Republican debate: ‘I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,’ says Donald Trump

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Trump booed, Rubio roughed up by rivals Awkward start to debate: candidates fail to respond to name call WASHINGTON: Seven years after the United States banned waterboarding as an interrogation tactic, two Republican presidential candidates say they would revive its use. The Sydney Morning Herald – Ginger Gibson * One of them, billionaire businessman Donald Trump, would go even further. “I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” Trump said during Saturday night’s ... Read More »

UN panel urges UK and Sweden to end Julian Assange’s ‘deprivation of liberty’

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UN working group on arbitrary detention says WikiLeaks founder should be offered compensation for being confined to Ecuadorian embassy The Guardian – Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent @owenbowcott The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by the UK and Sweden since he was arrested in London in December 2010, according to aUnited Nations report. As anticipated, the finding by the Geneva-based UN working group on arbitrary detention criticises legal action against Assange by both European governments and blames them for ... Read More »

Assange says he will accept arrest if UN panel rules against him

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, and accept arrest on Feb. 5 if a UN panel investigating his case rules against him, he said in a statement. Hurriyet – SYDNEY – Reuters Assange, 44, is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape in 2010 which the Australian denies. “Should the U.N. announce tomorrow that I have lost my case against the United ... Read More »

United Nations panel could rule in favour of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

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London ends 24-hour guards at Ecuador embassy Assange could soon be questioned after Ecuador-Sweden deal London: The outcome of a United Nations investigation into the case of Julian Assange is set to be revealed and could rule that the WikiLeaks founder is being detained illegally. The Sydney Morning Herald Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three years and has been granted political asylum by the Ecuador government. The Australian is wanted for questioning in ... Read More »

Geopolitics of cyber defense and NATO’s Incirlik Airbase

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Cyberspace has a significant difference from the geographies of land, sea, and air; it was created not by nature, but is an artificial construct that has components which might be used for geopolitical interest. The Journal of Turkish Weekly (JTW) – Mehmet Bildik Cyberspace is composed of hundreds of thousands of interconnected computers, servers, routers and fiber optic cables that allow critical infrastructure to function. The National Cyber Security Framework Manual issued by NATO in 2012 states that “cyberspace is ... Read More »

NASA Unveils ‘Planetary Defense’ Programme To Save Earth From Armageddon-Type Asteroids

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Keep calm everyone, NASA has a plan to save us from any Armageddon-esque asteroids that might be heading towards Earth. The Huffington Post UK  |  By Nitya Rajan The space agency has unveiled a programme dubbed, Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). Its main aim will be to detect and monitor near-earth objects and coordinate an “intergovernmental” effort to “any potential impact threats.” According to NASA, more than 13,500 near-Earth objects (NEOs) have been detected and 95 percent of them have ... Read More »

GOPer: Subject refugees to lie detector tests

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A House lawmaker wants to require Syrian and Iraqi refugees to complete lie detector tests before being allowed to enter the country.   The Hill – By Jordain Carney     Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) has introduced legislation that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to certify that the refugee has passed a polygraph as part of the screening process for applicants.       Calvert suggested that the current ... Read More »

Mosul: Turkey’s Fulda Gap

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“Our national borders pass through Antioch and span east-ward, containing Mosul, Sulaymaniya, Kirkuk. We say: This, is our national border.” — Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (December 28, 1919 – National Liberation Speech) War On The Rocks – H. Akın Ünver The “National Pact” (Misak-ı Milli) is a six-article manifesto of Turkey’s War of National Liberation, accepted by the defeated, but defiant, Ottoman Parliament in January 1920, outlining the bare minimum of conditions Turkish nationalists agreed upon to end World War I. It ... Read More »

Secrets of North Korea’s Red Star computer operating system revealed

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Seoul: North Korea’s homegrown computer operating system mirrors its political one, according to two German researchers who have delved into the code: a go-it-alone approach, a high degree of paranoia and invasive snooping on users. Their research, the deepest yet into the secretive state’s Red Star operating system, illustrates the challenges Pyongyang faces in trying to embrace the benefits of computing and the internet while keeping a tight grip on ideas and culture. The researchers, Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess of ... Read More »

Spencer Zifcak. Co-opting the Judiciary: Counter-Terrorism Laws at Work

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Regrettably, one matter that has drifted to the sidelines in Australian debates about the operation of counter-terrorism laws is that these laws consistently marginalise and undermine the role of the judiciary. Posted by John Menadue | Pearls and Irritations  Judicial power, and hence the rule of law, is being incrementally distorted and diminished. Counter-terrorism law continues to burst from the executive and the legislature.   Just a few months ago, three enormous tranches of such law swept through the parliament. These were ... Read More »

Australia’s bungling spies dialled wrong numbers and bugged wrong phones

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Australia’s secret intelligence organisations made a string of bungles during the past financial year, according to the annual report by their watchdog. The Age – Natalie O’Brien, Investigative Reporter In one case, the domestic spy agency ASIO bugged the wrong phone, while other officers risked penalties for impersonating Commonwealth officers when trying to give themselves so-called “light-cover” stories to hide their real jobs. ASIO agents handed out the wrong phone number to the targets of search warrants executed on numerous ... Read More »

New Polish authorities raid NATO spy centre, fire staff

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Poland’s new conservative government on Dec. 18 continued a controversial drive to replace senior officials with its own appointees when it raided a NATO counter-espionage centre in Warsaw and fired its senior staff. Hurriyet – WARSAW – Agence France-Presse Colonel Krzysztof Dusza, the sacked head of the Counter Intelligence Centre of Excellence, said defence ministry officials and military police raided the joint Polish-Slovak centre in the early hours of Dec. 18. “I told them their presence here was illegal. When they ... Read More »

‘UK officers watched my torture,’ says British resident held in Guantanamo Bay

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Last British resident held at Guantanamo Bay is freed Pentagon transfers five Guantanamo detainees Inside Guantanamo Bay with the ‘forever prisoners’ What we learned from Guantanamo Bay London: The last British resident to be held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp has told a newspaper that British security officers witnessed him being tortured by American soldiers at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Shaker Aamer, a Saudi national married to a Briton, was suspected by US authorities of being an Islamist militant associated ... Read More »

Mutated conventions: how secrecy in the name of security harms democracy

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Secrecy is anathema to democracy. Without transparency, government may contravene its peoples’ values and violate human rights with impunity. The Conversation Author: Jude McCulloch, Professor of Criminology, Monash University Disclosure statement: Jude McCulloch does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above. Governments rarely declare themselves corrupt, confess to lies, or admit to participating or being ... Read More »

UN called for asylum seeker Sayed Abdellatif’s release six months ago

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Sayed Abdellatif Exclusive: ‘Arbitrary’ detention of Egyptian asylum seeker, his wife and six children is ‘clearly disproportionate’, UN human rights council tells Australia The Guardian – Ben Doherty and Sarah Malik Sayed Abdellatif, an Egyptian asylum seeker falsely condemned as a terrorist by political leaders, should be immediately released from his “arbitrary” and “disproportionate” detention, which breaches international law, the UN has told Australia. Abdellatif, his wife and six children have been held in detention for more than three years ... Read More »

ISIL oil smuggling to Turkey insignificant: US official

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The amount of oil smuggled into Turkey from areas of Syria controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is economically insignificant, the United States said on Dec. 4, after Moscow accused Ankara of profiting from the trade. Hurriyet – WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse U.S. officials said coalition air operations have seriously degraded the jihadists’ oil infrastructure, but that in any case most of the crude pumped from its wells was absorbed inside Syria’s war zone economy. ... Read More »