Archive for February 5th, 2013

05/02/2013

Hacker in Chief: Obama Given Right to Launch ‘Preemptive’ Cyberattacks

Human Wrongs Watch

By Russia Today (RT)*, 4 February – A secret review has concluded that US President Obama has the authority to launch a preemptive cyber attack on any country on the basis that they are considered a ‘cyber threat’ – even if there is no concrete evidence of this threat.

Photo: Barack Obama and Joe Biden on Election Day - November 6th | Credit: Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America

Photo: Barack Obama and Joe Biden on Election Day – November 6th | Credit: Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America

It may not be long before the US conducts crippling attacks on foreign soil with little more than a mouse click, thereby sparing itself the effort of sending its military oversees or declaring war.

The Obama administration is currently drawing up a set of rules about how the US military can defend against or conduct cyberattacks, the New York Times reports.

The Obama administration is also allowing intelligence agencies to declare potential threats. But even if these threats are nothing more than a suspicion without evidence, the military now has the authority to attack foreign nations, regardless of whether or not the US is involved in a conflict with them.

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05/02/2013

Six Trillion Dollars Stolen from Poor Nations

Human Wrongs Watch

By Jaya Ramachandran, IDN-InDepthNews*, Berlin – Crime, corruption, and tax evasion recorded near-historic highs in 2010, with illicit financial outflows costing the developing world $859 billion in 2010, just below the all-time high of $871.3 billion in 2008, the year preceding the global financial crisis. Besides, nearly $6 trillion (6000 000 000 000 000 000 U.S. dollars) were stolen from poor countries in the decade between 2001 and 2010, says a new report and urges world leaders to increase transparency in the international financial system.

Image credit: Lahore Times

Image credit: Lahore Times

“Astronomical sums of dirty money continue to flow out of the developing world and into offshore tax havens and developed country banks,” said Raymond Baker, Director of the Washington-based advocacy organization, Global Financial Integrity (GFI).

“Regardless of the methodology, it’s clear: developing economies are hemorrhaging more and more money at a time when rich and poor nations alike are struggling to spur economic growth. This report should be a wake-up call to world leaders that more must be done to address these harmful outflow,” he adds.

Co-authored by GFI’s lead economist Dr Dev Kar and economist Sarah Freitas, the study, Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2001-2010 points out that as developing countries begin to relax capital controls, the possibility exists that the methodology utilized in previous GFI reports – known as the World Bank Residual Plus Trade Mispricing method – could increasingly pick-up some licit capital flows.

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05/02/2013

Of Reciprocity and Karma

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery*, TRANSCEND – The principle of reciprocity is an ancient one in human history, and it is thus embedded in our emotions. It is an important part of human nature. Reciprocity is the basis of non-market economies, and also the basis of social interactions between family members, friends and colleagues.

**Reclining Buddha in Jade Temple, Shanghai |Photo by:Steve46814 | Wikimedia Commons

**Reclining Buddha in Jade Temple, Shanghai | Photo by:Steve46814 | Wikimedia Commons

In hunter-gatherer societies, it is customary to share food among all the members of the group. “Today I receive food from you, and tomorrow you will receive food from me.”

Similarly, among friends in modern society, no payment is made for hospitality, but it is expected that sooner or later the hospitality will be returned.

According to Wikipedia, “Reciprocity in Social Psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions.

As a social construct, reciprocity means that in response to friendly actions, people are frequently much nicer and much more cooperative than predicted by the self-interest model; conversely, in response to hostile actions they are frequently much nastier and even brutal.”

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05/02/2013

Egypt’s Economy Falters as Clashes Continue

Human Wrongs Watch

Cairo, February 4, 2013 (Shahira Amin for RIA Novosti*) – A protester was shot dead and several others were injured when a rally outside Al Ittihadeya Presidential Palace in Cairo turned violent on Friday. A mob of young men, some of them masked, hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails into the palace grounds, charring trees and starting a small fire. Security forces set up barricades, using water cannon and tear gas to disperse the protesters. The sound of wailing sirens could be heard as ambulances ferried the injured to nearby hospitals.

**Gigi Ibrahim from Cairo, Egypt | Source: The Egyptian Liberal | Wikimedia Commons

**Photo: Gigi Ibrahim from Cairo, Egypt | Source: The Egyptian Liberal | Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, televised scenes of a man who was arrested, stripped naked, dragged and beaten by security forces served as a painful reminder that little had changed in the “new Egypt,” two years after a popular revolt that had been sparked by police brutality.

In a telephone call to the Egyptian Al Hayat independent TV channel, Interior Ministry spokesman Yasser Hawari admitted that a “mistake” had been made. He added that the police officers responsible for the violence would be immediately investigated and brought to justice.

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