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September 27 2013

A polluted process : Keystone XL, the State Department and conflicts of interest -

A polluted process: Keystone XL, the State Department and conflicts of interest -

Pipeline proponents are hoping to force President Obama’s hand by short-circuiting the State Department’s ongoing review of the pipeline’s environmental impact. So far the White House is standing firm. A spokesman said: “The president has demonstrated his fidelity to the State Department finishing its review, as part of the transparent and rigorous process that will determine whether the pipeline is in the best interests of the United States. That’s how this merit-based determination will be made.”

But just how “transparent and rigorous” and “merit-based” has the review really been? The truth is that from Day 1, the State Department’s review of the pipeline has been polluted by conflicts of interest, insider lobbying and the heavy hand of Big Oil. A new infographic just released by Friends of the Earth and gives the details: To conduct the crucial evaluation of the pipeline’s environmental impacts, the State Department has repeatedly turned to contractors hand-picked by pipeline builder TransCanada. So it’s no wonder that the Canadian government, TransCanada, Congressional Republicans and the oil industry have all along all lavished praise on the State Department’s reviews of Keystone XL.

August 12 2013

Edward Snowden, meet Jeff Bezos

Edward Snowden, meet Jeff Bezos

“In November 2010, WikiLeaks began using Amazon’s Web hosting service to leak thousands of pages of State Department cables. But the company abruptly terminated the contract within 24 hours of receiving a call from a staff member for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.”


That’s not answering the bell for freedom of information. That’s doing what the surveillance state requires, and relying on a legalism to justify it. This is exactly the kind of behavior Edward Snowden was reacting against when he made his decision to go AWOL and reveal key documents to The Guardian and the Washington Post.

August 04 2013

With Snowden now free in Russia, U.S. has few options | McClatchy

With #Snowden now free in Russia, U.S. has few options | McClatchy

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the United States has a “broad and important relationship with Russia,” which includes cooperation along with “disagreement and conflict.” He noted that Obama had said he didn’t want Snowden to be an issue in the relationship “because of its breadth and importance.”

The message was the same at the State Department, where spokeswoman Marie Harf predicted no big break in relations with Moscow over the Snowden affair, which she painted as separate from Syria, missile defense and other areas on which the U.S. needs Russian cooperation.

Reposted bywikileaks wikileaks

July 08 2013

Historians See Crisis in Declassification | Secrecy NewsSecrecy News

Historians See Crisis in Declassification | Secrecy NewsSecrecy News

Encore un cas où les dirigeants étasuniens ne respectent pas leurs propres lois.

Government programs to declassify national security information are not meeting public expectations, the needs of historians, or even the requirements of law, said the State Department's Historical Advisory Committee (HAC) in a report last week.

A 1991 statute mandated that the State Department publish the documentary record of U.S. foreign policy (known as Foreign Relations of the United States, or FRUS) no later than 30 years after the events described. That requirement is not being fulfilled and, the HAC said, is unlikely to be met any time soon due to “substantial delays in the declassification and publication processes.”

“The HAC is not sanguine about the prospects of the series achieving its goal of publishing the majority of the Foreign Relations volumes 30 years after the event in the near future–or possibly ever.”

The HAC, a panel of distinguished historians chaired by Prof. Richard Immerman of Temple University, presented its assessment in an annual report to the Secretary of State.

The members expressed “great concern” that the National Declassification Center (despite “commendable progress”) will not meet the goal set by President Obama to complete the processing of the backlog of 25 year old records awaiting declassification by the end of December 2013.

But failure to complete the required processing is not the only problem. The HAC also expressed dismay that “ a substantial percentage of those records that have been reviewed by the NDC have not been cleared for release to the public . In the opinion of the HAC, the relatively high number of reviewed documents that remain withheld from researchers and citizens raises fundamental questions about the declassification guidelines.”

#secret #hors-la-loi #que_cachent-ils ?

July 03 2013

The State Department Was So Desperate for 'Likes' It Spent $630K on Facebook Campaigns -…

The State Department Was So Desperate for 'Likes' It Spent $630K on Facebook Campaigns -

A State Department bureau wanted so badly to boost its social-media presence that it dropped $630,000 over two years on advertising campaigns on Facebook, according to a May inspector general's report.
The campaigns “succeeded in increasing the fans of the English Facebook pages from about 100,000 to more than 2 million for each page,” the report found. But State Department employees said the money was wasted on “buying fans.” Here's the relevant section of the report:

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