Egypt Throws Internet Kill Switch, Jesse Ventura Sues TSA, Domestic Use of Aerial Drones in US
Revealing News Articles
January 31, 2011
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on Egypt's shutting down of the Internet in an attempt to undermine popular rebellion, Jesse Ventura's suit against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over the use of body scanners and pat-downs, increasing use of aerial drones by police in the US to provide detailed surveillance of citizens, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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The Day Part of the Internet Died: Egypt Goes Dark
January 28, 2011, ABC News/Associated Press
About a half-hour past midnight [on January 28] in Egypt, the Internet went dead. Almost simultaneously, the handful of companies that pipe the Internet into and out of Egypt went dark as protesters were gearing up for a fresh round of demonstrations calling for the end of President Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule, experts said.
Egypt has apparently done what many technologists thought was unthinkable for any country with a major Internet economy: It unplugged itself entirely from the Internet to try and silence dissent. Experts say it's unlikely that what's happened in Egypt could happen in the United States because the U.S. has numerous Internet providers and ways of connecting to the Internet. Coordinating a simultaneous shutdown would be a massive undertaking. But the idea of a single "kill switch" to turn the Internet on and off has seduced some American lawmakers, who have pushed for the power to shutter the Internet in a national emergency. The Internet blackout in Egypt shows that a country with strong control over its Internet providers apparently can force all of them to pull their plugs at once. It also sets a precedent for other countries grappling with paralyzing political protests though censoring the Internet and tampering with traffic to quash protests is nothing new.
Note: For information on how a Israeli company bought out by Boeing facilitated the shutdown of the Internet in Egypt, click here. And to learn about a bill being proposed which would give the US president power over an Internet "kill switch," click here.
Ex-Minn. governor sues over body scans, pat-downs
January 24, 2011, Washington Post/Associated Press
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is suing the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, saying full-body scans and pat-downs at airport checkpoints are violating his rights. Ventura filed his lawsuit [on January 24] in federal court in Minnesota. He says the new security measures violate his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. He's asking a federal court to order officials to stop subjecting him to these searches. Ventura was governor of Minnesota from 1999 through 2002. He now hosts the television program "Conspiracy Theory." The lawsuit says Ventura had a hip replacement in 2008, and his titanium implant sets off metal detectors.
Note: Jesse Ventura is one of the heros of our time. Do a video search on his name to watch episodes of his amazingly revealing "Conspiracy Theory" programs.
Domestic use of aerial drones by law enforcement likely to prompt privacy debate
January 23, 2011, Washington Post
The suspect's house, just west of this city, sat on a hilltop at the end of a steep, exposed driveway. Agents with the Texas Department of Public Safety believed the man inside had a large stash of drugs and a cache of weapons. The Texas agents did what no state or local law enforcement agency had done before in a high-risk operation: They launched a drone. A bird-size device called a Wasp floated hundreds of feet into the sky and instantly beamed live video to agents on the ground. The SWAT team stormed the house and arrested the suspect. "The nice thing is it's covert," said Bill C. Nabors Jr., chief pilot with the Texas DPS, "You don't hear it, and unless you know what you're looking for, you can't see it." The drone technology that has revolutionized warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is entering the national airspace. The operation outside Austin presaged what could prove to be one of the most far-reaching and potentially controversial uses of drones: as a new and relatively cheap surveillance tool in domestic law enforcement. By 2013, the FAA expects to have formulated new rules that would allow police across the country to routinely fly lightweight, unarmed drones up to 400 feet above the ground - high enough for them to be largely invisible eyes in the sky. Such technology could allow police to record the activities of the public below with high-resolution, infrared and thermal-imaging cameras.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government and corporate threats to privacy, click here.
UN human rights official claims 9/11 was US plot
January 25, 2011, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A UN human rights official has been roundly condemned for suggesting that the US government may have orchestrated the September 11 terrorist attacks. Richard Falk, a retired professor from Princeton University, wrote on his blog that there had been an "apparent cover up" by American authorities. He added that most media were "unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events" on 9/11, despite it containing "gaps and contradictions". And he described David Ray Griffin, a conspiracy theorist highly regarded in the so-called "9/11 truth" movement, as a "scholar of high integrity" whose book on the subject was "authoritative". UN Watch, a pressure group that monitors the organisation, has called for Prof Falk to be sacked. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, described the comments as "preposterous" and "an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack." But Mr Ban said that it was not for him to decide whether Prof Falk, who serves the organisation as a special investigator into human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories, should be fired by the UN. Vijay Nambiar, Mr Ban's chief of staff, said this was up to the human rights council, a 47-nation body based in Geneva, Switzerland, that was created by the UN in 2006.
Note: Although the title of this article distorts the facts and its tone is dismissive, The Telegraph's quotes from Falk's blog are accurate. For excerpts from his remarks, click here. Richard Falk is only one of many highly-respected scholars and professionals who have raised such questions about the official account of 9/11. For examples of others, click here and here.
Attempted Plane Attack: Trial Date Set for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
January 25, 2011, WJBK-TV (Detroit Fox affiliate)
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of trying to blow up an airplane over metro Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, appeared in federal court [on January 25]. A trial date has now been set. A couple of the passengers [who] showed up at court ... had an interesting theory about what really happened. "The U.S. government escorted them through security without a passport and, we believe, gave him an intentionally defective bomb," said Kurt Haskell. It's a startling allegation from two local attorneys [who] were on-board the 2009 Christmas Day flight to Detroit when Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up a bomb hidden in his underwear. Kurt and Lori Haskell think the U.S. government was behind the whole thing. "It was intentional that it went this far to further the war on terror, to get body scanners in the airports, to increase the TSA's budget, to renew the Patriot Act and whatever other reasons you want to list," Kurt Haskell told FOX 2.
The Haskells say in Amsterdam before boarding the flight to Detroit, they witnessed Abdulmutallab arguing with a ticket agent at the gate because he didn't have a passport when a man in a tan suit with an American accent intervened. They next saw Abdulmutallab on-board the plane when they saw fire and people screaming.
Note: For lots more powerful, verifiable information that this key incident was manipulated by powerful outsiders, click here.
Undercover police cleared 'to have sex with activists'
January 22, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years. The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups. Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. He said undercover officers, particularly those infiltrating environmental and leftwing groups, viewed having sex with a large number of partners "as part of the job". His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists. The claims follow the unmasking of undercover PC Mark Kennedy, who had sexual relationships with several women during the seven years he spent infiltrating a ring of environmental activists. Another two covert officers have been named in the past fortnight who also had sex with the protesters they were sent to spy on, fuelling allegations that senior officers had authorised sleeping around as a legitimate means of gathering intelligence.
Note: For a comprehensive overview of the still-ongoing revelations about police provocateur Mark Kennedy and his cohorts in the UK police infiltration of environmental and related activist groups, click here.
U.S. can't link accused Army private to Assange
January 24, 2011, MSNBC
U.S. military officials [have said] that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The officials say that ... there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure. WikiLeaks' release of secret diplomatic cables last year caused a diplomatic stir and laid bare some of the most sensitive U.S. dealings with governments around the world. It also prompted an American effort to stifle WikiLeaks by pressuring financial institutions to cut off the flow of money to the organization. U.S. Attorney General Eric holder has said his department is also considering whether it can prosecute the release of information under the Espionage Act. Assange told MSNBC TV last month that WikiLeaks was unsure Army PFC Bradley Manning is the source for the classified documents appearing on his site. "That's not how our technology works, that's not how our organization works," Assange said. "I never heard of the name of Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media." He called allegations that WikiLeaks had conspired with Manning "absolute nonsense." Anti-war groups, a psychologist group as well as filmmaker Michael Moore and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg have called for Bradley to be released from detention.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on governmental secrecy, click here.
Food speculation: 'People die from hunger while banks make a killing on food'
January 23, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Just under three years ago, people in the village of Gumbi in western Malawi went unexpectedly hungry. Not like Europeans do if they miss a meal or two, but that deep, gnawing hunger that prevents sleep and dulls the senses when there has been no food for weeks. Oddly, there had been no drought, the usual cause of malnutrition and hunger in southern Africa, and there was plenty of food in the markets. For no obvious reason the price of staple foods such as maize and rice nearly doubled in a few months. Unusually, too, there was no evidence that the local merchants were hoarding food. It was the same story in 100 other developing countries. There were food riots in more than 20 countries and governments had to ban food exports and subsidise staples heavily. A new theory is emerging among traders and economists. The same banks, hedge funds and financiers whose speculation on the global money markets caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis are ... taking advantage of the deregulation of global commodity markets [to make] billions from speculating on food and causing misery around the world. As food prices soar again to beyond 2008 levels, it becomes clear that everyone is now being affected. Food prices are now rising by up to 10% a year in Britain and Europe. What is more, says the UN, prices can be expected to rise at least 40% in the next decade.
Note: For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources investigating the many different strategies used by financial corporations to enrich themselves at the expense of common people, click here.
$170 million mock city rises at Marine base
January 26, 2011, MSNBC/Associated Press
A mock city roughly the size of downtown San Diego has risen in a remote Southern California desert to train military forces to fight in urban environments. The $170 million urban training center was unveiled [on January 25] at the Twentynine Palms military base, 170 miles northeast of San Diego. The 1,560-building facility will allow troops to practice and refine skills that can be used around the world, the Marine Corps said. The military has been opening a slew of mock Afghan villages at bases across the country to prepare troops for battle before they are deployed. The new training center is one of the largest and most elaborate. Seven separate mock city districts spread across 274 acres of desert. The facility has almost 1,900 feet of underground tunnels, a manmade riverbed and dozens of courtyards and compounds. More than 15,000 Marines and sailors can train simultaneously in the massive simulator to experience the difficulties they will face during deployments. The new center expanded a similar training program called Mojave Viper that launched in 2005 to prepare troops for the Iraq war. In November, the Marine Corps unveiled a $30 million expansion of its mock Afghan village at Camp Pendleton that nearly quadrupled its size. Similar immersion training facilities are slated to open this year at Marine Corps bases in North Carolina, Hawaii and Okinawa.
Note: With the US national debt spiraling out of control and education and welfare being cut, why is the military spending $170 million on this?
Eavesdropping Laws Mean That Turning On an Audio Recorder Could Send You to Prison
January 23, 2011, New York Times
Christopher Drew is a 60-year-old artist and teacher who wears a gray ponytail and lives on the North Side [of Chicago]. Tiawanda Moore, 20, a former stripper, lives on the South Side and dreams of going back to school and starting a new life. About the only thing these strangers have in common is the prospect that by spring, they could each be sent to prison for up to 15 years. The crime they are accused of is eavesdropping. The authorities say that Mr. Drew and Ms. Moore audio-recorded their separate nonviolent encounters with Chicago police officers without the officers' permission, a Class 1 felony in Illinois, which, along with Massachusetts and Oregon, has one of the country's toughest, if rarely prosecuted, eavesdropping laws. "Before they arrested me for it," Ms. Moore said, "I didn't even know there was a law about eavesdropping. I wasn't trying to sue anybody. I just wanted somebody to know what had happened to me." Ms. Moore ... is accused of using her Blackberry to record two Internal Affairs investigators who spoke to her inside Police Headquarters while she filed a sexual harassment complaint last August against another police officer. Mr. Drew was charged with using a digital recorder to capture his Dec. 2, 2009, arrest for selling art without a permit on North State Street in the Loop. Both cases illustrate the increasingly busy and confusing intersection of technology and the law, public space and private.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on governmental threats to civil liberties, click here.
'Prince of Mercenaries' who wreaked havoc in Iraq turns up in Somalia
January 22, 2011, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Erik Prince, the American founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, has cropped up at the centre of a controversial scheme to establish a new mercenary force to crack down on piracy ... in the war-torn East African country of Somalia. The project, which emerged yesterday when an intelligence report was leaked to media in the United States, requires Mr Prince to help train a private army of 2,000 Somali troops that will be loyal to the country's United Nations-backed government. Several neighbouring states, including the United Arab Emirates, will pay the bills. Mr Prince is working in Somalia alongside Saracen International, a murky South African firm which is run by a former officer from the Civil Co-operation Bureau, an apartheid-era force notorious for killing opponents of the white minority government. News of his latest project has alarmed, though hardly surprised, critics of Blackwater. The firm made hundreds of millions of dollars from the "war on terror", but was severely tarnished by a string of incidents in post-invasion Iraq, in which its employees were accused of committing dozens of unlawful killings. Mr Prince ... remains entangled in a string of lawsuits pertaining to the alleged recklessness of the firm. For most of the past year, he has been living in Abu Dhabi, where he has close relations with the government and feels better positioned to dodge lawsuits.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources exposing the crimes carried out by corporations and the military in the "Global War on Terrorism", click here.
Feds checking post-vaccine seizures in young kids
January 20, 2011, USA Today/Associated Press
Government officials are investigating an apparent increase in fever-related seizures in young children after they got a flu shot. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on [January 20] said there have been 36 confirmed reports of seizures this flu season in children ages 6 months through 2 years. The seizures occurred within one day after they were vaccinated with Fluzone, the only flu shot recommended in the United States for infants and very young children. Ten of the children were hospitalized, but all recovered. The FDA said it is investigating to see if there is any connection between the vaccine and the seizures, or if something else caused the convulsions. The fever-related seizures called febrile seizures are convulsions brought on by a fever in infants or small children. A child often loses consciousness and shakes. Most seizures last a minute or two, and often children quickly recover. Such seizures may occur with any common childhood illnesses that may cause fever, such as ear infections, colds, influenza and other viral infections.
Note: For lots more information from reliable sources on the dangers posed by vaccines, click here.
Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence
January 7, 2011, Time Magazine
When people consider the connections between drugs and violence, what typically comes to mind are illegal drugs like crack cocaine. However, certain medications most notably, some antidepressants like Prozac have also been linked to increase risk for violent, even homicidal behavior. A new study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices published in the journal PloS One and based on data from the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System has identified 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked with reports of violent behavior towards others. Please note that this does not necessarily mean that these drugs cause violent behavior. Nonetheless, when one particular drug in a class of nonaddictive drugs used to treat the same problem stands out, that suggests caution: unless the drug is being used to treat radically different groups of people, that drug may actually be the problem. Here are the top ten offenders: * 10. Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) * 9. Venlafaxine (Effexor) * 8. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) * 7. Triazolam (Halcion) * 6. Atomoxetine (Strattera) * 5. Mefoquine (Lariam) * 4. Amphetamines: (Various) * 3. Paroxetine (Paxil) * 2. Fluoxetine (Prozac) * 1. Varenicline (Chantix)
Note: As mentioned in this article, all of these drugs are 8 to 18 times time more likely to be linked to violent acts than other drugs. For excellent reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Near-death experiences: Heaven can wait
March 31, 2009, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
When doctors returned to check on the patient who had almost died and been in a deep coma before being resuscitated, he thanked them for all the work they had done. He had, he told the surprised team of medics, been very impressed and had watched everything they had done. He had heard all that had been said, too, and, at one point, had been concerned when resuscitation was about to be abandoned. He then went on to describe in detail the room where he had been treated although he had never been conscious in there. That near-death experience is one of a number recorded by Dutch doctors and one of thousands of similar cases that have now been documented in a major worldwide study. New research shows that many critically ill kidney dialysis patients have similar experiences, and that almost one in 10 heart-arrest survivors also report near-death experiences whose features include out of body sensations, bright lights, dark tunnels, and images of life events and spiritual entities. Near-death experiences are surprisingly common. In the latest study, researchers quizzed 710 kidney dialysis patients and found that, out of 70 patients who had suffered a life-threatening event, 45 had gone though a near-death experience. Near-death experiences occur in both sexes, in every culture, and at all ages.
Key Articles From Years Past
Your life at your fingertips courtesy of the Pentagon
June 2, 2003, USA Today/Associated Press
Coming to you soon from the Pentagon: the diary to end all diaries a multimedia, digital record of everywhere you go and everything you see, hear, read, say and touch. Known as LifeLog, the project has been put out for contractor bids by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the agency that helped build the Internet and that is now developing the next generation of [surveillance] tools. The agency ... [considers] LifeLog ... a tool to capture "one person's experience in and interactions with the world" through a camera, microphone and sensors worn by the user. Everything from heartbeats to travel to Internet chatting would be recorded.
The goal is to create breakthrough software that helps analyze behavior, habits and routines, according to Pentagon documents reviewed by The Associated Press. The products of the unclassified project would be available to both the private sector and other government agencies a concern to privacy advocates. John Pike of Global Security.org, a defense analysis group, is dubious the project has military application. "I have a much easier time understanding how Big Brother would want this than how (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld would use it," Pike said. "They have not identified a military application."
Note: For more on this at Wired, click here.
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