Big Brother Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Big Brother Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Top U.S. intelligence officials have raised concerns about the growing vulnerability the United States faces from cyberwarfare threats and malicious computer activity that CIA Director Leon Panetta said "represents the battleground for the future." "The potential for the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyber-attack," he testified on Capitol Hill [on February 10] before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Panetta provided a stark assessment for the intelligence committee. "If you have a cyber-attack that brings down our power-grid system, brings down our financial system, brings down our government systems, you could paralyze this country," he said. U.S officials from the National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have actively been working the emerging cybersecurity threats. The military activated U.S. Cyber Command last year to coordinate the military's cyberspace resources.
Note: For more articles from reliable sources on the construction of a total surveillance state, click here.
United States taxpayers have funneled more than $60 billion of aid into Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak came to power in 1981, but more than half of the money has been spent supplying weapons to the country’s military. About $34 billion of the aid to Egypt has come in the form of grants that Congress requires Egypt to spend on American military hardware. In recent years the large amount of aid earmarked for the military, and the relatively low sums supporting civilian aid, have attracted scathing criticism from Egyptians, some of whom argue that US aid has gone to entrench a military dictator at the expense of the fledgling democracy activists. During the early turmoil, protesters were the target of tear gas canisters that read "made in the USA," fueling debate about the aid. Last year, Egypt was the fifth-largest recipient of US aid, getting $1.6 billion. Congress ... authorized major aid packages to both [Egypt and Israel in 1979], using an informal formula — not enshrined in the peace treaty — that gave Egypt $2 for every $3 that Israel received. Israel quickly became the largest recipient of US aid, and Egypt the second-largest — rankings that were only recently overtaken by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and last year, the disaster in Haiti. The strong interest of US companies could help explain why US military assistance to Egypt has remained at $1.3 billion a year, while its civilian economic assistance has steadily shrunk, from $815 million a decade ago to $250 million requested for 2011. The decline began in 1998, when Israel arranged for a reduction in economic support and an increase military aid. As Israeli’s economic aid shrunk, so too did Egypt’s.
Note: Israel receives about $3 billion a year from the US, yet the population of the country is 8 million. If you do the math, the US is providing the equivalent of nearly $4,000 in aid per year to every man, woman and child in Israel, with $3,000 of that to buy US military hardware. For lots more reliable information on how the military/industrial complex manipulates world politics to support the war machine, click here and here.
Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group largely focused in recent years on Google's privacy practices, has called [for] a congressional investigation into the Internet giant's "cozy" relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama's administration. In a letter sent [on January 24], Consumer Watchdog asked Representative Darrell Issa, the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to investigate the relationship between Google and several government agencies. "We believe Google has inappropriately benefited from close ties to the administration," the letter said. "It should not get special treatment and access because of a special relationship with the administration." Consumer Watchdog's latest complaints about the relationship of Google and the Obama administration are outlined in a 32-page report [which] questions Google's relationship with the U.S. National Security Agency and calls for the company to be more open about what consumer information it shares with the spy agency.
Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. The months-long investigation [by The Washington Post], based on nearly 100 interviews and 1,000 documents, found that: * Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America. * The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. * Law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies. * The Department of Homeland Security sends its state and local partners intelligence reports with little meaningful guidance, and state reports have sometimes inappropriately reported on lawful meetings.
Note: This report is part of a series, "Top Secret America," by The Washington Post. For more, click here.
On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan. The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential. Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk. In theory, this group exists to safeguard the integrity of the multitrillion-dollar market. In practice, it also defends the dominance of the big banks. The banks in this group ... have fought to block other banks from entering the market, and they are also trying to thwart efforts to make full information on prices and fees freely available. Banks’ influence over this market, and over clearinghouses like the one this select group advises, has costly implications for businesses large and small. The size and reach of this market has grown rapidly over the past two decades. Pension funds today use derivatives to hedge investments. States and cities use them to try to hold down borrowing costs. Airlines use them to secure steady fuel prices. Food companies use them to lock in prices of commodities like wheat or beef.
Note: To explore highly revealing news articles on the powerful secret societies which without doubt back these top bankers, click here. For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources detailing the amazing control of major banks over government and society, click here.
Every email, phone call and website visit is to be recorded and stored after the Coalition Government revived controversial Big Brother snooping plans. It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet. Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state. It comes despite the Coalition Agreement promised to "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason". The plans are expected to involve service providers storing all users details for a set period of time. That will allow the security and police authorities to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public if they argue it is needed to tackle crime or terrorism. The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages. The move was buried in the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on increasing government and corporate threats to privacy, click here.
Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old computer salesman and community-college student, took his car in for an oil change earlier this month and his mechanic spotted an odd wire hanging from the undercarriage. The wire was attached to a strange magnetic device that puzzled Afifi and the mechanic. They freed it from the car and posted images of it online, asking for help in identifying it. Two days later, FBI agents arrived at Afifi's Santa Clara apartment and demanded the return of their property — a global-positioning-system tracking device now at the center of a raging legal debate over privacy rights. One federal judge wrote that the widespread use of the device was straight out of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four." By holding that this kind of surveillance doesn't impair an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy, the panel hands the government the power to track the movements of every one of us, every day of our lives," wrote Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a blistering dissent in which a three-judge panel from his court ruled that search warrants weren't necessary for GPS tracking. In his dissent, Chief Judge Kozinski noted that GPS technology is far different from tailing a suspect on a public road, which requires the active participation of investigators. "The devices create a permanent electronic record that can be compared, contrasted and coordinated to deduce all manner of private information about individuals," Kozinksi wrote.
Note: For an AP photo of this device, click here.
Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone. Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages. James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design. “They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”
Note: For an analysis of this new government move to spy on US citizens, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on disturbing government threats to privacy and civil liberties, click here and here.
The U.S. government will have unmanned surveillance aircraft monitoring the whole southwest border with Mexico from September 1, as it ramps up border security in this election year. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said U.S. Customs and Border Protection would begin flying a Predator B drone out of Corpus Christi, Texas, on [that date], extending the reach of the agency's unmanned surveillance aircraft across the length of the nearly 2,000 mile border with Mexico. "With the deployment of the Predator in Texas, we will now be able to cover the southwest border from the El Centro sector in California all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, providing critical aerial surveillance assistance to personnel on the ground," Napolitano said during a conference call. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama signed a $600 million bill that would fund some 1,500 new Border Patrol agents, customs inspectors and other law enforcement officials along the border, as well as paying for two more unmanned drones. The Predator B drones are made by defense contractor General Atomics. They carry equipment including sophisticated day and night vision cameras that operators use to detect drug and human smugglers, and can stay aloft for up to 30 hours at a time.
Note: How long will it be before aerial surveillance drones, now positioned over the southern border of the US, are deployed in other parts of the country?
Mexico's sixth-largest city, Leon, is on the road to ... a future in which everyone is tracked wherever they go. Fast Company reports that U.S. biometrics firm Global Rainmakers and its Mexican partner announced yesterday that they have begun installing iris-scanning technology in the city of more than 1 million in Guanajuato state. The companies aim ... to create "the most secure city in the world." The first phase concentrates on law enforcement and security checkpoints. Then the iris scanners, which the firms say can "identify humans in motion and at a distance while ensuring liveness," will fill malls, pharmacies, mass transit, medical centers and banks, "among other public and private locations," Fast Company writes. "In the future, whether it's entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled, or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris," says Jeff Carter, CDO of Global Rainmakers. Before coming to GRI, Carter headed a think tank partnership between Bank of America, Harvard, and MIT. "Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next 10 years," he says.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on threats to privacy, click here.
[An] IMF paper [that] first came out in April, 2010, [a]uthored by Reza Moghadam, director of the IMF’s strategy, policy and review department, ... discusses how the IMF sees the International Monetary System evolving after the financial crisis. In the eyes of the IMF ... the best way to ensure the stability of the international monetary system (post crisis) is actually by launching a global currency. And that, the IMF says, is largely because [sovereign nations] cannot be trusted to redistribute surplus reserves, or battle their deficits, themselves. The ongoing buildup of such imbalances, meanwhile, only makes the system increasingly vulnerable to shocks. It’s also a process that’s ultimately unsustainable for all, says the IMF. All in all, the IMF believes there has simply been too much reserve hoarding going on. A global currency makes the most sense, the paper concludes — especially since the SDR [Special Drawing Rights] is currently just an accounting tool that draws on the freely usable currencies of member states, not an actual currency itself.
Note: For key news articles on the global financial crisis to which this IMF report is responding, click here.
With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts. Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid's target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk. Cartons of raw goat and cow milk and blocks of unpasteurized goat cheese were among the groceries seized in the June 30 raid by federal, state and local authorities — the latest salvo in the heated food fight over what people can put in their mouths. On one side are government regulators, who say they are enforcing rules designed to protect consumers from unsafe foods and to provide a level playing field for producers. On the other side are " healthy food" consumers [who] seek food in its most pure form. "This is about control and profit, not our health," said Aajonus Vonderplanitz, co-founder of Rawesome Foods. "How can we not have the freedom to choose what we eat?" Demand for all manner of raw foods — including honey, nuts and meat — has been growing, spurred by heightened interest in the way food is produced. But raw milk in particular has drawn a lot of regulatory scrutiny, largely because the politically powerful dairy industry has pressed the government to act.
Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens. One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of America’s level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan. America’s incarceration rate has quadrupled since 1970. Similar things have happened elsewhere. The incarceration rate in Britain has more than doubled, and that in Japan increased by half, over the period. But the trend has been sharper in America than in most of the rich world, and the disparity has grown. It is explained neither by a difference in criminality (the English are slightly more criminal than Americans, though less murderous), nor by the success of the policy: America’s violent-crime rate is higher than it was 40 years ago. Many states have mandatory minimum sentences, which remove judges’ discretion to show mercy, even when the circumstances of a case cry out for it. “Three strikes” laws, which were at first used to put away persistently violent criminals for life, have in several states been applied to lesser offenders.
Note: For a recent report on the size of the US prison population in comparison with other countries, click here.
The federal government is launching an expansive program dubbed "Perfect Citizen" to detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants. The surveillance by the National Security Agency, the government's chief eavesdropping agency, would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack. Defense contractor Raytheon Corp. recently won a classified contract for the initial phase of the surveillance effort valued at up to $100 million. Some industry and government officials familiar with the program see Perfect Citizen as an intrusion by the NSA into domestic affairs. One internal Raytheon email, the text of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal [said,] "Perfect Citizen is Big Brother." Raytheon declined to comment on this email. The information gathered by Perfect Citizen could also have applications beyond the critical infrastructure sector, officials said, serving as a data bank that would also help companies and agencies who call upon NSA for help with investigations of cyber attacks, as Google did when it sustained a major attack late last year.
Note: For key reports of government and corporate surveillance from reliable sources, click here.
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has given his strongest indication yet about the next big leak from his whistleblower organisation. In an interview with the ABC's Foreign Correspondent, Mr Assange said cryptically of WikiLeaks' current project: "I can give an analogy. If there had been mass spying that had affected many, many people and organisations and the details of that mass spying were released then that is something that would reveal that the interests of many people had been abused." He agreed it would be of the "calibre" of publishing information about the way the top secret Echelon system - the US-UK electronic spying network which eavesdrops on worldwide communications traffic - had been used. Mr Assange also confirmed that WikiLeaks has a copy of a video showing a US military bombing of a western Afghan township which killed dozens of people, including children. During the course of the past month, Mr Assange has been talking to [ABC's] Foreign Correspondent for [an upcoming] program examining the efficacy of the WikiLeaks model. "What we want to create is a system where there is guaranteed free press across the world, the entire world, that every individual in the world has the ability to publish materials that is meaningful," he said.
Note: For more on government surveillance from major media sources, click here.
Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range. Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, [Yalcin Buyuk]. The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back. The new information about the manner and intensity of the killings undermines Israel's insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists. "Given the very disturbing evidence which contradicts the line from the Israeli media and suggests that Israelis have been very selective in the way they have addressed this, there is now an overwhelming need for an international inquiry," said Andrew Slaughter MP, a member of the all party group on Britain and Palestine.
Organizations in the financial services sector have deployed at least 1,447 former federal employees to lobby Congress and federal agencies since the beginning of 2009, according to a joint analysis of federal disclosure records and other data released today by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics. This small army of registered financial services sector lobbyists includes at least 73 former members of Congress, of whom 17 served on the banking committees of either the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate. At least 66 industry lobbyists worked for these committees as staffers, while 82 additional lobbyists once worked for congressional members who currently serve on these key committees. Further, at least 42 financial services lobbyists formerly served in some capacity in the U.S. Treasury Department. At least seven served in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, including two former comptrollers. “Wall Street hires former members of Congress and their staff for a reason," said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. "These people are influential because they have personal relationships with current members and staff. It’s hard to say no to your friends."
Note: To read the full report, click here. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in federal politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
Germany is fighting to keep sealed the Adolf Eichmann files detailing the years the Holocaust chief logistical organiser spent on the run before he was captured by Mossad agents. Those hoping to have a 50-year secrecy order overturned believe the government is embarrassed by details within that may prove German and Vatican officials colluded in his escape and freedom. For the current papacy under the German pope, Benedict XVI, the 4,500 page Eichmann dossier could be the ’smoking gun’ that would shoot down his plans to canonize Pope Pius XII (1939-58), aka ‘Hitler’s Pope.’ The role of Pope Pius XII during World War II, his relationship with Nazism and his efforts (or lack of them) to save Jews from the gas chambers are hotly disputed. Even within the Jewish community there are strong opinions on both sides of the debate. In fact history’s most savage mass murderers – Adolf Eichmann, Dr Josef Mengele, better known as Auschwitz’s ‘Angel of Death’, Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp – escaped justice down the ‘ratline’ that ran straight through the Vatican state in Rome. Senior members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy – marinaded in virulent Judeophobia and obsessed by Bolshevism – organised the escape of thousands of the most debauched, cruel monsters to a peaceful, prosperous retirement in Catholic South America.
Note: As mentioned by the initiator of the lawsuit to open the documents in this Associated Press story, "I think it's impossible that in Germany we are hiding documents about a convicted Nazi mass murderer today." Evidence suggests that these Nazis were purposely allowed to escape with the involvement of the Vatican, the CIA, and other groups. Josef Mengele is purported to have gone on to train the CIA in powerful mind control techniques he perfected using concentration camp inmates as guinea pigs. For more on this, click here.
On top of everything Lehman Brothers did before it collapsed in 2008, nearly toppling the financial system, it now seems that it was aggressively massaging its books. A new report on the Lehman collapse, released last week ... would leave anyone dumbstruck by the firm’s audacity — and reminded of the crying need for adult supervision of Wall Street. The 2,200-page report [finds that] Lehman engaged in transactions that let it temporarily shift troubled assets off its books and in so doing, hide its reliance on borrowed money. The maneuvers ... made the firm appear healthier than it was. [The author, Anton R. Valukas, a former federal prosecutor,] wrote that Richard S. Fuld Jr., Lehman’s former chief executive, was “at least grossly negligent,” and that Lehman executives engaged in “actionable balance sheet manipulation.” According to the report, rating agencies, government regulators and Lehman’s board of directors had no clue about the gimmicks. The result is that we were all blindsided. And we could be blindsided again. Congress is not even close to passing meaningful regulatory reform. The surviving banks have only gotten bigger and more politically powerful. If the Valukas report is not a wake-up call, what would be?
Note: The Lehman report is described in detail here. For revealing information showing how the US Treasury Department continues to fight against a much-needed audit of the Federal Reserve, click here. For a great collection of revealing reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities behind the financial crisis and government bailouts of the biggest financial corporations, click here.
In a remote mountainside on the Norwegian tundra sits the "doomsday vault," a backup against disaster -- manmade or otherwise. Inside lives the last hope should the unthinkable occur: a global seedbank that could be used to replant the world. It's a modern day Noah's Ark, in other words, full not of animals but of plantlife. The Svalbard "doomsday" Global Seed Vault [stores] a half-million seed varieties. The arctic permafrost offers natural freezing for the seeds, while additional cooling brings the temperatures down to minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Should disaster wipe out a species -- or in the case of a large-scale global crisis -- its stockers hope the seeds stored there could be used to restore life. The preciousness of the seeds there is also reflected in the inaccessible nature of the vault. Anyone seeking access to the seeds themselves will have to pass through four locked doors: the heavy steel entrance doors, a second door approximately 115 meters down the tunnel and finally the two keyed air-locked doors. Keys are coded to allow access to different levels of the facility. Not all keys unlock all doors.
Note: Should a major disaster or armageddon happen, the designers of this vault assume that the keyholders will survive. Why such a high level of security when this is by no means certain?
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.