News PM Punch — ‘Doomsday’ Collection

December 2, 2013

newsmanHaze filled with rain blankets California’s north coast this Monday afternoon — light sprinkle it might appear at first feel, but this type precipitation is way-deceiving — it will soak you to-the-bone in seconds.
And it’s a bit on the chilled-side, too. So the effect/affect is not altogether pleasant.

In the news this PM, an oddity in Iceland — gun violence is so rare, cops finally shot and killed a guy.

A seemingly gun-shy country, Iceland enters a new age (hope not).
From Bloomberg:

Icelandic police shot dead a man who refused to stop firing at them with a shotgun in the capital of Reykjavik earlier today — and then they apologized.
It was the first time that anyone in the country was killed by police gunfire.
“The police regret this incident and wishes to extend its condolences to the man’s family,” said national police chief Haraldur Johannessen.

The country, too, might have an adjusted attitude:

One factor may be that only SWAT teams of the kind called in for in today’s shooting are allowed to carry guns; the rest of the police don’t.
So the average officer — let alone a neighborhood watch character such as Florida’s George Zimmerman — can’t shoot anyone because they aren’t armed.
And one reason they don’t need to be armed is that the homicide rate in Iceland is so low — on average, fewer than 0.3 per 100,000 of population, compared with 5 per 100,000 in the U.S.
In 2009, according to the Global Study on Homicide, just one person was murdered in Iceland.
In an article for the BBC, Andrew Clark, a law student from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, described his decision to write his thesis on Iceland’s low violent crime rate after visiting the country’s capital in 2012.
He found that Icelanders happily pick up strangers in their cars and leave their babies unattended in the street.
To a Londoner, New Yorker or Bostonian, that’s unheard of.
He concluded that the biggest reason for Iceland’s low violent-crime rate was social equality.
Rich and poor go to the same schools, while 1.1 percent say they are upper class, 1.5 percent lower class — and the rest in between.
So there’s less resentment and anger.

Does sound like a better approach, huh?
But the US with enormous rich/poor inequality and more guns and more gun deaths than any civilized country on earth, we’re an old dog that won’t learn new tricks.

Meanwhile, Eddie Snowden-related shit continues to keep the airwaves fresh — today it was announced a UN inquiry will be conducted into US and UK snooping.
From the Guardian:

The UN’s senior counter-terrorism official is to launch an investigation into the surveillance powers of American and British intelligence agencies following Edward Snowden’s revelations that they are using secret programmes to store and analyse billions of emails, phone calls and text messages.
The UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC said his inquiry would also seek to establish whether the British parliament had been misled about the capabilities of Britain’s eavesdropping headquarters, GCHQ, and whether the current system of oversight and scrutiny was strong enough to meet United Nations standards.

“The astonishing suggestion that this sort of responsible journalism can somehow be equated with aiding and abetting terrorism needs to be scotched decisively,” said Emmerson, who has been the UN’s leading voice on counter-terrorism and human rights since 2011.
“It is the role of a free press to hold governments to account, and yet there have even been outrageous suggestions from some Conservative MPs that the Guardian should face a criminal investigation.
It has been disheartening to see some tabloids giving prominence to this nonsense.”

Emmerson was talking about the governmental Orwellian-squeeze being put on UK newspapers, especially the Guardian, which has taken the lead to publishing Snowden’s revelations about the NSA, and the UK’s version, the GCHQ, since last June. Brit authorities destroyed hard drives at the Guardian offices last September, and are becoming more asshole-ugly about those disclosures, which just only revealed they were spying on everybody, all the time.
Tomorrow, the Guardian’s top editor, Alan Rusbridger, will appear before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about the newspaper’s actions — another political bullshit crisis.
From the Washington Post on Saturday: “Some of this behavior is clearly designed to be intimidatory and/or chilling,” Rusbridger said in an e-mail. “Most of it would be unimaginable in America or parts of Europe. So, yes, I think there are disturbing implications for press freedom in the U.K.”

A humongous reason the GCHQ — and the NSA in turn — are gung-ho in going after the Guardian is what Snowden has yet to release — spies are getting freaked out about what’s described as a “doomsday” collection of secreted shit young Eddie has in his possession.
And being readied for bombshell time. All the intelligence honcho-assholes are getting a little fidgety with anticipation trepidation.
Via Business Insider:

The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other sources briefed on the matter said.

One source described the cache of still unpublished material as Snowden’s “insurance policy” against arrest or physical harm.
U.S. officials and other sources said only a small proportion of the classified material Snowden downloaded during stints as a contract systems administrator for NSA has been made public.
Some Obama Administration officials have said privately that Snowden downloaded enough material to fuel two more years of news stories.
“The worst is yet to come,” said one former U.S. official who follows the investigation closely.

Officials believe that the “doomsday” cache is stored and encrypted separately from any material that Snowden has provided to media outlets.

The entire Snowden/NSA story is one for the books — interesting and fascinating with no apparent near-future end.

Also a bit interesting, though, maybe not all that fascinating, is the story of this guy, a convicted sex offender, who was able to steal a big ferry boat in Seattle yesterday and drive it around awhile. Officials said it was a wonder there were no collisions with barge traffic.
Samuel Kenneth McDonough was charged with burglary, reckless endangerment, malicious mischief, and an outstanding warrant for failure to register as a sex offender. New security operations are needed:

“We were very, very fortunate this individual did not run into a state ferry or grain ship out by the grain terminal,” Clipper Vacations CEO Darrell Bryan said Monday.
“It was a hell of a wake-up call.”

The man had taken a laptop computer from the wheelhouse and perfume from an on-board duty-free shop, Bryan said.

McDonough claimed all he wanted to do was get over to this island, what’s the big deal?

Alas, the big deal is that it’s nearly-dark thirty and my prime-time, bed time.

(Illustration found here).

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