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Big Brother Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Big Brother Media Articles in Major Media


Below are key excerpts of highly revealing big brother articles reported in the major media. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These big brother articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing 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.


FBI Finds It Frequently Overstepped in Collecting Data
2007-06-14, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/13/AR20070613024...

An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism. The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002. The vast majority of the new violations were instances in which telephone companies and Internet providers gave agents phone and e-mail records the agents did not request and were not authorized to collect. The agents retained the information anyway in their files. Two dozen of the newly-discovered violations involved agents' requests for information that U.S. law did not allow them to have. The results confirmed what ... critics feared, namely that many agents did not ... follow the required legal procedures and paperwork requirements when collecting personal information with one of the most sensitive and powerful intelligence-gathering tools of the post-Sept. 11 era -- the National Security Letter, or NSL. Such letters are uniformly secret and amount to nonnegotiable demands for personal information -- demands that are not reviewed in advance by a judge. After the 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress substantially eased the rules for issuing NSLs, [leading] to an explosive growth in the use of the letters. More than 19,000 such letters were issued in 2005 seeking 47,000 pieces of information, mostly from telecommunications companies.


FBI Terror Watch List
2007-06-13, ABC News
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/06/fbi_terror_watc.html

A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more than half a million names. Privacy and civil liberties advocates say the list is growing uncontrollably, threatening its usefulness in the war on terror. The bureau says the number of names on its terrorist watch list is classified. A portion of the FBI's unclassified 2008 budget request posted to the Department of Justice Web site, however, refers to "the entire watch list of 509,000 names." A spokesman for the interagency National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which maintains the government's list of all suspected terrorists with links to international organizations, said they had 465,000 names covering 350,000 individuals. Many names are different versions of the same identity. In addition to the NCTC list, the FBI keeps a list of U.S. persons who are believed to be domestic terrorists - abortion clinic bombers, for example, or firebombing environmental extremists, who have no known tie to an international terrorist group. Combined, the NCTC and FBI compendia comprise the watch list used by federal security screening personnel on the lookout for terrorists. While the NCTC has made no secret of its terrorist tally, the FBI has consistently declined to tell the public how many names are on its list. "It grows seemingly without control or limitation," said ACLU senior legislative counsel Tim Sparapani of the terrorism watch list. Sparapani called the 509,000 figure "stunning. If we have 509,000 names on that list, the watch list is virtually useless," he told ABC News. "You'll be capturing innocent individuals with no connection to crime or terror." U.S. lawmakers and their spouses have been detained because their names were on the watch list.


White House revises post-disaster protocol
2007-06-02, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/06/02/white_house_...

The Bush administration is writing a new plan to maintain governmental control in the wake of an apocalyptic terrorist attack or overwhelming natural disaster, moving such doomsday planning for the first time from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to officials inside the White House. Discussion among legal specialists, homeland security experts and Internet commentators [includes] concerns that the policy may [make] it too easy to invoke emergency presidential powers such as martial law. The ... new "National Continuity Policy" contains few details about how surviving officials would invoke emergency powers, or when emergency powers should be deemed to be no longer necessary. The unanswered questions have provoked anxiety across ideological lines. The conservative commentator Jerome Corsi [wrote] that the directive looked like a recipe for allowing the office of the presidency to seize "dictatorial powers" because the policy does not discuss consulting Congress about when to invoke emergency powers -- or when to turn them off. Some specialists say that the White House should be more specific about its worst-case scenario plans, pointing out two unanswered questions: what circumstances would trigger implementation of the plan and what legal limits the White House recognizes on its own emergency powers. The policy ... does not contain a direct reference to statutes in which Congress has imposed checks and balances on the president's power to impose martial law or other extraordinary measures, [nor does it] explicitly acknowledge the National Emergencies Act, [a] law that gives Congress the right to override the president's determination that a national emergency still exists.


Claims of 9/11 conspiracy have suspect running scared
2007-05-25, Rocky Mountain News (One of Denver's two leading newspapers)
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5555425,00...

A former Federal Emergency Management Agency videographer accused of killing his wife in Denver is seeking political asylum in Argentina, claiming the U.S. government wants him silenced for what he saw in the smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers after 9/11. Kurt Sonnenfeld's efforts to avoid extradition have gained interest from human rights organizations in South America and broad attention from conspiracy theorists on the Internet. Sonnenfeld, 44, is charged with first-degree murder in the New Year's Day 2002 shooting death of his 36-year-old wife, Nancy. Sonnenfeld is quoted by the Argentine newspaper el Pais as saying, "I realized that they were after something else: the tapes of Ground Zero in my possession." Sonnenfeld said he was arrested by Interpol agents on the new Denver charges a week after delivering a demo video of 9/11 footage to a TV producer in Argentina. "I find that extremely coincidental," he said. In other interviews with Argentine media, Sonnenfeld is quoted as saying, "What I saw (at 9/11) leads me to the terrible conclusion that there was foreknowledge of what was going to happen — the precautions that were taken to save certain things that the authorities there considered irreplaceable or invaluable. For example, certain things were missing that could only have been removed with a truck. Yet after the first plane hit one of the towers, everything in Manhattan collapsed and no one could have gotten near the towers to do that." Sonnenfeld is quoted as saying documentation was removed from U.S. intelligence agencies in the World Trade Center, including the CIA, prior to the attacks.

Note: To read a more recent, powerful Voltaire Network interview with Kurt Sonnenfeld, click here. The truth is coming out more all the time!


Contingencies for nuclear terrorist attack
2007-05-11, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/11/MNG2OPP22R1.DTL

Senior government and military officials and other experts, organized by a joint Stanford-Harvard program called the Preventive Defense Project, met behind closed doors in Washington for a day-long workshop called "The Day After." The organizers of the nonpartisan project, Stanford's William Perry, a secretary of defense in the Clinton administration, and Harvard's Ashton Carter, a senior Defense Department official during the Clinton years, assumed the detonation of a bomb similar in size to the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima in World War II. A paper [they] are writing ... urges local governments and individuals to build underground bomb shelters; encourages authorities who survive to prevent evacuation of at least some of the areas attacked for three days ... and proposes suspending regulations on radiation exposure so that first responders would be able to act, even if that caused higher cancer rates. "The public at large will expect that their government had thought through this possibility and to have planned for it," Carter said in an interview. "This kind of an event would be unprecedented. We have had glimpses of something like this with Hiroshima, and glimpses with 9/11 and with Katrina. But those are only glimpses. If one bomb goes off, there are likely to be more to follow," Carter said. "This fact, that nuclear terrorism will appear as a syndrome rather than a single episode, has major consequences." It would, he added, require powerful government intervention to force people to do something many may resist -- staying put.

Note: Ashton Carter was co-author, with Philip Zelikow (later Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission) and John Deutch (former CIA Director), of a 1998 Foreign Affairs article, "Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger," which warned of a possible catastrophic attack on the World Trade Center and accurately described the governmental aftermath of 9/11.


Pentagon restricting testimony in Congress
2007-05-10, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/05/10/pentagon_res...

The Pentagon has placed unprecedented restrictions on who can testify before Congress, reserving the right to bar lower-ranking officers, enlisted soldiers, and career bureaucrats from appearing before oversight committees or having their remarks transcribed. The guidelines, described in an April 19 memo to the staff director of the House Armed Services Committee, adds that all field-level officers and enlisted personnel must be "deemed appropriate" by the Department of Defense before they can participate in personal briefings for members of Congress or their staffs. In addition, according to the memo, the proceedings must not be recorded. Any officers who are allowed to testify must be accompanied by an official from the administration. Veterans of the legislative process -- who say they have never heard of such guidelines before -- maintain that the Pentagon has no authority to set such ground rules. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the guidelines are new. The memo has fueled complaints that the Bush administration is trying to restrict access to information about the war in Iraq. [A] special House oversight panel, according to aides, has written at least 10 letters to the Pentagon since February seeking information and has received only one official reply. Nor has the Pentagon fully complied with repeated requests for all the monthly assessments of Iraqi security forces.

Note: When the military begins to control the legislative, democracy begins to shift towards dictatorship. And for reliable information how the Pentagon cannot account for hundreds of billions of dollars, click here.


Bush Changes Continuity Plan
2007-05-10, The Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/09/AR20070509027...

President Bush issued a formal national security directive yesterday ordering agencies to prepare contingency plans for a surprise, "decapitating" attack on the federal government, and assigned responsibility for coordinating such plans to the White House. The prospect of a nuclear bomb being detonated in Washington without warning ... has been cited by many security analysts as a rising concern since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The order makes explicit that the focus of federal worst-case planning involves a covert nuclear attack against the nation's capital. "Adequate warning of potential emergencies that could pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be available, and therefore all continuity planning shall be based on the assumption that no such warning will be received," states the 72-paragraph order. The statement added, "Emphasis will be placed upon geographic dispersion of leadership, staff, and infrastructure in order to increase survivability and maintain uninterrupted Government Functions." After the 2001 attacks, Bush assigned about 100 senior civilian managers to rotate secretly to locations outside of Washington for weeks or months at a time [forming] a shadow government that evolved based on long-standing "continuity of operations plans." Since then, other agencies including the Pentagon, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA have taken steps to relocate facilities or key functions outside of Washington for their own reasons, citing factors such as economics or the importance of avoiding Beltway "group-think."

Note: Why isn't Congress making these absolutely vital decisions? What gives these organizations authority to determine what will happen in the case of a major attack?


Income tax is an old American story that just grows more taxing
2007-04-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/15/INGO8P5G3B1.DTL

Millions of us are engaging in one of life's least-enjoyable activities. We're doing our taxes. We can thank the 16th Amendment for all this unpleasantness. Much maligned, much misunderstood, this amendment, ratified in February 1913, permits Congress to "lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived." Proposed by a Republican president, William Howard Taft, but commonly blamed on -- or credited to -- his Democratic successor, Woodrow Wilson, it was promptly denounced by unhappy members of both parties. Only in 1862 did Congress, facing Civil War expenses, impose a federal income tax. There were two marvelous things about this Civil War income tax. One was that you declared your own income. The second was that it was abolished after 10 years. The main reason this Civil War income tax disappeared was not that the government felt it no longer needed the money (alas, this is never true). The tax was lifted because wealthy Northeast manufacturers, the war's major taxpayers, possessed the congressional clout to replace income taxes with protective tariffs that shielded their manufactured goods. In 1894, [a] new income tax became law, only to be declared unconstitutional one year later. When the 16th Amendment was first put into practice, it would indeed be the "rich man's tax," both sides predicted. With generous deductions and a $3,000 exemption (about $55,000 today), most people didn't feel a thing. Best of all, the instructions were only one page long. Soon, of course, all this changed, in ways that nobody, pro-tax or con, could have foreseen.

Note: Many are unaware that the U.S. functioned without income tax for much of its history. The public never would have supported the 16th Amendment in 1913 if they thought it would tax the common worker. Were we duped? The 16th Amendment coincidentally was passed in the same year that the Federal Reserve (which took over the printing of U.S. money) was established. Few know that the Federal Reserve is neither truly federal or a full reserve. For more on this very well hidden fact and other cover-ups around banking, click here.


Man with tuberculosis jailed for not wearing mask
2007-04-03, CNN/Associated Press
http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/04/03/tuberculosis.confinement.ap

Behind the county hospital's tall cinderblock walls, a 27-year-old tuberculosis patient ... sits in a jail cell equipped with a ventilation system that keeps germs from escaping. Robert Daniels has been locked up indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of his life, since last July. But he has not been charged with a crime. Instead, he suffers from an extensively drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. It is considered virtually untreatable. County health authorities obtained a court order to lock him up as a danger to the public because ... he did not heed doctors' instructions to wear a mask in public. "I'm being treated worse than an inmate," Daniels said. "I'm all alone. Four walls. Even the door to my room has been locked. I haven't seen my reflection in months." He said sheriff's deputies will not let him take a shower -- he cleans himself with wet wipes -- and have taken away his television, radio, personal phone and computer. His only visitors are masked medical staff members who come in to give him his medication. Though Daniels' confinement is extremely rare, health experts say it is a situation that U.S. public health officials may have to confront more and more because of the spread of drug-resistant TB and the emergence of diseases such as SARS and avian flu.

Note: If the above link fails, click here. What possible reason is there for taking away this man's TV, radio, cell phone, and computer? Are we being prepared for mass quarantines and imprisonment due to disease? For more, click here.


Police Log Confirms FBI Role In Arrests
2007-04-03, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/02/AR20070402015...

A secret FBI intelligence unit helped detain a group of war protesters in a downtown Washington parking garage in April 2002 and interrogated some of them on videotape about their political and religious beliefs. [Washington] D.C. police said authorities only recently found the logs of police responses to that day's events. That discovery came after three years of police assurances in federal court that no such records or logs existed showing the FBI's role. The FBI and D.C. police said they had no records of such an incident. And police told a federal court that no FBI agents were present when officers arrested more than 20 protesters that afternoon for trespassing; police viewed them as suspicious for milling around the parking garage entrance. Similar intelligence-gathering operations have been reported in New York, where a local police intelligence unit tried to infiltrate groups planning to protest at the Republican National Convention in 2004, and in Colorado, where records surfaced showing that the FBI collected names and license plates of people protesting timber industry practices at a 2002 industry convention.


Japan’s Textbooks Reflect Revised History
2007-04-01, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/world/asia/01japan.html?ex=1333080000&en=3f...

In another sign that Japan is pressing ahead in revising its history of World War II, new high school textbooks will no longer acknowledge that the Imperial Army was responsible for a major atrocity in Okinawa, the government announced late Friday. The Ministry of Education ordered publishers to delete passages stating that the Imperial Army ordered civilians to commit mass suicide during the Battle of Okinawa, as the island was about to fall to American troops in the final months of the war. The decision was announced as part of the ministry’s annual screening of textbooks used in all public schools. The ministry also ordered changes to other delicate issues to dovetail with government assertions, though the screening is supposed to be free of political interference. The decision on the Battle of Okinawa ... came as a surprise because the ministry had never objected to the description in the past. The fresh denial of the military’s responsibility in the Battle of Okinawa and in sexual slavery — long accepted as historical facts — is likely to deepen suspicions in Asia that Tokyo is trying to whitewash its militarist past even as it tries to raise the profile of its current forces. The ministry’s new position appeared to discount overwhelming evidence of coercion, particularly the testimony of victims and survivors themselves.

Note: History many times is written -- or in this case re-written -- by those in power.


A monstrous war crime
2007-03-28, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2044345,00.html

Our collective failure has been to take our political leaders at their word. This week the BBC reported that the government's own scientists advised ministers that the Johns Hopkins study on Iraq civilian mortality was accurate and reliable. Published in the Lancet ...it estimated that 650,000 Iraqi civilians had died since the American and British led invasion in March 2003. Immediately after publication, the prime minister's official spokesman said that the Lancet's study "was not one we believe to be anywhere near accurate". The foreign secretary ... said that the Lancet figures were "extrapolated" and a "leap". President Bush said: "I don't consider it a credible report". Scientists at the UK's Department for International Development thought differently. They concluded that the study's methods were "tried and tested". Indeed, the Johns Hopkins approach would likely lead to an "underestimation of mortality". The Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser ... recommended "caution in publicly criticising the study". When these recommendations went to the prime minister's advisers, they were horrified. Tony Blair was advised to say: "The overriding message is that there are no accurate or reliable figures of deaths in Iraq". At a time when we are celebrating our enlightened abolition of slavery 200 years ago, we are continuing to commit one of the worst international abuses of human rights of the past half-century. Two hundred years from now, the Iraq war will be mourned as the moment when Britain violated its delicate democratic constitution and joined the ranks of nations that use extreme pre-emptive killing as a tactic of foreign policy.

Note: This article is written by Richard Horton, the editor of the highly esteemed British medical journal Lancet.


Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse?
2007-03-28, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-03-27-maya-2012_N.htm

With humanity coming up fast on 2012, publishers are helping readers gear up and count down to this mysterious — some even call it apocalyptic — date. Since November, at least three new books on 2012 have arrived in mainstream bookstores. Journalist Lawrence Joseph forecasts widespread catastrophe in Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation Into Civilization's End. Spiritual healer Andrew Smith predicts a restoration of a "true balance between Divine Feminine and Masculine" in The Revolution of 2012. In 2012, Daniel Pinchbeck anticipates a "change in the nature of consciousness." Each arrives in the wake of the 2006 success of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, which has been selling thousands of copies a month since its release in May. The books also build on popular interest in the Maya. Authors disagree about what humankind should expect on Dec. 21, 2012, when the Maya's "Long Count" calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era. Maya civilization, known for advanced writing, mathematics and astronomy, flourished for centuries in Mesoamerica, especially between A.D. 300 and 900. Its Long Count calendar ... tracks more than 5,000 years, then resets at year zero. Publishers seem to be courting readers who believe humanity is creating its own ecological disasters and desperately needs ancient indigenous wisdom. Part of the 2012 mystique stems from the stars. On the winter solstice in 2012, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. This means that "whatever energy typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will indeed be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time," Joseph writes.

Note: There are many misconceptions spreading about 2012. Some say the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, when in fact the Mayan calendar never ends. The "alautun," for example is a Mayan unit of time measure equal to over 60 million years. The claim that the sun will align with the center of the Milky way is 2012 is also a misconception. Calculations of this date are not exact, with one expert giving a date of 1998 plus or minus 18 years. Many seem to want something big to happen in 2012, when perhaps the most important time on which to focus on is this moment, right now.


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

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


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

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


Call to reopen Oklahoma bomb case
2007-03-02, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/6275147.stm

The FBI man in charge of collecting evidence from the government building destroyed by the Oklahoma bomb has called for the case to be reopened. Former deputy assistant director Danny Coulson ... said a federal grand jury is now needed to find out what really happened. He argues this is the only way to prove whether other people were involved in the bombing in a wider conspiracy beyond Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Mr Coulson spent 31 years in the FBI. Between 1991 and 1997 he was the deputy assistant director of the Criminal Division of the FBI in Washington, responsible for all violent crime cases in the United States. Mr Coulson said there were some "very strong indicators" that other people were involved with Timothy McVeigh. The FBI interviewed 24 people who claimed to have seen McVeigh in Oklahoma City with someone else on the morning of the attack, yet the only known accomplice of McVeigh, Terry Nichols, was at home in Kansas over 200 miles away on that day. The FBI's investigation concluded that the eyewitnesses were unreliable. However, Danny Coulson says they were "extremely credible" and had no reason to make it up. "If only one person had seen it, or two of three, but 24?" he said. "I know FBI headquarters told [agents] to close down the investigation in Elohim City which has some very significant connections to Mr McVeigh. "Never in my career did I have FBI headquarters tell me not to investigate something." Last December a US Congressional report found no conclusive evidence of a wider conspiracy, but the report concluded that "questions remain unanswered and mysteries remain unsolved."

Note: Don't miss a highly revealing four-minute video-clip showing live media coverage of the Oklahoma City bomb available here. The official story is that one truck with a huge bomb was parked in front of the Oklahoma City federal building and only Timothy McVeigh and his partner were involved. The news footage proves that others must have been involved, as multiple unexploded bombs were recovered from points inside the building. Yet none of this was questioned in later testimony.


Going to Canada? Check your past
2007-02-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/02/23/MNGCAO9NSB1.DTL

Welcome to the new world of border security. Unsuspecting Americans are turning up at the Canadian border expecting clear sailing, only to find that their past -- sometimes their distant past -- is suddenly an issue. There was a time not long ago when a trip across the border from the United States to Canada was accomplished with a wink and a wave of a driver's license. Those days are over. Take the case of 55-year-old Lake Tahoe resident Greg Felsch. Stopped at the border in Vancouver this month at the start of a planned five-day ski trip, he was sent back to the United States because of a DUI conviction seven years ago. Not that he had any idea what was going on when he was told at customs: "Your next stop is immigration." Felsch was ushered into a room. "There must have been 75 people in line," he says. "We were there for three hours. One woman was in tears. A guy was sent back for having a medical marijuana card. I felt like a felon with an ankle bracelet." Or ask the well-to-do East Bay couple who flew to British Columbia this month for an eight-day ski vacation at the famed Whistler Chateau, where rooms run to $500 a night. They'd made the trip many times, but were surprised at the border to be told that the husband would have to report to "secondary" immigration. There, in a room he estimates was filled with 60 other concerned travelers, he was told he was "a person who was inadmissible to Canada." The problem? A conviction for marijuana possession ... in 1975. This is just the beginning. Soon other nations will be able to look into your past when you want to travel there.


Texas Governor Defends Vaccine Order
2007-02-22, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?feed=AP&Date=2...

Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday angrily defended his relationship with Merck & Co. and his executive order requiring that schoolgirls receive the drugmaker's vaccine against the sexually transmitted cervical-cancer virus. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Perry's chief of staff had met with key aides about the vaccine on Oct. 16, the same day Merck's political action committee donated $5,000 to the governor's campaign. In issuing the order, the governor made Texas the first state to require the vaccine Gardasil for all schoolgirls. But many lawmakers have complained about his bypassing the Legislature altogether. The executive order has inflamed conservatives, who said it contradicts Texas' abstinence-only sexual education policies and intrudes into families' lives. Critics have previously questioned Perry's ties to Merck. Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff, now lobbies for the drug company. And the governor accepted a total of $6,000 from Merck during his re-election campaign. Merck has waged a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to get state legislatures to require girls to get the three-dose vaccine to enroll in school. But on Tuesday the pharmaceutical company announced it was suspending the effort because of pressure from parents and medical groups. The Kentucky House on Thurday passed a bill that would require the vaccination for middle school girls unless their parents sign a form opposing it. Virginia lawmakers have also passed legislation requiring the vaccine, but the governor has not decided if he will sign it.

Note: The drug company lobby is the most powerful in the U.S., as reported by the former editor-in-chief of one of the most respected medical journals in the U.S. Click here for more.


Merck Suspends Lobbying for Vaccine
2007-02-21, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/21/ap/business/mainD8NDU4AG0.shtml

Pediatricians, gynecologists and even health insurers all call Gardasil, the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, a big medical advance. But medical groups, politicians and parents began rebelling after disclosure of a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign by Gardasil's maker, Merck & Co., to get state legislatures to require 11- and 12-year-old girls to get the three-dose vaccine as a requirement for school attendance. Some parents' groups and doctors particularly objected because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted disease. Vaccines mandated for school attendance usually are for diseases easily spread through casual contact, such as measles and mumps. Bowing to pressure, Merck said Tuesday that it is immediately suspending its controversial campaign, which it had funded through a third party. Legislatures in roughly 20 states have introduced measures that would mandate girls have the vaccine to attend school. Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Feb. 2 issued an executive order requiring Texas girls entering the sixth grade as of 2008 get the vaccinations. Dr. Anne Francis, who chairs an American Academy of Pediatrics committee [stated] "I believe that their timing was a little bit premature," she said, "so soon after (Gardasil's) release, before we have a picture of whether there are going to be any untoward side effects." The country has been "burned" by some drugs whose serious side effects emerged only after they were in wide use, including Merck's withdrawn painkiller Vioxx. The vaccine also is controversial because of its price - $360 for the three doses required.

Note: $360 for every girl in school would amount to quite a hefty transfer of funds from taxpayers into the pockets of Merck. Could profit and campaign contributions be behind the move to make this mandatory?


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

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

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


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