FBI investigating 11 attacks on San Francisco-area Internet lines

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The FBI is investigating at least 11 physical attacks on high-capacity Internet cables in California’s San Francisco Bay Area dating back a year, including one early Tuesday morning.

Agents confirm the latest attack disrupted Internet service for businesses and residential customers in and around Sacramento, the state’s capital.

FBI agents declined to specify how significantly the attack affected customers, citing the ongoing investigation. In Tuesday’s attack, someone broke into an underground vault and cut three fiber-optic cables belonging to Colorado-based service providers Level 3 and Zayo.

The attacks date back to at least July 6, 2014, said FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich.

“When it affects multiple companies and cities, it does become disturbing,” Wuthrich said. “We definitely need the public’s assistance.”

The pattern of attacks raises serious questions about the glaring vulnerability of critical Internet infrastructure, said JJ Thompson, CEO of Rook Security, a security consulting and services provider in Indianapolis.

Fiber-optic cables are essentially bundles of slender glass fibers that use light waves to transmit data. They are the interstate highways of the information superhighway, carrying vast amounts of data between decentralized hubs. From there, Internet services are delivered to homes and businesses by lower-capacity cables, including DSL.

In Arizona earlier this year, tens of thousands of residents were cut off from Internet service after someone sliced through underground fiber-optic cables.

In April 2009, underground fiber-optic cables in California were cut at four sites, knocking out landlines, cell phones and Internet service for tens of thousands in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.

“When it’s situations that are scattered all in one geography, that raises the possibility that they are testing out capabilities, response times and impact,” Thompson said. “That is a security person’s nightmare.”

Wuthrich said cutting the lines requires tools. Although fiber-optic lines themselves aren’t much bigger than diameter of a pencil, they’re usually protected by tough, flexible conduit. Citing the ongoing investigation, he declined to further discuss specifics of the attacks, which he said have generally occurred in remote areas not monitored by security cameras.

Mark Peterson, a spokesman for Internet provider Wave Broadband, said an unspecified number of Sacramento-area customers were knocked offline by the latest attack. He characterized the Tuesday attack as “coordinated” and said the company was working with Level 3 and Zayo to restore service.

Spokeswomen for Level 3 and Zayo confirmed the disruption but declined to discuss specifics.

“Law enforcement is involved and restoration crews are working to restore connectivity as quickly as possible,” Zayo spokeswoman Shannon Paulk said via email.

Level 3 and Zayo are primarily business-to-business Internet providers, connecting local services like Wave to the broader Internet with their high-speed fiber-optic lines.

Safeguarding these lines “is a massive challenge for municipalities, governments and Corporate America to deal with,” Thompson said.

Fiber-optic cable lines are everywhere and are very visible, said Richard Doherty, research director of The Envisioneering Group, a technology assessment and market research firm.

“There are flags and signs indicating to somebody who wants to do damage: This is where it is folks,” Doherty said. “You often have fiber from several companies sometimes going down the same street or the same trench. One attacker can dig one hole and wipe out service from three companies.”

Backup systems help cushion consumers from the worst of the attacks, meaning people may notice slower email or videos not playing, but may not have service completely disrupted, he said.

But repairs are costly and penalties are not stiff enough to deter would-be vandals, Doherty said.

“It’s a terrible social crime that affects thousands and millions of people,” he said.


Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 5.02.29 PMBY JOEL B. POLLAK

On Thursday, President Barack Obama pledged: “I am committed to taking bold actions at home and abroad to cut carbon pollution.” On Friday, the President told a gathering of the nation’s mayors in San Francisco that they had to prepare for climate change. On Saturday, he flew on Air Force One to Palm Springs, where on Sunday he is playing golf at Sunnylands.

The president’s golf trip comes as Californians struggle with an extreme drought that has prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to issue the state’s first-ever mandatory water cuts. The Coachella Valley’s “water guzzling” golf courses have faced particular criticism, though they rely on their own large aquifer, and many have implemented water-saving reforms in recent years.

The White House wants Americans to know the president cares about the drought: “White House spokesman Eric Schultz responds that many courses have taken water mitigation steps aimed at conservation,” the Associated Press reports. “Schultz says Obama discussed the drought with California Gov. Jerry Brown in a meeting in San Francisco Friday.”

Still, at the end of his Father’s Day retreat, the president will climb aboard his taxpayer-funded aircraft and burn another trail of “carbon pollution.” If Obama truly believes that “we have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children’s children, from the damaging impacts of climate change,” he has a rather roundabout way of showing it.

Hispanic lawmakers call on Trump to apologize

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 8.32.48 AMBY CRISTINA MARCOS

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus called on Donald Trump to apologize for incendiary comments he made toward Mexicans during his presidential campaign announcement speech earlier this week.

In a blistering statement Friday afternoon, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) said she and fellow lawmakers were “outraged” by his comments that she said “perpetuate hateful stereotypes toward the Latino community.”

“Donald Trump owes an apology to the millions of Mexicans in this country who have contributed their talents towards making the United States the envy of the world,” Sanchez said.

During his presidential campaign announcement speech at the Trump Tower in New York City, Trump suggested that Mexicans immigrating illegally to the U.S. were dangerous.
“The U.S. has become the dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” Trump said.

“They’re sending people who have lots of problems,” he said. “They bring in drugs, they bring in crime, they’re rapists. I assume some are good people.”

“It’s got to stop, and it has got to stop fast,” Trump added.

Sanchez warned that comments like Trump’s could cause extreme attitudes that lead to violence like the mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., this week. A gunman allegedly opened fire during a Bible study at a historic black church in what federal authorities are calling a hate crime.

“It’s this kind of incendiary rhetoric which can lead to acts of violence. The most recent shooting in Charleston, South Carolina and the fatal stabbing of an Ecuadorian immigrant in Suffolk County, New York are examples of the incendiary acts that can result from hateful speech,” Sanchez said.

“True leaders find ways to unite the community and bring people together. Anyone seeking the highest office should denounce such bigoted and erroneous views,” she added.

Capitol Hill Republicans indicated this week they’re largely fine with Trump’s entry into the race, even though he may qualify for the first presidential primary debate and force other candidates off the stage.

But Trump’s comments unsettled some Republicans as well.

“I think that diminishes the field,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) told The Hill this week. “I think we’re better than that. To come up and paint with such a broad brush and say that all Mexicans are lazy is a low point for us as a party.”


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Los Angeles on Wednesday approved a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour, becoming the latest large city to increase pay amid mounting pressure.

The incremental wage increase in the second-largest U.S. city—which the city council passed in a 12-1 vote—will take place by 2020.

The hourly rate would more than double the current federal rate of $7.25 per hour. Los Angeles follows Seattle and San Francisco, which previously passed measures to hike wages to $15 an hour over several years.


Higher wage floors have served as a point of contention in recent years. Advocates have argued that hikes are necessary for minimum wage workers to cover the cost of living, while some detractors contend that higher pay burdens businesses.

The Los Angeles bill will become law pending approval from Mayor Eric Garcetti. The measure—which got preliminary approval last month—faced uncertainty after labor union leaders encouraged last-second changes that would make exceptions for companies with unionized workers.

The push for union leeway to negotiate a lower wage has since been scrapped.

Minimum pay will climb to $10.50 an hour by July of next year, with incremental increases bringing the floor to $15 by 2020.

Lake Mead Has Dramatic Loss of Water Elevation, Drops 8-Feet In Past 2 Days


Nevada- Lake Mead has lost an astounding amount of water in Very little time. Just by looking at the graph alone, you can see there has been a huge drop off the past 2 days and going!

This all comes on the heals of a East Bay California dam being destroyed and letting out 50 million gallons of water as well.


*(GENTLE GIANTS IN OAKLAND)* Multiple arrests as dozens rally in Oakland against police brutality

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Dozens of protesters have been arrested this weekend in Oakland, California during rallies against police brutality and a new protest policy implemented by the mayor, who called for monitoring of street demonstrations.

About 100-150 activists marched on Sunday before the organizers ended the event, police spokeswoman Johnna A. Watson told AP. Later a smaller group of 15-20 people staged another protest.

At least four people were arrested and 19 other received citations, she said, adding that the rally was closely watched by officers.

On Saturday similar protest was staged in the city. However, it turned more violent as dozens of activists were either arrested or cited by police.

I was complying with their order to back up. I still don’t know,” one of the protesters, Jahmese Myres told San Jose Mercury news. My arrest was unnecessary and unwarranted.”

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According to Schaaf, the city also needs to adopt new policy to combat damage to property and violence. Many businesses in the city were badly damaged following the May Day protests.

“You can’t run roughshod over people because they’re protesting your oppression,” said Cat Brooks, an organizer of both protests. “You can’t push us off the streets.”

According to Rachel Lederman, a lawyer from the National Lawyers Guild who helped Oakland craft its policies, the new laws violate the guidelines.

“It doesn’t make any sense because saying that marches have to be on the sidewalk has absolutely no relationship to impending property damage that might occur,” Lederman said. “Obviously that would happen on a sidewalk, not a street.”