a self-chosen jury had reached without hearing counterarguments, said former Princeton President William G. Bowen.

Fifty years ago, this goal of genuine discussion was what led Berkeley students to demand the right to freely discuss racial discrimination, the growing U.S. involvement in Vietnam and more. Now their figurative grandchildren have a different point of view: Every controversial question has only one answer. You have absolutely nothing to learn from people whose opinions you dislike, is the formulation offered by Yale Law School professor Stephen E. Carter.

This is not progress.

Read more:
Sad anniversary for Free Speech Movement



NATO Secretary General with President of Romania
Opening remarks by the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the joint press point with the President of Romania, Traian Basescu, Bucharest, Romania.

By: NATO

Read the original here:

NATO Secretary General with President of Romania – Video

Religious freedom is a fundamental human right of every person on earth. It has been recognized by international accords and by the Second Vatican Council. But religious liberty is under attack in many countries around the world.

The United States committed itself to the promotion of religious liberty through its foreign policy in the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). The law provides that it will be the policy of the United Sates to condemn violations of religious freedom and to promote and assist other governments in the promotion of the fundamental right to freedom of religion.

Congress felt it was necessary to make this clear in the IRFA because it is easy to forget about religious freedom when policymakers are so focused on national security, economic issues and other human rights that religious freedom is forgotten.

Although much of the motivation for passage of this act was concern over the persecution of Christians, the law is generic — it applies to all religions.

The IRFA provides for the creation of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), to which President Barack Obama recently appointed me. The purpose of the commission is to review annually the efforts of the U.S. government in implementing the IRFA.

The most recent USCIRF report, written before I was appointed, was released April 30. It is the 15th report issued by the commission and is divided into four parts, but in this column, I will focus on the first part: a discussion of the international standards for religious freedom.

What is religious freedom?

The first point to be made is that religious freedom is not just for believers. It also includes nonbelievers. Properly speaking, it is “freedom of religion or belief.” It protects a person’s right to hold or not hold any religion or belief. So religious freedom must also protect the atheist.

Nor is it only for religious minorities. It also applies to those of the majority who might want to debate or dissent from views within the majority religion.

One frequent mistake is to equate freedom of religion with freedom of worship. Even some American policymakers have spoken of freedom of worship rather than freedom of religion.

Link:
Religious freedom is a fundamental human right



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