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Video: Wiretapping & detentions: French anti-terrorism laws enter into force as state of emergency...

A 2-year state of emergency finally came to an end in France on Wednesday. But, in its wake, comes a sweeping new anti-terror law....
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Video: Trump Team Tapped: CNN admits FBI wiretapped aide Manafort

Donald Trump's former campaign chair was wiretapped by the US government both before and after the election, CNN is reporting. And that's just six...

US authorities tapped 3 mln phones in single wiretap order in 2016

It took US authorities a single wiretap order to intercept and record over 3 million phone...
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Video: CrossTalk Bullhorns: Wiretapped

Who surveilled whom, when and why? If the Obama administration did indeed “wiretap” Team Trump before, during and after the election, will we ever...
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Video: FBI Head: Trump Campaign Under Investigation for Ties to Russia; No Evidence Obama...

http://democracynow.org - FBI Director James Comey has confirmed the FBI is investigating whether President Trump's campaign collaborated with Russia to ... Via Youtube

Comey Hearing Confirms Counter-Intel Investigation Into Trump Campaign; No Evidence of Trump's Wiretap Claim

James Comey, director of the FBI, speaks at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian intelligence activities, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in...

‘No man is above the law’: SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch talks torture, guns, wiretaps and...

Republicans showed unanimous support for Judge Neil Gorsuch during the second day of confirmation hearings for...

Ex-PM David Cameron jokes he doesn’t have to listen to Trump’s ‘wiretaps’ anymore

David Cameron has joked that he’s glad he doesn’t have to listen to Donald Trump’s “wiretapped” conversations anymore now he’s no longer prime minister...

Donald Trump’s wiretapping allegations ‘nonsensical,’ ex-UK ambassador says

A former British ambassador to the US has lashed out at Donald Trump, calling his...

US apologizes to Britain over White House claim GCHQ ‘wiretapped’ Donald Trump

The US has issued an official apology to Britain after the White House repeated a...

DOJ needs more time to provide evidence of Trump’s wiretap claims

The US Justice Department isn’t yet ready to comply with a House Intelligence Committee inquiry asking...

White House Scrambles as Time to Offer Proof of Trump Wiretapping Claims Running Out

The hourglass is running out. The Department of Justice has until the end of the day Monday to comply with the House Intelligence Committee's demand...

House Intel Committee Gives Trump Monday Deadline for Wiretapping Proof

Leading members of the House Intelligence Committee have demanded that President Donald Trump provide evidence by Monday of his claim that Trump Tower was...

‘No reason to believe it’s true’: McCain calls on Trump to retract wiretap claim...

Published time: 13 Mar, 2017 00:11 Republican stalwart John McCain has called on US President Donald Trump...
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Video: Wiretapping at Trump Tower: ‘A scandal bigger than Watergate’ – former Trump adviser...

It may happen that Barack Obama and members of his administration are dragged before a grand jury and questioned under oath about what they...

Wiretap-orama

It may happen that Barack Obama and members of his administration are dragged before a grand jury and questioned under oath about what they...

Bipartisan Senators Demand Proof of Trump's Wiretapping Allegation

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on Wednesday sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI asking for...

2 US senators ask DOJ for evidence of Obama wiretap on Trump

President Donald Trump’s accusation that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap on Trump Tower during...
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Video: US media suddenly concerned about ‘evidence’ as Trump claims wiretapping

Donald Trump's claims that Barack Obama ordered a wiretap on him before the election are continuing to be scrutinized by US media. RT LIVE...
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Video: ‘This is McCarthyism!’ Trump claims Obama wiretapped him before election

US President Donald Trump has accused his predecessor Barack Obama of “wire tapping” Trump Tower just before his election win in November, according to...

With No Evidence, Trump Accuses Obama of Wiretapping Trump Tower

President Donald Trump on Saturday morning accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping phones in New York City's Trump Tower before the November election. In...

John Dean: Trump Says Publicly What Nixon Said on Wiretap

We compare President Donald Trump's attitude toward the media to that of President Richard Nixon with Nixon's former counsel, John Dean. "The big difference...
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Video: John Dean: The Difference Between Trump & Nixon is Trump Says Publicly What...

http://democracynow.org - We compare President Donald Trump's attitude toward the media to that of President Richard Nixon with Nixon's former counsel, John ... Via Youtube

Court wiretap requests up 17% with 100% approval rate – report

In a report to Congress, the Administrative Office of the US Courts found federal and state wiretapping requests increased 17 percent from 2014 to...
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Video: Macedonia riot: Protesters storm President’s office following wiretapping pardons scandal

An anti-government protest in the Macedonian capital of Skopje has resulted in violence, with police being involved in clashes with demonstrators who have ... Via...

Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

NATE CARDOZO Earlier this week, EFF told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Ethiopia must be held accountable for its illegal wiretapping of...

Israel wiretapped Kerry’s calls during peace talks

Israeli agents were eavesdropping on US Secretary of State John Kerry as he was mediating last year’s futile Middle East peace talks, German magazine...

‘Politically Explosive’ Docs Show How NSA Wiretaps Earth

Latest reporting on Snowden-leaked documents detail importance and reach of agency's third-party agreements Jon Queally New reporting by The Intercept and a partner newspaper in Denmark...

Would-be bomber’s sentencing delayed due to warrantless wiretap-obtained evidence

A federal judge has indefinitely halted a sentencing hearing previously scheduled for next month after prosecutors admitted last week that they presented in court...

Snowden: UK spy agency wiretaps hotel rooms of diplomats

RT A UK spy agency infiltrated international hotel booking systems for some three years, tracing high profile officials and wiretapping their suites, new leaks reveal....

Wiretaps: Hillary’s scandal?

The wiretapping of the personal cellphones of 35 foreign leaders, including our closest allies, is clearly President Obama's scandal. But is it also Hillary...

US spy chiefs defend wiretapping of foreign leaders, mass surveillance programs

By Barry Grey30 October 2013 Appearing Tuesday before the Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National...

Scandal grows over NSA wiretapping of German Chancellor Merkel

By Alex Lantier28 October 2013 The scandal over the wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone by the US National Security Agency (NSA)...

Scandal grows over NSA wiretapping of German Chancellor Merkel

By Alex Lantier28 October 2013 The scandal over the wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone by the US National Security Agency (NSA)...

Washington Spies on its European Allies: NSA Wiretapping Scandal Dominates EU summit

The European Union (EU) summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday was dominated by the NSA bugging of the cell phone of the German...

NSA wiretapping scandal dominates European Union summit

By Christoph Dreier26 October 2013 The European Union (EU) summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday was dominated by the NSA bugging of the...

Google Is Being Accused Of Illegal Wiretapping

Justin Sullivan Yahoo Finance Oct. 2, 2013 If you have a Gmail address, it's likely you've seen ads that are specifically targeted at you...

Google Back in Court over Wiretapping Gmail Accounts

RINF Alternative News Today a federal judge has given the go-ahead for a class-action suit against Google who have allegedly, yet again, breached wiretapping laws. The suit concerns...

DOJ’s Wiretapping of AP Results in Lengthy Prison Term for Source

When it was first reported that the Department of Justice was illegally combing through the phone records of Associated Press offices and targeting journalists...

Court: Google can face wiretapping claims in Street View lawsuits

Maura Dolan L.A. Times September 11, 2013 A federal appeals court decided Tuesday that Google Inc. can be held liable for violating a federal...

US drug agency unit to be investigated for wiretapping, lying about evidence sources

The US Department of Justice is investigating the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for using invasive surveillance techniques, including wiretapping and logging telephone records into...

As Taxpayers Foot the Bill, Phone Companies Make Big Bucks Charging Uncle Sam to...

Phone companies don't do anything for...

Millions in US tax dollars go to Big Data for wiretap capabilities

The US government uses American tax dollars to pay major Internet companies and telecommunications giants like Verizon and AT&T for unprecedented access into millions...

Report: NSA Joint Wiretapping with Foreign Nations

Infowars.comJune 30, 2013 NSA insider and whistleblower Wayne Madsen has a report showing how not only...

NSA Spying and Intelligence Collection: A Giant Blackmail Machine and “Warrantless Wiretapping” Program

Despite a stream of mendacious twaddle from President Obama, congressional grifters and spook agency mouthpieces like Office of the Director of National Intelligence head...

Pelosi booed for defending NSA wiretapping

Published time: June 24, 2013 16:13 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was booed and interrupted by a group of liberal activists after...

A Social History of Wiretaps

Anthropologist David Price recounts the history of government wiretaps in America, which began soon after the development of the telephone, and the changing public...

Undermining the Fourth Amendment: NSA Memos Expose Obama Administration’s Lies about Wiretapping

National Security Agency internal memorandums made public over a decade ago refute the Obama administration’s claims that its vast domestic surveillance program are being...

Undermining the Fourth Amendment: NSA Memos Expose Obama Administration’s Lies about Wiretapping

National Security Agency internal memorandums made public over a decade ago refute the Obama administration’s claims that its vast domestic surveillance program are being...

Telecom Insider Reveals Everyone Is Wiretapped!

Infowars.comJune 7, 2013 Rob Dew speaks with telecom insider James Knox (pseudonym) who has...

US media execs rebuff Holder’s closed-door wiretap scandal meeting

rt.comMay 31, 2013 Several significant US news organizations reject the Department of Justice’s proposal to discuss...

Obama’s New FBI Chief Approved Bush’s NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Scheme

One of the biggest scandals of the Bush administration (which is really saying something) began on December 16, 2005.

US media execs rebuff Holder’s closed-door wiretap scandal meeting

Several significant US news organizations reject the Department of Justice’s proposal to discuss off-the-record ‘new guidelines’ in light of the reporter wiretapping scandal. Last...

US media execs rebuff Holder’s closed-door wiretap scandal meeting

Several significant US news organizations reject the Department of Justice’s proposal to discuss off-the-record ‘new guidelines’ in light of the reporter wiretapping scandal. Last...

Obama to back Internet wiretapping plan

The Obama administration is likely to approve a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) proposal that would make it easier to tap into many types...

Domestic Spying and Social Media: Google, Facebook “Back Doors” for Government Wiretaps

The Obama administration is close to announcing its support for a law that would force Google, Facebook and other Internet communications companies to build...

Obama administration to back wiretap law for social media

  By Andre Damon9 May 2013 The Obama administration is close to announcing its support for a law that would force Google, Facebook and other Internet...

Berlusconi sentenced to 1 year behind bars in wiretap trial

Published time: March 07, 2013 11:18

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (AFP Photo)

Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to one year in jail after a wiretap trial linked to a 2005 banking scandal.

The ex-premier allegedly made public the taped contents of a confidential phone call.

Berlusconi denied any wrongdoing and may seek an appeal trial, until the end of which he won’t be put into custody.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Supreme Court Authorizes Lawless Wiretapping

America's Supremes are notoriously hard right. Equal justice under law is just a figure of speech. Rule of law principles and egalitarian fairness don't matter. Power politics corrupts the High Court. It lacks legitimacy.

Police State USA: Supreme Court upholds Secret Wiretaps

The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Tuesday that a group of United States-based attorneys, journalists and human rights activists, along with their affiliated organizations, cannot sue to establish the unconstitutionality of a 2008 amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The decision had nothing to do with the merits of the claim. Rather, the lawsuit was thrown out of court because the plaintiffs could not prove that the interception of their phone calls and emails was “certainly impending,” a legal standard never before imposed to deny someone the right to sue.

At the core of the majority decision, authored by Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and joined by the other three extreme right-wing justices—Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas—along with the so-called “swing” voter, Justice Anthony A. Kennedy, is an obvious “Catch-22.” Because the law authorizes secret wiretaps, there is no way to prove who might be a victim, but only victims have legal “standing” to file lawsuits, and therefore nobody can bring a case for judicial review of the law’s constitutionality.

Clapper v. Amnesty International reverses a lower court ruling that said the lawsuit should go forward, in the process narrowing the doctrine of “standing” such that virtually all secret government activity can now be ruled immune from court challenges. In doing so, the Supreme Court majority adopted the positions urged by Obama administration lawyers in their briefs and at oral argument last October. (See, “Obama administration asserts unchecked powers”)

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution forbids warrantless eavesdropping. Congress enacted FISA in 1978 following Watergate-era exposures of widespread and unchecked government spying on United States citizens engaged in constitutionally protected political and cultural activities. FISA limits wiretaps to the acquisition of “foreign intelligence information” by targeting a “foreign government or agent” outside the United States. With a nod to the Fourth Amendment, FISA requires federal agents to obtain a warrant for the specific target and facility from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, DC, the proceedings of which are kept secret.

In 2008, Congress, with the support of key Democrats, amended FISA to eliminate the requirements that the target must be a specified “foreign power or an agent of a foreign power” and that the warrant application must identify the precise facility where the electronic surveillance is to take place. In effect, the 2008 FISA amendment authorizes “roving wiretaps” of communications between places in the United States and foreign countries that are essentially warrantless.

The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit less than an hour after then-president George Bush signed the FISA amendment into law, asking the federal district court in New York to declare the measure unconstitutional and enjoin its enforcement.

The plaintiffs described themselves as persons and organizations who communicate by telephone and e-mail with people the government “believes or believed to be associated with terrorist organizations,” with “people located in geographic areas that are a special focus” of so-called “counterterrorism” efforts, and with “activists who oppose governments supported by the United States.”

To establish standing under the law as it then existed, the plaintiffs alleged a series of specific injuries flowing from the FISA amendment, such as the fact that the threat of secret wiretapping interferes with lawyers locating and interviewing witnesses or advising clients in confidence, journalists cultivating confidential sources to obtain information for news reports, and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International interacting with foreign contacts. The threat of surveillance compelled some plaintiffs to travel abroad for in-person conversations, and others to undertake “costly and burdensome measures” to protect the confidentiality of sensitive communications.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes New York City, ruled that the plaintiffs’ allegations establish “an objectively reasonable likelihood that their communications will be intercepted” and therefore gave them standing to challenge the FISA amendment’s constitutionality. The Supreme Court majority reversed this ruling.

Alito’s majority opinion dramatically raised the bar for determining legal standing, ruling that the plaintiffs had to demonstrate “the threatened injury must be certainly impending ” (the italics are Alito’s), resurrecting a phrase from a long-forgotten 1923 opinion that actually found that the plaintiff in the case had standing on the basis that “one does not have to await the consummation of threatened injury to obtain preventive relief.”

The “certainly impending” language has never previously been used by the Supreme Court to deny a plaintiff standing in any case, much less one challenging the constitutionality of a clandestine government program where the evidence to meet such a standard is, by definition, unavailable.

Alito went on, at considerable length, to discount the plaintiffs’ claims that their communications would likely be intercepted as “highly speculative” and “relying on a highly attenuated chain of possibilities.” Alito seemed to taunt the plaintiffs for the absence of “any evidence that their communications have been monitored” under a secret program put into effect the day their lawsuit was filed, calling it “a failure that substantially undermines their standing theory.”

“Simply put,” Alito wrote, the plaintiffs “can only speculate as to how the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target,” and “even if [the plaintiffs] could demonstrate that the targeting of their foreign contacts is imminent, [they] can only speculate as to whether the Government will seek to use [FISA] surveillance (rather than other methods) to do so.”

In other words, the spy program’s secrecy—which is what chills the plaintiffs’ exercise of their rights in the first place—is precisely what prevents anyone from seeking review of its constitutionality.

Alito next demeaned the plaintiffs’ claims that the threat of surveillance forced them to travel and to undertake other expensive precautions to protect the confidentiality of their communications as “self-inflicted injuries” that, somehow, “are not fairly traceable” to the secret wiretapping program.

Finally, Alito wrote that even if “no one would have standing is not a reason to find standing,” meaning that the Supreme Court could insulate the secret wiretapping program from all court challenges. Underscoring his contempt for the basic democratic right of people to challenge governmental action in court, Alito concluded that “any dissatisfaction” the plaintiffs had with the new law or the secret rulings of the FISA court “is irrelevant to our standing analysis.”

Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by the other three moderate justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, pointing out the many Supreme Court precedents which give the plaintiffs standing to bring suit. The dissent explicitly declined to address the constitutionality of the FISA amendment itself, however.

Jameel Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union and the lawyer for the plaintiffs, issued a statement calling the ruling “disturbing” because it denies “meaningful judicial review and leaves Americans’ privacy rights to the mercy of the political branches.”

“More than a decade after 9/11,” Jaffer added, “we still have no judicial ruling on the lawfulness of torture, of extraordinary rendition, of targeted killings or of the warrantless wiretapping program. These programs were all contested in the public sphere, but they have not been contested in the courts.”

In contrast, the spokesperson for the Department of Justice praised the majority decision, stating that the government was “obviously pleased” with the denial of standing to the plaintiffs.

Equally obvious is the fact that the Obama administration—to no less a degree than the administration of George Bush—is developing increasingly authoritarian forms of rule in conjunction with the Supreme Court.

Senate extends warrantless wiretapping under FISA

RT | The Senate agreed on Friday to approve an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, legislation that allows the NSA and other US...

ACLU Challenges Warrantless Wiretapping

Stephen Lendman, rinf.com | Throughout its history, America always governed extrajudicially. Post-9/11, it became more repressive than ever. Modern technology makes it easy. Big Brother...

Officials Claim Wiretaps Were of Limited Value

While the Bush administration had defended its program of wiretapping without warrants as a vital tool that saved lives, a new government review released...

Concern that Obama might endorse warrantless wiretapping

Dear Mr. President, I am writing to reiterate my request for you to formally and promptly renounce the assertions of executive authority made by the...

Judge rejects bid to derail wiretap challenge

A San Francisco federal judge rejected on Friday the Obama administration's attempt to derail a challenge to former President George W. Bush's electronic surveillance...

The Internet is at risk from ‘wiretapping’

The ever-increasing power of computers that is helping the internet to grow is also threatening its future. That was the warning delivered by Tim...

WERE SPECIFIC REPORTERS TARGETED BY NSA WIRETAPS?

Center for American Progress - Fewer than 24 hours after the end of the Bush presidency, a former analyst at the National Security Agency...

Federal Court Upholds Wiretap Law

By CBS, HT truthout Warrantless eavesdropping on international communication within bounds of the law, appeals court rules. Washington - A U.S. Foreign Intelligence court released a...

Kristol Calls On Bush To Pardon Torturers And Wiretappers, Reward Them With Medal Of...

Think Progress | In his new Weekly Standard column, right-wing pundit Bill Kristol lays out a to-do list for President Bush before he leaves...

Judge orders White House to produce wiretap memos

By JOAN LOWY | A judge has ordered the Justice Department to produce White House memos that provide the legal basis for the Bush administration's...

Wiretap Cases a Go Despite FISA Change

By Evan Hill | Though Congress put a damper this summer on legal efforts to prove the Bush administration unlawfully spied on Americans' phone...

Judge Rejects Bush’s View on Wiretaps

By ERIC LICHTBLAU | A federal judge in California said Wednesday that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the “exclusive” means for the president...

NY judge: NSA can refuse to discuss wiretapping

WASHINGTON (AP) | The National Security Agency does not need to tell lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees whether their phones were tapped as part of...

Five Myths About the New Wiretapping Law

By Patrick Radden Keefe | Sometime today, the Senate is likely to approve the most comprehensive overhaul of American surveillance law since the Watergate...

Mobile Phone Number Moving Caused Feds to Wiretap Wrong American

By Ryan Singel | In poring through the latest round of documents the FBI turned over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation about how the FBI...

Adviser Says McCain Backs Bush Wiretaps

By CHARLIE SAVAGE | A top adviser to Senator John McCain says Mr. McCain believes that President Bush’s program of wiretapping without warrants was lawful,...

U.S. Islamic group argues against warrantless wiretaps

AP | An Islamic charity group is challenging the Bush administration's record use of the so-called state secrets privilege, dubbed a "killer bullet" to...

More Sharp Words Traded Over Lapsed Wiretap Law

By ERIC LICHTBLAU WASHINGTON – A new round of political sparring erupted Friday over the government’s wiretapping powers, as the Bush administration asserted that the...

Exposing NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

Bush’s Law: Eric Lichtblau on Exposing the NSA’s Warrantless Wiretapping Program and How the White House Pressured the New York Times to Kill the...

Wiretapping’s true danger

History says we should worry less about privacy and more about political spying. As the battle over reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act rages...

White House says phone wiretaps back on “for now”

The Bush administration said on Saturday U.S. telecommunications companies have agreed to cooperate "for the time being" with spy agencies' wiretaps, despite an ongoing...

Telecoms Backing Off Illegal Wiretaps for Bush

Without protection against lawsuits, are the telecoms less willing to cooperate with government spying efforts? By Mark Hosenball | Newsweek It's been barely a week since...

Court says no to CSIS wiretaps overseas

In a judgment made public late Friday, a Federal Court judge denied a request from Canada's spy agency to conduct electronic intercepts on 10...

Terrorists benefit from US wiretaps?

Top US computer security experts believe terrorists can derive huge benefits from the Bush administration's domestic wiretapping program. The six experts warned that the...

US Senate to grant immunity in illegal wiretapping

By Andre Damon The Democratic-controlled Senate moved Thursday to shield telecommunications companies that aided the Bush administration’s illegal domestic spying program from lawsuits. By a...

Cheney demands ‘permanent’ wiretaps

The US Vice President, Dick Cheney calls on Congress to 'permanently' allow warrantless wiretaps on foreign electronic communications. During a speech to the Heritage...

FBI hits a hang-up with wiretaps

Surveillance shut off because of unpaid phone bills BY LARA JAKES JORDAN Telephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals because...

Ruling Blocks Challenge to Wiretapping

By ERIC LICHTBLAU A federal appeals court said today that secrecy laws forced it to exclude critical evidence about the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping...

US House snubs Bush on wiretap law

AFP The US House of Representatives defied President George W. Bush on Thursday, passing a bill tightening legal oversight of the power of intelligence agents...

Warrantless wiretapping in place before 9/11

Washington Post publishes additional details about the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping, noting that the National Security Agency approached Qwest “more than six months before...

Fight Over Court Role In U.S. Wiretapping

By Peter Grier While Bush Seeks To Limit Court OKs For Spying, Democrats Fight For More Judicial Oversight To what extent should courts become involved in the...

Gitmo lawyer worries about being wiretapped

A Vermont lawyer representing a client being held at Guantanamo, Cuba, is worried that his phone is being tapped by the federal government. He ought...

Tell the Dems to keep AT&T on the hook for NSA wiretapping

Having caved to the President's outrageous demands for more spying powers in August, Congress is now considering extending this power grab and letting telco...

U.S. opposes release of court rulings on wiretaps

The Bush administration opposed in U.S. court on Friday an effort to peel back a secrecy lid over its domestic counterterrorism wiretapping program, which...

Court Ruling that NSA Wiretapping is Illegal Drives Emergency Push for New Spy Powers,...

By Ryan Singel The Bush Administration's hard press for emergency wiretapping powers from Congress before the August break now has an explanation: a secret court...

JFK Files reveal CIA efforts to take out Castro — RT US News

Published time: 10 Nov, 2017 20:29 The latest batch of documents from President John F Kennedy’s...

Why the Hush on Neocon Links

FBI director says agency couldn’t hack into nearly 7,000 encrypted devices — RT US...

Federal agents failed to hack into 6,900 mobile devices protected by encryption, the FBI director told...

Behind the Matador’s Cape

Photo by Vladimir Terán Altamirano | CC BY 2.0 I’m no fan of bullfighting or rodeo, but those two “sports” provide some useful metaphors for...

The Trump Presidency

  David Barsamian: You have spoken about the difference between Trump’s buffoonery, which gets endlessly covered by the media, and the actual policies he is...

The Russia-Blamers Think You’re Stupid

“Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions,” the Washington Post claims in a September 25 headline. Over at The Daily...

Unity With the Right? A Deplorable Idea

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Facebook OK to track users with cookies, judge rules

Published time: 3 Jul, 2017 20:36 Users who complained about Facebook tracking them across third-party websites...

CNN producer admits Russia narrative is ‘bullsh*t,’ just for ‘ratings’ (VIDEO)

A senior producer at CNN has described the intense speculation that Russia aided the Trump presidential...

Former congressional candidate gets 20yrs for plotting attack on Muslim community

Robert Doggart, a former independent Tennessee congressional candidate, has been sentenced to jail for 20 years...

Was Marilyn Monroe Murdered?

APPIP ERROR:nodata before she died, which has never been declassified. She was threatening to hold a press conference to tell the world what Jack...

Trump: Surveillance & unmasking under Obama administration is ‘big story’

Published time: 1 Jun, 2017 16:10 Edited time: 2 Jun, 2017 18:04 Donald Trump says the...

Sgt. Pepper 50 Years Later

“Count me out if it’s for violence. Don’t expect me at barricades unless it is with flowers…. What’s the point of bombing Wall Street?...

The Push for Trump’s Impeachment

Exclusive: Establishment voices are escalating their calls for President Trump’s impeachment, even without any public evidence that his campaign colluded...

Trump’s first 100 days: The monumental golf edition

Donald Trump has officially racked up 100 days of service as president of the United States...

'Partial Fix': NSA Scraps Part of Warrantless Surveillance

The National Security Agency (NSA) has been forced to scrap one of its controversial surveillance practices, the New York Times reports Friday, a development...

In Time for the Reform Debate, New Documents Shed Light on the Government’s Surveillance...

The ACLU on Friday released more than a dozen new documents concerning the government’s warrantless surveillance of millions of Americans. They were obtained from...

9 Reasons to March for Science This Earth Day

This Earth Day, April 22, Marches for Science will take place in DC and countless cities across the country. Here are some reasons to...

‘Wholesale disregard for customers’ privacy’: Bose Corp sued over spying headphone app

Massachusetts-based headphones and speakers producer, Bose Corp, is facing a lawsuit after being accused of covertly...

The Waters of Trump’s Washington Are Dark and Deep

Years ago, I worked for a wealthy television executive in Washington, DC, who had a posh Georgetown townhouse with a courtyard. In the center of...

Microsoft bombarded with record number of US foreign intelligence requests in 2016

Published time: 14 Apr, 2017 22:45 Microsoft received over 1,000 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests from...

Judge Napolitano Vindicated

Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian...

Int'l Spy Agencies First to Spot 'Suspicious Interactions' Between Russia, Trump Team

The ongoing probe into ties between Russia and affiliates of President Donald Trump was reportedly first spurred by international spy agencies that picked up...

US lawmakers want to know how many Americans under surveillance

Top members of the House Judiciary Committee have asked the Trump administration to reveal how many...

Rand Paul Calls for Susan Rice to Testify Amidst Surveillance Controversy

GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he believes former National Security Advisor Susan Rice should testify before Congress on her request to unmask...

US Senate bill targets RT & Sputnik as ‘propaganda’

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) claims RT and Sputnik are “designed to undermine our democracy”...

Putin Derangement Syndrome Arrives

So Michael Flynn, who was Donald Trump's national security adviser before he got busted talking out of school to Russia's ambassador, has reportedly offered to...

Rand Paul Calls for Susan Rice to Testify Admist Surveillance Controversy

GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he believes former National Security Advisor Susan Rice should testify before Congress on her request to unmask...

The Deep State, Explained

As the daily drip of information about possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russia trickles on, Democrats, commentators and at least some officials in...

Trump Builds a Watergate All His Own

It’s déjà vu all over again. As the Trump Russia story continues to stutter forward, comparisons to Watergate are everywhere — and justifiably so. The...

‘Soviet active measures’: Hearing on Russian influence resurrects Cold War tropes

Though the leaders of the US Senate Intelligence panel said they would follow the facts and...

The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate

Exclusive: Amid the frenzy over the Trump team’s talks with Russians, are we missing a darker story, how the Deep...

Prison company carried out illegal surveillance on Kansas inmates ‒ federal investigators

A prison company in Kansas allegedly shared secretly recorded videotapes and audio exchanges between prisoners and...

House Intel chair orders Russia-Trump election hearings closed to public

The Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee has nixed a public hearing on Russia's alleged...

Surveillance State Goes After Trump

Democrats are so eager to take down President Trump that they are joining forces with the Surveillance State to trample...

The Obama Plot

Devin Nunes just set the cat down among the pigeons. Two days after FBI Director James Comey assured us there was no truth to President...

House intel chair admits he doesn’t know ‘for sure’ if Trump team was surveilled

One day after announcing that he had found evidence that members of President Donald Trump’s transition...

'Beyond Irregular': GOP Intel Chair Under Fire for Bizarre Trump Briefing

The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the "beyond irregular" behavior of the committee's Republican chairman has "underscored the imperative...

'There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air'

Monday’s hearing of the House Intelligence Committee was proof positive of the absolute need for both a special prosecutor and an independent, bipartisan commission...

British FM Boris Johnson to visit US to ‘patch up ties’ with Trump team...

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will meet with President Donald Trump’s senior advisers in an...

Did It Backfire on the Left?

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Sacking NYT Executive Editor Jill Abramson

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by Stephen Lendman

In September 2011, she succeeded Bill Keller. On May 14, The Times headlined "Times Ousts Jill Abramson as Executive Editor, Elevating Dean Baquet."

It reflects "an abrupt change of leadership." Times chairman/publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. claimed "an issue with management in the newsroom."

Times staff familiar with her relationship with Sulzberger suggested she was "polarizing and mercurial." She "clash(ed) with (managing editor) Baquet.

He was "angered" over Abramson's "job offer" to senior London Guardian editor Janine Gibson. She wanted her as "co-managing editor."

"Conflict between them arose." Sulzberger got involved. He decided earlier to sack her. On May 15, he appointed Baquet executive editor.

"(N)either side (explained) detail(s) about Abramson's firing," said The Times. She was its first female executive editor in its 160-year history.

In 1997, she joined the broadsheet. She served as Washington bureau chief. As managing editor. 

Earlier she was a Wall Street Journal correspondent/reporter/deputy bureau chief. The American Lawyer staff reporter. 

The same capacity at Time magazine. As Legal Times editor-in-chief. She taught at Princeton. She's an American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow.

As an undergraduate, she was arts editor of the Harvard Independent.

In 2012, Forbes named her its fifth most powerful woman. She ranked after German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and Melinda Gates.

Michelle Obama ranked seventh. IMF chief Christine Lagarde was eighth.

Baquet is The Times first African-American executive editor. He promised staff he'd "listen hard…be hands on…be engaged…walk the room. That's the only way I know how to edit," he said.

David Bromwich is Yale University Professor of Literature. On May 15, he headlined "After 9/11: The Stories We Tell and the Stories We Don't."

He writes on civil liberty issues. About "America's wars of choice." About its "continuous engagement in multiple wars."

"And if not wars, then widely distributed black-op killings, in faraway places where (America claims having an) interest."

Officially it's called counterterrorism. Their alleged terrorism, not ours.

Bromwich called civil liberty wars "poisonous." Fundamental freedoms are destroyed. "(T)hings come up every day," he said.

He addressed Abramson's sacking. He cited Sulzberger's claimed reasons. They "seem credible enough," he said.

"(A)nd yet, the same qualities were compatible with (lots) of her predecessors." It begs the question. Why was Abramson sacked and not them?

It's unlikely for her management style. She learned former executive editor Bill Keller earned more than she did. She asked for a raise. Likely comparable pay and benefits.

It sounds credible, said Brownwich. Hardly reason to sack her. Or wanting a co-managing editor. As executive editor, it was her call.

Nothing suggested she was wrong. Executives make important decisions. It's their job. They get fired for serious bad ones. Ones adversely affecting profits. 

Abramson likely thought added managing editor strength would boost Times readership. It was her call to make. No reason to sack her.

Something else led Sulzberger to do so. Other than what he said. 

In January, Abramson called Julian Assange and Edward Snowden heroes.

"I view (Snowden), as I did Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, as a very good source of extremely newsworthy information," she said.

The Times didn't cover his revelations straightaway. At the same time, Abramson didn't avoid controversy.

Months earlier, she called the Obama administration "the most secretive" in her experience.

"I dealt directly with the Bush White House," she said. "(W)hen they had concerns (about) stories (relating) to national security…"

"The Obama administration had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history."

"It's on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with."

It reflects direct orders from Obama, she added. In June 2013, she expressed concern over Justice Department officials surveilling reporters.

She said "the process of news gathering is being criminalized." Perhaps her views came home to roost.  

Perhaps the real reason for her sacking. Publicly criticizing US policy Times correspondents, commentators and editors defend in print appears cause for dismissal.

It reflects gross hypocrisy. Publishing one thing. Saying something entirely different at times. Bashing the White House The Times deplorably defends in print.

Baquet avoided doing it. As Times managing editor or elsewhere. He was a New Orleans-based Times-Picayune journalist. Then the Chicago Tribune.

In 1990, he became The Times' metropolitan editor. Then a business desk special projects one.

In 2000, he became LA Times managing editor. Then editor-in-chief. In 2007, he returned to the NYT. His positions included Washington bureau chief, national editor, assistant managing editor, managing editor, and now executive editor.

In 2006, he killed an LA Times story about NSA spying on Americans. About wiretapping them. About operating illegally.

About unconstitutional data-mining. About troubling civil liberty violations. About authorizing searches on millions of Americans without court-authorized warrants. 

Mark Klein worked for AT&T for 22 years. In 2004, he retired. After doing so, he turned whistleblower. 

He revealed blueprints and photographs of NSA's secret room. It's inside the company's San Francisco facility.

Three other whistleblowers submitted affidavits. They explained post-9/11 lawless NSA spying on millions of Americans. 

The FBI, CIA, Pentagon, state and local agencies operate the same way.

Spies "R" us defines US policy. America is a total surveillance state. It's unsafe to live in. Everyone is suspect unless proved otherwise.

The 2012 FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act renewed warrantless spying. It passed with little debate. 

On December 30, 2012, Obama signed it into law. Doing so largely went unnoticed. 

Warrantless spying remains law for another five years. Phone calls, emails, and other communications may be monitored secretly without court authorization. 

Probable cause isn't needed. So-called "foreign intelligence information" is sought. Virtually anything qualifies. Vague language is all-embracing.

Constitutional protections don't matter. All major US telecommunications companies are involved. 

So are online ones. They have been since 9/11. Things now are worse than then.

One expert said what's ongoing "isn't a wiretap. It's a country-tap." It's lawless. 

Congress has no authority to subvert constitutional provisions. Legislation passed has no legitimacy. Constitutional changes require amendments. 

The Patriot Act trampled on Bill of Rights protections. Doing so for alleged security doesn't wash. Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process rights were compromised. 

So were First Amendment freedom of association ones. Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures were violated. Unchecked sweeping surveillance followed.

So-called "sneak and peak" searches are conducted through "delayed notice" warrants, roving wiretaps, email tracking, as well as Internet and phone use.

Section 215 pertains to alleged suspects, real or contrived. It authorizes government access to "any tangible item." 

Included are financial records and transactions, education and medical records, phone conversations, emails, other Internet use, and whatever else Washington wants to monitor.

Individuals and organizations may be surveilled whether or not evidence links them to terrorism or complicity to commit it. In other words, everyone is fair game for any reason or none at all.

Post-9/11, sweeping surveillance became policy. What Bush began, Obama escalated. 

Privacy rights are systematically violated. Good journalism requires telling people what they most need to know. 

Media scoundrels suppress it. They bury truth. They substitute misinformation rubbish. They lie, distort, mislead, conceal and twist reporting to fit official US policy.

They mock legitimate journalism. They betray its core ethical standards. They shame themselves in the process.

Expect Baquet to continue The Times ignoble tradition. It supports wealth, power and privilege. 

It does so at the expense of popular interests. Burying truth and full disclosure. Expect more of the same going forward.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

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He spoke at his Austin-based Presidential Library and Museum. He did so commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

His words rang hollow. The New York Times called his speech "stirr(ing)." It stopped short of denouncing his duplicity. More on what he said below.

America's human and civil rights record is by far the world's worst. No other nation matches its lawlessness. None approach it.

It's by far the world's most unprincipled. It's responsible for virtually every crime imaginable and then some.

It's police state than democracy. It's more battleground than homeland.

Lawless FBI, CIA, NSA, FEMA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Border Patrol, and other federal operatives work jointly with state and local authorities. 

They target fundamental freedoms. They harm their own people.

Anyone can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned for any reason or none at all. US citizens at home or abroad can be murdered. Obama can order them killed by presidential diktat.

Others can be arrested and detained. They can be held indefinitely. They can be thrown into military dungeons. They can be denied civil justice. They can be held uncharged.

Innocence is no defense. State terrorism is official policy at home and abroad. Police states operate this way. America is by far the world's worst.

Freedom, human rights, and other democratic values don't matter. Supporting right over wrong is hazardous. 

Challenging Washington's right to dominate globally risks persecution or death. America is unfit to live in. Things go from bad to worse.

Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. Rogue governance defines his agenda. Humanity may not survive on his watch.

On July 2, 1964, Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Officially it's called:

"An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes."

It was more feel good than do good. Objectives fell short of promise. They were more hype than reality. They weren't achieved. Things today are worse than ever in modern times.

On June 11, 1963, Jack Kennedy called for legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public…"

He included "hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments." He urged "greater protection for the right to vote."

Segregationists kept legislation from being enacted. Bottling it up in committee works as intended.

Kennedy's November 22, 1963 assassination changed things. Johnson was a former Senate Majority Leader. He was a powerful mover and shaker.

He wielded bully pulpit power as president. He supported civil and voting rights legislation. On November 27, 1963, he told Congress:

"No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long."

Enactment of legislation he sought followed. Designed to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin fell woefully short.

Powers enacted were weak. They remain so. Equal protection under law is more fantasy than real. It's a figure of speech.

Millions of persons of color bear witness. Muslims in America at the wrong time know the sting of US injustice. They're persecuted for praying to the wrong God. Constitutional protections don't help.

Johnson's July 2, 1964 statement rang hollow. He called signing the Civil Rights act a "proud triumph."

"Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom," he said. 

They died for imperial lawlessness. More than ever today. Johnson didn't explain. Nor presidents following him.

"Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities," he said. For America's rich, well-born and able alone. 

"Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders," he added. 

It's selectively given. America has the best democracy money can buy.

"We believe that all men are created equal," said Johnson. "Yet many are denied equal treatment."

The vast majority do today. A select few benefit. They do so at the expense of all others.

"We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights," said Johnson. 

"Yet many Americans do not enjoy those rights." Overwhelming numbers enjoy few today. 

Freedom is an endangered species. It's disappearing in plain sight. Tyranny is on a fast track toward replacing it. International, constitutional and US statute laws don't matter.

Democracy is pure fantasy. A year after civil rights legislation passed, the Voting Rights Act followed. On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed it into law.

It nominally supports 15th Amendment protections. They prohibit federal or state governments from denying citizens voting rights based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

On February 3, 1870, it was ratified. Fulfillment didn't follow promise. Nor from the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

US voting rights were constitutionally flawed by design. America's founders enfranchised adult white male property owners only.

Laborers were excluded. So were women. They were considered homemakers and child-bearers alone. Slaves were called property, not people. 

Native Americans, free Black men, apprentices, felons, and persons considered incompetent were denied.

From inception to today, US elections were never open, free and fair. Big money controls them. Electoral fraud is rife.

Things are pre-scripted. Voters have no say. Secrecy and back-room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process.

Candidates are pre-selected. Monied interests own them. Key outcomes are predetermined. America is a one-party state.

Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. Not a dime's worth of difference separates them.

Independent candidates are shut out. Media scoundrels ignore them. 

Issues mattering most are unaddressed. Horse race journalism and trivia substitute.

Millions of Americans are disenfranchised. Criminal records alone exclude many. Effort to suppress minority voters are rife.

Half of eligible voters opt out. They do so because interests they most care about go unaddressed. 

Because candidates from either party don't care. Because corporate-controlled touchscreen electronic voting machines are rigged.

They're programmed using secret software. They're easy to manipulate. They steal elections.

They provide no receipts. Excluding them prevents vetting. Opponents end up with voter choices. Losers are declared winners.

Partisan politics serves privileged elites. Democracy is pure illusion. It's a figure of speech. It bears repeating. Americans get the best one money can buy. 

Supreme Court rulings affirmed it. One dollar = one vote. Deep pockets cast many. It's the American way. It shams the right way.

Commemorating civil rights legislation ignores today's deplorable conditions. Duplicitous Obama rhetoric highlighted the disgraceful state of the nation. He called expressing them "a singular honor."

Doors "swung open for" him, he said. "That's why I'm standing here today," he added. 

"…I have lived out the promise of LBJ's efforts." He spoke at the end of a three-day summit. It commemorated civil rights law. Carter, Clinton and GW Bush spoke earlier. 

None connect to popular struggles. Jim Crow never touched their lives. Human and civil rights eroded on their watch. 

So did other fundamental freedoms. They did nothing to prevent it. They support wealth, power and privilege. Ordinary people don't count. People of color least of all.

Clinton signed the repressive 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) into law. It violates constitutional protections. 

It compromises habeas rights. It limits judicial relief. It assured more capital punishment for innocent victims. 

Nearly always, people of color, Muslims, or others among society's most disadvantaged are affected.

Clinton lied calling AEDPA "an important step forward in the federal government's continuing efforts to combat terrorism."

Its enactment had nothing whatsoever to do with it. International or homegrown terrorism is a ruse.

Clinton said he requested legislation after Oklahoma City. On April 19, 1995, a massive explosion destroyed its downtown Murrah Federal Building.

It killed 168 people. Hundreds more were injured. A 16-block area was affected. Over 300 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

Elgin Air Force Base's Armament Wright Laboratory studied the incident. No single truck bomb caused it. 

Former director/explosives and ordnance expert/(Ret.) Brig. General Benton K. Partin was in charge. His report was damning. In part it said:

"Indeed, a careful examination of photographs showing the collapsed column bases reveal a failure mode produced by (internally installed) demolition charges and not by a blast from (a) truck bomb" as claimed.

Additional forensic evidence showed other devices were involved. Official reports suppressed what happened. 

Lies substituted for truth. It's longstanding US practice. So-called terror plots are state-sponsored. 9/11 is Exhibit A.

Bush administration police state laws followed. Civil and human rights were targeted. They were eviscerated.

Patriot Act legislation alone gutted Fifth and 14th Amendment due process rights.

First Amendment ones eroded. Anyone can be wrongfully accused. Prosecutions can claim membership in, association with or support for so-called "undesirable groups."

Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures no longer exist. Unchecked surveillance was authorized.

Powers include accessing personal financial, medical and other records. So-called "sneak and peak" searchers are OK.

"Delayed notice" warrants were approved. Warrantless searches became standard practice.

So were roving wiretaps, email and text message tracking, as well as Internet and telecommunications monitoring.

Prosecutions include secret evidence withheld from defense counsel. It's officially OK. It's common police state practice.

Guilt by accusation follows. For the first time, so-called "domestic terrorism" became a federal crime.

Virtually none exists. Numerous innocent victims were charged. They languish unjustly in America's gulag. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other political prisoners do so.

Patriot Act legislation began things. Other harsh measures followed. Homeland Security is America's Gestapo. 

It operates ruthlessly. It does so extrajudicially. It targets innocent victims. It lies calling them terrorists.

Military commission legislation gutted civil protections. It grants extraordinary power to detain, interrogate, and prosecute alleged terrorists extrajudicially.

It legalized torture. Bush made it official US policy. It continues under Obama. He exceeded the worst of all his predecessors.

He presides over a repressive police state apparatus. Big Brother watches everyone. Mass surveillance is official US policy.

Fake war on terror persists. Rule of law principles don't matter. Nor democratic values. Human and civil liberty violations are rife.

Administration policies are the most secretive in US history. Whistleblowers are ruthlessly targeted. Exposing government lawlessness was criminalized.

So is protesting for fundamental constitutional rights. Tyranny is official US policy. Executive diktats can declare martial law. 

Constitutional law can be suspended. It can be abolished altogether. Federal troops can be deployed against ordinary people.

Peaceful protests are endangered. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation authorized indefinite detentions. 

Anyone can be held without charge or trial. Solely based on suspicions, baseless allegations or none at all is OK.

Presidents have unchecked authority to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens. They can target anyone they wish. They can do it extrajudicially.

No one is safe. Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness don't apply. Abuse of power replaced them. Obama endorses them.

He mocks legitimacy. He governs lawlessly. His duplicitous civil right rhetoric rings hollow. His agenda bears witness to his lies.

'No one knew politics and no one loved legislating more than President Johnson," he said . 

"He was charming when he needed to be, ruthless when required."

"Those of us who've had the singular privilege to hold the office of the presidency know well that progress in this country can be hard and it can be slow, frustrating. And sometimes you're stymied." 

"You're reminded daily that in this great democracy, you are but a relay swimmer in the currents of history, bound by decisions of those who came before, reliant on the efforts of those who will follow to fully vindicate your vision." 

"But the presidency also affords a unique opportunity to bend those currents by shaping our laws and by shaping our debates, by working within the confines of the world as it is, but also by reimagining the world as it should be."

Obama's demagoguery wore thin long ago. Duplicity substitutes for truth. His deplorable record speaks for itself. He's a world class con man.

He's a war criminal multiple times over. He's a serial liar. He's a moral coward. Throughout is tenure, he waged war on freedom.

He's gone all-out to destroy it altogether. He deplores equity and justice for all. He's beholden solely to monied interests.

He supports wealth, power and privilege. He's mindless of popular needs. He trashed human and civil rights throughout his tenure.

He represents the worst of rogue governance. His agenda is state terrorism writ large. His worst crimes go unpunished. 

He's got nearly three more years left in office. Humanity may not survive his onslaught.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Containing Russia

Containing Russia

by Stephen Lendman

It's longstanding US policy. In his March 18 address on Crimea, Putin was right saying:

"(W)e have every reason to assume that the infamous policy of containment, led in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today."  

Western nations are "constantly trying to sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position, because we maintain it, and because we call things like they are and do not engage in hypocrisy."

"Everything has its limits," he added. "(I)n Ukraine, our Western partners crossed the red line." They "act(ed) irresponsibly and unprofessionally."

Putin had the courage to say what needs to be heard publicly. Containing Russia is longstanding US policy. It reflects US hegemonic ambitions. It risks a potential belligerent East/West confrontation.

As early as 1917, Washington and Britain wanted the new Soviet state destroyed. Three months before WW I ended, Britain led a multi-nation force. 

At the time, Lloyd George was Prime Minister. Churchill was UK Minister of War and Air. Woodrow Wilson was US president.

Thousands of US marines were involved. They invaded Russia. They intervened against Bolshevik forces. They remained until April 1920.

So-called "preventive war" failed. At the same time, "Red Scare" propaganda was intense. 

Political scientist Murray Levin called it "a nation-wide anti-radical hysteria provoked by a mounting fear and anxiety that a Bolshevik revolution in America was imminent - a revolution that would change church, home, marriage, civility, and the American way of Life."

Newspapers hyped fear. Xenophobia raged. Industrial Workers of the World (IWW Wobblies) were demonized. 

Latter-day media scoundrels called them "radical threats to American society" inspired by "left-wing, foreign agent provocateurs."

Labor strikes they led were called "crimes against society," conspiracies against the government," and "plots to establish communism."

Dozens of Wobbly members were arrested. They were convicted. They got long prison terms. The IWW was never the same again.

The infamous 1917 Espionage Act and 1918 anti-anarchist Sedition Act were enacted. Law Professor David Cole said Wilson "targeted alien radicals." 

"(He) deported them for their speech or associations. (He) ma(de) little effort to distinguish true threats from ideological dissidents."

In 1918, the abusive Palmer raids followed. They continued into 1921. Wilson's Attorney General Mitchell Palmer ordered them. He targeted Wobbly members and other left-wing groups.

He launched J. Edgar Hoover's FBI career. It began in the Department of Justice Bureau of Investigation's newly created General Intelligence Division. In 1935, it became the FBI.

A year earlier, the Special Committee on Un-American Activities was established. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) succeeded it.

From the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, Hoover's infamous COINTELPRO (counterintelligence) program targeted political dissidents, alleged communists, anti-war, human and civil rights activists, American Indian Movement members, and Black Panther Party ones, among others.

In their book, "Agents of Repression," Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall said:

"(T)he term came to signify the whole context of clandestine (usually illegal) political repression activities…" 

They included "a massive surveillance (program via) wiretaps, surreptitious entries and burglaries, electronic devices, live 'tails' and bogus mail." 

It was done to induce paranoia and "foster 'splits' within or between organizations."

Other tactics included:

  • "black propaganda" through leaflets or other publications; it was "designed to discredit organizations and foster internal tensions;"

  • "disinformation or 'gray propaganda' " for the same purpose; 

  • "bad-jacketing" to "creat(e) suspicion - through the spread of rumors, manufacture of evidence, etc." to turn some members against others violently;

  • "harassment arrests (on bogus) charges;" and

  • "assassinations (of) selected political leaders."

This writer vividly remembers December 4, 1969. Chicago police murdered Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark while they slept. They did so in cold blood.

In November 1968, J. Edgar Hoover ordered FBI agents "to exploit all avenues of creating....dissension within the ranks of the BPP (using) imaginative hard-hitting counterintelligence measures aimed at crippling" the organization.

He targeted independent voices challenging America's imperial agenda. Soviet Russia supporters were prime targets.

Post-WW II, containing Russia became official US policy. US diplomat/ambassador to Soviet Russia/presidential advisor George Kennan (1904 - 2005) was "the father of containment."

He was a core member of so-called foreign policy "Wise Men." His advice inspired the Truman Doctrine. More on it below.

His 1946 "Long Telegram" from Moscow and 1947 "Sources of Soviet Conduct" claimed its government was inherently expansionist. 

Containing its influence in strategic areas vitally important to America had to be prioritized, he argued. Cold War policies followed. Kennan was instrumentally involved.

In February 1948, his "Memo PPS23" said:

"(W)e have 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. (It makes us) the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships (to let us) maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national society." 

"To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives." 

"We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction...."

"We should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism."

"We should (stop talking about) unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization." 

"The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans (ideas and practices), the better."

In July 1947, his so-called "X" article headlined "The Sources of Soviet Conduct."

He urged "counter(ing) it "effectively." He stressed "containment, saying:

"The main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies."

He quoted Lenin saying:

"Unevenness of economic and political development is the inflexible law of capitalism. It follows from this that the victory of Socialism may come originally in a few capitalist countries or even in a single capitalist country." 

"The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and having organized Socialist production at home, would rise against the remaining capitalist world, drawing to itself in the process the oppressed classes of other countries."

He said Soviet power reflects "innate antagonism between capitalism and socialism."

"We have seen how deeply that concept has become imbedded in foundations of Soviet power. It has profound implications for Russia's conduct as a member of international society." 

"It means that there can never be on Moscow's side a sincere assumption of a community of aims between the Soviet Union and powers which are regarded as capitalist." 

"It must inevitably be assumed in Moscow that the aims of the capitalist world are antagonistic to the Soviet regime, and therefore to the interests of the peoples it controls."

Antagonism remains, said Kennan. "And from it flow many of the phenomena which we find disturbing in the Kremlin's conduct of foreign policy: the secretiveness, the lack of frankness, the duplicity, the wary suspiciousness, and the basic unfriendliness of purpose."

Russians will be "difficult to deal with" for a long time, he stressed. In November 1948, NSC 4 outlined "US Objectives with Respect to the USSR to Counter Soviet Threats to US Security."

NSC 7 followed. It covered "The Position of the United States With Respect to Soviet Dominated World Communism." It said:

"(A) defensive policy cannot be considered an effective means of checking the momentum of Soviet expansion."  

"Defeat(ing)" communism was considered "vital to the security of the United States." It argued Washington should organize and lead a "counter-offensive" aimed at undermining Soviet strength.

It should "develop, and at the appropriate time carry out, a coordinated program to support underground resistance movements in countries behind the iron curtain, including the USSR."

Kennan's 1948 "Inauguration of Political Warfare" explained his ideas on how to conduct it. He discussed covert and overt strategies.

He included political alliances, economic policies, and encouraging underground resistance initiatives. He encouraged establishing "Liberation Committees" across Europe. He supported policies short of war.

"In the long run," he said, "there can be only three possibilities for the future of western and central Europe. One is German domination. Another is Russian domination." 

"The third is a federated Europe, into which the parts of Germany are absorbed but in which the influence of the other countries is sufficient to hold Germany in her place."

"If there is no real European federation and if Germany is restored as a strong and independent country, we must expect another attempt at German domination." 

"If there is no real European federation and if Germany is not restored as a strong and independent country, we invite Russian domination, for an unorganized Western Europe cannot indefinitely oppose an organized Eastern Europe." 

"The only reasonably hopeful possibility for avoiding one of these two evils is some form of federation in western and central Europe."

In March 1946, Churchill spoke at Fulton, MO-based Westminster College. He delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech. He titled it "The Sinews of Peace." 

He helped change the way Western nations viewed communist Eastern ones. In pointed language, he said:

"Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are its limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies."

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent."

"Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe."

"Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow."

Many analysts consider his speech the beginning of the Cold War.

In March 1947, Truman's Doctrine pledged "support (for) free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

He aimed to keep Greece and Turkey from going communist. His policy applied globally. He initiated America's National Security State strategy.

Establishing NATO followed. So did policy papers like Kennan wrote. Peace didn't last long. Truman attacked North Korea. More on this below.

In April 1950, a Paul Nitze-supervised Joint State-Defense Department Committee National Security Memorandum No. 68 (NSC-68) was about containing Soviet Russia.

Inflammatory language called it an enemy "unlike previous aspirants to hegemony...animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own (wishing to) impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world." 

It claimed it at a time America was the only global superpower. Soviet Russia was devastated by WW II. Many more years were needed to regain normality. It threatened no one.

IF Stone's "Hidden History of the Korean War" explains a much different account than popularly believed.

In 1952, Monthly Review co-founders Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy wrote in the preface:

"This book...paints a very different picture of the Korean War - one, in fact, which is at variance with the official version at almost every point." 

Stone's investigation into official discrepancies led him "to a full-scale reassessment of the whole" war.

Publisher Claude Bourdet wrote his own article titled "The Korean Mystery: Fight Against a Phantom,"? saying:

"If Stone's thesis corresponds to reality, we are in the presence of the greatest swindle in the whole of military history."

It's "not a question of a harmless fraud but of a terrible maneuver in which deception is being consciously utilized to block peace at a time when it is possible."

Stone called it international aggression. Huberman and Sweezy agreed. In August 1951, they said:

"(W)e have come to the conclusion that (South Korean president) Syngman Rhee deliberately provoked the North Koreans in the hope that they would retaliate by crossing the parallel in force."

He did so at Truman's behest. Multiple South Korean provocations gave him the war he wanted. Millions perished. Northern areas were turned to rubble. More wars followed. 

"The northerners," said Huberman and Sweezy, wanted Korea unified, not war. They "fell neatly into the trap." Truman took full advantage. He instigated conflict. 

Stone believed it saying:

"(W)e said we were going to Korea to go back to the status quo before the war, but when the American armies reached the 38th parallel they didn't stop."

"They kept going, so there must be something else. We must have another agenda here, and what might that agenda be?"

The same one he later learned initiated Washington's Southeast Asian war and others. Permanent war is official US policy. Containing Russia continues today. More on this below.

Post-WW II, the Marshall Plan (European Recovery Program) had little to do with so-called "huge gestures of (US) benevolence."

Economist Walt Rostow helped implement the plan. He called it one part of an "offensive to strengthen the area still outside Stalin's grasp."

In December 1947, then Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs William Clayton said if aid wasn't provided, "the Iron Curtain would then move westward at least to the English Channel."

While implementation was being discussed, he said America "hold(s) in (its) hands the powerful weapon of discontinuance of aid if contrary to our expectations any country fails to live up to our expectations."

Economic Stabilization Bureau head Chester Bowles was candid, saying:

"The real argument for the Marshall Plan is a bolstering of the American system for future years."

The plan was named for popular General George Marshall. Post-war, Truman's popularity fell sharply. 

Putting his name on it risked public anger enough perhaps to get congressional rejection.

Marshall played the game. He pitched the plan. He delivered canned speeches. 

He disingenuously claimed it was to relieve "hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos." It was about saving capitalism from communism and Stalinist influence.

Containing Russia remains official US policy. It's back to the future. The Cold War never ended. It morphed into new form.

Putin is public enemy number one. He's vilified more intensively than Soviet era leaders. In 2007, during his first term as president, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed containing Russia, saying:

"The very (notion) appeals to instincts of the past. It not so much attests to the lack of imagination, but rather that for some individuals almost nothing has changed since the end of the Cold War." 

"These people propose imposing the structure of international relations which took shape long ago in the Western alliance, to the present moment." 

"The motives that dictated this policy of containment are making themselves felt at this new historical stage, as well."

"What kind of Russia should be contained," he asked? "What can be the goal of 'containing Russia' today?" 

"A Russia that has renounced an ideology of imperial and other 'great plans' in favor of pragmatism and common sense." 

"How can a nation, which has placed emphasis on its domestic development and is now progressing remarkably well, be contained?" 

"Russia's consolidation through creative work has naturally been translated into the strengthening of its international positions. Russia's foreign policy is nothing more than the continuation of its domestic policy." 

"We have realistic and understandable aspirations, namely: the maintenance of international stability as a major condition for our further development together with the natural evolution of international relations with the goal of achieving freedom and democracy."

Washington and Moscow are geopolitical opposites, he added. Therein lies what's at issue. Russia's peace and respect for national sovereignty priorities are at odds with America's imperial agenda.

Heightened tensions risk an East/West confrontation. Irresponsible US policy risks possible global war. If initiated there's no turning back. Humanity's fate hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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An Open Letter to Barack Obama

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

by Stephen Lendman

Congratulations, Mr. President. You're the latest in a long line of lawless leaders. You achieved rogue status without really trying.

Contempt for rule of law principles, duplicity and moral cowardice define your administration. Pretense otherwise doesn't wash.

Instead of improving lives for ordinary Americans, you created worse than ever conditions.

You more than ever made America a gangster state. Millions worldwide call it a pariah one. They do so for good reason.

You stole public wealth. You handed Wall Street crooks trillions of dollars. You gave war profiteers trillions more. 

You impoverished millions. You left 100 million working-age Americans unemployed. 

You ignore human need. Homelessness and hunger aren't your concerns. 

You're systematically destroying middle class society. You're heading America on a fast track toward third world status. A second one toward full-blown tyranny.

You promised hope and change. You campaigned for peace. You promised all US forces out of Afghanistan in your first year in office.

You assured Palestinian sovereignty free from occupation harshness. You said decades of what Israel imposed would end.

You promised Guantanamo closure once and for all. You pledged within one year of taking office.

Bush administration war criminals will be held accountable, you said. Torture will end by decree. 

So will indefinite detentions. Lawless military commissions trials won't be tolerated.

Labor rights will be supported. So will public education. And you can keep your doctor, you said. 

You guaranteed universal healthcare with a public option. It'll be more affordable than before, you claimed. 

You'll end unconstitutional executive authority. You'll help Americans facing foreclosure keep their homes.

You promised real immigration reform within one year of taking office. You'll "revisit the Patriot Act."

You'll "overturn unconstitutional executive decisions during the past eight years."

You'll be a uniter, not a divider. You'll serve all Americans equitably, justly, fairly and honorably.

"It's time to turn a page," you said. "We'll restore our values." The "days of compromising them are over." 

We'll "secure a more resilient homeland." We'll "adhere to the Geneva Conventions." 

Freedom is too precious to lose. You've gone all-out to destroy it on your watch. You've done so at home and abroad.

You said openness and transparency in government will be a hallmark of your administration. You'll increase whistleblower protections.

Big Brother will be banished. "(N)o more illegal wiretapping of American citizens," you pledged.

No more "spy(ing) on citizens who are not suspected of a crime." No more privacy invasions.

No more human and civil rights violations. "No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient."

No more extrajudicial operations. No more favoring monied interests over popular ones. No more wars for power and profit.

No more less than treating everyone equitably and justly. No more defending the indefensible.

Arundhati Roy once called Tony Blair a "psychopath." She described Bush the same way. She said you're no different from them. And then some, this writer adds.

You did more to make America unfit to live in than any of your predecessors. You've waged political, economic and hot wars on humanity. 

You threaten its survival. Your policies risk WW III. You're unapologetic. Your rampaging continues.

Your waging multiple direct and proxy wars. You target all independent countries for regime change.

You're waging war on Syria. You launched it. You killed tens of thousands. You bear full responsibility. You want a subservient pro-Western stooge replacing Assad.

You ravaged and destroyed Libya for the same purpose. You turned it into a charnel house. You're doing the same thing to many other countries. Countless millions suffer horrifically on your watch.

Ukraine is your latest victim. Congratulations. You claimed another imperial trophy. As long as you can keep it.

It's at the expense of millions of Ukrainians deserving better. You want them marginalized, exploited, impoverished and denied fundamental freedoms.

You want Ukraine run by fascist extremists. You bought victory on the cheap. Keeping it is something else entirely.

Reports estimate you spent $5 - $10 billion transforming Ukraine from a democracy to a pro-Western fascist police state.

It's pocket change compared to multi-trillions waging war on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and other countries below the radar.

You elevated anti-Semitic, hate-mongering, xenophobic, ultranational neo-Nazis to power. 

You expressed support for their extremism. You called them "the voice of the people." You blamed Ukraine's legitimate government for their street crimes.

You endorsed usurpation of power. On Saturday, your press secretary lied, saying:

"We have consistently advocated a de-escalation of violence, constitutional change, a coalition government, and early elections, and today's developments could move us closer to that goal."

Fact check: You planned violence. You initiated it. You stoked it. You funded it. You want total control over Ukrainian policy. You want ordinary Ukrainians having no say.  

"The unshakeable principle guiding events must be that the people of Ukraine determine their own future."

Fact check: You've gone all-out to prevent it. You stole their future.  

"We welcome constructive work in the Rada and continue to urge the prompt formation of a broad, technocratic government of national unity."

Fact check: Usurped Rada (parliament) authority has no legitimacy. It's polar opposite real democracy.

You deplore it. You tolerate it nowhere. You deny Americans what they deserve. You operate the same way globally.

"We welcome former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s release from a prison hospital today, and we wish her a speedy recovery..." 

Fact check: She's a criminal. She stole tens of millions of dollars. She did so at the expense of ordinary Ukrainians. She belongs in prison. Releasing her was lawless.

"We continue to urge an end to violence by all sides and a focus on peaceful, democratic dialogue, working pursuant to Ukraine’s constitution and through its institutions of government."  

Fact check: It bears repeating. You spent billions on violently toppling Ukraine's legitimate government. You want pro-Western fascist extremism replacing it.

You got what you wanted so far. Keeping it may be something else entirely. The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. It has miles to go. It's outcome is very much undecided.

"Going forward, we will work with our allies, with Russia, and with appropriate European and international organizations to support a strong, prosperous, unified, and democratic Ukraine." 

"…(T)he Ukrainian people should know that the United States deeply values our long-standing ties with Ukraine and will support them as they pursue a path of democracy and economic development."

Fact check: Ukrainian youths are ignorant. They're mindless about what's going on. They're easily manipulated. For how long matters most.

Older Ukrainians aren't stupid. They know how America operates. They know wherever it shows up, extreme violence and human misery follow.

They reversed George Bush's Orange Revolution. Don't bet they won't undo your 2.0 version. The battle for Ukraine's soul just began.

Note: Anonymous Ukraine monitors what's ongoing. It's members are divided. Some are brainwashed by Western propaganda.

Others know their country is being colonized for plunder. They'll fight it. They want no part of exploitive EU membership.

They reject US meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs. They oppose NATO membership. They deplore fascist extremists usurping power. They know your dirty hands are involved.

They want peace and stability. They want Ukrainians deciding their own future. They want sovereign independence defended. 

They'll be heard from going forward. They won't stand by idly watching you wreck their country. They won't "go gentle into that good night."

"Operation Independence continues," they said. "Expect us."

One coup d'etat isn't enough for you. You want another. You want Venezuela's democratic government toppled. 

You want Bolivarian social justice destroyed. You want Venezuela returned to its bad old days. 

You bear full responsibility for street violence. You're funding it. You're directing it. You pull the strings.

Destabilization continues. CIA operatives are involved. So are State Department organizations.

Coup plotting is violent. Days of violence caused 10 deaths so far. Scores were injured. Your funded fascists are responsible.

Since 1999, you, Bush and Clinton spent billions of dollars targeting Venezuela for regime change. Bolivarianism survived everything done to destroy it.

It's resilient. It's institutionalized. The vast majority of Venezuelans support it. They won't tolerate your plot to steal what's too important to lose. Or the Hemisphere's most democratic country.

They'll fight to keep hard won gains. Victor Hugo once explained nothing stronger than "an idea whose time has come."

It's deep-rooted in Venezuela. It reflects Simon Bolivar's vision. He wanted the imperial curse "to plague Latin America with misery in the name of liberty" ended.

He wanted national resources distributed equitably and fairly. Chavez was his modern-day incarnation. 

Chavismo reflects his commitment. Maduro carries his torch.

The battle to preserve Bolivarian values continues. They won't wane and die. Your dirty scheme is familiar.

You want Venezuela looking like America. You want police state viciousness replacing democracy. You want neoliberal harshness replacing Bolivarian fairness.

You want what Venezuelans won't tolerate. You want what they won't let you get. 

Maybe Americans will awaken to reality. Maybe they'll react the same way. It's their future. If they won't protect it, no one will do it for them.

It bears repeating what other articles said. Resist or perish. There's no in-between. Spread the word. Tell others. We're all in this together. Defeating your agenda is too important a fight to lose.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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US Press Freedom Threatened

by Stephen Lendman

First Amendment rights matter most. Without them all other freedoms are at risk. Post-9/11 policies threaten them.

Bush waged war against them. Obama escalated it. He promised transparency, accountability and reform. He called whistleblowing "acts of courage and patriotism." He said one thing. He did another.

Press freedoms are endangered. An October Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) report discussed Obama and the press. 

Journalists say he's waging war on dissent. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He's heading America on a fast track to tyranny.

He wants information people have a right to know suppressed. He evades press scrutiny. He aggressively targets leakers.

Anyone suspected of disclosing information he wants concealed is vulnerable. Press freedom is gravely threatened.

On February 12, a CPJ press release headlined "Attacks on the Press: CPJ to launch annual global assessment of press freedom." 

It named three key threats. They include digital surveillance, murdering journalists, and pressuring them to suppress what governments don't want revealed.

Authoritarian states used to be primary battlegrounds, said CPJ. No longer. New technologies potentially threaten press freedom everywhere.

"Governments' capacity to store transactional data and the content of communications undermines journalists' ability to protect sources," said CPJ.

Out-of-control NSA spying harms everyone. It's driving a stake in the heart of press freedom. It's compromised gravely in America.

CPJ first published "Attacks on the Press" in 1986. This year's edition features a chapter titled "The NSA Puts Journalists Under a Cloud of Suspicion."

Mass agency surveillance collects enormous amounts of data. It's retained. Doing so "poses a unique threat to journalism in the digital age," said CPJ.

Virtually everything digital can be monitored. NSA "recreate(s) a reporter's research." It retraces sources' movements.

It follows current and past communications. It uncovers confidential sources. It does so with technological ease.

It renders confidentiality promises meaningless. If current interactions escape scrutiny, they're reconstructed later on.

Doing so compromises free data flows. Sources become reluctant to cooperate. Disclosing information Washington wants concealed entails risks.

Suppressing what people need to know compromises press freedom. Advanced data storage technology creates another potential risk.

"It provides a deep breeding ground for artificial intelligence systems, which may in the future lead to more efficient, even predictive, spying machines," said CPJ.

Washington and other governments will spot what they most wish to know. Perhaps they'll do it in advance.

Imagine the potential ability to discover things before they happen. Unless checked, out-of-control spying may destroy press freedom entirely. Maybe all freedoms.

Perhaps what's ongoing now is prelude to much worse. CPJ interviewed William Binney. America is "a police state," he said. Mass spying is "a totalitarian process."

NSA monitors all journalists. It maintains "a record of all of them so (it) can investigate, so (it) can look at who they'll calling - who are the potential sources that they're involved  in, what probable stories they're working on, and things like that."

National security expert James Bamford told CPJ he believes certain journalists get extra scrutiny.

"If you're writing about national security or the NSA itself, they consider you...a national security danger, and so they feel justified in doing whatever they're doing," he said.

ACLU attorney Alex Abdo litigated against NSA. At issue are compromised constitutionally guaranteed free speech and privacy rights.

"(A)ll reporters should be worried," he believes. Different things affect them.

"Reporters who work for the largest media organizations should be worried probably primarily because their sources will dry up as (they) recognize that there is no way to cover their trail."

Independent journalists may be targeted. They're vulnerable on their own. They lack "institutional protections" MSM reporters get.

When questioned, NSA consistently lies. Spokeswoman Vanee Vines told CPJ:

"NSA is focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets in order to protect the nation and its interests from threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

It bears repeating what other articles explained. America's only threats are ones it invents.

Post-9/11, NSA spying uncovered zero terrorist threats. None! Claims otherwise are false.

Obama lied saying "US intelligence agencies (are) anchored in a system of checks and balances - with oversight from elected leaders, and protections for ordinary citizens."

He lied claiming mass surveillance "prevented multiple attacks and saved lives - not just here in the United States, but around the globe."

He lied saying federal courts and congressional oversight curbed "some of the worst excesses that emerged after 9/11..."

He lied saying he ordered "increased oversight and auditing, including new structures aimed at compliance."

He lied claiming nothing he's seen "indicate(s) that our intelligence community has sought to violate the law or is cavalier about the civil liberties of (American) citizens."

He lied saying "the men and women of the intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people."

He lied claiming "(t)hey're not abusing authority in order to listen to your private phone calls or read your emails."

He lied saying "(w)hen mistakes are made...they correct" them.

He lied saying "our intelligence community follows the law."

He lied claiming terrorist threats "are not going away any time soon. They are going to continue to be a major problem."

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) head James Clapper is an acknowledged perjurer. He belatedly admitted lying to Congress.

Senator Ron Wyden asked him: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

"No sir," said Clapper, "not wittingly." Facing perjury charges he wrote Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairwoman Diane Feinstein. He apologized for "clearly erroneous" remarks under oath.

Russell Tice is a former Office of Naval Intelligence/Defense Intelligence Agency/NSA analyst. His career spanned 20 years.

Earlier he accused NSA of unconstitutionally wiretapping US citizens, saying:

"Everyone at NSA knew what they were doing was illegal, because it’s drilled into our heads over and over that it's against NSA policy, that you do not do that. The choice is to speak out and get fired."

Tice personally witnessed agency spying on news organizations and journalists.

Former army intelligence Sgt. Adrienne Kinne said she monitored phone conversations between journalists in Iraq and their spouses and editors.

Snowden revelations explained much more. Clapper lied to Congress claiming he caused "profound damage."

He exposed lawless spying. He connected important dots for millions. He told people what they need to know. 

He's outrageously charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. It's a WW I relic. It has no relevancy today. 

Obama uses against whistleblowers. He targeted more than all his predecessors combined.

Snowden charges include:

  • "Theft of government property;

  • Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information (and)

  • Willful Communication of Classified Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person."

Bradley (Chelsea) Manning was prosecuted for revealing serious war crimes. He got 35 years in prison for acting responsibly.

Journalists revealing what Washington wants suppressed are vulnerable. Last October, NSA chief General Keith Alexander expressed no patience with journalists investigating agency activities.

"I think it's wrong that newspaper reporters have all these documents, 50,000 or whatever they have, and are selling them and giving them out as these - you know it just doesn't make sense," he said.

"We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don't know how to do that..."

"(T)hat's more (for) the courts and the policy makers, but from my perspective it's wrong, and to allow this to go on is wrong."

Most journalists may not end up in NSA's crosshairs, said CPJ. All journalists need to know they're monitored. They're vulnerable if writing about affairs of state and related issues.

It's impossible to know everything NSA collects, said CPJ. It's enough to give everyone pause.

Constitutional violations threaten fundamental freedoms. They're eroding en route to perhaps disappearing altogether.

Computer security expert Bruce Schneier compares meta-data collection and analysis to hiring a private detective to snoop on someone's activities and associations.

"The result would be details of what he did: where he went, who he talked to, what he looked at, what he purchased - how he spent his day," said Schneier.

Bamford calls meta-data surveillance especially dangerous to journalists, saying:

"It’s always dangerous when the government has access to journalists' communication because what journalists guarantee sources is confidentiality, and if there's no such thing as confidentiality from the government, it would inhibit the future cooperation from sources." 

This gravely compromises investigative journalism. If government "see(s) all the numbers you're calling, they're able to tell pretty much what kind of story you're working on, even without getting (its) content..." 

"They're able to tell what the nature of the story is, (and names of) sources you're dealing with."

Binney said NSA didn't build its sophisticated Utah facility for transactional data alone. It's for collecting and storing "content of communications, not just metadata," he stressed.

"They are building more and more storage because they're collecting" vast amounts of data.

They "take everything" off communication lines "and store it." Information is "indexed to the graph of lives and social networks."

NSA can access content to determine a timeline of people's relationships. Binney believes the agency has content and meta-data for the past dozen years. 

Unless checked, imagine how much more it'll have ahead. "(T)he more data you get, the more capacity you have to see into somebody,'s life," said Binney.

Technological advances let NSA spy in unprecedented ways. Journalists have to rethink how they communicate with sources.

"The NSA is gathering power and (it's) gathering more capabilities and more eavesdropping, more invasive technologies," said Bamford.

"At the same time, (it's) deceiving the very weak organizations that are supposed to be the oversight mechanisms - the Congress and the FISA Court." 

"I think it's a very worrying situation, not just for journalists, but for anybody."

Over 100 years ago, former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called sunlight "the best of disinfectants." He couldn't imagine how badly it's needed now.

A Final Comment

The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) called February 11 "The Day We Fight Back."

It joined "thousands of websites in protesting (against) mass (NSA) surveillance…" It used its web site "as a platform for users to speak out against spying abuses..."

It helped them contact congressional members easily. Oppose the FISA Improvement Act, it said. Support the USA Freedom Act.

Protests were held in cities worldwide. People fought back for freedoms too important to lose.

On February 12, EFF asked "How Big Was the Day We (Fought) Back?" It showed a visual image of Michigan Stadium filled to capacity. It holds 109,901 people.

Imagine two MSs filled to capacity, said EFF. Imagine everyone in them "doing the same thing at the same time - contacting Congress and demanding an end to mass surveillance."

You'd be thousands short of nearly 250,000 Americans doing it. They called. They emailed. They demanded Congress support their rights.

Another 200,000 + participated in organized actions worldwide.

At peak times, congressional members were bombarded with over 7,000 calls an hour. EFF stressed what it said before.

February 11 wasn't a one-time action. EFF began challenging lawless NSA spying almost a decade ago. "(W)e're not going to stop now," it said.

Hundreds of thousands of people speaking out is "amazing," it added. "We're proud to have taken part" in what's so important.

EFF expressed gratitude to "many, many" other participants. Freedom isn't something handed out without struggle.

Getting rights requires fighting for them. The same holds for keeping them. Key is not letting energy wane. 

Sustaining it makes winning struggles possible. What's more precious than fundamental freedoms for all.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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NSA Spies on Pope


NSA Spies on Pope

by Stephen Lendman

NSA spies on world leaders, so why not? Even the Holy See isn't spy proof. It's not off limits. 

Pope Francis is monitored. Most likely Benedict XVI. Perhaps John Paul II through at least some of his papacy. NSA spies globally. No one's safe from its intrusive eye.

On October 30, the Italian publication Panorama headlined "Esclusiva Panorama: Datagate, anche il Papa è stato intercettato (Exclusive Panorama: Datagate, even the Pope was intercepted).

Reuters covered the story. On October 30, it headlined "Italian magazine says US spies listened to pope, Vatican says unaware." 

Internal Vatican communications are monitored. So are phone calls from the Domus Sanctae Marthae. It's Pope Francis' current home. It's where cardinals reside during papal conclaves.

NSA's interest was monitoring "leadership intentions," financial system threats, "foreign policy objectives," and "human rights." Vatican Bank president Ernst von Freyberg's calls were intercepted.

Francis was monitored when he was Buenos Aires archbishop. Doing so suggests all high-ranking prelates are watched globally. 

US embassies virtually everywhere are infested with spies. They operate covertly as diplomatic staff. Snowden-released documents revealed Rome has an elite spying unit. So do other major European capitals.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said: "We are not aware of anything on this issue, and in any case we have no concerns about it."

Whether or not Vatican officials knew is one thing. For sure, no one wants to be spied on.

NSA head Keith Alexander repeatedly lies. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper is an admitted perjurer. Take everything they both say with a grain of salt.

On October 30, NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines likely lied saying:

"The National Security Agency does not target the Vatican. Assertions that NSA has (done so), published by Italy's Panorama magazine, are not true."

Allegations followed the Cryptome digital library web site reporting NSA collecting 124.8 billion phone calls monthly. It said 46 million were intercepted in Italy from December 2012 through early January 2013 alone.

Panorama said the "National Security Agency wiretapped the pope…(T)he great American ear" never sleeps. Calls to and from the Vatican are monitored. Big Brother intercepts prelate conversations routinely. 

For sure following Pope Benedict's February 28 resignation through the papal conclave convened to elect his successor. Conversations of future Pope Francis were likely monitored.

The former Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a person of interest since at least 2005. He was considered a potential future papal candidate.

Sistine chapel discussions relating to electing new popes are especially kept secret. A special system scrambles cell phone calls. Anyone caught breaking the sacred trust faces excommunication.

NSA reportedly intercepted communications relating to the 2012 Vatileaks scandal. It exposed high-level corruption. Documents were leaked to Italian journalists.

Paolo Gabriele became a person of interest. He was Benedict XVI's personal secretary. He leaked his confidential letters and memos.

They revealed papal finances, bribes, other corruption, and abuse of power. Gabriele was hung out to dry. He was arrested, tried and convicted. 

He got 18 months in prison. He was ordered to pay legal expenses. On December 22, 2012, Benedict pardoned him. 

Michael Parenti's "God and His Demons" makes compelling reading. He confronted the religious right, saying:

"The god of the Holy Bible - so much adored in the United States and elsewhere - is ferociously vindictive, neurotically jealous, intolerant, vainglorious, punitive, wrathful, sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sadistic and homicidal." 

"As they say, it's all in the Bible. Beware of those who act in the name of such a god." 

"Were we to encounter these vicious traits in an ordinary man, we would judge him to be in need of lifelong incarceration at a maximum-security facility." 

"At the very least, we would not prattle on about how he works his wonders in mysterious ways. In fact, 'biblical Jesus qualifies quite well as founder and forerunner of an intolerant Christianity."

"That 'old-time religion' is still very much with us and having a considerable impact on US political life."

Parenti was unforgiving. He challenged iconic religious figures. He exposed their dark sides. He included Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, and Tibetan Buddhism.

John Paul II "remained up to his ears in counter-revolutionary politics in Latin America and elsewhere," he said. 

He "directed no critical attacks against right-wing dictatorships." He called them "bulwarks against communist revolution."

He intervened on behalf of Chilean despot Augusto Pinochet. At the time, he was under house arrest in London.

Parenti's book was written before Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis. He was very much involved in Argentina's dirty war.

Prelates denouncing human rights abuses anywhere is considered taboo. Dirty war survivors accused Bergoglio of complicity with what demanded condemnation.

Vatican policy isn't pretty. Francis wasn't elected to change things. Washington wants policy everywhere kept in lockstep with US policy. 

NSA spying relates to discovering potential outliers. US policy makers can then act before harm is done.

Snowden documents revealed spying on millions of Italian citizens. It was thought perhaps popes and Vatican officials were off-limits. It bears repeating. NSA spies on world leaders.

Vatican city is a sovereign city-state. Popes have head of state status. They have diplomatic immunity like presidents and prime ministers. 

So do Vatican officials, papal nuncios, cardinals and other high-ranking Holy See Diplomatic Service prelates. They're more than religious figures. 

They're politically involved. They're well connected. What they say and think matters. They influence great numbers of parishioners.

Separately, Snowden documents revealed NSA secretly intercepted Google and Yahoo communication links connecting their global data centers. 

Doing so lets the agency keep track of hundreds of millions of user accounts. NSA's main tool is called MUSCULAR. It operates jointly with Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

From undisclosed interception points, both agencies copy fiber-optic cable flows. Doing so complements NSA's PRISM. 

It has front-door access to Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and other major online companies.

NSA can search histories, emails, file transfers and live chats. They're gotten directly from US provider servers. Doing so facilitates mass surveillance. NSA now has front and back-door access. It takes full advantage.

An NSA statement lied, saying:

it "focus(es) on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets only."

It "applies Attorney General-approved processes to protect the privacy of U.S. persons - minimizing the likelihood of their information in our targeting, collection, processing, exploitation, retention, and dissemination."

NSA's mandate is "get it all." Everyone and everything are fair game. Congressional oversight is virtually nonexistent. Obama's in lockstep with NSA policy.

On December 4, 1981, Executive Order 12333, explained NSA/Central Security Service (CSS) responsibilities and purposes. 

It's to provide "(t)imely and accurate information about the activities, capabilities, plans, and intentions of foreign powers, organizations, and persons and their agents, is essential to the national security of the United States." 

"All reasonable and lawful means must be used to ensure that the United States will receive the best intelligence available." Head of operations is charged with:

  • "Collect(ing, including through clandestine means), process, analyze, produce, and disseminate signals intelligence information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes to support national and departmental missions;
  • Acting(ing) as the National Manager for National Security Systems as established in law and policy, and in this capacity be responsible to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director, National Intelligence; (and)

  • Prescrib(ing) security regulations covering operating practices, including the transmission, handling, and distribution of signals intelligence and communications security material within and among the elements under control of the Director of the National Security Agency, and exercise the necessary supervisory control to ensure compliance with the regulations."

On July 31, 2008, EO 12333 was amended to:

  • "Align (it) with the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004;

  • Implement additional recommendations of the 9/11 and WMD Commissions; (and)

  • Further integrate the Intelligence Community and clarify and strengthen the role of DNI as the head of the Community; Maintain or strengthen privacy and civil liberties protections."

By law, NSA’s mission is limited to monitoring, collecting and analyzing foreign communications. Its dual missions include: 

  • the Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID). It relates to foreign intelligence gathering, and 

  • the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD). It protects US information systems.

Rule of law principles are systematically spurned. It's more true now than ever. It's far worse than most people imagine. 

Anything goes reflects policy. NSA is a power unto itself. It does whatever it wants covertly. It does it globally. Obama continues what his predecessors began.

NSA's been around for decades. On June 1, 1952, Harry Truman authorized it. On November 4, 1952, it was established. Its earlier incarnation was a shadow of today's capabilities. Virtually nothing escapes its intrusive eye.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/nsa-spies-pope/

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Obama Encourages Spying on World Leaders

by Stephen Lendman

He lied claiming otherwise. He's a serial liar. He's a moral coward. He's a war criminal multiple times over. He did what supporters thought impossible. 

He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He plans lots more ways to prove it through 2016. Humanity may not survive the ordeal. 

On October 27, Deutche Welle (DW) headlined "Media reports suggest Obama knew NSA spied on Merkel."

Der Spiegel said NSA's Special Collection Service (SCS) monitored her cell phone conversations since 2002. Obama lied telling Merkel he knew nothing about it.

He encourages global spying. He wants world leaders monitored. He wants stepped up surveillance doing it. 

According to DW, "a report in Bild am Sonntag published Sunday cites an unnamed NSA official who said (Obama) ordered the program be escalated."

NSA chief Keith Alexander told Obama about monitoring Merkel's phone calls. It hacked into her "supposedly secure phone…"

"Only a special, secure landline phone in her office was reportedly not accessible to electronic tapping."

Hacked information was reported directly to the White House. Evidence suggests monitoring Merkel continued at least through the "immediate past." 

Despite official disclaimers, most likely it continues. A previous article discussing spying on 35 world leaders. They weren't named. It's not hard imagining likely targets. 

Perhaps lots more than 35 are monitored. NSA may add others to its list. Global spying is official US policy. No one's safe from intrusion.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), "it's very, very difficult to defend yourself." At most, you can make it tougher, more time consuming and expensive to do it. More on that below.

On October 27, Der Spiegel headlined "Embassy Espionage: The NSA's Secret Spy Hub in Berlin," saying:

Its research shows "United States intelligence agencies have not only targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone, but they have also used the American Embassy in Berlin as a listening station." 

"The revelations now pose a serious threat to German-American relations."

"It's a prime site, a diplomat's dream. Is there any better location for an embassy than Berlin's Pariser Platz?" 

It's close to the Reichstag. "When the American ambassador steps out the door, he looks directly onto the Brandenburg Gate."

It's in Germany's "political heart." It's an "ideal location for diplomats - and for spies."

It's an espionage nest. From its roof, NSA and CIA monitor official German government communications.

Doing so threatens "the trans-Atlantic partnership. Hardly anything is as sensitive (to) Merkel as the surveillance of her cellphone."

She's on it constantly. It's "her instrument of power." She relies on it for much government business.

She, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff as well as other European and Latin American leaders want UN resolution action.

They want privacy intrusions stopped. They want spy-proof space. The world body can't provide it. Technological innovation alone has a chance.

Der Postillion is a satirical web sit. It calls itself "honest news, independent, fast, since 1845." 

It inspired America's The Onion. It combines entertainment with satirical international, national and local news articles.

Steffen Seibert is Merkel's spokesman. Last week, Der Postillon posted a satirical version of his comment, saying:

"The chancellor considers it a slap in the face that she has most likely been monitored over the years just like some mangy resident of Germany."

It's her choice on how much she's willing to tolerate. Maybe she spies on Obama in return. 

Why not? Allies routinely spy on friends and foes. It's longstanding practice. It's not about to end now. It's much more sophisticated and widespread then earlier.

Merkel and likeminded world leaders apparently want a red line drawn not to be crossed. They want their private space kept that way.

UN resolutions won't help. NSA is easily able to circumvent them. Its Special Collection Service operations (SCS) are highly classified.

They're involved in spying in hard to reach places. They include foreign embassies, communication centers, and other government facilities.

SCS was established in the late 1970s. It's been called America's "mission impossible force."

It's responsible for "close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering." It's jointly staffed by NSA and CIA operatives.

They work out of US embassies and consulates. Their mission is all embracing. Get it all describes it.

SCS combines NSA's electronic spying expertise with CIA's covert action capabilities. 

Together they target foreign government officials. They're not likely to stop. They use all sorts of sophisticated listening devices.

They bug foreign embassies, communications centers, computer facilities, fiber-optic networks, and other government facilities. Virtually any space is penetrable.

Nothing ongoing is officially acknowledged.  Operations are top secret. According to Der Spiegel, SCS maintains two German bases - one in Berlin (Germany's seat of government), the other in Frankfort (its business hub).

They're "equipped at the highest level and staffed with active personnel."

Teams work undercover. They're in "shielded areas." They're "officially accredited as diplomats." They enjoy "special privileges."

They can "look and listen unhindered. They just can't get caught." Their operations are illegal. They're ongoing.

Sophisticated listening devices monitor virtually all forms of communications. They include online ones, cell signals, wireless networks and satellites.

Equipment is installed on upper floors or rooftops. It's protected from prying eyes.

Window-like indentations atop Washington's US German embassy aren't glazed. They're veneered with "dielectric" material.

They blend into surrounding masonry. Equipment is installed behind radio-transparent screens.

NSA expert James Bamford visited Der Spiegel's Berlin bureau. It's located diagonally opposite Washington's embassy.

"To me, it looks like NSA eavesdropping equipment is hidden behind there," he said. 

"The covering seems to be made of the same material that the agency uses to shield larger systems."

SCS apparently uses the same technology worldwide. It goes to great pains to conceal it.

According to top secret internal guidelines, if it's discovered, it "would cause serious harm to relations between the United States and a foreign government."

NSA targeted Merkel for over a decade. It began when she was Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party head. 

It continued when she became chancellor. Despite Washington's disclaimer, it likely remains ongoing. Der Spiegel asked:

"Were all of her conversations recorded or just connection data? Were her movements also being recorded?"

It bears repeating. NSA's mission is get it all. The White House and US spy agencies jointly pick high-profile targets. 

A matrix of global surveillance is developed.  It's called the "National Intelligence Priorities Framework." It's "presidentially approved."

One category is called "Leadership Intentions." It targets foreign leaders' goals and objectives.

According to former NSA official Thomas Drake:

Post-9/11, "Germany became intelligence target number one in Europe." At issue is a level of mistrust.

"It has always been the NSA's (mission) to conduct as much surveillance as possible," Drake added.

Der Spiegel told German security about NSA monitoring Merkel's cell phone communications. Perhaps it already knew. Its own due diligence confirmed it.

If knowledge about America monitoring Merkel was revealed, "it would be a political bomb," said Der Spiegel.

Obama visited Germany last summer. He lied saying Washington wasn't spying on its ally.

Merkel called Obama last week. He lied again claiming he knew nothing about monitoring her cell phone communications.

According to Der Spiegel, "(a)re the German security agencies too trusting of the Americans?"

Counterintelligence mostly focuses on China and Russia. Consideration earlier was given to looking harder at "what American agents were up to in the country."

It was considered too politically sensitive. The idea was dropped. At issue mainly was to what extent allies should be monitored. Are heads of state off limits? Is anything goes OK?

It sure is for Washington. European capitals no doubt are reevaluating their own policies.

German agencies want their capabilities enhanced, said Der Spiegel. Scrambling across Europe and elsewhere seems likely.

Merkel considers Obama "overrated." He "talks a lot but does little…" He's "unreliable to boot."

He says one thing. He does another. He's an inveterate liar. He's not about to change.

Merkel is a creature of habit. She relies heavily on cell phone communications. She uses it to send text messages. 

"Only for the very delicate conversations (does) she switch to a secure line," said Der Spiegel. 

Maybe close associates will make her take greater precautions. At the same time, maybe nothing is safe from NSA's prying eye.

Arranging a "no-spying" deal with Washington isn't worth the paper it's written on.

An earlier "Five Eyes" deal allegedly excludes spying on English speaking countries. They include Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. 

NSA spies globally. Agreements are made to be broken. Doing so is kept secret. Israel operates the same way. Perhaps Germany, France and other European states do.

Spying is an ugly business. The expression about no honor among thieves holds manyfold for intelligence agencies. 

They operate unaccountably. They do whatever they want. They're unapologetic. They're not about to change longstanding tactics. They're upgraded as technology advances.

A Final Comment

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) listed 10 protections against online surveillance:

(1) "Use end-to-end encryption." It's "your friend," says computer security expert Bruce Schneier.

(2) Encrypt as many communications as possible. The more the better.

(3) "Encrypt your hard drive." Without doing so, anyone can access your computer, tablet or smartphone. Contents can be copied with no password.

(4) Long strong passwords are best.

(5) "Use Tor. Free software permits online anonymity. Tor makes it hard to track Internet activity.

(6) Use two-factor or two-step authentication. Google, Twitter and Dropbox have it. 

Google calls two-step protection for "your account with both your password and your phone." It helps "keep bad guys out, even if they have your password."

(7) "Don't click on attachments." Request information sent in text form.

(8) Update software. Use anti-virus software.

(9) "Keep extra secret information extra secret." Encrypt and conceal what's most private. TrueCrypt can encrypt a USB flash drive.

(10) "Be an ally." To challenge today's surveillance state, teach others what you learned. Explain why it's important. Get involved in anti-mass-spying campaigns.

"They need to stop watching us; and we need to start making it much harder for them to get away with it," said EFF.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/obama-encourages-spying-world-leaders/

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Environmental Fascism: The Ecofascists Are Slowly But Surely Taking Over America

EcofascistsThe environmental fascists believe that if people are allowed to have large amounts of freedom and liberty that the planet will literally be destroyed.  That sounds crazy, but that is what they actually believe.  Left to our own devices, they are fully convinced that global warming and out of control pollution will transform the earth into an uninhabitable hellhole.  Therefore, they believe that it has become necessary to strictly manage human behavior “for the good of the environment”.  With each passing year, the control of the social planners gets even tighter.  Today, they have banned certain kinds of light bulbs, they are putting mandatory “smart meters” into our homes, and they have instituted all kinds of ridiculous regulations concerning what you can do with your own land.  Tomorrow, they plan to put “black boxes” into our vehicles and move most of us into “stack-and-pack” housing that has communal bathrooms and no elevators.  There is a reason why these people are called ecofascists.  The “true believers” of the environmental fascism movement actually believe that they are “saving the world” by being control freaks.  They truly believe that they know better than the rest of us, and they love to get into positions of political power so that they can impose their will on everyone around them.

The environmental fascists are constantly “pushing the envelope” and doing whatever they can to use the power of the government to impose new rules on all the rest of us.  Most of the time, Americans just take it without ever fighting back.  For example, a car wash for a high school cheerleading squad was recently shut down because the cheerleaders were “in violation of water discharge laws“…

It’s hard to wave your spirit fingers when the city shuts down the cheerleading squad’s fundraising car wash to protect the environment.

This is what happened to Lincoln High School cheerleaders trying to raise money to attend a national competition in April. The San Jose Mercury reports that local environmental officials warned the high school cheerleaders that their car wash violated the city’s water discharge laws.

“We had a visit from the city of San Jose Environmental Services Department who said that the car washes at Hoover [Middle School] are in violation of water discharge laws, therefore we had to cancel this and all future car washes,” said an email that was sent out to neighborhood email lists on Oct. 18.

Fortunately, there are some Americans that are still willing to stand up and fight back against this emerging ecofascism.  A recent Businessweek article profiled one north Idaho couple that is vigorously fighting back against the ridiculous demands of the EPA…

Four years ago the Sacketts were filling in their lot with dirt and rock, preparing to build a simple three-bedroom home in a neighborhood where other houses have stood for years. Then three federal officials showed up and demanded they stop construction. The agency claimed the .63-acre lot was a wetland, protected under the Clean Water Act.

The Sacketts say they were stunned. The owners of an excavation company, they had secured all the necessary local permits. And Chantell Sackett says that before work began, she drove two hours to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to consult with an Army Corps of Engineers official. She says the official told her orally, though not in writing, that she didn’t need a federal permit. “We did all the right things,” she says.

The EPA issued an order requiring the Sacketts to put the land back the way it was, removing the piles of fill material and replanting the vegetation they had cleared away. The property was to be fenced off and the Sacketts would be required to submit annual reports about its condition to the EPA. The agency threatened to fine them up to $32,500 a day until they complied.

Sadly, this kind of thing is happening all over the nation.  The EPA is completely and totally out of control, and they seem to be obsessed with making life absolute hell for farmers and private landowners.

But over in Europe, environmental fascism is actually even worse than it is in the United States.  In fact, one new regulation that was recently implemented bans Europeans from owning large vacuum cleaners

Incandescent light bulbs have already been removed from the shelves. Next being removed are larger size vacuum cleaners. Germany’s online flagship daily the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports: “Beginning September 2014 in the EU only vacuum cleaners that consume less than 1600 watts may be sold. From 2017 only a maximum of 900 watts will be allowed.”

Ultimately, the ecofascists intend to manage virtually every detail of our lives, because literally everything that we do “affects the environment” in some way.

According to the Los Angeles Times, one of the next things they hope to do is to put “black boxes” in our vehicles that they can use to tax us and track the “damage” that we are doing to the environment…

As America’s road planners struggle to find the cash to mend a crumbling highway system, many are beginning to see a solution in a little black box that fits neatly by the dashboard of your car.

The devices, which track every mile a motorist drives and transmit that information to bureaucrats, are at the center of a controversial attempt in Washington and state planning offices to overhaul the outdated system for funding America’s major roads.

The usually dull arena of highway planning has suddenly spawned intense debate and colorful alliances. Libertarians have joined environmental groups in lobbying to allow government to use the little boxes to keep track of the miles you drive, and possibly where you drive them — then use the information to draw up a tax bill.

What I find humorous about the above excerpt is that the L.A. Times is trying to get us to believe that this is something that “libertarians” actually want.

Another thing that the ecofascists have planned for the future is to move much of the population into “eco-friendly” stack-and-pack living environments.  These stack-and-pack living environments were described in a recent article by Suzanne Eovaldi

A typical stack-and-pack living area in the 200 square foot APodment bulding in Sammamish, WA is already developed. Occupant Judy Green (Seattle Times 5-12-13) “shares the kitchen with seven other tenants on the second floor.”  With no elevators, she has to walk up and down six flights of stairs to get to her loft! Bathrooms often are communal; no or few cars are allowed because of global warming.

The ultimate goal is for the government to watch, track, monitor and control everything that we do “for the good of humanity”.

And of course this emerging “Big Brother” control grid has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.  In fact, it is being reported that the United States spied on 60 million Spanish phone calls in just one single month recently, and according to CNN, the U.S. had even been spying on the private phone conversations of 35 foreign leaders…

The release of further allegations of National Security Agency surveillance efforts caused the Spanish government to summon the U.S. ambassador Monday, and The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House ordered a halt to some eavesdropping on foreign leaders after learning of it this summer.

Quoting unidentified U.S. officials, the newspaper’s website said the wiretapping of about 35 foreign leaders was disclosed to the White House as part of a review of surveillance programs ordered by President Barack Obama after NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information on the NSA’s phone monitoring systems.

The White House ordered a halt to the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and unspecified other leaders, the newspaper reported. The Journal report did not specify who gave the shutdown order or the date it was issued.

And this “control grid” is getting much tighter and much more oppressive on the local level as well.  For example, just check out what happened to one Texas woman recently

A Texas woman was arrested, strip-searched and jailed for an overdue traffic ticket Wednesday, a local CBS affiliate first reported.

Sarah Boaz said she was cuffed outside her Richland Hills home by an officer who was waiting for her when she stepped out to go to work, the New York Daily News reported.

The officer told her a warrant had been issued for her arrest after she failed to pay a summons for running a stop sign in August. Mrs. Boaz admitted that she didn’t pay the fine because she lost the summons.

“I’m like nobody puts out a bench warrant after 60 days,” she told the Daily News. “Why would you do that?”

Mrs. Boaz said she was forced to step into a jail cell and remove her clothes for a search. Her family bailed her out within a couple of hours.

When most people read about stuff like this, they are absolutely outraged.

But the ecofascists actually love this kind of stuff.  They want an all-powerful government that will have the power to force people to do “what is right for the environment”.  In fact, many of them actually believe that the planet will not survive if government does not behave in such a manner.

In the end, they are not going to settle for anything less than total control.  They want to control where you live, what kind of work you do, what kind of transportation you use and even how many children you have.

It is a totalitarian system wrapped up in a “save the world” package.

And right now, the ecofascists are steadily gaining ground.  If they are going to be defeated, people need to start standing up for freedom and liberty while they still can.

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Edward Snowden says there is no chance of leaked NSA documents falling into the hands of Russian or Chinese officials. (Photograph: AP)"There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents.”

That's what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, referring to a huge trove of classified files he has made available to select journalists in the name of the "public interest," told the New York Times during an online interview that took place this month and was published late Thursday.

Acccording to the exchange, which was carried out over encrypted email, Snowden says that he relinquished his own copies of the NSA documents before he left Hong Kong for China back in June.

“If the highest officials in government can break the law without fearing punishment or even any repercussions at all, secret powers become tremendously dangerous.” –Edward Snowden

“What would be the unique value of personally carrying another copy of the materials onward?” he said to the Times.

Whether or not Snowden's efforts to evade capture and imprisonment by the U.S. government had resulted in either the Russian or Chinese intelligence services obtaining the files has been a point of contention since he first went public as the source of the files, but this is the first time he has explain the confidence with which he asserts that the files have not been compromised.

According to the Times:

American intelligence officials have expressed grave concern that the files might have fallen into the hands of foreign intelligence services, but Mr. Snowden said he believed that the N.S.A. knew he had not cooperated with the Russians or the Chinese. He said he was publicly revealing that he no longer had any agency documents to explain why he was confident that Russia had not gained access to them. He had been reluctant to disclose that information previously, he said, for fear of exposing the journalists to greater scrutiny.

In a wide-ranging interview over several days in the last week, Mr. Snowden offered detailed responses to accusations that have been leveled against him by American officials and other critics, provided new insights into why he became disillusioned with the N.S.A. and decided to disclose the documents, and talked about the international debate over surveillance that resulted from the revelations.

Among the various topics covered in the interview, Snowden speaks specifically to the argument made by some that he could have played the role of whistleblower by following internal protocols and making his concerns known to his superiors at the NSA. According to Snowden, those complaints would have go nowhere fast. Again, from the Times:

Mr. Snowden added that inside the spy agency “there’s a lot of dissent — palpable with some, even.” But he said that people were kept in line through “fear and a false image of patriotism,” which he described as “obedience to authority.”

He said he believed that if he tried to question the N.S.A.’s surveillance operations as an insider, his efforts “would have been buried forever,” and he would “have been discredited and ruined.” He said that “the system does not work,” adding that “you have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it.”

Mr. Snowden said he finally decided to act when he discovered a copy of a classified 2009 inspector general’s report on the N.S.A.’s warrantless wiretapping program during the Bush administration. He said he found the document through a “dirty word search,” which he described as an effort by a systems administrator to check a computer system for things that should not be there in order to delete them and sanitize the system.

“It was too highly classified to be where it was,” he said of the report. He opened the document to make certain that it did not belong there, and after he saw what it revealed, “curiosity prevailed,” he said.

After reading about the program, which skirted the existing surveillance laws, he concluded that it had been illegal, he said. “If the highest officials in government can break the law without fearing punishment or even any repercussions at all,” he said, “secret powers become tremendously dangerous.”

He would not say exactly when he read the report, or discuss the timing of his subsequent actions to collect N.S.A. documents in order to leak them. But he said that reading the report helped crystallize his decision. “You can’t read something like that and not realize what it means for all of these systems we have,” he said.

_____________________________

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Obama's War on Press Freedom

by Stephen Lendman

Free and open expression is our most fundamental right. Without it all others are endangered. 

Candidate Obama promised transparency, accountability, and reform. He called sunlight "the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse."

He said whistleblowing reflects "acts of courage and patriotism."

"Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out."

"We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance." 

He pledged to "strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government."

He said one thing. He did another. He usurped diktat powers. He wages war on truth. He targets whistleblowers. He threatens free expression. 

Press freedom is endangered on his watch. He prioritizes surveillance powers. 

They include warrantless wiretapping, accessing personal records, monitoring financial transactions, and tracking emails, Internet and cell phone use. It's done lawlessly to gather secret evidence for prosecutions.

Obama wants truth and full disclosure suppressed. He wants  whistleblowers silenced. He targeted more than all his predecessors combined. 

Press freedoms are endangered. A new Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) report explains.

CPJ calls itself "an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide."

It "defends the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal."

It "ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored, or harassed.

It's been operating since 1981. It publishes an annual global press freedom survey. It's called "Attacks on the Press."

Its new report headlined "The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America."

Candidate Obama pledged open government. He fell woefully short. Journalists and press freedom advocates say he suppresses information people have a right to know.

He evades press scrutiny. He aggressively targets leakers. Electronic surveillance deters sources from speaking to journalists.

Restrictions began post-9/11. Obama exceeds the worst of George Bush. Interviews with dozens of fourth estate members 
explained. 

Government officials are increasingly reluctant to come forward. Press freedom is gravely endangered.

Anyone suspected of disclosing information Obama officials want kept secret is targeted. They're investigated. They're given lie detector tests. Their telephone logs and emails are reviewed.

An "Insider Threat Program" requires all federal employees to help prevent unauthorized leaks. It's done by colleague monitoring. 

Everybody is supposed to watch everyone else. Doing so is a whole new Big Brother notion.

It heightens paranoia. It makes government employees cautious about who they see and what they say.

Since 2009, six government employees, two contractors, and Edward Snowden faced criminal prosecutions. They were charged with leaking classified information to the press.

Other federal employees are being investigated. A climate of fear exists. Journalists and sources are reluctant to speak with each other. 

They're apprehensive about being watched. They fear repressive administration crackdowns.

According to Center for Public Integrity's R. Jeffrey Smith:

"I worry now about calling somebody because the contact can be found out through a check of phone records or e-mails."

"It leaves a digital trail that makes it easier for the government to monitor those contacts."

New York Times reporter Scott Shane said he's "scared to death. (W)e have a real problem."

"Most people are deterred by those leaks prosecutions. There's a gray zone between classified and unclassified information."

"(M)ost sources are in it. It’s having a deterrent effect." 

"If we consider aggressive press coverage of government activities being at the core of American democracy, this tips the balance heavily in favor of the government." 

Times correspondent David Sanger called the Obama administration "the most closed, control freak (one he) ever covered."

According to CPJ, Obama's "war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive since" Nixon.

Thirty journalists interviewed agreed. Sources hesitate to discuss unclassified information. They're unresponsive to press inquiries.

They fear leak investigations and government spying make it harder for reporters to protect them as sources.

Administration officials suppress information journalists need to do their job. They're less able to hold the White House accountable for its policies.

Obama lied saying "(g)overnment should be transparent. (He claimed he) promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing."

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan said his administration is "turning out (to reflect) unprecedented secrecy and...attacks on a free press."

Obama "said default should be disclosure. The culture they've created" discourages it. White House officials deny what journalists call a culture of secrecy.

According to AP senior managing editor Michael Oreskes:

"Sources are more jittery and more standoffish, not just in national security reporting. A lot of skittishness is at the more routine level." 

"The Obama administration has been extremely controlling and extremely resistant to journalistic intervention." 

"There's a mind-set and approach that holds journalists at a greater distance."

Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran said "one of the most pernicious effects is the chilling effect created across government on matters that are less sensitive but certainly in the public interest as a check on government and elected officials." 

"It serves to shield and obscure the business of government from necessary accountability."

Bureaucratic bloat characterizes administration practice. In 2011, over four million Americans had security clearances.

Increasing amounts of information are classified as secret. 

In 2011 alone, government employees made 92 million decisions on whether or not to classify information. Doing so is hugely overkill. Unauthorized disclosure is verboten.

Government employees revealing what the administration wants kept secret are targeted. So are journalists for reporting it. Doing so  prevents them from doing their job.

According to Washington-based Financial Times correspondent Richard McGregor:

"Covering this White House is pretty miserable in terms of getting anything of substance to report on in what should be a much more open system."

CBS Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer calls the Obama administration "the most manipulative and secretive (one he ever) covered."

Bush administration officials were confrontational. E.W. Scripps Washington bureau chief Ellen Weiss calls the Obama administration "far worse."

Veteran political journalists Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen described its message machine as follows:

"One authentically new technique pioneered by the Obama White House is government creation of content - photos of the president, videos of White House officials, blog posts written by Obama aides - which can then be instantly released to the masses through social media." 

"And they are obsessed with taking advantage of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and every other social media forum, not just for campaigning, but governing." 

"They are more disciplined about cracking down on staff that leak, or reporters who write things they don't like."

Veteran ABC White House correspondent Ann Compton said:

"There is no access to the daily business in the Oval Office, who the president meets with, who he gets advice from."

Important meetings aren't even listed on his public schedule. 

"In the past, we would often be called into the Roosevelt Room at the beginning of meetings to hear the president's opening remarks and see who’s in the meeting, and then we could talk to some of them outside on the driveway afterward." 

"This president has wiped all that coverage off the map. He's the least transparent of the seven presidents I've covered in terms of how he does his daily business."

Reporters complain about questions they ask going unanswered. Interview requests are denied.

Atlantic Media Washington correspondent Josh Meyer said he experiences "across-the board hostility."

"They don't return repeated phone calls and emails. They feel entitled to and expect supportive media coverage."

They complain about reports they don't like. "If a story is (something) they don't want to come out, they won't even give you the basic facts," said Politico's Josh Gerstein.

The Obama administration takes information control to a whole new level. Aggressively targeting whistleblowers and reporters compromises free expression.

Bradley Manning's prosecution was a turning point. So was targeting Edward Snowden.

CPJ cited numerous examples of government subpoenas demanding information sources give journalists.

It discussed sweeping NSA spying. Washington Post national security reporter Dana Priest said:

"People think they’re looking at reporters' records. I'm writing fewer things in email. I'm even afraid to tell officials what I want to talk about because it's all going into one giant computer."

CPJ expressed great concern saying:

It's "disturbed that the Obama administration has chilled the flow of information on issues of great public interest, including on matters of national security."

"The administration's war on leaks to the press though the use of secret subpoenas against news organizations, its assertion through prosecution that leaking classified documents to the press is espionage or aiding the enemy; and its increased limitations on access to information that is in the public interest - all thwart a free and open discussion necessary to a democracy."

CPJ executive director Joel Simon sent its report to the White House. He requested a meeting to discuss it.

"Here you have a portion of the Washington press corp affirming that this is an extraordinarily difficult administration to cover," he said. 

"You combine the different elements, for instance, the leak investigations, the failure to address the declassification issue, the fact that the administration has been extremely controlling in terms of access."

"Put all these together, and it paints a pretty damning picture of an administration that talks about openness and transparency but isn't willing to engage with the media around these issues."

Bush administration officials mostly raised concerns. At times they threatened. Doing so was largely posturing.

The Obama administration wages war on whistleblowers. It targets journalists for doing their job. 

Doing so reflects the most draconian crackdown on press freedom in US history. It's the new normal. 

Police states operate that way. Obama heads the worst of rogue governance. He threatens fundamental freedoms in the process.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Enemy of the State: A Dons of Time Preview

"Well-constructed, action-flooded sci-fi set in a realistic historical world." - Kirkus Reviews
This is an excerpt from Greg Guma's new novel, Dons of Time, available October 21 from Fomite Press. Order now at a discount and help with the launch.
Emerging from the airport baggage claim late the following afternoon he crossed to the taxi stand for a lift into town. It would be only minutes to the Hilton and a comfortable room with a commanding view of the waterfront and Lake Champlain. But then he heard his last name being called and noticed a wiry-haired kid holding a cardboard sign with the word “Wolf” on it.
“I’m Wolfe,” he said, “Tonio, or T. You here for me?”
“I guess so,” the kid shrugged, “this way.” He grabbed Tonio’s bag without asking and led him into the parking garage, boarding the elevator for the top. When they emerged and Tonio saw the vehicle, a faded blue cargo van more than two decades old, he began to suspect he’d made a mistake. Before he could do anything, the side door slid open and three more young guys with scarves over their faces invited him inside.
“I hope you’re with Harry.”        
Rather than answer they handed him a scarf and asked him to blindfold himself. “Just for now,” one of them apologized. These definitely weren’t Shelley’s people; their greeting would not have been so civil. The government was also out. It didn’t use rusty vans or operatives who dressed like hippie Zapatistas. This had to be Harry. Still, why the drama? Despite his explanation over the phone it didn’t compute.
The ride took two hours, at first on paved streets and the Interstate, then on local roads, and several minutes at the end over rough gravel and dirt. When the van finally rolled to a stop and it was time to remove the blindfold, he could have been anywhere from the Canadian border to New Hampshire.
Harry was waiting at the cabin door. He had always enjoyed costumes and preferred facial hair. This day he looked like a cross between a pirate and a panda. “You have questions, I know,” he announced. “Thanks for coming.”
“It better be good.” Tonio shook his hand and followed.
The cabin was larger and more functional than it looked from the driveway, part tech center, part mountain retreat. Computer terminals covered one wall, screens running data, charts, and video streams. Three college-age hackers monitored them. The rest of the main room was taken up by a large oak table, several couches and thrift shop chairs, a hard-working woodstove, all facing several unmarked doorways and an archway that opened onto the communal kitchen. 
Harry flopped down in a ratty lounge chair, and said, “It was necessary, believe me. Not on my end, in this case. We have good reasons to play it safe with you, my friend. You may already be a person of interest.”
“That’s extreme,” Tonio objected, “but I do believe Shelley had a tail on me.”
“That’s not what worries me.” He pointed up with a finger, as far as Tonio knew meaning either God or spy satellites.
“What does worry you? More to the point, what’s happened to you, man? Last I knew you were a radio personality.”
“A personality, right, I remember when I had one of those,” Harry mused. “Last time I saw you we were about to take over Seattle, right? Blocking the WTO, now that was a demo. Things looked promising in ‘99, didn’t they?  Even after the coup – that’s what I call W’s first term – we totally derailed that FTAA deal in Quebec. But they were already starting the crackdown. After the attacks…well, you know that story, Patriot Act, wiretapping, secret searches, the whole deal. Plus, for the first time the CIA gets a direct role in deciding who gets rounded up or hit. It was the first stages of drone justice.”
That still didn’t explain why he was hiding in the woods, and Harry knew it.
“I was operating above ground then,” he reminisced. “But things were changing. It was an eavesdropping bonanza. The intelligence budget hit $60 billion after 9/11 and thousands of new private contractors got into the game. It was a very lucrative club in a very growing industry. And Fort Meade, that was the Gold Rush zone for masters of the data stream.
“I still had the show then. But instead of the usual stuff I started talking about the surveillance state, what the government was really up to. Big mistake as it turns out. In 2007 I tried to board a flight to DC and found out I was on a no-fly list.” After more than an hour of interrogation Harry was released. But not his laptop, cell phone, camera and USB drive. 
As Harry outlined the rest of his path from radio host to underground man Tonio heard more than he wanted about Crystal City and the Wiretappers’s Ball, a secret annual gathering where experts shared their latest toys and competed to create the ultimate bugging device. Harry had managed to infiltrate it and bring out pictures. He also talked on the air about Verint Systems and Narus, major private eavesdropping operations that reached most of the planet. They made it easier to block websites considered politically or culturally threatening to those in power.
The next flashpoint for Harry came after the Democrats capitulated on amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He explained that the changes gave the telecoms legal immunity while providing a go-ahead for the NSA to target almost anyone classified as a terrorist. Obama, who was running for President at the time, opted to support the amendments. Once he was in office, the move toward mass surveillance launched almost a decade earlier continued to escalate. Obama’s Justice Department invoked “state secrets” to stop citizens from suing the government for spying on them. In fact, it argued that the feds had immunity from litigation for any surveillance that violated the law.
“You thought I was being ridiculous about emails, right?” Harry reminded him. “There’s a reason, Sherlock, the CIA. They’ve invested heavily in Visible Technologies, which analyzes social media. It can look into half a million websites a day. But the biggest reason we’re here, instead of enjoying room service on your tab, is because in 2010 they demanded all the visitor information from Truthsquad. I mean everything, and we weren’t supposed to tell anyone about it under penalty of prosecution for impeding a federal investigation.
“The IFC – that’s the Internet Freedom Center – challenged the subpoena.” He was winding down. “But it was obvious where this was heading. They’d already jailed Bradley Manning for the Wikileaks cables and Julian was under house arrest. The handwriting was on the wall. It was only a matter of time ‘til that knock on the door and I’m a suspected cyber-terrorist. That was two years ago, shortly before we set up here. Just in time it turns out, since now I’m on the terrorist screening database. Drone bait -- if they ever find me outside the country.”
“But we’re safe and secure?”
“Like a frog’s ass, baby. Acoustic dampening, the latest in encryption. We just added self-destructing e-mails and encrypted cell phone calls, anything you send digitally. By next year there will be a commercial self-destruct app on the market, but ours is better. My rule of thumb is either that the message is destroyed after it’s read, or else no more than an hour or two after sending it goes poof, like Mission Impossible. But your current security, not so great.”
Considering what he had just heard Tonio wasn’t surprised Harry felt that way.
Stay in touch for the conclusion of this chapter. Like Dons of Time on Facebook.

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NSA to suck up all US phone records

The NSA has officially stopped sugar coating the fact that it wants to spy on every American. At yesterday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on FISA...

NSA Tapping Internet Backbone, Spying On Our Social Networks

New NSA Spying Revelations Senator Diane Feinstein unintentionally confirmed that the NSA is tapping into the Internet's very backbone: Upstream collection… occurs when NSA obtains...

NSA’s Spying On Metadata Violates Our Freedom of Association

Why You Should You Care If the Government Spies On Your Metadata The government has sought to “reassure” us that it is only tracking “metadata”...

Prominent Critics of Vietnam War Targeted by NSA: Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Art...

President Lyndon B. Johnson meeting with members of his civil rights cabinet on 18 January including, from left to right, Martin Luther King Jr.,...

This is What Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Thinks About Your Privacy Rights…

Mike Krieger Liberty Blitzkrieg.com Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke yesterday at the Northern Virginia Technology Council's (NVTC) Titans breakfast gathering in McLean, Virginia. He discussed...

Seeing Through Perception Management

The jury in Kristina Berster's case went out on a Monday afternoon in mid-October. By the following day it was obvious that a verdict...

Revealed: NSA spied on senators, MLK

US President Lyndon B. Johnson reacts to word of new problems in Vietnam while hosting Defense Secretary Robert McNamara at the LBJ Ranch in...

Nothing Sexier Than the Status Quo: Germany’s “Merkel Effect”

The Hofbräuhauses were packed to capacity this past weekend, as Germans congregated en mass in anticipation, as Bayern Munich joined Borussia Dortmund at the...

The Many Ways the Government Is Spying On Us

The Government Is Spying On Us Through Our Computers, Phones, Cars, Buses, Streetlights, At Airports...

Spilling the NSA’s Secrets: Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger on the Inside Story of Snowden...

Three-and-a-half months after National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden came public on the the U.S. government's massive spying operations at home and abroad, we...

Snowden helps NSA critics in lawsuits

For years, the government has successfully suppressed lawsuits by civil liberties groups challenging the constitutionality of its surveillance programs. "No matter what you think of...

The NSA Domestic Surveillance Lie

“And so in light of the changed environment where a whole set of questions have been raised, some in the most sensationalized manner possible,...

In the Chambers of the Secret Courts

Perhaps even the Sun King himself appreciated the irony of his secret tribunals being conducted in a court where daylight was not permitted to...

‘Unleashed and Unaccountable’: FBI’s Post-9/11 Abuse of Power

(Image: ACLU)The FBI has abused its ever-widening post-9/11 powers to target immigrants, minorities, and political dissidents through secret surveillance and infiltration programs that trample...

‘Unleashed and Unaccountable’: FBI’s Post-9/11 Abuse of Power

(Image: ACLU)The FBI has abused its ever-widening post-9/11 powers to target immigrants, minorities, and political dissidents through secret surveillance and infiltration programs that trample...

FBI Power Since Sept 11th ‘Unleashed and Unaccountable’: Report

(Image: ACLU)The FBI has abused its ever-widening post-9/11 powers to target immigrants, minorities, and political dissidents through secret surveillance and infiltration programs that trample...

How the People Pushed Back on Syria – and Won (for Now)

<img width="150" src="http://www.truth-out.org/images/images_2013_09/2013.9.17.Syria.Protest.Main.jpg" alt='NO US BOMBING OF SYRIA / Hands Off Syria / No War - Protest march from Times Square to Union Square,...

The origins of US police state

JaQuan LaPierre, 22, was riding a bicycle down a sidewalk Sept. 5 when he noticed a squad car pulling up beside him. It was...

NYPD Undercover Spying Unit Revealed As Extensive, Far-Reaching

Jessica Desvarieux, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman have uncovered...