Tags: FBI

The “Insider Threat Program” and the Government’s War on Whistleblowers

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 1.23.52 PMThe Obama Administration’s Orwellian government employee snitch network, dubbed the “Insider Threat Program,” first made headlines about a year ago. I found it to be so disturbingly significant I wrote a post about it titled: The 3 Key Takeaways from the Ridiculous “Insider Threat Program.” Those 3 key takeaways were that it…

  1. Creates a horrible and counterproductive work environment where everyone distrusts everyone else.
  2. Solidifies the fact the government is not interested in solving problems, but rather is focused on continuing the cronyism and criminality and merely covering it up.
  3. Exposes how completely hopeless and terminal the status quo is.

Read the Full Article »

Like this post?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1


 Follow me on Twitter.

Land of the Free: American Police Make an Arrest Every 2 Seconds in 2012

The FBI has just released its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data for 2012, which complies arrest data for the whole of the USA. While the numbers have not changed much from the year before, the absolute numbers are stunning and I doubt most Americans are aware of how elevated and skewed they actually are.

The most stunning figure is that law enforcement made an estimated 12.2 million arrests in 2012. That’s an arrest almost every two seconds of every single day. That’s straight up horrifying. Of these arrests, only 521,196 were for violent crimes.

This is where the war on drugs really proves itself as a complete and total ridiculous failure and waste of money and resources, not to mention the fact that it destroys the lives of individuals and communities for no good reason.

Let’s get into some details on the drug war. The total number of drug arrests in 2012 was 1.56 million, and an an absolutely absurd 82% of those arrests were for possession alone, as opposed to sales/manufacturing. It gets even crazier. Of the total drug related arrests, a shocking 42% were for mere marijuana possession, a substance that my adopted home state of Colorado has just legalized along with Washington. So an American is arrested for marijuana possession every 48 seconds in this country. This is a complete and total disgrace and needs to change immediately. It’s also a large reason why  the United States has 5% of the World’s Population, yet 25% of its Prisoners.

For access to the FBI’s raw data on this, click here.

In Liberty,
Mike

Follow me on Twitter!

Meet “BOSS”: The Department of Homeland Security’s Facial Scanning Program

Ever heard of BOSS? Didn’t think so.

BOSS stands for Biometric Optical Surveillance System, and it is a crowd-scanning program that has been in development by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for almost three years now.

Did you catch that? This is the DHS, the ridiculously dangerous, cancerous, gargantuan waste of money our “leaders” foolishly created after 9/11 to prevent “terrorism.” Whereas in the beginning most people actually believed the DHS was there to stop cave dwellers with terroristic tendencies, it is now completely clear that its primary mission is to protect the oligarchs and political criminals from domestic dissent. For example, the New York Times notes that:

In a sign of how the use of such technologies can be developed for one use but then expanded to another, the BOSS research began as an effort to help the military detect potential suicide bombers and other terrorists overseas at “outdoor polling places in Afghanistan and Iraq,” among other sites, the documents show. But in 2010, the effort was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security to be developed for use instead by the police in the United States.

It now should be abundantly clear to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention that the DHS has one mission and one mission only. Bring the degenerate activities we consistently engage in abroad back home for use on “we the people.” You know, to protect us. From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The federal government is making progress on developing a surveillance system that would pair computers with video cameras to scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with researchers working on the project.

The Department of Homeland Security tested a crowd-scanning project called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System — or BOSS — last fall after two years of government-financed development. Although the system is not ready for use, researchers say they are making significant advances. That alarms privacy advocates, who say that now is the time for the government to establish oversight rules and limits on how it will someday be used.

I’m sure the secret FISA court is all over it.

The automated matching of close-up photographs has improved greatly in recent years, and companies like Facebook have experimented with it using still pictures.

Read the Full Article »

The IRS Claims it Can Read Your Email…Without a Warrant

Truly remarkable how the establishment views the citizenry.  They quite clearly and openly view themselves as having full ownership of our lives, our work and our privacy.  Actually, they do not think we deserve to have privacy at all.  This is the exact mindset of all tyrannical regimes throughout human history, which is precisely why the founders made sure to include the 4th Amendment in the Constitution of these United States.  For those of you that need a reminder.

The 4th Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So with that in mind, this is what the IRS thinks.  From the Huffington Post:

NEW YORK — IRS documents released Wednesday suggest that the tax collection agency believes it can read American citizens’ emails without a warrant.

The files were released to the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act request. The organization is working to determine just how broadly federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI or the IRS’ Criminal Tax Division interpret their authority to snoop through inboxes.

The idea of IRS agents poking through your email account might sound at the very least creepy, and maybe unconstitutional. But the IRS does have a legal leg to stand on: the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 allows government agencies to in many cases obtain emails older than 180 days without a warrant.

In 1986 they decided this?  Who used email in 1986?

That’s why an internal 2009 IRS document claimed that “the government may obtain the contents of electronic communication that has been in storage for more than 180 days” without a warrant.

Another 2009 file, the IRS Criminal Tax Division’s “Search Warrant Handbook,” showed that the division’s general counsel believed “the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

What kind of crazy logic is that.  Says who?

Read the Full Article »

The New Orwellian Term for Americans that Disagree with Government: “Paper Terrorists”

I first started writing publicly about how the U.S. government was going to ultimately switch the “war on terror” to an internal focus and demonize American citizens that express dissent back while I still worked on Wall Street, five or six years ago.  While I was mocked and accused of hyperbole at the time, it has become quite clear that this is exactly the direction we are headed in…and fast. Let’s not forget that the FBI classified peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors as terrorists as that movement was gaining momentum.  Furthermore, why else would the Department of Homeland Security be buying ammo in such enormous quantities unless the U.S. oligarchy saw its real enemy as the American public itself? The 99.99%.  From the LA Times:

Finch teaches police and public officials around the country how to deal with self-described “sovereign citizens” like Wright. Finch and his partner, Det. Kory Flowers, have trained nearly 15,000 police and 5,000 public officials to combat sovereigns, zealots who refuse to recognize government authority in virtually any form.

Violent confrontations are rare, but the FBI says at least six police officers have been killed by sovereigns since 2000. A man tied to the movement shot and killed a California Highway Patrol officer who stopped him in Contra Costa County last year. A responding officer shot and killed the assailant.

The agency calls sovereigns — who number between 100,000 and 300,000 — a “domestic terrorist movement.”

You’ve gotta love the FBI.  They can’t recognize or jail any of the financial terrorists that have already pulled off the greatest heist in American history and continue to plunder, but once an average citizen complains about their government being criminal and corrupt, THEY are somehow the terrorists.

“To them, a police officer is just a man in a Halloween costume,” Finch said.

Read the Full Article »

Blockbuster Lawsuit: Whistleblower Alleges Reuters Releases Data Early to HFT Clients

Very interesting, but unsurprising, allegations have surfaced in a lawsuit brought forth by former Thomson-Reuters employee Mark Rosenblum that alleges the company released sensitive economic data early to HFT (high frequency trading) clients.  Now this should come as no shock to anyone, considering it has become crystal clear that the entire economy is essentially simply one giant oligarch-run fraud that is designed to take the wealth and labor of 99.9% and funnel it all up to them.  This realization is a large drive behind the recent success of Bitcoin, as people are simply desperate to get free of the parasitic banking system at all costs.  From Reuters:

In the lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, Mark Rosenblum said he was terminated after telling U.S. authorities that the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers was released at different times to different subscribers.

Rosenblum said in his court papers that Thomson Reuters releases the monthly survey to so-called “ultra low-latency” subscribers at two seconds before 9:55 a.m. ET, to “desktop” subscribers at 9:55 a.m., and to the general public at 10 a.m.

Read the Full Article »

Great News: Introducing the “Whistleblowers Defense League”

The U.S. government has a particular disdain for activists with computer chops, folks often times referred to as “hacktivists.”  This was put on full display for the entire world earlier this year when an overzealous and vindictive federal prosecutor’s witch hunt against prodigy Aaron Swartz drove him to suicide.  This same contemptuousness has also resulted in the recent trumped up charges against and, imprisonment of, Barrett Brown and Jeremy Hammond.

Well every action has a reaction and now California criminal defense attorney, Jay Leiderman, has started the Whistleblower Defense League.  We find out that:

IN DEFENSE OF JOURNALISTS, ACTIVISTS, WHISTLEBLOWERS

Washington DC— We have entered a dangerous time in America. The FBI and Department of Justice are using harassment and prosecution as a tool to chill and silence journalism, on-line activism and dissent.

 
“People are being subpoenaed, indicted and incarcerated for simply exploring the truth,” says co-founder Jay Leiderman.
 
The government has amended the constitution with fear.  In response, a nation-wide group of expert criminal defense attorneys have formed the Whistleblower Defense League to defend and encourage those willing to investigate and speak out against the corporate and political forces threatening our democracy.

“We stand with the courage our clients,” says co-founder Dennis Roberts. “We are the legal arm, the firewall, for those who place facts over propaganda.”

To Jay and all of the other attorneys involved in this important project: Thank You.  This is the definition of public service, and we need a lot more of it.

Learn more and find contact information here.

In Liberty,
Mike

Follow me on Twitter!

Google Finally Sheds Some Light on National Security Letters (NSLs)

For those that aren’t aware, National Security Letters (NSLs) are these shady Orwellian instruments used by the FBI to spy on citizens without a warrant.  The really creepy part about them is that you aren’t permitted to know if there is one out on you.  It’s all one giant secret, you know, to get those terrorists.  Well, Google has finally come out and given us some color on NSLs.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gives us the scoop: 

Of all the dangerous government surveillance powers that were expanded by the USA PATRIOT Act, the National Security Letter (NSL) power provided by five statutory provisions is one of the most frightening and invasive. These letters–the type served on communications service providers such as phone companies and ISPs and are authorized by 18 U.S.C. 2709–allow the FBI to secretly demand data about ordinary American citizens’ private communications and Internet activity without any prior judicial review. To make matters worse, recipients of NSLs are subject to gag orders that forbid them from ever revealing the letters’ existence to anyone.

Read the Full Article »

An Open Letter to Skype

I’ve known about security concerns related to Skype for quite some time, but I never really understood the details.  Thanks to this letter, signed by a large number of organizations and individuals, I now know quite a bit more.  For those as ignorant as me on this topic, here is some background:

In June 2008, Skype stated it could not eavesdrop on user conversations due to its peer-to-peer architecture and encryption techniques. Additionally, Skype claimed it was not required to comply with expanded CALEA rules on lawful interception as long as it was based in Europe. As a result of the service being acquired by Microsoft in 2011, it may now be required to comply with CALEA due to the company being headquartered in Redmond, Washington. Furthermore, as a US-based communication provider, Skype would therefore be required to comply with the secretive practice of National Security Letters.

Since Skype was acquired by Microsoft, both entities have refused to answer questions about exactly what kinds of user data can be intercepted, what user data is retained, or whether eavesdropping on Skype conversations may take place.  In 2012, the FBI stated that it had issued a warrant for chats going back to 2007, and that it had utilized those chats as evidence as the basis for criminal charges. This contradicts Skype’s own policy stating that chats are retained for a maximum of 30 days.

The letter begins as follows:

Read the Full Article »

Google Transparency Report: Government Surveillance Requests Up 33% in 2012

Don’t worry I’m sure the increase is certainly related to finding Al Qaeda in the U.S., as opposed to targeting domestic civil rights activists.  I wonder how many of these requests were related to Aaron Swartz, the computer genius that federal prosecutors drove to suicide because they were still bitter about the role played in destroying SOPA.  Or are the requests aimed at “far right” extremists, folks that can be identified according to West Point by their defense of “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government.”

Once again, the EFF deserves our highest praise for bringing this info to us.  From the EFF:

This morning, Google released their semi-annual transparency report, and once again, it revealed a troubling trend: Internet surveillance around the world continues to rise, with the United States leading the way in demands for user data.

Google received over 21,000 requests for data on over 33,000 users in the last six months from governments around the world, a 70% increase since Google started releasing numbers in 2010. The United States accounted for almost 40% the total requests (8,438) and the number of users (14,791). The total numbers in the US for 2012 amounted to a 33% increase from 2011. And while Google only complied with two-thirds of the total requests globally, they complied with 88% of the requests in the United States.

And the most troubling part?

Read the Full Article »