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Government Spies On Innocent People Via Webcams, Laptops, Xbox

Latest Snowden Leak confirms story Infowars first broke EIGHT YEARS AGO

Steve Watson
Infowars.com
February 27, 2014

The latest revelation concerning mass government spying confirms an issue that Infowars has been covering for close to a decade. British and American governments are spying on people in their own homes via web cams, laptop microphones and devices such as the X-box.

The London Guardian has the details in a report based on information leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The British surveillance agency GCHQ, with help from the NSA, actively spied on nearly 2 million Yahoo users via webcams built into their computers. The documents show that the agency intercepted millions of images as part of a secret program codenamed OPTIC NERVE.

The report also states that Americans were almost certainly targeted as part of the bulk collection of data, and that there is no law to prevent such activity in Britain.

NSA ragout 4

The documents show that images were collected from webcams at regular intervals, one image every five minutes, and were used by the spy agency to trial automated facial recognition programs.

The Guardian describes the process as “eerily reminiscent of the telescreens evoked in George Orwell’s 1984.”

NSA ragout 3

The documents dub the practice as “bulk access to Yahoo webcam images/events”, and spies working at GCHQ compared it to a police database of mugshots. “Face detection has the potential to aid selection of useful images for ‘mugshots’ or even for face recognition by assessing the angle of the face,” the papers read. “The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright.”

Essentially, the spy agency appear to have been building a huge digital database containing the faces of Yahoo users.

The documents advise employees at GCHQ on how to use the system, noting “[I]f you search for similar IDs to your target, you will be able to request automatic comparison of the face in the similar IDs to those in your target’s ID”.

In one presentation contained within the documents, more technologically advanced systems, such as iris recognition cameras, are discussed as potential surveillance tools. The paper even chillingly states “think Tom Cruise in Minority Report”.

The documents state that Yahoo users were specifically singled out because “Yahoo webcam is known to be used by GCHQ targets”.

The papers also note that a large quantity of the data collected contained nudity or sexually explicit imagery. The spy agency seemingly made no effort to prevent the collection of such images.

Yahoo described the practice as “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy,” and strenuously denied having any knowledge of the program.

Infowars first reported in 2006, EIGHT YEARS AGO, that innocent people were being spied on through their computers. We specifically described the practice as Minority Report style technology, as the GCHQ had done.

We have since covered the issue consistently, warning that “Hundreds of millions of Internet-active Americans will all be potential targets for secret surveillance.”

Of course, some quarters dismissed our reports as “conspiracy theories”, while worried internet users questioned whether the reports were accurate.

The GCHQ program was seemingly not limited to Yahoo user web cams either. Another presentation within the leaked internal papers discusses the capabilities of the Xbox 360′s Kinect camera, saying it generated “fairly normal webcam traffic” and that it was being evaluated as a potential surveillance tool.

We have also documented the potential use of Xbox for surveillance purposes, noting that Skype calls made on the devices can be intercepted. We have also warned that the ‘always on’ camera of the new Xbox One, which is so powerful it can see through clothing, is wide open to abuse by hackers and government agencies.

According to the leaked documents, the OPTIC NERVE program began as a prototype in 2008 and was still active in 2012. There is no indication that the program has been deactivated.

Security expert Bruce Schneier writes that this latest revelation highlights how there is no distinction between actively spying on a person and what he called “Eavesdropping by algorithm”, in other words, automated computer surveillance. The NSA and the Obama administration have attempted to argue that what they are doing cannot be called “spying” or even “collecting” data, because when the data is gathered, a person is not looking at it. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper still uses this explanation to claim he never lied to Congress when he answered ‘no’ to the question “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

The fallout from the OPTIC NERVE program, the creation of facial recognition databases, and the fact that spooks provably looked at images of people, even NAKED images of people, highlights the fact, Schneier argues, that the “NSA’s definition of ‘collect’ makes no sense whatsoever”, and that our governments are indeed actively spying on us.

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Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

By 24 Feb 2014, 6:25 PM EST
Featured photo - How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations A page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations”.

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:

Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title “discredit a target”:

Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets:

GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG in starkly clear terms: “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world”, including “information ops (influence or disruption)”.

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the newly created NSA review panel announced by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell”, devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”:

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack”, while dissecting how human being can be manipulated using “leaders”, “trust, “obedience” and “compliance”:

The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:

We submitted numerous questions to GCHQ, including: (1) Does GCHQ in fact engage in “false flag operations” where material is posted to the Internet and falsely attributed to someone else?; (2) Does GCHQ engage in efforts to influence or manipulate political discourse online?; and (3) Does GCHQ’s mandate include targeting common criminals (such as boiler room operators), or only foreign threats?

As usual, they ignored those questions and opted instead to send their vague and nonresponsive boilerplate: “It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position.”

These agencies’ refusal to “comment on intelligence matters” – meaning: talk at all about anything and everything they do – is precisely why whistleblowing is so urgent, the journalism that supports it so clearly in the public interest, and the increasingly unhinged attacks by these agencies so easy to understand. Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.

Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.

Think Tank: “Extraordinary Crisis” Needed to Preserve “New World Order”

Author of ‘shock and awe’ doctrine says elite threatened by non-state actors like Edward Snowden

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
January 17, 2014

Writing for the Atlantic Council, a prominent think tank based in Washington DC, Harlan K. Ullman warns that an “extraordinary crisis” is needed to preserve the “new world order,” which is under threat of being derailed by non-state actors like Edward Snowden.

Image: Atlantic Council Meeting (Wikimedia Commons).

The Atlantic Council is considered to be a highly influential organization with close ties to major policy makers across the world. It’s headed up by Gen. Brent Scowcroft, former United States National Security Advisor under U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. Snowcroft has also advised President Barack Obama.

Harlan K. Ullman was the principal author of the “shock and awe” doctrine and is now Chairman of the Killowen Group which advises government leaders.

In an article entitled War on Terror Is not the Only Threat, Ullman asserts that, “tectonic changes are reshaping the international geostrategic system,” arguing that it’s not military superpowers like China but “non-state actors” like Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and anonymous hackers who pose the biggest threat to the “365 year-old Westphalian system” because they are encouraging individuals to become self-empowered, eviscerating state control.

“Very few have taken note and fewer have acted on this realization,” notes Ullman, lamenting that “information revolution and instantaneous global communications” are thwarting the “new world order” announced by U.S. President George H.W. Bush more than two decades ago.

“Without an extraordinary crisis, little is likely to be done to reverse or limit the damage imposed by failed or failing governance,” writes Ullman, implying that only another 9/11-style cataclysm will enable the state to re-assert its dominance while “containing, reducing and eliminating the dangers posed by newly empowered non-state actors.”

Ullman concludes that the elimination of non-state actors and empowered individuals “must be done” in order to preserve the new world order. A summary of their material suggests that the Atlantic Council’s definition of a “new world order” is a global technocracy run by a fusion of big government and big business under which individuality is replaced by transhumanist singularity.

Ullman’s rhetoric sounds somewhat similar to that espoused by Trilateral Commission co-founder and regular Bilderberg attendee Zbigniew Brzezinski, who in 2010 told a Council on Foreign Relations meeting that a “global political awakening,” in combination with infighting amongst the elite, was threatening to derail the move towards a one world government.

Ullman’s implied call for an “extraordinary crisis” to reinvigorate support for state power and big government has eerie shades of the Project For a New American Century’s 1997 lament that “absent some catastrophic catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor,” an expansion of U.S. militarism would have been impossible.

In 2012, Patrick Clawson, member of the influential pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) think tank, also suggested that the United States should launch a staged provocation to start a war with Iran.

Ullman’s concern over failing state institutions having their influence eroded by empowered individuals, primarily via the Internet, is yet another sign that the elite is panicking over the “global political awakening” that has most recently expressed itself via the actions of people like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and their growing legion of supporters.

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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

This article was posted: Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:09 am

Directive Provides Government With Intelligence After Declaration of Martial Law

James Clapper’s directive fires up NSPD 51 providing Department of Homeland Security with ominous police state authority.

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
November 2, 2013

A constellation of federal government intelligence agencies.

A constellation of federal government intelligence agencies.

Even in the unlikely event there is a nuclear war or some other catastrophic event, a directive issued by the director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, will make sure the NSA still listens in on your calls, that is if there are any phones or cell towers left following Armageddon.

The directive, issued on November 12, makes certain the “President, the Vice President, statutory successors, and other national leaders, as appropriate, are provided with timely, insightful, objective, and relevant national intelligence wherever they are located and in all conditions.”

Clapper’s directive sets in motion NSPD 51, which provides the Department of Homeland Security with ominous police state authority.

“The new Directive implements the Bush Administration’s 2007 National Security Presidential Directive 51 on ‘National Continuity Policy.’ Presidential directives remain in force unless or until they are superseded or rescinded,” the FAS Project on Government Secrecy reported on December 2.

The directive falls under COG, or Continuity of Government, and draws on the National Security Act of 1947 (creating the current national security state and the CIA), a number of executive orders, NSPD-51, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20, and “other applicable provisions of law.”

COG Designed to Establish Police State Following Declaration of Martial Law

During the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, COG was exposed as a plan to suspend the Constitution and impose martial law in America.

According to a report published in the Miami Herald, the plan called for taking over federal, state and local government functions during a national emergency. COG, as envisioned by the National Security Council, called for “suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the government over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, emergency appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and declaration of martial law,” writes Peter Dale Scott.

Initially established as a response to nuclear war, COG planning underwent a critical transformation during the Reagan administration. Under Reagan, it was modified to be a police state response for any “national security emergency,” a move that was codified in Executive Order 12656.

“In other words extraordinary emergency measures, originally designed for an America devastated in a nuclear attack, were now to be applied to anything the White House considered an emergency,” writes Scott.

The Boston Globe spelled out the new parameters: “Lt. Col. Oliver North was working with officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency… to draw up a secret contingency plan to surveil political dissenters and to arrange for the detention of hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens in case of an unspecified national emergency. The plan, part of which was codenamed Rex 84, called for the suspension of the Constitution under a number of scenarios, including a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua.”

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we witnessed a FEMA beta test of the extraordinary powers under COG and Rex 84, the latter a military readiness exercise designed to round-up and intern in concentration camps dissidents and other elements considered threatening to the government.

“These camps are to be operated by FEMA should martial law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general’s signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached,” the Miami Herald reported on July 5, 1987.

“And there you have it — the real purpose of FEMA is to not only protect the government but to be its principal vehicle for martial law,” writes Allen L. Roland.


Rep. Jack Brooks questions COG and REX-84.

COG was implemented during the attacks of September 11, 2001, by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, two of the original planners.

“What few have recognized is that, nearly a decade later, some aspects of COG remain in effect,” Scott continues. “COG plans are still authorized by a proclamation of emergency that has been extended each year by presidential authority, most recently by President Obama in September 2009. COG plans are also the probable source for the 1000-page Patriot Act presented to Congress five days after 9/11, and also for the Department of Homeland Security’s Project Endgame — a ten-year plan, initiated in September 2001, to expand detention camps, at a cost of $400 million in Fiscal Year 2007 alone.”

Laws passed since the 9/11 attacks, including the Patriot Act, the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, and the Military Commissions Act, are designed top compliment and enhance COG operations that are more tightly focused on responding to internal dissent and palatable threats to the status quo than maintaining government cohesion after a nuclear attack.

Jerome Corsi talks about NSPD-51:

This article was posted: Monday, December 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Coup d’etat

An unconstitutional government is an illegitimate government.

Paul Craig Roberts
Infowars.com
July 17, 2013

The American people have suffered a coup d’etat, but they are hesitant to acknowledge it. The regime ruling in Washington today lacks constitutional and legal legitimacy. Americans are ruled by usurpers who claim that the executive branch is above the law and that the US Constitution is a mere “scrap of paper.”

An unconstitutional government is an illegitimate government. The oath of allegiance requires defense of the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As the Founding Fathers made clear, the main enemy of the Constitution is the government itself. Power does not like to be bound and tied down and constantly works to free itself from constraints.

The basis of the regime in Washington is nothing but usurped power. The Obama Regime, like the Bush/Cheney Regime, has no legitimacy. Americans are oppressed by an illegitimate government ruling, not by law and the Constitution, but by lies and naked force. Those in government see the US Constitution as a “chain that binds our hands.”

The South African apartheid regime was more legitimate than the regime in Washington. The apartheid Israeli regime in Palestine is more legitimate. The Taliban are more legitimate. Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein were more legitimate.

The only constitutional protection that the Bush/Obama regime has left standing is the Second Amendment, a meaningless amendment considering the disparity in arms between Washington and what is permitted to the citizenry. No citizen standing with a rifle can protect himself and his family from one of the Department of Homeland Security’s 2,700 tanks, or from a drone, or from a heavily armed SWAT force in body armor.

Like serfs in the dark ages, American citizens can be picked up on the authority of some unknown person in the executive branch and thrown in a dungeon, subject to torture, without any evidence ever being presented to a court or any information to the person’s relatives of his/her whereabouts. Or they can be placed on a list without explanation that curtails their right to travel by air. Every communication of every American, except face-to-face conversation in non-bugged environments, is intercepted and recorded by the National Stasi Agency from which phrases can be strung together to produce a “domestic extremist.”

If throwing an American citizen in a dungeon is too much trouble, the citizen can simply be blown up with a hellfire missile launched from a drone. No explanation is necessary.
For the Obama tyrant, the exterminated human being was just a name on a list.

The president of the united states has declared that he possesses these constitutionally forbidden rights, and his regime has used them to oppress and murder US citizens. The president’s claim that his will is higher than law and the Constitution is public knowledge. Yet, there is no demand for the usurper’s impeachment. Congress is supine. The serfs are obedient.

The people who helped transform a democratically accountable president into a Caesar include John Yoo, who was rewarded for his treason by being accepted as a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt school of law. Yoo’s colleague in treason, Jay Scott Bybee was rewarded by being appointed a federal judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We now have a Berkeley law professor teaching, and a federal circuit judge ruling, that the executive branch is above the law.

The executive branch coup against America has succeeded. The question is: will it stand? Today, the executive branch consists of liars, criminals, and traitors. The evil on earth seems concentrated in Washington.

Washington’s response to Edward Snowden’s evidence that Washington, in total contravention of law both domestic and international, is spying on the entire world has demonstrated to every country that Washington places the pleasure of revenge above law and human rights.

On Washington’s orders, its European puppet states refused overflight permission to the Bolivian presidential airliner carrying President Morales and forced the airliner to land in Austria and be searched. Washington thought that Edward Snowden might be aboard the airliner. Capturing Snowden was more important to Washington than respect for international law and diplomatic immunity.

How long before Washington orders its UK puppet to send in a SWAT team to drag Julian Assange from the Ecuadoran embassy in London and hand him over to the CIA for waterboarding?

On July 12 Snowden met in the Moscow airport with human rights organizations from around the world. He stated that the illegal exercise of power by Washington prevents him from traveling to any of the three Latin American countries who have offered him asylum. Therefore, Snowden said that he accepted Russian President Putin’s conditions and requested asylum in Russia.

Insouciant americans and the young unaware of the past don’t know what this means. During my professional life it was Soviet Russia that persecuted truth tellers, while America gave them asylum and tried to protect them. Today it is Washington that persecutes those who speak the truth, and it is Russia that protects them.

The American public has not, this time, fallen for Washington’s lie that Snowden is a traitor. The polls show that a majority of Americans see Snowden as a whistleblower.
It is not the US that is damaged by Snowden’s revelations. It is the criminal elements in the US government that have pulled off a coup against democracy, the Constitution, and the American people who are damaged. It is the criminals who have seized power, not the American people, who are demanding Snowden’s scalp.

The Obama Regime, like the Bush/Cheney Regime, has no legitimacy. Americans are oppressed by an illegitimate government ruling, not by law and the Constitution, but by lies and naked force.

Under the Obama tyranny, it is not merely Snowden who is targeted for extermination, but every truth-telling American in the country. It was Department of Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano, recently rewarded for her service to tyranny by being appointed Chancellor of the of the University of California system, who said that Homeland Security had shifted its focus from Muslim terrorists to “domestic extremists,” an elastic and undefined term that easily includes truth-tellers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden who embarrass the government by revealing its crimes. The criminals who have seized illegitimate power in Washington cannot survive unless truth can be suppressed or redefined as treason.

If Americans acquiesce to the coup d’etat, they will have placed themselves firmly in the grip of tyranny.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously the editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.

The Age of Authoritarianism: Government of the Politicians, by the Military, for the Corporations

by John W. Whitehead

Recently by John W. Whitehead: On Target Pressure Points: Militarized Police

“[F]orce alone cannot make us safe. We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the well-spring of extremism, a perpetual war – through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments – will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.” ~ Barack Obama, May 23, 2013

President Obama’s declaration that “America is at a crossroads” in the fight against terror, a fight that is increasingly turning inwards, setting its sights on homegrown extremists, should give every American pause.

We have indeed reached a crossroads. History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom. Certainly, this is a time when government officials operate off their own inscrutable, self-serving playbook with little in the way of checks and balances, while American citizens are subjected to all manner of indignities and violations with little hope of defending themselves. We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age, let’s call it the age of authoritarianism.

Even with its constantly shifting terrain, this topsy-turvy travesty of law and government has become America’s new normal. Don’t believe me? Let me take you on a brief guided tour, but prepare yourself: the landscape is particularly disheartening to anyone who remembers what America used to be.

The Executive Branch: Whether it’s the Obama administration’s crackdown on whistleblowers, the systematic surveillance of journalists and regular citizens, the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay, or the occupation of Afghanistan, Barack Obama has surpassed his predecessors in terms of his abuse of the Constitution and the rule of law. Despite his prior stint as a professor of constitutional law, President Obama, like many of his predecessors, has routinely disregarded the Constitution when it has suited his purposes, operating largely above the law and behind a veil of secrecy and specious legal justifications.

Drone Strikes on American Citizens: For almost two years, the United States government has been targeting American citizens abroad for death by drone, with at least four American citizens assassinated by drones outside the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. These assassinations of individuals entitled to the full protection of the Constitution have been carried out without any due process whatsoever – no charges detailing their alleged wrongdoings were brought before them, no trial was conducted to determine their guilt or innocence, and no convictions of guilt were found. Obama has also gone to great lengths to give the impression that the drone assassination program is a carefully controlled, highly selective process, within the bounds of the rule of law. Yet when hundreds of individuals, innocent women and children among them, are being killed as a result of these drone strikes, clearly the process is far from controlled or selective. These “signature strikes,” which involve targeting groups of unknown men who resemble al-Qaeda members, are the equivalent of bombing a fraternity house because there are young men inside who may be up to no good. It is a practice that is inhumane, immoral and illegal, and no amount of legal parsing or political whitewashing will remove this particular stain.

Expanding the War on Terror: Although Obama insists he has no intention of continuing the wars in which the United States is embroiled, administration officials are sending an altogether different message – namely, that America’s engagement in the ongoing war on terror spans the entire globe. At a recent congressional hearing, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, cited the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) law as justification for the administration’s ability to send American troops to places such as Yemen and the Congo without first seeking congressional authorization. Sheehan also asserted that the United States conflict with al-Qaeda will last for another ten or twenty years. As Senator Angus King (I-Maine) remarked to Sheehan: “You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution here today… I don’t disagree that we need to fight terrorism. But we need to do it in a constitutionally sound way.”

Law Enforcement: By and large the term “law enforcement” encompasses all agents within a militarized police state, including the military, the police, and the various agencies such as the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. Having been given the green light to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts, America’s law enforcement officials, no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace, are part of an elite ruling class dependent on keeping the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.

The Legislative Branch: It is not overstating matters to say that Congress may well be the most self-serving, semi-corrupt institution in America. Abuses of office run the gamut from elected representatives neglecting their constituencies to engaging in self-serving practices, including the misuse of eminent domain, earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracting in return for personal gain and campaign contributions, having inappropriate ties to lobbyist groups and incorrectly or incompletely disclosing financial information. Pork barrel spending, hastily passed legislation, partisan bickering, a skewed work ethic, graft and moral turpitude have all contributed to the public’s increasing dissatisfaction with congressional leadership. Thus, it is little wonder that a recent Gallup poll shows Congress with a 79 percent disapproval rating.

The Judicial Branch: The Supreme Court was intended to be an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet through their deference to police power, preference for security over freedom, and evisceration of our most basic rights for the sake of order and expediency, the justices of the United States Supreme Court have become the architects of the American police state in which we now live. As a result, sound judgment and justice have largely taken a back seat to legalism, statism and elitism, while preserving the rights of the people has been deprioritized and made to play second fiddle to both governmental and corporate interests.

A Suspect Society: Due in large part to rapid advances in technology and a heightened surveillance culture, the burden of proof has been shifted so that the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty has been usurped by a new norm in which all citizens are suspects. This is exemplified by police practices of stopping and frisking people who are merely walking down the street and where there is no evidence of wrongdoing. Making matters worse are Terrorism Liaison Officers (firefighters, police officers, and even corporate employees) who have been trained to spy on their fellow citizens and report “suspicious activity,” which includes taking pictures with no apparent aesthetic value, making measurements and drawings, taking notes, conversing in code, espousing radical beliefs and buying items in bulk. TLOs report back to “fusion centers,” which are a driving force behind the government’s quest to collect, analyze, and disseminate information on American citizens.

We the People: Essentially, there are four camps of thought among the citizenry when it comes to holding the government accountable. Which camp you fall into says a lot about your view of government – or, at least, your view of whichever administration happens to be in power at the time, in this case it being the Obama administration. In the first camp are those who trust the government to do the right thing, despite the government’s repeated failures in this department. In the second camp are those who not only don’t trust the government but think the government is out to get them. In the third camp are those who see government neither as an angel nor a devil, but merely as an entity that needs to be controlled, or as Thomas Jefferson phrased it, bound “down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution.” Then there’s the fourth camp, comprised of individuals who pay little to no attention to the workings of government, so much so that they barely vote, let alone know who’s in office. Easily entertained, easily distracted, easily led, these are the ones who make the government’s job far easier than it should be.

I haven’t even touched on the corporate state, the military industrial complex, SWAT team raids, invasive surveillance technology, zero tolerance policies in the schools, overcriminalization, or privatized prisons, to name just a few, but what I have touched on should be enough to show that the landscape of our freedoms has already changed dramatically from what it once was and will no doubt continue to deteriorate, unless Americans can find a way to wrest back control of their government and reclaim their freedoms.

May 25, 2013

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead [send him mail] is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He is the author of The Change Manifesto (Sourcebooks).

Copyright © 2013 The Rutherford Institute

ALL Digital Communications In The United States Are Being “Captured” By Government Surveillance Systems *Video*

Mac Slavo
SHTFPlan.com
May 9, 2013

You may be reading this article in the privacy of your own home, but somewhere in a National Security Agency control center your every move is being tracked. What time you logged on this morning, the web site you visited, how long you stayed and even what you said in the comments section – all of it – has been cataloged and possibly even flagged for suspicious activity.

Several years ago, to the disbelief of many, we discussed the tracking and archivingcapabilities of advanced monitoring systems being implemented by the government. We noted that everything you do on a daily basis is being tracked.

Since then, the government has further expanded their capabilities. In fact, their ability to monitor Americans has increased to such an extent that they’ve built a data center so massive that it can store over a yottabyte of information; that’s 1 trillion terrabytes, or about 100 trillion high definition DVD’s worth of information. The NSA’s new data center is such a game changer, that it prompted one whistle blower to come forward:

Domestically, they’re pulling together all the data about virtually every U.S. citizen in the country and assembling that information, building communities that you have relationships with, and knowledge about you; what your activities are; what you’re doing.

We’re talking about every digital data bit in existence here. If it crosses an internet pipeline (and that includes your phone calls), it’s being logged.

Many Americans may not realize this, but nothing that you do on your cell phone or on the Internet will ever be private again. According to the Washington Post, the NSA intercepts and stores an astounding amount of information every single day…

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.

But even the Washington Post may not have been aware of the full scope of the surveillance. In fact, National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney claims that the NSA has collected “20 trillion transactions” involving U.S. citizens…

In fact, I would suggest that they’ve assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about U.S. citizens with other U.S. citizens.

What’s even more frightening is not that they can log and cross reference this information, but that they have the ability to monitor these data flows in real-time.

What does this mean?

As noted by Liberty Blitzkrieg, it means that all digital communications – that includes phone calls, text messages, emails and even live internet chat – are being actively monitored and captured, and they can be recalled at the push of a button.

This isn’t some new and emerging technology; it’s happening right here and now.

It’s not just a theory. It’s fact. It has been confirmed time and again, most recently by former counter intelligence FBI agent Tim Clemente:

On the National Security side of the house we have assets. There’s lots of assets at our disposal throughout the intelligence community. And also, not just domestically but overseas. Those assets allow us to gain information and intelligence on things that we can’t use ordinarily in a criminal investigation, but are used for major terrorism investigations or counter-intelligence investigations.

I’m talking about all digital communications are… there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past. I can’t go into detail of how that’s done or what’s done.

I can tell you that no digital communication is secure. These digital communications will be found out, the conversation will be known.

(Video via Liberty Blitzkrieg and The Daily Crux)

What’s more is that they are not logging this information just for the heck of it. They are using advanced algorithmic systems to cross-reference all of this information in such a way that they can easily connect the dots to determine everything from your purchasing habits to who you hung out with at the local watering hole yesterday evening.

And before you say, ‘well at least they don’t know what I was talking about when hanging out with friends last night’, understand that in all likelihood you have a personal monitoring device right in your pocket or purse. Should an interested party have reason to do so, they can easily activate the microphone and camera on your cell phone without your knowledge, so everything you say in confidence during a private conversation can be listened to by a third-party without your knowledge. This covert listening technology has been available to the FBI and other agencies for at least a decade.

The real question is, why does the government need these capabilities? They’ll argue that it’s to protect America from terrorists. But considering that that we’re talking about the real-time, 24/7 surveillance of every single citizen in this country, one has to wonder whether there is an ulterior motive.

Couple this with the massive ramp up in the militarization of domestic police forces across the United States, and the only answer that makes sense is that elements within the U.S. government are pursuing a strategy that aims to completely lock this country down and move it from a Republic in which an individual is free to do as they please without interference from the State, to a tyrannical regime where our every move and conversation is monitored to ensure our actions are not subversive to the control infrastructure.

In due course this fairly passive surveillance may well be utilized to identify “domestic terrorists” as broadly defined by the Patriot Act. Once an individual or group has been marked as extremist, the next order of business will be to detain them “legally” under the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the government to seize an American citizen and hold them indefinitely without charge or trial.

Of course, they’d never do such a thing and something like that would require massive prison camps to be a viable strategy. And we all know those don’t exist. They’re also not stocking up billions of rounds of ammunition.

Video: http://youtu.be/fFnCe0gTh1Y

This article was posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 6:20 am

The U.S. Government Is Monitoring All Phone Calls, All Emails And All Internet Activity

Michael Snyder
American Dream
May 7, 2013

Big Brother is watching everything that you do on the Internet and listening to everything that you say on your phone. Every single day in America, the U.S. government intercepts and stores nearly 2 billion emails, phone calls and other forms of electronic communication. Former NSA employees have come forward and have described exactly what is taking place, and this surveillance activity has been reported on by prominent news organizations such as the Washington Post, Fox News and CNN, but nobody really seems to get too upset about it.

Either most Americans are not aware of what is really going on or they have just accepted it as part of modern life. But where will this end? Do we really want to live in a dystopian “Big Brother society” where the government literally reads every single thing that we write and listens to every single thing that we say? Is that what the future of America is going to look like? If so, what do you think our founding fathers would have said about that?

Many Americans may not realize this, but nothing that you do on your cell phone or on the Internet will ever be private again. According to the Washington Post, the NSA intercepts and stores an astounding amount of information every single day…

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.

But even the Washington Post may not have been aware of the full scope of the surveillance. In fact, National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney claims that the NSA has collected “20 trillion transactions” involving U.S. citizens…

In fact, I would suggest that they’ve assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about U.S. citizens with other U.S. citizens.

And NSA whistleblowers have also told us that the agency “has the capability to do individualized searches, similar to Google, for particular electronic communications in real time through such criteria as target addresses, locations, countries and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email.”

So the NSA must have tremendous data storage needs. That must be why they are building such a mammoth data storage center out in Utah. According to Fox News, it will have the capability of storing 5 zettabytes of data…

The NSA says the Utah Data Center is a facility for the intelligence community that will have a major focus on cyber security. The agency will neither confirm nor deny specifics. Some published reports suggest it could hold 5 zettabytes of data. (Just one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 62 billion stacked iPhones 5′s– that stretches past the moon.

Are you outraged by all of this?

You should be.

The U.S. government is spying on the American people and yet they continue to publicly deny that they are actually doing it.

Last week, this government spying program was once again confirmed by another insider. What former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente told Erin Burnett of CNN is absolutely astounding

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”

Yes, “all of that stuff” is most definitely being “captured” and it is time for the Obama administration to be honest with the American people about what is actually going on.

Meanwhile, the recent bombing in Boston has many of our politicians calling for even tighter surveillance.

For example, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said that our interpretation of the U.S. Constitution will “have to change” to deal with the new threats that we are facing. More “smart cameras” are going up in New York, and Bloomberg says that we are “never going to know where all of our cameras are”. The following is from a recent RT article

New York City police officials intend to expand the already extensive use of surveillance cameras throughout town. The plan, unveiled Thursday, comes as part of a drive for increased security around the US following the Boston Marathon attack.

New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly announced the plan during a press conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in which the two announced that the suspected Boston Marathon bombers were planning to attack New York next. The pair said they hope to discourage criminals by using so-called “smart cameras” that will aggregate data from 911 alerts, arrest records, mapped crime patterns, surveillance cameras and radiation detectors, among other tools, according to The Verge.

You’re never going to know where all of our cameras are,” Bloomberg told reporters gathered outside City Hall. “And that’s one of the ways you deter people; they just don’t know whether the person sitting next to you is somebody sitting there or a detective watching.”

Will you feel safer if the government is watching you 100% of the time?

Do you want them to see what you are doing 100% of the time?

You might want to think about that, because that is where all of this is headed.

In fact, the truth is that spy cameras are not just going up all over New York City. Most Americans may not realize this, but a network of spy cameras is now going up all over the nation. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles

“You are being watched. The government has a secret system – a machine – that spies on you every hour of every day.” That is how each episode of “Person of Interest” on CBS begins. Most Americans that have watched the show just assume that such a surveillance network is completely fictional and that the government would never watch us like that. Sadly, most Americans are wrong. Shocking new details have emerged this week which prove that a creepy nationwide network of spy cameras is being rolled out across the United States. Reportedly, these new spy cameras are “more accurate than modern facial recognition technology”, and every few seconds they send back data from cities and major landmarks all over the United States to a centralized processing center where it is analyzed. The authorities believe that the world has become such a dangerous place that the only way to keep us all safe is to watch what everyone does all the time. But the truth is that instead of “saving America”, all of these repressive surveillance technologies are slowly killing our liberties and our freedoms. America is being transformed into an Orwellian prison camp right in front of our eyes, and very few people are even objecting to it.

For many more examples of how the emerging Big Brother surveillance grid is tightening all around us, please see my previous article entitled “19 Signs That America Is Being Systematically Transformed Into A Giant Surveillance Grid“.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is telling us to reject those that are warning us about government tyranny. The following is what he told the graduating class of The Ohio State University on May 5th, 2013

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.

So what do you think?

Should we just ignore all of the violations of our privacy that are happening?

Should we just ignore what the U.S. Constitution says about privacy and let the government monitor us however it wants to?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

This article was posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 6:13 am

Has Watertown Made Warrantless Searches The ‘New Normal’?

The whole notion of the police “manhunt” is not a new American phenomenon. Cops chase bad guys, cops corner bad guys. Sometimes the bad guys give up quietly, sometimes they go down in a blaze of glory. But we’ve always had rules of engagement when it came to law enforcement interaction with the general public.
It appears all that got thrown out the window in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terror bombing and the subsequent police chase in Cambridge, Massachusetts that came to a screeching halt in Watertown.
Seemingly, for the first time in the United States, we witnessed paramilitary-garbed law enforcement personnel forcing residents out of their homes at gunpoint. In some cases, the language used by law enforcement was menacing.

Because of the hysteria that comes after any terror event, the American people wanted the perpetrators caught and, in doing so, appeared to have allowed their rights against unlawful search and seizure to not be suspended, but removed.

How many times have we watched cop dramas on television where the police had a pretty good idea of where the bad guys were, but as they weren’t sure, came to the door and asked permission to come inside to “have a look around”? The only time they ever bashed a door in is when they absolutely knew the bad guys were there. If there was ever any doubt, they’d have to wait… for a court order from a judge.

That did not happen here.

The police came to people’s homes, ordered them to leave immediately at the point of a gun in some cases, and then entered their place of residence. It’s never “consensual” when the person asking you for something has a gun in his hand. “Probable cause” is convenient, but in this case, very arbitrary.

Again, I understand this was the culmination of a horrific event, but let’s say instead of the Thursday evening car chase racing through the streets and winding up in Watertown, it went up Route 9 and ended in very upscale Newton?

Do you think armed police would, under the authority of the governor of Massachusetts and the federal government, put an assault rifle nozzle in the face of a potential wealthy political donor? Would those policemen force the family of the elite into the streets while they entered a home that is worth 20 of their salaries combined?

If it weren’t a middle class area like Watertown, would you really see a politician ordering law enforcement to forcibly enter and search homes on the upper west side of Manhattan or Georgetown or Beverly Hills? Would this happen to a celebrity in his home or, heaven forbid, a congressman?

When citizens are searched by pat-down, rousted out of their homes, and we end up thanking the police with blind understanding, the government has essentially found an acceptable means to take more of our rights away without even one politician having to cast a vote.

These past events in Watertown have set a precedent.

The police can now enter our homes anytime they want. It just requires a verbal massaging of the circumstance. After all, who ever heard of “shelter-in-place” before Friday, April 19, 2013?

If the government can order us to stay in our homes, it looks like it can throw us out of them any time it wants… at the point of a gun.

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