Category Archives: United States

U.S. deploys 290 paratroopers to Ukraine flashpoint

Dr. Eowyn:

For a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Obama sure behaves like a war president.

The war in Iraq is supposed to have ended, but the Army is deploying 1,250 soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division back to Iraq “to train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces as they battle the Islamic State.” (See DCG’s post: http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2015/03/31/paging-code-pink-troops-from-10th-mountain-division-heading-to-iraq-this-summer/)

Now comes news that, in addition to supplying lethal arms to Ukraine, Obama is deploying 290 paratroopers to train Ukraine’s national guards, which is curious behavior for an administration that insists the U.S. is working with all sides in the Ukraine crisis to reach a peaceful solution and that “ultimately it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide their future.”

That is a lie, as shown by the leaked phone conversation between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt more than a year ago. The conversation shows the Obama administration favors the Ukraine “opposition” and has very clear ideas about what the outcome should be and is striving to achieve these goals. See https://cofda.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/u-s-arms-latvia-against-russia-with-120-armored-units/.

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

The Ukraine flashpoint between the U.S. and Russia is heating up.

More than 10 days after the AFP first reported that the Obama administration will be deploying 290 paratroopers to Ukraine to train its national guard soldiers, the story finally is getting traction, carried by other news media like NewsMax, MoneyMorning, and China Post.

Beginning April 20 in three waves of training, each lasting eight weeks, 290 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Teambased in Italy, will train 900 Ukrainian national guard troops in the town of Yavoriv in the government-controlled western region of Lviv, near the Polish border.

Yavoriv, Ukraine

At the end of the training, the U.S. and Ukraine will conduct joint war games.

U.S. Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said the paratroopers will train six Ukrainian national guard companies “with a focus on internal security and territorial defense, and that “While we continue…

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Facebook ‘illegally’ tracks all visitors to its site even if they do not have accounts

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

Daily Mail: Facebook is ‘illegally’ tracking people’s internet searches across the web, even if they do not have an account with the social network. The technology company is using so-called internet ‘cookies’ – little pieces of tracking data – to collect information about people’s activity online, each time they visit a website which features a Facebook button.

Academics in Belgium claim that Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is breaching EU privacy laws by placing the tracking cookies on computers without the user’s consent to log their browsing data.

Facebook buttons are on more than 13 million ordinary websites, including those run by the government and the National Health Service, and allow users to do things such as ‘like’ a website, or ‘share’ the link on their own Facebook page.

facebook

A new report from the University of Leuven and a Brussels university claims that Facebook is tracking internet users in Europe for two years even if they have expressly opted out. Facebook has more than 1.3 billion users but there are millions more visits from people who are not signed up.

The researchers say Facebook is putting tracking cookies on internet users’ laptops, PCs and phones when the visit facebook.com – so they can target them with online advertising. This includes anyone clicking on a fan page or other pages still available without a login, or even when they visit some of the 13 million pages with a Facebook module on it and do not click on it.

The company first plants a tracking cookie on a user’s computer whenever they visit a website hosted on facebook.com, such as a page for a friend’s birthday party, a fan page for a celebrity, or for a brand or shop. After that, any web page they visit which features a Facebook button will relay information back to the social network.

And the problem only becomes worse if they try to protect their privacy online, by ‘opting out’ of allowing web companies to track them. Under EU privacy law websites must gain consent before using a cookie, with few exceptions, and websites must ask users to accept cookies when they visit for the first time.

Privacy campaigners have today accused Facebook of taking ‘staggering’ liberties by behaving in this way, and suggested that people can only really protecting themselves if they stop using the internet.

Many online companies use cookies, sent over the internet and ‘planted’ on people’s computers, to gather as much information as they can about their users. These little pieces of data send information back to the companies’ servers, allowing them to ‘remember’ the user. Often this can help them do simple things like ‘remembering’ the user, so that they don’t have to log in afresh every time they visit a particular website.

But cookies are also used to gather information about what websites people have visited, at which times of day, so that companies can target them with carefully tailored adverts.  This practice, known as ‘behavioural advertising ‘, means that users who research a particular car online, for example, would then see an advert for the same car when they visit an unrelated website.

Users can theoretically stop companies from tracking their information in this way by clicking an ‘ad choices’ button, featured on many websites. Once they click that button, people are invited to pick and choose which internet companies are allowed to track them, or just ban them altogether.

However, researchers said today that Facebook takes the request to ‘opt out’ of online tracking as a cue to plant an extra cookie on people’s computers instead. The special cookie, called ‘datr’, gives that person’s computer or smartphone a unique tracking number, and allows Facebook to follow its activity for the next two years.

Report author Brendan Van Alsenoy told the Guardian: ‘European legislation is really quite clear on this point. To be legally valid, an individual’s consent towards online behavioural advertising must be opt-in. Facebook cannot rely on users’ inaction – not opting out – to infer consent. As far as non-users are concerned, Facebook really has no legal basis whatsoever to justify its current tracking practices.’

The report’s authors said that those who make the effort to opt out of getting Facebook cookies are given one as a result. Co-author Günes Acar said: ‘If people who are not being tracked by Facebook use the ‘opt out’ mechanism proposed for the EU, Facebook places a long-term, uniquely identifying cookie, which can be used to track them for the next two years.’ ‘If you take measures to protect your privacy from Facebook, you are actually going to be followed more on the internet,’ said Rob Heyman, another of the authors of the report.

Privacy campaigners said today that Facebook seemed to have forgotten that people are private citizens, rather than money-making machines. ‘It is both staggering and disappointing that Facebook feels the need to track non-Facebook users, people who don’t want to interact with the social platform,’ said Renate Samson, chief executive of the lobby group Big Brother Watch.

‘Just because internet companies can do something doesn’t mean that they should do it. This takes it a big step further than what [European Commission Attorney Bernhard] Shima was saying, which is that if you don’t want to be spied on, you should opt out of Facebook. Actually, you need to opt out of the internet.’

Mr. Shima said last week that people should close their Facebook accounts if they want to ensure that US security services are not spying on their information.

Facebook today said that the report was inaccurate and the researchers had persistently ignored their request to meet. A Facebook spokesman said: ‘This report contains factual inaccuracies. The authors have never contacted us, nor sought to clarify any assumptions upon which their report is based. Neither did they invite our comment on the report before making it public. However, we remain willing to engage with them and hope they will be prepared to update their work in due course.’

‘Earlier this year we updated our terms and policies to make them more clear and concise, to reflect new product features and to highlight how we’re expanding people’s control over advertising. We’re confident the updates comply with applicable laws including EU law.

Two peas in a pod...

Two peas in a pod…

Facebook was last month accused of acting in violation of EU privacy laws by the same academics who claimed they had just expanded its old policy, not changed it, which Facebook denied. The group claimed the social media site ‘placed too much burden’ on users, rather than protecting themselves.

‘If a Facebook user opts out, Facebook promises to stop collecting or using browsing information for the purpose of showing ads. Running a number of tests, we confirmed that Facebook still tracks its users when they visit a webpage containing Facebook social plugins, even after the user “opts out”,’ the researchers concluded. Facebook tracks its users across websites even if they do not make use of social plug-ins, and even if they are not logged in.’

In January an Austrian court said it will consider a class action against Facebook by 25,000 people who are claiming their privacy has been breached.

The David v Goliath case is being spearheaded by law student Max Schrems, who wants Mark Zuckerberg’s social media site to compensate him and his supporters with a symbolic £400 each. A hearing in Vienna on April 9 will consider whether the lawsuit is admissible.

Mr. Schrems began his legal challenge last June, claiming that Facebook supplied personal information to the US Prism spy programme. Over the next few months 25,000 people added their names to the lawsuit. The programme is the U.S. secret service’s worldwide monitoring and data mining system and was exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden last year.

Mr. Schrems is claiming damages of £397 (€500) per supporter, meaning that if the case was expanded and the activists won, Facebook would have to pay out a total of £23.8million.

facebook

See also:

DCG

Former Muslim says Islam is the religion of war

Mosab Hassan Yousef

Mosab Hassan Yousef

Mosab Hassan Yousef is a Muslim who converted to Christianity and the bestselling author of Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices.

The son of one of the founding members of Hamas, Yousef worked as a spy for the Israeli intelligence service after beginning to question the religion-ideology in which he had been raised. Yousef’s family publicly disowned him after he wrote Son of Hamas, and he said he lost “everything.”

Yesterday, March 30, 2015, Yousef appeared on The Glenn Beck Program to discuss how he rejected radical Islam and converted to Christianity. As recounted by Erica Ritz in The Blaze, Yousef admitted that Islam’s goal is to conquer the world.

He said “I was brought up in a state of delusion, believing the Islamic theory that once we control the globe and build an Islamic State we can bring humanity, justice and happiness and solve the human condition. Islam is a very dark theory and we need to face this reality.”

Instead of former president George W. Bush’s characterization of Islam as a “religion of peace,” Yousef said “Islam is the religion of war.” He explains:

Islam is at war with everything that is not Muslim. Islam has been in a war against the west and its foundations for the last 1,400 years. This is a fact. The Islamic phenomena that we see in ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Taliban — this is not just a new phenomenon. It has been out there for the last 1,400 years. And I think this is the time for humanity to have the courage to say no to the Islamic theory.

On the appeal of Islam, Yousef explains that “it’s easier for them [Muslims] to listen to the leader who is blaming all the social problems and many other problems on Israel and the United States of America. I was brought up believing in the conspiracy theory that the United States of America and the west, including Israel, is plotting day and night to destroy Islam and the Muslim world, which is a lie. And this is how terrorist organizations kept pushing the average person to fight on their behalf against the United States of America and against Israel.

While Yousef believes that George Bush and Barack Obama have good intentions in the Middle East, he vehemently disagrees with Obama’s insistence that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam. Worse still, Obama’s characterization is neither inconsequential nor harmless because “When the president of the free world misleads the public, this is a big, big problem I believe. ISIS is the real face of Islam. ISIS is the real manifestation of the Islamic ideology, of the Islamic theory.”

And unlike some who believe Islam can undergo a reformation like Christianity, Yousef believes “Islam cannot be reformed” because at its core, it is based in tribal conflict and “the mentality of the 7th century.”

However, Middle Easterners are beginning to recognize the danger of ISIS because of the latter’s brutal treatment of fellow Muslims. Yousef says, “I think today, Middle Easterners see the enemy is within. They see ISIS. They see their brutality. Even the Palestinians in Gaza, they see the brutality of Hamas and their absolute control over their lives. And [for] the first time, they come to realize that this is the Islamic theory in action. This is the Islamic theory manifestation.”

See also:

~Éowyn

Iran is a terror threat to the Middle East, Latin America & USA

Dr. Eowyn:

Did you know that in 2010 in New York City, the heads of the New Black Panthers and Nation of Islam met secretly with then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and forged an alliance against their common enemy — the white race?

P.S. To the bashers and mockers of conspiracy theories, here’s a real conspiracy!

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

Iranian and Western officials are in Lausanne, Switzerland rushing to reach a nuclear framework agreement by an end-of-month deadline, which means today.

It doesn’t help that an Iranian defector, a journalist who was a close media aide to Iran’s president and was present at the nuclear talks, said on television after his defection that the U.S. negotiation team is an advocate (“speaks for”) for Iran at the negotiation table.

And so it is with good reason that on March 29, 2015, in Jerusalem, newly reelected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned against the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. More ominously, Netanyahu said that “Iran is maneuvering from the south to take over the entire Middle East.” Referring to the unrest in Yemen, Netanyahu said that “While [world powers] convene to sign this deal, Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake…

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Let’s have some fun with this Caption Contest!

This is the 96th world-famous FOTM Caption Contest!

Here’s the pic. Sorry for the grainy quality.

It's truthtelling time!

You know the drill:

  • Enter the contest by submitting your caption as a comment on this thread (scroll down until you see the “LEAVE A REPLY” box), not via email or on Facebook.
  • The winner of the Caption Contest will get a gorgeous Award Certificate of Excellence and a year’s free subscription to FOTM! :D
  • FOTM writers will vote for the winner.
  • Any captions proffered by FOTM writers, no matter how brilliant (ha ha), will not be considered. :(

To get the contest going, here’s “my” caption entry, which is actually the hilarious original pic sent to me by FOTM Facebook reader Mark Carroll:

Hussein & Michael

This contest will be closed in a week, at the end of next Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

For the winner of our last Caption Contest, click here.

Seen any pics that you think will make good fodder for our caption contests? Send it to us at:

fellowshipminds@gmail.com

Thank you!

~Éowyn

Weather Underground bomber unmasked — as city schoolteacher

The Weather Underground's work...

The Weather Underground’s work…

NY Post: The “bomb guru” for the terrorist group the Weather Underground never served a day in jail — but he did spend decades teaching in New York City classrooms, a new book reveals.

Ronald Fliegelman built explosives for the Weather Underground, a far-left group that launched a domestic bombing campaign in the 1960s and ’70s, including one explosion inside NYPD headquarters.

Bomb builder and school teacher Fliegelman

Bomb builder and school teacher Fliegelman

But when the group dissolved, Fliegelman managed to safely fade away into the square life. For 25 years, he worked as a public special-education teacher, retiring to a quiet life in Park Slope, Brooklyn, according to “Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence” (Penguin Press).

And he’s unapologetic about his past, according to author Bryan Burrough. “Ron is proud of what he did,” he told The Post.

The Weather Underground first organized in 1969 as a splinter of the Revolutionary Youth Movement within the ’60s protest group Students for a Democratic Society. Their members were mostly white and middle class, advocating the complete overthrow of the US government.

Obama buddy Bill Ayers

Obama buddy Bill Ayers

Under the leadership of co-founder Bill Ayers — who went on to become a University of Illinois professor whose political relationship with then-candidate Barack Obama was scrutinized during the 2008 presidential campaign — the group also pushed for a sexual revolution. Their slogan? “Smash monogamy.”

To achieve their goals, the militant group — popularly known as the Weathermen, derived from the Bob Dylan lyric, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” — embarked on a years-long bombing campaign, targeting places it considered pillars of US imperialism, capitalism, racism and anything contrary to their “ism” of choice: communism.

To protest the US invasion of Laos, for example, they bombed the Capitol Building in 1971. That same year, they targeted the headquarters of the state Department of Corrections in Albany for the deaths of 29 inmates during the Attica prison riot. They even busted LSD guru Dr. Timothy Leary out of a California jail and helped smuggle him to Algeria in 1970 — the same year they issued a “Declaration of a State of War” against the United States.

“We believed Third World countries would rise up and cause crises that would bring down the industrialized West, and we believed it was going to happen tomorrow, or maybe the day after tomorrow,” a former Weatherman tells Burrough.

“The myth, and this is always Bill Ayers’ line, is that Weather never set out to kill people, and it’s not true — we did,” group member Howie Machtinger tells Burrough. “You know, policemen were fair game.”

Despite the tough talk, the group was already in crisis not long after its formation. On March 6, 1970, a bomb exploded prematurely inside a town house at 18 W. 11th St. in Greenwich Village. Three Weathermen were killed — the two building the bomb, Terry Robbins and Diana Oughton, and another, Ted Gold, who was entering the building.

If the Weathermen were going to wage a war, they needed to do so without killing their own members, Burrough notes. “No one knew what to do. I gave a thought to giving up, and I had a gun pulled on me and was told I was not leaving,” recalls Fliegelman.

The son of a Philadelphia doctor, Fliegelman got his start with Students for a Democratic Society, where he gained a reputation for being a technically proficient workaholic, once manually printing hundreds of leaflets when the mechanical printer broke down. “Fliegelman was the one person who knew how to strip down and reassemble guns, motorcycles and radios, who knew how to weld, who could fix almost anything,” writes Burrough.

fliegelman2

“Everyone was afraid of the stuff, for good reason,” Fliegelman says. “What we were dealing with was a group of intellectuals who didn’t know how to do anything with their hands. I did. I wasn’t afraid of it, I knew it could be handled.”

After the Village town-house explosion, Weather Underground founding member Jeff Jones summoned Fliegelman to a meeting in Central Park. “You either know how to build something or you don’t,” Fliegelman says. “[Jones] said, ‘Well, what do we do?’ And I said, ‘This can never happen again. I’ll take care of it.’ And I did.”

From that day on, Fliegelman spent hundreds of hours studying explosives. “When you’re young and you’re confident, you can do anything. So, yeah, you play with it, and try to build something. The timer is the whole thing, right? It’s just electricity going into the blasting cap,” he says.

“Eventually, I came up with a thing where I inserted a lightbulb, and when the bulb lit, the circuit was complete, and we were able to test things that way. If the light came on, it worked. The rest of it is simple.”

Members recognized his contribution. One member described him as possessing “a Santa Claus twinkle in his eye that inspired confidence.” “Without him,” former Weatherman Brian Flanagan tells Burrough, “there would be no Weather Underground.” From then on, Fliegelman says, he built most of the group’s bombs, even jetting off to the San Francisco Bay Area to help members there. “Maybe they did two or three things without me,” he tells Burrough. “But I doubt it.”

Weather Underground also bombed the Pentagon

Weather Underground also bombed the Pentagon

His first attack, in 1970, was the most nerve-racking. And why not? They were going inside NYPD headquarters. “That first one was the scariest,” Fliegelman recalls. “Going into a public building, there was security, and you had to get past it. We had people who did the casings. We needed people who wouldn’t be noticed, so they went in dressed like lawyers. Still, I was scared. Very scared. We knew if we did this, they would come after us.”

But things went smoothly. “It wasn’t like they had metal detectors back then. There was just a guy at the desk, and we walked right past him,” Fliegelman tells Burrough.

The bomb — created in an apartment on quaint Amity Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn — had a simple design: 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a Westclox alarm clock bought at a RadioShack. The device, hidden in a hollowed-out law book, was placed above a ceiling tile in a second-floor bathroom at the Centre Street building, about 125 feet from Commissioner Howard Leary’s office.

At 6:40 p.m. on June 9, a warning was called in, and 17 minutes later, the bomb exploded, destroying two walls and blasting a 20-by-40-foot hole in the floor.

Mayor John Lindsay promised a “relentless” investigation, but that didn’t slow down Fliegelman, who built the bomb that blasted a toilet in the Corrections offices in Albany, Burrough writes.

“Tonight we attacked the head offices of the New York State Department of Corrections,” the group boasted afterwards. “We must continue to make the Rockefellers, Oswalds, Reagans and Nixons pay for their crimes. We only wish we could do more to show the courageous prisoners at Attica, San Quentin and the other 20th-century slave ships that they are not alone in their fight for the right to live.”

Fliegelman’s memory gets hazy when asked about the Capitol bombing of 1971. He says he “believes” he built the device placed in the first-floor men’s room near the Senate, which caused about $300,000 in damage, according to Burrough. And he says he can’t remember whether he built the bomb that went off in a fourth-floor rest room at the Pentagon in 1972 in retaliation for US raids in Hanoi.

Burrough says Ayers, in his memoir, “Fugitive Days,” refers to Fliegelman’s involvement in the Pentagon caper, calling him by the pseudonym “Aaron.”

“Aaron was the backbone of the group — entirely committed and trustworthy, hardworking and dependable . . . A guy we all believed could easily survive in the Australian Outback or the Siberian wilderness for weeks with nothing but a pocket knife . . . The model middle cadre,” Ayers writes.

The group began to dissolve after a peace accord was signed to end the Vietnam War in 1973, and four years later, it was defunct. By then, Fliegelman was living with fellow Weatherman Cathy Wilkerson, a bomb-maker in her own right.

The two had a daughter and split up. Fliegelman, meanwhile, simply returned to his parents’ home in Philadelphia, working at a school for troubled children, abandoning his bomb-making ways as easily as a snake sheds its skin. “For me, it was really seamless,” he tells Burrough. “No one — the FBI, no one — ever came looking for me.”

Fliegelman was among 13 Weathermen indicted on charges of conspiring to commit bombings and assassinations, but the indictment was dropped in 1973 by the Justice Department in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that barred the use of electronic surveillance without a court order. Fliegelman was underground at the time and never arrested, Burrough notes.

There’s a five-year statute of limitations on most federal crimes except for murder, so by the time he began working for the city in 1983, Fliegelman didn’t have to look over his shoulder.

He started as a special-education teacher at PS 54 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and later taught at PS 305, also in Bed-Stuy, according to the Department of Education. He retired in 2006. Now 70 years old, Fliegelman collected $40,035 in pension last year, according to public records.

His life now appears to have taken on all the trappings of the leisure class. On Thursday, he was seen walking a small white dog in idyllic Park Slope before climbing into a Subaru Forester SUV.

Approached by The Post, Fliegelman, who wears a neat ponytail, said: “What happened 40 years ago is different from what’s going on today. War was a big thing. It was on TV every night. You don’t know that with the Iraqi war, the Afghanistan war. There was the draft, as well.”

Asked whether he considered himself a terrorist, he said: “Did you ever notice how many people were hurt by our bombs? People were not hurt by our bombs.”

DCG

Paging Code Pink: Troops from 10th Mountain Division heading to Iraq this summer

Stars and Stripes: Troops from the Army’s 10th Mountain Division will be headed to Iraq later this year, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced Monday.

About 1,250 soldiers from the division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Drum, N.Y., will deploy in August or September to train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces as they battle the Islamic State. The deployment will last nine months, according to Maj. Josh Jacques, a spokesman for the 10th Mountain Division.

Deploying members of the unit will replace soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division.

DCG