Military, Security & Surveillance

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, journalist Jeremy Scahill investigated the role of private security companies like Blackwater USA, infamous for their work in Iraq, that deployed on the streets of New Orleans. His reports were broadcast on the national radio and TV show Democracy Now! and on hundreds of sites across the internet. In response to Scahill's recent cover story in The Nation magazine "Blackwater Down," the President and CEO of DynCorp, one of the largest private security companies in the world, wrote a letter to the editor of The Nation. Dyncorp CEO Stephen J. Cannon's letter is reprinted below, followed by Scahill's response.
TIME has obtained an incident report prepared by the U.S. government describing a fire fight Sunday in Baghdad in which at least eight Iraqis were reported killed and 13 wounded. The loss of life has provoked anger in Baghdad, where the Interior Ministry has suspended Blackwater's license to operate around the country.
This week the Project on Government Oversight released damning allegations of deviant hazing at a camp for security guards in Afghanistan. Sparking questions from the State Department, POGO warned the problems are "posing a significant threat to the security of the embassy and its personnel."
Whisper - a new social network that claims to provide anonymity - has been accused of secretly tracking users. The allegations were made by the Guardian newspaper, provoking renewed scrutiny of a multitude of data privacy claims made by software companies.
Authorities of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) have unveiled a new security strategy for securing oil pipelines and platforms within the Niger Delta region. Shell has appointed former MEND militant commander, Eris Paul, and his company, Eristex Pipeline Patrol, to secure oil facilities in the Southern Ijaw area of the Delta.
Halliburton officials are being investigated for taking millions of dollars in bribes while staying at a lavish seaside resort in Kuwait, in return for sub-contracts to supply the US military in Iraq. Jeff Alex Mazon is the first of these Halliburton managers to be indicted for corruption.
Precision farming: high tech corporate responsibility or agribusiness expansion? We look at the use of satellites and new technology in farming.
Government spy agencies seek new ways to monitor the Internet. Civil libertarians worry about privacy while software companies stand to make billions.
Six global telecommunications companies - British Telecom, Interoute, Level Three, Verizon Enterprise, Viatel and Vodafone Cable - are the subject of a formal complaint by Privacy International for potential violation of human rights such as the right to privacy and freedom of expression.
Dramatic evidence that America is involved in illegal mercenary operations in east Africa has emerged in a string of confidential emails seen by The Observer. The leaked communications between US private military companies suggest the CIA had knowledge of the plans to run covert military operations inside Somalia - against UN rulings - and they hint at involvement of British security firms.