Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Drones Will Soon Use Artificial Intelligence to Decide Who to Kill

The US Army recently announced that it is developing the first drones that can spot and target vehicles and people using artificial intelligence (AI). This is a big step forward. Whereas current military drones are still controlled by people, this new technology will decide who to kill with almost no human involvement.

Once complete, these drones will represent the ultimate militarisation of AI and trigger vast legal and ethical implications for wider society. There is a chance that warfare will move from fighting to extermination, losing any semblance of humanity in the process. At the same time, it could widen the sphere of warfare so that the companies, engineers and scientists building AI become valid military targets.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

These Ex-Spies Are Harvesting Facebook Photos For A Massive Facial Recognition Database

When Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, he tried to describe the difference between "surveillance and what we do." "The difference is extremely clear," a nervous-looking Zuckerberg said. "On Facebook, you have control over your information... the information we collect you can choose to have us not collect."

But not a single member of the committee pushed the billionaire CEO about surveillance companies who exploit the data on Facebook for profit. Forbes has uncovered one case that might shock them: over the last five years a secretive surveillance company founded by a former Israeli intelligence officer has been quietly building a massive facial recognition database consisting of faces acquired from the giant social network, YouTube and countless other websites. Privacy activists are suitably alarmed.

That database forms the core of a facial recognition service called Face-Int, now owned by Israeli vendor Verint after it snapped up the product's creator, little-known surveillance company Terrogence, in 2017. Both Verint and Terrogence have long been vendors for the U.S. government, providing bleeding-edge spy tech to the NSA, the U.S. Navy and countless other intelligence and security agencies.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Blowing in the wind: Plutonium at former nuclear weapons site

As crews demolished a shuttered nuclear weapons plant during 2017 in central Washington, specks of plutonium were swept up in high gusts and blown miles across a desert plateau above the Columbia River.

The releases at the Department of Energy cleanup site spewed unknown amounts of plutonium dust into the environment, coated private automobiles with the toxic heavy metal and dispensed lifetime internal radioactive doses to 42 workers.

The contamination events went on for nearly 12 months, getting progressively worse before the project was halted in mid-December. Now, state health and environmental regulators, Energy Department officials and federal safety investigators are trying to figure out what went wrong and who is responsible.

The events at the Hanford Site, near the Tri-Cities area of Richland, Pasco and Kennewick, vividly demonstrate the consequences when a radioactive cleanup project spirals out of control. The mess has dealt the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons environmental management program yet another setback, following more than a decade of engineering miscalculations across the nation.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Court Permits New York Police to Use ‘Neither Confirm nor Deny’ Tactic

For decades, it has been the federal government’s famous non-answer.

“We can neither confirm nor deny …”

It emerged in 1975 with the C.I.A.’s response to questions about the agency’s efforts to recover a sunken Soviet submarine in the Pacific. And in the decades since then, it has been used countless times by the C.I.A., F.B.I. and other federal agencies.

On Thursday, New York State’s highest court told the New York Police Department that it was free to use the phrase in response to inquiries from citizens who want access to their police files to learn if they have been the subject of surveillance.

The ruling, by the state Court of Appeals, carves out a new exemption in the state’s Freedom of Information Law, which has been understood to require local agencies to at least acknowledge the existence of records, even if they were not required to release them.

But the ruling for the first time allows the New York Police Department to avoid even answering whether such files exist, said Christopher T. Dunn, a New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer who filed a brief in the case. “That’s the ultimate act of secrecy,” Mr. Dunn said.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

No Agenda: Thursday (3-29-18) Episode 1020 - Undercount of Color

Lawsuit accusing Saudi Arabia of financing 9/11 attacks can proceed, judge rules

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the Saudi Arabian government’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit accusing them of financing Al Qaeda and sponsoring the 9/11 attacks.
The lawsuit demands Saudi Arabia pays billions of dollars in damages to the families of people who died in the attack that killed more than 3,000 people. The Saudis filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that U.S. courts lack jurisdiction over their alleged actions overseas.

But U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan ruled that the lawsuit may proceed, citing the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which Congress passed by overruling a veto by President Barack Obama, who opposed the law because of the possibility U.S. troops and other government entities could be exposed to lawsuits in other nations.

Mary Jo Kopechne’s Family on Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick: 'The Truth Has Never Really Come Out'

Now, 49 years after Mary Jo’s death, a new movie Chappaquiddick, opening April 6, starring Jason Clarke as the senator, explores what happened that night and in the week that followed, when Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.

Potoski and her son William Nelson, 46, hope the film may prompt someone to come forward with new information— and give them the answers they never got from Senator Kennedy. “The truth has never really come out,” says Nelson. “The story has never been put to rest.”

FISAgate: Deep State Surveillance

Guest: Jerome Corsi

President Trump's Executive Order of December 21st 2017, "Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption"; Eric Schmidt's resignation from Alphabet; the Nunes Memo; the FISA Court Surveillance Warrant on Carter Page; Fusion GPS; Ex-British spy, Christopher Steele's dossier; Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian collusion; Corsi's analysis of Q Anonymous.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Department of Justice Charges FBI Whistleblower Under Espionage Act

A FORMER FBI agent has been charged with two counts related to the unauthorized disclosure of national security information, according to documents filed by the Department of Justice this week, marking the latest instance of the Trump administration’s stated intention to crack down on leaks to the press.

The charges, filed by the DOJ’s National Security Division in Minnesota, accuse Terry J. Albury of one count of “unauthorized disclosure of National Defense information” and one count of “unauthorized retention of National Defense information.” The Star Tribune, a Minneapolis-based newspaper, reported that “Albury is listed as a special agent for the FBI with a phone number corresponding to its Minneapolis division in an online directories.”

The Star Tribune linked the charges revealed Wednesday to a series of stories published by The Intercept regarding a set of secret FBI guidelines. The Intercept’s editor-in-chief, Betsy Reed, provided the following statement:

We understand that there is an Espionage Act prosecution underway against an alleged FBI whistleblower in Minnesota, who is accused of leaking materials relating to the FBI’s use of confidential human sources. News reports have suggested that the prosecution may be linked to stories published by The Intercept. We do not discuss anonymous sources. The use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers seeking to shed light on matters of vital public concern is an outrage, and all journalists have the right under the First Amendment to report these stories.

Ecuador Cuts Off Julian Assange’s Internet Access. Again.

Ecuador’s government said Wednesday that it had suspended internet access for Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who since 2012 has lived in Ecuador’s Embassy in London, out of concern that he was harming its relationships with Britain and other European nations.

The government did not provide specifics, but some speculated that the decision might have been related to the Western nations’ coordinated actions against Russia after the poisoning of a former Russia spy in Britain. In a series of Twitter posts this week, Mr. Assange was critical of Western nations’ expulsions of Russian diplomats.