Daily Archives: March 25, 2014

Breaking news – Ukrainian ultra-right militant leader shot dead – reports

Aleksandr Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bilyi, (сenter)

Aleksandr Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bilyi, (сenter)

DETAILS TO FOLLOW.

Notorious Ukrainian right-wing militant leader Aleksandr Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bilyi, has reportedly been shot dead in western Ukraine, where he coordinated actions of local groups belonging to the nationalist Right Sector movement.

According to local media and the Facebook account of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament), he was killed by unknown gunmen out in the street.

Some suggest the shooting followed a fight in a nearby cafe.

Aleksandr Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bilyi,

Aleksandr Muzychko,

DETAILS TO FOLLOW.

Muzychko himself earlier said he believed he could be killed. In a video address recently posted on YouTube he said that the leadership of “the Prosecutor General’s office and the Interior Ministry of Ukraine made a decision to either eliminate me or to capture me and hand me over to Russia, to then blame it all on the Russian intelligence.”

The man was known for his radicalism, attacks on local officials during the coup in Kiev, and refusing to give up arms after the new authorities were imposed.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW.

Russia’s Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Aleksandr Muzychko in early March. The Ukrainian was accused of torturing and murdering at least 20 captured Russian soldiers as he fought alongside Chechen militants.

Under the name Sashko Bilyi, he took an active part in the First Chechen War in 1994-1995, when he headed a group of Ukrainian nationalists fighting against Russian troops.

Aleksandr Muzychko came under the spotlight of the Russian authorities after a series of scandals in Ukraine, when the radical nationalist leader went on with the rampage against regional authorities, lashing out at a local prosecutor and threatening local authorities with an AK-47.

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Russian Senator seeks to strip President Obama of Nobel over double standards

A Russian senator has asked the Nobel Committee to annul the award given to the US President last year claiming Barack Obama’s double standard policy has helped develop the political crisis in Ukraine.

“The double standard policy is incompatible with the title of Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I think the Nobel committee must take an objective look at the situation and consider the possibility of taking the title from Barack Obama,” Senator Lyudmila Bokova (Saratov Region) was quoted as saying by the Izvestia daily.

“The latest statements and activities of Mr. Obama are clearly aimed against the non-violent solution of the Ukrainian crisis. Besides, the US President is pursuing the objective of world domination and the interests of the Ukrainian people is the last thing to be taken into consideration by him,” the Russian politician said.

Bokova added she had thoroughly studied Barack Obama’s Nobel speech and everything in it was right, but the US President’s own actions now contradict his position.

The United States has stopped being a guarantor of international security and is only forcefully imposing its own interests and values upon other nations, the senator added.

“The double standards policy has become America’s main modus operandi on the international arena. The whole world has repeatedly witnessed that applying double standards is not only inadmissible but also dangerous as it leads to uncontrolled outbursts of violence and Human Rights violations,” Bokova said.

On Friday last week Russia’s Upper House passed a motion condemning the sanctions the United States and the European Union imposed on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis and the accession of the Crimean Republic into the Russian Federation. Earlier last week State Duma deputies suggested Western nations imposed personal sanctions on all of them, expressing solidarity with blacklisted colleagues.

In November last year two Russian NGOs, Officers of Russia and Soldiers’ Mothers, asked the Nobel Committee to evaluate the information according to which Barack Obama had noted he was ‘very good at killing people’ while discussing drone warfare with his close aides. Russian activists claimed that these words were hardly compatible with the title of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. They also added that the Peace Prize bestowed on Obama was a sort of ‘advance’ given in return for promises and press statements made during the previous election campaign, but in reality the deeds of the US leader contradict his earlier rhetoric and this means that the ‘advance’ can be rescinded.

President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prise in 2009, shortly after taking office in 2008.

 

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Obama admin to propose end to NSA bulk phone data collection – report

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The Obama administration will introduce legislation to overhaul the National Security Agency’s bulk telephony metadata collection program, senior administration officials told The New York Times.

The proposal would end the agency’s bulk collection program, a systematic dragnet that gathers the telephone records of millions of Americans each day. The Times’ anonymous sources said the records would, rather, stay in the possession of phone companies, which would be required to retain the information for a legally required period of 18 months. The NSA currently holds data for up to five years.

In addition, the legislation, should Congress approve, would allow the NSA to access specific records only through a newly established court order.

The new court order, crafted by Department of Justice and intelligence officials, would require phone companies to provide the US government records “in a technologically compatible data format, including making available, on a continuing basis, data about any new calls placed or received after the order is received,” the Times reported.

The revamped orders would also allow the government to look for related records for callers up to two “hops” away from the number that is being surveilled.

The current authorization for the bulk records collection – Section 215 of the Patriot Act – expires on Friday. The administration’s proposal calls on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, which approves US surveillance requests, to renew the program as is for at least another 90-day cycle, administration officials said, then the administration’s proposal would later institute new practices.

Section 215 allows the NSA to analyze associations between callers, if possible. The collection program was launched after the attacks of September 11, 2001 by the George W. Bush administration as a secret spying program that eventually received more solid legal footing from the FISA court in 2006. The Justice Department claimed that Section 215 could be interpreted as allowing the NSA to collect domestic call information that is “relevant” to an investigation.

The administration’s proposal would only pertain to telephony data and would not impact other forms of bulk collection under Section 215.

Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the Times that the administration’s new proposal was a “sensible outcome, given that the 215 program likely exceeded current legal authority and has not proved to be effective.”

President Obama announced in January a desire to reform the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic phone data, though without significantly weakening the agency’s surveillance capabilities. Thus, critics of bulk collection are hesitant to celebrate the proposal just yet.

“We have many questions about the details, but we agree with the administration that the N.S.A.’s bulk collection of call records should end,” said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“As we’ve argued since the program was disclosed, the government can track suspected terrorists without placing millions of people under permanent surveillance.”

The administration’s proposal would join various bills in Congress that range from applying minor tweaks to the metadata program to those that would end it completely.

One bill crafted by leaders of the House Intelligence Committee calls for the court to issue an “overarching order authorizing the program” while allowing the NSA to ask for specific phone records from companies without judicial approval.

Critics of the Intelligence Committee’s bill say it is a Trojan horse for the NSA to actually expand its surveillance scope.

The bill is “not a ‘fix’ of the phone dragnet at all, except insofar as NSA appears to be bidding to use it to do all the things they want to do with domestic dragnets but haven’t been able to do legally. Rather, it appears to be an attempt to outsource to telecoms some of the things the NSA hasn’t been able to do legally since 2009,” wrote independent journalist Marcy Wheeler.

The administration’s plan, meanwhile, would also come with a provision that defines more clearly whether Section 215 could, in the future, be legitimately interpreted as sanctioning bulk data collection. Section 215 is set to expire next year unless Congress reauthorizes it.

The bulk telephony data collection program was first disclosed in June via classified documents supplied to news outlets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The US government calls the program a useful tool in its anti-terrorism operations, yet has offered few specifics on how the program has helped thwart any attacks.

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