Thursday, April 2, 2009

At stake are more than banks

From op-ed by Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times :

As world leaders gather in London for the Group of 20 summit meeting, the most wrenching statistic is this: According to World Bank estimates, the global economic crisis will cause an additional 22 children to die per hour, throughout all of 2009.

And that's the best-case scenario. The World Bank says it's possible the toll will be twice that: an additional 400,000 child deaths, or an extra child dying every 79 seconds.

“In London, Washington and Paris, people talk of bonuses or no bonuses,” Robert Zoellick, the World Bank president, said this week. “In parts of Africa, South Asia and Latin America, the struggle is for food or no food.”

~ more... ~

CIA spook Gen. Hayden rewrites 4th Amendment

General Hayden, appointed by Shrub (little Bush), argues that 4th Amendment does not require "probable cause" for searches & seizures... in fact, it does.

Greek authorities to expand C4I surveillance

As reported in Greek media, authorities are preparing decides to 'activate' more of the C4i camera network [suspected they were dormant as in Sydney] installed for Olympic Games security. Supposedly - according to the report - a few dozen are regularly used for traffic monitoring and another 150 'only turned on during demonstrations'. But now an additional 900 will be put to use.

The C4I system was installed by SAIC.

'Larry knows how to help SAIC succeed'

Lawrence Prior of SAIC

When Lawrence Prior was tapped as COO of Science Applications International Corporation in the fall of 2007, he faced the very challenges shared by many in the industry: uncertainty about federal spending patterns. At the time, SAIC Chairman and CEO Ken Dahlberg offered this vote of confidence: “Larry knows how to help SAIC succeed.” Since then, Prior has lived up to expectations and then some. A former Marine Corps intelligence officer with a “team first” approach, Prior came to his role as COO with a deep knowledge of both SAIC’s culture and the federal market. (He had previously served as president of SAIC’s intelligence, security and technology group, and before then, senior vice president for federal business). As COO, Prior has helped SAIC accelerate its growth. Revenue for fiscal year 2008 topped $8 billion — up 11 percent from fiscal year 2007. SAIC also secured seventeen $100 million plus contract wins and completed acquisitions to expand opportunities in energy, infrastructure, and the environment. These days, the economy and growing talk of a federal overhaul continue to fuel uncertainty. But, as before, we’re likely to see Larry Prior steer SAIC toward further growth — utilizing tactics and strategies, we might add, for others in the industry to watch and learn from.

SAIC Inc. F4Q09 (Qtr End 01/31/09) Earnings Call Transcript

...By now I presume you would have read our press release and certainly in my view, the fourth quarter was a terrific finish to a great year; reaching the $10 billion revenue milestone as we celebrate our 40th anniversary; well, it’s just icing on the cake. I feel that we really hit our stride as a public company.

In this past fiscal year, we executed on all the commitments that we made as part of our initial public offering. Our major financial results, including revenue, operating margin, earnings per share, and cash flow, were strong for the quarter and the year. We make no mistake; this performance was no accident.

We laid out our approach for transforming the company, creating more focus in the marketplace, collaborating as one SAIC, making bigger bets on emerging strategic trends, and that approach is paying off. Since our performance has been steady and predictable, most of the questions that we’re getting from investors deal with the federal budget and the federal contracting environment. There have been major changes to both, but our overall financial outlook is essentially unchanged.

On the budget front, the President signed the $410 billion omnibus, that provides an average 8% increase for non-defense agencies, and he signed a $787 billion stimulus package. Our largest customers and programs are in national security, but we see potential upside in the stimulus package, especially around our energy efficiency, border and port security, and healthcare IT offerings...

Standards body investigates C4I security tagging

* By Joab Jackson
* Mar 23, 2009

The Object Management Group's (OMG) working group for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) has begun investigating the possibility of either developing or adopting a set of standardized security tags that different service commands could use to share information among themselves, as well as with intelligence agencies and foreign military services.

Meeting this week at an OMG conference held in Washington, the group is investigating whether any existing Extensible Markup Language-based (XML) standards will work for this task, or if it should develop a new set of tags entirely. The tags will be used by the middleware that bridges different C4I systems.

When military data is passed from one system to another, the classification, or sensitivity level, of the data is frequently needed to determine how that data is processed. Without a previously agreed-upon definition of sensitivity level, the data must be channeled through point-to-point exchanges, which can be cumbersome to set up, or even conveyed by hand. A set of tags, if used by all the parties in a transaction, would provide a universal way of understanding the sensitivity of information being transmitted. Ideally, the tags would be used by the combat systems of multiple countries, so that allied forces could share information.

It’s not what you know, it’s who else knows it too

Anne Johnstone April 02 2009

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you

What was once a wistful lament for lost love now reads like an anthem for the surveillance society. The problem is that not enough of us are singing it. And many of those who do are dismissed as paranoid or geeks.

The privacy issue flared briefly when Google Street View arrived in Britain a fortnight ago. In among the blushes over illicit stolen kisses and the luckless bloke caught urinating, there was a flurry of genuine unease about abusive men snooping on fleeing partners or the government peering through our windows. In reality, because it does not use real-time images, it's only marginally useful as a surveillance tool.

By contrast, the revelation this week that the UK government is party to talks about installing a "communication box" in all new cars, capable of tracking drivers right across Europe, barely made the news. This idea will be sold to us as "a good thing", you can depend on it. It could mean an end to those frustrating waits at traffic lights when there's nothing coming the other way. It could divert you around traffic jams and reserve you a parking space at your destination. The big "but" is that it will enable anyone with access to the data to trace your car within one metre at any time, which, as the EU Data Protection Supervisor conceded recently, will have a "great impact on rights to privacy and data"...

Classical archaeologist to lecture on surveillance in ancient world

By Josh Schonwald
News Office

Hidden cameras, electronic records of consumer purchases, satellite images that can track movement with pinpoint precision. Surveillance is an accepted part of life, but the practice of closely observing and scrutinizing others is not unique to the modern, high-tech era—surveillance is more than 2,000 years old.

Renowned classical archaeologist Susan Alcock will show the pervasiveness of surveillance in the ancient world, and what it implies for the understanding of ancient cultures in early April when she delivers the Department of Art History’s Louise Smith Bross Lectures.

Alcock will give three lectures, drawing on historical and archaeological examples from the Mediterranean and the Near East, in the series titled “Some Archaeologies of Surveillance.”...

London: Solidarity demo - 1pm, Bank

Published: Thursday 02 April 2009 by Solidarity Against Police Repression!

In response to the death of a protestor during the demonstrations against the G20 in the City of London on the 1st April 2009, a solidarity demonstration will assemble at Bank at 1pm.

The aim of the assembly is to:

* mark the death of the protestor,
* call for an independent police inquiry
* show solidarity against the enormous police repression that happened against protestors outside the Bank, the Climate Exchange and elsewhere in the City of London.

Any witnesses to this event or any other act of police violence against demonstrators is advised to write a full statement as soon as they possibly can, sign and date it, and give a copy it to a trusted other party. These statements should be given to Bindmans Solicitors (contactable on 020 7833 4433) and the Legal Monitoring groups present at the demonstrations. Information can also be sent to Indymedia London: (this is a private email address).

~ Indymedia London ~

Hersh: Cheney ‘left a stay behind’ in Obama’s government, can ‘still control policy up to a point’

Matt Corley reports at Think Progress :

In an interview on NPR's Fresh Air yesterday, host Terry Gross asked investigative journalist Seymour Hersh if, as he continues to investigate the Bush administration, “more people” were “coming forward” to talk to him now that “the president and vice president are no longer in power.” Hersh replied that though “a lot of people that had told me in the last year of Bush, 'call me next, next February,' not many people had talked to him. He implied that they were still scared of Cheney.

“Are you saying that you think Vice President Cheney is still having a chilling effect on people who might otherwise be coming forward,” asked Gross. “I'll make it worse,” answered Hersh, adding that he believes Cheney “put people back” in government to “stay behind” in order to “tell him what's going on” and perhaps even “do sabotage”:

HERSH: I'll make it worse. I think he's put people left. He's put people back. They call it a stay behind. It's sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you've driven out the, you know, you've lost the war. You leave people behind. It's a stay behind that you can continue to contacts with, to do sabotage, whatever you want to do. Cheney's left a stay behind. He's got people in a lot of agencies that still tell him what's going on. Particularly in defense, obviously. Also in the NSA, there's still people that talk to him. He still knows what's going on. Can he still control policy up to a point? Probably up to a point, a minor point. But he's still there. He's still a presence.

~ more... ~

THX1138 - Original student film by George Lucas

More from London

DN! G20 - Tens of thousands gather to protest in the streets

Democracy Now! Amy Goodman:

As Obama Arrives in London for G20, Tens of Thousands Gather to Protest in the Streets

President Obama is in London today ahead of the G20 summit, where world leaders are gathering to discuss the global economic crisis. Tens of thousands of protesters from around the world are gathering in London to demonstrate against the G20 talks and call for economic justice and environmental accountability. Several large demonstrations directed at the failed banking and financial sectors are expected today, April 1st, which some protest organizers are calling Financial Fools Day. We speak with Walden Bello of Focus on the Global South.

London calling: Meltdown G20

Assorted videos

The Clash - London Calling
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