Posts Tagged ‘social control’

Perhaps social media doesn’t kill people, it’s governments that kill people, and Western tech firms just follow the law. But whatever else you use Facebook or Twitter for, don’t believe the hype – they’re not your friends.
By Robin Tudge | New Internationalist Blog

The popular uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East started with the overthrow of Tunisia’s authoritarian government. But was it a ‘Twitter revolution’ or a ‘Facebook revolution’ (or indeed a Wikileaks revolution)? Which company has the greater claim, Google cannot say. Yet, one might think it’s the greatest revolution of people power, democracy and human rights seen since the Berlin Wall fell. With uprisings razing across two continents, social media has undergone some sublime feat of corporate rebranding. Facebook and Twitter have become synonymous with the democratic aspirations and empowerment of people worldwide, wherein those millions of brave citizens risking their lives by overthrowing decades-old dictatorships have become free extras in an epic viral marketing exercise, propagated by social media.

Well, that’s when social media isn’t being used to crush opponents. Egyptian police used Facebook and Twitter to track down protesters’ names before ‘rounding them up’, and Egypt’s military never really lost control.

Elsewhere, police forces use Facebook to pettier ends. New Delhi police’s Facebook page allows tens of thousands of citizens to denounce and upload photographic evidence of traffic violations, enabling the issuing of hundreds of tickets. But social media is so easily used for remote monitoring to pre-empt dissent. Hence, British and European police forces need not spend time and money with potentially embarrassing infiltration efforts a la Mark Kennedy. Instead, under the direction of the UK’s National Policing Improvement Agency, some 3,500 police and detectives are being trained to track social networking sites for allegations of domestic violence, rape and honour crimes, as well as any political movements considered a likely danger.

Anyone can legally and freely follow a Tweet thread with all its opinions, plots and real-time updates. Indeed, the Inspectorate of His Majesty specifies that the British security forces should focus on social network surveillance as protestors use them via mobile phones to plan – and change plans – ‘in minutes… police officials in charge should plan their actions with the possibility in mind.’

And both protesters and police use social media to spread their messages. During the siege of Fortnum & Mason and the battle of Trafalgar Square, protesters’ were met tweet for tweet by the Met making its case for coshing and kettling. A more sustained campaign is the US Military’s $200 million Operation Earnest Voice. Avatars working on Facebook et al act as ‘sock puppets’ to spread positive propaganda across extremist, non-US-based networks. At first, it countered extremism in post-Saddam Iraq but has since expanded to anywhere or anyone considered to be extremist, like anti-war or anti-arms industry protestors or environmental activisits.

Up to the early 1990s, telecommunications monitoring was dominated by ECHELON, a global network dominated by the US, with support from the UK, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand intelligence agencies. But globalisation and the Internet have enabled global monitoring to become less of a clandestine state enterprise than a privatised matter, and services from Google Alerts to enable any entity to monitor to some extent who and what is being said about certain subjects.

Meanwhile, the 2001 Patriot Act allows the US government to demand all the data that passes through the clutches of US companies working abroad. Facebook is a US firm, with nearly a tenth of the world’s population profiled. We must assume that updates and data are routinely filtered through CIA, NSA or FBI supercomputers – including not only how much you drank last night, or the last protest you attended, but everything your friends did, too, the kind of guilt by association that leads innocent Americans and Europeans to end up on No Fly Lists, and innocent Muslims to suffer Extraordinary Rendition.

Last December the US Department of Justice demanded that Twitter hand over account details – connection records, sessions, IP addresses, email and residential addresses, bank account and credit card details – of Julian Assange and Private Bradley Manning, but also those of Birgitta Jonsdottir, a former volunteer for Wikileaks and now an MP in Iceland, prompting an official complaint from the Icelandic government. As the DoJ is telling the world, anyone’s online work and identity can and will be retrieved wherever they themselves may be in the world.

Too often people disclose way too much information about themselves. However, social media firms are working hard to batter down data protection and privacy laws. Facebook is notorious for abruptly changing its privacy settings to leave profiles and data exposed to the world and its marketing algorithms, while countless apps stream out users’ data in real time.

Facebook also has dedicated lobbyists in Brussels and Washington who attempt to convince government officials to ‘understand our philosophy’and prevent them from passing laws preventing ‘the beneficial sharing of information’.

Facebook meanwhile engages in its own censorship of Christian groups, as is claimed on, at the behest of no one in particular, but governments may still fear Facebook more than its users should. It is blocked in China, whose own state-approved version, Renren, is shortly to float on the US stock market. China’s Market Stalinism shows rampant capitalism prospers at the expense of democracy, and Western tech firms cash in. Google may have abandoned China’s billion-dollar internet market in 2010 as it refused to bow to government censors of its search filters, but this was belated, with Google having submitted to Chinese state censors since 2006, and the company’s ire was only stoked in 2009 when Beijing could or would not prevent hacking attacks on the Gmail accounts of human rights advocates outside China.

However, Bill Gates scoffed that China’s Internet censorship was ‘very limited’ and ‘easy’ to evade, before noting that ignoring a host country’s laws meant ‘you may not end up doing business there’. Gates argues that bringing the Internet to China serves the greater purpose for information sharing – but aiding a totalitarian government to crush dissent is not a step back for two gained on the road to freedom. It is simply a step back, abetting oppression for the sake of profit. Microsoft has censored the China-sourced content of its blog service Windows Live Spaces, and AOL, Skype and Yahoo! are among those that agree. In 2004, Yahoo! gave Chinese police the details of dissident journalist Shi Tao, who ended up being imprisoned for 10 years.

Google, Facebook and Twitter are not evil per se, they are just profitable firms providing a tool that is put to ends good or ill. Perhaps social media doesn’t kill people, it’s governments that kill people, and Western tech firms just follow the law. But whatever else you use Facebook or Twitter for, don’t believe the hype – they’re not your friends.

If you haven’t yet enabled encrypted backups for your iPhone or iPad, now’s definitely the time to start. Two security researchers have discovered a simple way to map out where you’ve been almost anywhere in the world—without any hacking involved. The information comes from a location cache file found within your iPhone’s backups on your Mac or PC, bringing out serious privacy concerns and opening the door for a jealous spouse, thief, or even a crafty trojan to take a detailed look at your whereabouts. And it’s information that no one should have access to—not even law enforcement, barring a court order.

Researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden revealed their findings on Wednesday ahead of their presentation at the Where 2.0 conference taking place in San Francisco. The two discovered that the iPhone or 3G iPad—anything with 3G data access, so no iPod touch—are logging location data to a file called consolidated.db with latitude and longitude coodinates and a timestamp. The data collection appears to be associated with the launch of iOS 4 last June, meaning that many users (us at Ars included) have nearly a year’s worth of stalking data collected.

In order to drive the point home, the two developed an open source application called iPhone Tracker that lets anyone with access to your computer see where you’ve been. For example, my log appears to start on June 23, 2010 (one day before the launch of the iPhone 4) and shows nearly every trip I’ve ever taken since then and when. You can see that I seem to spend most of my time in Chicago and occasionally the suburbs, with road trips down to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Wichita. I also fly to New York City and San Francisco, and I have a few dots at the Tokyo Narita airport when I traveled through there in October.

Where in the world is Jacqui Cheng?
Slightly more zoomed in look at my whereabouts

What’s not shown is a week-long trip I took to Hong Kong in October. Why? Because I left my iPhone’s cellular and data connections turned off and only used GPS with WiFi while I was there. But if I know I used GPS in Hong Kong in order to make geotagged tweets and photos, shouldn’t it show up in this log file? The answer is no, and the reason behind it should scare you.

Court order required—or not

From the end-user point of view, Apple only does one kind of location tracking, and it happens via GPS. The company makes sure to notify you on your iPhone or iPad every time you use an app that will grab your GPS location so that you’re always informed of when you’re being tracked. However, that’s not all that’s going on behind the scenes. Apple also triangulates your location from cell phone towers and logs that information in order to help get a faster GPS lock (or to find your location without GPS if you’re getting bad GPS signal).

Allan and Warden point out in their iPhone Tracker FAQ that this is indeed the method Apple is using in the consolidated.db file, and this is also the reason users might see strange iPhone Tracker dots in places they haven’t been.

“As far as we can tell, the location is determined by triangulating against the nearest cell-phone towers. This isn’t as accurate as GPS, but presumably takes less power,” they wrote. “In some cases it can get very confused and temporarily think you’re several miles from your actual location, but these tend to be intermittent glitches.”

Users don’t get to decide whether their locations are tracked via cell towers or not—unlike GPS, there is no setting that lets users turn it off, there’s no explicit consent every time it happens, and there’s no way to block the logging. (Nitpickers will point out that you do give your consent to iTunes when you download and install iOS 4, but this is not treated the same way as the consent given to the iPhone every time an app wants to use GPS.) So, whether or not you’re using GPS, if you’re using your iPhone as a cell phone, you are being tracked and logged constantly without your knowledge. This is why my trip to Hong Kong wasn’t logged (because I had all cell connections turned off while GPS was on), but my stop-over in Tokyo Narita on the same trip was logged (I had turned on my phone to make a quick call, but did not use GPS).

Of course, the fact that this data exists somewhere is nothing new. Cell companies have been tracking this triangulation information for their own purposes for years. In the US, however, regular people cannot access that data—law enforcement must obtain a court order before they can get it for an investigation, and your jealous spouse can’t get it from the wireless company at all.

What the cellco has on you is now basically being mirrored in a file on your iPhone or iPad without any kind of encryption, and is also being copied to your computer. (Allan and Warden say that, according to their research, no other phones log triangulated cell locations in this way, including Android phones.) And, if you leave iTunes on the default syncing settings, your iPhone backups aren’t being encrypted on the computer either, making tools like iPhone Tracker possible.

Who has access now?

So your iPhone—and probably your computer—now both have a file that mirrors data that was previously limited to law enforcement, which itself was only able to obtain it from a court order. Without encrypted backups, someone who has access to your computer can see your whereabouts. “By passively logging your location without your permission, Apple have made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movements,” the team wrote.

But even if you check the box to encrypt your iPhone backups on the computer, the file is still unencrypted on your iPhone, and it wouldn’t be hard for someone with ill intentions to access it.

“Anyone with a good jailbreaking tool could get it off the phone too. And of course my forensics tools,” iPhone hacker and forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski told Ars. “In fact even the old SSH worms (which are still effective on a large number of handsets) could be modified to collect this. It’s part of the Core Location cache on the phone. So, it’s not a covert, evil, Big Brother secret invisible file, but Apple has been administratively lazy in their programming, which is the root cause of most data leaks on the iPhone.”

Security expert and repeat Pwn2Own champion Charlie Miller was slightly less pessimistic about who can access the file, but agreed that it wouldn’t be trivial for an experienced iPhone tinkerer.

“This file is only readable by root. That means that a rogue App Store app won’t be able to read it. Even a bad guy who hacks into your browser won’t be able to read it,” Miller told Ars. However, remote hackers can make use of two separate exploits—a code execution exploit and a privilege escalation exploit—which Miller points out have been available before in the form of (a tool that allowed users to jailbreak their devices through a Web page on the Internet).

Although Apple makes an effort to patch security holes as they come up, the jailbreak community is constantly working on new ways to gain access to previously forbidden files—if something like Jailbreakme existed before, it could exist again.

“It is bad for privacy this file exists, especially when it doesn’t seem to be linked to any particular feature that provides any benefit,” Miller said. “[T]here is no easy way to wipe the data from it.”

Implications for Apple

Zdziarski says the iPhone has actually been logging this location data for longer than a year, but it wasn’t so easily accessible before the launch of iOS 4 in mid-2010.

“The iPhone has been keeping caches of user location data for quite some time now. iOS 4 made it a little easier to get to, but law enforcement has been using data like this since around 2009 to build evidence against criminals using the iPhone,” Zdziarski told Ars. “Similar data has been cached in different files prior to iOS 4. [The cache revealed today] is a bit more aggressive and centralized, making it easier to access by normal folks.”

Apple did not respond to our questions about how long it has been logging the location data, but it’s clear that the reason the issue is coming to light now is because of this easy access. Zdziarski added that the iPhone in general “leaks like a sieve,” and warned that consumers should consider the possible implications to their personal privacy with today’s discovery.

Privacy advocates are taking things a step further by calling out Apple for abusing user trust. “Apple has some explaining to do. iPhone owners place a great deal of trust in Apple, and Apple has a responsibility not to abuse that trust,” Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy researcher and regular Ars contributor Timothy B. Lee said.

“This incident raises questions about whether Apple is serious about user privacy,” Lee continued. “If this was an accident, Apple needs to fix the problem and put in place procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If the data is being collected deliberately, perhaps in preparation for a future product, Apple should have clearly notified users and given them an opportunity to opt out.”

Apple told Congress last July that all location data collected by the iPhone remains private. According to Apple lead counsel Bruce Sewell, Apple does collect anonymous location data from iPhones in an effort to improve its own database of cell tower and WiFi hotspot locations, but that it only does this with user consent. The discovery made by Allan and Warden clearly shows that this is happening constantly without explicit consent like Apple treats GPS, however, and it sure isn’t anonymous when it’s accessible directly from the user’s device.

So, is there anywhere you’ve been in the last year that you don’t want anyone to know about?

Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University wrote the following opinion piece on a new political strategy to silence protestors by making them pay compensation to large coal companies, running into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tackle Big Coal at your own risk

As alarm among scientists about runaway global warming intensifies so do efforts by the coal industry and its backers in government to stifle citizen protests.

This week in Newcastle campaigners from the Rising Tide group face prosecution for a protest last September that shut down for a day the city’s two coal export terminals operated by Port Waratah Coal Services. PWCS is a company owned by mining giants Rio Tinto and Xstrata.

Those who engage in civil disobedience expect to face the legal consequences. But PWCS has upped the ante by asking the police to prosecute seven activists under victims-of-crime laws, demanding they hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

In an Orwellian inversion of the meaning of words, corporate goliaths whose activities threaten the conditions of life on earth – whose daily business is already, according to the World Health Organisation, contributing to tens of thousands of deaths around the world each year – claim they are being victimised.

The coal industry’s action is designed to have a chilling effect on protests against burning and exporting coal. PWCS’s action has all the hallmarks of a SLAPP, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

The purpose of a SLAPP is to frighten citizens with the loss of their houses and get them bogged down for years in court proceedings. Legal costs can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, chickenfeed for a big corporation but bankruptcy for ordinary citizens.

The intimidatory effect can be paralysing. One favourite tactic is to deliver writs on Christmas Eve so those who receive them have to sweat for a fortnight before they can get legal advice that may allay their fears.

A pattern is emerging in efforts to deter protests against Australia’s coal industry. After meeting with state attorneys-general in December 2008, Martin Ferguson, the federal Energy Minister (and climate science denier), urged state governments to toughen up laws to impede protests against ”energy infrastructure”.

Ferguson seems to have been spooked by opposition to the Hazelwood power plant in Victoria (the dirtiest in the country) and by the acquittal of six Greenpeace activists over a protest at Kingsnorth power station in Britain. The jury accepted they acted to prevent greater harm. Since the meeting with Ferguson, state governments have begun passing draconian legislation aimed specifically at deterring protests against the coal industry.

The Labor government in Victoria introduced harsh new laws against climate change protests, with up to one year’s jail merely for standing in the grounds of a coal-fired power plant, and two years for anyone painting a slogan on a smokestack. The Kingsnorth defence of ”lawful excuse” can no longer be made in Victoria, no matter how much damage Hazelwood is causing to the climate.

In Queensland, the Labor government is considering similar laws. NSW has not yet followed the Victorian example, but since the meeting between Ferguson and the attorneys-general, climate activists have several times been threatened with victims’ compensation claims.

An adverse court decision in Newcastle this week would set an alarming precedent not just for climate activism but for all protests in NSW. A corporation experiencing any disruption due to protests would be emboldened to go after the assets of protesters.

A democracy in which citizens are afraid of going to jail for peacefully protesting or losing their homes because of intimidatory lawsuits is no democracy at all. Yet Labor governments have been as willing as the Howard government was to silence dissenting voices, especially in defence of the energy industries.

Victims’ support legislation was designed to compensate victims of violent crimes, including families of homicide victims, not to provide global corporations with a stick to beat their critics.

The average amount received by a victim of crime in NSW is $12,300. For having its coal loader shut down for a few hours, PWCS is demanding the courts award the company $525,000.

Big Coal has taken the gloves off and has signalled it will use every device available to defend its continued profitability. Its attitude seems to be that if the rights of citizens are collateral damage, then so be it.

(Click on the above image to watch the ad and put it on air)

Good, clean internet censorship? Help get this advert on the air and in the air – on every Qantas flight in the country during the next sitting week of Parliament.

The Government’s test trials on internet censorship are about to end, the results are nearly in and they’re looking to announce their plans to filter all internet activity.

We know exactly where every politician will be – on a Qantas flight to Canberra as Parliament resumes. Your contribution will allow us to show this ad directly to them, and their staff, making it an issue they can’t avoid.

Can you contribute $25, $50, $100 or more to make sure this ad gets on the air?

To accompany the launch of this ad, we’ve teamed up with a host of organisations – from children’s welfare groups to human rights organisations, who have united with us to oppose the Government’s internet filter that will do little to protect children online, other than diverting resources away from where they’re really needed.

Watch the Censordyne video, chip in to take it sky high, and read our joint statement here.

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The Iranian uprising crosses all classes, and it’s neither the result of internet access (especially Twitter) nor CIA involvement, argues Reese Erlich, journalist and author of The Iran Agenda.

F. William Engdahl, Larry Everest, Catherine Lutz and Cynthia Enloe, and Ellen Brown are guests on The Global Research News Hour

Host: Stephen Lendman, June 22-26
– 2009-06-26
Obama’s Financial Reform Proposal: A Stealth Scheme for Global Monetary Control

– by Stephen Lendman – 2009-06-24
Peruvian government forced to repeal Amazon free trade decrees

– by Luis Acre – 2009-06-23
Pentagon reviews war planning strategy

– 2009-06-23
Baitullah Mehsud’s Taliban rival shot dead in Pakistan

– by Isambard Wilkinson – 2009-06-23
Obama Regulatory Reform Plan Officially Establishes Banking Dictatorship

– by Paul Joseph Watson, Steve Watson – 2009-06-23
Official: US, Kyrgyz reach deal on using air base

– 2009-06-23
We have created a monster … banks with access to public funds

– by Ian Macwhirter – 2009-06-23
Document points to alleged military plot against Turkish government

– by Sinan Ikinci – 2009-06-23
“Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent”

Review of Marjorie Cohn and Kathleen Gilberd’s book
– by Leslie Thatcher – 2009-06-23
Big Brother in Basel: Are We Trading Financial Stability for National Sovereignty?

– by Ellen Brown – 2009-06-23
National Security Adviser General James Jones to Visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, India

– 2009-06-22
Military contractors eye Africa again

– 2009-06-22
VIDEO: Pulling the World Economy Out of Recession

SCO and BRIC Gain Momentum
– 2009-06-22
Who Will Control Iraq’s Oil?

“Who Knows, We Might Have to Start Importing Crude Oil…”
– by Patrick Cockburn – 2009-06-22
What Actually Happened in the Iranian Presidential Election?

A Hard Look at the Numbers
– by Esam Al-Amin – 2009-06-22
Armed vandals ‘killed civilians’ in Tehran

– 2009-06-22
Unemployment crisis grips US states

– by Tom Eley – 2009-06-22
U.S.- Canada Border Security and Military Integration

– by Dana Gabriel – 2009-06-22
Instead of Real Financial Reform, Obama’s Plan capitulates to Wall Street

– by Prof. Michael Hudson – 2009-06-22
“Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order”

Review of F. William Engdahl’s book
– by Stephen Lendman – 2009-06-22
More than 1 billion people hungry worldwide in 2009

– by Joe Kishore – 2009-06-21
Iran: fear of foreign plotters may be justified

– by Simon Tisdall – 2009-06-21
Iranian leadership feud too close to call

– by Eric Margolis – 2009-06-21
Britain has frozen $1.6 billion in Iranian assets

– 2009-06-21
Iranian Foreign Minister Mottaki says West ‘dramatizing’ riots

– 2009-06-21
Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated “Color Revolution?”

Is This the Culmination of Two Years of Destabilization?
– by Paul Craig Roberts – 2009-06-21
Iran’s supreme leader sets stage for confrontation

– by Peter Symonds – 2009-06-21
UK Foreign Minister Miliband: “The thesis of conspiracy by foreign powers against Iran is peddled vociferously by the regime”

Propaganda Alert
– by Cem Ertür – 2009-06-21
U.S. Govt. Threatens to Prosecute Waterboarding

– by David Swanson – 2009-06-20
North Korea: “Sanity” at the Brink

– by Michael Parenti – 2009-06-20
The number of starving people in the world has exceeded one billion

– 2009-06-20
Mumia Abu-Jamal: Grave injustice

Open Letter to US Attorney General Holder
– by Cynthia McKinney – 2009-06-20
Towards an Inflationary Depression

A macroeconomic review
– by Bob Chapman – 2009-06-20
Destroying Indigenous Populations

– by Dahr Jamail – 2009-06-20

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CIA cleaner

CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: “We’ll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us.” The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be “communists,” but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious “School of the Americas.” (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the “School of the Dictators” and “School of the Assassins.” Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an “American Holocaust.”

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.

The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington’s will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator’s control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this “boomerang effect” include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.

The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed — it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.

The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA [click on the link below]. (1)


… and much more – a long list of articles on current political topics by Global Research. I like GR because its critical perspective shines a torchlight onto the otherwise pretty meaningless and superficial news coverage of the mainstream press. The articles listed below were posted between the 2nd and 12th of June 2009.

And if you like any of the articles, please support Global Research as they rely on the financial support of their readers.

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The list represents a collection of recent articles by the Global Research Institute:

Sid Shniad, Daniel Estulin, James Petras & Russ Baker on The Global Research News Hour– Host: Stephen Lendman. Program Details, June 1-5 – 2009-06-05

Biopiracy, GM Seeds & Rural India

– by Priya Kumar – 2009-06-02

The Economic Crisis in Australia

– by Peter Murray – 2009-06-01

Is Larry Summers Taking Kickbacks From the Banks He’s Bailing Out?

– by Mark Ames – 2009-06-01

Grand Theft Auto: The Bankruptcy of General Motors

– by Greg Palast – 2009-06-01

We Can’t Break Up the Financial Giants . . . Or Can We?

– by Washington’s Blog – 2009-06-01

“The True Story of the Bilderberg Group” and What They May Be Planning Now

A Review of Daniel Estulin’s book
– by Stephen Lendman – 2009-06-01

Danger of Military Conflict over Arctic? Battle For Resources May Intensify

– 2009-06-01

Homeland Security to Scan Fingerprints of Travellers Exiting the US

– by Brett Winterford – 2009-05-31

World Farmers’ alliance Challenges Food Profiteers

Review of Annette Aurélie Desmarais’ book
– by John Riddell – 2009-05-31

Is Obama Truly Serious on Ending Failed “War on Drugs”

– by Sherwood Ross – 2009-05-31

Iraq: The Return of the Resistance

– by Dahr Jamail – 2009-05-31


UK protest

George Monbiot is reflecting on the repression of dissent in the UK, with the help of draconian legislation, happily enforced by the police. The latter even gets away with murdering the innocent, just like in those dictatorships our self-styled Western democracies regard as inferior systems of governance. But was there ever a time in history in which forces of law and so-called order were known to uphold and protect the true spirit of democracy, rather than the aenemic and de-spirited interpretation of a ruling elite. Not that I know of.

Of course, this current drift towards a police state is not just happening in Britain; so-called terrorism, whose root causes have never triggered main stream’s self-reflection, gave Western governments a welcome opportunity to curb all kinds of dissent, no matter how peaceful and, of course, how valid and justified it is. And nothing will change either in the UK or anywhere else in the Western world – unless people en masse force a change not just of government but governance. Not holding my breath though.

The Barbarians at the Gate

Why has policing in Britain gone so mad?

May 23, 2009 By George Monbiot
George Monbiot’s ZSpace Page / ZSpace

The principal cause of man’s unhappiness is that he has learnt to stay quietly in his own room. If our needs are not met, if justice is not done, it is because we are not prepared to leave our homes and agitate for change. Blaise Pascal (“the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his own room”) couldn’t have been more wrong.

We do not starve, we are not arbitrarily imprisoned, we may vote, travel and read and write what we wish only because of the political activism of previous generations. Almost all MPs, when pushed, will acknowledge this. Were it not for public protest they wouldn’t be MPs.

Yet, though the people of this country remain as mild and as peaceful as they have ever been, our MPs have introduced a wider range of repressive measures than at any time since the second world war. A long list of laws – the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act, Terrorism Act 2000, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the 2005 Serious Crime and Police Act and many others – treat peaceful protesters as if they are stalkers, vandals, thugs and terrorists. Thousands of harmless, public-spirited people now possess criminal records. This legislation has been enforced by policing which becomes more aggressive and intrusive by the month. The police attacks on the G20 protests (which are about to be challenged by a judicial review launched by Climate Camp) are just the latest expression of this rising state violence. Why is it happening?