Report: Interior Office Meddled With Endangered Species Act

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Political meddling at the Department of Interior into the designation of imperiled species and habitats was more widespread than previously thought, investigators found, according to a lengthy inspector general’s report (PDF) released today.

The report focused on 20 questionable decisions made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, finding that Julie A. MacDonald, former deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, had a hand in at least 13 of them. But the report also found that MacDonald, a senior Bush political appointee, had help from others at the agency who “enabled her behavior” and “aided and abetted” her.

MacDonald resigned under pressure in May 2007 after investigators found that she had tampered with scientific evidence, improperly removed species and habitats from the endangered-species list, and gave internal documents to oil industry lobbyists and property rights groups.

Report on Nuclear Security Urges Prompt Global Action

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When armed men attacked South Africa’s most closely guarded nuclear facility a year ago, they penetrated the detection systems at the perimeter, cut through an electrified fence and broke into the emergency control center, shooting one worker there in the chest before escaping.

The Pelindaba facility holds hundreds of pounds of weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium. Although the attackers last November did not steal any of it, the assault highlights what a new report describes as the increasingly global challenge of keeping nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.

The South African facility was better protected than dozens of other sites around the world that hold bomb-grade nuclear materials. Yet a team of four armed men made it into the control room and out without being caught.

Germany stockpiled hundreds of atomic weapons: report

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Germany stockpiled around 700 atomic bombs which the US had provided to Germany, the online site of the Munich-based weekly Focus news magazine quoted German historian Detlef Bald as saying Sunday.

The Germans could have detonated the nuclear bombs at any time, if they had chosen to do so, according to Bald who cited various archives and documents.

“The atomic bombs were supposed to be ignited in case of a military attack on Germany. They were planned for a nuclear first-strike,” he added

Report: ES&S Voting Machines Can Be Maliciously Calibrated to Favor Specific Candidates

Report: ES&S Voting Machines Can Be Maliciously Calibrated to Favor Specific Candidates

By Kim Zetter EmailNovember 03, 2008 | 3:51:06 PMCategories: E-Voting, Election ’08

Touchscreen voting machines at the center of recent vote-flipping reports can be easily and maliciously recalibrated in the field to favor one candidate in a race, according to a report prepared by computer scientists for the state of Ohio.

Peb_emulation_on_ess_machine At issue are touchscreen machines manufactured by ES&S, 97,000 of which are in use in 20 states, including counties in the crucial swing states of Ohio and Colorado. The process for calibrating the touchscreens allows poll workers or someone else to manipulate specific regions of the screen, so that a touch in one region is registered in another. Someone attempting to rig an election could thus arrange for votes for one candidate to be mapped to the opponent.

“If one candidate has a check box in one place and a different candidate has it in a different place, you can set it up so that if you press on one candidate it gets recorded for another candidate,” said Matt Blaze, a computer scientist at the University of Pennsylvania who led one of three teams that co-wrote the report (.pdf) last year. “But if you press on the other candidate, it gets recorded correctly for that candidate. You can make it work perfectly normally in most of the screen, but have it behave the way you want in small parts of it.”

The report illustrates a shocking vulnerability in a charged race that’s already seen voter-fraud allegations on both sides, and an ugly spate of voter suppression tactics targeting Democratic voters in several states. The behavior described is also eerily similar to problems already observed in early voting on ES&S machines and during a 2006 race in Sarasota, Florida.

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Iran speed boats lethal to US navy: report

Iran speed boats lethal to US navy: report
Thu, 18 Sep 2008 08:10:00 GMT

Iran’s fleet has the capacity to inflict crippling damages on any US vessels in the Persian Gulf, a French newspaper reports.

In an article in Le Figaro published on Wednesday, George Malbrunot has written that Iran has a tactical defense scheme in the Persian Gulf to implement against any possible US attack.

Malbrunot noted that the Islamic Republic has mass-produced a large number of speed boats with rocket launchers and other sophisticated military equipment which are able to strike a heavy blow on any foreign warship if the country comes under attack.

Malbrunot said that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is ready to deploy its submarines and battle boats to intercept vessels at the Straight of Hormuz.

He also referred to IRGC’s Qaem submarine which is capable of launching high-speed torpedoes with significant destructive powers.

The IRGC has recently developed long-range anti-ship missiles that can strike targets within 300 kilometers and its new unmanned reconnaissance planes have caused worries in Washington, Le Figaro reported.

Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, former commander of the IRGC and the current military advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, had earlier declared that the responsibility of Persian Gulf defense had been handed over to the IRGC and it will seal the strategic Straight of Hormuz in case the US launches any attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

Russian units raid Georgian airfields for use in Israeli strike against Iran – report

Russian units raid Georgian airfields for use in Israeli strike against Iran – report

DEBKAfile Special Report

September 5, 2008, 12:58 PM (GMT+02:00)

Israeli long-range unmanned aerial vehicle

Israeli long-range unmanned aerial vehicle

The raids were disclosed by UPI chief editor Arnaud de Borchgrave, who is also on the Washington Times staff, and picked up by the Iranian Fars news agency. The Russian raids of two Georgian airfields, which Tbilisi had allowed Israel to use for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, followed the Georgian offensive against South Ossetia on Aug. 7.

Under the secret agreement with Georgia, the airfields had been earmarked for use by Israeli fighter-bombers taking off to strike Iran in return for training and arms supplies.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that flying from S. Georgia over the Caspian Sea to Iran would sharply trim the distance to be spanned by Israeli fighter-bombers, reducing flying time to 3.5 hours.

Northern Iran and the Tehran region, where most of the nuclear facilities are concentrated, would be within range, with no need to request US permission to pass through Iraq air space.

Russian Special Forces also raided other Israeli facilities in southern Georgia and captured Israeli spy drones, says the report.

Israel was said to have used the two airfields to “conduct recon flights over southern Russia as well as into nearby Iran.” The US intelligence sources quoted by UPI reported that the Russian force also carried home other Israeli military equipment captured at the air bases.

Our sources say that if the Russians got hold of an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle complete with sophisticated electronic reconnaissance equipment, they will have secured some of the IDF’s most secret devices for spying on Iran and Syria.

When this happened before, Russian military engineers quickly dismantled the equipment, studied it and passed the technology on to Tehran and Damascus.

Russia warns Australia against scrapping uranium deal: report

Russia warns Australia against scrapping uranium deal: report

SYDNEY (AFP) — Any decision by Australia to scrap a deal to sell uranium to Russia to protest its action in Georgia would be “politically biased” and economically harmful, Moscow’s envoy to Canberra has reportedly warned.

Fairfax newspapers on Tuesday quoted Ambassador Alexander Blokhin, as issuing the caution a day after Australia’s foreign minister said Canberra was reconsidering whether to ratify a 2007 pact to sell yellowcake to Moscow following its military foray into Georgia.

“We do not see any connection between the events in the Caucasus region and the uranium deal,” Blokhin told Fairfax through an interpreter.

“These are completely separate things. The agreement on uranium is actually an agreement about the use of atomic energy only for peaceful civilian aims.

“If this agreement is not ratified, in that case we could regard that as an obversely political biased decision, which could harm the economic interests of Australia as well,” the ambassador was quoted as saying.

Blokhin could not immediately be reached for comment by AFP on Tuesday.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was then president, and former Australian prime minister John Howard signed the deal a year ago allowing sales of uranium to Moscow for civilian nuclear power use.

The pact, which broadens the scope of uranium sales from a 1990 agreement that remains in force, stipulates that the material not be used to make nuclear weapons or be sold to any other country.

But Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Monday that Australia would take into account Russia’s push into Georgian territory last month as well as Canberra’s ties with Moscow when deciding whether or not to ratify the deal.

“When considering ratification, the government will take into account not just the merits of the agreement but recent and ongoing events in Georgia and the state of Australia’s bilateral relationship with the Russian Federation,” Smith said.

Smith also ordered his ministry to convey the news to Blokhin, whom Smith had summoned last week to urge Moscow to pull its troops in Georgia back to the positions they held before the conflict began on August 8.

He also criticised Russia’s decision to recognise the independence of the Georgian rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as unhelpful.

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First Nations Strategic Bulletin August 2008

First Nations Strategic Bulletin August 2008

August 18, 2008

After a bit of a break, the First Nations Strategic Policy Counsel has resumed its monthly publication, the First Nations Strategic Bulletin.

Issues in this month’s bulletin include: an analysis of “Canada’s War to terminate First Nations” (Harper’s apology in context), the OPP & Mohawks (w/ a transcript of the phone conversation between Shawn Brant & Julian Fantino — something you probably haven’t yet), “the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2010 Olympics,” and “Canada’s Tibetans: Barriere Lake & Other First Nations.”

You can download the bulletin by heading over to the Library and Archives Canada website. Back issues are available there as well.

Here’s a few excerpts from “Canada’s War to terminate First Nations,” by Russel Diabo:

My belief–which is based upon my policy experience and observations over the past three decades of First Nations-Canada relations–is that the federal government (with provincial and municipal support) is attempting to empty out (limit & restrict) the meaning (scope & content) of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in section 35 of Canada’s constitution until it is empty or “spent”.

Instead of being recognized and affirmed as a ‘distinct order of government’ in Canada, under the current federal policy approach First Nations will eventually become ‘ethnic municipalities’.

So it is not a “conventional war” that Canada is waging against First Nations, and it is not covert, although there is a sophisticated propaganda machine in Ottawa to generate Crown public spin against First Nation interests in any dispute. The Crown war is essentially a legal-political-fiscal conflict over the interpretation/assertion/implementation of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights over lands and resources by First Nations.

The Indian Act is still used as the primary statute of control and management over “Indians and lands reserved for Indians”, along with the coercive federal-provincial fiscal arrangements.

So when Prime Minister Harper says “[t]oday, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.” He is only referring to the historic Indian Residential School “system”.


In Canada, it seems First Nations and their organizations, are so dependent on funding from the federal and provincial governments that they seem to be compromised in their ability to protest or resist Crown legislation, policies or practices.

The result over the past few decades, is that more and more First Nations and their organizations, are lining up to compromise their peoples constitutionally protected, but as yet undefined, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights for some program and service dollars.

There are those First Nations who have signed the so-called “modern treaties“. These groups came together in 2003, as the “Land Claims Agreements Coalition” to protest the lack of implementation of their “modern treaties” from 1975 to now. These groups are:

• Grand Council of the Crees (Quebec)
• Council of Yukon First Nations
• Gwich’in Tribal Council
• Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
• Makivik Corporation
• Nisga’a Nation
• Nunatsiavut Government
• Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
• The Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated
• Tlicho Government

There are also those First Nations that have compromised their constitutionally protected rights through self-government agreements like the Sechelt and West Bank Bands in British Columbia. The Union of Ontario Indians have also announced their intention to enter into a final self-government agreement in the next year or two. The results of these self-government agreements are acceptance of Crown delegated jurisdiction and authority NOT recognition of pre-existing First Nations sovereignty.


To beat Canada’s termination-extinguishment policies, fiscal coercion and neo-colonialism, it will take First Nations people on and off-reserve networking and organizing to resist and counter the Crown’s termination efforts. My advice is to do it peacefully and base your political actions on the facts, which should be documented, and if possible seek professional advice.

Remember, Ottawa has a war machine made up of compromised National Aboriginal Organizations [like the assembly of First Nations] and leaders who can support or denounce your political actions depending on their own interests. There are also the federal politicians that can support you or turn against your cause.

The federal public service outlasts the politicians and can conduct a long lasting “ground war”, meaning:
• they can inflict punishment locally by withholding funds,
they can foment dissent between community factions, or between leaders and mem-
• they can put important capital projects from the top of the pile to the bottom of the pile, among other things.

This is often why local Chief and Councils often denounce their own people for doing political actions that anger the federal and/or provincial governments who are the funding agents for First Nations. Those First Nations who are collaborating with the federal termination agenda are well funded and organized. It is the unfunded, impoverished (and likely rural or isolated) First Nations who are the most disorganized and vulnerable. This situation is not new. It has been an
ongoing problem.

The future for First Nations is within our youth. As the adults, we should be providing guidance on how First Nations got into this situation and what are our options for getting out of it. The first step is learning that the overall federal objective is to eliminate the political and legal status of First Nations, in their ongoing war on First Nations collective rights.


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