Posts tagged as: 1984

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

 

DIA Conspiracies Take Off

‘”Have you ever been through the Denver airport? It’s strange. It’s one of the busiest, but I’m telling you, it’s weird. There’s a firestorm of people talking about this thing.”

Especially on June 11, when George Noory devotes all four hours of Coast to Coast, his nationally syndicated talk-radio program dedicated to the “paranormal, extraterrestrial and other topics typically overlooked by more mainstream media outlets,” to a discussion of Denver International Airport. Broadcast on more than 500 affiliate stations, including KHOW, the popular overnight show is the 60 Minutes of conspiracy theories, often with self-educated experts expounding on such subjects as the occult, psychic visions, crop circles, Skull and Bones and apocalyptic predictions. And almost all of these conspiracies intersect at DIA.’


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George Orwell’s MI5 dossier revealed

‘George Orwell’s left-wing views and bohemian clothes led British police to label him a communist – but the MI5 spy agency stepped in to correct that view, the writer’s newly released security file reveals.

The secret file that MI5 kept on the author from 1929 until his death in 1950 is being declassified today by the National Archives.

It reveals that in contrast to the fictional “Big Brother”, the cruel and all-seeing secret police of Orwell’s classic 1984, MI5 took a surprisingly benign view of the writer.

Orwell savaged the totalitarianism of Stalin’s Russia in Animal Farm and 1984.

But he was also a socialist who railed against inequality in earlier works such as Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Pier. [..]

MI5 had already been watching Orwell since 1929, when he was a struggling journalist in Paris, attempting to write for left-wing publications.’


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

 

Scientists Sue NASA, Caltech Over New ID Checks

‘Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers sued NASA and the California Institute of Technology on Thursday, challenging extensive new background checks that the space exploration center and other federal agencies began requiring in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The lawsuit says NASA is violating the Constitution by calling on employees – everyone from janitors to visiting professors – to permit investigators to delve into medical, financial and past employment records, and to question friends and acquaintances about everything from their finances to sex lives. Those who refuse could lose their jobs, the suit says.

“They don’t tell you what they’re looking for, they don’t tell you when they’re looking for it, they won’t tell us what they’re doing with the data,” said plaintiff Susan Foster, a technical writer and editor at JPL for nearly 40 years.’


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Senate blocks mandatory ID implants in employees

‘Tackling a dilemma right out of a science fiction novel, the state Senate passed legislation Thursday that would bar employers from requiring workers to have identification devices implanted under their skin.

State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) proposed the measure after at least one company began marketing radio frequency identification devices for use in humans.

The devices, as small as a grain of rice, can be used by employers to identify workers. A scanner passing over a body part implanted with one can instantly identify the person.

“RFID is a minor miracle, with all sorts of good uses,” Simitian said. “But we shouldn’t condone forced ‘tagging’ of humans. It’s the ultimate invasion of privacy.”‘


Sunday, September 2, 2007

 

China seeks to ‘limit game hours’

‘The Chinese government has clamped down on the amount of time youngsters can spend playing online games, according to the official news agency Xinhua.

Under-18s who play for more than three consecutive hours a day will have limits imposed on the amount of points they can score, the agency reported. [..]

Chinese gaming firms such as NetEase and Shanda Interactive Entertainment have until 15 July to install software which will halve the number of points gamers can score if they play for more than three hours, said the report.

Determined gamers who play for more than five hours will get no points at all and face an on-screen warning that they are entering “unhealthy game time”.’


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Friday, August 31, 2007

 

Monsanto looks to patent pigs

‘In what critics call a dangerous power grab, the Monsanto Company is seeking wide-ranging control over swine reproduction methods in the form of patents which, if granted, would give the corporation economic rights over any offspring produced using those techniques.Documents obtained by Christoph Then, a Germany-based researcher for Greenpeace, show Monsanto’s attempts to secure broad intellectual property protection for swine herds. [..]

Monsanto spokesperson Chris Horner said that the company merely wants protection for its selective breeding processes, including the means to identify specific genes in pigs and use of a specialized insemination device. [..]

But Then, who has been studying patents for a decade, said that there is really nothing new to the breeding processes of which Monsanto is seeking to claim exclusive ownership; rather, the patents attempt to privatize farming techniques already in existence for centuries.

“There’s no invention in this,” he said. “It’s just normal pig breeding.”‘


Teaspoon of urine can drug test an entire city

‘Researchers have figured out how to give an entire community a drug test using just a teaspoon of wastewater from a city’s sewer plant.

The test wouldn’t be used to finger any single person as a drug user. But it would help federal law enforcement and other agencies track the spread of dangerous drugs, like methamphetamines, across the country.

Oregon State University scientists tested 10 unnamed American cities for remnants of drugs, both legal and illegal, from wastewater streams. They were able to show that they could get a good snapshot of what people are taking. [..]

She said that one fairly affluent community scored low for illicit drugs except for cocaine. Cocaine and ecstasy tended to peak on weekends and drop on weekdays, she said, while methamphetamine and prescription drugs were steady throughout the week.’


international

Sunday, August 19, 2007

 

Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy

‘President George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005 after being chosen by the majority of citizens in America to be president.

Yet in 2007 he is generally despised, with many citizens of Western civilization expressing contempt for his person and his policies, sentiments which now abound on the Internet. This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy. [..]

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.’


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Thursday, August 16, 2007

 

Chavez Seeks New Venezuela Constitution, Indefinite Re-Election

‘Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez unveiled a plan to rewrite the constitution that would allow him to seek indefinite re-election and deepen the country’s transformation to a socialist political and economic system.

Chavez, 53, addressed the nation last night from the National Assembly, outlining his proposal to create new federal, military and municipal districts, nationalize natural gas and coal resources and grant the state increased power to expropriate property, among other measures.

“We have to change the geometry of power,” Chavez said in comments broadcast by state television, in which he proposed the creation of communes and federal cities across the country. “All of these proposals will deepen this Bolivarian democracy,” Chavez said.’


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Sunday, August 12, 2007

 

The Ministry of Rudy

‘There has to be an Orwell Corollary to Godwin’s Law, one that says any discussion of today’s Republican Party will invariably lead to comparisons with 1984. That’s the easy place to run when trying to sum up the miasma of misdirection and jingoism that passes for Republican speech. But, damn it, when the candidates insist on treating the utterances of the Ministry of Truth as a textbook, what can you do? [..]

“Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”‘


Saturday, August 11, 2007

 

Kent Man Faces Fine For ‘Impeach Bush’ Sign

‘A northeast Ohio man is in trouble for displaying his thoughts on President George W. Bush.

The Kent homeowner wants the president impeached, but how he voiced that opinion could cost him $125 and possible hundreds more, reported NewsChannel5′s Pete Kenworthy.

“I was charged with advertising on public property, a violation of Kent city ordinance 503.02,” said Kevin Egler.

Egler maintains that the ordinance doesn’t cover what he did, placing a sign saying “Impeach Bush” on public property. [..]

“What police don’t have a right to do is selectively enforce the law. Military recruiters can place signs, garage sales, Realtors, but if someone doesn’t like the president, you arrest them and treat them like a criminal. That’s not what the United States is about,” said attorney Bob Fitrakis.’


Friday, August 10, 2007

 

Portions Censored From Pearl Jam Webcast

‘According to Pearl Jam’s website, portions of the band’s Sunday night set at Lollapalooza were missing from the AT&T Blue Room live webcast. Fans alerted the band to the missing material after the show. Reportedly absent from the webcast were segments of the band’s performance of “Daughter,” including the sung lines “George Bush, leave this world alone” and “George Bush find yourself another home.”

After questioning AT&T about the incident, Lollapalooza was informed that material was indeed missing from the webcast, and that it was mistakenly cut by AT&T’s content monitor. Tiffany Nels of AT&T told CMJ that they are working the matter out with the band. “We regret the mistake,” she explains. “This was not intended and was an unfortunate mistake made by a webcast editor.” She went on to explain that AT&T has a policy for any excessive language, and that it was set up because of its all-ages audience.’


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Howard’s net porn crusade

‘John Howard is going to spend $189 million “cleaning up the internet” for Australian families, blocking pornography, upgrading the search for chatroom sex predators and cutting off terror sites.

Every Australian family will be provided with a free internet filter and the federal Government will enter an unprecedented partnership with service providers to filter pornography at the source.

Communications and Australian Federal Police resources will be boosted immediately to expand checks on internet chat rooms to detect child predators, and privacy laws masking sex offenders on the net will be altered.

The Prime Minister unveiled his new net commandments last night on a webcast to more than 700 churches and thousands of churchgoers around the country.’


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Monday, August 6, 2007

 

China tells living Buddhas to obtain permission before they reincarnate

‘Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people.

“The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1.

The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing.’


Sunday, August 5, 2007

 

Federal Agents Searching People at Indianapolis Bus Stops

‘Welcome to another creeping slide towards the big brother state. On August 2, 2007 over two dozen agents of the TSA setup two checkpoints at bus stops in Indianapolis Indiana and searched passengers who wanted to ride on city buses. Federal agents, including Air Marshals were present and patted people down, looked in bags, and performed “behavior” tests for the stated purpose of finding weapons and people who were a threat to public safety. [..]

So to be clear, 20 or more agents of the federal government came to Indianapolis, downtown, and setup two search stops for those wanting to ride the bus. People could decline, legally, but only if the knew they could. Traveller safety was the excuse, but in reality all the were on an explicit fishing operation that included everything plus “behavior detection officers”.’


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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

 

Careful: The FB-eye may be watching

‘”The FBI is here,”Mom tells me over the phone. Immediately I can see my mom with her back to a couple of Matrix-like figures in black suits and opaque sunglasses, her hand covering the mouthpiece like Grace Kelly in Dial M for Murder. This must be a joke, I think. But it’s not, because Mom isn’t that funny.

“The who?” I say.

“Two FBI agents. They say you’re not in trouble, they just want to talk. They want to come to the store.”

I work in a small, independent bookstore, and since it’s a slow Tuesday afternoon, I figure, “Sure.” Someone I know must have gotten some government work, I think; hadn’t my consultant friend spoken recently of getting rolled onto some government job? Background check, I think, interviewing acquaintances … No big deal, right? Then, of course, I make a big deal about it in front of my co-workers.’


Monday, July 23, 2007

 

Bush Outlaws All War Protest In United States

‘In one of his most chilling moves to date against his own citizens, the American War Leader has issued a sweeping order this week outlawing all forms of protest against the Iraq war.

President Bush enacted into US law an ‘Executive Order’ on July
17th titled “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq” [..]

Today, as the United States faces an imminent economic collapse, while at the same time its war bill has reached the staggering amount of $648 billion, one of the last freedoms the American people have had to protest their leaders actions against them, and other peoples in the World, has now been taken away from them, the freedom to speak and write in opposition to what is being done to them.’


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Sunday, July 15, 2007

 

Police to get ‘head-cams’

‘Police officers in the UK are to be given head-mouted video cameras to film incidents and arrests, the footage of which can then be used in evidence.

The Home Office is to give police £3 million to fund a national roll-out of head cameras after regional trials proved they were successful in fighting crime, the Government has announced. [..]

A spokesman for the force said: “The clear evidence provided by head camera footage means that offenders have less opportunity to deny their involvement, leading to less paperwork for the police, earlier guilty pleas, less time spent in court and an increase in convictions.” [..]

According to the guidelines officers are to wear a sign and to announce: “I am video recording you.”‘


Drug czar gives warning

‘The nation’s top anti-drug official said people need to overcome their “reefer blindness” and see that illicit marijuana gardens are a terrorist threat to the public’s health and safety, as well as to the environment.

John P. Walters, President Bush’s drug czar, said the people who plant and tend the gardens are terrorists who wouldn’t hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties. Walters made the comments at a Thursday press conference that provided an update on the “Operation Alesia” marijuana-eradication effort. [..]

“These people are armed; they’re dangerous,” he said. He called them “violent criminal terrorists.”‘


international

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

 

Former Bush surgeon general says he was muzzled

‘The first U.S. surgeon general appointed by President George W. Bush accused the administration on Tuesday of political interference and muzzling him on key issues like embryonic stem cell research.

“Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried,” Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation’s top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives committee. [..]

Carmona said Bush administration political appointees censored his speeches and kept him from talking out publicly about certain issues, including the science on embryonic stem cell research, contraceptives and his misgivings about the administration’s embrace of “abstinence-only” sex education.’


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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

 

Librarians Describe Life Under An FBI Gag Order

‘Life in an FBI muzzle is no fun. Two Connecticut librarians on Sunday described what it was like to be slapped with an FBI national security letter and accompanying gag order. It sounded like a spy movie or, gulp, something that happens under a repressive foreign government. Peter Chase and Barbara Bailey, librarians in Plainville, Connecticut, received an NSL to turn over computer records in their library on July 13, 2005. Unlike a suspected thousands of other people around the country, Chase, Bailey and two of their colleagues stood up to the Man and refused to comply, convinced that the feds had no right to intrude on anyone’s privacy without a court order (NSLs don’t require a judge’s approval). That’s when things turned ugly.’


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300 CCTVs to sweep Sydney for APEC

‘More than 300 high definition CCTV cameras have been placed in potential terrorist targets in the lead-up to Sydney’s APEC Summit, acting Premier John Watkins says.

The new cameras bring to 6400 the total number of cameras watching people using buses, trains and ferries.

The cameras, 200 of which use cutting-edge facial recognition technology, have been installed across the city in buses, ferry and train stations.

“The technology which includes live streaming to large LCD displays will also prove a strong deterrent to common criminals and thugs,” Mr Watkins told reporters today.’


Secrecy Shrouds Accident at Nuclear Plant

‘A factory that makes uranium fuel for nuclear reactors had a spill so bad that it kept the plant closed for seven months last year and became one of only three incidents in all of 2006 serious enough for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to include in an annual report to Congress. After an investigation, the commission changed the terms of the factory’s license and said that the public had 20 days to request a hearing on the changes.

But no member of the public ever did. In fact, no member of the public could find out about the changes. The document describing them, including the notice of hearing rights for anyone who felt adversely affected, was stamped “official use only,” meaning that it was not publicly accessible. [..]

[..] The letter from the congressmen says the agency’s report suggests “that it was merely a matter of luck that a criticality accident did not occur.”’


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

 

Cyber Attacks Engulf Kremlin’s Critics

‘A political battle is raging in Russian cyberspace. Opposition parties and independent media say murky forces have committed vast resources to hacking and crippling their Web sites in attacks similar to those that hit tech-savvy Estonia as the Baltic nation sparred with Russia over a Soviet war memorial.

While they offer no proof, the groups all point the finger at the Kremlin, calling the electronic siege an attempt to stifle Russia’s last source of free, unfiltered information.

The victims, who range from liberal democrats to ultranationalists, allege their hacker adversaries hope to harass the opposition with the approach of parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections in next March.

Some independent experts agree.’

Followup to Russia accused of unleashing cyberwar to disable Estonia.


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Saturday, June 16, 2007

 

FBI Terror Watch List ‘Out of Control’

‘A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more than half a million names.

Privacy and civil liberties advocates say the list is growing uncontrollably, threatening its usefulness in the war on terror.

The bureau says the number of names on its terrorist watch list is classified.

A portion of the FBI’s unclassified 2008 budget request posted to the Department of Justice Web site, however, refers to “the entire watch list of 509,000 names,” which is utilized by its Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force.’


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Friday, June 15, 2007

 

Feds Working In Secret African Prisons

‘CIA and FBI agents hunting for al Qaeda militants in the Horn of Africa have been interrogating terrorism suspects from 19 countries held at secret prisons in Ethiopia, which is notorious for torture and abuse, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

Human rights groups, lawyers and several Western diplomats assert hundreds of prisoners, who include women and children, have been transferred secretly and illegally in recent months from Kenya and Somalia to Ethiopia, where they are kept without charge or access to lawyers and families.

The detainees include at least one U.S. citizen and some are from Canada, Sweden and France, according to a list compiled by a Kenyan Muslim rights group and flight manifests obtained by AP.’


Sunday, June 10, 2007

 

CIA rejects secret jails report

‘The CIA has dismissed a Council of Europe report alleging that it ran secret jails for terror suspects in Europe after the 11 September attacks.

A CIA spokesman said the report was biased and distorted, and that the agency had operated lawfully.

Swiss Senator Dick Marty, who wrote the report, said secret CIA prisons “did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania”.

The charge was denied by both Polish and Romanian officials.’

Followup to Secret CIA jails hosted by Poland, Romania.


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TorrentSpy ordered to start tracking visitors

‘A court decision reached last month but under seal until Friday could force Web sites to track visitors if the sites become defendants in a lawsuit.

TorrentSpy, a popular BitTorrent search engine, was ordered on May 29 by a federal judge in the Central District of California in Los Angeles to create logs detailing users’ activities on the site. The judge, Jacqueline Chooljian, however, granted a stay of the order on Friday to allow TorrentSpy to file an appeal.

The appeal must be filed by June 12, according to Ira Rothken, TorrentSpy’s attorney.

TorrentSpy has promised in its privacy policy never to track visitors without their consent.’


Saturday, June 9, 2007

 

Secret CIA jails hosted by Poland, Romania

‘A European investigator said on Friday he had proof Poland and Romania hosted secret prisons for the Central Intelligence Agency in which it interrogated top al Qaeda suspects using methods akin to torture.

Swiss senator Dick Marty said Poland housed some of the CIA’s most sensitive prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who says he masterminded the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States that killed almost 3,000 people.

“There is now enough evidence to state that secret detention facilities run by the CIA did exist in Europe from 2003-2005, in particular in Poland and Romania,” Marty said in a report for the Council of Europe human rights watchdog.’


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Friday, June 8, 2007

 

Senate Begins Real Push on Habeas Corpus

‘Today the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an important bill to restore habeas corpus, the sacrosanct Constitutional right to challenge government detention in court, by a vote of eleven to eight.

Habeas corpus was revoked by last year’s Military Commissions Act, which has been assailed as unconstitutional and un-American by leaders across the political spectrum. Today’s habeas bill was backed by the Judiciary Committee’s Democratic Chairman, Patrick Leahy, and its Republican Ranking Member, Arlen Specter. “The drive to restore this fundamental right has come from both sides of the aisle,” said Sharon Bradford, an attorney at the bipartisan Constitution Project, in response to today’s vote. “Restoring America’s commitment to the rule of law is not a partisan cause; it is a patriotic one,” she added.’