Category Archives: civil rights

Dianne Feinstein Accidentally Confirms That NSA Tapped The Internet Backbone


by Mike Masnick

It’s widely known that the NSA has taps connected to the various telco networks, thanks in large part to AT&T employee Mark Klein who blew the whistle on AT&T’s secret NSA room in San Francisco. What was unclear was exactly what kind of access the NSA had. Various groups like the EFF and CDT have both been asking the administration to finally come clean, in the name of transparency, if they’re tapping backbone networks to snarf up internet communications like email. So far, the administration has declined to elaborate. Back in August, when the FISA court declassified its ruling about NSA violations, the third footnote, though heavily redacted, did briefly discuss this “upstream” capability:

In short, “upstream” capabilities are tapping the backbone itself, via the willing assistance of the telcos (who still have remained mostly silent on all of this) as opposed to “downstream” collection, which requires going to the internet companies directly. The internet companies have been much more resistant to government attempts to get access to their accounts. And thus, it’s a big question as to what exactly the NSA can collect via its taps on the internet backbone, and the NSA and its defenders have tried to remain silent on this point, as you can see from the redactions above.

However, as Kevin Bankston notes, during Thursday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Dianne Feinstein more or less admitted that they get emails via “upstream” collection methods. As you can see in the following clip, Feinstein interrupts a discussion to read a prepared “rebuttal” to a point being made, and in doing so clearly says that the NSA can get emails via upstream collections:

Upstream collection… occurs when NSA obtains internet communications, such as e-mails, from certain US companies that operate the Internet background, i.e., the companies that own and operate the domestic telecommunications lines over which internet traffic flows.

She clearly means “backbone” rather than “background.” She’s discussing this in an attempt to defend the NSA’s “accidental” collection of information it shouldn’t have had. But that point is not that important. Instead, the important point is that she’s now admitted what most people suspected, but which the administration has totally avoided admitting for many, many years since the revelations made by Mark Klein.

So, despite years of trying to deny that the NSA can collect email and other communications directly from the backbone (rather than from the internet companies themselves), Feinstein appears to have finally let the cat out of the bag, perhaps without realizing it.



Spy Car Protects Against Unscrupulous Cops

How To Turn Your Vehicle Into A Statement Of Tech Activism Against The Police State

Via: Activist Post

by John Galt

There is clearly no respect for the Fourth Amendment right to probable cause before being interrogated and searched, as many videos on YouTube will confirm. There is also an indisputable trend toward the militarization of police with armored vehicles and an array of exotic battlefield weaponry.  Couple this with new training that we are all “civilians” who could be the next lone wolf domestic terrorists, and we are sliding very fast toward a vicious form of tyranny. Even if you are unarmed, trapped in your vehicle, you are a suspected threat to “officer safety” as you can see in this video. Or if you are already subdued and screaming while being beaten, you are of course “resisting arrest.”

It often takes creativity to overcome tyranny, especially when tyranny is out in the open and proud of its behavior. Perhaps the best proof of conditions in the U.S. is indicated by the increasing number of ways that entrepreneurial freedom-loving individuals are asserting themselves, such as developing a drone detector, a way to disable facial recognition cameras, ways to be anonymous online, or ways to opt out of the surveillance banking system, just to name a few. The maxim thatnecessity is the mother of invention certainly applies.

For freedom on the road, enter the “Spy Car.” The line of defense illustrated below might seem over the top to some people, but then isn’t the police state over the top with the measures they have taken? And that system makes money from harming and extorting the innocent, as former good officers have documented. Do you have any other innovative ideas to take direct action against the police state without resorting to violence or calls to your congressman?  Put your tech solutions into the marketplace now and see if peace sells.

Cop Block: Comply With Everything I Say Or I’ll Break Your Window

Knight News: Police Officer Escalates Routine Brake Light Traffic Stop

Checkmate Danger:The System Wants To Disarm You Politically, Economically and Physically

“One Of The Ordinary Modes, By Which Tyrants Accomplish Their Purposes Without Resistance, Is, By Disarming The People, And Making It An Offense To Keep Arms.”

— Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1840

Are Police And Other Government Employees ‘Fishing For Revenue’ Without A License?


By Duane Sipe

Fellow anglers, a question for you. What are the penalties for fishing without a license? And for fellow citizens; what are the penalties for public servants who ‘fish’ without a license?

From Black’s Law Dictionary, First Edition 1891, we get the definition of ‘license’: A permission, accorded by a competent authority, conferring the right to do some act which without such authorization would be illegal, or would be a trespass or a tort.
Has there been some illegal fishing going on by our public servants? Fishing in the form of police officers here in Ravalli County stopping motorists, for no other reason than to, ‘check papers’, because they were instructed to make at least one stop per hour.

That’s it?
Where is the probable cause?
Please say it isn’t true.
We the people, through our written instruments of law called Constitutions, confer permission to no one, any arbitrary ‘licenses’ for this kind of activity; in fact, quite the opposite. The 4th amendment to the United States Constitution says: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In case one is inclined to believe that this amendment has no effect at the state level, please refer to this writer’s previous article concerning the supremacy clause.
And Article II, Section 11 of the Montana Constitution says: The people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures. No warrant to search any place, or seize any person or thing shall issue without describing the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized, or without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation reduced to writing.
Let’s look at ‘probable cause’, shall we? In Brinegar v. United States (1949), the Supreme Court defined ’probable cause’ as information that would lead “a man of reasonable caution” to believe “that an offense has been or is being committed.” Even further, in Illinois v. Gates (1983), the Court described probable cause as, “a fair probability.”
In regards to our ‘fishing expedition’ what is the offense that our public servant has information on, that would need them to stop a passing motorist? Is there psychic ability by the officer, being able to determine that there is no proof of insurance, or an expired driver’s license, in the vehicles they so choose to stop?
The ‘license to fish’, by our public servants, comes in the form of a properly executed and signed warrant, resulting from the previously determined ‘probable cause’. And the only ‘fish’ that may be caught are the specific items delineated within that warrant.
And, just as a friendly reminder to all who are interested, and especially for the protection of our public servants; the U.S. Code and the Montana Code, in support of their respective Constitutions, spell out the ramifications for anyone who willfully violates any person’s constitutionally secured rights, while performing their duties under the color of law. Here are the specific texts:
US Code:
TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242 (abbreviated)
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned … or both; … and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section … shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
Montana Code:
45-7-401. Official misconduct. (1) A public servant commits the offense of official misconduct when in an official capacity the public servant commits any of the following acts: …
(b) knowingly performs an act in an official capacity that the public servant knows is forbidden by law;
(2) A public servant convicted of the offense of official misconduct shall be fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months, or both.
46-6-420. Arrest, citation, or stop quotas prohibited. (1) A state or local government agency employing a peace officer may not adopt and require a peace officer to comply with a quota and may not suggest a quota for arrests, citations, or investigative stops for any criminal offense or class of criminal offenses, including violations of traffic or motor vehicle laws, contained in state law, an administrative rule adopted by an agency of the state government, or a local government ordinance.
(2) For purposes of this section, “quota” means a specific number of arrests, citations, or investigative stops.
Yes, tough economic times are upon us. But, that doesn’t give a person the right to rob his neighbor of food just because he’s hungry. And as well, it wouldn’t justify the unlawful activity by public officials ‘fishing for revenue’ in the form of fines.
For the sake of preserving our Constitutional Republic(s), let’s hope we are not heading down this, another, slippery slope.


Militarized Police Gone Wild Across America

Lawyers: Illegal Body Cavity Searches Of Women

Do Quotas Pervert Police Priorities?

[Justin Hanners:]
“The role of police in the society I believe are to interfere with the lives of the people as little as possible, but protect them from you know, the 1% element that wants to victimize them. You know, let them be free to live their lives, but protect the people and the property, and that’s what they pay us to do.” (source)

“I got into law enforcement to serve and protect, not be a bully.”      transcript

Cop Fired for Speaking Out Against Ticket and Arrest Quotas

via: Tracy Oppenenheimer

Auburn, Alabama is home to sprawling plains, Auburn University, and a troubling police force. After the arrival of a new police chief in 2010, the department entered an era of ticket quotas and worse.

“When I first heard about the quotas I was appalled,” says former Auburn police officer Justin Hanners, who claims he and other cops were given directives to hassle, ticket, or arrest specific numbers of residents per shift. “I got into law enforcement to serve and protect, not be a bully.”

Hanners blew the whistle on the department’s tactics and was eventually fired for refusing to comply and keep quiet. He says that each officer was required to make 100 contacts each month, which included tickets, arrests, field interviews, and warnings. This equates to 72,000 contacts a year in a 50,000 person town. His claims are backed up by audio recordings of his superiors he made. The Auburn police department declined requests to be interviewed for this story.

“There are not that many speeders, there are not that many people running red lights to get those numbers, so what [the police] do is they lower their standards,” says Hanners. That led to the department encouraging officers to arrest people that Hanners “didn’t feel like had broken the law.”


Former Reason staffer Radley Balko, now an investigative reporter for the Huffington Post and author of the new book, Rise of the Warrrior Cop, says that this isn’t just a nuisance, it infringes on public safety.

“You have a policy that encourages police to create petty crimes and ignore serious crimes, and that’s clearly the opposite of what we want our police to be doing,” says Balko.

Hanners repeatedly voiced his concerns through his chain of command, and the department responded that these requirements are necessary for increasing productivity.

Yet Hanners firmly believes that the quotas are entirely revenue driven.

“I had no intention of dropping it,” says Hanners, “This is a problem in more places than Auburn, and I think once the people know that they can hold their public officials accountable, it’ll change.”

The police chief singled out by Hanners retired this July, citing medical reasons.


You Might Be A Felon: Because Everything You Do Is Illegal

Via:  Richmond Times- Dispatch

Elizabeth Daly went to jail over a case of bottled water.

According to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, shortly after 10 p.m. April 11, the University of Virginia student bought ice cream, cookie dough and a carton of LaCroix sparkling water from the Harris Teeter grocery store at the popular Barracks Road Shopping Center. In the parking lot, a half-dozen men and a woman approached her car, flashing some kind of badges. One jumped on the hood. Another drew a gun. Others started trying to break the windows.

Daly understandably panicked. With her roommate in the passenger seat yelling “Go, go, go!” Daly drove off, hoping to reach the nearest police station. The women dialed 911. Then a vehicle with lights and sirens pulled them over, and the situation clarified: The people who had swarmed Daly’s vehicle were plainclothes agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The agents had thought the sparkling water was a 12-pack of beer.

Did the ABC’s enforcers apologize? Not in the slightest. They charged Daly with three felonies: two for assaulting an officer (her vehicle had grazed two agents; neither was hurt) and one for eluding the police. Last week, the commonwealth’s attorney dropped the charges.

The agents’ excessive display of force is outrageously disproportionate to the offense they mistakenly thought they witnessed: an underage purchase of alcohol. But in a sense, Daly got off easy. A couple of weeks after her ordeal, a 61-year-old man in Tennessee was killed when the police executed a drug raid on the wrong house. A few weeks later, in another wrong-house raid, police officers killed a dog belonging to an Army veteran. These are not isolated incidents; for more information, visit the interactive map

Full Article

How The Feds Target The Innocent 

There are So Many Rules ‘Masquerading As Law’ The Government Can’t Count Them

“I broke the law yesterday,” writes George Mason economics professor Alex Tabarrok, “and I probably will break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. … It’s hard for anyone to live today without breaking the law. Doubt me? Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that … was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to five years in prison.” Tabarrok notes that lawyer Harvey Silverglate thinks the typical American commits “Three Felonies a Day” — the title of Silverglate’s book on the subject.  (source)



Independence Day? Not. More Like A Police State

Part2             Part3

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Alfred Adask Explains the significance of the ‘Preamble To The Bill Of Rights’

How can America be independent, when  Obama signed on for Global Taxes, more Free Trade and Global Control of Business at The G8 and G20 Summits.

Meet The Presidents Above The President Of The United States 

The U.S. Is A Police State

License-Plate Readers Let Police Collect Millions Of Records On Drivers

 Via: Center for Investigative Reporting

When the city of San Leandro, Calif., purchased a license-plate reader for its police department in 2008, computer security consultant Michael Katz-Lacabe asked the city for a record of every time the scanners had photographed his car.

The results shocked him.

The paperback-size device, installed on the outside of police cars, can log thousands of license plates in an eight-hour patrol shift. Katz-Lacabe said it had photographed his two cars on 112 occasions, including one image from 2009 that shows him and his daughters stepping out of his Toyota Prius in their driveway.

That photograph, Katz-Lacabe said, made him “frightened and concerned about the magnitude of police surveillance and data collection.” The single patrol car in San Leandro equipped with a plate reader had logged his car once a week on average, photographing his license plate and documenting the time and location.

At a rapid pace, and mostly hidden from the public, police agencies throughout California have been collecting millions of records on drivers and feeding them to intelligence fusion centers operated by local, state and federal law enforcement.


An image captured by a license-plate reader in 2009 shows Katz-Lacabe and his daughters stepping out of a car in their driveway. The photograph made Katz-Lacabe “frightened and concerned about the magnitude of police surveillance and data collection,” he says.

Credit: San Leandro Police Department photo courtesy of Michael Katz-Lacabe


With heightened concern over secret intelligence operations at the National Security Agency, the localized effort to track drivers highlights the extent to which the government has committed to collecting large amounts of data on people who have done nothing wrong.   (full article)

Big Brother or Better Police Work?

Popular Science: License Plate Readers Are Photographing You Everywhere

License Plate Readers Threaten Our Civil Rights