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Fatster’s Roundup

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Greetings!

International Developments

? Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai suspended his negotiations with the Taliban until the US “steps out of the negotiations” and the process is “‘completely’ in the hands of Afghans.” Update: Secretary of State John Kerry called Karzai to try and smooth things over.

? Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided that the “‘interest-rates lobby'” is “behind the unprecedented explosion of anger that erupted in recent weeks.”

? 150 doctors “signed an open letter to Barack Obama, urging him to allow Guantanamo detainees access to independent medical examinations and advice.”

? Sen.Dianne Feinstein:  “Stop Force-Feeding Guantanamo Bay Detainees”.

? “Myanmar [Burma] Buddhist leaders examine ways to end sectarian violence.”

? In South Africa, a gay imam is determined to show that “Islam can be reconciled with homosexuality”.

International Finance

? Yesterday the Swiss Parliament refused to allow Swiss banks to pass customer info to the US.  They’re waiting to see what the US will do.

? There is a conflict between US tax laws, imposed extraterritorially, and what the rest of the world does.  BTW, US tax law “extraterrotoriality” applies only to persons and not to corporations.

Money Matters USA

? The US is #27 in the world in terms of median wealth:  $38,786, below Kuwait’s $40,341 and Cyprus’ $40,535.

? The Fed will leave interest rates as they are, and continue its “bond-buying programme despite dissenting voices”, but could end stimulus spending soon.

? Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)’s heard the IRS is agreeable to paying employees bonuses–$70 million in bonuses despite a White House April directive which was written by Danny Werfel who is now acting IRS Commissioner.

? Tech manufacturing jobs “are coming back to America.”  Wages abroad aren’t as attractive to greedy corporations as they used to be and developing new technology can be better protected in the US.

Surveillance Planet

? German Chancellor Angela Merkel thinks “it’s ‘important, necessary’ to debate the issues surrounding the [NSA] surveillance”.

? “FBI director Robert Mueller said his agency used surveillance drones in the U.S ‘in a very, very minimal way, very seldom’ at a Senate hearing”.  DiFi raised the issue, saying drones are “the biggest threat to privacy” in the US (apparently, forgetting about the NSA).

? “How cash secretly rules surveillance policy:  Today’s congressional hearing was a joke.  The reason: Firms like Booz Allen bankroll and own Congress. Here’s how.”

? NSA Director Keith Alexander says Edward Snowden did indeed see the top secret order requiring Verizon “to turn over the metadata about calls”.  He saw it during “training”.

? NSA Director Keith Alexander also told the House Intelligence Committee his agency is looking at leaving phone call records with the telecoms and reviewing them ‘only when there is a suspicion ‘of a foreign terrorist connection.'”  However, it’ll take some time since, “We want to do it right.”

? “Google’s chief legal officer denies company ‘is in cahoots with NSA’.”

? The Associated Press’ CEO said the “Department of Justice has succeeded in muzzling government employees from talking to AP reporters” following Justice’s seizing AP’s phone records a few weeks ago.

? Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has produced talking points, emphasizing “that Congress under her leadership improved the status quo ante”–and also provided “a legal basis for NSA collection programs”.

? Valerie Plame discusses Edward Snowden, says he “Will Be Abused”.

? Greenwald:  “Fisa court oversight: A look inside a secret and empty process”.

CNN took a close look at “42 plots to conduct attacks within” the US since 2001, and concluded: “traditional law enforcement methods have overwhelmingly played the most significant role in foiling” them. [cont’d.]

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.