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Monday, 25 May 2015

Pathological blindness: The secret country again wages war on its own people


Australia has again declared war on its Indigenous people, reminiscent of the brutality that brought universal condemnation on apartheid South Africa. Aboriginal people are to be driven from homelands where their communities have lived for thousands of years. In Western Australia, where mining companies make billion dollar profits exploiting Aboriginal land, the state government says it can no longer afford to "support" the homelands.

Vulnerable populations, already denied the basic services most Australians take for granted, are on notice of dispossession without consultation, and eviction at gunpoint. Yet again, Aboriginal leaders have warned of "a new generation of displaced people" and "cultural genocide".

Genocide is a word Australians hate to hear. Genocide happens in other countries, not the "lucky" society that per capita is the second richest on earth. When "act of genocide" was used in the 1997 landmark report 'Bringing Them Home', which revealed that thousands of Indigenous children had been stolen from their communities by white institutions and systematically abused, a campaign of denial was launched by a far-right clique around the then prime minister John Howard. It included those who called themselves the Galatians Group, then Quadrant, then the Bennelong Society; the Murdoch press was their voice.

The Stolen Generation was exaggerated, they said, if it had happened at all. Colonial Australia was a benign place; there were no massacres. The First Australians were victims of their own cultural inferiority, or they were noble savages. Suitable euphemisms were deployed.

The government of the current prime minister, Tony Abbott, a conservative zealot, has revived this assault on a people who represent Australia's singular uniqueness. Soon after coming to office, Abbott's government cut $534 million in indigenous social programmes, including $160 million from the indigenous health budget and $13.4 million from indigenous legal aid.

In the 2014 report 'Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Key Indicators', the devastation is clear. The number of Aboriginal people hospitalised for self-harm has leapt, as have suicides among those as young as eleven. The indicators show a people impoverished, traumatised and abandoned. Read the classic expose of apartheid South Africa, The Discarded People by Cosmas Desmond, who told me he could write a similar account of Australia.

Having insulted indigenous Australians by declaring (at a G20 breakfast for David Cameron) that there was "nothing but bush" before the white man, Abbott announced that his government would no longer honour the longstanding commitment to Aboriginal homelands. He sneered, "It's not the job of the taxpayers to subsidise lifestyle choices."

The weapon used by Abbott and his redneck state and territorial counterparts is dispossession by abuse and propaganda, coercion and blackmail, such as his demand for a 99-year leasehold of Indigenous land in the Northern Territory in return for basic services: a land grab in all but name. The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, refutes this, claiming "this is about communities and what communities want". In fact, there has been no real consultation, only the co-option of a few.

Both conservative and Labor governments have already withdrawn the national jobs programme, CDEP, from the homelands, ending opportunities for employment, and prohibited investment in infrastructure: housing, generators, sanitation. The saving is peanuts.

The reason is an extreme doctrine that evokes the punitive campaigns of the early 20th century "chief protector of Aborigines", such as the fanatic A.O. Neville who decreed that the first Australians "assimilate" to extinction. Influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis, Queensland's "protection acts" were a model for South African apartheid. Today, the same dogma and racism are threaded through anthropology, politics, the bureaucracy and the media. "We are civilised, they are not," wrote the acclaimed Australian historian Russel Ward two generations ago. The spirit is unchanged.

Having reported on Aboriginal communities since the 1960s, I have watched a seasonal routine whereby the Australian elite interrupts its "normal" mistreatment and neglect of the people of the First Nations, and attacks them outright. This happens when an election approaches, or a prime minister's ratings are low. Kicking the blackfella is deemed popular, although grabbing minerals-rich land by stealth serves a more prosaic purpose. Driving people into the fringe slums of "economic hub towns" satisfies the social engineering urges of racists.

The last frontal attack was in 2007 when Prime Minister Howard sent the army into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory to "rescue children" who, said his minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mal Brough, were being abused by paedophile gangs in "unthinkable numbers".

Known as "the intervention", the media played a vital role. In 2006, the national TV current affairs programme, the ABC's 'Lateline', broadcast a sensational interview with a man whose face was concealed. Described as a "youth worker" who had lived in the Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu, he made a series of lurid allegations. Subsequently exposed as a senior government official who reported directly to the minister, his claims were discredited by the Australian Crime Commission, the Northern Territory Police and a damning report by child medical specialists. The community received no apology.

The 2007 "intervention" allowed the federal government to destroy many of the vestiges of self-determination in the Northern Territory, the only part of Australia where Aboriginal people had won federally-legislated land rights. Here, they had administered their homelands in ways with the dignity of self-determination and connection to land and culture and, as Amnesty reported, a 40 per cent lower mortality rate.

It is this "traditional life" that is anathema to a parasitic white industry of civil servants, contractors, lawyers and consultants that controls and often profits from Aboriginal Australia, if indirectly through the corporate structures imposed on Indigenous organisations. The homelands are seen as a threat, for they express a communalism at odds with the neo-conservatism that rules Australia. It is as if the enduring existence of a people who have survived and resisted more than two colonial centuries of massacre and theft remains a spectre on white Australia: a reminder of whose land this really is.

The current political attack was launched in the richest state, Western Australia. Last October, the state premier, Colin Barnett, announced that his government could not afford the $90 million budget for basic municipal services to 282 homelands: water, power, sanitation, schools, road maintenance, rubbish collection. It was the equivalent of informing the white suburbs of Perth that their lawn sprinklers would no longer sprinkle and their toilets no longer flush; and they had to move; and if they refused, the police would evict them.

Where would the dispossessed go? Where would they live? In six years, Barnett's government has built few houses for Indigenous people in remote areas. In the Kimberley region, Indigenous homelessness - aside from natural disaster and civil strife - is one of the highest anywhere, in a state renowned for its conspicuous wealth, golf courses and prisons overflowing with impoverished black people. Western Australia jails Aboriginal males at more than eight times the rate of apartheid South Africa. It has one of the highest incarceration rates of juveniles in the world, almost all of them indigenous, including children kept in solitary confinement in adult prisons, with their mothers keeping vigil outside..

In 2013, the former prisons minister, Margaret Quirk, told me that the state was "racking and stacking" Aboriginal prisoners. When I asked what she meant, she said, "It's warehousing."

In March, Barnett changed his story. There was "emerging evidence", he said, "of appalling mistreatment of little kids" in the homelands. What evidence? Barnett claimed that gonorrhoea had been found in children younger than 14, then conceded he did not know if these were in the homelands. His police commissioner, Karl O'Callaghan, chimed in that child sexual abuse was "rife". He quoted a 15-year-old study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. What he failed to say was that the report highlighted poverty as the overwhelming cause of "neglect" and that sexual abuse accounted for less than 10 per cent.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a federal agency, recently released a report on what it calls the "Fatal Burden" of Third World disease and trauma borne by Indigenous people "resulting in almost 100,000 years of life lost due to premature death". This "fatal burden" is the product of extreme poverty imposed in Western Australia, as in the rest of Australia, by the denial of human rights.

In Barnett's vast rich Western Australia, barely a fraction of mining, oil and gas revenue has benefited communities for which his government has a duty of care. In the town of Roeburne, in the midst of the booming minerals-rich Pilbara, 80 per cent of the indigenous children suffer from an ear infection called otitis media that causes deafness.

In 2011, the Barnett government displayed a brutality in the community of Oombulgurri the other homelands can expect. "First, the government closed the services," wrote Tammy Solonec of Amnesty International, "It closed the shop, so people could not buy food and essentials. It closed the clinic, so the sick and the elderly had to move, and the school, so families with children had to leave, or face having their children taken away from them. The police station was the last service to close, then eventually the electricity and water were turned off. Finally, the ten residents who resolutely stayed to the end were forcibly evicted [leaving behind] personal possessions. [Then] the bulldozers rolled into Oombulgurri. The WA government has literally dug a hole and in it buried the rubble of people's homes and personal belongings."

In South Australia, the state and federal governments launched a similar attack on the 60 remote Indigenous communities. South Australia has a long-established Aboriginal Lands Trust, so people were able to defend their rights - up to a point. On 12 April, the federal government offered $15 million over five years. That such a miserly sum is considered enough to fund proper services in the great expanse of the state's homelands is a measure of the value placed on Indigenous lives by white politicians who unhesitatingly spend $28 billion annually on armaments and the military. Haydn Bromley, chair of the Aboriginal Lands Trust told me, "The $15 million doesn't include most of the homelands, and it will only cover bare essentials - power, water. Community development? Infrastructure? Forget it."

The current distraction from these national dirty secrets is the approaching "celebrations" of the centenary of an Edwardian military disaster at Gallipoli in 1915 when 8,709 Australian and 2,779 New Zealand troops - the Anzacs - were sent to their death in a futile assault on a beach in Turkey. In recent years, governments in Canberra have promoted this imperial waste of life as an historical deity to mask the militarism that underpins Australia's role as America's "deputy sheriff" in the Pacific.

In bookshops, "Australian non-fiction" shelves are full of opportunistic tomes about wartime derring-do, heroes and jingoism. Suddenly, Aboriginal people who fought for the white man are fashionable, whereas those who fought against the white man in defence of their own country, Australia, are unfashionable. Indeed, they are officially non-people. The Australian War Memorial refuses to recognise their remarkable resistance to the British invasion. In a country littered with Anzac memorials, not one official memorial stands for the thousands of native Australians who fought and fell defending their homeland.

This is part of the "great Australian silence", as W.E.H. Stanner in 1968 called his lecture in which he described a "cult of forgetfulness on a national scale". He was referring to the Indigenous people. Today, the silence is ubiquitous. In Sydney, the Art Gallery of New South Wales currently has an exhibition, 'The Photograph and Australia', in which the timeline of this ancient country begins, incredibly, with Captain Cook.

The same silence covers another enduring, epic resistance. Extraordinary demonstrations of Indigenous women protesting the removal of their children and grandchildren by he state, some of them at gunpoint, are ignored by journalists and patronised by politicians. More Indigenous children are being wrenched from their homes and communities today than during the worst years of the Stolen Generation. A record 15,000 are presently detained "in care"; many are given to white families and will never return to their communities.

Last year, the West Australian Police Minister, Liza Harvey, attended a screening in Perth of my film, 'Utopia', which documented the racism and thuggery of police towards black Australians, and the multiple deaths of young Aboriginal men in custody. The minister cried.

On her watch, 50 City of Perth armed police raided an Indigenous homeless camp at Matagarup, and drove off mostly elderly women and young mothers with children. The people in the camp described themselves as "refugees... seeking safety in our own country". They called for the help of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees.

Australian politicians are nervous of the United Nations. Abbott's response has been abuse. When Professor James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People, described the racism of the "intervention", Abbott told him to, "get a life" and "not listen to the old victim brigade".

The planned closure of Indigenous homelands breaches Article 5 of the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). Australia is committed to "provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for... any action which has the aim of dispossessing [Indigenous people] of their lands, territories or resources". The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is blunt. "Forced evictions" are against the law.

An international momentum is building. In 2013, Pope Francis urged the world to act against racism and on behalf of "indigenous people who are increasingly isolated and abandoned". It was South Africa's defiance of such a basic principle of human rights that ignited the international opprobrium and campaign that brought down apartheid. Australia beware.

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Fighter jets scramble following at least 6 reports of threats to passenger planes inbound to the United States

Air France Flight 22, from Charles De Gaulle Airport, was escorted by fighter jets to JFK airport after an anonymous threat was made against the flight.

At least six flights were impacted by threats at airports in New York, New Jersey and Boston today, according to airlines and law enforcement.

JFK Airport:

An Air France plane was escorted to JFK Airport in New York City this morning after an anonymous threat was made against the flight, law enforcement officials told ABC News. The FBI said the plane has since been checked and cleared with "no incidents or hazards reported on board the flight by either the passengers or its crew."

Authorities said that the decision to have the plane escorted by two fighter jets was done "out of an abundance of caution" after the Maryland State Police McHenry Barrack, in Garrett County, received an anonymous call of a "chemical weapons threat" aboard Air France Flight 22, which was en route from Paris to the New York City airport.

The tip was called in at 6:45 a.m. on an untraceable line and the caller did not identify himself, a senior federal official told ABC News. Two F-15 planes were scrambled and followed the plane into U.S. airspace, but they flew in a way so that the passengers and crew would not be able to see the military planes, sources said.

© ABC News

The Airbus A-330 has since landed and was taken between two runways and locked down while the threat is investigated. A police dispatch that was sent out after the jets were scrambled noted that the area where the plane was taken is generally known as the "hijack site" because it is the area used in such scenarios. During an initial investigation, nothing dangerous has been found on board, the federal official told ABC News.

A Saudi Airlines flight from Saudi Arabia was also escorted to a remote area at JFK. It was cleared and passengers were brought back to the terminal, officials said.

For an American Airlines flight from Birmingham, England, to JFK, the pilot was initially instructed to taxi to a remote area, but the threat was determined not credible and the plane was cleared to go to the terminal.

Newark Airport:

Two flights to Newark, New Jersey, were also affected -- a Delta Air Lines flight from London and a United Airlines flight from Madrid, authorities said.

Logan Airport:

A threat also turned up negative for a Delta flight from Paris to Logan Airport in Boston, authorities said.

StingRay - the cellphone tracking tech police won't talk about

© Noah MacMillan

There were some very bad vibes in downtown St. Louis on the night of October 28, 2013. The Cardinals had just lost Game 5 in the World Series, and the Rams had a pathetic showing against the Seahawks at Edward Jones Stadium. The streets were jammed bumper to bumper with disgruntled fans trying to make it home, and so Brandon Pavelich and Julia Fischer — two college friends on a kinda-sorta first date — decided to walk around a bit before attempting to leave the area.

Then they heard fast footsteps, and the next thing they knew, two men had guns pointed at their heads. They demanded money and cell phones.

Pavelich paused.

"Show him we're serious and shoot him," he remembers one of the men saying.

Instead, a gun smashed into Pavelich's face, opening a gash in his forehead and chin, and chipping a tooth. One of the men reached into Pavelich's pockets as he was reeling, and grabbed his iPhone and cash. They took Fischer's iPhone as well, and ran.

Luckily, Pavelich and Fischer found a St. Louis police officer nearby. They soon learned theirs was the last in a string of muggings that evening. In total, seven victims had their phones taken, though Pavelich was the only one who had to spend the night in a hospital getting stitches.

Fischer recalls that the police behaved as if they were hot on the trail of the stolen phones.

"They did say that they're tracking it," she says. She assumed that meant they were using the phones' GPS or something like the Find My iPhone app.

By the next day, four suspects were in custody, including a supposed lookout and a getaway driver. They were found in a hotel room in Caseyville, Illinois, allegedly with the stolen phones. Among the recovered property, Pavelich was able to identify the case he'd had on his phone. It seemed like a done deal.

© Brandon Pavelich
Brandon Pavelich just after the attack, and a few days afterward.

But a year and a half later, as the trial date for three of the men got closer, Fischer called the prosecutor to find out when she needed to be in court. That's when he told her they'd dropped the charges.

"The reasoning was, there came up some legal issues that would cause insurmountable issues so that they wouldn't be able to continue with the case," says Fischer. "That's really all that they told me."

Two weeks later a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch helped shed some light on what happened. Titled "Controversial secret phone tracker figured in dropped St. Louis case," it explained that investigators had used a relatively new tracking device called a cell site simulator to trace one of the stolen phones. It was so accurate — more accurate than GPS — that it was able to pinpoint the exact hotel room where the accused thieves were holed up.

The technology is often referred to by a brand name: StingRay. When deployed, StingRay forces any cell phones in the area to send it a signal, the same way that a phone normally sends a signal to cell towers. Even if a cell phone is not in use, it still transmits its phone number and electronic serial number to the device.

Once a tool used by federal officials for combating terrorism, in the last decade StingRay-type devices have been approved for use by local law-enforcement agencies. Officers have been using the technology under the purview of the FBI — and only under strict orders not to disclose anything about it, even in court.

The Post-Dispatch story about Pavelich and Fischer's case hypothesized that authorities were backing away from the charges because they did not want to be forced to put a police intelligence officer on the stand and reveal how StingRay works — that government secrecy was essentially more important than a conviction. That did not sit well with Pavelich.

"I got hurt by these guys pretty bad, and they're just walking free now. It pissed me off a little bit," he says.

It may not be quite as simple as that. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office has insisted repeatedly that the use of a StingRay is not why they dropped the case against the four suspected robbers.

"Contrary to the opinion of defense attorneys and to recent reports in the media, the dismissal of the cases was not related in any way to any technology used in the investigation," Lauren Trager, a public information officer for the circuit attorney, said in a statement. She declined to answer further questions about the case, as it is now considered a closed record.

Regardless of why the case was thrown out, it shows that one thing long suspected by local activists is now certain: St. Louis police are using StingRay devices or ones with similar data-capturing capabilities in their investigations.

Until recently, First Amendment watchdog groups like the ACLU said only that it was "probable" that StingRays were being used in St. Louis. But this case, along with documents obtained by Riverfront Times, are beginning to shed some light on the practice locally.

And now that StingRay is here, privacy advocates have a host of concerns: that innocent people's data may be collected without their knowledge, that merely deploying the device is equivalent to unconstitutional search and seizure, and that it may be used to spy on those simply exercising their legal right to free speech.

Local attorneys, journalists and citizens have joined those in other American cities (at least 51 state and local jurisdictions by the ACLU's count) who are struggling to understand StingRay, and are finding a wall of law-enforcement silence on the other side of their questions.

"It's ridiculous," says Hanni Fakhoury, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil-liberties advocacy nonprofit. "It's secrecy for the sake of secrecy. It's not actually a public-safety issue now."

© Reuters/ Lucas Jackson

In the dizziest days following Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, it was common to hear someone in a protest on West Florissant or out in front of the police station complaining that her cell phone was acting up — dropped calls, weird tones and clicks. Thomas Harvey, an attorney and executive director of the ArchCity Defenders, remembers many of his activist clients fretting that they were being electronically monitored.

"The night of the non-indictment, everyone's phone was shutting off or turning on. They couldn't use Google Maps. I had the same thing happen to me," he recalls. "There's no way for me to know what caused that."

(St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman says his department does not have a StingRay unit, but plenty of other law-enforcement agencies were on the scene in north county, including St. Louis and the FBI.)

While StingRay provides many benefits to law enforcement, how its capabilities will affect the general populace isn't as clear. Many people, like the protesters in Ferguson, worry their phones are being monitored while simply exercising First Amendment rights. They have some reason to be paranoid — federal authorities have admitted that StingRay can cause nearby phones to act glitchy, and in at least one instance, a law-enforcement agency has been open about wanting to monitor protesters: The Miami-Dade Police Department requested an emergency purchase of a StingRay just prior to the Free Trade Area of the Americas conference in 2003.

"Based on the history of these conferences, the department anticipated criminal activities directed at attendees and conference sites facilitated by the use of cellular phones," the request reads. "Wireless phone tracking systems utilized by law enforcement have proven to be an invaluable tool in both the prevention of these offenses and the apprehension of individuals attempting to carry out criminal activities."

There's also documented use of StingRay to track alleged perpetrators' movements, which civil-liberties advocates call a violation of the suspect's Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure — because the signal travels into private spaces, through walls.

© Daniel Rigmaiden
Daniel Rigmaiden in Arizona.

The first court case where the government acknowledged the existence of StingRay technology came out of a tax-fraud prosecution in Arizona in 2008, in which police used the tracker to locate the wireless broadband modem or "AirCard" of a man named Daniel Rigmaiden. Rigmaiden had been using it to access the Internet and submit fake tax returns, netting about $500,000 over the course of three years.

"I knew the instant I was arrested that they had to track down my AirCard," Rigmaiden says now. "There wasn't any other flaw in my methods."

The "flaw," as he puts it, was assuming that law enforcement would reserve the use of high-tech tracking technology for terrorism or kidnapping cases — not a lowly tax frauder. Turns out police use StingRay for a wide range of cases — which left Rigmaiden and his AirCard a sitting duck for the investigators hot on his trail.

As Rigmaiden mounted a pro se defense, he compelled federal investigators to produce tens of thousands of pages of documents. That paperwork, along with the testimony he obtained, gave the world its first glimpse at how the technology works.

Rigmaiden was unsuccessful in his argument that the StingRay sweep was unconstitutional. However, rather than getting more than twenty years in prison, prosecutors offered him time served in exchange for a guilty plea. The Arizona man got out of prison a year ago and now works to combat StingRay secrecy.

"Every citizen has a duty to make sure the Constitution is upheld," he says. "I have the opportunity to do it in this particular area."

Since Rigmaiden's case, dribs and drabs of information about the technology have come out of other criminal cases, but government secrecy has ruled the day. That may be about to change. Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would review use of the technology by all arms of federal law enforcement including the FBI, the DEA and the U.S. Marshals.

"I wouldn't call it an investigation. It seems to be a reevaluation of their policy," says Nathan Wessler, staff attorney for the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. "It's crucial that local law enforcement follow suit immediately, including in St. Louis."

In St. Louis, former Division 16 Circuit Court Judge Jack Garvey says the first he heard of the "magical" technology that could track phones was during his regular Wednesday meeting with former police chief Dan Isom and Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce in 2011. At the time, he says, the cell site simulator belonged to the local branch of the U.S. Secret Service (apparently St. Louis has one of those, too).

"Isom says, 'We can use this device that is sitting in the back of a parking garage at police headquarters,'" recalls Garvey.

In those early days, Garvey agreed to sign off on warrants allowing the police to use the Secret Service's device to look for phones taken from crime victims. They had to provide the serial number for the phone and the cell service provider.

The police and the prosecutors kept this new-fangled tactic tightly under wraps. But Garvey says he spoke openly about the warrants and was astonished no defense attorney ever followed up with questions during the year he was signing them.

"It was a joke," he says. "We were yukking it up back then."

At some point after Garvey moved to the 17th Division and was no longer the primary judge signing the warrants, the way cell site simulator technology was used at the department changed. The same month that Isom announced his retirement, the board of commissioners for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department put out an invitation for bids for a "Stingray II System" and the installation of the system in a Chevrolet Tahoe. StingRay units are relatively portable — some are about the size of a suitcase, and can be installed in vehicles and taken on the road.

At this point, StingRay deployment is more like an old-fashioned game of cops-and-robbers than an omniscient Big Brother seeing and knowing all. According to the ACLU the device is often hooked up to a laptop in a police car, and officers drive around as the laptop display shows them whether the signal is getting hotter or colder. Some authorities have even described walking with handheld units through large apartment buildings until they were certain which room had the phone inside.

Although several companies produce this type of product for law enforcement, the leader is Florida-based Harris Corporation, which is also the only company that calls its devices "StingRay."

"Harris is kind of like the Apple corporation of the surveillance world. It's really easy to use their stuff," says Rigmaiden. "The other stuff is more complicated."

Prices for these types of devices range from $16,000 to $400,000 for a suite of technology.

It's not clear whether the St. Louis Police Department successfully purchased the StingRay, or decided to continue using loaners from some other federal jurisdiction. An attorney for the city denied a Sunshine Request for any purchasing paperwork, saying the documents would "reveal trade secrets and commercial or financial information." Isom wouldn't comment on where the purchase stood at the time of his departure, and Police Chief Sam Dotson has not responded to interview requests.

But the department did respond to RFT's request for applications for search warrants or orders authorizing the use of cell site simulators. That request yielded two examples. To Garvey, they're unrecognizable from the orders he signed four years ago.

"It's more of a broad thing. My search warrants that we were doing were, 'This is the phone of this person, this is the serial number of this phone,'" he says. "Something happened. Either the cops got a new machine, or they're running it from a new machine."

The two example applications given to RFT are called "pen register applications," more commonly understood as applications to install a device that reads which numbers are being dialed — and which are incoming — on a landline. But the new application paperwork broadens the language to include "cell site activations," "call detail records in an electronic format" and, most densely, "24-hour a day assistance to include switch based solutions including precision location pursuant to probable cause based information queries and all reasonable assistance to permit the aforementioned Agencies to triangulate target location."

That last, almost inscrutable paragraph is the closest the documents come to referring directly to StingRay usage.

"The secrecy in cities across the country has been so extraordinary," says Nathan Wessler, staff attorney for the ACLU.

To Wessler of the ACLU, the very vagueness of that language makes it unconstitutional.

"This violates the Fourth Amendment," he concludes after reviewing RFT's documents. "Nothing in the applications suggests that police will be using cell site simulators. Nor do the applications explain to the judge the capabilities of cell site simulators."

It's also simply too easy for police to obtain pen register application approval, Wessler says, as opposed to the higher burden of proving probable cause for a warrant. To obtain a warrant, police have to show there's a preponderance of evidence — as spelled out in the Fourth Amendment — that makes their search necessary.

For a pen register application, all cops have to show is that it could help the investigation. And because of the extremely vague and/or technical language in the applications, judges may have no idea they're authorizing use of a StingRay — the term simply never appears in the document.

Privacy advocates are also concerned about what happens to the data from innocent bystanders in the area who may have their phones swept.

A good analogy, says the ACLU's Nathan Wessler, is a game of Marco Polo: "The device yells 'Marco!' and all the [nearby] phones are forced to yell back 'Polo!' The StingRay can then be used to hone in on the signal from the suspect's phone and locate him/her based on the strength and direction of the signal. But all the while, every other phone is still being forced to yell 'Polo!' over and over, letting the StingRay know that they are in the area too."

It's those other phones that have some activists worried.

"What is done with all that data that's irrelevant? Are they keeping that information, or are they deleting it?" asks Electronic Frontier Forum attorney Fakhoury. "These things identify phones in the area; they don't necessarily listen in on phone conversations or capture data. But that is a technical limitation. What that means is, they are configured not to do that, but we don't know how they're not doing that."

One thing appears to be similar from the days when Garvey was signing off on the StingRay warrants: the ones obtained by RFT show that, locally, the device has only been used to track the phones of victims, rather than perpetrators or activists.

The two heavily redacted pen register applications provided by the police department are both from homicide cases in which the alleged murderer is thought to have stolen the victim's phone.

"Victim ____ registered a hotel room on ______ and prepaid through ______. Witnesses at the scene reported hearing a loud argument near the victim's room earlier in the week," reads one of the applications. "Detective _____ stated an _____ wall charger located in ______ hotel room; however no _______ was located in his room or on his person."

The second application describes a drug deal gone bad, with one fatality. "A suspect pulled a long barreled firearm and began firing shots at the victims. ________ was able to flee the residence through a second floor window and later discovered the other victims had been shot. During this incident victim ______ disclosed his cellular phone had been stolen."

Both applications were approved for 60 days, and the judge — whose name is also redacted — agreed that the orders be sealed.

Garvey says at least one StingRay warrant he signed off on caught a murderer, a guy who was strolling out of a Walmart with the stolen phone in his pocket.

"I'm telling you, it's doing miracle work," he says.

St. Louis Pen Register Applications and Orders

For assistant public defender Megan Beesley,her journey down the StingRay rabbit hole began with five little words: "A proven law enforcement technique."

Beesley, who works out of the Carnahan Courthouse downtown, remembers the phrase leaping out at her when she read the police report from the post-Game 5 robberies on October 28, 2013. Her client was one of the men arrested for his role in the string of muggings, and the line was used as the only explanation for how authorities managed to find him and his alleged accomplices in the hotel room in Caseyville.

"A proven law enforcement technique" seemed almost like the cop-speak equivalent of Seinfeld's "yadda yadda yadda."

"It seemed like a very odd sentence to me," she says.

Beesley got the chance to ask about the phrase at a November 7, 2014, deposition of St. Louis police detective John Anderson.

"I just said, 'What does this mean?' The detective acted really weird, looks at the prosecutor, who acts really weird," she recalls. "They go outside and talk. He comes back in and awkwardly refuses to answer."

At a subsequent hearing, Anderson again said he could not answer, Beesley recalls, because of a "non-disclosure agreement that had to do with the FBI. So that confirmed to me that this was probably a StingRay."

In order to use the technology, sheriffs and police chiefs have historically had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI and the Harris Corporation agreeing not to provide the public with any information about how it works. According to an affidavit given by a supervisory FBI agent in a 2014 case in Virginia, if a prosecutor were to disseminate technical information about StingRay to media with international readership, it could constitute a violation of the Arms Control Export Act, which is a felony. That blanket of silence also covers court proceedings.

St. Louis police refused even to allow the Riverfront Times to view any non-disclosure agreement it may have with its cell site simulator provider or the FBI, declining our Sunshine Act request.

One such agreement, obtained from the Erie County Sheriff's Office in New York State, reads: "If the Erie County Sheriff's Office learns that a District Attorney, prosecutor, or a court is considering or intends to use or provide any information concerning the Harris Corporation wireless collection equipment...the Erie County Sheriff's Office will immediately notify the FBI in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to intervene to protect the equipment/technology and information from disclosure and potential compromise."

In a handful of incidents around the country, prosecutors have dropped cases, offered plea deals or withdrawn evidence rather than disclose information about StingRay. That happened in Baltimore, Maryland; Tacoma, Washington; and Tallahassee, Florida — and even in homicide cases.

"It is troubling that their use of this extraordinary secrecy is getting in the way of proper government functions," says Wessler. "I suspect part of what this secrecy is protecting is constitutional violations."

Christopher Allen, a spokesman for the FBI Office of Public Affairs, says that the purpose of the non-disclosure agreements is to prevent criminals from learning how the technology works and figuring out a way to avoid it.

"Specific capabilities of certain equipment used by law enforcement agencies are considered Law Enforcement Sensitive, since their public release could harm law enforcement efforts by compromising future use of the equipment," he said in a statement. "As a last resort, after exhausting all other legal means to protect LES information, the NDA does require state and local law enforcement to drop a criminal case rather than compromising the future use of the technique by disclosing LES information."

He insists, however, that the FBI has never forced any jurisdiction to dismiss a case because of the agreement.

Regardless, Beesley is convinced that by dropping charges against her client, the St. Louis circuit attorney is helping honor a non-disclosure agreement signed by the city police. She and her colleagues scoured their current caseload and found the phrase "a proven law enforcement technique" in four different police reports.

"I think that's the closest we've come to the cops acknowledging this," she says.

Riverfront Times contacted several defense attorneys and only found one additional case with the "proven law enforcement technique" verbiage in the police report. Nick Williams, a criminal defense lawyer whose client was arrested and charged in a different robbery case, says he noticed the phrase even before the Post-Dispatch piece and has alerted the prosecutor at the circuit attorney's office to his concerns. His client's next court date is in June.

"It begs the question of whether or not there is an official policy in place, and if so, what is that policy?" says Williams. "The way in which this is being used on a local level is certainly an infringement on an individual's Fourth Amendment rights.

"A person has a right to privacy, and an infringement on that privacy should be protected against."

Although St. Louisans are just waking up to the fact that StingRay is swimming in their back yards, the secrecy surrounding the technology is beginning to drop away across the country. That's starting with increased willingness by local law enforcement to simply admit that they are using the devices.

For example, Baltimore disclosed recently that it deployed the technology 4,300 times since 2007. In Tallahassee, a police investigator admitted they'd used it 200 times. (The Post-Dispatch puts the number of approved pen register applications locally at 80.)

Legislators are showing increasing discomfort with StingRay. Ten states, including Illinois, Florida and Maryland, have passed some kind of legislation designed to force local law enforcement to obtain a warrant before using cell-phone-tracking technology. A bill Daniel Rigmaiden helped to shaped just passed in Washington State.

Even the federal government is paying more than lip service to the idea that its warrantless deployment of StingRay technology may be unconstitutional. Soon after, to the announcement by the DOJ that they will review the usage of the technology, the FBI went even further in a May 14 article in the Washington Post. The agency told the newspaper that its officers will now apply for a warrant before using StingRay, and that it's OK for local law enforcement to acknowledge the use of the technology, as long as details about how it works are kept secret.

"It's kind of throwing local agencies under the bus a little bit," says Wessler. "Now the FBI's saying, 'No, no, no, that's not what we really meant,' which is a helpful clarification now, but there are years' worth of cases where defense attorneys were kept completely in the dark, as well as judges, and that needs to be remedied right now."

Not everyone in the criminal justice system may be on board with the technology's black-box status either. Judge Garvey, who has praised the usage of StingRay, does not agree with the secrecy imposed by the nondisclosure agreements.

"I think the FBI — they're kind of dumb," he says. "They're being overly federal about the whole thing."

When the last of the four alleged Game 5 muggers had her case dropped in a St. Louis courtroom on April 27, Assistant Circuit Attorney Tanja Engelhardt made an interesting statement as reported by the Post-Dispatch. She let slip that though StingRay practices in St. Louis haven't been litigated yet, "They will be. This isn't the case."

In a statement to Riverfront Times, Trager nudged the sentiment slightly further: "The technology has been used around the country and has withstood challenges in the past. The legality of this technology has recently been challenged in this jurisdiction, and we anticipate it will be litigated in a court of law."

As for Brandon Pavelich, he's more confused than ever about his case. If it wasn't dismissed because of StingRay, what happened?

"If that's the big controversial issue, and that's not it, what the heck could it be?" he says. "That feels super sketchy. What are these guys doing?"

Then again, Pavelich says, it's not as though he just had his eyes opened to the fact that the criminal justice system doesn't always function properly. He has two brothers who've been in and out of the prison for years, he says, mostly for non-violent drug offenses and parole violations. He's not naïve.

"I really see the system as being stupid anyway," he sighs. "I'm not entirely surprised these things are happening."

Additional (and crucial) reporting by Chris McDaniel.

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139 graves, signs of torture found in Malaysia human trafficking camps

© Reuters / Damir Sagolj

Forensic policemen carry body bags with human remains found at the site of human trafficking camps in the jungle close the Thailand border after they brought them to a police camp near Wang Kelian in northern Malaysia May 25, 2015

A total of 139 graves have been found in Malaysia in more than two dozen human trafficking camps believed to have been used by gangs smuggling migrants across the Thai border. Signs of torture were also discovered, the nation's police chief said Monday.

"It's a very sad scene...to us even one is serious and we have found 139," Malaysia's inspector general of police, Khalid Abu Bakar, told reporters in the northern state of Perlis. We are working closely with our counterparts in Thailand. We will find the people who did this."

Describing the conditions at the 28 abandoned camps scattered along a 50 km (30 mile) stretch of the Thai border, Khalid said authorities were "shocked by the cruelty." He added that signs of torture were also discovered, but declined to elaborate.

Photos of the camp show basic wooden huts built in forest clearings. Khalid said bullet casings were found in the vicinity, and metal chains were found near some graves.

The first decomposed body was brought down to a police camp set up at the foot of the mountains where the camps were found on Monday evening. Delivery of the corpse took nearly five hours, due to the rough terrain.

"The body was only bones and little bit of clothing on it," said Rizani Che Ismail, the officer in charge of the Padang Besar police department, as quoted by Reuters. He added that the cause of death was not immediately known.

Trafficking crackdown

The jungles of northern Malaysia and southern Thailand have been a major route for smugglers bringing people to Southeast Asia by boat from Myanmar. Most of them are Rohingya Muslims, who say they are fleeing persecution. Others are from Bangladesh.

Khalid said one of the grave sites was just 100 meters or so from where 26 bodies were exhumed from a grave in Thailand's Songkhla province in early May. That discovery helped trigger a regional crisis, prompting Bangkok to launch a month-long crackdown on the camps - and leading traffickers to abandon thousands of migrants in boats in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.

Traffickers ferry thousands of Rohingya Muslims through southern Thailand each year. In recent years, it has become common for them to be held in remote camps along the border with Malaysia, until a ransom is paid for their freedom. According to Reuters investigations, those ransoms range from US$1,200 to $1,800.

Bangkok said on Monday that there are no more human trafficking camps left in southern Thailand following the crackdown.

Earlier this month, Thailand stated that more than 50 police officers had been transferred as a result of human trafficking investigations. Malaysian police also stated that two officers were among 10 people arrested this year in similar probes.

Migrants at sea

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that some 3,500 migrants are still stranded on overloaded vessels with shrinking supplies.

Thailand has said it will not allow the boats to land, though Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday that the Thai navy will help those in medical need.

Meanwhile, Malaysia and Indonesia have said they will allow those still at sea to come ashore temporarily, and have ordered their navies to rescue people found adrift.

Most of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims are stateless, living in apartheid-like conditions. Almost 140,000 were displaced in deadly clashes with majority Buddhists in 2012. They have been denied citizenship and complain of discrimination by the state. Myanmar has denied discriminating against the group.

Galapagos volcano erupts for first time in 30 years

© Photo: EPA
The eruption of Wolf volcano, at Isabela island, Galapagos, on 25 May 2015.

A volcano in the Galapagos Islands erupted for the first time in more than 30 years on Monday, spilling streams of bright orange lava and raising fears for the world's only colony of pink iguanas.

The Galapagos National Park warned on Twitter that Isabela Island, where Wolf Volcano erupted at dawn, holds "the world's only population" of the critically endangered , also known as the Galapagos rosy iguana.

But the park later said the iguanas' habitat on the volcano's northwest side appeared to be out of danger.

The iguanas, "which share the habitat with yellow iguanas and giant tortoises, are situated on the northwest flank, which raises hopes that they will not be affected," it said in a statement.

The fiery streams of lava that trickled down the volcano on Monday morning were on the opposite side, officials said.

A tourist boat passing by the uninhabited area informed authorities the 1,707-metre (5,600-foot) volcano was erupting.

Park officials then flew over the zone to assess the impact of the eruption.

Pictures released by the park show bright lava streaming down the volcano as a puff of smoke rises into the air and tongues of fire dart from the crater.

© The Telegraph, UK
A pink iguana is seen at the Galapagos Islands National Park, Ecuador, in 2008.

"The eruption generated a very large column of smoke that rose more than six miles into the air, and later drifted toward the southwest part of the volcano," said Sandro Vaca of Ecuador's Geophysics Institute.

"However, there has been no effect on residents."

The island's inhabitants live in Puerto Villamil, some 70 miles (117km) south of the volcano.

Mr Vaca said the volcano's activity could continue for several days, potentially causing further lava flows.

Park officials said the eruption posed no danger to tourists, and operations in the key tourism sector continued as normal in the area.

But environmentalists voiced concern over the pink iguanas, which were discovered in 1986 and established as a separate species after an analysis of their genetic makeup determined they were distinct from their cousins, the Galapagos land iguanas.

The iguanas are pink with charcoal stripes, and are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Wolf Volcano last erupted in 1982.

© The Telegraph, UK
Lava from Wolf Volcano seen at night.

Isabela Island is the largest in the Galapagos, the Ecuadoran archipelago made famous by Charles Darwin's studies of its breathtaking biodiversity, which was crucial in his development of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

The chain of 13 islands and 17 islets, which sits about 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador, is one of the most volcanically active regions in the world.

Isabela island, which strides the equator, also has four other volcanoes: Darwin, Alcedo, Cerro Azul and Sierra Negra.

Unesco, which has declared the Galapagos a World Heritage Site, has warned the islands' environment is in danger from increased tourism and the introduction of invasive species.
Source: Agence France-Presse

Humans could download brains on to a computer and live forever

© Photo: (c) alengo
Once computer engineers have worked out how to make a circuit board as complex as the human mind we will be able to download ourselves onto computers.

Humans could download their brain on to a computer and live forever inside a machine, a Cambridge neuroscientist has claimed.

Dr Hannah Critchlow said that if a computer could be built to recreate the 100 trillion connections in the brain their it would be possible to exist inside a programme.

Dr Critchlow, who spoke at the Hay Festival on 'busting brain myths' said that although the brain was enormously complex, it worked like a large circuit board and scientists were beginning to understand the function of each part.

Asked if it would be possible one day to download consciousness onto a machine, she said: "If you had a computer that could make those 100 trillion circuit connections then that circuit is what makes us us, and so, yes, it would be possible.

"People could probably live inside a machine. Potentially, I think it is definitely a possibility.

Dr Critchlow also said it was a myth that humans only used 10 per cent of their brains, and said that the fallacy had been fostered by Alibert Einstein who said he had discovered the Theory of Relativity because his brain was working at a higher level than most people's.

The case of American railroad foreman Phineas Gage also helped perpetuate the myth after a blasting accident left a metal pole embedded deeply in his skull.

© The Telegraph, UK
Hannah Critchlow demonstrates the impact of an electric shot on the nerves.

The pole at first appeared to have done little damage, with Gage able to carry on life much as usual and allowing him to come to the conclusion that large parts of the brain were not needed.

Dr Crtichlow said that, contrary to popular belief, the brain was actually 'ticking-over' all the time but only ramped up power to certain areas when they were needed to stop humans 'blowing a fuse.'

"After a year of so it became clear that Phinas Gage has suffered serious damage, but by then this myth had gained momentum, " she said.

"The brain weight is about 1.5 kg, and two per cent of the body and yet it is greed and takes about 20 per cent of all energy consumption.

"We are about 100 billion nerve cells and the most complicated circuit board you could imaging, Those resources use electricity.

"If you were using all of you brain all of the time you would effectively blow a fuse. Your brain has evolved to do a low level ticking-over.

"And when you want to do a particular thing it will ramp up to power that, All of the brain is in a low gear all of the time even when you're asleep. MRS scans have also shown that blood and oxygen increase in those parts of the brain at the same time."

However, Dr Critchlow said there was some evidence to show that the myth that left handed people were really more creative was actually true

Recent studies have shown that stimulating the right hemisphere of the brain (which is more active in left handed people, and is linked to creativity) improves creative thought.

It is possible to now buy on the internet hats which include electrodes to stimulate the area for around £50.

"Who knows in the future we might see schoolchildren wearing them in art classes," she said.

Humans 'will become God-like cyborgs within 200 years'

© Photo: PA

Within 200 years the wealthiest humans will become cyborgs, part man part machine.

Wealthy humans are likely become cyborgs within 200 years as they gradually merge with technology like computers and smart phones, a historian has claimed.

Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the amalgamation of man and machine will be the 'biggest evolution in biology' since the emergence of life four billion years ago.

Prof Harari, who has written a landmark book charting the history of humanity, said mankind would evolve to become like gods with the power over death, and be as different from humans of today as we are from chimpanzees.

He argued that humans as a race were driven by dissatisfaction and that we would not be able to resist the temptation to 'upgrade' ourselves, whether by genetic engineering or technology.

"We are programmed to be dissatisfied, " said Prof Harari. "Even when humans gain pleasure and achievements it is not enough. They want more and more.

"I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.

"It will be the greatest evolution in biology since the appearance of life. Nothing really has changed in four billion years biologically speaking. But we will be as different from today's humans as chimps are now from us."

© The Telegraph, UK
Yuval Noah Harari holds a skull.

However he warned that the 'cyborg' technology would be restricted to the wealthiest in society, widening the gap between rich and poor in society. In the future the rich may be able to live forever while the poor would die out.

Prof Harari said humans had become such a dominant species because of our ability to invent 'fictions' which held society together, such as religion, money and the idea of fundamental human rights, which have no basis in nature.

"God is extremely important because without religious myth you can't create society . Religion is the most important invention of humans. As long as humans believed they relied more and more on these gods they were controllable.

"But what we see in the last few centuries is humans becoming more powerful and they no longer need the crutches of the Gods. Now we are saying we do not need God just technology.

"The most interesting place in the world from a religious perspective is not the Middle East, it's Silicon Valley where they are developing a techno-religion. They believe even death is just a technological problem to be solved.

"What enables humans to cooperate flexibly, and exist in large societies is our imagination. With religion it's easy to understand. You can't convince a chimpanzee to give you a banana with the promise it will get 20 more bananas in chimpanzee heaven. It won't do it. But humans will.

"Most legal systems are based on human rights but it is all in our imagination. Money is the most successful story ever. You have the master storytellers, the bankers, the finance ministers telling you that money is worth something. It isn't. Try giving money to a chimp. It's worthless."

Prof Harari most recent book is entitled which was originally published in Hebrew under the title has been translated in to more than 30 languages.

Trekky dream: Chinese millionaire erects $160 million Starship Enterprise HQ


© AFP Photo / STR
This photo taken on May 16, 2015 shows the NetDragon Websoft headquarters building with the iconic circular contours and tubular features of the USS Enterprise, from the US television and film series Star Trek, in Fuzhou, in eastern China's Fujian province.

An eccentric Chinese millionaire and apparently one of the biggest fans of the legendary franchise has built his company HQs in the shape of the , where the series' characters explored new worlds in death-defying journeys.

The is located in the city of Fuzhou, Fujian province, south-eastern China. It has circular contours and tubular features like its twin from the franchise.

The spacecraft was built by Liu Dejian, the head of Netdragon Websoft Inc, a Chinese company that develops massive multiplayer online games and makes mobile applications, China's People's Daily newspaper reported as cited by . Liu currently takes 320th place on the list of China's wealthiest businessmen, according to Forbes.

The paper says that "an informed source" at NetDragon confirmed that the building is also called

[embedded content]

It took Liu four years - presumably since October 2010 until October 2014 - and $160 million to build his 260-meter long, 100-meter wide, six-floor 'spacy' brainchild.

Liu bought the USS Enterprise copyright from , the US broadcaster that produced Star Trek. In fact, this is the only officially licensed Star Trek building on Earth.


© Google Maps

"That was their first time dealing with an issue like this and at first they thought that it was a joke," said the company in an email to the .

"They realized somebody in China actually did want to work out a building modeled on the USS Enterprise only after we sent the relevant legal documents."

Star Trek fans may now see that the structure, a fantastic homage to the Star Trek franchise, is really neat and looks like its famous twin.

Lake Mead water level drops drastically after earthquake


© LakeMeadNRA

Following our exposure of the plunge in Lake Mead water levels post Friday's earthquake, officials were quick to point out that the drop was "due to erroneous meter readings" - which in itself is odd given we have not seen such an aberration before in the measurements. The data today shows a super surge in the Lake Mead water level - which, even more mysteriously, indicates from pre-earthquake to now, the Lake has risen by the most in a 3-day-period in years (as long as we have found history). How was this level 'manufactured' you ask? Simple - discharge flows from the Hoover Dam were curtailed dramatically.

Yesterday we noted the plunge in Lake Mead water levels...


© LakeMead.water-data.com


Officials said - do not worry, the readings are faulty...

© LakeMead.water-data.com

The biggest 3-day net surge in water levels (0.7 feet from Thursday to Sunday) on recent record...

© LakeMead.water-data.com

How was this miracle achieved (given the general lack of precipitation)? Were discharge levels curtailed drastically?

© LakeMead.water-data.com

Nope - nothing odd here at all...

© LakeMead.water-data.com

So what exactly is going at Lake Mead?

Acts of kindness spread easily in social networks just by observing people's generosity

Kindness and generosity elevates all our morals

Acts of kindness can spread surprisingly easily between people — just by observing someone else being generous.

They activate parts of the brain involved in motivating action and of social engagement, a new study finds.

In turn we are also more likely to 'pay it forward'.

Scientists call this the 'moral elevation' effect.

The first evidence from the lab of this effect was found in 2010.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Harvard demonstrated moral elevation by having people playing a simple 'giving' game in the lab.

When people gave selflessly to others, researchers could see this act of kindness spreading from person to person.

One act of kindness was ultimately tripled in value by people subsequently giving more and more.

Dr James Fowler, one of the study's authors, said:

"Though the multiplier in the real world may be higher or lower than what we've found in the lab, personally it's very exciting to learn that kindness spreads to people I don't know or have never met.

We have direct experience of giving and seeing people's immediate reactions, but we don't typically see how our generosity cascades through the social network to affect the lives of dozens or maybe hundreds of other people."

Now neuroscience has given us an insight into what is happening in the brain when we see an act of kindness.

Researchers scanned people's brains while they watched videos showing heroic acts of kindness.

They found that areas of the brain involved in arousal and those involved in social engagement were activated at the same time.

Professor Nicholas Christakis, one of the 2010 study's authors, said:

"Our work over the past few years, examining the function of human social networks and their genetic origins, has led us to conclude that there is a deep and fundamental connection between social networks and goodness.

The flow of good and desirable properties like ideas, love and kindness is required for human social networks to endure, and, in turn, networks are required for such properties to spread.

Humans form social networks because the benefits of a connected life outweigh the costs."

The original study was published in and the latest study was published in the journal (Fowler et al., 2010; Piper et al., 2015).