A former CBS News reporter who quit the network over claims it kills stories that put President Obama in a bad light says she was spied on by a “government-related entity” that planted classified documents on her computer.
In her new memoir, Sharyl Attkisson says a source who arranged to have her laptop checked for spyware in 2013 was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” at what the analysis revealed.
“This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” Attkisson quotes the source saying.
She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.
Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”
The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.
“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”
Attkisson says her source — identified only as “Number One” — told her the spying was most likely not court-authorized because it went on far longer than most legal taps.
But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”
“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.
In her book, Attkisson says CBS lost interest in her coverage of the deadly attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and killed her stories of the federal “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal.
Both CBS and the White House declined to comment.
31st October 2014
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
Before serving your country, first learn who your government is serving.
The New World Order is exactly that – it is the same old ‘order’ in the new world. The new world is still contracted to the same old formulation of regimentation, which is achieved by the same violent means of enforced order and patriarchal authority, the same old formulation of the status quo, and the same old oligarchy, instituted in the new petrolithic and nuclear age by the progressive merging of commerce and state.
The only difference now is that there are “new and improved” modes and destructive war, resource and media technologies being used to enforce the rule of the oligarchy. There are new tools and new names. The ‘order’ is packaged in a new sleek design, with new bells and whistles, but at its core, it is the same war-minded pyramid system, controlled by those the system benefits the most. Those “authorities” at the top of the pyramid claim to act for the betterment of mankind, and yet they always seem to get the better of mankind.
Historically speaking, the forced imposition of beneficial authority is as it always was. It is text book oligarchical collectivism; the same formulation of authority used by Empires and Emperors for millennia before us, playing out in a rapidly degrading economic, political and environmental setting, It bears little difference to those societies that have risen and duly fallen before us.
The ‘New World’ Environment
Welcome to the ‘new world’. And with that, welcome to your ‘new world’ environment, one that is poisoned and depleted by the petrolithic and nuclear industries of the oligarchy. And not just poisoned but radiated, measurably changing the quality of our environment for countless generations yet to come, as radiation and chemical pollution levels increase worldwide.
When it comes to humanity’s sustainability, the ‘new world’ is a veritable netherworld. The conditions, confines and consequences of petrolithic era and nuclear age are now layered into every strata of the Earth, its system and its inhabitants. Governed by power/profit-seeking oligarchy, we seem destined for a world of polluted and bereft expanse after expanse, land scoured and mined, water poisoned and air thick with institutional excrement – the scars of over consumption – the consequence of an irrational intent to build ever-growing commercial systems without regard for future ramifications, and of institutional outcomes being prioritised over the rights and needs of living breathing individuals and the planet we call home. And while the netherworld oligarchies profit from environmental exploitation, increased institutionalization and commercial monopolization, a culture of unquestioning acceptance is perpetuated in the name of patriotism by concealing critical information and delivering mis-information via the “news” media they own and regulate.
Thus, amid this theater of democracy, it has become the “norm” in the petrolithic era and nuclear age for large scale commercial enterprises to be initiated without due consideration of consequences. Corrupted commercial regulatory bodies have become veils to the oligarchy, rubber stamping their approval for profitable and dangerous practices in industries as broad as food & agriculture, pharmaceutical, energy, media and mining – as long as they help to achieve their ends. This is clearly evidenced by the rotating cast of oligarchs who regularly and strategically interchange between roles as commercial decision-makers and government regulators (see images).
These conditions have facilitated what is undoubtedly the biggest, most deceptive ‘doublethink’ dynamic there might ever have been — that of global warming. While governments continue to push the manifesto of Agenda 21, the public debate on global warming is, in and of itself, ridiculous. There is no denying humanity needs to change its destructive ways, but that extends far beyond environmental destruction to our collective intellectual decay. For as long as we allow our thoughts and conversation to be steered by the fictions of institutional news/media, we can only be digging our way deeper into the netherworld of the oligarchy.
Our corrupted institutions and the institutionalized alike have brought us to this existence, and to accept this existence, ever on the precipice of our own demise. And yet, in control of the ever-pervasive media, they steer the dynamic of what people talk about, and how they think, to their profit and advantage.
In a community that is led by the wealthy for the wealthy, this continuation of the status quo comes at the direct cost of individuals and their basic rights to freedom, peace, and unimpeded access to the planet’s natural resources – all of which are treated as commodities. We are led to believe our personal freedoms and livelihood depend on adhering to the status quo, without which the rights and richness of our natural world cannot be accessed.
But that is part of the illusion that keeps us playing ball. We know we are heading down a dangerous path, and there is no new planet to move on to, no new island to start fresh on once we learn just how dangerous. So in reality, our livelihood, wellbeing and indeed our future existence depends onstopping the status quo and choosing a new path – fast.
The ‘New World’ Hierarchy
Institutions are made up of individuals, but they do not act as individuals nor on behalf of individuals. Rather they act as portions of the institution, for the purpose of the institution, in the direction determined by institutional heads, no matter the personal or collective expense (after all, we’re all replaceable, right?)
Institutionalized individuals are capable of switching their institutional jargon and actions on and off, as if machines. When speaking to a reporter, one is sometimes off and other times on the record, depending on whether they are telling the truth or “The Truth ®“. When speaking to different groups, the institutionalized individual is capable of spinning different tunes, and at times, different truths – all in the name of progressing the institution.
In our heavily formalized society, we have been led to forgot that institutions are empowered by people, and dependent on the cooperation of individuals. Through commercial, government and media trickery, institutions have instilled a collectivist culture that simultaneously steers individuals to execute the institutional agenda while steering them away from critically understanding and assessing it — or doing anything to change it.
Why do institutions exist if not for people? The idea of working collectively is to mutually benefit the people, whose combined potential should exceed the capability of the lone individual. If institutions today were half as dedicated to the betterment of mankind, as most of them claim to be, there would be more acts of kindness and less need for activism.
Isn’t it time we reclaim our institutions and our natural place in the hierarchy?
Previous articles by Ethan Indigo Smith:
- Individuality and Spirituality in the Age of Institutional Rule (w/Andy Whiteley)
- The Matrix of Four Forms of Meditative Breath
- The Great Unsaid: What 1984 Can Teach Us About 2014
- Institutional Thinking – The Matrix, 1984 and The Allegory of The Cave
- A Little Green Revolution: the Rainbow Warriors will Heal the Earth Mother
- Saṃsāra and Nirvana – the Ultimate Duality
- We Have Sustainable Energy Technology – the Problem is the Oligarchy
- Why Governments Promote Deadly Nuclear Energy and Ban Beneficial Hemp
- The 5 Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation: 108 Movements to a Meditative Mind State
- Hate: The Ultimate Social Control Mechanism
About Ethan Indigo Smith:
Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humour.
The events of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write his first book, The Complete Patriot’s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism, an insightful exploration of history, philosophy and contemporary politics. His more recent publications include:
- Tibetan Fusion a book of simple meditative practices and movements that can help you access and balance your energy
- The Little Green Book of Revolution an inspirational book based on ideas of peaceful revolution, historical activism and caring for the Earth like Native Americans
- The Matrix of Four, The Philosophy of the Duality of Polarity on the subject of the development of individual consciousness
- 108 Steps to Be in The Zone a set of 108 meditative practices and steps toward self discovery and individual betterment, including techniques to develop balance, transmute sexual energy and better the self
- and the controversial book, Terra-ist Letters, a work that humorously contrasts the very serious issues of global nuclear experimentation promotion and global marijuana prohibition
Most of the time, when a person kills an intruder who breaks into his home, dressed in all black and screaming, the homeowner will avoid jail time. But what happens when the break-in was a no-knock SWAT raid, the intruder was a police officer, and the homeowner has a record?
A recent pair of cases in Texas are an example of how wrong no-knock raids can go, for both police and civilians, and how dangerously subjective the SWAT raid process can be. In December 2013, Henry Magee shot and killed a police officer during a pre-dawn, no-knock drug raid on his home. He was initially charged with capital murder, but he argued that he shot the police officer, who he thought was an intruder, to protect his pregnant girlfriend. In February, a grand jury declined to indict him, and charges were dropped.
In May, a Texas man named Marvin Guy also killed a police officer during a pre-dawn, no-knock raid on his home. Guy, too, was charged with capital murder. Unlike Magee’s grand jury, a grand jury in Septemberallowed the capital murder charge against Guy to stand. Guy, who is black, now faces the death penalty. Magee is white.
THERE ARE OVER 20,000 NO-KNOCK RAIDS IN AMERICA EVERY YEAR
Magee’s case wasn’t completely identical to Guy’s — the latter had done prison time on robbery and weapons charges, while Magee’s previous arrests were for marijuana possession and DUI. But the circumstances of the raids, if anything, made Guy’s reaction more justifiable. Police were trying to enter McGee’s house through the door when he shot at them, while, in Guy’s case, they were trying to climb in through the window. And during the raid on McGee’s house, the cops did in fact find a few pounds of marijuana plants. In the raid on Guy’s house, they found nothing.
Advocates say these cases highlight racial bias in the criminal justice system, particularly when the victim is a police officer. But they also highlight the bizarre nature of no-knock raids, which have been criticized for causing unnecessary confusion and endangering innocent adults and children.
In theory, no-knock raids are supposed to be used in only the most dangerous situations. So what might be most surprising about them is how infrequently police officers get killed when they bust into suspected criminals’ homes unannounced.
In reality, though, no-knock raids are a common tactic, even in less-than-dangerous circumstances. There are a staggering 20,000 or more estimated no-knock raids every year across America. By the numbers, it’s clear that no-knock SWAT raids are far more dangerous to civilians than they are to police.
Here’s what you need to know about why no-knock raids happen, why police think they’re necessary, and what happens when things go wrong.
How did no-knock raids become a thing?
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from “unreasonable search,” meaning police can’t bust into your home whenever they feel like it — they need a warrant, granted by a judge. Even a search warrant doesn’t give police the right to enter your home by force — they’re supposed to knock, announce themselves, and give you a chance to open the door.
But as the war on drugs ramped up in the 1970s and 1980s, police argued that criminals and drug dealers were too dangerous to be granted the typical courtesy of knocking first. In the early 1970s, the federal government made it legal for federal law enforcement agents to conduct no-knock raids — but the law was so widely abused that it was repealed a few years later.
Since then, though, a series of court decisions and state laws have carved out a set of circumstances that make it legal for police to raid a house without announcing their presence beforehand. This has happened at the same time that SWAT teams have proliferated around the country. (For more on the history behind SWAT teams and no-knock raids, check out Radley Balko’s definitive book on the subject, Rise of the Warrior Cop.)
MOST SWAT TEAMS SPEND THEIR TIME CARRYING OUT HOME RAIDS
Most SWAT teams spend their time carrying out home raids. The ACLU analyzed 818 records of SWAT exercises from police departments around the country in 2011 and 2012. They found that 80 percent of the time, SWAT teams were deployed to execute a search warrant — instead of crises such as hostage situations or active shooters.
Not all SWAT raids are no-knock raids; police are supposed to jump through an extra set of legal hoops before they can raid someone’s house without knocking. But the line between regular SWAT raids and no-knock raids can get a little blurry.
SWAT teams often use quick-knock raids during which they might not give the suspect a whole lot of time to answer the door after they announce their presence. The legal standards for no-knock and quick-knock raids are different, but to someone whose house is being raided, they can seem pretty similar.
Why do police use no-knock raids?
It’s rare that police really need to raid a home in order to bust someone for drugs. They could always set up a drug buy on the street and surround the suspect there. But police have focused on drug busts in stash houses, or in dealer’s homes, for a few reasons.
For one thing, busting the house where drugs are stored in bulk disrupts the drug supply chain, in theory. For another, if they can charge a dealer with not just the drugs he happens to have on him or in his car when he’s arrested, but with anything he’s keeping in his house, they can slap him with a longer prison sentence. And finally, thanks to civil asset forfeiture, raiding a home lets cops seize whatever drug money (or other illegal money) is being stored there — and perhaps even the home itself — and use it for their own departments.
Over the last few decades, police have also argued successfully that there are some circumstances in which a standard “knock and announce” raid would either jeopardize police safety or make it impossible for them to fight crime.
What are the rules for a no-knock raid?
To get a special no-knock warrant signed by a judge, police have to show that a standard “knock-and-announce” raid wouldn’t work. There are two different arguments police can use for this:
- The suspect is too dangerous. If police knocked and announced their presence, the suspect would have more time to get a weapon and fight.
- If police knocked and announced their presence, the suspect would have time to destroy evidence of a crime before the cops got to him.
The first of those sounds pretty straightforward. The second is rather broad. If they think there are drugs in the house, and the drugs could get flushed down the toilet, police have a case for a no-knock raid. (It’s been argued that this actually makes police more likely to use no-knock raids on small-time dealers rather than major ones, because major dealers would likely have too much product to flush down the toilet.)
For a more detailed, but easy-to-follow, explanation of the legal standards for raids, check out webcomic artist Nathan Burney’s Illustrated Guide to Law.
Is it hard for police to meet those standards?
Nope. It’s rare that judges deny warrants for no-knock raids.
READ THE REST @ vox
VOTE YES! (Story come from MSM whom are in the bag for the FED / IRS)
Tennessee is one of nine states that does not have an income tax.
Anti-tax advocates want to make sure it stays that way. Next week, Tennessee voters will be asked whether the state constitution should be amended to forever prohibit income and payroll taxes.
“Not having an income tax has already brought jobs to Tennessee, and voting ‘yes’ on [question] 3 will bring even more jobs,” said state Sen. Brian Kelsey, a Republican who sponsored the legislation leading to the amendment.
That’s the common argument made by income tax foes — economic growth more than makes up for the money a state loses in revenue from not having an income tax.
But is that true?
The picture is mixed when comparing states with no income taxes to those with the highest marginal rates.
Some statistics, particularly on job growth, back up tax opponents. And people in those states pay fewer taxes in general. But by other measures, such as household income, states with the highest taxes do better (CRAP).
Eight states in addition to Tennessee do not have an income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
Since 2000, those nine states posted stronger median employment growth than the nine states with the highest top marginal income tax rates (California, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin), averaging 11.5 percent job growth compared to the latter group’s rate of 2.9 percent, according to the Census Bureau.
A low income tax encourages people and businesses to move to a state, said Jonathan Williams, director of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council’s Center for State Fiscal Reform.
“The way to increase tax revenue is not to increase the taxes but to increase the number of taxpayers,” Williams said.
States with no income tax have a lower overall tax burden. Residents of high-rate states fork out $4,773 in taxes, over $1,300 more than residents in states without an income tax.
And states with no income tax also tend to be more business-friendly, as five of them have no corporate tax rate. Only Alaska and New Hampshire have corporate tax rates that are comparable to the ones in the high-rate states, running between 7 and 12 percent.
The no-tax states have higher rates of economic growth, too. Their economies grew by 3.3 percent on average since 2005, compared with 2 percent for the high-tax states, according to an August report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The averages are thrown off somewhat by sparsely populated Wyoming growing at 8.4 percent, but some high-population, no-tax states also enjoyed strong growth, such as Texas at 4.3 percent and Florida at 3.7 percent.
States with no income tax must get their revenue from somewhere, though. Sales taxes are one way: They average 4.5 percent, but residents of Tennessee and Nevada pay as much as 7 percent.
“It was 5 percent just a few years ago,” said Dick Williams, chairman of Tennesseans for Fair Taxation. That’s a bad deal for state residents, he argues, since sales taxes fall disproportionately on low-income consumers. “An income tax would grow more in line with people’s needs.”
But sales taxes in no-income-tax states are actually lower than in high-tax states, which charge an average 6 percent — 1.5 points higher.
And living in a state with a high income tax doesn’t mean that other taxes will be lower. In most cases, other tax rates are comparable to or even higher than the ones in states that lack an income tax:
• Gas taxes: People in no-income-tax states pay an average 43.4 cents for every gallon of gas they buy, while high-rate states charge 48.6 cents. The national average is 49 cents.
• Tobacco taxes: No-income-tax states charge $1.46 in taxes for every pack of cigarettes, while smokers pay an extra $2 in high-rate states. The national average is $1.54.
• Property taxes: Counties in no-tax states charge an average 1.1 percent of assessed value, while in high-rate states they charge 1 percent. Most counties nationwide charge between 0.5 percent and 1 percent.
“High income taxes do not necessarily translate into low sales taxes or even property taxes,” said Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, a conservative nonprofit group. “There is a strong correlation in the opposite way, in fact.”
Elizabeth McNichol, senior fellow at the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, notes that many of the no-income-tax states have special advantages that allow them to get by without one. Nearly a quarter of Nevada’s revenue comes from taxes on gambling, while Alaska earned a staggering 92 percent of its general fund revenue last year solely from taxes and royalties on oil drilling. The coffers overflow so much that the state sends annual royalty checks to residents. The latest checks, mailed earlier this month, were for $1,882.
“Other states [such as Wyoming] have mineral wealth. Texas has a lot of land and room for development,” McNichol said.
Tennessee and New Hampshire may not tax regular income, but they do tax dividend and interest income at 6 percent and 5 percent. The Granite State also has a 7 percent telecommunications tax.
Income taxes don’t seem to matter much in terms of the states’ budget health. “We really didn’t see a difference between the high and low income tax states” during the recession, McNichol said.
Part of the problem is that revenue from income taxes can be volatile, Sepp said, resulting in unexpected shortfalls.
Residents of states with high rates are generally doing better, though. They have an average annual income per capita of $45,480, almost $1,000 higher than residents of the no-income-tax states. Median household income is higher too, at $56,583, about $1,500 more.
“A lot of the high-tax states do have higher incomes but that is partly due to the fact that they have higher costs of living,” said ALEC’s Williams. “We think the gap is shrinking, though.”
St Louis County police has spent $172,669 since August on teargas, grenades, pepper balls and other civil disobedience equipment
Police in Ferguson use a variety of crowd-control equipment including teargas following the killing of teenager Michael Brown in
The police department overseeing the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old has spent tens of thousands of dollars replenishing their stocks of teargas, “less lethal” ammunition and riot gear in advance of a potential revival in demonstrations.
St Louis County police made the purchases amid concerns that hundreds of demonstrators will return to the streets if Darren Wilson, the officer who shot dead Michael Brown in August, is not indicted on criminal charges by a grand jury currently considering the case.
A breakdown of the department’s spending since August on equipment intended for the policing of crowds and civil disobedience, which totals $172,669, was obtained by the Guardian from the county force.
Since the height of the protests, the department has spent almost $25,000 buying 650 teargas grenades, smoke-and-gas grenades, smoke canisters and “hornets nest” CS sting grenades, which shoot out dozens of rubber bullets and a powdered chemical agent upon detonation.
It has spent a further $18,000 on 1,500 “beanbag rounds” and 6,000 pepper balls, paintball-style projectiles that explode with a chemical irritant when they strike a protester. The department uses LiveX branded pepper balls, which are billed as ten times hotter than standard pepper rounds.
Another $77,500 has been spent on 235 riot gear helmets, 135 shields, 25 batons and 60 sets of shin guards, and other “uniform items”. A further $2,300 was used to buy another 2,000 sets of the plastic handcuffs that have been used to detain dozens of demonstrators plucked from crowds on West Florissant Avenue.
In addition, an estimated $50,000 has been set aside by the department for repair work for damaged police vehicles. However, in a sign that further clashes are expected, they are in fact “not repairing any vehicles until unrest is over”, a department inventory said.
“We purchase these items in hopes that we never have to use any of them,” said Sergeant Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the county police department. “But it is our responsibility to have proper equipment to keep our police officers and all citizens safe should violence break out anywhere at any time.”
In the event of further unrest, the new equipment is likely to be used alongside new purchases made by the city of St Louis’s metropolitan police force and the Missouri state highway patrol, which was handed temporary control of policing the protests at the height of August’s unrest, following criticism of the county force’s tactics by regional and national leaders.
Captain Tim Hull of the state highway patrol confirmed to the Guardian that the force had bought new crowd control equipment since then. “However, the specific information is [a] closed record” under Missouri state law, Hull said in an email.
The Associated Press previously reported that Chief Sam Dotson of the St Louis metropolitan police said his force recently spent $325,000 on “civil disobedience equipment”. Asked by the Guardian to confirm this total and to provide details of what was bought, a spokeswoman for the force said in an email that this would take several weeks.
The military-style police response to the demonstrations in August, which attracted intense global media coverage, led to calls for restraint from figures such as President Barack Obama and Claire McCaskill, Missouri’s senior US senator.
Observers from Amnesty International said in a report earlier this month that an excessive police reaction to a small minority of violent protesters who threw bottles in Ferguson had run the risk of killing demonstrators and impinged on their human rights.
They noted that the so-called “less-lethal” ammunition shot at crowds in Ferguson – such as wooden bullets, beanbag rounds, and rubber bullets – “can result in serious injury and even death”. The report found that “at least two children were treated for exposure to teargas” during the protests.
“Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict is inevitable rather than possible, escalating tensions between protesters and police,” said the report.
Troops on London streets amid fears of terror attack / Canada : Feds introduce new anti-terrorism bill
Canada false flags turbo-charge troglodyte Harper’s CSIS legislation: Feds introduce new anti-terrorism bill 28 Oct 2014 Canada’s new anti-terrorism legislation gives the country’s domestic spy agency the explicit power to carry out its activities around the world. The Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act, introduced by the public safety minister Monday, also gives legal protection to sources who give or want to give evidence to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)…Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that his government’s anti-terrorist legislation would be “expedited” in light of last Wednesday’s shooting at Ottawa’s War Memorial and inside Parliament, as well as the attack on a soldier last Monday south of Montreal. Canada is part of an international intelligence alliance called the “Five Eyes,” which includes Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.
Ralph Nader, a former Green Party and Independent Party presidential candidate who frequently serves as a loud critic of federal safety standards, doesn’t have much love for presumptive Democratic Party White House candidate Hillary Clinton.
When asked by a writer with We Are Change what he thought of the the former Secretary of State seeking the nation’s highest office, Mr. Nader’s reply was less than enthusiastic.
“Well, Hillary is a corporatist and a militarist,” Mr. Nader said, Raw Story reported. “Do we want another corporatist and militarist? She thinks Obama is too weak. He doesn’t kill enough people overseas. So she’s a menace to the United States of America.”
But he wasn’t done.
“What we need is people — regardless of whether they are libertarians or not — that pull back on the empire and make Wall Street subordinate to Main Street,” Mr. Nader said, Raw Story reported. “People have got to start thinking, doing their homework, become informed voters and not coronet another corporatist and militarist.’
Mr. Nader had some harsh words for Sen. Rand Paul, too.
“He’s like his father Ron Paul,” Mr. Nader said, Raw Story reported, “He is against militarism, against the bloated military budget, against empire and against these foreign military unconstitutional adventures — but Rand Paul is changing by the month as he wants the White House. He is beginning to say, ‘Well, what if we give more aid to Israel?’ … So he is beginning to change.”
Mr. Nader had some words of advice for Mr. Paul: “What he ought to do is go back to his father, sit on his knee and become more like Ron Paul,” he said, Raw Story reported.
WASHINGTON — (NYT) In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations.
The number of requests, contained in a 2014 audit of the surveillance program by the Postal Service’s inspector general, shows that the surveillance program is more extensive than previously disclosed and that oversight protecting Americans from potential abuses is lax.
The audit, along with interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act, offers one of the first detailed looks at the scope of the program, which has played an important role in the nation’s vast surveillance effort since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The audit, which was reported on earlier by Politico, found that in many cases the Postal Service approved requests to monitor an individual’s mail without adequately describing the reason or having proper written authorization.
CreditLuke Sharrett for The New York Times
In addition to raising privacy concerns, the audit questioned the efficiency and accuracy of the Postal Service in handling the requests. Many requests were not processed in time, the audit said, and computer errors caused the same tracking number to be assigned to different surveillance requests.
“Insufficient controls could hinder the Postal Inspection Service’s ability to conduct effective investigations, lead to public concerns over privacy of mail and harm the Postal Service’s brand,” the audit concluded.
The audit was posted in May without public announcement on the website of the Postal Service inspector general and got almost no attention.
The surveillance program, officially called mail covers, is more than a century old, but is still considered a powerful investigative tool. At the request of state or federal law enforcement agencies or the Postal Inspection Service, postal workers record names, return addresses and any other information from the outside of letters and packages before they are delivered to a person’s home.
Law enforcement officials say this deceptively old-fashioned method of collecting data provides a wealth of information about the businesses and associates of their targets, and can lead to bank and property records and even accomplices. (Opening the mail requires a warrant.)
Interviews and court records also show that the surveillance program was used by a county attorney and sheriff to investigate a political opponent in Arizona — the county attorney was later disbarred in part because of the investigation — and to monitor privileged communications between lawyers and their clients, a practice not allowed under postal regulations.
Theodore Simon, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said he was troubled by the audit and the potential for the Postal Service to snoop uncontrolled into the private lives of Americans.
“It appears that there has been widespread disregard of the few protections that were supposed to be in place,” Mr. Simon said.
In information provided to The Times earlier this year under the Freedom of Information Act, the Postal Service said that from 2001 through 2012, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies made more than 100,000 requests to monitor the mail of Americans. That would amount to an average of some 8,000 requests a year — far fewer than the nearly 50,000 requests in 2013 that the Postal Service reported in the audit.
The difference is that the Postal Service apparently did not provide to The Times the number of surveillance requests made for national security investigations or those requested by its own investigation and law enforcement arm, the Postal Inspection Service. Typically, the inspection service works hand in hand with outside law enforcement agencies that have come to the Postal Service asking for investigations into fraud, pornography, terrorism or other potential criminal activity.
The Postal Service also uses a program called Mail Imaging, in which its computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail sent in the United States. The program’s primary purpose is to process the mail, but in some cases it is also used as a surveillance system that allows law enforcement agencies to request stored images of mail sent to and received by people they are investigating.
Another system, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking Program, was created after anthrax attacks killed five people, including two postal workers, in late 2001. It is used to track or investigate packages or letters suspected of containing biohazards like anthrax or ricin. The program was first made public in 2013 in the course of an investigation into ricin-laced letters mailed to President Obama and Michael R. Bloomberg, then New York City’s mayor, by an actress, Shannon Guess Richardson.
Despite the sweep of the programs, postal officials say they are both less intrusive than that of the National Security Agency’s vast collection of phone and Internet records and have safeguards to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans.
“You can’t just get a mail cover to go on a fishing expedition,” said Paul J. Krenn, a spokesman for the Postal Inspection Service. “There has to be a legitimate law enforcement reason, and the mail cover can’t be the sole tool.”
The mail cover surveillance requests cut across all levels of government — from global intelligence investigations by the United States Army Criminal Investigations Command, which requested 500 mail covers from 2001 through 2012, to state-level criminal inquiries by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which requested 69 mail covers in the same period. The Department of Veterans Affairs requested 305, and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security asked for 256. The information was provided to The Times under the Freedom of Information request.
Postal officials did not say how many requests came from agencies in charge of national security — including the F.B.I., the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection — because release of the information, wrote Kimberly Williams, a public records analyst for the Postal Inspection Service, “would reveal techniques and procedures for law enforcement or prosecutions.”
In Arizona in 2011, Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County supervisor, discovered that her mail was being monitored by the county’s sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Ms. Wilcox had been a frequent critic of Mr. Arpaio, objecting to what she considered the targeting of Hispanics in his immigration sweeps.
The Postal Service had granted an earlier request from Mr. Arpaio and Andrew Thomas, who was then the county attorney, to track Ms. Wilcox’s personal and business mail.
Using information gleaned from letters and packages sent to Ms. Wilcox and her husband, Mr. Arpaio and Mr. Thomas obtained warrants for banking and other information about two restaurants the couple owned. The sheriff’s office also raided a company that hired Ms. Wilcox to provide concessions at the local airport.
“We lost the contract we had for the concession at the airport, and the investigation into our business scared people away from our restaurants,” Ms. Wilcox said in an interview. “I don’t blame the Postal Service, but you shouldn’t be able to just use these mail covers to go on a fishing expedition. There needs to be more control.”
She sued the county, was awarded nearly $1 million in a settlement in 2011 and received the money this June when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. Mr. Thomas, the former county attorney, was disbarred for his role in investigations into the business dealings of Ms. Wilcox and other officials and for other unprofessional conduct. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on Mr. Arpaio’s use of mail covers in the investigation of Ms. Wilcox.
In another instance, Cynthia Orr, a defense lawyer in San Antonio, recalled that while working on a pornography case in the early 2000s, federal prosecutors used mail covers to track communications between her team of lawyers and a client who was facing obscenity and tax evasion charges. Ms. Orr complained to prosecutors but never learned if the tracking stopped. Her team lost the case.
“The troubling part is that they don’t have to report the use of this tool to anyone,” Ms. Orr said in an interview. The Postal Service declined to comment on the case.
Frank Askin, a law professor at the Rutgers Constitutional Rights Clinic, who as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union successfully sued the F.B.I. nearly 40 years ago after the agency monitored the mail of a 15-year-old New Jersey student, said he was concerned about the oversight of the current program.
“Postal Service employees are not judicial officers schooled in the meaning of the First Amendment,” Mr. Askin said.
Announcement coming (after school so kids dont get hurt during planned riots)
- Hacker group cite government source when making announcement
- A grand jury was due to make a decision on officer Darren Wilson in January
- But Anonymous says announcement is now expected within a fortnight
- Local police, prisons and the National Guard are on ‘high alert’
- Five other cases involving Wilson dropped after court no-shows
The policeman who shot teenager Michael Brown dead in Ferguson, Missouri, won’t be charged over the death, hacker group Anonymous claim, citing government sources.
If true, the decision will almost certainly inflame racial tensions in the United States. The killing of the unarmed black teenager by the white police officer Darren Wilson sparked weeks of angry protests in Ferguson and has become a flashpoint across America.
Wilson hasn’t been seen in public since Brown’s August 9 killing.
Michael Brown, left, was shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson, right. Anonymous cites unnamed sources as saying Wilson will not face charges over the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9
An autopsy leaked online last week revealed Brown had been shot six times at close range, and had cannabis in his system
Anymous, claiming it had information leaked to them by two sources, reported via Twiitter that Wilson will not be charged
The group tweeted the decision would be made public in an ‘imminent announcement.’
Authorities have made no official decision on whether Wilson will be charged and a grand jury is not set to decide until January 7, but according to Anonymous, a decision may now come within two weeks.
According to the sources speaking to Anonymous and reported by the International Business Times, ‘virtually every local police agency as well as the National Guard and all local jails are on high alert’ ahead of the announcement.
Last week, an official autopsy report into Brown’s death was leaked online and revealed Wilson shot the teenager six times at close range as he ran towards him.
The killing by a white police officer of the unarmed teenager Brown triggered a storm of protest. Anonymous reported that ‘virtually every local police agency as well as the National Guard and all local jails are on high alert’ ahead of the announcement about whether Wilson will be charged
A decision on charges was not expected until January
A toxicology report revealed that Brown was under the influence of marijuana at the time.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that five criminal cases have been dismissed because Wilson has not shown up at court to give evidence.
Details of the dropped cases have not been released, but the latest involved Christopher A. Brooks, 28, having a charge of marijuana possession dropped.
The judge had agreed to put the case on hold after Wilson missed a late September preliminary hearing.
Wilson also didn’t appear before a grand jury in the Brooks case, an alternative that Associate Circuit Judge Mary Bruntrager Schroder signed off on at the previous hearing.
Prosecutors have said they won’t take any action against Wilson, who received a Ferguson City Council commendation in February for his role in Brooks’ arrest, over his failure to appear to give evidence.