Thursday, May 15, 2014

Police State Updates May 15 , 2014 --- The United States Department of Agriculture is set to purchase an unknown quantity of submachine guns, leading to questions about where the weapons will be heading and for what purpose they will be used ? Numbing down of America - Have you ever given food to a homeless person? Well, if you do it again in the future it might be a criminal act depending on where you live. Right now, there are dozens of major U.S. cities that have already passed laws against feeding the homeless........Spying Is Meant to Crush Citizens’ Dissent, Not Catch Terrorists ( note the former top NSA official who created NSA’s mass surveillance system says, “We are now in a police state“ ) ........ And please folks , understand its BOTH parties against the people -Illegal NSA Surveillance of Americans: Secret Authorizations Granted by Bush and Obama ........ DOJ Says Americans Have No 4th Amendment Protections At All When They Communicate With Foreigners ......

USDA to Purchase Submachine Guns

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Some question where semi-automatic weapons will be heading
Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
May 15, 2014
The United States Department of Agriculture is set to purchase an unknown quantity of submachine guns, leading to questions about where the weapons will be heading and for what purpose they will be used.
A solicitation (replete with spelling errors) posted on the Fed Biz Opps website states;
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, located in Washington, DC, pursuant to the authority of FAR Part 13, has a requirement for the commerical (sic) acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burts (sic) trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsilbe (sic) or folding, magazine – 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.”
Hopefully, those operating the semi-automatic weapons will be better skilled than whoever is writing solicitations on behalf of the USDA, but the fact that the law enforcement division of the United States Forest Service, which operates under the USDA, is not mentioned in the request has prompted some to question where the guns will be going.
“They will no doubt attempt to justify their purchase of military hardware by explaining that they conduct criminal investigations and may need to do armed raids,” writes Bob Owens, adding, “This is part of a trend to arm every branch of federal government, whether the individual agency has a legitimate need for a paramilitary force or not.”
Concerns over large ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security have raged over the past two years, although a recent Government Accountability Office investigation downplayed the issue as nothing out of the ordinary.
More pertinent than the amount of bullets purchased has been the type of ammunition and the DHS’ insistence that companies be able to supply them quickly if needed, which some have linked to the federal agency’s preparations for domestic unrest in the United States.
In May last year, the DHS sent out a request for information asking companies if they could provide 2 million bullets within a 30-60 day turnaround period.
In October 2013, the DHS acknowledged it was hiring armed guards to secure government buildings in the event of “public demonstration(s)” and “civil disturbances,” while also spending half a million dollars on fully automatic pepper spray launchers and projectiles that are designed to be used during riot control situations.
In February last year, Law Enforcement Targets Inc., a contractor that had previously done $2 million dollars worth of business with the DHS, was forced to apologize after producing “no more hesitation” shooting targets which depicted pregnant women, children, and elderly gun owners in residential settings as “non-traditional threats.”
More recently the DHS issued a solicitation for over 141,00 rounds of sniper ammunition, bullets known commercially as “Zombie Max,” a reference to their high power.




Cities All Over America Are Becoming Extremely Cruel To The Homeless

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Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
May 15, 2014
Have you ever given food to a homeless person? Well, if you do it again in the future it might be a criminal act depending on where you live. Right now, there are dozens of major U.S. cities that have already passed laws against feeding the homeless.

Image: Homeless Man (Wiki Commons).
As you will read about below, in some areas of the country you can actually be fined hundreds of dollars for just trying to give food to a hungry person. I know that sounds absolutely insane, but this is what America is turning into. Communities all over the country are attempting to “clean up the streets” by making it virtually illegal to either be homeless or to help those that are homeless. Instead of spending more money on programs to assist the homeless, local governments are bulldozing tent cities and giving homeless people one way bus tickets out of town. We are treating some of the most vulnerable members of our society like human garbage, and it is a national disgrace.
What does it say about our country when we can’t even give a warm sandwich to a desperately hungry person that is sleeping on the streets? A retired couple down in Florida named Debbie and Chico Jimenez wanted to do something positive for their community during their retirement years, so they started feeding the homeless in Daytona Beach. But recently the police decided to crack down on their feeding program and slapped everyone involved with a $373 fine
For the past year, the Jimenezes have set up shop every Wednesday on Manatee Island in Daytona Beach, Fla., where they feed hot dogs, chicken, pasta salad and other BBQ staples to about 100 homeless people, WFTV reported. Handing out meals is just one aspect of the ministry the two founded, Spreading the Word Without Saying a Word, to help people living in poverty.
But on Wednesday, the Jimenezes said that without warning, they and four other volunteers were accosted by police, fined and told that they could be thrown in jail if they continue their program, according to NBC News.
Each of the six was fined $373 and were given 10 days to either pay up or go to court.
“We’re going to court,” Debbie Jimenez, 52, a former auto parts store manager, told NBC News. “The police don’t like it. But how can we turn our backs on the hungry? We can’t.”
Don’t the police down in Daytona Beach have something better to do with their time?
Sadly, more than 50 major cities have passed laws against feeding the homeless at this point. It appears that “cleaning up the streets” has become a big point of emphasis all over the nation.
And what the city of Camden, New Jersey just did is even worse than what happened in Daytona Beach.
Camden just bulldozed an entire tent city and dumped all of the belongings of the homeless people living there into the trash…
Hazmat teams showed up at the camps in the early morning to search for syringes. A drug-sniffing dog followed a police officer around the area. And bulldozers tossed trash and discarded belongings into dumpsters before razing the premises.
Over the past few weeks, flyers had warned people in the tent cities that this was going to happen. Yet it still seemed surreal to many of them that their communities were about to be demolished for good.
But for most of the people that were living in that tent city, there is no place else for them to go. The homeless shelters in the area are at max capacity, and so many of them will end up sleeping in the streets without any shelter at all
Aaron Howe, the “mayor” of a tent city that had 12 tents the night before eviction day, said he had called every shelter in town and not a single place had room for him and his girlfriend.
“There’s no available spots, and the city is saying if we pitch a tent somewhere else they’re gonna rip it down,” he said. “It’s not gonna look good when there’s a bunch of homeless on the streets.”
Camden has got to be one of the most mismanaged communities in the entire country. Why is Camden spending time and money bulldozing homeless communities when it has so many other problems? For much more on the nightmare that Camden has become, please see my previous article entitled “Camden, New Jersey: One Of Hundreds Of U.S. Cities That Are Turning Into Rotting, Decaying Hellholes“.
Other big cities that are a little bit more “progressive” are attempting to get rid of their homeless populations by giving them one way tickets out of town. Some of the major cities that are doing this include San Diego and San Francisco
When her Greyhound bus pulled into town 6 months ago, Maria Castillo got off with two bags and dream.
“Start over, start a new life,” said the 42-year-old.
Castillo had been homeless in San Diego when a social worker offered her a one-way bus ticket to Portland.
“They said come here because all the opportunities in Portland, Oregon,” she said.
But Castillo said life isn’t much better in her new town. She’s still homeless. A Unit 8 investigation found several cities from San Diego to San Francisco are providing one-way bus tickets to the homeless.
As shocking as everything that you just read is, what one lawmaker out in Hawaii is doing tops it all. In a previous article, I described how a state representative named Tom Brower has actually been using a sledgehammer to destroy shopping carts used by homeless people. Just check out the following short excerpt from an RT article that was published a few months ago…
In the past two weeks residents in Hawaii noticed what appeared to be a crazed individual carrying a sledgehammer through the streets of Honolulu, a state lawmaker looking to rid the city of homeless people by targeting their belongings.
State Representative Tom Brower (D) is currently dedicated to dealing out his own personal brand of “justice” by seeking out homeless people and destroying their possessions. Brower estimates that he has used the sledgehammer to smash at least 30 shopping carts, rendering them useless by bashing in the front wheels.
I got tired of telling people I’m trying to pass laws. I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets,” he told Hawaii News Now. “I find abandoned junk, specifically shopping carts, and I remove them.”
Is this how our society is going to treat those that are down on their luck from now on?
Where is the love?
Where is the compassion?
Why can’t we seem to be able to take care of these people?
The federal government sure seems to have plenty of money to waste on other things. For example, it is being reported that workers at an Obamacare processing facility in Missouri are being paid to do nothing but stare at their computers
Employees at an ObamaCare processing center in Missouri with a contract worth $1.2 billion are reportedly getting paid to do nothing but sit at their computers.
“Their goals are set to process two applications per month and some people are not even able to do that,” a whistleblower told KMOV-TV, referring to employees hired to process paper applications for ObamaCare enrollees.
The facility in Wentzville is operated by Serco, a company owned by a British firm that was awarded $1.2 billion in part to hire 1,500 workers to handle paper applications for coverage under the law, according to The Washington Post.
The whistleblower employee told the station that weeks can pass without data entry workers receiving even a single application to process. Employees reportedly spend their days staring at their computers, according to a KMOX-TV report.
So we have millions upon millions of dollars to waste on that, but we can’t take care of our homeless population?
And without a doubt, the need to help the homeless is greater than it ever has been before. Right now, there are 1.2 million public school students in America that are homeless. That number is an all-time record, and it has grown by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.
In addition, there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity. Even in the midst ofthis so-called “economic recovery“, poverty is absolutely exploding.
And it is going to get a whole lot worse. This is only just the beginning.
What is going to be needed in the years ahead is a tremendous amount of love and compassion.
But instead, it appears that hearts are becoming colder in America with each passing day.


Spying Is Meant to Crush Citizens’ Dissent, Not Catch Terrorists

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Washington’s Blog
May 15, 2014
While many Americans understand why the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of U.S. citizens, some are still confused about what’s really going on.
In his new book, No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald writes:

Image: NSA HQ (Wiki Commons).
The perception that invasive surveillance is confined only to a marginalised and deserving group of those “doing wrong” – the bad people – ensures that the majority acquiesces to the abuse of power or even cheers it on. But that view radically misunderstands what goals drive all institutions of authority. “Doing something wrong” in the eyes of such institutions encompasses far more than illegal acts, violent behaviour and terrorist plots. It typically extends to meaningful dissent and any genuine challenge. It is the nature of authority to equate dissent with wrongdoing, or at least with a threat.
The record is suffused with examples of groups and individuals being placed under government surveillance by virtue of their dissenting views and activism – Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement, anti-war activists, environmentalists. In the eyes of the government and J Edgar Hoover’s FBI, they were all “doing something wrong”: political activity that threatened the prevailing order.
The FBI’s domestic counterintelligence programme, Cointelpro, was first exposed by a group of anti-war activists who had become convinced that the anti-war movement had been infiltrated, placed under surveillance and targeted with all sorts of dirty tricks. Lacking documentary evidence to prove it and unsuccessful in convincing journalists to write about their suspicions, they broke into an FBI branch office in Pennsylvania in 1971 and carted off thousands of documents.
Files related to Cointelpro showed how the FBI had targeted political groups and individuals it deemed subversive and dangerous, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, black nationalist movements, socialist and communist organizations, anti-war protesters and various rightwing groups. The bureau had infiltrated them with agents who, among other things, attempted to manipulate members into agreeing to commit criminal acts so that the FBI could arrest and prosecute them.
Those revelations led to the creation of the Senate Church Committee, which concluded: “[Over the course of 15 years] the bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilate operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of first amendment rights of speech and association, on the theory that preventing the growth of dangerous groups and the propagation of dangerous ideas would protect the national security and deter violence.”
These incidents were not aberrations of the era. During the Bush years, for example, documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed, as the group put it in 2006, “new details of Pentagon surveillance of Americans opposed to the Iraq war, including Quakers and student groups“. The Pentagon was “keeping tabs on non-violent protesters by collecting information and storing it in a military anti-terrorism database”. The evidence shows that assurances that surveillance is only targeted at those who “have done something wrong” should provide little comfort, since a state will reflexively view any challenge to its power as wrongdoing.
The opportunity those in power have to characterise political opponents as “national security threats” or even “terrorists” has repeatedly proven irresistible. In the past decade, the government, in an echo of Hoover’s FBI, has formally so designatedenvironmental activists, broad swaths of anti-government rightwing groups, anti-war activists, and associations organised around Palestinian rights. Some individuals within those broad categories may deserve the designation, but undoubtedly most do not, guilty only of holding opposing political views. Yet such groups are routinely targeted for surveillance by the NSA and its partners.
One document from the Snowden files, dated 3 October 2012, chillingly underscores the point. It revealed that the agency has been monitoring the online activities of individuals it believes express “radical” ideas and who have a “radicalising” influence on others.
***
The NSA explicitly states that none of the targeted individuals is a member of a terrorist organisation or involved in any terror plots. Instead, their crime is the views they express, which are deemed “radical“, a term that warrants pervasive surveillance and destructive campaigns to “exploit vulnerabilities”.
Among the information collected about the individuals, at least one of whom is a “US person”, are details of their online sex activities and “online promiscuity” – the porn sites they visit and surreptitious sex chats with women who are not their wives. The agency discusses ways to exploit this information to destroy their reputations and credibility.
The NSA’s treatment of Anonymous, as well as the vague category of people known as “hacktivists”, is especially troubling and extreme. That’s because Anonymous is not actually a structured group but a loosely organised affiliation of people around an idea: someone becomes affiliated with Anonymous by virtue of the positions they hold. Worse still, the category “hacktivists” has no fixed meaning: it can mean the use of programming skills to undermine the security and functioning of the internetbut can also refer to anyone who uses online tools to promote political ideals. That the NSA targets such broad categories of people is tantamount to allowing it to spy on anyone anywhere, including in the US, whose ideas the government finds threatening.
Greenwald told Democracy Now yesterday:
People are aware of J. Edgar Hoover’s abuses. The nature of that series of events is that the United States government looks at people who oppose what they do as being, quote-unquote, “threats.” That’s the nature of power, is to regard anybody who’s a threat to your power as a broad national security threat.
***
There has already been reporting that shows that—the document, for example, in the book that shows the NSA plotting about how to use information that it collected against people it considers, quote, “radicalizers.” These are people the NSA itself says are not terrorists, do not belong to terrorist organizations, do not plan terrorist attacks. They simply express ideas the NSA considers radical. The NSA has collected their online sexual activity, chats of a sexual nature that they’ve had, pornographic websites that they visit, and plans, in the document, on how to use this information publicly to destroy the reputations or credibility of those people to render them ineffective as advocates. There are other documents showing the monitoring of who visits the WikiLeaks website and the collection of data that can identify who they are. There’s information about how to use deception to undermine people who are affiliated with the online activism group Anonymous.
Recent stories show that Greenwald is right:
And it’s not just spying …
The government may treat anyone who challenges its policies as terrorists. For example:
• The former head of the NSA and CIA compared privacy advocates to terrorists
• Questioning war may be considered terrorism
The indefinite detention law may be used against American dissenters. Specifically, the trial judge in the lawsuit challenging the law had asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and thenwriting about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge.
Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead writes:
No matter what the Obama administration may say to the contrary, actions speak louder than words, and history shows that the U.S. government is not averse to locking up its own citizens for its own purposes. What the NDAA does is open the door for the government to detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker. According to government guidelines for identifying domestic extremists—a word used interchangeably with terrorists, that technically applies to anyone exercising their First Amendment rights in order to criticize the government.
Daniel Ellsberg notes that Obama’s claim of power to indefinitely detain people without charges or access to a lawyer or the courts is a power that even King George – the guy we fought the Revolutionary War against – didn’t claim. (And former judge and adjunct professor of constitutional law Andrew Napolitano points out that Obama’s claim that he can indefinitely detain prisoners even after they are acquitted of their crimes is a power that even Hitler and Stalin didn’t claim.)

And the former top NSA official who created NSA’s mass surveillance system says, “We are now in a police state“.




Illegal NSA Surveillance of Americans: Secret Authorizations Granted by Bush and Obama

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Eric Zuesse
rinf.com
May 15, 2014
Obama-NSA-yes-we-scanThe May 13th PBS “Frontline” documents that on 4 October 2001, President George W. Bush signed a secret authorization for the NSA to see the “metadata” (the to-whom, and from-whom) records for all phone calls, and also “a lot of content of phone calls. They’re actually recording the voices — not for all of our calls, but for a lot of U.S. telephone calls.”
Titled “United States of Secrets,” this documentary reports that only about a half-dozen people were informed of this operation, which was called “the Program.”NSA chief Michael Hayden was informed of it, and he supported it. Attorney General John Ashcroft was informed of it, but he opposed it as being illegal, a direct violation of the 4th Amendment, and also possibly of the 1st Amendment. The Justice Department was sidelined from it. President Bush’s order was drafted not by the President’s lawyer, Alberto Gonzales (though he supported it), but by David Addington, VP Dick Cheney’s Legal Counsel, who was not so much asked whether it was Constitutional, as he was asked to come up with an argument for its being Constitutional, even if only a fig-leaf argument — which it turned out to be. Cheney actually ran the country, and Bush rubber-stamped whatever came out of Cheney’s office.
Within 30 minutes after the President signing the order, Addington placed it into his office safe, and he showed it to very few people, only on a need-to-know basis.
President Bush is shown as saying to the public, “Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.” And: “It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland because we value the Constitution.” These statements were simply lies from him, and there was no “court order” for anything in “the Program.” For a long time, the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court wasn’t even informed about the existence of “the Program.” So: it didn’t even have FISA Court authorization.
Employees at NSA who balked at breaking the law, and who refused to do what they thought to be wrong, at least unless and until they saw legal authorization for it — which they were not presented to them — were threatened by their superiors. Some were fired. Others tried to contact reporters, and were then prosecuted. The Bush Administration wrecked their lives, broke up some marriages, and prosecuted one of them all the way into the Obama Administration, which threatened him with prison and then gave up when he was finally financially stripped and his marriage destroyed.
Arthur Sulzberger, the controlling owner of The New York Times, and his Editor, Bill Keller, blocked their own reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, from publishing the fact (communicated by the leakers) that that Bush’s statements that everything was hunky-dory legal were lies. Thus, Bush was able to win re-election against John Kerry in 2004. But, then, Risen got a book contract, and so was able to publish the truth after the 2004 election (which was what principally concerned Bush — his re-election); and, so, The New York Times finally allowed the truth to be published also in their pages, after the “election,” and thus too late for the public to absorb the fact that they’d been deceived by Bush about this.
The news report was headlined on 16 December 2005, “Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in the United States After 9/11, Officials Say.” Online, it was headlined “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.” The responses to this news story (such as were shown there at the print version) were largely from conservatives (people who trusted Bush’s honesty), who accused the Times of being a voice of the Democratic Party, though the reality of this situation was more like the exact opposite. The reality was that the Times hid (actively suppressed) this information, for as long as possible.
Furthermore, the story itself misrepresented even some basic facts, in the direction of softening Bush’s lies. For example, the opening two sentences of it were: “Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials. Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible ‘dirty numbers’ linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.” Here is how Frontline reports the actual event, not the NYT’s reporting of it: “On October 4th [2001], in a secret signing with Cheney, the president officially authorized ‘the program’.” The NYT-implied Bush reluctance, of “Months after the Sept. 11 attacks,” was a fiction. Cheney immediately, on 9/11, told his people to come up with proposals for whatever they thought needed to be done, and said that he would get it done; and Bush was 100% supportive of that must-do, can-do, will-do, attitude, and of “the Program.” Furthermore, the description provided by NYT of the Program, understated its scope; and, to refer to “the court-approved warrants ordinarily required” was itself a lie, because those warrants were a legal requirement, which had been legislated shortly after Richard Nixon was booted from the White House for Watergate, and adherence to that law wasn’t just “ordinarily required,” but it was always adhered to, because NSAers didn’t want to go to prison. This documentary makes that fear, of breaking the law, clear. Furthermore, to say that “messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States” were the scope of this “Program,” which actually encompassed virtually all telecom traffic of the hundreds of millions of American citizens, would be ludicrous if such a lie could be funny at all. So: the NYT’s report was highly sanitized.
This documentary also reports Barack Obama’s lies. It shows candidate, Senator, Obama promising, “No more secrecy. That’s a commitment that I make to you as president!” And, “I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens.” And, “No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. That’s not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.” And, then, finally: “BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: The laws that are written will be more open to the public. No more secrecy. That’s the commitment I make to you as president!” (And he now was President.) All of those promises, from Obama, were also lies.
Furthermore, this documentary makes clear that both Bush and Obama have consistently tried to imprison whistleblowers, within the NSA and elsewhere, who attempted to get word out about this rampant law-breaking by the Federal Government. Edward Snowden was just the last of a long line of those. At one point, practically the entire top rung of the U.S. Justice Department were preparing to resign over this matter. NSA Senior Executive Thomas Drake was fired over it, prosecuted with the threat of life imprisonment, and then, when Obama ultimately couldn’t find anything serious to charge him with, just stripped financially to pay his legal expenses. And, of course, Obama still wants to kill Edward Snowden for exposing this “Program.”
However, this documentary is itself largely a cover-up. It presents “the Program” as being a response to9/11, but actually the desire and intention to do it began almost as soon as George W. Bush entered theWhite House.
On October 11th of 2007, wired.com bannered NSA Domestic Surveillance Began 7 Months Before 9/11, Convicted Qwest CEO Claims,” and Ryan Singel reported that Joseph Nacchio, the CEO of the phone company Qwest, claimed in court documents that he had been sentenced to prison because he had decided in February 2001, just a month after George W. Bush entered the White House, that he could not authorize his company to participate in warrantless wiretaps of Americans because such wiretaps would be illegal. Nacchio’s April 2007 statement to the court was just now being released by the court, and said that he “respectfully renews his objection to the Court’s rulings excluding testimony surrounding his February 27, 2001 meeting at Ft. Meade with representatives from the National Security Agency (NSA) as violative of his constitutional right to mount a defense. Although Mr. Nacchio is allowed to tell the jury that he and James Payne [Qwest’s government liason] went into that meeting expecting to talk about the ‘Groundbreaker’ project,” a multi-billion-dollar NSAtelecom contract (it didn’t yet have the name “the Project”), and that he “came out of the meeting with optimism about the prospect for 2001 revenue from NSA, the Court has prohibited Mr. Nacchio from eliciting testimony regarding what also occurred at that meeting. [REDACTED, but presumably referring to demands by NSA for Qwest to permit federal snooping on Americans without court warrants.]
The Court has also refused to allow Mr. Nacchio to demonstrate that the agency retaliated for this refusal by denying the Groundbreaker and perhaps other work to Qwest.” In other words, Mr. Nacchio was alleging that this huge federal contract had been denied to Qwest because Qwest had refused to participate in Bush’s illegal warrantless snooping on phone and e-mail communications of Americans. This is before 9/11. In 2001, Nacchio sold some of his Qwest stock shares, and the Bush Administration charged him with insider trading, because Qwest’s share-price declined after that sale. “Nacchio unsuccessfully attempted to defend himself by arguing that he actually expected Qwest’s 2001 earnings to be higher because of secret NSA contracts, which, he contends, were denied by the NSA after he declined in a February 27, 2001 meeting to give the NSA customer calling records.” The court refused to allow Nacchio to present to the jury any information regarding the NSA’s demands which Nacchio had turned down. Consequently, according to Nacchio’s lawyer, he was convicted and received a 6-year prison sentence.
Two days later, on October 13th, the Washington Post bannered “Former CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm,” and reported: “A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate” in Bush’s NSA surveillanceagainst Americans. “Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.” That would have placed it probably back in February 2001.
If Nacchio’s allegations were true, then Bush was already organizing the illegal wiretapping against Americans months before 9/11 even occurred, and Nacchio’s prosecution was retaliation against his non-cooperation with Bush’s illegal NSA program.
A week later, on October 22nd, the WP headlined “Immunity for Telecoms May Set Bad Precedent, Legal Scholars Say.” The Bush Administration was trying to push through Congress immunity for Verizon and ATT, which, unlike Qwest, had participated in Bush’s illegal spying against Americans.
Bush’s proposal, now in 2007, was to retroactively legalize what those companies had done, even though this would constitute a form of ex post facto law: It would retroactively change the law in order to immunize those two companies. This type of ex post facto law is known as an “amnesty law,” because it amnesties, or retrospectively legalizes, rather than illegalizes, the defined activities. Article I Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution states: “No … ex post facto Law shall be passed.” That includes an amnesty law (certainly of this type, though not necessarily of illegal immigration, since that isn’t a criminal violation). To Republicans, and to the conservative Democrats who also were pushing Bush’s legislation, the U.S. Constitution was merely an inconvenience; only the Bible was the Law, to them.
On 5 November 2007, the Electronic Frontier Foundation headlined “AT&T Whistleblower to Urge Senate to Reject Blanket Immunity for Telecoms,” and reported that a retired AT&T technician, Mark Klein, said, “My job required me to enable the physical connections between AT&T customers’ Internet communications and the NSA’s illegal, wholesale copying machine for domestic emails, Internet phone conversations, web surfing and all other Internet traffic.” The following day, the Austin American-Statesman bannered “AT&T Whistleblower: Say No to Telecom Immunity,” and Rebecca Carr reported that Klein said “I have first-hand knowledge of the clandestine collaboration between one giant telecommunications company, AT&T, and the NSA to facilitate the most comprehensive illegal domestic spying program in [U.S.] history.” Then, the next day, on November 7th, the Washington Post bannered “A Story of Surveillance: Former Technician ‘Turning In’ AT&T OverNSA Program.” Ellen Nakashima reported Klein as saying, “This splitter was sweeping up everything, vacuum-cleaner style. … The NSA is getting everything.” Moreover, this AT&T facility which he installed “carry not just AT&T’s customers but everybody’s.” Klein described specific AT&T “links to 16 entities,” including Global Crossing, Verizon, Level 3, Sprint, and Qwest. It was the central hub for all international U.S. telecommunications traffic. ABC headlined concerning only the internet aspect, Big Brother Spying on Americans’ Internet Data,” and reported Klein as asserting that, “An exact copy of all Internet traffic that flowed through critical AT&T cables — e-mails, documents, Web browsing, voice-over-Internet phone conversations, everything – was being diverted to equipment inside the secret room.”
Although, according to Nacchio’s testimony, George W. Bush’s laying the groundwork for illegal spying against regular American citizens began well before the 9/11 attacks, the press in the United States continued to parrot unquestioningly, in their stenographic “news” stories, the White House’s line, that the spying program began as a response to 9/11 in order to prevent a recurrence. Long afterward, Bush was still successful in getting the AP, The New York Times, and other “news” organizations, to put this dubious assumption before the American public, as a supposedly established fact, in “news reports.” On 14 March 2008, georgia10 at dailykos.com headlined “Dear Media: Please Stop Repeating This Lie.” She documented there cases in which the media had recently presented this Bush assertion as if it were an established fact. The pleading here was in vain. America’s major “news” media are propaganda agencies.
On 16 December 2007, The New York Times headlined “Wider Spying Fuels Aid Plan for Telecom Industry,” and reported that, “At stake” in the battle over retroactive immunization of the traitorous telecom companies which had served the aspiring dictator “is the federal government’s extensive but uneasy partnership with [these criminal elements in, not with (as here implied) all] industry to conduct a wide range of secret surveillance.” A lawsuit “claims that in February 2001, just days before agency officials met with Qwest officials, the N.S.A. met with AT&T officials to discuss replicating a network center in Bedminster, N.J., to give the agency access to all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran through it.”
When these meetings with telcos were occurring, requesting these companies to provide the Bush Administration access which was prohibited by existing laws, such as the FISA act, President Bush was simultaneously shoving off anti-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, who was futilely trying to get the Administration to pay attention to the Al Qaeda threat. So, Bush’s Big Brother effort here had nothing whatsoever to do with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. The Executive Order of the President, that Bush signed in October 2001 “legally” authorizing this spying, was merely using 9/11 as the convenient excuse, a pretext, for something that Bush had planned all along. A lawyer for one of the whistle-blowing telecom employees said, “What he saw … was decisive evidence that within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans.” George W. Bush, at the time this news story appeared, December 16th six years after the Program’s start, was threatening the U.S. Senate, by saying that he would veto any FISA reauthorization which failed to provide his demanded unconstitutional retroactive immunity for the telephone companies which had participated in Bush’s police-state initiative. He needed them to be immune, because otherwise he himself would not be. After all: they were doing his bidding.
Thus, it was even more shameful that America’s major media continued peddling Bush’s lie that the illegal surveillance program was a response to 9/11 — a deception that is reinforced by this Frontline piece on 13 May 2014.
On the same day, December 16th of 2007, the headline that appeared of this news at rawstory.com wasn’t the Republican newspaper’s tepid and misleading “Wider Spying Fuels Aid Plan for Telecom Industry,” but was instead the very direct and honest: “AT&T Engineer Says Bush Administration Sought to Implement Domestic Spying Within Two Weeks of Taking Office.” An attention-grabber like that isn’t what a U.S. President wants in a headline for such a news report. This news story also didn’t “bury the lede” as the NYT had done. Instead, it opened directly, by saying: “Nearly 1,300 words into Sunday’s New York Times article revealing new details of the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program, the lawyer for an AT&T engineer alleges that ‘within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.’” The New York Times is the supreme master of news-slant, not just “burying the lede,” but burying truth.
On account of the widespread lie that Bush’s surveillance program was a response to 9/11, Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street Journal bannered on 14 March 2008, “Democrats Dig In for SurveillanceBattle,” and reported a “Partisan Battle” over retroactive telecom immunity, because 74% of Republicans (and a lower 52% of all respondents) polled by Princeton Survey Research Associates had said that, “Government surveillance of suspected terrorists without court permission” is “Generally right,” while 57% of Democrats (and 44% of all respondents) said it’s “Generally wrong.”
America’s conservative masses were passionately supportive of this surveillance; they were driven by fear, even if they were playing into the hands of the worst forces; and their pettiness was destroying everything that made the United States great. They didn’t at all fear America’s tyrant at that time, George W. Bush.
Surveillance without a warrant isn’t just “Generally wrong”; it’s always wrong. Lawbreaking by Government is always wrong, especially when it threatens basic constitutional freedoms, and most especially when it threatens the introduction of a police state.
In June 2008, a large minority of congressional Democrats joined all but one Republican in a FISA “compromise,” H.R. 6304, which seemed to give the President what he wanted, because otherwise, without it, Democrats would likely lose crucial seats in Congress, representing conservative districts, where fear of alien Muslim terrorists exceeded even their fear of immigrants and of other aliens in general. On 20 June 2008, Massimo Calabresi in TIME bannered “ Behind  the Compromise on  Spying,” and he explained how stupid it would have been for congressional Democrats to support the U.S. Constitution during this key election year. America’s high-school-civics teachers had failed disastrously, and so America’s voters possessed virtually no idea of what a constitutional democracy really is, much less of how to continue to be one.
How, for example, could American voters intelligently evaluate the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates’ respective positions on warrantless wiretapping? A political game was being played here, and voters were the ultimate chips to be won or lost in this game. They weren’t the ultimate deciders; the ultimate deciders were the players of the game. It was no democracy.
However, this new snooping law didn’t actually provide Bush protection after all. Buried in its Title II, Section 802 of the revised FISA law, was an obscure clause which restricted legal immunity to only things telecoms did that were “authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001.” That was its key clause, and it hadn’t been in the previous versions of the bill. In this new version, there was no immunity at all for anything which was illegal and which the President had authorized prior to 9/11, such as had been revealed by Joe Nacchio, and also by the AT&T whistleblower, Mark Kline, both of whom referred to illegal snooping demands by Bush occurring in February of 2001.
Bush couldn’t very well veto this bill once it passed Congress; he had to sign it into law, because he claimed publicly that 9/11 had caused this snooping, that this snooping was a response to 9/11. And Republicans in Congress couldn’t vote against the bill either, because it gave both them and the President what they were publicly demanding. The Democrats were now essentially calling the Republicans’ bluff on their demands, and doing it during a Presidential election year, in which the Republican Party was now widely loathed, and when Republican Representatives and Senators feared the real prospects of losing their seats. Basically, congressional Democrats had congressional Republicans, and the Republican President, caught in a political trap, from which there was no way out. So, the supposed telecom-immunity was, essentially, a fiction. On 18 September  2008, rawstory.com bannered “Domestic  Spying Lawsuit Targets Bush, Cheney, NSA,” and reported that, “Based on news reports and information obtained from former AT&T employee Mark Kline, EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation] alleges a massive surveillance apparatus has been trained on Americans to vacuum up information on virtually every telephone call, e-mail and Internet search to feed a massive database maintained by the NSA. … Information on the lawsuit and a link to the 55-page filing is available on EFF’s Web site.”
So: As soon as Obama came into the White House, he not only continued, virtually unchanged, George W. Bush’s bailouts of Wall Street, non-enforcement and non-prosecution against banksters, and rabid prosecutions against whistleblowers in government, but he also refused to prosecute George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their lawless regime. He thereby established the precedent that the U.S. President is, in effect, above the law, that he’s supposed to enforce. He made this a bipartisan dictatorship.
We do not have a free press. It’s a propaganda operation, by, and for, the people at the top.



Tech Dirt.....


DOJ Says Americans Have No 4th Amendment Protections At All When They Communicate With Foreigners

from the expectation-of-privacy? dept

We've already questioned if it's really true that the 4th Amendment doesn't apply to foreigners (the Amendment refers to "people" not "citizens"). But in some new filings by the DOJ, the US government appears to take its "no 4th Amendment protections for foreigners" to absurd new levels. It says, quite clearly, that because foreigners have no 4th Amendment protections it means that any Americans lose their 4th Amendment protections when communicating with foreigners.They're using a very twisted understanding of the (already troubling) third party doctrine to do this. As you may recall, after lying to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department said that it would start informing defendants if warrantless collection of information under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) was used in the investigation against them.

Last October, it finally started alerting some defendants, leading courts to halt proceedings and re-evaluate. As two of those cases have moved forward, the DOJ is trying to defend those cases, and one way it's doing so is to flat out say that Americans have no 4th Amendment protectionswhen talking to foreigners.
The Supreme Court has long held that when one person voluntarily discloses information to another, the first person loses any cognizable interest under the Fourth Amendment in what the second person does with the information. . . . For Fourth Amendment purposes, the same principle applies whether the recipient intentionally makes the information public or stores it in a place subject to a government search. Thus, once a non-U.S. person located outside the United States receives information, the sender loses any cognizable Fourth Amendment rights with respect to that information. That is true even if the sender is a U.S. person protected by the Fourth Amendment, because he assumes the risk that the foreign recipient will give the information to others, leave the information freely accessible to others, or that the U.S. government (or a foreign government) will obtain the information.
This argument is questionable on so many levels. First, it's already relying on the questionable third party doctrine, but it seems to go much further, by then arguing that merely providing information to a foreign person means that it's okay for the US government to snoop on it without a warrant. The DOJ further defends this by saying, effectively, that foreign governments might snoop on it as well, so that makes it okay:
Moreover, any expectation of privacy of defendant in his electronic communications with a non-U.S. person overseas is also diminished by the prospect that his foreign correspondent could be a target for surveillance by foreign governments or private entities.
With this, it appears the DOJ is trying to attack the idea of the reasonable expectation of privacythat has been the basis of the 4th Amendment in the US. They're effectively arguing that since foreign governments might look at the info too, you should have no expectation of privacy in any communications with foreigners and thus you've waived all 4th Amendment protections in that content.

That's crazy.

In fact, they flat out admit that they're stripping Americans of any 4th Amendment rights with this claim, noting that communicating with foreigners means you've likely "eliminated" your 4th Amendment protections.
The privacy rights of US persons in international communications are significantly diminished, if not completely eliminated, when those communications have been transmitted to or obtained from non-US persons located outside the United States.
The implications of this argument, if upheld by the court is staggering. It would seem to fly in the face of basic logic and historical 4th Amendment law, all discussing how it's the expectation of privacy that matters. And I'm fairly certain that most of us who regularly communicate with folks outside the US have quite a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications (though, to be fair, I've been much more actively using encryption when talking to people outside the US lately).

As Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU points out, this eviscerates basic Constitutional protections for many Americans:
The government's argument is not simply that the NSA has broad authority to monitor Americans' international communications. The US government is arguing that the NSA's authority is unlimited in this respect. If the government is right, nothing in the Constitution bars the NSA from monitoring a phone call between a journalist in New York City and his source in London. For that matter, nothing bars the NSA from monitoring every call and email between Americans in the United States and their non-American friends, relatives, and colleagues overseas.

In the government's view, there is no need to ask whether the 2008 law violates Americans' privacy rights, because in this context Americans have no rights to be violated.


DOJ Says Americans Have No 4th Amendment Protections At All When They Communicate With Foreigners

from the expectation-of-privacy? dept


We've already questioned if it's really true that the 4th Amendment doesn't apply to foreigners (the Amendment refers to "people" not "citizens"). But in some new filings by the DOJ, the US government appears to take its "no 4th Amendment protections for foreigners" to absurd new levels. It says, quite clearly, that because foreigners have no 4th Amendment protections it means that any Americans lose their 4th Amendment protections when communicating with foreigners.They're using a very twisted understanding of the (already troubling) third party doctrine to do this. As you may recall, after lying to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department said that it would start informing defendants if warrantless collection of information under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) was used in the investigation against them.

Last October, it finally started alerting some defendants, leading courts to halt proceedings and re-evaluate. As two of those cases have moved forward, the DOJ is trying to defend those cases, and one way it's doing so is to flat out say that Americans have no 4th Amendment protections when talking to foreigners.
The Supreme Court has long held that when one person voluntarily discloses information to another, the first person loses any cognizable interest under the Fourth Amendment in what the second person does with the information. . . . For Fourth Amendment purposes, the same principle applies whether the recipient intentionally makes the information public or stores it in a place subject to a government search. Thus, once a non-U.S. person located outside the United States receives information, the sender loses any cognizable Fourth Amendment rights with respect to that information. That is true even if the sender is a U.S. person protected by the Fourth Amendment, because he assumes the risk that the foreign recipient will give the information to others, leave the information freely accessible to others, or that the U.S. government (or a foreign government) will obtain the information.
This argument is questionable on so many levels. First, it's already relying on the questionable third party doctrine, but it seems to go much further, by then arguing that merely providing information to a foreign person means that it's okay for the US government to snoop on it without a warrant. The DOJ further defends this by saying, effectively, that foreign governments might snoop on it as well, so that makes it okay:
Moreover, any expectation of privacy of defendant in his electronic communications with a non-U.S. person overseas is also diminished by the prospect that his foreign correspondent could be a target for surveillance by foreign governments or private entities.
With this, it appears the DOJ is trying to attack the idea of the reasonable expectation of privacythat has been the basis of the 4th Amendment in the US. They're effectively arguing that since foreign governments might look at the info too, you should have no expectation of privacy in any communications with foreigners and thus you've waived all 4th Amendment protections in that content.

That's crazy.

In fact, they flat out admit that they're stripping Americans of any 4th Amendment rights with this claim, noting that communicating with foreigners means you've likely "eliminated" your 4th Amendment protections.
The privacy rights of US persons in international communications are significantly diminished, if not completely eliminated, when those communications have been transmitted to or obtained from non-US persons located outside the United States.
The implications of this argument, if upheld by the court is staggering. It would seem to fly in the face of basic logic and historical 4th Amendment law, all discussing how it's the expectation of privacy that matters. And I'm fairly certain that most of us who regularly communicate with folks outside the US have quite a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications (though, to be fair, I've been much more actively using encryption when talking to people outside the US lately).

As Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU points out, this eviscerates basic Constitutional protections for many Americans:
The government's argument is not simply that the NSA has broad authority to monitor Americans' international communications. The US government is arguing that the NSA's authority is unlimited in this respect. If the government is right, nothing in the Constitution bars the NSA from monitoring a phone call between a journalist in New York City and his source in London. For that matter, nothing bars the NSA from monitoring every call and email between Americans in the United States and their non-American friends, relatives, and colleagues overseas.

In the government's view, there is no need to ask whether the 2008 law violates Americans' privacy rights, because in this context Americans have no rights to be violated.


I'm curious if anyone wants to defend this as a reasonable interpretation of the 4th Amendment, because it seems quite clearly a complete bastardization of what the 4th Amendment says and how courts have interpreted it over the years.

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Just Hmmm.....


ANTI-SURVEILLANCE MASK CAN HIDE YOU FROM BIOMETRIC FACE SCANNERS

May 14, 2014
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SOURCE: SHTF PLAN
 

“An Alternative Identity When in Public”
The U.S. government is spending billions of dollars to ensure that they can monitor and track every single activity in which you engage, be it online of off. The latest attempt to infringe on the personal anonymity comes in the form of what has been referred to as Real I.D., essentially a social security number for the internet which would be used to follow your every move in cyberspace. Coupled with technologies that include email mining, global positioning systems, predictive behavioral analysisdrones over America, and even eavesdropping via microphones on our cell phones, the ultimate goal is a surveillance state so expansive that Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin would be jealous.
But just as quickly as government introduces the technologies that are supposed to keep us safe from terrorists and ourselves, enterprising rebels across the country are working to counter them.
In the realm of biometrics, where literally hundreds of thousands of cameras now watch our every move and plug in directly to data mining Fusion Centers where our activities are analyzed, aggregated and dispatched according to our perceived threat, some might think the system itself has become unbeatable.
Short of plastic surgery, how can we modify our faces to disappear from prying government eyes when we step out of our front doors?
If Leo Selvaggio has his way, you’ll be able to assume an alternative identity by using an age old low-tech strategy made possible by modern-day 3-D printers.
It’s so simple that it’s brilliant, especially considering the fact that Selvaggio’s innovation is capable of compromising multi-billion dollar face recognition surveillance systems with the use of an easily obtainable personal prosthetic mask.
Selvaggio2
His rubber mask aimed at foiling surveillance cameras features his visage, and if he has his way, plenty of people will be sporting the Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic in public. It’s one of three products made by the Chicago-based artist’s URME Surveillance, a venture dedicated to “protecting the public from surveillance and creating a safe space to explore our digital identities.”
“Our world is becoming increasingly surveilled. For example, Chicago has over 25,000 cameras networked to a single facial recognition hub,” reads the URME (pronounced U R Me) site. “We don’t believe you should be tracked just because you want to walk outside and you shouldn’t have to hide either. Instead, use one of our products to present an alternative identity when in public.”
The 3D-printed resin mask, made from a 3D scan of Selvaggio’s face and manufactured by ThatsMyFace.com, renders his features and skin tone with surprising realism, though the eyes peeping out from the eye holes do lend a certain creepiness to the look.

“When you wear these devices the cameras will track me instead of you and your actions in public space will be attributed as mine because it will be me the cameras see,” the artist, who’s working toward his MFA at Chicago’s Columbia College, says on a recently launched Indiegogo page for the products. “All URME devices have been tested for facial recognition and each properly identifies the wearer of me on Facebook, which has some of the most sophisticated facial recognition software around.”
(Cnet)
The anti-face recognition tech is currently only available in Leo Selvaggio’s image, so government systems spotting anyone wearing the mask will flag him as the culprit. But the implications are so broad that somewhere inside the Department of Homeland Security surveillance personnel are undoubtedly scrambling to thwart it, because it presents a serious hiccough to the surveillance state.
With the ease of 3-D printing any technophobe with the ability to mimic someone else’s face via 3D graphing software will have the ability to literally assume a person’s identity by simply printing their face and wearing it.
In a the world of biometric surveillance, that means anybody can disappear from view and essentially become a 21st century Silence Dogood.
Real ID? How about Alternative ID instead?