(Caroline May) The Department of Homeland Security plans to purchase 75.1 million rounds of ammunition at a cost of $22.7 million this year, according to a newly released report from the Government Accountability Office.
GAO reports that DHS has over 70,000 firearm-carrying personnel and that the ammo purchases go largely to firearm training and qualification requirements.
“DHS components maintain inventories of ammunition to help ensure they have sufficient ammunition for the training and operational needs of their officers, as there can be months-long delays between placing an order for ammunition and receiving it,” GAO reports. “As of October 2013, DHS estimates it had approximately 159 million rounds in inventory, enough to last about 22 months to meet the training and operational needs of its firearm-carrying personnel.”
According to the GAO, DHS’ annual ammunition purchases have been on the decline since FY 2009 and are about at the same level as the Department of Justice’s ammo purchases.
In 2013, DHS purchases 84.4 million rounds of ammo at a cost of $19.9 million; in 2012 it bought 96 rounds at a cost of $30.3 million; 2011 it bought 100.3 million for $30.2; in 2010 it purchased 117 million for $31.6 million; and in 2009 the department bought 132.9 rounds for $33.8 million.
GAO notes that the department is planning to buy 75.1 million rounds for $22.7 million this year.
DHS officials told GAO that the decline in level of ammo purchases in 2013 was largely due to a tightening budget, “which meant reducing the number of training classes, and drawing on their ammunition inventories.”
“From fiscal years 2008 through 2013, DHS purchased an average of 109 million rounds of ammunition for training, qualification, and operational needs, according to DHS data,” GAO reports. “DHS’s ammunition purchases over the 6-year period equates to an average of 1,200 rounds purchased per firearm-carrying agent or officer per year. Over the past 3 fiscal years (2011-2013), DHS purchased an average of 1,000 rounds per firearm-carrying agent or officer and selected DOJ components purchased 1,300 rounds per firearm-carrying agent or officer.”
(Noel Brinkerhoff) Established to provide security on campus, many university police forces are expanding their jurisdictions beyond school grounds and into surrounding neighborhoods.
Campus police and their supporters say the broadening of patrols increases public safety for students and local residents. It also helps city police by easing their workload in areas close to colleges.
Jeff Corcoran, interim chief of the University of Cincinnati police force, told the Associated Press it’s now expected among both students and parents that campus cops will take care of the vicinity around higher education institutions.
“It used to be we were responsible for the campus. Now there’s an expectation, I think, especially with parents, but to a large extent among students, that we’re also responsible for these areas off campus,” Corcoran said. “We’re getting pushed to ignore those imaginary lines on the map and be more proactive in that area.”
This expansion does not sit well with everyone. Some residents note that campus police officers don’t undergo the same amount of training as regular police, and yet, they’re patrolling city streets.
Furthermore, private schools aren’t required under public records laws to release the same information as public institutions, which means a lack of accountability for certain campus police.
“If one of their policemen acted inappropriately, there would be hardly any recourse. We’d have no information, no follow-up,” Ken Durham, a longtime resident of Foggy Bottom, the neighborhood that encompasses George Washington University, which is considering broadening its police authority, said.
Marina Streznewski, president of the Foggy Bottom Association, echoed this concern: “Expanding the police powers of a university police force without some kind of clear and transparent mechanism is a really bad idea.”
(David J. Krajicek) In his first interview since he was jailed last month for contempt of court, Alabama journalist Roger Shuler said he will stay behind bars indefinitely rather than comply with a judge’s “unlawful” order to scrub his blog of scandalous stories he posted about a powerful Alabama politician’s son.
“Free press, free speech, the First Amendment—none of this means anything to these people,” Shuler said. “I don’t see any reason I should remove the material. Is a person obliged to take an action based on a judge’s unlawful order?”
Shuler, 56, spoke to WhoWhatWhy by videophone at the Shelby County Jail in this town 30 miles south of Birmingham. He seemed determined, lucid and optimistic, and he said he had been treated well by guards and inmates alike at the 500-bed jail.
“It’s not real fun being here,” he said, “but I’m doing OK.”
WhoWhatWhy, which reported earlier on his arrest and the free press implications, was Shuler’s first jail visitor since his October 23 arrest. His visitations are limited to a 30-minute window each Sunday afternoon. He speaks to his wife, Carol, nearly every day by phone, but she is hunkered down in their Birmingham home, fearing arrest if she leaves since she is a party to the same contempt ruling.
Shuler said he was encouraged by the attention his controversial case has gained in the alternative media and news outlets in Alabama—positive or not.
“Whether he’s a First Amendment martyr or a scurrilous gossip-monger depends on who you ask,” reporter Mike McClanahan said of Shuler in a story aired on WIAT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Birmingham. The report called the case “a combination political soap opera and battle over the free press.”
“I’m actually pleasantly surprised that it’s getting out there,” Shuler said. “These cases are not easy for the public to comprehend.”
Affair and Abortion Alleged
The contempt citation that landed Shuler in jail without bail concerns his “Legal Schnauzer” blog posts earlier this year that alleged an affairbetween Liberty Duke, a lobbyist in Alabama, and Robert (Rob) Riley, Jr., a Birmingham attorney and namesake of a two-term Republican governor of Alabama.
Shuler reported that Duke got pregnant, and “Republican insiders” paid her as much as $300,000 to have an abortion and to “stay quiet on the subject.” Both Riley and Duke were married to other people at the time. They denied the affair and filed a defamation lawsuit against Shuler.
The stakes are high for Rob Riley, whose name has been floated as a likely candidate for a soon-to-be-vacant U.S. congressional seat in the Birmingham area.
Shuler said he stands by his reporting, with sources that “go right up to the Riley family.”
A retired Alabama circuit judge, Claud Neilson, was appointed to the case by Roy Moore, the controversial State Supreme Court chief justice. Neilson took the extraordinary steps of sealing the case file and ordering Shuler to remove all content about the alleged affair from his blog. When the stories were not taken down and Shuler failed to appear at court hearings, Neilson held him in contempt, ordered his arrest and jailed him without bail.
The Alabama ACLU and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have protested the judge’s scrub order as unlawful prior restraint under well-established First Amendment case law.
“The judge hasn’t made a single lawful order in this case,” Shuler told WhoWhatWhy.
Court Proceedings ‘an Insult to Kangaroos’
Wearing manacles, chains and jailbird orange, Shuler finally faced Neilson in court on Nov. 14, when the judge made permanent his injunction ordering Shuler to remove the blog content. According to Shuler, when he explained that he was unable to remove the posts while in custody, the judge curtly replied, “That’s your problem.”
“To call it a kangaroo court is an insult to kangaroos,” Shuler said. “It’s worse than a joke.”
The day after making that comment, he got a measure of affirmation from an unexpected source.
On Nov. 18, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would decline to hear the case of a convicted cop-killer from Montgomery who was spared the death penalty by an Alabama jury only to be subsequently sentenced to death anyway by the trial judge. Only three states allow the practice of “judicial overrides,” and 26 of the 27 overrides recorded since 2000 have occurred in Alabama.
In an unusual dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that “Alabama stands alone” in the highly politicized practice, where judges are motivated by re-election, not justice. She wrote:
What could explain Alabama judges’ distinctive proclivity for imposing death sentences in cases where a jury has already rejected that penalty? There is no evidence that criminal activity is more heinous in Alabama than in other states, or that Alabama juries are particularly lenient in weighing aggravating and mitigating circumstances. The only answer that is supported by empirical evidence is one that, in my view, casts a cloud of illegitimacy over the criminal justice system: Alabama judges, who are elected in partisan proceedings, appear to have succumbed to electoral pressures.
One Alabama judge, who has overridden jury verdicts to impose the death penalty on six occasions, campaigned by running several advertisements voicing his support for capital punishment. One of these ads boasted that he had “presided over more than 9,000 cases, including some of the most heinous murder trials in our history,” and expressly named some of the defendants whom he had sentenced to death, in at least one case over a jury’s contrary judgment.
The retired judge presiding over Roger Shuler’s case has also been singled out for blatant death penalty electioneering from the bench, WhoWhatWhy has learned.
Judge Claud Neilson was appointed by Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1974, when Neilson was still in his 30s. Like Wallace, Neilson was a Yellow Dog Democrat. He spent decades as a circuit judge covering three counties in west-central Alabama.
In 1994, he ran for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court. In a campaign ad, Neilson touted his fidelity to capital punishment, boasting that he “had looked into the eyes of murderers and sentenced them to death,” according to research by the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama nonprofit advocacy group.
Neilson lost in the primary. But he has been called on frequently to preside over special-assignment cases, like Rob Riley’s.
After one of those cases, concerning alleged misdeeds by a judge in Mobile, Neilson explained in an interview with a TV reporter that he uses a “gut feeling” judicial style.
“Well, I’ve been a judge for 35 years, and I have watched people testify in court, and I just had the feeling on some of them,” Neilson said. “It’s just something that if you’ve done it for as long as I have, you kinda size up people and kinda have a gut feeling that maybe they may not be telling the truth.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor
About one-fifth of the 193 men and women on Death Row in Alabama were condemned through judicial overrides of jury sentences. The Equal Justice Initiative has produced numerous reports about the “unreliable, unpredictable and arbitrary” practice—so far to no avail in the Republican-dominated state.
Afraid to Answer the Door
The stakes are not quite so high for Shuler, but resolution won’t come easy.
Even some supporters have questioned Shuler’s strategies, suggesting he could have avoided jail by appearing in court when summoned. A Shelby County sheriff’s lieutenant says he served papers to Shuler on Sept. 29, but Shuler threw them out his car window.
Shuler insisted he was not legally served because the documents were not placed in his hand. He admitted he and his wife refused to answer the doorwhen deputies visited his home a number of times in the weeks before he was arrested. He said they were afraid.
“We had a bunch of thugs come to our door,” he said. “It looked like a raid—like they were there to bust a meth lab.”
He said he is deeply suspicious of the criminal justice system in Alabama—one of the reasons Shuler said he will represent himself in the case, as he has done in a number of previous legal skirmishes.
He quickly added, “I’m not some whack job who doesn’t want help. I want legal help, but it has to be the right kind of help. I’ve had some bad experiences with lawyers, and those experiences tell me that lawyers tend to take your money and represent the other side.”
Blog Emerged After Dispute With Neighbor
His skepticism is informed by the original inspiration for his blog: a barking-dog dispute with a new neighbor in 1998 that escalated into a long, bitter, costly court battle.
Shuler lost, even after paying lawyers $12,000. In his first blog post, on June 3, 2007, the former newspaperman and university publications editor wrote:
I used to think that I probably would never be involved in a court case. And if I was somehow involved, I figured the judge (or judges) surely would rule according to the law. After all, they wear robes, we call them “your honor,” we rise when they come into the courtroom. Of all people, surely a judge would be honest.
This blog will show you how wrong I was. It will show you how judges and attorneys conspire to cheat some people and favor others. It will show you how politics raises its ugly head in our courtrooms. It will show you how you can figure out if you are being cheated by a judge or an attorney (even your own!). And it will show you what you can do about it.
Soon, Shuler was posting as frequently as five times a week with stories—most featuring his own research—about what he called “a culture of corruption that permeates Alabama’s justice system.” His favored subjects involve duplicity, corruption and moral indiscretion by the Deep South political elite.
Among the stories he has featured:
Advocacy on behalf of Don Siegelman, a Democratic former governor of Alabama who was convicted on controversial corruption charges.
Broad criticism of Bob Riley, his latest legal adversary’s father, who served as governor of Alabama from 2002 to 2010.
Relentless criticism of the legal profession for, among many other things, its failure at self-regulation.
Karl Rove, the Republican politico who used Alabama to test his Texas-born strategies of politicizing state judges by finagling appointment of pro-business Republicans to a judiciary that had been largely Democratic.
And then there are the more tawdry subjects, like the Riley-Duke stories.
In September 2013 alone, Shuler revealed an alleged past affair involving Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and a former campaign aide, and he posted a nude photo (allegedly from a gay porn site in 1997) that purported to show William Pryor, a federal circuit judge from Alabama.
Shuler is unapologetic. He said he views his reporting on personal indiscretions as comeuppance for hypocritical public figures who campaign on family and faith but live quite differently.
WhoWhatWhy asked Shuler about his endgame.
“I want to play offense,” said the former sportswriter. “I’m not just playing defense.”
He said he saw a number of legal issues on which he could base “major counterclaims.” Of course, any legal action he brings would go through the same court system that he sees as hopelessly corrupt.
(Perry Chiaramonte) Not only could you “shoot your eye out, kid,” you might also go to jail for owning that BB gun in certain states.
New Jersey and other jurisdictions make little or no distinction between Daisy’s classic Red Ryder BB gun immortalized in the film “A Christmas Story,” and real guns. They must be registered and are subject to the same laws as any firearms.
“In all honesty, kids who are charged are looking at mandatory jail time,” said New Jersey attorney William Proetta, adding that under the state’s Graves Act, a conviction could lead to prison time. “The only defense is to request a waiver but if that’s not granted, young kids can get a felony charge and their lives are basically over.”
“In all honesty, kids who are charged are looking at mandatory jail time.”
- William Proetta, New Jersey attorney
Virginia, which treats the rite-of-passage toys as firearms if they are used during criminal conduct, and other municipalities also heavily regulate BB guns. But New Jersey goes the farthest, according to Proetta.
New Jersey’s strict Graves Act gun law covers possession of a BB gun right alongside serious gun control measures outlawing sawed-off shotguns, filing serial numbers off of guns or using firearms to commit crimes. Violating the act can bring a minimum three-year prison term and steep fines.
And the law is enforced. As recently as October, a man was arrested in New Jersey for shooting an airsoft gun at a rubber duck for target practice, in his own yard. Idyriss Thomas, 22, was arrested in Glassboro, N.J., after police responded to multiple 911 calls from neighbors who reported seeing a man with a gun. Once police determined the gun was unlicensed, Thomas was taken to jail and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. His family posted a $2,500 bond.
“I didn’t realize that what I had in my hand would cause the events that happened today,” Thomas told Philadelphia’s WPVI. “I had the airsoft gun in my hand, playing with it, taking shots at a rubber ducky – not harming anybody.”
Proetta said that depending which county in New Jersey a hearing is held in, a judge will issue a waiver on the Graves Act, or allow charges to be downgraded. But they don’t have to.
“Courts will work closely on each case,” Proetta said. “But in a few counties like you could face some serious charges.”
A spokesperson for Rogers, Ark.,-based Daisy, told FoxNews.com that while the company disagrees with BB gun regulations like that seen in New Jersey, the company makes every effort to uphold the law.
“In our opinion and the federal government’s, our products are not firearms as there is no combustion in the chamber,” Daisy spokesman Joe Murfin said. “While we disagree, we respect a state’s law for whatever reason they may have one.”
(Joe Wolverton, II, J.D) As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) doles out billions of dollars to convince local police departments to surrender control to the federal agency, a recent report indicates that intelligence gathered at precincts-cum-surveillance-centers will be shared among all levels of law enforcement.
An article published by Fierce Homeland Security on November 4 reports:
The phenomenon of fusion centers sharing intelligence and skills with each other — not just with the federal government — is a new and underappreciated aspect of the centers, panelists at a Homeland Security Policy Institute event said.
Fusion centers mainly apply national intelligence to local contexts and gather information locally that they can share with federal agencies. But in recent years, a great deal of “horizontal sharing” has occurred, where fusion centers work closely with each other, said Ross Ashley, the executive director of National Fusion Center Association.
“We’ll find an expert in Washington state on international human trafficking over international ferry systems. Well, I don’t need that expert everywhere. What I need is the ability to reach out to that expert if I’m in West Virginia,” he said at the event, held Oct. 23 in Washington, D.C.
That meeting, entitled “State and Local Fusion Centers: Key Challenges for the Next Decade,” featured three panelists: John Cohen, principal deputy under secretary for intelligence and analysis, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Thomas Kirk, director, West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center; and Ross Ashley, executive director, National Fusion Center Association. The keynote address was delivered by Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
In July, McCaul co-authored with Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) a report on the progress of the establishment of the nationwide spread of the fusion centers. The press release announcing the report reveals the pair’s support for a program that dismantles federalism and accelerates the militarization of local police and the consolidation of control of those departments to the federal government. The McCaul-King report states:
Fusion centers serve as hubs of strategic analysis and information sharing where Federal, State, and local agencies are all represented in one location. State and local crime data is coordinated, gathered and reviewed to determine if there is any potential connection to terrorist activity. In addition, Federal terrorism-related information is shared with State and local law enforcement.
Seems the congressmen should be reminded of the fact that there is not a single syllable of the Constitution authorizing any such federal participation in law enforcement. If the power isn’t granted to the federal government in the Constitution, then authority over that area remains with the states and the people as described in the Tenth Amendment.
Remarkably, McCaul and King lament the fact that the chain of fusion centers isn’t growing quickly enough and the DHS isn’t getting adequate access to all that information. The report adds:
The Committee’s review concludes that the Network is not functioning as cohesively as it should be and fusion centers are facing numerous challenges that prevent the Network from realizing its full potential to help secure the homeland.
Of course, there couldn’t be a piece of federal police and surveillance program propaganda without reminding citizens that all this deprivation of their rights is for their safety. As if to say, if the federal government doesn’t take control of your local police department and keep all citizens under surveillance, the terrorists will strike again.
The representatives’ zeal for constructing local outposts of the central surveillance headquarters is not surprising. Self-serving bureaucrats inside the U.S. government are tirelessly trying to obliterate local police forces answerable to local citizens and promote the consolidation movement as a step toward federalization of law enforcement. These proponents of regional and national police forces desire nothing less than the eradication of all local police departments and sheriffs’ offices, the surrender of state and municipal sovereignty, and the conversion of police into federal security agents sworn not to protect and to serve their neighbors, but to protect the prerogatives of politicians.
Take for example the information contained in a White Paper presented in 2012 to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In that report, the DHS is encouraged to embark on an “evolving mission” away from its ostensible purpose of fighting terrorism, toward becoming the administrator of an enormous domestic intelligence agency resulting from an integration of the country’s local and state law-enforcement agencies.
This report was written by the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, co-chaired by former DHS chief Michael Chertoff. The blueprint promoted in the White Paper pushes Congress toward green-lighting the growth of DHS and the dissolution of local police and sheriffs.
The organization described in the paper, entitled “Homeland Security and Intelligence: Next Steps in Evolving the Mission,” is reminiscent of more draconian governments. For example, one section of the report calls for a transition in the mission of DHS away from protecting the country from the “terrorism” of foreign militants and toward “more specific homeward focused areas.” Additional sections of the report lay out the plans for building a DHS/police hybrid agency that can monitor Americans in any town and prevent threats from fellow citizens.
In order to achieve their ultimate aim, the globalists demand that DHS or some other federal agency take control of the personnel decisions currently made by local police chiefs and county sheriffs. “As the threat grows more localized,” the report claims, “the federal government’s need to train, and even staff, local agencies, such as major city police departments, will grow.” Put another way: The federal government will run your local police department and sheriff’s office.
The establishment of fusion centers is a key component of this plan. The following information is taken from a fact sheet on fusion centers posted on the DHS website:
A fusion center is a collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise and information to the center with the goal of maximizing their ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.
A description of the functioning of these incubators for the forthcoming federal police force is also provided on the DHS site:
State and major urban area fusion centers (fusion centers) serve as primary focal points within the state and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) partners…. Fusion centers conduct analysis and facilitate information sharing, assisting law enforcement and homeland security partners in preventing, protecting against, and responding to crime and terrorism.
The literature promoting the acceptance of fusion centers lists several ways the new federal agency will impose its will on the formerly autonomous and accountable police chief or county sheriff.
Last year, The New American described the likely procedure:
First, the feds will decide where and when to deploy local police department personnel. The chief, if he still exists, will be no more than a functionary required to make sure that the orders of the federal government are carried out. More likely than not, these new missions, in addition to preventing crime in the city or county, will engage in the collection of information about and apprehension of those local citizens identified by a committee in Washington as posing a threat to national security. Consider the revelation in 2009 that Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis released a document entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalism and Recruitment,” which listed war veterans, anti-abortion activists, small-government advocates, and those concerned about immigration as terrorist risks.
Second, DHS (or whichever one of the federal agencies eventually takes over law-enforcement duties) will train new recruits. Policies, procedures, and purposes will not reflect traditional (and constitutional) goals of law enforcement, but will be tailored to training officers to perform those duties associated with the new, national emphasis of the force, with a slant toward federalism.
Finally, funds for this conversion from local police department to outpost of the federal law-enforcement agency will be provided by the bureaucrats on Capitol Hill. This carrot will be tied to the stick of federal control.
The speed and success of the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to string together a powerful net of surveillance-focused fusion centers in all the country’s police departments is evident in the following statement at the Homeland Security Policy Institute’s meeting made by Thomas Kirk, director of the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center:
“In all law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “Most of the time when I call another fusion center director, they know my voice.”
(Neal Ungerleider) Since 2001, armed Predator drones have been used by the CIA in many foreign nations to attack individuals on the ground. There’s a new revelation about them, too: In some cases, the NSA helped the CIA find targets by locking onto their powered-off mobile phones. Even when phones have their batteries removed, it appears the NSA still has the ability to locate them.
Buried inside a Washington Post story by Dana Priest is the following tidbit:
By September 2004, a new NSA technique enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off. JSOC troops called this “The Find,” and it gave them thousands of new targets, including members of a burgeoning al-Qaeda-sponsored insurgency in Iraq, according to members of the unit.
At the same time, the NSA developed a new computer linkup called the Real Time Regional Gateway into which the military and intelligence officers could feed every bit of data or seized documents and get back a phone number or list of potential targets. It also allowed commanders to see, on a screen, every type of surveillance available in a given territory.
“The Find,” the Post article says, is run by a team in the basement of the NSA’s headquarters whose job is to track the location of mobile phones in real time. Because many phones have chips that stay on even after a battery has been removed, tracking powered-down phones is within the realm of possibility.
The revelations fit right in with the Edward Snowden disclosures, but the NSA isn’t the only one tracking phones: Other government agencies and private companies regularly track them without warrants or court orders as well.
(Thomas Dishaw) Over the years the TSA has incrementally managed to intrude many areas of our lives. Inherited powers that were granted to us by The Constitution and Bill of Rights have now strategically been thrown out the window to “protect” you and your family from a fake war on terror. Unbeknownst to most the situation is much deeper than that. The TSA is here to intimidate you psychologically and physically , just examine their secret motto “Dominate. Intimidate. Control,” which is hidden at the TSA’s air martial training center, strategically kept off of badges and insignia, and away from most of the general public.
The rollout of the TSA was never planned for airports, it was much grander than that. The social controllers, paid off politicians, law makers, and a laundry list of Government agencies have all dreamed of turning the United States into one united police state, ultimately keeping the slaves under control while the political law breakers remain in power to acquire massive amounts of wealth as they sit in office.
Incrementally we are witnessing a total TSA takeover of America and unfortunately it is happening in many areas of our lives.
Unfortunately the most horrendous yet accepted actions by the general public is the unconstitutional treatment we receive when traveling through airports. The TSA goons, made up of petty criminals, pedophiles, and over zealous, power-hungry, megalomaniacs are quick to use their empty badges and unjust power to strip you of your basic rights. While the mainstream media is quick to highlight stories of stolen luggage, they fail to point out the unconstitutional violations of the TSA’s actions.
“Pre Check.” It has special lanes for background-checked travelers, who can keep their shoes, belt and jacket on, leave laptops and liquids in carry-on bags and walk through a metal detector rather than a full-body scan. The process, now at two airlines and nine airports, is much like how screenings worked before the Sept. 11 attacks.
To qualify, frequent fliers must meet undisclosed TSA criteria and get invited in by the airlines. There is also a backdoor in. Approved travelers who are in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “Global Entry” program can transfer into Pre Check using their Global Entry number.
The Times fails to frame the true meaning and hypocrisy of Pre-check into the proper context. I think Anthony Gucciardi sums it up into a more believable piece by outlining the true intentions of this program. TSA: Give Us Your Fingerprints, Web History and You Can Keep Your Shoes On.
Now you can keep your shoes on when travelling through the Orwellian TSA ‘security’ checkpoints thanks to a new program that only requires one thing — the complete and utter erosion of your personal privacy.
Instead of cutting the various ‘anti-terrorist’ security functions employed by the TSA that have not caught a single terrorist despite expansive funding and highly invasive techniques that violate our fundamental rights, the TSA is now offering a new ‘quick pass’ system that allows enrolled US citizens through the first few security measures once they are approved by the agency for membership status within the program.
And in order to participate in the ‘Pre Check’ TSA program, you will need to allow them to reach down into the proverbial pants of your personal life as well. Under Pre Check, you are required to not only present your fingerprints to the TSA in person and pay a fee of $85, but the agency is also looking to gather all forms of your data as well — which reports state includes your web history and online data. With the help of a third-party organization, the TSA seeks to ‘pre-screen’ (think pre-crime) individuals based on their activity in order to determine if they are worthy of bypassing the most minimal of security checkpoints.
TSA On The Highways Of America
The TSA has now migrated from the airports to enforcing checkpoints and roadblocks. Sounds crazy, right? Well it is, and unfortunately it’s true. The Guardian reports the TSA’s mission is to turn the Unites States into a police state:
Napolitano expressed her desire to expand TSA jurisdiction over all forms of mass transit. In the past year, TSA’s snakelike VIPR (Visual Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams have been slithering into more and more bus and train stations – and even running checkpoints on highways – never in response to actual threats, but apparently more in an attempt to live up to the inspirational motto displayed at the TSA’s air marshal training center since the agency’s inception: “Dominate. Intimidate. Control.”
Anyone who rode the bus in Houston, Texas during the 2-10pm shift last Friday faced random bag checks and sweeps by both drug-sniffing dogs and bomb-sniffing dogs (the latter being only canines necessary if “preventing terrorism” were the actual intent of these raids), all courtesy of a joint effort between TSA VIPR nests and three different local and county-level police departments. The new Napolitano doctrine, then: “Show us your papers, show us everything you’ve got, justify yourself or you’re not allowed to go about your everyday business.”
Leading the way in the police state takeover is Tennessee, as Forbes reports:
In October Tennessee became the first state to conduct a statewide Department of Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) team operation which randomly inspected Tennessee truck drivers and cars.
Amtrak Stations And Commuter Trains
Earlier this year the New York Times reported the TSA’s takeover of Amtrak and commuter stations: T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security.
As hundreds of commuters emerged from Amtrak and commuter trains at Union Station on a recent morning, an armed squad of men and women dressed in bulletproof vests made their way through the crowds.
A team of Transportation Security Administration officers, known as a VIPR squad, at Washington’s Union Station last month.The squad was not with the Washington police department or Amtrak’s police force, but was one of the Transportation Security Administration’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response squads — VIPR teams for short — assigned to perform random security sweeps to prevent terrorist attacks at transportation hubs across the United States.
And if you thought that the above examples were invasive, a recent New York Times article entitled Security Check Now Starts Long Before You Fly outlines a new and more intrusive screening strategy that is more exhaustive than a federal background check. The TSA will now be dramatically expanding their reach into the lives of every passenger, and scouring all of the following documents, according to the New York Times:
- private employment information
- vehicle registrations
- travel history
- property ownership records
- physical characteristics
- tax identification numbers
- past travel itineraries
- law enforcement information
- “intelligence” information
- passport numbers
- frequent flier information
- other “identifiers” linked to DHS databases
Regrettably most Americans have come to accept airport molestation with little or no resistance. I don’t know about you, but I can not and will not accept these intrusions on my rights. As we can see the atrocities are continuing to pile up. They now want to access your tax ID numbers, property records, vehicle records and so on , all to just board an airplane? Enough is enough! What will it take for Americans to stand up and resist.
(Joe Newby) Saturday, Terry M. Hestilow, a retired United States Army Captain from Fort Worth, Texas, posted a letter onFacebook that he wrote to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, warning that theDepartment of Homeland Security is preparing to go to war with the citizens of the United States.
“It is with gravest concern that I write to you today concerning the recent appropriation of weapons by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that can only be understood as a bold threat of war by that agency, and the Obama administration, against the citizens of the United States of America,” his letter began.
The retired officer expressed deep concerns over “recent purchases of almost 3,000 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) armored personnel carriers, 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition (with associated weapons), and other weapons systems.”
Capt. Hestilow added a statement that Barack Obama made during his 2008 campaign.
“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve gotta (sic) have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded [as the United States military],” he said.
He also accused the administration of “deliberately defunding, overextending, and hollowing the Department of Defense,” which he said is the “only legitimate agency” with the mission of conducting combat operations.
In his letter, Capt. Hestilow called on Congress to demand that the DHS surrender their weapons systems to the Defense Department. He also accused the DHS of enforcing the “tyrannical acts of this president” and said lawmakers should dissolve the agency “as soon as possible.”
“One needs only to look to the rise of Adolf Hitler, and his associated DHS organizations, the SA and the SS, of 1932-1934, to see the outcome of allowing an agency of government this kind of control over the free citizens of a nation,” he added.
Capt. Hestilow said that Americans cannot “be so naïve” as to think that what happened in Germany cannot happen here.
Earlier in the week, Capt. Hestilow asked his Facebook followers who the DHS intends to kill with the weapons and ammunition that it has recently purchased.
“Short answer,” he wrote. “You and me! Anyone they think is standing in their way to impose a new Marxist government! Anyone who stands for the U.S. Constitution!”
“If I live and still have a page to speak out on later this week, I will discuss a proper Constitutional response in a couple of days. Standby. Out,” he wrote on Thursday.
Capt. Hestilow ended his strongly-worded letter with a simple declaration: “We refuse to surrender our Constitution or our nation!”
(Thomas Dishaw) According to recent Nielsen statistics 56% of the households in the US own a video game console. Unbeknownst to many Americans this can be an open invitation to let big brother into your house.
Disguised as a video game add-on, Microsoft’s Kinect is the all seeing eye that sits on top of your TV watching your every move, listening to every conversation and even monitoring vital health information.
Now imagine if the Government went door to door and wanted to put a black box on top of your TV (and I’m not talking about your cable box) that did the same things, hopefully you would tell them hell no and immediately get out of your house.
But since the Kinect is disguised as entertainment most people will gladly accept it.
Below are some eye opening facts and quotes to think about before you make that purchase this fall.
- Kinect will monitor the number of viewers in a room and check to see if the number of occupants exceeded a certain threshold set by the content provider. If there are too many warm bodies present, the device owner would be prompted to purchase a license for a greater number of viewers.
Coupled with the Xbox One, Kinect will now be able to hear and understand two people talking at once, even detecting whether mouths are open in a dark room.
- See Also: Obama Tried To Ban This
- Inside the new Kinect 2 will be a high-resolution camera and a high-fidelity microphone, and gamers have already trashed Microsoft for the potential Kinect 2 has for peering into homes.
- The new Kinect can see in the dark, pick out human voices in a noisy living room and read your heart rate just by looking at your face. It was unveiled by Microsoft last week as a fixture of the fall-releasing Xbox One. The thing has to be plugged in for the console to work, and is in some way already checking out what’s going on in the room it’s in.
- Microsoft is actually trying to integrate Kinect into the classroom, sold as a learning tool Kinect will continue to spy on your child all day in school and at home.
- Developed by PrimeSense, Kinect can interpret specific gestures – allowing for true hands-free control using infrared sensors, a camera and microchip to track the movement of individuals in a 3D space. While not confirmed, some experts suggest PrimeSense’s technology was used to train soldiers.
- The new capabilities work alongside improvements to Kinect that allow it to track thumbs, 25 joints of up to six people, and heart rates by scanning a face. While the multiplayer gaming applications for multiple voice processing are obvious, Microsoft is also aiming its Xbox One console firmly for TV and entertainment.
After reading all the capabilities the Kinect has we all know this personal information would never be accessed by our loving Government without a warrant, or be passed on to the FBI, CIA or DEA to be scrutinized in America’s secret courts.
Since Microsoft has the customers privacy in mind and would never sell us out for profit, we can be assured that marketing groups, corporations and health care providers will never access our browser habits, purchase history and health information, all of which can be available through the Kinect/Xbox system.
Most Outlandish Quotes From Microsoft Claiming To Protect Our Privacy
- Kinect’s cameras and microphones aren’t actually recording or transmitting any audio or video data back to Microsoft’s servers without the user’s explicit consent, and all ambiently collected data is anonymized. While some voice commands are processed at Microsoft’s servers, they’re converted to text before they ever leave the machine, and biometric data is translated into numerical values that simply indicate, say, where a player’s limbs are during online multiplayer games. While Microsoft says the Kinect is an “integral part” of the new Xbox, it also claims that sensing can be paused.“
- Microsoft insists that it wouldn’t help the government turn Kinect into an eavesdropping device. Quite the opposite, in fact. “Absent a new law, we don’t believe the government has the legal authority to compel us or any other company that makes products with cameras and microphones to start collecting voice and video data, and we’d aggressively challenge in court any attempts to try and force us to do so,” the company told The Verge by email. Microsoft also confirmed that the new Kinect, like the original, has an activity light when it’s turned on.
- “We aren’t using Kinect to snoop on anybody at all,” said Microsoft’s Phil Harrison.
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(Liz Klimas) A new tool that would allow law enforcement to prevent criminals from running away or disappearing into a crowd before arrest was highlighted last week at The SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
The High Velocity DNA Tagging system by the U.K.-based security company Selectamark was introduced with police officers in a riot situation in mind. Coming in both pistol and rifle form, the tool would allow police to remain 30 to 40 meters from the target and tag them with a SelectaDNA High Velocity pellet that contains a unique DNA code to ensure the correct person is apprehended later.
“On contact with the target the uniquely-coded SelectaDNA solution leaves a synthetic DNA trace mark that will enable the relevant authorities to confirm or eliminate that person from their involvement in a particular situation and could ultimately lead to arrest and prosecution,” Selectamark Managing Director Andrew Knights said in a statement.
Here’s a look gun at the SHOT show:
This article first appeared @ the Blaze
(Washington’s Blog) Even now, after all of the revelations by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers – spying apologists say that the reports are “exaggerated” or “overblown”, and that the government only spies on potential bad guys.
In reality, the government is spying on everyone’s digital and old-fashioned communications.
For example, the government is photographing the outside information on every piece of snail mail.
The government is spying on you through your phone … and may even remotely turn on your camera and microphone when your phone is off.
As one example, the NSA has inserted its code into Android’s operating system … bugging three-quarters of the world’s smartphones. Google – or the NSA – can remotely turn on your phone’s camera and recorder at any time.
Moreover, Google knows just about every WiFi password in the world … and so the NSA does as well, since it spies so widely on Google.
But it’s not just the Android. In reality, the NSA can spy on just about everyone’s smart phone.
Cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. (And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.) YouriPhone, or other brand of smartphone is spying on virtually everything you do (ProPublica notes: “That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker“). Remember, that might be happening even when your phone is turned off.
NSA also sometimes uses “man-in-the-middle” tactics, to pretend that it is Google or other popular websites to grab your information.
Microsoft has long worked hand-in-hand with the NSA and FBI so that encryption doesn’t block the government’s ability to spy on users of Skype, Outlook, Hotmail and other Microsoft services.
And Microsoft informs intelligence agencies of with information about bugs in its popular softwarebefore it publicly releases a fix, so that information can be used by the government to access computers. (Software vulnerabilities are also sold to the highest bidder.)
A top expert in the ‘microprocessors’ or ‘chips’ inside every computer – having helped start two semiconductor companies and a supercomputer firm – also says:
He would be “surprised” if the US National Security Agency was not embedding “back doors” inside chips produced by Intel and AMD, two of the world’s largest semiconductor firms, giving them the possibility to access and control machines.
[The expert] said when he learned the NSA had secured “pre-encryption stage” access to Microsoft’s email products via the PRISM leaks, he recognised that “pretty much all our computers have a way for the NSA to get inside their hardware” before a user can even think about applying encryption or other defensive measures.
Leading security experts say that the NSA might have put a backdoor in all encryption standards years ago. … meaning that the NSA could easily hack into all encrypted communications. And the NSA hacks into encrypted “VPN” connections.
It’s gotten so bad that some of the largest encryption companies are warning that their encryption tools are compromised.
If you have a microphone in your car, that might also open you up to snoopers. As CNET points out:
Surreptitious activation of built-in microphones by the FBI has been done before. A 2003 lawsuit revealed that the FBI was able to surreptitiously turn on the built-in microphones in automotive systems like General Motors’ OnStar to snoop on passengers’ conversations.
When FBI agents remotely activated the system and were listening in, passengers in the vehicle could not tell that their conversations were being monitored.
A security expert and former NSA software developer says that hackers can access private surveillance cameras. Given that the NSA apparently already monitors public cameras using facial recognition software (and see this), and that the FBI is building a system which will track “public and privatesurveillance cameras around the country”, we can assume that government agencies might already be hacking into private surveillance cameras.
Watch out: the CIA may soon be spying on you—through your beloved, intelligent household appliances, according to Wired.
In early March, at a meeting for the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, CIA Director David Petraeus reportedly noted that “smart appliances” connected to the Internet could someday be used by the CIA to track individuals. If your grocery-list-generating refrigerator knows when you’re home, the CIA could, too, by using geo-location data from your wired appliances, according to SmartPlanet.
“The current ‘Internet of PCs’ will move, of course, toward an ‘Internet of Things’—of devices of all types—50 to 100 billion of which will be connected to the Internet by 2020,” Petraeus said in his speech. He continued:
Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters—all connected to the next-generation Internet using abundant, low cost, and high-power computing—the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.
ITworld’s Kevin Fogarty thinks that J. Edgar Hoover, were he still with us, would “die of jealousy” upon hearing about the tools soon to be at Petraeus’ disposal.
And they’re probably bluffing and exaggerating, but the Department of Homeland Security claims they will soon be able to know your adrenaline level, what you ate for breakfast and what you’re thinking …from 164 feet away. (In addition, people will probably soon be swallowing tracking devices for medical purposes)
The government is currently testing systems for use in public spaces which can screen for “pre-crime”. As Nature reports:
Like a lie detector, FAST measures a variety of physiological indicators, ranging from heart rate to the steadiness of a person’s gaze, to judge a subject’s state of mind. But there are major differences from the polygraph. FAST relies on non-contact sensors, so it can measure indicators as someone walks through a corridor at an airport, and it does not depend on active questioning of the subject.
CBS News points out:
FAST is designed to track and monitor, among other inputs, body movements, voice pitch changes, prosody changes (alterations in the rhythm and intonation of speech), eye movements, body heat changes, and breathing patterns. Occupation and age are also considered. A government source told CNET that blink rate and pupil variation are measured too.
A field test of FAST has been conducted in at least one undisclosed location in the northeast. “It is not an airport, but it is a large venue that is a suitable substitute for an operational setting,” DHS spokesman John Verrico told Nature.com in May.
Although DHS has publicly suggested that FAST could be used at airport checkpoints–the Transportation Security Administration is part of the department, after all–the government appears to have grander ambitions. One internal DHS document (PDF) also obtained by EPIC through the Freedom of Information Act says a mobile version of FAST “could be used at security checkpoints such as border crossings or at large public events such as sporting events or conventions.”
The risk of false positives is very real. As Computer World notes:
Tom Ormerod, a psychologist in the Investigative Expertise Unit at Lancaster University, UK, told Nature, “Even having an iris scan or fingerprint read at immigration is enough to raise the heart rate of most legitimate travelers.” Other critics have been concerned about “false positives.” For example, some travelers might have some of the physical responses that are supposedly signs of mal-intent if they were about to be groped by TSA agents in airport security.
Various “pre-crime” sensing devices have already been deployed in public spaces in the U.S.
The government has also worked on artificial intelligence for “pre-crime” detection on the Web. And given that programs which can figure out your emotions are being developed using your webcam, every change in facial expression could be tracked.
According to the NSA’s former director of global digital data – William Binney – the NSA’s new data storage center in Utah will have so much storage capacity that:
“They would have plenty of space … to store at least something on the order of 100 years worth of the worldwide communications, phones and emails and stuff like that,” Binney asserts, “and then have plenty of space left over to do any kind of parallel processing to try to break codes.”
[But the NSA isn't stopping there.] Despite its capacity, the Utah center does not satisfy NSA’s data demands. Last month, the agency broke ground on its next data farm at its headquarters at Ft. Meade, Md. But that facility will be only two-thirds the size of the mega-complex in Utah.
The NSA is building next-generation quantum computers to process all of the data.
NBC News reports:
NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.
The documents leaked by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald show:
But what we’re really talking about here is a localized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency.
It doesn’t mean that they’re listening to every call, it means they’re storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they’re collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.
In addition, a government expert told the Washington Post that the government “quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.” (And see this.) A top NSA executive confirmed to Washington’s Blog that the NSA is intercepting and storing virtually all digital communications on the Internet.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate committee on March 30, 2011, that “technological improvements” now enable the bureau “to pull together past emails and future ones as they come in so that it does not require an individualized search.”
The administration is building a facility in a valley south of Salt Lake City that will have the capacity to store massive amounts of records – a facility that former agency whistleblowers say has no logical purpose if it’s not going to be a vault holding years of phone and Internet data.
Thomas Drake, a former NSA senior executive who challenged the data collection for several years, said the agency’s intent seems obvious.
“One hundred million phone records?” he asked in an interview. “Why would they want that each and every day? Of course they’re storing it.”
Lending credence to his worries, The Guardian’s latest report quoted a document in which Alexander purportedly remarked during a 2008 visit to an NSA intercept station in Britain: “Why can’t we collect all the signals all the time?”
One former U.S. security consultant, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his connections to government agencies, told McClatchy he has seen agency-installed switches across the country that draw data from the cables.
“Do I know they copied it? Yes,” said the consultant. “Do I know if they kept it? No.”
NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – says that the content and metadata of alldigital communications are being tapped by the NSA.
The NSA not only accesses data directly from the largest internet companies, it also sucks up huge amounts of data straight from undersea cables providing telephone and Internet service to the United States.
After all, the government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act so that “everything” is deemed relevant … so the government can spy on everyone.
The NSA isn’t the only agency which is conducting massive spying.
The Wall Street Journal notes:
The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to … copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans “reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information” may be permanently retained.
The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.
“It’s breathtaking” in its scope, said a former senior administration official familiar with the White House debate.
Gazillions. That’s the number of times the federal government has spied on Americans since 9/11 through the use of drones, legal search warrants, illegal search warrants, federal agent-written search warrants and just plain government spying. This is according to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who, when he asked the government to tell him what it was doing to violate our privacy, was given a classified briefing. The senator — one of just a few in the U.S. Senate who believes that the Constitution means what it says — was required by federal law to agree not to reveal what spies and bureaucrats told him during the briefing.
Even if the US government weren’t recording all of that data, England’s GCHQ spy agency is … and issharing it with the NSA.
Private contractors can also view all of your data … and the government isn’t keeping track of which contractors see your data and which don’t. And because background checks regarding some contractors are falsified, it is hard to know the types of people that might have your information.
And top NSA and FBI experts say that the government can retroactively search all of the collected information on someone since 9/11 if they suspect someone of wrongdoing … or want to frame him.
The American government is in fact collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email, text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information, employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the NSA spies on Americans’ credit card transactions. Senators Wyden and Udall – both on the Senate Intelligence Committee, with access to all of the top-secret information about the government’s spying programs – write:
Section 215 of the Patriot Act can be used to collect any type of records whatsoever … including information on credit card purchases, medical records, library records, firearm sales records, financial information and a range of other sensitive subjects.
The IRS will be spying on Americans’ shopping records, travel, social interactions, health records and files from other government investigators.
The Consumer Financial Protection Board will also spy on the finances of millions of Americans.
As Washington Monthly noted in 2004, Congress chopped off the head of the Total Information Awareness program … but the program returned as a many-headed hydra:
A program can survive even when the media, the public, and most of Congress wants it killed. It turns out that, while the language in the bill shutting down TIA was clear, a new line had been inserted during conference—no one knew by whom—allowing “certain processing, analysis, and collaboration tools” to continue.
….Thanks to the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, which had lobbied for the provision, TIA didn’t die—it metastasized. As the AP reported in February [of 2004], the new language simply outsourced many TIA programs to other intelligence offices and buried them in the so-called “black budget.” What’s more, today, several agencies are pursuing data mining projects independent of TIA, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the CIA, the Transportation Security Administration, and NASA….Even with TIA ostensibly shut down, many of the private contractors who worked on the program can continue their research with few controls.
The government is flying drones over the American homeland to spy on us. Indeed, the head of the FBI told Congress that drones are used for domestic surveillance … and that there are no rules in placegoverning spying on Americans with drones.
Senator Rand Paul correctly notes:
The domestic use of drones to spy on Americans clearly violates the Fourth Amendment and limits our rights to personal privacy.
Emptywheel notes in a post entitled “The OTHER Assault on the Fourth Amendment in the NDAA? Drones at Your Airport?”:
As the map above makes clear–taken from this 2010 report–DOD [the Department of Defense] plans to have drones all over the country by 2015.
Many police departments are also using drones to spy on us. As the Hill reported:
At least 13 state and local police agencies around the country have used drones in the field or in training, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an industry trade group. The Federal Aviation Administration has predicted that by the end of the decade, 30,000 commercial and government drones could be flying over U.S. skies.
“Drones should only be used if subject to a powerful framework that regulates their use in order to avoid abuse and invasions of privacy,” Chris Calabrese, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said during a congressional forum in Texas last month.
He argued police should only fly drones over private property if they have a warrant, information collected with drones should be promptly destroyed when it’s no longer needed and domestic drones should not carry any weapons.
He argued that drones pose a more serious threat to privacy than helicopters because they are cheaper to use and can hover in the sky for longer periods of time.
A congressional report earlier this year predicted that drones could soon be equipped with technologies to identify faces or track people based on their height, age, gender and skin color.
The military is paying for the development of drones with facial recognition software which “remember” people’s faces … and read “malintent”.
Moreover, Wired reports:
Transit authorities in cities across the country are quietly installing microphone-enabled surveillance systems on public buses that would give them the ability to record and store private conversations….
The systems are being installed in San Francisco, Baltimore, and other cities with funding from the Department of Homeland Security in some cases ….
The IP audio-video systems can be accessed remotely via a built-in web server (.pdf), and can be combined with GPS data to track the movement of buses and passengers throughout the city.
The systems use cables or WiFi to pair audio conversations with camera images in order to produce synchronous recordings. Audio and video can be monitored in real-time, but are also stored onboard in blackbox-like devices, generally for 30 days, for later retrieval. Four to six cameras with mics are generally installed throughout a bus, including one near the driver and one on the exterior of the bus.
Privacy and security expert Ashkan Soltani told the Daily that the audio could easily be coupled with facial recognition systems or audio recognition technology to identify passengers caught on the recordings.
Street lights that can spy installed in some American cities
America welcomes a new brand of smart street lightning systems: energy-efficient, long-lasting, complete with LED screens to show ads. They can also spy on citizens in a way George Orwell would not have imagined in his worst nightmare.
With a price tag of $3,000+ apiece, according to an ABC report, the street lights are now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh, and may soon mushroom all across the country.
Part of the Intellistreets systems made by the company Illuminating Concepts, they havea number of “homeland security applications” attached.
Each has a microprocessor “essentially similar to an iPhone,” capable ofwireless communication. Each can capture images and count people for the police through a digital camera, record conversations of passers-by and even give voice commands thanks to a built-in speaker.
Ron Harwood, president and founder of Illuminating Concepts, says he eyed the creation of such a system after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He is“working with Homeland Security” to deliver his dream of making people “more informed and safer.”
The TSA has moved way past airports, trains and sports stadiums, and is deploying mobile scanners to spy on people all over the place. This means that traveling within the United States is no longer a private affair.
You might also have seen the news this week that the Department of Homeland Security is going tocontinue to allow searches of laptops and phones based upon “hunches”.
What’s that about?
The ACLU published a map in 2006 showing that nearly two-thirds of the American public – 197.4 million people – live within a “constitution-free zone” within 100 miles of land and coastal borders:
The ACLU explained:
- Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
- The border, however, has always been an exception. There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply. For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
- But what is “the border”? According to the government, it is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States.
- As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
- Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders. They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
- However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose. On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
- The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.
Computer World reports:
Border agents don’t need probable cause and they don’t need a stinking warrant since they don’t need to prove any reasonable suspicion first. Nor, sadly, do two out of three people have First Amendment protection; it is as if DHS has voided those Constitutional amendments and protections they provide to nearly 200 million Americans.
Don’t be silly by thinking this means only if you are physically trying to cross the international border. As we saw when discussing the DEA using license plate readers and data-mining to track Americans movements, the U.S. “border” stretches out 100 miles beyond the true border. Godfather Politics added:
But wait, it gets even better! If you live anywhere in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey or Rhode Island, DHS says the search zones encompass the entire state.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have a “longstanding constitutional and statutory authority permitting suspicionless and warrantless searches of merchandise at the border and its functional equivalent.” This applies to electronic devices, according to the recent CLCR “Border Searches of Electronic Devices” executive summary [PDF]:
The overall authority to conduct border searches without suspicion or warrant is clear and longstanding, and courts have not treated searches of electronic devices any differently than searches of other objects. We conclude that CBP’s and ICE’s current border search policies comply with the Fourth Amendment. We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits. However, we do think that recording more information about why searches are performed would help managers and leadership supervise the use of border search authority, and this is what we recommended; CBP has agreed and has implemented this change beginning in FY2012.***
The ACLU said, Wait one darn minute! Hello, what happened to the Constitution? Where is the rest of CLCR report on the “policy of combing through and sometimes confiscating travelers’ laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices—even when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing?” DHS maintains it is not violating our constitutional rights, so the ACLU said:
If it’s true that our rights are safe and that DHS is doing all the things it needs to do to safeguard them, then why won’t it show us the results of its assessment? And why would it be legitimate to keep a report about the impact of a policy on the public’s rights hidden from the very public being affected?
As Christian Post wrote, “Your constitutional rights have been repealed in ten states. No, this isn’t a joke. It is not exaggeration or hyperbole. If you are in ten states in the United States, your some of your rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights have been made null and void.”
The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the entire DHS report about suspicionless and warrantless “border” searches of electronic devices. ACLU attorney Catherine Crump said “We hope to establish that the Department of Homeland Security can’t simply assert that its practices are legitimate without showing us the evidence, and to make it clear that the government’s own analyses of how our fundamental rights apply to new technologies should be openly accessible to the public for review and debate.”
Meanwhile, the EFF has tips to protect yourself and your devices against border searches. If you think you know all about it, then you might try testing your knowledge with a defending privacy at the U.S. border quiz.
Wired pointed out in 2008 that the courts have routinely upheld such constitution-free zones:
Federal agents at the border do not need any reason to search through travelers’ laptops, cell phones or digital cameras for evidence of crimes, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, extending the government’s power to look through belongings like suitcases at the border to electronics.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government, finding that the so-called border exception to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches applied not just to suitcases and papers, but also to electronics.
Travelers should be aware that anything on their mobile devices can be searched by government agents, who may also seize the devices and keep them for weeks or months. When in doubt, think about whether online storage or encryption might be tools you should use to prevent the feds from rummaging through your journal, your company’s confidential business plans or naked pictures of you and your-of-age partner in adult fun.
Do you still believe that the government is only spying on bad guys in “targeted” searches?
This article first appeared @ Washingtons Blog
(Ralph Lopez) The FBI is instructing local police departments and “communities against terrorism” to consider anyone who harbors “conspiracy theories” about 9/11 to be a potential terrorist, in a circular released to local police departments.
The memo thus adds 9/11-official-story skeptics to a growing list of targets described by federal law enforcement to be security threats, such as those who express “libertarian philosophies,” “Second Amendment-oriented views,” interest in “self-sufficiency,” “fears of Big Brother or big government,” and “Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties.”
A newly released national poll shows that 48 percent of Americans either have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, or do not believe it at all.
The FBI circular entitled “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Sleepers” says that people who should be ‘considered suspicious’ of possible involvement in “terrorist activity” include those who hold the “attitude” described as ” Conspiracy theories about Westerners.” The circular continues: “e.g. (sic) the CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands.”
Section of FBI circular to local police, “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Sleepers.”
“Sleepers” refers to “sleeper cells,” in FBI jargon, which are terrorists awaiting orders to be activated into terrorist activity.
In 1998 it was declassified by the Pentagon that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had approved a plan, in 1962, to attack and kill US citizens to “provide justifications for US military intervention in Cuba.” The plan was code-named Operation Northwoods, the face page of the declassified document is below.
The plan was signed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Lyman Lemnitzer. It was rejected by President John F. Kennedy, who demoted Lemnitzer.
According to the polling firm YouGov, 38% of Americans have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, 10% do not believe it at all, and 12% are unsure about it.
The FBI circular, issued by the Department of Justice Assistance, an arm of the US Department of Justice, is posted at, among other departments, the Columbus, Ohio, police department website, and the New Hampshire state government website. The FBI document also includes as reason for suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities:
“Excusing violence against Americans on the grounds that American actions provoked the problem.”
The latter is an apparent reference to thinking such as the “blowback” doctrine, which criticizes US foreign policy and links alleged errors in that policy, such as the invasion of iraq, to terrorist activity.
Continue reading @ Digital Journal
(Dave Hodges) This is one of the most disturbing events I have ever covered. As I was learning abut the arrest of Christina West, I could not help wondering if this isn’t what full scale martial law will look like when it is finally imposed on our country?
At the bottom of the page is a Tallahassee, FL. police video of DUI arrest of Christina West.Viewer discretion is advised because the video contains graphic language and content.
The city of Tallahassee is facing a lawsuit involving, Christina West, a 44-year-old woman, who was subjected to extreme police brutality and unnecessary use of force by police officers during a standard DUI arrest. Readers should keep in mind that Christina West is 5’6″ and 130lbs.
This is what Ms. West looked like when these thugs with a badge were done with her. Part of me feels should feel lucky to be alive.
I am not suggesting that Ms. West did not deserve to be arrested. However, I would challenge anyone except a cop filled blind loyalty to the blue line, to not say that this is an egregious abuse of the public trust. The people’s trust in the Tallahassee police has been violated and an incident like this should make every citizen, in every municipality, make it clear that we will not tolerate this storm trooper type of behavior from our police.
The city prosecutor has dropped all charges against Christina West except for the DUI. The city is investigating the conduct of the officers for possible legal action.
The social value of showing the video outweighs the adult content because this video is a clear demonstration of how out of control our police agencies have become since going through federalization by the Department of Homeland Security. In short, the federalization of the local police by the Department Homeland Security essentially means that your local police have been trained to enforce martial law.
Everyday in America more and more policemen are taking their personal possession of a badge as a license to abuse citizens in ways which used to be reserved for the most totalitarian of societies.
This video demonstrates the true meaning of “police state.”
This article first appeared @ The Common Sense Show