CNN’s Thelma Gutierrez reports on how one Arizona-raised U.S. soldier feels about Arizona’s new immigration law.
Currently touring the United States at film festivals, conventions, university events, and community screenings, and soon to screen for Members of Congress in the US Capitol building, “9500 Liberty” will soon premiere on cable television (can’t say where just yet) and will be available on DVD and for internet download by the end of the spring, 2010.
Prince William County, Virginia becomes ground zero in Americas explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect is an undocumented immigrant.
9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens. Alarmed by a climate of fear and racial division, residents form a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual town halls, setting up a real-life showdown in the seat of county government.
The devastating social and economic impact of the Immigration Resolution is felt in the lives of real people in homes and in local businesses. But the ferocious fight to adopt and then reverse this policy unfolds inside government chambers, on the streets, and on the Internet. 9500 Liberty provides a front row seat to all three battlegrounds.
Break it down KRS-One 1/3
Break it down KRS 2/3
Break it down KRS 3/3
The Obama Deception is a hard-hitting film that completely destroys the myth that Barack Obama is working for the best interests of the American people.
The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery.
We have reached a critical juncture in the New World Order’s plans. It’s not about Left or Right: it’s about a One World Government. The international banks plan to loot the people of the United States and turn them into slaves on a Global Plantation.
Covered in this film: who Obama works for, what lies he has told, and his real agenda. If you want to know the facts and cut through all the hype, this is the film for you.
Watch the Obama Deception and learn how:
- Obama is continuing the process of transforming America into something that resembles Nazi Germany, with forced National Service, domestic civilian spies, warrantless wiretaps, the destruction of the Second Amendment, FEMA camps and Martial Law.
- Obama’s handlers are openly announcing the creation of a new Bank of the World that will dominate every nation on earth through carbon taxes and military force.
- International bankers purposefully engineered the worldwide financial meltdown to bankrupt the nations of the planet and bring in World Government.
- Obama plans to loot the middle class, destroy pensions and federalize the states so that the population is completely dependent on the Central Government.
- The Elite are using Obama to pacify the public so they can usher in the North American Union by stealth, launch a new Cold War and continue the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rep: Foreclosed owners should squat in their own homes
David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Friday January 30, 2009
If you’re poor and the bank is coming for your home, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur has a plan for you.
Just squat, she says.
Yes, this Ohio Democrat is actually encouraging her financially distressed constituents whose homes have been foreclosed upon, to simply stay put.
In a Friday report, CNN’s Drew Griffin explored the case of Ohioan Andrea Geiss, whose home was foreclosed upon in April.
“Behind in payments, out of work, a husband sick, she had nowhere to go,” said Griffin. “So, she decided to follow the advice of her Congresswoman and go nowhere.”
In Lucas County, Ohio, over 4,000 properties were foreclosed upon in 2008, reports CNN.
“So I say to the American people, you be squatters in your own homes,” said Congresswoman Kaptur before the House of Representatives. “Don’t you leave.”
She’s called on all of her foreclosed-upon constituents to stay in their homes and refuse to leave without “an attorney and a fight,” said CNN.
“If they’ve had no legal representation of a high quality, I tell them stay in their homes,” Kaptur told Griffin.
Kaptur is a high-profile advocate of an increasingly popular mode of fighting foreclosures best known for it’s key phrase: “Produce the note.”
By telling a bank to “produce the note,” a homeowner can delay foreclosure by forcing the lender to prove the suing institution is actually the same which owns the debt.
“During the lending boom, most mortgages were flipped and sold to another lender or servicer or sliced up and sold to investors as securitized packages on Wall Street,” explains the Consumer Warning Network. “In the rush to turn these over as fast as possible to make the most money, many of the new lenders did not get the proper paperwork to show they own the note and mortgage. This is the key to the produce the note strategy.”
And Friday’s segment on this growing foreclosure fighting “movement” was not the network’s first. Earlier in January, CNN explored one person’s strategy in demanding her bank “produce the note,” only to find that the lender had “lost or destroyed” the evidence of debt ownership. Such a revelation can significantly strengthen a homeowner’s position when asking to renegotiate a mortgage.
That these banks, many of which received billions of dollars in government bailout funds, continue to boot defaulted owners from their homes, makes them “vultures” says Kaptur.
“They prey on our property assets,” she said. “I guess the reason I’m so adamant on this is because I know property law and its power to protect the individual homeowner. And I believe that 99.9 percent of our people have not had good legal representation in this.”
This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Jan. 30, 2009.
Going AWOL, Trees of Life, Life, & AWOL life in trees.
As a kid I used to go hiking in the mountains and cliff jumping and fishing at the lake I used to live near. I remember people would share food from their gardens, and they would play bluegrass in the middle of town three days out of the week. As a kid I remember thinking I would never leave. But in backwoods Arkansas there are few opportunities for young people trying to get started in a professional life. My mom was single most of the time and poor all of the time, and I didn’t know where to go when I left the house. I naively joined the Army; I didn’t know what else to do. That was back in 1999, and I promised myself I would not do anything that I disagreed with; that was my personal ultimatum for joining, and I was way too trusting of our government to use good discretion behind what they told us to do. When I joined I was looking at the need for a military as being in a sense of immediacy as if I would be expected to act in immediate defense of our country.
Some time after I joined, that ultimatum was compromised. I’m not proud of it, and I rarely talk about it. But there are things that happened in places I was deployed that will be with me for the rest of my life. I have to be vague; its much easier to talk about things you didn’t do sometimes.
Since then, I have been drawn to anything that could be an attempt to explain the circumstances behind the situation in which I and so many other people found ourselves. I became interested in anything that addresses the dynamics of how culture and religion lead to wars and other conflicts, and that inevitably led to a largely academic type of interest in religion and philosophy as would any critique of all the encompassing aspects of a political paradigm. Retrospect has treated the situation I was in much better than it treated me while I was involved.
In the military there is this type of conditioning you go through beginning in training that is intended to break you from acting upon your conscience, and many people go through things later in their service that cause that separation to widen further. Honestly, that training is very affective, and it ostensibly works for its intended purpose. It starts with desensitization and can eventually move to actualization, but despite its intensive psychological purpose and implementation there are many known residual affects of this conditioning and many more upon implementation. Your conscience will always come back to you; in some situations you can die due to a conscience, but you can never live without it.
The months leading up to the Iraq War almost seemed surreal. It was an encroaching reality of which I could not justify being a part. It was a taboo around our Army post with the exception of faint rumors that some private, specialist, or other low ranking person had seen a shipment of DCUs (desert combat uniforms) come in. No one talked about it. People talked about Afghanistan, but not Iraq. It was too sensitive of a topic. Per procedure we knew we were on 24 hour notice. Twenty four hours notice and we would have to report and start packing our gear. After a while there seemed to be less of a question as to if, and more of a question as to when we would go.
The situation kept getting more volatile. I felt the fear and paranoia keep growing all around me and throughout the rest of the world. I would walk back onto post from the little German town I lived near and my backpack would be sniffed by dogs. F16s and Apache helicopters would patrol the airspace above the barracks where I lived, and the Germans, usually very courtly and obsequious, now treated me and other Americans with an unusual apprehension or disregard.
Something was going badly wrong, and I knew it. I watched the news relentlessly, and I looked around at all the new soldiers that were coming in and thought to myself, “They’re stocking up, oh shit.” I would see them come in from the bars and in their rooms playing video games, and I couldn’t help but to think, “You can’t know,” and I could see that in the eyes of any other veteran as well, but no one ever talked. I was only 21 then, and maybe I was still too innocent to be quiet.
I broke and started talking. I called bullshit on the war in front of everyone. I was so vocal that my company commander pulled me aside and told me that I needed to stop talking about it. He was a little mystified by it because throughout the unit I was respected and had never caused a problem. I asked him to allow me to be placed on conscientious objector status, and he reminded me that I had signed an agreement to be a part of a combat unit, and also of the clauses in the UCMJ where it says, “the willful disobedience of an order or regulation,” and, “conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the armed forces, or that will bring discredit upon the service,” was against military law. I told him that legality doesn’t define morality and that going to Iraq would be prejudicial to the ‘good order’ of the of the unit,” and I walked out of his office without being dismissed.
This exemplifies the obvious paradox about being in the U.S. military. In theory you are defending, and are a part of, a democratic country where you have the right to question anything, but you live in a totalitarian segment of it and have little room to question authority as you should be able to in a democracy. You relinquish many of your civilian rights when you enlist. Freedom of speech is often litigiously impeded by issues of national interest, and the general morale of the soldiers is of enough importance to an officer that they will reprimand anyone raising the right questions.
I mailed myself some civilian clothes before I went to a field exercise, and six years ago when I got the package and I went AWOL. I hiked 20 miles through the woods at night in mountainous terrain to get to the nearest road, and I hitched to the nearest town with a train station. I had to leave the country in less than 24 hours because I knew the Army would put out an “All Points Bulletin” or an A.P.B. with the Interpol, also known as Europe’s International Police. I got on the next train leaving the country, and on the train I found myself on a car that was completely empty except for myself and a sinister looking upper middle aged man of middle eastern descent. It was quiet for half an hour except for the sound of the tracks, but I think this man sensed my anxiety and began asking me questions first in broken German and then in broken English. The state of mind I was in must have been so apprehensive that something about the way I just filled space raised his curiosity. “Wo Sie tat, kommt her,” or, “Where did you come from,” he asked suddenly. It seemed intrusive, but I tried to fight back any inclination that this man could be some form of a threat. “Ich bin eine Americanish soldat, und ich ous Baumholder,” or, “I am an American soldier, and I am out of Baumholder,” I answered because I knew he would figure it out due to the haircut and my accent. In english he asked where I was going, and I answered, “I don’t know where where I am going; I just went AWOL.” I didn’t expect him to know what that meant, but he reacted with a moment of rumination, and said, “I was a soldier, and I left also.” I knew better than to ask about what country or what kind of service in which he had been enlisted, but after another long pause he said, “I was in the Iraqi army.” “I fought in the Iran-Iraq War and what you call Desert Storm,” he said with retention in his voice. The train started picking up speed and the tracks started making more noise. Both were more comforting than the conversation we were having.
By the time he got off of the train in Uterect he had told me a detailed account of how he had to leave his family and move to the Netherlands to seek asylum because he didn’t support his county’s recent foreign policies with America. We were both defected soldiers from opposing sides of an impending war. The last thing he said to me was, “May peace be with you my good friend.” He was only the second person I talked to after I went AWOL.
I made it to Amsterdam, and stayed there for a couple of weeks in a hostel, Bob’s Hostel, for any of you who may know of the place. The rest of my experience in Amsterdam is a little hard to explain, but I can definitely vouch for the importance of psychedelic drugs in times of both personal and international crisis. It was a very meaningful experience. Psylocibin was definitely a good idea at that point. Everything that was going on in the world, and everything that was going on with me made so much more sense. Every fear, every hope, every insight, every premonition, every instinct, every facet of connectedness that I experienced in the world in the past or present at that time had reaffirmed itself with me and with what I was doing, or not doing. Somehow I gained a more encompassing vantage point on how my personal state of existence correlated with the rest of the world. It made me feel invulnerable to the ramifications of that situation, which affectively empowered me to live it out in a manner that allowed me to enjoy it. I knew I would never have another experience like it. I was going to make the most of it, and I reveled in that fact. Albeit that I was an international fugitive, I found freedom in where all the possibilities of that situation could take me.
I had no way to survive for long in Amsterdam or the rest of Europe for that matter. I needed to be in a place where people hated me as much as they hated themselves, and that place was not Europe at this point.
I didn’t know if the leave form I had forged would get me through an airport, and I knew that my name would most likely be flagged in any airport’s security system. Just to stay random I jumped a passenger train to Luxembourg dodging the train attendant the entire way. I made it to the airport and booked a flight from there to Newark, New Jersey with British Airways. I made it through security. Somehow the leave form with made up control numbers and account numbers along with my own name signed as my commander worked to get me through security, and as I boarded the plane I remember thinking, “This was too easy.” The “fasten seat-belt” light turned off and I took my carry on, containing the only things I owned at this point, and went to the restroom and changed clothes and put on a hat, and when I was done I sat down in a different seat. I didn’t know at the time if this was a precaution or just paranoia, but if they were going to find me I was not going to make it any easier for them. The plane landed at Heathrow airport in London where I was going to have to get off and transfer to the Gatwik airport. As we taxied to dock with the terminal, the plane stopped just before the gate, and a couple of minutes later the pilot said, “Will the person sitting in seat 86b with boarding pass number 5384606 please stay seated security reasons.” That was my assigned seat and boarding pass number. The plane took an eternal fifteen minutes to dock with the terminal; they were waiting on security to show up. When they did, the plane finally docked, and I got into the aisle with everyone else. When I walked by the stewardess, she very cordially said, “Welcome to London.” I said, “Thanks,” and kept walking with only a slight grin on my face I’m sure. At the end of the ramp there were two straight-faced British airport security guards standing beside each other just within the roped off area. I made eye contact with one of them as I walked by and concentrated hard on not increasing my pace after I had passed them; for some reason I had almost started laughing. At the ground transportation exit of the airport I exchanged some Euros for Pounds so I could catch my bus to the Gatwik airport.
Upon arrival at Gatwik I hid in some bushes and changed clothes again. It occurred to me that I should do something with the rest of the weed I had picked up in Amsterdam. I rolled a spliff and smoked the rest of what I had; maybe it was due some existential want of mine, and for some reason it brought out the sheer sublimity and farcicality of that situation. From the onset of the whole airport experience I was dumbfounded about how it all seemed so amusingly diverted from the dire reality of it all; my freedom for months afterward depended on the outcome, but I still had an unheeded disposition despite the reality that I was at the whim of other powers at large. I walked up to the British Airways kiosk and presented my itinerary, my U.S. Army I.D., and the bogus leave form. The attendant took a quick glance at the I.D. then at me. She then turned her attention to the leave form and started typing in information. This hadn’t happened in Luxembourg. The typing stopped and she took a long discriminate look at the computer screen, and then she shifted in her seat a little and picked up a phone and called a manager with a fleeting and peculiar look in my direction. Several minutes passed while she was waiting on her supervisor and she continued to try to decipher whatever syntax her computer was spitting out. The line began to back up, and my flight was only twenty five minutes out, and I still had to either deal with security or they else they were going to deal with me. I was surprised she didn’t tell me to step aside so she could help other people; I stood there like a statue of a man in purgatory, and when she looked at me again our eyes locked for a moment. She looked at the I.D. again with more contemplation this time and gave it back to me as she began printing my boarding pass. Minutes later I was at customs explaining that I had nothing to declare.
Once my transatlantic flight was at cruising altitude I couldn’t resist asking the stewardess for a drink even though I knew I shouldn’t attract any attention to myself. One thing led to another, and I was given complimentary beer through the whole flight; benevolence seemed like just as good of a plan after a while. The flight was nearly empty, and I ended up talking to a couple of the stewardesses for a couple of hours with banter about the ridiculous state of affairs in the world at that point. Over my last beer before we started our descent into Newark, I told one of the stewardesses that I was a soldier and was going home for good. Airlines personnel in particular know the comings and goings of soldiers, and she had to have known about the stop-loss on American soldiers; no American soldier, in good health or good standing, had legally gone home “for good” in months, and that was all over the news as well as evident in their absence on her flights. “Was it a medical discharge or some kind of a chapter,” she asked. “Neither,” I responded. She started to say the word, “How,” with consternation, but decided not to pursue an answer. Instead she grinned and whispered, “You need to be more careful,” as she walked to the back. The plane landed and moments later I was showing the same worn out leave form to a tired looking customs agent who sent me on my way. I don’t know how that happened. I guess someone didn’t get the memo. I had just traveled internationally with a federal warrant for my arrest and was not even given a second look by inbound customs or security.
Culture shock set in sometime after I left the airport. I hadn’t been in civilian America since 9/11, and on top of that I found myself on a train to New York. I didn’t pay for the train ticket of course, and when the attendant came by I flipped open my wallet unintentionally revealing my military identification to grab ten dollars of the only hundred I had left. She said, “Don’t worry about it. Thanks for your service.” That made me want to pay for it anyway, but I couldn’t find the brevity to respond without complicating matters. My situation put me in a strange sort of suspension between a division in our society that had continued to widen with every step toward war in Iraq. I don’t look at the soldiers in my unit that invaded Iraq as having poor judgement in deciding to go; they were subjected to just as much if not more deception as anyone else. They were acting upon the misjudgment of a few misguided people, and their vitality was compromised regardless of any personal decision they could have made; our country had done them a disservice by allowing the invasion to happen, and for not being more critical of the prosecution of the Iraq War in its onset. I can honestly say that I respect and supported everyone I knew in the service, but I cannot say I respect and support the totalitarian organization of the military or its given directives as a whole. In every sense of the word I cannot say I did my country a disservice by not going; it was a blatant misrepresentation of the will of the public for the war to even begin. It has been very disheartening for me since this time to be criticized for being unpatriotic by people who have never done any more public service than to vote; shielded -per their own hypothesis- by combat operations of which I was a part. I knew I could run but not hide; I knew my vitality would be strongly affected by the public perception of the impending war.
With that in mind, I looked around and listened in passivity to people on this train. English spoken in public had been a rare encounter for me for a long time, and I almost wanted it to be German, Dutch, Belgian, or French again. There was a sense of disquietude that seemed to pervade every public area, every thing I saw on the news, and everything that was said to me. I began to question why I had come back, but then I realized that, being a product of the American Dream turned nightmare, it would be a little irresponsible to expect non-Americans to be receptive to my immediate problems: American problems. If I was ever going to be any part of a dynamic for changes made to these circumstances I would have to be in America. After all, the international community often receives American influence and foreign policy involuntarily; I didn’t want them to have to receive another problem involuntarily: an indigent American fugitive.
I got off of the train in New York somewhere near the Greyhound station. Directions were easier to understand, but so were the vagrants in the street. It had always seemed more wholesome and fulfilling to give money to the people on the street in Europe. Maybe that was because I couldn’t understand what they were saying, and I could just let my imagination think they would use it for a rightful purpose. It was a little more burdensome to explain, “I’m in your situation,” to people that I knew could understand me. Vocalizing it made it sink in a little further at the time. I made it to the station, and I used my I.D. for the last time to buy a $99 military discount on a trip to San Francisco. I was completely broke except for the dollar in change. I went back outside while waiting on the bus and set the dollar bill on fire in front of all of the bums, and when they protested I just looked around at all of them and said with enthusiasm, “Live free.”
Later that night, after I had transferred from my original bus in Washington D.C. to another one headed to Oklahoma City, I woke up to red and blue lights behind the bus. As it came to a stop, I read the emergency exit label on the window beside me over and over, “Pull up and push out, use only in the event of an emergency.” I asked some people in the seats next to me what was going on and they said that people on the bus had been screaming at the bus driver to stop because he had been driving erratically. Someone on the bus had called the police on the driver, and they ended up arresting him for driving the bus at over three times the legal blood alcohol limit. They took witness statements on a voluntary basis so I was able to stay out of it. After the troopers had left the bus and it occupants on the side of the Beltway, a Greyhound driver showed up two hours later only to drive us back to the D.C. bus station, and when we got there I was a little appalled that there was a television crew and a reporter filming and questioning everyone that was exiting the bus. When I walked by them I said, “Kerl war betrunken,” or “Dude was drunk,” in German. I guess it was some attempt to force them to not broadcast my fugitive mug to the rest of the world. If I had said something in English or nothing at all they might have rolled it anyway. I waited twelve hours for a transfer out of D.C., and I took that time to take a walk by the F.B.I. building where I enticed a few drunk bums into flipping the building off with me for a while; surveillance cameras were rolling. It was a weird move I know, but at least it was on my own agenda that I was on camera.
It took a total of five days to get to San Francisco because I had to be rerouted through Atlanta and other parts of the south before I could head west on the what used to be Route 66. When I made it to San Francisco I walked to my sisters apartment. I hadn’t told my family anything at this point and even though it was risky I decided to make a brief appearance and to let them know I was okay. I just appeared unannounced at her front door very strung out from the road. I thought a phone call would have been a bad idea. She told me that Army investigators had called my mother’s house in Arkansas, and that everyone was very worried about the fact that I had been missing from my unit in Germany. Most civilians, including my family, seemed to treat the possibility of the war with what seemed to me to be disregard. Its implications seemed to be less of a reality than they were to soldiers, and with it being a foreign war of course this was the case. My sister was the only person in my family that was solidly anti-war at this point, and I asked her to explain to the rest of my family that what I was doing would explain itself eventually. She insisted that I stay there for a couple of days, and I did with some well-founded objection. When I left I told her that I had plans to travel to Vancouver, Canada, and I had even bought another bus ticket to get there with a small amount of money she had given me. But I was lying to her in order to protect her from withholding information from the authorities. Federal marshals showed up there to serve the warrant they had on me only days after I left.
I was squatting in Golden Gate Park for about a week after I left my sister’s apartment. I was having fun hanging around the drum circles that would happen only when the sun was out, and I soaked up whatever subculture the city had to offer at that point. After talking to a few kids in the park I learned that there was an anarchist bookstore a few blocks down the Haight, a great street of cultural importance in the Bay area, and I walked there out of curiosity. Once inside, I immediately found the place to be a priceless resource for someone with such a history of transgressing state authority. There was free information about urban survival all over the place, and I also found a flyer about tree-sitting there. It explained that it was a nonviolent form of environmental activism that involved living illegally in redwood trees for long periods of time. I didn’t second guess the impulse I had to do it; it was something that would put me right in the middle of the radar. It was the perfect confrontation with authority that I had wanted for a long time. I didn’t care if I was arrested doing it; I had finally found something that I can honestly say that I agreed with wholeheartedly. The itinerary on the bus ticket I had included a stop in the town where the point of contact was to begin training for direct action and forest defense. After the January 18, anti-war protest that I was a part of in San Francisco, I used the ticket to get to Arcata, in Humboldt County.
Northern California treated me well. I found a lot of hospitality there; creatively motivated dissidents were well received. Days after I arrived there I was living a couple of hundred feet up in a 1,500 year old redwood tree named Jezebel. During one of my first nights that I spent in that tree, one of the tallest in the immediate area, there was a wind storm that came off of the Pacific with gusts upwards of fifty miles an hour. The tree was swaying twelve feet from side to side at the platform violently throwing me and everything else inside it around. I managed to put on some rain gear and climb to the top of the tree; first on the rope and then via free-climb. I don’t know if it was safer than the platform, but it definitely heightened my perception of what a windstorm in a 280 ft. tall redwood tree was like. It was more than just an adrenaline trip. After that, I was in love with it.
Initially, other activists had trained me to ascend a climbing rope with a rock climbing harness and prusiks, and later I began to learn to set platforms in the trees to set up as structures for small living spaces in the trees. I also was taught how to throw lines into new trees to climb and how to set traverses with trucker’s rope allowing us to set up with a pulley and traverse from one tree to the next. I turned into a more experienced climber after a couple of months of living in the trees, and I soon began volunteering to help train other people to climb even if they were just coming to climb for the day. It was an awesome experience to be able to share, and when we did this we often met people from all over the world that had heard of us and what we were doing.
During the entire time I spent there I had some of the most awesome, beautiful, and powerful experiences I have ever had in my life. Some evenings the locals would come out and start a drum circle down by the bases of the trees, and other nights there would be people that would play harmonicas, violins, and mandolins solo purely out of appreciation for what we were doing. Although there was ample support from within the group I was with and from the wider community, I spent long periods of time completely alone without the languishment that often accompanies a prolonged absence of normal amounts of sociality. At one point I had not come down from a tree I was in for a month, and it was, at first, hard to remember how to talk when I was around people again. The only vocalizing I had done is when everyone in the trees from all over the hillside would start howling at the full moon.
People appreciated the fact that we were protesting logging of old-growth redwood trees and donated food and supplies to us; that is how we survived. The community would give our ground-support, food, and supplies so that we could willfully trespass on an active logging zone that was private property owned by an unsustainable logging company, which has now imploded and gone bankrupt due to its own ill contrived logging practices. They cut down all of the trees over ninety percent of the county and had nothing left to profit from.
The fact that it was solely an act of the heart by anyone involved was the beauty behind the action. It was a way to transcend the indirection, or indirect actions, of a conventional lifestyle in our present society. So many of us have the right insights, the right ideas, the right amount of consideration, and the right amount of willpower to make steps toward living a sustainable lifestyle harmonious with the rest of existence, but there is little avenue for its implementation. This type of activism is in no way a panacea, but it is an outlet of expression unparalleled in modern society. Recognizing that humans are highly communicative this type of expression definitely has its function. I see it as a way to set a nonviolent example for people to respond to situations where and when the exploitation of resources proves to be a direct impediment to the local community. In so many situations people fail to organize, communicate, and stand up for what is rightfully theirs.
In contrast with indirect action, direct action is action based upon the basic human willingness to share, to have gratitude, to be giving and generous in a manner that is not transactional, or done with the direct expectation of something in return. It shares the ideology of sustainable living; it is to have a direct and meaningful connection and interaction with the immediate resources and community that sustains you. Indirect action can still withhold the right values, for example, if someone votes or recycles it can still be indirectly beneficial to the rest of the community, but the vast majority of indirect action is the involuntary participation in a transactional infrastructure where what is given is just as meaningless to the individual as what is taken. In this kind of sustainment people lose sight of, and respect for, the natural resources and the community effort behind what they consume as well as the services they provide. The ideological makeup of sustainable living is the same as it is in direct action, but direct action is a way to oppose unsustainable living. This was the first time in my life I had participated in something I can say I fully agreed with.
I learned of the start of the war while I was in a tree.
In the weeks prior, loggers had been moving into the area clear-cutting the entire mountainside. I woke up every morning to the seismic activity generated by one of those trees hitting the ground. In the weeks following this time a good friend of mine in the trees got to meet Starhawk; a widely known proponent for nonviolent environmental direct action whose influence was felt throughout the movement. Recognizing that things were getting intense she came to express gratitude and admiration for what all of us were doing. On March, 21st the extractions began. The company, Pacific Lumber, had hired trained Arborists to extract us from the trees. They would spend all day girthing the trees in order to get high enough to reach us. Once they were into the branches, they would set a belay point and haul up a generator and a grinder to cut us out of cast iron lock-boxes which were cast iron pipes in the shape of a ‘V’ that had a piece of re-bar welded to the center of the inside. This would allow someone to put their arms around the tree and chain themselves to the piece of the re-bar while their arms were inside the piping. Twenty of the twenty-four of us in the trees were extracted. I saw most of them happen in trees that were very near me. I was one of four that never got arrested for some reason. The extractionists came up the tree I was in and cut down the platform, but they realized when they climbed higher that there were too many people in the tree and not enough daylight to get us all out. I spent the next few weeks living on a web of parachute cord that I had woven between a couple of branches. I had also hung a tarp above it to stay dry. I was eventually relieved from the tree by a good friend who was seemingly glad to be arrested in it only a few days after I left. The arrest is an important part of an action for most because it brings out the tenacity and determination of an activist where it otherwise cannot be achieved. This is an enigmatic part of activism that is hard to explain. We were happy to do what we did, for what it was, when it was.
Recognizing my situation, my friends had made sure that I would not get arrested because they did not want to see me get extradited back to Germany. Everyone that got arrested was not only charged with trespassing. They were also civilly sued for sums of $45,000 each for the obstruction of interstate commerce. That was the amount of money that the arborists’ labor costed Pacific Lumber.
I went to Siskyou County to help set up for another action in a national forest, and I also stayed on a commune in the area for a couple of weeks that had an organic farm and orchard; it was 98 miles out on a dirt road. They were 75% self sustaining, and did sharecropping and work-trade for the rest of their food and supplies. I had the option to stay there indefinitely, but I could not justify it somehow. I wanted to be more involved in the wider community and not as isolated. If I was intent on evading the authorities that would have been a perfect option for me, but I, as usual, chose the path of most resistance. I wanted to go to school for journalism eventually and take part in reporting about permaculture, environmental activism, environmental ethics, and environmental science. I wanted to be able to contribute to that movement on a professional level.
After I went on a 2,500 mile hitch-hiking trip around some of the most amazing parts of the West, I turned myself in to the authorities on the fourth of July, and I spent a year in military custody. Seven and a half months of that time I was in jail, but I never was convicted of being AWOL. At that time I learned that six of my friends from my old unit had been killed in Iraq, and I now know that two more have been killed in later deployments to the region. I was given a general discharge from the Army, and was allowed to keep my honors from my deployment to Kosovo, which I have since mailed to my congressman along with a letter about the ability of service members to obtain a conscientious objector status after they enlist.
The World For, an interactive, online ballot designed by Seth Carnes provides an ongoing consensus of the upcoming US presidential election, allowing users from across the globe to cast a vote for Barack Obama or John McCain. Obama currently holds 90% of the popular vote, yet an ironic majority of voters from the Middle East favor McCain. Additionally, out of various “top issues,” terrorism was rated the least important.
Can you imagine the reaction if Barack Obama courted or belonged to a political party that advocated secession from the United States?
Todd Palin was a member of the party from 1995 to 2002. Sarah attended the group’s convention in 1994 and 2000 and sent a videotaped greeting for the AIP in 2008.
If Sarah Palin wasn’t a secessionist, then why was she palling around with them?
FREE Uncle Sam Poster
Wednesday, May 14 2008 @ 11:26 AM MDT
Contributed by: BMcDonald
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can excercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.“
- Abraham Lincoln
Please download the poster below by simply clicking on the photo, print them out in huge quantities, and plaster them everywhere! It’s going to take every one of us to set aside our petty differences and unite the power of our votes to effect sweeping change in the upcoming election. The big question you really need to seriously ask yourself is, “is your allegiance to a political party or to your country?” Both political parties are destroying this country.
We’ll be happy to customize these for you with your meetup group address
and your contact info on it if you’d like. Just write to us and ask.
Low Ink Version
8 1/2 x 11
Low Ink Version
2 -up on 8 1/2 x 11
Full Color Version
Best for printing on higher quality paper
for posting on bulletin boards
8 1/2 x 11
Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1
Posted : Monday Sep 8, 2008 6:15:06 EDT
The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.
Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.
Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.
But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.
“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”
The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they’ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.
Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.
Don’t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.
The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.
In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.
Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.
“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds … it put me on my knees in seconds.”
The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).
“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home … and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”
While soldiers’ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don’t apply.
“If we go in, we’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.
Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they’ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That’s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.
Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.
Other branches included
The active Army’s new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.
Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.
A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.
In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.
There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
One of the things Vogler said they’ll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.
“It is a concern, and we’re trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability,” he said.
“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”
Rage Against The RNC
By Kal Cobalt
“Why the fuck are these cops afraid of us? Are they afraid of us?” asked singer Zack de la Rocha shortly after Minneapolis police silenced Rage Against the Machine’s PA system during an anti-Republican National Convention concert. To the would-be audience that had gathered for the show, de la Rocha continued, “No, no. They’re not afraid of four musicians. They’re afraid of you.”
Armed with a megaphone, de la Rocha and bandmates took to the crowds and continued the concert, with de la Rocha accompanied by beatboxing and the crowd itself. Between songs, band members gave eloquent, passionate pro-peace speeches, some of which were captured on video. “Some of the most heartening protest footage in years,” says Cory Doctorow in his BoingBoing coverage of the event.
Rage Against the Machine intended “to stand in peaceful opposition,” de la Rocha told the crowd. “Now, in honor of that peaceful opposition, we wish that the police and the state here in Minneapolis would do the same thing when people take the streets.”
The reality was somewhat different; Coldsnap Legal soon reported that “folks from after show protest are being arrested and ordered on to city busses.” The Minnesota Independent reported tear gas and pepper spray used on the crowd.
Image: “Rage Against the Machine” by fyunkie on Flickr, courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.
“War on Terror is class war by other means — to keep you from asking for real protection from true menace, the landlords of our nation give you fake protection from manufactured dangers. And they remind you to be afraid every time you fly to see Aunt Millie and have to give up your hemorrhoid ointment to the underpaid guy in the bell-hop suit with a security badge.”
Happy New Year a little early!
Look at what I found today! Can it be true? I strongly recommend checking out the original site! http://www.lakotafreedom.com/index.html
Here is a summary from http://www.realitysandwich.com/breakaway
In an apparently legal move, the Lakota Nation is unilaterally withdrawing from treaties signed with the United States of America and creating their own country.
Native American rights activist Russel Means said “the new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free — provided residents renounce their US citizenship.”
The journey towards independance has been in the works for 33 years, a response to rampant oppression, lower life spans, high infant mortality rates and high suicide rates experienced as a result of US violation of treaties.
Anyone living in the five-state area that encompasses Lakota territory is free to join.
Story Suggested by Robb Ebright and Thom Lloyd-Evans
Painting of Lakota storyteller (Public Domain)
Via: Students for an Orwellian Society (SOS)
War Is Peace
- Oceania (commonly called the US and Britain) is at war with
Oceania has always been at war with
- Eurasia (commonly called Russia, Pakistan, etc.) is allied with
Oceania in war against Afghanistan. Eurasia has always
been allied with Oceania.
- US Congressman Charlie
Rangel has been
arguing for a return of military conscription (“The Draft”) as—so he
tells the public— a way of reducing war.
- It’s not easy to capture
someone killed the year before—until you harness the power of
Ingsoc. When you’ve got Ingsoc on your side, though, it’s so easy that
the US did it
- Three cheers for Homeland Security drone
- In order to fight terrorism, we must cause it,
says Donald Rumsfeld.
okay that there were no “weapons
of mass destruction” in Iraq; that’s not
why we went to war. It’s equally okay that there are so many of them in Oceania.
- The Nobel prize committee has been considering nominating
George Bush and Tony Blair for their prestigious Peace prize.
- Just like in 1984‘s Room 101, the Miniluv operations in
Guantánamo Bay were
authorized to “exploit a prisoner’s phobias, sometimes using
muzzled dogs in interrogations.” Doubleplusgood!
to the Bush administration, the Duelfer reportwhich conclusively showed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
actually justifies the war in Iraq.
- “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re
really talking about peace.” — George W. Bush, 43rd President of the
- “Protecting [an] Islamic cultural center” involves fighting a war inside it, as the
New York Times on the Web shows.
Freedom Is Slavery
- The Anti-Terrorism
Act ensures US citizens’ freedom by ensuring the FBI‘s ability to
examine their activities.
- Security cameras have been placed around the Columbia campus and
around the island of
- If you are buying postage, do not ask for
stamps without flags on them. Such would clearly be a sign of
lack-of-patriotism, and we at SOS are glad to see that the Post Office
is cracking down on it.
- We encourage all true citizens of this country to join Operation
TIPS, which, we promise, will help further an Orwellian society in
ways that we at SOS cannot even begin to fathom.
- There’s really nothing we can say about DARPA‘s Total
Awareness project except to thank them forall
- While Victory Gin is not (as far as we know) yet available, the
sale of freedom
fries is an important first step; freedom fries and freedom
toast are also now available in
Congress. Also, check out Victory Beer, and W Ketchup
- The truly Orwellian and praiseworthy Transportation Safety
Administration gets our thanks for spotting
anti-Americanism in passengers’ baggage.
- Flying while wearing certain buttons may not be permitted.
It is, apparently, okay to wear a button saying, “Hooray for Tony
- Similarly, carrying a note stating
that you do not have a bomb in your bag is equivalent to saying that you
do have a bomb.
- When flying, you may use the toilet. However, if it is occupied,
do not wait
in line for it to become free. Only a terrorist would do that.
- We’ve been notified that Apple Computer company, which once made
public anti-Orwellianism pronouncements, is now coming
around to our side. (Note: Link contains a quicktime movie.)
- The Junior Anti-Sex League is offering
grants to organizations which support its work.
- In London, feel secure beneath the
watchful eyes of Transport
- We’re pleased to see the subpoena
of the National Lawyer’s Guild and other anti-war activists. It’s time
to keep those activists in
- In the UK, the wrongly
convicted are charged for
their “food and lodgings” while in prison.
- A student in Washington state was disciplined and questioned by the
Secret Service for drawing ungood
pictures of the President.
- On surveillance cameras: “The value we gain in public safety
far outweighs any perception by the community that this is Big Brother
who’s watching.” — Ron
Huberman, Executive Director, Chicago Office of Emergency
- Wearing a t-shirt which says “Protect Our Civil
Liberties” is, of course, obscene, and will get you kicked out
of Bush campaign rallies.
- George Orwell Plaza, in Barcelona, has continuous closed-circuit television
Ignorance Is Strength
- Osama bin Laden’s messages will no longer be shown
in Oceania. This will improve the strength of the bloc.
- There is no dissent in this country. Those who disagree with
President Bush are merely confused.
- The New York Times published an excellent piece of doublethink in its magazine
section on Sunday 18 November. It is bad that Al-Jazeera fails to take
American positions seriously. It is good that American media doesn’t
take Arab positions seriously. And all this from an Arab-American
scholar who President Bush the First once called “more
anti-Arab than the Israelis.”
- Government agencies are requesting that certain government
reports be removed from public libraries. An excellent indication
that SOS is having influence at the highest levels!
- The Guardian reports that PR firms have begun
creating false citizens to try and shift the debate on certain key
issues. Big Brother is certainly pleased!
- Do not wear a “Give Peace a Chance” t-shirt at the mall,
or carry a protest sign when passing through. It may be
- It’s good to know that the recent pro-war rallies have been sponsored by Clear Channel—we wouldn’t
want people expressing their opinions without the help of media
- We’re pleased to learn that the government has been
removing information from websites which do not agree with the
current administration’s policies. For example, the CDC‘s website no
longer points out that condoms are an effective means of stopping
sexually transmitted diseases.
Time Magazine for removing articles from your
- Reading an article critical of the government is a serious form of
thoughtcrime—and, fortunately, the
such things seriously!
- Do not email
- Youths in Arabic-speaking countries are encouraged to read Hi
- A recent
study showed that thanks to Fox News and other Minitrue
news sources, most
Americans believe untrue things about the war in Iraq.
- We are proud to present a special
report on a specific instance of doublethink in the New York
- The FBI urges you not to carry almanacs,
lest you be labeled a terrorist.
- The Civil War will
not be taught in US History courses in Georgia.
- “Those who cast the votes decide nothing; those who count the votes decide
everything.” — Stalin, a man truly ahead of his time.
- In the grandest pro-Orwellian tradition, science is (fortunately) no
longer a tool for objective truth, but rather one to promote
an agenda. Huzzah!
- The UC-DavisAggie has published an excellent
article on SOS.
- It’s a good thing that the Department of Homeland Security has asked
its employees to be on the lookout for good photo-ops for the
okay for the government to lie, according to the General Accounting
- Students who publicly and personally question
the Vice President’s wife are guilty of a crime.
- A teacher was arrested in Tampa, Florida because a
bookmark she was carrying is a concealed weapon.
- Thank the Department of Homeland Security for not forgetting Poland but
us from dangerous 12-year-old Polish choir boys.
September 11th anniversary general strike.
A National Call to Action: Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
No school. No work. Buy nothing. Stay home or hit the streets.
No business as usual.
Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America
The SPP has received some criticism from commentators within the United States, such as CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, Phyllis Schlafly, and Human Events Magazine, on the grounds that they believe it will lead to an erosion of U.S. sovereignty. In particular, they have expressed concern over position papers of the Council on Foreign Relations, which they perceive as advocating policies which would lead to integrated continental court systems and currency.
It should be noted that this issue has not been addressed by the United States Congress or the Supreme Court because SPP is meant to support discussions through existing channels that include elected people. Contrary to popular websites stating that the SPP announced in March 2005 is a formal agreement to merge North American countries with a common currency, the SPP is a non-legally binding process to discuss issues that could affect the security of the three sovereign North American countries when facing challenges from overseas or common threats, such as influenza that crosses borders irrespective of their status, and that could negatively affect health and trade in goods and services. Opponents believe that once the connections and integration negotiations are completed, the proponents will bring to congress an “already baked cake” for them to expedite legislation codifying the agreements.
In Canada, criticism of the SPP has come from left-wing organizations such as the Council of Canadians and Common Frontiers. Like U.S. conservatives, these groups are concerned with the complete absence of public involvement in trinational discussions whose goal, they say, is the “deep integration” of Canada with the United States. But the Canadian criticism has more to do with the emphasis on deregulation and harmonization of standards implicit in the SPP. The Council of Canadians has argued that this push towards economic union “will lead to the privatization of [Canada's] health care, the loss of control of our resources, further compromises in trade deals like what we have seen with the United States-Canada softwood lumber dispute.”
Canadian criticism has also been directed at the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), a committee made up of 10 CEOs each from Mexico, the United States and Canada, which has been asked to reduce the over 300 recommendations in the SPP down to about 30 achievable goals. NACC members include CEOs from Wal-Mart, Chevron, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, General Electric and Ford, among others. Of the ten Canadian CEOs on the NACC, nine are members of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the driving force behind the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Canadian representative on the trinational Task Force on the Future of North America, whose recommendations led to the creation of the SPP.
The NACC met with government reps from all three countries to discuss their proposals in September 2006.
On May 10, 2007, during the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade, Conservative MP Leon Benoit, chair of the committee, came under scrutiny when he shut down the committee after the opposition overruled his decision to prevent a witness from testifying on the SPP’s influence upon Canada.
External links: criticism
- A Peek Behind Closed Doors
- North American Union
- The Plan To Disappear Canada
- Stop the Security and Prosperity Partnership
- Building a North American Community, the Selling of America
- Phyllis Schlafly Article
- An Anti SPP/NAU Discussion Forum
- North American Union to Replace USA?
- The Plan to Replace the Dollar With the ‘Amero’
- President Quietly Creating ‘NAFTA Plus’
- North American Union Already Starting to Replace USA
- Bush Administration Quietly Plans NAFTA Super Highway
- Taxpayer dollars support U.S.-Mexico merger plot
- Welcome to “North America”
- Deep impact: Corporate chief executives plan “deep integration” with the USA (Part 1) (Part 2)
- Website for informations on mobilisations against SPP summit in august 2007, Montebello, Québec”
How to get out of the Great Firewall
A significant leap forward in software industry and a major one for security pedagogy for tones of reasons:
It’s one of the lightest version of Firefox – the famous free web browser. Extremely small to download, the decompressed directory is less than 30 megs and can fit anywhere – USB key – secret directory – thus it allows you to experience a very safe browsing as every local files are constantly flushed to prevent malwares to accumulate.
The second issue is almost moral. It’s a very easy introduction to safe surfing. When you use it, you become anonymous. You become one with the TOR network. Nobody knows who and where you are as you’re constantly changing your Internet address with the one provided by TOR’s network nodes. The more we will use this way of surfing, the harder it will be for any organization to record our daily behavior on the web. Its popularization would trigger a major shift in Internet industry.
The third reason is for supporting freedom of speech. On Internet it looks easy to say everything you want, but it’s also easier for powerful organization to hide information from your browsing capacity. China is the best example – but it can be extended to every nation. By using Torpark you proudly become an anonymous citizen of the world that can now access censored political content.
Download it at this mirror:
OptOutPrescreen.com is a centralized service to accept and process requests from consumers to “Opt-In” or “Opt-Out” of firm offers of credit or insurance. Optoutprescreen.com is a joint venture among Equifax Information Services, LLC, Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Innovis Data Solutions, Inc., and TransUnion, LLC (collectively the “Consumer Credit Reporting Companies”).OptOutPrescreen.com is the only internet website authorized by Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion for this purpose under the FCRA. Please note that, as a security precaution, consumers should never provide their personal information to any other company or person in connection with requesting Opt-Out services. Optoutprescreen.com will not contact consumers via email, telemarketing or direct mail solicitations.
Rise of the Internet Police State
It started out as just an ordinary article tracking Google’s tracking of us. It’s become something much more unsettling.
But Google’s dozen interconnected privacy policies were mainly suggestively vague. “We may combine personal information collected from you with information from other Google services or third parties . . . We may also use personal information for auditing, research and analysis.” Google reps publicly claimed they weren’t developing a multi-layered personal profile of me for the CIA, yet they seemingly wouldn’t rule out doing it, either.
That’s why I’ve actually been writing with a rhetorical “me”. After talking to some experts, the real me has been avoiding Google services. Lawyer Philippa Lawson, executive director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, warned that even if Google isn’t yet compiling in-depth personal profiles and re-selling them to virtually any buyer, plenty of others already are. cippic recently researched gathering and brokering of personal data. They found most privacy policies are “not explained thoroughly or clearly”, states Lawson, because “there’s a huge market incentive for companies to violate the privacy of individuals. Our personal information is now a commodity in the marketplace. And a very valuable one.”
Accumulating, analyzing, co-operatively sharing, buying and selling personal information about us, primarily with the intention of helping companies develop targeted marketing campaigns, has become a multi-billion dollar industry. According to Lawson, apart from spyware, common methods for gathering data about us include free versions of programs, online email services and stores, networking sites and Digital Rights Management tools.
“Quite often,” observes Lawson, “if you go in and actually read what you’re clicking ‘I agree’ to, it says ‘I agree to let you track my activities online and use that information for whatever you want.’”
Even though some countries, like Canada, have better privacy protection legislation than the “freewheeling” US, Lawson says that’s little comfort. “There’s basically widespread non-compliance,” she states, plus little enforcement.
More concerning than the immense amount of data about you that these companies are collecting and trading, says American Civil Liberties Union technology expert Jay Stanley, is the way governments are becoming involved and getting companies to help.
“We’re actually weakening the laws that restrain the government from exploiting these new technologies to peer into our lives,” says Stanley, author of The Surveillance-Industrial Complex.
In the US, all new communications technologies must include back doors for government eavesdropping. With no judicial oversight, the FBI issues tens of thousands of demands annually to internet service providers, libraries and others to hand over their records, and under the patriot Act it’s illegal to tell anyone it has occurred. Numerous democratic countries now require companies to retain all user data for years, for just such occasions, essentially allowing governments to circumvent their own privacy legislation. For example, while it can’t legally conduct mass surveillance itself, Canada’s rcmp recently simply obtained records on millions of Canadians from private data broker Cornerstone. Similarly, ChoicePoint gathers and sells personal information under contract to dozens of US government agencies.
Many other companies share their information on us voluntarily, often in exchange for access to government information. The FBI claims “InfraGard” has 18,403 enlisted members, including 83 of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies, working on its secretive “information sharing and analysis” project. Similarly, the National Security Agency is funding private sector studies of harvesting data from social networking sites like MySpace, and whistleblowers claim AT&T has allowed the NSA full access to customers’ phone calls and to all internet traffic passing through its broad internet hubs. Then there’s the now infamous (but still mysterious) ECHELON, an intergovernmental and inter-corporate system for intercepting global communications en masse.
If we add in other available information like census data, education, criminal and health records, video rentals, completed warranty cards and surveys, and periodical subscription lists, and then combine all of that with data being obtained through increasing use of surveillance audio-visual cameras, radio frequency identifier tags in ID cards, cell phones and ordinary goods, implanted chips and biometric scanners, then the picture created, says Stanley, is ultimately of an “inexorable movement toward a surveillance society”.
So we’re missing the forest for the trees, he argues, by debating the risks and benefits of these activities one at a time. “Technologies are making possible the kind of all-inclusive surveillance that’s never before been possible in history.”
For Stanley, the worst aspect is that this menacing surveillance state is taking shape largely shadowed from the eyes of open public debate, in a world of “meta-secrecy” – or “secrecy about secrecy” – under the pretense of national security. And while many people support preventing crime and terrorism, identifying criminals and terrorists before they commit crimes requires broad surveillance and scientifically suspect analysis of a hypothetically infinite spectrum of personalities and behaviours. As one US police anti-terrorism brochure recently clarified, it means keeping close tabs on “anyone who does not appear to belong.” And who appears to belong less than someone protesting this sinister status quo?
“We can look to history to see the kinds of abuses that take place,” comments Stanley. “Surveillance technologies and infrastructures are used politically to target, harrass and disrupt people who are agitating for change.” He cites a case where a Soviet democracy activist’s life fell apart after authorities simply released unexpurgated details of the worst things he’d ever said to others about any of his friends or associates.
But Lawson feels the image of one giant, ominous “Big Brother” is more reassuring, and less real, than what we’re actually developing, which is more “Kafka-esque” – innumerable people with power over your life holding reams of information on you that you don’t know about and can’t control. That’s why we’re already seeing an outrageous range of results: expanding no-fly lists, increasing identity thefts, broadening state-corporate agreements to “disappear” certain websites, and growing industry-wide databases like Australia’s “Guests Behaving Badly,” which blacklists hotel guests who are “intimidatory” or “anti-social.”
Ironically, the internet once promised a veritable democratic revolution of wide open communication. If current trends continue, we could well end up paranoid and close mouthed, afraid that everything we do will be recorded, forever available for use against us at at any time, in any way.
“That’s the great danger,” agrees Stanley. “The chilling effect that undermines and undercuts the great democratic communicative advantage that the internet brings.” Nevertheless, he adds, “I think there are also reasons to hope. People are beginning to realize that these wonderful technologies also have dark sides.”
Still, if there were a fascist coup tomorrow, it looks like this new internet would be vastly more useful to the forces of state control than to those of democracy and liberty.
“I don’t spend my time worrying about a fascist government coming to power,” counters Stanley. After all, he says, we’ve got plenty of room to become “a meaner and less just and harsher society, without any kind of radical takeover . . . And that’s what I’m most afraid of.”
_Rob Wipond is a freelance writer based in Victoria, Canada. For more, see robwipond.com.