The Government Is Trying to Wrap Its Mind Around Yours

Imagine a world of streets lined with video cameras that alert authorities to any suspicious activity. A world where police officers can read the minds of potential criminals and arrest them before they commit any crimes. A world in which a suspect who lies under questioning gets nabbed immediately because his brain has given him away.

Though that may sound a lot like the plot of the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” starring Tom Cruise and based on a Philip K. Dick novel, I’m not talking about science fiction here; it turns out we’re not so far away from that world. But does it sound like a very safe place, or a very scary one?

It’s a question I think we should be asking as the federal government invests millions of dollars in emerging technology aimed at detecting and decoding brain activity. And though government funding focuses on military uses for these new gizmos, they can and do end up in the hands of civilian law enforcement and in commercial applications. As spending continues and neurotechnology advances, that imagined world is no longer the stuff of science fiction or futuristic movies, and we postpone at our peril confronting the ethical and legal dilemmas it poses for a society that values not just personal safety but civil liberty as well.

Consider Cernium Corp.’s “Perceptrak” video surveillance and monitoring system, recently installed by Johns Hopkins University, among others. This technology grew out of a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense — to develop intelligent video analytics systems. Unlike simple video cameras monitored by security guards, Perceptrak integrates video cameras with an intelligent computer video. It uses algorithms to analyze streaming video and detect suspicious activities, such as people loitering in a secure area, a group converging or someone leaving a package unattended. Since installing Perceptrak, Johns Hopkins has reported a 25 percent reduction in crime.

But that’s only the beginning. Police may soon be able to monitor suspicious brain activity from a distance as well. New neurotechnology soon may be able to detect a person who is particularly nervous, in possession of guilty knowledge or, in the more distant future, to detect a person thinking, “Only one hour until the bomb explodes.” Today, the science of detecting and decoding brain activity is in its infancy. But various government agencies are funding the development of technology to detect brain activity remotely and are hoping to eventually decode what someone is thinking. Scientists, however, wildly disagree about the accuracy of brain imaging technology, what brain activity may mean and especially whether brain activity can be detected from afar.

Yet as the experts argue about the scientific limitations of remote brain detection, this chilling science fiction may already be a reality. In 2002, the Electronic Privacy Information Center reported that NASA was developing brain monitoring devices for airports and was seeking to use noninvasive sensors in passenger gates to collect the electronic signals emitted by passengers’ brains. Scientists scoffed at the reports, arguing that to do what NASA was proposing required that an electroencephalogram (EEG) be physically attached to the scalp.

Read moreThe Government Is Trying to Wrap Its Mind Around Yours

Food riots to worsen without global action: U.N.

ROME (Reuters) – Food riots in developing countries will spread unless world leaders take major steps to reduce prices for the poor, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Friday.

Despite a forecast 2.6 percent hike (This is disinformation.) in global cereal output this year, record prices are unlikely to fall, forcing poorer countries’ food import bills up 56 percent and hungry people on to the streets, FAO Director General Jacques Diouf said.

“The reality is that people are dying already in the riots,” Diouf told a news conference.

“They are dying because of their reaction to the situation and if we don’t take the necessary action there is certainly the possibility that they might die of starvation. Naturally people won’t be sitting dying of starvation, they will react.”

The FAO said food riots had broken out in several African countries, Indonesia, the Philippines and Haiti. Thirty-seven countries face food crises, it said in its latest World Food Situation report.

Read moreFood riots to worsen without global action: U.N.

No food price relief seen for poor Afghans

KABUL, April 14 (Reuters) – Impoverished Afghans struggling with rising wheat prices are not expected to get any relief soon with no sign prices are going to come down, a United Nations official said on Monday.

Top finance and development officials from around the world called in Washington on Sunday for urgent action to stem rising food prices, warning that social unrest will spread unless the cost of basic staples is contained.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s poorest countries with half its 25 million people living below the poverty line.

Wheat prices in Afghanistan have risen by an average of 60 percent over the last year with certain areas seeing a rise of up to 80 percent, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said.

Read moreNo food price relief seen for poor Afghans

Anti-terror laws used to spy on family

A family who were wrongly suspected of lying on a school application form have discovered that their local council used anti-terrorism surveillance powers to spy on them.

The family, from Poole in Dorset, said they had been tailed for three weeks by council officials trying to establish whether they had given a false address in an attempt to get their three-year-old daughter a place at a heavily oversubscribed local nursery school, which their two older children had attended. The family had in fact done nothing wrong, and the investigation was eventually aborted.

Yesterday it emerged that Poole borough council had legitimately used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to monitor the family. This involved keeping a detailed log of their movements for two weeks, following the mother’s car as she took her three children to school each day and even watching the family home to ascertain their sleeping habits.

The Act, passed in 2000, was supposed to allow security agencies to combat terrorism.

The 39-year-old mother, a businesswoman who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I can’t imagine a greater invasion of our privacy. I’m incensed that legislation designed to combat terrorism can be turned on a three-year-old. It was very creepy when we found out that people had been watching us and making notes. Councils should be protecting children, not spying on them.”

The council defended its right to investigate families in a covert manner, saying it had used the law twice in the past year to successfully prove parents were lying about where they lived.

By Chris Green
Friday, 11 April 2008

Source: The Independent

Bush Pushes for Seed Money for Missiles in Space

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) – The Bush administration and Republican allies in Congress are again pushing for seed money to explore options for putting a multibillion-dollar layer of ballistic-missile interceptors in space.

Last year, the Democratic-controlled Congress rejected the administration’s request for $10 million to resume studies on the idea, first floated in the 1980s as part of then-President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

Derided by critics as “Star Wars,” the concept has been embraced by missile-defense backers as potentially more effective than sea- and ground-based parts of an emerging shield against missiles that could be tipped with chemical, germ or nuclear warheads.

Read moreBush Pushes for Seed Money for Missiles in Space

A Weekend to Start Fixing the World

As Finance Ministers Convene Here, Multiple Crises Test Their Ability to Cope

Financial markets are tumbling. The world economy is starting to sputter. Food prices have shot up so far, so fast, that there are riots in the streets of many poor nations.

It’s a hard time to be one of the masters of the global economy.

Those leaders — finance ministers from all over the world — are gathering in Washington this weekend to sort out their reactions to the most profound global economic crises in at least a decade. The situation could reveal the limitations that international economic institutions face in dealing with the risks inherent to global capitalism.

“There’s got to be something coming out of the weekend, a way to visibly assume public responsibility for trying to limit the damage that financial markets can do to our society,” said Colin Bradford, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “The pressure is on politicians this weekend to come up with an answer. . . . What is the power structure going to do about this?”

The Group of Seven finance ministers of major industrialized countries meet today, and the governing boards of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank will meet tomorrow and Sunday. Their agendas: in the case of the G-7 and IMF, countering the breakdown in financial markets; in the case of the World Bank, food inflation that threatens to drive more of the world’s poorest people into starvation.

Read moreA Weekend to Start Fixing the World

SPY CELLS – Phones Will Soon Tell Where You Are

Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?

Unsettling as that may sound to some, wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they’re rolling out services to make it possible.

Sprint Nextel Corp. has signed up hundreds of thousands of customers for a feature that shows them where their friends are with colored marks on a map viewable on their cellphone screens. Now, Verizon Wireless is gearing up to offer such a service in the next several weeks to its 65 million customers, people familiar with it say.
WSJ’s Jessica Vascellaro tests out Loopt’s new buddy-tracking device to see whether it’s helpful for hooking up with friends or just another invasion of privacy.

Making this people-tracking possible is that cellphones today come embedded with Global Positioning System technology. With it, carriers have already offered mapping features such as turn-by-turn driving instructions. But they long hesitated to offer another breakthrough made possible by GPS — tracking of cellphone users’ whereabouts in real time — because of privacy and liability concerns.

Read moreSPY CELLS – Phones Will Soon Tell Where You Are

They knew: Bush, Cheney authorized ‘harsh interrogations’

WASHINGTON — President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney both signed off on using harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality, news agencies have learned.

The Associated Press reported earlier that senior Bush administration officials took care to insulate President Bush from a series of meetings where CIA interrogation methods, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning, were discussed and ultimately approved.

However, ABC News is now reporting that President Bush himself was aware of the discussions and approved the controversial interrogation tactics himself.

“Well, we started to connect the dots, in order to protect the American people.” Bush told ABC News. “And, yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

Read moreThey knew: Bush, Cheney authorized ‘harsh interrogations’

Haiti’s government falls after food riots

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti’s government fell on Saturday when senators fired the prime minister after more than a week of riots over food prices, ignoring a plan presented by the president to slash the cost of rice.

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Sixteen of 17 senators at a special session voted against Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, an ally President Rene Preval placed at the head of a coalition cabinet in June 2006 that was meant to unite the fractious Caribbean nation.

Read moreHaiti’s government falls after food riots

Police Remove Olympic Torch Bearer On Orders Of Chinese Paramilitary Thugs

Communist Chinese-style political oppression came to San Francisco on Wednesday when police, acting on the orders of Chinese paramilitary cops, removed and shoved to the sidewalk an Olympic torch bearer for displaying a Tibetan flag, as the woman’s pleas that she had the right to free speech as an American citizen fell on deaf ears.

After seizing the Tibetan flag, the blue tracksuit-clad specially trained Chinese paramilitary police thugs who manhandled protesters in London made the torch bearer known to the San Francisco police were all too willing to do their dirty work for them.

Equally outrageous as Carter having her right to free speech violated is the fact that San Francisco police were following the orders of the Chinese paramilitary cops who turned her over to them in the first place. This is completely illegal and lawsuits need to be brought on the basis that the city allowed foreign cops to police Americans, which is completely unlawful unless a state of martial law has been announced. The people of San Francisco have a basic human right to know whether or not their city is operating under martial law.

In a You Tube video, Majora Carter, the founder and Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx, and co-founder of Green for All, is seen being reprimanded by police before being pushed to the sidewalk during the Olympic procession.

Watch the clip.

“I was carrying a flag for Tibet and the Chinese guards came and took it from me,” said Carter.

“I’m an American citizen, if I want to stand and support other people in Tibet I can do so – and I was not given that right,” she continued.

“Free Tibet! Because we’re American, we can do that,” exclaimed Carter.

According to the New York Daily News, “Carter said a Chinese paramilitary squad escorting the torch pounced and turned her over to cops, who pushed her into the crowd.”

“I was expressing my right as an American citizen using freedom of speech in support of people who don’t have it,” Carter said. “It just became really clear to me what was going on in Tibet and I wanted to do something,” Carter told the media.

“Apparently, I’m not part of the Olympic torch-bearing entourage anymore,” she quipped.

The Coca-Cola Company, who had sponsored Carter to represent them during the torch relay, were nonplussed about the incident.

“It’s unfortunate that Ms.Carter used an invitation to participate in the torch relay as a platform to make a personal, political statement,” a company spokeswoman said.


Majora Carter talks to the media after she is shoved to the sidewalk and kicked out of the Olympic procession by San Francisco police – acting on the orders of Chinese paramilitary police.

“It would be more disgusting not exercising my constitutional right,” Carter responded.

Carter was asked to make the statement by Students for a Free Tibet in Memphis during last week’s events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

A report in the New York Daily News quoted an NYPD police officer and a retired FDNY fireman, both of whom also carried the torch and chastised Carter’s actions as “disgusting and appalling,” seemingly ignorant of that fact that such protests are outlawed in China because it is a Communist police state, unlike America which is supposed to be “the land of the free” where a God-given right to freedom of speech is afforded to every American citizen.

The incident coincides with an announcement by Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, who said that athletes who display Tibetan flags, even in the privacy of their own rooms, could be expelled from this summer’s Games in Beijing under anti-propaganda rules.

This is not the first time that American police have displayed behavior more befitting of their Communist Chinese counterparts. During a March 14th rally in New York, peaceful Tibetan demonstrators were beaten up by cops who also threatened to kill them, during a sickening attack that was also caught on video.

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Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Friday, April 11, 2008

Source: Prison Planet.com