Thursday, April 29, 2010

Indian Navy Upgrade

Here's an interesting piece of news, entitled India commissions its first stealth warship April 29, 2010:

MUMBAI: India on Thursday commissioned its first indigenously-built stealth warship with sophisticated features to hoodwink enemy radars and gained entry into a top club of developed countries having such capability.

Inducting 'INS Shivalik', the first of the three-ship Project-17 frigates, at the Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks (MDL), Defence Minister A K Antony called it a red letter day for the armed forces.

The 143-metre-long warship, with 6,000-tonne displacement, has "versatile control systems with signature management and radar cross-section reduction features." The other countries having the capability to build stealth warships are the US, the UK, Russia, France, China, Japan and Italy.


The Navy currently has a 130-warship-strong fleet which includes an aircraft carrier, 20 landing ships, eight destroyers, 12 frigates and 16 attack submarines based in four commands headquartered in Mumbai (Western Naval Command), Visakhapatnam (Eastern Naval Command), Kochi (Southern Naval Command) and Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Joint Command).

Shivalik class warships can deal with multiple threat environment and are fitted with weapon suite comprising both area and point defence systems. It has sensors for air, surface and subsurface surveillance, electronic support and counter equipment and decoys for 'soft kill measures'.


"Shivalik is a steep jump in the indigenous design effort of the Directorate of Naval Design that has since 1954 designed 17 warships of different classes with 80 units built out of them. Currently, there are four designs from which 11 warships are under construction," he said.

See also India commissions its first stealth warship, joins elite club and India commissions its first stealth warship, though the Times of India article gives far more information.

For a target to be detected on radar, it must reflect radar energy back to an enemy detector. Stealth technology consists of minimizing this by 1) reflecting the energy in another direction, 2) absorbing it instead of reflecting it, or 3) transmitting it through the target - though this latter approach may be difficult with a large metal warship. Along with stealth features there are typically measures to reduce the target's heat signature and possibly its acoustic signature, as well:

"INS Shivalik has the latest stealth features to outsmart the enemy with low radar cross section, be it of the hull, infra-red or sound signatures," according to Navy's Director General for Naval Design Rear Admiral K N Vaidhyanathan.

India has two island groups, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the Indian Navy typically stages exercises where their forces have to protect these islands from an attacker, hence the need to project power, including landing ships, naval airpower, and submarines.

A powerful enough naval force would also be useful against India's traditional enemy, Pakistan, as the Indian Navy could conceivably execute a landing on Pakistan's coast, outflanking Pakistan's ground forces along the border. Realistically, the threat of such a landing might be more useful than a landing itself, as Pakistan's army might be tied up defending the coastline against possible Indian attack in many places.

An ability to intervene elsewhere in the Indian Ocean is also significant. Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been dominated by the military since the early 1960's, and has been the scene of anti-government instability in recent years.

In the context of power projection, it is worth considering India's fossil fuel situation. It might be useful to begin by examining natural gas.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Inquisition of the United State, Part 2

In Part 1, we began looking at how executive power was going to grow as a result of Arizona's stupid new law, and then, in a subsequent post, at how Obama could be counted upon to respond to this unconstitutional infringement on the rights of Americans with his own unconstitutional infringement on the rights of Americans - to protect us, of course, from the first unconstitutional infringement on the rights of Americans.

Well, this is quality. From (get this!) the World Socialist Web Site, Obama seizes on Arizona law to push repressive immigration overhaul, dated April 28, 2010:

The anti-immigrant law passed in Arizona last week has caused widespread shock and anger, and a wave of protests in Arizona and across the US.

Senate Bill 1070, passed by Arizona's legislature and signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, requires that police stop any person under the mere "reasonable suspicion" that they may be undocumented immigrants. Anyone found without proper photo identification — a driver's license, passport, or Green Card—may be arrested, imprisoned, and deported. The law makes it a crime for any person, group, or community to shelter undocumented workers, and requires local governments to enforce its measures or face lawsuits.

The law's mandate that police act on the suspicion that an individual may be an illegal immigrant will inevitably lead to the racial targeting of Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and other Hispanic populations. There is nothing in the legislation, moreover, to prevent police from applying its broad powers for warrantless apprehensions to wider layers of the population.


The bitter opposition of millions against the Arizona law is not shared by the Obama administration, the Democratic Party, and American liberalism. Far from condemning the bill for its authoritarian and racist elements, Obama has muted his criticism, calling it "misguided," comments echoed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano—who was elevated to her position based on her own anti-immigrant credentials.

The criticism of the Arizona bill as misguided, "ill-conceived," or "unhelpful" has been echoed by much of the news media. A vaguely-defined movement to boycott Arizona has been launched by Obama's liberal backers, with the city of San Francisco and political opportunist Al Sharpton leading the way.

In fact, the White House and the media have seized on the extreme right-wing Arizona law to promote their own reactionary and anti-democratic immigration agenda—legislation proposed by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, of New York, and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina.

Schumer and Graham spelled out the contours of their initiative in a March 17 column for the Washington Post. The bill's central component would be the creation, in all but name, of an internal passport system.

We call Obama a socialist, but the Obamanistas are so bad, even the socialists (the real ones) don't want anything to do with this guy. (ROFL!)

Of course, as we establish our police state, some planning has to go into this, and we are, of course, lied to about the ramifications. Here is the key information from the proposal by Senators Schumer and Graham:

Our immigration system is badly broken. Although our borders have become far more secure in recent years, too many people seeking illegal entry get through. We have no way to track whether the millions who enter the United States on valid visas each year leave when they are supposed to. And employers are burdened by a complicated system for verifying workers' immigration status.

Last week we met with President Obama to discuss our draft framework for action on immigration. We expressed our belief that America's security and economic well-being depend on enacting sensible immigration policies.


We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card. Each card's unique biometric identifier would be stored only on the card; no government database would house everyone's information. The cards would not contain any private information, medical information or tracking devices. The card would be a high-tech version of the Social Security card that citizens already have.

An internal passport system, just like the Soviet Union used to have. If you get a good one with a Moscow Washington DC stamp on it, you can get in to the heart of power, like Mr. Barack! :)

Of course, Senators Schumer and Graham insist that there would be no government biometric ID database, but there is no way that could be true. From Schumer and Graham on Immigration Reform: Why Not Do it Without the Biometric National ID? dated March 19, 2010:

But the promise not to create a national identity database is almost certainly false.

Let's review how an identity card is issued at a motor vehicle office today: People take the required documents to a DMV and hand them over. If the DMV accepts their documentation, the DMV creates a file about the person containing at least the material that will be printed on the card—including the person’s photograph. Then the DMV gives the person a card.

What would happen if DMVs didn't keep this file? A couple of things—things that make the senators’ claim not to be creating a national identity database highly doubtful.

If there were no file and a card were lost or stolen, for example, the person would have to return to the card issuer again—with all the documents—and run through the entire process again. Because they have databases, DMVs today can produce a new ID and mail it to the address of record based on a phone call or Internet visit. (They each have their own databases — much better than a single database or databases networked together.)

If no file exists, multiple people could use the very same documents to create ID card after ID card after ID card in the same name but with different biometrics. Workers in the card issuing office could accept bribes with near impunity because there would be no documents proving that they had issued cards wrongly. Criminal use of the system would swamp it.

So that they can provide customer service, and for security reasons, state DMVs keep information about license holders, including a biometric of a sort — a photograph. Senators Schumer and Graham may think that they are designing a database-free biometric identity system — such a thing can exist — but the realities they confront will drive it to become a full-scale biometric national identity database.

Yes, indeed, change we can believe in... from the Grand Inquisitor of the United State.

Stick around for Part 3 - there's no telling where this is going - unless, of course, you are familiar with the excesses of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union....

The Empire Strikes Back, Part 2

In Part 1, we briefly considered how the world's Islamic community is, in the international community, pushing through protection for Islam against Islam's critics, even as Christian communities are being destroyed in the same countries seeking the protection of Islam from criticism. And, we briefly wondered how this is developing, whether it is due to fear, political correctness, or something else.

The "something else" that we touched on was possible betrayal by those charged to defend our Constitution.

We begin by examining the situation in the Balkans as it is today and as it is depicted to have been in the past. From NATO's Kosovo War, 11 Years Later, by James Bissett, March 23, 2010:

Eleven years ago NATO opened its bombing campaign against Serbia, illegally and without provocation. It started on March 24, 1999, and continued for 78 days and nights. It was the most intensive air offensive suffered by any country since the end of the Second World War.

Over a thousand people were killed and the civilian infrastructure of Serbia was destroyed, but it proved unable to degrade the Serbian military. It caused far more suffering than it prevented. For the first time since its founding the North Atlantic Alliance, led by the United States, acted in violation of its own treaty and the United Nations Charter by using violence to resolve an international dispute. This illegal act marked a historical turning point and was a fatal step in dismantling the framework of peace and security that had governed international relations since the end of the Second World War. It set precedents that will continue to plague international affairs for years. The bombing also revealed a disturbing reality that has continued to haunt us: the ease with which our democratic countries can be led into committing acts of violence and war by political leaders prepared to tell us lies.

President Clinton, Prime Minister Blair and other NATO leaders told their citizens that the bombing of Serbia was a humanitarian intervention to stop President Milosevic of Serbia from committing genocide and the ethnic cleansing of the Albanian majority in Kosovo. This of course was not true: forensic times have found some 2000 victims of the Kosovo conflict so far – Serbian and Albanian, civilian and military – who had been killed prior to NATO's air war in March 1999. Distressing as this figure may be, it is not genocide. Nevertheless, the accusations that genocide took place in Kosovo continue to be accepted without hesitation by the western media.

The claim about ethnic cleansing was also a falsehood. While it is true that several thousand Albanians had been displaced within Kosovo by the armed conflict between the Serb security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the large-scale exodus of the Albanian population occurred after the bombing started. United Nations figures show that the mass of refugees fled Kosovo after the first bombs began to fall In other words, it was the bombing that caused the flight from Kosovo. Despite the proof of this we continue to hear in the western media that the NATO bombing "stopped ethnic cleansing."

You know, one big reason why the Albanian population was leaving their homes before the bombing was the criminal KLA thugs that we were supporting. From Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base, dated January 16, 1997:

Self-Inflicted Atrocities

Almost since the beginning of the Bosnian war in the spring of 1992, there have been persistent reports -- readily found in the European media but little reported in the United States -- that civilian deaths in Muslim-held Sarajevo attributed to the Bosnian Serb Army were in some cases actually inflicted by operatives of the Izetbegovic regime in an (ultimately successful) effort to secure American intervention on Sarajevo's behalf. These allegations include instances of sniping at civilians as well as three major explosions, attributed to Serbian mortar fire, that claimed the lives of dozens of people and, in each case, resulted in the international community's taking measures against the Muslims' Serb enemies. (The three explosions were: (1) the May 27, 1992, "breadline massacre," which was reported to have killed 16 people and which resulted in economic sanctions on the Bosnian Serbs and rump Yugoslavia; (2) the February 5, 1994, Markale "market massacre," killing 68 and resulting in selective NATO air strikes and an ultimatum to the Serbs to withdraw their heavy weapons from the area near Sarajevo; and (3) the August 28, 1995 "second market massacre," killing 37 and resulting in large-scale NATO air strikes, eventually leading to the Dayton agreement and the deployment of IFOR.) When she was asked about such allegations (with respect to the February 1994 explosion) then-U.N. Ambassador and current Secretary of State-designate Madeleine Albright, in a stunning non sequitur, said: "It's very hard to believe any country would do this to their own people, and therefore, although we do not exactly know what the facts are, it would seem to us that the Serbs are the ones that probably have a great deal of responsibility." ["Senior official admits to secret U.N. report on Sarajevo massacre," Deutsch Presse-Agentur, 6/6/96, emphasis added].

The fact that such a contention is difficult to believe does not mean it is not true. Not only did the incidents lead to the result desired by Sarajevo (Western action against the Bosnian Serbs), their staging by the Muslims would be entirely in keeping with the moral outlook of Islamic radicalism, which has long accepted the deaths of innocent (including Muslim) bystanders killed in terrorist actions. According to a noted analyst: "The dictum that the end justifies the means is adopted by all fundamentalist organizations in their strategies for achieving political power and imposing on society their own view of Islam. What is important in every action is its niy'yah, its motive. No means need be spared in the service of Islam as long as one takes action with a pure niy'yah." [Amir Taheri, Holy Terror, Bethesda, MD, 1987] With the evidence that the Sarajevo leadership does in fact have a fundamentalist outlook, it is unwarranted to dismiss cavalierly the possibility of Muslim responsibility.

So, the Republicans in the Senate were pointing out, all the way back in 1997, that Islamic extremists in the region were inflicting atrocities on Muslims.

But, did the KLA do this kind of thing to Albanians or Muslims in Kosovo? From Four Albanians Convicted of War Crimes (against Albanians)

U.N. War Crimes Court Convicts Four Senior Ethnic Albanian Rebels and Sentences Them to Prison

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro July 16 —

A court convicted four senior ethnic Albanian rebels and sentenced them to prison Wednesday for atrocities committed during their 1998-1999 war against Yugoslav forces in the province of Kosovo.

It was the first time that the United Nations-administered court had convicted anyone of war crimes from the rebel side in the Kosovo conflict.

The three judges sentenced Rrustem Mustafa and three of his associates to prison terms ranging from five to 17 years for ordering the killings, illegal arrests and torture of fellow ethnic Albanians suspected of collaborating with the Serb regime of Slobodan Milosevic.

"In the case of each accused, these acts are qualified as the offense of war crimes," said presiding judge Timothy Clayson of Britain. "No man is above the law."


Mustafa, one of the most senior commanders of the now-defunct Kosovo Liberation Army, received a 17-year sentence for ordering the killings of five Albanians, failing to prevent illegal detention and failing to punish rebel soldiers responsible for abuses.

But, that wasn't the worst of what these KLA goons did. Get a load of this from a Human Rights Watch article entitled Kosovo/Albania: Investigate Postwar Abductions, Transfers to Albania dated May 4, 2008:

Additional information has emerged that bolsters allegations of abductions and cross-border transfers from Kosovo to Albania after the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, Human Rights Watch said today. The Kosovar and Albanian governments should open independent and transparent investigations to help resolve the fate of approximately 400 Serbs who went missing after the war.

"Serious and credible allegations have emerged about horrible abuses in Kosovo and Albania after the war," said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch, who investigated human rights violations in Kosovo and Albania for the organization from 1993-2000. "The Prishtina and Tirana governments can show their commitment to justice and the rule of law by conducting proper investigations."


Human Rights Watch viewed the information the ICTY obtained from the journalists and considers it well researched and credible: seven ethnic Albanians who served in the Kosovo Liberation Army, interviewed separately, gave details about participating in or witnessing the transfer of abducted Serbs and others prisoners from Kosovo into Albania after the war.

According to the journalists’ information, the abducted individuals were held in warehouses and other buildings, including facilities in Kukes and Tropoje. In comparison to other captives, some of the sources said, some of the younger, healthier detainees were fed, examined by doctors, and never beaten. These abducted individuals – an unknown number – were allegedly transferred to a yellow house in or around the Albanian town of Burrel, where doctors extracted the captives' internal organs. These organs were then transported out of Albania via the airport near the capital Tirana. Most of the alleged victims were Serbs who went missing after the arrival of UN and NATO forces in Kosovo. But other captives were women from Kosovo, Albania, Russia, and other Slavic countries.

Whoa! Harvesting the organs of innocent civilians!!

Were the Nazis that bad??

Why is this just now coming out? From Horrors of KLA prison camps revealed, dated April 10, 2009:

It has taken these men 10 years to speak to an outsider about the dark side of the war. They were breaking a code of silence that has held strong in Kosovo.

Very few Kosovo Albanians have publicly revealed crimes committed by their own side. And for good reason. Witnesses who have agreed to provide testimony for prosecutions of KLA commanders have faced intimidation and death threats.

Some have been killed, according to United Nations officials in Kosovo.

So, the story of KLA goons killing ethnic Albanians continues to the present, in part to cover up past crimes.

Okay, back to NATO's Kosovo War, 11 Years Later:

In reality the bombing of Serbia had nothing to do with genocide or ethnic cleansing. The bombing had everything to do with demonstrating that NATO was still a viable military organization and was needed in Europe. There is ample evidence now to show that the United States and British secret services aided and abetted the KLA in its efforts to use violence to destabilize Kosovo and to create the excuse for NATO intervention.

An excuse for NATO intervention, on the side of KLA terrorists linked to Islamic extremists from around the world -- terrorists who murder innocent civilians and traffic in stolen body parts, among other things... now why would anyone need an excuse to intervene on their side?

You know, there is a great deal of fossil fuel reserves in the Caspian Basin. From there, it can ship through the Turkish Straits - though that is certainly a bottleneck. Or, it can come out some other way, but Russia controls, directly or indirectly, many of these other ways....

From A discreet deal in the pipeline, dated February 15, 2001:

The project has been discussed for years. The US trade agency notes that the Trans-Balkan pipeline "will become a part of the region's critical east-west Corridor 8 infrastructure ... This transportation corridor was approved by the transport ministers of the European Union in April 1994". The pipeline itself, the agency says, has also been formally supported "since 1994". The first feasibility study, backed by the US, was conducted in 1996.

The pipeline does not pass through the former Yugoslavia, but there's no question that it featured prominently in Balkan war politics. On December 9 1998, the Albanian president attended a meeting about the scheme in Sofia, and linked it inextricably to Kosovo. "It is my personal opinion," he noted, "that no solution confined within Serbian borders will bring lasting peace." The message could scarcely have been blunter: if you want Albanian consent for the Trans-Balkan pipeline, you had better wrest Kosovo out of the hands of the Serbs.

So, this is about oil, right? That's why we have been supporting the KLA?

Well, for some people, yes.

But for others, providing a supply of oil to the West is just the cover story for why we are supporting these thugs in the Balkans.

Please watch for Part 3.

(Harvesting the organs of civilian captives... and we Americans bombed Serbia to help these guys....)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tale of a Tiger, Part 1

We begin with an excerpt from Pravda, entitled China To Support Only Harmless Sanctions against Iran, dated April 21, 2010:

China does not intend to support radical sanctions against Iran that could stop its nuclear program, says the statement made on April 20th by Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu. She stated that Beijing insisted on a diplomatic solution of Iran's nuclear issue, explaining that "dialogue and negotiations" are the most efficient methods.

"We have stated many times that the six countries launching the talks in New York does not mean that the door is shut to dialogue and negotiations," she said, referring to the six permanent Security Council members (Russia, USA, China, France, Great Britain and Germany) that discussed additional sanctions against Iran in New York on April 15.

The statement came as a shock to those who counted on serious changes in China's position regarding the Iran issue. In the beginning of 2010 Beijing seemed to be prepared to soften its position of unwillingness to discuss a new package of anti-Iran sanctions.

In early April China agreed to make it the topic of negotiation of the six countries. Same happened to Russia whose position went through similar evolution. Dmitry Medvedev said in his address in Brooking Institute in Washington on April 14 that he could admit that the sanctions were inevitable.

It seemed that the sanctions were about to be introduced. Now it is clear that Beijing intends first and foremost to insist on diplomatic negotiations. Since it is a permanent member of the Security Council, introduction of sanctions is impossible without China's approval.

So, the People's Republic of China is going to shut down this sanction thing against Iran for Iranian development of nuclear weapons.

Well, it's true that diplomatic dialogue is a preferred method of dealing with issues such as this.

And, I'm sure China has no other agenda beyond what is in the interests of world peace.

Elsewhere, China's Xinhuanet has a short story about an Iranian missile test.

You know, China is big into stealing secrets - military, nuclear, technological - from the US.

In fact, a blogger tied Condoleezza Rice in to China's espionage via the Stanford Khan Network.

That same network left us with many questions about China's connections to Iran. From The Khan Network by David E. Sanger, White House correspondent for the New York Times, presented at the Conference on South Asia and the Nuclear Future held at Stanford University June 4-5, 2004 (pg 10):

Iran, North Korea and the Challenge Ahead

Less is known about Iran and North Korea, because unlike Libya they have not agreed to let inspectors pick through their program in great detail. Iran, which initially denied relying on foreign sources, now appears to have received Pakistan's older models and was forced to slog ahead slowly for two decades, foraging around the world for parts, building experimental facilities involving a few hundred centrifuges, but apparently failing to produce enough fissile material for a bomb. That program has now accelerated considerably, largely with help from the Khan network. I.A.E.A. inspectors have discovered previously undeclared centrifuges, programs that would seem to suggest an interest in weapons triggers, and uranium hexaflouride of uncertain origin.10 A recent I.A.E.A. report listed a number of outstanding questions that Iranian officials have been reluctant to address, including questions about Iran's suppliers. Iran has denied that it is seeking to build a weapon, and the I.A.E.A. has not yet publicly charged that what it has discovered is weapons-related. But there seem to be few other plausible explanations. Investigations into links between North Korea and Iran, among other nations, are continuing.

Are you following all this?

China, in part with the help of an intelligence network which one blogger pointed out included a former Secretary of State when she was working at Stanford University, has stolen US nuclear and other technology, and passed it to Pakistan. Pakistan, in turn, has passed some on to Iran.

Now, China doesn't want to play hardball with Iran about Iran's nuclear program.

I wonder how much technology Iran has gotten from Pakistan China the US via this network? We know how much has made it as far as China. From Chapter 2 of the Cox Report:

I think I need to start another multipart series on this. (I know - I already have a few going.) I am also starting some new labels, Iran, China, and Espionage among them.

Meanwhile, please read Information Dominance, Part 13: The Warrior Princess and related information. And, please stick around for Part 2.

"I'll be back!"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dan's Brother Angel, Part 1

First, let us watch a video posted in an article at Al Jazeera:

The video begins interestingly enough, but then goes down the "Islamophobia" path.

Please watch the entire vid, though, because later on in the video, the Muslim gangmembers allege that Danish police, after shaking down the Muslim gangs, call the rival gang - a chapter of the world-famous Hell's Angels - and let them know that the Muslims are unarmed. Shortly thereafter, the bikers supposedly show up, and the shooting starts.

Below the vid, the text from Denmark's gang war (dated April 12, 2010) indicates that the head cop dealing with this mess believes it is related to organized crime - specifically, trafficking in controlled substances:

For Kim Kliver, the head of the National Investigation Centre in Copenhagen, the gang war is criminal, not racial, in its origin.

"Basically it is the control of the criminal markets, that means the narcotics markets, that means the trafficking of human beings into prostitution and the money they can earn on these criminal activities," Kliver says.

This is the same thing that was stated a year ago. From Gang wars rage in Denmark, March 3, 2009:

Kim Kilver is the man who has essentially been put in charge of heading the Danish National Police force's investigations into the gang war.

He rejects the idea that this is about race.

"This is about control of the drugs market, of prostitution, of people smuggling. It isn't racist, it's criminal," he says.

Hell's Angels leaders, however, claim it is not about organized crime, but rather about wanting immigrants to assimilate. From farther up in Gang wars rage in Denmark:

As we film them leaving, a large man appears by my side. Jorn Jonke Nielson is an Angel's legend. One of the group's founders in Denmark, he's served 16 years in prison for killing the leader of a rival motor cycle gang.

He shakes my hand, apologises that lunch will be late and invites me into the clubhouse.

We're taken upstairs to a large room with a big-screen TV, a modern kitchen and a table where we'll eat.

Beside him is the leadership of the group, the people who are allowed to face the cameras. We're told there will be no interviews but we can report what is said.

I ask if he's involved in a war.

He tells me: "We're not fighting a war, we, like all Danish people are involved in a cultural conflict with people who are not well integrated with out society."

He points to two members to his left, one born in Iran and the other in Pakistan.

Also, from Copenhagen's 'racial' gang wars, dated April 21, 2009:

The word on the street about the gang violence mirrors that on the front pages of Denmark's newspapers. They say a war between groups of bikers and ethnic minority youths is being fought out on Copenhagen's streets.

Some say the shootings are part of a turf war over the lucrative hashish trade in the city. Others say it has been inflamed by feelings of alienation and marginalisation among ethnic minority youngsters.

Gangland war over drug distribution?

Ethnic unrest?

Maybe both?

What about the allegations of police complicity in attacks by the ethnic Danish organized crime groups on the Muslim gangs?

Might some cops side with fellow Danes in an ethnic conflict against immigrants who are perceived to be maladjusted and involved in criminal activity?

Or, might they be dirty cops, bought off by drug money, the proceeds of the distribution network being fought over?

Or, might this just be sour grapes on the part of the losing side?

From page 231-2 (when you bring up the PDF, go to what shows as the 241st page of the 638-page document) of the US State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs International Narcotics Control Strategy Report Volume I: Drug and Chemical Control, dated March 2009:

Law Enforcement Efforts. Over the past three years, there has been a significant increase in cocaine seizures in Denmark. Cocaine investigations are the current top priority of counter-narcotics police efforts in Denmark. According to the Danish National Police commissioner, the increase in cocaine seizures can be attributed to "police efforts to fight organized crime and with the systematic police investigations aimed at criminal groups and networks which are involved in drug crime." The police commissioner vowed to continue "goal-oriented and systematic efforts to fight organized crime in close cooperation with the European police unit at Europol and foreign police authorities." Cocaine trafficking in Denmark is controlled primarily by Serbian, Montenegrin and Moroccan nationals, with supplies originating in South America. Police also targeted members of the Hell's Angels and Banditos biker gangs by increased enforcement of tax laws. Authorities continue to target tax evasion by members of the biker gangs, as biker gangs are major factors in the drug trade. Heroin availability in Denmark has fluctuated based on the heroin production levels in Afghanistan. Balkan, Iranian and Pakistani nationals typically control heroin trafficking in Denmark...


Drug Flow/Transit. Denmark is a transit country for drugs on their way to neighboring European nations. The ability of the Danish authorities to interdict this flow is slightly constrained by EU open border policies. The Danish Police report that the regular smuggling of cannabis to Denmark is typically carried out by car or truck from the Netherlands and Spain. Amphetamines are typically smuggled from the Netherlands via Germany to Denmark and there distributed by members of the Hell's Angels and Banditos biker gangs. Amphetamines from Poland and Lithuania are also transshipped through Germany and Denmark.

We know - though for now, we won't say from where - that much of the narcotics coming in from Afghanistan is moving via ethnic Turkish and Albanian organized crime, often via the Balkans, though the State Department report fingers Iranians and Pakistanis as well. Is this our "immigrant" or "Asian" connection?

The cocaine is coming from Latin America, with various Balkan ethnicities involved in its trafficking.

It is safe to say there is more here than meets the eye.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Grand Inquisitor of the United State

In a previous post, I touched on how the United States is veering from the path of being a free country, toward being an oppressive, totalitarian nation - the few readers I have are an educated crowd, and, I'm sure, realized this long before I started to blog.

Specifically, though, in that post, I played with the name of my beloved country; how this nation is becoming "the United State". I ended by asking at what point our "thin blue line" became our Inquisition.

President Obama has a reputation for being a Constitutional scholar, though, when asked by a young boy what it took to be President, he certainly did not avail himself of the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of the Constitutional requirements of the job. (Link.)

Well, he has another chance.

Arizona now has a law, some provisions of which are unconstitutional infringements on the rights of US citizens.

This is in violation of the 14th Amendment (emphasis added):

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

When confronted with similar situations - for example, during the Civil Rights era - past Presidents sent in federal agents, sent in federal troops, federalized the local National Guard, and did other things to protect the privileges and immunities of US citizens from the enforcement of local laws that abridged them.

In recent decades, however, when federal agents and federal troops have been sent in, it has not been to protect the rights of citizens, but to trample upon them.

Obama could now show us that he really does stand for positive change that we can believe in. He could send in troops to secure our border, and to protect the rights of Americans from infringement by the state of Arizona.

But, he won't.

I saw Clinton coming. I knew what kind of President he was going to be, and I was right on the money.

After Clinton, I was so happy to have someone that I thought would restore honorable government to our country that I did not see Bush-43 coming. It took a couple of years before I got his number.

I saw both Obama and McCain coming, and knew pretty much what we would get with either. I was right on the money again.

I know, though, that many people who saw what Bush-43 did are still thinking about Obama the way I was thinking about Bush-43 in the wake of the Clinton Presidency.

If our Constitutional-scholar-President sends federal agents or troops to Arizona, it will not be to protect the people's rights; it will be to stomp on them.

In his support of failed policies from previous administrations (not just Bush's, but Clinton's and beyond), Obama has furthered the cause of a corrupt federal government that is radical and out of control, in violation of the supreme law of our land, and using lesser laws that conflict with this supreme law to oppress innocent Americans.

Continuing a trend started years ago, under Barack Obama, the office of President of the United States has become the office of the Grand Inquisitor of the United State.

Triplethought, Part 5

In Part 4 we saw how Washington was working on giving the President "emergency" control of the Internet.

But, it is interesting to look at just how much they get and are trying to get even in the absence of such control.

Google maintains a website that tracks government requests directed to Google and YouTube. There you can see how many requests have been made:

Like other technology and communications companies, we regularly receive requests from government agencies around the world to remove content from our services, or provide information about users of our services and products. The map shows the number of requests that we received between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, with certain limitations.

We know these numbers are imperfect and may not provide a complete picture of these government requests. For example, a single request may ask for the removal of more than one URL or for the disclosure of information for multiple users. See the FAQ for more information.

A recent report by the US Department of Justice / Office of the Inspector General addresses how even the meager rules that exist have been bypassed with "exigent letters" that request information from communications companies; the information is deemed necessary, and promises are included in the letter to follow up with another letter or something that actually authorizes (even if unconstitutionally) what is being requested:

And, this is not just a theoretical possibility.

There has been, this month, a quiet court battle in which the government sought emails without a warrant from In the legal battle, Google came to Yahoo's assistance. From Google backs Yahoo in privacy fight with DOJ by Declan McCullagh, April 13, 2010:

Google and an alliance of privacy groups have come to Yahoo's aid by helping the Web portal fend off a broad request from the U.S. Department of Justice for e-mail messages, CNET has learned.

In a brief filed Tuesday afternoon, the coalition says a search warrant signed by a judge is necessary before the FBI or other police agencies can read the contents of Yahoo Mail messages--a position that puts those companies directly at odds with the Obama administration.

Yahoo has been quietly fighting prosecutors' requests in front of a federal judge in Colorado, with many documents filed under seal. Tuesday's brief from Google and the other groups aims to buttress Yahoo's position by saying users who store their e-mail in the cloud enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

"Society expects and relies on the privacy of e-mail messages just as it relies on the privacy of the telephone system," the friend-of-the-court brief says. "Indeed, the largest e-mail services are popular precisely because they offer users huge amounts of computer disk space in the Internet 'cloud' within which users can warehouse their e-mails for perpetual storage."

The Department of Justice argued that an email that had been opened is not in electronic storage, and does not meet the requirements to be something that is private.

On December 3, 2009, U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer ordered Yahoo to hand to prosecutors certain records including the contents of e-mail messages. Yahoo divulged some of the data but refused to turn over e-mail that had been previously viewed, accessed, or downloaded and was less than 181 days old.

A Yahoo representative declined to comment.

"This case is about protecting the privacy rights of all Internet users," a Google representative said in a statement provided to CNET on Tuesday. "E-mail stored in the cloud should have the same level of protection as the same information stored by a person at home."

Since then, the DOJ backed off. From DOJ abandons warrantless attempt to read Yahoo e-mail by Declan McCullagh, April 16, 2010:

The U.S. Justice Department has abruptly abandoned what had become a high-profile court fight to read Yahoo users' e-mail messages without obtaining a search warrant first.

In a two-page brief filed Friday, the Obama administration withdrew its request for warrantless access to the complete contents of the Yahoo Mail accounts under investigation. CNET was the first to report on the Denver case in an article on Tuesday.

Yahoo's efforts to fend off federal prosecutors' broad request attracted allies--in the form of Google, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Progress and Freedom Foundation--who argued (PDF) that Americans who keep their e-mail in the cloud enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Two years ago, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama had pledged that, as president, he would "strengthen privacy protections for the digital age." This dispute had the potential to test his administration's actual commitment to privacy, which recently became the subject of a legislative push supported by Silicon Valley firms and privacy advocates. The administration has taken a position at odds with that coalition in a second case in Philadelphia involving warrantless tracking of cell phones.

(Please see the original for the rest of the article and important links which I did not reproduce.)

So, change we can believe in? The only thing that has changed in government's intrusion into our privacy is the name of the guy in the White House whose administration is intruding.

Oh, and what he promised he would do back when he was campaigning is not what he is in fact doing now that he is in office... that, too, was change we could believe in.

I guess he had second thoughts about his campaign promises?

Some things never change.


George Orwell said:

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

And, of course, there is the adage about reconsidering one's actions, as the government did in the Yahoo case; this is called "giving something a second thought."

But what do we call it when 1) one group of Americans believes that the Republicans are protecting our country, while the Democrats are trying to destroy it, at the same time that 2) another group believes the Democrats are protecting our country, while the Republicans are trying to destroy it?

What do you call it when you realize that both groups are destroying the country, even as you look to each of them to save the country from the other?

Might that constitute "triplethink"?

And, what do you call it when government officials take an oath to uphold, protect, preserve and defend our Constitution, then do everything they can to subvert and destroy it?

What do you call it when, having been stopped from achieving this endeavor, they have second thoughts and back off, even though you know they will try again.

Might such a new attempt not be a triple thought?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Inquisition of the United State, Part 1

The federal government has been derelict in its duties to secure our borders. Drugs, terrorists - a plethora of problems - have been entering illegally, along with people who often are generally law-abiding, except for the fact that they are here illegally.

Regardless of the way in which many of the illegals conduct themselves, there are great numbers who are not only here illegally, but who are engaging in further criminal conduct once here. The drugs, movement of terrorists and criminals across the border - this constitutes an invasion of the United States which is damaging our country, especially communities near the border.

The Constitution charges the federal government with the duty to defend against this (emphasis added):

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

In light of the ineffectiveness of the federal government at doing what the Constitution says it is supposed to do (and its effectiveness at doing what the Constitution says it is not supposed to do), the state of Arizona is doing something unconstitional to protect itself against all the illegal crossings of the US border into Arizona.

From Arizona immigration law signed, April 24, 2010:

PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country, aimed at identifying, prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants. The governor’s move on Friday unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive national battle over federal immigration reform.

Even before Brewer signed the bill, President Barack Obama strongly criticized it.

Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 24 active-duty service members in the Rose Garden, Obama called for a federal overhaul of immigration laws an overhaul congressional leaders signaled they might take up.

He said the failure of federal officials to act on immigration would open the door to "irresponsibility by others." He said the Arizona bill threatened "to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe."

The law, which both opponents and critics called the broadest and strictest immigration measure in the country, makes the failure to carry proof of citizenship or legal immigration status a crime. It also gives police broad powers to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have decried it as an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics, regardless of their citizenship status.

So, we are now required to carry proof of citizenship? I found nothing in the 17-page law to require this. But, of course, the door is now left open to law enforcement.

In a free country, you can walk down the street, and - provided you are not breaking any laws - you can feel safe that you will not have to prove anything to law enforcement.

This has now changed.

There are now legal requirements for law enforcement to aggressively check that people who are not otherwise breaking any laws are legally present in the country, and law enforcement can be penalized for failing to do so.

A US citizen who speaks Spanish, but not a lot of English (and Latino communities are full of them, just as some communities years ago were full of US citizens who spoke German or Dutch or some other language, but not a lot of English), may now have to prove himself innocent of the charge of being here illegally.

The burden of proof has shifted from the accuser to the accused.

And, government employees of one of these United States are now required to aggressively seek such persons, and seek proof that these persons are not violating any laws at the time they are observed.

The Fourth Amendement (emphasis added):

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Our government entities are radical and out of control.

Because of "anti-terror" legislation rushed through in the wake of suspicious incidents, first in Oklahoma City, then on 9/11, government authorities find their power, which has always been corruptible, to grow at the expense of rights given to us by our Creator and which are supposedly protected by our Constitution.

The government now aggressively seeks to see whether crimes have been committed, and the burden of proof is now shifted to the accused.

I have read the new law; much of it makes sense. It includes provisions against abuses by law enforcement, such as entrapment.

But, ladies and gentlemen, at what point (government bailouts? rendition & torture? national security letters? state secrets privilege?) does the Land of the Free - the United States - become a totalitarian regime of oppression in the name of security from enemies real and perceived - the United State?

How much do we owe to our thin blue line? Too often we forget to say "thank you"; and so many of our blue knights would tell us that we don't have to.

But police power is easy to abuse.

At what point does law enforcement become The Inquisition?

About Face

Found in the Manila Bulletin - Spain claims first full-face transplant by Daniel Woolls, April 24, 2010:

MADRID (AP) – A team of surgeons has carried out the world's first full-face transplant on a young Spanish farmer unable to breathe or eat on his own since accidentally shooting himself in the face five years ago.

It was the most extensive operation yet and the 11th known face transplant worldwide.

During the 24-hour surgery, doctors lifted an entire face, including jaw, nose, cheekbones, muscles, teeth, and eyelids, and placed it masklike onto the man, Dr. Joan Pere Barret told The Associated Press on Friday.

Transplant experts hailed the surgery, carried out late last month at Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron Hospital, as a significant advance.

“It is a breakthrough. They are pushing the envelope and I am very happy for them,” said Dr. Thomas Romo, chief of facial and reconstructive surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

The Spanish patient, who was not identified, now has a completely new face from his hairline down and only one visible scar, which looks like a wrinkle running across his neck, said Barret, who headed the 30-member surgical team.

Go to the link and read the rest of the story.

This, of course, has ramifications far beyond accidental dismemberments. From Biometrics for identification, by Jake Edge, April 2, 2008:

Using a fingerprint or other physical characteristic, called biometric data, for identity verification seems, at first glance, like a perfect solution to the problem. Unfortunately, there are some basic problems with using biometric information that way. If the biometric data can be gathered by others, it no longer makes such a good identifier.

As part of a political protest against including fingerprints in passports, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) published a fingerprint of German Home Secretary Wolfgang Schäuble. Schäuble is a supporter of collecting fingerprint data to combat terrorism. The club not only published the picture, but also a film that can be placed over a finger to deceive fingerprint scanners. A club spokesman has usage recommendations as reported in heise online:

We recommend that you use the film whenever your fingerprint is taken, such as when you enter the US, stop over at Heathrow, or even when you touch bottles at your local super market -- just to be on the safe side.

It seems unlikely that CCC's distributed finger film will actually leave the Secretary's print on a glass surface, but more sophisticated versions of the same basic idea should be able to. Various folks have shown that using an image of someone's fingerprint can fool most scanners. Even sophisticated scanners can be spoofed when that image is placed over a live finger—with body temperature and pulse. The problem is that while a fingerprint is unique, it isn't secret. CCC got theirs from a sympathizer who picked it up from a glass used by the Secretary during a speech.

How easy has it been to get people's account numbers and other private information - especially with all the corporate and government databases that solicit this information?

All this computerized data just drives a determined criminal to try a little harder - but, it certainly creates more opportunities to steal information that we should be allowed to protect instead of being forced to divulge every time we turn around.

More importantly, it is now possible to literally steal a person's identity - face and all - and combine that with fingerprint and other data to make a very convincing imposter.

What might be a motive for this?

Well, money comes to mind. Especially if the face you are getting rid of is one sought internationally by law enforcement for other crimes already committed.

A radical religious-political ideology of armed conquest that promises you virgins in the afterlife comes to mind as well - free virgins can be powerful incentive to someone who feels he has nothing to lose.

They can now transplant entire faces, and have been able to fake someone's fingerprints for a while now....

Think about that.

The OKBOMB and the TiNRATs, Part 2

In Part 1, we looked at how, on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, former President Clinton was warning against possible violence from right-wing terrorists.

From page 6 of The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh, by Gore Vidal, September, 2001:

Did the government blow it? Terry Nichols was tried in the fall of 1997. From the beginning, the government's case against Nichols was more difficult to prove than that against McVeigh. Biggest difference: Nichols was in Kansas at the time of the bombing. Also, Nichols had a good lawyer in Michael Tigar. The jury found Nichols innocent of murder but guilty of planning to bomb the Murrah building and guilty of eight counts of involuntary manslaughter. Next, the jury deadlocked during sentencing, which ruled out the death penalty. After two days of deliberation, the forewoman, Niki Deutchman, informed Judge Richard P. Matsch that the jury was hung. On June 4, 1998, Matsch stepped in and sentenced Terry Nichols to life, but the judge's decision was not without controversy. Deutchman told the press, "Decisions were probably made very early on that McVeigh and Nichols were who they were looking for, and the same sort of resources were not used to try to find out who else might be involved.... The government really dropped the ball." Some of the jurors thought that there may have been others involved who are still at large. Shortly after her news conference, Deutchman reportedly received bomb threats.

And then the government responded.

Attorney General Janet Reno blasted Deutchman's criticism. Reno assured the nation that the F.B.I. had followed every lead in its effort to find those responsible for the blast. She denied a larger conspiracy and said that McVeigh and Nichols were the sole perpetrators of the crime.

Higher up on the page, we are told of a statement made by then-FBI Director Louis Freeh to the Senate:

Shortly after McVeigh's conviction, Director Freeh soothed the Senate Judiciary Committee: "Most of the militia organizations around the country are not, in our view, threatening or dangerous."

So, the FBI Director under President Clinton tells us that most of the militias are not "threatening or dangerous" and Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno (who presided over the FBI during one of the bureau's most important investigations, that into what was then by far the most significant terrorist act on American soil) tells "the nation that the F.B.I. had followed every lead" and "that McVeigh and Nichols were the sole perpetrators of the crime."

If most of these militias are "not ... threatening or dangerous" and if "McVeigh and Nichols were the sole perpetrators of the crime", why did President Clinton take the opportunity of the anniversary of the bombing to warn us about the threat posed by the right wing?

Could it be that the additional "right-wing terrorists" who were (not) involved in the plot were themselves (not) connected to the Middle East? To expose these additional right-wing terrorists would inevitably expose their allies, and Clinton "hope[-d] there's no Middle Eastern connection to this" - so, for political reasons, Clinton made sure the whole matter... uh... "died" with McVeigh (and with Terrance Yeakey)?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Triplethought, Part 4

In Part 3 we considered the 2006-2007 push by the Bush-43 Administration and certain elements of Congress to gain the legal right to invade our on-line privacy and snoop on our use of the Internet under the pretext of protecting us from child pornography and other cybercrimes.

By 2008, proposals to what records should be kept and of who could snoop what were becoming more aggressive. Here are some excerpts from FBI, politicos renew push for ISP data retention laws by Declan McCullagh, April 23, 2008:

WASHINGTON--The FBI and multiple members of Congress said on Wednesday that Internet service providers must be legally required to keep records of their users' activities for later review by police.

Their suggestions for mandatory data retention revive a push for potentially sweeping federal laws--which civil libertarians oppose--that flagged last year after the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the idea's most prominent proponent.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told a House of Representatives committee that Internet service providers should be required to keep records of users' activities for two years.

"From the perspective of an investigator, having that backlog of records would be tremendously important if someone comes up on your screen now," Mueller said. "If those records are only kept 15 days or 30 days, you may lose the information you may need to bring that person to justice."


Based on the statements at Wednesday's hearing and previous calls for new laws in this area, the scope of a mandatory data retention law remains fuzzy. It could mean forcing companies to store data for two years about what Internet addresses are assigned to which customers (Comcast said in 2006 that it would be retaining those records for six months).

Or it could be far more intrusive. It could mean keeping track of e-mail and instant-messaging correspondence and what Web pages users visit. Some Democratic politicians have called for data retention laws to extend to domain name registries and Web hosting companies and even social-networking sites. During private meetings with industry officials, FBI and Justice Department representatives have said it would be desirable to force search engines to keep logs--a proposal that could gain additional law enforcement support, but raise additional privacy concerns and potentially conflict with European laws.


Multiple proposals to mandate data retention have surfaced in the U.S. Congress. One, backed by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, said that any Internet service that "enables users to access content" must indefinitely retain records that would permit police to identify each user. Another came from Wisconsin Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, a close ally of President Bush, and a third was written by Rep. Smith, who endorsed the idea again on Wednesday.


At the moment, Internet service providers typically discard any log file that's no longer required for business reasons such as network monitoring, fraud prevention or billing disputes. Companies do, however, alter that general rule when contacted by police performing an investigation--a practice called data preservation.

Did you catch all that?

Currently, ISPs cooperate and maintain records as needed, and particularly if requested to do so by the police.

This isn't good enough.

That crowd in Washington wants to be able to find out who accessed what, and when. And they want these records kept available for them - forever!

By 2009, a bill was under consideration that would just give the President control of the Internet - ostensibly during emergencies. From Bill would give president emergency control of Internet by Declan McCullagh, August 28, 2009:

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.


The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

The government wants to be able to decide who, in the private sector, may manage "certain computer systems".

But, it gets better! Skipping down:

When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records," Rockefeller said.


The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," he says.

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

"The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."

Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

To be sure, the Senate seems to think this is excessive concern:

Update at 3:14 p.m. PDT: I just talked to Jena Longo, deputy communications director for the Senate Commerce committee, on the phone. She sent me e-mail with this statement:

The president of the United States has always had the constitutional authority, and duty, to protect the American people and direct the national response to any emergency that threatens the security and safety of the United States. The Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity bill makes it clear that the president's authority includes securing our national cyber infrastructure from attack. The section of the bill that addresses this issue, applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster. This particular legislative language is based on longstanding statutory authorities for wartime use of communications networks. To be very clear, the Rockefeller-Snowe bill will not empower a "government shutdown or takeover of the Internet" and any suggestion otherwise is misleading and false. The purpose of this language is to clarify how the president directs the public-private response to a crisis, secure our economy and safeguard our financial networks, protect the American people, their privacy and civil liberties, and coordinate the government's response.

Since the Constitution gives the President the authority and duty to protect the American people and direct the national response to any emergency that threatens our security and safety, why don't we let the President go a little further? Food and clothing are necessary - why shouldn't the President secure these things from attack by establishing regulations deciding who can be hired to work at your supermarket or department store? We need to get around, and we are dependent upon cars and trucks. Why shouldn't the President decide what information must be disclosed about your car, and when it last had its brakes checked or oil changed?

And, if these things are important, shouldn't hospitals answer to the President? Oh, I forgot - Obama is way ahead of me on that one.

The government is interested in knowing who is saying what to whom, and they want to make sure that they have the power the hire or fire - or even render destitute - anyone in a position to stand in their way.

The First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress, together with the Presidency, is working very hard on making a law abridging our freedom of speech and of the press, and abridging our right to peaceably assemble - via the Internet.

As George Orwell explained:

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

The means to bring about this future is by controlling communications now; as Orwell explained:

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Stay tuned for Part 5!

Triplethought, Part 3

In Part 2, we saw how the Washington was reversing course from an Administration position that was concerned about protecting privacy to a position of pushing through laws that would allow the government to snoop on Americans protect us from child pornographers and other lawbreakers.

Specifically, we consider excerpts from Congress may make ISPs snoop on you by Declan McCullagh, May 16, 2006:

A prominent Republican on Capitol Hill has prepared legislation that would rewrite Internet privacy rules by requiring that logs of Americans' online activities be stored, CNET has learned.

The proposal comes just weeks after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Internet service providers should retain records of user activities for a "reasonable amount of time," a move that represented a dramatic shift in the Bush administration's views on privacy.


Until Gonzales' speech, the Bush administration had explicitly opposed laws requiring data retention, saying it had "serious reservations" (click here for PDF) about them. But after the European Parliament last December approved such a requirement for Internet, telephone and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, top administration officials began talking about it more favorably.

Attorney General Gonzales' speech was just the beginning, though. Behind closed doors, he was armtwisting the telecommunications industry.

Gonzales pressures ISPs on data retention by Declan McCullagh May 26, 2006:

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller on Friday urged telecommunications officials to record their customers' Internet activities, CNET has learned.

In a private meeting with industry representatives, Gonzales, Mueller and other senior members of the Justice Department said Internet service providers should retain subscriber information and network data for two years, according to two sources familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The closed-door meeting at the Justice Department, which Gonzales had requested, according to the sources, comes as the idea of legally mandated data retention has become popular on Capitol Hill and inside the Bush administration. Supporters of the idea say it will help prosecutions of child pornography because in many cases, logs are deleted during the routine course of business.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales In a speech last month at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Gonzales said that Internet providers must retain records for a "reasonable amount of time."

"I will reach out personally to the CEOs of the leading service providers and to other industry leaders," Gonzales said. "Record retention by Internet service providers consistent with the legitimate privacy rights of Americans is an issue that must be addressed."

Notice how lip-service is still paid to "the legitimate privacy rights of Americans"; notice also the direction this goes in. A bill was introduced early the next year. From GOP revives ISP-tracking legislation by Declan McCullagh, February 6, 2007:

All Internet service providers would need to track their customers' online activities to aid police in future investigations under legislation introduced Tuesday as part of a Republican "law and order agenda."

Employees of any Internet provider who fail to store that information face fines and prison terms of up to one year, the bill says. The U.S. Justice Department could order the companies to store those records forever.

Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, called it a necessary anti-cybercrime measure. "The legislation introduced today will give law enforcement the tools it needs to find and prosecute criminals," he said in a statement.


Details about data retention requirements would be left to Gonzales. At a minimum, the bill says, the regulations must require storing records "such as the name and address of the subscriber or registered user to whom an Internet Protocol address, user identification or telephone number was assigned, in order to permit compliance with court orders."

Because there is no limit on how broad the rules can be, Gonzales would be permitted to force Internet providers to keep logs of Web browsing, instant message exchanges, or e-mail conversations indefinitely. (The bill does not, however, explicitly cover search engines or Web hosting companies, which officials have talked about before as targets of regulation.)

That broad wording also would permit the records to be obtained by private litigants in noncriminal cases, such as divorces and employment disputes. That raises additional privacy concerns, civil libertarians say.

Are you following this? They pay lip-service to protecting privacy, but then leave themselves a loop-hole to keep track of web browsing, instant messages and emails - forever - and go so far as to leave open the possibility of allowing this information to be brought out in non-criminal court proceedings.

So, hypothetically, under such a law, if you witness illegal activities at your place of employment (as did Sibel Edmonds when working as a contract translator for the FBI) and you come forward to report this (as she did), and your case gets shut down (as hers did), your employer can now go after you for breach of confidentiality rules, or just for calling the boss a crook and a moron (defamation of character) - and the records are there forever.

They're not protecting our privacy - they're protecting themselves.

But wait! There's more! In Part 5 we will zoom ahead to 2010 and see how this is actually being applied in courtrooms today - but first, Part 4.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Triplethought, Part 2

In Part 1, we began looking at how the US government was seeking to require ISPs to keep records of Internet activity, and was seeking access to such records.

We now jump across "the pond" to see the progress of a similar endeavor in Europe. From Europe passes tough new data retention laws, by Jo Best, December 14, 2005:

The European Parliament on Wednesday passed new, far-reaching data retention legislation for the telecommunications industry.


Telecommunications providers will now have to keep data such as the time of each fixed and cell phone call made in Europe; whether a call is answered or not; the duration of the call; and other details that can help trace the caller. On the Internet side, they will be required to retain information on the times people connect to the Internet, people's IP addresses, and details pertaining to e-mail messages and VoIP calls. The content of the communications will not be recorded.

"The content of the communications will not be recorded" - and we trust them to not record the content, and we trust them that this will not change.

The legislation is being championed by the U.K. and other governments. They say it will help trace terrorists through communications records. The change in the law was proposed during the U.K.'s presidency of the European Union in the wake of the July 7 bombings in London.

If the UK government were serious about ending terrorism, why do their politicians persist with their program of population replacement, driving the native population off the British Isles, even as those loyal to a foreign ideology of armed conquest - Islam - are being brought in by droves?

It is politically easier to get some technical means to maintain surveillance over the entire population that it is to have the balls to single out the militant groups that are causing the problems and deal with them.

But, back to Amerika... (Oops, did I spell that wrong?) From ISP snooping gaining support by Declan McCullagh, April 14, 2006:

The explosive idea of forcing Internet providers to record their customers' online activities for future police access is gaining ground in state capitols and in Washington, D.C.

Top Bush administration officials have endorsed the concept, and some members of the U.S. Congress have said federal legislation is needed to aid law enforcement investigations into child pornography. A bill is already pending in the Colorado State Senate.

Mandatory data retention requirements worry privacy advocates because they permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity that normally would have been discarded after a few months. And some proposals would require providers to retain data that ordinarily never would have been kept at all.


At a hearing last week, Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who heads a House oversight and investigations subcommittee, suggested that data retention laws would be useful to police investigating crimes against children.

Yeah, do it for our children. (Since I question this, I must be an extremist siding with child pornographers, right? Maybe it's worse - maybe I'm Osama bin Laden...)

"What we haven't seen is any evidence where the data would have been helpful, where the problem was not caused by law enforcement taking too long when they knew a problem existed," said Dave McClure, president of the U.S. Internet Industry Association, which represents small to midsize companies.

McClure said that while data retention aficionados cite child pornography, the stored data would be open to any type of investigation--including, for instance, those focused on drug crimes, tax fraud, or terrorism prosecutions. "The agenda behind this doesn't appear to be legitimate," he said.

Mr. McClure's comment is right on the money!

I leave you to read a position paper on the topic from the USIIA. (See also this link, dated February 17, 2005.)

I will come back to this in Part 5.

Meanwhile, the story continues as a few days later, the US Attorney General called for "'reasonable' data retention", then Congress quickly picked up on this way to infringe into the privacy of the people protect children from pornographers. From Congress may consider mandatory ISP snooping by Declan McCullagh, April 28, 2006:

It didn't take long for the idea of forcing Internet providers to retain records of their users' activities to gain traction in the U.S. Congress.

Last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a Republican, gave a speech saying that data retention by Internet service providers is an "issue that must be addressed." Child pornography investigations have been "hampered" because data may be routinely deleted, Gonzales warned.

Now, in a demonstration of bipartisan unity, a Democratic member of the Congressional Internet Caucus is preparing to introduce an amendment--perhaps during a U.S. House of Representatives floor vote next week--that would make such data deletion illegal.

Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette's proposal (click for PDF) says that any Internet service that "enables users to access content" must permanently retain records that would permit police to identify each user. The records could not be discarded until at least one year after the user's account was closed.

It's not clear whether that requirement would be limited only to e-mail providers and Internet providers such as DSL (digital subscriber line) or cable modem services. An expansive reading of DeGette's measure would require every Web site to retain those records. (Details would be left to the Federal Communications Commission.)

So a bunch of bureaucrats and appointed officials, who worked for Bush-43 at the time, would be in charge of invading our privacy.

Interestingly, concerns about protecting our privacy were in the minds of our Department of Justice only five years previously, in response to the then-growing movement in Europe for ISP record retention. From Comments of the United States Government on the European Commission Communication on Combating Computer Crime, March, 2001:

Any regulation of conduct involving the use of the Internet requires a careful consideration of different societal interests. Triumph over network crime cannot and must not come at the price of lost privacy and individual freedom. Our domestic investigative tools are subject to strict constitutional, statutory, courtordered, and internal policy limitations, and we are committed to ensuring that such tools continue to be developed and used consistent with our laws and our much-cherished notions of individual liberty.

An interesting comment follows the above paragraph, only a little farther down in the paper:

Because cyber criminals are not confined by national borders or geography, numerous US agencies participate in an initiative coordinated by the State Department to conduct international outreach on critical infrastructure protection. This initiative recognizes that exploitation of information technology is an increasing feature of transnational crime, and that governments around the world must work together to harmonize their substantive and procedural computer crime laws and establish new mechanisms that allow for prompt assistance in investigating and prosecuting computer-related crimes.

Cyber criminals are not confined by national borders or geography; neither are they confined to extra-governmental service! And, by 2006, the US government had reversed course concerning the privacy of American citizens.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Triplethought, Part 1

George Orwell explained to us his prophetic vision of humanity's future:

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

The musician Leonard Cohen comments about the future, in his song by the same title:

I've seen the future, brother: it is murder.


The Russian Federation is implementing new regulations requiring Internet service providers (ISPs) to keep information on their clients. We begin with Russian ISPs have no fears over new rules by Evgeniya Chaykovskaya, April 16, 2010.

Russia's Ministry of Communications insists that an order for Internet providers to log IP addresses and share them with the authorities is not a clamp-down on net freedom - because it's been going on for ages.

But a federal ban on hosting "extremist" sites already seems to be counter-productive, according to many experts.

Those two comments sum up government programs that are designed to "help" society: they formalize infringements on our liberty while facilitating the very activities they are supposed to protect us against.

Think about that.

And the ruling was received calmly, with 80 per cent of ISPs already doing this, according to Andrei Vorobyov of RU-CENTER's PR department.

"The logic of our business makes us take part in the fight against cybercrime - companies are objectively interested in it. Large companies have been registering clients' IP addresses for a long time. Now those who neglected it will have to register - for example small 'last-mile' providers," Leonid Filatov, CEO of Masterhost hosting company told iToday.

First of all, they are already keeping records of Internet use, and have been for years. And notice, they are doing this in the public interest - who can argue with that? :)

But Andrei Kolesnikov, the Director of Coordination Center for TLD .RU, is certain that fixing IP addresses will not eliminate the problem of the search for cybercriminals: "Those who want to commit a crime on the Internet can take measures to make sure that they are not found afterwards."

Meanwhile Kommersant was unimpressed with a the federal Communications Monitoring Service's efforts to block extremist sites.

Reports cited one Chechen rebel site which attracted a mere handful of visitors until the ban was announced - and the subsequent publicity boosted its traffic as the restrictions were technically difficult to implement.

Nothing like forbidding the fruit to get people to taste it, huh?

Of course, what does one expect from Russia? They have always had an absolutist government, not responsible to the people. Individual liberty, privacy - not factors.

Not a problem in America, right? This could never happen here. We are safe. We live in a free country. We can go back to sleep.

From Your ISP as Net watchdog, by Declan McCullagh, June 16, 2005:

The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.

Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs--that is, if logs were ever kept in the first place. No U.S. law currently mandates that such logs be kept.

In theory, at least, data retention could permit successful criminal and terrorism prosecutions that otherwise would have failed because of insufficient evidence. But privacy worries and questions about the practicality of assembling massive databases of customer behavior have caused a similar proposal to stall in Europe and could engender stiff opposition domestically.

Whatever it is they are going to claim they want to protect us from, understand that sorting through massive databases will diminish their ability to protect us from it. Investigators will go after innocent people who have done something that looks suspicious, and this will mean fewer critical resources are allocated to investigate people who really are doing something that needs to be investigated.

This is how government bureaucracy works.

What is it they want to protect us from? Skipping down in the article:

Justice Department officials endorsed the concept at a private meeting with Internet service providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to interviews with multiple people who were present. The meeting took place on April 27 at the Holiday Inn Select in Alexandria, Va.

"It was raised not once but several times in the meeting, very emphatically," said Dave McClure, president of the U.S. Internet Industry Association, which represents small to midsize companies. "We were told, 'You're going to have to start thinking about data retention if you don't want people to think you're soft on child porn.'"

Protect children from exploitation? Help missing and exploited children? Crack down on child pornography? Who can argue with that?

And, remember, if you're not with the government in the fight against child pornography, then you're with the pornographers.

Most of the comments to the article call attention to the threat posed here by government. One comment nails it:

The Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and NSA all report to the Executive Branch. We have seen over the years, starting with Nixon and Watergate to Clinton and Filegate (remember that one -- FBI files that mysteriously appeared in the White House), that there are few real protections and NO OVERSIGHT as to what goes on behind White House closed doors. Having access to individuals' web and email activity will provide a boon to corrupt administrations that want to compile dirt on their opposition and wage character assasination. This is the real danger -- that the opposition will effectively be neutralized. The govenerance of the country then basically becomes a dictatorship.

Filegate - first there were a hundred or so files. When caught, the Clinton Administration explained that it was no big deal, there were actually about 300. Then, when America was a little more upset, the number jumped to 500, 700, 900. The Clinton Administration taught us that little crimes upset the American people, but when you excuse yourself by explaining the crime was bigger than we had thought, then it's okay.

As the crimes get bigger, then it's okay....

Stay tuned for Part 2.