Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Digging Gold, A Timely Time Capsule

While browsing a yard sale across street, I found a letter from late Senator Mathias to a friend dated September 20, 1976. Attached with the letter are reprints of two talks he made in the summer of 1976 on the right to privacy.

Thirty-six years later, the points he made are still vivid and refreshing amid the broad adoption of Internet technologies today.

Senator Mathias was a Frederick native, who was born, raised in Frederick and practiced law in Frederick. Among the many honors he had received, he was granted an honorable doctoral degree from Hood College in 1974.

Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr. Addresses the American Bar Association

The Fourth Amendment in the Electronic Age

August 11, 1976

In 1817 former President John Adams wrote to a friend who had asked him to recall the genesis of the American Revolution. Age had not dimmed Adam's passion, or his memory of the events that had liberated his country from England. He went straight to the first of the great dramas in our long advance toward libertarianism. Richard Harris, in his New Yorker essay on the fourth amendment, has given us a detailed account of that drama, and those events. Today I'd like to touch the highlights.

"The scene", Adams wrote, "is in the council chamber in the month of February, 1761 . . . in this chamber, round a great fire, were seated five judges, with lieutenant-governor Hutchinson at their head, as chief justice, all arrayed in their new, fresh, rich robes of scarlet English broadcloth; in their large cambric bands, and immense judicial wigs".

John Adams was a young lawyer of 25. He and every other member of the bar of Middlesex County and Boston sat in the chamber that day, also arrayed in the gowns and wigs of English tradition. Adams took noted, and 57 years later resurrected the scene, which echoes today as powerfully as ever vital in our law and heritage.

At issue were the general warrants called writs of assistance, a legacy of the repressive court of star chamber. The writs authorized officers of the crown to search homes and property for smuggled goods, and to compel any British subject to assist in the search. They did not specify whose property, or what evidence was to be looked for.

The merchants of Boston demanded a hearing. They asked James Otis, Jr. of the Bay Colony to represent them, and offered him a generous fee. Otis accepted the job and declined the fee. "In such a cause", he said, "I despise all fees".

The Revolution had found one of its first heroes, a man usually overlooked in the liturgies of the Bicentennial. Otis resigned as advocate general of the admiralty court, a position with promise of wealth and advancement, and went to work for the Colonists against the writs of assistance.

John Adams never forgot Otis' 5-hour performance that day. According to Adams, Otis wove a spellbinding mix of classical allusion, history, legal precedent, constitutional law, and prophecy. When he was done, opposition to the writs was unalterably set in the minds of the Colonists, and one of the fundamental principles of English common law had been indelibly written in our history.

"I will to my dying day", Otis began, "oppose with all the powers God has given me all such instruments of slavery on the one hand and villainy on the other, as this writ of assistance. It appears to me the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law that ever was found in an English lawbook. . . ."

A warrant, he said, must designate the place to be searched, the evidence to be looked for and the person in question. It can be issued only upon a sworn complaint. A general warrant, in Otis' view, was in dead conflict with the British constitution.

"On of the most essential branches of English liberty", he said, "is the freedom of one's house. A man's house is his castle, and whilst he is as well guarded a prince in his castle".

It was America's first defense of the right to privacy; a first glimmer of the notion that a citizen has the right to be let alone.

After Otis' peroration, the colonists followed events in England, where in 1763 a pamphleteer named John Wilkes was arrested and his home ransacked on the authority of a general warrant. Wilkes sued the officer for trespassing, claiming that a general warrant was illegal under the unwritten constitution. The jury found in his favor.

At the same time another incendiary writer, John Entick, was arrested on a warrant that did bear his name but ordered the seizure of all his books and papers, without specifying any particular ones. Entick sued and won. The Government appealed, and the Court of Common Pleas found unanimously in Entick's favor. "Papers", wrote Lord Camden, are the owner's goods and chattels: they are his dearest property, and are so far from enduring a seizure that they will hardly bear an inspection". Soon afterwards, the House of Commons declared general warrants illegal.

William Pitt the elder, the Great Prime Minister who was dismissed by George III for his sympathy toward American grievances, put it most eloquently of all: "the poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown. It may be frail: its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storms may enter, the rain may enter, -but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!"

In 1791, the Founding Fathers compressed theses events and utterances, and the tradition that shaped them, into the succinct injunction of the fourth amendment: "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized".

To procure this right was one of the overriding aims of the American Revolution. It is a right no despotism can accommodate. It is a right no free society can be without.

It is fair, I think, to suppose that Madison and his colleagues were satisfied that they had guaranteed the people from intrusion, search and seizure beyond all doubt. They Bill of Rights was written to clarify. It drew lines around the individual freedoms, intended to be unalterable and plainly visible.

But the Founding Fathers could not foresee the electronic age. They could not foresee telephones, wiretaps, bugging devices, computers and data bands. Technology has cluttered the domain off the constitution. It has confused things. It has made our homes and our private lives accessible, even when our doors are looked and our shades are drawn. It has created a new kind of intrusion: invisible, unannounced often untraceable.

Unauthorized intrusions have almost always been a temptation to police in search of evidence, and to governments troubled by national security. With the electronic age, the temptations have proliferated. The meaning of privacy has become blurred in many minds, and in the confusion, electronic prying has outrun the restraints of the fourth amendment.

In 1928, the Supreme Court dealt for the first time with wiretapping in Olmstead versus United States. The plaintiffs were bootleggers who had been convicted on the evidence of recorded telephone conversations. They claimed that the use of such evidence violated the fourth and fifth amendments. The supreme Court upheld the convictions. Chief Justice William Howard Taft wrote the opinion. Wiretapping, he ruled, was not a search and seizure and not an illegal entry, because the tap had been placed outside. Only the spoken word had been seized, and the spoken word was not protected by the fourth amendment.

In spite of Taft, the Olmstead case produced an historic definition of privacy: the famous dissent by Mr. Justice Brandeis. "The makers of our constitution", he wrote, "sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone--the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the individual, whatever the means employed must be deemed a violation of the fourth amendment.

Nonetheless, Taft's unimaginative pronouncement stood for 39 years, until the court decided in Katz versus New York that warrantless wiretapping had to be construed a violation of the fourth amendment. "The fourth amendment", the court ruled, "protects people, not places". One did not have to be at home to be intruded upon.

The Katz decision vindicated Brandeis' 1928 dissent. And I believe the fourth amendment bears no other interpretation. What did the Founding Fathers intend to confer, if not the right to be let alone--the right to speak in private, the right to think in private?

Jefferson once warned that "the natural process of things is for Liberty to yield and Government to gain ground." In our 200 years history, we have resisted that tendency. Armed with the Constitution, we have fought infringements of our liberties, and on balance have squeezed out enough victories to bring civil liberties alive and well to the present day. The courts have stood by our right to privacy in some areas, such as the right to read as one chooses in the privacy of one's home. But the courts have not guarded us as well against intrusion and surveillance--nor has the Congress or the legal profession. And where we have turned our backs. Government has exceeded its rightful powers, almost without fall. Liberty has yielded, and Government has gained ground.

This past year, when it began to emerge that executive power had been used over nearly four decades in routine, secret disregard of the fourth amendment, the Senate finally interceded with the creation of the Select committee on Intelligence. I was a member of that committee. The revelations that came in more than a year of testimony astounded even the most seasoned members of the committee.

The FBI, as we learned, made hundreds of warrantless, surreptitious break-ins. Bugging devices were installed in offices and bedrooms. Private papers were photographed.

Phones were tapped.

FBI and CIA computers were fed a prodigious diet of names and organizations. Nearly a quarter of million first-class letters were photographed to compile a CIA computerized index of one and a half million names. Some 300,000 persons were index in a CIA computer system; files were collected on about 7,200 Americans and more than a hundred domestic groups in the CIA's operation chaos. Army intelligence kept files on an estimated 100,000 persons. The Internal Revenue Service kept files on more than 11,000 persons and started investigations for reasons of politics, not taxes. More than 26,000 persons were catalogued by the FBI. Whose intention was to imprison them all summarily in the event of a national emergency.

The revelations went on and on, with scarcely a dull moment. We learned that quarrels among black groups had been aggravated with forged letters, inciting violence, marriages were disrupted, again with forged letters.

As James Otis put it "What a scene does this open." But in 1761, the violations were flagrant, and dressed in the formality of the writs of assistance. Today's intrusions on privacy dispense with all formality. They are soundless, and unseen. No doors are broken down, no papers carried away. Instead of seizure, there is photography and a computerized file. Instead of an ear to the door, there is bugging device inside the room.

These intrusions were seldom detected and so seldom challenged. Unchallenged, they multiplied. The fourth amendment was being flouted by those whom it was meant to bind and by those who were meant to enforce it; the American people stood by indifferent or unaware.

The blame belongs many places.

For 25 years, Congress has routinely appropriated funds for intelligence, knowing little about how the money would be used and not troubling to find out. From time to time, we attempted to set mild restrictions that were ignored, and then failed to insist on compliance.

The courts have hesitated to meet the intelligence community head-on. They Supreme Court conceded in 1972 that warrantless electronic surveillance had been permitted by Presidents without "guidance by the congress or a definitive decision of the courts."

And the legal establishment, the American Bar Association and the State and city bar associations, might have guessed how deep the disease ran, and met every lawyer's obligation to protest. The secrecy spun by Presidents and Government agents was thick but not impenetrable. Now and then a voice was raised, in fear or indignation. These complaints might have been looked into. What the press finally did, we might have done ourselves.

The recommendations of the Select Committee were designed to establish supervision, to check and balance the intelligence agencies as required by the Constitution. We advised, simply, that intelligence-gathering be brought within the bounds of law.

We proposed that there be no electronic surveillance without judicial warrant.

We proposed that no homes be entered, no mail be opened, without a warrant.

The Permanent Oversight Committee, which the Select Committee created when it finished its businesses, will have sentinel duty. It will alert the Congress and the country, let us hope, the moment the law is violated. For the moment, order and the rule of law have been restored.

But something in America has been dimmed in these decades of official lawbreaking. James Otis understood what it was when he spoke of "the liberty of every man."

It is more than an abstraction. It is more than a syllogism stating that if the liberty of one is taken away, then the liberty of any other can be taken just as easily. The fact is, it can be taken from some much more easily than from others. But wherever one man's liberty is violated, the liberty of every man, the transcendent aim of our law, is diminished.

The Socialist Workers Party, an ardent, possibly naive, undoubtedly peaceful group of Americans, as the FBI has admitted, was spied on and its offices broken into for years. Forged letters were sent to spouses and employers in attempts to wreck marriages and ruin jobs. In those abuses, the liberty of every man was diminished.

The late Martin Luther King, Jr., an apostle of non-violence and integration, was hounded by FBI spies and technicians whose instructions were to "destroy"him. In that crude campaign, the liberty of every man was diminished.

When the FBI concocted letters designed to instigate murder between the Black Panthers and a Chicago street gang, the liberty of every man was diminished as surely as if those agents tampered in your lives, or mine.

And as long as the Government intrudes illegally in the private life of so much as a single ragtag student demonstrator, the liberty of every man will be diminished.

No conscientious lawyer can be indifferent to be scars of these past years, or to the neglect that made them possible.

Today, a new test of the fourth amendment appears to be pending, brought along in the stealthy evolution of the computer.

The computer has become indispensable in commerce, industry, and government. Increasingly, information is shared from computer to computer, covering vast distances in seconds Law enforcement has become automated; the law enforcement assistance administration, created in 1968, recommended the development of computerized information system, and the FBI, a year earlier, unveiled its national crime information center, a monster computer in Washington, accessible on the instant to law enforcement agencies all over America.

Business and commerce now hum to computer rhythms. The bank, credit, medical, and business records of almost every one of us are stored away in some electronic memory. Computers do not discard information, unless ordered to. They do not forget it. They amass it, they produce it indiscriminately at the ouch of a button.

The capacity of men in power to wreck civil liberties and subvert laws was amply demonstrated in the Watergate affair, and by the intelligence community in every administration from Roosevelt to Nixon. Computers have only begun to demonstrate their potential. Men and computers, in collaboration, edge closer and closer to the innermost precincts of our private lives.

Two years ago I introduced the bill of Rights Procedures Act, which was designed to reinforce the fourth amendment. They bill would require court approval, upon a show of probable cause, before the Government could wiretap, bug, open mail, or dig into telephone, credit, medical, or business records. Court approval would have to be put in writing. Any Federal agent who proceeded to these measures without a court order would be subject to criminal prosecution.

Congress was created for the most part to make law, not enforce it. But where the constitution is made to seem ambiguous by modern technology, or where it is assailed by Federal agents and overreaching presidents, or where the courts are dilatory, then Congress does have the power to intercede. The Bill of Rights Procedures Act would reiterate the fourth amendment and insist by statute that it be enforced.

Over the years, the United States Supreme Court has been a primary guardian of our civil liberties. The court has traditionally exercised vigilance in its decisions defining the scope of the privacy protections afforded under the fourth amendment's prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In recent months, however, the Supreme Court has signalled a retreat from its position as the protector against governmental intrusion. In a series of recent decisions--ranging from its ruling in United States against Miller that a citizen's banking records are not his private papers so as to come under the protections of the fourth amendment, to its holding in South Dakota against Opperman, approving sweeping inventory searches of automobiles in police custody, the court has taken a much narrower view of the fourth amendment. In dissent, Justices Marshall and Brennan have leveled unusually harsh criticisms of these recent decisions,. As Justice Brennan, joined by Justice Marshall, wrote in dissent in United States against Martinez-Fuerte, that case was "the ninth this term marking the continuing evisceration of fourth amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures."

I join in the eloquent dissents of Justices Brennan and Marshall and hope that this trend will be reversed in the coming term of the Court.

Against this background, I believe it is essential that the Congress and State legislatures--who apparently have been lulled into passivity by the dominant role played by the Supreme Court--reevaluate their usual practice of stepping aside to allow the courts to determine the breadth of the privacy safeguards in the Constitution. Even when Congress has had the opportunity to delineate the scope of these protections, it has either failed to do so or specifically left such determinations to the courts. Typical of its abdication to the judiciary are the following:

In the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, Congress expressly disclaimed reaching a decision regarding the constitutional limitations on the President's power to order wiretaps without judicial warrants;

In the Bank Secrecy Act, Congress authorized surveillance into the bank records of millions of Americans without making clear whether these administrative powers were subject to the prohibitions in the fourth amendment;

In the border search statute, Congress permitted searches of individuals within 100 miles of the border without declaring whether the fourth amendment was applicable to governmental actions of this nature.

The time is at hand when the congress and its State counterparts must enact legislation to protect the privacy which is essential to our democratic society.

In the advance of computer technology, the words of James Otis bristle once more. The writ of assistance, he said, "Is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer." To prevent this, our fourth amendment was written. It was written to guarantee the privacy of the home and personal papers, and the right to be let alone. It was written to place the liberty of every man our of the reach of every pretty officer, every Federal agent, every Attorney General, and every President, and to lock it securely within the rule of law.

Senator Mathias Addresses The Utah Bar Association

Speech by Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr.

July 17, 1976

"If men were angels," wrote Madison in the Federalist Papers, 'no government would be necessary."

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Jefferson echoed this unsentimental view of mankind. "It would be a dangerous delusion," he wrote, "were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights . . . in questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution."

The Founding Fathers were skeptical of human nature. They were inspired by the humanists, but they were never beguiled by illusions of a benign, ever reliable inner an. They knew that when the first bloom of the revolution wore off, men in power would have to be restrained. It was their premise that where power exists, sooner or later it will be used.

Our 200-year history has confirmed the skepticism, and the wisdom, of the Founding Fathers. The chains of the constitution have been constantly tested, as men and governments have stretched, and at times assaulted, the limits set upon them. So far, our system has endured the stress and collision. No other government in the world has survived in its original form as long as ours.

But this is not an invitation to complacency. We can be grateful, in this bicentennial year, that the Founding Fathers provided so well for us, but it would be foolish to relax completely. The tension of men and governments goes on, as Madison and his colleagues foresaw, in a constant process of ebb and flow.

This past year I served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and in that capacity got a vivid glimpse of man's propensity to use power as it accrues to him.

The intelligence fraternity has used power in a mind-boggling variety of ways, to almost any purpose imaginable, from the routine collection of information to cloak-and-dagger antics reminiscent of a grade-B spy movie. Power has been used for good reason, and it has been used for no logical reason at all, as though simply because it was there. Millions of dollars and hundreds of hours were lavished on projects of the most bizarre and aimless nature. In some cases, not even the perpetrators themselves could say what they hoped to accomplish.

For 25 years, the NAACP was investigated by the FBI to determine whether that organization "had connections" with the Communist Party, After the first year, an FBI report conceded that the NAACP had no association whatsoever with Communism, but the investigation went on anyway.

For more than 30 years, the FBI investigated the Socialist Workers Party, embarrassing its members and breaking into their offices in the nighttime, acknowledging all the while that the Socialist Workers Party had never broken any law and had never incited anyone to break the law.

One of the most dismal and misguided of the enterprises we investigated was the prolonged assault on the rights and privacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1968, FBI headquarters notified its agents in the field that Dr. King must be destroyed, because he might "abandon his supposed obedience to white liberal doctrines (non-violence)." The order reads like a passage from Catch-22. By the perverse logic of the FBI high command, Dr. King was a prime suspect to foment violence, no matter how long and how earnestly he preached and practiced the opposite.

Once a project was entered into, it often grew naturally, feeding not on exigencies but upon itself. "The risk," said one witness, "was . . . to move from the kid with the bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the line."

The process is in a familiar pattern. Power granted freely, without stipulation, rushes to opportunity like air into a vacuum.

Thomas Jefferson was in Paris as Minister to France during the constitutional Convention in 1789. When he received the news that George Mason of Virginia had failed to persuade the delegates to adopt a Bill of Rights he fired off a volley of letters to the founders of the New Republic. Civil liberties, he insisted, must e enumerated, leaving no doubt as to where the power of government ended, and where the rights of the people could not be infringed. Civil liberties could not be left to the goodness of men in power. Within four years, thanks to Mason, Luther Martin of Maryland, and above all to the entreaties of Jefferson, the first ten amendments had been written.

Encroachments on the Bill of Rights began almost before the ink was dry.

In 1798, the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed, in circumstances that have a familiar resonance. The Nation feared war with France. There were considerable numbers of Frenchmen in the country. The several alien acts authorized deportation of aliens and imprisonment of persons whose motherland was at war with America. The Sedition Act made it a high misdemeanor "unlawfully to combine and conspire" to oppose legal measures of the Government, and to engage or abet "insurrection, riot, or unlawful assembly or combination." Ten persons, all Republicans, were fined and imprisoned under the act by the Federalist administration of John Adams. Republican editors who criticized President Adams were liberally prosecuted, while Federalists who denounced Vice-President Jefferson were left alone.

Jefferson and Madison responded passionately in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions. If the acts should stand, Jefferson warned, "these conclusions would flow from them: that the general Government may place any act they think proper on the list of crimes and punish it themselves, whether enumerated or not enumerated by the Constitution."

There is simplicity in this, and clarity. The Government may not condemn, harass, punish or confine, except where the law and the Bill of Rights allow. The constitution was not written to be ignored, according to whim or convenience. It was not written to be suspended in hard times or crises. It is the law, and final.

Even Lincoln was spurred to abridge one of the bedrock principles of the Bill of Rights. When the Civil War broke out, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus. On suspicion of disloyalty or agitation, thousands of citizens were imprisoned without trial. Congress ratified the order after the fact, and in 1863 a compliant Supreme Court sustained it.

American civil liberties have always been battered in wartime.

In 1918, Congress enacted the Sedition Act, a blunt-edged weapon against dissent. The act authorized severe punishment for anyone during wartime who should "utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the flag, the Armed Forces or their uniforms, the Constitution, or the form of the Government of the United States. If the congress has ever struck more fiercely at the First Amendment, I should like to know when.

During World War II, this country fell into one of the most painful and disgraceful of our lapses, the internment of Japanese-Americans. The lieutenant general in charge of west coast operations gave this quaint explanation of the policy he recommended so devotedly: "The fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken." On this frail and witless supposition, 112,000 Japanese-Americans lost every shred of protection under the law. President Roosevelt succumbed to the paranoia. Every Japanese-American on the west coast was herded into centers in the western deserts and the swampland of Arkansas.

When wartime conditions do not exist, the Government is often tempted to invent them.

In 1919, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer bequeathed his name to history as director of the Palmer raids, wherein thousands of political dissenters and anarchists were arrested summarily Aliens were deported. On January 2, 1919, Government agents swooped into 33 cities and arrested 2,700 persons.

Nearly all of the sad and comic antics of Watergate were ascribed to national security. The men around the President seem to have believed that they were committing small sins to prevent greater ones.

The same delusion has flourished in the intelligence community. As Government agents, prodded by their superiors and encouraged by every administration from Roosevelt to Nixon, proceeded to the most aberrational violations of the bill of rights, they carried the heartfelt conviction that they were promoting the greater safety of this Nation. "It was my assumption," one witness told us, "that what we were doing was justified by what we had to do . . . the greater good, the national security."

The rationale is old, and it comes easy. Consider how many tyrannies have been erected, and how many liberties snuffed out, in the name of that nebulous and changeable aim, "the grater good."

The founding fathers knew better than to take the risk. They believed that power grows to the extent it is permitted, and they constructed the constitution around the assumption. Its verity has been borne out again and again, most recently by the zealous excesses of the intelligence community. These excess were covert, hidden even from their victims. They were almost never discovered, and therefore seldom challenged, unchallenged, they grew and grew and grew.

I believe we have checked them. Our rescue has come in a resounding invocation of the doctrines of Madison and Jefferson. Those doctrines remain our greatest surety against the ill-will or carelessness of men in power, and the misconduct of their subordinates. As we celebrate our 200th birthday, we ought to remind ourselves of this, and resolve as Jefferson advised, to "let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wen's Voice Cut Off

China's Premier Wen Jiabao was giving an opening remark at the EU-China summit in Brussels. After a long list of achievements reached in his ten years tenure as China's premier, Wen stressed his disappointment over two issues: lifting arms embargo and nonrecognition of fully-fledged market economy status. While Wen was still speaking, the live feed was cut abruptly before he could finish the sentence.

A diplomat who attended the meeting said the request came from China.

It's interesting to learn someone in the Chinese delegation could order speech of Wen, the Prime Minister and No. 3 in CCP, to be cut off. It's also interesting to speculate how did the organizer recognize and accommodate the request to mute the top Chinese official at the meeting.

As the lonely minority among his peers, Wen was always muted on sensitive talks in China. Wen also use his oversea trips to talk about his visions on political reform.

Professor Tian Xie of University of South Carolina Aiken commented that Wen probably wanted to use his last EU-China summit to advocate for importance and urgency of political reforms. The two issues would have been a good talk point for that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gary Locke's Car Attacked in Beijing

According to UK's Telegraph, around 50 Chinese mob attacked Gary Locke's car right at the entrance to the US Embassy in Beijing. The car was damaged, but Locke was able to escape after Chinese guards intervened.

The attack took place under the backdrop of China's dispute with Japan over Diaoyu Islands. A State Department spokeswoman reaffirmed US's position that the islands were covered under Article V of the security treaty between US and Japan, a stance seen by China as bias. A few days earlier, the US Defense Secretary Panetta visited Japan on an unscheduled stop on his Asia trip, and announced deployment of one more anti-missile system. Although Panetta stressed that the system was targeting North Korea, the timing clearly was very sensitive in the height of the Sino-Japanese dispute. Panetta also is extending his China stop from 2 days to 4 days.

While evidences had surfaced that violent protests against Japan and Japanese interests in dozens of cities across China were led by official securities forces disguised as mobs, rumor has it that the attack on Locke was a job done by the same group of people. It's revealing to notice that anti-Japanese protests, which had caused damages of billions of dollars in dozens of cities, 'evaporated' all in a sudden without major police crack-down. And then it came the attack to US Ambassador.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Police Along Soldiers Tied to Riots

While rumor has it that many of the most violent protester who looted shops and burned down cars were strangers with out-of-town accents, here came photo proof.

In the following photos posted on Weibo, 20 some young men with same short hair style were seen marching to the scene in formation. They dressed casually as civilians, but many of them carried police communication radios (circled in red).

After yesterday violence breaking out simultaneous in dozens of cities, intellectuals on the Net were puzzled on how could it happen under the Communist Government's tight control. Many participants reported that more than half of the rioters were actually undercover policemen. Netizens were able to match one of the aggressors to a police chief, based on his official portrait. From the photos posted today, it seems not only police, but also military troops led the riot. Local police do not enforce the short hair style displayed in the marching formations. Undercover police officers have their signature dress code, too: messenger bags, as identified in many pictures.

As The Seagull had speculated yesterday, the show of violence was not about Diaoyu Islands, and had little to do with Japan in general. It's a show conducted by the Communist Party to convince ordinary people the importance of a strong police state. This is not a Kristallnacht, but the Reichstag Burns.


Another picture surfaced, despite their colorful civilian casual clothes where were seemingly grabbed from a migrant farmer's warehouse, check out their hair style, and the green armored personnel carrier half-covered in the back.

The communist government has been trying their best to make a case for heavy-handed police suppression.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Seige of Xi'an

by the evening, Chinese government had declared martial law in Xi'an, capital city of Shannxi Province.

The day of Sept 15, 2012 started as an organized protest, but ended as riot with the city burning in flames. A convey of Porsche carried crossed-out Japanese flags proud led the way. Patriotic activities has become a new badge for China's 2nd gen riches. Last month, two young drivers driving a BMW and an Audi forced the Japanese Ambassador's convey to stop, then broke the Japanese flag on his car.

So far the protest has been tolerated, if not encouraged by the government. An intellectual described how he sneaked in the mob who were chanting anti-Japanese slogans in front of the Japanese embassy. He described how police supplied water and make sure everyone had a fair turn to express their anger.

Soon the protest turned into chaos. Angry mob vandalized Japanese brand cars on the streets, in parking lots. Japanese supermarket were looted. Japanese restaurant destroyed.

There would always be comedies, although dark ones in this case. This young man was seen holding a sign which read, 'I will mail-order a wife from Japan, then hang her up and beat her every day.'

By the end of the day, nineteen cities had seen riots against Japanese business and properties. In Wangfujing, heart of business in Beijing, an Armani store was destroyed, because mobs found Japanese characters on its banner. When desperate employee cried we were not a Japanese firm, a mob replied, 'yeah right, but Italy was also a fascist country on Japan's side (in WWII).'

Next, Qingdao of Shangdong Province, the birth place of the boxer uprising which led to a declaration of war against eleven countries in 1900.

The Court of Qing Dynasty quickly changed its mind when it was clear that boxers had caused more trouble then they could handle. An order was issued and soon hundreds of thousands of boxers were rounded up and executed, to appease foreign delegates.

As it says, history tends to repeat itself, the first time a tragedy, the second round a comedy. Does the communist Party really believe they can manipulate people's hatred risk-free?

Japanese embassy published anti-Japanese gathering information in multiple cities one day before they took place, based on messages spread on Weibo, Chinese version of Twitter. There is no excuse Chinese police were not alerted. Furthermore, propaganda censorship officers deliberately deleted messages calling for calm. Reporter Li Miao of the PhoenixTV complained that Weibo deleted her tweets reporting all Chinese visitors were not attacked in Japan. It's clear that the communist government just can't wait to see violence on the streets.

Two days later it will be the anniversary of September 18, 1931. Imperial Japanese Army attacked Chinese troops in Shenyang of Liaoning Province. Had the current violence not curtailed, no-one can be sure what might happen. Now the government of China holds a big bargain power against the Chinese intellectuals for tighter control and elimination of civil liberty.

It's nothing about the dispute with Japan, but all about the ruling power of the Party.

NYC Soda Ban

Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large soda sale is not a compliment on his IQ in general, nor creativity in particular.

Communist China had done better, where people not only were fed only a healthy diet, but also rounded up every morning to do morning exercise together. Even better, students performed an eye therapy everyday at school together.

Critics can quickly point out some factual errors in the measure billed as a way to fight obesity. For example, experiments had shown that the appearance of a huge cup actually served as a suppressor on consumers' appetite on icy soda. Rarely you see people in a restaurant finish their drink. However, smaller cups may actually make them drink more the before. Other study had shown that synthesizer sugar used to make diet soda make people hungry for real sugar thus drink more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Contemporary Sino-Japanese Relations, A History of Great Endurance

The Communist government of China exhausted the last ounce of its courage after a high profile show of words over disputed Diaoyu Islands, and backed down quietly with its tail between legs. This is not the first time when a Chinese government was ashamed by Japan. History has seen the same humiliation imposed by Japan on the Qing Empirical Court, Peiyang Government, KMT Government and the Communist Government of China again and again.

  • 1894, Jiawu in Chinese calendar, China lost a war over control of Korea; thus came the treaty of Shimonoseki, when China lost Taiwan and its surrounding islands, including today's disputed Diaoyu Islands.

  • 1900, Japan joined seven western powers to invade China, and seized Beijing.

  • 1904, Japan launch a war with Russia over interest in China. Two countries fought on Chinese land, while the Chinese government declared neutral. With a win over Russia, Japan claims exclusive rights in China's Northeast region.

  • 1915, with a threat of full scale war, Japan forced China to sign a treaty known as 21 articles, in which Japan received exclusive status in China.

  • 1919, Japan claimed China's Shangdong Province in the post-war Treaty of Versailles, although China was also a member of the Allies.

  • 1928, trying to intervene China's civil war, Japanese army and air force attacked Jinan of Shangdong Province. Sixty-one hundred residents were killed, along hundreds of Chinese troops. Japanese army rounded up China's diplomats delegation. Chinese diplomat Cai Gongshi was tortured to death. Japanese cut his ears, and tongue and eyes. Cai and his 17 staff were then beaten and killed.

  • 1931, Japanese army attacked Chinese military in Shenyang on September 18. Chinese government ordered its troops 'do not resist'. Soon the entire northeast three provinces fell to Japan.

  • 1937, Japanese army attacked Chinese military in Wanping near Beijing on July 7. The incident marked the beginning of full-scale Sino-Japanese war, also known as Eight Years of Resistance'. China lost 30 million people, including 400 thousand residents of Nanjing, then capital city, slaughter by Japanese army in days following the fell of the city.

  • 1972, Communist government of China and Japan established formal relationship with a joint announcement in Beijing. In a speech in Beijing, Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka expressed regret for having caused 'inconvenience' to China in previous invasions, and personally felt 'puzzled' for the history.

  • 1998, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Japan. While Japan had apologized to South Korea and some other southeastern Asia countries for its war crimes, Japan never apologized to China. As the first head of state from China to visit Japan, Jiang sought an official apology from Japan over its invasion and war crimes. However, Jiang was humiliated and ashamed by Japanese government and press.

Perhaps, rather than repeatedly begging Japanese government to 'reflect' on history and the suffering Japan had caused to China, Chinese government needs to reflect on what had allowed the history of China's great endurance to continue in the past 100 years.

On the eve of September 18, 1937, Chinese government learned of Japanese military's plan to attack Shenyang. At the time, Shenyang was the top city in the northeastern China, known as East-Three-Provinces. Shenyang was also the base for China's northeastern army, the best equipped military force in China. Soldiers were ordered to lock weapons and open the barrack gates. They should quote, 'lay on the bed for the country', end of quote. Thousands were killed on bed by Japanese bayonets. To show a good gesture, the city opened its gate at three o'clock in the morning before Japanese army arrived.

The height of the war resisting Japan's invasion took place in Shanghai on August 13, 1937. China mobilized 50 divisions, about 60% of its entire military power. Three months later, 187,200 soldiers were lost, sometimes at a rate of one division per hour. Still, the government directed its finance department to keep paying settlement of 1901 to Japan on time every month. As a matter of fact, Chinese government did not declare war to Japan until the break out of Pacific War when US declared war against Japan.

Chinese governments often cite inferior military power as the excuse to bowing to Japanese aggression. That's is an excuse over-abused.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Huff, puff and bluff on Dispute over Diaoyu Islands

Japanese completed the purchase of Diaoyu Islands from a private owner a few hours earlier at 11:00am today despite China's huff, puff and bluff. If Chinese government's words were to be taken seriously, then today would be marked as the official date China lost the islands forever.

The writing had been on the wall in days. Xinhua News, the official national mouthpiece warned the Japanese government to 'rein its horse at the edge of cliff'. Premier Wen Jiabao vowed China would not back off from territorial dispute, whatsoever. President Hu Jintao met Japanese PM at the APEC to deliver China's determination. The People's Liberation Army made solemn declaration of its intention to fight. The current Crown Prince Dr. Xi Jinping aborted a prearranged meeting with visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, alleged to show a gesture of anger over US's military support to Japan.

There was a famous joke which was often attributed to former Chinese premier Chou Enlai. At a recession of the NPCC, he told a joke to the representatives. 'Long long ago, there was a eunuch', where he made a suggestive long pause. 'Go down the story!' curious audience demanded loudly. 'There's nothing down there', replied Chou.

Common people would not want to be associated with an eunuch, but CCP was no common people. And this was not the first time it would act one.

After the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia was bombed by the US on May 7, 1999, Mr. Hu Jintao, as the official crown prince, read an announcement on the national TV to declare the bombing was a deliberate attack by the US government, rather a human mistake as US had explained. And that's pretty much it. The US never apologized as it insisted it was an error made by a few guys on the battlefield in a blink of eye. And that's pretty much it.

A another few years earlier, on the eve of Taiwan's first democratic presidential election, China threatened people on the island not to vote independent-leaning candidates with missile launches to areas east, west, north and south to it. Half million troops were mobilized, but no action took place when the result of the election came exactly as CCP had warned against.

Hours before the Japanese Government and the private owner of Diaoyu Islands sealed the deal, China announced two ocean surveillance ships had arrived the area as a display China's sovereignty. Several hours after the signing ceremony, Japanese government said it still had not found any Chinese ships in the disputed water, when asked by reporters.

Any small time crook on the street would tell you that one has to follow up his word, otherwise he's doomed. China's handling of international dispute always starts with big words, and that's all of it.

One would be naive to draw a conclusion that the CCP does not have street smart. They do. The truth is that they really could care less on pretty much anything, with the only exception to maintain their ruling inside China. The huff, puff and bluff are just enough to fuel its propaganda machine to keep the Chinese people in place, for now.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Marathon Meter

Celebrity Marathon Meter
NameRaceYearKnown as
2:03:38Patrick Makau MusyokiBerlin2008World Record
2:46:03Alan TuringAmateur Athletic Championships1947Mathematician
2:46:42Lance ArmstrongNYC2007Cyclist
2:50:53David PetraeusOmaha1982Commander in Iraq
3:01:18Max BaucusGovernor's Cup1982Senator, Ambassador to China
3:16:00Harry ReidBoston1972Senator
3:30:18John EdwardsMCM1983Senator
3:31:00Michael DukakisBoston1951Governor of Massachusetts
3:38:01 Edward Norton NYC 2009 Actor
3:44:52George W BushHouston199343rd US President
3:52:57Hilary TsuiHong Kong2015Entertainer
3:55:46Edison ChenHong Kong2012Entertainer
3:56:12Will FerrellBoston2003Actor
3:58:44Eliot SpitzerNYC1983Governor of New York
3:59:36Sarah PalinHumpy's2005Governor of Alaska
4:01:25Paul RyanGrandma's1991VP Candidate
4:10:17 Haruki Murakami NYC 2005 Writer
4:26:05Mike HuckabeeLittle Rock2006Governor of Arkansas
4:29:20Oprah WinfreyMCM1994Talk Show Host
4:34:18Lisa LingBoston2001TV Host
4:45:36Jennifer AmyxJohnstown19755 Years Old
4:54:36Bill FristMCM1997Senate Majority Leader
4:58:25Al GoreMCM1997Vice President
5:29:58Katie HolmesNYC2007Wife of Tom Cruise
5:40:03Fauja SinghToronto200392 Years Old
6:06:00David PatersonNYC1999NY Governor, legally blind

Note, list updated with Paul Ryan's 1991 personal record (PR). Ryan claimed he ran close to 2:50, but was caught cheating before his next blink, unsurprisingly. Runners are extremely sensitive to their own PRs, as well as others'.

John Kerry stumbled in his presidential campaign when he told reporters that he had run (along) Boston marathon, but forgot his result. The problem is that a runner never forgets his results.

Overall, Democrats are faster (John Edward) and tougher (David Paterson), while Republicans score on diversity (Sarah Palin).

The Other Side of the Coin in the Golden Rice Scandal

Firstly, a short summarized update of progress in this fomenting scandal:

  • The experiment violated Chinese laws and regulations. China requires all gene-related human research approved by provincial-level Department of Agriculture. In this case, Department of Agriculture of Hunan Province flatly denied it ever received an application for the experiment, nor did they approve any other experiment in its nature.

  • The experiment failed to follow protocols and ethic standards recognized by the scientific community. Children were required to participate a state government sponsored subsidized meal plan. New Capital Daily located several kids and their parents and guardians, none had ever been told it was an experiment. Furthermore, none had ever heard the word 'gene' or 'Golden Rice'. Simply put, subjects were not informed.

      other miscellaneous issues

    • The Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Department of Agriculture of Zhejiang Province deliberately ordered abortion of the experiment in question after tipped by the Greenpeace, but the experiment was carried on in remote Hunan Province.

    • The Ministry of Agriculture specifically banned import of Golden Rice for this experiment, but it was smuggled in China by Tufts University.

    • The US Embassy in Beijing recommended US institutions not to conduct human experiment in remote poverty areas in China, out of concerns that subjects's interests could not be effectively protected. The recommendation was triggered by an incident where Harvard University researchers were found to use local communist officials to force uninformed farms into a human experiment. The memo was passed to the NIH, which in turn forwarded to all institutions which conduct such research in China. Tufts experiment in Hengyang was a defiant without any argument on the basis of its decision to go against the recommendation.

    • The second and fourth authors flatly denied ever heard of the 2012 paper, and never signed the consent form for its publication.

    • Dr. Tang wrongly cited an approval from the IRB of the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Science on this experiment, while the approval had already expired before the experiment in Hunan even started. This ethics review was mandated because Dr. Tang's role in the experiment was connected to her appointment at the Zhejiang institution.

Now, the other side of the coin may present a most miserable researcher under the sun, who voluntarily did all labors for work of other people without money nor accreditation, and wronged for mistake committed by those who she had helped but had to keep it a secret. That person would be Dr. Guangwen Tang, if we give her all the benefit of doubt. That is all the benefits of doubt, whatsoever.

Admittedly, Tang committed serious academic misconducts. Based on the findings of official investigations conducted by the Hengyang municipal government, Department of Agriculture of Hunan Province, the Chinese CDC and the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Science, as well as interviews conducted by newspapers including the People's Daily and the New Capital Daily, there is simply no plausible explanation can be derived. Dr. Tang can only be on the wrong side, one way or another.

Having said that, there is a chance that Dr. Tang's crime might not be as horrifying as it originally appeared:

  • According to the third author Mr. Yin of the Chinese CDC, the Hengyang experiment was headed by Yin, funded by Yin's grant from the Chinese NSF, organized, executed and monitored throughout the duration by Hunan CDC. Therefore technically Tang was not in charge of anything.

  • According to the third author, the experiment funded by the Chinese NSF was designed by Tang, the material was provided by Tang, the serum were read by Tang, and data was analyzed with Tang's help. In fact, Tang completed the entire Chinese project with no pay and no credit.

  • According to the fourth author, Ms. Wang, Wang as well as other Chinese researchers received financial support from the Tang team. Wang stated she did not have any role in Tang's experiment, not even show up in Hengyang, but still received all the benefits.

Then, the million dollar question only Tang knows the answer: why did she do that? Was that her malpractice insurance premium?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

What Happened to Xi?

US delegation was notified around 11:00 pm Tuesday, that China's Vice President Xi Jinping would not be able to meet with visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as previously scheduled on Wednesday. Xi's two other meetings with foreign visitors, including Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong, were also cancelled.

Xi is due to become the fourth 'core' of the CCP upon the opening of the now postponed 18th National Congress of CCP, following steps of Chairman Mao, Designer Deng, Explorer Jiang and current core Mr. Hu Jintao. With airtight media control, little more is known except words from the US delegation, 'scheduling change due to a back injury.'

There had been uneasy suggestions that Xi might be sacked, based on some unexpected move in Beijing:

  • 8/31/2012 Professor Deng of the Party School headed by Xi published a review of Hu's 10 years tenure as the core. The paper harshly criticized Hu's rule with a list of 'ten big blunders'.

  • 9/1/2012 Li Zhanshu replaced Ling Jihua as CCP Central Committee's chief of staff. Ling is believed to be Hu's henchman, while Li is believed to be close to Xi. It is reported that Hu's Plan B to promote another henchman (Hu Chunhua) to Ling's place also failed.

  • 9/1/2012 The National Congress keeps former Chongqing Party Chief Bo Xilai's membership after a validation process where four others were removed from the Congress. As a member of the Congress, Bo would not be subject to being arrested under Chinese law.

  • Unverifiable sources said Xi called two meetings with military brasses without notifying Hu while Hu was away visiting Hong Kong in July.

  • Back injury? Perhaps Xi was stabbed by a hit man of his political rival; or maybe nationally famed singer Peng Liyuan (Xi's current wife) had demanded too much on bed the night before.

Some read the sudden change of schedule as a gesture of protest on US's support to Japan's claim of Diaoyu Islands. Japanese government formally included the disputed islands into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), overlapping with Taiwan's ADIZ.

Some agreed with the Diaoyu Islands theory, but pointed to an opposite direction. Xi avoided showing a stiff face to US as the next core as he would have to under the intensified situation over Diaoyu Islands dispute.

Is Xi's absence a drama, suspense, thriller, adventure, action, romance or a comedy? Regardless, without a free media, citizens have to speculate all possible scenarios with help of some wild imaginations.

Call for AJCN to Withdraw Tang Paper

September 1, Hengyang government's official investigation rejected suggestion of any GE product had been used in the experiment described in Tufts University Professor Tang's Paper in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition: β-Carotene in Golden Rice is as good as β-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children, Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:658-664.

Reporters from the People's Daily conducted face to face interviews on September 3 and September 4 with all Chinese co-authors of the aforementioned paper. All flatly denied any involvement in the paper. As a matter of fact, second author Hu Yuming of Hunan Provincial CDC, third author Yin Shi'an of Chinese CDC and fourth author Wang Yin even denied any knowledge of this paper. Three researchers acknowledged the experiment, but said that it was for a different test with no GE products involved.

Reporters also interviewed employees at the school cafeteria. During the experiment, all children ate a peach fragrant rice produced by Jinjian Rice Co. of Hunan Province. A chef told the reporters he never saw rice with yellowish color. For the experiment, rice, cooking oil and spices were ordered by CDC from Bubugao Supermarket in Hengyang. Meat and eggs were purchased by the school from markets in Jiangkou Township.

Time has come for an immediate editorial retraction by the AJCN. Nevertheless, Tufts University has a duty to thoroughly investigate allegations of academic misconduct and violations of research ethics. In particular, Tufts University must make available the content of the consent forms allegedly signed by parents of children who were involved in the experiment, and work along with Chinese authorities to authenticate signatures on those forms.

Monday, September 03, 2012

China, Call An Ambulance

What an English speaking foreigner in Shanghai actually said around 10:30 in the morning of August 10, 2012 was, 'fuck you Chinese, call an ambulance.'

It was at a busiest corner, intersection of W Huaihai Rd and Xinhua Rd, in downtown Shanghai. An old man was lying on the sidewalk unconsciously. By-standers passing by, some stayed away out of a perimeter of at least 10 yards. It looked weird and creepy.

Before jumping on your moral judgement of what's in the mind of hundreds people who passed by that morning, it helps to travel back to a case dabbed Calabash Monk Case of Nanjing, where a Judge Wang Hao famously asked a young man who tried to help an old woman, 'had you not caused her problem, why did you attend a stranger on the street?' The young man was ordered to pay the old woman's medical expenses, only because he was stopped to help.

China is always proud of its long history of culture and social orders, a comfort zone Chinese can always refer to when frustrated by aggressive cultural invasions from the western world. Although often humbled by the whites, Chinese never let go a chance to discriminate on blacks. But one black student from Central Africa put many Chinese in shame, by being the only one who dare speak honestly.

August 29, 2012 at Luogang Airport in Hefei, Anhui, a traveler and his wife, drunk, and having made the entire flight waited, got on the airplane with tons of bags and suitcases. The couple beat up a flight attendant and threw suitcases at her. The flight attendant did nothing but fled to the end of the plane and cry. The attendant later described the incident on Weibo, which generated a public outcry. When the flight touched down in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, it turned out the traveler was an army officer Col. Fang Daguo. Col. Fang summoned a truck load of soldiers to the police station at the airport as back up. When the air at the police station heated up, the Weibo post went viral across China, calling for official investigation.

The official investigation vindicated Col. Fang. The police announcement stated there was an altercation between the flight attendance and Col. Fang's wife. It also denied the rumor of truck load soldiers summoned by Col. Fang, disregard pictures of the vehicle with license number posted by concerned citizens online.

There are over 100 passengers, in additional to the flight crew on board, but news media can't find any Chinese witness. Days later, reporters exhausted the list, and went down to the bottom, a black international student named Princelione Doubane. Doubane is the only passenger who is willing to testify. Doubane told reporters he saw the entire incident. He saw Col Fang grabbed the flight attendant, and he saw the marks on the girls body. He also testified the flight attendant did not try to fight back or defense herself.

When Doubane's testimony was published, the government agreed to suspend Col. Fang for further investigation.

Before jumping on your moral judgement of what's in the mind of a hundred passengers on Flight CZ 3874, it helps to read on some notes posted by the reporter on this case. Several passengers were willing to give their account, but dare not reveal their names, thus their words can't be used in the newspaper. One brave sole who did not reside in Guangzhou decided to come forward anyway, but then was threatened by the government and went hiding.

Der Fatherland has been paralyzed by a deadly virus called communist regime. China, Call an Ambulance!

Chinese in Science, the Golden Dragon Battery

The 'Golden Dragon Battery' has a very specific meaning in Chinese Sci-Fi literature, but that's the other story for another day. For now, Chinese should celebrate a breakthrough in battery technology progress from Georgia Tech for very good reason: all developers are Chinese. As a matter of fact, the first author Dr. Xinyu Xue is a visiting scholar from Northeast University in Shenyang, Liaoning Province.

Unlike all batteries ever known to man, this battery can convert mechanical energy directly to chemical energy, utilizing nano technology. By skipping indeterminate electricity stage, the battery promised higher efficiency and versatile applications - an achievement indeed something we Chinese should be proud of.

What else is a better way to use the Golden Dragon Battery than in an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)? Unlike US drones which are controlled by buttons, switches and joysticks, a quadcopter drone developed by Zhejiang University is driven by the pilot's brain.

Although the show is more like a remix of prior arts, such as a $199 mind reading band on sale from the SkyMall and a $200 RC toy, the packaged demonstration is still an impressive show which deserves a standing ovation.

HCI has come a long way since three button mice. However, as everything else in the computer industry, it just exploded in 2005. From Wii to Kenect, it only takes a few years to reach the stage of mind-controlled games. Many early demonstrations, including mind controlled helicopters started emerging in 2011.