Aug 26 2014

Daily News Flash with Robert Jensen on US Surveillance of Syria, NSAs Data Sharing and “Google”-Like Search, and Burger King Buyout of Tim Horton’s

Uprising’s guest expert Robert Jensen, an author and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzes today’s news headlines:

President Obama has authorized manned and unmanned surveillance flights over Syria. The Defense Department announced yesterday that it would send, according to the New York Times, “manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Syria, using a combination of aircraft, including drones and possibly U2 spy planes.” The Times says the surveillance could be, “a precursor to potential airstrikes there.” Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, who has been waging a brutal war against an uprising, is apparently not being consulted about the surveillance. The Syrian government shot back, saying it would view the flights as an assault on Syrian sovereignty. Click here for a New York Times article about the story.

The Intercept has just published a new exposé on the National Security Agency (NSA), based on documents from Edward Snowden. The news outlet has found that the NSA is directly providing intelligence data to law enforcement agencies around the country, whose members include the FBI, CIA, and DEA. The data is searchable through a piece of software called ICREACH, which is akin to an internal Google search engine for surveillance data. According to the Intercept, “The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones.” Click here for the original Intercept article about the story.

In what is being touted as the largest ever purchase of a restaurant chain, the US-based multinational company Burger King, is set to buy the ubiquitous Canadian coffee and donut chain, Tim Horton’s. The acquisition would put the Burger King corporation in competition with Yum Brands which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. Among the benefits the US company wants to capitalize on are a lower corporate tax rate in Canada. Tim Horton’s for its part, has taken over so much of Canada, that it is simply struggling to find new ways to extract more money from customers. Click here for a New York Times article about the story.

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