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News in Brief: Gingrich Restarts Presidential Campaign, and More …

Gingrich Restarts Presidential Campaign

Gingrich Restarts Presidential Campaign

Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich restarted his run for the US presidency on Sunday after senior staff members dropped out of his campaign, Reuters reports. Four days after the staff's mass departure, known as the “Newtiny,” Gingrich launched his campaign again by making an appeal to Jewish Republicans in California, telling them he would continue to campaign for the repeal of President Barack Obama's policies. “As someone who has been in public life for nearly 40 years, I know full well the rigors of campaigning for public office,” he told the Republican Jewish Coalition at an event on Sunday in Los Angeles. “I will endure the challenges. I will carry the message of American renewal to every part of this great land, no matter what it takes,” he said. Gingrich's campaign had faltered from the beginning, particularly after he criticized Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisconsin) Medicare reform plan and was revealed to have left the campaign trail to take a luxury cruise with his wife.

US Helping Political Dissidents Secretly Avoid Censorship

According to Democracy Now!, the US has been making efforts to deploy secret Internet and mobile phone systems overseas that will allow political dissidents to communicate with the world without government censorship. The project has been described as an “Internet in a suitcase” that employs a “mesh network” technology that creates an invisible wireless web without a centralized hub. Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation, said that the technology could be used to turn cell phones “into a medium that doesn't need to go through a cell tower, a central location, but communicate in a peer-to-peer manner, directly with another. And so, you can imagine if you daisy-chain a lot of these together, you can actually have an entire network built out of the already existing hardware that doesn't need a central authority.”

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Male Blogger Admits “Gay Girl in Damascus” Hoax

Tom MacMaster, a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, admitted on Monday that he was the author behind the Gay Girl in Damascus blog, writing posts for several months as a Syrian-American woman named Amina Araf, and said that the hoax was created “innocently and then got out of hand,” according to National Public Radio. The blog gained popularity as protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad became more prevalent and government responses became more violent. The announcement came after British publication The Guardian UK ran a profile of the blogger and got a call from London resident Jelena Lecic, who told the newspaper that the photo of Amina Araf was really a picture of her. MacMaster said he created the character, possibly as far back as 2006, so he could “have a discussion about the real questions” on subjects like the Middle East and the US invasion of Iraq without having his allegiance to the US questioned.

Full Pentagon Papers Released

Monday marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the Pentagon Papers, a secret government study of the Vietnam War that was leaked to the press by former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, The New York Times reports. After four decades, the government will release all 7,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers, officially known as the Report of the OSD Vietnam Task Force, and allow the public to read the study in its original form. Ellsberg, who leaked an incomplete copy of the report in 1971 in an effort to stop the Vietnam War, said the Pentagon Papers show the importance of allowing Congress, not the executive branch, the power to declare war. Ellsberg also praised the actions of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the military intelligence analyst who was imprisoned after allegedly releasing government files to WikiLeaks. “If he did what he's accused of, then he's my hero, because I've been waiting for somebody to do that for 40 years,” Ellsberg said.

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