Favorite Quotes

"Once you walk into a courtroom, you've already lost. The best way to win is to avoid it at all costs, because the justice system is anything but" Sydney Carton, Attorney. "There is no one in the criminal justice system who believes that system works well. Or if they are, they are for courts that are an embarrassment to the ideals of justice. The law of real people doesn't work" Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law Professor.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The U.S. Army's spying blimps cost $2.78 billion

It looks like a giant white blimp floating high above I-95 in Maryland, perhaps en route to a football game somewhere along the bustling Eastern Seaboard. But its mission has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with war.

The aerostat — that is the term for lighter-than-air craft that are tethered to the ground — are to be set aloft on Army-owned land about 45 miles northeast of Washington, near Aberdeen Proving Ground, for a three-year test slated to start in October. From a vantage of 10,000 feet, they will cast a vast radar net from Raleigh, N.C., to Boston and out to Lake Erie, with the goal of detecting cruise missiles or enemy aircraft so they could be intercepted before reaching the capital.

But these blimps are hardly innocuous: While technically unarmed, the aerostats (a fancy word for a tethered blimp) are equipped with a fire-control radar system that provides coordinates to defense networks on the ground that can then mitigate (blow up) any threats. Just call them bubble drones.

A recent Raytheon press release touts the distinct ability to do so:
“Despite heavy smoke from recent, naturally-occurring forest fires, an MTS-B electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor mounted on a JLENS surveillance aerostat tracked numerous targets with the IR sensor. Video from the MTS-B was passed through the aerostat's tether, enabling operators to watch live feed of trucks, trains and cars from dozens of miles away. While the MTS-B visually tracked targets, the JLENS simultaneously tracked surface targets with its integrated radar system.”
In other words, a JLENS aerostat equipped with MTS-B (Multi-Spectral Targeting System) can successfully monitor multiple cars and trucks at long range. Through the billowing black smoke of a massive forest fire. But can it monitor people?

EPIC has received substantial new information about the surveillance blimps, now deployed over Washington, DC.

In 2007 the plan was to develop the surveillance technology and produce 32 of the blimps for about $6 billion.

The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs. Which is actually a review for 2013, plus time to compile and publish. With respect to JLENS, the total program cost now sits at $2.78212 billion, which is almost all R&D except for $40.51 million in military construction.
“In August 2013, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics approved the program’s revised acquisition program baseline, re-designated the program’s acquisition category and delegated milestone decision authority to the Secretary of the Army. The JLENS program satisfied developmental testing and evaluation requirements and is proceeding with plans to execute a 3-year operational combatant command exercise…. Site construction for the deployment of the exercise will begin at Aberdeen Proving Ground after the February 2014 construction contract award. The construction will involve completing aerostat pads, roads, operation and support facilities, and infrastructure. The initial system is expected to arrive at the exercise site location in June 2014 and initial capability delivery is expected for the surveillance radar in September 2014 and the fire control radar system in December 2014.”
Defense contractor Raytheon last year touted an exercise in which it outfitted the aerostats planned for deployment in suburban Baltimore with one of the company’s most powerful high-altitude surveillance systems, capable of spotting individual people and vehicles from a distance of many miles.

"JLENS, which is short for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, is a system of two aerostats, or tethered airships, that float 10,000 feet in the air. The helium filled aerostats, each nearly as long as a football field, carry powerful radars that can protect a territory roughly the size of Texas from airborne threats."

The Army said it has “no current plans” to mount such cameras or infrared sensors on the aerostats or to share information with federal, state or local law enforcement, but it declined to rule out either possibility. The radar system that is planned for the aerostats will be capable of monitoring the movement of trains, boats and cars, the Army said.

The prospect of military-grade tracking technology floating above suburban Baltimore — along one of the East Coast’s busiest travel corridors — has sparked privacy concerns at a time of rising worry about the growth of government eavesdropping in the dozen years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“That’s the kind of massive persistent surveillance we’ve always been concerned about with drones,” said Jay Stanley, a privacy expert for the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s part of this trend we’ve seen since 9/11, which is the turning inward of all of these surveillance technologies.”

In January 2012, the FY 2013 budget proposal called for the cancellation for JLENS’ production phase. The 2 existing systems would remain, to be used for further testing and trialed in exercises, but funding would begin to taper off rapidly after 2013. Recent budgets have included:

FY 2008: $464.9 million, all Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation (RDT&E)
FY 2009: $355.3 million, all RDT&E
FY 2010: $317.1 million all RDT&E
FY 2011: $399.5 million, all RDT&E
FY 2012: $327.3 million, all RDT&E
FY 2013 request: $190.4 million, all RDT&E. This was actually a $34 million increase, to fund the Secretary of Defense directed COCOM Exercise extended test program.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Maine Sec. of State on Real ID: “You might as well just repeal the Fourth Amendment”

Maine & Massachusetts residents  may not be able to board a plane using their driver’s licenses starting in 2016 if the state does not start complying with the federal Real ID program.

In 2007, Maine became the first state to reject the federal regulations adopted in response to a study on national security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Federal officials wanted to make driver’s licenses more uniform and secure, but opponents said the federal law was too sweeping and intrusive.

Non-compliance, however, has restricted the ability of residents from some states to access some federal buildings, and that is likely to increase.

The Real ID program is intended to make states’ requirements for driver’s licenses and identification cards more uniform and stringent.

The Real ID program is a REAL NIGHTMARE or a spying governments wet dream.

For more info. read my article titled "Police state America wants more than your papers".

In July, the licenses were no longer adequate to access restricted federal facilities, such as the U.S. Mint and nuclear power plants. Residents from non-complying states need passports to enter those buildings. As of January, the licenses will not be adequate to get into semi-restricted federal facilities where a license or passport currently is required.

The act requires states to maintain a database of license applicants’ information that is accessible to the federal government, and take photos of applicants that can be scanned by facial recognition software.
Concerns about the Real ID program have united libertarian-minded citizens from both parties, especially over the portion of the law that creates a federal database of personal information that would be maintained by the state and accessible to federal officials.
“You might as well just repeal the Fourth Amendment,” Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said, referring to the prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures of property.
"This proposal is one more step away from the Founding Fathers' vision of a limited federal government. Our greatest homeland security is liberty, and the Founding Fathers believed our greatest threat to liberty was a central government grown too powerful. Accordingly, they set up checks on federal power by vesting authority at the individual and state levels.

REAL ID disrupts this delicate balance of power in two ways. First, it turns the Founders' logic on its head by forcing states to act as agents for the federal government in creating a national ID card for federal purposes. Needing a REAL ID to board a plane or enter a federal building would also change the balance of power in something as seemingly insignificant as a visit to a member of Congress."
             -- Gov. Mark Sanford, "Real ID Side Effects," Washington Times
“States issue driver’s licenses, not the federal government,” Dunlap said. “They really can’t make us do it. That’s why it’s been such a disaster implementing it.”
“For any American citizen, they should find this whole program completely laughable and ridiculous" Dunlap said. Adding that “The whole thing has been kind of a bit of a farce.” “I don’t hold out an awful lot of confidence it will be implemented in a timely way and have any effect on border security or national security,” he said.
"The government claims that driver's license "reform" will help combat illegal immigration and generally protect national security, but it fails to acknowledge that the Real ID Act seriously threatens privacy and civil liberties on a national scale."
--Sophia Cope of Center for Democracy and Technology, "Why Real ID is a Flawed Law," CNET News, January 31, 2008
Officials from Governor Deval Patrick’s administration did not respond to repeated requests for comment, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles declined an interview. Registrar Celia J. Blue said in a statement the Registry is reviewing the issue but did not commit to following the federal law.

“We are working with DHS to address their outstanding concerns and we appreciate the guidance and various best practices they have shared with us from other states,” Blue said.

In March 2013, state Senators Bruce E. Tarr, Robert Hedlund, Michael Knapik, and Richard Ross – all Republicans – wrote a letter to Patrick urging Massachusetts to comply with the law. Tarr said he has not yet received an “effective response” from the administration.

“I do think what will happen is that Massachusetts driver’s licenses won’t have the same stature and validity across this country as they do now,” said Tarr, the state Senate minority leader.

DHS said in December, when it unveiled its latest efforts to enforce compliance, that the rules for verifying citizenship and immigration status are “measured, fair and, responsible.” They will apply to places where identification is now required to enter, for the most part, but not to such places as the Smithsonian Institution’s museums on the National Mall.

Homeland Security “will continue to support states’ efforts to enhance the security in an achievable way that will make all of our communities safer,” spokeswoman Marsha Catron said in a statement.

There it is again DHS's and every alphabet soup agencies B.S. response, it's for our SAFETY. We need your Biometrics to make you safer, DON'T BELIEVE THEM. Ultimately a private company is getting rich while spying on you for our government!

DHS is behind forced blood draws at checkpoints across the U.S.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security issued a press release on this weekend’s crackdown, saying, “State troopers will conduct ‘No Refusal’ enforcement in the following counties: Union (Knoxville District); Hamilton and Marion (Chattanooga District); Montgomery (Nashville District); Shelby (Memphis District); Hawkins (Fall Branch District); Smith (Cookeville); Maury (Lawrenceburg); and Hardin County (Jackson District).” The press release also describes how police coverage will work over the weekend, “In addition to ‘No Refusal’ enforcement, highway patrol personnel will also conduct driver’s license, sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, as well as saturation patrols and bar and tavern checks.”

South Dakota's Supreme Court ruled police/DHS can't take a citizen's blood without a warrant or consent!

"Big brother is bad enough.  Do you really want him working for the DMV?"

            --Knute Berger, Seattle Weekly, January 18, 2006. 

“Heavily criticized by concerned citizens, civil liberties groups, and state government agencies, the Real ID act is opposed by over 600 organizations including the National Governors Association.”  Ars Technica, 2007

DHS/TSA claim it’s “not appropriate” for a court to conduct its own independent review of secret no-fly list

It is “not appropriate” for a court to conduct its own independent review of evidence that the government asserts is protected by the state secrets privilege, attorneys for the government argued last week.

They were objecting to an order that was issued in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the “no fly” list in the case of Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder. On August 6, Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia ordered the government to submit for in camera review a copy of all documents and testimony relevant to the case that it asserts fall under the state secrets privilege.

Instead, government attorneys asked Judge Trenga in an August 22 motion to reconsider his order “on the ground that the required submission [of assertedly privileged material] is not appropriate or necessary for evaluation of whether the state secrets privilege should be upheld or whether dismissal is necessary, in light of the information already provided to the Court on those issues.”

“The Government has provided… a thorough description of the harm to national security that would result from the disclosure of the privileged information. The additional submissions ordered by the Court would not assist in that determination,” they added.

But the kind of in camera review that the government attorneys objected to is actually among the “best practices” that should be adopted in all state secrets cases, according to a 2008 Senate Judiciary Committee report on the State Secrets Protection Act, a bill that was intended to regulate the use of the privilege.

The Act, introduced by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, the late Sen. Arlen Specter, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, would have “instruct[ed] courts to avoid excessively deferential standards of review and to retain full control over privilege determinations.”

Among other requirements, the Act required that “The Government must make all evidence it claims is subject to the privilege available for the court to review…. If the Government refuses to turn over evidence or to provide a non-privileged substitute ordered by the court, the court will resolve the relevant issue of fact or law against the Government.”

The Act’s provision for in camera judicial review of privileged materials “makes crystal-clear that the court, not the executive branch, determines which items of evidence are privileged,” the Senate report said. “It requires the court to consider the actual evidence, rather than rely on Government affidavits or representations about the evidence, in making this determination.”

This is one of the steps needed to resolve “the crisis of legitimacy currently surrounding the state secrets privilege,” the Senate report said.

However, several Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee disputed the need for the State Secrets Protection Act. They said in dissenting views appended to the report that the right balance had already been struck. The Act was never enacted into law and no other guidance on the use of the privilege has emerged from Congress.

The U.S. government is blacklisting people as terrorism suspects based on secret standards and secret evidence. People on government watchlists are questioned, harassed, detained, and even barred indefinitely from flying — and the government denies them any meaningful way to correct errors and clear their names. In an era of unprecedented government secrecy, every American should know this: The U.S. government’s massive and secret watchlist system is fundamentally broken.

“The news that the list is growing tells us that more people’s rights are being violated,” said Nusrat Choudhury, a staff attorney working for the ACLU’s national security project. “It’s a secret list, and the government puts people on it without any explanation. Citizens have been stranded abroad.”

“The government will not tell people whether they’re on the list or why they’re on it, making it impossible for people to defend themselves” Choudhury said.

“People who complain that they’re unfairly on the no-fly list can submit a letter to the Homeland Security Department, but the only way they’ll know if they’re still on the list is to try to fly again” she added.

According to former chief of the Terrorist Screening Operations center and now vice president with the Soufan Group, if a person is nominated to be on the no-fly list, but there is insufficient information to justify it, the Terrorist Screening Center downgrades the person to a different list.

“You can’t just say: ‘Here’s a name. Put him on the list.’ You’ve got to have articulable facts,” Reardon said.

In the meantime, the ACLU has put together a Know Your Rights resource for U.S. citizens and permanent residents who believe they have been placed on the No Fly List. These materials include procedures for people stuck abroad to follow so they can come home. (The procedures were put in place by the government only after we filed our No Fly List challenge.)

The ACLU has deep concerns about the adequacy of the government’s process and about how the government takes advantage of the leverage it has against even wholly innocent people it adds to the No Fly List, including by pressuring them to become government informants. So we’re also asking people who believe they’re on the No Fly List to help the ACLU monitor the government’s conduct by filling out this survey.

You can help by circulating all these materials as broadly as you can. The more we all know about the government’s unfair watchlist system, the more people wrongly caught up in that system are able to assert their rights, and the more the ACLU can continue to hold the government accountable for rights violations, the better off we all are.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Feds want new cars to broadcast our location, direction & speed

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, published last week an "advanced notice of proposed rulemaking" on "vehicle-to-vehicle communications."

What NHTSA is proposing could begin a transformation in the American transportation system that  gives our government more power to spy on where we go, how fast and what route we took.

In announcing its proposed rulemaking, NHTSA is stressing its intention to protect the "privacy" of American drivers.

"This document initiates rulemaking that would propose to create a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, FMVSS No. 150, to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication capability for light vehicles," says NHTSA's dryly-worded notice.

What do vehicle-to-vehicle communications entail?

NHTSA has crafted a nice phrase to describe the information cars would broadcast. It is the "Basic Safety Message."

"An integrated V2V system is connected to proprietary data busses and can provide highly accurate information using in-vehicle information to generate the Basic Safety Message," says NHTSA's technical report on "Readiness of V2V for Application."

"The integrated system both broadcasts and receives BSMs," says the report. "In addition, it can process the content of received messages to provide advisories and/or warnings to the driver of the vehicle in which it is installed."

The "Basic Safety Message" will be broadcast by the vehicle's dedicated short-range communications system. According to NHTSA, this system will need to transmit certain specific information.

"For example," says the technical report, "when a DSRC unit sends out a BSM, the BSM needs to: Contain the relevant elements and describe them accurately (e.g., vehicle speed; GPS position; vehicle heading; DSRC message ID, etc.)."

Safety is the underlying theme being sold to a gullible American public! You hear it over & over again, the Patriot Act, the NDAA Act, it was all done for your safety!

File the following under B.S.

In its technical report on V2V, published last week, NHTSA said: "At the outset, readers should understand some very important points about the V2V system as currently contemplated by NHTSA.

The system will not collect or store any data identifying individuals or individual vehicles, nor will it enable the government to do so."

"There is no data in the safety messages exchanged by vehicles or collected by the V2V system that could be used by law enforcement or private entities to personally identify a speeding or erratic driver," the report said. "The system — operated by private entities — will not enable tracking through space and time of vehicles linked to specific owners or drivers.

"Our research to date suggests that drivers may be concerned about the possibility that the government or a private entity could use V2V communications to track their daily activities and whereabouts," said the report. "However, as designed, NHTSA is confident that the V2V system both achieves the agency's safety goals and protects consumer privacy appropriately."

We know every vehicle is equipped with an event data recorder (black box) and GPS which can be used to spy on our driving habits.

We know EZ-Pass, red-light camerastraffic cameras are used by DHS to spy on us, and now we're supposed to believe our govt. won't use this V2V data to spy on us?

A NH House lawmaker contends DHS is spying on us with traffic cameras.

DHS & police are spying on us using private surveillance cameras.

For more info. read my article "Big brother in your car, its worse than you imagined".

Come on America, wake up!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Feds are creating a database to spy on ‘Hate Speech’ on Twitter

The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The federal government is sponsoring a creepy social media research project: The aim is to produce a database of politically disfavored tweets, misinformation, and "other social pollution." The grant for the project—made by the National Science Foundation to Indiana University—was discovered by The Washington Free Beacon's Elizabeth Harrington, who writes:
The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online. 
The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”
“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

We also plan to use Truthy to detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution. While the vast majority of memes arise in a perfectly organic manner, driven by the complex mechanisms of life on the Web, some are engineered by the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns. Truthy uses a sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex networks models. To train our algorithms, we leverage crowdsourcing: we rely on users like you to flag injections of forged grass-roots activity. You should click on the Truthy button when you see a suspicious meme!

Sure sounds like DHS is behind this, asking Americans to report on what you consider hate speech. Can you say "See Something, Say Something" DHS spies?

“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

“This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate,” the grant said.

“Truthy,” which gets its name from Stephen Colbert, will catalog how information is spread on Twitter, including political campaigns.

To eliminate speech that disputes our governments or politicians world view is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!  As Hans Bader explains:
It’s not the government’s role to rule to declare ideas “false or misleading.” Under the First Amendment, there’s “no such thing as a false idea,” according to the Supreme Court’s decision in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974). 
Moreover, “hate speech” is protected under the First Amendment, and even commonplace views about race or gender have been branded as “hate speech” by government officials. The Supreme Court has made clear over and over again that hate speech in public settings is protected by the First Amendment in decisions like (1) R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992); (2) Snyder v. Phelps (2011); and (3) Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992).
There is no question that Twitter & the internet, is replete with utter nonsense, wild and crazy ideas that range from the absurd to the ridiculous.  There is no question, that people who are thought-challenged believe some of this dumb stuff online, perhaps for no better reason than the persistent belief that if it wasn’t true, they wouldn’t be allowed to say so.

It’s your job, as reader, to discern real from false.  I know, it’s a lot of work, and many people are ill-prepared to parse content and logic to figure out what claims and arguments are sound.  Nobody said free speech was easy.

It’s bad enough that transient interest and identitarian groups have seized upon the idea, pandered to the unknowing public to promote their own flavor of hate. They hate all ideas that aren’t theirs.  But when the government sends nearly a cool mil to Indiana University to vet Twitter for politically unacceptable ideas, it’s no longer just a matter of challenging the teacups.
This First Amendment protection accords with the reality that politicians and their allies (such as judges they appointed or confirmed) will typically view speech critical of them as “false,” based on their own subjective, ideologically-based notions of what is “true” or “false.” “As aptly summarized by the Supreme Court,” in Thomas v. Collins, in the realm of political debate “‘every person must be his own watchman for truth, because the forefathers did not trust any government to separate the truth from the false for us.’”
Sure, it sucks when someone says something you find abhorrent or dangerously wrong.  Some people feel compelled to stay up all night because of it.

Distinguishing between truth and truthy is our job, like it or not.  Preventing the government from doing it for us is our job as well!

The war on terrorism is a fraud

A Three Minute Classroom Debate That Shines Light On The Real Truth About “Terrorism”

Prior to the events that transpired on 9/11, “terrorist” attacks were still taking place all over the globe. As a result, national security was increasing, and the fear of a terrorist attack was strong. It wasn’t until 9/11, however, that the idea of an extreme terrorist threat was activated, and a large portion of the world (especially North America) was put into fear/panic mode.
The video below really puts things into perspective, and reminds us of how important it is not to believe everything you hear in the mainstream media, especially when it comes to major global events like 9/11. Multiple events (like 9/11 unfortunately) have served as a tremendous tool that ‘woke up’ millions of people all over the world to what is really happening around the globe.
Not everything is as it seems. In today’s world, for one who is truly interested in learning what is happening, one must investigate far beyond their television and look at multiple sources for information. More people are starting to question what they are told.
Below is a great clip from a movie that shines some light on the truth about terrorism:
It’s well documented that Al-Qaeda was the creation of the CIA, and that’s not the only ‘terrorist’ group.’ This information made headlines all over the world a couple of years ago. Think about that for a moment… conflict is always used and in many cases, created, in order to justify the infiltration of countries by major superpowers for ulterior motives.
A majority of people today believe that the 9/11 attacks were created and manufactured by the US government in order to justify (as well as brainwash their own citizenry) the invasion of Iraq and other parts of the Middle East for ulterior motives. Rumors circulated about these ulterior motives being for oil. Other potentials for the invasion might have been to make more advancements/discoveries with black budget projects. You can read more about the black budget HERE. 
“It is ironic that the U.S. would begin a devastating war, allegedly in search of weapons of mass destruction when the most worrisome developments in this field are occurring in your own backyard. It is ironic that the U.S. should be fighting monstrously expensive wars allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars have been spent on projects which both congress and the commander in chief know nothing about.” – Paul Hellyer, Former Canadian Defense Minister (source)

Your private info. isn't safe on social media