One in five US servicemen has brain injury

The psychological toll of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has touched one in five servicemen and its consequences will be long-lasting, a study suggested yesterday.

The Rand Corporation, a leading research operation, said that 320,000 soldiers suffered brain injuries on the battlefield, while more than 300,000 suffered mental disorders on returning home.

The report said that US veterans are incurring “invisible wounds” of war, most notably traumatic brain injury. A survey of 1,926 soldiers represented a statistically significant sample of the 1.6 million troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, Rand said.

Read moreOne in five US servicemen has brain injury

Germany to Allow Video Surveillance of Private Homes


Not even the home will be safe from surveillance

Changes proposed to the law governing Germany’s federal criminal police operations would allow investigators to use wire taps and surveillance cameras in homes of innocent citizens to keep tabs on terror suspects.

Under the government proposals, federal police would be permitted to install “hidden technical equipment, that is to say bugs or cameras inside or outside apartments … if there is a pressing danger for state security,” interior ministry spokesman Stefan Paris said at a news conference on Friday, April 18.

“I would urgently like to stress that there are very, very strict conditions … and it is not the case that everywhere in this country secret cameras or listening devices will be installed in living spaces,” he said. “It is about terrorist threats that would be averted through preventative measures by the federal police.”


Be careful what you — and your friends — say at home

He added that such methods were already allowed in several German states.

Read moreGermany to Allow Video Surveillance of Private Homes

Ex-NFL Player Tasered For Pointing At Cop

Incorrect body language, talking to an officer now results in “pain compliance”

After Worley exits the vehicle and appears calm, the cowardly officer accuses him of “making fists” when Worley is doing no more than crossing his arms. Apparently, incorrect body language is now an offence that justifies “pain compliance” correction by means of a Tasering.

Worley even puts his palms together in a prayer-like pose in an attempt to reassure the officer he is calm but that is not good enough, after Worley points at the cop for half a second, the officer then approaches Worley who backs away but is then Tasered.

Watch the video.

Read moreEx-NFL Player Tasered For Pointing At Cop

NYC Freedom Tower plans found in trash

The government agency building a 102-story skyscraper at the World Trade Center site is investigating the discovery of two sets of blueprints for the building that a homeless man says he found in the trash.

The schematic documents for the Freedom Tower, under construction at ground zero, were marked “Secure Document – Confidential,” the New York Post reported Friday.

The documents, dated Oct. 5, 2007, contain plans for each floor, the thickness of the concrete-core wall, and the location of air ducts, elevators, electrical systems and support columns, the Post reported.

Michael Fleming told the newspaper he found the documents on top of a public trash can in downtown Manhattan, with written warnings on it to “properly destroy if discarded.”

Read moreNYC Freedom Tower plans found in trash

Body Scanners at Airports in NYC and LA

Airports in New York and Los Angeles have become the latest equipped with body scanners that allow security screeners to peer beneath a passenger’s clothing to detect concealed weapons.

The machines, which are about the size of a revolving door, use low-energy electromagnetic waves to produce a computerized image of a traveler’s entire body.

Passengers step in and lift their arms. The scans only take a minute, and Transportation Security Administration officials say the procedure is less invasive than a physical frisk for knives, bombs or guns.

Someday, the “millimeter wave” scans might replace metal detectors, but for now they are being used selectively.

Los Angeles International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York saw their first scanners installed Thursday, each at a single checkpoint. Phoenix Sky-Harbor International Airport got one of the machines in October.

Modest travelers may have concerns about the images.

The black and white, three-dimensional scans aren’t as vivid as a photograph, but they do reveal some of the more intimate curves of the human form, maybe with as much clarity as an impressionist sculpture by Auguste Rodin.

Read moreBody Scanners at Airports in NYC and LA

Justice Dept. Details Program for Collecting DNA From People in Federal Custody

The Bush administration moved forward on Friday with a program to expand collecting DNA samples from people in federal custody.

But it was unclear how federal laboratories would be able to handle the added work.

The Justice Department formally proposed regulations for collecting the samples, a technique that essentially mirrors taking the fingerprints of people arrested for federal offenses, as well as illegal immigrants detained by federal authorities.

The government now collects DNA just from felons. DNA, the genetic marker found in hair and blood and other body fluids, can provide a more concrete link to a crime than fingerprints, which often are not left at a crime scene or are difficult to collect.

For the new effort to succeed, the samples, most collected by swabbing an inside cheek, have to be entered into the DNA database of the F.B.I.

A spokeswoman for the bureau’s laboratory, Ann Todd, said it already had a backlog of 225,000 samples to be processed, a more complex procedure than entering fingerprints.

If Justice Department estimates are accurate, work at the laboratory would increase twelvefold, Ms. Todd said.

Read moreJustice Dept. Details Program for Collecting DNA From People in Federal Custody

Vaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates (1845 – 2007)

Think U.S. health authorities have never conducted outrageous medical experiments on children, women, minorities, homosexuals and inmates? Think again: This timeline, originally put together by Dani Veracity (a NaturalNews reporter), has been edited and updated with recent vaccination experimentation programs in Maryland and New Jersey. Here’s what’s really happening in the United States when it comes to exploiting the public for medical experimentation:

(1845 – 1849) J. Marion Sims, later hailed as the “father of gynecology,” performs medical experiments on enslaved African women without anesthesia. These women would usually die of infection soon after surgery. Based on his belief that the movement of newborns’ skull bones during protracted births causes trismus, he also uses a shoemaker’s awl, a pointed tool shoemakers use to make holes in leather, to practice moving the skull bones of babies born to enslaved mothers (Brinker).

(1895)

New York pediatrician Henry Heiman infects a 4-year-old boy whom he calls “an idiot with chronic epilepsy” with gonorrhea as part of a medical experiment (“Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After”).

(1896)

Dr. Arthur Wentworth turns 29 children at Boston’s Children’s Hospital into human guinea pigs when he performs spinal taps on them, just to test whether the procedure is harmful (Sharav).

(1906)

Harvard professor Dr. Richard Strong infects prisoners in the Philippines with cholera to study the disease; 13 of them die. He compensates survivors with cigars and cigarettes. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors cite this study to justify their own medical experiments (Greger, Sharav).

(1911)

Dr. Hideyo Noguchi of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research publishes data on injecting an inactive syphilis preparation into the skin of 146 hospital patients and normal children in an attempt to develop a skin test for syphilis. Later, in 1913, several of these children’s parents sue Dr. Noguchi for allegedly infecting their children with syphilis (“Reviews and Notes: History of Medicine: Subjected to Science: Human Experimentation in America before the Second World War”).

(1913)

Medical experimenters “test” 15 children at the children’s home St. Vincent’s House in Philadelphia with tuberculin, resulting in permanent blindness in some of the children. Though the Pennsylvania House of Representatives records the incident, the researchers are not punished for the experiments (“Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After”).

(1915)

Dr. Joseph Goldberger, under order of the U.S. Public Health Office, produces Pellagra, a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system, in 12 Mississippi inmates to try to find a cure for the disease. One test subject later says that he had been through “a thousand hells.” In 1935, after millions die from the disease, the director of the U.S Public Health Office would finally admit that officials had known that it was caused by a niacin deficiency for some time, but did nothing about it because it mostly affected poor African-Americans. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors used this study to try to justify their medical experiments on concentration camp inmates (Greger; Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).

Read moreVaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates (1845 – 2007)

Police charged Down’s syndrome boy with mental age of five

When two police officers came to interview Jamie Bauld, a polite, friendly Down’s syndrome boy with a mental age of about 5, he welcomed them with a big smile and a handshake. As the officers read him his rights and charged him with assault and racial abuse, he agreed with everything they said, then thanked them for coming to see him.

Yesterday Jamie’s parents told The Times that they had been through a seven-month ordeal with the Scottish legal system over what they described as a minor fracas between two youngsters with learning difficulties.

Jamie, 18, cannot tie his shoelaces or leave home on his own, nor can he understand simple verbal concepts such as whether a door is open or shut. But his parents said that he was charged with attacking a fellow student, an Asian girl who also had special needs.

Jamie’s parents described as “utterly ridiculous” the actions of the authorities in bringing adult charges against their son, who they said was not only innocent, but unable to comprehend why he had been in trouble.

They believe that he was a victim of the zero-tolerance policy on racism under which police have to respond to any complaint, however minor.

Experts in Down’s syndrome say that the case shows insensitivity and is an example of bureaucracy gone mad.

Read morePolice charged Down’s syndrome boy with mental age of five

Jacqui Smith announces 300 new terror police

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, today announced an extra 300 police officers to fight terrorism and radicalisation within communities.


At the weekend Jacqui Smith warned that as many as 30 active plots against the UK were now being investigated

Miss Smith said that the new officers work to prevent young people being drawn into extremism.

The threat to Britain was “serious and growing” and, despite a series of successful raids and convictions, we cannot simply “arrest our way out” of the problem, she said.

Read moreJacqui Smith announces 300 new terror police

Chertoff Says Fingerprints Aren’t ‘Personal Data’

Our guest blogger, Peter Swire, is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and served as the Clinton Administration’s Chief Counselor for Privacy.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has badly stumbled in discussing the Bush administration’s push to create stricter identity systems. Chertoff was recently in Canada discussing, among other topics, the so-called “Server in the Sky” program to share fingerprint databases among the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia.

In a recent briefing with Canadian press (which has yet to be picked up in the U.S.), Chertoff made the startling statement that fingerprints are “not particularly private”:

QUESTION: Some are raising that the privacy aspects of this thing, you know, sharing of that kind of data, very personal data, among four countries is quite a scary thing.

SECRETARY CHERTOFF: Well, first of all, a fingerprint is hardly personal data because you leave it on glasses and silverware and articles all over the world, they’re like footprints. They’re not particularly private.

Many of us should rightfully be surprised that our fingerprints aren’t considered “personal data” by the head of DHS. Even more importantly, DHS itself disagrees. In its definition of “personally identifiable information” — the information that triggers a Privacy Impact Assessment when used by government — the Department specifically lists: “biometric identifiers (e.g., fingerprints).”

Chertoff’s comments have drawn sharp criticism from Jennifer Stoddart, the Canadian official in charge of privacy issues. “Fingerprints constitute extremely personal information for which there is clearly a high expectation of privacy,” Stoddart said.

There are compelling reasons to treat fingerprints as “extremely personal information.” The strongest reason is that fingerprints, if not used carefully, will become the biggest source of identity theft. Fingerprints shared in databases all over the world won’t stay secret for long, and identity thieves will take advantage.

A quick web search on “fake fingerprints” turns up cheap and easy methods for do-it-at-home fake fingerprints. As discussed by noted security expert Bruce Schneier, one technique is available for under $10. It was tried “against eleven commercially available fingerprint biometric systems, and was able to reliably fool all of them.” Secretary Chertoff either doesn’t know about these clear results or chooses to ignore them. He said in Canada: “It’s very difficult to fake a fingerprint.”

Chertoff’s argument about leaving fingerprints lying around on “glasses and silverware” is also beside the point. Today, we leave our Social Security numbers lying around with every employer and numerous others. Yet the fact that SSNs (or fingerprints) are widely known exposes us to risk.

There have been numerous questions raised about how this Administration is treating our personal information. Secretary Chertoff’s comments show a new reason to worry — they don’t think it’s “personal” at all.

Peter Swire

Source: thinkprogress.org