Interview with Kevin Annett

Kevin Annett is a former United Church minister in Vancouver, Canada, who was fired without cause in 1995, and then expelled from the same church without due process, after he had unearthed evidence of the theft of native land by church officers, and of the murder of native children at the United Church residential school in Port Alberni, British Columbia, where Kevin ministered.

Since his firing and blacklisting by the United Church, Reverend Annett has worked as an advocate and counsellor in aboriginal healing circles on the west coast. He organized the first international Tribunal into Canadian residential schools in Vancouver in June, 1998, at which a United Nations affiliate, IHRAAM, presided.

Reverend Annett is working with aboriginal and human rights groups around the world in an effort to bring charges of complicity in Genocide against the government of Canada, the Anglican, United and Roman Catholic churches, and the RCMP. He is serving as the secretary of the recently-established Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, has authored a book about his experiences, “Love and Death in the Valley”, and co-produced the documentary “Unrepentent” about the church’s coverup in the genocide of 50,000 Native Americans.

“John LeKay: When you first arrived at your new parish and were invited to conduct a wedding ceremony at the native reserve; you asked a native man by the name of Danny Gus – why there were no natives showing up for mass on Sunday. He turned around and said “because they killed my friend, he is buried up in the hills behind the church”. What was your initial reaction when you heard this?

Kevin Annett: Disbelief. I wanted proof but didn’t know where to look for it.”

(via Heyoka Magazine)

(Related: the documentary “Unrepentant” via Google video. Hidden From History website. Hidden From History: The Canadian Holocaust)

Washington State House Gives Nod to Privacy Bill

“A revised version of legislation intended to protect the privacy of individuals using RFID tags with “unique personal identifier numbers” passed the Washington State House of Representatives on Wednesday. House Bill (HB) 1031-intended to limit collection of personal information from an RFID tag without the tag holder’s knowledge or consent-passed with 69 to 27 votes. The bill is now headed for the State Senate and, if approved, to the office of Governor Christine Gregoire.

[…] The revised bill would make it a Class C felony to intentionally read the data encoded to an RFID tag in possession of a person without that individual’s knowledge and consent, for the purpose of fraud, identity theft or some other illegal or unapproved purpose-a process known as “skimming.” With this bill, skimming refers to capturing personal data about a tag’s holder, such as the details on a loyalty card, driver’s license or other identity card. It does not refer to capturing data from EPC RFID tags attached to products that do not hold the consumer’s data. Class C felony in Washington State has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the bill is signed into law, it would be the first legislation on the state level to make skimming a felony, says Morris.”

(via RFID Journal)

The road to e-democracy

“Governments have more or less caught up with what in geek-speak is called ‘web 1.0’, with the online world largely mimicking the offline world. E-mails replace letters; websites make publishing speedier and more effective; data are stored on the user’s computer. A collection of programs, paid-for or pirated, are the essential tools for getting going.

But all this has been overtaken by ‘web 2.0’, shorthand for the interactivity brought by wikis (pages that anyone can edit) and blogs (on which anyone can comment). Data are accessed through the internet; programs are opened in browser windows rather than loaded from the hard disc; instant messages, often attached to social-networking sites such as Facebook, replace e-mail. Web 2.0 also means free video-sharing on sites such as YouTube and free phone calls between computers. These developments allow information to be shared far more effectively, at almost no cost. That gives great hope to the proponents of e-democracy.”

(via The Economist)

The RFID Controversy: Corporations Want to Imbed Traceable Microchips to Everything We Buy, Wear, Drive and Read

‘Once a tagged item is associated with a particular individual, personally identifiable information can be obtained and then aggregated to develop a profile.” ~ U.S. Government Accountability Office report on RFID technology

A future full of traceable microchips is much closer than many would like to think. Already microchips are being found in computer printers, car tires, personal care products, clothing, library books and “contactless” payment cards. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, experts say.

[…] The Washington Post reports that this technology is already well developed and enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly. Newer and potentially invasive uses are being patented, perfected and deployed daily to unsuspecting consumers. While the technology obviously presents a risk to privacy, many believe that these microchips are the way of the future. Like it or not, these potential tracking devices will soon be imbedded everywhere imaginable. Microchips with antennas will be hidden in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumers wherever they go.”

(via The Daily Galaxy)

Freakonomics looks at big pharma in the U.S.

What Don’t We Know About the Pharmaceutical Industry? A Freakonomics Quorum

[W]e’ve gathered up some willing and able candidates – Dr. Stuart Apfel, Zola P. Horovitz, Dr. Harlan Krumholz, Ray Moynihan, and Dr. Cyril Wolf – and asked them the following question:

What’s something that most people don’t know, pro or con, about the pharmaceutical business, whether from an R&D, economic, or political perspective?

Dr. Harlan Krumholz, professor of medicine, epidemiology, and public health at Yale:

Science and the public good in a capitalist society depend on the free flow of unbiased information, but it doesn’t always work that way. Events are revealing that many pharmaceutical companies, along with their consulting academic physicians, have engaged in practices that obscure or misrepresent information about their products. Does the public realize the depth of these practices, and their implications for patient care?

Zola P. Horovitz, Ph.D, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry consultant, and member of the board of drug companies including Biocryst Pharmaceuticals, Phyton, Genaera Corporation, and Avigen:

My answer to this question is this: that the United States is subsidizing prescription drug prices for the rest of the world. Most people do not realize that when a prescription is paid for in the U.S., the payer (the patient, his or her insurance company, or the government) is subsidizing the cost of that same prescription in most countries outside the U.S. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies price their products to get a return that will support research and development to discover new products. Almost all major new drugs are discovered and developed by these companies, and most are located inside the U.S.

Dr. Cyril Wolf, practicing physician and prescription sales researcher:

The best kept secret by the retail pharmaceutical industry is the obscene profits made on generic drugs by the large chain stores. Whereas brand name drugs are all purchased, and therefore sold, for around the same price, generics are obtained for a fraction of that cost. The price at which the generics are sold is determined by the sellers, who thus have the ability to make exorbitant profits on these drugs.

Dr. Stuart Apfel, founder and president of Parallax Clinical Research and chief medical officer at Elite Pharmaceuticals:

For the majority of people, the great appeal of biomedical science is the potential benefit it presents to human beings through curing disease, extending life, and improving the quality of life. As is generally well-known, biomedical science has achieved much in extending our knowledge of the complex biological processes that make up all living organisms, including ourselves. […]

Market forces will always drive the actions of pharmaceutical companies, which are, after all, businesses like any other. However, society as a whole will benefit from greater risk taking and increased efforts to bridge the divide between laboratory science and the clinic.

Ray Moynihan, co-author of Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients:

What a lot of people may not know is that for some time now, pharmaceutical company marketing strategies have focused on promoting illness, rather than simply promoting drugs. Underpinning many of the marketing strategies of big drug companies is a very sophisticated and comprehensive plan to widen the boundaries of illness, and create an environment in which more and more formerly healthy people are defined as ‘sick.’ The strategies have many components – the most visible being TV and newspaper ads that make us think that our ailments and inconveniences are the signs and symptoms of genuine medical conditions. A sore stomach is ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome,’ a mild sexual difficulty is ‘Female Sexual Dysfunction,’ and overactive grown-ups now have ‘Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.’


U.S. image abroad handled by old Texan women. I’m not kidding

Was reading my new issue of Print — a design magazine I subscribe to — and the new issue is dedicated to “global graphics that inform, incite and inspire.” Anyone interested in propaganda might wanna check it out, as design has played a huge part in swaying public opinion for well over a century now.

On pg 72 (Print, Feb 2008), in “From Despotism to Destination,” Ben Carmichael writes about rebranding nations. He exposes American propaganda in the Middle East:

Countries that try to fake an image are countries that court disgrace — which is precisely what the U.S. got as a result of a disastrous recent campaign. Shortly after September 11, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell hired Ogilvy & Mather veteran Charlotte Beers to launch a pro-American advertising and public relations effort in the Middle East. As Powell put it, the goal was “to rebrand American foreign policy.” As a part of her “Shared Values” campaign, in 2002 Beers launched Hi magazine, meant for modern Arabic youth, Radio Sawa, an Arabic-language radio station, debuted the same year, and Alhurra, an Arabic-language satellite TV station, went on the air in 2004. Both are funded by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, formerly known as the United States Information Agency. So negative was Arab countries’ reaction to Beers’s programs that she left in 2003 before many of them got off the ground, though Radio Sawa and Alhurra are still on the air. Her successor, Margaret Tutwiler, lasted five months; Karen Hughes, who remained in office for two and a half years, announced her resignation on Halloween.

Karen Parfitt Hughes (born December 27, 1956) is a Republican politician from the state of Texas. She served as the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of State with the rank of ambassador. She resides in Austin, Texas.

Karen Hughes To Work on The World’s View of U.S.
Can Karen Hughes help US image abroad?

Charlotte Beers (born July 26, 1935 in Beaumont, Texas) is an American businesswoman and former Under Secretary of State.

She was the first female vice-president at the JWT advertising firm, then CEO of Tatham-Laird & Kudner until 1992, and finally CEO of Ogilvy & Mather until 1996. In 1997, Fortune magazine placed her on the cover of their first issue to feature the most powerful women in America, for her achievements in the advertising industry. In 1999, Beers received the “Legend in Leadership Award” from the Chief Executive Leadership Institute of the Yale School of Management.

From October 2001 until March 2003, she worked for the Bush Administration administration as the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Bush’s Muslim propaganda chief quits
The invasion of Iraq hasn’t begun, but the U.S. marketing machine has been going strong

Aside from noting a few critical mistakes that they seem to have made with their Middle East propaganda efforts, it’s just that public image abroad is flagrant propaganda maintained by really old Republican Texan women. Ugh.

I came across Hughes name a second time in two days in the Washington Post article having to do with “Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach“:

Similarly, many in the Arab world are convinced that the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 was not the work of Arab terrorists but was a controlled demolition; that 4,000 Jews working there had been warned to stay home that day; and that the Pentagon was struck by a missile rather than a plane.

Those notions remain widespread even though the federal government now runs Web sites in seven languages to challenge them. Karen Hughes, who runs the Bush administration’s campaign to win hearts and minds in the fight against terrorism, recently painted a glowing report of the “digital outreach” teams working to counter misinformation and myths by challenging those ideas on Arabic blogs.

Microsoft Seeks Patent On Monitoring Employees’ Brains

This is downright creepy:

“A just-published Microsoft patent application for Monitoring Group Activities describes how a company or the government can determine if employees are not meeting their project deadlines through the use of detection components comprised of ‘one or more physiological or environmental sensors to detect at least one of heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement, facial movements, facial expressions, and blood pressure.’ Yikes.”

(via Techdirt)

(patent application for Monitoring Group Activities)

AT&T Unveils Managed RFID Service for School Systems

“Telecommunications giant AT&T expanded its portfolio of RFID offerings last week with a managed service for schools. The solution comprises AT&T’s cellular network, RFID asset tracking and a global positioning system (GPS) technology, and can be packaged in a variety of applications. These include helping schools track and manage their fleets of buses, track bus-riding students, automate attendance procedures and lunch payments, and track mobile computers and other assets within the school.

Created for educational institutions (kindergarten through grade 12), the service includes designing, deploying and managing the solutions. Depending on the school system’s needs, AT&T will help determine the most appropriate technologies, such as active WiFi-based tags for tracking equipment, or ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags incorporated into student and faculty badges for automated attendance procedures, or for ensuring students safely get on and off buses.”

(via RFID Journal)

F.C.C. Reshapes Rules Limiting Media Industry

“The F.C.C. approved two new rules on Tuesday that are likely to reshape the nation’s media landscape by setting new parameters for the size and scope of the largest news and cable companies. One rule would tighten the reins on the cable television industry. By stipulating that no one company can control more than 30 percent of the market, the rule introduces fresh regulation to an industry where there has been little of it, angering both the cable industry and Republican commissioners, who favor a free-market approach. The other rule, which gives owners of newspapers more leeway to buy radio and television stations in the largest cities, is a step in the direction of deregulation. It is intended to help the newspaper industry, which is suffering from dwindling advertising revenue, and to recognize that the historical conditions that gave rise to cross-ownership restrictions have changed, now that more news sources are available on the Internet and cable television.

Under the new rule, a company can own both a newspaper and either a television or radio station in those markets as long as there remain at least eight other independent sources of news. If it is a television station, the rule requires that it cannot be one of the top four.”

(via The New York Times)

Domestic Spying, Inc.

Here we go…Write your Congressmen, people…

“A new intelligence institution to be inaugurated soon by the Bush administration will allow government spying agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States for the first time. Under a proposal being reviewed by Congress, a National Applications Office (NAO) will be established to coordinate how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and domestic law enforcement and rescue agencies use imagery and communications intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites. If the plan goes forward, the NAO will create the legal mechanism for an unprecedented degree of domestic intelligence gathering that would make the U.S. one of the world’s most closely monitored nations. Until now, domestic use of electronic intelligence from spy satellites was limited to scientific agencies with no responsibility for national security or law enforcement.”

(via CorpWatch)


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