IRS Buying Spying Equipment: Covert Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants

IRS Purchasing Surveillance Equipment: Hidden Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants

The IRS, currently in the midst of scandals involving the targeting of conservative groups and lavish taxpayer-funded conferences, is ordering surveillance equipment that includes hidden cameras in coffee trays, plants and clock radios.

The IRS wants to secure the surveillance equipment quickly – it posted a solicitation on June 6 and is looking to close the deal by Monday, June 10.  The agency already has a company lined up for the order but is not commenting on the details.

“The Internal Revenue Service intends to award a Purchase Order to an undisclosed Corporation,” reads the solicitation.

“The following descriptions are vague due to the use and nature of the items,” it says.

“If you feel that you can provide the following equipment, please respond to this email no later than 4 days after the solicitation date,” the IRS said.

Among the items the agency will purchase are four “Covert Coffee tray(s) with Camera concealment,” and four “Remote surveillance system(s)” with “Built-in DVD Burner and 2 Internal HDDs, cameras.”

The IRS also is buying four cameras to hide in plants: “(QTY 4) Plant Concealment Color 700 Lines Color IP Camera Concealment with Single Channel Network Server, supports dual video stream, Poe [Power over Ethernet], software included, case included, router included.”

Finishing out the order are four “Color IP Camera Concealment with single channel network server, supports dual video stream, poe, webviewer and cms software included, audio,” and two “Concealed clock radio.”

IRS Purchasing Surveillance Equipment: Hidden Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants(AP Photo)

“Responses to this notice must be received by this office within 3 business days of the date of this synopsis by 2:00 P.M. EST, June 10, 2013,” the IRS said.  Interested vendors are to contact Ricardo Carter, a Contract Specialist at the IRS.

“If no compelling responses are received, award will be made to the original solicited corporation,” the IRS said.

The original solicitation was only available to private companies for bids for 19 business hours.

The notice was posted at 11:07 a.m. on June 6 and had a deadline of 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Taking a normal 9-to-5 work week, the solicitation was open for bids for six hours on Thursday, eight hours on Friday, and five hours on Monday, for a total of 19 hours.

The response date was changed on Monday, pushed back to 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11.

The location listed for the solicitation is the IRS’s National Office of Procurement, in Oxon Hill, Md.

“The Procurement Office acquires the products and services required to support the IRS mission,” according to its website.

In recent weeks the IRS has been at the center of multiple scandals, admitting to targeting Tea Party groups and subjecting them to greater scrutiny when applying for non-profit status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that groups with names like “patriot” in their titles were singled out, required to complete lengthy personal questionnaires (often multiple times) and having their nonprofit status delayed, sometimes for more than three years.

Last week a second Inspector General report detailed nearly $50 million in wasteful spending by the agency on conferences, in which employees stayed at luxurious Las Vegas hotels, paid a keynote speaker $17,000 to paint a picture of U2 singer Bono, and spent $50,000 on parody videos of “Star Trek.”

Requests for comment from the IRS and Mr. Carter were not returned before this story was posted.

CNSNews.com asked IRS spokesmen Dean Patterson and Anthony Burke to explain the reasoning behind the solicitation, where the surveillance equipment will be used, why the request was so urgent, and whether the request has anything to do with the recent scandals at the IRS.

 

 

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/irs-buying-spying-equipment-covert-cameras-coffee-trays-plants

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The U.S. Government Is Monitoring All Phone Calls, All Emails And All Internet Activity

The U.S. Government Is Monitoring All Phone Calls, All Emails And All Internet Activity - Photo by Jo Amelia Finlay

Big Brother is watching everything that you do on the Internet and listening to everything that you say on your phone.  Every single day in America, the U.S. government intercepts and stores nearly 2 billion emails, phone calls and other forms of electronic communication.  Former NSA employees have come forward and have described exactly what is taking place, and this surveillance activity has been reported on by prominent news organizations such as the Washington Post, Fox News and CNN, but nobody really seems to get too upset about it.  Either most Americans are not aware of what is really going on or they have just accepted it as part of modern life.  But where will this end?  Do we really want to live in a dystopian “Big Brother society” where the government literally reads every single thing that we write and listens to every single thing that we say?  Is that what the future of America is going to look like?  If so, what do you think our founding fathers would have said about that?

Many Americans may not realize this, but nothing that you do on your cell phone or on the Internet will ever be private again.  According to the Washington Post, the NSA intercepts and stores an astounding amount of information every single day…

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.

But even the Washington Post may not have been aware of the full scope of the surveillance.  In fact, National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney claims that the NSA has collected “20 trillion transactions” involving U.S. citizens…

In fact, I would suggest that they’ve assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about U.S. citizens with other U.S. citizens.

And NSA whistleblowers have also told us that the agency “has the capability to do individualized searches, similar to Google, for particular electronic communications in real time through such criteria as target addresses, locations, countries and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email.”

So the NSA must have tremendous data storage needs.  That must be why they are building such a mammoth data storage center out in Utah.  According to Fox News, it will have the capability of storing 5 zettabytes of data…

The NSA says the Utah Data Center is a facility for the intelligence community that will have a major focus on cyber security. The agency will neither confirm nor deny specifics. Some published reports suggest it could hold 5 zettabytes of data. (Just one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 62 billion stacked iPhones 5?s– that stretches past the moon.

Are you outraged by all of this?

You should be.

The U.S. government is spying on the American people and yet they continue to publicly deny that they are actually doing it.

Last week, this government spying program was once again confirmed by another insider.  What former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente told Erin Burnett of CNN is absolutely astounding

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”

Yes, “all of that stuff” is most definitely being “captured” and it is time for the Obama administration to be honest with the American people about what is actually going on.

Meanwhile, the recent bombing in Boston has many of our politicians calling for even tighter surveillance.

For example, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said that our interpretation of the U.S. Constitution will “have to change” to deal with the new threats that we are facing.  More “smart cameras” are going up in New York, and Bloomberg says that we are “never going to know where all of our cameras are”.  The following is from a recent RT article

New York City police officials intend to expand the already extensive use of surveillance cameras throughout town. The plan, unveiled Thursday, comes as part of a drive for increased security around the US following the Boston Marathon attack.

New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly announced the plan during a press conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in which the two announced that the suspected Boston Marathon bombers were planning to attack New York next. The pair said they hope to discourage criminals by using so-called “smart cameras” that will aggregate data from 911 alerts, arrest records, mapped crime patterns, surveillance cameras and radiation detectors, among other tools, according to The Verge.

You’re never going to know where all of our cameras are,” Bloomberg told reporters gathered outside City Hall. “And that’s one of the ways you deter people; they just don’t know whether the person sitting next to you is somebody sitting there or a detective watching.”

Will you feel safer if the government is watching you 100% of the time?

Do you want them to see what you are doing 100% of the time?

You might want to think about that, because that is where all of this is headed.

In fact, the truth is that spy cameras are not just going up all over New York City.  Most Americans may not realize this, but a network of spy cameras is now going up all over the nation.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles

“You are being watched.  The government has a secret system – a machine – that spies on you every hour of every day.”  That is how each episode of “Person of Interest” on CBS begins.  Most Americans that have watched the show just assume that such a surveillance network is completely fictional and that the government would never watch us like that.  Sadly, most Americans are wrong.  Shocking new details have emerged this week which prove that a creepy nationwide network of spy cameras is being rolled out across the United States.  Reportedly, these new spy cameras are “more accurate than modern facial recognition technology”, and every few seconds they send back data from cities and major landmarks all over the United States to a centralized processing center where it is analyzed.  The authorities believe that the world has become such a dangerous place that the only way to keep us all safe is to watch what everyone does all the time.  But the truth is that instead of “saving America”, all of these repressive surveillance technologies are slowly killing our liberties and our freedoms.  America is being transformed into an Orwellian prison camp right in front of our eyes, and very few people are even objecting to it.

For many more examples of how the emerging Big Brother surveillance grid is tightening all around us, please see my previous article entitled “19 Signs That America Is Being Systematically Transformed Into A Giant Surveillance Grid“.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is telling us to reject those that are warning us about government tyranny.  The following is what he told the graduating class of The Ohio State University on May 5th, 2013

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.

So what do you think?

Should we just ignore all of the violations of our privacy that are happening?

Should we just ignore what the U.S. Constitution says about privacy and let the government monitor us however it wants to?
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-u-s-government-is-monitoring-all-phone-calls-all-emails-and-all-internet-activity/#vLT5zSVSEKcqHuIQ.99

Bloomberg Says Interpretation of Constitution Will ‘Have to Change’ After Boston Bombing

Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. (Photo John Moore/Getty Images)

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country’s interpretation of the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.

“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”

Mr. Bloomberg, who has come under fire for the N.Y.P.D.’s monitoring of Muslim communities and other aggressive tactics, said the rest of the country needs to learn from the attacks.

“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11,” he said.

“We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to,” he said.

The mayor pointed to the gun debate and noted the courts have allowed for increasingly stringent regulations in response to ever-more powerful weapons.

“Clearly the  Supreme Court has recognized that you have to have different interpretations of the Second Amendment and what it applies to and reasonable gun laws … Here we’re going to to have to live with reasonable levels of security,” he said, pointing to the use of magnetometers to catch weapons in city schools.

“It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks,” he said. “We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.”

Still, Mr. Bloomberg argued the attacks shouldn’t be used as an excuse to persecute certain religions or groups.

“What we cant do is let the protection get in the way of us enjoying our freedoms,” he said.  “You still want to let people practice their religion, no matter what that religion is. And I think one of the great dangers here is going and categorizing anybody from one religion as a terrorist. That’s not true … That would let the terrorists win. That’s what they want us to do.”

 

 

 

http://politicker.com/2013/04/bloomberg-says-post-boston-interpretation-of-the-constitution-will-have-to-change/

Amended CISPA moves to House after closed-door vote

CISPA

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Textbooks Have Eyes: Now E-Books Can Track If You Do Your Homework

(theatlanticwire.com)Welcome to the future of education where your textbook—and therefore your teacher—knows exactly how much of your homework you did, how, and when. The idea is that this data will improve outcomes, helping teachers better understand their students habits. And with CourseSmart teachers can do just that, as The New York Times‘ David Streitfeld explains today. Through what is called “the engagement index” a professor can track the a student’s study habits, by looking at what pages of the book were opened, when, and how they took notes. “It’s Big Brother, sort of, but with a good intent,” says Tracy Hurley, the dean of Texas A&M’s school of business, which has started testing the technology along with eight other schools.

While helping professors understand why certain students are struggling is a good thing, as we’ve learned repeatedly, it’s difficult to predict how people will use data. Take this example of how the CourseSmart data lead to suspicion of a student who had good grades:

Adrian Guardia, a Texas A&M instructor in management, took notice the other day of a student who was apparently doing well. His quiz grades were solid, and so was what CourseSmart calls his “engagement index.” But Mr. Guardia also saw something else: that the student had opened his textbook only once.

Guardia told Streitfeld this was a cause for concern: “Are you really learning if you only open the book the night before the test? I knew I had to reach out to him to discuss his studying habits.” Of course, students, especially at or above college level, don’t all learn the exact same way. By the traditional outcome measurements (i.e. grades) and even the newfangled CourseSmart “engagement index” (an example of which you can see here), this student was doing fine, but the new granular data allowed a teacher to be skeptical about that student’s work.

The introduction of new subjective judgments already, understandably, has students worried. Hillary Torres with good grades, but “low engagement” scores, told Streitfeld: “If he looks and sees, ‘Hillary is not really reading as much as I thought,’ does that give him a negative image of me? His opinion really matters. Maybe I need to change my study habits.” But unless instructors want to change how they evaluate students, why should she change the methods that are working for her?

Even worse, another good student had to sit down with her professor to fit her study habits to some Silicon Valley company’s textbook. In the Times comments, Charlotte writes: “I never studied the way the program thought I should. I took notes on paper, read only what I thought was important, and used outside resources to study.” All of these would not be captured by the CourseSmart metrics. “By studying the way I thought was best for me I did well in the class, and finished with an A. I ended up with a very low engagement score which prompted my professor to set up multiple meetings with me over the semester about my supposedly poor study habits, and how he could help me. I didn’t need help. It was all a complete waste of time.”

These aren’t the best case scenarios of course. In an ideal world, the aggregate data would help textbook authors to create better learning materials and give educators insight into how much these very expensive supplemental materials are actually helping the learning experience. But since when has data ever been used just for good?

Google Involved in ‘Regime Change’: WikiLeaks

April 08, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Al-Akhbar” –  Top Google execs, including the company’s CEO and one of Barack Obama’s major presidential campaign donors Eric Schmidt, informed the intelligence agency Stratfor about Google’s activities and internal communication regarding “regime change” in the Middle East, according to Stratfor emails released by WikiLeaks and obtained by Al-Akhbar. The other source cited was Google’s director for security and safety Marty Lev.

The briefings mainly focused on the movements of Jared Cohen, currently the director of Google Ideas, a “think/do-tank” billed as a vehicle for spreading American-style liberal democracy. Cohen was also a former member of US Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and former advisor to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Email exchanges, starting February 2011, suggest that Google execs were suspicious that Cohen was coordinating his moves with the White House and cut Cohen’s mission short at times for fear he was taking too many risks. Stratfor’s vice-president of counter-terrorism Fred Burton, who seemed opposed to Google’s alleged covert role in “foaming” uprisings, describes Cohen as a “loose Cannon” whose killing or kidnapping “might be the best thing to happen” to expose Google.

The Cohen Conspiracy

Stratfor’s spotlight on Cohen began on 9 February 2012 after Burton forwarded to the secure email list a Foreign Policy article discussing Cohen’s move from the State Department to Google Ideas. With this article, Burton noted that Cohen had dinner in Cairo with Wael Ghonim on January 27, 2011 just hours before the Egyptian Google Executive was famously picked up by Egypt’s State Security. (doc-id 1122191)

On the same day, Stratfor’s staff make reference to a Huffington Post article which highlighted Cohen’s role in “delaying the scheduled maintenance on Twitter so the Iranian revolution could keep going” and a Foreign Policy article that noted that Cohen “was a Rhodes scholar, spent time in Iran, [and] hung out in Iraq during the war…”. These casual discovers further perked Stratfor’s curiosity about Cohen. (doc-id 1629270)

The following day, Burton forwarded a message to the secure email list from “a very good Google source” who claimed that Cohen “[was] off to Gaza next week”. Burton added, “Cohen, a Jew, is bound to get himself whacked….Google is not clear if Cohen is operating [with a] State Dept [or] WH [White House] license, or [is] a hippie activist.”

Korena Zucha, another senior analyst on the list, queried, “Why hasn’t Google cut ties to Cohen yet? Or is Cohen’s activity being endorsed by those higher up in the [company] than your contact?”

In turn, Burton replied, “Cohen’s rabbi is Eric Schmidt and Obama lackey. My source is trying to find out if the billionaire owners are backing Cohen’s efforts for regime change.” (doc-id 1111729)

Later on, Burton forwarded information from the “Google source” of Cohen’s links in establishing Movements.org. The source added, “A site created to help online organization of groups and individuals to move democracy in stubborn nations. Funded through public-private partnerships.” Burton pointed out that the US State Department is the organization’s public sponsor.” (doc-id 1118344)

Indeed, the State Department, partnering with a number of corporations, was the main sponsor for the 2008 inaugural Alliance of Youth Movements summit in New York City that subsequently established Movements.org. Hillary Clinton endorsed the organization and presented a video message during the second summit held in Mexico City a year later.

On 11 February, Burton wrote to the secure email list that Cohen was still planning to head to Gaza. He added, “The dude is a loose can[n]on. GOOGLE is trying to stop his entry into Gaza now because the dude is like scorched earth. It’s unclear to GOOGLE if he’s driving without a license, but GOOGLE believes he’s on a specific mission of “regime change” on the part of leftist fools inside the WH who are using him for their agendas.” (doc-id 1113596)

Throughout this day, the idea proposed by Burton, and seemingly felt by his Google contacts as well, of Cohen and the White House’s involvement in the uprisings was actively discussed among the analysts, especially in regards to who would be targeted next. (doc-id 1113965)

By Monday, 14 February 2011, Burton shared intelligence with George Friedman, Stratfor’s founder, and Scott Stewart, vice-president of Stratfor’s tactical department, from his source in Google that Cohen was ordered not to go to Gaza. Burton’s Google source further stated, “Also, thinking I [the unnamed source] may be on the right track about him despite his denials [in reference to Cohen working for the White House/State Department].”

When asked to clarify his sources on Cohen, Burton claimed that they were Marty Lev, Google’s director for security and safety, and Eric Schmidt, the current CEO of Google. (doc-id 398679)

A week later, Burton forwarded an internal Google email obtained from a ‘senior Google executive’. This email was seemingly sent by Cohen to the senior Google executive to discuss Cohen’s planned trip in March.

In it, Cohen wrote, “I wanted to follow-up and get a sense of your latest thinking on the proposed March trip to UAE, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. The purpose of this trip is to exclusively engage the Iranian community to better understand the challenges faced by Iranians as part of one of our Google Ideas groups on repressive societies. Here is what we are thinking: Drive to Azerbaijan/Iranian border and engage the Iranian communities closer to the border (this is important because we need the Azeri Iranian perspective).”

After reading Cohen’s email, Stewart remarked, “Cohen might end up having an accident if he is not careful. This is not child’s play.”

Burton responded, “GOOGLE is getting WH [White House] and State Dept. support and air cover. In reality, they are doing things the CIA cannot do. But, I agree with you. He’s going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose GOOGLE’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and GOOGLE is left holding the shit bag.” (doc-id 1121800)

On 10 March 2011, Burton forwarded another message from his ‘senior Google executive’ source detailing how Cohen was requested not to travel on his proposed trip. The source explained that Google had concerns over Cohen’s “baggage” as a “US State Dept. policy maker, his research and publications on Muslim extremists and youth movements and his presence in Egypt just as the uprising started.”The source also stated that Cohen was recommended to “take a lower profile on this specific trip and let time pass before being visible and associated with people known by their states to be active in challenging repressive societies.” (doc-id 1164190)

A subsequent message from Burton’s source on 22 March 2011 affirmed that Cohen “heeded the advice not to go to Turkey or UAE for those meetings.” (doc-id 1133861)

The final email dealing with Cohen was on 30 March 2011.
Here, Burton forwarded to the alpha (secure) email list a response by his source to Burton’s question of whether Cohen was playing any role in Libya at the time. The source stated, “Not that I’m aware of. He heeded the advice to avoid Turkey and UAE and didn’t go on that trip.” (doc-id 1160182)


Google Ideas: Politicizing Technology

Certainly, there is more than meets the eye to Cohen and his actions; even his superiors in Google seem to think so.

The belief, chiefly by Burton, that Cohen had seemingly played a role in fermenting the uprisings that toppled Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak underplays, and at times entirely disregards, the ability and agency by local movements in Tunisia and Egypt.

Nevertheless, Google Ideas, which Cohen directs, is a new animal. According to a report by the Financial Times published last July, Google Ideas seems to bond idealistic activist sensibilities with Google’s pursuit for continued global expansion – blurring the lines between business and political action. Schmidt and Cohen dub Google Ideas as a “think/do-tank” that aims to tackle political and diplomatic matters through the use of technology.

The first public event for the think/do-tank, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Tribeca Film Festival, was held last June in Dublin. It gathered around 80 ‘former’ extremists, including former Muslim radicals, neo-Nazis, US gang members, and others, in a “Summit Against Violent Extremism”. The announcement by Google declared that the summit’s aim is “to initiate a global conversation on how best to prevent young people from becoming radicalised and how to de-radicalise others” and that “the ideas generated at the Dublin summit will be included in a study to be published later in the year.”

One spin off was the creation of the Against Violent Extremism group, apparently a network for those who attended the Dublin Summit. Beyond merely networking, the group also advertises certain projects that are in need of funding. Notably, much of the projects pertain to the Middle East, including an “Al-Awlaki Counter-Campaign” – Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen of Yemeni origin, was assassinated in September of last year by the US for his alleged al-Qaeda connections.

But the Against Violent Extremism site does not seem to be presently active. The last update for projects in need of funding was made in September and the last announcement regarding the workings of the site was made in October.

More recently, Foreign Policy reported in January that the Brookings Institute, one of the oldest and most influential think-tanks in Washington, DC, named Google Ideas as “the best new think tank established in the last 18 months.” Such accolades arguably suggests that Google Ideas is expected to be a major player in the near future.

Communists Stand in Defiance of Bill of Rights

(fromthetrenchesworldreport.com) The communist insurgents within the United States continue their push to disarm we American nationals, even to the point of presenting poll numbers which have been proven to be false via their own previous admissions.  Captain Mark Kelly, the husband of ex-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was making the rounds over the weekend, spouting his sedition while trying to present himself as some kind of American hero.

Let’s look at this logically and ask the question. Does the government grant the people their rights?  Was the Bill of Rights written by the government to outline the privileges they were to bestow upon us, said privileges of course to be revoked, altered, or regulated at the government’s whim?

This is the position the government would like to establish.  It is however absolutely a fiction.  This government did not grant us our rights, as all power within this nation resides in the people.  We granted the government limited power, which they have distorted.  Our rights are inalienable, they cannot be removed as we are born with them and they stay with us until our deaths.

The 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights states in part: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  This is an absolute statement and there is no way it can be misconstrued.

Infringe is defined as: “Act so as to limit or undermine; encroach on”, therefore any government action that alters, in the smallest degree, any American nationals right to arm, as he or she sees fit, is by definition an infringement and is not law, but rather an act of sedition.

The infringements that have been levied upon our Bill of Rights are too numerous to count.  These infringements have in fact brought us to the precipice of slavery.  The only thing standing in the way of a complete takeover of the people by the government is our possession of our firearms which have not yet been made a part of the infringements.

This is not just about our 2nd Article right.  This is about our freedom and liberty, et.al.  A person who is governed by another person is not free.  This is why our Republic emphasizes self governess of, by, and for the individual.

Mark Kelly spouted the lie that 92% of the American people support universalbackground checks, which can only be accomplished through universal registration.  Again, this is a lie, but even if it were not, it would not matter.  If 99.999% supported it, no one of us can alter the rights of another.

Our employees in the government are forbidden by law to advocate in any way to alter our Bill of Rights. The 1934 Gun Control Act was and is an infringement, and tell me how bold would these actors within this police state be in attacking our homes, if we still had our machine guns and hand grenades?  The 1968 Gun Control Act was and is an infringement, as the 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights does not say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except for those who are felons. “

These communists are parasites of the lowest degree and have sleazed their way into our lives in taking our kindness for weakness, said kindness fostered in reality via stupidity as the most feared threat to our safety is an armed government wielding tyranny over an unarmed population.

These present infringements have been put forth for no other reason than to segment another portion of our population to be without their inalienable rights.  And with the new mental health aspect, hell you do not even have to be accused of harming anyone.  Now, instead of being dispossessed of our rights via conviction, which again is unconstitutional, we are to be disarmed for what could happen: an ‘if’ or a ‘maybe’.

We must stand firm in our defiance of universal background check registration and let these communists know that not only are they going to cease and desist in their attempt at further infringement, but we demand that all past infringements be removed as a precursor to their trials for sedition.

God bless the Republic, death to the international corporate mafia, we shall prevail.

The Anger Phase Of Humanity Is Coming

FDA raid company in Florida for illegal dietary supplements

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(Digital Journal) -The FDA and U.S. marshals have raided a company in Flordia  called Globe All Wellness LLC and have seized supplies of the dietary supplement  Meridia, a weight loss drug that was withdrawn from the market in 2010.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that the illegal dietary supplements from the  Florida based pharmacy were seized because some may contain a dangerous  pharmaceutical ingredient.

According to Consumer Lab, the drugs seized included SlimXtreme,  SlimXtreme Gold, SlimPlus, SlimLee, GelSlim, SlimDrops, and Colonew.

Speaking about the action, Howard  Sklamberg, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug  Evaluation and Research, is quoted by UPI as saying: “Companies that distribute products  containing undisclosed drugs are not only breaking the law, they are putting  consumers at risk. With these kinds of hidden dangers, consumers cannot make  informed decisions about the products they are taking.”

The drug in question is Meridia, a weight loss dietary supplement. The drug is  usually in the form of the hydrochloride monohydrate salt compressed into a  tablet, and is taken as an oral anorexiant. The drug was withdrawn in 2010  because of concerns that  consumption of the pills could increase the risk of  heart attack and stroke. This was based on a study, reviewed by the FDA, which showed that the drug (under the  drug’s generic name Sibutramine) posed a significant risk of an adverse  cardiovascular event occurring in patients.

Although the FDA, along with the  European Union, banned the drug from sale, in October 2011, the FDA warned that 20 brands of dietary supplements were  tainted with sibutramine.

The news of the FDA raid follows other  concerns with dietary supplements, pills that are not subject to the same  regulations as prescription medicines. In 2012, the Digital Journal reported that a dietary supplement called  Reumofan Plus, manufactured in Mexico and sold in the USA, has been found to  contain ‘unlisted ingredients’ which are harmful to human health. Also during  2012, three different supplements manufactured in the U.S: Cataplex ACP,  Cataplex C, and Pancreatrophin PMG were withdrawn from the market due to suspected contamination  with Salmonella bacteria.

Read more:  http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/343841#ixzz2LNgyHdx7

DHS Use Police Depts to Gather Intel on Citizens & Label Them Extremist Threats

(From the Trenches) According to the White House Blog website, the Obama administration is working to “counter online radicalization” by “violent extremist groups” such as “al-Qaeda and its affiliates and adherents, violent supremacist groups, and violent ‘sovereign citizens’.”

The White House claims that “these groups use the Internet to disseminate propaganda, identify and groom potential recruits, and supplement their real-world recruitment” with “resources to propagate messages of violence and division.” Through the exploitation of “popular media, music videos and online video games”, allegedly there are “countless opportunities “to draw targets into private exchanges” and provide “violent extremists with access to new audiences and instruments for radicalization.”

The US government stated they will combat these extremist groups by “raising awareness about the threat and providing communities with practical information and tools for staying safe online.” They are solidifying their relationships with private sector corporations involved in technology to implement “policies, technologies, and tools that can help counter violent extremism online.”

The 2011 document entitled “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States” outlines how a “comprehensive strategy” to counter the influence of al-Qaeda is being championed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with digital information sharing and coordinating intelligence with local law enforcement to thwart terrorist plots and “save many American lives”.

Using propaganda, under the guise of “local partners in their grassroots efforts to prevent violent extremism” the federal government is building a network with local law enforcement against the threat of radicalization online and in the real-world.

The document names plots devised by neo-Nazis, anti-Semitic hate groups, racial supremacists, international and domestic terrorists inspired by al-Qaeda as a threat to the US. The federal government is utilizing local police departments to build a “local level . . . resilience against violent extremism.”

DHS trains local police officers at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides funding to local police departments to send their officers to FLETC to receive militarized education in tactical operations.

FLETC has locations in Georgia, New Mexico, South Carolina, andWashington DC. This federal militarization of local police extends tointernational policing agencies which “develops, coordinates, manages, and delivers international training and technical assistance that promotes the rule of law and supports U.S. foreign policy.”

Another report the White House is using to justify the demonization of US citizens as radical extremists is entitled “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States”. This report, published in December of 2011, further reinforces the role of local police departments to ‘address community needs and concerns, including protecting rights and public safety.”

The federal government acquires platforms to infiltrate communities they have identified as potentially under threat of violent extremist groups. Across the nation, senior officials are deployed with the assistance of fake grassroots propaganda to partner with “Governor-appointed Homeland Security Advisors, Major Cities Chiefs, Mayors’ Offices, and local partners.”

Training of local police department officers to paramilitarize and integrate them into military tactical operations is the key to combating localized extremism.
Over the last few years the DHS have been indoctrinating local police departments into “non-Federal law enforcement agencies” as outlined in the DHS directive from the Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (SLLE).

DHS is successful in their relationship with local police departments all across the nation because they are contracted private security firms (or hired armed guards) that are placed in a city or town to secure the population and generate revenue for the local government.

In early 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a reportentitled “Homeland Security and Intelligence: Next Steps in Evolving the Mission” which outlined in part on how to redirect efforts of the federal government from international terrorism toward home-grown terrorists and build a DHS-controlled police force agency that would control all cities and towns through the use of local police departments.

DHS maintains that “the threat grows more localized” which necessitates the militarization of local police in major cities in the US and the training of staff from local agencies to make sure that oversight is restricted to the federal government.

Countering online extremism is a task allocated to the DHS who have identified “behaviors, tactics, and other indicators that could point to potential terrorist activity.” DHS will host conferences for local police departments and federal partners to attend that will provide education on countering extremism.

Other “training initiatives” include “hundreds of thousands of front line officers” who are the ground-force infantry needed by DHS to “prevent” extremist activities.

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign is specifically designed to target local communities to turn ordinary citizens into a Stasi for the federal government with the local police department allocated as their first line of intelligence gathering.

Intelligence on citizens who are supposed to be extremists is gathered from multiple avenues such as:

• Local government
• Local law enforcement
• Parent/Teacher Associations
• School district officials
• Influential members of local communities
• Religious leaders

These collaborations provide “critical information” and real-time “assessments of [any] threat” to local communities and incorporate this information into training programs and federal initiatives.

In a Major Privacy Victory, Seattle Mayor Orders Police to Dismantle Its Drone Program After Protests

 

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(EFF) -In an amazing victory for privacy advocates and drone activists, yesterday, Seattle’s mayor ordered the city’s police agency to cease trying use surveillance drones and dismantle its drone program. The police will return the two drones they previously purchased with a Department of Homeland Security grant to the manufacturer.

EFF has been warning of the privacy dangers surveillance drones pose to US citizens for more than a year now. In May of last year, we urged concerned citizens to take their complaints to their local governments, given Congress has been slow to act on any privacy legislation. The events of Seattle proves this strategy can work and should serve as a blueprint for local activism across the country.

Back in early 2012, the Seattle city council was told that the Seattle police agency had obtained an authorization to fly drones from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But they did not find out from the police; they found out from a reporter who called after the council after he saw Seattle’s name on the list obtained by EFF as part of our lawsuit against the FAA.

City council was understandably not happy, and the police agency was forced to appear before the council and apologize. It then vowed to work with the ACLU of Washington and the FAA to develop guidelines to make sure drones wouldn’t violate Seattle citizens’ privacy. But as long as the guidelines weren’t passed in a binding city ordinance, there’d be no way to enforce them.

After a townhall meeting held by police, in which citizens showed up in droves and angrily denounced the city’s plans, some reporters insinuated that city counsel members’ jobs could be on the line if they did not pass strict drone legislation protecting its citizens privacy.

Documents obtained by MuckRock and EFF in October as part of our 2012 drone census showed that the Seattle police were trying to buy two more drones despite the controversy. But that ended yesterday as the Mayor put a stop to the program completely.

Critics of the privacy protests said the participants were exaggerating the capabilities of the Seattle drones, given they would only fly for less than an hour at a time and are much smaller than the Predator drones the military flies overseas and Department of Homeland Security flies at home.

But while Seattle’s potential drones may not have been able to stay in the air for long, similar drones have already been developed and advertised by drone manufacturers with the capability to stay in the air for hours or days at a time. In fact, Lockheed Martin has been bragging about a drone that weights 13.2 pounds (well within the FAA’s weight limits) that can be recharged by a laser on the ground and stay in the air indefinitely.

Since the Seattle protests have heated up, similar complaints have been heard at local city counsels and state legislatures across the country. At least thirteen states are now considering legislation to restrict drone use to protect privacy, and there are also members of Congress on both sides of the aisle pushing the same thing.

Here in the Bay Area, we’ve experienced a similar situation. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office tried to sneak through drone funding without a public hearing and told the county board of supervisors it only wanted to use the drone for emergency purposes. Yet in internal documents obtained by EFF and MuckRock as part of our 2012 drone census, the Sheriff’s Office said it wanted to use the drone for “suspicious persons” and “large crowd control disurbances.”

When EFF and ACLU held a press conference pointing out this discrepancy, the county backtracked and is now attempting to write privacy guidelines that could potentially be turned into binding law. We will keep you updated on further developments.

But regardless, it’s important that privacy advocates take the lesson from Seattle and apply it all over the country. This is an important privacy victory, and like we said back in May, local governments will listen to our concerns, so let’s make our voice heard.

U.N. Drone Investigator: If Facts Lead to U.S. War Crimes, So Be It

 Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

(Wired.com) Emerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.

In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.

“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”

Massachusetts to propose wiretapping bill to “reduce gun violence.”

 

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(CAV News) – According to NECN, Massachusetts attorney general, Martha Coakley, and several other lawmakers will propose a bill tomorrow to combat gun violence with a wiretapping bill.

The details will be laid out tomorrow according to NECN, in which lawmakers hope to curb gun violence.

What they are hoping for is to modernize and update the current laws on the book to target street, gun, and gang violence.

Here’s the official story from NECN: http://www.necn.com/01/27/13/Mass-lawmakers-to-propose-wiretapping-bi/landing.html?blockID=827329&feedID=11106

Of course anybody who doubts what government has been doing with their expansion in surveillance can only see, that this as a way to spy on citizens, infringe on rights, generate more power, exploit and waste taxpayer dollars, and help friends in certain industries. This will do nothing but make more law-abiding citizens “perceived criminals.”

 

Be a Proud Conspiracy Theorist, You’re in the Majority

(Activist Post) It seems that the establishment media has intensified their attack on “conspiracy theorists”.  It’s long been their feeble attempt to discredit anyone who dares question the “official” narrative of events.  But why the sudden deluge of attacks?

First, what does conspiracy theory even mean?

con·spir·a·cy – An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.

the·o·ry – A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena.

con·spir·a·cy the·o·ry – The belief that the government or a covert organization is responsible for an event that is unusual or unexplained. In short, a conspiracy theorist seeks the full facts about covert subversive acts, and unusual or unexplained events. Put another way, when the story of an event doesn’t add up, theories arise to explain what really happened.

Given the abominable track record of the establishment media, it’s become more common to question everything we hear rather than blindly swallowing their script.

As the initial reporting of the Sandy Hook school massacre was so scattered, and policymakers immediately seized the crisis to promote a long desired agenda of strict gun control, it’s no wonder that some have questioned the authenticity of the “official” version of events.

What is the official version, anyway?  It’s changed a thousand times. They want us to believe a lone-wolf psycho used an assault rifle to kill 26 innocent children and teachers.

Never mind that it has come out that a “rifle” never entered the school and what they found in the trunk of Lanza’s car was actually a shotgun. Never mind how he got through the new $300,000 surveillance/security system while wearing a mask and armed to the teeth. Never mind the reports of multiple shooters and camouflage-clad strangers arrested in the woods. Don’t worry about the Emergency Response Team (ERT) that was simulating this exact same school shooter scenario on the same day in a nearby town. And, don’t ask why there’s a strange lack of injured survivors, credible witnesses, or anyone who even knew Adam Lanza. And, finally, how would gun control have prevented this event?

I must be an evil, heartless conspiracy theorist who pisses on the graves of those killed that day because I’d like answers to these questions. At least that’s what the establishment media wants you to believe about me and others who desire better explanations than what we’ve been given.

Media figures, particularly CIA intern Anderson Cooper of CNN, is using his bully pulpit to demonize anyone who questions the Sandy Hook event and lump them all into the most radical theory that says no one was murdered that day. The fact that he dedicated nearly an entire show to disputing a conspiracy theory, in and of itself is telling.

Meanwhile, AC was caught pulling a 360 on viewers by showing “active-shooter drill footage” from another school as if it was the breaking news feed of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

But,  as Cooper struggles to attract 200K viewers per night to his pulpit, an amateur video questioning the anomalies of Sandy Hook received an astonishing 10 million views in one week.

Therein lies the primary reason the establishment can no longer ignore conspiracy theorists, because they’re now the majority. According to a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll a majority of Americans (63%) believe at least one political conspiracy theory.

Dan Cassino, a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University who helped conduct the poll said “People tend to believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire – so the more smoke they see, the more likely they are to believe that something is going on.”

Regarding 9/11, Cassino says; “It’s easy to discount conspiracy theories about 9/11, but this isn’t some fringe belief. Trutherism is alive and well in America, and is only going to get stronger as memories of the actual event fade.”

Another likely motivation for the recent attacks on conspiracy theorists is because a staggering majority no longer trusts the corporate media or the government. Recent polling showed record level (60%) of distrust for the media, and Congress is less popular than cockroaches with a dismal 9% favorable rating.

It’s clear that the dying corporate media wants their viewers to despise anyone who questions the official narrative of any “event that is unusual or unexplained” in a desperate attempt to keep viewers locked to their “trusted” news channel.

I, for one, am proud to question everything I hear in the so-called news. And the bigger they hype a story, the more I question it. As professor Cassino said, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Usually someone, or a group of someones, clearly benefits from a certain subversive act. As such, they seem to have much more of a motivation than some lone wolf who kills himself after committing unexplainable atrocities or some cave dweller claiming to hate our freedom.

Is this always the case? Of course not. But the more hype the establishment puts behind a questionable event, the more reason there is to find out cui bono — who benefits?

Below is a great video dissertation by James Corbett about conspiracies and the media response to them:

5 chilling new ways police violate your rights

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(Salon) -One of the most disturbing trends in law enforcement in recent years is the hyper-paramilitarization of local police forces. Much of the funding for tanks for Fargo’s hometown cop shop comes from the Department of Homeland Security. The feds have a lot of money to throw around in the name of preventing terrorism, and municipalities want to get that money. As anyone who has done budgeting knows, the best way to ensure your funding stays high is to request a lot of money and spend it all.

As a result, every year the police get more tools, gadgets, weapons, and surveillance technologies that, whatever their stated purpose, serve to give cops greater capabilities to curtail the rights of anyone unlucky enough to be standing in their path.

We were going to list these in order from least to most creepy, but that proved far too challenging. So here are some cop tools you may not be familiar with, in no particular order.

1. Shock-cuffs.These made a splash in late 2012 when it was reported that Scottsdale Inventions had submitted a patent for metal handcuffs capable of delivering “high-voltage, low amperage shocks to disrupt a person’s voluntary nervous system,” much like Tasers. Depending on the model used, the handcuffs could shock a detainee at the will of his captor, or if the detainee wanders past a certain border – like an invisible fence for dogs.

Even more disturbing is the potential to arm the handcuffs with needles capable of injecting medications, sedatives or any number of liquid or gas substances into the detainee. But don’t worry – some models may include a flashing light or sound-alert to warn the person that a shock is about to happen.

2. Rapid DNA analysis. One of the main stories of the future of policing will be cops’ ability to collect biometric data in the field, instead of at the downtown precinct. EFF reported earlier this month on a potentially troubling technology called Rapid DNA analysis, being developed by contractors with the federal government. The machine, which is about the size of a laser printer, has the ability to collect, analyze and catalog your DNA onsite in about 90 minutes.

The stated purpose of the technology is to help identify family relationships between refugees, which could be beneficial if used in limited ways. According to EFF, however, the US Citizenship and Immigration agency suggests “that DNA should be collected from all immigration applicants—possibly even infants—and then stored in the FBI’s criminal DNA database.” As with all data collection in the US, the wrench only goes one way, and once local police forces obtain this technology the potential for abuse is huge.

3. Mobile fingerprinting. Police forces across the country have become enamored of smart phone-sized fingerprint scanners. The police use the devices to scan two fingers of the suspect and transmit the data via Bluetooth to the officer’s laptop in his cruiser. The laptop then checks the image against criminal databases for a match.

The ACLU of Washington is concerned that the devices could be used to collect fingerprints, not simply scan them, though Seattle police insist they don’t keep the scanned fingerprints.

4. Iris scans.When I was arrested covering Occupy in December 2011, a livestreamer who was an old hat at political arrests warned me about the iris scan. Beginning in 2010, the NYPD started scanning arrestees’ irises on intake and immediately prior to arraignment. The stated purpose of these scans is to ensure that the person brought before the judge is the right one (there were some instances of mistaken identity), but in practice the scope of the iris scan is much broader. It’s plainly an example of collecting biometric data of people who haven’t been convicted of a crime, as well as a mechanism to punish those who refuse the scan.

The scan isn’t mandatory, but as I wrote about my own experience, “if you don’t submit to it, you will be punished.” In my case, I refused the scan on intake, but was told I would be held in jail for an extra night if I didn’t allow my eyes to be scanned before I saw the arraignment judge, despite the fact that there was no initial scan to compare it with.

This technology, like DNA analysis and fingerprinting, can now be used in the field. BI2 Technologies has developed a device that slides over an iPhone and allows officers to scan a suspect’s face and eyes, and then check that scan against a criminal database. Critics say the tool is problematic because it can scan a person’s face from up to four feet away, possibly without their awareness. Beyond that, there is a disturbing partnership emerging between BI2 Technologies, the FBI and local police forces, with reports that the FBI plans to launch an iris national database in 2014.

5. License plate recognition.It’s not just your eyeballs and fingertips that law enforcement wants to scan. Relatively new technology called license plate recognition allows police to run thousands of tags a day, all while just driving around. Cameras mounted on cop cars constantly scan the area and check plates against databases, and alert the officer if there’s a match.

A Long Beach police officer describes the scope of LPR this way:

In our case we are running multiple databases — we have “wanted felony vehicles,” “be on the lookout,” “24 hour hotsheet,” “wanted by detectives,” “LA County warrants,” and our gang unit. In addition to this we have “stolen vehicles,” which are available to everybody in the state. Currently in our database we have 24,000,000 plus reads.

Just like the other surveillance tools, police departments expect use of LPR to increase in the coming years. According to a Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) survey, “71 percent of responding agencies already have LPRs,” though often just on a handful of cruisers. Tellingly, “almost every police agency expects to acquire or increase their use of LPRs in coming years, and that five years from now, on average they expect to have 25 percent of their cars equipped with LPRs.”

As Kevin Goztola notes, this kind of technology isn’t inherently inappropriate, but without strict regulation many innocent people could be surveilled unconstitutionally. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a US person who discovered through requests for public records that his daily routine had been monitored automatically. The WSJ concludes, “The rise of license-plate tracking is a case study in how storing and studying people’s everyday activities, even the seemingly mundane, has become the default rather than the exception.”

When it comes to drones, the future is wide open. From proposed surveillance in Seattle to assisting arrests in North Dakota, police drones are here and they aren’t going anywhere. NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly recently told a crowd that his department was “looking into” using drones to surveil political protests, though “a drones program is not being actively pursued at this time.” Recently obtained FOIA documents, however, show that the NYPD counter-terrorism unit may be in the early stages of developing the use of drones.

As drones get smaller, more versatile and increasingly capable of behaving “autonomously,” it’s not difficult to imagine a time in the future when drone surveillance is integrated with LPR technology, all in the name of increased security.

U.S. Drone Pilot: ‘Did We Just Kill A Kid?’

(PekinTimes)

After Barack Obama joined the rest of us in mourning the slaughter of innocent children in Newtown, Conn., Sanford Berman, a Minnesota civil liberties activist, wrote me: “Obama’s tears for the dead Connecticut kids made me sick. What about weeping over the 400 or more children he killed with drone strikes?”

Indeed, our president has shown no palpable concern over those deaths, but a number of U.S. personnel — not only the CIA agents engaged in drone killings — are deeply troubled.

Peggy Noonan reports that David E. Sanger, in his book “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” discovered that “some of those who operate the unmanned bombers are getting upset. They track victims for days. They watch them play with their children.” Then what happens: “‘It freaks you out’” (“Who Benefits From the ‘Avalanche of Leaks’?” Wall Street Journal, June 15).

For another example, I introduce you to Conor Friedersdorf and his account of “The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child” (theatlantic.com, Dec. 19).

The subtitle: “May his story remind us that U.S. strikes have reportedly killed many times more kids than died in Newtown — and that we can do better.”

The story Friedersdorf highlights in the Atlantic first appeared in Germany’s Der Spiegel about an Air Force officer (not CIA) who “lamented the fact that he sometimes had to kill ‘good daddies’” … (and) “even attended their funerals” from far away.

And dig this, President Obama: “as a consequence of the job, he collapsed with stress-induced exhaustion and developed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).” Yet these drones, “Hellfire missiles,” are President Obama’s favorite extra-judicial weapons against suspected terrorists.

Getting back to the Air Force officer, Brandon Bryant, with the guilty conscience. Friedersdorf’s story quotes extensively from Der Spiegel’s article, which recalls that, when Bryant got the order to fire, “he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof (of a shed) with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact …

“With seven seconds left to go, there was no one to be seen on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. Then it was down to three seconds …

“Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says. Second zero was the moment in which Bryant’s digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif. Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared.

“Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

“‘Did we just kill a kid?’ he asked the man sitting next to him.

“‘Yeah. I guess that was a kid,’ the pilot replied.

“‘Was that a kid?’ they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

“Then someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. ‘No. That was a dog,’ the person wrote.

“They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?”

Friedersdorf adds: “The United States kills a lot of ‘dogs on two legs.’ The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported last August that in Pakistan’s tribal areas alone, there are at least 168 credible reports of children being killed in drone strikes.” As for those in other countries, he adds, that’s “officially secret.”

He writes: “Presidents Bush and Obama have actively prevented human-rights observers from accessing full casualty data from programs that remain officially secret, so there is no way to know the total number of children American strikes have killed in the numerous countries in which they’ve been conducted, but if we arbitrarily presume that ‘just’ 84 children have died — half the bureau’s estimate from one country — the death toll would still be more than quadruple the number of children killed in Newtown, Conn.”

Are you proud, as an American, to know this?

After reading about Obama’s silence in “The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child,” does the conscience of those of us who re-elected Obama ache?

As Friedersdorf writes, Obama has never spoken of these deaths as he did about the ones in Newtown, when he said: “If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent … then surely we have an obligation to try. … Are we really prepared to say that dead children are the price of our freedom?”

Do you mean, Mr. President, only the dead children of Newtown?

These targeted killings continue in our name, under the ultimate authority of our president — as the huge majority of We The People stays mute.

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

Illusion of Choice By George Carlin, Ron Paul, and Judge Napolitano

Now The FBI Has A Corporate Anti-Fraud Program That Scans Emails For 3,000 Suspicious Phrases

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

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(Business Insider) -Given how notorious Wall Streeters are for writing embarrassing e-mails that are later used against them in court (see: Libor scandal), they should really take note of this news. 

The FBI has developed new software that scans e-mails for buzz words and phrases that indicate the sender (and receiver) or said mail are up to no good, the FT reports. There are over 3,000 words and phrases that would raise a red flag in the program.

Accounting firm Ernst and Young found out about this program after looking through evidence from corporate investigations in conjunction with the FBI.

From the FT:

“The language, which is a mix of accounting phrases, personal motivations and attempts to conceal, are very revealing,” said Rashmi Joshi, Ernst & Young’s director of fraud investigation and disputes services.

He said that the monitoring of email traffic played almost no role in the compliance efforts of companies looking for possible problems. “While most organisations only focus on the numbers when investigating discrepancies, what we are seeing are ways of analyzing words – emails, SMS or instant messaging – to identify and isolate wrongdoing.”

Linguistic analysis software, which initially protects employee anonymity, can flag uncharacteristic changes in tone and language in electronic conversations and can also be tailored for particular types of employees, especially traders.

So phrases like, “nobody will find out,” “call my mobile“,” and “don’t leave a trail” could now get you noticed.

You’ve been warned.

Off Grid Attack: EPA To Outlaw Many Wood Burning Stoves

 

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(OffGridSurvival) -Our ever so helpful government has decided that your wood burning stove is now a danger to the world. In another attempt to outlaw the off grid lifestyle, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the same agency that was recently caught using drones to spy on Americans, is now going after home owners who use Wood Burning Stoves to heat their homes.

Shortly after the re-election of President Obama, the agency announced new radical environmental regulations that threaten to effect people who live off the grid. The EPA’s new environmental regulations reduce the amount of airborne fine-particle matter from 15 micrograms to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

This means that most wood burning stoves would now fall into a class that would deemed unacceptable under these new draconian measures. The EPA has even launched a nifty new website called burn wise to try to sway public opinion.

On their site, while trying to convince people to get rid of their old stoves and buy the new EPA-certified stoves, they sate that these older stove must be scraped and cannot be resold.

From the EPA Site:

The local air pollution agency says I can’t sell my old wood stove to help pay for an EPA-certified wood stove. Why is that?
Replacing an older stove with a cleaner-burning stove will not improve air quality if the older stove is reused somewhere else. For this reason, wood stove changeout programs usually require older stoves to be destroyed and recycled as scrap metal, or rendered inoperable.

Let’s hope this doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the newly created Department of Homeland Security Environmental Justice Units? The next thing you know we might all be getting a knock at the door….. Your Neighbor reported that you might be burning some wood, do you mind if we take a look around?

Not enough? AIG May Join Suit Over Bailout, Angering Many

CAV logo

(IbiTimes) – American International Group Inc., the insurer rescued by the U.S. government in 2008, said Tuesday it is considering joining a lawsuit that claims the bailout terms were unfair, drawing outrage from lawmakers.

In a statement late Tuesday, AIG said it had no choice but to consider the demand from its former chief executive, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, and his holding company Starr International that it join his lawsuit, Reuters reported. Greenberg has sued for damages over the bailout and wants AIG to join him in challenging the “exorbitant” terms of the government rescue.

AIG has been trying to put on a new face by thanking America for its bailout. But it may dash that effort by joining Greenberg.

 

 

Directors of the insurance giant, at their regular meeting Wednesday, are expected to consider joining a suit that argues the bailout — U.S. pledges totaling more than $182 billion — shortchanged the company’s shareholders.

“It takes a lot of gall to say the government that bailed you out didn’t pay you enough,” said John C. Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor and expert on corporate governance, told the Los Angeles Times.

AIG already had a lot of work to do in rebuilding its corporate image after the company became the public example of excessive risk-taking, which nearly destroyed the global financial system.

In an advertising campaign, the company has been thanking taxpayers for the government bailout in the fall of 2008 when it teetered on the verge of bankruptcy.

AIG ended up taking about $125 billion of the pledged money in the complex, multi-step rescue by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It recently repaid all the funds, plus interest and dividends, and launched its ad campaign.

Still, the company was the most reviled of bailout beneficiaries not only for being the single largest rescue but also for paying hefty bonuses to the employees whose bad bets on the subprime housing market would have toppled the company had taxpayers not stepped in.

“This is like suing the paramedic who just gave you CPR because he didn’t give you a pillow,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., according to the LA Times.

“Definition of chutzpah,” tweeted former Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who gained fame heading the government’s oversight panel for the $700 billion bailout fund, said: “AIG’s reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy,” and it would be “outrageous” for the company to join the suit.

“AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them for helping them out in a crisis,” she said.

At Wednesday’s board meeting, AIG directors are expected to hear presentations about the Greenberg suit, the LA Times reports.

“AIG has paid back its debt to America with a profit, and we mean it when we say thank you to the American people,” AIG Chief Executive Robert Benmosche said Tuesday.

But he maintained that AIG’s board “has fiduciary and legal obligations to the company and its shareholders” to consider joining the suit. The board expects to make a decision by the end of the month.

Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., Michael Capuano, D-Mass., and Luiz Gutierrez, D-Ill., wrote to AIG board Chairman Robert Miller on Tuesday warning him not to join the suit.

“Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it,” they wrote. “AIG became the poster company for Wall Street greed, fiscal mismanagement and executive bonuses — the taxpayer and economy be damned. Now, AIG apparently seeks to become the poster company for corporate ingratitude and chutzpah.”

Petition to charge Sen. Feinstein with treason soars past White House threshold

US Senator Dianne Feinstein, pictured in 2011. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

 

(RawStory) -A petition started on the White House website seeking to charge Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) with treason has crossed the threshold needed for an official response.

The petition, created last month, claims that Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban is a violation of the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans right to keep and bear arms. Feinstein promised to introduce the assault weapons ban on the first day of the 113th Congress in the wake of the tragic Newtown elementary school shooting.

“She is actively working to destroy the 2nd amendment with her 2013 assault weapons ban,” the petition reads. “For this reason we the people of the united States petition for her to be tried in Federal Court for treason to the Constitution.”

 

As of Tuesday, the petition had more than 27,000 signatures, which is 2,000 more than required for an official response from the White House.

The assault weapons ban would prohibit the sale of more than 100 military-style firearms, according to a statement issued by Feinstein. The proposed law also targets large ammunition magazines, which have repeatedly been used in mass shootings.

A previous assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 was also authored by Feinstein.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that a similar petition seeking the deportation of Piers Morgan would receive a response.

“In the meantime, it is worth remembering that the freedom of expression is a bedrock principle in our democracy,” he added.
 

General Stanley McChrystal questions US drone warfare

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(Digital Journal) -Retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal, who once commanded all American forces in Afghanistan, has questioned the widespread use of unmanned aerial drones in the War on Terror.
 
McChrystal, 58, acknowledged that drones cause seething hatred of the United States and cautioned that their overuse could threaten US strategic objectives in the ongoing terror war.

 

“What scares me about drone strikes is how they’re perceived around the world,” McChrystal told Reuters. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes… is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”

 

McChrystal, the architect of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, added that drones fuel a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘We can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'”

 

Drones are a tool that should be used as part of a wider strategy, the former general said, and if their use creates more problems than it solves, Washington should reevaluate the situation.

 

Drone strikes, which terrorize populations subjected to them, have indeed stoked widespread anti-Americanism in the countries where they occur– Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia– as well as around the world. Three-quarters of Pakistanis, for example, consider the United States an “enemy.” Drones, which Pakistanis rightfully claim are a violation of their sovereignty, are a big part of the reason why.

 

Perceived American disregard for the hundreds of innocent civilians killed by drone strikes also infuriates many people in affected countries. According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister, up to 80 percent of those killed by drones are civilians, and the London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism says that as many as 1,117 civilians, including up to 214 children, have been killed by strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2004.

 

Last October, the United Nations announced that it would investigate US drone strikes that killed Pakistani civilians as possible war crimes.

 

Still, the Obama administration has dramatically ramped up its drone program since taking over from Bush in 2009. Recently, the use of drones has increased significantly in Yemen, where there were more drone attacks in 2012 than there were in Pakistan.

 

Obama’s newly-chosen CIA director, John Brennan, is particularly controversial, both because he is the architect of the US drone war and because he has repeatedly lied about civilian drone deaths and the anti-Americanism they breed.

The U.S. Now Spends More on Immigration Than the Rest of Federal Law Enforcement Combined

(Atlantic) -So what would you guess is the main job of federal law enforcement in 2013? Breaking up drug rings? Patrolling white collar crime?

Try: coping with illegal immigration.

The Migration Policy Institute is out with a new report adding up what the United States has spent trying trying to seal off the border and ferret out undocumented individuals since 1986, when President Regan signed his landmark immigration reform bill. The big, headline-grabbing stat is that we now spend roughly $18 billion annually on immigration control, more than the rest of our major federal law enforcement agencies combined. Part of that is due to the immense increase in border patrol agents — they’ve doubled in the last seven years — who also play a key role intercepting drug shipments. Still, more than half of all federal prosecutions now involve immigration-related crimes — no great surprise, given where we’re putting our resources.

Here’s what the comparison between our immigration spending and the rest of the federal law enforcement budget circa 1986.

Immigration_Policy_Immig_v_Everything_1986_Edited.png

Now here it is today.

Immigration_Policy_Immig_v_Everything_2012_edited.png

 

And finally, here’s the growth of our immigration spending over time. In total, we’ve shelled out $219 billion in today’s dollars in the last 27 years.

Migration_Policy_Spending_86_12.PNG

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

The results are in: More guns sold mean fewer guns deaths, injuries

1agun

(NaturalNews) It isn’t a firearms statistic that liberal progressives and gun
banners like California Sen. Dianne Feinstein will want to hear but it’s true
nonetheless: According to the most recent statistics, the more guns that have
been sold in the Golden State, the fewer gun deaths and injuries there have
been.

According to the state’s office of the Attorney General, gun
dealers sold around 600,000 guns last year, nearly double the 350,000 sold in
2002, according to figures compiled by department officials.

During the
same period of time, however, “the number of California hospitalizations due to
gun injuries” fell by some 4,000 a year to roughly 2,900, a drop of about 25
percent, “according to hospital records collected by the California Department
of Public Health,” the Sacramento Bee reported.

Meanwhile, the
attorney general’s office said, the number of deaths from firearms fell from
3,200 a year to about 2,800, an 11 percent decline, according to California
health department figures.

“Most of the drop in firearm-related injuries
and deaths can be explained by a well-documented, nationwide drop in violent
crime,” the paper said.

California’s example is being repeated all
over the country

There’s more. Data show that the number of injuries
and death in the state caused by accidental discharge of firearms has fallen as
well, suggesting as one explanation, perhaps, that instruction in the use of
firearms may have improved (Note: California allows concealed carry of handguns,
but is much more restrictive than most other states, according to
USACarry.com).

There are some caveats to the California figures,
the SacBee reported. For one, state figures track gun sales, now gun
ownership, meaning the state treats “a family’s first gun purchase the same as a
collector’s twelfth.” Secondly, gun sales in California
reached their zenith in the mid-1990s, when violent crime also
peaked.

What is going on in California is being repeated all over the
country – again, to the chagrin of gun-banning politicians, Hollywood types,
academics and the mainstream media, the latter of which barely reports the
phenomenon.

Gun-related violent crime has also steadily fallen in
Virginia over the past six years, though the sale of firearms has risen
dramatically, “according to an analysis of state crime data with state records
of gun sales,” the Richmond
Times-Dispatch
reported.

The total number of guns bought in the Old
Dominion climbed significantly – 73 percent – from 2006-2011. When you factor in
the increase in state population, firearms sales per 100,000 residents rose 63
percent, still a substantial increase.

But higher numbers of guns has not
translated into more violent gun crime. As in California, gun
crime has fallen in Virginia, dropping 24 percent over the same period. When
adjusted for the population increase, gun-related offenses fell by more than 27
percent, from 79 crimes per 100,000 in 2006 to 57 crimes in 2011 (Note: Virginia
has much less restrictive carry laws than does California).

The numbers
contradict what Americans are being told by the gun controllers and banners;
that more guns in circulation
equals more violent, gun-related crimes, notes Virginia Commonwealth University
Prof. Thomas R. Baker, who compared the state’s crime data for the
aforementioned timeframe with gun-dealer sales estimates obtained by the
Times-Dispatch.

Concealed carry is helping to lower crime, deaths

“While there
is a wealth of academic literature attempting to demonstrate the relationship
between guns and crime, a very simple and intuitive demonstration of the numbers
seems to point away from the premise that more guns leads to more crime, at
least in Virginia,” said Baker, who specializes in research methods and
criminology theory and has an interest in gun issues, the paper said.

Gun
control advocates refused to accept the reality of the data, but those who
understand the effects of more Americans accepting responsibility for their own
self-defense weren’t surprised.

“My opponents are constantly saying, ‘If
you got more guns on the street, there’s going to be more crime.’ It all depends
on who has the handgun,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia
Citizens Defense League and an avid gun rights supporter. “As long as it’s going
into the hands of people like you or me, there’s not going to be a problem.
Criminals are going to continue to get their guns no matter what.”

Emily
Miller, the editorial page editor for the Washington Times, pointed out
in June that the drop in gun crime and armed violent criminal action has
directly coincided with a rise in the number of states that allow concealed
carry
, an assertion backed by FBI crime data.

“If the gun grabbers
were right, we’d be in the middle of a crime wave, considering how many guns are
on the streets,” she wrote.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam made a
similar connection.

“This is not a one-year anomaly, but a steady decline
in the FBI’s violent-crime rates,” he told Miller. “It would be disingenuous for
anyone to not credit increased self-defense laws to account for this
decline.”

‘Black Box’ or ‘Spy Box’? US regulators want to make car data recorders mandatory

An EDR. There for your own benefit? (image from http://dallasautoguy.com)

(RT) – US regulators want to make event data recorders (EDRs), similar to “black boxes” used on planes, mandatory on all cars produced from September 2014. The move has sparked a tense debate between safety advocates and those worried about loss of privacy.

The National Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA), which is in charge of setting motoring regulation, has submitted a proposal for public comment in the Federal Register. Currently, standard EDRs automatically collect data on a car’s speed, the use of brakes, the number and seating of passengers, seat belt deployment and dozens of other parameters to help reconstruct how a car was behaving in the seconds before a crash. The data is continuously recorded and overwritten onto an electronic carrier inside the car, but when certain triggers are set off – say, an airbag is deployed – the data is saved and can be downloaded.

The recording, which is usually the last 30 seconds before any accident, is then passed onto the NHTSA for analysis, currently with the owner’s consent.

“By understanding how drivers respond in a crash and whether key safety systems operate properly, NHTSA and automakers can make our vehicles and our roadways even safer,” claimed Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This proposal will give us the critical insight and information we need to save more lives.”

Supporters state that the measure merely legislates a device that has already been endorsed by car makers and drivers alike. First commercialized around two decades ago, NHTSA believes EDRs will be installed on more than 95 per cent of all vehicles manufactured next year.

Few of the opponents of the new measure disagree with EDRs as they are currently, but most say that the new law will pave way for a multitude of uses beyond the original remit.

Problematically, few legal limits on them exist as of now. Only thirteen states have any legislation on EDRs at all. If the new regulations are passed, they need to establish just what data can be recorded, for how long, who owns it, and if there will be any sanctions for a driver who blocks his device, or refuses to hand over his data.

Some say the worst-case scenarios are only a few years away.

“While the initial motivation for auto black boxes was sensible and positive they are now likely going to become yet another surveillance device,” Steven Rambam, a private security expert, told RT.

Rambam believes that under the banner of safety, police can turn EDRs into their primary monitoring tool, collecting data on whether motorists are speeding, wearing seatbelts and following safety rules. Precedents have already begun to appear when EDR readings are made the basis for fines and court judgements about traffic accidents.

Since technology already exists to transfer any data collected by an EDR to an outside monitoring center in real time, Rambam reckons law enforcement agencies would be foolish not to save resources by simply monitoring driving behaviour from a distant location, as opposed to trying to catch lawbreakers with old-fashioned speed guns and patrols.

And Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says it’s not just the cops who would like to know how you are driving.

“You should not think of this as being an opportunity to sell data to auto-insurance companies for risk evaluation. That’s a real possibility. Data is valuable,” she warned NHTSA in an interview with wired.com.

Coney and others are painting a future where all your car behaviour will be accessible to someone outside (whether or not you know that they are watching), from police who will remove driving licenses from consistently bad drivers, to insurance companies giving you a higher premium for being involved in potentially dangerous situations.

In the right hands the new capabilities could save thousands of lives, but complying with them involves handing a lot of power to the authorities. Just how much, will become subject of ever-louder public debate. But one thing is clear already – as technology advances (and all of the data collection devices for the above possibilities already exist) your car is no longer your own private space, and driving it is no longer just a personal activity.

Delisting MKO reeks of Washington’s redefinition of terrorism

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton walks past the members of the terrorist MKO group (file photo).

 
(PressTV) -An Iranian academic says delisting the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from the list of US terror organizations by Washington is an egregious instance of redefining terrorism by Washington.

“Truly known to be one of the most misinterpreted and misused words, terrorism is defined and refined by the West according to the context where it proves deleterious or beneficial to those who define the term,” Ismail Salami wrote in an article published by Press TV.

The MKO was taken off the State Department’s blacklist on September 28.

The MKO fled to Iraq in 1986, where it enjoyed the support of Iraq’s executed dictator Saddam Hussein, and set up its camp near the Iranian border.

Out of the 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, 12,000 of them have fallen victim to the acts of terror carried out by the MKO.

Salami added that the US State Department cited the group’s lack of involvement in terrorist acts for a decade while solid evidence suggests that they have been complicit in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists in the last few years in Iran.

Referring to the establishment of al-Qaeda by the US and CIA in the seventies in an attempt to counter the influence of the former Soviet Union, Salami said the terrorist group is “sowing seeds of blind extremism and religious sectarianism in the world.”

“This CIA-created Frankenstein’s monster has not changed for the better but has grown up monstrously,” the Iranian academic said.

Salami stated that the dichotomization of ‘terrorists’ into good and bad is far uglier than any form of apartheid, and that “a comparatively similar story is being repeated in Syria.”

The analyst noted that while supporting most terrorist groups in Syria, Washington has branded the Qatar-funded Al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization because the group to a large extent flies in the face of Washington’s policies in Syria.

“Terrorism is terrorism and it cannot be defined otherwise unless the interests of one party tilt the scale in disfavor of another and the dichotomization of the terrorists in Syria into good and bad by the West casts doubt on its claim on democracy,” Salami concluded.

Female Trooper Who Pulled Over Speeding Cop ‘Fears For Her Life’

(The Sun-Sentinel) -The Florida Highway Patrol trooper at the center of firestorm after she pulled over a speeding cop at gunpoint said fellow law enforcement officers have created a “life-threatening” situation that caused her to be in such fear for her safety she has become a “hermit.”

Trooper Donna “Jane” Watts’ 69-page lawsuit, filed in federal court Friday, seeks more than $1 million in damages. She is suing more than 100 police officers and agencies, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The suit alleges 88 law enforcement officers from 25 jurisdictions illegally accessed her personal information more than 200 times, violating her privacy.

Watts made national news in October 2011 when she pulled over off-duty Miami Police Officer Fausto Lopez for speeding in his marked patrol car on Florida’s Turnpike in Broward County.

Cops among Florida's worst speeders, Sun Sentinel investigation finds

 She followed him for seven minutes and later wrote in a report that he was darting in and out of lanes at speeds exceeding 120 mph. She approached his cruiser with her gun drawn, yelling, and then handcuffed him.

Lopez, who regularly averaged more than 100 mph on his drive between Miami and his home in Coconut Creek, was fired in September.

But in the months after the incident, officers looked up information such as her home address, picture, Social Security number, date of birth, and detailed vehicle description in a database available to police officers, according to her lawsuit.

The suit alleges the police agencies — including the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Lauderhill and Hollywood Police — did not properly train their officers, who used the information they received to intimidate Watts. None of the agencies were able to comment Monday.

Other defendants in the suit include the Orange and Seminole County sheriff’s offices and Orlando police, all of whom Watts contends accessed her information in November 2011.

According to the lawsuit, Orlando Officer Maro Kim received an oral reprimand because he had no official reason to access Watts driver’s license information. A police spokesman could not be reached.

Other agencies have already settled with her and so are not named in the lawsuit, according to Watts’ attorney Mirta Desir. Margate, for example, settled for $10,000 after two of its police officers accessed her private information, said Margate city attorney Gene Steinfeld.

The two Margate officers each received a letter of reprimand as punishment.

“The law had indeed been broken,” said Steinfeld on Monday.

Watts said after the incident she received random calls on her home and cell phones, some threatening. Pranksters ordered pizza delivery to her house, according to the suit. Watts, who lives on a cul-de-sac, said several vehicles would also stop in front of her driveway or idle on her street.

The suit states that Watts has been so upset about the privacy violations that she has “started to experience physical symptoms to include dry heaves and nausea when performing basic activities such as opening her mailbox, starting her ignition, or when being followed by a law enforcement vehicle for no apparent reason.”

Watts began opening her mailbox from the side instead of from the front in case there was something in it.

The suit states that Watts’ supervisors “do not believe that it would ever be safe for her to return to road patrol” and that Watts believes if she ever need police backup in an emergency, it would not be provided. More than a dozen troopers from her own agency also looked up her personal information.

She is also in the process of moving, according to the suit.

“This is an invasion of privacy,” Desir said. “Law enforcement does have access to information most residents don’t and with that level of access there should come a certain amount of care. … This is something that is not supposed to be done.”

When Watts pulled over Lopez, the incident was caught on the trooper’s dashboard camera. “This is not a first-time occurrence with y’all,” Watts told Lopez after pulling him over. “Y’all come from that way all the time, this Miami police car, and we never catch it.”

Lopez apologized and tried to explain he was running late. “With all due respect …,” he said, but Watts cut him off. “You don’t respect me, sir,” she said. “You don’t respect these people out here.”

North Carolina: Driving While Nervous is Not a Crime

(TheNewsPaper) -The second-highest court in North Carolina last week ruled police had no business stopping a car because its occupants appeared to be driving while nervous. On April 15, 2011, a pair of Sampson County sheriff’s deputies were running a speed trap on Interstate 40 when they noticed a green minivan. Corporal Bass and Pope each testified the vehicle slowed from 73 MPH to 65 MPH in the 70 MPH zone and that the driver and passenger stared straight ahead and “appeared nervous” as they passed.

Judge Cheri Beasley

 

The officers pulled out and caught up to the minivan. When the patrol car pulled along side, the minivan occupants did not make eye contact. The deputies claimed they saw the vehicle cross the fog line and was driving slowly, so they pulled it over for “unsafe movement.” A dashcam video of the incident shows no crossing of the fog line or other evidence of unsafe driving.

Gina Canty, the driver, was given a warning. She also consented to a search that uncovered a revolver and a rifle in a suitcase belonging to the passenger, her ex-husband Nathaniel Canty. A Sampson County Superior Court judge found Nathaniel Canty guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On appeal, a three-judge panel began poking holes in the police account of events.

“We find it hard to believe that these officers could tell Ms. Canty and defendant were ‘nervous’ as they passed by the officers on the highway and as the officers momentarily rode alongside them,” Judge Cheri Beasley wrote for the court.

The judges also dismissed the idea that the minivan’s slowing after seeing a patrol car running a speed trap.

“The reduction in speed standing alone could be explained a number of different ways, including normal apprehension many people feel when approaching a law enforcement officer,” Judge Beasley wrote. “Nervousness, failure to make eye contact with law enforcement, and a relatively small reduction in speed is ‘conduct falling within the broad range of what can be described as normal driving behavior… Based on the totality of the circumstances, these officers lacked reasonable suspicion to initiate the traffic stop that resulted in the search and seizure of the weapons in this case.”

The judges declared the lawyer in this case should have filed a motion to suppress the evidence gathered during the traffic stop. Because the defense counsel was “ineffective,” the three-judge panel ordered a new trial in which the motion to suppress would likely succeed.

Beware of Big Brother: ‘Rental’ computers discovered tracking users’ locations, passwords and private lives

(NaturalNews) Privacy is an illusion with many of today’s computers and tech devices, which are fully capable of secretly tracking your every move and relaying this information to third parties or even the government without your knowledge or permission. This was the subject of a recent lawsuit and federal investigation, which uncovered a massive spying ring involving computer rental companies that install secret software on their computers to hijack users’ webcams; capture screenshots of users’ online activities; and even log users’ every keystroke for the purpose of stealing passwords and private information.

According to Ars Technica, a Wyoming couple back in 2011 filed a class-action lawsuit against the nationwide rent-to-own company Aaron’s Inc. after learning that the chain had installed a software product known as PC Rental Agent on a computer they had leased. According to the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Aaron’s had been installing the software on all of its rental computers since at least 2007 to “surreptitiously access, monitor, intercept, and/or transmit electronic communications” made by customers.

Developed by a company known as Pennsylvania-based DesignerWare, PC Rental Agent was allegedly developed for the explicit purpose of merely keeping track of rental computers and locking out customers who failed to pay their bills. But what customers were not being told was that PC Rental Agent also gives Aaron’s secret access to the leased computers, essentially turning them into untraceable spying machines capable of accessing all sorts of private information and computer activity and sending it back to the company.

“Crystal gets online before she gets a shower and checks her grades. Who knows? They could print that stuff off there and take it home with them,” explained Brian Byrd to the Associated Press about how the spying software installed on his computer by Aaron’s could essentially capture nude images of his children. “I’ve got a five-year-old boy who runs around all day and sometimes he gets out of the tub running around for 20 or 30 seconds while we’re on the computer. What if they took a picture of that? I wouldn’t want that kind of garbage floating around out there.”

Is your computer, tablet or mobile phone spying on you?
According to the lawsuit, which was eventually settled by DesignerWare and seven rent-to-own companies, more than 420,000 individuals besides the Byrds who rented computers from Aaron’s were also being spied on with the secret software. And none of them were made aware of the fact that the software had been installed on their machines prior to renting them, let alone that it was capable of actively monitoring customers’ activities both on and offline.

“In numerous instances, data gather by Detective Mode has revealed private, confidential, and personal details about the computer user,” explained officials from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in a civil complaint filed earlier this year. “For example, keystroke logs have displayed usernames and passwords for access to email accounts, social media websites, and financial institutions.”

What is even more disturbing is the fact that a nondescript rent-to-own business is capable of such high-tech intrusion without detection, which begs the question as to whether or not major corporations that produce computers, mobile phones, and tablet devices, not to mention state and federal governments that are far more sophisticated, might be using these devices to spy on us daily. Are those little webcam “eyes” on the front faces of most devices today, for instance, secretly monitoring your activity? What about the hidden microphones on mobile phones and laptop computers?

If Obama is opposed to guns, why did his administration just purchase 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition and sniper rounds?

1agun(Natural News) “An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.” – Adolf Hitler, 1922.
In the aftermath of the recent Sandy Hook shooting, Obama and his cohorts are screaming about how they all despise guns and ammo. Guns are the problem in America today, we’ve been told from every corner of the media, and so the only solution is to get rid of all the guns.
But not exactly. There’s one organization in America that’s loading up on masses of assault rifles and enough ammunition to run a 10-year shooting war. That organization is, of course, the U.S. federal government and its Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has purchased a total of 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition to be used domestically, inside the United States.
It begs the question: Why does the Department of Homeland Security — named after Hitler’s “Office of Fatherland Security” — need 1.6 billion rounds of ammo?

Obama’s government stockpiles weapons of mass destruction

The DHS began all this in April of this year, with the purchase of 450 million rounds of hollow point .40 caliber ammunition. This is significant for two reasons:
1) DHS does not fight wars with foreign nations. It’s entire theater of operations is on U.S. soil, dealing solely with the American people.
2) Hollow point ammunition is banned by the Geneva convention and is not used by the U.S. military. This ammunition can only be used domestically, in the United States, against U.S. targets or people.
Along with these 450 million rounds of ammunition, DHS also purchased $400,000 worth of radiation protection pills and thousands of bullet-proof roadside checkpoint booths. Is it expecting a radiological event? (Or perhaps planning one?)
These 450 million rounds of ammo, Natural News calculated, is enough to wage a 7-year war with the American people.

Obama’s government stockpiling millions of rounds of ammo to arm the DHS and TSA

You can see the original federal purchase document requesting all this ammunition at: http://www.naturalnews.com/files/DHS_ammo_buy.pdf
The numbers in the document, by the way, are in thousands.
In it, you’ll discover that the U.S. government has also purchased all the following ammunition in addition to the 450 million rounds of .40 hollow point “anti-personnel” ammo:
• Over one million rounds of hollow-point .223 rifle ammo • Over half a million rounds of non-hollow-point .223 rifle ammo • 220,000 rounds of 12 gauge shotgun #7 ammo (target ammo) • Over 200,000 rounds of 12 gauge shotgun #00 buckshot ammo (tactical anti-personnel ammo) • 66,000 rounds of 12 gauge shotgun slugs (tactical anti-personnel, anti-vehicle rounds) • Over two million rounds of hollow-point .357 Sig JPH (hollow-point) pistol ammo (anti-personnel) • Over four million rounds of .40 S&W JPH (hollow-point) pistol ammo (anti-personnel) • Over 60,000 rounds of .308 match grade anti-personnel sniper rounds (BTHP) • Plus, hundreds of thousands of additional rounds of .38 special, .45 auto, 9mm, 7.62×39 (AK rifle) ammo, and others.

DHS then buys another 750 million rounds of anti-personnel ammunition

A few months after buying the 450+ million rounds of ammo to be stockpiled by Obama’s government in the United States, the DHS then went on to purchase another 750 million rounds of ammunition.
Additional contracts were added after that, bringing the grand total of government ammo purchases in 2012 to 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. That’s over five bullets for every American man, woman and child. It also includes long-range sniper rounds.
By comparison, a citizen is considered to be a stockpiling “terrorist” prepper if they own just 1,000 rounds of ammo. The government, however, can purchase billions and the mainstream media doesn’t even question it.
Where is all this ammunition going? It’s being stockpiled by the federal government, awaiting some future event during which it will apparently be “activated.” Why else would you stockpile something if you don’t anticipate needing to use it someday?
During all this, Obama and his cohorts in Washington are loudly insisting that American citizens have no right to purchase firearms or ammunition, and that new laws will soon be enacted to make sure you cannot do what the government does: stockpile weapons and ammo.

Obama has armed security personnel for self defense, but YOU can’t have self defense

The United States of America was founded on the idea that an armed citizenry is the only thing that can be trusted to keep government honest, but that idea has now been turned upside down. The new message today is that an armed government is the only thing that can be trusted, and that individual citizens are all potential terrorists and mass murderers.
While Obama, Feinstein, Bloomberg and others are calling for citizens to give up their self defense tools, those very same people all have armed bodyguards to provide for their own self defense. Obama in particular has an entire group of men — the U.S. Secret Service — who are most definitely armed to the teeth and wielding full-auto weapons.
Will Obama now call for his own Secret Service men to give up their guns and ammunition? Will Bloomberg give up his armed police escorts and security personnel? Will the White House be completely disarmed and have a “Gun Free Zone” sign placed outside the White House lawn?
Of course not. What Obama, Bloomberg, Schumer, Feinstein and all these tyrants practice is a cynical double standard. They want YOU to give up all your guns and rights, but THEY refuse to do so. It’s okay for them to be armed, but not you. You can’t be trusted because you’re just a hard-working American taxpayer / slave. Only the government elite can be trusted with guns, you see, because government is so incredibly honest, ethical and trustworthy. And anyone who questions that is obviously a terrorist.
That’s the new insanity in Washington D.C. and apparently across the mainstream media where twits like Piers Morgan smear our TV screens with imbecilic profanity as they rant and rave about American citizens giving up all their guns while the government stockpiles masses of assault rifles and billions of rounds of ammunition.
Piers Morgan, in case you haven’t figure it out, is precisely the kind of traitorous tory America’s founding fathers would have hanged from a tree in 1776. That this frothing talking moron, a British subject, even sets foot in America today and calls for the mass disarmament of the American people is tantamount to an act of deliberate sabotage of the very nation that already defeated the British in one war. Morgan is an enemy of America and a traitor to humanity.

The picture is now becoming clear

The government plan for the use of all these guns and ammunition is now becoming clear. It is a plan to engineer a civil war. Here’s how it works:
Step 1) Obama stockpiles billions of rounds of ammunition, assault rifles, bullet-proof checkpoint booths and sniper rounds for the government while training up a whole new army of psychopathic sex predators known as the TSA.
Step 2) Mass shootings of children are either staged or encouraged to make sure they happen with rising frequency. (Aurora, Sandy Hook, etc.). Schools are advertised as “Gun Free Zone” to make sure mass shooters doped up on psychiatric drugs and hypnotic video games know exactly where to go to achieve the highest body count, unopposed by any firearms.
Step 3) When the shootings take place, the media jumps on board the emotional bandwagon and parades dead children in front of the public to the point of emotional extortion. The public then leaps to the delusion that gun confiscation will be great for everyone!
Step 4) The government then stages a radiological false flag event in a major U.S. city while framing a group of patriots, veterans or “preppers” as patsies.
Step 5) This event, which kills 1+ million people, then provides the pretext to declare martial law, suspend the entire Bill of Rights and roll out TSA checkpoints nationwide. TSA agents, who have already proven themselves to be the most masochistic, sick-minded individuals working in government today, are then handed .40 caliber pistols and rifles (yes, they make rifles that shoot .40 pistol ammo) to start waging a shooting war against the American people.
Step 6) Now it’s all-out civil war: Americans shoot each other up, causing huge casualties on both sides. Much of the weapons and ammo stockpiled by American preppers and patriots is used up in this conflict, and that’s exactly the point.
Step 7) Once the civil war has torn America apart, the United Nations lands UN “peacekeeping” troops to take command and occupy America. This will be accompanied by strict “gun control” mandates and constant surveillance of the American people with facial recognition cameras, audio-recording street lamps in the cities, and airborne drones watching from the sky.
Obama is given another Nobel peace prize — mission accomplished! — for enabling the UN takeover of America. The globalists celebrate.

Why we need the Second Amendment for our own survival

Events like Sandy Hook, you see, are all part of the scripted escalation of violence in America, culminating in the government’s declaration of war against citizens. This is precisely why we need the Second Amendment:
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms,” said Thomas Jefferson, “…is to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
The only way America has a chance to halt the violence, defend the Constitution and restore the Republic is to stay armed and stay vigilant. Because let’s be clear: the Obama administration is a criminal operation. The signing of the NDAA, all by itself, should have been clear grounds for not just impeachment, but prosecution for treason.
We are dealing with an out-of-control gang of tyrants in the White House, in DHS and TSA. There are some good men and women inside the FBI, the Pentagon and even the CIA, believe it or not. Those men and women are just as frustrated with what’s happening inside the White House as we all are, and they are ready and willing to defend America against criminal traitors like Eric Holder, for example. Once this all starts to unfold, you will see the federal government having a difficult time keeping all its own people in line. There will be internal fracturing in the federal chain of command, and there may even be break-out groups that seek to overthrow the traitors and restore basic liberties in America.

Six undeniable facts

How all this actually plays out in anyone’s guess, but there are several points I can assure you are very real:
Fact #1) The government is arming to the teeth, stockpiling more than five rounds of ammunition for every American man, woman and child.
Fact #2) The American people are also arming to the teeth, buying up millions of firearms and billions of rounds of ammunition at a record pace.
Fact #3) The Obama criminals have become arrogant and stupid, thinking they can pull off anything. They will over-estimate their power and soon overstep their bounds in trying to crush the remaining liberties of the American people. There will be a huge reactionary counter-effort.
Fact #4) There are good people still within the government and especially the military who are loyal to the Constitution and despise the communist-influenced gang that now occupies the White House.
Fact #5) The government can and will stage false flag attacks to blame its enemies and centralize power. This is true throughout human history.
Fact #6) Something much larger than Sandy Hook is in the planning stages, I believe. Look for a radiological attack of some sort, such as a dirty bomb being set off in a major U.S. city by a rogue group working under Obama. This will be used to terrorize Americans and blame patriots, unleashing an all-out war against individual liberty in America.

Nevada State Senator Introduces Anti-NDAA Legislation to Fight Indefinite Detention

 

(EndTheLie) – Nevada State Senator Don Gustavson introduced a bill in the Nevada State Legislature on Dec. 9, 2012 in an attempt to push back against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill, BDR 728, also known as the Nevada Liberty Preservation Act, is an effort to preserve the right to due process, formerly protected by the Constitution and later stripped away by Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA (a fact which was confirmed in federal court in a landmark ruling that was quickly overturned in an appeals court).

Both the 2012 and 2013 versions of the NDAA include the indefinite detention provisions. In fact, the newest version makes it even easier to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial.

It is unclear at this point if the bill is aimed at fighting the specific version of the NDAA signed into law on December 31, 2011, known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, or the 2013 NDAA.

That being said, the press release from the Nevada chapters of People Against the National Defense Authorization Act (PANDA) solely mentions the 2013 NDAA and the 2013 version has not yet been signed into law.

The press release, authored by Chris Corbett of Reno PANDA, mentions the fact that the 2012 NDAA was “overwhelmingly passed by Congress.” The 2013 NDAA, unlike the 2012 NDAA, passed the Senate unanimously with only two abstentions.

Currently, the 2013 NDAA is being finalized in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, with Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announcing that the committee completed their conference on Dec. 18.

“The same day, Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., announced he would file the conference report on behalf of the conferees this evening to accompany the NDAA,” Biomass Magazine reported on Dec. 19.

The anti-NDAA effort in Nevada involved three PANDA chapters working together to gather support for the initiative in the Nevada Legislature.

“We are working hard every day to restore the rights of every Nevadan, and will work tirelessly until we have succeeded,” said Daphne Lee, head of the Clark County PANDA chapter.

“I appreciate the community support backing up our efforts and the courage of those members of our governing bodies who are willing to actively protect the constitutional rights of their constituents,” said Chris Corbett, the Nevada State Coordinator for PANDA.

“We need to restore the Constitutionally protected right to due process for every American,” Corbett added.

“While introduction of BDR 728 marks a major milestone, the group has also made significant progress at the City and County levels,” stated Corbett’s press release.

In addition, the press release adds that in the first quarter of 2013, efforts to nullify the NDAA will be on the agenda for both the Washoe County Commission and the Reno City Council.

While these aren’t efforts carried out at the national level, they are still vitally important, especially since attempts to shut down the legislation in federal courts have already been shot down, as mentioned above.

You can keep track of various efforts to nullify the NDAA across the United States thanks to the resources provided by the Tenth Amendment Center.

NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision Mysteriously Stripped From Bill

Indefinite Detention Provision Mysteriously Stripped From Bill

Posted: 12/18/2012  9:03 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/19/2012 11:31 am EST

Ndaa Indefinite Detention

WASHINGTON — Congress stripped a provision Tuesday from a defense bill that aimed to shield Americans from the possibility of being imprisoned indefinitely without trial by the military. The provision was replaced with a passage that appears to give citizens little protection from indefinite detention.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 was added by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), but there was no similar language in the version of the bill that passed the House, and it was dumped from the final bill released Tuesday after a conference committee from both chambers worked out a unified measure.

It declared that “An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”

The provision sparked a heated debate in the Senate, but ultimately passed by a wide majority with both supporters and opponents of U.S. terrorist detention practices voting for it, citing differing interpretations. Feinstein offered the amendment to clarify a part of the 2012 NDAA that for the first time codified the ability of the military and White House to detain terrorism suspects.

Spokespeople for Senate committee leaders did not immediately answer why the amendment was stripped, but pointed to the language that replaced it:

Nothing in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541) or the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112–81) shall be construed to deny the availability of the writ of habeas corpus or to deny any Constitutional rights in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution to any person inside the United States who would be entitled to the availability of such writ or to such rights in the absence of such laws.

The new provision appears to do little, because the Supreme Court has already declared that the writ of habeas corpus — requiring that someone be presented to a judge — applies to all people. The more difficult part of whether people deserve a trial remains unsettled, and the new provision does not appear to resolve it.

“This language doesn’t do anything of substance,” said Raha Wala, a lawyer in the law and national security program of Human Rights First. “It doesn’t ban indefinite detention within the United States or change anything about existing law.”

Feinstein said she was not pleased that her attempt to at least shield citizens and legal residents was stripped.

“I was saddened and disappointed that we could not take a step forward to ensure at the very least American citizens and legal residents could not be held in detention without charge or trial,” Feinstein said. “To me that was a no-brainer.”

Nevertheless, many activists who oppose indefinite detention were not all that enamored with her amendment because some felt it asserted that Congress had the right to make laws requiring detention of citizens. Others believed it failed the test of constitutionality because the Constitution specifies its protections extend to all people, not just citizens. It also did not address terror suspects captured overseas.

The White House had threatened to veto both the House and Senate versions over numerous other provisions included in the legislation. Among them were restrictions on the executive’s ability to transfer prisoners from the prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The White House did not immediately answer questions about whether the threats stood.

Pentagon quietly reimburses $688 million to Pakistan

 

a1obdrone

(GEOTV) -The Pentagon quietly notified Congress this month that it would reimburse Pakistan nearly $700 million for the cost of stationing 140,000 troops on the border with Afghanistan, an effort to normalise support for the Pakistani military after nearly two years of crises and mutual retaliation, The New York Times reported.

According to the report, the United States also provides about $2 billion in annual security assistance, roughly half of which goes to reimburse Pakistan for conducting military operations to fight terrorism.

Until now, many of these reimbursements, called coalition support funds, have been held up, in part because of disputes with Pakistan over the Bin Laden raid, the operations of the CIA, and its decision to block supply lines into Afghanistan last year

. The $688 million payment – the first since this summer, covering food, ammunition and other expenses from June through November 2011 – has caused barely a ripple of protest since it was sent to Capitol Hill on Dec 7.

The absence of a reaction, American and Pakistani officials say, underscores how relations between the two countries have been gradually thawing since Pakistan reopened the NATO supply routes in July after an apology from the Obama administration for an errant American airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.

Biometrics, Immigration & How the US & Canada Collect Data on Citizens

 

(Occupy Corporatism) – The Immigration Sharing Treaty, an integral part of the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan (PSECAP), was signed by the US and Canada last week. David Jacobson, US Ambassador to Canada said: “This important agreement is the culmination of ten years of effort to advance the security of the United States and Canada, and to ensure the integrity of our immigration and visa systems. It reflects the commitment of President Obama and Prime Minister Harper to the Beyond the Border process, which will enhance North American security while facilitating the efficient movement of safe goods and well-intentioned travelers.

In 2011, Obama and Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister, signed the PSECAP that allowed for the sharing of information on both Canadian and American citizens for the sake of immigration, improve border efficiency, border security and provide a network database to identify foreign national as well as stop illegals from crossing the border.

This includes biometric technologies to be used beginning in 2014.

Biometric border crossing cards (BCCs) have been used to identify Mexican citizens making short visits since 1997 with the approval of the Congress and in conjunction with the US State Department who employed DynCorp who is now owned by CSC.

Advancements in BBCs have led to laser visas which are “machine-readable, credit-card-sized documents with digitally encoded biometric data, including the bearer’s photograph and fingerprint.”

Those in the program were fingerprinted and photographed with their information entered into biometric databases with electronic verification of authenticity. Files were reviewed by the State Department. Once approved, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the individuals new laser visas.

Biometric technologies are defensible by the US government in use at border crossings as a quick and easy way to be identified. However the price for entering into the US is now paid in private information about each individual that sets foot in the country. This gives the US the ability to know vast amounts of data about each person such as accurately distinguishing their characteristics:

• Height • Weight • Gender • Nationality • Fingerprint • Disability

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), an agreed upon technology to be used under the PSECAP, was outlined in the Beyond the Border Declaration (BBD)which articulates the relationship between the US and Canada to address threats to their nations through secure borders as well as immigration, goods and services that travel through the two countries.

ESTA, an extension of the DHS through US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) oversees all applications for international travelers who enter the US. Their approval of passage is the deciding factor for entrance into America.

Stated in the BBD was the relationship between the US and Canada the purpose of interweaving the two nations to increase the resiliency of our networks, enhance public-private partnerships, and build a culture of shared responsibility,” according to Janet Napolitano, Secretary of DHS.

In November, both the US and Canadian governments revealed that they will combine efforts against cyber-attacks with the creation of an action plan between the DHS and Public Safety Canada (PSC) to improve digital infrastructure.

In Washington, DC and Ottawa, Canada there will be a collaboration of cyber security operation centers as well as shared information and the establishment of guidelines on private sector corporations. Add to this endeavor is the governmental alliance on propaganda methods to convince the citizens of both nations that cyber security must become an over-reaching control by the two governments.

Apple has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for facial recognition systems that “analyzes the characteristics of an image’s subject and uses this data to create a “faceprint,” to match with other photos to establish a person’s identity.”

According to the patent description: “In order to automatically recognise a person’s face that is detected in a digital image, facial detection/recognition software generates a set of features or a feature vector (referred to as a “faceprint”) that indicate characteristics of the person’s face. The generate faceprint is then compared to other faceprints to determine whether the generated faceprint matches (or is similar enough to) one or more of the other faceprints. If so, then the facial detection/recognition software determines that the person corresponsing to the generated faceprint is likely to be the same person that corresponds to the “matched” faceprints(s).”

The federal government has released on a website, the information about their use of biometric technologies that they want the general public to know.

As far back as 2008, former President George W. Bush signed the National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)-59 / Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) – 24, “Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security”. This NSPD explained the “framework to ensure Federal departments and agencies use compatible methods and procedures in the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information of individuals in a lawful and appropriate manner, while respecting privacy and other legal rights under United States law.”

Obama Is Going To Announce A Gun Violence Task Force Today

barack obama sandy hook shooting

 

(Business Insider) -In the wake of last Friday’s massacre at Sandy  Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and seven  others, President Barack Obama is expected to announce today the formation of a  gun violence task force led by Vice President Joe  Biden.

The White House announced earlier this morning that Obama “will  deliver a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room about the policy process  the administration will pursue in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. The Vice  President will also attend.”

According to multiple reports, Obama is not expected to lay out any specific policy plans in the  wake of the Newtown tragedy. He will introduce the task force and give an idea  of how the administration plans to proceed.

Obama’s decision to tap Biden as the task force’s leader makes sense,  considering the Vice President’s experience in the Senate and relationship with  members of Congress.

On Tuesday, the White House got a bit more specific with some of the policy  plans it would support moving forward. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney  said Obama is supportive of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s plan to reintroduce the assault weapons ban.

“He supports, and would support, legislation that addresses the problem  of the so-called gun show loophole,” Carney said. “And there are other elements  of gun legislation that he could support. People have talked about high-capacity  gun ammunition clips, for  example, and that is something certainly that he would be interested in looking  at.”

 

Second Amendment Hypocrites: Senators Schumer And Feinstein Possess Concealed Carry Permits

 

shumer and feinsteinshumer and feinstein


(federal observer) –  A recent poll conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police indicated that almost 64 percent of police commanders and sheriffs favor a law allowing private citizens to carry concealed firearms for protection. Almost 73 percent said that citizens should not be restricted from purchasing more than one weapon, and 96 percent say they believe criminals obtain firearms from illegal sources.

Unfortunately most states – especially those called Blue States due to their Liberal-leanings – continue to prohibit private citizens from carrying concealed handguns.

At the same time, there are outspoken opponents of gun ownership, such as Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who are carrying concealed weapons, according to WABC Radio’s Mark Levin. Levin, a recognized constitutional expert, heads the Landmark Legal Foundation. The LLF’s goal is to protect American’s from unreasonable and illegal government intrusions and violations of the US Constitution, including the Second Amendment.

The mainstream news media have been aware that several antigun proponents are carrying concealed firearms but have failed to expose this hypocrisy. This writer’s efforts to discover how many other anti-gunners are also packing heat – a right they wish to deny other citizens – met with limited results.

Not only does Schumer carry a handgun, the New York City Police Department also provides armed escorts for the good senator. In fact, the Government Accounting Office — the investigative arm of the US Congress — slammed Schumer’s use of police resources for personal protection. It’s clear that Schumer believes he’s special. He wishes to ban private citizens’ ownership of firearms, while he enjoys layers of protection.

“No wonder Chuckie Schumer shoots his mouth off so much – he’s able to protect himself,” says a 25-year police veteran.

Also, a check of Pistol License records shows that Senator Schumer possesses an “unrestricted” pistol permit, a rarity in New York City. Licenses are distributed in different categories in the Big Apple: Target Permits allow only use of a firearm at a licensed firing range; Premises Permits allow weapons to be kept in a home or apartment; Restricted Permits allow the gunowner to carry their firearms concealed but only within the purview of their job (security, jewelers, armored car guards, etc.). So it’s evident that Senator Schumer has two sets of rules — one for Americans and one for himself.

And then we have Senator Diane Feinstein on the Left Coast who possesses something more rare than a conservative Republican in San Francisco – an unrestricted concealed weapons permit. Apparently without shame, she participated in a citywide gun turn-in program that was intended to create some kind of statue from the donated guns that were to be melted down. One of her police body guards let it slip that she contributed a cheap model for the meltdown, while retaining her .357 magnum revolver for her own personal self-defense.

Hypocrisy is not limited to politicians when it comes to the Second Amendment. For Example, well-known Washington-based columnist, Carl Rowan, often wrote about the ills of firearms ownership. Until, that is, he shot and wounded a teenager who trespassed on his property. The white teenaged boy claimed he wanted to try Rowan’s swimming pool. Rowan, an African-American, retaliated with deadly force using a firearm. That’s when the news came out that Carl Rowan, gun-control advocate, actually possessed a license to own firearms.

Another example is the loudmouth entertainer, Rosie O’Donnell, who once ran roughshod over conservative actor Tom Selleck because of his stance supporting the Second Amendment. Although Ms. O’Donnell doesn’t carry a gun, she has three armed bodyguards who protect her, her wife and her children, something the vast majority of hardworking Americans could never afford. Isn’t it comforting to know all these Liberals are looking out for us?

Brooklyn Woman Sues NYPD For Arresting Her Because She Filmed Stop-And-Frisk

 

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(Gothamist) – The NYCLU filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD today on behalf of a Brooklyn woman who was arrested and allegedly shoved by cops when she refused to stop filming a stop-and-frisk in her neighborhood in June. Hadiyah Charles, a health policy advocate for marginalized communities who was recognized as a Champion of Change by President Obama, was returning home to her Bed-Stuy apartment on the evening of June 5th when she spotted officers frisking three young men who appeared to be fixing a bicycle on the sidewalk. Charles started filming the cops with her cell phone, which is perfectly legal as long as one doesn’t “interfere” with police action. Just don’t try telling that to cops.

 

Charles says that when she asked the officers why the youths were being frisked, she was told it was “police business.” After inquiring a second time, officers told her the young men knew why. But they told her they had no idea why they were being patted down. At this point, Charles started taking video of the incident with her smartphone. Noticing this, the officers allegedly told her to step back repeatedly, far beyond any “reasonable distance” from the officers. One of the cops, Pamela Benites, allegedly followed Charles, ordering her to back further and further away, and finally shoved her when she wouldn’t stop, according to the lawsuit.

After being shoved, Charles says she asked to file a complaint. Instead, she says she was handcuffed and taken to the 79th Precinct station house, where she was detained in a cell for 90 minutes and then released with a disorderly conduct summons. At point during her detention, she says Officer Benites made derisive comments, including calling her a “street lawyer” and telling her, “This is what happens when you get involved.” Fearful that she would be detained longer if she stayed to file a complaint, Charles left the station house with her phone and purse at the first opportunity. According to an NYCLU spokesperson, she eventually lost her phone, and video of the incident disappeared with it.

The disorderly conduct charge against Charles was dropped in October. Her lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the NYPD, and the NYCLU was eager to take legal action on her behalf. “New Yorkers have a constitutional right to film police activity in public,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “This right is especially important in neighborhoods of color, like Bedford-Stuyvesant, that are the epicenters of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices. It empowers residents to expose abuse policing and hold the NYPD accountable for violating people’s rights.”

NYPD officers have been repeeatedly criticized for violating witnesses’ and reporters’ constitutional right to document their conduct in public, and NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn says, “The NYPD should be training its officers to respect people’s constitutional right to film police activity in public. Good policing has nothing to fear from citizen oversight. Good policing embraces transparency.”

How the US Intelligence Community Came Out of the Shadows

(Common Dreams) – Weren’t those the greatest of days if you were in the American spy game? Governments went down in Guatemala and Iran thanks to you. In distant Indonesia, Laos, and Vietnam, what a role you played! And even that botch-up of an invasion in Cuba was nothing to sneeze at. In those days, unfortunately, you — particularly those of you in the CIA — didn’t get the credit you deserved.

You had to live privately with your successes. Sometimes, as with the Bay of Pigs, the failures came back to haunt you (so, in the case of Iran, would your “success,” though so many years later), but you couldn’t with pride talk publicly about what you, in your secret world, had done, or see instant movies and TV shows about your triumphs. You couldn’t launch a “covert” air war that was reported on, generally positively, almost every week, or bask in the pleasure of having your director claim publicly that it was “the only game in town.” You couldn’t, that is, come out of what were then called “the shadows,” and soak up the glow of attention, be hailed as a hero, join Americans in watching some (fantasy) version of your efforts weekly on television, or get the credit for anything.

Nothing like that was possible — not at least until well after two journalists, David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, shined a bright light into those shadows, called you part of an “invisible government,” and outed you in ways that you found deeply discomforting.

Their book with that startling title, The Invisible Government, was published in 1964 and it was groundbreaking, shadow-removing, illuminating. It caused a fuss from its very first paragraph, which was then a shockeroo: “There are two governments in the United States today. One is visible. The other is invisible.”

I mean, what did Americans know at the time about an invisible government even the president didn’t control that was lodged deep inside the government they had elected?

Wise and Ross continued: “The first is the government that citizens read about in their newspapers and children study about in their civics books. The second is the interlocking, hidden machinery that carries out the policies of the United States in the Cold War. This second, invisible government gathers intelligence, conducts espionage, and plans and executes secret operations all over the globe.”

The Invisible Government came out just as what became known as “the Sixties” really began, a moment when lights were suddenly being shone into many previously shadowy American corners. I was then 20 years old and sometime in those years I read their book with a suitable sense of dread, just as I had read those civics books in high school in which Martians landed on Main Street in some “typical” American town to be lectured on our way of life and amazed by our Constitution, not to speak of those fabulous governmental checks and balances instituted by the Founding Fathers, and other glories of democracy.

I wasn’t alone reading The Invisible Government either. It was a bestseller and CIA Director John McCone reportedly read the manuscript, which he had secretly obtained from publisher Random House. He demanded deletions. When the publisher refused, he considered buying up the full first printing. In the end, he evidently tried to arrange for some bad reviews instead.

Time Machines and Shadow Worlds

By 1964, the “U.S. Intelligence Community,” or IC, had nine members, including the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the National Security Agency (NSA). As Wise and Ross portrayed it, the IC was already a labyrinthine set of secret outfits with growing power. It was capable of launching covert actions worldwide, with a “broad spectrum of domestic operations,” the ability to overthrow foreign governments, some involvement in shaping presidential campaigns, and the capacity to plan operations without the knowledge of Congress or full presidential control. “No outsider,” they concluded, “can tell whether this activity is necessary or even legal. No outsider is in a position to determine whether or not, in time, these activities might become an internal danger to a free society.” Modestly enough, they called for Americans to face the problem and bring “secret power” under control. (“If we err as a society, let it be on the side of control.”)

Now, imagine that H.G. Wells’s time machine had been available in that year of publication. Imagine that it whisked those journalists, then in their mid-thirties, and the young Tom Engelhardt instantly some 48 years into the future to survey just how their cautionary tale about a great democratic and republican nation running off the tracks and out of control had played out.

The first thing they might notice is that the Intelligence Community of 2012 with 17 official outfits has, by the simplest of calculations, almost doubled. The real size and power of that secret world, however, has in every imaginable way grown staggeringly larger than that. Take one outfit, now part of the IC, that didn’t exist back in 1964, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. With an annual budget of close to $5 billion, it recently built a gigantic $1.8 billion headquarters — “the third-largest structure in the Washington area, nearly rivaling the Pentagon in size” — for its 16,000 employees. It literally has its “eye” on the globe in a way that would have been left to sci-fi novels almost half a century ago and is tasked as “the nation’s primary source of geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT.” (Don’t ask me what that means exactly, though it has to do with quite literally imaging the planet and all its parts — or perhaps less politely, turning every inch of Earth into a potential shooting range.)

Or consider an outfit that did exist then: the National Security Agency, or NSA (once known jokingly as “no such agency” because of its deep cover). Like its geospatial cousin, it has been in a period of explosive growth, budgetary and otherwise, capped off by the construction of a “heavily fortified” $2 billion data center in Bluffdale, Utah. According to NSA expert James Bamford, when finished in 2013 that center will “intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.” He adds: “Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails — parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital ‘pocket litter.’” We’re talking not just about foreign terrorists here but about the intake and eternal storage of vast reams of material from American citizens, possibly even you.

Or consider a little-known post-9/11 creation, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which is not even a separate agency in the IC, but part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration has just turned that organization into “a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens — even people suspected of no crime.” It has granted the NCTC the right, among other things “to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them… copy entire government databases — flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students, and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited.”

Or take the Defense Intelligence Agency, which came into existence in 1961 and became operational only the year their book came out. Almost half a century ago, as Wise and Ross told their readers, it had 2,500 employees and a relatively modest set of assigned tasks. By the end of the Cold War, it had 7,500 employees. Two decades later, another tale of explosive growth: the DIA has 16,000 employees.

In their 2010 Washington Post series, “Top Secret America,” journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin caught a spirit of untrammeled expansion in the post-9/11 era that would surely have amazed those two authors who had called for “controls” over the secret world: “In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings — about 17 million square feet of space.”

Similarly, the combined Intelligence Community budget, which in deepest secrecy had supposedly soared to at least $44 billion in 2005 (all such figures have to be taken with a dumpster-ful of salt), has by now nearly doubled to an official $75 billion.

Let’s add in one more futuristic shocker for our time travelers. Someone would have to tell them that, in 1991, the Soviet Union, that great imperial power and nemesis of the invisible government, with its vast army, secret police, system of gulags, and monstrous nuclear arsenal, had disappeared largely nonviolently from the face of the Earth and no single power has since arisen to challenge the United States militarily. After all, that staggering U.S. intelligence budget, the explosion of new construction, the steep growth in personnel, and all the rest has happened in a world in which the U.S. is facing a couple of rickety regional powers (Iran and North Korea), a minority insurgency in Afghanistan, a rising economic power (China) with still modest military might, and probably a few thousand extreme Muslim fundamentalists and al-Qaeda wannabes scattered around the planet.

They would have to be told that, thanks to a single horrific event, a kind of terrorist luck-out we now refer to in shorthand as “9/11,” and despite the diminution of global enemies, an already enormous IC has expanded nonstop in a country seized by a spasm of fear and paranoia.

Preparing Battlefields and Building Giant Embassies

Staggered by the size of the invisible government they had once anatomized, the two reporters might have been no less surprised by another development: the way in our own time “intelligence” has been militarized, while the U.S. military itself has plunged into the shadows. Of course, it’s now well known that the CIA, a civilian intelligence agency until recently headed by a retired four-star general, has been paramilitarized and is now putting a significant part of its energy into running an ever spreading “covert” set of drone wars across the Greater Middle East.

Meanwhile, since the early years of the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. military has been intent on claiming some of the CIA’s turf as its own. Not long after the 9/11 attacks, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld began pushing the Pentagon into CIA-style intelligence activities — the “full spectrum of humint [human intelligence] operations” — to “prepare” for future “battlefields.” That process has never ended. In April 2012, for instance, the Pentagon released the information that it was in the process of setting up a new spy agency called the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). Its job: to globalize military “intelligence” by taking it beyond the obvious war zones. The DCS was tasked as well with working more closely with the CIA (while assumedly rivaling it).

As Greg Miller of the Washington Post reported, “Creation of the new service also coincides with the appointment of a number of senior officials at the Pentagon who have extensive backgrounds in intelligence and firm opinions on where the military’s spying programs — often seen as lackluster by CIA insiders — have gone wrong.”

And then just this month the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, originally a place for analysis and coordination, announced at a conference that his agency was going to expand into “humint” in a big way, filling embassies around the world with a new corps of clandestine operators who had diplomatic or other “cover.” He was talking about fielding 1,600 “collectors” who would be “trained by the CIA and often work with the Joint Special Operations Command.” Never, in other words, will a country have had so many “diplomats” who know absolutely nothing about diplomacy.

Though the Senate has balked at funding the expansion of the Defense Clandestine Service, all of this represents both a significant reshuffling of what is still called “intelligence” but is really a form of low-level war-making on a global stage and a continuing expansion of America’s secret world on a scale hitherto unimaginable, all in the name of “national security.” Now at least, it’s easier to understand why, from London to Baghdad to Islamabad, the U.S. has been building humongous embassies fortified like ancient castles and the size of imperial palaces for unparalleled staffs of “diplomats.” These will now clearly include scads of CIA, DIA, and perhaps DCS agents, among others, under diplomatic “cover.”

Into this mix would have to go another outfit that would have been unknown to Wise and Ross, but — given the publicity Seal Team Six has gotten over the bin Laden raid and other activities — that most Americans will be at least somewhat aware of. An ever-greater role in the secret world is now being played by a military organization that long ago headed into the shadows, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). In 2009, New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh termed it an “executive assassination ring” (especially in Iraq) that did not “report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days… directly to the Cheney office.”

In fact, JSOC only emerged into the public eye when one of its key operatives in Iraq, General Stanley McChrystal, was appointed U.S. war commander in Afghanistan. It has been in the spotlight ever since as it engages in what once might have been CIA-style paramilitary operations on steroids, increases its intelligence-gathering capacity, runs its own drone wars, and has set up a new headquarters in Washington, 15 convenient minutes from the White House.

Big Screen Moments and “Covert” Wars

At their top levels, the leadership of the CIA, the DIA, and JSOC are now mixing and matching in a blur of ever more intertwined, militarized outfits, increasingly on a perpetual war footing. They have, in this way, turned the ancient arts of intelligence, surveillance, spying, and assassination into a massively funded way of life and are now regularly conducting war on the sly and on the loose across the globe. At the lowest levels, the CIA, DIA, JSOC, and assumedly someday DCS train together, work in teams and in tandem, and cooperate, as well as poach on each other’s turf.

Today, you would be hard-pressed to write a single volume called The Invisible Government. You would instead have to produce a multi-volume series. And while you were at it — this undoubtedly would have stunned Wise and Ross — you might have had to retitle the project something like The Visible Government.

Don’t misunderstand me: Americans now possess (or more accurately are possessed by) a vast “intelligence” bureaucracy deeply in the shadows, whose activities are a mass of known unknowns and unknown unknowns to those of us on the outside. It is beyond enormous. There is no way to assess its actual usefulness, or whether it is even faintly “intelligent” (though a case could certainly be made that the U.S. would be far better off with a non-paramilitarized intelligence service or two, rather than scads of them, that eschewed paranoia and relied largely on open sources). But none of that matters. It now represents an irreversible way of life, one that is increasingly visible and celebrated in this country. It is also part of the seemingly endless growth of the imperial power of the White House and, in ways that Wise and Ross would in 1964 have found inconceivable, beyond all accountability or control when it comes to the American people.

It is also ready to take public credit for its “successes” (or even a significant hand in shaping how they are viewed in the public arena). Once upon a time, a CIA agent who died in some covert operation would have gone unnamed and unacknowledged. By the 1970s, that agent would have had a star engraved on the wall of the lobby of CIA headquarters, but no one outside the Agency would have known about his or her fate.

Now, those who die in our “secret” operations or ones launched against our “invisible” agents can become public figures and celebrated “heroes.” This was the case, for instance, with Jennifer Matthews, a CIA agent who died in Afghanistan when an Agency double agent turned out to be a triple agent and suicide bomber. Or just last week, when a soldier from Seal Team Six died in an operation in Afghanistan to rescue a kidnapped doctor. The Navy released his photo and name, and he was widely hailed. This would certainly have been striking to Wise and Ross.

Then again, they would undoubtedly have been no less startled to discover that, from Jack Ryan and Jason Bourne to Syriana, the Mission Impossible films, and Taken, the CIA and other secret outfits (or their fantasy doppelgangers) have become staples of American multiplexes. Nor has the small screen, from 24 to Homeland, been immune to this invasion of visibility. Or consider this: just over a year and a half after Seal Team Six’s super-secret bin Laden operation ended, it has already been turned into Zero Dark Thirty, a highly pre-praised (and controversial) movie, a candidate for Oscars with a heroine patterned on an undercover CIA agent whose photo has made it into the public arena. Moreover, it was a film whose makers were reportedly aided or at least encouraged in their efforts by the CIA, the Pentagon, and the White House, just as the SEALs aided this year’s high-grossing movie Act of Valor (“an elite team of Navy SEALs… embark on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent”) by lending the film actual SEALs as its (unnamed) actors and then staging a SEAL parachute drop onto a red carpet at its Hollywood premier.

True, at the time The Invisible Government was published, the first two James Bond films were already hits and the Mission Imposible TV show was only two years from launch, but the way the invisible world has since emerged from the shadows to become a fixture of pop culture remains stunning. And don’t think this was just some cultural quirk. After all, back in the 1960s, enterprising reporters had to pry open those invisible agencies to discover anything about what they were doing. In those years, for instance, the CIA ran a secret air and sizeable ground war in Laos that it tried desperately never to acknowledge despite its formidable size and scope.

Today, on the other hand, the Agency runs what are called “covert” drone wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia in which most strikes are promptly reported in the press and about which the administration clearly leaked information it wanted in the New York Times on the president’s role in picking those to die.

In the past, American presidents pursued “plausible deniability” when it came to assassination plots like those against Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem. Now, assassination is clearly considered a semi-public part of the presidential job, codified, bureaucratized, and regulated (though only within the White House), and remarkably public. All of this has become part of the visible world (or at least a giant publicity operation in it). No need today for a Wise or Ross to tell us this. Ever since President Ronald Reagan’s CIA-run Central American Contra wars of the 1980s, the definition of “covert” has changed. It no longer means hidden from sight, but beyond accountability.

It is now a polite way of saying to the American people: not yours. Yes, you can know about it; you can feel free to praise it; but you have nothing to do with it, no say over it.

In the 48 years since their pioneering book was published, Wise and Ross’s invisible government has triumphed over the visible one. It has become the go-to option in this country. In certain ways, it is also becoming the most visible and important part of that government, a vast edifice of surveilling, storing, spying, and killing that gives us what we now call “security,” leaves us in terror of the world, never stops growing, and is ever freer to collect information on you to use as it wishes.

With the passage of 48 years, it’s so much clearer that, impressive as Wise and Ross were, their quest was quixotic. Bring the “secret power” under control? Make it accountable? Dream on — but be careful, one of these days even your dreams may be on file.

Get Your Flu Shot or Get Fired: Media Hails New ‘Safety’ Policies Forcing Shots on Workers

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(Natural Society)- Don’t want to be injected with the seasonal flu vaccine due to concerns over ingredients like MSG, antibiotics, formaldehyde, and aluminum as admitted by the FDA on their own website? Well then you may lose your job for refusing a ‘safety’ measure, as more and more major corporations are forcing the flu vaccine (among others) on workers in
order to keep their job.

But how is this being enabled? Despite being met with massive resistance as vaccination rates are actually declining across the board due to concerns by citizens worldwide, mainstream media organizations like the Chicago Chronicle have been running numerous hit pieces on those who reject the flu vaccine as ‘uninformed’ and just plain old silly.

These articles also champion in the ‘safety’ measures of forced vaccination within mega corporations like Alexian Brothers Health System with unquestioning loyalty towards the companies. Dismissing any legitimate civil or health concerns with a laughable ‘oh, stop’ and no actual response, this mainstream media article was actually published to the tens of millions that read the Chicago Chronicle each month.

Media: ‘Stop’ Questioning Corporations!

When addressing the real concerns regarding how a corporation can force an employee to inject themselves with MSG, antibiotics, aluminum, and other contaminants, the Chicago Chronicle just dismisses it without question. The article reads:

“If your employer can order you to inject or inhale a vaccine, the reasoning goes, what else might it require? Oh, stop. A hospital isn’t out of line when it tells its employees to get vaccinated — or get fired.”

Just as the Chronicle states, the corporate media desperately wants you to please stop asking virtually any questions. After all, it makes whitewashing the news and propagating literal fabrications very challenging. Even the European Union Food Safety Agency asked scientists and consumers to please stop studying genetically modified organisms following the breaking report that GMOs had been linked to tumors.

Of course media pieces like these are actually a bi-product of resistance from the people. As more and more individuals refuse the carcinogen-packed flu shot on a yearly basis, vaccine manufacturers are in a panic. Big Pharma as a whole is in trouble, and the only way they know how to perform damage control is through spending millions upon millions in PR runs.

All of the PR runs and media campaigns to dismiss legitimate concerns (without ever actually addressing them beyond a sarcastic or satirical discount like ‘oh, stop’) cannot, however, stop the emergence of real information to the public regarding GMOs, the contaminants within the flu shot, and other items.

The mainstream media and mega corporations would like you to please stop questioning their actions, but they will never get their wish.