Friday, September 19, 2014

The Navy Routinely Spies on Citizens Then Helps the Police Prosecute Them

 

It's not just the NSA: A Federal Appeals Court has just noted a disturbing and "extraordinary" trend of the Navy conducting mass surveillance on American civilians, and then using what they find to help local law enforcement prosecute criminals.

In this specific case, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent in George scanned the computers of every civilian in Washington state who happened to be using the decentralized Gnutella peer-to-peer network, looking for child pornography. The agent, Steve Logan, found child porn on a computer owned by a man named Michael Dreyer. 

Logan then passed his evidence on to local law enforcement, who arrested and eventually convicted Dreyer, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The US Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled that this was a massive overstep of military authority, a disturbing trend, and a blatant violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, a law that prohibits the military from conducting investigations on civilians.

The government argued that it conducted the surveillance on the off chance that it caught a military member violating the law and suggested that it has this authority in any state with a military base.

For the rest of the story: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-navy-routinely-spies-on-citizens-then-helps-the-police-prosecute-them

Eight bodies found after attack on Guinea Ebola education team

A health worker brings a woman suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus to an ambulance in Monrovia, Liberia, September 15, 2014. REUTERS/James GiahyueEight bodies, including those of three journalists, were found after an attack on a team trying to educate locals on the risks of the Ebola virus in a remote area of southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

"The eight bodies were found in the village latrine. Three of them had their throats slit," Damantang Albert Camara told Reuters by telephone in Conakry.

However, Guinea's Prime Minister Mohamed Saïd Fofana, speaking in a television message that had been recorded earlier, said 7 bodies of 9 missing people had been found. 

He said six people have been arrested following the incident, which took place on Tuesday in Wome, a village close to the town of Nzerekore, in Guinea's southeast, where Ebola was first identified in March.

Since then the virus has killed some 2,630 people and infected at least 5,357 people, according to World Health Organization (WHO), mostly in Guinea, neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia. It has also spread to Senegal and Nigeria.

Authorities in the region are faced with widespread fears, misinformation and stigma among residents of the affected countries, complicating efforts to contain the highly contagious disease.

For the rest of the story: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/09/18/us-health-ebbola-guinea-idINKBN0HD2JE20140918

Why Is the USDA Buying Submachine Guns?

 

“Submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot bur[s]t trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsib[l]e or folding, magazine - 30 rd. capacity.”

In May, the USDA's Office of Inspector General filed a request for these weapons. But why exactly do they need them?

According to a USDA press rep, the guns are necessary for self-protection.

“OIG Special Agents regularly conduct undercover operations and surveillance. The types of investigations conducted by OIG Special Agents include criminal activities such as fraud in farm programs; significant thefts of Government property or funds; bribery and extortion; smuggling; and assaults and threats of violence against USDA employees engaged in their official duties,” wrote a USDA spokesperson.

Those seem like legitimate enforcement activities, but still: submachine guns? Not everyone believes the USDA being armed to the teeth is justifiable. On Aug. 2, the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund launched a petition to support a bill that would curb the ability of agencies like the USDA to arm themselves. They see it as overkill and scare tactics, especially for smaller producers.

For the rest of the story: http://modernfarmer.com/2014/09/usda-buying-submachine-guns/

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Robert W. Sullivan IV, Esq. | Cinema Symbolism: Esoteric Imagery in Popular Movies


This is Segment 1 of 2. Segment 1 is being provided as a courtesy of VERITAS Radio. 
 
To listen to Segment 2 of this exclusive interview, subscribe at http://www.veritasradio.com to listen to the rest. 

Veritas is censorship-and commercial-free and survives on your voluntary subscriptions. Thank you for supporting our work. ~Mel Fabregas.


S y n o p s i s 

Have you ever wondered why 007 is James Bond's numerical designation? Or where the name Luke Skywalker comes from? How about all those giant faces that pass judgment on General Zod and his lieutenants at the beginning of 1978's Superman? What's behind the symbolism of all those mirrors in Black Swan?

Cinema Symbolism: A Guide to Esoteric Imagery in Popular Movies answers these questions; it is about occult, numerological, astrological, mythological, alchemical, Tarot, and kabbalistic iconography and symbolism contained within popular movies. Films analyzed include The Exorcist, Back to the Future, Star Wars (Episodes I-VI), The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, Black Swan, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the James Bond movies, The Matrix, among many others.

“The esoteric symbolism surrounding the Overlook Hotel is this: it represents the dark side of the United States of America. It is explained that the Overlook Hotel was “built over an Indian burial ground” just as the United States was established on what was once native Indian land; the establishment of the United States allegorically and literally “buried” the Indian Nations. Symbolizing the United States it is opulent; “Four Presidents, movie stars. ..All the best people,” have patronized the Overlook according the hotel’s manager Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson, 1917-2007). Likewise the specters that haunt the Overlook are extravagant and elegant yet demonic. Being the Overlook’s only inhabitants during the film - serving as its winter caretakers - the family of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), his wife Winifred or Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and their son Danny (Danny Lloyd) are often seen wearing red, white, and blue clothing emblematizing the United States flag and American patriotism. There is an intentional overuse of red, white, and blue color schemes throughout the film, the most famous is when the Overlook’s elevator doors open unleashing gallons of red blood down its corridors. Likewise the twin daughters of Delbert Grady (Philip Stone, 1924-2003) are seen wearing blue dresses with white knee high socks.”


B i o 

Robert W. Sullivan IV is a philosopher, historian, antiquarian, jurist, theologian, writer, and lawyer. The only child of antique dealers, he was born on October 30, 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated high school from Friends School of Baltimore (the oldest private school in Baltimore, founded in 1784) in June 1990. He attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania becoming a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha (Theta Pi, member #1199) fraternity. He earned his B.A. in History in 1995. Mr. Sullivan spent his entire junior year of college (1992-1993) abroad at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, England studying European History and Philosophy. While in Oxford Mr. Sullivan was a member of the Oxford Union, the Oxford University Conservative Association, and the Oxford Law Society. Upon returning to the United States in June 1993 he took a year off from Gettysburg College to serve as office director of the Washington International Studies Council located on Capitol Hill.

Prior to attending law school in the United States he spent the Michaelmas Term 1995 at Trinity College, Oxford University studying Jurisprudence and International Law. From 1997 to 2000 he attended Widener University School of Law, Delaware Campus, from where he received his Juris Doctorate. Admitted to the State Bar of Maryland (2000) as well as the District of Columbia (2002), Mr. Sullivan spent 2001 to 2008 working at various law firms in the Baltimore area practicing primarily in the area of insurance defense. Mr. Sullivan is a Freemason having joined Amicable-St. John’s Lodge #25, Baltimore Maryland in 1997; he became a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason in 1999, Valley of Baltimore, Orient of Maryland. The Royal Arch of Enoch: The Impact of Masonic Ritual, Philosophy, and Symbolism is his first published work and is the result of twenty years of research. A lifelong Marylander, he resides in Baltimore. MD.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When the Government Wanted a Database of Everyone's IQ

Today people worry about NSA spying. Fifty years ago it was intelligence tests. The conversation hasn't changed. 

 

In November of 1967, The Atlantic's cover featured an evil Uncle Sam generating data readouts in a dark control room. The journalist behind the cover story, Arthur Miller, noted at the time that computer science was already so advanced "that experts envisage a huge National Data Center to speed and simplify the collection of pertinent information about Americans." Almost 50 years later U.S. law enforcement opened a secretive multi-billion dollar, million-square-foot data center in the mountains of Utah.

In the piece, Miller also worried about the potential abuse and, more importantly, the mistakes of surveillance:
As a result, someone who simply exchanges Christmas cards with a person whose mail is being monitored might find himself under surveillance or might be turned down when he applies for a job with the government or requests a government grant or applies for some other governmental benefit. An untested, impersonal, and erroneous computer entry such as 'associates with known criminals' has marked him, and he is helpless to rectify the situation. Indeed, it is likely that he would not even be aware that the entry existed.
Sounds somewhat familiar, eh? The debate over privacy has cracked the mainstream spotlight once again in recent years with Edward Snowden's leaks about the extent of law enforcement surveillance and companies like Facebook and Google using the world's most advanced computers to learn about people in order to deliver advertisements. But the concerns about quantitative interpretations of people have been around for a long time. In the 1960’s, people weren’t worried about vast internet spying, of course—instead, they were worried about IQ tests.

For the rest of the story: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/09/from-iq-tests-to-the-nsa-fifty-years-of-worrying-about-private-data/380330//

What Is the Universe? Real Physics Has Some Mind-Bending Answers

 

Figuring out the mysteries of the universe, one galaxy collision at a time.
 
Science says the universe could be a hologram, a computer program, a black hole or a bubble—and there are ways to check

The questions are as big as the universe and (almost) as old as time: Where did I come from, and why am I here? That may sound like a query for a philosopher, but if you crave a more scientific response, try asking a cosmologist.

This branch of physics is hard at work trying to decode the nature of reality by matching mathematical theories with a bevy of evidence. Today most cosmologists think that the universe was created during the big bang about 13.8 billion years ago, and it is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. The cosmos is woven into a fabric we call space-time, which is embroidered with a cosmic web of brilliant galaxies and invisible dark matter.

It sounds a little strange, but piles of pictures, experimental data and models compiled over decades can back up this description. And as new information gets added to the picture, cosmologists are considering even wilder ways to describe the universe—including some outlandish proposals that are nevertheless rooted in solid science:

For the rest of the story: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/ist/?next=/science/what-universe-real-physics-has-some-mind-bending-answers-180952699/

NASA is supposed to spot 90% of dangerous asteroids by 2020. It's at 10%

In 2005, Congress assigned NASA the task of locating 90 percent of all near-Earth asteroids big enough to cause significant damage if they hit us by 2020.

Only about 10% of these asteroids have been spotted so far

On Monday, a new NASA audit concluded that the agency is nowhere near meeting this goal.

According to NASA inspector general Paul Martin, only about 10 percent of these asteroids have been spotted so far, despite a tenfold increase in funding since 2009 for the program responsible. For the audit, the agency confirmed it will not reach the 90 percent goal.

Last week, a relatively small asteroid passed extremely close to Earth — ten times as close as the moon, and as close as some of our communications satellites. We had about one week of warning between when astronomers spotted it and when it arrived.

If this had been a slightly larger asteroid headed for Earth, we'd still be dealing with the consequences. This report is yet another sign that we're still not taking the proper precautions to deal with the threat of asteroids.

For the rest of the story: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/what-a-data-driven-crypto-democracy-would-look-like
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