TBR News October 27, 2017

Oct 27 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., October 27, 2017:”The assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, continues to generate an enormous amount of popular controversy, more so than any other historical happening in recorded memory. The killing took place in a major American city in full view of hundreds of people and in broad daylight, yet years after the event, a dispassionate overview of the incident is impossible to achieve. The act and its consequences are as cluttered as the dense Indian jungle that so thoroughly hides the gaudy tiger from the sight of its prey.

The initial stunned confusion in Dallas has continued, with much official connivance, into succeeding decades, with an immense proliferation of books, magazine articles, motion picture productions, and television dramas, which are equally divided between assaults on previous productions and the presentation of even more confusion, theory, and supposition.

One camp consists entirely of what can best be termed the “official version” and in the other camp are the “revisionist versions.” There is only one of the former and a multitude of the others.

There is no question in the minds of anyone that John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas, Texas, in November of 1963. The real issue is who shot him and why.

Do not expect any serious revelations from the recent release of some of the hitherto classified papers. No one bites the hand that feeds them.”

Table of Contents

  • Spain set to impose direct rule in Catalonia as crisis spirals
  • Syrian army captures Islamic State position, eyes final stronghold
  • JFK documents: what we have learned so far
  • How Do I watch You? Let me count the ways….


Spain set to impose direct rule in Catalonia as crisis spirals

October 27, 2017

by Julien Toyer and Sam Edwards


MADRID/BARCELONA (Reuters) – The Spanish government prepared to impose direct rule over Catalonia on Friday to block its push for independence, an unprecedented move that takes Spain’s worst political crisis in four decades to a new level.

The upper house of Spain’s parliament, the Senate, was meeting to approve Article 155, the law that will allow the central government to take over the autonomous region.

In Catalonia’s main city Barcelona, separatist leaders were figuring out their next move, which could include a unilateral declaration of independence, as supporters gathered in the streets.

“Exceptional measures should only be adopted when no other remedy is possible,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an address to the Senate. “In my opinion there is no alternative. The only thing that can be done and should be done is to accept and comply with the law.”

The Catalan leadership was ignoring the law and making a mockery of democracy, he said.

“We are facing a challenge unprecedented in our recent history,” said Rajoy, who has staked out an uncompromising position against Catalonia’s campaign to break away from Spain.

The crisis has split Catalonia and caused deep resentment around Spain – national flags now hang from many balconies in the capital in an expression of unity.

It has also prompted a flight of business from the wealthy northeastern region and alarmed European leaders who fear the crisis could fan separatist sentiment around the continent.

A vote in the Senate was expected by 2 p.m. (1200 GMT). Rajoy was then expected to convene his cabinet to adopt the first measures to govern Catalonia directly. This could include sacking the Barcelona government and assuming direct supervision of Catalan police forces.

But how direct rule would work on the ground – including the reaction of civil servants and the police – is uncertain.

Some independence supporters have promised to mount a campaign of civil disobedience, which could lead to direct confrontation with security forces.

What could happen in the regional parliament of Catalonia was also unclear.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on Thursday ruled out a new regional election that might break the deadlock and said it was now up to the parliament to act on a mandate to break from Spain following an independence referendum on Oct. 1.

The ballot, which drew only a 43 percent turnout as Catalans who oppose independence largely boycotted it, was declared illegal by Madrid and national police used heavy-handed tactics to try to stop it.

Puigdemont made an ambiguous declaration of independence on Oct. 10, which he immediately suspended to allow for talks with the government. But no discussions were held and Puigdemont later spurned an invitation to appear before the Senate to explain his position.

The Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia said secessionists on Friday registered a motion with the regional parliament to proclaim independence from Spain and a Catalan republic.

The motion was presented by lawmakers from Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) and CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy), which together hold a majority in the assembly.

If the motion was taken to a vote, lawmakers backing it could be sued for disobedience and jailed for up to 30 years if found guilty. Two senior secessionist leaders have already been jailed on court order for sedition.

In any case, Spain’s constitutional court would immediately block any claim for statehood and other European countries have made clear they would not recognize Catalonia as an independent state. Germany said on Friday it supported the Spanish government in the dispute but hoped both sides would defuse the situation through dialogue.


Barcelona, crowds of independence supporters were swelling on downtown streets, shouting “Liberty” in the Catalan language and singing traditional Catalan songs.

“I‘m worried, I‘m nervous like everybody. But freedom is never free,” said Jaume Moline, 50, musician.

Montserrat Rectoret, a 61-year-old historian, said: “I am emotional because Catalonia has struggled for 40 years to be independent and finally I can see it.”


Syrian army captures Islamic State position, eyes final stronghold

October 26, 2017


BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian army and its allies seized an oil pumping station in eastern Syria from Islamic State, paving the way for an advance towards the jihadists’ last remaining Syrian stronghold, a Hezbollah-run news service reported on Thursday.

The “T2” pumping station is “considered a launch pad for the army and its allies to advance towards the town of Albu Kamal … which is considered the last remaining stronghold of the Daesh organization in Syria”, the report said.

Albu Kamal is located in Deir al-Zor province at the Syrian border with Iraq, just over the frontier from the Iraqi town of al-Qaim. Iraq declared on Thursday the start of an offensive to capture al-Qaim and Rawa, the last patch of Iraqi territory still in IS hands.

Islamic State’s self-declared “caliphate” has crumbled this year with the fall of the Syrian city of Raqqa and the Iraqi city of Mosul. In Syria, the group is now mostly confined to a shrinking strip of territory in Deir al-Zor province.

The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State is waging a separate campaign against the group in Deir al-Zor, focused on areas to the east of the Euphrates River which bisects the province. Albu Kamal is located on the western bank of the river.

Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Robin Pomeroy


JFK documents: what we have learned so far

October 27, 2017

by Alan Yuhas

The Guardian

The US government has released 2,800 previously classified files related to the assassination of President John F Kennedy in November 1963.

As readers, historians and journalists comb through the thousands of pages of documents, here is what we have found so far.

FBI warned Dallas police of threat to kill Oswald

The FBI warned Dallas police of a death threat to Lee Harvey Oswald, according to a memo by director J Edgar Hoover, but the police failed to protect him.

“Last night we received a call in our Dallas office from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald,” Hoover wrote on 24 November 1963.

“We at once notified the chief of police and he assured us Oswald would be given sufficient protection. This morning we called the chief of police again warning of the possibility of some effort against Oswald and again he assured us adequate protection would be given.

“However, this was not done.”

USSR worried ‘irresponsible’ US could launch a missile

Soviet Union leaders considered Oswald a “neurotic maniac who was disloyal to his own country and everything else”, according to an FBI memo documenting reactions in the USSR to the assassination.

The Soviet officials feared a conspiracy was behind the death of Kennedy, perhaps organised by a rightwing coup or JFK’s successor Lyndon Johnson.

They also feared a war in the aftermath of Kennedy’s death:

Our source further stated that Soviet officials were fearful that without leadership, some irresponsible general in the United States might launch a missile at the Soviet Union.

Cuba reacted with ‘happy delight’

Cuban leader Fidel Castro told American lawmakers his country was not involved in the plot, when House investigators visited the island in 1978.

In 1963, however, the Cuban ambassador to the US reacted with “happy delight” to the murder, according to a CIA memo.

Oswald spoke to ‘member of KGB assassination unit’

According to an intercepted phone call in Mexico City, Oswald was at the Soviet embassy there on 28 September 1963 and spoke with the consul, Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov. Oswald later called the embassy on 1 October, identifying himself by name and speaking broken Russian, asking the guard who answered the phone whether there was “anything new concerning the telegram to Washington.”

The CIA memo calls Kostikov “an identified KGB officer” and a member of Department 13, a unit “responsible for sabotage and assassination”.

Officers looking for Oswald before assassination

The Dallas division of the FBI was trying to track Oswald in October 1963, according to memos by the New Orleans division of the bureau.

An agent there wrote that Oswald was of interest according to “Cuban sources”, and that he had forwarded the information to Dallas authorities. “That office is presently conducting inquiries to locate Lee Harvey Oswald,” the memo said.

Jack Ruby had ‘good in’ with Dallas police

Oswald’s killer “had a B-girl operation where drinks were pushed heavily with no interference from the police department”, according to an FBI informant in a memo dated days after Ruby shot the suspect dead.

But the informant was surprised Ruby had “actually killed Oswald” rather than simply wounding him “in the leg with a .22 caliber weapon in order to get publicity”.

FBI concerned about conspiracy theories from start

In his 24 November memo, Hoover had already started to fear conspiracy theorising. “The thing I am concerned about,” Hoover said, “is having something issued so that we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.”

CIA assassination plots abound

The documents include details of various CIA attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, most frequently Castro.

According to a 1975 “summary of facts”, the CIA also considered killing Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba and Indonesian president Sukarno.

Receipts and financial accounts for clandenstine projects also show tens of thousands of dollars paid out for anti-communist activities, supplies, and weapons, directed at Cuba, others in the Dominican Republic, Congo, and north and south Vietnam.

The FBI knew of the threat to kill Lee Harvey Oswald and Soviet officials feared a missile strike after Kennedy’s assassination

New JFK files reveal FBI warning on Oswald and Soviets’ missile fears

A British local newspaper was ‘warned in advance’

A reporter on the UK’s Cambridge Evening News received an anonymous call telling him to ring the US embassy for some big news, 25 minutes before the assassination of JFK, according to a memo from a deputy director of the CIA to the director of the FBI.

“The caller said only that the Cambridge News reporter should call the American embassy in London for some big news and then hung up. After the word of the president’s death was received the reporter informed the Cambridge police of the anonymous call and the police informed MI5.

“The important point is that the call was made according to MI5 calculations, about 25 minutes before the president was shot.”

We don’t yet have all documents

President Donald Trump blocked the release of an unknown number of documents, saying he had “no choice” but to bow to national security concerns of the FBI and CIA. He also ordered them to review their still secret documents over the next 180 days, setting a new deadline of 26 April 2018.


How Do I watch You? Let me count the ways….

October 27, 2017

by Christian Jürs


Millions of Americans, and other nationalities, are spied on daily and vast amounts of personal data acquired and stored.

The cover story is that this is designed to “locate and neutralize” Muslim terrorists, both inside and outside of the United States, but in fact, according to a U.S. Army document, the actual purposes of the mass surveillance is to build significant data bases on any person likely to present a domestic threat to established authority.

This fear has its roots in massive popular rejection of the Vietnam war with its attendant mass meetings, defiance of the government and the development of ad hoc student groups firmly, and often very vocally, opposed to the war.

There was a great deal of civic unrest on college campuses throughout the 1960s as students became increasingly involved in a number of social and political movements ranging from the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, and, of course, the Anti-War Movement. Over 30,000 people left the country and went to Canada, Sweden, and Mexico to avoid the draft.

The bureaucracy then found itself under siege and has stated subsequently that this must not happen again and that any kind of meaningful civil disobedience is to get negative mention in the media and members of such groups subject to arrest and detention.

The Obama administration punished any government whistle-blower with such severity as to discourage others from revealing negative official information.

  • FEMA has a network of so-called “detention camps” throughout the United States, most only sites, to be used in the event of noteworthy civil disturbance.
  • The current programs of mass surveillance are known and approved at the highest levels in the government, to include the President
  • Government, faux government, and government-subsidized private organizations.

The high technology consists of such subjects as surveillance cameras in public places, drones, satellites, interceptions of telephone, computer and mail communications.

There are as of this instance, no less than five million names on the officlal government Terrorist Identies Datamart Environment list and nearly sixty thousand names on the TSA no-fly list.

Nearly five thousand died domestically in the 9/11 attacks and only thirty-seven subsequently but the death toll outside the United States, due to Muslim radical actions has exceeded over ten thousand with a death toll of ninety eight thousand in the Syrian civil war and an estimated one million in the sectarian wars in Iraq following the American invasion and occupation

This vast program of politically-motivated illegal domestic surveillance, ordered by Bush, is only part of an ambitious program brought forward in the first year of the Bush administration by Karl Rove. Rove is the architect of the ‘GOP Rules’ program, the basic premise of which was to secure a permanent control, by the Republican Party, of both branches of Congress, the White House and the leadership of all the agencies of control such as the CIA, later the DHS, the FBI, the Department of Justice, and, most important, the U.S. Army.

Rove, an accomplished student of history, had carefully studied the circumstances that permitted Adolf Hitler to rise to power in 1933. His was not a solid electoral victory but he was only a participant in a coalition government. What brought him to the beginning of absolute power was the Reichstag fire. It was long preached that this incendiary act was the result of Goering’s activities to facilitate an atmosphere of public panic but Fritz Tobias has effectively demolished this shibboleth and in fact, the fire was set by a lunatic young Dutch communist without any assistance from either the Nazis or the Communists.

Nevertheless, in its wake, the fire did create such an atmosphere of national fear that Hitler was able to tighten his control over the legislators and push through the Enabling Act that gave him the power to establish the control he badly needed. And a year later, the old Prussian Secret State Police, the Gestapo, was put into the hands of Heinrich Mueller who eventually set up a national card index with information on every German citizen.

Given the weak origins of Bush’s presidency, Rove contemplated his own Reichstag Fire and when the Israeli Mossad reported to the top Bush administration officials that they had penetrated a group of Saudi terrorists working in Hollywood, Florida and that this group was planning an aerial attack on important American business and government targets, Rove had found his Reichstag Fire.

Bush was informed by the Israeli government at every stage of the pending attack but advised the Israelis that he did not want to interfere with it “until the last possible moment so as to be able to arrest the entire group.”

As the plot progressed and Washington learned that the major targets would be the World Trade Centers in New York, and the Pentagon and the Capitol building in Washington, someone high up in the administration, currently unknown, wanted the Israelis to convince the Saudis to attack the side of the Pentagon that was currently unoccupied due to reconstruction. There was no point, the plotters decided, to kill the useful Secretary of Defense who was a member of their team.

The attack on the Capitol would, they reasoned, fall when Congress was in session ( In 2001, the first session of the 107th Congress was from January 3, 2001  through December 20, 2001 and the House and Senate planned to begin their 10 day Thanksgiving recess, between November 17 and November 27 of that year) and this meant that if a large commercial aircraft, loaded with aviation fuel, slammed at high speed  into either wing of the immense building while Congress was in session, it could reasonably be expected that a significant number of Federal legislators would be killed or incapacitated.

This, coupled with the attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC, would give the Bush people the very acceptable excuse for the President to step up, (after he returned from a safe and distant vacation,) and assume ‘special powers” to “protect this nation from new attacks” until Congress could be “satisfactorily reformed” via somewhat distant “special elections” to fill the vacancies created by the Saudi attackers.

Then, it would be quite acceptable, and even demanded, that the Army would establish “law and order” in the country and that other agencies would step forward to “guard this nation against” possible “ongoing terrorist attacks.” ‘Speak not of the morrow for thou knowest not what it might bring forth’ is a Biblical admonition that apparently Bush, Rove and Cheney never considered.

The aircraft designated to slam into the Capitol building and immolate both sides of the aisle, crashed as the very fortunate result of its passenger’s actions and that part of the plan had to be shelved. But not so the formulation of the machinery designed solely to clamp down on any possible dissident voices in the country and ensure a very long term Republican political control.

The Saudi terrorist attacks went forward as planned, minus the one on the members of Congress and Bush indeed rose to the occasion and promised to protect the American public. A Department of Homeland Security was set up under the incompetent Governor Ridge but as for the rest of the plan for Republic permanence, it began to disintegrate bit by bit, due entirely to the gross incompetence of its leaders. The Bush-Rove-Cheney plan consisted, in the main, of the following:

  1. Federal control of all domestic media, the internet, all computerized records, through overview of all domestic fax, mail and telephone conversations,

2 .A national ID card, universal SS cards being mandatory,

  1. Seizure and forced deportation of all illegal aliens, including millions of Mexicans and Central Americans, intensive observation and penetration of Asian groups, especially Indonesian and Chinese,
  2. A reinstitution of a universal draft (mandatory service at 18 years for all male American youths)…based on the German Arbeitsdienst.
  3. Closer coordination of administration views and domestic policies with various approved and régime supportive religious groups,
  4. An enlargement of the planned “no travel” lists drawn up in the Justice Department that would prevents “subversive” elements from flying, (this list to include “peaceniks” and most categories of Muslims)
  5. The automatic death penalty for any proven acts of sedition,
  6. The forbidding of abortion, any use of medical marijuana,
  7. Any public approval of homosexual or lesbian behavior to include magazines, websites, political action groups and soon to be forbidden and punishable.

As the popularity of drones for domestic surveillance grows in the United States, so do privacy concerns for citizens just going about their daily business. Designer Adam Harvey has come up with a line of anti-drone clothing that is much more stylish than an aluminum foil hat.

The anti-drone clothes include a hoodie, a scarf, and a burqa. They are made with a metalized fabric designed to thwart thermal imaging. They work by reflecting heat and masking the person underneath from the thermal eye of a drone. The designs may hide you from certain drone activities, but they would definitely make you noticeable to people out on the street.

The scarf and burqa are both inspired by traditional Muslim clothing designs. Harvey explains the choice, saying, “Conceptually, these garments align themselves with the rationale behind the traditional hijab and burqa: to act as ‘the veil which separates man or the world from God,’ replacing God with drone.”

The anti-drone garments are part of a larger line of clothing called Stealth Wear. These are called  “New Designs for Counter surveillance.” The manufacturer states: “Collectively, Stealth Wear is a vision for fashion that addresses the rise of surveillance, the power of those who surveil, and the growing need to exert control over what we are slowly losing, our privacy.”

If drones get to be more commonplace in our communities, it’s not too much of a stretch to see this sort of fashion becoming more mainstream, much like RFID-blocking wallets and passport holders.


The government intelligence agencies and their allied private contractors now regularly accesses all emails, chats, searches, events, locations, videos, photos, log-ins and any information people post online with a warrant, which the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court always  grants secretly and without being ever made public.

And the revelation of Prism, a secret government program for mining major Internet companies, states that the government now has direct access to Internet companies’ data without a warrant.

Every company impacted – Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, PalTalk and AOL – publically deny knowing about the program or giving any direct access to their servers. These denials are intended to bolster public confidence in their services because in reality, all of these entities cooperate fully with requests for customer information.

Google is the supplier of the customized core search technology for Intellipedia, a highly-secure online system where 37,000 U.S. domestic and foreign area spies and related personnel share information and collaborate on investigative missions.

And there is absolutely nothing one can commit to the Internet that is private in any sense of the word

In addition, Google is linked to the U.S. spy and military systems through its Google Earth software venture. The technology behind this software was originally developed by Keyhole Inc., a company funded by Q-Tel http://www.iqt.org/ , a venture capital firm which is in turn openly funded and operated on behalf of the CIA.

Google acquired Keyhole Inc. in 2004. The same base technology is currently employed by U.S. military and intelligence systems in their quest, in their own words, for “full-spectrum dominance” of the American, and foreign, political, social and economic spheres.

However, Internet Service Providers and the entertainment industry are now taking Internet monitoring to a whole new level….

If someone download copyrighted software, videos or music, all Internet service providers (ISP) have the ability to detect this downloading.

The vast majority of computer surveillance involves the monitoring of data and traffic on the Internet. In the United States for example, under the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, all phone calls and broadband Internet traffic (emails, web traffic, instant messaging, etc.) are required to be available for unimpeded real-time monitoring by Federal law enforcement agencies., to include the FBI, NSA, the CIA and the DHS.

There is far too much data on the Internet for human investigators to manually search through all of it and so automated Internet surveillance computers sift through the vast amount of intercepted Internet traffic and identify and report to human investigators traffic considered interesting by using certain “trigger” words or phrases, visiting certain types of web sites, or communicating via email or chat with suspicious individuals or groups. Billions of dollars per year are spent, by agencies such as the Information Awareness Office, NSA, and the FBI, to develop, purchase, implement, and operate systems such as Carnivore, NarusInsight, and ECHELON to intercept and analyze all of this data, and extract only the information which is useful to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. One flaw with NSA claims that the government needs to be able to suck up Internet data from services such as Skype and Gmail to fight terrorists: Studies show that would-be terrorists don’t use those services. The NSA has to collect the metadata from all of our phone calls because terrorists, right? And the spy agency absolutely must intercept Skypes you conduct with folks out-of-state, or else terrorism. It must sift through your iCloud data and Facebook status updates too, because Al Qaeda. Terrorists are everywhere, they are legion, they are dangerous, and, unfortunately, they don’t really do any of the stuff described above.

Even though the still-growing surveillance state that sprung up in the wake of 9/11 was enacted almost entirely to “fight terrorism,” reports show that the modes of communication that agencies like the NSA are targeting are scarcely used by terrorists at all.

Computers can be a surveillance target because of the personal data stored on them. If someone is able to install software, such as the FBI’s Magic Lantern and CIPAV, on a computer system, they can easily gain unauthorized access to this data. Such software can be, and is   installed physically or remotely. Another form of computer surveillance, known as van Eck phreaking, involves reading electromagnetic emanations from computing devices in order to extract data from them at distances of hundreds of meters. The NSA runs a database known as “Pinwale”, which stores and indexes large numbers of emails of both American citizens and foreigners.


The government agencies have been fully capable of looking at any and all emails.

A warrant can easily grant access to email sent within 180 days. Older emails are available with an easier-to-get subpoena and prior notice.

Government officials also are fully capable of reading all the ingoing and outgoing emails on an account in real time with a specific type of wiretap warrant, which is granted with probable cause for specific crimes such as terrorism.

Google received 122,503 user data requests involving 2,375,434 users from the U.S. government in 2016. It granted about 98 percent of those requests.

Microsoft, with its Outlook/Hotmail email service, received 61,538 requests involving 52,291 users, at least partially granting 92 percent of those requests.


With the advent of smartphones and SIM cards, cellphones are no longer strictly for storage of digits and 180-character short messages.

Cellphones assist in navigating for car trips, to enable making Internet purchases and to watch events on television stations.   It is possible to deposit checks with a bank app and a camera, locate businesses of interest and also to use transportation by using a QR-code. Phones hold our coupons, our favorite cat videos and functions as a credit card when we forget ours at home.

The NSA collects subscriber information from major cell phone carriers. This information is primarily based on metadata, such as location and duration of calls, along with numbers dialed, all in search of links to suspected terrorists.

In 2013, to date, law enforcement agencies made 2.3 million requests for subscriber information.

These government requests for surveillance information from the NSA, are limited to metadata. That doesn’t mean that the content of conversations is off-limits. To listen in, the government just needs a warrant, one that’s granted through the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The court approves almost every request, fully denying just nine out of 133,900 government applications for surveillance over its 33-year existence, according to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reports submitted to Congress.

Although this is not new technology, law enforcement authorities are using our own cell phones to spy on us more extensively than ever before as a recent Wired article described….

Mobile carriers responded to a staggering 1.3 million law enforcement requests last year for subscriber information, including text messages and phone location data, according to data provided to Congress.

A single “request” can involve information about hundreds of customers. So ultimately the number of Americans affected by this could reach into “the tens of millions” each year.

The number of Americans affected each year by the growing use of mobile phone data by law enforcement could reach into the tens of millions, as a single request could ensnare dozens or even hundreds of people. Law enforcement has been asking for so-called “cell tower dumps” in which carriers disclose all phone numbers that connected to a given tower during a certain period of time.

So, for instance, if police wanted to try to find a person who broke a store window at an Occupy protest, it could get the phone numbers and identifying data of all protestors with mobile phones in the vicinity at the time — and use that data for other purposes.

Perhaps you should not be using your cell phone so much anyway. After all, there are more than 500 studies that claim to show that cell phone radiation is harmful to humans.

The official and unofficial tapping of telephone lines is widespread. In the United States for instance, the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires that all telephone and VoIP communications be available for real-time wiretapping by Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Two major telecommunications companies in the U.S.—AT&T Inc. and Verizon—have contracts with the FBI, requiring them to keep their phone call records easily searchable and accessible for Federal agencies, in return for $1.8 million dollars per year. Between 2003 and 2005, the FBI sent out more than 140,000 “National Security Letters” ordering phone companies to hand over information about their customers’ calling and Internet histories. About half of these letters requested information on U.S. citizens.

Human agents are not required to monitor most calls. Speech-to-text software creates machine-readable text from intercepted audio, which is then processed by automated call-analysis programs, such as those developed by agencies such as the Information Awareness Office, or companies such as Verint, and Narus, which search for certain words or phrases, to decide whether to dedicate a human agent to the call.

Law enforcement and intelligence services in the United Kingdom and the United States possess technology to remotely activate the microphones in cell phones, by accessing phones’ diagnostic or maintenance features in order to listen to conversations that take place near the person who holds the phone.

Mobile phones are also commonly used to collect location data. The geographical location of a mobile phone (and thus the person carrying it) can be determined easily even when the phone is not being used, using a technique known multilateration to calculate the differences in time for a signal to travel from the cell phone to each of several cell towers near the owner of the phone. The legality of such techniques has been questioned in the United States, in particular whether a court warrant is required. Records for one carrier alone (Sprint), showed that in a given year federal law enforcement agencies requested customer location data 8 million times.


Think Uncle Sam knows where you buy your coffee? He might be able to tell you the exact cafe.

It all starts with that stripe on the back of your credit card, which gets swiped through thousands of readers every year.

That solid black bar is made up of millions of iron-based magnetic particles, each one 20-millionths of an inch wide. Each credit-card owner has a personalized strip full of intimate data sitting right inside his or her pocket. Any purchase can be traced directly back to your wallet.

Although the scope of credit-card tracking efforts are unknown, the Journal reported that the NSA has established relationships with credit card companies akin to those that they had established with phone carriers, which provide them with data under warrant, subpoena or court order. These former officials didn’t know if the efforts were ongoing.

What could they find? Based on the technology of the mag stripe, quite a bit.

Even with just the metadata – digitally contained bits of information – on a credit card, they could most likely see when and where a purchase was made, and how much it cost.


Whether they’re walking to work, withdrawing money from an ATM or walking into their favorite local grocer, Americans could be within sight of one of the United States’ estimated 30 million surveillance cameras.

Police use them to monitor streets, subways and public spaces. Homeowners put them on their houses. Businesses mount them in stores and on buildings.

In Boston, for example, the FBI used still photos and video pulled from cameras to identify suspects after the Boston Marathon bombing. The images showed the suspects making calls from their cellphones, carrying what the police say were bombs, and leaving the scene.

New high-tech, high-definition security camera manufacturers give police departments the options of thermal imaging, 360-degree fields of view and powerful zoom capabilities for identifying people. Advances in camera technology enable new ways to monitor American citizens.

Surveillance cameras are video cameras used for the purpose of observing an area. They are often connected to a recording device or IP network, and may be watched by a security guard or law enforcement officer. Cameras and recording equipment used to be relatively expensive and required human personnel to monitor camera footage, but analysis of footage has been made easier by automated software that organizes digital video footage into a searchable database, and by video analysis software (such as VIRAT and HumanID). The amount of footage is also drastically reduced by motion sensors which only record when motion is detected. With cheaper production techniques, surveillance cameras are simple and inexpensive enough to be used in home security systems, and for everyday surveillance.

In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security awards billions of dollars per year in Homeland Security grants for local, state, and federal agencies to install modern video surveillance equipment. For example, the city of Chicago, Illinois, recently used a $5.1 million Homeland Security grant to install an additional 250 surveillance cameras, and connect them to a centralized monitoring center, along with its preexisting network of over 2000 cameras, in a program known as Operation Virtual Shield. Speaking in 2009, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced that Chicago would have a surveillance camera on every street corner by the year 2016.

As part of China’s Golden Shield Project, several U.S. corporations, including IBM, General Electric, and Honeywell, have been working closely with the Chinese government to install millions of surveillance cameras throughout China, along with advanced video analytics and facial recognition software, which will identify and track individuals everywhere they go. They will be connected to a centralized database and monitoring station, which will, upon completion of the project, contain a picture of the face of every person in China: over 1.3 billion people Lin Jiang Huai, the head of China’s “Information Security Technology” office (which is in charge of the project), credits the surveillance systems in the United States and the U.K. as the inspiration for what he is doing with the Golden Shield Project.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding a research project called Combat Zones That See that will link up cameras across a city to a centralized monitoring station, identify and track individuals and vehicles as they move through the city, and report “suspicious” activity (such as waving arms, looking side-to-side, standing in a group, etc.).

Governments often initially claim that cameras are meant to be used for traffic control, but many of them end up using them for general surveillance. For example, Washington, D.C. had 5,000 “traffic” cameras installed under this premise, and then after they were all in place, networked them all together and then granted access to the Metropolitan Police Department, so they could perform “day-to-day monitoring”.

The development of centralized networks of CCTV cameras watching public areas – linked to computer databases of people’s pictures and identity (biometric data), able to track people’s movements throughout the city, and identify whom they have been with – has been argued by some to present a risk to civil liberties. Trapwire is an example of such a network.


A joint Pentagon/Department of Transportation plan to conduct a permanent surveillance of all motor vehicles using the Federal Highway System is code named ARGUS. It was initially a part of an overall public surveillance program instituted and organized by Admiral Poindexter, who was convicted of various criminal acts as the result of the Iran-Contra affair and then brought back to government service by the Bush Administration. Following public disclosure of Poindexter’s manic attempts to pry into all aspects of American life and his subsequent public departure from government service (he is still so employed but as a “private consultant” and not subject to public scrutiny) many of his plans were officially scrapped. ARGUS, however, is still valid has been fully developed and now is in experimental use on twelve Federal highways across the country..

This surveillance consists of having unmanned video cameras, soon to be installed over all Federal highways and toll roads with Presidential approval. These cameras work 24/7 to video all passing vehicles, trucks, private cars and busses. The information is passed to a central data bank and entered therein. This data can readily viewed at the request of any authorized law enforcement agency to include: private investigative and credit agencies licensed to work with Federal law enforcement information on any user of the road systems under surveillance. Provision will be made, according to the operating plans, to notify local law enforcement immediately if any driver attempts to obscure their license plate number and instructs them to at once to “apprehend and identify” the vehicle or vehicles involved. Federally-funded high-tech street lights now being installed in American cities are not only set to aid the DHS in making “security announcements” and acting as talking surveillance cameras, they are also capable of “recording conversations,” bringing the potential privacy threat posed by ‘Intellistreets’ to a whole new level.

The program has cost to date over $5 billion over a three year period.

This program can easily be installed and running on a nationwide basis within two years from its commencement.

It also is now a Federal crime to attempt to damage or in any way interfere with these surveillance devices.

Some states such as Colorado are using cameras as an alternative method of charging motorists toll fares. As a motorist drives through the toll lanes, motion-activated cameras capture an image of the license plate and the driver is billed.

Cameras are watching if you speed or run a red light, too.

Also, police departments in several metro areas began employing cameras to deter traffic infractions and raise revenue.

Libertarians and electronic privacy advocates oppose these methods, citing a lack of transparency in the use of the cameras and the retention of the data they collect.


As many as 30,000 domestic drones will travel the skies above U.S. soil within 20 years, according to a report for Congress by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Congress has called on the FAA to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national air system by 2017.

Already, the FAA has approved domestic drone use by 81 agencies, including schools, police departments and the Department of Homeland Security.

Among the applicants approved: the Arlington Police Department in Texas; California State University in Fresno; Canyon County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho; the city of Herington, Kan.; the Georgia Tech Research Institute; Kansas State University; the Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida; the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources; the Seattle Police Department; and the Universities of Alaska at Fairbanks, California-Davis and Florida.

Although these drones range in size, most are able to hover tens of thousands of feet in the sky, collecting images of people on the ground below.

Based on current trends – technology development, law enforcement interest, political and industry pressure, and the lack of legal safeguards – it is clear that drones pose a looming threat to Americans’ privacy.

Law enforcement agencies all over the United States are starting to use unmanned drones to spy on us, and the Department of Homeland Security is aggressively seeking to expand the use of such drones by local authorities….

The Department of Homeland Security has launched a program to “facilitate and accelerate the adoption” of small, unmanned drones by police and other public safety agencies, an effort that an agency official admitted faces “a very big hurdle having to do with privacy.”

The $4 million Air-based Technologies Program, which will test and evaluate small, unmanned aircraft systems, is designed to be a “middleman” between drone manufacturers and first-responder agencies.

The EPA is already using drones to spy on cattle ranchers in Nebraska and Iowa. Will we eventually get to a point where we all just consider it to be “normal” to have surveillance drones flying above our heads constantly?

The FBI uses aerial surveillance drones over US soil, and has agreed that further political debate and legislation to govern their domestic use may be necessary.

The bureau’s director admitted it used drones to aid its investigations.

However, the potential for growing drone use either in the US, or involving US citizens abroad, is an increasingly charged issue in Congress, and the FBI acknowledged there may need to be legal restrictions placed on their use to protect privacy.

It is known that drones are used by border control officials and have been used by some local law enforcement authorities and Department of Homeland Security in criminal cases.

 “Pre-Crime” Surveillance Cameras

Also aiding and abetting police in their efforts to track our every movement in real time is Trapwire, which allows for quick analysis of live feeds from CCTV surveillance cameras. Some of Trapwire’s confirmed users are the DC police, and police and casinos in Las Vegas. Police in New York, Los Angeles, Canada, and London  also use Trapwire.

Using Trapwire in conjunction with NGI, police and other government agents will be able to pinpoint anyone by checking the personal characteristics stored in the database against images on social media websites, feeds from the thousands of CCTV surveillance cameras installed throughout American cities (there are 3,700 CCTV cameras tracking the public in the New York subway system alone), as well as data being beamed down from the more than 30,000 surveillance drones taking to the skies within the next eight years. Given that the drones’ powerful facial recognition cameras will be capable of capturing minute details, including every mundane action performed by every person in an entire city simultaneously, soon there really will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, short of living in a cave, far removed from technology.

NGI will not only increase sharing between federal agencies, opening up the floodgates between the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Defense, but states can also get in on the action. The system was rolled out in Michigan in February 2012, with Hawaii, Maryland, South Carolina, Ohio, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Missouri on the shortlist for implementation, followed by Washington, North Carolina, and Florida in the near future.

Going far beyond the scope of those with criminal backgrounds, the NGI data includes criminals and non-criminals alike – in other words, innocent American citizens. The information is being amassed through a variety of routine procedures, with the police leading the way as prime collectors of biometrics for something as non-threatening as a simple moving violation. For example, the New York Police Department began photographing irises of suspects and arrestees in 2010, routinely telling suspects that the scans were mandatory, despite there being no law requiring defendants to have their irises scanned. Police departments across the country are now being equipped with the Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, a physical iPhone add-on that allows officers patrolling the streets to scan the irises and faces of individuals and match them against government databases.

To start with, there’s the government’s integration of facial recognition software and other biometric markers into its identification data programs.

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system is a $1 billion project that is aimed at dramatically expanding the government’s current ID database from a fingerprint system to a facial recognition system. NGI will use a variety of biometric data, cross-referenced against the nation’s growing network of surveillance cameras to not only track your every move but create a permanent “recognition” file on you within the government’s massive databases. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab are developing software that can read the feelings behind facial expressions. In some cases, the computers outperform people. The software could lead to empathetic devices and is being used to evaluate and develop better advertisements.

By the time it’s fully operational in 2017, NGI will serve as a vast data storehouse of “iris scans, photos searchable with face recognition technology, palm prints, and measures of gait and voice recordings alongside records of fingerprints, scars, and tattoos.” One component of NGI, the Universal Face Workstation, already contains some 13 million facial images, gleaned from “criminal mug shot photos” taken during the booking process. However, with major search engines having “accumulated face image databases that in their size dwarf the earth’s population,” the government taps into the trove of images stored on social media and photo sharing websites such as Facebook. A company known as BRS Labs has developed “pre-crime” surveillance cameras that can supposedly determine if you are a terrorist or a criminal even before you commit a crime and dozens of these cameras are being installed at major transportation hubs in San Francisco….

In its latest project BRS Labs is to install its devices on the transport system in San Francisco, which includes buses, trams and subways.

The company says will put them in 12 stations with up to 22 cameras in each, bringing the total number to 288.

The cameras will be able to track up to 150 people at a time in real time and will gradually build up a ‘memory’ of suspicious behavior to work out what is suspicious.

Mobile Backscatter Vans

Police all over America will soon be driving around in unmarked vans looking inside your cars and even under your clothes using the same “pornoscanner” technology currently being utilized by the TSA at U.S. airports….

American intelligence agencies are set to join the US military in deploying American Science & Engineering’s Z Backscatter Vans, or mobile backscatter radiation x-rays. These are what TSA officials call “the amazing radioactive genital viewer,” now seen in airports around America, ionizing the private parts of children, the elderly.

These porno scanner wagons will look like regular anonymous vans, and will cruise America’s streets, indiscriminately peering through the cars (and clothes) of anyone in range of its mighty isotope-cannon. But don’t worry, it’s not a violation of privacy. As AS&E’s vice president of marketing Joe Reiss says, “From a privacy standpoint, I’m hard-pressed to see what the concern or objection could be.”

RFID Microchips

Most Americans don’t realize this, but RFID microchips are steadily becoming part of the very fabric of our lives. Many of your credit cards and debit cards contain them. Many Americans use security cards that contain RFID microchips at work. In some parts of the country it is now mandatory to inject an RFID microchip into your pet.

District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance.

Automated License Plate Readers

Automated license plate readers are being used to track the movements of a vehicle from the time that it enters Washington D.C. to the time that it leaves….

More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.

With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.

Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.

Data Mining

The government is not the only one that is spying on you. The truth is that a whole host of very large corporations are gathering every shred of information about you that they possibly can and selling that information for profit. It is called “data mining”, and it is an industry that has absolutely exploded in recent years.

One very large corporation known as Acxiom actually compiles information on more than 190 million people in the U.S. alone….

The company fits into a category called database marketing. It started in 1969 as an outfit called Demographics Inc., using phone books and other notably low-tech tools, as well as one computer, to amass information on voters and consumers for direct marketing. Almost 40 years later, Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide. More than 23,000 servers in Conway, just north of Little Rock, collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year.

Cable television spying

When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.

Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home – the rise of ‘connected’ gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people ‘bug’ their own homes.

The CIA claims it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.

Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

These web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.

‘Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters –  all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’

One of the world’s biggest chip companies, ARM, has unveiled a new processor built to work inside ‘connected’ white goods.

The ARM chips are smaller, lower-powered and far cheaper than previous processors – and designed to add the internet to almost every kind of electrical appliance.

It’s a concept described as the ‘internet of things’.

Futurists think that one day ‘connected’ devices will tell the internet where they are and what they are doing at all times – and will be mapped by computers as precisely as Google Maps charts the physical landscape now.

The forced conversion to High Definition TV means we will only be able to receive a digital TV signal instead of an analog TV signal. This began in 2009. The surveillance specialists will then have the ability to manipulate that digital signal in any direction desired, for any purpose desired.

In addition, all of the newer wide-screen High Definition TVs found in retail outlets today have both tiny cameras and audio detection devices covertly installed within them so the NSA can both observe and listen to everything within it operational radius.  The conversion boxes that have been offered with those free government coupons will have the same detection and surveillance devices.

And covert monitoring/tracking chips have been installed in all automobiles manufactured since 1990

  1. Don’t buy the newer HD TVs and don’t get their conversion box. Forget getting TV from broadcast or cable or satellite directly. One idea is to watch TV shows from your older computer with currently available TV reception hardware/software (newer computers probably have the surveillance devices installed) or send the video and audio from the computer into the AV jacks on your TV or VCR.
  2. Watch TV shows from programs previously recorded on VHS tapes or from DVDs using your older TV and VCR equipment. This could become a cottage industry overnight if enough people become aware of the covert surveillance agenda riding along on the coattails of the forced conversion to High Definition digital television.
  3. You can listen to only television audio from many inexpensive radios that include the TV audio bands from channel 2-13 In most cases, audio is good enough for me. I’m mainly looking for those few comedy offerings here and there that will provide a laugh. Most sitcoms are just awful: ‘boring’ or ‘banal’ would be complimentary descriptions.

There are also many “black box technologies” being developed out there that the public does not even know about yet.

Then there are the nation’s public schools, where young people are being conditioned to mindlessly march in lockstep to the pervasive authoritarian dictates of the surveillance state. It was here that surveillance cameras and metal detectors became the norm. It was here, too, that schools began reviewing social media websites in order to police student activity. With the advent of biometrics, school officials have gone to ever more creative lengths to monitor and track students’ activities and whereabouts, even for the most mundane things. For example, students in Pinellas County, Fla., are actually subjected to vein recognition scans when purchasing lunch at school.

Of course, the government is not the only looming threat to our privacy and bodily integrity. As with most invasive technologies, the groundwork to accustom the American people to the so-called benefits or conveniences of facial recognition is being laid quite effectively by corporations. For example, a new Facebook application, Facedeals, is being tested in Nashville, Tenn., which enables businesses to target potential customers with specialized offers. Yet another page borrowed from Stephen Spielberg’s 2002 Minority Report, the app works like this: businesses install cameras at their front doors which, using facial recognition technology, identify the faces of Facebook users and then send coupons to their smartphones based upon things they’ve “liked” in the past.

Making this noxious mix even more troubling is the significant margin for error and abuse that goes hand in hand with just about every government-instigated program, only more so when it comes to biometrics and identification databases. Take, for example, the Secure Communities initiative. Touted by the Department of Homeland Security as a way to crack down on illegal immigration, the program attempted to match the inmates in local jails against the federal immigration database. Unfortunately, it resulted in Americans being arrested for reporting domestic abuse and occasionally flagged US citizens for deportation. In July 2012, security researcher Javier Galbally demonstrated that iris scans can be spoofed, allowing a hacker to use synthetic images of an iris to trick an iris-scanning device into thinking it had received a positive match for a real iris over 50 percent of the time.

The writing is on the wall. With technology moving so fast and assaults on our freedoms, privacy and otherwise, occurring with increasing frequency, there is little hope of turning back this technological, corporate and governmental juggernaut. Even trying to avoid inclusion in the government’s massive identification database will be difficult. The hacktivist group Anonymous suggests wearing a transparent plastic mask, tilting one’s head at a 15 degree angle, wearing obscuring makeup, and wearing a hat outfitted with Infra-red LED lights as methods for confounding the cameras’ facial recognition technology.

Consider this, however: while the general public, largely law-abiding, continues to be pried on, spied on and treated like suspects by a government that spends an exorbitant amount of money on the security-intelligence complex (which takes in a sizeable chunk of the $80 billion yearly intelligence budget), the government’s attention and resources are effectively being diverted from the true threats that remain at large – namely, those terrorists abroad who seek, through overt action and implied threat, to continue the reign of terror in America begun in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.





2 responses so far

  1. Whenever you want to show how superior you are, you criticize the internet by taking the nuttiest ‘conspiracy theory’ you can find and then saying that it represents all alternative explanations to a particular incident or ongoing controversy. You do not seem to have the capacity to separate the wheat from the chaff. You’d think that with what you’ve learned from Admiral Crowe and Mueller you’d be both: a) more generous in spirit; and b) more capable of discerning of truth from crap. Amazingly, you nevertheless, time and again, fall for the nuttiest of conspiracy theories: a] the swine flu hoax; b] the global warming fraud; and c] the Saudis did 911. The last one is laugh out loud funny and fits your genre of ‘nuttiest conspiracy theory on the internet’ concerning 911.

    Nevertheless you do provide some very good material on your website which can be found no where else.

    PS The Donaldson report was right. Flight 800 was downed by a missile who’s explosive residue was found on multiple air plane parts recovered from the underwater crash site.

  2. I regret to advise you but the Saudis did indeed work with George H.W. Bush on the 911 attacks. And flight 800’s demise was due to a malfunction in the fuel system, not a missile fired from a mythical submarine.

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