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Phony US/EU Spying Limitations Deal

Tom Blackwell / Flickr

Tom Blackwell / Flickr

Longstanding NSA policy involves global spying, intensively on allies and adversaries, including dozens of foreign leaders, the Pope and other prominent world figures.

They agency’s objective is get it all – for political and economic advantage, to be one up on foreign competitors, for information used advantageously in trade, geopolitical and military relations.

Big Brother watches everyone. Domestic spying has nothing to do with protecting national security. Homeland terrorist threats are entirely state-sponsored.

Washington targets its own citizens and residents, framing innocent victims for crimes they didn’t commit.

Any nation, group or individual opposing America’s imperial agenda is vulnerable. The NSA, CIA and other US spy agencies operate unrestrained with virtually no oversight.

Spying on Europe is longstanding, enormous amounts of meta-data collected unrelated to security concerns. It’s pure espionage, foreign embassies, consulates and missions bugged, using sophisticated communications gear.

The NSA calls them “targets,” electronic transmissions in all forms monitored covertly. Nothing in prospect indicates US spy agencies changing their practices.

America can’t be trusted. It notoriously breaches deals agreed to, the latest involving meaningless “written (US and EU spying limitations) assurances.”

European digital single market commissioner Andrus Ansip discussed a newly instituted “Privacy Shield,” replacing the earlier “Safe Harbour” agreement, annulled last October by the European Court of Justice – its aim to protect Europeans’ privacy, a futile initiative with virtually no chance of succeeding.

Ansip claimed Washington “clarified (its alleged intention) not (to) carry out indiscriminate mass surveillance of Europeans,” providing written assurances not worth the paper they’re written on.

According to EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova, the White House and national intelligence office provided guarantees – worthless like all US deals, made to be broken.

A meaningless State Department special ombudsman position will be created, charged with investigating accusations of US spying violations – able to downplay or whitewash them.

Trust was never an American long suit, accountability for deals breached and criminal actions entirely absent.

Dutch European Parliament member (MEP) Sophie in’t Veld criticized the deal, saying its “assurances…rely exclusively on political commitment, instead of legal (safeguards). So any change in the political constellation in the US may undo the whole thing.”

German MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht called the newly instituted “Privacy Shield” meaningless.

It’s not legally binding, relying on nonexistent good US intentions, able to interpret things any way it wishes – assuring no change in dirty business as usual, America’s longstanding practice.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”. www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html Visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Longstanding US/UK Spying On Israeli Military Operations

EFF Photos / Flickr

EFF Photos / Flickr

It’s no surprise. Nations routinely spy on allies and adversaries. Today’s sophisticated technology makes it easier than ever.

On Friday, Israeli and Western media reported Washington and Britain accessed Israeli military aircraft video feeds – letting them monitor IDF operations in Gaza, along with watching for potential strikes on Iran.

US and UK intelligence cracked special IDF encryption years ago. They’ve been monitoring communications between Israeli warplanes, drones and military bases.

Edward Snowden-released NSA documents and photos revealed it. Israel expressed disappointment but not surprise, over-hyping what it called “an earthquake…the worst leak in the history of (its) intelligence.”

Tracking is done from a Royal Air Force installation near Mount Olympus, the highest point on Cyprus.

An anonymous Israeli official said the breach means Washington and Britain “forcibly stripped us, and, no less important, that probably none of our encrypted systems are safe from them.”

A 2008 UK intelligence (GCHQ) report called access “indispensable for maintaining an understanding of Israeli military training and operations, and thus an insight into possible future developments in the region.”

“In times of crisis, this access is critical and one of the only avenues to provide up to the minute information and support to US and allied operations in the area.”

The White House declined to comment, only saying spying is conducted for national security reasons. It’s espionage, stealing other countries’ secrets for political, economic and military advantage.

It’s not about keeping us safe. America hasn’t had an enemy since Japan surrendered at WW II’s end.

Domestic spying has nothing to do with national security. It’s for control, transforming America into a police state, its most disadvantaged citizens victimized, thousands wrongfully imprisoned for political reasons.

Earlier released Snowden documents revealed global NSA spying, at home and abroad, including on allied world leaders. Big Brother is real, no longer fiction. Privacy no longer exists.

Unconstitutional mass surveillance is standard practice. Obama escalated what his predecessors began, secretly authorizing illegal intrusions into the lives of ordinary US citizens, monitoring their electronic and telephonic communications without judicial authorization, waging war on freedom, spying more aggressively worldwide than any previous regime in history.

Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev once ludicrously said “Israel does not spy on the United States of America.”

Not according to the CIA, calling Israel America’s main regional spy threat. Numerous Israeli officials are involved – with close ties to foreign military, intelligence and criminal sources.

In 2011, former CIA counterintelligence/military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi accused Israel of stealing everything it gets its hands on, including military, political, industrial, commercial, technological, economic and financial secrets.

Annual FBI reports prominently feature Israeli spying on America. Washington’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) earlier said Israel “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally.”

The Pentagon accused Israel of “actively engag(ing) in military and industrial espionage in the United States. An Israeli citizen working in the US who has access to proprietary information is likely to be a target of such espionage.”

Despite longstanding close ties, past and current US national security officials consider Israel a frustrating ally, a genuine counterintelligence threat.

Its technical capability and human resources match some of America’s best – with direct access to top-level US political, military and intelligence sources, enlisting them to steal American secrets.

Israel gets virtually anything it wants from Washington, its intrusive spying overlooked.

Their imperial ties matters more, longstanding partners in naked aggression and other high crimes.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”. www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html Visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Internet Of Things And Smart Grid To Fully Eviscerate Privacy

internet-of-things-2

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) and Smart Grid technologies will together be aggressively integrated into the developed world’s socioeconomic fabric with little-if-any public or governmental oversight. This is the overall opinion of a new report by the Federal Trade Commission, which has announced a series of “recommendations” to major utility companies and transnational corporations heavily invested in the IoT and Smart Grid, suggesting that such technologies should be rolled out almost entirely on the basis of “free market” principles so as not to stifle “innovation.”[1]

As with other overfunded and unelected bureaucracies, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, the FTC functions to provide the semblance of democratic governance and studied concern as it allows corporate monied interests and prerogatives to run roughshod over the body politic.

The IoT refers to all digital electronic and RFID-chipped devices wirelessly connected to the internet. The number of such items has increased dramatically since the early 2000s. In 2003 an estimated 500 million gadgets were connected, or about one for every twelve people on earth. By 2015 the number has grown 50 fold to an estimated 25 billion, or 3.5 units per person. By 2020 the IoT is expected to double the number of physical items it encompasses to 50 billion, or roughly 7 per individual.[2]

The IoT is developing in tandem with the “Smart Grid,” comprised of tens of millions of wireless transceivers (a combination cellular transmitter and receiver) more commonly known as “smart meters.” Unlike conventional wireless routers, smart meters are regarded as such because they are equipped to capture, store, and transmit an abundance of data on home energy usage with a degree of precision scarcely imagined by utility customers. On the contrary, energy consumers are typically appeased with persuasive promotional materials from their power company explaining how smart meter technology allows patrons to better monitor and control their energy usage.

Almost two decades ago media sociologist Rick Crawford defined Smart Grid technology as “real time residential power line surveillance” (RRPLS). These practices exhibited all the characteristics of eavesdropping and more. “Whereas primitive forms of power monitoring merely sampled one data point per month by checking the cumulative reading on the residential power meter,” Crawford explains,

modern forms of RRPLS permit nearly continued digital sampling. This allows watchers to develop a fine-grained profile of the occupants’ electrical appliance usage. The computerized RRPLS device may be placed on-site with the occupants’ knowledge and assent, or it may be hidden outside and surreptitiously attached to the power line feeding into the residence.

This device records a log of both resistive power levels and reactive loads as a function of time. The RRPLS device can extract characteristic appliance “signatures” from the raw data. For example, existing [1990s] RRPLS devices can identify whenever the sheets are thrown back from a water bed by detecting the duty cycles of the water bed heater. RRPLS can infer that two people shared a shower by noting an unusually heavy load on the electric water heater and that two uses of the hair dryer followed.[3]

A majority of utility companies are reluctant to acknowledge the profoundly advanced capabilities of these mechanisms that have now been effectively mandated for residential and business clients. Along these lines, when confronted with questions on whether the devices are able to gather usage data with such exactitude, company representatives are apparently compelled to feign ignorance or demur.

i210Yet the features Crawford describes and their assimilation with the IoT are indeed a part of General Electric’s I-210+C smart meter, among the most widely-deployed models in the US. This meter is equipped with not one, not two, but three transceivers, the I-210+C’s promotional brochure explains.[4]

One of the set’s transceivers uses ZigBee Pro protocols, “one of several wireless communication standards in the works to link up appliances, light bulbs, security systems, thermostats and other equipment in home and enterprises.”[5] With most every new appliance now required to be IoT-equipped, not only will consumer habits be increasingly monitored through energy usage, but over the longer term lifestyle and thus behavior will be transformed through power rationing, first in the form of “tiered usage,” and eventually in a less accommodating way through the remote control of “smart” appliances during peak hours.[6]

Information gathered from the combined IoT and Smart Grid will also be of immense value to marketers that up to now have basically been excluded from the domestic sphere. As an affiliate of WPP Pic., the world’s biggest ad agency put it, the data harvested by smart meters “opens the door to the home. Consumers are leaving a digital footprint that opens the door to their online habits and to their shopping habits and their location, and the last thing that is understood is the home, because at the moment when you shut the door, that’s it.”[7]

esAs the FTC’s 2015 report makes clear, this is the sort of retail (permissible) criminality hastened by the merging of Smart Grid and IoT technologies also provides an immense facility for wholesale criminals to scan and monitor various households’ activities as potential targets for robbery, or worse.

The FTC, utility companies and smart meter manufacturers alike still defer to the Federal Communications Commission as confirmation of the alleged safety of Smart Grid and smart meter deployment. This is the case even though the FCC is not chartered to oversee public health and, basing its regulatory procedure on severely outdated science, maintains that microwave radiation is not a threat to public health so long as no individual’s skin or flesh have risen in temperature.

Yet in the home and workplace the profusion of wireless technologies such as ZigBee will compound the already significant collective radiation load of WiFi, cellular telephony, and the smart meter’s routine transmissions. The short term physiological impact will likely include weakened immunity, fatigue, and insomnia that can hasten terminal illnesses.[8]

Perhaps the greatest irony is how the Internet of Things, the Smart Grid and their attendant “Smart Home” are sold under the guise of convenience, personal autonomy, even knowledge production and wisdom. “The more data that is created,” Cisco gushes, “the more knowledge and wisdom people can obtain. IoT dramatically increases the amount of data available for us to process. This, coupled with the Internet’s ability to communicate this data, will enable people to advance even further.”[9]

In light of the grave privacy and health-related concerns posed by this techno tsunami, the members of a sane society might seriously ask themselves exactly where they are advancing, or being compelled to advance to.

Notes

[1] Federal Trade Commission, Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World, Washington DC, January 2015. Accessible at http://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/federal-trade-commission-staff-report-november-2013-workshop-entitled-internet-things-privacy/150127iotrpt.pdf

[2] Dave Evans, “The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet is Changing Everything, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, April 2011, 3. Accessible at http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac79/docs/innov/IoT_IBSG_0411FINAL.pdf

[3] Rick Crawford, “Computer Assisted Crises,” in George Gerbner, Hamid Mowlana and Herbert I. Schiller (eds.) Invisible Crises: What Conglomerate Control of Media Means for American and the World, Boulder CO: Westview Press, 1996, 47-81.

[4] “I-210+C with Silver Spring Networks Micro-AP” [Brochure], General Electric, Atlanta Georgia. Accessible at http://www.gedigitalenergy.com/app/Resources.aspx?prod=i210_family&type=1

[5] Stephen Lawson, “ZigBee 3.0 Promises One Smart Home Standard for Many Uses,” pcworld.com, November 16, 2014.

[6] One of the United States’ largest utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, has already introduced tiered pricing to curb energy usage in summer months during “high demand” times of the day. http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/saveenergymoney/plans/smartrate/index.page

[7] Louise Downing, “WPP Unit, Onzo Study Harvesting Smart-Meter Data,” Bloomberg.com, May 11, 2014.

[8] Sue Kovach, “The Hidden Dangers of Cellphone Radiation,” Life Extension Magazine, August 2007; James F. Tracy, “Looming Health Crisis: Wireless Technology and the Toxification of America,” GlobalResearch.ca, July 8, 2012.

[9] Evans, 6.


Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.

 

You’re Being Watched!

Computer Eye

By: Dale E. Winther |

You’re Being Watched!

It wasn’t that long ago when I marveled that British citizens permitted the installation of closed circuit TV cameras in London. I thought to myself; “Americans would never except public spy cameras”. We value our privacy too much. So, time marched on and look at what we have now. Cameras on street corners, in stores, on cop cars, on cops and looking down on us from space!

Ah, but camera spying is but a minor intrusion into our personal lives. People love their wireless telecommunication devices. With the global spread of the internet, the universal adoption of Facebook and similar products, mankind now stands naked and helpless before those who wish to do us great harm. Never before has there been such a potential for unspeakable tyrannies!

The interconnection of diverse databases allows nearly god-like powers to be applied to individuals and organizations. Get a Gmail account and they want your picture. Sign-up for a social media account and, of course, they want your picture. Put a group photo on Facebook and, as a courtesy, the program uses facial recognition to identify everyone and annotate the picture with their names. Excuse me, but that should scare everyone! A database of all faces is under construction and people simply give them what they want. Really? Yet nobody seems to care!

That remarkable GPS receiver in your phone is very handy. It can find you but it can also track where you are. How safe do you feel now? Quite safe if you need an ambulance, but what if a government agency or a bad guy that hacked the system wants to find you?

A recent article in the Washington Post highlights the sophistication of automatic cross-database correlations of diverse, but relevant information. The Fresno, California police department has a new tool to instantly asses a suspect’s risk potential.

“The program scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social- media postings.” “Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens.”—The Washington Post, “The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat ‘score’”, January 10, 2016.

Few people realize that computers now have abilities that go far beyond searching for “keywords”. Artificial intelligence software can actually read text and emails to “understand” what has been said! Who said it, what did he say and who did he say it to? Are his thoughts politically incorrect? Does he know about something that he shouldn’t?

Author George Orwell (1984) could not have foreseen the advent of computers and the astonishing power that they have over mankind. TV cameras everywhere but who looks at all of the monitor screens? Computers do! They interpret images, identify people, read their mail and do the bidding for those who want to know everything about you. If the man in charge wants to know if you’re a Christian, a Republican, a gun owner, a patriotic person, you dislike the president or you told someone that you cheated on your taxes—the answers are only a keystroke away!

I wish this was science fiction but its all science fact. Techno-tyranny against the individual is expanding at a dizzying rate. People supply information and images without concern for the abuses that will surely increase. Shutting down the Internet has consequences that are as drastic as a nation-wide failure of the electric grid. Modern civilization is utterly dependent on our digital systems. We cannot live without them—can’t get money, can’t get gas, can’t manage the distribution of food and supplies or even worse; can’t know what people are thinking about!

Like it or not, we now live in a police state. This truth is not a conspiracy theory, it is The Truth! Can things get worse? Can a woman be just a little bit pregnant? As this baby grows our personal freedoms are dissolving by the day. Living in denial changes nothing—the baby just keeps getting bigger. As global insanities progress and the world economies become hopelessly wrapped around the axle, a total collapse is a certainty. The cry will go out; “who can save us?”

A New World Order to the rescue! First things first. Everyone will be microchipped. You may not buy, sell, eat or travel without it. Countries and their borders will be eliminated. Humans will become one big happy global family! To be exceptional, talented, entrepreneurial or obsessed with telling the truth will get you noticed. You’ll be put on a list! Believing in God will be a criminal act.

We are but one step away from this reality. It’s not just that God is watching us and listening to all that we say and do. So is our government! You don’t have to believe in God, but you’d better believe in what men, armed with advanced technology and great power can do to you. Wake up and see the future while you can still change it!


Dale E. Winther has fifty years of computer design experience. He designed computer hardware and software for the Hubble Space Telescope, the Galileo mission to Jupiter and a multitude of major spacecraft and satellites while working for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His new novel, The Brotherhood of the Beast is a science fiction thriller that addresses the technical and cultural changes that have set us up for disaster. The book is available on his website: www.thebrotherhoodofthebeast.com and from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The author expands on the techno-tyranny theme in a radio interview at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sE0NvNUD4o

Government Software Calculates Your ‘Threat Score’ And Categorizes Citizens As Red, Yellow Or Green

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Do you know what your “threat score” is?  Today, more than 90 percent of all local police departments and nearly all government agencies employ some sort of technological surveillance.  One of the most common applications is called “Beware”, and it scans billions of “arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches” and social media postings to give authorities an idea of who they are dealing with.  So the next time that police pull up in front of your home, it is likely that what you have posted on Facebook will be searched.  If you have said things that could be construed as “anti-government” or “anti-police”, there is a very good chance that you will have a very high “threat score” and you will be on “the red list”.

I understand that this sounds like something that comes directly out of a science fiction movie, but I assure you that it is very real.  In fact, the Washington Post reported on this just the other day…

While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report.

The program scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social media postings. It calculated his threat level as the highest of three color-coded scores: a bright red warning.

“Beware” was created by a corporation known as “Intrado”, and police departments around the nation began using it back in 2012.  When police officers using this software roll up to your home, they will instantly know which residents are on the “green list”, which are on the “yellow list”, and which are on the “red list”.  Here is more from the Washington Post

As officers respond to calls, Beware automatically runs the address. The searches return the names of residents and scans them against a range of publicly available data to generate a color-coded threat level for each person or address: green, yellow or red.

Exactly how Beware calculates threat scores is something that its maker, Intrado, considers a trade secret, so it is unclear how much weight is given to a misdemeanor, felony or threatening comment on Facebook. However, the program flags issues and provides a report to the user.

In promotional materials, Intrado writes that Beware could reveal that the resident of a particular address was a war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, had criminal convictions for assault and had posted worrisome messages about his battle experiences on social media.

Everything that you have ever done on the Internet could potentially be used to calculate your “threat score”.  So if you made some ill-advised comments on Facebook or in an Internet forum five years ago, there is still probably a record of that somewhere, and “Beware” will probably find it.

The next time you get pulled over or a police officer comes to your home, things that you may have completely forgotten that you ever said may come back to haunt you.  With that in mind, I would like you to read the following excerpt from an article by Matt Agorist

Imagine the following scenario: You are on your way home from work, driving down the road when you notice police lights in your rearview mirror. You are being pulled over.

As you sit there, on the shoulder, adrenaline rushing, simultaneously angry and nervous, the police officer, in his patrol car behind you, is sizing you up based on an algorithm that determines your “threat rating.”

The officer enters your license plate into a mobile application on his laptop. In a matter of seconds, this application crawls over billions of records in commercial and public databases, including all available social media engagement, recent purchases and “any comments that could be construed as offensive.” The application then determines if your “threat rating” is green, yellow, or red.

Imagine that you are one of our informed and frequent readers and understand the importance of police accountability and are unafraid to voice your entirely peaceful, yet strong opinion about police misconduct. Imagine that you left a comment on Facebook this morning about a particular officer’s misconduct; imagine that it is this particular officer who just pulled you over.

We live in a society that has become absolutely obsessed with surveillance.

A “Big Brother police state control grid” is being systematically constructed all around us, and we are being watched, tracked, monitored and controlled in hundreds of different ways.

So what can we do about this?

Is there any hope for change?

Well, John W. Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute believes that the key is grassroots activism and non-violent resistance…

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there is only one feasible solution left to us short of fleeing the country for parts unknown: grassroots activism that strives to reform the government locally and trickles up.

Unfortunately, such a solution requires activism, engagement, vigilance, sacrifice, individualism, community-building, nullification and a communal willingness to reject the federal government’s handouts and, when needed, respond with what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as “militant nonviolent resistance.”

That means forgoing Monday night football in order to actively voice your concerns at city council meetings, turning off the television and spending an hour reading your local newspaper (if you still have one that reports local news) from front to back, showing your displeasure by picketing in front of government offices, risking your reputation by speaking up and disagreeing with the majority when necessary, refusing to meekly accept whatever the government dictates, reminding government officials—including law enforcement—that they work for you, and working together with your neighbors to present a united front against an overreaching government.

So what do you think?

Will we ever be able to get our privacy back, or has government surveillance become too entrenched?

Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

Life In The Electronic Concentration Camp: The Surveillance State Is Alive And Well

NSA-binoculars
By: John W. Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute |

“Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order […] and the like.” ― William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice

Bottle up the champagne, pack away the noisemakers, and toss out the party hats.

There is no cause for celebration.

We have secured no major victories against tyranny.

We have achieved no great feat in pushing back against government overreach.

For all intents and purposes, the National Security Agency has supposedly ceased its bulk collection of metadata from Americans’ phone calls, but read the fine print: nothing is going to change.

The USA Freedom Act, which claimed to put an end to the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of metadata from Americans’ phone calls, was just a placebo pill intended to make us feel better and let the politicians take credit for reforming mass surveillance.

In other words, it was a sham, a sleight-of-hand political gag pulled on a gullible public desperate to believe that we still live in a constitutional republic rather than a down-and-out, out-of-control, corporate-controlled, economically impoverished, corrupt, warring, militarized banana republic.

You cannot restrain the NSA. The beast has outgrown its chains.

You cannot reform the NSA. A government that lies, cheats, steals, sidesteps the law, and then absolves itself of wrongdoing does not voluntarily alter its behavior.

You cannot put an end to the NSA’s “technotyranny.” Presidents, politicians, and court rulings have come and gone over the course of the NSA’s 60-year history, but none of them have managed to shut down the government’s secret surveillance of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages, transactions, communications and activities.

Indeed, the government has become an expert in finding ways to sidestep niggling, inconvenient laws aimed at ensuring accountability, bringing about government transparency and protecting citizen privacy.

It has mastered the art of stealth maneuvers and end-runs around the Constitution.

It knows all too well how to hide its nefarious, covert, clandestine activities behind the classified language of national security and terrorism. And when that doesn’t suffice, it obfuscates, complicates, stymies or just plain bamboozles the public into remaining in the dark.

Case in point: the so-called end of the NSA’s metadata collection of Americans’ phone calls.

This, of course, is no end at all.

On any given day, the average American going about his daily business will still be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

More than a year before politicians attempted to patch up our mortally wounded privacy rights with the legislative bandaid fix that is the USA Freedom Act, researchers at Harvard and Boston University documented secret loopholes that allow the government to bypass Fourth Amendment protections to conduct massive domestic surveillance on U.S. citizens.

It’s extraordinary rendition all over again, only this time it’s surveillance instead of torture being outsourced.

In much the same way that the government moved its torture programs overseas in order to bypass legal prohibitions against doing so on American soil, it is doing the same thing for its surveillance programs. By shifting its data storage, collection and surveillance activities outside of the country, the government is able to bypass constitutional protections against unwarranted searches of Americans’ emails, documents, social networking data, and other cloud-stored data.

Heck, the government doesn’t even need to move all of its programs overseas. It just has to push the data over the border in order to “[circumvent] constitutional and statutory safeguards seeking to protect the privacy of Americans.”

Credit for this particular brainchild goes to the Obama administration, which issued Executive Order 12333 authorizing the collection of Americans’ data from surveillance conducted on foreign soil.

Using this rationale, the government was able to justify hacking into and collecting an estimated 180 million user records from Google and Yahoo data centers every month because the data travels over international fiber-optic cables. The NSA program, dubbed MUSCULAR, is carried out in concert with British intelligence.

No wonder the NSA appeared so unfazed about being forced to shut down its much-publicized metadata program. It had already figured out a way to accomplish the same results (illegally spying on Americans’ communications) without being shackled by the legislative or judicial branches of the government.

Mind you, this metadata collection now being carried out overseas is just a small piece of the surveillance pie. The government and its corporate partners have a veritable arsenal of surveillance programs that will continue to operate largely in secret, carrying out warrantless mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages and the like, beyond the scrutiny of most of Congress and the taxpayers who are forced to fund its multi-billion dollar secret black ops budget.

The surveillance state is alive and well and kicking privacy to shreds in America.

surveillance

Whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, will still be listening in and tracking your behavior. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

We are now in a state of transition with the police state shifting into high-gear under the auspices of the surveillance state.

Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s police officers into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone Stingray devices and so much more.

Add in the fusion centers, city-wide surveillance networks, data clouds conveniently hosted overseas by Amazon and Microsoft, drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras, and biometric databases, and you’ve got the makings of a world in which “privacy” is reserved exclusively for government agencies.

Thus, telephone surveillance by the NSA is the least of our worries.

Even with restrictions on its ability to collect mass quantities of telephone metadata, the government and its various spy agencies, from the NSA to the FBI, can still employ an endless number of methods for carrying out warrantless surveillance on Americans, all of which are far more invasive than the bulk collection program.

As I point out in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people.

Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power.

And of course that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine. Indeed, Facebook, Amazon and Google are among the government’s closest competitors when it comes to carrying out surveillance on Americans, monitoring the content of your emails, tracking your purchases and exploiting your social media posts.

“Few consumers understand what data are being shared, with whom, or how the information is being used,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Most Americans emit a stream of personal digital exhaust — what they search for, what they buy, who they communicate with, where they are — that is captured and exploited in a largely unregulated fashion.”

It’s not just what we say, where we go and what we buy that is being tracked.

We’re being surveilled right down to our genes, thanks to a potent combination of hardware, software and data collection that scans our biometrics—our faces, irises, voices, genetics, even our gait—runs them through computer programs that can break the data down into unique “identifiers,” and then offers them up to the government and its corporate allies for their respective uses.

All of those internet-connected gadgets we just have to have (Forbes refers to them as “(data) pipelines to our intimate bodily processes”)—the smart watches that can monitor our blood pressure and the smart phones that let us pay for purchases with our fingerprints and iris scans—are setting us up for a brave new world where there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

For instance, imagine what the NSA could do (and is likely already doing) with voiceprint technology, which has been likened to a fingerprint. Described as “the next frontline in the battle against overweening public surveillance,” the collection of voiceprints is a booming industry for governments and businesses alike. As The Guardian reports, “voice biometrics could be used to pinpoint the location of individuals. There is already discussion about placing voice sensors in public spaces, and [Lee Tien, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation] said that multiple sensors could be triangulated to identify individuals and specify their location within very small areas.”

Suddenly the NSA’s telephone metadata program seems like child’s play compared to what’s coming down the pike.

That, of course, is the point.

The NSA is merely one small part of a shadowy permanent government comprised of unelected bureaucrats who march in lockstep with profit-driven corporations that actually runs Washington, DC, and works to keep us under surveillance and, thus, under control. For example, Google openly works with the NSA, Amazon has built a massive $600 million intelligence database for CIA, and the telecommunications industry is making a fat profit by spying on us for the government.

In other words, Corporate America is making a hefty profit by aiding and abetting the government in its domestic surveillance efforts.

At every turn, we have been handicapped in our quest for transparency, accountability and a representative democracy by an establishment culture of secrecy: secret agencies, secret experiments, secret military bases, secret surveillance, secret budgets, and secret court rulings, all of which exist beyond our reach, operate outside our knowledge, and do not answer to “we the people.”

Now there are still those who insist that they have nothing to hide from the surveillance state and nothing to fear from the police state because they have done nothing wrong.

To those sanctimonious few, secure in their delusions, let this be a warning: the danger posed by the American police state applies equally to all of us—lawbreaker and law abider alike, black and white, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, blue collar and white collar, and any other distinction you’d care to trot out.

In an age of too many laws, too many prisons, too many government spies, and too many corporations eager to make a fast buck at the expense of the American taxpayer, there is no safe place and no watertight alibi. We are all guilty of some transgression or other, and eventually, we will all be made to suffer the same consequences in the electronic concentration camp that surrounds us.

Who Do Intelligence Snoops Serve?

spy

*Article republished from 2004 – “True then and even more accurate today.” -SARTRE

I strongly believe the CIA is ably led by George Tenet,” George W. Bush said in an Oval Office interview to be broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Well, from the perspective of the Intelligence Community culture, the president is probably correct. However; the essential question that is continuously ignored, asks if those assets serve the American People!

Spying is as old as time. The principal aspect that matters is the purpose of that intelligence gathering. The CIA is only the most visible agency that engages in the practice of counterintelligence. Those that are acknowledged openly are listed on an official government site, Members of the Intelligence Community (IC). The history of success (depending on how one defines such a standard) is mixed at best. Notwithstanding, the public accounts, the real story lies deep within the bowels of “foggy bottom” archive tombs. Those too sensitive to ever risk the light of day, have been buried along with those who knew too much.

So what else is new? The varied fiefdoms often conflict, since they seldom share a common agenda. Only a naive believer accepts that these spooks snoop for the national interest. A sub rosa government needs not to rely upon conspiracy theories or urban legends to be real. All you have to do is simply study the historic record of how events really play themselves out . . . Secret operations and schemes are the precise business the IC conducts. So why would it be silly to dismiss that the world operates upon a lust for power, or that it is abnormal?

Ushering a serious discussion about the motives and intentions of the black bag boys, risks the loss of credibility within polite circles. The extent and degree of their mastery, is demonstrated that inquiry into the secret agent realm, has been deemed a characteristic of paranoia. Even when random patterns or coincidence are implausible, the government instructs the public that only the psychotic believe in conspiracies.

If that was so, how does one explain the sociopathic behavior that routinely comes out of the STATE? Debating or criticizing a specific incident may be entertaining and even informative, but when was the last time folks agreed upon the unique trajectory of that “magic bullet” which did so much damage? Consensus is more than one can hope to achieve. Citizens are too afraid of admitting that they are ruled by other than duly elected representatives and benevolent bureaucrats.  Nonetheless, that is exactly the circumstance of our lives.

The missing ingredient that escapes the discernment of the masses is that intelligence gathering is valid if it serves and protects a way of life, which is based upon individual liberty. When policies, programs and techniques have the very aim of stripping natural rights from the sovereign citizenry, who do these spies serve? A clandestine mindset, causes subversion of legitimate authority. Disinformation is a standard diet that is dished out for public consumption. And hidden elitist interests never justify cryptic genocide, in the name of national security.

Jim Lobe, an accomplished investigative reporter, makes the point well. Inspection of Vice President Dick Cheney’s role and that of arch NeoCon – Lewis “Scooter” Libby – interaction with the CIA has been made public. “And it was also Libby and Cheney who reportedly visited the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) several times in the run-up to the war in Iraq in what was taken as pressure on CIA analysts to take a darker view of Saddam’s alleged ties to al-Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction than what was reflected in the agency’s reports”. Just another turf battle among varying factions! Or the harboring of more sinister forces?

What do you think? When George Bush was asked by Tim Russert about both Senator John Kerry and himself being in the same Skull and Bones secret society, the President replied:  “It was so secret that you can’t talk about it!”  Do you believe he was joking or just admitting the obvious? Just look at George’s face! If looks could kill, Russert would be dead.

This is a transparent example of the visible, but the general public are kept in a darkened room as they are tortured by the plots of the IC. Do they direct themselves and delve in free lance projects, or are they mere tools of more ubiquitous and eternal forces? You don’t need a sermon preached on this topic to understand the workings of political power. Intelligence services are gatekeepers for establishment cabal interests. They may serve occasionally or sit at the same table of the manipulation. But at all times they collaborate when it benefits their own agenda.

Take your pick! Despite clouded information, you can be assured that the Intelligence Community does not salute the flag of the Republic. Their empire is based upon the need to confront foes, real or imaginary. It’s their task to convince you that their enemies are also yours; especially when there is no actual threat to you. If you dispute their program, you just might make their list of suspected dissenters. And, by now, you should know there is a very thin line between protest and being branded as a terrorist.


SARTRE is the pen name of James Hall, a reformed, former political operative. This pundit’s formal instruction in History, Philosophy and Political Science served as training for activism, on the staff of several politicians and in many campaigns. A believer in authentic Public Service, independent business interests were pursued in the private sector. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, several successful ventures expanded opportunities for customers and employees. Speculation in markets, and international business investments, allowed for extensive travel and a world view for commerce. He is retired and lives with his wife in a rural community. “Populism” best describes the approach to SARTRE’s perspective on Politics. Realities, suggest that American Values can be restored with an appreciation of “Pragmatic Anarchism.” Reforms will require an Existential approach. “Ideas Move the World,” and SARTRE’S intent is to stir the conscience of those who desire to bring back a common sense, moral and traditional value culture for America. Not seeking fame nor fortune, SARTRE’s only goal is to ask the questions that few will dare … Having refused the invites of an academic career because of the hypocrisy of elite’s, the search for TRUTH is the challenge that is made to all readers. It starts within yourself and is achieved only with your sincere desire to face Reality. So who is SARTRE? He is really an ordinary man just like you, who invites you to join in on this journey. Visit his website at http://batr.org.

CISA Systemic Domestic Spying

bigstock-Safety-concept-Eye-and-Inform-51076585

Technology in cyber space is designed to be the instrument of a totality surveillance society. Secretive methods, back doors, observation and collection of data have been in place for decades. CISA is the latest legislation authorization agreement that provides liability exemption for law enforcement and spooks to conduct their systematic assimilation with the codes and functions of technological development for the intended purpose of efficient monitoring of electronic communication.

Coercion for compliance from any resisting tech giant will provide the government with the brute force to muscle their way past any remnants of Fourth Amendment Bill of Right protections.

The fact that there is so much enthusiasm in Congress to further gut civil liberties comes as no surprise but is frightening that the push back is so weak.

Senate overwhelmingly passes historic cybersecurity bill is reported by CNN accordingly, “It took several tries, but on Tuesday the U.S. Senate approved a measure to help American companies work more closely with law enforcement to fight off hackers. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) overwhelmingly passed with a vote of 74 to 21.”

The S.754 – Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 summary is provided online.

(Sec. 3) Requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop and promulgate procedures to promote: (1) the timely sharing of classified and declassified cyber threat indicators in possession of the federal government with private entities, non-federal government agencies, or state, tribal, or local governments; (2) the sharing of unclassified indicators with the public; and (3) the sharing of cybersecurity threats with entities to prevent or mitigate adverse effects.

As with so much of the language used by government to sanitize the real functions of providing legal cover for unlawful practices by passing additional unconstitutional laws, CISA is a true Trojan horse. Regretfully, your virus protection will not protect your computer content or privacy.

This is how the mainstream media is framing the “so called” intent and purpose of the legislation. U.S. Senate approves measure to help companies work with law enforcement to fight hackers.

“The bill calls for “real-time” sharing. Companies in a hurry might not wipe the data enough before law enforcement gets it, expanding how much they know about Americans.

Those jumbles of code known as “cyber threat indicators” could still be revealing about Americans’ daily lives.

DHS isn’t allowed to wipe personal data if another agency, like NSA, objects.

And even though law enforcement is only allowed to collect “cyber threat indicators,” cops can use them to investigate “an imminent threat of death,” bodily harm, economic harm and “terrorist” acts.

“It creates the wrong impression about what this bill does,” said Jeff Greene, a top policy attorney at Symantec who wants that language cut out of the bill.

Perhaps most importantly, companies that share too much — and accidentally harm their customers — are protected from lawsuits. A key provision in CISA is the complete elimination of liability for companies that share data. Last week, U.S. Senator Rand Paul warned, “It makes your privacy agreement not worth the paper it’s written on.”

The Presidential campaign for Rand Paul falters not because he is wrong about defending personal liberty, but because so many Americans are oblivious or reconciled to the treason of the District of Criminal political class. Disconnect is obvious and grows worse with each passing year and little ever improves. Actually, it is hard to remember when the last time a true victory came out of the Federal government.

CISA is a prime example of public apathy in an environment of voluntary Facebook disclosure using the countenance of “PC” algorithm censorship.

Objection to additional violations of privacy measures that confuse the masses, while empowering the authoritarians further is expressed in the reasoned position by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Their assessment is spot on in, EFF Disappointed as CISA Passes Senate.

“The conference committee between the House of Representatives and the Senate will determine the bill’s final language. But no amount of changes in conference could fix the fact that CISA doesn’t address the real cybersecurity problems that caused computer data breaches like Target and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The passage of CISA reflects the misunderstanding many lawmakers have about technology and security. Computer security engineers were against it.  Academics were against it. Technology companies, including some of Silicon Valley’s biggest like Twitter and Salesforce, were against it. Civil society organizations were against it. And constituents sent over 1 million faxes opposing CISA to Senators.”

If so many tech companies and factions express their opposition to this draconian legislation and can be ignored so easily, how can average Americans protect their most personal information? Well, the most basic common sense safeguard is to be extremely guarded with any aspect of your life that is freely placed online.

In an age of computerization germinating into an artificial intelligence matrix of human replacement, the cause of maintaining the essence of individual identity may well require carving out a wilderness reclusive retreat. However, how many people will drive their range rover with GPS tracker and an iPhone to their secret hideaway?

Most people are acclimated to the socialization of popular culture. Addicted to smart phone trivia is a prime exemplar of technology gone awry. Nevertheless, the notion that devices are neutral and are not often designed to embody intrinsic dehumanization is a foreign concept to the trendy crowd.

However, that is exactly where high-tech corporatists are herding the sheeple into the pit of self-induced conformity and submission. Here is where the security hysteria of government imposition tyranny becomes routine in a society that has lost all self-respect.

When Edward Snowden warns that “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything”, CISA encodes an unconstitutional legality for a domestic spying integration with tech companies and ISP providers that expedites the collection and storage of electronic digital data on ANYONE.

This is the operational purpose of despotic agencies that once were charged with legitimate foreign intelligence gathering that has redirected their capabilities on their new enemy “Patriots”, now called domestic terrorists. The hidden translation in their ciphers is that citizen dissenters are the targets of their echelon antennas and dishes.

The use of StingRay, an IMSI-catcher (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), is a controversial cellular phone surveillance device that fits nicely under the CISA umbrella. Now that it is disclosed, IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal; isn’t it convenient that CISA will indeed facilitate sharing for the benefit of added government control. No doubt DHS can be trusted? RIGHT . . . just like the IRS did not target conservative groups.

People need to get serious about the number one threat from the terror coming out of their own government. Congressional arrogance and Senate hubris in passing CISA has become the new normal. Close behind are the likes of Facebook, who may be the secret force behind the surveillance bill “CISA”.

  • All privacy policies effectively null and void. Companies can share any private user data with the government, without a warrant, as long as the government says it is being used for a “cybersecurity” purpose.
  • In exchange, companies are given blanket immunity from civil and criminal laws, like fraud, money laundering, or illegal wiretapping (if a violation was committed or exposed in the process of sharing data).
  • Data is shared with a wide array of government agencies, from the FBI and NSA, to the IRS and local law enforcement. Many of these agencies have been breached within the last year and have outdated security systems, opening up the doors to even more cyber attacks.
  • Companies that play along can get otherwise classified intelligence data from the government, including private information about their competitors.

This is the future of the total surveillance state. Those corporatist companies that actively seek to extract the substance of personal identity for use as a marketing asset need to be exposed and punished for their betrayal of trust. When Mark Zuckerberg once called Facebook users “dumb f*cks” for trusting him with their data, he exposed himself for the scumbag that he is.

Technology of personal privacy destruction is a curse. Marry that engineering with the insatiable appetite of the NSA Spying on Americans, and you have a formula for a system of individual identity obliteration.

Establishing and instituting legitimate cybersecurity is a function of inventing and fostering the actual solutions to protect the nation, its businesses and the public. Rewarding a corporate accord for disclosing real time information to the DHS with blanket liability immunity is one additional step towards a complete Fascist union.

Even if the Fourth Amendment is not a top priority for government worshipers, the dehumanization of one’s own dignity should give pause for anyone who still has the ability to look in the mirror. CISA only protects the power establishment as it exposes and exploits your inner most secrets.


SARTRE is the pen name of James Hall, a reformed, former political operative. This pundit’s formal instruction in History, Philosophy and Political Science served as training for activism, on the staff of several politicians and in many campaigns. A believer in authentic Public Service, independent business interests were pursued in the private sector. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, several successful ventures expanded opportunities for customers and employees. Speculation in markets, and international business investments, allowed for extensive travel and a world view for commerce. He is retired and lives with his wife in a rural community. “Populism” best describes the approach to SARTRE’s perspective on Politics. Realities, suggest that American Values can be restored with an appreciation of “Pragmatic Anarchism.” Reforms will require an Existential approach. “Ideas Move the World,” and SARTRE’S intent is to stir the conscience of those who desire to bring back a common sense, moral and traditional value culture for America. Not seeking fame nor fortune, SARTRE’s only goal is to ask the questions that few will dare … Having refused the invites of an academic career because of the hypocrisy of elite’s, the search for TRUTH is the challenge that is made to all readers. It starts within yourself and is achieved only with your sincere desire to face Reality. So who is SARTRE? He is really an ordinary man just like you, who invites you to join in on this journey. Visit his website at http://batr.org.

Surveillance Planes With Thermal Imaging Used To Spy On American People

Flag-People-Drone-1024x522

By: Derrick Broze, Anti-Media |

New internal documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation reveal that surveillance planes the agency flew over Baltimore and Ferguson during highly-publicized protests also operated thermal imaging equipment.

The documents, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union via Freedom of Information Act requests, outline how the bureau is using planes equipped with infrared and night vision cameras. They also reveal that the FBI retains the videos for an unspecified length of time.

The release of the documents comes just days after FBI Director James Comey confirmed to Congress that the agency flew surveillance aircraft over Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore during the protests following the police killings of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray.

According to the FBI’s own flight logs, the agency flew 10 surveillance flights over Baltimore from April 29 to May 3, comprising a total of 36.2 flight hours. The flights took place mostly at night and typically involved a Baltimore Police Department representative and an FBI agent. Evidence logs show that at least half the flights conducted video surveillance, and the FBI is apparently holding on to copies of these videos. Still other flights conducted “electronic surveillance,” but specific details were redacted.

Anti-Media has previously asked whether or not these planes might be employing the controversial “Stingray,” a cell site simulator surveillance tool . The devices are capable of gathering location, phone numbers, and in some cases, actual contents of conversations from nearby phones.

In September, a report from The North Star Post exposed the existence of a fleet of surveillance aircraft operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The planes fly over various locations within the United States, as well as across foreign destinations. The Post reported that photos of DEA planes appear to show stingray technology, or advanced imaging technology, attached to the body of the aircraft. This would confirm suspicions that these aircraft are outfitted with DRT cell site simulators, or “dirt boxes,” as they are known when installed in planes.

The existence of dirt boxes was first revealed in late 2014, when the Wall Street Journal revealed a cell-phone monitoring program operated by the U.S. Marshals Service using small planes. The program involved the Marshals using Cessna planes mounted with Stingrays. The dirt boxes are supposed to be used for criminal investigations, but the ACLU says they can collect data from tens of thousands of people on each flight. If the planes flying over Ferguson and Baltimore are using dirt boxes, that information is censored through the government’s redactions.

In June, Anti Media also reported on the existence of at least 100 surveillance planes operated by the FBI — planes managed by fake front companies rarely granted judicial approval for such actions. Some of these companies include FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation, and PXW Services.

The new documents obtained by the ACLU show a Cessna propeller plane registered to another FBI front company, NG Research. Records from the Federal Aviation Administration show the FBI installed a Paravion Technology infrared camera mount and a FLIR Talon multi-sensor camera system on the exterior of the plane. The FLIR system includes a “thermal imager,” an optical camera, and a “laser illuminator” for recording at night.

Now that we know the true power of these devices, it’s clear that the director of the FBI committed perjury of Congress,” says Sam Richards, the founder of the North Star Post and journalist who originally broke the surveillance planes story. “For Comey to ‘not believe’ the bureau needs warrants for such an intrusive technology is unacceptable.

Though Comey and his bureau have no qualms about such warrantless, widespread surveillance, the ACLU challenged the agency’s notion.

As the organization wrote:

“In its Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, the FBI takes the position that no Fourth Amendment protections apply to ‘aerial surveillance conducted from navigable airspace.’ While that is an accurate statement of Supreme Court precedent when it comes to visual observation and use of normal cameras from a plane, it fails to grapple with the effect of advances in surveillance technology. Use of infrared and night-vision camera technology changes the equation by raising the potential for invasions of privacy. The capabilities of the surveillance gear matter. If the infrared camera is capable of observing information about the inside of private homes and offices, for example, the Supreme Court has already explained that the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement applies.”

It seems that citizens’ legal protections against the rapidly growing surveillance industry will depend on how much information is available. Without a proper understanding of what tools government agencies employ, the public and judicial authorities will remain ignorant and ripe for exploitation — all while the State continues its indiscriminate monitoring. If freedom is to survive the exponential growth of surveillance technology, the populace must invest both in education and in taking counter-measures to combat the prying eyes of Big Brother.


Derrick Broze joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in July of 2014. His topics of interest include solutions to the police state, the surveillance state, economic inequality, attacks on Native communities, and oppression in all its forms. He was born in Houston, Texas.

Why Is The IRS Spying On Americans’ Phone Calls?

Uncle Sam Spying

By: Derrick Broze, Anti-Media |

Washington D.C. — Following the first ever congressional hearing on “Stingray” cellphone surveillance, new details reveal the Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service are also using the controversial spying devices.

At a congressional hearing last Wednesday, officials with the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security released new details about the federal government’s use of “Stingray” cellphone surveillance. Stingrays, also known as cell site simulators, constitute another example of military tools finding their way into the hands of federal agencies and local police departments across the United States.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

“The Stingray is a brand name of an IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) Catcher targeted and sold to law enforcement. A Stingray works by masquerading as a cellphone tower – to which your mobile phone sends signals to every 7 to 15 seconds whether you are on a call or not – and tricks your phone into connecting to it.  As a result, the government can figure out who, when and to where you are calling, the precise location of every device within the range, and with some devices, even capture the content of your conversations.”

Elana Tyrangiel, a deputy assistant attorney at the Justice Department, told lawmakers the particular cell site simulators employed by the DOJ do not collect the content of calls. The devices do, however, collect location and the number being dialed.

Much of the discussion at the hearing centered around the use of warrants. In early September, the Justice Department announced rules about how the department will handle the use of Stingrays, including new warrant requirements. After the rules were announced, Senator Patrick Leahy, the ranking member on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, challenged the warrant exemptions and the overall effectiveness of the rules.  According to the District Sentinel, Leahy stated, “I will press the Department to justify them.

As of last week, the Department of Homeland Security is now following similar rules. Officials warned Congress the devices would be used without obtaining warrants in “time-sensitive, emergency situations.

California Congressman Ted Lieu, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told CNN he believes “The mass surveillance of peoples’ [sic] cell phone signals requires a warrant.

The AP reports that during the hearing, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Seth M. Stodder revealed a new policy that allows the Secret Service to use cell site simulators without a warrant if they believe there is a “nonspecific threat to the president or another protected person.

Stodder stated that under “exceptional circumstances,” exceptions would be made and use of the device would only require approval from “executive-level personnel” at Secret Service headquarters and the U.S. attorney for the relevant jurisdiction. Despite the exemption, Stodder said the Secret Service would not use the devices in routine criminal investigations.

Just days after the congressional hearing, The Guardian has revealed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is also making use of the Stingray devices. The Guardian reports:

“Invoices obtained following a request under the Freedom of Information Act show purchases made in 2009 and 2012 by the federal tax agency with Harris Corporation, one of a number of companies that manufacture the devices. Privacy advocates said the revelation “shows the wide proliferation of this very invasive surveillance technology.

The 2009 IRS/Harris Corp invoice is mostly redacted under section B(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, which is intended to protect trade secrets and privileged information. However, an invoice from 2012, which is also partially redacted, reports that the agency spent $65,652 on upgrading a Stingray II to a HailStorm, a more powerful version of the same device, as well as $6,000 on training from Harris Corporation.”

The HailStorm is an upgraded version of the Stingray, which is capable of accessing the latest 4G LTE cell networks and gathering the actual contents of conversations, images, location and numbers dialed.

Following the reports the IRS responded to the allegations. The Hill reports that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the Senate Finance Committee said that use of the Stingray is limited to criminal investigations of money laundering, terrorism and financing of organized crime.

“It’s only used in criminal investigations. It can only be used with a court order. It can only be used based on probable cause of criminal activity,” Koskinen told the Senate panel. “It is not used in civil matters at all. It’s not used by other employees of the IRS.”

The history of the use of Stingrays is filled with secrecy, lies, and redacted documents. The FBI, the Harris Corporation, and local police departments continue to hide the details of how exactly the devices are being used. Should we trust government officials when they tell us they will get a warrant unless “exceptional circumstances” arise? Who defines what exactly “exceptional” means anyway? It would be wise for all those who value privacy and freedom to begin challenging the official narrative and investing in technologies that can counter the State’s surveillance.

We should also take a moment to acknowledge all the activists and journalists who have been working to expose this issue for the last several years. As Christopher Soghoian, an ACLU technologist, pointed out, “This is the first ever congressional hearing on Stingrays. This is a device the FBI started using in 1995. It shouldn’t take 20 years to get a hearing on a surveillance technology.”

It is through the work of the awakened masses that the collective springs into action. Without YOU spreading information through the internet and in the streets, this important topic would not have become part of the national dialogue. However, we must not rest. There is much work to do. For a more in-depth look at the use of Stingrays, please read this investigation.


Derrick Broze joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in July of 2014. His topics of interest include solutions to the police state, the surveillance state, economic inequality, attacks on Native communities, and oppression in all its forms. He was born in Houston, Texas.

Snowden: British Spies Have Total Control Of Mobile Phones

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NSA can listen, take photos and locate the phone even when turned off.

The former U.S. spy, Edward Snowden, said in an interview published Monday by the BBC that British intelligence services are able to gain “total control” of mobile phones.

The former analyst with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) detailed from Moscow, where he moved to in 2013 to escape U.S. persecution, the characteristics of a software called “Smurf Suite”.

This is a group of programs that, according to Snowden, British spying agency, GCHQ, uses to manipulate smartphones.

“With ‘Dreamy Smurf’ they can turn off and on your phone without your knowledge. ‘Nosey Smurf’ is the tool that handles the microphone. For example, if the phone is in your pocket, they can activate the microphone and hear everything that happens to your around even if the phone is off,” said the former NSA analyst.

Another application allegedly used by the secret services is ‘Tracker Smurf’, a geolocation tool that allows to follow the footsteps of someone with “more precision than you would get by the usual method of triangulation between cell towers.”

There is also a program called ‘Paranoid Smurf’, which makes it difficult for the rest of spy applications to be detected. The latter program “is a self-defense tool to manipulate your terminal.

For example, if the phone if someone takes their phone to a technician because he believes something strange has happened, “the program makes it much more difficult to realize that something is wrong,” Snowden said. “They can do much more, they can even photograph you,” said Snowden.

According to him, secret agencies can gain access of any phone via a text message that would go unnoticed for whoever is the object of monitoring. “It is called an ‘exploit’. It is a message intended to be sent to a phone number, like any other, but when it reaches the terminal it remains hidden, not shown to the user,” he said.


Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 18 years and almost every form of news media. His articles include subjects such as environmentalism, Agenda 21, climate change, geopolitics, globalisation, health, vaccines, food safety, corporate control of governments, immigration and banking cartels, among others. Luis has worked as a news reporter, on-air personality for Live and Live-to-tape news programs. He has also worked as a script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news. Read more about Luis.

European Court Blocks U.S. Spying Agreement With EU

NSA global interception network map. (Image: Electrospaces.net)

NSA global interception network map. (Image: Electrospaces.net)

The agreement signed in 2000 is now without effect after a challenge by an Austrian citizen.

The Court of Justice of the European Union just invalidate the agreement between the EU and Washington which since 2000 has enabled hundreds of companies, multinationals such as Facebook, Apple and Amazon, to store and process, in the United States, the personal data of their customers.

The judgment comes a tremendous blow to the European Commission, as the agreement only affected companies, and not the public authorities of this countries. EU authorities have closed their eyes when complaints surfaced about the program of massive spying that was discovered and exposed by whistleblowers that reveal Washington’s involvement.

The sentence is a real earthquake for US technology companies and those that have their business on the Internet, with millions of customer data installed in a ‘cloud’ somewhere in the United States.

Data transfers made in the last 15 years have been made without sufficient guarantees, with a legal framework that is now overruled by the European Justice Court.

The case in which the European judgment is based was initiated by the Austrian citizen Max Scherms following the revelations made by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency analyst who is now a political refugee in Moscow.

A Facebook user since 2008, Schrems filed a complaint against this social network on the supervisory authority of personal data of Ireland, the country where the organization has its European headquarters.

At first, his claim was rejected because the Irish authorities considered that the exchange of information was covered by the agreement ‘safe harbor’, which represents the United States guarantees an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred across the Atlantic.

The complainant was not discouraged and sent the case to the Supreme Court of Ireland, which is the one that has ended up requesting the European judicial authorities to study whether the agreement actually prevents European countries “from investigating a complaint alleging that a third country does not ensure an adequate level of protection and, where necessary, to suspend the transfer of data reported” has said the  European Court.

European judges have concluded, first, that the existence of this agreement does not undermine the powers of action by national data protection authorities, and that it does not prevent them from controlling transfers of data to third countries or if those transfers have met or not the requirements contained in the European directive on data protection.

Ultimately, however, only “the Court of Justice of the EU can decide whether a decision of the European Commission that declared the transmission of data to a third country is safe or not,” the sentence indicates.

At this point, what the European judges have examined following a complaint from Schrems is the decision of the European Commission to enable the transfer of data to the United States since July 2000.

This institution, wrote the judges, must determine whether that country offered “a level of protection of fundamental rights that is substantially equivalent to those in the Union”. But the court “did not conduct this test” and “merely analyzed the ‘Safe Harbor’ agreement.

In reality, this agreement applies only to companies that have acceded to it but that are not subjected to U.S. public authorities.

“In addition, the demands of national security, public interest and compliance with U.S. law prevails over the ‘Safe Harbor’ agreement,” says the statement, so the authorities of this country “are required to cease applying it without limited protection rules when they conflict with these considerations.”

The scheme allows, in short, the “interference of U.S. public authorities in the fundamental rights of individuals” without any rules intended to limit them or effective legal protection against them.

In addition, authorization to maintain without limits or exceptions personal data of Europeans in America, “damages the essential content of the fundamental right to respect for private life”. The Court concludes that the agreement also sees violated “the fundamental right to effective judicial protections” as there is no possibility of exercising defense actions for correction or deletion of personal data.

For all these reasons, the Court of Justice of the EU has declared “invalid” the decision of the Commission in 2000 and has ordered the data protection authorities of Ireland to conduct an investigation into the case reported by Schrems.

“At the end of their investigation, they must decide whether the directive of the transfer of data from Facebook users should be discontinued in the United States because that country does not offer an adequate level of protection of personal data.”

This sentence does not mean that the spying will stop, even if the investigation explicitly decides to suspend the practice contained in the agreement. After learning about the conclusions reached by the EU Court, the U.S. government contacted the EU Commission to start negotiating an alternative.

The leaders of the EU Executive will make an official statement on the consequences of the judgment early in the afternoon.


Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 18 years and almost every form of news media. His articles include subjects such as environmentalism, Agenda 21, climate change, geopolitics, globalisation, health, vaccines, food safety, corporate control of governments, immigration and banking cartels, among others. Luis has worked as a news reporter, on-air personality for Live and Live-to-tape news programs. He has also worked as a script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news. Read more about Luis.

DARPA’s Autonomous Microdrones Designed To Patrol Inside Houses (VIDEOS)

nano-drones

By: Nicholas West | Techswarm

As drone expert, P.W. Singer said, “At this point, it doesn’t really matter if you are against the technology, because it’s coming.” According to Singer, “The miniaturization of drones is where it really gets interesting. You can use these things anywhere, put them anyplace, and the target will never even know they’re being watched.”

This has been the promise that the Air Force made quite clear in their video early last year about nanodrone tech that you can see below. According to the USAF, Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), combined with the ability to harvest energy, will enable insect-sized drone swarms to be dropped from military aircraft to stay aloft for a prolonged amount of time, offering a host of functions, including assassination.

DARPA is now announcing a new wave of these microdrones under the Fast Lightweight Autonomy program. As the name indicates, they ideally would like humans to be completely removed from the control process.

For now, they clearly state “overseas” as the theater of operation, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see how these microdrones could be applied in the U.S., especially amid an increasingly tense urban environment in the wake of confrontations with domestic police. And, as always, the tantalizing application in disaster relief paves the way for easy introduction.  

(My emphasis added in press release)

***

DARPA aims to give small unmanned aerial vehicles advanced perception and autonomy to rapidly search buildings or other cluttered environments without teleoperation.

Military teams patrolling dangerous urban environments overseas and rescue teams responding to disasters such as earthquakes or floods currently rely on remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles to provide a bird’s-eye view of the situation and spot threats that can’t be seen from the ground. But to know what’s going on inside an unstable building or a threatening indoor space often requires physical entry, which can put troops or civilian response teams in danger.

To address these challenges, DARPA issued a Broad Agency Announcement solicitation today for the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. FLA focuses on creating a new class of algorithms to enable small, unmanned aerial vehicles to quickly navigate a labyrinth of rooms, stairways and corridors or other obstacle-filled environments without a remote pilot. The solicitation is available here: http://go.usa.gov/MGWx

The program aims to develop and demonstrate autonomous UAVs small enough to fit through an open window and able to fly at speeds up to 20 meters per second (45 miles per hour)—while navigating within complex indoor spaces independent of communication with outside operators or sensors and without reliance on GPS waypoints.

“Birds of prey and flying insects exhibit the kinds of capabilities we want for small UAVs,” said Mark Micire, DARPA program manager. “Goshawks, for example, can fly very fast through a dense forest without smacking into a tree. Many insects, too, can dart and hover with incredible speed and precision. The goal of the FLA program is to explore non-traditional perception and autonomy methods that would give small UAVs the capacity to perform in a similar way, including an ability to easily navigate tight spaces at high speed and quickly recognize if it had already been in a room before.

If successful, the algorithms developed in the program could enhance unmanned system capabilities by reducing the amount of processing power, communications, and human intervention needed for low-level tasks, such as navigation around obstacles in a cluttered environment. The initial focus is on UAVs, but advances made through the FLA program could potentially be applied to ground, marine and underwater systems, which could be especially useful in GPS-degraded or denied environments.

“Urban and disaster relief operations would be obvious key beneficiaries, but applications for this technology could extend to a wide variety of missions using small and large unmanned systems linked together with manned platforms as a system of systems,” said Stefanie Tompkins, director of DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office. “By enabling unmanned systems to learn ‘muscle memory’ and perception for basic tasks like avoiding obstacles, it would relieve overload and stress on human operators so they can focus on supervising the systems and executing the larger mission.”

Since the focus of the program is improving perception and reducing dependence on external sources—as opposed to designing new small UAVs—DARPA will provide performers selected for the program with the same small UAV testbed as government-furnished equipment.

Source: DARPA

 

DHS Drones Equipped To Eavesdrop On Americans

drone

The US Department of Homeland Security already has an arsenal of drones to be deployed for whatever the agency deems fit, but the actual capabilities of those vehicles exceed what many Americans may expect.

The unmanned drones being used inside of the United States right now can’t shoot Hellfire missiles like their overseas counterparts. They can, however, conduct surveillance, intercept communications and even determine whether or not a person thousands of feet below the aircraft is armed.

The latest revelation comes courtesy of a DHS document that was recently obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, through a Freedom of Information Act request. After analyzing a partially-redacted drone “performance specification” file received through their FOIA plea, EPIC said that records indicate “the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection is operating drones in the United States capable of intercepting electronic communications.”

Of the ten Predator B drones currently maintained by the agency, EPIC adds that the document confirms that those aircraft “have the capacity to recognize and identify a person on the ground.”

“The records obtained by EPIC raise questions about the agency’s compliance with federal privacy laws and the scope of domestic surveillance,” the center writes on their website this week.

Speaking to CNet, EPIC’s Open Government Project director, Ginger McCall, says the discovery shows just how dangerous drones could be to the privacy of the millions of Americans who could have drones overhead right this moment.

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

Since EPIC published their FOID’d documents last week, Cnet has managed to scrounge up an unredacted copy that outlines what the DHS was looking for in drones when the report was written in 2010. Specifically, the performance specifications note that while the DHS is not implementing drones for eavesdropping on America right now, “Further tasks, such as communication relay and interception, although not yet evaluated in the field, are assessed to also be best performed” by the unmanned aerial vehicles.

Additionally, DHS drones must “be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not” and “be capable of marking a target into a retrievable database.” No information is given as to what database that refers to, but a Homeland Security official speaking on condition of anonymity tells DHS that the drones lack — for now, at least — the ability to read a subject’s face to find out who they are.

“The drones are able to identify whether movement on the ground comes from a human or an animal, but that they do not perform facial recognition,” Cnet reporter Declan McCullagh says the DHS source’s claims.

“Any potential deployment of such technology in the future would be implemented in full consideration of civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy interests and in a manner consistent with the law and long standing law enforcement practices,” the source adds.

The Homeland Security department’s drones are currently used to allow federal officials to monitor any criminal activity on America’s borders to the north and south. As RT reported recently, however, a 2012 Supreme Court ruling determined that the government can conduct border patrol operations within 100 miles of an international crossing. By that logic, the approximately 200 million Americans residing within that parameter are subject to Border Patrol searches and, perhaps soon enough, surveillance drones.

Source: RT

Public School Students Are The New Inmates In The American Police State

jail_cuffs

By: John W. Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute |

“Every day in communities across the United States, children and adolescents spend the majority of their waking hours in schools that have increasingly come to resemble places of detention more than places of learning. From metal detectors to drug tests, from increased policing to all-seeing electronic surveillance, the public schools of the twenty-first century reflect a society that has become fixated on crime, security and violence.”—Investigative journalist Annette Fuentes

In the American police state, you’re either a prisoner (shackled, controlled, monitored, ordered about, limited in what you can do and say, your life not your own) or a prison bureaucrat (police officer, judge, jailer, spy, profiteer, etc.).

Indeed, at a time when we are all viewed as suspects, there are so many ways in which a person can be branded a criminal for violating any number of laws, regulations or policies. Even if you haven’t knowingly violated any laws, there is still a myriad of ways in which you can run afoul of the police state and end up on the wrong side of a jail cell.

Unfortunately, when you’re a child in the American police state, life is that much worse.

Microcosms of the police state, America’s public schools contain almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.”

From the moment a child enters one of the nation’s 98,000 public schools to the moment she graduates, she will be exposed to a steady diet of draconian zero tolerance policies that criminalize childish behavior, overreaching anti-bullying statutes that criminalize speech, school resource officers (police) tasked with disciplining and/or arresting so-called “disorderly” students, standardized testing that emphasizes rote answers over critical thinking, politically correct mindsets that teach young people to censor themselves and those around them, and extensive biometric and surveillance systems that, coupled with the rest, acclimate young people to a world in which they have no freedom of thought, speech or movement.

If your child is fortunate enough to survive his encounter with the public schools, you should count yourself fortunate.

Most students are not so lucky.

By the time the average young person in America finishes their public school education, nearly one out of every three of them will have been arrested.

More than 3 million students are suspended or expelled from schools every year, often for minor misbehavior, such as “disruptive behavior” or “insubordination.” Black students are three times more likely than white students to face suspension and expulsion.

For instance, a Virginia sixth grader, the son of two school teachers and a member of the school’s gifted program, was suspended for a year after school officials found a leaf (likely a maple leaf) in his backpack that they suspected was marijuana. Despite the fact that the leaf in question was not marijuana (a fact that officials knew almost immediately), the 11-year-old was still kicked out of school, charged with marijuana possession in juvenile court, enrolled in an alternative school away from his friends, subjected to twice-daily searches for drugs, and forced to be evaluated for substance abuse problems.

As the Washington Post warns: “It doesn’t matter if your son or daughter brings a real pot leaf to school, or if he brings something that looks like a pot leaf—okra, tomato, maple, buckeye, etc. If your kid calls it marijuana as a joke, or if another kid thinks it might be marijuana, that’s grounds for expulsion.”

Many state laws require that schools notify law enforcement whenever a student is found with an “imitation controlled substance,” basically anything that look likes a drug but isn’t actually illegal. As a result, students have been suspended for bringing to school household spices such as oregano, breath mints, birth control pills and powdered sugar.

It’s not just look-alike drugs that can get a student in trouble under school zero tolerance policies. Look-alike weapons (toy guns—even Lego-sized ones, hand-drawn pictures of guns, pencils twirled in a “threatening” manner, imaginary bows and arrows, even fingers positioned like guns) can also land a student in detention.

Acts of kindness, concern or basic manners can also result in suspensions. One 13-year-old was given detention for exposing the school to “liability” by sharing his lunch with a hungry friend. A third grader was suspended for shaving her head in sympathy for a friend who had lost her hair to chemotherapy. And then there was the high school senior who was suspended for saying “bless you” after a fellow classmate sneezed.

Unfortunately, while these may appear to be isolated incidents, they are indicative of a nationwide phenomenon in which children are treated like suspects and criminals, especially within the public schools.

The schools have become a microcosm of the American police state, right down to the host of surveillance technologies, including video cameras, finger and palm scanners, iris scanners, as well as RFID and GPS tracking devices, employed to keep constant watch over their student bodies.

Making matters worse are the police.

Students accused of being disorderly or noncompliant have a difficult enough time navigating the bureaucracy of school boards, but when you bring the police into the picture, after-school detention and visits to the principal’s office are transformed into punishments such as misdemeanor tickets, juvenile court, handcuffs, tasers and even prison terms.

In the absence of school-appropriate guidelines, police are more and more “stepping in to deal with minor rulebreaking—sagging pants, disrespectful comments, brief physical skirmishes. What previously might have resulted in a detention or a visit to the principal’s office was replaced with excruciating pain and temporary blindness, often followed by a trip to the courthouse.”

Thanks to a combination of media hype, political pandering and financial incentives, the use of armed police officers to patrol school hallways has risen dramatically in the years since the Columbine school shooting (nearly 20,000 by 2003). Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, these school resource officers (SROs) have become de facto wardens in the elementary, middle and high schools, doling out their own brand of justice to the so-called “criminals” in their midst with the help of tasers, pepperspray, batons and brute force.

The horror stories are legion.

One SRO is accused of punching a 13-year-old student in the face for cutting the cafeteria line. That same cop put another student in a chokehold a week later, allegedly knocking the student unconscious and causing a brain injury. In Pennsylvania, a student was tased after ignoring an order to put his cell phone away.

Defending the use of handcuffs and pepper spray to subdue students, one Alabama police department reasoned that if they can employ such tactics on young people away from school, they should also be permitted to do so on campus.

Now advocates for such harsh police tactics and weaponry will tell you that school safety should be our first priority lest we find ourselves with another Sandy Hook. What they will not tell you is that such shootings are rare. As one congressional report found, the schools are, generally speaking, safe places for children.

In their zeal to crack down on guns and lock down the schools, these cheerleaders for police state tactics in the schools might also fail to mention the lucrative, multi-million dollar deals being cut with military contractors such as Taser International to equip these school cops with tasers, tanks, rifles and $100,000 shooting detection systems.

Indeed, the transformation of hometown police departments into extensions of the military has been mirrored in the public schools, where school police have been gifted with high-powered M16 rifles, MRAP armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and other military gear. One Texas school district even boasts its own 12-member SWAT team.

According to one law review article on the school-to-prison pipeline, “Many school districts have formed their own police departments, some so large they rival the forces of major United States cities in size. For example, the safety division in New York City’s public schools is so large that if it were a local police department, it would be the fifth-largest police force in the country.”

The ramifications are far-reaching.

The term “school-to-prison pipeline” refers to a phenomenon in which children who are suspended or expelled from school have a greater likelihood of ending up in jail. One study found that “being suspended or expelled made a student nearly three times more likely to come into contact with the juvenile justice system within the next year.”

Not content to add police to their employee rosters, the schools have also come to resemble prisons, complete with surveillance cameras, metal detectors, drug-sniffing dogs, random locker searches and active shooter drills. The Detroit public schools boast a “‘$5.6 million 23,000-sq ft. state of the art Command Center’ and ‘$41.7 million district-wide security initiative’ including metal detectors and ID system where visitors’ names are checked against the sex offender registry.”

As if it weren’t bad enough that the nation’s schools have come to resemble prisons, the government is also contracting with private prisons to lock up our young people for behavior that once would have merited a stern lecture. Nearly 40 percent of those young people who are arrested will serve time in a private prison, where the emphasis is on making profits for large megacorporations above all else.

Private prisons, the largest among them being GEO and the Corrections Corporation of America, profit by taking over a state’s prison population for a fee. Many states, under contract with these private prisons, agree to keep the prisons full, which in turn results in more Americans being arrested, found guilty and jailed for nonviolent “crimes” such as holding Bible studies in their back yard. As the Washington Post points out, “With the growing influence of the prison lobby, the nation is, in effect, commoditizing human bodies for an industry in militant pursuit of profit… The influence of private prisons creates a system that trades money for human freedom, often at the expense of the nation’s most vulnerable populations: children, immigrants and the poor.”

This profit-driven system of incarceration has also given rise to a growth in juvenile prisons and financial incentives for jailing young people. Indeed, young people have become easy targets for the private prison industry, which profits from criminalizing childish behavior and jailing young people. For instance, two Pennsylvania judges made headlines when it was revealed that they had been conspiring with two businessmen in a $2.6 million “kids for cash” scandal that resulted in more than 2500 children being found guilty and jailed in for-profit private prisons.

It has been said that America’s schools are the training ground for future generations. Instead of raising up a generation of freedom fighters, however, we seem to be busy churning out newly minted citizens of the American police state who are being taught the hard way what it means to comply, fear and march in lockstep with the government’s dictates.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, with every school police raid and overzealous punishment that is carried out in the name of school safety, the lesson being imparted is that Americans—especially young people—have no rights at all against the state or the police.

I’ll conclude with one hopeful anecdote about a Philadelphia school dubbed the “Jones Jail” because of its bad reputation for violence among the student body. Situated in a desperately poor and dangerous part of the city, the John Paul Jones Middle School’s student body had grown up among drug users, drug peddlers, prostitutes and gun violence. “By middle school,” reports The Atlantic, most of these students “have witnessed more violence than most Americans who didn’t serve in a war ever will.”

According to investigative reporters Jeff Deeney, “School police officers patrolled the building at John Paul Jones, and children were routinely submitted to scans with metal detecting wands. All the windows were covered in metal grating and one room that held computers even had thick iron prison bars on its exterior… Every day… [police] would set up a perimeter of police officers on the blocks around the school, and those police were there to protect neighbors from the children, not to protect the children from the neighborhood.”

In other words, John Paul Jones, one of the city’s most dangerous schools, was a perfect example of the school-to-prison, police state apparatus at work among the nation’s youngest and most impressionable citizens.

When management of John Paul Jones was taken over by a charter school that opted to de-escalate the police state presence, stripping away the metal detectors and barred windows, local police protested. In fact, they showed up wearing Kevlar vests. Nevertheless, school officials remained determined to do away with institutional control and surveillance, as well as aggressive security guards, and focus on noncoercive, nonviolent conflict resolution with an emphasis on student empowerment, relationship building and anger management.

The result: a 90% drop in serious incidents—drug sales, weapons, assaults, rapes—in one year alone. As one fifth-grader remarked on the changes, “There are no more fights. There are no more police. That’s better for the community.”

The lesson for the rest of us is this: you not only get what you pay for, but you reap what you sow.

If you want a nation of criminals, treat the citizenry like criminals.

If you want young people who grow up seeing themselves as prisoners, run the schools like prisons.

But if you want to raise up a generation of freedom fighters, who will actually operate with justice, fairness, accountability and equality towards each other and their government, then run the schools like freedom forums. Remove the metal detectors and surveillance cameras, re-assign the cops elsewhere, and start treating our nation’s young people like citizens of a republic and not inmates in a police state.


Contributed by John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute.

60 Police Departments Testing Drones In The US; More To Come As “Public Grows Comfortable”

Drone Protest
By: Joe Wright |

Anyone who was called crazy for shouting from the rooftops back in 2005 when the first sign of drone testing in the United States was uncovered appears to have been vindicated.  Small comfort as we are finally coming face to face with the consequences of our apathy.

North Dakota made international news recently as the first state to legalize weaponized drones for use upon its own citizens.  But this still isn’t enough evidence for those whose heads remain buried in the sands of (they hope) blissful ignorance.

Several stunning revelations come from a mainstream media article that seems to accurately identify the problem: “Drone Policing in US Seen as ‘Wild West’.” AFP cites the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s discovery that “60 police forces across the country — from Houston, Texas, to Mobile, Alabama, North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Miami-Dade County — have asked for drone certification” and that, “Up to two dozen police forces are currently fully equipped with drones and trained to use them, including pioneers Grand Forks in North Dakota; Arlington, Texas; Mesa County, Colorado and the Utah Highway Patrol.”

Naturally, these police departments are attempting to justify drones as far cheaper alternatives to helicopters and other conventional aircraft. But that actually exacerbates the real problem, which is that it becoming cheaper and cheaper to institute pervasive surveillance and tracking … and now weaponization.

There have been some positive signs of semi-awakening to this reality, however.  The actual sponsor of North Dakota’s drone legislation is having second thoughts and is aiming to change the law within two years, claiming that the police union imposed an amendment that directly reversed his original intent. Some of the more educated and active areas of the country have also pushed back hard against their department’s drone initiatives forcing police to abandon their fast-track plans.

However, a disturbing comment appears in the AFP article from a Director at the Teal Group Corporation, an aerospace defense contractor that obviously would love to see a drone swarm in every town. Philip Finnegan acknowledges that there is some “political risk” at the moment, but is betting on the short-term memory of the American population, as well as their tendency to become acclimatized to all of the trappings of a full-blown police state.

He predicted that the commercial market will take off within five years as the public grows increasingly comfortable with drones and law enforcement uses them more.

So there you have the mentality of those who would profit from the further eradication of liberty inside the United States … just wait it out, you’ll give up and take it eventually.

This little device delivers turnkey Internet privacy and security (Ad)

Solution

Don’t become comfortable; spread the word and resist now, because if we think we currently have problems with a brutal police force imagine that force empowered by the same joystick surveillance and weapons that have taken over in “enemy territory.”

Where does your local police force stand on the use of drones? Please leave your comments below.


Joe Wright’s articles can be found at ActivistPost.com

Garbage Trucks To Begin Recording License Plates For Law Enforcement (VIDEO)

ca_criminal
By: Kristen Anderson, Activist Post |

Don’t feel like your privacy is invaded enough? Hoping that the government will begin collecting more of your personal data? Good news! Garbage trucks may soon hit the streets fitted with license plate readers in the San Francisco Bay Area. These handy scanners will sweep the streets at least once a week and provide law enforcement with vehicle location in real time.

The City Counsel voted 4-1 in August to continue planning how to use the technology to provide efficient and effective intelligence to local law enforcement. The scanners cost $15,000 each, and the city could have a constant stream of data coming in.

While law enforcement touts this as an efficient way to deter vehicle theft and locate vehicles that have already been stolen, many are expressing alarm. The plan raises significant concerns due to the fact that it would turn private waste collection companies into agents of law enforcement. The ramifications of this kind of data storage is causing outrage among civil liberties activists because it is not clear what the limits of this data are. Will the data really only be used to help locate stolen vehicles? Or will it be used if law enforcement want to find a criminal suspect? Will it be used if the government wants to monitor the movements of certain citizens? How long before this plan comes to a city near you?

Image Credit

Source:
http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_28666531/san-jose-looks-at-using-garbage-haulers-catch


Kristen Anderson writes for ActivistPost.com