What Happened in South Africa

In 1998 South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission held hearings investigating activities of the apartheid-era government. Toward the end of the hearings, the Commission looked into the apartheid regime’s Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) program and allegations that it developed a sterility vaccine to use on black South Africans, employed toxic and chemical poison weapons for political asssassination, and in the late 1970s provided anthrax and cholera to Rhodesian troops for use against guerrilla rebels in their war to overthrow Rhodesia’s white minority rule.

The Ringworm Children

A study from the early 1950s found X-ray treatment effective in almost all cases of ringworm.
The documentary alleges that 100,000 children were irradiated, and that 6,000 of them died shortly after receiving treatment. Many of the ‘ringworm children’ later developed cancer, and in 1994 the Knesset passed a law mandating the Israeli government to provide them with compensation.

The real question about chemical weapons in Iraq

The piece, by veteran war correspondent C.J. Chivers, said that American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or bombs, relying on interviews with service members, U.S. and Iraqi officials and intelligence documents released through the Freedom of Information Act. The Times reported it found 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers who were exposed to poisonous mustard or nerve agents after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Saudi Arabia Beheaded 59 People So Far This Year — But Hardly Anyone is Talking About It

The string of beheadings of American and British hostages at the hands of the Islamic State has drawn horror and intense media scrutiny the world over, redoubling international determination to defeat the extremist group.

But with IS dominating headlines, it is easy to forget that Saudi Arabia, a member of the UN’s Human Rights Council and a close ally of America in the war against the Islamist fighters, is itself routinely carrying out the practice of beheading. 

Press Release – Updated Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – IP Chapter

Today, Thursday 16 October 2014, WikiLeaks released a second updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the world’s largest economic trade agreement that will, if it comes into force, encompass more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The IP Chapter covers topics from pharmaceuticals, patent registrations and copyright issues to digital rights. Experts say it will affect freedom of information, civil liberties and access to medicines globally. The WikiLeaks release comes ahead of a Chief Negotiators’ meeting in Canberra on 19 October 2014, which is followed by what is meant to be a decisive Ministerial meeting in Sydney on 25–27 October.

Voiceprints Being Harvested by the Millions

Over the telephone, in jail and online, a new digital bounty is being harvested: the human voice.

Businesses and governments around the world increasingly are turning to voice biometrics, or voiceprints, to pay pensions, collect taxes, track criminals and replace passwords.

“We sometimes call it the invisible biometric,” said Mike Goldgof, an executive at Madrid-based AGNITiO, one of about 10 leading companies in the field.

Those companies have helped enter more than 65 million voiceprints into corporate and government databases, according to Associated Press interviews with dozens of industry representatives and records requests in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

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The single largest implementation identified by the AP is in Turkey, where mobile phone company Turkcell has taken the voice biometric data of some 10 million customers using technology provided by market leader Nuance Communications Inc. But government agencies are catching up.

In the U.S., law enforcement officials use the technology to monitor inmates and track offenders who have been paroled.

Full article abcnews

Why privacy matters

Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”