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.
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?
[Here's a story] from Ellsberg's book Secrets. The setting is a meeting with Henry Kissinger in late 1968. In 1968 Ellsberg was a highly respected analyst ... who had worked for both the Pentagon and Rand, and Kissinger was just entering the government. Ellsberg told him, "Henry, there's something I would like to tell you. You've dealt a great deal with top secret information. But you're about to receive a whole slew of special clearances, maybe fifteen or twenty of them, that are higher than top secret. First, you'll be exhilarated by some of this new information. But second, ... you will feel like a fool for having studied, written, talked about these subjects, criticized and analyzed decisions made by presidents for years without having known of the existence of all this information. In particular, you'll feel foolish for having literally rubbed shoulders for over a decade with some officials and consultants who did have access to all this ... and you'll be stunned that they kept that secret from you so well. You will feel like a fool. Then, after you've ... become used to using what amounts to whole libraries of hidden information, ... you will forget there ever was a time when you didn't have it. You'll be aware only of the fact that you have it now and most others don't ... and that all those other people are fools. [In] a matter of two or three years — you'll eventually become aware of the limitations of this information. It's often inaccurate, and it can lead you astray. But that takes a while to learn. In the meantime ... you will deal with a person who doesn't have those clearances only from the point of view of what you want him to believe and what impression you want him to go away with. You'll have to lie carefully to him about what you know. In effect, you will have to manipulate him.
Note: Don't miss the entire fascinating, highly revealing article at the link above. To see this quote from Ellsberg's book on Google books, click here. For more on government secrets, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, suggested [that] the organization might one day be called on to provide countries with a global reserve currency that would serve as an alternative to the U.S. dollar. "That day has not yet come, but I think it is intellectually healthy to explore these kinds of ideas now," he said in a speech on the future mandate of the 186-nation Washington-based lending organization. Strauss-Kahn said such an asset could be similar to but distinctly different from the IMF's special drawing rights, or SDRs, the accounting unit that countries use to hold funds within the IMF. It is based on a basket of major currencies. He said having other alternatives to the dollar "would limit the extent to which the international monetary system as a whole depends on the policies and conditions of a single, albeit dominant, country." Several countries, including China and Russia, have called for an alternative to the dollar as a reserve currency.
Note: For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities behind the world financial and economic crisis, click here.
It's time to reflect on the immense powers Americans have ceded to the government and [the] potential for abuse by federal, state and local authorities. The global Internet and telecommunications infrastructure provides massive information on almost ... every person on the planet. One power truly stands out --- the all-encompassing reach and technological capabilities of the US National Security Agency. If you want to be secure, don't use a phone, a computer, credit card or any other technologically linked system because it guarantees that Big Brother will find you. Big Brother is not just the government. Most consumer "spying" comes from subpoenas and requests from non-terrorist-related federal, state, local agency requests and non-governmental private litigation and discovery. Simply put, a subpoena issued by a court in support of private litigation and discovery may have the same impact on an individual as the full force of the NSA. What information is typically requested from a company by say a plaintiff's lawyer during some discovery phase? Well, it's everything. In fact, it's generally a fishing expedition for every log file, every uploaded video, photo, chat session and anything else they can get their hands on.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the continuing development of a global society under Big Brother's constant gaze, click here.
Embroiled in its debt crisis and looking for any avenue to bolster tax receipts [Greece] has done the unthinkable – it has made [cash, in euros] illegal for transactions over 1,500 euros. Of course, larger credit- or debit-based electronic transactions over 1,500 will still be denominated in euros. However, electronic transactions clearly require infrastructure and limit personal freedom. From Reuters: “From 1. Jan. 2011, every transaction above 1,500 euros between natural persons and businesses, or between businesses, will not be considered legal if it is done in cash. Transactions will have to be done through debit or credit cards.” It seems wrong for the Greek state to dictate how cash euros can be used. In fact, it’s surprising that the EU-endorsed plan would allow Greece to control euro usage at that level. Despite the fact that the reform bill is a piece of an approved EU plan to help improve Greek tax revenue and reduce deficit, it seems to go too far in curtailing personal liberty. How much is a government willing to punish its own citizens for using “too much” of their own legal tender in an otherwise legal transaction?
Note: What gives any government the right to limit cash transactions? And why is the EU approving this unusual measure? Could this be part of a hidden agenda to push the public towards a cashless society?
Mark Pittman, an investigative reporter for Bloomberg News ... filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Federal Reserve Board, seeking the details of its unprecedented efforts to funnel money to the collapsing banks of Wall Street. That was in September 2008. Just more than a year later, Mr. Pittman ... died unexpectedly at age 52. But his cause has persevered. It is now known as Bloomberg L.P. v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, an attempt to unlock the vault of the largest Wall Street rescue plan in decades — or, as the legal briefs put it, to “break down a wall of secrecy” that the Fed has kept in place for nearly two years in its “controversial use of public money to prop up financial institutions.” The Federal Reserve has wrapped itself in secrecy since the turn of the 20th century, when a select group of financiers met at the private Jekyll Island Club off the eastern coast of Georgia and, forgoing last names to preserve their anonymity among the staff, drafted legislation to create a central bank. Its secrecy, of course, persists today, with Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, refusing to tell even Congress which banks received government money under the bailout. There is also a heated battle to force the Fed to disclose its role in the controversial attempt to save the insurance giant American International Group.
Note: Isn't it interesting that Pittman died at age 52 while trying to expose manipulations of the big bankers? For a one-minute video proving the existence of a secret weapon which can cause an undetectable heart attack, click here. For a concise, excellent background on the hidden role of the Federal Reserve, click here.
Just before Christmas, the US President, Barack Obama, signed into law one of his country's biggest aid pledges of the year. It was bound not for Africa or any of the many struggling countries on the World Bank's list. It was a deal for $US2.77 billion ($3 billion) to go to Israel in 2010 and a total of $US30 billion over the next decade. Israel is bound by the agreement to use 75 per cent of the aid to buy military hardware made in the US. For the first time the US is also providing $US500 million to the Palestinian Authority, including $US100 million to train security forces, under the strict proviso that the authority's leadership recognises Israel. For many years Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid, followed by Egypt ($US1.75 billion), which also receives most of its assistance in tied military aid. The Congressional Research Service says that the US spent 17 per cent of its total aid budget - or $US5.1 billion - on military aid in 2008, of which $US4.7 billion was grants to enable governments to receive equipment from the US.
Note: Israel's population is 7.5 million. If you do the math, the US is providing the equivalent of $4,000 in aid to every man, woman and child in Israel over the next decade, with $3,000 of that to buy US military hardware. For lots more on government-facilitated profiteering in the arms industry, click here and here.
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.