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2012 February 27 | Activist News

The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »


U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »


The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: February 27, 2012

FBI disabling GPS trackers to comply with Supreme Court ruling

Digital Trends
Feb. 27, 2012
By Geoff Duncan

Speaking at the University of San Francisco last Friday, FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann said a recent Supreme Court ruling is ushering in a “sea change” within the U.S. Justice Department as the agency moves to disable some 3,000 GPS tracking devices installed underneath vehicles to track their movements—although, in some cases, the FBI has had to seek permission to turn the devices back on briefly so they can be located and removed.
Weissmann’s remarks were first reported in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
The FBI’s actions to disable the tracking devices comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s January 23rd ruling (PDF) in a case against Antoine Jones. The case dates to 2004; Jones was suspected of drug trafficking, and the FBI obtained a warrant to install a GPS tracking device on a Jeep Cherokee registerred to his wife. However, the warrant expired a day before the FBI was able to install the device, and when the agency did manage to install the tracking device, it did so in Maryland rather than the District of Columbia, which was the only jurisdiction covered by the original warrant.

The Justice Department suppressed collection of GPS data while the car was parked at Jones’ residence, but argued that Jones had no reasonable expectation of privacy while driving on public streets. However, the Supreme Court disagreed, finding that the FBI’s use of the tracking device constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment, which guards against “unreasonable” searches and seizures. The Supreme Court even went a step further, ruling the Fourth Amendment still applies when law enforcement personnel trespass on a person’s property to gather information, even if that person has no reasonable expectation of privacy at the time.
As a result of the ruling, Weissmann says the FBI has disabled about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use to track vehicle movements, although he acknowledged in some cases the agency has had to seek court orders to briefly reactivate the devices so they can be located, then removed.
Weissmann noted that the agency is now working on new guidelines and policies regarding deployment of GPS tracking devices, and is considering the implications of the trespass portion of the Supreme Court’s ruling. For instance, Weissman indicated the ruling calls into question whether agents would be committed trespass if they lifted the lid on a garbage can, since the Supreme Court opinion was based on the that attaching a GPS tracking device to a car constitutes trespass. Presumably, the ruling could also impact how the FBI manages devices: for instance, if a tracking device’s battery fails after a warrant expires or outside a jurisdiction, can the FBI change the battery without violating Fourth Amendment rights?

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-disabling-gps-trackers-comply-supreme-court-ruling-191802901.html 

Homeland Security Dept. Pays General Dynamics to Scour Internet for Criticism of its Policies

Feb. 27, 2012
By Noel Brinkerhoff

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been paying a defense contractor $11.4 million to monitor social media websites and other Internet communications to find criticisms of the department’s policies and actions.

A government watchdog organization, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), obtained hundreds of documents from DHS through the Freedom of Information Act and found details of the arrangement with General Dynamics. The company was contracted to monitor the Web for “reports that reflect adversely on DHS,” including sub-agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In testimony submitted to the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Ginger McCall, director of EPIC’s Open Government Project, stated that “the agency is monitoring constantly, under very broad search terms, and is not limiting that monitoring to events or activities related to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or manmade disasters….The DHS has no legal authority to engage in this monitoring.”

Pressure builds for civilian drone flights at home

Associated Press
Feb. 26, 2012

Civilian cousins of the unmanned military aircraft that have tracked and killed terrorists in the Middle East and Asia are in demand by police departments, border patrols, power companies, news organizations and others wanting a bird’s-eye view that’s too impractical or dangerous for conventional planes or helicopters to get.

Along with the enthusiasm, there are qualms.

Drones overhead could invade people’s privacy. The government worries they could collide with passenger planes or come crashing down to the ground, concerns that have slowed more widespread adoption of the technology.

Despite that, pressure is building to give drones the same access as manned aircraft to the sky at home.

“It’s going to be the next big revolution in aviation. It’s coming,” says Dan Elwell, the Aerospace Industries Association’s vice president for civil aviation.

Some impetus comes from the military, which will bring home drones from Afghanistan and wants room to test and use them. In December, Congress gave the Federal Aviation Administration six months to pick half a dozen sites around the country where the military and others can fly unmanned aircraft in the vicinity of regular air traffic, with the aim of demonstrating they’re safe.

The Defense Department says the demand for drones and their expanding missions requires routine and unfettered access to domestic airspace, including around airports and cities. In a report last October, the Pentagon called for flights first by small drones both solo and in groups, day and night, expanding over several years. Flights by large and medium-sized drones would follow in the latter half of this decade.

Other government agencies want to fly drones, too, but they’ve been hobbled by an FAA ban unless they first receive case-by-case permission. Fewer than 300 waivers were in use at the end of 2011, and they often include restrictions that severely limit the usefulness of the flights. Businesses that want to put drones to work are out of luck; waivers are only for government agencies.

But that’s changing.

Congress has told the FAA that the agency must allow civilian and military drones to fly in civilian airspace by September 2015. This spring, the FAA is set to take a first step by proposing rules that would allow limited commercial use of small drones for the first time.

Until recently, agency officials were saying there were too many unresolved safety issues to give drones greater access. Even now FAA officials are cautious about describing their plans and they avoid discussion of deadlines.

“The thing we care about is doing that in an orderly and safe way and finding the appropriate … balance of all the users in the system,” Michael Huerta, FAA’s acting administrator, told a recent industry luncheon in Washington. “Let’s develop these six sites — and we will be doing that — where we can develop further data, further testing and more history on how these things actually operate.”

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10113766

Occupy activists rally outside home of Wells CEO

San Fransisco Chronicle
Feb. 26, 2012
By John King

Organized theater played Russian Hill on Saturday – 1960s street theater updated with 21st century themes.

The setting was the base of the 14-story tower where one of the residents is John Stumpf, chief executive officer of Wells Fargo. The cast included people who say they are in danger of losing their homes, veteran housing activists and younger protesters loosely aligned with the almost 6-month-old Occupy movement.

Some people wore black shrouds or held cut-out figures depicting Stumpf; two carried an enormous “notice of default” aimed at Stumpf because of Wells Fargo’s alleged “record profits at the expense of low-income communities.” In an era when protests are plentiful, one organizer explained, it doesn’t hurt to shake up the repertoire every now and then.

“We’re trying to be different,” said Buck Bagot, a longtime Bernal Heights activist who has spent recent months assisting neighborhood residents whose homes have been foreclosed. “I’ve been to too many demonstrations where 30 people you know say the same thing 30 times.”

The hour-long protest at Chestnut and Larkin streets brought out more than 50 people. A few were off-message, such as the pair displaying a banner critical of PG&E’s SmartMeters. Most, though, homed in on the community turmoil caused by the loose lending policies of large banks in the years leading up to the recession’s start in 2008 and the wave of foreclosures that has followed.

This being 2012, the organizing groups included Occupy Bernal and the OccupySF Housing Council. But one of Occupy Bernal’s founders is Bagot, who has worked on housing issues dating to the 1970s; OccupySF Housing Council was represented at the rally by Ted Gullickson, a longtime leader of the San Francisco Tenants Union.

The Occupy protests that began last fall have brought fresh interest in tackling issues such as residential displacement, Bagot suggested. “It has changed the discourse in a way I haven’t seen since the peace movement,” he said.

Wikileaks Reveals Private CIA’s Dirty Laundry

Feb. 26, 2012
By Jesus Diaz

Wikileaks is back with a vengeance. It just has published five million emails from Stratfor, an intelligence company based in Texas that, looking at their practices, appears to be America’s very own privately run CIA.

Stratfor’s clients are the US Government, other countries and military organizations, as well as private companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman or Raytheon. They have a global network of spies in governments and media companies, including “secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists, from Reuters to the Kiev Post.” According to the emails, these spies get paid in Swiss bank accounts and pre-paid credit cards.

Here are some of the highlights:

Global network of informants

The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

How they control their sources

“[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

Updating live… [WikiLeaks]

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men”, for the US chemical giant Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.

Full Article Here – http://gizmodo.com/5888440/wikileaks-reveals-us-international-intelligence-organizations-secrets