Spinning the News: The FARC-EP Files, Venezuela and Interpol

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, May 19, 2008

First some background. On March 1, the Colombian military (with US Special Forces help) illegally attacked a FARC-EP rebel camp inside Ecuador. US satellite telephone tracking located the site. Washington signed off on the mission. Over 20 people were killed, including 16 or more FARC-EP members while they slept. Key among them was Paul Reyes, the FARC-EP’s second-in-command, key peace negotiator and public voice, and lead figure in the Chavez-led hostage negotiations with Colombia.

The action was a clear act of aggression and premeditated murder. It’s not how the dominant media played it. Hostile verbal exchanges took place between Hugo Chavez and Ecuador’s Raphael Correa on the one hand and Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe and George Bush on the other. US presidential candidates, as expected, supported the White House and Bogota.

Tensions heightened further when Colombia’s vice-president, Francisco Santos Calderon, revealed his nation’s army recovered three laptops and other material at the FARC-EP camp with provocative evidence on their hard drives. He claimed it showed Chavez and Correa have links to the FARC-EP, and Venezuela provided weapons, munitions, and $300 million or so to the rebel group. In addition, the FARC-EP was accused of acquiring 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of uranium, that it wishes to sell it for a radioactive dirty bomb, it also sold 700 kilograms of cocaine for about $1.5 million, and more.

The story is preposterous, but the media grabbed hold of it. No evidence exists, so they invent it. In March, Colombian authorities asked Interpol to examine the computer files for authenticity. The organization released its report on May 15. On its web site, it states that Secretary General Ronald Noble “advised senior Colombian law enforcement officials that INTERPOL’s team of forensic experts discovered ‘no evidence of modification, alteration, addition or deletion’ in the user files of any of the three laptop computers, three USB thumb drives and two external hard disks seized during a Colombian anti-narcotics and anti-terrorist operation on a FARC camp on 1 March 2008.”

But Interpol admitted that lacking evidence doesn’t prove “there was no tampering.” In fact, some files had future date stamps and other indications of data alteration. It questions their authenticity, and Interpol (deep in its report) acknowledged that Columbia likely manipulated the contents – with an explanation needing close reading to understand. It delegitimizes Colombian claims and would get an international court to dismiss them out of hand. Reporters doing their job should as well. Data accuracy can’t be verified or worse – they may be entirely fraudulent, and made-in-Washington mischief may be behind it.

Interpol’s report continued saying “between 1 and 3 March, direct access to the seized computer exhibits….did not follow internationally recognized principles in the handling of electronic evidence under ordinary circumstance.” Its experts “verified that this….had no effect” on file contents, but other report evidence contradicts that statement. Interpol, in fact, stated that “Direct access may complicate validating this evidence for purposes of its introduction in a judicial proceeding because law enforcement is then required to demonstrate or prove that the direct access did not have a material impact on the purpose for which the evidence is intended.”

In short, hard drive data prove nothing and may, in fact, be fake. With US involvement clear, it wouldn’t be the first time, and Washington is rich in talent to do it.

Independent computer experts are also troubled. They believe that failure to follow standard evidence handling procedures seriously jeopardizes its reliability. With care, forensic specialists or computer professionals can add, delete or alter hard drive material without leaving a footprint.

Dominant media reports ignored this and more. They passed over or played down key findings, including Interpol’s statement: that its experts didn’t “evaluate the accuracy or the source of the exhibits’ content.” How could they? The volume was enormous amounting to the equivalent of “39.5 million pages in Microsoft Word….” At the rate of 100 pages a day, “it would take more than 1000 years to read” it.

That alone begs the question. In a few days or even weeks, how were Colombian authorities able to analyze the data to discover provocative information therein. That notion also got no attention in the dominant media. Neither did most other parts of the truth.

Spinning the News – How Big Media Does It

Here’s how Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal’s played it on May 16. Its editorial page said Interpol’s May 15 report “won’t make Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez’s day.” It reported Interpol’s claim about no evidence of file tampering, but ignored the issues of authenticity, accuracy, manipulation, or impossible “speed-reading” skills of Colombian verifiers. It concluded that “Interpol’s certification proves that Mr. Chavez is trying to destabilize a US ally (and that he’s a) proven supporter of terrorism in our own hemisphere.”

The New York Times’ Simon Romero was little better. His May 16 article was headlined: “Files Tying Venezuela to Rebels Not Altered, Report Says.” He called Interpol’s report “a setback for Venezuela, which had claimed that the computer files….were fabrications….” It “may advance efforts under way in the Congress to add Venezuela to the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism….”

Well down in his report, Romero admitted that “Interpol could not vouch for the accuracy of the files” and that “a Colombian antiterrorism unit (seized them improperly and) in violation of internationally recognized rules on handling electronic evidence….” No further comment was added.

In contrast, Romero played up State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, saying these “are serious allegations about Venezuela supplying arms and support to a terrorist organization….that has deep implications for the people of the region.” He had to acknowledge, however, what credible experts agree on. Given the importance of US and Venezuelan relations, chances of declaring the country a state sponsor of terrorism is highly remote – “particularly without more evidence (read any evidence) of the country’s support of the FARC…”

Latin American history professor Greg Grandin goes further. He believes “Almost all of Latin America and most of the world would take Venezuela’s side in this dispute. Any move (against the Chavez government) would further isolate the United States in a region where it has been hemorrhaging influence.”

That doesn’t phase Romero. Piling on is his specialty. Truth isn’t. He returned on May 18 with a provocative feature story headlined: “Chavez Seizes Greater Economic Power.” Some key points in it are:

— “Chavez is intensifying state control of the Venezuelan economy through a wave of takeovers of private companies and creation of government-controlled ventures with allies like Cuba and Iran; fears are intensifying (over) more nationalizations;”

— it’s happening “just months after voters rejected a referendum to give the president sweeping constitutional power (leading critics to accuse him of being) more interested in consolidating power than in fixing Venezuela’s problems;”

— “while he has argued that (he aims) to correct social injustices and fight soaring inflation, his critics say his moves are instead compounding these troubles;” no supporter voices in sight;

— to avoid “outright confiscation (he’s) offering ‘some’ compensation;” unmentioned is it’s fair market value and nothing was, is or will be “confiscated;”

— Romero stresses Venezuela’s ties to Iran and China with joint ventures and infrastructure projects; also that Chavez will “export more oil to China in exchange for more Chinese investment in Venezuela;” implied, of course, are his relations with US rivals, and, in the case of Iran, a country George Bush calls “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism;”

— he ignores Venezuela’s successes; along with Argentina, it’s the fastest growing regional economy and one of the fastest in the world at a time of economic weakness; its impressive employment growth with most of it coming in the private sector; that Chavez is friendly to business and boosts the private economy; the country’s huge social gains; and Chavez’s immense popularity and growing world stature; instead he lists problems – high inflation, less foreign investment, food shortages, capital flight, and more that are only mitigated by “high oil prices;”

— near the article’s end, he’s forced to admit what economist Mark Weisbrot explains – that Chavez “is so far mainly just reversing some of the privatizations that took place in the 1990s;”

— Romero reverts to form with some provocative ending quotes about Chavez “stimulating a pre-insurrectional climate;” that his nationalizations aim “to annihilate the productive apparatus so that we depend more on petroleum, which is to depend more on the state, or in other words, to depend more on Chavez.”

For the dominant US media, Chavez-bashing is full-time. Washington Post writers excel at it on any pretext, and Juan Forero’s May 16 Interpol report article was typical. It’s headlined: “FARC Computer Files Are Authentic, Interpol Probe Finds.” He echoed the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and said files seized “contain e-mails (Interpol never mentioned any) and other documents that show how Venezuela’s populist leader had formed such a tight bond with guerrilla commanders that his key lieutenants had offered help in obtaining sophisticated weaponry such as surface-to-air missiles while delivering light arms. The files also document links between FARC and Ecuador’s president, Raphael Correa, a close ally of Chavez.”

Similar reports appeared throughout the US and western media. They never miss a chance to play down facts and attack populist leaders. In response, Hugo Chavez dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous.” He urged Colombia’s president to have “a moment of reflection (and added) The government of Columbia is capable of provoking a war….to justify a US intervention in Venezuela.” He also called Colombia’s assertion “a new act of aggression.” It means relations with his neighbor will come “under deep review,” and Reuters reported May 15 that “Venezuela is deeply revising diplomatic, economic and political relations with Colombia” following Interpol’s report and the Uribe government’s allegations.

Ecuador’s Correa was abroad in France, but took time to say the computer file documents “prove absolutely nothing. We have information that the Colombian government had the computers for some time and prepared all this.” Quite possibly because the entire story is unraveling. But don’t expect Big Media to report it.

Revving Up Gunboat Diplomacy

While it continues, the Pentagon announced in April that it’s resurrecting its Fourth Fleet in Latin America and the Caribbean after a 60 year hiatus. It was created during WW II and disbanded in 1950. Reasons given were vaguely stated – to “conduct varying missions including a range of contingency operations, counter narco-terrorism, and theater security cooperation activities.”

US Naval Forces Southern Command chief Admiral James Stevenson said the move would send a message to the entire region, not just Venezuela. Commandant of the National War College, General Robert Steel added that: “The United States’ obsession with Venezuela, Cuba and other things indicates they are going to use more military force, going to use that instrument more often.” Bolivian President Evo Morales called the move “Fourth Fleet….intervention.”

The Fleet begins operating in July and will be headquartered out of Florida’s Mayport Naval Station. It’ll be part of the Pentagon’s Southern Command, extending from the Caribbean to the continent’s southern tip. Its strength will be formidable – aircraft carriers, submarines, various attack ships, and several nuclear-armed ones.

With no Latin American threat, why then this move, and why now with an administration nearing its end and bogged down in two unwinnable wars? Like the Middle East and Central Asia, the region’s importance is crucial. Venezuela alone is why. Its proved oil reserves were just raised to 130 billion barrels, but include what’s uncounted and they’re far higher. On its web site, the US Department of Energy (DOE) estimates the country’s extra-heavy oil at 1.36 trillion barrels, or 90% of the world’s total. That’s more than all “proved” world reserves combined and in addition to Venezuela’s “proved” light sweet resources of around 80 billion barrels that alone ranks it seventh in the world behind the five largest Middle East producers and Canada.

With stakes that high, it’s significant that Admiral Joseph Kernan will become Fleet commander when it’s activated. He currently heads the Naval Special Warfare Command that includes Navy Seals and other counterinsurgency units. His choice is troublesome, and regional leaders are mindful. Hugo Chavez especially. It may be why he’s buying nine Russian submarines, but against America it hardly registers. In total, Venezuela spends $1 – 2 billion on its military annually or less than half of 1% of the Pentagon’s budget. Nonetheless, it’s another reason Washington targets him with a hawkish commander now charged to do it.

Rumor also is that the Pentagon plans building a Colombian military base near Venezuela’s border. Washington’s Colombian ambassador, William Brownfield, said it’s possible if its Manta, Ecuador one is closed. Its lease expires in 2009, and Raphael Correa said renewal depends on the US granting Ecuador equivalent basing rights in South Florida – his way of confirming renewal won’t happen.

Chavez is justifiably alarmed at the prospect of US troops on his border. He warned Colombia not to do it and said this action will force Venezuela to revive a decades-old territorial conflict over its possible La Guajira location. He further added: “We will not allow the Colombian government to give La Guajira to the empire.” Stationing US troops there will be “a threat of war at us.” So far, neither Washington or Colombia confirm what’s planned. But Colombia’s defense minister, Juan Manuel Santos, denies the base rumor, at least in La Guajira. In a May 14 televised address, Chavez called it “good news.” Nonetheless, the situation bears watching.

Chavez is justifiably wary. As long as he’s president, he’ll be vilified and targeted. Latin America is vital to Washington. Venezuela is a key part of it. But America’s dominance is weakening, neoliberal pillage caused it, the Bush administration accelerated it, Bolivarianism challenges it, so muscular militarism may replace diplomacy to restore it.

Colombia’s belligerency, the FARC-EP files, Fourth Fleet reactivation, continued funding of Venezuela’s opposition, CIA’s covert mischief, disruptive street violence, and other planned schemes are troublesome. They’re to reassert regional control and rid Washington of its leading hemispheric antagonist. No guessing who, and no telling when the next attempt will come or in what form. Everything tried so far failed. Even worse, it’s been counterproductive. Chavez has enormous stature and immense popular support.

That makes him an even greater threat and hints at something bigger coming. So far, it’s just speculation, however, with the administration’s tenure winding down. But it may or may not deter those running it who are always wrong, never in doubt, and apparently willing to risk making a bad situation worse. Stay tuned, expect surprises, and be assured the months ahead won’t be boring.

Global Research Associate Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Republic Broadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.


The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9016


Grow Them Young, Pay Them Well – Anti-Chavistas, That Is


UK Approves Hybrid Embryos

Dandelion Salad

replaced video

Gordon Brown Backs Human-Animal Hybrids


Gordon Brown today strongly defended the medical use of animal-human hybrid embryos, ahead of a key Commons vote on the issue. Visit my news blog ‘The Rabbit Hole’ at http://rabbitholenews.blogspot.com

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Gordon Brown Backs Human-Animal Hybrids“, posted with vodpod


Allowing the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos would make the UK a scientific “rogue state”, MPs have been warned as a fierce debate opened on highly-controversial new laws.

Gordon Brown and David Cameron have both firmly backed the ground-breaking technique as a means to develop treatments for common conditions that could potentially save millions of lives.

The Prime Minister and Tory leader also support the creation of “saviour siblings” selected by parents in order to provide tissue material for seriously ill children.

Mr Brown has hailed both innovations as “an inherently moral endeavour”. But opponents from all parties hope to unite to axe both from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in crunch Commons votes on Monday evening.

And with MPs allowed to vote according to personal conscience, not the party line, on the most contentious elements of the Bill, the result is not predictable.

Leading the fight against so-called “admixed embryos”, Tory MP Edward Leigh said the technique, which involves implanting a human nucleus inside an animal cell, was “a step too far”.

Scientists believe that stem cells harvested from these embryos could provide the key to breakthroughs in the treatment of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy. Research is currently being held up by the shortage of human eggs to create stem cells.

But critics of hybrids have branded them “Frankenstein science”, saying it is obscene to combine human and animal genetics. They also question the benefits, insisting other methods are more effective.

But Mr Leigh said 21 other countries had banned the creation of hybrids. “In terms of embryonic research we will almost be like a rogue state,” he warned.

But Labour MP Chris Bryant, a former Anglican curate, compared Mr Leigh’s arguments to those used by church leaders against the smallpox vaccine. He said: “They were wrong and I think you are wrong today.”


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Bush vows to shove democracy down Arabs’ throats (satire)


by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer

Robert’s blog post
May 20, 2008

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt – On the last day of his tour of the Middle East, President George W. Bush sternly lectured Arab nations to embrace democracy. “Too often the Middle East has leaders who repress the opposition by putting them in jail and using extreme interrogation methods,” Bush told his Arab hosts, “you run countries whose leaders spy on their own people, leaders who empty their coffers to give corrupt contracts to their friends and leaders who don’t trust the will of their own people.”

Back on Air Force One, a reporter, who has since disappeared, asked the President if he had any comments about his speech being ironic in light of Bush’s own approval of torture of prisoners in Guantanimo and other detentions centers and his continuous spying on Americans. The President replied, “I don’t want to open Pandora’s can of wax, but if it’s some irony you want me to talk about, I promise the American people I will talk about Iron Man after I see the picture next Tuesday.”

“The President is a man of integrity who is not swayed by opinion polls or the will of the people,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. ‘Which is why he is sending American democracy over to the Arabs to rid us of the pesky trappings of democracy over here. I mean, would you rather fight the democratic will of the people over there or have to fight it here?”


Democracy Now! Spies for Hire + Secret Overseas Prisons + Malcolm X

Bush Speech, World Economic Forum, Egypt

Britain: An “Endemic Surveillance Society”

Dandelion Salad

Thanks to

Socialist Standard

by John Bissett
Socialist Standard
May 2008

The control freaks in power who would monitor our every movement, conversation and transaction have had a busy time of late.

This year began with Privacy International, a London based human rights group and watchdog on surveillance and privacy, reporting that Britain and the US are in the lowest category when it comes to privacy and state intrusion into our lives. Greece, Romania and Canada had the best privacy records of 47 countries surveyed by Privacy International. Malaysia, Russia and China were ranked worst.

And there has been a constant stream, in the daily press and on radical websites, of reports of new and advancing methods in surveillance technology.

On 23 February, BBC Online reported that the Home Office had rejected calls by the police to introduce a mandatory DNA database of all UK citizens, arguing that the suggestion “would raise significant practical and ethical issues.”

Already there are 4.5 million people in Britain on the DNA database, earning Britain the ominous title of the most DNA profiled country on the planet. Since 2004, the data on everyone arrested for a recordable offence (all but the most minor of offences) has remained on the system regardless of their age, the seriousness of their alleged offence, and whether or not they were prosecuted. In countless cases, if you go to court and you’re found totally innocent, they still have your DNA, a profile of your personal genetic make-up.

Not enough, say the police who, to highlight their case, point to recent solved murders thanks to the national DNA database. Right-wing reactionaries have backed police calls for such a database, citing the hackneyed argument that if you’re doing nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. Which misses the point by a mile.

There’s nothing radical at the moment in the government resisting police pressure for a DNA database. They simply realise it will be one huge palaver to get DNA samples from almost 6o million people, a lot of whom will kick off big time were they to be threatened with penalties for failing to comply. Just how do you get a DNA profile on every human in Britain? For the moment they are biding their time until they come up with a better way to get around this.

So if you’re thinking that here is the British government defending our civil liberties, forget it. They’re still after their surveillance society. The Guardian (23 February) for instance, told us that:

“Passengers travelling between EU countries or taking domestic flights would have to hand over a mass of personal information, including their mobile phone numbers and credit card details, as part of a new package of security measures being demanded by the British government. The data would be stored for 13 years and used to ‘profile’ suspects.”

One thing few us were aware of was that last summer the EU made a deal with the US Dept. of Homeland Security to provide Washington with 19 pieces of information on all passengers between Europe and the USA, including credit card details and mobile phone numbers.

Not enough, says the British government, who want the system extended to sea and rail travel, to domestic flights and those between EU countries. And is the reactionary British Labour government the only one in Europe to argue for this measure? Yes! Twenty-seven member states were questioned on whether the system should be extended for “more general public policy purposes”, aside from the alleged ‘war on terror’ and crime, and only Britain put its thumbs up. Britain further wants the authority to exchange the information gleaned, your most personal details, with third parties outside the EU.

The Daily Telegraph (7 March) reported: “All British citizens will have their fingerprints and photographs registered on a national ID database within 10 years under plans outlined by the Government”.

The Government announced that a national ID card, carrying 49 pieces of information about us, will be phased in within two years and that millions of workers in “sensitive jobs”, like teachers, carers and health workers, will be among the first to have their most personal details stored on to the national identity register.

The first unfortunates to be targeted will be foreign nationals working in Britain and who will possibly be issued with cards from this November. Then, next year, they predict that the first British citizens will be enrolled beginning with some airport staff, power station employees and people working on the London Olympics site.

The Daily Mail (11 March) reported that some one-and-a-half-million 10 to 18-year-olds will have had their genetic profiles stored by this time next year, which strengthened arguments that the Government is moving towards a DNA database of all British adults “by stealth”.

“Since 2004 police have had the power to take DNA samples from anyone over the age of ten who is arrested, regardless of whether they are later charged, convicted, or found to be innocent.… But analysis by the campaign groups Action on Rights for Children and Genewatch has found that the figure conceals a far larger DNA-gathering operation, since the profiles of juveniles who have since turned 18 are no longer counted in the official total.”

Earlier, the Independent (17 February) informed us that schools will be very much preparing kids for life in the police state, where cops have increasing powers. An article on knife crime in schools commenced:

“Parents will be told that they must allow their children to be searched at any time within school premises if they want to get them into the schools of their choice, under new plans to rid Britain’s classrooms of the scourge of knives.

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, will put the battle against illegal weapons at the top of her agenda when she unveils her Tackling Violence Action Plan tomorrow. The blueprint for tackling knife-related violence will include a radical move to give police hundreds of metal detectors to catch young people carrying hidden weapons in schools, clubs and pubs.”

Three days later the Independent reported that teachers had backed the introduction of metal detectors in schools:

“Although the initiative carries disturbing echoes of some US cities, where high-school pupils are routinely scanned for weapons, head teachers said it could help to tackle violence in high-crime areas. Metal detectors are still relatively rare and hugely controversial in US schools, but they have been used, particularly in rougher inner-city neighbourhoods, for at least 20 years with some success.”

This is a disturbing vision of the future. Not only does your kid get to be fingerprinted at school, as now, their details stored and their having to have their dabs scanned before even getting a school meal (as was done by stealth at my son’s comprehensive school, without the prior knowledge of parents) but they will face spot searches, yanked from class to be frisked by some over-zealous teacher, as well as having to go through metal detectors.

How long before kids are urged to report to staff on any subversive comment heard at home, being rewarded with a medal when they do? If you’re aiming on implementing a total surveillance society, then what better way than to start with kids and acclimatise them to incessant surveillance from an early age.

And if you can target kids, who are all too ready to accept the ‘wisdom’ of their elders and superiors, and who are in no position to object, then why not also target another section of society who have fewer rights – prisoners – who can be conned into having their movements monitored if they think its will result in a non-custodial sentence?

Less that two weeks after Privacy International announced that Britain was an “endemic surveillance society” we had the Independent on Sunday (13 January) reporting with a front page headline: “Prisoners to be chipped like dogs”. All that was missing was the subheading: Welcome to the police state Britain.

In a bid to implement home curfews on the more ‘errant’ members of our society and to create more space in Britain’s overcrowded jails, ministers have come up with plans to implant ‘machine-readable microchips’ beneath the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme.

The system is already in place for dogs and cats, cattle, cars and airport luggage, for instance, so it was really only a matter of time before someone came up with the bright idea of using ‘spychips’ on humans. Said one senior minister: “We have wanted to take advantage of this technology for several years, because it seems a sensible solution to the problems we are facing in this area…. We have looked at it and gone back to it and worried about the practicalities and the ethics, but when you look at the challenges facing the criminal justice system, it’s time has come.”

So much then for the battle cry of the Labour Party when it came to power: “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.” The latest move is tantamount to admitting Labour policies have failed, that crime cannot be controlled within the context of capitalism and that class inequality will forever throw up a “criminal element”.

The Independent observed:

“More than 17,000 individuals, including criminals and suspects released on bail, are subject to electronic monitoring at any one time, under curfews requiring them to stay at home up to 12 hours a day. But official figures reveal that almost 2,000 offenders a year escape monitoring by tampering with ankle tags or tearing them off. Curfew breaches rose from 11,435 in 2005 to 43,843 in 2006 – up 283 per cent. The monitoring system, which relies on mobile-phone technology, can fail if the network crashes.”

The idea now is for offenders to have tags, consisting of a toughened glass capsule holding a computer chip, injected into the back of the arm with a hypodermic needle.

It goes without saying that human rights campaigners should be the first to expostulate. Liberty’s Shami Chakrabarti commented: “If the Home Office doesn’t understand why implanting a chip in someone is worse than an ankle bracelet, they don’t need a human-rights lawyer; they need a common-sense bypass.”

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said: “This is the sort of daft idea that comes up from the department every now and then, but tagging people in the same way we tag our pets cannot be the way ahead. Treating people like pieces of meat does not seem to represent an improvement in the system to me.”

One company plans deeper implants that could vibrate, electroshock the implantee, broadcast a message, or serve as a microphone to transmit conversations. What is being proposed, then, in some quarters is the tasering of offenders, via satellite, from outer-space. Step outside the confines of your curfew area and ZAP! How long before we find Gordon Brown and Co. contemplating the idea of each and every one of us carrying a vein deep implant, with defenders of the idea regurgitating the old line: “if you’re doing nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about?”

Consumer privacy expert Liz McIntyre said: “Some folks might foolishly discount all of these downsides and futuristic nightmares since the tagging is proposed for criminals like rapists and murderers. The rest of us could be next.”

Most workers are totally oblivious to the creeping surveillance society, the full police state, where people with powerful interests to defend can track us 24-7. It is done so slowly, so subtly, that the majority of people don’t realise what is going on. Indeed, many who are cognisant of future surveillance proposals believe it is harmless and is done with their best interests at heart – so wise are our leaders. Little by little, workers are becoming acclimatised to the Big Brother Society, in which they will have your DNA, your fingerprints your credit card details… everything… Everything will eventually be known about everyone.

They’re telling us all that we are not to be trusted – none of us – and that we need to be surveilled constantly and that it is all in our own interests, for the good of society. They want our genetic profiles logged, our financial transactions, our medical history, and our telephone, email and web-surfing habits catalogued and shared with security agencies all over the world. Well, trust is a two-way thing, so why should we trust them one inch?


Big Brother: RFID – Putting “Radio Tags” on Americans

Prisoners ‘to be chipped like dogs’ by Brian Brady