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American airbase personnel sent erroneous "Missile inbound -- seek shelter" warning

Last Tuesday, all wing personnel on the US Spangdahlem Air Base received a warning: "MISSILE INBOUND. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!" The warning was recalled eight minutes later. Read the rest

Chris Christie vetoes unanimous bill that would make NJ cops disclose what they seize through asset forfeiture

Civil asset forfeiture is the bizarre American practice of seizing peoples' property without charging its owner: instead the property is charged with being the ill-gotten gains of a crime, and if the owner doesn't pay their property's legal bills, the police get to keep or sell the property. Read the rest

Echoing Infowars, Trump lies that 'very dishonest' U.S. press are covering up terror attacks

President Donald Trump went full Alex Jones Infowars conspiracy theory wingnut today, saying the American news media are conspiring to cover up a vast series of Islamic terrorist attacks in which innocent God-fearin' Americans have been killed.

Statements like this from authoritarian leaders are the sort of thing you hear when a regime is preparing to institute martial law. Perhaps that is where America is now headed. Hope not.

Today's wackadoodle Trump camp statement was yet another nutty lie, just like Trump's long-running racist birther campaign against President Barack Obama, whom we miss terribly, please for the love of God make this descent into national insanity stop.

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6 killed in terror attack on Quebec mosque

Two suspects are in custody after gunmen opened fire in a Quebec mosque, killing six and injuring eight. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned it as an act of terrorism aimed at the Muslim community.

"It is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear," Trudeau said in a statement.

The identities of the suspects have not yet been released. Nor have authorities identified a motive in the attack on some 40-50 worshipers gathered at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre. Mass shootings in Canada are rare, reports USA Today.

It comes amid heightened tensions worldwide over President Trump’s ban on admitting refugees and travel restrictions on certain Muslim countries.

"Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country," Trudeau said in his statement. "Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance."

At least one news outlet mistakenly reported that two white supremacists were identified as the shooters, sourcing the details to a fake Reuters Twitter account. CBC News reports that the attackers were masked, had Québécois accents, and yelled "Allahu akbar" as they fired upon praying congregants. A witness told them that...

"... the bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head.

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Chopper's 'Rogue One' cameo

My favorite Star Wars characters are the droids, and the best of them all is cantankerous C1-10P, or Chopper from Star Wars Rebels. Seems someone agrees with me, as Chopper was the one Rebels character to make the jump to live-action in Rogue One.

MovieWeb shares more backstory:

StarWars.com caught up with Lucasfilm Story Group's Matt Martin to chat about the exciting Easter eggs scattered through the movie's two hour runtime. He actually had the prevlage of operating Chopper while the droid's scene was shot on Yavin 4. He says this about the experience.

"It was really surreal. I wasn't actually there for the purpose of operating a droid. The Rogue One production team asked to have Chop shipped over and we were more than happy to do so. An animated character in a live action movie...and it's OUR Chopper! Awesome! A few weeks later I was sent over to help produce some behind-the-scenes content for StarWars.com and it happened to be when they were shooting in the Yavin set. I saw my buddy Chopper sitting there with all the other droids, as well as some of my friends who were brought onto the production to build and operate the droids. When Chopper was called in for one of the scenes, Lee Towersey on the droid team just handed me Chop's control and said, "You know how to do this, right?" You can't really tell since it's so brief in the film, but the scene was actually really intense.

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Department of Energy tells Trump they will not name climate policy personnel

The Department of Energy has rebuffed Donald Trump's demand for the names of employees and contractors involved in shaping and executing government climate policy -- which was widely viewed as a prelude to a politicized purge, to be carried out by Trump's climate-denying DoE leadership. Read the rest

Judge Reinhold arrested at Dallas airport for refusing a second TSA screening

Actor Judge Reinhold was flying out of Dallas Love Field on Thursday and his bag set off an "alarm" on a TSA scanner, so security personnel demanded to pat Reinhold down; Reinhold objected that he'd already passed through the naked scanner and didn't believe he should have to get a government-mandated genital massage as well. Police were called and he was arrested. Read the rest

As North Dakota governor orders "emergency evacuation" at Standing Rock, Water Protectors ask court for an injunction

Jack Dalrymple, the Republican governor of North Dakota, has ordered an "emergency evacuation" on the unceded treaty lands owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, where protesters have endured potentially lethal, unconstitutional violence from law enforcement, including the use of water cannons as antipersonnel weapons in subzero temperatures and the use of tear-gas cannisters as projectiles fired into crowds of protesters. Read the rest

Woman wins $43 million on a slot machine, receives steak dinner instead of cash jackpot

Katrina Bookman was excited when her slot machine hit the jackpot: $42,949,672.76. Resorts World Casino in New York was happy to take her money while she was putting it into the machine, but weren't as happy about giving her the prize. MACHINE R BORKED, they told her.

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Crowdfunding a bike-lock that squirts vomit-inducing antipersonnel gas when cut

The Skunklock is a $109 crowdfunded gadget that contains pressurized vomit-inducing gas the creators call "Formula D_1," and which is intended to induce immediate vomiting when inhaled, as well as difficulty breathing, "A lot of similar symptoms to pepper spray." Read the rest

By stealing from innocents, Chicago PD amassed tens of millions in a secret black budget for surveillance gear

Since 2009, the Chicago Police Department has seized $72M worth of property from people who were not convicted of any crime, through the discredited civil forfeiture process, keeping $48M worth of the gains (the rest went to the Cook County prosecutor's office and the Illinois State Police) in an off-the-books, unreported slush fund that it used to buy secret surveillance gear. Read the rest

Company suspected of blame in Office of Personnel Management breach will help run new clearance agency

In 2014, the US Office of Personnel Management was hacked (presumably by Chinese spies), and leaked 22,000,000+ records of Americans who'd applied for security clearance, handing over the most intimate, compromising details of their lives (the clearance process involves disclosing anything that could be used to blackmail you in the future). This didn't come to light until 2015. Read the rest

Yahoo says hack of 500 million users "state-sponsored," but a security firm calls bullshit

So, that huge hack of 500 million Yahoo user accounts last week that Yahoo blamed on a "state-sponsored actor"? A private internet security firm is calling bullshit on the "state-sponsored" part.

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Polar bears hold Russian scientists hostage on tiny Arctic island

A group of Russian scientists have been trapped for two weeks by polar bears at an Arctic island weather station. The scientists face a month-long wait for a rescue.

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Five government contractors account for 80% of America's surveillance workforce

When Edward Snowden came in from the cold, it catapulted his employer, Booz Allen Hamilton -- a giant military/intelligence contractor -- into the public eye, but Booz is small potatoes, one of the Big Five in the intelligence contractor industry, but it's dwarfed by Leidos Holdings, which recently merged with Lockheed's  Information Systems & Global Solutions to become the largest business in the $50B industry. Read the rest

ISIS left behind at least 14,000 landmines when it retreated from Manbij

Once it became clear that a US-backed militia coalition was going to chase Isis out of the northern Syrian city of Manbij, Isis planted at least 14,000 mines, boobytrapping refrigerators, onion-baskets, rocks, appliances, tea-kettles, "everything." Read the rest

Woman sues cops because they destroyed her empty house, thinking a suspect was hiding in it

The police in Caldwell, Idaho told Shariz West that they thought her ex-boyfriend might have run into her house and they asked for permission to look inside; she said yes, but then the cops engaged in a 10-hour armed standoff against her empty home (the family dog was inside, but there were no humans), blasting holes in the walls, crashing through the ceilings, smashing out the windows, and filling the house with tear-gas, which destroyed most of the family's possessions. Read the rest

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