Religious & Civil Liberty News
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Rev.13.16 & 17
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
“Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” (Great Controversy, Page 588).
The Bible predicts how the United States of America will enforce Sunday observance throughout the world by uniting the powers of church and state. Miracles will be a tool used to convince the world through deception and spiritualism. Many of you may ask, “How can this happen in the USA, given that this country was built upon the princples of religious liberty and freedoms ?” Please read Revelation chapter 13.
What is religious freedom ?
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Notice the two major factors that are integral characteristics of God’s love to mankind. Although, God is the Creator of man, He does not coerce or force His created beings to worship Him. In fact, any form of enforced worship is not pleasing or acceptable to God. May we marvel at how the Lord has made us free moral agents with the freedom of choice. This is why Jesus asks us to come and “reason together”. What love ! However, the most significant aspect of God’s love to us was the willingness of His Son, Jesus Christ, to freely give His life at the Cross suffering the most ignominious death – why ? Because God loved us more than He loved His own life. A profound thought. When Adam & Eve sinned, the Godhead could not be happy unless a Plan of Salvation was immediately available to save mankind from their sin. Heaven’s love was poured out on the Cross Of Calvary, in the hope that we would willingly choose eternal life in Christ. Jesus died so that though our sins may be as “scarlet”, our lives may become as “white as snow” through the purifying blood of Christ and His empowering Eternal Spirit.
To maintain the principles of freedom in America, the Constitution was developed, of which, the following is the first amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. (Amendment 1, United States Constitution).
“Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice, a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing.” (Archibald Macleish).
“When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny.” (Thomas Jefferson).
“Almighty God hath created the mind free; all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propogate it by coersions on either, as was in His almighty power to do.” (Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, 1785).
For further information, please click here. Otherwise, please note how the world-wide events below are indications of the above prophecies rapidly fulfilling.
Other important news highlights over the years are listed below.
Wednesday 17th July 2002 3:30pm – Are your emails being monitored by the government?
Not yet… but they could be soon
One in every 10,000 UK internet users could be under government surveillance from next month as the RIP (Regulation of Investigatory Powers) Act comes into effect.
Have you forgotten what all the uproar was about?
The controversial law, passed in October 2000, requires ISPs and telcos to automatically monitor customer web and email use and to make that data freely available to the government and police.
The legislation covers all communication service providers (CPSs) – defined by the Act as organisations that offer public access to the internet, telephones and faxes.
The legislation, dubbed the Snooping Bill before it passed into law, requires all CPSs to install technology that can monitor the activities of at least one in every 10,000 customers.
CSPs will also be obliged to begin surveillance on customers within 24 hours of being told that police or government agencies want to monitor them.
The Act could come into effect on 1 August if MPs conclude a parliament debate tomorrow on the its code of practice and on the maintenance of interception capability.
However, if the debate drags on the Act is unlikely to be given the all-clear before parliament breaks for summer recess on 24 July.
Yaman Akdeniz, director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties UK, said that the government has started to drag its feet now that the Bill has been passed.
“The government has not respected its own deadlines. It is late in developing the code of practice. Looking back, all the rushing to pass the legislation and rushing it through parliament looks like nonsense. They didn’t take the time to think through the implementation.”
And despite an imminent implementation date, many CSPs have not yet installed the surveillance technology and remain confused over exactly what data they should collect and how much money the government will give them towards costs.
The Internet Service Providers Association said there were still issues to be resolved, including how the RIP Act will work with other privacy legislation including the Data Protection Act and the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act (ATCS).
“ISPA is still seeking clarification on how each of the laws will be reconciled to each other and outstanding issues such as fair cost recovery scheme for retaining and allowing access to data. ISPs will be in a difficult position if each law is not married with the other appropriately,” the group said.
The government has committed £20m towards the cost of the new surveillance technology. The Home Office said a proportion of this has already been allocated.
Source: No longer available
BILDERBERG FOUND POWER ELITE TO MEET NEAR D.C. – 30 May – 2 June 2002
The super-secret gang of international financiers and high-powered political leaders will hide out near Washington’s Dulles International Airport to hold their annual confabulation.
Exclusive to American Free Press
By James P. Tucker Jr.
Bilderberg will seal off the Westfields Marriott, just seven miles south of Washington’s Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va., for its annual meeting of the super-rich and super-famous on the weekend of May 30-June 2.
While it is the closest Bilderberg has ever come to Washington for annual secret meetings to plot the world’s future, Westfields is ideal for the security-paranoid international elite. Westfields stands in lonely grandeur with much space separating the resort from tall brick buildings in a luxury “office park.”
Perhaps coincidentally, neighboring office buildings are home to numerous spy organizations.
The last time Bilderberg met in Virginia was 1962, when the secret gang of international financiers and political leaders took over all of Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va. Bilderberg tends to meet on the same continent as the Group of Eight economic summits, which follow shortly afterwards, featuring heads of state from the world’s industrialized nations. The G-8 will meet in Alberta, Canada June 26-28.
Bilderberg’s junior varsity, the Trilateral Commission, will meet April 5-7 in Washington at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Bilderberg and the TC have an interlocking leadership and a common global agenda. David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger are powers in both groups.
Trilaterals have about 320 participants while the more exclusive Bilderberg has about 120. The TC includes Japan, while Bilderberg draws only from Europe and North America. Both high-powered groups plan the future, together, of the entire world.
High on their common agenda this year is how to exploit “the war on terrorism” to increase their control of the “world without borders” while generating immense profits. The Trilaterals will meet behind closed doors at the Ritz Carlton but not seal off the entire downtown hotel. Bilderberg will have armed guards blocking the entrance to Westfields and none but participants will be permitted inside. There will be no other guests.
Sources inside both groups say they will try to exploit the new “war on terrorism” to advance an old agenda: Establishing NATO formally as the United Nations’ standing army, imposing a direct UN tax on the world, global gun control and selling the Free Trade Area of the Americas as a “necessary step to ward off future attacks.”
It is all part of a grand design to establish a world government under the UN. As NAFTA expands through out the Western Hemisphere as the FTAA it is to evolve into the “American Union” and “dollarization” is to be come the common currency, as the euro is in Europe. Bilderberg luminaries have directly acknowledged this to an American Free Press reporter.
Other Bilderberg sources said the site near Washing ton was chosen for several reasons.
Dulles is considered one of the most secure airports in the wake of 9-11 and it is a short ride in flag-draped limos to Westfields. While instant communication with the White House has always been easy, wherever in the world Bilderberg hides, it is a 30-mile drive for any high official of the administration who may be summoned on short notice. High officials of the administration will be attending the full three-day session anyway.
But more are prepared to come like a dog to the whistle if called.
Jubilee Journal – 2 June 2002: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attend a celebratory service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor
On a day reserved for contemplation and thanksgiving for The Queen’s reign, members of the Royal Family attended special church services around the UK. While The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh went to church in St. George’s Chapel, The Prince of Wales and his sons were in Cardiff, The Princess Royal in Ayr, and The Duke of Kent in Belfast.
In St. George’s Chapel, in the precincts of Windsor Castle, a special ecumenical church service was held to give thanks for her 50 years on the throne. It was the first ecumenical service to have been at the chapel. Taking part were Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Free Churches Moderator the Reverend Anthony Burnham and the Reverend Esme Beswick of the Anglo-Caribbean Council of Churches.
Afterwards The Queen and Prince Philip witnessed four church leaders sign an historic covenant to work towards furthering Christian unity in the Vicar’s Hall. The covenant committed them to pray, work and consult together, and join together to work for justice.
Outside two thousand people gathered to see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Golden Jubilee service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. After the service the Queen and Duke went on a walkabout in the Castle grounds and chatted to the large crowd.
Other church services were held across the country, and other members of the Royal Family took part, including the Prince of Wales and his sons William and Harry who were at a Jubilee service in Swansea.
Beefed-Up Global Surveillance?
2:00 a.m. Feb. 20, 2002 PST
By Declan McCullagh
WASHINGTON — An addition to an international treaty could permit police to cooperate more closely on intercepting and decrypting the communications of suspected terrorists.
The Council of Europe, which includes nearly all European nations, is meeting this week to prepare additions to a controversial “cybercrime” treaty that would cover decoding terrorist messages. The United States, Canada and Japan are non-voting members of the council.
Peter Csonka, the head of the Council of Europe’s economic crime division, said when the drafting process for the so-called Second Protocol is complete, the document will address “how to identify, how to filter, and how to trace communications between terrorists.”
Details are scarce, and the Council of Europe has repeatedly refused to elaborate. Csonka would not confirm or deny whether the Second Protocol will advance limits on encryption technology, coordinate code-breaking efforts among member nations, or increase electronic surveillance performed against people linked to terrorism.
This week’s closed-door meeting, reportedly taking place at the council’s headquarters in Strasbourg, France, includes representatives from the U.S. Justice Department, which was one of the most enthusiastic backers of the original treaty.
Privacy groups and civil libertarians have spent nearly two years criticizing the existing cybercrime treaty, which is now awaiting ratification by the legislatures of member nations. If the council plugs additional surveillance powers into the treaty, opposition seems certain to increase substantially.
In December, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers asked the Steering Committee on Crime Problems to draft the “Second Protocol to the Convention on Cybercriminality to cover also terrorist messages and the decoding thereof.” That is scheduled to happen after an antiterrorism working group completes its report by April 30, 2002.
This week’s meeting is a preliminary one. After the drafting process begins in earnest later this spring, the steering committee will prepare a detailed proposal in June and send it back to the Council of Ministers by the end of September, according to the Csonka.
The still-secret Second Protocol will be, as the name implies, the second set of additions to the underlying treaty. Currently the Council of Europe is busy working on the First Protocol, which criminalizes “hate speech” and racist remarks and likely will run afoul of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Some observers predict the U.S. delegates to the Council of Europe will not sign the First Protocol. But the underlying cybercrime treaty, without the “hate speech” components, is likely to go to the U.S. Senate for a vote.
“There is a group of experts working on the First Protocol. Once this committee produces the First Protocol in June, then the steering committee will consider giving terms of reference for a new committee,” Csonka said. “The second group of experts operate on terms of reference that will be drafted by the European Steering Committee on Crime Problems.”
Bryan Sierra, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, confirmed that his agency’s computer crime section sent representatives to this week’s meeting on the Second Protocol but steadfastly refused to say what they were doing.
“We’re not at liberty to discuss our position or even what’s going on,” Sierra said. “We would prefer to talk about these matters with the people we’re meeting with instead of with reporters.”
The French activist group Imaginons un Réseau Internet Solidaire obtained a list of participants from a December 2001 meeting relating to the “hate speech” protocol. The three U.S. representatives are: Jason Gull, a trial attorney at the Justice Department; Kenneth Harris, the associate director of the criminal division’s Office of International Affairs; and Richard Visek, an attorney in the State Department’s law enforcement and intelligence section.
“This shows that the cyber rights community was justified in its opposition to the cybercrime treaty,” David Sobel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said of the Second Protocol. “It is becoming the vehicle for an ever-expanding list of invasive intergovernmental activities.”
Privacy groups have opposed the underlying treaty, which, according to the Council of Europe, no countries have ratified so far. Among the objections: Encouraging self-incrimination, no clear limits on police eavesdropping powers and unwarranted traffic data collection and storage.
One industry representative who attended a meeting on the cybercrime treaty at the Justice Department earlier this month said it was suprising that the government attendees never mentioned the Second Protocol: “It was interesting because it didn’t come up. This was a clear opportunity to have that discussion.”
A foreign affairs officer at the U.S. State Department said the department is monitoring the process, but hasn’t taken a position on the Second Protocol. The person referred calls to the Justice Department.
Robert Zarate contributed to this report.
They Want Their ID Chips Now
By Julia Scheeres
2:00 a.m. Feb. 6, 2002 PST
(Click to enlarge)
Meet the Jacobs family: Jeffrey, Leslie and their son, Derek. They’re a fairly typical American family, middle class and ambitious. The father is a dentist, the mother is an account executive at an interior design magazine and the 14-year-old son plays jazz and tinkers with computers in his spare time.
But one thing may soon make the Jacobses stand out: They could become the first family in the world to be implanted with microchips that contain their personal information.
The chip in question, the VeriChip, is similar to the biochips that have been used to identify pets and livestock for years.
Made by Applied Digital Solutions (ADS), the VeriChip stores six lines of text and is slightly larger than a grain of rice. It emits a 125-kHz radio frequency signal that can be picked up by a special scanner up to four feet away.
The company initially plans to market the chip in the United States as a medical device that would allow hospital workers to simply scan a patient’s body in an emergency situation to access their health record.
The Jacobses, who live in Boca Raton, Florida, first heard about the microchip in a television news report.
“Derek stood up and said, ‘I want to be the first kid to be implanted with the chip,'” Leslie Jacobs said. “For the next few days all he did was talk about the VeriChip.”
Derek, an eighth-grader who became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer at age 12, fantasizes about merging humans and machines. Jeffrey Jacobs, who is severely disabled, was interested in the device for health reasons. So Leslie called up Palm Beach-based ADS and offered her family as guinea pigs once the microchip is approved for testing by the FDA.
ADS chief technology officer Keith Bolton said he was a bit wary about the family’s motives at first, but the Jacobses quickly convinced him they’d be perfect subjects. Since the VeriChip was announced in December, the company has been bombarded with queries from people interested in the device, Bolton said.
“Right now we have over 2,000 kids who have e-mailed, wanting to have the chip implanted,” he said. “They think it’s cool.”
Derek, for one, dreams of a day when he’ll be able log onto his computers or unlock his house and turn on the lights without lifting a finger, functions that British professor Kevin Warwick was able to do in a 1998 experiment with an implanted microchip.
Derek was also inspired by Richard Seelig, the company’s director of medical applications, who injected two VeriChips into himself after hearing stories of rescue workers at the World Trade Center scrawling their names and Social Security numbers onto their bodies in case they didn’t make it out of the rubble alive.
“I think it’s one more step in the evolution of man and technology,” said Derek, who once needed to move into the family room after his electronics equipment crowded his bedroom. “There are endless possibilities for this.”
(Currently the chip is immutable once the device is injected via a syringe, using local anesthetic. In future applications, the chip may include a GPS receiver and other advanced features, company officials said.)
Jeffrey, a 48-year-old cancer survivor, has more practical reasons for wanting the VeriChip.
“If something happens to me and there’s no one that knows anything about my medical history, any paramedic or hospital worker, if they have the scanner — which hopefully everyone will have at some point –- will be able to scan all my information,” he said. “It could save my life.”
Leslie, 46, said she was motivated by security concerns. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks hit close to home: Her family lives in South Florida, where authorities say 14 of the 19 hijackers lived. Her office is a block away from tabloid publisher American Media, where a photo editor died after contracting anthrax.
The world would be a safer place if authorities had a tamper-proof way of identifying people, she said.
“I have nothing to hide, so I wouldn’t mind having the chip for verification,” Leslie Jacobs said. “I already have an ID card, so why not have a chip?”
Pilots could be chipped and scanned before they entered the cockpit, she suggested, to ensure the person sitting at the controls was indeed an airline employee. Her husband went further, suggesting that violent criminals and known terrorists should be routinely chipped as a matter of policy.
The idea of requiring people to be implanted was brought up by Applied Digital Solutions CEO Richard Sullivan in an interview with the Palm Beach Post, in which he suggested microchips be used to track foreigners visiting the United States. (The company has since downplayed his comments.)
But an X-Files-type scheme where everyone is forcibly marked and monitored by the government worries both civil libertarians and Christians, who believe new technologies such as biometrics and biochips may be the feared “Mark of the Beast” of Biblical lore that is described in Revelations 13:16:
“He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.”
Gary Wohlscheid, the president of The Last Day Ministries –- a group espousing the belief that humanity is on the verge of an apocalyptic showdown between the forces of good and evil –- believes the VeriChip could be this mark. Although the chip is not yet small enough to be injected into the forehead or right hand at the moment, it could be in the future, he said.
“Out of all the technologies with potential to be the mark of the beast, the VeriChip has got the best possibility right now,” he said. “It’s definitely not the final product, but it’s a step toward it. Within three to four years, people will be required to use it. Those that reject it will be put to death.”
Wohlscheid felt so strongly about this possibility that he created a Web page to warn others of the microchip’s evil potential.
To quell Christians’ fears, Bolton, the Jacobses and a theologian recently appeared on the 700 Club, hosted by televangelist Pat Robertson.
Privacy expert Richard Smith scoffed at the Jacobses’ plans.
“Sounds like a publicity stunt and nothing more,” he said. “Being chipped today has no value because hospitals and the police don’t have the reader units.”
Although the VeriChip is awaiting FDA approval in the United States, the company recently announced a deal to market the chips to potential kidnap victims living in South America, such as corporate executives. The device could be used to identify abduction victims who are unable to communicate with their rescuers because they are unconscious, drugged or, in a worst-case scenario, dead.
The company hopes to get the FDA green light in the next couple of months. When and if that happens, the Jacobses would be among the first subjects to receive the VeriChip, company officials said.
…During a demonstration after Leslie Jacobs was implanted, Applied Digital Solutions CTO Keith Bolton ran a scanner over her arm and the scanner displayed her name, her telephone number, and a condition known as “mitral valve prolapse,” a heart murmur. This was information, Bolton said, that could be helpful to medical professionals “in the event that she can’t speak, to save her life.”
Bolton also scanned the arm of Derek Jacobs, Leslie’s 14-year-old son, and the display showed Derek’s medicine allergies…
National Review Editor: President Bush Truly a Faith-Based Warrior
A couple of years ago in Iowa, George Bush handled a lot of criticism
when he said his favorite political philosopher was Jesus Christ, said
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review. “Liberals jumped on him for a
supposedly nascent violation of the separation of church and state,” and
even some conservatives were unhappy for such an “unreflective answer
that had nothing to do with public life,” Lowry added.
Referring to the president’s State of the Union address on Jan. 29,
Lowry quoted Bush’s statement that “even in tragedy, God is near,” and
said it proved that Bush “lives and leads,” by his conviction that “God
put him in the White House for this moment, and that God will bless our
The gleam in Bush’s eye that evening? According to Lowry, it was all
about “determination, not anger, not just sincerity, but all of those
things tempered and elevated by faith…Bush, I suspect, sees himself as
a spiritual warrior,” Lowry said. “The one phrase that was the moral
and intellectual heart of his speech,” the NR editor, concluded, “was
‘evil is real’…It was a comfort to hear him say it…because it is
Pope Loves, Fears the Net
8:05 a.m. Jan. 22, 2002 PST
VATICAN CITY — The Internet caters to the best and worst of human nature and needs regulation to stop depravity flooding cyberspace, Pope John Paul said on Tuesday.
The 81-year old pontiff, who last year sent his first message over the Internet, praised it as a “wonderful instrument” that should be used to spread the word of God and encourage global peace.
However, he warned that while it offered access to immense knowledge, the Internet did not necessarily provide wisdom and could easily be perverted to demean human dignity.
“Despite its enormous potential for good, some of the degrading and damaging ways the Internet can be used are already obvious to all,” the pope said in a message prepared for World Communications Day.
“Public authorities surely have a responsibility to guarantee that this marvellous instrument serves the common good and does not become a source of harm,” he added.
Although the pope does not have an e-mail address, the Vatican has an active website and the church is reportedly searching for a patron saint of Internet users.
The question of regulation has inflamed passions since the Internet sprang to prominence in the 1990s, with enthusiasts arguing that cyberspace should not be pegged back behind national boundaries or rules.
The pope warned that not only did the Internet allow the spread of depraved material, it could also lead people to believe that facts mattered more than values.
“The Internet offers extensive knowledge, but it does not teach values and when values are disregarded, our very humanity is demeaned,” he said, adding that the system focused people’s attention on an “almost unending flood of information.”
“Yet human beings have a vital need for time and inner quiet to ponder and examine life and its mysteries,” he said. “Understanding and wisdom are the fruit of a contemplative eye upon the world, and do not come from a mere accumulation of facts, no matter how interesting.”
He said the Catholic Church had adapted to every discovery through the ages, from the Renaissance to the invention of printing and the Industrial Revolution, and must now learn to reach the masses over cyberspace.
“Like the new frontiers of other times, this one too is full of the interplay of danger and promise,” he said.
“For the church the new world of cyberspace is a summons to the great adventure of using its potential to proclaim the gospel message.”
In his first message sent to the world directly over the Internet last November, Pope John Paul apologized to victims of sexual abuse by priests and other clergy.
Sleuths Probe Enron E-Mails
6:20 a.m. Jan. 16, 2002 PST
WASHINGTON — The job of recovering the missing Enron accounting documents is falling to computer sleuths whose work can foil the casual use of the delete button.
They’ve been called on before in high-profile cases, looking for suspected spy transmissions and missing Clinton White House e-mails.
And now they’ll be asked to recover documents from the computers of Arthur Andersen LLP, which acknowledges its employees destroyed thousands of e-mails and paper documents about Enron.
Investigators want to know who knew about the problems at Enron, which shocked the financial world and its own employees with its fall from Wall Street grace to bankruptcy.
Computer sleuths move quickly to preserve hard drives and backup tapes before the bits of deleted data are overwritten forever.
“If the data was there, rarely can you not find a sign of it,” said Jeff Bedser of Internet Crimes Group in Princeton, New Jersey. “The closer to the time frame it happened, the better the chance of recovering the data.”
Andersen has said its Houston auditors started deleting Enron e-mails on Oct. 23 and stopped Nov. 9. Bedser said his firm has been able to recover Lotus Notes e-mail messages that were deleted up to eight months earlier. Andersen used Lotus Notes.
Most computer users think a simple stroke of the delete key is enough to make a message disappear forever.
“The general practitioner doesn’t know that once you hit delete and get it out of your inbox that it’s not gone,” said David Schultz, legal counsel at Ontrack Data International. “That is why this is a very fertile area for key evidence in litigation.”
In most cases, hitting the delete button simply erases the file from general view. But the underlying data remains until the computer fills that free space with new data.
Government agencies with sensitive information like the National Security Agency, the CIA and the FBI use software that repeatedly overwrites free space on hard drives to foil recovery of deleted data.
E-mails are even harder to permanently erase, because they often reside in many locations along a computer network. Lotus Notes stores e-mail messages on a central server and gives most users only limited access, so a person who deletes an e-mail has no way to ensure it is permanently erased and overwritten.
Investigators also use backup tapes. Major companies tend to back up their files nightly or more often. The backups are eventually overwritten, so preserving them early is critical.
Recovering e-mails from backup tapes is far from a sure thing. Millions of e-mails from the Clinton White House were never recovered, even after contractor Vistronix tried to extract them from tapes. Andersen said it has retrieved some of the deleted Enron files from backups.
Andersen may also need to check personal computers used by the Houston auditors, looking for bits of e-mail messages or original copies of documents that have since been shredded.
While the e-mails might not have been intentionally stored, some portions may be lodged on individual computers just because someone read the messages. Joan Feldman of Computer Forensics called the phenomenon “data debris,” and said it’s hard to work with.
“The e-mail may or may not be stuck on the hard drive,” Feldman said. “The ‘may or may not’ part is really big enough to drive a car through.”
Shredded paper is also extremely difficult, but not impossible, to re-create. Jason Paroff, a forensics expert at Kroll Worldwide, said his company has put shredded documents back together before, but success is dependent on the efficiency of the shredder.
While the results of straight-cut shredders are relatively easy to work with, Paroff said, “there are some shredding machines that almost produce a dust on the other end. Good luck piecing that together.”
With all the uncertainties in forensic work, the experts said Andersen would benefit if it gets another company to monitor its work. That would protect Andersen against some routine pitfalls, like a technician throwing out an obsolete but evidence-rich computer.
“It would probably be a good alibi for whatever their status is,” said Stan Wilson of Kroll. “You don’t want to go into something like Enron with yourself as the lone gun.”
Pope Touts Internet Regulation
By:mark.j @ 9:59:AM – 230102
Pope John Paul has stepped into an unusual area today by stating the obvious need for Internet regulation; unfortunately he wasn’t talking about the kind of regulation to stop ISP customers being lied to and ripped off (Where’s OFCOM when you need them?).
The 81-year old Pontiff, who last year sent his first message over the Internet, praised it as a “wonderful instrument” that should be used to spread the word of God and encourage global peace.
However, he warned that while it offered access to immense knowledge, the Internet did not necessarily provide wisdom and could easily be perverted to demean human dignity.
“Despite its enormous potential for good, some of the degrading and damaging ways the Internet can be used are already obvious to all,” the Pope said in a message prepared for World Communications Day.
“Public authorities surely have a responsibility to guarantee that this marvellous instrument serves the common good and does not become a source of harm,” he added.
Although the Pope does not have an e-mail address, the Vatican has an active Web site (http://www.vatican.va) and the Church is reportedly searching for a patron saint of Internet users.
Wise words, so long as he’s talking about matters of illegality and not Australian like censorship.
Catholic leader’s sermon to Queen
Cardinal ends 500 year stand off by preaching to the royal family at Sandringham
Monday January 14, 2002
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, became the first member of the church’s hierarchy since the Reformation nearly 500 years ago to be invited to preach to the monarch.
The cardinal’s sermon yesterday to the supreme governor of the Church of England, which included a Polish Jewish joke and a laudatory section on Mary, the mother of Christ – itself problematic to some Protestants who do not share Catholics’ reverence for Mary – was chiefly a plea for greater unity between the Christian churches. Traditionalist Protestant groups, suspicious of Rome’s intentions towards church unity, have been critical of the invitation.
The congregation at St Mary’s church on the royal estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, also included the Duke of Edinburgh and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The cardinal told the Queen, whose ancestor Henry VIII led the schism with Rome to facilitate his divorce from Catherine of Aragon: “Ecumenism is a long road but a very fruitful one… Jesus tells us to be united. It is the will of the Holy Spirit that has prompted the conditions within which it is my privilege to be preaching here today.
“Ecumenism is like a road with no exit – there is no going back. We are on a journey that we know will be fulfilled by the promptings and inspiration of the Holy Spirit in that unity that is Christ’s will.
“If we listen and try to do the will of God in our own lives and if we do what is good in our own lives and if we do what Jesus teaches us, then we have good reason to hope that Christian unity will eventually come about.”
Although there were Catholic monarchs after Henry VIII, it is thought that none had been preached to in public by Catholic divines.
The Queen has met several popes, however, and attended vespers in Westminster’s Catholic cathedral in 1995 to hear the late Cardinal Hume preach at a service marking the building’s centenary, the first occasion on which the monarch had attended a Catholic service.
When the Pope’s representative attended the Queen’s coronation in 1953 he was not allowed inside Westminster Abbey to hear the coronation oath pledging to uphold the Protestant religion but had to sit outside.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was the guest of the Queen at Sandringham all weekend.
He said: “I think it reflects a change in ecumenical relations. It shows the Queen is closer to Roman Catholicism and it is significant that this is happening at the start of her golden jubilee year.”
Judge OKs FBI Keyboard Sniffing
By Declan McCullagh
2:00 a.m. Jan. 4, 2002 PST
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department can legally use a controversial electronic surveillance technique in its prosecution of an alleged mobster.
In the first case of its kind, a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey has ruled that evidence surreptitiously gathered by the FBI about Nicodemo S. Scarfo’s reputed loan shark operation can be presented in a trial later this year.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Politan said last week that it was perfectly acceptable for FBI agents armed with a court order to sneak into Scarfo’s office, plant a keystroke sniffer in his PC and monitor its output.
Scarfo had been using Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption software to encode confidential business data — and frustrate the government’s attempts to monitor him.
Politan flatly rejected the defense argument that the FBI violated both wiretap law and the Fourth Amendment, saying that the FBI’s black bag jobs “suffer from no constitutional infirmity.”
“Each day, advanced computer technologies and the increased accessibility to the Internet means criminal behavior is becoming more sophisticated and complex…. As a result of this surge in so-called ‘cyber crime,’ law enforcement’s ability to vigorously pursue such rogues cannot be hindered where all constitutional limitations are scrupulously observed,” Politan said.
Scarfo’s lawyer said he was “very disappointed” but he could see no way to appeal Politan’s decision before the trial takes place. “If we should be convicted, it’ll come up on appeal,” said Norris Gelman, a Philadelphia attorney representing Scarfo.
Privacy scholars who fear that Politan’s ruling will dramatically expand the government’s ability to spy on Americans have closely watched the case. If Politan’s decision is upheld on appeal, it will grant police broad powers to circumvent privacy-protecting encryption products.
“The decision is disappointing, particularly in light of the fact that the full details of the keystroke logger were not disclosed to the defense,” said David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It’s an important issue that is likely to form the basis of an appeal should Scarfo be convicted.”
For its part, the FBI seems to want to avoid the physical breaking-and-entering that’s required to implant a keystroke logger in a suspect’s computer. Late last year, news leaked about an FBI project code-named “Magic Lantern” that would install surveillance software remotely using well-known backdoors in browsers, e-mail clients and operating systems.
Ronald Wigler, the assistant U.S. Attorney responsible for the case, said: “There has not been another case of its kind to date that has utilized these methods in conjunction with the way in which we obtained authorization to use these tools.”
“(The court decision) doesn’t necessarily surprise us because we’ve been saying all along we never violated his Fourth Amendment rights. We’ve been saying all along we’ve never captured any electronic communications that would require us to seek a wiretap order,” Wigler said.
The court order from the federal magistrate judge stated that the FBI could “install and leave behind software, firmware, and/or hardware equipment, which will monitor the inputted data entered on Nicodemo S. Scarfo’s computer in the target location so that the FBI can capture the password necessary to decrypt computer files by recording the key related information as they are entered.”
Defense attorneys had said that the PGP pass-phrase snatching was akin to a telephone wiretap and pointed out that the FBI never obtained a wiretap order. Scarfo’s lawyers also claimed the FBI was conducting a general search of the sort loathed by the colonists at the time of the American Revolution and thereafter outlawed by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of “unreasonable” searches.
Complicating the case is the government’s unwillingness to release details on how the keystroke-capturing system works. The government calls the key-logger “a sensitive law enforcement” mechanism that’s classified — and that its details, like the secret locations of bugs and surveillance devices, may be kept from defendants.
Last fall, the Justice Department invoked the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which allows prosecutors to brief the judge in a secret session from which defense attorneys and the defendant are excluded. That ex parte hearing took place on Sept. 26.
“Pursuant to CIPA’s regulations, the United States presented the Court with detailed and top-secret, classified information regarding the (keystroke logger), including how it operates in connection with a modem. The government also demonstrated to the Court how the (keystroke logger) affects national security,” Politan said in his decision.
Defense attorneys received only an “unclassified summary statement” with general information about the key-logging system.
The Justice Department says that Scarfo’s encrypted file, titled “Factors,” contains evidence of an illegal gambling and loansharking operation.
Because Politan is retiring soon, a new judge will take over the case and set a trial date, which will likely take place this year.
ACLU Exec Voices Concerns
By Ben Polen
2:00 a.m. Dec. 31, 2001 PST
WASHINGTON — The year 2001 was not a great one to be a civil libertarian.
Polls taken after Sept. 11 suggest overwhelming support for Attorney General John Ashcroft’s strong police measures, and Ashcroft recently claimed his most strident critics are practically “aiding terrorists.”
Even the famous American Civil Liberties Union, founded in 1920, has had a mixed history of defending liberty in times of national crisis.
When Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II, the ACLU’s initial response was supportive. In the 1950s, the ACLU board surreptitiously provided intelligence information on its members to J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and voted to condemn the Communist Party as an “international conspiracy to seize power.”
More recently, the ACLU has been a fierce champion of free expression and a stalwart opponent of more government surveillance authority. It led much of the opposition to the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism legislation enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Wired News interviewed Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the ACLU and former president of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for his perspective on civil liberties in the 21st century.
Wired News: With the Bush administration’s war on terrorism underway, what’s the outlook for civil liberties in 2002?
Barry Steinhardt: We are now on a war footing in this country. There are attempts to apply the laws of war domestically with very little security benefit but also without an end. We are told by the attorney general it’s an ongoing war that has no end, that it’s a war against terrorism that will go on for years. We are now in a grave period for civil liberties.
WN: What are some of the things that Attorney General Ashcroft has done that worry you?
Steinhardt: Well, it’s not exclusively Attorney General Ashcroft, but certainly he has been at the forefront to apply the ironically named USA Patriot Act. It’s ironically named — to call something that attacks fundamental American values “patriotic.”
(The government has detained) more than 1,000 Arab-Americans, sometimes without counsel. It appears there are secret hearings and secret incarcerations — 5,000 persons who are being subjected to interrogation, a roundup. (It’s) based on ethnic profiling; that if you’re Arab-American or of Arab descent, you might be tied to terrorism without any specific cause that these individuals need to be questioned. You’ve got all these things happening — debates over national IDs, increased surveillance without security benefits at airports, increased profiling at airports without benefits in security. That’s in the short term. We don’t know what the long-term consequences will be.
WN: It doesn’t seem that there’s been much public outrage or dissent. Why?
Steinhardt: Well, there is a veneer of public support, but if you go down a level it shows that Americans are very skeptical about government intrusions into their rights. When you get past the veneer of support and deserved show of patriotism that all of us feel, and you look at specific proposals that have been made and concerns whether government is going too far, you find a different perception out there.
You’re beginning to see it in Congress. Even fairly conservative members like Reps. Dan Burton (R-Indiana) and Bob Barr (R-Georgia) are questioning tactics and the rhetoric coming out. We’re at the very beginning here. I expect that as more and more people are affected by the war against terrorism and loss of liberty, you will see more protest.
I think that will emerge as time goes on. They are skeptical because of past exaggerated claims by the Justice Department.
WN: When the FBI and the Justice Department said they wanted to interrogate thousands of Arab-Americans, some local police departments said that they wouldn’t go along. What does this represent?
Steinhardt: William Webster and other former FBI officials were quoted in the Washington Post as saying that the questioning of 5,000 men violated fundamental American values and was ineffective. They now recognize there have been diversion of resources and exaggeration of claims that are being made.
The consequence is not only a loss of liberty but also a diversion from the real hard work of preventing (another) Sept. 11. It’s not a particularly effective way to conduct an investigation. We’re all concerned about protecting our safety, but as we attempt to draw a balance between rights and safety, we should get some safety benefits. Most of what we see gives us no safety, but it infringes on rights.
WN: To go back to something you said earlier, can you talk about what exaggerated claims the Justice Department has made?
Steinhardt: We now know that for a number of years the Justice Department has been labeling things as “terrorism” that no common-sense American would label as (such). A disruptive drunk person on an airplane is labeled as a terrorist, while this person is not a terrorist. It doesn’t do us much good to divert our attention to people who don’t threaten our national security, which are just run-of-the-mill ordinary criminal cases. The ironically named USA Patriot Act, although styled as anti-terrorist, applies to ordinary criminal offenses.
WN: Can we expect to see any legislation along the same lines?
Steinhardt: There probably will be. One would have thought that we would have been at the end of the cycle with USA Patriot, but in the new intelligence authorization bill (H.R. 2883, sent to the president on Dec. 18) — that’s the authorizing act for expenditure of funds — there were once again attempts to expand foreign intelligence.
For example, blank warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, when you didn’t know the person’s name or who the person was. There were things (that weren’t present) in the original legislation they were putting in through the back door on this authorization bill. We expect more legislation on border security and forms of national identification. There is likely to be additional aviation security legislation, which would rewrite foreign and domestic security laws to increase the power … intelligence agencies have and to write the courts out of the process.
WN: Don’t the courts have some oversight? What do you mean when you say the law would “write them out of the process?”
Steinhardt: A perfect example of this in the USA Patriot Act is the application of wiretap laws to the Internet, where you get Internet protocol addresses and URLs. The role of the courts couldn’t be more limited. They are rubber-stamping. All law enforcement has to do is come in and say they are doing an investigation and the court has to stamp it.
WN: What kind of surveillance will be conducted?
Steinhardt: Certainly over the next year or two we are going to see more application of Carnivore and the Magic Lantern worm that is functioning as a keystroke logger. We are not even going to know for 18 to 24 months, until we see prosecutions and reports made.
The actual numbers will come in during 2003 and 2004. That’s when we will get a real sense of what the numbers are. As for now, we will have no way to know it except anecdotally. I have spoken with Internet service providers who are receiving dozens of requests from the FBI to monitor. We will know about the use of increased surveillance in two ways: broad numbers from reports they are likely to make and prosecutions that are likely to be brought.
It will be a considerable period of time before that picture will begin to fill in. The law certainly authorizes a great deal more surveillance, and it appears they are using it, particularly in Internet communications.
WN: Is there notification if someone has been under surveillance?
Steinhardt: A long time after the fact. It could be as much as six months to a year. If it’s real-time monitoring and there was no prosecution made, it could be many months — many years — before the subject is notified. We’re moving beyond the interception of specific individuals to mass interception and filtering by law enforcement. Except by a general report to a court, we’re simply not going to know. We’ve moved beyond the days of FBI agents sitting in a darkened room somewhere, listening to a conversation that was picked up because someone put up alligator clips on a line.
WN: What technology can people use to avoid surveillance?
Steinhardt: There are some technologies that people can apply, but if law enforcement is interested in you, there may be a limited effectiveness. Look at the Scarfo case in Philadelphia. They literally placed a keystroke monitor on the fellow’s computer to intercept his communication.
They now go beyond that — they now have a virus or worm that electronically invades your system. It can function as a keystroke logger. Encryption is one thing you can do. You can use anonymous surfing, but the counter technologies are being developed by law enforcement.
Declan McCullagh contributed to this report.
Does the number “11” have any signifance to the attacks on America ?
The date of the attack: 9/11 – 9 + 1 + 1 = 11
September 11th is the 254th day of the year: 2 + 5 + 4 = 11
After September 11th there are 111 days left to the end of the
119 is the area code to Iraq/Iran. 1 + 1 + 9 = 11
Twin Towers – standing side by side, looks like the number 11
The first plane to hit the towers was Flight 11
State of New York – The 11 State added to the Union
New York City – 11 Letters
Afghanistan – 11 Letters
The Pentagon – 11 Letters
Ramzi Yousef – 11 Letters (convicted or orchestrating the attack
on the WTC
Flight 11 – 92 on board – 9 + 2 = 11
Flight 77 – 65 on board – 6 + 5 = 11
Australia pushes for e-mail interception
By Rachel Lebihan
December 18, 2001 5:26 AM PT
New counter-terrorism measures pushed by a government “run out of control” will see more Australian agencies able to intercept e-mails for routine investigations, according to civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers of Australia (EFA).
In a review of Australia’s ability to meet the challenges of “the new terrorist environment,” a raft of proposals, including amendments to the Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Act 1979, were put forward at a Cabinet meeting today, according to the Department for the Attorney General.
However amendments to the Act, which was originally only used when police were investigating “top end criminality”, broadens the number of people able to order a telecommunications interception from the usual “uniformed police and trench-coat spooks” to agencies such as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which themselves have prosecution powers, EFA chairman Kim Heitman told ZDNet Australia.
“It’s a government run completely out of control here,” Heitman said. “The government is obviously in a panic about terrorist acts and in the meantime they’ve forgotten why there are checks and boundaries on government surveillance.”
According to Heitman, the original Telecommunications Interception Act once placed a very high value on personal privacy–something that differentiated Australian legislation from that of European states. However, it has evolved to the stage now that police are using telecommunications networks as part of routine investigations, such as petty fraud, he said.
EFA’s position has consistently been that what’s needed is more “coppers on the beat” than new powers but instead “we’ve got a creep of police powers under the shadow of September 11 but not exactly in direct response to it,” Heitman said. “We don’t think you can counteract terrorism by becoming more of a dictatorship,” he added.
Although mere proposals as present, Heitman believes the amendments are a “fait-accompli” and once increased powers are granted they’ll never be called back. “The threat of terrorism might pass but the threat to civil liberties will be set in concrete,” he said
The review, headed by Attorney-General’s department secretary Robert Cornall, found that “the profound shift in the international security environment has meant that Australia’s profile as a terrorist target has risen and our interests abroad face a higher level of terrorist threat. While there remains no known specific threat of terrorism in Australia, Cabinet has endorsed a raft of measures to enhance our ability to meet the challenges of the new terrorist environment,” a statement issued from the Attorney General’s deparment said.
Cabinet will give further consideration to additional issues arising out of the review in the new year.
The Attorney General has been contacted for comment
Religious hatred law abandoned after Bill retreat
By Benedict Brogan, Political Correspondent
THE Government gave up its efforts to ban incitement to religious hatred yesterday after suffering a defeat in the Lords that forced David Blunkett to retreat on his anti-terror legislation.
Downing Street said there would not be time in the rest of the current Parliament to try again, even though Labour’s term still has more than four years to run.
“It was a priority but we warned in the passage of the Bill that because of the pressures on the legislative process it would be difficult to get it back,” a spokesman for Tony Blair said.
The Home Secretary went before the Commons on Thursday night to announce that he had decided to remove the section on religious hatred from the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill after the Lords rejected it. Mr Blunkett blamed “duplicitous and hypocritical” Tories and Liberal Democrats for the U-turn.
“The reason religious incitement was dropped was because the whole of the anti-terrorism Bill would have fallen because of the refusal of the House of Lords to accept the view of the Commons,” he said in a statement. “This Parliamentary session was the opportunity to pass this into law, with other measures delayed and dropped because of the need to get anti-terrorist legislation passed.”
The Conservatives said the proceedings of the Bill, which received royal assent yesterday, were an example of how they would conduct themselves in Opposition under Iain Duncan Smith’s leadership.
Pointing to six changes and concessions obtained from the Government, Oliver Letwin, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: “We identified and drew attention to a number of serious problems with the Bill at the start, and led a cross-party coalition to force the Government to improve it.
“We backed the need for emergency legislation throughout, and voted for the Bill during its Second Reading, but we were deeply concerned about those aspects of the Bill which bore little or no relation to the terrorist crisis and which undermined fundamental civil liberties.
“Our attitude to the anti-terrorism Bill is an important example of how we intend to pursue Opposition. We will be an Opposition which helps set a responsible tone for national debate, and which uses Parliament effectively to check the power of the Government.”
The emergency Bill remains largely intact. But in negotiations with the Opposition and faced with the prospect of more clashes in the Lords, Mr Blunkett gave way to ensure the legislation reached the statute books before Christmas, as he had promised.
Among the changes, Mr Blunkett agreed to limit the Government’s powers to incorporate future European criminal justice decisions into British law without debate on the floor of the House; to limit the powers of MI5 and MI6 to look at confidential information such as medical records; and to give Parliament an opportunity to review the legislation.
Representatives of British Muslims urged the Government not to abandon the effort to restrict incitement to religious hatred.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the leader of the Muslim Parliament, said: “We need a separate comprehensive Bill which covers religiously-motivated assaults and discrimination on grounds of religion in all things, such as jobs and housing.”
FBI ‘Fesses Up to Net Spy App
4:16 p.m. Dec. 12, 2001 PST
SAN FRANCISCO — An FBI spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the U.S. government is working on a controversial Internet spying technology, code-named “Magic Lantern,” which could be used to eavesdrop on computer communications by suspected criminals.
“It is a workbench project” that has not yet been deployed, said FBI spokesman Paul Bresson. “We can’t discuss it because it’s under development.”
The FBI has already acknowledged that it uses software that records keystrokes typed into a computer to obtain passwords that can be used to read encrypted e-mail and other documents as part of criminal investigations.
Magic Lantern reportedly would allow the agency to plant a Trojan horse keystroke logger on a target’s PC by sending a computer virus over the Internet, rather than require physical access to the computer as is now the case.
Malicious hackers have been known to use e-mail or other remote methods for installing spying technology, security experts said.
When word of Magic Lantern leaked out in published reports in November, civil libertarians said the program could easily be abused by overzealous law enforcement agencies.
When asked if Magic Lantern would require a court order for the FBI to use it, as existing keystroke logger technology does, Bresson said: “Like all technology projects or tools deployed by the FBI it would be used pursuant to the appropriate legal process.”
Major anti-virus vendors this week said they would not voluntarily cooperate with the FBI and said their products would continue to be updated to detect and prevent viruses, regardless of their origin, unless there was a legal order otherwise.
Doing so would anger customers and alienate non-U.S. customers and governments, they said, adding that there had been no requests by the FBI to ignore any viruses.
The FBI set a precedent in a similar case by asking Internet service providers to install technology in their networks that allows officials to secretly read e-mails of criminal investigation targets.
While the FBI requires a court order to install its technology, formerly called “Carnivore,” some service providers reportedly comply voluntarily, while court orders are relatively easy to get, civil libertarians argue.
Given the hijacking attacks of Sept. 11, it is also conceivable that the U.S. government would enlist the aid of private companies to combat terrorism and help its war effort, said Michael Erbschloe, vice president of research at Computer Economics, which analyzes the impact of viruses.
“In previous wars, including World War II, the government had the power to call on companies to help; to commandeer the technology,” said Erbschloe, author of Information Warfare: How to Survive Cyber Attacks.
“If we were at war the government would be able to require technology companies to cooperate, I believe, in a number of ways, including getting back door access to information and computer systems.”
House Approves Bioterror Bills
3:15 p.m. Dec. 12, 2001 PST
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved two bills responding to the bioterror threat — one to improve U.S. research and preparedness, the other to make it easier to prosecute hoaxes.
Both bipartisan bills were rapidly drafted after the Sept. 11 attacks and the anthrax letters that killed five people in Florida, Connecticut, New York and Washington.
“This is remarkable legislation for remarkable times,” said Louisiana Republican Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and co-author with Michigan Democrat John Dingell of the $3 billion bioterror defense bill. It passed 418-2.
U.S. President George W. Bush praised the vote in a statement, saying, “Their legislation includes many of my priorities, including proposals to expand the pharmaceutical stockpile, increase our supply of smallpox vaccines, strengthen state and local preparedness and improve the safety of our food supply.”
Senate leaders hoped to vote on similar bioterror legislation before the Christmas break. The Senate has included some bioterror provisions in its defense spending bill.
The second House bill would close loopholes in federal laws and make it easier to prosecute anyone who stages bioterror, chemical or nuclear hoaxes. It passed 423-0.
Emergency workers and biohazard teams had to respond to thousands of false alarms during the anthrax episodes in the last few months.
Some were mistakes, caused by panic over harmless packing materials or powdered sugar. But others were intentional hoaxes requiring time-consuming and expensive responses by biohazard teams, and causing fear and disruption.
“These hoaxes are not meant to be funny. Rather, they are meant to terrorize and to frighten,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican.
Don’t Drive, Surf to Virgin Mary
2:05 p.m. Dec. 12, 2001 PST
MEXICO CITY — Hundreds of thousands of the faithful drove, walked and crawled Wednesday to a basilica honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint. But for those who couldn’t make it in person, Pope John Paul II launched a website allowing them to send their petitions by e-mail.
Using a laptop computer, the pope was the first official visitor to www.virgendeguadalupe.org.mx, an image-filled site featuring real-time Masses, a virtual souvenir shop and a complete history of the 1531 appearance the Virgin is said to have made to a poor peasant at Tepeyac, in what is today northern Mexico City.
“It’s incredible,” Msgr. Diego Monroy, rector of the Basilica of Guadalupe, told the Televisa television network. “We’ve been working for six months to bring the latest communication developments” to the faithful.
Despite the innovation, droves of worshippers crowded the basilica and the plaza outside, some traveling for days to reach the site where the Virgin is said to have told the peasant, Juan Diego, to build a church in her honor.
Rosa Valazquez, 54, a housewife from Hidalgo state, rode a bus for 10.5 hours and then walked another eight hours through the overnight chill of Mexico City to reach the basilica.
Shortly before reaching the door, she dropped to the ground and crawled the last few yards on her knees, covered only by a dirty, rainbow-colored skirt.
The basilica was packed with worshippers standing on tiptoe to catch a glimpse of a Mass that was inaudible over the drum beat of an Aztec dance ceremony outside. Still, those inside made room as Valazquez arrived.
Valazquez said she was particularly thankful to the Virgin for protecting her husband, an illegal migrant who successfully made the trip back to Houston after a visit to Mexico.
“The Virgin guided him on a trip that has killed so many others,” Valazquez said. “The Virgin is the one that gives us power. She is the Mary of the lower classes.”
Juan Devarege, a 24-year-old political science student from Mexico City, tore holes in his jeans while crawling on his knees about 200 yards across the plaza’s trash-strewn black asphalt plaza.
“I need to ask forgiveness because I am a sinner,” Devarege said. “On this day of the year, we all feel so humble. We all feel so much love for our Virgin.”
The gathering represented a portrait of Mexican society: Well-dressed families toting video cameras and eating ice cream rubbed shoulders with peasants wearing threadbare shirts and dirty hats and clutching sack lunches of tortillas and corn mush.
Vendors also packed the plaza, selling everything from Virgin statues and altars to Guadalupe baseball caps. Many faithful arrived with framed images of the Virgin strapped to their backs, stomachs and feet.
Oliver and Mary Torres arrived Tuesday night from the central city of Puebla, accompanied by their three children.
The family spent the night sleeping on flattened cardboard boxes piled with Winnie-the-Pooh sleeping bags. They woke to a sunny day and skies unusually clear for this notoriously polluted city.
“We want to show our children, show the ones that we love, that our Virgin is the most important person in their lives,” Mary Torres said.
More than 300 people were treated Wednesday for fatigue and gastrointestinal disorders, the Red Cross said. One pilgrim was killed after being hit by a car while riding his bike through Mexico City toward the basilica.
A cloak said to be Diego’s stamped with a 5.5-by-3.5-foot image of the olive-skinned Virgin is the centerpiece of the hilltop basilica.
Historians have questioned whether Diego and the Virgin ever existed, arguing that both were invented by Spanish conquerors looking to convert the Indian population to Catholicism. Others maintain native Mexicans invented the story of Diego’s vision in order to keep worshipping Tonantzin, an Aztec goddess whose shrine was at Tepeyac.
Despite the controversy, Pope Juan Paul II has remained a supporter of the “La Virgincita,” or “The Little Virgin,” and even began to formally consider Diego for sainthood in 1999.
Lords defeat for Blunkett on religious incitement
By Andy McSmith, Chief Political Correspondent
INCITING religious hatred should not be a crime, the House of Lords decided last night in another defeat for the Government over clauses in its anti-terrorism Bill.
David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, is now expected to use Labour’s huge majority in the Commons later in the week to overrule the peers in this test of wills.
The proposal to criminalise incitement to religious hatred was defeated by 240-141 in the Lords – the eighth defeat the Government had suffered over the Bill, which Mr Blunkett wants to have on the statute book by Christmas.
It was closely followed by yet another reverse, when the Lords decided by 200-128 that even those parts of the Bill that they have not thrown out should be in force for only a year. The Lords are proposing that, like the old Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Bill should have to be renewed annually.
Opposition has come from a coalition of Tories, Liberal Democrats and Labour rebels. The rebel peers have had the backing of distinguished independents, including former law lords.
Mr Blunkett averted another possible defeat by backing down on one of the Bill’s most unpopular provisions. He had proposed to give himself the power to introduce European rules on a range of crime and justice matters without putting legislation through Parliament.
If that had gone ahead, a simple order from the Home Secretary could have made European arrest warrants enforceable in Britain. Faced with united opposition, Mr Blunkett agreed to make the power applicable only to the fight against terrorism, and only until June 2005.
Lord Strathclyde, Tory leader in the Lords, said: “Hasty law is often bad law. Hasty law touching on freedom of belief is particularly risky.
“It was a gross misjudgment to have buried these important, non-emergency issues, unrelated to terrorism, in an emergency Bill that should focus on terrorism.”
Simon Hughes, the Lib-Dem home affairs spokesman, said he did not expect his party’s peers to change their minds “even under pressure”.
Who EU Calling a Terrorist?
By Jeffrey Benner
3:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 2001 PST
European lawyers have denounced a European Union proposal to establish a definition of terrorism so broad that it could include workers’ strikes or protests against globalization.
More than 200 lawyers from nearly every country in the European Union (EU) have signed an appeal urging European Parliament and EU governments to reject a broad definition of terrorism.
“This antiterrorist legislation once imposed will become a real war machine against fundamental democratic rights,” the appeal warned, “and against those who come up against a political and social system with its basis in economics, a system increasingly global and unjust.”
Supporters held a press conference on the issue in Brussels on Monday in an effort to raise awareness of the issue.
The European legislation in question is a proposal on combating terrorism that the EU Council of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs is scheduled to discuss later this week.
The proposal defines terrorism as, “offenses intentionally committed by an individual or a group against one or more countries, their institutions or people, with the aim of intimidating them and seriously altering or destroying the political, economic, or social structures of a country.”
If endorsed, EU member states will be obligated to incorporate the definition into their own laws. Six member countries already have special anti-terror laws, and critics fear the EU proposal could dramatically expand their application under the proposed definition.
Jan Fermon, a lawyer from Brussels who helped draft the appeal, is concerned that the EU is using the Sept. 11 attack as an excuse to pass proposals designed to quash political dissent under the guise of counter-terrorism.
“Most of these proposals have no relation to terrorism,” Fermon said, “but the EU is now using 9-11 to get them passed without criticism.
“The main concern is that the definition is so broad that it includes all kinds of lawful protest. Trade union activity, anti-globalization protest, all of it can be criminalized under the legislation.”
As a matter that relates to domestic security, the proposal — called a “framework decision” — does not require approval from the European Parliament.
The concern in Europe mirrors developments in the U.S., where civil liberties groups are worried about an expansion in the definition of terrorism, an increase in surveillance power for law enforcement, and the prospect of military trials for accused terrorists.
While the debates on terror and civil liberties in Europe have been similar to those in the U.S., the situation is not exactly parallel, according to Sarah Andrews, a researcher at the Electronic Privacy and Information Center in Washington D.C.
“In some respects, they’re going further than the U.S.,” Andrews said. “The data retention proposals, and things like keeping data on those suspected of public disturbance” have not been proposed in the United States, she said.
Regarding keeping data on public rabble rousers, Andrews was referring to a report released Monday by the London-based civil rights group Statewatch.
It warned the EU might expand its Schengen Information System (SIS) — an existing system for sharing law enforcement information among EU states — to include “suspected protesters.”
“Targeted suspects would be tagged with an “alert” on the SIS and barred from entry (to) the country where the protest or event was taking place,” the report warned. The matter is being discussed by the EU but has not yet been approved, according to Statewatch.
Following violence this summer at anti-globalization protests in Genoa, Italy, and Goteborg, Sweden, the European Union began considering proposals to give police additional power to stop the protests. Since Sept. 11, those efforts appear to have merged with a push to combat terrorism.
Fermon doesn’t believe EU governments intend to use terror laws against domestic protesters. But he fears unintended consequences once laws are on the books. As an example, he cites the decision earlier this year to prosecute protesters at Goteborg under anti-mafia laws.
“We fear that once you get into this kind of logic, you inevitably end up having all kinds of special rules incompatible with fair trial,” he said.
Fermon believes existing laws are adequate to prosecute terror.
In addition to the proposal to establish a broad definition of terrorism, civil libertarians in Europe are also concerned about another proposal to create an EU-wide arrest warrant. If approved, it would eliminate the need for extradition procedures when transferring suspects from one member country to another.
Lords defeat for government on anti-terrorism bill
Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent
Friday November 30, 2001
The government suffered the first of what could turn out to be many defeats over its emergency anti-terrorism bill when peers voted to make its powers apply to acts of terrorism in Britain, as well as abroad.
The government was defeated by 149 to 139, underlining its lack of a majority in the upper house.
The bill’s powers of detention and deportation in its original form did not apply to acts of terrorism by non-EU members directed at Britain.
The detention powers only applied to international terrorism aimed at targets abroad. The government argued that it already had powers to combat terrorism directed at Britain in the Terrorism Act 2000.
The opposition was led by the Conservatives, but the Liberal Democrats abstained, partly because they do not want to defeat the government during the bill’s committee stage.
Lord McNally, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, later angrily accused the Tories of hijacking the debate.
He said: “It has been disappointing to see the Conservatives hijack today’s debate. They chose to narrow the focus specifically to the situation in Northern Ireland. Conservative peers refused to listen to the arguments of the government and others and chose to pursue a narrow agenda. This sort of irresponsible politics will get us nowhere in fighting terrorism at home and abroad.”
Leader of the Tory peers, Lord Strathclyde, hit back saying: “This was a striking result – all the more gratifying, given the inexplicable tactics of the Liberals.
“Their so-called effective opposition fizzled out pathetically before the starting pistol was even fired.
“As so often, the House of Lords has taken a commonsense line. The government cannot claim to be against terrorism unless it is firm against all terrorists.
“There can be no case for distinction between a foreign terrorist plotting to blow up New York and one plotting to blow up Canary Wharf.
“The man and woman in the street who are under threat from terrorists would not begin to understand the government’s motives in trying to exclude domestic-related terrorism from this bill.”
During the debate, the former cabinet minister Lord Tebbit accused the government of “wishing to appease Irish republicans, including violent Irish republicans”.
A Home Office spokesman accused the Conservatives of time wasting, but did not clarify if the defeat would be overturned in the Commons.
Blunkett to drop religious hatred law from terrorism Bill
By Joe Murphy, Political Editor
DAVID BLUNKETT is preparing to drop planned laws against inciting religious hatred in a major concession to critics tomorrow.
With the controversial measure facing a likely defeat if it goes to the Lords, the Home Secretary wants to focus his energies on defending the rest of his emergency anti-terror legislation.
Mr Blunkett will “take the temperature” among Labour backbenchers when the Bill goes before the Commons again tomorrow and has signalled in advance that he is prepared to drop the clause on religious hatred.
The Bill is being targeted by Tory and Liberal Democrats for a vote in the Lords. A few Labour rebels oppose it on the grounds that it could inhibit free speech.
In its current form, the Bill would make it a criminal offence to use language likely to incite hatred or violence against religious communities, with a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment.
It followed attempts by extremists to stir up feelings against Muslims after the September 11 atrocities.
Critics say the law would be unworkable because it requires a subjective test and that it would create a grey area over what is or is not acceptable criticism of religious practices.
A Home Office insider said: “It is not the most important part of the Bill and we can live without it. David Blunkett will listen to what Labour MPs say on Monday and is prepared to drop it if that is their wish.”
The Government will now concentrate on defending the core parts of the Bill, including powers to detain foreign terrorist suspects without a formal trial. Ministers say MPs do not realise that anyone detained can appeal to a closed court headed by a High Court judge.
FBI’s “Trojan horse” program to grab passwords
15:50 21 November 01
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is developing a computer program that can steal the passwords that suspected criminals use to lock encrypted messages, according to a source cited by MSNBC.
The “Trojan horse” program, known as Magic Lantern, could be sent to a suspect attached to a seemingly innocent email message. After the program has installed itself using a known software bug, it would capture the passwords used to encrypt messages and send these to FBI officers.
Investigators might then be able to decrypt and read secret email messages. But some computer experts question how successful such a system would be.
Graham Cluley, an anti-virus researcher at Sophos, says that some anti-virus software may detect the program automatically. If not, the anti-virus software could easily be configured to catch the program, he says.
“It would be relatively trivial to write a detector for it”, Cluley told New Scientist. “Some customers may ask for a fix for it.”
In October, with a search warrant, the FBI manually installed key-logging software on a suspect’s computer system and captured encryption software passwords. These were used to decipher messages and gather evidence for an investigation into organised crime.
Magic Lantern would be one part of the FBI’s growing arsenal of computer eavesdropping tools. These include the software system known as Carnivore, which is capable of sifting through large volumes of emails for incriminating evidence. But Carnivore cannot crack encrypted messages.
Brian Gladman, a retired UK Ministry of Defence expert and a campaigner against government regulation of encryption, says that common encryption tools such as Pretty Good Privacy and GnuPG have forced the authorities to turn to such methods.
But Gladman also says that this new technique would go farther than anything the FBI has employed before. “Entering a computer system is quite a different from passive eavesdropping,” he says. “This at least has to be highly regulated.”
15:50 21 November 01
Sunday November 18 8:39 AM ET
Pope Calls World Religions to Peace Summit
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope John Paul (news – web sites) Sunday called a meeting of leaders of all the world’s religions in January to pray for peace and to work to overcome armed conflict at what he said was an historic moment for humanity.
The Pope said he hoped the January 24 meeting in the Italian hill city of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis, would be particularly helpful to improve relations between Christians and Muslims following the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The Pope, speaking to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square, said the international situation was very worrying.
“We cannot forget the heavy sufferings that have been inflicted and continue to be inflicted on our brothers and sisters in the world,” the Pope said.
“(There were) thousands of innocent victims in the very grave attacks on September 11; numerous people are (now) forced to abandon their homes to face the unknown, sometimes a cruel death; women, elderly and children exposed to the risk of dying of cold and hunger,” he said.
The Pope hosted a similar meeting in Assisi on October 27, 1986.
During that session, nearly all parties in armed conflicts around the world adhered to his appeal and laid down their arms for 24 hours as a gesture of peace while the meeting was held.
WORLD NEEDS GESTURES
“At this historic moment, humanity needs to see gestures of peace and listen to words of hope,” he said.
The Pope said the threat of terrorism was “always constant” and added:
“The more insurmountable the difficulties seem, the darker the prospects, so much more intense should our prayer to God become to implore him for the gift of mutual understanding, of concord and peace.”
The Pope said he wanted the new Assisi summit in the birthplace of the saint most associated with peace “to help overcome contrasts and promote authentic peace.”
He said it was particularly important for Muslims and Christians to show the world “that religions must never be allowed to become a cause of conflict, hate and violence.”
“Those who truly receive the word of God, who is good and merciful, must expel from their hearts every form of rancor and discord,” he said.
In his address Sunday, the Pope also urged Roman Catholics to hold a fast for peace on December 14.
By abstaining from food, the Pope said Catholics could help concentrate their prayers for a world where peace is stable and founded on justice.
“Let’s try to find proper solutions to the many problems that assail humanity,” he said.
Father Vincenzo Fortunato, a spokesman for the Franciscan order in Assisi which hosted the 1986 peace meeting, said:
“For us, this shows once more the spiritual genius of the Pope who is again trying to influence the world with the power of prayer. We are delighted he is coming back for this and thank him.”
Bush’s Tribunals Under Fire
By Declan McCullagh
2:00 a.m. Nov. 16, 2001 PST
WASHINGTON — President Bush’s decision to try civilians before secret military tribunals could lead to the kind of showdown between the Army and the judiciary not seen since the Civil War.
Bush quietly signed an executive order this week (click here to read full document) that says any suspected terrorist “who is not a United States citizen” can be arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced by the U.S. military.
The two-page order, drawing on the president’s authority as commander-in-chief during wartime, says a secret military tribunal may impose sentences as harsh as death on illegal visitors to the United States, green-card holders or tourists who are accused of terrorism.
By filing a so-called writ of habeas corpus, attorneys representing someone facing a tribunal could petition the civilian courts to take up the case, a move that could lead to a rare tussle between civilian and military authorities.
A safeguard of liberty dating back to English common law and England’s Habeas Corpus Act of 1671, the writ of habeas corpus says that authorities must bring a person they arrest before a judge who orders it. The U.S. Constitution says: “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”…
…David Cole, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University, says Bush’s executive order is unprecedented for two reasons: Tribunals will be used when America has not declared war, and they are not limited to terrorists who are members of al-Qaida.
Bush could have written his order to apply only to al-Qaida members, but instead chose to include non-citizens who have harbored terrorists, are terrorists or have “conspired” with terrorists…
“To adopt this military tribunal is essentially to throw out the window all of the protections we have for 200 years considered critical to a fair determination of guilt,” says Georgetown’s Cole. “It throws out the requirement that the trial be public, that the evidence that the government relies on be revealed to the defendant, that there be any judicial review. It throws out the requirement that the government provide exculpatory evidence.”
Cole says that “these are the bottom-line constitutional principles that we have concluded are necessary to give a criminal judgment legitimacy.”
The American Civil Liberties Union says: “To our knowledge, the move to establish a military tribunal when Congress has not declared war is unprecedented. We do not believe that the administration has shown that the constitutional jury trial system does not allow for the prosecution of those accused of terrorist activities.”
During speeches this week, Bush administration officials defended the secret military tribunals.
“Somebody who comes into the United States of America illegally, who conducts a terrorist operation killing thousands of innocent Americans — men, women and children — is not a lawful combatant,” Vice President Dick Cheney said after a speech Wednesday. “They don’t deserve to be treated as a prisoner of war. They don’t deserve the same guarantees and safeguards that would be used for an American citizen going through the normal judicial process.”
Attorney General John Ashcroft said at a press conference, “It’s important to understand that we are at war now.”…
Terror-related arrests soar
By Kevin Johnson and Toni Locy, USA TODAY – 2/11/01
WASHINGTON — The number of people detained in connection with the Sept. 11 terror attacks has soared 66% since Oct. 10, the day before the first of two “high alert” warnings by Attorney General John Ashcroft. There are now 1,087 detainees being held at undisclosed locations across the nation, including about 60 who have been arrested since Ashcroft’s second terrorism warning, on Monday. That’s an increase from 655 held Oct. 10…
…Many of the hijackers who led the Sept. 11 suicide attacks were known associates of terror groups but were able to slip into the country undetected.
Since Sept. 11, Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller have been waging a war of their own by pursuing an aggressive detention strategy designed primarily to disrupt or prevent future attacks.
A majority of those arrested since Sept. 11 remain in custody, Justice Department officials said. Immediately after the assaults in New York and Washington, authorities moved swiftly in arresting dozens of possible suspects and witnesses. That pace slowed in late September, but the arrest numbers increased steadily after the first terror alert was issued earlier in October.
The roundup of suspects has continued in relative secrecy, and the Justice Department has provided little information about the detainees, including their identities and the nature of the charges against them.
Ashcroft made no apologies for law enforcement’s aggressive actions and compared the current terrorism investigation to former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy’s “extraordinary campaign to root out and dismantle organized crime” in the 1960s.
“In the war on terror,” he said, “it is the policy of this Justice Department to be equally aggressive. We will arrest and detain any suspected terrorist who has violated the law.”
“19 terrorists in 6 weeks have been able to command 300 million North
Americans to do away with the entirety of their civil liberties that took
700 years to advance from the Magna Carta onward. The terrorists have
already won the political and ideological war with one terrorist act. It is
mindboggling that we are that weak as a society.”
Lawyer for the Canadian Islamic Congress
FBI Terror Detentions Questioned
2:00 a.m. Oct. 30, 2001 PST
WASHINGTON — Civil liberties groups are demanding that the U.S. government disclose information about hundreds of people who have been detained after the Sep. 11 attacks.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill on Monday, the groups said it’s time for the Justice Department to provide at least some details on the continuing investigation, such as how many people are detained, who has been charged with terrorism, and whether they’ve had access to attorneys.
Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said: “While certain aspects of the FBI investigation into the terrorist attacks need to be secret, we do not live in a country where the government can keep secret who they arrest, where they are being held, or the charges against them.”…
…Morton Halperin, an attorney for the group, said: “There is a right to know who was arrested and it certainly contains people who were arrested under the rubric of material witness warrants…. If they’re under seal then what we’ve asked for is the evidence of the order of the sealing. If they’re under seal it’s because the government asked them to be, and the question is what was the basis for that.”
Halperin said his group and others are willing to argue their Freedom of Information Act request before a federal judge if the government refuses.
Material witness warrants typically permit the arrest of someone who may have valuable information about a crime. A federal judge can order such warrants if a prosecutor shows the person poses a serious flight risk. Once material witnesses are arrested, they are entitled to a judicial hearing within 48 hours and can then be jailed until they testify.
The Center for National Security Studies’ Martin said: “Material witnesses are entitled to counsel and some kind of a judicial hearing. We are not sure how long they can keep them in custody. This is a little-used area of the law.”
The extraordinary public attention focused on this investigation has increased pressure on police to produce results. David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor who is representing the Center for Constitutional Rights, said: “No doubt pressure exists on law enforcement to be over-inclusive in this time.”
Terror Act Has Lasting Effects
By Declan McCullagh
2:00 a.m. Oct. 26, 2001 PDT
WASHINGTON — Legislators who sent a sweeping anti-terrorism bill to President Bush this week proudly say that the most controversial surveillance sections will expire in 2005.
Senate Judiciary chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said that a four-year expiration date “will be crucial in making sure that these new law enforcement powers are not abused.” In the House, Bob Barr (R-Georgia) stressed that “we take very seriously the sunset provisions in this bill.”
But the Dec. 2005 expiration date embedded in the USA Act — which the Senate approved 98 to 1 on Thursday — applies only to a tiny part of the mammoth bill.
After the president signs the measure on Friday, police will have the permanent ability to conduct Internet surveillance without a court order in some circumstances, secretly search homes and offices without notifying the owner, and share confidential grand jury information with the CIA.
Also exempt from the expiration date are investigations underway by Dec. 2005, and any future investigations of crimes that took place before that date.
On Thursday, Attorney General John Ashcroft vowed to publish new guidelines as soon as the president signs the bill, which is expected to happen Friday. “I will issue directives requiring law enforcement to make use of new powers in intelligence gathering, criminal procedure and immigration violations,” Ashcroft said.
President Bush said this week that he looks forward to signing the USA Act, which his administration requested in response to the Sep. 11 hijackings, “so that we can combat terrorism and prevent future attacks.”
During the Senate debate Thursday, the lone critic of the bill was Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), who introduced an unsuccessful series of pro-privacy amendments earlier this month.
“We in this body have a duty to analyze, to test, to weigh new laws that the zealous and often sincere advocates of security would suggest to us,” Feingold said. “This is what I have tried to do with this anti-terrorism bill. And that is why I will vote against this bill.”
Feingold said the USA Act “does not strike the right balance between empowering law enforcement and protecting constitutional freedoms.”
But not one of his colleagues joined him in dissent. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) seemed to speak for the rest of the Senate when saying “the homefront is a war front” and arguing that police needed new surveillance powers.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) did not vote.
Other sections of the USA Act, which the House approved by a 357 to 66 vote on Wednesday, that do not expire include the following:
Police can sneak into someone’s house or office, search the contents, and leave without ever telling the owner. This would be supervised by a court, and the notification of the surreptitious search “may be delayed” indefinitely. (Section 213)
Any U.S. attorney or state attorney general can order the installation of the FBI’s Carnivore surveillance system and record addresses of Web pages visited and e-mail correspondents — without going to a judge. Previously, there were stiffer legal restrictions on Carnivore and other Internet surveillance techniques. (Section 216)
Any American “with intent to defraud” who scans in an image of a foreign currency note or e-mails or transmits such an image will go to jail for up to 20 years. (Section 375)
An accused terrorist who is a foreign citizen and who cannot be deported can be held for an unspecified series of “periods of up to six months” with the attorney general’s approval. (Section 412)
Biometric technology, such as fingerprint readers or iris scanners, will become part of an “integrated entry and exit data system” with the identities of visa holders who hope to enter the U.S. (Section 414)
Any Internet provider or telephone company must turn over customer information, including phone numbers called — no court order required — if the FBI claims the “records sought are relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism.” The company contacted may not “disclose to any person” that the FBI is doing an investigation. (Section 505)
Credit reporting firms like Equifax must disclose to the FBI any information that agents request in connection with a terrorist investigation — without police needing to seek a court order first. Current law permits this only in espionage cases. (Section 505)
The current definition of terrorism is radically expanded to include biochemical attacks and computer hacking. Some current computer crimes — such as hacking a U.S. government system or breaking into and damaging any Internet-connected computer — are covered. (Section 808)
A new crime of “cyberterrorism” is added, which covers hacking attempts causing damage “aggregating at least $5,000 in value” in one year, any damage to medical equipment or “physical injury to any person.” Prison terms range between five and 20 years. (Section 814)
New computer forensics labs will be created to inspect “seized or intercepted computer evidence relating to criminal activity (including cyberterrorism)” and to train federal agents. (Section 816)
Bush signs anti-terrorism bill
October 26, 2001 Posted: 1:28 p.m. EDT (1728 GMT)
(CNN) — President Bush granted federal authorities expanded surveillance and intelligence-gathering powers Friday, signing a broad anti-terrorism bill into law at a White House ceremony.
The measure allows authorities to use more overseas intelligence information, allows for longer detentions of suspects who are not U.S. citizens and expands wiretapping authority. It was crafted in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks and passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly Thursday.
Supporters say the law — dubbed the “U.S.A. Patriot Act of 2001” — will help federal agents prevent future terrorist attacks, rather than simply respond with prosecutions after the fact. Bush said the measure is an “essential step” that still protects Americans’ civil rights. (Full story)
“The bill before me takes account of the new realities and dangers posed by modern terrorists,” Bush said. “It will help law enforcement to identify, to dismantle, to disrupt and to punish terrorists before they strike.”
The bill Bush signed also strengthens penalties for those convicted of helping terrorists, lengthens the statute of limitations for terrorist acts and gives the government new authority to track the finances of suspected terrorists. Critics have warned the measure could erode civil liberties in the process…
The additional powers, including the use of much more foreign intelligence information and expanded wiretapping authority, will, according to supporters, help federal law enforcement agents prevent future terrorist attacks, rather than simply respond with prosecutions after the fact..
“Today we take an essential step in defeating terrorism, while protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans,” Bush said at the White House ceremony. He was apparently alluding to some criticism that the bill erodes civil liberties…
USA Act Stampedes Through
By Declan McCullagh
2:00 a.m. Oct. 25, 2001 PDT
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate is set to end a month-long debate over balancing freedom and security on Thursday by granting police more surveillance power and sharply curtailing Americans’ privacy.
Since the House of Representatives already has voted for the anti-terrorism bill (400 KB), the widely expected Senate endorsement would send the labyrinthine legislation to President Bush for his signature later this week.
Approval in both chambers — the House voted 357-66 for the so-called USA Act on Wednesday — is set to take place as fears of anthrax have snarled the usual course of business on Capitol Hill and temporarily shuttered most of Congress’ office buildings.
The clandestine process that Senate and House leaders used to usher versions of the bill through the legislative process with little opportunity for public debate drew condemnations from a minority of politicians.
“The report has just come to us,” said Rep. Robert Scott (D-Virginia) during the debate that began Tuesday. “It would be helpful if we would wait for some period of time so that we can at least review what we are voting on, but I guess that is not going to stop us, so here we are.”
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) was far more sarcastic: “This bill, ironically, which has been given all of these high-flying acronyms — it is the Patriot bill, it is the USA bill, it is the stand-up-and-sing-the-Star-Spangled-Banner bill — has been debated in the most undemocratic way possible, and it is not worthy of this institution.”
Even though many Republicans seemed worried about the additional police powers, nearly all GOP members of the House decided to rally behind their president. Of the 66 votes against the legislation in the House, only three were Republicans.
“We learned something six weeks ago,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama). “It was a very painful lesson. We learned that legislation was needed to provide law enforcement and intelligence additional tools that they needed to address the threat of terrorism and terrorists.”
Added Rep. Marge Roukema (R-New Jersey): “I would like to say to some of the naysayers that complain about the provisions, as to whether or not they deny due process or whatever, the question has been asked, are we endangering the rights and privacy of innocent Americans. The answer is no, but it does give our law enforcement officials the requirements that they need for their careful investigation.”
While the final anti-terrorism bill — call it USA Act v3.0 — is not as extreme as earlier drafts, key portions suggested by the Justice Department have emerged from closed-door negotiations without modification.
The USA Act permits police to obtain court orders to conduct secret searches of Americans’ homes and offices, browse medical and financial records without showing evidence of a crime and monitor e-mail and Web activity without a judge’s approval in some circumstances.
In a compromise between the House and the Senate, some of the additional eavesdropping powers automatically expire in December 2005. The Senate version did not include an expiration date.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said that the Senate likely will consider the USA Act on Thursday afternoon.
Opponents of the USA Act put a brave face on bitter defeat Wednesday.
In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union said it “applauded the 66 members of the House of Representatives who voted against the final version of anti-terrorism legislation, saying that they acted bravely to preserve civil liberties in America in the face of enormous pressure from the Bush Administration.”
Jeanne Butterfield, director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said: “I think that the legislation as it came out goes a long way in achieving the sort of balance we were seeking…. The extraordinary powers to detain people based on meeting a very broad definition of terrorism is a concern still and we will be keeping an eye on that.”
Robert Fike, federal affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform, echoed a common theme: Right now it’s difficult to reach members of Congress or their aides to lobby them.
“One of the problems we’ve been having — and it’s not just us, it’s everyone in the interest community — we haven’t been able to communicate with Congress,” Fike said. “Congress is still working in the Stone Age. Their preferred method of communication is letter. They don’t like dealing with e-mail.”
Both chambers of Congress had approved different versions of the anti-terrorism bill earlier this month, which led congressional leaders to work out differences and compromise on the current draft.
Ben Polen contributed to this report.
October 18, 2001
Beyond Carnivore: FBI Eyes Packet Taps
By Max Smetannikov
Expect the FBI to expand its Internet wiretapping program, says a source familiar with the plan.
Stewart Baker, a partner with law firm Steptoe & Johnson, is a former general counsel to the National Security Agency. He says the FBI has spent the last two years developing a new surveillance architecture that would concentrate Internet traffic in several key locations where all packets, not just e-mail, could be wiretapped. It is now planning to begin implementing this architecture using the powers it has under existing wiretapping laws.
The FBI has acknowledged a program called Carnivore, which sniffs e-mail messages, but the new program is more extensive, Baker says.
“The FBI has been gradually developing a set of guidelines, standards – call it what you will – a list of what law enforcement wants from packet data communications systems,” Baker said. “And they are in the process of unveiling that over the next few months to ISPs and router manufacturers and the like.”
ISPs, Web hosters, vendors and other firms handling critical Internet infrastructure should expect the FBI trying to schedule meetings to deliver the details of their offering, and show the document containing the technical specifications, Baker said. He indicated that details of what this new surveillance architecture should look like are not clear. It is also possible the FBI has retained some well-known data infrastructure consulting firms to develop its new technology.
The new architecture is different from Carnivore because it would likely ask for certain types of data communications to be centralized, he said.
“The goal might be to get companies that use packet data to have those packets go to one place for purposes of wiretap and other intercept capabilities,” Baker said. “It’s clear they [the Bureau] have decided that in the next year or so they are going to make a big push on packet data and they are going to use whatever leverage they can to get people to cooperate and to build a set of packet data systems that are more wiretap friendly than the ones we have today.”
The FBI spokesman overseeing Carnivore and other wiretapping issues didn’t immediately return calls seeking comments.
Whatever the new initiative ends up looking like, the Internet service provider community could be more likely to cooperate, shaken up by Sept. 11, said industry executives. But no one has heard of the FBI going beyond Carnivore at this point.
“The FBI are trying to get Carnivore with a lot more ISPs,” said Patrick Sweeney, president and chief executive of ServerVault, a Web hosting firm specializing in secure hosting.
Reportedly, the FBI is trying to use sections of Title 18, the wiretapping law, to extend its eavesdropping coverage to e-mail, Sweeney said. While he was not familiar with the initiative Baker described, Sweeney said Bureau’s interest in tracking data communications is not shocking, and might go beyond the FBI.
“There are so many agencies that are working on procedures where they can make sure than entire comprehensive wireless and wireline tapping can be put into place if need be,” he said.
Former President Says Son’s “Faith Is Real” – 8 October 2001
The father of President Bush says he is glad Americans have been able to
see his son’s genuine belief, which has been especially evident since
the Sept. 11 crisis, reports Charisma News Service.
“This thing about faith — I mean this is real for him,” former
President George Bush told “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw last
week. “Here’s a man that’s read the Bible through twice. … It’s
something that is in his heart.”
Hours after the terrorist assault on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, George W. Bush tried to comfort the nation by quoting Psalm
23. In his widely acclaimed address to the joint session of Congress
last week, the president asked Americans to continue to unite and pray,
Best-selling author Max Lucado, one of several religious leaders who met
with Bush in the White House the day he spoke to Congress, was impressed
by the president’s faith. “His first words to us were, ‘I have never
felt better in my life, and it’s because of the prayers of the American
people,'” Lucado told Charisma News Service in a conference call from
Oak Hills Church of Christ, a 3,000-member congregation he pastors in
New currency for a new world – By George Jones, Political Editor – (Filed:03/10/2001)
“TONY BLAIR yesterday gave his strongest signal that he wants to join the European single currency within four years as he outlined his vision of a new world order rising from the ashes of the terrorist attacks on America…There were strong moral and religious overtones as he proposed a new world order, which he said should be the memorial to those who lost their lives in the attacks on New York and Washington…He defended globalisation as a force for good…”
Edited version of Tony Blair’s conference speech
“IN RETROSPECT the Millennium marked only a moment in time. It was the events of September 11 that marked a turning point in history. It was a tragedy. An act of evil. From this nation goes our deepest sympathy and prayers for the victims and our profound solidarity with the American people…There is a coming together. The power of community is asserting itself. I have long believed this interdependence defines the new world we live in…We can’t do it all. Neither can the Americans. But the power of the international community could, together, if it chose to…I realise why people protest against globalisation. The issue is not how to stop globalisation. The issue is how we use the power of community to combine it with justice. If globalisation works only for the benefit of the few, then it will fail and will deserve to fail. But if we follow the principles that have served us so well at home – that power, wealth and opportunity must be in the hands of the many, not the few – if we make that our guiding light for the global economy, then it will be a force for good and an international movement that we should take pride in leading. America has its faults as a society, as we have ours. But I think of the Union of America born out of the defeat of slavery. I think of its constitution, with its inalienable rights granted to every citizen still a model for the world…This is a moment to seize. The kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us.”
We’ll starve the murderers of cash, says Bush
By Toby Harnden in Washington
PRESIDENT BUSH has “launched a strike on the financial foundation of the global terror network” by freezing Osama bin Laden’s American assets and threatening action against foreign banks that do not follow suit…
The order, which Mr Bush signed on Sunday, prohibits transactions with other groups linked to the al-Qa’eda network and bans donations to non-profit organisations suspected of funnelling money to it.
He said: “We’re putting banks and financial institutions around the world on notice. We will work with their governments and ask them to block terrorist ability to access funds in foreign accounts.
“If they fail to help us by sharing information or freezing accounts, the Department of the Treasury now has the authority to freeze their banks’ assets and transactions in the United States.”
The US Treasury will set up an asset tracking centre to identify and investigate the financial infrastructures of terrorist networks. Mr Bush said: “We’re working closely with the United Nations, the European Union and through the G-7, G-8 structure to limit the ability of terrorist organisations to take advantage of the international financial systems.”
Bush goes after terrorists’ assets – 25 September 2001
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush signed an executive order Monday aimed at cutting the financial lifeblood of Osama bin Laden and organizations linked to his alleged terrorist network.
The order froze the U.S. assets of 27 groups, corporations and individuals identified as supporters of terrorism.
“They include terrorist organizations, individual terrorist leaders, a corporation that serves as a front for terrorism and several nonprofit organizations,” Bush said.
U.S. banks that have assets of the targeted groups and people must freeze their accounts, Bush said. American citizens also are prohibited from doing business with them, he said. Bush also asked overseas banks and financial institution to freeze terrorists’ funds. The Treasury Department may freeze or block the funds of the international banks if they do not help, the president said.
(Author – Would it be possible for a religio-political power to cut off all earthly support to those who refuse to comply with her laws ? Today the Taliban, tomorrow could it be freedom-loving Christians ? See Rev. 13:17 and click here.
Do you want to know which other religious groups have been termed by the FBI as potential “terrorists” and “religious extremists” ? See here .
Report Downplays Echelon Effect – “ability to eavesdrop on telephone calls, faxes and e-mail message”
By Declan McCullagh
9:00 a.m. May 24, 2001 PDT
WASHINGTON — A global surveillance system known as Echelon does exist and has the ability to eavesdrop on telephone calls, faxes and e-mail messages, a European Parliament committee has concluded.
In a 250KB draft report, the committee said that Echelon — operated by English-speaking countries including the United States, Canada and Great Britain — is designed for intelligence purposes but that no “substantiated” evidence exists that it has been used to spy on European firms on behalf of American competitors…
Perhaps the most complete description of Echelon comes from Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a recent book by James Bamford. It says that Echelon is the name of the software package the NSA created in the 1970s to allow participating intelligence agencies to dip into the pool of information gathered from listening posts around the globe.
Analysts with access to the classified network can use an AltaVista-like search engine to forward queries through the Echelon system that contain keywords, names, phrases or telephone numbers, Bamford says.
Remarks by the President to Cardinals, Bishops and Catholic Leaders
The East Room
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 22, 2001
5:18 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much for that warm reception, and welcome to the White House — the people’s house. It is such an honor to live here, and it’s an honor to receive you all. And I look forward to thanking you in person for coming.
It’s also a high honor for me to be on the podium with so many outstanding leaders of faith. I’ve had the honor of meeting many of the cardinals who are here, and many of the bishops and archbishops from around the country. I’ve been struck by how humble the good folks are; how there’s a universal love for mankind and a deep concern for those who are not as fortunate as some of us. The Catholic Church is fortunate to have such strong, capable, decent leadership. And America is fortunate to have such strong leaders in our midst.
I want to thank the cardinals and bishops who are here, and thank you for your service and love for your fellow mankind.
I’ve been struck by a lot of things as I’ve had the opportunity to meet the leadership of the Catholic Church. I think the thing that has captured my heart the most is the not only universal care for the weak and the suffering, but also the strong focus on making sure every child is educated.
And for those of you who are involved with the education system in America, thank you for your hard work. For those of you who are the administrators, thanks for providing great education. For those who give your hard-earned dollars to support the education systems around America, please continue to do so. (Laughter.) Isn’t that right, Bishop? (Laughter.) It’s an incredibly important part of the mosaic of a hopeful tomorrow.
I also appreciate the prayers of many of my fellow Americans. Many times layman and leader alike says, Mr. President, we pray for you, and for that I’m most grateful. It does remind me that I think there’s a great awakening in America; people are rediscovering the inspiration of faith in their lives, and the importance of faith in our society. Faith gives our lives dignity, and faith gives our lives direction. Faith makes our nation more just and more generous, and welcoming.
All of you are part of the humanizing mission which is part of the “great commission” and the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, which we will dedicate tomorrow, will bring this message to generations of Americans in this capital of our nation. The best way to honor Pope John Paul II, truly one of the great men, is to take his teaching seriously; is to listen to his words and put his words and teachings into action here in America. This is a challenge we must accept. (Emphasis supplied).
But you know something about our country? With the right focus and the right leadership, it’s a challenge this nation will accept, because this is a great land. The greatness of the country lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens. And again, I want to thank those of you who inspire and teach love and compassion and hope.
God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 5:22 P.M. EST
Religion News – Leaders Urge Christians to Repent in Light of Terrorist Attacks
by Andy Butcher
September 19, 2001
Senior church leaders have called American Christians to repent in the light of last week’s deadly terrorist attacks. They say the tragedy is a reflection of the country’s “crumbling foundation,” and that “we need to plead with God to forgive us.”
The appeal has gone out to pastors and leaders from a wide-ranging group of ministry and denominational heads. Signatories to the statement include Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, Focus on the Family president James Dobson, Assemblies of God general superintendent Thomas Trask, and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) head Pat Robertson.
The group’s “Biblical Response to America’s National Emergency” is expected to be read out in many churches. It says that Christians need to “repent of our past path of sin,” “remember our present problems” and reach out to those in need, and “reclaim our precious promises” of revival.
The statement says that America has stubbornly rejected God and His Word, forcing prayer and the Ten Commandments out of schools, flooding the world with “unimaginable perversion” through films and television, and allowing millions of abortions. Trusting more in money than God has also “brought shame and disgrace upon our nation.” Prayer is needed “that God will restore the walls of his protection around our nation.”
(Author – Is the world wondering after the “beast” power of Rome ? Note that Pat Buchanan who is also the prominent leader of the Christian Coalition group wants to push the America government to introduce Sunday Laws, by uniting church and state. Why would an American Protestant Bible-believing President complement the customs and traditions of the Roman Catholic church ? Did the apostle John forsee this strange union ? Read Rev.13:3, 4 & 12 and click here)
“My vision of a ‘new world order’ foresees a United Nations with a revitalized peacekeeping function.”
George Herbert Walker Bush, US President, New York, 1991.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble,
and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Source: Bill of Rights
“The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to
one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly
the functions in which he is competent …
– To let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the
nation, and its foreign and federal relations …
– The State Governments with the Civil Rights, Laws, Police and
administration of what concerns the State generally.
– The Counties with the local concerns, and each ward direct the interests
It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great
national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the
administration of everyman’s farm by himself, by placing under everyone
what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.”
— Thomas Jefferson