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Battlefield USA: American police ‘excessively militarized’ – ACLU study

RT | June 24, 2014

Inheriting both the weapons and the mindset of the US military, police are becoming militarized and ‘hyper aggressive’ in their approach to maintaining security on the streets of America. A new study calls on police not to treat people as ‘wartime enemies’.

The tragic story of Jose Guerena, 26, who served as a Marine in the Iraq War, only to be killed by ‘friendly fire’ at his home in Tucson, Arizona, is becoming a disturbingly familiar one across the country.

On the morning of May 5, 2011, Guerena’s wife alerted him when she heard strange sounds and the silhouette of a man standing outside their home. Guerena got his wife and child into a closet, grabbed his rifle, and went to investigate. This proved to be a deadly mistake. A SWAT team opened fire on Guerena, who died on his kitchen floor with multiple wounds and without medical attention.

As it later emerged, the SWAT unit raided a number of residences in the neighborhood, turning up nothing more than a small bag of marijuana. No drugs were found in the Guerenas’ home.

Created in the late 1960s as “quasi-militaristic” units designed to handle emergency situations such as riots, hostage scenarios, and active shooter situations, the number of SWAT squads have since surged, and are “used with greater frequency and, increasingly, for purposes for which they were not originally intended—overwhelmingly to serve search warrants in drug investigations,” according to an ACLU report, entitled ‘War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.’

The report examines 818 SWAT operations from July 2010 to last October, which were conducted by more than 20 law enforcement agencies in 11 states.

Today, paramilitary squads are better equipped to fight terrorists in foreign lands [occupations] than serve and protect US civilians at home, and are becoming a dark chapter to America’s newfound capacity for “needless violence” and treating its citizens like “wartime enemies,” it said.

The 98-page document details the militarization of state and local law enforcement agencies, courtesy of expensive federal programs, which are dispensing “weapons and tactics of war, with almost no public discussion or oversight.” Although explicitly aimed at fighting drugs, the strategy is backfiring, sowing fear and discord among citizens, many of whom are starting to fear police as much as criminals.

As the United States winds down its military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, local police forces are getting the used ‘hand-me-downs’ from the US military. This makes some American communities resemble the latest occupied zones with police dressed in combat fatigues and driving MRAPs and carrying AR-15s down Main Street.

“Using these federal funds, state and local law enforcement agencies have amassed military arsenals purportedly to wage the failed War on Drugs… But these arsenals are by no means free of cost for communities. Instead, the use of hyper aggressive tools and tactics results in tragedy for civilians and police officers, escalates the risk of needless violence, destroys property, and undermines individual liberties,” according to the report.

One bit of curious hardware being distributed to local police forces from the government’s military closet is the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle, which gives troops protection from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Using media sources, ACLU put the number of towns that now possess the armored carriers at around 500. Among the lucky recipients, Dallas, Texas, has one, as does Salinas, California and even the Utah Highway Patrol.

The report noted that even the Ohio State University Police own one of the MRAPs in order to give a sense of “presence” on big football game days.

The results of the report revealed a worrying trend: “If the federal government gives the police a huge cache of military-style weaponry, they are highly likely to use it, even if they do not really need to.”

Case in point: Gwinnett County, Georgia, which received at least 57 semi-automatic rifles, mostly M-16s and M-14s. One-third of the county’s SWAT deployments dealt with drug investigations; in half of them, the SWAT team broke down the door to get inside, “and there was no record in any of the reports that weapons were found.”

Other examples were provided in Concord, Keene, and Manchester, quaint New Hampshire towns in close proximity to each other, yet each took advantage of DHS grants to buy the military-grade armored BearCat (the amount of grants received by these agencies ranged from $215,000 to $286,000). Justifications for the need to acquire such vehicles pointed to weapons of mass destruction and the threat of terrorism.

The Keene police department, for example, cites in its application (which trumps Ohio State University’s need for armored vehicles to provide “presence” at big football games), the annual pumpkin festival as a potential terrorism target that requires the assistance of an APC.

Military-style mentality invades police

Another leftover from America’s military adventures abroad is the peculiar military mindset that allows US personnel to survive in hostile lands. Equally unsettling as spotting armored vehicles winding through the tree-lined streets of otherwise quiet American neighborhoods is the spectacle of local police officers receiving military-style combat training.

The US Department of Justice described the boot-camp conditions being used to train new police recruits.

According to a Bureau of Justice Report, “the majority of police recruits receive their training in academies with a stress-based military orientation. This begs the question: is this military model—designed to prepare young recruits for combat—the appropriate mechanism for teaching our police trainees how to garner community trust and partner with citizens to solve crime and public order problems?”

As a result, a so-called “warrior” mentality inside local police forces is “pervasive and extends well beyond hostage situations and school shootings, seeping into officers’ everyday interactions with their communities,” the report said.

The report describes a PowerPoint presentation that was delivered to Cary, North Carolina, SWAT team members entitled “Warrior Mindset/Chemical Munitions” for all Emergency Response Team personnel.

The National Tactical Officers Association (according to its website, the NTOA “strives to provide our members with the tools they need to protect an increasingly dangerous society”) urges trainees to “Steel Your Battlemind” and defines “battlemind” as “a warrior’s inner strength to face fear and adversity during combat with courage. It is the will to persevere and win. It is resilience.”

The question, however, is whether such an approach to policing is conducive to creating peace on the streets of America? An escalation of police operations going awry are growing cause for concern among civil rights groups.

In early June, for example, a toddler was severely burned and left unable to breathe on his own when a Georgia SWAT team tossed a flashbang grenade in his crib during a drug raid – over a single meth sale of $50. Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, a 19-month-old, was asleep in his portable crib in the same room as his parents and three older sisters, when police opened the door to the converted garage and threw the stun grenade in.

In the ACLU’s study, SWAT units forced entry into a person’s home using a battering ram or other breaching device in 65 percent of drug searches.

As the report emphasizes, the training documents do not suggest that SWAT teams “should constrain their soldier-like tactics to terrorism situations.” Moreover, the majority of SWAT raids examined for the report “took place in the context of serving search warrants at people’s homes—not in response to school shootings or bombings.”

The survey discovered that 62 percent of SWAT missions were for drug searches. Some 79 percent involved raids on private homes, and a similar proportion were carried out with warrants authorizing searches. However, just 7 percent of the incidents fell into those categories for which SWAT was originally designed to handle, such as hostage situations or shootings.

It is this type of military mindset, compounded with excessive firepower, which is turning many American communities into veritable tinderboxes, which only requires the slightest provocation to spiral into senseless violence and death.

The survey, which provided a small picture of the overall trend, reported seven cases where civilians died in connection with the deployment of SWAT units, two of which appeared to be suicides. Another 46 individuals were injured, often as the result of physical force by officers.

Background: ‘It’s a war zone in the US’ – Interview with Indiana sheriff

Update: ACLU sues Mass. SWAT agency for refusing to release records

June 24, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UN envoy slams Israel’s ‘unacceptable’ police handling of ‘Holy Fire’ ritual in Jerusalem

RT | April 20, 2014

Israeli police reportedly blocked a top UN diplomat, alongside other diplomats and Palestinians, entrance to a pre-Easter Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which Israeli authorities called a ‘micro-incident.’

Robert Serry, the UN special envoy for Middle East peace, said he and Palestinian Christians were making their way to attend the ‘Holy Fire’ ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried before rising from the dead.

Despite earlier promises of unrestricted access to the church, Israeli police refused to let the group of worshipers pass, saying they had orders to that effect.

Serry said he, along with Italian, Norwegian and Dutch diplomats, were forced to wait for up to 30 minutes, crushed by the excited crowd against a barricade, while Israeli officers ignored his request to speak with a superior, according to Reuters.

“A precarious standoff ensued ending in an angry crowd pushing their way through,” Serry said, lashing out at “unacceptable behavior from the Israeli security authorities.”

“It became really dangerous because there was a big crowd and I was pushed against a metal fence the police put up there, the crowd tried to push really hard,” the diplomat said, adding they might have been trampled had police not finally let them pass.

Serry in a statement called on “all parties to respect the right of religious freedom, granting access to holy sites for worshipers of all faiths and refraining from provocations, not least during religious holidays.”

The incident comes as the Holy City, which is of religious importance to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, prepares Pope Francis’s Holy Land visit next month.

Israel dismissed the UN diplomat’s complaint, calling it an attempt to exaggerate a “micro-incident” while crediting police with maintaining order as crowds of worshipers descended on the city.

Later on Saturday, Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry dismissed Serry’s account as “an odd communique on a non-event.”

“Christian dignitaries of the highest level have this evening thanked the Jerusalem Police Department for its efficient service, which has enabled the Holy Day’s celebrations to take place without any hindrance,” the ministry said.

“Had any harm come to the pilgrims due to uncontrolled crowd movements, Mr. Serry would have been prompt to cast responsibility on the same police which he now condemns for doing its job properly,” the Israeli statement added.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Jerusalem in May, an event that may be overshadowed by a breakdown in US-brokered peace talks between Israeli and Palestinians, who face an April-29 deadline to resolve their differences.

April 20, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US military doctors participate in torture of detainees, report says

RT | November 4, 2013

An independent report has charged that medical personnel, working under the direction of the Department of Defense and CIA in military defense facilities, violated medical ethics by participating in the torture of detainees.

The services provided by American doctors and psychologists included “designing, participating in, and enabling torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” of detainees, according to the report.

The 19-member task force concluded that since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) and CIA ordered medical professionals to assist in intelligence gathering, as well as forced-feeding of hunger strikers, in a way that inflicted “severe harm” on detainees in US custody.

The authors of the 269-page report, entitled “Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the ‘War on Terror’” is based on information from unclassified, publicly available information.

The task force revealed that a “theory of interrogation” emerged in US detention facilities, including Guantanamo Bay detention camp, that was based on “personality disintegration” as a means of breaking down the resistance of the detainees in an effort to extract confessions and information.

Over time, new interrogation methods were developed by interrogators and psychologists from techniques used in the pre-9/11 Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) program that was designed for training US troops to withstand interrogation and mistreatment techniques in the event they were captured.

The interrogators and medical professionals transformed torture-resistant tactics into abusive methods of interrogation, which they employed on detainees. This included so-called ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques, such as waterboarding, which involves covering a restrained detainee’s face with a towel and then soaking it with water. The technique is said to induce a feeling of drowning and complete helplessness.

The detainees are not permitted to receive treatment for the mental anguish caused by their torture.

The report also gave special mention to the Bush administration, which declared that the legal safeguards regarding the treatment of prisoners of war set down in the Geneva Convention did not apply to the “unlawful combatants” (i.e. terrorists) in the War on Terror.

The lack of any judicial restraints on the part of the military and medical personnel involved opened the door to “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” of prisoners at GITMO under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Task Force member, Dr. Gerald Thomson, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at Columbia University, said physicians violated medical code of conduct by willingly becoming “agents of the military.”

“The American public has a right to know that the covenant with its physicians to follow professional ethical expectations is firm regardless of where they serve,” Dr. Thomson said in a released statement. “It’s clear that in the name of national security the military trumped that covenant, and physicians were transformed into agents of the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics and practice.”

The medical community has “a responsibility to make sure this never happens again,” he added.

The authors cited a number of sources that informed their study, including recently published accounts of force-feeding hunger-striking detainees, a 2008 Senate report on the treatment of terrorists in custody, and a Red Cross probe of CIA interrogation measures that was leaked to the New York Times.

Dr. Thomson summarized the feelings of many people when he called the participation of physicians in the torture and interrogation of detainees a “big striking horror.”

“This covenant between society and medicine has been around for a long, long time — patient first, community first, society first, not national security, necessarily,” he continued. “If we just ignore this and satisfy ourselves with the (thought that), ‘Well, they were trying to protect us,’ when it does happen again we’ll all be complicit in that.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, Lt. Col. J. Todd Breasseale, reviewed the charges contained in the report and called them “wholly absurd.”

“The health care providers at the Joint Strike Force who routinely provide not only better medical care than any of these detainees have ever known, but care on par with the very best of the global medical profession, are consummate professionals working under terrifically stressful conditions, far from home and their families, and with patients who have been extraordinarily violent,” Breasseale told NBC News.

Arthur Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the medical personnel working at Gitmo may believe they are doing something valuable for society.

“What I’ve seen over the years is that people (doctors) who don’t want to do that, don’t. They find ways to avoid it, get out of it, or get reassigned,” Caplan told NBC News. “But for someone who does it, that doctor’s impulse may be to say: ‘I want to fight terrorism. I want to get information that protects the American people.’ They think they’re doing the right thing.”

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on US military doctors participate in torture of detainees, report says

Luxembourg NSA dragnet hauls in Skype for investigation – report

RT | October 12, 2013

Once heralded as a communication tool free from eavesdropping, Skype is now reportedly under scrutiny for secretly and voluntarily handing over personal data on users to government agencies.

The Microsoft-owned instant-messaging site, used by some 600 million people worldwide, is being probed by Luxembourg’s data protection commissioner over concerns about its secret cooperation with the US National Security Agency’s Prism spying program, according to a report in the Guardian, the UK newspaper that first broke the story on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Skype, believed to be the first Internet company among many to be brought within the NSA program, could potentially face criminal and administrative charges, as well as hefty fines if it is found to be in violation of Luxembourg’s data protection laws.

If found guilty, Skype [could] be banned from passing along user data to the US spy agency, the newspaper reported.

The Luxembourg commissioner initiated an investigation into Skype’s privacy policies following revelations in June about its ties to the NSA, the Guardian said. No additional comments were immediately available.

Microsoft’s purchase of Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011 “tripled some types of data flow to the NSA,” the Guardian said, citing secret documents in its possession.

But even before the Microsoft buyout, Skype had initiated its own secret program, dubbed Project Chess, which sought ways of making customer communications “readily available to intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials,” The New York Times reported.

According to the NSA files shown by Snowden to the Guardian, Skype was served with a directive to comply with an NSA surveillance request signed by US Attorney General Eric Holder in February 2011. Several days later, the NSA had successfully monitored its first Skype transmission.

Skype, founded in Estonia in 2003 and now headquartered in Luxembourg, is facing a public backlash in the wake of the Prism disclosures.

“The only people who lose are users,” Eric King, head of research at human rights group Privacy International, said in comments to the Guardian. “Skype promoted itself as a fantastic tool for secure communications around the world, but quickly caved to government pressure and can no longer be trusted to protect user privacy.”

October 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Luxembourg NSA dragnet hauls in Skype for investigation – report

US evokes ghost of Hitler as PR campaign against Assad goes crazy

By Robert Bridge | RT | September 03, 2013 

The shock and awe that has greeted President Obama’s decision to get congressional consent to wage war in Syria underscores the problem with US foreign policy, not to mention our mainstream media machine.

Americans somehow think it is standard operating procedure for the Commander-in-Chief to bypass a quaint little place called Congress (Population 535) along the road to war. Perhaps this way of thinking is due to the general atmosphere of fear and loathing now gripping the crotch of the Heartland like a TSA officer. Or maybe it’s just that we’ve been conditioned to believe the president has the right to enjoy dictatorial powers. Whatever the case, the situation demands some consideration.

Up until Friday, it looked all but certain that Barack Obama, America’s Nobel-nominated president, would order yet another military strike on a foreign country without congressional approval (Libya was the first). The Democratic leader’s designs for a “limited” strike on Syria, however, were quickly dashed when British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a historic defeat, as the House of Commons denied him permission to jump on the military bandwagon heading for Syria.

This was the first time since 1782 that the British parliament refused a government request to enter a war. Could it be that British intelligence knew something the Americans did not, like perhaps the truth? After all, Cameron himself admitted that the UK intelligence was not 100 percent certain that the Assad government was responsible for the chemical attack.

Whatever the case, with Washington’s foremost ally suddenly missing in action, Obama had nothing but respect for the US Constitution, which clearly states, Article 1, Section 8, “Congress shall have power…to declare war.”

Thanks to the broadside delivered to Washington by the bumpy car of the British parliament, the American people got a fleeting, jolting reminder of their candidate on the early campaign trail, those bygone days of yesteryear when hope hung like dew on the American prairie and the sweet aroma of change dispelled the noxious vapors of George W. Bush’s fighter jets.

I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that’s why I’ve made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama said Saturday from the Rose Garden.

After the initial shock of those incredible words was fully digested, and the dogs of war were yanked snarling and slobbering back in the house, the PR campaign against the Syrian regime went haywire. The US mainstream media was clearly knocked off its stride, set as it was for an imminent war.

Consider this opening paragraph in Monday’s issue of The Wall Street Journal.

President Obama’s Syrian melodrama went from bad to worse on Saturday with his surprise decision to seek Congressional approval for what he promises will be merely a limited cruise-missile bombing. Mr. Obama will now have someone else to blame if Congress blocks his mission, but in the bargain he has put at risk his credibility and America’s standing in the world with more than 40 months left in office.”

America’s leading business paper somehow believes that seeking congressional approval for war will “risk his credibility and America’s standing in the world.” Indeed, considering America’s basement rankings in the world, seeking such approval as mandated by international law could only have the opposite effect.

And what is one to make of Obama’s (money-back?) guarantee of a “narrow and limited” cruise missile attack on Syria; a Lawrence-esque back-before-dinner jaunt that won’t leave the same kind of trillion-dollar aftertaste that the eight-year Iraq War did? After all, it will only take the firing of a single Syrian missile at a US naval vessel for Obama’s weekend fling to transmogrify into World War III.

The editorial then entered hand-wringing, hysteria mode, trembling at the thought that a single square-mile of real estate in a corner of the empire has not been stamped with the imprint of a US Army boot.

A defeat in Congress would signal to Bashar Assad and the world’s other thugs that the US has retired as the enforcer of any kind of world order… Unlike the British in 1956, the US can’t retreat from east of Suez without grave consequences. The US replaced the British, but there is no one to replace America.”

With some 900 US military bases now straddling a disproportionate amount of the globe, it will take a lot more Congress voting to take a pass on a military scuffle in a Syrian civil war for the US war machine to suddenly go wobbly. Yes, the Obama administration will have to swallow a big slab of humble pie if Congress doesn’t vote in favor of war, but the long-term consequences in the event of such a decision on American power should not be exaggerated.

But exaggerating the consequences is exactly what America does best. Just one day after Obama had his faith miraculously restored in the battered US Constitution, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that a little birdie informed him that sarin nerve gas was used in the Damascus attack. This revelation allowed Kerry to pull out the most-effective ploy in the PR bag of tricks: the noxious Nazi analogy.

“Bashar al-Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein who have used these weapons in time of war,” Kerry told NBC’s Face the Nation. Kerry called the attack an “affront against the decency and sensibilities of the world.”

“In the last 24 hours, we have learned through samples that were provided to the United States that have now been tested from first responders in east Damascus, and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin,” he continued.

So now, when US Congressmen return from their summer break on September 9, you can guarantee their email boxes will be littered with messages from special interest groups imploring them to support military action against the “world’s next Hitler.”

“This is squarely now in the hands of Congress,” Kerry told CNN, saying he had confidence “they will do what is right because they understand the stakes.”

Meanwhile, the calm voice of reason against a senseless war in Syria has been thrown under the bus.

Ron Paul was branded a “conspiracy theorist” by Salon for suggesting that the Syrian chemical attack was a false flag operation designed to get America into another Middle East war.

Paul pointed to the false intelligence that led to the Iraq War to back up his statement.

“[Syrian President Bashar] Assad, I don’t think is an idiot. I don’t think he would do this on purpose,” Paul told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on the allegation that Assad used chemical weapons on civilians.

Just look at how many lies were told us about Saddam Hussein prior to that (Iraq War) build up. More propaganda. It happens all the time,” Paul said. “I think it’s a false flag.”Full article

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

IRS gets help from DEA and NSA to collect data

By Robert Bridge | RT | August 8, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service reportedly received incriminating information on US citizens from the Drug Enforcement Agency, with the assistance of the National Security Agency, before concealing the paper trail from defendants.

Details of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) program that provides tips to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and then advises them to “recreate the investigative trail” were published in a manual used by IRS agents for two years, Reuters revealed.

The practice of concealing the source of information has attracted the scrutiny of legal experts and is now under review by the US Justice Department.

A brief entry in the Internal Revenue Manual instructed agents of the US tax agency to omit any reference to information provided by the DEA’s Special Operations Division, especially with regard to “affidavits, court proceedings or investigative files.”

The entry was published and posted online in 2005 and 2006, and removed in early 2007.  An IRS spokesman had no comment on the entry or on why it was removed from the manual, Reuters reported.

The IRS publication provides some further detail on the parallel construction concept.

“Special Operations Division has the ability to collect, collate, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate information and intelligence derived from worldwide multi-agency sources, including classified projects,” the IRS manual says. “SOD converts extremely sensitive information into usable leads and tips which are then passed to the field offices for real-time enforcement activity against major international drug trafficking organizations.”

According to the document, IRS agents are directed to use the intelligence as a starting point for unearthing new, “independent” evidence: “Usable information regarding these leads must be developed from such independent sources as investigative files, subscriber and toll requests, physical surveillance, wire intercepts, and confidential source information. Information obtained from SOD in response to a search or query request cannot be used directly in any investigation (i.e. cannot be used in affidavits, court proceedings or maintained in investigative files).”

In addition to the IRS, the Special Operations Division cooperates with a number of government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

The way the intelligence-gathering system worked is as follows: The Special Operations Division of the DEA channels secret data from overseas NSA intercepts, domestic wiretaps, informants and a large DEA database of telephone records to authorities nationwide to assist them with criminal investigations of US citizens, according to the Reuters report.

The DEA telephone database is different from the NSA database that was revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is now living in Russia under asylum.

The DEA, which works behind the scenes to investigate drug dealers, money launderers and other criminals, argues that the practice does not violate the law and has been in “near-daily use since the 1990s.” The agency said the reason it directs federal agents to recreate the investigation trail is to “protect sources and methods, not to withhold evidence.”

Judicial hurdles ahead

Legal experts, however, say that concealing potential evidence from defendants violates the US Constitution. According to documents and interviews obtained by Reuters, federal agents use a procedure called “parallel construction” to conceal the tracks of the investigative trail. For example, agents could say that an investigation was launched due to a traffic violation as opposed to an SOD tip.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers expressed concern with the parallel construction program.

“If they’re recreating a trail, that’s wrong and we’re going to have to do something about it,” Rogers, a former FBI agent, said on the Mike Huckabee Show radio program. “We’re working with the DEA and intelligence organizations to try to find out exactly what that story is.”

Spokespeople for the DEA and the Department of Justice declined to comment.

Sen. Rand Paul, a member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said he was troubled that DEA agents have been “trying to cover up a program that investigates Americans.”

“If the Constitution still has any sway, a government that is constantly overreaching on security while completely neglecting liberty is in grave violation of our founding doctrine,” Paul added

The NSA database contains data about every telephone call made inside of the United States. This information, according to a NSA official, as quoted by Reuters, “is not used for domestic criminal law enforcement.”

The DEA database, or DICE for short, consists largely of phone log and internet data gathered legally by the DEA through “subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide.” DICE has on file “about 1 billion records,” which are stored for about one year before being destroyed, DEA officials said.

August 8, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on IRS gets help from DEA and NSA to collect data

Germany slams US for ‘Stasi methods’ ahead of Obama visit

RT | June 12, 2013

Germans are expressing outrage as details of a US internet spy program – revealed by a former CIA employee-turned-whistleblower – are prompting comparisons with that of former communist East Germany’s Ministry for State Security.

Unfortunately for Obama’s upcoming trip to Berlin, it was revealed that Germany ranks as the most-spied-on EU country by the US, a map of secret surveillance activities by the National Security Agency (NSA) shows.

German ministers are expressing their outrage over America’s sweeping intelligence-gathering leviathan, with one parliamentarian comparing US spying methods to that of the communist East Germany’s much-dreaded Ministry for State Security (Stasi).

Washington is using “American-style Stasi methods,” said Markus Ferber, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian sister party and member of the European Parliament.

“I thought this era had ended when the DDR fell,” he said, using the German acronym for the disposed German Democratic Republic.

Clearly, enthusiasm for the American leader’s upcoming visit will be much more tempered than it was in 2008 when 200,000 people packed around the Victory Column in central Berlin to hear Obama speak of a world that would be dramatically different from that of his hawkish Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.

Merkel will question Obama about the NSA program when he visits in Berlin on June 18, government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters on Monday. Some political analysts fear the issue will dampen a visit that was intended to commemorate US-German relations on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.

Bush excesses, Obama digresses

One year into his second term, Barack Obama seems powerless to roll back the military and security apparatus bolted down by the Bush administration in the ‘War on Terror.’

One consequence of this failure of the Obama administration to reign in Bush-era excesses emerged last week when former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden, 29, blew the whistle on a top-secret intelligence system named Prism, which collects data on individuals directly from the servers of the largest US telecommunications companies.

According to documents leaked to the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers, PRISM gave US intelligence agencies access to emails, internet chats and photographs from companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Verizon and Skype.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said leaked reports that US intelligence services are able to track virtually all forms of Internet communication demanded an explanation.

“The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is,” she wrote in a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on Tuesday. “The suspicion of excessive surveillance of communication is so alarming that it cannot be ignored. For that reason, openness and clarification by the US administration itself is paramount at this point.”

All of the facts must be put on the table, the minister added.

Obama has defended the intelligence-gathering system as a “modest encroachment” that Americans should be willing to accept on behalf of security.

“You can’t have 100 per cent security and also then have 100 per cent privacy and zero inconvenience,” he said. “We’re going to have to make some choices as a society. There are trade-offs involved.”

The United States, however, is not legally restricted from eavesdropping on the communications of foreigners, meaning in theory that Washington could be listening to and collecting the private communications of individuals anywhere in the world.

Peter Schaar, Germany’s federal data protection commissioner, said the leaked intelligence was grounds for “massive concern” in Europe.

“The problem is that we Europeans are not protected from what appears to be a very comprehensive surveillance program,” he told the Handelsblatt newspaper. “Neither European nor German rules apply here, and American laws only protect Americans.”

Meanwhile, German opposition parties hope to gain from the scandal, especially with parliamentary elections approaching in September, and Merkel looking to win a third term.

“This looks to me like it could become one of the biggest data privacy scandals ever,” Greens leader Renate Kuenast told Reuters.

Obama is scheduled to hold talks and a news conference with Merkel on Wednesday followed by a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate, the 18th triumphal arch that is one of Germany’s most recognizable landmarks.

June 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Germany slams US for ‘Stasi methods’ ahead of Obama visit