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June 2007

June 30, 2007

Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale
"The DOD is developing a parallel to Planet Earth, with billions of individual 'nodes' to reflect every man, woman, and child this side of the dividing line between reality and AR.

Called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS), it will be a 'synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information', according to a concept paper for the project.

'SWS provides an environment for testing Psychological Operations (PSYOP),' the paper reads, so that military leaders can 'develop and test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners'.
Chaturvedi is now pitching SWS to DARPA and discussing it with officials at the US Department of Homeland Security, where he said the idea has been well received, despite the thorny privacy issues for US citizens.

In fact, Homeland Security and the Defense Department are already using SEAS to simulate crises on the US mainland."

Justice Stevens Calls On History He Lived
"On Monday, Stevens dissented in the case of the Alaska teenager who was suspended for displaying a 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' banner at a school event. While a majority of the court said the Constitution does not protect pro-drug student speech, Stevens took the historic view.

Harking back to Prohibition, which began three months before Stevens's birth and ended a month before he turned 13 in 1933, Stevens compared the current marijuana ban to the abandoned alcohol ban and urged a respectful hearing for those who suggest 'however inarticulately' that the ban is 'futile' and that marijuana should be legalized, taxed and regulated instead of prohibited:

'[T]he current dominant opinion supporting the war on drugs in general, and our anti-marijuana laws in particular, is reminiscent of the opinion that supported the nationwide ban on alcohol consumption when I was a student. While alcoholic beverages are now regarded as ordinary articles of commerce, their use was then condemned with the same moral fervor that now supports the war on drugs.'"

June 26, 2007

Australia, US launch massive war game
"Vice Admiral Doug Crowder, commander of the US Navy's 7th Fleet, said uncertainty and unpredictability remained a threat to economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

'Therefore it is very important that our militaries train together to carry out the types of missions our governments may call upon us to execute to ensure regional security and stability.'
Australia's Major General Richard Wilson said the operation was the country's largest military training exercise.

'Talisman Sabre is based on a fictional scenario that combines most of the difficult aspects of modern warfare operations,' he told reporters."
And there'll be no fighting in the War Room!!

Afghan opium production 'soars'
"The World Drug Report says more than 90% of illegal opium, which is used to make heroin, comes from Afghanistan. It says cultivation of opium poppies increased dramatically in the country, despite the presence of more than 30,000 international troops there."
Of course the War on (Some) Drugs works - it works like this.

Special Operations Prepared for Domestic Missions
"Employing special operations for domestic missions sounds very ominous, and NORTHCOM's request earlier this year should receive the closest possible Pentagon and congressional scrutiny. There's only one problem: NORTHCOM is already doing what it has requested permission to do.

When NORTHCOM was established after 9/11 to be the military counterpart to the Department of Homeland Security, within its headquarters staff it established a Compartmented Planning and Operations Cell (CPOC) responsible for planning and directing a set of 'compartmented' and 'sensitive' operations on U.S., Canadian and Mexican soil. In other words, these are the very special operations that NORTHCOM is now formally asking the Pentagon to beef up into a public and acknowledged sub-command."

Army Officer Says Gitmo Panels Flawed

The Vice President asserts that his office is not an 'entity within the executive branch.'

DHS acknowledges own computer break-ins
"The Homeland Security Department, the lead U.S. agency for fighting cyber threats, suffered more than 800 hacker break-ins, virus outbreaks and other computer security problems over two years, senior officials acknowledged to Congress."

Money transfers by text message: A new service begins

Budget would expand DNA testing of felons to certain arrests
"Arizona's current program of requiring DNA testing for people convicted of felonies would be expanded under lawmakers' proposed budget to include testing of people merely accused of certain crimes.

Under a criminal justice bill that makes up part of the budget package, DNA testing would be required for individuals arrested, charged or convicted of homicide, burglary, certain sex-related offenses and serious offenses involving the use of a dangerous weapon."

The Controversy Over Stop and Frisk
"One police department in Delaware County is now implementing a controversial police procedure called Stop and Frisk. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it legal nearly 40 years ago, and the Upper Darby Police department, after seeing a tremendous increase in drug trafficking, has decided to give it a try.
Unlike a full search, in a frisk the officer pats down the suspect's outer clothing. If he feels what seems to be drugs or a weapon, he may then reach inside. If nothing is felt, the person is released."

June 15, 2007

Controversial security law advances in Zimbabwe
"The lower house of Zimbabwe's parliament passed a bill on Wednesday allowing the government to monitor phones, mail and the Internet to protect national security."

FBI Finds It Frequently Overstepped in Collecting Data
"An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism."

FBI Terror Watch List 'Out of Control'
"A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more than half a million names."

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