Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Holder Justice Department Says It Will Help Enforce Islamic Sharia Law





 


So Obama is the only muslim in the world to convert to Christianity with out being beheaded? What's wrong with that scenario?



http://citizensmilitiaofms.com/2013/05/31/holder-justice-department-says-it-will-help-enforce-islamic-sharia-law/

Holder Justice Department Says It Will Help Enforce Islamic Sharia Law

 

Since 911

 

via: DirectorBlue.blogspot.com

DOJ: Social Media Posts Trashing Muslims May Violate Civil Rights

In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights.

[Ed.: Apparently the DOJ needs to read the Bill of Rights again and, in particular, the First Amendment.]

The move comes a few years after the administration became the first in history to dispatch a U.S. Attorney General to personally reassure Muslims that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is dedicated to protecting them. In the unprecedented event, Attorney General Eric Holder assured a San Francisco-based organization (Muslim Advocates) that urges members not to cooperate in federal terrorism investigations that the "us versus them" environment created by the U.S. government, law enforcement agents and fellow citizens is unacceptable and inconsistent with what America is all about.

…Evidently that was a precursor of sorts for an upcoming Tennessee event ("Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society") that will feature the region's top DOJ official [Bill Killian], who serves as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and an FBI representative. The goal is to increase awareness and understanding that American Muslims are not the terrorists some have made them out to be in social media and other circles, according to a local newspaper report. The June 4 powwow is sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee.

The area's top federal prosecutor, Bill Killian, will address a topic that most Americans are likely unfamiliar with, even those well versed on the Constitution; that federal civil rights laws can actually be violated by those who post inflammatory documents aimed at Muslims on social media. "This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion," Killian says in the local news story. "This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are."

…Over the years the Obama administration has embarked on a fervent crusade to befriend Muslims by creating a variety of outreach programs at a number of key federal agencies. For instance the nation's Homeland Security covertly met with a group of extremist Arab, Muslim and Sikh organizations to discuss national security matters and the State Department sent a controversial, anti-America Imam (Feisal Abdul Rauf) to the Middle East to foster greater understanding and outreach among Muslim majority communities.

The Obama Administration has also hired a special Homeland Security adviser (Mohamed Elibiary) who openly supports a radical Islamist theologian and renowned jihadist ideologue and a special Islam envoy that condemns U.S. prosecutions of terrorists as "politically motivated persecutions" and has close ties to radical extreme isislamofascism

t groups.

The president has even ordered the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to shift its mission from space exploration to Muslim diplomacy and the government started a special service that delivers halal meals, prepared according to Islamic law, to home-bound seniors in Detroit. [And who] could forget Hillary Clinton's special order allowing the reentry of two radical Islamic academics whose terrorist ties have long banned them from the U.S.?
In other words, criticizing Islamofascism — the political strain of Islam — could very well be criminalized by the Obama-Holder administration. The Islamist term for this crime is "Blasphemy", which may include one or more of the following crimes:

- speaking ill of Allah
- finding fault with Muhammad
- speculating about how Muhammad would behave if he were alive
- drawing a picture to represent Muhammad
- whistling during prayers
- flouting the rules prescribed for Ramadan
- reciting Muslim prayers in a language other than Arabic
- consuming alcohol
- gambling
- being alone with persons of the opposite sex who are not blood relatives
- finding amusement in Islamic customs
- publishing an unofficial translation of the Qur'an
- practicing yoga
- watching a film or listening to music
- wearing make-up on television
- insulting religious scholarship
- wearing the clothing of Jews or of Zoroastrians
- participating in non-Islamic religious festivals
- converting from Islam to Christianity

This crime is, in many cases, punishable by death. In other words, you are no longer living in America.

Source: http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2013/05/its-come-to-this-holder-justice.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

 

 



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Obama U.S. State Dept. Pedophilia Cover-Up:





Volubrjotr posted: " June 11, 2013 Bill Donohue comments on news reports that the U.S. State Department is involved in a cover-up of pedophilia: At a Senate Finance Committee today, it was reported that the State Department found in 2010 that the majority of domes"
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New post on Political Vel Craft

Obama U.S. State Dept. Pedophilia Cover-Up:

by Volubrjotr

June 11, 2013 Bill Donohue comments on news reports that the U.S. State Department is involved in a cover-up of pedophilia: At a Senate Finance Committee today, it was reported that the State Department found in 2010 that the majority of domestic victims enslaved in the sex industry are runaway and homeless youth. It did […]

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Conservatives Are Squirming


Conservatives Are Squirming
by David Franke
June 12, 2013

David Franke [send him mail] was one of the founders of the conservative movement in the 1950s and 1960s. He is the author of a dozen books, including Safe Places, The Torture Doctor, and America's Right Turn.

There's a lot of squirming going on among conservative "neocons." (I take a broad view and count as a neocon everyone who supports the American Empire and the Patriot Act, and who supported the Iraq War from the beginning -- in other words, almost all "conservatives" today.)

They are caught between a rock and a hard place:

(1) If they support Edward Snowden, they are supporting someone who has exposed the true nature of the surveillance state that they have built and supported from day 1. Also, how can they support Snowden and not Wikileaks and Bradley Manning? Oh, they can spin distinctions, but it's awkward.

(2) On the other hand, if they do not support Snowden, it's final proof that they don't give a damn about Americans' civil liberties, the Constitution, and limited government. In other words, they have junked the reasons for being a conservative in the first place. (Granted, we already knew their true colors, but this brings it out in the open once and for all.)

This is no problem for Karl Rove, to no surprise. At least give him credit for being an open fascist, and defending the government's surveillance programs, which, after all, he (as Bush's brain) helped to start. If there were any justice, he and Dick Cheney, along with Bush and Obama, would be expelled to Guantanamo, all sharing a cell together, with no air conditioning, and forced to sleep naked like Manning ("for their own protection, so they don't commit suicide").

What I am most concerned about is the lack of public outcry from Congress. Who besides Senators Rand Paul and Ron Wyden have you heard from? I fear that most Americans will continue to sleep-walk, more concerned about their reality shows; the press will become concerned for a while, then turn back to inane topics of greater public interest in the pursuit of "ratings"; and Congress will continue to stalemate, with Republicans blaming Democrats and Democrats blaming Republicans for "excesses," not the core powers government has assumed.

The result: There will be no serious repeal of the Patriot Act and the government's powers. And if that happens, we are indeed Germany post-1933 (when the Enabling Act gave Hitler the power to make laws without consulting the Reichstag).

German Courts Begin Ruling According to Sharia Law

Disgusting.



 

German Courts Begin Ruling According to Sharia Law

Tue, June 11, 2013

German Muslims pray at a pro-Islam demonstration in Cologne where radical preacher Pierre Vogel spoke. (Photo: © Reuters)

German Muslims pray at a pro-Islam demonstration in Cologne where radical preacher Pierre Vogel spoke. (Photo: © Reuters)

An appeals court in northwestern Germany has decided a contentious divorce case based on Islamic Sharia law.

The ruling is the latest in a growing number of court cases in Germany in which judges refer or defer to Islamic law because either the plaintiffs or the defendants are Muslim.

Critics say the cases -- especially those in which German law has taken a back seat to Sharia law -- reflect a dangerous encroachment of Islamic law into the German legal system.

In the latest case, the Appeals Court [Oberlandesgericht] in Hamm, a city in German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, ruled on June 2 that whoever marries according to Islamic law in a Muslim country and later seeks a divorce in Germany must abide by the original terms set forth by Sharia law.

The case involved a 23-year-old Iranian woman who married a 31-year-old Iranian man in Iran according Sharia law in 2009. The couple later immigrated to the German city of Essen, gave birth to a daughter but then separated in 2011. A lower court in Essen granted the woman a divorce in November 2012 and the husband appealed the decision.

The appeals court in Hamm sided with the woman because, according to the German judge, the couple agreed to abide by the principles of Sharia law at the time they were married and thus the case should be decided according to Islamic law, regardless of whether the couple was now living in Germany.

The court ruled that the woman was legally entitled to talaq, an Islamic means of obtaining a divorce by reciting the phrase "I divorce you" three times. The court also said the husband had violated the original terms of the Islamic marriage agreement by failing to provide financial support for his wife for a period of six months.

The ruling has opened another round in a long-running debate about the role of Islam in German jurisprudence.

Supporters of the decision say it is fair and consistent with Article 14 of the Introductory Statute to the Civil Code [Einführungsgesetz zum Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuche, EGBGB], which states that the law governing a marriage generally should be the law of the country in which the marriage took place. But critics of the ruling say it should not be the role of German courts to enforce the arcane provisions of Sharia law.

In a similar but separate case, the appeals court in Hamm announced in April 2013 that it had overturned a previous decision by a lower court in Dortmund and ordered a 33-year-old Iranian man to pay his estranged 29-year-old wife (also an Iranian) the equivalent of 800 gold coins as part of a divorce settlement.

That case revolved around a couple who were married in Iran in 2001, immigrated to Dortmund and later obtained German citizenship. The couple separated in 2007.

As part of the marriage agreement, the husband had promised to pay his wife a dower of 800 Bahar Azadi gold coins payable upon demand. The court ordered the husband to pay €213,000 ($280,000), the current equivalent value of the coins, in compliance with a marriage contract he signed in accordance with Islamic law, despite the fact that both individuals are now German citizens.

In February 2011, Germany's Federal Labor Court [Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG] in Erfurt ruled that a Muslim supermarket employee was legally entitled to refuse to handle bottles of alcohol on religious grounds.

The case in question involved a 47-year-old Turkish man who had been employed at a supermarket in the northern German city of Kiel since 1994. The problem had begun in 2003, when the man was assigned to work in the beverages department, but refused to stock the store's shelves with alcoholic drinks, based on the argument that Islam forbade him from any contact with alcohol. In response, the store manager reassigned the employee to stock milk bottles in the dairy department, but the man complained that he was not accustomed to working in a refrigerated environment, so he frequently called in sick. The man was eventually sent back to work in the beverages department, where the conflict over the alcohol bottles intensified. The employee was eventually fired in March 2008.

In a decision that generated considerable controversy in Germany, the court ruled that the supermarket was unjust in firing the employee and was obliged to offer him an alternative position that did not conflict with his religious beliefs. The court rejected the argument set forth by lawyers representing the supermarket that the man should have been able to do his job without a fuss because Sharia law forbids only the drinking of alcohol, not the touching of bottles. The court noted that the employee had become increasingly religious and that any direct or indirect contact with alcohol would have been offensive to him.

In another case, in March 2007, Christa Datz-Winter, a judge at the Family Court [Familiengericht] in Frankfurt,cited the Koran in a divorce case involving a 26-year-old German woman of Moroccan origin who had been repeatedly beaten by her Moroccan husband. Although police had ordered the man to stay away from his estranged wife, he continued to abuse her and at one point threatened to kill her.

While not denying the facts, Judge Datz-Winter nevertheless refused to grant the divorce, arguing that a woman who marries a Muslim man should know what she is getting herself into. In her ruling, the judge quoted Sura 4, Verse 34 of the Koran, which justifies "both the husband's right to use corporal punishment against a disobedient wife and the establishment of the husband's superiority over the wife."

The ruling generated so much outrage that the judge was removed from the case.

In Kassel, the Federal Social Court [Bundessozialgericht] approved the claim of a second wife for half of her dead Moroccan husband's pension payments, which the man's first wife wanted to keep all to herself. Although polygamy is illegal in Germany, the judge ruled that according to Sharia law, the two wives must share the pension.

In Koblenz, the Administrative Appeals Court [Oberverwaltungsgericht] granted the second wife of an Iraqi living in Germany the right to remain permanently in the country. The court ruled that after five years of a polygamous marriage in Germany, it would be unfair to expect her to return to Iraq.

In Düsseldorf, an Appeals Court [Oberlandesgericht] ordered a Turkish man to repay a €30,000 ($40,000) dowry to his former daughter-in-law, in accordance with Sharia law. In Cologne, a judge ruled that an Iranian man must repay his ex-wife's dowry of 600 gold coins, based on the Sharia law followed in Iran.

In Munich, a Local Court [Amtsgericht] decided that a German widow was entitled to only one-quarter of the estate left by her deceased husband, who was born in Iran. The other three-quarters of the inheritance should go to relatives in Tehran. The court ruled that because the man did not have German citizenship, Sharia law applies to the division of the inheritance.

A growing number of German legal experts are now sounding the alarm about the rise of a parallel Islamic justice system in Germany.

In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, Mathias Rohe, an expert in Sharia law at the University of Erlangen, discusses the rapid spread of Islamic law in German jurisprudence. He describes Sharia law as a "highly complex system of Islamic religious and legal norms" and warns, "We must be careful that we are not creating parallel [legal] structures."

According to Joachim Wagner, a German legal expert and former investigative journalist for ARD German public television, Sharia law in Germany is far more widespread than most people realize, and that this "parallel justice system" is undermining the rule of law in Germany.

In a 236-page book entitled "Judges Without Law: Islamic Parallel Justice Endangers Our Constitutional State," Wagner writes that, in addition to the use of Sharia law in German courts, Muslims are also establishing a shadow justice system, with Islamic Sharia courts now operating in all major German cities.

Wagner writes that Muslim jurists often seek to settle criminal cases out of court -- without the involvement of German prosecutors or lawyers -- before law enforcement can bring the cases to a German court.

Settlements reached by the Muslim mediators often mean perpetrators are able to avoid long prison sentences, while victims receive compensation in line with Sharia law. When cases are tried in German courts, victims are often pressured to make sure their testimony in court does not lead to a conviction, according to Wagner.

In an interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, Wagner describes the Islamic shadow justice system in Germany as "very foreign, and for a German lawyer, completely incomprehensible at first. It follows its own rules. The Islamic arbitrators aren't interested in evidence when they deliver a judgment, and unlike in German criminal law, the question of who is at fault doesn't play much of a role."

When Der Spiegel asked why it was wrong for two parties to try to resolve a dispute among themselves, Wagner replied: "The problem starts when the arbitrators force the justice system out of the picture, especially in the case of criminal offenses. At that point they undermine the state monopoly on violence. Islamic conflict resolution in particular, as I've experienced it, is often achieved through violence and threats. It's often a dictate of power on the part of the stronger family."

Wagner says political correctness is contributing to the rise of Sharia law in Germany. In an interview with the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Wager states: "I've studied 16 recent crime cases here with Muslim citizens involved. In almost 90% of all cases where Muslim arbitrators were commissioned, the perpetrators were acquitted by German courts or the cases were dropped altogether by the prosecution for lack of evidence. It's an alarming finding, and it throws a bad light on our courts."

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House says get the IRS out of Obamacare


House says get the IRS out of Obamacare
By Nick Sorrentino on June 9, 2013

If Obamacare must exist, this is the absolute minimum which should happen. The IRS managing the healthcare of the United States is a recipe for disaster, both on the broadest and most individual levels.

(From Big Government)
And here's another thing we shouldn't be doing: handing over the administration of Obamacare to these folks. I mean, think about it. A deeply unpopular law being administered by an agency that's so betrayed the public trust. Even the IRS' staunchest defenders in this scandal describe their actions as a case of 'horrible customer service.' That's the best they can say: 'Horrible customer service.' And now they're going to be put in charge of a new trillion-dollar program? One that will give them access to all sorts of sensitive, deeply personal information? Well, that's just what the Administration and congressional Democrats are about to let happen.

Click here for the article.

http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/2013/06/house-says-get-the-irs-out-of-obamacare/

Government Spying: Should We Be Shocked?


Government Spying: Should We Be Shocked?
by Ron Paul

Last week we saw dramatic new evidence of illegal government surveillance of our telephone calls, and of the National Security Agency's deep penetration into American companies such as Facebook and Microsoft to spy on us. The media seemed shocked.

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance – not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.

We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the "crisis" has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?

It was all a build-up of the government's capacity to monitor us.

The reaction of some in Congress and the Administration to last week's leak was predictable. Knee-jerk defenders of the police state such as Senator Lindsey Graham declared that he was "glad" the government was collecting Verizon phone records – including his own – because the government needs to know what the enemy is up to. Those who take an oath to defend the Constitution from its enemies both foreign and domestic should worry about such statements.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers tells us of the tremendous benefits of this Big Brother-like program. He promises us that domestic terrorism plots were thwarted, but he cannot tell us about them because they are classified. I am a bit skeptical, however. In April, the New York Times reported that most of these domestic plots were actually elaborate sting operations developed and pushed by the FBI. According to the Times report, "of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks since 9/11 on American soil, 14 were developed in sting operations."

Even if Chairman Rogers is right, though, and the program caught someone up to no good, we have to ask ourselves whether even such a result justifies trashing the Constitution. Here is what I said on the floor of the House when the PATRIOT Act was up for renewal back in 2011:

"If you want to be perfectly safe from child abuse and wife beating, the government could put a camera in every one of our houses and our bedrooms, and maybe there would be somebody made safer this way, but what would you be giving up? Perfect safety is not the purpose of government. What we want from government is to enforce the law to protect our liberties."

What most undermines the claims of the Administration and its defenders about this surveillance program is the process itself. First the government listens in on all of our telephone calls without a warrant and then if it finds something it goes to a FISA court and get an illegal approval for what it has already done! This turns the rule of law and due process on its head.

The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We need to turn the cameras on the police and on the government, not the other way around. We should be thankful for writers like Glenn Greenwald, who broke last week's story, for taking risks to let us know what the government is doing. There are calls for the persecution of Greenwald and the other whistle-blowers and reporters. They should be defended, as their work defends our freedom.

Fwd: [I-S] Guardian reporter delayed e-mailing NSA source because crypto is a pain | Ars Technica



---------
 


Guardian reporter delayed e-mailing NSA source because crypto is a pain

NSA leaks

View all…

If you still haven't gotten around to encrypting your e-mail, you have company. Glenn Greenwald, the civil liberties writer who recently exposed the National Security Agency's vast data-collection programs, wasn't quick to jump on the e-mail encryption wagon either.

According to recent articles in The New York Times and The Huffington Post, Greenwald first heard from National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in either January or February. Snowden said he had information that would be of "great interest" and said he wanted to communicate securely using PGP encryption. According to accounts by both publications, the request was a nonstarter.

"Mr. Greenwald wrote back that he did not have such software," the NYT reported. "Mr. Snowden later sent him a homemade video with step-by-step instructions for installing it, which Mr. Greenwald watched but never completed." Greenwald then brought the same request to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Given her experience covering surveillance and working with sensitive sources, she was more comfortable encrypting her communications.

"I have a lot of experience because I've been working with—as you note in your thing, I've done filming with WikiLeaks," she said in an interview with Salon. "I know Jacob Appelbaum. I already had encryption keys, but what he was asking for was beyond what I was using in terms of security and anonymity."

By late April or early May according to the NYT, Greenwald and Snowden began communicating over an unidentified encrypted chat program.

To be fair to Greenwald, his delay in completing the encryption video came before he knew who his would-be source was or what kind of information the source had. Still, the accounts highlight a major shortcoming of the Internet age. Despite the myriad ways of communicating online, precious few allow people to send messages that aren't susceptible to the type of NSA interception and monitoring reported by The Guardian and others. A case in point: even though instant messages sent through Microsoft's Skype service are encrypted, the company is able to pluck out plaintext at will.

E-mail encryption, at least when it's generated using properly implemented public key cryptography, is one of the notable exceptions since end users are the only ones who can decrypt the protected communications. But as Greenwald and countless others have discovered over the years, encrypted e-mail is non-trivial to set up. Stay tuned for a two-part series of articles in the coming days explaining how it's done.



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Fwd: [I-S] Guardian reporter delayed e-mailing NSA source because crypto is a pain | Ars Technica



---------
 


Guardian reporter delayed e-mailing NSA source because crypto is a pain

NSA leaks

View all…

If you still haven't gotten around to encrypting your e-mail, you have company. Glenn Greenwald, the civil liberties writer who recently exposed the National Security Agency's vast data-collection programs, wasn't quick to jump on the e-mail encryption wagon either.

According to recent articles in The New York Times and The Huffington Post, Greenwald first heard from National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in either January or February. Snowden said he had information that would be of "great interest" and said he wanted to communicate securely using PGP encryption. According to accounts by both publications, the request was a nonstarter.

"Mr. Greenwald wrote back that he did not have such software," the NYT reported. "Mr. Snowden later sent him a homemade video with step-by-step instructions for installing it, which Mr. Greenwald watched but never completed." Greenwald then brought the same request to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Given her experience covering surveillance and working with sensitive sources, she was more comfortable encrypting her communications.

"I have a lot of experience because I've been working with—as you note in your thing, I've done filming with WikiLeaks," she said in an interview with Salon. "I know Jacob Appelbaum. I already had encryption keys, but what he was asking for was beyond what I was using in terms of security and anonymity."

By late April or early May according to the NYT, Greenwald and Snowden began communicating over an unidentified encrypted chat program.

To be fair to Greenwald, his delay in completing the encryption video came before he knew who his would-be source was or what kind of information the source had. Still, the accounts highlight a major shortcoming of the Internet age. Despite the myriad ways of communicating online, precious few allow people to send messages that aren't susceptible to the type of NSA interception and monitoring reported by The Guardian and others. A case in point: even though instant messages sent through Microsoft's Skype service are encrypted, the company is able to pluck out plaintext at will.

E-mail encryption, at least when it's generated using properly implemented public key cryptography, is one of the notable exceptions since end users are the only ones who can decrypt the protected communications. But as Greenwald and countless others have discovered over the years, encrypted e-mail is non-trivial to set up. Stay tuned for a two-part series of articles in the coming days explaining how it's done.



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Conservative Drug Warriors


Conservative Drug Warriors
Posted by Laurence Vance on June 11, 2013 04:32 PM

Predictably, conservatives are upset over the Obama administration's decision to drop its legal battle to keep age restrictions on a type of morning-after birth control pill. Full on-the-shelf availability for Plan B One-Step -- for girls of any age -- may soon become a reality. But where is the conservative outrage over the rationing and criminalization of over-the-counter allergy-relief products like Sudafed because they contain pseudoephedrine. This is due to the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, title VII of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, enacted by conservative Republicans. But as I make clear in my book The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom, because the drug war is unconstitutional, conservatives who claim to revere the Constitution should be ardently opposed to the drug war on the federal level just as much as libertarians. But of course, claiming to revere the Constitution and following it are two different things.

I say abolish the DEA and the FDA and let all drugs be available and legal. Stores should decide what drugs to sell and to what age. Parents should decide. Anyone should decide but the government.

California mass shooter who killed 6 was…Muslim





creeping posted: "The death toll of the shooting rampage in Santa Monica rose to six Sunday after one of the victims was taken off of life support. And more via John Zawahri's Father Was Abusive, Santa Monica College Shooter's Mom Charged. (Tami Abdollah misuses "charged" "
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New post on Creeping Sharia

California mass shooter who killed 6 was…Muslim

by creeping

The death toll of the shooting rampage in Santa Monica rose to six Sunday after one of the victims was taken off of life support. And more via John Zawahri's Father Was Abusive, Santa Monica College Shooter's Mom Charged. (Tami Abdollah misuses "charged" here - it doesn't appear the mother has been charged with a […]

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What would happen if all satellites stopped working?





What would happen if all satellites stopped working?

 

Richard Hollingham

What would happen if all satellites stopped working?

(Copyright: Nasa) We don't always realise how much we depend on satellites orbiting our planet. Our space correspondent imagines the impact on the planet if we completely lost transmission.

We may not always realise it, but we depend on space technology orbiting the Earth. So what would happen if it all stopped working? At a recent international conference on "space hazards", I listened to a series of speakers outline doomsday scenarios. These included a massive solar storm disrupting satellite communications, a cyber attack partially disabling the GPS system, and debris knocking out Earth-monitoring satellites.

Threats to this space infrastructure are real, and governments around the world are beginning to think seriously about improving the resilience of the systems we rely on. To focus their thoughts, and with a nod to that pioneer of threats from space, Orson Welles, here is what might happen if we suddenly encountered a day without satellites…

08:00

There was nothing sudden. Planes did not fall out of the sky, the lights didn't go out or the water supplies fail. At least, not at first.

Some things did stop working straightaway but, for most people, they were more an inconvenience than anything else. The loss of television satellites meant that many families missed the cheery rehearsed smiles of breakfast TV presenters, and were forced to talk to each other over their cereal instead. There were no foreign correspondents on the radio, no results of the latest international sports fixtures.

But outside, the loss of global satellite communications was putting the world in danger. At a bunker somewhere in the United States, a pilot squadron lost contact with the armed drones they were flying over the Middle East. The failure of secure satellite communications systems left soldiers, ships and aircraft cut off from their commanders and vulnerable to attack. Without satellites, world leaders struggled to talk to each other to diffuse mounting global tensions.

Meanwhile, over the Atlantic, thousands of passengers watched movies, oblivious to the difficulties on the flight deck as pilots struggled to talk to air traffic control. Without satellite phones, container ships in the Arctic, fishermen in the China Sea and aid workers in the Sahara found themselves isolated from the rest of the world.

As people started work in their offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, Moscow, London and New York, they found it difficult to talk to colleagues in other countries. Email worked and the internet seemed okay, but many international phone calls failed. The rapid communications systems that tied the world together were unravelling. Rather than shrinking, it seemed as if the Earth was getting larger.

11:00

As presidents and prime ministers gathered their crisis teams, a new threat to global stability began to emerge: the loss of the Global Positioning System (GPS). As far as most of us were concerned, GPS helped us travel from A to B without getting hopelessly lost along the way. It had transformed the lives of delivery companies, helped emergency services reach incidents much quicker, allowed planes to land on isolated runways and enabled trucks, trains, ships and cars to be tracked and traced. But GPS turned out to be much more pervasive in our lives than many of us could possibly have realised.

GPS satellites are little more than highly accurate atomic clocks in space, transmitting a time signal back to Earth. Receivers on the ground – in your car or smartphone for instance – pick up these time signals from three or more satellites. By comparing the time signal from space with the time in the receiver – the receiver can calculate how far away the satellite is.

But there are plenty of other uses for these accurate time signals from space. Uses that, it emerged, our society had become increasingly reliant on. Our infrastructure is held together by time – from time stamps on complex financial transactions to the protocols that hold the internet together. When the packets of data passing between computers get out of sync, the system starts to break down. Without accurate time, every network controlled by computers is at risk. Which means almost everything.

When the GPS signals stopped, back-up systems (employing accurate clocks on the ground) kicked in. But, within a few hours, time had started to slip. A fraction of a second in Europe, compared to the US; a tiny difference between India and Australia. The cloud began to fail, web searches became slower, the internet started to grind to a halt. The first power cuts came later in the evening, as transmission networks struggled to balance demand. At computerised water treatment works, engineers switched to manual back-up systems. In major cities, traffic lights and railway signals defaulted to red, bringing transport to a standstill. Mobile phone services, already patchy, finally failed in the late afternoon.

16:00

By this time, aviation authorities reluctantly decided to ground commercial aircraft. The loss of satellite communications and GPS had already seen a majority of flights cancelled, but it was a more mundane failure that proved to be the final straw: the weather.

Although meteorological balloons, ground and ship observations were still important, forecasting had become increasingly reliable and reliant on satellites. Retailers used weather data to order the right foods – no point in stocking up on meats for the barbeque if the outlook was gloomy. Farmers relied on forecasts for planting, spraying and harvesting. The aviation industry needed forecasts to make decisions that would affect the lives of passengers.

Aircraft are fitted with radar to detect bad weather or other sources of turbulence, but they take note of constant updates from the ground. These "nowcasts" allow them to keep track of weather patterns developing and act accordingly. These are particularly important over the oceans, where observations from ships are sparse.

If passengers on trans-Atlantic flights had known this, then they would have thought twice before boarding. Without weather satellite data, a storm system developing rapidly over the ocean was missed and the aircraft flew straight into it. The severe turbulence experienced by passengers left several injured and the remainder badly traumatised by the experience. But at least they got to complete their journey. Around the world, other travellers were stranded thousands of miles from home.

22:00

By now, the full impact of what would become known as "the day without satellites" had become apparent. Communications, transport, power and computer systems had been severely disrupted. Global business had ground to a halt and governments were struggling to cope. Politicians were warned that food supply chains would soon break down. With fears of a breakdown in public order, governments introduced emergency measures.

If the disruption continued then each day would bring new challenges. There would be no more satellite data showing the health of crops, illegal logging in the Amazon or Arctic ice cover. Satellites used to produce images and maps for rescue workers responding to disasters would be missed, as would the satellites producing long-term records of climate. It was a tribute to the space industry that we could take all this for granted, but it was only when the satellites were lost that anyone noticed…

So, could all this happen? Only if everything failed at once, and that is unlikely. What is certain is that the infrastructure we all rely on has become increasingly dependent on space technology. And that without satellites, the world would be a very different place.

About the author

Richard is a science journalist and presenter of the Space Boffins podcast. He edits Space:UK magazine for the UK Space Agency, commentates on launches for the European Space Agency and is a science presenter for BBC radio. You can also follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

SOURCE: BBC - Future - Science & Environment - What would happen if all satellites stopped working?



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