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Wider Spying, Satellite Surveillance,
Privatization of Intelligence
Revealing News Articles
August 21, 2007

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the expansion of domestic spying in the US to include physical searches and collection of business records, surveillance of the US land surface by military spy satellites, the privatization of intelligence gathering by the Defense Intelligence Agency, 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. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Concerns Raised on Wider Spying Under New Law
August 19, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/washington/19fisa.html

Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include – without court approval – certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans' business records. "This may give the administration even more authority than people thought," said David Kris, a former senior Justice Department lawyer in the Bush and Clinton administrations. Several legal experts said that by redefining the meaning of "electronic surveillance," the new law narrows the types of communications covered in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, by indirectly giving the government the power to use intelligence collection methods far beyond wiretapping that previously required court approval if conducted inside the United States. These new powers include the collection of business records, physical searches and so-called "trap and trace" operations, analyzing specific calling patterns. For instance, the legislation would allow the government, under certain circumstances, to demand the business records of an American in Chicago without a warrant if it asserts that the search concerns its surveillance of a person who is in Paris, experts said. Some civil rights advocates said they suspected that the administration made the language of the bill intentionally vague to allow it even broader discretion over wiretapping decisions. The end result ... is that the legislation may grant the government the right to collect a range of information on American citizens inside the United States without warrants, as long as the administration asserts that the spying concerns the monitoring of a person believed to be overseas.

Defense Agency Proposes Outsourcing More Spying
August 19, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/18/AR2007081800992.html

The Defense Intelligence Agency is preparing to pay private contractors up to $1 billion to conduct core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection over the next five years, an amount that would set a record in the outsourcing of such functions by the Pentagon's top spying agency. The proposed contracts ... reflect a continuing expansion of the Defense Department's intelligence-related work and fit a well-established pattern of Bush administration transfers of government work to private contractors. Since 2000, the value of federal contracts signed by all agencies each year has more than doubled to reach $412 billion, with the largest growth at the Defense Department. Outsourcing particularly accelerated among intelligence agencies after the [Sept. 11] 2001 terrorist attacks. The DIA's action comes a few months after CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, acting under pressure from Congress, announced a program to cut the agency's hiring of outside contractors by at least 10 percent. The DIA is the country's major manager and producer of foreign military intelligence, with more than 11,000 military and civilian employees worldwide and a budget of nearly $1 billion. It has its own analysts from the various services as well as collectors of human intelligence in the Defense HUMINT Service. DIA also manages the Defense attaches stationed in embassies all over the world. Unlike the CIA, the DIA outsources the major analytical products known as all-source intelligence reports, a senior intelligence official said.

Domestic Use of Spy Satellites To Widen
August 16, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/15/AR2007081502430.html

The Bush administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers. A program approved by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security will allow broader domestic use of secret overhead imagery beginning as early as this fall, with the expectation that state and local law enforcement officials will eventually be able to tap into technology once largely restricted to foreign surveillance. But the program ... quickly provoked opposition from civil liberties advocates, who said the government is crossing a well-established line against the use of military assets in domestic law enforcement. The administration's decision would provide domestic authorities with unprecedented access to high-resolution, real-time satellite photos. They could also have access to much more. Civil liberties groups quickly condemned the move, which Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, ... likened to "Big Brother in the sky. They want to turn these enormous spy capabilities ... onto Americans. They are laying the bricks one at a time for a police state." Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, said that ... oversight for the program was woefully inadequate. Enhanced access "shouldn't be adopted at all costs because it comes with risk to privacy and to the integrity of our political institutions," he said.

The Padilla Conviction
August 17, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/opinion/17fri1.html

It would be a mistake to see [the verdict against Jose Padilla] as a vindication for the Bush administration's serial abuse of the American legal system in the name of fighting terrorism. On the way to this verdict, the government repeatedly trampled on the Constitution, and its prosecution of Mr. Padilla was so cynical ... that the crime he was convicted of – conspiracy to commit terrorism overseas – bears no relation to the ambitious plot to wreak mass destruction inside the United States which the Justice Department first loudly proclaimed. When Mr. Padilla was arrested in 2002, the government said he was an Al Qaeda operative who had plotted to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb inside the United States. Mr. Padilla, who is an American citizen, should have been charged as a criminal and put on trial in a civilian court. Instead, President Bush declared him an "enemy combatant" and kept him in a Navy brig for more than three years. The administration's insistence that it had the right to hold Mr. Padilla indefinitely – simply on the president's word – was its first outrageous act in the case, but hardly its last. Mr. Padilla was kept in a small isolation cell, and when he left that cell he was blindfolded and his ears were covered. He was denied access to a lawyer even when he was being questioned. It was only after the Supreme Court appeared poised last year to use Mr. Padilla's case to decide whether indefinite detention of an American citizen violates the Constitution, that the White House suddenly decided to give him a civilian trial. He will likely never be brought to trial on the dirty-bomb plot. The administration did everything it could to keep Mr. Padilla away from a jury and deny him impartial justice.

Source Disclosure Ordered in Anthrax Suit
August 14, 2007, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/13/AR2007081300991.html

Five reporters must reveal their government sources for stories they wrote about Steven J. Hatfill and investigators' suspicions that the former Army scientist was behind the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, a federal judge ruled. The ruling is a victory for Hatfill, a bioterrorism expert who has argued in a civil suit that the government violated his privacy rights and ruined his chances at a job by unfairly leaking information about the probe. He has not been charged in the attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, and he has denied wrongdoing. Hatfill's suit, filed in 2003, accuses the government of waging a "coordinated smear campaign." To succeed, Hatfill and his attorneys have been seeking the identities of FBI and Justice Department officials who disclosed disparaging information about him to the media. In lengthy depositions in the case, reporters have identified 100 instances when Justice or FBI sources provided them with information about the investigation of Hatfill and the techniques used to probe his possible role in anthrax-laced mailings. But the reporters have refused to name the individuals. In 2002, then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft called Hatfill, who had formerly worked at the Army's infectious diseases lab in Fort Detrick in Frederick County, a "person of interest" in the anthrax case. Authorities have not made any arrests in the investigation. Hatfill's search for government leakers is "strikingly similar" to the civil suit filed by Wen Ho Lee, a nuclear scientist who became the subject of a flurry of media stories identifying him as a chief suspect in a nuclear-secrets spy case. Those stories also relied on anonymous sources. Lee was never charged with espionage.

Note: For more reliable information about the anthrax attacks that followed closely after 9/11 and the mysterious deaths of over a dozen renowned microbiologists shortly thereafter, click here.

Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned
August 14, 2007, Financial Times
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/80fa0a2c-49ef-11dc-9ffe-0000779fd2ac.html

The US government is on a 'burning platform' of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country's top government inspector has warned. David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country's future in a report that lays out what he called "chilling long-term simulations". These include "dramatic" tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt. Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were "striking similarities" between America's current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including "declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government. In my view, it's time to learn from history." Mr Walker's views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to "turn up the volume". Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to "have their name associated with. I'm trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call," he said. "As comptroller general I've got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on."

Taxpayers foot bill for Ed Balls 'junket'
August 14, 2007, Telegraph (U.K.)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/12/nballs112.xml

[U.K.] Cabinet minister Ed Balls spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money attending a private meeting of one of the world's most powerful and secretive organisations. Mr Balls, widely regarded as Gordon Brown's closest adviser, travelled to Canada for the four-day conference of the shadowy Bilderberg Group of businessmen and politicians when he was Economic Secretary to the Treasury. The cost of the trip, in air fares, hotel bills and expenses is estimated at up to 5,000. The group's rules insist that "all participants attend in a private and not an official capacity". However, a Treasury spokesman said Mr Balls had attended "in his capacity as a minister" and confirmed that all expenses had been met from public funds. Also at the event with Mr Balls ... were the former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, the American banker and philanthropist. Participants at Bilderberg, named after the Dutch hotel where its first conference took place, have been described as the "shadow world government". It was founded ... in 1954. Critics claim that it wields enormous influence in shaping world events. The group meets annually amid strict security. It has no permanent secretariat. Instead, an anonymous steering committee of two people from the 18 countries taking part sends out invitations to about 120 of Europe's and North America's leading politicians, economists, industrialists, and royals. Journalists are not permitted to cover the event, no minutes are published, and all those invited must promise not to reveal any of its agenda.

Note: To see more revealing articles on the powerful, secret Bilderberg Group, click here.

China Enacting a High-Tech Plan to Track People
August 12, 2007, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/business/worldbusiness/12security.html

At least 20,000 police surveillance cameras are being installed along streets here [in Shenzhen] in southern China and will soon be guided by sophisticated computer software from an American-financed company to recognize automatically the faces of police suspects and detect unusual activity. Starting this month in a port neighborhood and then spreading across Shenzhen, a city of 12.4 million people, residency cards fitted with powerful computer chips programmed by the same company will be issued to most citizens. Data on the chip will include not just the citizen's name and address but also work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlord's phone number. Even personal reproductive history will be included, for enforcement of China's controversial "one child" policy. Plans are being studied to add credit histories, subway travel payments and small purchases charged to the card. Security experts describe China's plans as the world's largest effort to meld cutting-edge computer technology with police work to track the activities of a population. But they say the technology can be used to violate civil rights. "We have a very good relationship with U.S. companies like I.B.M., Cisco, H.P., Dell," said Robin Huang, the chief operating officer of China Public Security. "All of these U.S. companies work with us to build our system together." The role of American companies in helping Chinese security forces has periodically been controversial in the United States. Executives from Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Cisco Systems testified in February 2006 at a Congressional hearing called to review whether they had deliberately designed their systems to help the Chinese state muzzle dissidents on the Internet; they denied having done so.

People in 41 nations are living longer than Americans
August 12, 2007, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-life12aug12,1,4455613.story

Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries. For decades, the United States has been slipping in rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve healthcare, nutrition and lifestyles. Countries that surpass the United States include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands. "Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on healthcare, is not able to keep up with other countries," said Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. A baby born in the United States in 2004 is expected to live an average of 77.9 years. That ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier. Andorra, a tiny country between France and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years, according to the Census Bureau. It was followed by Japan, Macao, San Marino and Singapore. Researchers say several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one, they say, is that 47 million people in the United States lack health insurance, whereas Canada and many European countries have universal healthcare. But "it's not as simple as saying, 'We don't have national health insurance,' " said Samuel B. Harper, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. Among the other factors researchers cite: Adults in the United States have one of the world's highest obesity rates. Nearly a third of those 20 or older are obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. "The U.S. has the resources that allow people to get fat and lazy," said Paul D. Terry, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta.

Note: For a treasure trove of powerful health articles, click here.

Richard Branson's Empire Keeps Growing
July 29, 2007, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/07/26/sunday/main3099983.shtml

Richard Branson is always reaching for something, whether it's setting records in stratospheric balloon flights or racing across the Atlantic – pursuits that have nearly killed him, more than once. But Branson has never done things the conventional way. He is usually striving for something just beyond his grasp – and, win or lose, he always comes up smiling. But his latest venture may be his most audacious. On July 18 – his and Nelson Mandela's shared birthday – they announced the formation of a Council of Elders, a group of seasoned world leaders who literally will try to solve the world's problems. "You only live once," he said. "You might as well throw yourself into life and enjoy it." These days, at age 57, Branson's preoccupations seem to have more to do with saving the world than conquering it. Being in the airline and train business, Branson says he has helped contribute to environmental degradation. But now he hopes to help repair the world. "For a while, I hoped the skeptics were right. But I read a lot, and met a lot of scientists, and realized the world had a real problem," Branson said. He is offering a $25 million prize for anyone who comes up with an invention that can rid the atmosphere of carbon gases, and he has pledged to spend all the profits from his airlines – that's $3 billion or so – to develop earth-friendly alternative fuels. "What we're hoping to do is actually come up with an alternative fuel that will shake the very foundations of the oil companies and shake the foundations of the coal companies – because if we don't shake their foundations, the world could potentially be doomed. I certainly don't feel chosen, but I feel extremely grateful," he said. "I feel I'm in a position where I can make a difference, and I'm not going to waste that position I find myself in."

Key Articles From Years Past

Son probes strange death of WMD worker
September 12, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/09/12/MNG468MM8N1.DTL

Eric Olson now has a new verb for what happened to his father, Frank Olson, who worked for the Army's top-secret Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, where he developed bioweapons and experimented with mind-control drugs. Eric Olson found the verb in a 1950s CIA manual. The verb is "dropped." And the manual is a how-to guide for assassins. "The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface," the manual says, adding helpfully: "It will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him." Eric Olson believes his father -- who developed misgivings about his work and tried to resign -- was murdered by government agents to protect dark government secrets. "No assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded," says the CIA assassination manual. "Decision and instructions should be confined to an absolute minimum of persons." It adds: "For secret assassination the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated." William P. Walter, 78, who supervised anthrax production at Detrick, says Olson's colleagues were divided about his death. "Some say he jumped. Some say he had help," Walter says. "I'm one of the 'had-help' people." So is James Starrs, a George Washington University forensic pathologist who ... called the evidence "rankly and starkly suggestive of homicide." In a report to the CIA on the death, [Harold] Abramson, [a doctor who had experimented with LSD] wrote that the LSD experiment was designed "especially to trap (Olson)." This ... raised a troubling possibility: that the LSD experiment was actually designed to see whether Olson could still be trusted to keep the agency's dark secrets.

Note: Frank Olson was just one of many tragic casualties of the CIA's mind-control programs. For revealing information on this secret history, click here.

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Wider Spying, Satellite Surveillance, Privatization of Intelligence