Progressive Calendar 05.17.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 17 May 2008 00:05:11 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.17.08

1. Gaza today        5.17 10am
2. NWN4P Mtka        5.17 11am
3. 5CD GP endorse    5.17 1pm
4. Al-Nakba demo     5.17 1pm
5. 1968 revolution   5.17 1:30pm
6. Northtown vigil   5.17 2pm
7. Nader or Dem?     5.17 3:30pm
8. Kathy Kelly       5.17 6pm Duluth MN
9. Venez LatAm       5.17 7pm
10. Rwanda/Erlinder  5.17 9pm

11. Care of vets     5.18 12:15pm
12. Stillwater vigil 5.18 1pm
13. GLBT             5.18 2pm
14. AI               5.18 3pm
15. Videographer/RNC 5.18 3pm
16. Carbon nation    5.18 5:30pm

17. Peace walk       5.19 6pm RiverFalls WI
18. Abu Ghraib/film  5.19 6:30pm
19. Full moon walk   5.19 7pm
20. Lebanon/book     5.19 7:30pm

21. Naomi Klein - China's all-seeing eye

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From: William Bailey <wbailey [at]>
Subject: Gaza today 5.17 10am

Jennifer Loewenstein, Associate Director, Middle East Studies Program,
University of Wisconsin-Madison, will speak on Gaza, provide an analysis
of the situation, and engage us in discussion regarding current events in
the region.  Jennifer writes and speaks extensively on the Middle East,
including "Watching the Gazan Fiasco," about Israel's "withdrawal" from
Gaza and the evacuation of 8000 settlers in 2005.  She was a visiting
Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University, and has spent
considerable time in refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.

SATURDAY, May 17, 2008
9:30 a.m. Refreshments, 10:00 a.m. to noon Program and Discussion
7001 York Avenue South, Edina, MN
For information call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642

--------2 of 21--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 5.17 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the
fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

--------3 of 21--------

From: Eric Gilbertson <aleric [at]>
Subject: 5CD GP endorse 5.17 1pm

The upcoming 5th Congressional District Green Party membership and
endorsement meeting will be held at the Nokomis Library (5100 34th Ave. S.
Minneapolis MN 55417 (612) 630-6700) from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on
Saturday May 17th.

1:00 - 1:15 - Introduction and welcome
1:15 - 1:20 - Treasurer's report
1:20 - 2:00 - Discuss proposed bylaw amendment: "Posting of proposed
bylaw and platform changes to the 5cd website and email list at least 10
days prior to a membership meeting is sufficient notification for
passing bylaw and platform changes at that meeting."
2:00 - 3:00 - Endorsements for 2008 candidates
3:00 - 4:00 - Officeholders' reports
4:00 - 5:00 - Open Discussion

Note this has changed from the previously posted date of Saturday the

--------4 of 21--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Al-Nakba demo 5.17 1pm

Al-Nakba Demonstration
Saturday, May 17, 1:00 p.m. Loring Park, Hennepin Avenue and Oak Grove
Strreet, Minneapolis.

Al-Nakba, "the catastrophe" in Arabic, commemorates the founding of the
modern state of Israel created on the theft of large tracts of Palestinian
lands and violent expulsion of the Palestinian people. Since Israel was
founded 60 years ago, millions of Palestinians have been forced to become
refugees and thousands of Palestinians have been killed. This year has
been especially brutal on the people of Gaza. Yet the Palestinians
continue to struggle for their rights, their land and their resources.
This demonstration is to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people
and against U.S. military aid to Israel which is used for death,
destruction and economic isolation of Palestinians. Organized by: the
Coalition for Palestinian Rights. FFI: Call 612-827-5364.

--------5 of 21--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: 1968: revolution 5.17 1:30pm

40 Years Since 1968: Year of Revolution
Saturday, May 17
Walker (Uptown) Library
2880 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis

2008 marks the 40th anniversary of 1968, a year that saw revolutionary
movements sweep the globe and threaten the foundations of the capitalist
system itself. From the student revolt in France that helped inspire the
greatest general strike in history when 10 million workers occupied their
factories in May-June, to the growing radicalization in the black
community and an explosion of the anti-war movement in the U.S. following
the Tet Offensive in January, workers and young people around the world
were clamoring for change.

Yet it was also a year of repression, from the massacre of hundreds of
demonstrators in Mexico just months before the Olympic games (echoing
events in China today), to the beating of demonstrators at the Democratic
National Convention by the Chicago police, to the assassination of Martin
Luther King, Jr. after he had begun to speak out against the Vietnam War
and increasingly question the foundations of the system itself. With the
RNC coming to St. Paul, and the growing movements around the world owing
to rising food prices and anger at corrupt governments, come hear more
about these movements and discuss the legacy of 1968 for those of us today
who want to build a peaceful, just world, free of war, poverty, racism,
and oppression!

--------6 of 21--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.17 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------7 of 21--------

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: Nader or Dem? 5.17 3:30pm

Debate on 2008 Presidential Elections
With city councilors Gary Schiff and Elizabeth Glidden, alongside Ty Moore
of Socialist Alternative and Dave Bicking of the Green Party, discussing:

Should progressives support the Democratic nominee or vote Nader? Can the
Democrats be reformed, or is a new party for working people needed?
Saturday, May  17th
Walker (Uptown) Library Meeting Room
2880 Hennepin Ave  S.

*** SPEAKERS ***
Elizabeth Glidden, City Councilor (Minneapolis  Ward 8), Democratic Party
Gary Schiff, City Councilor (Minneapolis Ward 9), Democratic Party
Ty Moore, Organizer for Socialist Alternative, Nader Campaign activist
Dave Bicking, Green Party activist and Cynthia McKinney Campaign supporter

The 2008 elections are reflecting the widespread demand for "change," but
many remain skeptical that the Democrats can deliver. Can the influence of
big business campaign contributors be broken, allowing the anti-war,
pro-worker politics of the Democratic base guide policy in Washington? Or
is the Democratic Party too corrupted by corporate cash?  Should
progressive workers and youth break with the two-parties of big business,
support independent campaigns like Nader's and struggle to build a broad
based anti-war, pro-worker party? Come to this important discussion on May
17th, hear ideas being shut out of the corporate media, and join in the

Forum sponsored by Socialist Alternative
For more information:  |  mn [at]

--------8 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Kathy Kelly 5.17 6pm Duluth MN

Saturday, 5/17, 6 pm, potluck and presentation by Kathy Kelly, as part of
Iraq Moritorium, Peace, Church UCC, 1111 N 11th Ave E, Duluth.  FFI Steve
Carlson at 715-635-6416.

--------9 of 21--------

From: msp [at]
Subject: Venez LatAm 5.17 7pm

What's Really Happening in Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico and the rest
of the region?
Come join us for a discussion with Jorge Martín - International Secretary
for the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign and Latin America correspondent for
Also featuring:
Gerardo Cajamarca - Exiled Colombian trade unionist
August Nimtz - Professor, filmmaker, and expert on Cuba
Yasmin Tovar - Twin Cities Venezuela solidarity activist

Saturday, May 17 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council
312 Central Ave. SE, Room 217
This event is FREE and open to the public. Coffee, snacks, and other
refreshments will be available.

Born near Barcelona, Catalonia, Jorge has been involved with
international solidarity with the Venezuelan revolution from the very
beginning. He was a founding member of the international Hands Off
Venezuela campaign, has written extensively on the Bolivarian revolution
and has traveled around the world speaking in its defense. He has visited
Venezuela often, participating in meetings, forums and discussing with
revolutionary activists. He has also been actively involved in the
movement of occupied factories in Venezuela. Recently he participated in
the Havana Book Fair, just as the corporate media frenzy over the change
in leadership in Cuba was unleashed.

--------10 of 21--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Rwanda/Erlinder 5.17 9pm

Most gracious Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!.  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 5/17, 9pm and Tues, 5/20, 8am "Behind the Scenes at the Hotel Rwanda"
Interview of William Mitchell College of Law prof. Peter Erlinder, atty
for the defense at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Hosted by Karen Redleaf.

--------11 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Care of vets 5.18 12:15pm

Sunday, 5/18, 12:15 to 2 pm, Peace and Justice Forum presents Amy
Blumenshine talking about "Care of Returning Veterans," $7 for lunch,
Central Lutheran Church, 3rd Ave and 12th St, Mpls.  dhilden [at]
or 612-825-1581.

--------12 of 21--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 5.18 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------13 of 21--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: GLBT 5.18 2pm

May 18: PFLAG St. Paul/Mpls Meeting & Straight Spouse Network. 2 PM
Program: A panel of teachers from Edina, Hopkins and Eden Prairie talk
about the issues of GLBT students, how they became involved in the
"case", what they are doing in the classroom, how school boards,
superintendents and parents are responding to the issues, and whether
they are getting support in their school districts. Support Groups 3:30-5
PM. Mayflower Church, Mpls.

--------14 of 21--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: AI 5.18 3pm

Join us for our regular meeting on Sunday, May 18th, from 3:00 to 5:00

Our presenter this month will be Hemlal Kafle. Hailing originally from
Nepal, Hemlal will talk to us about the political situation there and the
change from being ruled by a king to the beginning of democracy.

In our second hour, we will share actions on human rights cases around the
world and get updates on the work of our sub-groups.
All are welcome, and refreshments will be provided.

Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis
(corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot
behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn).

A map and directions are available on-line:

--------15 of 21--------

From: Gena Berglund <gena [at]>
Subject: Videographers/RNC 5.18 3pm

To help secure the legal rights of demonstrators during the upcoming
Republican National Convention

The Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild is organizing a legal
observer program for the RNC, and we are seeking volunteer videographers
to help assist in this effort. Videographers are required to attend one
training session. The next training is:
Sunday, May 18th
3:00 PM
Merriam Park Library 1381 Marshall Ave St Paul MN 55104

For more information on the RNC legal observer program, visit

--------16 of 21--------

From: Alliance for Sustainability <sean [at]>
Subject: Carbon nation 5.18 5:30pm

5:30-8 pm Sun, May 18 EarthSave Plant-Based Potluck with talk by Rebecca
Lundberg from Powerfully Green on "Phantom Loads: Reduce your carbon
footprint, it makes cents!" St. John's Lutheran Church, 4842 Nicollet
Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN

--------17 of 21--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 5.19 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022

--------18 of 21--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Abu Ghraib/film 5.19 6:30pm

Free WAMM Third Monday Movie and Discussion: "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib"
Monday, May 19, 6:30 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, Hospitality Hall,
4537 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis.

A controlled, candid and remarkably thorough look at all sides of what
happened at that infamous Iraqi prison. Ultimately this film asks what
these events say about the U.S., its government and its military and human
nature. Followed by discussion. Sponsored by: the WAMM Third Monday Movies
Committee. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364.

--------19 of 21--------

From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at]>
Subject: Full moon walk 5.19 7pm

Monday, May 19, 2008
Gather 7 PM, south end of Minnehaha Park
Moment of the full moon is 9:11 PM
May's moon is called the Planting or Flower moon
Sunset 8:40 PM   Moonrise 8:55 PM
The May walk will be led by our favorite plant person, Henry Fieldseth, who
will show us spring flowers.  Henry has for years bought the plants for the
Friends School Plant Sale and is a gardener and plant specialist.

Meet in Minnehaha Park, in south Minneapolis: from Hwy 55/Hiawatha, turn
East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street and circle around to your
left into the pay parking lot.  Bring quarters for meters or park free on
the west side of Hwy. 55.
Info:   info [at]

--------20 of 21--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at]>
Subject: Lebanon/book 5.19 7:30pm

Magers and Quinn Booksellers  3038 Hennepin Ave. S. Minneapolis MN. 55408
Cantact: David Unowsky
5.19 7:30pm

Middle East expert Cathy Sultan discusses her new book Tragedy In South

Cathy Sultan combines compelling history and vivid personal interviews
that connect the lives of the oft-ignored civilians of South Lebanon and
northern Israel during the war of July 2006 and its aftermath.

She documents how these families and soldiers have been victimized by the
hawkish, shortsighted policy decisions of Israel, Lebanon, and the United
States. Sultan describes the polluting effects of cluster bombs and other
environmental hazards left behind after the war in Lebanon, and explains
the strategic importance of such geographic features as the Litani River
and the Shabba Farms area.

She conducts compelling, in-depth interviews with both Lebanese and
Israeli civilians and soldiers as they recount their experiences of the
conflict. Throughout the book, these narratives are particularly memorable
for their detail, honesty, and the deep sense of tragedy they relate.

The book also addresses the media's treatment of the war, systematically
dispelling common myths about the region perpetuated by government and
mainstream sources. Sultan's years of real life experience in the region,
as well as her comprehensive knowledge of the conflict, add to the
authenticity of her accounts.

Finally, she reveals how divisive factions within the current Lebanese
government leave the country teetering on the brink of yet more violence,
imploring government officials on all sides to act with foresight,
compassion, and responsibility.

According to Reese Erlich, foreign correspondent and author of The Iran
Agenda: The Real Story of US Policy and the Middle East
"Tragedy In South
an important book that should be read by anyone interested in Israel and

Jack Rice, journalist, syndicated CBS radio talk show host and former CIA
officer writes: "Finally, finally, finally there is a book that looks at
the complex issues in Lebanon for what they really are--complex! And even
more importantly, Cathy has taken her experience and transported all of us
into the region to better understand the complexities from the people
themselves. We have had enough of the bumper sticker slogans and five
second sound bites. Great!"

George Cody, Ph.D., Executive Director of American Task Force for Lebanon
writes: "As someone who works with other organizations to ban the use,
sale, and transfer of cluster bombs, I applaud Cathy Sultan's discussion
on the effects of these lethal weapons on Lebanese civilians, many of them
children, who continue to be killed and maimed by these odious, unexploded
Israeli cluster bombs."

According to Timur Goksel, Former Senior Advisor of UNIFIL in Lebanon:
"Sultan gives a fair and accurate account of what went on in South
Lebanon. As a UN official who spent 24 years in South Lebanon, I say she
also lends refreshing voice to those who would otherwise never be heard."

--------21 of 21--------

China's All-Seeing Eye
by Naomi Klein
Published on Thursday, May 15, 2008 by Rolling Stone
Common Dreams
With the help of U.S. defense contractors, China is building the prototype
for a high-tech police state. It is ready for export.

Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn't exist. Back in those days,
it was a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice
paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads and traditional temples. That was
before the Communist Party chose it - thanks to its location close to Hong
Kong's port - to be China's first "special economic zone," one of only
four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis. The
theory behind the experiment was that the "real" China would keep its
socialist soul intact while profiting from the private-sector jobs and
industrial development created in Shenzhen. The result was a city of pure
commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture - the crack cocaine of
capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen
experiment quickly expanded, swallowing not just the surrounding Pearl
River Delta, which now houses roughly 100,000 factories, but much of the
rest of the country as well. Today, Shenzhen is a city of 12.4 million
people, and there is a good chance that at least half of everything you
own was made here: iPods, laptops, sneakers, flatscreen TVs, cellphones,
jeans, maybe your desk chair, possibly your car and almost certainly your
printer. Hundreds of luxury condominiums tower over the city; many are
more than 40 stories high, topped with three-story penthouses. Newer
neighborhoods like Keji Yuan are packed with ostentatiously modern
corporate campuses and decadent shopping malls. Rem Koolhaas, Prada's
favorite architect, is building a stock exchange in Shenzhen that looks
like it floats - a design intended, he says, to "suggest and illustrate
the process of the market". A still-under-construction superlight subway
will soon connect it all at high speed; every car has multiple TV screens
broadcasting over a Wi-Fi network. At night, the entire city lights up
like a pimped-out Hummer, with each five-star hotel and office tower
competing over who can put on the best light show.

Many of the big American players have set up shop in Shenzhen, but they
look singularly unimpressive next to their Chinese competitors. The
research complex for China's telecom giant Huawei, for instance, is so
large that it has its own highway exit, while its workers ride home on
their own bus line. Pressed up against Shenzhen's disco shopping centers,
Wal-Mart superstores - of which there are nine in the city - look like
dreary corner stores. (China almost seems to be mocking us: "You call that
a superstore?") McDonald's and KFC appear every few blocks, but they seem
almost retro next to the Real Kung Fu fast-food chain, whose mascot is a
stylized Bruce Lee.

American commentators like CNN's Jack Cafferty dismiss the Chinese as "the
same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years". But
nobody told the people of Shenzhen, who are busily putting on a
24-hour-a-day show called "America" - a pirated version of the original,
only with flashier design, higher profits and less complaining. This has
not happened by accident. China today, epitomized by Shenzhen's transition
from mud to megacity in 30 years, represents a new way to organize
society. Sometimes called "market Stalinism," it is a potent hybrid of the
most powerful political tools of authoritarian communism - central
planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance - harnessed to
advance the goals of global capitalism.

Now, as China prepares to showcase its economic advances during the
upcoming Olympics in Beijing, Shenzhen is once again serving as a
laboratory, a testing ground for the next phase of this vast social
experiment. Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras
have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces,
disguised as lampposts. The closed-circuit TV cameras will soon be
connected to a single, nationwide network, an all-seeing system that will
be capable of tracking and identifying anyone who comes within its range -
a project driven in part by U.S. technology and investment. Over the next
three years, Chinese security executives predict they will install as many
as 2 million CCTVs in Shenzhen, which would make it the most watched city
in the world. (Security-crazy London boasts only half a million
surveillance cameras.)

The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech
surveillance and censorship program known in China as "Golden Shield". The
end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology - thoughtfully
supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric - to
create an airtight consumer cocoon: a place where Visa cards, Adidas
sneakers, China Mobile cellphones, McDonald's Happy Meals, Tsingtao beer
and UPS delivery (to name just a few of the official sponsors of the
Beijing Olympics) can be enjoyed under the unblinking eye of the state,
without the threat of democracy breaking out. With political unrest on the
rise across China, the government hopes to use the surveillance shield to
identify and counteract dissent before it explodes into a mass movement
like the one that grabbed the world's attention at Tiananmen Square.

Remember how we've always been told that free markets and free people go
hand in hand? That was a lie. It turns out that the most efficient
delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state,
fortressed with American "homeland security" technologies, pumped up with
"war on terror" rhetoric. And the global corporations currently earning
superprofits from this social experiment are unlikely to be content if the
lucrative new market remains confined to cities such as Shenzhen. Like
everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0
is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.

Zhang Yi points to an empty bracket on the dashboard of his black Honda.
"It used to hold my GPS, but I leave it at home now," he says. "It's the
crime - they are too easy to steal". He quickly adds, "Since the
surveillance cameras came in, we have seen a very dramatic decrease in
crime in Shenzhen".

After driving for an hour past hundreds of factory gates and industrial
parks, we pull up to a salmon-color building that Zhang partly owns. This
is the headquarters of FSAN: CCTV System. Zhang, a prototypical Shenzhen
yuppie in a royal-blue button-down shirt and black-rimmed glasses,
apologizes for the mess. Inside, every inch of space is lined with
cardboard boxes filled with electronics parts and finished products.

Zhang opened the factory two and a half years ago, and his investment has
already paid off tenfold. That kind of growth isn't unusual in the field
he has chosen: Zhang's factory makes digital surveillance cameras, turning
out 400,000 a year. Half of the cameras are shipped overseas, destined to
peer from building ledges in London, Manhattan and Dubai as part of the
global boom in "homeland security". The other half stays in China, many
right here in Shenzhen and in neighboring Guangzhou, another megacity of
12 million people. China's market for surveillance cameras enjoyed
revenues of $4.1 billion last year, a jump of 24 percent from 2006.

Zhang escorts me to the assembly line, where rows of young workers, most
of them women, are bent over semiconductors, circuit boards, tiny cables
and bulbs. At the end of each line is "quality control," which consists of
plugging the camera into a monitor and making sure that it records. We
enter a showroom where Zhang and his colleagues meet with clients. The
walls are lined with dozens of camera models: domes of all sizes,
specializing in day and night, wet and dry, camouflaged to look like
lights, camouflaged to look like smoke detectors, explosion-proof, the
size of a soccer ball, the size of a ring box.

The workers at FSAN don't just make surveillance cameras; they are
constantly watched by them. While they work, the silent eyes of rotating
lenses capture their every move. When they leave work and board buses,
they are filmed again. When they walk to their dormitories, the streets
are lined with what look like newly installed streetlamps, their white
poles curving toward the sidewalk with black domes at the ends. Inside the
domes are high-resolution cameras, the same kind the workers produce at
FSAN. Some blocks have three or four, one every few yards. One
Shenzhen-based company, China Security & Surveillance Technology, has
developed software to enable the cameras to alert police when an unusual
number of people begin to gather at any given location.

In 2006, the Chinese government mandated that all Internet cafes (as well
as restaurants and other "entertainment" venues) install video cameras
with direct feeds to their local police stations. Part of a wider
surveillance project known as "Safe Cities," the effort now encompasses
660 municipalities in China. It is the most ambitious new government
program in the Pearl River Delta, and supplying it is one of the
fastest-growing new markets in Shenzhen.

But the cameras that Zhang manufactures are only part of the massive
experiment in population control that is under way here. "The big
picture," Zhang tells me in his office at the factory, "is integration".
That means linking cameras with other forms of surveillance: the Internet,
phones, facial-recognition software and GPS monitoring.

This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched
around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of
computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by
digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be
aggressively limited through the country's notorious system of online
controls known as the "Great Firewall". Their movements will be tracked
through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that
are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder's
personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all
these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos,
residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield
is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in
China: 1.3 billion faces.

Shenzhen is the place where the shield has received its most extensive
fortifications - the place where all the spy toys are being hooked
together and tested to see what they can do. "The central government
eventually wants to have city-by-city surveillance, so they could just sit
and monitor one city and its surveillance system as a whole," Zhang says.
"It's all part of that bigger project. Once the tests are done and it's
proven, they will be spreading from the big province to the cities, even
to the rural farmland".

In fact, the rollout of the high-tech shield is already well under way.

When the Tibetan capital of Lhasa was set alight in March, the world
caught a glimpse of the rage that lies just under the surface in many
parts of China. And though the Lhasa riots stood out for their ethnic
focus and their intensity, protests across China are often shockingly
militant. In July 2006, workers at a factory near Shenzhen expressed their
displeasure over paltry pay by overturning cars, smashing computers and
opening fire hydrants. In March of last year, when bus fares went up in
the rural town of Zhushan, 20,000 people took to the streets and five
police vehicles were torched. Indeed, China has seen levels of political
unrest in recent years unknown since 1989, the year student protests were
crushed with tanks in Tiananmen Square. In 2005, by the government's own
measure, there were at least 87,000 "mass incidents" - governmentspeak for
large-scale protests or riots.

This increased unrest - a process aided by access to cellphones and the
Internet - represents more than a security problem for the leaders in
Beijing. It threatens their whole model of command-and-control capitalism.
China's rapid economic growth has relied on the ability of its rulers to
raze villages and move mountains to make way for the latest factory towns
and shopping malls. If the people living on those mountains use blogs and
text messaging to launch a mountain-people's-rights uprising with each new
project, and if they link up with similar uprisings in other parts of the
country, China's dizzying expansion could grind to a halt.

At the same time, the success of China's ravenous development creates its
own challenges. Every rural village that is successfully razed to make way
for a new project creates more displaced people who join the ranks of the
roughly 130 million migrants roaming the country looking for work. By
2025, it is projected that this "floating" population will swell to more
than 350 million. Many will end up in cities like Shenzhen, which is
already home to 7 million migrant laborers.

But while China's cities need these displaced laborers to work in
factories and on construction sites, they are unwilling to offer them the
same benefits as permanent residents: highly subsidized education and
health care, as well as other public services. While migrants can live for
decades in big cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou, their residency remains
fixed to the rural community where they were born, a fact encoded on their
national ID cards. As one young migrant in Guangzhou put it to me, "The
local people want to make money from migrant workers, but they don't want
to give them rights. But why are the local people so rich? Because of the
migrant workers!"

With its militant protests and mobile population, China confronts a
fundamental challenge. How can it maintain a system based on two
dramatically unequal categories of people: the winners, who get the condos
and cars, and the losers, who do the heavy labor and are denied those
benefits? More urgently, how can it do this when information technology
threatens to link the losers together into a movement so large it could
easily overwhelm the country's elites?

The answer is Golden Shield. When Tibet erupted in protests recently, the
surveillance system was thrown into its first live test, with every
supposedly liberating tool of the Information Age - cellphones, satellite
television, the Internet - transformed into a method of repression and
control. As soon as the protests gathered steam, China reinforced its
Great Firewall, blocking its citizens from accessing dozens of foreign
news outlets. In some parts of Tibet, Internet access was shut down
altogether. Many people trying to phone friends and family found that
their calls were blocked, and cellphones in Lhasa were blitzed with text
messages from the police: "Severely battle any creation or any spreading
of rumors that would upset or frighten people or cause social disorder or
illegal criminal behavior that could damage social stability".

During the first week of protests, foreign journalists who tried to get
into Tibet were systematically turned back. But that didn't mean that
there were no cameras inside the besieged areas. Since early last year,
activists in Lhasa have been reporting on the proliferation of black-domed
cameras that look like streetlights - just like the ones I saw coming off
the assembly line in Shenzhen. Tibetan monks complain that cameras -
activated by motion sensors - have invaded their monasteries and prayer

During the Lhasa riots, police on the scene augmented the footage from the
CCTVs with their own video cameras, choosing to film - rather than stop -
the violence, which left 19 dead. The police then quickly cut together the
surveillance shots that made the Tibetans look most vicious - beating
Chinese bystanders, torching shops, ripping metal sheeting off banks - and
created a kind of copumentary: Tibetans Gone Wild. These weren't the
celestial beings in flowing robes the Beastie Boys and Richard Gere had
told us about. They were angry young men, wielding sticks and long knives.
They looked ugly, brutal, tribal. On Chinese state TV, this footage played
around the clock.

The police also used the surveillance footage to extract mug shots of the
demonstrators and rioters. Photos of the 21 "most wanted" Tibetans, many
taken from that distinctive "streetlamp" view of the domed cameras, were
immediately circulated to all of China's major news portals, which
obediently posted them to help out with the manhunt. The Internet became
the most powerful police tool. Within days, several of the men on the
posters were in custody, along with hundreds of others.

The flare-up in Tibet, weeks before the Olympic torch began its global
journey, has been described repeatedly in the international press as a
"nightmare" for Beijing. Several foreign leaders have pledged to boycott
the opening ceremonies of the games, the press has hosted an orgy of
China-bashing, and the torch became a magnet for protesters, with
anti-China banners dropped from the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate
Bridge. But inside China, the Tibet debacle may actually have been a boon
to the party, strengthening its grip on power. Despite its citizens having
unprecedented access to information technology (there are as many Internet
users in China as there are in the U.S.), the party demonstrated that it
could still control what they hear and see. And what they saw on their TVs
and computer screens were violent Tibetans, out to kill their Chinese
neighbors, while police showed admirable restraint. Tibetan solidarity
groups say 140 people were killed in the crackdown that followed the
protests, but without pictures taken by journalists, it is as if those
subsequent deaths didn't happen.

Chinese viewers also saw a world unsympathetic to the Chinese victims of
Tibetan violence, so hostile to their country that it used a national
tragedy to try to rob them of their hard-won Olympic glory. These
nationalist sentiments freed up Beijing to go on a full-fledged witch
hunt. In the name of fighting a war on terror, security forces rounded up
thousands of Tibetan activists and supporters. The end result is that when
the games begin, much of the Tibetan movement will be safely behind bars -
along with scores of Chinese journalists, bloggers and human-rights
defenders who have also been trapped in the government's high-tech web.

Police State 2.0 might not look good from the outside, but on the inside,
it appears to have passed its first major test.

In Guangzhou, an hour and a half by train from Shenzhen, Yao Ruoguang is
preparing for a major test of his own. "It's called the 10-million-faces
test," he tells me.

Yao is managing director of Pixel Solutions, a Chinese company that
specializes in producing the new high-tech national ID cards, as well as
selling facial-recognition software to businesses and government agencies.
The test, the first phase of which is only weeks away, is being staged by
the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing. The idea is to measure the
effectiveness of face-recognition software in identifying police suspects.
Participants will be given a series of photos, taken in a variety of
situations. Their task will be to match the images to other photos of the
same people in the government's massive database. Several biometrics
companies, including Yao's, have been invited to compete. "We have to be
able to match a face in a 10 million database in one second," Yao tells
me. "We are preparing for that now".

The companies that score well will be first in line for lucrative
government contracts to integrate face-recognition software into Golden
Shield, using it to check for ID fraud and to discover the identities of
suspects caught on surveillance cameras. Yao says the technology is almost
there: "It will happen next year".

When I meet Yao at his corporate headquarters, he is feeling confident
about how his company will perform in the test. His secret weapon is that
he will be using facial-recognition software purchased from L-1 Identity
Solutions, a major U.S. defense contractor that produces passports and
biometric security systems for the U.S. government.

To show how well it works, Yao demonstrates on himself. Using a camera
attached to his laptop, he snaps a picture of his own face, round and
boyish for its 54 years. Then he uploads it onto the company's proprietary
Website, built with L-1 software. With the cursor, he marks his own eyes
with two green plus signs, helping the system to measure the distance
between his features, a distinctive aspect of our faces that does not
change with disguises or even surgery. The first step is to "capture the
image," Yao explains. Next is "finding the face".

He presses APPLY, telling the program to match the new face with photos of
the same person in the company's database of 600,000 faces. Instantly,
multiple photos of Yao appear, including one taken 19 years earlier -
proof that the technology can "find a face" even when the face has changed
significantly with time.

It took 1.1 milliseconds!. Yao exclaims. "Yeah, that's me!"

In nearby cubicles, teams of Yao's programmers and engineers take each
other's pictures, mark their eyes with green plus signs and test the speed
of their search engines. "Everyone is preparing for the test," Yao
explains. "If we pass, if we come out number one, we are guaranteed a
market in China".

Every couple of minutes Yao's phone beeps. Sometimes it's a work message,
but most of the time it's a text from his credit-card company, informing
him that his daughter, who lives in Australia, has just made another
charge. "Every time the text message comes, I know my daughter is spending
money!" He shrugs: "She likes designers".

Like many other security executives I interviewed in China, Yao denies
that a primary use of the technology he is selling is to hunt down
political activists. "Ninety-five percent," he insists, "is just for
regular safety". He has, he admits, been visited by government spies, whom
he describes as "the internal-security people". They came with grainy
pictures, shot from far away or through keyhole cameras, of "some
protesters, some dissidents". They wanted to know if Yao's
facial-recognition software could help identify the people in the photos.
Yao was sorry to disappoint them. "Honestly, the technology so far still
can't meet their needs," he says. "The photos that they show us were just
too blurry". That is rapidly changing, of course, thanks to the spread of
high-resolution CCTVs. Yet Yao insists that the government's goal is not
repression: "If you're a [political] organizer, they want to know your
motive," he says. "So they take the picture, give the photo, so at least
they can find out who that person is".

Until recently, Yao's photography empire was focused on consumers - taking
class photos at schools, launching a Chinese knockoff of Flickr (the
original is often blocked by the Great Firewall), turning photos of chubby
two-year-olds into fridge magnets and lampshades. He still maintains those
businesses, which means that half of the offices at Pixel Solutions look
like they have just hosted a kid.s birthday party. The other half looks
like an ominous customs office, the walls lined with posters of terrorists
in the cross hairs: FACE MATCH, FACE PASS, FACE WATCH. When Beijing
started sinking more and more of the national budget into surveillance
technologies, Yao saw an opportunity that would make all his previous
ventures look small. Between more powerful computers, higher-resolution
cameras and a global obsession with crime and terrorism, he figured that
face recognition "should be the next dot-com".

Not a computer scientist himself - he studied English literature in school
- Yao began researching corporate leaders in the field. He learned that
face recognition is highly controversial, with a track record of making
wrong IDs. A few companies, however, were scoring much higher in
controlled tests in the U.S. One of them was a company soon to be renamed
L-1 Identity Solutions. Based in Connecticut, L-1 was created two years
ago out of the mergers and buyouts of half a dozen major players in the
biometrics field, all of which specialized in the science of identifying
people through distinct physical traits: fingerprints, irises, face
geometry. The mergers made L-1 a one-stop shop for biometrics. Thanks to
board members like former CIA director George Tenet, the company rapidly
became a homeland-security heavy hitter. L-1 projects its annual revenues
will hit $1 billion by 2011, much of it from U.S. government contracts.

In 2006, Yao tells me, "I made the first phone call and sent the first
e-mail". For a flat fee of $20,000, he gained access to the company.s
proprietary software, allowing him to "build a lot of development software
based on L-1's technology". Since then, L-1's partnership with Yao has
gone far beyond that token investment. Yao says it isn't really his own
company that is competing in the upcoming 10-million-faces test being
staged by the Chinese government: "We'll be involved on behalf of L-1 in
China". Yao adds that he communicates regularly with L1 and has visited
the company's research headquarters in New Jersey. ("Out the window you
can see the Statue of Liberty. It's such a historic place".) L1 is
watching his test preparations with great interest, Yao says. "It seemed
that they were more excited than us when we tell them the results".

L-1's enthusiasm is hardly surprising: If Yao impresses the Ministry of
Public Security with the company's ability to identify criminals, L-1 will
have cracked the largest potential market for biometrics in the world. But
here's the catch: As proud as Yao is to be L-1's Chinese licensee, L-1
appears to be distinctly less proud of its association with Yao. On its
Website and in its reports to investors, L-1 boasts of contracts and
negotiations with governments from Panama and Saudi Arabia to Mexico and
Turkey. China, however, is conspicuously absent. And though CEO Bob
LaPenta makes reference to "some large international opportunities," not
once does he mention Pixel Solutions in Guangzhou.

After leaving a message with the company inquiring about L-1's involvement
in China's homeland-security market, I get a call back from Doni Fordyce,
vice president of corporate communications. She has consulted Joseph
Atick, the company's head of research. "We have nothing in China," she
tells me. "Nothing, absolutely nothing. We are uninvolved. We really don't
have any relationships at all".

I tell Fordyce about Yao, the 10-million test, the money he paid for the
software license. She'll call me right back. When she does, 20 minutes
later, it is with this news: "Absolutely, we've sold testing SDKs
[software development kits] to Pixel Solutions and to others [in China]
that may be entering a test". Yao's use of the technology, she said, is
"within his license" purchased from L-1.

The company's reticence to publicize its activities in China could have
something to do with the fact that the relationship between Yao and L-1
may well be illegal under U.S. law. After the Chinese government sent
tanks into Tiananmen Square in 1989, Congress passed legislation barring
U.S. companies from selling any products in China that have to do with
"crime control or detection instruments or equipment". That means not only
guns but everything from police batons and handcuffs to ink and powder for
taking fingerprints, and software for storing them. Interestingly, one of
the "detection instruments" that prompted the legislation was the
surveillance camera. Beijing had installed several clunky cameras around
Tiananmen Square, originally meant to monitor traffic flows. Those lenses
were ultimately used to identify and arrest key pro-democracy dissidents.

"The intent of that act," a congressional staff member with considerable
China experience tells me, "was to keep U.S. companies out of the business
of helping the Chinese police conduct their business, which might
ultimately end up as it did in 1989 in the suppression of human rights and
democracy in China".

Pixel's application of L-1 facial-recognition software seems to fly in the
face of the ban's intent. By his own admission, Yao is already getting
visits from Chinese state spies anxious to use facial recognition to
identify dissidents. And as part of the 10-million-faces test, Yao has
been working intimately with Chinese national-security forces, syncing
L-1's software to their vast database, a process that took a week of
intensive work in Beijing. During that time, Yao says, he was on the phone
"every day" with L-1, getting its help adapting the technology. "Because
we are representing them," he says. "We took the test on their behalf".

In other words, this controversial U.S. "crime control" technology has
already found its way into the hands of the Chinese police. Moreover,
Yao's goal, stated to me several times, is to use the software to land
lucrative contracts with police agencies to integrate facial recognition
into the newly built system of omnipresent surveillance cameras and
high-tech national ID cards. As part of any contract he gets, Yao says, he
will "pay L-1 a certain percentage of our sales".

When I put the L-1 scenario to the Commerce Department's Bureau of
Industry and Security - the division charged with enforcing the
post-Tiananmen export controls - a representative says that software kits
are subject to the sanctions if "they are exported from the U.S. or are
the foreign direct product of a U.S.-origin item". Based on both criteria,
the software kit sold to Yao seems to fall within the ban.

When I ask Doni Fordyce at L-1 about the embargo, she tells me, "I don't
know anything about that". Asked whether she would like to find out about
it and call me back, she replies, "I really don't want to comment, so
there is no comment". Then she hangs up.

You have probably never heard of L-1, but there is every chance that it
has heard of you. Few companies have collected as much sensitive
information about U.S. citizens and visitors to America as L-1: It boasts
a database of 60 million records, and it "captures" more than a million
new fingerprints every year. Here is a small sample of what the company
does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes
finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland
Security's massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and
Afghanistan with "mobile iris and multimodal devices" so they can collect
biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department's "largest
facial-recognition database system"; and produces driver's licenses in
Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more
secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst
to discuss, in "extremely general" terms, what the division was doing with
contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company's CEO would only say,
"Stay tuned".

It is L-1's deep integration with multiple U.S. government agencies that
makes its dealings in China so interesting: It isn't just L-1 that is
potentially helping the Chinese police to nab political dissidents, it's
U.S. taxpayers. The technology that Yao purchased for just a few thousand
dollars is the result of Defense Department research grants and contracts
going as far back as 1994, when a young academic named Joseph Atick (the
research director Fordyce consulted on L-1.s China dealings) taught a
computer at Rockefeller University to recognize his face.

Yao, for his part, knows all about the U.S. export controls on police
equipment to China. He tells me that L-1's electronic fingerprinting tools
are "banned from entering China" due to U.S. concerns that they will be
used to "catch the political criminals, you know, the dissidents, more
easily". He thinks he and L-1 have found a legal loophole, however. While
fingerprinting technology appears on the Commerce Department's list of
banned products, there is no explicit mention of "face prints" - likely
because the idea was still in the realm of science fiction when the
Tiananmen Square massacre took place. As far as Yao is concerned, that
omission means that L-1 can legally supply its facial-recognition software
for use by the Chinese government.

Whatever the legality of L-1's participation in Chinese surveillance, it
is clear that U.S. companies are determined to break into the
homeland-security market in China, which represents their biggest growth
potential since 9/11. According to the congressional staff member,
American companies and their lobbyists are applying "enormous pressure to
open the floodgates".

The crackdown in Tibet has set off a wave of righteous rallies and boycott
calls. But it sidesteps the uncomfortable fact that much of China's
powerful surveillance state is already being built with U.S. and European
technology. In February 2006, a congressional subcommittee held a hearing
on "The Internet in China: A Tool for Freedom or Suppression?" Called on
the carpet were Google (for building a special Chinese search engine that
blocked sensitive material), Cisco (for supplying hardware for China's
Great Firewall), Microsoft (for taking down political blogs at the behest
of Beijing) and Yahoo (for complying with requests to hand over
e-mail-account information that led to the arrest and imprisonment of a
high-profile Chinese journalist, as well as a dissident who had criticized
corrupt officials in online discussion groups). The issue came up again
during the recent Tibet uproar when it was discovered that both MSN and
Yahoo had briefly put up the mug shots of the "most wanted" Tibetan
protesters on their Chinese news portals.

In all of these cases, U.S. multinationals have offered the same defense:
Cooperating with draconian demands to turn in customers and censor
material is, unfortunately, the price of doing business in China. Some,
like Google, have argued that despite having to limit access to the
Internet, they are contributing to an overall increase of freedom in
China. It's a story that glosses over the much larger scandal of what is
actually taking place: Western investors stampeding into the country,
possibly in violation of the law, with the sole purpose of helping the
Communist Party spend billions of dollars building Police State 2.0. This
isn't an unfortunate cost of doing business in China: It's the goal of
doing business in China. "Come help us spy!" the Chinese government has
said to the world. And the world's leading technology companies are
eagerly answering the call.

As The New York Times recently reported, aiding and abetting Beijing has
become an investment boom for U.S. companies. Honeywell is working with
Chinese police to "set up an elaborate computer monitoring system to
analyze feeds from indoor and outdoor cameras in one of Beijing's most
populated districts". General Electric is providing Beijing police with a
security system that controls "thousands of video cameras simultaneously,
and automatically alerts them to suspicious or fast-moving objects, like
people running". IBM, meanwhile, is installing its "Smart Surveillance
System' in the capital, another system for linking video cameras and
scanning for trouble, while United Technologies is in Guangzhou, helping
to customize a "2,000-camera network in a single large neighborhood, the
first step toward a citywide network of 250,000 cameras to be installed
before the Asian Games in 2010". By next year, the Chinese
internal-security market will be worth an estimated $33 billion - around
the same amount Congress has allocated for reconstructing Iraq.

"We're at the start of a massive boom in Chinese security spending,"
according to Graham Summers, a market analyst who publishes an investor
newsletter in Baltimore. "And just as we need to be aware of how to profit
from the growth in China's commodity consumption, we need to be aware of
companies that will profit from 'security consumption'. . . . There's big
money to be made".

While U.S. companies are eager to break into China's rapidly expanding
market, every Chinese security firm I come across in the Pearl River Delta
is hatching some kind of plan to break into the U.S. market. No one,
however, is quite as eager as Aebell Electrical Technology, one of China's
top 10 security companies. Aebell has a contract to help secure the
Olympic swimming stadium in Beijing and has installed more than 10,000
cameras in and around Guangzhou. Business has been growing by 100 percent
a year. When I meet the company's fidgety general manager, Zheng Sun Man,
the first thing he tells me is "We are going public at the end of this
year. On the Nasdaq". It also becomes clear why he has chosen to speak
with a foreign reporter: "Help, help, help!" he begs me. "Help us promote
our products!"

Zheng, an MBA from one of China's top schools, proudly shows me the
business card of the New York investment bank that is handling Aebell's
IPO, as well as a newly printed English-language brochure showing off the
company's security cameras. Its pages are filled with American
iconography, including businessmen exchanging wads of dollar bills and
several photos of the New York skyline that prominently feature the World
Trade Center. In the hall at company headquarters is a poster of two
interlocking hearts: one depicting the American flag, the other the Aebell

I ask Zheng whether China's surveillance boom has anything to do with the
rise in strikes and demonstrations in recent years. Zheng's deputy, a
23-year veteran of the Chinese military wearing a black Mao suit, responds
as if I had launched a direct attack on the Communist Party itself. "If
you walk out of this building, you will be under surveillance in five to
six different ways," he says, staring at me hard. He lets the implication
of his words linger in the air like an unspoken threat. "If you are a
law-abiding citizen, you shouldn't be afraid," he finally adds. "The
criminals are the only ones who should be afraid".

One of the first people to sound the alarm on China's upgraded police
state was a British researcher named Greg Walton. In 2000, Walton was
commissioned by the respected human-rights organization Rights & Democracy
to investigate the ways in which Chinese security forces were harnessing
the tools of the Information Age to curtail free speech and monitor
political activists. The paper he produced was called "China's Golden
Shield: Corporations and the Development of Surveillance Technology in the
People's Republic of China". It exposed how big-name tech companies like
Nortel and Cisco were helping the Chinese government to construct "a
gigantic online database with an all-encompassing surveillance network -
incorporating speech and face recognition, closed-circuit television,
smart cards, credit records and Internet surveillance technologies".

When the paper was complete, Walton met with the institute's staff to
strategize about how to release his explosive findings. "We thought this
information was going to shock the world," he recalls. In the midst of
their discussions, a colleague barged in and announced that a plane had
hit the Twin Towers. The meeting continued, but they knew the context of
their work had changed forever.

Walton's paper did have an impact, but not the one he had hoped. The
revelation that China was constructing a gigantic digital database capable
of watching its citizens on the streets and online, listening to their
phone calls and tracking their consumer purchases sparked neither shock
nor outrage. Instead, Walton says, the paper was "mined for ideas" by the
U.S. government, as well as by private companies hoping to grab a piece of
the suddenly booming market in spy tools. For Walton, the most chilling
moment came when the Defense Department tried to launch a system called
Total Information Awareness to build what it called a "virtual,
centralized grand database' that would create constantly updated
electronic dossiers on every citizen, drawing on banking, credit-card,
library and phone records, as well as footage from surveillance cameras.
"It was clearly similar to what we were condemning China for," Walton
says. Among those aggressively vying to be part of this new security boom
was Joseph Atick, now an executive at L-1. The name he chose for his plan
to integrate facial-recognition software into a vast security network was
uncomfortably close to the surveillance system being constructed in China:
"Operation Noble Shield".

Empowered by the Patriot Act, many of the big dreams hatched by men like
Atick have already been put into practice at home. New York, Chicago and
Washington, D.C., are all experimenting with linking surveillance cameras
into a single citywide network. Police use of surveillance cameras at
peaceful demonstrations is now routine, and the images collected can be
mined for "face prints," then cross-checked with ever-expanding photo
databases. Although Total Information Awareness was scrapped after the
plans became public, large pieces of the project continue, with private
data-mining companies collecting unprecedented amounts of information
about everything from Web browsing to car rentals, and selling it to the

Such efforts have provided China's rulers with something even more
valuable than surveillance technology from Western democracies: the
ability to claim that they are just like us. Liu Zhengrong, a senior
official dealing with China's Internet policy, has defended Golden Shield
and other repressive measures by invoking the Patriot Act and the FBI's
massive e-mail-mining operations. "It is clear that any country's legal
authorities closely monitor the spread of illegal information," he said.
"We have noted that the U.S. is doing a good job on this front". Lin Jiang
Huai, the head of China Information Security Technology, credits America
for giving him the idea to sell biometric IDs and other surveillance tools
to the Chinese police. "Bush helped me get my vision," he has said.
Similarly, when challenged on the fact that dome cameras are appearing
three to a block in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, Chinese companies respond that
their model is not the East German Stasi but modern-day London.

Human-rights activists are quick to point out that while the tools are the
same, the political contexts are radically different. China has a
government that uses its high-tech web to imprison and torture peaceful
protesters, Tibetan monks and independent-minded journalists. Yet even
here, the lines are getting awfully blurry. The U.S. currently has more
people behind bars than China, despite a population less than a quarter of
its size. And Sharon Hom, executive director of the advocacy group Human
Rights in China, says that when she talks about China's horrific
human-rights record at international gatherings, "There are two words that
I hear in response again and again: Guantnamo Bay".

The Fourth Amendment prohibition against illegal search and seizure made
it into the U.S. Constitution precisely because its drafters understood
that the power to snoop is addictive. Even if we happen to trust in the
good intentions of the snoopers, the nature of any government can change
rapidly - which is why the Constitution places limits on the tools
available to any regime. But the drafters could never have imagined the
commercial pressures at play today. The global homeland-security business
is now worth an estimated $200 billion - more than Hollywood and the music
industry combined. Any sector of that size inevitably takes on its own
momentum. New markets must be found - which, in the Big Brother business,
means an endless procession of new enemies and new emergencies: crime,
immigration, terrorism.

In Shenzhen one night, I have dinner with a U.S. business consultant named
Stephen Herrington. Before he started lecturing at Chinese business
schools, teaching students concepts like brand management, Herrington was
a military-intelligence officer, ascending to the rank of lieutenant
colonel. What he is seeing in the Pearl River Delta, he tells me, is
scaring the hell out of him - and not for what it means to China.

"I can guarantee you that there are people in the Bush administration who
are studying the use of surveillance technologies being developed here and
have at least skeletal plans to implement them at home," he says. "We can
already see it in New York with CCTV cameras. Once you have the cameras in
place, you have the infrastructure for a powerful tracking system. I'm
worried about what this will mean if the U.S. government goes totalitarian
and starts employing these technologies more than they are already. I'm
worried about the threat this poses to American democracy".

Herrington pauses. "George W. Bush," he adds, "would do what they are
doing here in a heartbeat if he could".

China-bashing never fails to soothe the Western conscience - here is a
large and powerful country that, when it comes to human rights and
democracy, is so much worse than Bush's America. But during my time in
Shenzhen, China's youngest and most modern city, I often have the feeling
that I am witnessing not some rogue police state but a global middle
ground, the place where more and more countries are converging. China is
becoming more like us in very visible ways (Starbucks, Hooters, cellphones
that are cooler than ours), and we are becoming more like China in less
visible ones (torture, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention,
though not nearly on the Chinese scale).

What is most disconcerting about China's surveillance state is how
familiar it all feels. When I check into the Sheraton in Shenzhen, for
instance, it looks like any other high-end hotel chain - only the lobby is
a little more modern and the cheerful clerk doesn't just check my passport
but takes a scan of it.

"Are you making a copy?" I ask.

"No, no," he responds helpfully. "We're just sending a copy to the

Up in my room, the Website that pops up on my laptop looks like every
other Net portal at a hotel - only it won't let me access human-rights and
labor Websites that I know are working fine. The TV gets CNN International
- only with strange edits and obviously censored blackouts. My cellphone
picks up a strong signal for the China Mobile network. A few months
earlier, in Davos, Switzerland, the CEO of China Mobile bragged to a crowd
of communications executives that "we not only know who you are, we also
know where you are". Asked about customer privacy, he replied that his
company only gives "this kind of data to government authorities" - pretty
much the same answer I got from the clerk at the front desk.

When I leave China, I feel a powerful relief: I have escaped. I am home
safe. But the feeling starts to fade as soon as I get to the customs line
at JFK, watching hundreds of visitors line up to have their pictures taken
and fingers scanned. In the terminal, someone hands me a brochure for "Fly
Clear". All I need to do is have my fingerprints and irises scanned, and I
can get a Clear card with a biometric chip that will let me sail through
security. Later, I look it up: The company providing the technology is

Naomi Klein is the author of many books, including her most recent, The
Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.Visit Naomi.s website at, or to learn more about her new book, visit .

Copyright 2008 Rolling Stone

[I would not be surprised to see some of this system put in place in the
Twin Cities before the RNC arrives in September, anywhere the RNC expects
to be. And then it could stay here to "fight crime". -ed]


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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