Tuesday, December 31, 2013
NSA HAS COMPLETE CONTROL OF YOUR IPHONE, CAN ACTIVATE YOUR MICROPHONE AND CAMERA WITHOUT YOU KNOWING
Leaked documents now show what we all suspected: the NSA can turn your iPhone’s microphone and camera on and off without you knowing.
According to Der Spiegel’s website:
“The NSA’s ANT division develops implants for mobile phones and SIM cards. One of these is a spyware implant called “DROPOUTJEEP” — designed for the first generation of iPhones — which was still in development in 2008, shortly after the iPhone’s launch. This spyware was to make it possible to remotely download or upload files to a mobile phone. It would also, according to the catalog, allow the NSA to divert text messages, browse the user’s address book, intercept voicemails, activate the phone’s microphone and camera at will, determine the current cell site and the user’s current location, “etc.” ANT’s technicians also develop modified mobile phones, for use in special cases that look like normal, standard devices, but transmit various pieces of information to the NSA — that can be swapped undetected with a target’s own mobile phone or passed to informants and agents. In 2008, ANT had models from Eastcom and Samsung on offer, and it has likely developed additional models since.”
Monday, December 30, 2013
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The recent revelations regarding the NSA’s collection of the personal information and the digital activities of millions of people across the world have attracted immense attention and public concern. But there are equally troubling and equally opaque systems run by advertising, marketing, and data-mining firms that are far less known. Using techniques ranging from supermarket loyalty cards to targeted advertising on Facebook, private companies systematically collect very personal information, from who you are, to what you do, to what you buy. Data about your online and offline behavior are combined, analyzed, and sold to marketers, corporations, governments, and even criminals. The scope of this collection, aggregation, and brokering of information is similar to, if not larger than, that of the NSA, yet it is almost entirely unregulated and many of the activities of data-mining and digital marketing firms are not publicly known at all.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
The NSA's TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency's top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.
According to a new report from Der Spiegel based on internal NSA documents, the signals intelligence agency’s elite hacking unit (TAO) is able to conduct sophisticated wiretaps in ways that make Hollywood fantasy look more like reality. The report indicates that the NSA, in collaboration with the CIA and FBI, routinely and secretly intercepts shipping deliveries for laptops or other computer accessories in order to implant bugs before they reach their destinations. According to Der Spiegel, the NSA’s TAO group is able to divert shipping deliveries to its own “secret workshops” in a method called interdiction, where agents load malware onto the electronics or install malicious hardware that can give US intelligence agencies remote access.
The Washington Post, one of the premier mouthpieces for the establishment, is facing a tsunami of criticism and calls for full disclosure after the newspaper’s new owner, Amazon CEO and Bilderberg luminary Jeff Bezos, secured a $600 million contract with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for “cloud” services. According to critics, the Washington Post boss’s CIA ties represent a serious conflict of interest that, under basic ethical standards in journalism, must be disclosed to readers — at least whenever the paper is reporting on the “intelligence community” and its activities. So far, however, the Post has not publicly announced whether or not it will acknowledge what analysts say is a cut-and-dry conflict of interest.
Also troubling to critics of Bezos and his budding media empire is the billionaire’s intimate ties to the very pinnacle of the establishment. Bezos, for example, has in recent years become a regular attendee of the annual Bilderberg meetings. The deeply controversial and secretive gatherings feature top international figures in government, the establishment media, military, business, banking, royalty, intelligence, academia, and more. While the outfit is fiendishly obsessed with secrecy — its attendees claim they just want to discuss global issues in private — critics have long pointed to admissions from its luminaries to suggest that Bilderberg plays a crucial but largely hidden role in directing world trends.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
One of the NYPD's intelligence analysts warned that New Yorkers have gone to fight in the Syrian civil war and could come back radicalized against the West.
Rebecca Weiner, director of the Intelligence Division, emphasized the threat of homegrown extremists with no official affiliation with a terrorist group.
She revealed the NYPD is trying to track New Yorkers drawn to the Syrian conflict.
"Our overriding concern is what will happen when they come back," she said.
The Federal Commission for the Stasi Archives – the East German secret police – was born shortly after German reunification. The agency’s employment of ex-Stasi members is fuelling fear that records of its wrongs will be lost in the annals of history.
The commissioner in charge of the agency admitted in a recent interview that 37 ex-Stasi staffers remain.
“There are still 37 of them here. Five [out of an original 48] have been moved on, five have left for age reasons, and one of them has died,” former dissident journalist and current commissioner Roland Jahn told Germany’s Tagesspiegel newspaper on Friday.
Friday, December 27, 2013
A federal judge in New York on Friday ruled that the National Security Agency’s program that is systematically keeping phone records of all Americans is lawful, creating a conflict among lower courts and increasing the likelihood that the issue will be resolved by the Supreme Court.
In the ruling, Judge William H. Pauley III, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, granted a motion filed by the federal government to dismiss a challenge to the program brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which had tried to halt the program.
Judge Pauley said that protections under the Fourth Amendment do not apply to records held by third parties, like phone companies.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
The Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank with a focus on global politics, announced that Kelly will join them as a "distinguished visiting fellow." The CFR says Kelly will begin work with the organization in early January at its New York HQ, where he'll focus on "counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and other national security issues."
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is 11th in AFI’s list of the 100 best American movies ever made.
However, for a short while between 1947 and 1956, it was also listed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the suspicion of being a vehicle of Communist propaganda. Here, relevant files from the FBI’s archive are provided as well as links to 2,000 pages of excerpts from the “Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry” document.
Monday, December 23, 2013
If you've ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you've ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or "drug paraphernalia" in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.
Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who's ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a "record" financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.
December 23rd, 1913 is a date which will live in infamy. That was the day when the Federal Reserve Act was pushed through Congress. Many members of Congress were absent that day, and the general public was distracted with holiday preparations. Now we have reached the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, and most Americans still don't know what it actually is or how it functions. But understanding the Federal Reserve is absolutely critical, because the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems. Since the Federal Reserve was created, there have been 18 recessions or depressions, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by 98 percent, and the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger. This insidious debt-based financial system has literally made debt slaves out of all of us, and it is systematically destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. If nothing is done, we are inevitably heading for a massive amount of economic pain as a nation. So please share this article with as many people as you can. The following are 100 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be shut down forever...
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Sunday, December 22, 2013
And as 18 March 2014 draws closer, Templarmania is going to be ratcheted up several more notches.
Everyone loves an anniversary, and this is going to be a big one. It will be exactly 700 years since the legendary Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Templars, was strapped to a stake in Paris and bonfired alive. For centuries after de Molay’s execution in 1314, everyone wanted to sweep the ashes of the whole dreadful affair under the carpet. The official line was that the Templars, the former darlings of Christendom, had fallen from grace. Power had gone to their heads, and they had degenerated into something unspeakable (for a medieval order of monks, at any rate): spitting and urinating on crucifixes, worshiping idols, and finding sexual release with each other.
King Philip IV "the Fair" of France had personally overseen seven years of inquiry into the order’s suspicious practices. Based on the information it unearthed, he was convinced that he had exposed something rotten in society. The world, he was sure, would be better off without their sort — so he moved to have the Order stamped out. In the end, faced with Philip’s sustained pious outrage, the yellow-bellied pope of the day (a stooge who owed everything to Philip) had little alternative except to close the Templars down on the basis their reputation was irreparably shot. Philip then spent the next few years getting his hands on the Templars’ vast wealth, which he justified as compensation for having financed the enquiry to expose their dreadful sins.
The “Family Jewels” is the informal name used to refer to a set of reports that detail activities conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Considered illegal or inappropriate, these actions were conducted over the span of decades, from the 1950s to the mid-1970s.
h/t to Cryptocomb for searchable format
Saturday, December 21, 2013
The U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has designed a gigantic new spy satellite that will be able to observe 40 percent of the Earth’s surface at any given time. The revolutionary device, called Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation (MOIRE), is made up of 18 folding octagonal mirrors that unfurl to create a telescope that would stretch up to 68 feet (20.7 meters) across vertically, according to a report by PBS.org.
Secret documents reveal more than 1,000 targets of American and British surveillance in recent years, including the office of an Israeli prime minister, heads of international aid organizations, foreign energy companies and a European Union official involved in antitrust battles with American technology businesses.
While the names of some political and diplomatic leaders have previously emerged as targets, the newly disclosed intelligence documents provide a much fuller portrait of the spies’ sweeping interests in more than 60 countries.
Documents from the archive of whistleblower and former NSA worker Edward Snowden show that Britain's GCHQ signals intelligence agency has targeted European, German and Israeli politicians for surveillance.
British and American intelligence agencies had a comprehensive list of surveillance targets that included the EU's competition commissioner, German government buildings in Berlin and overseas, and the heads of institutions that provide humanitarian and financial help to Africa, top-secret documents reveal.
The papers show GCHQ, in collaboration with America's National Security Agency (NSA), was targeting organisations such as the United Nations development programme, the UN's children's charity Unicef and Médecins du Monde, a French organisation that provides doctors and medical volunteers to conflict zones. The head of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) also appears in the documents, along with text messages he sent to colleagues.
As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry, Reuters has learned.
Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that the NSA created and promulgated a flawed formula for generating random numbers to create a "back door" in encryption products, the New York Times reported in September. Reuters later reported that RSA became the most important distributor of that formula by rolling it into a software tool called Bsafe that is used to enhance security in personal computers and many other products.
Yesterday the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act was fast-tracked through the Senate, with no time for discussion or amendments. And you know, its Christmastime, so they just passed it so that they could recess for the holidays. The new version of the NDAA has already been quietly passed by the House of Representatives.
It authorizes massive spending, including $527 billion in base defense spending for the current fiscal year, funding for the war in Afghanistan, and funding for nuclear weapons programs.
The indefinite detention allowed by the original NDAA is still here, and it’s actually worse now, because there are provisions that will make it easier for the government to target those who disagree. Section 1071 outlines the creation of the “Conflict Records Research Center”, where the unconstitutionally obtained information that the NSA has collected is compiled and shared with the Department of Defense. The information, called in the wording “captured records,” can be anything from your phone records, emails, browsing history or posts on social media sites.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information. A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees.
Binney told us today:
The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs [is] for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].
These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.
So, they have to do a “Parallel Construction” and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a “planned programed perjury policy” directed by US law enforcement.
And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to “Foreign Counterparts.”
This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.
The Soviet Union's arms race with the United States during the Cold War included an expensive effort to develop mind-control weapons, the Physics arXiv Blog reports. Drawing on a new paper published by researcher Serge Kernbach, the blog describes the USSR's extensive efforts around what they called "psychotronics" — the equivalent of America's own experiments with parapsychology.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The Times also cited an e-book, "Going Postal," by independent investigative journalist Peter Byrne. It found that the real estate giant CBRE, which the Postal Service has exclusively contracted to manage its leased and owned properties, has often sold them at below-market rates to buyers with direct ties to CBRE itself. Private-equity investor Richard C. Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairs CBRE and has a large stake in the company. Byrne found, in at least one instance, Feinstein personally intervened in a sale that could have benefited her husband's firm.
The fire sale of postal properties is a textbook case of a favored few squeezing profits from a manufactured crisis. In an April 10 letter to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe claimed that e-mail's inroads into first-class mail delivery have forced him to radically downsize his workforce and sell the public's property. He neglected to add that the "reform" - read privatization - of the Postal Service has long been a stated goal of conservative think tanks. That reform could be accomplished by bankrupting the Postal Service.
Nearly all of the huge annual deficits recently racked up by the Postal Service are the result of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, passed by a voice vote of Congress at the end of 2006. The act forces the Postal Service to prepay retiree health care for 75 years into the future within just 10 years. It also hamstrings the Postal Service from providing services that would effectively compete with the private sector.
The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans — and likely hundreds more — during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal.
Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals,
Monday, December 16, 2013
John Young of Cryptome.org joins us to discuss the Snowden/NSA affair, and how it is being reported by Glenn Greenwald and others with access to the documents. We discuss the way in which the documents are being released, Greenwald’s new journalist venture with billionaire Pierre Omidyar and major book publishing deal, Sibel Edmonds’ recent series of articles on these connections, and the layers of smoke and mirrors in this ongoing game of cloak and dagger.
In a statement distributed by the journalist Glenn Greenwald, who was a recipient of leaked documents from Mr. Snowden and who wrote the first article about the bulk data collection, Mr. Snowden hailed the ruling.
“I acted on my belief that the N.S.A.'s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts,” Mr. Snowden said. “Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”
Suspected Boston marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev believed that he was a victim of mind control, according to the results of a five month investigation published yesterday by the Boston Globe.
Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police four days after allegedly carrying out the bombings with his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was thought to have “some form of schizophrenia,” according to family friends, while his mother said Tsarnaev “felt like there were two people living inside of him.”
“He believed in majestic mind control, which is a way of breaking down a person and creating an alternative personality with which they must coexist,” Donald Larking, a 67-year-old who attended a Boston mosque with Tamerlan, told the Globe. “You can give a signal, a phrase or a gesture, and bring out the alternate personality and make them do things. Tamerlan thought someone might have done that to him.”
The link between allegations of mind control and violent acts such as political assassinations or terror attacks has been a running theme in numerous different high profile cases.
Aurora theater gunman James Holmes said he was “programmed” to carry out the massacre by an “evil” therapist, according to an alleged inmate of the ‘Batman’ shooter. Steven Unruh claims that Holmes told him he “felt like he was in a video game” during the shooting and that he had been brainwashed with the aid of neuro-linguistic programming.
The parallels between James Holmes and another alleged victim of mind control – RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan - are astounding.
As the London Independent reported in 2005, evidence strongly indicates that Sirhan was a Manchurian candidate, a victim of mind control who was set up to be the fall guy for the murder. Sirhan was described by eyewitnesses as being in a trance-like state as he pulled the trigger.
“There was no way Sirhan Sirhan killed Kennedy,” said (Sirhan’s lawyer Larry) Teeter….He was the fall guy. His job was to get busted while the trigger man walked out. He wasn’t consciously involved in any plot. He was a patsy. He was unconscious and unaware of what was happening – he was the true Manchurian Candidate.”
The CIA’s use of mind control to create killers is a matter of historical record. MK-ULTRA was the code name for a covert, illegal CIA human research program, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence that came to light in 1975 through investigations by the Church Committee, and the Rockefeller Commission. 14-year CIA veteran Victor Marchetti insists that the program is ongoing and has not been abandoned.
According to his lawyers, Sirhan Sirhan “was an involuntary participant in the crimes being committed because he was subjected to sophisticated hypno programming and memory implantation techniques which rendered him unable to consciously control his thoughts and actions at the time the crimes were being committed,” and served only as a diversion for the real assassin.
Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six other people, was also obsessed with mind control.
Were the Tsarnaev brothers set up or brainwashed into carrying out the Boston marathon bombing? It’s a claim that would be virtually impossible to prove, but it would explain a number of extraordinary contradictions pertaining to the case, including why the brothers apparently shouted “we didn’t do it” during their shootout with police.
The aunt of Tamerlan Tsarnaev claims that the footage which emerged of police arresting a naked uninjured man was her nephew, contradicting the official narrative that Tsarnaev was critically injured in a shootout and suggesting he may have been killed while in custody.
According to Tamerlan’s mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the FBI “were controlling his every step.” It was subsequently confirmed that both the FBI and the CIA added the brothers to at least two terrorist watch lists in late 2011.
A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency program which collects information on nearly all telephone calls made to, from or within the United States is likely unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
After the 9/11 attacks, the public was told al Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors.
But the White House never let it see an entire section of Congress’ investigative report on 9/11 dealing with “specific sources of foreign support” for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.
It was kept secret and remains so today.
President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report. Text isn’t just blacked-out here and there in this critical-yet-missing middle section. The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words).
A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks.
Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can’t reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law. So they’ve proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, “Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”
Some information already has leaked from the classified section, which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally.
American intelligence and law enforcement investigators have concluded that they may never know the entirety of what the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden extracted from classified government computers before leaving the United States, according to senior government officials.
Investigators remain in the dark about the extent of the data breach partly because the N.S.A. facility in Hawaii where Mr. Snowden worked — unlike other N.S.A. facilities — was not equipped with up-to-date software that allows the spy agency to monitor which corners of its vast computer landscape its employees are navigating at any given time.
A directory of Opt-Out links to stop data brokers from selling your personal information.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Since his disappearance in March 2007, United States officials have publicly insisted that Mr. Levinson went to Iran as a private investigator working a cigarette smuggling case. In fact he was also a contractor for the C.I.A. As the real purpose of his mission became known within the government, it led to a scandal within the C.I.A. in which three agency officials lost their jobs, for, in effect, using Mr. Levinson as part of an unauthorized spying operation.
NAFTA impacted U.S. workers in four principal ways.
First, it caused the loss of some 700,000 jobs as companies moved their production to Mexico, where labor was cheaper. Most of these losses came in California, Texas, Michigan, and other states where manufacturing is concentrated (and where many immigrants from Mexico go). To be sure, there were some job gains along the border in the service and retail sectors resulting from increased trucking activity. But these gains are small in relation to the losses, and have generally come in lower paying occupations. The vast majority of workers who lost jobs from NAFTA, therefore, suffered a permanent loss of income.
Second, NAFTA strengthened the ability of U.S. employers to force workers to accept lower wages and benefits. As soon as NAFTA became law, corporate managers began telling their workers that their companies intended to move to Mexico unless the workers lowered the cost of their labor. In the midst of collective bargaining negotiations with unions, some companies even started loading machinery into trucks that they said were bound for Mexico. The same threats were used to fight union organizing efforts. The message was: “If you vote to form a union, we will move south of the border.” With NAFTA, corporations also could more easily blackmail local governments into giving them tax breaks and other subsidies, which of course ultimately meant higher taxes on employees and other taxpayers.
Third, NAFTA drove several million Mexican workers and their families out of the agriculture and small business sectors, which could not compete with the flood of products—often subsidized—from U.S. producers. This dislocation was a major cause of the dramatic increase of undocumented workers in the United States, putting further downward pressure on North American wages, particularly in already lower-paying labor markets.
Fourth, and ultimately most importantly, NAFTA created a template for the rules of the emerging global economy, in which the benefits would flow to capital and the costs to labor. Among other things, NAFTA granted corporations extraordinary protections against national labor laws that might threaten profits, set up special courts—chosen from rosters of pro-business experts—to judge corporate suits against governments, and at the same time effectively denied legal status to workers and unions to defend themselves in these new cross-border jurisdictions.
The extent of the NSA’s collection of cellphone signals and its use of tools to decode encryption are not clear from a top-secret document provided by former contractor Edward Snowden. But it states that the agency “can process encrypted A5/1” even when the agency has not acquired an encryption key, which unscrambles communications so that they are readable.
Experts say the agency may also be able to decode newer forms of encryption, but only with a much heavier investment in time and computing power, making mass surveillance of cellphone conversations less practical.
Friday, December 13, 2013
The IMF just dropped another bombshell.
After it recently suggested a “one-off capital levy” – a one-time tax on private wealth as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability across insolvent countries – it has now called for “revenue-maximizing top income tax rates”.
The IMF’s team of monkeys has been working around the clock on this one, figuring that developed nations can increase their overall tax revenue by increasing tax rates.
They’ve singled out the US, suggesting that the US government could maximize its tax revenue by increasing tax brackets to as high as 71%.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is developing a biometric identification database program called "Next Generation Identification" (NGI). When completed, the NGI system will be the largest biometric database in the world. The program is of particular interest to EPIC because of the far-reaching implications for personal privacy and the risks of mass surveillance.
The vast majority of records contained in the NGI database will be of US citizens. The NGI biometric identifiers will include fingerprints, iris scans, DNA profiles, voice identification profiles, palm prints, and photographs. The system will include facial recognition capabilities to analyze collected images. Millions of individuals who are neither criminals nor suspects will be included in the database.
Many of these individuals will be unaware that their images and other biometric identifiers are being captured. Biometric records collected by various civil service agencies could be added to the system. The NGI system could be integrated with other surveillance technology, such as Trapwire, that would enable real-time image-matching of live feeds from CCTV surveillance cameras.  The Department of Homeland Security has expended hundreds of millions of dollars to establish state and local surveillance systems, including CCTV cameras that record the routine activities of millions of individuals.  There are an estimated 30 million surveillance cameras in the United States. If NGI system was integrated with CCTV cameras operated by public agencies and private entities, NGI could use facial recognition on images of crowds to identify individuals in public settings, whether or not the police have made the necessary legal showing to compel the disclosure of identification documents.
The NGI database will be used for both law enforcement and non-law enforcement purposes. It will be available to law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal level. But it will also be available to private entities, unrelated to a law enforcement agency.
EPIC’s “Spotlight on Surveillance” project takes a deeper look at this massive surveillance initiative.
A brief taxonomy of wiretapping esoterica.
In all, there are six major distinct phone tracking and tapping methods used by law enforcement in the US: "call detail records requests", "pen register/trap and trace", "content wiretaps", "E911 pings", "tower dumps", and "Stingray/IMSI Catchers". Each reveals somewhat different information at different times, and each has its own legal implications. An agency might use any or all of them over the course of a given investigation. Let's take them one by one.
The NSA’s main justification for Constitution-shredding mass surveillance on all Americans is 9/11.
Top security experts say that mass spying interferes with U.S. counter-terror efforts (more here and here)
American presidents agree
The chairs of the 9/11 Commission say that the spying has gone way too far (and that the Director of National Intelligence should be prosecuted for lying about the spying program)
Top officials say that the claim that the government could only have stopped the attacks if it had been able to spy on Americans is wholly false
The NSA was already conducting mass surveillance prior to 9/11
But we want to focus on another angle: the unspoken assumption by the NSA that we need mass surveillance because “lone wolf” terrorists don’t leave as many red flags as governments, so the NSA has to spy on everyone to find the needle in the haystack.
But this is nonsense. The 9/11 hijackers were not lone wolves.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
If you keep hearing about the TPP and really only have a general idea of what this is, there is a good reason for that. The negotiations have been kept a closely guarded secret, and those participating don’t want you to know what it is until it’s too late to change it.
Read on for a TPP primer.
What is the TPP?
TPP stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The countries involved in this proposed partnership are the US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam. It boils down to being a massive free trade agreement, which would eliminate tariffs on goods and services and harmonize various regulations between the partner countries. If the agreement goes through, it will affect more than 40% of the imports and exports of the United States.
Why are so many people against the TPP?
One of the major issues with the TPP is its effect on Freedom of Speech. Remember how everyone was concerned about the potential ramifications of SOPA and PIPA back when the US government was trying to crack down on “internet piracy”? Well, multiply that times a billion and then don’t run it through Congress, and you have, in a nutshell, the future effects of the TPP on the Internet.
Under the guise of protecting intellectual copyrights, if the TPP goes through, the Internet will change dramatically. It could turn Internet Service Providers into watchdogs, and threaten our ability to communicate unfettered on blogs, forums, websites and social media platforms.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The 50,000-pages of documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contain extensive documentation of PayPal Corporation’s partnership and cooperation with the National Security Agency (NSA), according to three NSA veterans. To date, no information has been released as to the extent of the working relationship and cooperation between the two entities- NSA and PayPal Corporation. What’s more, the billionaire owner of PayPal Corporation has entered into a $250 Million business partnership with two journalists-Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, a journalist duo who possess the entire cache of evidence provided by Edward Snowden. Despite earlier pledges by the journalists in question, only one percent (1%) of Snowden’s documents has been released. BFP was recently contacted by a retired NSA official who claims that the documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contain extensive documentation pertaining to NSA’s partnership with major U.S. financial institutions, including credit card companies and PayPal Corporation. The official, who requested anonymity, also alleges that a deal was made in early June, 2013 between the journalists involved in this recent NSA scandal and U.S. government officials, which was then sealed by secrecy and nondisclosure agreements by all parties involved.
Commenting on that release in “Osama’s Almost Letter to Me,” Margolis wrote, “Al-Qaida was not founded by Osama bin Laden, as many wrongly believe, but in the mid-1980’s in Peshawar, Pakistan, by a revolutionary scholar, Sheik Abdullah Azzam. I know this because I interviewed Azzam numerous times at al-Qaida HQ in Peshawar while covering the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. Azzam set up al-Qaida, which means “the base” in Arabic, to help CIA and Saudi-financed Arab volunteers going to fight in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. In those days, the west hailed them as “freedom fighters.”
Margolis goes on to report that neither Al Qaeda in Afghanistan nor the Taliban had anything to do with 9/11. Their raison d’etre is fighting foreign troops within their borders. When the invaders were Soviet, they fought the Soviets, using similar but updated tactics to those previously used against the British. When the invaders were American, they fought the Americans. Thus Afghanistan’s ominous nickname, “Graveyard of Empires.”
The National Security Agency is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using "cookies" and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.
The agency's internal presentation slides, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government. The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
All told, about 139,000 phone calls were secretly recorded as part of the probe. Another 450,000 emails and text messages were intercepted.
Defense lawyers have been arguing against the admissibility of the wiretap evidence in the case.
MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from political action committees (PACs) and individuals from the top 20 intelligence services contractors working with the Department of Defense, ranked by total value of contracts received, to members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Data source: Federal Election Commission from January 1, 2005 - October 4, 2013. Department of Defense intelligence services contracts source: USASpending (contract totals as of September 26, 2013)
In total, members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have received $3.7 million from top intelligence services contractors since January 1, 2005.
Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from Maryland -- home of NSA headquarters -- led the committees in money received from top intelligence contractors. Representative C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, D-Md., is the largest recipient, having received $363,600 since January 1, 2005. Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., is the second largest recipient, having received $210,150.
Republican members of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have received $1.86 million since January 1, 2005, while Democrat members have received $1.82 million over the same time period.
Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have received $2.2 million since January 1, 2005 from top intelligence services contractors, while members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have received $1.5 million.
Lockheed Martin has given $798,910 to members the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since January 1, 2005, more than any of the other top 20 intelligence service contractors. Northrop Grumman has given $753,101, the second highest amount, and Honeywell has given $714,913, the third highest amount.
The Center for Corporate Policy recently released a report demonstrating how large corporations hire former law enforcement officials to spy on nonprofit organizations considered to be a threat to them. We added all of the firms in the report to a list in LittleSis–Corporate Espionage Firms–to take a closer look at some of the people behind these firms.
The FBI began experimenting with drones in 1995, but didn't view them as a viable option for video surveillance until a full decade later. Since then, however, the agency appears to have slowly but steadily moved forward in building its drone program. Now, details of that program have been revealed in a series of recently released documents sentI to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an advocacy group that issued a Freedom of Information Act request in June. Though CREW was interested in learning what company provided the FBI's drones and where the purchases' funding came from, that information is largely redacted. Even so, the documents do reveal quite a bit about the program's development, including how the FBI has been using drones and what it plans to do with them in the future.
Monday, December 9, 2013
The National Security Agency isn't the only government entity secretly collecting data from people's cellphones. Local police are increasingly scooping it up, too.
Armed with new technologies, including mobile devices that tap into cellphone data in real time, dozens of local and state police agencies are capturing information about thousands of cellphone users at a time, whether they are targets of an investigation or not, according to public records obtained by USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers and TV stations.
The records, from more than 125 police agencies in 33 states, reveal:
Earlier this year when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exposed a botched ATF sting in Milwaukee — that included agents hiring a brain-damaged man to promote an undercover storefront and then arresting him forhis work — ATF officials told Congress the failed Milwaukee operation was an isolated case of inadequate supervision.
The Journal Sentinel reviewed thousands of pages of court records, police reports and other documents and interviewed dozens of people involved in six ATF operations nationwide that were publicly praised by the ATF in recent years for nabbing violent criminals and making cities safer.
Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employed rogue tactics similar to those used in Milwaukee in every operation, from Portland, Ore., to Pensacola, Fla.
In November, WikiLeaks published a rare draft of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty — revealing the United States’ covert international push for stronger intellectual property rights. Now, nearly a month after the first documents were published, the group is back on the case, publishing a new raft of documents from the TPP negotiations currently taking place in Singapore. The revelations are mostly the same, with the United States leading the charge for SOPA-like penalties on file-sharing and stringent patent reforms, but the new documents suggest that the public outcry against these proposals has had little effect on the negotiations.
The NYPD has ordered the city’s 77 police precincts to stop giving out any information to the media about crimes taking place in their neighborhoods, cutting off a long-standing source of information for New Yorkers.
According to a terse NYPD edict transmitted citywide, precinct commanders were instructed: “Any requests by media to view complaint reports be referred to the office of the Deputy Commissioner For Public Information.”
Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.
Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.
Snowden documents show intelligence agencies conducting surveillance and grabbing data in virtual worlds.
NSA and GCHQ collect gamers' chats and deploy real-life agents into World of Warcraft and Second Life
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.
The evidence for the presence of thermite at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11 is extensive and compelling. This evidence has accumulated to the point at which we can say that WTC thermite is no longer a hypothesis, it is a tested and proven theory. Therefore it is not easy to debunk it. But the way to do so is not difficult to understand.
To debunk the thermite theory, one must first understand the evidence for it and then show how all of that evidence is either mistaken or explained by other phenomena. Here are the top ten categories of evidence for thermite at the WTC.
Scary. Insane. Ridiculous. Invasive. Wrong. The Washington Post reports that the FBI has had the ability to secretly activate a computer's camera "without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording" for years now. What in the hell is going on? What kind of world do we live in?
First in an exclusive Tico Times series in two parts
Two former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency contract pilot are claiming that the Reagan Administration was complicit in the 1985 murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena at the hands of Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.
The administration’s alleged effort to cover up a U.S. government relationship with the Mexican drug lord to provide for the arming and the training of Nicaraguan Contra rebels, at a time when official assistance to the Contras was banned by the congressional Boland Amendment, led to Camarena’s kidnap, torture and murder, according to Phil Jordon, former head of the DEA’s El Paso office, Hector Berrellez, the DEA’s lead investigator into Camarena’s kidnapping, torture and murder, and CIA contract pilot Robert “Tosh” Plumlee.
“We’re not saying the CIA murdered Kiki Camarena,” Jordan said. But the “consensual relationship between the Godfathers of Mexico and the CIA that included drug trafficking” contributed to Camarena’s death, he added.
“I don’t have a problem with the CIA conducting covert operations to protect the national security of our country or our allies, but not to engage in criminal activity that leads to the murder of one our agents,” Jordan said.
Camarena had discovered the arms-for-drugs operation run on behalf of the Contras, aided by U.S. officials in the National Security Council and the CIA, and threatened to blow the whistle on the covert operation, Jordan alleged.
Berrellez said two witnesses identified, from a photo lineup, two or three Cuban CIA operatives who participated in Camarena’s interrogation.
Plumlee said he and three other pilots ran tons of cocaine into U.S. military bases on return trips from delivering weapons to Contra rebels in Central America, and was warned by Camarena that he would be busted. Plumlee has a long and colorful history of working for the CIA, beginning with flying arms to Cuba before Fidel Castro’s takeover in the 1950s.
Jordan said the cover story Plumlee had been told by his CIA “handler” William Bennetee – that his cocaine flights into U.S. military bases were part of a drug interdiction program to penetrate and dismantle the cocaine routes of Colombian drug lords Pablo Escobar and Jorge Ochoa – was unimaginable, since the DEA, which would have had to approve the program, had no knowledge of it.
“I don’t know of any DEA administrator that I worked for who would have sanctioned cocaine smuggling into the United States in the name of national security, when we are out there risking our lives,” Jordan told The Tico Times.
The CIA reacted indignantly to the allegation of complicity in Camarena’s murder. “It’s ridiculous to suggest that the CIA had anything to do with the murder of a U.S. federal agent or the escape of his killer,” an agency spokesman told Fox News.
The DEA said only that U.S. justice has gotten to the bottom of the Camarena case.
“DEA believes that the individuals responsible for the torture and murder of Special Agent Kiki Camarena have been identified and indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. They include Rafael Caro-Quintero and 15 others,” said the agency in a statement.
An agency spokeswoman declined to elaborate.
The presentation of this year’s Top 25 stories extends the tradition originated by Professor Carl Jensen and his Sonoma State students in 1976, while reflecting how the expansion of the Project to include affiliate faculty and students from campuses across the country and around the world—initiated several years ago as outgoing director Peter Phillips passed the reins to current director Mickey Huff—has made the Project even more diverse and robust. During this year’s cycle, Project Censored reviewed 233 Validated Independent News stories (VINs) representing the collective efforts of 219 college students and 56 professors from 18 college and university campuses that participate in our affiliate program and 13 additional community evaluators.
If Bill Bratton’s record in Los Angeles is any guide, New York will see little dramatic reduction in the police tactic of stop-and-frisk but improved targeting and community relations will soothe resentment.
New York’s newly named police commissioner presided over a surge of stop-and-frisk while running the LA police department but softened the political impact by reaching out to black and Latino community leaders.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who was elected on a promise of curbing the controversial tactic, appears to be calculating his appointee will finesse but not end it. Critics say the policy in its current form unfairly targets young minority men, an accusation which dogged the outgoing mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
The number of federal prison inmates has grown 27 percent in the last decade, according the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Friday, December 6, 2013
Today the National Security Agency (NSA) discussed its program that collects billions of cellphone location records each day. The NSA targets foreign phones but also absorbs data on the phones of American citizens.
“The NSA does not target Americans’ location data by design, but the agency acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellphones ‘incidentally,’” according to the Washington Post, which broke the story concerning program based on documents provided by Edward Snowden.
Given that fact, the legal defense that the NSA outlined today for the program could be viewed as underweight. The agency cites Executive Order 12333, issued by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The NSA stated that “the Agency’s EO 12333 collection is outward-facing. We are not intentionally acquiring domestic information through this capability.” The agency also has in place “minimization procedures,” according to its spokesperson.
All the while, warrantless cell-phone location tracking has become a de facto method to snoop on criminals in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision that probable-cause warrants from judges are generally needed to affix covert GPS devices to vehicles.
Yet the mobile-phone location data issue has never been squarely addressed by the Supreme Court, and the dispute isn’t likely to be heard by the justices any time soon. All of which means that the legality of the latest crime- or terror-fighting method of choice is equally up in the air.
Thanks to the ease of obtaining tower dumps, it's becoming a go-to tool for law enforcement. Not only can they collect these without needing to show probable cause, they're also under no obligation to inform any of the millions of unrelated cellphone customers whose information they've obtained that they've swept up their data.
Less than one day after theassassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, a Central Intelligence Agency-funded organization in Miami published a special edition of its monthly magazine in which it linked the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, to Cuban President Fidel Castro.
According to JFKFacts.org moderator Jefferson Morley, this was the first JFK assassination conspiracy theory to reach the public in print.
Moreover, the CIA propaganda effort remains exactly that -- a lie and an attempt to spread a conspiracy theory -- because there has never been a preponderance of evidence -- let alone incontrovertible evidence -- that Castro or Castro-backed groups organized or implemented a plot to murder the U.S. president.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
How two alienated,angry geeks broke the story of the year.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.
The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
By Robert Parry
In the insular world of Manhattan media, there’s much handwringing over the latest blow to print publications as New York Magazine scales back from a weekly to a biweekly. But the real lesson might be the commercial failure of snarky writing, the kind that New York demonstrated in its recent hit piece on “conspiracy theories.”
What was most stunning to me about the article, pegged to the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, was that it began by ridiculing what is actually one of the best-documented real conspiracies of recent decades, the CIA’s tolerance and even protection of cocaine trafficking by the Nicaraguan Contra rebels in the 1980s.
Monday, December 2, 2013
In September 2009, John Dodson, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was assigned to the ATF’s Phoenix office. What he found there shocked him. The bureau was encouraging gun dealers to sell weapons in bulk to known straw buyers, who would funnel those guns to Mexican drug cartels. Known as Operation Fast and Furious, it ended with the death of at least one American law enforcement officer. Dodson became a congressional whistleblower, and the investigation into the operation is ongoing. In this exclusive excerpt from his new book, “The Unarmed Truth,” Dodson explains how tragically inept Fast and Furious was.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
In response to a question at the University of Florida recently, Noam Chomsky claimed that there were only “a miniscule number of architects and engineers” who felt that the official account of WTC Building 7 should be treated with skepticism. Chomsky followed-up by saying, “a tiny number—a couple of them—are perfectly serious.”
If signing your name and credentials to a public petition on the subject means being serious, then Noam Chomsky’s tiny number begins at 2,100, not counting scientists and other professionals. Why would Chomsky make such an obvious exaggeration when he has been presented with contradictory facts many times?
I’ve personally had over thirty email exchanges with Chomsky. In those exchanges, he has agreed that it is “conceivable” that explosives might have been used at the WTC. But, he wrote, if that were the case it would have had to be Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden who had made it so.
Of course, it doesn’t matter how many professionals or intellectuals are willing to admit it. The facts remain that the U.S. government’s account for the destruction of the WTC on 9/11 is purely false. There is no science behind the government’s explanation for WTC7 or for the Twin Towers and everyone, including the government, admits that WTC Building 7 experienced free fall on 9/11. There is no explanation for that other than the use of explosives.
The obviously bogus “tiny number” statement from Chomsky is only one of several such absurdities the man uttered in his lecture response. Here are a few of the others.
During the height of the Cold War, the US military put such an emphasis on a rapid response to an attack on American soil, that to minimize any foreseeable delay in launching a nuclear missile, for nearly two decades they intentionally set the launch codes at every silo in the US to 8 zeroes.