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Operation Northwoods Author James Bamford, "A Pretext For War", discusses the recently declassified "Operation Northwoods" documents revealing that in 1962 the CIA was planning to stage phony terrorist attacks on the US and blame it on Cuba to start a war (INN)
CIA mines 'rich' content from blogs "We're certainly scoring a number of wins with our ultimate customer," said Mr. Jardines, who became the first high-level official in charge of the government's nonsecret intelligence in December. "I can't get into detail of what, but I'll just say the amount of open source reporting that goes into the president's daily brief has gone up rather significantly," Mr. Jardines said. "There has been a real interest at the highest levels of our government, and we've been able to consistently deliver products that are on par with the rest of the intelligence community." (Washington Times)
Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi Jordanian Painted As Foreign Threat To Iraq's Stability - The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (Washington Post)
Technology promises to improve airport screening process The technology has been available for many months, but privacy concerns have held up its deployment. Rapiscan Systems, a division of OSI Systems Inc, and American Science & Engineering Inc, have worked to develop proxy images that mask private parts. Pilot testing on these machines, which cost $70,000 to $100,000, should begin in early spring. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Whistleblower outs NSA's secret spy room at AT&T Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, said the company shunted all Internet traffic--including traffic from peering links connecting to other Internet backbone providers-- to semantic traffic analyzers, installed in a secret room inside the AT&T central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco. Similar rooms were built in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.
"Based on my understanding of the connections and equipment at issue, it appears the NSA (National Security Agency) is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the Internet," Klein said. "This potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of Internet communications of countless citizens." (Spam Daily News)
9/11 Panel Heads Say Rudy Got Off Easy "There were no questions posed to him about communication problems between police and firefighters in the towers, or why New York City had its emergency response command center in World Trade Center 7 after the complex had been the target of the 1993 terrorist attack," (New York Daily News)
Drone aircraft may prowl U.S. skies Unmanned aerial vehicles have soared the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq for years, spotting enemy encampments, protecting military bases, and even launching missile attacks against suspected terrorists. - Now UAVs may be landing in the United States.
A House of Representatives panel on Wednesday heard testimony from police agencies that envision using UAVs for everything from border security to domestic surveillance high above American cities. Private companies also hope to use UAVs for tasks such as aerial photography and pipeline monitoring.
"We need additional technology to supplement manned aircraft surveillance and current ground assets to ensure more effective monitoring of United States territory," Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner at Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Bureau, told the House Transportation subcommittee. (CNet News)
FBI agent 'warned of hijack risk' An FBI agent has told the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui that his attempts to warn of a possible hijack plan were obstructed by his superiors. - But despite his entreaties, FBI headquarters refused to open a criminal investigation and obtain a search warrant for Moussaoui's possessions, Mr Samit said. (BBC)
The Most Powerful Bank You've Never Heard Of Chances are, though, that you've never even heard of what is arguably the most powerful financial institution on earth, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). - A banker's bank, the BIS does no direct business with individuals, governments, or corporate entities. Instead, it deals solely with member nations' central banks (most of which are privately owned). There are 55 of them at present, and the list includes every central bank of consequence in the world. (Investors Insight)
The White House memo Revealed: Bush and Blair discussed using American Spyplane in UN colours to lure Saddam into war - Channel 4 News tonight reveals extraordinary details of George Bush and Tony Blair's pre-war meeting in January 2003 at which they discussed plans to begin military action on March 10th 2003, irrespective of whether the United Nations had passed a new resolution authorising the use of force.
Channel 4 News has seen minutes from that meeting, which took place in the White House on 31 January 2003. The two leaders discussed the possibility of securing further UN support, but President Bush made it clear that he had already decided to go to war. The details are contained in a new version of the book 'Lawless World' written by a leading British human rights lawyer, Philippe Sands QC.
President Bush said that:
"The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.''
Prime Minister Blair responded that he was: "solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam." (Channel 4)
Postage Is Due for Companies Sending E-Mail Companies will soon have to buy the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp if they want to be certain that their e-mail will be delivered to many of their customers.
America Online and Yahoo, two of the world's largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must promise to contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely.
The Internet companies say that this will help them identify legitimate mail and cut down on junk e-mail, identity-theft scams and other scourges that plague users of their services. They also stand to earn millions of dollars a year from the system if it is widely adopted. (New York Times)
Cold Front: Hurricane Debate Shatters Civility Of Weather Science --
Worsened by Global Warming? Spats Are So Tempestuous, Sides Are Barely Talking
-- Charge of 'Brain Fossilization' The 2,000-plus scientists at this week's annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society had plenty to talk about, from last year's droughts to flash floods and wildfires. But the biggest question at the meeting in Atlanta -- why last hurricane season was the worst since recordkeeping began 151 years ago -- was almost too hot to handle.
William Gray, America's most prominent hurricane scientist and an ardent foe of the belief that global warming has worsened hurricanes, was supposed to join a panel discussing the storms. So was Greg Holland of the National Center on Atmospheric Research -- who disagrees with Dr. Gray. But the organizers withdrew the invitations after deciding the dispute had grown so nasty it was too risky to put the two in the same room.
"It was looking like it would totally dominate everything else," says Joe Schaefer, a planner and the director of the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center. (Wall Street Journal)
The End of the Internet? The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.
Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.
Under the plans they are considering, all of us--from content providers to individual users--would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing "platinum," "gold" and "silver" levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received. (The Nation)
US plans to 'fight the net' revealed: A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks. - Bloggers beware.
As the world turns networked, the Pentagon is calculating the military opportunities that computer networks, wireless technologies and the modern media offer.
From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war.
The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.
Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.
The "roadmap" calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military's ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare. - "Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.
"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public," it goes on. (BBC)
White House Received Dire Warnings Pre-Katrina Newly released documents show the White House and other officials received more dire warnings than previously thought about Hurricane Katrina's potential impact. One Homeland Security report predicted hours before the storm hit that New Orleans would likely be submerged by flooding for weeks, and even months. - Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins said today that one failure was a lack of follow up to a 2004 government exercise in Louisiana involving a make-believe storm called Hurricane Pam. That exercise exposed many of the problems that eventually occurred during Hurricane Katrina. But Collins noted that the drill was repeatedly delayed. - Still other witnesses said the Hurricane Pam exercise, which projected more than 60,000 deaths from the storm, added to the urgency with which officials responded to Katrina, encouraging far more people to evacuate than had been predicted. The committee hopes to finish its investigation in March. (National Public Radio)
US gov demands Google search records: Fishing expedition The US Department of Justice has taken Google to court, demanding it hand over all searches made in a one week period. It's a fishing expedition, unconnected with any ongoing criminal prosecution. The DOJ wants the information to back up its attempt to revive an anti-pornography law derailed by the Supreme Court two years ago.
The subpoena was issued last year, and Google refused the request - but we only learn of the case week, via a San Jose Mercury News report. The DoJ has now ordered a Federal Judge to force Google to comply.
It's a step too far even for a company with a fast and loose attitude to privacy.
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