Aletho News


Radiation Reporting

By JOHN LaFORGE | CounterPunch | October 26, 2011

The ongoing radiation catastrophe stemming from three out-of-control nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan has taken a back seat to far graver news events of late: Michael Jackson’s doctor, fund-raising by presidential hopefuls, the World Series, and Netflix stock.

Meanwhile, reporting about the on-going disaster relentlessly repeats the minimization and trivialization of radiation risk that began March 11, with the largest earthquake in Japanese history and the unprecedented tsunami that left over 26,000 people dead or missing and 80,000 still living in shelters.

Radioactive contamination of soil, tap water, rain water, groundwater, beef, fish, vegetables, animal feed and incinerator ash are almost always said to be of little or “no immediate” danger, which helps explain why Fukushima has faded from public consciousness.

“An exposure of 100 millisieverts per year is considered the lowest level at which any increase in cancer risk is evident,” the French Press Agency reported Oct. 6. But the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s official published position on radiation risk is that, “any amount of radiation may pose some risk for causing cancer and hereditary effect, [and] … any increase in dose, no matter how small, results in an incremental increase in risk.”

Contaminated spinach and milk “do not pose an immediate health threat,” reported Giles Snyder of NPR’s Weekend Edition, April 19. Yet the National Council on Radiation Protection declares that “every increment of radiation exposure produces an incremental increase in the risk of cancer.”

“The nuclear crisis caused the worst radiation leak since Chernobyl,” the AP said Oct. 7, as if the accident were over. The same news agency said Sept. 22 that “radiation leaks continue.”

An April 11 Forbes news report grossly misstated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) official public warning about radiation. Noting that a Phoenix, Arizona drinking water sample contained 3.2 pico-curies-per-liter of radioactive iodine-131 from Fukushima, and that the EPA’s maximum contaminant level is 3.0, the writer concluded: “EPA does not consider these levels to pose a health threat.” In fact, the EPA officially warns that “there is no level below which we can say an exposure poses no risk.”

In spite of evidence of far flung and ominous levels of contamination, the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, had the nerve to tell Japan to be less conservative in its cleanup program planning. The removal of layers of topsoil is being considered by the government, but an IAEA team this month said that would be impractical. About 29 million cubic meters of surface soil, an area the size of Luxemburg, may need to be removed but, “We want the Japanese government to avoid becoming too conservative” in its cleanup plans,” IAEA inspectors said. The IAEA is chartered to work worldwide “to promote nuclear technologies,” while finding a disposal location for its mountains of radioactive waste is Japan’s problem. The government recently approved “temporary” storage of millions of tons of contaminated soil and rice straw in state-owned forests.

Japan’s health minister declared Sept. 20 that the beef supply was safe and claimed that the government had improved its testing of food for radioactive contamination. In August the minister, Yoko Komiyama, lifted a ban on shipments of beef contaminated with radioactive cesium.

“The government was saying everything sold in the market was safe before the beef incident, then it turned out to be untrue,” Mariko Sano, secretary of the Tokyo-based consumer group Shufuren told the Wall St. Journal. “It’s hard to believe that now.”

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Nuclear Power | 1 Comment

Anata falls victim to militarized, illegal settlement once again

By Jenna Bereld | International Solidarity Movement | 26 October 2011

West Bank – When Mohammad woke up on Tuesday, he still did not know about the Israeli forces or the bulldozers that were on their way to uproot his trees and demolish his entire farm. But before the day was over, all of his property was erased and one could hardly guess that there had ever been a building there.

“I’m very sad because of the farm”, Mohammad said.

The soldiers claimed that the buildings were illegal, referring to the Israeli Civil Administration. ”This is the land from my grandfather, and I have no other land,” Mohammad says.

Mohammad lives in Anata in the West Bank with his wife and twelve children. The village is trapped by the Separation Wall around Jerusalem to the west, and Area C and the planned expansion of the settlement Ma’ale Adumim to the east. The village has no possibility to expand without building permits from the Israeli Civil Administration. The process is expensive, and for Palestinians, the application is rejected in 95% of the cases. From 2000 to 2007  almost 5,000 demolition orders against Palestinian buildings were issued.

In a separate incident, a four year old Palestinian child from Anata was shot in the neck around noon. Asil Arara’s wounds have left her in  serious condition and may cause paralysis. The illegal Israeli settlement of Anatot, also home to settlers who recently violently attacked Israeli peace activists, is home to a military training camp from where it is said the shot that struck Arara was fired.

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Anata falls victim to militarized, illegal settlement once again

Women Dethrone Malthus

The 7 Billion Person Halloween Scare

By John V. Walsh | Dissident Voice | October 26th, 2011

This Halloween the neo-Malthusians, many dressed up as environmentalists, will have a big scare for us – the birth of the 7 billionth person on “space ship” earth. We will hear again of the demographic disaster sure to befall us with yet another mouth to feed. But a wondrous antidote to such fear mongering is one of the best books of the last year, The Coming Population Crash, by Fred Pearce. The book begins with a sound thrashing of Malthus and satisfyingly exposes the historical and conceptual links between his failed ideas and some unsavory strains of the current environmental movement such as the Carrying Capacity Network and Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization, an anti-immigrant group.

At its heart the book conveys a simple fact. The rate of population growth has been decelerating for decades – well before the publication in the 1970s of Paul Ehrlich’s alarmist, implicitly racist, and dead wrong neo-Malthusian tract, The Population Bomb. It is amazing that many environmentalists are unaware of the crucial fact of slowing population growth, and that some react with hostility to it. Further, somewhere between 2050 and 2100, growth will stop and then come crashing down. It is not the sky that will be falling but the population. From Eastern Europe to Southern Italy to Singapore, that day has already arrived and sooner or later it will come to all parts of the planet. In fact, it may well be that in the next century the problem will be a population that is not large enough to be optimal; but that will be for the 22nd century humans to decide and act on.

And why has this happened? The key is the successful assault on patriarchy by women determined to control their fertility and their lives. Yes, prosperity helps; and population control programs, most notably in China, have had some effect, but they are not the essential factors.  In rich countries and poor, religious and secular, Islamic and Christian, the trend is under way and irreversible. Of that there can be no doubt.

The reason is simple. In the latter half of the 20th Century the survival rate of infants increased dramatically so that women did not have to continue to have children for a reproductive lifetime to replenish the population. At the same time, the sexual revolution and easy contraception came along. Now bearing children takes only 10-15 percent of the adult lifetime of a woman.

As Pearce puts it, “Women have grabbed the chance created by that change. While having children remains important to most women’s lives, it is no longer the only thing or even the main thing they do.  They cease to wield power only within the home. Now they are out of the front door. Across the rich world and in much of the poorer world too, women outnumber men on university campuses and dominate entry to professions like medicine, media and the law. They run the farms and even the governments, sometimes. The reproductive revolution has created a feminist revolution that has a long way to go.  But it has already changed the world. For thousands of years men ruled the world.  Patriarchy was regarded as necessary to produce the next generation. It was deeply engrained and tenaciously defended by men,” their social institutions, both church and state, and mores that condemned lesbianism and homosexuality.

The reproductive revolution kicked away this system of patriarchy, because it was no longer necessary to sustain populations. Women have always wanted equal rights.  Feminism is not a new idea And some women have always broken free. But for most women the reproductive revolution has taken feminism from the ‘realm of utopia to practical possibility’.

So while we hear a great deal of alarmist talk about “peak oil” from certain quarters we scarcely ever hear of “peak population.” Fertility in the world peaked at between five and six children per woman in the 1950s. It is now down to 2.6 and still dropping. Replacement is about 2.1, and we are almost there.

What about the aging of this population? The other side of contemporary Malthusianism is the claim that an older population means more mouths to feed and fewer younger working hands to feed them. But that is also false. We have gone from a revolution in agriculture, where it takes an ever smaller fraction of the population, and an ever smaller amount of land per capita, to feed us, to an advanced technological revolution where, for example, productivity in manufacturing in the U.S. is growing exponentially with a rate constant of .035 per year and in all areas at an exponential rate of 0.02 per year. (Productivity here is output per person hour.) So when you hear a voice telling you that we cannot afford Social Security or Medicare benefits for all that is the voice of Malthus, always wrong, calling from his grave.

In fact, Pearce sees a great benefit in an older population. Not only will it be healthier than in the past and capable of making contributions well into the eighth decade of life, but it will be less testosterone driven, with more historical sense and more wisdom and less given to the calls of demagogues. Let us hope so.

In the end the greatest philosophical debate of the modern era may be the one between Marx (and Godwin) versus Malthus. Marx famously labeled Malthus’s views as a “slander on humanity” and its capabilities.  Malthus’s views have been used, explicitly or implicitly, to justify some of the worst atrocities in human history, way beyond that of the great Irish famine. But in addition to being cruel, Malthus has always been wrong. He remains so to this day. If we ignore his false prophecies and those of his heirs, we have a very bright future indeed.

John V. Walsh can be reached at

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

US uranium to blame for deformed babies in Fallujah?

RT | October 25, 2011

Click Here For Transcript

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | Comments Off on US uranium to blame for deformed babies in Fallujah?

The Razing of Occupy Oakland at Sunrise

By MIKE KING | CounterPunch | October 26, 2011

Oakland – In the early morning on Tuesday, starting before 5 am, the police temporarily destroyed Occupy Oakland, sending in a riot squad of over 500 that outnumbered protesters almost 3 to 1.  Oscar Grant Plaza (officially Frank Ogawa Plaza) was too geographically large and open to be adequately defended against the armed tactical operation.  Despite swallowing a lot of pride in watching the space get torn apart and dozens submit to arrest, Occupy Oakland made big strategic steps by picking our fights, beginning to define the terms of our struggle, preserving our forces, and maintaining the moral high-ground against a ‘Socialist’ mayor who is now wedded, however abusively, to the Oakland Police Department.  Twelve hours later 1000 people marched against the police as stuck commuters cheered them on.  Whatever the former communist Mayor once knew about dialectics, she apparently quickly forgot when she took office.

The formerly leftist Mayor succumbed to OPD pressure by raiding Oscar Grant Plaza and signing on to support a youth curfew in the last few days, after Police Chief Batts stepped down two weeks ago due to tensions with the mayor.  The City Attorney left for similar reasons earlier in the year.  In a progressive town with a vibrant history of resistance, where Occupy Oakland has broad support, the Mayor has succumbed, without much visible struggle, to the forces that truly run this town – the police, the fear-mongering media that thinks ‘Oakland’ is simply a synonym for ‘murder,’ and the wealthy and upper-middle class that clamor for more and more law and order.  The ruling class and political establishment do not much care that the cost of that law and order is the gutting, not only of peoples’ rights, but also schools, libraries, health clinics, jobs programs, after-school programs and more that the ruling strata don’t personally need to survive, unlike a large and growing number of people who are slipping from struggling to desperation.

The fact that a Mayor who is seen as ‘ultra-Left’ could preside over such a budget, one that cedes roughly 2/3rd of total city funds to the police, and then bend to the police when they ask for full control of the city, tells us a number of things.  The real enemies of the majority of the city’s residents – the working class, working poor and dispossessed – are the people who run the city.  Electing more ‘radical’ politicians is an utter waste of time.  When the State destroys our occupation, or smears us, or race-baits white radicals, or sends undercover cops into our space, or tries to intimidate us, they draw lines that they cannot erase in the minds of the Occupiers.  A chant of ‘shame’ directed at police who beat and arrested a man simply for taking video quickly turned to a resounding ‘Fuck the Police.’  They are the enemy, they made that point clear to everyone who didn’t already know.  Now what? … Full article


Occupy Oakland: Riot police fire tear gas, flashbang grenades:

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Video | Comments Off on The Razing of Occupy Oakland at Sunrise

Obama Regime Seeks Permission To Lie In Response To Freedom Of Information Requests – Even To The Courts

Jerry Policoff | OEN | October 25, 2011

One of the President Obama’s first promises after becoming President of the United States was a commitment to usher in a new era of unprecedented government transparency.  Instead the Obama administration has exhibited what may be an unprecedented obsession with government secrecy including blocking numerous law suits by invoking the doctrine of “State Secrets.” The administration has even come up with an interpretation of the Patriot Act which many in Congress who have seen it claim is overly broad and bestows more power on the Executive Branch than was intended by Congress when they passed it.

Unfortunately those in Congress who have seen this document are not permitted to divulge its content, and we, the public, cannot see it because the administration has chosen to classify it as a “State Secret.” In other words, you might be doing something that the Obama Administration believes violates the Patriot Act, but you won’t know it until they indict you for breaking a law you did not know existed (I might be breaking it just by penning and publishing this article).

Now the Obama/Holder Justice Department is attempting to re-write the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), empowering or even compelling government agencies to deny the very existence of records they know to exist if they believe they are legitimately exempted from disclosure. Of course they are most likely the sole arbiter of whether they are indeed exempt from disclosure. In effect the Obama/Holder Justice Department wants to be free to legally lie about the existence of records in response to FOIA requests. Apparently they want to avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience of being officially rebuked by the courts for doing exactly that (lying to a Federal judge), as occurred earlier this year when, in a strongly worded opinion, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney wrote that the “Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the Court.” The solution is simple: re-write the law so the government, in many circumstances, can affirmatively mislead the court.

Despite substantial opposition by such groups as the ACLU, The National Press Club, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington,, Judicial Watch, et al to this radical re-write of the FOIA Law, this controversial effort by the Obama Administration to evade the very transparency it so passionately promised to deliver has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media which is supposed to the guardian of the people’s right to know.

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or neither, this move by the Obama administration should trouble you deeply. Is this change we can believe in???

Below are snippets of reports on this controversy, none of them from a mainstream media source. That was not my intent. I just could not find any. I learned about it just this morning in an e-mail from the National Law Journal:

National Press Club Urges Administration to Reconsider Draft Rule on Freedom of Information

“Under the new Department of Justice proposal, in replying to a request for information under the freedom-of-information law, if the information is allowed to be withheld under certain statutory exceptions, then federal officials “will respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist”– even if that is not the case.

“No rule or law should allow, let alone require, the government to mislead the press or the public about anything,” said Mark Hamrick, a broadcast journalist with the Associated Press who is the 2011 president of the National Press Club. “If enacted, it appears that this proposed rule would offend the precepts that informed the Freedom of Information Act, and it would tarnish the government’s credibility.

“What’s more, the change seems unnecessary,” he said. “If agencies are exercising legally allowable exceptions to the law and withholding certain records, they can just continue to do as they do today: neither confirm nor deny the information’s existence.”


Justice Dept. proposes lying, hiding existence of records under new FOIA rule

“The Justice Department has proposed the change as part of a large revision of FOIA rules for federal agencies. Specifically, the rule would direct government agencies who are denying a request under an established FOIA exemption to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist,” rather than citing the relevant exemption.

The proposed rule has alarmed government transparency advocates across the political spectrum, who’ve called it “Orwellian” and say it will “twist” public access to government.

In a public comment regarding the rule change, the ACLU, along with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and, said the move “will dramatically undermine government integrity by allowing a law designed to provide public access to government information to be twisted to permit federal law enforcement agencies to actively lie to the American people.”

Conservative government watchdog Judicial Watch has also lambasted the proposed rules change

“Upon taking office, President Obama released a memorandum declaring his administration was “committed to operating with an unprecedented level of openness. Specifically, he pledged to bolster the strength of the FOIA act, calling it “the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open government.”


Government Could Hide Existence of Records under FOIA Rule Proposal

“The ACLU, along with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and said the move would “dramatically undermine government integrity by allowing a law designed to provide public access to government to be twisted.

“Open government groups also contend that the proposed rule could undermine judicial proceedings.

In a recent case brought by the ACLU of Southern California, the FBI denied the existence of documents. But the court later discovered that the documents did exist. In an amended order , U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney wrote that the “Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the Court.”

DOJ’s draft FOIA rule was first published in March , but DOJ re-opened comment submissions in September at the request of open-government groups. The new comment period ended October 19.”

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | 2 Comments

Former Obama envoy George Mitchell comes out as ‘Israel’s lawyer’

By Ali Abunimah – The Electronic Intifada – 10/26/2011

While he held the job of President Barack Obama’s peace process envoy, former US Senator George Mitchell generally maintained a good reputation. He came into the job with high regard because of his role in Northern Ireland.

During his Middle East tenure, Mitchell was notoriously tight-lipped, allowing people to believe that behind the stony face was a tough and fair “honest broker” who would privately take Israel to task in ways that the US could not do publicly.

But this was always an illusion. As detailed minutes of previously secret meetings, revealed in the Palestine Papers showed, Mitchell was very much ‘Israel’s lawyer’ – to use Aaron Miller’s famous term – just like all previous US envoys and officials. Mark Perry and I analyzed some of these documents revealing Mitchell’s role as Israel’s enabler.

Now, Mitchell has spoken out at London’s Chatham House on 17 October, and in his own words – as reported by Israel’s Haaretz. His comments largely confirm that in his general approach and in very specific ways, Mitchell was actively working to [further] Israel’s agenda and was never remotely an “honest broker.” Here are some highlights from the Haaretz article with my analysis.

Endorsing collaboration with occupation despite disastrous effects on Palestinians

From Haaretz:

Order and personal security [in the West Bank] have been established in a way that never was previously,” stated Mitchell. “The problem is that that effort cannot be sustained in the absence of progress, or at least the hope of progress on the political front. It will break down internally on the Palestinian side, and it will break down in relations with the Israelis. And it is to President Abbas’ credit that, notwithstanding the fact that we haven’t been able to get into meaningful negotiations, he has maintained co-ordination and co-operation on the security front and it continues.

In other words, Mitchell sees it as positive and praiseworthy that Mahmoud Abbas is unconditionally collaborating with Israeli occupation forces without any benefit for Palestinians. When Mitchell talks about “order and personal security” he means order and personal security for Israeli occupiers and settlers and perhaps at certain periods for Palestinians restricted to the showcase Area A ghetto-cities of Ramallah and Nablus. But for Palestinians living all over the occupied West Bank and eastern occupied Jerusalem there is neither order nor personal security.

In the eastern occupied Jerusalem neighbhorhoods of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, hundreds of families live with the insecurity of knowing their houses are targeted for destruction for the benefit of Jewish settlers.

In the southern West Bank tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin face the prospect of forced removal from their land, and everywhere else – especially during the current olive harvest – Palestinians face attacks by Israeli government-backed colonial settlers.

This is the “order and security” that Mitchell is praising.

Interfering in Palestinian politics, opposing reconciliation

From Haaretz:

Speaking on Gilad Shalit’s release, Mitchell said that the subject is extremely sensitive for Israelis, and that the deal has positive aspects. Yet he insisted that the prisoner exchange had yielded negative results, such as strengthening Hamas vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority.

It has been known since January, thanks to the Palestine Papers, that the Palestinian Authority lobbied strenuously against the prisoner exchange precisely in order to deny Hamas any credit. Yet there were also persistent reports that Mitchell and the US vetoed the deal going through earlier. Mitchell’s reported comments add weight to that assessment.

Mitchell’s logic can be inferred: his priority was to keep the Palestinian leadership weak and divided so that the most subservient element, the Abbas-led PA, would be more vulnerable to a US-brokered deal on Israel’s terms. This contrasts markedly with his approach in Ireland, where the US supported a broad Irish nationalist common front encompassing the Republic of Ireland government, and the “moderate” and “extremist” nationalist parties in Northern Ireland to strengthen their negotiating positions vis a vis the British-backed unionists.

Shock, horror, Israel might have to “choose” democracy


Changing demographic realities will compel Israel to make fateful choices, Mitchell suggested.

“Israel, if the two state solution is lost, will have to choose between being a Jewish state and a democratic state,” he said. “And that’s a choice they should not have to make.

Mitchell makes clear with these words that he shares Israel’s racist perception of Palestinians not as rights-bearing human beings but as a ‘demographic threat’ to Jewish supremacy.

His priority – like that of the rest of the US Zionist foreign policy establishment, and like President Obama – is not justice, or even “peace” but first and foremost maintaining racial and colonial privileges for Israeli Jews. What alarms Mitchell most of all is that Israelis should ever have to abide by democratic principles in which all people have equal political rights, regardless of their membership in one or another ethnoreligious group.

Israel, Mitchell tells us, should never be forced to choose democracy. Instead it was his job to try to goad Palestinians into accepting a bantustan on Israel’s terms that would spare Israel that terrible “choice.”

Palestinian Authority not subservient enough for Mitchell’s liking

If we take the Haaretz report as a complete and accurate report of Mitchell’s comments (admittedly something that can’t be taken for granted), what’s notable is that he attacks the PA for not seizing the opportunity of Israel’s so-called 10-month “settlement freeze” but he was silent about the fact that the freeze was fake all along:

Haaretz says:

Mitchell also criticized the Palestinian Authority’s responses to American efforts to renew negotiations with Israel. He claimed that the Palestinians were unwilling to accept the 10-month settlement construction freeze declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November 2009; the Palestinians contended that this freeze was “useless,” and refused to engage in negotiations.

“They refused to enter into the negotiations until nine months of the 10 had elapsed,” Mitchell said. “Once they entered, they then said [the freeze] was indispensable. What had been worse than useless a few months before then became indispensable and they said they would not remain in the talks unless that indispensable element were extended.

A few crucial facts: First, the “settlement freeze” never even nominally included eastern occupied Jerusalem, where Israel has been most aggressive in demolishing Palestinian homes and expanding its racist colonies. Second, in the rest of the West Bank the “freeze” was never a freeze since it only included “new” construction and excluded the thousands of colony homes at various stages of completion.

Finally, once the formal 10-month “freeze” ended, Israel immediately embarked on a building boom which Israel’s Peace Now termed “the most active period in many years.”

So Mitchell doesn’t appear to have been concerned about the reality, but only about the PA’s willingness to go along with a fiction that there was a “freeze” when there never was.

All of this only confirms that Mitchell himself learned nothing from his experience in Northern Ireland.

No matter which personalities are appointed to “peace process” roles in a US administration, a commitment first and foremost to Israel’s racist and colonial agenda and to the safety and “security” of its occupation are always the highest priorities, with Palestinian rights nowhere on the horizon.

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | 7 Comments

Jewish settlers burnt or uprooted 7500 olives trees in 9 months

Palestine Information Center – 26/10/2011

RAMALLAH — Jewish settlers burnt or uprooted 7500 Palestinian olive trees in the first nine month of 2011, a report by the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs in the occupied territories (OCHA) said on Tuesday.

The report documents the damage of thousands of dunums of Palestinian agricultural fields cultivated with olives.

It said that Palestinians’ access to their olive fields near 55 settlements in the West Bank was limited to certain periods in the year and in the presence of Israeli occupation forces.

It noted that the Israelis turn down 40% of requests by Palestinian farmers to “visit” their fields located beyond the separation wall.

OCHA pointed out that Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip suffer from the same complications when trying to approach their fields near to the border fence.

It said that thousands of farmers are deprived of reaching their land for “security reasons” or for failure to meet the Israeli requirements to prove that those are their lands.

The report underlined that 45% of all Palestinian farmlands are cultivated with 12 million olive trees, mostly in the West Bank, adding that the olive oil industry provides one quarter of the overall agricultural revenues in Palestine on which 100000 families depend for their sustenance.

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Jewish settlers burnt or uprooted 7500 olives trees in 9 months

US government requests for Google user data increasing

Actual numbers likely higher than those reported

Press TV – October 26, 2011

A new report from the Internet giant Google shows that the US government’s requests for data on Google users for the first half of 2011 have increased 29% compared to the previous six months.

The report released by Google on Wednesday shows a rise in the government requests for user account data and content removal, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the report, in the first half of 2011, the US had the largest amount of user data requests of any country, with 5,950 such requests pertaining to more than 11,057 separate users or accounts, to which Google complied 93 percent of the time.

One such request was made by an unnamed law enforcement agency which requested that Google remove YouTube videos of police brutality, However, Google reportedly declined the request.

The latest Google Transparency Report also shows historic traffic patterns on the company’s services, indicating outages by governments to block access to Google or the internet.

Other countries seeking large user data were India, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Google says it mostly complied with the countries’ requests.

Content removal requests rose in the UK by more than 70 percent in the last six months. User data requests were up 28 percent in Spain, 38 percent in Germany, 27 percent in France, and 36 percent in South Korea.

According to an online privacy advocate, Chris Soghoian the actual numbers are likely to be larger than what is reported because the law prohibits Google from revealing information on requests from intelligence agencies such as the US Department of Defense’ National Security Agency or the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI).

The report also cites attempts by governments to get Google to remove content from blogs and advertisements as well.

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | Comments Off on US government requests for Google user data increasing