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Archive for the ‘Cyber Security’ Category

Caliphal Co-Founder: Hillary Rodham Clinton

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 Some time ago, the Drumpf (aka Donald J. Trump) shocked the world by saying: “No, I meant [Obama]’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton”.[1] In spite of his poor grasp of the English language, Drumpf was clearly accusing his Democratic rival of having been behind the Caliph’s sudden rise to infamy on the world stage. And then, the exiled Julian Assange dropped another time bomb: “Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has said that Wikileaks have obtained information that, when released soon, will guarantee a Hillary Clinton indictment”.[2] On Tuesday, 11 October 2016, then, “Wikileaks released what is, by far, the most devastating leak of the entire campaign. This makes Trump’s dirty talk video looks like an episode of Barney and Friends”.[3]

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In order to make these revelations more readily intelligible, I would now like to quote the above-reproduced e-mail message: “*From*: John Podesta [mailto:john.podesta@gmail.com]” “*To*: H” [aka “H” <hrod17@clintonemail.com> aka Hillary Rodham Clinton], stating that “[a]rmed with proper equipment, and working with U.S. advisors, the >> Peshmerga can attack the ISIL with a coordinated assault supported from the >> air. This effort will come as a surprise to the ISIL, whose leaders >> believe we will always stop with targeted bombing, and weaken them both in >> Iraq and inside of Syria. At the same time we should return to plans to >> provide the FSA, or some group of moderate forces, with equipment that will >> allow them to deal with a weakened ISIL, and stepped up operations against >> the Syrian regime. This entire effort should be done with a low profile, >> avoiding the massive traditional military operations that are at best >> temporary solutions. While this military/para-military operation is moving >> forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence >> assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, >> which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region. This effort will be enhanced by >> the stepped up commitment in the KRG. The Qataris and Saudis will be put >> in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to >> dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious U.S. pressure. By >> the same token, the threat of similar, realistic U.S. operations will serve >> to assist moderate forces in Libya, Lebanon, and even Jordan, where >> insurgents are increasingly fascinated by the ISIL success in Iraq”.[4]

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The U.S. is thus supporting the Peshmerga, the FSA or “or some group of moderate forces” as well as cooperating with the “governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia”, “which are [in turn] providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region” . . . While these sentences might come as a surprise to some, those in the know have known this all along . . . Still, the above-quoted e-mail missive shows the complicity of the Obama White House in full living colour . . . After all, Mister Podesta is at present the “Chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. [who] previously served as Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton and Counselor to President Barack Obama”.[5]

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[1] Tal Kopan,” Donald Trump: I meant that Obama founded ISIS, literally” CNN Politics (12 August 2016). http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/11/politics/donald-trump-hugh-hewitt-obama-founder-isis/.

[2] “Julian Assange: My Next Leak Will Ensure Hillary’s Arrest” Anonymous (s.d.). http://www.anonews.co/hillary-assange/.

[3] “IT’S OVER: Hillary’s ISIS Email Just Leaked & It’s Worse Than Anyone Could Have Imagined…” Friends of Syria (11 Oct 2016). https://friendsofsyria.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/its-over-hillarys-isis-email-just-leaked-its-worse-than-anyone-could-have-imagined/.

[4] “Congrats!” WikiLeaks. https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3774.

[5] “John Podesta” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Podesta.

Panama Papers Fallout: Geneva, Switzerland

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More than a week ago now, the NYT‘s Nick Cumming, Bruce and Eric Liptonjune wrote that an “employee of the law firm at the center of the leaks of the Panama Papers, which have revealed offshore wealth held in secretive accounts worldwide, has been arrested here on charges of data theft, one of the employee’s lawyers, Romain Jordan, said on Wednesday [, 15 June 2016] It was not immediately clear what connection, if any, the person might have had with the Panama Papers, a trove of 11.5 million documents from a Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca. A consortium of news organizations began publishing findings from the documents — some dating to the 1970s — in April [2016], and the disclosures have prompted investigations of politicians and other prominent figures around the world. On Wednesday, the Swiss newspaper Le Temps reported that an information technology employee in the Geneva office of Mossack Fonseca had been arrested on suspicion of stealing confidential information. Computer equipment was seized as part of the inquiry, Le Temps reported. Asked about the report, a spokesman for Claudio Mascotto, the chief prosecutor in Geneva, declined to comment. The spokesman said only that the office had opened a criminal investigation based on a complaint filed by Mossack Fonseca. The employee’s name was not made public, and the lawyer did not give his client’s name or provide any detail about him. Le Temps quoted a lawyer for Mossack Fonseca, Thierry Ulmann, as saying: ‘What we know is that the data were removed from his computer in Geneva and that this I.T. worker had full access privileges'”.[1]

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Thierry Ulmann told Le Temps that “[t]he law firm filed a complaint against the worker for illegal removal of data and for violating the confidentiality of the law firm”.[2] The Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s Bastian Obermayer “said on Wednesday [,15 June 2016] that the man arrested in Geneva was not his source who leaked the documents, but left open the possibility that there might be more than one person behind the leaks. In a phone interview, Mr. Obermayer said [furthermore] of the man arrested in Geneva, ‘We can say that it is not the person that we have been in contact with’, a statement he also made on Twitter”.[3] Obermayer then said that “[t]here is still a theoretical possibility that John Doe is many persons, and one of them might be this person”.

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AFP reports that ‘[t]he spokesman for the Geneva’s prosecutor’s office, Henri Della Casa, told AFP that “a criminal case has been opened . . . following a complaint by Mossack Fonseca.” He declined to comment on whether an arrest had been made. News of the detention was first given by the Swiss newspaper Le Temps, which said it had no information on whether the arrested individual was the so-called “John Doe” who has claimed credit for the unprecedented “Panama Papers” leak. Mossack Fonseca said in April [2016] that the leak was the result of a hack that came from foreign servers’.[4]

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[1] Nick Cumming, Bruce and Eric Liptonjune, “Employee of Panama Papers Law Firm, Mossack Fonseca, Is Arrested in Switzerland” New York Times (15 June 2016). http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/world/europe/employee-of-panama-papers-law-firm-mossack-fonseca-is-arrested-in-switzerland.html.

[2] Nick Cumming, Bruce and Eric Liptonjune, “Employee of Panama Papers Law Firm, Mossack Fonseca”.

[3] Nick Cumming, Bruce and Eric Liptonjune, “Employee of Panama Papers Law Firm, Mossack Fonseca”.

[4] “‘Panama Papers’ firm demands prosecution of suspect in Switzerland” AFP (18 June 2016). https://www.wort.lu/en/business/mossack-fonseca-panama-papers-firm-demands-prosecution-of-suspect-in-switzerland-5764ed8cac730ff4e7f62200.

Orwellian Google: Assange Talks Afshin Rattansi

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‘Afshin Rattansi goes underground on when WikiLeaks met Google. Julian Assange discusses the meeting he had in 2011 with Eric Schmidt, then a top executive and now chairman of Google, and 3 others. He says the meeting was nominally over a book that was being written, which was published and had pre-publication endorsements from the likes of Tony Blair and Henry Kissinger, but the question he wanted to know was why was this book being written? He examines the networks behind Google, and their ‘in-house state department’ Google ideas, and reveals that they are pushing the position that the State should control what is and is not published, to the extent of a state body overseeing whistleblowers that they have to go through before they can release any material. He says that Google is in bed with the state department, citing as an example that the girlfriend of Eric Schmidt contacted him regarding arranging a meeting with Hilary Clinton. He also points out that the argument the US military use against WikiLeaks, that the publication of cables could theoretically cause harm, was undermined when the general charged with investigating any harm caused by WikiLeaks testified under oath at the trial of Chelsea Manning that they couldn’t find a single person that had been harmed. He also talks about the mistakes he believe the Guardian made, and how HBGary tendered $2 million a month to attack WikiLeaks and Glen Greenwald. He talks about some of the more recent publications he has made, such as FinFisher, a cyberweapon which can hijack mobile phones and turn on the microphone, and can infect massive amounts of computers by putting itself in the major gateway of a country or ISP. He warns whilst people may be suspicious of the intentions of the NSA and the like regarding the internet, associations you may perceive to be working the other way are funded by the same players. He also points out that the amount of people with security clearances in the US has more than doubled since 2010, with 6 million people now part of this ‘state within a state’ who are subject to extra laws and requirements that are classified – ‘an extremely alarming phenomenon’. Published on Sep 22, 2014′.

 

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Sunday Surprise: The Panama Papers

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‘Governments across the world began investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful following a leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm. The documents allegedly show how clients avoided tax or laundered money. The documents detailed schemes involving an array of figures from friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin to relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan and as well as the president of Ukraine. Australia, Austria, Brazil, France and Sweden were among countries which said they had begun investigating the allegations. The documents were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 other news organizations. Published on Apr 4, 2016’.

The funny thing is that the name Putin keep on being bandied about (even by the Chinese CCTV), in spite of the fact that the name does not seem to appear in the leaked papers . . . close associates. Meanwhile, David Cameron’s father is directly implicated as well as a host of other politicians from across the world. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) puts it like this: “Files reveal the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials from around the world” . . . “Current and former world leaders in the data include prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the president of Ukraine, and the king of Saudi Arabia” . . . “More than 214,000 offshore entities appear in the leak, connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories” . . . “Major banks have driven the creation of hard-to-trace companies in offshore havens”.[1] Still, the ICIJ also talks about “associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin” . . . . and adding that the “cache of 11.5 million records shows how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to politicians, fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars. These are among the findings of a yearlong investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organizations. The files expose offshore companies controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan. They also include at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran. One of those companies supplied fuel for the aircraft that the Syrian government used to bomb and kill thousands of its own citizens, U.S. authorities have charged”, and adding that the “leaked data covers nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015. It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues. Most of the services the offshore industry provides are legal if used by the law abiding. But the documents show that banks, law firms and other offshore players have often failed to follow legal requirements that they make sure their clients are not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging or political corruption. In some instances, the files show, offshore middlemen have protected themselves and their clients by concealing suspect transactions or manipulating official records”.[2]

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But, the journalist Clark Mindock and David Sirota now also reveal that “U.S. President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for a Bush administration-negotiated free trade agreement that watchdogs warned would only make the situation worse”, “[y]ears before more than a hundred media outlets around the world released stories Sunday exposing a massive network of global tax evasion detailed in the so-called Panama Papers”.[3] These statements would indicate that, not Putin but rather, Obama should be wary of the recent leak . . . Mindock and Sirota explain that “[s]oon after taking office in 2009, Obama and his secretary of state — who is currently the Democratic presidential front-runner — began pushing for the passage of stalled free trade agreements (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that opponents said would make it more difficult to crack down on Panama’s very low income tax rate, banking secrecy laws and history of noncooperation with foreign partners. Even while Obama championed his commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy, he pursued and eventually signed the Panama agreement in 2011. Upon Congress ratifying the pact, Clinton [aka the Hillerator] issued a statement lauding the agreement, saying it and other deals with Colombia and South Korea ‘will make it easier for American companies to sell their products.’ She added: ‘The Obama administration is constantly working to deepen our economic engagement throughout the world, and these agreements are an example of that commitment.’ Critics, however, said the pact would make it easier for rich Americans and corporations to set up offshore corporations and bank accounts and avoid paying many taxes altogether”.[4]

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And then, some of the names appearing in the leaks are Sergi Roldugin, Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg, (apparently close friends of Russia’s President), and the soccer star Lionel Messi and the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar (and brother Agustin Almodovar Caballero) and the Argentina President Mauricio Macri as well as Ivan Zamorano, a retired Chilean and Real Madrid soccer player, but also the actor Jackie Chan and the already-disgraced Michel Platini, the former President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), but also Juan Pedro Damiani, member of the FIFA Ethnics Committee and also an Argentine former soccer player with Manchester United, Gabriel Iván Heinze, in addition to the UK PM’s old man, Ian Cameron, as well as former Spanish King Juan Carlos I’s sister Pilar de Borbon, and a certain Daniel Muñoz, aide to former Argentina presidents Cristina Fernandez de Kichner and Nestor Kichner. And then there are also the names of the Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, and Juan Armando Hinojosa, the “favorite contractor” of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, as well as a certain Néstor Grindetti, Mayor of the Lanús, Argentina (a town with a population of 212,152) and João Lyra, Member of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, and Alfredo Ovalle Rodríguez, intelligence agency associate in Chile as well as Pedro Delgado, former Governor of the Central Bank of Ecuador. In addition to the name Riccardo Francolini, the former chairman of the state-owned Savings Bank in Panama, and César Almeyda, the Director of Peru’s National Intelligence Service. And then there is a former Venezuelan commander-in-chief of the army known as Victor Cruz Weffer, as well as Jesús Villanueva, the former Director of Venezuela’s state-owned oil and gas company PDVSA, as well as Idalécio de Oliveira, potential briber of Brazil’s President of the Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha. Another name is that of Javier Molina Bonilla, a former advisor to Ecuador’s Director of the National Intelligence Secretariat Rommy Vallej, and César Rosenthal, son of former Honduran Vice President Jaime Rosenthal. And the names of two Argentinean businessmen also implicated in the 2015 FIFA corruption case, Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, and yet another professional soccer player, Leonardo Ulloa.[5] But for some strange reason there seem to be no names of big-time American Capitalists and/or philanthropists on the lists, no Gates of Buffet, for one thing. Or, as asked on the website Slashdot, “Where are the US politicians and businessm[e]n?”.

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[1] “Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption” ICIJ (03 April 2016). https://panamapapers.icij.org/20160403-panama-papers-global-overview.html.

[2] “Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption”.

[3] Clark Mindock and David Sirota, “Panama Papers: Obama, Clinton Pushed Trade Deal Amid Warnings It Would Make Money Laundering, Tax Evasion Worse” IBT (04 April 2016). http://www.ibtimes.com/panama-papers-obama-clinton-pushed-trade-deal-amid-warnings-it-would-make-money-2348076.

[4] Clark Mindock and David Sirota, “Panama Papers: Obama, Clinton Pushed Trade Deal”.

[5] “Panama Papers: Partial list of celebrities, government officials named in leak” Fox News Latino (04 April 2016). http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/04/04/panama-papers-partial-list-celebrities-government-officials-named-in-leak/.

[6] “Panama Papers: Data Leak Exposes Massive Official Corruption” Slashdot (03 April 2016). https://politics.slashdot.org/story/16/04/03/2026258/panama-papers-data-leak-exposes-massive-official-corruption.

From the Vault: Barack Obama • September 1995

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’22-CityView presents Barack Obama speaking at the Cambridge Public Library. Recorded on September 20,1995, this originally aired on Channel 37 Cambridge Municipal Television as an episode of the show The Author Series. In this episode Obama discusses his book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, which at the time had just been released a few months previously. Published on Mar 12, 2015′.

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Climate Change is a Hoax: Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms

Some time ago a research article entitled “Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms” was published; its authors include such crazy climate luminaries like James Hansen and Eric Rignot: “Abstract. There is evidence of ice melt, sea level rise to +5–9 m, and extreme storms in the prior interglacial period that was less than 1 °C warmer than today. Human-made climate forcing is stronger and more rapid than paleo forcings, but much can be learned by combining insights from paleoclimate, climate modeling, and on-going observations. We argue that ice sheets in contact with the ocean are vulnerable to non-linear disintegration in response to ocean warming, and we posit that ice sheet mass loss can be approximated by a doubling time up to sea level rise of at least several meters. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield sea level rise of several meters in 50, 100 or 200 years. Paleoclimate data reveal that subsurface ocean warming causes ice shelf melt and ice sheet discharge. Our climate model exposes amplifying feedbacks in the Southern Ocean that slow Antarctic bottom water formation and increase ocean temperature near ice shelf grounding lines, while cooling the surface ocean and increasing sea ice cover and water column stability. Ocean surface cooling, in the North Atlantic as well as the Southern Ocean, increases tropospheric horizontal temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, which drive more powerful storms. We focus attention on the Southern Ocean’s role in affecting atmospheric CO2 amount, which in turn is a tight control knob on global climate. The millennial (500–2000 year) time scale of deep ocean ventilation affects the time scale for natural CO2 change, thus the time scale for paleo global climate, ice sheet and sea level changes. This millennial carbon cycle time scale should not be misinterpreted as the ice sheet time scale for response to a rapid human-made climate forcing. Recent ice sheet melt rates have a doubling time near the lower end of the 10–40 year range. We conclude that 2 °C global warming above the preindustrial level, which would spur more ice shelf melt, is highly dangerous. Earth’s energy imbalance, which must be eliminated to stabilize climate, provides a crucial metric”.[1]

Talking about this new research article in Rolling Stone, Eric Holthaus declares that “[h]istorians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state’s Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide”.[2]  Holthaus then explains that “Hansen’s new study also shows how complicated and unpredictable climate change can be. Even as global ocean temperatures rise to their highest levels in recorded history, some parts of the ocean, near where ice is melting exceptionally fast, are actually cooling, slowing ocean circulation currents and sending weather patterns into a frenzy. Sure enough, a persistently cold patch of ocean is starting to show up just south of Greenland, exactly where previous experimental predictions of a sudden surge of freshwater from melting ice expected it to be. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist, recently said of the unexpectedly sudden Atlantic slowdown, ‘This is yet another example of where observations suggest that climate model predictions may be too conservative when it comes to the pace at which certain aspects of climate change are proceeding’. Since storm systems and jet streams in the United States and Europe partially draw their energy from the difference in ocean temperatures, the implication of one patch of ocean cooling while the rest of the ocean warms is profound. Storms will get stronger, and sea-level rise will accelerate. Scientists like Hansen only expect extreme weather to get worse in the years to come, though Mann said it was still ‘unclear’ whether recent severe winters on the East Coast are connected to the phenomenon”.[3]

Michael Mann is the climate scientist behind the famous hockey stick analogy: “The hockey stick is a famous historical temperature plot that shows for the past 2,000 years global temperatures moved up and down very slightly (hockey shaft) but in the past several decades the temperature has rapidly risen (hockey blade)”, as expressed by the meteorologist Scott Mandia.[4]  In response to Hansen et al.’s new research paper, Professor Mann e-mailed this missive to the Washington Post: the authors’ “case is most compelling when it comes to the matter of West Antarctic ice sheet collapse and the substantial sea level rise that would result, potentially on a timescale as short as a century or two”, adding however that “[t]heir climate model scenario wherein Greenland and Antarctic meltwater caused by warming poles, leads to a near total shutdown of ocean heat transport to higher latitudes, cooling most of the globe (particularly the extratropics), seems rather far-fetched to me”, nevertheless conceding that “[w]hether or not all of the specifics of the study prove to be correct, the authors have initiated an absolutely critical discussion”.[5]  Hansen himself then merely stated that “[y]ou can see a lot of different points in this paper, and it’s going to take a while for the community to sort them out, but actually, the story is clear”, namely that sea level rise is “the big impact of human made climate change”.[6]  And, taking into consideration that about 71 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, and that the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all the earth’s water, Professor Hansen’s words may seem a bit trite but also alarmingly ominous.

[1] J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Heart2, R. Ruedy, M. Kelley, V. Masson-Delmotte, G. Russell, G. Tselioudis, J. Cao, E. Rignot, I. Velicogna, E. Kandiano, K. von Schuckmann, P. Kharecha1, A. N. Legrande, M. Bauer, and K.-W. Lo, “Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming is highly dangerous” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (23 July 2015). http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/15/20059/2015/acpd-15-20059-2015.html.

[2] Eric Holthaus, “The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here”Rolling Stone (05 August 2015). http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-point-of-no-return-climate-change-nightmares-are-already-here-20150805.

[3] Eric Holthaus, “The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here”.

[4] Scott Mandia, “BOOK REVIEW: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” Planet3.0 Beyond Sustainability (10 February 2012). http://planet3.org/2012/02/10/book-review-the-hockey-stick-and-the-climate-wars/.

[5] Chris Mooney, “The world’s most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario for our planet’s future “The Washington Post (20 July 2015). http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/07/20/the-worlds-most-famous-climate-scientist-just-outlined-an-alarming-scenario-for-our-planets-future/.

[6] Chris Mooney, “The world’s most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario for our planet’s future “.

War on Whistleblowers (2015)

‘With President Obama’s commitment to transparency and the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, there was hope that whistleblowers would finally have more protection and encouragement to speak up. But according to the film, times have never been worse for national security whistleblowers. Obama’s administration has attacked more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined (28 May 2015)’.