(New York Post) “We are now moving to facial-recognition technology, which takes it to a whole new level, where it can see the face of the person in the car and run that technology against databases.
“Because many times a person will turn their head when they see a security camera, so they are now experimenting with technology that just identifies a person by their ear, believe it or not,” he continued.
Facial-recognition cameras at NYC bridge & tunnel toll plazas are scanning drivers’ visages; feeding them into databases; New York Civil Liberties Union slammed the surveillance operation; Government should not be track everyone going about their day https://t.co/zZ0VFnTESL
It is supposed to be illegal for the NSA to spy on communications that are completely domestic, but that appears to be precisely what is happening. According to a brand new report from Ryan Gallagher and Henrik Moltke of the Intercept, NSA documents indicate that the NSA is systematically capturing our emails, our phone calls and our text messages at certain key strategic points on AT&T’s immensely powerful Internet network. There are only eight facilities that allow for direct access into AT&T’s “common backbone”, and thanks to leaked documents the Intercept was able to identify the exact location of each of those facilities…
Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.
Apparently the relationship between AT&T and the NSA has been ongoing “for decades”, and it isn’t just data from AT&T customers that is being collected.
The data exchange between AT&T and other networks initially takes place outside AT&T’s control, sources said, at third-party data centers that are owned and operated by companies such as California’s Equinix. But the data is then routed – in whole or in part – through the eight AT&T buildings, where the NSA taps into it. By monitoring what it calls the “peering circuits” at the eight sites, the spy agency can collect “not only AT&T’s data, they get all the data that’s interchanged between AT&T’s network and other companies,” according to Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who worked with the company for 22 years. It is an efficient point to conduct internet surveillance, Klein said, “because the peering links, by the nature of the connections, are liable to carry everybody’s traffic at one point or another during the day, or the week, or the year.”
The NSA appears to be engaged in a data collection program that is far beyond anything that we have ever seen before in human history.
The eight locations are featured on a top-secret NSA map, which depicts U.S. facilities that the agency relies upon for one of its largest surveillance programs, code-named FAIRVIEW. AT&T is the only company involved in FAIRVIEW, which was first established in 1985, according to NSA documents, and involves tapping into international telecommunications cables, routers, and switches.
In 2003, the NSA launched new internet mass surveillance methods, which were pioneered under the FAIRVIEW program. The methods were used by the agency to collect – within a few months – some 400 billion records about people’s internet communications and activity, the New York Times previously reported. FAIRVIEW was also forwarding more than 1 million emails every day to a “keyword selection system” at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters.
Needless to say, the numbers would be much higher today.
And thanks to the leaked documents, the Intercept is able to tell us a great deal about these AT&T “spy hubs”…
Among the pinpointed buildings, there is a nuclear blast-resistant, windowless facility in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood; in Washington, D.C., a fortress-like, concrete structure less than half a mile south of the U.S. Capitol; in Chicago, an earthquake-resistant skyscraper in the West Loop Gate area; in Atlanta, a 429-foot art deco structure in the heart of the city’s downtown district; and in Dallas, a cube-like building with narrow windows and large vents on its exterior, located in the Old East district.
Elsewhere, on the west coast of the U.S., there are three more facilities: in downtown Los Angeles, a striking concrete tower near the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Staples Center, two blocks from the most important internet exchange in the region; in Seattle, a 15-story building with blacked-out windows and reinforced concrete foundations, near the city’s waterfront; and in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, a building where it was previously claimed that the NSA was monitoring internet traffic from a secure room on the sixth floor.
Of course details about NSA spying have been revealed before, and the American people have not responded with outrage.
In the end, if we do not demand change they will just keep on expanding their spying operations.
The company claims it has one of the world’s most powerful networks, the largest of its kind in the U.S. AT&T routinely handles masses of emails, phone calls, and internet chats. As of March 2018, some 197 petabytes of data – the equivalent of more than 49 trillion pages of text, or 60 billion average-sized mp3 files – traveled across its networks every business day.
The NSA has direct access to all of that data, and once data has been collected it is forwarded to a “centralized processing facility” and from there it is sent to NSA headquarters in Fort Meade…
NSA diagrams reveal that after it collects data from AT&T’s “access links” and “peering partners,” it is sent to a “centralized processing facility” code-named PINECONE, located somewhere in New Jersey. Inside the PINECONE facility, there is a secure space in which there is both NSA-controlled and AT&T-controlled equipment. Internet traffic passes through an AT&T “distribution box” to two NSA systems. From there, the data is then transferred about 200 miles southwest to its final destination: NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland.
At the Maryland compound, the communications collected from AT&T’s networks are integrated into powerful systems called MAINWAY and MARINA, which the NSA uses to analyze metadata – such as the “to” and “from” parts of emails, and the times and dates they were sent. The communications obtained from AT&T are also made accessible through a tool named XKEYSCORE, which NSA employees use to search through the full contents of emails, instant messenger chats, web-browsing histories, webcam photos, information about downloads from online services, and Skype sessions.
I greatly applaud the Intercept for having the courage to run this remarkable story.
But what happens next depends on the American people.
Are you going to do something to stop the systematic collection of our emails, our phone calls and our text messages?
If not, government surveillance will continue to grow even more intrusive, and the Big Brother control grid that is being constructed all around us will become even more pervasive.
The Big Brother police state surveillance grid continues to expand, and now even the mainstream media is doing articles about it…
From the federal Department of Homeland Security down to local police departments, governmental use of biometric facial recognition software has gained a startling amount of traction in recent years. And these agencies are getting help from big business, to boot.
For example, DHS is reportedly developing a massive new biometric and biographic database with extensive data on citizens and foreigners alike. The Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will reportedly include at least seven biometric identifiers, including face and voice data, tattoos, DNA, scars, and other “physical descriptors” on as many as 500 million people. The agency has been remarkably hush-hush on how HART will be utilized — but the possibilities are frightening.
DHS expects to launch the new database next fiscal year, according to internal documents. By the following year, they anticipate having iris and facial matching capabilities, and by fiscal year 2021, the database is expected to be functioning in its full capacity. This massive and intrusive initiative will grant a whole host of federal, state, and local agencies access to intimate details about hundreds of millions of Americans and foreigners.
Nothing will be done to stop this intrusion into our lives until people start getting upset.
People got upset about families being separated at the border, and something was done.
Now there are a whole bunch of other issues that people need to protest, and this is one of them.
The era of free and unfettered speech on the Internet is rapidly ending. All over the world, national governments are working very closely with social media companies to take control of “Internet news”. Up until recently, the Internet really was a wonderful marketplace of ideas, and ordinary people like you and I were empowered to share information with one another like never before in human history. But now the elite have seen the power that this can have, and they are cracking down hard. The term “fake news” has come to mean any source that would dare to question the official narratives that are being fed to us from the mainstream media, and in reality the push to censor “fake news” is really just an all-out effort to eliminate independent thought. Before the Internet, it was much easier for the elite to control the flow of information, and now they are taking unprecedented measures to control the flow of information in the digital age.
Under the law, French authorities would be able to immediately halt the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections.
Social networks would have to introduce measures allowing users to flag up false reports, pass their data on such articles to authorities, and make public their efforts against fake news.
And the law would authorise the state to take foreign broadcasters off the air if they were attempting to destabilise France — a measure seemingly aimed at Russian state-backed outlet RT in particular.
New measures under consideration by the European Union as a whole are even more draconian.
According to a Breitbart report, all social media companies would be forced to use “content recognition technologies” to “monitor and control all uploads”…
The European Union (EU) is less than a month away from voting to introduce aggressive new online copyright laws and “widespread censorship” measures, which critics say could strangle new media websites and stifle satire and online meme culture.
Unelected European Commission bureaucrats have drafted legislation which detractors say could force online platforms to monitor and control all uploads to some platforms with “content recognition technologies”. They are also said to have proposed what has been termed a ‘link tax’, which could compel blogs and other websites to pay just to reference content.
To give you an idea of what that would look like in practice, all we have to do is to consider what is already happening over in China.
Internet censorship in China has already achieved legendary status, and the largest social media network in China has already blocked at least 500 million postings in the battle against “fake news”…
WeChat, China’s biggest social media network with around one billion users, has so far blocked about 500 million postings in its fight against fake news, according to a report by a government body.
Apart from blocking the posts directly, Tencent’s WeChat is working with hundreds of third-party organisations in an effort to block postings and quash “rumours” as part of its overall effort to “safeguard cybersecurity”, according to a report released on Friday by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, an institute run by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
WeChat has built a mini-programme into its social messaging application dedicated to refuting “rumours”, including postings on topics such as the disappearance of Malaysia Airline Flight 370 in 2014 and various other topics, such as “cures” for cancer. By the end of 2017, the programme has quashed “rumours” for over 19.7 million users and around 37 million alerts were sent out.
Just think about that for a moment.
The Chinese are not just filtering out a few legitimately fake news stories.
The truth is that they are systematically censoring anything that does not fit the official narratives that they want the public to believe.
This is the greatest threat to freedom of speech that any of us have ever seen, and it has started in the United States too.
“Of course, all of this comes after YouTube announced in December that it would hire some 10,000 new moderators to flag content,” Swann reported. “And those moderators have been flagging at a stunning rate.”
He noted further that in several cases the moderators were pulling entire channels “without any advance warning” whatsoever, and that most of those channels were deemed “either pro-gun or conservative.”
Since that time, conservative videos and conservative accounts have been “disappearing” in massive numbers.
Twitter is cracking down hard too. Multitudes of conservatives have been shadowbanned, and that happened to me too.
So I have started up a new Twitter account, and if you would like to follow it, you can find it right here.
In essence, what they want to do is to take more control over what we see and what we think.
So what should we do?
Do we keep banging our heads against the wall and continue to use these platforms that are systematically censoring us, or do we try to create new ones? Kurt Schlichter seems to believe that the latter would be the better choice…
Liberals want to win the victory they can’t achieve at the ballot box by using their cultural power to systematically marginalize and exclude Normal Americans from every aspect of society – and we can’t let them. From the business world to Hollywood, we are seeing them react to their utter repudiation in recent elections by trying to intimidate us into silent conformity as the price of us being allowed to participate in the non-governmental institutions of society. We must therefore have a two-part response to this act of cultural warfare – not only must we get right back in their smug little faces, but we must also build our own cultural institutions, ones that they can’t control.
Many were hoping that once Barack Obama was out of office we would see less of this Big Brother surveillance nonsense, but instead it seems to be getting even worse. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security has just announced that it intends to compile a comprehensive list of hundreds of thousands of “journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.”, and collect any “information that could be relevant” about them. So if you have a website, an important blog or you are just very active on social media, the Department of Homeland Security is going to put you on a list and will start collecting information about you. The DHS has already announced that it will hire a contractor to aid in monitoring media coverage, and they will definitely need plenty of help because it is going to be a very big job…
As part of its “media monitoring,” the DHS seeks to track more than 290,000 global news sources as well as social media in over 100 languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian, for instant translation into English. The successful contracting company will have “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”
“Any and all media coverage,” as you might imagine, is quite broad and includes “online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications, local sources, national/international outlets, traditional news sources, and social media.”
If this sounds extremely creepy to you, that is because it is extremely creepy.
As Gizmodonoted, the DHS’ vagueness is also a concern. It leaves itself an opening for collecting “any other information that could be relevant” about these influencers, and there’s no hint as to what that could be. Is it strictly functional information like work histories, or sensitive data that could be abused? Either way, the database could be troublesome for bloggers and social media stars who aren’t usually under such close government scrutiny.
This is one of the reasons why I wanted to get to Washington. This kind of Orwellian monitoring of our freedoms is unnecessary, it is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars, and it violates our most basic freedoms.
So why does the Department of Homeland Security need to do this?
The explanation that they are giving the public is extremely week. The following comes from Forbes…
DHS says the “NPPD/OUS [National Protection and Programs Directorate/Office of the Under Secretary] has a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach Federal, state, local, tribal and private partners.” Who knows what that means, but the document also states the NPPD’s mission is “to protect and enhance the resilience of the nation’s physical and cyberinfrastructure.”
But we are not supposed to ask questions about government programs such as this.
If you find yourself skeptical of this proposal of mass state monitoring of the press, consider yourself a bonafide member of the “tinfoil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists,” DHS representative Tyler Houlton said Friday. It’s all very routine, he argued, casting the project as an innocent means of “monitoring current events.” Just shut up and let us do this, crackpots.
That kind of response should make all of us very angry.
If the government is going to monitor us and put our information in a database, we should have the right to ask questions.
Freedom of speech is one of our most foundational rights, and many are concerned that “monitoring and tracking” are initial steps that could lead to a significant crackdown on Internet activity. Just check out what is about to happen over in Europe. The Internet has made it possible for ordinary people to communicate with one another on a massive scale, and any efforts by national governments to interfere with that must be greatly resisted.
Unfortunately, it appears that this new Department of Homeland Security program is moving ahead rapidly. In fact, it is being reported that seven different companies have “already expressed interest” in participating…
Seven companies, mainly minority- or women-owned small businesses, have already expressed interest in becoming a vendor for the contract, according to the FedBizOpps web site.
All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to be nothing. Please spread word about this creepy new surveillance program to everyone that you know, because what they are doing is not right.
If someone secretly installed software on your computer that recorded every single keystroke that you made, would you be alarmed? Of course you would be, and that is essentially what is taking place on more than 400 of the most popular websites on the entire Internet. For a long time we have known that nothing that we do on the Internet is private, but this new revelation is deeply, deeply disturbing. In my novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End”, I attempted to portray the “Big Brother” surveillance grid which is constantly evolving all around us, but even I didn’t know that things were quite this bad. According to an article that was just published by Ars Technica, when you visit the websites that have installed this secret surveillance code, it is like someday is literally “looking over your shoulder”…
If you have the uncomfortable sense someone is looking over your shoulder as you surf the Web, you’re not being paranoid. A new study finds hundreds of sites—including microsoft.com, adobe.com, and godaddy.com—employ scripts that record visitors’ keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted.
Go back and read that again.
Do you understand what that means?
Even if you ultimately decide not to post something, these websites already know what you were typing, where you clicked and how you were moving your mouse.
Essentially, it is like someone is literally sitting behind you and watching every single thing that you do on that website. The following comes from the Daily Mail…
In a blog post revealing the findings, Steven Englehardt, a PhD candidate at Princeton, said: ‘Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.
This is fundamentally wrong, and if I am elected to Congress I am going to fight like mad for our privacy rights on the Internet. Nobody should be allowed to literally monitor our keystrokes, but according to a brand new study that has just been released, 482 of the largest websites in the entire world are doing this…
“Collection of page content by third-party replay scripts may cause sensitive information, such as medical conditions, credit card details, and other personal information displayed on a page, to leak to the third-party as part of the recording,” Steven Englehardt, a PhD candidate at Princeton University, wrote. “This may expose users to identity theft, online scams, and other unwanted behavior. The same is true for the collection of user inputs during checkout and registration processes.”
I am calling on every website that is using this sort of code to cease and desist immediately. This is a gross violation of our privacy, and Congress needs to pass legislation protecting the American people immediately.
And of course it isn’t just the Internet where are privacy rights are being greatly violated. The CIA has developed software that can remotely turn on the cameras and microphones on our phones whenever they want, and they can also use our phones as GPS locators to track us wherever we go…
CIA-created malware can penetrate and then control the operating systems for both Android and iPhone phones, allege the documents. This software would allow the agency to see the user’s location, copy and transmit audio and text from the phone and covertly turn on the phone’s camera and microphone and then send the resulting images or sound files to the agency.
So just like the Internet, nothing that you do on your phone is ever truly private.
And would you be shocked to learn that our televisions can be used to spy on us as well?
A program dubbed “Weeping Angel” after an episode of the popular British TV science fiction series “Dr. Who,” can set a Samsung smart TV into a fake “off” mode to fool the consumer into thinking the TV isn’t recording room sounds when it still is. The conversations are then sent out via the user’s server. The program was developed in conjunction with MI5, the British FBI equivalent of a domestic counterintelligence and security agency, according to the WikiLeaks documents.
We are rapidly getting to the point where nothing will ever be truly private in our society ever again.
Virtually everything that we do is constantly being watched, tracked, monitored and recorded, and with each passing day our level of privacy is being eroded just a little bit more.
If you don’t want your children to grow up in a world where “Big Brother” is omnipresent, now is the time to stand up and fight. We can put limits on technology and start reclaiming our privacy, but that is only going to happen if we all work together.
What would you do if authorities ordered your church to stop feeding the homeless? And what would you do if your 5-year-old daughter was ordered to get government permission before setting up a lemonade stand? Well, these things are actually happening in America today. With each passing day, America goes further down the road toward becoming a police state. Just yesterday, I wrote about a young mother that was threatened with arrest in California for not properly vaccinating her children. We have entered a time when government bureaucrats are micromanaging all of our lives, and it is time for us to say that enough is enough.
The bigger government gets, the more oppressive it tends to become. But most people don’t understand that there is an inverse relationship between liberty and the size of government. The more government grows, the less freedoms we have, and this is true on the federal, state and local levels.
For example, all over America laws are being passed that make it illegal to feed the homeless. Every new law, rule or regulation restricts our liberties and freedoms in some way, and in this case these sorts of laws restrict our freedom to help our neighbors in need.
A Malibu church that has helped the homeless for years has been told to stop feeding people down on their luck.
CBS2’s Craig Herrera spoke to the people at the United Methodist Church about the request.
At various times, the church can serve as many as 70-100 people. They have been serving the meals on Wednesdays since 2014.
Sadly, this feeding program is being shut down right after Thanksgiving when people will need it the most.
This is really a pet peeve for me. I don’t care how many laws they try to pass, if I see someone in need I am going to try to feed them. Helping those that are hurting is always the right thing to do, and the government control freaks that are trying to shut this feeding program down should immediately resign from their positions.
Another pet peeve of mine is when authorities try to shut down lemonade stands run by young children. This happened yet again just the other day in Porterville, California…
In Porterville, California, a five-year-old girl who set up a lemonade stand to raise money to buy herself a new bike has been told four months later that she needed a business license to do it.
Her mother received the warning in a citation from city hall which asked her to send back $59, the local fee for applying for a new license plus a fine.
Thankfully the authorities apologized in that case, but in many other cases around the nation that has not happened.
Our founders wanted to create a nation where individual liberties and freedoms would be maximized. That is why they intended for government to be limited, but over time we have swung the pendulum completely in the other direction. We desperately need to rediscover the benefits of limited government, and that is one of the key pillars that I am running for Congress on.
If we continue to go down the path of big government, eventually we will end up like other “socialist paradises” around the globe.
For instance, China has become such a police state that they are actually instituting a “citizen score” for every single person in the country…
China has already implemented its Citizen Score on a voluntary basis but this month government officials released details about how the program will operate in 2020 when it becomes compulsory for all Chinese citizens.
For those who may be curious, think of the Citizen Score, sometimes referred to as a trust score, as akin to a credit score but one that encompasses every conceivable aspect of one’s life. Buy video games and your score drops because the government assumes you are idle, buy diapers and it rises because you seem more stable.
Get a traffic ticket or speak out about the government, and your score drops, but earn a degree or support the Party and your score might rise. Miss paying your bills or don’t support your parents and your score will suffer. Read books that the party doesn’t deem ideologically sound or watch foreign movies, and your score will take a hit.
Is that the kind of society you want?
If not, we have got to fight for the future of America while we still can, because the left very much wants to take us down that road.
I do not want a Big Brother police state micromanaging all of our lives, and you shouldn’t either.
America is supposed to be “the land of the free”, and it is time for us to fight to make that a reality once again.
Could you imagine being threatened by law enforcement authorities over vaccine records as you are waiting with your children for the school bus? This is something that literally just happened to one young mother down in California. One morning she walked her kids to the bus stop and she was approached by an official from the Claremont school district and a police officer. In very intimidating fashion, they began questioning her about whether or not her children had been vaccinated. When she refused to answer and started recording the interaction they walked away, but that wasn’t the end of it. Later she called the police department and explained what was going on, and she was told that she could be arrested for refusing to vaccinate her children.
You can see the video for yourself on Facebook right here. It has already been watched more than 159,000 times, and we need to get this out to as many people as we possibly can. The following is the description that Porsha Rasheed posted along with the video…
Please watch this Video and share I am. I am being set up by the Claremont school district to be arrested and they are trying to force me to give my child immunization shots! I woke up this morning and walked my kids to the bus stop like I always do. Guess who was waiting the Claremont police department along with another man asking me about my child’s shots! I called the police department to make a complaint for harassment and was told by the sergeant, that me not giving my kids shots is a criminal act and that I will be arrested. This is why they were at the bus stop to try to incriminate me by me attempting to them that my son does not have any shots. This is crazy!! I want the world to know if I am arrested this is why! I will follow up with the facts!!!!
This is the kind of thing that health freedom advocates were warning would happen in California.
In 2016, a new law went into effect that mandates that all children be fully vaccinated unless they have been granted a medical exemption…
The law requires all children entering day care, kindergarten or 7th grade to be vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption. It also gives physicians broader discretion to grant medical exemptions based on a child’s condition or family history. The law eliminated personal belief exemptions, which experts say created hotspots of unvaccinated kids and contributed to the spread of contagious diseases.
Medical exemptions were rare before the law took effect last summer. Between 2000 and 2015, just .2 percent or less of California kindergartners had one each year. After the law took effect in 2016, the number of kindergartners statewide with a medical exemption increased threefold.
Fortunately, some doctors are fighting back against this draconian new law by granting medical exemptions to parents that do not want to submit to forced vaccination.
The vaccine industry considers California’s new law to be a model for the nation, and they are going to push hard to get laws like this in all 50 states.
So what can we do?
Well, first of all you need to know your rights as a parent. Most states still allow religious vaccine exemptions, and you can see a sample letter on Health Freedom Idaho’s website right here.
Secondly, we need to fight relentlessly for health freedom on the local, state and federal levels. Here in Idaho, Health Freedom Idaho is doing an amazing job standing up for parents, and we need similar organizations in all 50 states.
And we also need health freedom candidates to run for office all over the nation. If I win my race for Congress, I am going to fight relentlessly for health freedom, and we need to strongly support all other candidates that will help protect us from this sort of tyranny.
If we lose this battle, what just happened to that young mother in California will soon start happening all over the nation. It is hard to believe that we have already gone so far down the road toward becoming a police state, and we must fight back with everything that we have got.
The mainstream media is all in an uproar over Donald Trump’s claim that Barack Obama personally ordered the phones in Trump Tower to be “wiretapped” just before the election. But nobody should really be surprised that the government was listening to Donald Trump’s phone calls. After all, the truth is that they systematically collect the content of all forms of digital communication, and this has been going on for many years. During Obama’s presidency, nobody really got too upset when it was revealed that the Obama administration was spying on friendly foreign leaders (including Angela Merkel), nobody got too upset when it was revealed that the Obama administration was spying on journalists, and nobody got too upset when it was revealed that the NSA was grabbing baby photos and nude selfies off of the Internet. But now that Trump has gotten extremely angry because the government was listening to his calls, maybe something will finally be done about all of this unconstitutional surveillance.
Before I discuss how the government is systematically monitoring all of us, first let’s talk about Trump. Back on January 11th, the Guardian reported that before the election the FBI applied for a warrant two separate times to monitor the communications of members of Trump’s political team…
The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.
The warrant was needed to get access to the digital communications of those individuals and to use those communications in a criminal investigation. As is the case with all other Americans, the digital communications of those individuals were already being gathered on a systematic basis, and the FBI wanted to dig in to those communications to see if anything illegal was going on.
For more evidence that the FBI was looking into the digital communications of members of Trump’s team, you can check out an excellent interview with Mark Levin on Fox News right here…
Former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey made headlines all over the country on Sunday when he admitted that it was probably true that there was ongoing surveillance of Trump and his team…
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Sunday said that President Trump is likely correct that there was surveillance on Trump Tower for intelligence purposes, but incorrect in accusing former President Barack Obama of ordering the wiretapping.
“I think he’s right in that there was surveillance and that it was conducted at the behest of the attorney general — at the Justice Department,” Mukasey told ABC’s “This Week.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Most Americans simply do not realize that the content of every single call that they make is recorded and stored indefinitely. Once in a while this even gets mentioned on the mainstream news. For example, the following is a from a transcript of an exchange that took place when Erin Burnett of CNN interviewed former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente…
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.
When asked about this systematic collection of material, the former chief technology officer of the CIA once made the following statement: “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”
So you should never do anything on the phone or on the Internet that you would not want to be made public.
And the NSA would never abuse its awesome surveillance power, right? Wrong. In 2008, NSA workers told ABC News that they routinely eavesdropped on phone sex between troops serving overseas and their loved ones in America. They listened in on both satellite phone calls and calls from the phone banks in Iraq’s Green Zone where soldiers call home. Former Navy Arab linguist, David Murfee Faulk described how a coworker would say, “Hey, check this out… there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out.” Faulk explained they would gossip about the best calls during breaks. “It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy.’”
Every intimate conversation that you have ever had on the telephone in recent years is stored in a government server somewhere.
And the same thing is true regarding pretty much everything that you have done on the Internet in recent years. According to the Washington Post, the federal government is “tapping directly into the central servers” of nine top Internet companies…
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.
The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.
So don’t do anything on the Internet that you would not like the government to see, because they are watching.
Many of the very large technology companies that are involved in this data collection effort are probably very familiar to you. Here is more from the article quoted above…
The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”
And as I mentioned above, the government is systematically scooping up and recording baby photos, selfies, medical records and a whole host of other data without our permission. The following comes from CNN…
Heaps of baby photos, fitness selfies, medical records and resumes are among thousands of private communications scooped up and stored by NSA spy programs.
That’s according to new disclosures based on documents Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, gave to The Washington Post — disclosures that show just how easy it is for Americans’ private conversations to be swept into the spy agency’s traps.
Snowden provided the Post with what it said were 160,000 intercepted conversations, including e-mails, instant messages, photographs, social network posts and other documents. The trove included messages exchanged from 2009 through 2012, and some were hundreds of pages long.
To store this vast amount of information, the NSA has constructed the largest data center on the entire planet in Utah.
It has about a million square feet of storage space, it cost approximately two billion dollars to construct, and it takes about 40 million dollars a year to pay the energy bill for this ridiculously oversized facility.
And according to Fox News, this data center has the capability of storing 5 zettabytes of data…
The NSA says the Utah Data Center is a facility for the intelligence community that will have a major focus on cyber security. The agency will neither confirm nor deny specifics. Some published reports suggest it could hold 5 zettabytes of data. (Just one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 62 billion stacked iPhones 5′s– that stretches past the moon.
(Z3News) In July 2016, two NSA agents met with Pastor Begley and his wife for a very intense lunch meeting. After sharing their credentials, they asked to know all Pastor Begley’s news sources. They shared their agency’s displeasure with all alternative news media sources and warned they have many ways to kill Pastor Begley, adding they would not hesitate to do so. The agent said the NSA is listening to everything he says, even if his phone is turned off and claimed they could be in his bedroom within 20 seconds any time they wanted.
The agent warned, “You have too many followers.”
The agent gave Pastor Begley a list of things the NSA would do to send a message to anyone they want to silence to let them know the NSA is watching and prepared to take action.
Unexplained car accidents. Individuals involved in the accident have phony identities so when we follow up with insurance claims we discover they don’t even exist.
Visits from NSA agents disguised as someone else coming for a phony reason attempting to trap you or find some way to destroy your credibility.
Video insertion attempts
Dropped phone calls to your home
Mean, vulgar, hateful, ungodly postings on your website
Written hate mail delivered by regular mail.
Creating and posting YouTube videos filled with lies to discredit you.
A well known pastor is visited three times by NSA agents. What is described in detail here would frighten the daylights out of most people, but he stood his ground. They provided him with a list of some of the names of alternative media personalities they are watching. They also informed him of nine ways they could get rid of him and/or send him a message that they aren’t happy with what he is doing online. There is so much more! Please watch the feature video and share.
According to court records, Geek Squad technician John “Trey” Westphal, an FBI informant, reported he accidentally located on Rettenmaier’s computer an image of “a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck.” Westphal notified his boss, Justin Meade, also an FBI informant, who alerted colleague Randall Ratliff, another FBI informant at Best Buy, as well as the FBI. Claiming the image met the definition of child pornography and was tied to a series of illicit pictures known as the “Jenny” shots, agent Tracey Riley seized the hard drive.
Not necessarily a problem, considering companies performing computer/electronic device repair are legally required to report discovered child porn to law enforcement. The difference here is the paycheck. This Geek Squad member had been paid $500 for digging around in customers’ computers and reporting his findings to the FBI. That changes the motivation from legal obligation to a chance to earn extra cash by digging around in files not essential to the repair work at hand.
An Oregon couple has been told they must destroy a 2-acre pond on their land — the property’s most attractive feature — because the government said so.
Although Jon and Sabrina Carey purchased the 10-acre property near Butte Falls two and a half years ago, the pond has been in place for 40 years — but that fact doesn’t matter to the Jackson County Watermaster’s Office.
“I basically bought a lemon,” said Jon, who became teary-eyed at the edge of the partially ice-covered body of water being targeted by government, in an interview with the Mail Tribune. “That’s how they explained it to me.”
A magistrate judge has ordered the federal government to turn over hundreds of pages of information about a super-secret spy-on-Americans program that is run by AT&T called Hemisphere.
WND reported only days earlier how shareholders in the communications company were concerned enough about the controversial program to prepare a resolution for the company’s coming annual meeting calling for an investigation and report.
The Office of Personnel Management is preparing for a pilot program to automatically track public social media postings of people applying for security clearances.
OPM is conducting market research to find companies that can perform automated social media tracking and other types of Web crawling as part of the background investigation process, according to an April 8 request for information posted online. Responses from interested companies are due by April 15.
OPM is looking for companies that can automatically browse “publicly available electronic information,” which includes information posted to news and media sites; Facebook, Twitter and other social media postings; blog postings; online court records, updates to photo and video-sharing sites; and information gleaned from online e-commerce sites, such as Amazon and eBay.
While being asked about the public’s growing awareness of surveillance during the Q&A portion, Comey stated he began covering his webcam after seeing the practice from “somebody smarter” than him.
“I saw something in the news, so I copied it. I put a piece of tape — I have obviously a laptop, personal laptop — I put a piece of tape over the camera,” he said. “Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera.”
The comment immediately raised flags for several leading security experts who viewed the remark as an example of blatant hypocrisy. While demanding companies stop providing “unhackable” tech in light of the Apple standoff, Comey is simultaneously using an effective, albeit primitive, method to thwart a surveillance technique utilized by his agency.
What in the world is happening to this country? You have got to see this stunning video. America is rapidly changing, and not for the better…
(YouTube)”Your identity papers” — the phrase that was the hallmark of Nazi occupation. But now the Federal government demands your identity papers at gunpoint.
A rancher shares what it is like to have guns pointed in his face as he travels to and from his home in small town America. As distressed as he is, the fact that he is afraid to criticize his government, speaks to an even greater danger — fear of government reprisal.
Do you know what your “threat score” is? Today, more than 90 percent of all local police departments and nearly all government agencies employ some sort of technological surveillance. One of the most common applications is called “Beware”, and it scans billions of “arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches” and social media postings to give authorities an idea of who they are dealing with. So the next time that police pull up in front of your home, it is likely that what you have posted on Facebook will be searched. If you have said things that could be construed as “anti-government” or “anti-police”, there is a very good chance that you will have a very high “threat score” and you will be on “the red list”.
I understand that this sounds like something that comes directly out of a science fiction movie, but I assure you that it is very real. In fact, the Washington Post reported on this just the other day…
While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report.
The program scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social media postings. It calculated his threat level as the highest of three color-coded scores: a bright red warning.
“Beware” was created by a corporation known as “Intrado”, and police departments around the nation began using it back in 2012. When police officers using this software roll up to your home, they will instantly know which residents are on the “green list”, which are on the “yellow list”, and which are on the “red list”. Here is more from the Washington Post…
As officers respond to calls, Beware automatically runs the address. The searches return the names of residents and scans them against a range of publicly available data to generate a color-coded threat level for each person or address: green, yellow or red.
Exactly how Beware calculates threat scores is something that its maker, Intrado, considers a trade secret, so it is unclear how much weight is given to a misdemeanor, felony or threatening comment on Facebook. However, the program flags issues and provides a report to the user.
In promotional materials, Intrado writes that Beware could reveal that the resident of a particular address was a war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, had criminal convictions for assault and had posted worrisome messages about his battle experiences on social media.
Everything that you have ever done on the Internet could potentially be used to calculate your “threat score”. So if you made some ill-advised comments on Facebook or in an Internet forum five years ago, there is still probably a record of that somewhere, and “Beware” will probably find it.
The next time you get pulled over or a police officer comes to your home, things that you may have completely forgotten that you ever said may come back to haunt you. With that in mind, I would like you to read the following excerpt from an article by Matt Agorist…
Imagine the following scenario: You are on your way home from work, driving down the road when you notice police lights in your rearview mirror. You are being pulled over.
As you sit there, on the shoulder, adrenaline rushing, simultaneously angry and nervous, the police officer, in his patrol car behind you, is sizing you up based on an algorithm that determines your “threat rating.”
The officer enters your license plate into a mobile application on his laptop. In a matter of seconds, this application crawls over billions of records in commercial and public databases, including all available social media engagement, recent purchases and “any comments that could be construed as offensive.” The application then determines if your “threat rating” is green, yellow, or red.
Imagine that you are one of our informed and frequent readers and understand the importance of police accountability and are unafraid to voice your entirely peaceful, yet strong opinion about police misconduct. Imagine that you left a comment on Facebook this morning about a particular officer’s misconduct; imagine that it is this particular officer who just pulled you over.
We live in a society that has become absolutely obsessed with surveillance.
A “Big Brother police state control grid” is being systematically constructed all around us, and we are being watched, tracked, monitored and controlled in hundreds of different ways.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there is only one feasible solution left to us short of fleeing the country for parts unknown: grassroots activism that strives to reform the government locally and trickles up.
Unfortunately, such a solution requires activism, engagement, vigilance, sacrifice, individualism, community-building, nullification and a communal willingness to reject the federal government’s handouts and, when needed, respond with what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as “militant nonviolent resistance.”
That means forgoing Monday night football in order to actively voice your concerns at city council meetings, turning off the television and spending an hour reading your local newspaper (if you still have one that reports local news) from front to back, showing your displeasure by picketing in front of government offices, risking your reputation by speaking up and disagreeing with the majority when necessary, refusing to meekly accept whatever the government dictates, reminding government officials—including law enforcement—that they work for you, and working together with your neighbors to present a united front against an overreaching government.
So what do you think?
Will we ever be able to get our privacy back, or has government surveillance become too entrenched?
Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…
Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the government should have broad surveillance powers of Americans and private technology firms should cooperate better with intelligence agencies to help combat “evildoers.”
At a national security forum in the early voting state of South Carolina, Bush put himself at odds with Republican congressional leaders who earlier this year voted to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records.
The former Florida governor said Congress should revisit its changes to the Patriot Act, and he dismissed concerns from civil libertarians who say the program violated citizens’ constitutionally protected privacy rights.
“There’s a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job,” Bush said. “I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way.”
Saddled with a corporate media that marches in lockstep with the government, elected officials who dance to the tune of their corporate benefactors, and a court system that serves to maintain order rather than mete out justice, Americans often feel as if they have no voice, no authority and no recourse when it comes to holding government officials accountable and combatting rampant corruption and injustice.
We’re impotent in the face of SWAT teams that break down doors and leave toddlers scarred for life. We’re helpless to prevent police shootings that leave unarmed citizens dead for no other reason than the police officer involved felt “threatened.” We shrug dismissively over the plight of fellow citizens who have their heads cracked, their bodies broken and their rights violated for failing to jump to attention when a police officer issues an order. And we fail to care about the thousands of individuals who have been punished with extreme sentences for nonviolent offenses and are forced to spend their lives as modern-day slaves in bondage to private prisons and the profit-driven corporations they serve.
Make no mistake about it: virtually anything and everything is a crime nowadays (feeding the birds, growing vegetables in your front yard, etc.) to such an extent that if a prosecutor, police officer and judge were so inclined, you could be locked up for any inane reason.
This is tyranny dressed up in the official garb of the police state. It is the self-righteous, heavy-handed arm of the law being used as a decoy to divert your attention to the so-called criminals in your midst (the fisherman who threw back small fish into the ocean, the mother who let her child walk to the playground alone, the pastor holding Bible studies in his backyard) so that you don’t focus on the criminal behavior being perpetrated by the government (bribery, cronyism, electoral fraud, slush funds, graft, pork, theft, and on and on).
In 2011 Rand Paul stood on the floor of Congress and delivered a stark warning to Americans. To criticisms of sensationalism and embellishment, Paul noted that Federal laws on the books characterize those who have guns, seven days worth of food or ammunition in their homes as potential terrorists.
Know good and well that some day there could be a government in power that is shipping its citizens off for disagreements… Someone who has guns, someone who has ammunition that is weatherproofed, someone who has more than seven days of food in their house can be considered a potential terrorist.
If you are suspected by these activities do you want the government to have the ability to send you to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention?
It was a shocking statement and one that was dismissed as the rantings of another right-wing extremist who just so happened to be a Senator.
But footage posted by Washington Weekly News shows that not only was Rand Paul’s assessment accurate, it only brushed the surface of what domestic intelligence agencies consider suspicious or terroristic activity. According to the report, a WWN journalist with camera in hand visited local businesses to acquire video evidence of various government signage. What he found was shocking:
New York’s Division of Homeland Security is posting signs on businesses to encourage people to snitch on fellow citizens who buy such things as MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), ammunition, flash lights, match containers, gas masks and other items deemed to be ‘prepper’ in nature.
Surplus store in Auburn, NY tell us how a state trooper put up a flyer in their window which encourages customers to call the New York State Terrorism Tips Line to report this ‘suspicious activity’ under the as part of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign.
Nursery school staff and registered childminders must report toddlers at risk of becoming terrorists, under counter-terrorism measures proposed by the Government.
The directive is contained in a 39-page consultation document issued by the Home Office in a bid to bolster its Prevent anti-terrorism plan.
The document accompanies the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, currently before parliament. It identifies nurseries and early years childcare providers, along with schools and universities, as having a duty “to prevent people being drawn into terrorism”.
Never fear good citizens of Great Britain. While your government actively does everything in its power to protect criminal financial oligarchs and powerful pedophiles, her majesty draws the line at toddler thought crime. We learn from the Independent:
A three-year-old child from London is one of hundreds of young people in the capital who have been tipped as potential future radicals and extremists.
As reported by the Evening Standard, 1,069 people have been put in the government’s anti-extremism ‘Channel’ process, the de-radicalization program at the heart of the Government’s ‘Prevent’ strategy.
The three-year-old in the program is from the borough of Tower Hamlets, and was a member of a family group that had been showing suspect behavior.
Since September 2014, 400 under 18s, including teenagers and children, have been referred to the scheme.
The fact that this story broke on the same day that chairman of the UK’s Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee, Lord John Sewel, was caught on video snorting cocaine off the breast of a prostitute with a £5 note, is simply priceless. You just can’t make this stuff up.
Retired US Army General and the former Supreme Allied Commander of Europe for NATO Wesley Clark advocates rounding up “radicalized” and “disloyal” Americans and putting them in internment camps for the “duration” of the war on terror.
“In World War II if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war,” Clark told MSNBC.
A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”
Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.
A mother in Westbrook, Maine was arrested by police and charged with child endangerment after she let her 7-year-old daughter play unsupervised in a park a few hundred feet from their home.
Nicole Jensen told reporters with WMTW that police asked her to accompany them to the station because her child was “outside unsupervised”.
“They said, ‘Do you know where your daughter is?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’ and they said, ‘Well no you don’t. She’s at the police station,” Jensen said about when police called her. “[The officer] said she was at the park unsupervised, no one knew where she was, and if I hadn’t gotten a hold of you, I would have taken her into DHHS.”
Of course, it was some busy body neighbor who called the cops after seeing the child alone in the park.
That’s right, it has now become the norm for Americans to panic and call the police if they see a child playing in a park.
Even though Jensen can see the park from her porch, and requires her kids to check in with her every hour, as well as organising with other parents to look out for each other’s kids, it wasn’t enough.
“I can usually count on at least a dozen that I know and that she plays with,” Jensen said. “We watch each other’s kids. I don’t just send her over here and ignore her all day.”
Police claim that the girl had been on her own in the park for an hour.
Or so says the official policy of the Detroit Police Department. Yet, on Wednesday, Detroit police continued a high-speed chase into a busy neighborhood, resulting in two small children being killed and others injured.
Brother and sister Michaelangelo and Makiah Jackson, ages 6 and 3 respectively, were playing in front of their home when a police car appeared, chasing what appeared to be a red Challenger. According to eyewitnesses, the police car bumped the Challenger, and the car “flew up in the air.” Witnesses heard tire squeals, as if the car was attempting to stop, but by then it was going too fast and had lost control and hit the two small children, killing them instantly.
The report also found that 13 US states, more than a quarter, fall beneath the legal standards outlined in US constitutional law, while 9 of those 13, shockingly, have NO laws whatsoever that encompass lethal use of force.
This means that in 9 states, police can kill someone and avoid the consequences by claiming they had no choice but to use lethal force.
“While law enforcement in the United States is given the authority to use lethal force, there is no equal obligation to respect and preserve human life. It’s shocking that while we give law enforcement this extraordinary power, so many states either have no regulation on their books or nothing that complies with international standards,” Amnesty USA executive director Steven Hawkins told the London Guardian.
Hawkins described the findings as evidence that law enforcement departments have a “shocking lack of fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life.”
A 57-year-old Indian man visiting his family in Alabama has been left paralyzed after police bodyslammed him to the ground in an exchange that occurred when the man went for a stroll around the block.
Sureshbhai Patel, a farmer from a small town in India, was visiting his son, three years a US citizen, to help look after his 17-month-old grandson. When he decided to take a look around the neighborhood, someone called the cops and reported Mr Patel, who has been approved as a permanent resident of the United States, as a ‘suspicious’ person.
The officers arrived on the scene and, upon discovering Mr Patel couldn’t speak English very well, began to pat him down. Patel is said to have repeatedly told them he couldn’t speak English, and pointed to his son’s house, also repeating his son’s phone number, but to no avail.
One of the officers grabbed him by the arm, twisted it behind his back and slammed him to the ground, face first.
The resulting injury left Patel bleeding and temporarily paralyzed. He was later hospitalized and had to undergo surgery to fuse two vertebrae due to swelling in his spine. Patel has regained some motion in his arms and left leg, but his right leg remains paralyzed, according to the report. Patel, who previously had no health issues, now faces lengthy therapy in order to fully recover.
A police officer in LA shot a 15-year-old kid who was part of a group of kids playing with a toy gun in an ally, the LA Times reports.
The child who was shot wasn’t even holding the toy, according to the report, and was just in the vicinity.
The police report notes that officers encountered the group and drew their own firearms, ordering the boy to drop the weapon. When he didn’t drop it, one of the officers opened fire, striking the boy closest to him.
The boy was rushed to hospital and released following treatment.
“It’s certainly an unfortunate situation,” said police department spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith. “But because of people bringing replica weapons out like that, it certainly could have been a terrible tragedy.”
A family in North Carolina asked police officers to check on the welfare of an elderly relative, a Korean war veteran, who was recovering from surgery. In response to the request, the cops went to the man’s house at midnight, broke in, and then shot him dead.
Clearly the family were under the impression that police officers can still be relied upon to perform such helpful community duties, but they were tragically wrong.
WSOCTV reports that while the family asked the officers to check on 74-year-old James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, the police opted to visit the man’s home very late in the evening.
When there was no answer, firefighters were called out to force open the door. On entering the building, police saw Mr Allen, who had just undergone heart surgery, pointing a gun toward them, prompting one officer to unload his own weapon at Allen.
An Iowa widow is charged with a crime and had nearly $19,000 seized from her bank after depositing her late husband’s legally earned money in a way that evaded federal reporting requirements.
Janet Malone, 68, of Dubuque, is facing civil and criminal proceedings under a law intended to help investigators track large sums of cash tied to criminal activity such as drug trafficking and terrorism. But some members of Congress and libertarian groups have complained that the IRS and federal prosecutors are unfairly using it against ordinary people who deposit lawfully obtained money in increments below $10,000.
At issue is a law requiring banks to report deposits of more than $10,000 cash to the federal government. Anyone who breaks deposits into increments below that level to avoid the requirement is committing a crime known as “structuring” — whether their money is legal or not.
Three students at a school in Baltimore were intially charged with assault and suspended after a school police officer attacked them with a baton and pepper spray, seemingly for no reason.
One of the girls, a thirteen year old, was left needing 10 stitches in her head after the cop smashed her in the face with the baton, while the other girls were sprayed directly in the face with pepper spray.
The video shows the police officer beckoning one of the girls, named Starr, down a flight of stairs. According to the girl’s grandmother, the officer was yelling “Little girl, get down here.”
When Starr responded by telling the officer “My name is not little girl, it’s Starr,” and attempted to walk past, the cop grabbed her by the arm and forced her against a wall.
The video shows that as the small girl attempts to free herself, the much larger officer grabs her by the hair.
A second pupil attempts to help Starr, and becomes involved in the tussle. Starr’s cousin, Diamond, then enters the fracas and is chased down the hall by the baton weilding cop. The video shows the cop smacking the girl in the face with the baton, despite the fact that she was in a defensive posture against a wall.
Then, as a teacher attempts to restrain Starr and the second girl, the cop goes out of her way to hit them in the face with pepper spray.
“The officer kind of comes from behind and reaches around and sprays them multiple times in the face with pepper spray. It’s disgusting,” Jared Jaskot, the family’s attorney told reporters.
The footage shows Starr clutching her face, clearly in agaony after the cop’s actions.
On a quiet weeknight among the stately manors of Great Falls, ten men sat around a table in the basement of a private home last November playing high stakes poker. Suddenly, masked and heavily armed SWAT team officers from the Fairfax County Police Department burst through the door, pointed their assault rifles at the players and ordered them to put their hands on the table. The players complied. Their cash was seized, including a reported $150,000 from the game’s host, and eight of the ten players were charged with the Class 3 misdemeanor of illegal gambling, punishable by a maximum fine of $500. The minimum buy-in for the game was $20,000, with re-buys allowed if you lost your first twenty grand.
This was not your everyday cash game with the neighbors. The buy-in was twice what it costs to enter the World Series of Poker’s main event in Las Vegas (though the Great Falls players did not have to pay the whole $20,000 up front). Two established poker pros were at the Great Falls table and another was hosting the game, taking a roughly 1.5 percent cut from the buy-ins to pay for two dealers and two assistants to make coffee runs or give massages to the players.