Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“Pre-Crime” Surveillance Technology, Social Blacklisting

Global Research | Jun 28, 2017 | Graham Vanbergen

TruePuplica - Last May I reported on Britain’s latest anti-crime technology already in use in the UK in a piece entitled “Britain’s Minority Report Style ‘Pre-Crime’ Programme Unexpectedly Unearthed“.

I described how Britain already had a reputation for deploying the most intrusive surveillance systems against its own people anywhere in the Western world and how “Pre-Crime” systems were being tested with police using big data to stalk potential offenders who’ve yet to break the law.

At the time I also mentioned that police departments around the world were partnering with private companies to use public data, personal information and algorithms to predict where illegal actions are most likely to occur and, crucially, who is most likely to commit them.

A recent documentary aired in Canada called “Pre-Crime’ focused on pre-crime systems. One such system in the USA is at the forefront of the technology:
There’s a list in Chicago with 1,500 people on it. They are under surveillance by the police and there is a special algorithm that calculates the risk of them committing a crime.
This is pre-crime technology that professes to predict when a crime is to be committed and by whom. In just a few short months various systems are already operational around the world. But read on, as the more we learn about these systems the more dystopian they get because something else is coming on the back of it.

First up – Bloomberg
China: “China’s effort to flush out threats to stability is expanding into an area that used to exist only in dystopian sci-fi: pre-crime. The Communist Party has directed one of the country’s largest state-run defence contractors, China Electronics Technology Group, to develop software to collate data on jobs, hobbies, consumption habits, and other behaviors of ordinary citizens to predict ‘terrorist’ acts before they occur. “It’s very crucial to examine the cause after an act of terror,” Wu Manqing, the chief engineer for the military contractor, told reporters at a conference in December. “But what is more important is to predict the upcoming activities.”
The program is unprecedented because there are no safeguards from privacy protection laws and minimal pushback from civil liberty advocates.” In all of these examples from around the world, laws are being quickly changed, usually under the guise of protecting citizens from acts of terrorism.

The Daily Beast:
TOKYO—On Thursday morning 14th June 2017, Japan’s deceptively named “anti-terrorism” bill was steamrolled into law by its parliament, after the ruling coalition gutted standard legislative protocol, avoiding more embarrassing questions about the bill known as the “criminal-conspiracy law.” It stipulates 277 crimes that police can arrest people for planning, or simply discussing. Technically, because social media is covered in the legislation, even liking a related tweet or retweeting it could now be grounds for arrest on conspiracy charges.”
BigThink
“United States: Lead by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an initiative called Future Active Screening Technology or FAST aims to use sensor technology to detect cues “indicative of malintent,” defined by the Dept of Homeland Security as intent or desire to cause real harm — “rapidly, reliably, and remotely.” It would be used, they say, to fight terror.
The FAST system has the capability to monitor physiological and behavioural cues without contact. That means capturing data like the heart rate and steadiness of gaze of passengers about to board a plane. The cues are then run through algorithms in real-time to compute the probability that an individual is planning to commit a crime. According to the science journal Nature, the first round of field tests for the program was completed in an undisclosed location in the northeast several months ago. In lab tests, the FAST has a reported 70% accuracy rate. ”

That’s all pre-crime tech. Unnerving it may sound but coming next is ‘social credit mechanisms.’

As Civil Society Future points out in a recent article on civil society in an age of surveillance:
Citizens are increasingly categorised and profiled according to data assemblages, for example through data scores or by social credit scores, as developed in China. The purpose of such scores is to predict future behaviour and allocate resources and eligibility for services (or punishment) accordingly.
In other words rules will be set for citizens to live by.

And those rules are not just hypothetical. In China, parts of the social credit mechanism have already been put into practice, according to Rogier Creemers, a researcher specialising in Chinese law and governance at the Van Vollenhoven Institute at Leiden University.
“When rules are broken and not rectified in time, you are entered in a list of ‘people subject to enforcement for trust breaking’ and you are denied access from things.”
According to a document released by China’s State Council, “trust-breakers” can face penalties on subsidies, career progression, asset ownership and the ability to receive honorary titles from the Chinese government.

In a similar vein, those who fail to repay debts are punished by travel restrictions. Just last month, the Supreme People’s Court announced that 6.15 million people in the country had been banned from air travel over the last four years for defaulting on court orders, according to local media.

To enforce penalties, the court announced it was working with a total of 44 government institutions.

Just four years ago when it was evident that the British and American surveillance agencies GCHQ and NSA were collecting citizen data of everything from emails, calls, conversations, contacts, health and financial information to taking intimate images without permission in homes, people rapidly started changing their online behaviour. This is called self-censorship. And this alongside reward and penalty systems is what the government has in store for its citizens next.

In a Guardian article just two months ago regarding the Britain’s rapidly declining democracy, another truly disgraceful use of technology was already in practice without public debate:
“Documents seen (by the Observer) show that this was a proposal to capture citizens’ browsing history en masse, recording phone conversations and applying natural language processing to the recorded voice data to construct a national police database, complete with scores for each citizen on their propensity to commit crime. The plan put to the minister was Minority Report. It was pre-crime. And the fact that Cambridge Analytica (the company involved in data collection) is now working inside the Pentagon is, absolutely terrifying.”
Equate this to the expansion of say, the speeding fine system of penalty or black-points on your driving licence. You are caught speeding by a speed camera, a penalty notice is automatically issued and points added to your licence. You are further penalised by insurance companies for the known increased risk and so you try not to get caught speeding. Imagine the same system applied to protesting at fracking sites or joining a civil liberty action group to question systems such as these.

Blacklisting union members has already been covertly used by UK corporations in the construction industry. Thousands were stopped from gaining contracts or work simply for being members of a trade union. The British government blacklists some companies as poor outsourcers, quite rightly, but then awards contracts to G4S, even after the numerous crimes they have committed against the state. The point being that the government actively manage people and companies without their knowledge for their own gain. The jump between speeding points and blacklisting is not big at all and for all we know is coming sooner than you think. After all, none of us were aware that images of us were being taken in our own homes, our conversations recorded and internet browsing tracked until Edward Snowden broke the big secret of our government.

Make no mistake, pre-crime system technology has already arrived but it has more than the simple purpose of predicting crime. By combining this technology with other mass data collection it will, by its nature, clearly have the ability to force self-censorship and over time, technology such as social credit systems will apply punishments and rewards similar to those systems being trialed in China right now.

Featured image from TruePublica

 

White House Says It Will Fake "Chemical Weapon Attack" In Syria

Moon of Alabama | Jun 27, 2017

© usa-politicsnews.com
The White House claims that the Syrian government is preparing "chemical weapon attacks". This is clearly not the case. Syria is winning the war against the country. Any such attack would clearly be to its disadvantage. The White House announcement must thereby be understood as preparation for another U.S. attack on Syria in "retaliation" for an upcoming staged "chemical weapon attack" which will be blamed on the Syrian government.

In August 2013 Syria invited inspectors of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate chemical weapons attacks on the Syrian army. As soon as the inspectors arrived in Damascus a "chemical attack" was staged in Ghouta near Damascus. Lots of Jihadist video coverage of killed children was published and the "western" media blamed the incident on the Syrian government. It never explained why targeting a militarily irrelevant area with chemical weapons at the same time as inspectors arrived would have been a rational decision for a Syrian government that was just regaining control and international standing.

The "attack" was clearly staged by the opposition of the Syrian government and its foreign supporters. The Obama administration had planned to use it to launch U.S. attacks on the Syrian government but refrained from this when Russia arranged to remove Syria's strategic chemical weapons, aimed at Israel, instead.

In early 2017 the new U.S. president Trump made positive comments about the Syrian government. Assad can stay, he said. The Syrian military and its allies had gained the upper hand and were victorious on all fronts. Two days later another "chemical attack" was staged in the al-Qaeda held town of Khan Sheikhun. Lots of Jihadi video coverage of killed children, likely prepared in advance, was spilled onto the "western" public. U.S. intelligence knew that no chemical attack by the Syrian government had taken place. But the Trump administration used the incident to launch a volley of cruise missiles against a Syrian military airport. The neoconservatives were delighted. They finally had Trump where they wanted him. The media coverage changed from damming Trump for his alleged "Russian connections" to lauding his decisiveness in response to the faked attack.

Late May the new French president Macron ostensibly changed his position towards the Syrian government. The hostile position of France (and other EU countries) against the Syrian president Assad that had been eminent throughout the last six years changed on a dime:
Macron said that on Syria: “My profound conviction is that we need a political and diplomatic roadmap. We won’t solve the question only with military force. That is a collective error we have made. The real change I’ve made on this question, is that I haven’t said the deposing of Bashar al-Assad is a prerequisite for everything. Because no one has introduced me to his legitimate successor!
But Macron also added:
"I have red lines on chemical weapons and humanitarian corridors. I said it very clearly to Vladimir Putin. I will be uncompromising on that. So the use of chemical weapons will be met with a response, and even if France acts alone.”
This immediately set off my warning lights:
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 4:28 PM - 29 May 2017
You like fakes? Tune in to Macron announcing the next False Flag chemical weapon attack in Syria.
Like all "red lines" this one Macron set was an invitation to the Takfiris to launch more fake incidents. Others had a similar reaction to Macron's (fake) turnaround.

The end of the war on Syria is in sight. One can start to tabulate the winners and losers. The U.S. military conceded that it had lost the race to occupy south-east Syria. All these turns in favor of Syria show that the war is practically won unless some of the outside sponsors of the Takfiri "rebels" again escalate.

Such an escalation is now happening. The White House claims to have information that the Syrian government is preparing a chemical weapon attack to kill "innocent children":
In an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. had “identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”

He said the activities were similar to preparations taken before an April 2017 attack that killed dozens of men, women and children, and warned that if “Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

Several State Department officials typically involved in coordinating such announcements said they were caught completely off guard by the warning, which didn’t appear to be discussed in advance with other national security agencies. Typically, the State Department, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies would all be consulted before the White House issued a declaration sure to ricochet across foreign capitals.
The White House claim is of course nonsense and not supported by any evidence or logic at all. No one but the White House, not the State Department nor the Defense Department, seems to be informed about this (though that could be a ruse):
Five US defense officials said they did not know where the potential chemical attack would come from and were unaware the White House was planning a statement.
The lunatic U.S. ambassador to the UN jumped in to make it clear that it does not matter who commits whatever crime in Syria, Takfiris, the U.S. or Israel, it will be the Syrian, Russian and Iranian governments who will held guilty of it:
Nikki Haley‏ @nikkihaley - 2:36 AM - 27 Jun 2017
Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.
A U.S. bomb attack on an Islamic State used building in Mayadin, Syria, just killed 57 prisoners of the Islamic State. Will Nikki Halley hold the Syrian government responsible for this?

Take note of Trump's schedule today:
Laura Rozen‏ @lrozen 8:56 AM - 27 Jun 2017
Trump has call with France's Macron first thing this morning, before intel brief. Then meeting w Nat. Sec. adviser McMaster
Intense U.S. military reconnaissances takes place along the Syrian coast.

The UK Defense Minister just announced that his government is "in full agreement" with any U.S. "retaliation" for a chemical attack in Syria.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis announced that the U.S. will continue to arm its Kurdish proxies in Syria even after ISIS is defeated.

During the last three days Al-Qaeda attacks on Syrian army position near the Israeli occupied Golan heights were supported by Israeli air attacks.

This all is clearly a coordinated operation by the "western" supporters of the Takfiris in Syria. Their aim is to prevent the victory of Syria and its allies. The U.S. wants to split up the country.

The announced fake "chemical attack" and the "retaliation" it is supposed to justify will likely happen in the south-west of Syria around Deraa where all recent attempts by Israel and the U.S. supported Takfiris to dislodge the Syrian government forces have failed. The provocation, now prepared and announced by Macron and the White House and supported by the UK, is probably planned to happen shortly before or during the upcoming G-20 meeting in Hamburg:
President Trump and members of his administration are requesting a full bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Germany next month.
...
While some administration officials have pressed for a quick "pull-aside" meeting at the Group of 20 summit or lower officials talking privately instead of the heads of state, Trump wants an event that includes the media and time for work sessions, according to one government official.
Trump has to make a deal (or war) with Russia and the announced fake "chemical attack" will be the pressure point against Putin. The neoconservatives in his administration want to break up Syria and Trump is tasked to get the Russian agreement for that (... or else.)

Syria insists that its has no chemical weapons nor any intention to use any indiscriminate weapon. Russia warns of any further military aggression and calls such U.S. threats unacceptable.

Sergey Lavrov promises “proportional” response to US aggression against Syria

The Duran | Jun 28, 2017 | Adam Garrie

© massispost.com
Lavrov compared a US assault on Syria to an assault on Russian dignity.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has just wrapped up a press conference with German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

When asked about Russia’s response to aggressive statements form the US saying that Syria is planning to use chemical weapons and that the US intends to respond with heavy military retribution to an event which has not happened and objectively could not happen, Lavrov responded in the following way,
“We will react with dignity, proportionally to the real situation that may develop”.
The clear implication here is that Russia takes any US act of aggression on Syria as an affront to Russian dignity and will respond in turn using what would ostensibly be proportional military measures.

While Lavrov’s wording wasn’t as elaborate as that of his second in command Gennady Gatilov, Lavrov’s meaning is clear from his firm however diplomatic language.

This is the most thorough and stern Russian response to an American threat against Syria to-date

Cancer patients say Roundup is to blame as EPA officials aids Monsanto

Natural Health 365 | Jun 28, 2017 | Lori Alton

© thehealthyhomeeconomist.com
Over 800 cancer patients are suing Monsanto – the producer of the glyphosate-based weed-killer Roundup – saying the agrochemical giant corporation failed to warn consumers about cancer risk. And, their attorney says the number of plaintiffs is expected to soar within the next year.

Meanwhile, explosive Monsanto emails, recently unsealed, seem to show that an EPA official cooperated with the corporation in an attempt to suppress an independent review on glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential – leading to allegations of inappropriate relationships and scientific fraud.

Historic 2015 WHO declaration triggered lawsuits


In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The IARC based its action on studies of glyphosate exposure in America, Canada and Sweden, which revealed “limited evidence that glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans.”

The agency also noted that “convincing evidence” showed that glyphosate carcinogenic to animals as well.

The IARC announcement triggered hundreds of NHL patients to sue Monsanto, a.k.a. the “most hated corporation in the world.” Attorney Timothy Litzenburg, whose law firm represents over 500 of the plaintiffs, predicted that many more plaintiffs were likely to emerge, and said he would not be surprised if the number swelled to 2,000 to 3,000 new cases.

Roundup is more toxic than glyphosate alone


Although herbicides made by other companies also contain glyphosate, plaintiffs and their attorneys are suing only Monsanto, the EPA registrant for Roundup. Not only does the corporation dominate the pesticide market, but it discovered and developed glyphosate and held the patent for many years.

In addition, Litzenburg maintains that his clients got cancer from Roundup weedkiller – not glyphosate alone. Although glyphosate is the active ingredient in the Roundup, the herbicide also contains additives and surfactants – such as animal fats – that increase and amplify glyphosate’s cancer-causing effects.

Shockingly, Roundup itself has never been tested – only glyphosate. However, one study showed that glyphosate-based herbicides containing other active ingredients and adjuvants were up to 1,000 times more toxic to human cells than their isolated adjuvants alone.

Hiding cancer risk: Monsanto struggled to discredit the WHO’s IARC report


According to CNN.com, an internal email from Monsanto executive William F. Heydens to a company toxicologist floated the idea of using ghostwriters to write a plausibility paper that would review the IARC’s findings on glyphosate. Heydens seems to suggest using ghostwriters for the sections on Exposure Toxicityand Genotoxicity – and having scientific experts simply “edit” and “add their names.”

Tellingly, he wanted to use scientific experts only for the “less contentious” parts of the report – a transparent attempt to try to soft-pedal glyphosate harms. Of course, a Monsanto spokesperson strongly denied that the paper was ghostwritten.

However, the paper ultimately concluded that the data do not support IARC’s conclusion that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen.

Unsurprising, isn’t it?

“If I can kill this, I should get a medal” – alleged words of EPA official


Within a month of the release of the WHO IARC report, Heydens sent an email to Dan Jenkins – Monsanto’s liason to agencies such as the EPA – that alluded to dealing with the “fallout” from the IARC report.

Jenkins in turn suggested that Heydens talk to Jess Rowland, who at that time helmed the EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Board.

At the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was working on a glyphosate investigation of its own.

According to Jenkins, Rowland helpfully offered to “coordinate” with the ATSDR – and even referred to the possibility of suppressing – or “killing” – the report.

(“If I can kill this, I should get a medal)” are Rowland’s exact words, as quoted by Jenkins.

To Heydens, Jenkins expressed his belief that Rowland might not be successful, but Jenkins seemed to appreciate the effort. “However don’t get your hopes up, I doubt the EPA and Jess can kill this,” Jenkins wrote. ”But it’s good to know they are going to actually make the effort now to coordinate due to our pressing and their shared concern that ATSDR is consistent with EPA.”

The proof is there, in black and white, for all to see. It is hard to see how this exchange could be interpreted in any way but the following – as evidence of a Monsanto employee blatantly expressing satisfaction and gratitude that an EPA official is going to try to ensure that the federal agency and Monsanto are in lockstep when it comes to the goal of downplaying glyphosate harms.

In a different internal Monsanto email, Jenkins told his colleagues that Rowland “could be useful as we move forward with ongoing glyphosate defense.”

Is it any wonder that the plaintiffs and their attorneys are anxious to see Rowland deposed in the trial?

Rowland has since retired from the EPA, and is apparently not responded to requests for comment.

Monsanto continues denials about glyphosate


Monsanto insists there is no proof that glyphosate causes cancer, citing an EPA Cancer Assessment Review Committee finding that the herbicide is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” Of course, this is the very same committee helmed by none other than Jess Rowland – does anyone see a pattern here?

For their part, Monsanto mouthpieces insist that the company has never paid money or given gifts to the EPA, or tried to “curry favor.” And, in the most ironic statement of all: Monsanto claims to “fully respect the EPA’s role in regulating pesticides.”

However, the emails tell a different tale.

As it turns out, the ATSDR’s glyphosate report – which will include a toxicological profile – wasn’t “killed,” as alluded to by Rowland. Work on it is ongoing, according to a spokesman, with a draft of the report expected by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the legal battle continues, with the attorneys for the plaintiffs insisting that Rowland be deposed – and the EPA opposing the deposition.

No matter what the outcome, the unsealed emails have done their work: demonstrating once and for all the complicity and cooperation between Monsanto and an EPA official – and highlighting a truly disgraceful state of affairs.

References:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/15/health/roundup-herbicide-cancer-allegations

Amid Fake News US Becoming 3rd World Nation As Economy Continues Breaking Down: Paul Craig Roberts

X22Report Spotlight | Jun 28, 2017


Websites:
Paul Craig Roberts
http://paulcraigroberts.org

Social media can be used to 'predict future' – study

RT | Jun 28, 2017

© Robert Schlesinger / Global Look Press
Facebook, Twitter and other online social media platforms are more than a place to post photos and status updates, according to a new research which says they can also be used to foresee the future.

The research published earlier this month, notes that "because user behavior on SM [social media] is a reflection of events in the real world, researchers have realized they can use SM in order to forecast, making predictions about the future."

Conducted by a team from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington, which is a Department of Energy (DOE) government research laboratory, and the University of Washington, the study examines existing literature, citing examples of successful and unsuccessful predicting of future events using social media.

"Preliminary results do largely show positive findings," the research claims.

It states that social media can be used in a number of ways to predict future events, and much of it requires only being observant to the buzz and chatter taking place on such sites.

"If SM users are reacting to and talking about events in real time, one might imagine that users are also talking about and reacting to events that they anticipate will happen in the future," the report says.

"This raises the interesting possibility that SM data might be useful for forecasting events: making predictions about events that have yet to occur."

The 55-page research on SM forecasting spans a wide range of topics, including outcomes of elections, fluctuations in the stock market, disease outbreaks and possible detection of other "real-world" threat, such as "natural disasters, security events, and political uprisings."

Among such examples mentioned in the study is the Arab Spring protests in the Middle East in 2011. Having followed tweet content, researchers were able "to detect and predict Arab Spring protests in Egypt within a timespan of 3 days," the report claims.

It also states that separate predictions based on social media data have taken place with "impressive precision" regarding protests, riots, and civil unrest in Latin America.

Comment: Interesting that both these events were and are psychological operations, and you would expect that their study would be more critical.

"Working with data from Tumblr demonstrated impressive precision in event detection (95.6%) with an average lead time of 4.8 days," it says.

However, not every topic can be foreseen by simply picking up on social media behavior.

Among the not so successful examples is the 2014 World Cup: "An attempt to predict match outcomes utilizing Twitter data, failed to perform better than random chance for early tournament matches."

However, the study optimistically states that "recurring findings and promising results continue to galvanize researchers and demand continued investigation."