They are still out there monitoring you, tracking you, telling you what to do, what to view, and what to think. Our lack of freedom keeps showing up in the news.
Midwest Theaters Ban ‘Fahrenheit 9/11′: the filter rears its ugly head. Corporations control what we see and don’t see. In its place I bet there was a Ronnie Reagan moviethon. Here is something else that we don’t get to see: Bush’s War-Era Records Damaged. Where the hell is the Watergate-style outrage? Are all of the people who “served” with Bush dead, as well? I’m thinking I should become a politician just so that I can get that indecent exposure taken off of my record (those nuns had to be mooned).
We all know how dangerous art can be: Nine Artists And One Company Subpoenaed In USA Patriot Act Case:
- On May 30, members of the performance art collective Critical Art Ensemble were subpoenaed by the FBI. The FBI is planning to indict Steve Kurtz, a member of CAE before a grand jury on June 15, on unknown charges. CAE is under investigation for their use of scientific equipment to produce art projects that question the relationship between commerce, politics and biotechnology. Critical Art Ensemble have been producing performances and theory that merge political realities with technology and theater since 1987. Thus far nine subpoenas have been issued to: Adele Henderson, Chair of the Art Department at UB; Andrew Johnson, Professor of Art at UB; Paul Vanouse, Professor of Art at UB; Beatriz da Costa, Professor of Art at UCI; Steven Barnes, FSU; Dorian Burr, Beverly Schlee, Claire Pentecost, and Julie Perini. One subpoena has been issued to the book publishing company Autonomedia.
Autonomedia is the same company that publishes T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. I’m thinking Autonomedia has been on the list for quite some time. I hope they fare better than Sherman Austin, the creator of that Raise the Fist website. Oh shit, I just realized that I bought a copy of T.A.Z. from Amazon: Patriot Act Foes Lose Fight to Revoke Feds’ Book Snooping Privileges. Hey, but John Asscrawl says the Patriot Act is helpful. Yet we know those Neo-cons are famous for leaving out information, hiding things and lying to us: Ashcroft’s Patriot Act Report to Congress Omits Key Information, ACLU Says. That doesn’t help me much, though. Please contribute to the Dirtgrain Defense Fund. When I get vaporized, will someone please take care of my dog?
Give us free billboards, please: Clear Channel Rejects Times Square Peace Billboard Timed for RNC:
- Media giant Clear Channel is reneging on a deal with a Berkeley-based organization, Project Billboard, to put up a peace sign in Times Square, New York. Clear Channel, which has ties to the Bush administration, rejected the ad calling it “distasteful” and “politically charged”. . . .
Each year, more than 26 million people visit the 10-block area where Seventh Avenue meets Broadway. Massive neon light displays illuminate the night sky, giant billboards trumpet Broadway shows, an electronic ticker beams the latest news and stock quotes and some 50 “supersigns” display ads for fashion, liquor and other corporate products.
Media giant Clear Channel controls about one-half of these billboards. It is now refusing to put up one organization’s billboard, with which it had a signed contract. The sign showed a picture of a bomb with lighted fuse decorated in Stars and Stripes. The caption underneath reads “Democracy is best taught by example, not by war.” The billboard was to be mounted on the facade of the Marriott Marquis Hotel.
I can sleep comfortably knowing that corporations such as Clear Channel are keeping distasteful notions such as peace and democracy off of our billboards. I just know that Clear Channel has a ban on Jimi Hendrix’s version of the Star Spangled Banner. Clear Channel just moved to the top of my list of corporations to hate–of course, I hate most of them (Costco seems to be pretty cool in some ways: A Corporation That Breaks the Greed Mold).
When Bush comes across reporters who don’t play along with his creepy spiel, he turns away from them: Angry Bush Walks Out on Media, Refuses to Answer Questions About Relationship With Ken Lay. Attaboy, Mr. President, show the world how mature and forthright you can be. Turn the other cheek doesn’t mean run away, man. Or he prevents them from entering the country: The Soviet American Union: Keeping America safe from foreign writers:
- Two months ago, I traveled from London to Los Angeles on assignment for a British paper, The Guardian, believing that as a British citizen I did not require a visa. I was wrong: as a journalist, even from a country that has a visa waiver agreement with the United States, I should have applied for a so-called I (for information) visa. Because I had not, I was interrogated for four hours, body-searched, fingerprinted, photographed, handcuffed and forced to spend the night in a cell in a detention facility in central Los Angeles, and another day as a detainee at the airport before flying back to London. My humiliating and physically very uncomfortable detention lasted 26 hours.
I’ve since learned that mine was not an isolated case: Since March 2003, when the Department of Homeland Security became responsible for immigration and border patrol, 13 foreign journalists were detained and deported in a similar manner in that year, all but one at the Los Angeles airport.
So much for freedom of the press–either you are a corporate zombie as a reporter, or you don’t get access.
Even our propaganda outlets in foreign countries are being privatized and corporatized. Apparently, Voice of America isn’t propagandistic enough for the Bush Administration: VOA Staff Members Say Government Losing Voice:
- More than a third of the Voice of America’s staff has signed a petition accusing the federal government of “dismantling” the international broadcasting agency, while financing a pair of newer, semi-private and separate media operations that the staffers said do not live up to VOA standards.
Their complaints have sparked a nasty brawl with the program’s parent agency — the Broadcasting Board of Governors — which created the new media groups. The board has rejected the staffers’ charges, defended its young offspring and accused the VOA dissidents of being slow to adapt to necessary change.
The petition, which was submitted to Congress last week, pointed to a series of decisions the board has made over the past few years. In 2002, it replaced the VOA’s Arabic-language news service with an outlet called Radio Sawa, which, like its predecessor, broadcasts to the Middle East. Then, earlier this year, the board opened Al Hurra, a Virginia-based television network that officials hope will be able to compete in the Middle East with Arab broadcasting giant al-Jazeera.
The nearly 500 VOA staffers complained that the newer outlets are not only autonomous from the 62-year-old broadcasting agency, the pair — especially the radio network — focus too much on music and entertainment at the expense of the sort of hard news, PBS-style programming the VOA has traditionally emphasized. Moreover, the petition said, the networks do not share the VOA’s commitment to balanced and comprehensive news coverage.
Meanwhile, the petitioners said, the board is planning to cut the VOA’s daily English-language radio broadcasts that are beamed across the world by almost half, and has ended its programming for 10 Eastern and Central European nations.
“At a time when the ability of the United States to speak to the world in a clear, effective, credible voice is more crucial than ever, the United States is broadcasting less news, information and analysis to fewer countries for fewer hours in fewer languages,” the petition said. “The presidentially appointed Broadcasting Board of Governors is dismantling the nation’s radio beacon — the Voice of America — piece by piece.”
I didn’t know that the VOA had standards, but apparently they are too much for Bush and cronies. “Slow to adapt to necessary change” equals not being quick enough to lie, misinform, hide the truth, etc. I have this strange vision of Iraqis tuning into US radio, hoping to get some idea of what the US has in store for them, only to find streams of calming sixties muzak, complete with a horn section (or maybe something like the music from the website, Minimal Porn (relatively work-safe)), that you usually hear when you are on hold on the telephone. May I put you on hold, Iraq? Please stand by. . .
Back in America, the spying on citizens continues: Intelligence: The Pentagon—Spying in America?:
- Ever since the 1970s, when Army intel agents were caught snooping on antiwar protesters, military intel agencies have operated under tight restrictions inside the United States. But the new provision, approved in closed session last month by the Senate Intelligence Committee, would eliminate one big restriction: that they comply with the Privacy Act, a Watergate-era law that requires government officials seeking information from a resident to disclose who they are and what they want the information for. The CIA always has been exempt—although by law it isn’t supposed to operate inside the United States. The new provision would now extend the same exemption to Pentagon agencies such as the Defense Intelligence Agency—so they can help track terrorists. A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee says the provision would allow military intel agents to “approach potential sources and collect personal information from them” without disclosing they work for the government.
They get your emails, too: Interception of E-Mail Raises Questions :
- In an online eavesdropping case with potentially profound implications, a federal appeals court ruled it was acceptable for a company that offered e-mail service to surreptitiously track [and read] its subscribers’ messages.
And let’s not forget that TIAS is still on the move: What Price Freedom?
- Despite Congressional action cutting funding, and the resignation of the program’s controversial director, retired admiral John Poindexter, DARPA’s TIA program is alive and well and prying into the personal business of Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“When Congress cut the funding, the Pentagon – with administration approval – simply moved the program into a ‘black bag’ account,” says a security consultant who worked on the DARPA project. “Black bag programs don’t require Congressional approval and are exempt from traditional oversight.”
DARPA also hired private contractors to fill many of the roles in the program, which helped evade detection by Congressional auditors. Using a private security firm like Cantwell, instead of the Federal Protective Service, helped keep TIA off the radar screen. . . .
“Basically, TIA builds a profile of every American who has a bank account, uses credit cards and has a credit record,” says security expert Allen Banks. “The profile establishes norms based on the person’s spending and travel habits. Then the system looks for patterns that break from the norms, such of purchases of materials that are considered likely for terrorist activity, travel to specific areas or a change in spending habits.”
Patterns that fit pre-defined criteria result in an investigative alert and the individual becomes a “person of interest” who is referred to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, Banks says.
Such data mining is also called “database profiling” and is prohibited under Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against invasion of privacy says Barry Steinhardt, director of the Technology and Liberty Program at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Steinhardt points out the information is already being used to create “no fly” lists of people who are thought to be a danger but that safeguards are not in place to insure the accuracy of the information. . . .
“The agencies involved in data mining are trying to skirt the Privacy Act by claiming that they hold no data,” said Clay. Instead, they use private companies to maintain and sift through the data, he said.
What kind of data? All kinds, according to the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004 which just got sprung on us: Day 5: Your Financial Information Is Available on Demand (use the username and password from this site if you want to skip the registration):
- A law that amends the Patriot Act, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004, expands the types of records that the FBI can demand with an NSL to include documents kept by more than a dozen types of businesses, including the U.S. Postal Service; casinos; car dealerships; pawn shops; insurance companies; real-estate agents; commodities brokers, and jewelry stores.
Jewelry stores? Are they after my bling bling?
Who are they? For one thing, they are the rich: Millionaires fill US Congress halls. They are also idiots in many ways: The Top 10 Conservative Idiots (No. 162) (be sure to scroll down and see Colin Powell making hay with the Village People). They are Bushites, Neo-cons, Conservatives, Republicans. . . They are Democrats, too: from Librarian’s Stand Against Federal Law:
- Mary de La Rosa is a young lawyer who was working on similar legislation for Bill Clinton’s National Security Council.
“The Patriot Act isn’t a sea change,” she says.
“It’s an incremental change. A lot of the powers existed before. They’re just easier to use.”
“The old security laws were written before there was an internet and cell phones. So we’ve been playing catch-up.”
“It’s not the law that’s the problem, it’s that not enough is known about it.”
Which means that if it is to be repealed, most likely it will not be the Democrat opposition leading the charge.
They will postpone the elections, securing the Bush dictatorship, when the next “terrorist threat” comes around the corner. From Exclusive: Election Day Worries:
- American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call “alarming” intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.
You can hear about it on your weather radio: Weather Radios Will Carry More Kinds of Alerts. I’m getting a weather radio ASAP, so I can know the exact moment when we completely lose our freedoms.
When the shit hits the fan, don’t expect the police to help protect your freedom: Welcome to the Matrix: Inside the Government’s Secret, Corporate-Run Mega-Database and also Court: If police ask, you must give your name and also Proposal floated for North American ID card.
I can’t breathe. Corporations and the government are smothering me. I’ll go to the bar and escape. Doh! Corporations are there, too: Greene King Snaps up Laurel Pubs:
- Brewing and pubs group Greene King today announced the purchase of 432 neighbourhood pubs from privately-owned Laurel in a £654m deal that boosts its estate by a quarter.
Neighborhood pubs? Not any more. They are corporate pubs. Give us free.