Macy’s announces it will close 100 stores. Wall Street boosts its stock 16 percent on the news. “Nearly all its stores are cash flow positive,” reads a business report.
“Although this is partly a reaction to being in a tough competitive position within the landscape, they are being more offensive than most, and this is the right move,” one of Wall Street’s vampires said. “It is not only good for Macy’s but also for the industry.”
“Good,” in this case, being shedding the employees.
From Jiefangjun Bao Online, the English website edition of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Liberation Army of China:
16,400 New Entries Added To Military Encyclopedia of China
The compilation of the second version of the Military Encyclopedia of China is drawing to an end with as many as 16,400 new entries added compared to the first version a decade ago, the reporters learnt from the Academy of Military Sciences (AMS) on November 1, 2012. The large number of hot words reflects the leap forward that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has made in its transformation construction.
“Adding such a lot of new entries in only ten years is rarely seen in dictionary compilation,” said Feng Dinghan, head of the Military Encyclopedia Institute of the AMS. “This demonstrates the great strength and fast pace of the transformation construction of the PLA,” he added.
The newly-added entries such as “Military Information Technology”, “Information Grid Technology”, “Satellite Network Technology”, “Accurate Guidance Technology” and “Cloud Computing” in the fascicule on military technology categories are eye-catching. These intensively-added new entries mark the breakthrough and leap forward achieved in various fields of Chinese military technology in the past decade,” said Sun Xiaowen, editor of the fascicule on military technology categories.
“If the new words in the 16,400 entries reflect the speed of the transformation construction of the PLA, while the hot words we are familiar with can be said to reflect the wide range and depth of the transformation.” Feng Dinghan cited several examples, “The frequent appearance of key words such as “joint”, “integration”, “information”, “network” and “combat power generation mode” in the second version of the Military Encyclopedia of China clearly records the footfalls of the PLA during its striding ahead with the transformation progress.
Clearly recording the footfalls during the striding ahead.
It’s no secret that the big mainstream media often rips off journalists at smaller net publications as well as bloggers. However, it’s still startling when you see someone with a sterling reputation caught at it.
The Awl, a Minnesota altie, excoriates Rolling Stone and Taibbi for not attributing much of the detail and color research, which had appeared previously in a variety of smaller venues — including blogs, that went into the Bachmann piece.
The backlash against the lashing out against presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has already begun. Following the Palin blueprint, Bachmann plans on fully leveraging the negative publicity with her base: they see leftist attacks as a point of pride and an indication of strength.
This outpouring of disgust is coming at the expense of the excellent local bloggers in Minnesota who have long tracked and fact-checked Bachmann. Their work will be the uncredited foundation of probably every Bachmann hit piece you’ll read between now and 2012. It’s begun with the self-destructive chewing-out that Matt Taibbi gave Bachmann in Rolling Stone …
The parade of uncredited use of material from Ripple in Stillwater [blog], and several other Minnesota blogs that have dogged Bachmann for years now, is likely to continue as well. Publications such as the Minneapolis City Pages and the Dump Bachmann blog have been the original sources of numerous stories about Bachmann’s career foibles.
For example, in the Rolling Stone piece, Taibbi writes …
The Awl then back-to-backs originals from original Minnesota small media sources and Taibbi’s piece.
They effectively point out the total lack of proper attribution.
Rolling Stone editor Eric Bates is questioned about it and gives a lame excuse not worth repeating.
Last week, Taibbi used his Bachmann source as the basis for his first appearance on Olbermann’s Countdown as a regular contributor.
“I can’t believe he ever came here,” one of the source who was not attributed, , blogger Karl Bremer told the Awl. “Actually, he didn’t: Taibbi confirmed to me that he never set foot in Minnesota for the piece,” it ends.
The curse of Michele Bachmann put the voodoo to Matt Taibbi.
Because a 21-year-old man was caught on a security camera urinating into a city reservoir, Oregon’s biggest city is sending 8 million gallons of treated drinking water down the drain.
Portland officials defended the decision Monday, saying they didn’t want to send city residents water laced, however infinitesimally, with urine.
The 21-year old, a fellow named Josh Seater, has had his emission video viewed many, many more times than his first ultimate fighting cage match, here.
This afford an opportunity to again attack the myth that water supplies are easy targets for terrorism.
As explained in the news story, the problem facing any would-be despoiler is dilution.
Urine, which isn’t particularly noxious, well — Josh just couldn’t supply enough of it. By about six orders of magnitude.
This apparently meant nothing to the local heevahavas who came to the decision, because of public revulsion, that eight million gallons had to be dumped.
During summers of my college years, I managed the Pine Grove community swimming pool, which held half a million gallons and was served by a two story pump-and-filter house, the water purified by drop percolation through granulated coal and sanitized by elemental chlorine injection.
Of course, customers urinated in the pool all the time. The chlorine kept the water free of fecal bacteria. The coal pulled out all the ammonia.
Any large standing body of water, the community pool was no exception, attracts animals.
The critters most frequently fished from the swimming pool were snapping turtles (from a nearby canal) which were always alive. And frogs, which were dead about half the time.
The urine-in-the-water supply near Seattle mentions dead animals being found in the reservoir, as well as regular use by water fowl.
There aren’t any poisons which, in small amounts, can threaten a water supply of this size. Theoretically, botox is poisonous enough, but the toxic protein complex simply wouldn’t survive long enough once dumped, in any quantity, into the water. The US had a cracked plan to do this during the Cold War. Developed in 1953, it was nonsensical.
The only “sort of” controlled experiments using poison to toxify large bodies of water in recent times have been in California.
“Late in 2009, reports of Northern Pike showing up in angler catches began again, indicating another failed attempt [at Lake Davis],” says an entry at Wikipedia. It is hard to know if it is true.
Anyway, even this type of thing is quite beyond the capabilities of any terrorists.
There is one way to contaminate water and most people know it with a little prodding. Oil spills.
Between one and two quarts of motor oil was enough to contaminate the Pine Grove community pool, forcing its closure for about a week, in the mid-Seventies. The lifeguards and janitorial staff had to remove the oil, which had maliciously been put in the pool overnight by a couple of local vandals, by skimming.
Today I point you toward the best history of Julian Assange yet. And it is published outside the routes of celebrity big media where the kings spit and urinate upon the subject, tell him it’s raining, and then proceed to pick the body and skeleton clean of all things for sale as tallow for the soap factory.
It’s not published at the New York Times which would have sniffed due to its lack of pro journalist disdain. Originally, seemingly delivered by the New Zealand Herald and something called The Monthy.
It traces Julian Assange from youth to his contribution to the cypherpunks mailing list and the crumbs he left as “Proff,” all the way to the present. (When Crypt Newsletter received occasional mail from him ca. these years, it was always signed from “Proff.”)
Many observations stand out. I’ll sample two.
Assange had once regarded WikiLeaks as the people’s intelligence agency. In January 2007 he sincerely believed that when WikiLeaks published commentary on the Somalia assassination order document it would be “very closely collaboratively analysed by hundreds of Wikipedia editors” and by “thousands of refugees from the Somali, Ethiopian and Chinese expat communities”. This simply had not happened. Commentary by the people on material produced by their intelligence agency never would. He had once hoped for engaged analysis from the blogosphere. What he now discovered were what he thought of as indifferent narcissists repeating the views of the mainstream media on “the issues de jour” with an additional flourish along the lines of “their pussy cat predicted it all along”. Even the smaller newspapers were hopeless. They relied on press releases, ignorant commentary and theft. They never reported the vitally significant leaks without WikiLeaks intervention. Counterintuitively, only the major newspapers in the world, such as the New York Times or the Guardian, undertook any serious analysis but even they were self-censoring and their reportage dominated by the interests of powerful lobby groups. No one seemed truly interested in the vital material WikiLeaks offered or willing to do their Own work.
It’s a demonstration of the well known state-of-affairs in which the publication of unwelcome but necessary information goes unremarked upon, belittled or blocked because it is not delivered by giant media gatekeepers.
In the United States, for example, such outside-the-boundaries material is just ignored due to a combination of factors including sheer timidity, slave relationships to official sources, slave relationships to corporate ownership and NIH, or not-invented-here, syndrome.
This apparently led Assange to conclude most of the world would just not pay attention. He was right until WikiLeaks published the “Collateral Murder” video, provided by Bradley Manning.
Assange then allied with the New York Times, the Guardian and others to deliver the rest of Manning’s information dump. While this might have resulted in WikiLeaks becoming more powerful and effective, reality just became more tortured.
The resulting fame from delivery through these structures, agencies WikiLeaks was supposed to supersede, has for now coincidentally neutralized the exercise more effectively than any US government campaign against Assange could.
The messenger became the message, writes the article’s author, Robert Manne.
The Guardian, Der Spiegel and The New York Times leveraged and monetized Assange and WikiLeaks to the hilt, hard at squeezing every possible dollar out of the organization and its founder’s story. Even to the hardened cynic the personal contempt revealed by the unraveling process has been startling.
Colleagues of Assange deserted the operation for many reasons, some of them very well-explained by Manne and connected to the founder’s personality and the publicity firestorm and celebrity brought on by Manning’s information dump.
For once, the cliche is true. What happened over the next ten months is stranger than fiction. With the release of the “Collateral Murder” footage, WikiLeaks became instantly famous. At the suggestion of a journalist at the Guardian, Nick Davies, Assange decided to publish the new material he had received from Manning anonymously in association with some of the world’s best newspapers or magazines. Complex and heated negotiations between WikiLeaks and the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel were now conducted. Even though these negotiations are one of the less interesting aspects of this story, already three books from the news outlets involved offering their own perspectives have been published. Assange had long regarded the western media as narcissistic. It is likely that his judgment was now confirmed.
“In early April 2010 hardly anyone had heard of Julian Assange,” reads the piece near its end. “By December he was one of the most famous people on Earth, with very powerful enemies and very passionate friends.”
Instead of the usual exhortations related to “very good blog” and the long lists of links to drugs and goods made overseas, the new spammer scrapes a bit of content from elsewhere off the net — often Wikipedia, it looks like — related to a keyword snagged from the targeted post.
This is then cut and pasted into the spam comment which points back to one of the many standard financial services scam sites.
It is an effort, and not a very good one, to trick the blogger – or spam filter — into passing it as a legitimate part of the discussion.
For example, from yesterday’s post on junk jobs, mentioning the blight of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk:
As long as he can make a little money he says Ill be doing it. The Mechanical Turk has given a 21st-century twist to the centuries-old concepts of cottage industry and piece work. People work in their homes and are paid based on how much they produce instead of an hourly wage using the Internet connections that have become a standard feature in most homes.While some worry that the Turk could become another work-at-home scheme with low pay and no benefits that exploits workers others suggest that if the concept took off it could allow anyone a college student a shut-in the newly unemployed to quickly earn an income. The company also opened up the website to what it calls requesters outside companies looking to use the Turk to find workers. This has huge potential because its really tapping the connectivity thats created by the Internet says Jesse Heitler an entrepreneur in Ann Arbor Mich. whos been developing services to take advantage of the Mechanical Turk and its ready supply of workers sometimes called Turkers .
This is coincidentally funny because as spam for a fraction of a penny, it’s just about the kind of work, in terms of payment and task, Mechanical Turk aims at. The lowest of the low as an engine of innovation and job creation.
Odious corporate spy firms Palantir, HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies continue to reap the whirlwind of messing with the Anonymous hacking group.
Consider for a moment, firms which rely upon alleged expertise in computer security dieing by the same sword.
By way of Digby, Palantir et al were also doing dirty tricks for the US Chamber of Commerce, another famous villain on the national landscape.
“ThinkProgress has learned that a law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of ‘private security’ companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign,” reports the website of TP.
According to one document prepared by Team Themis [Palantir, HBGary Federal and Berico), the campaign included an entrapment project. The proposal called for first creating a “false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information,” to give to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then to subsequently expose the document as a fake to undermine the credibility of the Chamber’s opponents. In addition, the group proposed creating a “fake insider persona” to “generate communications” with Change to Win.
It’s always worthwhile to scan the self-serving websites of companies like Palantir, particularly after it has been exposed as place where the professional product appears to be dirty-tricking and trying enable the throwing of sand into the gears of the lives of others.
“At Palantir, the best idea wins,” reads the Palantir page here. “This means the respect of your peers must be earned; seniority has no place here. We are radically transparent and we despise politicking.”
This is also particularly trenchant now:
We embrace the adage, if you never fail, then you aren’t taking enough risks. We take failure as an opportunity to literally ask “Why?,” until we’ve diagnosed the problem and figured out how to prevent it from happening again. At Palantir, hiding a failure is taboo; here, you get respect for letting the rest of the company know what happened and how to avoid the same pitfall.
Palantir was built by technologists serious about protecting privacy and civil liberties.
“Palantir’s user-friendly analysis program is becoming a major player in the war against terrorism and cyber espionage, stimulus spending accountability (Palantir is literally powering the administration’s efforts to identify fraud in stimulus projects), health care, and even natural disasters like the recent earthquake in Haiti,” reads more self-serving press from a happier time.
The company is fond of touting its terror-network finding software to business publications.
Which explains why the wars in Afghanistan and Yemen are all but over with Osama bin Laden captured in 2009. Oh, wait …
When Menn bit on the story he was, basically, giving publicity to forces of evil.
The unexpected snapback, which came from the hacking group Anonymous — which the story had targeted — resulted in troubles and embarrassments for Palantir, HBGary Federal and Berico, things the three firms were planning for WikiLeaks and others.
One problem WikiLeaks has run afoul of in dealing with dribbling cables out through the media is distortion.
Some of its partners have things other then pure enlightenment in mind when they write stories on newly released cables. Like fame and fortune.
And because WikiLeaks is difficult to search directly onsite, readers are left with either taking what’s printed in the media for granted. Or spending a lot of time sifting through originals, with little guidance available, at WikiLeaks.
DD assumes, perhaps wrongly, that this was never Julian Assange’s intent.
The point of WikiLeaks is, obviously, to shed light. Not to provide more of the same old horse shit.
The publication of a carefully distorted piece, based on WikiLeaks cables, to cast the same type of impression one has been handed by the US government during the war on terror.
A few samples from it and the fallout as other newspapers and blogs rushed to play catch-up:
After sourcing nuclear materials and recruiting rogue scientists to build “dirty” bombs, Al Qaeda is on the brink of producing radioactive weapons, as disclosed by leaked diplomatic documents.
The Vancouver Sun reports that, “a leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a ‘nuclear 9/11.’ Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing ‘workable and efficient’ biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.”
The Daily Telegraph of London obtained thousands of classified American cables originating from Wikileaks that detailed the global struggle to halt the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the world.
According to the Vancouver Sun, “at a Nato meeting in January 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaeda was plotting a program of ‘dirty radioactive IEDS,’ makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against British troops in Afghanistan.” — Dallas blog
In November 2007, the US embassy in London received a telephone call from a British deep-sea salvage merchant based in Sheffield, who claimed that his business associates in the Philippines had found six uranium “bricks” at the site of an underwater wreck. The uranium had formerly belonged the US. The merchant provided nine photographs of the bricks, which he said his associates wanted to sell for a profit. It is not clear whether diplomats agreed to the purchase. — The Telegraph
Airport security staff are being urged to examine “children’s articles” after US intelligence concluded that terrorists were plotting to fill them with explosive chemicals.
The threat was disclosed at a meeting in Spain between Janet Napolitano, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, and European ministers in January 2010.
Ministers said that planes remained the “priority target” for al-Qaeda.
According to the cable, Thomas de Maizière, the German interior minister, described “recent threat information that noted the possibility of terrorists using children’s articles to introduce bombs into airplanes” — The Telegraph, in “WikiLeaks: terrorists plan to use teddy bear bombs to blow up planes”
The obvious purpose of The Telegraph’s release of WikiLeaks material is sensationalism — the creation of the feeling that menace lurks everywhere and that al Qaeda is hatching new plots.
However, the newspaper’s website is a thicket of misleading information and come-ons to cables, promises and links that lead virtually nowhere except to the newspaper’s own material.
For example, after serially reading through WikiLeaks itself, consulting a searchable database tied to keywords for WikiLeaks here, and using the Telegraph’s own portal purported to search its cables, I could find nothing on teddy bear bomb plots.
This does not mean it doesn’t exist. Maybe I couldn’t find what was obvious. And al Qaeda seems to have such a high problem with unreliability, quality of human capital and achievement these days, any feverish dream could be possible, I guess.
However, the result does smell really bad when taken within the context of everything else DD could find.
If one has a sensational story to be pushed around the world there is a responsibility to make it as transparent as possible. Not just the opposite.
And it was my understanding that this was one of the things WikiLeaks was ostensibly about: The presentation of material in such a way that it could not be twisted and distorted by the usual players.
Which is what has transpired with the Telegraph’s use of WikiLeaks.
The Telegraph’s coverage aggressively creates the impression of terror capabilities when there is no actual proof they exist.
It scavenges what is often old news, or just wrong information, in an effort devoted to weaving trivia, random appearances of radioactive scrap — waste of an industrialized world, unexplained events and outright hoaxes on nuclear smuggling into a tapestry that indicates growing danger.
After using Cablesearch and WikiLeaks itself, DD could find very little really interesting postings on nuclear smuggling.
Most of it is rumors and crap, revealing only that the US government is bent on chasing around everything that might have to do with nuclear smuggling worldwide, even rumors and crap.
There is a report from Kabul on alleged materials, “2 bottles of uranium,” seized from a native. Later, it turns out to be gun-cleaning fluid, if I’m reading the thicket of cables correctly.
There is an unreliable hoaxer in Bujumbura in 2007, peddling red mercury and other materials, a scam that’s been around as long as people have been worried about nuclear proliferation.
ALLEGED NUCLEAR SMUGGLING INCIDENT IN BUJUMBURA,
DATE 2007-06-27 16:04:00
ORIGIN Embassy Bujumbura
TEXT S E C R E T BUJUMBURA 000479
The XXXXXXXXXXXX men indicated that there were 14 items found in the concrete bunker. All items have marking and labels indicating that they were produced in Belgium. The subjects were unable to spell the names of some of the items properly and did not know what the other items were, thus some of the spelling of the items are phonetic.
-Uranium, 30kg, powder form. The men did not know if the uranium was weapon-usable fissile material, highly enriched uranium, what the percentage of uranium-235 isotope or other isotopes were, or how its content was determined. -1 booklet describing the Uranium -Brommerck, 2,500g -Red Brommerk, 12kg -Red mercury, 6kg -Cocaine, liquid form
¶4. (C/NF) When asked what they intended to do with the items the subjects stated that they brought a vial of the Brommerck, to Bujumbura from the Congo. They planned on selling it to get enough money to transport the Uranium to Bujumbura upon securing a buyer. They also stated that they had not approached anyone else with this information. Their motive for approaching the American Embassy was that they did not want these items to fall into the wrong hands, specifically mentioning that they did not want Muslims to possess the items. When asked why they did not notify the Congolese authorities the subjects stated that they were afraid that the corrupt Congolese police would steal the items and sell it themselves. When asked why they approached the American Embassy in Bujumbura instead of the embassy or Consulate in the Congo they stated that the embassy in Bujumbura is much closer.
¶5. (C/NF) The ARSO asked the men to provide detailed photos of the items and their labels, especially the Uranium. The subjects agreed to provide photographs and additional information on all items at a later date. They indicated that they could produce a sample of the brommerck, upon request. The ARSO declined, but noticed that the subjects were pushing for a sale of the sample of brommerck,. The ARSO has the contact information of XXXXXXXXXXXX and is currently waiting to receive further photographic information from the subjects.
¶6. (C/NF) ARSO assessment: This case fits the profile of typical scams involving nuclear smuggling originating from the eastern DRC. ARSO considers this case to be a non-credible case of nuclear smuggling.
“Terrorist acquisition of WMD was the next topic of major concern. Although there was a limited assessed capability for al-Qaeda and other groups to acquire WMD, the intent was clearly present, and there were ongoing credible reports of attempts to recruit the needed expertise. A ‘dirty’ RADIOLOGICAL IED program was assessed to be under active consideration by al-Qaeda,” reads a cable here.
It’s one paragraph of very old rumint, trash, from a 2009 cable.
The Telegraph has used it to help resurrect an al Qaeda dirty bomb plot, one that probably doesn’t exist except on the terrorist organization’s wish lists.
These and others, taken together without a newspaper purposely futzing them up for purposes of titillation, don’t describe anything but a random world. One where the US is obsessed with any information about potentials for nuclear terrorism.
In one sense, this is reassuring.
In another, it reveals a criminal underground of unreliable people out to make a quick buck who also know it.
WikiLeaks had to partner with newspapers like the New York Times and the Guardian for maximum impact. As these relationships fell apart, one was made with The Telegraph.
Subsequently, all three newspapers, as well as Der Spiegel, have monetized WikiLeaks.
In the process, particularly with the Telegraph’s recent news stories, the result has been to make things less clear than they were previously, to create smoke where there is no fire.
Palantir Technologies, a private sector spying firm for corporate America, got pantsed, along with others (HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies), today for targeting Anonymous, WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald.
The firm doesn’t realize the unsympathetic bad press about to fall on it for putting Salon’s Greenwald in their confidential slide presentations here.
If anything, the story emphasizes the utterly creepy and rotted nature of such companies and the people they work for, in this case apparently Bank of America. Which is already a much hated American corporate institution.
“Traditional responses will fail; we must employ the best investigative team, currently employed by the most sensitive of national security agencies,” reads one exposed company e-mail, presumably referencing the planning of a private sector-led attack on WikiLeaks.
If anything, it makes one want to cheer Julian Assange’s promise to expose a big US bank. If this still holds true, he should do so with even greater speed and vigor.