Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Uganda: Devil worship

From the Sunday edition of The New Vision :

People who believe in satanic powers have resorted to witchcraft… such bondage has led to acts of human sacrifice since devil worship involves shedding precious human blood

By Anthony Bugembe

Don't ask who is behind the ritual murders. It is devil worshippers at work. Police, spiritual leaders and academicians, all agree that most of the ritual murders that have recently been taking place in the country bear the hallmark of devil worship.

“The cutting off of body parts of innocent victims is consistent with devil worship. The parts are offered as sacrifice to Lucifer, in exchange for wealth and prosperity”, explains Monsignor David Kyeyune, the national pastoral co-ordinator at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat in Nsambya.

Devil worship, according to Kyeyune, thrives in situations where people are obsessed with making quick money, often at the expense of human life.

“As people get more deeply involved in devil worship, the devil asks them to fulfil increasingly difficult demands, including making human sacrifices. Children are prime targets because they are presumed to be innocent and pure and, therefore, acceptable as sacrifices,” he further explains.

Kyeyune has carried out extensive research on devil worship in Uganda and Kenya.

Unlike in Kenya where about 10 years ago devil worship was organised and had 'high priests, in Uganda it is reportedly still at individual level. However, if the rampant human scarifices continue the practice could gravitate into an organised institution. According to the priest-cum-academician, devil worship is a foreign culture imported from Kenya. “Devil worshipping was very rampant in Kenya in the 1990s. For example, in Nairobi they even had temples for worshipping the devil,” he says. A presidential commission of inquiry in Kenya during the 1990s, concluded that devil worship existed in the country.

Some of the devil worship rituals in the commission's report include: human sacrifice, drinking human blood, eating human flesh, nudity of the participants in the ritual, incantations in unintelligible language, sexual abuse, especially of children; black magic, narcotic drugs and presence of snakes. Body parts such as tongues, eyes and limbs are also used in the rituals.

Initiation into devil worshipping is normally done at night and the initiates are always naked. The ritual involves drawing blood from the person to be initiated, mixing it with some substances before giving it to members to drink.

Sometimes a human being is killed during the initiation rites or a fresh body is brought in and its parts served to members.

“Anything that involves sacrificing a human being is devil worship. If someone does something that is meant to please Satan and does not treasure human life, then it is attributed to the devil,” says Robby Muhumuza, a researcher on false religions.

Even the Police agree the devil has a hand in the gruesome ritual murders that are causing a lot of public concern. Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba strongly believes there is a link between the rampant ritual murders and devil worship.

“Devil worship is partly to blame for the increasing cases of human sacrifice in the country. Many people think that through worshipping the devil in the form of sacrificing human beings, they can get rid of bad luck and even get rich quick.” she says.

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The ugliness that is racism

European racism

Racism in the elevator

Open racism

Greece: DNA bank could help anti-terror efforts

As reported in Kathimerini English Edition :

The Interior Ministry is considering a proposal by Britain's Scotland Yard for the creation of a DNA bank containing genetic information about all suspects arrested by the Greek police, sources have told Kathimerini.

The idea is believed to have been proposed during a recent visit to Athens by British counter-terrorism experts, who have reportedly undertaken to advise their Greek counterparts on how to tackle an emerging domestic terror threat. According to sources, the British officers stressed the importance of the measure in view of the recent spike in terrorist attacks in Athens. A top-ranking police officer admitted to Kathimerini that British police have a more sophisticated approach to tackling terrorism. “The British have many technical means at their disposal, from (surveillance) cameras to the most advanced systems of recording conversations. It is no surprise that they were puzzled at the way the Greek police handle terrorism,” he said.

The creation of a DNA bank had been considered by the Greek police in the past, but eventually shelved. British and Greek officers had discussed the eventuality in 2002, a year before they succeeded in breaking up terrorist group November 17. However, Alternate Minister Christos Markoyiannakis, who is in charge of public order, is said to be seriously interested in the proposal. A ministry source told Kathimerini that such a data bank would be a “step forward in the fight against terrorism.” “It would enable authorities to maintain data on all suspects... now we are obliged to destroy all data at the end of each criminal investigation,” the source said. It is believed that the idea will be discussed after the debate is concluded on whether to install surveillance cameras across the capital.

Noam Chomsky on the economy and democracy

From Information Clearing House :

Chomsky: Plan is recycled Bush/Paulson. We need nationalization and steps towards democratization.

JAY: So a few days ago, the Obama administration and Geithner, they announced their plan for the banks. What do you make of it?

CHOMSKY: Well, there are several plans, actually. One is capitalization. The other, the more recent one, is picking up the toxic assets with a private-public coalition. And that sent the stock market zooming right away. And you can see why: it's extremely good for bankers and investors. It means that an investor can, if they want, purchase these valueless assets. And if they happen to go up, well, it makes money; if they go down, the government insures it. So there might be a slight loss, but there could be a big gain. And that's—one financial manager put it in The Financial Times this morning, "It's a win-win situation."

JAY: A win-win situation if you're the investor.

CHOMSKY: If you're the investor, yeah.

JAY: If you're the investor.

CHOMSKY: For the public it's a lose-lose situation. But they're simply recycling, pretty much, the Bush-Paulson measures and changing them a little, but essentially the same idea: keep the institutional structure the same, try to kind of pass things up, bribe the banks and investors to help out, but avoid the measures that might get to the heart of the problem—however, at the cost, if you consider it a cost, of changing the institutional structure.

JAY: What's the plan you would support?

CHOMSKY: Well, I mean, say, for example, take the bonuses, the AIG bonuses that are, you know, causing such anger, rightfully. Dean Baker pointed out that there's an easy way to deal with it. Since the government pretty much owns AIG anyway (it just doesn't use its power to make decisions), split off the section of AIG—the financial investment section—that caused all the problems, split it off, and let it go bankrupt. And then the executives can seek to get their bonuses from a bankrupt firm if they like. So that would pretty much take care of the bankruptcy problem, and the government would still maintain its large-scale effective control, if it wants to exert it, of what's viable in AIG. And with the banks, the big banks, like Bank of America, one of the big problems is nobody knows what's going on inside. You know, there are very opaque devices and manipulations which technically the government—. They're not going to tell you themselves. You know, why should they? It's not their business. In fact, when Associated Press sent journalists to interview bank managers and investment-firm managers and ask them what they've done with the TARP [Troubled Assets Relief Program] money, they just laughed. They said, "It's none of your business. We're private enterprises. Your task, the public, is to fund us, but not to know what we're doing." But the government could find out—namely, essentially, take over the banks.

JAY: Is all of this sort of machinations of policy because they want to avoid nationalization?

CHOMSKY: You don't have to use the word "nationalization" if it bothers people, but some form of, you know, receivership which would at least allow independent investigators, government investigators, to get into the books, find out what they're doing, who owes what to whom, which is the basis for any form of modification. I mean, it could go on to something much beyond, but it's not contemplated. It's not a law of nature that corporations have to be dedicated solely to profit for their shareholders. It's not even legislation. It's mostly court decisions and management rules and so on. And it's perfectly conceivable for corporations, if they exist, to be responsible to stakeholders, to the community, to the workforce.

JAY: Well, especially when it's all public money at this point that's running the system.

CHOMSKY: Look, fact of the matter is it's almost always public money. So take, say, the richest man in the world, Bill Gates. How did he become the richest man in the world? Well, a lot of it was public money. In fact, places like where we're sitting right now,—


CHOMSKY: —that's where computers were developed, the Internet was developed, fancy software was developed, either here or in similar places, and almost entirely on public funding. And then, of course, I mean, the way the system works, fundamentally—it's kind of an overstatement, but fundamentally, is that the public pays the costs and takes the risks, and the profit is privatized.

~ full transcript and original video posted here ~

Dissecting the anti-Pakistan Psyop

From Therearenosunglasses's Weblog :

By: Peter Chamberlin

Another anomaly in the “war of [mistakes] terror” may have been solved. The unfolding story about the anti-Pakistan psyop revolves around Britain's MI6 and the “Pakistani Taliban.”

What exactly were Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple doing in Helmand? At the end of December, 2007 the European diplomats were arrested and evicted from Afghanistan for “talking to the Taliban.” News reports after the fact reveal that the two diplomats were actually agents of British MI6 secret service, sent to strike a bargain with top Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah or his younger half-brother Mansoor. The negotiations are alleged to have begun in early summer, according to the British press.

But the operation began much earlier than that, in March, when Mansoor Dadullah was released on March 19 in a prisoner exchange for Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, who was being held by feared Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah.

Again, according to the British press, the whole attempt at turning Mansoor began in an operation to kill his brother. The recruiting attempt began with that prisoner exchange which freed Mansoor. He was tracked from Quetta back to Helmand where British Special Forces killed Mullah Dadullah on May12, 2007, using the latest technology (Predators) to follow his satellite phone signal. Either they supplied him the phone or they simply tailed him from Helmand to Quetta, where they managed to pick-out his the satellite phone.

The evidence that the operation began with the prison release of Mansoor is only circumstantial, that being that it was the Western negotiators who introduced him into the equation (the Taliban leader didn't mention Mansoor in the initial contact, naming only Taliban spokesmen Mohammad Hanif and Abdul Latif Hakimi) and the British press admits that Mullah was killed by successfully following Mansoor.

A voice recording of a man claiming to be top Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah has said an Italian journalist captured by the militants has confessed to spying for the British military…Apparently referring to the detentions of two Taliban spokesmen, the man in the recording also accused the Western media of bias.

“They give one-sided freedom to media. We don't give a one-sided freedom to media. The media should be all free or should be banned totally.

“No one can accept … that the Taliban journalists be in prisons and their journalists be free.”

~ more... ~

[ via Information Clearing House ]

Undercover surveillance ops

From Police Undercover Operations

First published in: Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywreching, 1985

Undercover police activity has become a standard feature of the contemporary political terrain. Disclosures in recent years indicate that environmentalist, anti-nuclear and animal rights groups are likely to be targeted for surreptitious investigation. This can take many forms, from an inconspicuous stranger who turns up to help at a demonstration, to a trained "deep cover" operative who may spend years working inside a target organization. These operations can be launched locally by a police or sheriff's department, or by any of a number of federal agencies.

Another major source of inside information for investigators is the "CI" or "confidential informant." These informers can be private citizens recruited to infiltrate a group, or fearful members who turn on their friends (usually to save themselves). WIthout the existence of the CI, or "snitch," there would in fact be very few arrests made for major crimes. However, CIs do have major short-comings from a police perspective, including their general unreliability, questionable status as testifying witnesses, and frequent refusal to testify in open court. Therefore, the information garnered from a CI must be backed up by the testimony of undercover police officers or supplemented by an intensive police investigation (which may involve surveillance and the use of search warrants) to build a case without putting the informer on the witness stand. In fact, the use of a CI in an arrest is usually not revealed, so the investigation may appear to be nothing more than competent police work.

Any monkeywrencher who suspects surveillance, should examine associates, study who has access to information now believed to be in the hands of the police, notice anyone who suddenly attempts to distance themselves, and be alert to any other indication that investigators are receiving inside information.

The Undercover Infiltrator

Both government agencies and private companies are routinely involved in running undercover operations. Small police departments and private firms (ranging from the large agencies like Pinkerton and Burns down to the security divisions maintained by large corporations and often staffed by former law enforcement agents) typically rely on the solitary agent to ferret out information which is then passed on to the agent's supervisors. Larger state and federal agencies have the resources to mount far more extensive infiltration efforts. Major efforts entail a team approach, with extensive backup equipment and personnel to exploit the information provided by the undercover cop. The team's job is to protect the undercover agent and assemble a mass of evidence so that a subsequent prosecution doesn't rely entirely on the testimony of one officer.

The increasing sophistication of undercover operations has made it more difficult to spot these people. Today's undercover officer can look and sound like anyone. Many years ago, an undercover cop might be exposed when suspicious associates pilfered his phone bill from a mailbox and found that it listed numerous calls to a recognizable police phone number. Those days are gone as the quality and training of undercover operatives has improved. Only the crudest attempts to infiltrate, such as those occurring at demonstrations or other well-publicized events, are likely to be obvious due to the appearance or demeanor of the plainclothes officer.

There are two broad categories of undercover operative: deep cover and light cover.

From Elite undercover squad uses tactics learned in Iraq war to catch rogue Republicans by David Young

An elite, hand-picked team of undercover soldiers is mounting a 24-hour surveillance operation on dissident Republicans intent on carrying out terror attacks in Northern Ireland, it was disclosed yesterday.
The squad, from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, is using round-the-clock communications intercept tactics currently deployed on enemy targets in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The decision by Sir Hugh Orde, Northern Ireland's chief constable, to call in the half-dozen specialist Signal Intelligence (Sigint) officers to support police has prompted an outcry from nationalist politicians.

But Sir Hugh defended the move yesterday, claiming the team's expertise was needed in the battle against dissidents.

He also rejected the notion it represented the return of special forces operations synonymous with the SAS during the Troubles.

From Undercover tactics get the message across

Government health and safety websites for young people are ditching the 'gov.uk' domain to boost appeal, says Michael Cross

In theory, government websites are supposed to identify themselves with the domain name "gov.uk". Yet several more creative government sites, generally aimed at young people, go to some lengths to disguise who runs and funds them.
The official drugs advisory site, www.talktofrank.com, celebrates its first anniversary this week. It has received 1.5m visits over the year, with traffic now running at 40,000 visits a week.
The site is a key part of the "Frank" campaign, a rebranding of the national drugs helpline. The site's core message is: "Drugs are illegal. Talking about them isn't." It attempts to provide facts about drugs in young people's language. "Too much sniffing speed and you're sneezing lumps out of your nose into a hanky," for example.
The site disguises its origins by adopting the ".com" domain rather than ".gov.uk". In the small print it calls itself "an independent government-funded website", but nowhere does it mention the Home Office, which runs the project.

Undercover Policing and the Shifting Terms of Scholarly Debate: The United States and Europe in Counterpoint

Among investigative tactics, undercover policing is unique in the extent to which it allows the police to shape the events they investigate. Yet this shared feature of undercover investigations produces very different academic controversies in the United States and Europe. European scholars fear the implications of legalizing tactics that had previously been tolerated, if at all, at the margins of legality. By contrast, American commentators seek to unsettle what they view as complacency about a tactic that is used far more widely in the United States than in Europe. In Italy and Germany, a long tradition of scholarship in criminal law treats police infiltration as a problem of government law-breaking. In France, a distinguished sociological tradition views undercover tactics as a privileged terrain of turf warfare between competing government agencies. Because of their interest in the entrapment defense, American academics focus largely on the criminal responsibility of targets, not operatives. More recently, American and European scholars have shifted their interest away from the criminal law, with its emphasis on the individual criminal liability of targets and undercover operatives, toward the exploration of new means for distributing responsibility among complementary institutional actors like police, prosecutors, and judges. Undercover policing has thus increasingly become a problem of criminal procedure, in which undercover tactics have come to be framed as threats to privacy, freedom of association, trial rights, and other civil liberties. As criminal investigations become increasingly transnational, criminal procedure has provided a shared framework of criticism and a familiar repertoire of solutions, facilitating national comparisons and sometimes muting national differences in regulatory norms and approach.

From When the Guards Guard Themselves: Undercover Tactics Turned Inward

A longer version of this paper appears in Policing and Society, 1992, Vol 2, pp.151-172.
Gary T. Marx
You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.
--James Madison Covert means in the United States have recently become much more important as criminal justice tools3/4 whether directed externally or internally. For example consider the following:
    • In Los Angeles nine officers from an elite narcotics unit were arrested for the large scale theft of seized funds. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and the FBI staged a phoney drug operation and videotaped the deputies stealing money. (L.A. Times, Sept. 2, 1989)
    • In Cleveland FBI undercover agents set up and ran two gambling operations as part of a two year sting directed at local police. Thirty officers were arrested as a result and charged with extortion, obstruction of justice and narcotics and gambling violations. (Law Enforcement News, June 15, 1990)
    • A New York prosecutor was arrested after taking money for arranging the dismissal of gun charges against a person he thought was an organized crime figure, but who was actually a federal agent. (Blecker 1984)
    • As part of an FBI undercover operation, a Federal district judge in Florida was arrested on charges of obstructing justice and conspiring to collect bribes from a defendant posing as a racketeer. (New York Times, Nov. 29, 1987).
    • In 1986 the New York City Corrections Department began placing undercover corrections officers in the city's jails to investigate drug offenses, excessive use of force and theft of weapons. (New York Times, Nov. 6, 1986).
These efforts at internal control are illustrative of a broader problem faced by any complex society: controlling those with the authority to control others. In the first century the Roman poet Juvenal asked "quis custodiet ipsos custodes"3/4 "who guards the guards?" There are few questions of greater practical or theoretical import. All organizations of course must devote some attention to matters of internal control. (Katz 1977) But the issue has special poignancy and symbolism when it involves organizations whose primary goal is creating, interpreting or enforcing law.

The answer to Juvenal's question for despotic regimes may be "no one." The guards are a law unto themselves, and with respect to the public are relatively uncontrolled.1 But in the United States with its pluralistic system, the executive, legislative and judicial bodies watch and constrain each other. Outside institutions such as the mass media and professional associations (American Bar Association and International Association of Chiefs of Police) and public interest groups concerned with democracy and civil liberties also play a role.

However the guards are also expected to guard themselves. Self-regulation is a central tenet of professionalization. In the case of law enforcement, by careful selection, training, policy, and supervision the guards are expected to keep their own house in order. Day-to-day responsibility lies with self-control on the part of individual agents and bureaucratically defined supervisory roles, internal affairs units and inspectors general.

This paper focuses on one means of self-regulation which has recently become much more important: undercover tactics.2 The topic of undercover work is rich in complexity and paradox. If we wish to see the guards guarded using these means how is this best done? What are the risks and costs to other important values? If an undercover policy works and is legal, is it therefore necessarily good public policy? Should those in positions of authority be subject to greater restrictions on their liberty because of the greater temptations they face? Can we be sure that the evidence discovered is not itself simply an artifact of the investigation? How should we balance the access to evidence that may be otherwise unavailable, with the invasions of privacy and other unintended consequences that may be present? Will the internal use of covert means lower morale and productivity and mean less risk-taking and innovation? With multiple agencies with overlapping jurisdictions, can authorities avoid ensnaring each other in their traps? Is it appropriate to do good by doing bad? When the state uses deception does it set a bad example, modeling and legitimating the use of deception for its citizens? Given the power of the tactic to tempt and entrap, can political targeting be avoided? These issues run throughout the examples we consider and are discussed in the concluding section.

From Government Cracking Down on Mortgage Fraud

Several federal agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced that they had named 24 Chicago-area defendants in indictments for crimes related to mortgage fraud.

"Mortgage fraud often happens with the active participation of professionals in the industry. It is particularly disturbing that the fraud has continued notwithstanding widespread publicity about the real and serious consequences of mortgage fraud," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, adding that undercover operations such as this one would continue.

The undercover sting, called "Operation Madhouse," involved agents meeting with loan professionals who then assisted them with providing fraudulent financial information. This practice has been blamed for contributing to the real estate meltdown by giving people access to property and loans they ultimately could not afford.

From Police at G20 will be tense, despite months of planning

The security operation to protect delegates attending the G20 conference is far from straightforward. The police have had to prepare for every possibility – from terrorism to riots to green custard incidents and must manage a crowd ranging from novice protesters to hardcore anarchists.

The trick is to create a hostile environment to deter criminal or antisocial behaviour, while at the same time reassuring the public. It is a difficult balance to achieve. Too many police officers can prove to be intimidating or provocative. Too few opens the door to troublemakers.

The first job in preparing for this type of event is to collect intelligence. Officers will have been scouring the internet and other “open sources” for weeks. They will know that the majority of protesters are law-abiding but they will have identified some activists intent on violence.

What makes the G20 demonstrations unique is the range of pressure groups planning to protest. Protesters concerned with climate change, capitalism, war and globalisation are to be represented. It will be crucial to locate the agitators and those orchestrating disorder as quickly as possible. Police spotters will be stationed at key vantage points while undercover officers mingle among the protesters.

From American Muslims and the FBI by Hesham A. Hassaballa.

In February, it became public that the FBI had sent an informant to several California mosques talking of terrorism and jihad, seeking to actively recruit terrorists. His actions prompted members of the Islamic Center of Irvine to report the informant's inflammatory statements to the FBI and ask for a restraining order against him. Muslims accused the man of being an "agent provocateur" and were shocked by this action. In another incident, an FBI agent allegedly told a mosque member that his life would be a "living hell" if he did not become an informant for the FBI.

These "McCarthy era tactics," as they were called by Muslims, prompted a coalition of Muslim groups to consider suspending ties to the FBI. In a statement, the coalition said: "If the FBI does not accord fair and equitable treatment to every American Muslim organization...then Muslim organizations, mosques and individuals will have no choice but to consider suspending all outreach activities with FBI offices, agents, and other personnel." The statement continued, "This possible suspension, of course, would in no way affect our unshakable duty to report crimes or threats of violence to our nation."

From The mini-city the CIA built by Wayne Madsen

(WMR) -- WMR has obtained a copy of a CIA memo, dated April 8, 1971, which indicates the agency had a vested interest in the development of the Rosslyn, Virginia, office complex from its earliest days.

The memo to the CIA's Director of Logistics, subject: Status of Design, Construction, and Zoning Activities -- Rosslyn Area, states: “On 2 April [name redacted] met with Mr. John Baldwin of the Arlington County Planning Staff, Department of Environmental Affairs, to inquire of on-going, pending, and future actions which are expected to occur in the Rosslyn area.”

The memo also states that “approximately 75 percent of anticipated Rosslyn construction has been completed. Ten buildings remain to be built of the original 40 buildings contemplated.”

WMR previously reported on the use of one of these buildings -- 1911 North Fort Myer Drive -- for a number of CIA front companies operated by CIA officers Edwin Wilson, Ted Shackley, Thomas Clines, and Rafael Quintero to smuggle weapons abroad covertly, in addition to other operations.

The CIA used 1820 North Fort Myer Drive as its Recruitment Office. Also known as the “Robert Ames Building,” 1820 has since been torn down for a new building. A recruitment advertisement for the CIA's Office of SIGINT Operations (OSO), a separate entity from the National Security Agency (NSA), listed the 1820 address as the CIA Recruitment Office.

The CIA's OSO was convenient to the RCA Building at 1901 North Moore Street, where RCA was engaged in contract negotiations with the CIA's OSO to build a number of signals intelligence “outstations,” including facilities in Iran during the Shah's reign, Pakistan, and the People's Republic of China.

From Secret Wars. One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6 100 years of a spy-empire

"There's a new world out there. Adjust or die," Gordon Thomas quotes former chief of the CIA, Bob Gates. But fortunately for the Western intelligence, people from the "other side" decide to "walk-in" and offer their help. One of these people was (the late) Vladimir Pasechnik from Russia, who contacted the British service to report about his KGB enterprise Biopreparat developing mass-killing toxins, viruses and bacteria. Asked why he did that, he replied: "I want the West to know. There must be a way to stop this madness." Dr. David Kelly (also late by now), a top British microbiology and bio-weapons expert, told the author after his interrogation of Pasechnik: "The really terrifying thing was that I knew Vladimir was telling the truth."

Thomas dedicated more than one chapter of his book to the tragic plight of Dr. Kelly, whose more than 30 trips to Iraq in search of bio-weapons ended by a conclusion that there weren't any. In spite of that, a "sexed-up" intelligence report to the British PM had been used as an excuse for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In the same year, Dr. Kelly, disgraced and left alone by MI6 and MI5, died, or rather was murdered in strange circumstances. Before his death, a number of bacteriologists from several countries, including Britain, Russia and the U.S.A., were killed by unknown perpetrators, allegedly for refusing to share their knowledge with North Korean, Iranian and probably Chinese intelligence.

New threats and at the same challenges to the intelligence services of Britain and the West, described in detail by Gordon Thomas in "Secret Wars", could be summed up as: international terrorism, rogue regimes (North Korea, Iran in particular) and a technological diversion, including professional cyber-attacks, led and developed by some states (Russia and China) and even by members of the Western alliance (Israel). It started in early 1980s with the theft of a powerful tracking software system, PROMIS, invented by a former NSA expert William L. Hamilton and produced by his small Washington D.C.-based company Inslaw Inc.

Of PROMIS a former Mossad operative, Ari Ben Menashe, quoted by the author, said: "PROMIS changed the thinking of the entire intelligence world." And Charles Foster Bass added: "Like any good spy novel, the Cox Report alleges that Chinese spies penetrated four U.S. weapons research labs and stole important information on seven nuclear warhead designs." Only an American citizen and Israel's spy, Jonathan Pollard (still in American top security prison) could do more. Pollard transmitted over 360 cubic feet of U.S. secret documents to Tel Aviv and some were also sold to Russia. A former CIA chief, the late William Casey complained about that to the author: "It was a double blow. It had cost us every worthwhile secret we had. And it had been stolen by a country supposed to be our ally."

But God perhaps rewarded the West and MI6 with a voluntary service of a high-ranking Iranian intelligence general, Ali Reza Asgari from VEVAK, code-named "Falcon", who informed the British intelligence about the nuclear program of Iran and was successfully exfiltrated via Turkey and Bulgaria to the U.K. His motivations were personal and perhaps also monetary, but his services were of top importance to the West.

The spying Great Game goes on undisturbed by moments of failure and agony. The British services, closely cooperating with the American ones, own a big share of the most sophisticated spying technology, including satellite surveillance systems, ECHELON eavesdropping network and the fastest computers in the world. A former CIA chief, William Colby, quoted by the author on the NSA computers, said: "makes lightening look slow. One time there was a program that could translate seven languages at five hundred words per minute. Next time I checked, a month later, it had doubled its capacity and halved its translation time." The various spying technologies like ELINT, SIGINT, IMINT and missile trajectory tracking systems are well described in the book. But all these marvelous inventions are still short of tracking Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Pakistan or Afghanistan and to follow, like PROMIS, the passage of money to terrorists by an ancient Muslim "hawala" human contact network, based on full confidence of the sender, the receiver and the "hawaladar", the money handler.

'We know Orwell for his novels...

...but it's the way he saw the politics of language that makes him relevant.'

From Why We Need to Call a Pig a Pig (With Or Without Lipstick) by Jennie Yabroff

Since its publication in 1945, "Animal Farm" has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, and become a standard text for schoolchildren, along with Orwell's other dystopian vision of the future, "1984." But it is the writer's essays on the importance of clear language and independent thought that make him relevant. Consider this, from "Politics and the English Language": "The word Fascism has now no meaning except insofar as it signifies 'something not desirable.' The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another … Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way." Substitute "anti-American" for "Fascism," and you've summarized the tenor of much of the public conversation regarding the current election and the war in Iraq. "We're so saturated in media today that anyone who is following it is bound to think, 'This is terrible language; what are the effects of these clichés on my mind?' " says George Packer, a staff writer at The New Yorker who has edited two new collections of Orwell's essays, "Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays" and "All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays." "God knows, I've wanted to use that essay as a purgative. Orwell tells you how to cut through the vapor and get the truth and write about it in a way that is vigorous and clear. Those skills are particularly necessary right now."

Eric Blair was born into what he described as "the lower-upper-middle class" in 1903 in Motohari, India, and spent most of his adult life trying to undo the comforts and privileges his station afforded him. He attended St. Cyprian's prep school in Eastbourne, England, where, he wrote in the essay "Such, Such Were the Joys," he learned "life was more terrible, and I was more wicked, than I had imagined." As a writer, his greatest aim was to ameliorate the conditions that made life terrible; as a man, he lived as though forever attempting to atone for his own wickedness, real or imagined.

After prep school he attended Eton, but instead of going on to university, he joined the Imperial Police, requesting the remote post of Burma. As David Lebedoff writes in his new dual biography, "The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War," "it was a desperately lonely life. Some of his colleagues committed suicide and others went mad … he was in a far-off land whose people did not want him there." It was in Burma where Orwell would learn to hate all forms of imperialism. "In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters," he wrote in the essay "Shooting an Elephant." Pressured by an excited mob to kill an elephant, he perceives "that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys." After five years in Burma he returned to England, where he slept in homeless shelters and scrounged for work in restaurant kitchens to experience how the poor lived, then went to the dreary, economically depressed north of England to document the condition of the miners. A self-described democratic socialist and fervent anticommunist, he volunteered to fight with the republicans in the Spanish Civil War, where he stood up in the trenches to light a cigarette and promptly was shot through the throat.

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FTC questions cloud-computing security

From Stephanie Condon's report in Politics and Law :

To secure personal information on the cloud, regulators may have to answer questions such as which entities have jurisdiction over data as it flows across borders, whether governments can access that information as it changes jurisdiction, and whether there is more risk in storing personal information in data centers that belong to a single entity rather than multiple data centers.
The current panoply of laws at the state, national, and international level have had insufficient results; FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour cited a 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers information security survey (PDF) in which 71 percent of organizations queried said they did not have an accurate inventory of where personal data for employees and customers is stored.

With data management practices that are not always clear and are subject to change, companies that offer cloud-computing services are steering consumers into dangerous territory, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Already, problems of identity theft are skyrocketing, he said, and without more regulation, data management services may experience a collapse analogous to that of the financial sector.

"I predict we are going to experience something very similar with respect to privacy within the emerging information economy," Rotenberg said. "We are going to realize we allowed very similar complex transactions to occur between nontransparent organizations, and we will pay."

Later on Tuesday, EPIC asked the FTC to pull the plug on Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and the company's other Web apps until government-approved "safeguards are verifiably established."

FTC Commissioner Harbour said at Tuesday's conference that it would be preferable if more than one large company such as Google were responsible for storing personal data.

"I see a lot of overlap between competition analysis and security," she said.

Jane Horvath, senior policy counsel for Google, said "privacy by design is ingrained in our culture, and security is one of our fundamental design principles."

If customers do not feel their data is secure in Google products, nothing prohibits them from transferring their data elsewhere, she said.

~ more... ~

The Idiot's Guide to Pakistan

Nicholas Schmidle writes for Foreign Policy :

Bring up the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at a Washington cocktail party and you’re sure to impress. Tick off the name of a Taliban leader or two and make a reference to North Waziristan, and you might be on your way to a lucrative lecture tour. The problem, of course, is that no one knows if you’ll be speaking the truth or not. A map of the border region is crammed with the names of agencies, provinces, frontier regions, and districts, which are sometimes flip-flopped and misused. With only an unselfish interest in making you more-impressive cocktail party material (and thus, getting you booked with a lecture agent during these economic hard times), I want to straighten some things out.

First off, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas are not part of the North-West Frontier Province. The two are separate entities in almost every sense of the word. While the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) is, well, a province with an elected assembly, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are geographically separate areas governed through “political agents” who are appointed by the president and supported by the governor of NWFP (who is also a presidential appointee). Residents of NWFP technically live according to the laws drafted by the Parliament in Islamabad, while the only nontribal law applicable to residents of FATA is the Frontier Crimes Regulations, a colonial-era dictate sanctioning collective punishment for tribes and subtribes guilty of disrupting the peace.

Within FATA, there are seven “agencies” and six “frontier regions.” The agencies are Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan; the somewhat more governed frontier regions (FRs) cling like barnacles to the eastern edge of FATA and include FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Bannu, FR Lakki, FR Tank, and FR Dera Ismail Khan, each of them named after the “settled” districts they border.

All residents of FATA and the vast majority of those in NWFP are ethnically Pashtuns. Pashtuns also make up the majority in Baluchistan, the vast province bordering Iran and Afghanistan, which is named after the minority Baluch. Besides NWFP and Baluchistan, there are two other provinces in Pakistan; Punjab is populated mostly by ethnic Punjabis, and Sindh was historically dominated by Sindhis until millions of Muslims migrated from India at the time of Partition and settled in Sindhi cities such as Karachi and Hyderabad. Now, Sindh is composed of ethnic Sindhis and the descendents of these migrants, known as mohajirs.

Foreigners are prohibited from entering FATA without government permission. If you see a newspaper dateline from a town inside FATA, chances are that the Pakistani Army organized a field trip for reporters. Those traveling unaccompanied into, say, South Waziristan have either a death wish or a really good rapport with the Taliban, who effectively run North and South Waziristan and large portions of the other agencies and frontier regions. The recalcitrance of the tribesmen is hardly something new. In the words of Lord Curzon, the former viceroy of India: “No patchwork scheme -- and all our present recent schemes, blockade, allowances, etc., are mere patchwork -- will settle the Waziristan problem. Not until the military steamroller has passed over the country from end to end, will there be peace. But I do not want to be the person to start that machine.”

~ more... ~

Musical Innerlube:Tinariwen - 'Cler Achel'

Calls for workers to save GM


I hear that the bosses at General Motors are thinking about shutting the company down. I think the workers at GM should occupy the factories and run them themselves democratically. If they called out the National Guard to put it down we could have a general strike.

As a great Wobbly put it: "In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold."

Joe Randall

John Stockwell: The Third World War

How 6 million People Were killed in CIA secret wars against third world countries. Original video posted:


image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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