Archive for the ‘Surveillance State’ Category

Land of the Free Watch: The Creation of a Border Security State

aa-checkpoint Our borders have, conveniently enough, long been Constitution-free zones where more or less anything goes, including warrantless searches of various sorts. In the twenty-first century, however, the border itself, north as well as south, has not only been increasingly up-armored, but redefined as a 100-mile-wide strip around the United States (and Alaska). In other words – check that map again – our “borders” now cover an expanse in which nearly 200 million Americans, or two-thirds of the U.S. population, live. Included are nine of the 10 largest metropolitan areas. If you live in Florida, Maine, or Michigan, for example, no matter how far inland you may be, you are “on the border.” Imagine that. And then imagine what it means. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as Todd Miller points out today, is not only the largest law enforcement agency in the country you know next to nothing about, but the largest, flat and simple. Now, its agents can act as if the Constitution has been put to bed up to 100 miles inland anywhere. This, in turn, means – as the ACLU has written – that at new checkpoints and elsewhere in areas no American would once have considered borderlands, you can be stopped, interrogated, and searched “on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.” http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2014/04/22/the-creation-of-a-border-security-state/


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This is What Drones Can See

aa-drone - 3-8-14 Welcome to the new world of no privacy. https://www.youtube.com/v/AHrZgS-Gvi4


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Creepy Autonomous AI CCTV Surveillance Network Watches All of Boston

aa-surveillance - grid Following the Boston Marathon bombings almost one year ago, the Boston Police Department started looking toward more high-tech means of securing the city against future attacks. They found the solution in the form of an artificially intelligent, self-learning surveillance network that now watches the entire city, and all of its inhabitants. http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/17/creepy-autonomous-surveillance-network-watches-all-of-boston/

 


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Snowden Calls Into Putin Telethon to Discuss Legality of Mass Surveillance

aa-Edward Snowden and Putin While the western media paints Vladmir Putin as some cross between Napoleon and Hitler marauding across Europe breaking international laws willy-nilly, there is one red line he is apparently unwilling to cross. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, none other than Edward Snowden called in to a Putin live telethon and asked the Russian President: “Does Russia intercept millions of citizens’ data?” Putin’s response (whether true or not) is worth paying attention to by his opponent on the world stage: “Russia uses surveillance techniques for spying on individuals only with the sanction of a court order. This is our law, and therefore there is no mass surveillance in our country.” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-17/snowden-calls-putin-telethon-discuss-legality-mass-surveillance


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Land of the Free Watch: FBI to Launch Facial Recognition Database With Over 50 Million Photos by 2015

aa-America - US of paranoia There is a disturbing push by the FBI to create an extensive facial recognition database, which will include criminal and non-criminal photos alike. The FBI reportedly is pushing to have a facial recognition database with up to 52 million photos by 2015. The program is called Next Generation Identification (NGI), and the aspect of it that should bother you the most is the fact that non-criminal and criminal photos will be combined in the same database. So someone who has no criminal record can suddenly be flagged as a suspect just because an algorithm says so. What’s worst, research shows that the potential for false positive identification increases as the dataset increases. http://www.silverdoctors.com/nowhere-to-hide-fbi-to-launch-facial-recognition-database-with-over-50-million-photos-by-2015/


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Land of the Free Watch: Who’s Watching Me? Police Took Photos of My License Plates

aa-surveillance - scanner used by repo industry The police know exactly where my car has been — and when — during the past few months. They could have the same information — or more — about you. http://watchdog.org/138370/police-reporters-license/


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When Secrecy and Surveillance Trump the Rule of Law

aa-movie - They Live - obey What’s not at all amusing, of course, is the fact that our nation is riddled with all manner of problems, and it’s because we have government officials in the executive branch, Congress, and the courts incapable of abiding by the Constitution. These people have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted to do what they say, and they certainly can’t be trusted to abide by their oaths of office to uphold and defend the Constitution. Indeed, the American people have been cheated and lied to for so long that we’ve arrived at a stage of disbelief and skepticism. So when the Obama administration announces that it will be rolling out proposals to rein in the NSA bulk collection of data about Americans’ private communications, you’d be perfectly justified in wondering what other far-fetched schemes they plan to sell you next. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/04/john-w-whitehead/obey/


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Invasion of the Data Snatchers

aa-surveillance - very good one Estimates vary, but by 2020 there could be over 30 billion devices connected to the Internet. Once dumb, they will have smartened up thanks to sensors and other technologies embedded in them and, thanks to your machines, your life will quite literally have gone online. The implications are revolutionary. Your smart refrigerator will keep an inventory of food items, noting when they go bad. Your smart thermostat will learn your habits and adjust the temperature to your liking. Smart lights will illuminate dangerous parking garages, even as they keep an “eye” out for suspicious activity. Techno-evangelists have a nice catchphrase for this future utopia of machines and the never-ending stream of information, known as Big Data, it produces: the Internet of Things. So abstract. So inoffensive. Ultimately, so meaningless. A future Internet of Things does have the potential to offer real benefits, but the dark side of that seemingly shiny coin is this: companies will increasingly know all there is to know about you. http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175822/tomgram%3A_crump_and_harwood%2C_the_net_closes_around_us/


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Probable Cause

aa-Constitution - as roll of toilet paper good one Except for the definition and mechanism of proving treason, no area of the Constitution addressing the rights of all persons when the government is pursuing them is more specific than the Fourth Amendment. The linchpin of that specificity is the requirement that the government demonstrate probable cause to a judge as a precondition to the judge issuing a search warrant. The other specific requirement is identity: The government must identify whose property it wishes to search or whose behavior it wishes to monitor, because the Fourth Amendment requires that all warrants specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized. http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-napolitano/2014/03/26/probable-cause/#.UzQv1v5jFtA.email


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U.S. Security Agencies Are Out of Control

aa-NSA - your tax dollars at work Many recent indicators point to a U.S. national security bureaucracy running roughshod over the sad remnants of the founder’s republican vision. As in the Roman world, empire is gradually snuffing out the republic. The U.S. government’s more than $1 trillion dollar annual spending on security – for a country that may very well be the most intrinsically secure great power in world history – should be the first hint that something is amiss. The United States has two great ocean moats, weak and friendly neighbors, and the world’s most potent arsenal of nuclear weapons, which threatens annihilation of the territory of any potential attacker. Such nuclear weapons cost only a small portion of the $1 trillion in security spending. http://original.antiwar.com/eland/2014/03/25/us-security-agencies-are-out-of-control/


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Police Use ‘StingRay’ Device to Monitor Cellphones

aa-Big Brother - is watching good one Using a device called StingRay, police across America are able to intercept calls and texts from cell phones — often without a warrant. The StingRay simulates a cell tower, prompting cellphones within its range to identify themselves and transmit their signals to the police instead of the nearest mobile network operator’s tower. No one seems to know exactly how many local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies are using Stingray technology, how extensive the monitoring is, or even what information the devices are capable of capturing, such as the contents of phone conversations and text messages. This information dearth is disturbing to all Americans who value their right to privacy, as protected by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The amendment also prohibits the issuance of search warrants without “probable cause.” Yet there are indications that StingRay is commonly being used by police not only without probable cause, but also without a warrant. http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/17908-police-use-stingray-device-to-monitor-cellphones


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Freedom for Me, But Not for Thee

aa-Diane Feinstein Diane Feinstein’s outrage was directed at CIA domestic spying for the wrong reasons. She not only expressed no outrage over NSA spying, including upon her 37 million California constituents, but she approved it. The CIA behavior that she condemns is the unapproved or unreported torture and the domestic spying on a dozen persons in another branch of government. The NSA behavior that she approves is spying on all Americans all the time. All of this behavior goes to the heart of personal liberty in a free society. At that heart is the principle of personal sovereignty – the idea that individuals are sovereign and the state is merely one instrument with which to protect that sovereignty. Yet the government of which Feinstein approves has been assaulting personal sovereignty by destroying personal privacy. Privacy is not only a natural right – it exists by virtue of our humanity – but it has sound historical and textual roots. A natural right is an area or zone of personal behavior that may not be interfered with by the government, no matter whose good that interference might serve. http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-napolitano/2014/03/19/freedom-for-me-but-not-for-thee/#.Uyr5hdbj56k.email


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The Leviathan Goes Rogue

aa-Republicrats - two parties one ideology On the Sunday morning shows last week, Secretary of State John Kerry denounced Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine as a “brazen act of aggression.” Whatever that says about the Ukraine, Kerry’s highly-charged prose could equally describe the federal government’s manifest invasions of privacy here at home, its “brazen acts of aggression” against personal liberty, and its avalanche of serial violations of our own Constitution. Unfortunately, Republicans appear to be more worried about Putin and Crimea than they are about criminal politicians on the home front. In fact, House leaders are often among the most fervent defenders of Big Brother’s invasion of liberty and privacy right here at home. Of course, it’s always for our own good. http://www.fgfbooks.com/Manion/2014/Manion140312.html


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The Buggering State

aa-TSA - 3-12-14 The USA is becoming a bone fide police state, albeit a superficially benign one which retains many of the trappings of what is traditionally known as “freedom.” Though the vast majority of citizens (or more properly, subjects) of these United States (make that this United State) have no power to restrain their rulers’ rapacious appetites for plunder, graft, and outright murder, they are nevertheless permitted to criticize these propensities of the ruling class, with as much vitriol as they see fit, and with overall legal impunity. Indeed, pretty much anyone can mouth off about pretty much any major issue, brazenly taking the anti-establishment side, and can pretty much get away with it, after a fashion. http://alternative-right.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-buggering-state.html


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Land of the Free Watch: NSA Pretends to be Facebook to Spy on the World

aa-NSA - your tax dollars at work The latest Snowden leaks on the NSA reveal that the spy agency is masquerading as Facebook in order to infect millions of computers around the world with malware as part of its mass surveillance program. Glenn Greenwald reported the latest information today, noting that the practice has been in operation for over ten years with the help of British and Japanese intelligence. The NSA, according to the leaks, has been distributing malware “implants” which can siphon out data from computers around the globe. The agency reportedly used a fake Facebook server as a launching pad to grab information from hard drives. The malware has also been designed to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. http://www.infowars.com/nsa-pretends-to-be-facebook-to-spy-on-the-world/


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Paul Wins CPAC Poll, Says Privacy is the Issue for Republicans

aa-Rand Paul - speaking at 2014 CPAC The day after he won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll of potential GOP presidential candidates, with a 3-1 lead over his nearest rival, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (shown) said a clear focus on the issue of privacy in the midst of America’s growing surveillance state is necessary if the Republican Party is going to grow and win elections again. http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/17806-paul-wins-straw-poll-says-privacy-is-the-issue-for-republicans


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How the Repo Industry is Collecting Data on Virtually Every Car in America

aa-surveillance - scanner used by repo industry Few notice the “spotter car” from Manny Sousa’s repo company as it scours Massachusetts parking lots, looking for vehicles whose owners have defaulted on their loans. Sousa’s unmarked car is part of a technological revolution that goes well beyond the repossession business, transforming any ­industry that wants to check on the whereabouts of ordinary people. An automated reader attached to the spotter car takes a picture of every license plate it passes and sends it to a company in Texas that already has more than 1.8 billion plate scans from vehicles across the country. These scans mean big money for Sousa — typically $200 to $400 every time the spotter finds a vehicle that’s stolen or in default — so he runs his spotter around the clock, typically adding 8,000 plate scans to the database in Texas each day. “Honestly, we’ve found random apartment complexes and shopping ­plazas that are sweet spots” where the company can impound multiple vehicles, explains Sousa, the president of New England Associates Inc. in Bridgewater. But the most significant impact of Sousa’s business is far bigger than locating cars whose owners have defaulted on loans: It is the growing database of snapshots showing where Americans were at specific times, information that everyone from private detectives to ­insurers are willing to pay for. While public debate about the license reading technology has centered on how police should use it, business has eagerly adopted the $10,000 to $17,000 scanners with remarkably few limits. http://www.silverdoctors.com/how-the-repo-industry-is-collecting-data-on-virtually-every-car-in-america/


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Edward Snowden’s Moral Courage

Edward Snowden There is no free press without the ability of the reporters to protect the confidentiality of those who have the moral courage to make public the abuse of power. Those few individuals inside government who dared to speak out about the system of mass surveillance have been charged as spies or hounded into exile. An omnipresent surveillance state—and I covered the East German Stasi state—creates a climate of paranoia and fear. It makes democratic dissent impossible. Any state that has the ability to inflict full-spectrum dominance on its citizens is not a free state. It does not matter if it does not use this capacity today; it will use it, history has shown, should it feel threatened or seek greater control. The goal of wholesale surveillance, as Hannah Arendt wrote, is not, in the end, to discover crimes, “but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.” The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked and those who watch and track them is the relationship between masters and slaves. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/edward_snowdens_moral_courage_20140223


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Be a DHS Patriot — Dial #1776

aa-DHS poster Not only is your government recording every conversation, text, email, facebook entry, download, or tweet you make, they are now using your own tax dollars to run advertising campaigns encouraging you to spy on and turn in anyone you think is suspicious looking. Driving to work this morning I heard a commercial for SEPTA about reporting “suspicious” people to the authorities. At the end of the commercial they revealed that it was paid for by DHS. That means it was paid for by YOU. http://www.theburningplatform.com/2014/03/03/be-a-dhs-patriot-dial-1776/


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Drones Now Doing Business in the Skies Above You

aa-drone - flying over house good one Drones, once known as weapons of war, are undergoing a dramatic makeover as a hot new business tool in the sky. But, as with unmanned military craft, domestic drones are prompting concerns over safety and privacy. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/02/6199300/drones-now-doing-business-in-the.html


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The Worst Snowden Revelation of Them All

aa-national security state One common reaction to Edward Snowden’s exposure of the National Security Agency’s pervasive surveillance of Americans and people around the world has been: Well, at least they aren’t doing what US government agents did in the 1960s and 1970s – targeting dissident political activists, spying on and disrupting their constitutionally-protected activities, and seeking to discredit them with programs like Cointelpro. Except they are, as it turns out. The latest revelations and newly-released documents, detailed by Glenn Greenwald in a shocking piece for his new outlet, The Intercept, show that’s exactly what they’re doing. Whereas J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI used old-fashioned methods – primitive bugging devices, poison pen letters, and physical infiltration of “suspect” groups – today’s Thought Police use the Internet to, as Greenwald puts it, “control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the Internet itself.” http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/02/27/the-worst-snowden-revelation-of-them-all/


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New Assaults on American Law

aa-NSA - your tax dollars at work In the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA’s most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate. This behavior constitutes the government’s assaults on the American legal system. Those assaults have been conducted thus far on two fronts, one of which is aimed at lawyers who represent foreign entities here in America, and the other is aimed at lawyers who represent criminal defendants against whom evidence has been obtained unlawfully and presented in court untruthfully. http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-napolitano/2014/02/26/new-assaults-on-american-law/#.Uw9CFjFieTY.email


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Thug State U.S.A.

aa-surveillance state - homeland security means no privacy If tomorrow a series of Edward Snowdens were to appear, each from a different intelligence agency or other outfit in the national security state, one thing would be guaranteed: the shock of the NSA revelations would be multiplied many times over. Protected from the law by a spreading cult of government secrecy, beyond the reach of the citizenry, Congress, or the aboveground judicial system, supported by the White House and a body of developing secret law, knowing that no act undertaken in the name of American “safety” and “security” will ever be prosecuted, the inhabitants of our secret state have been moving in dark and disturbing ways. What we know is already disturbing enough. What we don’t know would surely unnerve us far more. Shadow government has conquered twenty-first-century Washington. We have the makings of a thug state of the first order. http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2014/02/21/thug-state-u-s-a/


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Public Schools Are Preparing America’s Children For Life in a Police State

aa-school - as prison Our children are the future of America, and our public schools are systematically training them to become accustomed to living in a “Big Brother” police state. All across the United States today, public schools have essentially become “prison grids” that are run by control freaks that are absolutely obsessed with micromanaging the lives of their students down to the smallest detail. http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/public-schools-are-preparing-americas-children-for-life-in-a-police-state-2


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Land of the Free Watch: Oregon Police Give Nightclubs ID Scanners to Datamine Customers

aa-scanner For the last several weeks, police have issued ID-scanning devices to clubs and bars all throughout Portland’s Old Town neighborhood. The scanners not only captured customers’ personal data, including names and photos, but uploaded all the information to a police database. http://www.infowars.com/oregon-police-give-nightclubs-id-scanners-to-datamine-customers/


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Putting Big Brother in the Driver’s Seat: V2V Transmitters, Black Boxes and Drones

aa-drones - 30k in america very good one We’re on the losing end of a technological revolution that has already taken hostage our computers, our phones, our finances, our entertainment, our shopping, our appliances, and now, it’s focused its sights on our cars. As if the government wasn’t already able to track our movements on the nation’s highways and byways by way of satellites, GPS devices, and real-time traffic cameras, government officials are now pushing to require that all new vehicles come installed with black box recorders and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, ostensibly to help prevent crashes. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/02/john-w-whitehead/big-brother-in-the-drivers-seat/


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The Art of American Scaremongering

aa-America - US of paranoia What we are seeing is a consensus within both the administration and congress that leakers of any and all classified information must somehow be punished. Working back from that premise, it is necessary to find some legal justification to enable the punishment to take place. This is behavior not atypical of totalitarian regimes. The Soviets maintained meticulous records of their completely phony show trials to demonstrate that some kind of rule of law was taking place while even the Nazis used a famous jurist Carl Schmitt to propagate their “Fuhrer principle,” that the government is always right. Rogers and others in the government who are looking to imprison people for doing the job that they should have been doing in terms of protecting the constitution are heirs to that legacy of government through intimidation and fear mongering. http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2014/02/10/the-art-of-american-scaremongering/


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Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State

aa-surveillance - very good one Orwell was clear that the right to privacy had come under egregious assault. But the right to privacy pointed to something more sinister than the violation of individual rights. When ruthlessly transgressed, the issue of privacy became a moral and political principle by which to assess the nature, power and severity of an emerging totalitarian state. As important as Orwell’s warning was in shedding light on the horrors of mid-20th century totalitarianism and the endless regimes of state spying imposed on citizens, the text serves as a brilliant but limited metaphor for mapping the expansive trajectory of global surveillance and authoritarianism now characteristic of the first decades of the new millennium. http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/21656-totalitarian-paranoia-in-the-post-orwellian-surveillance-state#.Uvo-KFcI-9U.email


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Get Ready: The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance is Coming

aa-surveillance - we can stop spying Two years ago, major websites like Google, Reddit and Wikipedia went dark for a day. They were protesting the then-pending “Stop Online Piracy Act,” federal legislation that would have done enormous damage to the open internet by creating system of censorship and deterring digital-media innovators. The 18 January 2012 blackout created an outpouring of opposition from average Americans who suddenly realized what was at stake, and Congress backed off a bill that almost certainly would have passed otherwise. There won’t be a website blackout next Tuesday, 11 February, but there will be another virtual call to arms. In the U.S. the primary goal this time is to help reverse America’s retreat from liberty by telling lawmakers we can’t abide a surveillance state – and by insisting they vote for a measure, called the USA Freedom Act, that would begin to restore the civil liberties we’ve lost in recent times. (For people outside the U.S. the goal will be similar, to push authorities toward policies favoring liberty and privacy.) http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/06/nsa-fighting-back-against-surveillence-state


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The New Dark Age

aa-1984 - freedumbville great one For years, this space has been arguing – railing, really – that the ideological and legal currents unleashed by America’s response to the 9/11 attacks have been leading us down the road to dictatorship: see here, here, here, and here. Back in those halcyon days, circa 2007 and much earlier, it was easy to dismiss such charges as the mental effluvia of the somewhat overwrought libertarian imagination: after all, if we’re headed for an authoritarian order of Orwellian proportions, then where are the Thought Police? What we didn’t know was that they were lurking in the woodwork all along – spying on us, recording our phone calls, scooping up our emails, and tracking our every move. We didn’t know about the National Security Agency’s data dragnet: we hadn’t heard of PRISM, or any of the other programs that allow government snoops to sniff out dissidents and other “subversives” who might be “linked” to “terrorism.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you. I take very cold comfort in having been right about this, because, for one, it’s actually much worse than I thought it would be. In the wake of the Snowden revelations, and the government’s reaction, we have an ominous new development in the works, one I never foresaw: the criminalization of journalism. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/02/06/the-new-dark-age/


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The Wild West of Surveillance

aa-NSA - your tax dollars at work Imagine that you could wander unseen through a city, sneaking into houses and offices of your choosing at any time, day or night. Imagine that, once inside, you could observe everything happening, unnoticed by others — from the combinations used to secure bank safes to the clandestine rendezvous of lovers. Imagine also that you have the ability to silently record everybody’s actions, whether they are at work or play without leaving a trace. Such omniscience could, of course, make you rich, but perhaps more important, it could make you very powerful. That scenario out of some futuristic sci-fi novel is, in fact, almost reality right now. After all, globalization and the Internet have connected all our lives in a single, seamless virtual city where everything is accessible at the tap of a finger. http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175803/tomgram%3A_pratap_chatterjee%2C_the_wild_west_of_surveillance/#more


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Where Did You Hide the Enhanced Radiation Device?

aa-NSA - device Whatever one thinks about the legality or illegality of what NSA and CIA do, there is a fundamental question that remains about whether their activities actually benefit the American people in any way. The real problem in aspiring to vacuum up the world’s electronic emissions can be regarded as systemic. The NSA and CIA programs have grown enormously, so much so that they will never catch up in terms of their ability to digest the vast quantities of information that they have to deal with. But the bottleneck is at the bottom. If information cannot be made usable all of NSA’s massive collection mechanism will be unable to do what it claims to do, i.e. deter terrorist plots. The record of success is not good based on what we do know in that there is currently little or no evidence to suggest that massive data collection accomplishes anything in spite of the repeated assertions by the White House and key Congressmen to the contrary. http://www.unz.com/article/where-did-you-hide-the-enhanced-radiation-device/


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Obama’s NSA Speech Makes Orwellian Surveillance Patriotic

aa-Obama - speech on NSA When considering the revolutionary history of the United States, most would think of fighting for freedom, the enshrinement of basic human and civil rights in a constitutional government of the people, by the people and for the people. But in his speech on reforms to the NSA and the United States’ intelligence gathering systems last week, President Obama had a creative new addition to the legacy of the American Revolution: surveillance. “At the dawn of our Republic, a small, secret surveillance committee borne out of the Sons of Liberty was established in Boston,” said the president. “And the group’s members included Paul Revere. At night, they would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America’s early Patriots.” Collecting the meta-data of billions of phone calls and 200 million text messages a day, as well as gathering data through the government’s PRISM program and placing bugs in 100,000 computers all over the world seems significantly more extensive than monitoring British troop movement via horseback and candlestick – especially when you consider that the data being collected is in large part that of the American people, not a foreign enemy during war time. Such metadata information would still be collected and stored in President Obama’s “reformed” NSA. The reforms proposed by the President’s speech amount to nothing short of a bouquet of roses for American intelligence agencies. The changes detailed in the speech do almost nothing to actually rein in the growing national surveillance state. Billions of phone calls by Americans would still be collected and retained every single day – too much information for even the NSA to wade through properly. We’re creating a massive database that could be used at basically any time to determine peoples’ associates and behaviors. http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/21461-obamas-nsa-speech-makes-orwellian-surveillance-patriotic#.UufDf1_ELd4.email


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The ‘Progressive’ Crack-Up

aa-liberal - brain of This is a case of pure projection: that knife you see sticking out of the back of the ACLU and the wide array of liberal-left institutions and organizations that have joined the coalition to restore the Fourth Amendment and get the NSA out of our computers was put there by progressives like Beauchamp-Hillhiser, Wilentz, Watson, and the rest of the James Clapper Fan Club. Aside from this little crime scene, however, the unusual honesty of the authors in declaring that the Constitution is not a particularly sacred cow is revealing: I suppose that goes for the First Amendment as well as the Fourth, which is a pretty startling confession for an ostensible “liberal” to make. The irony is compounded by the authors’ charge that many aspects of these local legislative initiatives are “unconstitutional” – an argument that gives new meaning to the word “cherry-picking.” What a smart take. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/01/26/the-progressive-crack-up/#.UuZgVEuyaUU.email


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Corporate Billionaires Defend NSA

aa-movie - They Live - obey The government’s defense of its constant surveillance of the American public reached a new level of absurdity when Obama compared Paul Revere to the NSA. Now it’s time for the corporate billionaires to defend what their puppet Obama can’t. http://www.infowars.com/billionaire-ceos-defend-nsa/


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It’s About Blackmail, Not National Security

aa-surveillance state - great parody As it happens, Edward Snowden’s revelations fit the logic of the system the NSA created to a T. What the former agency contractor revealed, above all, was that the surveillance of anyone and everyone was the essence of our new world, and that not even the NSA would be exempt. He made that agency his own object of surveillance and so opened it up to the scrutiny of the rest of the planet. He gave its officials a dose of their own medicine. Much of the ensuing outrage from the U.S. intelligence community, including the calls for his head, the cries of “treason,” the demands to bring him to “justice,” and so on, reflect outrage over the fact that the agency had gotten a full-scale dose of its own rules. It turns out that you don’t have to be an ordinary citizen or a world leader to feel terrible when someone appropriates the right to surveil your life. When it happened to agency honchos, they undoubtedly felt just like Merkel or Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff or so many other figures who discovered that their lives and communications weren’t private and weren’t their own. In a perfectly human manner, reality being far too ugly for their taste, they wanted payback. http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175795/tomgram%3A_alfred_mccoy%2C_it%27s_about_blackmail%2C_not_national_security/


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NSA ‘reforms’ are Little More Than a PR Attempt to Mollify the Public

aa-Obama - tearing up constitution In response to political scandal and public outrage, official Washington repeatedly uses the same well-worn tactic. It is the one that has been hauled out over decades in response to many of America’s most significant political scandals. Predictably, it is the same one that shaped President Obama’s much-heralded Friday speech to announce his proposals for “reforming” the National Security Agency in the wake of seven months of intense worldwide controversy. The crux of this tactic is that US political leaders pretend to validate and even channel public anger by acknowledging that there are “serious questions that have been raised”. They vow changes to fix the system and ensure these problems never happen again. And they then set out, with their actions, to do exactly the opposite: to make the system prettier and more politically palatable with empty, cosmetic “reforms” so as to placate public anger while leaving the system fundamentally unchanged, even more immune than before to serious challenge. This scam has been so frequently used that it is now easily recognizable. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/17/obama-nsa-reforms-bulk-surveillance-remains


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NSA Official: ‘We Are Now a Police State’

aa-surveillance state - homeland security means no privacy Last year, high-ranking NSA official Bill Binney said, “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.” Now, Binney says that the U.S. has already become a full-blown police state. http://www.cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/matt-vespa/nsa-official-we-are-now-police-state


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NSA’s Preference for Metadata

aa-NSA - prism The hidden ball in the debate over the NSA’s collection of phone and e-mail metadata (vs. tapping into actual conversations with a court order) is that the NSA actually prefers the metadata approach because it strips away privacy more efficiently, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe. http://original.antiwar.com/Kirk-Wiebe/2014/01/13/nsas-preference-for-metadata/


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You Can’t Opt Out

aa-NSA - very good one The debate Edward Snowden envisioned when he revealed the extent of National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans has taken a bad turn. Instead of a careful examination of what the NSA does, the legality of its actions, what risks it takes for what gains, and how effective the agency has been in its stated mission of protecting Americans, we increasingly have government officials or retired versions of the same demanding — quite literally — Snowden’s head and engaging in the usual fear-mongering over 9/11. They have been aided by a chorus of pundits, columnists, and present as well as former officials offering bumper-sticker slogans like “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” all the while claiming our freedom is in direct conflict with our security. It’s time to face these arguments directly. So here are ten myths about NSA surveillance that need debunking. Let’s sort them out. http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175792/tomgram%3A_peter_van_buren%2C_we_have_to_destroy_our_constitution_to_save_it/


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More DHS-Funded Police Surveillance Cameras; No Drop in Crime

aa-surveillance - cameras on city street Thousands of surveillance cameras are showing up in cities across the country without a corresponding reduction in crime. Citizens are taking notice of this fact of the federal takeover of local police, and they are speaking out. http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/17378-more-dhs-funded-police-surveillance-cameras-no-drop-in-crime


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The Pipe Dream of NSA Reformers

aa-NSA - your tax dollars at work The pipe dream of many of those who are complaining about the NSA’s massive surveillance scheme is that the NSA can be “reined in” by some type of congressional legislation. They just don’t get it. As long as the NSA exists, it’s going to do whatever it needs to do to protect “national security,” even if that means breaking the law. After all, protecting “national security” is paramount. It is everything. Does anyone honestly believe that the NSA is going to let the country go down if breaking the law enables the NSA to save it? Haven’t these people ever heard the old adage, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact”? Equally important, every single NSA official knows that nothing is ever going to happen to him if he is caught breaking the law, so long as he is doing it to protect “national security.” http://fff.org/2014/01/10/the-pipe-dream-of-nsa-reformers/


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American Privacy is Vanishing as the Government and Corporations Raid Our Online Lives

aa-online spying Was 2013 the year online privacy died? Or was it the year that people paying attention realized that their online lives—and all their data and communications—was low-hanging fruit that was being picked and parsed by big government and big business. http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/government-and-business-raid-online-lives


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Morality Versus the National Security State

aa-America - US of paranoia Why should the government be involved in immoral or illegal activity? Yet, isn’t immoral and illegal activity the very essence of the national-security state apparatus that has now become a permanent part of America’s governmental structure, especially since much of what it does is conducted in secret? Consider the Edward Snowden revelations of a massive super-secret surveillance scheme by the U.S. national-security state on the entire American populace, not to mention millions of people all over the world. Where do they get the constitutional authorization for that? Is there a constitutional provision that empowers them to do that? No! The only justification is the same one that the national-security state has always cited for its exercise of secret, covert operations: “national security,” a term that isn’t even found in the Constitution and has no objective meaning. Why shouldn’t the American people decide whether they want to be spied on in this way? Isn’t the citizenry supposed to be the ones in control? Aren’t federal officials supposed to be mere servants, with the citizenry as their bosses? http://fff.org/2014/01/09/morality-versus-the-national-security-state/


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The One Percent Solution: Oligarchs to the Rescue

aa-Republicrats - two parties one ideology Last month, 500 famous authors signed a petition protesting the encroachments of the all-pervasive, techno-surveillance culture that is covering the earth with hidden eyes and ears, like a metastasized Stasi run amok. We’re talking heavy literary lumber here: Nobel Prize-winners, critic list-toppers, best-sellers – big names calling on the UN to create “an international bill of digital rights.” The authors state the indisputable truth: the “fundamental human right” of personal privacy “has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations.” They rightly declare that “a person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.” Of course, one might like to see those “democratic rights in real space” applied a bit more vigorously in these days of airport x-rays, mandatory drug tests, “indefinite detention,” “extrajudicial execution,” “free speech zones,” etc. The accelerating degradation of “real space” liberties hardly inspires hope for preserving freedom in the virtual realm. Still, no sensible person would dispute the very worthy goals espoused in the petition. And yet, a cankerous old worm of skepticism keeps creeping in. Especially when the petitioners declare that this assemblage of Tolstoyan speakers of truth to power is not actually “against government.” Good gracious no! As Danish writer Janne Teller told the Guardian: “This initiative must be seen as helping governments, who like to preserve democracy in the western world.” Now, you rubes out there probably think that “governments” are actually prime culprits in the mass evisceration of privacy. But no; it seems our good-hearted, democracy-preserving leaders are victims: helpless babes manipulated by their sinister intelligence services. http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2364-the-one-percent-solution-oligarchs-to-the-rescue.html


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Spying on Congress

aa-NSA - logo Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote to Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Administration (NSA), and asked plainly whether the NSA has been or is now spying on members of Congress or other public officials. The senator’s letter was no doubt prompted by the revelations of Edward Snowden to the effect that the federal government’s lust for personal private data about all Americans and many foreigners knows no bounds, and its respect for the constitutionally protected and statutorily enforced right to privacy is nonexistent The senator’s benign and neutral letter came on the heels of a suggestion by his colleague Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the effect that Alexander’s boss, Gen. James Clapper, director of national intelligence, perjured himself before a Senate subcommittee when he testified that the NSA is not gathering massive amounts of data from tens or hundreds of millions of Americans. Alexander himself is also on the hook for having testified in a highly misleading manner to a House committee when he was asked whether the NSA has the ability to read emails and listen to phone calls and he stated: “No, we don’t have that authority. Thus far, Paul is the only member of Congress possessed of the personal courage to call out Clapper by arguing that working for the government is no defense to lying under oath. The gravity of Paul’s charges was enhanced by revelations subsequent to the Clapper testimony to the effect that Clapper was told in advance of his testimony what questions would be put to him and then declined an offer afterward to correct any misstatements. In a new low for members of Congress, the NSA’s own advocate in the House, Long Island’s Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., attacked Paul for attacking Clapper for lying under oath. The King argument is: Anything goes when it comes to national security – even lying under oath, even violating everyone’s constitutional rights, even destroying the freedom you have sworn to protect. http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-napolitano/2014/01/08/spying-on-congress/#.Us6shMdKj4g.email


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Life in the Electronic Concentration Camp

aa-surveillance state - great parody To put it bluntly, we are living in an electronic concentration camp. Through a series of imperceptible steps, we have willingly allowed ourselves to become enmeshed in a system that knows the most intimate details of our lives, analyzes them, and treats us accordingly. As George Orwell warned, “You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.” Thus, we have arrived in Orwell’s world. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/01/john-w-whitehead/life-in-the-electronic-concentration-camp/


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Clues to Future Snowden Leaks Found in His Past

Edward Snowden Only a tiny fraction of Snowden’s documents have been published. What’s still to come? We believe one hint comes from Snowden’s past as a security specialist at one of one the NSA’s covert facilities at the University of Maryland. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/01/clues-future-snowden-leaks-found-past.html


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Land of the Free Watch: Ex-NSA Boss: Fourth Amendment Dispensable in Post 9/11 World

aa-NSA - satirical logo The former boss of the CIA and the NSA, retired Gen. Michael Hayden, tells USA Today the Constitution and the Bill of Rights impede the smooth functioning of a Stasi police state. He said the NSA should not be required to seek court warrants in its widespread surveillance. http://www.infowars.com/ex-nsa-boss-fourth-amendment-dispensable-in-post-911-world/


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Fusion Centers: Expensive and Dangerous to Our Liberty

aa-fusion center Amidst unprecedented focus on overreach at the National Security Agency (NSA), many Americans have come to understand the risk of being spied on by the government in their electronic communications. But the intelligence-sharing hubs coordinated between DHS and state and local police departments around the country, called “fusion centers,” show there is extensive surveillance of Americans’ physical and social activities as well. http://reason.com/archives/2013/12/25/fusion-centers-expensive-and-dangerous-t


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Edward Snowden Declares ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Moscow Interview

Edward Snowden Six months after the first revelations appeared in The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Snowden agreed to reflect at length on the roots and repercussions of his choice. He was relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry. Snowden offered vignettes from his intelligence career and from his recent life as “an indoor cat” in Russia. But he consistently steered the conversation back to surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/edward-snowden-after-months-of-nsa-revelations-says-his-missions-accomplished/2013/12/23/49fc36de-6c1c-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_story.html


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The Sordid Roots of the National Security State

aa-NSA - satirical logo Given that most all of us living today have been born and raised under a national-security state apparatus, we’ve all been inculcated with the notion that the enormous military empire, CIA, and NSA are a necessary and permanent part of our lives. We’ve all been taught that our very freedom and well-being depend on the existence of these agencies. In fact, we praise them and glorify them for “defending our freedoms,” “keeping us safe,” and protecting “national security.” It’s important, however, to bear in mind that the Founding Fathers fully and totally rejected this type of governmental structure and way of life, which is why our American ancestors lived without such an apparatus for the first 150 years of American history. Our predecessors understood that enormous, permanent military establishments and secret intelligence agencies were hallmarks of totalitarian regimes, not free societies, and, in fact, constituted grave threats against the freedom and well-being of the citizenry. So, how did the U.S. national-security state apparatus come into existence? What caused the American people to move in this totalitarian-like direction? Why did Americans decide to reject the philosophy of liberty and limited government of the Founding Fathers in favor of militarism, empire, foreign interventionism, covert operations, coups, torture, assassinations, spying, surveillance, and the like? http://fff.org/2013/12/19/the-sordid-roots-of-the-national-security-state/


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NSA’s Goal is Elimination of Individual Privacy Worldwide

aa-surveillance state - homeland security means no privacy The NSA’s ultimate goal is to destroy individual privacy worldwide, working with its UK sidekick GCHQ, journalist Glenn Greenwald warned an EU inquiry, adding that they were far ahead of their rivals in their “ability to destroy privacy.” Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist renowned for publishing Edward Snowden’s leaks, criticized EU governments’ muted response to the revelations about the NSA’s mass espionage. Most governments reacted with “apathy and indifference” to reports that ordinary citizens were being spied upon, Greenwald said, pointing out that EU politicians only took action when they discovered that they themselves were being targeted. “I think Western governments have inculcated people to accept that privacy does not really have much value,” said Greenwald, adding it was “to get populations accustomed to violations of their privacy.” http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/12/russia-today/the-nsas-goal/


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Former Top NSA Official: ‘We Are Now In A Police State’

aa-police state - newsweek cover Last year, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said: We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state. But today, Binney told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has already become a police state. By way of background, the government is spying on virtually everything we do. All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/12/former-top-nsa-official-now-police-state.html


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Snowden Writes Open Letter to the People of Brazil

aa-Edward Snowden - good poster
4.Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live. My greatest fear was that no one would listen to my warning. Never have I been so glad to have been so wrong. The reaction in certain countries has been particularly inspiring to me, and Brazil is certainly one of those. http://pastebin.com/2ybz27UE


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FBI Can Secretly and Remotely Activate Built-In Laptop Cameras

aa-laptop computer The National Security Agency (NSA) has no monopoly on the use of intrusive surveillance tools to keep us all under the watchful eye of government. The Washington Post reports that an elite team of hackers employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have developed an application that turns on built-in laptop cameras. According to details provided in the story, the software can be turned on remotely by the g-men and perhaps most notably, the little green light that typically signals a “live” camera is not illuminated when this application is in use. http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/17153-fbi-can-secretly-and-remotely-activate-built-in-laptop-cameras


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Logo of New NRO Spy Satellite: An Octopus Engulfing the World With the Words ‘Nothing is Beyond Our Reach’

aa-NRO - spy satellite logo On December 5th, The National Reconnaissance Office launched a new spy satellite called NROL-39 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its logo features a giant octopus engulfing the world with the ominous words “Nothing is Beyond our Reach” underneath. Is there a better way to portray a nightmarish, big-brotherish totalitarian government? No. In fact, this exact imagery was used to portray “evil communists” a few decades ago. http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/new-u-s-spy-satellite-logo-octopus-engulfing-world-words-nothing-beyond-reach-underneath/


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A Conspiracy So Vast

aa-Constitution - burning As a result of these revelations, no one has been fired, except Snowden, and the conspiracy has grown. Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now spying on us. It seems that the FBI, no doubt jealous of the unpunished lawlessness of the NSA, has acquired software that permits it to utilize the tiny cameras in many home computers to observe whoever or whatever may be in front of the computer screen. The FBI doesn’t only look at whoever is using the computer screen; it also captures the words and images on the screen. It seems to have an affinity for monitoring online gaming, even the lawful variety. In 1949, when George Orwell predicted in his terrifying novel “1984″ the future use of television sets to watch us in our homes, many thought he was a delusional paranoid. It turns out that he was just off by a generation. His predictions have come to pass. Like many growing conspiracies, this one has spawned others. The Washington Post also reported this week that local cops, too, are jealous of the NSA and its ability to break the law with impunity. In an effort to catch bad guys, local police in half a dozen American cities have begun to ask local telecom providers for a “tower dump.” A tower dump consists of digital recordings of all cellphone usage from a given cell tower. http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/2013/12/12/a-conspiracy-so-vast/?subscriber=1


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The End of Private Property in the Era of the American Police State

aa-police state - good poster Nevertheless, the reality of our age is this: if the government chooses to crash through our doors, listen to our phone calls, read our emails and text messages, fine us for growing vegetables in our front yard, jail us for raising chickens in our backyard, forcibly take our blood and saliva, and probe our vaginas and rectums, there’s little we can do to stop them. At least, not at that particular moment. When you’re face to face with a government agent who is not only armed to the hilt and inclined to shoot first and ask questions later but also woefully ignorant of the fact that he works for you, if you value your life, you don’t talk back. However, once the dust settles and you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, I hope you’ll remember that the Constitution begins with those three beautiful words, “We the people.” In other words, there is no government without us—our sheer numbers, our muscle, our economy, our physical presence in this land. There can also be no police state—no tyranny—no routine violations of our rights without our complicity and collusion—without our turning a blind eye, shrugging our shoulders, allowing ourselves to be distracted and our civic awareness diluted. So where do we begin? How do we go about wresting back control over our freedoms and our lives in the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds? http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/12/john-w-whitehead/the-police-state-targets-private-property/


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Welcome to the Memory Hole: Disappearing Edward Snowden

What if Edward Snowden was made to disappear? No, I’m not suggesting some future CIA rendition effort or a who-killed-Snowden conspiracy theory of a disappearance, but a more ominous kind. What if everything a whistleblower had ever exposed could simply be made to go away? What if every National Security Agency (NSA) document Snowden released, every interview he gave, every documented trace of a national security state careening out of control could be made to disappear in real-time? What if the very posting of such revelations could be turned into a fruitless, record-less endeavor? Am I suggesting the plot for a novel by some twenty-first century George Orwell? Hardly. As we edge toward a fully digital world, such things may soon be possible, not in science fiction but in our world – and at the push of a button. In fact, the earliest prototypes of a new kind of “disappearance” are already being tested. We are closer to a shocking, dystopian reality that might once have been the stuff of futuristic novels than we imagine. Welcome to the memory hole. http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2013/12/03/1984-was-an-instruction-manual/


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Rand Paul Slams the Surveillance State: ‘Enough is Enough, We Want Our Freedoms Back’

Rand Paul has issued an impassioned video address demanding that our current surveillance state be returned to the land of the free:
“We were once outraged and dismayed and spurred to resist when British soldiers came knocking at our door with illegitimate warrants seeking taxes on our papers. Today, your government responds that there is no expectation of privacy once you consign your records to a third party…Your government argues that the Fourth Amendment applies not at all to your bank records, your Visa bill, your internet searches or purchases or emails. If not resistance, shouldn’t there at least be outrage?” http://www.silverdoctors.com/rand-paul-slams-the-surveillance-state-enough-is-enough-we-want-our-freedoms-back/


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What We Should Not Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

I will be the first to acknowledge that there is much to be thankful for about life in America, especially when compared to those beyond our borders whose daily lives are marked by war, hunger and disease. Despite our kvetching, grumbling and complaining, most Americans have it pretty good compared to less fortunates the world over. Still, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that all of our so-called blessings will amount to little more than gilding on a cage if we don’t safeguard the freedoms on which this nation was founded. And if there is one freedom in particular need of protecting right now, it is the Fourth Amendment, which has been on life support for quite some time. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/11/john-w-whitehead/dont-be-thankful-for-tyranny/


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Homeland Security Faces Lawsuit for Seizing Journalist’s Notes

The deeply controversial assault on the journalist’s home, which garnered headlines and alarm around the world, involved the Maryland State Police and Homeland Security bureaucrats. Based on the warrant, the raid was supposedly aimed at finding guns and a “potato launcher.” Hudson’s husband is a “prohibited person” when it comes to owning firearms owing to an almost 30-year-old “resisting arrest” conviction. No charges have been filed against him after the raid so far — and news reports suggest no guns were even taken — but officials mostly refuse to comment on what may be happening now. What is clear, however, is that during the ordeal, the swarm of agents ended up deliberately seizing Hudson’s confidential notes and files — none of which were even remotely related to the supposed investigation. The sensitive documents were produced while Hudson worked at the Washington Times as part of a series of articles exposing major problems at Homeland Security. Among other explosive revelations was the fact that federal officials had been lying to Congress and the public about their alleged “transportation security” schemes. http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/17033-homeland-security-faces-lawsuit-for-seizing-journalist-s-notes


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Ben Franklin Was Right About the NSA

The Church Committee revealed Washington’s role in the assassinations of foreign leaders, CIA collaboration with the Mafia, wide scale subversion around the globe, mail and phone intercepts, spying on Americans by the US Army and intelligence services, collusion with right-wing terrorist groups like Gladio, and much, much more. Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA malfeasance have done much the same thing today. Both Church and Snowden were branded traitors by rightwing zealots and flag-wavers. Government security agencies were reined in for decades. But it’s now clear they are not only back to their old tricks, but are out of control. The gigantic rock lifted by the courageous Snowden revealed the chilling global reach of US electronic domination and intrusion. http://ericmargolis.com/2013/11/ben-franklin-was-right-about-the-nsa/


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A Manifesto for the Truth by Edward Snowden

In a very short time, the world has learned much about unaccountable secret agencies and about sometimes illegal surveillance programs. Sometimes the agencies even deliberately try to hide their surveillance of high officials or the public. While the NSA and GCHQ seem to be the worst offenders – this is what the currently available documents suggest – we must not forget that mass surveillance is a global problem in need of global solutions. Such programs are not only a threat to privacy, they also threaten freedom of speech and open societies. The existence of spy technology should not determine policy. We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights. Society can only understand and control these problems through an open, respectful and informed debate. At first, some governments feeling embarrassed by the revelations of mass surveillance initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution to supress this debate. They intimidated journalists and criminalized publishing the truth. At this point, the public was not yet able to evaluate the benefits of the revelations. They relied on their governments to decide correctly. Today we know that this was a mistake and that such action does not serve the public interest. The debate which they wanted to prevent will now take place in countries around the world. And instead of doing harm, the societal benefits of this new public knowledge is now clear, since reforms are now proposed in the form of increased oversight and new legislation. http://original.antiwar.com/Edward-Snowden/2013/11/03/a-manifesto-for-the-truth/#.UneZ8Mx96MM.email


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China Slams ‘Peeping Tom’ America: ‘The Trust Fiasco of America the Eavesdropper’

The latest outburst of outcries and outrage across the world has laid bare that almighty America has at least one other anomalous addiction besides borrowing — bugging. The U.S. debt drama features a polarized and paralyzed Washington at the helm of the world’s largest economy. As nerve-racking as it is, such irresponsible behavior is a recurrent headache economic policymakers worldwide can bear with. Yet the sole superpower’s spying saga is spicy on a heart-attack scale. It is particularly hurtful to those supposed to trust America the most — its allies. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-01/china-slams-peeping-tom-america-trust-fiasco-america-eavesdropper


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Obama, NSA Spying and the Dangers of Secretive, Authoritarian Government

Unfortunately, our so-called representatives in Congress are doing very little to combat the menace of unlawful surveillance, going out of their way to justify these programs and give them the trappings of legitimacy. Battles are being waged between civil liberties-minded representatives and law-and-order types such as Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who is drafting a bill that would codify the NSA’s program of collecting the metadata of American communications. She supports her position by making nonsensical statements such as, “People believe it’s surveillance, but it’s not.” Contrary to Feinstein’s claims, the NSA is collecting personal information on every single person in the United States who uses a computer or phone. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you want an open, transparent and therefore free government or a closed, secretive, authoritarian regime. For those who claim to want open and free government, it’s time to restore the rightful balance in government and make it clear to our leaders that these spying programs are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Remember, a true patriot is one who upholds the principles upon which his country was founded, not the power of those who have hijacked the nation. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/11/john-w-whitehead/welcome-to-the-secret-government%e2%80%a8/


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Do Israeli dual citizens like Senator Feinstein consider spies like Jonathan Pollard traitors or patriots?

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NSA Surveillance of the Pope a Good Thing

Because it will anger a lot of Catholics. Worldwide, there are over a billion Catholics. In the United States, there are over 78 million, about 25 percent of the population. Imagine if they got it together politically and moved to put an end to NSA surveillance, an illegal practice the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, said yesterday is fine and dandy because there’s no privacy in America. Our government and its grocery clerks masquerading as civil servants support this Constitution-busting criminal behavior. http://www.infowars.com/nsa-surveillance-of-the-pope-a-good-thing/


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Surveillance is for Peons

You don’t have to be a mind-reader to understand what enrages Feinstein. Merkel and the other world leaders we’ve been caught eavesdropping on are all members of a transnational political elite of which Feinstein is a leading figure. The political class – in this country and around the world – reserves to itself certain perks and privileges, one of which is the absolute sanctity of their esteemed persons: for example, when they commit a crime, as Glenn Greenwald showed so exhaustively in his book on the subject, they very rarely go to jail. Even if they’re convicted of a crime in a court of law they nearly always manage to get off with a slap on the wrist – that is, if they don’t elude punishment altogether. These worthies like to think they enjoy a similar immunity when it comes to living under the watchful eye of the all-seeing Surveillance State, and here we come to the real source of Feinstein’s fury. She’s all for the NSA rifling around in our online lives but I’ll bet she’s wondering in the back of her mind if they’re eavesdropping on her – and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. How many of our Washington power brokers are wondering the same thing? Indeed, NSA whistleblower Russell Tice claims Obama was himself the subject of the NSA’s snooping, and of all those programs we are being assured have been discontinued this is the only one we can be sure is no longer operational. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/10/29/surveillance-is-for-peons/#.UnEdZNXNl-w.email


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Brave New World

Post 9/11, Americans accepted the necessity for the National Security Agency to retrieve and sift through phone calls and emails to keep us secure from terror attacks. Many have come to accept today’s risks of an invasion of their privacy – for greater security for their family. And there remains a deposit of trust among Americans that the NSA, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency are not only working for us, they are defending us. How long Americans will continue to repose this trust, however, is starting to come into question. http://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2013/10/28/brave-new-world/


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Israel and the NSA: Partners in Crime

much of the surveillance technology in use by the NSA originated in Israel, and was developed by Israeli companies with ties – direct subsidies, board memberships, etc. – to the Israeli government, and specifically its intelligence services. This would make is easy for the Israelis to construct a “back door” that would give them access to the system. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/10/27/israel-and-the-nsa-partners-in-crime/#.Um5pbDMJlAo.email


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Land of the Free Watch: As Europe Erupts Over U.S. Spying, NSA Chief Says Government Must Stop Media

Keith Alexander

The most under-discussed aspect of the NSA story has long been its international scope. That all changed this week as both Germany and France exploded with anger over new revelations about pervasive NSA surveillance on their population and democratically elected leaders. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/25/europe-erupts-nsa-spying-chief-government


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Germany and Brazil Turn to UN to Restrain Global U.S. Surveillance State

Brazil and Germany today joined forces to press for the adoption of a U.N. General Resolution that promotes the right of privacy on the internet, marking the first major international effort to restrain the National Security Agency’s intrusions into the online communications of foreigners, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the push. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/10/24/exclusive_germany_brazil_turn_to_un_to_restrain_american_spies


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A Government of Secrecy and Fear

Every American who values the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, every American who enjoys the right to be different and the right to be left alone, and every American who believes that the government works for us and we don’t work for the government should thank Edward Snowden for his courageous and heroic revelations of the National Security Agency’s gargantuan spying operations. Without Snowden’s revelations, we would be ignorant children to a paternalistic government and completely in the dark about what the government sees of us and knows about us. And we would not know that it has stolen our freedoms. http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-napolitano/2013/10/23/a-government-of-secrecy-and-fear/#.Umk4__Yy-rE.email


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The Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State

Democratic leaders are full-fledged players in the national surveillance state, right along with Republicans. http://admin.alternet.org/economy/surveillance-state-and-democrats?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark


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The Neutering of the NSA Archives

There is not a single word in the entire story to suggest, even remotely, that there is anything wrong with the government of the United States running high-tech death squads and blanketing the globe with a level of invasive surveillance far beyond the dreams of Stalin or the Stasi. There is not even a single comment from some token ‘serious’ person objecting to the policy on realpolitik grounds: i.e., that such actions create more terrorists (as the Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai told Obama to his face last week), or engender hatred for the U.S., destabilize volatile regions, etc. etc. There is not a shred of even this very tepid, ‘loyal opposition’ type of tidbit that usually crops up in the 15th or 25th paragraph of such stories. But there was, of course, plenty of room for quotes like this: “Ours is a noble cause,” NSA Director Keith B. Alexander said during a public event last month. “Our job is to defend this nation and to protect our civil liberties and privacy.” Makes you want to puddle up with patriotic pride, don’t it? These noble, noble guardians of ours: peeping through our digital windows, rifling through our inboxes, listening to our personal conversations, reading our private thoughts, tracking our purchases (underwear, fishing gear, sex toys, books, movies, tampons, anything, everything), recording our dreams, our interests, our belief, our desires, skulking in the shadows, pushing buttons to kill people … yes, noble is certainly the first word that comes to mind. http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/21/the-neutering-of-the-nsa-archives/


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Edward Snowden’s Brave Integrity

One of the things that impressed me most was Ed’s emphasis on the “younger generation” he represents – typically those who have grown up with the Internet – who have (scarcely-fathomable-to-my-generation) technical expertise and equally remarkable dedication to keeping it free – AND have a conscience. My first personal exposure to the depth, breadth and importance of this critical mass of those often dismissed as “hackers” came at the OHM2013 conference outside of Amsterdam in early August. The James Clappers and Keith Alexanders of this world simply CANNOT do what they see as their job of snooping on the lot of us on this planet without this incredibly talented and dedicated generation. They CANNOT; and so they are in deep kimchi. If only a small percentage of this young generation have the integrity and courage of an Ed Snowden, the prospect is dim that repressive measures in violation of citizens’ rights previously taken for granted can succeed for very long without full disclosure. That is the good news. And with each new Snowden-enabled disclosure of infringements on our liberties, it becomes more likely that an awakened public will create sustained pressure for restoration of our Constitutional rights, and for holding accountable those senior government officials who have crassly violated those rights, and continue to violate Ed Snowden’s rights simply because he made it possible for us to know the truth. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36532.htm#.Ul6dPE4tb2E.email


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Dictatorship Watch: Federal Grants Enable Increased Surveillance by Local Government

From coast to coast, the Obama administration is giving high-tech gifts and bags of cash to struggling local law enforcement to entice them to become subcontractors in the building of the global gulag. From the Department of Homeland Security to the NSA and the federal courts, every branch of the federal government is tugging at the blanket of surveillance, hoping to cover all of us under the “protection” of Big Brother so that no act of defiance will escape recognition and reprisal. http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/item/16737-federal-grants-enable-increased-surveillance-by-local-govt


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The Data Hackers – Mining Your Information for Big Brother

But there is a second kind of data company of which most people are unaware: high-tech outfits that simply help themselves to our information in order to allow U.S. government agencies to dig into our past and present. Some of this is legal, since most of us have signed away the rights to our own information on digital forms that few ever bother to read, but much of it is, to put the matter politely, questionable. This second category is made up of professional surveillance companies. They generally work for or sell their products to the government – in other words, they are paid with our tax dollars – but we have no control over them. Harris Corporation provides technology to the FBI to track, via our mobile phones, where we go; Glimmerglass builds tools that the U.S. intelligence community can use to intercept our overseas calls; and companies like James Bimen Associates design software to hack into our computers. There is also a third category: data brokers like Arkansas-based Acxiom. These companies monitor our Google searches and sell the information to advertisers. They make it possible for Target to offer baby clothes to pregnant teenagers, but also can keep track of your reading habits and the questions you pose to Google on just about anything from pornography to terrorism, presumably to sell you Viagra and assault rifles. http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2013/10/08/the-data-hackers-mining-your-information-for-big-brother/#.UlVRo8Hdfgs.email


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Noam Chomsky: ‘The Foundations of Liberty Are Ripped to Shreds’

If you look at the public reports, you can imagine what the secret reports are. It’s been known for a couple of years, but we learn more and more that drones, for one thing, are already being given to police departments for surveillance. And they are being designed for every possible purpose. I mean, theoretically, maybe practically, you could have a drone the size of a fly which could be buzzing around over there [points to window] listening to what we’re talking about. And I’d suspect that it won’t be too long before that becomes realistic. And of course they are being used to assassinate. There’s a global assassination campaign going on which is pretty interesting when you look into how it’s done. I presume everyone’s read [a May 29] New York Times story, which is more or less a leak from the White House, because they are apparently proud of how the global assassination campaign works. Basically President Obama and his national security advisor, John Brennan, now head of the CIA, get together in the morning. And Brennan’s apparently a former priest. They talk about St. Augustine and his theory of just war, and then they decide who is going to be killed today. http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/noam-chomsky-america-openly-brags-about-boom-times-its-drone-wars-while-casuallty


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Conrad

The smallest drones. https://www.google.com/search?q=the+smallest+drones&rlz=1T4NDKB_enUS552US552&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=P7hHUviSKNH_rAGuwIGYBQ&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1024&bih=558&dpr=1

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A Day in the Life of Edward Snowden: Under Guard, Secret Address, Learning Russian, and Heavily Disguised

If Obama’s intention with the fast and furious series of geopolitical and domestic distractions over the past three months was to sideline Edward Snowden’s revelations of the biggest spying scandal since Nixon, he appears to have largely succeeded: not only has America become largely numb to every successive iteration of shockers emerging from the most important whistleblowing episode in recent U.S. history (and in fact can’t wait to get even more in debt to purchase shiny, faux-gold fingerprint scanners), but the person behind these revelations, the 30 year old Snowden himself, has largely faded into the collective subconscious. So what is the Russian asylum-seeker doing now that the fruits of his labor has been largely exposed and the U.S. public is already eager for the next big watercooler scandal, popcorn in hand? As AFP reports, it is all but life as usual for the whistleblower: “U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is living under guard at a secret address in Russia and sometimes emerges in disguise, although he remains in such danger that even a family visit could endanger his security, his lawyer said Monday.” Follows a detailed update from AFP on the daily life of the most infamous U.S. expat living somewhere in Russia. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-09-23/day-life-edward-snowden-under-guard-secret-address-learning-russian-and-heavily-disg


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Spy Agencies Are Doing WHAT?

Revelations about the breathtaking scope of government spying are coming so fast that it’s time for an updated roundup. http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-09-23/spy-agencies-are-doing-what


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Destroying the Right to Be Left Alone

While in these last months the NSA has cast a long, dark shadow over American privacy, don’t for a second imagine that it’s the only government agency systematically and often secretly intruding on our lives. In fact, a remarkable traffic jam of local, state, and federal government authorities turn out to be exploiting technology to wriggle into the most intimate crevices of our lives, take notes, use them for their own purposes, or simply file them away for years on end. “Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up,” the CIA’s Chief Technology Officer Gus Hunt told a tech conference in March. “It’s moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data.” Hunt’s right. The American public and the legal system have been left in the dust when it comes to infringements and intrusions on privacy. In one way, however, he was undoubtedly being coy. After all, the government is an active, eager, and early adopter of intrusive technologies that make citizens’ lives transparent on demand. Increasingly, the relationship between Americans and their government has come to resemble a one-way mirror dividing an interrogation room. Its operatives and agents can see us whenever they want, while we can never quite be sure if there’s someone on the other side of the glass watching and recording what we say or what we do – and many within local, state, and federal government want to ensure that no one ever flicks on the light on their side of the glass. http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2013/09/22/destroying-the-right-to-be-left-alone/


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11 Million Users Drop Facebook Over Privacy Concerns

New research shows Facebook has lost a total of 11 million users, nine million in the US and two million in Britain. Researchers at the University of Vienna analyzed 600 users and found they quit for reasons like privacy concerns, general dissatisfaction, shallow conversations and fear of becoming addicted, Alalam reported. http://intellihub.com/2013/09/18/11-million-users-drop-facebook-privacy-concerns/


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Farewell to Big Sister: Janet Napolitano’s Orwellian Legacy Lives On

And then there’s the news about Friday, September 6, 2013, being Janet Napolitano’s last day as head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before she starts her new job as head of the University of California school system. The student government of UC Berkley is actually considering a “no confidence” vote in Napolitano’s role as president. As one of the student representatives behind the “no confidence” vote effort noted, Napolitano “comes from a background of surveillance and apprehension and security.” Indeed, under Napolitano’s leadership, the DHS managed to entrench the federal government’s power in an increasingly Orwellian America at great cost to Americans’ civil liberties. Her replacement has yet to be named, although it has been suggested that New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, an even more egregious offender of civil liberties, could be tapped to replace her. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/09/john-w-whitehead/so-long-warden-napolitano/


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Dictatorship Watch: NSA Shares Raw Intelligence Including Americans’ Data With Israel

The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about U.S. citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals. Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the U.S. government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis. The disclosure that the NSA agreed to provide raw intelligence data to a foreign country contrasts with assurances from the Obama administration that there are rigorous safeguards to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens caught in the dragnet. The intelligence community calls this process “minimization”, but the memorandum makes clear that the information shared with the Israelis would be in its pre-minimized state. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/09/no_author/nsa-shares-spy-data-on-americans/


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Ron Paul: Snowden, Manning ‘Should Be Treated as Heroes’

“I don’t see it as one party versus the other. I see both parties as very closely aligned and the independent-minded people being separate from them,” Paul continued. “If you look at that Amash vote, having to do with the NSA and whether or not we should rein them in a little bit, leadership on both sides were very much in favor of spying. Yet there was a large number of people responding to Republicans and Democrats in opposition to this.” http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/08/russia-today/snowden-and-manning-should-be-treated-as-heroes/


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Thirteen Things the Government is Trying to Keep Secret From You

The President, the Head of the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Justice, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the Judiciary, are intentionally keeping massive amounts of information about surveillance of U.S. and other people secret from voters. Additionally, some are, to say it politely, not being factually accurate in what they are telling the public. These inaccurate statements are either intentional lies meant to mislead the public or they are evidence that the people who are supposed to be in charge of oversight do not know what they are supposed to be overseeing. The most recent revelations from the Washington Post, by way of Edward Snowden, indicate the NSA breaks privacy rules or overstep its legal authority thousands of times each year. Whether people are lying or do not know what they are doing, either way, this is a significant crisis. Here are thirteen examples. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35950.htm#.Uhi2aLFuDW0.email


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Dictatorship Watch: Obama Urges Supreme Court to Allow Warrantless Cellphone Searches

The summer of data grabs continues. President Obama is now pushing the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by the First Circuit Court of Appeals that insists that police need a search warrant to go through the data on your cell phone looking for information to use against you. http://news.antiwar.com/2013/08/20/obama-urges-supreme-court-to-allow-warrantless-cellphone-searches/


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Ten Reasons the U.S. Is No Longer the Land of the Free

Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit. These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country. The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35923.htm


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The NSA: ‘The Abyss from Which There is No Return’

We now find ourselves operating in a strange paradigm where the government not only views the citizenry as suspects but treats them as suspects, as well. Thus, the news that the National Security Agency (NSA) is routinely operating outside of the law and overstepping its legal authority by carrying out surveillance on American citizens is not really much of a surprise. This is what happens when you give the government broad powers and allow government agencies to routinely sidestep the Constitution. Indeed, as I document in my book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, these newly revealed privacy violations by the NSA are just the tip of the iceberg. Consider that the government’s Utah Data Center (UDC), the central hub of the NSA’s vast spying infrastructure, will be a clearinghouse and a depository for every imaginable kind of information—whether innocent or not, private or public—including communications, transactions and the like. In fact, anything and everything you’ve ever said or done, from the trivial to the damning—phone calls, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google searches, emails, bookstore and grocery purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc.—will be tracked, collected, catalogued and analyzed by the UDC’s supercomputers and teams of government agents. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/08/john-w-whitehead/the-abyss-from-which-there-is-no-return/


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Why the 2,776 NSA Violations Are No Big Deal

by Ron Paul. Americans are increasingly concerned over these violations of their privacy. Calls for reform grow. However, whenever Washington finds itself in a scandal, the government responds by naming a government panel made up of current and former government employees to investigate any mistakes the government might have made. The recommendations invariably are that even more government employees must be hired to provide an additional layer or two of oversight. That is supposed to reassure us that reforms have been made, while in fact it is just insiders covering up for those who have hired them to investigate. Let us hope the American people will decide that such trickery is no longer acceptable. It is time to take a very serious look at the activities of the U.S. intelligence community. The first step would be a dramatic reduction in appropriations to force a focus on those real, not imagined, threats to our national security. We should not be considered the enemy. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/08/ron-paul/those-2776-nsa-violations/


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Kucinich: ‘Everybody Lies To Congress; Abolish NSA, Celebrate Snowden’

Dennis Kucinich

Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich slammed the Obama administration late last week, saying that the NSA should be completely abolished, and that whistleblower Edward Snowden should be celebrated with a ticker-tape parade. Kucinich, known for his strong stance on privacy and civil liberties, urged attendees at the premiere of a documentary on government and corporate abuse of digital data that it was unacceptable to allow the government to continue to destroy constitutional rights. http://www.infowars.com/kucinich-everybody-lies-to-congress-abolish-nsa-celebrate-snowden/


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What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy

Privacy is connected to personhood. It has to do with intimate things—the innards of your head and heart, the workings of your mind—and the boundary between those things and the world outside. A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate, and it will have broader implications. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323639704579015101857760922.html


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You Won’t Believe What’s Going on With Government Spying on Americans

While the Obama administration is spying on everyone in the country – it is at the same time the most secretive administration ever. That’s despite Obama saying he’s running the most transparent administration ever. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/08/you-wont-believe-whats-going-on-with-government-spying-on-americans.html


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The Right Rallies to Edward Snowden

Snowden, who tipped off the media about the massive collection of Americans’ phone records and the government’s ability to track Internet and social media use, has been charged with espionage here in the States and has just received temporary asylum from Russia. Early supporters feared the media and politicians would concentrate so much on picking apart the messenger that the programs he revealed in early June to The Guardian would not receive proper scrutiny. Yet anger appears to be growing with each new revelation about the surveillance state. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-right-rallies-to-edward-snowden/


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Oliver Stone Blasts Obama as a ‘Snake’

The former Obama supporter, and director of films such as ‘JFK’ and ‘W.’ came down on the President during a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, saying ‘we have to turn on him’ regarding the continuing of ‘Bush-style eavesdropping’ and surveillance techniques. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/director-oliver-stone-blasts-obama-snake-article-1.1427501


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On the Cusp

Remember that our lawmakers are forbidden from explicitly describing the level of surveillance the law now allows: in warning against what is being done in the dark, Sen. Ron Wyden has had to use elliptical language – much as someone who lived in the former Soviet Union at the height of the Stalin terror was restrained from describing ordinary everyday horrors in a letter to relatives living overseas. Legislators can’t debate the law, they can’t challenge the law, because the government’s secret interpretation of the law is highly classified – we aren’t allowed to know about it. When it comes to the Surveillance State, many of the traditional avenues of resistance are closed to us. For example, take Ladar Levison, head of Lavabit, a company that recently folded rather than cave in to the government’s demands. What were those demands? Well, Levison can’t say: if he does, the government can charge him, lock him up, and throw away the key. What he did say is that he was forced to make a choice between being “complicit in crimes against the American people” and Lavabit, an email service that allowed users to encrypt their communications (Snowden was reportedly among their customers). He chose the honorable course – but is prevented from telling us exactly why. We are told all this secrecy is necessary because, after all, we’re at war, and our enemies abroad are relentlessly pursuing any and all weaknesses in the system in order to destroy us. Yet there is reason to suspect that the nature of this “enemy” is far different from what we’ve been led to believe: it isn’t some terrorist hiding in a cave somewhere – because the “enemy” is us, i.e. the American people. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/08/13/data-gate-shows-were-on-the-cusp/


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The Corporate Media’s Reverence of National Security Officials

In 2006, the New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize for having revealed that the NSA was eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. The reason that was a scandal was because it was illegal under a 30-year-old law that made it a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison for each offense, to eavesdrop on Americans without those warrants. Although both the Bush and Obama DOJs ultimately prevented final adjudication by raising claims of secrecy and standing, and the “Look Forward, Not Backward (for powerful elites)” Obama DOJ refused to prosecute the responsible officials, all three federal judges to rule on the substance found that domestic spying to be unconstitutional and in violation of the statute. The person who secretly implemented that illegal domestic spying program was retired Gen. Michael Hayden, then Bush’s NSA director. That’s the very same Michael Hayden who is now frequently presented by US television outlets as the authority and expert on the current NSA controversy — all without ever mentioning the central role he played in overseeing that illegal warrantless eavesdropping program. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35833.htm#.UgowEVpT1ug.email


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The Noose Tightens

You didn’t really think information gleaned from your emails and your telephone calls was compartmentalized, did you? Did you imagine these power-hungry control freaks would keep juicy tidbits scooped up in their data dragnet strictly for “national security” purposes? C’mon! While new details of Data-gate are coming out all the time, the NSA-DEA funnel is easily the most shocking (so far, at least). That’s because the faking of the evidence trail in drug cases potentially puts hundreds if not thousands of cases “won” by federal prosecutors in question – not to mention upcoming cases which could involve similar practices. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/08/11/the-noose-tightens/


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