Daily Archives: August 17, 2008

The 21 edicts from the Chinese Government’s propaganda unit


Propaganda Points for Chinese Press Disclosed
A 21-point directive from the Chinese government’s propaganda department instructs Chinese news outlets to keep quiet about any “emergencies” at the Olympics, to stay “positive” about security measures, and to ignore pro-independence groups from Xinjiang and Tibet, an Australian newspaper reported yesterday. The Sydney Morning Herald published what it said was the text of the instructions.

Sydney Morning Herald | Aug 14, 2008


1. The telecast of sports events will be live [but] in case of emergencies, no print is allowed to report on it.

2. From August 1, most of the previously accessible overseas websites will be unblocked. No coverage is allowed on this development. There’s also no need to use stories published overseas on this matter and [website] operators should not provide any superlinks on their pages.

3. Be careful with religious and ethnic subjects.

4. Don’t make fuss about foreign leaders at the opening ceremony, especially in relation to seat arrangements or their private lives.

5. We have to put special emphasis on ethnic equality. Any perceived racist terms as “black athlete” or “white athlete” is not allowed. During the official telecast, we can refer to Taiwan as “Chinese Taipei”. In ordinary times, refer to Taiwanese athletes as “those from the precious island Taiwan…..” In case of any pro Taiwan-independence related incident inside the venue, you shall follow restrictions listed in item 1.

6. For those ethnic Chinese coaches and athletes who come back to Beijing to compete on behalf of other countries, don’t play up their “patriotism” since that could backfire with their adopted countries.

7. As for the Pro-Tibetan independence and East Turkistan movements, no coverage is allowed. There’s also no need to make fuss about our anti-terrorism efforts.

8. All food saftey issues, such as cancer-causing mineral water, is off-limits.

9. In regard to the three protest parks, no interviews and coverage is allowed.

10. No fuss about the rehearsals on August 2,5. No negative comments about the opening ceremony.

11.No mention of the Lai Changxing case.

12.No mention of those who illegally enter China.

13.On international matters, follow the official line. For instance, follow the official propaganda line on the North Korean nuclear issue; be objective when it comes to the Middle East issue and play it down as much as possible; no fuss about the Darfur question; No fuss about UN reform; be careful with Cuba. If any emergency occurs, please report to the foreign ministry.

14. If anything related to territorial dispute happens, make no fuss about it. Play down the Myanmar issue; play down the Takeshima island dispute.

15. Regarding diplomatic ties between China and certain nations, don’t do interviews on your own and don’t use online stories. Instead, adopt Xinhua stories only. Particularly on the Doha round negotiation, US elections, China-Iran co-operation, China-Aussie co-operation, China-Zimbabwe co-operation, China-Paraguay co-operation.

16.Be very careful with TV ratings, only use domestic body’s figures. Play it down when  rating goes down.

17. In case of an emergency involving foreign tourists, please follow the official line. If there’s no official line, stay away from it.

18. Re possible subway accidents in the capital, please follow the official line.

19.Be positive on security measures.

20. Be very careful with stock market coverage during the Games.

21.Properly handle coverage of the Chinese sports delegation:

A.don’t criticise the selection process

B.don’t overhype gold medals; don’t issue predictions on gold medal numbers; don’t make fuss about  cash rewards for athletes.

C.don’t make a fuss about isolated misconducts by athletes.

D.enforce the publicity of our anti-doping measures.

E. put emphasis on  government efforts to secure the retirement life of atheletes.

F. keep a cool head on the Chinese performance. Be prepared for possible fluctations in the medal race.

G. refrain from publishing opinion pieces at odds with the official propangada line of the Chinese delegation.

Rounded up into torture camps: the ‘undesirables’ China doesn’t want you to see

Out in force: Security on patrol before the Olympic opening ceremony

In China, the camps bear the slogan ‘Re-education Through Labour’. (It’s a peculiar irony that Beijing has been so determined to use the English language to welcome the world, that street signs even bear the chilling words.)

Daily Mail | Aug 16, 2008

By  Andrew Malone

The bleak concrete walls topped with razor wire and the sentries in towers at the gates are a chilling reminder of a different era.

On the nearby roads, heavily armed guards patrol relentlessly, checking both drivers and pedestrians, constantly alert.

Meanwhile, less than 30 miles away, the world’s attention is focused on the world-famous ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic stadium and the other venues where a global audience of two billion is watching the Games and enjoying the spectacle of the ‘new’ China.

The Beijing regime has deployed an army of 500,000 smiling volunteers to help foreigners find their way around the teeming capital city.

Blades of grass have been individually combed. Signs have been erected in English.

Spitting has been banned and taxi drivers have been told to wear ties.

But there’s none of that here in the suburb of Daxing, where the only ‘venues’ are the five camps into which thousands of China’s ‘undesirables’ have been swept from the streets of Beijing and locked up.

Here, down bumpy, unlit roads, is where old habits die hard for China’s brutal totalitarian communist regime.

These camps are being used to imprison  –  without trial or legal representation  –  people that the regime wants the world to believe do not exist amid the miracle of modern China.

From street children, hawkers, the homeless and prostitutes, to the mentally ill, black migrants, drug dealers and gays caught in public bathhouses, the camps on the outskirts of the city started filling up with Beijing’s ‘undesirables’ last year as part of the Chinese regime’s determination to present what it sees as an acceptable face to the world.

It is all eerily reminiscent of the build-up to the 1936 Games in Berlin, when the government cleared similar ‘undesirables’ from the streets.

Under Hitler’s regime many of the Nazi concentration camps bore the slogan Arbeit macht frei (Work makes you free) at their gates.

In China, the camps bear the slogan ‘Re-education Through Labour’. (It’s a peculiar irony that Beijing has been so determined to use the English language to welcome the world, that street signs even bear the chilling words.)

The camps themselves are festooned with banners in Mandarin Chinese stating that ‘you must be punished according to the laws of the Olympics’, and reveal the extraordinary lengths to which the Chinese are prepared to go to in order to convince the world of the country’s success.

Working up to 16 hours a day and held in cramped, unsanitary cells with only one toilet bucket for dozens of inmates, the existence of the jailed ‘undesirables’ is something China has done its best to hide.

The policy of ‘people clearances’ began last year and those taken in were moved to the camps on the outskirts of Beijing, which were built in the 1960s for the purposes of ‘cleansing’ the minds of dissidents opposed to the state.

By using torture, brainwashing techniques and the use of heavy labour, Chairman Mao was determined to convince opponents of the error of their ways.

The camps have been used in more recent times to hold dissidents, lawyers and followers of religions banned by the government.

But sweeps of the city ahead of the influx of foreign visitors have meant these dissidents have been joined by a new list of victims, who have until now been allowed to work freely in the capital.

Deploying thousands of undercover police, as well as uniformed groups of youths wearing red shirts and armbands, strenuous efforts have been made to ensure the city has been purged of all ‘anti-social’ elements.

African immigrants to Beijing have been rounded up from popular tourist areas such as San li Tun, Beijing’s equivalent of Soho.

The patrols of the red- shirted groups are constant. Even now, with the Games under way, some residents are not safe from arrest and incarceration.

‘Tony’, a Nigerian entrepreneur who has lived in China for the past three years, watched as dozens of his African friends were arrested last month. He hasn’t seen them since.

‘I started running when I saw what was happening,’ he told me. ‘I’ve heard they are in the camps. I’m just keeping my head down until you lot [foreigners] go and hoping it all returns to normal.’

With the few remaining black people and some gay men banned from entire areas, along with instructions from the authorities that they should not be served in bars or restaurants, witnesses say thousands of others have been bundled into unmarked vans and taken to the camps on the outskirts of the city.

According to prison camp sources, who risk incarceration and torture for simply speaking about what happens inside the camps, the ‘undesirables’ are separated into male and female groups.

They are then put to work in vast hangar-like sheds, where they are forced to make chopsticks and soft toys  –  the very goods that are being peddled on the streets of Beijing to tourists visiting the Olympics.

Inmates are forced to work through the night.

In some of the other camps  –  all located in the Tuan He district in the Daxing suburb of Beijing, less than an hour’s drive from the Bird’s Nest stadium  –  the ‘ undesirables’ are forced to clean beans and other Chinese foods  –  which are then sold by the communist authorities to private businesses serving the influx of foreigners.

Punishment is brutal for those who try to resist. According to my camp informant, women who do not work hard enough are stripped naked for days on end  –  something regarded as particularly shaming in Chinese society.

Another favoured method of punishment is called the Tiger Bench  –  where ‘undesirables’ are forced to sit upright on a long bench with their hands tied behind their backs. Their thighs are also tied to the bench  –  and bricks placed under the feet to raise them off the floor.

Human rights groups say some victims are forced to remain in this position for days on end, causing excruciating pain.

Those who complain or refuse to eat in protest at their detention are force-fed  –  with guards holding their mouths open and tipping food down their victims’ gullets, making them choke and vomit. There are more than 1,000 of these camps located around this country of more than 1.3 billion people.

In 2005, the authorities opened one Re-education Through Labour Camp to United Nations investigators investigating claims that inmates were being killed and their organs ‘harvested’ and sold to wealthy Chinese desperate for transplants.

Nothing untoward was found. The camp had even been painted ahead of the UN visit.

Dissidents claimed later that victims are transferred from camp to camp whenever any brutality is discovered by outside bodies.

The sweep of the city is good news for the prison camp guards, who are making extra money from the Olympics.

Sources say they are getting as much overtime as they want a result of the thousands of ‘undesirables’ rounded up.

Full Story

British Intelligence links up with gay lobby to recuit more homosexuals

MI5 has teamed up with a leading gay lobby group in an attempt to recruit more homosexuals and help encourage spies to be more open about their sexuality.

Telegraph | Aug 17, 2008

MI5 links up with gay lobby Stonewall

By Chris Irvine

The intelligence service, which deals with counter-terrorism within the UK, has hired Stonewall to try and attract a broader range of candidate.

This year the organisation will appear in Stonewall’s graduate recruitment guide, which lists gay-friendly employers.

Until the early 1990s, gays had been barred from sensitive government jobs because of fears they would be open to blackmail – this followed the revelations about the well-known Cambridge spy ring, the 1950s group of Cambridge graduates who worked in the intelligence service. Two of its ringleaders, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt, were both gay.

Ben Summerskill, director of Stonewall, who coincidentally went to school with MI5’s Director-general Jonathan Evans, said: “I am optimistic that in 10 to 15 years their [MI5’s] employment profile will look very much like modern Britain. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a lesbian or gay director-general.”

He added: “People from all minority communities do have experience of getting on with people who are different and of fitting in.

“They are also good at doing these things in a way that is not conspicuous.”

A Whitehall source confirmed MI5 was working with Stonewall, saying: “The service seeks to reflect the broad range of UK society which it serves.”

Stonewall has already been busy, setting up a gay and lesbian “network” at MI5 to work with bosses on policy.

They have also been advising on how to create a working environment where gay officers are allowed to feel comfortable about “coming out.”

Since the July 7 London Underground bombings, MI5 has been expanding rapidly – staff numbers are expected to reach 3,500 by the end of the year, an increase of 2,000 since 2001.

The drive to recruit Muslims and speakers of Asian languages has been well documented but the targeting of the gay community is a new expansion.

Scientists claim spacecraft can travel faster than the speed of light in space-time “bubble”

The US Starship Enterprise from the original Star Trek series

Star Trek warp drive is a possibility, say scientists

Telegraph | Aug 15, 2008

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Two physicists have boldly gone where no reputable scientists should go and devised a new scheme to travel faster than the speed of light.

The advance could mean that Star Trek fantasies of interstellar civilisations and voyages powered by warp drive are now no longer the exclusive domain of science fiction writers.

In the long running television series created by Gene Roddenberry, the warp drive was invented by Zefram Cochrane, who began his epic project in 2053 in Bozeman, Montana.

Now Dr Gerald Cleaver, associate professor of physics at Baylor, and Richard Obousy have come up with a new twist on an existing idea to produce a warp drive that they believe can travel faster than the speed of light, without breaking the laws of physics.

In their scheme, in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, a starship could “warp” space so that it shrinks ahead of the vessel and expands behind it.

By pushing the departure point many light years backwards while simultaneously bringing distant stars and other destinations closer, the warp drive effectively transports the starship from place to place at faster-than-light speeds.

All this extraordinary feat requires, says the new study, is for scientists to harness a mysterious and poorly understood cosmic antigravity force, called dark energy.

Dark energy is thought responsible for speeding up the expansion rate of our universe as time moves on, just like it did after the Big Bang, when the universe expanded much faster than the speed of light for a very brief time.

This may come as a surprise since, according to relativity theory, matter cannot move through space faster than the speed of light, which is almost 300,000,000 metres per second. But that theory applies only to unwarped ‘flat’ space.

And there is no limit on the speed with which space itself can move: the spaceship can sit at rest in a small bubble of space that flows at “superluminal” – faster than light – velocities through normal space because the fabric of space and time itself (scientists refer to spacetime) is stretching.

In the scheme outlined by Dr Cleaver dark energy would be used to create the bubble: if dark energy can be made negative in front of the ship, then that patch of space would contract in response.

“Think of it like a surfer riding a wave,” said Dr Cleaver. “The ship would be pushed by the spatial bubble and the bubble would be travelling faster than the speed of light.”

The new warp drive work also draws on “string theory”, which suggests the universe is made up of multiple dimensions. We are used to four dimensions – height, width, length and time but string theorists believe that there are a total of 10 dimensions and it is by changing the size of this 10th spatial dimension in front of the space ship that the Baylor researchers believe could alter the strength of the dark energy in such a manner to propel the ship faster than the speed of light.

They conclude by recommending that it would be “prudent to research this area further.”

But hold the dilithium crystals: Dr Chris Van Den Broeck of Cardiff University commented: “The problem with this and previous schemes (including my own) is that part of the exotic matter would have to travel faster than the *local* speed of light (roughly speaking, it would need to go faster than the speed of light with respect to the portion of space it occupies), and that’s not allowed by any established physical theory.”

And even if this criticism can be met, Richard Obousy computed the amount of energy required to start up a “warp” process (but not the total energy required to travel a specific distance) around a 10x10x10 metre-cube ship based on the required change in dark energy in a space equal to the volume of the ship.

The energy to kick start the drive turned out to be equivalent to turning the entire mass of Jupiter into energy, by Einstein’s famous E equals Mc squared equation, where c is the speed of light. Given the mass of Jupiter is around 2000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms, that is a big number.

“That is an enormous amount of energy,” Dr Cleaver said. “We are still a very long ways off before we could create something to harness that type of energy.”

Activists decry Denver’s ‘secret’ detention facility

Rocky Mountain News | Aug 16, 2008

By  Tillie Fong

Activists who plan to demonstrate during the Democratic National Convention were outraged to learn that Denver was creating what they called a “secret” facility to hold protesters.

“We’re offended that this is where they hope to keep the protesters,” said Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer with the Re-create 68 Alliance.

Spagnuolo was among nearly a dozen activists who gathered Friday in front of a brick warehouse on Steele Street to speak out against the temporary detention facility to house demonstrators if mass arrests are made during the DNC.

Members of Unconventional Denver, who had bandanas covering their faces, held up banners including one that read: “Gitmo on the Platte” – a reference to the American detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba used to hold suspected terrorists.

At one point during the news conference, three patrol cars – one belonging to the Denver sheriff’s department and two to Denver police – drove up.

When demonstrators tried to approach two of the vehicles to ask officers for their business cards, they drove away but parked nearby.

The door of the warehouse had a sign posted that read: “Ring bell for assistance. You will display proper identification at all times.” Two “No Parking” signs also were duct-taped to the railing in front of the warehouse.

When a few activists tried to peek into the door windows, a couple of Denver sheriff deputies came out and told them to get off the dock.

When a reporter and photographer from the Rocky approached the door after the activists had left, two Denver sheriff deputies came out but said the journalists could not enter the building.

Officer Marie Kielar said that the facility will be open for tours between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday. As for the patrol cars, Kielar said they were there to prevent vandalism.

News crew crashes Denver’s DNC ‘concentration camp’

The following video was aired by Denver’s CBS 4 News on August 13, 2008.

Raw Story | Aug 15, 2008

Stephen C. Webster

During the 2004 Republican Nation Convention in New York City, over 1,700 protesters were taken into police custody in one of the most sweeping mass-arrests in US history. Many were held in Manhattan’s Pier 57, inside a warehouse which was contaminated with lead and asbestos. Some were held for days, and without proper access to food, water, outside communication or legal counsel.

In Denver, police are preparing what a local political organizer calls a ‘concentration camp,’ laying in wait for mass arrests anticipated during the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

On Wednesday, a Denver CBS affiliate sent a news crew to crash the police department’s improvised detention facility, found in a warehouse owned by the city on the north-east side of town.

“This is a building filled with metal holding cells,” described reporter Rick Sallinger, introducing the segment. “We showed up at the facility unannounced today, the doors were wide open, and we managed to shoot for several minutes until a Denver sheriff’s captain asked us to leave.”

Footage of the warehouse revels tall, chain-link fence capped by barbed wire, and segmented pens each bearing an identifying letter at about shoulder height.

The news crew was not invited, nor welcome. Cpt. Frank Gale of the Denver Sheriff’s Department called the facility “a secured area,” and worried that information related to the site would be used “by people who are potentially trying to be disruptive.”

“Each of these fenced in areas is about five yards by five yards,” said Sallinger. “There’s a lock on the door. How long those arrested will be kept here is not known. A sign on the wall reads, ‘Warning! Electric stun devices used in this facility.'”

“If 300 people are taken to Denver’s temporary detention facility within a short time frame, processing those persons at the rate of 30 to 50 per hour would take at least 6 to 10 hours,” notes a letter from ACLU Colorado, sent to the Denver Police Department. “During the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004, nearly 1,100 people were arrested in a four-hour period. If a similar situation occurred in Denver, it would take at least 22 to 36 hours to process those persons.”

Area activists are not amused at the news. CBS carried its footage of the newfound jail to Adam Jung, with Tent State University, and Zoe Williams, a Code Pink organizer.

“Very reminiscent of a political prisoner camp, or a concentration camp,” said Williams.

“I mean, that’s how you treat cattle,” added Jung. “… It’s a meat processing plant.”

The detention site was supposed to be a secret, said Sallinger.

“At the temporary facility, Denver will of course also be required to provide for detainees’ basic human needs, such as adequate food and drinking water; access to toilets and facilities for washing; and access to medical care if necessary,” the ACLU insisted. “Detainees must also be allowed the opportunity for bodily movement, including release from handcuffs or flexicuffs.

“Denver must establish a system to ensure that detainees are assured of access to medically necessary prescription medications they may be taking. Some arrestees will need prescription medications that are in the possession of family members who were not arrested. Denver will have to arrange a system to receive the medications from family members and then deliver them to the appropriate prisoner. Failure to deliver appropriate and necessary medications could result in serious deterioration and damage to a detainee’s health.”

A call by RAW STORY to the Denver Sheriff’s Department seeking information on this facility was not immediately returned.

“This facility will not be used for long-term detention,” stated a Denver police department letter to area residents. “Arrestees who are processed at this facility will be there for no more than the few hours it requires for processing. Water, bathrooms, medical staff and phones will be available to them. The facility will be fully staffed to ensure its safe and secure operation.”

ACLU Colorado is currently pressing the police department for further information.

Big Brother watching every move of the British people

In many cases information is kept by companies such as banks and shops, but in certain circumstances they can be asked to hand it over to a range of legal authorities Photo: ANTHONY UPTON

In our ever-growing surveillance society, the average Briton is being recorded 3,000 times a week.

Telegraph | Aug 16, 2008

How Big Brother watches your every move

Richard Gray reports

With every telephone call, swipe of a card and click of a mouse, information is being recorded, compiled and stored about Britain’s citizens.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has now uncovered just how much personal data is being collected about individuals by the Government, law enforcement agencies and private companies each day.

In one week, the average person living in Britain has 3,254 pieces of personal information stored about him or her, most of which is kept in databases for years and in some cases indefinitely.

The data include details about shopping habits, mobile phone use, emails, locations during the day, journeys and internet searches.

In many cases this information is kept by companies such as banks and shops, but in certain circumstances they can be asked to hand it over to a range of legal authorities.

Britain’s information watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, has called for tighter regulation of the amount of data held about citizens and urged the public to restrict the information they allow organisations to hold on them.

This newspaper’s findings come days after the Government published plans to grant local authorities and other public bodies access to the email and internet records of millions. Phone companies already retain data about their customers and give it to 650 public bodies on request.

The loss of data by Government departments, including an incident where HM Revenue and Customs mislaid computer disks containing the personal details of 25 million people, has heightened concerns about the amount of information being stored.

David Smith, deputy information commissioner, said: “As more and more information is collected and kept on all of us, we are very concerned that appropriate safeguards go along with that.

“People should know what is happening with their information and have a choice.

“Our concern is that what is kept with the justification of preventing and detecting terrorism, can then be used for minor purposes such as pursuing people for parking fines.”

Earlier this year the Commons home affairs select committee recommended new controls and regulations on the accumulation of information by the state.

Mobile phones

Every day the average person makes three mobile phone calls and sends at least two text messages.

Each time the network provider logs information about who was called as well as the caller’s location and direction of travel, worked out by triangulation from phone masts.

Customers can also have their locations tracked even when they are not using their phones, as the devices send out unique identifying signals at regular intervals.

All of this information can be accessed by police and other public authorities investigating crimes.

The internet

Internet service providers (ISPs) compile information about their customers when they go online, including name, address, the unique identification number for the connection, known as an IP address, any browser used and location.

They also keep details of emails, such as whom they were sent to, together with the date and time they were sent. An average of 50 websites are visited and 32 emails sent per person in Britain every day.

Privacy campaigners have expressed concern that the country’s three biggest ISPs – BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk – now provide this data to a digital advertising company called Phorm so that it can analyse web surfing habits.

ISPs are already voluntarily providing information they hold about their customers if requested by law enforcement agencies and public authorities. A consultation published last week by the Government would make it a legal requirement for ISPs to provide a customer’s personal information when requested. A total of 520,000 requests were made by public officials for telephone and internet details last year, an increase from around 350,000 the previous year.

Internet search engines also compile data about their users, including the IP address and what was searched for. Google receives around 68 searches from the average person each day and stores this data for 18 months.

Dr Ian Brown, a research fellow on privacy at Oxford University, said: “Companies such as Google and internet service providers are building up huge databases of data about internet users.

“These companies may be compelled, through a legal action, to hand over this information to third parties or the Government, or the companies may lose the data and it can then be misused.”

Loyalty cards

Store “loyalty” cards also retain large amounts of information about individuals who have signed up to use them. They link a person’s personal details to the outlets used, the transaction times and how much is spent.
In the case of Nectar cards, which are used by more than 10 million people in Britain once a week, information from dozens of shops is compiled, giving a detailed picture of a cardholder’s shopping habits.

A spokesman for Loyalty Management UK, which runs the Nectar programme, insisted that information about the items bought was not compiled, but some partners in the scheme, such as Sainsbury’s, use their till records to compile that information.

She admitted that the personal information that is compiled under the Nectar scheme is kept indefinitely until individuals close their account and ask for their information to be destroyed. In criminal inquiries, police can request the details held by Nectar.


Banks can also be required to hand over personal account information to the authorities if requested as part of an investigation.

They also provide personal data to credit reference agencies, debt collectors and fraud prevention organisations.

Debit and credit card transactions can give information about where and on what people are spending their money.


The biggest source of surveillance in Britain is through the network of CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras. On average, an individual will appear on 300 CCTV cameras during a day and those tapes are kept by many organisations for indefinite lengths of time.

On the London Underground network, Transport for London (TfL) keeps footage for a minimum of 14 days. TfL operates more than 8,500 CCTV cameras in its underground stations, 1,550 cameras on tube trains and up to 60,000 cameras on buses.

Network Rail refused to say how many CCTV cameras it operates or for how long the footage is kept.

Britain now has more CCTV cameras in public spaces than any other country in the world. A study in 2002 estimated that there were around 4.2 million cameras, but that number is likely to now be far higher.

Number plate recognition

The latest development in CCTV is the increased use of automatic number plate recognition systems, which read number-plates and search databases for signs that a vehicle has been used in crime.

A national automatic number plate recognition system is maintained by the Association of Chief Police Officers along motorways and main roads. Every number plate picked up by the system is stored in a database with date, time and location for two years.

Public transport

Travel passes such as the Oyster Card used in London and the Key card, in Oxford, can also reveal remarkable amounts of information about an individual. When they are registered to a person’s name, they record journey history, dates, times and fares.

A spokesman for TfL, which runs the Oyster Card system, insisted that access to this information was restricted to its customer services agents.
Police, however, can also obtain this information and have used Oyster Card journey records as evidence in criminal cases.

The workplace

Employers are increasingly using radio-tagged security passes for employees, providing them with information about when staff enter and leave the office.

The War on Terrorism Brings Mass Surveillance – In Sweden


Swedish athletes tout GPS chip implants

Lew Rockwell | Aug 16, 2008

by Per Bylund

On June 18 a new law was passed in Sweden granting the national defense’s civilian agency National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) the right to collect and analyze all communication data that in some way passes the borders of the Kingdom of Sweden. As a small country with extensive government and business collaboration with the other Nordic countries, most domestic communication such as Internet and phone services at some point passes the national border. The real effect of the law, which mandates that communication corporations deliver all their border-passing data directly to the FRA, is therefore mass surveillance of the whole Swedish populace.

The official lie offered as excuse for this horrid, uncivilized law is, like in all other countries, the threat of terrorism. It is unlikely anyone actually believes Sweden, an insignificant socialist country in the far north in moral, financial, and political decline, is on the terrorists’ list of future targets, yet the sense of a common external threat of a faceless enemy seems to be as effective in Sweden as elsewhere.

The law, which officially is called proposition 2006/07:63 – An Adapted Military Intelligence, was passed under rather strange circumstances that only make sense in a political world. The law was originally formulated a few years ago by the former social democratic government and was then strongly criticized by the four so-called non-socialist parties in parliament. It was, however, not brought to the floor of parliament for enactment by the social democratic party (for fear of losing the election?), but by the succeeding non-socialist four-party coalition government after the social democratic party lost power in the general elections in 2006. Also, the new coalition government parties voted in favor of the law while the social democrats and their lackey parties The Left Party (formerly known as the communist party) and The Environment Party voted against it.

The debate leading up to the passing of the law in June 2008 just before the parliament’s summer leave was quite hostile, especially after non-socialist bloggers started analyzing the effects of the law and bringing the truth to unknowing voters. The media kept their mouths shut for as long as possible, but as the bloggers wouldn’t stop they managed to create enormous public pressure on politicians. The prime minister and his government responded by forcing “their” members of parliament to shut up and vote in accordance with their government’s proposition even though it could be interpreted as conflicting with the parties’ political platforms, promises, and programs.

With their political careers literally on the line, only a handful of politicians had the courage to criticize the proposition beforehand even though all of the discussions took place behind locked doors. All but one agreed on voting in favor of the bill or being absent from this particular vote, while only four votes of the 349 in parliament would have been enough to throw the bill out.

As is common practice in Sweden a new law is referred for consideration to major government agencies, big business corporations and labor unions for comments before brought to a vote. Basically any organization has the right to comment on a law and the government has to register the comments in a publicly accessible archive of comments, which is often used by the media. The comments on this law were very skeptical and a number of agencies and departments, among them the Swedish security police (SÄPO), claimed the law shouldn’t be passed due to its total lack of restraints on FRA’s surveillance activities as well as safeguards for people’s personal integrity (!). Despite such devastating comments the bill was proposed to parliament by the non-socialist government while the media basically remained silent.

But a number of Swedish bloggers and free-lance writers, mainly libertarian or semi-libertarian such, continued online discussions on the “FRA Bill” (often referred to as “Lex Orwell”) on blogs and elsewhere and during these discussions a number of interesting facts surfaced. The military agency FRA, which up to this point had only had the right to spy on radio communication crossing borders, with the main (but not explicitly stated) purpose to spy on Soviet Russia for the United States federal government, had already acted as a domestic surveillance agency despite it being illegal. The agency’s actions were reported to the police, but the attorney general almost immediately dismissed the case despite obvious and severe crimes.

After the bill was passed a number of politicians in the non-socialist parties reacted to the public pressure in the way politicians often do: a number of them publicly stated their opposition to the bill they had recently voted in favor of and created “anti-FRA” political networks to bring the bill to the floor again and this time make sure it doesn’t pass. And the social democrats, who were the ones writing the law in the first place, vowed to discard of the law if elected in the 2010 elections.

Despite these pathetic political attempts to benefit from the public awareness of the law, the discussions on blogs and in non-mainstream media go on. More strange circumstances and illegal acts by the agency are reported almost daily on numerous blogs while the main media corporations seem obviously afraid to touch this issue – despite the fact that this surveillance would severely affect news reporting as well as other businesses and individuals.

A list of 103 Swedish citizens that the FRA has previously reported to the security police was published by blogger Henrik Alexandersson (his English blog here) in an attempt to show that the FRA has not worked within the law historically and therefore will not do so in the future. Alexandersson, who is also the chairman of the libertarian activist network Frihetsfronten (Freedom Front) is now being investigated by the police for the crime of espionage (!) for publishing the list in conflict with freedom of speech laws. He was reported to the police by the director of the FRA, Ingvar Åkesson, and while the report includes a number of interesting pieces of information implying illegal activities by the FRA neither the media nor the police pretend to have noticed.

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Turkish president predicts a “New World Order”

Turkey’s Gul anticipates ‘new world order’

EU Business | Aug 17, 2008

(LONDON) – Turkish President Abdullah Gul predicted “a new world order” of joint international action, in an interview published in Britain on Saturday.

He added that the conflict in Georgia shows the United States can no longer shape global politics on its own, and that it should start sharing power with other nations.

“I don’t think you can control all the world from one centre,” Gul told the Guardian newspaper in an interview.

“There are big nations. There are huge populations. There is unbelievable economic development in some parts of the world.”

“So what we have to do is, instead of unilateral actions, act all together, make common decisions and have consultations with the world. A new world order, if I can say it, should emerge.”

The comments appeared after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Georgia on Thursday, pledged a regional initiative, looking at issues like economic cooperation and energy supplies.

Erdogan also met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday and stressed the “large importance” of regional solidarity.

Elsewhere in his interview, Gul said Turkey could play a key role in bridging the gap between Europe and turbulent areas, and that joining the European Union was Ankara’s “main agenda”.

Turkey achieving a free-market economy and high standards of democracy will help influence nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus, he added.

“Turkey is having a positive impact on them, spreading the values of democracy, freedom, rule of law,” Gul said. Also the economic changes here… are admired. Maybe that is the indirect influence of this country.”