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The Coming National DNA Database

A national DNA database is coming. Barack Obama has already said that he wants one. A major Supreme Court decision last month paved the...

Challenging Liberty: The Danger of DNA Databases

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court passed down a ruling stating that it is legal to take DNA swabs from arrestees without a warrant...

Challenging Liberty: The Danger of DNA Databases

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court passed down a ruling stating that it is legal to take DNA swabs from arrestees without a warrant...

New Zealand Widens DNA Database

A new law will allow police to collect DNA data at the same time they take fingerprints from people they intend to charge and...

The UK DNA database needs proper scrutiny

Last December the European Court of Human Rights decided in S and Marper v The United Kingdom that the retention by the State of...

The great big DNA database fishing expedition

In London the Met police have been rounding up and arresting children as young as ten who have committed no crime, for the purpose...

More Than 5 Million Stored On DNA Database

RINF News The UK national DNA database is expanding at an alarming rate and is already five times larger than DNA databases in other European countries. Many of the...

DNA database grows by 38 per cent in two years

By Tom Young | Some 1.4 million new profiles have been added to the DNA database in the past two years — a rise of 38...

UK’s DNA database and ID register are illegal

The UK's controversial DNA database and ID cards register are in breach of European data protection and rights laws, according to a new report...

ECHR decided against the UK DNA Database

On 4 December 2008, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) gave its judgement in the Marper case related to the controversial National DNA...

Nearly half of all criminals escape the DNA database say Lib Dems

Ahead of today's European Court of Human Rights ruling on whether two innocent men should be removed from the DNA database, the Liberal Democrats...

Fury at Labour MPs ‘Orwellian’ tactics over DNA database vote

Liverpool Daily Post | LABOUR MPs were accused of “Orwellian” tactics last night after voting to make it all-but impossible for innocent people to...

The DNA database and you

How big is it? How many get off it? Your questions answered... By David Mery Special Report The National DNA Database (NDNAD) keeps growing: it now...

Record increase in DNA database

More than 722,000 samples were added to the National DNA Database last year - a record increase for one year. The database has samples from...

DNA database details of children ‘should be deleted’

By Mark Hookham | Lancashire Police should delete the DNA records of around 4,000 youngsters held on a computer database, the Liberal Democrats have...

DNA databases shut after identities compromised

Nature | Several DNA databases run by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, the Wellcome Trust in London and the...

Why DNA databases are doomed

By Glyn Moody | I've been against DNA databases for years, but I've always felt that the generic arguments I've been using were a...

Police chief calls for universal DNA database

By Auslan Cramb | Stephen House, Chief Constable of Strathclyde, said that storing the genetic profiles of every man, woman and child would help...

Infosecurity adviser says there are greater intrusions to fear than the DNA database

Mike Barwise, from Infosecurity Adviser, the online forum run by the Infosecurity Europe team, has revealed he is less concerned about the privacy issues...

MP accuses Government of building DNA database by stealth

By Shahid Naqvi | A Tory MP whose Black Country uncle was murdered more than a year ago has accused the Government of creating...

DNA database least of our concerns

By Ian Williams | Privacy concerns over the details of innocents being held in the UK's National DNA Database are not nearly as worrying...

DNA database ‘criminalises’ the innocent

By Andrea-Marie Vassou | The DNA profiles of people who have committed no crime should be removed from the national DNA database (NDNAD), a...

Police chiefs against universal DNA database

The majority of police chiefs are against a universal DNA database for the people of Britain. At a meeting during the Association of Chief Police...

European court threat to British DNA database

By Sean O'Neill | Murder, rape and child abuse investigations will be hampered if a European court rules that more than 500,000 DNA samples...

Watchdog: European DNA Database a Potential Nightmare

By Mick Meaney - RINF | Speaking at a news conference, European Data Protection Supervisor, Peter Hustinx, raised concerns over the European DNA Database,...

DNA database solves 1 in 800 crimes

A massive expansion in the Government's DNA database has brought fewer than a thousand criminals to justice, it was revealed last night. For every...

Police: DNA database ready as early as next year

By Elizabeth Roberts | Bermuda could have its own DNA database within a couple of years, to aid the Police in cracking more crimes....

5,000 children a month added to DNA database

Christopher Hope One in four people being added to the DNA database is a child, it emerged yesterday. The figure provides further evidence that the Government's...

Don’t extend DNA database, says minister

The DNA database should probably not be extended and should certainly never become universal, Home Office Minister Tony McNulty has said, writes Matthew George. He...

DNA database will not be extended, says minister

MPs told that calls from senior police officers will not be answered. The government has no plans to extend the DNA database despite the...

Met Police chief calls for European DNA database

Sir Ian Blair says scheme would have obvious benefits for crimefighting Computing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has called for the UK’s controversial DNA database...

DNA database threatens civil rights in health care

Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Tether has secured a House of Commons debate on the impact of the proposed National DNA Database, which takes place...

The DNA database that will turn us into a Police State

Daily Mail  We seem to be busily building the world's first popular police state. Opinion polls show high levels of support for identity cards, surveillance cameras,...

DNA database swabs over 100,000

More than 100,000 people in Kent have been added to the DNA database in the last five years it has been revealed. According to...

DNA database growth defended by police

More than a crime a day is being solved in Norfolk due to improvements in DNA sampling, according to police forensic experts. BEN KENDALL Almost 50,000...

A ‘chilling’ proposal for a universal DNA database

By Nigel Morris A civil liberties storm erupted yesterday after a senior judge called for the genetic details of every person in Britain, and all...

Police DNA database ‘risks criminalising non-offenders’

By Ben Russell People are being added to the Government's national DNA database at the rate of more than one a minute, figures from the...

DNA profiles of 7,800 terror suspects held in police database

(RT) - DNA profiles and fingerprints for more than 7,800 suspected terrorists are held by...

Liberty groups slam DNA research database

Civil liberties groups have reacted very poorly to a proposed new NHS genetic profiling scheme. NHS plans for a £100m DNA “data infrastructure” of...

House of Lords minor amendment to the Counter-Terrorism Bill – removing your innocent DNA...

Spy Blog | The House of Lords has voted to accept a minor Opposition Amendment regarding the removal of innocent people's DNA profiles, human tissue...

Take innocent people’s DNA off database, says Welsh MP

IC Wales | INNOCENT people would have their DNA taken off the Government’s controversial database under plans put forward by a Welsh MP. Jenny...

30,000 children’s DNA on police database

By Christine Sexton THE DNA profiles of more than 30,000 Essex children are being kept on a police database. Figures released in response to a Freedom...

One out of two Americans in facial recognition databases

Shelley Connor Over 117 million Americans—half of the adult population—are in facial recognition databases used by law enforcement, according to a report released by Georgetown...

DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spit

The five teenage boys were sitting in a parked car in a gated community in Melbourne, Florida, when a police officer pulled...

800 DNA & fingerprint records of suspected terrorists ‘accidently deleted’ by police

Police have accidentally deleted the DNA and fingerprint evidence of up to 800 terror suspects...

Oh the irony: Anti-extremism advisor listed in terrorist database

Liberal Democrat politician Maajid Nawaz, who advised every British PM since Tony Blair on countering extremism, was given a “terrorism” designation in a confidential...

Citing Bin Laden raid, US Special Forces testing DNA scanners for ‘juicy missions’

(RT) - Officials at US Special Operations Command said they were testing rapid DNA scanners for use in sensitive overseas missions, citing DNA identification...

How DNA Is Turning Us Into a Nation of Suspects

Reprinted with permission of Washington's Blog By John Whitehead, constitutional and human rights attorney, and founder of the Rutherford Institute. “The year is 2025. The population...

The FBI’s plan to collect everyone’s DNA just got a huge boost from congress

In 2011, 1 in 25 Americans was arrested. In a few years, if the FBI has its way, the federal government will possess the...

The Government Plans To Track Us And Those We Are Related To Using Our...

The Department of Homeland Security is soliciting information from potential contractors for a new program that the DHS hopes will enable it to use...

27,000 Innocent People’s DNA Records Held on File

Essex police who controversially held onto the DNA records of more than 27,000 innocent people have been forced to destroy the records in order to comply with a court ruling.

“Incompetent” Politicians to Blame for Deletion of DNA Evidence

Labour claims that thousands of DNA profiles from suspected rapists have been deleted due to the Home office’s inability to act.

Clerk who helped inmate exonerate himself with DNA evidence fired

Thanks to new DNA evidence a Kansas City man was released from prison three decades after a wrongful rape conviction, though the 70-year-old clerk...

N.J. Senate Approves Bill Requiring DNA Sample For Disorderly Persons Convictions

Donna AndersonInfowars,.comJune 24, 2013 In a move lawmakers say takes a “sensible approach to...

On DNA, Scalia was right

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/on_dna_scalia_was_right_20130613/ Posted on Jun 13, 2013 ...

World’s Most Intrusive Database To Go Live In December

Scotland plans to introduce a new highly intrusive database that will record every citizen's personal details from “cradle to grave”, it emerged this week.

US Supreme Court allows Police to take DNA Samples of Arrestees

The US Supreme Court ruling on Monday that police can collect DNA samples from arrestees is another major attack on constitutional rights and an...

US Supreme Court allows police to take DNA samples of arrestees

The US Supreme Court ruling on Monday that police can collect DNA samples from arrestees is another major attack on constitutional rights and an expansion in the powers of the state.

Supreme Court allows police to take DNA without a warrant

US police are now legally allowed to take DNA samples from those who are arrested, even if they have not been convicted for a...

Supreme Court allows police to take DNA without a warrant

US police are now legally allowed to take DNA samples from those who are arrested, even if they have not been convicted for a...

‘Like hardened criminals’: UK police sample DNA from 120,000 children in 2 years

British police collected the DNA of more than 120,000 children in just two years, with a thousand of them aged 10 at the time of the swab. Most of the youngsters have committed no punishable crime, but their DNA data will be stored for years.

Increase In DNA Collection and GPS Tracking

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During a news conference yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced proposals for the use of GPS tracking for restraining orders and the expansion of DNA collection, from an extra 68,000 individuals from across the state.

EFF to Supreme Court: Blanket DNA Collection Violates Fourth Amendment

SAN FRANCISCO - February 4 - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the Supreme Court Friday to block DNA collection from everyone arrested for a crime, arguing that law enforcement must get a warrant before forcing people to give samples of their genetic material.

EFF's amicus brief was filed Friday in Maryland v. King – a case challenging a law in the state of Maryland that requires DNA collection from all arrestees, whether they are ultimately convicted of a crime or not. Maryland officials claim that DNA is necessary for definitive identification, but they do not use the sample to "identify" the arrestee. Instead, they use the sample for other investigatory purposes – retaining and repeatedly accessing the wealth of personal information disclosed by an individual's genetic material despite lacking individualized suspicion connecting the arrestee to another crime. This violates the Fourth Amendment.

"Your DNA is the roadmap to an extraordinary amount of private information about you and your family," said EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. "It contains data on your current health, your potential for disease, and your family background. For government access to personal information this sensitive, the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant."

In addition to Maryland, 27 states and the federal government have laws that mandate DNA collection from anyone arrested, even if they are not yet convicted of a crime. EFF has filed amicus briefs in a number of cases challenging these unconstitutional laws. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has shown increasing sensitivity to the power of sophisticated technology to undermine traditional privacy protections.

"Let's say you were picked up by police at a political protest and arrested, but then released and never convicted of a crime. Under these laws, your genetic material is held in a law enforcement database, often indefinitely," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "This is an unconstitutional search and seizure."

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in Maryland v. King later this month.

For the full brief in Maryland v. King:
https://www.eff.org/document/amicus-brief-16

Contacts:

Jennifer Lynch
   Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   [email protected]

Lee Tien
   Senior Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   [email protected]

EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations.

EFF to Supreme Court: Blanket DNA Collection Violates Fourth Amendment

SAN FRANCISCO - February 4 - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the Supreme Court Friday to block DNA collection from everyone arrested for a crime, arguing that law enforcement must get a warrant before forcing people to give samples of their genetic material.

EFF's amicus brief was filed Friday in Maryland v. King – a case challenging a law in the state of Maryland that requires DNA collection from all arrestees, whether they are ultimately convicted of a crime or not. Maryland officials claim that DNA is necessary for definitive identification, but they do not use the sample to "identify" the arrestee. Instead, they use the sample for other investigatory purposes – retaining and repeatedly accessing the wealth of personal information disclosed by an individual's genetic material despite lacking individualized suspicion connecting the arrestee to another crime. This violates the Fourth Amendment.

"Your DNA is the roadmap to an extraordinary amount of private information about you and your family," said EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. "It contains data on your current health, your potential for disease, and your family background. For government access to personal information this sensitive, the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant."

In addition to Maryland, 27 states and the federal government have laws that mandate DNA collection from anyone arrested, even if they are not yet convicted of a crime. EFF has filed amicus briefs in a number of cases challenging these unconstitutional laws. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has shown increasing sensitivity to the power of sophisticated technology to undermine traditional privacy protections.

"Let's say you were picked up by police at a political protest and arrested, but then released and never convicted of a crime. Under these laws, your genetic material is held in a law enforcement database, often indefinitely," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "This is an unconstitutional search and seizure."

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in Maryland v. King later this month.

For the full brief in Maryland v. King:
https://www.eff.org/document/amicus-brief-16

Contacts:

Jennifer Lynch
   Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   [email protected]

Lee Tien
   Senior Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   [email protected]

EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations.

DNA Anonymity Under Threat

A person donating their DNA sequence anonymously for research purposes may in fact be identified by a few simple web searches, according to a paper published today (January 17) in Science.

Supreme Court to decide if DNA can be collected from the innocent

Warren Richey | The US Supreme Court on Friday agreed to take up a case examining whether the Fourth Amendment permits police to collect and analyze...

Court ruling: DNA profiles can be kept indefinitely

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that if the state legally obtains DNA from a suspect, investigators can keep the DNA profile indefinitely,...

Surveillance database allowed cannibal cop to select victims

Mick Meaney, rinf.com | A New York police officer has been arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap, rape, kill and then eat 100 women. Gilberto Valle was charged with one...

Your brave new world: RFID monitoring and DNA profiles

Susanne Posel, Occupy Corporatism | In Texas, children attending school in the Northside Independent School District will be required to carry RFID chipped cards while on campus....

Biometric future: Your DNA taken within minutes

What would happen if everyone could do DNA analysis within minutes using a simple computerized box that accepted a person's cell samples on a...

80% of “junk” DNA reveals private details

NaturalNews | The United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit will soon hear new arguments in a case that challenges the legitimacy and constitutionality of California's...

Your face in the FBI database from 2014

The FBI is ready to implement a $1 billion program that can pick out and recognize faces on a busy street using surveillance camera...

Court decides if mandatory DNA sample violates rights

Associated Press | A California deputy attorney general, defending a state law requiring everyone arrested for a felony to provide a genetic sample, endured tough...

Police failed to process DNA samples linked to violent crimes

Press Association A London police force failed to submit DNA samples, including those linked to violent crime, rape and a murder, to the national...

Innocent man’s fury after police took fingerprint and DNA samples

AN ex-soldier who has served in Northern Ireland and guarded the royal family is calling for a police investigation into why he had his...

Police in Wales have taken DNA samples from more than 55,000 innocent people

POLICE in Wales have taken DNA samples from more than 55,000 innocent people, we can reveal. Almost half of these — an estimated 23,651 —...

DNA of thousands of innocent people held by police

MORE than ten people have their DNA recorded and stored by Redbridge Police every day, the Guardian can reveal. A total of 3,654 samples of...

DNA OF THE INNOCENT TO BE KEPT FOR 12 YEARS

DNA profiles of innocent people will be held on databases for over a decade under ­plans that take us closer to being a Big...

Paying billions for our database state

It is cost rather than privacy concerns that will save us from Labour's megalomaniac surveillance schemes — a point underlined this morning when David...

The database state we’re in

The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has published a major report on the UK's Database State. Technology is transforming government, and there is an urgent...

10 government databases ‘will break the law’

By David Leppard | AT least 10 of the giant government databases built or planned by ministers unlawfully breach privacy, according to a report. The...

Coming to an ID Card Near You: Your DNA

One of the many disgraceful aspects about the disgraceful ID card programme is the reluctance of the UK government to make key documents available. For...

Bus drivers issued with DNA kits

BUS drivers in Wrexham have now been issued with DNA testing equipment to catch passengers who spit at them. By Matt Sims The swab kits were...

64,000 DNA samples from our children – This needs to be stopped

Western Mail | THE debate over privacy and the rights of the individual against those of society at large has been given a fresh...

ACLU Challenges DNA Databank Expansion

Civil Liberties Group Concerned Over Privacy Issues MONTPELIER, Vt. -- A proposal to expand the state's DNA database is being questioned by a civil...

DNA finger printing could soon reveal your surname

By Richard Alleyne | The laboratory which invented genetic fingerprinting believes the same technique could be refined to reveal the surnames of men. A study...

Expanded DNA testing threatens innocent

By LONNIE RANDOLPH | In early July, Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed a bill that would have required the state to collect DNA samples from...

DNA contract reveals plan to probe offenders’ families

Now you see it, now you don't: A proposed $300,000 contract between Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and a British DNA lab provided...

DNA Testing Expands to Lesser Crimes

By Dan Morse | While unusual, here is a crime as alleged by Montgomery County police that joins the list of things harder to get...

Groups protest DNA collection law

By Laura Smitherman | The Legislative Black Caucus and civil rights activists criticized yesterday Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan for implementing a new program for...

40,000 innocent children on police DNA files

Yorkshire Post | The national DNA database contains the profiles of almost 40,000 innocent children, the Home Office has admitted. Junior Minister Meg Hillier said...

Should we trust DNA?

SFGate | The role of DNA testing in the justice system has seemed unassailable - who can argue with the odds of two people...

How reliable is DNA in identifying suspects?

State crime lab analyst Kathryn Troyer was running tests on Arizona's DNA database when she stumbled across two felons with remarkably similar genetic profiles. The...

Police seek wider DNA data powers

WEST Australian Police have asked the state government to authorise them to take a DNA sample from anyone who is arrested, even for minor...

The Surveillance Society report: DNA discussions

By Anthony Hildebrand | The report recognises the National DNA Database as a “valuable investigative tool, particularly in relation to police efforts to solve...

Significance of DNA ‘matches’ in cases not always definitive

By Jason Felch and Maura Dolan | The 22-year-old San Francisco nurse had been sexually assaulted and stabbed in the heart. She lay on...

Australian police use national DNA data to solve crimes

Police in Australia's state of New South Wales have begun using a national D-N-A database to help investigate unsolved crimes. The database matches evidence...

London bus drivers to get DNA ‘spit kits’

London’s bus drivers who are spat at will be able to collect the saliva in a DNA ‘spit kit’ so the assailant can be...

Criminal DNA left unchecked for 13 months

PSCA | A report has found "significant shortcomings" in the Crown Prosecution's Service's (CPS) data handling. In January 2007 Dutch police sent a disc...

Feds to Collect Millions of DNA Profiles Yearly

By Ryan Singel | The feds will soon be collecting about one million DNA samples a year under a new program that lets federal agents collect cheek swabs from...

Sex offender DNA files expanded

BBC | Police in Fife have become the first in Scotland to fully manage DNA samples from non-registered sex offenders. The force has started...

National “DNA warehouse” bill passes

AAPS | Passing the House of Representatives on a voice vote, S. 1858 has been sent to President Bush for signature. The Newborn Genetic...

Use of DNA results is expanding

By Don Thompson - Associated Press | SACRAMENTO - California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Thursday he is changing state policy to expand the use...

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

By Ellen Nakashima and Spencer Hsu | Washington Post Staff Writers | The U.S. government will soon begin collecting DNA samples from all citizens arrested...

Defense lawyers fight DNA sampling on the sly

By Amy Harmon The two Sacramento, California, sheriff detectives tailed their suspect, Rolando Gallego, at a distance. They did not have a court order to...

FBI looks at DNA technique

A DNA police technique used to hunt down a rapist is being lauded in the United States as an example of pioneering detective work. Avon...

Bill proposes violent criminals should submit DNA

Meg Bernhardt ANNAPOLIS -- A bill to allow officers to take a sample of DNA from people charged with certain violent crimes is close...

House panel passes measure on collecting DNA

Despite last-minute objections from Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy, legislation to expand collection of DNA samples from suspects charged with violent crimes moved...

Panel approves DNA bill testing for convicts

COLUMBIA - South Carolina would make DNA testing available for prisoners who claim they're innocent under a bill heading to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The...

Police: Put young children on DNA list

Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to...

DNA bill expected to pass key committee

A bill that would expand the criminal DNA database to include suspects of every violent crime appeared likely to pass a key House committee...

MoD requests ‘voluntary’ DNA samples

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is asking armed forces personnel to voluntarily submit DNA samples leading to fears that they are becoming part of...

DNA register ‘labels children as criminals’

Campaigners condemn laws that have put 1.5 million juvenilies on a database Jamie Doward Nearly 1.5 million 10 to 18-year-olds will have been entered on the...

‘POLICE SHOULD TAKE DNA OF ALL BABIES’

BY SHAUN JEPSON A Former Derbyshire Deputy Chief Constable, who established the national DNA police database, believes genetic samples should be taken from everyone at...

A DNA recipe for injustice

Mixed results A national DNA database could well increase, not reduce, the number of wrongful convictions Allan Jamieson | The Guardian Three killers have been convicted this...

Who Should be on The DNA Register?

Iain Dale Balancing the responsibilities of the State against the rights of the individual is one ofthe most difficult things for politicians to get right....

Police face DNA ban

Sean O’Neill, David Brown and Richard Ford European judges could strip the profiles of more than half a million people from the national DNA...

FBI aims to amass huge database

FBI aims to amass huge database of people's physical characteristics By Ellen Nakashima The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world's...

Databases brim with our personal details

Thinktank reveals risks people are taking for financial incentives Andrea-Marie Vassou The average British adult unknowingly has their personal details recorded on around 700 databases with...

Eventually all DNA will be recorded

Mark Brittain IN the 12 years since the national DNA database was inaugurated, our four police forces have contributed to it more than 260,000 profiles,...

Brown moots register for terrorists, DNA rights for MI5

By John Lettice Anti-terrorism proposals outlined by the Government today will include a sex-offenders style register for those convicted of terrorism offences, and will allow...

Lib Dems warn on DNA records

 The Liberal Democrats have described as "disturbing and illiberal" the policy of keeping the DNA profiles of children who have not been convicted of...

Police must not store DNA details of the innocent – report

Alok Jha The Guardian The government must prevent police from storing the profiles of innocent people on the national DNA database, an influential group of experts...

Europe to rule on whether police can keep DNA of innocent people

By Robert Verkaik Police could lose the power to keep DNA samples taken from suspects who have been cleared of any wrongdoing, in a landmark...

DNA swab brings us closer to a police state

The move to widen the UK genetic database is yet another example of a relentless desire to monitor every aspect of our everyday lives Henry...

Police may be given power to take DNA samples in the street

Alan Travis The Guardian A forensic police officer swabs a drinks can for DNA. Photograph: Graham Turner   The Home Office is considering giving the police the power...

The Supreme Court Could Get Even Worse This Term

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_supreme_court_could_get_even_worse_this_term_20131015/

Posted on Oct 15, 2013

By Bill Blum

Even allowing for last term’s 5-4 decisions on gay marriage or the equally narrow 2012 approval of Obamacare’s individual mandate, the Supreme Court has amassed a profoundly right-wing record under the stewardship of Chief Justice John Roberts on issues including corporate accountability, campaign finance and voting rights. And if the oral arguments conducted the first two weeks of the court’s current term are any indication, the record is likely only to harden. 

It’s easy enough to analyze the court’s opinions one case at a time, identifying how each affirms or alters specific areas of law. It’s also relatively easy, as Mother Jones magazine has shown, to measure the court’s political slant statistically by adding up the number of conservative rulings issued each term or tallying the number of prior liberal court precedents the tribunal overturns. 

It’s considerably harder but nonetheless critical, eight years after Roberts’ appointment, to examine the court’s record as a whole and determine whether it is more than an institution that simply produces an abundance of conservative rulings or has become a full-blown conservative agency in a committed ideological sense.

In a recent New York Review of Books blog post, Georgetown University law professor David Cole raises the question but leaves it unanswered. I think the evidence is already in and the Roberts court has crossed the ideological divide, guided by three distinct but related principles: 

The Promotion of Federalism

In some of its most high-profile conservative decisions, the Roberts court has aggressively promoted a new era of federalism aimed at ending or eroding national oversight and regulation of social policy. The leading example of the new federalism is Shelby v. Holder, the horrendous decision handed down in June that gutted the Voting Rights Act. Joined by the four other Republican justices on the bench, Roberts concocted a novel constitutional doctrine in Shelby—the principle of “equal sovereignty” among the states—to justify the court’s holding that states and localities with histories of racial discrimination in elections may no longer be held to higher levels of legal scrutiny and review than those without such histories.

The court also adopted a federalist stance in 2012 when it upheld the right of states to opt out of Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid program, which provides health care coverage for the poor. Federalism was similarly at the heart of the questions several justices asked during this week’s oral argument in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the latest challenge to affirmative action to come before the court.

The Court as Party Proxy

Not all of the court’s prominent right-wing decisions, however, fit a federalist ideological mold. In at least two vital constitutional spheres—campaign finance under the First Amendment, and individual gun rights under the Second Amendment—the court has blocked state regulations in favor of rigid and politically conservative uniform national standards, holding in 2010 that the constitutional right to bear arms applies directly to the states (McDonald v. Chicago) and in 2012 striking down Montana’s long-standing ban on corporate funding of state elections (American Tradition v. Bullock). The latter, in the court’s estimation, ran afoul of the infamous Citizens United opinion, which had opened the door to unlimited campaign contributions to political super PACs.

During the first week of oral arguments in the current term, the court’s five conservatives signaled their intent to augment Citizens United by invalidating the limits on campaign donations made directly to political parties (McCutcheon v. FEC). 

Noting this line of cases, some court watchers stress the degree to which the Roberts court has devolved into an openly pro-Republican policy body, toeing the party line and using the law as politics by other means. Supporters of this view argue that although past Supreme Courts have ruled in favor of sitting presidents in 70 percent of the cases in which prior administrations had entered formal legal appearances, the Roberts court sided last term with the Obama administration at a historically low 37 percent rate.

The disdain of the court’s conservatives for Obama is palpable—witness the scowls of disapproval on the face of Justice Samuel Alito at the 2010 State of the Union address—and is likely to continue this term as the court considers a case on the president’s power to make appointments to federal agencies while the Senate is in recess (National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning). 

The Promotion of the Corporate State

Although the party-proxy theory is helpful in understanding the work of the Roberts court, like the federalist model it remains incomplete as the tribunal by no means always splits along party lines, even in major cases. In two important decisions from last term, for example, the court’s four Democratic justices joined their Republican brethren to uphold Monsanto’s monopoly on the production of soybean seeds (Bowman v. Monsanto) and to remove review of human rights violations committed abroad by multinational corporations from the jurisdiction of federal courts under the Alien Tort Claims Act (Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum).

Of all the ideological principles animating the Roberts court none is more all-encompassing than the tribunal’s commitment to protecting the interests of big business and, in another departure from federalism, extending the government’s post 9/11 surveillance and security powers. 

As the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Alliance for Justice has demonstrated in its excellent expose—The Corporate Court—the Roberts court not only has opened the floodgates to corporate money in elections but time and again has acted to shield companies from liability for defective and dangerous products (Riegel v. Medtronic Inc.), and reduce the financial risks of environmental pollution (Baker v. Exxon). The court has also made it increasingly difficult for women and exploited minorities to bring anti-discrimination class actions (Ledbetter v. Goodyear), and undermined the power of organized labor (Knox v. SEIU).

Still another study, conducted by the University of Minnesota Law Review, has found that the Roberts court’s five conservatives rank among the nine most pro-business justices in the past 65 years.

At the same time, the court has turned away challenges to the National Security Agency’s spying operations (Clapper v. Amnesty International) and paved the way for the creation of a national DNA database, upholding police practices of taking DNA samples from people who have been arrested but not convicted of any crimes, characterizing such procedures as nothing more than the 21st century equivalent of fingerprinting (Maryland v. King).

Throughout the reckless and continuing shutdown of the federal government, the Roberts court has remained the only branch of government open for business as usual. Under more ordinary circumstances, that fact would be received as unadulterated good news celebrated by all.

But these are not ordinary times. Given the court’s consolidation as an institution of right-wing ideology, most of us have little reason to cheer.

AP/Evan Vucci

A man takes a photo of the Supreme Court building at the start of the new term.

Barcoding Our Children

Thousands of children have been added to the British National DNA Database over the last two years, an investigation has found. DNA swabs were taken by the West Midlands Police from almost 6,000 children, aged as young as 10, over a two year period.

5 Creepy New Ways for Police to Intrude on Your Rights

Handcuffs that give shocks? Mobile iris scan readers? Thanks to Homeland Security cash, police departments are stocking up on all kinds of creepy new technologies.

January 14, 2013  |  

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One of the most disturbing trends in law enforcement in recent years is the hyper-paramilitarization of local police forces. Much of the funding for tanks for Fargo's hometown cop shop comes from the Department of Homeland Security. The feds have a lot of money to throw around in the name of preventing terrorism, and municipalities want to get that money. As anyone who has done budgeting knows, the best way to ensure your funding stays high is to request a lot of money and spend it all.

As a result, every year the police get more tools, gadgets, weapons, and surveillance technologies that, whatever their stated purpose, serve to give cops greater capabilities to curtail the rights of anyone unlucky enough to be standing in their path.

We were going to list these in order from least to most creepy, but that proved far too challenging. So here are some cop tools you may not be familiar with, in no particular order.

1. Shock-cuffs. These made a splash in late 2012 when it was reported that Scottsdale Inventions had submitted a patent for metal handcuffs capable of delivering “high-voltage, low amperage shocks to disrupt a person’s voluntary nervous system," much like Tasers. Depending on the model used, the handcuffs could shock a detainee at the will of his captor, or if the detainee wanders past a certain border – like an invisible fence for dogs.

Even more disturbing is the potential to arm the handcuffs with needles capable of injecting medications, sedatives or any number of liquid or gas substances into the detainee. But don't worry – some models may include a flashing light or sound-alert to warn the person that a shock is about to happen.

2. Rapid DNA analysis. One of the main stories of the future of policing will be cops' ability to collect biometric data in the field, instead of at the downtown precinct. EFF reported earlier this month on a potentially troubling technology called Rapid DNA analysis, being developed by contractors with the federal government. The machine, which is about the size of a laser printer, has the ability to collect, analyze and catalog your DNA onsite in about 90 minutes.

The stated purpose of the technology is to help identify family relationships between refugees, which could be beneficial if used in limited ways. According to EFF, however, the US Citizenship and Immigration agency suggests “that DNA should be collected from all immigration applicants— possibly even infants—and then stored in the FBI’s criminal DNA database.” As with all data collection in the US, the wrench only goes one way, and once local police forces obtain this technology the potential for abuse is huge.

3. Mobile fingerprinting. Police forces across the country have become enamored of smart phone-sized fingerprint scanners. The police use the devices to scan two fingers of the suspect and transmit the data via Bluetooth to the officer's laptop in his cruiser. The laptop then checks the image against criminal databases for a match.

The ACLU of Washington is concerned that the devices could be used to collect fingerprints, not simply scan them, though Seattle police insist they don't keep the scanned fingerprints.

4. Iris scans. When I was arrested covering Occupy in December 2011, a livestreamer who was an old hat at political arrests warned me about the iris scan. Beginning in 2010, the NYPD started scanning arrestees' irises on intake and immediately prior to arraignment. The stated purpose of these scans is to ensure that the person brought before the judge is the right one (there were some instances of mistaken identity), but in practice the scope of the iris scan is much broader. It's plainly an example of collecting biometric data of people who haven't been convicted of a crime, as well as a mechanism to punish those who refuse the scan.

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Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – The first country to defy the ‘War on Drugs’ by legalizing marijuana is Uruguay. It was described as a revolutionary act against the prohibition of a plant that is used by millions worldwide under the former Marxist guerilla and political prisoner who is now the President of Uruguay Jose Mujica. Seems like the Mujica government is allowing Monsanto, Syngenta and Dupont among others to operate in Uruguay and harvest marijuana through their GMO-based seeds.  Details of how the new marijuana laws will operate by monitoring the population through a database that would collect fingerprints and other parts of your body to assure you are using government controlled “Genetically Modified Marijuana”.

Last December the Associated Press reported on Uruguay’s decision to move forward to experiment on legalized marijuana to undermine illegal drug trafficking and crime in an article titled ‘From Seed to Smoke, Uruguay Testing Legalized Pot.’ The report stated what the Mujica government’s intentions were concerning the legalization of marijuana:

President Jose Mujica’s goal is to drive drug traffickers out of the dope business and reduce consumption by creating a safe, legal and transparent environment in which the state closely monitors every aspect of marijuana use, from seed to smoke. That means designing and maintaining an industry that is small, contained and profitable. Congress only approved Mujica’s grand “experiment” in broad strokes.  

The fine print must strike a delicate balance on issues including what strength to allow for marijuana, what price to charge, who can farm it, how to crack down on illegal growers, how to persuade users to buy from the state instead of a dealer, and how to monitor use without being seen as Big Brother. If the rules are too lenient, or too strict, the whole project could fail

The report also quoted Uruguayan Senator Lucia Topolansk (President Mujica’s wife) when she said that “the state would provide cloned seeds whose plants can be traced.” It should not surprise anyone, especially those who understand what corporations such as Monsanto are trying to achieve on a global scale. Mainstream media outlet CNBC reported in 2010 that “most large agribusiness producers and distributors wouldn’t comment on any marijuana cultivation plans while it’s still largely illegal.” Now, Uruguay is fair game since they passed legislation to legalize marijuana. Although they did say that “seed and agri-chemical maker Monsanto isn’t focused on it, says spokesman Darren Wallis, adding that even if that changed tomorrow, development of a mass-scale crop takes time.” Yes, it does take time to produce. CNBC also did say that “other big food and agricultural firms would not comment, saying the proposition was too hypothetical or inappropriate given the largely illegal current status of the drug.” Well, it is not hypothetical anymore since Uruguay passed laws to legalize marijuana cultivation and use. It is now a reality for biotech corporations to move forward with genetic manipulation of the crop because now they have an incentive to dominate the marijuana industry starting with Uruguay.  An interesting analysis by www.cannabisculture.com titled ‘Manipulating Marijuana: Monsanto and Syngenta Invest in RNA Interference Technology’ by Tracy Giesz-Ramsay on Monsanto and Syngenta’s investments in RNA Interference (RNAi) technology and what it means for the production of Marijuana in the future. Giesz-Ramsey wrote the following:

Having been cultivated and used ceremonially, recreationally and medicinally for thousands of years, cannabis – despite prohibitive laws surrounding the non-medicinal use of the plant – is undoubtedly on the radar of big agribusiness.

These companies would certainly turn a profit from developing a patentable transgenic seed for sole distribution if the use of cannabis were to become legal. It would be easy for these companies to create a monopoly over the industry by abusing their ties with federal regulators. This has all been a point of much debate within the cannabis community for many years. 

With this in mind, it’s fair to say that one of the only positives of marijuana prohibition, with the art of breeding, growing and distributing cannabis heavily underground for most of its commercial history, the Big 6 seed and chemical companies have not been able to dominate the industry with their patented technologies. 

The trouble: things may change soon. Monsanto, Syngenta, BASF, Bayer, Dow and DuPont have, until recently, largely focused their energy on monopolizing the food industry, but some have developed a keen interest in this still-illegal plant as well. 

The biggest concern with cannabis and GM control now remains. While they gain a monopoly over medical marijuana, the challenge of governments who continue to wage the ostensible “War on Drugs” is being taken on by some of the Big 6. Monsanto and Syngenta are currently investing millions of dollars into a new GM technology called RNA interference. 

RNAi, as it’s also known, is a method where the RNA – which is the code from a plant or animal’s DNA that tells its proteins how to organize in order to create, say, what colour the plant will be – is interfered with. In RNAi, double-stranded RNA is inserted so that this original code is obstructed; so that the pigmentation instructions don’t make it to the proteins 

As we already know about Monsanto’s GMO seeds, they are genetically modified plants that are resistant to chemical herbicides such as “Round-Up.” The herbicides kill other plants, allowing genetically altered plants to resist the herbicide and be planted closer together than traditional crops normally used by farmers. It apparently allows farmers to gain more from crop production on their farmland than ever before. The seeds are known as “Round-Up Ready.” Farmers are required to purchase the GMO-laced seeds every season once they agree to use the product. Uruguay is falling into a danger zone when it comes to planting GMO seeds in the agricultural-rich country. It can affect natural food crops in the long-run as Monsanto and other agri-businesses would eventually expand into other areas of food production.

With Uruguay’s decision to allow multi-national biotech corporations to operate on its lands, it also opens the door to a police state monitoring its citizens who will use “cloned” marijuana as reported by RT news earlier this month in a report titled “Uruguay rolls out marijuana legal sale details.” It described Uruguay’s methods:

Police will be able to carry out on-the-spot checks to make sure drivers are not under the influence while behind the wheel. Companies and trade unions will also be permitted to carry out random checks to make sure employees are not stoned, particularly while undergoing risky or dangerous work.

The strains of the drug will also be limited to five, which will be allowed a maximum THC level of 15 percent. Each bag of marijuana will be barcoded and radio-frequency tagged, which will allow authorities to determine its origin and legality.

People who buy pot in pharmacies will be identified by fingerprint readers to preserve their anonymity, but their consumption of the drug will be tracked on a government database.

This will allow police to test for illegal weed when they come across it, and arrest anyone possessing marijuana without the proper tracers

Uruguay’s control over all facets of the new marijuana industry with a national database does seem “Orwellian” as it borders on fascism for the fear that legalizing marijuana can lead to higher drug use among the population.  It is understandable, but imposing a police state to control drug-use and crime is not an answer to the war on drugs.  However, not collecting taxes on marijuana is a good start.  Uruguay has also approved a law that will exempt marijuana producers and sales of the crop from taxes that would undermine marijuana illegally imported from other countries such as Paraguay. Reuters reported on Uruguay’s tax policy regarding the issue of legalized marijuana when it said that “The principal objective is not tax collection. Everything has to be geared toward undercutting the black market,” said Felix Abadi, a contractor who is developing Uruguay’s marijuana tax structure. “So we have to make sure the price is low.” Which is true in a sense, since a high risk of incarceration increases the price of marijuana. Uruguay’s new law will also issue licenses to farmers to produce cannabis according to Reuters “Uruguay will auction up to six licenses to produce cannabis legally in the next weeks. The government is also considering growing marijuana on a plot of land controlled by the military to avoid illegal trafficking of the crop.”

Mujica met with US President Barack Obama earlier this month after his government released the details of the new marijuana law to discuss stronger relations between both countries. Obama welcomed President Mujica when he said:

President Mujica personally has extraordinary credibility when it comes to issues of democracy and human rights given his strong values and personal history, and is a leader on these issues throughout the hemisphere. And we share an interest in strengthening further the people-to-people bonds between our two countries, particularly around the issues of science, technology and education

Uruguayan President Mujica’s response:

We have been looking toward everywhere, but towards ourselves a bit also. And from the humbleness of my little Uruguay, my people, who are there amongst an enormous area of fertile and much water, come here to seek out knowledge and research in all groups of the biological sciences, particularly in land that require local research, because the continent must produce much food for the world. And besides, this is the most advanced country in the world for biological sciences, but we don’t want to merely send students out because they get married — and the American corporations pay more money, so we lose these qualified people. We have to bring teachers so then can come, but we need to make arrangements so that they can continue to contribute to Social Security here. Wisdom must be looked for there where it is

President Mujica has called for ‘normalized relations’ between Cuba and the US to end the embargo and has supported South American leaders such as Bolivian President Evo Morales during the time when the US and EU forced Morales’s plane to land in Vienna to search for NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden.  “We are not colonies any more,” Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, said. “We deserve respect, and when one of our governments is insulted we feel the insult throughout Latin America” according to the Guardian.  In many ways President Mujica is a revolutionary against Western imperialism.  But allowing GMO crops in Uruguay is a step in the wrong direction although he probably does believe that allowing GMO’s would actually feed the world.  Maybe he is misinformed, which I do believe is the case, after all he believes that smoking marijuana is an “addiction.”   However, I do believe he does mean well.   President Mujica should reconsider using any form of Genetic Modified crops that is dangerous to humans no matter what he thinks about marijuana use.  Hopefully he will create a committee to re-evaluate proven research on the effects of GMO’s.  Biotech Corporations just want to exploit Uruguay’s lands as an experiment.  Let’s hope the Mujica government will make a U-turn away from corporate dominance.       

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Wireless Technology and the Accelerated Toxification of America

As a multitude of hazardous wireless technologies are deployed in homes, schools and workplaces, government officials and industry representatives continue to insist on their safety despite growing evidence to the contrary. A major health crisis looms that is only hastened through the extensive deployment of “smart grid” technology.

In October 2009 at Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) solar energy station President Barack Obama announced that $3.4 billion of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act would be devoted to the country’s “smart energy grid” transition. Matching funds from the energy industry brought the total national Smart Grid investment to $8 billion. FPL was given $200 million of federal money to install 2.5 million “smart meters” on homes and businesses throughout the state.[1]

By now many residents in the United States and Canada have the smart meters installed on their dwellings. Each of these meters is equipped with an electronic cellular transmitter that uses powerful bursts of electromagnetic radiofrequency (RF) radiation to communicate with nearby meters that together form an interlocking network transferring detailed information on residents’ electrical usage back to the utility every few minutes or less. Such information can easily be used to determine individual patterns of behavior based on power consumption.

The smart grid technology is being sold to the public as a way to “empower” individual energy consumers by allowing them to access information on their energy usage so that they may eventually save money by programming “smart” (i.e, wireless enabled) home appliances and equipment that will coordinate their operability with the smart meter to run when electrical rates are lowest. In other words, a broader plan behind smart grid technology involves a tiered rate system for electricity consumption that will be set by the utility to which customers will have no choice but to conform.

Because of power companies’ stealth rollout of smart meters a large majority of the public still remains unaware of the dangers they pose to human health. This remains the case even though states such as Maine have adopted an “opt out” provision for their citizens. The devices have not been safety-tested by Underwriters Laboratory and thus lack the UL approval customary for most electronics.[2] Further, power customers are typically told by their utilities that the smart meter only communicates with the power company “a few times per day” to transmit information on individual household energy usage. However, when individuals obtained the necessary equipment to do their own testing they found the meters were emitting bursts of RF radiation throughout the home far more intense than a cell phone call every minute or less.[3]

America’s Telecom-friendly Policy for RF Exposure

A growing body of medical studies is now linking cumulative RF exposure to DNA disruption, cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and autoimmune diseases. Smart meters significantly contribute to an environment already polluted by RF radiation through the pervasive stationing of cellular telephone towers in or around public spaces and consumers’ habitual use of wireless technologies. In the 2000 Salzburg Resolution European scientists recommended the maximum RF exposure for humans to be no more than one tenth of a microwatt per square centimeter. In the United States RF exposure limits are 1,000 microwatts per centimeter, with no limits for long term exposure.[4] Such lax standards have been determined by outdated science and the legal and regulatory maneuvering of the powerful telecommunications and wireless industries.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ceased studying the health effects of radiofrequency radiation when the Senate Appropriations Committee cut the department’s funding and forbade it from further research into the area.[5] Thereafter RF limits were codified as mere “guidelines” based on the EPA’s tentative findings and are to this day administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

These weakly enforced standards are predicated on the alleged “thermal effect” of RF. In other words, if the energy emitted from a wireless antenna or device is not powerful enough to heat the skin or flesh then no danger is posed to human health.[6] This reasoning is routinely put forward by utilities installing smart meters on residences, telecom companies locating cellular transmission towers in populated areas, and now school districts across the US allowing the installation of cell towers on school campuses.[7]

The FCC’s authority to impose this standard was further reinforced with the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act that included a provision lobbied for by the telecom industry preventing state and local governments from evaluating potential environmental and health effects when locating cell towers “so long as ‘such facilities comply with the FCC’s regulations concerning such emissions.’”[8]

In 2001 an alliance of scientists and engineers with the backing of the Communications Workers of America filed a federal lawsuit hoping the Supreme Court would reconsider the FCC’s obsolete exposure guidelines and the Telecom Act’s overreach into state and local jurisdiction. The high court refused to hear the case. When the same group asked the FCC to reexamine its guidelines in light of current scientific studies the request was rebuffed.[9] Today in all probability millions are suffering from a variety of immediate and long-term health effects from relentless EMF and RF exposure that under the thermal effect rationale remain unrecognized or discounted by the telecom industry and regulatory authorities alike.

Take Back Your Power, an important new documentary on the relationship between electro-pollution and its health and privacy-related consequences, was released in September 2013. The film constitutes must-see viewing for those concerned over the immediate and long term dangers posed to human health and freedom by “smart meters” and similar silent weapons.-JFT

Growing Evidence of Health Risks From RF Exposure

The main health concern with electromagnetic radiation emitted by smart meters and other wireless technologies is that EMF and RF cause a breakdown in the communication between cells in the body, interrupting DNA repair and weakening tissue and organ function. These are the findings of Dr. George Carlo, who oversaw a comprehensive research group commissioned by the cell phone industry in the mid-1990s.

When Carlo’s research began to reveal how there were indeed serious health concerns with wireless technology, the industry sought to bury the results and discredit Carlo. Yet Carlo’s research has since been upheld in a wealth of subsequent studies and has continuing relevance given the ubiquity of wireless apparatuses and the even more powerful smart meters. “One thing all these conditions have in common is a disruption, to varying degrees, of intercellular communication,” Carlo observes. “When we were growing up, TV antennas were on top of our houses and such waves were up in the sky. Cell phones and Wi-Fi have brought those things down to the street, integrated them into the environment, and that’s absolutely new.”[10]

In 2007 the BioInitiative Working Group, a worldwide body of scientists and public health experts, released a 650-page document with over 2000 studies linking RF and EMF exposure to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, DNA damage, immune system dysfunction, cellular damage and tissue reduction.[11]

In May 2011 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer categorized “radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless cellphone use.”[12]

In November 2011 the Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), a national organization of medical and osteopathic physicians, called on California’s Public Utilities Commission to issue a moratorium on the continued installation of smart meters in residences and schools “based on a scientific assessment of the current available literature.” “[E]xisting FCC guidelines for RF safety that have been used to justify installations of smart meters,” the panel wrote,

only look at thermal tissue damage and are obsolete, since many modern studies show metabolic and genomic damage from RF and ELF exposure below the level of intensity which heats tissues … More modern literature shows medically and biologically significant effects of RF and ELF at lower energy densities. These effects accumulate over time, which is an important consideration given the chronic nature of exposure from “smart meters.”[13]

In April 2012 the AAEM issued a formal position paper on the health effects of RF and EMF exposure based on a literature review of the most recent research. The organization pointed to how government and industry arguments alleging the doubtful nature of the science on non-thermal effects of RF were not defensible in light of the newest studies. “Genetic damage, reproductive defects, cancer, neurological degeneration and nervous system dysfunction, immune system dysfunction, cognitive effects, protein and peptide damage, kidney damage, and developmental effects have all been reported in the peer‐reviewed scientific literature,” AAEM concluded.[14]

Radiating Children

The rollout of smart meters proceeds alongside increased installation of wireless technology and cell phone towers in and around schools in the US. In 2010 Professor Magda Havas conducted a study of schools in 50 US state capitols and Washington DC to determine students’ potential exposure to nearby cell towers. A total 6,140 schools serving 2.3 million students were surveyed using the antennasearch.com database. Of these, 13% of the schools serving 299,000 students have a cell tower within a quarter mile of school grounds, and another 50% of the schools where 1,145,000 attend have a tower within a 0.6 mile radius. The installation of wireless networks and now smart meters on and around school properties further increases students’ RF exposure.[15]

Many school districts that are strapped for cash in the face of state budget cuts are willing to ignore the abundance of scientific research on RF dangers and sign on with telecom companies to situate cell towers directly on school premises. Again, the FCC’s thermal effect rule is invoked to justify tower placement together with a disregard of the available studies.

The School District of Palm Beach County, the eleventh largest school district in the US, provides one such example. Ten of its campuses already have cell towers on their grounds while the district ponders lifting a ban established in 1997 that would allow for the positioning of even more towers. When concerned parents contacted the school district for an explanation of its wireless policies,the administration assembled a document, “Health Organization Information and Academic Research Studies Regarding the Health Effects of Cell Tower Signals.” The report carefully selected pronouncements from telecom industry funded organizations such as the American Cancer Society and out-of-date scientific studies supporting the FCC’s stance on wireless while excluding the long list of studies and literature reviews pointing to the dangers of RF and EMF radiation emitted by wireless networks and cell towers. [16]

The Precautionary Principle / Conclusion

Surrounded by the sizable and growing body of scientific literature pointing to the obvious dangers of wireless technology, utility companies installing smart meters on millions of homes across the US  and school officials who accommodate cell towers on their grounds are performing an extreme disservice to their often vulnerable constituencies. Indeed, such actions constitute the reckless long term endangerment of public health for short term gain, sharply contrasting with more judicious decision making.

The 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment & Development adopted the precautionary principle as a rule to follow in the situations utilities and school districts find themselves in today. “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”[17] In exercising the precautionary principle, public governance and regulatory bodies should “take preventive action in the face of scientific uncertainty to prevent harm. The focus is no longer on measuring or managing harm, but preventing harm.”[18]

Along these lines, the European Union and the Los Angeles School District have prohibited cell phone towers on school grounds until the scientific research on the human health effects of RF are conclusive. The International Association of Fire Fighters also interdicted cell towers on fire stations pending “’a study with the highest scientific merit and integrity on health effects of exposure to low-intensity [radio frequency/microwave] radiation is conducted and it is proven that such sitings are not hazardous to the health of our members.’”[19]

Unwitting families with smart meters on their homes and children with cell towers humming outside their classrooms suggest the extent to which the energy, telecom and wireless industries have manipulated the regulatory process to greatly privilege profits over public health. Moreover, it reveals how the population suffers for want of meaningful and conclusive information on the very real dangers of RF while the telecom and wireless interests successfully cajole the media into considering one scientific study at a time.

“When you put the science together, we come to the irrefutable conclusion that there’s a major health crisis coming, probably already underway,” George Carlo cautions. “Not just cancer, but also learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and psychological and behavioral problems—all mediated by the same mechanism. That’s why we’re so worried. Time is running out.”[20]

Notes

[1] Energy.gov, “President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion Investment to Spur Transition to Smart Energy Grid,” October 27, 2009, http://energy.gov/articles/president-obama-announces-34-billion-investment-spur-transition-smart-energy-grid

[2] Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, “Radiofrequency Radiation: The Invisible Hazards of Smart Meters,” August 19, 2011, GlobalReserach.ca, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26082

[3] Dr. Bill Deagle, “Smart Meters: A Call for Public Outrage,” Rense.com, August 30, 2011, http://www.rense.com/general94/smartt.htm. Some meters installed in California by Pacific Gas and Electric carry a “’switching mode power-supply’ that ‘emit sharp spikes of millisecond bursts’ around the clock and is a chief cause of ‘dirty electricity.’” See Perlingieri, “Radiofrequency Radiation: The Invisible Hazards of Smart Meters.” This author similarly measured bursts of radiation in excess of 2,000 microwatts per meter every 30 to 90 seconds during the day, and once every two-to-three minutes at night.

[4] Magda Havas, BRAG Antenna Ranking of Schools, 2010, http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/BRAG_Schools.pdf

[5] Susan Luzzaro, “Field of Cell Phone Tower Beams,” San Diego Reader, May 18, 2011, http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/may/18/citylights2-cell-phone-tower/?page=1&

[6] FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety

[7] Luzzaro, “Field of Cell Phone Tower Beams”; Marc Freeman, “Cell Towers Could Be Coming to More Schools,” South Florida Sun Sentinel, January 5, 2012, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-01-05/news/fl-cell-towers-schools-palm-20120105_1_cell-towers-cellular-phone-towers-stealth-towers

[8] Amy Worthington, “The Radiation Poisoning of America,” GlobalResearch.ca, October 9, 2007, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7025

[9] Worthington, “The Radiation Poisoning of America.”

[10] Sue Kovach, “The Hidden Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation,” Life Extension Magazine, August 2007, http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/aug2007_report_cellphone_radiation_01.htm

[11] Susan Luzzaro, “Field of Cell Phone Tower Beams”; Bioinitiative Report: A Rationale For a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard For Electromagnetic Fields, http://www.bioinitiative.org/freeaccess/report/index.htm.

[12] World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, “IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic,” May 31, 2011, www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf; Joseph Mercola, “Be Aware: These Cell Phones Can Emit 28 Times More Radiation,” Mercola.com, June 18, 2011, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/18/finally-experts-admit-cellphones-are-a-carcinogen.aspx.

[13] American Academy of Environmental Medicine, “A Proposed Decision of Commissioner Peevy [Mailed 11/22/2011] Before the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California,” (pdf) January 19, 2012. www.aaemonline.org. The list of references upon which the decision is based may be accessed at http://aaemonline.org/images/referencelistemf.pdf

[14] American Academy of Environmental Medicine, “American Academy of Environmental Medicine Calls for Immediate Caution regarding Smart Meter Installation,” (pdf)  April 12, 2012, http://www.aaemonline.org/

[15] Havas, BRAG Antenna Ranking of Schools, 31-38.

[16] Donna Goldstein, “Health Organization Information and Academic Research Studies Regarding the Health Effects of Cell Tower Signals,”Planning and Real Estate Development, Palm Beach County School District, January 30, 2012.

[17] Havas, BRAG Antenna Ranking of Schools, 17.

[18] Multinational Monitor, “Precautionary Precepts: The Power and Potential of the Precautionary Principle: An Interview with Carolyn Raffensperger,” September 2004, http://multinationalmonitor.org/mm2004/09012004/september04interviewraffen.html.

[19] Luzzaro, “Field of Cell Phone Tower Beams.”

[20] Kovach, “The Hidden Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation.”

See also Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, “Smart Meter Dangers: The Health Hazards of Wireless Electromagnetic Radiation Exposure,” GlobalResearchca, July 13, 2012.

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“Smart Cards” in a Surveillance Society: The Implanted Radio-Frequency Identification Chip

The Implanted Radio-Frequency Identification Chip: "Smart Cards" in a Surveillance Society

If incorporating personal details into an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip implanted into a passport or driver’s license may sound like a “smart” alternative to endless lines at the airport and intrusive questioning by securocrats, think again.

Since the late 1990s, corporate grifters have touted the “benefits” of the devilish transmitters as a “convenient” and “cheap” way to tag individual commodities, one that would “revolutionize” inventory management and theft prevention. Indeed, everything from paper towels to shoes, pets to underwear have been “tagged” with the chips. “Savings” would be “passed on” to the consumer. Call it the Wal-Martization of everyday life.

RFID tags are small computer chips connected to miniature antennae that can be fixed to or implanted within physical objects, including human beings. The RFID chip itself contains an Electronic Product Code that can be “read” when a RFID reader emits a radio signal. The chips are divided into two categories, passive or active. A “passive” tag doesn’t contain a battery and its “read” range is variable, from less than an inch to twenty or thirty feet. An “active” tag on the other hand, is self-powered and has a much longer range. The data from an “active” tag can be sent directly to a computer system involved in inventory control–or surveillance.

But as Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) state in a joint position paper, “RFID has the potential to jeopardize consumer privacy, reduce or eliminate purchasing anonymity, and threaten civil liberties.” As these organizations noted:

While there are beneficial uses of RFID, some attributes of the technology could be deployed in ways that threaten privacy and civil liberties:

* Hidden placement of tags. RFID tags can be embedded into/onto objects and documents without the knowledge of the individual who obtains those items. As radio waves travel easily and silently through fabric, plastic, and other materials, it is possible to read RFID tags sewn into clothing or affixed to objects contained in purses, shopping bags, suitcases, and more.

* Unique identifiers for all objects worldwide. The Electronic Product Code potentially enables every object on earth to have its own unique ID. The use of unique ID numbers could lead to the creation of a global item registration system in which every physical object is identified and linked to its purchaser or owner at the point of sale or transfer.

* Massive data aggregation. RFID deployment requires the creation of massive databases containing unique tag data. These records could be linked with personal identifying data, especially as computer memory and processing capacities expand.

* Hidden readers. Tags can be read from a distance, not restricted to line of sight, by readers that can be incorporated invisibly into nearly any environment where human beings or items congregate. RFID readers have already been experimentally embedded into floor tiles, woven into carpeting and floor mats, hidden in doorways, and seamlessly incorporated into retail shelving and counters, making it virtually impossible for a consumer to know when or if he or she was being “scanned.”

* Individual tracking and profiling. If personal identity were linked with unique RFID tag numbers, individuals could be profiled and tracked without their knowledge or consent. For example, a tag embedded in a shoe could serve as a de facto identifier for the person wearing it. Even if item-level information remains generic, identifying items people wear or carry could associate them with, for example, particular events like political rallies. (“Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products,” Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, November 14, 2003)

RFID under the skin

As the corporatist police state unfurls its murderous tentacles here in the United States, it should come as no surprise that securocrats breathlessly tout the “benefits” of RFID in the area of “homeland security.” When linked to massive commercial databases as well as those compiled by the 16 separate agencies of the “intelligence community,” such as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) that feeds the federal government’s surveillance Leviathan with the names of suspected “terrorists,” it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that the architecture for a vast totalitarian enterprise is off the drawing board and onto the streets.

As last week’s mass repression of peaceful protest at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul amply demonstrated, the Bush regime’s “preemptive war” strategy has been rolled out in the heimat. As the World Socialist Web Site reports,

On Wednesday eight members of the anarchist protest group the Republican National Convention Welcoming Committee (RNCWC) were charged under provisions of the Minnesota state version of the Patriot Act with “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism.”

The eight charged are all young, and could face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison under a provision that allows the enhancement of charges related to terrorism by 50 percent. …

Among other things, the youth, who were arrested last weekend even prior to the start of the convention, are charged with plotting to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers and attack airports. Almost all of the charges listed are based upon the testimony of police infiltrators, one an officer, the other a paid informant. (Tom Eley, “RNC in Twin Cities: Eight protesters charged with terrorism under Patriot Act,” World Socialist Web Site, 6 September 2008)

As the ACLU pointed out, “These charges are an effort to equate publicly stated plans to blockade traffic and disrupt the RNC as being the same as acts of terrorism. This both trivializes real violence and attempts to place the stated political views of the defendants on trial,” said Bruce Nestor, president of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. “The charges represent an abuse of the criminal justice system and seek to intimidate any person organizing large scale public demonstrations potentially involving civil disobedience,” he said.

An affidavit filed by the cops in order to allow the preemptive police raid and subsequent arrests declared that the RNCWC is a “criminal enterprise” strongly implying that the group of anarchist youth were members of a “terrorist organization.”

Which, as we have learned over these last seven and a half years of darkness, is precisely the point: keep ‘em scared and passive. And when they’re neither scared nor passive, resort to police state tactics of mass repression. While the cops beat and arrested demonstrators and journalists outside the Xcel Energy Center, neanderthal-like Republican mobs chanted “USA! USA!” while the execrable theocratic fascist, Sarah Palin, basked in the limelight. But I digress…

Likened to barcodes that scan items at the grocery store check-out line, what industry flacks such as the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) fail to mention in their propaganda about RFID is that the information stored on a passport or driver’s license is readily stolen by anyone with a reader device–marketers, security agents, criminals or stalkers–without the card holder even being remotely aware that they are being tracked and their allegedly “secure” information plundered. According to a blurb on the AIM website,

Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) technologies are a diverse family of technologies that share the common purpose of identifying, tracking, recording, storing and communicating essential business, personal, or product data. In most cases, AIM technologies serve as the front end of enterprise software systems, providing fast and accurate collection and entry of data. (“Technologies,” Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility, no date)

Among the “diverse family of technologies” touted by AIM, many are rife with “dual-use” potential, that is, the same technology that can keep track of a pallet of soft drinks can also keep track of human beings.

Indeed, the Association touts biometric identification as “an automated method of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic.” This is especially important since “the need” for biometrics “can be found in federal, state and local governments, in the military, and in commercial applications.” When used as a stand-alone or in conjunction with RFID-chipped “smart cards” biometrics, according to the industry “are set to pervade nearly all aspects of the economy and our daily lives.”

Some “revolution.”

The industry received a powerful incentive from the state when the Government Services Administration (GSA), a Bushist satrapy, issued a 2004 memo that urged the heads of all federal agencies “to consider action that can be taken to advance the [RFID] industry.”

An example of capitalist “ingenuity” or another insidious invasion of our right to privacy? In 2006, IBM obtained a patent that will be used for tracking and profiling consumers as they move around a store, even if access to commercial databases are strictly limited.

And when it comes tracking and profiling human beings, say for mass extermination at the behest of crazed Nazi ideologues, IBM stands alone. In his groundbreaking 2001 exploration of the enabling technologies for the mass murder of Jews, communists, Roma and gays and lesbians, investigative journalist Edwin Black described in IBM and the Holocaust how, beginning in 1933, IBM and their subsidiaries created technological “solutions” that streamlined the identification of “undesirables” for quick and efficient asset confiscation, deportation, slave labor and eventual annihilation.

In an eerie echo of polices being enacted today against Muslims and left-wing “extremists” by the corrupt Bush regime in their quixotic quest to “keep America safe” in furtherance of capitalist and imperialist goals of global domination, Black writes:

In the upside-down world of the Holocaust, dignified professionals were Hitler’s advance troops. Police officials disregarded their duty in favor of protecting villains and persecuting victims. Lawyers perverted concepts of justice to create anti-Jewish laws. Doctors defiled the art of medicine to perpetrate ghastly experiments and even choose who was healthy enough to be worked to death–and who could be cost-effectively sent to the gas chamber. Scientists and engineers debased their higher calling to devise the instruments and rationales of destruction. And statisticians used their little known but powerful discipline to identify the victims, project and rationalize the benefits of their destruction, organize their persecution, and even audit the efficiency of genocide. Enter IBM and its overseas subsidiaries. (IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation, New York: Crown Publishers, 2001, pp. 7-8)

As security and privacy analyst Katherine Albrecht writes describing IBM’s patented “Identification and Tracking of Persons Using RFID-Tagged Items in Store Environments,”

…chillingly details RFID’s potential for surveillance in a world where networked RFID readers called “person tracking units” would be incorporated virtually everywhere people go–in “shopping malls, airports, train stations, bus stations, elevators, trains, airplanes, restrooms, sports arenas, libraries, theaters, [and] museums”–to closely monitor people’s movements. (“How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People,” Scientific American, August 21, 2008)

According to the patent cited by Albrecht, as an individual moves around a store, or a city center, an “RFID tag scanner located [in the desired tracking location]… scans the RFID tags on [a] person…. As that person moves around the store, different RFID tag scanners located throughout the store can pick up radio signals from the RFID tags carried on that person and the movement of that person is tracked based on these detections…. The person tracking unit may keep records of different locations where the person has visited, as well as the visitation times.”

Even if no personal data are stored in the RFID tag, this doesn’t present a problem IBM explains, because “the personal information will be obtained when the person uses his or her credit card, bank card, shopper card or the like.” As Albrecht avers, the link between the unique RFID number and a person’s identity “needs to be made only once for the card to serve as a proxy for the person thereafter.” With the wholesale introduction of RFID chipped passports and driver’s licenses, the capitalist panoptic state is quickly–and quietly–falling into place.

If America’s main trading partner and sometime geopolitical rival in the looting of world resources, China, is any indication of the direction near future surveillance technologies are being driven by the “miracle of the market,” the curtain on privacy and individual rights is rapidly drawing to a close. Albrecht writes,

China’s national ID cards, for instance, are encoded with what most people would consider a shocking amount of personal information, including health and reproductive history, employment status, religion, ethnicity and even the name and phone number of each cardholder’s landlord. More ominous still, the cards are part of a larger project to blanket Chinese cities with state-of-the-art surveillance technologies. Michael Lin, a vice president for China Public Security Technology, a private company providing the RFID cards for the program, unflinchingly described them to the New York Times as “a way for the government to control the population in the future.” And even if other governments do not take advantage of the surveillance potential inherent in the new ID cards, ample evidence suggests that data-hungry corporations will.

I would disagree with Albrecht on one salient point: governments, particularly the crazed, corporate-controlled grifters holding down the fort in Washington, most certainly will take advantage of RFID’s surveillance potential.

In 2005 for example, the Senate Republican High Tech Task force praised RFID applications as “exciting new technologies” with “tremendous promise for our economy.” In this spirit, they vowed to “protect” RFID from regulation and legislation. Needless to say, the track record of timid Democrats is hardly any better when it comes to defending privacy rights or something as “quaint” as the Constitution.

Under conditions of a looming economic meltdown, rising unemployment, staggering debt, the collapse of financial markets and continuing wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. imperialism, in order to shore up its crumbling empire, will continue to import totalitarian methods of rule employed in its “global war on terror” onto the home front.

The introduction of RFID-chipped passports and driver’s licenses for the mass surveillance and political repression of the American people arises within this context.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

Frontrunning: January 18

  • Foreign Hostages Die in Algeria’s Battle With Terrorists (Bloomberg)
  • The latest bank to soon join the currency wars: McCafferty Says BOE Must Keep Open Mind on New Policy Tools (Bloomberg)
  • US debt talks complicated by timing (FT)
  • BOJ eyes open-ended asset buying, agrees new inflation goal (Reuters)
  • AmEx Says U.S. Card Income Fell 42% as Loss Provisions Increased (BBG)
  • Call to raise age for US’s Medicare (FT)
  • Obama Promise to Raise Middle Class Living Already Seen in Peril (BBG)
  • China Exits Slowdown as Quarterly Growth Tops Forecasts (BBG) - actually, as new Politburo says to make it appear that way
  • Britain to drift out of European Union without reforms (Reuters)
  • Republicans weigh interim debt-limit hike (FT)
  • Abe's aide says Japan shouldn't fret if yen falls to 100 vs dlr (Reuters) ... and it was 90 just a few days ago
  • PBOC May Seek More Liquidity Operations (Dow Jones)

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* Former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong told the world Thursday
evening that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de
France titles.

* Algeria's military launched a raid on Thursday
to free about 40 foreigners held by militants at a remote natural-gas
complex, leaving some hostages dead, surprising and angering several
governments and putting leaders across the world at a loss to determine
the fate of their citizens.

* In his final days as U.S. Treasury
secretary, Timothy Geithner reflected on the financial crisis and the
response he helped craft, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Among other things, he said the government's rescue of the financial
system was doomed to be unpopular.

* In approving Boeing Co's
787 Deamliner to start carrying passengers in 2011, the Federal Aviation
Administration relied extensively on data generated by Boeing that
indicated the plane's advanced lithium-ion battery systems -- never used
before on a big jetliner -- featured redundant safeguards that were
essentially foolproof.

* Rio Tinto Chief Executive Tom Albanese
agreed to step down on Thursday, the latest in a string of leaders
toppled by shifting fortunes at the world's biggest mining companies.

*
Quarterly earnings reports released on Thursday underscore the
lingering illnesses afflicting some of the largest, best-known U.S.
banks and the comparatively ruddy health of some smaller regional
lenders.

* Sony Corp has reached a deal to sell its U.S.
headquarters at 550 Madison Avenue for $1.1 billion, the company said on
Thursday, a strong price that shows how investors are bidding
aggressively for top Manhattan properties.

* Toyota Motor Corp
has settled what was to be the first in a group of hundreds of pending
wrongful death and injury lawsuits involving sudden, unintended
acceleration by Toyota vehicles.

FT

In a drive for transparency, authorities in the Cayman Islands are planning on creating a public database of funds domiciled in the British territory for the first time.

Videogames seller Game Group is interested in acquiring stores from collapsed music retailer HMV, the CEO said.
 
As their mega-merger continues to go through regulatory clearance, Glencore and Xstrata are set to extend the deadline for the deal for a third time.

The British banking industry wants a deadline of May 2014 to be imposed for claims from customers who say they were mis-sold payment protection insurance, says one senior executive.

Barclays is considering whether it should recoup some or all of the 290 million pounds it was fined for Libor-rate rigging from the bonuses it is due to pay investment bankers in 2012.

NYT

* Hours after Algerian forces raided a gas facility, there was still no official word on the number of hostages freed, killed or still held by their Islamist kidnappers.

* In a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong admitted to using banned substances but did not say how he did it or who helped him.

Thomas Weisel, who bankrolled Lance Armstrong through seven Tour de France wins, said in his first public comment on the matter that he never personally saw an instance of doping on the team.

* Most banks have recovered from the recent financial collapse, but two companies, Bank of America and Citigroup have reported continuing effects on earnings.

* AT&T warned that it would take a fourth-quarter charge of about $10 billion because of bigger-than-expected pension obligations.

* The Chinese economy picked up steam during the last few months of 2012, closely watched data from Beijing on Friday confirmed. But at the same time the figures underlined the view that the pace of future growth is likely to remain well below that seen in recent years.

* E*Trade Financial named Paul Idzik, a former executive at Barclays, as its new chief, ending a five-month search for a new leader.

* Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has sold shares in itself at $19 apiece, a person briefed on the matter said, reaping about $446.5 million in proceeds.

Canada

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

--The State Electricity Regulatory Commission of China (SERC) said China's power consumption could reach above 9 percent in 2013 from 5.5 percent in 2012.

CHINA DAILY (www.chinadaily.com.cn)

--Fears over intellectual property lawsuits by foreign train technology companies will not derail exports of Chinese bullet trains, Vice Minister of Science and Technology Cao Jianlin said in an interview, dismissing copycat claims by Japan's Kawasaki as "nonsense."

--A former Japanese leader visited a memorial site to victims of Japanese wartime aggression, but analysts were quick to reject ay suggestion that Tokyo will change its policies toward China.

PEOPLE'S DAILY

--China's Railway Ministry said investment in railway could hit 650 billion yuan and that it will set a National Railway Development Fund as soon as possible.

China

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

* Two class action lawsuits were filed against the federal government in Canada after the human resources and skills development department lost a portable hard drive containing personal information about more than half a million people who took out student loans.

The department said last week the device contained data on 583,000 Canada Student Loans Program borrowers from 2000 to 2006.

* The federal ethics commissioner wants to talk to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty about his letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) after it was revealed that he wrote to the arm's-length broadcast regulator in support of a constituent's bid for a radio licence.

Reports in the business section:

* More Canadians went online to do their Christmas shopping this year, according to a new report by MasterCard Advisors.

Canadian consumers spent C$2.8 billion ($2.84 billion) shopping online in December, up 26 percent over the previous year and representing about 6.6 per cent of the month's total retail sales.

NATIONAL POST

* Three Quebec City teens have been arrested over charges of planning a shootout at their high school.

The three teens, two boys aged 14 and 15 and a 16 year old girl, who have pleaded not guilty, face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and will remain detained until a bail hearing on Monday.

FINANCIAL POST

* The blowout in price between Alberta's heavy oil and the North American benchmark price is a "longer term issue" with no quick fix, Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo) CEO Leo de Bever said.

Fly On The Wall 7:00 Market Snapshot

ANALYST RESEARCH

Upgrades

Amazon.com (AMZN) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest
Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Credit Suisse (CS) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Expeditors (EXPD) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Fabrinet (FN) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Las Vegas Sands (LVS) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Movado (MOV) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Netflix (NFLX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
Qlik Technologies (QLIK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Research in Motion (RIMM) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Tyson Foods (TSN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Wynn Resorts (WYNN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo

Downgrades

Alterra Capital (ALTE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee
Ball Corp. (BLL) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
CSX (CSX) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Capital One (COF) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Clarcor (CLC) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair
Finisar (FNSR) downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies
MGM Resorts (MGM) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
NetSuite (N) downgraded to Neutral from Conviction Buy at Goldman
Ultimate Software (ULTI) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Visa (V) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Westamerica (WABC) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital

Initiations

Geron (GERN) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Halcon Resources (HK) initiated with a Hold at Stifel Nicolaus
Harry Winston (HWD) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Inovio Pharma (INO) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) initiated with a Buy at Janney Capital
Marathon Oil (MRO) initiated with a Buy at Stifel Nicolaus
Oncothyreon (ONTY) initiated with an Underweight at Piper Jaffray
Threshold Pharmaceuticals (THLD) initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Tronox (TROX) initiated with a Buy at B. Riley Caris
Ziopharm (ZIOP) initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray

HOT STOCKS

GE (GE) on target to achieve dougle-digit earnings growth in 2013
Said outlook for developed markets remain uncertain
Sees growth in China, resource rich countries
Weiss family raised American Greetings (AM) offer to $17.50 from $17.18 per share
Moody's changed Rite Aid (RAD) outlook to positive from stable
Schlumberger (SLB) said global macroeconomic environment remains uncertain
Sees 2013 global oil demand similar to 2012
Liberty Media (LMCA) bought 50M shares of Sirius XM (SIRI), control above 50%
Intel (INTC) ”excited about strong pipeline of products coming to market”
Sees little growth in wireless in 2013
Capital One (COF) sees average quarterly revenue levels in 2013 like Q412
Sees reduction in loan balances in 2013
Sony Corporation of America (SNE) sold 550 Madison Avenue building for $1.1B
AZZ Inc. (AZZ) sees FY14 margins remaining strong
ONEOK Partners (OKS) announced $465M-$500M project investments through 2015
NuPathe's (PATH) Zecuity approved by FDA

EARNINGS

Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
General Electric (GE), Schlumberger (SLB), Xilinx (XLNX), Bank Mutual (BKMU), Intel (INTC), Wintrust Financial (WTFC)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Matthews (MATW), People's United (PBCT), Capital One (COF)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Wipro (WIT), Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC), American Express (AXP)

NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES

GE (GE) is the world's top producer of aircraft engines and medical-imaging equipment, but as far as its profits are concerned, it’s very much a bank. GE Capital is expected to account for nearly half the company's 2012 profit, the Wall Street Journal reports
Dell’s (DELL) potential $23B leveraged buyout could also be the deal that finally gets the leveraged-buyout machine going again, showering financiers in fees and potentially yielding big returns for investors, the Wall Street Journal reports
Americans are more confident in the future and are increasingly striking out to set up their own homes, a move that is helping propel the housing recovery, Reuters reports
When U.S. natural gas producers release their 2012 annual reports, many companies may have to significantly reduce a key indicator of their financial health: reserves. The SEC
requires companies to calculate and report year-end oil and gas reserves using 12-month average prices, Reuters reports
With the worst flu outbreak since 2009 gripping the U.S., vaccine makers (GSK, AZN) are determined to do better next season. They’re developing powerful vaccines that hold the promise of cutting incidences of flu by the thousands, Bloomberg reports
Franklin Templeton Investments (BEN) reduced its holdings of Apple (AAPL) last year to 4.2% from 7% in 2011 on concern the maker of the iPhone lacks a strategy to sell cheaper smartphones in emerging markets such as China and India, Bloomberg reports

SYNDICATE

CyrusOne (CONE) 16.5M share IPO priced at $19.00
Northern Tier (NTI) Energy 10.7M share Secondary priced at $24.46
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) 23.529M share IPO priced at $19.00
SunCoke Energy (SXCP) 13.5M share IPO priced at $19.00
Trius Therapeutics (TSRX) files to sell common stock

Your rating: None

10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced...

Think Progress / By Ian Millhiser

The young hacker faced a harsher prison than that for manslaughter, bank robbery, or selling slaves.

January 14, 2013  |  

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On Friday, Internet pioneer and open information activist Aaron Swartz  took his own life at the age of 26. At the time of his death, Swartz was  under indictment for logging into JSTOR, a database of scholarly articles, and rapidly downloading those articles with the  intent to make them public. If Swartz had lived to be convicted of the charges against him, he  faced 50 years or more in a federal prison.

To put these charges in perspective, here are ten examples of federal crimes that carry lesser prison sentences than Swartz’ alleged crime of downloading academic articles in an effort to make knowledge widely available to the public:

  • Manslaughter: Federal law provides that someone who kills another human being “[u]pon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion”  faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if subject to federal jurisdiction. The lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of only six years.
  • Bank Robbery: A person who “by force and violence, or by intimidation” robs a bank faces a  maximum prison sentence of 20 years. If the criminal “assaults any person, or puts in jeopardy the life of any person by the use of a dangerous weapon or device,” this sentence is upped to a maximum of 25 years.
  • Selling Child Pornography: The maximum prison sentence for a first-time offender who “knowingly sells or possesses with intent to sell” child pornography in interstate commerce is  20 years. Significantly, the only way to produce child porn is to sexually molest a child, which means that such a criminal is literally profiting off of child rape or sexual abuse.
  • Knowingly Spreading AIDS: A person who “after testing positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and receiving actual notice of that fact, knowingly donates or sells, or knowingly attempts to donate or sell, blood, semen, tissues, organs, or other bodily fluids for use by another, except as determined necessary for medical research or testing” faces a  maximum of 10 years in prison.
  • Selling Slaves: Under federal law, a person who willfully sells another person “into any condition of involuntary servitude”  faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, although the penalty can be much higher if the slaver’s actions involve kidnapping, sexual abuse or an attempt to kill.
  • Genocidal Eugenics: A person who “imposes measures intended to prevent births” within a particular racial, ethnic or religious group or who “subjects the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part” faces a  maximum prison term of 20 years, provided their actions did not result in a death.
  • Helping al-Qaeda Develop A Nuclear Weapon: A person who “willfully participates in or knowingly provides material support or resources . . . to a nuclear weapons program or other weapons of mass destruction program of a foreign terrorist power, or attempts or conspires to do so,  shall be imprisoned for not more than 20 years.”
  • Violence At International Airports: Someone who uses a weapon to “perform[] an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that causes or is likely to cause serious bodily injury” faces a  maximum prison sentence of 20 years if their actions do not result in a death.
  • Threatening The President: A person who threatens to kill the President, the President-elect, the Vice President or the Vice President-elect faces a  maximum prison term of 5 years.
  • Assaulting A Supreme Court Justice: Assaults against very senior government officials, including Members of Congress, cabinet secretaries or Supreme Court justices are  punished by a maximum prison sentence of just one year. If the assault “involved the use of a dangerous weapon, or personal injury results,” the maximum prison term is 10 years.

It should be noted that Swartz faced such a stiff sentence because prosecutors  charged him with multiple federal crimes arising out of his efforts to download and distribute academic papers. Similarly, a person who robbed a bank, sold a slave, and then rounded out their day by breaking Justice Scalia’s nose would also risk spending the next 50 years in prison, just like Aaron Swartz did.

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10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced

Think Progress / By Ian Millhiser

The young hacker faced a harsher prison than that for manslaughter, bank robbery, or selling slaves.

January 14, 2013  |  

Like this article?

Join our email list:

Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.

On Friday, Internet pioneer and open information activist Aaron Swartz  took his own life at the age of 26. At the time of his death, Swartz was  under indictment for logging into JSTOR, a database of scholarly articles, and rapidly downloading those articles with the  intent to make them public. If Swartz had lived to be convicted of the charges against him, he  faced 50 years or more in a federal prison.

To put these charges in perspective, here are ten examples of federal crimes that carry lesser prison sentences than Swartz’ alleged crime of downloading academic articles in an effort to make knowledge widely available to the public:

  • Manslaughter: Federal law provides that someone who kills another human being “[u]pon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion”  faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if subject to federal jurisdiction. The lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of only six years.
  • Bank Robbery: A person who “by force and violence, or by intimidation” robs a bank faces a  maximum prison sentence of 20 years. If the criminal “assaults any person, or puts in jeopardy the life of any person by the use of a dangerous weapon or device,” this sentence is upped to a maximum of 25 years.
  • Selling Child Pornography: The maximum prison sentence for a first-time offender who “knowingly sells or possesses with intent to sell” child pornography in interstate commerce is  20 years. Significantly, the only way to produce child porn is to sexually molest a child, which means that such a criminal is literally profiting off of child rape or sexual abuse.
  • Knowingly Spreading AIDS: A person who “after testing positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and receiving actual notice of that fact, knowingly donates or sells, or knowingly attempts to donate or sell, blood, semen, tissues, organs, or other bodily fluids for use by another, except as determined necessary for medical research or testing” faces a  maximum of 10 years in prison.
  • Selling Slaves: Under federal law, a person who willfully sells another person “into any condition of involuntary servitude”  faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, although the penalty can be much higher if the slaver’s actions involve kidnapping, sexual abuse or an attempt to kill.
  • Genocidal Eugenics: A person who “imposes measures intended to prevent births” within a particular racial, ethnic or religious group or who “subjects the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part” faces a  maximum prison term of 20 years, provided their actions did not result in a death.
  • Helping al-Qaeda Develop A Nuclear Weapon: A person who “willfully participates in or knowingly provides material support or resources . . . to a nuclear weapons program or other weapons of mass destruction program of a foreign terrorist power, or attempts or conspires to do so,  shall be imprisoned for not more than 20 years.”
  • Violence At International Airports: Someone who uses a weapon to “perform[] an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that causes or is likely to cause serious bodily injury” faces a  maximum prison sentence of 20 years if their actions do not result in a death.
  • Threatening The President: A person who threatens to kill the President, the President-elect, the Vice President or the Vice President-elect faces a  maximum prison term of 5 years.
  • Assaulting A Supreme Court Justice: Assaults against very senior government officials, including Members of Congress, cabinet secretaries or Supreme Court justices are  punished by a maximum prison sentence of just one year. If the assault “involved the use of a dangerous weapon, or personal injury results,” the maximum prison term is 10 years.

It should be noted that Swartz faced such a stiff sentence because prosecutors  charged him with multiple federal crimes arising out of his efforts to download and distribute academic papers. Similarly, a person who robbed a bank, sold a slave, and then rounded out their day by breaking Justice Scalia’s nose would also risk spending the next 50 years in prison, just like Aaron Swartz did.

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From Kindergarten to University: Homeland Security Culture in America

In early March of 2009, The Department of Homeland Security, held it’s annual National Fusion Center Conference [1]. The conference highlighted the necessity for Fusion Centers to achieve Baseline Capabilities in the sharing of information and intelligence with the federal government and each other.

At the end of the same month the DHS gave a press release [2] to announce their selection of Purdue, and Rutgers Universities to co-lead the newest Center of Excellence (COE).

Centers of Excellence were created through the Homeland Security Act of 2002; the first centers began operation in 2004. With the addition of the newest one above, there are a total of 12 Centers across the country. The total number of these centers is skewed; as each center is in collaboration with multiple universities; as well as being partners with local, state, federal, and international entities. These COE’s also work with national laboratories, and corporate partners such as the RAND corporation to offer viable real world applications. In the end, there aren’t 12 centers, but a web of several hundred, and possibly thousands of centers.

The official list[3] of 12 centers are overseen by the Orwellian “Office of University Programs” [4]. The “Strategic Objectives” of this office are quoted as follows:

  •  Foster a homeland security culture within the academic community through research and educational programs.
  •  Strengthen U.S. scientific leadership in homeland security research.
  •  Generate and disseminate knowledge and technical advances to advance the homeland security mission.
  •  Integrate homeland security activities across agencies engaged in relevant academic research.
  •  Create and leverage intellectual capital and nurture a homeland security science and engineering workforce.

Notice, their admitted overall goal is not only to ‘disseminate knowledge’ and technical advances for the homeland security ‘mission’, but also to create a Homeland Security Culture within the educational system; [5], 6].

Each COE website[3] has an education link; not all sites have their educational portion up for viewing. The ones who do have the educational curricula visible, show programs offered for K-12 and college curricula, into graduate school education. From Purdue University’s COE website [7],

“This program is designed to support undergraduate and graduate students in developing the skills to become preeminent scientists in the homeland security specific and technical community.”

The Orwellian Office of University Programs, is not only creating “Obama’s Youth”, but also creating  “scientists” who are studied in Department of Homeland Security disciplines!

Two Centers of Excellence stood out from the rest. The first, is Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism [8], or START which is based at the University of Maryland.

Amongst other activities, they do as the name suggests; they create studies. Hidden amongst the Islamic Jihad studies[9] were the reports of the real terrorists; you, and I!

Two reports stuck out more than the rest. The first was a study conducted from 2007 to 2008, and finished with the creation of the U.S. Extremist Criminal Terror database[10]. The study, and now database focus on far-right extremists; the data base of U.S. Extremist Crime, comprises 1990 to 2005.

The other study of interest was,Homegrown Radicalization and the Role of Social Networks and Social Inclusiveness in the United States”[11]. There is no finished report of this study. The last update was, July 31, 2008. It seems this study is the one requested through The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act (H.R. 1955/S. 1959)[12] “The act would establish a national commission and a university-based “Center for Excellence” to study and propose legislation to prevent the threat of “radicalization” of Americans.” Interestingly enough, just a few months after the final START study update on July 31, 2008, the DHS released, The “Domestic Extremism Lexicon”[13]. This Lexicon was a “newly unclassified Department of Homeland Security report warns against the possibility of violence by unnamed “right-wing extremists” concerned about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty and singles out returning war veterans as particular threats.”[14] All this came from the START Center of Excellence!

Most interesting of all these Centers of Excellence, is the newest one; which was awarded to Purdue, and Rutger Universities. It’s the Center of Excellence in Command, Control and Interoperability (C2L). There are direct links to both the Rutgers, and part of the Purdue websites from the DHS official list[3]. The link for Purdue goes to PURVAC; which is the Purdue University Regional Visualization, and Analytics Center[15]. It is labeled at the bottom as a Center of Excellence, but not the C2L website.

After a little hunting around, and *no* direct links from PURVAC, I was able to come across the official Command, Control, and Interoperability(C2L) website.

VACCINE: Visual Analytics for Command, Control, and Interoperability Environments, is the C2L Center of Excellence[16]. The stated goal is,

“To help the 2.3 million DHS personal by turning massive data into actionable knowledge through innovative visual analytic techniques is vital to the mission of the Command, Control, and Interoperability (CCI) Division of The Department of Homeland Security, as well as all of the mission areas of DHS.”

They’ve got some catchy informational research projects, such as Jigsaw, Panviz, and a host of others; which all culminate to what appears as the solution sought by the DHS Fusion Center Conference in March[1]. It seems like VACCINE is the answer to culminating all the Centers of Excellence, and the Fusion Centers into the next generation; a cure for the 21st century American. Focused on culminating, and disseminating information through all phases of life, and government; from childhood to adulthood. YOU will comply.

In learning about the 12 Centers of Excellence; there seems to be a jaded, and deliberately hidden nature about them. The problem with this is that continually when reading through all the COE websites, there were two aspects that really stuck out.

The first was a concentration on education beginning at Kindergarten, and the overall presentation of what is to be taught, is of a hidden nature. Secondly, is the fact that even though the information is hidden for our benefit; so as to keep it a secret from “We The Terrorists”, I noticed that in every single COE website, the partners included foreign countries, and multi national corporations. It’s okay for foreign countries, global corporations, and agents there of, to know what is being taught to the 21th century American, but not okay for “We The People” to know.

This investigation yielded massive amounts of information; which had no ends. The information shows the US Government, dancing around it’s true intentions with “powder puffing” a monster. These 12 Centers of Excellence headed by the DHS Office of University Programs, is not all there are. The rabbit hole opens to another 106 universities[17], and the accompanying affiliations with multiple universities, foreign countries, stake holders, and private corporation partners; sponsored by a joint program between the National Security Agency/Central Security Service, and the Department of Homeland Security. These are not just DHS centers of excellence, but are as follows:

“The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) and the CAE-Research (CAE-R) are outreach programs designed and operated initially by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the spirit of Presidential Decision Directive 63, National Policy on Critical Infrastructure Protection, May 1998. The NSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in support of the President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, February 2003, now jointly sponsor the program. The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education in information assurance (IA), and producing a growing number of professionals with IA expertise in various disciplines. ”[18]

Simply they are the same as the COE’s, but with more agencies involved, and just another way to cover government outcome based education through ‘spookier’ means. They are to create more homeland security molded, subservient 21st century citizens. Interestingly enough both the CAEIAE schools[19], and the COE schools have to meet requirements set forth by private foundations. Another point of interest regarding these CAEIAE schools is they are usually located so as to permit easy access to DoD installations, federal research centers, and other agency facilities.

These universities, and their disseminated information are not just a national problem for Americans, but the entire world. They are creating educational programs from kindergarten, and they are partnered with several foreign countries. It’s seemingly more, and more a 1984 Orwellian hell of reality, that Americans are being made into a “new breed”; now with the words of Patrick Henry:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?

Forbid it, Almighty God!

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Notes

[1] http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1236792314990.shtm
[2] http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/pressreleaseD … -31-09.pdf
[3] http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/editorial_0498.shtm
[4] http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0555.shtm
[5] http://www.robodoon.com/reece.htm
[6] http://www.crossroad.to/text/articles/tnmfobe1196.html
[7] http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/vac … career.php
[8] http://www.start.umd.edu/start/
[9] http://www.start.umd.edu/start/research … ndex.asp#1
[10] http://www.start.umd.edu/start/research … .asp?id=36
[11] http://www.start.umd.edu/start/research … .asp?id=45
[12] http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stor … ntion-act/
[13] http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=96916
[14] http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=94803
[15] https://engineering.purdue.edu/PURVAC/
[16] http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/vaccine/
[17] http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/press_ro … ters.shtml
[18] http://www.esu.edu/compusec/NSA&CAE.html
[19] http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=National … 5bf9d43a8f

Final note: the study by START, and published by the DHS has been amended to reflect Islamic Extremism, but with the overall same title: New Report on Homegrown Terrorism in the US, and UK.http://hsdl.hsdl.org/hslog/?q=node/4837

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