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

Vancouver transit riders tasered for not paying fares

VANCOUVER — The country’s only armed transit police have been tasering passengers who try to avoid paying fares.

According to documents provided in response to a Freedom of Information request, police patrolling public transit in the Metro Vancouver area have used tasers 10 times in the past 18 months, including five occasions when victims had been accosted for riding free.

In one incident, a non-paying passenger was tasered after he held onto a railing on the SkyTrain platform and refused to let go.

“After several warnings to the subject to stop resisting arrest and the subject failing to comply with the officers’ commands, the taser was deployed and the subject was taken into control,” said the report provided by TransLink, the region’s transit authority.

An internal review of the incident concluded that the action taken by transit police officers complied with the force’s policy and was within guidelines “set out in the National Use of Force Model,” the report said.

On another occasion, a passenger was tasered when he fled from police who found him without a payment receipt during a “fare blitz.” This time, however, the passenger got away because, as recounted in the report, “the Taser was ineffective due to the subject’s clothing and [he] escaped the custody of the officers.”

Politicians and civil-liberties activists alike decried the use of tasers on individuals who were attempting merely to avoid paying a fine for not buying a ticket to ride.

“I think it’s absolutely uncalled for, absolutely reprehensible, and the police should not be doing that,” federal Liberal public safety critic Ujjal Dosanjh said in Ottawa yesterday.

On the face of it, the use of tasers by transit police here is far outside guidelines that say they should be used only if someone is suicidal, violent or about to injure himself or someone else, Mr. Dosanjh said.

Read moreVancouver transit riders tasered for not paying fares

The Food Irradiation Plot: Why the USDA Wants to Sterilize Fresh Produce and Turn Live Foods into Dead Foods

There’s a new plot underway to sterilize your food and destroy the nutritional value of fresh produce. The players in this plot are the usual suspects: The USDA (which backed the “raw” almond sterilization rules now in effect in California) and the American Chemical Society – a pro-chemical group that represents the interests of industrial chemical manufacturers. The latest push comes from USDA researchers who conducted a study to see which method more effectively killed bacteria on leafy green vegetables like spinach.

To conduct the study, they bathed the spinach in a solution contaminated with bacteria. Then, they tried to remove the bacteria using three methods: Washing, chemical spraying and irradiation. Not surprisingly, only the irradiation killed nearly 100 percent of the bacterial colonies. That’s because radiation sterilizes both the bacteria and the vegetable leaves, effectively killing the plant and destroying much of its nutritional value while it kills the bacteria.

The USDA claims this is a huge success. By using radiation on all fresh produce, they claim, the number of food-borne illness outbreaks that happen each year could be substantially reduced. It all makes sense until you realize that by destroying the nutritional value of all fresh produce sold in the United States, an irradiation policy would greatly increase the number of people killed by infections and chronic diseases that are prevented by the natural medicines found in fresh produce!

Why fresh, living produce helps prevent sickness

The USDA, you see, has zero recognition of the difference between living produce and dead produce. To uneducated government bureaucrats, pasteurized or irradiated vegetable juice is identical to fresh, raw, living vegetable juice. They believe this because they’ve never been taught about the phytonutrients, digestive enzymes and life force properties that are found in fresh foods, but that are destroyed through heat or irradiation. This, the USDA is operating out of extreme ignorance when it comes to food and nutrition.

Even a simple leaf of spinach contains hundreds of natural medicines – phytonutrients that help prevent cancer, eye diseases, nervous system disorders, heart disease and much more. Every living vegetable is a powerhouse of disease-fighting medicine: Broccoli prevents cancer, beet greens cleanse the liver, cilantro removes heavy metals, celery prevents cancer, berries prevent heart disease and dark leafy greens help prevent over a dozen serious health conditions while boosting immune function and helping prevent other infections. But when you subject these fruits and vegetables to enough radiation to kill 99.9% of the pathogens that may be hitching a ride, you also destroy many of the phytonutrients responsible for these tremendous health benefits!

This means that while irradiating food may decrease outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, it will have the unintended consequence of increasing the number of people who get sick from other infections (and chronic diseases) due to the fact that their source of natural medicine has been destroyed. For many Americans, you see, salad greens are their one remaining source for phytonutrients. Given their diets of processed foods, junk foods and cooked foods, there are very few opportunities for these consumers to get fresh, phytonutrient-rich foods into their diet. And now the USDA wants to take that away, too, by mandating the irradiation of all fresh produce.

Let me make a rather obvious prediction, on the record: If the irradiation of fresh produce goes into effect in the United States, rates of infection among consumers will sharply increase, not decrease, due to the removal of immune-boosting natural medicine from the food supply. Consumers will also experience higher rates of cancer, heart disease, dementia, eye disorders, diabetes and even obesity. By destroying these thousands of healing phytonutrients, irradiation will leave many consumers defenseless against modern society’s many health challenges.

It is no exaggeration to say that a policy of mass irradiation of fresh produce is as blatantly stupid as the Romans building their aqueducts with lead-lined waterways. As historians have explained, after the aqueducts were built, the
water delivered to the Roman population was contaminated with lead – a heavy metal that causes numerous health problems, including insanity. Many historians blame the lead-lined aqueducts as one of the primary reasons why the Roman Empire fell: Its leaders went mad, and the rest is history.

I would argue that America’s leaders are already mad, but that’s beside the point. If we start irradiating our food, thereby destroying its nutritional value, we are going to unleash a cascade of unintended consequences even greater than the Roman’s aqueducts. Absent the protections of phytonutrients found in plants, the health of most consumers will rapidly decline, and we’ll see the U.S. thrust into a quagmire of chronic disease and medical bankruptcy. (It’s already heading there, of course, but killing the food supply will only accelerate the downward spiral of health.)

Let’s sterilize all the food!

The USDA has never met a food sterilization plan it didn’t like. It backed the recent almond sterilization law that went into effect in California last year, forcing all almond growers to sterilize their almonds by subjecting them to toxic chemicals or cooking them at high enough temperatures to kill anything that might have been alive (such as the almond itself). Now, all the raw almonds consumed in America are purchased from overseas growers, where raw still means raw.

Raw milk has also been under attack in California and elsewhere. The USDA supported laws that essentially banned the sales of raw milk, requiring milk to be sterilized, too. If you now irradiate all the fresh produce, you have a food supply that is predominantly sterilized – otherwise known as “dead.” And dead foods lead to dead people.

That a society’s health regulators would want all foods to be dead should be downright shocking to anyone who knows anything about health and nutrition. Live foods keep people alive, but dead foods make people dead. It’s really not a complicated concept. The USDA’s definition of “food safety,” however, is based on the idea that the health of one immune-system-compromised individual who can’t handle a little E. Coli is more important than the ongoing health of the entire population. Thus, all foods must be killed for everyone.

I strongly disagree with this approach. Foods should not be expected to be sterilized. In terms of food safety, emphasis should be placed on boosting the health and immune systems of individuals so they can survive occasional contact with E. Coli rather than trying to create a sterile environment in which nothing is alive. As it turns out, the people susceptible to food-borne illnesses are precisely those individuals who have compromised immune systems due to their intake of vaccines and antibiotics. Thus, it is modern medicine that has made these people vulnerable to food-borne illnesses. Blame the drug companies, not the bacteria.

But the USDA would rather blame the food. Blaming conventional medicine for the harm it has caused to the human immune system is not politically correct. It’s better to blame the food, then use scare tactics to announce yet more outbreaks and hope for a public outcry for widespread food irradiation. And that brings me to the “final solution” on food irradiation.

How the USDA plans to join the FDA in keeping everyone sick

There is a corporate-sponsored plot underway in the U.S. today to keep people sick and deny them access to information about natural cures (such as medicinal foods) that would prevent disease and keep people out of the hospitals. In more than 1,500 articles on this website, I’ve documented the FDA’s criminality, the USDA’s indefensible actions, and the criminal behavior of drug manufacturers who only earn profits if they can find a way to keep the entire population sick and diseased for another generation or two.

Destroying the natural medicine in the food supply sure would be a highly effective way to create more customers for

Big Pharma, wouldn’t it? I think it’s all part of the “keep the population sick and diseased” plot being carried out by an evil partnership between drug companies and the U.S. government. We already know that the FDA and USDA work for the corporations, not the People. We already know that they will do practically anything to boost their profits (including conducting medical experiments on infants, drugging schoolchildren, lying to the public, fabricating clinical trials and more). Is it any surprise that they would now attempt a “final solution” on the food supply that kills the food and thereby results in a huge reduction in the population’s intake of the disease-fighting nutrients found in fresh produce?

The social engineering recipe

Pulling this off, of course, requires a bit of social engineering by the USDA in order to force the public into demanding something be done. If you’re the USDA, you can’t just suddenly announce a national food sterilization plan; you have to prime the pump with a bit of dirty work. Here’s the simple plan for accomplishing that, if you’re the USDA:

1) Conduct poor inspections of fresh produce on purpose, in order to cause a large increase in food-borne illness outbreaks. (We’ve seen this increase happen over the last 12 – 24 months.) This can be easily accomplished by reducing the budget of food inspection offices, or removing inspectors from the payroll altogether (which has already happened).

2) Wait for the outbreaks to happen. When consumers get sick, run national press releases announcing how dangerous the food supply is.

3) Watch the consumer reaction as people and lawmakers demand “something be done!”

4) Fudge a study with the American Chemical Society to show that washing doesn’t work and that irradiation is the only solution. Time the release of this news to coincide with the public outcry that “something be done!”

5) Once the public is demanding a solution to food-borne illnesses, roll out a national produce irradiation requirement that sterilizes all the food.

Mission accomplished! This, of course, leads to point #6:

6) Watch the population become increasingly sick and diseased (thanks to the lack of phytonutrients that used to be found in the fresh produce), and cash in on your Big Pharma shares as the population is herded into hospitals for lucrative treatments with monopoly-priced pharmaceuticals.

It’s the same old social engineering trick that’s been used to hoodwink the American people hundreds of times. How do you get the public to support a war in the Middle East? Stage an attack on U.S. soil first, and wait for the public outcry. How do you get the People to support the mass sterilization of their own food supply? Lower your inspection standards, let the sickness spread, and then wait for the public outcry. It’s the way governments get things done these days: They manipulate the public into demanding the things they wanted to accomplish in the first place. These are sometimes called “false flag operations” in a military context, and they’ve been conducted by the U.S. government on numerous occasions, just like they were conducted by Hitler in Nazi Germany to justify his invasions of neighboring countries. You can read about False Flag operations on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag

What “they” really want: A dead food supply

Let’s be blunt about this: The corporations running this country (which also run the U.S. government) want the U.S. food supply to be dead. They don’t want foods to be used as medicines, and they sure don’t want the natural medicines found in foods competing with their own patented pharmaceutical medicines (that just happen to earn them a whole lot more money than any food ever did).

Don’t you find it curious that this attack on the food supply is coming out now, right after all this incredible news about the healing power of foods has been hitting the science journals? Every week, it seems, we find out about another amazing health property in a food. Black raspberries reverse oral cancer. Pomegranates halt prostate cancer. Green tea halts breast cancer. The list goes on. Just on this website alone, we’ve probably published 1,000 stories over the last two years on the disease-fighting properties of foods.

The thing to realize here is that many of the healing properties of these foods are destroyed through pasteurization or irradiation. If you’re a government that wants to “take away the People’s medicine,” the fastest way to accomplish that is to mandate the sterilization of the food supply. Kill the foods and you take away the People’s medicine, and that forces the population to use pharmaceuticals instead.

The FDA, for its part, has for many decades conducted its natural medicine censorship campaign, whose only purpose is to deny the People access to accurate information about the healing properties of natural medicines found in foods and herbs. But apparently that wasn’t enough: The Internet came along and people found a way to educate themselves. So since the FDA couldn’t keep the truth about natural medicine bottled up and censored, the government has now apparently decided to just sterilize all the foods, thereby destroying the natural medicine and transforming Mother Nature’s gifts into dead calories.

The USDA’s decisions here are not based on public safety, folks. They’re based on corporate greed. Just look at how they handled the raw almond controversy in these related articles: http://www.naturalnews.com/almonds.html

The USDA as operated today is a front group for wealthy corporations. It is not interested in helping the People. It’s interested in protecting the profits of corporations… even if that means destroying the food supply and turning the population into “dead eaters” who die from other diseases caused by the lack of phytonutrient protection.

How you can help stop this latest atrocity against our food supply

What can you do to stop this? Be prepared to fight irradiation plans with a massive outcry that demands our food supply be protected from radiation. There are two things that need to be accomplished, and of course the USDA and FDA oppose them both:

1) Require the labeling of all irradiated foods with a large “Irradiated” label or sticker.

2) Block any attempts to mandate the irradiation of fresh produce.

Stay tuned to NaturalNews.com for more on this story. We’ll be joining with other pro-consumer groups (like the Organic Consumers Association) to rally our readers in opposition to this food irradiation effort.

I believe we must keep our food supply fresh and alive. (Sounds kinda obvious, huh?) And if there’s a little extra bacteria on the spinach, it’s nothing that a healthy body can’t handle anyway. Take some probiotics and avoid antibiotics, and you’ll be just fine. E. Coli is really only a threat to the health of individuals who have had their immune systems (or intestinal flora) destroyed by pharmaceuticals in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with some living organisms in your milk, on your almonds or on your spinach. Wash your food, get plenty of sunlight and avoid using antibiotics.

The human body is NOT a sterile environment. To try to make our food supply sterile is insane, and anyone who supports the irradiation of the food supply is, in my opinion, supporting a policy of genocide against the American people. To destroy the vitality of the food supply is a criminal act of such immense evil that it stands alongside the worst crimes ever committed against humanity.

You see, it’s not enough for them to poison our water (fluoride), poison our children (vaccines) and lie to us about the sun (skin cancer scare stories). Now they want to destroy our foods… and thereby take away any natural medicine options that might actually keep people healthy and free. Remember: A diseased population is an enslaved population.

Now go eat your Big Mac, drink your Pepsi and don’t ask too many questions.

Monday, April 14, 2008 by: Mike Adams

###

About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health author and technology pioneer with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored more than 1,500 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, reaching millions of readers with information that is saving lives and improving personal health around the world. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a maker of energy efficient LED lights that greatly reduce CO2 emissions. He’s also a veteran of the software technology industry, having founded a personalized mass email software product used to deliver email newsletters to subscribers. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and practices nature photography, Capoeira, Pilates and organic gardening.

Source: naturalnews.com

Big Tax Breaks for Businesses in Housing Bill

WASHINGTON — The Senate proclaimed a fierce bipartisan resolve two weeks ago to help American homeowners in danger of foreclosure. But while a bill that senators approved last week would take modest steps toward that goal, it would also provide billions of dollars in tax breaks — for automakers, airlines, alternative energy producers and other struggling industries, as well as home builders.

The tax provisions of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which consumer groups and labor leaders say amount to government handouts to big business, show how the credit crisis, while rattling the housing and financial markets, has created beneficiaries in the power corridors of Washington.

It also shows how legislation with a populist imperative offers a chance for lobbyists to press their clients’ interests.

This has proved especially true on the housing legislation, which many lawmakers and lobbyists view as one of the last opportunities before Congress grinds to a halt amid election-year politics.

In the Senate bill, the nation’s biggest home builders, some now on the verge of bankruptcy, won a provision that would let them claim millions in tax refunds by charging their current losses against the huge profits they made three or four years ago. Other struggling industries would benefit from this provision.


Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, was the main author of the Senate bill meant to help homeowners.

(The ones who will really benefit from this are, like always, the corporations.
And guess who will pay for these tax breaks in the end? – The Infinite Unknown)

Read moreBig Tax Breaks for Businesses in Housing Bill

Pentagon seeks authority over training foreign militaries


Representative Duncan Hunter, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, suggested that the military was being saddled with additional responsibilities because the State Department has been sluggish in responding to new needs. Hunter said “the need to train and equip foreign forces and to provide stabilization programs will remain necessary as we continue to fight the global war on terror.”

The Pentagon asked Congress Tuesday to give it permanent authority over training and equipping foreign militaries, in a shifting of roles from the State Department.

Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought Congressional approval for the change, as well as authorization for the Pentagon to spend 750 million dollars in 2009 in helping foreign militaries.

Gates told members of the House Armed Services Committee the foreign military assistance program is “a vital and enduring military requirement, irrespective of the capacity of other departments, and its authorities and funding mechanisms should reflect that reality.”

Some lawmakers said it raised questions about the military’s growing role in domains traditionally reserved for diplomats.

Read morePentagon seeks authority over training foreign militaries

Nuclear attack on D.C. a hypothetical disaster

A nuclear device detonated near the White House would kill roughly 100,000 people and flatten downtown federal buildings, while the radioactive plume from the explosion would likely spread toward the Capitol and into Southeast D.C., contaminating thousands more.

The blast from the 10-kiloton bomb – similar to the bomb dropped over Hiroshima during World War II – would kill up to one in 10 tourists visiting the Washington Monument and send shards of glass flying the length of the National Mall, in a scenario that has become increasingly likely to occur in a major U.S. city in recent years, panel members told a Senate committee yesterday.

“It’s inevitable,” said Cham E. Dallas, director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia, who has charted the potential explosion’s effect in the District and testified before a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “I think it’s wistful to think that it won’t happen by 20 years.”

(What is this article about? Preparing the people for what is coming. – The Infinite Unknown)

Read moreNuclear attack on D.C. a hypothetical disaster