News Updates from CLG
19 February 2015

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Previous edition: Egypt bombs Islamic State targets in Libya, which Google relegated to the sp*m bin.

Protesters against fast-tracking Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to hold rallies outside US Rep. Richard Neal’s Springfield and Pittsfield offices | 12 Feb 2015 | It’s been almost 10 months since protesters opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, rallied outside Congressman Richard Neal’s Springfield office to voice concerns about the free trade deal that’s been under negotiation for about a decade. Demonstrators are again expected to descend on the Democratic congressman’s office next week, when they’ll ask him to publicly declare opposition to any fast-track legislation for TPP. Such legislation would implement the free trade [corpora-terrorists’] pact with minimal debate and no amendments, with the entire process taking no more than three months before the agreement is up and running.

Global warming causes severe freezing in north east United States

‘Absolute Mess’: Quarter-Million Lose Power as Ice Coats Southeast | 17 Feb 2015 | A band of snow and ice sliced across the South on Monday from Oklahoma to the Carolinas, cutting off power for almost a quarter of a million customers and threatening to paralyze major cities on its way to the Northeast. For once, Boston wasn’t the center of the winter weather. Instead, New England-like snow fell on parts of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia: 17 inches near Coleman, Kentucky; 15 inches in Logan, West Virginia; 14½ inches near Oceana, West Virginia; and 12 inches in Dickenson County, Virginia.

Obama Signs Executive Order Encouraging Companies to Share Cyber Security Information With U.S. Government | 13 Feb 2015 | President Barack Obama asked for more collaboration and the open sharing of information between private-sector companies and the U.S. government at the White House Cybersecurity Summit at Stanford today. While pushing for that collaboration, he admitted it would be a challenge to both keep up with cyber threats and protect American’s right to privacy at the same time. To encourage the sharing of information between the government and private industry in case of cybersecurity threats, Obama signed an Executive Order at the end of his speech. One of those provisions encourages information sharing and analysis organizations (ISAOs), which would serve as points of contact for information sharing between the government and the private sector.

News outlet to release more secrets of US National Security Agency obtained from cybersecurity firm in Mexico –Latest NSA were discovered by non-US cybersecurity firm operating in Mexico – sources | 16 Feb 2015 | A yet-to-be identified news outlet is preparing to release top secrets of the US National Security Agency (NSA), adding to the woes of the intelligence wing which is still suffering from the massive leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Washington Free Beacon citing intelligence officials has reported that the NSA is preparing for further massive data leaks, which are expected to be published by a news outlet in the near future. The agency is taking steps to minimise the possible damage the leaks will cause, the report on 13 February said.

Find Out If U.K. Spied On You Illegally Via NSA’s Prism, Upstream | 16 Feb 2015 | Following a landmark legal ruling earlier this month that, prior to December 2014, the U.K.’s spy agency GCHQ acted illegally by receiving data from the NSA’s surveillance dragnets, privacy advocacy organization Privacy International has set up an online form where people can submit a request to be informed whether they were spied on in the past. This only applies to retrospective snooping by the British — which is what the court in question, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), deemed GCHQ to have improperly engaged in. And it also only applies specifically to the NSA’s Prism surveillance program, where it collects data direct from U.S. Internet companies, and to Upstream, where it taps directly into Internet cables to gather data — and where the data from those programs was passed on to the British.

Poland to Pay $262,000 to Inmates Held, Tortured at Secret C.I.A. Prison | 18 Feb 2015 | Poland will abide by a European court ruling that ordered it to pay a total of 262,000 in reparations to two former inmates of a "black site" prison run by the C.I.A., the minister of foreign affairs said on Wednesday. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in July that Poland had violated the rights of the two terrorism suspects by handing them over to the C.I.A. in 2002 at a secret facility, which is now closed, in northeast Poland. While there, the court said, the men suffered "torture and inhuman or degrading treatment."

Barack Obama on extremism: ‘terrorists are targeting young people through Twitter’ | 19 Feb 2015 | The US president called on Muslims around the world to fight the misconception that groups like the Islamic State speak for them. In his most direct remarks yet about any link between Islam and violent extremist attacks, Barack Obama said on Wednesday that "we will ultimately prevail" against militant threats.

Moderate Syrian rebels aka future ISIS fighters ‘to be given power to call in US air strikes’ | 17 Feb 2015 | The US and Turkey have reached a tentative deal to train and equip moderate Syrian ‘rebels,’ according to officials from both countries, amid reports that commanders will be given authority to call in air strikes. The Pentagon has previously said it was planning to send more than 400 troops, including special forces, to work with opposition forces at sites outside Syria. At the same time The Wall Street Journal reported that some rebels will be equipped with pick-up trucks modified with mounted machine guns as well as radios for calling in US airstrikes…