Essential Tips For The Novice Smoker}

Essential Tips For The Novice Smoker

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Writing a website full of BBQ Smoker Recipes is a time consuming business even at the best of times. I take pride in ensuring that the pictures I put up on my site are of food that I have cooked and not some glossy template purchased on the internet and I also want my recipes to be innovative. What I enjoy most of all is when readers use my feedback form with ideas for improvements to my site and also to suggest recipes, there’s so much creativity out there and to harness just a small amount of it is truly humbling.

It’s a two way street of course and just as I get some great free barbecue recipes in return and I also get a lot of questions to which answers are free of charge. Many of the questions start with the sentence I’ve just won / been given a smoker without any instructions and I’m gonna cook for 20 guests at the weekend, do you have any tips for me?”

I’m not sure about tips but my immediate reaction is a combination of:-

Lucky you winning a smoker

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Cooking for 20 first time out, that’s a challenge……….

Cooking for 20 first time out are you mad?

Barbecue cooking for any number of people is challenge enough but doing it on a piece of equipment that’s never been used before is really asking a lot. Nevertheless I always respond with my essential tips” for the novice smoker:-

1. Do a trial run. Not just to test your BBQ cooking abilities but also if the smoker is new it will be protected with an oily film that needs to be cleaned up. Just like any oven it’s important to give it a run otherwise your first food will not taste right.

2. Keep the temperature in the smoker between 230 – 250F

3. It’s indirect cooking so heat should no be directly under the food, put the drip tray here and this will help keep it moist.

4. If it’s a charcoal smoker the coals will start to cool after 60 mins so keep a steady stream on fresh charcoal available and change every 45 mins

5. Slow cooking is the order of the day and you’ll need to allow up to 90 mins cooking time per pound of meat

6. Many argue that after 5 hrs smoking, the smoke adds no further flavour so you can finish off in the conventional oven if you wish. (Just wrap the food in foil to keep it moist)

7. Don’t be tempted to lift the cover of the barbecue too often you only let the smoke out

8. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature.

9. Practice makes perfect – don’t give up after the first attempt!

And that last point is so true, I’ve been cooking on grills and smokers for 20 years and I still get it wrong so don’t be too hard on yourself if at first you don’t succeed.

Even if you’re not a novice smoker, hopefully there’s something here for you to take away and you’ll have a happy and safe cookout or maybe you have got a tip for me?BBQ Smoker Recipes

– Free barbecue grill recipes & meat smoker cooking ideas on gas, charcoal or electric.

Free Barbecue Recipes

– Outdoor grilling tips, easy fire pit menus, healthy rotisserie suggestions, best homemade bbq sauce recipes.

Easy Barbecue Recipes

– Easy recipes for the smoker grill with lots of tips.

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Obama announces US$3.8 trillion 2011 budget plan for US

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Barack Obama, the US President, has announced a budget plan worth US$3.83 trillion for next year. The budget includes additional spending for job creation, but cuts for other areas. The president also forecast that the national debt would reach $1.56 trillion in 2010.

Among the cuts proposed include scrapping the Constellation program, a plan to send astronauts to the Moon by 2020, and capping some domestic spending programmes for three years. Overall, the cuts are predicted to save $250 billion. There is also $100 billion in tax incentives aimed at hiring workers. US residents with incomes of over $250,000 per annum, however, would be given higher taxes, partially offsetting that.

Other increases in the proposed budget include; $48 billion for veterans’ medical care, or an increase of eight percent; $53 billion for homeland security; $310 million to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison. He also suggested freezing spending for some federal programs and departments and programs for three years, exempting Medicare, Social Security, and national security.

In order for the budget to take effect, Congress must approve it by the beginning of the fiscal year starting October 1.

When introducing the budget, Obama stated that “we […] continue to lay a new foundation for lasting growth. Just as it would be a terrible mistake to borrow against our children’s future to pay our way today, it would be equally wrong to neglect their future by failing to invest in areas that will determine our economic success in this new century.”

At the White House, he also commented: “It’s a budget that reflects the serious challenges facing the country. We’re at war. Our economy has lost seven million jobs over the last two years. And our government is deeply in debt after what can only be described as a decade of profligacy […] “It’s very important to understand,” the president said. “We won’t be able to bring down this deficit overnight, given that the recovery is still taking hold and families across the country still need help.”

The budget plan reads: “These estimates do not reflect any policy decisions about specific military or intelligence operations, but are only intended to indicate that some as-yet-unknown costs are anticipated.”

It will be impossible to bring the deficit down unless the economy is up. The budget the president is sending Congress today puts a priority on those objectives

“It will be impossible to bring the deficit down unless the economy is up. The budget the president is sending Congress today puts a priority on those objectives.” The president blamed the previous George Bush administration for the financial difficulties, saying: “Over the course of the past 10 years, the previous administration and previous Congresses created an expensive new drug program, passed massive tax cuts for the wealthy and funded two wars without paying for any of it, all of which was compounded by recession and by rising health care costs. As a result, when I first walked through the door, the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade.”

“It will be impossible to bring the deficit down unless the economy is up. The budget the president is sending Congress today puts a priority on those objectives. It keeps one eye on the economy and the other on the deficit,” remarked Democrat Representative John Spratt from South Carolina.

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Republican senators, however, criticised the plan, citing the proposed tax increases, and suggesting that the deficit is an indication Obama isn’t able to control government spending. “President Obama is submitting another budget that spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much,” said the House Minority Leader, John Boehner. “Serious fiscal responsibility requires more than a few cuts here and there at the margins. Republicans have proposed adopting strict budget caps that limit federal spending on an annual basis and are enforceable by the president.”

this budget provides a startling figure that should stop us all in our tracks

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell commented that “this budget provides a startling figure that should stop us all in our tracks. According to the administration’s budget, the interest on the federal debt is expected to be nearly 6 trillion dollars over the next decade. We’ve all heard about interest-only loans, but this is the equivalent of an average of $600 billion dollars in interest every year. That’s an astonishing number.”

Republican Senator Judd Gregg also was critical of the plan: “These circumstances call for a bold, game-changing budget that will turn things around, put in place a plan to restrain spending, reduce the debt and tackle the big entitlement programmes that are growing out of control. Instead, the president has sent us more of the same.” He described the financial situation as being a “quagmire”.

Obama’s proposal to pull the space plan also drew fire from Republicans. “The president’s proposed Nasa budget begins the death march for the future of US human space flight,” said Republican Senator Richard Shelby. Obama, however, described the Constellation programme as being “over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation”, and said it was draining resources from other activities at NASA.



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U.S. study says Type 2 diabetes in youth is hard to control

Monday, May 7, 2012

US researchers have found that overweight teens diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes will face harsh struggles trying to control it in a study released April 29.

A teen with Type 2 diabetes was uncommon just 15 years ago. Today, one-third of American youth are found to be overweight or obese — and more obesity is associated with higher rates of Type 2 diabetes.

The study, published in the newest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, analyzed various methods “to manage blood sugar in overweight and obese teens newly diagnosed with diabetes and found that nearly half of them failed within a few years and one in five suffered serious complications.” The findings support an increase in national “diabesity,” which is Type 2 diabetes produced from obesity.

The study is the first in-depth examination of how to medicate teens with diabetes. The majority of previous studies have solely focused on diabetes in adults. Therefore, nearly all drugs manufactured for diabetes are not approved for youths.

The research included 699 overweight and obese teens with diabetes. The teens were prescribed one of three treatments after they were given metformin, a drug to lower blood sugar. The three groups consisted of only metformin, metformin plus diet and exercise, or metformin plus a second drug, Rosiglitazone, commonly known as Avandia.

The study discovered that after four years, “half the teens in the metformin group failed to maintain blood sugar control.” The teens that took two drugs faired slightly better, and those that took metformin incorporated with a lifestyle changed saw an insignificant difference.

According to one of the paper’s authors, Dr. Phil Zeitler from the University of Colorado Denver, youths should be taking steps to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

In a related study, Dr. Mari K. Hopper has collected data over the course of two and a half years at the University of Southern Indiana. Her focus — student obesity, or specifically, the beginning stage, Insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body needs more insulin to keep glucose at a normal level. Eventually, insulin resistance can set the stage for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. “Insulin resistance is real and it can be quantified and about half of insulin resistance is lifestyle and the other half is genetics,” said Hopper, assistant professor of biology. “If you are insulin resistant, then that condition can be reversed.”

Hopper’s goal is to make students aware of insulin resistance and to choose to maintain a healthy lifestyle before diabetes has the chance to set in.Hopper analyzes how the college lifestyle affects a student’s overall health. Students begin the study as a subject and are invited to come back as a student researcher. They continue to collect data on the new freshman class and on themselves. There are two cohort groups, fall 2009 and fall 2010.

“I thought when they came in as freshman they would be relatively healthy, and then they would be exposed to the college lifestyle,” Hopper said. “My hypothesis is that these students, after four years, will become more insulin resistant.”

However, Hopper said she is finding that students are beginning college not as healthy as she had anticipated. “We are already incurring about 30 percent of them being overweight or obese,” Hopper said. Diet changes, the cost of eating well, stress, not enough sleep and inadequate exercise are all factors contributing to a student’s weight gain in college, she said.

“I really thought that the college years was a critical time in reaching these students in identifying risk factors for their future health so that the behavior could be modified now,” Hopper said. Her findings suggest, health care prevention has to occur earlier in youth.



Companies Incorporation Amendment Rules 2016}

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Companies Incorporation Amendment Rules 2016

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flingstone

In order to make ‘Business doing’ an easy and widely loved practice in India, the Government of India has been sincerely working towards the Startup India Action Plan. Taking another step towards the goal, on 22nd January of this year, the Companies Incorporation Amendment Rules 2016 was released. It came into effect from 26th of January, 2016. This amendment to the Companies Rule aims at making it easier to start a company in India. The key points of the Amendment Rules are featured in this article.

It is no more mandatory for the Company to have a name in line with the objects of the company. Before the amendment, it was mandatory for the companies to have names in harmony with the objects of the company. However, the new rules have relieved the companies from this compulsion.

Companies may choose a vague or abbreviated name. Prior to the passing of Amendment Rules 2016, names like A2Z Limited or SKB Limited or any other kind of vague, abbreviated names were not approved. Now, in the new rules this clause has been omitted, leaving the companies free to to choose vague or abbreviated names.

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Ban on misleading names lifted. The names not in line with the companies actives, i.e. those misleading regarding the scope or scale of the activities of the company were not allowed earlier. With the coming of the new rule, the Sub-clause (xvii) of clause (b) has been removed. Thus, companies are now free to keep names that may mislead in some way.

Change of activities without change of name approved. Before the new rules were brought in, any company willing to change activities, was required to change its name to a name harmonising with the new activity. This had to be done within six months from the change of activities. Now the changing of activities can be done under the roof of same name. In other words, the company can continue to use the same name even if it is not in line with the new activities of the company.

Using names no more requires a NOC. As per the old rule, if the company name contains name of someone who is not one of the promoters of the company, a NOC must be attached. The new rule brought in that a NOC is not required in such cases from now on.

The steering now in hands of Central Registration Centre for Name. Previously, the name approval process was the responsibility of Registrar of Companies of respective states. The new Rules have handed this responsibility to the central registration centre. It is a centralised system which is concerned with name approval applications filed from across India.

Resubmissions increased from two to three. The number of resubmissions allowed for incorporation of company under the INC-29 method have been increased by one. However it has to be noted that the total period for re-submission should not exceed thirty days.

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Foreign investment rises in Romania by 19 percent

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Romania’s level of foreign direct investment rose by 19% in the first six months (January-July) of 2005 when compared to the same period of 2004, according to the Romanian Agency for Foreign Investment (ARIS). The country recorded US$750 million of foreign investment in this period, and 56 total investment projects, in comparison to 40 projects between January and July 2004. The majority of the investments occurred in the BucharestIlfov region, which includes the Romanian capital.

The rise in foreign investment is mainly attributed due to a more liberal taxation policy introduced by the Romanian government on January 1, 2005, which centres around a 16% flat tax on personal income and corporate profit. Additionally, the country’s expected membership of the European Union in 2007 and its relatively stable political climate also led to an increase in foreign investment in 2005.



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Wikinews interviews Jim Hedges, U.S. Prohibition Party presidential candidate

Saturday, January 29, 2011

U.S. Prohibition Party presidential candidate Jim Hedges of Thompson Township, Pennsylvania took some time to answer a few questions about the Prohibition Party and his 2012 presidential campaign.

The Prohibition Party is the third oldest existing political party in the United States, having been established in 1869. It reached its height of popularity during the late 19th century. The party heavily supported the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which banned the sale of alcohol, and resulted in the US period known as Prohibition (1919–33). It was repealed in 1933. The party has declined since this period, but has continued to nominate candidates for the presidential election.

In 2003, the party split into two factions. Preacher Gene Amondson and perennial candidate Earl Dodge were nominated for the presidency by their respective factions. After Dodge’s death in 2007, the party reunified and named Amondson as its sole presidential nominee for 2008. During the election, Amondson was interviewed by Wikinews. He died in 2009, leaving an opening in the party for 2012.

Jim Hedges is a longtime Prohibition activist, who holds the distinction of the first individual of the 21st century (and the first since 1959) to be elected to a political office under the Prohibition Party banner. In 2001, he was elected as the Thompson Township tax assessor, and was re-elected to the post in 2005. He served until his term expired in 2010. Hedges declared his intent to run for the Prohibition Party presidential nomination on February 18, 2010. This marks his first run for the presidency.



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News briefs:July 14, 2010
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How To Do Proper Window Cleaning}

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How To Do Proper Window Cleaning

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Adrianna Noton

The home or office windows should be always clean as they tend to determine the level of cleanliness standards that you maintain. This sentiment has made many people look for professional washers to help them with these tasks. However window cleaning can be done without contracting other people. Despite the fact that there are tools and techniques that should be involve for better results to be seen.

Other than the professional cleaning methods, other techniques can as well make your windows look just as you would wish. The homemade solution requires just following some few steps, which is cost effective.

The material required for this job include warm water, a bucket, a clear house hold vinegar, a pair of gloves, a wiper, washing up liquid, old new[papers and a good window washer . The purpose of the gloves is to protect the hands from cuts and bruises.

The weather when cleaning the windows should be cloudy. This is because sunny conditions increases evaporation rate of the solution thereby speeding drying which leaves many streaks making the windows look very ugly.

Cleaning should commence by preparing of the soap solution, which is done by mixing the washing up liquid with a bucket containing warm water. This is ideal as it is very slippery thereby making it easy to collect the dirt from the glass without making any scratches.

The vinegar solution is also prepared by adding the clear household vinegar in a backed half full of warm water and stir them to mix. This is a very good washing solution, which is used to prevent streaking it also makes the glass look very shiny and clean. All the material should be at the working station before beginning the work.

The outside windows are first cleaned by first dipping the washer in the solution then move it up and down side by side in a wiping technique manner to make sure that all the dirt is removed. Natural sponge can also be used in case there is no other washing material.

When satisfied that it is clean use the wiper to dry it up by moving it down the plane without applying excess pressure. When it gets wet wipe it with a piece of dry cloth and repeat by making an overlap of the previous strokes until you are clear that it is dry enough.

In the inside part of the glass make sure the floor is protected by covering it using the old newspapers. Do the washing as you had done but during wiping do not wipe down but vertically so that it becomes completely dry and prevents the occurrence of streaks . This is done until the glass is completely clean and clear.

As you finish the work make a round of check up and look for the presence of any streaks which should be removed using old newspaper . This is a simple homemade window cleaning method which when maximized can improve the cleanliness of your windows. This is not a hard undertaking after all.

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ACLU, EFF challenging US ‘secret’ court orders seeking Twitter data

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed objections to the United States Government’s ‘secret’ attempts to obtain Twitter account information relating to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and EFF cite First and Fourth amendment issues as overriding reasons to overturn government attempts to keep their investigation secret; and, that with Birgitta Jonsdottir being an Icelandic Parliamentarian, the issue has serious international implications.

The case, titled “In the Matter of the 2703(d) Order Relating to Twitter Accounts: Wikileaks, Rop_G, IOERROR; and BirgittaJ“, has been in the EFF’s sights since late last year when they became aware of the US government’s attempts to investigate WikiLeaks-related communications using the popular microblogging service.

The key objective of this US government investigation is to obtain data for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, alleged to have supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. In addition to Manning’s Twitter account, and that of WikiLeaks (@wikileaks), the following three accounts are subject to the order: @ioerror, @birgittaj, and @rop_g. These, respectively, belong to Jacob Apelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp.

Birgitta is not the only non-US citizen with their Twitter account targeted by the US Government; Gonggrijp, a Dutch ‘ex-hacker’-turned-security-expert, was one of the founders of XS4ALL – the first Internet Service Provider in the Netherlands available to the public. He has worked on a mobile phone that can encrypt conversations, and proven that electronic voting systems can readily be hacked.

In early March, a Virginia magistrate judge ruled that the government could have the sought records, and neither the targeted users, or the public, could see documents submitted to justify data being passed to the government. The data sought is as follows:

  1. Personal contact information, including addresses
  2. Financial data, including credit card or bank account numbers
  3. Twitter account activity information, including the “date, time, length, and method of connections” plus the “source and destination Internet Protocol address(es)”
  4. Direct Message (DM) information, including the email addresses and IP addresses of everyone with whom the Parties have exchanged DMs

The order demands disclosure of absolutely all such data from November 1, 2009 for the targeted accounts.

The ACLU and EFF are not only challenging this, but demanding that all submissions made by the US government to justify the Twitter disclosure are made public, plus details of any other such cases which have been processed in secret.

Bradley Manning, at the time a specialist from Maryland enlisted with the United States Army’s 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was arrested in June last year in connection with the leaking of classified combat video to WikiLeaks.

The leaked video footage, taken from a US helicopter gunship, showed the deaths of Reuters staff Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen during a U.S. assault in Baghdad, Iraq. The wire agency unsuccessfully attempted to get the footage released via a Freedom of Information Act request in 2007.

When WikiLeaks released the video footage it directly contradicted the official line taken by the U.S. Army asserting that the deaths of the two Reuters staff were “collateral damage” in an attack on Iraqi insurgents. The radio chatter associated with the AH-64 Apache video indicated the helicopter crews had mistakenly identified the journalists’ equipment as weaponry.

The US government also claims Manning is linked to CableGate; the passing of around a quarter of a million classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Manning has been in detention since July last year; in December allegations of torture were made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the conditions under which he was and is being detained.

Reports last month that he must now sleep naked and attend role call at the U.S. Marine facility in Quantico in the same state, raised further concern over his detention conditions. Philip J. Crowley, at-the-time a State Department spokesman, remarked on this whilst speaking at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; describing the current treatment of Manning as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”, Crowley was, as a consequence, put in the position of having to tender his resignation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Despite his native Australia finding, in December last year, that Assange’s WikiLeaks had not committed any criminal offences in their jurisdiction, the U.S. government has continued to make ongoing operations very difficult for the whistleblower website.

The result of the Australian Federal Police investigation left the country’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, having to retract a statement that WikiLeaks had acted “illegally”; instead, she characterised the site’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”.

Even with Australia finding no illegal activity on the part of WikiLeaks, and with founder Julian Assange facing extradition to Sweden, U.S. pressure sought to hobble WikiLeaks financially.

Based on a State Department letter, online payments site PayPal suspended WikiLeaks account in December. Their action was swiftly followed by Visa Europe and Mastercard ceasing to handle payments for WikiLeaks.

The online processing company, Datacell, threatened the two credit card giants with legal action over this. However, avenues of funding for the site were further curtailed when both Amazon.com and Swiss bank PostFinance joined the financial boycott of WikiLeaks.

Assange continues, to this day, to argue that his extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual offences is being orchestrated by the U.S. in an effort to discredit him, and thus WikiLeaks.

Wikinews consulted an IT and cryptography expert from the Belgian university which developed the current Advanced Encryption Standard; explaining modern communications, he stated: “Cryptography has developed to such a level that intercepting communications is no longer cost effective. That is, if any user uses the correct default settings, and makes sure that he/she is really connecting to Twitter it is highly unlikely that even the NSA can break the cryptography for a protocol such as SSL/TLS (used for https).”

Qualifying this, he commented that “the vulnerable parts of the communication are the end points.” To make his point, he cited the following quote from Gene Spafford: “Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench.

Continuing, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) expert explained:

In the first place, the weak point is Twitter itself; the US government can go and ask for the data; companies such as Twitter and Google will typically store quite some information on their users, including IP addresses (it is known that Google deletes the last byte of the IP address after a few weeks, but it is not too hard for a motivated opponent to find out what this byte was).
In the second place, this is the computer of the user: by exploiting system weaknesses (with viruses, Trojan horses or backdoors in the operating system) a highly motivated opponent can enter your machine and record your keystrokes plus everything that is happening (e.g. the FBI is known to do this with the so-called Magic Lantern software). Such software is also commercially available, e.g. for a company to monitor its employees.
It would also be possible for a higly motivated opponent to play “man-in-the-middle”; that means that instead of having a secure connection to Twitter.com, you have a secure connection to the attacker’s server, who impersonates Twitter’s and then relays your information to Twitter. This requires tricks such as spoofing DNS (this is getting harder with DNSsec), or misleading the user (e.g. the user clicks on a link and connects to tw!tter.com or Twitter.c0m, which look very similar in a URL window as Twitter.com). It is clear that the US government is capable of using these kind of tricks; e.g., a company has been linked to the US government that was recognized as legitimate signer in the major browsers, so it would not be too large for them to sign a legitimate certificate for such a spoofing webserver; this means that the probability that a user would detect a problem would be very low.
As for traffic analysis (finding out who you are talking to rather than finding out what you are telling to whom), NSA and GCHQ are known to have access to lots of traffic (part of this is obtained via the UK-USA agreement). Even if one uses strong encryption, it is feasible for them to log the IP addresses and email addresses of all the parties you are connecting to. If necessary, they can even make routers re-route your traffic to their servers. In addition, the European Data Retention directive forces all operators to store such traffic data.
Whether other companies would have complied with such requests: this is very hard to tell. I believe however that it is very plausible that companies such as Google, Skype or Facebook would comply with such requests if they came from a government.
In summary: unless you go through great lengths to log through to several computers in multiple countries, you work in a clean virtual machine, you use private browser settings (don’t accept cookies, no plugins for Firefox, etc.) and use tools such as Tor, it is rather easy for any service provider to identify you.
Finally: I prefer not to be quoted on any sentences in which I make statements on the capabilities or actions of any particular government.

Wikinews also consulted French IT security researcher Stevens Le Blond on the issues surrounding the case, and the state-of-the-art in monitoring, and analysing, communications online. Le Blond, currently presenting a research paper on attacks on Tor to USENIX audiences in North America, responded via email:

Were the US Government to obtain the sought data, it would seem reasonable the NSA would handle further investigation. How would you expect them to exploit the data and expand on what they receive from Twitter?

  • Le Blond: My understanding is that the DOJ is requesting the following information: 1) Connection records and session times 2) IP addresses 3) e-mail addresses 4) banking info
By requesting 1) and 2) for Birgitta and other people involved with WikiLeaks (WL) since 2009, one could derive 2 main [pieces of] information.
First, he could tell the mobility of these people. Recent research in networking shows that you can map an IP address into a geographic location with a median error of 600 meters. So by looking at changes of IP addresses in time for a Twitter user, one could tell (or at least speculate about) where that person has been.
Second, by correlating locations of different people involved with WL in time, one could possibly derive their interactions and maybe even their level of involvement with WL. Whether it is possible to derive this information from 1) and 2) depends on how this people use Twitter. For example, do they log on Twitter often enough, long enough, and from enough places?
My research indicates that this is the case for other Internet services but I cannot tell whether it is the case for Twitter.
Note that even though IP logging, as done by Twitter, is similar to the logging done by GSM [mobile phone] operators, the major difference seems to be that Twitter is subject to US regulation, no matter the citizenship of its users. I find this rather disturbing.
Using 3), one could search for Birgitta on other Internet services, such as social networks, to find more information on her (e.g., hidden accounts). Recent research on privacy shows that people tend to use the same e-mail address to register an account on different social networks (even when they don’t want these accounts to be linked together). Obviously, one could then issue subpoenas for these accounts as well.
I do not have the expertise to comment on what could be done with 4).
((WN)) As I believe Jonsdottir to be involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), what are the wider implications beyond the “WikiLeaks witchhunt”?
  • Le Blond: Personal data can be used to discredit, especially if the data is not public.

Having been alerted to the ongoing case through a joint press release by the ACLU and EFF, Wikinews sought clarification on the primary issues which the two non-profits saw as particularly important in challenging the U.S. Government over the ‘secret’ court orders. Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the EFF, explained in more detail the points crucial to them, responding to a few questions from Wikinews on the case:

((WN)) As a worse-case, what precedents would be considered if this went to the Supreme Court?
  • Rebecca Jeschke: It’s extremely hard to know at this stage if this would go to the Supreme Court, and if it did, what would be at issue. However, some of the interesting questions about this case center on the rights of people around the world when they use US Internet services. This case questions the limits of US law enforcement, which may turn out to be very different from the limits in other countries.
((WN)) Since this is clearly a politicised attack on free speech with most chilling potential repercussions for the press, whistleblowers, and by-and-large anyone the relevant U.S. Government departments objects to the actions of, what action do you believe should be taken to protect free speech rights?
  • Jeschke: We believe that, except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals’ private Internet communications in secret. We also believe that Internet companies should, whenever possible, take steps to ensure their customers are notified about requests for information and have the opportunity to respond.
((WN)) Twitter via the web, in my experience, tends to use https:// connections. Are you aware of any possibility of the government cracking such connections? (I’m not up to date on the crypto arms race).
  • Jeschke: You don’t need to crack https, per se, to compromise its security. See this piece about fraudulent https certificates:
Iranian hackers obtain fraudulent httpsEFF website.
((WN)) And, do you believe that far, far more websites should – by default – employ https:// connections to protect people’s privacy?
  • Jeschke: We absolutely think that more websites should employ https! Here is a guide for site operators: (See external links, Ed.)

Finally, Wikinews approached the Icelandic politician, and WikiLeaks supporter, who has made this specific case a landmark in how the U.S. Government handles dealings with – supposedly – friendly governments and their elected representatives. A number of questions were posed, seeking the Icelandic Parliamentarian’s views:

((WN)) How did you feel when you were notified the US Government wanted your Twitter account, and message, details? Were you shocked?
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir: I felt angry but not shocked. I was expecting something like this to happen because of my involvement with WikiLeaks. My first reaction was to tweet about it.
((WN)) What do you believe is their reasoning in selecting you as a ‘target’?
  • Jonsdottir: It is quite clear to me that USA authorities are after Julian Assange and will use any means possible to get even with him. I think I am simply a pawn in a much larger context. I did of course both act as a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in relation to the Apache video and briefly for WikiLeaks, and I put my name to the video as a co-producer. I have not participated in any illegal activity and thus being a target doesn’t make me lose any sleep.
((WN)) Are you concerned that, as a Member of Parliament involved in the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), the US attempt to obtain your Twitter data is interfering with planned Icelandic government policy?
  • Jonsdottir: No
((WN)) In an earlier New York Times (NYT) article, you’re indicating there is nothing they can obtain about you that bothers you; but, how do you react to them wanting to know everyone you talk to?
  • Jonsdottir: It bothers me and according to top computer scientists the government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get our IP addresses from Twitter. I am, though, happy I am among the people DOJ is casting their nets around because of my parliamentary immunity; I have a greater protection then many other users and can use that immunity to raise the issue of lack of rights for those that use social media.
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((WN)) The same NYT article describes you as a WikiLeaks supporter; is this still the case? What attracts you to their ‘radical transparency’?
  • Jonsdottir: I support the concept of WikiLeaks. While we don’t have a culture of protection for sources and whistleblowers we need sites like WikiLeaks. Plus, I think it is important to give WikiLeaks credit for raising awareness about in how bad shape freedom of information and expression is in our world and it is eroding at an alarming rate because of the fact that legal firms for corporations and corrupt politicians have understood the borderless nature of the legalities of the information flow online – we who feel it is important that people have access to information that should remain in the public domain need to step up our fight for those rights. WikiLeaks has played an important role in that context.I don’t support radical transparency – I understand that some things need to remain secret. It is the process of making things secret that needs to be both more transparent and in better consensus with nations.
((WN)) How do you think the Icelandic government would have reacted if it were tens of thousands of their diplomatic communications being leaked?
  • Jonsdottir: I am not sure – A lot of our dirty laundry has been aired via the USA cables – our diplomatic communications with USA were leaked in those cables, so far they have not stirred much debate nor shock. It is unlikely for tens of thousands of cables to leak from Iceland since we dont have the same influence or size as the USA, nor do we have a military.
((WN)) Your ambassador in the US has spoken to the Obama administration. Can you discuss any feedback from that? Do you have your party’s, and government’s, backing in challenging the ordered Twitter data release?
  • Jonsdottir: I have not had any feedback from that meeting, I did however receive a message from the DOJ via the USA ambassador in Iceland. The message stated three things: 1. I am free to travel to the USA. 2. If I would do so, I would not be a subject of involuntary interrogation. 3. I am not under criminal investigation. If this is indeed the reality I wonder why they are insisting on getting my personal details from Twitter. I want to stress that I understand the reasoning of trying to get to Assange through me, but I find it unacceptable since there is no foundation for criminal investigation against him. If WikiLeaks goes down, all the other media partners should go down at the same time. They all served similar roles. The way I see it is that WikiLeaks acted as the senior editor of material leaked to them. They could not by any means be considered a source. The source is the person that leaks the material to WikiLeaks. I am not sure if the media in our world understands how much is at stake for already shaky industry if WikiLeaks will carry on carrying the brunt of the attacks. I think it would be powerful if all the medias that have had access to WikiLeaks material would band together for their defence.
((WN)) Wikinews consulted a Belgian IT security expert who said it was most likely companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, would have complied with similar court orders *without advising the ‘targets*’. Does that disturb you?
  • Jonsdottir: This does disturb me for various reasons. The most obvious is that my emails are hosted at google/gmail and my search profile. I dont have anything to hide but it is important to note that many of the people that interact with me as a MP via both facebook and my various email accounts don’t always realize that there is no protection for them if they do so via those channels. I often get sensitive personal letters sent to me at facebook and gmail. In general most people are not aware of how little rights they have as users of social media. It is those of uttermost importance that those sites will create the legal disclaimers and agreements that state the most obvious rights we lose when we sign up to their services.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
((WN)) Has there been any backlash within Iceland against US-based internet services in light of this? Do you expect such, or any increase in anti-American sentiments?
  • Jonsdottir: No, none what so ever. I dont think there is much anti-American sentiments in Iceland and I dont think this case will increase it. However I think it is important for everyone who does not live in the USA and uses social services to note that according to the ruling in my case, they dont have any protection of the 1st and 4th amendment, that only apply to USA citizens. Perhaps the legalities in relation to the borderless reality we live in online need to be upgraded in order for people to feel safe with using social media if it is hosted in the USA. Market tends to bend to simple rules.
((WN)) Does this make you more, or less, determined to see the IMMI succeed?
  • Jonsdottir: More. People have to realize that if we dont have freedom of information online we won’t have it offline. We have to wake up to the fact that our rights to access information that should be in the public domain is eroding while at the same time our rights as citizens online have now been undermined and we are only seen as consumers with consumers rights and in some cases our rights are less than of a product. This development needs to change and change fast before it is too late.

The U.S. Government continues to have issues internationally as a result of material passed to WikiLeaks, and subsequently published.

Within the past week, Ecuador has effectively declared the U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges persona-non-grata over corruption allegations brought to light in leaked cables. Asking the veteran diplomat to leave “as soon as possible”, the country may become the third in South America with no ambassadorial presence. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have no resident U.S. ambassador due to the two left-wing administrations believing the ejected diplomats were working with the opposition.

The U.S. State Department has cautioned Ecuador that a failure to speedily normalise diplomatic relations may jeapordise ongoing trade talks.

The United Kingdom is expected to press the Obama administration over the continuing detention of 23-year-old Manning, who also holds UK citizenship. British lawmakers are to discuss his ongoing detention conditions before again approaching the U.S. with their concerns that his solitary confinement, and treatment therein, is not acceptable.

The 22 charges brought against Manning are currently on hold whilst his fitness to stand trial is assessed.








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