25 Violations of Law By President Obama and His Administration

 

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Obama Administration uses IRS to target conservative, Christian and pro-Israel organizations, donors, and citizens.

  • In an unprecedented attack on the First Amendment, the Obama Justice Department ordered criminal investigations of FOX News reporters for doing their jobs during the 2012 election year.
  • President Obama, throughout his Presidency, has refused to enforce long-established U.S. immigration laws. For example . . . 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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Solicitation for “role-players” confirms DoD training in Boston on heels of JADE HELM 15

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CRISIS ACTORS CALLED TO DUTY

BY SHEPARD AMBELLAS

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (INTELLIHUB) — After the Sandy Hook School Shooting and the Boston Bombing took to center stage in the press well-researched investigative journalists along with portions of the general public who did their due diligence began to realize that “crisis actors” or “role-players” were being used by the mainline press to trick the sheeple.

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US airport screeners missed 95% of weapons, explosives in undercover tests

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Transportation Security Administration screeners allowed banned weapons and mock explosives through airport security checkpoints 95 percent of the time, according to the agency’s own undercover testing.

ABC News reported the results on Monday, but Ars could not independently confirm them. According to ABC News, a Homeland Security Inspector General report showed that agents failed to detect weapons and explosives in 67 out of 70 undercover operations. The report said:

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Homeland Security is a Corporate Welfare Scam

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By Geoffrey Pike

With the current political saga wrapping up of the possible shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we have to ask whether this was really a debate or a show.

I’ll let you in on a little secret regarding the funding of the DHS …

I knew there was not going to be any shutdown of the DHS, or at least anything of any significance.

Even if there had been a shutdown, it probably would have resembled the government shutdown of a couple of years ago where almost nothing changed.

How did I know the DHS would not be shut down? You just have to follow the money. Continue reading

WH Plans To Develop A “Country Within A Country” Of 15 Million “New Americans”

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(Independent Sentinel) – The White House has plans to legalize 13 to 15 million illegal immigrants who will then establish a “country within a country.”

The following Mark Levin interview with Susan Payne is shocking but it also puts all the pieces into place.

WH Plans To Develop A “Country Within A Country” Of 15 Million “New Americans”

Susan Payne is a contributor to WCBM, Baltimore and Co-Host of the Pat McDonough Radio Show,

Unbeknownst to the Obama officials, Ms. Payne was invited to listen in on conference calls at an immigration rally. Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and 16 members of the White House cabinet were on the first call. White House officials were on all three calls.  What Ms. Payne learned needs to be immediately shared with Congress and the public. Continue reading

How the CIA made Google – Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet

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INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

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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

Google Pressure Cookers and Backpacks, Get a Visit from the Feds

Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which prompts the question: How’d the government know what they were Googling? Continue reading

Obama wins back the right to indefinitely detain under NDAA

 

 

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(RT) -The Obama administration has won the latest battle in their fight to indefinitely detain US citizens and foreigners suspected of being affiliated with terrorists under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.

Congress granted the president the authority to arrest and hold individuals accused of terrorism without due process under the NDAA, but Mr. Obama said in an accompanying signing statement that he will not abuse these privileges to keep American citizens imprisoned indefinitely. These assurances, however, were not enough to keep a group of journalists and human rights activists from filing a federal lawsuit last year, which contested the constitutionality of Section 1021, the particular provision that provides for such broad power. Continue reading

16 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True

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(The Truth) – Are you a conspiracy theorist?  If not, perhaps you should be.  Yes, there have certainly been a lot of “conspiracy theories” over the years that have turned out not to be accurate.  However, the truth is that a large number of very prominent conspiracy theories have turned out to actually be true.  So the next time that you run into some “tin foil hat wearing lunatics”, you might want to actually listen to what they have to say. They may actually know some things that you do not.  In fact, one recent study found that “conspiracy theorists” are actually more sane than the general population.  So the next time you are tempted to dismiss someone as a “conspiracy theorist”, just remember that the one that is crazy might actually be you.  The following are 16 popular conspiracy theories that turned out to be true…
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Source: Boston Police Department To File Complaint Against FBI Over The Handling Of The Boston Bombing.

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(CAV News) –  A person close to the Boston Police commissioner, Edward Davis, has told a source  that the department will be filing formal complaint against the FBI over the handling and sharing of information related to the Boston Bombing back in April. Continue reading

TSA: Keeping Travelers Safe by Inspecting Cars Left in Valet Parking

 

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(DailySheeple) – Now not only does the TSA thoroughly inspect your person and your carry-on bags – they can order an inspection of the car you left behind also.

A New York woman was shocked to return home from a trip to find a notice on her car informing her that it had been searched after her departure from Greater Rochester International Airport. Continue reading

We are watching you: ACLU reveals docs of mass license plate reader surveillance

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(RT) -The American Civil Liberties Union has released documents confirming that police license plate readers capture vast amounts of data on innocent people, and in many instances this intelligence is kept forever.

According to documents obtained through a number of Freedom of Information Act requests filed by ACLU offices across the United States, law enforcement agencies are tracking the whereabouts of innocent persons en masse by utilizing a still up-and-coming technology. Continue reading

160,000 Russian Troops Mobilized As World Watches Trayvon Martin Case

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(Intellihub) -Is the nation too distracted by the George Zimmerman trial’s 24/7 news cycle to even know about this developing situation that coincides with escalating tensions between Russia and US-affiliated nations around the world? Continue reading

Main Core: A List Of Millions Of Americans That Will Be Subject To Detention During Martial Law

Are you on the list?  Are you one of the millions of Americans that have been designated a threat to national security by the U.S. Prison-Camp-300x199government?  Will you be subject to detention when martial law is imposed during a major national emergency?  As you will see below, there is actually a list that contains the names of at least 8 million Americans known as Main Core that the U.S. intelligence community has been compiling since the 1980s.

A recent article on Washington’s Blog quoted a couple of old magazine articles that mentioned this program, and I was intrigued because I didn’t know what it was.  So I decided to look into Main Core, and what I found out was absolutely stunning – especially in light of what Edward Snowden has just revealed to the world.  It turns out that the U.S. government is not just gathering information on all of us.  The truth is that the U.S. government has used this information to create a list of threats to national security that the government would potentially watch, question or even detain during a national crisis.  If you have ever been publicly critical of the government, there is a very good chance that you are on that list.

The following is how Wikipedia describes Main Core…

Main Core is the code name of a database maintained since the 1980s by the federal government of the United States. Main Core contains personal and financial data of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data, which comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, and other sources, is collected and stored without warrants or court orders. The database’s name derives from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”

It was Christopher Ketchum of Radar Magazine that first reported on the existence of Main Core.  At the time, the shocking information that he revealed did not get that much attention.  That is quite a shame, because it should have sent shockwaves across the nation…

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a “national emergency.” Executive orders issued over the last three decades define it as a “natural disaster, military attack, [or] technological or other emergency,” while Department of Defense documents include eventualities like “riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, [and] disorder prejudicial to public law and order.” According to one news report, even “national opposition to U.S. military invasion abroad” could be a trigger.

So if that list contained 8 million names all the way back in 2008, how big might it be today?

That is a very frightening thing to think about.

Later on in 2008, Tim Shorrock of Salon.com also reported on Main Core…

Dating back to the 1980s and known to government insiders as “Main Core,” the database reportedly collects and stores — without warrants or court orders — the names and detailed data of Americans considered to be threats to national security. According to several former U.S. government officials with extensive knowledge of intelligence operations, Main Core in its current incarnation apparently contains a vast amount of personal data on Americans, including NSA intercepts of bank and credit card transactions and the results of surveillance efforts by the FBI, the CIA and other agencies. One former intelligence official described Main Core as “an emergency internal security database system” designed for use by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law.

So why didn’t this information get more attention at the time?

Well, if Obama had lost the 2008 election it might have.  But Obama won in 2008 and the liberal media assumed that he would end many of the abuses that were happening under Bush.  Of course that has not happened at all.  In fact, Obama has steadily moved the police state agenda ahead aggressively.  Edward Snowden has just made that abundantly clear to the entire world.

After 2008, it is unclear exactly what happened to Main Core.  Did it expand, change names, merge with other programs or get superseded by a new program?  It appears extremely unlikely that it simply faded away.  In light of what we have just learned about NSA snooping, someone should ask our politicians some very hard questions about Main Core.  According to Christopher Ketchum, the exact kind of NSA snooping that Edward Snowden has just described was being used to feed data into the Main Core database…

A host of publicly disclosed programs, sources say, now supply data to Main Core. Most notable are the NSA domestic surveillance programs, initiated in the wake of 9/11, typically referred to in press reports as “warrantless wiretapping.” In March, a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal shed further light onto the extraordinarily invasive scope of the NSA efforts: According to the Journal, the government can now electronically monitor “huge volumes of records of domestic e-mails and Internet searches, as well as bank transfers, credit card transactions, travel, and telephone records.” Authorities employ “sophisticated software programs” to sift through the data, searching for “suspicious patterns.” In effect, the program is a mass catalog of the private lives of Americans. And it’s notable that the article hints at the possibility of programs like Main Core. “The [NSA] effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called black programs whose existence is undisclosed,” the Journal reported, quoting unnamed officials. “Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach.”

The following information seems to be fair game for collection without a warrant: the e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, and the subject lines of those messages; the phone numbers you dial, the numbers that dial in to your line, and the durations of the calls; the Internet sites you visit and the keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards. All of this information is archived on government supercomputers and, according to sources, also fed into the Main Core database.

This stuff is absolutely chilling.

And there have been hints that such a list still exists today.

For example, the testimony of an anonymous government insider that was recently posted on shtfplan.com alluded to such a list…

“We know all this already,” I stated. He looked at me, giving me a look like I’ve never seen, and actually pushed his finger into my chest. “You don’t know jack,” he said, “this is bigger than you can imagine, bigger than anyone can imagine. This administration is collecting names of sources, whistle blowers and their families, names of media sources and everybody they talk to and have talked to, and they already have a huge list. If you’re not working for MSNBC or CNN, you’re probably on that list. If you are a website owner with a brisk readership and a conservative bent, you’re on that list. It’s a political dissident list, not an enemy threat list,” he stated.

What in the world is happening to America?

What in the world are we turning into?

As I mentioned in a previous article, the NSA gathers 2.1 million gigabytes of data on all of us every single hour.  The NSA is currently constructing a 2 billion dollar data center out in Utah to store all of this data.

If you are disturbed by all of this, now is the time to stand up and say something.  If this crisis blows over and people forget about all of this stuff again, the Big Brother surveillance grid that is being constructed all around us will just continue to grow and continue to become even more oppressive.

America is dying right in front of your eyes and time is running out.  Please stand up and be counted while you still can.

 

 

http://www.rightsidenews.com/2013061132689/us/homeland-security/main-core-a-list-of-millions-of-americans-that-will-be-subject-to-detention-during-martial-law.html

“It’s Not a Conspiracy Theory… It Is Happening Right Now”

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was originally established to protect American citizens from the federal use of military troops to enforce and execute the laws of the land unless expressly authorized by the Constitution or  Congress. Since then, for over a century, this task has fallen upon local and federal law enforcement. But with the War on Terror taking center stage in the United States for the last decade, elements within the government have been working tirelessly to expand the mission of the US military on the domestic front.

First, they passed the Patriot Act, which gave the government sweeping new powers to categorize any individual as a terrorist, whether they are operating on foreign lands or here at home. In 2011, as America brought in the New Year, they signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which made it possible for American citizens who were categorized as domestic terrorists under the Patriot Act to be detained and imprisoned indefinitely without charge or trial.

Finally, last week we learned that, as President Obama came under fire for the many scandals rocking his administration, the government was quietly moving to give the Department of Defense unprecedented authority on U.S. soil, effectively nullifying Posse Comitatus.

Eric Blair of Activist Post writes:

First, the senate is debating an expansion of the already broad powers of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) so the U.S. can essentially engage any area in the world in the war on terror, including America. Which brings us to the second development: the Pentagon has recently granted itself police powers on American soil.

Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Sheehan told Congress yesterday that the AUMF authorized the US military to operate on a worldwide battlefield from Boston to Pakistan.  Sheehan emphasized that the Administration is authorized to put boots on the ground wherever the enemy chooses to base themselves, essentially ignoring the declaration of war clause in the US Constitution.

While Americans were distracted with three developing scandals pushed by both wings of the mainstream media, sinister developments were taking place behind closed doors. In essence, the US military has granted itself the power to deploy troops on the streets of America without approval from the President or Congress, and the AUMF, which was originally designed to target the terrorists responsible for 9/11, has been expanded to give the government authority to use military assets on the domestic front without a declaration from Congress.

Charlie McGrath of Wide Awake News explains:

Thanks to the hard work of Eric Blair at Activist Post we understand that Washington D.C. has been very busy eroding your freedom.

In fact, Senator Angus King went so far as to say that the hearing he was involved in was the most astonishing and disturbing hearing he has ever seen.

Even John McCain, war hawk John McCain, came out and said the government has gone way beyond its authority.

What are they talking about? The AUMF – Authorization to Use Military Force.

This piece of legislation that was put into place way back when we started the war on terror that is now turning from foreign enemies to YOU. Don’t be shocked by that, because you are on the list if you are a freedom minded, free thinker that believes in a Constitutional Republic.

They are changing the wording of this thing so that the military can be used on the streets of this country.

It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s not some kind of a fancy fantasy that may come true down the road.

It is happening right now, in the guise of other news events that are not news events.

Even more terrifying is the fact that West Point has come out recently and said that you – if you have a theory that the federal government is trying to take over and implement a national police force – you could fall into the category of a domestic terrorist.

A domestic terrorist that can be dealt with by military force…

The only conspiracy here is what the government is telling us.

This legislation is real. The militarization of America is in full force. We are the targets.

 

 

 
http://investmentwatchblog.com/its-not-a-conspiracy-theory-it-is-happening-right-now/#Zc4MtLvG6JO3rlkj.99

Homeland Security’s New $3.9 Billion Headquarters

The construction site of the Department of Homeland Security's new headquarters, Feb. 15, 2012, in Washington, DC

President Barack Obama is trying to solve big problems in his proposed 2014 budget. His efforts to curtail entitlement spending have gotten most of the headlines. But he also seems determined to complete the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new headquarters, the largest federal construction project since the Pentagon rose in the 1940s. The cost: $3.9 billion.

The project would unite at a single location nearly all DHS’s 22 divisions devoted to thwarting terrorists and safeguarding the populace from natural and manmade disasters. The site is the campus of St. Elizabeth Hospital, a former federal asylum that was once the home of poet Ezra Pound and John Hinckley, Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin. There would be 4.5 million square feet of workspace in the new facility and ample employee parking.

The project’s supporters say the price tag is justified. They say it’s not easy to get the various DHS divisions to operate in concert with each other if they are scattered throughout the capital area. At the 2009 groundbreaking, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano herself made the casefor the agency’s costly new digs: “It will help us have meetings. It will help us create a culture of ‘one DHS.’”

It didn’t take long for the project to become mired in politics. House Republicans, a number of whom see the DHS as an inefficient and fiscally profligate bureaucracy, were loath to fund the new headquarters fully. A new headquarters for the U.S. Coast Guard, which involved more excavation than any real estate development in the District of Columbia’s history, moved forward. The rest of the endeavor languished, becoming a symbol of Washington dysfunction. The tighter integration that Napolitano promised also remained a work in progress. The DHS is on the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s “high risk” list, a distinction it shares with such troubled federal agencies as the U.S. Postal Service.

Now Obama is trying to ensure that the DHS headquarters eventually rises. On Wednesday, the president included $367 million in his budget to continue construction.

Getting the money won’t be easy. In February, one of the DHS’s more persistent naysayers, U.S. Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican, boasted about how he and his fellow party members had curtailed the project.He said he would also like to dismantle much of the DHS.

He’d better act swiftly. If the White House ever gets all the DHS’s divisions on one campus, nobody will want to move them again.

 

 

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-12/the-department-of-homeland-securitys-new-3-dot-9b-headquarters

Leak Shows US Hid The Truth About Drone Strikes

 

Activist Post

New evidence has emerged that proves the US intentionally lied about the true nature of its controversial drone strike operations.

The leaked intelligence documents reveal that the US has been targeting individuals who pose no immediate threat, with half of the slaughtered people being labeled simply as “unknown extremists.”

While the files obtained by the McClatchy news agency show half of the deceased as innocent, other calculations show that a more accurate percentage of innocents killed in Pakistan is as high as 80%.

The files also show that Pakistan’s intelligence agency was working with the US while its government was condemning the use of drone strikes.

The mainstream media likes to downplay the use of drone strikes, frequently reporting that the global death toll attributed to drone strikes is around 2,500, while the true figure could be almost double that according to Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham.

Whatever the true number of innocents killed, many of whom are children, the US has received constant international criticism for the use of these killer drones.

Jennifer Gibson, a lawyer working with the British human rights charity Reprieve, has also accused the US of hiding the truth: “There is now mounting evidence that the Obama administration is misleading the American public – and the world at large – about the drone war it is waging in Pakistan,” she said.

The reports show a significant number of the strikes have nothing to do with al-Qa’ida. Instead, they may have been a quid pro quo exchange between two countries’ spy agencies. The result is that the US often doesn’t know who it is killing.

The Obama administration, like the Bush Administration before it, has always claimed that use of drones are only to target those involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, senior members of al-Qa’ida and those plotting to attack the US.

In a 2012 interview with CNN, Obama said:

It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.

However, McClatchy has found that:

– At least 265 of up to 482 people who the U.S. intelligence reports estimated the CIA killed during a 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al Qaida leaders but instead were “assessed” as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists. Drones killed only six top al Qaida leaders in those months, according to news media accounts.

Forty-three of 95 drone strikes reviewed for that period hit groups other than al Qaida, including the Haqqani network, several Pakistani Taliban factions and the unidentified individuals described only as “foreign fighters” and “other militants.”

During the same period, the reports estimated there was a single civilian casualty, an individual killed in an April 22, 2011, strike in North Waziristan, the main sanctuary for militant groups in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

– At other times, the CIA killed people who only were suspected, associated with, or who probably belonged to militant groups.

To date, the Obama administration has not disclosed the secret legal opinions and the detailed procedures buttressing drone killings, and it has never acknowledged the use of so-called “signature strikes,” in which unidentified individuals are killed after surveillance shows behavior the U.S. government associates with terrorists, such as visiting compounds linked to al Qaida leaders or carrying weapons. Nor has it disclosed an explicit list of al Qaida’s “associated forces” beyond the Afghan Taliba

FBI sued over secretive mass surveillance program

 

Reuters / Chor Sokunthea

(RT) -A privacy watchdog group is suing the FBI over the agency’s failure to fulfill Freedom of Information Act requests for documents involving a secretive and expansive database that could be used to track down anyone, anywhere and at any time.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed the complaint [PDF] in United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation for failing to comply with a pair of FOIA request placed more than six months ago.

Last September, EPIC asked the FBI to explain their “Next Generation Identification,” or “NGI” program, a system that’s been building a database of biometric data such as DNA profiles, mug shots and iris scans in order to give law enforcement the ability to track down suspects without relying on more archaic methods. In 2012 the FBI said NGI is already more than 60 percent complete, and Assistant Director Tom Bush of the agency’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division said it will be “bigger, faster, and better” than the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) currently in place.

“Bigger,” the FBI wrote on their website in 2009, “because it will increase the capacity of our fingerprint storage plus house multimodal biometrics records like palm prints and iris scans,” all the while leaving room to accommodate for tracking methods that have yet to be perfected, such as voice analysis. Once the program is fully rolled out, the FBI says they should be able to narrow in on suspects in a matter of only 10 minutes.

The FBI doesn’t want NGI to pull data from just criminal databases, though. Because the agency wants NGI to work with public and private surveillance cameras around the country — of which EPIC estimates there are around 30 million in use at this time — the targets of investigation might not necessarily be the bad guys.

“The Department of Homeland Security has expended hundreds of millions of dollars to establish state and local surveillance systems, including CCTV [closed-circuit television] cameras that record the routine activities of millions of individuals,” EPIC writes. “The NGI system could be integrated with other surveillance technology, such as Trapwire, that would enable real-time image-matching of live feeds from CCTV surveillance cameras.”

Trapwire, a spy system uncovered by RT last year while analyzing emails hacked emails obtained from the Stratfor private intelligence firm, has already been sold to cities across the US including Washington, DC and New York, and lets customers scan the faces of people caught on surveillance cameras in only seconds. “TrapWire is a technology solution predicated upon behavior patterns in red zones to identify surveillance. It helps you connect the dots over time and distance,” the company said.

And although the FBI publically disclosed their NGI program for the first time nearly a decade ago, the agency has been unwilling this far to honor EPIC’s request for information. The NGI system will include facial recognition capabilities and will include photographs and biometric identified of millions of individuals who are neither criminals nor suspects, EPIC says, and the FBI has already been attempting to import human statistics pulled from the driver’s license profiles of residents in a number of states.

“The NGI database will include photographic images of millions of individuals who are neither criminals nor suspects,” write the attorneys for EPIC.

When EPIC attorney Ginger McCall sat down with Thom Hartmann in 2011 to discuss the NGI program on RT’s The Big Picture, she warned of what could happen when the FBI accumulates vast troves of data on people who, in some cases, aren’t even considered suspects in crimes.

 

“The way that this new database will be set up, it will allow for information to be input from state and local law enforcement,” McCall said. “That information could be brought in from commercial services; it could be brought in from covert surveillance.”

“In the past,” added McCall, “the FBI has had a bit of a problem. They’ve been putting in peaceful protesters and classifying them — misclassifying them — as terrorists. So there’s a lot of problems with these sorts of databases.”

Now half a year since EPIC first filed FOIA requests for records relating to NFI as well as any contracts with commercial entities and technical specifications, they are suing the FBI in order to force them to follow through.

“Defendant has failed to comply with statutory deadlines, has failed to grant expedited review of EPIC’s FOIA Requests, and has failed to disclose a single record. EPIC asks the Court to order immediate disclosure of all responsive records and to provide other appropriate relief as it may determine,” EPIC attorneys McCall, Marc Rotenberg and David Brody write in the complaint, dated April 8, 2013.

“It’s very problematic from a privacy standpoint and a freedom of expression standpoint,” McCall told Hartmann in 2011. “There’s a real chilling effect on freedom of expression when you feel that you’re constantly being surveilled by the government.”

DHS Tests Gun-Sensing Drones In Oklahoma

 

(HSToday) -The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is testing a wide variety of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) sensor platforms, including one that can determine whether individuals are armed or unarmed, for use by first responders and frontline homeland security professionals.

 

The testing is taking place at the Oklahoma Training Center for Unmanned Systems (OTC-UC), a unit of University Multispectral Laboratories (UML), a not-for-profit scientific institution operated for Oklahoma State University (OSU) by Anchor Dynamics, Inc. UML is a “Trusted Agent” for the federal government, technology developers and operators.

 

DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) Borders and Maritime Security Division’s Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) testing program is evaluating numerous SUA and sensor systems to identify possible applications for first responders, including search-and-rescue scenarios, response to radiological and chemical incidents and fire response and mapping. In addition, the testing will help to determine whether SUAs are suitable for use by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Coast Guard to provide lower altitude, quick response situational awareness in tactical situations.

 

SUAS sensor platforms are being tested for use by “first responder and homeland security operational communities” that “can distinguish between unarmed and armed (exposed) personnel,” as well as conducting detection, surveillance, tracking and laser designation of targets of interest at stand-off ranges, according to the RAPS Test Plan obtained by Homeland Security Today.

 

There’s also a requirement to test SUAS sensors for how well they can capture crime and accident “scene data with still-frame, high definition photos.”

 

But there’s nothing nefarious about having these sensor capabilities on SUAs for the needs of law enforcement and other first responders, said a RAPS program official, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program publicly. DHS’s chief privacy official concluded that the testing program posed no privacy issues in the Nov. 16 Privacy Impact Assessment for the RAPS Project.

 

The RAPS Test Plan also involves testing sensor suites to “enhance the search and rescue capabilities of first responders by increasing [their] situational awareness.” And to that end, SUA sensors are being tested for their ability to “locate and provide the position of targets of interest satisfactorily for search and rescue personnel in a variety of terrain and day conditions.”

 

To enhance fire and disaster response capabilities of first responders by increasing their situational awareness, SUA sensors are being tested for their ability to locate and provide the position of fire or hot spots despite the presence of objects that obscure their line-of-site; locate and provide the position and concentration of chemical agents; and locate and provide the position and concentration of radiological agents.

 

The RAPS Test Plan explained that “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems may soon become valuable tools for first and emergency responders and for those responsible for US border security.” It emphasized that “SUAS can provide tactical, rapid-response capabilities and much better situational awareness before field officers and agents respond to and engage in potentially dangerous operations.”

 

The test plan explained that “Within the United States, almost 50,000 police and fire departments exist but only about 300 (less than 1 percent) have aviation departments, owing primarily to the significant cost of acquiring, operating and maintaining manned fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms. The estimated cost per flight hour for these assets is 300 times more expensive than commercially available SUAS which can be operated at costs lower than those of a typical police cruiser. But for state, county or city entities to become potential users of SUAS, their adoption must be justifiable and affordable. Improved sensor and platform capabilities, and economies of scale, now bring SUAS within reach of the budgets of many small first responder organizations.”

 

“Considering the size and diversity of the user communities targeted by this program,” the RAPS Test Plan said, “our approach concerning SUAS requirements is to focus primarily on advancing the near-term transition of good, affordable SUAS capabilities using relatively mature solutions. Working closely with senior law enforcement and fire operators in the field, we derived high-level SUAS needs tied to notional, top-priority scenarios for SUAS that, if realized, may or would provide good value to users — depending partly on the results of testing as envisioned” in the RAPS testing plan.

 

Consequently, the test plan explained that “The purpose of [the RAPS] project is to assess the extent to which SUAS can enhance situational awareness in support of first responder and border security events,” the test plan says, noting that “such events include, but are not limited to, law enforcement response, fire response, search and rescue, response to hazardous material (HAZMAT) spills or incidents and response to intrusions at US international borders.” In addition, “Where feasible and applicable, our testing will verify SUAS performance characteristics that may impact their eventual integration into the National Air Space System.”

 

“As one of many first responder support initiatives within DHS S&T, the primary outcome of RAPS will be a knowledge and database resource consisting of test reports, user testimonials and guidelines for adoption by the operational community,” the RAPS Test Plan pointed out. “The RAPS team will study fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft having gross takeoff weights of 25 lbs. or less, typically, using key performance measures in a variety of simulated but realistic, real-world operational scenarios that focus on the use of SUAS technology in response to situations where human lives are in imminent danger.”

 

The RAPS testing is being carried out at the Ft. Sill Army Post near Lawton, Okla. because DHS found the Army base “to be the optimal site to conduct RAPS test operations,” the test plan said. “The ready availability of restricted airspace at Ft. Sill and its central location within the continental US make it logistically accessible and convenient to participating vendors.” In addition, the test plan said “the Ft. Sill test sites offer good flying conditions year-round and provide a variety of terrain features needed for conducting search-and-rescue and other test scenarios.”

 

Oklahoma has emerged as a leader in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). DHS is working closely with the state on the RAPS program through Gov. Mary Fallin’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Council, as the federal initiative is being conducted through OSU’s University Multispectral Laboratories’ advanced testing facility that’s uniquely positioned within Ft. Sill’s 200 square miles of restricted airspace.

 

“The strong support of the State of Oklahoma first responder community underscored the benefits of the Ft. Sill test site,” DHS said.

 

“Aerospace represents a significant portion of our state economy and UAS is expected to be the most dynamic growth sector within the aerospace industry in the next decade,” said Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma (USA-OK) President, James L. Grimsley. “This is an important time for the unmanned aerial systems industry and for Oklahoma.”

 

“Successful SUAS test operations at Ft. Sill may lead, later, to more complex SUAS operational testing at two other Oklahoma sites,” the RAPS Test Plan said. These sites are the Oklahoma National Guard’s Camp Gruber and the University Multispectral Laboratory’s test site at Chilocco, Okla., “both of which have varied and realistic urban complex facilities.”

 

The RAPS program began with DHS’s Request for Information (RFI) issued on Sept. 24, 2012 seeking white papers from SUAS vendors interested in participating in the testing project. The deadline for the papers was Oct. 31, 2012.

 

However, the testing program “is not linked to any intended procurement action, nor does it imply intent to initiate such action,” DHS explained.

 

Public and congressional concerns over the expanding use of UAVs of all kinds by federal, state and local law enforcement were exacerbated recently following a report by CNET.com that DHS has “customized its Predator drones” to be able to “identify civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones.”

 

CNET.com reported that DHS’s “specifications for its drones … ‘shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not,’” and that “They also specify ‘signals interception’ technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones and ‘direction finding’ technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.”

 

The disclosure was based on an apparent “unredacted copy” of the May 26, 2005, CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM) Performance Specification for the DHS/Customs and Border Protection Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System document that DHS released in redacted form to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

 

An updated March 10, 2010 CBP OAM performance specifications document for CBP’s Predator B UAV also was obtained by EPIC under the FOIA, and portions of it also were redacted.

 

Most of the redactions, though, were made pursuant to legitimate FOIA exemptions authorizing the withholding of records compiled for law enforcement purposes or that would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations.

 

Much of the redacted information deals with sensitive operational and performance capabilities of CBP’s fleet of Predators, as well sensitive technical data on the UAVs’ sensor packages and specifications.

 

A CBP spokesman told CNET.com the agency “is not deploying signals interception capabilities on its UAS fleet. Any potential deployment of such technology in the future would be implemented in full consideration of civil rights, civil liberties and privacy interests and in a manner consistent with the law and long-standing law enforcement practices.”

 

DHS’s RAPS Program Manager, Dr. John Appleby, told Homeland Security Today the department “is very sensitive to the privacy and civil rights issues that are involved with our [UAV] systems and testing.”

 

But privacy rights advocates don’t see it that way. EPIC’s Ginger McCall, director of the group’s Open Government Project, has said CBP’s UAS requirements documents “clearly evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is developing drones with signals interception technology and the capability to identify people on the ground,” and that “This allows for invasive surveillance, including potential communications surveillance, that could run afoul of federal privacy laws.”

 

A DHS official who spoke to Homeland Security Today on background about the issue explained that CBP needed to have “a whole host of requirements for its [Predators] for all possible needs to support border security operations, but that doesn’t mean they’re all being used … people jump to all sorts of conclusions based on what they think they know or understand.”

 

The official said the Predators are capable of distinguishing whether objects detected on the ground are people, animals, vehicles or something else, and emphasized that this capability is needed when, for example, the UAVs are being used to support Border Patrol agents on the ground who are trying to apprehend human- or narco-traffickers in difficult terrain or circumstances, or when conducting border surveillance missions for potential illegal cross-border activity.

 

But this capability isn’t any different from ground-based radar that can distinguish between a human and a truck CBP has tested that may be incorporated into its Integrated Fixed Tower program Homeland Security Today examined in detail last Oct.

 

As for the deployment of communications interception technology on CBP’s Predators, officials adamantly said there are numerous legal issues involved “that would have to be worked out” before this capability can routinely be used.

Reid’s Gun Control Bill Makes a Missing Firearm a Ticket to Five Years in Prison

 

(The Foundry) – Under Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) gun control bill (S. 649), if somebody steals your firearm or you lose it, you can go to prison for up to five years if you have not reported the theft or loss to local police and to Attorney General Eric Holder within 24 hours.

The provision merits ridicule for treating as a felon someone who misplaces a firearm and does not report it to the police and the federal government fast enough.

Section 123 of the Reid bill adds a new provision to section 922 of title 18 of the U.S. Code:

It shall be unlawful for any person who lawfully possesses or owns a firearm that has been shipped or transported in, or has been possessed in or affecting, interstate or foreign commerce, to fail to report the theft or loss of the firearm, within 24 hours after the person discovers the theft or loss, to the Attorney General and to the appropriate local authorities.

It also amends section 924 of title 18 so that a violation of the 24-hour reporting requirement committed “knowingly” is punishable by up to five years in prison or a criminal fine, or both. To punish someone who “knowingly” violates the 24-hour rule might sound reasonable to some people—until you know what a lawyer means by the word “knowingly” when it comes to a criminal statute.

The Supreme Court said in Bryan v. U.S. in 1994 that when a federal statute punishes someone for a crime committed “willfully,” the federal government must prove at trial that the individual knew that his conduct was unlawful. However, the Court also said that, when the statute provides that the government must prove merely that the crime was committed “knowingly,” the government does not have to prove that the individual knew that his or her conduct was unlawful. Thus, an individual who knew his or her gun was missing and did not report it to local authorities and the Attorney General in 24 hours would potentially face five years in prison.

It is not reasonable to send an individual to prison for up to five years for failing to tell local authorities and the federal government, within 24 hours, that his or her firearm is lost or was stolen, given that a reasonable person would never know that failure to make such a report, let alone within 24 hours, is a crime. Even someone who has the presence of mind to report promptly to local police or the sheriff’s office that a firearm is missing would be highly unlikely to know that such a report to local authorities was not good enough and that he or she must tell the Attorney General of the United States, too.

It is one thing to assign a legal duty to a firearms owner to report missing firearms, but it is quite another thing to exercise the draconian power of the federal government to make failing in that duty a federal crime. It is doubly inappropriate to give someone prison time for failing to tell the Attorney General that his or her gun was missing, when no reasonable person would know that failing to make such a report within 24 hours was a federal crime.

Also, the drafters of the legislation failed to take sufficiently into account the nature of rural life and hunting in the United States. Some people who own firearms within the United States do not have the ability to communicate with anybody (let alone the Attorney General of the United States) within 24 hours—think, for example, of a hunter deep in the wilds of Alaska who loses a firearm in a river.

Under no circumstances should Congress make it a federal crime to fail to report a missing firearm within 24 hours to local authorities and the Attorney General. It is an unreasonable use of power to define as a federal crime conduct that no reasonable person would know was a federal crime.

Hey everyone look at where $3million of your taxdollars went to:Now Your iPhone Can Read Fingerprints, Scan Irises and ID Your Face

(Wired) -AOptix has built a biometrics tool that turns your iPhone 4 & 4S into a device that reads a person’s most unique physical features. Photo: AOptix

Cops and soldiers may soon be able to pull out their iPhones to track the eyes, facial features, voice and fingerprints of suspected criminals and combatants.

The California-based company AOptix rolled out a new hardware and app package that transforms an iPhone into a mobile biometric reader. As first reported by Danger Room in February, AOptix is the recipient of a $3 million research contract from the Pentagon for its on-the-go biometrics technology.

Opting for what it considers ease of use, the company decided to build its latest biometrics package, which it calls Stratus, atop an iPhone. A peripheral covering wraps around the phone — it’s an inch and a half thick, three inches wide and six inches tall — while the AOptix Stratus app presents a user interface familiar to any iOS user. Except you’re not going to be recording Vine videos, you’re going to be recording the most unique physical features of another human being.

“From an end-user perspective, it’s much, much smaller, lighter and easier to use an app-based capability” than the bulky biometrics tools currently in military use, Joey Pritikin, an AOptix vice president, tells Danger Room. “Anyone who’s used an iPhone before can pick this up and use it.”

 

Here’s a look at the user interface on the AOptix Stratus iPhone app for when you’re trying to scan someone’s face. Image: AOptix.

The Stratus system is designed to be a “single-handed” device, Pritikin explains. Load the app and tap for iris scanning or facial recognition. The imaging display, readable from about 11 inches distant and using nothing more than the iPhone’s camera, will automatically focus and snap the shot. The phone’s ambient microphone handles voice recording, but fingerprint scanning comes from the back of the Stratus peripheral wraparound, not the iPhone’s touchscreen. Unlike a similar product from Tactivo, there’s no smartcard reader, but it scans more biometric data than someone’s fingerprint.

Anyone who’s ever used an iPhone will also be familiar with the Stratus app’s user experience for typing in annotations to the biometrics collected: small fields that look like any other iOS text feature allow quick notations. Standard iPhone geo-tagging is easy to enable, as a demo walkthrough AOptix showed Danger Room demonstrated. SMTP email functions transmit the biometric information back to a customer’s database. And an open architecture allows Stratus customers to develop their own add-ons.

But Stratus “is not a 99-cent application,” clarifies Amanda North, AOptix’s marketing vice president. The app sells for $199, and the company isn’t disclosing how much its peripheral costs. While conceivably any individual who wants to drop that much money can rig his or her iPhone for biometric collection can, “it’s not a consumer application,” North says.

It’s also not designed for every iPhone: AOptix built Stratus for the iPhone 4 and 4S, citing what it says was customer request. It doesn’t work with the iPhone 5, and the company isn’t saying what its plans are for future iPhone upgrades.

AOptix doesn’t specify its customers, but they’re from the U.S. government: Pritikin says the company has “substantial interest across a wide variety of agencies, not just DOD [the Department of Defense].” At a time of government austerity, it’s a bit curious that the company would have picked high-end Apple devices for its mobile biometrics platform: the Army, for instance, likes cheaper Android phones. Pritikin says AOptix chose iOS because it’s “a much more secure platform.”

The company may not intend Stratus to be a standard consumer product. And its expensive app and hardware may dissuade the average iPhone user from operating a biometrics collection suite from his or her pocket. But the Stratus is just the latest example of how sensitive biometrics data is increasingly collectable through readily available commercial devices.

Drone strikes kill, maim and traumatize too many civilians, U.S. study says

A Pakistani man burns an American flag during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in Multan on February 9, 2012.

 

(CNN) — U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, have traumatized innocent residents and largely been ineffective, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — about 2%.

The report accuses Washington of misrepresenting drone strikes as “a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the U.S. safer,” saying that in reality, “there is significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.”

It also casts doubts on Washington’s claims that drone strikes produce zero to few civilian casualties and alleges that the United States makes “efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability.”

The drone strike program has long been controversial, with conflicting reports on its impact from U.S. and Pakistani officials and independent organizations.

President Barack Obama told CNN last month that a target must meet “very tight and very strict standards,” and John Brennan, the president’s top counter-terrorism adviser, said in April that in “exceedingly rare” cases, civilians have been “accidentally injured, or worse, killed in these strikes.”

In contrast to more conservative U.S. statements, the Stanford/NYU report — titled “Living Under Drones” — offers starker figures published by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent organization based at City University in London.

“TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 – 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 – 881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228 – 1,362 individuals,” according to the Stanford/NYU study.

Based on interviews with witnesses, victims and experts, the report accuses the CIA of “double-striking” a target, moments after the initial hit, thereby killing first responders.

It also highlights harm “beyond death and physical injury,” publishing accounts of psychological trauma experienced by people living in Pakistan’s tribal northwest region, who it says hear drones hover 24 hours a day.

“Before this we were all very happy,” the report quotes an anonymous resident as saying. “But after these drones attacks a lot of people are victims and have lost members of their family. A lot of them, they have mental illnesses.”

People have to live with the fear that a strike could come down on them at any moment of the day or night, leaving behind dead whose “bodies are shattered to pieces,” and survivors who must be desperately sped to a hospital.

The report concedes that “real threats to U.S. security and to Pakistani civilians exist in the Pakistani border areas now targeted by drones.” And it acknowledges that drone strikes have “killed alleged combatants and disrupted armed actor networks.”

But it concludes that drone strikes, which are conducted by the CIA in a country not at war with the United States, are too harmful to civilians, too sloppy, legally questionable and do more harm to U.S. interests than good.

“A significant rethinking of current U.S. targeted killing and drone strike policies is long overdue,” it says. “U.S. policy-makers, and the American public, cannot continue to ignore evidence of the civilian harm and counter-productive impacts of U.S. targeted killings and drone strikes in Pakistan.”

The study recommends that Washington undertake measures to rectify collateral damage — including making public detailed legal justification for strikes, implementing mechanisms transparently to account for civilian casualties, ensuring independent investigations into drone strike deaths, prosecuting cases of civilian casualties and compensating civilians harmed by U.S. strikes in Pakistan.

Nine months of research went into the report, according to its authors, which included “two investigations in Pakistan, more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands of pages of documentation and media reporting.”

U.S. authorities have largely kept quiet on the subject of drone strikes in Pakistan.

However, the use of armed drones to target and kill suspected terrorists has increased dramatically during the Obama administration, according to Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank that monitors drone strikes.

Obama has already authorized 283 strikes in Pakistan, six times more than the number during President George W. Bush’s eight years in office, Bergen wrote earlier this month. As a result, the number of estimated deaths from the Obama administration’s drone strikes is more than four times what it was during the Bush administration — somewhere between 1,494 and 2,618.

However, an analysis by the New America Foundation says that the civilian casualty rate from drone strikes has been dropping sharply since 2008 despite the rising death toll.

“The number of civilians plus those individuals whose precise status could not be determined from media reports — labeled ‘unknowns’ by NAF — reported killed by drones in Pakistan during Obama’s tenure in office were 11% of fatalities,” said Bergen. “So far in 2012 it is close to 2%. Under President Bush it was 33%.”

The foundation’s analysis relies on credible media outlets in Pakistan, which in turn rely on Pakistani officials and local villagers’ accounts, Bergen said, rather than on U.S. figures.

The drone program is deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where the national parliament voted in April to end any authorization for it. This, however, was “a vote that the United States government has simply ignored,” according to Bergen.

Obama told CNN’s Jessica Yellin this month that the use of armed drones was “something that you have to struggle with.”

“If you don’t, then it’s very easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules thinking that the ends always justify the means,” he continued. “That’s not been our tradition. That’s not who we are as a country.”

Obama also addressed his criteria for lethal action in the interview, although he repeatedly declined to acknowledge any direct involvement in selecting targets.

“It has to be a target that is authorized by our laws. It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States,” Obama said.

His security adviser, Brennan, gave the Obama administration’s first public justification for drone strikes in his April speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think-tank.

Such strikes are used when capture is not a feasible option and are conducted “in full accordance with the law,” Brennan said.

“We only authorize a strike if we have a high degree of confidence that innocent civilians will not be injured or killed, except in the rarest of circumstances,” he said.

Despite the “extraordinary precautions” taken by the United States, Brennan said, civilians “have been accidentally injured, or worse, killed in these strikes. It is exceedingly rare, but it has happened. When it does, it pains us, and we regret it deeply, as we do any time innocents are killed in war.”

Brennan also cited the “the seriousness, the extraordinary care” taken by Obama and his national security team in deciding whether to use lethal force.

The London-based rights organization Reprieve, which with the help of a partner organization in Pakistan facilitated access to some of the people interviewed for the Stanford/NYU study, backed its finding that the drone program causes wider damage than is acknowledged by the U.S. government.

“This shows that drone strikes go much further than simply killing innocent civilians. An entire region is being terrorized by the constant threat of death from the skies,” said Reprieve’s director, Clive Stafford Smith.

“Their way of life is collapsing: kids are too terrified to go to school, adults are afraid to attend weddings, funerals, business meetings, or anything that involves gathering in groups. Yet there is no end in sight, and nowhere the ordinary men, women and children of North West Pakistan can go to feel safe.”

Now Obama Targets Your FedEx, UPS Packages

fedexups

(WND) -The Obama administration is demanding the nation’s two biggest shipping companies police the contents of Americans’ sealed packages, and a FedEx spokesman is warning that the move “has the potential to threaten the privacy of all customers that send or receive packages.”

FedEx and UPS are in the Justice Department’s cross-hairs for not flagging shipments of illegally prescribed drugs the companies say they had no way of knowing were in their possession.

Criminal charges could be coming against the carriers, even though the government has not alleged any deliberate wrongdoing by the companies.

FedEx spokesman Patrick Fitzgerald said his company has a 40-year history of actively assisting the government crackdown on any criminal conduct, but he told WND this probe was very different from the start.

“What is unusual and really disturbing is it became clear to us along the way that FedEx was being targeted for some level criminal activity as it relates to these medicines that are being shipped from pharmacies, and we find it to be completely absurd because it’s really not our role,” Fitzgerald said. “We have no way of knowing what is legal and not within the packages that we’re picking up and delivering in this situation.”

“At the heart of the investigation are sealed packages that are being sent by, as far as we can tell, licensed pharmacies. These are medicines with legal prescriptions written by licensed physicians. So it’s difficult for us to understand where we would have some role in this. We are a transportation company that picks up and delivers close to 10 million packages every day. They are sealed packages, so we have no way of knowing specifically what’s inside and we have no interest in violating the privacy rights of our customers,” Fitzgerald said.

In addition to the unrealistic expectation that the federal government seems to have for the companies to know what’s in every package, Fitzgerald said protecting the rights of customers is paramount and the issues go hand-in-hand.

“They clearly are attempting to put some responsibility for the legality of the contents of these packages. That’s why for us it goes far beyond even just the online pharmacy situation. This really has a chilling effect. It has the potential to threaten the privacy of all customers that send or receive packages via FedEx because the government is assigning a role on us as law enforcement or taking on their role in a way that is not appropriate,” Fitzgerald said.

FedEx sought to diffuse the standoff by offering to stop doing business with any pharmacies that the government suspected to be involved in illegal activities. The Justice Department declined, citing the potential for the pharmacies to sue over a lack of due process.

“If the government were to come to us and give us the name of a customer that’s engaged in some level of illegal activity, we can immediately stop shipping for that customer. We will not tolerate any illegal activity within our networks,” Fitzgerald said. “What we want here is a solution that will apply for the entire industry and serve the public’s interest. That’s why we find it completely absurd and, to a large degree, stunning that the government is not working with us on that solution as they have with other problems in the past. As long as they’re not doing that, there’s really no solution even if they were to pursue an investigation or criminal charges against a specific company. There needs to be an industry-wide solution that will put a stop to this problem.”

That leaves FedEx and UPS with the task of stopping illegal shipments from sources the government will not divulge.

“The comparison that we’ve made is a no-fly list. It’s as if the government were to go to major commercial airlines and accuse them of some level of criminal activity if they were to allow somebody on the no-fly list onto one of their planes without providing them a no-fly list,” Fitzgerald said. “What we want here is the no-fly list for online pharmacies. If they are aware of some level of illegal activity by some number of pharmacies, simply provide us that list and we will stop providing service. It’s a very simple solution.”

Fitzgerald said no other private carriers are being targeted by the Justice Department, and he has no evidence to suggest this probe is designed to boost the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service at the expense of private competitors.

UPS is currently negotiating a settlement with the government, but FedEx is fighting this all the way.

“Settlement is not an option for us when there’s no illegal activity on our part,” Fitzgerald said.

When Did Peaceful Protests Become ‘Anti-Government Rallies’?

bullshit

(Activist Post) -I love my children more than anything in the world, as I’m sure all of the parents reading this can relate.  It’s a strange way to start a post about free speech and word manipulation, but I assure you it’s relevant.

The recent story of a couple kidnapping their own children from a court-appointed custodian after having their parental rights stripped has jarred me to the core. This could easily be me, or you.

What did the parents do that was so awful that they lost permanent parental rights of their boys?

ABC reports:

According to earlier information, the couple lost custody of the two boys after attending an anti-government rally in Louisiana. The father was charged with possession of drugs (pot) in the presence of the children. (my emphasis and additions).

What really shocked me in this story was the use of “anti-government rally” in place of peaceful protest.  Aren’t all protests for redress of grievances “anti-government”?

I realized that this was done very deliberately, and not the first time I’ve seen this subtle tactic used to bastardize the First Amendment right to free speech. In fact, it is now frequently used in place of “demonstrations” or “protests” in news headlines everywhere.  Google “anti-government rally” and have fun scrolling.

It seems that when the establishment dislikes the message of a given demonstration they call it an “anti-government rally” ever-so-slightly invoking thoughts of Klan rallies and all the emotional triggers that come with it. Just like how all pro-Second Amendment demonstrations are referred to as “gun rallies”.

Compare this rhetoric of the Arab Spring or Uprising, or Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Anti-government rally was NEVER used by the establishment to describe those protests. So when it is used, its negative connotation is clearly being used for a purpose.

But for what? To change the definition of peaceful protesters to something more insidious? Or to soil free speech altogether? Or both?

The right to peaceably assemble has already become criminalized.  People protesting too close to public buildings in America are now felons thanks to the passage of HR 347, the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011,” or “Trespass Act.”

It seems that was the beginning of demonizing protests as anti-government.

In a free society there is nothing wrong with protesting the government’s actions, or even in the term anti-government. Yet, since the war-on-terror-industrial complex seems to have run out of Islamic villains to demonize, detain indefinitely, torture, or drone bomb, a new enemy had to be invented to keep the money flowing and civil liberties suppressed.

The US Justice Department and Homeland Security have been cleverly, deliberately, and methodically swapping in the “anti-government” label for terrorist. Without ever really defining what anti-government means, they both officially state that “anti-government” Americans are now the biggest threat in the war on terror.

A Fusion Center in Arkansas, which coordinates anti-terror activity between the DHS and local law enforcement, recently announced that they don’t spy on all Americans without a warrant, just the ones on the anti-government list.

How comforting, since the label is conveniently broad enough that potentially anyone who complains about the government, a policy, or a politician could be on the anti-government watch list. This is nearly anyone who’s even remotely paying attention by the way. And it seems these poor parents in the story above made it to this dreaded list.

Now they have been pushed to extreme measures by a ridiculously intrusive government that would have your kids, too, if they caught you with weed at an anti-prohibition rally. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I would have the willpower not to tie up the custodian and kidnap my own children if I was an actor in this made-for-TV movie.

I’m radically opposed to the policy that led to these children being stripped from their parents, which must make me anti-government.  I’m disgusted that marijuana, a perfectly safe and helpful plant, remains illegal while alcohol freely flows. Strike two for being anti-government. And I despise that my own government spies on me, suppresses my free speech rights, and lumps me in with violent extremists. Strike three.

Add me to your list. I’ll see you at the next rally.

The Anger Phase Of Humanity Is Coming

Do not use Safety Deposit Boxes

(dinarvets.com) U.S DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY HAS TOLD BANKS – IN WRITING – IT MAY INSPECT SAFE DEPOSIT BOXES WITHOUT WARRANT AND SEIZE ANY GOLD, SILVER, GUNS OR OTHER VALUABLES IT FINDS INSIDE THOSE BOXES!

According to in-house memos now circulating, the DHS has issued orders to banks across America which announce to them that “under the Patriot Act” the DHS has the absolute right to seize, without any warrant whatsoever, any and all customer bank accounts, to make “periodic and unannounced” visits to any bank to open and inspect the contents of “selected safe deposit boxes.”

Further, the DHS “shall, at the discretion of the agent supervising the search, remove, photograph or seize as evidence” any of the following items “bar gold, gold coins, firearms of any kind unless manufactured prior to 1878, documents such as passports or foreign bank account records, pornography or any material that, in the opinion of the agent, shall be deemed of to be of a contraband nature.”

DHS memos also state that banks are informed that any bank employee, on any level, that releases “improper” “classified DHS Security information” to any member of the public, to include the customers whose boxes have been clandestinely opened and inspected and “any other party, to include members of the media” and further “that the posting of any such information on the internet will be grounds for the immediate termination of the said employee or employees and their prosecution under the Patriot Act.” Safety deposit box holders and depositors are not given advanced notice when failed banks shut their doors.

If people have their emergency money in a safe deposit box or an account in a bank that closes, they will not be allowed into the bank to get it out. They can knock on the door and beg to get in but the sheriff’s department or whoever is handling the closure will simply say “no” because they are just following orders.

Deposit box and account holders are not warned of the hazards of banking when they sign up. It is not until they need to get their cash or valuables out in a hurry that they find themselves in trouble.

Rules governing access to safe deposit boxes and money held in accounts are written into the charter of each bank. The charter is the statement of policy under which the bank is allowed by the government to do business. These rules are subject to change at any time by faceless bureaucrats who are answerable to no one. They can be changed without notice, without the agreement of the people, and against their will. People can complain but no one will care because this is small potatoes compared to the complaints that will be voiced when the executive order that governs national emergencies is enforced.

That order allows the suspension of habeas corpus and all rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.

A look at the fine print of the contract signed when a safety deposit box is opened reveals that in essence the signer has given to the bank whatever property he has put into that deposit box. When times are good people will be allowed open access to their safe deposit box and the property that is in it. This also applies to their bank accounts.

But when times get really bad, many may find that the funds they have placed on deposit and the property they thought was secured in the safe deposit box now belong to the bank, not to them. Although this was probably not explained to them when they signed their signature card, this is what they were agreeing to.

During the Great Depression in the early 1930’s people thought that many banks were going to fail. They were afraid they would lose their money so they went in mass to take it out, in what is known as a run on the banks. The government closed the banks to protect them from angry depositors who wanted their money back. Throughout history, governments have acted to protect the interests of banks and the wealthy people who own them, not the interests of depositors or box holders.

In a time of emergency, people will have no recourse if access to their safe deposit box and bank accounts is denied. If they are keeping money in a bank that would be needed in an emergency or in a time when credit is no longer free flowing, they may not be able to get it out of the bank. The emergency may occur at night or on a weekend or holiday when the bank is closed.

The solution is to take emergency cash or valuables out of the safe deposit box or bank account and secure them somewhere else, like in a home safe. An even better idea may be to close the safe deposit box account completely, letting someone else entertain the illusion of safety.

Americans have learned a few things since the Great Depression. They now have the FDIC to liquidate any failed banks.

The FDIC promises to set up a series of dates and times when safe deposit box renters can access their boxes by appointment to remove their property and surrender their keys. The FDIC also promises to mail bank customers an announcement of the dates for such events and include a question and answer page that addresses safe deposit box access.

The people have the FDIC to give them back the money they had on deposit that they were unable to get out of any failed bank that carries FDIC insurance. Sheila Bair, head of the FDIC, promises that depositor`s money will be available in 24 hours or less. But people should remember that the FDIC is just another bureaucracy, and it`s probably best not to rely on a bureaucracy in an emergency.

THE SAME HOLDS TRUE FOR STORAGE FACILITIES

DON’T PUT ANYTHING VALUABLE AND/OR NON-REPLACEABLE IN ANY BANK OR STORAGE FACILITY

 

Note: We’ve been asked to site sources for this article but we did not write it, the source in which it came from is at the top. Also see this,  http://investmentwatchblog.com/u-s-department-of-homeland-security-has-told-banks-in-writing-it-may-inspect-safe-deposit-boxes-without-warrant-and-sieze-any-gold-silver-guns-or-other-valuables-it-finds-inside-those-boxes/

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.

The NYT and Obama officials collaborate to prosecute Awlaki after he’s executed

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(Guardian) -The New York Times and the Obama administration have created a disturbing collaborative pattern that asserted itself again on Sunday with the paper’s long article purporting to describe the events leading up to the execution by the CIA of US citizen Anwar Awlaki. Time and again, the Obama administration shrouds what it does with complete secrecy, and then uses that secrecy to avoid judicial review of its actions and/or compelled statutory disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. “Oh, we’re so sorry”, says the Obama DOJ, “but we cannot have courts deciding if what we did is legal, nor ordering us to disclose information under FOIA, because these programs are so very secret that any disclosure would seriously jeopardize national security”.

But then, senior Obama officials run to the New York Times by the dozens, demand (and receive) anonymity, and then spout all sorts of claims about these very same programs that are designed to justify what the US government has done and to glorify President Obama. The New York Times helpfully shields these officials – who are not blowing any whistles, but acting as government spokespeople – from being identified, and then mindlessly regurgitates their assertions as fact. It’s standard government stenography, administration press releases masquerading as in-depth news articles.

Sunday’s lengthy NYT article on the Awlaki killing by Mark Mazzetti, Charlie Savage and Scott Shane is a classic case of this arrangement. It purports to provide “an account of what led to the Awlaki strike” that is “based on interviews with three dozen current and former legal and counterterrorism officials and outside experts”. But what it really does is simply summarize the unverified justifications of the very officials involved in the killing, most of whom are permitted to justify themselves while hiding behind anonymity. It devotes itself with particular fervor to defending the actions of former Obama OLC lawyers David Barron and Marty Lederman, who concocted the theories to authorize due-process-free assassinations of American citizens (those same Democratic lawyers were, needless to say, among the most vocal critics of the Bush administration’s War on Terror policies that denied due process and relied on rampant secrecy).

There are many points to make about all of this. To begin with, will the Obama administration – which has persecuted whistleblowers with an unprecedented fervor and frequency – launch a criminal investigation to determine the identity of the “three dozen current and former legal and counterterrorism officials” who spoke to the NYT about the classified Awlaki hit, or, as usual, are such punishments reserved for those who embarrass rather than glorify the president?

Moreover, why can Obama officials run to the NYT after the fact and make all sorts of claims about the mountains of evidence supposedly proving Awlaki’s guilt, but not have done the same thing in a court of law prior to killing him? As the NYT notes, when the ACLU sued on behalf of Awlaki’s father seeking to enjoin Obama from killing his son, the Obama DOJ invoked the “state secrets” privilege, insisting that the evidence against Awlaki was so secret that national security would be jeopardized if disclosed to the court: the very same alleged evidence that Obama officials are now spilling to the NYT. They also deliberately refused to indict him, which would have at least required showing some evidence to a court to justify the accusations against him and would have enabled him to turn himself in and defend himself if inclined to do so.

All of this highlights why it’s so odious to prosecute and convict people in a newspaper after you execute them, rather than in a court of law before you end their life. As but one example, the statements about Awlaki from attempted underwear bomber Umar Abdulmutallab on which the NYT heavily relies to assert Awlaki’s guilt would have been subjected to intense cross-examination to see if they were simply the results of Abdulmutallab giving the government what they wanted – namely, statements that incriminated someone they wanted to kill – in exchange for favors as part of his plea agreement. It’s so basic, though the NYT seems not to have heard, that statements made by accused criminals in exchange for favors as part of a plea bargain are among the most unreliable.

But that kind of critical scrutiny only happens in courtrooms, with due process. By contrast, asserted government evidence is simply mindlessly assumed to be true when it’s fed to journalists after the fact without anyone to contradict it or any process available to disprove it. As the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights jointly said yesterday about this NYT story:

“This is the latest in a series of one-sided, selective disclosures that prevent meaningful public debate and legal or even political accountability for the government’s killing program, including its use against citizens.

“Government officials have made serious allegations against Anwar al-Aulaqi, but allegations are not evidence, and the whole point of the Constitution’s due process clause is that a court must distinguish between the two. If the government has evidence that Al-Aulaqi posed an imminent threat at the time it killed him, it should present that evidence to a court.”

Indeed, while the NYT asserts as though it’s incontrovertible that he was “a senior operative in Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen“, Yemen experts such as Gregory Johnsen have long said the opposite: “We suspect a great deal about Anwar al-Awlaki, but we know very little, precious little when it comes to his operational role” and “Mendelsohn [said]: ‘(Awlaki) played an important role in a string of attacks in the West’. We just don’t know this, we suspect it but don’t know it.”

Beyond that, the DOJ officials whose conduct is defended by this story have long been important sources to the very NYT reporters writing this article (not just during the Obama years but also the Bush years), so it’s a typical case of journalists using anonymity to serve the agendas of their government sources. And it’s yet another case where journalistic anonymity is granted not to protect whistleblowers from recriminations by the powerful, but to protect government officials from accountability so they can justify government conduct. And, finally, Marcy Wheeler details several extremely dubious claims that were passed off as fact by this NYT article: here and here.

But I want to focus on one key point. What prompted my opposition from the start to the attempted killing of Awlaki was that it was very clear he was being targeted because of his anti-American sermons that were resonating among English-speaking Muslim youth (sermons which, whatever you think of them, are protected by the First Amendment), and not because he was a Terrorist operative. In other words, the US government was trying to murder one of its own citizens as punishment for his political and religious views that were critical of the government’s policies, and not because of any actual crimes or warfare.

The NYT addresses this concern directly with a long, convoluted explanation that the Obama administration refrained from targeting Awlaki when they thought he was only a “dangerous propagandist”, and decided to kill him only once they obtained proof that he was an actual Terrorist operative. The NYT says that this proof was obtained in “late January 2010” when Abdulmutallab cooperated with authorities and claimed Awlaki participated in his plot. In order to validate this explanation, the NYT claims that a December, 2009 drone strike in Yemen that was widely reported at the time to have targeted Awlaki – and which media outlets falsely reported killed him – was actually targeting others, and that Awlaki would merely have been oh-so-coincidental (and perfectly legal) “collateral damage”. Here is the NYT’s effort to insist that the Obama administration targeted Awlaki for death only once it obtained evidence in late January, 2010 that he was more than a mere propagandist:

“[Awlaki’s] eloquent, English-language exhortations to jihad turned up repeatedly on the computers of young plotters of violence arrested in Britain, Canada and the United States.

“By 2008, said Philip Mudd, then a top F.B.I. counterterrorism official, Mr. Awlaki ‘was cropping up as a radicalizer – not in just a few investigations, but in what seemed to be every investigation.’

“In November 2009, when Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was charged with opening fire at Fort Hood in Texas and killing 13 people, Mr. Awlaki finally found the global fame he had long appeared to court. Investigators quickly discovered that the major had exchanged e-mails with Mr. Awlaki, though the cleric’s replies had been cautious and noncommittal. But four days after the shootings, the cleric removed any doubt about where he stood.

“‘Nidal Hassan is a hero’, he wrote on his widely read blog. ‘He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.’

“As chilling as the message was, it was still speech protected by the First Amendment. American intelligence agencies intensified their focus on Mr. Awlaki, intercepting communications that showed the cleric’s growing clout in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network.

“On Dec. 24, 2009, in the second American strike in Yemen in eight days, missiles hit a meeting of leaders of the affiliate group. News accounts said one target was Mr. Awlaki, who was falsely reported to have been killed.

“In fact, other top officials of the group were the strike’s specific targets, and Mr. Awlaki’s death would have been collateral damage – legally defensible as a death incidental to the military aim. As dangerous as Mr. Awlaki seemed, he was proved to be only an inciter; counterterrorism analysts did not yet have incontrovertible evidence that he was, in their language, “operational.”

“That would soon change. The next day, a 23-year-old Nigerian named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried and failed to blow up an airliner as it approached Detroit. The would-be underwear bomber told FBI agents that after he went to Yemen and tracked down Mr. Awlaki, his online hero, the cleric had discussed ‘martyrdom and jihad’ with him, approved him for a suicide mission, helped him prepare a martyrdom video and directed him to detonate his bomb over United States territory, according to court documents.

“In his initial 50-minute interrogation on Dec. 25, 2009, before he stopped speaking for a month, Mr. Abdulmutallab said he had been sent by a terrorist named Abu Tarek, although intelligence agencies quickly found indications that Mr. Awlaki was probably involved. When Mr. Abdulmutallab resumed cooperating with interrogators in late January, an official said, he admitted that ‘Abu Tarek’ was Mr. Awlaki. With the Nigerian’s statements, American officials had witness confirmation that Mr. Awlaki was clearly a direct plotter, no longer just a dangerous propagandist.

“‘He had been on the radar all along, but it was Abdulmutallab’s testimony that really sealed it in my mind that this guy was dangerous and that we needed to go after him,’ said Dennis C. Blair, then director of national intelligence.”

So that tortured justification for what the Obama administration did, laundered through the NYT, is clear in its claims: (1) we were legally and constitutionally barred from trying to kill Awlaki when we thought he was just a propagandist; (2) the December, 2009 strike wasn’t really targeting him, despite what media outlets reported at the time, because we did not yet have evidence that he was a Terrorist plotter; and (3) we acquired that evidence only in late January, 2010, and only then did we start to target Awlaki for execution. Obviously, those claims are necessary to defend themselves from what would clearly be criminal behavior: trying to kill a US citizen because of the government’s dislike for his political and religious speech.

But the first journalist to report on the existence of Obama’s kill list and the inclusion of US citizens was the Washington Post’s Dana Priest. On January 26, 2010, this is what she wrote:

“As part of the operations [in Yemen], Obama approved a Dec. 24 strike against a compound where a US citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was thought to be meeting with other regional al-Qaeda leaders. Although he was not the focus of the strike and was not killed, he has since been added to a shortlist of US citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture by the JSOC, military officials said . . .

“The Obama administration has adopted the same stance. If a US citizen joins al-Qaeda, ‘it doesn’t really change anything from the standpoint of whether we can target them’, a senior administration official said. ‘They are then part of the enemy.’

“Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists of individuals, called ‘High Value Targets’ and ‘High Value Individuals’, whom they seek to kill or capture. The JSOC list includes three Americans, including Aulaqi, whose name was added late last year. As of several months ago, the CIA list included three US citizens, and an intelligence official said that Aulaqi’s name has now been added.”

According to Priest’s reporting back then, the Obama administration was trying to execute Awlaki as early as late 2009 – exactly when the Obama officials who spoke to the NYT admit that they had no evidence that he was anything other than a “propagandist” and this his targeted killing would therefore be unconstitutional and illegal. (That’s also a reminder that not only Awlaki, but at least two other still-unknown Americans, have been placed on Obama’s kill list). Priest then added that the cause of Awlaki’s being placed on the kill list were his “academic” discussions with Nidal Hasan: exactly what the NYT’s Obama-official-sources now say are protected free speech that could not be used to legally justify his killing:

“Intelligence officials say the New Mexico-born imam also has been linked to the Army psychiatrist who is accused of killing 12 soldiers and a civilian at Fort Hood, Tex., although his communications with Maj. Nidal M. Hasan were largely academic in nature. Authorities say that Aulaqi is the most important native, English-speaking al-Qaeda figure and that he was in contact with the Nigerian accused of attempting to bomb a US airlner on Christmas Day.”

Whatever else is true, there is a serious potential contradiction between the self-justifying claims of the NYT’s sources (we waited until late January, 2010 when we acquired evidence of Awlaki’s involvement in plots before trying to kill him) and Priest’s reporting (the Obama administration began trying to kill Awlaki in 2009, before it had evidence that he had done anything beyond “inspiring” plots with his sermons). The reason this matters so much regardless of your views of Awlaki is obvious, and is certainly on the mind of the NYT’s government sources: it would be purely tyrannical, not to mention unconstitutional and criminal (murder), for the US government to try to kill one of its own citizens in order to stop his critical speech.

It’s possible that there is a distinction in this reporting between being targeted for killing by JSOC versus the CIA, although the NYT’s government sources are clear that any government targeted killing of Awlaki without proof of involvement in terrorist plots – based solely on his sermons – would be legally dubious, at best (indeed, on Democracy Now this morning, the NYT’s Scott Shane said: “they had in fact decided they could not target [US citizen] Samir Khan, because he was a propagandist, and not an actual plotter, but he was killed anyway”); when I asked Savage about this, he told me this morning via email that “the exact date that Awlaki went on ‘the list’ is one of several issues that we dug into at length, and while we were able to mosaic together some answers to some previously outstanding questions this one remains murky”). It’s also possible that Priest’s reporting was wrong and efforts to kill Awlaki only began in 2010 once the government acquired what it claims is evidence of his involvement in Terrorist plots. It’s also possible that the NYT’s sources are simply wrong, or worse, when claiming that abundant evidence exists to prove Awlaki’s involvement in such plots.

But all of this only underscores why governments of civilized nations don’t first execute people without charges or due process and seek after the fact to prosecute and convict them in a one-sided, non-adversarial process of newspaper leaks; these are exactly the kinds of questions that are resolved by adversarial judicial procedures, precisely the procedures the Obama administration made sure could never take place. It also underscores why responsible media outlets should do more than print these unverified government accusations as truth, especially about a matter as consequential as the government’s assassination of its own citizens. That the Obama administration and the New York Times did neither of those things in this case is quite revealing about the function they perform.

Feds buying 100 years worth of Ammo

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(WND) -When the numbers are put in perspective, the federal government’s  extraordinary buildup of ammunition looks even more ominous than critics already  have portrayed it.

An  analysis by Forbes contributor Ralph Benko shows the 1.6 billion rounds of  ammo that the government is acquiring would be enough for more than 100 years of  training.

As  WND previously reported, it also would be enough ammunition to fight a war  for more than 20 years.

It would give the federal government enough ammunition to shoot every  American more than five times.

Concerned about surveillance drones, tanks in the streets and gun confiscation? Find out “HOW AMERICA IS BECOMING A POLICE STATE” in this shocking WND special report.

The Department of Homeland Security argues  it is buying in bulk to save money, explaining it uses as many as 15 million  rounds a year for training law enforcement agents.

Forbes columnist Benko, who worked for two years in the U.S. Department of  Energy’s general counsel’s office in its procurement and finance division,  doubts the government’s explanation.

“To claim that it’s to “get a low price” for a ridiculously wasteful amount  is an argument that could only fool a career civil servant,” he writes.

But it’s not just the amount of ammo the feds are buying, it’s the type of  ammo that’s also is causing concern.

WND  has reported the DHS order apparently includes hollow-point bullets. As  WND recently reported, she believes the federal government is “stockpiling  bullets in case of civil unrest.”

Last month, Palin said the feds were afraid of what might happen if the  sequester went into effect and if the government eventually went broke.

She wrote on her Facebook page: “If we are going to wet our proverbial pants  over 0.3% in annual spending cuts when we’re running up trillion-dollar annual  deficits, then we’re done. Put a fork in us. We’re finished. We’re going to  default eventually, and that’s why the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of  civil unrest.”

Weeks before Palin’s warning, WND  CEO Joseph Farah paired the ammo buildup with a statement made by then-candidate  Barack Obama in 2008 calling for a “civilian national security force” as  big, as strong and as well-funded as the Defense Department.

In Colorado July 2, 2008, Obama said: “We cannot continue to rely only on our  military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve  got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as  strong, just as well-funded.”

Farah asked: “Why does the civilian Department of Homeland Security need  billions of rounds of ammunition? This is the agency that is responsible for  policing the border. But it doesn’t. This is the agency that is responsible for  catching terrorists. But it doesn’t. So why does Homeland Security need so many  weapons and enough hollow-point rounds to plug every American six times?”

The federal stockpiling of ammunition could cause a problem for local law  enforcement agencies. WND  reported in January that police and sheriff departments around the country  were beginning to experience an ammo shortage.

Brownells, the largest supplier of firearm accessories in the world, reported  it had sold several years’ worth of ammunition in just a matter of hours.

The company released a statement apologizing for the delay in fulfilling  orders, explaining it had experienced “unprecedented” demand for AR-15  ammunition magazines since earlier in the week.

Gun companies are already fighting back. Olympic Arms of New York, which  sells AR-15s and other firearms, says it will no longer sell guns to  police. A company statement says that’s because legislation “recently passed  in New York outlaws the AR-15 and many other firearms and “will make it illegal  for the good and free citizens of New York to own a large selection of legal and  safe firearms and magazines.”

“Olympic Arms would like to announce,” the statement said, “that the State of  New York, any Law Enforcement Departments, Law Enforcement Officers, First  Responders within the State of New York, or any New York State government entity  or employee of such an entity – will no longer be served as customers.”

In Texas, LaRue  Tactical is refusing to sell its AR rifles to police in states that limit  the features of civilian rifles.

Magpul, a gun magazine manufacturer based in Erie, Colo.,   says it will not sell gun magazines to law enforcement officers unless they  pledge to uphold the Second and 14th amendments to the U.S.  Constitution.

Magpul also vows to leave Colorado if House Bill 1224 passes. The bill would  limit gun magazines to 15 rounds.

WND has reported growing federal police power across dozens of government  agencies for more than a decade and a half.

In 1997, WND exposed the fact that  60,000 federal agents were enforcing more than 3,000 criminal laws. The  report prompted Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America to remark: “Good grief,  that’s a standing army. … It’s outrageous.”

Also in 1997, as part of a ongoing series on the militarization of the  federal government, WND reported  armed, “environment crime” cops employed by the Environmental Protection Agency  and a federal law enforcement program had trained 325,000 prospective federal  police since 1970.

WND also reported on thousands  of armed officers in the Inspectors’ General office and a gun-drawn raid on a  local flood control center to haul off 40 boxes of paperwork.

WND further reported a plan by  then-Delaware Sen. Joe Biden to hire hundreds of armed Hong Kong policemen in  dozens of U.S. federal agencies to counter Asian organized crime in America.

In 1999, Farah warned there  were more than 80,000 armed federal law enforcement agents, constituting “the  virtual standing army over which the founding fathers had nightmares.” Today,  that number has nearly doubled.

Also in 1999 WND reported plans  made for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to use military and  police forces to deal with Y2K.

In 2000, Farah discussed a Justice  Department report on the growth of federal police agents under President  Clinton, something Farah labeled “the biggest arms buildup in the history of the  federal government – and it’s not taking place in the Defense Department.”

A 2001 report warned of a  persistent campaign by the Department of the Interior, this time following 9/11,  to gain police powers for its agents.

In 2008, WND reported on  proposed rules to expand the military’s use inside U.S. borders to prevent “environmental damage” or respond to “special events” and to establish policies  for “military support for civilian law enforcement.”

 

Cheney Admits that He Lied about 9/11

 

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(Washington’s Blog) -What Else Did He Lie About?

The New York Times’ Maureen Daud writes today:

In a documentary soon to appear on Showtime, “The World According to Dick Cheney,” [Cheney said]  “I got on the telephone with the president, who was in Florida, and told him not to be at one location where we could both be taken out.” Mr. Cheney kept W. flying aimlessly in the air on 9/11 while he and Lynn left on a helicopter for a secure undisclosed location, leaving Washington in a bleak, scared silence, with no one reassuring the nation in those first terrifying hours.

“I gave the instructions that we’d authorize our pilots to take it out,” he says, referring to the jet headed to Washington that crashed in a Pennsylvania field. He adds: “After I’d given the order, it was pretty quiet. Everybody had heard it, and it was obviously a significant moment.”

***

When they testified together before the 9/11 Commission, W. and Mr. Cheney kept up a pretense that in a previous call, the president had authorized the vice president to give a shoot-down order if needed. But the commission found “no documentary evidence for this call.”

In other words, Cheney pretended that Bush had authorized a shoot-down order, but Cheney now admits that he never did.  In fact, Cheney acted as if he was the president on 9/11.

Cheney lied about numerous other facts related to 9/11 as well.  For example, Cheney:

More cities get military tanks they don’t need

 

 

(Image credit: The Brain Toad/Flickr)

 

(EndTheLie) -Last month I reported on how Georgia law enforcement agencies have acquired a massive arsenal of military-grade vehicles and weapons through  the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, it’s far from isolated.

Many law enforcement agencies acquire military equipment through the Pentagon’s 1033 program. Police have also acquired military robots through the DoD but they have other  ways to get their hands on armored surveillance vehicles and armored personnel carriers as well.

Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security gave the city of Keene, New  Hampshire, with a population of less than 25,000, $285,933 to buy an armored  counter-attack vehicle called a BearCat, according to Radley Balko.

Keene has had a whopping three murders since 1999 according to City Data and according to the American Civil Liberties  Union (ACLU), the city lied about the need for the tank-like vehicle built by Lenco Industries, Inc.

The ACLU points out that a Keene City Councilmember actually admitted that  the city lied about their need for the BearCat to DHS.

“Our application talked about the danger of domestic terrorism, but that’s  just something you put in the grant application to get the money,” the  councilmember said, according to the ACLU. “What red-blooded American cop isn’t  going to be excited about getting a toy like this? That’s what it comes down  to.”

Another example of this type of completely unnecessary equipment being  acquired by a law enforcement agency can be seen in Richland County, South  Carolina.

With a violent crime rate down 3.7% and property crime down 3.9% compared to last year, Richland doesn’t seem to have a  massive crime problem. Furthermore, many of the crimes there are related to drug  use or gambling, according to the ACLU.

Yet Richland’s Sheriff’s Department for some reason has an armored personnel  carrier they call “The Peacemaker.”

As was reported by Reason in 2008, the armored personnel carrier has a belt-fed  .50-caliber turreted machine gun which even the US military is reluctant to use  on humans.

(Image credit: mpeake/Flickr)

(Image credit: mpeake/Flickr)

How exactly a weapon usually reserved for use against armored vehicles will “save lives” is anyone’s guess.

These, like the examples in Georgia are far from isolated.

“Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have sweeping access to military equipment and to billions of  dollars in federal grant money to purchase heavy weaponry designed for overseas  combat missions, as well as access to anti-terrorism tactical training,” the  ACLU reports.

The ACLU recently launched a new project on the militarization of policing in America in response to  this growing trend.

While some may claim this type of equipment is necessary to assure the safety  of officers when facing massive shootouts or similar encounters, in reality, the  use is much more mundane in most cases.

“And in Maryland, the transparency law has shown that police departments in  the state are using SWAT tactics in precisely the ways critics have claimed: to  break into homes to serve warrants on people suspected of low-level drug  crimes,” according to a March 6 article by Radley Balko. “Many times, they’re not  even finding enough contraband to make an arrest. Yet there haven’t been any  calls in the state to reform the way SWAT teams are used.”

The disturbing results of the militarization of police are many. In 2010 a nine-year-old girl was shot in the neck and killed by a  SWAT team.

(Image credit: verifex/Flickr)

(Image credit: verifex/Flickr)

Shortly before she was killed, the SWAT team threw a flashbang grenade through the window of her home in Detroit,  Michigan, immediately setting her blanket on fire.

In another incident, Iraq war veteran Jose Guerena was shot 60 times by a  SWAT team when serving a search warrant as part of a multi-house drug  crackdown.

Guerena he picked up his own gun (but didn’t fire it) in an attempt to defend  his family after his wife saw a shadowy figure in their front yard holding a  gun. Police later defended their actions after retracting their claim  that Guerena shot first and declining to say if they found any drugs in his  house.

According to the ACLU, their affiliates in 23 states filed over 255 public  records requests on March 6 with law enforcement agencies and National Guard  offices to “determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled  the militarization of state and local police departments.”

More on the ACLU’s new project can be seen here.

Did I forget anything or miss any errors? Would you like to make me aware of  a story or subject to cover? Or perhaps you want to bring your writing to a  wider audience? Feel free to contact me at admin@EndtheLie.com with your concerns, tips, questions, original writings, insults or just  about anything that may strike your fancy.

 

Obama DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks to Go With Their 1.6 Billion Bullet Stockpile

(thegatewaypundit.com) This is getting a little creepy.
According to one estimate, since last year the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm.

DHS also purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAP).
homeland security mrap

Modern Survival Blog reported:

The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.

Although I’ve seen and read several online blurbs about this vehicle of late, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself.

The new DHS sanctioned ‘Street Sweeper’ (my own slang due to the gun ports) is built by Navistar Defense (NavistarDefense.com), a division within the Navistar organization. Under the Navistar umbrella are several other companies including International Trucks, IC Bus (they make school buses), Monaco RV (recreational vehicles), WorkHorse (they make chassis), MaxxForce (diesel engines), and Navistar Financial (the money arm of the company).

DHS even released a video on their newly purchased MRAPs.
Via Pat Dollard:

The MRAP featured in this video is was in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Law Enforcement Day which was held at a local area Target Store. This MRAP is stationed in El Paso, Texas at The Homeland Security Investigations Office. MRAP is a Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicle.

 

 

Here are Homeland Security’s Top 5 Priorities for Suspicious Activity Reporting This Season

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(PublicIntelligence) -A document issued last month by the Department of Homeland Security identifies priorities for the collection of suspicious activity reports from local communities around the U.S.  The document describes “topics of interest” identified by DHS Intelligence and Analysis (DHS/I&A) analysts as priorities for the Winter 2013 period that should be utilized by “law enforcement, first responders, and other homeland security professionals” to improve their reporting of suspicious activity.  The topics of interest include examples of suspicious activities related to each topical area.  They are also accompanied by several tracking numbers identifying the activities within DHS/I&A’s system of Standing Intelligence Needs which “form the foundation for information collection activities within the Department and provide other Intelligence Community (IC) and Homeland Security Enterprise members the ability to focus their collection, analytic, and reporting assets in support of the homeland security mission.”  These numbers are often found in DHS and fusion center bulletins indicating a reported activity’s relation to standing intelligence needs determined by DHS/I&A.  The topics are not in order of importance and DHS/I&A reminds the reader that previous topics “remain relevant” and reports should still be submitted on those issues.

  • Threats to religious or cultural facilities including “verbal ortelephonic threats of violence” or “property damage, including vandalism or arson”.
  • Suspicious activities or incidents associated with state, local, tribal, territorial, or private sector computer networks and Web sites including “denial of service (DoS) attacks against Web sites”, “web page defacement” and “suspicious e-mails that install malware on the network”.
  • Suspicious activities or incidents associated with mass gatherings, and special events including “breaches or attempted intrusions at event locations or related venues”, suspicious “inquiries about security protocols for events or VIPs” and “incidents of suspicious acquisition of explosiveprecursor materials”.
  • Suspicious activities, queries, theft, sabotage, tampering, or vandalism within the transportation sector—including mass transit, aviation, maritime, ground and surface, rail, and pipeline systems including “unusual questions about routes, capacities, peak travel time, training, and security”.
  • Efforts to artfully conceal improvised explosive devices in innocuous items, such as satchels, backpacks, suitcases, jars, bottles, cans, shoes, clothing, parcels, or toys including “unsolicited or unusual parcels delivered from unfamiliar overseas addresses noting the identification of the sender and recipient and whether the recipient has reported multiple suspicious parcels in recent weeks or months.

 

Predator drones can track cell phones and tell if a citizen is armed

Homeland Security required that this Predator drone, built by General Atomics, be capable of detecting whether a standing human at night is "armed or not."

Homeland Security required that this Predator drone, built by General Atomics, be capable of detecting whether a standing human at night is “armed or not.”

(Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

(CNET) -The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones, government documents show.

The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department’s unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States’ northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.

Homeland Security’s specifications for its drones, built by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, say they “shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not,” meaning carrying a shotgun or rifle. They also specify “signals interception” technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and “direction finding” technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained a partially redacted copy of Homeland Security’s requirements for its drone fleet through the Freedom of Information Act and published it this week. CNET unearthed an unredacted copy of the requirements that provides additional information about the aircraft’s surveillance capabilities.

Homeland Security's Predator B drone can stay aloft conducting surveillance for 20 hours.Homeland Security’s Predator B drone can stay aloft conducting surveillance for 20 hours.

(Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

Concern about domestic use of drones is growing, with federal legislation introduced last month that would establish legal safeguards, in addition to parallel efforts underway from state and local lawmakers. The Federal Aviation Administration recently said that it will “address privacy-related data collection” by drones.

The prospect of identifying armed Americans concerns Second Amendment advocates, who say that technology billed as securing the United States’ land and maritime borders should not be used domestically. Michael Kostelnik, the Homeland Security official who created the program, told Congress that the drone fleet would be available to “respond to emergency missions across the country,” and a Predator drone was dispatched to the tiny town of Lakota, N.D., to aid local police in a dispute that began with reimbursement for feeding six cows. The defendant, arrested with the help of Predator surveillance, lost a preliminary bid to dismiss the charges.

“I am very concerned that this technology will be used against law-abiding American firearms owners,” says Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. “This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights.”

Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection agency declined to answer questions about whether direction-finding technology is currently in use on its drone fleet. A representative provided CNET with a statement about the agency’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that said signals interception capability is not currently used:

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not deploying signals interception capabilities on its UAS fleet. Any potential deployment of such technology in the future would be implemented in full consideration of civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy interests and in a manner consistent with the law and long-standing law enforcement practices. 

CBP’s UAS program is a vital border security asset. Equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and day-and-night cameras, the UAS provides real-time images to frontline agents to more effectively and efficiently secure the nation’s borders. As a force multiplier, the UAS operates for extended periods of time and allows CBP to safely conduct missions over tough-to-reach terrain. The UAS also provides agents on the ground with added situational awareness to more safely resolve dangerous situations.

 

During his appearance before the House Homeland Security committee, Kostelnik, a retired Air Force major general who recently left the agency, testified that the drones’ direction-finding ability is part of a set of “DOD capabilities that are being tested or adopted by CBP to enhance UAS performance for homeland security.” CBP currently has 10 Predator drones and is considering buying up to 14 more.

If the Predator drones were used only to identify smugglers or illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican and Canadian borders, or for disaster relief, they might not be especially controversial. But their use domestically by other government agencies has become routine enough — and expensive enough — that Homeland Security’s inspector general said (PDF) last year that CBP needs to sign agreements “for reimbursement of expenses incurred fulfilling mission requests.”

“The documents clearly evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is developing drones with signals interception technology and the capability to identify people on the ground,” says Ginger McCall, director of the Open Government Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “This allows for invasive surveillance, including potential communications surveillance, that could run afoul of federal privacy laws.”

A Homeland Security official, who did not want to be identified by name, said the drones are able to identify whether movement on the ground comes from a human or an animal, but that they do not perform facial recognition. The official also said that because the unarmed drones have a long anticipated life span, the department tries to plan ahead for future uses to support its border security mission, and that aerial surveillance would comply with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and other applicable federal laws.

The documents show that CBP specified that the “tracking accuracy should be sufficient to allow target designation,” and the agency notes on its Web site that its Predator B series is capable of “targeting and weapons delivery” (the military version carries multiple 100-pound Hellfire missiles). CBP says, however, that its Predator aircraft are unarmed.

Gene Hoffman, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who’s the chairman of the Calguns Foundation, said CBP “needs to be very careful with attempts to identify armed individuals in the border area” when aerial surveillance touches on a constitutional right.

“In the border area of California and Arizona, it may be actively dangerous for the law-abiding to not carry firearms precisely due to the illegal flow of drugs and immigrants across the border in those areas,” Hoffman says.

CBP’s specifications say that signals interception and direction-finding technology must work from 30MHz to 3GHz in the radio spectrum. That sweeps in the GSM and CDMA frequencies used by mobile phones, which are in the 300MHz to 2.7GHz range, as well as many two-way radios.

The specifications say: “The system shall provide automatic and manual DF of multiple signals simultaneously. Automatic DF should be able to separate out individual communication links.” Automated direction-finding for cell phones has become an off-the-shelf technology: one company sells a unit that its literature says is “capable of taking the bearing of every mobile phone active in a channel.”

Although CBP’s unmanned Predator aircraft are commonly called drones, they’re remotely piloted by FAA-licensed operators on the ground. They can fly for up to 20 hours and carry a payload of about 500 lbs.

Programs That Should Be Cut – But Won’t Be Cut – From The Federal Budget

 

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(Alt Market) – Washington is laying on the malaise pretty thick lately over automatic budget cuts set to take effect in March, with admonitions and partisan attacks galore. Of course, those of us who are educated in the finer points of our corrupt puppet government are well aware that the public debate between Democrats and Republicans amounts to nothing more than a farcical battle of Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots with only one set of hands behind the controls. The reality is, their decisions are scripted, their votes are purchased, and they knew months ago exactly how America’s fiscal cliff situation would progress. The drama that now ensues on the hill is meant for OUR benefit and distraction, and no one else.

The Obama Administration warns that “sequestration” (austerity) will result in a return to recession for the U.S. News Flash, folks! The country never left the recession that officially began in 2008. Sorry to burst that inflated recovery hopium bubble…

Janet Napolitano warns that cuts will result in a greater risk of terrorist attacks. Apparently, an extra $85 billion per year buys us complete safety from the Muslim boogeyman, though the DHS has been far more concerned with “homegrown extremists” (people like me) than Al-Qaeda lately…

The White House and DHS has warned that funding for border control may be diminished, and the southern border will be left “wide open” to infiltration. Apparently, the White House is not aware that the southern border is ALREADY wide open. If they were truly concerned about the porous border, maybe they would refrain from decisions to release over 10,000 illegal immigrants from holding before cuts have even been finalized, sending a clear message to Mexico that there will be no consequences for anyone sneaking into the U.S. without permission…

The DOD warns that cuts to defense will result in a weakened military posture for America, and yet, our posture has already been greatly weakened by our numerous illegal wars in the Middle East (some overt, some covert). I have yet to see any tangible assessments on how our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan has made our nation safer…

Let’s put all of this into perspective; America’s current annual deficits have exceeded $1 trillion for the past four years. Our official national debt has expanded nearly $7 trillion in the span of five years. Through QE3 (QE infinity), the Federal Reserve is now pumping over $85 billion (that we know about) per month into our financial system. And in March, the federal government is being asked to cut $85 billion over a span of six months?

It sure seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the massive expenditures already taking place. Yet, these moderate cuts are being heralded as a sign of fiscal apocalypse by the White House and others. Why? Because America has reached the point at which any disruption in government liquidity will damage our recovery fantasy, and the establishment is acclimating us to the coming crisis so that we don’t immediately take up our torches and pitchforks. The lie is so tenuous, that the fiat must forever flow, or the illusion crumbles. Not only must spending continue unabated, it must also EXPAND with each passing year in order to handle the growing liabilities of entitlements and interest payments on capital already borrowed. Even the smallest of cuts could indeed send our economy into a tailspin (with a little help from the Federal Reserve and reduced currency creation), because that’s exactly how desperate our circumstances are.

Of course, the establishment plans to make matters worse by applying cuts where they will be most painfully felt by the populace. The fear mongering is reaching fever pitch with threats of wide open borders, weakened military superiority, lost government jobs, unemployed teachers, etc. But let’s imagine, just for one blissful moment, that the government was NOT utterly criminal and subversive; what kind of cuts would an honest government make right now in order to counter the dangers of debt disintegration and dollar devaluation?

…I really don’t know because I’ve never lived under an honest government. I have little personal experience in how one would behave. However, here is what I would cut from the budget…

Unnecessary Foreign Aid

Will some cuts be made to foreign aid after “sequestration”. Yes. But nowhere near enough. The U.S. spends around $50 billion a year on foreign aid, including $3 billion in “direct assistance” to Israel (meaning they get a lot more money and equipment through indirect means), $2 billion to Iraq, $1.7 billion to Pakistan, $1.4 billion to Egypt, $1.2 billion to Haiti (the Hatians are the only people on the list so far that actually need the money), and $1 billion to Kenya (…Kenya?). The list goes on and on. Even Mexico gets around $400 million a year in foreign aid from the U.S.

The establishment has conditioned the general public to consider any suggestion of cutting foreign aid to be taboo. Politicians on both sides of the aisle will wail and scream at the thought of reducing aid to Israel or other Middle East nations. That said, the bottom line is that we cannot afford it. You may believe every dollar to these countries results in the thwarting of evil doers and the filled bellies of orphan children. It doesn’t matter, because we can’t afford it. You may believe the whole of America’s international reputation and diplomatic sway hangs in the balance over foreign aid expenditures, but this is irrelevant, because we can’t afford it.

The most detrimental threats to the U.S. are INTERNAL and financial, not external, and cutting foreign aid would alleviate those detrimental threats by about $50 billion dollars. I’m a little tired of hearing how America is supposed to “export democracy” and keep its fingers in the cookie jars of nations around the world. This is a globalist philosophy that has never borne fruit and never will. It is time to bring the money back home where it might actually do some legitimate good.

Occupation Wars

The Neo-Cons played the American people like a banjo for nearly a decade claiming first that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were necessary in order to defuse Al Qaeda influence. Then, when we realized that the resource rich fields of the Middle East were the true target, rather than the “terrorists”, they changed their tune and claimed that now it would be “irresponsible” to leave the region, regardless of the fallacy of the mission, because if we did innocent people would be left to chaos and ruin.

Ultimately, the Neo-Cons never cared about the innocent citizens of Iraq or Afghanistan, they only cared about manipulating the American public into acquiescing to continued occupation, and that is exactly what they did. Today, the Obama Administration carries on exactly where the Neo-Cons left off, using the same propaganda and the same lies with a new face and a new presentation.

Original cost estimates of the two invasions were around $100 billion for a two year involvement, and the American people were assured that this was all that was needed. Today, over a decade later, the costs have escalated to at least $4 trillion (Obama’s claim of a $1 trillion price tag is an outright fabrication), and still have not abated. If the government truly wanted to save massive amounts of capital and shield the populace from debilitating service and entitlement cuts, they would bring the troops home; ALL OF THEM, and stop flushing money down the toilet in the Middle East.

Instigations Of Foreign Insurgencies

Why is the Obama Administration continually pouring money into the coffers of Middle Eastern insurgencies led by Al Qaeda operatives that supposedly hate the U.S.? They did it in Egypt, they did it in Libya, and now they are doing it in Syria. Is Obama an idiot, or, is there a greater purpose at work? Is the goal to deliberately destabilize the region, or are they doing it out of blind hubris and stupidity? In either case, all the money being showered on these civil wars is a wretched waste, and should be stopped.

TSA Thugs

The Transportation Security Administration is the most hated institution in America. It is reviled across the country and its dubious purpose is questioned by almost everyone. Americans, no matter how uneducated and oblivious, still do not like being molested by blue gloved bureaucratic freaks with preexisting criminal records. We do not like having our small children molested by them either. We do not like being irradiated so that our naked pictures can be stored in a central database. We do not like thugs, brown shirts or blue shirts, ordering us around and looking down their noses at us. Frankly, Americans have a history of shooting those kinds of people…

DHS head Janet Napolitano has already released warnings ahead of budget cut decisions stating that the TSA may be on the chopping block, and that this would put American travelers “at risk”. I highly doubt that this is the plan, though…

The TSA is not meant to protect the citizenry in any way. It is a conditioning machine for the masses, and nothing more. It is designed to inhibit our natural rebellion against personal search and seizure tactics, and make us apathetic to deeper intrusions into our privacy. That is all. I find it highly unlikely that the establishment would dismantle such a useful tool of oppression. But, if Napolitano is sincere, then I say go for it Janey, do your worst! Abolish the whole damned agency, because if you don’t, eventually, we’ll do it for you.

The Criminal ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has a long history of questionable and often illegal activities, usually ending with the murder of civilians with dissenting views. However, the latest snafu involves a much larger conspiracy, culminating in the agency being caught red handed feeding American weapons to violent Mexican drug cartels in an effort to stigmatize gun ownership in the U.S. and to wrongly attribute deaths in the border region to American gun dealers. This debacle is known as “Fast and Furious”.

Eric Holder, Attorney General of the U.S. and a staunch proponent of the ATF, has defended the Fast and Furious agenda to the point of contempt of Congress. Holder is a gun control advocate and key player in the current attacks on the 2nd Amendment, despite his habit of protecting agencies that feed weapons to psychopathic drug lords.

Any agency with this much schizophrenic disregard for the rights and safety of Americans should be wiped from the ass-end of history. It also has an annual budget of $1.2 billion, which could be spent in far better places, to be sure.

Big Brother DHS

What exactly does the Department of Homeland Security do that the FBI and the CIA did not already do before its inception? The great lie spread in the wake of 9/11 was that various alphabet agencies were not “in communication” with each other, and that intelligence gathered was not “reaching the right people”. Of course, Bush had received several warnings pre-9/11 of impending attacks, and the FBI and CIA on more than one occasion had the opportunity to apprehend Osama Bin Laden, but were thwarted by the Administration itself, sending a clear message that the government catches “terrorists” only when it WANTS to catch a terrorist.

The DHS was established as a means to centralize information sharing, but it has become much more. It now encompasses and directs much of the internal law enforcement outfits of the U.S. through so-called fusion centers, and even plays a growing role in external matters. Much of the analytical paperwork coming out of the agency, though, does not deal with foreign enemies like Al Qaeda. Rather, the agency is almost obsessively focused on “domestic threats”, like returning war veterans, Constitutionalists, gun rights champions, Ron Paul supporters, and Liberty Movement activists.

In the end, the DHS is intended to combat a specific opponent, and that opponent is obviously the American people.

The DHS is set to absorb $2.6 billion in cuts if sequestration goes though, causing the organization to spew dire prophecies of doom. Yet, the DHS is projected to have a $9 billion surplus by the end of 2013, and apparently has enough funding to place orders for over 2 billion rounds of combat ammunition (not for training purposes, sorry disinfo-agents). I say cut the head off the beast. Remove DHS, save American liberties, and spend those billions elsewhere.

Gitmo-Style Black Sites

I find it highly distasteful and disturbing that the U.S. government is operating black sites like GITMO where they can torture and murder in obscurity, rather than having to answer to the public, all while instituting these activities in our name. The common argument is that these prisons are necessary to isolate the most volatile of villains, and obtain vital data in the war on terror. Well, despite what you may have seen in the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, torture rarely if ever produces reliable and concurrent intel that can be acted upon to prevent any impending attack, or apprehend any enemy agent. And, after what we saw at Abu Ghraib, the government has proven itself absolutely untrustworthy to handle incarcerated prisoners in any capacity, let alone in places where independent oversight does not exist.

Didn’t Obama make a campaign promise in 2008 to shut down GITMO, by the way? Why not do it now, save the country some cash, and end a disgusting and immoral practice that demeans the whole of our society?

Domestic Drone Programs

Why does the federal government need 30,000 drones in the skies over the heads of American citizens? Why is this being pursued? If the government seeks to make war on the American people, then by all means, admit that this is the goal and at least we will know the rationalization for spreading a spider’s web of remote controlled technotronic death from sea to shining sea. This is the only POSSIBLE purpose that such a fleet of drones could serve. If this is not the reason for the escalation of drone activity, then there is no logical reason, and they should be perfectly willing to end these programs, saving the U.S. millions if not billions of dollars.

Corporate Welfare

Long before the banker bailouts and the “too big to fails”, government has been pouring free money into the coffers of international corporations that were already claiming billions in capital. This welfare has reached epic levels; around $93 billion by some estimates. Why? Maybe because the establishment knew years ago that these companies were headed for debt implosion. Or, maybe because D.C. is a revolving door and corporate vampires like to spend time in the public sector bleeding taxpayers dry. I don’t know. What I do know is that whatever purpose corporate welfare was supposed to serve, it failed. We are in the midst of the most extensive economic crisis of all time, and many of the companies that received welfare for the past couple decades are debt addled failures that provide little in job creation. It’s time to cut our losses…

The Obama Family’s Extravagant Vacations

All this panicked discussion on budget cuts, yet, no one seems to be talking about reducing the most frivolous of expenditures. The Obama family’s four trips to Hawaii alone have cost Americans tax payers at least $20 million (this is a very conservative estimate)! Why is the nation pounding its collective head against the wall over extreme national debt obligations while this joker and his overprivileged family are spending a thousand times more on each of their vacations than any other citizen?

Hey Obama, try a trip to Florida, you money swilling bastard! Maybe you could squeeze it in for under a million? Take a swim in the Everglades perhaps, the water is fine…

One Day Soon, Everything Will Be Cut…

If Americans are frightened of a small budget cut of $85 billion, imagine what they’ll do when they realize this is just the beginning of the avalanche. It will not be long before our foreign creditors turn away from the Dollar and begin using alternative currencies like the IMF’s SDR basket. At that point, the purchasing power of the Greenback will be severely suffocated, and the numerous social services the public enjoys today will be buried as well.

Some people might question why I did not include any entitlement programs or social support in my list of needed budget cuts. I would only point out that such programs are not long for this world anyway, and though most of them shouldn’t exist in the first place, the expenditures listed above are even more peripheral. The feds will keep welfare going for as long as possible, in order to subdue public response and soften collective rage, but there will come a time when the food stamps, medicare, disability payments, and other subsidies will suddenly stop. EU members like Spain are a perfect example, stealing over 90% of social security funds in order to maintain a façade of solvency, while others are raiding retirement funds and employee pensions, all because austerity measures are exhausting entitlement pools. This is where the U.S. is headed, and it cannot be avoided. Not through fiat printing, or any other nonsensical strategy.

My goal was to merely point out that there are plenty of irrelevant federal appendages out there that could be amputated, but probably won’t be, while other more useful programs will come under fire. In the end, the budget cuts are not about saving money; they are about social maneuvering and political gain. They will be used as an excuse for everything, and will produce nothing favorable, not because cuts are not needed, but because the people in charge of them are not trustworthy.