Pentagon Looks for ‘Killer Switch’

Imagine if the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could be effectively shut down by a foreign adversary with the flip of a switch? That’s, in part, the the concern behind the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Trust in Integrated Circuits program, reports IEEE Spectrum, in a fascinating article that explores the underbelly of national security and globalization:

Liteswit Last September, Israeli jets bombed a suspected nuclear installation in northeastern Syria. Among the many mysteries still surrounding that strike was the failure of a Syrian radar—supposedly state-of-the-art—to warn the Syrian military of the incoming assault. It wasn’t long before military and technology bloggers concluded that this was an incident of electronic warfare—and not just any kind.

Post after post speculated that the commercial off-the-shelf microprocessors in the Syrian radar might have been purposely fabricated with a hidden “backdoor” inside. By sending a preprogrammed code to those chips, an unknown antagonist had disrupted the chips’ function and temporarily blocked the radar.

That same basic scenario is cropping up more frequently lately, and not just in the Middle East, where conspiracy theories abound. According to a U.S. defense contractor who spoke on condition of anonymity, a “European chip maker” recently built into its microprocessors a kill switch that could be accessed remotely. French defense contractors have used the chips in military equipment, the contractor told IEEE Spectrum. If in the future the equipment fell into hostile hands, “the French wanted a way to disable that circuit,” he said. Spectrum could not confirm this account independently, but spirited discussion about it among researchers and another defense contractor last summer at a military research conference reveals a lot about the fever dreams plaguing the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

At the heart of these concerns is something called a “kill switch”:

Read morePentagon Looks for ‘Killer Switch’

Iran dumps U.S. dollars in oil transactions

TEHRAN – Iran had totally removed U.S. dollars in the country’s oil transactions, an Oil Ministry official said on Wednesday.

“The dollar has completely been removed from our oil trade….Crude oil customers have agreed with us to use other currencies (in the trade),” Oil Ministry official Hojjatollah Ghanimifard was quoted as saying by the state television.

“We make our transactions with euros in Europe, but yen in Asia,” he added.

Due to the tensions with Washington in the past years over the nuclear disputes and the latest depreciation of dollars, Iran has vowed to decrease the greenback in its foreign trade. Iran central bank also has reduced dollars in the country’s foreign reserves. In last November’s summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Saudi Arabia, Iran proposed that it was necessary to replace the U.S. dollar with other major hard currencies in oil trading.

(In the past such actions were enough for the U.S. to start a war. – The Infinite Unknown)

Read moreIran dumps U.S. dollars in oil transactions

Washington to keep supplying arms to Taiwan

Washington will continue to back Taiwan militarily while it pushes for peace talks with China, the de facto US envoy here assured incoming president Ma Ying-jeou Tuesday.

Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), said the United States would continue to supply weapons to Taipei.

“We also expect our traditional close security cooperation to continue, as we are convinced American support for Taiwan’s defence gives its democratic leaders the confidence to explore closer ties with its big neighbour without fear of pressure or coercion,” he said in an address to the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) here.

Taiwan has been governed separately since the end of a 1949 civil war, but Beijing has repeatedly threatened to invade should the island declare formal independence, and has targeted it with more than 1,000 ballistic missiles.

Washington has been the island’s leading arms supplier, despite switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

But Taipei-Washington ties were frustrated by cross-strait tensions under the outgoing pro-independence government and Ma, of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang, has vowed to improve relations.

Young also hailed the unprecedented contacts between the island and China earlier this month.

“We applaud both sides of the Strait for facilitating vice president-elect Vincent Siew’s recent participation in the Boao Forum, during which he held a highly symbolic meeting with People’s Republic of China President Hu Jintao,” Young said.

Tuesday April 29, 2008

Source: AFP

Drone attacks hit high in Iraq

WASHINGTON — U.S. commanders in Iraq have ordered an unprecedented number of airstrikes by unmanned airplanes in April to kill insurgents in urban combat and to limit their ability to launch rockets at American forces, military records show.

The 11 attacks by Predators — nearly double the previous high for one month — were conducted as the Pentagon has intensified efforts to increase the use of drones, which play an increasingly vital role for gathering intelligence and launching attacks in Iraq. Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates prodded the Air Force to do more to rush drones to the war zone.


An AGM-114 Hellfire missile is unloaded from an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle after a mission in May at Balad Air Base, Iraq in this undated image.

The increase in Predator attacks coincided with a spike in fighting in Baghdad’s slum of Sadr City and in the city of Basra, where the Iraqi government mounted an offensive to root out militias there.

Commanders are expected to rely more on unmanned systems as 30,000 U.S. troops sent last year are withdrawn. The military has dozens of Predators in Iraq and Afghanistan. In all it operates 5,000 drones, 25 times more than it had in 2001.

“The Predator teams have just been doing unbelievable work down there (in Basra) and in Baghdad as well,” Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, said in a statement last week.

Read moreDrone attacks hit high in Iraq

DynCorp Manager Used Armored Car To Transport Hookers in Iraq

Some explosive testimony this afternoon from a panel of whistleblowers testifying before the Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee on contractor abuse in Iraq.

A contractor died when a DynCorp manager used an employee’s armored car to transport prostitutes, according to Barry Halley, a Worldwide Network Services employee working under a DynCorp subcontract.

“DynCorp’s site manager was involved in bringing prostitutes into hotels operated by DynCorp. A co-worker unrelated to the ring was killed when he was travelling in an unsecure car and shot performing a high-risk mission. I believe that my co-worker could have survived if he had been riding in an armored car. At the time, the armored car that he would otherwise have been riding in was being used by the contractor’s manager to transport prostitutes from Kuwait to Baghdad.

Other revelations:

– Kellogg Brown & Root contractors used to destroy countless quantities of still-usable equipment that was difficult to transport in “massive burn pits” that were “burning 24 hours a day.”

– KBR’s ice foreman “was cheating the troops out of ice at the same time that he was trading the ice for DVDs, CDs, food and other items at the Iraqi shops across the street.”

– When KBR whistleblower Frank Cassaday reported weapons looting, he was placed in a jail tent by KBR security.

– KBR employees looted Iraqi palaces for treasure to sell on eBay.

Monday, April 28th, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Source: Muckraked

Israel preparing to bomb Iran N-sites

The commander of the Israeli Air Force says the regime’s decision makers have been preparing plans to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities.

General Eliezer Shkedi, who also heads the Israeli task force on Iran, made the remarks in an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

A large portion of Shkedi’s service has been dedicated to the preparation for a possible mission that was never discussed in public; an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, should international economic sanctions fail, Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on Monday.

Shkedi spoke of a mission in 1981, when Israeli war planes attacked a nuclear reactor in Iraq.

He went on to say that today the Israeli decision makers are faced with a similar choice about Iran’s nuclear program.

Israeli and US officials accuse Iran of seeking nuclear bombs.

Iran, a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), maintains that its nuclear activates are solely aimed at peaceful purposes.

Tehran has warned Tel Aviv of a crushing response, in case the regime launches an attack on the Islamic Republic.

JS/DT
Tue, 29 Apr 2008 05:06:54

Source: Press TV

Iraq WMD Evangelist’s New Crusade: Secret Ray Guns

Dave Gaubatz is no stranger to controversy.

The former Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent maintains he found Saddam’s WMD bunkers, but that the U.S. military declined to follow up. His repeated allegations were picked up by a number of media outlets— and attracted the attention of prominent Congressmen, like then-Sen. Rick Santorum, then-Rep. Curt Weldon, and Rep. Peter Hoekstra. There hasn’t been any confirmation, however.

Lately, Gaubatz has been pushing another eye-opening assertion. Earlier this month, Gaubatz claimed that the Active Denial System, the military’s allegedly-nonlethal “heat ray,” is really a killer weapon, after all. It’s an allegation that, if true, would mean the entire public face of the program is a cover up of sorts. Gaubatz says he saw first hand the military testing the ray gun on… goats.

DANGER ROOM caught up with Gaubatz recently to quiz him a bit about his claims:

Read moreIraq WMD Evangelist’s New Crusade: Secret Ray Guns

English village to be invaded in spybot competition

A village in south-west England will shortly be swarming with robots competing to show off their surveillance skills.

The event is the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) answer to the US DARPA Grand Challenge that set robotic cars against one another to encourage advances in autonomous vehicles.

This village, built for urban warfare training during the Cold War, will host teams of ground-based and aerial robots hunting for snipers, bombs, and other threats (Image: MoD)
Enlarge image

This village, built for urban warfare training during the Cold War, will host teams of ground-based and aerial robots hunting for snipers, bombs, and other threats (Image: MoD)

The MoD Grand Challenge is instead designed to boost development of teams of small robots able to scout out hidden dangers in hostile urban areas.

Over 10 days in August, 11 teams of robots will compete to locate and identify four different threats hidden around a mock East German village used for urban warfare training, at Copehill Down, Wiltshire (see image, top right).

The robots must find snipers, armed vehicles, armed foot soldiers, and improvised explosive devices hidden around the village, and relay a real-time picture of what is happening back to a command post.

Read moreEnglish village to be invaded in spybot competition

Rice Rationing Hits Israel

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Rationing of rice by retail stores has spread as far as Israel since The New York Sun reported on the phenomenon in Northern California last week.

The Blue Square and Supersol supermarket chains have begun limiting purchases of rice, Israeli newspapers said yesterday. Supersol is restricting each customer to “three bags per type of grain product,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Meanwhile, Asian grocery stores seem to be joining their larger wholesale-style competitors in curbing purchases. A supermarket chain which caters to Chinese Americans, 99 Ranch, is imposing two-bag-per-customer limits on most of its 20-pound and 50-pound sacks of rice, according to signs at its store in Cupertino, Calif. That store and others in the chain were selling rice without limitation a week ago.

Read moreRice Rationing Hits Israel

FEMA To Help Run 8-Day Disaster & Terror Drill

FEMA announced recently that they will be conducting a national disaster exercise called National Level Exercise 2-08 (NLE 2-08) from May 1st through May 8th. The purpose of this exercise is to prepare and respond to multiple incidents including natural disasters and terrorist incidents. Specifically the exercise involves a Category 4 hurricane impacting the Mid Atlantic Coast and the National Capitol Region as well as multiple terrorist attacks in Washington State, an accidental chemical agent release in Oregon and assorted aerospace events in North American airspace. Considering that the U.S. government conducted drills and exercises like Operation Northern Vigilance, Tripod II, among others to serve as cover for the government sponsored false flag terror attacks of 9/11, we need to pay close attention to these government sponsored drills and exercises. A similar scenario also occurred during the 7/7 terror attacks in London. On that day, drills depicting events mirroring the actual terror attacks were run at the exact same time the bombings took place. The odds of these being two completely random events is so incredibly unlikely that it boggles the mind. NLE 2-08 is a wide ranging exercise that will include not only FEMA but the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Transportation Command, the National Guard, USNORTHCOM, NORAD and Canada Command. Much like TOPOFF-4/Vigilant Shield 08 a martial law exercise that took place last year involving many of the same government institutions, we definitely need to keep track of NLE 2-08.

Below is taken from FEMA’s press release on this upcoming drill.

Read moreFEMA To Help Run 8-Day Disaster & Terror Drill

Top Russian official goes to Iran to discuss security

A top Russian official is arriving in Tehran on Sunday to discuss security, topical international and regional issues, the Supreme National Security Council of Iran said on Sunday.

Valentin Sobolev, acting secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, will hold talks with his Iranian counterpart, Saeed Jalili, and other Iranian officials.

Sobolev will be paying a return visit to Tehran following a visit by Jalili to Moscow in December 2007, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said.

Source: Ria Novosti

UN troops armed DR Congo rebels

Bullet casings found near human remains in Bogoro, DR Congo 2007
The FNI militia is accused of carrying out massacres of villagers in DR Congo

The UN has covered up claims that its troops in Democratic Republic of Congo gave arms to militias and smuggled gold and ivory, the BBC has learned.

The allegations, based on confidential UN sources, involve Pakistani and Indian troops working as peacekeepers.

The UN investigated some of the claims in 2007, but said it could not substantiate claims of arms dealing.

UN insiders told the BBC’s Panorama they had been prevented from pursuing their inquiries for political reasons.

Gold and ivory

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monuc) is the global body’s largest, with 17,000 troops spread across the country.

It’s true they did, give us arms. They said it was for the security of the country
‘Kung-fu’
FNI leader

The BBC’s Martin Plaut, who returned to DR Congo to follow up his initial investigation into the allegations, says they have managed to bring a measure of stability since they were first established by the UN in February 2000.

They have also helped disarm the warring factions, run democratic elections and assisted with reconstruction.

But an 18-month BBC investigation for Panorama has found evidence that:

– Pakistani peacekeepers in the eastern town of Mongbwalu were involved in the illegal trade in gold with the FNI militia, providing them with weapons to guard the perimeter of the mines

– Indian peacekeepers operating around the town of Goma had direct dealings with the militia responsible for the Rwandan genocide, now living in eastern DR Congo

– The Indians traded gold, bought drugs from the militias and flew a UN helicopter into the Virunga National Park, where they exchanged ammunition for ivory

The UN looked into the allegations concerning the Pakistani troops in 2007.

It concluded that one officer had been responsible for dealing in gold – allowing traders to use UN aircraft to fly into the town, putting them up at the UN base and taking them around the town.

But the UN decided that “in the absence of corroborative evidence” its investigators “could not substantiate the allegation” that Pakistani peacekeepers supplied weapons or ammunition to the militia.

It did, however, identify “an individual who seemed to have facilitated gold smuggling”.

Read moreUN troops armed DR Congo rebels

Ted Turner Repeats Call For Population Curb

Says diminishing farmland will lead to food riots, despite being behind corn-based ethanol push

Says diminishing farmland will lead to food riots, despite being behind corn-based ethanol push
Billionaire Globalist Ted Turner, who earlier this month predicted that global warming would eventually lead to cannibalism, has repeated his call to curb population growth, claiming that disappearing farmland will cause food riots, despite the fact that Turner himself is behind the push to grow corn-based ethanol, an industry the UN has blamed for food shortages and increased poverty.

“There are a lot of different problems being caused by an ever-increasing number of people in a finite-sized world,” Turner told CNBC’s Bob Pisani. “The resources of the planet just can’t keep up with the demand and I’m afraid this going to be more commonplace. I’m afraid we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. It’s very complicated I do want to say.”

Watch the video.

“We’ve had warnings for a number of years,” Turner said. “Grain stocks have been dropping every year for the last 10 years or pretty close to that – the reserves. And, the environment in so many different areas is being – the pressure being put on it by the ever-increasing number of people and the number of people using more stuff and more energy – that’s what ‘s leading to global climate change and the over-fishing of the oceans,” he added.

Read moreTed Turner Repeats Call For Population Curb

General: Homeland response task force to be ready by fall

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – The Pentagon will have its first specially trained task force designed to rapidly respond to a catastrophic attack against the United States ready by this fall, a top military commander said last week.

Gen. Victor “Gene” Renuart, chief of the U.S. Northern Command, said the brigade-sized unit will consist of military personnel who are trained to help local authorities respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear incident. The unit will have between 4,000 and 4,500 people and come from various bases and specialties across the country. When disaster strikes, those dedicated to the task force will come together to form the unit.

“Today we pull that together very quickly to respond,” Renuart said Thursday. “This unit will be trained to react in a very short period of time.”

Renuart, the top commander in charge of defending the homeland, is traveling through Europe this month to exchange information with NATO leaders on how military forces can fight homeland terrorism and respond to national disasters.

U.S. Northern Command, called NORTHCOM for short, was created in 2002 to oversee the Pentagon’s homeland defense efforts and support civil authorities. The creation of the rapid-response team comes after congressional leaders questioned heavily the military’s ability to react to a major attack against the United States.

Read moreGeneral: Homeland response task force to be ready by fall

Investigators: Millions in Iraq contracts never finished

WASHINGTON – Millions of dollars of lucrative Iraq reconstruction contracts were never finished because of excessive delays, poor performance or other factors, including failed projects that are being falsely described by the U.S. government as complete, federal investigators say.

The audit released Sunday by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, provides the latest snapshot of an uneven reconstruction effort that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $100 billion. It also comes as several lawmakers have said they want the Iraqis to pick up more of the cost of reconstruction.

The special IG’s review of 47,321 reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars found that at least 855 contracts were terminated by U.S. officials before their completion, primarily because of unforeseen factors such as violence and excessive costs. About 112 of those agreements were ended specifically because of the contractors’ actual or anticipated poor performance.

In addition, the audit said many reconstruction projects were being described as complete or otherwise successful when they were not. In one case, the U.S. Agency for International Development contracted with Bechtel Corp. in 2004 to construct a $50 million children’s hospital in Basra, only to “essentially terminate” the project in 2006 because of monthslong delays.

Read moreInvestigators: Millions in Iraq contracts never finished

Letters give CIA tactics a legal rationale

WASHINGTON: The Justice Department has told Congress that American intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law.

(Tomorrow you could be considered a “terrorist” – for no reason – and maybe a “Jack Bauer” interrogates you. Good luck then.
All of this is undermining and violating the constitution & international law [Geneva Conventions] and are preparations for Martial Law. Prepare yourself NOW! – The Infinite Unknown)

Read moreLetters give CIA tactics a legal rationale

FLDS RAID: DANGEROUS LEGAL PRECEDENT

I waited a week to comment on the Texas case, separating 437 children from their FLDS parents, to see if any substantive evidence of abuse would emerge. It hasn’t. Even if it had, those could have been handled individually. But no, Texas plans instead to make every member of the group pay the supreme price: to strip away their beloved children. This case is about group punishment. In spite of a search warrant tainted by a false witness (the “Sarah” who doesn’t exist), no actual specific evidence of abuse, or any unwilling participants in this polygamous compound, a self-righteous Texas judge had decreed that all 400 + children will not be returned to the custody of their parents. Texas has gone too far to rid itself of this awkward religious sect that built the “Yearning for Zion” (YFZ) ranch in order to evade persecution in Utah and Arizona.

As this tyrannical order clearly meant separating even nursing children from their mothers, a wave of outrage began to sweep the nation. The media-savvy judge immediately changed her order (allowing children under 1 year if age to be nursed) in order to keep the tide of public relations on the side of the authorities. But this should not deter the nation from realizing the danger of the tenuous legal proposition that mere membership in a group (that may have isolated examples of marrying underage girls) makes all unworthy of possessing any children at all–ever. That is wrong, especially when legal remedies exist to prosecute specific wrongdoers.

The local sheriff admitted on television that he had an “informant” on the inside for over 4 years. That was probably a disgruntled member of the group who decided to stay on to build up a case against his fellow church members. If a case can’t be built after four years of informing, and authorities have to rely on a false abuse phone call to justify this invasion, what does that say about the State’s case?

Read moreFLDS RAID: DANGEROUS LEGAL PRECEDENT

Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” Harks Back to an Earlier Intel Operation

Rush Limbaugh’s handlers are having themselves a little joke with Operation Chaos. Limbaugh has launched his version of Operation Chaos to mess with the Democrats in true Karl Rove fashion. There is of course an older version of Operation Chaos. It was devised by the CIA.

Donald J. Myers writes for the Tampa Tribune: “Prior to the Texas and Ohio primary elections, Rush Limbaugh implemented his ‘operation chaos.’ The purpose of this was to have Republicans vote in Democratic primaries for Sen. Hillary Clinton in order to keep her in the race and continue the fight between her and Sen. Barack Obama.”

On the surface, this appears to be an attempt to have the two Democrats self destruct and thus hand the election to McCain, who is run by the same neocons who ran Bush for the last seven plus years. In fact, Limbaugh does not support McCain, he supports Hillary, same as Rupert Murdoch, who hosted fundraisers for the “liberal” Clinton. Murdoch and Limbaugh are supposed “conservatives,” so on the surface it seems rather strange they would come out in Hillary’s corner.

But then Hillary is the candidate of choice for the Bilderbergers, same as Bill Clinton was their candidate. Of course, it does not matter if Hillary, Obama, or McCain “win” the “election” come November, as turned upside down they are virtually identical — controlled by the bankers and beholden to multinational corporations. Even so, the insiders and the ruling elite are fond of running one minion against another. Our rulers call this “democracy.” It is nothing of the sort, even in the technical sense — democracy is essentially mob rule — and the mob is not allowed to do much except spectate and push the mandated button on a Diebold machine when the time comes.

As for the other Operation Chaos — it was a domestic snoop and neutralize project conducted by the CIA with the help of the FBI and the NSA. Call it a collaborative project. “CHAOS project amassed thousands of files on Americans, indexed hundreds of thousands of Americans into its computer records, and disseminated thousands of reports about Americans to the FBI and other government offices. Some of the information concerned the domestic activity of those Americans,” noted the Church committee in 1976. The most notable targets were Americans involved in the antiwar movement in the late 60s and early 70s, a big thorn in the side of Nixon and the establishment.

Read moreLimbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” Harks Back to an Earlier Intel Operation

Food Riots and Speculators

Food riots have broken out across the globe destabilizing large parts of the developing world. China is experiencing double-digit inflation. Indonesia, Vietnam and India have imposed controls over rice exports. Wheat, corn and soy beans are at record highs and threatening to go higher still. Commodities are up across the board. The World Food Program is warning of widespread famine if the West doesn’t provide emergency humanitarian relief. The situation is dire. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez summed it up like this, “It is a massacre of the world’s poor. The problem is not the production of food. It is the economic, social and political model of the world. The capitalist model is in crisis.”

Right on, Hugo. There is no shortage of food (This is disinformation – The Infinite Unknown); it’s just the prices that are making food unaffordable. Bernanke’s “weak dollar” policy has ignited a wave of speculation in commodities which is pushing prices into the stratosphere. The UN is calling the global food crisis a “silent tsunami”, but its more like a flood; the world is awash in increasingly worthless dollars that are making food and raw materials more expensive. Foreign central banks and investors presently hold $6 trillion in dollars and dollar-backed assets, so when the dollar starts to slide, the pain radiates through entire economies. This is especially true in countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar. That’s why most of the Gulf States are experiencing runaway inflation.

Read moreFood Riots and Speculators

The Pentagon Strangles Our Economy: Why the U.S. Has Gone Broke

The military adventurers in the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups thought that they were the “smartest guys in the room” — the title of Alex Gibney’s prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.

As a result, going into 2008, the United States finds itself in the anomalous position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. Its government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expenses of maintaining huge standing armies, replacing the equipment that seven years of wars have destroyed or worn out, or preparing for a war in outer space against unknown adversaries. Instead, the Bush administration puts off these costs for future generations to pay or repudiate. This fiscal irresponsibility has been disguised through many manipulative financial schemes (causing poorer countries to lend us unprecedented sums of money), but the time of reckoning is fast approaching.

Read moreThe Pentagon Strangles Our Economy: Why the U.S. Has Gone Broke

Ron Paul campaign dominates convention

Meeting reveals a party, in this state at least, far from united

— Call 2008 the year of the great tumult, the year of the outsiders, the young, the tech-savvy who are changing American politics.

Although most of the attention, money and passion lie with the long saga of the Democratic presidential contest, Nevada’s state Republican convention here offered evidence of the ground shifting across the spectrum, with an actual earthquake Friday night serving as an apt symbol.

Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican with a libertarian’s heart, followed his second-place finish in Nevada’s January presidential caucus by out-organizing the state’s Republican establishment. In the process, the Paulites embarrassed the campaign of Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

They seemed to make up more than half of the 1,300 or so state delegates to the convention. They won a key procedural vote on the rules, and their boisterous presence created significant delays, causing the convention chairman, Bob Beers, a state senator from Las Vegas, to recess the convention without selecting delegates to the national convention. The state convention is to resume at a later date.

Read moreRon Paul campaign dominates convention

Watching How We Are Watched

The Wrong Way To Carry Out Video Surveillance in D.C.

For more than five years, security experts and privacy advocates have praised the public video surveillance network operated by the D.C. police department as the model of a well-balanced system. The department has adopted a set of common-sense regulations for its 91 cameras that give police access to footage when they need it while protecting the privacy rights of the millions who live or work in Washington.

We were greatly disappointed, then, to hear Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Darrell Darnell, director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, announce plans this month [front page, April 10] to centralize monitoring of more than 5,000 cameras, including those in and around our schools, public housing and residential neighborhoods. Even worse, it appears that Darnell’s office has no plans to apply the D.C. police department’s best-in-the-nation safeguards.

In February, the D.C. police released a report evaluating the successes and failures of the video surveillance system. The report concluded that since the network was expanded into residential areas, some types of crime have declined in those neighborhoods. The department was applauded for undertaking an examination of its own system: A public account of how a video surveillance system affects the lives of a city’s residents promotes accountability. Sadly, the reporting requirement is one that may be scrapped as the D.C. police department loses control of the network.

Unchecked video surveillance invades individual privacy rights. People in public spaces routinely engage in activities that they expect and desire to keep private. For example, consider attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or seeking treatment at a fertility clinic — legal and private activities — while faceless individuals track your movements. This is an area in which the law has not kept pace with rapidly changing technology. We need well-reasoned guidelines to protect the privacy rights of individuals in the face of emerging surveillance tools.

Read moreWatching How We Are Watched

Chicago Police to use M4 carbines

CHICAGO — Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis has plans to equip the department’s officers with M4 carbines to match the firepower of the street gangs they have to face to stop the wave of shootings in the city.

Weis’ decision to arm and train his 13,500 officers with more powerful weapons was disclosed Friday.

Chicago Police SWAT teams are already equipped with M4 carbines, but rank-and-file officers are currently only allowed to carry handguns.

The M4 is a short assault rifle used by the Marine Corps, and it fires more shots in less time than most handguns. The fully automatic version can fire up to 1,000 rounds a minute, although the magazines only hold from 20 to 30 shots.

Chicago police spokeswoman Antoinette Ursitti had no further details about the plan Saturday.

Published April 26, 2008

Source: fortmilltimes

National “DNA warehouse” bill passes

Passing the House of Representatives on a voice vote, S. 1858 has been sent to President Bush for signature. The Newborn Genetic Screening bill was passed by the Senate last December.

The bill violates the U.S. Constitution and the Nuremberg Code, writes Twila Brase, president of the Citizen’s Council on Health Care (CCHC). “The DNA taken at birth from every citizen is essentially owned by the government, and every citizen becomes a potential subject of government-sponsored genetic research,” she states. “It does not require consent and there are no requirements to inform parents about the warehousing of their child’s DNA for the purpose of genetic research. Already, in Minnesota, the state health department reports that 42,210 children of the 780,000 whose DNA is housed in the Minnesota ‘DNA warehouse’ have been subjected to genetic research without their parents’ knowledge or consent.”

The federal government lacks the Constitutional authority as well as the competence to develop a newborn screening program, states Rep. Ron Paul, M.D. (R-TX). He states that all hospitals will probably scrap their own newborn testing program and adopt the federal model, whatever its flaws, to avoid the loss of federal funding.

“Drafters of the legislation made no effort to ensure that these newborn screening programs do not violate the privacy rights of parents and children,” Dr. Paul noted.

Ms. Brase has called on President Bush to veto the bill.

Additional information:

Source: Association of American Physicians and Surgeons