Police Beat Elderly Deaf Man For Refusing Orders

An elderly deaf Oklahoma man was beat by two highway patrol troopers earlier this month for allegedly refusing to comply during a traffic stop.

Police Beat Elderly Deaf Man For Refusing OrdersAccording to reports, 64-year-old Pearl Pearson left the scene of a minor automobile accident before being pulled over by Oklahoma Highway Patrol on January 3.

After issuing several vocal commands from their police vehicle, troopers claim Pearson refused to show his hands. Despite a large placard on his driver’s door stating, “Driver is deaf,” Pearson claims troopers immediately began hitting his face as he attempted to show his ID, which also states that he is hearing-impaired.

After a seven-minute altercation, Pearson was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and leaving the scene of an accident. According to Pearson, he was denied an interpreter for the entire duration of his detainment in and out of jail.

“Not during the booking, hospital, or time at the jail was an interpreter provided, even though Pearl requested one,” a statement reads.

Another statement on PearlPearson.com reveals that Pearson has several family members in law enforcement, making it seem highly unlikely that Pearson would cause issues for police.

“Pearl’s own son is a police officer, as was his son-in-law, who is now a deputy sheriff. He respects law enforcement and knows how to respond when pulled over. There is no reason for someone like Pearl to be hurt like this by those who are meant to protect and serve,” the statement reads.

Sacia Law, Pearson’s next-door neighbor, also agreed that there must have been a major misunderstanding during the traffic stop.

“He’s hearing impaired, you can’t yell at him from behind his car and get a response,” Law told Fox 4. “I know they do dangerous jobs and they put their lives on the line, but that is over the top.”

Despite the obvious misunderstanding, the highway patrol claims they are going forward with the charges while a review of the incident is conducted. The police affidavit made no mention whether or not the troopers realized Pearson was deaf.

Pearson is now receiving financial help from the Total Source for Hearing-Loss and Access group, an agency which provides assistance to the deaf and hard of hearing. A benefit dinner has been scheduled for Thursday at the Garnett Assembly of God church in Tulsa from 5-7 p.m.

Unfortunately, an increasingly violent militarized police force has created a real danger for not only the public, but the country’s countless Constitution-abiding officers.

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Scientific Explanation Behind the Brainwashing Power of Social Conformity

Human beings are social creatures, but revealing new evidence shows that this quality is not always beneficial.

Scientific Explanation Behind the Brainwashing Power of Social ConformityA study published last year in the journal Science found that when a person is pressured by peers, they have a tendency to form false memories and can convince themselves of different recollections of the past in order to fit what others insist is the truth.

“Human memory is strikingly susceptible to social influences, yet we know little about the underlying mechanisms,” said an abstract of the study.

“We examined how socially induced memory errors are generated in the brain by studying the memory of individuals exposed to recollections of others. Participants exhibited a strong tendency to conform to erroneous recollections of the group, producing both long-lasting and temporary errors, even when their initial memory was strong and accurate,” the abstract said. “Our findings reveal how social manipulation can alter memory and extend the known functions of the amygdala to encompass socially mediated memory distortions.”

Peer pressure convinced people they were wrong

Participants in the study watched a movie in groups, and then were questioned individually about the film afterward. Four days later, participants were questioned once more.

Researchers said that 70 percent of the time study participants changed their recollection of the film to match incorrect memories held by the others in their group, a finding that held true even for questions participants had initially felt very strongly that they had answered correctly.

Scientists involved in the study called these lapses “socially induced memory errors” because they discovered conclusive evidence that the group caused the change in answers.

“Participants were hooked up to an MRI while answering questions, and their hippocampus and amygdala lit up when changing their answers after being told the group’s memory differed from theirs, but not when a computer told them they were wrong. In other words, peer pressure convinced people they were wrong, as opposed to cold facts,” said an analysis of the study by The Raw Story.

In half of the memory errors, the false memory replaced the person’s initial, true memory.

As pointed out by Mother Jones magazine, the study’s results could explain why poll numbers indicate extraordinarily high levels of support for statements like “Obama is a Muslim” and “Obama is not a U.S. citizen” – statements that are demonstrably and provably false but which are vocally supported by several groups and media outlets.

Prior to this study there had already been evidence suggesting that people were very willing to change their stories, even if they knew they were true, due to social pressure. What makes the most recent study, by lead researcher Micah Edelson, an Israeli scientist, unique “is he used an MRI scanner while people were answering interviewers’ questions,” Mother Jones’ Jen Quraishi wrote.

Edelson found that study participants’ hippocampi and amygdales indicated activity only when people changed answers to match those shared by their viewing group. But if they were told to change their answers by a computer, their hippocampi and amygdales did not activate; the hippocampus is associated with memory; the amygdale is linked to emotion.

Not always a bad thing

“Our memory is surprisingly susceptible to social influences,” Edelson said during a July 2011 podcast. This could be cause for concern to some people, he said, because “studies have shown that…[witnesses] often discuss crime details with each other before testifying, and this can definitely have an influence on court cases.”

Subsequent studies have indicated that toddlers, too, may also give into peer pressure.

Researchers reported that 2-year-olds are more likely influenced to copy the actions of three other toddlers than if they saw the same actions carried out by just one other toddler, according to a report by HealthDay.

That said, peer pressure sensitivity needn’t always be negative.

“The tendency to acquire the behaviors of the majority has been posited as key to the transmission of relatively safe, reliable and productive behavioral strategies,” said researcher Daniel Haun, of the Max Planck Institutes of Evolutionary Anthropology and Psycholinguistics in Germany and the Netherlands.





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Canada enacts law threatening masked protesters with ten-year jail terms


Bill C-309—the Preventing Persons from Concealing Their Identities during Riots and Unlawful Assemblies Act—makes it a crime punishable by a ten-year prison term to incite a riot while wearing a mask or any face covering, including face paint.

Canada enacts law threatening masked protesters with ten-year jail termsSomeone who merely participates in a riot or in an “unlawful” assembly with their face covered can, under the new law, be deemed to have committed an indictable criminal offense and jailed for up to five years.

These new offenses are in addition to the existing Criminal Code offenses of participating in a riot and participating in an unlawful assembly. Persons convicted of the former can be jailed for a maximum of two years, while the latter is considered to be among the lowest tier of criminal offenses known as “summary offenses,” which carry a maximum six-month jail term.

Under Canadian law, police and other authorities have very broad powers to illegalize protests by declaring them “unlawful assemblies.” The Criminal Code describes an “unlawful assembly” as a gathering that causes people “to fear on reasonable grounds” that it “will disturb the peace tumultuously” or provoke others to do so.

During last year’s six month-long Quebec student strike, police declared numerous protests “unlawful assemblies,” then violently set about dispersing the crowd with tear gas, baton-charges and mass arrests. In response to the tear gas, many demonstrators covered their faces with handkerchiefs. Had the new law been in force, they could potentially have been charged with concealing their identities and targeted for punitive jail terms of up to five years.

Critics of the new law have rightly condemned it as a flagrant attack on the right to free speech. Masks and face paint have been used for centuries to make political points, and there are many reasons, including fear of victimization by employers, that can cause protesters to choose to conceal their faces. Police, it need be added, have subjected political protests to blanket surveillance for years, systematically photographing and videotaping demonstrators.

Moreover, there is a long history of police instigating violence at demonstrations—through provocative crowd-control tactics and the use of agent provocateurs—so as to justify their suppression. In 2007, undercover Quebec Provincial Police officers were caught trying to incite people protesting at a trilateral US-Canada-Mexico heads of government meeting in Montebello, Quebec to attack the police. (See: “Canada: Police agent-provocateurs unmasked at Montebello summit protests”)

Bill C-309 began as a private member’s bill. Only rarely do such bills become law, but the Conservative government chose to make it a legislative priority. As the result of an amendment proposed by Robert Goguen, the parliamentary secretary to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, and passed by the Conservative-dominated Justice Committee, the maximum penalty for the crime of inciting a riot while wearing some form of face-covering was increased from five to ten years.

In arguing for the legislation, the Conservatives said they wanted to give police an “additional tool” to deal with rioters.

In fact the most serious violence at political protests, to say nothing of the gravest attacks on democratic riots, have been committed by Canadian authorities. During the 2010 G-20 summit in Toronto—in a wholesale suppression of democratic rights that was abetted and supported by all three levels of government—police kicked, bludgeoned, tear-gassed, and shot rubber bullets at protesters, as well as numerous passersby. Journalists covering these unprecedented events were themselves arrested and assaulted.

In what the Ontario Ombudsman called the “most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history,” 1,100 people were arrested. Those apprehended in this dragnet were hauled into primitive detention cages, strip-searched and denied legal counsel. Subsequently, charges were dropped against the vast majority, with only a small fraction ever convicted of anything.

In Canada, as around the world, a ruling elite whose wealth and incomes have soared as a result of the a class war offensive on job, wages, and public services, has responded to growing opposition by moving to criminalize dissent.

In the past two years, the Conservative government has repeatedly illegalized strikes and impending strikes by Canada Post, Air Canada and CP Rail workers. Now Quebec’s Parti Quebecois government is threatening to criminalize a week-old strike of 175,000 construction workers.

In May 2012, the then Quebec Liberal government adopted an emergency law that effectively outlawed the Quebec student strike and placed sweeping restrictions on the right to strike over any issue in the province. On taking office the following September, the PQ made a show of repealing Bill 78, but it has endorsed repressive bylaws adopted during the student strike by Montreal, Quebec City, and many other Quebec municipalities. These bylaws make it illegal to demonstrate without the police’s express authorization of the protest route. In many cases, they also make it illegal to wear a mask, face covering or face paint at a protest even if the protest is legal. Police have already used the presence of masked demonstrators at protests to declare them “unlawful assemblies,” making all those participating liable to arrest and fines.

As a result of the new federal law, Montreal Police could potentially invoke the municipal bylaw against face-covered protestors so as to declare a protest illegal, then charge those who are face-covered with participating in an unlawful assembly while concealing their identities, making them liable to punitive jail terms

The criminalization of dissent goes hand in hand with the build-up of a secret state-within-the state. Under a series of ministerial directives, whose existence let alone content has been kept unknown to Canadians, Liberal and Conservative governments have authorized the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC)—a close partner of the U.S. National Security Agency—to mine the metadata of Canadians’ telephone, computer, and other electronic communications since at least 2005.

US is world’s biggest villain


China’s official news agency has slammed the United States as the world’s “biggest villain” following new revelations about Washington’s cyber espionage against Chinese companies and institutions.

myriam20130623064558463“These, along with previous allegations, are clearly troubling signs. They demonstrate that the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyber attacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age,” said a commentary published in the Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

In his latest revelation published by the South China Morning Post on Saturday, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden said US spying agencies have been hacking Chinese phone companies in order to access millions of private text messages in China.

According to the report, the NSA has also hacked China’s top Tsinghua University and Pacnet headquarters in Hong Kong, which operates one of the Asia-Pacific region’s largest fiber-optic networks, by using an electronic surveillance government program known as PRISM.

“But for other countries, Washington should come clean about its record first”” the Xinhua commentary added.

    “It (Washington) owes too an explanation to China and other countries it has allegedly spied on. It has to share with the world the range, extent and intent of its clandestine hacking programs.”

US federal prosecutors have filed charges of “theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person” against Snowden.

The charges against Snowden, who is reportedly seeking asylum in Hong Kong, were based on his extraction of classified documents from servers of the NSA, which led to revelations about the agency’s spying programs.

The documents, disclosed to the Guardian and Washington Post revealed two major NSA spying programs, one for gathering US phone records and another one, called PRISM, for tracking the use of US-based web servers by Americans and other nationals.

The leaks also exposed “Boundless Informant,” a powerful tool developed by the NSA, which enables it to record and categorize intelligence it secretly collects from countries around the world.

Mastering the internet: how GCHQ set out to spy on the world wide web

Access to the future 2Detail of a top secret briefing to GCHQ intelligence analysts who were to have access to Tempora

The memo was finished at 9.32am on Tuesday 19 May 2009, and was written jointly by the director in charge of GCHQ‘s top-secret Mastering the Internet (MTI) project and a senior member of the agency’s cyber-defence team.

The internal email, seen by the Guardian, was a “prioritisation and tasking initiative” to another senior member of staff about the problems facing GCHQ during a period when technology seemed to be racing ahead of the intelligence community.

The authors wanted new ideas – and fast.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for GCHQ to acquire the rich sources of traffic needed to enable our support to partners within HMG [Her Majesty’s government], the armed forces, and overseas,” they wrote.

“The rapid development of different technologies, types of traffic, service providers and networks, and the growth in sheer volumes that accompany particularly the expansion and use of the internet, present an unprecedented challenge to the success of GCHQ’s mission. Critically we are not currently able to prioritise and task the increasing range and scale of our accesses at the pace, or with the coherence demanded of the internet age: potentially available data is not accessed, potential benefit for HMG is not delivered.”

The memo continued: “We would like you to lead a small team to fully define this shortfall in tasking capability [and] identify all the necessary changes needed to rectify it.” The two chiefs said they wanted an initial report within a month, and every month thereafter, on what one of them described as “potential quick-win solutions not currently within existing programme plans”.

Though this document only offers a snapshot, at the time it was written four years ago some senior officials at GCHQ were clearly anxious about the future, and casting around for ideas among senior colleagues about how to address a variety of problems.

According to the papers leaked by the US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, Cheltenham’s overarching project to “master the internet” was under way, but one of its core programmes,Tempora, was still being tested and developed, and the agency’s principal customers, the government, MI5 and MI6, remained hungry for more and better-quality information.

There was America’s NSA to consider too. The Americans had been pushing GCHQ to provide better intelligence to support Nato’s military effort in Afghanistan; a reflection, perhaps, of wider US frustration that information sharing between the US and the UK had become too lopsided over the past 20 years.

In the joint instruction from 2009, the director had twice mentioned the necessity to fulfil GCHQ’s “mission”, but the academics and commentators who follow Britain’s intelligence agencies are unsure exactly what this means, and politicians rarely try to define it in any detail.

The “mission” has certainly changed and the agency, currently run by Sir Iain Lobban, may be under more pressure now than it has ever been.

The issues, and the enemies, have become more complex, and are quite different from the comparatively simple world into which Britain’s secret services were born in 1909.

At the time, concern about German spies living in the UK led to the establishment of a Secret Service Bureau and, at the start of the first world war, two embryonic security organisations began to focus on “signals intelligence” (Sigint), which remains at heart of GCHQ’s work.

The codebreakers of Bletchley Park became heroes of the second world war as they mastered the encryption systems used by the Nazis. And the priority during the cold war was Moscow.

During these periods GCHQ’s focus was clear, and the priorities of the “mission” easier to establish.

There was no parliamentary scrutiny of its work so the agency, which moved from Milton Keynes to Cheltenham in the early 1950s, existed in a peculiar limbo.

That changed, and with it the boundaries of its work, with the 1994 Intelligence Services Act (Isa), which gave a legal underpinning to the agency for the first time. The act kept the powers and objectives ofGCHQ broad and vague.

The agency was tasked with working “in the interests of national security, with particular reference to the defence and foreign policies of Her Majesty’s government; in the interests of the economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom; and in support of the prevention and the detection of serious crime”.

Reviewing the legislation at the time, the human rights lawyer John Wadham, then legal director of Liberty, highlighted the ambiguities of the expressions used, and warned that the lack of clarity would cause problems and concern.

“National security is used without further definition. It is true the courts themselves have found it impossible to decide what is or what is not in the interests of national security. The reality is that ‘national security’ can mean whatever the government of the day chooses it to mean.” The same could be said for the clause referring to “economic wellbeing”.

Arguably, GCHQ’s responsibilities have broadened even further over the past decade: it has become the UK’s lead agency for cyber-security – identifying the hackers, criminal gangs and state actors who are stealing ideas, information and blueprints from British firms.

Alarmed by the increase in these cyber-attacks, and faced with billions of pounds’ worth of intellectual property being stolen every year, the government made the issue a tier-one priority in the 2010 strategic defence and security review. In a time of cuts across Whitehall, the coalition found an extra £650m for cyber-security initiatives, and more than half was given to GCHQ. It has left the agency with a vast array of responsibilities, which were set out in a pithy internal GCHQ memo dated October 2011: “[Our] targets boil down to diplomatic/military/commercial targets/terrorists/organised criminals and e-crime/cyber actors”.

All this has taken place during an era in which it has become harder, the intelligence community claims, for analysts to access the information they believe they need. The exponential growth in the number of mobile phone users during the noughties, and the rise of a new breed of independent-minded internet service providers, conspired to make their work more difficult, particularly as many of the new firms were based abroad, outside the jurisdiction of British law.

Struggling to cope with increased demands, a more complex environment, and working within laws that critics say are hopelessly outdated, GCHQ starting casting around for new, innovative ideas.Tempora was one of them.

Though the documents are not explicit, it seems the Mastering the Internet programme began life in early 2007 and, a year later, work began on an experimental research project, run out of GCHQ’s outpost at Bude in Cornwall.

Its aim was to establish the practical uses of an “internet buffer”, the first of which was referred to as CPC, or Cheltenham Processing Centre.

By March 2010, analysts from the NSA had been allowed some preliminary access to the project, which, at the time, appears to have been codenamed TINT, and was being referred to in official documents as a “joint GCHQ/NSA research initiative”.

TINT, the documents explain, “uniquely allows retrospective analysis for attribution” – a storage system of sorts, which allowed analysts to capture traffic on the internet and then review it.

The papers seen by the Guardian make clear that at some point – it is not clear when – GCHQ began to plug into the cables that carry internet traffic into and out of the country, and garner material in a process repeatedly referred to as SSE. This is thought to mean special source exploitation.

The capability, which was authorised by legal warrants, gave GCHQaccess to a vast amount of raw information, and the TINT programme a potential way of being able to store it.

A year after the plaintive email asking for new ideas, GCHQ reported significant progress on a number of fronts.

One document described how there were 2 billion users of the internet worldwide, how Facebook had more than 400 million regular users and how there had been a 600% growth in mobile internet traffic the year before. “But we are starting to ‘master’ the internet,” the author claimed. “And our current capability is quite impressive.”

The report said the UK now had the “biggest internet access in Five Eyes” – the group of intelligence organisations from the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. “We are in the golden age,” the report added.

There were caveats. The paper warned that American internet service providers were moving to Malaysia and India, and the NSA was “buying up real estate in these places”.

“We won’t see this traffic crossing the UK. Oh dear,” the author said. He suggested Britain should do the same and play the “US at [their] own game … and buy facilities overseas”.

GCHQ’s mid-year 2010-11 review revealed another startling fact about Mastering the Internet.

“MTI delivered the next big step in the access, processing and storage journey, hitting a new high of more than 39bn events in a 24-hour period, dramatically increasing our capability to produce unique intelligence from our targets’ use of the internet and made major contributions to recent operations.”

This appears to suggest GCHQ had managed to record 39bn separate pieces of information during a single day. The report noted there had been “encouraging innovation across all of GCHQ”.

The NSA remarked on the success of GCHQ in a “Joint Collaboration Activity” report in February 2011. In a startling admission, it said Cheltenham now “produces larger amounts of metadata collection than the NSA”, metadata being the bare details of calls made and messages sent rather than the content within them.

The close working relationship between the two agencies was underlined later in the document, with a suggestion that this was a necessity to process such a vast amount of raw information.

“GCHQ analysts effectively exploit NSA metadata for intelligence production, target development/discovery purposes,” the report explained.

“NSA analysts effectively exploit GCHQ metadata for intelligence production, target development/discovery purposes. GCHQ and NSA avoid processing the same data twice and proactively seek to converge technical solutions and processing architectures.”

The documents appear to suggest the two agencies had come to rely on each other; with Tempora’s “buffering capability”, and Britain’s access to the cables that carry internet traffic in and out of the country, GCHQ has been able to collect and store a huge amount of information.

The NSA, however, had provided GCHQ with the tools necessary to sift through the data and get value from it.

By May last year, the volume of information available to them grew again, with GCHQ reporting that it now had “internet buffering” capability running from its headquarters in Cheltenham, its station in Bude, and a location abroad, which the Guardian will not identify. The programme was now capable of collecting, a memo explained with excited understatement, “a lot of data!”

Referring to Tempora’s “deep dive capability”, it explained: “It builds upon the success of the TINT experiment and will provide a vital unique capability.

“This gives over 300 GCHQ and 250 NSA analysts access to huge amounts of data to support the target discovery mission. The MTI programme would like to say a big thanks to everyone who has made this possible … a true collaborative effort!”

Tempora, the document said, had shown that “every area of ops can get real benefit from this capability, especially for target discovery and target development”.

But while the ingenuity of the Tempora programme is not in doubt, its existence may trouble anyone who sends and receives an email, or makes an internet phone call, or posts a message on a social media site, and expects the communication to remain private.

Campaigners and human rights lawyers will doubtless want to know how Britain’s laws have been applied to allow this vast collection of data. They will ask questions about the oversight of the programme by ministers, MPs and the intelligence interception commissioner, none of whom have spoken in public about it.

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