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Institutionalized U.S. spying: More than NSA involved by Stephen Lendman

August 17, 2013 - Washington has 16 known US spy agencies. NSA and CIA are best known. Perhaps few Americans know much about the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). It calls itself “first in all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers.” “DIA deploys globally alongside warfighters and interagency partners to defend America’s national security interests.”

Last December, the Washington Post headlined “DIA sending hundreds more spies overseas,” saying: It’s “part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, US officials said.” Perhaps it includes covert domestic spying. CIA’s charter prohibits it. According to the ACLU, it “didn’t stop the (agency) from spying on Americans.” It’s done it for decades. Post-9/11, it’s more stepped up than ever. Information sharing among US spy agencies and local law enforcement nationwide is official US policy. The pretext is fighting terrorism. It’s a ruse. It’s about control. It targets dissent. It’s about advancing America’s imperium. It wants threats challenging it eliminated. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is tasked with coordinating and overseeing intelligence community operations. DNI’s information sharing’s a platform for what’s becoming the largest/most expansive ever domestic intelligence operation. Virtually anything considered suspicious is monitored. Numerous federal agencies are involved. So-called guidelines authorize intrusive powers. In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences said data-mining for terrorism methodologically was scientifically “not feasible.” It’s likely to severely infringe on civil liberties and other privacy rights. WaPo said DIA’s being transformed “into a spy service focused on emerging threats and more closely aligned with the CIA and elite military commando units.” When expansion’s completed, it’s expected to have around 1,600 “collectors.” They’ll operate globally. Numbers are “unprecedented for an agency whose presence abroad numbered in the triple digits in recent years.” Operatives include military attaches and others not associated with “undercover” work. Washington plans “a new generation of clandestine operatives.” CIA will provide training. The US Joint Special Operations Command’s involved. The Defense Department will decide assignments. DIA director Lt. General Michael T. Flynn said: “This is not a marginal adjustment for DIA.” It’s a “major adjustment for national security.” It’s part of a far-reaching trend. It reflects “convergence of the military and intelligence agencies that has blurred their once-distinct missions, capabilities and even their leadership ranks.” It’s what the Pentagon calls its Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). It’s the military’s “largest foray into secret intelligence work.” DIA’s DCS combined with CIA, NSA, and other US intelligence agency growth “will create a spy network of unprecedented size.” Doing so reflects Obama’s “affinity for espionage and covert action over conventional force.” It’s about administration counterterrorism policies for sustained conflict. Pieces are being enhanced to do it. General Flynn said realigning DIA won’t hamper congressional scrutiny. “We will have to keep congressional staffs and members in the loop,” he claimed. Saying and meaning it are polar opposites. CIA does what it pleases. So do FBI and NSA. DIA’s no different. They’re rogue agencies. They do what they want. According to US officials, transforming DIA’s “enabled by a rare syncing of personalities and interests among top officials at the Pentagon and CIA, many of whom switched from one organization to the other to take their current jobs.” Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former senior Pentagon official said “(t)he stars have been aligning on this for a while.” Top Pentagon intelligence official/CIA veteran Michael Vickers heads the project. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved it. So did former CIA chief David Petraeus. The Pentagon announced DCS months earlier. It’s highly classified. Details aren’t revealed.
DIA has about 500 “case officers.” Plans call for doubling their numbers by 2018. “Cover” arrangements for hundreds of new spies will be created.
They’ll operate from US embassies and other locations. Perhaps they’ll be in neighborhoods near you. They could be stationed anywhere. DIA plans global operations. It includes hundreds of diplomatic posts and other operations. Overt “positions will represent a declining share amid the increase in undercover slots, officials said.” “Placing operatives in conventional military units means finding an excuse for them to stay behind when the unit rotates out before the end of the spy’s job. Having DIA operatives pose as academics or business executives requires painstaking work to create those false identities, and it means they won’t be protected by diplomatic immunity if caught.” DIA is part of Washington’s global spying network. It’s growing. It’s increasingly menacing. It targets freedom for destruction.

A final comment

On August 15, the Huffington Post headlined “Exclusive: Edward Snowden Says Media Being Misled ‘About My Situation.’ ” He wants the record set straight. He said his father, Lon, attorney Bruce Fein, nor his wife and spokeswoman, Mattie, “represent (him) in any way.” Snowden wants correct information known about legal advice he’s getting. His full statement says: “It has come to my attention that news organizations seeking information regarding my current situation have, due to the difficulty in contacting me directly, been misled by individuals associated with my father into printing false claims about my situation. I would like to correct the record: I’ve been fortunate to have legal advice from an international team of some of the finest lawyers in the world, and to work with journalists whose integrity and courage are beyond question. There is no conflict amongst myself and any of the individuals or organizations with whom I have been involved. Neither my father, his lawyer Bruce Fein, nor his wife Mattie Fein represent me in any way. None of them have been or are involved in my current situation, and this will not change in the future. I ask journalists to understand that they do not possess any special knowledge regarding my situation or future plans, and not to exploit the tragic vacuum of my father’s emotional compromise for the sake of tabloid news.” Thank you. The ACLU’s been in contact with Snowden for weeks. At his request, it’s “playing a coordinating role to ensure that he receives appropriate legal advice and representation.” An ACLU statement said: “(W)e believe that the information Mr. Snowden has disclosed about the nature, scope, and putative legal authorization of the NSA’s surveillance operations has generated a remarkable and long-overdue public debate about the legality and propriety of the government’s surveillance activities. The ACLU has long held the view that leaks to the press in the public interest should not be prosecutable under the nation’s espionage laws.” Exposing government wrongdoing is a fundamental duty. Whistleblowing reflects exemplary patriotism. It’s a noble tradition. Doing the right thing is its own reward.

[Globalresearch; SteveLendmanBlog]

When an undercover officer saw Monica Jones, a black transgender woman, walking down the street just a few blocks from her house, in an area that the officer described as being “known for prostitution,” that was enough to convince him that she intended to engage in prostitution. It was on that basis that he approached and stopped her.

In April of this year, Monica was convicted of violating this overbroad and vague law. Today she appeals that conviction, and the ACLU, along with other advocacy and civil rights organizations, filed a brief in support of her appeal.

We #StandWithMonica because transgender women of color should be able to walk down the street in their neighborhoods without being arrested, or worse, for simply being themselves.

When Walking Down the Street is a Crime. Chase Strangio, ACLU

I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.
The ACLU released a brilliant app for recording the police.

The American Civil Liberties of Michigan have released an app called Mobile Justice for filming police activity and filing reports to the ACLU, modeled off a similar app in New York City called Stop and Frisk. The brilliance of this app though is how it works even if the phone is confiscated or smashed by police. 

Nydia, a transgender woman, was granted asylum in the United States after repeated physical and sexual attacks in Mexico. Her protected status didn’t stop Border Patrol from twice deporting her to Mexico without a hearing despite verifiable evidence that she had asylum. Back in Mexico, Nydia was repeatedly attacked and raped, and then she kidnapped by a gang that trafficked her into the sex trade. She later successfully fled back to safety in the United States and applied for and was granted lawful permanent residence. “I didn’t know the immigration agents could have helped me,” Nydia said, recalling her previous attempts to enter the United States. “They had known all the reasons I was trying to come back to the U.S., and even knowing them, they sent me back.”

Read more at the ACLU report American Exile: Rapid Deportations that Bypass the Courtroom 

Sign the petition: lakotalaw.org/action

Today marks a huge legal victory for the Native American children of South Dakota. A summary judgement was issued in the case of Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick in favor of the plaintiffs!

Federal Court Judge Viken has ordered that South Dakota offficials have violated due process as stated by the 14th Amendment and the Indian Child Welfare Act, “The court finds that Judge Davis, States Attorney Vargo, Secretary Valenti and Ms. Van Hunnick developed and implemented policies and procedures for the removal of Indian children from their parents’ custody in violation of the mandates of the Indian Child Welfare Act and in violation of he Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

ACLU Press Release: https://www.aclu.org/…/federal-court-rules-indian-families-…

45-page summary judgement for Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick: https://www.aclu.org/…/oglala-sioux-tribe-v-van-hunnik-summ…

Please sign our petition to show your support for the return of the Indian children in South Dakota: lakotalaw.org/action

A.C.L.U., Citing Bias Against Women, Wants Inquiry Into Hollywood’s Hiring Practices

Grumblings that Hollywood is a man’s world have percolated for decades and are borne out in studies that show how few women are hired to direct top-grossing films: only 4 percent over the last dozen years. Now this apparent truism is being challenged as a violation of civil rights.

On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union will ask state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s major studios, networks and talent agencies, and possibly bring charges against them, for what the organization described as rampant and intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.

Do you stand for gender equality in the film and television industry?

SIGN THE ACLU PETITION TODAY

From the ACLU website:

“Gender disparities in film and television directing are striking, and despite a number of reports and headlines about the issue in recent years, not much has changed. Over the last year, the ACLU has heard directly from more than 50 women in the directing industry. Their stories mirror the dismal numbers reported, but more importantly give ​voice to the discrimination they endure.

We believe that the failure to hire women directors and give them a fair opportunity to succeed in the field is a civil rights issue. This is why the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the ACLU of Southern California have a campaign demanding that our government launch an investigation into the systemic failure to hire women directors at all levels of the film and TV industry ​in violation of state and federal civil rights laws. Learn more.

Join us in asking our government to investigate this issue and stand with women directors. Sign our petition below today.”

ACLU Requests Official Investigation Into Hollywood’s Sexist Hiring Practices

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union officially requested that state and federal agencies launch an investigation into Hollywood’s sexist hiring practices.

The ACLU requests a federal investigation into Hollywood’s gender bias

Earlier today, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women’s Rights Project reached out to state and national agencies to request an investigation into what they deemed the “systemic failure” to hire women directors in the film and television industry. The two groups sent a fifteen-page letter to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that included extensive statistical and anecdotal evidence on the “dramatic disparities” in the hiring of women directors. The complete letter has been published on The New York Times’ movie blog.

The civil rights organizations are asking for an in-depth probe into the “dramatic disparities” in the hiring of women directors for episodic television and feature films. They cite the fact that women made up only 7 percent of the directors of the top 250 grossing films (down from 9 percent in 1998) of 2014, and only 1.9 percent of directors for the top 100 grossing films in 2013 and 2014. Overall, women directors helmed only 4.1 percent of the 1300 top-grossing films from 2002-2014. Television remains almost as impermeable—a DGA analysis cited inThe New York Times of about 220 shows (comprising 3500 episodes) from 2013-2014 found that only 14 percent of directors were women.

More at avclub.com

Fired for Being Trans

By Patricia Dawson

The day I got my driver’s license with the gender marked “F” and my new legal name was one of the best days of my life. I was assigned male at birth, and my parents named me Steven. But I’d known for many years that I am a woman, and now I had the identification to prove it.

That year also included many of the hardest days. My parents, who belong to a conservative church, disowned me. My next-door neighbor hosed me in the face with a chemical poison. And I was fired from the job that I loved – all because I am transgender.

I’m an electrician, and I was working at H & H Electric, a contractor in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The day after I got my new driver’s license, I told my boss that I am a transgender woman. He looked shocked. He told me that I was one of his best people and that he would hate to lose me. I was stunned that his first reaction was that he might have to fire me.

He didn’t fire me right away, but he didn’t let me come to work as a woman, either. He told me I couldn’t discuss my transition with anyone at work or use my legal name, Patricia.

Even though I didn’t say anything, people at work noticed that I was transitioning. My hair was growing out, and I’d started hormone therapy. Some of my co-workers were kind to me, but others were cruel. Twice, co-workers tried to sabotage my work. One of those instances could have caused an explosion that could hurt or even kill someone. Fortunately, I discovered it in time, and no one was hurt.

The more time passed, the more it became obvious that I am a woman. Eventually I felt brave enough to wear makeup and a blouse to work. I was on top of the world. I had a great job, and I was finally being myself. That week, my boss pulled me aside and said, “I’m sorry, Steve, you do great work, but you are too much of a distraction and I am going to have to let you go.”

I am not a distraction. I am a woman, and I shouldn’t be fired for being who I am. That’s why the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on my behalf arguing that firing me because I am transgender is illegal sex discrimination.

Even though federal law prohibits employers from hiring or firing people because of their gender, here in Arkansas and in 31 other states, there are no laws that explicitly tell employers that discrimination against transgender people is illegal. I’m here to make sure that transgender workers are judged on their job perf

Alabama Attempts To Take Custody Of Fetus Away From Woman To Prevent Abortion

Alabama Attempts To Take Custody Of Fetus Away From Woman To Prevent Abortion

If Alabama succeeds with this latest anti-abortion tactic, women across the country could be treated like mere incubators under state control. In 1973, the Supreme Court found that the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion if she so wishes. Since then, women have been able to make choices about their own bodies and exercise their…

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A federal judge on Monday issued an injunction barring police from enforcing what became known as “the five-second rule,” in which protesters in Ferguson, Missouri could only stay still for that brief amount of time. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry ruled that the statute was unconstitutional because it violated protesters’ freedom of speech rights, as well as due process.

“[T]he policy fails to provide sufficient notice of what is illegal and because it was enforced arbitrarily,” wrote Perry in response to a case brought by the ACLU.

In the aftermath of unarmed, black teen Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a white Ferguson police officer, local police commonly relied on the rule as a crowd control tactic and even insisted that reporters had to be in the media staging area or keep walking. It led to one of the defining images from nights of upheaval in Ferguson: Bands of protesters marching along city streets, helping those who were elderly stay moving.

Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, noted that such rules tend to increase tension when applied “haphazardly.” He add that “Judge Perry’s injunction is a huge win for peaceful protesters and those who believe in the rule of law.”

The police-enforced rule also prevented people from gathering on sidewalks, which also violated freedom of speech, according to Perry’s ruling.

“Citizens who wish to gather in the wake of Michael Brown’s tragic death have a constitutional right to do so, but they do not have the right to endanger lives of police officers or other citizens,” Perry wrote, adding that the ruling still allows officers to enforce refusal-to-disperse laws, one of the most commonly used charges used to arrest protesters in Ferguson. “The police must be able to perform their jobs, and nothing in this order restricts their ability to do that.”

A.C.L.U., Citing Bias Against Women, Wants Inquiry Into Hollywood’s Hiring Practices

Excerpt from a New York Times article by Cara Buckley that mentions SPSTWD. Our voices are being heard

“On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union will ask state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s major studios, networks and talent agencies, and possibly bring charges against them, for what the organization described as rampant and intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

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The ACLU wants state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s biggest studios, and the inquiry may end in charges. Let’s hope it does. Hollywood is a cesspool of misogyny and racism. Bring on the lawsuits. While you’d be hard-pressed to think of an industry that doesn’t get a free pass when it comes to civil rights and gender discrimination, the point still stands. The investigation the ACLU is requesting is an incredibly important and long overdue step. Not because lawsuits are so great or anything like that, but because it’s clear, and has long been clear, that Hollywood can’t self-correct on this one. Discrimination persist despite women’s talents, their capacity to make bank for studios and their resolve to keep their heads up in an industry that’s stacked against them.

For decades, sexism has run rampant in Tinseltown. Only radical measures can change it