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Gov’t to “Engage” SMS Carriers to ‘Dispel Vaccine Misinformation’ by Vetting Your Text Messages

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project

As TFTP reported last week, President Joe Biden took to the podium to declare that Americans need to get the “free” vaccine. He didn’t just urge Americans to go out and get it and instead said “we” will be going door to door to “encourage” you to get it.

“Now we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood and often times door-to-door- literally knocking on doors, to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also pushed the “door-to-door” effort in a press briefing before Biden.

Naturally, the idea of government going door-to-door to “encourage” Americans to get a vaccine they have already chosen not to take, doesn’t sit well with many.

However, much of the pushback against Biden’s plan came in the form of misinformation with many on the right claiming that the door-to-door effort would be conducted by “government agents” who may try to “force the vaccine” on the unwilling. This is patently and verifiably false — for now. And, it has given the technocrats the fodder they need to push for even more control.

Before going on to the Orwellian next steps of the state to make sure you get your jab, it is important to point out that the Biden administration’s plan involves civilian volunteers going out in their communities and encouraging people to be vaccinated. While this is certainly in poor taste, these folks are not much different than the volunteers going door-to-door to campaign for their political candidate — except that political candidate volunteers don’t ask for your vaccination status.

Instead of politics, they are encouraging an experimental vaccine approved only under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization plan. Also, in preparation for the coming door-to-door campaign, Lake County, Illinois published ‘Helpful Hints’ for volunteers taking part in their “Community Health Ambassador Outreach Door Knocking Project to Increase COVID Vaccine Acceptance.” These ‘helpful hints’ have also raised concerns among citizens as their handouts to include lists with contact information and check sheets that record vaccination status.

Again, these folks are not government agents or employees and are working as volunteers only.

“The big misinterpretation that Fox News or whomever else is saying is that they are essentially envisioning a bunch of federal workers knocking on your door, telling you you’ve got to do something that you don’t want to do,” Anthony Fauci said in an interview on Sunday. “That’s absolutely not the case, it’s trusted messengers who are part of the community doing that — not government officials. So that’s where I think the disconnect is.”

But Fauci did not address the information they will be collecting as the above ‘helpful hints” show. Will this information stay with these “trusted messengers” and not find its way to some government database? We think not.

So, while some of the concerns by the “vaccine hesitancy” crowd are certainly far-fetched, many of them are not. Nevertheless, this administration is now moving to even greater lengths to nip this skepticism in the bud.

According to an article in Politico this week, the gloves are off and the government is no longer going to sit idly by while the masses talk among each other and encourage people to think for themselves. They are coming after your text messages. As Politico reports:

Biden allied groups, including the Democratic National Committee, are also planning to engage fact-checkers more aggressively and work with SMS carriers to dispel misinformation about vaccines that is sent over social media and text messages. The goal is to ensure that people who may have difficulty getting a vaccination because of issues like transportation see those barriers lessened or removed entirely.

For those who may have just skimmed the above paragraph, read it one more time. First off, fact-checking on social media has become a joke and has only served to increase misinformation thanks to the political bias and utter lack of credibility by some of the folks “checking facts.”

Secondly, and more important than turning the dial on the incompetent fact-checkers to “11” is the fact that Politico just admitted the government will be monitoring your text messages via cellphone carriers.

In the last year and a half, we have gone from “15 days to flatten the curve” to a complete technocratic police state that has merged with social media to silence anyone critical of government policy, pre-informed consent, and hesitant of taking a vaccine that was rushed to market and approved in an unprecedented amount of time.

What’s more, as this article from Politico illustrates, our Constitutional rights are completely eroding as well. Government cannot spy on your text messages or social media messages without a warrant, yet they are brazenly unafraid to say they will do just that to make sure these “dangerous vaccine skeptics” don’t ruin their plans.

If the government has to gaslight you, manipulate you, spend billions on advertising, offer bribes and monetary rewards, silence skeptics, slander experts, fearmonger 24/7, and violate your Constitutional rights in order to get you to take a vaccine, perhaps you are right to be a tad bit on the defensive.

About the Author

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds.




With Facial Recognition Technology at ‘Crossroads,’ 90 Groups Urge Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Not to Collude With Big Brother

Amazon is under fire from dozens of civil and human rights groups for pitching its Rekognition software to law enforcement agencies that may abuse it. Werner Vogels is the company’s chief technology officer and vice president. (Photo: Amazon)

By Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams

In a trio of letters sent Tuesday to executives at AmazonGoogle, and Microsoft, a coalition of 90 civil and human rights groups called on the companies to refuse to sell facial recognition technology to governments across the globe, cautioning that such systems can endanger people and undermine public trust.

“We are at a crossroads with face surveillance, and the choices made by these companies now will determine whether the next generation will have to fear being tracked by the government for attending a protest, going to their place of worship, or simply living their lives,” warned Nicole Ozer, the technology and civil liberties director for the ACLU of California.

“History has clearly taught us,” Ozer noted, “that the government will exploit technologies like face surveillance to target communities of color, religious minorities, and immigrants.”

The letters come in response to recent public statements by the tech giants’ leaders regarding concerns about government misuse of such products, and reporting that the FBI is piloting Amazon’s Rekognition technology—which the company has also pitched to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), one of the agencies charged with implementing the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies.

Despite CEO Jeff Bezos’ admission that Amazon’s technology could be misused, the company has appeared more willing to profit from the U.S. government’s effort to achieve Big Brother status while Google and Microsoft have been more cautious.

Last month, Google indicated that it will continue to develop artificial intelligence (AI) programs but will not sell facial recognition technology to governments—at least, until the potential dangers are mitigated to a degree that satisfies the company’s decision-makers.

Microsoft President Brad Smith, meanwhile, wrote a blog post in December charging that facial recognition technology “brings important and even exciting societal benefits but also the potential for abuse.” Smith called for “governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology” but also pledged to be proactive in creating safeguards to address concerns about abuse.

The coalition welcomed the recent moves by Google and Microsoft while also highlighting their inadequacy, and urged both to “fully commit to not releasing a facial recognition product that could be used by governments.”

The letter to Amazon was harsher, declaring that “by continuing to sell your face surveillance product to government entities, Amazon is gravely threatening the safety of community members, ignoring the protests of its own workers, and undermining public trust in its business.”

This is not the first time critics of facial recognition technology have pressured these companies to address the serious threats posed by their AI products.

As Shankar Narayan of the ACLU of Washington pointed out in a statement, “In 2018, groups representing Muslims, African-Americans, immigrants, incarcerated Japanese-Americans, and more met with Amazon and Microsoft to share firsthand stories of the impacts of targeted surveillance on these communities.”

“The groups urged Microsoft and Amazon to not sell face surveillance technology to government entities, because doing so will supercharge a long history of impacts on those communities,” Narayan said. “All of these companies should heed that clear message—they owe it to society, their customers, their shareholders, and the diverse communities represented by this coalition.”

In addition to the ACLU’s national group and a few state chapters, the coalition includes CREDO Action, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Free Press, the Government Accountability Project, Human Rights Watch, Mijente, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), among others.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License




The Government Is Still the Enemy of Freedom

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government … doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety… It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.”— George Carlin

My friends, we’re being played for fools.

On paper, we may be technically free.

In reality, however, we are only as free as a government official may allow.

We only think we live in a constitutional republic, governed by just laws created for our benefit.

Truth be told, we live in a dictatorship disguised as a democracy where all that we own, all that we earn, all that we say and do—our very lives—depends on the benevolence of government agents and corporate shareholders for whom profit and power will always trump principle. And now the government is litigating and legislating its way into a new framework where the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the inalienable rights of the citizenry.

We’re in trouble, folks.

Freedom no longer means what it once did.

This holds true whether you’re talking about the right to criticize the government in word or deed, the right to be free from government surveillance, the right to not have your person or your property subjected to warrantless searches by government agents, the right to due process, the right to be safe from soldiers invading your home, the right to be innocent until proven guilty and every other right that once reinforced the founders’ belief that this would be “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Not only do we no longer have dominion over our bodies, our families, our property and our lives, but the government continues to chip away at what few rights we still have to speak freely and think for ourselves.

If the government can control speech, it can control thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry.

The unspoken freedom enshrined in the First Amendment is the right to think freely and openly debate issues without being muzzled or treated like a criminal.

In other words, if we no longer have the right to tell a Census Worker to get off our property, if we no longer have the right to tell a police officer to get a search warrant before they dare to walk through our door, if we no longer have the right to stand in front of the Supreme Court wearing a protest sign or approach an elected representative to share our views, if we no longer have the right to protest unjust laws by voicing our opinions in public or on our clothing or before a legislative body—no matter how misogynistic, hateful, prejudiced, intolerant, misguided or politically incorrect they might be—then we do not have free speech.

What we have instead is regulated, controlled speech, and that’s a whole other ballgame.

Protest laws, free speech zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying legislation, zero tolerance policies, hate crime laws and a host of other legalistic maladies dreamed up by politicians and prosecutors are conspiring to corrode our core freedoms purportedly for our own good.

For instance, the protest laws being introduced across the country—in 18 states so far—are supposedly in the name of “public safety and limiting economic damage.”

Don’t fall for it.

No matter how you package these laws, no matter how well-meaning they may sound, no matter how much you may disagree with the protesters or sympathize with the objects of the protest, these proposed laws are aimed at one thing only: discouraging dissent.

In Arizona, police would be permitted to seize the assets of anyone involved in a protest that at some point becomes violent.

In Minnesota, protesters would be forced to pay for the cost of having police on hand to “police” demonstrations.

Oregon lawmakers want to “require public community colleges and universities to expel any student convicted of participating in a violent riot.”

A proposed North Dakota law would give drivers the green light to “accidentally” run over protesters who are blocking a public roadway. Florida and Tennessee are entertaining similar laws.

Pushing back against what it refers to as “economic terrorism,” Washington wants to increase penalties for protesters who block access to highways and railways.

Anticipating protests over the Keystone Pipeline, South Dakota wants to apply the governor’s emergency response authority to potentially destructive protests, create new trespassing penalties and make it a crime to obstruct highways.

In Iowa, protesters who block highways with speeds posted above 55 mph could spend five years in prison, plus a fine of up to $7,500. Obstruct traffic in Mississippi and you could be facing a $10,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence.

A North Carolina law would make it a crime to heckle state officials. Under this law, shouting at a former governor would constitute a crime.

Indiana lawmakers wanted to authorize police to use “any means necessary” to breakup mass gatherings that block traffic. That legislation has since been amended to merely empower police to issue fines for such behavior.

Georgia is proposing harsh penalties and mandatory sentencing laws for those who obstruct public passages or throw bodily fluids on “public safety officers.”

Virginia wants to subject protesters who engage in an “unlawful assembly” after “having been lawfully warned to disperse” with up to a year of jail time and a fine of up to $2,500.

Missouri wants to make it illegal for anyone participating in an “unlawful assembly” to intentionally conceal “his or her identity by the means of a robe, mask, or other disguise.”

Colorado wants to lock up protesters for up to 18 months who obstruct or tamper with oil and gas equipment and charge them with up to $100,000 in fines.

Oklahoma wants to create a sliding scale for protesters whose actions impact or impede critical infrastructure. The penalties would range from $1,000 and six months in a county jail to $100,000 and up to 10 years in prison. And if you’re part of an organization, that fine goes as high as $1,000,000.

Michigan hopes to make it easier for courts to shut down “mass picketing” demonstrations and fine protesters who block entrances to businesses, private residences or roadways up to $1,000 a day. That fine jumps to $10,000 a day for unions or other organizing groups.

Ask yourself: if there are already laws on the books in all of the states that address criminal or illegal behavior such as blocking public roadways or trespassing on private property—because such laws are already on the books—then why does the government need to pass laws criminalizing activities that are already outlawed?

What’s really going on here?

No matter what the politicians might say, the government doesn’t care about our rights, our welfare or our safety.

How many times will we keep falling for the same tricks?

Every despotic measure used to control us and make us cower and fear and comply with the government’s dictates has been packaged as being for our benefit, while in truth benefiting only those who stand to profit, financially or otherwise, from the government’s transformation of the citizenry into a criminal class.

Remember, the Patriot Act didn’t make us safer. It simply turned American citizens into suspects and, in the process, gave rise to an entire industry—private and governmental—whose profit depends on its ability to undermine our Fourth Amendment rights.

Placing TSA agents in our nation’s airports didn’t make us safer. It simply subjected Americans to invasive groping, ogling and bodily searches by government agents. Now the TSA plans to subject travelers to even more “comprehensive” patdowns.

So, too, these protest laws are not about protecting the economy or private property or public roads. Rather, they are intended to muzzle discontent and discourage anyone from challenging government authority.

These laws are the shot across the bow.

They’re intended to send a strong message that in the American police state, you’re either a patriot who marches in lockstep with the government’s dictates or you’re a pariah, a suspect, a criminal, a troublemaker, a terrorist, a radical, a revolutionary.

Yet by muzzling the citizenry, by removing the constitutional steam valves that allow people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world, the government is deliberately stirring the pot, creating a climate in which violence becomes inevitable.

When there is no steam valve—when there is no one to hear what the people have to say, because government representatives have removed themselves so far from their constituents—then frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.

Then again, perhaps that was the government’s plan all along.

As John F. Kennedy warned in March 1962, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

The government is making violent revolution inevitable.

How do you lock down a nation?

You sow discontent and fear among the populace. You terrorize the people into believing that radicalized foreigners are preparing to invade. You teach them to be non-thinkers who passively accept whatever is told them, whether it’s delivered by way of the corporate media or a government handler. You brainwash them into believing that everything the government does is for their good and anyone who opposes the government is an enemy. You acclimate them to a state of martial law, carried out by soldiers disguised as police officers but bearing the weapons of war. You polarize them so that they can never unite and stand united against the government. You create a climate in which silence is golden and those who speak up are shouted down. You spread propaganda and lies. You package the police state in the rhetoric of politicians.

And then, when and if the people finally wake up to the fact that the government is not and has never been their friend, when it’s too late for peaceful protests and violence is all that remains to them as a recourse against tyranny, you use all of the tools you’ve been so carefully amassing—the criminal databases and surveillance and identification systems and private prisons and protest laws—and you shut them down for good.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, once a government assumes power—unconstitutional or not—it does not relinquish it. The militarized police are not going to stand down. The NSA will continue to collect electronic files on everything we do. More and more Americans are going to face jail time for offenses that prior generations did not concern themselves with.

The government—at all levels—could crack down on virtually anyone at any time.

Martin Luther King saw it coming: both the “spontaneous explosion of anger by various citizen groups” and the ensuing crackdown by the government.

“Police, national guard and other armed bodies are feverously preparing for repression,” King wrote shortly before he was assassinated. “They can be curbed not by unorganized resort to force…but only by a massive wave of militant nonviolence….It also may be the instrument of our national salvation.”

Militant nonviolent resistance.

“A nationwide nonviolent movement is very important,” King wrote. “We know from past experience that Congress and the President won’t do anything until you develop a movement around which people of goodwill can find a way to put pressure on them… This means making the movement powerful enough, dramatic enough, morally appealing enough, so that people of goodwill, the churches, laborers, liberals, intellectuals, students, poor people themselves begin to put pressure on congressmen to the point that they can no longer elude our demands.

“It must be militant, massive nonviolence,” King emphasized.

In other words, besides marches and protests, there would have to be civil disobedience. Civil disobedience forces the government to expend energy in many directions, especially if it is nonviolent, organized and is conducted on a massive scale. This is, as King knew, the only way to move the beast. It is the way to effect change without resorting to violence. And it is exactly what these protest laws are attempting to discourage

We are coming to a crossroads. Either we gather together now and attempt to restore freedom or all will be lost. As King cautioned, “everywhere, ‘time is winding up,’ in the words of one of our spirituals, corruption in the land, people take your stand; time is winding up.”

WC: 2135

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, where THIS article first appeared. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

Read more great articles at The Rutherford Institute.




‘Shameful’: Yahoo Spied on Email Customers at Government’s Request

Snowden and others react to new allegations that Yahoo scanned all of its customers incoming emails last year on behalf of the government. (Image: Esther Vargas/flickr/cc)

Snowden and others react to new allegations that Yahoo scanned all of its customers incoming emails last year on behalf of the government. (Image: Esther Vargas/flickr/cc)

By Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams

In an astounding and “unprecedented” new account of U.S. government surveillance,Reuters reported Tuesday that Yahoo secretly scanned all of its customer’s incoming emails for a specific set of characters, per request of the National Security Agency (NSA) or FBI.

“The order issued to Yahoo appears to be unprecedented and unconstitutional. The government appears to have compelled Yahoo to conduct precisely the type of general, suspicionless search that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit.” —Patrick Toomey, ACLU

The news agency broke the investigation after speaking with “two former employees and a third person apprised of the events,” who described how the email giant complied with the vast government directive and built a custom software program to scan hundreds of millions of accounts for a “specific set of characters.”

The classified directive was reportedly sent to the company’s legal team last year. “It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters,” Reuters reported. “That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified.”

Reporter Joseph Menn said that he was “unable to confirm whether the 2015 demand went to other companies, or if any complied.” Further, it is not known “what data Yahoo may have handed over, if any.”>

Related Article: Yahoo! Just Exposed One of the FBI’s Most Secretive Tricks to Unethically Obtain Your Info

Private surveillance experts consulted by the news outlet said they had “never seen” such a such a “broad directive for real-time Web collection or one that required the creation of a new computer program,” Reuters reported.

According to the reporting, the decision by Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer to comply with the government order inflamed some executives. Menn wrote:

They were also upset that Mayer and Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell did not involve the company’s security team in the process, instead asking Yahoo’s email engineers to write a program to siphon off messages containing the character string the spies sought and store them for remote retrieval, according to the sources.

The sources said the program was discovered by Yahoo’s security team in May 2015, within weeks of its installation. The security team initially thought hackers had broken in.

When Stamos found out that Mayer had authorized the program, he resigned as chief information security officer and told his subordinates that he had been left out of a decision that hurt users’ security, the sources said. Due to a programming flaw, he told them hackers could have accessed the stored emails.

Rights groups were instantly outraged over the report.

Sherif Elsayed-Ali, head of technology and human rights at Amnesty International, minced no words when he declared that, “If true, this news will greatly undermine trust in the internet. For a company to secretly search all incoming email of all its customers in a response to a broad government directive would be a blow to privacy and a serious threat to freedom of expression.”

“I wonder how the candidates feel about Yahoo spying on every single customer’s emails for NSA/FBI. Will they defend this shameful practice?”
—Edward Snowden

“If true,” he continued, “this would demonstrate the failure of U.S. government reforms to curb NSA’s tendency to try and indiscriminately vacuum up the world’s data. The NSA has clearly not changed its spots.”

And Patrick Toomey, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the order issued “appears to be unprecedented and unconstitutional.”

“The government appears to have compelled Yahoo to conduct precisely the type of general, suspicion-less search that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit,” he said in a press statement.

“It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court,” Toomey continued. “If this surveillance was conducted under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, this story reinforces the urgent need for Congress to reform the law to prevent dragnet surveillance and require increased transparency.”

Outcry was swift on social media:

https://twitter.com/csoghoian/status/783374359146721280?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://twitter.com/agcrocker/status/783357105730297856?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

And Mike Masnick noted at TechDirt that the news “comes out less than a week after the NY Times had a big report on how Mayer de-prioritized security, despite having built up a great team of computer security experts called ‘The Paranoids’.”

“Mayer apparently downplayed or blocked their efforts,” Masnick wrote, “leading many to go elsewhere.”

He continued:

Now, there are still a number of open questions about this: chief among them if others, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter were similarly compelled to create similar software.

Related Article: Secret Surveillance Battle Between Yahoo and US Government Revealed

[…] It seems clear that Yahoo either didn’t think it could win a legal fight over this (certainly a possibility), or that it just didn’t want to. At the very least, this seems like yet another example of totally secretive rulemaking by the US government on what surveillance capabilities are legal, without any public review or adversarial process designed to make sure that civil liberties are protected. I know that many of the more paranoid folks out there think that the NSA already had deals with the big companies to scan all content, but they weren’t supposed to, and as far as we knew they did not as of a few years ago. But if that changed last year, that’s a big, big deal, and much more information needs to become public on this.

“This is a clear sign that people can trust neither their government nor their service providers to respect their privacy,” added Elsayed-Ali. “Free speech online, and in society in general, cannot thrive in a world where governments can pry into our private lives at will.”

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




Pokemon Go is a CIA-Sponsored Psy Op

By Mike Adams  | Natural News

Pokemon Go-compressed

Editor’s Note: “You gotta catch ’em all” is how the Pokémon tag line and song goes. It seems that our government has taken that to mean more than imaginary creatures. They have used our taxpayer dollars to sponsor the game in order to catch us all (or at least what we are saying and doing at any moment) while we, or our children, are playing the game. Rights to privacy go out the window with this game (just as it does with the overreaching requirements of pretty much any cell phone application), but this game can even share your data with private companies or individuals. Plus any user of this game is becoming effectively a CIA spy, and traveling at his or her (or a parent’s) expense, wherever the game takes them, without being paid. And does the CIA get paid back from the profits on this game since they sponsored it through a front company? Does that money go back into government coffers to benefit American citizens? Questions abound. Check out this great article from Mike Adams.

By now, you’ve probably heard of Pokemon Go, the new “hybrid reality” mobile app game that overlays real world geographic locations with virtual monsters that are collected for points.

What you may not yet know is that the game was actually developed by a CIA-funded software front group for the purpose of using all the mobile device cameras of the brain dead public to conduct what I call “mass redundant surveillance” of any area requiring immediate video documentation by the CIA or NSA. It’s essentially a CIA spying machine pretending to be a game.

To accomplish citizen-assisted spying, the game’s puppet masters simply plop a virtual monster into any desired surveillance location, and hoards of totally brain dead apocalyptic zombie humans instantly converge on the scene, all pointing their mobile cameras at the virtual “monsters” so they can earn their virtual “points.” (See bizarre photos and video below…)

As this is happening, the video from selected players’ cameras is being streamed to the CIA in real time, along with precise GPS coordinates of the players’ locations. The more people the CIA wants to converge onto an area of interest, the higher the monster value they place at that location. As these photos show, when high-value monsters appear in such locations, hoards of Pokemon players rush to the scene via bicycles, taxis, automobiles and even on foot… all pointing their cameras at the high-value target and upstreaming real-time video to the CIA.

In effect, Pokemon Go is the CIA’s way of turning an obedient population of obedient zombie humans into inadvertent collectors of actionable on-the-ground intelligence. Pokemon is the game that turns obedient, bored citizens into highly effective domestic spies who are unwittingly working for the police state. Witness these scenes from actual Pokemon Go “monster” locations where high-value monsters suddenly appeared and hoards of mindless humans instantly converged:

[Read more here]

*Originally entitled: “The Pokemon Pied Piper zombie apocalypse has begun: Hoards of mindless, obedient sheeple now stampede anywhere the puppet masters plant fictitious monsters”

Robert O'Leary 150x150

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 




New Snowden Archive Offers Public Access to Surveillance Docs

Activist Post

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) has announced the launch of the Snowden Archive, a comprehensive database of all of the documents published to date from the Snowden leak.

Created in partnership with the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, the Archive is the world’s first fully indexed and searchable collection of publicly released Snowden documents.

The Archive is a powerful resource for journalists, researchers and concerned citizens to find new stories and to delve deeply into the critically important information about government surveillance practices made public thanks to Edward Snowden.

“We are extremely proud to launch the Snowden Archive as a tool for Canadians, and the world, to better understand the scope and scale of mass surveillance programs,” said CJFE Executive Director Tom Henheffer. “We believe this tool is just the start of many important stories to come, and hope this will help the public engage in conversation about government surveillance practices.”

The Archive allows users to search Snowden documents by:

  • Agency that created the document in question
  • Journalist and media outlet that first broke the story from the document
  • Full text of the document
  • Keywords, surveillance program names and more

“Investigative journalists and university researchers share a public interest mission to advance understanding of controversial issues. This is exemplified in the collaboration between CJFE and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto to make available the Snowden Archive,” said Professor Andrew Clement of the University of Toronto. “The Archive can help everyone learn more about how our governments are watching us all.”

Project Partners and Supporters
The Snowden Archive is the result of collaboration between Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the Politics of Surveillance Project at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. The Archive was designed and built by George Raine, a recent graduate of this Faculty’s Master of Information program, with the assistance of Jillian Harkness, currently a student in this program. Supporters of this initiative include the Surveillance Studies Centre, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Queen’s University; the Digital Curation Institute, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto; and the Centre for Free Expression, Faculty of Communications and Design, Ryerson University.

About CJFE
CJFE monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, we promote a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others’ free expression rights. cjfe.org

About the Politics of Surveillance Project
The Politics of Surveillance Project has as its mission to render more publicly visible and democratically accountable the hidden forms of surveillance that are increasingly a part of everyday life. It is a sub-project of The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting, a seven-year Major Collaborative Research Initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The Snowden Archive and additional information on the project can be found at cjfe.org/snowden




More Surveillance Won’t Protect Free Speech

Jillian C. York | Commondreams

jesuis charlieFollowing a terrorist attack, it is not uncommon to hear calls from politicians and government officials for increased surveillance. Fear and grief can lead to quick “solutions” that have significant consequences; as we pointed out last week, some of the most far-reaching surveillance and law enforcement powers around the world were devised in the wake of tragedies.

That’s why what we’re hearing this week—in the wake of the attack on Charlie Hebdo—alarms us. On Friday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls suggested that “it will be necessary to take further measures” to address the threat of terrorism, despite the fact that French intelligence had collected “reams of intelligence” on the terror suspects, and despite a draconian anti-terror law established last November. As our German colleagues point out in a joint statement, France already has some of the strictest security measures in Europe.

Although Valls also stated that no law should be “built in haste,” our friends at French advocacy group La Quadrature du Net noted that in the days following the attack, the government notified Brussels (as required by law) of their intent to administratively block websites without judicial review under LOPPSI that incite, glorify, or justify terrorism. The decree was submitted under emergency seal allowing the French government to disappear whatever websites they deem unfit.

In neighboring Britain, domestic intelligence chief Andrew Parker has demanded greater authority for spies to counter extremism. On Thursday, Parker “warned against an atmosphere in which privacy was ‘so absolute and sacrosanct that terrorists and others who mean us harm can confidently operate from behind those walls without fear of detection’.” Prime Minister David Cameron followed up on Monday to say that, if he wins the election, he would “increase the authorities’ power to access both the details of communications and their content,” according to the BBC.

In his comments, Parker also alluded to cooperation from Internet companies. In the UK, Internet service providers already readily cooperate with law enforcement, agreeing recently to install reporting buttons for terrorist content, but the UK government has continued to press for more compliance from intermediaries.

Italian authorities are planning new legislation that would enable the government to seize the passports of those suspected of traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano stated Friday that Italy also needed “greater access to conversations between extremists online,” demanding help from Internet companies to provide the Italian government with better access to such data in order to create a “black list” of those who pose a security threat.

Politicians in the United States have also evoked the Charlie Hebdo attack in an attempt to justify existing surveillance programs. A report from the National Journal summarized public statements from Republican senators; one such statement, from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), read:

“I fear our intelligence capabilities, those designed to prevent such an attack from taking place on our shores, are quickly eroding. I believe our national security infrastructure designed to prevent these types of attacks from occurring is under siege.”

Mass surveillance doesn’t only infringe on our privacy, but also our ability to speak freely. As a recent PEN American study found, for writers around the world, surveillance has the effect of chilling speech. The knowledge, or even the perception of surveillance, can prompt writers to think twice before touching upon a given issue.

Let us resist attempts to use this tragic moment as an opportunity to advance law enforcement surveillance powers. Freedom of speech can only thrive when we also have the right to privacy.

Jillian C. York is the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s director for International Freedom of Expression.

More from Commondreams




Glenn Greenwald: Why Privacy Matters (TED)

Source: TED

Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”

 




Take Back Your Digital Privacy – For Free

Simon Black  |  Sovereign Man  |  Aug 15 2014

Spoleto, Italy

Back in March serious allegations came out of the Senate that the CIA was monitoring and even hacking Senate computers. They were denied vehemently at the time by CIA director John Brennan, who went so far as to say “that’s just beyond the scope of reason.”

Unsurprisingly, of course, the CIA has now come out saying that, yes, they did in fact spy on Senate aides’ computers. Oh, and that they’re sorry. Very sorry.

This is stuff that would have been a major scandal not too long ago, causing a public outcry for the heads of those responsible.

Today, it seems par for the course. It’s taken for granted that governments around the world, spearheaded by Uncle Sam, monitor communication via email, phone, social networks, webcam etc. en masse.

And nothing happens.

Despite Edward Snowden’s decision last year to basically condemn his life to that of a fugitive and branded “traitor” by shedding a major spotlight on just exactly how brazenly and extensively the US government invades the privacy of people all around the world, the reaction, at least in the US, was muted.

As the saying goes, ‘The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.’

Even though government surveillance is becoming more and more invasive, there are ways to shield yourself from prying eyes.

If you agree with the premise that every person has the right to protect their personal matters and privacy from the Big Brother, there are free options to use out there that can ensure your communications, your digital presence and activity, and your data remain secure and private.

For calls, for example, the company Open Whisper Systems has developed apps that protect the privacy of your voice conversations.

If you’re an Android user, Red Phone is an open source app that secures your calls with end-to-end encryption. It uses your normal phone number and default dialer so you make calls just as you normally would, with no additional layers or steps necessary to protect your privacy.

To secure your text messages, the same company also has an app TextSecure that does just that.

If you’re an iPhone user, the developers of Red Phone and TextSecure took care of you too.

You can achieve the same result by using a free app called Signal – Private Messenger. Just as Red Phone, Signal makes end-to-end encrypted calls through Wi-Fi or mobile data, instead of your phone network.

Protecting your calls and texts from prying eyes and ears is just one piece of the puzzle if you want to take back your privacy.

There are so many different layers that you can protect—from your internet browsing to online searches, email, your data storage, payments etc.

We cover all these different aspects and options in our free Digital Privacy Black Paper.

I encourage you not only to implement the stuff we talk about in the Black Paper in order to take back your privacy, but to also share it with your friends and loved ones.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.




From Ancient Egypt to Modern America, Spying Has Always Been Used to Crush Dissent

Source: Washington’s Blog

What Americans Need to Know About the History of Spying

Americans are told that we live in a “post-9/11 reality” that requires mass surveillance.

But the NSA was already conducting mass surveillance prior to 9/11 … including surveillance on the 9/11 hijackers.

And top security experts – including the highest-level government officials and the top university experts – say that mass surveillance actually increases terrorism and hurts security.

So why is the government conducting mass surveillance on the American people?

5,000 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent

For thousands of years, tyrants have spied on their own people in order to crush dissent.

Keith Laidler – a PhD anthropologist, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a past member of the Scientific Exploration Society – explains:

The rise of city states and empires … meant that each needed to know not only the disposition and morale of their enemy, but also the loyalty and general sentiment of their own population.

The Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security notes:

Espionage is one of the oldest, and most well documented, political and military arts. The rise of the great ancient civilizations, beginning 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, begat institutions and persons devoted to the security and preservation of their ruling regimes.

***

Early Egyptian pharaohs [some 5,000 years ago] employed agents of espionage to ferret-out disloyal subject and to locate tribes that could be conquered and enslaved.

***

The Roman Empire possessed a fondness for the practice of political espionage. Spies engaged in both foreign and domestic political operations, gauging the political climate of the Empire and surrounding lands by eavesdropping in the Forum or in public market spaces. Several ancient accounts, especially those of the A.D. first century, mention the presence of a secret police force, the frumentarii . By the third century, Roman authors noted the pervasiveness and excessive censorship of the secret police forces, likening them to an authoritative force or an occupational army.

The BBC notes:

In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was more powerful than most governments – and it had a powerful surveillance network to match.

French Bishop Bernard Gui was a noted author and one of the leading architects of the Inquisition in the late 13th and early 14th Centuries. For 15 years, he served as head inquisitor of Toulouse, where he convicted more than 900 individuals of heresy.

A noted author and historian, Gui was best known for the Conduct of the Inquisition into Heretical Depravity, written in 1323-24, in which he outlined the means for identifying, interrogating and punishing heretics.

The U.S. Supreme Court noted in Stanford v. Texas (1965):

While the Fourth Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] was most immediately the product of contemporary revulsion against a regime of writs of assistance, its roots go far deeper. Its adoption in the Constitution of this new Nation reflected the culmination in England a few years earlier of a struggle against oppression which had endured for centuries. The story of that struggle has been fully chronicled in the pages of this Court’s reports, and it would be a needless exercise in pedantry to review again the detailed history of the use of general warrants as instruments of oppression from the time of the Tudors, through the Star Chamber, the Long Parliament, the Restoration, and beyond.

What is significant to note is that this history is largely a history of conflict between the Crown and the press. It was in enforcing the laws licensing the publication of literature and, later, in prosecutions for seditious libel, that general warrants were systematically used in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In Tudor England, officers of the Crown were given roving commissions to search where they pleased in order to suppress and destroy the literature of dissent, both Catholic and Puritan. In later years, warrants were sometimes more specific in content, but they typically authorized of all persons connected of the premises of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel, or the arrest and seizure of all the papers of a named person thought to be connected with a libel.

By “libel”, the court is referring to a critique of the British government which the King or his ministers didn’t like … they would label such criticism “libel” and then seize all of the author’s papers.

The Supreme Court provided interesting historical details in the case of Marcus v. Search Warrant (1961):

The use by government of the power of search and seizure as an adjunct to a system for the suppression of objectionable publications … was a principal instrument for the enforcement of the Tudor licensing system. The Stationers’ Company was incorporated in 1557 to help implement that system, and was empowered

“to make search whenever it shall please them in any place, shop, house, chamber, or building or any printer, binder or bookseller whatever within our kingdom of England or the dominions of the same of or for any books or things printed, or to be printed, and to seize, take hold, burn, or turn to the proper use of the aforesaid community, all and several those books and things which are or shall be printed contrary to the form of any statute, act, or proclamation, made or to be made. . . .

An order of counsel confirmed and expanded the Company’s power in 1566, and the Star Chamber reaffirmed it in 1586 by a decree

“That it shall be lawful for the wardens of the said Company for the time being or any two of the said Company thereto deputed by the said wardens, to make search in all workhouses, shops, warehouses of printers, booksellers, bookbinders, or where they shall have reasonable cause of suspicion, and all books [etc.] . . . contrary to . . . these present ordinances to stay and take to her Majesty’s use. . . . ”

Books thus seized were taken to Stationers’ Hall where they were inspected by ecclesiastical officers, who decided whether they should be burnt. These powers were exercised under the Tudor censorship to suppress both Catholic and Puritan dissenting literature.

Each succeeding regime during turbulent Seventeenth Century England used the search and seizure power to suppress publications. James I commissioned the ecclesiastical judges comprising the Court of High Commission

“to enquire and search for . . . all heretical, schismatical and seditious books, libels, and writings, and all other books, pamphlets and portraitures offensive to the state or set forth without sufficient and lawful authority in that behalf, . . . and the same books [etc.] and their printing presses themselves likewise to seize and so to order and dispose of them . . . as they may not after serve or be employed for any such unlawful use. . . .”

The Star Chamber decree of 1637, reenacting the requirement that all books be licensed, continued the broad powers of the Stationers’ Company to enforce the licensing laws. During the political overturn of the 1640′s, Parliament on several occasions asserted the necessity of a broad search and seizure power to control printing. Thus, an order of 1648 gave power to the searchers

“to search in any house or place where there is just cause of suspicion that Presses are kept and employed in the printing of Scandalous and lying Pamphlets, . . . [and] to seize such scandalous and lying pamphlets as they find upon search. . . .”

The Restoration brought a new licensing act in 1662. Under its authority, “messengers of the press” operated under the secretaries of state, who issued executive warrants for the seizure of persons and papers. These warrants, while sometimes specific in content, often gave the most general discretionary authority. For example, a warrant to Roger L’Estrange, the Surveyor of the Press, empowered him to “seize all seditious books and libels and to apprehend the authors, contrivers, printers, publishers, and dispersers of them,” and to

search any house, shop, printing room, chamber, warehouse, etc. for seditious, scandalous or unlicensed pictures, books, or papers, to bring away or deface the same, and the letter press, taking away all the copies. . . .]”

***

Although increasingly attacked, the licensing system was continued in effect for a time even after the Revolution of 1688, and executive warrants continued to issue for the search for and seizure of offending books. The Stationers’ Company was also ordered

“to make often and diligent searches in all such places you or any of you shall know or have any probable reason to suspect, and to seize all unlicensed, scandalous books and pamphlets. . . .”

And even when the device of prosecution for seditious libel replaced licensing as the principal governmental control of the press, it too was enforced with the aid of general warrants — authorizing either the arrest of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel and the search of their premises or the seizure of all the papers of a named person alleged to be connected with the publication of a libel.

And see this.

General warrants were largely declared illegal in Britain in 1765. But the British continued to use general warrants in the American colonies. In fact, the Revolutionary War was largely launched to stop the use of general warrants in the colonies. King George gave various excuses of why general warrants were needed for the public good, of course … but such excuses were all hollow.

The New York Review of Books notes that the American government did not start to conduct mass surveillance against the American people until long after the Revolutionary War ended … but once started, the purpose was to crush dissent:

In the United States, political spying by the federal government began in the early part of the twentieth century, with the creation of the Bureau of Investigation in the Department of Justice on July 1, 1908. In more than one sense, the new agency was a descendant of the surveillance practices developed in France a century earlier, since it was initiated by US Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte, a great nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, who created it during a Congressional recess. Its establishment was denounced by Congressman Walter Smith of Iowa, who argued that “No general system of spying upon and espionage of the people, such as has prevailed in Russia, in France under the Empire, and at one time in Ireland, should be allowed to grow up.”

Nonetheless, the new Bureau became deeply engaged in political surveillance during World War I when federal authorities sought to gather information on those opposing American entry into the war and those opposing the draft. As a result of this surveillance, many hundreds of people were prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act and the 1918 Sedition Act for the peaceful expression of opinion about the war and the draft.

But it was during the Vietnam War that political surveillance in the United States reached its peak. Under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and, to an even greater extent, Richard Nixon, there was a systematic effort by various agencies, including the United States Army, to gather information on those involved in anti-war protests. Millions of Americans took part in such protests and the federal government—as well as many state and local agencies—gathered enormous amounts of information on them. Here are just three of the numerous examples of political surveillance in that era:

  • In the 1960s in Rochester, New York, the local police department launched Operation SAFE (Scout Awareness for Emergency). It involved twenty thousand boy scouts living in the vicinity of Rochester. They got identification cards marked with their thumb prints. On the cards were the telephone numbers of the local police and the FBI. The scouts participating in the program were given a list of suspicious activities that they were to report.
  • In 1969, the FBI learned that one of the sponsors of an anti-war demonstration in Washington, DC, was a New York City-based organization, the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee, that chartered buses to take protesters to the event. The FBI visited the bank where the organization maintained its account to get photocopies of the checks written to reserve places on the buses and, thereby, to identify participants in the demonstration. One of the other federal agencies given the information by the FBI was the Internal Revenue Service.

***

The National Security Agency was involved in the domestic political surveillance of that era as well. Decades before the Internet, under the direction of President Nixon, the NSA made arrangements with the major communications firms of the time such as RCA Global and Western Union to obtain copies of telegrams. When the matter came before the courts, the Nixon Administration argued that the president had inherent authority to protect the country against subversion. In a unanimous decision in 1972, however, the US Supreme Court rejected the claim that the president had the authority to disregard the requirement of the Fourth Amendment for a judicial warrant.

***

Much of the political surveillance of the 1960s and the 1970s and of the period going back to World War I consisted in efforts to identify organizations that were critical of government policies, or that were proponents of various causes the government didn’t like, and to gather information on their adherents. It was not always clear how this information was used. As best it is possible to establish, the main use was to block some of those who were identified with certain causes from obtaining public employment or some kinds of private employment. Those who were victimized in this way rarely discovered the reason they had been excluded.

Efforts to protect civil liberties during that era eventually led to the destruction of many of these records, sometimes after those whose activities were monitored were given an opportunity to examine them. In many cases, this prevented surveillance records from being used to harm those who were spied on. Yet great vigilance by organizations such as the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought a large number of court cases challenging political surveillance, was required to safeguard rights. The collection of data concerning the activities of US citizens did not take place for benign purposes.

***

Between 1956 and 1971, the FBI operated a program known as COINTELPRO, for Counter Intelligence Program. Its purpose was to interfere with the activities of the organizations and individuals who were its targets or, in the words of long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize” them. The first target was the Communist Party of the United States, but subsequent targets ranged from the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference to organizations espousing women’s rights to right wing organizations such as the National States Rights Party.

A well-known example of COINTELPRO was the FBI’s planting in 1964 of false documents about William Albertson, a long-time Communist Party official, that persuaded the Communist Party that Albertson was an FBI informant. Amid major publicity, Albertson was expelled from the party, lost all his friends, and was fired from his job. Until his death in an automobile accident in 1972, he tried to prove that he was not a snitch, but the case was not resolved until 1989, when the FBI agreed to pay Albertson’s widow $170,000 to settle her lawsuit against the government.

COINTELPRO was eventually halted by J. Edgar Hoover after activists broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in 1971, and released stolen documents about the program to the press. The lesson of COINTELPRO is that any government agency that is able to gather information through political surveillance will be tempted to use that information. After a time, the passive accumulation of data may seem insufficient and it may be used aggressively. This may take place long after the information is initially collected and may involve officials who had nothing to do with the original decision to engage in surveillance.

The East German Stasi obviously used mass surveillance to crush dissent and keep it’s officials in check (and falsely claimed that spying was necessary to protect people against vague threats.)

In 1972, the CIA director relabeled “dissidents” as “terrorists” so he could continue spying on them.

During the Vietnam war, the NSA spied on Senator Frank Church because of his criticism of the Vietnam War. The NSA also spied on Senator Howard Baker.

Senator Church – the head of a congressional committee investigating Cointelpro – warned in 1975:

[NSA’s] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.

This is, in fact, what’s happened …

Initially, American constitutional law experts say that the NSA is doing exactly the same thing to the American people today which King George did to the Colonists … using “general warrant” type spying.

And it is clear that the government is using its massive spy programs in order to track those who question government policies. See this, this, this and this.

Todd Gitlin – chair of the PhD program in communications at Columbia University, and a professor of journalism and sociology – notes:

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) has unearthed documents showing that, in 2011 and 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies were busy surveilling and worrying about a good number of Occupy groups — during the very time that they were missing actual warnings about actual terrorist actions.

From its beginnings, the Occupy movement was of considerable interest to the DHS, the FBI, and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, while true terrorists were slipping past the nets they cast in the wrong places. In the fall of 2011, the DHS specifically asked its regional affiliates to report on “Peaceful Activist Demonstrations, in addition to reporting on domestic terrorist acts and ‘significant criminal activity.’”

Aware that Occupy was overwhelmingly peaceful, the federally funded Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), one of 77 coordination centers known generically as “fusion centers,” was busy monitoring Occupy Boston daily. As the investigative journalist Michael Isikoff recently reported, they were not only tracking Occupy-related Facebook pages and websites but “writing reports on the movement’s potential impact on ‘commercial and financial sector assets.’”

It was in this period that the FBI received the second of two Russian police warnings about the extremist Islamist activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the future Boston Marathon bomber. That city’s police commissioner later testified that the federal authorities did not pass any information at all about the Tsarnaev brothers on to him, though there’s no point in letting the Boston police off the hook either. The ACLU has uncovered documents showing that, during the same period, they were paying close attention to the internal workings of…Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.

***

In Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, intelligence was not only pooled among public law enforcement agencies, but shared with private corporations — and vice versa.

Nationally, in 2011, the FBI and DHS were, in the words of Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, “treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.” Last December using FOIA, PCJF obtained 112 pages of documents (heavily redacted) revealing a good deal of evidence for what might otherwise seem like an outlandish charge: that federal authorities were, in Verheyden-Hilliard’s words, “functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.” Consider these examples from PCJF’s summary of federal agencies working directly not only with local authorities but on behalf of the private sector:

• “As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest.”

• “The FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to… [22] campus police officials… A representative of the State University of New York at Oswego contacted the FBI for information on the OWS protests and reported to the FBI on the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment made up of students and professors.”

• An entity called the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the private sector,” sent around information regarding Occupy protests at West Coast ports [on Nov. 2, 2011] to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report contained “a ‘handling notice’ that the information is ‘meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…’ Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) reported to DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor.”

• DSAC gave tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest,” which it defined as running the gamut from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” ***

• The FBI in Anchorage, Jacksonville, Tampa, Richmond, Memphis, Milwaukee, and Birmingham also gathered information and briefed local officials on wholly peaceful Occupy activities.

• In Jackson, Mississippi, FBI agents “attended a meeting with the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for ‘National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day’ on December 7, 2011.” Also in Jackson, “the Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a ‘Counterterrorism Preparedness’ alert” that, despite heavy redactions, notes the need to ‘document…the Occupy Wall Street Movement.’”

***

In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee learned … that the Tennessee Fusion Center was “highlighting on its website map of ‘Terrorism Events and Other Suspicious Activity’ a recent ACLU-TN letter to school superintendents. The letter encourages schools to be supportive of all religious beliefs during the holiday season.”

***

Consider an “intelligence report” from the North Central Texas fusion center, which in a 2009 “Prevention Awareness Bulletin” described, in the ACLU’s words, “a purported conspiracy between Muslim civil rights organizations, lobbying groups, the anti-war movement, a former U.S. Congresswoman, the U.S. Treasury Department, and hip hop bands to spread tolerance in the United States, which would ‘provide an environment for terrorist organizations to flourish.’”

***

And those Virginia and Texas fusion centers were hardly alone in expanding the definition of “terrorist” to fit just about anyone who might oppose government policies. According to a 2010 report in the Los Angeles Times, the Justice Department Inspector General found that “FBI agents improperly opened investigations into Greenpeace and several other domestic advocacy groups after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and put the names of some of their members on terrorist watch lists based on evidence that turned out to be ‘factually weak.’” The Inspector General called “troubling” what the Los Angeles Times described as “singling out some of the domestic groups for investigations that lasted up to five years, and were extended ‘without adequate basis.’

Subsequently, the FBI continued to maintain investigative files on groups like Greenpeace, the Catholic Worker, and the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, cases where (in the politely put words of the Inspector General’s report) “there was little indication of any possible federal crimes… In some cases, the FBI classified some investigations relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its ‘acts of terrorism’ classification.”

***

In Pittsburgh, on the day after Thanksgiving 2002 (“a slow work day” in the Justice Department Inspector General’s estimation), a rookie FBI agent was outfitted with a camera, sent to an antiwar rally, and told to look for terrorism suspects. The “possibility that any useful information would result from this make-work assignment was remote,” the report added drily.

“The agent was unable to identify any terrorism subjects at the event, but he photographed a woman in order to have something to show his supervisor. He told us he had spoken to a woman leafletter at the rally who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, and that she was probably the person he photographed.”

The sequel was not quite so droll. The Inspector General found that FBI officials, including their chief lawyer in Pittsburgh, manufactured postdated “routing slips” and the rest of a phony paper trail to justify this surveillance retroactively.

Moreover, at least one fusion center has involved military intelligence in civilian law enforcement. In 2009, a military operative from Fort Lewis, Washington, worked undercover collecting information on peace groups in the Northwest. In fact, he helped run the Port Militarization Resistance group’s Listserv. Once uncovered, he told activists there were others doing similar work in the Army. How much the military spies on American citizens is unknown and, at the moment at least, unknowable.

Do we hear an echo from the abyss of the counterintelligence programs of the 1960s and 1970s, when FBI memos — I have some in my own heavily redacted files obtained through an FOIA request — were routinely copied to military intelligence units? Then, too, military intelligence operatives spied on activists who violated no laws, were not suspected of violating laws, and had they violated laws, would not have been under military jurisdiction in any case. During those years, more than 1,500 Army intelligence agents in plain clothes were spying, undercover, on domestic political groups (according to Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics, 1967-70, an unpublished dissertation by former Army intelligence captain Christopher H. Pyle). They posed as students, sometimes growing long hair and beards for the purpose, or as reporters and camera crews. They recorded speeches and conversations on concealed tape recorders. The Army lied about their purposes, claiming they were interested solely in “civil disturbance planning.”

Mass surveillance is also being conducted to stop peaceful boycotts.

Glenn Greenwald notes that the list of people targeted for mass surveillance by the American government have included:

  • “Anyone who uses online tools to promote political ideals”
  • Those who express “radical” ideas
  • “Americans opposed to the Iraq war, including Quakers and student groups“
  • “Non-violent protesters”
  • “Political opponents”
  • “Environmental activists, broad swaths of anti-government rightwing groups, anti-war activists, and associations organised around Palestinian rights
  • “Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement, … environmentalists”
  • “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, black nationalist movements, socialist and communist organizations, … and various rightwing groups”

And the head of the NSA’s digital communications surveillance program, a high-level NSA executive, the NSA whistleblower who was the source of the New York Times’ groundbreaking expose on spying and Edward Snowden have all said that NSA spying is about crushing dissent … not protecting us from terrorists.

A Key Characteristic of Fascism

Naomi Wolf notes that mass surveillance is one of the 10 key characteristics of fascism:

In Mussolini’s Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China – in every closed society – secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours.

***

In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about “national security”; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

The Constitution Society points out:

The methods used to overthrow a constitutional order and establish a tyranny are well-known.

***

Internal spying and surveillance is the beginning. A sign is false prosecutions of their leaders

Glenn Greenwald writes:

“Doing something wrong” in the eyes of [authoritarian] institutions encompasses far more than illegal acts, violent behavior 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.

Even the quintessential defender of the status quo for the powers-that-be – Cass Sunstein – notes that benevolent rulers don’t need to spy on their own people like tyrants do:

As a general rule, tyrants, far more than democratic rulers, need guns, ammunition, spies, and police officers. Their decrees will rarely be self-implementing. Terror is required.

 

Note: For ease of reading, we deleted the footnotes from the two Supreme Court opinions.

Article Source: Washington’s Blog

Featured Image: J. Edgar Hoover – the long-time director of the FBI (1924-1972)