statism watch

Archive for October 19th, 2009

U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Facebook, too – everyone’s favourite outlet for the minutest details of their lives – had, or has, a connection to In-Q-Tel. And in case you’re a mite skeptical about whether it’s of any importance whether someone in company A also sits on the board of company B while investing in company C, I’d invite you to do some research on the purpose and function of shell, or dummy corporations. Interlocking board memberships are just the way corporations move money around in order to obscure its source. When it comes to the CIA, In-Q-Tel is just the tip of the iceberg.

Flashback: Report: Massive FBI database set to quadruple in size | EU Plans Massive Surveillance Panopticon That Would Monitor “Abnormal Behavior” | US Police to get access to classified military intelligence | Obama Backs Extending Patriot Act Spy Provisions | UK plans to integrate ‘cybersecurity’ centre with US, Canada | US Federal Judge Tosses Telecom Spy Suits | Showdown in NSA Wiretap Case: Judge Threatens Sanctions Against Justice Department | NSA Surveillance Exploding, Americans Wiretapped Beyond Congressional Limits | Put NSA in Charge of Cyber Security, Or the Power Grid Gets It | NSA Dominance of Cybersecurity Would Lead to ‘Grave Peril’, Ex-Cyber Chief Tells Congress | New law to give police access to online exchanges | Whistleblower: NSA even collected credit card records | RCMP to helm a Canadian “cyber-security strategy” | Big brother to track all emails, internet history and telephone calls under UK plan | US military targets social nets | ‘Einstein’ replaces ‘Big Brother’ in Internet surveillance | UK Security services want personal data from sites like Facebook | Secret EU security draft risks uproar with call to pool policing and give US personal data | Vision 2015: Consolidation of U.S. Intelligence Into Global Intel Network | Bush approves surveillance bill | Sweden approves wiretapping law | Secretive Canadian spy agency to get $62-million HQ | Whistle-Blower: Feds Have a Backdoor Into Wireless Carrier – Congress Reacts | Canada working with FBI on ’server in the sky’ | Listening in on the enemy: Canada’s master eavesdroppers

Noah Shachtman,
October 19, 2009

America’s spy agencies want to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates – even check out your book reviews on Amazon.

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using ”open source intelligence” – information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the flood of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports generated every day.

Visible crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. (It doesn’t touch closed social networks, like Facebook, at the moment. [Ed. Note: Though that's being worked on]) Customers get customized, real-time feeds of what’s being said on these sites, based on a series of keywords.


Refugee flood reveals human cost of South Waziristan’s invisible war

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Related: Sri Lanka journalist gets 20 years in jail for exposing state abuse | Tamils languish in Sri Lankan camps | Sri Lanka has ‘nothing to hide’ yet detains, deports Bob Rae enroute to observe camps | UN chief flies into Sri Lanka as Tamils herded into camps | Quarter of a million Sri Lankans face two years in camps

Declan Walsh, The Guardian
October 19, 2009

Pakistani forces accused of hitting civilians, up to 260,000 people may flee battle against Taliban

The war in South Waziristan started early for Ghufran. As Pakistani warplanes pounded the Taliban stronghold of Ladha last week, in preparation for the ground offensive now under way, the 11-year-old boy and his family scrambled to safety across a range of jagged mountains.

They left behind a broken home, destroyed by the air force, but also something much more precious. Ghufran said his father stayed on to guard the family’s worldly wealth: four goats, three sheep and a donkey. “I miss him already. I wish he came with us,” the schoolboy said, a shadow falling across his face.


War resister takes refuge in Vancouver church

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Flashback: Liberal MP introduces war resisters bill | Federal website changes undermine Iraq resisters: critics | Canadian Parliament votes again to let U.S. war resisters stay | War resister Kimberly Rivera gets 11th hour stay from deportation | U.S. war resister gets temporary stay of removal | Resisters of a ‘dumb’ war | Kenney’s comments prejudice hearings for war resisters, critics say | U.S. war resister, mother of 3 must leave Canada | Federal government orders U.S. war resister deportedAnother U.S. War Resister to be deported | U.S. War Resister ’surprised’ deportation order stayed | National Day of Action as Protesters Urge Vote to Let War Resisters Stay | U.S. deserter feared torture orders | Early U.S. war deserter ordered deported | U.S. army war resister’s deportation sparks outrage | U.S. war resister Corey Glass granted stay of deportation order | U.S. deserter wins appeal | MPs vote to give asylum to U.S. deserters, Tories say no | U.S. soldier who fled to Canada ordered deported

CBC News
October 19, 2009

A U.S. military deserter has sought sanctuary in a Vancouver church to avoid deportation and imprisonment in his home country.

Rodney Watson was given sanctuary at First United Church on Sept. 18, days after his refugee claim was rejected, it was learned Monday.

Watson, 31, fears he will be sent to prison and separated from his fiancée and infant son if he is forced to return to the U.S.

Watson joined the U.S. army in 2004 and spent a year in Iraq. He later came to Canada after learning he’d have to go back to Iraq for one more year.

He said he deserted because of the racial hatred he witnessed against the Iraqis during his first tour of duty.


Pass climate bill before UN summit, Layton says

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Here we see a battle between politics, money and power on one side – and scientific objectivity on the other. Unfortunately, the picture is much muddier than is being presented in the press, and the public players may in fact not be playing for the teams we think they are. Where does this leave Layton -is he a manipulable globalist pawn? a shill for the big money interests backing Copenhagen? To give the guy the benefit of the doubt, it’s quite possible that he’s just as caught up in the propaganda as anyone else. To be quite honest, this journal has no idea and will be investing some efforts to find out. Watch this space.

Update (2009/10/22): The Liberals will not be helping push this bill through on Layton’s timeline.

Flashback: Lord Nicholas Stern: The world’s future is being decided this weekend | Thatcher science adviser: Copenhagen goal is world government | UN plans ’shock therapy’ for world leaders at Copenhagen summit | German Scientists Call for ‘World Climate Bank’ | G8 Summit: Rich nations to pay green tab | Canada to match U.S. climate change rules | US Congress Passes the 1,200-page Climate Bill that it was not allowed to read | Climate Cops To Fine “Wasteful” Homeowners & Businesses | Obama targets US public with call for climate action | Obama to stake reputation on fast-tracked climate bill | Ontario unveils cap-and-trade legislation | Economic stabilization may rely on carbon economy, economist says | NRTEE Carbon Market Panel is ‘Round Table on Socialist Planning’ | Climate panel presses for federal cap-and-trade system | Obama, Gore, tied to Chicago carbon exchange | U.N. ‘Climate Change’ Plan Would Likely Shift Trillions to Form New World Economy | U.N. Environment Head Wants Global Warming Tax | Time to emulate Roosevelt’s New Deal and create green jobs | EU calls for global carbon trading system to fight climate change | Ontario joins continental WCI cap-and-trade scheme | B.C. carbon tax kicks in on Canada Day | They call it cap and trade, but it’s just another fuel tax | Quebec, Ontario sign historic climate pact | Every adult in Britain should be forced to carry ‘carbon ration cards’, say MPs

Heather Scoffield, Canadian Press
October 19, 2009

Delaying vote on greenhouse-gas legislation until after Copenhagen conference would force Canada to ‘stand naked before the world’

NDP Leader Jack Layton says parliamentarians have a chance this week to restore Canada’s reputation as a protector of the environment, just in time for the high-stakes Copenhagen meeting on climate change.

Mr. Layton said all the MPs have to do is vote down a Conservative motion on Wednesday. The motion would delay an NDP bill to set out strict greenhouse-gas reduction targets for Ottawa, and require the government to give progress reports.

“We have another delay tactic being proposed,” Mr. Layton said Monday in a message meant to target Liberal MPs in particular.

“If that motion passes, it would be impossible for the bill then to come back before Copenhagen. And Canada would simply have to go and stand naked before the world, with Stephen Harper’s terrible position on climate change.”


Ottawa braces for own eHealth pain

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Flashback: McGuinty dismisses calls for eHealth inquiry | Electronic health is the boondoggle of boondoggles | EHealth scandal a $1B waste: auditor | Ontario health minister quits over $1B scandal | McGuinty had hand in hiring disgraced eHealth CEO | More untendered eHealth spending, Liberal connections emerge | Head of eHealth Ontario is fired amid contracts scandal, gets big package | Personal ties exposed in eHealth’s untendered contracts | Ontario eHealth approved 4.8 million in no-bid contracts | Electronic immunization records needed: Toronto health official

Dean Beeby, Canadian Press
October 19, 2009

OTTAWA—The $1 billion eHealth Ontario scandal that has rocked the provincial government may be a dress rehearsal for its larger counterpart at the federal level.

Canada Health Infoway Inc., which like its Ontario cousin is trying to convert medical records into electronic form, is facing a report from the federal auditor general next month. And the prognosis seems poor for the secretive agency: It has already swallowed $1.6 billion of federal money, before an additional $500 million was earmarked this year under the economic stimulus program.

Like eHealth Ontario, Infoway has made heavy use of outside consultants and has missed deadlines.

Liberal infrastructure critic Gerard Kennedy told the Star’s Susan Delacourt that he questions why the Conservatives would propose shelling out another $500 million to Infoway while it is under scrutiny from the auditor general.

Created in 2001 as an independent non-profit agency, Infoway has been largely exempt from accountability restraints governing most other federal departments, including freedom-of-information and oversight by federal watchdogs.

Unlike all federal departments, the agency is not required to proactively disclose contracts, whether sole-source or otherwise.


US drone ‘shot down over Somalia’

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Flashback: Canada’s military peers into future, sees drone patrols, draft, insurgency | Military spycraft patrols Ontario border from Fort Drum | Homing chips are CIA’s latest weapon against ‘al-Qaida’ targets hiding in Pakistan’s tribal belt | CIA: Our Drones are Killing Terrorists. Promise | Remote-controlled planes could spy on British homes | Predator drones patrolling border irk Manitoba MLA | Report: CIA runs secret bases in Pakistan | U.S. set to launch Predator drones to monitor Manitoba border | Military Tech on the Home Front: Predator drones to begin surveillance of Canada-US border | Hoverdrone to be deployed to Iraq | Kids to Help Create Drones, ‘Fuzzy’ Line to Be Drawn between Military and Civil Spheres | Canadian military acquiring new helicopters, drones | Unmanned spy planes to police Britain | Austin police testing unmanned spy drones | Nunavut taken aback by military plan for drone patrols | U.S. to patrol Manitoba border with drone aircraft

BBC News
October 19, 2009

Islamist insurgents say they have shot down an unmanned US spy drone off the coast of southern Somalia.

An al-Shabab official said the drone had been hit by anti-aircraft fire and had fallen into the Indian Ocean near the port of Kismayo.

The claims could not be independently verified.

US forces last month launched a helicopter raid in southern Somalia and said they had killed a senior al-Qaeda suspect who was working with al-Shabab.

The BBC’s Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the incident increased Islamist suspicions of US activity in Somalia.

He says that, if confirmed, it would be the first time that al-Shabab fighters had shot down a US drone.


UK: Home Office climbs down over keeping DNA records on innocent

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Of course, there’s still a database. And those who want it to expand will be back, as the article makes clear. But a delay is still a victory when it comes to the expansion of national DNA databases.

Flashback: UK: Police ‘must purge innocent DNA’ | UK: Police ‘arrest innocent youths for their DNA’, officer claims | UK: Fury as Commons denied vote on DNA database | UK: DNA details of 1.1m children on database | Controversial US measure would require DNA sampling at arrest | Police to demand blood, urine at roadside stops | Newborn Blood-Storage Law Stirs Fears of DNA Warehouse | Man spends 18 hours in police cell and has his DNA taken for ‘dropping an apple core’ | Widen DNA dragnet: Police Chief Blair

Alan Travis, The Guardian
October 19, 2009

Civil liberty campaigners claim victory, government promises new provisions in next crime bill

Civil liberty campaigners claimed a victory today after the government announced it is dropping current proposals to retain the DNA profiles of innocent people on the national database.

The Home Office has announced that its plan to keep the DNA profiles of those arrested — but never convicted of a crime — for between six and 12 years depending on the seriousness of the offence has been dropped from the policing and crime bill that is going through parliament.

A European court ruling in December found it was unlawful to keep the DNA details of 850,000 innocent people indefinitely on the national database.


Afghan probe voids thousands of Karzai votes

Monday, October 19th, 2009

The other candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, has his own chequered past as well, so it’s not clear is there is a real choice being given to the Afghan people, or if this is just a destabilization tactic.

Flashback: Afghan election appears headed to a second round | I was ordered to cover up President Karzai election fraud, sacked UN envoy says | EU observers say a third of Karzai’s votes might be suspect due to fraud | Afghan vote called ‘mockery’ | Accusations over Afghan vote rigging | Has Karzai overstayed his welcome? | Britain and US prepared to open talks with the Taliban | Afghan President Karzai registers for re-election, picks warlord as running mate | Afghanistan needs 4,000 extra soldiers for elections: NATO | Canadian troops could soon target Afghan drug trade: top soldier | Reports reveal concerns over drug use among Canadian military | Afghan government sacks Kandahar governor | US faces downward spiral in Afghan war, says leaked intelligence report | NATO to let troops fight Afghan drug lords | Karzai’s kin linked to heroin trafficking | Afghani Narco-state Continues to Blossom under Puppet President

Heidi Vogt, Associated Press
October 19, 2009

KABUL — U.N.-backed fraud investigators threw out hundreds of thousands of votes for President Hamid Karzai in the country’s disputed August election, according to a report released Monday. The findings set the stage for a runoff between him and his top challenger.

It was unclear, however, whether the Afghan-led Independent Election Commission would accept the findings of the fraud panel and announce a runoff. Karzai’s spokesman said it was too soon to make a judgment based on the figures released by the panel.

That could mean a further delay in forming a new government that the U.S. believes is needed to help combat the growing Taliban insurgency. A protracted crisis could also lead to political unrest.


UK: 70% oppose internet ban for filesharers, poll shows

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Flashback: Judge in Pirate Bay Appeal Removed for Bias | MP Charlie Angus on copyright: industry lobby pulling for ‘dead business model’ | Pirate Bay Retrial Denied | Stockholm Court: Pirate Bay Judge ‘Unbiased’ | France passes ‘three strikes’ Internet surveillance law | Pirate Bay lawyer calls for retrial after judge confirms ties to copyright groups | Jail terms for Pirate Bay founders, appeal in works

Patrick Wintour, The Guardian
October 19, 2009

Plans to force internet service providers (ISPs) to disconnect suspected illegal downloaders have been roundly rejected in a new YouGov poll, the first time public opinion has been tested on the issue.

Nearly 70% of those surveyed said someone suspected of illegal downloading should have a right to a trial in court before restrictions on internet use were imposed. Only 16% were in favour of automatic curbs based on accusations by copyright holders such as musicians, as is proposed by the business department.

ISPs such as TalkTalk and T-Mobile complain that the government’s proposals expect them to bear the costs of protecting a third party’s rights. They warn that the move will not work because illegal filesharers can avoid detection by encrypting the traffic, or by hijacking someone else’s IP address or using their Wi-Fi network.