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0 Moral perils on the way, the "super mind controlled soldier" of the future

A SUPER soldier with enhanced mental alertness targets weapons systems using his mind. A riot cop whose physical courage has been determined by a brain scan fires incapacitating chemicals into a crowd of protesters.
These may sound like scenarios from the latest hit video game, but according to a report by the Royal Society, Britain's national academy of science, rapid advances in neuroscience could make them a realistic vision of the future of warfare and law enforcement. The report - titled Brain Waves Module 3: Neuroscience, Conflict and Security - concludes neuroscience could be used to boost the performance of soldiers and policemen, choose the most suitable individuals for particular tasks and enable soldiers to control weapons through a direct mind-machine interface, as well as creating a new generation of chemical weapons.
Don't believe it? US researchers have already used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a weak electrical current passed through the skull, to help solders spot targets more effectively.
Biochemical pharmacologist Rod Flower, chairman of the report's working group, admits most such technology is in its infancy, but says "all leaps forward start out this way. You have a groundswell of ideas and suddenly you get a step change."
Yes and no, says Robert Sparrow, a philosopher with Melbourne's Monash University. "Given how primitive treatments for mental illness remain, the idea that we're going to be able to control complex machinery through brain-machine interfaces any time soon strikes me as very optimistic indeed."
Still, Sparrow says if such advances are made they would throw up a tangled web of ethical and legal issues such as so-called dual use. A case in point is tDCS. It may produce important new therapies for dementia and mental illness, as well as military applications. As the Royal Society report notes, scientists must be made aware early in their careers that purely medical research may not stay that way.
Sydney-based Wendy Rogers agrees: "I think there are good reasons for scientists in general to be exposed to both historical examples and discussion of the ethical dilemmas that can arise from the uses of any new technologies," says the Macquarie University bioethicist. "Not with the aim of stifling research, but (so) that scientists will recognise social and moral responsibilities as well as scientific ones."
But dual use is a numbingly complex issue. Should researchers shy away from medically important research if it has an obvious illegitimate application? What is and isn't legitimate anyway? And isn't it true that much research could be put to dubious use if it got into the wrong hands?
Blaming scientists for harmful use of their work is akin to blaming knife manufacturers for an upturn in muggings, says philosopher and neurolaw expert Nicole Vincent, also at Macquarie."(But) this does not absolve scientists of responsibility to not work on projects which they know, or have reasonable grounds to suspect, will yield morally or legally objectionable uses."
Clearly, morality is in the mind of the beholder. Still, there's little argument that it's unacceptable to redirect expertise and resources from medical research to military neuroscience.

0 40+ Michigan State University Students Walk Out On Visiting Israeli Soldiers

On Tuesday, February 21st, 2012, two IDF soldiers came to Michigan State University to spew pro-Israel propaganda and speak about their 'experiences'. They were co-sponsored by MSU ROTC, MSU Stand With Us and the MSU Hillel.

Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) found out on Sunday night, less than 48 hours before the proposed event to take place on Tuesday. Faced with less than two days to decide a reaction and possible means, SAFE had to think and act quick. Looking to the SAFE at University of Michigan, and SJP's around the country for various protests and reactions to this type of propaganda, MSU SAFE decided to attempt a walkout. With only three people attending a preliminary meeting, and only with fifteen confirmed in attendance, SAFE was unsure of the effects of a walkout with such low attendance.

However, as SAFE organizers waited nervously at the meeting location on Tuesday, dozens of people showed up. Dispersing finally to the location of the event, more SAFE supporters and members showed up - over 40 people. The hall originally only featured a few rows, but after SAFE filled those rows, ROTC brought out more chairs for the intended audience. Hence, the ROTC cadets sitting in the back of the room.

After sitting through enough propaganda, SAFE 'walked out'. 

After the walk out, ROTC requested that we return to explain our actions. SAFE declined to strengthen the message and reinforce the symbolism of being 'silenced'. 

A quote from the video:
"This is for everyone we have on our shirts, this is for everyone in Palestine, this is for everyone in the world. This is for you, this is for me. This is for every one who can't use their we got to show them we are with them and we support them, and sometimes thats the most important thing, to just show them we support them." --Dena Elian, MSU SAFE President.

State News Coverage: [very, very poorly written article -- comments reflect this] [an opinion column by a participator in the walkout with SAFE]

For more information on SAFE, like Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) - MSU' on Facebook or follow @MSU_SAFE on Twitter!

0 The Pirate Bay will evade its ‘enemies’

File-sharing site The Pirate Bay has said that it will adapt rather than die if blocked in the UK. The High Court ruled that the site facilitates copyright infringement and will decide in June whether ISPs must block UK customers from accessing the site.
In response, The Pirate Bay said it would use other methods for distributing content which would make it harder for its “enemies” to track. “The 29th February is the last day we offer torrents in its current form. Then it will be all magnets, which works pretty much the same,” it said on its Facebook page. “Please understand that it’s a necessary move in the saga known as The Pirate Bay. Not having torrents will be a bit cheaper for us but it will also make it hard for our common enemies to stop us.”

0 US Embassy In Afghanistan Attacked After US Troops Burn Copies Of Koran

0 Did Saudi prince buy Fox’s silence?

Have you heard about the 23-year-old Saudi journalist who tweeted an imaginary conversation with Muhammad?

 It went something like this: He loved Muhammad, he hated Muhammad, he couldn't understand Muhammad, he wasn't going to pray for Muhammad. If this isn't exactly a disquisition on faith and doubt a la "The Brothers Karamazov," remember, we're just talking Twitter.
The journalist received so many mostly white-hot angry tweets from co-religionists condemning his Islamic law-breaking "blasphemy" (30,000 in 24 hours!) that he apologized and fled the country. He hoped to seek asylum in New Zealand but was captured in Malaysia by Saudi agents who returned him to "the Kingdom." There, according to Shariah (Islamic law), he now faces the death penalty for "blasphemy."
If you haven't heard of this young man, whose name is Hamza Kashgari, it could be because you're watching too much Fox News. As of this writing, almost a week after the Kashgari story broke, I haven't found a single story about it at the Fox News website. (You try: Meanwhile, CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC and CNN have all reported the Kashgari story, clueing in their viewers on how far totalitarian Islam, Saudi style, will go to exert its control over the human spirit. But not Fox.
Say - you don't suppose the fact that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns the second-largest block of stock (7 percent) in News Corp., Fox News' parent company, not to mention a new $300 million stake in Twitter (almost 4 percent), has anything to do with Fox's silence on this Saudi black eye of a story? After all, it was Saudi dictator King Abdullah - Alwaleed's uncle - whom press accounts credit with ordering the tweeting journalist's hot pursuit and imprisonment. And it is Saudi Arabia's adherence to Islamic limits on free speech that is driving Kashgari's ordeal.
Maybe it has become institutional Fox thinking to let such news slide for fear of offending the Saudi prince - or for fear of risking the kind of exposure that might remind viewers of Fox's connections to Saudi regime interests via Alwaleed.
As I've argued in the past, it is these connections that make it incumbent upon News Corp. to register as a foreign agent. (So, too, should universities that accept Saudi and other Islamic millions to open departments of Islamic studies.) Fox's silence on this bell-ringer of a story reinforces the sneaking suspicion that, conscious or not, there may be an Alwaleed effect on Fox coverage which, in a conflict of interest, actually serves the House of Saud before Fox viewers.
Prediction: I don't believe Hamza Kashgari will be executed or even face hard time for his Twitter "blasphemy." Despite widespread enthusiasm for his demise among his fellow Saudis - at last count, a Facebook page titled "The Saudi People Demand Hamza Kashgari's Execution" had a whopping 23,000 members - I'm guessing Kashgari's already publicized repentance will be accepted by Saudi poobahs. The crisis will likely end in a gesture of royal magnanimousness. The new "moderation" of the Kingdom - see, they don't kill you for tweeting! - will become the story of the day, maybe even "fair and balanced" enough for Fox News to cover it.
That would make it a win-win situation, at least when it comes to Islamic law enforcement: Saudi Arabia gets international "modernization" brownie points, and no one dares break Shariah inside the country anyway, particularly given the bloodthirsty scorn of the Saudi public. (Remember that Facebook community of execution-for-"blasphemy" enthusiasts.) No "blasphemy," no "defamation," no problem.
This same issue is part of a much larger story, a terrifying point of parley between the Islamic world, as represented by the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Free World, as led, still, by the USA. Why terrifying? Any accommodation of Islamic so-called blasphemy law is an unconstitutional erosion of American free speech.
I'm mortified to report that the USA, as represented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is working itself into sync with the Saudi, OIC and, apparently, Fox position that silence on Islam is golden. Last summer, Clinton, while meeting with the OIC in Turkey (where they throw journalists who cross the state in jail) to discuss "defamation" of Islam, promoted a de facto censorship of Islam's critics by calling for "some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don't feel that they have the support to do what we abhor."
Funny, but I don't think Fox covered the secretary of state's menacing comments about free speech. Not even a tweet's worth.
Diana West is an author and blogs at She can be contacted via

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0 How to Beat Facial-Recognition Software

Over the last decade, computers have become better at seeing faces. Software can tell if a camera has a face in its frame of vision, and law enforcement has been testing facial-recognition programs that can supposedly pick out suspects in a crowd.
That's prompted an arms race between the people who build facial-recognition systems — and those seeking ways to defeat them.

cvdazzle makeup facial-recognition adam harvey
A model wearing Adam Harvey's 'dazzle' makeup in a way that fools facial-recognition software.
CREDIT: Courtesy Adam Harvey/ Magazine 

Facial-recognition software is becoming a bigger issue for privacy advocates as well. Surveillance cameras are already ubiquitous in the U.K., are showing up in more places in the U.S. and may increasingly be connected to facial-recognition systems.
"I went to a Kinko's a while ago," said Alex Kilpatrick, chief technology officer and co-founder of Tactical Information Systems, a company in Austin, Texas, that sells facial-recognition software to law enforcement and the military. "I saw three cameras just while I was standing in line. 

You see them in all kinds of places now."The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said it is deeply concerned with the way facial-recognition systems are used. Police use such systems to flag criminals in public places, the ACLU says, but it argues that the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) use of the technology in Boston's Logan Airport and in T.F. Green Airport near Providence, R.I., doesn't seem to have helped catch any criminals or terrorists.

full length article and source:

0 India: Government security agencies may soon open your email long before you do.

New Delhi: Internet content providers Yahoo, Gmail and others would be asked to route all emails accessed in India through the country even if the mail account is registered outside the country.
The move comes in the wake of instances where security agencies could not have a real-time access to some emails as they were registered outside the country but were opened in India.
During a recent high-level meeting held in the office of Union Home Secretary RK Singh, the Department of Information Technology (DIT) was asked to take up the matter at the earliest with the content providers.
During the meeting, director general from CERT-in informed that content provider Yahoo automatically locates all email accounts registered in India to the server in India, minutes of the meeting said.
Government to ask Google, Yahoo to route emails through servers in IndiaHowever, Yahoo accounts registered outside India and subsequently accessed from India are routed through servers outside India, it said.
"It was decided to advice Yahoo, Gmail etc that all emails accessed from India should be routed through servers in India," it said, adding that the DIT would take up the matter with the content providers.
The need for this was felt after security agencies failed to access accounts of suspected terrorists of Indian Mujahideen during the surveillance period as the same had been opened in a European country.
When the content provider was approached, the sleuths were told that in order to see the mails, which had been accessed from India, a request to a European nation where the server was based, was required, official sources said.


0 FBI Tries To Coax Muslim Into Bombing US Capitol (LOVE THIS WOMAN!)

0 BBC censors the word 'Palestine'

0 Woman in vegetative state after being tasered by trooper

When the Taser's prongs hit her back, Danielle Maudsley spun backward and smacked her head on the pavement.
A nearby dashcam recorded the fall, even capturing the sound of her head cracking on the asphalt.
Maudsley, 20, clutched her head and struggled to rise. "I can't get up," she moaned, her final words.
Then she went still.
She has been in a vegetative state ever since. Doctors have told her family she likely will never wake up.
This week, two state agencies cleared Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Cole of any wrongdoing in the September incident, which occurred as Maudsley tried to escape from an FHP station in Pinellas Park.
But several experts and researchers who reviewed reports and video of the incident said the case raises questions.
They are troubled that Cole tasered Maudsley, a suspect in two hit-and-run crashes who had drugs in her system, while she was handcuffed. They also noted that Cole was just steps behind Maudsley when he fired the Taser.
"It just doesn't make any sense," said Greg Connor, a professor at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute who specializes in use of force. "I don't see where it's going to be that hard to apprehend her."
Cole, who at 267 pounds weighed about three times as much as Maudsley, told investigators he used his Taser because he was concerned one or both of them would be injured if he tackled her. He worried she was headed toward heavy traffic on U.S. 19.
The scrutiny of the Maudsley case comes amid calls from some national groups for police agencies to take a closer look at how and when they use Tasers.
The human rights organization Amnesty International called this week for stricter limits on Taser use after an intoxicated Georgia man died hours after police shot him with one. The group believes there should be a national policy on Taser use.
Florida has had 65 Taser-related deaths since 2001, the second highest total behind California, which had 92.
Amnesty also noted policies regarding the devices vary widely. Some agencies caution heavily about their use, while others consider them a compliance device on the same level as pepper spray.
"Some departments use it the first thing, some departments use it only for the highest level of resistance," said Gene Paoline, associate professor of criminology at the University of Central Florida, who has studied injuries from Tasers. "Unfortunately there's not a standard use of force policy for anything less than deadly force. There's not a national standard for when you should use a Taser and when you should not use it."
FHP policy allows troopers to use Tasers when it "reasonably appears necessary to control non-compliant individuals who have escalated their level of resistance from passive physical resistance to active physical resistance (i.e.: bracing, tensing, pushing, or pulling)."
The policy goes on to say it must be apparent the detained person has the ability to physically threaten others or is trying to flee or escape. It also notes that Tasers shouldn't be used on someone who is handcuffed, but says there still could be times when even that is justifiable.
"The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an independent review," Sgt. Steve Gaskins, a spokesman, said Friday. "FDLE's investigation found the trooper's actions were legal and within the scope of his duties."
Gaskins said the agency will not comment further because of possible legal action.
Maudsley's mother has hired lawyer Kevin Hayslett and intends to sue the FHP. Hayslett said Maudsley lives in an intensive care facility. She is fed by a tube, can't control bodily functions and has no voluntary movement. He compared her condition to Terri Schiavo, the Pinellas woman whose end-of-life case cause a nationwide stir several years ago.
Cole, the trooper, has been with FHP since 1998. He was the Pinellas Trooper of the Year in 2000. He had fired his Taser only once before — in 2009, when he used it on a suicidal man on the Sunshine Skyway bridge. The man fell to the roadway and was okay.
Investigators looking into the Maudsley case asked Cole if he would have done anything differently. He said he wouldn't have.
But experts said Cole made a series of mistakes that led to Maudsley getting away from him.
Nationally known use-of-force expert Dave Klinger, a retired Los Angeles police officer and professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, reviewed the dashcam video Friday and noted Maudsley was handcuffed in the front, which he called an "inappropriate" police tactic.
Other experts agreed, and said handcuffing in the front makes it easier for someone to escape or grab an officer's weapon.
According to the state report, Cole had the handcuffed Maudsley sit in a conference room at the FHP station while he completed paperwork in the same room. She was not handcuffed to any stationary object.
"If you have somebody in custody, you don't put them in a situation where they can escape," Klinger said. "Why in the world was she in a position to run?"
Then there's the question of whether Cole should have tasered a suspect who was simply running away and not violently resisting.
Lorie Frindell, associate criminology professor at the University of South Florida, once worked for the Washington, D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum, which concluded that fleeing shouldn't be the sole justification for Taser use and that the officer should consider the severity of the offense, the suspect's threat level and the risk of serious injury to the suspect.
In this case, Maudsley was facing nonviolent offenses.
Other experts said it's difficult to dissect decisions officers must make in a matter of seconds.
Greg Meyer, a former captain with the Los Angeles Police Department and a use-of-force expert, has had more than 30 years of experience with electronic control devices.
He said they are becoming prolific in police agencies because they are effective and actually reduce injuries to officers and suspects. He said a national policy on Taser use is unrealistic.
"It's been a very outstanding tool when it's used properly," Meyer said. "This type of an injury from falling down from a Taser is extremely unusual."
Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Reach Kameel Stanley at or (727) 893-8643.

The incident
In September, a handcuffed Danielle Maudsley bolted out of a Florida Highway Patrol substation after she had been arrested in a hit-and-run case. Trooper Daniel Cole chased her, pulled out his Taser and fired its electric probes. Maudsley smacked her head on the asphalt parking lot and went unconscious.
The investigations
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement cleared Cole of wrongdoing. In an interview with investigators, Cole said he was concerned about Maudsley running toward U.S. 19 and about risking injury if he tried to tackle her.

09/19/2011 11:45:50


[Last modified: Feb 17, 2012 11:20 PM]

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