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

Obama, Clinton pledge to defend Israel against Iran


At the debate, Barack Obama (R) said: “An (Iranian) attack on Israel is an attack
on our strongest ally in the region, one whose security we consider paramount. “

PHILADELPHIA (AFP)—The Democratic White House hopefuls vowed Wednesday to defend Israel against any Iranian attack but differed on how to engage the Islamic republic over its nuclear ambitions.

At a televised debate ahead of next Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama agreed that a nuclear-armed Iran was unacceptable.

Both called for diplomacy but Obama went further in renewing a promise of “direct talks” at a leaders’ level with Tehran, along with other US foes.

Iran should be presented with “carrots and sticks,” the Illinois senator said, while stressing “they should also know that I will take no options off the table when it comes to preventing them from using nuclear weapons or obtaining nuclear weapons.”

“We cannot permit Iran to become a nuclear weapons power,” Clinton said, ruling out any summit talks and condemning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for raising doubts about who really carried out the September 11 attacks of 2001.

Read moreObama, Clinton pledge to defend Israel against Iran

Bailing Out Banks – Congressman Ron Paul

There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about the Federal Reserve and the actions it has taken over the past few months. Many media pundits have been bending over backwards to praise the Fed for supposedly restoring stability to the market. This interpretation of the Fed’s actions couldn’t be further from the truth.

The current market crisis began because of Federal Reserve monetary policy during the early 2000s in which the Fed lowered the interest rate to a below-market rate. The artificially low rates led to overinvestment in housing and other malinvestments. When the first indications of market trouble began back in August of 2007, instead of holding back and allowing bad decision-makers to suffer the consequences of their actions, the Federal Reserve took aggressive, inflationary action to ensure that large Wall Street firms would not lose money. It began by lowering the discount rates, the rates of interest charged to banks who borrow directly from the Fed, and lengthening the terms of such loans. This eliminated much of the stigma from discount window borrowing and enabled troubled banks to come to the Fed directly for funding, pay only a slightly higher interest rate but also secure these loans for a period longer than just overnight.

Read moreBailing Out Banks – Congressman Ron Paul

U.S. to Expand Collection Of Crime Suspects’ DNA

Policy Adds People Arrested but Not Convicted

The U.S. government will soon begin collecting DNA samples from all citizens arrested in connection with any federal crime and from many immigrants detained by federal authorities, adding genetic identifiers from more than 1 million individuals a year to the swiftly growing federal law enforcement DNA database.

The policy will substantially expand the current practice of routinely collecting DNA samples from only those convicted of federal crimes, and it will build on a growing policy among states to collect DNA from many people who are arrested. Thirteen states do so now and turn their data over to the federal government.

The initiative, to be published as a proposed rule in the Federal Register in coming days, reflects a congressional directive that DNA from arrestees be collected to help catch a range of domestic criminals. But it also requires, for the first time, the collection of DNA samples from people other than U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who are detained by U.S. authorities.

Although fingerprints have long been collected for virtually every arrestee, privacy advocates say the new policy expands the DNA database, run by the FBI, beyond its initial aim of storing information on the perpetrators of violent crimes.

They also worry that people could be detained erroneously and swept into the database without cause, and that DNA samples from those who are never convicted of a crime, because of acquittal or a withdrawal of charges, might nonetheless be permanently retained by the FBI.

“Innocent people don’t belong in a so-called criminal database,” said Tania Simoncelli, science adviser for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We’re crossing a line.”

Read moreU.S. to Expand Collection Of Crime Suspects’ DNA