Tag Archives: surveillance

Who Do Intelligence Snoops Serve?


*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

CISA Systemic Domestic Spying


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

Surveillance Planes With Thermal Imaging Used To Spy On American People


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


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:

NSA global interception network map. (Image:

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)


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:

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


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


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)


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

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

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


Kristen Anderson writes for

Drones On A Leash – Could ”Tethered Drones” Increase Safety Or Expand Permanent Surveillance?

drone Watt200_flight3_new

By: Jason Erickson, Tech Swarm |

Although drones have been all but welcomed into American skies by the U.S. government, the devil still remains in the details.

The proliferation of drones for hobby, commercial, or law enforcement has faced some significant setbacks, while still marching forward as though it’s inevitable that drones will be part of the future landscape in America.

There are several issues at play, especially when it comes to smaller drones such as the quadcopters that tend to be used most by hobbyists, journalists and local law enforcement. The primary issue is of course privacy, as it appears that even sunbathing 200 feet in the air on a wind turbine doesn’t guarantee a bit of seclusion these days. But, in tandem with that, is the idea that a remote-controlled device equipped with fast-spinning blades is becoming an increasing part of the public experience, which one man recently likened to a “flying lawnmower.”

One company believes they have found a solution that might work to help alleviate safety concerns: essentially putting drones on a leash.

The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech will collaborate with Drone Aviation Holding Corp., a Jacksonville-based aviation company, to research, test, and advance the commercialization of the company’s tethered unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones.

The organizations began test flights this month in Jacksonville, Florida, to explore the reliability, safety, and commercial-use cases for the company’s family of tethered drones, and ultimately report the results to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“We are excited to demonstrate the advantages and many potential civil and commercial uses of our tethered drones,” said Jay Nussbaum, chairman of Drone Aviation Holding Corp. “This ongoing partnership will focus on evaluating the increased safety features and technical advantages of our tethered drones and sharing that data with the FAA for the potential commercial deployment of ‘WATT’ systems into the national airspace for first responders and commercial entities.”

The FAA selected the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech in December, 2013, as one of six national test sites to conduct research to integrate unmanned aircraft into the nation’s airspace. Since then, the partnership has worked with unmanned aircraft systems to aid emergency responders, survey energy pipeline infrastructure, study agricultural land, and teach reporters to cover news.

“At Virginia Tech, we see tremendous opportunity for tethered-drone technology because of its unique capabilities and safety profile, making it applicable to a large number of applications from news broadcasting to emergency response and facility security,” said Rose Mooney, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, headquartered at the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech. “We look forward to working with Drone Aviation Holding Corp., the FAA, and our consortium partners to explore the commercial application of this this novel UAS technology.”

The WATT-200 is designed to safely provide secure and reliable aerial monitoring for extended durations while being tethered to the ground via a high strength armored tether. Unlike hobbyist drones or manned aircraft, the WATT model delivers the long-flight duration and commercial grade, real-time video-monitoring capabilities day or night, the company said.


While it is commendable to look for solutions that will prevent the type of free-for-all that is developing in the small drone sector, the idea of tethered drones sounds like the possible establishment of fixed drone outposts. In a society that already is plagued by excessive surveillance, is this just one more step toward the expansion of an all-seeing eye?

Jason Erickson writes for TechSwarm

Government Wants RFID Tracking Chips Implanted In Welfare Recipients

By: Mac Slavo | –

Implantable RFID tracking chips. You know, to stop terrorism.

And to keep tabs on all the welfare queens, in order to keep tax dollars accountable.

There will be other rationales, too.

But really, governments just want to do all the spying they can within their power – and right now, technology offers more power than ever before to carry out universal surveillance, track and trace every person and every thing and put civil rights in the backseat where they belong.

The latest proposal from a politician in the Finnish government seems like a near-future dystopic film, but may not be far reality.

It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that the U.S., Britain or other governments in Europe would do this too, if they could get away with it.

In fact, an RFID chipped population could only be years away.

Sputnik News reports:

A politician from Finland’s conservative Finns Party suggested implanting welfare recipients with satellite-tracking chips following news that some recipients continued receiving payments after leaving the country to join ISIL.

A member of Finland’s right-wing Finns Party, Pasi Maenranta, has suggested implanting all recipients of government assistance with satellite-tracked chips if they choose to leave the country.

Maenranta made the proposal after Finnish media revealed that some recipients of government assistance continued to receive payments after leaving the country to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

“The law should be changed: To receive payments from Kela [the Social Insurance Institution], one has to tell exact data about your location using your personal code, read by a satellite. It is also possible to implant electronic chips to all going abroad, who for example receive medical welfare from Kela,” Maenranta wrote on his Facebook page.

It is true that Western governments essentially created ISIS, by agitating angry Muslims with continued aggression, while at the same time funding the “new al Qaeda” extremist group via the misguided efforts to arm and bankroll “Libyan rebels” and “Syrian rebels.”

Really, the Pentagon and NATO have been building up our own enemy, and using its horrendous violence to frighten the public back into the War on Terror.

Under the new twist, Muslim immigration to the West has been increased, and Western governments have been subsidizing future jihadists, too. Many are on the government dole, until and even after, they decide to leave and join ISIS/ISIL.

Meanwhile, normal struggling citizens who accept government assistance might be tracked via an implanted chips… betraying all the rights governments in “free countries” are supposed to protect. They might not be doing anything wrong at all, but now they are under constant watch.

But as George W. Bush famously said, “they hate us for our freedoms,” right?

Windows 10 Can Collect Your Data For Gov’t Agencies – What To Do (VIDEO)

windows 10 spying

By: Heather Callaghan | Activist Post

Windows 10 OS – the ultimate Big Brother?

Of the 14+ million people who have recently installed Microsoft’s new Windows 10, there haven’t been many complaints until now.

The system is said to run more efficiently, but apparently someone only recently read the tome of a service agreement. Let’s just say that Windows 10 goes above and beyond good service and makes sure that you are being a good citizen. Who is the one really getting the upgrade, here?

Yes, it is implicitly stated that whoever installs the program is agreeing to be watched and that Windows 10 can and will aid and abet law enforcement and other government agencies – should it deem that you are doing something illegal.

BGR found this part of the agreement particularly interesting:

Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to: 1.comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies; 2.protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone;


…however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.

From Mirror UK

…Microsoft has admitted it collects key information on Windows users, recording the searches they make with Bing, requests spoken to the voice assistant Cortana and even “your typed and handwritten words”.

The tech giant also said it could rifle through a variety of private and personal places.

European Digital Rights Organisation said that Microsoft had given itself broad rights and would sell your data to third parties. Tech bloggers are upset that the defaults are set for automatic intrusion, as they know how many people will skip through the download without thinking – and give all of their information away. Microsoft responded in a statement claiming that it does not sell, and it “does not collect personal information without your consent.” (source)

Do you want to revoke that consent? Watch this video and follow the steps laid out in this article:

You can opt out. You start by going into Settings, then Privacy. Consider getting rid of Cortana – the voice-activated assistant. More instructions here.

Investment Watch Blog claims that this user agreement can land you in jail – mainly for its categorization using IP addresses. “Going to any website on the Internet is illegal because the web server must absolutely share it’s files with your computer so you can access that website. Anyways, since someone had your IP address before, and verse visa, if that someone had done anything illegal you’ll be the one to suffer all legal and law breaking consequences when you’re caught,” the writer explains. The person goes on to wonder about the implications of viewing Internet pornography, creating content and the files that Windows itself downloads to PCs.

Recently, we learned that private companies color code your home for police and track all the people coming through your house – even pizza delivery guys. You can be flagged for something you didn’t even know your friend had done in the past. Congress discussed social media sites reporting you to the authorities. In the same week it was admitted that federal agencies like the IRS could have access to opened email and social media messages. Unfortunately, most people have completely accepted the absurd lack of privacy – but can you really accept this colonoscopic amount of scrutiny? Why would they collect information for non-use? In other words, what will happen when all that private information is put to use?

Microsoft, as you know, is in the care of billionaire Bill Gates. When he is not busy gifting the world with spyware, his groups are busy beta-testing remote controlled sterilization on women in third world countries or forcing GMO rice on an unwilling Philippines with his buddies, the Rockefellers. But a depopulation fanatic wouldn’t want to paint everyone guilty, right?

Revelations like this, will hopefully prompt people to look gift horses in the mouth, instead of blindly allowing themselves to be the ones upgraded. Why do people not question that there is virtually a monopoly (or two) on the world’s computer operating systems?

Read service agreement:

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Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

Kuwait Mandates DNA Database For All Residents


By: Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post

Never a country known for its human rights and civil liberties, Kuwait is now attempting to take the lead in the Gulf for the country most integrated with the technological control grid and biometric surveillance state. This is because the small nation recently announced the passage of a law that mandates every person residing in Kuwait must submit to a DNA sample that will be stored in a massive database upon penalty of fines and jail time.

Kuwait has 1.3 million citizens that will be subject to the law but its 2.9 million foreign residents are subject as well. Any person who refuses to submit to the DNA tests and data mining operation will be subject to $33,000 in fines and up to one year in prison. Any person who provides a fake sample will face up to seven years.


Kuwait passed this law conveniently after an Islamic State (and thus NATO-directed) bombing of a Shiite mosque on June 26. The law is being justified as a way to make it easier for law enforcement to track down criminals and terrorists after the attacks have been committed. Thus, the incident stands as another Problem-Reaction-Solution-style terrorist attack justifying an even more totalitarian police state response.

“We have approved the DNA testing law and approved the additional funding. We are prepared to approve anything needed to boost security measures in the country,” independent MP Jamal Al Omar said.

Kuwait now stands as the only country in the world that makes DNA tests and participation in a DNA database compulsory. But is it just the first? After all, many countries including England, Australia, Sweden, and the United States maintain stored databases of the DNA of convicted criminals with the United States maintaining a database of the DNA of even those who have merely been arrested but not convicted. In addition, the U.S. database also maintains the DNA of missing persons and their families. Now, with the exception of Kuwait, the United States maintains the world’s largest DNA database.

The growing number of countries building, maintaining, and subsequently mandating various forms of biometric identification and biometric databases is not only concerning, it is becoming the norm. In 2012, India launched a nationwide program involving the allocation of a Unique Identification Number (UID) to every single one of its 1.2 billion residents. Each of the numbers are tied to the biometric data of the recipient using three different forms of information – fingerprints, iris scans, and pictures of the face. All ten digits of the hand will be recorded, and both eyes are scanned.

The Japanese have had a mandatory national UID system in place since 2002, under the Basic Resident Register (BRR) program. Under the BRR, each individual must provide their name, birthdate, gender, and physical address to municipal governments who, in turn, issue the citizen a UID. However, an update to the initiative, called My Number Bill, was introduced in February 2012 that streamlined the information sharing process between government tax, social security, and emergency mitigation agencies. This was merely the next phase toward the goal of the Japanese government to centralize already-collected information about each one of its citizens and to expand this program to contain even more data. The information collected on Japanese citizens under their current system is fed into a nationwide computer database known as the Juki-net, which is made up of 3,200 municipal governments. The Juki-net serves as the common data sharing database between the municipal governments and, to some extent, the central government.

Israel also has a mandatory biometrics program. As Justin Lee writes for,

Initially passed by the Knesset in December 2009, the Biometric Database Law mandates the collection of fingerprints and facial images from all Israeli residents, as well as integrating these biometric details in domestic ID cards and national passports.

The legislation also called for the creation of a biometric government database for the purpose of managing access control, identification of individuals and to help law enforcement officials locate criminal suspects. The law is intended to curb identity theft, as well as the loss, theft and destruction of the current blue ID cards issued by the Interior Ministry.

In a report submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office and to the Knesset Chairman, Erdan emphasized the importance of implementing the biometric system and said the transition would be gradual.

“Smart biometric records that cannot be faked […] will lead to the full protection of the identity of Israeli citizens,” Erdan told Channel 10. “It will provide a balance between our duty to ensure the security of citizens and our duty to protect their privacy. We will promote a gradual transition to mandatory biometric documentation.”

The first phase of the biometric identification system was implemented in June 2013, and since then, some 640,000 people have volunteered to submit their biometric details to the database, said Erdan.

While most of the data collection and database storage via biometrics in the United States is rolled out under the auspices of greater convenience, concepts such as biometric programs for food stamp recipients, and employee tagging are gaining traction, indicating that the push for the eventual mandating of participation in such programs is clearly not far off.

Kuwait may be the first in terms of mandating DNA database participation in the world, but it is only first. Kuwait simply stands as the latest country to make a step forward in the international game of leap frog toward a global surveillance state, technological control grid, and total prison planet.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)

Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA, And Army Can Control Your Computer

Jamaica Slum Standoff
By: Carey Wedler | AntiMedia

Leaked emails from an Italian-based hacking company reveal that government agencies engage in surveillance more invasive than previously thought, spending millions of dollars on spyware and malware software to accomplish their questionable goals. Tellingly, their use of the product places them squarely in the same category as other repressive regimes around the world.

After hackers ironically hacked Hacking Team, a Milan-based company that sells strictly to governments, hundreds of gigabytes of emails and financial records were leaked. The emails show that the FBI, DEA, and U.S. Army all purchased software that enables them to view suspects’ photos, emails, listen to and record their conversations, and activate the cameras on their computers, among other things.

While this may seem like old news, the most controversial revelation was the government’s purchases of “Remote Control Systems.” The FBI, DEA, and U.S. Army, courtesy of Hacking Team, possess the capability to take control of a suspect’s computer screen. The technology is so invasive that even the DEA, known for its violative surveillance policies, had reservations about purchasing it.

According to documents obtained by The Intercept, an internal request to purchase RCS was denied by DEA management in 2011 because it was “too controversial.” By 2012, however, the DEA had resolved its concerns, likely spending a similar amount to the $773,226.64 (plus thousands in maintenance fees) the FBI invested in its own set of software.

Hacking Team was so committed to business with these American agencies that it concocted codenames to refer to them. As The Intercept summarizes,

Hacking Team refers to its U.S. clients by code names. The FBI unit is ‘Phoebe’…the DEA is ‘Katie,’  and the CIA, which appears to have sampled, but not bought Remote Control System, is ‘Marianne.’”

Hacking Team has been sharply criticized for its sale of RCS to oppressive regimes around the world. From Sudan to Bahrain, Hacking Team seeks business opportunities with rulers that target political activists, journalists, and political opponents—putting the American government agencies that employ the same technology—and often have the same objectives— in questionable company.

Aside from RCS, one of the more contentious revelations is the company’s hard sell that it can bypass encryption, a capability the FBI has openly desired since phone companies made encryption a default setting last year. According to one company newsletter, Hacking Team offers “technologies to ACCESS THE DATA…IN CLEARTEXT, BEFORE it gets encrypted by the device and sent to the network and AFTER it is received from the network and decrypted by the device itself. Actually, THIS IS precisely WHAT WE DO.

The FBI did seek warrants to use Hacking Team technology in a handful of cases, but apparently uses a different platform for “critical” investigations. What the FBI really wanted from the Italian firm, according to leaked emails, was “more ability to go after users of Tor, the anonymizing web browser.” Such users accounted for 60% of the FBI’s use of Hacking Team products.

Regardless of how the technology is used, the FBI has encountered skepticism from lawmakers. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked the director of the FBI for “more specific information about the FBI’s current use of spyware,” in order for the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate “serious privacy concerns.

In spite of these legitimate concerns, the technology is permeating other levels of government. Largely because of aggressive marketing by Hacking Team, District Attorney offices around the country are eager to use the software. From San Bernadino to Manhattan, government lawyers have expressed strong interest in using the company’s products for investigations, suggesting a dangerous permeation of unconstitutional surveillance into an already decaying justice system.

Whether or not the government agencies who have purchased the software use it extensively or not is, at this point, irrelevant. That such bureaus and government officials have so much as the desire to use it–in some cases, in spite of a clear understanding of its controversial nature—is cause enough for concern.

Meanwhile, Hacking Team has remained ambivalent. Company spokesperson Eric Rabe said, “we do not disclose the names or locations of our clients” and “we cannot comment on the validity of documents purportedly from our company.”

More telling of the company’s rationalization of perpetuating authoritarianism in the name of profit, however, is a quote from Giancarlo Russo, the company’s chief operating officer. In a 2013 email, he wrote,

If you buy a Ferrari… they can teach you how to drive. They cannot grant you will be the winner of the race…If Beretta sell [sic] you a gun, the most peculiar and sophisticated one, they can teach how to use it. They can not grant you are going to shoot your target properly on the field.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article referred to Hacking Team as “Hacking Tools.” The error has since been corrected.

Exposed: Establishment-Funded ‘Security Network’ Spying On Users


By: Thomas James | Acclaimed News

An experiment by a Swedish researcher reveals that an online network used to ensure secure Internet communications may itself be under surveillance. Tor is free open source software and a popular open network used to anonymize communications on the Internet.

In 2013 it received more than $1,800,00 in funding from the US government and previous sponsors include; Google, The Ford Foundation and DARPA.

Tor stands for The Onion Router and was originally developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. In 2002, the Electronic Frontier Foundation took up and developed the project to provide a free means of ensuring the privacy of Internet users. The number of Tor users is estimated to be 2.5 million each day.

Internet security researchers have suspected for a while that security and intelligence agencies might have set up their own nodes to “sniff” or read data as it is routed through the Tor network.

To test this, the researcher known only by the pseudonym “Chloe”, set up an experiment with a honeypot. This was essentially a fake domain name with multiple logins. She then used different nodes to log in, and then waited for a month for any signs that the nodes were being used to steal the login information.

She found that seven of the 1400 nodes she had tested were used to steal passwords and log in. As of now, though the bad nodes have been reported to Tor, they are still in operation.

Chloe also came to the startling conclusion that as a consequence of the data sniffing by some exit nodes, Tor users might actually be drawing attention to their own sites, rather then ensuring their privacy.

She said:

“[The project] BADONIONS is really simple, it works like this: you download a list of all the Tor exit nodes and then you use the Stem API to connect to every exit node out there and login to a website over HTTP.

“If an exit node is sniffing the traffic he will see my login and now when he has my password he probably will do something bad with my account, or sell it, I don’t know. So here’s the catch.

“Every exit node has its unique password and because BADONIONS saves every login I can go back and check if a password has been used more than once, and if that’s the case I can simply look up which exit node that used that password,” wrote Chloe when she set up the experiment in April.”

Chloe also added:

“The results are not so surprising, but what is most surprising about this is that two nodes with the ‘guard’-flag had logged in twice. Also, none of these nodes has been flagged even though I reported them to Tor.

“We can see that there’s passive MITM [man-in-the-middle attack] going on in the Tor network. This is done by setting up a fully functional and trustworthy exit node and start sniffing.

“We can also see that nodes that have been running so long that they have earned the ‘Guard’-flag also sniff traffic. We can also see that not all uses the logins but rather just visiting the website, this indicates that they are sniffing but does not use the provided logins. So by using Tor you are drawing attention to your site.”

Acclaimed News was established to present counter-views to corporate media news.