Domestic-Surveillance

Donald Trump...

…wants to take Iraq’s oil.
…is making enemies lists.
…is calling his critics “enemies.”
…is keeping his own security force.
…wants the Army to target civilians.
…would make the Army target civilians.
…wants to expand domestic surveillance.
…wants to make it easier to sue the press.
…wants to cut back our intelligence agencies.
…thinks security takes precedence over privacy.
…is undermining the legitimacy of the court system.
…is threatening journalists for unfavorable reporting.
…is threatening to enact martial law in American cities.
…thinks the 1st Amendment offers too much protection.
…needs the names of people working on climate change.
…needs the names of people working on gender equality.
…offered to “destroy the career” of a Texas state Senator.
…is undermining and telling lies to delegitimize the media.
…only supports transparency when it’s working to his benefit.
…is banning a religion from immigrating to the United States.
…will prevent administration officials from appearing on CNN.
…is going to publish a list of crimes committed by immigrants.
…is appointing unqualified cronies to national cabinet positions.
…is seeking the ability to purge the government of non-loyalists.
…is freezing federal agencies from communicating through twitter.
…is dismantling anti-discrimination protections for at-risk students.
…is showing no regard for the handling of delicate classified information.
…his chief advisor is using her position to push Trump branded products.
…is using his position as President to make money for his businesses.
…needs the names of State Department employees working on extremism.
…is demanding apologies from news organizations that report on WH leaks.
…has fired the acting Attorney General for “betraying the State Department.”
…is completely ignoring communications from the Office of Government Ethics.
…is allowing his chief strategist to destroy or prevent a White House paper trail.
…is presenting “alternative facts” (lying) to the American people.
…is frustrated that he is unable to govern the same way that he ran his businesses.
…is only taking questions from pro-administration news agencies at press conferences.
…wanted to oust all inspectors general to remove ethics oversight over government agencies.
…his policy advisor is warning that the President’s national security policy “will not be questioned.”
…withheld important national security information from the Vice President and the rest of his team.
…his campaign may have been working with another nation to effect the outcome of a democratic election.
…has removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s permanent seat on the National Security Council.
…has given Steve Bannon, an alt-right white nationalist, a permanent seat on the National Security Council.
…insulted Australia, an ally of the United States, and may have threatened to invade Mexico, also an ally of the United States.
…has planted hand picked supporters in his crowds.
…has given cabinet positions to his campaign donors.
…has undermined the legitimacy of protesters.
…fired advisors who don’t fully support his policies.
…considering quitting the U.N. Human Rights Council.
…rejected intelligence reports that don’t fully support his policies.
…went a full week without attending the Presidential Daily Intelligence Briefing.
…asked the FBI to undermine news reports on the administration’s ties to Russia.
…asked intelligence officials and key Republican lawmakers to counter Russia stories.
…has blocked CNN, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, the BBC and the Guardian from participating in a press conference.

[from Reddit; Source(s)]

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May 15, 2007, exactly 10 years ago today.

If you first started seeing Jim Comey’s name in the news in relation to Hillary’s emails, or the FBI-Apple encryption tussle, you may not have heard the story of how he earned his reputation for [fill in as appropriate: independence | integrity | making judgement calls regardless of how many important people he pisses off | shooting his mouth off and damn the consequences]. This is it. Comey was Deputy Attorney General at the height of the Bush administration’s war-on-terror paranoia. He ended up giving dramatic testimony before Congress about racing to the bedside of a hospitalized AG John Ashcroft, to prevent Alberto Gonzales from bullying Ashcroft into signing off on the legality of a flagrantly illegal NSA domestic surveillance program. Watch it. It’s riveting.

I frequently and strenuously disagree with Comey’s judgement about a lot of things. (To put it politely.) But in a time when the GOP’s defining characteristic is craven, contemptible, indefensible cowardice about acknowledging wrongdoing within their own party, I’m only too happy to go to bat for the guy’s integrity. Here’s hoping that his refusal to testify in a closed hearing means he’s going to insist on giving his repeat performance in public.

“On about February 14th the Americans came over, followed by the R.A.F. their combined labors killed 250,000* people in twenty-four hours and destroyed all of Dresden – possibly the world’s most beautiful city. But not me.
After that we were put to work carrying corpses from Air-Raid shelters; women, children, old men; dead from concussion, fire or suffocation. Civilians cursed us and threw rocks as we carried bodies to huge funeral pyres in the city. ” Excerpt from page 2 of a letter to his folks, from Prvt. Vonnegut, U.S. Army.

*official estimates put the number of dead civilians at “only” 25,000

The American flag is a symbol.  As a symbol, it means different things to different people, and no one can project their interpretation of that symbol on to another person.  For some, it symbolizes the troops who bled and died for our freedom.  I would challenge this and ask in what war the troops died fighting to protect me from mass domestic surveillance by the government, protected me from 2nd Amendment restrictions, fought to protect me from crushing taxation, or fought to defend the citizen’s right to choose which recreational drugs to enjoy.

It must also symbolize the bombing of Dresden, the Trail of Tears, endless and illegal wars of aggression, the Mai Lai massacre, the Kent State massacre, the Waco massacre, and all other atrocities committed by American troops and police forces.

So I respect and applaud anyone, who like me, refuse to stand as the flag passes in a parade, for the pledge of allegiance, and for the national anthem.

“Actually, a Hydra conspiracy would be less disturbing”: a national security reading list

I did not deliberately set out to make my past few months’ nonfiction reading into a rec list for a more in-depth look at the political issues addressed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Honest. (Mostly honest. The Paperclip book might’ve caught my eye in part because of the shoutout in Cap 2.) But one of the reasons I fell in love with the movie was the great big middle finger it gave the American national-security complex… and then when I was tumbling ever further down the nonfiction rabbit hole and things started sounding eerily familiar, I realized, duh, the scriptwriters for TWS were probably reading a lot of the same books I was. 

I don’t make any claim that this is an exhaustive list. As noted, it’s a straight-up list of books I’ve picked up recently, so I have no doubt there are other relevant ones I’m missing. But it’s a pretty solid overview. So without further ado, I give you: the “Actually, a Hydra conspiracy would be less disturbing” national security reading list. 

  • Jane Mayer - The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
  • Tom Engelhardt - Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
  • Dana Priest and William Arkin - Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.
  • Annie Jacobsen - Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America.

More detailed writeups and a bit of a rant under the read-more link. (Gist of the rant: The best and scariest thing about Cap 2 is that the most disturbing things about SHIELD/Hydra are 100% based in fact.)

Keep reading

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FRONTLINE: With or Without the Patriot Act, Here’s How the NSA Can Still Spy on Americans

While it may only be temporary, the National Security Agency on Monday lost its authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk after the Senate failed to extend provisions of the Patriot Act authorizing the controversial domestic surveillance program.

But these Patriot Act provisions represent just one component of the NSA surveillance capabilities exposed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Under an entirely separate law, the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, the government still has the authority to access the communications of users of popular Internet sites such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Section 702 of the law, which does not expire until 2017, gives the government the ability to collect the content of an Internet user’s actual communications — not just metadata.

An even older and more obscure Reagan-era law, Executive Order No. 12333, provides U.S. intelligence with nearly identical surveillance capabilities to intercept overseas communications.

Also unaffected by the sunset of Section 215 is the use of National Security Letters, which since 9/11 have helped to dramatically expand the government’s ability to collect information about Americans directly from phone companies and Internet providers. Any FBI office can issue one, without a court’s review and with a gag order. In the past 10 years, more than 300,000 National Security Letters have been issued, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and until 2013, no major Internet or phone company is known to have questioned the constitutionality of one.

To learn more, check out recent FRONTLINE doc United States of Secrets

The two-part documentary follows how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world — and here at home — and the lengths to which officials tried hide the massive surveillance from the public.

Congress Says C.I.A. Hacked The Computers of Senators Reviewing Their Torture Tactics

August 2nd, 2014

A U.S. Senate committee report will conclude that the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks yielded no critical intelligence on terrorist plots that could not have been obtained through non-coercive methods, U.S. officials familiar with the document said.

Foreshadowing the impending release of a report expected to suggest that the “enhanced” techniques were unnecessary and also to accuse some CIA officers of misleading Congress about the effectiveness of the program, President Barack Obama said on Friday that the CIA “tortured some folks.” He had supposedly banned the practices soon after taking office in 2009.

Obama also defended CIA director John Brennan who has faced congressional calls for his resignation after a revelation that the agency spied on the Senate committee investigating its interrogation techniques.

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When the FBI branded Martin Luther King Jr a “dangerous” threat to national security and began tapping his phones, it was part of a long history of spying on black activists in the United States. But the government surveillance of black bodies has never been limited to activists – in fact, according to the FBI;you only had to be black .

In the current fight between Apple and the FBI, black perspectives are largely invisible, yet black communities stand to lose big if the FBI wins. A federal judge in California is set to rule on Tuesday whether the FBI will be granted a request compelling Apple to unlock the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooter.

While seemingly about protecting national security – the same rationale used to justify 20th century surveillance of MLK, the Black Panther Party and others – this case is about much more. It could establish a legal precedent used to suppress the growing movement for black lives that is deposing public officials and disrupting the daily assault on black people in cities across the country.

Building off the civil rights and black power movements of the 1960s, a 21st century movement for black lives is coming of age, mobilizing the same courageous methods of non-violent direct action, using the same local-to-local strategy, and making many of the same demands. An intersectional approach is replacing old identity politics, and a newfound digital landscape is making communication possible in more directions and at previously unimaginable speeds. The movement for black lives is attracting the brightest minds and bravest bodies. Black activists are developing new ways of grassroots organizing in an information economy.

Like its predecessors, the democratic movement for black lives has been met by anti-democratic state surveillance and anti-black police violence. New “smart” policing methods are being used by modern-day gumshoes who, fueled by the false rhetoric of black criminality, experiment with high-tech tools to the detriment of black democratic engagement.

In the 20th century, the FBI admitted to overreaching and violating the constitution when it used its counter intelligence program, COINTELPRO, for domestic surveillance that spied on black activists. Last year, FBI director James Comey admitted in a congressional committee hearing to flying spy planes that monitored protests in the wake of police killings of black people in Ferguson and Baltimore with the agency working in tandem with local police. In Chicago, home of the infamous “red squad”, police collected “ First Amendment Worksheets ” on black organizations such as We Charge Genocide, and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition.

There are reports from activists on the front lines of protests about police employing “kill switch” technology to cut off live-streaming, using Stingraysto intercept phone calls, or flying drones overhead for crowd control, but such claims are unconfirmed as police refuse to reveal their techniques and are not compelled by law to do so.

Twentieth century surveillance is alive and well in the 21st century, and is one powerful reason why, in a digital age and era of big data, the fight for racial justice must also include a fight for the equal and fair application of first and fourth amendment rights.

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A letter was sent by some of us in the Black Lives Matter movement to California federal magistrate judge Sheri Pym, who is overseeing the Apple case, warning of the dangerous implications of siding with the FBI. It was signed by Beats, Rhymes & Relief, the Gathering for Justice, Justice League NYC, writer Shaun King, Black Lives Matter co-founder and Black Alliance for Just Immigration executive director Opal Tometi, as well as the organization I work for, the Center for Media Justice.

I signed because, as the child of a Black Panther, I grew up with the persistent threat of police spying. The police “watched” my family in the name of “safety” and “national security”, but I knew that we became targets of government surveillance because my mother advocated for black bodies abandoned and abused by state violence.

That is why the FBI case is not only against Apple, but is also against communities of color and communities of resistance. It is against democracy. It is against the black immigrant worker who has fled political persecution, the black and Latino youth putting themselves on the line to catalyze deep change, the gender non-conforming bodies subjected to daily assaults, the Muslim communities regularly targeted by bias and hate crimes. We don’t have the same protections others take for granted, we are instead treated as perpetually guilty.

Reports have surfaced that the Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the movement for black lives since the initial uprisings in Ferguson. We know that police are watching the tweets we write, the Facebook event pages we set up, and the demonstrations we organize in the streets. If we are arrested, our phones will be confiscated. Whether or not police can look into our phones, whether or not they need a warrant, is being tested in court. This is not a vision of some distant dystopic future, this is happening right now. This is why the FBI case against Apple, is also against us.

For black communities and others pushed to the margins of political and economic power – democratic engagement and the exercise of our human and civil rights in a digital age demands the ability to encrypt our communications.

It isn’t just Black activists either – Latino activists are raising a similar rallying cry. Consider the prospect of a President Trump, who has notoriously expressed his anti-immigrant views, and sided with the FBI in its fight against Apple. With record numbers of deportations already at hand – could undocumented immigrants be rounded up using the information transmitted from their cellphones?

A newly developed open source app for iPhones called Signal , which encrypts phone calls and text messages, has become a favorite among organizers as well as Edward Snowden . It allows for free and instant encryption of messages that cannot be cracked by anybody wanting to eavesdrop. Activists across the world have adopted the app as one way to protect their right to organize.

Yet encryption technology is for more than just activists. Whether protecting from identity theft or government surveillance – all communities need to protect their data in the digital age. We cannot have a healthy democracy without everyone’s voice.

Black voices, and other voices of color, have long been missing from the debates on government surveillance – but not anymore. We’re here, and we are calling on companies to protect the rights of consumers, and on legislators to protect the rights of residents. One way to do both is to pass the Encrypt Act 2016 , which would, if passed, prevent the government, or a contracted company, from altering the security functions of computers and cellphones, or decoding encrypted information, in order to conduct a search. Even now, members of congress are bizarrely moving to ban encryption at the state level using the rhetoric of terrorism and black criminality.

Encryption is necessary for black civil and human rights to prosper, but isn’t enough. While it protects our democratic right to organize for change, we must fight for a world in which those rights are not under persistent threat. The Apple v the FBI case is a test case for democracy. It will determine, for this and the next generation, who has the right to communicate, and therefore the power to define reality.

In the encryption debate, the stakes are high for black people. Indeed, we are in a fight for our lives. I believe that we will win.

theguardian.com
Elf on the Shelf isn’t a real Christmas tradition – it’s a post-truth doll for a post-truth age | Stuart Heritage
Stuart Heritage: This sinister, Santa-hatted Chucky doll’s sole purpose is to intimidate children into meekness
By Stuart Heritage

God how I hate these things. Just what you need to make you feel secure at home when you’re a kid: domestic paranormal surveillance. (mutter)

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William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

Binney, who featured in a 2012 short film by Oscar-nominated US film-maker Laura Poitras, described a future where surveillance is ubiquitous and government intrusion unlimited.

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/11/the-ultimate-goal-of-the-nsa-is-total-population-control

Watch on yahoonews.tumblr.com

The Senate on Tuesday blocked a bill to end bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama’s primary proposal to rein in domestic surveillance. The 58-42 vote was two short of the 60 needed to proceed with debate. Voting was largely along party lines, with most Democrats supporting the bill and most Republicans voting against it. The Republican-controlled House had previously passed its own NSA bill.

Read more here.

theguardian.com
US and UK struck secret deal to allow NSA to 'unmask' Britons' personal data

It all happened in 2007–Bush was president. 

I have often said no supporters of Bush that the Patriot Act and other surveillance policies would end up coming back to hurt someone or harm something. It did.

George W. Bush was on Jay Leno last night. He made lots of people miss him. But regardless of his personal or Africa policies, it did much to change the nation forever.

An example is this, a 2007 agreement to not only continue the surveillance of Americans, but also British citizens who also committed no crimes.