Anonymous declares cyber war on Congress over indefinite detention act

Published: 16 December, 2011, 22:28

Hacktivists are continuing their mission to take on politicians causing the collapse of constitutional rights in America, with operatives from the online collective Anonymous keeping up a campaign against the signers of controversial legislation.

As RT reported on Thursday, members of Anonymous began a campaign this week to expose information on the lawmakers who voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, a bill that will allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens, the reinstating of torture methods and the creation of the United States as a battlefield. Despite the implications of the act, the Senate allowed for the bill to leave Capitol Hill on Thursday, leaving only the inking of President Barack Obama’s name as the final step for ratification.

President Obama had earlier insisted on vetoing the bill, but the White House retracted that statement in the days before it cleared Congress. Before the final draft left the Senate yesterday, Sen. Carl Levin asked that a statement from the administration be added to the record in which the president’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said that the president will not be advised to strike down the bill.

On Thursday, Anonymous hacktivists launched a campaign against Senator Robert Portman, a Republican from Ohio. Not only did Portland vote in favor of NDAA FY2012, he received $272,853 from special interest groups that also backed the bill.

Robert J. Portman, we plan to make an example of you,” an Anonymous operative posted to the Internet on Thursday. Along with the warning was personal information pertaining to the senator, including his home address and phone number.

On Friday, Anonymous says that this is just the beginning of the campaign against those that are creating the collapse of the US Constitution. With NDAA FY2012 almost guaranteed to be approved by Obama any moment, a second piece of legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is close to clearing a Congressional committee. Should that bill be brought before the president and signed into law as well, Internet access and content across America and the world will become largely censored.

“We’ve been watching you systematically destroy the rights of your own people, one law at a time. No longer shall we stand by and watch you enslave our fellow citizens,” writes an Anonymous operative in an open letter to Congress posted Friday. “You have continued down this path of treason by creating acts such as the National Defense Authorization Act, Stop Online Piracy Act, Protect IP Act, and more. You’ve tried to conceal the true purpose of these bills, and pass them without the consent of the American people.”

As a result of the recent legislation which has managed to make its way through Congress, Anonymous operatives write on Friday, “We are now here to undo your sordid life’s work in its entirety. No longer will your transgressions go unnoticed. No longer will you enslave the people. The world will know of your violations against the rights of the citizens you were elected to represent.”

In the memo from the hacktivists, they include a copy of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution that have been crushed in-part by the latest congressional meetings. “Every time you violate these amendments we will ensure the people are aware of your actions,” says Anonymous. “You may have previously succeeded in concealing your actions, but that time has come to an end. You were elected by us, and you can be removed by us.”

Anonymous members are using the trending topic #OpAccountable on Twitter to spread the campaign against the congressman involved in the legislation. On Friday, one hacktivist tweeted that the topic is even being used by known members of the Tea Party movement.

“Goes to show this year’s outrage is far stretching,” adds the operative.

via Anonymous declares cyber war on Congress over indefinite detention act — RT.

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Mysterious “white web” found growing on nuclear waste

This is as fascinating as it is unsettling. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site — a nuclear reservation in South Carolina — have identified a strange, cob-web like “growth” (their word, not ours) on the racks of the facility’s spent nuclear fuel assemblies.

According to a report filed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, “the growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterized, but may be biological in nature.”

The Augusta Chronicle reported today that the “white, string-like” material was discovered amidst thousands of the spent fuel assemblies, which are submerged in deep nuclear storage pools within SRS’s L Area Complex. (The image up top is of a similar nuclear storage pool at Italy’s Caorso Nuclear Power Plant, which was decommissioned in 1990.)

The safety board’s report claimed that the initial sample of the growth was too small to characterize, and that “further evaluation still needs to be completed.”

I don’t know what’s more intriguing — the fact that the “growth” resembles a spider web, the fact that it may be biological in nature, or the fact that (even after collecting a sample of the stuff) we still don’t know what it is or where it came from.

I don’t know what’s more intriguing — the fact that the “growth” resembles a spider web, the fact that it may be biological in nature, or the fact that (even after collecting a sample of the stuff) we still don’t know what it is or where it came from.

We’ve already tried getting in touch with both the Savannah River Site as well as the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, but so far have been unable to speak with anybody to ask additional questions about the growth and where it’s occurring specifically.

Could we be dealing with an unknown species of extremophile? It’s possible — the Savannah River Site’s storage facility (The L Area Complex mentioned above) stores spent nuclear waste in pools that are anywhere from 17-30 feet deep, and while that water is enough to protect the site’s workers from radiation, the growth was reportedly found underwater on the submerged fuel assemblies themselves.

Having said that, we’re still not clear on how much, if any, radiation this growth has actually been exposed to. Organisms with a natural resistance to radiation are said to be “radioresistant,” and certainly do exist; Deinococcus radiodurans, for example (pictured here) is not only one of the most naturally radioresistant organisms on Earth, we’ve actually genetically engineered Deinococcus that can be used in the treatment of radioactive waste.

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about this mysterious growth. [The Augusta Chronicle]

Images via wikimedia commons

via Mysterious "white web" found growing on nuclear waste.

Anonymous donors pay off Kmart layaway accounts

By MARGERY A. BECK | AP – Fri, Dec 16, 2011

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children.

He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.

“She told him, ‘No, I’m paying for it,'” recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. “He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn’t, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears.”

At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn’t afford, especially toys and children’s clothes set aside by impoverished parents.

Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.

“She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn’t going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it,” Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to “remember Ben,” an apparent reference to her husband.

Deppe, who said she’s worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.

“It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store,” she said.

Most of the donors have done their giving secretly.

Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance of her layaway account, which held nearly $200 in toys for her 4-year-old son.

“I was speechless,” Bremser said. “It made me believe in Christmas again.”

Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana.

The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store’s system.

The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said.

“It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year,” said Salima Yala, Kmart’s division vice president for layaway.

The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.

Kmart representatives say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity. But it’s happening as the company struggles to compete with chains such as Wal-Mart and Target.

Kmart may be the focus of layaway generosity, Yala said, because it is one of the few large discount stores that has offered layaway year-round for about four decades. Under the program, customers can make purchases but let the store hold onto their merchandise as they pay it off slowly over several weeks.

The sad memories of layaways lost prompted at least one good Samaritan to pay off the accounts of five people at an Omaha Kmart, said Karl Graff, the store’s assistant manager.

“She told me that when she was younger, her mom used to set up things on layaway at Kmart, but they rarely were able to pay them off because they just didn’t have the money for it,” Graff said.

He called a woman who had been helped, “and she broke down in tears on the phone with me. She wasn’t sure she was going to be able to pay off their layaway and was afraid their kids weren’t going to have anything for Christmas.”

“You know, 50 bucks may not sound like a lot, but I tell you what, at the right time, it may as well be a million dollars for some people,” Graff said.

Graff’s store alone has seen about a dozen layaway accounts paid off in the last 10 days, with the donors paying $50 to $250 on each account.

“To be honest, in retail, it’s easy to get cynical about the holidays, because you’re kind of grinding it out when everybody else is having family time,” Graff said. “It’s really encouraging to see this side of Christmas again.”

Lori Stearnes of Omaha also benefited from the generosity of a stranger who paid all but $58 of her $250 layaway bill for toys for her four youngest grandchildren.

Stearnes said she and her husband live paycheck to paycheck, but she plans to use the money she was saving for the toys to help pay for someone else’s layaway.

In Missoula, Mont., a man spent more than $1,200 to pay down the balances of six customers whose layaway orders were about to be returned to a Kmart store’s inventory because of late payments.

Store employees reached one beneficiary on her cellphone at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where her son was being treated for an undisclosed illness.

“She was yelling at the nurses, ‘We’re going to have Christmas after all!'” store manager Josine Murrin said.

A Kmart in Plainfield Township, Mich., called Roberta Carter last week to let her know a man had paid all but 40 cents of her $60 layaway.

Carter, a mother of eight from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she cried upon hearing the news. She and her family have been struggling as she seeks a full-time job.

“My kids will have clothes for Christmas,” she said.

Angie Torres, a stay-at-home mother of four children under the age of 8, was in the Indianapolis Kmart on Tuesday to make a payment on her layaway bill when she learned the woman next to her was paying off her account.

I started to cry. I couldn’t believe it,” said Torres, who doubted she would have been able to pay off the balance. “I was in disbelief. I hugged her and gave her a kiss.”

___

Associated Press writers Michael J. Crumb in Des Moines, Iowa; Matt Volz, in Helena, Mont.; and Jeff Karoub in Detroit contributed to this report.

via Anonymous donors pay off Kmart layaway accounts – Yahoo! News.

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