Category Archives: Tyranny

Police Inaction At Charlottesville Mirrors Past Protests With Agent Provocateurs

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

AlternativeFreePress.com

It appears extremely likely that government-sponsored agent provocateurs were active during the Charlottesville protests this weekend.

Numerous sources have reported that the police stood down and allowed the violence to occur & spread.




Fox News reporter Doug McKelway, who was in Charlottesville at the time, reported that the police were called off as soon as things started turning violent: “But when the tear gas started to fly, thrown by protesters, the police themselves began to evacuate then. I asked the guy who was in charge, “Where you going?” He said, “We’re leaving. It’s too dangerous.” They had a chance to nip this thing in the bud and they chose not to.”

Such lack of action by the police is not without precedent. In fact, there is a long history of the police supporting violent agitators at political protests.

In 2007 at a protest against the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America in Montebello, Quebec, the Quebec Provincial Police were forced to admit that 3 masked men wielding rocks were in fact undercover officers. The admission only occurred because peaceful protesters demanded they drop they rock and followed the provocateurs until they jumped behind a police line. (CBC)

In 2009, masked men at G20 protests in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were seen damaging property and lunging projectiles. (youtube)

In 2010, Toronto, Ontario hosted the G20 Summit. Hundreds of extra police officers were brought into the city, and the downtown area was patrolled very heavily. As documented in the film ‘Into The Fire’, as a small group of so-called “black-bloc anarchists” approached, the police abandoned their posts and allowed the masked “anarchists” to smash retail windows and set fire to a police car. The video footage makes it extremely obvious that the police purposefully allowed the destruction of property to occur. The next day the police used the media coverage of the destruction to justify excessive force, civil rights violations, and the illegal detention of peaceful protesters. (Into the Fire) During the 2010 G-20 Toronto summit, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested five people, two of whom were members of the Toronto Police Services. (CBC)

Of course, this type of activity has been going on for decades… Throughout the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, COINTELPRO was a series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting American political organizations. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued directives governing COINTELPRO, ordering FBI agents to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, neutralize or otherwise eliminate” the activities of these movements and especially their leaders. (wikipedia)

Written by Alternative Free Press
Creative Commons License
Police Inaction At Charlottesville Mirrors Past Protests With Agent Provocateurs by AlternativeFreePress.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

NGA: The Massive Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard Of

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Alice Salles
The Anti-Media : March 29, 2017

If you’re one of the countless Americans who was distraught to learn of the revelations made by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, the mere idea that there might be yet another agency out there — perhaps just as powerful and much more intrusive —  should give you goosebumps.

Foreign Policy reports that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA, is an obscure spy agency former President Barack Obama had a hard time wrapping his mind around back in 2009. But as the president grew fond of drone warfare, finding a way to launch wars without having to go through Congress for the proper authorization, the NGA also became more relevant. Now, President Donald Trump is expected to further explore the multibillion-dollar surveillance network.

Like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA), the NGA is an intelligence agency, but it also serves as a combat support institution that functions under the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

With headquarters bigger than the CIA’s, the building cost $1.4 billion to be completed in 2011. In 2016, the NGA bought an extra 99 acres in St. Louis, building additional structures that cost taxpayers an extra $1.75 billion.

Enjoying the extra budget Obama threw at them, the NGA became one of the most obscure intelligence agencies precisely because it relies on the work of drones.

As a body of government that has only one task — to analyze images and videos captured by drones in the Middle East — the NGA is mighty powerful. So why haven’t we heard of it before?

The Shadow Agency That Sees It All

Prior to Trump’s inauguration, the NGA only targeted the Middle East or whatever spy satellites orbiting the globe captured. As far as most of us knew, the agency refrained from pointing its ultra-high-resolution cameras toward the United States. That alone may be why the NGA has been able to stay out of scandals for the most part.

But under Trump, things may look much worse — as if spying on countless people abroad weren’t enough.

Recently, for instance, he gave the CIA the power to wage covert drone warfare, shielding important information on such operations simply by allowing the agency to carry out missions without first seeking authorization from the Pentagon.

Now, Trump might as well move on to NGA, hoping to boost “national security” by turning the agency’s all seeing eyes toward American soil.

As the president hopes to get more money for defense, many have speculated whether he will start to use drones at home, especially since he has already suggested he supports agencies like the NSA based on his desire to target “terrorists.” There’s nothing that implies he wants to slow down the surveillance state.  The White House has expressed its desire to renew Obama-era spying powers — even as the president battles critics who deny his claims that his conversations were intercepted at the same time foreign nationals were under surveillance in 2016.

A partially redacted March 2016 report released by the Pentagon revealed that drones had already been used domestically on about 20 or fewer occasions between 2006 and 2015. Though some of these operations mostly involved natural disasters, National Guard training, and search and rescue missions, quotes from an Air Force law review article found their way into the report. In it, Dawn M. K. Zoldi wrote that technology designed to spy on targets abroad could soon be used against American citizens.

As the nation winds down these wars,” the report explains, and ”assets become available to support other combatant command (COCOM) or U.S. agencies, the appetite to use them in the domestic environment to collect airborne imagery continues to grow.

Up until 2015, oversight was so loose that the capabilities provided by the DOD’s unmanned aircraft system weren’t under scrutiny by any other agency. Without statutes that specify the rules such federal government agencies should follow, watchdogs find it hard to keep track. But would it be any better if there were an agency or a branch of the same government overseeing what the government itself is doing?

The short answer is no.

NGA Has A Precedent, And Trump May Want To Explore It

As fears grow that Trump will revamp the NGA, domestic stories of police departments using drones to spy on locals are also resurfacing.

Some of the most highly publicized instances involved Baltimore and Compton, where police departments deployed aerial surveillance technology without issuing a warrant or seeking authorization from local or state lawmakers.

With a precedent already set, the president might as well ignite a new fight in his continued efforts to fight a war against an imaginary, impossible-to-target enemy. After all, he’s not a stranger to scandals and likely wouldn’t feel overwhelmed one bit if he decided to turn the country’s ultra-high definition cameras toward its citizens.

What could help to put an end to his plans might be exactly what helped halt President George W. Bush’s attempts at setting up spy satellites domestically. In 2007, Bush’s Department of Homeland Security set up an agency known as the National Applications Office with the goal of establishing direct spy satellite stakeouts in America. Thankfully, Congress stepped in and cut off the agency’s funding.

But with Americans seldom showing any interest for important violations of privacy or even basic human rights here and abroad, it’s easy to see how this massive spying agency could end up getting a carte blanche to do whatever it wants once Trump realizes he has the power to order it done. After all, who will pressure Congress to stop him?

Source: The Anti-Media (cc)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The DEA Has Stolen $3.2 Billion from Americans Without Charges Since 2007

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Michael Krieger
Liberty Blitzkrieg : March 31, 2017

In my post published earlier this week, Recent TSA Molestation Video Proves Americans Have Become Authority Worshipping Slaves, I noted the following:

Yeah, it’s disgusting, inappropriate and anathema to a free people, but that’s the point. We aren’t a free people. We’ve become a bunch of authority-worshiping subjects toiling on a plantation dominated by multi-national companies who write our laws and manipulate our thoughts through corporate media. The worst part is we don’t do anything about it. We elect Trump and then puff our chests out yelling stupid slogans like MAGA, as molestations from the TSA get worse. Well done everyone.

I was pleased that the above paragraph connected with many people, but for those of you who think I was being hyperbolic, take a look at the following excerpts from a piece recently published at The Washington Post, Since 2007, the DEA Has Taken $3.2 Billion in Cash from People Not Charged with a Crime:

The Drug Enforcement Administration takes billions of dollars in cash from people who are never charged with criminal activity, according to a report issued today by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

Since 2007, the report found, the DEA has seized more than $4 billion in cash from people suspected of involvement with the drug trade. But 81 percent of those seizures, totaling $3.2 billion, were conducted administratively, meaning no civil or criminal charges were brought against the owners of the cash and no judicial review of the seizures ever occurred.

Remember, the terrorists hate us for our freedom.

That total does not include the dollar value of other seized assets, like cars, homes, electronics and clothing.

These seizures are all legal under the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture, which allows authorities to take cash, contraband and property from people suspected of crime. But the practice does not require authorities to obtain a criminal conviction, and it allows departments to keep seized cash and property for themselves unless individuals successfully challenge the forfeiture in court. Critics across the political spectrum say this creates a perverse profit motive, incentivizing police to seize goods not for the purpose of fighting crime, but for padding department budgets.

In the absence of this information, the report examined 100 DEA cash seizures that occurred “without a court-issued warrant and without the presence of narcotics, the latter of which would provide strong evidence of related criminal behavior.”

Fewer than half of those seizures were related to a new or ongoing criminal investigation, or led to an arrest or prosecution, the Inspector General found.

“When seizure and administrative forfeitures do not ultimately advance an investigation or prosecution,” the report concludes, “law enforcement creates the appearance, and risks the reality, that it is more interested in seizing and forfeiting cash than advancing an investigation or prosecution.”

The scope of asset forfeiture is staggering. Since 2007 the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund, which collects proceeds from seized cash and other property, has ballooned to $28 billion. In 2014 alone authorities seized $5 billion in cash and property from people — greater than the value of all documented losses to burglary that year.

Some of the encounters were based on tips from confidential sources working in the travel industry, a number of whom have received large sums of money in exchange for their cooperation. In one case, officers targeted an individual for questioning on a tip from a travel industry informant that the individual had paid for a plane ticket with a pre-paid debit card and cash.

Nope, no conflict of interest there. USA! USA!

Forfeiture cases are also legally complex and difficult for individuals to win. Forfeiture cases are brought against the property, rather than the individual, leading to Kafkaesque case titles like United States v. $8,850 in U.S. Currency and  United States of America v. One Men’s Rolex Pearl Master Watch.

While criminal proceedings assume the defendant’s innocence, forfeiture proceedings start from the presumption of guilt. That means that individuals who fight forfeiture must prove their innocence in court.

Meanwhile, guess who’s a big fan of civil forfeiture? Yep, you guessed it, Mr. MAGA himself, Donald Trump.

(read the full article at Liberty Blitzkrieg

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Proof CIA Disguises Their Hacks As Russian, Chinese, Arabic…

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Wikileaks reveals ‘Marble Framework’ from Vault 7

Today, March 31st 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 “Marble” — 676 source code files for the CIA’s secret anti-forensic Marble Framework. Marble is used to hamper forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA.

Marble does this by hiding (“obfuscating”) text fragments used in CIA malware from visual inspection. This is the digital equivallent of a specalized CIA tool to place covers over the english language text on U.S. produced weapons systems before giving them to insurgents secretly backed by the CIA.

Marble forms part of the CIA’s anti-forensics approach and the CIA’s Core Library of malware code. It is “[D]esigned to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation” as “string obfuscation algorithms (especially those that are unique) are often used to link malware to a specific developer or development shop.

The Marble source code also includes a deobfuscator to reverse CIA text obfuscation. Combined with the revealed obfuscation techniques, a pattern or signature emerges which can assist forensic investigators attribute previous hacking attacks and viruses to the CIA. Marble was in use at the CIA during 2016. It reached 1.0 in 2015.

The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, — but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.

The Marble Framework is used for obfuscation only and does not contain any vulnerabilties or exploits by itself.

wikileaks

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Donald Trump gives CIA power to carry out its own drone strikes

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Harriet Agerholm
Independent : March 14, 2017

The CIA can now kill potential terror suspects with drone strikes after being granted new powers by President Donald Trump, according to a new report.

The new authority – said to have been granted shortly after Mr Trump’s inauguration – takes drone strikes out of the sole control of the military, sparking fears about accountability.

Under the drone policy of the Obama administration, the CIA could find a suspect, but the armed forces would carry out the actual strike.

Unlike the Pentagon, the CIA does not need to disclose drone strikes — or any resulting civilian casualties.

(read the full article at Independent)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

US Government Secretly Paying To Keep US Software Unsafe

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

AlternativeFreePress.com

Edward Snowden’s first impression of the Wikileaks Vault 7 release is that it is authentic, and genuinely a big deal. He points out that this leak has provided the first public evidence that the US Government is secretly paying to keep US software unsafe & that any hacker can use the security holes the CIA left open.





Inside the CIA’s global hacking force: “Vault 7″ CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Wikileaks : March 7, 2017

Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7″ by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, “Year Zero”, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

“Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency’s hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA’s hacking capacities.

By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware. Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its “own NSA” with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that “There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of “Year Zero” goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective.”

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the “Year Zero” disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in “Year Zero” for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in “Vault 7″ part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

* * *

Analysis

CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs

CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA’s DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).

The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.

The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.

The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.

The CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone.

Despite iPhone’s minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA’s Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads. CIA’s arsenal includes numerous local and remote “zero days” developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.

A similar unit targets Google’s Android which is used to run the majority of the world’s smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year. “Year Zero” shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 “weaponized” Android “zero days” which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.

These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the “smart” phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.

 

CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers

The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized “zero days”, air gap jumping viruses such as “Hammer Drill” which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( “Brutal Kangaroo”) and to keep its malware infestations going.

Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA’s Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as “Assassin” and “Medusa”.

Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA’s Network Devices Branch (NDB).

The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB’s “HIVE” and the related “Cutthroat” and “Swindle” tools, which are described in the examples section below.

 

CIA ‘hoarded’ vulnerabilities (“zero days”)

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis — rather than hoard — serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or “zero days” to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.

Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.

The U.S. government’s commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities. The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.

“Year Zero” documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration’s commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA’s cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.

As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in “Year Zero” is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts. The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities (“zero days”) possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.

The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone &mdsh; at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.

 

‘Cyberwar’ programs are a serious proliferation risk

Cyber ‘weapons’ are not possible to keep under effective control.

While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber ‘weapons’, once developed, are very hard to retain.

Cyber ‘weapons’ are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.

Securing such ‘weapons’ is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces — sometimes by using the very same ‘weapons’ against the organizations that contain them. There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global “vulnerability market” that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such ‘weapons’. Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such ‘weapons’ sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling ‘hacking’ services.

Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booze Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.

A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.

Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information. The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

 

U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base

In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( “Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe” or CCIE) are given diplomatic (“black”) passports and State Department cover. The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany’s counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: “Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport”

 

Your Cover Story (for this trip)
Q: Why are you here?
A: Supporting technical consultations at the Consulate.

Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures.

Once in Frankfurt CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Shengen open border area — including France, Italy and Switzerland.

A number of the CIA’s electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity. These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace. The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media. For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use. To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos). But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlaying system is automatically infected and ransacked.

 

How the CIA dramatically increased proliferation risks

In what is surely one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory, the CIA structured its classification regime such that for the most market valuable part of “Vault 7″ — the CIA’s weaponized malware (implants + zero days), Listening Posts (LP), and Command and Control (C2) systems — the agency has little legal recourse.

The CIA made these systems unclassified.

Why the CIA chose to make its cyberarsenal unclassified reveals how concepts developed for military use do not easily crossover to the ‘battlefield’ of cyber ‘war’.

To attack its targets, the CIA usually requires that its implants communicate with their control programs over the internet. If CIA implants, Command & Control and Listening Post software were classified, then CIA officers could be prosecuted or dismissed for violating rules that prohibit placing classified information onto the Internet. Consequently the CIA has secretly made most of its cyber spying/war code unclassified. The U.S. government is not able to assert copyright either, due to restrictions in the U.S. Constitution. This means that cyber ‘arms’ manufactures and computer hackers can freely “pirate” these ‘weapons’ if they are obtained. The CIA has primarily had to rely on obfuscation to protect its malware secrets.

Conventional weapons such as missiles may be fired at the enemy (i.e into an unsecured area). Proximity to or impact with the target detonates the ordnance including its classified parts. Hence military personnel do not violate classification rules by firing ordnance with classified parts. Ordnance will likely explode. If it does not, that is not the operator’s intent.

Over the last decade U.S. hacking operations have been increasingly dressed up in military jargon to tap into Department of Defense funding streams. For instance, attempted “malware injections” (commercial jargon) or “implant drops” (NSA jargon) are being called “fires” as if a weapon was being fired. However the analogy is questionable.

Unlike bullets, bombs or missiles, most CIA malware is designed to live for days or even years after it has reached its ‘target’. CIA malware does not “explode on impact” but rather permanently infests its target. In order to infect target’s device, copies of the malware must be placed on the target’s devices, giving physical possession of the malware to the target. To exfiltrate data back to the CIA or to await further instructions the malware must communicate with CIA Command & Control (C2) systems placed on internet connected servers. But such servers are typically not approved to hold classified information, so CIA command and control systems are also made unclassified.

A successful ‘attack’ on a target’s computer system is more like a series of complex stock maneuvers in a hostile take-over bid or the careful planting of rumors in order to gain control over an organization’s leadership rather than the firing of a weapons system. If there is a military analogy to be made, the infestation of a target is perhaps akin to the execution of a whole series of military maneuvers against the target’s territory including observation, infiltration, occupation and exploitation.

 

Evading forensics and anti-virus

A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, Siemens and anti-virus companies attribute and defend against attacks.

“Tradecraft DO’s and DON’Ts” contains CIA rules on how its malware should be written to avoid fingerprints implicating the “CIA, US government, or its witting partner companies” in “forensic review”. Similar secret standards cover the use of encryption to hide CIA hacker and malware communication (pdf), describing targets & exfiltrated data (pdf) as well as executing payloads (pdf) and persisting (pdf) in the target’s machines over time.

CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs. These are documented in AV defeats, Personal Security Products, Detecting and defeating PSPs and PSP/Debugger/RE Avoidance. For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window’s “Recycle Bin”. While Comodo 6.x has a “Gaping Hole of DOOM”.

CIA hackers discussed what the NSA’s “Equation Group” hackers did wrong and how the CIA’s malware makers could avoid similar exposure.

 

Examples

The CIA’s Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by “Year Zero”) each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools.

The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for penetration, infestation (“implanting”), control, and exfiltration.

Another branch of development focuses on the development and operation of Listening Posts (LP) and Command and Control (C2) systems used to communicate with and control CIA implants; special projects are used to target specific hardware from routers to smart TVs.

Some example projects are described below, but see the table of contents for the full list of projects described by WikiLeaks’ “Year Zero”.

 

UMBRAGE

The CIA’s hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency. Each technique it has created forms a “fingerprint” that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.

This is analogous to finding the same distinctive knife wound on multiple separate murder victims. The unique wounding style creates suspicion that a single murderer is responsible. As soon one murder in the set is solved then the other murders also find likely attribution.

The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch‘s UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.

UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.

 

Fine Dining

Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out. The questionnaire is used by the agency’s OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically “exfiltrating” information from computer systems) for specific operations. The questionnaire allows the OSB to identify how to adapt existing tools for the operation, and communicate this to CIA malware configuration staff. The OSB functions as the interface between CIA operational staff and the relevant technical support staff.

Among the list of possible targets of the collection are ‘Asset’, ‘Liason Asset’, ‘System Administrator’, ‘Foreign Information Operations’, ‘Foreign Intelligence Agencies’ and ‘Foreign Government Entities’. Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals. The ‘Case Officer’ is also asked to specify the environment of the target like the type of computer, operating system used, Internet connectivity and installed anti-virus utilities (PSPs) as well as a list of file types to be exfiltrated like Office documents, audio, video, images or custom file types. The ‘menu’ also asks for information if recurring access to the target is possible and how long unobserved access to the computer can be maintained. This information is used by the CIA’s ‘JQJIMPROVISE’ software (see below) to configure a set of CIA malware suited to the specific needs of an operation.

 

Improvise (JQJIMPROVISE)

‘Improvise’ is a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like Windows (Bartender), MacOS (JukeBox) and Linux (DanceFloor). Its configuration utilities like Margarita allows the NOC (Network Operation Center) to customize tools based on requirements from ‘Fine Dining’ questionairies.

 

HIVE

HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software. The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants.

The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.

Each cover domain resolves to an IP address that is located at a commercial VPS (Virtual Private Server) provider. The public-facing server forwards all incoming traffic via a VPN to a ‘Blot’ server that handles actual connection requests from clients. It is setup for optional SSL client authentication: if a client sends a valid client certificate (only implants can do that), the connection is forwarded to the ‘Honeycomb’ toolserver that communicates with the implant; if a valid certificate is missing (which is the case if someone tries to open the cover domain website by accident), the traffic is forwarded to a cover server that delivers an unsuspicious looking website.

The Honeycomb toolserver receives exfiltrated information from the implant; an operator can also task the implant to execute jobs on the target computer, so the toolserver acts as a C2 (command and control) server for the implant.

Similar functionality (though limited to Windows) is provided by the RickBobby project.

See the classified user and developer guides for HIVE.

 

* * *

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why now?

WikiLeaks published as soon as its verification and analysis were ready.

In Febuary the Trump administration has issued an Executive Order calling for a “Cyberwar” review to be prepared within 30 days.

While the review increases the timeliness and relevance of the publication it did not play a role in setting the publication date.

Redactions

Names, email addresses and external IP addresses have been redacted in the released pages (70,875 redactions in total) until further analysis is complete.

  1. Over-redaction: Some items may have been redacted that are not employees, contractors, targets or otherwise related to the agency, but are, for example, authors of documentation for otherwise public projects that are used by the agency.
  2. Identity vs. person: the redacted names are replaced by user IDs (numbers) to allow readers to assign multiple pages to a single author. Given the redaction process used a single person may be represented by more than one assigned identifier but no identifier refers to more than one real person.
  3. Archive attachments (zip, tar.gz, …) are replaced with a PDF listing all the file names in the archive. As the archive content is assessed it may be made available; until then the archive is redacted.
  4. Attachments with other binary content are replaced by a hex dump of the content to prevent accidental invocation of binaries that may have been infected with weaponized CIA malware. As the content is assessed it may be made available; until then the content is redacted.
  5. The tens of thousands of routable IP addresses references (including more than 22 thousand within the United States) that correspond to possible targets, CIA covert listening post servers, intermediary and test systems, are redacted for further exclusive investigation.
  6. Binary files of non-public origin are only available as dumps to prevent accidental invocation of CIA malware infected binaries.

Organizational Chart

The organizational chart corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far.

Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG and its branches within the org chart of the agency is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far. It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently.

Wiki pages

“Year Zero” contains 7818 web pages with 943 attachments from the internal development groupware. The software used for this purpose is called Confluence, a proprietary software from Atlassian. Webpages in this system (like in Wikipedia) have a version history that can provide interesting insights on how a document evolved over time; the 7818 documents include these page histories for 1136 latest versions.

The order of named pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first). Page content is not present if it was originally dynamically created by the Confluence software (as indicated on the re-constructed page).

What time period is covered?

The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first).

WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA’s creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order. If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.

What is “Vault 7″

“Vault 7″ is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.

When was each part of “Vault 7″ obtained?

Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.

Is each part of “Vault 7″ from a different source?

Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.

What is the total size of “Vault 7″?

The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.

How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of “Vault 7″?

Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.

Isn’t WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series?

No. That would be certainly counter-productive.

Has WikiLeaks already ‘mined’ all the best stories?

No. WikiLeaks has intentionally not written up hundreds of impactful stories to encourage others to find them and so create expertise in the area for subsequent parts in the series. They’re there. Look. Those who demonstrate journalistic excellence may be considered for early access to future parts.

Won’t other journalists find all the best stories before me?

Unlikely. There are very considerably more stories than there are journalists or academics who are in a position to write them.

wikileaks

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Flynn’s Gone But They’re Still Gunning For You, Donald

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

by David Stockman
Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity : February 17, 2017

General Flynn’s tenure in the White House was only slightly longer than that of President-elect William Henry Harrison in 1841.  Actually, with just 24 days in the White House, General Flynn’s tenure fell a tad short of old “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”.  General Harrison actually lasted 31 days before getting felled by pneumonia.

And the circumstances were considerably more benign. It seems that General Harrison had a fondness for the same “firewater” that agitated the native Americans he slaughtered at the famous battle memorialized in his campaign slogan. In fact, during the campaign a leading Democrat newspaper skewered the old general, who at 68 was the oldest US President prior to Ronald Reagan, saying:

Give him a barrel of hard [alcoholic] cider, and… a pension of two thousand [dollars] a year… and… he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.

That might have been a good idea back then (or even now), but to prove he wasn’t infirm, Harrison gave the longest inaugural address in US history (2 hours) in the midst of seriously inclement weather wearing neither hat nor coat.

That’s how he got pneumonia! Call it foolhardy, but that was nothing compared to that exhibited by Donald Trump’s former national security advisor.

General Flynn got the equivalent of political pneumonia by talking for hours during the transition to international leaders, including Russia’s ambassador to the US, on phone lines which were bugged by the CIA. Or more accurately, making calls which were “intercepted” by the very same NSA/FBI spy machinery that monitors every single phone call made in America.

Ironically, we learned what Flynn should have known about the Deep State’s plenary surveillance from Edward Snowden. Alas, Flynn and Trump wanted the latter to be hung in the public square as a “traitor”, but if that’s the solution to intelligence community leaks, the Donald is now going to need his own rope factory to deal with the flood of traitorous disclosures directed against him.

In any event, it was “intercepts” leaked from deep in the bowels of the CIA to the Washington Post and then amplified in a 24/7 campaign by the War Channel (CNN) that brought General Flynn down.

But here’s the thing. They were aiming at Donald J. Trump. And for all of his puffed up bluster about being the savviest negotiator on the planet, the Donald walked right into their trap, as we shall amplify momentarily.

But let’s first make the essence of the matter absolutely clear. The whole Flynn imbroglio is not about a violation of the Logan Act owing to the fact that the general engaged in diplomacy as a private citizen.

It’s about re-litigating the 2016 election based on the hideous lie that Trump stole it with the help of Vladimir Putin. In fact, Nancy Pelosi was quick to say just that:

‘The American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia’s financial, personal and political grip on President Trump and what that means for our national security,’ House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a press release.

Yet, we should rephrase. The re-litigation aspect reaches back to the Republican primaries, too. The Senate GOP clowns who want a war with practically everybody, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are already launching their own investigation from the Senate Armed Services committee.

And Senator Graham, the member of the boobsey twins who ran for President in 2016 while getting a GOP primary vote from virtually nobody,  made clear that General Flynn’s real sin was a potential peace overture to the Russians:

Sen. Lindsey Graham also said he wants an investigation into Flynn’s conversations with a Russian ambassador about sanctions: “I think Congress needs to be informed of what actually Gen. Flynn said to the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions,” the South Carolina Republican told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “At This Hour. And I want to know, did Gen. Flynn do this by himself or was he directed by somebody to do it?”

We say good riddance to Flynn, of course, because he was a shrill anti-Iranian warmonger. But let’s also not be fooled by the clinical term at the heart of the story. That is, “intercepts” mean that the Deep State taps the phone calls of the President’s own closest advisors as a matter of course.

This is the real scandal as Trump himself has rightly asserted. The very idea that the already announced #1 national security advisor to a President-elect should be subject to old-fashion “bugging,” albeit with modern day technology, overwhelmingly trumps the utterly specious Logan Act charge at the center of the case.

As one writer for LawNewz noted regarding acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ voyeuristic pre-occupation with Flynn’s intercepted conversations, Nixon should be rolling in his grave with envy:

Now, information leaks that Sally Yates knew about surveillance being conducted against potential members of the Trump administration, and disclosed that information to others. Even Richard Nixon didn’t use the government agencies themselves to do his black bag surveillance operations. Sally Yates involvement with this surveillance on American political opponents, and possibly the leaking related thereto, smacks of a return to Hoover-style tactics. As writers at Bloomberg and The Week both noted, it wreaks of ‘police-state’ style tactics. But knowing dear Sally as I do, it comes as no surprise.

Yes, that’s the same career apparatchik of the permanent government that Obama left behind to continue the 2016 election by other means. And it’s working. The Donald is being rapidly emasculated by the powers that be in the Imperial City due to what can only be described as an audacious and self-evident attack on Trump’s Presidency by the Deep State.

Indeed, it seems that the layers of intrigue have gotten so deep and convoluted that the nominal leadership of the permanent  government machinery has lost track of who is spying on whom. Thus, we have the following curious utterance by none other than the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes:

‘I expect for the FBI to tell me what is going on, and they better have a good answer,’ he told The Washington Post. ‘The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded.’

Well, yes. That makes 324 million of us, Congressman.

But for crying out loud, surely the oh so self-important chairman of the House intelligence committee knows that everybody is bugged. But when it reaches the point that the spy state is essentially using its unconstitutional tools to engage in what amounts to “opposition research” with the aim of election nullification, then the Imperial City has become a clear and present danger to American democracy and the liberties of the American people.

As Robert Barnes of LawNewz further explained, Sally Yates, former CIA director John Brennan and a large slice of the Never Trumper intelligence community were systematically engaged in “opposition research” during the campaign and the transition:

According to published reports, someone was eavesdropping, and recording, the conversations of Michael Flynn, while Sally Yates was at the Department of Justice. Sally Yates knew about this eavesdropping, listened in herself (Pellicano-style for those who remember the infamous LA cases), and reported what she heard to others. For Yates to have such access means she herself must have been involved in authorizing its disclosure to political appointees, since she herself is such a political appointee. What justification was there for an Obama appointee to be spying on the conversations of a future Trump appointee?

Consider this little tidbit in The Washington Post. The paper, which once broke Watergate, is now propagating the benefits of Watergate-style surveillance in ways that do make Watergate look like a third-rate effort.  (With the) FBI ‘routinely’ monitoring conversations of Americans…… Yates listened to ‘the intercepted call,’ even though Yates knew there was ‘little chance’ of any credible case being made for prosecution under a law ‘that has never been used in a prosecution.’

And well it hasn’t been. After all, the Logan Act was signed by President John Adams in 1799 in order to punish one of Thomas Jefferson’s supporters for having peace discussions with the French government in Paris. That is, it amounted to pre-litigating the Presidential campaign of 1800 based on sheer political motivation.

According to the Washington Post itself, that is exactly what Yates and the Obama holdovers did day and night during the interregnum:

Indeed, the paper details an apparent effort by Yates to misuse her office to launch a full-scale secret investigation of her political opponents, including ‘intercepting calls’ of her political adversaries.

So all of the feigned outrage emanating from Democrats and the Washington establishment about Team Trump’s trafficking with the Russians is a cover story. Surely anyone even vaguely familiar with recent history would have known there was absolutely nothing illegal or even untoward about Flynn’s post-Christmas conversations with the Russian Ambassador.

Indeed, we recall from personal experience the thrilling moment on inauguration day in January 1981 when word came of the release of the American hostages in Tehran. Let us assure you, that did not happen by immaculate diplomatic conception — nor was it a parting gift to the Gipper by the outgoing Carter Administration.

To the contrary, it was the fruit of secret negotiations with the Iranian government during the transition by private American citizens. As the history books would have it because it’s true, the leader of that negotiation, in fact, was Ronald Reagan’s national security council director-designate, Dick Allen.

As the real Washington Post later reported, under the by-line of a real reporter, Bob Woodward:

Reagan campaign aides met in a Washington DC hotel in early October, 1980, with a self-described ‘Iranian exile’ who offered, on behalf of the Iranian government, to release the hostages to Reagan, not Carter, in order to ensure Carter’s defeat in the November 4, 1980 election.

The American participants were Richard Allen, subsequently Reagan’s first national security adviser, Allen aide Laurence Silberman, and Robert McFarlane, another future national security adviser who in 1980 was on the staff of Senator John Tower (R-TX).

To this day we have not had occasion to visit our old friend Dick Allen in the US penitentiary because he’s not there; the Logan Act was never invoked in what is surely the most blatant case ever of citizen diplomacy.

So let’s get to the heart of the matter and be done with it. The Obama White House conducted a sour grapes campaign to delegitimize the election beginning November 9th and it was led by then CIA Director John Brennan.

That treacherous assault on the core constitutional matter of the election process culminated in the ridiculous Russian meddling report of the Obama White House in December. The latter, of course, was issued by serial liar James Clapper, as national intelligence director, and the clueless Democrat lawyer and bag-man, Jeh Johnson, who had been appointed head of the Homeland Security Department.

Yet on the basis of  the report’s absolutely zero evidence and endless surmise, innuendo and “assessments”, the Obama White House imposed another round of its silly school-boy sanctions on a handful of Putin’s cronies.

Of course, Flynn should have been telling the Russian Ambassador that this nonsense would be soon reversed!

But here is the ultimate folly. The mainstream media talking heads are harrumphing loudly about the fact that the very day following Flynn’s call — Vladimir Putin announced that he would not retaliate against the new Obama sanctions as expected; and shortly thereafter, the Donald tweeted that Putin had shown admirable wisdom.

That’s right. Two reasonably adult statesman undertook what might be called the Christmas Truce of 2016. But like its namesake of 1914 on the bloody no man’s land of the western front, the War Party has determined that the truce-makers shall not survive.

The Donald has been warned.

Source: The Ron Paul Institute

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

US Government Can Legally Access Your Facebook Data — and Now We Know How

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Alice Salles
The Anti-Media : December 26, 2016

The end of the year is approaching, and data concerning government abuses of power has begun pouring in.

According to Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report, government’s requests for Facebook account data rose 27 percent in the first half of 2016.

Facebook’s official announcement explained that requests for user data went from 46,710 in the last half of 2015 to 59,229 in the first half of 2016. At least 56 percent of these requests, Facebook added, “contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user.

Law enforcement agencies from across the globe, Facebook continued, often send restriction requests demanding Facebook remove content from its forums. Fortunately, these requests dropped substantially this year, from 55,827 in the last half of 2015 to 9,663 in 2016 — an 87 percent drop. Most of the 2015 requests revolved aroundFrench content restrictions of a single image from the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks.”

Additionally, Facebook used its report to disclose for the first time what the company does when law enforcement agencies request “snapshots” of a user account that might be relevant to law enforcement for undisclosed reasons.

These “preservation requests,” as they are known, are requests to “preserve data pending receipt of formal legal process.” They are often processed by the social media website as snapshots, which are preserved temporarily. According to Facebook, the company does notdisclose any of the preserved records unless and until we receive formal and valid legal process.” In the first half of 2016, Facebook received 38,675 preservation requests regarding 67,129 accounts, a staggering number of requests.




Further, Facebook insisted it does not give law enforcement any “back doors” to user information. Adding that requests are only fulfilled if they meet legal requirements or “legal sufficiency,” as Facebook puts it, they claim to “apply a rigorous approach to every government request [they] receive to protect the information of the people who use [their] services,” the company added. But this rigorous approach is not rigorous enough if “reforms” designed to avoid privacy overreach in America simply don’t go far enough.

Take the USA Freedom Act, for instance. The 2015 law was once supported by libertarian-leaning congressmen like Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). Later, however, Amash criticized the bill after changes giving government more power were adopted.

Mentioning the new rule by name, Facebook added that “as a result of transparency reforms introduced this year by the USA Freedom Act, our report also contains additional information concerning National Security Letters (NSLs).” NSLs are “extraordinary search procedures” that give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the power to “compel the disclosure of customer records held by banks, telephone companies, Internet Service Providers, and others.” They are extraordinary because detailed information can be surrendered without proper oversight, an issue that has led to countless cases of abuse.

While NSLs are still being implemented, the gag order related to the procedure has changed. Now, “the government goes to court to justify the gag order only if an NSL recipient notifies the FBI of its desire for judicial review in the first place.” While the government bears “the burden of immediately going to court and proving its necessity,” NSLs give the FBI the power to bypass this important step.

Explaining that “the government lifted a gag requirement on one NSL issued in the second half of 2015,” the company decided to publish it. It’s unclear sure how many other NSLs Facebook has received.

Facebook may promise to “apply a rigorous approach to every government request” that comes its way, but rigor may only be practiced within the boundaries of U.S. law. If the law fails to protect the user’s privacy by allowing agencies to use “extraordinary” procedures, your data is never protected, no matter how well-meaning companies like Facebook claim to be.

According to Facebook, other government requests concerning “imminent risk of serious injury or death” are also granted on a regular basis. At least 3,016 of these requests were made in the first half of 2016. They targeted 4,192 accounts.

Search warrants were produced in only 13,742 cases of request for data while only 781 others were backed by court orders.


This article (US Government Can Legally Access Your Facebook Data — and Now We Know How) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alice Salles and theAntiMedia.org.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Germany Submits to Sharia Law

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Soeren Kern
Gatestone Institute : December 1, 2016

A German court has ruled that seven Islamists who formed a vigilante patrol to enforce Sharia law on the streets of Wuppertal did not break German law and were simply exercising their right to free speech.

The ruling, which effectively legitimizes Sharia law in Germany, is one of a growing number of instances in which German courts are — wittingly or unwittingly — promoting the establishment of a parallel Islamic legal system in the country.

The self-appointed “Sharia Police” sparked public outrage in September 2014, when they distributed yellow leaflets which established a “Sharia-controlled zone” in the Elberfeld district of Wuppertal. The men urged both Muslim and non-Muslim passersby to attend mosques and to refrain from alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, gambling, music, pornography and prostitution.

The vigilantes are followers of Salafism, a virulently anti-Western ideology that openly seeks to replace democracy in Germany (and elsewhere) with an Islamic government based on Sharia law.

Salafist ideology posits that Sharia law is superior to secular, common law because it emanates from Allah, the only legitimate lawgiver, and thus is legally binding eternally for all of humanity. According to the Salafist worldview, democracy is an effort to elevate the will of humans above the will of Allah, and is therefore a form of idolatry that must be rejected. In other words, Sharia law and democracy are incompatible.

Wuppertal Mayor Peter Jung said he hoped the police would take a hard line against the Islamists: “The intention of these people is to provoke and intimidate and force their ideology upon others. We will not allow this.”

Wuppertal Police Chief Birgitta Radermacher said the “pseudo police” represented a threat to the rule of law and that only police appointed and employed by the state have the legitimate right to act as police in Germany. She added:

“The monopoly of power lies exclusively with the State. Behavior that intimidates, threatens or provokes will not be tolerated. These ‘Sharia Police’ are not legitimate. Call 110 [police] when you meet these people.”

Wuppertal’s public prosecutor, Wolf-Tilman Baumert, argued that the men, who wore orange vests emblazoned with the words “SHARIAH POLICE,” had violated a law that bans wearing uniforms at public rallies. The law, which especially prohibits uniforms that express political views, was originally designed to prevent neo-Nazi groups from parading in public. According to Baumert, the vests were illegal because they had a “deliberate, intimidating and militant” effect.

On November 21, 2016, however, the Wuppertal District Court ruled that the vests technically were not uniforms, and in any event did not pose a threat. The court said that witnesses and passersby could not possibly have felt intimidated by the men, and that prosecuting them would infringe on their freedom of expression. The “politically correct” decision, which may be appealed, effectively authorizes the Sharia Police to continue enforcing Islamic law in Wuppertal.

German courts are increasingly deferring to Islamic law because either the plaintiffs or the defendants are Muslim. Critics say the cases — especially those in which German law has taken a back seat to Sharia law — reflect a dangerous encroachment of Islamic law into the German legal system.

In May 2016, for example, an appeals court in Bamberg recognized the marriage of a 15-year-old Syrian girl to her 21-year-old cousin. The court ruled that the marriage was valid because it was contracted in Syria, where such marriages are allowed according to Sharia law, which does not set any age limit to marriage. The ruling effectively legalized Sharia child marriages in Germany.

The case came about after the couple arrived at a refugee shelter in Aschaffenburg in August 2015. The Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt) refused to recognize their marriage and separated the girl from her husband. The couple filed a lawsuit and a family court ruled in favor of the Youth Welfare Office, which claimed to be the girl’s legal guardian.

The court in Bamberg overturned that ruling. It determined that, according to Sharia law, the marriage is valid because it has already been consummated, and therefore the Youth Welfare Office has no legal authority to separate the couple.

The ruling — which was described as a “crash course in Syrian Islamic marriage law” — ignited a firestorm of criticism. Some accused the court in Bamberg of applying Sharia law over German law to legalize a practice that is banned in Germany.

Critics of the ruling pointed to Article 6 of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (Einführungsgesetz zum Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuche, EGBGB), which states:

“A legal standard of another State shall not be applied where its application results in an outcome which is manifestly incompatible with the essential principles of German law. In particular, it is not applicable if the application is incompatible with fundamental rights.”

This stipulation is routinely ignored, however, apparently in the interests of political correctness and multiculturalism. Indeed, Sharia law has been encroaching into the German justice system virtually unchecked for nearly two decades. Some examples include:

In August 2000, a court in Kassel ordered a widow to split her late Moroccan husband’s pension with another woman to whom the man was simultaneously married. Although polygamy is illegal in Germany, the judge ruled that the two wives must share the pension, in accordance with Moroccan law.

In March 2004, a court in Koblenz granted the second wife of an Iraqi living in Germany the right to remain permanently in the country. The court ruled that after five years in a polygamous marriage in Germany, it would be unfair to expect her to return to Iraq.

In March 2007, a judge in Frankfurt cited the Koran in a divorce case involving a German-Moroccan woman who had been repeatedly beaten by her Moroccan husband. Although police ordered the man to stay away from his estranged wife, he continued to abuse her and at one point threatened to kill her. Judge Christa Datz-Winter refused to grant the divorce. She quoted Sura 4, Verse 34 of the Koran, which justifies “both the husband’s right to use corporal punishment against a disobedient wife and the establishment of the husband’s superiority over the wife.” The judge was eventually removed from the case.

In December 2008, a court in Düsseldorf ordered a Turkish man to pay a €30,000 ($32,000) dower to his former daughter-in-law, in accordance with Sharia law.

In October 2010, a court in Cologne ruled that an Iranian man must pay his ex-wife a dower of €162,000 euros ($171,000), the current equivalent value of 600 gold coins, in accordance with the original Sharia marriage contract.

In December 2010, a court in Munich ruled that a German widow was entitled to only one-quarter of the estate left by her late husband, who was born in Iran. The court awarded the other three-quarters of the inheritance to the man’s relatives in Tehran in accordance with Sharia law.

In November 2011, a court in Siegburg allowed an Iranian couple to be divorced twice, first by a German judge according to German law, and then by an Iranian cleric according to Sharia law. The director of the Siegburg District Court, Birgit Niepmann, said the Sharia ceremony “was a service of the court.”

In July 2012, a court in Hamm ordered an Iranian man to pay his estranged wife a dower as part of a divorce settlement. The case involved a couple who married according to Sharia law in Iran, migrated to Germany and later separated. As part of the original marriage agreement, the husband promised to pay his wife a dower of 800 gold coins payable upon demand. The court ordered the husband to pay the woman €213,000 ($225,000), the current equivalent value of the coins.

In June 2013, a court in Hamm ruled that anyone who contracts marriage according to Islamic law in a Muslim country and later seeks a divorce in Germany must abide by the original terms established by Sharia law. The landmark ruling effectively legalized the Sharia practice of “triple-talaq,” obtaining a divorce by reciting the phrase “I divorce you” three times.

In July 2016, a court in Hamm ordered a Lebanese man to pay his estranged wife a dower as part of a divorce settlement. The case involved a couple who married according to Sharia law in Lebanon, migrated to Germany and later separated. As part of the original marriage agreement, the husband promised to pay his wife a dower of $15,000. The German court ordered him to pay her the equivalent amount in euros.

In an interview with Spiegel Online, Islam expert Mathias Rohe said that the existence of parallel legal structures in Germany is an “expression of globalization.” He added: “We apply Islamic law just as we do French law.”

A growing number of Muslims in Germany are consciously bypassing German courts altogether and instead are adjudicating their disputes in informal Sharia courts, which are proliferating across the country. According to one estimate, some 500 Sharia judges are now regulating civil disputes between Muslims in Germany — a development that points to the establishment of a parallel Islamic justice system in the country.

A major reason for the growth in Sharia courts is that Germany does not recognize polygamy or marriages involving minors.

The German Interior Ministry, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, recently revealed that 1,475 married children are known to be living in Germany as of July 31, 2016 — including 361 children who are under the age of 14. The true number of child marriages in Germany is believed to be much higher than the official statistics suggest, because many are being concealed.

Polygamy, although illegal under German law, is commonplace among Muslims in all major German cities. In Berlin, for example, it is estimated that fully one-third of the Muslim men living in the Neukölln district of the city have two or more wives.

According to an exposé broadcast by RTL, one of Germany’s leading media companies, Muslim men residing in Germany routinely take advantage of the social welfare system by bringing two, three or four women from across the Muslim world to Germany, and then marrying them in the presence of a Muslim cleric. Once in Germany, the women request social welfare benefits, including the cost of a separate home for themselves and for their children, on the claim of being a “single parent with children.”

Although the welfare fraud committed by Muslim immigrants is an “open secret” costing German taxpayers millions of euros each year, government agencies are reluctant to take action due to political correctness, according to RTL.

(readthe full article at gatestone institute)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

‘Turkey is like Germany after 1933′

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Volker Witting
dw.com: November 30, 2016

More and more Turks are applying for political asylum in Germany. They feel threatened and repressed by the Erdogan government, and they fear for their lives. Most applicants are Kurds, like Mazhar Zümrüt.

Elegantly-dressed Mazhar Zümrüt (above) does not want to speak with us in the asylum center’s community room: He doesn’t trust the others living there. “They could spy on me,” he whispers. He is mistrustful, and feels persecuted and spied upon even in supposedly safe Germany. Yet, he is doing better here on the German countryside at the edge of North-Rhine Westphalia. He has settled in here, in his small, brightly-painted room. He says he has no other choice.

Fighting for political asylum

Mazhar Zümrüt has survived an odyssey. He first fled to Syria and then Iraq before arriving in Germany in May. He officially applied for political asylum on May 20. He says he feared for his life in a country in which repression and despotism have spread under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “The Turkey that I fled is like Germany in 1933,” according to Zümrüt. Now, he pins all his hopes on Germany. “The rule of law is still respected here.”

As a Kurd living in Diyarbakir, he experienced injustice every day. He was cursed as a traitor and a terrorist. When police broke into his house last summer he knew it was time to leave. There has been a warrant out for Mazhar Zümrüt’s arrest since then – forcing him to go into hiding, separated from his wife. Zümrüt is accused of being a member of the outlawed militant group, PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

The 64-year-old Zümrüt, a former civil servant in the Ministry of Employment, denies the accusation. He says he is simply a member of the Kurdish BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), a local branch of the pro-Kurdish HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) with seats in Turkey’s parliament – the representatives of which were summarily arrested last month. And that is exactly what he told Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

Record numbers of Turkish asylum seekers

Over the last several months, the agency has registered skyrocketing numbers of Turkish citizens applying for political asylum. Especially in the wake of the failed coup on July 15, and the purge that the Erdogan government has been engaged in since then. In reply to a request from Deutsche Welle, the Federal Office said that 4,437 asylum applications were submitted between January and October alone. That number now likely exceeds 5,000. Most applicants say that they are members of Turkey’s minority Kurdish community. In 2015, the agency says that it only received 1,767 such applications.

The German government and the foreign ministry are exhibiting solidarity with oppressed Turks. Recently, Minister of State at the Foreign Ministry, Michael Roth, explained in an interview: “Critics in Turkey should know that the German government stands with them in solidarity. Politically persecuted persons are free to apply for asylum here.”

Last hope: Germany

For Zümrüt, such declarations are a great relief, and give him hope. “Germany is a country of laws. I don’t think it will turn me over to the fascists in Turkey.” But Mazhar Zümrüt isn’t just worried about his own fate. He shows us pictures from happier days in Eastern Anatolia, in Diyarbakir. Together with his wife, an artist, he smiles broadly into the camera. “I miss her, I want her to come to Germany, too. But my wife has had to go underground as well.” It is difficult to maintain contact with her as Zümrüt fears his phone calls will be listened to by Turkish authorities.

(read full article at dw.com

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

You’re Afraid Of Power, Not Trump

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Jason Stapleton
fee.org : November 11, 2016

You aren’t scared of Trump the person. Trump has been on this earth for 70 years and other than a general distaste for him, no one ever feared for their life because Trump walked the earth. He could do what he wanted because he didn’t affect your life. He had no control over you. What you fear is the power he now wields.

Republicans felt the same way eight years ago when Obama was elected, only for them, it was gun rights and religious persecution. We all remember the mass hysteria that drove gun prices up 200 even 300 percent. Obama called them bitter clingers; many others called them crazy right-wing conspiracy theorists.

Those of you on the progressive left fear Trump because he is going to have control over you. He has the power to affect your personal life and the lives of those you love and he has threatened to use that power in a way you find unthinkable.

But what if government had no power over your personal life? What if Trump could make all the threats he wanted, but had no means to act on his evil desires? See, everyone loves the benevolent dictator or even a brutal one, as long as his wrath is pointed in the other direction.

Everyone loves the advancement of their own personal agenda, as long as the not so nice parts are pointed elsewhere. We are far too quick to trade our freedoms and liberties on the promise that our compassionate leaders will crush our evil opposition. But every power used to control our political and social enemies can also be used to control us.

Progressives cheered Obama when he used his unilateral power of executive orders to fast track a left-wing agenda, circumventing our system of checks and balances, and blamed the other side for “holding back progress” and blocking government from “doing more.”

But now that same power rests in the hands of a man who may use it to persecute them. It’s scary. The liberties we trade for security and the powers we grant government are never returned. We, as a people, must be vigilant in ensuring that we are not tricked into trading away our individual liberties for the promise of a benevolent government, because one day that government may turn tyrannical and dictatorial.

So, whether you woke up the next morning with a renewed sense of hope, or one of deep despair, if we want to ensure that our elected officials never have the power to persecute those they serve, we must work together to limit the size of government and the power our officials wield.

(read the full article at fee.org)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Great 9/11 Coverup

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Eric Zuesse
Off-Guardian : September 7, 2016

Did you happen to notice that after more than a decade of the ‘news’ media’s demanding publication of “the missing 28 pages” (which turned out actually to have been 29 pages) from the U.S. Congress’s investigation into 9/11, the document’s press-coverage, finally, on 15 July 2016, turned out to have been little-to-none? And did you notice that the little there was, said it contained nothing important? Perhaps you didn’t get to know even this much about the press-coverage of it, because the U.S. Congress, which had been hiding the document ever since 2003, dumped it on a Friday night, in order for it to receive as little press-coverage as possible.

Well, what that document actually showed, and proved (and cited FBI investigators who could then have testified in public, if requested), was the opposite of unimportant: that the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud (who was known in Washington as “Bandar Bush,” because of his closeness to the Bush family), had secretly been paying the Saudi handlers of at least two of the 15 Saudis among the 19 9/11 hijackers, and that Bandar’s wife and other relatives were also paying those hijackers-to-be, and their families — thus enabling the future hijackers to obtain the necessary pilot-training etc., for the 9/11 attacks.

How much news-coverage of this was there in the U.S.’democracy’ that is supposed to be informing the public about such things, instead of continuing the cover-ups of them?

Why do U.S. ‘news’ media hide it — after having demanded for more than ten years that the ‘missing 28 pages’ become published?

But that’s not all there is to the cover-up: As I mentioned and documented in my July 20th news-report on “9/11: Bush’s Guilt and the ’28 Pages’,” U.S. President George W. Bush was also involved in the 9/11 operation: He had instructed his National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to block his obtaining from U.S. government sources any specific information about what the attacks would entail, or about the date on which they would occur. (Presumably, he already knew, via his private communications with Prince Bandar or someone else who was in on the event’s planning, all that he had wanted to know about the coming event.)

When CIA Director George Tenet, on 10 July 2001, was practically screaming to Rice to allow him into the Oval Office, to meet privately with the President to inform him of how urgent the situation had become to take action on it, she said: “We’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.” Tenet was shocked, and dismayed. That encounter with Rice was intended to urge the President to establish a hit-team to take out bin Laden, so as to avert the operation — whatever it was, or would turn out to be. The way that Chris Whipple put this, in his terrific report in Politico magazine, on 12 November 2015, titled “The Attacks Will Be Spectacular”, was that, “they did not want a paper trail to show that they’d been warned.”

Apparently, “Bandar Bush” knew the details, but his friend George W. Bush did not — Bush needed “deniability” — it’s not for nothing that he was able to say, after the event, as Condoleezza Rice was to put it when speaking to reporters on 16 May 2002, “This government did everything that it could in a period in which the information was very generalized, in which there was nothing specific to react to … Had this president known of something more specific, or known that a plane was going to be used as a missile, he would have acted on it.”

How does she now square that statement with her having told Tenet, on 10 July 2001, “We’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.”? What ‘clock’? Why not? No one asks her — especially not under oath.

Is that the way things happen in a democracy, even 15 years after the event?

On 10 September 2012, Kurt Eichenwald, who had reported for The New York Times, was then issuing his new book on the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, and he headlined an op-ed then in his former newspaper (which thus could hardly have declined to accept it), “The Deafness Before the Storm”, describing the most puzzling aspect of the lead-up to 9/11:

It was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history.

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

Those “briefs” still are not published. And now, after the revelation, by Chris Whipple, that Condoleezza Rice was under instruction from her boss not to allow him to be informed too early for “the clock to start ticking,” we can understand why there is still so much that hasn’t yet been released to the public, in our ‘democracy’, about who was really behind 9/11.

On 17 April 2016, Paul Sperry in the New York Post headlined “How US covered up Saudi role in 9/11”, and he reported that his own investigation showed: “Actually, the kingdom’s involvement was deliberately covered up at the highest levels of our government. And the coverup goes beyond locking up 28 pages of the Saudi report in a vault in the US Capitol basement. Investigations were throttled. Co-conspirators were let off the hook.” But isn’t it time, now, to demand that Bush’s role also be explored — not only that the Saud family’s (especially Bandar’s) role in it be prosecuted? After all, Bush was the one who took a Presidential oath.

Or: Is the U.S. not enough of a democracy, for that to happen — for the Constitution to be enforced, by the U.S. President after Bush (the President who will not prosecute his intended successor)? How total must the non-accountability at the top be, before we call the country a “dictatorship” — only a fake ‘democracy’?

Regarding the actions that brought down the three World Trade Center Buildings, WTC1, WTC2, and WTC7, there also is good reason to distrust the official ‘history’. Witness accounts both by firefighters and by the general public were videoed at the time saying that they heard multiple explosions, which indicated controlled demolitions after the two plane-crashes into WTC1 and WTC2. Other witnesses of the WTC7 collapse also heard explosions. Regarding WTC7, there was testimony from the owner of the WTC, Larry Silverstein, saying that he instructed the Fire Department not to go into WTC7 but simply to “pull it.” (And his subsequent statement saying he didn’t really mean that and he meant only to “pull” the firefighters from that building, which actually had none, was debunked.)

Even the government’s “Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7” acknowledged (p. 48) that there had been “(2) a freefall descent over approximately eight stories of gravitational acceleration for approximately 2.25 s[econds]” meaning that that 8-story segment had been blasted so that, throughout those 8 stories, there was zero resistance to the collapsed portion falling through it from above.

This alone constitutes solid and conclusive physical proof of the official lie, though itself published in the official source. And yet on the very next page in that official document is stated, “Blast events did not play a role in the collapse of WTC 7. … There were no witness reports of such a loud noise.”

But there were such witness reports; and, anyway, the very admission (on the prior page) that there was free-fall over an 8-story segment of the building, constitutes acknowledgement of physical proof that there had been controlled demolition on WTC7. Further, there has even been expert testimony that nano-thermite was used to bring down each of these buildings. But clearly, whatever the truth of the matter is, the U.S. Government has been lying, and continues to lie, about 9/11.

(full article at off-guardian

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

RCMP found wanting, if not negligent, in Duffy verdict

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Neil Macdonald
CBC News : April 23, 2016

Anyone who watched justice dispensed to Mike Duffy this week — and that is exactly what happened — should be thankful.

Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt proved that in Canada, the courts are there to protect citizens against the venal machinations of those in high office, and the terrifying power of the police and prosecutors who answer to them.

Vaillancourt fustigated them all, effectively characterizing the charges against Duffy as an abuse of power.

You’d think the RCMP would have a great deal to answer for. As a result of the Duffy case, the force’s motto, “Maintiens le Droit,” is that much more meaningless.

It did not defend the law. It defended the status quo, and genuflected to authority, using police discretion to toss a single newsworthy individual into the nightmare of the criminal system, essentially stealing two years of his life, while ignoring other senators who were doing just about exactly the same thing as Duffy.

And how in heaven’s name can you charge a person with accepting a bribe without charging the political enforcer in the Prime Minister’s Office who offered it?

The force today is behaving as though it is an impassive, disinterested public agency answerable to the law, and only to the law. It always does.

But when every single charge is thrown out by a judge who, from the bench, tears into the investigation the way Vaillancourt did, it takes considerable institutional arrogance to shrug and carry on as though nothing just happened.

That was a judge talking. Judges judge, and the Mounties have now been judged wanting, if not negligent.

The Canadian citizen they singled out for criminal treatment faced prison time, effectively for doing the bidding of former prime minister Stephen Harper and the inner circle of the PMO.

David Scott, a respected Ottawa lawyer who defended another individual many years ago against what amounted to RCMP persecution, says the Duffy decision was a delightful example of real justice:

“I’m frankly proud,” he says, “of the way this turned out.”

“It is completely unprofessional to have such an active animus at work in an investigation. The RCMP was lusting to do this [charge Duffy] because of the high-profile nature of the case. There was a hue and cry to ‘get this creep.'”

And, of course, because Harper had decided Duffy was in the wrong.

“It’s the power of authority,” says Scott. “I have no doubt that this was a case of pleasing the masters.”

Scott has seen the power of authority before.

In 1989, he defended Global News journalist Doug Small after the Mounties charged Small with possession of stolen goods. Small had obtained a copy of the federal budget and had broadcast its contents, robbing the finance minister of his big moment.

Senior ministers denounced it as theft, and the RCMP obediently swung into action. The fact that no other journalist had ever been charged for receiving a brown envelope mattered not at all.

When the case got to court, though, a Mountie named Staff Sgt. Richard Jordan took the stand and reminded Canadians what police integrity looks like.

He revealed that, as lead investigator, he’d defied the force’s management and refused to charge Small. First of all, Small had been doing his job. Second, he derived no financial benefit from the leak, and the paper upon which the budget was printed had no intrinsic value.

But Henry Jensen, then the force’s assistant commissioner, wanted Small punished. He yanked Jordan from the case and ordered a more junior officer to lay the charge.

And, just as happened this week, an independent-minded judge pronounced Small not guilty and said the story provided an “important public function.”

The force’s response, and that of the prosecutors at the time, was a few lines of boilerplate about respecting the court, and unfortunately not being able to comment further.

Which is just what the Mounties are doing today, nearly two years after Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud issued a long news release, with his picture, detailing the charges against Duffy and all the complicated sleuthing his officers had put in exposing the wrongdoing.

Asked on Friday what Michaud has to say after the censure by Vaillancourt, a junior officer said: “The RCMP respects the decision of the court. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Asked why it would be inappropriate to comment now when it was deemed appropriate to advertise and flaunt the charges in 2014, she replied it would be inappropriate to comment.

Of course it would. The power of authority, and the refuge of the badge.

(read the full article at CBC)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Democratic Party Names Scapegoat in New York Primary Voter Suppression

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

AlternativeFreePress.com

The purge of over 100,000 Brooklyn voters from the rolls is being pinned on Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the Board of Election’s chief clerk. The establishment is calling the incident “an epic screw-up”, but this is clearly targeted voter suppression driven by malicious intent.

Brooklyn lost 102,717 — or 8% — of its active voters from Nov. 1, 2015, through April 1, 2016, according to state stats. That appears to be a deliberate and successful attempt to purge Bernie Sanders supporters.

Now that the Democratic establishment has named it’s scapegoat, they expect us just to forget about calling it voter suppression. Apparently, we should accept this was just one person’s “epic screw up” and blindly accept Clinton as the Democrat nominee, regardless of whether the process was fair or rigged.

Sources:
NY daily news

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Whistleblower Found Dead, 3 Days After Warning That Police Would Try To Kill Him

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

MintPress News : January 29, 2016

Activists from Fresno are alarmed after a local anti-corruption whistleblower was found dead not long after forecasting his own demise on social media.

While responding to a house fire on the afternoon of Jan. 20, firefighters found John Lang, 51, unresponsive. Later that day, he was pronounced dead at a local hospital, though it wasn’t clear whether his death was caused by the fire or by the multiple stab wounds to his back and abdomen. According to a Jan. 25 report from The Fresno Bee, “Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire,” which police described as suspicious.

The timing of Lang’s death is suspicious to local activists, who reported that Lang had predicted his demise in recent, increasingly alarmed posts online. Dylan Donnelly documented Lang’s warnings in a Jan. 26 investigation for independent media site Fresno People’s News, noting that Lang had been “a frequent poster in the Fresno People’s Media group on Facebook and acquaintance to many in the Fresno activist community.”

The series of postings began on Jan. 13, when Lang shared his belief that police were targeting him not just for being an outspoken activist, but because he was exposing a policing “scheme” that he said targeted Fresno’s most disadvantaged residents.

(Read the full article at MintPress News)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

15 News Stories from 2015 You Should Have Heard About But Probably Didn’t

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Carey Wedler
theAntiMedia.org : December 30, 2015

In 2015, the iron fist of power clamped down on humanity, from warfare to terrorism (I repeat myself) to surveillance, police brutality, and corporate hegemony. The environment was repeatedly decimated, the health of citizens was constantly put at risk, and the justice system and media alike were perverted to serve the interests of the powers that be.

However, while 2015 was discouraging for more reasons than most of us can count, many of the year’s most underreported stories evidence not only a widespread pattern that explicitly reveals the nature of power, but pushback from human beings worldwide on a path toward a better world.

 1. CISA Pushed Through the Senate, Effectively Clamping Down on Internet Freedom: For years, Congress has attempted to legalize corporate and state control of the internet. In 2011, they attempted to pass PIPA and SOPA, companion bills slammed by internet and tech companies and ultimately defeated after overwhelming public outcry. Then they passed  CISPA — which the president threatened to veto, having caught wind of the public’s opposition to heavy regulation of the internet (earlier this year, Obama reversed his position). However, corporate interests, like Hollywood’s studio monopoly, kept lawmakers’ tenacity afloat.

In October, Congress passed CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, but as the Electronic Freedom Foundation explained: “CISA is fundamentally flawed. The bill’s broad immunity clauses, vague definitions, and aggressive spying powers combine to make the bill a surveillance bill in disguise. Further, the bill does not address problems from the recent highly publicized computer data breaches that were caused by unencrypted files, poor computer architecture, un-updated servers, and employees (or contractors) clicking malware links.” Just before Christmas, Congress went even further, adding an amendment to the annual omnibus budget bill that strips CISA’s minimal privacy provisions even more. That budget bill was approved, though Representative Justin Amash of Michigan has vowed to introduce legislation to repeal the CISA provisions when Congress reconvenes.

But CISA wasn’t the only attack on citizens’ privacy this year. Though lawmakers touted the USA Freedom Act as a repeal of the mass surveillance state, in reality, it simply added a bureaucratic step to the process by which government agencies obtain private information. Further, a hack on Italian security firm, aptly called Hacker Tools, revealed that various agencies — including the DEA, NSA, Army, and FBI — possess software that enables them to, as Anti-Media reported, “view suspects’ photos, emails, listen to and record their conversations, and activate the cameras on their computers…” At the same time, the United Kingdom and France moved to tighten their already comprehensive surveillance apparatuses in the wake of multiple terrorist attacks. Though governments claim systematic surveillance is necessary to protect citizens — and Snowden’s leaks endangered that safety — the United States government has been unable to produce sufficient evidence the programs work. Instead, the documents the Department of Defense released this year as proof of the alleged endangerment were entirely redacted.

2. CIA Whistleblower Sent to Prison for Revealing Damning Information to a Journalist: While the government has no problem invading the privacy of its citizens, it offers swift backlash for those who attempt to violate its own clandestine operations. Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent, had his first altercation with the CIA when he sued for racial discrimination in 2001. He was subsequently fired. Years later, the CIA filed espionage charges against him for speaking with New York Times journalist, James Risen. Sterling had revealed a botched CIA scheme, Operation Merlin, to infiltrate Iranian intelligence that ultimately worsened the situation, gave Iran a nuclear blueprint, and was deemed by some to be espionage, itself. Rather than acknowledge the woeful misstep, the CIA arrested him, charged him, and ultimately sentenced him to 42 months in prison. The trial was reportedly biased, but nevertheless, was severely underreported by the media. Sterling’s conviction reflects the ongoing war on whistleblowers, which Obama has successfully expanded during his presidency. Sterling joins the ranks of Edward Snowden, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, and others, including a whistleblower who worked for OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program and was fired for exposing dysfunction and incompetence within the ranks.

3. Press Freedom Continued to Deteriorate: An annual report from the World Press Freedom Index saw the United States slip 29 spots from last year, landing 49th out of 180 total. In January, journalist Barrett Brown was sentenced to five years in prison for exposing the findings of hacker Jeremy Hammond. Brown was charged with obstructing justice, aiding and abetting, and separate charges of allegedly threatening the FBI in a rant. Hammond, who exposed severe violations of privacy on the part of Stratfor, a CIA contractor, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Brown’s experience was not an isolated incident. Journalists around the world, like several journalists who were killed while investigating ISIS in Turkey, faced increased danger. One small-town journalist in India was burned alive after exposing a corrupt politician.

4. Multiple Activists Arrested, Charged with Felonies for Educating Jurors About Their Rights: In an ongoing trend, otherwise peaceful, non-violent individuals were harassed by police and courts — not for exposing secret information, but for providing information to potential jurors about their rights in the courtroom. One Denver jury nullification activist, followed by another, was charged with multiple felonies for handing out pamphlets that explain a juror’s right to vote “not guilty” in a verdict, even if the defendant is clearly guilty. This right was established to allow jurors to vote with their conscience and question the morality of laws, from the 19th century’s Fugitive Slave Act to Prohibition, both of alcohol in the 1920s and of marijuana today. The Denver activists are awaiting trial, while more recently, a former pastor was charged with a felony for the same reason.

In other unjust convictions and failings of the “justice” system, an African-American man was sentenced to seven years in prison for barking at a police dog, a Kansas mother faces decades in prison for using marijuana to treat her debilitating Crohn’s disease, and a mentally ill man died in jail after being held for stealing five dollars worth of snacks from a convenience store. He had inexplicably been waiting months to be transferred to a medical facility. Ross Ulbricht, founder of the dark web marketplace, the Silk Road, was sentenced to life in prison in spite of the fact that he committed no violent crimes — though the FBI attempted to paint a false picture that he did, albeit without filing formal charges. The prosecution was rife with corruption and scandal; two FBI agents involved in the case were charged with stealing Bitcoin during the investigation. In July, one admitted to stealing $700,000 worth of the digital currency.

5. Six-Year-Old Autistic Boy Killed by Police: 2015 established not only that the justice system remains broken, but the the enforcement class — police officers — continues to terrorize citizens. In one underreported case, a six-year-old boy was fatally caught in the crossfire of a police shootout against his father, who was unarmed. In another case, an African-American motorist was shot and killed by University of Cincinnati police over a missing front license plate. While high-profile cases of misconduct, including Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland, rightly dominated the news cycle, many more cases of police brutality received little attention. In fact, in 2015, it was revealed not only that the media-propagated “War on Cops” in America was a myth, but that American police kill exponentially more people in weeks than other countries’ police kill in years. On the bright side, many police officers did face charges — and even prosecution — in 2015, including one repeat rapist who recently cried upon being convicted of his crimes. The officers involved in the shooting of the six-year-old boy were also charged with murder.

6. Earth Enters Sixth Mass Extinction: 2015, like many years before, was disastrous for the environment. Researchers from Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton determined Earth is entering its sixth mass extinction, reporting that species are disappearing at a rate 100 times faster than the normal rate between mass extinctions. Further, thanks, in part, to the widespread use of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide, populations of bees and Monarch butterflies dwindled — though, happily, the Monarchs appear to have bounced back. Polar bears also met continued endangerment.

The much-anticipated Paris Climate Conference yielded what many environmental activists deemed weak, if not fraudulent, solutions. Meanwhile, man-made environmental catastrophes endangered humans. In Flint, Michigan, lead levels in the water led to increased rates of contamination in children’s blood, prompting the mayor to declare a state of emergency. A massive methane gas leak in the San Fernando Valley, located just north of Los Angeles, has sickened residents and forced countless families to relocate. Authorities have been unable to stop the leak.

Thankfully, some measures to help the environment were taken in 2015, including creative solutions to stop animal poaching, the first flight of a solar-powered plane, the launch of a solar-powered airport in India, and Costa Rica’s successful effort to draw 99% of its energy from renewable sources.

7. Civilian Casualties in Western Wars Continue: Though ISIS and other terrorist groups were rightly condemned for killing civilians in 2015, the West pointed fingers while committing the same crimes. In fact, one U.N. report released in September found U.S. drone strikes have killed more civilians in Yemen than al-Qaeda. Another analysis released this year concluded Obama’s ongoing drone wars have killed more people than were murdered during the Spanish Inquisition. Though the U.S. military’s bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital received global attention and outrage, many other incidents went underreported. In May, one U.S. airstrike on Syria killed 52 civilians in one fell swoop. Additionally, U.S.-backed coalitions have bombed civilian populations, like in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia killed at least 500 children, not to mention two thousand more adult civilians. In other egregious misdeeds, it was revealed that the U.S. military sanctions pedophilia in Afghanistan.

8. Insurrection at the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency Over Misleading Reports on ISIS: Over the summer, dissent grew within the ranks of the DIA, the Pentagon’s internal intelligence agency. In September, news broke that 50 intelligence analysts filed a report with the Department of Defense’s Inspector General to expose their superiors’ alleged manipulation of intelligence. The intention of the coverup was reportedly to downplay the threat of ISIS and the U.S.’s losing effort to fight it, all to maintain the Obama administration’s narrative the bombing campaigns have been successful.

Similar mishandlings of foreign affairs plagued 2015. It was revealed that the Pentagon had no idea what it did with $8.5 trillion, lost track of $500 million worth of weapons and equipment, and spent $43 million on a single gas station in Afghanistan. A DIA report released in June intimated the military was aware of the rising threat of ISIS, and not only allowed it, but welcomed it. The program to train moderate rebels in the fight cost half a billion dollars but yielded only four or five fighters. Further, multiple generals spoke out this year about the U.S. military’s role in creating ISIS. Additionally, news broke in 2015 that one ISIS recruiter had previously been trained by infamous Iraq War profiteer, Blackwater.

9. Activists Inch a Small Step Closer to Exposing the Actors Behind 9/11: Though few Americans heard about it, in August, a New York judge allowed a trial to move forward that could expose a potential government cover-up in the notorious terrorist attack. The ruling was tepid, allowing a 60 to 90 day window for the case to be dismissed or proceed. A later ruling hindered the effort, citing a lack of evidence; but activists have not stopped fighting for the release of 28 redacted pages from the 9/11 commission report that allegedly implicate Saudi Arabia (a majority of the hijackers on 9/11 were of Saudi origin).

Whatever the truth may be, 2015 witnessed growing doubts about the Saudi government, which beheaded more people than ISIS this year. It also sentenced a poet to beheading for writing poetry about his experience as a refugee from Palestine, sentenced a young man, Ali al-Nimr, to crucifixion for participating in anti-government protests, attempted to issue 350 lashings to a British man in possession of wine (though the U.K. intervened on his behalf, and that of al-Nimr; neither will be punished), and initiated a punishment of 1,000 lashings for a pro-democracy blogger, Raif Badawi.

10. The FDA Approved OxyContin for Use in Children: Though the approval of the powerful, addictive painkiller for use in 11-year-olds and younger children was unsurprising to those who follow the agency’s track record, the FDA’s justification was shocking. After lawmakers wrote a letter expressing concern to the FDA, the agency’s spokesperson, Eric Pahon, said the news was, in fact, not that serious because it was already standard practice. It’s important to stress that this approval was not intended to expand or otherwise change the pattern of use of extended-release opioids in pediatric patients,” Pahon said. “Doctors were already prescribing it to children, without the safety and efficacy data in hand with regard to the pediatric population.

However disturbing, the FDA’s decision comported with other related events this year: President Obama appointed a pharmaceutical lobbyist Deputy Commissioner of medical and tobacco products, a study found swaths of heroin users graduate from prescription painkillers, and similarly, 75% of high school students who used heroin had previously abused pharmaceuticals.

In other stories regarding the misconduct of agencies tasked with keeping people safe, the FDA continued to allow meat companies to use a pharmaceutical additive banned in 150 countries, while whistleblowers at the USDA revealed several plants were producing pork products filled with fingernails, hair, bile, and feces.

11. The Federal Government Admitted Cannabis May Help Fight Brain Cancer: Though the government has long known about the medical benefits of cannabis — it holds patents on several medicinal qualities — the National Institute on Drug Abuse made waves this year when it published a document acknowledging the healing properties of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive endocannabinoid. In particular, it noted “[e]vidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors.” Though more research is needed, the government’s admission was unexpected, albeit welcomed by many cannabis enthusiasts. Other studies this year suggested cannabis may help heal broken bones and is associated with lower rates of obesity.

Though many Americans still faced criminal prosecution for treating themselves and their children with cannabis, 2015 demonstrated the long-term trend of decriminalization and legalization will not be reversed. Nations around the world, from Ireland to Costa Rica to Canada laid groundwork to legalize marijuana to various degrees, while a majority of Americans now support legalization.

12. Nestle Paid $524 to Plunder the Public’s Water Resources: This year, Anti-Media reported on the insidious relationship between Nestle and the Forest Service in California. The investigation found not only that Nestle was using an expired permit to turn exponential profit on 27 million gallons of water, but that a former Forest Service official went on to consult for the company.

While corporate exploitation ran rampant in 2015, many countries around the world fought back. India sued Nestle after finding one of its products contained lead, while nations around the world banned Monsanto and GE products. Scotland, Denmark, and Bulgaria, among others, all moved to ban GE crops, while multiple lawsuits, highlighted the serious potential health consequences of the widespread use of pesticides (though the EPA disputed that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, was an endocrine disrupter in June, in November, news broke that the majority of studies the EPA used to make its decision were funded by industry). Though corporate power remains all but monolithic, 2015 saw humans across the world rise up to resist it. Most recently (and comically), a proposed initiative in California is about to enter the next phase — signature gathering — to place it on the 2016 ballot. If placed on the ballot and passed, it will force California legislators to wear the logos of their top ten donors while they participate in legislative activities. The effort has drawn widespread praise and enthusiasm.

13. Establishment Caught Manipulating News to Fit Narratives: Following the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, contentious protests broke out, eventually resulting in limited rioting and looting. However, while the media attempted to paint protesters as aggressive, it failed to report officers’ prolonged prohibition of their physical movement, to say nothing of the riot gear police showed up wearing. After being unable to move, a brick was thrown, but the media failed to report the instigation and discrimination law enforcement imposed that ultimately led the students and protesters to grow unruly.

In other manipulations, it was revealed that one Fox News contributor lied about his experience as a CIA agent; he had never been employed at the agency, and only obtained later national security jobs by lying about his CIA experience. Further, CBS edited out comments from Muslims, who discussed U.S. foreign policy as a driver of Islamic extremism during a televised focus group.

A study by fact checker, Politifact, revealed that all the major outlets surveyed — Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC— consistently report half-truths and lies. It is little wonder, then, that another survey found only 7% of Americans still harbor “a great deal of trust” in the mainstream media.

Still, it wasn’t just the media that lied. On multiple occasions, government employees were caught attempting to distort facts. In March, news emerged that an IP address linked to the NYPD had attempted to edit the Wikipedia page on Eric Garner. Computers inside Britain’s parliament were linked to attempted edits on pages detailing sex scandals, among other transgressions. In a related story, the FBI reported it had foiled yet another terrorist plot, and once again, it was revealed the culprits were provided support from an informant working for the bureau. Further, in August, Wikileaks released cables that showed an American lobbyist for Saudi Arabia organized a $6 million ad campaign against the president’s nuclear deal with Iran, all through a well-funded group called the “American Security Initiative.” The lobbyist, Norm Coleman, is a former Republican senator.

14. TPP: In one of the most widely-contested pieces of legislation in recent memory, the Trans-Pacific Partnership moved forward, often in secret. The TPP has been condemned as a corporate power grab that ensures profit for pharmaceutical companies, among many other loathed industries. From clamping down on internet freedom to effectively sanctioning sex trafficking, TPP signals an ominous fate for the future of freedom.

15. Sharp Uptick in Islamophobia: Amid the carnage of the Paris terror attacks, the recent shooting in San Bernardino, and the surge in Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Western nations, attacks against Muslims skyrocketed in 2015. In the United States, Muslims have been attacked for praying in public, wearing traditional head scarves, and for simply being out in public. Sikhs have been caught in the crossfire for the crime of being brown and wearing cloth on their heads — and thus being confused with Muslims — while at least one Christian has been terrorized as a result of the unmitigated hate currently permeating modern society. Many European nations and U.S. states have rejected the influx of refugees from war-torn Syria.

Amid the increased hate against Muslims, however, has come an outpouring of love and tolerance. Muslim groups across the world have condemned terror attacks, raised money to help the families of victims, and promoted programs to discourage extremism. At the same time, citizens across Europe, Canada, and even parts of the United States have welcomed Syrian refugees with open arms.

2015 was a year of chaos, violence, hate, and an ongoing struggle of freedom versus oppression. In many ways, it was like the years, decades, and even centuries and millenia that came before. But amid the conflict and often discouraging headlines, humanity has continued to persevere, offering resistance to seemingly all-powerful forces and paving the way for, if nothing else, potential peace, freedom, and respect for human life.

The Anti Media (cc)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

EU Unveils Standing Border Force That Will Act “Even If A Government Objects”

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Zero Hedge: December 10, 2015

Last weekend we wrote that in Europe’s attempt to contain the greatest refugee crisis since WWII, it would directly take control over the border control of the one country which over the summer lost its sovereignty (but at least it still has the euro), and which serves as a springboard for tens of thousands of migrants to proceed onward with their journey to Germany (where as reported earlier, they are no longer desired, as their continued arrival results in a plunging approval rating for Angela Merkel).

We added that the deployment of additional officers will begin next week, and noted that as our friends at Keep Talking Greece wrote:

“the masks have fallen. Hand in hand, the European Union and the Frontex want to cancel national sovereignty and take over border controls in the pretext of “safeguarding the Schengen borders”. With controversial claims, they use the case of Greece to create an example that could soon happen “in the border area near you.”  And the plan is all German.”

Finally, we asked whether this was merely Paranoia

or just another confirmation that the Eurozone is using every incremental, and produced, crisis to cement its power over discrete European state sovereignty and wipe out the cultural and religious borders the prevent the amalgamation of Europe into a Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt-controlled superstate? “

It was not paranoia, because according to blockbuster FT report released moments ago, “Brussels is to propose the creation of a standing European border force that could take control of the bloc’s external frontiers even if a government objected.

As even the otherwise pro-EU FT cautiously notes, “The move would arguably represent the biggest transfer of sovereignty since the creation of the single currency.”

We agree, because this is precisely what we said would happen.

… the European Commission will unveil plans next week to replace the Frontex border agency with a permanent border force and coastguard — deployed with the final say of the commission, according to EU officials and documents seen by the Financial Times.

 

The blueprint represents a last-ditch attempt to save the Schengen passport-free travel zone, by introducing the kind of common border policing repeatedly demanded by Paris and Berlin. Britain and Ireland have opt-outs from EU migration policy, and would not be obliged to take part in the scheme.

Naturally, the first guniea pig wil be Greece: the state which has already lost its sovereignty courtesy of capital controls that will likely persist in some form in perpetuity, and which is most distressed and thus least equipped to say no. It will spread from there and promptly become the norm for a “project” which the European apparatchiks think is long overdue.

Indeed, as the FT adds, “European leaders have discussed a common border force for more than 15 years, but always struggled to overcome deep-seated objections to yielding national powers to monitor or enforce borders — one of the core functions of a sovereign state. Greece, for instance, only recently agreed to accept EU offers to send border teams, after months of wrangling over their remit.”

However now in the aftermath of the Paris suicide bombings and the indefinite emergency “pre-crime” laws instituted in France, conventional wisdom in Brussels is that Europeans’ eagerness to trade sovereignty (and thus liberty) in exchange for (border) security, is far greater.

The result: a loss of border sovereignty, which woul effectively make the customs union one big superstate controlled by Brussels:

One of the most contentious elements of the regulation would hand the commission the power to authorise a deployment to a frontier, on the recommendation of the management board of the newly formed European Border and Coast Guard. This would also apply to non-EU members of Schengen, such as Norway.

And the absolute kicker:

Although member states would be consulted, they would not have the power to veto a deployment unilaterally.

And just like that, goodbye sovereignty… all in the name of halting the endless onslaught of Syrian refugees, which ironically was unleashed in the first place just so Europe could get its supplies of natural gas from Qatar instead of Russia.

(read the full article at Zero Hedge)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

France to suspend civil rights for 3 months

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Associated Press : November 16, 2015

France’s president says a bill to extend the country’s state of emergency for three months will be presented to parliament on Wednesday.

Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency following Friday night’s attacks across the capital and at the Stade de France. Parliament must approve extending it.

The state of emergency extends some police powers of search and arrest and limits public gatherings, among other changes.

CTV News

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Snowden Vindicated As Judge Slams “Unconstitutional, Orwellian” NSA Bulk Spying

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Claire Bernish
The Anti-Media: November 10, 2015

On Monday, a federal judge ordered a halt to the NSA’s bulk metadata collection program in a reiteration and confirmation of a previous ruling that found the practice “unconstitutional” — and even “Orwellian.”

“This court simply cannot, and will not, allow the government to trump the Constitution merely because it suits the exigencies of the moment,” stated Washington, D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon in his mordant 43-page ruling.

Edward Snowden immediately hailed the decision, pointing out significant passages from the court to his millions of Twitter followers. Of particular importance — and, indeed, at the heart of both known and potentially unknown domestic spy programs — remains the impossible reckoning between Fourth Amendment protections and the government’s claims of a national security imperative.

“Moved by whatever momentary evil has aroused their fears, officials — perhaps even supported by a majority of citizens — may be tempted to conduct searches that sacrifice the liberty of each citizen to assuage the perceived evil. But the Fourth Amendment rests on the principle that a true balance between the individual and society depends on the recognition of ‘the right to be let [sic] alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men,’” the ruling stated, with emphasis added by Snowden.

In another tweet, the whistleblower summarized the ruling: “Judge rejects government claim that so long as you aren’t targeted individually, dragnet searches of your life are OK.”

 

Though Leon’s judgment arrives mere weeks before metadata collection would naturally end under the USA Patriot Act’s Section 215 upon implementation of the newly passed USA Freedom Act, he emphasized potential implications of any undue delay in bringing such spying to a close, stating:

“In my December 2013 Opinion, I stayed my order pending appeal in light of the national security interests at stake and the novelty of the constitutional issues raised. I did so with the optimistic hope that the appeals process would move expeditiously. However, because it has been almost two years since I first found that the NSA’s Bulk Telephony Metadata Program likely violates the Constitution and because of the loss of constitutional freedoms for even one day is a significant harm […] I will not do that today.”

In other words, the judge harshly repudiated the government’s already poorly disguised emphasis on national security to justify bulk collection as wholly secondary to the individual’s right to privacy under the Constitution. Leon’s 2013 ruling was struck down in August this year, when an appeals court found the plaintiff in Klayman v. Obama had not established the legal standing necessary to dispute the constitutionality of the NSA program. Once amended appropriately, the judge was able to make a ruling on the original case and issue an injunction to halt bulk collection.

In this ruling, Leon sharply admonished the appeals court for its reversal, saying:

“Because the loss of constitutional freedoms is an ‘irreparable injury’ of the highest order, and relief to the two named plaintiffs would not undermine national security interests, I found that a preliminary injunction was not merely warranted — it was required. [emphasis by the judge]

Seemingly irritated at the insult of the government maintaining its position on the necessity of bulk collection while ignoring the preceding twenty-two months to find less invasive means to achieve the same goal, Leon searingly stated:

“To say the least, it is difficult to give meaningful weight to a risk of harm created, in significant part, by the Government’s own recalcitrance.”

Pointing out the painfully obvious, Leon derided fictitious claims the government needs bulk data collection at all, considering the program thwarted exactly zero terror attacks throughout its entire duration. In rebuttal to claims the contentious NSA program remains reasonably effective, the judge flatly stated:

“This is a conclusion I simply cannot reach given the continuing lack of evidence that the Program has ever actually been successful as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.”

Pulling no punches, Leon concludes with a scathing challenge to the naïveté and blind acceptance Congress mistakenly presumed the public and court would give the contentiously invasive program:

“To be sure, the very purpose of the Fourth Amendment would be undermined were this court to defer to Congress’s determination that individual liberty should be sacrificed to better combat today’s evil.”

Employing linguistic subtlety which, at times, borders on a verbal smackdown, Judge Richard Leon brilliantly sent the NSA, Congress, and rest of the government a message that couldn’t be denied this second time around: Nobody buys your bullshit.

Source: The Anti-Media (cc)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather