Pentagon moves to block release of court documents
by Adan Salazar
The D.O.D. and U.S. Army are attempting to delay a court order that would force them to provide certain notice to Vietnam veterans disclosing the extent to which they had secretly been used as test subjects for experimentation during the Cold War.
The federal lawsuit, filed by Vietnam Veterans of America as well as individual soldiers, has dragged on since January 2009, and requests the Army disclose details about covert testing performed during “Project Paperclip,” an operation through which the U.S. Office of Strategic Services recruited Nazi scientists for “postwar intelligence purposes.”
“With the help of Nazi scientists recruited through ‘Project Paperclip,’ the Army and CIA used at least 7,800 veterans as human guinea pigs at the Edgewood Arsenal, [Maryland] alone,” the veterans’ class action suit states.
Starting in the 50s, the Army casually went about using troops to research the effects of various psychoactive elements on the human mind. “[T]he U.S. government sought drugs to control human behavior, cause confusion, promote weakness or temporary loss of hearing and vision, induce hypnosis, and enhance a person’s ability to withstand torture,” the lawsuit states.
“These experiments also used civilian ‘volunteers’ such as college students, who were paid small sums to participate, or prisoners,” the complaint alleges.
Carried out under project names such as “Bluebird,” “Pandora,” “Monarch,” “Artichoke” and “MKUltra,” subjects were unknowingly “administered at least 250 and perhaps as many as 400 types of drugs, among them Sarin, one of the most deadly drugs known, amphetamines, barbiturates, mustard gas, phosgene gas and LSD,” in efforts to develop drugs that would produce the desired effects.
“Defendants videotaped many of the experiments involving ‘volunteers; at Edgewood, as evidence by releases signed by many of the ‘volunteers.’ Varying doses of each substance were administered to the ‘volunteers,’ typically through multiple pathways, including through intravenous, inhalation, oral and percutaneous,” the suit states (.pdf).
It is also alleged chemicals administered were “above the known toxic threshold,” and left many service members suffering “excruciating pain, blackouts, memory loss, hallucinations, flashbacks, trauma, psychotic disorders, and other lasting health problems.”
“The crux of the veterans’ argument,” reports Courthouse News, “is that the Administrative Procedure Act obligates the defendants to provide notice to test subjects and to provide them medical care.”
Additionally, plaintiffs are citing a 1962 Army regulation mandating that experiment participants “will be told as much of the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment, the method and means by which it is to be conducted, and the inconveniences and hazards to be expected, as will not invalidate the results.”
Among several claims for relief, the veterans are chiefly seeking the disclosure of medical information “concerning all tests conducted on Plaintiffs (including any results thereof),” as well as a court order “stating Defendants’ duty to provide Plaintiffs with all necessary medical treatment on an ongoing basis is mandatory.”
Whistleblower: Google Chrome can listen to your conversations Programmer goes public four months after company failed to fix exploit
by Paul Joseph Watson
Whistleblower who privately informed Google four months ago that their Chrome browser had the ability to record conversations without the user’s knowledge has gone public after the tech giant failed to fix the issue.
In the video above, the programmer explains how Google Chrome’s speech recognition function remains operational even after the user has left the website on which they gave permission for the browser to record their voice.
“When you click the button to start or stop the speech recognition on the site, what you won’t notice is that the site may have also opened another hidden pop under window. This window can wait until the main site is closed, and then start listening in without asking for permission. This can be done in a window that you never saw, never interacted with, and probably didn’t even know was there,” writes the whistleblower. The video shows a pop-under browser window recording and typing the programmer’s words as she speaks. The window can be disguised as an advertising banner so the user has no indication that Chrome is listening to their voice, whether that be on the phone, talking to someone on Skype, or merely having a conversation with someone near the computer.
The exploit is a “serious security breach” that has compromised the privacy of millions of Google Chrome users, according to the programmer, who warns, “as long as Chrome is still running, nothing said next to your computer is private.”
The exploit turns Google Chrome into an “espionage tool,” adds the programmer, noting that the recording function can be activated by the use of sensitive keywords and be passed on “to your friends at the NSA.”
The programmer reported the exploit to Google on September 19 last year and was met with assurances that it would be quickly fixed. However, despite apparently fixing the bug within two weeks, the update was never released to Chrome users, with Google telling the programmer, “Nothing is decided yet.”
As far back as 2006, we warned that computers would use in-built microphones to spy on users. We also revealed how digital cable boxes had embedded microphones that had the capability of recording conversations since the late 1990’s.
As we have previously highlighted, terms of agreement for both Android and iPhone apps now require users to agree to allow their microphone to be activated at any time without confirmation before they can download the app. Facebook’s term’s of agreement also allow the social network giant to record your phone calls, read your phone’s call log and “read data about contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you’ve called, emailed or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.”
We are now fully ensconced in a world that even George Orwell would have laughed off as inconceivable. Embedded microphones in everything from Xbox Kinect consoles to high-tech street lights that can record private conversations in real time represent the final nail in the coffin of privacy.