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dimanche 7 octobre 2007

États-Unis: État policier, espionnage, répression, manipulation, élections volées et plus







États-Unis: État policier, espionnage, répression, manipulation, élections volées et plus


Voici une impressionante banque d'information en vue de l'émission de ce soir (7 octobre 2007, L'Autre Monde) sur l'état policier. Beaucoup d'autre informations seront publiés suite à l'émission. Ceux qui doutent encore de la dérape vers un état fachiste et totalitaire aux USA, voici de quoi vous faire penser....


Attacks on civil liberties

Election Fraud in the USA

How we got our president (9:28)

The Secret Government






"Attention: American forces are
here to help. We will not tolerate civil disobedience."
Must viewing:
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/164.html

A student in the US was dragged out of a public meeting, tasered and arrested for asking
questions of John Kerry who ran against Bush in 2004. 
 
Notice how the new media's approach to the story immediately distracted viewers from the actual questions the young 
man asked. 
 The AP (Associated Press) went so far as to report on the comedy routines this young man had on his personal
web site - but never even mentioned what it was he asked about at the Kerry speech...
 
In case you missed it:  He was asking about election fraud in Ohio in the 2004 election.
The evidence is clear: Bush lost Ohio and was given it using fraud, thus he did not really win the 2004 presidential election. 
 
So why did Kerry let himself be robbed?
 
Good question - and one you apparently get tasered, and then ignored, for asking.   
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/159.html

Did you ever wonder why Karl Rove resigned so suddenly last summer?
 Resigning gave him the opportunity to erase all his office e-mails. It also freed him to start raising money and
preparing for his legal defense. 

Defense against what? Charges of organizing an election fraud by violating fair election laws. An unambiguous felony.
 
Say what? News readers in Europe and Asia know all about it. It's headline news there. 
In the US, it's a censored story.
Here's the scoop including the smoking gun evidence that may hang Rove: 
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/162.html

The owners of Blackwater are big contributors to George Bush.
They operate their own private army in Iraq making huge profits as a US military contractor. 
Now, the Iraqi government has just told Blackwater to pack their bags and leave the country after some of their hired guns 
murdered eight Iraqi civilians in cold blood. 
Some background on Bush's private army - which may soon be heading home to North Carolina and in search of a new mission.  
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/93.html

Did you hear about upcoming rally of all Americans who support Bush? 
The crowd isn't as big as they expected it to be to they're moving the location...to the far right stall of 
the men's room at Minneapolis airport.
 
====================================
 
Lest we forget how we got Bush and his fellow miscreants in the first place...
Two words: election fraud
Here's a computer programmer - under oath before a Florida legislature hearing - recounting how he was asked to create
a computer system to create fraudulent election results by a Florida Republican  party leader before the 2000 election. 
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/145.html

The only officer charged in connection with Abu Ghraib is being let off the hook according to a Washington Post report
yesterday morning...
 
========================================
 
They called them 'terrorists,' rounded them up and subjected them to inhuman conditions and ghastly torture.
No formal charges, no evidence, no legal representation.
And it appears the overwhelming majority of those arrested were guilty of no crime.
The pictures the US public saw from Abu Ghraib were just the tip of the iceberg.
 
Congressmen were allowed to see the full archive, but the federal government succeeded in preventing the public from seeing them.  
 
The US news media didn't seem terribly interested in pressing the point. Too busy covering Paris Hilton no doubt. 
Fortunately, there are news services in other places that operate independent  of the US government's propaganda machine.

Three videos: two on site and one off.
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/138.html 

Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations
October 4, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/washington/04interrogate.html

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations. But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document; according to officials briefed on it, [it was] an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency. The new opinion ... for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures. Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard. The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department. Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques. But the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.

Collecting of Details on Travelers Documented
September 22, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/21/AR2007092102347.html

The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials. The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as long as 15 years, [by] the Department of Homeland Security's ... Automated Targeting System. But new details about the information being retained suggest that the government is monitoring the personal habits of travelers more closely than it has previously acknowledged. The details were learned when a group of activists requested copies of official records on their own travel. Those records included a description of a book on marijuana that one of them carried and small flashlights bearing the symbol of a marijuana leaf. Civil liberties advocates have alleged that the type of information preserved by the department raises alarms about the government's ability to intrude into the lives of ordinary people. The millions of travelers whose records are kept by the government are generally unaware of what their records say, and the government has not created an effective mechanism for reviewing the data and correcting any errors, activists said. The activists alleged that the data collection effort, as carried out now, violates the Privacy Act, which bars the gathering of data related to Americans' exercise of their First Amendment rights, such as their choice of reading material or persons with whom to associate. They also expressed concern that such personal data could one day be used to impede their right to travel.

US plans to 'fight the net' revealed
2006-01-27, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4655196.stm

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations". The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act. Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it. The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks. The military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans. "Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public. Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads. The document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum". US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum". The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.


Echelon spy network revealed
1999-11-03, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/503224.stm

Imagine a global spying network that can eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet. It sounds like science fiction, but it's true. Two of the chief protagonists - Britain and America - officially deny its existence. But the BBC has confirmation from the Australian Government that such a network really does exist and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are calling for an inquiry. The base is linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Mead in Maryland, and it is also linked to a series of other listening posts scattered across the world, like Britain's own GCHQ. The power of the network, codenamed Echelon, is astounding. Every international telephone call, fax, e-mail, or radio transmission can be listened to by powerful computers capable of voice recognition. They home in on a long list of key words, or patterns of messages. They are looking for evidence of international crime, like terrorism. The network is so secret that the British and American Governments refuse to admit that Echelon even exists. But another ally, Australia, has decided not to be so coy. The man who oversees Australia's security services, Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Bill Blick, has confirmed to the BBC that their Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) does form part of the network. Asked if they are then passed on to countries like Britain and America, he said: "They might be in certain circumstances." But the system is so widespread all sorts of private communications, often of a sensitive commercial nature, are hoovered up and analysed.


CIA and DOD Human Subjects Research Scandals
2007-00-00, U.S. Department of Energy Website
http://hss.energy.gov/healthsafety/ohre/roadmap/achre/chap3_4.html

In December 1974, the New York Times reported that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens during the 1960s. That report prompted investigations by both Congress (in the form of the Church Committee) and a presidential commission (known as the Rockefeller Commission) into the domestic activities of the CIA, the FBI, and intelligence-related agencies of the military. Congressional hearings and the Rockefeller Commission report revealed to the public for the first time that the CIA and the DOD had conducted experiments on both cognizant and unwitting human subjects as part of an extensive program to influence and control human behavior through the use of psychoactive drugs (such as LSD and mescaline) and other chemical, biological, and psychological means. They also revealed that at least one subject had died after administration of LSD. Frank Olson, an Army scientist, was given LSD without his knowledge or consent in 1953 as part of a CIA experiment and apparently committed suicide a week later. Subsequent reports would show that another person ... died as a result of a secret Army experiment involving mescaline. The CIA program, known principally by the codename MKULTRA, began in 1950 and was motivated largely in response to alleged Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean uses of mind-control techniques on U.S. prisoners of war in Korea. Most of the MKULTRA records were deliberately destroyed in 1973 by order of then-Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms.

Note: This highly revealing article on a U.S. government website shows that the CIA was actively involved in mind control projects. For an excellent summary based on thousands of pages of declassified CIA documents showing the secret creation of unknowing assassins or "Manchurian Candidates," click here.


Whistle-blower Had to Fight NSA, LA Times to Tell Story
2007-03-06, ABC News
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/03/whistleblower_h.html

Whistle-blower AT&T technician Mark Klein says his effort to reveal alleged government surveillance of domestic Internet traffic was blocked not only by U.S. intelligence officials but also by the top editors of the Los Angeles Times. Klein describes how he stumbled across "secret NSA rooms" being installed at an AT&T switching center in San Francisco and later heard of similar rooms in at least six other cities. Eventually, Klein says he decided to take his documents to the Los Angeles Times, to blow the whistle on what he calls "an illegal and Orwellian project." But after working for two months with LA Times reporter Joe Menn, Klein says he was told the story had been killed at the request of then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and then-director of the NSA Gen. Michael Hayden. Klein says he then took his AT&T documents to The New York Times, which published its exclusive account last April. In the court case against AT&T, Negroponte formally invoked the "state secrets privilege," claiming the lawsuit and the information from Klein and others could "cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States." The Los Angeles Times' decision was made by the paper's editor at the time, Dean Baquet, now the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times. As the new Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, Baquet now oversees the reporters who have broken most of the major stories involving the government surveillance program, often over objections from the government.

Note: So after the NY Times has the guts to report this important story, the man who was responsible for the censorship at the LA Times is transferred to the very position in the NY Times where he can now block future stories there. For why this case of blatant media censorship isn't making headlines, click here.


Making Martial Law Easier
2007-02-19, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/19/opinion/19mon3.html?ex=1329541200&en=b63c90...

A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration's behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law. The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which ... essentially limits a president's use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights. The newly enacted provisions upset this careful balance. The president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any "other condition." Changes of this magnitude should be made only after a thorough public airing. But these new presidential powers were slipped into the law without hearings or public debate. The president made no mention of the changes when he signed the measure, and neither the White House nor Congress consulted in advance with the nation's governors.


First, do no harm (to whites)
2006-12-31, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/31/RVGNGN44B91.DTL&type=...

[Book Review of] Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present. Harriet Washington opens the door on the torture room in "Medical Apartheid". Experimental operations on the skulls of slave children, Washington writes, were a favorite pursuit of a particularly sadistic South Carolinian doctor named J. Marion Sims, widely revered today as the "father of gynecology." For years, Sims experimented on a group of slave women, to whom he refused anesthesia. The most notorious post-slavery racial crime of American medicine [was] the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service between 1932 and 1972. More than 100 black subjects ... were denied treatment, even and especially after the discovery of penicillin in 1943. The research required that they suffer and die, the more slowly the better. Tuskegee was hardly unique. The Rockefeller Institute ... conducted a study in 1910 that saw 470 black syphilitics injected with a deadly strain of malaria. Black Americans were also disproportionately used ... as subjects in government inquiries into the effects of radiation. Washington's chilling history ends with contemporary case studies. At the Incarnation Children's Center in New York, Columbia University doctors continue to administer experimental AIDS drugs to minority orphans, even after many develop painful and debilitating reactions. As for current clinical trials in Africa, Washington describes the continent as the new "laboratory for the West," where unsuspecting patients regularly receive experimental therapies that might never receive state sanction in the United States or Europe.

Note: For more reliable, verifiable information on major corruption in the health industry, click here. It's also interesting to not that no other major media chose to review this important book.


Assault on Press Freedom
2006-11-26, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/11/26/INGAKMHOCV1.DTL

In a nation that preaches the virtues of democracy, the United States government has consistently eroded the media's ability to report. U.S. press freedom has been slipping away since Sept. 11, 2001. Many other countries are now ranked freer than the United States. In the most recent survey by Freedom House [the U.S.] tied for 17th place. International free-press advocates Reporters Without Borders ranked us 53rd, tied with Botswana, Croatia and Tonga. Now that we are in a seemingly permanent "war" on terrorism, the government claims wartime powers that result in restricting press freedom. The Bush administration has multiplied exponentially the number of documents it classifies as secret. The office of Vice President Dick Cheney claims to be exempt from reporting even the numbers of records it brands with the "classified" stamp. Within weeks after 9/11, President Bush issued Executive Order 13233, allowing him to veto public release not only of his own presidential papers but those of former [presidents]. One of former Attorney General John Ashcroft's first post-Sept. 11 acts was to issue a directive to federal agencies restricting access to government records under the Freedom of Information Act. Cheney [refused] to disclose even the identity of the corporate executives he met with to determine the administration's energy policy. The U.S. Supreme Court held ... that there is no such thing as a First Amendment right of access to government information or facilities. The Bush administration did not advance press freedom by producing ... favorable "news" stories with fake reporters. It is hard to stomach the hypocrisy of claiming to spread democracy abroad while restricting at home the very freedoms that make democracy possible.


[N.Y.] City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention
2007-03-25, New York
Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/nyregion/25infiltrate.html?ex=1332475200&en...

For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews. From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists. They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department's Intelligence Division. In hundreds of reports stamped "N.Y.P.D. Secret," the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law. These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports. In at least some cases, intelligence on what appeared to be lawful activity was shared with police departments in other cities. In addition to sharing information with other police departments, New York undercover officers were active themselves in at least 15 places outside New York -- including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montreal, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C. -- and in Europe. To date, as the boundaries of the department's expanded powers continue to be debated, police officials have provided only glimpses of its intelligence-gathering.


My National Security Letter Gag Order
2007-03-23, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/22/AR20070322018...

The Justice Department's inspector general revealed on March 9 that the FBI has been systematically abusing one of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act: the expanded power to issue "national security letters." It no doubt surprised most Americans to learn that between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands under this provision. It did not, however, come as any surprise to me. Three years ago, I received a national security letter (NSL) in my capacity as the president of a small Internet access and consulting business. The letter ordered me to provide sensitive information about one of my clients. There was no indication that a judge had reviewed or approved the letter, and it turned out that none had. The letter came with a gag provision that prohibited me from telling anyone, including my client, that the FBI was seeking this information. Based on the context of the demand -- a context that the FBI still won't let me discuss publicly -- I suspected that the FBI was abusing its power. Living under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case -- including the mere fact that I received an NSL -- from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie. At some point -- a point we passed long ago -- the secrecy itself becomes a threat to our democracy.


An Orwellian solution to kids skipping school
2007-02-20, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta's leading newspaper)
http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/stories/2007/02/19/0220truants.html

Let's say your teenager is a habitual truant and there is nothing you can do about it. A Washington area politician thinks he might have the solution: Fit the child with a Global Positioning System chip, then have police track him down. "It allows them to get caught easier," said Maryland Delegate Doyle Niemann (D-Prince George's), who recently co-sponsored legislation in the House that would use electronic surveillance as part of a broader truancy reduction plan. "It's going to be done unobtrusively. The chips are tiny and can be put into a hospital ID band or a necklace." Niemann's legislation mirrors a bill sponsored by state Sen. Gwendolyn Britt (D-Prince George's). Both would provide truants and their parents with better access to social services, such as mental health evaluations and help with schoolwork. Electronic monitoring would be a last resort. Still, the prospect of tagging children and using them in some "catch and release" hunt by police casts a pall over everything that's good about the plan. Odd how billions and billions of dollars keep going to a war that almost nobody wants, but there's never enough to fund the educational programs that nearly everybody says are needed. Aimed solely at students in Prince George's -- the only predominantly black county in the Washington area -- the truancy effort is called a "pilot program," a first-of-its-kind experiment. It would cost $400,000 to keep track of about 660 students a year.

Note: For more reliable information on the push to microchip the entire population, click here.








Victim owed compensation in CIA case, judge told
2007-01-11, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070111.BRAINWASH11/TPStory...

Patients were put in isolation, tied down or drugged, and subjected to hours and hours of taped recordings meant to brainwash them at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency. They were subjected to massive electroshocks, experimental drugs and LSD, most of them unwilling and unknowingly part of the U.S. spy agency's experimentation. Now it's time for the federal government to compensate those victims, lawyer Alan Stein argued. Mr. Stein is seeking court approval for a class-action lawsuit on behalf of his client, Janine Huard, one of the hundreds of patients of Ewen Cameron to be subjected to the Cold War-era experiments. "She never knew ... that she was being used by Dr. Cameron and his staff as a guinea pig," Mr. Stein told the court. The CIA ... recruited Dr. Cameron to experiment with mind-control techniques beginning in 1950. The experiments ... were jointly funded by the CIA and the Canadian government. They were part of a larger CIA program called MK-ULTRA, which also saw LSD administered to U.S. prison inmates and patrons of brothels without their knowledge. Ms. Huard was one of nine Canadian victims who received nearly $67,000 (U.S.) from the CIA in 1988 to compensate her for her suffering. But her claim for compensation from the federal government ... was rejected three times. In 1994, 77 patients were awarded $100,000 each from the federal government, but more than 250 others were denied compensation because they were not "totally depatterned."

Note: What this article fails to mention is that Dr. Cameron was also the president of both the American Psychicatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association. For more reliable information, click here.


Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision
2004-08-14, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-turley14aug14.story

Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's announced desire for camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be "enemy combatants" has moved him from merely being a political embarrassment to being a constitutional menace. Ashcroft's plan, disclosed last week but little publicized, would allow him to order the indefinite incarceration of U.S. citizens and summarily strip them of their constitutional rights and access to the courts by declaring them enemy combatants. Ashcroft hopes to use his self-made "enemy combatant" stamp for any citizen whom he deems to be part of a wider terrorist conspiracy. Aides have indicated that a "high-level committee" will recommend which citizens are to be stripped of their constitutional rights and sent to Ashcroft's new camps. Few would have imagined any attorney general seeking to reestablish such camps for citizens. We have learned from painful experience that unchecked authority, once tasted, easily becomes insatiable. We are only now getting a full vision of Ashcroft's America. Ashcroft seems to dream of a country secured from itself, neatly contained and controlled by his judgment of loyalty. For more than 200 years, security and liberty have been viewed as coexistent values. Ashcroft and his aides appear to view this relationship as lineal, where security must precede liberty. Every generation has its test of principle in which people of good faith can no longer remain silent in the face of authoritarian ambition. If we cannot join together to fight the abomination of American camps, we have already lost what we are defending.

Outsourcing foreign policy
September 21, 2007, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-brooks21sep21,0,4584140.column

For years, the [Bush] administration has been quietly auctioning off U.S. foreign policy to the highest corporate bidder -- and it may be too late for us to buy it back. Look at Blackwater. Blackwater increasingly promises to do everything the U.S. government can do, but better. Blackwater's facility in North Carolina is the world's largest private military facility -- it's so good that the U.S. military uses it for training. Since its founding, it has trained 50,000 "consultants" who can be deployed anywhere in the world. With no geographical limits, the company is eager to prove its value. Blackwater has trained police in Afghanistan and naval commandos in Azerbaijan, and it sent heavily armed employees to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. They started off offering their services as volunteers -- or vigilantes, some critics said. FEMA, playing catch-up, followed with contracts, as did a number of other agencies. Increasingly, Blackwater looks like a miniature government. It has people, infrastructure and hardware. For instance, it is buying Brazilian-made fighter bombers -- great in combat but not really necessary if you're merely providing civilian bodyguards. Blackwater is unusual, but it's not entirely unique. Other corporations ... are also eagerly filling the vacuum as the U.S. government retreats worldwide from the business of governing. The White House's motives are obvious. Why fight another war, with all the bother of convincing Congress, if you can quietly hire a private military company to fight it for you? Why interrogate suspected insurgents if you can outsource the whole messy business? As for the corporations so eagerly lapping up the contracting dollars, there's no conspiracy -- it's just the good old profit motive.

Case Dismissed?
September 20, 2007, Newsweek
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20884696/site/newsweek/from/ET/

The nation’s biggest telecommunications companies, working closely with the White House, have mounted a secretive lobbying campaign to get Congress to quickly approve a measure wiping out all private lawsuits against them for assisting the U.S. intelligence community’s warrantless surveillance programs. The campaign -— which involves some of Washington's most prominent lobbying and law firms -— has taken on new urgency in recent weeks because of fears that a U.S. appellate court in San Francisco is poised to rule that the lawsuits should be allowed to proceed. If that happens, the telecom companies say, they may be forced to terminate their cooperation with the U.S. intelligence community -— or risk potentially crippling damage awards for allegedly turning over personal information about their customers to the government without a judicial warrant. But critics say the language proposed by the White House -— drafted in close cooperation with the industry officials -— is so extraordinarily broad that it would provide retroactive immunity for all past telecom actions related to the surveillance program. Its practical effect, they argue, would be to shut down any independent judicial or state inquires into how the companies have assisted the government in eavesdropping on the telephone calls and e-mails of U.S. residents in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks. “It’s clear the goal is to kill our case," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based privacy group that filed the main lawsuit against the telecoms after The New York Times first disclosed, in December 2005, that President Bush had approved a secret program to monitor the phone conversations of U.S. residents without first seeking judicial warrants. “I find it a little shocking that Congress would participate in the covering up of what has been going on," added Cohn.

Searching Passengers' Faces For Subtle Cues to Terror
September 19, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/18/AR2007091801891.html

Looking for signs of "stress, fear and deception" among the hundreds of passengers shuffling past him at Orlando International Airport one day last month, security screener Edgar Medina immediately focused on four casually dressed men trying to catch a flight to Minneapolis. One of the men, in particular, was giving obvious signs of trying to hide something, Medina said. After obtaining the passengers' ID cards and boarding passes, the Transportation Security Administration officer quickly determined the men were illegal immigrants traveling with fake Florida driver's licenses. They were detained. The otherwise mundane arrests Aug. 13 illustrated an increasingly popular tactic in the government's effort to fight terrorism: detecting lawbreakers or potential terrorists by their behavior. The TSA has embraced the strategy, training 600 of its screeners ... in detection techniques. The TSA's teams are the most publicly acknowledged effort by the government or the private sector to come up with strategies and technology to detect lawbreakers or terrorists before they commit a crime. Other technologies under development or being deployed include machines that detect stress in voices and software that scans video images to match the faces of passengers with those of known terrorists. The government is testing other technology that can see through clothing with ... electromagnetic waves. TSA's growing reliance on detecting behavior and the close study of passengers' expressions concerns civil liberties groups and members of Congress. "The problem is behavioral characteristics will be found where you look for them," said John Reinstein, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

Review: Slavery's shockingly alive and well today
September 16, 2007, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/money/books/2007-09-16-nobodies_N.htm

A globalized world that could bring down the Berlin Wall, and deliver fresh fruit in the middle of the coldest winter months, wasn't supposed to foster one of the darkest of human practices — slavery. This version of the world was supposed to make life for everyone, everywhere, better. Better medicine, better prices, better democracies. Not so, says John Bowe in his incredible book, Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy. Not only is slavery a reality, but how we've executed this rush toward globalization may have created the very conditions necessary for slavery to gain a toehold in the modern world. Nobodies is investigative, immersion reporting at its best. The line between observer and participant blurs, and the reality of time, place and subject come crashing out in full detail. Bowe is a master storyteller whose work is finely tuned and fearless. When the time is appropriate, he goes so far as to question his own assumptions, ideals and practices without holding back. "Go out into this newly globalized world you're profiting from," he writes, "go visit the people being 'lifted' out of poverty, the workers who are making your products. Go live in their huts, eat their rice and plantains, squat on their floors, and listen to their babies cry. Sniff some glue and pray with them. Try to get justice from their police if someone hurts you. And then come back and let's talk about freedom." There's a chill in the air when he writes: "If you can read this page, you are on top of the world and billions of people are beneath you. Your ignorance and your lack of a program will likely equal the squalor of your grandchildren's existence."

Review: Slavery's shockingly alive and well today
September 16, 2007, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/money/books/2007-09-16-nobodies_N.htm

A globalized world that could bring down the Berlin Wall, and deliver fresh fruit in the middle of the coldest winter months, wasn't supposed to foster one of the darkest of human practices — slavery. This version of the world was supposed to make life for everyone, everywhere, better. Better medicine, better prices, better democracies. Not so, says John Bowe in his incredible book, Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy. Not only is slavery a reality, but how we've executed this rush toward globalization may have created the very conditions necessary for slavery to gain a toehold in the modern world. Nobodies is investigative, immersion reporting at its best. The line between observer and participant blurs, and the reality of time, place and subject come crashing out in full detail. Bowe is a master storyteller whose work is finely tuned and fearless. When the time is appropriate, he goes so far as to question his own assumptions, ideals and practices without holding back. "Go out into this newly globalized world you're profiting from," he writes, "go visit the people being 'lifted' out of poverty, the workers who are making your products. Go live in their huts, eat their rice and plantains, squat on their floors, and listen to their babies cry. Sniff some glue and pray with them. Try to get justice from their police if someone hurts you. And then come back and let's talk about freedom." There's a chill in the air when he writes: "If you can read this page, you are on top of the world and billions of people are beneath you. Your ignorance and your lack of a program will likely equal the squalor of your grandchildren's existence."

An Opportunity for Wall St. in China’s Surveillance Boom
September 7, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/11/business/worldbusiness/11security.html

Li Runsen, the powerful technology director of China’s ministry of public security, is best known for leading Project Golden Shield, China’s intensive effort to strengthen police control over the Internet. But last month Mr. Li took an additional title: director for China Security and Surveillance Technology, a fast-growing company that installs and sometimes operates surveillance systems for Chinese police agencies, jails and banks, among other customers. The company has just been approved for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s listing and Mr. Li’s membership on its board are just the latest signs of ever-closer ties among Wall Street, surveillance companies and the Chinese government’s security apparatus. Wall Street analysts now follow the growth of companies that install surveillance systems providing Chinese police stations with 24-hour video feeds from nearby Internet cafes. Hedge fund money from the United States has paid for the development of not just better video cameras, but face-recognition software and even newer behavior-recognition software designed to spot the beginnings of a street protest and notify police. Executives of Chinese surveillance companies say they are helping their government reduce street crime, preserve social stability and prevent terrorism. They note that London has a more sophisticated surveillance system, although the Chinese system will soon be far more extensive. Wall Street executives also defend the industry as necessary to keep the peace at a time of rapid change in China. They point out that New York has begun experimenting with surveillance cameras in Lower Manhattan and other areas of the city.

Spy Satellites Turned on the U.S.
September 6, 2007, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3567635

Traditionally, powerful spy satellites have been used to search for strategic threats overseas. But now the Department of Homeland Security has developed a new office to use the satellites to [monitor the US itself]. [DHS] officials ... faced extensive criticism [in Congress] about the privacy and civil liberty concerns of the new office, called the National Applications Office. [House Homeland Security] Committee members expressed concern about abuse of the satellite imagery, charging that Homeland Security had not informed the oversight committee about the program. "What's most disturbing is learning about it from The Wall Street Journal," said Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. The lawmakers also expressed concern about using military capabilities for U.S. law enforcement and Homeland Security operations, potentially a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from serving as a law enforcement body within the United States. Committee members said that in addition to not being informed about the National Applications Office program, they had not yet been provided with documents defining the limits and legal guidance about the program. [They] sent a letter to Homeland Security saying, "We are so concerned that ... we are calling for a moratorium on the program. Today's testimony made clear that there is effectively no legal framework governing the domestic use of satellite imagery for the various purposes envisioned by the department."

Defense Dept. pays $1B to outside analysts
August 29, 2007, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-08-29-dia_N.htm

The Defense Department is paying private contractors more than $1 billion in more than 30 separate contracts to collect and analyze intelligence for the four military services and its own Defense Intelligence Agency, according to contract documents and a Pentagon spokesman. The disclosure marks the first time a U.S. intelligence service has made public its outside payments. Intelligence payments to contractors have climbed dramatically since the terror attacks in September 2001, but none had been made public, according to a report filed in April by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Outside contracting ... places critical security tasks and sensitive information in the hands of private parties, says Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy specialist at the Federation of American Scientists, a Washington privacy group. "Private contractors don't have to undergo congressional oversight or justify their budgets to appropriators," Aftergood says. "We're starting to create a new kind of intelligence bureaucracy, one that is both more expensive and less accountable (than government's own intelligence agencies)." Most of the contracts, which extend up to five years, pay for analysis of intelligence data and for related services, such as translation and interpretation of photo and electronic intelligence. A small fraction, which [a Pentagon spokesman] declined to specify, pay for private spies. Private contractors often hire former intelligence officers, sometimes leasing them back at higher salaries to the agencies that first recruited and trained them.

A chip on my shoulder
August 12, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/12/EDG00REOHJ1.DTL

The ability to blend vast databases containing personal information -- and the sophistication of tracking devices that can announce your presence along with myriad vital statistics when you cross a bridge or enter a room -- have brought Americans to a crossroads. Do we shrug and concede that privacy is lost -- "get over it," as one titan of tech declared so bluntly? Or do we look for ways to draw the line, to identify means and places where employers and governments should not dare to tread? One such place: Our bodies. Life has begun to imitate art -- as in the futuristic film "Minority Report" -- with the refinement of toothpick-thick microchips that can be implanted in your arm and packed with loads of personally identifiable information that can be beamed to the world. These radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices -- or "talking bar codes" -- amount to miniature antennas that transmit the types of information that might otherwise be held on a swipe card. Even if you've shrugged through the debates about warrantless wiretapping and said "what the heck" at the prospect that everything from your spending habits to your Web site travels are being compiled and crunched for commercial purposes, you might think twice about letting your employer insert a microchip under your skin as a condition of getting a job. As of today, it is both a technical and a legal possibility. Just last year, a ... provider of video-surveillance equipment inserted ... microchips into the arms of two employees. Those two workers volunteered, but it's not hard to imagine the lightbulbs going off in Corporate America. Is Joe really making a sales call or is he taking in a baseball game at AT&T Park? How many smoke breaks is Mary taking? Amazingly, there is no California law against "chipping" workers as a condition of employment.

Note: For many reliable reports from the major media on the potential dangers of microchips, click here.

Voter Caging and Housing Works
July 27, 2007, PBS
http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/330/index.html

Was there a White House plot to illegally suppress votes in 2004? Is there a similar plan for the upcoming elections? This week NOW examines documents and evidence that points to a Republican Party plan designed to keep Democrats from voting, allegedly by targeting people based on their race and ethnicity with key battleground states like Ohio and Florida of particular interest. "It was a partisan, discriminatory attempt to challenge voters of color," Eddie Hailes, a senior attorney for The Advancement Project, a civil rights group, told NOW. Was the White House involved? David Iglesias, one of the fired U.S. Attorneys, thinks so: "It's reprehensible. It's unethical, it's unlawful. It may very well be criminal." Iglesias told NOW he was repeatedly urged by his superiors at the Justice Department to investigate allegations of false voter registrations. After his investigations came up short, Iglesias said Republican officials got angry and complained to White House aide Karl Rove. Soon after Iglesias lost his job. As a result of allegations by Iglesias and others, Congress is investigating whether the White House acted unlawfully. While Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refused to answer many questions about the controversy as he testified before the Senate this week, Iglesias told NOW he believes the White House is keeping documents from Congress to protect the Bush Administration. "That's why there has been such a circling of the wagons around Karl Rove and Harriet Miers and Sarah Taylor. I believe there to be incriminating, possibly criminally incriminating evidence contained in those e-mails and other memoranda," he said.

Note: To read further reports from the major media on the many serious problems in the US electoral process, click here.

An Orwellian solution to kids skipping school
2007-02-20, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta's leading newspaper)
http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/stories/2007/02/19/0220truants.html

Let's say your teenager is a habitual truant and there is nothing you can do about it. A Washington area politician thinks he might have the solution: Fit the child with a Global Positioning System chip, then have police track him down. "It allows them to get caught easier," said Maryland Delegate Doyle Niemann (D-Prince George's), who recently co-sponsored legislation in the House that would use electronic surveillance as part of a broader truancy reduction plan. "It's going to be done unobtrusively. The chips are tiny and can be put into a hospital ID band or a necklace." Niemann's legislation mirrors a bill sponsored by state Sen. Gwendolyn Britt (D-Prince George's). Both would provide truants and their parents with better access to social services, such as mental health evaluations and help with schoolwork. Electronic monitoring would be a last resort. Still, the prospect of tagging children and using them in some "catch and release" hunt by police casts a pall over everything that's good about the plan. Odd how billions and billions of dollars keep going to a war that almost nobody wants, but there's never enough to fund the educational programs that nearly everybody says are needed. Aimed solely at students in Prince George's -- the only predominantly black county in the Washington area -- the truancy effort is called a "pilot program," a first-of-its-kind experiment. It would cost $400,000 to keep track of about 660 students a year.

Note: For more reliable information on the push to microchip the entire population, click here.

Radio frequency identification keeps tabs on goods, services, pets - even people
2006-05-11, Sacramento Bee (the leading newspaper of California's capital city)
http://www.sacbee.com/content/lifestyle/story/14254188p-15069873c.html

Feel like you're being followed? Maybe it's a tracking tag on your jeans or one implanted in a credit card. The tags are called radio frequency identification or RFIDs, and every day they are becoming more and more a part of our lifestyle. These Orwellian microchips, as minute as a grain of sand, identify and track products and even lost children at theme parks. They're being implanted in humans to alert hospitals about medical conditions. The tags can be so tiny, you may never know they are there. Retailers claim RFIDs are essential: alerting them when they're low on lipstick, air filters, sodas and other inventory. Embedded tags aren't so obvious. Hitachi Europe recently developed the world's tiniest RFID integrated circuit, small enough to be placed in a piece of paper. Some RFID chips are made to be imbedded in livestock, in pets and most recently in humans for a variety of reasons. RFID prices have dropped, and tagging has become practical for businesses. In-Stat, a high-tech research firm, reports more than 1 billion RFID chips were made last year and predicts that by 2010 the number will increase to 33 billion. Slightly larger than a grain of rice, RFID chips from VeriChip of Florida are manufactured for implanting in humans. The Food and Drug Administration approved human implants two years ago.

Note: For lots more on microchip implants, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/microchipimplants








Technology gets under clubbers' skin
2004-06-09, CNN News
http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/06/09/spain.club

Queuing to get into one nightclub in Spain could soon be a thing of the past for regular customers thanks to a tiny computer chip implanted under their skin. The technology, known as a VeriChip, also means nightclubbers can leave their cash and cards at home and buy drinks using a scanner. The bill can then be paid later. Clubbers who want to join the scheme at Baja Beach Club in Barcelona pay 125 euros (about US $150) for the VeriChip -- about the size of a grain of rice -- to be implanted in their body. Then when they pass through a scanner the chip is activated and it emits a signal containing the individual's number, which is then transmitted to a secure data storage site. The club's director, Conrad Chase, said he began using the VeriChip, made by Applied Digital Solutions, in March 2004 because he needed something similar to a VIP card and wanted to provide his customers with better service. He said 10 of the club's regular customers, including himself, have been implanted with the chip, and predicted more would follow. "I know many people who want to be implanted," said Chase. "Almost everybody now has a piercing, tattoos or silicone. Why not get the chip and be original?" Chase said VeriChip could also boost security by speeding up checks at airports, for example. He denied the scheme had any drawbacks. The VeriChip is an in-house debit card and contains no personal information.

Note: Why is the media so upbeat about this? The article raises very few questions, yet seems to promote microchip implants in humans as the wave of the future for commerce.


Professor has nightmare vision of global positioning technology
2003-05-07, WantToKnow.info/Kansas City Star (Leading newspaper of Kansas City)
http://www.WantToKnow.info/030307kansascitystar

Jerome Dobson is not joking. The University of Kansas research professor, a respected leader in the field of geographic information technologies [speculates about] "geoslavery" -- a form of technological human control that could make "George Orwell's 'Big Brother' nightmare ... look amateurish." He's talking about overlords electronically punishing errant workers. He's talking about the possibility of people hooked to, tracked by, and potentially shocked or burned using inexpensive electronic bracelets, manacles or implants. Dobson worked for 26 years at Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory creating, for the government, the maps used in global tracking. He is the president of the American Geographical Society. And he is not alone in his thoughts. [In] the journal published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a paper titled "Geoslavery" is co-written by Dobson and Peter F. Fisher, British editor of the International Journal of Geographical Information Science. "Human tracking systems, currently sold commercially without restrictions, already empower those who would be masters. Safeguards have not yet evolved to protect those destined to be slaves," they wrote. With a laptop computer, employers can keep track of their drivers' every move. Implanted chips ... keep track of livestock or pets. Whereify Wireless Inc. sells its GPS Kids Locator for $400. The device, which also looks like a watch, can be locked to a child's wrist. Dobson said that ... none of the companies was thinking of anything nefarious. [Yet he] worries that where there is an evil will, there is an evil way. He hopes [to] create debate and perhaps legislation or safeguards around the technology that will keep it from being misused.


Scientists develop 'brain chip'
2003-03-12, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2843099.stm

US scientists say a silicon chip could be used to replace the hippocampus, where the storage of memories is co-ordinated. They are due to start testing the device on rats' brains shortly. If that goes well, the Californian researchers will test the artificial hippocampus in live rats within six months and then monkeys trained to carry out memory tasks before progressing to human trials once the chip has been proved to be safe. The hippocampus is an area at the base of the brain in humans, close to the junction with the spinal cord. It is believed it "encodes" experiences so they can be stored as long-term memories in another part of the brain. The researchers were able to devise a mathematical model of a whole hippocampus. The model was then programmed on to a chip. They suggest the chip would sit on a patient's skull, rather than inside the brain. Bernard Williams, a philosopher at Oxford University, UK, who is an expert in personal identity, said people might find the technology hard to accept at first.

Note: Consider that top secret military experiments in almost all fields are generally at least a decade ahead of anything reported in the media. What do you think they might have developed by now? Could they have developed a way to erase and even replace memories? For more, click here.


Chips: High Tech Aids or Tracking Tools?
2007-07-22, ABC News/Associated Press
http://www.abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=3402044

CityWatcher.com, a provider of surveillance equipment, attracted little notice itself until a year ago, when two of its employees had glass-encapsulated microchips with miniature antennas embedded in their forearms. The "chipping" of two workers with RFIDs radio frequency identification tags ... was merely a way of restricting access to ... sensitive data and images ... the company said. Innocuous? Maybe. But the news that Americans had, for the first time, been injected with electronic identifiers to perform their jobs fired up a debate over the proliferation of ever-more-precise tracking technologies and their ability to erode privacy in the digital age. To some, the ... notion of tagging people was Orwellian. Chipping, these critics said, might start with Alzheimer's patients or Army Rangers, but would eventually be suggested for convicts, then parolees, then sex offenders, then illegal aliens until one day, a majority of Americans, falling into one category or another, would find themselves electronically tagged. "It was scary that a government contractor that specialized in putting surveillance cameras on city streets was the first to incorporate this technology in the workplace," says Liz McIntyre, co-author of Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID. Within days of the company's announcement, civil libertarians and Christian conservatives joined to excoriate the microchip's implantation in people.

Note: For educated speculation on how certain powerful people might like to have everyone implanted with microchips for security and control purposes, click here.


Students ordered to wear tracking tags
2005-02-09, MSNBC News
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6942751

The only grade school in this rural town is requiring students to wear radio frequency identification badges that can track their every move. Some parents are outraged, fearing it will rob their children of privacy. The badges introduced at Brittan Elementary School on Jan. 18 rely on the same radio frequency and scanner technology that companies use to track livestock and product inventory. The system was imposed, without parental input, by the school as a way to simplify attendance-taking and potentially reduce vandalism and improve student safety. Some parents see a system that can monitor their children's movements on campus as something straight out of Orwell. This latest adaptation of radio frequency ID technology was developed by InCom Corp., a local company co-founded by the parent of a former Brittan student, and some parents are suspicious about the financial relationship between the school and the company. InCom has paid the school several thousand dollars for agreeing to the experiment, and has promised a royalty from each sale if the system takes off, said the company's co-founder, Michael Dobson, who works as a technology specialist in the town's high school.


Passports go electronic with new microchip
2004-12-09, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1209/p12s01-stct.html

The US passport is about to go electronic, with a tiny microchip embedded in its cover. The chip is the latest outpost in the battle to outwit tamperers. But it's also one that worries privacy advocates. The RFID (radio frequency identification) chip in each passport will contain the same personal data as now appear on the inside pages - name, date of birth, place of birth, issuing office - and a digitized version of the photo. But the 64K chip will be read remotely. And there's the rub. The scenario, privacy advocates say, could be as simple as you standing in line with your passport as someone walks by innocuously carrying a briefcase. Inside that case, a microchip reader could be skimming data from your passport to be used for identity theft. Or maybe authorities ... want to see who's gathered in a crowd and surreptitiously survey your ID and track you. Why not choose a contact chip, where there would be no possibility of skimming, asks Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Project. "There was another way to go, which was to put an electronic strip in the passport that would require contact." The State Department says it's just following international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), under the umbrella of the United Nations. The ICAO specified the RFID ... at the behest of the United States. All countries that are part of the US visa-waiver program must use the new passports by Oct. 26, 2005. Mr. Steinhardt ... says the US pushed through the standards against the reservations of the Europeans. "Bush says at the G8 meeting, 'We have to adhere to the global standard,' as though we had nothing to do with it," he says in exasperation.

Note: If the above link fails, click here. For more on the risk of RFID chips, click here.


A Real Chip On Your Shoulder
2003-07-17, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/17/tech/main563819.shtml

A U.S. company launched Thursday in Mexico the sale of microchips that can be implanted under a person's skin and used to confirm everything from health history to identity. The microchips ... went on sale last year in the United States. The microchip, the size of a grain of rice, is implanted in the arm or hip and can contain information on everything from a person's blood type to their name. In a two-hour presentation, Palm Beach, Florida-based Applied Digital Solutions Inc. introduced reporters to the VeriChip and used a syringe-like device and local anesthetic to implant a sample in the right arm of employee Carlos Altamirano. "It doesn't hurt at all," he said. "The whole process is just painless." Antonio Aceves, the director of the Mexican company charged with distributing the chip here, said that in the first year of sales, the company hoped to implant chips in 10,000 people and ensure that at least 70 percent of all hospitals had the technology to read the devices. One chip costs $150 and has a $50 annual fee. Users can update and manage their chips' information by calling a 24-hour customer service line. The VeriChip can track subjects who are within 5 miles, but officials want to develop a new chip that can use satellite technology to track people who are farther away and may have been kidnapped. While the idea of using the chip to track people has raised privacy concerns in the United States, the idea has been popular with Mexicans. The company hopes to have the new anti-kidnapping chip developed by 2003.

U.S. Cites ‘Secrets’ Privilege to Stop Suit on Banking Records
August 31, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/31/us/nationalspecial3/31swift.html

The Bush administration ... plans to turn again to a legal tool, the “state secrets” privilege, to try to stop a suit against a Belgian banking cooperative [known as Swift] that secretly supplied millions of private financial records to the United States government. The “state secrets” privilege, allowing the government to shut down litigation on national security grounds, was once rarely used. The Bush administration has turned to it more than 30 times, seeking to end public discussion of cases like the claims of an F.B.I. whistle-blower and the abduction of a German terrorism suspect. Most notably, the administration has sought to use the privilege to kill numerous suits against telecommunications carriers over the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program. Swift is considered the nerve center of the global banking industry, routing trillions of dollars each day among banks, brokerage houses and other financial institutions. Its partnership with Washington ... gave Central Intelligence Agency and Treasury Department officials access to millions of records on international banking transactions. Months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Swift began turning over large chunks of its database in response to a series of unusually broad subpoenas from the Treasury Department. Two American banking customers ... sued Swift on invasion-of-privacy grounds. [Steven E. Schwarz, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the Swift program] “is an Orwellian example of government overreaching and unfettered access to private financial information that is not consistent with the values upon which our country was founded. We’ve seen a real erosion of the ‘state secrets’ privilege in the last year. I think it is from overuse. We’ve seen it used in record numbers, in situations where it was inappropriate, and the courts are starting to recognize that.”

Government secrecy up despite exposure of issue
August 31, 2007, Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Cox News Service
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/329978_secrecy02.html

Government secrecy is expanding at an unprecedented clip, despite growing public concern about barriers to information. OpenTheGovernment.org reports that stamping government documents "secret" cost American taxpayers $8.2 billion last year -- a 7.5 percent increase over the year before. The coalition found that for every dollar spent declassifying documents, the federal government spends $185 to conceal government documents. Open-government advocates blame the policies of the Bush administration. "The current administration has increasingly refused to be held accountable to the public," said Patrice McDermott, executive director of the coalition of conservative and liberal groups concerned about government secrecy. "These practices lead to the circumscription of democracy." Among the findings from the report: Businesses enjoyed a no-bid process for 26 percent, or $107.5 billion, of the federal government's business last year. President Bush has issued at least 151 signing statements challenging 1,149 provisions of laws passed by Congress. The Defense Department has more than doubled in real terms the amount it spends on classified weapons acquisitions since 1995. The number of documents [classified in 2006] ballooned to 20.3 million, up by 43 percent. And those figures do not include the untold number of documents that are locked away by federal agencies in categories known as "pseudo-classification." These are unclassified documents that government bureaucrats deem too sensitive for public consumption. The report also found that the Bush administration has invoked a legal tool known as the "state secrets" privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.

FBI Proposes Building Network of U.S. Informants
July 25, 2007, abcnews.com
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/07/fbi-proposes-bu.html

The FBI is taking cues from the CIA to recruit thousands of covert informants in the United States as part of a sprawling effort to boost its intelligence capabilities. According to a recent unclassified report to Congress, the FBI expects its informants to provide secrets about possible terrorists and foreign spies, although some may also be expected to aid with criminal investigations, in the tradition of law enforcement confidential informants. The FBI said the push was driven by a 2004 directive from President Bush ordering the bureau to improve its counterterrorism efforts by boosting its human intelligence capabilities. The aggressive push for more secret informants appears to be part of a new effort to grow its intelligence and counterterrorism efforts. Other recent proposals include expanding its collection and analysis of data on U.S. persons, retaining years' worth of Americans' phone records and even increasing so-called "black bag" secret entry operations. To handle the increase in so-called human sources, the FBI also plans to overhaul its database system, so it can manage records and verify the accuracy of information from "more than 15,000" informants, according to the document. The bureau has arranged to use elements of CIA training to teach FBI agents about "Source Targeting and Development," the report states. The courses will train FBI special agents on the "comprehensive tradecraft" needed to identify, recruit and manage these "confidential human sources."

False Flag Terrorism

"False flag terrorism" occurs when elements within a government stage a secret operation whereby government forces pretend to be a targeted enemy while attacking their own forces or people. The attack is then falsely blamed on the enemy in order to justify going to war against that enemy. Or as Wikipedia defines it:

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one's own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy's strategy of tension.

The term comes from the old days of wooden ships, when one ship would hang the flag of its enemy before attacking another ship in its own navy. Because the enemy's flag was hung instead of the flag of the real country of the attacking ship, it was called a "false flag" attack.

There are many examples of false flag attacks through history. For example, it is widely known that the Nazis, in Operation Himmler, faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. And it has now been persuasively argued — as shown, for example, in this History Channel video — that Nazis set fire to their own parliament, the Reichstag, and blamed that fire on others. The Reichstag fire was the watershed event which justified Hitler's seizure of power and suspension of liberties.

And in the early 1950s, agents of an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind "evidence" implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers). Israel's Defense Minister was brought down by the scandal, along with the entire Israeli government. Click here for verification.

The Russian KGB apparently conducted a wave of bombings in Russia in order to justify war against Chechnya and put Vladimir Putin into power (see also this short essay and this report). And the Turkish government has been caught bombing its own and blaming it on a rebel group in order to justify a crackdown on that group. Muslim governments also play this game. For example, the well-respected former Indonesian president claimed that their government had a role in the Bali bombings.

This sounds nuts, right? You've never heard of this "false flag terrorism," where a government attacks its own people then blames others in order to justify its goals, right? And you are skeptical of the statements discussed above? Please take a look at these historical quotes:

"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - U.S. President James Madison

"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

What about the U.S.?

Is it logical to assume that, even if other countries have carried out false flag operations (especially horrible regimes such as, say, the Nazis or Stalin), the U.S. has never done so? Well, as documented by the New York Times, Iranians working for the C.I.A. in the 1950's posed as Communists and staged bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected president (see also this essay).

And, as confirmed by a former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence, NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and blamed communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: "You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security."

Moreover, recently declassified U.S. Government documents show that in the 1960s, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan code-named Operation Northwoods to blow up American airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. The operation was not carried out only because the Kennedy administration refused to implement these Pentagon plans.

For lots more on the astonishing Operation Northwoods, see the ABC news report; the official declassified documents; and watch this interview with James Bamford, the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. One quote from the Northwoods documents states: "A 'Remember the Maine' incident could be arranged: We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation."

What about Al-Qaeda?

You might think Al-Qaeda is different. It is very powerful, organized, and out to get us, right? Consider this Los Angeles Times article, reviewing a BBC documentary entitled The Power of Nightmares, which shows that the threat from Al Qaeda has been vastly overblown (and see this article on who is behind the hype). And former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski testified to the Senate that the war on terror is "a mythical historical narrative."

And did you know that the FBI had penetrated the cell which carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but had -- at the last minute -- cancelled the plan to have its FBI infiltrator substitute fake powder for real explosives, against the infiltrator's strong wishes (summary version is free; full version is pay-per-view)? See also this TV news report.

Have you heard that the CIA is alleged to have met with Bin Laden two months before 9/11? Did you know that years after 9/11 the FBI first stated that it did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute Bin Laden for 9/11? The agency apparently still does not have any hard evidence linking Bin Laden to the crime (see also this partial confirmation by the Washington Post). And did you see the statement by the CIA commander in charge of the capture that the U.S. let Bin Laden escape from Afghanistan?

Have you heard that the anthrax attacks -- which were sent along with notes purportedly written by Islamic terrorists -- used a weaponized anthrax strain from the top U.S. bioweapons facility? Indeed, top bioweapons experts have stated that the anthrax attack may have been a CIA test "gone wrong." For more on this, see this article by a former NSA and naval intelligence officer and this statement by a distinguished law professor and bioterror expert (and this one).

It is also interesting that the only Congress-members mailed anthrax letters were key Democrats, and that the attacks occurred one week before passage of the freedom-curtailing PATRIOT Act, which seems to have scared them and the rest of Congress into passing that act without even reading it. And though it may be a coincidence, White House staff began taking the anti-anthrax medicine before the Anthrax attacks occurred.

Even General William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, said "By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism, yet in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation" (the audio is here).

Why Does This Matter?

Please read what the following highly respected people are saying:

Former prominent Republican U.S. Congressman and CIA official Bob Barr stated that the U.S. is close to becoming a totalitarian society and that the current administration is using fear to try to ensure that this happens. Current Republican U.S. Congressman Ron Paul stated that the government "is determined to have martial law." He also said a contrived "Gulf of Tonkin-type incident may occur to gain popular support for an attack on Iran." Former National Security Adviser Brzezinski told the Senate that a terrorist act might be carried out in the U.S. and falsely blamed on Iran to justify war against that nation.

The former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, Paul Craig Roberts, who is called the "Father of Reaganomics" and is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Scripps Howard News Service, has said:

"Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging 'terrorist' attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda? ... If the Bush administration wants to continue its wars in the Middle East and to entrench the 'unitary executive' at home, it will have to conduct some false flag operations that will both frighten and anger the American people and make them accept Bush's declaration of 'national emergency' and the return of the draft. Alternatively, the administration could simply allow any real terrorist plot to proceed without hindrance."

(see also this even stronger statement).

Retired 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who prepared and presented Presidential Daily Briefings and served as a high-level analyst for several presidents, stated that if there was another major attack in the U.S., it would lead to martial law. He went on to say:

"We have to be careful, if somebody does this kind of provocation - big violent explosions of some kind - we have to not take the word of the masters there in Washington that this was some terrorist event because it could well be a provocation allowing them, or seemingly to allow them to get what they want."

The former CIA analyst would not put it past the government to "play fast and loose" with terror alerts and warnings and even terrorist events in order to rally people behind the flag.

General Tommy Franks stated that if another terrorist attack occurs in the United States "the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government." Daniel Ellsberg, the famous Pentagon Papers whistleblower, said "if there is another terror attack, I believe the president will get what he wants. And what he wants is a new Patriot Act, one that will make the current Patriot Act look like the Bill of Rights."

Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter stated before the Iraq war started that there were no weapons of mass destruction. He is now saying that he would not rule out staged government terror by the U.S. government. And British Parliament Member George Galloway stated that "there is a very real danger" that the American government will stage a false flag terror attack in order to justify war against Iran and to gain complete control domestically.

The abundance of reliable information in this essay suggests that not only has the U.S. in the past conducted false flag operations, but there is a possibility that 9/11 involved some element of this deceipt, and a future false flag operation cannot be ruled out. Let us spread this news to all who care so that we might build the critical mass necessary to stop these secret operations and work together for a more caring civil society.


Special Note: This essay is an edited version of the well researched document available at http://pledgeforamerica.com/2.html. For a collection of reliable, verifiable information suggesting that 9/11 may have been a form of false flag operation, please see the 9/11 Information Center at http://www.WantToKnow.info/911information.

Telecom Firms Helped With Government's Warrantless Wiretaps
August 24, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/23/AR2007082302056.html

The Bush administration acknowledged for the first time that telecommunications companies assisted the government's warrantless surveillance program and were being sued as a result, an admission some legal experts say could complicate the government's bid to halt numerous lawsuits challenging the program's legality. "[U]nder the president's program, the terrorist surveillance program, the private sector had assisted us," Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said in an interview with the El Paso Times. His statement could help plaintiffs in dozens of lawsuits against the telecom companies, which allege that the companies participated in a wiretapping program that violated Americans' privacy rights. David Kris, a former Justice Department official, ... said McConnell's admission makes it difficult to argue that the phone companies' cooperation with the government is a state secret. "It's going to be tough to continue to call it 'alleged' when he's just admitted it," Kris said. McConnell has just added to "the list of publicly available facts that are no longer state secrets," increasing the plaintiffs' chances that their cases can proceed, Kris said. McConnell's statement "does serious damage to the government's state secrets claims that are at the heart of its defenses," said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Bruce Fein, an associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, said that McConnell's disclosure shows that "an important element of a program can be discussed publicly and openly without endangering the nation. These Cassandran cries that the earth is going to fall every time you have a discussion simply are not borne out by the facts," he said.

Federal No-Bid Contracts On Rise
August 22, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/22/AR2007082200049.html

Last year, officials at the Department of Homeland Security's counter-narcotics office took a shortcut that has become common at federal agencies: They hired help through a no-bid contract. And the firm they hired showed them how to do it. A contract worth up to $579,000 was awarded to the consultant's firm in September. Though small by government standards, the counter-narcotics contract illustrates the government's steady move away from relying on competition to secure the best deals for products and services. A recent congressional report estimated that federal spending on contracts awarded without "full and open" competition has tripled, to $207 billion, since 2000, with a $60 billion increase last year alone. The category includes deals in which officials take advantage of provisions allowing them to sidestep competition for speed and convenience and cases in which the government sharply limits the number of bidders or expands work under open-ended contracts. Government auditors say the result is often higher prices for taxpayers and an undue reliance on a limited number of contractors. "The rapid growth in no-bid and limited-competition contracts has made full and open competition the exception, not the rule," according to the report, by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Keith Ashdown, chief investigator at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said that in many cases, officials are simply choosing favored contractors as part of a "club mentality." "Contracting officials are throwing out decades of work to develop fair and sensible rules to promote competition," Ashdown said. "Government officials are skirting the rules in favor of expediency or their favored contractors."

Suit: Oil giants fixed prices for 23,000 gas station owners
August 22, 2007, USA Today/Associated Press
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2007-08-22-gas-lawsuit_N.htm

Nearly two dozen gas station owners in California [have] sued Shell Oil, Chevron (CVX) and Saudi Refining ... claiming the companies conspired to fix prices for 23,000 franchise owners nationwide. The plaintiffs ... say chairmen of the three oil companies met privately nearly every month starting in March 1996 for the "purpose of forming and organizing a combination." The lawsuit alleges executives destroyed documents from the meetings, and a defunct joint venture violated U.S. antitrust laws and caused artificially high wholesale gas prices in nearly every state from 1999 to 2001. The lawsuit hinges on a marketing deal that, plaintiffs say, allowed former rivals to collude on prices starting in 1998, when Shell and Texaco formed Equilon Enterprises [and] Motiva Enterprises LLC. Equilon and Motiva began operating when ... crude oil prices hit their lowest levels since the Great Depression, according to ... lawyer Joseph M. Alioto, who [represents] the plaintiffs. Yet gas prices soared for franchise owners, forcing them to pass on the cost to consumers or cut profit margins. "These executives get together and say, 'OK, we're going to raise Texaco's price to Shell's price, then we're going to raise both of them 50 to 75%, and we're going to do it after we've already had all these cost savings,'" Alioto said. [He] argues wholesale prices were higher by at least 20 cents a gallon and possibly as much as 40 cents per gallon from 1999 to 2001. Station owners had little choice but to pay higher prices. Franchises typically sign long-term contracts with oil suppliers, making it tough to switch to another brand or an independent supplier.

Some Amish in Mich. resist electronic ID tags for cattle
August 19, 2007, Associated Press
http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/michigan/index.ssf?/base/news-46/1187539862261260.xml

Some Amish farmers say a state requirement that they tag cattle with electronic chips is a violation of their religious beliefs. Last year, the state Department of Agriculture announced that Michigan cattle leaving farms must be tagged in the ear with electronic identification as part of an effort to combat bovine tuberculosis. That has drawn some resistance from the Amish, who typically shun technology. In April, Glen Mast and other Amish farmers appeared before the state Senate Appropriations Committee, urging it to block the program. "We're never happier than when we're just left alone," said Mast, whose farm in Isabella County operates without electricity. "That's all we're asking." State officials say the ability to trace food sources is increasingly important in the global economy. State officials said cattle are to be tagged if they are leaving the farm to be sold or change ownership. Kevin Kirk, who coordinates the program for the state agriculture department, said Amish farmers produced a "very, very small" percentage of the nearly 397 million pounds of beef sold by Michigan farmers last year. "Our No. 1 goal is animal health, human health and food safety," Kirk said. "I know it's hard sometimes to trust the government, but that's what we're asking is trust us." So far, the state has not forced the Amish to use the electronic tags but said they can wait until the animals arrive at an auction before having them applied, the newspaper said. Animal identification has traditionally involved a plastic or metal tag, or tattoo. Electronic ID uses a radio frequency device with a number unique to each animal, and speeds up the ability to locate or trace animals.

Note: To read an article that explains in more depth how the attitude of the Amish to the use of electronic chips on their cattle is that it is the "mark of the beast" in Bible prophecy, click here.

Robot wars are a reality
August 18, 2007, Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,,2151357,00.html

The deployment of the first armed battlefield robots in Iraq is the latest step on a dangerous path - we are sleepwalking into a brave new world where robots decide who, where and when to kill. Robots are integral to [the U.S.'s] $230bn future combat systems project, a massive plan to develop unmanned vehicles that can strike from the air, under the sea and on land. Congress has set a goal of having one-third of ground combat vehicles unmanned by 2015. Over 4,000 robots are serving in Iraq at present, others in Afghanistan. And now they are armed. Predators and the more deadly Reaper robot attack planes have flown many missions ... with inevitable civilian deaths, yet working with remote-controlled or semi-autonomous machines carries only the same ethical responsibilities as a traditional air strike. But fully autonomous robots that make their own decisions about lethality are high on the US military agenda. They are cheap to manufacture, require less personnel and, according to the navy, perform better in complex missions. This is dangerous new territory for warfare, yet there are no new ethical codes or guidelines in place. Policymakers seem to have an understanding of [Artificial Intelligence] that lies in the realms of science fiction and myth. Their answer to the ethical problems is simply, "Let men target men" and "Let machines target other machines". In reality, a robot could not pinpoint a weapon without pinpointing the person using it or even discriminate between weapons and non-weapons. Autonomous robots are not like other weapons. We are going to give decisions on human fatality to machines that are not bright enough to be called stupid.

No buyer for voting machine unit
August 16, 2007, BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6950024.stm

US cash dispenser and security company Diebold has admitted that it has failed to find a buyer for its troubled electronic voting machine business. Diebold and other manufacturers of such voting machines have been hit by criticism that they are unreliable and vulnerable to tampering. Growing unease about the machines in the US has led to a number of delayed orders from states. Diebold said that as a result, its 2007 revenues would fall $120m61m). It added that it would now allow the unit to operate more independently, with a separate board of directors and, possibly, a new management structure. Diebold said it had not ruled out another attempt at a full or partial sale. Some 50 million Americans, about 30% of registered voters, used electronic machines to cast their vote in the 2004 presidential election. The machines were introduced in the aftermath of the problems caused by antiquated punch-card systems in the 2000 presidential election. However, there has since been growing concern that electronic machines may be equally as unreliable.

Note: For more reliable information on the serious problems with the new electronic voting machines, click here.

When a US soldier in Iraq won't soldier
August 13, 2007, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0813/p20s01-usmi.html

No one looked comfortable at the sentencing hearing. Not family and friends who packed the US military courtroom's straight-backed benches. Not the rookie Army prosecutor in stiff dress greens who flushed with every "Your Honor." Not Judge R. Peter Masterton, whose usually animated face was now grave. And not the convicted deserter – Army medic Agustín Aguayo – on the stand in a US military court in central Germany last March, pleading for understanding. "I'm sorry for the trouble my conscience has caused my unit," Private 1st Class Aguayo said, his voice thick with emotion. "I tried to obey the rules, but in the end [the problem] was at the very core of my being." Aguayo craned to face the judge. "When I hear my sergeants talking about slashing people's throats," he said, crying openly, "if I'm not a conscientious objector, what am I when I'm feeling all this pain when people talk about violence?" Every war has its deserters, troops who abandon their posts. And every war has its converts to pacifism. The Defense Department reports that 5,361 active-duty service members deserted the US Armed Forces last year; nearly 37,000 since October 2001. In today's all-volunteer force, that means a desertion rate of less than half a percent – much lower than the Vietnam War draft era, when it reached a 1971 high of 7.4 percent. In the past six years, 325 Army soldiers have applied to be recognized as conscientious objectors, soldiers who no longer believe in war; 58 percent were accepted. Still, Aguayo's story is revealing of the mental battles of these thousands who change their minds during a bloody war – and, arguably, of many who don't.

Note: For a powerful statement about the reality of war written by a highly decorated U.S. general, click here.

US doles out millions for street cameras
August 12, 2007, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/08/12/us_doles_out_millions_for_street_cameras/

The Department of Homeland Security is funneling millions of dollars to local governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost, privacy rights advocates warn. The department ... has doled out millions on surveillance cameras, transforming city streets and parks into places under constant observation. A Globe [investigation] shows that a large number of new surveillance systems, costing at least tens and probably hundreds of millions of dollars, are being simultaneously installed around the country as part of homeland security grants. Federal money is helping New York, Baltimore, and Chicago build massive surveillance systems that may also link thousands of privately owned security cameras. Boston has installed about 500 cameras in the MBTA system, funded in part with homeland security funds. Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said [the] Homeland Security Department is the primary driver in spreading surveillance cameras, making their adoption more attractive by offering federal money to city and state leaders. The proliferation of cameras could mean that Americans will feel less free because legal public behavior -- attending a political rally, entering a doctor's office, or even joking with friends in a park -- will leave a permanent record, retrievable by authorities at any time.


Key Articles From Years Past

CIA Commander: U.S. Let bin Laden Slip Away
August 15, 2005 Newsweek magazine
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8853000/site/newsweek/

During the 2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush and John Kerry battled about whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan border. But in a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that ... bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora ... and could have been caught. Asked to comment on Berntsen's remarks, National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones passed on 2004 statements from former CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks. "We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001," Franks wrote in an Oct. 19 New York Times op-ed. "Bin Laden was never within our grasp." Berntsen says Franks is "a great American. But he was not on the ground out there. I was." In his book—titled "Jawbreaker"—the decorated career CIA officer criticizes Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department for not providing enough support to the CIA and the Pentagon's own Special Forces teams in the final hours of Tora Bora. Berntsen ... has sued the agency over what he calls unacceptable delays in approving his book. "They're just holding the book," which is scheduled for October release, he says. "CIA officers, Special Forces and U.S. air power drove the Taliban out in 70 days. The CIA has taken roughly 80 days to clear my book."

Note: For a concise summary of reliable, verifiable information questioning the official account of 9/11, click here.

Taking Stock of Family Business
April 29, 2004, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2004-04-29-family-mission-statements_x.htm

Family mission statements are a way of transferring your highly effective business habits to your home life. Finding the time to assemble a document that outlines a family's goals and philosophy might seem unrealistic ... but believers urge a closer look at what they hail as a method for getting unwieldy modern lives back on track. Laura Puryear was introduced to the concept when her mother handed her Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. In Habits, the well-known motivational guru asks couples to consider questions such as: "If our family is a plane, are we on course?" Conflicting answers are OK; the point is to discuss differences en route to a common destination. "The pace of life, technology and culture all put greater pressure on us to decide what's really important," says Covey. "We all have values that guide us, but 95% of us never write them down. It's precisely the act of writing that imprints it in the subconscious." Start from a family foundation of trust and openness, where everyone feels welcome to participate. Schedule a time to share the mission statement concept, keeping in mind that even young children can understand and contribute. Brainstorm together about ideas for the statement. Encourage even the most off-the-wall contributions. Record all such suggestions in writing. Revisit the list regularly and pare it down to the most important ideas. Once everyone agrees on a final draft that truly summarizes the family's values and vision, make copies accessible to all. Avoid rushing your family, favoring any one person's agenda, or forgetting about the final product once you're done. The mission statement carries weight only if you actively pursue your stated goals.

Did you know that:

  • Twenty leading journalists, including winners of several Emmys and a Pulitzer, have described being prevented by corporate media ownership from reporting riveting stories on major cover-ups.
  • BBC News has exposed plans of the U.S. military to "provide maximum control" of the Internet, as detailed in a declassified secret Pentagon document signed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 2003.
  • A CBS News report quotes former U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, "According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions." That's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America.
  • Government documents released through the Freedom of Information Act show that the top Pentagon generals once approved plans to foment terrorism in major U.S. cities and even kill innocent Americans.
  • You may be eating genetically modified food every day which scientific experiments have repeatedly demonstrated can cause sickness and even death in laboratory animals.
  • Detroit's leading newspaper reported that the 1908 Ford Model T boasted a fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon. Yet almost 100 years later, the EPA average mileage for all cars is under 21 mpg.
  • A highly decorated US General wrote a book titled War is a Racket, which clearly depicts how he was manipulated and how most wars are waged largely to keep the coffers of the big corporations filled.
  • The former chief of a prestigious medical journal has revealed that the total profits of the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 were more than the profits of the other 490 businesses combined.
  • London Times reported that several 9/11 hijackers listed in the 9/11 Commission Report are alive. "Five of the alleged hijackers have emerged, alive, innocent and astonished to see their names and photographs appearing on satellite television. The hijackers were using stolen identities." See also BBC report on this.
  • More than 50 senior government officials and 100 professors have publicly expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report. Many even allege government complicity in the 9/11 attacks.
  • For more highly revealing media articles hidden in plain sight with links for verification, click here.

Same Agencies to Run, Oversee Surveillance Program
August 7, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/06/AR2007080601303.html

The Bush administration plans to leave oversight of its expanded foreign eavesdropping program to the same government officials who supervise the surveillance activities and to the intelligence personnel who carry them out, senior government officials said yesterday. The law, which permits intercepting Americans' calls and e-mails without a warrant if the communications involve overseas transmission, gives Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales responsibility for creating the broad procedures determining whose telephone calls and e-mails are collected. It also gives McConnell and Gonzales the role of assessing compliance with those procedures. The law ... does not contain provisions for outside oversight -- unlike an earlier House measure that called for audits every 60 days by the Justice Department's inspector general. The controversial changes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were approved by both chambers of the Democratic-controlled Congress despite privacy concerns raised by Democratic leaders and civil liberties advocacy groups. Central to the new program is the collection of foreign intelligence from "communication service providers," which the officials declined to identify, citing secrecy concerns. Under the new law, the attorney general is required to draw up the governing procedures for surveillance activity, for approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Once the procedures are established, the attorney general and director of national intelligence will formally certify that the collection of data is authorized. But the certification will be placed under seal "unless the certification is necessary to determine the legality of the acquisition," according to the law signed by Bush.

Bush administration defends spy law
August 7, 2007, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-intel7aug07,0,1631228.story

The Bush administration rushed to defend new espionage legislation Monday amid growing concern that the changes could lead to increased spying by U.S. intelligence agencies on American citizens. But officials declined to provide details about how the new capabilities might be used by the National Security Agency and other spy services. And in many cases, they could point only to internal monitoring mechanisms to prevent abuse of the new rules that appear to give the government greater authority to tap into the traffic flowing across U.S. telecommunications networks. Officials rejected assertions that the new capabilities would enable the government to cast electronic "drift nets" that might ensnare U.S. citizens [and] that the new legislation would amount to the expansion of a controversial — and critics contend unconstitutional — warrantless wiretapping program that President Bush authorized after the 9/11 attacks. Intelligence experts said there were an array of provisions in the new legislation that appeared to make it possible for the government to engage in intelligence-collection activities that the Bush administration officials were discounting. "They are trying to shift the terms of the debate to their intentions and away from the meaning of the new law," said Steven Aftergood, an intelligence policy analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. "The new law gives them authority to do far more than simply surveil foreign communications abroad," he said. "It expands the surveillance program beyond terrorism to encompass foreign intelligence. It permits the monitoring of communications of a U.S. person as long as he or she is not the primary target. And it effectively removes judicial supervision of the surveillance process."

The Fear of Fear Itself
August 7, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/07/opinion/07tue1.html

It was appalling to watch over the last few days as Congress — now led by Democrats — caved in to yet another unnecessary and dangerous expansion of President Bush’s powers, this time to spy on Americans in violation of basic constitutional rights. Many of the 16 Democrats in the Senate and 41 in the House who voted for the bill said that they had acted in the name of national security, but the only security at play was their job security. What [do] the Democrats ... plan to do with their majority in Congress if they are too scared of Republican campaign ads to use it to protect the Constitution and restrain an out-of-control president[?] The White House and its allies on Capitol Hill railroaded Congress into voting a vast expansion of the president’s powers. They gave the director of national intelligence and the attorney general authority to intercept — without warrant, court supervision or accountability — any telephone call or e-mail message that moves in, out of or through the United States as long as there is a “reasonable belief” that one party is not in the United States. While serving little purpose, the new law has real dangers. It would allow the government to intercept, without a warrant, every communication into or out of any country, including the United States. The Democratic majority has made strides on other issues like children’s health insurance against White House opposition. As important as these measures are, they do not excuse the Democrats from remedying the damage Mr. Bush has done to civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. That is their most important duty.

In Bush we trust - or else
August 5, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/08/05/EDJFRB8AF1.DTL

President Bush's latest affront to the U.S. Constitution [is] in plain view on the White House Web site: "Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq." This far-reaching order ... is a frontal assault on the Fifth Amendment, which decrees that the government cannot seize an individual's property without due process. [The order asserts] the authority to freeze the American assets of anyone who directly or indirectly assists someone who poses "a significant risk" [to] the "peace and stability" of [Iraq] or the reconstruction effort. "On its face, this is the greatest encroachment on civil liberties since the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II," said Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer who was a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration. Fein said the sanctions against suspected violators would amount to "a financial death penalty. King George III really would have been jealous of this power." The executive order not only calls for the freezing of assets of anyone who directly or indirectly [opposes US policy in Iraq,] it prohibits anyone else from providing "funds, goods or services" to a blacklisted individual. In other words, a friend or relative could have his or her assets seized for trying to help someone whose bank account is suddenly frozen. An attorney who offered legal help could risk losing everything he or she owned. Then again, there's not much need for lawyers in the world of this executive order. The blacklist would be drawn up by the "secretary of treasury, in consultation with the secretary of state and the secretary of defense." The Fifth Amendment was written for good reason: It's dangerous to give the government unchecked authority to seize private property without judicial review.

Abu Ghraib whistleblower's ordeal
August 5, 2007, BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6930197.stm

When Joe Darby saw the horrific photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison he was stunned. So stunned that he walked out into the hot Baghdad night and smoked half a dozen cigarettes and agonised over what he should do. Darby was a ... soldier with US forces at Abu Ghraib prison when he stumbled across those images which would eventually shock the world in 2004. They were photographs of his colleagues, some of them men and women he had known since high school -- torturing and abusing Iraqi prisoners. His decision to hand them over rather than keep quiet changed his life forever. He fears for the safety of his family. Joe Darby knew what he saw was wrong, but it took him three weeks to decide to hand those photographs in. When he finally did, he was promised anonymity and hoped he would hear no more about it. But he was scared of the repercussions. And then he was sitting in a crowded Iraqi canteen with hundreds of soldiers and Donald Rumsfeld came on the television to thank Joe Darby by name for handing in the photographs. "I don't think it was an accident because those things are pretty much scripted," Mr Darby says. "I really find it hard to believe that the secretary of defence of the United States has no idea about the star witness for a criminal case being anonymous." Rather than turn on him for betraying colleagues, most of the soldiers in his unit shook his hand. It was at home where the real trouble started. His wife ...had to flee to her sister's house which was then vandalised with graffiti. Many in his home town called him a traitor. But he does not see himself as a hero, or a traitor. Just "a soldier who did his job - no more, no less. I've never regretted for one second what I did when I was in Iraq, to turn those pictures in," he says.

Key Articles From Years Past

The Meaning of Freedom
May 5, 1961, Time magazine
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,872353,00.html

"I want to talk about our common responsibilities in the face of a common danger," President Kennedy told the American Newspaper Publishers Association. [He] asked his audience to reconsider the meaning of freedom of the press. "The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.* We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it ... This I do not intend to permit." Perhaps the time had come, the President concluded, to re-examine the responsibilities of a free society's free press: "This nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire . . . The newspapers which printed these stories were loyal, patriotic, responsible and well-meaning . . . But in the absence of open warfare, they recognized only the tests of journalism and not the tests of national security . .. Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: 'Is it news?' All I suggest is that you add the question: 'Is it in the interest of national security?' " *[note in original] To more than 20 million Americans, the word "secrecy" is not as repugnant as all that. They are the members of U.S. secret and fraternal societies, which include, besides student fraternities ... the Masonic orders, the Elks, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Loyal Order of the Moose. Of the U.S.'s 34 Presidents, 13 have been Masons. President Kennedy himself is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic counterpart of masonry.

Bush Signs Law to Widen Legal Reach for Wiretapping
August 6, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/06/washington/06nsa.html

President Bush signed into law ... legislation that broadly [expands] the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants. The law [goes] far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists [and will] sharply alter the legal limits on the government’s ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States. The new law for the first time [provides] a legal framework for much of the surveillance without warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security Agency and outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that is supposed to regulate the way the government can listen to the private communications of American citizens. “This more or less legalizes the N.S.A. program,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington. Previously, the government needed search warrants approved by a special intelligence court to eavesdrop on ... electronic communications between individuals inside the United States and people overseas. The new law gives the attorney general and the director of national intelligence the power to approve the international surveillance, rather than the special intelligence court. The law also gave the administration greater power to force telecommunications companies to cooperate with such spying operations. The companies can now be compelled to cooperate by orders from the attorney general and the director of national intelligence.

Voting decision creates turmoil
August 5, 2007, Sacramento Bee (Leading newspaper of California's capital city)
http://www.sacbee.com/749/story/309719.html

Across California, bleary-eyed voting watchdogs, registrars and public officials spent the day trying to digest [Secretary of State Debra] Bowen's late Friday decision to limit electronic balloting and install various new safeguards. The former Democratic state senator, an electronic voting skeptic who fought in the Legislature to require a paper trail for digital ballots, [took action] after University of California researchers found security flaws in three electronic systems. Barring a legal challenge, Bowen's actions will force 21 counties to shutter most of their touch-screen machines. Those counties, who use machines made by Diebold Election Systems and Sequoia Voting Systems, will instead ask most voters to fill bubbles on paper ballots to make their selections, a method known as "optical scan." Dan Ashby, [an] electronic voting critic who heads the California Election Protection Network, praised Bowen for her actions. "Election officials are probably going to fight tooth and nail against the decertification order, but we think truth and logic are on our side," Ashby said. "The best use for the machines would be to melt them down for scrap. But before we can do that, we have to do a withdrawal in stages." Bowen estimated that more than two-thirds of California voters already cast paper ballots, a number she believes will continue to rise as more people vote absentee.

Note: The Sacramento Bee, within two days of its publication, restricted access to this story, requiring registration to read it. Secretary of State Bowen is under attack throughout the state for having proven the hackability of electronic voting machines. Many Registrars of Voters are threatening to ignore the new regulations, and they are getting a lot of press coverage as they attempt to reverse Bowen's decision. You can show support for Debra Bowen through contacting the media, writing letters to editors, or by signing this petition. For more reliable, verifiable information about the serious problems with new electronic voting machines, click here.

Ruling Limited Spying Efforts
August 3, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/02/AR2007080202619.html

A federal intelligence court judge earlier this year secretly declared a key element of the Bush administration's wiretapping efforts illegal, according to a lawmaker and government sources, providing a previously unstated rationale for fevered efforts by congressional lawmakers this week to expand the president's spying powers. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) disclosed elements of the court's decision in remarks ... to Fox News as he was promoting the administration-backed wiretapping legislation. The judge, whose name could not be learned, concluded early this year that the government had overstepped its authority in attempting to broadly surveil communications between two locations overseas that are passed through routing stations in the United States. The decision was both a political and practical blow to the administration, which had long held that all of the National Security Agency's enhanced surveillance efforts since 2001 were legal. The administration for years had declined to subject those efforts to the jurisdiction of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and after it finally did so in January the court ruled that the administration's legal judgment was at least partly wrong. The practical effect has been to block the NSA's efforts to collect information from a large volume of foreign calls and e-mails that passes through U.S. communications nodes clustered around New York and California. Both Democrats and Republicans have signaled they are eager to fix that problem through amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). An unstated facet of the program is that anyone the foreigner is calling inside the United States, as long as that person is not the primary target, would also be wiretapped.

Stampeding Congress, Again
August 3, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/03/opinion/03fri1.html

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not feel bound by the law or the Constitution. It cannot even be trusted to properly use the enhanced powers it was legally granted after the attacks. Yet, once again, President Bush has been trying to stampede Congress into a completely unnecessary expansion of his power to spy on Americans. The fight is over the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires the government to obtain a warrant before eavesdropping on electronic communications that involve someone in the United States. Mr. Bush decided after 9/11 that he was no longer going to obey that law. He authorized the National Security Agency to intercept international telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans and other residents of this country without a court order. He told the public nothing and Congress next to nothing about what he was doing, until The Times disclosed the spying in December 2005. Ever since, the White House has tried to pressure Congress into legalizing Mr. Bush’s rogue operation. The administration and its ... supporters in Congress argue that American intelligence is blinded by FISA and have seized on neatly timed warnings of heightened terrorist activity to scare everyone. It is vital for Americans, especially lawmakers, to resist that argument. It is pure propaganda. [The question at issue is] whether we are a nation ruled by law, or the whims of men in power.

U.S. Military May Implant Chips In Troops' Brains
August 2, 2007, KUTV (CBS affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah)
http://www.kutv.com/local_story_215001119.html

Imagine a day when the U.S. government implants microchips inside the brains of U.S. soldiers. Well you don't have to think too far into the future. The defense department is studying the idea now. The chip would be the size of a grain of rice. How far is too far when it comes to privacy? The department of defense recently awarded $1.6 million to Clemson University to develop an implantable biochip. It would go into the brain using a new gel that prevents the human body from rejecting it. The overall idea is to improve the quality and speed of care for fallen soldiers. "It's just crazy. To me, it's like a bad sci-fi movie," says Yelena Slattery [from] the website www.WeThePeopleWillNotBeChipped.com. Slattery says, "Soldiers can't choose not to get certain things done because they become government property once they sign up. When does it end? When does it become an infringement on a person's privacy?" Once the chip is in, she says, could those soldiers be put on surveillance, even when they're off-duty? A spokesman for veterans of foreign wars also urged caution. Joe Davis said, "If you have a chip that's holding a gigabyte, or 10 gigs, like an iPod, what kind of information is going to be on there? How could this be used against you if you were taken captive?"

Note: For a treasure trove of recent and reliable information on the increasing penetration of microchips into our lives, click here.

F.D.A. Panel Votes to Keep Diabetes Drug on Market
July 30, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/health/30cnd-avandia.html

A federal drug advisory committee voted 20 to 3 late this afternoon that Avandia, a controversial diabetes drug made by GlaxoSmithKline, raises the risks of heart attacks, but it then voted 22 to 1 that the drug should nonetheless remain on the market. Dr. Clifford J. Rosen, chairman of the committee [said] “there was enough concern on the advisory committee that virtually everybody felt there was risk” of heart attacks from taking Avandia. Patients who have congestive heart failure or a history of cardiovascular disease, or those taking insulin or nitrates should not be given Avandia, Dr. Rosen said. The votes came after an extraordinary meeting in which officials from the Food and Drug Administration, which brought the committee together, openly disagreed with one another about the right course to take. Dr. David Graham, a drug safety officer at the F.D.A., called for the drug’s withdrawal and estimated that its toxic effects on the heart had caused as many as 205,000 heart attacks, strokes and death from 1999 to 2006. For every month that Avandia is sold, he said, another 1,600 to 2,200 patients are likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes, some of them fatal. Dr. Robert Meyer, director of the office within the F.D.A. that approved Avandia’s initial application, immediately disagreed with Dr. Graham. Dr. Douglas C. Throckmorton, a deputy director of the F.D.A.’s center for drugs, explained at a news conference after the meeting that the split within the agency resulted from the “complexity” of the issue. The open disagreement within the F.D.A. reflects a fierce debate that has occurred among diabetes experts across the country since The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in May suggesting that Avandia increases the risks of heart attacks.

Note: To read a succinct, powerful summary of how drug companies control the regulation of their own industry, click here.

New Details on Tillman's Death
July 27, 2007, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=3419299

Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime. "The medical evidence did not match up with the ... scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators. The doctors ... said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away. The medical examiners' suspicions were outlined in 2,300 pages of testimony released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Among other information contained in the documents: Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments. The three-star general who kept the truth about Tillman's death from his family and the public told investigators some 70 times that he had a bad memory and couldn't recall details of his actions. No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene, no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck. The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. Only weeks later did the Pentagon acknowledge he was gunned down by fellow Rangers. With questions lingering about how high in the Bush administration the deception reached, Congress is preparing for yet another hearing next week.

Alarm at US right to highly personal data
July 22, 2007, The Observer (U.K.)
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2132099,00.html

Highly sensitive information about the religious beliefs, political opinions and even the sex life of Britons travelling to the United States is to be made available to US authorities when the European Commission agrees to a new system of checking passengers. The EC is in the final stages of agreeing a new Passenger Name Record system with the US which will allow American officials to access detailed biographical information about passengers entering international airports. Civil liberty groups warn it will have serious consequences for European passengers. In a strongly worded document drawn up in response to the plan that will affect the 4 million-plus Britons who travel to the US every year, the EU parliament said it 'notes with concern that sensitive data (ie personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and data concerning the health or sex life of individuals) will be made available to the DHS.' The US will be able to hold the records of European passengers for 15 years compared with the current three year limit. The EU parliament said it was concerned the data would lead to 'a significant risk of massive profiling and data mining, which is incompatible with basic European principles and is a practice still under discussion in the US congress.' Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has written to the EC expressing his 'grave concern' at the plan, which he describes as 'without legal precedent' and one that puts 'European data protection rights at risk'. Hustinx warns: 'Data on EU citizens will be readily accessible to a broad range of US agencies and there is no limitation to what US authorities are allowed to do with the data.'

Minimum wages, maximum CEO greed
July 19, 2007, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento's leading newspaper)
http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/279913.html

Minimum-wage workers made $5.15 an hour when Harry Potter became a sensation a decade ago, and nothing more until July 24, three days after the final Harry Potter book release. [That] year, 1997, Business Week declared CEO pay was "out of control." Since then, CEO pay has gotten more out of control. Average CEO pay at the top 500 companies jumped 38 percent to $15.2 million in 2006 -- the year we broke the record for the longest period ever without a raise in the federal minimum wage. The ... minimum wage increase from $5.15 to $5.85 is so little, so late, that the minimum wage is still worth less than it was back in 1997, when it was $6.67 in today's dollars. Minimum-wage workers had more buying power when Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton opened his first Walton's 5 & 10 in 1951. CEOs make more in 90 minutes than minimum wage workers make in a year. The two longest periods in history without a minimum wage increase have occurred since 1980. Those long droughts without a raise have left minimum-wage workers in the dust. In 1980, the average CEO at a big corporation made as much as 97 minimum-wage workers. In 1997, the average CEO made as much as 728 minimum-wage workers. Last year, CEOs made as much as 1,419 minimum-wage workers. "As the productivity of workers increases, one would expect worker compensation to experience similar gains," a 2001 U.S. Department of Labor report observed. Instead, the gains have gone to record-breaking profits, CEOs and other have-mores. Between 1980 and 2006, worker productivity went up 70 percent, average worker wages went nowhere, the minimum wage fell 32 percent, and domestic corporate profits rose 256 percent, adjusting for inflation.

Is this the real president of the United States?
July 23, 2007, Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2132603,00.html

Obscurity has been Cheney's hallmark since he took office in January 2001, and that's the way he likes it. "Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?" he quipped in 2004. "It's a nice way to operate, actually." Cheney is ... the most powerful vice- president in American history. "He has expanded the power of the vice-president fiftyfold," says Bruce Fein, a lawyer who served in the Reagan administration. So dominant has he been in a traditionally submissive role that some commentators are now wondering whether it is time to drop the "V" from his title. "Cheney is de facto president in all areas of policy, bar just a few aspects of the domestic agenda," Fein says. It was obvious the Cheney vice-presidency was never going to stick to convention from the day in July 2000 George Bush announced his running mate. After all, the man who recommended Cheney for the job was ... Cheney. The Bush cabinet was formed in Cheney's image. Figures who were to become seminal -- Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Scooter Libby -- were all Cheney's people. September 11 2001 ... was the moment for which Cheney had been preparing for many years. Since his days as White House chief-of-staff to Gerald Ford, living with the fallout of Nixon's destruction, Cheney had harboured ambitions to hit back at Congress and reinstate the untrammelled authority of the president. Within hours of the attacks on New York and Washington, while Bush was still floundering around in Air Force One, Cheney had assembled a legal team within his own office and was actively planning how to roll back the restraints on the president's executive power that had been introduced in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate.

Broader Privilege Claimed In Firings
July 20, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/19/AR2007071902625.html

Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege. Under federal law, a statutory contempt citation by the House or Senate must be submitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action." But administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege. Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University who has written a book on executive-privilege issues, called the administration's stance "astonishing. That's a breathtakingly broad view of the president's role in this system of separation of powers," Rozell said. "What this statement is saying is the president's claim of executive privilege trumps all." The administration's stance "is almost Nixonian in its scope and breadth of interpreting its power. Congress has no recourse at all, in the president's view. . . . It's allowing the executive to define the scope and limits of its own powers," [Rozell said].






Power Without Limits
July 22, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/opinion/22sun2.html

The Bush administration, which has been pushing presidential power to new extremes, is reportedly developing an even more dangerous new theory of executive privilege. It says that if Congress holds White House officials in contempt for withholding important evidence in the United States attorney scandal, the Justice Department simply will not pursue the charges. This stance tears at the fabric of the Constitution and upends the rule of law. Congress has a constitutional right to investigate the purge of nine United States attorneys last year. The next question is how Congress will enforce its right to obtain information, and it is on that point that the administration is said to have made its latest disturbing claim. If Congress holds White House officials in contempt, the next step should be that the United States attorney for the District of Columbia brings the matter to a grand jury. But according to a Washington Post report, the administration is saying that its claim of executive privilege means that the United States attorney would be ordered not to go forward with the case. There is no legal basis for this obstructionism. The Supreme Court has made clear that executive privilege is not simply what the president claims it to be. It must be evaluated case by case by a court, balancing the need for the information against the president’s interest in keeping his decision-making process private. The White House’s extreme position could lead to a constitutional crisis. If the executive branch refused to follow the law, Congress could use its own inherent contempt powers, in which it would level the charges itself and hold a trial. Congress should use all of the tools at its disposal to pursue its investigations. It is about preserving the checks and balances that are a vital part of American democracy.

Bush Approves New CIA Methods
July 21, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/20/AR2007072001264.html

President Bush set broad legal boundaries for the CIA's harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects yesterday, allowing the intelligence agency to resume a program that was suspended last year after criticism that it violated U.S. and international law. In an executive order lacking any details about actual interrogation techniques, Bush said the CIA program will now comply with a Geneva Conventions prohibition against "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." Two administration officials said that suspects now in U.S. custody could be moved immediately into the "enhanced interrogation" program and subjected to techniques that go beyond those allowed by the U.S. military. Rights activists criticized Bush's order for failing to spell out which techniques are now approved or prohibited. "All the order really does is to have the president say, 'Everything in that other document that I'm not showing you is legal -- trust me,' " said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. The CIA interrogation guidelines are contained in a classified document. A senior intelligence official, asked whether this list includes such widely criticized methods as the simulated drowning known as "waterboarding," declined to discuss specifics but said "it would be very wrong to assume that the program of the past would move into the future unchanged." CIA detainees have also alleged they were left naked in cells for prolonged periods, subjected to sensory and sleep deprivation and extreme heat and cold, and sexually taunted. A senior administration official briefing reporters yesterday said that any future use of "extremes of heat and cold" would be subject to a "reasonable interpretation . . . we're not talking about forcibly induced hypothermia."

DeFazio asks, but he's denied access
July 20, 2007, The Oregonian (Oregon's leading newspaper)
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/118489654058910.xml&coll=7

Oregonians called Peter DeFazio's office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack. As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom" in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents. On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED. "I just can't believe they're going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack," DeFazio says. Homeland Security Committee staffers told his office that the White House initially approved his request, but it was later quashed. DeFazio doesn't know who did it or why. "We're talking about the continuity of the government of the United States of America," DeFazio says. "I would think that would be relevant to any member of Congress, let alone a member of the Homeland Security Committee." Bush administration spokesman Trey Bohn declined to say why DeFazio was denied access: "We do not comment through the press on the process that this access entails. It is important to keep in mind that much of the information related to the continuity of government is highly sensitive." Norm Ornstein, a legal scholar who studies government continuity at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said he "cannot think of one good reason" to deny access to a member of Congress who serves on the Homeland Security Committee. This is the first time DeFazio has been denied access to documents. "Maybe the people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right," DeFazio said.

Producer of 9/11 Conspiracy Film 'Loose Change' Arrested for Deserting the Army
July 26, 2007, FOX News
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,290942,00.html

One of the young filmmakers behind a controversial 9/11 conspiracy documentary was arrested this week on charges that he deserted the Army, even though ... he received an honorable discharge. Korey Rowe, 24, who served with the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan and Iraq, told FOXNews.com that he was honorably discharged from the military 18 months ago — which he said he explained to sheriffs when they pounded on his door late Monday night. “When they came to my house, I showed them my paperwork,” Rowe said. “The cops said, 'You’re still in the system.'” Rowe is one of the producers of "Loose Change," a cult hit on the Internet espousing the theory that the U.S. government and specifically the Bush administration orchestrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The movie is set to be released in about 40 British theaters in late August, according to Rowe and fellow filmmakers Jason Bermas and Dylan Avery. Police arrested Rowe at his house in Oneonta, N.Y., about 10:45 p.m. on Monday and took him to the Otsego County jail, where he spent a day-and-a-half before he was released, he said. Rowe was turned over to officials at Fort Drum — the closest military base — who then booked him on a flight to Fort Campbell, Ky., where his unit is based, to try to straighten out why the military issued a warrant for his arrest. “A warrant for my arrest came down and showed up on the sheriff’s desk,” Rowe said. “Where it came from and why it showed up all of a sudden is a mystery to me.” There were at least five sheriffs on hand for his arrest, Rowe said. “They pulled a whole operation. They cut my phone lines. They came from the woods. It was crazy — it was ridiculous,” he said.

Papers Detail Industry's Role in Cheney's Energy Report
July 18, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/17/AR2007071701987.html

At 10 a.m. on April 4, 2001, representatives of 13 environmental groups were brought into the Old Executive Office Building for a long-anticipated meeting. Since late January, a task force headed by Vice President Cheney had been busy drawing up a new national energy policy, and the groups were getting their one chance to be heard. A confidential list prepared by the Bush administration shows that Cheney and his aides had already held at least 40 meetings with interest groups, most of them from energy-producing industries. By the time of the meeting with environmental groups, according to a former White House official who provided the list to The Washington Post, the initial draft of the task force was substantially complete and President Bush had been briefed on its progress. In all, about 300 groups and individuals met with staff members of the energy task force, including a handful who saw Cheney himself, according to the list, which was compiled in the summer of 2001. For six years, those names have been a closely guarded secret, thanks to a fierce legal battle waged by the White House. Some names have leaked out over the years, but most have remained hidden because of a 2004 Supreme Court ruling that agreed that the administration's internal deliberations ought to be shielded from outside scrutiny. The list of participants' names and when they met with administration officials provides a clearer picture of the task force's priorities and bolsters previous reports that the review leaned heavily on oil and gas companies and on trade groups -- many of them big contributors to the Bush campaign and the Republican Party. It clears up much of the lingering uncertainty about who was granted access to present energy policy views to Cheney's staff.

FBI Plans Initiative To Profile Terrorists
July 11, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/10/AR2007071001871.html

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is developing a computer-profiling system that would enable investigators to target possible terror suspects. The System to Assess Risk, or STAR, assigns risk scores to possible suspects based on a variety of information, similar to the way a credit bureau assigns a rating based on a consumer's spending behavior and debt. The program focuses on foreign suspects but also includes data about some U.S. residents. Some lawmakers said ... that the report raises new questions about the government's power to use personal information and intelligence without accountability. "The Bush administration has expanded the use of this technology, often in secret, to collect and sift through Americans' most sensitive personal information," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The use of data mining in the war on terror has sparked criticism. An airplane-passenger screening program called CAPPS II was revamped and renamed because of civil liberty concerns. An effort to collect Americans' personal and financial data called Total Information Awareness was killed. Law enforcement and national security officials have continued working on other programs to use computers to sift through information for signs of threats. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, flags travelers entering and leaving the United States who may be potential suspects through a risk-assessment program called the Automated Targeting System.

FBI Would Skirt the Law With Proposed Phone Record Program, Experts Say
July 10, 2007, abcnews.com
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/07/fbi-would-skirt.html

A proposed new FBI program would skirt federal laws by paying private companies to hold millions of phone and Internet records which the bureau is barred from keeping itself, experts say. The $5 million project would apparently pay private firms to store at least two years' worth of telephone and Internet activity by millions of Americans, few of whom would ever be considered a suspect in any terrorism, intelligence or criminal matter. The FBI is barred by law from collecting and storing such data if it has no connection to a specific investigation or intelligence matter. In recent years the bureau has tried to encourage telecommunications firms to voluntarily store such information, but corporations have balked at the cost of keeping records they don't need. "The government isn't allowed to warehouse the information, and the companies don't want to, so this creates a business incentive for the companies to warehouse it, so the government can access it later," said Mike German, a policy expert on national security and privacy issues for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). "It's a public-private partnership that puts civil liberties to the test." In March, an FBI official identified the companies as Verizon, MCI and AT&T. Even the bureau's own top lawyer said she found the [FBI's] behavior "disturbing," noting that when requesting access to phone company records, it repeatedly referenced "emergency" situations that did not exist, falsely claimed grand juries had subpoenaed information and failed to keep records on much of its own activity.

Lawsuit Against Wiretaps Rejected
July 7, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/06/AR2007070600779.html

A federal appeals court removed a serious legal challenge to the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program yesterday, overruling the only judge who held that a controversial surveillance effort by the National Security Agency was unconstitutional. Two members of a three-judge panel ... ordered the dismissal of a major lawsuit that challenged the wiretapping, which President Bush authorized secretly to eavesdrop on communications ... shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The court did not rule on the spying program's legality. Instead, it declared that the American Civil Liberties Union and the others who brought the case -- including academics, lawyers and journalists -- did not have the standing to sue because they could not demonstrate that they had been direct targets of the clandestine surveillance. The decision vacates a ruling in the case made last August by a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit, who ruled that the administration's program to monitor private communications violated the Bill of Rights and a 1970s federal law. Steven R. Shapiro, the ACLU's legal director, said: "As a result of today's decision, the Bush administration has been left free to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress adopted almost 30 years ago to prevent the executive branch from engaging in precisely this kind of unchecked surveillance."

In Intelligence World, A Mute Watchdog
July 15, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/14/AR2007071400862.html

An independent oversight board created to identify intelligence abuses after the CIA scandals of the 1970s did not send any reports to the attorney general of legal violations during the first 5 1/2 years of the Bush administration's counterterrorism effort, the Justice Department has told Congress. The President's Intelligence Oversight Board -- the principal civilian watchdog of the intelligence community -- is obligated under a 26-year-old executive order to tell the attorney general and the president about any intelligence activities it believes "may be unlawful." The board was vacant for the first two years of the Bush administration. The board's mandate is to provide independent oversight, so the absence of such communications has prompted critics to question whether the board was doing its job. "It's now apparent that the IOB was not actively employed in the early part of the administration. And it was a crucial period when its counsel would seem to have been needed the most," said Anthony Harrington, who served as the board's chairman for most of the Clinton administration. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) added: "It is deeply disturbing that this administration seems to spend so much of its energy and resources trying to find ways to ignore any check and balance on its authority and avoid accountability to Congress and the American public."

'Code Orange' for press freedom
July 15, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/15/EDGU9R0PAC1.DTL

The arguments against a federal shield law might be frightening if they were not so ludicrous. There are two ways to reassure yourself that legislation to allow journalists to protect the identity of confidential sources will not be exploited by terrorists, thugs, identity thieves, sleazy sleuths and anarchists who expose trade secrets. One is to look at the experience of 49 state laws that grant varying levels of protection for journalists using anonymous sources. The other is to read the bill. "The Free Flow of Information Act of 2007,'' sponsored by Reps. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Rick Boucher, D-Va., does not provide an absolute right for journalists to protect their sources. Under their HR2102, a journalist could be forced by the courts to reveal his or her source if the disclosure involved: -- A threat to national security. -- A threat of imminent death or significant [bodily] harm to a person. -- A trade secret of significant value. -- Personal financial or health information. [The] Justice Department, which has wielded subpoenas and threats of jail time against journalists in pursuing government leaks, has never liked the idea of a shield law. So it was hardly a surprise when it recently testified against HR2102. What was eye-poppingly outrageous was a Justice official's straight-faced attempt to suggest that criminals or terrorists would invoke the bill's protection for journalists to thwart prosecutors. "Totally absurd," House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said of the terrorism argument. However, the dangers that overzealous prosecutors pose to a free and independent press that Pence calls "essential to an informed" electorate are very real and growing. As Pence put it, "there may never be another Deep Throat" if whistle-blowers become worried that journalists cannot keep a promise of confidentiality.

Judges OK warrantless monitoring of Web use
July 7, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/07/BAGMNQSJDA1.DTL

Federal agents do not need a search warrant to monitor a suspect's computer use and determine the e-mail addresses and Web pages the suspect is contacting, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. In a drug case from San Diego County, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco likened computer surveillance to the "pen register" devices that officers use to pinpoint the phone numbers a suspect dials, without listening to the phone calls themselves. In Friday's ruling, the court said computer users should know that they lose privacy protections with e-mail and Web site addresses when they are communicated to the company whose equipment carries the messages. The search is no more intrusive than officers' examination of a list of phone numbers or the outside of a mailed package, neither of which requires a warrant, Judge Raymond Fisher said in the 3-0 ruling. Defense lawyer Michael Crowley disagreed. His client, Dennis Alba, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of operating a laboratory in Escondido that manufactured the drug ecstasy. Some of the evidence against Alba came from agents' tracking of his computer use. The court upheld his conviction and sentence. Expert evidence in Alba's case showed that the Web addresses obtained by federal agents included page numbers that allowed the agents to determine what someone read online, Crowley said. The ruling "further erodes our privacy," the attorney said. "The great political marketplace of ideas is the Internet, and the government has unbridled access to it."

Files on Illegal Spying Show C.I.A. Skeletons From Cold War
June 26, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/washington/27cia.html

Long-secret documents released Tuesday provide new details about how the Central Intelligence Agency illegally spied on Americans decades ago. Known inside the agency as the “family jewels,” the 702 pages of documents released Tuesday catalog domestic wiretapping operations, failed assassination plots, mind-control experiments and spying on journalists from the early years of the C.I.A. The papers provide evidence of paranoia and occasional incompetence as the agency began a string of illegal spying operations in the 1960s and 1970s, often to hunt links between Communist governments and the domestic protests that roiled the nation in that period. Yet the long-awaited documents leave out a great deal. Large sections are censored, showing that the C.I.A. still cannot bring itself to expose all the skeletons in its closet. And many activities about overseas operations disclosed years ago by journalists, Congressional investigators and a presidential commission — which led to reforms of the nation’s intelligence agencies — are not detailed in the papers. The 60-year-old agency has been under fire ... by critics [of] the secret prisons and harsh interrogation practices it has adopted since the Sept. 11 attacks. Some intelligence experts suggested ... that the release of the documents was intended to distract from the current controversies. And they and historians expressed disappointment that the documents were so heavily censored. Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, the research group that filed the Freedom of Information request in 1992 that led to the documents’ becoming public, said he was initially underwhelmed by them because they contained little about the agency’s foreign operations. But Mr. Blanton said what was striking was the scope of the C.I.A’s domestic spying efforts.

Note: The entire body of the CIA's "Family Jewels" documents have been posted online by the National Security Archives, and can be read by clicking here.

Agency's Strangeloves altered mind of a girl aged 4
June 28, 2007, The Australian (Australia's national daily newspaper)
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21980496-2703,00.html

Easily lost, on page 425, in the mass of the CIA's notorious "Family Jewels" files is a short paragraph outlining "potentially embarrassing Agency activities". "Experiments in influencing human behaviour through the administration of mind- or personality-altering drugs to unwitting subjects." Of all the heinous acts committed by the CIA in the name of national security, these experiments, done on the agency's behalf by prominent psychiatrists on innocent victims - including children as young as four - may be the darkest. "We have no answer to the moral issue," former director Richard Helms infamously said when asked about the nature of the projects. The release of the Family Jewels documents revealed the CIA handsomely funded these real-life Dr Strangeloves and engaged pharmaceutical companies to help its experiments. The agency appealed to Big Pharma to pass on any drugs that could not be marketed because of "unfavourable side effects" to be tested on mice and monkeys. Any drugs that passed muster would then be used ... on volunteer US soldiers. The Family Jewels files do not provide further detail into the numerous mind-control programs, such as MKULTRA, covertly propped up by the agency. In 1953, MKULTRA was given 6 per cent of the total CIA budget without any oversight. The nature of the experiments, gathered from government documents and testimony in numerous lawsuits brought against the CIA, is shocking, from testing LSD on children to implanting electrodes in victims' brains to deliberately poisoning people with uranium. "The CIA bought my services from my grandfather in 1952 starting at the tender age of four," wrote Carol Rutz of her experiences.

Note: The entire body of the CIA's "Family Jewels" documents have been posted online by the National Security Archives, and can be read by clicking here. And for a 10-page summary of Carol Rutz's riveting book on her experiences as a government-created Manchurian candidate, click here.

Fighting War Protesters
June 27, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/26/AR2007062601736.html

In the early 1970s, as Vietnam War-era protests swirled around the Washington area, local police borrowed riot equipment and received intelligence training from an unusual source: the CIA. The agency, which is barred from domestic law enforcement, provided gas masks, stun guns, searchlights and protective vests. CIA specialists trained more than 20 officers ... in surveillance photography, countersabotage and surreptitious entry. The CIA-local nexus was included in hundreds of pages of documents released yesterday by the agency that detailed a quarter-century of CIA history. The records said the agency recruited officers primarily to protect CIA facilities from attack by protesters. "A conscious decision was made . . . to utilize the services of local police to repel invaders in case of riot or dissension," a top CIA official wrote in May 1973. But the documents make it clear that the intelligence agency also wanted to keep tabs on the mammoth antiwar demonstrations in Washington from 1969 through 1971. The D.C. police department, for example, was given a communications system "to monitor major anti-Vietnam war demonstrations," the records said. The CIA aid also extended to basic law enforcement. Police officials in Montgomery County told The Post in 1973 that they received CIA surveillance training to combat street crime. The agency also gave Arlington and Alexandria a substance it had developed to detect whether someone had recently handled metallic objects, such as firearms.

Note: The entire body of the CIA's "Family Jewels" documents have been posted online by the National Security Archives, and can be read by clicking here.

Survey Finds Action on Information Requests Can Take Years
July 1, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/02/washington/02secrets.html

The Freedom of Information Act requires a federal agency to provide an initial response to a request within 20 days and to provide the documents in a timely manner. But the oldest pending request uncovered in a new survey of 87 agencies and departments has been awaiting a response for 20 years, and 16 requesters have been waiting more than 15 years for results. The survey, to be released on Monday, is the latest proof of a fact well-known to historians and journalists who regularly seek government documents: Agencies often take months or years to respond to requests for information under the law, known as FOIA, which went into effect on July 4, 1967. “The law is 40 years old, and we’re seeing 20 years of delay,” said Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a research group at George Washington University. The survey will be posted at nsarchive.org. The survey found that 10 federal agencies had misrepresented their backlog of FOIA requests in annual reports to Congress, misstating the age of their oldest pending request. It found that the State Department accounted for most of the oldest unanswered requests, with 10 requests filed in 1991 or earlier still awaiting responses. The public interest in some aging government documents was vividly illustrated last week, when the Central Intelligence Agency released the so-called family jewels, papers that described illegal wiretaps, assassination plots and other agency misdeeds from the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. The papers were first requested by the National Security Archive in 1992, and a cover letter accompanying the C.I.A. release identified that request as the intelligence agency’s oldest still pending.

Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency
June 24, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/23/AR2007062300890.html

Part One: 'A Different Understanding With the President': In less than an hour ... Cheney's proposal had become a military order from the commander in chief. Foreign terrorism suspects held by the United States were stripped of access to any court -- civilian or military, domestic or foreign. They could be confined indefinitely without charges and would be tried, if at all, in closed "military commissions." "What the hell just happened?" Secretary of State Colin L. Powell demanded ... when CNN announced the order that evening, Nov. 13, 2001. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, incensed, sent an aide to find out. Even witnesses to the Oval Office signing said they did not know the vice president had played any part. "Angler," as the Secret Service code-named him, has approached the levers of power obliquely, skirting orderly lines of debate he once enforced as chief of staff to President Gerald R. Ford. He has battled a bureaucracy he saw as hostile, using intimate knowledge of its terrain. He has empowered aides to fight above their rank, taking on roles reserved in other times for a White House counsel or national security adviser. And he has found a ready patron in George W. Bush for edge-of-the-envelope views on executive supremacy that previous presidents did not assert. Over the past six years, Cheney has shaped his times as no vice president has before. [The] relationship [between Bush and Cheney] is opaque, a vital unknown in assessing Cheney's impact on events. Officials who see them together often, not all of them admirers of the vice president, detect a strong sense of mutual confidence that Cheney is serving Bush's aims.

Special Operations Prepared for Domestic Missions
June 22, 2007, Washington Post
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2007/06/special_operations_prepared_fo.html?nav=rss_blog

The U.S. Northern Command, the military command responsible for "homeland defense," has asked the Pentagon if it can establish its own special operations command for domestic missions. The request ... would establish a permanent sub-command for responses to incidents of domestic terrorism as well as other occasions where special operators may be necessary on American soil. The establishment of a domestic special operations mission, and the preparation of contingency plans to employ commandos in the United States, would upend decades of tradition. Military actions within the United States are the responsibility of state militias (the National Guard), and federal law enforcement is a function of the FBI. Employing special operations for domestic missions sounds very ominous, and NORTHCOM's request earlier this year should receive the closest possible Pentagon and congressional scrutiny. There's only one problem: NORTHCOM is already doing what it has requested permission to do. When NORTHCOM was established after 9/11 to be the military counterpart to the Department of Homeland Security, within its headquarters staff it established a Compartmented Planning and Operations Cell (CPOC) responsible for planning and directing a set of "compartmented" and "sensitive" operations on U.S., Canadian and Mexican soil. In other words, these are the very special operations that NORTHCOM is now formally asking the Pentagon to beef up into a public and acknowledged sub-command.

Psychiatrists Top List in Drug Maker Gifts
June 27, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/health/psychology/27doctors.html

As states begin to require that drug companies disclose their payments to doctors for lectures and other services, a pattern has emerged: psychiatrists earn more money from drug makers than doctors in any other specialty. How this money may be influencing psychiatrists and other doctors has become one of the most contentious issues in health care. For instance, the more psychiatrists have earned from drug makers, the more they have prescribed a new class of powerful medicines known as atypical antipsychotics to children, for whom the drugs are especially risky and mostly unapproved. Vermont officials disclosed Tuesday that drug company payments to psychiatrists in the state more than doubled last year, to an average of $45,692 each from $20,835 in 2005. Antipsychotic medicines are among the largest expenses for the state’s Medicaid program. Over all last year, drug makers spent $2.25 million on marketing payments, fees and travel expenses to Vermont doctors, hospitals and universities, a 2.3 percent increase over the prior year, the state said. The number most likely represents a small fraction of drug makers’ total marketing expenditures to doctors since it does not include the costs of free drug samples or the salaries of sales representatives and their staff members. According to their income statements, drug makers generally spend twice as much to market drugs as they do to research them. Endocrinologists received the second largest amount, according to the Vermont analysis, earning an average of $33,730. Since the state identified the specialties of only the top 100 earners, these averages represent the money earned by only some of the state’s specialists. There were 11 psychiatrists and 5 endocrinologists in that top group of 100.







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