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John Stauber & Sheldon Rampton---
"The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."
In 1990, David Steinman's book, Diet for a Poisoned Planet, was scheduled for publication. Based on five years of research, it detailed evidence that hundreds of carcinogens, pesticides, and other toxins contaminate the US food chain. It documented, for example, that raisins had 110 industrial chemical and pesticide residues in 16 samples, and recommended buying only organically grown varieties.
Diet for a Poisoned Planet enabled readers to make safer food choices. But before they could use the information, they had to know about the book so that they could buy and read it. In the weeks after it came out, Steinman's publisher scheduled the usual round of media reviews and interviews, not suspecting that the California Raisin Advisory Board (CALRAB) had already launched a campaign to ensure that Steinman's book would be dead on arrival.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Ronald Duchin, senior vice-president of another PR spy firm Mongoven, Biscoe, and Duchin would probably have labeled Steinman and Tylczak radicals. A graduate of the US Army War College, Duchin worked as a special assistant to the secretary of defense and director of public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars before becoming a flack. Activists, he explained, fall into four categories: radicals, opportunists, idealists, and realists. He follows a three-step strategy to neutralize them: 1) isolate the radicals; 2) cultivate the idealists and educate them into becoming realists; then 3) co-opt the realists into agreeing with industry.
According to Duchin, radical activists:
"want to change the system; have underlying socio/political motives [and] see multinational corporations as inherently evil....These organizations do not trust the... federal, state and local governments to protect them and to safeguard the environment. They believe, rather, that individuals and local groups should have direct power over industry. ... I would categorize their principal aims right now as social justice and political empowerment."
$pying for Uncle $am
by Pratap Chattergee ---
In the space of a month this fall, the US intelligence community engineered a series of high-profile events to hype its new mission. Near Washington on September 18, the National Counterintelligence Center (NACIC) (see box, p. 43) hosted a two-day public seminar on the threat from foreign industrial spies. Ed Appel, director of counterintelligence programs at the National Security Council, warned that US companies underestimated the foreign threat to intellectual property and other proprietary information.
Less than two weeks later, the FBI began a special threat awareness fax service for key US companies, ostensibly to warn about the dangers of foreign espionage. The FBI also hinted it would soon offer more programs for US firms, including security checks on foreign joint venture partners.
Ten days later, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown told Congress that his agency had documented nearly a hundred cases of foreign firms using bribery to win contracts. He put the value of those contracts at $45 billion, and estimated that bribe-offering foreign firms win 80 percent of the deals they bid on.
The CIA was ahead of the curve. During the summer, it had been quick to boast to Congress that it had helped US businesses win $30 billion in contracts. *4 And high government officials have been touting its role in trade negotiations and uncovering corruption by foreign companies that bid against US firms.
THE THREAT OF NO THREAT
For the intelligence community, and especially the CIA, the timing of this new crusade couldn't be better. For decades, US spies rested secure knowing that their services were desired and their budgets safe. The Soviet Union's evil empire and the fear that Third World countries would fall under its spell guaranteed that the community would get almost limitless resources. By the time the Berlin Wall fell, the CIA alone counted 20,000 full-time employees and a $3 billion budget.
Now the spy establishment faces threats of a different sort. The Cold War is over, and its future depends on finding new public rationales for its existence. Congress has already slashed total intelligence funding 14 percent from its 1987 high of roughly $34 billion. *6 Although the House passed a slight spending increase for next year, it did so only after fending off liberal efforts to cut even deeper.
The intelligence community is also under scrutiny from several high-level panels. The House intelligence committee has begun IC21, a major assessment of spy programs, capabilities and capital equipment needed after the year 2000. A Senate review is also under way. And the Presidential Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board is also looking at an overhaul of the intelligence community.
The CIA, badly bruised by a series of recent scandals, needs to show how useful it can be. Enter the new mission : economic espionage, the clandestine collection of information to assess the threat posed by foreign companies to US national interests.
The official reasons tendered are threefold: preventing the theft of US technology, combating bribery or corruption by foreign competitors, and helping trade negotiators at bilateral or multilateral negotiations.
SO WHAT'S NEW?---
Not that aiding US business is anything new for the spooks. Even at the height of the Cold War, political and economic interests were impossible to separate. Containing the USSR also meant opening markets to US economic influence. But in some countries, CIA plotting advanced narrower corporate interests.
The 1954 overthrow of the elect-ed government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala is a case in point. The CIA fomented the coup in part to help United Fruit, a family-owned US business, protect its interests in the Central American nation. Allen Dulles, then director of the CIA, sat on the board of Schroder Bank, United Fruit's partner in the banana business.
A PROBLEMATIC PROGRAM
Still, some spymasters have expressed concerns about economic espionage. I'm not sure that it's such a good idea. What if two US companies are bidding for the same project? Whom do you favor? asked William Colby.
Economic espionage remains controversial inside the CIA. I'm prepared to give my life for my country, but not for a company, one officer told then CIA chief Robert Gates in 1992. In reality, there may not be much difference.
Those companies favored so far have been major corporations with a history of feeding off defense contracts. McDonnell Douglas and Raytheon are the first and fifth largest recipients of federal contracts; more than half of their sales are for war-related activities. They won a total of $18.1 billion in business from the government in 1993, and in November 1995, McDonnell Douglas garnered another $18 billion contract, this one for 80 C-17 cargo planes for the Air Force.
Both have always had close ties to the CIA and the US military because of the nature of their business. Many of their senior officials have worked for either the Pentagon or the CIA at some point in their careers. But these companies are hardly decent, law-abiding corporate citizens: Since 1990, Raytheon has paid fines or penalties totaling $11.5 million for offenses including illegal trading in confidential Pentagon documents and overcharging on separate contracts for missile test equipment, Patriot missiles, and a $71 million radar system.
Big Brother Goes High-Tech by
Subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the government. Discovery and invention have made it possible for the government, by means far more effective than stretching upon the rack, to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet.
--US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1928
In Justice Brandeis' time and up to the 1960s,surveillance was mostly tedious manual and clerical labor. Tracing people's activities required physically following them from place to place at close range, interviewing those they came in contact with, typing up the information, and storing it in file cabinets with little possibility for cross-referencing. Only governments willing to go to extremes were able to conduct widespread surveillance.Electronic surveillance was similarly a one-on-one proposition; the East German secret police, for example, employed 500,000 secret informers, 10,000 just to eavesdrop on and transcribe its citizens' conversations.
Intelligence, defense, and law enforcement agencies have a long history of stretching and breaking those legal constraints enacted to protect civil liberties. And with the end of the Cold War, defense and intelligence agencies are seeking new missions to justify their budgets and are transferring technologies to civilian applications.
The CIA and National Security Agency, for example, are emphasizing economic espionage and stressing cooperation with law enforcement agencies on issues such as terrorism, drug trafficking, and money laundering.
To counteract reductions in military contracts which began in the 1980s, computer and electronics companies are expanding into new markets at home and abroad with equipment originally developed for the military.
Companies such as E-Systems, Electronic Data Systems (founded by Ross Perot), and Texas Instruments are selling advanced computer and surveillance equipment to state and local governments that use them for law enforcement, border control, and administering state programs such as welfare. The companies are also pushing their products to numerous Third World countries with dismal human rights records.
Not surprisingly, repressive regimes in Thailand, China, and Turkey are using the US-made equipment to crush political dissent.
with white supremacists aggressively recruiting Gus, links between civilian and military racists are growing.
On a December night in 1995, three white soldiers from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, N.C., got into a car and drove around Fayetteville in search of black people to kill. They happened on a couple out on a stroll. Two of the GIs, Pvts. Jim Burmeister and Malcolm Wright, got out of the car and confronted Michael James and Jackie Burdern. Holding a 9mm pistol, Burmeister forced both to kneel and then fired several shots into their heads. Burmeister had told friends that although he had already been tattooed with a spider, a symbol of having killed for the cause, he wanted to officially earn the racist badge. The next morning, Burmeister was arrested as the principal shooter. When police searched his room, they turned up a virtual Nazi shrine, complete with swastika flags, white supremacist tracts,and bomb-making equipment. Co-defendant Wright, also charged with murder, appears to share Burmeister's white supremacist views, while Pvt. Randy Meadows, who had driven the car, was a gullible tag-along rather than a committed fascist.
The Pentagon continued to insist that racism within the military is confined to a few sensational incidents, committed by a small number of individuals or an insignificant number of organized neo-Nazi or skinhead cells.The reality is quite different.Rather than isolated anomalies, these occurrences are simply the sensational side of a pervasive problem of institutionalized racism.
Commanders Covered Up
Skinhead Problems ---
After the killings, a great deal of evidence surfaced indicating that Ft.Bragg's commanders had ignored or suppressed many incidents of skinhead or neo-Nazi criminality on or near the base.
• On numerous occasions from October 1994 to June 1995, Ft. Bragg-area skinheads attacked college students. Local police reported their suspicions that Ft. Bragg GIs were involved, but Army officials took no action.
• Ft. Bragg officials also ignored a complaint from a Pennsylvania district attorney and the FBI reporting that they had taped a call from Burmeister to his hometown police chief, Tom Rivenburgh. In it, Burmeister, later charged with the December murders, had threatened to blow up Rivenburgh's house because the cop had given a traffic citation to the GI's friend. In the same call, Burmeister boasted that he could smuggle grenade launchers and armor-piercing bullets out of Ft. Bragg.
• On April 1, 1995, Ed Worthington, an Army skinhead, shot another GI skinhead near the base. No Army investigation was launched until months later after the December 7 slayings.
Other evidence of a problem was in plain sight. Although some racists are secretive about their views and their affiliations with hate groups, others wear their allegiance on their sleeves and backs. For identification, racist skinheads wear high and tight haircuts, black bomber flight jackets, and red laces in their Doc Marten boots. Their jackets sport patches such as Confederate flags, German eagles, SS or 88 (neo-Nazi lingo for Heil Hitler H is the eighth letter of the alphabet).10 Before the Fayetteville killings, military skinheads were often seen around the base and in nearby towns sporting such regalia.
Despite enormous danger, huge expense, and a clear alternative solar power the US government is pushing ahead with the deployment of nuclear technology in space. In October 1997, NASA plans to launch the Cassini probe to Saturn. Carrying 72.3 pounds of plutonium-238 fuel the largest amount of plutonium ever used in space, the probe will sit atop a Lockheed Martin-built Titan IV rocket. This same kind of rocket has undergone a series of mishaps including a 1993 explosion in California soon after take-off which destroyed a $1 billion spy satellite system and sent its fragments falling into the Pacific Ocean.
Plutonium has long been described by scientists as the most toxic substance known. It is "so toxic," says Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, "that less than one-millionth of a gram is a carcinogenic dose. One pound, if uniformly distributed, could hypothetically induce lung cancer in every person on Earth."
Despite some expectations that the Clinton administration would put an end to the Reagan/Bush administrations' vision of Star Wars, it has continued to budget $3 billion annually for the endeavor. And a 1993 White House policy statement asserted that "space nuclear power and propulsion systems can contribute to scientific, commercial and national security space missions." *20 Later that year, the Department of Energy placed a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it sought to "fund research and development studies directed at ... identifying innovative approaches using nuclear reactor power and propulsion systems for potential future NASA, DoD, and commercial space activities."
For 34 years the people of Burma have been ruled by a military junta as tyrannical and secretive as any in the modern era. Now, desperate for hard currency, the country's dictators are at pains to establish Burma as a vacation paradise. Posing as a travel consultant, John Pilger penetrated beyond this new tourist trail to uncover a nightmare world of intimidation, forced displacement, and slavery.
Also, see the movie, Esoteric Agenda, referenced on this website. Use the google search function.
IN 1994, INDUSTRY RELEASED MORE THAN 1.1 BILLION POUNDS OF TOXINS LINKED TO HUMAN REPRODUCTIVE DISORDERS. ONLY 1 PERCENT OF THE 70,000 DIFFERENT SYNTHETIC CHEMICALS AND METALS IN COMMERCIAL USE IS MONITORED. DESPITE GRAVE PUBLIC HEALTH THREATS, INDUSTRY IS FIGHTING TO KEEP POLLUTING AND KEEP THE PUBLIC IN THE DARK.
Polar bears in the Arctic circle and albatrosses in the middle of the Pacific were the last creatures that scientists expected to be threatened by synthetic chemicals. But the pristine wilderness and the pure ocean vastness are as extinct as the dodo and just as much casualties of human activity. When the albatross population suffered a 3 percent drop in reproduction rates over the last few years, New Zealand researchers discovered abnormally high levels of synthetic chemicals in the birds' bodies. When polar bear reproduction dropped by more than half, Norwegian researchers documented levels of toxic chemicals in the animals that are 3 billion times higher than in the cold waters near which they live.
Our Stolen Future, brings together mounting scientific evidence that thousands of synthetic chemicals in common use are accumulating all along the food chain and are turning up everywhere from remote virgin forest to supermarket shelf. (See p. 17.)
If the authors are right, a group of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors and hormone mimickers are undermining the health and genetic viability of hundreds of species, including humans. And because the implicated chemicals including PCBs, chlorine, atrazine, DDT, and various plastics used to manufacture five gallon water containers and approximately half the canned goods in this country are so widely used in agriculture and industry, the financial vitality and survival of many corporations is also at stake.
Not surprisingly, then, in addition to calls for further investigation and research, the storm of controversy around the new studies implicating these chemicals has also sparked a counterattack funded and promoted by the corporations that would be affected by regulation or a ban.
[(note, capitalization is not mine, it’s the article’s)]
IN THE LATE 1980S, IN A DECISION IT PROBABLY REGRETS, THE US PROMPTED NEW ZEALAND TO JOIN A NEW AND HIGHLY SECRET GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM. HAGER'S INVESTIGATION INTO IT AND HIS DISCOVERY OF THE ECHELON DICTIONARY HAS REVEALED ONE OF THE WORLD'S BIGGEST, MOST CLOSELY HELD INTELLIGENCE PROJECTS. THE SYSTEM ALLOWS SPY AGENCIES TO MONITOR MOST OF THE WORLD'S TELEPHONE, E-MAIL, AND TELEX COMMUNICATIONS.
by Nicky Hager
from his book SECRET POWER mediafilter.org...
For 40 years, New Zealand's largest intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) the nation's equivalent of the US National Security Agency (NSA) had been helping its Western allies to spy on countries throughout the Pacific region, without the knowledge of the New Zealand public or many of its highest elected officials. What the NSA did not know is that by the late 1980s, various intelligence staff had decided these activities had been too secret for too long, and were providing me with interviews
and documents exposing New Zealand's intelligence activities. Eventually, more than 50 people who work or have worked in intelligence and related fields agreed to be interviewed.
The activities they described made it possible to document, from the South Pacific, some alliance-wide systems and projects which have been kept secret elsewhere. Of these, by far the most important is ECHELON.
Designed and coordinated by NSA, the ECHELON system is used to intercept ordinary e-mail, fax, telex, and telephone communications carried over the world's telecommunications networks. Unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, ECHELON is designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals in virtually every country. It potentially affects every person communicating between (and sometimes within) countries anywhere in the world.
The computers at each station in the ECHELON network automatically search through the millions of messages intercepted for ones containing pre-programmed keywords. Keywords include all the names, localities, subjects, and so on that might be mentioned. Every word of every message intercepted at each station gets automatically searched whether or not a specific telephone number or e-mail address is on the list.
Networking with Spooks by John Dillon
THE INTERNET IS CHANGING FROM A PUBLIC RESOURCE TO A LUCRATIVE
OPERATION INFLUENCED BY SPOOKS AND FORMER PENTAGON OFFICIALS.
OPEN ACCESS AND INFORMATION ARE INCREASINGLY CONTROLLED.
Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) of Herndon, Va., has the government-granted monopoly to issue "domain names'' electronic addresses like used to route e-mail and steer traffic through the increasingly commercialized World Wide Web.
NSI's spook connections and its lead role in the privatization of the Internet have raised alarms. Net activists were outraged by the firm's September 1995 decision to charge $100 a year to register new addresses and $50 a year to renew old ones. Later, NSI stirred up even more anger when it began removing the addresses of the thousands who refused to pay. The company also has been sued half a dozen times over its policy to give trademark holders priority when a domain name is in dispute.
WHO'S IN CHARGE---
The furor over NSI raises basic questions of who controls and regulates the Internet. Although physically decentralized with millions of computers linked around the globe the Net is in fact hierarchically organized. Anyone on the planet who wants an Internet address ending with one of the popular suffixes .com, .edu, .org, .net, or .gov must register the domain name with the Internet Network Information Center, or InterNIC, a US government-created central registry. In 1993, NSI took over the administration of that listing.
This domain name system allows people to substitute user -friendly names such as "ibm.com" for the real Internet Protocol (IP) addresses: hard-to-remember numerical strings like "126.96.36.199". When you enter an address in your web browser like "mediafilter.org/caq" to get this magazine's site your computer first accesses a "name server.'' The server then returns the unique numeric IP address which your browser uses to find the appropriate place on the Web.
Critics say there is no good reason why Network Solutions should have a monopoly franchise on registering the user-friendly domain names. But NSI has a great reason: By controlling the keys to prime Internet real estate, it has staked out a phenomenally lucrative business. Although the company does not release financial figures, the Internet's astronomical growth fueled by the tens of thousands of businesses coming on line each month has triggered an explosion in domain name registrations.
In March alone, about 45,000 names were registered, a 25 percent increase over February. NSI made an estimated $20 million in the six months from September 1995 to March 1996 from annual registration fees, with an additional $40 million projected for the next six months.=
The Poverty Profiteers Privatize Poverty, by Mark Dunlea
"This is one of the biggest corporate grabs in history," charges Sandy Felder, public sector coordinator for SEIU, a union representing public employees. She is referring to the aftermath of the welfare "reform" passed by the 104th Congress. While the bipartisan coalition that pushed through the legislation raked political hay by scapegoating the poor, the jobless, single mothers, and children, corporations preferred their profits in cold cash. They understand that one consequence of the downsizing of"big government" is the upsizing of big corporations.
The privatization of welfare-related social services now underway will mean a massive handoff from government to the private sector. According to an industry survey, 49 states have already privatized some welfare functions and many are considering further outsourcing. "Obviously, [firms] are not going into it with altruistic motives and the intent of losing money. The profit motive is foremost," said John Hirschi, a state legislator in Texas, where the first major contract is on the block. The corporations believe Texas "will be a model for the rest of the country," said Bruce Bower, a lawyer who specializes in welfare issues at the Texas Legal Services Center. "They're licking their chops."
And the feast they are anticipating is tempting indeed. The recent federal legislation mandating block grants to states to replace the welfare system is the biggest overhaul of a federal program since the New Deal.
Up for grabs is much of the $28 billion a year that governments now spend nationwide to distribute $250 billion to welfare recipients. With welfare comprising 6-30 percent of state budgets, the changes will be radical. The new legislation, in addition to opening the door to corporate profiteers, will by conservative estimate push an additional 1.5 million adults and 1.1 million children into poverty. Most of the children affected live in families with a working parent.
It will also offer unprecedented opportunities for corporate profit making as major firms engage in high-stakes bidding for the potentially lucrative contracts. One of the most aggressive is Lockheed Martin, the $30 billion defense contractor which made billions selling weapons to the very "big government" it is now trying to supplant. Ironically, although Lockheed has little experience in the social services, it does know welfare from the inside. In the 1970s and '80s, Congress approved a massive bailout for the failing weapons manufacturer. Also trying to win contracts are Electronic Data Systems (EDS), the $12.4 billion information-technology company founded by presidential candidate Ross Perot; Andersen Consulting, a $4.2 billion sister company of Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm; Unisys; and IBM.: