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.
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.
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.
Stressing that era for the US Government to consider itself the owner of the entire world is over, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here, “Resorting to countless capabilities, world nations would establish an independent new world order, if hegemonic powers would keep on exerting pressure over them.” President Ahmadinejad made the comment in an interview with Japan’s Kyodo news agency, adding, “Today is beginning of an era for the domineering of the world nations who will soon impose their will, like many governments that are fed up with the status quo of the unjust international relations and willing to alter them, and this is an event that would definitely take place.”
OPPRESSIVE POWERS HAVE BECOME ISOLATED
The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran pointed out that the oppressive powers of the world had assumed they could isolate the Iranian nation, but the reverse has happened today, since Iran enjoys excellent and friendly ties with most world nations based on mutual respect.
President Ahmadinejad further reiterated, “On the contrary, the US government is suffering from having achieved the worst international status today. They had assumed if they would sit at the UN Security Council and decide over a matter it would be done for sure, while they had better realize if such decisions remain unheeded it means that they need to harmonize with world nations.”
He added, “It is to their own benefit to do so, since otherwise they would be fully isolated in the long run.”
Ahmadinejad added, “Today no nation, including the Japanese nation, likes the politicians of the oppressive powers, such as the US president, and I can assure you that even the Americans do not like their own president.”
WASHINGTON – FOUR out of five Americans believe things are ‘on the wrong track’ in the United States, the gloomiest outlook in about 20 years, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
The poll, released on Thursday, found that 81 per cent of respondents felt ‘things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track’. That was up from 69 per cent last year and 35 per cent in early 2003.
Only 4 per cent of survey respondents said the country was better off than it was five years ago, while 78 per cent said it was worse, the newspaper said.
Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura vehemently savaged the official 9/11 story on a syndicated national radio show today, saying the WTC collapsed like a controlled demolition and was pulverized to dust as he also highlighted the impossible 10 second free fall speed of the towers.
Appearing on The Alex Jones Show, Ventura said that his initial reaction to 9/11 was much like most people at the time, and he accepted the official story outright, a response he now regrets because he was in a position of power and could have used it to raise a lot of pointed questions.
“I kicked myself when it initially happened that the light didn’t go off but I was so shocked that this thing had even taken place that I apologize for not being more aware,” said Ventura, adding that watching Loose Change at the insistence of his son was part of the catalyst for his wake up call.
“To me questions haven’t been answered and are not being answered about 9/11,” said Ventura, before highlighting the collapse of Building 7, a 47-story tall skyscraper that was not hit by a plane but collapsed in its own footprint in the late afternoon of September 11.
“Two planes struck two buildings….but how is it that a third building fell 5 hours later?” asked Ventura, “How could this building just implode into its own footprint 5 hours later – that’s my first question – the 9/11 Commission didn’t even devote one page to that in their big volume of investigation,” added the former Governor.
Ventura then explored how it was possible that all three buildings could rapidly collapse at almost free fall speed.
“How could those buildings fall at the speed of gravity – if you put a stopwatch on them both of those World Trade Center buildings were on the ground in ten seconds – how can that be?” asked Ventura.
“If you took a billiard ball and dropped it from the height of the World Trade Center in a vacuum it would hit the ground in 9.3 seconds and if you took that same billiard ball and dropped it 10 stories at a time and merely stopped it and started it it would take 30 seconds – if you dropped it every floor of the World Trade Center to the ground, simply stopping and starting it on gravity it would take over 100 seconds to reach the ground,” he surmised.
The former wrestling star then questioned how low-temperature burning jet fuel could melt steel.
“Jet fuel is four fifths kerosene – which is not a hot burning fuel – and they wanted us to believe it melted these steel structured girders and caused these buildings to pancake collapse to the ground?” he stated.
“I was on the site within two weeks after it happened and I saw none of these pancakes – wouldn’t they all be piled up in a huge mass on the ground and yet everything was blown into dust – when you look at it from that aspect none of it makes any sense,” said Ventura.
“Never before in the annuls of history has a fire caused a steel structure building to fall to the ground like these two did,” he concluded.
Having undergone Basic Underwater Demolition Seal training, Ventura is speaking from an experienced standpoint and he unequivocally stated that he thought the buildings were deliberately imploded.
“Upon looking at the film in super-slow motion and the way the buildings fell and comparing that to the way that they do like a controlled demolition of a hotel in Las Vegas, they both fell identical.”
“I did watch the film of Building 7 going down and in my opinion there’s no doubt that that building was brought down with demolition,” said the former Governor.
Ventura also questioned the lack of wreckage outside of the Pentagon after Flight 77 allegedly struck the building.
“When I was watching Loose Change with a friend of mine – he happens to work for a company that helps build the Boeing airplanes and they said that when the engines completely disappeared and were destroyed, his response was, excuse my French – bullshit!,” said Ventura.
“I turned to him and said why and he said because they’re made of titanium steel – they can’t disintegrate.”
Ventura said that the corporate media were going to continue to cover-up the truth about 9/11, but that the number of credible people speaking out and increasing education and knowledge about the subject would eventually reap dividends.
“We don’t want to lose our country, after all it’s still our country and until they put us down we have the power,” Ventura concluded.
Prominent journalist Seymour hersh says the US is ‘in real trouble’ because news coverage on Iraq is anything but balanced and unbiased.
When the American government says the US is winning in Iraq and is not torturing prisoners, they are just words, hersh told his audience of journalism students in Regina, Canada. “We are in real trouble [in Iraq].”
Pointing to the changes reporting has undergone since the Vietnam War, the award-winning journalist explained that reporters are now imbedded with troops who cloud their judgment and therefore do not touch the same kind of issues.
“It has led to a lot of lousy reporting,” continued hersh. “I don’t think it is bad for a journalist to come back (from covering a war) and say it sucks.”
hersh said media outlets spread ‘fake’ news and suggested his audience resort to translations of local media sources when learning about issues concerning the Middle East.
Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Myron hersh first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War.
Cost Overruns Hit $295 Billion
Government auditors issued a scathing review yesterday of dozens of the Pentagon’s biggest weapons systems, saying ships, aircraft and satellites are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.
The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average. In addition, none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages.
The Navy expects the costs of its first two Littoral Combat Ships to exceed their combined budget of $472 million by more than 100 percent. (Lockheed Martin Via Associated Press)
Auditors said the Defense Department showed few signs of improvement since the GAO began issuing its annual assessments of selected weapons systems six years ago. “It’s not getting any better by any means,” said Michael Sullivan, director of the GAO’s acquisition and sourcing team. “It’s taking longer and costing more.”
THE SUBPRIME mortgage crisis that pushed homeowners into foreclosure and forced the Federal Reserve to bail out investment banker Bear Stearns has also sent state and local governments across the country scrambling to refinance municipal bonds before they are hit with exorbitant interest rates.At the center of the storm are long-term variable-interest bonds known as “auction-rate securities.” Unlike traditional fixed-rate bonds, the interest rates on these securities are reset every 7, 28 or 35 days through an auction process.
Historically, the rate paid has been less than on traditional bonds, making the national $160-billion auction-rate market a reliable source of cheap financing.
But that market has collapsed in the past two months, sending interest rates climbing. As a result, California, Richmond, the Bay Area Toll Authority, the East Bay Municipal Utility District and Sacramento County are among countless government agencies forced to restructure their bond debts.