Tag Archive: homeland security

Jun 12 2013

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

America is a wonderful place where everyone is caring, competent, conscientious and above average.

America’s law enforcement agencies have never gotten the wrong guy.

A mistaken identity arrest occurs almost every day, said policing experts and officials at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

America’s courts have never convicted the wrong person, and certainly no innocent person has ever gone to jail in America.

Freddie Peacock of Rochester, New York, was convicted of rape in 1976. Last week he became the 250th person to be exonerated by DNA testing since 1989. According to a new report by the Innocence Project, those 250 prisoners served 3,160 years between them; 17 spent time on death row. Remarkably, 67 percent of them were convicted after 2000-a decade after the onset of modern DNA testing. The glaring question here is, How many more are there?

 

Why, our American anti-terrorist infrastructure is virtually infallible in choosing whom to single out for investigation and actions which challenge their rights to participate in our society.

The meeting had all the hallmarks of an ordinary Congressional hearing. There was Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, discussing the problems faced by ordinary citizens mistakenly placed on terrorist watch lists. Then, to the astonishment of the crowd attending a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, Mr. Kennedy offered himself up as Exhibit A.

Between March 1 and April 6, airline agents tried to block Mr. Kennedy from boarding airplanes on five occasions because his name resembled an alias used by a suspected terrorist who had been barred from flying on airlines in the United States, his aides and government officials said.

Instead of acknowledging the craggy-faced, silver-haired septuagenarian as the Congressional leader whose face has flashed across the nation’s television sets for decades, the airline agents acted as if they had stumbled across a fanatic who might blow up an American airplane. Mr. Kennedy said they refused to give him his ticket.

“He said, ‘We can’t give it to you,’ ” Mr. Kennedy said, describing an encounter with an airline agent to the rapt audience. ” ‘You can’t buy a ticket to go on the airline to Boston.’ I said, ‘Well, why not?’ He said, ‘We can’t tell you.’ “

Individuals working for law enforcement have never abused their authority and knowingly sought to obtain punishment or leverage over another person for political reasons.

Hoping to prove the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was under the influence of Communists, the FBI kept the civil rights leader under constant surveillance.

The agency’s hidden tape recorders turned up almost nothing about communism.

But they did reveal embarrassing details about King’s sex life — details the FBI was able to use against him.

The almost fanatical zeal with which the FBI pursued King is disclosed in tens of thousands of FBI memos from the 1960s. …

When King learned he would be the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the FBI decided to take its harassment of King one step further, sending him an insulting and threatening note anonymously. A draft was found in the FBI files years later. In it the FBI wrote, “You are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that.” The letter went on to say, “The American public … will know you for what you are — an evil, abnormal beast,” and “Satan could not do more.”

The letter’s threat was ominous, if not specific: “King you are done.” Some have theorized the intent of the letter was to drive King to commit suicide in order to avoid personal embarrassment. “King, there is only one thing left for you to do,” the letter concluded. “You know what it is … You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

Individuals working for law enforcement have never abused their access to digital materials for any reason.

Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia. …

“These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,” said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA’s Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.

She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and “collected on” as they called their offices or homes in the United States. …

Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of “cuts” that were available on each operator’s computer.

“Hey, check this out,” Faulk says he would be told, “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out.

America has never prosecuted Americans under the Espionage Act for political reasons.

The impassioned speeches of labor organizer, Socialist leader and five-time presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs were nothing short of evangelical in tone and effect. (He once called socialism “merely Christianity in action.”) Debs inspired groups large and small, and his remarkable charisma is what most concerned the powers that were. …

According to historian Ernest Freeberg, it was precisely Debs’ virtuosity that forced America to grapple with the limits of dissent. In 1918, Debs was convicted under the recently minted Espionage Act for questioning America’s entry into World War I. …

“People should go ahead and obey the law, keep their mouths shut, and let the government run the war.” Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. dismissed criticism of the court’s unanimous ruling against Debs as “a lot of jaw about free speech.”

Don’t worry. Be happy.

Average American citizens have never been targeted inappropriately by the government using authorities intended to combat terrorism

Documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union reveal new details of Pentagon surveillance of Americans opposed to the Iraq war, including Quakers and student groups. The documents show that the Pentagon was keeping tabs on non-violent protesters by collecting information and storing it in a military anti-terrorism database.

President Obama’s got your back.

President Obama would never allow average American citizens going about their business of participating in American politics to be targeted as terrorist enemies.  

A Department of Homeland Security division produced daily briefings on “peaceful activist demonstrations” during the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests, documents released Tuesday revealed.

The 252 pages of documents were obtained in a March 14 letter from DHS by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which in November 2011 launched a campaign to unearth public records that would show whether the federal government was spying on Occupy Wall Street. FBI records obtained by the group in December showed that the bureau investigated Occupy as a potential “domestic terrorism” threat.

“Taken together, the two sets of documents paint a disturbing picture of federal law enforcement agencies using their vast power in a systematic effort to surveil and disrupt peaceful demonstrations,” Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, said in a statement. “The federal agencies’ actions were not because Occupy represented a ‘terrorist threat’ or a ‘criminal threat,’ but rather because it posed a significant grassroots political challenge to the status quo.”

Aug 25 2012

CNN compares protesters to terrorist insurgents; Feds scare up reason to use drones for conventions

For the first time (that we know of) drones will be used for a political convention for “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to government agencies”.  “Wraiths” will also be used, ground-based robots that can be armed with lethal or non-lethal weapons.  The manufacturer of these vehicles has crosshairs and a skeleton as their logo.

A bulletin was issued jointly by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on August 21st, warning law enforcement agencies about anarchist extremists and the report uses words and imagery that are usually reserved for terrorist insurgents.  They invited the media to learn about their operations control center at an “undisclosed location” and today the fearmongering and demonization of “anarchist extremists”  is blazing across the airwaves along with news about the drones that will be used.

CNN did a video report that is particularly egregious as it quotes from the report saying that the extremist anarchist protesters might use IEDs, and they explain that IEDs are the things used by terrorist insurgents in Afghanistan.  They generously supply video clips of an explosion in Afghanistan and another one that is a military vehicle being blown up, with the shoulder of a soldier in camo coming into the view of the camera at the end.  While the report explains that not all protesters are expected to be violent, CNN adds some video footage of Occupy Wall Street protesters chanting “this is what democracy looks like” and just in case you didn’t make the connection, they throw in some people in Guy Fawkes masks from some supposed Anonymous videos about the convention.  The words and imagery used by the media and the government are meant to cause conflation of Occupy Wall Street protesters and terrorists, in my opinion, and to preemptively justify the excessive use of force during the upcoming conventions and extreme use of militaristic equipment.

The report also mentions that law enforcement should look out for anarchists who might be doing weapons training or buying explosives and they mention that they have used the internet for research and organization in the past.  In the CNN video though, they say that the feds told them they are not watching any particular anarchists.  No.  And then after all of that fearmongering and set up, they say that no specific threats have been made.

It’s funny that the FBI/DHS waited until six days before the RNC convention to issue this warning, isn’t it?  This report was made for the media, in my opinion.  

May 30 2011

Protecting The Constitution & Our Internet Rights

In the November elections, one of the greatest losses that the left suffered was Russ Feingold. What we didn’t notice until this past week during the rush to please the right wing and President Obama by renewing the unaltered (un)Patriot Act for four more years was that there were others who had picked up the cause of the left, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM).

Amendment Requires Government to End Practice of Secretly Interpreting Law

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Washington, D.C. – As the Senate prepares to approve a four-year extension of the Patriot Act without public debate about how the executive branch actually interprets controversial provisions in the ten-year-old surveillance law, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Co.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced an amendment to the Patriot Act reauthorization legislation to require the U.S. Attorney General to make the U.S. Government’s official interpretation of the law public.

The amendment also states that it is the “Sense of the Congress” that government officials “should not secretly reinterpret public laws and statutes in a manner that is inconsistent with the public’s understanding of these laws and should not describe the execution of these laws in ways that misinforms or misleads the public.”

Now, Sen. Wyden takes a stand for our internet rights and against the sell out Democrats by placing a hold on the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011” (pdf) or as is euphemistically known the “Protect IP Act” which is the second try at getting Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass the last session thanks to Wyden.

The “Protect IP Act” is a revamping of COICA making it just as bad if not worse:

This version changes the “interactive computer services” language mentioned in our post below to “information location tools,” a term that points back to section 512(d) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In that context it’s been generally understood to refer to search engines, though there’s no guarantee we wouldn’t see efforts to expand the definition in actions under this bill. But in any case, requiring search engines to remove links to an entire website raises serious First Amendment concerns considering the lawful expression that may be hosted on the same domain.

In other words, “the proposed laws could be used to shut down websites that link to other websites that authorities claim to be carrying out infringing activities.”

Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog points out that Homeland Security already has shut down sites:

As evidence, I offer channelsurfing.net and atdhe.net. These domains created no content, as near as I could tell. But they linked to sites that offered sports television over the Internet, and those links were on a game-by-game basis. So, for example, if you didn’t want to subscribe to cable, but wanted to watch ESPN games, you could go to one of these sites, peruse the list of links, choose your game and source, click and watch. Sometimes several sources offered the same game, and you had several links to choose from.

Again, neither of these sites generated the video. They merely offered links to other sites that did. Those other sites perhaps violated intellectual property rights; these sites certainly did not.

Now go ahead and click the links for those sites, and see what happened to them. Yep, that’s the Homeland Security logo.

hree guesses when both of these seizures occurred. If you said “Right before the Super Bowl,” America’s ad and money feast with a football game inside, you wouldn’t be wrong. Homeland Security, the counter-terrorism arm of our national security state, is helping to seize small-people’s property (those sites were property) in order to protect the profits and property of billionaire sports owners and the advertisers who love them.

Not that I wasn’t certain that Obama and friends weren’t in the pockets of billionaires and corporation but it is becoming even more evident that most of the Democratic leadership is no better than the Republicans.

We need more people in Congress like Ron Wyden who are willing to stand for the people who elected them. Like Gaius Publius, I’m making lists of those who are willing.

Feb 23 2011

It’s Gotta Be Bad If Even Bob Barr Gets It

Sen. Al Franken, (D-MI) has called Internet Freedom the most important free speech issue of our time. That Freedom is now being threatened by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) who have introduced a bill that would essentially give the President the authority to shut down the internet with new national emergency powers, aka a “kill switch”:

President Obama would be given the power to “issue a declaration of a national cyberemergency.” Once that happens, Homeland Security would receive sweeping new authorities, including the power to require that so-called critical companies “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action” decreed.

No “notice” needs to be given “before mandating any emergency measure or actions.” That means a company could be added to the “critical” infrastructure list one moment, and ordered by Homeland Security to “immediately comply” with its directives the next.

The U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which Lieberman chairs, appears to believe that it’s not necessary to include explicit judicial review of the president’s emergency authority once exercised, believing it’s implicit. Any such lawsuit filed by a targeted company would likely focus on language saying the emergency decrees should be “the least disruptive means feasible.”

The president may declare a “cyberemergency” for 30 days, and extend it for one 30-day period, unless Congress votes to approve further extensions.

Homeland Security will “establish and maintain a list of systems or assets that constitute covered critical infrastructure” and that will be subject to those emergency decrees.

(emphasis mine)

The ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson said”It still gives the president incredible authority to interfere with Internet communications.” If the Department of Homeland Security wants to pull the plug on Web sites or networks, she said, “the government needs to go to court and get a court order.” I  light of the recent erroneous seizure of 84,000 web sites by the Department of Homeland Security that took them off line even Bob Barr has weighed in with this statement:

No government – no matter how benign or well-meaning – should be empowered to control the Internet. Moreover, the Congress should take a long, hard look at how federal agencies are using – and abusing – their existing powers to control parts of the Internet.

Holy FSM. They’re even calling this bill “Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act.”

Liars

Hello!!!! Does this sound familiar?????? Egypt, Libya, anyone?????

Aug 25 2010

Full Body Scanners: Not Just For TSA Anymore!

Remember those full body scanners?  Guess what?  They’re goin’ MOBILE:

From Forbes,


American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents, Joe Reiss, a vice president of marketing at the company told me in an interview. While the biggest buyer of AS&E’s machines over the last seven years has been the Department of Defense operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reiss says law enforcement agencies have also deployed the vans to search for vehicle-based bombs in the U.S.

“This product is now the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever,” says Reiss.

Wowsers.  That’s creepy.  What’s even creepier? This.  Detecting “illegal immigrants” and drugs in vehicles?  What do they see that they don’t report?

One can only imagine the “terror baby” Republicans driving these trucks around or the anti-marijuana folks scanning for DFHs.  I await the fourth amendment interpretation under the Roberts court.