Category Archives: Police State/Big Brother USA

Crime-Fighting Robots Go On Patrol In Silicon Valley

State Of Emergency Declared In Ferguson Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

80-year-old man with bad hearing pulled from tractor and beaten by police because ‘they were in fear of their lives’

Editor’s Note: These types of incidents happen so often in America today that it’s hard to keep. The following pages are great for staying up to date with the actions of America’s militarised thug police: Filming Cops, Police State USA, Cop Block, Police the PolicePolice Crime. I would also highly recommend Radley Balko‘s excellent book ‘Rise of the Warrior Cop‘ if you want to know more about the history of why America’s police have become so violent and militarised

KCTV5 reports:

grandpa2A Lone Jack grandfather says he fears for his life after a run in with police.

Bill Swan was on his tractor when he took issue with a utility crew trying to dig on his property. His family says that before long the Lone Jack police arrived and Swan was left bloodied and more from being yanked off the tractor.

“I’m afraid for us to even drive out of our driveway or to get on the street. I don’t know what they will do,” Libby Swan, Bill’s wife, said.

Libby Swan hasn’t asked her husband all of what happened because she doesn’t want to put him through the ordeal right now.

“It’s very unnerving that something happened to him,” she said.

She can only guess that the 80-year-old ended up with a bloodied face, bruised hip and two ribs broken because his hearing is really bad.’

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Art in a Time of Surveillance

Peter Maas writes for The Intercept:

Colored bars created by composite grid of thousands of photographs.This just happened — while trying to figure out a colorful way to begin the story you’re reading, I toggled to Twitter and saw a link to a short film by two Brooklyn directors who used a drone to film actors having sex. Their project, somewhere between art and porn, hovers on the R-rated margins of a thriving cultural movement in which artists of all stripes are exploring what it means to live in a state of surveillance.

You can’t throw a rock these days without hitting a surveillance art project, and the remarkable thing is that so much of it is so good. Some of the Snowden era’s sharpest interrogations of collect-it-all tracking by corporations and the government are to be found in galleries and other art spaces. They are the opposite of the acronym-laden news stories we read: NSA, FISA, PGP, PRISM, ACLU, EFF, SIGINT, GCHQ, TOR, FOIA, HTTPS, are you still awake? They are playful, invasive and eerie, and best of all they are graphically visual. With a transgressive edge that journalism struggles to match, they creatively challenge what it means to be human in a time of data.’

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Why I’m Terrified of My New TV: Interview with Michael Price

Editor’s Note: Michael Price serves as counsel for the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program at New York University School of Law.

Top Cop: Militarized Vehicles Needed to Deal With “Anti-Government” Groups

Paul Joseph Watson reports for Prison Planet:

Top Cop: Militarized Vehicles Needed to Deal With Anti Government Groups mrap bodyarmor‘In an article for popular law enforcement website PoliceOne.com, Officer Steve Rabinovich writes that the controversial use of militarized vehicles in domestic law enforcement situations is necessary to deal with the threat posed by “anti-government groups.”

Rabinovich boasts an impressive list of credentials, with his assignments including Emergency Response Team, Crisis Intervention, ERU, Mounted and dignitary details. Rabinovich also teaches other police and emergency medical responders at his state’s technical college system.

Acknowledging that law enforcement bodies have received “criticisms from their communities” for utilizing the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program to acquire militarized vehicles previously used to hunt insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rabinovich cites domestic terrorism and “a steady increase in deadly and violent assaults on cops” as good reasons for police departments acquiring MRAPs and other military gear.

Rabinovich also points to “violent anti-government groups and individuals” who are “targeting cops as scapegoats” as another factor that justifies the use of militarized vehicles.’

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Phishing Expedition: Secret US Justice Department Spy Program Tracks Cellphone Users

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore reports for Newser:

The extent to which the US government spies on US soil continues to unfold. The latest revelation: Using Cessna aircraft over at least five metropolitan-area airports, the Justice Department oversees (albeit to an unknown extent) a program that indiscriminately accesses large amounts of cellphone data, including identifying information and people’s general locations, to search for suspects. The program cuts out the middleman—cellphone companies—a process law enforcement has described as slow and inaccurate. The Justice Department has neither confirmed nor denied the program, but people close to it tell the Wall Street Journal that this type of surveillance happens on a regular basis.’

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Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy

David Masciotra writes for Salon:

‘Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.’

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Berlin’s digital exiles: Where tech activists go to escape the NSA

Carole Cadwalladr writes for The Guardian:

‘[...] People’s reactions in Germany to the Snowden revelations differed to those in Britain or America. There was full-on national outrage when it was revealed that even chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone had been bugged. I know this already, vaguely, in theory, but it’s a different matter to actually come to Berlin and hear person after person talk about it. I start out with three names, three high-profile “digital exiles” who have all taken refuge in the city: Poitras, Appelbaum and Sarah Harrison, another WikiLeaker who was with Snowden during his time in transit in Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow and helped him apply for political asylum in 21 countries. But I end up with reams of others. And, I can’t help thinking that Berlin, the city that found itself at the frontline of so much of the 20th century’s history, has found itself, once again, on the fracture point between two opposing world orders. And I wonder if the people I meet are the start of the internet fightback; if Berlin really is becoming a hub for a global digital resistance movement.’

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America’s dystopian new normal: Endless suspicion, limitless spying

Hina Shamsi and Matthew Harwood write for TomDispatch:

‘[...] The SAR database is part of an ever-expanding domestic surveillance system established after 9/11 to gather intelligence on potential terrorism threats. At an abstract level, such a system may seem sensible: far better to prevent terrorism before it happens than to investigate and prosecute after a tragedy. Based on that reasoning, the government exhorts Americans to “see something, say something” — the SAR program’s slogan.

Indeed, just this week at a conference in New York City, FBI Director James Comey asked the public to report any suspicions they have to authorities. “When the hair on the back of your neck stands, listen to that instinct and just tell somebody,” said Comey. And seeking to reassure those who do not want to get their fellow Americans in trouble based on instinct alone, the FBI director added, “We investigate in secret for a very good reason, we don’t want to smear innocent people.”

There are any number of problems with this approach, starting with its premise.  Predicting who exactly is a future threat before a person has done anything wrong is a perilous undertaking. That’s especially the case if the public is encouraged to report suspicions of neighbors, colleagues, and community members based on a “hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck” threshold. Nor is it any comfort that the FBI promises to protect the innocent by investigating “suspicious” people in secret. The civil liberties and privacy implications are, in fact, truly hair-raising, particularly when the Bureau engages in abusive and discriminatory sting operations and other rights violations.

At a fundamental level, suspicious activity reporting, as well as the digital and physical infrastructure of networked computer servers and fusion centers built around it, depends on what the government defines as suspicious.  As it happens, this turns out to include innocuous, First Amendment-protected behavior.’

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DARPA Develops Self-Teaching Drones

Naomi Wolf on How Fake Democracies Are Rolling Out a Global Blueprint for Control

President Obama Has Earned Our Disapproval

Conor Friedersdorf lists the reasons why he disapproves of President Obama for The Atlantic:

  1. After denouncing his predecessor’s warrantless wiretapping, Obama presided over the construction of a surveillance state more expansive than any democracy has ever known. What he hid includes documented violations of the Fourth Amendment. And the so-called reforms he urged to satiate the public are a cynical farce.
  2. The Obama administration hasn’t merely violated the law in its failure to prosecute what the president and attorney general acknowledge to be illegal torture. It has also suppressed a still-unreleased Senate report about that torture and done nothing to prevent the next president from restarting “enhanced interrogation.”
  3. The Obama administration continues to wage the most costly, ruinous war in the modern era: the War on Drugs. Obama did not try and fail to end the drug war. He didn’t even try.
  4. When the Obama administration kills innocent people in a drone strike, it does not acknowledge its mistake, apologize, or compensate the family, nor does it articulate how it will prevent such tragedies in the future. Instead, the president just keeps quiet. He suppresses the number of innocents killed, preventing anyone outside the executive branch from judging the effectiveness or morality of drone policy. He invokes the state-secrets doctrine to keep the courts from judging whether he is violating the Constitution. And he hides even his own team’s legal reasoning.
  5. Obama took two actions that set extremely dangerous precedents: He established a secret kill list, put the name of an American citizen on that list, and ordered his execution by drone strike without charges or trial or any due process. And he waged a war of choice in Libya without permission from Congress.
  6. Under Obama, the national-security state is out of control. Set aside his policies, whatever you think about them. This is a president who let his director of national intelligence, James Clapper, lie in sworn testimony to Congress without consequences. His CIA director, John Brennan, presided over surveillance of Senate Intelligence Committee operations, also without consequence.
  7. Compared to his predecessors, Obama has been extremely aggressive in his persecution of whistleblowers and journalists who’ve worked with whistleblowers.

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The Walking Dead in the American Police State

John Whitehead writes for The Rutherford Institute:

‘[...] While zombies may be the personification of our darkest fears, they embody the government’s paranoia about the citizenry as potential threats that need to be monitored, tracked, surveilled, sequestered, deterred, vanquished and rendered impotent. Why else would the government feel the need to monitor our communications, track our movements, criminalize our every action, treat us like suspects, and strip us of any means of defense while equipping its own personnel with an amazing arsenal of weapons?

For years now, the government has been carrying out military training drills with zombies as the enemy. In 2011, the DOD created a 31-page instruction manual for how to protect America from a terrorist attack carried out by zombie forces. In 2012, the CDC released a guide for surviving a zombie plague. That was followed by training drills for members of the military, police officers and first responders.

[...] The zombie exercises appear to be kitschy and fun—government agents running around trying to put down a zombie rebellion—but what if the zombies in the exercises are us, the citizenry, viewed by those in power as mindless, voracious, zombie hordes?’

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Ferguson police brace for new protests by spending thousands on riot gear

Jon Swaine reports for The Guardian:

ferguson police‘The police department overseeing the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old has spent tens of thousands of dollars replenishing their stocks of teargas, “less lethal” ammunition and riot gear in advance of a potential revival in demonstrations.

St Louis County police made the purchases amid concerns that hundreds of demonstrators will return to the streets if Darren Wilson, the officer who shot dead Michael Brown in August, is not indicted on criminal charges by a grand jury currently considering the case.’

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Amnesty International: Ferguson police violated basic UN principles

U.S. Government Approved Ferguson No-Fly Zone To Block Media

The Top Censored Stories of 2014: Interview with Mickey Huff

Abby Martin interviews, Mickey Huff, Director of Project Censored, about some of the top 25 censored stories of 2014, covering everything from the lack of police brutality statistics to the impact of ocean acidification.’ (Breaking the Set)

White House Aims to Replace Website Passwords With Federal Authentication Scheme

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

‘The White House has announced today that a long-standing plan to roll out a federal “Internet ID” authentication scheme that would be used to log in to all websites across the Internet will move forward, and the service will launch in six to twelve months.

“We simply have to kill off the password,” insisted White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel. The initiative began in 2011, with an eye toward public-private plans, but seems now to be centering on wearable authentication bracelets that Americans would apparently get instead of passwords.’

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Report Reveals Wider Tracking of Mail in U.S.

Ron Nixon reports for The New York Times:

‘In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations.

The number of requests, contained in a 2014 audit of the surveillance program by the Postal Service’s inspector general, shows that the surveillance program is more extensive than previously disclosed and that oversight protecting Americans from potential abuses is lax.’

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Interview with Laura Poitras on her new film ‘Citizenfour’

48th Anniversary of the Founding of the Black Panther Party: Interview with Eddie Conway

For More Teens, Arrests by Police Replace School Discipline

Gary Fields and John R. Emshwiller report for The Wall Street Journal:

‘[...] Over the past 20 years, prompted by changing police tactics and a zero-tolerance attitude toward small crimes, authorities have made more than a quarter of a billion arrests, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates. Nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database.

This arrest wave, in many ways, starts at school. Concern by parents and school officials over drug use and a spate of shootings prompted a rapid buildup of police officers on campus and led to school administrators referring minor infractions to local authorities. That has turned traditional school discipline, memorialized in Hollywood coming-of-age movies such as “The Breakfast Club,” into something that looks more like the adult criminal-justice system.’

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NYPD Hatchet Attack An ‘Act Of Terror’

False White House “Emergency Alert” Hijacks TVs of AT&T Customers

Rebecca Lindstrom reports for 11 Alive:

Emergency Alert‘AT&T U-verse customers in several states woke up Friday morning to find a federal emergency alert on TV. The problem is, there was no emergency and the alert somehow hijacked their TV’s, refusing to allow them to change the channel.

Alan Sams, who has his phone and internet service bundled through AT&T says he couldn’t use the internet or his phone either.

“I’m more concerned that somebody on the inside of AT&T has the capacity to deal with shutting off my communications and controlling my communications, even if it was for a short period of time,” said Sams.’

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Ottawa Killings: Who Wins?

White people are more likely to deal drugs, but black people are more likely to get arrested for it

Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post:

30_war_on_drugs_fig‘Here’s a pretty astonishing chart on the skyrocketing number of arrests of black Americans for nonviolent drug crimes. Brookings’ Jonathan Rothwell lays it out:

Arrest data show a striking trend: arrests of blacks have fallen for violent and property crimes, but soared for drug related crimes. As of 2011, drug crimes comprised 14 percent of all arrests and a miscellaneous category that includes “drug paraphernalia” possession comprised an additional 31 percent of all arrests. Just 6 percent and 14 percent of arrests were for violent and property crimes, respectively.

Even more surprising is what gets left out of the chart: Blacks are far more likely to be arrested for selling or possessing drugs than whites, even though whites use drugs at the same rate. And whites are actually morelikely to sell drugs,’

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The NSA’s Moonlighting Problem

Allen McDuffee reports for The Atlantic:

‘In Washington, the revolving door between government service and more lucrative ventures is common, if not expected. However, having one foot in each has raised questions for the National Security Agency, which has launched an internal review of one senior official who was recruited by former NSA director Keith Alexander to work for his new—and very lucrative—cybersecurity private venture.

Patrick Dowd, the NSA’s Chief Technological Officer, is allowed to work up to 20 hours a week for Alexander’s firm, IronNet Cybersecurity, Inc., according to Reuters, which broke the story on the deal. Although the arrangement was apparently approved by NSA managers and does not appear to break any laws on its face, it does raise questions about ethics and the dividing line between business and one of the most secretive agencies in government.’

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How One Man Refused to Spy on Fellow Muslims for the FBI

Arun Kundnani, Emily Keppler and Muki Najaer report for The Nation:

FBI‘On the night of December 9, 2011, Siham Stewart called her husband, Ayyub Abdul-Alim, as he closed down his corner store, Nature’s Garden, in Springfield, Massachusetts. She asked him to bring home a gallon of milk. A few minutes later, she watched from the window of their second-floor apartment as he was seized in the street and handcuffed by two police officers.

Forty-eight hours after Abdul-Alim’s arrest, FBI agent James Hisgen and Springfield police officer Ronald Sheehan offered him the chance to walk away free of charges if he agreed to become an informant on the Muslim community. He refused the deal and is now held at the Cedar Junction maximum-security prison in Massachusetts, facing up to sixteen years behind bars.’

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Edward Snowden: State surveillance in Britain has no limits

Carole Cadwalladr reports for The Guardian:

 Edward Snowden‘The UK authorities are operating a surveillance system where “anything goes” and their interceptions are more intrusive to people’s privacy than has been seen in the US, Edward Snowden said.

Speaking via Skype at the Observer Ideas festival, held in central London, the whistleblower and former National Security Agency specialist, said there were “really no limits” to the GCHQ’s surveillance capabilities.’

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