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  1. #41
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    Default U.S. Directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
    Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
    The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.
    "I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.
    "It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."
    THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION
    The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.
    Today, much of the SOD's work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked "Law Enforcement Sensitive," a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.
    "Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function," a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD's involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD."
    A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.
    But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to "recreate" an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.
    A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. "You'd be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.
    "PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION"
    After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as "parallel construction."
    The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. "Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day," one official said. "It's decades old, a bedrock concept."
    A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.
    "It's just like laundering money - you work it backwards to make it clean," said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.
    Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using "parallel construction" may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.
    A QUESTION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY
    "That's outrageous," said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. "It strikes me as indefensible."
    Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin "would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional."
    Lustberg and others said the government's use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant's identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.
    "You can't game the system," said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. "You can't create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don't draw the line here, where do you draw it?"
    Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.
    "It's a balancing act, and they've doing it this way for years," Spelke said. "Do I think it's a good way to do it? No, because now that I'm a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge."
    CONCEALING A TIP
    One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.
    "I was pissed," the prosecutor said. "Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you're trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court." The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.
    A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.
    The SOD's role providing information to agents isn't itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.
    The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD's role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don't accidentally try to arrest each other.
    SOD'S BIG SUCCESSES
    The unit also played a major role in a 2008 DEA sting in Thailand against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; he was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. The SOD also recently coordinated Project Synergy, a crackdown against manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic designer drugs that spanned 35 states and resulted in 227 arrests.
    Since its inception, the SOD's mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit's annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125 million.
    Today, the SOD offers at least three services to federal, state and local law enforcement agents: coordinating international investigations such as the Bout case; distributing tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, foreign law enforcement partners and domestic wiretaps; and circulating tips from a massive database known as DICE.
    The DICE database contains about 1 billion records, the senior DEA officials said. The majority of the records consist of phone log and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Records are kept for about a year and then purged, the DEA officials said.
    About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. Recently, one of the DEA officials said, DICE linked a man who tried to smuggle $100,000 over the U.S. southwest border to a major drug case on the East Coast.
    "We use it to connect the dots," the official said.
    "AN AMAZING TOOL"
    Wiretap tips forwarded by the SOD usually come from foreign governments, U.S. intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic phone recordings. Because warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal, tips from intelligence agencies are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller's citizenship can be verified, according to one senior law enforcement official and one former U.S. military intelligence analyst.
    "They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American," the senior law enforcement official said.
    Tips from domestic wiretaps typically occur when agents use information gleaned from a court-ordered wiretap in one case to start a second investigation.
    As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don't worry that SOD's involvement will be exposed in court. That's because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.
    Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren't always helpful - one estimated their accuracy at 60 percent. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.
    "It was an amazing tool," said one recently retired federal agent. "Our big fear was that it wouldn't stay secret."
    DEA officials said that the SOD process has been reviewed internally. They declined to provide Reuters with a copy of their most recent review.
    (Edited by Blake Morrison)

    http://news.yahoo.com/exclusive-u-di...091643729.html
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  2. #42

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    Default Assange calls Obama reform plans 'victory of sorts' for Snowden









    .View gallery

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the High Court in London December 5, 2011. …


    (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called President Barack Obama's announcement of plans to limit sweeping U.S. government surveillance programs a victory of sorts for fugitive former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden. � "Today, the President of the United States validated Edward Snowden's role as a whistleblower by announcing plans to reform America's global surveillance program," Assange said in a statement referring to Obama's announcement on Friday.
    "Today was a victory of sorts for Edward Snowden and his many supporters," Assange said in the statement, which was posted on the WikiLeaks website on Saturday.
    "As Snowden has stated, his biggest concern was if he blew the whistle and change did not occur. Well reforms are taking shape, and for that, the President and people of the United States and around the world owe Edward Snowden a debt of gratitude."
    Assange, who has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for more than a year, fearing extradition to the United States for publishing classified U.S. documents, rejected Obama's assertion that his reforms were planned before Snowden's disclosures about U.S. surveillance activities.
    "The simple fact is that without Snowden's disclosures, no one would know about the programs and no reforms could take place," he said.
    Assange accused the U.S. government of "stunning" hypocrisy in its treatment of Snowden while it gave asylum to thousands of dissidents, whistleblowers and political refugees from countries like Russia and Venezuela.
    The Obama administration has vigorously pursued Snowden to bring him back to the United States to face espionage charges for leaking details of U.S. surveillance programs to the media. Snowden is now in Russia, where he has been granted asylum.
    Assange himself is wanted in Sweden on sexual abuse allegations he denies. He has sought sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London because he fears he could be extradited to the United States to face potential charges over the release of thousands of confidential U.S. documents on WikiLeaks.
    Assange charged that the Obama administration had prosecuted "twice as many" whistleblowers as all other U.S. administrations combined, in spite of the president's 2008 campaign pledge to champion transparency and those who fought for it.
    He said it was fortunate for the world that Snowden and others "of good conscience," like Private First Class Bradley Manning - who was convicted last month of leaking classified data to WikiLeaks - had chosen not to remain silent.
    In announcing his reform plans on Friday, Obama vowed to improve oversight of surveillance and restore public trust in the government's programs, saying the United States "can and must be more transparent."

  3. #43
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    Default Re: NSA's Verizon surveillance: how the White House tramples our constitution

    "...Just yesterday, Face the Nation featured [Michael] Hayden as the premiere guest to speak authoritatively about how trustworthy the NSA is, how safe it keeps us, and how wise President Obama is for insisting that all of its programs continue. As usual, no mention was made of the role he played in secretly implementing an illegal warrantless spying program aimed directly at the American people...".* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

    *Read more here from Glenn Greenwald / The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisf...

    we are vastly more focused on what divides us than what unites us

  4. #44
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    Default Report: NSA Spied on 124 Billion Phone Calls in One Month

    The National Security Agency recorded information about more than 124 billion phone calls during a 30-day period earlier this year, including around 3 billion calls from U.S. sources, according to a tally from top-secret documents released by multiple news outlets.
    Documents revealing details about the NSA s Boundless Informant program show that information regarding billions of phone calls and computer communications was collected by the agency from across the world.
    Boundless Informant “allows users to select a country on a map and view the meta data volume and select details about the collections against that country,” according to the Guardian, which first reported on the top secret program earlier this year.
    Multiple leaked screenshots of the Boundless Informant program show that information on around 124.8 billion phone calls were collected in just 30-days this year, according to documents released by the Guardian and other news sites.
    The documents provide a window into the sheer volume of data being collected by the NSA as late as March of this year, according to the Guardian.
    Critics of the NSA s multiple data collection programs, which include PRISM, argue that innocent Americans run the risk of having their personal communications monitored. Its defenders maintain that the program has been a key tool in the fight against terrorism.
    It is unlikely that the NSA examined the content of all of these calls, though it seems possible that the security organization could single out any of the snatched calls and other communications.
    The sheer extend of the NSA s data collection effort were compiled from the multiple sources and organized on Wednesday by members of intelligence website Cryptome, which regularly publishes government documents and other information.
    Much of the information recorded by the NSA appears to have originated in the greater Middle East.
    The majority of the calls monitored by the NSA appeared to have emanated from Pakistan and Afghanistan, where 13.76 billion and 21.98 billion calls were respectively collected over the time period, according to the Boundless Informant “heat map”revealed by the Guardian.
    About 1.73 billion calls, or “DNRs” (Dialed numbers recorded), were collected from Iran, while 1.64 billion were traced back to Jordan. Additionally, some 6.28 billion calls from India were collected.
    Perhaps the most controversial element of the program is its efforts to collect both phone and computer data from Western nations that have friendly relations with the United States.
    Boundless Informant appears to have collected information from hundreds of million calls traced back to Germany in a single 30-day-period, according to documentspublished by Der Spiegel Online.
    Spain accounted for another 61 million and Italy for 46 million, according to the published screenshots and tallies posted to Cryptome.
    France s Le Monde newspaper alleged this week that the NSA recorded more than 70 million phone calls through January of this year. However, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper immediately rejected the claim.
    Another 97 billion bits of information were pulled by the NSA from global computer networks, according to the map and original story by the Guardian.

    http://freebeacon.com/report-nsa-spi...-in-one-month/
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  5. #45
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    Default Re: Report: NSA Spied on 124 Billion Phone Calls in One Month

    They can record mine all they like. I could care less.

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Report: NSA Spied on 124 Billion Phone Calls in One Month

    The databases that hold that information are too staggering to comprehend on our puny PC scale.
    we are vastly more focused on what divides us than what unites us

  7. #47
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    Default Not one phone call is made in america without leaving nsa record

    Snowden fires back at Feinstein over 'surveillance' claim
    By Brendan Sasso - 10/24/13 04:20 PM ET

    National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden disputed Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) claim that the government's phone record collection program is not "surveillance."
    "Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA's hands," Snowden said in a statement Thursday. "Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They're wrong."
    Snowden didn't mention Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, by name, but she has said repeatedly that the NSA's program to collect records on all U.S. phone calls is not a surveillance program.


    "The call-records program is not surveillance," she wrote in an op-ed in USA Today this week. "It does not collect the content of any communication, nor do the records include names or locations."
    She said the NSA only collects phone numbers, call times and call durations.
    "The Supreme Court has held this 'metadata' is not protected under the Fourth Amendment," Feinstein wrote, referring to the court's 1972 decision in Smith v. Maryland.
    The existence of the phone record collection program was one the most controversial revelations from Snowden's leaks earlier this year. Many lawmakers, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), have expressed outrage that the NSA is collecting records on millions of Americans not under any suspicion of wrongdoing.
    Snowden provided his statement to the American Civil Liberties Union to promote a rally the group is holding on Saturday along with other civil liberties groups in Washington.
    "Now it's time for the government to learn from us," said Snowden, who is currently living in Russia.




    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-va...#ixzz2ig4B6cPm
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook


    Is this OK?
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    Thanks ROOT thanked for this post

  8. #48

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    Default Re: Not one phone call is made in america without leaving nsa record

    I do not know why this would surprise anyone. We are only free as long as we do as we are told and the government approves of everything we do. Freedom has a very high cost for everyone and a bigger cost for the Soldiers that fight for our freedoms.

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Not one phone call is made in america without leaving nsa record

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    we are vastly more focused on what divides us than what unites us

  10. #50
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    Default Googlers say “FUCK YOU” to NSA, company encrypts internal network

    NSA had reverse-engineered many of Google's and Yahoo's inner workings.

    Google has started to encrypt its traffic between its data centers, effectively halting the broad surveillance of its inner workings by the joint National Security Agency-GCHQ program known as MUSCULAR. The move turns off a giant source of information to the two agencies, which at one point accounted for nearly a third of the NSA's daily data intake for its primary intelligence analysis database—at least for now.

    Yesterday, the Washington Post shared additional slides produced by the NSA on the MUSCULAR program, which tapped into the fiber-optic networks carrying traffic to and from Google's and Yahoo's overseas data centers. The slides indicated that data from the networks frequently reached the daily intelligence briefing provided to President Barack Obama. They cited the joint operation with GHCQ as the fifteenth-largest source of intelligence data for those briefings.
    The slides also revealed that the NSA obtained an intimate understanding of the internal operations of these networks, which suggests it either launched a significant reverse-engineering operation to pry apart Google's and Yahoo's secrets or it obtained this information from people who worked for the two companies (maybe even some combination of the two). Either way, the effort amounts to a major intelligence operation to discover the trade secrets of two major American companies.



    If the NSA and GCHQ are in fact shut out of Google's network, it would mean the loss of a substantial amount of work. (Remember, the NSA needed to first understand the complicated inner workings of Google's applications before it could obtain troves of useful information from the traffic.) The effort allowed the NSA to do highly detailed tracking of individual Google and Yahoo users of interest and to gather metadata on an even larger number of users to watch for specific types of behavior.
    The NSA created sets of "defeats" that allowed it to screen multiple types of traffic at Yahoo and Google for identifying "fingerprints" in data—keywords or identifying elements in the traffic within those networks that it associated with individuals or organizations of interest.
    As of 2012, the NSA developed "defeat fingerprints" to scan the server-to-server communications that powered Google Adwords, Blogger, the BigTable database that powers Google Drive and other applications, and the TeraGoogle search index interface. These fingerprints allowed the NSA to scan Google internal traffic and identify elements associated with the usage of specific individuals or for searches and other behavior around a particular subject of interest (like, say, "pressure cooker bomb").

    That information could be pulled into the NSA's MARINA metadata database, a sort of secret social graph similar in form (but not function) to Facebook's graph database. It provided NSA analysts with the ability to search for various types of online behavior and identify potential individuals of interest. A second set of NSA tools, called Serendipity, gave the agency the ability to target specific Google accounts for monitoring as they accessed service, including:
    • Chrome synchronization, including bookmark sync to the cloud
    • "Talkgadget," the Google Talk component of Gmail
    • The now-defunct iGoogle personalized pages
    • Google searches
    • Picasa photo sharing
    • YouTube

    As of 2012, the "user agent string" identifier used by these protocols—Google's internal identifier for Google user accounts—had not yet been integrated into MARINA for tracking metadata. The NSA was in the process of performing that final step of integration.

    For Yahoo, the NSA had developed another set of hooks, fully accessing its internal mail protocols as well as its Messenger instant messaging service, advertising tracker, and "Web beacons" used to track whether users had opened HTML-formatted emails. And the agency had to respond to a flood of unwanted data from these sources by instituting blocks—mostly to deal with Yahoo's periodic movement of entire user mailboxes.
    “Fuck these guys”

    Last Thursday, as news started to emerge about the NSA's monitoring of traffic within the private networks of Google and Yahoo, Google security team engineer Brandon Downey wrote a post to Google+ expressing his personal opinion on the matter: "Fuck these guys." Yesterday, another Google security engineer, Mike Hearn, echoed the sentiment with substance:

    "I now join [Downey] in issuing a giant Fuck You to the people who made these slides," Hearn wrote. "I am not an American, I am a Brit, but it's no different—GCHQ turns out to be even worse than the NSA... The traffic shown in the slides is now all encrypted and the work the NSA/GCHQ staff did on understanding it, ruined."

    Hearn did not reveal how the traffic was being encrypted. But Google has been making an effort to encrypt its intra-data center traffic for over a year as it strove to deal with potential surveillance.

    That effort was accelerated this summer in the wake of the leaked information about the NSA/FBI PRISM program—the warrant-based program by which the NSA could obtain access to user data from Google, Yahoo, and other cloud providers. The company wanted to make broad surveillance of its own networks more difficult. Now, with the details of actual surveillance public knowledge, Google has moved to shut the door entirely to unfettered access to its networks. Google also started to encrypt all search requests from users by default in September, protecting users from surveillance outside its network.

    There's no word on what Yahoo's plans are regarding encryption of internal traffic; requests from Ars to Yahoo for comment went unanswered at the time of this post.
    we are vastly more focused on what divides us than what unites us
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    Default How Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter

    How Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter


    From the workplace to our private lives, American society is starting to resemble a police state.

    —By Chase Madar
    | Mon Dec. 9, 2013 2:09 PM GMT

    Truthout.org/Flickr
    This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.
    If all you've got is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. And if police and prosecutors are your only tool, sooner or later everything and everyone will be treated as criminal. This is increasingly the American way of life, a path that involves "solving" social problems (and even some non-problems) by throwing cops at them, with generallydisastrous results. Wall-to-wall criminal law encroaches ever more on everyday life as police power is applied in ways that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.
    By now, the militarization of the police has advanced to the point where "the War on Crime" and "the War on Drugs" are no longer metaphors but bland understatements. There is the proliferation of heavily armed SWAT teams, even in small towns; the use of shock-and-awe tactics to bust small-time bookies; the no-knock raids to recover trace amounts of drugs that often result in the killing of family dogs, if not family members; and in communities where drug treatment programs once were key, the waging of a drug version of counterinsurgency war. (All of this is ably reported on journalist Radley Balko'sblog and in his book, The Rise of the Warrior Cop.) But American over-policing involves far more than the widely reported up-armoring of your local precinct. It's also the way police power has entered the DNA of social policy, turning just about every sphere of American life into a police matter.

    The School-to-Prison Pipeline
    It starts in our schools, where discipline is increasingly outsourced to police personnel. What not long ago would have been seen as normal childhood misbehavior—doodling on a desk, farting in class, a kindergartener'stantrum—can leave a kid in handcuffs, removed from school, or even booked at the local precinct. Such "criminals" can be as young as seven-year-old Wilson Reyes, a New Yorker who was handcuffed and interrogated under suspicion of stealing five dollars from a classmate. (Turned out he didn't do it.)
    Though it's a national phenomenon, Mississippi currently leads the way in turning school behavior into a police issue. The Hospitality State has imposed felony charges on schoolchildren for "crimes" like throwing peanuts on a bus. Wearing the wrong color belt to school got one child handcuffed to a railing for several hours. All of this goes under the rubric of "zero-tolerance" discipline, which turns out to be just another form of violence legally imported into schools.
    Despite a long-term drop in youth crime, the carceral style of education remains in style. Metal detectors—a horrible way for any child to start the day—are installed in ever more schools, even those with sterling disciplinary records, despite the demonstrable fact that such scanners provide no guarantee against shootings and stabbings.
    Every school shooting, whether in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, or Littleton, Colorado, only leads to more police in schools and more arms as well. It's the one thing the National Rifle Association and Democratic senators can agree on. There are plenty of successful ways to run an orderly school without criminalizing the classroom, but politicians and much of the media don't seem to want to know about them. The "school-to-prison pipeline," a jargon term coined by activists, is entering the vernacular.
    Go to Jail, Do Not Pass Go
    Even as simple a matter as getting yourself from point A to point B can quickly become a law enforcement matter as travel and public space are ever more aggressively policed. Waiting for a bus? Such loitering just got three Rochester youths arrested. Driving without a seat belt can easily escalate into an arrest, even if the driver is a state judge. (Notably, all four of these men were black.) If the police think you might be carrying drugs, warrantless body cavity searches at the nearest hospital may be in the offing—you will be sent the bill later.
    Air travel entails increasingly intimate pat-downs and arbitraryrules that many experts see as nothing more than "security theater." As for staying at home, it carries its own risks as Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates found out when a Cambridge police officer mistook him for a burglar and hauled him away—a case that is hardly unique.
    Overcriminalization at Work
    Office and retail work might seem like an unpromising growth area for police and prosecutors, but criminal law has found its way into the white-collar workplace, too. Just ask Georgia Thompson, a Wisconsin state employee targeted by a federal prosecutor for the "crime" of incorrectly processing a travel agency's bid for state business. She spent four months in a federal prison before being sprung by a federal court. Or Judy Wilkinson, hauled awayin handcuffs by an undercover cop for serving mimosas without a license to the customers in her bridal shop. Or George Norris, sentenced to 17 months in prison for selling orchids without the proper paperwork to an undercover federal agent.
    Increasingly, basic economic transactions are being policed under the purview of criminal law. In Arkansas, for instance, Human Rights Watch reports that a new law funnels delinquent (or allegedly delinquent) rental tenants directly to the criminal courts, where failure to pay up can result in quick arrest and incarceration, even though debtor's prison as an institution was supposed to have ended in the nineteenth century.
    And the mood is spreading. Take the asset bubble collapse of 2008 and the rising cries of progressives for the criminal prosecution of Wall Street perpetrators, as if a fundamentally sound financial system had been abused by a small number of criminals who were running free after the debacle. Instead of pushing a debate about how to restructure our predatory financial system, liberals in their focus on individual prosecution are aping the punitive zeal of the authoritarians. A few high-profile prosecutions for insider trading (which had nothing to do with the last crash) have, of course, not changed Wall Street one bit.
    Criminalizing Immigration
    The past decade has also seen immigration policy ingested by criminal law. According to another Human Rights Watch report—their US division is increasingly busy—federal criminal prosecutions of immigrants for illegal entry have surged from 3,000 in 2002 to 48,000 last year. This novel application of police and prosecutors has broken up families and fueled the expansion of for-profit detention centers, even as it has failed to show any stronger deterrent effect on immigration than the civil law system that preceded it. Thanks to Arizona's SB 1070bill, police in that state are now licensed to stop and check the papers of anyone suspected of being undocumented—that is, who looks Latino.
    Meanwhile, significant parts of the US-Mexico border are now militarized (as increasingly is theCanadian border), including what seem to resemble free-fire zones. And if anyone were to leave bottled water for migrants illegally crossing the desert and in danger of death from dehydration, that good Samaritan should expect to face criminal charges, too. Intensified policing with aggressive targets for arrests and deportations are guaranteed to be a part of any future bipartisan deal on immigration reform.
    Digital Over-Policing
    As for the Internet, for a time it was terra nova and so relatively free of a steroidal law enforcement presence. Not anymore. The late Aaron Swartz, a young Internet genius and activist affiliated with Harvard University, was caught downloading masses of scholarly articles (all publicly subsidized) from an open network on the MIT campus. Swartz was federally prosecuted under the capacious Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for violating a "terms and services agreement"—a transgression that anyone who has ever disabled a cookie on his or her laptop has also, technically, committed. Swartz committed suicide earlier this year while facing a possible 50-year sentence and up to a million dollars in fines.
    Since the summer, thanks to whistleblowing contractor Edward Snowden, we have learned a great deal about the way the NSA stops and frisks our (and apparently everyone else's) digital communications, both email and telephonic. The security benefits of such indiscriminate policing are far from clear, despite the government's emphatic but inconsistent assurances otherwise. What comes into sharper focus with every volley of new revelations is the emerging digital infrastructure of what can only be called a police state.

    Sex Police
    Sex is another zone of police overkill in our post-Puritan land. Getting put on a sex offender registry is alarmingly easy—as has been done to children as young as 11 for "playing doctor" with a relative, again according to Human Rights Watch. But getting taken off the registry later is extraordinarily difficult. Across the nation, sex offender registries have expanded massively, especially in California, where one in every 380 adults is now a registered sex offender, creating a new pariah class with severe obstacles to employment, housing, or any kind of community life. The proper penalty for, say, an 18-year-old who has sex with a 14-year-old can be debated, but should that 18-year-old's life really be ruined forever?
    Equality Before the Cops?
    It will surprise no one that Americans are not all treated equally by the police. Law enforcement picks on kids more than adults, the queer more than straight, Muslims more than Methodists—Muslims a lot more than Methodists—antiwar activists more than the apolitical. Above all, our punitive state targets the poor more than the wealthy and Blacks and Latinos more than white people.
    A case in point: after the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, a police presence, including surveillance cameras and metal detectors, was ratcheted up at schools around the country, particularly in urban areas with largely working-class black and Latino student bodies. It was all to "protect" the kids, of course. At Columbine itself, however, no metal detector was installed and no heavy police presence intruded. The reason was simple. At that school in the Colorado suburb of Littleton, the mostly well-heeled white families did not want their kids treated like potential felons, and they had the status and political power to get their way. But communities without such clout are less able to push back against the encroachments of police power.
    Even Our Prisons Are Over-Policed
    The over-criminalization of American life empties out into our vast, overcrowded prison system, which is itself over-policed. The ultimate form of punitive control (and torture) is long-term solitary confinement, in which 80,000 to 100,000 prisoners are encased at any given moment. Is this really necessary? Solitary is no longer reserved for the worst or the worst or most dangerous prisoners but can be inflicted on ones who wear Rastafari dreadlocks, have a copy of Sun Tzu's Art of War in their cell, or are in any way suspected, no matter how tenuous the grounds, of gang affiliations.
    Not every developed nation does things this way. Some 30years ago, Great Britain shiftedfrom isolating prisoners to, whenever possible, giving them greater responsibility and autonomy—with less violent results. But don't even bring the subject up here. It will fall on deaf ears.
    Extreme policing is exacerbated by extreme sentencing. For instance, more than 3,000 Americans have been sentenced to life terms without chance of parole for nonviolent offenses. These are mostly but not exclusively drug offenses, including life for a pound of cocaine that a boyfriend stashed in the attic; selling LSD at a Grateful Dead concert; and shoplifting three belts from a department store.
    Our incarceration rate is the highest in the world, triple that of the now-defunct East Germany. The incarceration rate for African American men is about five times higher than thatof the Soviet Union at the peak of the gulag.
    The Destruction of Families
    Prison may seem the logical finale for this litany of over-criminalization, but the story doesn't actually end with those inmates. As prisons warehouse ever more Americans, often hundreds of miles from their local communities, family bonds weaken and disintegrate. In addition, once a parent goes into the criminal justice system, his or her family tends to end up on the radar screens of state agencies. "Being under surveillance by law enforcement makes a family much more vulnerable to Child Protective Services," says Professor Dorothy Roberts of the University of Pennsylvania Law school. An incarcerated parent, especially an incarcerated mother, means a much stronger likelihood that children will be sent into foster care, where, according to one recent study, they will be twice as likely as war veterans to suffer from PTSD.
    In New York State, the Administration for Child Services and the juvenile justice system recently merged, effectively putting thousands of children in a heavily policed, penalty-based environment until they age out. "Being in foster care makes you much more vulnerable to being picked up by the juvenile justice system," says Roberts. "If you're in a group home and you get in a fight, that could easily become a police matter." In every respect, the creeping over-criminalization of everyday life exerts a corrosive effect on American families.
    Do We Live in a Police State?
    The term "police state" was once brushed off by mainstream intellectuals as the hyperbole of paranoids. Not so much anymore. Even in the tweediest precincts of the legal system, the over-criminalization of American life is remarked upon with greater frequency and intensity. "You're probably a (federal) criminal" is the accusatory title of a widely read essay co-authored by Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals. A Republican appointee, Kozinski surveys the morass of criminal laws that make virtually every American an easy target for law enforcement. Veteran defense lawyer Harvey Silverglate has written an entire book about how an average American professional could easily commit three felonies in a single day without knowing it.
    The daily overkill of police power in the US goes a long way toward explaining why more Americans aren't outraged by the "excesses" of the war on terror, which, as one law professor has argued, are just our everyday domestic penal habits exported to more exotic venues. It is no less true that the growth of domestic police power is, in this positive feedback loop, the partial result of our distant foreign wars seeping back into the homeland (the "imperial boomerang" that Hannah Arendt warned against).
    Many who have long railed against our country's everyday police overkill have reacted to the revelations of NSA surveillance with detectable exasperation: of course we are over-policed! Some have even responded with peevish resentment: Why so much sympathy for this Snowden kid when the daily grind of our justice system destroys so many lives without comment or scandal? After all, in New York, the police department's "stop and frisk" tactic, which targets African American and Latino working-class youth for routinized street searches, was until recently uncontroversial among the political and opinion-making class. If "the gloves came off" after September 11, 2001, many Americans were surprised to learn they had ever been on to begin with.
    A hammer is necessary to any toolkit. But you don't use a hammer to turn a screw, chop a tomato, or brush your teeth. And yet the hammer remains our instrument of choice, both in the conduct of our foreign policy and in our domestic order. The result is not peace, justice, or prosperity but rather a state that harasses and imprisons its own people while shouting ever less intelligibly about freedom.
    Chase Madar is an attorney, a TomDispatch regular, and the author of The Passion of [Chelsea] Manning: The Story behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower. Chase tweets @ChMadar. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here.




    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell
    ~Don't even think about it! ~
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    Default Re: How Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter

    This sounds ridicules at first glance but haven't we seen some examples of what is written, Right here in Flagler County.
    we are vastly more focused on what divides us than what unites us

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    Default Re: How Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter

    Excellent article. It should be read by every voter right before the next election.

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    Default Re: How Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter

    What a great article well written
    Likes Rusty liked this post

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    Default States to nsa: Get a warrant

    The National Security Agency may be able to spy on citizens by collecting data about their telephone calls and Internet usage, but at least two states are developing a strategy that would leave the data largely unusable without a warrant The newly revealed practices of the NSA to monitor all telephone calls made by American citizens could even be found in violation of the Missouri state constitution.
    Several court cases that could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court have been filed since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about the program
    Lawmakers in several states, however, aren t waiting.
    According to the Tenth Amendment Center, lawmakers in Missouri are proposing to amend their state constitution. Their plan would add “and electronic communications and data” to the provision that provides privacy and security for residents.
    If changed by voters, it would read: “That the people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes [and], effects, and electronic communications and data, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or seize any person or thing, or access electronic data or communication, shall issue without describing the place to be searched, or the person or thing to be seized, or the data or communication to be accessed, as nearly as may be; nor without probable cause, supported by written oath or affirmation.”
    The Joint Resolution, pending before the state Senate, proposes allowing Missouri voters to decide next November whether or not to amend their constitution.

    According to the Tenth Amendment Center, federal judges and lawyers may squabble over the constitutionality of the NSA data-gathering, but lawmakers could make it impossible for any information obtained to be used in those states.
    In Kansas, Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Shawnee, prefiled a bill that would “ban all state agencies and local governments in the state from possessing data ‘held by a third-party in a system of record and would prohibit any such information from being ‘subject to discovery, subpoena or other means of legal compulsion for its release to any person or entity or be admissible in evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding. ”
    The access the data, under the bill, government would be required to obtain “express informed consent” or a warrant.
    In Kansas, it s called the Fourth Amendment Protection Act.
    “I want to make sure that electronic privacy in Kansas is protected in the same way that physical letters in the mail are protected from random government searches,” Hildabrand told the center. “Each day, we hear a new revelation about how the NSA is violating our personal privacy. My bill will ensure the state of Kansas doesn t utilize this illegally obtained data.”
    Hildabrand noted that USA Today reported early in December that more than 100 police agencies in 33 states now use technology “to intercept and catalog the electronic communication of average, law-abiding citizens.”
    “We must be ever-vigilant that their rights are not being infringed upon by big government taking advantage of advances in technology,” he said.
    In Missouri, voters soon might be able to decide on the proposed state constitutional amendment.
    Reuters said last August that the NSA s secretive Special Operations Division was “funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.”
    Documents revealed such cases “rarely involve national security issues” and that the SOD directs local law enforcement to “conceal how such investigations truly begin.”
    “The bottom line is the federal government doesn t limit itself,” said Center Communications Director Mike Maharrey. “Realistically, the federal courts have a strong track record of deferring to federal agencies when they claim ‘national security issues, so we can t count on them to uphold the intent of the Fourth Amendment. That s why it s crucial for state governments to step into the gap and protect the most basic rights of their citizens. Rep. Hildabrand s bill and the proposed Missouri constitutional amendment do just that.”
    The Tenth Amendment Center noted Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward announced recently she was introducing an even broader bill to deny material support to the NSA in the Grand Canyon State.
    That effort fits into a campaign by Offnow.org, which encourages states to not allow the physical services that the NSA needs to operate.
    For example, regarding a new NSA facility in Utah, the campaign notes the new data center, “a massive spy complex, requires 1.7 million gallons over water every single day to operate.”

    “Those massive supercomputers monitoring your personal information are water-cooled. They can t function without the resources to keep them at operating temperature. That water is scheduled to be provided by the Jordan Valley River Conservancy District, ‘a political subdivision of the state of Utah.
    “Because of this, a state law can be passed banning this partnership. In short, they can turn the water off,” the group said.
    The Tenth Amendment Center said other states have related moves in under way.
    In California, Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, have introduced the Fourth Amendment Protection Act to prohibit any state support of the NSA.
    “State-funded public resources should not be going toward aiding the NSA or any other federal agency from indiscriminate spying on its own citizens and gathering electronic or metadata that violates the Fourth Amendment,” Lieu said.
    The plan would prohibit the state of California and its subdivisions from providing “material support, participation or assistance in any form to a federal agency that claims the power, by virtue of any federal law, rule, regulation or order, to collect electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place and thing to be searched or seized.”
    It also bars any state funding to the NSA or any entity supporting it in the state.
    OffNow.org national campaign lead Shane Trejo said there are “four strategic points where states can take action to thwart the effect of NSA spying: provision of resources, university partnerships, corporate sanctions, and information-sharing. Each bill introduced is an important piece of the puzzle.”
    WND reported recently that Sen Rand Paul, R-Ky., is planning a class-action lawsuit against the NSA over the spying after recruiting thousands of people to be plaintiffs.
    The news follows last month s favorable ruling in a class-action legal challenge to NSA spy operations by attorney Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch. In that case, the federal judge said the spy program is likely unconstitutional. The Obama administration has filed an appeal.
    The senator s campaign website was used to recruit names, a move set up after Paul suggested months ago he could force the government to change its strategies if he could get 10 million Americans to protest.
    In a commentary for WND, Klayman welcomed Paul s influence to the fight.
    “I invite Sen. Paul to join our ongoing class actions, as they have already proven to be successful in large part – given Judge Leon s unconstitutionality ruling. The other plaintiffs and I are pleased that Paul also is fighting to slay the NSA express,” Klayman wrote.
    “The bottom line is this: I am pleased that the force of our legal actions with regard to the NSA and this huge violation of constitutional rights has finally caused many in the nation to take heed of the strength of our cases. For what is now occurring with this spy agency, and others like the CIA, cannot stand. We the people cannot allow a tyrannical government to run roughshod over our Fourth, First and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights. Our Founding Fathers risked their fortunes and lives to win freedom. We owe it to them to take whatever legal steps we must to preserve this freedom for ourselves, our loved ones, and the country as a whole.”
    It was Judge Richard J. Leon, in two class-action cases that Klayman filed last June, who ruled against the NSA.
    “I hereby give the government fair notice that should my ruling be upheld, this order will go into effect forthwith,” the judge wrote. “Accordingly, I fully expect that during the appellate process, which will consume at least the next six months, the government will take whatever steps necessary to prepare itself to comply with this order when, and if, it is upheld. Suffice it to say, requesting further time to comply with this order months from now will not be well received and could result in collateral sanctions.”
    The judge said the practice likely is unconstitutional, calling it “Orwellian.”

    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/states-to...ePzRz3uVh0r.99
    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell
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    Default Re: States to nsa: Get a warrant

    So is Snowden a hero or a traitor?
    we are vastly more focused on what divides us than what unites us

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    Default Re: States to nsa: Get a warrant

    Quote Originally Posted by ROOT View Post
    So is Snowden a hero or a traitor?
    Hmm as of now i dont see him as either. If he would have stayd in the U.S. and did what he did he may have been put in jail BUT also would have had many on his side to go free. from what I understand now he did a good thing by letting it be known our Government does not care about our privacy or the Constitution.

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    Default Spending bill takes first swipe at NSA over domestic spying

    Spending bill takes first swipe at NSA over domestic spying

    Tucked inside the massive new government spending bill are several demands from Congress that the National Security Agency finally report to Congress on the details of its snooping programs, including the number of telephone records collected and the number actually viewed by NSA employees.
    The 1,532-page bill, which funds the government for fiscal year 2014, also demands the NSA report on all of its other bulk data collection programs, which could expose some of the email tracking programs the government has reportedly run.

    SEE ALSO: Spending bill bans IRS targeting, preserves incandescent light bulbs

    Together, they mark the first major swipes Congress will have taken against the NSA since the secretive agency s snooping programs were revealed by former government contractor Edward Snowden.
    The bill doesn t contain any restrictions on the NSA, but rather requires the agency to detail its activities. Those details have been coming out in bits and pieces, prompted by Mr. Snowden s leaks.
    The new spending bill, which House and Senate negotiators finalized Monday night and which is expected to pass Congress this week, requires the NSA to describe the terrorist plots it believes have been disrupted through its telephone snooping program


    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...#ixzz2qTEaKExu
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell
    ~Don't even think about it! ~

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    Default Re: Spending bill takes first swipe at NSA over domestic spying

    I like the meat of this that they have to report the cases of terrorists plots they disrupted .
    we are vastly more focused on what divides us than what unites us

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    Default Edward Snowden Interview (1/27/2014)

    Berlin: Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claimed in a new interview that the US agency is involved in industrial espionage.
    In the interview aired on Sunday night on German public television broadcaster ARD, Snowden said if German engineering company Siemens had information that would benefit the US, but had nothing to do with national security needs, the National Security Agency would still use it.

    It wasn't clear what exactly Snowden accused the NSA of doing with such information — he only said he didn't want to reveal the details before journalists did.

    Snowden also told ARD television that he was no longer in possession of any NSA documents, because he had passed them all on to a few selected journalists and that he had no further influence on the release of the files.
    Snowden currently resides in Russia, which granted him at least one year of asylum last summer after he first landed in Hong Kong. While in Russia, he is accompanied by security guards and offered additional government protection. Snowden left the United States to avoid facing espionage charges related to his leak of government surveillance programs. He has been charged with giving classified intelligence data to an unauthorized person, theft of government property and unauthorized communication of national security information. Each of the charges could result in a prison sentence of 10 years. Edward Snowden has said that due to the claims that U.S. officials want to kill him and the fact that there is “no chance” that he will receive a fair trial in the U.S., he will not return to the country to face the charges against him.
    we are vastly more focused on what divides us than what unites us

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