James Corbett demonstrates the psuedo-progressive tendency to support the security apparatus. Rachel Maddow attempts to distract the public through race-baiting to discourage one of the most effective means of dealing with NSA abuses – Nullification. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at the current state of web-based independent media. Check out www.corbettreport.com
NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake was interviewed Monday, October 14th for his participation in the ceremony honoring Edward Snowden, who revealed mass government spying against U.S. citizens. In his interview with Amy Goodman about British intelligence trying to get the head of The New York Times to hand over the NSA documents of Edward Snowden, Drake states:
This is clearly a brazen attempt to remove from public disclosure and public interest the extraordinary revelations of Edward Snowden in terms of the institutionalized surveillance state and NSA’s direct partnership with GCHQ, not just on a—you know, on an international scale. And so, you know, this just strikes again at the reality that it’s extremely dangerous in today’s world, in the United States as well as within the United Kingdom, to speak truth to or of power, and if you do so, it becomes a criminal act. Yet the very individuals in the United States, through a whole litany of lies before Congress and the public, as has been clearly demonstrated over the last number of years—the fact that we’ve essentially had the equivalent of a constitutional coup d’état since 9/11, we’ve come off the rails in terms of the rule of law, and we’re simply—we’re simply going to get all the data we can, no matter what—where it is and no matter what form it takes, because we just need it in case we need to protect our nation ostensibly under that label and mantle of national security, which I’ve argued has really become the new state religion in the United States and is something you don’t question.
Kevin Ryan’s latest article, “The NSA Spying and Lying Relates to 9/11” provides the details behind the “litany of Lies” Drake is referring to. Drake’s statement confirms that Kevin Ryan’s concerns are well founded:
“People should wonder if the crimes that the NSA is committing against American citizens today are, in fact, somehow connected to the crimes of 9/11. Not in the sense of preventing terrorism, but in a way that suggests the ongoing implementation of a long-term plan to control the world’s most strategic resources and also the American people.”
The last six months have seen an acceleration of the trends we have been closely monitoring and presenting for the last three years. It’s difficult to recall since 9/11 ever seeing such a rapid push for the erosion of civil liberties, the related loss of cognitive liberties and the continued adulteration of our water, air and food.
We have seen the true nature of the surveillance state and it’s power over public officials. The NSA has subverted the balance of powers as congressmen, federal officials, and judges have been bribed through the use of NSA recordings.
For the last three years, the Intercept has been actively reposting news items that were considered by us as ground breaking or significant. We have the proud track record of only one article we presented that proved to be misleading or false – an early repost of an article by Sorcha Faal, later discredited as a subterfuge. Ironically, the most significant part of that particular article was President Barack Obama assassinating citizens without due process, a phenomenon now recognized as a matter of public record.
This act of collecting articles has been as beneficial to us as it has been for our readers. Truth is stranger than fiction and we have, no doubt, amassed a great deal of material for our work in the near future. I have written in depth about election fraud, the carbon orthodoxy, and the rigged economy, but have limited production to periodic original articles and daily reposts. Though we took pride in what we selected to post, we were limited by a life-threatening illness that has sapped the energy, time and resources necessary to be more productive.
An autoimmune disorder (sarcoidosis) has ruined my heart, so this spring I have been attached to a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), which is a machine similar to what Dick Cheney used to pump oxygenated blood throughout his body. There’s a lot to be said for having oxygenated blood coursing through your veins after years of never getting enough and never knowing what was missing.
From now on, the Intercept will only present original material. Check back for straight-up news articles, satirical fiction and multimedia content. Fortunately, the nixing of our reposts is adequately covered by a number of key sites. We hope you are as deeply concerned about the limiting insular nature of independent media and the lack of hard figures about how many are watching. If you haven’t already, please consider a close look at the sites we have referenced in our posts. Meanwhile, we will set up a way of accessing all our original material to date
Edward Snowden was interviewed over several days in Hong Kong by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill.
Q: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?
A: “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
Q: But isn’t there a need for surveillance to try to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks such as Boston?
A: “We have to decide why terrorism is a new threat. There has always been terrorism. Boston was a criminal act. It was not about surveillance but good, old-fashioned police work. The police are very good at what they do.”
Q: Do you see yourself as another Bradley Manning?
A: “Manning was a classic whistleblower. He was inspired by the public good.”
Q: Do you think what you have done is a crime?
A: “We have seen enough criminality on the part of government. It is hypocritical to make this allegation against me. They have narrowed the public sphere of influence.”
Q: What do you think is going to happen to you?
A: “Nothing good.”
Q: Why Hong Kong?
A: “I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom. Still, Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People’s Republic of China. It has a strong tradition of free speech.”
Q: What do the leaked documents reveal?
A: “That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”
Snowden is a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA
Q: What about the Obama administration’s protests about hacking by China?
A: “We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries.”
Q: Is it possible to put security in place to protect against state surveillance?
A: “You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying. We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify your machine. You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”
Q: Does your family know you are planning this?
A: “No. My family does not know what is happening … My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with …
I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. I am not going to be able to communicate with them. They [the authorities] will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night.”
Q: When did you decide to leak the documents?
A: “You see things that may be disturbing. When you see everything you realise that some of these things are abusive. The awareness of wrong-doing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up [and decided this is it]. It was a natural process.
“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”
Q: What is your reaction to Obama denouncing the leaks on Friday while welcoming a debate on the balance between security and openness?
A: “My immediate reaction was he was having difficulty in defending it himself. He was trying to defend the unjustifiable and he knew it.”
Q: What about the response in general to the disclosures?
A: “I have been surprised and pleased to see the public has reacted so strongly in defence of these rights that are being suppressed in the name of security. It is not like Occupy Wall Street but there is a grassroots movement to take to the streets on July 4 in defence of the Fourth Amendment called Restore The Fourth Amendment and it grew out of Reddit. The response over the internet has been huge and supportive.”
Q: Washington-based foreign affairs analyst Steve Clemons said he overheard at the capital’s Dulles airport four men discussing an intelligence conference they had just attended. Speaking about the leaks, one of them said, according to Clemons, that both the reporter and leaker should be “disappeared”. How do you feel about that?
A: “Someone responding to the story said ‘real spies do not speak like that’. Well, I am a spy and that is how they talk. Whenever we had a debate in the office on how to handle crimes, they do not defend due process – they defend decisive action. They say it is better to kick someone out of a plane than let these people have a day in court. It is an authoritarian mindset in general.”
Q: Do you have a plan in place?
A: “The only thing I can do is sit here and hope the Hong Kong government does not deport me … My predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values. The nation that most encompasses this is Iceland. They stood up for people over internet freedom. I have no idea what my future is going to be.
“They could put out an Interpol note. But I don’t think I have committed a crime outside the domain of the US. I think it will be clearly shown to be political in nature.”
Q: Do you think you are probably going to end up in prison?
A: “I could not do this without accepting the risk of prison. You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, over time they will.”
Q: How to you feel now, almost a week after the first leak?
A: “I think the sense of outrage that has been expressed is justified. It has given me hope that, no matter what happens to me, the outcome will be positive for America. I do not expect to see home again, though that is what I want.”
Internet Users Targeted In Massive NSA Spy Program
According to a report released by The Washington Post, the National Security Agency and the FBI have been partnering up to take user data from nine major Internet companies. Meghan Lopez explains the PRISM program.
POLICE STATE: Obama Administration Caught Spying on your emails, phones calls, bank records & Internet usage.
In what could be one of the largest scandals, and breach of public trust to come out of the white house, information is coming today suggesting that our government is involved in one of the largest collections of private American public data in the history of our country.
They’re Specifically Targeting Americans
The National Security Agency has long argued that their power allows them to spy on those outside the United States, while always maintaining that private American Communications were off limits. But it looks like the latest Obama Administration scandal has The FBI, on the NSA’s behalf, forcing Verizon Communications to turn over data on millions of U.S. customers.
The order specifically targeted American Citizens, and explicitly excluded those outside of America.
The Obama administration, who had to respond to yet another scandal this morning, tried to defend the actions by claiming that the massive amount of telephone records were part of U.S. counterterrorism efforts that were critical to protecting Americans from attacks.
Do they really expect us to believe that millions of Americans are terrorists?
So based on the Obama administration’s admission, one would have to believe that millions of Americans are now in some way taking part in terrorist activity or plotting to attack America. Do they really think that people are going to buy this crap.
Phone Sex, Banks & Google for Emails: The NSA Spying Is Bigger Than Verizon
“And the NSA isn’t just collecting the things we say. It’s also tracking what we buy and where we go”
CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher…
CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through Smart Products.
Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm.
All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.
Whistleblowers: NOT JUST VERIZION.. NSA DEMANDED records from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile
Nation of Change
When a horrific incident like this is used to justify such new threats to our Constitutional freedom as an unprecedented martial law-style lockdown of an entire 1-million-person metropolitan area and a precedent-setting deliberately Miranda-free, attorney-free interrogation of a hospitalized, gravely wounded and sedated suspect, it is critical that the whole story be told, not just the official one.
Speaking as an investigative reporter with almost 40 years’s experience, I can say that when government officials won’t talk, they’re generally hiding something embarrassing or worse.
I tried, and nobody will talk about those Craft International Services private security personnel who were widely observed and photographed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, wearing security ear-pieces, hats and T-shirts bearing the company’s skull logo, and all wearing the same dark coats, khaki pants and combat boots, some carrying what appear to have been radiation detectors. (I got no hard answers, though there were some inadvertent hints given.)
I first contacted a man identifying himself as Jack Fleming, a public affairs person with the Boston Athletic Assn., sponsor of the marathon. Fleming advised me that “If you want to ask about that you should contact the Commonwealth (of Massachusetts) Executive Office of Public Safety.”
I called that agency and spoke with the public information office there, a man named Terrell. He first said, “Did you call the Marathon organizers?” When I replied that I had, and that they had said to call his office, he replied, “They did?” Then he said, “You should call the City of Boston Police Department. They released a security plan to some media organizations.”
Indeed they had released that plan to the Boston Globe. Based upon the information it got from the police the article the Globe ran, did report that the Police had deployed “air patrols, K9 units, and more than 1,000 uniformed officers and soldiers along the 26-mile course and the finish line,” but it made no mention of the private contracting of soldiers-for-hire, which is what Craft International does (see the Craft website). News agency Reuters reported, meanwhile, that a top official for the Massachusetts state Homeland Security Department, Undersecretary Kurt Schwartz, told a group at Harvard U. that his agency had “planned” for a possible bombing attack on the marathon, even running a “table-top” exercise about such an event a week before the race.
I called the Boston Police to ask if they had hired the Craft International personnel who were observed at the scene just before and after the bombing, and was told by the public affairs office there that “Anything having to do with the investigation of the bombing would have to be referred to the FBI Boston Division office.” When I pointed out that I wasn’t asking anything about the investigation, but was simply asking who had hired the security personnel from Craft International, the answer was simply repeated: “You’ll have to ask the FBI.”
So I called the FBI, and got a public affairs person there named Amanda Cox. Her initial response to my question was, “I do not have any information on that,” then said I had been referred to her by the Boston Police Department, and said that photos of the scene after the bombing had shown Craft International personnel conversing with FBI agents. She then put down the phone, and I could hear her turn to a supervisor and ask, her voice muffled, “This guy’s asking about the Craft Security Consultants — who hired them and what they were doing.”
I next overheard the muffled voice of another woman to whom she had been speaking reply, “I think you could safely say, ‘I do know we worked with a lot of people who worked on security at the marathon…’” After that I couldn’t make out what was being said.
Cox later returned to the phone, and instead told me, “I’d refer you to the company on any information about who hired them.” (Taken together the overheard conversation and the official answer from Cox would at least seem to confirm that Craft’s people were hired for the event, and that the FBI knows a lot more than it is willing to say about them.)
Next I called Craft International. The company has no phone number listed on its website — just a general email address of firstname.lastname@example.org (to which I wrote to asking for information, but which elicited no response)–but I found one listed for their headquarters office at 2101 Cedar Springs Rd., Suite 1400, Dallas, TX, in a listing on the company published in a directory in Bloomberg Businessweek, This entry noted that the company, in addition to “providing security, defense, and combat weapons training services for military, police, corporate and civilian clients in the US and internationally,” also “offers corporate and private and civilian training services…” The number, published in a business magazine, was clearly meant as a contact for potential customers to call.
A woman answered the phone brightly with the company’s name. However, when I identified myself as a reporter, and said I was wondering if someone could tell me who had hired personnel from the firm to work at the Boston Marathon, she responded with a flummoxed: “Um, I um, don’t really have any information on that. I’m just an answering service.”
I replied, “Look, the number I called is listed as the number of the company’s corporate headquarters at 2101 Cedar Springs Road. You’re not an answering service.”
At that point she said, “Let me see who I can transfer you to.”
However, after a long pause, she was back, and said, “The answer I’ve been given is that you should go to the website, where there’s an email address you can write to with your question.”
I had already done that, I told her. She then said she couldn’t help me and hung up.
I also called the US Department of Homeland Security, but a women named Angela who answered the press office number for this public government agency (she refused to provide her last name despite being the public information office) said the DHS media office was “only taking inquiries sent in by email.” I sent in an inquiry asking if any unit of the DHS had hired Craft International to provide security at the Boston Marathon, but so far have received no response.
As things stand, since it’s highly unlikely that Craft International, a private for-profit enterprise founded by the late ace Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle, would have “hired” itself to police the Marathon gratis, it seems pretty clear that we had rent-a-special forces-soldier people, hired by some agency, at the scene of the bombing ahead of the bombing.
And we have no reporting on this in the mainstream corporate media.
Why? I have no answer to that.
I did write to Andrea Estes, the lead writer of the Globe’s piece on police security planning mentioned above, who is described in her bio on the Globe’s website staff page as an “investigative reporter specializing in government accountability.”
I called and left a message on her phone, and sent her an email, asking if she had looked into the Craft Security personnel, to see who hired them, what they were doing at the race finish line, and why they appeared be carrying radiation detectors. She has so far not responded to my request for information and assistance concerning anything she had done or learned about this, or whether she had looked into it at all.
Certainly there is a big accountability question. A bunch of them actually. Here are a few:
- If Craft International people were hired, who hired them and why?
- If it was the Boston Police or the FBI that hired them, why won’t they just say so? Simply hiring outside security help should not be a secret, and could in no way affect the investigation into the bombing and the captured suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, so why the secrecy about that? Given all the police presence, and the size of the FBI’s Boston division, why did they need those extra guys from a private rent-a-soldier firm?
- If it was not the Boston Police or the FBI, what agency did hire the company, and why?
- If it was the state’s Homeland Security Dept. or or the state Executive Office of Public Safety, or perhaps more likely, the US Department of Homeland Security, did they notify the FBI that they had done so, and tell the agency what had prompted them to do this?
- The big overarching question when it comes to who hired Craft International is, what possible gain in security could have been achieved by adding what appears to be seven guys (or perhaps a few more who didn’t appear in photos) from a private security firm when the Boston Police had in place over 1000 armed security people from their office and the National Guard, and when, as became evident immediately after the bombs went off, a large number of FBI personnel were also on hand?
Unless, of course, the Craft Security people were aware of something that we, the public, including the race participants and spectators, and perhaps even the police and FBI, were not aware of.
Transparency is critical to accountability. At this point, it is clear that we have had a massive failure of the national security state. Despite the fact that the FBI was aware of concerns about Tarmelan Tsarnaev, and the fact that the CIA had him on a watch list, he appears to have been able to work on line to learn how to build a powerful homemade bomb, to obtain the materials, including a substantial quantity of black powder, to build a number of them, and, allegedly with the help of his younger brother Dzhokhar, to place them near the finish line and detonate two of them, killing three people and injuring as many as 200. That’s a huge intelligence fail.
It would be an even bigger fail if it turns out that some agency had awareness of a credible threat and that it hired Craft International personnel to prevent it. We clearly need to know, and have a right to demand to know, who hired those men and why. After all, at a minimum, on the face of things, they did an abysmal job of preventing a bombing right in front of their supposedly well-trained noses.
And of course, as I wrote earlier, there is also another question, which is really disturbing: The image of the exploded backpack released by the FBI and identified as the remains of the pack that was carrying one of the two pressure-cooker bombs, prominently displays a white square on a black background. This is not a doctored photograph; it’s the photograph that was released by the FBI. There are also at least two photos depicting one of the Craft International men who is wearing a black backpack identical to several of the other Craft International personnel. The same white square is also visible on the top of his pack.
There does not appear to be any such white marking — square or otherwise — on the top of the black backpack worn by Tarmelan Tsarnaev, as observed in several security photos taken of him (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was shown carrying a smaller white or light-colored pack, slung over one shoulder). Check out the images below of Tarmelan, the exploded bag and the Craft International character:
I am not drawing any conclusions from any of this, but I will say that when government agencies at all levels and a private contracting firm are all this obtuse and secretive (and in some cases even deceptive) about what should be a simple question — who hired these men? — my suspicions are aroused.
Somebody’s clearly hiding something.
And by the way, why aren’t the mainstream media asking about this? Are corporate media journalists so intimidated about being labeled “conspiracy nuts” that they can’t do their jobs? At a minimum, this goes to the question of accountability. It also goes to the question of inter-agency communication or lack of it. And given what we know about how many times the FBI has been an active encourager and enabler of terror plots which it later thwarts and claims credit for preventing, there’s the question, too of potential official culpability. Furthermore, when an horrific incident like this is used to justify such new threats to our Constitutional freedom as an unprecedented martial law-style lockdown of an entire 1-million-person metropolitan area and a precedent-setting deliberately Miranda-free, attorney-free interrogation of a hospitalized, gravely wounded and sedated suspect, it is critical that the whole story be told, not just the official one.
(Photos) Seen across street after blasts talking with FBI bomb squad. Who were they? What were they and the FBI doing?
What appear to be private contractors, wearing unmarked, matching uniforms and operating an unmarked SUV affixed with communication equipment near the finish line of the Boston Marathon shortly after the bomb blasts – can be seen beforehand, standing and waiting just meters away from where the first bomb was detonated.
The contractor-types had moved away from the bomb’s location before it detonated, and could be seen just across the street using communication equipment and waiting for similar dressed and equipped individuals to show up after the blasts.
Image: An already widely distributed photo showing the contractor-types on the bottom left, just left of where the bomb was placed and detonated. The men are wearing matching, unmarked uniforms, large black bags, and appear to be waiting, separately, and “behind” the rest of the crowd. In the upper left corner, a wooden structure forming one half of a temporary photography “bridge” over the finish line can be seen and serves as a useful reference when establishing the contractor-types’ position in other photos.
Image: After the explosion, two of the contractors seen by the wall next to the bomb, appear across the street, both using communication equipment. This photo too has been distributed and enlarged many times across the Internet. (click to enlarge)
Image: Event staff and contractors both above and below the bleachers begin tearing up the skirting and appear to be looking for something or retrieving something while casualties are still being treated and evacuated across the street. (click to enlarge)
The men, numbering between 6-8 then begin tearing up the skirting around temporary bleachers erected for the event, opposite the explosion, before taping it off. Then, what appears to be an FBI bomb squad truck pulls up directly behind the contractor-types’ SUV, with a woman clearly wearing the letters F.B.I. on her tactical vest emerging and speaking with the contractor-types. Together they disappear from the scene, leaving their vehicles behind.
Image: What appears to be an FBI bomb squad truck pulls in, with a woman wearing what is clearly the letters F.B.I. on her vest. She talks with two contractors while it appears a third is partially in the truck’s right-hand side. Also note that the area contractors and event staff tore up, is now taped off. (click to enlarge)
Image: The FBI truck and contractor SUV sit seemingly abandoned – neither the FBI agent, nor the contractors can be seen. What they did, or where they went remains so far, unknown. (click to enlarge)
It should be noted, that with the exception of the contractor-types, all other responders at the scene, including the FBI agent, can be clearly identified, from police to the fire department, to medics and even individuals wearing vests with “B.A.A. Physician” written on them. It should also be noted that no other uniformed individuals can be seen standing near the bomb site aside from the contractor-types.
These men were unidentified, professional contractors apparently augmenting public servants at the Boston Marathon, present before and after the bomb blasts in the direct vicinity of the incident. After the blasts, whether it was their intended function or not, they appeared to be searching for something under the bleachers before being joined by what appears to be the FBI bomb squad. The FBI and the city of Boston has so far categorically failed to provide any information on these highly suspicious individuals.
Questions That Must be Answered
Several questions must be answered by the FBI, leading the investigation on behalf of we, the American people. The first question is who these men were, with large, black bags in the direct vicinity of where a bomb would detonate, moving away before the blast, and appearing directly across the road afterward. Who hired them and what was their function? Why were they moving amongst the crowd in a semi-covert fashion when all other public servants present were wearing proper uniforms and clearly identified? Did police, firefighters, event organizers, and medics know these men were present and what they were doing?
Why did it appear that the FBI was fully aware of their presence, and in fact working with them, specifically with what looks like a bomb squad unit? Were these contractors specialists in explosives, and if so, what is the significance that at least two of them were spotted just meters from where the blast occurred?
Why These Questions Demand Answers
The checkered, frightening history (see: FBI’s History of Handing “Terror Suspects” Live Explosives) of the FBI’s involvement in fomenting false terror attacks, and even presiding over attacks that succeeded in maiming and killing innocent people, should call into question their presence or involvement at any public event, especially when seen associating with unidentified, semi-clandestine organizations that appear to be private contractors.
Private contractors as well, do not answer or work for the public, but rather the highest bidder. Private contractors, most notably Blackwater and its various incarnations have operated both domestically and abroad, committing obscene crimes and atrocities with seemingly absolute impunity. The term “defense contractor” is in fact a euphemism for mercenary, and has no place in a civilized, democratic world, no matter what their alleged mission statement may claim.
That both of these nefarious entities were present and cooperating in the direct vicinity of the Boston bombings, with at least two contractors standing just meters away from where the bomb actually went off, raises a number of possibilities and concerns. A drill may have been being conducted, though the FBI and city officials have denied this. Or, a threat may have been communicated to event organizers ahead of time, which prompted the inclusion of “auxiliary” security, though again, both the FBI and the city of Boston deny receiving any information prior to the bombings. Whichever contracting firm this may have been, may just have wanted to swindle Boston’s taxpayers for an easy payday, and coincidentally found itself in the middle of extraordinary circumstances.
However, alarming suspicion is raised when the FBI makes no mention of an organization it was clearly coordinating with, particularly in terms of bombs and explosives before and after the incident, considering the nature of the attack. When an already dubious organization attempts to obfuscate the facts of any given event, it is the right and responsibility of legitimate law enforcement, public representatives and the citizenry itself to demand and get answers. If we are not persistent, with the FBI’s bizarre behavior over the past few days, including inexplicably cancelled and suspiciously rushed press conferences, and now what appears to be a Hollywood ending for the case, we may never get those answers.
Note: Most images were taken from Flickr user HahaTango, the entire collection of 150 images from the Boston Marathon can be found here.
U.S. Naval Research Lab
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory research physicists and engineers from the Plasma Physics Division, working at the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) transmitter facility, Gakona, Alaska, successfully produced a sustained high density plasma cloud in Earth’s upper atmosphere.
“Previous artificial plasma density clouds have lifetimes of only ten minutes or less,” said Paul Bernhardt, Ph.D., NRL Space Use and Plasma Section. “This higher density plasma ‘ball’ was sustained over one hour by the HAARP transmissions and was extinguished only after termination of the HAARP radio beam.”
Sequence of images of the glow plasma discharge produced with transmissions at the third electron gyro harmonic using the HAARP HF transmitter, Gakona, Alaska. The third harmonic artificial glow plasma clouds were obtained with HAARP using transmissions at 4.34 megahertz (MHz). The resonant frequency yielded green line (557.7 nanometer emission) with HF on November 12, 2012, between the times of 02:26:15 to 02:26:45 GMT.
(Photo: SRI International—Elizabeth Kendall)
These glow discharges in the upper atmosphere were generated as a part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored Basic Research on Ionospheric Characteristics and Effects (BRIOCHE) campaign to explore ionospheric phenomena and its impact on communications and space weather.
Using the 3.6-megawatt high-frequency (HF) HAARP transmitter, the plasma clouds, or balls of plasma, are being studied for use as artificial mirrors at altitudes 50 kilometers below the natural ionosphere and are to be used for reflection of HF radar and communications signals.
Past attempts to produce electron density enhancements have yielded densities of 4 x 105 electrons per cubic centimeter (cm3) using HF radio transmissions near the second, third, and fourth harmonics of the electron cyclotron frequency. This frequency near 1.44 MHz is the rate that electrons gyrate around the Earth’s magnetic field.
The NRL group succeeded in producing artificial plasma clouds with densities exceeding 9 x 105 electrons cm3 using HAARP transmission at the sixth harmonic of the electron cyclotron frequency.
Optical images of the artificial plasma balls show that they are turbulent with dynamically changing density structures. Electrostatic waves generated by the HAARP radio transmissions are thought to be responsible for accelerating electrons to high enough energy to produce the glow discharge in the neutral atmosphere approaching altitudes of nearly 170 kilometers.
The artificial plasma clouds are detected with HF radio soundings and backscatter, ultrahigh frequency (UHF) radar backscatter, and optical imaging systems. Ground measurements of stimulated electromagnetic emissions provide evidence of the strength and frequency for the electrostatic waves that accelerated ambient electrons to ionizing velocities.
The NRL team is working with collaborators at SRI International, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Florida, and BAE Systems on this project to synthesize the observations with parametric interactions theory to develop a comprehensive theory of the plasma cloud generation. The next HAARP campaign, scheduled for early 2013, will include experiments to develop denser, more stable ionization clouds.
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy’s full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 85 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today’s world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
‘Smart borders’: enhancing mobility and security … The EU is moving towards a more modern and efficient border management by using state-of-the-art technology. Today, the Commission proposed a ‘smart border package’ to speed-up, facilitate and reinforce border check procedures for foreigners travelling to the EU. The package consists of a Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) and an Entry/Exit System (EES) that will simplify life for frequent third country travellers at the Schengen external borders and enhance EU border security. – European Commission Press Release
Dominant Social Theme: “I’m from the EU and I’m here to help.”
Free-Market Analysis: As we have mentioned numerous times, the ultimate goal of the current security regime seems to be to create a two-tier travel system in which some people – with government approved credentials – will be able to travel with relative ease while others will not.
We have in various articles catalogued US programs that allow one to be “pre-approved” and thus avoid the long lines of those who are yet, apparently, to be considered potential terrorists. Eventually, such system will turn into something more difficult, of course – as the emphasis shifts from the approved to the non-approved.
In other words, eventually those who are not approved to travel may have trouble taking advantage of modern travel conveniences such as planes, trains, buses and eventually automobiles.
This is the logical outcome of the kind of regulatory state that is now being constructed using the war on terror as a pretext. It is apparently a prelude to global (centralized) governance and must be instituted since most people don’t want to live in a single world construct and therefore need to be herded – forcefully – in that direction. Travel restrictions are a useful tool.
If such a scenario is to be realized, it must be effective not just in the US but throughout the West and perhaps worldwide. Now in a press released, we are informed the EU is taking steps to harmonize its travel program with the US’s and other powers.
For now, of course, it’s pitched as a convenience. Here’s a further excerpt from the press release:
“The use of new technologies will enable smoother and speedier border crossing for third country citizens who want to come to the EU. Our aim is to facilitate the access of foreign travellers to the EU. This will not only be in the interest of the travellers but also the European economy. It has been estimated that in 2011 alone foreign travellers made a €271 billion contribution to our economy. Modernising our systems will also lead to a higher level of security by preventing irregular border crossings and detecting those who overstay’, said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
Regulation on an EU Registered Traveller Programme (RTP)
1. A Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) will allow frequent travellers from third countries to enter the EU using simplified border checks, subject to pre-screening and vetting. It is estimated that 5 million legitimate non EU-travellers per year will make use of this new program. The RTP will make use of automated border control systems (i.e. automated gates) at major border crossing points such as airports that make use of this modern technology. As a result, border checks of Registered Travellers would be much faster than nowadays.
2. Business travellers, workers on short term contracts, researchers and students, third country nationals with close family ties to EU citizens or living in regions bordering the EU are all likely to cross the borders several times a year. Making it as easy as possible for them to come to the EU would ensure that Europe remains an attractive destination and help boosting economic activity and job creation.
Regulation on an EU Entry/Exit system
1. An Entry/Exit System (EES) will record the time and place of entry and exit of third country nationals travelling to the EU. The system will calculate the length of the authorised short stay in an electronic way, replacing the current manual system, and issue an alert to national authorities when there is no exit record by the expiry time. In this way, the system will also be of assistance in addressing the issue of people overstaying their short term visa.
Ninety-nine percent of us live on the wrong side of a one-way mirror
Imagine an Internet where unseen hands curate your entire experience. Where third parties predetermine the news, products and prices you see—even the people you meet. A world where you think you are making choices, but in reality, your options are narrowed and refined until you are left with merely the illusion of control.
This is not far from what is happening today. Thanks to technology that enables Google, Facebook and others to gather information about us and use it to tailor the user experience to our own personal tastes, habits and income, the Internet has become a different place for the rich and for the poor. Most of us have become unwitting actors in an unfolding drama about the tale of two Internets. There is yours and mine, theirs and ours.
Here’s how it works. Advertising currently drives the vast majority of the Internet industry by volume of revenue. Silicon Valley is excellent at founding and funding companies that give you free apps and then collect and sell your data when you use them. For most of the Internet’s short history, the primary goal of this data collection was classic product marketing: for example, advertisers might want to show me Nikes and my wife Manolo Blahniks. But increasingly, data collection is leapfrogging well beyond strict advertising and enabling insurance, medical and other companies to benefit from analyzing your personal, highly detailed “Big Data” record without your knowledge. Based on this analysis, these companies then make decisions about you—including whether you are even worth marketing to at all.
As a result, 99 percent of us live on the wrong side of a one-way mirror, in which the other 1 percent manipulates our experiences. Some laud this trend as “personalization”—which sounds innocuous and fun, evoking the notion that the ads we see might appear in our favorite color schemes. What we are talking about, however, is much deeper and significantly more consequential.
For example, federal regulations make it illegal to discriminate in pricing access to credit based on certain personal attributes. But, as Natasha Singer recently reported in the New York Times, technical advances in mining online and offline data have made it possible to skirt the spirit of the law: companies can simply not make any offers to less credit-attractive populations. If you live on the wrong side of the digital tracks, you won’t even see a credit offer from leading lending institutions, and you won’t realize that loans are available to help you with your current personal or professional priorities.
For the past decade, e-commerce sites have altered prices based on your Web habits and personal attributes. What is your geography and your past buying history? How did you arrive at the e-commerce site? What time of day are you visiting? An entire literature has emerged on the ethics, legality and economic promise of pricing optimization. And the field is advancing quickly: last September, Google received a patent on technology that lets a company dynamically price electronic content. For instance, it can push the base price of an e-book up if it determines you are more likely to buy that particular item than an average user; conversely, it can adjust the price down as an incentive if you are judged less likely to purchase. And you won’t even know you are paying more than others for the exact same item.
These blind walls also appear in our digital political lives. As Eli Pariser has observed, the Internet shows us “what it thinks we want to see” by serving up content that matches the hidden profiles created about us based on our daily online interactions. This behind-the-scenes curation reinforces our political points of view through online “echo chambers” that affirm, instead of challenge, what we already believe to be true. As Harvard University scholar Cass Sunstein has written, liberals and conservatives who deliberate questions openly only with people of the same political stripe become more confident and extreme in their views.
Segregation and separation are on the rise. The fun of personalization has a dark side.