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BUSTED! CCTV Footage Shows Brussels Airport Explosion Was Shot In 2011

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Below is the footage from the bombing at Domodedovo International Airport Moscow on January 24th 2011  Continue reading

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10 Things The US Government Doesn’t Want You To Know

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When it comes to governance, especially in the case of a democratic government, the voters get to choose trusted leaders to deal with all the affairs involved in running the country. This means that the population entrusts the country to a few people, who are supposed to be accountable to them, responsible in all their actions, innovative in problem solving and selfless when it comes to executing their duties in office. During the campaign period, the leaders in question always promise the voters heaven on earth, only for them to get to office and fall short on all their promises. This is the situation in all parts of the world, and it begs the question “what changes in an individual when he or she ascends to power?”
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Rand Paul Asked About Funding Israel

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Rand Paul addresses the funding of ISIS while Authentic Enlightenment’s Chris Perkins asks him about the funding of Israel. Shortly after Rand’s speech, Chris meets him and tries to get him to answer another question. Watch to see and hear the results!

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For the First Time in 14 Years, the NSA Can’t Get Your Phone Records. Or Can They?

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As reported over at Vice

As of midnight on Sunday, for the first time since 2001, the NSA lost its legal authority to collect Americans phone records in bulk.

The Senate let three provisions of the Patriot Act expire on Sunday, including the controversial Section 215, which allows the spy agency to collect all phone records from telephone companies every three months, a practice that was ruled illegal by a judge less than a month ago.

Two other provisions of the Patriot Act also expired. One of them allowed the government to obtain warrants from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on suspected “lone wolf” terrorists; and the other, known as the “roving wiretap,” allowed investigators to obtain permission to spy on multiple phones owned by one suspect with just one application.

While this might seem like a victory for anti-surveillance advocates, the truth is that most of the Patriot Act stands, and even this victory is going to be a short-lived one.

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Listen to rare recording of the “Seven Dirty Words” routine that got George Carlin arrested in 1972

Seven years after his death at age 71, comedian George Carlin is still making folks laugh. Today, his family is relaunching his website with previously unheard or rare recordings of the stand-up legend. Continue reading

Here’s the 400 pages of the new “Net Neutrality” bill

 

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A couple of weeks ago, the FCC(Federal Communications Commission) voted to pass a new “Net Neutrality” bill. Don’t be fooled by “Net Neutrality”, because there really isn’t anything neutral about it.

Now, while everyone was distracted by trying to guess the color of a dress posted on social media, the federal government was again, overstepping its boundaries to enforce more rules and regulations. Nothing new, right? For something so important, and yes internet IS in fact important to have this day of age, most would think this would be a bill that would have to go through house and senate, then make its way on to the POTUS to sign into effect. Well you thought wrong. One has to think at this point, does it really matter? To me, no, it does not matter. Why? Because for a long time this administration has overstepped its boundaries. But it’s not just the Obama Administration, it’s a large number of congress and of course in my opinion, all of congress. The only difference that I could see at this point, is the fact it would have taken somewhat of a longer process to put this to a vote through. But, would it have? One does have to wonder why it was put through the FCC and not through congress and yes I have my suspicions, but that doesn’t matter at this point. Continue reading

Police Are Out Of Control & Missouri Bill Will Bar Access To Police Cams

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Lawmakers in Missouri have put forth a bill that would bar public access to any videos taken by police. Watch the video below for the full story.

This is just another reason your government wants control of the internet.

Also listen to this interview below we did with Jason Bermas, creator of the films “Loose Change”, “Fabled Enemies”, “Invisible Empire”, and most recently “Shade: The Motion Picture”.

CLICK HERE FOR THE INTERVIEW W/ JASON BERMAS ABOUT POLICE STATE

 

Type The Wrong Thing Into A Search Engine And The Secret Police Will Come Knocking On Your Door

Secret Police In America

(Michael Snyder) – The control freaks are out of control.  Once upon a time America was “the land of the free”, but now it has become “the land of the bureaucrats”, and these bureaucrats are absolutely obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and controlling virtually everything that you do.  Last month, I wrote about how the Obama administration forced a small-time magician out in Missouri to submit a 32 page disaster plan for the little rabbit that he uses in his magic shows for kids.  A lot of people thought that story was quite humorous, but the examples in this article are not so funny.  In recent days we have learned that the government is monitoring just about everything that we do on the Internet, and we have also learned that a couple of innocent Google searches can result in armed government agents pounding on your front door.  If you do not believe this, read on… Continue reading

Litvinenko Case: Massive Media Fraud Uncovered

Litvinenko Case: Massive Media Fraud Uncovered
Did you hear that Great Britain has abandoned justice in favor of international politics in the Alexander Litvinenko case? He is the reputed former KGB spy who died mysteriously in London in 2006. If you’ve been reading recent news reports you likely heard of the UK’s capitulation. A New York Times July 19 headline proclaimed, “Litvinenko Inquiry Blocked to Avoid Upsetting Russia, British Official Suggests.” Continue reading

Obama Wants Whistleblowers Silenced

Previous articles discussed his war on whistleblowers, free expression and dissent.

Sibel Edmonds founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). She did so to aid “national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods.”

The ACLU called her “the most gagged person in the history of the United States.”

Since 1977, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) calls itself “the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.”

“What is a Whistleblower,” it asks?

Anyone “who discloses information that (he or she) reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, gross waste or fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, general wrongdoing, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.”

Typically, whistleblowers speak out to parties that can influence and rectify the situation.

These parties include the media, organizational managers, hotlines, or Congressional members/staff, to name a few.

On April 1, activist lawyers launched the Whistleblowers Defense League (WDL). Founding members include Jay Leiderman, Dennis Roberts, and Jason Flores-Williams.
Center for Constitutional Rights President Emeritus Michael Ratner praised their initiative, saying:

Every effort that focuses on the defense of whistleblowers, internet free speech activists, publishers and others persecuted by the US government is to be applauded.

This group joins many other(s) who are already defending those accused of shining light on the dark secrets of government and corporations.

WDL announcement said:

We have entered a dangerous time in America. The FBI and Department of Justice are using harassment and prosecution as a tool to chill and silence journalism, on-line activism and dissent.

Co-founder Jay Leiberman stressed that “People are being subpoenaed, indicted and incarcerated for simply exploring the truth.”

The government has amended the constitution with fear.

In response, a nation-wide group of expert criminal defense attorneys have formed the Whistleblower Defense League to defend and encourage those willing to investigate and speak out against the corporate and political forces threatening our democracy.

Candidate Obama promised transparency, accountability, and reform. President Obama targeted more whistleblowers than all his predecessors combined.

He usurped diktat powers to do so. He prioritizes police state harshness. On January 25, he issued a barely noticed memorandum titled: “Presidential Memorandum – Rulemaking Concerning the Standards for Designating Positions in the Competitive Service as National Security Sensitive and Related Matters.”

It pertains to proposed “amended regulations contained in the Office of Personnel Management’s notice of proposed rulemaking in 75 Fed. Reg. 77783 (December 14, 2010),”

Its purpose “is to clarify the requirements and procedures agencies should observe when designating national security positions as required under EO 10450, Security Requirements for Government Employment.”

National security positions are defined as “any position(s) in a department or agency, the occupant of which could bring about, by virtue of the nature of the position, a material adverse effect on the national security.”

The purpose of the revisions is to clarify the categories of positions which, by virtue of the nature of their duties, have the potential to bring about a material adverse impact on the national security, whether or not the positions require access to classified information.

Another purpose is to properly designate each position with regard to public trust and national security considerations.

Both are necessary, it says, “for determining appropriate investigative requirements.” Clarification is needed to decide when they’re required.

At issue is establishing standards to give federal officials authorization to fire employees without appeal. They can be designated ineligible to hole “noncritical sensitive” jobs for any reason or none at all.

They can be prosecuted for disclosing information the public has a right to know. Doing so can be called compromising national security.

Longstanding civil service law doesn’t matter. It’s fundamental for protecting whistleblower rights. One of the first laws enacted was the 1863 United False Claims Act. It targeted persons and federal contractors defrauding the government.

The 1978 Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) abolished the Civil Service Commission. Three new agencies replaced it: the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).

OPM advises executive branch agencies. It issues human resources regulations.

FLRA’s responsible for federal employee rights. It focuses on issues related to collective bargaining.

MSPB handles federal employee appeals. It does so with regard to discipline, discrimination and dismissals.

CSRA prohibits discrimination based on marital status, race, religion, political activity or affiliation. Affected employees may petition the Office of Special Counsel.

The 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees who report misconduct. Federal agencies are prohibited from retaliating against those who do so.

Whistleblowers may report law or regulatory violations, gross mismanagement, waste, fraud and/or abuse, or acts endangering public health or safety.

The Office of Special Council is empowered to investigate whistleblower complaints.

The Merit Systems Protection Board adjudicates them.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the only judicial body authorized to hear whistleblower case appeals. Since the Whistleblower Protection Act was revised in 1994, it ruled on 203 cases. Only three times did whistleblowers prevail.

At least 18 federal statutes protect private sector whistleblowers. They fall short of full protection. What corporations want they get.

They write legislation Congress passes. Sarbanes-Oxley, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, and Dodd-Frank are three of many examples.

On November 27, 2012, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) became law.

Government Accountability Project Legal Director Tom Devine said:

This reform took 13 years to pass because it can make so much difference against fraud, waste and abuse.

Government managers at all levels made pleas and repeatedly blocked the bill through procedural sabotage.

But once there were no more secret ‘holds,’ the WPEA passed unanimously, because no politician in a free society can openly oppose freedom of speech.

Reforms enacted protect federal employees from reprisal for:

  • disclosing misconduct;
  • revealing it to co-workers or supervisors;
  • disclosing policy decision consequences; or
  • doing any or all of the above in relation to their position or duties.

Obama signed the legislation into law. He’s targeted whistleblowers more aggressively than all his predecessors combined. He circumvented or ignored legal provisions.

His January 25 memorandum makes it easier to do so. Whistleblower advocacy groups expressed concern.

During Obama’s first term, he targeted record numbers of government employees, journalists and others.

He did so on national security grounds. Prosecutions were for allegedly leaking classified information. True or false doesn’t matter.

At issue is revealing information Washington wants kept secret. Anyone challenging government authority is vulnerable. So are supporters of right over wrong.

A Final Comment

On May 24, The Government Accountability Project headlined “GAP Praises Long-Overdue Overhaul of Military Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2013 (MMPEA).”

On February 14, HR 704: Military Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was introduced. It was sent to committee. No further action was taken.

On May 24, Senator Mark Warner (D. VA) introduced a companion bill. It falls short of what’s needed. It relates to sexual assaults. They’re one of many abuses needing addressing and redress.

GAP Legal Director Tom Devine said:

Sexual assaults in the military continue for the same reasons as other human rights violations – secrecy coupled with weak or nonexistent rights to challenge abuses of power.

For 25 years, the Military Whistleblower Protection Act has been so weak that GAP has advised soldiers not to file complaints under it.

This legislation would replace token rights with those equivalent to the civil service Whistleblower Protection Act.

Enactment will be a step in the right direction. Doing so won’t protect whistleblower rights.

Stronger measures with teeth are needed. Everyone deserves them. Fundamental freedoms are on the line. They’re disappearing in plain sight.

Vitally important whistleblower rights alone are threatened. Legislation protecting them falls short of what’s needed. Obama wants laws entirely circumvented.

His January 25 memorandum addresses establishing new standards. He wants them overriding existing protections. He claims his mandate applies solely to positions deemed “sensitive.”

Proposed rules are vague. They provide wiggle room to target anyone for any reason or none at all. So-called “sensitive” positions include any potentially having “a material adverse impact” on national security.

Saying so is in the eye of the beholder. Virtually all government employees are vulnerable. So are journalists, military personnel, activists and others. First Amendment rights are threatened.

Anyone exposing government or military wrongdoing can be fired, fined, prosecuted, court martialed, and/or imprisoned.

Doing so reflects police state justice. America’s on a fast track toward institutionalizing it. It could arrive full-blown any time. Any pretext real or invented could justify it. Rogue states govern that way.

http://www.activistpost.com/2013/06/obama-wants-whistleblowers-silenced.html

Obama administration bypasses CISPA by secretly allowing Internet surveillance

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn (2nd R).(Reuters / Jim Young)

(RT) Scared that CISPA might pass? The federal government is already using a secretive cybersecurity program to monitor online traffic and enforce CISPA-like data sharing between Internet service providers and the Department of Defense.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has obtained over 1,000 pages of documents pertaining to the United States government’s use of a cybersecurity program after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, and CNET reporter Declan McCullagh says those pages show how the Pentagon has secretly helped push for increased Internet surveillance.

“Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws,” McCullagh writes.

That practice, McCullagh recalls, was first revealed when Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn disclosed the existence of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Pilot in June 2011. At the time, the Pentagon said the program would allow the government to help the defense industry safeguard the information on their computer systems by sharing classified threat information between the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internet service providers (ISP) that keep government contractors online.

“Our defense industrial base is critical to our military effectiveness. Their networks hold valuable information about our weapons systems and their capabilities,” Lynn said. “The theft of design data and engineering information from within these networks greatly undermines the technological edge we hold over potential adversaries.”

Just last week the US House of Representatives voted in favor of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA — a legislation that, if signed into law, would allow ISPs and private Internet companies across the country like Facebook and Google to share similar threat data with the federal government without being held liable for violating their customers’ privacy. As it turns out, however, the DIB Cyber Pilot has expanded exponentially in recent months, suggesting that a significant chunk of Internet traffic is already subjected to governmental monitoring.

In May 2012, less than a year after the pilot was first unveiled, the Defense Department announced the expansion of the DIB program. Then this past January, McCullagh says it was renamed the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS) and opened up to a larger number of companies — not just DoD contractors. An executive order signed by US President Barack Obama earlier this year will let all critical infrastructure companies sign-on to ECS starting this June, likely in turn bringing on board entities in energy, healthcare, communication and finance.

Although the 1,000-plus pages obtained in the FOIA request haven’t been posted in full on the Web just yet, a sampling of that trove published by EPIC on Wednesday begins to show just exactly how severe the Pentagon’s efforts to eavesdrop on Web traffic have been.

In one document, a December 2011 slide show on the legal policies and practices regarding the monitoring of Web traffic on DIB-linked systems, the Pentagon instructs the administrators of those third-party computer networks on how to implement the program and, as a result, erode their customers’ expectation of privacy.

In one slide, the Pentagon explains to ISPs and other system administrators how to be clear in letting their customers know that their traffic was being fed to the government. Key elements to keep in mind, wrote the Defense Department, was that DIB “expressly covers monitoring of data and communications in transit rather than just accessing data at rest.”

“[T]hat information transiting or stored on the system may be disclosed for any purpose, including to the government,” it continued. Companies participating in the pilot program were told to let users know that monitoring would exist “for any purpose,” and that users have no expectation of privacy regarding communications or data stored on the system.

According to the 2011 press release on the DIB Cyber Pilot, “the government will not monitor, intercept or store any private-sector communications through the program.” In a privacy impact assessment of the ECS program that was published in January by the DHS though, it’s revealed that not only is information monitored, but among the data collected by investigators could be personally identifiable information, including the header info from suspicious emails. That would mean the government sees and stores who you communicate with and what kind of subject lines are used during correspondence.

The DHS says that personally identifiable information could be retained if “analytically relevant to understanding the cyber threat” in question.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers in Congress that overwhelmingly approved CISPA just last week could arguably use a refresher in what constitutes a cyber threat. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told his colleagues on the Hill that “Recent events in Boston demonstrate that we have to come together as Republicans and Democrats to get this done,” and Rep. Dan Maffei (D-New York) made unfounded claims during Thursday’s debate that the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks is pursuing efforts to “hack into our nation’s power grid.”

Should CISPA be signed into law, telecommunication companies will be encouraged to share Internet data with the DHS and Department of Justice for so-called national security purposes. But even if the president pursues a veto as his advisers have suggested, McCullagh says few will be safe from this secretive cybersecurity operation already in place.

The tome of FOIA pages, McCullagh says, shows that the Justice Department has actively assisted telecoms as of late by letting them off the hook for Wiretap Act violations. Since the sharing of data between ISPs and the government under the DIB program and now ECS violates federal statute, the Justice Department has reportedly issued an undeterminable number of “2511 letters” to telecoms: essentially written approval to ignore provisions of the Wiretap Act in exchange for immunity.

“The Justice Department is helping private companies evade federal wiretap laws,” EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg tells CNET. “Alarm bells should be going off.”

In an internal Justice Department email cited by McCullagh, Associate Deputy Attorney General James Baker is alleged to write that ISPs will likely request 2511 letters and the ECS-participating companies“would be required to change their banners to reference government monitoring.”

“These agencies are clearly seeking authority to receive a large amount of information, including personal information, from private Internet networks,” EPIC staff attorney Amie Stepanovich adds to CNET. “If this program was broadly deployed, it would raise serious questions about government cybersecurity practices.”

Americans Under Siege – Has Tomorrow Become a Reality?

Activist Post

Just a little over a year ago, President Obama signed an Executive Order titled National Defense Resources Preparedness. This act stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy – both for and against. At one end of the spectrum were those that thought this was an overt act signalizing unilateral militarization of our country. Others felt this was a ho-hum restatement of existing presidential controls.

Whatever your feelings at the time, it is now a year later and events of the past couple of weeks bring more questions than answers to those who seek the truth. Sadly, it is my opinion that Americans are under siege by our own government and by the mysterious and secretive powers that control our elected officials. More and more, ordinary citizens are filled with angst as we witness the wholesale cannibalization of our freedom and of the Constitution.

To echo my own words: I begin to wonder whether there is some grand plan. Perhaps there is some master puppeteer poised to pull our strings when and if the rise to elitism reaches the pinnacle.

So with much personal angst, I have begun to believe that the rank-and-file citizens of the United States of America are being herded down the path to a Police State. Or, better put, will soon be running from the rising tsunami of the police state.
WHAT IS A POLICE STATE?

According to Wikipedia:

A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.

The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state.

So let me get this right: A police state occurs when the government takes over control of the country by restricting the freedom of the population. Residents of the police state are required to obey the occupying authorities and may be punished for not doing so. They may be required to perform non-military, government-mandated duties serving at the pleasure of the chief executive, the military and the PTB. They may be detained indefinitely if considered a threat, rendering the protections of the Constitution null and void. And, finally, their goods and their lives become the property of the government.

TOMORROW HAS BECOME A REALITY

As someone who for the most part lives a quiet and even boring life, I find myself shocked at the reality of the recent Boston lockdown. Military patrols, door-to-door searches, curfews, involuntary disruption of transportation systems, cell phone surveillance and mandatory confinement to one’s home sounds more like Nazi Germany than America to me.

And what about the rights of the accused? Regardless of how heinous the alleged deed, this is still America where you are innocent until proven guilty. And no Miranda rights? What is with that?

The new reality is that the government may come knocking on our doors, ordering us to stay put. Do we fight or do we acquiesce? The answer to this question is complicated and requires a bit of soul searching as we try to separate fact from myth, reality from fantasy and conspiracy from paranoia.

LOCKDOWN VERSUS SHELTER IN PLACE

Another thing. Especially troubling is the recent widespread use of the term “Shelter in Place” to describe a mandatory lockdown where all day-to-day activities are forced to come to halt. In Boston, people were basically told to cower in their homes and to stay put. The term used was “shelter in place”.

Anyone who has been prudently prepping for the big one – be it an earthquake, hurricane, tornado or other disaster – knows that having the knowledge and ability to shelter in place is a good thing and not something to be feared. And it bugs the heck out of me to see this term abused by both the government and the media as they describe a lockdown and the mandatory restriction of movement.

Sheltering in place is something you do following the release of hazardous contaminants following a radiological, biological, or chemical event. And yet Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said:

We’re asking people to shelter in place — in other words, to stay indoors with their doors locked and not to open the door for anyone other than a properly identified law enforcement officer.

This to me sounds like a lockdown within the confines of a prison system. It makes me mad and is just one more indication that our government will do whatever it takes to discredit the preppers who plan and prepare for a real emergency.

ADVICE – IF YOU CARE TO TAKE IT

Notwithstanding the horrifying events that took place during the 2013 Boston Marathon and the short period thereafter, my advice, if you care to take it, is to keep living your life with your eyes and your mind wide open. Moreover, this is not the time to be a slacker when it comes to your preps.

Continue prepping in an ordinary and non-obtrusive manner by gathering emergency food and supplies. Learn coping skills for stressful times and practical skills that you can use if the lights go out and there is no power. Stay healthy so you can reduce your reliance on medical supplies.

Most of all, try not to become overwhelmed by bad news. But don’t ignore it either. Practice your faith and your belief in yourself. Just remember that you are not alone in your thoughts and that you must hang in there, prepping wise, to ensure your safety and long-term survival.

THE FINAL WORD

A lot has been speculated this past week. Was Boston a false flag event? Was there a cover-up? Was this a drill gone wrong created by the the alphabet soup agencies that are supposed to protect our country and its citizens? And was the reaction of public officials a blueprint for future attacks?

What is the truth and what are the lies? I suspect that with the abundance of disinformation being perpetuated by both the mainstream and alternate press, we may never know.

One thing I do know, however, is that I agree with Michael Snyder and his article Mourn For America: Whenever A Tragedy Happens They Take Even More Freedom From Us. He writes:

If you cower in fear when a bully comes after you, what is the bully going to do? The bully is just going to keep coming after you because his actions are being rewarded. Those that are trying to create fear love it when you become fearful. It is exactly what they want.

Rabbis tell 60,000 in NY: Get rid of the Internet if you know what’s good for you

Sunday's Citi Field gathering. (YouTube screen capture)

 

In an extraordinary gathering of nearly 60,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, leading rabbis of the yeshiva and Hassidic world all but banned the Internet.

A halachic decision rendered by Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, one of the senior rabbis in the Orthodox world, said the Internet could be used for work purposes in an office — but only if absolutely necessary, and with the use of a filter. There was no justification for Internet use at home under any circumstances.

The ruling came during a five-hour program Sunday at the Citi Field baseball stadium in Queens, NY, in which prominent rabbis from the so-called Lithuanian (non-Hassidic) yeshiva world along with Hassidic rabbinical leaders discussed the dangers of the Internet and how to cope with them. While some speakers seemed to advocate a more moderate approach that might have allowed the compromise of a “religious” or highly filtered Internet, most were dead set against it, stating categorically that all Jews who considered themselves Orthodox were obligated to stay as far away from the Internet as possible.

Much of the program was conducted in Yiddish. Several of the speakers stressed the “historic significance” of the day, with one, Rabbi Efraim Wachsman of Yeshiva Meor Yitzchok in Monsey, NY, telling the assembled that the event was a “historic crossroads. Your strength and resolve today will decide what Judaism will look like in a few years from now.”

Those who wished to ensure their future, and more importantly their children’s futures, as Orthodox Jews, would do well to heed the words of the “gedolim” — the rabbinical leaders addressing the gathering — the audience was warned.

Speakers drew on Biblical, Talmudic, rabbinical, and general philosophical sources to back their positions. The ethos of the Internet, which values ever faster access and ever greater instant gratification was contrasted unfavorably with the traditional Jewish values of patience and perseverance.

“The Internet, is about the moment, the fleeting,” said Wachsman, terming people hooked on Web surfing click vegetables.

“People say the gedolim don’t understand the Internet,” he continued. “That could be true. But they understand the trends, and they understand that the instant gratification is the opposite of the holiness needed to become a Torah scholar. The nation of Torah, the nation that gave the world so much wisdom, is now turning into a people of yentayachne.com,” using the Yiddish term for “nasty gossip.”

At least a third of the Internet — “and that is probably an old report” — was full of content that no Jew should be looking at, he said, although he did not use the term pornography.

Wachsmann singled out for special condemnation the damage caused by social media to the stature of rabbis and Jewish scholars. He was referring to the numerous blog posts in which leaders have been excoriated for their silence and inaction on such issues as child molestation in the Orthodox community.

Several of the speakers called on yeshivas to deny admission to applicants who had Internet at home, and Rabbi Wosner included this principle in his halachic decision. Speaking in Yiddish, Rabbi Don Segal, who has been spiritual adviser in numerous yeshivas, said that even those who thought they needed Internet at work should try to find ways to avoid using it, as it was perhaps the “evil inclination” convincing them that they truly needed it.

In a letter sent to event organizers, Bnei Brak’s Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, perhaps the senior authority in the ultra-Orthodox world today, wrote that the Internet was “a great destruction for the Jewish people, with many reaching the lowest levels. There is no home that has these devices that has not fallen prey to terrible sins…. It is the obligation of everyone to gather together and destroy this evil inclination.”

Anyone who felt he had need for Internet use without a filter was required to obtain permission from a rabbi, he wrote.

Rabbi Mattiyahu Salomon of the Lakewood Yeshiva, who was the driving force behind the event, emphasized in his remarks the importance of protecting Jewish children from the ravages of the Internet, which destroys their intrinsic holiness. He also asked members of the audience to pray for the protection against “the great danger in Israel that a law may be passed to draft yeshiva students into the army. We know the Torah is the protection of the Jewish people,” he said. “[Yeshiva students] are the army, and to take them from their studies” would bring tragedy to the Jewish people.

Some 42,000 men participated in the sold-out event at Citi Field in Queens, New York, along with nearly 20,000 in a nearby stadium, added at the last minute for the overflow demand. Women were able to view the proceedings via closed-circuit TV.

Numerous protests took place outside the stadiums, including one by a group proclaiming that “the Internet is not the problem,” and another protesting rabbinical silence on the child abuse scandals. At least one blogger who had proclaimed somewhat lukewarm support for the eventsaid he felt “fooled” by what had gone on. “Nothing positive about the Internet was discussed,” he wrote. “Websites with Torah and the ability to communicate with friends and family was ignored. In short, this event set the clock back to zero. I was wrong. Things are more bleak than I presumed.”

Officially, there was no Web coverage — for obvious reasons — yet numerous live feeds sprang up online enabling people around the world to see the event. The feeds were furnished by attendees who used smart devices to record and upload the proceedings, and many of these people were sending out tweets on Twitter describing the goings-on, to the extent that the hashtag “asifa” (the term used to describe the gathering) was high on Twitter’s trending topic list while the event was taking place.

As could be expected, many of the tweets were furnished by skeptics,with enough to populate a list of the funniest, like this one: “Were it not for social media I would not be able to keep track of the asifa.”

Amended CISPA moves to House after closed-door vote

CISPA

 

Members of the House Intelligence Committee accepted amendments to the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act Wednesday, voting to include the new provisions by an 18-2 margin after a closed door meeting.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee accepted amendments to the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act Wednesday, voting to include the new provisions by an 18-2 margin after a closed door meeting. It puts the bill back on the table for consideration after failing last year.

The proposed CISPA legislation has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and major Internet companies including Reddit andCraigslist, who say the bill all but eliminates privacy online. Facebook withdrew its support for the bill in March, joining 30,000 other websites in their opposition.

CISPA critics have decried the language in the bill, which grants private companies and the federal government unprecedented power to share an individual’s personal information for purported national security reasons. The House Intelligence Committee has repeatedly warned of the risk presented by potential cyber-attacks, threats that some experts say are unfounded.

CISPA is expected to be reintroduced to Congress as soon as next week after failing to gain enough momentum to summon a vote last year. US President Barack Obama has stated in the past that he would veto CISPA because of security concerns.

Evidently attempting to address those misgivings, the House Intelligence Committee’s closed-door session was expected to introduce amendments that would give privacy advocates and civil liberties officers more oversight on how personal information isshared and used.

Including language to deny companies legal immunity if they use cyber-threat disclosures to hack other companies and dropping language that allows the government to use cyber-threat information for national-security purposes were also reportedly on the docket, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

We have seen the language of these amendments – and what we’ve been hearing is that they still don’t tackle the core concerns including tailoring so that information that’sshared by private industry can’t be used for purposes other than cyber-security,” said Mark Jaycox, an analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Before the secret meeting Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) said he planned to propose an amendment that would require companies to at least attempt to remove personally identifiable information from data before sharing it with the federal government.

I think the other amendments are definitely a step in the right direction, but we still need the private sector to take efforts on its own to remove personally identifiable information,” Schiff told The Hill. “I still believe that the House, Senate and White House can come to a common agreement on these outstanding issues. It just shouldn’t be that difficult.”

I think we can maintain the proper balance of protecting the country from cyber-attacks and also ensuring the privacy rights of the American people are respected.”

Amazon Secretly Deletes “1984″ From the Kindle

 

(Silver Underground) -Imagine this. You’re reading George Orwell’s “1984,” a distopian novel about a tyrannical media state that controls the minds of the people by constantly altering the available language and information. Then, when you’re about a third through the book, and it’s just getting good, it disappears down the memory hole without explanation.

Unbeknownst to many, apparently Amazon has the ability to remotely edit or remove content from people’s Kindle e-book readers. What an ironic choice for the debut of this power.

Justin Gawronski, 17, is suing Amazon after his purchased copy of 1984 was surreptitiously removed from his reader without warning. Frankly, I was amazed to read this high school still assigned 1984. I thought it was removed from the standard curriculum a few years ago, but Gawronski is reportedly in an advanced placement course, so maybe that’s why.

This has resulted in a class action lawsuit against Amazon seeking damages for everyone who had their e-books deleted, but more importantly it seeks a ban on future deletions. Both Orwell’s distopian classics, “1984″ and “Animal Farm” were removed from the Kindle Store, and retroactively from customers’ devices, allegedly over an intellectual property dispute.

Gawronki wrote “I thought that once purchased, the books were mine,” and Jay Edelson, the Chicago lawyer who filed the lawsuit, “Amazon.com had no more right to hack into people’s Kindles than its customers have the right to hack into Amazon’s bank account to recover a mistaken over-payment.” That certainly makes sense to me, but in my experience the state never misses an opportunity to treat 1984 like an instruction manual instead of a cautionary tale.

Amazon’s actions could have far-reaching consequences for state intervention in private media consumption. Is it that hard to imagine? The state long ago decided that library records were a matter of National Security, and most Internet and cellphone service providers hand over your records if the state asks for them. Is it that far fetched to imagine the state would take similar interest in our digital libraries? And if certain books are deemed a matter of National Security, doesn’t it just make sense that they might delete them? For security of course.

Edelson added, “Technology companies increasingly feel that because they have the ability to access people’s personal property, they have the right to do so.” But doesn’t that exactly describe the government?

It’s potentially spookier than just secret delicious. Periodically the state issues so-called “National Security Letters” which are both a demand to cooperate in an investigation by turning over private records and personal data, and a gag order, preventing the recipient from disclosing the content of the letter.

How long before we boot up our Kindle and discover that the state has ordered Amazon to replace segments of library with National Security Letters? For security of course.
Knowing something about e-publishing, I know that it’s possible for authors to make changes to their e-book and correct errors in the updated version. This is really handy because it means missing a typo in the editorial process doesn’t mean you have 10,000 misprints of a book. You can fix it. But doesn’t it also mean that it’s possible for Amazon or the state to make subtle changes to e-books that you may never even notice?

These practices may not be legal yet, but since when has law prevented the state from grabbing power? The point is the technology exists, so it’s just a matter of time, just one national crisis away.

This all has startling implications about literature in general. If we can’t control the literature we supposedly own, e-books represent a dramatic potential destruction of knowledge. In the past, when totalitarian ideologies came to power they burned books, and rebels preserved manuscripts in secret, even when the sentence was death. The next totalitarian regime will have a kill switch on every book… So perk up rebels. If you’ve got books that you want to survive the coming collapse, start backing up your files someplace safe.

Find out where you can see Silver Circle by checking our theater and special screening schedule on our event page.

Are You A Teenager Who Reads News Online? According to the Justice Department, You May Be a Criminal

(eff.org) During his first term, President Barack Obama declared October 2009 to be “National Information Literacy Awareness Month,” emphasizing that, for students, learning to navigate the online world is as important a skill as reading, writing and arithmetic. It was a move that echoed his predecessor’s strong support of global literacy—such as reading newspapers—most notably through First Lady Laura Bush’s advocacy.

Yet, disturbingly, the Departments of Justice (DOJ) of both the Bush and Obama administrations have embraced an expansive interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) that would literally make it a crime for many kids to read the news online. And it’s the main reason why the law must be reformed.

Take action to fix computer crime law.

As we’ve explained previously, in multiple cases the DOJ has taken the position that a violation of a website’s Terms of Service or an employer’s Terms of Use policy can be treated as a criminal act. And the House Judiciary Committee has floated a proposal that makes the DOJ’s position law, making it a crime to access a website for any “impermissible purpose.” For a number of reasons, including the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, many news sites have terms of service that prohibit minors from using their interactive services and sometimes even visiting their websites.

Take, for example, the Hearst Corporation’s family of publications. If you read the terms of use for the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle, or Popular Mechanics websites, you’ll find this language, screamed in all-caps:

“YOU MAY NOT ACCESS OR USE THE COVERED SITES OR ACCEPT THE AGREEMENT IF YOU ARE NOT AT LEAST 18 YEARS OLD.”

In the DOJ’s world, this means anyone under 18 who reads a Hearst newspaper online could hypothetically face jail time. But Hearst’s publications aren’t the only ones with overly restrictive usage terms. U-T San Diego and the Miami Herald have similar policies. Even NPR is guilty, saying teenagers can’t access their “services” (including the site, NPR podcasts and the media player) without a permission slip:

“If you are between the ages of 13 and 18, you may browse the NPR Services or register for email newsletters or other features of the NPR Services (excluding the NPR Community) with the consent of your parent(s) or guardian(s), so long as you do not submit any User Materials.”

Some sites must have recognized the problem and crafted their policies to only forbid users under the age of 13.  These include the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Arizona Republic. NBCNews.com uses this wording:

“By using or attempting to use the Site or Services, you certify that you are at least 13 years of age or other required greater age for certain features and meet any other eligibility and residency requirements of the Site.”

This means that inquisitive 12-year-olds who visit NBCNews.com to learn about current events would be, by default, misrepresenting their ages. That’s criminal by DOJ standards and would be explicitly illegal under the House Judiciary Committee’s proposal.

We’d like to say that we’re being facetious, but, unfortunately, the Justice Department has already demonstrated its willingness to pursue CFAA to absurd extremes. Luckily, the Ninth Circuit rejected the government’s arguments, concluding that, under such an ruling, millions of unsuspecting citizens would suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the law. As Judge Alex Kozinski so aptly wrote: “Under the government’s proposed interpretation of the CFAA…describing yourself as ‘tall, dark and handsome,’ when you’re actually short and homely, will earn you a handsome orange jumpsuit.”

And it’s no excuse to say that the vast majority of these cases will never be prosecuted. As the Ninth Circuit explained, “Ubiquitous, seldom-prosecuted crimes invite arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.” Instead of pursuing only suspects of actual crimes, it opens the door for prosecutors to go after people because the government doesn’t like them.

Unfortunately, there’s no sign the Justice Department has given up on this interpretation outside the Ninth and Fourth Circuits, which is why the Professor Tim Wu in the New Yorkerrecently called the CFAA “the most outrageous criminal law you’ve never heard of.”

The potential criminalization of terms of service is a prime reason that Congress needs to overhaul CFAA and it’s certainly why the House Judiciary Committee should abandon the seemingly DOJ-drafted bill it floated recently and instead sit down with Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Darrell Issa, and others to negotiate real reform.

Are you a minor with a thirst for information? You, and your parents who vote, should together tell Congress to fix CFAA.

White House to argue for GPS tracking without a warrant

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(RT) -Lawyers for the Obama administration will argue next week that US authorities are not required to obtain a search warrant before attaching a GPS device to an individual’s car in order to keep tabs on them.

The case, set to be heard on Tuesday by the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, comes over a year after a US Supreme Court decision failed to convince the Department of Justice that warrantless GPS tracking is an infringement on Americans’ Constitutional rights.

This case is the government’s primary hope that it does not need a judge’s approval to attach a GPS device to a car,” Catherine Crump, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told Wired magazine.

In January 2012 the Supreme Court overruled an Obama administration assertion that police should be permitted to affix a GPS device to a personal vehicle without a search warrant. Questions were left, however, when the Court declined to answer whether that type of search was unreasonable and when justices could not reach a consensus on how police would need to monitor a suspect before requesting a warrant.

We hold that the government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movement, constitutes a ‘search,’” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the five-justice majority last January.

Scalia stipulated in the opinion that a warrant was not always necessary, but failed to mention any specific examples of when this would be the case.

Now prosecutors are honing on Scalia’s exact language, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision only specifies that the installation of a GPS constitutes a search, while the tracking that follows does not. The government argues that the Supreme Court has given police near free reign in allowing for search warrant exceptions.

Searches of students, individuals on probation and border crossings are among the proposed exceptions.

The argument resurfaced after Philadelphia brothers Harry, Michael and Mark Katzin were indicted for a string of late-night pharmacy burglaries in 2010. Suspicious of the Dodge Caravan they thought was used in the robberies, investigators monitored the vehicle with a GPS device for 48 hours and were able to trace the brothers’ involvement.

Arguing in US v. Katzin, government prosecutors claimed that a law requiring them to seek a warrant would seriously impede investigations of terrorist suspects.

Requiring a warrant and probable cause before officers may attach a GPS device to a vehicle, which is inherently mobile and may no longer be at the location observed when the warrant is obtained, would seriously impede the government’s ability to investigate drug trafficking, terrorism and other crimes,” authorities said in court.

Law enforcement officers could not use GPS devices to gather information to establish probable cause, which is often the most productive use of such devices. Thus, the balancing of law enforcement interests with the minimally intrusive nature of GPS installation and monitoring makes clear that a showing of reasonable suspicion suffices to permit use of a ‘slap-on’ device like that used in this case.”

While the ACLU accused the government of prosecutorial overreach in the case, it praised a new bill – the so-called ‘GPS Act’ – that would require law enforcement to get a warrant in order to access an individual’s GPS tracking history, whether it be from a vehicle device or a cell phone provider. The bill, which would not affect emergency services but would require police to prove probable cause, was reintroduced into Congress by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mike Kirk (R-IL) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

In a statement, Wyden decried the government’s blind eye to police overreach.

GPS technology has evolved into a useful commercial and law enforcement tool – but the rules for the use of that tool have not evolved with it,” he said. “The GPS Act provides law enforcement with a clear mandate for when to obtain a warrant for the geolocation information of an American…It protects the privacy and civil liberty of any American using a GPS-enabled device.”

DHS to Scan Private Sector Business Emails

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(Off Grid Survial) – The Department of Homeland Security announced it will be expanded it’s email spying program to include American citizens.

Under the flag of cyber security, NBC is reporting DHS is in the process of expanding its “cybersecurity program” to scan Internet traffic and emails from U.S. private, civilian-run infrastructure. As part of the program, DHS will now scan most emails sent from private sector employees who work in industries like banking, utilities and transportation.

The program is being sold as a precautionary measure to protect the county from cyber attacks, but like everything DHS does I believe this is just one more example of a government agency that has grown out of control.

The program was put in place through an executive order on cybersecurity that was signed by President Obama last month. Yet again, our liberty is attacked without even a vote in congress; sadly even that probably wouldn’t have stopped it, since most of these spineless politicians seem hell bent on shredding the Constituion.

Obama administration skirts the law by making DHS the middleman

To get around privacy laws, The Department of Homeland Security will gather the private data and then pass it off to a small group of private companies for analysis. By using these private companies, DHS makes it harder for the public to fight back in court, since many of these companies routinely collect private data as part of their standard business practices.

While cyber attacks are a very real threat, a threat that we talk about a lot, I don’t believe setting up a survaliance program to spy on Americans is the answer to the problem, especially when most of these attacks are being conducted by foreign governments.

Man faces five years in prison for releasing balloons on beach as a romantic gesture

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(NaturalNews) We’ve seen it in the movies and perhaps even witnessed it in person, but most of us never realized it was an offense punishable with lots of prison time.

When Anthony Brasfield released a dozen heart-shaped balloons into the sky over Dania Beach, Fla., for his his sweetheart, all he wanted was to create the perfect atmosphere of romance. What he created instead was a court date.

According to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper, Brasfield’s act of love was witnessed by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper. What he saw was not an act of love but a felony.

Massive jail time for – balloons?

The 40-year-old Brasfield was with his girlfriend, Shaquina Baxter, in the parking lot of a Motel 6 on Dania Beach Boulevard when he released the 12 shiny, red and silver mylar balloons into the sky and watched them float away in the Sunday morning breeze.

But the trooper saw nothing more than probable cause for a crime against the environment. Apparently, lawmakers in the Sunshine State think it’s appropriate to treat what should have been, at most, simple littering (to which courts would have issued a fine, maybe?), into a major crime against Mother Nature. As if Florida jails weren’t full enough.

The trooper arrested Brasfield and charged him with polluting to harm humans, animals, plants and everything else living under the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act.

“Endangered marine turtle species and birds, such as wood storks and brown pelicans, seek refuge in John U. Lloyd State Park, about 1.5 miles east of the motel,” said the paper.

As you might imagine, the law is rarely used. According to the Sun-Sentinel, just 21 arrests were made under the environmental statute between 2008 and 2012.

What is amazing, however, is the severity of the crime – it is a third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison. Just as one example, in other parts of the country, people who intentionally or actively work to harm the environment get about the same jail time. (http://articles.orlandosentinel.com)

Granted, it was a violation of the law, but…

It’s too early to tell if a Florida court will actually sentence Brasfield to that much time but the fact that someone could be thrown in prison for five years for such a low-level environmental crime is difficult to fathom, especially given what seems to be an obvious fact: That Brasfield was not purposefully demonstrating malice or contempt for the law.

And while ignorance of the law is no excuse, we have a little provision of superseding law in American known as the Eight Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which forbids “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Environmental preservation is important, of course, but there are real criminals committing real crimes in America that have dramatically more far-reaching and harmful effects on society than do individuals releasing balloons as a gesture of romance. Shouldn’t we save our harshest punishment for the really serious environmental polluters?

Freedom of the Press Foundation Publishes Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s Statement

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(Freedom of The Press) -Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court.

While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.

 

Download

See Help Spread Bradley Manning’s Words Across the Internet to embed the full audio, as well as excerpts from the audio, on your website.

He explains to the military court in his own cadence and words how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs, and the State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks. Manning explains his motives, noting how he believed the documents showed deep wrongdoing by the government and how he hoped that the release would “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.” In conjunction with the statement, Private First Class Manning also pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him.

Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to supporting journalism that combats overreaching government secrecy. We have been disturbed that Manning’s pre-trial hearings have been hampered by the kind of extreme government secrecy that his releases to WikiLeaks were intended to protest. While reporters are allowed in the courtroom, no audio or visual recordings are permitted by the judge, no transcripts of the proceedings or any motions by the prosecution have been released, and lengthy court orders read on the stand by the judge have not been published for public review.

 

A short film by Laura Poitras

A group of journalists, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), has been engaged in a legal battle to force the court to be more open. While the government has belatedly released a small portion of documents related to the case, many of the most important orders have been withheld—such as the orders relating to the speedy trial proceedings or the order related to Manning’s prolonged solitary confinement.

Michael Ratner, president emeritus of CCR, called the government “utterly unresponsive to what is a core First Amendment principle.” Ratner noted this is a public trial, the information being presented is not classified, and that contemporaneous access to information about the trial is necessary to understanding the proceedings. Nonetheless, the lawsuit has been tied up in the appeals court for months.

Freedom of the Press Foundation’s mission is to support and defend cutting-edge transparency journalism by supporting those organizations that publish leaks in the public interest. We often report on news surrounding government secrecy, educating the public about the important relationship between leaking and independent journalism. When we received this recording, we realized we had a unique opportunity to bring some small measure of transparency directly by allowing the world to hear for itself the voice of someone who took a controversial and important stance for government transparency.

We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity. We hope to prompt additional analysis of these proceedings by other journalistic institutions and the public at large. While we are not equipped (technically or as a matter of human resources) to receive leaked information nor do we plan on receiving them in the future, we are proud to publish and analyze this particular recording because it is so clearly matches our mission of supporting transparency journalism.

The information provided by Manning has uncovered stories of wrongdoing by the United States, as well as by leaders and politicians around the world. The cables were reportedly one of the catalysts that led to the Arab Spring and sped up the end of the Iraq War. To this day, more than two years after their release, the information provided by Manning is used every day by journalists and historians in major publications are the world to enlighten and inform the public, both in the United States and around the world. In a time when the extent and reach of U.S. government secrecy is unprecedented, and there are credible reports that the government has abused its secrecy and classification systems to cover up numerous illegal and unconstitutional activities, Manning’s actions should be seen as an overdue sliver of sunlight into an overly secret system rather than as a basis for a prosecution seeking decades of imprisonment.

By releasing this audio recording, we wish to make sure that the voice of this generation’s most prolific whistleblower can be heard—literally—by the world.

Regardless of whether one believes that Manning’s acts were right or wrong or a mix of both, he has taken responsibility for them by pleading guilty to ten charges, for which he faces up to twenty years in prison. The government however, is continuing to pursue all of the charges against him, including charges under the Espionage Act and “aiding the enemy” —which could have huge consequences for press freedom and the First Amendment. The ACLU has expressed concern that this “aiding the enemy” charge could criminalize speech for all sorts of active military members, noting that “In its zeal to throw the book at Manning, the government has so overreached that its ‘success’ would turn thousands of loyal soldiers into criminals.”

And Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler has argued that this prosecution could decimate national security journalism by outlawing whole categories of journalist-source relationships in the future: “[T]he prosecutors seem bent on using this case to push a novel and aggressive interpretation of the law that would arm the government with a much bigger stick to prosecute vaguely-defined national security leaks, a big stick that could threaten not just members of the military, but civilians too.”

Extreme secrecy in our courts, just like in our government’s policies and our politics, is an anathema to democracy. Whether military or civilian, this type of closed-door legal process impairs the public’s right-to-know and journalists’ ability to report on matters of deep public concern. The courtrooms of America should be open to the public, so they can see and hear what is being done in their name.

You can donate to aggressive journalism outlets dedicated to transparency and accountability on our homepage. You can learn more about Bradley Manning’s case by visiting the Bradley Manning Support Network.

NJ Mother Charged With ‘Terroristic Threats’ After Reading Constitution At Tax Dispute Assembly

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(Before It’s News) -Eileen Hart objected to a state re-evaluation of her property value that would drastically increase her tax rates She read the Constitution at a tax dispute forum in NJ and called one of the appraisers a “pencil-pusher” One of tax officials called the police saying Hart threatened to return with a gun She was charged with making “terroristic threats” and told that if she didn’t turn over her weapons, her bail would be prohibitively high and it was unclear how long she would have to remain in jail –

A New Jersey mother was arrested and told to turn over her guns after reading the Constitution and peacefully protesting at a tax dispute forum, she says.

Eileen Hart was with her husband Keith and her 7-year-old daughter on Saturday at the Gloucester Community Center to dispute a mandatory home re-evaluation that would roughly double her property value (and therefore dramatically increase her rates), objecting on multiple grounds.

As an Orthodox Jew, she refused to have the inspectors in her home when her husband was away at work.  As an American citizen, she objected to the seemingly arbitrary reappraisal, noting that she is not planning on selling her home and hasn’t renovated her kitchen in 30 years.

But at the forum, Hart was allegedly told that since she didn’t let the inspectors into her home, the state has a right to “assume” its value.

“How could they assume that my value had doubled when there is absolutely no housing market?” she asked TheBlaze rhetorically over the phone.  “There is basically no GDP growth.”

After Hart started citing the Constitution, a representative of Appraisal Systems, Inc.– the company contracted by the state to conduct appraisals–  started “freaking out,” she said, and called for New Jersey tax assessor Robyn Glocker-Hammond.

“Sit down and shut up,” Hart said Glocker-Hammond told her, adding that she (Glocker-Hammond) was there to “enforce the law.”

“I didn’t see a badge,” Hart noted.  “Her title is tax assessor, not law enforcement officer.”

Glocker-Hammond started speaking to Hart’s husband like a “two-year-old,” Hart claimed, and after she objected, Glocker-Hammond once again told her to be quiet.

“I have a right to speak out against this, this is a public place, my tax dollars pay your salary,” Hart objected to the tax assessor, already incredulous at the drastic increase in her rates.

“I don’t work for you,” the assessor allegedly retorted.

At that point, Appraisal Systems, Inc. representative Andrew Colavecchio started advancing towards her, she said, like he was about to grab her arm.  “Don’t you dare touch me,” she said after he allegedly got so close he touched her coat.

Glocker-Hammond then told her she had to leave the public forum and threatened to call the authorities, though Hart swears she never swore or acted inappropriately.

That’s when things got serious.

As Hart and her family peacefully left the building she saw Colavecchio “sneering” at her and said to him in passing, “look at the little pencil-pusher.”

Hart said Colavecchio threatened to call 911 and “ran after us in the parking lot like a banshee, his face was purple, [he was] disheveled, [he] started to take down my license plate and ran off.  When he got to the doors of the building he screamed at us, ‘let’s see if you can pay your taxes now!’”

Much to her surprise, Hart returned home to numerous police cars, the officers asking if they could bring her in for questioning even though they did not have a warrant.  She was not allowed to drive behind with her husband, but was forced to ride in the police vehicle.

Colavecchio had apparently told the police that Hart was “yelling and screaming” and threatened to return to the meeting with a gun.

Here’s a copy of the police complaint:

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But Hart told TheBlaze: “I did not use one curse word, I didn’t say the word gun, I didn’t swear, none of that.  I aired my grievances in a public place to [tell] the government that I did not agree with what they were doing to me or to anybody else.”

Hart said she was doubly surprised when, instead of getting her side of the story, police handcuffed her to a chair and charged her with “terroristic threats.”

Cinema Shooting: Judge Approves ‘Truth Serum’

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(NewsSky)- The student accused of the Colorado cinema massacre could be given “truth serum” to help determine whether he is insane, a judge has ruled.

James Holmes, 25, who is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others during a shooting rampage at a Batman movie premiere, is expected to enter a plea today.

Defence lawyers have indicated that the former neuroscience graduate might plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

If he does, the judge has ruled he might have to submit to a “narcoanalytic interview” – including the use of what some have dubbed a “truth serum” – as part of the evaluation of his mental state.

A narcoanalytic interview is a decades-old process in which patients are given drugs to lower their inhibition.

The judge said Holmes could also be given a lie detector test as part of the evaluation.

Holmes will face 166 counts during an arraignment hearing in connection with the shooting spree at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, last July.

Last week, the same judge rejected defence claims that the rules relating to an insanity plea were unconstitutional.

Holmes was arrested immediately after the shootings at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

A preliminary hearing in January was presented with harrowing evidence of the scene inside the cinema in the aftermath of the shooting and the desperate attempts to save lives.

The court also heard evidence that Holmes spent months planning the mass killing, purchasing weapons, ammunition and body armour, and booby-trapping his apartment.

Prosecutors will have 60 days after a plea is entered to announce whether they will seek the death penalty.

US Air Force scrubs drone strike data from reports

 

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(RT) -As the US military continues to court scrutiny regarding drone use, the Air Force has stopped sharing information on the number of drone strikes in Afghanistan. Going one step further, it has removed those statistics from prior reports on its website.

The Air Force’s Central Command began keeping track of drone weapon releases in October 2012, according to the Air Force Times. The move was described at that time as a bid to “provide more detailed information on [drone] ops in Afghanistan,” said Central Command spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender, the magazine reports.

Statistics were recorded as part of the policy for November, December and January. But when February’s numbers were published on March 7, there was only a blank space where the drone statistics were normally placed.

And beyond that, the monthly reports posted to the Air Force’s website had the drone data removed from them in recent weeks, with the data still being posted as late as February 16.

The data wipe comes as drone-use has fallen under close scrutiny in connection with the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA. Brennan faced fierce opposition in the Senate, though he was ultimately approved, because of his defense of drone use while acting as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser.

NH Gun Store Depicts Obama As ‘Firearms Salesman Of The Year’

 

MERRIMACK, NH (CBS) – One of the posters in the front window of a New Hampshire gun shop depicts President Obama as “Firearms Salesman of the Year.” Below the president are two AK-47 rifles.

A second poster featuring the images of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong accompanies a statement that reads, “All Experts Agree, Gun Control Works.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Carl Stevens reports

 

 

The signs are in the front window of Collectable Arms & Ammo in Merrimack. Store Co-owner Keith Cox makes no apologies for the storefront that has irritated some neighbors.

“We like to have the creative storefronts which are sort of fun in one aspect and in another aspect if we have an opportunity to make a statement we’ll do that as well,” said Cox.

(Photo Credit: Carl Stevens)

(Photo Credit: Carl Stevens)

Cox says he is sending two separate messages and is not connecting Obama to the dictators.

He says Obama’s picture is meant to thank him for sending gun sales surging with all the talk in Washington about gun control.

As for the images of the three dictators, Cox says his message is that people armed with guns are better able to protect themselves against tyranny.

Chuck Mower, who lives down the street from the shop, says he understands free speech, but says the message is over the top and unnecessary.

“I can’t even imagine any president’s picture being portrayed on the front of a business with crossed assault weapons underneath it,” Mower said. “When those kinds of things appear and take the public presence…they paint us more as a gooberville in Arkansas.”

Mower, a longtime Merrimack resident, has filed a complaint with the city.

“It’s not a good community standard message and it doesn’t add to solving any of the complicated issues,” he said.

Outside the store on Friday, there was curiosity about the controversy.

“If people want to show it then so be it, it’s their freedom of rights,” said one Merrimack resident.

“One thing great about this country is you can agree to disagree, but to take these extremes I think it’s shameful and I’m sad to say it’s the town I live in,” said another resident.

Regardless of the controversy, the signage is not coming down.

“I certainly would not ask them to change a flag hanging on their homes or a sign in their yards because I am offended by it or disagree with it,” said Cox. “I will support anybody’s freedom of speech.”

Town officials in Merrimack tell WBZ-TV the storefront is not breaking any town ordinances.

Michael Moore vs Buzzfeed

BuzzFeed is once again being lambasted for its reporting — this time by the filmmaker Michael Moore — and much like the last time this happened, the viral-news website is finding few defenders from within the journalism community.

Michael Moore Lashes Out At BuzzFeed, And Few Jump To Its Defense

 

(IBITimes) -Moore went on a Twitter tirade on Tuesday afternoon after an article by Tessa Stuart, a Los Angeles-based BuzzFeed reporter, implied that he exaggerated some of the facts regarding a story about a Palestinian filmmaker being detained at Los Angeles International Airport. Moore had been tweeting about his efforts to vouch for Emad Burnat, the Oscar-nominated co-director of “5 Broken Cameras,” who said he and his family were detained for some 90 minutes at U.S. Customs and Border Protection when they arrived at LAX from Turkey.

According to Moore and Burnat’s version of the story, customs officers threatened Burnat with deportation if he could not produce documents proving that he was invited to Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. Burnat — who is Palestinian, and whose wife was wearing a hijab — showed the officers the invitation that was sent to all Oscar nominees, but that allegedly wasn’t good enough. According to Moore’s tweets, it was only after Moore personally intervened that the filmmaker was permitted into the country.

 

However, BuzzFeed’s article, first posted on Monday, called that version of the story into question. In it, Stuart cited an LAX source “familiar with the situation” who said that Burnat was held only for 25 minutes and released after he produced his Oscar ticket. The source claimed that Moore and Burnat were overplaying the incident for publicity.

 

 

Continuing in a series of tweets, Moore proceeded to call Stuart’s source’s version of the story an “outright lie.” The “Fahrenheit 9/11” filmmaker went on to explain that Burnat could not have shown an Oscar ticket to customs officers — as Stuart’s source claims — because physical tickets weren’t issued to any of the Oscar attendees until the Thursday before the ceremony.

“It’s that way every year,” Moore continued. “Oscar tickets are available only on Thursday through Saturday, the day before the Oscars.”

Stuart later updated her story with Moore’s tweeted version of what happened. (She had also apparently been trying via Twitter to get him to tell her his side of the story directly.) In her update, she explained that the differences in the two stories hinge upon what type of documentation Burnat was asked to produce to customs officers. Was it a ticket, an invitation or something else? She wrote that she had reached out to her source at LAX for clarification but had not yet heard back.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, Stuart’s story had still not been updated. In an email to IBTimes, Stuart said she is still reporting on the incident and that new information would be added shortly.

Meanwhile, media reporters have been running amok with the “BuzzFeed vs. Michael Moore” narrative, with many either taking Moore’s side or publishing stories that bolster his account. The Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Zakarin quoted a representative for the filmmakers who backed up Moore’s claim. Blasting BuzzFeed, the rep told THR via email, “It’s pretty insensitive to attempt to minimize anguish of this experience for Emad and his family.”

The Atlantic Wire’s Alex Abad-Santos wrote in a blog post Tuesday morning that “Someone’s not telling the truth about what happened,” adding that, at least for now, BuzzFeed appears “to be on the losing end of this one.” Abad-Santos noted that the original subhead and first sentence of Stuart’s article referred to “sources” at LAX that have refuted Moore’s account. As it turns out, Stuart talked to only a single source, a fact that was later clarified in a correction posted at the end of Stuart’s article.

Stuart, a former reporter for LA Weekly, joined BuzzFeed in December, according to FishbowlLA — just two months after BuzzFeed announced it was opening a Los Angeles bureau. In January, the rapidly growing website announced that it had raised another $19.3 million in Series D financing led by the venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates.

But that growth has not come without its growing pains, as this latest debacle shows, and this is not the first time BuzzFeed has been called out in recent months for its reporting. In December, the website found itself in hot water after contributor Jack Stuef published a would-be expose on The Oatmeal cartoonist Matthew Inman in which Stuef characterized Inman as a Republican and, essentially, a hypocrite. However, Inman posted a lengthy rebuttal to the piece, revealing that Stuef had built his thesis partially around an online profile that, it turned out, didn’t belong to Inman. BuzzFeed’s editor, Ben Smith, later told GigaOM that he regretted the “major factual error.” Then, like this week, no shortage of media reporters jumped on the story, eager to report on BuzzFeed’s mistake.

Moore, for his part, said via Twitter that he was not looking to shame the website. “Sorry you guys had to go through this,” he tweeted just after midnight Tuesday morning. “I did not want to publicly embarrass you. I like Buzzfeed.”

[Update: 4:34 pm] Stuart posted a new article on Tuesday afternoon again countering Moore’s account of the events — in particular, his contention that Burnat was detained for 90 minutes. Citing a handwritten log maintained by federal agents at LAX, Stuart wrote that the records show that Burnat was detained for 23 minutes, confirming her source’s account of the timeline.

[Update: Feb. 27] On the Huffington Post Wednesday morning, Moore wrote what he calls his “final word” on the issue. In response to Stuart’s follow-up piece, he argues that the handwritten logs were only from one interrogation area. LAX has multiple interrogation areas, he wrote, and the 23 minutes only accounted for the secondary area, not the total time Burnat and his family were detained. Read the full piece here.

Correction: An earlier version of this article identified the editor of BuzzFeed as Ben Stein. The editor is Ben Smith (although we’re not saying Mr. Stein woudln’t make a great editor).

Feds Say Man Deserved Arrest Because Jacket Said ‘Occupy Everything’

Everything’

 

 

(Wired) -A Florida man deserved to be arrested inside the Supreme Court building last year for wearing a jacket painted with “Occupy Everything,” and is lucky he was only apprehended on unlawful entry charges, the Department of Justice says.

The President Barack Obama administration made that assertion in a legal filing in response to a lawsuit brought by Fitzgerald Scott, who is seeking $1 million in damages for his January 2012 arrest inside the Supreme Court building. He also wants his arrest record expunged.

What’s more, the authorities said the former Marine’s claim that he was protected by the First Amendment bolsters the government’s position (.pdf) because the Supreme Court building’s public interior is a First Amendment-free zone.

Fitzgerald was not disturbing anybody, but was repeatedly told by court staff to leave the building or remove the coat. Outside the building, about a dozen “Occupy” protesters were arrested.

Inside, Fitzgerald was handcuffed and arrested for unlawful entry as he was viewing an exhibit on slavery.

Here is the District of Columbia’s ‘unlawful entry’ statute:

Any person who, without lawful authority, shall enter, or attempt to enter, any public building, or other property, or part of such building, or other property, against the will of the lawful occupant or of the person lawfully in charge thereof or his or her agent, or being therein or thereon, without lawful authority to remain therein or thereon shall refuse to quit the same on the demand of the lawful occupant, or of the person lawfully in charge thereof or his or her agent, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.

Prosecutors eventually dismissed the charges, and he sued. (.pdf)

To be sure, the courts have upheld convictions of those wearing inappropriate clothing inside the high court’s building — once in 2011 for individuals wearing orange shirts that said “Shut Down Guantanamo” and in 2007 for protesters wearing orange jump suits and black hoods — all in violation of the so-called “Display Clause.”

The Obama administration said Wednesday that Scott could also have been arrested and charged with violating the Display Clause, which makes it “unlawful to parade, stand, or move in processions or assemblages in the Supreme Court Building or grounds, or to display in the Building and grounds a flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization, or movement.”

“It also bears noting that, while plaintiff was initially charged with violating the unlawful entry statute, his conduct also violated the Display Clause of section 6135, and he could just as easily have been charged with an independent violation of that statute as well,” the Obama administration said.

Bradley Manning denies 12 charges, “aiding the enemy.”

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(ArsTechnica) – Private Bradley Manning has admitted he was the source of the massive stores of confidential information handed off to WikiLeaks, and he pleaded guilty to 10 charges including “possessing and wilfully communicating” all the sensitive information posted on WikiLeaks.

Manning denied 12 other charges, though, including the biggest one of all: “aiding the enemy.” He faces a life sentence if convicted on that count.

Manning will read out a 35-page statement later today describing why he leaked the information, according to The Guardian reporter Ed Pilkington. In another remarkable tweet from this morning, Pilkington reports that Manning actually tried to give his stores of information to The Washington Post and The New York Times but “failed to get through to them,” so he went to WikiLeaks.

Manning’s case now speeds toward a June 3 court-martial, which military judge Colonel Denise Lind has estimated could take 12 weeks. Col. Lind will hear the case herself; there will be no jury at Manning’s request. Manning has already been imprisoned for more than 1,000 days without a trial, a milestone that was marked by his supporters earlier this week.

As The Guardian notes, the information leaked by Manning included video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq, a large leak of US diplomatic cables, files on Guantanamo detainees, and a huge chunk of confidential “war logs” from Iraq and Afghanistan.

School allows student to wear his anti-gay shirt

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(CAV News) Connecticut- The 17-year-old student Seth Groody, who wore a T-shirt that opposed homosexuality, will be allowed by the Wolcott public school system to wear shirts in the future expressing his views.

School officials today confirmed that they recognize the students freedom of speech (of course that is when a powerful organization lends its muscle in his defense) and freedom of expression.

The ACLU notified the school last year, after learning that the school forced Groody to remove his shirt or face expulsion.

His shirt had a slash going through a rainbow, which Groody designed himself. On the back of his shirt was a man and woman holding hands with the text, “Excessive Speech Day.”

He chose to wear the shirt on the day the school was holding the “Day Of Silence” event, which is held to bring awareness around the nation on bullying people because of their sexual orientation or preference.

The ACLU said the school violated his constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression.

The school avoided court action by assuring the organization that it would allow the student to wear shirts expressing his opinion and views in the future.

Source: Hartford Courant

Written by: Derek Wood

Citizens Awareness Vanguard on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CitizensAV?ref=hl

 

DOJ Admits It Had To Put Aaron Swartz In Jail To Save Face Over The Arrest

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(Tech Dirt) -As the Congressional investigation into the DOJ’s prosecution of Aaron Swartz has continued, apparently a DOJ representative has admitted that part of the reason it insisted on having Swartz plead guilty to a felony and go to jail, no matter what, was that it feared the public backlash for the original arrest if they couldn’t then show a felony conviction and jailtime. According to a Huffington Post article, quoting various sources:

Some congressional staffers left the briefing with the impression that prosecutors believed they needed to convict Swartz of a felony that would put him in jail for a short sentence in order to justify bringing the charges in the first place, according to two aides with knowledge of the briefing.

The odd thing is this little tidbit comes at the very, very end of a longer article, most of which focuses on the DOJ telling Congressional staffers that part of the reason they went after Swartz with such zeal was because of his infamous Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. That might explain why they were so eager to arrest him, but it seems like the much bigger deal, considering all the concern about prosecutor discretion, that after they arrested him, they then didn’t want to look bad, which is why they continued to demand jailtime and felony convictions.

Many people have assumed all along that the Manifesto played a big role in the case — and the Manifesto has certainly been a lightening rod concerning Swartz’s activities. If you read the actual “manifesto” it’s not quite as extreme as some make it out to be — with much of it talking about taking stuff that is public domain, but still hidden behind walls, and making that available again. The controversial bit really is this paragraph, which starts out with legal activities, but gets much more ambiguous at the end:

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.

Note that initially he’s talking about stuff that is out of copyright. When he’s talking about databases, note that he talks about buying them for the sake of putting them online, not infringing on the works. It’s just that bit about scientific journals. And, yes, if those works are covered by copyright, there’s likely infringement there, but it’s not entirely clear. Especially in an age where many professors post up free copies of their research any way, and where it looks like we’re moving to an age where more and more research is open access anyway. In that context, is what he said really so bad?

Apparently the DOJ thought it was a reason to throw the book at Swartz, even if he hadn’t actually made any such works available.

The “Manifesto,” Justice Department representatives told congressional staffers, demonstrated Swartz’s malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.

Some may agree with that, but it seems like a jump towards “thoughtcrime” since he hadn’t actually made any move towards making the JSTOR data available. It’s possible that he planned to only make the public domain works (of which there are many) available. It’s also possible he planned to leak the whole thing. But, really, you would think that there should be a bit more evidence of that before prosecutors throw the book at him.

More importantly, it suggests that Swartz was arrested and prosecuted for expressing his opinion on how to solve a particular problem. You may or may not agree with it, but I thought the US was supposed to be a place where we were free to express ideas. There’s even some famous part of our Constitution about that…

Criticize a Judge (or Anyone Else), Go to Jail?

Daniel Brewington

(Examiner) -Daniel Brewington was not happy with the way that Dearborn County, Indiana, Judge James D. Humphrey handled his divorce case, during which he lost custody of his children, and he explained why at length in various strongly worded online commentaries. Largely as a result of those posts, Brewington is serving a two-year sentence at the Putnamville Correctional Facility for intimidation, attempted obstruction of justice, and perjury. The punishment Brewington received for condemning Humphrey’s actions has attracted criticism from a wide range of First Amendment advocates, including UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, conservative lawyer James Bopp, a former executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, the Indiana Association of Scholars, The Indianapolis Star, and the James Madison Center for Free Speech. In an amicus brief filed the week before last, they urge the Indiana Supreme Court to overturn Brewington’s conviction for intimidating Humphrey, arguing that the provision under which he was convicted, as interpreted by a state appeals court, threatens constitutionally protected speech about the official acts of public officials.

Dearborn County Sheriff's DepartmentDearborn County Sheriff’s DepartmentThe intimidation charge related to Brewington’s comments about Humphrey, which was treated as a felony because it involved a judicial officer, was based on the allegation that he “communicated to another person a threat with the intent that the other person be placed in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act.” The threat in this case was that Brewington would “expose the person threatened to hatred, contempt, disgrace, or ridicule.” Upholding Brewington’s conviction on this count, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled last month that “the truthfulness of the threatened disclosure is not necessarily relevant to prosecution because the harm, placing a victim in fear, occurs whether the publicized conduct is true or false.” It added that some of Brewington’s statements about Humphrey were demonstrably false. “Over the course of at least a year,” the court said, “Brewington repeatedly called Judge Humphrey a ‘child abuser.’…Brewington also called Judge Humphrey ‘corrupt’…and accused him of engaging in ‘unethical/illegal behavior.'”

It is not clear to me that, as the appeals court claimed, Brewington’s comments “went well beyond hyperbole and were capable of being proven true or false.” As Brewington explained, he believed Humphrey’s custody decision, which was coupled with restrictions on Brewington’s visitation rights, was tantamount to child abuse. That claim and the accusations of “corrupt” or “unethical” behavior seem like expressions of opinion to me. In any case, the appeals court made it clear that for purposes of the intimidation charge it did not matter whether what Brewington said was true. It rejected Brewington’s argument that his speech was protected by the First Amendment, saying “the conduct that is criminalized here, communicating a threat to a victim to place the victim in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act, necessarily falls outside the realm of protected criticism of government decisions due to the requirement of criminal intent”—i.e., an intent to “place the victim in fear.” As Volokh points out in the amicus brief, this reading of the law suggests that prosecution would be appropriate in situations like these:

1. a columnist’s writing, “Legislator A’s vote on issue B is ridiculous, and I intend to ridicule him until his constituents view him with contempt”;

2. an advocacy group’s picketing a store with signs saying, “The store owner’s decision to stock product C is disgraceful, and we hope our speech will expose the owner to disgrace and ostracism”;

3. a politician’s saying, “The incumbent’s decision D is so foolish that, once I publicize it, the incumbent will be the laughingstock of the state.”

Under the appeals court’s interpretation of the statute, all that’s necessary for a conviction is an explicit or implied threat of speech aimed at portraying the “victim” in a negative light. It is not hard to see why Volokh concludes that the appeals court’s decision “endangers the free speech rights of journalists, policy advocates, politicians, and ordinary citizens.”

Montana votes 20-0 in favor of anti-NDAA bill

ndaa

(Activist Post) -The anti-NDAA movement continues to gain traction. There is still much more work to be done as part of Operation Homeland Liberty, but People’s Blog for The Constitution highlights the latest development we can add to the victory column in Montana’s step toward resisting federal intrusion.

By a vote of 20-0, a bill that bans cooperation with federal agents over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has just passed the Montana House Judiciary Committee. Known as HB 522, the bill would also require the state’s attorney general to report any attempts by federal officials who try to enforce the NDAA. HB 522 is now one step closer to becoming law.

Additional details below with contact information for Montana legislators..

Introduced by freshman Republican state Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer, the bill has gathered over 20 Democratic and Republican cosponsors in the House, including the Speaker Pro Tempore Austin Knudsen and the chair of the Judiciary committee, Krayton Kerns.

Speaking at a committee hearing on Wednesday, Schwaderer articulated why he opposes the NDAA and indefinite detention: “There’s a lot of us on both sides of the aisle that feels that this flies in the face of habeas corpus and a free society and the better part of a millennium of human progress.”

View previous reports on how Montana and communities all across the nation are working to stop the NDAA and restore due process. You can find contact information for Montana legislators online.

Address letters to:
Senator XXXX
Montana Senate
PO Box 200500
Helena, MT 59620-0500

or

Rep. XXXX
Montana House of Representatives
PO Box 200400
Helena, MT 59620-0400

By Fax

During sessions:
House 406-444-4825
Senate 406-444-4875

Please visit constitutioncampaign.org and lend your support for this and other NDAA activist initiatives.

Executive order to raise “volume, quality of cyber threat information”

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(ArsTechnica) -Just before issuing the 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama signed an executive order on cybersecurity—creating a series of “best practices” between “critical infrastructure” corporations and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

“It is the policy of the United States Government to increase the volume, timeliness, and quality of cyber threat information shared with US private sector entities so that these entities may better protect and defend themselves against cyber threats,” the order states.

According to The Hill, a draft version of this framework will be due in 240 days and the final will be published within a year from now.

The order comes after Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) failed in Congress last year—although it may be poised for a comeback. While many civil libertarians were concerned that CISPA did not have adequate privacy protections, some have shown some cautious optimism about the new order.

“The executive order says that privacy must be built into the government’s cybersecurity plans and activities, not as an afterthought but rather as part of the design,” said Center for Democracy and Technology President Leslie Harris in a statement.

“By explicitly requiring adherence to fair information practice principles, the order adopts a comprehensive formulation of privacy. The annual privacy assessment, properly done, can create accountability to the public for government actions taken in the name of cybersecurity.”

Others, including the American Civil Liberties Union, agreed.

“The president’s executive order rightly focuses on cybersecurity solutions that don’t negatively impact civil liberties,” Michelle Richardson, a legislative counsel for the ACLU, added, in a statement. “For example, greasing the wheels of information sharing from the government to the private sector is a privacy-neutral way to distribute critical cyber information.”

Obama – Executive order on Cyber “Security” due to hacks. Yet, No proof of hacks. There goes our 1st amendment!

(www.sherriequestioningall.blogspot.com) Well is it any wonder they want to wipe out every single Bill of Rights we have?  We have had only 2 left, the 2nd amendment (they are working on) and the 1st amendment (up to a point).

Obama is set to sign an Executive order on Wednesday for Cyber Security, due to all the hackings going on.

I have a question for everyone?  Have you ever seen any of the “top secret” documents from hackings?  We heard about the Pentagon hacking last week.  Yet I never saw anything from it.  We heard about the Bush email hacks the other day.  The only thing released was a portrait that Bush Jr. painted of himself.  So, in other words…. we are suppose to just take their word for it all.  Just like all the other events.  If they say it “it must be true.”  Jeez… have they ever lied to us before?  The government and media wouldn’t do that now…. would they?

Oh.. how convenient for the government that Aaron Swartz committed suicide a couple of weeks ago, considering he is the one who was instrumental in stopping any other cyber security (control) of the internet.

With the “control” of the internet, we will not actually have our 1st amendment left.  They will begin taking down the sites they do not want.   They will stop the flow of information of truth and questioning their actions.

Don’t think that won’t happen?  When the government takes control of anything…. has any good ever come from it?

We don’t know what is going to be in that Executive order, but I guess we will find out after it is signed.  OH… who was that person in 2008 who spoke about transparency and all bills/orders being on the net 2 days before being voted or signed off on?   Oh… yeah that Nobel Peace Prize winner who has murdered more innocent people with drones and begun more wars than any other President before him.

Portion from article:

The White House is poised to release a cybersecurity executive order on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill.
The highly anticipated directive from President Obama is expected to be released at a briefing Wednesday morning at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where senior administration officials will provide an update about cybersecurity policy.
The White House began crafting the executive order after Congress failed to pass cybersecurity legislation last year. Officials said the threat facing the United States was too great for the administration to ignore.

 

Sandy Hook: Law Enforcement Officials Now Admit Possibility of Multiple Shooters

(IntelHub) -New information has now been brought forth by Connecticut State Attorney Stephen Sedensky, suggesting that records pertaining to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have been sealed to possibly hide the identity of witnesses from multiple shooter suspects and that they should not be unsealed anytime soon.

Officials fear the safety of witnesses.

Now we are getting somewhere, after nearly two months this new information is startling.

Lt. Paul Vance

An article in the Digital Journal reports;

Vance nor the CT Attorney General’s office have ever ruled out the possible presence of other suspects. The New Haven Register reports Vance as having said:

“Whenever you conduct an investigation you don’t speculate as to where it’s going to take you, as I said, we’re going to look at every single thing, every piece of material and we’ll take it from there.”

The CT State Attorney General’s Office is handling the investigation of the mass shooting, in which 20 children and 8 adults died last December 14th.

The motion to extend the seal on the records for 90 days was granted by Superior Court Judge John Blawie, who wrote in his decision that:

“The court finds that due to the nature and circumstances of this case and the ongoing investigation, the state’s interest in continuing nondisclosure substantially outweighs any right to public disclosure at this time,”

The warrants were for searches, on different dates, of the Lanza home, and of Adam Lanza’s mother’s two cars. One of the cars, a 2010 black Honda Civic, was the vehicle which Lanza allegedly drove to the crime scene. The other, a 2009 silver BMW, was parked in the garage attached to the Lanza home. The court motion seals the affidavits stating what was found upon execution of the warrants for another 90 days, until late March.

Although I myself believe this could potentially be a staged release of information by officials, as something still doesn’t seem right.

Colorado students Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic sparks outrage

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(Digital Journal) -Members of a student club at a Colorado high school have sparked widespread outrage after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic.
 
Members of the Cultural Arms Club (CAC) at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, whose motto is “destroy the barriers, embrace the cultures,” decided to recite the pledge in Arabic, replacing the words “one nation under God” with “one nation under Allah.”

 

That didn’t sit very well with many Americans, especially once Fox News caught wind of the story. Principal Tom Lopez told Fox he’s received a barrage of angry e-mails and phone calls from upset parents. Lopez said he’s getting “worn down” by the outrage and “hate” from the naysayers. He’s even been called a traitor and accused of “pushing a Muslim Brotherhood agenda to push Islam into the school,” he said.

 

“I’ve been shocked with prejudicial statements that have been made,” Lopez continued. “I’ve been shocked with the lack of seeking understanding. There’s definitely fear and suspicion expressed in these people’s minds. There’s some hate.”

 

“They claim they are outraged that this is blaspheming a real major tenet of our patriotism– which in their mind the Pledge of Allegiance is only in English,” he said of his critics.

 

But the students who recited the pledge in Arabic strongly deny there’s anything un-American about what they did.

 

“No matter what language it’s said in, pledging your allegiance to the United States is the same in every language,” sophomore CAC member Skyler Bowden told 9 News.

 

Supporters point out that Arab Christians use the word “Allah” when speaking of the same God that any other Christian worships.

 

“[Allah] is not necessarily specific to Islam and Muslims,” Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) told Fox News.

 

“How on earth is it un-American to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in another language,” Hooper asked. “It doesn’t make sense unless the people complaining are anti-Muslim or anti-Middle Eastern bigots.”

 

Still, some locals openly expressed their disapproval of the students’ translation.

 

“As a veteran and a friend of a man killed defending these children in their little games they like to play with our pledge, I’m offended,” Chris Wells told the Daily Coloradoan. “There are things that we don’t mess with– among them are the pledge and our anthem.”

 

But the Pledge of Allegiance has been “messed with”– the words “under God” were only added in 1954.

 

The Rocky Mountain High CAC is no stranger to controversy. The club raised eyebrows and ire last year when it recited the Pledge of Allegiance over the school’s public address system in Spanish and French. They also plan on doing the same in sign language, Korean and possibly even Chinese.

 

“When they pledge allegiance to the United States, that’s exactly what they’re saying,” Principal Lopez told CAIR TV. “They’re just using another language as their vehicle.”

‘US can spy on Cloud documents’

 


iol scitech dec 31 cloud computing pic(IOL) – All personal information stored by British internet users on major “cloud” computing services including Google Drive can be spied upon routinely without their knowledge by US authorities under newly-approved legislation, it can be disclosed.

Cloud computing has exploded in recent years as a flexible, cheap way for individuals, companies and government bodies to remotely store documents and data. According to some estimates, 35 per cent of UK firms use some sort of cloud system – with Google Drive, Apple iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive the major players.

But it has now emerged that all documents uploaded on to cloud systems based in the US or falling under Washington’s jurisdiction can be accessed and analysed without a warrant by American security agencies.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, allows US government agencies open access to any electronic information stored by non-American citizens by US-based companies. Quietly introduced during the dying days of President George W Bush’s administration in 2008, it was renewed over Christmas 2012.

But only now are privacy campaigners and legal experts waking up to the extent of the intrustion. Caspar Bowden, who was chief privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe for nine years until 2011, said: “What this legislation means is that the US has been able to mine any foreign data in US Clouds since 2008, and nobody noticed.”

Significantly, bodies such as the National Security Agency, the FBI and the CIA can gain access to any information that potentially concerns US foreign policy for purely political reasons – with no need for any suspicion that national security is at stake – meaning that religious groups, campaigning organisations and journalists could be targeted.

The information can be intercepted and stored in bulk as it enters the US via undersea cables crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Mr Bowden, who now works as an independent advocate for privacy rights and co-authored a report for the European Parliament warning of the threat to clouds posed by FISA, criticised the UK Information Commissioner’s Office for giving free rein to the US authorities.

The body which polices data protection laws in the UK effectively ruled that companies were right to pass information over to foreign government requests as the disclosure was made “in accordance with a legal requirement”, such as FISA.

Mr Bowden said: “Every time we make a bridge of trust, or commit an indiscretion, using a social network or webmail, think how a foreign country could use that information for its own purposes to influence policy and politics. Drafts of documents prepared online, who is in contact with each other, all of this can be captured and analysed using data-mining algorithms much more advanced than those offered by public search engines.”

His report, being considered by the EU in a review of its electronic privacy directive, cautioned that the threat of “heavy-calibre mass-surveillance fire-power aimed at the cloud” was greater than that posed by cyber-crime.

Gordon Nardell QC, a British barrister who specialises in data protection, said he was “shocked” by the powers outlined in the highly-controversial amendments to FISA. He said: “What’s different about this is that it’s a power in the US authorities to insist on real-time collection of information by any data processer within US jurisdiction. The US authorities basically grab everything that is going in and out.”

Sophie in’t Veld, a Dutch MEP who serves as vice chair of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, warned that European authorities must act as soon as possible.

She said:”Let’s turn this around and imagine this is not the United States having unlimited access to our data but the government of Mr Putin or the Chinese government – would we still wonder if it’s an urgent issue? Nobody would ask that question.”

Eric King of pressure group Privacy International, said: “Allowing mass surveillance, unwarranted and unaccountable, is terrifying.”

Isabella Sankey, Director of Policy for Liberty, said: “US surveillance ambitions know no bounds. The chilling US Foreign Intelligence Service Act treats all non-US citizens as enemy suspects.”

Last night, Google said: “It is possible for the US government (and European governments) to access certain types of data via their law enforcement agencies. We think this kind of access to data merits serious discussion and more transparency.”

Amazon and Apple were yet to comment last night. – The Independent

THE CLOUD: HOW IT WORKS

1 Individuals create their own files, such as written documents, contact lists or spreadsheets on a computer or smartphone

2 These files are uploaded via the internet to a Cloud service, storing the file remotely on computer servers – often thousands of miles away

3 Users are then able to access or download their files anywhere in the world on any device connected to the internet

All non-American nationals are vulnerable to having their files legally tapped into or monitored by US authorities without a warrant under the FISA legislation