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EFF Victories in Two FOIA Cases—Court Rules Government’s Arguments are “Clearly Inadequate” to Support Claims

eff.org - Wed, 19/03/2014 - 02:02

Sunshine Week is often a time for transparency advocates to collectively lament about government secrecy and institutional resistance to accountability. But the week of advocacy is also an opportunity to highlight how, through patience and a lot of court motions, organizations such as EFF can pry important documents from agencies that would rather operate in the shadows.

EFF recently won favorable rulings in two hard-fought Freedom of Information Act cases involving reports of intelligence agency misconduct and agency attempts to mandate backdoors into our internet communications. In light of recent revelations about illegal NSA and FBI surveillance, the records produced in these cases could not be more timely.

EFF v. CIA—Reports of Intelligence Agency Misconduct

In EFF v. CIA, first filed in 2009, we sought reports of illegal intelligence activities submitted to the Intelligence Oversight Board. A judge has since ordered the government to release previously withheld documents about agency misconduct or come up with new arguments to justify the secrecy.  Because of the government's requests for deadline extensions, the records are now due March 21, 2014.

These reports were prepared by the FBI, the Department of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security. This latest ruling may result in the further disclosure of significant government misconduct. The reports we obtained so far under FOIA have revealed:

These records have helped Congress and the courts to understand the scope of federal intelligence agency misconduct. However, the agencies continue to withhold hundreds of documents from the public.

The court agreed with EFF that the agencies failed to justify their withholdings. The court said the government’s arguments were “clearly inadequate” and that the agencies’ “generalized assertions and boilerplate fall far short of the detail required to demonstrate that information was properly withheld under FOIA.”

By their nature, these reports detail illegal activities that, according to executive order and statute, may not be classified or withheld under FOIA. Given this, and given the fact that we requested these records over five years ago, we are hoping the government will do the right thing and release them.

EFF v. DOJ—Expansion of Electronic Surveillance Laws

A court has also ordered the Department of Justice to hand over documents in our FOIA lawsuit to obtain information that the government may be using to justify an expansion of a law that aids federal wiretapping.

In EFF v. DOJ,  filed in 2010, we sued the DOJ, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Agency to get information on problems that hamper electronic surveillance and could justify or undermine the administration's calls for expanded surveillance powers.

Over the last few years, federal agencies have been pushing Congress to expand the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to require communications service providers from Google to Skype to Facebook to Sony to build surveillance-ready “backdoors” into their systems. However, other than a couple extremely vague anecdotes, the agencies have failed to provide any evidence that that their investigations have been thwarted without such a fix. In our FOIA requests we sought this very information.

As we discussed in detail here, the government withheld a significant amount of material, claiming it was “outside the scope” of EFF’s FOIA request. The government also argued it was entitled to withhold names of ISPs that had helped it conduct surveillance because it would hurt these companies’ bottom line if their customers knew they were working with the government. The court agreed with EFF that both of these arguments lacked merit and ordered the government to release records. It’s a great win and reinforces important case law for FOIA requesters in the Ninth Circuit.

These Opinions Are Good for the Public but They Aren’t Enough

The opinions in these cases show that courts continue to be concerned that the government is withholding more information from the public than it is entitled to. And they both reinforce important precedent for FOIA requesters.

However, the cases also reinforce the belief that the current system of government transparency is broken. In EFF v. CIA, we submitted our first requests for records in 2008.  Once we filed our motion for summary judgment in the case, it took the court over a year and a half to rule on the motion. It has now been more than five years since we filed that request, and the government continues to withhold a majority of the records.

The second case, EFF v. DOJ, isn’t much better. In that case, we filed our requests in 2010 and then waited nearly a year for the government to finish processing records that were then either withheld in full or produced but almost completely blacked out. We went through two rounds of summary judgment briefing—a year apart—on the same documents and issues before the court finally ruled in our favor—a full six months after we argued the motion. And we’re still waiting for records.

As we’ve stated before, given the failings of the standard transparency process, there has to be room and support for whistleblowers to act alongside the FOIA process. These insiders can expose government hypocrisy and illegal activities without the public having to rely on tenacious lawyers—and wait many years—to learn about these activities.

We're currently negotiating with the government about release of final records in these cases and will post those records on our site when we receive them.

You can find all of EFF's Sunshine Week posts linked here.

Related Issues: CALEATransparencyRelated Cases: Intelligence Agencies' Misconduct ReportsExpanding CALEA and Electronic Surveillance Laws
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Categories: Aggregated News

Crimeans Choose Russia

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 18/03/2014 - 17:48
Crimeans Choose Russia
by Stephen Lendman
March 16 was historic. It was important. Crimean authorities showed how real democracy works. They shamed America's sham process. 
Monied interests control things. People have no say. Both major parties control a rigged process. They're two sides of the same coin. 
Not a dime's worth of difference separates them. Independent candidates are virtually shut out. Americans get the best democracy money can buy.
Crimeans got the real thing. International observers praised the process. Voting went peacefully and smoothly. 
It was scrupulously open, free, and fair. No irregularities occurred. None were seen. No pressure. No intimidation. 
Not a single Russian soldier in sight. None invaded. None occupy Crimea. Claims otherwise are false. They're Western propaganda. They're malicious lies.
Turnout was impressive. It was unprecedented. It exceeded 83%. In Sevastopol, it was 89.5%.
Over 1.274 million Crimeans voted. Plus Sevastopol residents excluded from this total. 
An astonishing 96.77% chose Russia - 95.6% of Sevastopol voters. A previous article said Russians comprise about 60% of Crimea's population. Ukrainians around 25%. Tatars 12%.
Results show Crimeans overwhelmingly reject Kiev putschists. Russians, Ukrainians and Tatars agree. Claims otherwise are false.
Referendum Commission chairman Mikhail Malyshev said:
"We were receiving protocols from the 27 district commissions all night long. The last one came at around 6:00AM."
"After that, our commission compiled the final protocol." Commission members signed the official document. It certified election results.
A scant .72% of ballots were declared invalid.
Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksionov addressed a Simferopol rally, saying:
"No one can take away our victory. We are going to Russia." He spoke accompanied by the Russian national anthem.
"We are going home," he added. "Crimea within Russia. Hooray, comrades."
Parliament Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov added: "We have done it! You have done it! This is our victory, and nobody can take it away from us."
Crimeans celebrated their landslide victory. Ludmila Balatskays is a 72-year-old former Sevastapol city government deputy.
"Today is the greatest day of my life," she said. "We are returning to mother Russia."
"I was just a little girl when they just informed us that Crimea was now Ukraine. Everything fell down around me."
"We are Russia. We have always been Russian people in our souls here in Crimea, but today that becomes a practical reality again."
She spoke with tears in her eyes. Most other Crimeans share her joy.
Gennady Basov chairs the Sevastopol Russian Block party. He said choosing Russia gives Crimea "protection from the neo-Nazis and fascists in Kiev."
On Sunday, Putin and Obama spoke. Russia's president correctly called the referendum legal. It complies with international law and UN Charter provisions. They uphold self-determination rights. A Kremlin statement said:
"Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin drew attention to the inability and unwillingness of the present authorities in Kiev to curb rampant violence by ultra-nationalist and radical groups that destabilize the situation and terrorize civilians, including the Russian speaking population."
He urged steps taken to change things. Regional stability depends on responsible policies. An official White House statement said Obama called the referendum illegal.
He accused Russia of "military intervention." He lied saying so. Moscow didn't intervene. Claims otherwise are false.
Obama said "the United States and the international community...would never" recognize referendum results.
"(W)e are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions," he added.
Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin highlighted Western hypocrisy. On the one hand, its officals reject Crimean self-determination rights.
On the other, they call Kiev putschists legitimate. They ignored their brazen coup d'etat.
On March 17, Crimea asked UN authorities and international community countries to recognize their self-determination.
A resolution was adopted doing so. "The Republic of Crimea seeks equality, peace, and good-neighborliness as well as political, economic and cultural cooperation," with all other nations, it said.
On Monday, Russian State Duma Vice Speaker Sergei Neverov said parliamentarians will complete all necessary legislative procedures on accommodating Crimeans at the earliest possible time.
"The results of the Crimean referendum have clearly indicated that the residents of Crimea see their future only as part of Russia," he said. 
"They voted for reunification of the people who always lived together." The number of people who came to polling stations and supported Crimea's re-unification with Russia speaks for itself." 
"It's a reply to all those who attempted, throughout the past weeks, to prevent the residents of Crimea from determining their own destiny, their own future and the future of their children."
Russian upper house Federation Council Foreign Policy Committee deputy chairman Andrei Klimov praised Crimea's democratic process, saying:
"(W)hat we saw in Crimea was a direct expression of citizens' will - a system that the Americans might stand to benefit from."
"(T)he people of any territory on the globe should have the right to determine its destiny independently."
"Whatever the situation, the people of Crimea didn't give the right to choose destiny-making options for themselves either to Washington or to Brussels."
"A statement by White House press secretary that the referendum in Crimea stands at variance with the Ukrainian Constitution and hence the US rejects it is all too obvious." 
"The thing is the White House is playing on the side of the new coalition in Kiev, and the US always supports only the 'democracy' that serves its national interests."
On March 21, Federation Council and State Duma members will vote up or down on letting Crimea join the Russian Federation. Sentiment in both houses suggests overwhelming approval.
Days earlier, Federation Council chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko said so. Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin echoed her sentiment.
Russia has been losing people for years, he said. "(A)t last, we're getting our compatriots back. So that's a historic moment for Russia." Putin has final say. 
Crimean Parliament Speaker Konstantinov said Crimea can join Russia in weeks. Perhaps by end of March, he added.
Crimea will draft a new constitution. "We will send it for approval to the Russian parliament," he explained. 
Steps are underway to shift from Ukraine's hryvnia to Russia's ruble. Next week, the ruble will be introduced as a second official currency.
Dual currencies will continue for about six months. Thereafter, Ukraine's hryvnia will be discontinued.
According to Crimea's Prime Minister Aksyonov, integrating Crimea fully into Russia may take up to a year. Perhaps sooner, he added.
At the same time, Crimea wants good relations with all nations, he stressed. On Monday, EU foreign ministers met in Brussels.
Sanctions were discussed. Asset freezes and visa bans on 21  Russian officials were imposed. Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevcius said "more EU measures (will be forthcoming) in a few days."
According to an unnamed diplomatic source, Brussels "reached agreement on a list of names which is quite limited both in terms of their rank and the number of people."
A second unnamed source said Brussels "might reopen discussion" in further talks.
"At this late stage, I think they will focus instead on sending out a unified EU message," the source added.
Reuters said an initial list of up to 130 senior Russian officials would be reduced to perhaps "tens or scores" for final consideration.
Washington readied its own list. White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said "(y)ou can expect sanctions designations in the coming days." Perhaps sooner.
Similar asset freezes and travel bans on Russian officials were announced. Putin was excluded.
Washington imposed sanctions on 11 Russian and former Viktor Yanukovych government officials. Moscow's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was named.
A White House statement said sanctions target officials who "undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine." None exist except in Crimea.
On March 6, Obama's Executive Order authorized "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine."
It applies to foreign nationals and Americans. Property belonging to Russian nationals can be seized.
The same applies to "any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States."
Ahead of Crimea's referendum, Obama declared a national emergency. He considers Crimean self-determination a "threat to US national security."
For sure it's a threat of a good example. It runs counter to Washington's imperial ambitions.
Obama usurped the right to seize (read steal) assets belonging to anyone (including US citizens) "determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(i) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly, any of the following:
(A) actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine;
(B) actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; or
(C) misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine or of an economically significant entity in Ukraine."
Wiggle room language permits circumventing fundamental rule of law principles.
So-called "direct or indirect...actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine" aren't defined.
Nor is how Crimean self-determination threatens US national security. The claim is absurd on its face. 
It's outrageous. It's offensive. It turns logic on its head. It reveals lawless US governance.
Obama can act any way he wishes. He can do so by diktat. He can act lawlessly. He can enforce Washington rules.
He's playing with fire. British MP George Galloway is right saying Western leaders created a Frankenstein monster in Ukraine.
It's "a very serious threat," he said. The damn fools in Washington and Brussels perhaps didn't "read the novel Frankenstein to the end," said Galloway.
"If they had, they'd have known that the monster Dr. Frankenstein created quickly got out of control. That's why it's called a monster."
"And this monstrous" Kiev neo-Nazi threat poses potential grave problems for Europe. Perhaps for humanity if war erupts.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Post-Crimean Referendum Propaganda

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 18/03/2014 - 17:48
Post-Crimean Referendum Propaganda
by Stephen Lendman
Previous articles discussed intense anti-Russian propaganda. It raged up to Sunday's referendum vote. On Monday, it continued.
The New York Times headlined "Global Crises Put Obama's Strategy of Caution to the Test," saying:
"(W)ith Russia poised to annex Crimea after Sunday's referendum, with a mounting threat to the rest of Ukraine and with the carnage in Syria accelerating, Mr. Obama's strategy is now under greater stress than at any time in his presidency."
"Mr. Obama's strategy" is his own making. He's waging multiple direct and proxy wars. proxy war on Syria. He replaced numerous independent governments with subservient Western ones.
Ukraine is his latest imperial trophy. A previous article said if he can keep it. The battle for Ukraine's soul didn't end. It continues. It just began. Perhaps years will pass to resolve it.
Obama's Iranian intentions are uncertain. Nuclear talks continue without resolution. Rapprochement remains a convenient illusion unless or until proved otherwise. No evidence suggests longterm US hostility eased. Plenty indicates otherwise.
Obama elevated neo-Nazi putschists to power in Kiev. He backs lawless governance. He spurns democratic legitimacy. 
He bears full responsibility for crisis conditions. At issue is what he intends going forward. He risks potential global war. Don't expect Times editors and/or contributors to explain. They support what demands condemnation.
They repeat the Big Lie. "Putin invaded Crimea," they said. A former unnamed Obama senior national security aid was quoted saying: "We're seeing the 'light footprint" run out of gas."
Former Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was quoted saying:
"There was a view that if the United States pulled back and stopped 'imposing' and 'insisting' in the world, the vacuum would be filled by good things." 
"But what has filled that space has been brutal dictators; extremist forces, especially in Iraq and Syria; and nationalism."
"Pulled back?" From what? "Stopped imposing" its will? How so? Stopped "insisting" in the world?" Fundamental US policies under Democrats and Republicans enforce hardline Washington rules.
Multiple direct and proxy wars rage. Obama only stopped short of starting WW III. Perhaps he intends doing so. Don't expect Times and contributors to explain.
Jochen Bittner is Die Zeit's political editor. He's militantly pro-war. Last year, he complained about Germany's unwillingness to wage it.
He wrote about "rethinking German pacifism." He wants a greater military commitment. Die Zeit's editor, Joseph Joffe, urges "massive" Middle East war.
Both men aggressively promote escalated German militarism. Bittner got feature Times op-ed space. He took full advantage.
He headlined "Is Crimea the Next Yugoslavia?" He wrote from Simferopol, Crimea. He spoke to a man named Bratislav.
He said he came from Kosovo "to protect the Russian brothers from the fascists."
"I can tell you," he said, "Ukraine is becoming the next Yugoslavia. Only bigger." Other Crimeans told Bittner the same thing.
He called referendum results "a catalyst for disintegration. He claimed former "(d)ifferent cultural and ethnic identities that used to coexist peacefully" no longer exist.
He scorned referendum results saying so. Numerous Crimean Ukrainians and Tatars voted in lockstep. They support joining Russia.
Trouble doesn't exist in Crimea. It's based in Kiev. It's headquartered in Washington. It's in Brussels and other Western European capitals. 
Bittner didn't explain. Indeed, the threat of Ukrainian civil war exists. The US/EU-created monster risks it.
Crimeans want peace and stability. They want union with Russia. They want Moscow guaranteeing their protection. 
It's their best chance to avoid conflict. It's their best hope to survive it it erupts.
Bittner bashed Crimea's referendum. He mischaracterized it. He called it "nothing less than the emergence of two nations within one state."
"…Russian control may usher in outright oppression," he said. His logic is upside down.
Crimea joining Russia is its best chance to avoid it. He asked whether militants might be attracted to Crimea.
He stopped short of explaining only if Kiev, Washington and rogue EU partners enlist them to launch Euromaidan 2.0.
He blamed Putin for what may be planned. "Chetniks. Cossacks. Fascists. Zombies, Jihadis. Was this part of Mr. Putin's plan to enlarge his empire," he asked?
He called him the "Kremlin's would-be strongman." He "resembles Goethe's foolhardy sorcerer's apprentice," he said.
He pointed fingers the wrong way. He wrongfully blamed him for ongoing events in Crimea. He substituted misinformation for credible analysis.
Before Sunday's referendum, The Times headlined "Russia Moves Swiftly to Stifle Dissent Ahead of Secession Vote."
It lied claiming "Russian soldiers took up positions" at Simferopol's "television transmission center."
None invaded Crimea. None comprise an occupying force. The Times wrongfully claimed they're involved in "a broad effort to muffle dissent over the Kremlin-backed project to guide Crimea through a swift secession from Ukraine."
It spun a scenario of well-armed Russian troops, local self-defense forces called "pro-secession militia," carrying "whips" to intimidate anti-self-determination Crimeans.
It claimed tactics resembled what "accompanied rigged ballots across the old Soviet world."
It alleged fraud. It ignored a legitimate process. It turned a blind eye to what turned out to be a model democratic election. It puts sham US ones to shame.
It claimed "dissent (was) suppressed by the implicit threat of force." No evidence whatever suggested it. None exists.
"In a matter of days, the Kremlin has succeeded in recreating the constrained conditions of Russia's own civic sphere in Crimea," it claimed.
It cited nonexistent "targeted intimidation (and) an expansive military occupation by 'unmistakably' elite Russian units…"
You can't make this stuff up. The so-called "newspaper of record" reinvents history. It fabricates scenarios it calls news.
It cited Kiev fascist putschists as reliable sources. It repeated one Big Lie after another.
It suggested Russian forces "could be preparing to occupy parts of eastern and southern Ukraine."
It called Crimean democrats "strong-arm" bullies. It compared them to myths about Putin targeting opponents at home.
It lied claiming "Crimean journalists (were) ordered not to describe the soldiers on their soil as Russian or to use the word 'occupation.' "
It lied again saying "foreign and local journalists (were) beaten and had their materials confiscated…"
"…Russian troops (and supportive elements) "blockaded…Ukrainian government centers," it claimed.
This type reporting doesn't rise to the level of bad fiction. It doesn't pass the smell test. The Times has a long disturbing history. It's an establishment publication.
It supports wealth, power and privilege. It turns truth on its head. It suppresses vital information. It features rubbish.
It systematically ignores police state Kiev ruthlessness. It lied claiming Crimea's model democracy suppresses freedom. It shames itself in the process. The pattern repeats daily.
Neocon Washington Post editors headlined "US, EU must stay the course on Russian sanctions over Ukraine."
They lied claiming Russia "seize(d) Crimea." Washington and EU partners "must fashion a new policy…to counter (Putin's) aggression," they bellowed.
They called a model democratic exercise an "orchestrated" one. Maybe he plans "inva(ding) eastern Ukraine," they claimed.
They want Putin "punish(ed)" and "weaken(ed)." They want tougher measures than ones imposed.
They want Russia "massiv(ely)" damaged "economically and politically." Maybe they want WW III. 
Neocons think this way. They promote war and violence. They deplore peace and stability. They endorse imperial lawlessness.
WaPo editors are some of the worst. Wall Street Journal ones match them. They headlined "Welcome  to the 19th Century."
The repeated the Big Lie. They claimed Russia invaded Crimea. They quoted John Kerry saying "on a completely trumped up pretext."
Russia respects its neighbors. It doesn't wage lawless aggression. Doing so is a US tradition. 
It dates from the 19th century. It continues recklessly out-of-control today. Don't expect Journal editors to explain.
They lied claiming Putin "consolidated his hold on Crimea Sunday by forcing a referendum with only two choices."
One was enough given an overwhelming near 97% majority and celebratory victory joy.
Journal editors lied claiming choices offered were to join Russia now or later. False! Crimeans voted on whether to join the Russian Federation or remain part of Ukraine.
"Next up for conquest may be eastern Ukraine," claimed Journal editors. Russian forces mobilized on its border ready to invade, they hallucinated.
"Russian agitators (may) create another 'trumped up pretext,' " they claimed. Moscow "revanchists moved (to create) new world disorder," they added.
Putin aims to "carv(e) up foreign countries when he feels he can," they said.
Journal editors want "renewed military deterrent." They want NATO involved. They want Western forces deployed near Russia's borders.
They want advanced weapons targeting its heartland. Maybe they want WW III.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Notice-and-Takedown Gets its Day in Congress

eff.org - Tue, 18/03/2014 - 08:53

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Thursday on a law that underpins the Internet as we know it today: the copyright notice-and-takedown system and the safe harbor for service providers that comes with it, set up in Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is the committee's eighth hearing in a series reviewing various aspects of copyright law in anticipation of a possible revision that's been dubbed "The Next Great Copyright Act."

As has become the standard, this hearing brought together a handful of stakeholders with very different relationships to the law—two academics, a composer and a company that send takedowns, a service that receives some, and Google—to air varying perspectives in the hope of coming to a balanced conclusion. While these hearings sometimes seem formulaic, what the public usually gets is a smattering of different takes on the law: some good, some bad, and some ugly.

Sieminski explains DMCA abuse and Wordpress.com.

First the good: several of the panelists, along with committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, recognized that abuse of DMCA takedown notices is a real and serious problem. One of the witnesses, Automattic's Paul Sieminski, outlined the issue and noted that, in the absence of enforceable penalties, copyright takedown notices can be used to silence legitimate speech. From his testimony:

The DMCA gives copyright holders a powerful and easy-to-use weapon: the unilateral right to issue a takedown notice that a website operator (like Automattic [the company behind WordPress]) must honor or risk legal liability. The system works so long as copyright holders use this power in good faith. But too often they don't, and there should be clear legal consequences for those who choose to abuse the system.

Automattic backs up that argument with legal action, too. It has gone to court to defend two of its bloggers from bogus takedown notices under Section 512(f). Cases under that section are rare, in part because litigation is expensive, time-consuming, and the stakes of losing a copyright suit can include enormous financial penalties. Automattic's are two of the highest-profile suits under that section since we began representing Stephanie Lenz in Lenz v. Universal, the long-running "dancing baby" case.

Then there's the bad. Years after we first saw members of Congress complain about "rogue" websites in their Google results during the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) hearing, some are still trying that same ploy. Some legislators even referred to the problem of foreign rogue websites in particular, as if SOPA’s legislative meltdown had never occurred.

Google's representative at the hearing, Senior Copyright Policy Counsel Katherine Oyama, was clear that the hypothetical search terms that Congress members suggested are actually used relatively infrequently—but more importantly, that demoting certain search results is useless unless there are other matching search results to elevate in their place. In other words, if people are actually searching for a movie title plus the word "free"—and again, Google's records show they generally are not—the studio can already take advantage of its prominent search engine placement with a page explaining what free options are available.

That's good enough for Google, but we'll go one further: private voluntary agreements (for example, between Google and film studios) run the risk of chilling or limiting lawful speech, often without meaningful oversight and accountability. That was on display with the ridiculous suggestion during the hearing that Google should treat searches that include "free" or "watch" differently than other searches, as if the company should be eliminating common English words to appease a particular industry.

Finally, some proposals from witnesses and Congress members ran the risk of wiping out fair use from certain contexts altogether. One witness, Professor Sean O'Connor of the University of Washington School of Law, advocated expanding the current "notice-and-takedown" system with "notice-and-stay-down," where an accusation made once could stick around as a permanent filter and prevent future uploads, legal or not, from ever occurring.

Not only does that idea raise the stakes of false or overreaching accusations, but it overlooks the fact that uploads that are infringing in some contexts might be perfectly lawful fair uses in others. Rightsholders may like the idea of a permanent and automatic veto power on all future uploads, but it's not one granted by copyright law in the U.S.

Incidentally, this exact issue has recently been litigated in Spain, where the court held in January that YouTube cannot be forced to prevent future instances of infringing content to be uploaded.

Section 512 has its flaws, and parts of it are certainly due for review, but the safe harbor it describes has been essential for a generation of sites that embrace user-generated content to take root and grow. As Congress continues to conduct this review, it should look to the actual benefits of the safe harbor—and the actual costs of takedown abuse.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the Balance2013-2014 Copyright Review ProcessThe "Six Strikes" Copyright Surveillance MachineFree Speech
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Categories: Aggregated News

Why is the Patent Office So Bad At Reviewing Software Patents?

eff.org - Tue, 18/03/2014 - 08:24

Many problems with the patent system—from the explosion in patent trolling to the wasteful smartphone wars—can be traced to the flood of software patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). These patents are often both broad and vague and are the favorite tool of trolls. A recent study concluded that, even under today’s highly permissive standards for patentability, about 50 percent of software patents would be found invalid if challenged in court. When it comes to software patents, review by the PTO seems to do no better than tossing a coin.

Why is the PTO so bad at examining software patents? There are many reasons. For a start, examiners spend barely any time looking for prior art (the pre-existing publications and technology that could invalidate a patent by showing that the invention wasn't new). PTO examiners spend an average of only 18 hours per application and only a fraction of that time is devoted to looking for prior art. And when they do look for prior art, examiners tend to use a limited set of databases of patents and technical journals. But what if the most relevant prior art is somewhere else? Perhaps the best prior art is a website or a repository of open source code. In that case the PTO will almost certainly miss it. The end result is thousands upon thousands of bad software patents.

Last week, together with Public Knowledge and Engine, EFF submitted written comments urging the PTO to do better at finding the most relevant prior art. We recommend that the office work to create searchable databases of existing software programs. We also urge the PTO to see past the kind of deliberate obfuscation that is too common in software patent applications. Applicants should not be able to get patents simply by inventing new words for old things.

Ultimately, while improved patent examination and fewer bad patents would be a good thing, we need fundamental reform to solve the current crisis. We hope this will include the Supreme Court striking down abstract patents, striking down vague patents, and new legislation from Congress that takes on the patent troll business model. We’ll continue to work on multiple fronts to keep innovation safe from bad software patents.

Files:  comments_to_pto_from_public_knowledge_eff_engine.pdfRelated Issues: PatentsInnovation
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Blast Sunshine From Your Social Media Profile With These Backgrounds and Banners

eff.org - Tue, 18/03/2014 - 01:38

If you're as much a transparency geek as we are, then you want the whole world to feel the radiation of Sunshine Week. To help blast out the message, EFF Senior Designer Hugh D'Andrade has created a series of banners and backgrounds to brighten up your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ profiles.

Twitter

Facebook

Google+

You can find all of EFF's Sunshine Week posts linked here.

Related Issues: Transparency
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Former Church Committee Counsel and Staffers Call on Congress to Create Modern Day Church Committee

eff.org - Mon, 17/03/2014 - 19:59

Monday marks the second day of “Sunshine Week”—a week to focus on the importance of open government and how to ensure accountability of our leaders at the federal, state, and local levels.

When US intelligence agencies were caught spying on Americans 40 years ago, Congress answered the public outcry by creating an investigative task force to bring these covert, and potentially illegal, practices into the light. The Church Committee, as it was commonly known because of its chairman, Sen. Frank Church, interviewed 800 people, held 271 hearings and published volumes upon volumes of reportsall of which paved the way for reform.

Today, we are publishing a letter signed by 16 former counsel, advisers, and professional staff members of the Church Committee, calling on Congress to create a new special committee to investigate the NSA and other intelligence agencies. This new "Church Committee for the 21st Century" would conduct a thorough examination into the oversight system currently in place (including the House and Senate Intelligence Committees) and the intelligence communities actions (such as the CIA spying on Senate staff and the NSA spying on all Americans).

They write:

As former members and staff of the Church Committee we can authoritatively say: the erosion of public trust currently facing our intelligence community is not novel, nor is its solution. A Church Committee for the 21st Century—a special congressional investigatory committee that undertakes a significant and public reexamination of intelligence community practices that affect the rights of Americans and the laws governing those actions—is urgently needed. Nothing less than the confidence of the American public in our intelligence agencies and, indeed, the federal government, is at stake.

Read the full letter here, or download it here. Last week, Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., who served as chief counsel to the Church Committee, also published an editorial in The Nation, titled "Why We Need a New Church Committee to Fix Our Broken Intelligence System."

For some heavy reading that will leave you with a sense of surveillance déjà vu, you can also peruse the Church Committee's historic reports here.

You can find all of EFF's Sunshine Week posts linked here.

Files:  church_committee_-_march_17_2014_.pdfRelated Issues: NSA SpyingTransparency
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Categories: Aggregated News

Anti-Russian Propaganda Rages

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 17/03/2014 - 17:38
Anti-Russian Propaganda Rages
by Stephen Lendman
It's intense. It rages daily. It's unprecedented. It exceeds the worst of Cold War vitriol. Malicious misinformation persists. 
Truth is systematically buried. It's turned on its head. Lies, damn lies and vicious agitprop substitute.
Obama officials substitute Russia bashing for responsible diplomacy. On March 14, John Kerry lied claiming:
"...(W)e remain deeply concerned about the large deployments of Russian forces in Crimea and along the eastern border with Russia, as well as the continuing provocations and some of the hooliganism of young people who've been attracted to cross the border and come into the east, as well as some of those who've lived there."
He threatened Sergei Lavrov. Obama "made it clear there will be consequences if Russia does not find a way to change course," he said.
"(O)bviously that will beg an even greater (Washington) response," he added. "(T)here will be costs."
On March 16, Russia's Foreign Ministry said America "refuse(s) to listen to the voice of reason."
"Unfortunately, it is not stability in the country or the security and well-being of its citizens that Washington cares about." 
"It keeps using Cold War categories, which were seemed bygone, in an attempt to impose its own vision of the political system in Ukraine."
"We hope that the UN member states that have so far demonstrated a biased and confrontational approach in connection with the situation in Ukraine, including during the discussion of this matter in the UN Security Council, will find the strength to embark on the path of constructive cooperation in the interests of long-term settlement of the situation and ensuring the full range of interests of Ukrainian citizens, including the population of eastern and southeastern regions of the country."
Washington's draft resolution condemning Crimea's legitimate referendum on joining Russia proves America deplores reason, the ministry added.
Russia responsibly vetoed it. China abstained. Other Council members include America, Britain, France, Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea and Rwanda.
They irresponsibly voted "yes" in lockstep. They supported wrong over right. China usually backs Russia on major geopolitical issues. It ducked this one.
Its UN envoy Liu Jieyi said:
"China holds an objective and fair position on the Ukraine issue."
"The vote on the draft resolution by the Security Council at this juncture will only result in confrontation and further complicate the situation, which is not in conformity with the common interest of both the people of the Ukraine and those of the international community."
He called for resolving Ukraine's crisis diplomatically. He urged all parties to refrain from escalating things.
Obama's UN envoy Samantha Power is ideologically over-the-top. She calls gencidal imperial interventions stunning successes.
She defends the indefensible. She supports ravaging and destroying one country after another.
She bashed Russia's veto. She called doing so "a sad and remarkable moment."
She ludicrously said Security Council members "me(t) on Ukraine because it is the job of this body to stand up for peace and to defend those in danger."
No nation deplores peace more than America. None cause more harm to more people. None more gravely threaten humanity. Imperial priorities alone matter. Don't expect Power to explain.
Nor the scoundrel media amen chorus. Vicious Russia bashing disgraces them. More on them below.
US irresponsible journalism is longstanding. It's sensationalist. Misinformation masquerades as truth. 
Readers and viewers are systematically lied to. Everything they most need to know is suppressed. It's worse than ever now.
Frank Luther Mott (1886 - 1964) was an American historian/journalist. In 1941, (before television) he explained how media scoundrels lie for state and corporate interests.
Scare headlines are featured. One lie after another follows. Inflammatory or fake photos and images are used.
So are deceptive interviews. They feature paid-for-media "experts." Retired generals and admirals are enlisted. Right-wing think tank analysts are used. Opposing views are systematically shut out.
Big Lies launch wars. They're weapons of mass deception. They work when repeated ad nauseam. 
William Randolph Hearst hyped the Big Lie. "Remember the Maine." A huge explosion sunk it. An internal coal bunker explosion was responsible. 
It didn't matter. The Spanish-American War followed. Hearst told his Havana illustrator: "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."
Big Lies work this way. They're an American tradition. They scream daily against Russia. They manipulate public opinion. They manufacture consent. 
Washington risks open conflict with Moscow. The worst of all possible outcomes could follow.
The New York Times is the closest thing to an official US ministry of propaganda and misinformation.
It's featured daily. It rages against Russia. On March 15, it headlined "Russia Seizes Gas Plant Near Crimea border, Ukraine Says."
It lied saying "(H)elicopter-borne Russian forces made a provocative incursion just outside the peninsula's regional border to seize a natural gas terminal, while American and European officials prepared sanctions to impose on Moscow as early as Monday."
It claimed a "military operation by at least 80 troops landing on a slender sand bar just across from Crimea's northeast border..." 
It called doing so "part of a broader effort to strengthen control over the peninsula before" Sunday's referendum vote.
It falsely accused Moscow of taking over Crimea. It called its action "defiant." More lies followed.
"Russian forces made a show of added strength (in) Simferopol," it said. It claimed "armed personnel carriers in at least two locations (and) two large troop carriers outside election commission headquarters."
Days earlier, Ukraine's illegitimate putschist prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk lied. He claimed Russian troops and tanks invaded Crimea.
Deceptive video footage showed columns of in-motion Russian tanks. They were nowhere near Crimea. They were well inside Russia. 
They were involved in internal military exercises. Yatsenyuk didn't explain. Nor media scoundrels.
On March 16, RT International headlined "Crimean military thwarts sabotage of gas plant feeding peninsula." 
So-called Russian forces were Crimean self-defense ones. They acted responsibly. Crimean gas was halted near a Strelkovaya distribution center.
Crimea's Cabinet of Ministers said their self-defense forces "encountered a group of at least 20 armed men in camouflage."
They "were planting explosives at the facility in order to knock it out of action completely."
According to Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov, the Autonomous Republic's self-defense forces confronted them.
They called themselves members of Ukraine's Border Troops. They left without explanation. Sabotage was avoided. Gas supply was restored.
The Times lied claiming Russian forces seized a gas plant near Crimea's border. It ignored Kiev's foiled sabotage scheme.
No Russian takeover of Crimea occurred. No added Russian show of force in Simferopol. Don't expect Times editors to explain. Russia bashing take precedence.
Neocon Washington Post editors rage against Russia daily. An irresponsible headlined accused Crimea of "poll rigging" and "intimidation."
Unnamed Tatars were cited claiming voter cards sent to "hundreds of nonexistent people at addresses in the capital and that bus loads of Russian citizens and soldiers were being sent into Crimea with Ukrainian passports to vote for joining Russia."
No evidence whatever suggests it. Plenty suggests otherwise. Crimean authorities went all-out to assure a free, fair, open process. They succeeded admirably. Don't expect WaPo editors to explain.
On March 15, they headlined "US, EU must stay the course on Russian sanctions over Ukraine."
They called Sunday's legitimate referendum "orchestrated." They accused Putin of "aggression."
He may even invade eastern Ukraine, they claimed. They lied about Russian troops seizing a gas plant near Crimea's border.
They want Putin "punish(ed)." They want Russia weakened. They want more than asset freezes and visa denials.
They want "massive damage" on Russia's economy. They want political damage. They want Moscow expelled from G-8 participation.
They want it prevented from joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
They want stiff economic sanctions. They want Russia's banking system targeted. "The most important...Western response will be staying power," they said.
They urge preparations to respond to "more (Putin) aggression." They barely stopped short of endorsing open conflict. Maybe a future editorial will do so.
Wall Street Journal editors bash Putin relentlessly. On March 13, they headlined "Putin Acts, the West Talks."
They called him "a man of action who hasn't seen anything worth stopping his assault on Ukraine."
They lied claiming "Russia invaded Crimea." Putin "hit the gas pedal on his takeover..." They called Crimea's legitimate government "local (Kremlin) toughs."
They "took power by force," they said. They called Crimea's legitimate referendum a "sham" one. They called Putin a "modern czar."
They lied claiming "20,000 Russian soldiers (in Crimea) as observers."
You can't make this stuff up. The truth is polar opposite. Previous articles explained. Putin acts responsibly. He wants Ukraine's crisis resolved diplomatically.
He deplores violence. He didn't invade Crimea. Claims otherwise are false. They're manufactured out of whole cloth. They don't pass the smell test.
It doesn't stop them from proliferating. Journal editors rail irresponsibly. They accused Putin of the "first naked land grab in Europe since World War II."
Nothing of the sort occurred. Nor does Putin intend it in Crimea or anywhere on the continent.
Journal editors ignored Washington-led NATO's war on Yugoslavia. Doing so destroyed a sovereign state. It's air-brushed from history. Aggressive wars masquerade as humanitarian intervention.
Journal editors want Putin challenged aggressively. Make Russia's economy scream, they urge. Target it through "international court" actions.
They support Kiev putschists. They need "a legal strategy to file claims for billions of dollars in state and private property lost to Russia's (nonexistent) occupation."
"...Mr. Putin only understands the language of action." Expect daily Putin bashing to continue. Expect Big Lies drowning out truth. 
Open conflict may follow. WR Hearst was right. Modern day media scoundrels may "furnish war." Mind manipulation works this way.
A Final Comment
On Sunday, Crimean voting went smoothly. Observers reported incredibly high turnout. Enrique Ravello came from Spain. 
He's a Catalonian parliamentarian. On November 9, Catalonia plans its own independence referendum. Madrid wants it prevented. Catalonians plan holding it anyway, he said.
"It looks like there is more freedom in Crimea than in Catalonia," he stressed. "The example of Crimea will inspire the Catalonians who want to freely express their will."
He "visited three polling stations," he said. Voting proceeded "quite normally." No one pressured anyone, he added. 
"People are feeling themselves quite free. They have all the necessary conditions to freely express their will."
Reports about Russian troops on the ground are false, he said. "I didn't see even a single Russian serviceman."
According to Referendum Commission chairman Mikhail Malyshev, all 1,205 polling stations opened normally. 
Chernomorsky district weather problems disrupting power were corrected. Polls opened at 8AM. They stayed open until 8PM. 
Voting went smoothly. Turnout was high. By midday, over 44% of Crimean residents voted. Over 50% in Sevastopol.
After polls closed, the Crimean News Agency estimated over 80% turnout. Exit polls showed 93% of Crimeans favor joining Russia.
Russians comprise about 60% of Crimea's population, Ukrainians around 25% and Tatars 12%.
Results show Crimeans overwhelmingly reject Kiev putschists. Russians, Ukrainians and Tatars agree. Claims otherwise are false.
Mateus Piskorski is a Polish parliamentarian observer. "We are already witnessing quite a high turnout in areas inhabited by Crimean Tatars," he said earlier.
He called their participation "very important." Anti-referendum Tatar leaders urged boycotting the vote.
Ewald Stadler is a European parliamentarian. "I haven't witnessed a single violation during the referendum," he said. 
"I haven't seen anything even resembling pressure. People themselves want to have their say."
Thousands of Crimean self-defense forces and police were deployed. Doing so was done to assure things went smoothly.
Kiev putschist elements showed up in Simferopol. They posed as policemen. They tried disrupting things. 
They were caught. They were detained. Their scheme was foiled. Similar tactics failed in Saky. It's in western Crimea.
Neo-Nazi Right Sector extremists made multiple attempts to enter Crimea. They planned anti-referendum disruptions. 
They shouted Nazi slogans. They urged Crimeans not to vote. Their efforts failed. On Monday, results may be known. A follow-up article will discuss them.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Irresponsible Iran/Syria Bashing

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Mon, 17/03/2014 - 17:37
Irresponsible Iran/Syria Bashing
by Stephen Lendman
Washington and Israel are imperial partners in crime. Regime change is longstanding policy. Iran and Syria are prime targets. 
Campaigns against their governments continue. Media scoundrels hype Big Lies. So do pro-Israeli and right-wing think tanks. They proliferate them ad nauseam. They drown out truth.
Emily Landau is an unapologetic Iran basher. She's an Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) senior research associate. She's a paid propagandist. She lies for power.
INSS is Tel Aviv-based. It's an Israeli front group. Many of its professionals have government and/or IDF backgrounds. 
Israel helps fund it. Doing so assures its interests are promoted. It's point of view is featured. Opposing ones are suppressed.
Haaretz editors gave Landau feature op-ed space. Why they'll have to explain. She took full advantage. She headlined "Is the US determined enough to confront Iran?"
On Monday, interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) talks resume. Iran's program is peaceful. It's legal. It fully complies with NPT provisions. No military component exists.
Landau suggests otherwise. Complying with P5+1 demands isn't enough. It's not "the whole story," she said. 
She wants her version alone explained. She claims "crucial facts" are left out.
She lied saying Iran's nuclear program is "progressing dangerously." She calls it a "roll-forward" on "even more advanced generations of Iranian centrifuges."
It bears repeating. All aspects of Iran's program are legal. Tehran relinquished important legitimate rights. 
It sacrificed much more than it received. It did so in the spirit of cooperation.
Joint Plan of Action terms don't restrict legitimate research and development. All NPT signatories are permitted to conduct them.
When low-enriched uranium is fed into "advanced centrifuges under development...Iran will very quickly be able to enrich to the higher levels needed for nuclear weapons," Landau alleged.
She claims "ambiguous" JPA language lets Tehran game the process. No evidence suggested it. She cites none.
Iran's nuclear program "thrives on ambiguity," she said. It "tries to avoid action that can easily be construed as an outright violation of an agreement (and achieves it) by exploiting ambiguity," she claims.
Throughout multiple rounds of talks, Iran negotiated responsibly. It's nuclear facilities are the world's most intensively monitored.
Nothing suggests anything resembling nuclear weapons development. Nothing indicates Iran wanting wanting it. 
Plenty shows Tehran abhors nuclear weapons. It wants a region free from all weapons of mass destruction.
Israel maintains formidable nuclear, chemical and biological weapons arsenals. It threatens to use them. 
Israeli apologists conveniently ignore what's most important. They irresponsibly bash Iran.
Landau lied claiming Tehran will "avoid (discussing) issues that will seriously undermine its ability to maintain a military nuclear option."
It won't shutter "Fordow and Arak, nor dismantle even one centrifuge." It won't address its "ballistic missile capabilities" and what Landau calls the "Probable Military Dimensions of its nuclear program."
She wants these issues included in a "final comprehensive deal."
She wants Iran relinquishing its legitimate rights. She wants issues unrelated to its nuclear program addressed.
She lied claiming Tehran continues "working hard in the coming months of negotiations…as it did regarding negotiations on the interim deal...to avoid including issues that will seriously undermine its ability to maintain a military nuclear option."
Iran bashing substitutes for verifiable proof. None whatever exists.
"Any comprehensive deal must reveal the military dimensions of (its) program," said Landau. None exist.
She wrongfully accused Tehran of "ly(ing) and "cheat(ing) for decades." Her diatribe concealed her real agenda.
She abhors rapprochement with Iran. She wants Tehran kept weak, isolated and vilified. She wants Israeli interests alone served.
She wants its major regional power eliminated. She wants regime change. Perhaps she wants war to achieve it.
It bears repeating what earlier articles stressed. Iran's nuclear program is red herring cover for replacing its independent government with a pro-Western stooge one.
Landau is part of a vilifying campaign to do so. Her diatribe is thinly veiled. It fools no one paying attention.
The Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) is the Project for the New American Century's (PNAC) current incarnation. 
It promotes war. It abhors peace. It's part of America's neocon lunatic fringe. It promotes Washington's imperial agenda. 
It does so irresponsibly. It does it dangerously. It risks what could become uncontrollable. It risks global war.
Christopher J. Griffin serves as FPI's executive director. Earlier he was former neocon Senator Joe Lieberman's legislative director. Like other FPI members, he's ideologically over-the-top.
So is Evan Moore. He's an FPI policy analyst. Earlier he was a State Department Office of WMD intern. He and Griffin headlined "Make a Clean Break From Failed Syria Policies."
Mass slaughter, destruction and what's called the gravest humanitarian crisis in decades aren't enough.
Over nine million Syrians were internally or externally displaced. An estimated 5.5 million children need shelter, food, healthcare, education and psychological help.
Syria is Obama's war. He bears full responsibility. Proxy death squads kill dozens daily. Over 60% of Syrians are impoverished. Half the population is unemployed.
Landmark cultural and archeological sites were destroyed. So were schools, hospitals, public buildings, private ones, vital infrastructure and much more.
Obama wants pro-Western puppet governance replacing Assad. He maintains overwhelming popularity. He's fighting to save his country.
He's routing death squad gangs responsibly. Others come in to replace them. He's "strengthening his grip on Syria," said Griffin and Moore.
They lied saying he's "win(ning) (his) war against the Syrian people." They ignored Obama's responsibility. They turned a blind eye to Israel's involvement.
They're silent about Britain, France, other EU partners, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey. They irresponsibly blame Assad for their crimes. They ludicrously blame Iran.
They blame Russia for supporting the interests of beleaguered Syrians. They called Syria "the world's largest safe haven for jihadists."
They point fingers the wrong way. They ignored who bears most responsibility for supporting them.
They lied claiming "Assad is not meeting deadlines to dismantle his chemical weapons."
He's disposing them responsibly. He's doing so to prevent terror gangs from stealing them. By mid-April, they may be  entirely removed.
Syria may accomplish its task ahead of the agreed on mid-2014 deadline.
According to Griffin and Moore:
Obama "faces the same choice today that he has attempted to defer or dodge at each critical juncture over the past three years..." 
He "can either lead an effort with our allies to defang Assad and bring about a post-Assad Syria that is free and inclusive for all Syrians - or watch as a bystander while the conflagration grows."
Syria enjoyed peace and stability until Obama unleashed his dogs. He bears full responsibility for over three years of conflict.
Griffin and Moore call his approach "hands-off." They ludicrously said his "good faith" peace efforts were "unrequited."
He went all-out to subvert peace. He wants war continued. He wants it escalated. He wants Syria entirely ravaged and destroyed.
He wants Assad blamed for his crimes. Don't expect Griffin and Moore to explain.
They claimed "Moscow and Tehran see an enfeebled United States as reasons to test new provocations."
They lied claiming Russia invaded Crimea. They lied saying "Tehran shipp(ed) missiles to Gaza militants."
They outrageously accused both countries of "betrayals." That "should free Obama...to pursue a clean break from his failed Syria policies."
They want increased weapons and munitions shipments to terror gangs. They want more death and destruction.
They want close coordination with allies. They want Obama "prepared to strike the Syrian regime and military targets if Assad misses" his deadline for eliminating his entire CW stockpile.
They want direct US intervention. They want bombs away. They want Libyan carnage replicated in Syria.
They lied claiming Syrians "want the Assad regime to fall." False! Polls show over 70% support. 
If an election was held today, he'd win overwhelming. Why Obama and complicit allies won't tolerate one.
They want him replaced. They want him ousted. They want pro-Western allies competing for president and parliamentary positions.
They want Washington choices elected. They want Syrians having no say. They want war continued against their interests. They want their own alone served.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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