Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Comrade, Welcome to the Police State! (Part 6)

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Police State: Cops Use Physicians to Probe a Suspect’s Rectum
By NWV News Writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
November 10, 2013
© 2013
NewsWithViews.com
In arguably the most bizarre and disturbing case in U.S. history involving a routine traffic stop by a police officer, a New Mexico man was subjected to an illegal search that would make the President of the United States wince if it had occurred at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military detention center to a terrorist who killed innocent Americans.
"This case is the strangest example of police abuse to come down the pike in my lifetime as a police officer," said former NYPD detective Iris Aquino. "What I see in this horror story is an out-of-control police department run by an out-of-control police chief [Brandon Gigante] who was helped by an out-of-control judge."
“Besides police state tactics, this case of a Fourth Amendment would make Hitler’s favorite medical doctor, Dr. Josef Mengele, the ‘Angel of Death,’ proud of the New Mexico physicians who violated an innocent man and violated the Hippocratic Oath.
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On Jan. 2, 2013, a 34-year-old New Mexico resident, David Eckert, was on his way home after shopping at a department store when he allegedly failed to come to a stop upon seeing a stop sign. As happens hundreds of thousands of times throughout the United States, a police cruiser appeared flashed its police lights signaling Eckert to pull over for a traffic stop.
According to Shannon Kennedy, Eckert's attorney who is featured on a YouTube video, a Deming, N.M., patrol officer ordered Eckert to exit his vehicle.
The cop claims that Eckert seemed to be contracting his buttock muscles and this action gave him probable cause to believe the driver was concealing narcotics in his anus. The officer then radioed his sergeant who along with other officers secured a search warrant from a judge in order to conduct a thorough anal examination of Eckert.
Eckert’s attorney alleges that the Deming Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was "unethical." However, physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver were more than happy perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted.
Eckert’s Personal Police State Horror Story
While at the Gila Medical Center, Eckert was an alleged victim of forced medical procedures including an illegally performed invasive surgical procedure. A review of Eckert's medical records and details in the lawsuit show reveal the following occurred and yet all of the tests met with negative results -- no drugs:
Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed and then the Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers. After finding nothing, the doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers.
Not satisfied with the results, the doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert had to watch the doctors sift through his stool. Still not satisfied the doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time. When the exam met with negative results, the same physicians penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time.
When the doctors x-rayed Eckert repeatedly, they still found no contraband.
In the most outrageous accusation of illegal police search and seizure, the doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. After all of the testing and all of the searching no illegal drugs were discovered, according to Eckert. 
Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures, his attorney stated.
"If the officers in Hidalgo County and the City of Deming are seeking warrants for anal cavity searches based on how they're standing and the warrant allows doctors at the Gila Hospital of Horrors to go in and do enemas and colonoscopies without consent, then anyone can be seized and that's why the public needs to know about this," Kennedy said in a YouTube video about her client’s ordeal.
Case Goes Beyond Just Police Misconduct
According to Eckert’s lawyer, there were obvious problems with the way the search warrant was carried out. Kennedy argues that the judge’s warrant was too broad and it lacked probable cause.
Even more troubling is the fact that while the warrant was arguably valid in Luna County, where Deming is located, the doctors were located -- and their invasive medical procedures were performed -- in Grant County.
Eckert’s lawsuit therefore claims all medical treatment was performed illegally and the doctors who performed the procedures did so without “legal basis and no consent from the patient.”
In addition, even if the search warrant was executed in the correct New Mexico county, the judge’s search warrant expired at 10 p.m. that night. However, Eckert’s medical records show that the colonoscopy preparation legally began the next day when it started at 1 a.m., three hours after the warrant expired.
"This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees," Kennedy said.
“Just imagine if this entire episode had occurred involving an illegal alien or a suspected Muslim terrorist. I’m willing to bet a month’s salary that the case would have been the top news story throughout the country and the victim of this police use of excessive force would probably have received a telephone call from President Barack Obama,” said Mike Baker, a political strategist and attorney.
“But this case involved a white male and white males are considered the enemy by the radicals in the U.S. government.
The madness of the federal
bureaucracy appears to be ‘dripping’ onto local authorities including some police agencies,” Baker added.
The Deming Police Department and Police Chief Brandon Gigante have refused to discuss this case with anyone. However, they did release a statement: “We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place.”
This is not the only case of gross misconduct by New Mexico police. This week
a federal grand jury in Albuquerque returned a one-count indictment charging former Belen Police Department
Detective John Lytle with unlawfully assaulting a victim, identified in the indictment as R.A., during an investigative stop and arrest on March 15, 2012.
Lytle is charged with violating R.A.’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by a law enforcement officer, which includes freedom from the use of excessive force. The indictment alleges that Lytle unlawfully assaulted R.A. by striking R.A. while R.A. was in handcuffs. The indictment also alleges that Lytle’s actions resulted in bodily injury to R.A.
Lytle faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the civil rights violation. Eckert has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Deming, Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco, Robert Chavez and Officer Jose Hernandez; Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Green; Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty; The Gila Regional Medical Center including Robert Wilcox, M.D and Okay Odocha, M.D.
 © 2013 NWV - All Rights Reserved
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Welcome to the United Police States of America, Where Police Shoot First & Ask Questions Later
If ever there were a time to de-militarize and de-weaponize local police forces, it’s now
By John W. Whitehead
Monday, November 4, 2013
“There are always risks in challenging excessive police power, but the risks of not challenging it are more dangerous, even fatal.”—Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century
No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later. What is unusual is our lack of outrage, the relative disinterest of our elected representatives, the media’s abysmal failure to ask questions and demand answers, and our growing acceptance of the status quo in the United Police States of America—a status quo in which “we the people” are powerless in the face of the heavy-handed tactics employed by the government and its armed agents.
However, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, it’s all part of the larger police state continuum. Thus, with each tragic shooting that is shrugged off or covered up, each piece of legislation passed that criminalizes otherwise legal activities, every surveillance drone that takes to the skies, every phone call, email or text that is spied on, and every transaction that is monitored, the government’s stranglehold over our lives grows stronger.
We have been silent about too many things for too long, not the least of which is the deadly tendency on the part of police to resort to lethal force. However, as Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
For the sake of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, we can be silent no more. The Santa Rosa teen was shot dead after two sheriff’s deputies saw him carrying a toy BB gun in public. Lopez was about 20 feet away from the deputies, his back turned to them, when the officers took cover behind their car and ordered him to drop the “weapon.” When Lopez turned around, toy gun in his hand, one of the officers—a 24-year veteran of the force—shot him seven times. The time span between the deputies calling in a suspicious person sighting and shooting Lopez was a mere ten seconds. The young boy died at the scene. Clearly, no attempt was made to use less lethal force.
Rationalizing the shooting incident, Lt. Paul Henry of the Santa Rosa Police Department explained, “The deputy’s mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot.” Yet as William Norman Grigg, a commentator for LewRockwell.com, points out, such a “preoccupation with ‘officer safety’ … leads to unnecessary police shootings. A peace officer is paid to assume certain risks, including those necessary to de-escalate a confrontation with someone believed to be a heavily armed suspect in a residential neighborhood. A ‘veteran’ deputy with the mindset of a peace officer would have taken more than a shaved fraction of a split-second to open fire on a small male individual readily identifiable as a junior high school student, who was carrying an object that is easily recognizable as a toy—at least to people who don’t see themselves as an army of occupation, and view the public as an undifferentiated mass of menace.”
Unfortunately, this police preoccupation with ensuring their own safety at all costs—a mindset that many older law enforcement officials find abhorrent in light of the more selfless code on which they were trained—is spreading like a plague among the ranks of police officers across the country, with tragic consequences for the innocent civilians unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet the fatality rate of on-duty patrol officers is reportedly far lower than many other professions, including construction, logging, fishing, truck driving, and even trash collection. In fact, police officers have the same rate of dying on the job as do taxi drivers.
Nevertheless, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 400 to 500 innocent people are killed by police officers every year. That does not include the number of unarmed individuals shot and injured by police simply because they felt threatened or feared for their safety. This is the danger of having a standing army (which is what police forces, increasingly made up of individuals with military backgrounds and/or training, have evolved into) that has been trained to view the citizenry as little more than potential suspects, combatants and insurgents.
Consider what happened in Cleveland, when two police officers mistook the sounds of a backfiring car for gunfire and immediately began pursuing the 1979 Chevrolet Malibu and its two occupants, a woman driver and a man in the passenger seat. Within 20 minutes, more than 60 police cars, some unmarked, and 115 officers had joined the pursuit, which ended in a full blown-out firefight in a middle school parking lot that saw 140 bullets fired in less than 30 seconds. Once the smoke cleared, it quickly became evident that not only had the officers been mistakenly firing at each other but the “suspects”—dead from countless bullet wounds—were unarmed. As the Plain Dealer report:
Despite varying levels of experience, all 13 officers who fired their guns—and many who did not—told investigators they thought deadly force was needed to stop a violent encounter with two suspects who they believed were armed. “I’ve never been more afraid in my life,” said Officer Michael Brelo, who fired 49 shots that night. “I thought my partner and I were being shot and that we were going to be killed.”

Incredibly, no officers were injured in the shooting. Nor was any apparent effort made to resolve the situation using less lethal force. Sixty-three of the officers involved in the fatal shooting have since been suspended.
I doubt the police officers involved in this massacre are bad cops in the sense of being corrupt and on the take, or violent and abusive, or bloodthirsty and trigger happy. Nor are they any different from most of the cops who patrol communities large and small across the country. Just like you and me, these officers have spouses and children to care for, homes to maintain, bills to pay, and worries that keep them up at night. Like most of us, they strive to do their jobs as best as they know how, but that’s where the problem arises, because they have clearly been poorly trained in how to distinguish what is a real threat. They have also been indoctrinated into the mindset that they have a right to protect themselves at all cost and empowered to shoot first and ask questions later with a veritable arsenal of military artillery, much of which has been provided by the federal government.
These shootings are occurring with such frequency now that they are quickly forgotten, lost in the morass of similarly heartbreaking, tragic incidents. It was barely a month ago, for example, that police in Washington, DC, shot and killed 34-year-old Miriam Carey after she collided with a barrier leading to the White House, then fled when pursued by a phalanx of gun-wielding police and cop cars. Carey’s 1-year-old daughter was in the backseat. Seventeen gun shots later, Carey was dead and her toddler motherless. It was what is known as a “bad shoot.” As James Mulvaney, a professor of law and police science, explains: “A ‘good shoot’ in police lingo is one in which officers use deadly force to prevent a suspect from inflicting serious harm. A ‘bad shoot’ is one in which there might have been a nonlethal alternative.”
Even the suggestion that there are nonlethal alternatives is misleading. Nonlethal weapons such as tasers, stun guns, rubber pellets and the like, introduced with a government guarantee of safety for the public and adopted by police departments across the country purportedly because they would help restrain violent individuals, have resulted in police using them as weapons of compliance more often and with less restraint—even against women and children—and in some instances, even causing death.
These “nonlethal” weapons also enable police to aggress with the push of a button, making the potential for overblown confrontations over minor incidents that much more likely. Case in point: the fact that seven-months pregnant Malaika Brooks was tased three times for refusing to sign a speeding ticket, while Keith Cockrell was shot with a taser for jaywalking.
Researchers have discovered that dehumanizing weapons like guns or tasers, which do not require the aggressor (police) to make physical contact with his victim, are aggression-eliciting stimuli. One study found that simply showing an image of a gun to students caused them to clench their fists faster (a sign of aggressive effect) when presented with an aversive situation. If a simple handgun can noticeably increase violent behavior, one can only imagine what impact the $500 million dollars’ worth of weapons and armored vehicles (provided by the Pentagon to local police in states and municipalities across the country) have on already tense and potentially explosive situations.
So what is the answer?
How should we as a society respond when we hear about the Las Vegas police officer who shot an unarmed man at a convenience store whom he “thought” was a homicide suspect, or the Los Angeles cop who shot an unarmed man seen leaving a convenience store where an ATM had been robbed of $40 or the DC cops who killed a young mother in a hail of gunfire? As John Grant notes for Counterpunch: “The ignominious and unnecessary public killing of Miriam Carey should be a human marker that triggers our cultural meaning machine to honestly consider what’s wrong with the picture of a howling pack of cops shooting down a troubled young mother … like a dog.”
The current practice is to let the police deal with it themselves by suspending the officer involved with administrative pay, dragging out the investigation until the public forgets about the incident, and then eventually declaring the shooting incident justified based on the officer’s fear for his safety, and allowing him to go back to work as usual. Meanwhile, the epidemic of police violence continues to escalate while fear of the police increases and the police state, with all its surveillance gear and military weaponry, expands around us.
If ever there were a time to de-militarize and de-weaponize local police forces, it’s now. The same goes for scaling back on the mindset adopted by cops that they are the law and should be revered, feared and obeyed. As for the idea that citizens must be compliant or risk being treated like lawbreakers, that’s nothing more than authoritarianism with a badge. As Grant points out: “As the public killing of Miriam Carey should make clear, a significant part of the problem is cops and the pack mentality they too often resort to. These men and women are encouraged to see themselves on “the front line” protecting us, the people. They are pumped up with post-911 fears and adrenaline and, when it hits the fan, relentlessly determined to get their man or woman. A lot of reality can get lost in this process.”
In other words, it’s time for a reality check, for both the police and the citizens of this nation, and a good place to start is with the words of that gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who warned: “Coming of age in a fascist police state will not be a barrel of fun for anybody, much less for people like me, who are not inclined to suffer Nazis gladly and feel only contempt for the cowardly flag-suckers who would gladly give up their outdated freedom to live for the mess of pottage they have been conned into believing will be freedom from fear.”
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book The Freedom Wars (TRI Press) is available online at amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at rutherford.org
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Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip Searches for Any Arrest

April 2, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.

“Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails.
The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures.
The federal appeals courts had been split on the question, though most of them prohibited strip searches unless they were based on a reasonable suspicion that contraband was present. The Supreme Court did not say that strip searches of every new arrestee were required; it ruled, rather, that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches did not forbid them.
Daron Hall, the president of the American Correctional Association and sheriff of Davidson County, Tenn., said the association welcomed the flexibility offered by the decision. The association’s current standards discourage blanket strip search policies.
Monday’s sharply divided decision came from a court whose ideological differences are under intense scrutiny after last week’s arguments on President Obama’s health care law. The ruling came less than two weeks after a pair of major 5-to-4 decisions on the right to counsel in plea negotiations, though there Justice Kennedy had joined the court’s liberal wing. The majority and dissenting opinions on Monday agreed that the search procedures the decision allowed — close visual inspection by a guard while naked — were more intrusive than being observed while showering, but did not involve bodily contact.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the four dissenters, said the strip searches the majority allowed were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy” and should be used only when there was good reason to do so.
Justice Breyer said that the Fourth Amendment should be understood to bar strip searches of people arrested for minor offenses not involving drugs or violence, unless officials had a reasonable suspicion that they were carrying contraband.
Monday’s decision endorsed a recent trend, from appeals courts in Atlanta, San Francisco and Philadelphia, allowing strip searches of everyone admitted to a jail’s general population. At least seven other appeals courts, on the other hand, had ruled that such searches were proper only if there was a reasonable suspicion that the arrested person had contraband.
According to opinions in the lower courts, people may be strip-searched after arrests for violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support. Citing examples from briefs submitted to the Supreme Court, Justice Breyer wrote that people have been subjected to “the humiliation of a visual strip search” after being arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, failing to use a turn signal and riding a bicycle without an audible bell.
A nun was strip-searched, he wrote, after an arrest for trespassing during an antiwar demonstration.
Justice Kennedy responded that “people detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals.” He noted that Timothy McVeigh, later put to death for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was first arrested for driving without a license plate. “One of the terrorists involved in the Sept. 11 attacks was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93,” Justice Kennedy added.
The case decided Monday, Florence v. County of Burlington, No. 10-945, arose from the arrest of Albert W. Florence in New Jersey in 2005. Mr. Florence was in the passenger seat of his BMW when a state trooper pulled his wife, April, over for speeding. A records search revealed an outstanding warrant for Mr. Florence’s arrest based on an unpaid fine. (The information was wrong; the fine had been paid.)
Mr. Florence was held for a week in jails in Burlington and Essex Counties, and he was strip-searched in each. There is some dispute about the details, but general agreement that he was made to stand naked in front of a guard who required him to move intimate parts of his body. The guards did not touch him.
“Turn around,” Mr. Florence, in an interview last year, recalled being told by jail officials. “Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.”
“I consider myself a man’s man,” said Mr. Florence, a finance executive for a car dealership Six-three. Big guy. It was humiliating. It made me feel less than a man.”
Justice Kennedy said the most relevant precedent was Bell v. Wolfish, which was decided by a 5-to-4 vote in 1979. It allowed strip-searches of people held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York after “contact visits” with outsiders.
As in the Bell case, Justice Kennedy wrote, the “undoubted security imperatives involved in jail supervision override the assertion that some detainees must be exempt from the more invasive search procedures at issue absent reasonable suspicion of a concealed weapon or other contraband.”
The majority and dissenting opinions drew differing conclusions from the available information about the amount of contraband introduced into jails and how much strip searches add to pat-downs and metal detectors.
Justice Kennedy said one person arrested for disorderly conduct in Washington State “managed to hide a lighter, tobacco, tattoo needles and other prohibited items in his rectal cavity.” Officials in San Francisco, he added, “have discovered contraband hidden in body cavities of people arrested for trespassing, public nuisance and shoplifting.”
Justice Breyer wrote that there was very little empirical support for the idea that strip searches detect contraband that would not have been found had jail officials used less intrusive means, particularly if strip searches were allowed when officials had a reasonable suspicion that they would find something.
For instance, in a study of 23,000 people admitted to a correctional facility in Orange County, N.Y., using that standard, there was at most one instance of contraband detected that would not otherwise have been found, Judge Breyer wrote.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Justice Breyer’s dissent.
Justice Kennedy said that strict policies deter people entering jails from even trying to smuggle contraband.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined all of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion, and Justice Clarence Thomas joined most of it.
In a concurrence, Chief Justice Roberts, quoting from an earlier decision, said that exceptions to Monday’s ruling were still possible “to ensure that we ‘not embarrass the future.’ ”
Justice Alito wrote that different rules might apply for people arrested but not held with the general population or whose detentions had “not been reviewed by a judicial officer.”
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As America's Economy Collapses, "New Normal" Police State Takes Shape
By Tom Burghardt
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26021
Global Research, August 15, 2011
Antifascist Calling...
Forget your rights.
As corporate overlords position themselves to seize what little remains of a tattered social net (adieu Medicare and Medicaid! Social Security? Au revoir!), the Obama administration is moving at break-neck speed to expand police state programs first stood-up by the Bush government.
After all, with world share prices gyrating wildly, employment and wages in a death spiral, and retirement funds and publicly-owned assets swallowed whole by speculators and rentier scum, the state better dust-off contingency plans lest the Greek, Spanish or British "contagion" spread beyond the fabled shores of "old Europe" and infect God-fearin' folk here in the heimat.
Fear not, they have and the lyrically-titled Civil Disturbances: Emergency Employment of Army and Other Resources, otherwise known as Army Regulation 500-50, spells out the "responsibilities, policy, and guidance for the Department of the Army in planning and operations involving the use of Army resources in the control of actual or anticipated civil disturbances." (emphasis added)

With British politicians demanding a clampdown on social media in the wake of London riots, and with the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) agency having done so last week in San Francisco, switching off underground cell phone service to help squelch a protest against police violence, authoritarian control tactics, aping those deployed in Egypt and Tunisia (that worked out well!) are becoming the norm in so-called "Western democracies."

Secret Law, Secret Programs

Meanwhile up on Capitol Hill, Congress did their part to defend us from that pesky Bill of Rights; that is, before 81 of them--nearly a fifth of "our" elected representatives--checked-out for AIPAC-funded junkets to Israel.
Secrecy News reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee "rejected an amendment that would have required the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to confront the problem of 'secret law,' by which government agencies rely on legal authorities that are unknown or misunderstood by the public."
That amendment, proposed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) was rejected by voice vote, further entrenching unprecedented surveillance powers of Executive Branch agencies such as the FBI and NSA.
As Antifascist Calling previously reported, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department "demanding the release of a secret legal memo used to justify FBI access to Americans' telephone records without any legal process or oversight."
The DOJ refused and it now appears that the Senate has affirmed that "secret law" should be guiding principles of our former republic.
Secrecy News also disclosed that the Committee rejected a second amendment to the authorization bill, one that would have required the Justice Department's Inspector General "to estimate the number of Americans who have had the contents of their communications reviewed in violation of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 [FAA]."
As pointed out here many times, FAA is a pernicious piece of Bushist legislative detritus that legalized the previous administration's secret spy programs since embellished by our current "hope and change" president.
During the run-up to FAA's passage, congressional Democrats, including then-Senator Barack Obama and his Republican colleagues across the aisle, claimed that the law would "strike a balance" between Americans' privacy rights and the needs of security agencies to "stop terrorists" attacking the country.
If that's the case, then why can't the American people learn whether their rights have been compromised?
Perhaps, as recent reports in Truthout and other publications suggest, former U.S. counterterrorism "czar" Richard Clarke leveled "explosive allegations against three former top CIA officials--George Tenet, Cofer Black and Richard Blee--accusing them of knowingly withholding intelligence ... about two of the 9/11 hijackers who had entered the United States more than a year before the attacks."
Clarke's allegations follow closely on the heels of an investigation by Truthout journalists Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold.
"Based on on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and an interview with a former high-ranking counterterrorism official," Kaye and Leopold learned that "a little-known military intelligence unit, unbeknownst to the various investigative bodies probing the terrorist attacks, was ordered by senior government officials to stop tracking Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda's movements prior to 9/11."
As readers are well aware, the 9/11 provocation was the pretext used by the capitalist state to wage aggressive resource wars abroad while ramming through repressive legislation like the USA Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act that targeted the democratic rights of the American people here at home.
But FAA did more then legitimate illegal programs. It also handed retroactive immunity and economic cover to giant telecoms like AT&T and Verizon who profited handily from government surveillance, shielding them from monetary damages which may have resulted from a spate of lawsuits such as Hepting v. AT&T.
This raises the question: are other U.S. firms similarly shielded from scrutiny by secret annexes in FAA or the privacy-killing USA Patriot Act?
Echelon Cubed
Last week, Softpedia revealed that "Google has admitted complying with requests from US intelligence agencies for data stored in its European data centers, most likely in violation of European Union data protection laws."
"At the center of this problem," reporter Lucian Constantin wrote, "is the USA PATRIOT ACT, which states that companies incorporated in the United States must hand over data administered by their foreign subsidiaries if requested."
"Not only that," the publication averred, "they can be forced to keep quiet about it in order to avoid exposing active investigations and alert those targeted by the probes."
In other words, despite strict privacy laws that require companies operating within the EU to protect the personal data of their citizens, reports suggest that U.S. firms, operating under an entirely different legal framework, U.S. spy laws with built-in secrecy clauses and gag orders, trump the laws and legal norms of other nations.
Given the widespread corporate espionage carried out by the National Security Agency's decades-long Echelon communications' intercept program, American firms such as Google, Microsoft, Apple or Amazon may very well have become witting accomplices of U.S. secret state agencies rummaging about for "actionable intelligence" on EU, or U.S., citizens.
Indeed, a decade ago the European Union issued its final report on the Echelon spying machine and concluded that the program was being used for corporate and industrial espionage and that data filched from EU firms was being turned over to American corporations.
In 2000, the BBC reported that according to European investigators "U.S. Department of Commerce 'success stories' could be attributed to the filtering powers of Echelon."
Duncan Campbell, a British journalist and intelligence expert, who along with New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager, helped blow the lid off Echelon, offered two instances of U.S. corporate spying in the 1990s when the newly-elected Clinton administration followed-up on promises of "aggressive advocacy" on behalf of U.S. firms "bidding for foreign contracts."
According to Campbell, NSA "lifted all the faxes and phone-calls between Airbus, the Saudi national airline and the Saudi Government" to gain this information. In a second case which came to light, Campbell documented how "Raytheon used information picked up from NSA snooping to secure a $1.4bn contract to supply a radar system to Brazil instead of France's Thomson-CSF."
As Softpedia reported, U.S.-based cloud computing services operating overseas have placed "European companies and government agencies that are using their services ... in a tough position."
With the advent of fiber optic communication platforms, programs like Echelon have a far greater, and more insidious, reach. AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein noted on the widespread deployment by NSA of fiber optic splitters and secret rooms at American telecommunications' firms:
What screams out at you when examining this physical arrangement is that the NSA was vacuuming up everything flowing in the Internet stream: e-mail, web browsing, Voice-Over-Internet phone calls, pictures, streaming video, you name it. The splitter has no intelligence at all, it just makes a blind copy. There could not possibly be a legal warrant for this, since according to the 4th Amendment warrants have to be specific, "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." ...
This was a massive blind copying of the communications of millions of people, foreign and domestic, randomly mixed together. From a legal standpoint, it does not matter what they claim to throw away later in their secret rooms, the violation has already occurred at the splitter. (Mark Klein, Wiring Up the Big Brother Machine... And Fighting It, Charleston, South Carolina: BookSurge, 2009, pp. 38-39.)
What was Google's response?
In a statement to the German publication WirtschaftsWoche a Google corporate spokesperson said: "As a law abiding company, we comply with valid legal process, and that--as for any U.S. based company--means the data stored outside of the U.S. may be subject to lawful access by the U.S. government. That said, we are committed to protecting user privacy when faced with law enforcement requests. We have a long track record of advocating on behalf of user privacy in the face of such requests and we scrutinize requests carefully to ensure that they adhere to both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying." (translation courtesy of Public Intelligence)
Is the Senate Intelligence Committee's steadfast refusal to release documents and secret legal memos that most certainly target American citizens also another blatant example of American exceptionalism meant to protect U.S. firms operating abroad from exposure as corporate spies for the government?
It isn't as if NSA hasn't been busy doing just that here at home.
As The New York Times reported back in 2009, the "National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year."
Chalking up the problem to "overcollection" and "technical difficulties," unnamed intelligence officials and administration lawyers told journalists Eric Lichtblau and James Risen that although the practice was "significant and systemic ... it was believed to have been unintentional."
As "unintentional" as ginned-up intelligence that made the case for waging aggressive war against oil-rich Iraq!
In a follow-up piece, the Times revealed that NSA "appears to have tolerated significant collection and examination of domestic e-mail messages without warrants."
A former NSA analyst "read into" the illegal program told Lichtblau and Risen that he "and other analysts were trained to use a secret database, code-named Pinwale, in 2005 that archived foreign and domestic e-mail messages."
Email readily handed over by Google, Microsoft or other firms "subject to lawful access" by the Pentagon spy satrapy?
The Times' anonymous source said "Pinwale allowed N.S.A. analysts to read large volumes of e-mail messages to and from Americans as long as they fell within certain limits--no more than 30 percent of any database search, he recalled being told--and Americans were not explicitly singled out in the searches."
Nor, were they excluded from such illicit practices.
As Jane Mayer revealed in The New Yorker, "privacy controls" and "anonymizing features" of a program called ThinThread, which would have complied with the law if Americans' communications were swept into NSA's giant eavesdropping nets, were rejected in favor of the "$1.2 billion flop" called Trailblazer.
And, as previously reported, when Wyden and Udall sought information from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on just how many Americans had their communications monitored, the DNI stonewalled claiming "it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed under the authority."
Why? Precisely because such programs act like a giant electronic sponge and soak-up and data mine huge volumes of our communications.
As former NSA manager and ThinThread creator Bill Binney told The New Yorker, that "little program ... got twisted" and was "used to eavesdrop on the whole world."
Three years after Barack Obama promised to curb Bush administration "excesses," illegal surveillance programs continue to expand under his watch.
A Permanent "State of Exception"
Under our current political set-up, "states of exception" and national security "emergencies" have become permanent features of social life.
Entire classes of citizens and non-citizens alike are now suspect; anarchists, communists, immigrants, Muslims, union activists and political dissidents in general are all subject to unprecedented levels of scrutiny and surveillance.
From "enhanced security screenings" at airports to the massive expansion of private and state databases that archive our spending habits, whom we talk to and where we go, increasingly, as the capitalist system implodes and millions face the prospect of economic ruin, the former American republic takes on the characteristics of a corporate police state.
Security researcher and analyst Christopher Soghoian reported on his Slight Paranoia blog, that according to "an official DOJ report, the use of 'emergency', warrantless requests to ISPs for customer communications content has skyrocketed over 400% in a single year."
This is no trifling matter.
As CNET News disclosed last month, "Internet providers would be forced to keep logs of their customers' activities for one year--in case police want to review them in the future--under legislation that a U.S. House of Representatives committee approved today."
Declan McCullagh reported that "the 19 to 10 vote represents a victory for conservative Republicans, who made data retention their first major technology initiative after last fall's elections."
Significantly, CNET noted that this is also a "victory" for Democratic appointees of Barack Obama's Justice Department "who have quietly lobbied for the sweeping new requirements."
According to CNET, a "last-minute rewrite of the bill expands the information that commercial Internet providers are required to store to include customers' names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses."
However, by "a 7-16 vote, the panel rejected an amendment that would have clarified that only IP addresses must be stored."
Consider the troubling implications of this sweeping bill. While ultra-rightist "Tea Party" Republicans vowed to get "the government off our backs," when it comes to illicit snooping by securocrats whose only loyalty is to a self-perpetuating security bureaucracy and the defense grifters they serve (and whom they rely upon for plum positions after government "retirement"), all our private data is now up for grabs.
The bill, according to Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who spearheaded opposition to the measure said that if passed, it would create "a data bank of every digital act by every American" that would "let us find out where every single American visited Web sites."
To make the poison pill legislation difficult to oppose, proponents have dubbed it, wait, the "Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011" even though, as CNET noted, "the mandatory logs would be accessible to police investigating any crime and perhaps attorneys litigating civil disputes in divorce, insurance fraud, and other cases as well."
Soghoian relates that the 2009 two-page Justice Department report to Congress took 11 months (!) to release under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Why the Justice Department stonewall?
Perhaps, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation disclosed last year, political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security and presumably other secret state satrapies, ordered "an extra layer of review on its FOIA requests."
EFF revealed that a 2009 policy memo from the Department's Chief FOIA Officer and Chief Privacy Officer, Mary Ellen Callahan, that DHS components "were required to report 'significant FOIA activities' in weekly reports to the Privacy Office, which the Privacy Office then integrated into its weekly report to the White House Liaison."
Included amongst designated "significant FOIA activities" were requests "from any members of 'an activist group, watchdog organization, special interest group, etc.' and 'requested documents [that] will garner media attention or [are] receiving media attention'."
Despite the appearance of reporting "emergency" spying requests to congressional committees presumably overseeing secret state activities (a generous assumption at best), "it is quite clear" Soghoian avers, "that the Department of Justice statistics are not adequately reporting the scale of this form of surveillance" and "underreport these disclosures by several orders of magnitude."
As such, "the current law is largely useless." It does not apply to "state and local law enforcement agencies, who make tens of thousands of warrantless requests to ISPs each year," and is inapplicable to "to federal law enforcement agencies outside DOJ."
"Finally," Soghoian relates, "it does not apply to emergency disclosures of non-content information, such as geo-location data, subscriber information (such as name and address), or IP addresses used."
And with Congress poised to pass sweeping data retention legislation, it should be clear that such "requirements" are mere fig leaves covering-up state-sanctioned lawlessness.
War On Terror 2.0.1: Looting the Global Economy
Criminal behavior by domestic security agencies connect America's illegal wars of aggression to capitalism's economic warfare against the working class, who now take their place alongside "Islamic terrorists" as a threat to "national security."
Despite efforts by the Obama administration and Republican congressional leaders to "balance the books" on the backs of the American people through massive budget cuts, as economist Michael Hudson pointed out in Global Research, the manufactured "debt ceiling" crisis is a massive fraud.
The World Socialist Web Site averred that "as concerns over a double-dip recession in the US and the European debt crisis sent global markets plunging--including a 512-point sell-off on the Dow Jones Industrial Average Thursday--financial analysts and media pundits developed a new narrative. Concern that Washington lacked the 'political will' to slash long-standing entitlement programs was exacerbating 'market uncertainty'."
Leftist critic Jerry White noted that "in fact, the new cuts will only intensify the economic crisis, while the slashing of food stamps, unemployment compensation, health care and education will eliminate programs that are more essential for survival than ever."
Indeed, as Marxist economist Richard Wolff pointed out in The Guardian, while the "crisis of the capitalist system in the US that began in 2007," may have "plunged millions into acute economic pain and suffering," the "recovery" that began in 2009 "benefited only the minority that was most responsible for the crisis: banks, large corporations and the rich who own the bulk of stocks. That so-called recovery never 'trickled down' to the US majority: working people dependent on jobs and wages'."
And despite mendacious claims by political officials and the media alike, the Pentagon will be sitting pretty even as Americans are forced to shoulder the financial burden of U.S. imperial adventures long into an increasingly bleak future.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "warned Thursday of dire consequences if the Pentagon is forced to make cuts to its budget beyond the $400 billion in savings planned for the next decade," The Washington Post reported.
The Post noted that "senior Pentagon officials have launched an offensive over the past two days to convince lawmakers that further reductions in Pentagon spending would imperil the country's security."
"Instead of slashing defense," Panetta urged lawmakers to "rely on tax increases and cuts to nondiscretionary spending, such as Medicare and Social Security, to provide the necessary savings."
But as Hudson points out, "war has been the major cause of a rising national debt." After all, it was none other than bourgeois icon Adam Smith who argued that "parliamentary checks on government spending were designed to prevent ambitious rulers from waging war."
Hudson writes that "if people felt the economic impact of war immediately--rather than postponing it by borrowing--they would be less likely to support military adventurism."
But therein lies the rub. Since "military adventurism" is the only "growth sector" of an imploding capitalist economy, the public spigot which finances everything from cost-overrun-plagued stealth fighter jets to multibillion dollar spy satellites, along with an out-of-control National Surveillance State, will be kept open indefinitely.
On this score, the hypocrisy of our rulers abound, especially when it comes to the mantra that "we" must "live within our means."
As Wolff avers, "where was that phrase heard when Washington decided to spend on an immense military (even after becoming the world's only nuclear superpower) or to spend on very expensive wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya (now all going on at the same time)? No, then the talk was only about national security needed to save us from attacks."
"Attacks," it should be duly noted, that may very well have been allowed to happen as the World Socialist Web Site recently reported.
Driving home the point that war, and not social- and infrastructure investment fuel deficits, Hudson averred that "the present rise in in U.S. Treasury debt results from two forms of warfare. First is the overtly military Oil War in the Near East, from Iraq to Afghanistan (Pipelinistan) to oil-rich Libya. These adventures will end up costing between $3 and $5 trillion."
"Second and even more expensive," the economist observed, "is the more covert yet more costly economic war of Wall Street against the rest of the economy, demanding that losses by banks and financial institutions be passed onto the government balance sheet ('taxpayers'). The bailouts and 'free lunch' for Wall Street--by no coincidence, Congress's number one political campaign contributor--cost $13 trillion."
"Now that finance is the new form of warfare," Hudson wrote, "where is the power to constrain Treasury and Federal Reserve power to commit taxpayers to bail out financial interests at the top of the economic pyramid?"
And since "cutbacks in federal revenue sharing will hit cities and states hard, forcing them to sell off yet more land, roads and other assets in the public domain to cover their budget deficit as the U.S. economy sinks further into depression," Hudson wrote that "Congress has just added fiscal deflation to debt deflation, slowing employment even further."
While the global economy circles the drain, with ever more painful cuts in so-called "entitlement" programs meant to cushion the crash now on the chopping block, the corporate and political masters who rule the roost are sharpening their knives, fashioning administrative and bureaucratic surveillance tools, the better to conceal the "invisible hand" of that bitch-slaps us all.
And they call it "freedom."
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.
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Police Brutality in the USA: Americans, Too Are Oppressed
By Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, February 4, 2011
Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists, as the greatest threat to the American public. Rogelio Serrato is the latest case to be in the news of an innocent person murdered by the police. Serrato was the wrong man, but the Monterey County, California, SWAT team killed the 31-year old father of four and left the family home a charred ruin.
The fact that SWAT teams often go to the wrong door shows the carelessness with which excessive force is used. In one instance the police even confused the town’s mayor with a drug dealer, broke into his home, shot dead the family’s pet dogs, and held the mayor and his wife and children at gun point. But most cases of police brutality never make the news.
Most who suffer abuse from the police don’t bother to complain. They know that to make an enemy of the police brings a lifetime of troubles. Those who do file complaints find that police departments tend to be self-protective and that the naive and gullible public tends to side with the police.
However, you can find plenty of examples of police brutality on youtube, more than you can watch in a lifetime. I have just searched google for “youtube police brutality” and the result is: “497,000 results.” There’s everything from police shooting a guy in a wheelchair to body slamming a befuddled 89-year old great grandmother to tasering kids and mothers with small children. The fat goon cops love to beat up on women, kids, and old people.

The 497,000 google results may contain duplicates as more than one person might have posted a video of the same event, and the incidents occurred over more than one year. However, probably only a small percentage of incidents are captured on video by onlookers, and many incidents of police brutality have no witnesses. What the videos reveal is that a large percentage of police move with alacrity to assault the public. The number of incidences could be very high. One million annually would not be an exaggeration.

In contrast, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2009 (the most recent year for which data is compiled), there were 806,000 aggravated assaults (not including assaults by police against the public) by criminals against the public, of which 216,814 were committed by hands and feet and not by weapons. (In the U.S. if you merely push a person or grab his arm, you have committed assault. “Freedom and democracy” America uses any excuse to multiply the number of felons.)

Considering the data, one might conclude that the police are a greater danger to the public than are criminals.
Indeed, the trauma from police assault can be worse than from assault by criminals. The public thinks the police are there to protect them. Thus, the emotional and psychological shock from assault by police is greater than the trauma from being mugged because you stupidly wandered into the wrong part of town.
Why are the police so aggressive toward the public?
In part because their ranks attract bullies, sociopaths and psychopaths. Even normal cops are proud of their authority and expect deference. Even cops who are not primed to be set off can turn nasty in a heartbeat.
In part because police are not accountable. The effort decades ago to have civilian police review boards was beat back by “law and order” conservatives.
In part because the police have been militarized by the federal government, equipped with military weapons, and trained to view the public as the enemy.
In part because the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes have made every American a suspect. The only civil liberty that has any force in the U.S. today is the law against racial discrimination. This law requires that every American citizen be treated as if he were a Muslim terrorist. The Transportation Security Administration rigorously enforces the refusal to discriminate between terrorist and citizen at airports and is now taking its gestapo violations of privacy into every form of travel and congregation: trucking, bus and train travel, sports events, and, without doubt, shopping centers and automobile traffic. http://www.gcnlive.com/wp/2011/02/01/tsa-invades-roads-highways-with-vipr-checkpoints/
This despite the fact that there have been no terrorist incidents that could be used to justify such an expansive intrusion into privacy and freedom of movement.
The TSA has not caught a single terrorist. However, it has abused and inconvenienced several hundred thousand innocent American citizens.
The abuse happens, because people with authority are dying to use the authority. The absence of terrorists means that the TSA turns innocent Americans into terrorists. There have been so many absurd cases. One woman traveling with her ill and dying mother, who required special food, had contacted the TSA prior to the flight, explained the situation, and was given permission to take the special food onboard. But when she went through “security,” the food was taken away, and when she protested she was arrested and hauled off, leaving the elderly mother in a wheelchair deserted.
Others have been arrested because a member of the household used a suitcase or carry bag to take guns and ammunition to the gun club or on a hunting trip and forgot to remove all the ammo, or the explosives test detected gunpowder residuals. Boy Scouts forgot to remove pocket knives from backpacks that they took on camping trips. Lactating mothers forced to give up breast milk. And so on.
These are the “great dangers” that the TSA protect the american sheeple from, and the sheeple submit, even servilely thanking their oppressors for protecting them.
Submission is what the government and the police want. Anyone who argues with TSA or the police will be abused. An American who stands up for his rights is likely to be beaten to a pulp. TSA has announced that such Americans are “suspects” and will be held in indefinite detention.
And “our” government assures us that we have “freedom and democracy.” We have a police state, and everyone who forgets it is in deep trouble.
The Amerikan police state is closely allied with police states all over the world--Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East and former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire in Central Asia. The U.S. government never lifts a finger in behalf of democracy anywhere. In fact, the U.S. government quickly moves to overthrow democracy wherever it rears its head, as the U.S. recently did in Honduras. Before Honduras it was Palestine where the U.S. overturned the election that brought Hamas to power. Now Washington is targeting Lebanon where Hisbollah has gained.
Everywhere on earth the U.S.government prefers an autocracy that it can purchase to free elections that bring to power candidates unwilling to serve as American puppets.
The U.S. government is the most determined foe of democracy in the world. Yet, Washington lectures China, which has more civil liberties than Bush/Cheney/Obama permit Americans.
If americans ever find the emotional strength to acknowledge the oppression under which they live, they, too, will be in the streets.
© Copyright Paul Craig Roberts, Global Research, 2011
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America's Next Failure: the Police State
By Prof John Kozy
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22668
Global Research, January 6, 2011
Every police force in the nation has cold (unsolved) cases. The War on Drugs has been ineffective for more than forty years. No one knows where a vast number of illegal immigrants even are. The CIA has been unable to locate Osama bin Laden after more than ten years of searching. Your local police cannot protect you from burglaries, drive by shootings, rapes, domestic abuse, or murder—even with the help of most ordinary citizens. The situation is so bad that numerous legislatures have legalized the carrying of loaded weapons so that ordinary people can protect themselves which is a complete abdication of the usual view that people should not take the law into their own hands. So what in the world would make anyone believe that policing can protect us from terrorists?
Suppose you were a person who painted the exteriors of houses, and that one August afternoon you were close to completing a job when you noticed a thunderstorm looming. Suppose you looked around and saw a police car coming down the street, flagged it down, and asked the policemen to help you finish the job before the storm hit. What reaction do you think you'd get? Do you think you'd get any help?
Now consider this: A person is caught by a surveillance camera robbing a convenience store. The police send the tape to the local television stations, and on the next newscast, the tape is broadcast and viewers are asked to help identify the robber. Say what?
What distinguished this situation from the one described in the first paragraph? The police expect the public to help them do their jobs, but the public cannot expect help from the police. Am I the only person who finds this situation odd?
Things are even worse. Have you ever had your home burglarized? I have. When the police arrived after my call, they dutifully wrote a report. When it was handed to me, one of the officers said, "You realize that all we are going to do is file the report" and advised me to file an insurance claim. Why don't they tell that to the convenience store's owner instead of asking the public for help?
Some will say that getting criminals off the street is a good thing, so so is helping the police identify them. But it's not clear that policing gets criminals off the street. Even when convicted, judges routinely sentence the convicted person to probation. When sentenced to prison, some other convicted criminal is often paroled to make room for the newcomer. So what is it exactly that the police do for you? I don't know the answer.
Because of this, in some communities, people refuse to help the police and frown on anyone who does.
In Tampa, three women heard gunshots. What they did next made them heroes to many people but outcasts to others – including some of their neighbors.
Rose Dodson was awakened by gunfire and tires squealing that night, June 29. Moments later, her roommate, Delores Keen, watched a man leap over a fence near her apartment. In the distance, at 50th Street and 23rd Avenue in east Tampa, she saw the emergency lights of a police cruiser twirling in the dark, but no officer was in sight. Both knew something was wrong and stepped outside the safety of the apartment to investigate. A friend, Renee Roundtree, who had been walking to a nearby store, joined them. Lying on the ground beside the police cruiser, the women found two officers, David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab.
Keen called a 911 dispatcher.
Whether making outcasts of these three women is appropriate is for each to decide for her/himself. I am merely making a point about policing in general which is merely that police seem to be unable to do their jobs alone. And this situation applies to the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security as well as the local police. All seem to require help from ordinary people.
For instance, the FBI has claimed to have foiled a number of terrorist plots, all with the help of paid informants. The FBI foiled none on its own. It also regularly issues a ten most wanted list asking for help from the public in finding those listed. The CIA also relies on paid informants even to gather information. The border patrol seems to be equally unable to carry out its functions alone. It has been totally ineffective in providing border security.
Now the nation seems headed toward becoming a police state in which everyone is watched, people are asked to snitch, and information is collected willy-nilly on everyone. But consider these facts:
Every police force in the nation has cold (unsolved) cases. The War on Drugs has been ineffective for more than forty years. No one knows where a vast number of illegal immigrants even are. The CIA has been unable to locate Osama bin Laden after more than ten years of searching. Your local police cannot protect you from burglaries, drive by shootings, rapes, domestic abuse, or murder—even with the help of most ordinary citizens. The situation is so bad that numerous legislatures have legalized the carrying of loaded weapons so that ordinary people can protect themselves which is a complete abdication of the usual view that people should not take the law into their own hands. So what in the world would make anyone believe that policing can protect us from terrorists? The reason police states fail lies in the failures enumerated above.
In Plato's Republic, he describes a political system ruled by an oligarchy of specially trained Guardians. Critics of this system have often poised the question, Who guards the guardians? In Plato's Republic, the Guardians guard each other using their special moral sensibilities developed by their educations. But lacking such morality, it is obvious that even guardians must be guarded. In a police state, everyone cannot be watched, especially the police themselves. Likewise, everyone cannot be protected. No police state can function efficiently or effectively. Police cannot succeed without the help of ordinary people and police states ultimately fail because of that. In a police state, money is squandered trying to get the police to do something they can never do. They can, however, make life miserable for everyone.
John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site's homepage.

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Beyond Orwell: The Electronic Police State, 2010
Global Research, March 16, 2010
Antifascist Calling... 14 March 2010


A truism perhaps, but before resorting to brute force and open repression to halt the “barbarians at the gates,” that would be us, the masters of declining empires (and the chattering classes who polish their boots) regale us with tales of “democracy on the march,” “hope” and other banalities before the mailed fist comes crashing down.
Putting it another way, as the late, great Situationist malcontent, Guy Debord did decades ago in his relentless call for revolt, The Society of the Spectacle:
“The reigning economic system is a vicious circle of isolation. Its technologies are based on isolation, and they contribute to that same isolation. From automobiles to television, the goods that the spectacular system chooses to produce also serve it as weapons for constantly reinforcing the conditions that engender ‘lonely crowds.’ With ever-increasing concreteness the spectacle recreates its own presuppositions.”
And when those “presuppositions” reproduce ever-more wretched clichés promulgated by true believers or rank opportunists, take your pick, market “democracy,” the “freedom to choose” (the length of one’s chains), or even quaint notions of national “sovereignty” (a sure fire way to get, and keep, the masses at each others’ throats!) we’re left with a fraud, a gigantic swindle, a “postmodern” refinement of tried and true methods that would do Orwell proud!
Ponder Debord’s rigorous theorem and substitute “cell phone” and “GPS” for “automobile,” and “Internet” for “television” and you’re soon left with the nauseating sense that the old “infobahn” isn’t all its cracked up to be. As a seamless means for effecting control on the other hand, of our thoughts, our actions, even our whereabouts; well, that’s another story entirely!
In this light, a new report published by Cryptohippie, The Electronic Police State: 2010 National Rankings, delivers the goods and rips away the veil from the smirking visage of well-heeled corporate crooks and media apologists of America’s burgeoning police state.
“When we produced our first Electronic Police State report” Cryptohippie’s analysts write, “the top ten nations were of two types:
1. Those that had the will to spy on every citizen, but lacked ability.
2. Those who had the ability, but were restrained in will.
But as they reveal in new national rankings, “This is changing: The able have become willing and their traditional restraints have failed.” The key developments driving the global panopticon forward are the following:
● The USA has negated their Constitution’s fourth amendment in the name of protection and in the name of “wars” against terror, drugs and cyber attacks.
● The UK is aggressively building the world of 1984 in the name of stopping “anti-social” activities. Their populace seems unable or unwilling to restrain the government.
● France and the EU have given themselves over to central bureaucratic control.
In France, the German newsmagazine Spiegel reported that a new law passed by the lower house of Parliament in February “conjures up the specter of Big Brother and the surveillance state.”
Similar to legislation signed into law by German president Horst Köhler last month, police and security forces in France would be granted authority to surreptitiously install malware known as a “Trojan horse” to spy on private computers. Remote access to a user’s personal data would be made possible under a judge’s supervision.
While French parliamentarians aligned with right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy insist the measure is intended to filter and block web sites with criminal content or to halt allegedly “illegal” file sharing, civil libertarians have denounced the legislation.
Sandrine Béllier, a member of the European Parliament for the Green Party, said that “when it comes to restrictions, this text is preparing us for hell.”
Additionally, the new law will include measures that will further integrate police files and private data kept by banks and other financial institutions. French securocrats cynically insist this is a wholly innocent move to “maintain the level and quality of service provided by domestic security forces,” Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux told Spiegel.
Generalized political measures such as these that hinder free speech and expression, whilst enhancing the surveillance capabilities of the state, also indicate that so-called “Western democracies” are not far behind beacons of freedom such as China, North Korea, Belarus and Russia when it comes to repressive police measures. Indeed, Cryptohippie’s rankings place the United States a mere 2/100ths of a point behind Russia when it comes to Internet and other forms of electronic spying.
The top ten scofflaws in 2010 are: 1. North Korea; 2. China; 3. Belarus; 4. Russia; 5. United States; 6. United Kingdom; 7. France; 8. Israel; 9. Singapore and, 10. Germany.
A Profit-Driven Panopticon
In a capitalist “democracy” such as ours where the business of government is always business and individual liberties be damned, grifting North American and European telecommunications and security firms, with much encouragement and great fanfare from their national security establishments and a lap-dog media blaze the path for Western versions of the sinister “Golden Shield.”
Recently in the United States, whistleblowing web sites such as Cryptome and Slight Paranoia have come under attack. Both sites have been hit by take down notices under the onerous Digital Millennium Copyright Act for posting documents and files that exposed the close, and very profitable arrangements, made by giant telecommunications firms and ISPs with the American secret state.
In Cryptome’s case, administrator John Young had his site shuttered for a day when the giant software firm, Microsoft, demanded that its so-called “lawful spying guide” be removed by Young. All five files are currently back on-line as Zipped files at Cryptome and make for a very enlightening read.
But the harassment didn’t stop there. When Young published PayPal’s “lawful spying guide,” the firm froze Cryptome’s account, in all likelihood at the behest of America’s spy agencies, allegedly for “illegal activities,” i.e., offering Cryptome’s entire archive for sale on two DVDs!
Why would the secret state’s corporate partners target Young? Perhaps because since 1996, “Cryptome welcomes documents for publication that are prohibited by governments worldwide, in particular material on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance–open, secret and classified documents–but not limited to those. Documents are removed from this site only by order served directly by a US court having jurisdiction. No court order has ever been served; any order served will be published here–or elsewhere if gagged by order. Bluffs will be published if comical but otherwise ignored.”
In previous reports, Cryptohippie characterized an electronic police state thusly:
1. It is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial.
2. It is gathered universally (“preventively”) and only later organized for use in prosecutions.
Silent and seamless, our political minders have every intention of deploying such formidable technological resources as a preeminent–and preemptive–means for effecting social control. Indeed, what has been characterized by corporate and media elites as an “acceptable,” i.e. managed political discourse, respect neither national boundaries, the laws and customs of nations, nor a population’s right to abolish institutions, indeed entire social systems when the governed are reduced to the level of a pauperized herd ripe for plunder.
How then, does this repressive metasystem work? What are the essential characteristics that differentiate an Electronic Police State from previous forms of oppressive governance? Cryptohippie avers:
“In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every email sent, every Internet site surfed, every post made, every check written, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all criminal evidence, and all are held in searchable databases. The individual can be prosecuted whenever the government wishes.”
“Long term” Cryptohippie writes, the secret state (definitionally expanded here to encompass “private” matters such as workplace surveillance, union busting, persecution of whistleblowers, corporate political blacklisting, etc.), “the Electronic Police State destroys free speech, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and other liberties. Worse, it does so in a way that is difficult to identify.”
As Antifascist Calling and others have pointed out, beside the usual ruses deployed by ruling class elites to suppress general knowledge of driftnet spying and wholesale database indexing of entire populations, e.g., “national security” exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act, outright subversion of the rule of law through the expansion of “state secrets” exceptions that prohibit Courts from examining a state’s specious claims, one can add the opaque, bureaucratic violence of corporations who guard, by any means necessary, what have euphemistically been christened “proprietary business information.”
In a state such as ours characterized by wholesale corruption, e.g., generalized financial swindles, insider trading, sweetheart deals brokered with suborned politicians, dangerous pharmaceuticals or other commodities “tested” and then certified “safe” by the marketeers themselves, the protection of trade secrets, formulas, production processes and marketing plans are jealously guarded by judicial pit bulls.
Those who spill the beans and have the temerity to reveal that various products are harmful to the public health or have deleterious effects on the environment (off-loaded onto the public who foot the bill as so-called “external” costs of production) are hounded, slandered or otherwise persecuted, if not imprisoned, by the legal lackeys who serve the corporatist state.
How does this play out in the real world? According to Cryptohippie, the objective signs that an electronic net has closed in to ensure working class compliance with our wretched order of things, are the following:
Daily Documents: Requirement of state-issued identity documents and registration.
Border Issues: Inspections at borders, searching computers, demanding decryption of data.
Financial Tracking: State’s ability to search and record all financial transactions: Checks, credit card use, wires, etc.
Gag Orders: Criminal penalties if you tell someone the state is searching their records.
Anti-Crypto Laws: Outlawing or restricting cryptography.
Constitutional Protection: A lack of constitutional protections for the individual, or the overriding of such protections.
Data Storage Ability: The ability of the state to store the data they gather.
Data Search Ability: The ability to search the data they gather.
ISP Data Retention: States forcing Internet Service Providers to save detailed records of all their customers’ Internet usage.
Telephone Data Retention: States forcing telephone companies to record and save records of all their customers’ telephone usage.
Cell Phone Records: States forcing cellular telephone companies to record and save records of all their customers’ usage, including location.
Medical records: States demanding records from all medical service providers and retaining the same.
Enforcement Ability: The state’s ability to use overwhelming force (exemplified by SWAT Teams) to seize anyone they want, whenever they want.
Habeas Corpus: Lack of habeas corpus, which is the right not to be held in jail without prompt due process. Or, the overriding of such protections.
Police-Intel Barrier: The lack of a barrier between police organizations and intelligence organizations. Or, the overriding of such barriers.
Covert Hacking: State operatives copying digital evidence from private computers covertly. Covert hacking can make anyone appear as any kind of criminal desired, if combined with the removing and/or adding of digital evidence.
Loose Warrants: Warrants issued without careful examination of police statements and other justifications by a truly independent judge.
Sound familiar? It should, since this is the warped reality manufactured for us, or, as Debord would have it: “The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual excess produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized, a view of a world that has become objective.”
That such a state of affairs is monstrous is of course, an understatement. Yet despite America’s preeminent position as a militarist “hyperpower,” the realization that it is a collapsing Empire is a cliché only for those who ignore history’s episodic convulsions.
If, as bourgeois historian Niall Ferguson suggests in the March/April 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs, the American Empire may “quite abruptly … collapse,” and that this “complex adaptive system is in big trouble when its component parts lose faith in its viability,” what does this say about the efficacy of an Electronic Police State to keep the lid on?
Despite the state’s overwhelming firepower, at the level of ideology as much as on the social battlefield where truncheons meet flesh and bullets fly, Marx’s “old mole” is returning with a vengeance, the “specter” once again haunting “rich men dwelling at peace within their habitations,” as Churchill described the West’s system of organized plunder.
Against this loss of “faith” in the system’s “viability,” Debord points out, although the working class “has lost its ability to assert its own independent perspective,” in a more fundamental sense “it has also lost its illusions.” In this regard, “no quantitative amelioration of its impoverishment, no illusory participation in a hierarchized system, can provide a lasting cure for its dissatisfaction.”
Forty years on from Debord, sooner rather later, an historical settling of accounts with the system of global piracy called capitalism will confront the working class with the prospect of “righting the absolute wrong of being excluded from any real life.”
As that process accelerates and deepens, it will then be the “watchers” who tremble…
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Growing Number of Prosecutions for Videotaping the Police
By Ray Sanchez
July 19, 2010
http://abcnews.go.com/US/TheLaw/videotaping-cops-arrest/story?id=11179076
That Anthony Graber broke the law in early March is indisputable. He raced his Honda motorcycle down Interstate 95 in Maryland at 80 mph, popping a wheelie, roaring past cars and swerving across traffic lanes.
But it wasn't his daredevil stunt that has the 25-year-old staff sergeant for the Maryland Air National Guard facing the possibility of 16 years in prison. For that, he was issued a speeding ticket.
It was the video that Graber posted on YouTube one week later -- taken with his helmet camera -- of a plainclothes state trooper cutting him off and drawing a gun during the traffic stop near Baltimore.
In early April, state police officers raided Graber's parents' home in Abingdon, Md. They confiscated his camera, computers and external hard drives. Graber was indicted for allegedly violating state wiretap laws by recording the trooper without his consent.
Arrests such as Graber's are becoming more common along with the proliferation of portable video cameras and cell-phone recorders. Videos of alleged police misconduct have become hot items on the Internet. YouTube still features Graber's encounter along with numerous other witness videos.
"The message is clearly, 'Don't criticize the police,'" said David Rocah, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland who is part of Graber's defense team. "With these charges, anyone who would even think to record the police is now justifiably in fear that they will also be criminally charged."
Carlos Miller, a Miami journalist who runs the blog "Photography Is Not a Crime," said he has documented about 10 arrests since he started keeping track in 2007. Miller himself has been arrested twice for photographing the police. He won one case on appeal, he said, while the other was thrown out after the officer twice failed to appear in court.

"They're just regular citizens with a cell-phone camera who happen to come upon a situation," Miller said. "If cops are doing their jobs, they shouldn't worry."
The ACLU of Florida filed a First Amendment lawsuit last month on behalf of a model who was arrested February 2009 in Boynton Beach. Fla. Her crime: videotaping an encounter between police officers and her teenage son at a movie theater. Prosecutors refused to file charges against Sharron Tasha Ford and her son.
Videotaping as a Tool for Citizens
"The police have cameras in their cars. I watch cops on TV," Ford said. "I'm very hurt by what happened. A lot of people are being abused by police in the same way."
Ford's lawyer, James Green, called videotaping "probably the most effective way to protect citizens against police officers who exaggerate or lie."
"Judges and juries want to believe law enforcement," he said. "They want to believe police officers and unless you have credible evidence to contradict police officers, it's often very difficult to get judges or juries to believe the word of a citizen over a police officer."
In Palm Beach County, Fla., Greenacres resident Peter Ballance, 63, who has Asperger's syndrome and has to record conversations to help his memory, settled a civil lawsuit for $100,000 last year. In August 2005, police officers tackled and arrested Ballance for refusing to turn off his tape recorder.
"You know what," said the officer, according to court documents, "I still don't want that recording device on."
"Well, it's on," Ballance replied.
"It is a third-degree felony," the cop said. "If you want to push it, you can go to jail for it."
"Well, I'm pushing it now," Ballance said.
Ballance snapped pictures of the officers. One of the cops delivered a blindside tackle. Ballance had to be treated for injuries and cardiac symptoms at a hospital on the way to the county jail. At the hospital, officers refused to let Ballance use his recorders to communicate with doctors, court papers said.
In Portsmouth, N.H., earlier this month, Adam Whitman, 20, and his brother were charged with wiretapping, a felony in the state for videotaping police on the Fourth of July when they were called to a party and ended up arresting 20 people, many for underage drinking.
A police spokesman told ABCNews.com that the wiretapping charges were being dropped.
Witness Videos on the Rise
Across the country, arrests such as these highlight the growing role of witness video in law enforcement. A dozen states require all parties to consent before a recording is made if there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy." Virginia and New York require one-party consent. Only in Massachusetts and Illinois is it illegal for people to make an audio recording of people without their consent.
"The argument is, 'Well, can a police officer beside the highway have a private conversation with somebody that they pull over?'" said Joseph Cassilly, the Harford County prosecutor handling Graber's case.
Cassilly added, "Suppose a police officer pulled you over and he wanted to have a talk with you. 'Sir, I smell alcohol on your breath. Can you talk to me about how much you've had to drink? Would you want somebody else to stop by and record that and put it on the Internet?"
Rocah of the ACLU disagreed.
"It's not that recording any conversation is illegal without consent. It's that recording a private conversation is illegal without consent," he said. "So then the question is, 'Are the words of a police officer spoken on duty, in uniform, in public a 'private conversation.' And every court that has ever considered that question has said that they are not."
Rocah said actual wiretapping prosecutions, though rare, are happening more frequently. But intimidation with the threat of arrest for taping the police is much more common.
"Prosecution is only the most extreme end of a continuum of police and official intimidation and there's a lot of intimidation that goes on and has been going on short of prosecution," he said. "It's far more frequent for an officer to just say, 'You can't record or give me your camera or give me your cell phone and if you don't I'm going to arrest you. Very few people want to test the veracity of that threat and so comply. It's much more difficult to document, much more prevalent and equally improper."
New Video, Old Debate
In many jurisdictions, the police themselves record encounters with the public with dashboard cameras in their cars.
"Police and governmental recording of citizens is becoming more pervasive and to say that government can record you but you can't record, it speaks volumes about the mentality of people in government," Rocah said. "It's supposed to be the other way around: They work for us; we don't work for them."
Graber's YouTube video, meanwhile, has helped renew the old debate about whether government has a right to keep residents from recording the police. There is even an "I support Anthony Graber and his right to freedom of expression" Facebook page with close to 600 friends.
"Suffice it to say that our client is terrified at the prospect of these criminal charges," Rocah said.

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The "Hi Tech" Corporate Police State: "Reengineering" the Internet ... for Persistent Surveillance
Ghost in the Machine: Secret State Teams Up with Ad Pimps to Throttle Privacy
By Tom Burghardt
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22212
Global Research, December 2, 2010
Antifascist Calling...

The secret world of "cyber situational awareness" is a spymaster's wet dream, made all the more alluring by the advent of ultra high speed computing and the near infinite storage capacity afforded by massive server farms and the ubiquitous "cloud."
Within that dusky haze, obscured by claims of national security or proprietary business information, take your pick, would you bet your life that the wizards of misdirection and deception care a whit that you really are more than a disembodied data point?
Lost in the debate surrounding privacy invasion and data mining however, is the key role that internet service providers (ISPs) play as intermediaries and gatekeepers. From their perch, ISPs peer deeply into and collect and analyze the online communications of tens of millions of users simultaneously, in real-time.
Concerted efforts to eliminate online anonymity, in managed democracies and authoritarian regimes alike, are greatly enhanced by the deployment of deep packet inspection (DPI) sensors and software on virtually all networks.
As Canadian privacy watchdogs DeepPacketInspection.ca tell us, DPI offer ISPs "unparalleled levels of intelligence into subscribers' online activities."
"To unpack this a little" they aver, "all data traffic that courses across the 'net is contained in individual packets that have header (i.e. addressing) information and payload (i.e. content) information. We can think of this as the address on a postcard and the written and visual content of a postcard."

All of which is there for the taking, "criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial," Cryptohippie chillingly informs.
Still the illusion persists that communication technologies are somehow "neutral." Neither good nor bad but rather, much like a smart phone loaded with geolocation tracking chips or the surveillance-ready internet itself, simply there for all to use.
Reality as is its wont, bites with ever-sharper teeth.
As with other recent advances touted as breakthroughs--from the biomedical and pharmaceutical research that spawned factory farming and genetically-modified crops to something as seemingly banal as the highway system that ushered in exurban sprawl--from the workplace to the car-pool lane to idle hours spent trolling the web, our techno-toys function rather handily as instruments of social control.
Simply put, DPI hand our minders an unprecedented means to examine and catalogue our online communications. From blog posts to web searches to the content of email and video files, we're delivered up every day, figuratively and literally, to advertising pimps or law enforcers, a faceless army of gatekeepers guarding an indefensible system in perpetual crisis.
Subtly guiding internet traffic into fast and slow lanes, based on the size and content of a particular file, or examining said file for malicious or illegal content, DPI has been deployed as a means of conserving bandwidth and as a defense against viral attacks.
Leaving aside the critical issue of net neutrality, linked to moves to further monetize the internet and hold communications hostage to the ability to pay for quicker network speeds, there is no question that ISPs and individual users should have a keen interest in defending themselves against the depredations of organized gangs of identity thieves and predators.
If DPI were solely a tool to weed out malicious hacks or channel traffic in more equitable ways, thereby ensuring the broadest possible access to all, it could provide concrete benefits to users and contribute to a safer and more secure communications' environment.
This hasn't happened. Instead, securocrats and corporatists alike are working feverishly to "reengineer the internet"--for the delivery of targeted ads and as a surveillance platform--and both view DPI's ability to read individual messages, the "deep packet" as it were, as a singular means to do just that.
Last year, Antifascist Calling reported on moves by surveillance mavens to deploy deep packet sniffing Einstein 3 software developed by the National Security Agency on the nation's telecommunications infrastructure.
As with the agency's pervasive driftnet spying on Americans, as AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein revealed in his release of internal company documents, DPI and the hardware that powers it is the "secret sauce" animating these illegal programs.
Earlier this year, Klein told Wired Magazine that the documents suggest that NSA's warrantless wiretapping "was just the tip of an eavesdropping iceberg," evidence of "an untargeted, massive vacuum cleaner sweeping up millions of peoples' communications every second automatically."
Ostensibly designed for detecting and thwarting malicious attacks aimed at government networks, The Wall Street Journal revealed that the packet sniffing Einstein 3 program, developed under the code name TUTELAGE, can screen computer traffic flowing into state portals from private sector networks, including those connecting people to the internet.
"Its filtering technology," journalist Siobhan Gorman wrote, "can read the content of email and other communications."
Einstein 3 is considered so toxic to privacy that AT&T sought "legal assurance that it will not be sued for participating in the pilot program," The Washington Post reported. Although they were given assurances by Bush's former Attorney General, Michael B. Mukasey, that the firm "would bear no liability," AT&T deferred until the Obama administration granted the waiver in 2009. So far, the federal government has expended some $2 billion on the program.
Jacob Appelbaum, a security researcher with the Tor Anonymity Project told CNET News in March that expanding Einstein 3 to private networks "would amount to a partial outsourcing of security" to unaccountable corporations.
But it will do much, much more. Appelbaum averred that the project represents "a clear loss of control [for the public]. And anyone with access to that monitoring system, legitimate or otherwise, would be able to monitor amazing amounts of traffic."
A year later, a related program under development by NSA and defense giant Raytheon, "Perfect Citizen," relies on a suite of sensors deployed in computer networks that will persistently monitor whichever system they are plugged into. While little has been revealed about how Perfect Citizen will work, it was called by a corporate insider the cyber equivalent of "Big Brother," according to an email obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
I have pointed out many times that under the rubric of cybersecurity (the latest profit-generating "War on Terror" front), the secret state, America's telecoms and internet service providers are conjoined at the hip in what are blandly called "public-private partnerships."
Indeed, the secrecy-shredding web site Public Intelligence, posted a confidential document that provided details on the inner workings of one such initiative, Project 12.
Ultimately, the goal of the secretive enterprise, Public Intelligence averred, "is not simply to increase the flow of 'threat information' from government agencies to private industry, but to facilitate greater 'information sharing' between those companies and the federal government."
This will be accomplished once "real-time cyber situational awareness" is achieved across all eighteen critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) sectors identified in the report.
Simply put, NSA's warrantless wiretapping program and a constellation of top secret cybersecurity projects will come to nought if filtering software that examines--and catalogues--the content, or deep packets, of those spied upon aren't deployed across all networks, public and private.
No surprise then, that the origins of the ghost in the internet surveillance machine lie in unscrupulous efforts by advert pimps to deliver us to market.
"Opting In" to the Corporate Police State
Readers are familiar with the practice of web sites that install tracking "cookies" and other nasty bits of code that follow our antics across the internet.
This information is sold to advertisers by firms such as Google and Yahoo who charge a premium price for the privilege of peering into browsing habits.
Last month The Wall Street Journal reported that a gaggle of niche firms "harvest online conversations and collect personal details from social-networking sites, résumé sites and online forums where people might discuss their lives."
We're told that the dubious practice of "web scraping" provides the "raw material" in a rapidly expanding "data economy." Journal reporters found that marketers "spent $7.8 billion on online and offline data in 2009" and that "spending on data from online sources is set to more than double, to $840 million in 2012 from $410 million in 2009."
And with incentives such as these, and virtually nothing in the way of regulation, is it any wonder we find ourselves preyed upon.
While we might garner a measure of privacy from the prying eyes of ISPs, marketing vultures and our political minders through the use of strong encryption, as I reported last month, the Obama administration will soon seek congressional authorization which mandates that software designers and social networking sites build backdoors into their systems.
According to The New York Times, the administration claims this is necessary so that law enforcement and intelligence snoops have a surefire means "to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages," because their "ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is 'going dark'."
Mendacious administration claims are more than matched by those in the online advertising industry.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that deep packet inspection, "one of the most potentially intrusive technologies for profiling and targeting Internet users with ads is on the verge of a comeback, two years after an outcry by privacy advocates in the U.S. and Britain appeared to kill it."
Advertising grifters Kindsight and Phorm "are pitching deep packet inspection services as a way for Internet service providers to claim a share of the lucrative online ad market."
Right up front, Phorm declares that theirs' is a "global personalisation technology company" that "delivers a more interesting online experience," that is, if your interests lie in having a behavioral profile of yourself created, centered around intrusive web tracking and data mining technologies.
While both firms claim that user privacy is of "paramount" concern, the industry's track record suggests otherwise. In 2008 for example, internet marketing firm NebuAd planned to "use deep packet inspection to deliver targeted advertising to millions of broadband subscribers unless they explicitly opted out of the service."
An outcry ensued when the scheme became public knowledge. While NebuAd has gone out of business, "several U.S. ISPs who signed deals with NebuAd have been hit with class-action lawsuits accusing them of 'installing spyware devices; on their networks," the Journal averred.
According to Ars Technica, the lawsuit charged the firm and ISPs "Bresnan Communications, Cable One, CenturyTel, Embarq, Knology, and WOW! of all being involved in the interception, copying, transmission, collection, storage, usage, and altering of private data from users."
NebuAd was accused by plaintiffs of exploiting "normal browser platform security behaviors by forging IP packets, allowing their own JavaScript code to be written into source code trusted by the web browser," the complaint reads. "NebuAd and ISPs together cooperate in this attack against the intentions of the consumers, the designers of their software, and the owners of the servers they visit," attorneys charged.
"All of the involved parties," journalist Jacqui Cheng wrote, were "alleged to have violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, California's Computer Crime Law, the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the California Invasion of Privacy Act."
In Britain, a similar controversy erupted when BT Group PLC were forced to disclose that they "had tested Phorm's technology on some subscribers without telling them. Last year, BT and two other British ISPs that explored deploying Phorm's service--Virgin Media Inc. and TalkTalk--abandoned it," the Journal reported.
At the time, the nose-tweaking tech web site The Register revealed that although Phorm refused to state how many BT customers had been profiled, "at the absolute least there are 38,000 BT Retail customers unaware their communications have been allegedly criminally intercepted in the last two years. The number could be as high as 108,000."
When grilled by The Register as to why Phorm doesn't believe "people have the right to know how likely it is they were part of a secret test," a Phorm spokesperson replied "'We're just not going to disclose that'." He claimed "'they were BT customers and you have to ask BT about that'."
BT also refused to respond to inquiries. How's that for transparency!
Why then, should users believe industry professions of faith that ISPs won't provide them with subscribers' real identities? After all, as one wag told the Journal, ISPs "feel like they have data and they ought to be able to use it" and "they really desperately want to."
Accordingly, the Journal reported that Kindsight, owned by telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent SA (talk about a seamless web!), "says six ISPs in the U.S., Canada and Europe have been testing its security service this year although it isn't yet delivering targeted ads. It declined to name the clients."
CEO Mike Gassewitz told Journal reporters that the company "has been placing ads on various websites to test the ad-placement technology and build up a base of advertisers, which now number about 100,000."
Phorm's history hardly inspires confidence. CEO Kent Ertugrul, "a Princeton-educated, former investment banker," we're informed by the Journal, honed his business skills in the early 1990s when he formed "a joint venture with the Russian Space Agency to offer joy rides to tourists in MiG-29 fighter jets."
Coming at the height of the Yeltsin kleptocracy that looted billions of dollars in assets from the sell-off of the prized possessions of the former Soviet Union, at the very least this should have raised an eyebrow or two.
Before changing its name to Phorm in 2007, Ertugrul ran an enterprise called 121Media. According to numerous published reports, the firm produced a spyware application called PeopleOnPage. "This application," Wikipedia averred, "acted as a browser hijacker and passed details of the user's currently visited website to central ContextPlus servers, so that the user could be targeted with advertising" in the form of intrusive pop-ups.
The adware component, AproposMedia, was described by InternetSecurityZone.com as "...a malicious executable program that is usually installed without user consent or knowledge. AproposMedia may have the ability to secretly monitor, record, and transmit computer activity." Indeed, The Register reported that Ertugrul's PeopleOnPage ad network "was blacklisted as spyware by the likes of Symantec and F-Secure."
Former pop-up king Ertugrul has called online rights' campaigners "privacy pirates" who represent a "neo-Luddite retrenchment," and told The Daily Telegraph last year that Phorm's technology is a "game changer" in "protecting users' privacy."
But armed with a marketing scheme that promises "the potential for companies to collect substantially more revenue for literally any page on the internet," serious privacy concerns are a real issue when deep packet inspection technologies are touted as a splendid means to do so.
Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee told New Scientist in 2009 that the "ever-increasing power of computers that is helping the internet to grow is also threatening its future."
Berners-Lee "likened DPI to wiretapping, and pointed out that companies could use it to learn a huge amount about our 'lives, hates and fears'."
Information I might add, that is portable and readily exploitable by our political minders and the corporate grifters they so lovingly serve.
And with a national security state already monitoring huge volumes of data collected from the internet and other electronic communications' platforms, The Guardian warns that Britain and other managed Western democracies are "sleepwalking into a surveillance society."
Isn't it time we woke up?
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, his articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.
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Foundations are in place for martial law in the US
By Ritt Goldstein
July 27 2002
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/27/1027497418339.html
Recent pronouncements from the Bush Administration and national security initiatives put in place in the Reagan era could see internment camps and martial law in the United States.
When president Ronald Reagan was considering invading Nicaragua he issued a series of executive orders that provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with broad powers in the event of a "crisis" such as "violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition against a US military invasion abroad". They were never used.
But with the looming possibility of a US invasion of Iraq, recent pronouncements by President George Bush's domestic security chief, Tom Ridge, and an official with the US Civil Rights Commission should fire concerns that these powers could be employed or a de facto drift into their deployment could occur.
On July 20 the Detroit Free Press ran a story entitled "Arabs in US could be held, official warns". The story referred to a member of the US Civil Rights Commission who foresaw the possibility of internment camps for Arab Americans. FEMA has practised for such an occasion.
FEMA, whose main role is disaster response, is also responsible for handling US domestic unrest.
From 1982-84 Colonel Oliver North assisted FEMA in drafting its civil defence preparations. Details of these plans emerged during the 1987 Iran-Contra scandal.
They included executive orders providing for suspension of the constitution, the imposition of martial law, internment camps, and the turning over of government to the president and FEMA.
A Miami Herald article on July 5, 1987, reported that the former FEMA director Louis Guiffrida's deputy, John Brinkerhoff, handled the martial law portion of the planning. The plan was said to be similar to one Mr Giuffrida had developed earlier to combat "a national uprising by black militants". It provided for the detention "of at least 21million American Negroes"' in "assembly centres or relocation camps".
Today Mr Brinkerhoff is with the highly influential Anser Institute for Homeland Security. Following a request by the Pentagon in January that the US military be allowed the option of deploying troops on American streets, the institute in February published a paper by Mr Brinkerhoff arguing the legality of this.
He alleged that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which has long been accepted as prohibiting such deployments, had simply been misunderstood and misapplied.
The preface to the article also provided the revelation that the national plan he had worked on, under Mr Giuffrida, was "approved by Reagan, and actions were taken to implement it".
By April, the US military had created a Northern Command to aid Homeland defence. Reuters reported that the command is "mainly expected to play a supporting role to local authorities".
However, Mr Ridge, the Director of Homeland Security, has just advocated a review of US law regarding the use of the military for law enforcement duties.
Disturbingly, the full facts and final contents of Mr Reagan's national plan remain uncertain. This is in part because President Bush took the unusual step of sealing the Reagan presidential papers last November. However, many of the key figures of the Reagan era are part of the present administration, including John Poindexter, to whom Oliver North later reported.
At the time of the Reagan initiatives, the then attorney-general, William French Smith, wrote to the national security adviser, Robert McFarlane: "I believe that the role assigned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the revised Executive Order exceeds its proper function as a co-ordinating agency for emergency preparedness ... this department and others have repeatedly raised serious policy and legal objections to an 'emergency czar' role for FEMA."
Criticism of the Bush Administration's response to September11 echoes Mr Smith's warning. On June 7 the former presidential counsel John Dean spoke of America's sliding into a "constitutional dictatorship" and martial law.
Ritt Goldstein is an investigative journalist and a former leader in the movement for US law enforcement accountability. He revealed exclusively in the Herald last week the Bush Administration's plans for a domestic spying system more pervasive than the Stasi network in East Germany.

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Also See:
Comrade, Welcome to the Police State!

(Part 1)
30 October 2009
and
(Part 2)
29 September 2010
and
(Part 3)
17 May 2012
and
(Part 4)
30 March 2013
and
(Part 5)
28 July 2013
and
Is Orwell Dead? Big Brother Isn't!
(Part 1)
14 April 2007
and
(Part 2)
21 May 2009
and
(Part 3)
21 February 2012
and
U.S. Civil Unrest, Crowd Control, and Detention Camps
21 October 2008
and
Martial Law? Revolution? What is in the Future?
24 July 2009
and
ID Cards - Soon Everyone will have One!
03 September 2009
and
Big Brother is Watching
06 September 2009
and
Big Brother in the United Kingdom!
02 April 2010
and
America's Police State
03 January 2011
and
Do We Live in a Police State?
04 November 2011
and
Police State Canada!
01 December 2011
and
What's with Google?
11 March 2012
and
Why is the Department of Homeland Security Stockpiling Ammo?
29 April 2013
and
Is Canada a Police State?
01 July 2013
and
Kent State Massacre in 1970
08 May 2007
and
Lets Not Forget Ruby Ridge
11 December 2008
and
Aldous Huxley and George Orwell
03 March 2009
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