United States President Barack Obama is likely to endorse a Federal Bureau of Investigation effort that would ensure all Internet companies in the US provide a way for the government to conduct undetected, backdoor surveillance.
The FBI has been considering solutions to their so-called “Going Dark” problem as intricate methods of encryption and advances in technology have made it increasingly difficult for the federal government and law enforcement to gain access to online communications conducted in the shadows of the Web. Should the latest efforts of the FBI move forward, though, Internet companies that act as any conduit for correspondence of any kind would be heavily fined if they don’t include in their infrastructure a way for the government to eavesdrop on that dialogue in real time.
At a press conference in Washington, DC in March, FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann said the Department of Justice was determined to have the means to wiretap any online communication by 2014 and called it “a huge priority for the FBI.” Further developments last month revealed that the FBI was considering a fine-based model under which Internet companies would be forced to comply or risk being penalized beyond repair.
On Tuesday, New York Times reporter Charlie Savage cited Obama administration officials as saying the president “is on the verge of backing” that very plan.
Savage explained that while companies would be allowed to operate without giving the government backdoor access, the fees would likely limit the number of entities willing to challenge the order. As RT reported last month, a company that doesn’t comply with the FBI’s orders would be fined $25,000 after 90 days. Additional penalties would then be tacked on every day an Internet service provider, website or other company fails to comply — with the price of the penalty doubling each day they don’t assist investigators.
“While the FBI’s original proposal would have required Internet communications services to each build in a wiretapping capacity, the revised one, which must now be reviewed by the White House, focuses on fining companies that do not comply with wiretap orders,” wrote Savage. “The difference, officials say, means that start-ups with a small number of users would have fewer worries about wiretapping issues unless the companies became popular enough to come to the Justice Department’s attention.”
Savage quoted a statement in his article from Weissmann in which the FBI attorney said, “This doesn’t create any new legal surveillance authority.” Instead, said Weissman, “None of the ‘going dark’ solutions would do anything except update the law given means of modern communications.”
“This always requires a court order,” he said.
Coincidently, that same issue has had major developments in its own right this week. On Wednesday morning, CNET reporter Declan McCullagh wrote that the Justice Department circulated memos in which they insisted that obtaining a search warrant isn’t necessary to eavesdrop on Internet communication of any sort.
“The US Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans’ e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages and other private files, internal documents reveal,” wrote McCullagh, citing a government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET.
According to McCullagh, those documents include very specific instructions from high-importance officials that demonstrate the Justice Department’s disinterest in applying established law when it comes to eavesdropping on Americans. While Weissmann made the argument that the FBI plan reportedly backed by the president won’t change what rules the DoJ operates by, the memos obtained by McCullagh paints the Obama White House as an administration unwilling to work with the already broad surveillance powers provided to it.
In one memo unearthed by the ACLU, McCullagh said the US attorney for Manhattan instructed his office that an easy-to-obtain legal paper that requires no judicial oversight is all that’s needed to obtain personal correspondence.
“[A] subpoena — a piece of paper signed by a prosecutor, not a judge — is sufficient to obtain nearly ‘all records from an ISP,’” McCullagh wrote.
In another instance, McCullagh said the US attorney in Houston, Texas obtained the “contents of stored communications” from another ISP without getting a judge to sign a warrant.
One current law that limits how and when authorities can obtain a suspect’s email pursuant to a criminal investigation, the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, provides that while a warrant is needed for relatively recent correspondence, a comparably easier to get administrative subpoena is all that’s required to get communication older than 180 days. Provisions of the ECPA have been largely unchanged since it was passed in the mid-1980s, but last month a Senate Judiciary Committee approved an amendment that would require a warrant in all instances.
In advocating for fewer restrictions when obtaining store communication, the FBI’s Wessmann said in April that another law, 1994’s Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, needs to be expanded so investigators can leap over current hurdles that keep them from conducting real time wiretaps of online discussions.
“You do have laws that say you need to keep things for a certain amount of time, but in the cyber realm you can have companies that keep things for five minutes,” he said. “You can imagine totally legitimate reasons for that, but you can also imagine how enticing that ability is for people who are up to no good because the evidence comes and it goes.”
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, renewed calls across the country have been made to make it easier for investigators to quickly conduct surveillance — in and off the Web. A recent poll found that roughly two-thirds of Americans favored more surveillance cameras in public places, and now the nation’s top law officials are asking for increased spy power not just on the streets but on the Web.
Earlier this month, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said at a discussion in Washington, “When you come across an advocate for one thing — an advocate for security, and advocate for privacy — they’re often arguing from a position without understanding that it’s a two-edged sword.”
“For example, very strong encryption would allow you and I to have a very, very secure communication: If we were criminals, if we were dissidents, if we were martyrs or if we were just doing a little business,” he said. “If you could figure out a way to ban very strong encryption from evil people and only allow good people…then this would be easy,” he said.
- Obama administration bypasses CISPA by secretly allowing Internet surveillance (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Spy, or pay up: FBI-backed bill would fine US firms for refusing wiretaps (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- To Ease Internet Snooping, Feds Promise To Ignore Privacy Violations (reason.com)
For decades, pretentious wonks have declared that we live in “The Information Age,” as if information were a commodity unique to our time. Inanity aside, the claim is patently false, notwithstanding the advent of computers and virtually instant communication.
We do not live in an “Information Age” because “information” connotes data that is beneficial and objectively valid. Information can help solve problems, educate, and generally improve life. This was true of written language, movable type, the radio and the telephone, but look around today—do you see problems being solved, people becoming smarter, or life getting better? I thought not.
A more accurate expression for our time is “The Disinformation Age.” Though it is also not unique to our time, it at least captures the pervasive abuse of information that has made our society the opposite of an “informed” rational society: dissent is a subversive act; citizens are enemies of the state; the media conceal evidence; and the police enforce police-state edicts.
If these dystopian qualities were the basis for a movie or TV show, we could take comfort in the knowledge that justice would eventually prevail.
We’d be able to cheer for a rebellious anti-hero like John Connor (Terminator series), Det. Del Spooner (I, Robot), or Insp. Harry Callaghan (Dirty Harry series) to bring down the system. We would see detectives or scientists analyzing evidence (Columbo, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Bones) instead of destroying or ignoring it. We might be treated to the sight of the police treating a suspect humanely and reading him his rights (Kojak, Hill Street Blues, Dragnet). We might even see a dogged investigator exposing a cover up or government corruption (All The President’s Men, Erin Brockovich), instead of scheming to keep it hidden from the public.
This world of scripted entertainment, unreal though it may be, is able to depict healthy relationships between authorities and the truth, and between authorities and citizens. Such shows do not depict an idealized future; they give us fading afterimages of our society before the Military-Israel Complex and neo-conservative sociopaths gave us the “War on Terrorism” and declared justice obsolete. Here’s how the Boston Marathon bombing was scripted to serve the expanding surveillance state and stoke the “War on Terrorism.”
• Stage a lethal attack against a civilian U.S. target;
• Blame Arabs or some other Middle Eastern-looking types for the crime;
• Have FBI agents in place to ensure containment and control of the investigation;
• Justify their existence by having a “bomb drill” going on at the same time;
• Keep the public ignorant of the drill;
• Make sure the scapegoats are killed or otherwise kept away from the media;
• Stage conspicuous displays of gratitude for police agencies to reinforce the illusion that they are needed to fight “terrorism”; and
• Ensure that evidence is ignored or destroyed, and dissenting voices are harassed into submission so that the pre-established cover story can be marketed to a gullible public.
Like the 2001World Trade Centre Attack, which followed the same basic script although on a much larger scale, the Boston Marathon bombing story has come completely unraveled. Every couple of days it seems that some other detail comes out that demands to be investigated:
• No credible motive was ever given for the Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaerv to have made the bombs.
• The FBI failed to disclose knowing the brothers; the agency had had a relationship with them going back at least two years.
• The FBI had to know them because the boys’ uncle Ruslan Tsarni (formerly Tsarnaev) is an ex-contractor for Halliburton, and was married to the daughter of Graham Fuller, a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA and senior political scientist at RAND.
• Boston Police claim Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was shot in a gunfight, but video footage shows that he was unarmed.
• Dzhokhar was accused of leaving his bomb-laden backpack at the race, but a surveillance pic clearly shows him leaving with it.
• No explanation was given for the sudden appearance of Israeli police who just happened to be there to lend assistance.
• The public was not told that several members of a private security kill squad were on site.
This last omission, combined with the FBI’s immediate refusal to consider other suspects, clearly suggests a false-flag scenario. The following table identifies this kill squad.
Are these the Marathon bombers?
Click here for downloadable pdf enlargement.
To date, no news agency will touch this angle, even though these and other pics have been available on the Internet for weeks. Nevertheless, New Hampshire State Senator Sheila Tremblay correctly said that a black ops team was behind the bombing and even cast doubt on the claims of injury since one amputee did not look as if he were in pain. This was undoubtedly true because many of the amputees were paid actors who had already lost their limbs. Tremblay was pressured into issuing a political apology.
If this were part of a movie script, I guarantee there would be a crusading detective or journalist examining the evidence, interviewing people like Tremblay honestly, and asking intelligent questions like:
What was Craft International doing at the Marathon?
Why were they even needed?
How many Craft mercenaries were on site?
Who hired them—FBI, DHS, Boston police?
Why were amputee actors in the crowd, and who hired them?
What are the names of the two agents in pic #1?
Have these agents been interviewed regarding the missing backpack?
Has anyone proved that the exploded backpack even belonged to the Tsarnaev brothers?
For an excellent example of how justice triumphs over police corruption in the world of entertainment, the 1997 movie L.A. Confidential has thematic elements in common with the Boston bombing. [CAUTION SPOILER ALERT]
The film, centres around the culture of violence and corruption that pervades the L.A. Police Department in the 1950s. The catalyzing event is a multiple murder that takes place late one night in a seedy diner. A car belonging to “three negroes” was seen in the area at the time, and so the precinct captain makes them the sole focus of police inquiries.
Under interrogation, a career-minded but idealistic lieutenant realizes the story doesn’t wash, and starts looking for answers. He finds unlikely support from a thuggish officer and a sergeant who works on a TV show.
If you’re wondering what an honest investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing might have looked like, here are a few scenes for your entertainment. Shows like this accurately reflect our police-state but they can inure us to disinformation. This kind of entertainment has to be seen not as a comforting, nostalgic escape, but the basis for a new reality script since the one we have is transparently indefensible.
- FBI’s Track Record On Creating Terrorism Destroys The Official Boston Marathon Bombing Narrative
- Boston Bombing investigation will mirror the Oklahoma City Bombing cover-up
- Israeli police head to US to aid in Boston Marathon bombing investigation
- Industry: biometrics business valued at $10 billion by 2018
- Rahm Emanuel Stresses Value Of Surviellance Cameras In Probe Of Boston Bombings
- Expanding Security State
Whoever imagines our first black president and his first black attorney general had little or nothing to do with naming Assata Shakur its “most wanted terrorist” list is deep in denial and delusion. “Terrorist,” as my colleague Glen Ford points out, has never been anything but a political label, applied by the authorities for their own political purposes. The international legal angle as well, with Assata Shakur receiving political asylum from the Cuban government the last 30 years, also makes her placement on that list something that Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama absolutely had to carefully consider and approve.
A lot has changed in the forty years since Assata Shakur was wounded and captured in New Jersey. The press conference announcing her capture was doubtless headed up by white police and district attorneys. Back then, black faces were pretty scarce in the top ranks of cops and prosecutors anywhere, and J. Edgar Hoover had only recently left the FBI. Last week’s announcement of the $2 million bounty on Assata’s head was anchored by a high ranking black cop, and of course, there are black faces in the offices of president and US Attorney General. People who call themselves progressives, do call that “progress,” don’t they?
The premiere federal initiative for political policing was something called COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO was a secret “counterintelligence,” as in “counter-intelligent” and/or evil multiplied by stupid federal program which for 25 years labeled thousands of civic organizations, churches, labor unions, and grassroots movements as threats to “national security.” Federal agents secretly coordinated local police and media assets in hundreds of campaigns to discredit and destroy those organizations, utilizing illegal surveillance, agents provocateur and media slander. Individual leaders and participants were harassed, falsely prosecuted and imprisoned, and sometimes murdered. COINTELPRO’s existence only came to light as a result of US Senate select committee chaired by Senator Frank Church hearings in 1975.
The good news about COINTELPRO was first, that the government of those days wasn’t bold enough, that it felt too hemmed in and prevented by the American people from openly targeting political dissidents for assassination and murder, and second, that it eventually did come to light. Government officials even had to pay token damages in a handful of cases, such as the murder of Illinois Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton, and publicly claim their official misconduct had ended.
Forty years later though, we live in the era of secret kidnappings, regular torture, ghost prisons and executive branch murder by drones or special ops teams. Today the federal Department of Homeland Security funds counter-terrorism fusion centers which openly disseminate the kind of inflammatory and fanciful disinformation to local police and security contractors about those the government wants targeted that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI agents had to come around and whisper in their ears. Now that is progress.
Forty years and change ago, the whole constellation of African American leadership wrapped its arms around the segments of the black movement that came under vicious police assault. I was a member of the Black Panther Party in Chicago in 1969 and 70, and we never had as many friends as we did when our offices were riddled with gunfire or our members murdered by police. Back then, when everyone from the Urban League and the NAACP to Operation Breadbasket and the Afro-American Patrolman’s League stood up for us. Those who’ve viewed the recently released documentary Free Angela Davis & All Political Prisoners can see the same phenomenon of four decades ago, with Rev. Ralph David Abernathy wrapping his arms around “our sister Angela Davis” when she was accused of murder in the deaths of a judge and others in California.
It’s been a week now since the $2 million dollar bounty and “most wanted terrorist” announcement. In that time, not a single nationally noted African American “leader” has raised his or her voice. Not Ben Jealous. Not a single black mayor or member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Not Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, and certainly not the presidential lap dog Al Sharpton. Sharpton has worn wires for the FBI more than once, and is credibly accused of trying to get close to people who were rumored to be close to Assata Shakur in the 1980s. Those people wisely avoided Rev. Al.
Such is the pressure of subservient conformity among the black political class that not a single African American politician, religious leader, or personage of national note has opened his or her mouth in Assata Shakur’s defense, with the solitary exception of Angela Davis, once a political prisoner and fugitive in the days before the word “terrorist” had been coined. Lockstep conformity like this is hard to shake. In their 45 minutes in an otherwise excellent Democracy Now show mostly devoted to Assata Shakur’s case, neither Shakur’s attorney Lennox Hinds nor Angela Davis could bring themselves even to hint that the president and attorney general were responsible for branding her as the nation’s “most wanted terrorist.”
Four decades have seen the flowering of elite affirmative action in the military, corporate America and in American political life. Our black political class never tires of holding their own illustrious careers up as “the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream.” But the fact is that US corporations couldn’t do business in Africa without black faces. The US couldn’t give military aid and training for a quarter century to 52 out of 54 African governments, arming all sides of every civil and international conflict in the most war torn regions of the planet, without black diplomats, black admirals and black generals. It couldn’t deploy the world’s most massive prison and police state without hundreds of thousands of black prison guards and police, some in the most senior positions and many more in line behind them.
All these are the fruits of what passes for social and racial “progress” in these United States.
This then, is the real function of corporate and elite affirmative action, and of the black political class itself. Whether it’s moving the corporate agenda of gentrification through the destruction of public housing, carrying out social security and Medicare cuts, or waging open war upon the unapproved segments of the African American movement for justice and liberation, black faces in high places have repeatedly proven themselves the more effective evil, able to blunt leftish opposition and carry out policies that white elites can only dream of without their help.
Assata Shakur is not a terrorist. She was shot with her hands in the air, and no residue from gunfire was detected on her hands or clothes or that would have been introduced as evidence at her trial. Her all white jury was instructed to convict her for simply being there, and they did just that. She was a political prisoner, and the only “crime” she can reasonably be accused of is escaping and living out her life the last three decades in Cuba. Government officials do admit that her “terrorist” activity consists of occasional writings and speeches which advocate radical change, and the example of her peaceful life and political asylum 90 miles from Florida.
If that’s all it takes to be a “terrorist,” many thousands of today’s yesterday’s and tomorrow’s black and non-black political activists inside the U.S. are “terrorists” as well. There’s a global war on terror, and now it openly includes the black liberation movement, basically everybody to the left of the established black political class. In the wake of this announcement, can there be any doubt that many more names are or will soon come up at the president’s “terror Tuesday” meetings, at which the White House boasts it considers who next to kidnap or murder? We’re all fair game now.
President Obama obviously hopes the label “terrorist” will scare present and future activists from learning what there is to know from the proud traditions of African American and other resistance to empire. He hopes to intimidate and frighten ordinary people, especially young people, into the same kind of conformity as their supposed “leaders.”
Back in 2007 and 2008, candidate Barack Obama confided to editorial boards and others a number of times that Ronald Reagan was his favorite president. We should have listened to him a lot more closely. It’s a safe guess now, that J. Edgar Hoover is his favorite cop.
Bruce A. Dixon can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
In doubling the bounty on former Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur’s head, the Obama administration is announcing that Black radicals are candidates for his Kill List. The message is as unmistakable and dramatic as the billboards that have been erected in Newark, New Jersey, and elsewhere screaming for the exiled freedom fighter’s blood.
One does not wind up on the FBI’s Most Wanted list based on the number of murders committed or millions of dollars stolen. The Most Wanted list is among the nation’s most political documents, in which individuals are meant to personify the scope and type of offenses that the U.S. government considers most in need of stamping out. The list is a kind of propaganda, a symbolic display of what the state considers dangerous behavior.
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, the two Black men who are most responsible for making Assata Shakur the face of domestic terror in the United States, are fully conversant in the language of symbolism. They are publicly defining the Black liberation movement – or what’s left of it, or those who might attempt to revive it – as a priority domestic target for repression. Shakur, a 65-year old grandmother who has not left Cuba for the past 29 years, poses no physical danger to the American state. She represents a political threat, through her “ideology,” as brazenly stated by the FBI. The Bureau has marked Shakur for priority assassination on the basis of, in the FBI’s words, her “anti-U.S. government speeches espousing the Black Liberation Army message.” “Terrorism” is somehow inherent in the message of Black liberation. Advocacy of Black liberation, is the threat. The reward of $2 million is meant to silence Assata Shakur’s political speech, and remove her as a symbol of resistance to the U.S government.
For the National Security State, “terror” is a powerful word, with vast legal ramifications. The Obama administration is informing Americans and Cubans that Assata is as much fair game for assassination by drone as the late Anwar al-Awlaki. Barack Obama and Eric Holder are serving notice that those who share Assata’s ideology – as understood by the FBI – are subject to eradication as well, because it is an ideology of terror. And they are telling those who give “substantial support” to Assata that they are subject to detention by the U.S. military without trial or charge, for the duration of the war against “terror.”
The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will hold a demonstration on Thursday, May 9, from 5 to 7pm, in front of the Harlem State Office Building in New York City, to give substantial and unwavering support to the safety and freedom of Assata Shakur; Freedom for Sundiata Acoli and Sekou Odinga, Black Liberation Army members held in U.S. prisons; and Freedom for All Political Prisoners.
They tried to kill Assata in 1973, and their still trying. They tried to kill the Black liberation movement, but its not dead yet. Join the Black is Back Coalition and a host of other concerned organizations at the Harlem State Office Building, on 125th Street, at 5pm, on Thursday. Tell the real terrorists what you think about them, their austerity, their mass incarceration, and their wars.
Glen Ford can be contacted at GlenFord@BlackAgendaReport.com.
For more information, go to Black Is Back Coalition event Facebook page:
A few days ago, I noticed this piece at FDL: “’Homeland Security’ Spending Overtakes New Deal“
TomDispatch: this country has spent a jaw-dropping $791 billion on ‘homeland security’ since 9/11. To give you a sense of just how big that is, Washington spent an inflation-adjusted $500 billion on the entire New Deal.
Two indicators of the expanding security state that caught my attention in the last few days:
1. Glenn Greenwald: “Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?“
2. A massive lockdown in the Madison WI area (where I live).
A fugitive, Paris Poe, whom the FBI wanted for parole violation and questioning in a murder investigation, was spotted at a hotel in a Madison, WI suburb. Poe had previously been imprisoned for armed robbery. A large area encompassing much of Vernona, Fitchburg, and part of Madison, WI was then essentially locked down and swarmed with SWAT teams in a day-long manhunt.
Reverse 911 calls were made to all landlines (about 30,000 homes) asking residents to lock their doors and remain inside. Police asked all the businesses in their area to close and lock their doors. All six schools in the area were placed on lockdown and surrounded by police. In Verona, no-one could enter or exit the schools. In some classrooms, children were told to crouch under their desks for hours. In some schools, children were herded into the gym. Children were prohibited from using the bathroom, since that would involve leaving their rooms, and were told to urinate in buckets. Parents could not pick up their children since entry or exit was prohibited. Once the lockdown was ended, parents were required to present ID to take their children home. During the escalating panic, it was stated that Poe was on the FBI’s most wanted list, but he was not.
Late in the day, Poe was arrested far outside the locked down area. He was apparently unarmed, faces no charges in WI, and will be transported back to IL. News stories here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
A US government task force is drafting FBI-backed legislation that would penalize companies like Google and Facebook for refusing to comply with wiretap orders, media report.
In the new legislation being drafted by US law enforcement officials, refusal to cooperate with the FBI could cost a tech company tens of thousands of dollars in fines, the Washington Post quoted anonymous sources as saying.
The fined company would be given 90 days to comply with wiretap orders. If the organization is unable or unwilling to turn over the communications requested by the wiretap, the penalty sum would double every day.
“We don’t have the ability to go to court and say, ‘We need a court order to effectuate the intercept.’ Other countries have that. Most people assume that’s what you’re getting when you go to a court,” FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann told the Washington Post.
If passed in Congress and signed by President Obama, the bill could become a provision of the 1968 Wiretap Act, which require companies to develop mechanisms for obtaining information requested by government investigators.
However, many companies maintain that their resistance to this and similar measures has nothing to do with an unwillingness to help investigators. Google began encrypting its email service following a major hacking attack in 2010; developing wiretap technology could make it and other companies vulnerable, creating “a way for someone to silently go in and activate a wiretap,” said Susan Landau, a former engineer at Sun Microsystems.
The proposed expansion of wiretaps into the digital frontier is the latest in a series of US government efforts to monitor online communications.
The recent Boston Marathon bombings were used by some members of Congress as a reason to push through the highly controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protect Act (CISPA), which was passed by the lower house. If CISPA is signed into law, telecommunication companies will be encouraged to share Internet data with the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice concerning national security purposes.
Tech companies, including giants like Facebook and Microsoft, have objected fiercely to the bill, citing customers’ privacy concerns. The bill is currently shelved in the Senate following President Obama’s threat to veto CISPA due to a lack of personal privacy provisions.
Earlier in April, the FBI requested an additional $41 million from the federal government for the recording and analysis of Internet communication.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center also recently obtained over 1,000 pages of documents proving that the Pentagon has secretly eavesdropped on Internet traffic for several years.
“Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws,” CNET reporter Declan McCullagh wrote.
- Obama administration bypasses CISPA by secretly allowing Internet surveillance (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Every year, 4,600 Americans are killed in work place related accidents. Every 28 hours a black person is killed by police, corrections officers, security guards or vigilantes. Every year more than 30,000 people are killed by gun violence in this country. The odds of being killed by a terrorist are only 1 in 20 million.
These statistics are rarely mentioned and never had a chance to be addressed after two bombs were exploded during the Boston marathon. Death under horrific but commonplace circumstances attracts scant media attention or political action. Acts labeled as terrorism, which are unlikely to kill anyone, bring an inordinate amount of hysteria among the populace and cynical attention from press and politicians.
Just two days after the Boston marathon a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded, killing 14 people, most of them the much worshiped “first responders.” The risk of dying in an industrial accident is far greater than the odds of being killed by a terrorist, but no matter. The people were whipped into a frenzy and told to cast their eyes in the place where they should pay less attention rather than more.
It is frightening that the risks which Americans are subjected to on a daily basis are ignored as if they are unwanted background noise. Some of the passivity is understandable. Black people in particular are able to function in large part because the ever present risk of stop and frisk, false arrest, and police brutality are difficult to bear. There is a thin line between being conscious and losing one’s mind.
All Americans’ behavior is understandable if one acknowledges that we are constantly subjected to propaganda of various kinds. We have been propagandized to believe that some lives, white Americans’, are more valuable than others, namely anyone not white nor from the United States. There is no other way to explain why the government’s killing of thousands of people abroad is met with a shrug, if it is acknowledged at all. Americans are like spoiled children, whining over their suffering, while showing no empathy for anyone else’s. They feel that only their victimization is worthy of note, and in fact many of them support their government’s acts of violence carried out around the world.
That feeling of entitlement is a direct result of centuries of white supremacy which has never been examined or challenged. It has been fed as corporate power has grown and corrupted the media who now aren’t even very good at the basics of their profession. CNN, NPR, the Associated Press and other supposedly reputable news organizations reported wrongly on basic facts of the case such as the number of suspects, whether arrests had been made or not, or who was or wasn’t a person of interest. A “dark skinned man” was said to be under arrest but actually wasn’t. An Indian student missing since March was named as a suspect on social media and his family were threatened as a result.
After the wave of manufactured hysteria an easily frightened people were then convinced to accept tanks in their streets and heed government calls to “shelter in place.” The nonsensical overreaction was superseded only by the use of Orwellian jargon used to create an even more compliant public.
The predictably maudlin moments of silence weren’t restricted to Boston. More than $20 million in monetary contributions were raised without the donors knowing who needed it or for what purpose. Tributes flowed along with money and no one ran a race anywhere on earth without mentioning the bravery of Bostonians. The president showed up and as always on such occasions uttered words seemingly written by his worst speechwriters. The full force of the government would catch the cowards and the people would not be frightened because they are the best and freest in the world and the prayers of the nation went out to them because of democracy and the whole world stood beside them. Amen.
There is another kind of terror that goes on continually. Most reported terror plots of recent years were created entirely by government agents. The FBI had some contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was killed by police in the bombing after math. It is possible that the FBI moved from creating phony terror plots to actually carrying one out. The likelihood that there will ever be impartial fact finding on this and other questions are slim to none.
Dzokhar Tsarnaev now lies in a hospital wounded by police gunfire and questioned without being read his rights. That treatment is a result of an Obama executive order which states that in cases of a “public safety exception” we have no such rights. Now that is everyday terror.
Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
- Manufacturing Terrorists – How FBI sting operations make jihadists out of hapless malcontents (therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com)
Following last week’s hyped up media reports on the arrest of a Mississippi man for mailing poisonous letters to US President Barack Obama, a senator and a judge, the FBI has announced that it has not found any poison-making materials at his home.
“There was no apparent ricin, castor beans or any material there that could be used for the manufacturing, like a blender or something,” FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) Agent Brandon Grant testified Friday at a preliminary hearing at a federal court in Oxford, Mississippi, according to local press reports on Monday and Tuesday.
Paul Kevin Curtis was arrested and charged last Wednesday on suspicion of mailing three letters tainted with ricin, a fatal biological poison, to Obama, Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker and a state judge just a day after the deadly Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, prompting growing fears across the US that the country may be under another major attack, reminiscent of the September 11, 2001 incidents in New York and Virginia that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Meanwhile, Curtis’ attorney, Christi McCoy, has insisted that “There is absolutely not a shred of evidence to link this poor guy” to an attempted poisoning.
“That’s the truth!” McCoy said. “He is the perfect scapegoat, the perfect patsy, and it’s really sad because at first everybody’s like, you know, he’s kind of crazy, maybe he did it. But as the searches continued, there’s just nothing on this guy. Nothing on his computers, in his car, in his house.”
US authorities first insisted that the letters tested positive for containing the deadly bio agent but then announced that more accurate examination of the mailings must be conducted at specialized FBI laboratories to confirm earlier tests.
This is while the FBI announced on Wednesday that is was still waiting for a “final word on whether the letters to Obama and Wicker definitely contained ricin.”
“The initial tests can be inaccurate,” a Washington Post report emphasized on Thursday, adding that in 2004 a letter sent to a top US senator was initially believed to contain ricin but additional tests proved it was harmless.
The letters sent to Obama and Wicker were reportedly similar in content and the origin of their postmark, Memphis, Tennessee. They read, “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.” Both of them were signed, “I am KC and I approve this message.”
According to local reports last Thursday, at least five other senators were reportedly forced into an emergency mode for receiving “suspicious” packages at their offices in Washington or their home states, “prompting evacuations of their staff and lock downs of many more.”
Furthermore, US police ordered thousand of congressional staffers and aides not to leave their offices after a bag was reportedly sighted at the entrance way of a Senate office building, as a bomb squad raced towards the Capitol Hill. Two hours later, however, the package, as well as two letters delivered to the officers of two senators was cleared as not harmful.
Curtis, according to US press reports, held a “morbid” theory that the American government was involved in an organ-selling conspiracy after observing body parts in the freezer of the hospital where he used to work in 1999.
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the US confronted a series of alleged ‘anthrax attacks’ that were never formally solved. A former Army scientist, Steven Hatfill, was falsely and publicly implicated and later exonerated by way of several lawsuit settlements. Officials later focused on Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins, who killed himself in 2008, though the case against him was also met with doubts.
- No Ricin Found at Poison-Letter Suspect’s Home, FBI Says – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- FBI: No evidence of poison at home of ricin mail suspect (thehill.com)
- Unlearned lessons from the Steven Hatfill case
- The Anthrax Attack Was a Classic False Flag Operation Targeting Arabs
- Federal Bureau of Invention?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation or the FBI has been manufacturing fake terror plots only to later claim that they foiled the same plots that they created. This is a historical fact. They have been doing this for decades and have greatly accelerated these programs following the 9/11 attacks and the official launch of the so-called war on terror. Is it any surprise that the FBI was in close contact with at least one of the two Russian brothers who have been accused by the FBI of being behind the Boston Marathon bombings? It shouldn’t be when you also consider that the FBI actually allowed the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center to go forward and did nothing to stop it. Accusations have even been made by Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols that a high level FBI source had been directing Tim McVeigh in the plot to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. So not only does the FBI have a track record of creating fake terror plots but they have a track record of allowing real terror plots to take place. With this in mind, the FBI has no credibility with their alleged on-going investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings.
Let’s first take a look back at the FBI’s involvement in the events that led up to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The FBI actually had foreknowledge of the bombing through one of their informants Emad Salem. Salem was embedded amongst a group of Muslims who the FBI believed were preparing to launch terrorist attacks. The group included Ramzi Yousef and others who would eventually be sentenced to prison in connection with the bombing.
In 1992 roughly a full year before the attack, Salem told his handlers at the FBI that the group was building a bomb. The original plan was for Salem to substitute harmless powder for the explosives but the plan was called off by an FBI supervisor who claimed Salem could be used better in other ways. Not trusting his FBI handlers, Salem recorded many hours of their conversations. The transcripts of these conversations clearly reveal that the FBI knew about a real terrorist plot but did nothing to stop it. The news of these transcripts was reported in media outlets including CBS News and the New York Times.
Moving on to the Oklahoma City bombing, below is an excerpt from a 2007 Salt Lake Tribune article regarding Terry Nichols statement claiming that Tim McVeigh was being directed by the FBI.
Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols says a high-ranking FBI official “apparently” was directing Timothy McVeigh in the plot to blow up a government building and might have changed the original target of the attack, according to a new affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Utah.
The official and other conspirators are being protected by the federal government “in a cover-up to escape its responsibility for the loss of life in Oklahoma,” Nichols claims in a Feb. 9 affidavit.
Needless to say, the official story of the Oklahoma City bombing is littered with unanswered questions. The documentary film A Noble Lie goes over the mountain of evidence proving that the government had prior knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing and participated in a massive cover up.
Worse yet, there is a substantial amount of evidence indicating that the government was involved in the attacks themselves. The ATF had offices in the Alfred P. Murrah building but ATF personnel were conveniently told not to come into work the day of the bombing. There were also eyewitness accounts and local media reports confirming that there were in fact multiple bombs inside the building. The only way bombs of such sophistication could have been put inside a secure federal building would be if the people placing them in the building were doing so under some sort of official capacity. This in of itself proves that the Oklahoma City bombings couldn’t have happened unless high level people in the government green lit such an operation. Amazingly, this just represents a small fraction of the evidence proving government involvement in the Oklahoma City bombings.
Since the 9/11 attacks the FBI has been involved in manufacturing a number of terror plots by entrapping a myriad of idiots and bizarre characters. What is significant about this is that these so-called terror plots would not have happened if it weren’t for the activity of undercover FBI informants. There are so many cases of this that it would be almost impossible to include them all in a single article. A book entitled The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism written by Trevor Aaronson details several cases of the FBI creating terror plots so they can later make arrests and claim they are making progress in the fake terror war.
Here are just a few of the articles that detail the FBI busting terror plots that they created in the first place.
From the FBI manufacturing fake terror plots to the FBI allowing real terror events to take place, the connection between the FBI and the now allegedly deceased Boston Marathon bomber suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is highly suspicious. The odds that he and his brother were setup by the FBI are quite high considering the FBI’s historical track record in dealing with such matters. The FBI has still yet to provide any real evidence proving that these two young men were solely responsible for the bombings. All they have going for them is the mockingbird media repeating generalizations and lies that are not backed up with any facts or logic.
It is painfully obvious that the establishment is struggling to link these two men to known terrorist groups or offer a reasonable motive as to why they would use bombs against innocent people. The official narrative is falling apart and the FBI along with the assorted establishment agencies and corporate media outlets are losing more and more credibility the longer they try to sell this ridiculous story to the public.
- Boston Bombing investigation will mirror the Oklahoma City Bombing cover-up (21stcenturywire.com)
According to a new report published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the President and CEO of biometrics firm SmartMetric posits that the industry will be worth $10 billion by 2018.
SmartMetric, of course, “stands to capitalize significantly on this very large and fast growing market,” so perhaps that projection should be taken with a grain of salt.
But specific figures aside, the industry is undoubtedly booming, and in large part due to US military and law enforcement biometrics programs.
The FBI’s Next Generation Identification biometrics effort, housed in the Center for Biometric Excellence at the FBI-DoD operated Biometrics Technology Center, is the largest domestic operation. Local law enforcement are increasingly also using advanced biometric monitoring equipment, including face recognition and iris scanners.
If you are worried about how powerful biometrics technologies might be used in your city or state, click here to find out how to get involved at the local level to ensure police transparency and democratic accountability.
Hundreds of prisoners of the US War of Terror languish in prisons around the world, in Guantanamo and on the US mainland. Some have been there as long as 12 years, some have sentences that extend beyond the span of their life; many have never been charged with a crime and more than half the prisoners who remain in Guantanamo have had their original charges dropped or have served their full sentence, but are barred by US law from being repatriated to their homeland and therefore can not be released. Even the few prisoners in Guantanamo who are considered ‘high value’ are mostly charged with thought crimes, plans that were never carried out in any significant detail. In many cases, the leads that initially brought them to the attention of the FBI or CIA have proved to be inaccurate.
Amina Masood Janjua is a Pakistani woman whose husband was abducted from the streets of Rawalpindi by Pakistani President Musharraf’s thugs shortly after 9/11. Masood Janjua was an honest citizen going about his business, and his wife has been looking for him ever since. He wasn’t the only one picked up this way, but his wife Amina was the one who started an organization to advocate for the hundreds of men disappeared in Pakistan after 911. In the early days of the War on Terror, hundreds of men were pulled from the streets and countryside of Pakistan to feed the US government’s insatiable appetite for Terrorists. Some were sent directly to Guantanamo; some were moved here and there before being sent to Guantanamo; some were deposited more or less permanently in one of several prisons at the US base in Bagram, in a secret prison in Pakistan or somewhere else in Libya, Syria, Thailand elsewhere into a secret array of American prisons. Teenagers have been picked up on the Afghan border and sold to ‘the Americans’ as terrorists, who must have figured out it wasn’t true in some cases because 50 of them remain in the Bagram prison though after 5-10 years they have never been charged with a crime.
And then there are the residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) in Pakistan, subject to ongoing surveillance, missile strikes and bombings by U.S. Predator drones. The FATA is something like a combination of Pine Ridge Reservation with Gaza. Indigenous peoples who live there have, since the British Raj, been allowed to keep their tribal culture and their ‘sovereignty’ in exchange for giving up their rights as citizens of Pakistan. They are governed by a Federal Agent who makes final decisions on the distribution of social resources, food, medicine and guns, and who oversees the tribal justice system with the power to intervene at any time, pass judgement on any individual and determine a sentence. Currently, due to the ongoing violence that has spilled over from the Afghan war (Taliban on the ground and drone strikes from above), citizens of Pakistan from outside the region are not permitted to enter the FATA region, and those who live there cannot leave without passing through government checkpoints. Not surprisingly, they are generally apprehended by their fellow countrymen with fear and loathing, and pity.
One hundred and sixty six men remain in Guantanamo. There are a handful of so called ‘high value’ prisoners whose cases are deemed to be related to actual terrorist attacks. But all were severely tortured at secret prisons when first detained, and a number of them have cases based on crimes that were nothing more than loose talk, association with the wrong people and/or claims that are clearly contradicted by the evidence that has unfolded while they were in custody. Eighty Six of them have been cleared for release, but are retained in detention for political reasons. At least 28, but possibly over 100 of the prisoners are on a life threatening hunger strike. They are choosing death over spending the rest of their lives in torment. At this time, 11 are being force-fed. Even death is denied them. Their lawyers, who complained on their behalf, have been denied access to them. Non-military flights to Guantanamo have been canceled. The office created by Obama in the early days of his presidency to close Guantanamo has itself been closed, and new monies have been allocated to expand the Guantanamo Prison facilities.
In the US ‘homeland’, Muslims, including immigrants and African Americans from impoverished neighborhoods; people who are naive, ignorant, immature, along with recent immigrants whose cultural habits and political stances do not fit a jingoistic standard of normalcy and patriotism, are accused of thought crimes or manipulated into participating in fake crimes after being targeted for sting operations that resemble the cons used to part old people, the disabled or other potentially needy or naive people from their money, then incarcerated with lengthy sentences made possible by a so called ‘terrorism enhancement’ to whatever ‘crime’ they are alleged to have committed.
Men like Yassin Aref, a Kurdish refugee from Northern Iraq, have been targeted due to possible social contacts made in their home countries and imprisoned for long periods of time despite having committed no crime. Yassin’s name and phone number were found in a private phone book picked up in ‘terrorist hideout’ near his home town after it was bombed by American forces during the Iraq War. Could someone there have known him? Of course, this is a land of small villages where everyone is connected one way or the other. Like many college students, Yassin worked for a political organization which promised sovereignty for his Kurdish homeland, a popular stance in Kurdistan, particularly after the scorched earth policies of Saddam Hussein in the region. Yassin gave rides once or twice to a man who was later designated a ‘terrorist’ by the US government.
Meanwhile dozens of immigrants and poor African Americans, who constitute the majority of indigenous Muslims in this country, have been targeted, manipulated into committing or attempting to commit a crime, then imprisoned as terrorists. Men desperate or naive enough to take the provocateur’s bait, are conned and confused and recorded for the convenience of the courts by provocateurs who profit handsomely from their work. The provocateurs, often petty criminals, are bankrolled by the FBI, moved from job to job when they are successful and absolved of any prior or concurrent crimes they may commit. Not a bad deal for a sociopath with a criminal record and a taste for good living.
In one unusual case, a Pakistani National named Aafia Siddiqui, a woman who had lived in the US for more than 10 years during which she earned a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience (the physical underpinnings of learning), was abducted in Pakistan near her parents home, where she had been staying, and incarcerated somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan, later released in the Afghan city of Ghazni, only to be immediately rearrested, was later convicted of a crime that she may or may not have committed in attempting to escape after the second arrest. I say ‘may or may not have committed’ because the testimony against her is not corroborated by a single iota of material evidence. The original charges against her, which date back to a time shortly preceding her arrest in Pakistan, seem to be based on the testimony of one or more high profile 9/11 suspects who may have met her at some point or may have been told her name by their interrogators, and the testimony of an abusive ex-husband.
Saturday, March 30th, was the anniversary of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s initial abduction. There is a lot of mystery around this event, and the American Government persists in denying they held her for the 5 years that she was missing. However, Aafia Siddiqui had her 3 young children with her at the time of their abduction. When the middle child, Miriam, who was 4 years old at the time of her abduction, was dropped off near her mother’s family home in Karachi shortly after the time of her trial, she spoke only American English. The older boy, 6 or 7 at the time of his abduction, was with her Dr. Siddiqui when she was arrested the 2nd time in Ghazni, but she did not appear to recognize him. He too is now living with his Grandmother and Aunt in Karachi. He has required special support to deal with with traumatic memories of years in prisons, and has needed surgeries to realign his hips, dislocated and misaligned due to long periods in restraints during a time of rapid growth. The baby, less than a few months old at the time of their disappearance in March 2003, has not been seen since.
The U.S. authorities adamantly deny having held Dr. Siddiqui prior to her arrest in Ghazni in 2008. However, they also contend that, after being shot and mortally wounded by U.S. soldiers (in self defense), she unleashed a verbal torrent off vulgar anti-American expletives in English, wherein the word “F*#!” appeared more than once. This, admittedly unseemly, behavior would seem very odd if she really had not been in the company of Americans for the previous 5 years. Had she been in hiding in a remote Baloch village with the womenfolk, or dealing daily with conservative Islamist clerics, plotting the ruin of the United States, a country where she had lived for most of her adult life, and where, if not a citizen, she was engaged in numerous good works and charitable projects, where, in fact, she is accused of wanting to convert as many people as possible to her beloved Islam, would she have the habit of expressing outrage in the common vernacular of the United States?
There were a number of psychological analyses prior to Dr. Siddiqui’s trial because of her paranoia and inability to relate appropriately to her surroundings. Initially, she was declared incompetent to stand trial but later, based on new testimony and the reversal of the state psychologist’s initial report the decision was set aside. The psychologist who changed his mind testified that, after he saw the government denial that they had ever held her, he came to the conclusion that she was a malingerer rather than a person suffering severe PTSD, as in his initial conclusion. Dr. Siddiqui’s family and her lawyers all firmly believe her story. Evidence, including the return of her daughter and and some memories that her son has, along with testimony by the Pakistani government official responsible for her initial abduction, has emerged to support her claims.
Dr. Siddiqui was convicted by a jury on all counts but without premeditation. And yet, the judge sentenced her with the ‘terrorism enhancement’ to 86 years, more than the future length of her life for crimes that would normally entail a 10-12 year sentence. The chain of accusations on which the terrorism enhancement was based were not clearly articulated in court as charges, and therefore could not be challenged. Dr. Siddiqui is currently incarcerated in Carswell Medical Center in Texas, a hospital prison with a record of patient abuse. Letters sent to her are returned. Calls are not received.
The prison says that she refuses all of her mail and her phone calls. Given her state of despair at the time of her conviction, it is possible this is true. However, it would seem questionable in light of the way the mental health issues were handled at her trial. A healthy person would not refuse all mail and phone calls. If she is psychologically disturbed enough to be doing that, then she should not have been deemed competent to stand trial at that time as she was not malingering. Even if she were disturbed at the time of her trial, a retreat from all outside contact would indicate a deterioration in her condition and an environment not conducive to the restoration of her mental health. I suppose a sentence in a mental hospital that lasts as long as twice your remaining lifespan would fit that description, but is it not a cruel and unusual punishment? And then again, maybe they are stretching the truth to hide a different kind of cruel and unusual treatment.
Nearly twelve years have passed since 9/11/01 when the US began building the myth of a fanatical gang of international terrorists targeting the United States with mayhem and murder. After seven years of fear and loathing, a new president came into office on a wave of hope. Yet, Guantanamo is still open for business and the remaining residents are farther than ever from release, as are most of the CIA Black Sites. Rendering of prisoners is rare, but the program still exists. U.S. Drone attacks in the FATA have increased exponentially, while only a handful of the ‘disappeared’ have been returned to their families. When Bagram is returned to the Afghans, the unindicted Pakistani youth will remain in the custody of their American jailers. New cases based on FBI sting operations are regularly heard in the Federal Courts resulting in convictions and unusually lengthy sentences, often in Communication Management Units where the prisoners are held in virtual solitary confinement at locations far removed from their families. The Obama White House has released formal justifications for executing American citizens without trial.
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui remains in Carswell FMC where she has been joined by Lynne Stewart, a 73 year old America lawyer who has selflessly defended the poor and the disenfranchised and those who have been fodder for the FBI terrorist franchise throughout her career. Lynne Stewart, convicted of a technical legal violation in her defense of one of her clients, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison. Currently, she is suffering from stage 4 cancer, but the authorities say she cannot have a ‘compassionate release’ for treatment. It will only be available when they are sure she is going to die within a few months. I guess it is an equal opportunity victory that at least 2 women have joined the thousands of men tortured and persecuted in this War of Terror.
But here in the land of democracy and freedom, where we preach about opportunity for all, where we righteously condemn other countries for unequal treatment of women, where we talk endlessly about freedom and justice, it’s time we take a look at what is really going on and who we really are. Perhaps then we will set aside ‘hope’ and start thinking about active change. Until then we are all prisoners of The War on Terror.
Judy Bello is active with the Upstate (NY) Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars. She traveled to Pakistan with the CodePink Peace Delegation last Fall. The Coalition is planning, Resisting Drones, Global War and Empire, a weekend of networking, education and action in Syracuse, NY April 26-28. You can learn more about the weekend events at http://upstatedroneaction.org
Well, there they go again. We’ve talked a bunch about how the FBI has gotten really good at stopping its own terrorist plots and they’ve gone and done it again. Right here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the FBI has gleefully announced how they’ve stopped an attempt to bomb a Bank of America building in Oakland. The details are familiar: random guy with no actual connection to terrorists, and no actual way to build a connection with terrorists, is taken in by an FBI undercover agent who works with him to build a “bomb” that was never a bomb. In other words, there was no plot. There was no bomb. There was just a bunch of undercover agents playing dressup, and one Joe Schmo who thought it was all real. Maybe next time, the FBI can turn it into a reality TV show on Spike. Ralph Garmin as… a fake terrorist. I’d watch it.
This all comes just a week after On the Media profiled a new book called Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War On Terrorism. That book appears to collect a bunch of these stories, talking about how this is a major effort in the FBI these days: making up fake terrorist plots in order to stop people they themselves convinced to take part in the “plots” and then generate big headlines around them:
The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terror shows how the FBI has, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than 15,000 informants whose primary purpose is to infiltrate Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots so that the bureau can then claim victory in the war on terror.
Think of just how many resources are wasted in entrapping random people, rather than stopping real crime. I don’t see how this makes us any safer at all. Frankly, it makes me a lot more terrified.