addiction

Bruce K. Alexander (born 20 December 1939)[1] is a psychologist and professor emeritus from Vancouver, BC, Canada.[1] He has taught and conducted research on thepsychology of addiction at Simon Fraser University since 1970.[2] He retired from active teaching in 2005. … Continue reading

Bruce K. Alexander (born 20 December 1939)[1] is a psychologist and professor emeritus from Vancouver, BC, Canada.[1] He has taught and conducted research on thepsychology of addiction at Simon Fraser University since 1970.[2] He retired from active teaching in 2005. Alexander and SFU colleagues conducted a series of experiments into drug addiction known as the Rat Park experiments. He has written two books: Peaceful Measures: Canada’s Way Out of the War on Drugs (1990)[3] and The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit (2008).


Rat Park

The Rat Park experiments, published in psychopharmacology journals in the late 1970s and early 1980s, flatly contradicted the dominant view of addiction in their day. They quickly disappeared from view, having evoked only negative responses in the mainstream press and journals. Lauren Slater’s controversial psychology book, Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century[5] helped to bring them back to public attention in 2005. These experiments are now widely known and cited.

The Rat Park experiments were among the first to show the error in the once dominant myth that certain drugs, particularly the opiates, convert all or most users into drug addicts. In the 1970s, this myth was said to be demonstrated by the high consumption of opiates and stimulants of rats isolated in specially modified Skinner Boxes that allowed drug self-administration. Alexander and his colleagues demonstrated experimentally that rats isolated in cages of about the same size as Skinner Boxes consume far more morphine than rats that are socially housed in Rat Park.[6] Subsequent research has confirmed that social housing reduces drug intake in rats[7] and that the dominant myth was wrong both for rats and for human beings.[8] Nonetheless, the myth is still embedded in popular culture.

Addiction as a social problem

Alexander then explored the broader implications of Rat Park experiments for human beings. The main conclusions of his experimental and historical research since 1985 can be summarized as follows:

  1. Drug addiction is only a small corner of the addiction problem. Most serious addictions do not involve either drugs or alcohol[9]
  2. Addiction is more a social problem than an individual problem. When socially integrated societies are fragmented by internal or external forces, addiction of all sorts increases dramatically, becoming almost universal in extremely fragmented societies.[10]
  3. Addiction arises in fragmented societies because people use it as a way of adapting to extreme social dislocation. As a form of adaptation, addiction is neither a disease that can be cured nor a moral error that can be corrected by punishment and education.[11]

Therefore, the current NIDA Model of addiction, which Alexander refers to as the official view, is untenable.[12] Contemporary world society can only overcome mass dislocation (and addiction) by restoring psychosocial integration on a political and social level. This requires major social change.[4]

Alexander’s controversial conclusions have been celebrated by some mainstream sources outside the United States. Alexander received a 2007 Sterling Prize for Controversy in Canada, a 2009 high commendation from the British Medical Association, and an invitation to present at the Royal Society of Arts and Manufactures in London in 2011. Although all mainstream American sources have ignored Alexander’s work, it has acquired considerable recognition in outsider sources.[5]

1995 WHO cocaine research project

One line of research in which Alexander played a key role was actively suppressed by the World Health Assembly. Early in the 1990s the World Health Organization (WHO) organized the largest study on cocaine use ever undertaken. Profiles of cocaine use were gathered from 21 cities located in 19 countries all over the world. Alexander was selected as the principal investigator for the Vancouver site. The WHO announced publication of the results of the global study in a press release in 1995.[13]

However, an American representative in the World Health Assembly effectively banned the publication, apparently because the study seemed to contradict the dominant myth of addictive drugs, as applied to cocaine. Part of the study’s findings were “that occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to severe or even minor physical or social problems.” In the sixth meeting of the B committee the US representative threatened that “If WHO activities relating to drugs failed to reinforce proven drug control approaches, funds for the relevant programs should be curtailed”. This led to the WHO decision to postpone publication. The study has not been published officially but was leaked in 2009 and is available at wikileaks.[1]

Published on Jan 7, 2014
Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the root causes of addiction and how to deal with them. This is taken from the Q&A part of TJ Dawe’s show – “Medicine”.


Noam Chomsky at UC Santa Barbara

Published on Apr 7, 2014
March 01, 2014 at UC Santa Barbara
Topics Discussed Include: Syrian Civil War, Israel Lobby, East Asian Miracle, Austerity, Mysteries and Perplexing Questions, Alan Greenspan, Class Warfare, Latin America, Neo-liberalism, Free…

Published on Apr 7, 2014
March 01, 2014 at UC Santa Barbara

Topics Discussed Include: Syrian Civil War, Israel Lobby, East Asian Miracle, Austerity, Mysteries and Perplexing Questions, Alan Greenspan, Class Warfare, Latin America, Neo-liberalism, Free Will, Business Party, etc.

the WikiLeaks threat

ReutersBy Mohammed Abbas and Alessandra Prentice | Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Thursday that any decision by Ecuador to give Julian Assange political asylum wouldn’t change a thing and that it might still revoke the diplomatic status of Quito’s embassy in London to allow the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder.

The high-profile Australian former hacker has been holed up inside the red-brick embassy in central London for eight weeks since he lost a legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape allegations.
Britain’s tough talk on the issue takes what has become an international soap opera to new heights since Assange angered the United States by publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables on his WikiLeaks website. It may also raise difficult questions for London about the sanctity of embassies’ diplomatic status.

The Ecuadorean government, which said it would announce whether it had granted Assange’s asylum request on Thursday at 7 a.m. (1200 GMT), has said any attempt by Britain to remove the diplomatic status of its embassy would be a “hostile and intolerable act”.

“It is too early to say when or if Britain will revoke the Ecuadorean embassy’s diplomatic status,” a Foreign Office spokesman said. “Giving asylum doesn’t fundamentally change anything.”
“We have a legal duty to extradite Mr Assange. There is a law that says we have to extradite him to Sweden. We are going to have to fulfill that law.”
Outside the embassy, British police tussled with protesters chanting slogans in support of Assange and at least three supporters were detained.
Quito bristled at Britain’s warning.

“We want to be very clear, we’re not a British colony. The colonial times are over,” Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in an angry statement after a meeting with President Rafael Correa.
Britain’s threat to withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorean embassy drew criticism from some former diplomats who said it could lead to similar moves against British embassies.

“I think the Foreign Office have slightly overreached themselves here,” Britain’s former ambassador to Moscow, Tony Brenton, told the BBC.
“If we live in a world where governments can arbitrarily revoke immunity and go into embassies then the life of our diplomats and their ability to conduct normal business in places like Moscow where I was and North Korea becomes close to impossible.”

LONDON EMBASSY

Ecuador’s embassy, near London’s famed Harrods department store, has been under tight surveillance, with police officers manning the entrance and patrolling its perimeter.

A group of pro-Assange protesters gathered outside the building overnight in response to a rallying call by his supporters on social media websites.
Wearing trademark Guy Fawkes masks – to evoke the spirit of the 17th century English plotter – they held banners and blasted out songs by punk group The Jam from a portable speaker.

A Reuters reporter saw at least three protesters being dragged away by police. About 20 officers were outside the embassy trying to push away the crowd of about 15 supporters.

“I am upset that the British government is willing to go in there and take him by force,” said Liliana Calle, 24, an Ecuadorean student waving her country’s flag outside the embassy. “It makes me think they don’t believe in human rights.”
In what appeared to be prank, taxis lined up outside the embassy asking for Julian Assange.

“I’ve lived, worked and traveled in places with proper dictatorships and nowhere have I seen violations of the Vienna convention to this extent,” said Farhan Rasheed, 42, a historian wearing an “I love Occupy” badge, outside the embassy.
“Here we have a government which claims to be a government of law and justice, stretching and possibly about to break a serious binding international agreement.”
Swedish prosecutors have not yet charged Assange, but they believe they have a case to take to trial.

Assange fears Sweden could send him on to the United States, where he believes authorities want to punish him for publishing thousands of diplomatic cables in a major embarrassment for Washington.

Even if he were granted asylum, Assange has little chance of leaving the Ecuadorean embassy in London without being arrested.

There has been speculation he could travel to an airport in a diplomatic car, be smuggled out in a diplomatic bag, or even be appointed an Ecuadorean diplomat to give him immunity.

But lawyers and diplomats see those scenarios as practically unworkable.
Ecuador’s leader Correa is a self-declared enemy of “corrupt” media and U.S. “imperialism”, and apparently hit it off with Assange during a TV interview the Australian did with him in May. Correa joked then with Assange that he had joined “the club of the persecuted”.

The Ecuadorean government has said it wants to avoid Assange’s extradition to Sweden, but if it did decide to grant him asylum it would offer no legal protection in Britain where police will arrest him as soon as they get a chance.
(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Alessandra Prentice; Writing by Maria Golovnina and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Osborn)


Wikileaks a threat to our soldiers

Published September 8, 2010 

DEBATE. John Daniels, head of the military intelligence Must, warn of attacks by the Taliban and criminals after Wikileaks publishing secret documents. He calls for a “dual” to secure the military’s IT systems with large amounts of secret material.

When Wikileaks publishes secret documents from Afghanistan revealed not only that there are shortcomings in the protection around the secret data, the publication can also create an immediate danger to life of individuals.

Information relating to the Armed Forces’ operations give an opponent a basis for adapting tactics and countermeasures. For protection of personnel to operate and be effective in many cases remain confidential. Divulged our protection and our plans, we become vulnerable to attacks from the Taliban and criminals, who have a different agenda for Afghanistan over the international community.

Especially serious and devastating to the mission in Afghanistan is about secret personal data of persons who are reporting to and cooperating with the international force is running out. In the event that these people’s identities from being disclosed is an obvious risk of deadly reprisals.

If the claim is true that Wikileaks informant is a single person, the men think. Military IT systems that contain large amounts of information requires a special security protection. These systems should be designed so that an individual not on your own can collect large amounts of information. By creating a system of “dual control” prevented this and the risk of large information leakage. A sloppy comparison would be the principle to fire nuclear weapons, which requires two independent persons keys to perform a firing.

In order to obtain the documents that have so far been published on Wikileaks had, before the modern information technology, demanded that a wide range of safes broken open. I? Days is enough to hack an IT system or as an authorized user fill out the entire database.

It previously came across classified documents and wanted to publish them, were first forced to find an interested journalist and then a chief who was willing to take the risk of revealing secret information. With the Internet, the individual has become his own editor with the ability to publish in real time.

Wikileaks disclosure also shows the need for thorough background checks of personnel handling classified information. This would hopefully reveal a disgruntled employee and the leak could have been avoided.

The military intelligence is constantly working to develop methods and mechanisms for the protection of the Armed Forces information and personnel. Security threats are very much alive, especially in operational areas such as Afghanistan. In recent years we have found that social media is used for intelligence gathering and targeting of staff. In 2009, there are also a number of cases in which soldiers in Afghanistan, or closely associated with them, have been subjected to threats, which have been found to be linked to the Swedish troop contribution to Afghanistan.

The incidents have mainly been linked to the employee’s erroneous use of mobile phones and social media. These incidents have in some cases affected the personal safety and in other cases, led to loss of information.

No matter how technically secure IT systems we build, stands or falls on the safety of the individual employee’s safety awareness and behavior. The solution to the problem of leaks can never be reduced to a technical question, but must also be a matter of how well trained our staff are and how we ensure that only persons who are trustworthy and loyal may have access to secret information.

John Daniels

Chief of Military Security


Informal discussions have already taken place between US and Swedish officials over the possibility of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being delivered into American custody, according to diplomatic sources.

Mr Assange is in a British jail awaiting extradition proceedings to Sweden after being refused bail at Westminster Magistrates’ Court despite a number of prominent public figures offering to stand as surety.

His arrest in north London yesterday was described by the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates as “good news”, and may pave the way for extradition to America and a possible lengthy jail sentence.

The US Justice Department is considering charging Mr Assange with espionage offences over his website’s unprecedented release of classified US diplomatic files. Several right-wing American politicians are pressing for his prosecution and even execution, with Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate, saying he should be pursued the same as al-Qa’ida and Taliban leaders.

Mr Assange’s appearance in the London court, the focus of massive international media attention, puts Britain in the centre of the controversy and recrimination over the publishing of thousands of diplomatic cables which have caused acute embarrassment to the administration in Washington. If the man responsible for putting them in the public domain is to be silenced, his supporters say, the process started here.

The Swedish government seeks Mr Assange’s extradition for alleged sexual offences against two women.

Sources stressed that no extradition request would be submitted until and unless the US government laid charges against Mr Assange, and that attempts to take him to America would only take place after legal proceedings are concluded in Sweden.

Mr Assange, 39, had voluntarily gone to a police station accompanied by solicitors after the issuing of an international warrant.

The court heard that Jemima Khan, the sister of the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, the film director Ken Loach and journalist John Pilger were among those who had offered to stand bail to the sum of £180,000. But District Judge Howard Rule remanded him in custody on the grounds that there was a risk the WikiLeaks founder would fail to surrender.

Mr Loach, who offered £20,000, explained that he did not know Mr Assange other than by reputation, but he said: “I think the work he has done has been a public service. I think we are entitled to know the dealings of those that govern us.” Mr Pilger, who also offered £20,000, said he knew Mr Assange as a journalist and personal friend and had a “very high regard for him”.

“I am aware of the offences and I am also aware of quite a lot of the detail around the offences,” said Mr Pilger. “I am here today because the charges against him in Sweden are absurd and were judged as absurd by the chief prosecutor there when she threw the whole thing out until a senior political figure intervened.” Ms Khan offered a further £20,000 “or more if need be”, although she said she did not know Assange.

Gemma Lindfield, appearing for the Swedish authorities, successfully opposed bail being granted because there was a risk he would fail to surrender – and also for his own protection, she said. She outlined five reasons why there was a risk: his “nomadic” lifestyle, reports that he intended to seek asylum in Switzerland, access to money from donors, his network of international contacts and his Australian nationality.

Mrs Lindfield added: “Any number of people could take it upon themselves to cause him harm. This is someone for whom, simply put, there is no condition, even the most stringent, that would ensure he would surrender to the jurisdiction of this court.”

Ms Lindfield told the court that Mr Assange was wanted in connection with four allegations of sexual offences.She said the first complainant, Miss A, said she was victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Mr Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

The second charge alleged Mr Assange “sexually molested” Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her “express wish” one should be used. The third charge claimed Mr Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on August 18 “in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity”.

The fourth charge accused Mr Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

District Judge Riddle said: “This case is not, on the face of it, about WikiLeaks. It is an allegation in another European country of serious sexual offences alleged to have occurred on three separate occasions and involving two separate victims. These are extremely serious allegations. From that, it seems to me that if these allegations are true, then no one could argue the defendant should be granted bail.”

However he added: “If they are false, he suffers a great injustice if he is remanded in custody. At this stage in these proceedings, the nature and strength of the allegations is not known.”

Mr Assange’s solicitor, John Jones, said he agreed the case was not about WikiLeaks but was a “simple accusation” case with the right to bail.

He said: “In relation to the state of play in Sweden, it is important for the court to be aware of the background to this. Mr Assange has made repeated requests that the allegations against him be communicated to him in a language he understands. That has been ignored by the Swedish prosecutor. Another Swedish prosecutor dropped this case early on for lack of evidence and it was resurrected in Gothenburg rather than Stockholm.”

Another of Mr Assange’s lawyers, Mark Stephens, said he believed British authorities would go to extreme lengths to ensure his client was “perfectly comfortable” during his time in jail. While he is confident Mr Assange’s time behind bars will be brief, he said he did not want to appear to be “too cocky”.

“I think a lot of people, including the police, thought that he would get bail today. They were very surprised he didn’t,” he said.

Praising District Judge Howard Riddle’s assessment of the case, Mr Stephens said: “We are incredibly grateful to the judge for making it clear to the prosecutor that he thinks he wants to have a look at the evidence, to make assessments as to whether there is a real risk of conviction or not, because that will make a difference as to whether or not he wants to put him out on bail, or not, on the next occasion.”

Criticising Swedish authorities involved with the case, Mr Stephens said: “It’s a persecution, not a prosecution.”.

He maintained that while Mr Assange was not prepared to go to Sweden to face alleged sexual assault claims, his client was prepared to meet the Swedish prosecutor in England.

“That, I think, is a reasonable approach,” he said.

The pressure on WikiLeaks, which relies on online donations from a worldwide network of supporters to fund its work, continued after Visa and Mastercard suspended all payments to the website.

A spokesman for Visa E said: “Visa Europe has taken action to suspend Visa payment acceptance on WikiLeaks’ website pending further investigation into the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules.” A MasterCard spokesman said: “MasterCard is currently in the process of working to suspend the acceptance of MasterCard cards on WikiLeaks until the situation is resolved.”

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks spokesperson, said: “WikiLeaks is operational. We are continuing on the same track as laid out before. Any development with regards to Julian Assange will not change the plans we have with regards to the releases today and in the coming days.”

The legal proceedings

Q Why is Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, facing legal proceedings in the UK when the allegations against him relate to events in Sweden?

A Under the European arrest warrant procedure any EU state can request the legal assistance of another EU country in the detention of a suspect wanted for an offence committed abroad.

Q Mr Assange’s lawyers say he is not on the run and has voluntarily surrendered to police. So why is he being held in prison?

A District Judge Howard Riddle, sitting at the City of Westminster magistrates’ court, refused Mr Assange’s application for bail because he decided there was a danger he might abscond.

Q What happens next?

A First his lawyers will return to court next week to try to secure his release on conditional bail. Eventually there will be an extradition hearing at which the Swedish prosecution authorities will present prima facie evidence to show there is case for Mr Assange to answer.

Q How long will the proceedings last?

A Mr Assange’s legal team are already preparing to challenge the extradition in the High Court in London. If they lose the case there, they can take it all the way to the Supreme Court, a process which could last many months.

Conservative propaganda machine calls for the assassination of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Companies such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Western Union have not let their customers use their services to donate money to the Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss on The Young Turks. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/world/europe/blocks-on-wikileaks-donations-… Cenk’s interview with Julian Assange: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL8g3vye4xo

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Thursday that any decision by Ecuador to give Julian Assange political asylum wouldn’t change a thing and that it might still revoke the diplomatic status of Quito’s embassy in London to allow the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder.

The high-profile Australian former hacker has been holed up inside the red-brick embassy in central London for eight weeks since he lost a legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape allegations.
Britain’s tough talk on the issue takes what has become an international soap opera to new heights since Assange angered the United States by publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables on his WikiLeaks website. It may also raise difficult questions for London about the sanctity of embassies’ diplomatic status.

The Ecuadorean government, which said it would announce whether it had granted Assange’s asylum request on Thursday at 7 a.m. (1200 GMT), has said any attempt by Britain to remove the diplomatic status of its embassy would be a “hostile and intolerable act”.

“It is too early to say when or if Britain will revoke the Ecuadorean embassy’s diplomatic status,” a Foreign Office spokesman said. “Giving asylum doesn’t fundamentally change anything.”
“We have a legal duty to extradite Mr Assange. There is a law that says we have to extradite him to Sweden. We are going to have to fulfill that law.”
Outside the embassy, British police tussled with protesters chanting slogans in support of Assange and at least three supporters were detained.
Quito bristled at Britain’s warning.

“We want to be very clear, we’re not a British colony. The colonial times are over,” Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in an angry statement after a meeting with President Rafael Correa.
Britain’s threat to withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorean embassy drew criticism from some former diplomats who said it could lead to similar moves against British embassies.

“I think the Foreign Office have slightly overreached themselves here,” Britain’s former ambassador to Moscow, Tony Brenton, told the BBC.
“If we live in a world where governments can arbitrarily revoke immunity and go into embassies then the life of our diplomats and their ability to conduct normal business in places like Moscow where I was and North Korea becomes close to impossible.”

LONDON EMBASSY

Ecuador’s embassy, near London’s famed Harrods department store, has been under tight surveillance, with police officers manning the entrance and patrolling its perimeter.

A group of pro-Assange protesters gathered outside the building overnight in response to a rallying call by his supporters on social media websites.
Wearing trademark Guy Fawkes masks – to evoke the spirit of the 17th century English plotter – they held banners and blasted out songs by punk group The Jam from a portable speaker.

A Reuters reporter saw at least three protesters being dragged away by police. About 20 officers were outside the embassy trying to push away the crowd of about 15 supporters.

“I am upset that the British government is willing to go in there and take him by force,” said Liliana Calle, 24, an Ecuadorean student waving her country’s flag outside the embassy. “It makes me think they don’t believe in human rights.”
In what appeared to be prank, taxis lined up outside the embassy asking for Julian Assange.

“I’ve lived, worked and traveled in places with proper dictatorships and nowhere have I seen violations of the Vienna convention to this extent,” said Farhan Rasheed, 42, a historian wearing an “I love Occupy” badge, outside the embassy.
“Here we have a government which claims to be a government of law and justice, stretching and possibly about to break a serious binding international agreement.”
Swedish prosecutors have not yet charged Assange, but they believe they have a case to take to trial.

Assange fears Sweden could send him on to the United States, where he believes authorities want to punish him for publishing thousands of diplomatic cables in a major embarrassment for Washington.

Even if he were granted asylum, Assange has little chance of leaving the Ecuadorean embassy in London without being arrested.

There has been speculation he could travel to an airport in a diplomatic car, be smuggled out in a diplomatic bag, or even be appointed an Ecuadorean diplomat to give him immunity.

But lawyers and diplomats see those scenarios as practically unworkable.
Ecuador’s leader Correa is a self-declared enemy of “corrupt” media and U.S. “imperialism”, and apparently hit it off with Assange during a TV interview the Australian did with him in May. Correa joked then with Assange that he had joined “the club of the persecuted”.

The Ecuadorean government has said it wants to avoid Assange’s extradition to Sweden, but if it did decide to grant him asylum it would offer no legal protection in Britain where police will arrest him as soon as they get a chance.
(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Alessandra Prentice; Writing by Maria Golovnina and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Osborn)


Wikileaks a threat to our soldiers

Published September 8, 2010 

DEBATE. John Daniels, head of the military intelligence Must, warn of attacks by the Taliban and criminals after Wikileaks publishing secret documents. He calls for a “dual” to secure the military’s IT systems with large amounts of secret material.

When Wikileaks publishes secret documents from Afghanistan revealed not only that there are shortcomings in the protection around the secret data, the publication can also create an immediate danger to life of individuals.

Information relating to the Armed Forces’ operations give an opponent a basis for adapting tactics and countermeasures. For protection of personnel to operate and be effective in many cases remain confidential. Divulged our protection and our plans, we become vulnerable to attacks from the Taliban and criminals, who have a different agenda for Afghanistan over the international community.

Especially serious and devastating to the mission in Afghanistan is about secret personal data of persons who are reporting to and cooperating with the international force is running out. In the event that these people’s identities from being disclosed is an obvious risk of deadly reprisals.

If the claim is true that Wikileaks informant is a single person, the men think. Military IT systems that contain large amounts of information requires a special security protection. These systems should be designed so that an individual not on your own can collect large amounts of information. By creating a system of “dual control” prevented this and the risk of large information leakage. A sloppy comparison would be the principle to fire nuclear weapons, which requires two independent persons keys to perform a firing.

In order to obtain the documents that have so far been published on Wikileaks had, before the modern information technology, demanded that a wide range of safes broken open. I? Days is enough to hack an IT system or as an authorized user fill out the entire database.

It previously came across classified documents and wanted to publish them, were first forced to find an interested journalist and then a chief who was willing to take the risk of revealing secret information. With the Internet, the individual has become his own editor with the ability to publish in real time.

Wikileaks disclosure also shows the need for thorough background checks of personnel handling classified information. This would hopefully reveal a disgruntled employee and the leak could have been avoided.

The military intelligence is constantly working to develop methods and mechanisms for the protection of the Armed Forces information and personnel. Security threats are very much alive, especially in operational areas such as Afghanistan. In recent years we have found that social media is used for intelligence gathering and targeting of staff. In 2009, there are also a number of cases in which soldiers in Afghanistan, or closely associated with them, have been subjected to threats, which have been found to be linked to the Swedish troop contribution to Afghanistan.

The incidents have mainly been linked to the employee’s erroneous use of mobile phones and social media. These incidents have in some cases affected the personal safety and in other cases, led to loss of information.

No matter how technically secure IT systems we build, stands or falls on the safety of the individual employee’s safety awareness and behavior. The solution to the problem of leaks can never be reduced to a technical question, but must also be a matter of how well trained our staff are and how we ensure that only persons who are trustworthy and loyal may have access to secret information.

John Daniels

Chief of Military Security


Informal discussions have already taken place between US and Swedish officials over the possibility of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being delivered into American custody, according to diplomatic sources.

Mr Assange is in a British jail awaiting extradition proceedings to Sweden after being refused bail at Westminster Magistrates’ Court despite a number of prominent public figures offering to stand as surety.

His arrest in north London yesterday was described by the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates as “good news”, and may pave the way for extradition to America and a possible lengthy jail sentence.

The US Justice Department is considering charging Mr Assange with espionage offences over his website’s unprecedented release of classified US diplomatic files. Several right-wing American politicians are pressing for his prosecution and even execution, with Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate, saying he should be pursued the same as al-Qa’ida and Taliban leaders.

Mr Assange’s appearance in the London court, the focus of massive international media attention, puts Britain in the centre of the controversy and recrimination over the publishing of thousands of diplomatic cables which have caused acute embarrassment to the administration in Washington. If the man responsible for putting them in the public domain is to be silenced, his supporters say, the process started here.

The Swedish government seeks Mr Assange’s extradition for alleged sexual offences against two women.

Sources stressed that no extradition request would be submitted until and unless the US government laid charges against Mr Assange, and that attempts to take him to America would only take place after legal proceedings are concluded in Sweden.

Mr Assange, 39, had voluntarily gone to a police station accompanied by solicitors after the issuing of an international warrant.

The court heard that Jemima Khan, the sister of the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, the film director Ken Loach and journalist John Pilger were among those who had offered to stand bail to the sum of £180,000. But District Judge Howard Rule remanded him in custody on the grounds that there was a risk the WikiLeaks founder would fail to surrender.

Mr Loach, who offered £20,000, explained that he did not know Mr Assange other than by reputation, but he said: “I think the work he has done has been a public service. I think we are entitled to know the dealings of those that govern us.” Mr Pilger, who also offered £20,000, said he knew Mr Assange as a journalist and personal friend and had a “very high regard for him”.

“I am aware of the offences and I am also aware of quite a lot of the detail around the offences,” said Mr Pilger. “I am here today because the charges against him in Sweden are absurd and were judged as absurd by the chief prosecutor there when she threw the whole thing out until a senior political figure intervened.” Ms Khan offered a further £20,000 “or more if need be”, although she said she did not know Assange.

Gemma Lindfield, appearing for the Swedish authorities, successfully opposed bail being granted because there was a risk he would fail to surrender – and also for his own protection, she said. She outlined five reasons why there was a risk: his “nomadic” lifestyle, reports that he intended to seek asylum in Switzerland, access to money from donors, his network of international contacts and his Australian nationality.

Mrs Lindfield added: “Any number of people could take it upon themselves to cause him harm. This is someone for whom, simply put, there is no condition, even the most stringent, that would ensure he would surrender to the jurisdiction of this court.”

Ms Lindfield told the court that Mr Assange was wanted in connection with four allegations of sexual offences.She said the first complainant, Miss A, said she was victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Mr Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

The second charge alleged Mr Assange “sexually molested” Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her “express wish” one should be used. The third charge claimed Mr Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on August 18 “in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity”.

The fourth charge accused Mr Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

District Judge Riddle said: “This case is not, on the face of it, about WikiLeaks. It is an allegation in another European country of serious sexual offences alleged to have occurred on three separate occasions and involving two separate victims. These are extremely serious allegations. From that, it seems to me that if these allegations are true, then no one could argue the defendant should be granted bail.”

However he added: “If they are false, he suffers a great injustice if he is remanded in custody. At this stage in these proceedings, the nature and strength of the allegations is not known.”

Mr Assange’s solicitor, John Jones, said he agreed the case was not about WikiLeaks but was a “simple accusation” case with the right to bail.

He said: “In relation to the state of play in Sweden, it is important for the court to be aware of the background to this. Mr Assange has made repeated requests that the allegations against him be communicated to him in a language he understands. That has been ignored by the Swedish prosecutor. Another Swedish prosecutor dropped this case early on for lack of evidence and it was resurrected in Gothenburg rather than Stockholm.”

Another of Mr Assange’s lawyers, Mark Stephens, said he believed British authorities would go to extreme lengths to ensure his client was “perfectly comfortable” during his time in jail. While he is confident Mr Assange’s time behind bars will be brief, he said he did not want to appear to be “too cocky”.

“I think a lot of people, including the police, thought that he would get bail today. They were very surprised he didn’t,” he said.

Praising District Judge Howard Riddle’s assessment of the case, Mr Stephens said: “We are incredibly grateful to the judge for making it clear to the prosecutor that he thinks he wants to have a look at the evidence, to make assessments as to whether there is a real risk of conviction or not, because that will make a difference as to whether or not he wants to put him out on bail, or not, on the next occasion.”

Criticising Swedish authorities involved with the case, Mr Stephens said: “It’s a persecution, not a prosecution.”.

He maintained that while Mr Assange was not prepared to go to Sweden to face alleged sexual assault claims, his client was prepared to meet the Swedish prosecutor in England.

“That, I think, is a reasonable approach,” he said.

The pressure on WikiLeaks, which relies on online donations from a worldwide network of supporters to fund its work, continued after Visa and Mastercard suspended all payments to the website.

A spokesman for Visa E said: “Visa Europe has taken action to suspend Visa payment acceptance on WikiLeaks’ website pending further investigation into the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules.” A MasterCard spokesman said: “MasterCard is currently in the process of working to suspend the acceptance of MasterCard cards on WikiLeaks until the situation is resolved.”

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks spokesperson, said: “WikiLeaks is operational. We are continuing on the same track as laid out before. Any development with regards to Julian Assange will not change the plans we have with regards to the releases today and in the coming days.”

The legal proceedings

Q Why is Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, facing legal proceedings in the UK when the allegations against him relate to events in Sweden?

A Under the European arrest warrant procedure any EU state can request the legal assistance of another EU country in the detention of a suspect wanted for an offence committed abroad.

Q Mr Assange’s lawyers say he is not on the run and has voluntarily surrendered to police. So why is he being held in prison?

A District Judge Howard Riddle, sitting at the City of Westminster magistrates’ court, refused Mr Assange’s application for bail because he decided there was a danger he might abscond.

Q What happens next?

A First his lawyers will return to court next week to try to secure his release on conditional bail. Eventually there will be an extradition hearing at which the Swedish prosecution authorities will present prima facie evidence to show there is case for Mr Assange to answer.

Q How long will the proceedings last?

A Mr Assange’s legal team are already preparing to challenge the extradition in the High Court in London. If they lose the case there, they can take it all the way to the Supreme Court, a process which could last many months.

Conservative propaganda machine calls for the assassination of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Companies such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Western Union have not let their customers use their services to donate money to the Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss on The Young Turks. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/world/europe/blocks-on-wikileaks-donations-… Cenk’s interview with Julian Assange: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL8g3vye4xo

US Foreign Policy on Terrorism

Mid-November, two Swedish citizens with Somali origins were renditioned from Djibouti to a prison in the United States of America.

According to the US, they are hardened terrorists. According to other people, they tried to leave the terrorist-branded organization al-Shabaab. What’s true there is unclear. But that’s not the point that makes us interested in the story.

An representative of United States Intelligence Services is reported to have told the two Swedes that “We’re waiting for permission from Swedish authorities to take you to the United States”. This is something that the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs first didn’t want to be associated with, and later declines any and all forms of comment.

Here, we have a natural and special interest, as the two men are Swedish citizens. Are they suspected of committing an act which carries criminal penalties in Sweden – and if so, should they not be indicted and prosecuted in Sweden? Or has the Swedish government given the USA a carte blanche to “take care of” two Swedish citizens in the name of the war on terror – and if so, on what grounds? (Further, the suspicions concern acts committed in Somalia, where the US doesn’t have jurisdiction.)

Suspicions of terror or not – the process of law must be respected, and international law followed. The government has no right to throw people into dark dungeons without a proper trial. We have a right to demand some form of damn order here.

This affair has a distinct image of not having respected due process. This image is further strengthened by the fact that the two Swedes’ lawyers and relatives were kept in the dark for several weeks about what had already happened.

If Sweden has agreed to rendition two people – Swedish citizens or not – to the United States of America within the context of what’s known as extraordinary renditions, this affair goes far beyond the questions about the formal due process. In such a case, it’s necessary to ask how much the Swedish governments’ promises are worth, when they promise to not extradite people to countries where they risk torture or death. This is a question that’s current and relevant in other cases, for example, regarding the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Read More: Washington Post [in English], Svenska Dagbladet [in Swedish].

This article was originally published in Swedish on Hax’ blog. Translated into English by Rick Falkvinge.


(CFPA) http://peacecoalition.org/ 33rd Annual Conference & Interfaith Service for Peace on Sunday, November 11, 2012 in Princeton featuring Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman & Juan Cole

We are treated to some 44 minutes of Noam Chomsky’s special clarity just a week after the 2012 Election’s wide ranging discussion of Media, Objectivity and Reality in US Foreign Policy on Terrorism and the Middle East

Mr. Chomsky discuss his Lawsuit with Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg and others results in a permanent judicial injunction against the National Defense Authorization Act, “which authorized the military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, strip them of due process and hold them in military facilities, including offshore penal colonies.”

We again here of Obama administration secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix. Movement towards Nuclear Free Terror Zone in Middle East

Mr. Chomsky discusses the long US support of Dictatorship’s in the Middle East and how it impacts our present foreign policy and its implications of the recent Arab Spring, our policies regarding Iran and Israel and the recent uprisings in the West Bank

Mid-November, two Swedish citizens with Somali origins were renditioned from Djibouti to a prison in the United States of America.

According to the US, they are hardened terrorists. According to other people, they tried to leave the terrorist-branded organization al-Shabaab. What’s true there is unclear. But that’s not the point that makes us interested in the story.

An representative of United States Intelligence Services is reported to have told the two Swedes that “We’re waiting for permission from Swedish authorities to take you to the United States”. This is something that the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs first didn’t want to be associated with, and later declines any and all forms of comment.

Here, we have a natural and special interest, as the two men are Swedish citizens. Are they suspected of committing an act which carries criminal penalties in Sweden – and if so, should they not be indicted and prosecuted in Sweden? Or has the Swedish government given the USA a carte blanche to “take care of” two Swedish citizens in the name of the war on terror – and if so, on what grounds? (Further, the suspicions concern acts committed in Somalia, where the US doesn’t have jurisdiction.)

Suspicions of terror or not – the process of law must be respected, and international law followed. The government has no right to throw people into dark dungeons without a proper trial. We have a right to demand some form of damn order here.

This affair has a distinct image of not having respected due process. This image is further strengthened by the fact that the two Swedes’ lawyers and relatives were kept in the dark for several weeks about what had already happened.

If Sweden has agreed to rendition two people – Swedish citizens or not – to the United States of America within the context of what’s known as extraordinary renditions, this affair goes far beyond the questions about the formal due process. In such a case, it’s necessary to ask how much the Swedish governments’ promises are worth, when they promise to not extradite people to countries where they risk torture or death. This is a question that’s current and relevant in other cases, for example, regarding the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Read More: Washington Post [in English], Svenska Dagbladet [in Swedish].

This article was originally published in Swedish on Hax’ blog. Translated into English by Rick Falkvinge.


(CFPA) http://peacecoalition.org/ 33rd Annual Conference & Interfaith Service for Peace on Sunday, November 11, 2012 in Princeton featuring Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman & Juan Cole

We are treated to some 44 minutes of Noam Chomsky’s special clarity just a week after the 2012 Election’s wide ranging discussion of Media, Objectivity and Reality in US Foreign Policy on Terrorism and the Middle East

Mr. Chomsky discuss his Lawsuit with Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg and others results in a permanent judicial injunction against the National Defense Authorization Act, “which authorized the military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, strip them of due process and hold them in military facilities, including offshore penal colonies.”

We again here of Obama administration secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix. Movement towards Nuclear Free Terror Zone in Middle East

Mr. Chomsky discusses the long US support of Dictatorship’s in the Middle East and how it impacts our present foreign policy and its implications of the recent Arab Spring, our policies regarding Iran and Israel and the recent uprisings in the West Bank

Wikileaks and Iraq

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — The mental health of a U.S. Army private is the focus of a pretrial hearing on charges that he gave classified information to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks.The hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning resumes Wednesday at Fort M…

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — The mental health of a U.S. Army private is the focus of a pretrial hearing on charges that he gave classified information to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks.

The hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning resumes Wednesday at Fort Meade in Maryland. He’s seeking dismissal of the case, alleging he was illegally punished before trial by being held in needlessly harsh conditions.

The defense is seeking testimony from an officer whose command included the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. Manning was held there for nine months in highly restrictive, maximum custody and “prevention of injury” status.

The former installation commander, retired Col. Daniel Choike (CHOY’-kee), testified Tuesday that brig commanders refused to ease Manning’s confinement conditions as recommended by psychiatrists.



Bradley Manning’s lawyers say the prosecution team is keeping important documents from them
. (Cliff Owen/AP)
David Coombs, Manning’s civilian lawyer, has made his strongest accusations yet about the conduct of the military prosecutors. In motions filed with the military court ahead of a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland, on Monday, he goes so far as to accuse the government in essence of lying to the court. Coombs charges the prosecutors with making “an outright misrepresentation” to the court over evidence the defense has been trying for months to gain access to through disclosure.

* * *

The Guardian reports:

[…] The dispute relates to an investigation by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, Oncix, into the damage caused by the WikiLeaks disclosures of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents.
Reports by the Associated Press, Reuters and other news outlets have suggested that official inquiries into the impact of WikiLeaks concluded that the leaks caused some “pockets” of short-term damage around the world, but that generally its impact had been embarrassing rather than harmful.
Such a finding could prove invaluable to the defence in fighting some of the charges facing Manning or, should he be found guilty, reducing his sentence.
Yet Coombs says the army prosecutors have consistently kept him, and the court, in the dark, thwarting his legal rights to see the evidence.
“It was abundantly clear that Oncix had some form of inquiry into the harm from the leaks – but the government switched definitions around arbitrarily so as to avoid disclosing this discovery to the defence.”
On 21 March, the prosecutors told the court that “Oncix has not produced any interim or final damage assessment” into WikiLeaks.
Coombs alleges that this statement was inaccurate – and the government knew it to be inaccurate at the time it made it.
“The defense submits [this] was an outright misrepresentation,” he writes.
On 20 April, the government told the court that “Oncix does not have any forensic results or investigative files”. Yet a week before that, the prosecutors had handed to the defence documents that clearly showed Oncix had begun to investigate WikiLeaks almost 18 months previously.
“Oncix was collecting information from various agencies in late 2010 to assess what damage, if any, was occasioned by the leaks. So how could it be that Oncix neither had an investigation nor a damage assessment?” Coombs writes.
The alleged efforts by the US government to avoid fulfilling its obligations to hand over evidence, Coombs says, has had the effect of rendering it impossible for the defence to prepare for the trial which is scheduled to begin in September.
Without access to the information, they cannot identify witnesses, develop questions for those witnesses, prepare a cross-examination strategy and so on.
“There is no way that the defense can adequately prepare its case,” Coombs complains.
Most damningly, he alleges that is precisely the army’s intention. “The government should not be able to circumvent its discovery obligations for two years, then dump discovery on the defense last-minute, and expect that there will be a fair battle,” he says.
“Indeed, the defense believes that this was the intention of the government – to defeat its adversary by adopting untenable litigation positions designed to frustrate discovery.”
Manning will make his fourth court appearance at Fort Meade on Monday. If convicted of the 22 counts, which include “aiding the enemy”, he could be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in military custody.
# # #


Julian Assange is at the eye of the storm over the Wikileaks documents, but the person who made it all possible is a 23-year old Army private named Bradley Manning. In an incriminating text message last May Manning claimed credit for “possibly the largest data spillage in American history.” David Martin reports.

http://www.mediasanctuary.orghttp://www.wikileaks.chhttp://www.nationalpeaceconference.org U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord speaking about the civilian massacre documented in WikiLeaks’s April 2010 video disclosure of Apache helicopter footage of a New Baghdad attack that took place in 2007, allegedly released by PFC Brad Manning. McCord’s story was delivered to attendees of the United National Peace Conference, which took place in Albany NY the weekend of July 23-25, 2010. Produced by the United National Peace Conference Media Project, powered by The Sanctuary for Independent Media and the Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center. Collateral Murder

wikileaks at Amazon

Under pressure from Sen. Joe Lieberman, Amazon.com kicked WikiLeaks.org off its servers. But why stop there? There’s all kinds of controversial customers the cowardly but remarkably convenient e-tailer can flee from. Take Hillary Clinton. Wikileaks rev…

Under pressure from Sen. Joe Lieberman, Amazon.com kicked WikiLeaks.org off its servers. But why stop there? There’s all kinds of controversial customers the cowardly but remarkably convenient e-tailer can flee from.


Take Hillary Clinton. Wikileaks revealed the Secretary of State to have “illegally” spied on the United Nations, but she remains welcome in Amazon’s books section.

Of course, Clinton didn’t disseminate thousands of secret diplomatic cables. Or actually, wait, she did, but through incompetence rather than intention. So maybe she doesn’t make Amazon cower quite like Wikileaks does.

What about the New York Times? The high-minded newspaper, whose editorial page considers itself a First Amendment champion, is a partner on Amazon.com’s Kindle; publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. even appeared on stage with Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos to introduce a new model of the e-reader.

And yet the newspaper went out of its way to get early access to the confidential diplomatic cables obtained by its sometime partner Wikileaks, and published much of the information they contained. The newspaper almost certainly violated the ridiculous Espionage Act in the process. Will Amazon evict the New York Times from the Kindle then? Or perhaps wipe the offending information remotely, George Orwell style, as Amazon has shown itself perfectly capable of doing?

Then there’s the Guardian, which also published Wikileaks data. The newspaper is listed as a customer of the same Amazon.com online services division that ejected Wikileaks. As is the Washington Post, which is also an Amazon partner delivering Kindle content, and which is no stranger to publishing controversial stories. In fact, it’s no stranger to the sort of State Department leaks Wikileaks is now trafficking. The Post, you’ll recall, revealed the existence of secret overseas CIA torture sites; a CIA analyst was later fired for purportedly leaking the data to the newspaper.

All of which is to say that Amazon’s unclear content standards will create a lot of confusion among its customers, clients and partners. As a private sector corporation, the company is of course free to pick and choose what it wants to sell and what bits it wants to serve. But the parties that do business with Amazon don’t want the uncertainty that comes from dealing with a weak-willed, unpredictable retailer. And avid readers with diverse tastes and a healthy appetite for controversy are unlikely to enjoy doing business with Amazon if they think the company is censorious. It’s bad enough that it’s in competition with adorable local booksellers.

Which is why it’s a big strike against the company that the criteria for getting kicked off Amazon is now totally unclear. Wikileaks, for example, is far from a clear cut case; the group is facing heat in Congress and from the State Department, as is Amazon, but no one has been convicted of any crimes in connection with this new data dump, or even formally charged.
Meanwhile, until the internet noticed and got upset, Amazon was content to sell “A Pedophile’s Guide.” Here’s how the company defended that title, before backing down and yanking the e-book:

Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable

Indeed it is. It’s also amazing how quickly those high-minded ideals have been discarded, not just for pedophilia books but for actual relevant information about government wrongdoing: Amazon issued the above quoted statement less than a month ago. Now it’s busy handling the holiday shopping crush. Don’t forget to take advantage of the Free Super Saver Shipping — or the McCarthyite repression, delivered faster than ever before.

The Information Awareness Office

This week, President Obama is in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly to meet with partners and address a range of issues with the international community, including open government.At the U.N. General Assembly last year, Presi…

This week, President Obama is in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly to meet with partners and address a range of issues with the international community, including open government.

At the U.N. General Assembly last year, President Obama called on nations to make, “specific commitments to promote transparency, to fight corruption, to energize civic engagement, and to leverage new technologies so we can strengthen the foundations of freedom in our own countries.” Today, the President outlined the progress that has already been made in response to his call to action:

And now we see governments around the world meeting this challenge, including many represented here today. Countries from Mexico to Turkey to Liberia have passed laws guaranteeing citizens the right to information. From Chile to Kenya to the Philippines, civil society groups are giving citizens new tools to report corruption. From Tanzania to Indonesia — and as I saw firsthand during my visit to India — rural villages are organizing and making their voices heard, and getting the public services that they need. Governments from Brazil to South Africa are putting more information online, helping people hold public officials accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars.

Here in the United States, we’ve worked to make government more open and responsive than ever before. We’ve been promoting greater disclosure of government information, empowering citizens with new ways to participate in their democracy. We are releasing more data in usable forms on health and safety and the environment, because information is power, and helping people make informed decisions and entrepreneurs turn data into new products, they create new jobs. We’re also soliciting the best ideas from our people in how to make government work better. And around the world, we’re standing up for freedom to access information, including a free and open Internet.

“A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.”
James Madison, Letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822

“…[T]he concentration of power and the subjection of individuals will increase amongst democratic nations… in the same proportion as their ignorance.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 2, 1840

In a democracy, the principle of accountability holds that government officials—whether elected or appointed by those who have been elected—are responsible to the citizenry for their decisions and actions.

Transparency requires that the decisions and actions of those in government are open to public scrutiny and that the public has a right to access such information. Both concepts are central to the very idea of democratic governance. Without accountability and transparency, democracy is impossible. In their absence, elections and the notion of the will of the people have no meaning, and government has the potential to become arbitrary and self-serving.

The People’s Right to Know

Elections are the primary means for citizens to hold their country’s officials accountable for their actions in office, especially when they have behaved illegally, corruptly, or ineptly while carrying out the work of the government. But for elections—and the people’s will—to be meaningful, basic rights must be protected and affirmed, such as with a Bill of Rights, as in the United States. James Madison, the author of the U.S. Bill of Rights, believed that the very basis for government’s responsiveness was the assurance that citizens would have sufficient knowledge to direct it. If citizens are to govern their own affairs, either directly or through representative government, they must be informed about how best to determine their affairs and how best to represent and execute them. If citizens are not well informed, they can neither act in their own self-interest, broadly speaking, nor have any serious choice in elections, much less offer themselves as candidates.


The Information Awareness Office (IAO) was established by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in January 2002 to bring together several DARPA projects focused on applying surveillance and information technology to track and monitor terrorists and other asymmetric threats to national security, by achieving Total Information Awareness (TIA). This would be achieved by creating enormous computer databases to gather and store the personal information of everyone in the United States, including personal e-mails, social networks, credit card records, phone calls, medical records, and numerous other sources, without any requirement for a search warrant.[1] This information would then be analyzed to look for suspicious activities, connections between individuals, and “threats”.[2] Additionally, the program included funding for biometric surveillance technologies that could identify and track individuals using surveillance cameras, and other methods.[2]

Following public criticism that the development and deployment of these technologies could potentially lead to a mass surveillance system, the IAO was defunded by Congress in 2003. However, several IAO projects continued to be funded, and merely run under different names.[3][4][5][6]



One common form of surveillance is to create maps of social networks based on data from social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter as well as from traffic analysis information from phone call records such as those in the NSA call database,[38] and others. These social network “maps” are then data mined to extract useful information such as personal interests, friendships & affiliations, wants, beliefs, thoughts, and activities.[39][40][41][42]
Many U.S. government agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are investing heavily in research involving social network analysis.[43][44] The intelligence community believes that the biggest threat to U.S. power comes from decentralized, leaderless, geographically dispersed groups of terrorists, subversives, extremists, and dissidents. These types of threats are most easily countered by finding important nodes in the network, and removing them. To do this requires a detailed map of the network.[41][42][45][46]
Jason Ethier of Northeastern University, in his study of modern social network analysis, said the following of the Scalable Social Network Analysis Program developed by the Information Awareness Office:

The purpose of the SSNA algorithms program is to extend techniques of social network analysis to assist with distinguishing potential terrorist cells from legitimate groups of people…. In order to be successful SSNA will require information on the social interactions of the majority of people around the globe. Since the Defense Department cannot easily distinguish between peaceful citizens and terrorists, it will be necessary for them to gather data on innocent civilians as well as on potential terrorists.
—Jason Ethier[41]

AT&T developed a programming language called “Hancock”, which is able to sift through enormous databases of phone call and Internet traffic records, such as the NSA call database, and extract “communities of interest” — groups of people who call each other regularly, or groups that regularly visit certain sites on the Internet. AT&T originally built the system to develop “marketing leads”,[47] but the FBI has regularly requested such information from phone companies such as AT&T without a warrant,[47] and after using the data stores all information received in its own databases, regardless of whether or not the information was ever useful in an investigation.[48]
Some people believe that the use of social networking sites is a form of “participatory surveillance”, where users of these sites are essentially performing surveillance on themselves, putting detailed personal information on public websites where it can be viewed by corporations and governments.[39] About 20% of employers have reported using social networking sites to collect personal data on prospective or current employees.[49]