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TBR News July 30, 2018

Jul 30 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. July 30, 2018: “The Israelis and the Saudis are pushing, very hard, on Trump to launch a bombing attack on Tehran to destroy any capability Iran might have to make atomic weaponry. The Saudis hate the Iranians because the former are Sunni Moslems and the latter are Shiite. The two factions hate each other. The Israelis feel it is permissible, even laudatory, to attack unarmed and defenseless Moslems on the assumption they cannot retaliate. What none of them know is that a branch of American intelligence has bugged the Israeli Embassy in Washington, as well as their front business entities and various apartments they consider safe houses, and that everything said, sent and received is being read or listened to on a daily basis. The Iranians are fully aware of the threats and their planned counter-attacks are entertaining to hear about. If a burglar breaks into a man’s house to steal what he can find and the owner shoots him in the leg, the burglar wails and screams that he was attacked. This has always been the Israeli plaint. Let America do out fighting for us is their plan and perhaps Fat Donald the Groper will go along with it. If this happens, according to a Russian source, the Iranians have a very nasty riposte already in place. What sort of a counter this is remains unknown, at least to some, but to others, the contemplation is entertaining. The best advice to give in this matter is if any attacks are made on Iran,one should not plan to visit the Nation’s capitol.”

 The Table of Contents

  • Is Trump planning to strike Iran next month? Here’s what you need to know
  • Trump’s Iraq: Why the President Wants War with Iran
  • Donald Trump could be ready to order a strike against Iran, Australian Government figures say
  • Vladimir Putin marks Russia’s Navy Day, reveals plans for 26 new ships
  • Secrecy News
  • Conversations with the Crow
  • A New Broadband Network Is Pitching Surveillance Enhancements to Cops Across the Country

 

 

Is Trump planning to strike Iran next month? Here’s what you need to know

July 30, 2018

by Darius Shahtahmasebi

RT

A recent report claims the American President is looking to bomb Iran in yet another violent act of international aggression by the US.

At the end of last week, a bombshell report released by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) claimed that the Trump administration is readying to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities as early as next month, further claiming that Australia may assist in identifying possible targets. The report cited senior figures within the Australian government, Australia being one of the key players in the so-called Five Eyes intelligence alliance which also includes the UK, Canada and New Zealand.

The report followed an infamous, all-caps tweet from Trump himself, in which he threatened Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that he will “suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

Never mind that just the act of publishing this tweet alone is a clear violation of Articles 2(3) and (4) of the UN Charter, particularly the part that reads “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”, but the fact that the mainstream media decided not to hold these dangerous actions to account is concerning (though not surprising).

The report also followed US Defence Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier that same week in California for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation (AUSMIN) talks.

Since the report’s release, Mattis openly denied the veracity of the story and its contents, describing it as “fiction.”

“I have no idea where the Australian news people got that information,” Mattis told reporters while being quizzed on the report. “I’m confident it is not something that’s being considered right now, and I think it’s a complete — frankly, it’s — it’s fiction.”

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also dismissed the report, saying that he had “no reason” to believe that an attack was imminent, further calling the report “speculation.”

Even Trump has repositioned his verbal attack on Iran, stating to a convention in Kansas City that “I withdrew the United States from the horrible one-sided Iran nuclear deal, and Iran is not the same country anymore…We’re ready to make a deal.”

So is the report a fabrication? Is it speculation, based on the ill-informed word of anonymous senior government officials? Or is it another stunt taken right out of Trump’s newly released playbook on how to deal with adversarial states?

Bear in mind that reports also previously emerged claiming that the Trump administration had been weighing up a limited strike plan on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), all the while Trump’s Twitter feed was engaged in a war of its own with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following which no such strike ever eventuated. Not long after, the Trump administration and the North Korean leadership then agreed to begin a route on a diplomatic pathway, to which much credit was given to Donald Trump himself. Starting to sound a bit familiar?

Either way, we don’t know at this stage what to expect tomorrow, let alone next week or next month. With someone like Donald Trump at the helm, all bets are off the table. Even if we should expect a strike to be imminent, it seems there is little that can be done to prevent the attack before it is launched as the rest of us simpletons sit and wonder how beautiful that chocolate cake really is.

So let’s talk about what we do know instead.

We know that Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the Iranian nuclear accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May of this year. We know that in doing so, he warned all countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November 4, this year, reimplementing the sanctions that the JCPOA was supposed to have lifted off Iran’s shoulders. We know that there is little Europe can do to bypass these sanctions to maintain its economic relationship with Tehran, even if it tried.

We also know that in response to these looming sanctions, Tehran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which 30 to 35 percent of the world’s maritime oil trade passes. We know that Iran is technically within its right to do so, and considering even a partial closure would be enough to rattle the global financial markets this threat should not be taken lightly, especially as desperation appears to plague Iran’s economic situation. Aside from developing its own cryptocurrency, there is little hope for Iran to bypass Washington’s economic warfare without threatening the US or its allies in the process.

According to CNN, the US is now considering the military options available to them to keep these vital waterways open, most likely using its proxy forces to do its bidding on its behalf, such as Saudi forces. Even Iran’s ally, China, has essentially warned against Iran’s pending closure of the passage, even as it has carried out joint naval exercises near the Strait with Iran in the past.

We also know that Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri has warned that Washington’s economic offensive is only a prelude to the real goal of the Trump administration, being a military attack.

We know that a military attack is most likely on the table in some way, shape or form, as Donald Trump appointed infamous mad man John Bolton as his national security advisor, who promised a regime change would take place in Iran by the end of this year. This is the same mad man that wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”

We also know that the US is planning to revive the so-called “Arab NATO” in an effort to directly confront Iran, with the White House openly confirming that it has been devising the concept of the alliance with its “regional partners now and have been for several months.” Currently known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), its entire purpose appears to act as a buffer against “Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism,” according to a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council.

That’s right – Iran, currently bombing or invading no one, as well as being one of the most heavily engaged entities defeating terror groups such as ISIS, is somehow the source of aggression, terrorism, and extremism in the Middle East region which actively needs confronting.

Tying these developments together is an incident that took place relatively quietly last Thursday, which saw a huge tanker with a shipment of oil from Saudi Arabia bound for Egypt damaged by a missile attack from the northern Bab el-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea which was launched by Yemen’s Houthi. Western media, in tandem with Saudi and Israeli media, have labelled the Houthi as an Iranian proxy. However, as I have pointed out consistently over the years, there is actually very little concrete proof of any extensive Iranian involvement in Yemen despite this relentless propaganda. Regardless, it should be clear where this rhetoric is headed in the long run.

We know that if the US cannot get to Iran directly, it has devised a plan to scale back its influence throughout the Middle East. We know that the US has taken over one-third of Syria, including some of its most strategic areas, as a means of countering Iran’s expansion in the region. We also know that this has been the goal all along underpinning Washington’s involvement in the country, under the disingenuous guise of fighting ISIS. According to CENTCOM commander U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the US military base in al-Tanf, Syria, provides opportunities for the US to indirectly influence Iranian activity “by the pursuit of our ongoing operations.”

How long, exactly, will America’s illegal operations in Syria run for, and to what extent will the US seek to disrupt Iran inside Syria?

We also know that commander of the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who also retorted against Trump’s anti-Iranian rhetoric, has the US worried that Iran may deploy Shi’ite militias to Iraq to strike US troops stationed there. Just to paint a picture of the headache that Soleimani poses to the US, one should note that he has reportedly been designated as a legitimate target for assassination by the US and Israel for some time now.

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, we know that the recent BRICS Summit, an economic thorn penetrating the backside of Washington’s warmongering foreign policy, also has its sights set on including Iran as an essential ally somewhere down the line. As far as the BRICS nations are concerned, an attack on Iran would most likely constitute an attack on the future of everything BRICS is trying to achieve.

In this context, Iran may have some familiar allies even as it is forced to withstand an unprecedented set of aggressive measures from the US and its lackeys. Either way you analyse this warpath we are on, the resulting scenarios are potentially catastrophic and far-reaching indeed.

A war with Iran might sound far-fetched and may indeed lead to some unfathomable consequences, but the groundwork for such a confrontation is being laid right before our very eyes and the corporate media is almost all but completely silent. Whether or not a missile strike on Iran is looming on the horizon, Washington’s war with Iran has already begun in more ways than one, and appears to be set to escalate until the US can achieve the collapse of the Iranian regime through direct or indirect means.

 

Trump’s Iraq: Why the President Wants War with Iran

Trump’s Twitter tirade is dolled up interventionism, as his words spark continue to spark further tensions between the United States and Iran.

July 24, 2018

by Spencer Kellogg

TheNewTreasury

“I open up my wallet and it’s full of blood.” – Godspeed You! Black Emperor

On Sunday morning, following a speech by Iranian President Rouhani that threatened the United States with ‘the mother of all wars,” President Trump rattled off an incendiary verbal warning against the Iranian State via Twitter. In a message that was written in all caps for the world to see, the President demanded that Iran “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES.”

This gaudy show of juvenile bullymanship is only the latest in a string of petty and dogged counter-intellectualism that has come to characterize a President who practically embodies “If it bleeds, it leads.” On the topic of American interventionism and a global democracy, Trump’s watery stance has seen him use Bush’s failure in Iraq as a campaign placard while also quietly stroking the dogs of war in response to Iraq’s wealthy and theocratic neighbors to the East. Trump’s blatant messages of unabashed aggression are similar in tone to those of every American President’s position (outside of Obama) when addressing Iran since the fall of the Shah. It brings a consistent and malignantly manufactured campaign of fear and mistrust with Iran that is striking in its uniformity of allegiance from both political ruling classes over the past century.

Americans were quick to lambast and mock the President by editing the tweet to include lyrics to their favorite pop songs. The flippant response from users is telling in its suggestion of two disconcerting truths: first, that the American people don’t take a word Mr. Trump has to say seriously, and more importantly, that they don’t believe they have a real and honest voice in the endless, bloody, transnational pursuit for ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’ that has symbolized and consistently dotted American foreign policy throughout their lifetimes. The sad poetry of the anti-imperialistic American politico is written in the meme markets of absurdity and anger.

Of course, much of the discussion regarding Iran is actually, at its core, an uninterrupted debate about Israel. Though we boast about a ‘special relationship’ with The United Kingdom, it is our ‘open secret relationship’ with Israel that has informed so many missteps in the region. Relations between The United States and Israel have only strengthened under Trump’s presidency as he moved the American embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Many see this action as a symbolic gesture of the unyielding political, ideological and military support for the Zionist state that has often sparred with Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to be pleased with the tweet and called the President’s stance on the ongoing geopolitical unrest “strong.” As long as The United States has a financial and military obligation to Israel, these sorts of complex foreign entanglements will never cease. The complexities of the Iran-Israel relations in no way, shape, or form have any resonance with the fundamental ideas of an American republic and the simple aspirations of common Americans for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In their beds at night and in the fields of Idaho where wheat grows, Americans do not worry about Israel, Iran, or whichever cold war proxy that is drummed up next on the list. These decent people know inherently that it is the elite showmen of the political and media class that demand we place our foreign policy of death and imperialism before the domestic interests of food and family. They know it is rarely the neocolonialist class that is called upon to suffer the toils. It won’t be the President or Congressman’s children who end up dead on the battlefields across the sea.

The major tension between The United States and Iran dates back to the 1950’s when democratically elected President Mohammed Mossadegh nationalized all oil industries of Iran. Mossadegh advocated for secular democracy, demanded sovereignty from the British empire and was a champion of his people. It was the CIA, an unelected body, that overthrew the democracy of Iran in 1953 for their own slighted interests. They installed Reza Pahlavi as Shah against the wishes of the free people of Iran. And the American taxpayer, under the guise of democracy, funded the tyranny of Iran for oil resources through 1979 and the fall of the Shah.

With the triumphs of WWI and WWII at our backs, The New American Empire had taken its unrightful and post-philosophical seat as the ultimate arbitrator of good and peace throughout the free world. The ingrained policy of overextended foreign interventionism has yet to change much in the decades that have followed. Whether Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, or Palestine. “If it bleeds, it leads.”

The list goes on and the names begin to blur. The list grows, the enemies broaden and the financiers get richer. The pitiful truth of our misadventures in the post-classic wars is that they have never been about the intellectual triumphs of our miraculously free society or the merits of our material and philosophical splendor. They have gone against every bold aspiration of peace that lays face up for all to see in our first and bravest documents.

So let us be clear: the good people of the United States have no interest in war with Iran. That 60% of ‘independents’ who have given up on the political process are so disenfranchised by the ballot and the screen that they have given up on an idea without wartime. The American public has no interest in war with Syria, or Libya, or Afghanistan, or Russia, or Iraq. We want to be done with all of them. When the American people see Donald Trump tweeting about Iran, they wonder what stake any of us have in the businesses of people more than 8,000 miles from our shores?

They can’t remember Iran ever attacking an American city (because they haven’t.) They couldn’t name Rouhani if you offered them up a million dollars. When has it ever been our duty to be so pathologically involved and mindlessly uninformed as we are in 2018? Is this about nuclear weapons? If it is, how can we be in any position to lecture? Americans see through the blatant hypocrisy of our demands for a neutered Iranian nuclear program when our country currently holds almost half of the nuclear weaponry in existence. Whether Americans are left or right, they all want a few simple things. They want their family, their food, their property and to be left alone.

This brand of conservative isolationism is not rooted in ‘false comfort’ as George Bush warned during his 2006 State of the Union Address. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted during the Second Iraq War, 42 percent of Americans agreed that the U.S. “should mind its own business internationally.” Furthermore, the study found that a staggering 84 percent of Americans preferred “protecting jobs of American workers” to only 24 percent who supported “promoting democracy in other nations.” It wasn’t that George Washington and the founders of our country were cold to the world. It was simply that they understood that bringing justice and peace outside our borders was a fool’s errand with a bottomless pit of unsolvable morality. Washington realized what the scale and scope of global policing meant in its over-extension of resources and personnel.

In his Farewell Speech to the country, President Washington warned of foreign entanglements. Madison, an ideological minarchist, was noted for his belief that the country should possess no standing army unless attacked. When Bush led the makeup war for his father’s disastrous missteps, the President called in over 400,000 reserve troops to fight and die on warm Arabian sands in the name of peace and freedom. Today, the utter size of the United States military is such that there is no going back. The brokers and dealers of blood and tyranny are too entrenched. There will be forever an enemy and Iran is just the latest in a string of foregone conclusions.

The president’s call to action, his drab demand, and fettered foolishness are not representative of Americans I know. They have always wanted, above all, peace. Harmonic, egalitarian, tolerant, loving, peaceful, they seek meaning in their lives. The great lie about contemporary America is this: for all of our terrible, marauding, unjust, vicious, serpentine, blood wars, it is not the people of this country who organize and instruct the death machine. It is not the people who cheer for the denigration of ancient art and the dehumanization of civilized peoples behind the callous drumbeat of ”freedom.’ Wars and more wars. Death and taxes. The ghoulish carousel of private interests and public lies that the American public is made to shoulder. New enemies and faces that never end. Don’t blink, you might miss the next war.

 

Donald Trump could be ready to order a strike against Iran, Australian Government figures say

July 30, 2018

by Andrew Probyn and Andrew Greene

July 30, 2018

ABC News

Senior figures in the Turnbull Government have told the ABC they believe the United States is prepared to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, perhaps as early as next month, and that Australia is poised to help identify possible targets.

It comes amid intense sabre-rattling by US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

The ABC has been told Australian defence facilities would likely play a role in identifying targets in Iran, as would British intelligence agencies.

But a senior security source emphasised there was a big difference between providing accurate intelligence and analysis on Iran’s facilities and being part of a “kinetic” mission.

“Developing a picture is very different to actually participating in a strike,” the source said.

“Providing intelligence and understanding as to what is happening on the ground so that the Government and allied governments are fully informed to make decisions is different to active targeting.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said this morning he had no reason to believe the US was preparing for a military confrontation.

“President Trump has made his views very clear to the whole world, but this story … has not benefited from any consultation with me, the Foreign Minister, the Defence Minister or the Chief of the Defence Force,” he said.

The top-secret Pine Gap joint defence facility in the Northern Territory is considered crucial among the so-called “Five Eyes” intelligence partners — the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand — for its role in directing American spy satellites.

Analysts from the little-known spy agency Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation would also be expected to play a part.

Canada would be unlikely to play a role in any military action in Iran, nor would the smallest Five Eyes security partner New Zealand, sources said.

Iran is a signatory to international agreements such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty and is not known to currently possess any weapons of mass destruction, but Mr Rouhani has recently boasted his nation’s nuclear industry is advancing at a fast pace.

Last month Iran’s nuclear chief opened a new nuclear enrichment facility that he said would comply with the nuclear deal Tehran signed with world powers in 2015.

Any US-led strike on Iranian targets would be fraught for a region bristling with tensions. Israel would have reason to be anxious about retaliation, given Iran rejects Israel’s right to exist.

That said, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April invoked the so-called “Begin Doctrine” that calls on the Jewish state to ensure nations hostile to Israel be prevented from developing a nuclear weapons capability.

“Israel will not allow regimes that seek our annihilation to acquire nuclear weapons,” Mr Netanyahu said.

An Australian Government source said when it came to Iran, Australia relied on intelligence sourced from its Five Eyes partners, not Israel.

Government split on whether Trump’s tweets are real threats

While some in the Turnbull Government firmly believe Mr Trump is prepared to use military force against Iran, others maintain it might be more bluster, given the consequence of conflict with Tehran might include unpredictable, dangerous responses in the Middle East.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump fired off an all-caps tweet directed at the Iranian President, seemingly warning of war:

He was responding to Mr Rouhani, who was quoted telling Iranian diplomats: “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.

“Do not play with the lion’s tail or else you will regret it,” he said.

Mr Trump has since adjusted his rhetoric, suggesting Washington is ready to go back to the negotiating table with Tehran for a new nuclear deal.

“I withdrew the United States from the horrible one-sided Iran nuclear deal, and Iran is not the same country anymore,” he told a convention in Kansas City.

“We’re ready to make a deal.”

Grappling with whether Mr Trump’s Twitter missives should be believed has become a global quest — and not just his tweets about Iran or North Korea.

In response to the US President’s all-caps tweet on Monday, a high-ranking Iranian army official told the ISNA news agency, a Tehran Government mouthpiece, that Mr Trump’s threats were merely “psychological warfare”.

General Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, the chief of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer Basij force, said Mr Trump “won’t dare” take military action against Iran.

It was an assessment echoed by Iranian MP Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, who told Associated Press he doubted the escalating rhetoric would lead to a military confrontation.

Australia is urging Iran to be a force for peace: Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has emphasised diplomatic efforts to bring Iran to heel.

“Australia is urging Iran to be a force for peace and stability in the region,” she told ABC’s AM program on Thursday.

“The relationship between the United States and Iran is a matter for them.

“What we are looking to do is to ensure that all parties embrace peaceful and stable principles to ensure that our region is safe.”

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, when asked whether Mr Trump’s threats against Iran should be believed, said: “Certainly President Trump has indicated that he’s a person who’s prepared to act in a way that previous presidents haven’t.

“And for that reason, one should always take anything that he says extremely seriously.”

US Secretary of Defence James Mattis reinforced America’s hard line on Iran while speaking alongside Ms Bishop, Defence Minister Marise Payne and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at the AUSMIN meeting in San Francisco mid-week.

Mr Mattis said Iran had been a destabilising influence throughout the region.

“The only reason that the murderer Assad is still in power [in Syria] — the primary reason — is because Iran has stuck by him, reinforced him, funded him,” he said.

“We see the same kind of malfeasance down in Yemen, where they’re fomenting more violence down there. We’ve seen their disruptive capabilities demonstrated from Bahrain to the kingdom.

“And it’s time for Iran to shape up and show responsibility as a responsible nation.

“It cannot continue to show irresponsibility as some revolutionary organisation that is intent on exporting terrorism, exporting disruption across the region. So I think the President was making very clear that they’re on the wrong track.”

The ABC understands AUSMIN discussed Iran, largely in the context of increasing sanctions on Tehran.

“We’re concerned about its ballistic missile program and we talked about ways of constructively engaging with Iran to prevent the development of that program,” Ms Bishop told AM.

“But more specifically, we talked about urging Iran to not support proxy groups, whether it’s in Syria, Yemen or elsewhere.”

Mr Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in May and now seeks complete, verifiable and total denuclearisation, rather than the roll-back and temporary freeze of Iran’s nuclear program.

The US plans on reinstating sanctions lifted by the Iran deal by November 4. This includes trade and investment by US firms with Iran and sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

 

 

Vladimir Putin marks Russia’s Navy Day, reveals plans for 26 new ships

Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed a major boost to the navy’s fleet, some armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. In a show of strength, amid heightened tensions with the West, 26 new vessels will be deployed.

July 29, 2018

DW

The Russian Navy will receive 26 new warships and other vessels this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin told an audience in St. Petersburg on Sunday to mark Russian Navy Day.

“In total in 2018 the navy should get 26 new warships, motor boats and vessels including four battleships with Kalibr cruise missiles,” he revealed.

The Kalibr cruise missiles, which have been used during Moscow’s military intervention in the Syrian conflict, fly at extremely low altitude and bypass terrain relief. The trajectory helps break through adversary air defense.

Putin paid tribute to those working in Russia’s shipbuilding sector, whose hard work had led to “a good pace of re-equipment and upgrading” of the navy.

The Russian leader said eight new ships have already entered service, including four naval surface ships, a counter-terror boat and three logistics vessels.

Putin promised that the strengthening and upgrading of the Navy fleet would continue, the Tass news agency said.

Meanwhile, Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev, commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, said six new vessels including missile ships would be inducted by the end of the year, according to the Interfax news agency.

Putin reviewed a major annual naval display on the Neva River in St. Petersburg with 39 warships carrying out maneuvers.

He told the 4,000 servicemen taking part that the navy “is making a weighty contribution to the fight with international terrorism.”

In Syria, Russia’s military base of Tartus also marked the Navy Day celebrations with a parade, involving five ships and the Kolpino diesel submarine, the defense ministry said on Facebook.

Tensions between Russia and the West have risen dramatically in recent years after Washington and Moscow found themselves on opposing sides in the seven-year-old Syrian conflict.

Russia’s backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine and its annexing of Crimea in 2014 tipped relations with the US, EU and NATO to their worst since the Cold War.

Both sides have since accused each other of “risky deployments” in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, after an increase in military maneuvers.

Secrecy News

From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2018, Issue No. 49

July 30, 2018

US SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA, AND MORE FROM CRS

The United States has imposed sanctions on Russia in recent years “for aggression against Ukraine, election interference, malicious cyber activity, human rights violations, weapons proliferation,” and other causes. The range of sanctions was surveyed in a new Congressional Research Service publication.

The sanctions include “blocking U.S.-based assets; prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in transactions related to those assets; prohibiting certain, and in some cases all, U.S. transactions; and denying entry into the United States,” as well as various export control restrictions. See Overview of U.S. Sanctions Regimes on Russia, CRS In Focus, July 26, 2018.

The impact of the punitive sanctions on Russia policy is uncertain. There is no indication that US sanctions were discussed at the recent Helsinki meeting between Trump and Putin, CRS said.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

NAFTA Renegotiation and Modernization, updated July 26, 2018

Momentum Toward Peace Talks in Afghanistan?, CRS Insight, July 24, 2018

The European Union and China, CRS In Focus, July 26, 2018

Australia and New Zealand React to China’s Growing Influence in the South Pacific, CRS Insight, July 26, 2018

Zimbabwe: Forthcoming Elections, CRS In Focus, July 26, 2018

Federal Prize Competitions, July 25, 2018

What Happens If the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Lapses?, CRS Insight, July 24, 2018

History of Use of U.S. Military Bases to House Immigrants and Refugees, CRS Insight, July 26, 2018

The Essential Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh Reader: What Cases Should You Read?, CRS Legal Sidebar, July 25, 2018

BANG THE DRUM QUICKLY: ARMY PERCUSSION

The use of percussion instruments in military bands is exhaustively explored in a new publication from the U.S. Army.

“While a civilian percussionist may specialize on one particular percussion instrument, the Army requires a percussionist to be responsible for over 50 percussion instruments” including bongos and cowbells.

A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound when it is struck or shaken.

See Percussion Techniques, Training Circular TC 1-19.30, Department of the Army, July 25, 2018.

“Percussion in military bands derives from the European tradition, with the British having greatest influence,” the Army document notes. “The drum was used as a signaling device from the inception of the American colonies through the Civil War, where it gave way to the bugle. Wind bands prospered during the Civil War, and the wind band was the most accessible means of presenting music to the masses for bolstering morale and esprit de corps. Modern military bands provide music for troop ceremonies, formal military occasions and patriotic gatherings. Bands also provide music for recruiting and community-relations events.”

“Percussion is an important part of the military music structure and composition.”

 

Conversations with the Crow

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy.

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired.

Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks.”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

One of Crowley’s first major assignments within the agency was to assist in the recruitment and management of prominent World War II Nazis, especially those with advanced intelligence experience. One of the CIA’s major recruitment coups was Heinrich Müller, once head of Hitler’s Gestapo who had fled to Switzerland after the collapse of the Third Reich and worked as an anti-Communist expert for Masson of Swiss counterintelligence. Müller was initially hired by Colonel James Critchfield of the CIA, who was running the Gehlen Organization out of Pullach in southern Germany. Crowley eventually came to despise Critchfield but the colonel was totally unaware of this, to his later dismay.

Crowley’s real expertise within the agency was the Soviet KGB. One of his main jobs throughout his career was acting as the agency liaison with corporations like ITT, which the CIA often used as fronts for moving large amounts of cash off their books. He was deeply involved in the efforts by the U.S. to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile, which eventually got him into legal problems with regard to investigations of the U.S. government’s grand jury where he has perjured himself in an agency cover-up

After his retirement, Crowley began to search for someone who might be able to write a competent history of his career. His first choice fell on British author John Costello (author of Ten Days to Destiny, The Pacific War and other works) but, discovering that Costello was a very aggressive homosexual, he dropped him and tentatively turned to Joseph Trento who had assisted Crowley and William Corson in writing a book on the KGB. When Crowley discovered that Trento had an ambiguous and probably cooperative relationship with the CIA, he began to distrust him and continued his search for an author.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.

In 1998, when Crowley was slated to go into the hospital for exploratory surgery, he had his son, Greg, ship two large foot lockers of documents to Douglas in Wisconsin with the caveat that they were not to be opened until after Crowley’s death. These documents, totaled an astonishing 15,000 pages of CIA classified files involving many covert operations, both foreign and domestic, during the Cold War.

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Müller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

He has.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

Conversation No. 5

Date:  Friday, March 22, 1996

Commenced:  8:15 AM CST

Concluded: 8:45 AM CST

RTC: Up early, aren’t you, Gregory?

GD: Actually, I haven’t been to bed yet, Robert. Been reading a really interesting paper someone sent me about the Clintons. Such lovely people. Of course, I can’t do anything with it but I will make Xerox copies and send them off. Costs money and no paper would dare to even ask questions. Such sleazy crooks, Robert. Roosevelt stole but he had some class after all.

RTC: Do you think they shot that Foster man?

GD: I have no idea. It was the convenient death of a man who knew far too much, Robert. Have you any comments?
RTC: Bill is utterly ruthless and his shrew of a wife is one step behind him. They would have ordered it, for certain, but one does not know.

GD: I saw the in situ pictures from the Virginia park police of the body. Poor Vince. His last act was to defy the law of gravity. He was lying in the park with his head pointing down a hillside but the dried blood all ran up. Isn’t that wonderful?

RTC: Some of those people are mindless, Gregory. But that doesn’t mean he was murdered. Someone might have dumped the stiff there to get him out of the White House.

GD: Well, false in one thing, false in all, as they used to say. Frau Clinton looks like a bimbo who could put kittens into a microwave and have a real laugh. She was tied up with the Black Panthers in Oakland some years ago. I have a California police report about that. A friend in Sacramento sent me a copy about a day before the FBI came and removed the original. Caught in the sack with a nice black lassie, she was. They went to Sacramento, the Panthers and the gun moll, and they sported guns there and terrified people. The late night motel raid was the result. Well, I could send that around too but we would never hear a word about it.

RTC: Our people had connections with Bill when he was the governor there. Used to bring drugs in from Mexico and land them downstate. Arkansas is about as backwards as Kenya these days and Bill had no problem sticking a bag full of cash in his sock drawer. Oh, well, if it weren’t for the crooked pol, none of us could make an honest buck.

GD: Ah, Robert, that’s just what the Indian hooker said when the bank teller told her one of her twenties was counterfeit.

RTC: Now that’s a good one, Gregory.

GD: I thought so, Robert. Oh how about the whore who, when told by another teller in another bank, that a hundred was fake, ‘My God, I’ve been raped!’

RTC: Fun and games so early in the day.

GD: Yes, I suppose so. When I’m working…doing research…I’m very quiet and very focused on my work but all of the nasty comments and so on are just a form of relief. I have known a few CIA people in my life but you are the first one with whom I can have a nice talk. The others like to think that their feces smell like lilacs in bloom. They ask much and give little.

RTC: I see your point but you don’t fully grasp the techniques. No one wants to talk with you, Gregory, because while they are interrogating you, you are interrogating them and, let me be very clear on this as Nixon would have said, you are way and above any of them and certainly their superior  in the interrogation business. If one of them makes the slightest slip, you pounce on the knowledge and he loses control. You have a phenomenal memory and the ability to use it in a very abstract and very deadly manner. You know this, naturally, but always complain that people behave like swine around you. I agree they do. Kimmel is an example of this. Actually, they are afraid of you, Gregory, really afraid. I don’t mean that you’ll pull a knife or gun and do them but they cannot control you and when they cannot control a person or a situation, they panic. They live by rule books and you do not. May I ask you a question here?

GD: Surely.

RTC: Do you work for anyone?

GD: Like the Germans or the Russians? Or the Chinese? No, I work for myself. I hate working for other people who only want you to support the views of their superiors. If they want this or that to be a certain way and I see very clearly that they are wrong, I have to be silent or become a toady. For example, Gehlen told me that in ’48, the Army…he worked for them just before your people took him over…Critchfield that is…Gehlen told me that the Army wanted him to prepare a paper showing that the Russians were going to attack Western Europe. Gehlen said this was impossible. He said the Russians had torn up all the railroad lines in their Zone and sent the rails back to Russia. Obviously, they could not rush troops to the border except on bicycles or mules. And of the 135 Russian armored units technically…note that I said technically…stationed in their Zone, almost all of them were just cadre with perhaps ten officers and men and no armored units. No, our people needed a dangerous enemy against whom to arm. Revisiting the business heyday of the war was the right idea but, of course, without real dangers. We knew the Russians were not going to attack but the report, lies that it contained, was deliberately leaked by the Army to Congress and others. Hey presto! A Cold War starts. We had to rearm and stop the reduction of our Army. Oh yes, the Generals did not want to lose their cushy jobs and the American industrial people were cooing with delight over all the contracts for aircraft, bombs, rifles, tanks and battleships that they all knew would never be used. No, that was all a deliberate sham and designed to make the elite people richer. Of course the film industry and the media cranked out horror stories about the evil Stalin’s plans to attack us. Christ, they were terrified we would nuke Moscow like we nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I can see the first attack but the second was not needed. The Japanese immediately indicated they would surrender but the military wanted to try out another bomb with a different approach. Just for fun as it were.

RTC: Well, and here we are, Gregory. Reagan played high stakes poker with the Russians and made them fold their hand. We beat them. No war, no destruction, was there?

GD: No there was not but what do we do now? Our greedy businessmen now try to loot Russia and strip her of her natural resources. We could try to make an ally of her, why not? No one needs an enemy.

RTC: Too many people in power remember the propaganda of the Cold War, Gregory and their mind sets are so strong that logic would scarcely move them.

GD: It’s too bad I am not in control. Can you see that, Robert?

RTC: You would be dead in a week, Gregory.

GD: Not if I got to them first.

RTC: Well, what would you do?

GD: Divide and conquer and the ones who wanted a turf war, would quickly end up under it. My main crime is a faint conscience. You can’t be moral when dealing with dung-munchers.

 

(Concluded at 8:45AM CST)

 

 

A New Broadband Network Is Pitching Surveillance Enhancements to Cops Across the Country

July 29 2018

by Simon Davis-Cohen

The Intercept

The latest technologies promise cops the ability to whip out a smartphone, take a snapshot of a passerby, and instantly learn if that person is in an immigration or gang database.

A federal broadband program, designed after 9/11 to improve first responder communication during emergencies, will enhance this sort of capability and integrate it into an internet “super highway” built specifically for police and public safety. The program, called FirstNet, is already expanding the surveillance options available to law enforcement agencies across the country.

According to publicly available documents, as well as interviews with program participants, stakeholders, and government researchers, FirstNet will help agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection communicate with local police, deliver more information to officers’ hands, accelerate the nascent law enforcement app industry, and provide public safety agencies with new privileges and powers over AT&T’s commercial broadband network.

The program will also hasten these agencies’ migration from public radio frequencies to encrypted broadband networks, potentially eliminating one resource that local newsrooms and citizens have historically relied upon to monitor police and first responders.

FirstNet is a public-private partnership that creates a dedicated lane for public safety agencies within AT&T’s existing broadband network. As of January, all U.S. states had opted in to FirstNet, meaning that they agreed not to build their own competing broadband lanes for law enforcement and public safety. Then, in March, AT&T announced that FirstNet’s core — the infrastructure that isolates police traffic from the commercial network — had become operational at last.

“It’s like having a super highway that only public safety can use,” the company wrote in a press release.

Why FirstNet?

Part of FirstNet’s mission is to create a virtual space that allows any federal, state or local law enforcement or public safety agency to communicate seamlessly with any other. Therefore, convincing as many agencies as possible to sign up for the program is key to its success.

FirstNet recently pitched U.S. Customs and Border Protection to convince the agency to subscribe to the network. In a white paper, FirstNet claims its services will provide CBP access to “photographs, real-time audio/video feeds, and databases from other state, local, or Federal agencies … to aid in the identification and apprehension of terrorists, undocumented aliens, and smugglers.” These capabilities would be offered “in times of crisis or simply day-to-day operations.”

In the pitch, FirstNet also promises to help agents “connect to critical databases to identify whether detained persons have been previously apprehended for violating immigration law by quickly and efficiently collecting biographic (e.g., name, date of birth, place of birth) and biometric information (e.g., 10-print fingerprints, photo image), which are submitted remotely to said databases.” The document also promotes FirstNet’s support of other data-heavy technologies, such as live video streaming from drones.

AT&T and FirstNet did not respond to questions about whether CBP or any other federal agency has subscribed to the program. (A recent press release indicates that some federal agencies are currently using the system, but it does not name them.) CBP did not respond to requests for comment.

Local law enforcement officials are well-aware of the new capabilities that FirstNet is offering their departments. Domingo Herraiz, programs director at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is excited about the heightened access to federal data FirstNet promises. Herraiz told The Intercept that FirstNet will place information from fusion centers, which enable criminal intelligence-sharing between government agencies, at the fingertips of local officers. “You could have gang databases,” he said. “It’s not there [on officers’ phones] today, but it will be.”

A “Private Tunnel” for Law Enforcement and First Responders

The concept behind FirstNet — a broadband network dedicated to public safety — was inspired by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the so-called 9/11 Commission). Its 2004 report determined that streamlined communication between different agencies and jurisdictions could have saved lives in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The report blamed the use of separate radio frequencies by police and firefighters for the deaths of firefighters who didn’t get the message to evacuate before the north tower collapsed.

The government’s subsequent quest for improved public safety communication has led to the expansion of Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which integrate local, state, and federal anti-terrorism operations, as well as a network of 79 fusion centers. The idea to dedicate a nationwide, high-speed broadband network to law enforcement and public safety was another outgrowth of this effort. Congress acted on the proposal in 2012, when it created FirstNet as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. Rather than create a network that would be totally independent from commercial broadband, the legislation reallocated some broadband spectrum for “public safety” use and allowed service providers to bid on the contract for it.

In March 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce signed a contract with AT&T, creating a dedicated lane for FirstNet within AT&T’s existing broadband network. In the deal, the federal government gave AT&T free rights to 20 MHz of lucrative broadband spectrum, as well as $6.5 billion for FirstNet’s initial rollout. In return, the government got AT&T’s commitment to spending $40 billion over the next 25 years on network buildout and maintenance. Since 2013, the Department of Commerce has also awarded $116.5 million in funding to state Homeland Security agencies, offices of information technology, public safety agencies, and statewide communication boards to help implement and promote the network.

Scott Edson is the executive director of the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System, a fully independent public safety network built with some of the early funding for FirstNet. According to Edson, when local agencies subscribe to FirstNet, they will get “a special connection that looks just like a commercial carrier but [connects to] what’s called a dedicated core.” FirstNet is “a private tunnel within their AT&T network,” he explained.

FirstNet provides “priority” and “pre-emption” privileges that have long been desired by public safety agencies. “Priority” means faster access to broadband-based services. “You may have license plate readers that are scanning cars that are nearby and querying databases automatically,” explained Edson, who is also former chief of special operations at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “That’s all data that’s going to be prioritized to help us do our job.”

But priority is not always enough to guarantee a fast connection during an emergency or a large gathering like a parade, sporting event, or protest, when networks can get jammed. That’s where “pre-emption” comes in. Pre-emption allows public safety agencies or police to boot the general public off the network.

“At a time of crisis, yeah, you’re trying to call your mom and say you’re safe,” Herraiz from IACP told The Intercept. “But it’s more important that that network shut down every citizen, so it can be used solely for public safety purposes, so lives can be saved.”

Service Providers Compete for Public Safety Customers

Before FirstNet, the commercial broadband industry would not offer these public safety privileges on its networks. “They told us we would never have priority and pre-emption,” Edson told The Intercept. But if providers like Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile want to compete with FirstNet, they, too, will have to begin offering priority and pre-emption. (In January, Verizon announced that it would begin to phase in these features.)

Though all U.S. states have agreements with FirstNet, this doesn’t commit state or local agencies to subscribing to the service. Most agencies currently subscribe to Verizon, which announced its own dedicated “core” for public safety users in March. (In February, the company aired a Super Bowl ad suggesting that it intends to retain its market share with first responders.)

But subscriptions for FirstNet are picking up quickly. In June, AT&T announced that more than 1,000 agencies had signed up. The company also announced that over 5,300 of its retail stores would offer personal FirstNet subscriptions to “verified” police and first responders whose agencies don’t provide wireless plans. (Volunteer first responders are eligible for this offer as well.)

With Verizon mimicking FirstNet’s priority and pre-emption offerings, FirstNet is aggressively pursuing new frontiers in public safety technology and smartphone apps, which could make its service more competitive.

Indeed, FirstNet has its own “app store.” In a slide presentation it prepared for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials conference in August 2017, FirstNet touted its intention to “enable development of a growing portfolio of public safety apps.” These applications will incorporate facial recognition, real-time video, and other existing technologies, according to the presentation.

Millions of dollars of government research funding are underwriting this development. For example, the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology is funding research into real-time video analytics (including the automated recognition of faces, objects, and text), a “hyper-reality helmet for mapping and visualizing public safety data” in the field, and livestreaming and analytics for body-worn cameras, among other technologies.

According to Dereck Orr, chief of the Public Safety Communications Research Division at NIST, most of the research into these technologies will eventually be made public. However, he added, “we certainly bring [FirstNet] in to discuss creation and priorities of new processes, because we want to make sure that anything we do is going to be something that is impactful and useful to FirstNet.”

A Loss of Public Oversight?

With this frenzy of technological development, a longtime transparency tool is suddenly under threat. For decades, local newsrooms and citizen watchdogs have relied on police scanners to monitor first responders and track natural disasters, protests, and emergencies. The migration to data-based communications cuts down on what is communicated over these public frequencies. As FirstNet and its competitors transition voice communications to their encrypted broadband networks in the coming years, even more will be kept from public oversight.

That concerns Andrew Seaman, ethics committee chair for the Society of Professional Journalists. Seaman told The Intercept that he hopes measures will be taken to guarantee journalists and newsrooms access to the encrypted FirstNet network.

“There are very practical reasons why there should be a relationship between first responder emergency systems and the press,” he said. “If you want people to know what’s going on — that they should avoid a certain area or if they need to get out of an area quickly — you’re going to need to equip journalists with the ability to monitor these channels.”

FirstNet did not comment on whether it was open to offering local newsrooms some access. Edson of LA-RICS said decisions about transparency and access for newsrooms will likely have to take place at the local government level.

FirstNet is already the subject of a transparency lawsuit by two Vermont men who claim that the U.S. government is legally required to perform a Privacy Impact Assessment on the program, since the FirstNet network will presumably be used to transmit personal information about American citizens. The government has argued that this requirement does not apply since the network itself is owned by AT&T, rather than the government.

The program’s status as a public-private partnership has created other transparency roadblocks as well: The federal government’s contract with AT&T has not been made public.

Worth the Cost?

Some have criticized FirstNet as a waste of public funds because after years of talk, it has produced few deliverables. However, its ultimate impact on U.S. broadband is likely to be extensive, if incremental. For example, FirstNet’s prioritized section of the broadband spectrum is now being extended to some private entities, like electric utilities, that help first responders or provide essential services during emergencies.

FirstNet’s most lasting achievement may be the infrastructure it provides for state-of-the-art surveillance technologies to be deployed by law enforcement at every level. One of FirstNet’s early adopters, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, has celebrated how FirstNet allows it to livestream surveillance footage to its central command. Only time will tell if the program can enable emerging technologies like real-time facial recognition to become part of the day-to-day operations of U.S. police.

Despite the surveillance enhancements that FirstNet offers local police departments, some are skeptical that local governments (and voters) can be convinced that subscribing to the program is a worthy investment.

“The public believes law enforcement already has all this at their fingertips,” Herraiz told The Intercept. “They think when you run a license tag or your driver’s license, the cops know everything about you. That’s not true.”

Well, not yet.

 

 

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