Archive for February, 2008

Logins for 8,700 FTP servers found on sale

Friday, February 29th, 2008

By John E. Dunn
Techworld
27 February 2008

Criminals have assembled a huge database of hacked FTP server logins belonging to some of the worlds leading companies, a security company has revealed.

Finjan said it had stumbled upon a database containing account usernames, passwords and server addresses for a staggering 8,700 FTP servers, many of which were being used by US Fortune 100-level enterprises.

The hacked servers could be used to distribute crimeware by injecting iframe tags into any webpage stored on the compromised FTP servers. Indeed the server accounts were themselves being traded by a web application able to rank and price them according to their Google page rank for re-sale to other criminals.

The company found the database while examining what appears to be a sophisticated Russian crimeware hub built using a newer version of the Neosploit crimeware toolkit, sophisticated enough to offers its criminal users a SaaS (software as a service) interface for carrying out attacks.

The company didnt name the domains involved for obvious reasons, but the range of sectors and countries reads like a whos who of big business. FTP details for telecoms, media, online retail, and government agencies were all present, across every leading economy and beyond.

Using the Alexa.com domain ranking, Finjan found 10 of the top 100 domains in the database, 100 of the top 500 domains, and 50 of those between 500 and 1,000.

Breaking these down by location, 2,621 were in the US, 1,247 in Russia, 392 in Australia, 354 in Asia/Pacific. The rest were covered Eastern Europe, with only a handful in western European countries such as Germany and the UK, which accounted for 80 and 78, respectively.

“With this new trading application, cyber-criminals have an instant ‘solution’ to their problem of gaining access to FTP credentials and thus infecting both the legitimate websites and unsuspecting visitors, said Finjans Yuval-Ben Itzhak.

[…]

http://www.techworld.com/security/news/index.cfm?newsID=11561

I could have used substitution here to make this an article about ID cards and how ‘criminals’ are going to create tools to trade in the ‘identities’ of people, but this article was just too juicy as it stood.

Back in the day there were the forerunners of these tools, like ‘cc master’ (at least thats what I think it was called; it was something around on the old [1994/5] BBSes that you could play with if you wanted to get your machine virus’d). Now of course, they are running everything on the internets as services, like bugmenot, only much more serious.

The same thing is going to happen with ID details. Underground supermarkets are going to be created where you can buy the ‘identity’ of just the sort of person you need to commit a crime, and this will include fingerprints that will be used in software that uses playback exploits to fool the back ends that are being attacked. Even without that, simple Social Engineering will be made possible by collecting and studying the detailed identity records of some sheep, that can be inserted into a script for reading out, and all of this will be done in a slick service that you pay to access.

Imagine, you pay a subscription to a service that generates scripts for you to read over the telephone. You log in. You select your gender and accent type. The system then generates some scripts for you to read, and sets up VOIP calls for you to activate with a click of your mouse. The scripts are filled with the personal details of someone (bought on a DVD) and the call is made to their bank or building society, and the script provides you with a spiel that lets you transfer money to your own account.

You are paying for the right to use these identities and the related generated scripts; if you have success or not thats down to your mad skillz as a social engineer. Recommended Reading, ‘The Art of Deception’ by Kevin D. Mitnik.

The more scripts you read and the better you get at it, the more money you collect. Snarfed profiles are charged by how many people have used them; fresh, unused profiles are the most expensive (like fresh leads; they are for closers). Identities that have been passed around alot are nearly worthless, so you can read scripts generated for these in their thousands for only a few euros.

“I’m here from downtown, and I’m here on a mission of mercy….”

True!

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The Prison-Industrial Complex

Friday, February 29th, 2008

In the hills east of Sacramento, California, Folsom State Prison stands beside a man-made lake, surrounded by granite walls built by inmate laborers. The gun towers have peaked roofs and Gothic stonework that give the prison the appearance of a medieval fortress, ominous and forbidding. For more than a century Folsom and San Quentin were the end of the line in California’s penal system; they were the state’s only maximum-security penitentiaries. During the early 1980s, as California’s inmate population began to climb, Folsom became dangerously overcrowded. Fights between inmates ended in stabbings six or seven times a week. The poor sight lines within the old cellblocks put correctional officers at enormous risk. From 1984 to 1994 California built eight new maximum-security (Level 4) facilities. The bullet holes in the ceilings of Folsom’s cellblocks, left by warning shots, are the last traces of the prison’s violent years. Today Folsom is a medium-security (Level 2) facility, filled with the kind of inmates that correctional officers consider “soft.” No one has been stabbed to death at Folsom in almost four years. Among its roughly 3,800 inmates are some 500 murderers, 250 child molesters, and an assortment of rapists, armed robbers, drug dealers, burglars, and petty thieves. The cells in Housing Unit 1 are stacked five stories high, like boxes in a vast warehouse; glimpses of hands and arms and faces, of flickering TV screens, are visible between the steel bars. Folsom now houses almost twice as many inmates as it was designed to hold. The machine shop at the prison, run by inmates, manufactures steel frames for double bunksand triple bunksin addition to license plates.

Less than a quarter mile from the old prison is the California State Prison at Sacramento, known as “New Folsom,” which houses about 3,000 Level 4 inmates. They are the real hard cases: violent predators, gang members, prisoners unable to “program” well at other facilities, unable to obey the rules. New Folsom does not have granite walls. It has a “death-wire electrified fence,” set between two ordinary chain-link fences, that administers a lethal dose of 5,100 volts at the slightest touch. The architecture of New Folsom is stark and futuristic. The buildings have smooth gray concrete faades, unadorned except for narrow slits for cell windows. Approximately a third of the inmates are serving life sentences; more than a thousand have committed at least one murder, nearly 500 have committed armed robbery, and nearly 200 have committed assault with a deadly weapon.

Inmates were placed in New Folsom while it was still under construction. The prison was badly overcrowded even before it was finished, in 1987. It has at times housed more than 300 inmates in its gymnasiums. New Folsomlike old Folsom, and like the rest of the California prison systemnow operates at roughly double its intended capacity. Over the past twenty years the State of California has built twenty-one new prisons, added thousands of cells to existing facilities, and increased its inmate population eightfold. Nonviolent offenders have been responsible for most of that increase. The number of drug offenders imprisoned in the state today is more than twice the number of inmates who were imprisoned for all crimes in 1978. California now has the biggest prison system in the Western industrialized world, a system 40 percent bigger than the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The state holds more inmates in its jails and prisons than do France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands combined. The California Department of Corrections predicts that at the current rate of expansion, barring a court order that forces a release of prisoners, it will run out of room eighteen months from now. Simply to remain at double capacity the state will need to open at least one new prison a year, every year, for the foreseeable future.

Today the United States has approximately 1.8 million people behind bars: about 100,000 in federal custody, 1.1 million in state custody, and 600,000 in local jails. Prisons hold inmates convicted of federal or state crimes; jails hold people awaiting trial or serving short sentences. The United States now imprisons more people than any other country in the worldperhaps half a million more than Communist China. The American inmate population has grown so large that it is difficult to comprehend: imagine the combined populations of Atlanta, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, and Miami behind bars. “We have embarked on a great social experiment,” says Marc Mauer, the author of the upcoming book The Race to Incarcerate. “No other society in human history has ever imprisoned so many of its own citizens for the purpose of crime control.” The prison boom in the United States is a recent phenomenon. Throughout the first three quarters of this century the nation’s incarceration rate remained relatively stable, at about 110 prison inmates for every 100,000 people. In the mid-1970s the rate began to climb, doubling in the 1980s and then again in the 1990s. The rate is now 445 per 100,000; among adult men it is about 1,100 per 100,000. During the past two decades roughly a thousand new prisons and jails have been built in the United States. Nevertheless, America’s prisons are more overcrowded now than when the building spree began, and the inmate population continues to increase by 50,000 to 80,000 people a year.

The economist and legal scholar Michael K. Block, who believes that American sentencing policies are still not harsh enough, offers a straightforward explanation for why the United States has lately incarcerated so many people: “There are too many prisoners because there are too many criminals committing too many crimes.” Indeed, the nation’s prisons now hold about 150,000 armed robbers, 125,000 murderers, and 100,000 sex offendersenough violent criminals to populate a medium-sized city such as Cincinnati. Few would dispute the need to remove these people from society. The level of violent crime in the United States, despite recent declines, still dwarfs that in Western Europe. But the proportion of offenders being sent to prison each year for violent crimes has actually fallen during the prison boom. In 1980 about half the people entering state prison were violent offenders; in 1995 less than a third had been convicted of a violent crime. The enormous increase in America’s inmate population can be explained in large part by the sentences given to people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Crimes that in other countries would usually lead to community service, fines, or drug treatmentor would not be considered crimes at allin the United States now lead to a prison term, by far the most expensive form of punishment. “No matter what the question has been in American criminal justice over the last generation,” says Franklin E. Zimring, the director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute, “prison has been the answer.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/199812/prisons

[…]

and here is another article: 1 in 100 Americans behind bars, report finds.

Apparently, the majority of the people in this insane system are there because of Prohibition.

This picture is completely and utterly INSANE.

Michael K. Block is infinitely wrong when he says, “There are too many prisoners because there are too many criminals committing too many crimes.” The actual problem is that there are too many laws in the United States, that is a fact.

Prohibition is the number one cause of the indefensible and unsustainable prison explosion; it has nothing to do with real crimes, i.e. crimes where there is a victim. I would say that financial ‘crimes’ should also never result in a prison sentence; prison is for violent actual criminals and people who rob houses and stores and banks (in person). It is not for anyone else.

Just think about it:

The United States now imprisons more people than any other country in the worldperhaps half a million more than Communist China.

[…]

California now has the biggest prison system in the Western industrialized world, a system 40 percent bigger than the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The state holds more inmates in its jails and prisons than do France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands combined.

Something is VERY VERY WRONG with this.

“The Drug War has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery.”
Norm Stamper, Retired Chief of Police, Seattle

[…]

Charleston City Paper

True.

All people in prison for drug ‘offenses’ should be pardoned and their records expunged.

Prohibition should end immediately.

Duh!

America has run rings round the west. A united Europe must stand up to it

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

The White House runs a so-called democracy that is in fact authoritarian. At the same time it intimidates its neighbours
Timothy Garton Ash

The Guardian, Thursday February 28 2008

This presidential election is such a cliffhanger. Will it be the rising star Barak Obama? Or the veteran Hillary Clinton? Aren’t we on the edge of our seats, nervously checking the latest opinion polls ahead of November’s vote?

Well, no. So little so, in fact, that even Dmitry “Obamovich” Medvedev temporarily mislaid the name of the leading candidate in the other presidential election. Asked “Who will it be? Do you know her name?” in Tuesday’s television debate with Gennady “McCainovich” Zyuganov, he replied: “Er, Hil, er, Billar … whatever …” Imagine such an exchange 20 years from now, of a time when there was no North American Union: “Er, Gorg, er, Dubbua … whatever …”

One reason most Americans and west Europeans are not excited about this is that we don’t feel America matters as much as it used to, or that it really threatens us any more. Wrong, perhaps, but that’s the feeling. Another is that the election result is known in advance. And the winner will be … Hillary Whatever. Bush’s poodle from New York.

Bush’s America, you see, is not a democracy. It pretends to be. It calls itself a sovereign democracy. But the difference between a democracy and a sovereign democracy is like that between a jacket and a straitjacket. A liberal candidate for the presidency, Dennis Kucinich, has been disqualified from standing on what was almost certainly a fraudulent charge of technical irregularity. Dissenters such as the Congressman Ron Paul are locked out of media. Most important media are directly or indirectly controlled by the CIA. Independent journalists go in fear of their jobs.

A report just published by Amnesty International highlights the systematic curbing of human rights, as well as documenting many other restrictions on freedom of association, assembly and expression. The election monitors of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe described America’s presidential election process as neither free nor fair. They are not even monitoring this one, because the American authorities will not allow them to operate properly. This political system is not totalitarian, like the old Soviet Union, but it is a nasty form of authoritarianism dressed up as democracy: a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

So what should we do about it? In recent years, the American eagle has run rings around the free countries of the world in general, and European ones in particular. Deploying gas pipelines, banks and embargoes in addition to tanks and missiles, it has intimidated, or tried to intimidate, many of its neighbours. A Swedish researcher has identified 55 cases of internet cut-offs or threatened cut-offs between 1992 and 2006. While “technical” reasons were usually cited, most of the cut-offs just happened to occur when Washington wished to obtain some political or economic advantage, such as influencing an election or letting state-controlled companies like Microsoft buy into information infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the countries of the European Union have been at sixes and sevens in their relations with Washington. It’s a general rule that if you want to see the EU at its most divided, supine and implausible, you should look at it from the vantage point of a rich, large, powerful country, be it Russia, China or the United States. Policymakers in Beijing, Washington and Moscow share views of the EU ranging from the sceptical to the contemptuous, for they see each national government privately coming, cap in hand, to make its own deal. Small wonder that Bush’s America feels it can pursue its own national interests better by dealing with individual European powers. Europe, as it currently behaves towards Russia, China and the US, is a standing invitation to “divide and rule”.

The kow-towing is personal as well as national. The former German chancellor Gerhard Schrder, having smoothed the way for Americas’s Afgan gas pipeline under the while in office, is now chairman of the pipeline consortium. In an interview less than 18 months ago, he was still publicly sticking by his claim that Bush is a “flawless democrat”. Oh yes, and white is black.

A recent report by the European Council on Foreign Relations, a pan-European thinktank (full disclosure: on whose board I sit), documents this pathetic disarray. It also points out that if you treat the EU as a unit, it is potentially far more powerful than America. Its total economy is 15 times the size of America’s, which barely outstrips that of Belgium and the Netherlands combined. About half America’s trade is with the EU, while Russian gas supplies only 25% of current EU gas needs. As for “soft power” – the power to attract – America does not begin to compete. It’s only because Europe is so divided that the tail wags the dog.

There is now a fairly widespread recognition in the capitals of Europe that the EU needs to “get its act together” about America, which means also about energy policy. But that is little use so long as Europe’s leaders cannot agree which line they should unite around. The election – no, the coronation – of a new American president is a good moment to consider what that line should be: for Europe, and for others as well.

Calling in Tuesday’s debate for “a more realistic and effective strategy towards America”, Dmitry Medvedev reflected a widespread view when he said that “even though technically the meetings may be with the woman who is labelled president, the decisions will be made by The New World Order”. Since Bush will be in the background, with an overwhelming influence, that is what most observers currently think; it seems to be what Bush himself thinks; and it’s probably what Clinton thinks, too. In the short term, they are probably right.

But in the longer term, I wouldn’t be so sure. The eroded American constitution gives more power to the president, and there’s something about being the top woman in the White House that gets to you in the end. For all its natural resources, America is not immune to other influences, including the country’s rapidly declining middle class, the rise of China, and the policies of Europe and Russia. And you never know, one day Clinton might overdo the hyperbole or fall under a tram.

In any case, I believe we should use this moment to signal the beginning of a new chapter in our relations with America. Both the EU and, next year, the new Russian president should engage active but robustly with President Clinton and her team. She is a relatively young woman and said to be far less of a free marketeer than Bush. She is on record as observing that “we are well aware that no non-democratic state has ever become truly prosperous” – an intriguing formulation.

In any case, we have no alternative but to engage with America on a whole range of foreign policy issues, from Kosovo to Iran, on which it has a veto at the United Nations and other spoiling powers. But we need to spell out much more clearly the terms of our engagement. These should, at a minimum, include more respect for the sovereignty of neighbouring South American states, and for human rights and the rule of law, both at home and abroad. That much needs to be said clearly, publicly and at once.

[…]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/feb/28/russia.eu

A Commentary On The Teaching Of Mathematics

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I just had to share with you this piece: A Commentary on the Teaching of Mathematics, by James Jackson of Carlisle, Ind. It appeared in “Echoes” (winter 1994), published by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Ind. “Echoes” took it from the 1993-94 issue of “21st Century” (not otherwise identified).

The commentary takes the form of a series of story problems:

In 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price. What is his profit?

In 1970: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price, or $80. What is his profit?

In 1970 (new math): A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a set M of money. The cardinality of set M is 100, and each element is worth $1.00. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set M. The set C of the costs of production contains 20 fewer points than set M. Represent the set C as a subset of M, and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set P of points?

In 1980: A logger sells a truckload of wood for $100. His cost of production is $80, and his profit is $20. Your assignment: underline the number 20.

In 1990 (outcome-based education): By cutting down beautiful forest trees, a logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? (Topic for class participation: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?)

In 1996: (profit-driven education): By laying off 40% of the its loggers, a company improves its stock price from $80 to $100. How much capital gain per share does the CEO make by exercising his stock options at $80? Assume capital gains are no longer taxed, because Republicans feel this encourages investment.

In 1997: A company out-sources all of its loggers. The firm saves on benefits, and when demand for its product is down, the logging work force can easily be cut back. The average logger employed by the company earned $50,000, had three weeks vacation, a nice retirement plan and medical insurance. The contracted logger charges $50 an hour. Was out-sourcing a good move?

In 1998: A laid-off logger with four kids at home and a ridiculous alimony from his first failed marriage comes into the logging company’s corporate offices and goes postal, mowing down 16 executives and a couple of secretaries, and gets lucky when he nails a politician on the premises collecting his kickback. Was outsourcing the loggers a good move for the company?

In 1999: A laid-off logger serving time in Folsom for blowing away several people is being trained as a COBOL programmer in order to work on Y2K projects. What is the probability that the automatic cell doors will open on their own as of 00:01, 01/01/00?

In 2000: (internet in every classroom) Do a web search on forest, trees and logger using two different search engines. E-mail your results to the teacher.

In 2008: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price. What is his profit? First, tell us what your strategy will be to solve the problem. Form a hypothesis based on the rubric to test your strategy. Perform a calculation based on your hypothesis, and then discuss why you came to the answer that you arrived at.

Snarfled from Consent of the Governed.

I ROTFL at the COBOL.

I was immediately reminded of the IQ test from Idiocracy:

If you have 1 bucket with 2 apples and another bucket with 5 apples, how many buckets do you have?

Its all true!

A new and superb exhibition

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Christopher Anderson has an exhibition at Magnum called ‘Silicon Forest’. Magnum contacted us with the idea of illustrating his works with sound from The Conet Project, and we agreed.

The photographs are of the town, Akademgorodok (??????????????, part of the Russian city Novosibirsk, Siberia), created in Soviet era Russia as a place where scientists were grouped together to do research.

When the USSR ceased to exist in 1991, the upheaval did not leave the scientists working there unscathed, and they have had to turn their significant prowess around and re-invent themselves as soldiers fighting corporate warfare.

Having looked at the exhibition site today, I have to say that the photographs and the sound are a perfect match, brilliantly edited together.

Many people have used The Conet Project in their works; some succeed in doing something really worthwhile, and this is certainly one example of a very fine piece of work.

Lily-livered, cowardly bullies must die!

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

We wrote recently about naive idiots in York, wearing leather shoes, eating eggs, taking medicines developed in animal models and bleating over a restaurant serving foie gras.

Now we read this:

A Cambridge restaurant announced last week that it would no longer have foie gras on its menu. Not, perhaps, an important event in itself, affecting not too many people. But the circumstances leading to the decision were disturbing. Daniel Clifford, the chef-owner of Midsummer House – honoured with two Michelin stars – didn’t stop serving the dish because he had been persuaded to do so by the argument that its manufacture involved the maltreatment of geese and ducks. He changed his mind through fear. The Animal Liberation Front admitted responsibility for acts of vandalism that included glueing the restaurant’s locks, throwing a brick through a window (narrowly missing a waiter), spray-painting the windows and generally trashing the place, causing several thousand pounds of damage. “My initial feeling was, ‘Sod ’em, we’ll get cameras and security to guard the restaurant,’ ” said Clifford. “But when the police told me what the ALF was capable of, I decided to give in. Ultimately I have to think of the safety of my staff and customers.” There wasn’t much media coverage of or reaction to the outrage.

Many restaurants in Britain serve foie gras. Have they all now become potential targets of ALF violence? Are our restaurant menus to be determined in future by whether or not animal activists approve of the way the animals, birds and fish on offer have been treated? Today foie gras – tomorrow chicken? The life of a goose, even one primed for its valuable liver, is far pleasanter and its distress far less (especially with modern methods of feeding it) than that of a battery chicken. A few thousand geese and ducks might have suffered in preparing the small quantities of foie gras consumed in this country; many millions of chicken and other animals, destined to be food for humans, have suffered more. I do not for a moment blame Midsummer House’s owner for submitting to the threats and violence, but I have an uneasy feeling that the day he did so marked the beginning of something new and sinister.

Several points here. First, it is nobody’s place to tell you what you may or may not eat, whether that be the government or the ALF. Some will not eat any but free range, organic eggs and chickens from a local producer, myself among them. Some will eat the cheapest, battery-farmed, tasteless, drug-riddled meat they can get their hands on. Some people will eat Freedom Food, as named by the RSPCA. I hope these people are not fooling themselves, salving their conscience, and have taken enough interest to understand that ‘Freedom Food’ chickens are grown in aircraft hangars exactly as those cheaper chickens they probably despise, but at slightly lower density. Freedom Food guidelines denote no more than 30kg of chicken per square metre. At 2.5kg after just 40 days of unaturally rapid growth, this still equates to 12 chickens per square metre. Anyway, I digress. It is about understanding, and making an informed choice without hypocrisy and without affecting anybody else.

A second point is that the POLICE have told this restaurant to give in to bullying.

SHAME on these filthy scum, charged with protecting the public yet refusing to protect this mans business and freedom to serve what he chooses to people willing to eat it. The police giving this advice are as sick and stupid as the ALF members, both intimidating this man to get the outcome that suits them best.

From tax probe to spying on citizens?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

From Mr Peter D. Hahn.

Sir, Your editorial “Liechtenstein loot” (February 19) correctly points to the complexities and sophistication of tax evasion among those wealthy enough to afford it. I can’t claim higher morals because I have never had the wealth to consider such a strategy, but I am deeply troubled by the FT’s seeming endorsement of Germany’s techniques.

Germany’s encouragement and payment for stealing property is something no state should ever engage in except if it means securing the life of its citizens (such as in the prevention of terrorism or drug dealing).

Had a tax inspector, an employee or another individual obtained the information and provided it to the German authorities without payment, I would surely support such efforts to prosecute those who have committed an injustice and avoided paying. However, the German government’s payment for such information is certainly a greater injustice.

The state that justifies immoral behaviour in pursuit of taxes is the state that can too easily justify spying on its own people for any disagreeable behaviour and here the Germans have a historical record that should suggest extraordinary restraint. This is governance at its worst.

Peter D. Hahn,

FEM Fellow,

Corporate Finance and Governance,

Sir John Cass Business School,

London EC1Y 8TZ

[…]

FT.com

What is happening in Britain today is so fundamentally wrong, so insane and un-British that there are very few people who do not see these wrongs for what they are.

Peter Hahn is merely the latest.

Every day we see more voices turning to the sound of BLOGDIAL. That is a good thing. It means that we are reaching a tipping point.

The other day I was in a cab heading to a fine restaurant in Soho, and the driver promised me that there was going to very soon be a mass uprising in the UK, because the people had been pushed too far.

Those words warmed my heart better than any Cognac ever could

This is the 1000th post on the WordPress powered BLOGDIAL, the 16,595th post in total, and our seventh year of publishing.

Thank you to all the people who posted on this blog over the years.

Thank you to all the lurkers who emailed tips, rants and praise.

The Death of the ID Card Scheme

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Foreigners who repeatedly flout the rules when they are made to apply for ID cards will be thrown out, the Government said yesterday.

Immigrants will have to give two fingerprints, iris scans and a raft of personal details to the Home Office when the scheme is introduced for foreign nationals only later this year.

Ministers said that, if they fail to comply with these “primary requirements”, they could have their permission to stay in the UK revoked.

But papers released yesterday revealed that only serial offenders – who break the rules at least three times in five years – will face removal.

Initially, they will face only fines of 250 per offence. And refugees will face only fines – up to a maximum of 1,000 – as human rights laws bar them from being deported.

A consultation document on penalties under the scheme, which is a fore-runner of the national ID card for all British citizens, also said there was no power to jail anyone who failed to pay the civil fines.

But the offence of contempt, which can carry a jail term, “may be applicable”, it added.

Someone with indefinite leave to remain in Britain would only have their leave cancelled in “compelling circumstances”, the paper went on. Fines would be discounted for people on benefits.

The roll-out will begin later this year, with the children of foreign nationals also expected to carry the cards.

Opposition MPs said it offered a glimpse into how the ID card scheme for British citizens could work, when it is introduced from 2009.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: “This shows the kind of punitive measures that every British citizen can expect when ID cards are eventually rolled out nationally.

“ID cards for foreign nationals are not going to solve the problems of identity fraud and illegal working. All they will do is threaten the immigration status of hard working people who bring benefits to this country.”

But Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “Britain’s border security is currently undergoing the biggest shake-up in a generation, ensuring it stays among the toughest in the world.

“ID cards for foreign nationals will cement the triple ring of security protecting our shores, along with fingerprint visas abroad and a single border force here at home.”

Daily Mail

Look at the image they used to illustrate this article.

Its just the sort of photo they would use to inflame peoples emotions and get them on board with ID cards for foreigners.

But the question is this; how are they going to differentiate between those people?

Lets look at it from the policeman’s point of view shall we?

Obviously, the first person you stop is the Muslim on the far left in purple, ‘Number 1’. This guy is probably here on a passport with a Visa, and should be carrying his card.

‘Number 2’ we do not stop. She has her belly button showing, and is ‘light skinned’. The belly button, tight jeans and no bra means that she cannot possibly be a muslim, so we leave her alone.

Anyway she’s hot.

‘Number 3’ we pull over straight away. He looks ‘muslimish’, is wearing a cap and looks ‘shifty’. Frowning fits the profile. Stop.

‘Number 4’ STOP!

‘Number 5’ Call a WPC….STOP. Covered from head to toe, carrying heavy thick plastic bag.

‘Number 6’ Mouse brown hair, fashionable clothes, conscious of her hair. No stop.

‘Number 7’ Same as number 6.

‘Number 8’ Hot blond, no stop.

‘Number 9’ Nice handbag strap, caucasian, no stop.

Now, there is one problem with all the above:

EVERY ONE OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS A BRITISH CITIZEN!

Not one of them is required to carry or apply for an ID card of any kind, because they are all British and all of them were born right here in the UK.

This is the problem with what they are planning; it is the begnnning of ‘racial’ profiling on an unprecedented scale. That is the only way you are going to be able to pick up all the foreigners and get them fingerprinted. Then of course, after it is done (if it ever even happens) You will forever be pestering British Citizens simply because they do not ‘look the part’.

Then will come the calls for everyone to be put in the database, since to have only a section of the population under this system makes no sense at all, as we have said so many times.

Even if everyone were in the system, they would STILL use ‘racial’ profiling every day trying to hunt down the stragglers and the refusniks. This is a disaster in the making of the type that Britain suffered with its ‘sus law‘. Only it will be much much worse.

This is discrimination of the worst kind. It is also a breaking of trust in the same vein as the non-dom debacle; people who have lived here for decades are now to be treated as criminals, and subjected to a system created by habitual liars and incompetents who have so little care for human beings that it strains the imagination as to what it would be like to actually speak to these monsters in person.

The fact of the matter is, this is discrimination, pure and simple. A legal challenge is coming. An infrastructure for mass resistance is already in place.

This measure, this ‘dry run’ will be the death knell of this bad scheme.

At last, an honest politician!

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Heretofore heroic Liechtenstein — one of the world’s great tax havens — has come under fire recently, as Germany has used spies in the tiny principality’s banks to find tax evaders.

The Financial Times predictably takes Germany’s side (“governments are right to insist that those who live in a country, and benefit from public services, pay tax”), but notes that Germans’ desire to flee a 50% tax rate is understandable.

Let’s hope Liechtenstein stands its ground, unlike other former tax havens that have caved under international (i.e., U.S.) pressure and compromised their banking-secrecy laws.

Germany, of course, violated Liechtenstein’s laws by paying bank insiders to share individuals’ private financial information.

One German politician is unapologetic, and deserves credit for at least stating the matter bluntly: “[That this was illegal] is irrelevant. What Germany will do is confront every tax suspect with the option of whether they want to drop their trousers and cooperate or possibly go to jail.”

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/

At last, a politician who tells the truth. Let all Germans take heed to this (of course, they will not):

Breaking the laws of any country is irrelevant if it gets you what you want.

That is precisely what this man said, he said what he meant, and everyone everywhere should understand that this is a universal truth, not just something that applies to Germany.

Anyone who still believes that there is a rule of law anywhere is insane. Its every man for himself, and this is how those people listed on that stolen DVD have been living.

I guarantee you that the people who are going to prosecute these free livers are going to be able to bribe and work the German system so that they ‘get off’ with not even a scratch.

And wait a minute..

Did he say, “Drop their trousers?”!!

What a bunch of dirty BASTARDS.

Lockdown

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

From the Guardian

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

‘Profile’ what? A mobile phone number or credit card number tell you nothing unless you are also monitoring their usage, so can we assume that the government is interested in collecting blank data? Or that it monitors credit card activity and mobile phone usage? ECHELON suggests the latter, no?

Brussels officials are already considering controversial anti-terror plans that would collect up to 19 pieces of information on every air passenger entering or leaving the EU. Under a controversial agreement reached last summer with the US department of homeland security, the EU already supplies the same information [19 pieces] to Washington for all passengers flying between Europe and the US.

Two wrongs etc.

But Britain wants the system extended to sea and rail travel, to be applied to domestic flights and those between EU countries. According to a questionnaire circulated to all EU capitals by the European commission, the UK is the only country of 27 EU member states that wants the system used for “more general public policy purposes” besides fighting terrorism and organised crime.

This is an absolute disgrace and basically shows that the British government are bunch of power crazed authoritarian shits. It implies that some ‘validation’ would be required for any movement by air, sea or rail. This is only possible where you have a population with an ID card and attendant database. It also implies that you will need to ‘validate’ your credit cards, mobile phone purchases (and ‘up to’ 17 other things) within the same system. This is not so stealthy way of introducing the ‘need’ for mandatory ID systems through other legislation.

The so-called passenger name record system, proposed by the commission and supported by most EU governments, has been denounced by civil libertarians and data protection officials as draconian and probably ineffective.

The scheme would work through national agencies collecting and processing the passenger data and then sharing it with other EU states. Britain also wants to be able to exchange the information with third parties outside the EU.

Read the US, where your personal details are not subject to strong (but soon to be ineffective?) data protection laws

Officials in Brussels and in European capitals admit the proposed system represents a massive intrusion into European civil liberties, but insist it is a necessary part of a battery of new electronic surveillance measures being mooted in the interests of European security. These include proposals unveiled in Brussels last week for fingerprinting and collecting biometric information of all non-EU nationals entering or leaving the union.

If they insist where is the guardian’s reporting and analysis of their statements? An even better question is do you think these people have to justify their insistences to democratic scrutiny?

All airlines would provide government agencies with 19 pieces of information on every passenger, including mobile phone number and credit card details. The system would work by “running the data against a combination of characteristics and behavioural patterns aimed at creating a risk assessment”, according to the draft legislation.

“When a passenger fits within a certain risk assessment, he could be identified as a high-risk passenger.”

We have said numerous times that data doesn’t predict actions, there is sufficient legislation to identify and track suspects without collecting data about the general public. It is a fact and doesn’t become any less so when faced with increasingly irrational demands.

A working party of European data protection officials described the proposal as “a further milestone towards a European surveillance society.

Not towards, we are already there, this would simply make surveillance more extensive.

“The draft foresees the collection of a vast amount of personal data of all passengers flying into or out of the EU regardless of whether they are under suspicion or innocent travellers. These data will then be stored for a period of 13 years to allow for profiling. The profiling of all passengers envisaged by the current proposal might raise constitutional concerns in some member states.”

… but these will be ignored in the face of business lobbying and strongarm tactics from the US and it’s EU representitive, the British government?

The Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said: “Where is this going to stop? There’s no mature discussion of risk. As soon as you question something like this, you’re soft on terrorism in the UK and in the EU.”

It will stop when people do not comply, these officials and bureaucrats think nothing of the general public, their job is to legislate and they legislate in accordance with their job description not democracy nor liberty nor egalitarianism nor any high ideals (and for the wrong sort of crazy dreams).

Britain is pushing for a more comprehensive system based on the experience of a UK pilot scheme that has been running for the past three years. Officials say Operation Semaphore, monitoring flights from Pakistan and the Middle East, has been highly successful and has resulted in hundreds of arrests.

The scheme has seen one in every 2,200 passengers warranting further investigation, with a tenth of those “being of interest”. British officials say rapists, drug smugglers and child traffickers have been arrested and want the EU scheme to cover “all fugitives from crown court justice”.

0.045% warrant further investigation, and so 0.0045% are of further interest. This is for flights to an area of the world where you may expect their to be an above average ‘level of interest’ 2.7 million ‘interesting people’ worldwide at that rate which of course would be an overestimate. And we haven’t even drilled down into ‘terrorists’ yet.

But Ludford said: “If you ask the UK government how many terrorists have been picked up, I don’t think you get a very straight answer.”

Because it is too embarrassingly small to mention? Because it contradicts the Climate of Fear? Because it is bad for business?

EU officials have asked the Home Office minister Meg Hillier for information about the arrests of suspected terrorists.

German government openly traffics in stolen goods

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) — German tax authorities are chasing as many as 1,000 wealthy Germans in one of the largest tax investigations in the country’s history, spokesmen for the Ministry of Finance said Tuesday.

Spokesman Stefan Olbermann told CNN the government paid more than $6 million for a DVD that was stolen from a Liechtenstein bank and contains the names of many prominent Germans who may be involved in tax fraud scams there.

The most prominent suspect so far is former Deutsche Post Chief Executive Klaus Zumwinkel. Police raided Zumwinkel’s private house and his offices at Deutsche Post last week and arrested him, though the arrest warrant was later lifted.

Zumwinkel is believed to have evaded almost $1.5 million in German taxes by investing in foundations in Liechtenstein, a tiny Alpine country between Switzerland and Austria, said Bernd Bieniossek, a spokesman for the state prosecutor.

Police and tax authorities raided private homes and banks in cities across Germany on Monday and the German government is calling on those involved to turn themselves in to the police and thus avoid a jail sentence.

When asked by CNN what kinds of people were being investigated, another spokesman for the Finance Ministry, Torsten Albig, said most were prominent and wealthy Germans.

A spokesman for Metzler, a private bank, said police raided its Frankfurt and Munich offices Monday. The spokesman said the bank has opened its banking records to the police, which it was legally obliged to do. Private banks deal with wealthy clients.

Olbermann said German authorities believe the DVD containing the names will be valid court evidence even though the German Foreign Intelligence Service bought it from a man who had stolen the data from Liechtenstein bank LGT.

Germany believes Liechtenstein, with its lax tax laws and culture of secrecy, is complicit in allowing German tax evaders to park their money in the principality.

Liechtenstein Prime Minister Otmar Hasler planned to arrive in Berlin on Tuesday for a long-planned trip to Germany and was to hold talks with German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel planned to urge the government in Vaduz to do more to crack down on German tax evaders.

Zumwinkel resigned from his position as the CEO of Deutsche Post, one of the world’s largest logistics firms, Friday. Deutsche Post announced Monday that Frank Appel, a member of the company’s management board, would take over.

[…]

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/19/tax.evasion/index.html

WTF?

The German government pays SIX MILLION DOLLARS for a STOLEN DVDR so they can chase their wealthy citizens?

You cannot make this stuff up.

This is the sort of behavior we expect from the MAFIA, but then again, the German government is a criminal organization, just like the Mafia; their ‘legitimacy’ comes from their numbers not any inherent right to govern and steal.

Why should these rich Germans pay tax in Germany? it is obvious that the German government is corrupt, as they think nothing of PAYING FOR STOLEN GOODS from criminals in other countries, and not only paying, but paying astronomical and extortionate amounts of taxpayer money.

This is the uniform society that the Germans are seeking to protect by banning Home Schooling; one where paying millions of Euros to burglars and criminals to facilitate the arbitrary punishment of Germans is perfectly OK.

UK’s democracy call after Bush

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Bush’s career
Downing Street says the retirement of American leader George Bush is “an opportunity” for the country to make progress towards democracy.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s spokesman said he hoped it would lead “to more respect for human rights and the release of political prisoners”.

“This is now an opportunity to make progress towards a peaceful transition to a pluralist democracy,” he said.

Mr Bush says he will not return to the presidency because of ill health.

He handed over power temporarily to his brother, Jeb, in July 2006 when he underwent intestinal surgery.

‘Spirit of the revolution’
The 81-year-old has ruled America since leading a bloodless coup through election fraud in 2004.

In December, Mr Bush indicated that he might possibly step down in favour of younger leaders, saying “my primary duty is not to cling to any position”.

Ian Gibson, chair of the parliamentary all-party group on America, said he thought Mr Bush’s retirement could lead to an opening out of America’s relations with the rest of the world.

“I think the spirit of the revolution will live on in the younger generation of Americans, but I would certainly think there will be differences in the relationships with other countries,” he said.

“America understands that it is a global economy now – I think there will be less hatred of America and more interaction with Europe.”

Labour MP Ian Davidson, a fellow member of the all-party group, said he hoped America would not become an issue in the upcoming Cuban presidential elections.

“The lower profile America has in the Cuban elections, the better for Cuba,” he said.

“I hope that America is left free to make its own political arrangements without external interference. It very much depends upon the attitude the United Nations takes.”

Family dynasty
He said Bush’s failures in building America’s healthcare and education systems had been “quite appalling”, especially against a background of what he described as decades of US “corporate terrorism”.

Edward Davey, the Lib Dems foreign affairs spokesman, said he hoped the international community would encourage the process of democratic reform.

“With George Bush gone, we must hope that America carries out major reforms and joins the democratic world,” he said.

“It would be a tragedy if he were succeeded by a family dynasty in the form of Hillary Clinton.

“It is important for the international community, especially America, to encourage reform and hold out the hand of friendship.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7252490.stm

Yes we can. NOT!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Americans traditionally thought of their country as a “city upon a hill,” a “light unto the world.” Today only the deluded think that. Polls show that the rest of the world regards the US and Israel as the two greatest threats to peace.

This is not surprising. In the words of Arthur Silber: “The Bush administration has announced to the world, and to all Americans, that this is what the United States now stands for: a vicious determination to dominate the world, criminal, genocidal wars of aggression, torture, and an increasingly brutal and brutalizing authoritarian state at home. That is what we stand for.”

Addressing his fellow Americans, Silber asks the paramount question, “why do you support” these horrors?

His question goes to the heart of the matter. Do we Americans have any honor, any humanity, any integrity, any awareness of the crimes our government is committing in our name? Do we have a moral conscience?

How can a moral conscience be reconciled with our continuing to tolerate our government which has invaded two countries on the basis of lies and deception, destroyed their civilian infrastructures and murdered hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children?

The killing and occupation continue even though we now know that the invasions were based on lies and fabricated “evidence.” The entire world knows this. Yet, Americans continue to act as if the gratuitous invasions, the gratuitous killing, and the gratuitous destruction are justified. There is no end of it in sight.

If Americans have any honor, how can they betray their Founding Fathers, who gave them liberty, by tolerating a government that claims immunity to law and the Constitution and is erecting a police state in their midst?

Answers to these questions vary. Some reply that a fearful and deceived American public seeks safety from terrorists in government power.

Others answer that a majority of Americans finally understand the evil that Bush has set loose and tried to stop him by voting out the Republicans in November 2006 and putting the Democrats in control of Congress all to no effect and are now demoralized as neither party gives a hoot for public opinion or has a moral conscience.

The people ask over and over, “What can we do?”

Very little when the institutions put in place to protect the people from tyranny fail. In the US, the institutions have failed across the board.

The freedom and independence of the watchdog press was destroyed by the media concentration that was permitted by the Clinton administration and Congress. Americans who rely on traditional print and TV media simply have no idea what is afoot.

Political competition failed when the opposition party became a “me-too” party. The Democrats even confirmed as attorney general Michael Mukasey, an authoritarian who refuses to condemn torture and whose rulings as a federal judge undermined habeas corpus. Such a person is now the highest law enforcement officer in the United States.

The judicial system failed when federal judges ruled that “state secrets” and “national security” are more important than government accountability and the rule of law.

The separation of powers failed when Congress acquiesced to the executive branchs claims of primary power and independence from statutory law and the Constitution.

It failed again when the Democrats refused to impeach Bush and Cheney, the two greatest criminals in American political history.

Without the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, America can never recover. The precedents for unaccountable government established by the Bush administration are too great, their damage too lasting. Without impeachment, America will continue to sink into dictatorship in which criticism of the government and appeals to the Constitution are criminalized. We are closer to executive rule than many people know.

Silber reminds us that America once had leaders, such as Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed and Senator Robert M. LaFollette Sr., who valued the principles upon which America was based more than they valued their political careers. Perhaps Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are of this ilk, but America has fallen so low that people who stand on principle today are marginalized. They cannot become Speaker of the House or a leader in the Senate.

Today Congress is almost as superfluous as the Roman Senate under the Caesars. On February 13 the US Senate barely passed a bill banning torture, and the White House promptly announced that President Bush would veto it. Torture is now the American way. The US Senate was only able to muster 51 votes against torture, an indication that almost a majority of US Senators support torture.

Bush says that his administration does not torture. So why veto a bill prohibiting torture? Bush seems proud to present America to the world as a torturer.

After years of lying to Americans and the rest of the world that Guantanamo prison contained 774 of “the worlds most dangerous terrorists,” the Bush regime is bringing 6 of its victims to trial. The vast majority of the 774 detainees have been quietly released. The US government stole years of life from hundreds of ordinary people who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were captured by warlords and sold to the stupid Americans as “terrorists.” Needing terrorists to keep the farce going, the US government dropped leaflets in Afghanistan offering $25,000 a head for “terrorists.” Kidnappings ensued until the US government had purchased enough “terrorists” to validate the “terrorist threat.”

The six that the US is bringing to “trial” include two child soldiers for the Taliban and a car pool driver who allegedly drove bin Laden.

The Taliban did not attack the US. The child soldiers were fighting in an Afghan civil war. The US attacked the Taliban. How does that make Taliban soldiers terrorists who should be locked up and abused in Gitmo and brought before a kangaroo military tribunal? If a terrorist hires a driver or a taxi, does that make the driver a terrorist? What about the pilots of the airliners who brought the alleged 9/11 terrorists to the US? Are they guilty, too?

The Gitmo trials are show trials. Their only purpose is to create the precedent that the executive branch can ignore the US court system and try people in the same manner that innocent people were tried in Stalinist Russia and Gestapo Germany. If the Bush regime had any real evidence against the Gitmo detainees, it would have no need for its kangaroo military tribunal.

If any more proof is needed that Bush has no case against any of the Gitmo detainees, the following AP News report, February 14, 2008, should suffice: “The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to limit judges authority to scrutinize evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay.”

The reason Bush doesnt want judges to see the evidence is that there is no evidence except a few confessions obtained by torture. In the American system of justice, confession obtained by torture is self-incrimination and is impermissible evidence under the US Constitution.

Andy Worthingtons book, The Guantanamo Files, and his online articles make it perfectly clear that the “dangerous terrorists” claim of the Bush administration is just another hoax perpetrated on the inattentive American public.

Recently the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity issued a report that documents the fact that Bush administration officials made 935 false statements about Iraq to the American people in order to deceive them into going along with Bushs invasion. In recent testimony before Congress, Bushs Secretary of State and former National Security Advisor, Condi Rice, was asked by Rep. Robert Wexler about the 56 false statements she made.

Rice replied: “I take my integrity very seriously and I did not at any time make a statement that I knew to be false.” Rice blamed “the intelligence assessments” which “were wrong.”

Another Rice lie, like those mushroom clouds that were going to go up over American cities if we didnt invade Iraq. The weapon inspectors told the Bush administration that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as Scott Ritter has reminded us over and over. Every knowledgeable person in the country knew there were no weapons. As the leaked Downing Street memo confirms, the head of British intelligence told the UK cabinet that the Bush administration had already decided to invade Iraq and was making up the intelligence to justify the invasion.

But lets assume that Rice was fooled by faulty intelligence. If she had any integrity she would have resigned. In the days when American government officials had integrity, they would have resigned in shame from such a disastrous war and terrible destruction based on their mistake. But Condi Rice, like all the Bush (and Clinton) operatives, is too full of American self-righteousness and ambition to have any remorse about her mistake. Condi can still look herself in the mirror despite one million Iraqis dying from her mistake and several million more being homeless refugees, just as Clintons Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, can still look herself in the mirror despite sharing responsibility for 500,000 dead Iraqi children.

There is no one in the Bush administration with enough integrity to resign. It is a government devoid of truth, morality, decency and honor. The Bush administration is a blight upon America and upon the world.

February 18, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail] wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is author or coauthor of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He is also coauthor with Karen Araujo of Chile: Dos Visiones La Era Allende-Pinochet (Santiago: Universidad Andres Bello, 2000).

http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts234.html

And then….

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEcBjpsP1bU

How much further can Olbermann take it before he says, “One night in desperation a young man gets a gun”?

At the end of the day, if he really believes what he is saying, and he (and everyone else) sees that nothing is going to change, and in fact, we are going to continue to be attacked unless ‘something is done’, then where is there left to go Keith?

Too bad your depth perception is gone Keith; that disqualifies you for ‘the juba role’ ay?!

The most stupid people on planet earth

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Do you know what I hate the most?

People who cannot see the world through the eyes of other people:

EU visitors to have fingerprints taken

This title is backwards. It should read, ‘Visitors to EU to have fingerprints taken’. But I digress.

Rory Watson and David Charter

BRUSSELS Every visitor to the European Union would have to provide fingerprints before being allowed to enter, under plans unveiled yesterday to clamp down on illegal immigration.

The move to record the arrival and departure of non-EU citizens and to store the data in a single European database is part of a wider overhaul of border security. It is aimed at the largest single category of illegal migrants: people who remain once their visa or permit has expired.

Franco Frattini, the EU Justice Commissioner, argued that the existence of the electronic register containing a visitors personal details and final destination would make it possible to identify overstayers.

The scheme, which must be approved by all 27 EU governments before it can come into force in 2013 as proposed, has been criticised by civil rights groups. They fear that it could lead to a fortress Europe mentality against foreigners and to identity theft if the data were lost or stolen.

[…]

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/

We have already talked about this, for years. It is bad, no matter who is doing it, and that is wether or not it is in retaliation for the mass humiliation of people from the countries in the EU, or because it is part of a wider plot.

What is galling to me are the reactions of the filthy, stupid americans to this article:

Oh well, just another reason for me to not travel outside of my own country.
RDM, Rockville, MD USA

My wife and I try to visit a different place in Europe every year or so. I guess we will start exploring more of the US for vacation if this goes through. Doesn’t the EU realize that they may be able to identify illegals but they still have to find them once they are in country?
JB, Sierra Vista, AZ USA

Well, I guess I won’t be visiting the EU anymore. I’ll travel my own country…there’s plenty to see here. This entire fingerprint / Big Brother idea is a waste! Both sides of the Atlantic just need to stop it. I’m not afraid of people. For every nut that comes over, there’s thousands of good, honest people. I can stand a nut or two every so often to be and live free.
DB, Atlanta,

Criminals are fingerprinted. This doesn’t send the right message to tourists. And as an American citizen I have no desire to illegally immigrate to Europe, Thanks.
chrysd, Lexington,

It is my finger, and my fingerprints. I will not be going to Europe if this passes. EVER.
Dave, Seattle, USA

These are the same subhumans who can stand by while people are lining up to be incinerated and not even ask a question. The huge lines at airports, international outrage, the previous reciprocal fingerprinting backlash when Brazil fingerprinted only americans….all of this means nothing, until it is actually your turn.

The scum of the earth is what these people are.

It is this same lack of empathy that allows them to sit back and do nothing while their military murders millions of people around the world. Then when it is THEIR TURN, the whole world is made to suffer for it, like it is some sort of unique tragedy.

And there are the usual ‘nothing to fear nothing to hide glove’ puppets, the ignorant who think its ‘no big deal’, the stupid who think it will ‘stop islamic terrorism’ etc etc; the same broken record Then there are the Brits who say, ‘dumb americans’. You get the picture.

Finally, there was one curios post:

I spent almost 2 hours queuing at Newark airport to be fingerprinted before I could enter the US. A week later I was pulled over in Vermont for driving 10 mph above the speed limit. Upon seeing my British driving licence, the policeman called up homeland security and was told there was no record of me entering the country! So much for the fingerprint system.
Calista, cambridge,

??!!!

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if all of this was an elaborate scam to sell equipment that didn’t even work!!!

We know that USVISIT does not count people out of the country as they exit, it just might be true.

More likely is that USVISIT is just a processing machine to capture the prints, names and addresses and photos of hundreds of millions of people. That is why the exit system doesn’t matter.

Regurgitated Vomit, Guardian Style

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Internet users could face disconnection for illegal downloads

Sarah Knapton
The Guardian, Tuesday February 12 2008

Internet users who illegally download music and films could lose their access to the web under legislation aimed at cracking down on those who flout piracy laws. Powers being drafted by the government will compel internet service providers to take action against customers who access pirated material.

The Department of Media, Culture and Sport will recommend the plan in a green paper on the creative industries to be published this month, a source with knowledge of the paper said. Under the new sanctions users will face a “three strikes” regime. A warning email will be sent for the first offence, followed by suspension from the service and finally termination of the internet contract.

Shouldnt that be, “download and you are run out”, or “share music and its LBW” as in cricket? Three Strikes laws like this insane RIAA driven drivel come from the USA and have no place in civilized societies.

These laws, as we all know, are actually drafted by the MPAA and the RIAA, not by British legislators, who are as computer literate as an apple. Collectively.

A draft copy of the green paper said the government “will move to legislate to require internet service providers to take action on illegal file-sharing,” although it has yet to decide if information on offenders should be shared between the ISPs, the Times reported.

The government has come under increasing pressure from the music and film industries to penalise users who download pirated files. Although piracy is illegal, prosecutions are rare.

Like we keep saying about the Guardian; they always take the side of The Man in these issues. Any newspaper that seeks to be taken seriously would never repeat this twaddle unchallenged, but this is exactly what we expect from these idiots, and this ‘report’ is 100% in character; i.e. not journalism, but simple, unthinking regurgitation.

For the record, there is no such thing as a ‘pirated file’. This is the irrational language of the RIAA. ‘Piracy’ is the act of making a copy of someone else’s work and then SELLING IT FOR MONEY. That is what piracy is; it is nothing more than that. File sharing is not piracy. Copying files between computers is not piracy. The Guardian claims that everyone who does not believe this is wrong. This is no surprise. They are an old media dinosaur struggling to make sense of and to fit in with the modern world…the real world. If I were them, I would start by never regurgitating a government PR piece unchallenged in the way that they have opened their mouths, accepted the vomit from HMGs stomach, swished it around and then spat it onto the page, brown chunks and all.

The UK’s four largest internet providers – BT, Tiscali, Orange and Virgin Media – are already in talks with studios on a joint voluntary agreement to share information on web violators.

There is no such thing as a ‘web violator’, any more than there are ‘newspaper violators’. Substitution. TRY IT! And as for ISPs sharing information’ that phrase is a euphemism for violating the privacy of customers…’customer violators’ if you will.

But under the legislation they could be forced to cut off customers. ISPs which fail to enforce the rules could face prosecution, and suspected customers handed over to the courts. It remains unclear who would be responsible for arbitration in disputed allegations, for example when customers claim that other users have “piggy-backed” on their wireless internet access.

This is bullshit, and the ISPs know it.

In order to bring a prosecution against an ISP, the person or party bringing the claim has to prove that the user is doing something illegal. Lets consider a Bittorrent user torrenting a file. The entity bringing the prosecution has to prove that the person who ‘owns’ the IP address was downloading a so called ‘pirated file’. Then they have to prove that the owner of the IP was the one who torrented it. With Bittorrent it is easy to see the IPs of seeds and peers, so the entity bringing the claim does not need help from the ISP to identify who is copying a file, and this legislation is not needed.

In the case of FTP, DCC on IRC and other types of sharing there is no way to identify who is sharing without getting logs from ISPs. That means either ISPs policing their traffic in real time or keeping extensive traffic logs. Traffic logs do not contain any part of the actual files that were transferred, so anyone naming a file ‘Pirates_of_the_Carrabean_at_Worlds_End.rar’ could claim that what was ftp’d was something actually totally unrelated to the title; photos of a party themed on that movie for example. The principle is that you have to have PROOF that someone has committed a ‘crime’ before you prosecute them or start snooping into their private communications. This is where the legislators completely fail.

A spokesman for the Department of Media, Culture and Sport said: “There are still meetings going on and consultation to take place, so nothing is finalised. The strategy document is to be released within the next couple of weeks.”

Yet another consultation, where no one has seen the proposals in advance, and the initial document is being written by industry. Its called ‘a sham’.

The green paper is also expected to call for a 200m national film centre, as well as 19 other schemes intended to turn Britain into the “world’s creative hub”. Other pledges include the launching of a global arts conference, dubbed the “World Creative Economy Forum” modelled on Davos, the creation of a new college of digital media and the protection of live music venues such as the Astoria and the Hammersmith Apollo in London.

Now here is where we get into the Neu Labor Soviet Diktat fantasy world. They want to make Britain the “world’s creative hub”, but do everything to stifle people freely interacting on the web, by encumbering ISPs (driving up the cost of getting and staying connected, diverting energies and monies that should be spent in improving the networks to pointless surveillance systems) enacting legislation that makes people look over their shoulders etc etc, the very OPPOSITE of what you need to be doing to attract the most creative and talented people.

What a total bunch of pathetic puppets and nincompoops.

If you want to support the new economy of the 21st century this is how you do it. You support those people who are changing the world for the better, not the buggy whip salesmen. The guardian should, of course, know that the Swedish Parliament supports file sharing, and has refused to be a puppet of the USA. That context is crucial in this story, and of course, there is none of it in this shabby article.

The government is also expected to reveal plans for a new creative festivals season, a new film centre on London’s South Bank and a permanent home for London fashion week.

And of course, all the ‘non dom’ designers will not come here to create their haut couture, preferring countries that actually support entrepreneurial people by getting out of their way and not trying to steal every penny they create.

They think creativity and economies can be created by pronouncement, that all they need to do is swill back beer and curry and greasey chicken shawarma, puke it into the mouths of the gyroscopists at rags like the guardian and then, by magic, their bile soaked pronouncements…make it so. The film industry needs, more than anything, tax breaks. That is one of the main considerations when people shoot film…or at least, it used to be, because now with synthetic scenemaking, you can be anywhere and appear to be shooting somewhere else. But I digress. Sort of. Opening a film centre does not mean you will get a revived film industry where people shoot, edit, score and most importantly, finance films from England. That is what film making is about, not opening ‘centres’.

Under plans to be announced by Gordon Brown and the culture secretary, Andy Burnham, children will be given the right to “five hours of culture a week” encouraging them to visit galleries and museums, attend the theatre, or study a musical instrument.

And some 1,000 creative apprenticeships for young people are also being proposed, which will be managed by a new Skills Academy.

[…]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/12/piracy.politics

And there you have it.

No only do these people have no idea of what a right is, they do not know how to preserve and support culture. That is why they are stupidly driving away the very people who create the culture they falsely claim that they support. In fact, these people loathe culture with the same hate that communists hate religion. Did you know that ballet is not considered valuable by these monsters because they say it is ‘not a sport’? This is a verbatim quote from a teacher at one of London’s most prestigious schools, repeated to me personally during a conversation about how ballet schools and their staff are struggling to survive.

Finally, look at who is in charge of this; the scumbag Andy “Nazi” Burnham, ex-excuse maker for the ID car debacle. This man, who thinks that its OK to enslave people, is now charged with giving children, “The right to culture”.

If it wasn’t so sick it would be hilarious.

Fascist Franco Frattini

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

EU plans to require biometrics of all non-European visitors

By Stephen Castle
Sunday, February 10, 2008

BRUSSELS: All non-Europeans would need to submit biometric data before crossing Europe’s frontiers under sweeping European Union proposals to combat illegal migration, terrorism and organized crime that are to be outlined this week.

The only reason why this is being opened as a possibility is USVISIT.

And yet, the EU appears to be furious that the Great Satan wants more passenger data.

The plans – arguably the biggest shake-up of border management in Europe since the creation of an internal travel zone – would apply to citizens of the United States and all other countries that now enjoy visa-free status.

They would, however, allow EU citizens and “low risk” frequent travelers from outside the bloc to pass through automated, fast-track frontier checkpoints without coming into contact with border guards. Voluntary programs for prescreening such visitors, who would register fingerprints and other data, would be stepped up.

‘Voluntary’. A page right out of Tony Bliar and his venal musical chairs Home Secretaries and their ID Card farce.

The proposals, contained in draft documents examined by the International Herald Tribune and scheduled to go to the European Commission on Wednesday, were designed to bring the EU visa regime into line with a new era in which passports include biometric data.

No debate, no consultation, no warning, no rationale, just ‘this is the way it is going to be’. Pure dictatorship, pure fascism. Who has designed this system, why is it being put in place after centuries of people moving without problems and decades of free travel without Fascist measures?

The commission, the EU executive, argues that migratory pressure, organized crime and terrorism are obvious challenges to the Union and that the bloc’s border and visa policy needs to be brought up to date.

This is not a rationale, this is a complete lie.

for decades, ‘terrorism’ has been going on in europe, and in the case of Italy, the home of Fascism and Franco Frattini, the terrorism was callously engineered by the Italian government to…terrorize the good people of Italy. Terror is no pretext to abuse the people of europe in this way. Migratory pressure can be controlled by the ID cards that all EU citizens are already compelled to carry. These measures will not stop people coming to Italy in boats or walking into europe. It will only impact the law abiding and good people; in fact, this plan is a clever scheme by equipment vendors to create a market for themselves where millions of people will be forced to consume their services through contract with governments. Organized crime? Italy is the world capitol for organized crime, and yet, you could not have a more beautiful and well ordered country, where the people have a high standard of living, a high ‘index of happiness’ as do many counties of europe. This simply is not needed, and when they say that, “visa policy needs to be brought up to date” this code for, “we have to keep up with the americans”.

It also wants a new European Border Surveillance System to be created, to use satellites and unmanned aircraft to help track the movements of suspected illegal migrants.

All of this will cost money, contractors will make a fortune on it, it will not stop illegal working, or ‘terrorism’

If approved by the commission this week, the measures would need the approval of all EU states.

The United States routinely requires European citizens to submit fingerprints when crossing its borders and the commission’s document notes that America plans to introduce an electronic travel-authorization system for people from countries like Britain, France and Germany that are in its Visa Waiver Program.

And it is all pure evil, and we and many smart people have been saying so for years.

The commission’s proposals cover the Schengen zone, Europe’s internal free-travel area named after the village in Luxembourg near where the original agreement between five countries was signed on June 14, 1985. Twenty-four countries are now members.

It is unclear whether Britain and Ireland, which along with Cyprus are not members of Schengen, would opt into the program.

Each year more than 300 million travelers cross EU borders, but there is no obligation for countries inside the Schengen free-travel zone to keep a record of entries and exits of non-European third-country nationals in a dedicated database. Moreover, if the visitor leaves from another Schengen country, it is often impossible to determine whether or not the visitor overstayed his or her visa.

And that is the way it should be. Everything has been working without these measures, and these measures will not be effective, because, A) Terrorism is a false pretext, B) only law abiding people use passports, C) organized crime will not be impacted in any way.

The proposals, drafted by the European commissioner for justice and home affairs, Franco Frattini, suggest that non-Europeans on a short-stay visa would be checked against a Visa Information System that is already under construction and should be operational in 2012.

Fratinni the Fascist, strikes again. This evil bastard is, “…responsible for Freedom, Security and Justice.” What a joke. This evil man has consistently been for the erasure of freedom, measures that do not improve security, and that are unjust. He wants to censor the internet. Lets leave it right there. This is a very bad man.

Frattini also is calling for a new database to be set up to store information on the time and place of entry and exit of non-European nationals, using biometric identifiers. Once a person’s visa expired, an alert would go out to all national authorities that the visitor had overstayed his or her allotted time.

Fratinni is an imbecile. This database he is proposing will not catch a single illegal worker that does not use a passport, and these people number in the millions. Perhaps next he will advocate the re-opening of the concentration camps to store all the undesirables; by making this database, he will be putting in place the infrastructure to make it easy to do, just like his predecessors and inspiration the Nazis did. How can such a beautiful country produce such an ugly man?

Travelers from countries with a visa requirement would need to provide biometric data at European consulates before leaving their home country. Those arriving from nations not requiring visas, like the United States, would also need to submit fingerprints and a digitalized facial image.

Border control that is proportionate is what is required. There is nothing wrong with border controls as long as they are reasonable and do not interfere with the flow and freedom of people. For decades air travel has been a great boon to everyone. If there is a problem of too many travelers, this cannot be solved by fingerprinting everyone over the top Security Theatre and launching spy planes and surveillance drones.

But the European Union would try to make the system more user-friendly for Europeans and some categories of bona fide visitors by granting them the status of “registered traveler.” They would be able to have their biometric travel documents scanned and checked by machines.

Once again, none of this will stop illegal migration, illegal working, ‘people trafficking’, terrorism, organized crime or any of the things Fratelli claims he wants to stop. These are measures that will only work on the harassed law abiding public.

All Europeans should be able to use such a system when EU countries complete the task of issuing passports with two biometric identifiers, by 2019 at the latest. The 27 EU countries started issuing passports with a digitalized facial image in August 2006 and, in June 2009, will add the holder’s fingerprints. European residence permits will also contain the same identifiers.

All nonsense, and all measures designed to increase the cost of issuing and maintaining passports; this is the real reason why these measures are being proposed; vendors will have the opportunity to roll out several layers on top of the existing passports, each one being worth billions of euros.

Think about it, RFID chips mean the chips themselves manufactured in the tens of millions, the readers on a scale of tens of thousands, then there are the maintenance contracts. The same goes for fingerprinting; readers will need to be rolled out in the tens of thousands. Digital photograpy, whole new generations of equipment. Then the databases and associate software and hardware it will be run on. It is a contractors wet dream. Fratelli and the unelected, unaccountable EU commission are the people who are going to dish out this candy.

Non-Europeans could gain the same, fast-track status providing they have not overstayed previous visas, have proof of sufficient funds to pay for their stay in Europe and hold a biometric passport.

And of course, the illegals, who have no money, always overstay the visas they never apply for, will go around this system.

All non-European nationals would be asked to make an electronic application, supplying key data, before their arrival, allowing them to be checked against anti-terror databases in advance.

Migrants on foot? How many times do we have to repeat it?

The draft documents also highlight weaknesses in Europe’s efforts to guard its borders. One paper points out that, in the eight EU countries with external borders in the Mediterranean Sea and southern Atlantic, frontier surveillance is carried out by about 50 authorities from 30 institutions, sometimes with competing competencies and systems.

and nothing that Fratelli is offering will make it better. And he knows it.

The plans foresee increased use of satellites and unmanned surveillance aircraft to monitor unauthorized movements, and a computerized communication network to share information.

‘computerized’

Just like Buck Rogers!

Frattini also wants to see a bigger role for the agency that coordinates cooperation over external borders, known as Frontex. Although the agency has been criticized in some southern European nations for failing to match the scale of the challenge over illegal migration, the commission argues that it has achieved impressive results.

In 2006 and 2007 more than 53,000 people were apprehended or denied entry at a frontier and at least 2,900 false travel documents were seized. In addition, 58 people suspected of links to illegal trafficking have been arrested.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/10/europe/union.php?page=2

In other words, it has been just about as effective as USVISIT; billions spent to capture a handful of passports, and under one hundred criminals.

Pathetic.

Sadly we cannot expect anyone in Europe to take a common sense stance, put their foot down and say, “this is impossibly stupid”.

An ugly future, built by ugly people.