Hillary Clinton, emails, the FBI and DAPL


This video from the USA says about itself:

Hillary Clinton OUTRAGED When Asked About Contributions From Fossil Fuel Industry

31 March 2016

Hillary Clinton got outraged when asked about the contributions she’s received from the fossil fuel industry. However, her answer as to whether or not she took donations from the fossil fuel industry has changed quite a bit over time.

‘What a Crock’: Clinton Breaks DAPL Silence With Statement That Says ‘Literally Nothing’. Response comes the same day militarized police forcibly cleared hundreds of water protectors from protest site, by Lauren McCauley: here.

This 28 October 2016 video from the USA is called Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair: DOJ Must Investigate Use of Force Against #DAPL Resistance.

See also here.

More than 300 riot police from five states and National Guard troops were deployed Thursday against anti-pipeline protesters in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, violently arresting 141 protesters camped near Highway 1806. The protesters, most of them Native American, are opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which will transport oil produced in North Dakota to Illinois: here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

28 October 2016

In a surprise announcement, FBI Director James Comey stated that he will be reopening his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. The new emails that have been brought to his attention are reportedly related to the email account of Anthony Weiner. While the FBI is unlikely to conclude their investigation before the election, this is still a bombshell of an announcement nonetheless.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

The FBI intervenes in the 2016 election

29 October 2016

In an extraordinary and unprecedented action, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has stepped into the 2016 presidential campaign only 11 days before Election Day, sending a letter to Congress announcing new “investigative steps” related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

The three-paragraph letter by FBI Director James Comey to eight congressional committees on Friday is remarkably vague. It states that “in connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” of Clinton’s personal email server, which, Comey notes, he had previously told Congress was “completed.”

He states that he has agreed to “allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.” He acknowledges that the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.”

The obvious question that arises is why, given the fact that the FBI has no idea whether these additional emails contain any significant information relative to the Clinton email case, the agency should make them a public issue within days of the election. Media commentators noted that the letter violates a longstanding informal FBI ban on making politically sensitive announcements within 60 days of a US election.

Following the report of Comey’s letter, the news media, citing unnamed federal law enforcement officials, said the emails in question were between Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, former Representative Anthony Weiner.

Weiner is under FBI investigation for allegedly sending sexually explicit text messages to an underage girl. Abedin announced her separation from Weiner earlier this year after the latest episode involving Weiner and sexually explicit Internet activity became public.

Comey’s letter was hailed by Donald Trump and Republican Party spokesmen as tantamount to an official reopening of the FBI investigation and rescinding of the decision announced by Comey in July that no charges would be brought against the Democratic presidential candidate.

Clinton spoke to the press briefly Friday evening, demanding that the FBI provide more information about the substance of what it was reviewing, including whether there was any connection to her use of a private email server. She pointed out that more than 15 million people have already voted and that many millions more will be going to the polls over the next week as early voting continues. In response to questions, she indicated that the FBI has not contacted her and that she first learned of the letter through the media.

It is at this point impossible to determine with precision the motivation behind Comey’s letter and the political forces for which he is speaking. However, his attempt to present the letter as a politically disinterested response to the discovery of new information lacks any credibility.

This direct intervention into the election by the top police-intelligence agency can only be an expression of deep crisis and profound tensions within the American ruling class and the state. The election as a whole has been dominated by the growth of social anger and antiestablishment sentiment, yet it has ended in a contest between two right-wing representatives of the richest 1 percent who are despised by huge sections of the electorate.

It has plumbed the depths of political debasement on the part of both candidates—the fascistic billionaire Trump seeking to channel discontent along the most right-wing, chauvinist and racist channels; the multimillionaire Clinton relying on sex scandals and a McCarthyite attack on Trump as an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin to bury incriminating revelations of corruption and lying and to swing public opinion behind a policy of military escalation and confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

The entire process has been surrounded by an aura of violence and a breakdown of public confidence in the political system. It has unfolded under conditions of deepening economic crisis, mounting international tensions and worsening crises for US imperialism around the world, i.e., the ongoing debacle of Washington’s war for regime change in Syria, the signs of disarray in the anti-Chinese “pivot to Asia,” the emergence of open conflicts with imperialist “allies” in Europe, particularly Germany.

The convergence of these crises is generating bitter conflicts within the American ruling class over policy questions, magnified by fears of a rising tide of social opposition at home.

Whether the intention of Comey’s letter was to inflict fatal damage to Clinton’s candidacy, shore up endangered Republican majorities in the Senate and House, or fire a shot across the bow against an incoming Clinton administration, it makes clear that the next administration will be mired in crisis from the day it takes office.

One former Justice Department official suggested that Comey was under intense pressure from within the FBI over his previous declaration that no competent prosecutor would bring charges against Clinton over her use of the private server. If true, this means that sections of the federal police agency are in open revolt against the candidate who may shortly become their nominal “commander-in-chief.”

The FBI intervention on the eve of the 2016 election represents an acceleration of a trend in US politics that first came to the surface in the series of Republican-led investigations into the Bill Clinton administration, culminating in his impeachment in 1998. This was followed by the stolen election of 2000, when the Supreme Court intervened and by a 5-4 majority halted the recounting of ballots in Florida in order to award the White House to George W. Bush, the loser in the popular vote.

The two-party system in the United States has always been an instrument of class rule, dominated by corporate America. The unprecedented growth of social inequality over the past four decades has widened the gulf between the political system and the great majority of the population. More and more, official political life revolves around palace intrigues, in which the media and the military-intelligence apparatus play critical roles. The methods of scandalmongering, calculated leaks and political stink bombs prevail.

One thing is clear: none of these strokes and counterstrokes between rival capitalist factions has anything to do with defending the democratic rights and social interests of working people. As far as the capitalist two-party system is concerned, the American people are merely an object of manipulation, to be stampeded by demagogy and scandal.

This video from the USA says about itself:

WikiLeaks Exposes Hillary Propagandist Faux-Journalists

27 October 2016

In Hillary Clinton’s America, Wall Street Will Be in the Saddle: here.

Anti-Trump protesters banned at US Republican convention?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Johnetta ‘Netta’ Elzie Talks #BlackGirlMagic, Activism and Motivation | ESSENCE

15 January 2016

Go behind the scenes of our special cover shoot with Black Lives Matter activist Johnetta ‘Netta’ Elzie as she opens up about the Black women that inspire her, being an activist and how her mother’s death helped her push forward.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Black Lives Matter activists say FBI told them not to protest GOP Convention

Samuel Sinyangwe and Johnetta Elzie of Campaign Zero both say agents attempted to visit them in the past week

Feliks Garcia, New York

Prominent civil rights activists closely associated with the Black Lives Matter movement say members of the FBI have attempted to contact them in the days leading up to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Samuel Sinyangwe and Johnetta Elzie, co-founders of Campaign Zero, an organisation that aims to end police violence through policy change, both told The Independent that FBI agents made attempts to contact them in recent days.

Mr Sinyangwe, 25, said that he received a phone call on Friday from an unknown number. The caller identified himself as an FBI task force officer.

“He was interested to hear my plans related to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland,” he said. “I told him I don’t have any plans to go to the convention.”

The agent told Mr Sinyangwe, according to his account, that the Bureau had received threats that posed a potential risk and “they are discouraging activists from going to the convention, and he told me not to go.”

Delegates are expected to cast their votes in favour of Donald Trump at the convention, which begins 18 July. Mr Trump‘s campaign has galvanised the enthusiasm of white supremacist groups – such as California Neo-Nazis, who plan on attending the convention. Mr Trump’s outspoken contempt for undocumented immigrants, Muslims, and the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked protests at his rallies across the country.

“I think the FBI should be more concerned with investigating and dissuading the known white supremacists and people with ties to known terrorist organisations from attending the convention, versus trying to intimidate people who are speaking out against injustice,” Mr Sinyangwe said.

In their phone conversation, the agent told Mr Sinyangwe that he attempted to contact him at his San Francisco apartment, where he slid a business card underneath the door – an effort that the activist found disconcerting – and asked for a good time to meet in person.

“He got to my door, which is scary because you have to use a keycard to buzz in through two gates, you have to go up four flights of stairs to get to the door,” he explained. “And somehow [the agent] managed to do that. I’m not sure how.”

The Independent received photo evidence of the business card, but has chosen not to publish it over privacy concerns.

Ms Elzie, too, just missed agents who she said were trying to contact her at her grandparents’ home in St Louis. She was en route from demonstrations in Baton Rouge over the weekend.

“I can’t help but think they were trying to intimidate my grandparents, my family. People who have nothing to do with the protests at all,” Ms Elzie, 26, said. She has been a highly visible figure in the police reform movement since protests erupted in Ferguson, after a police officer shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August 2014.

When the agents showed up at her grandparents’ door, they asked where Ms Elzie was and when they expected her to return to the house.

“You know she’s in Baton Rouge, and you know when she’ll be back,” Ms Elzie said her grandmother told the agents, who identified themselves as FBI.

The agents said they had seen an exchange between Ms Elzie, DeRay McKesson, and Mr Sinyangwe on Twitter – although the accounts were apparently impostors. They said they were simply trying to figure out Ms Elzie’s involvement in protest activity surrounding the political conventions this summer.

Her grandmother “started talking to them about open carry laws and how they don’t apply to black people, [and] the cases in Minnesota and Louisiana,” where black men Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were shot and killed by police officers.

Ms Elzie said that the agents did not have cards to pass along to her, but one wrote down their contact information on a piece of paper.

“I’m not giving that to my baby,” her grandmother said, before throwing the paper in the garbage.

Mr Sinyangwe expressed his concern about why he and Ms Elzie would be the focus of FBI surveillance.

“[Campaign Zero] is an organisation that is focused on policy change,” he said. “I’m not sure why the FBI was threatened by that. But it certainly is consistent with a long line of tactics that the FBI has used against black activists in the past.”

The subject of the FBI’s apparent surveillance of activists involved in Black Lives Matter activities came up during President Barack Obama’s “White House Convening on Building Community Trust”, the Washington Post reported. The White House meeting was attended by activists including DeRay McKesson, who co-founded Campaign Zero with Ms Elzie, Mr Sinyangwe, and Brittany Packnett.

Mr McKesson reportedly asked the President to instruct the FBI to stop visiting activists at their homes.

The Intercept reported last year the extent of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s involvement in monitoring of activists involved in the Black Lives Matter movement since it gained national momentum after Ferguson.

Documents obtained from the DHS by the news outlet confirmed that federal authorities had been surveilling protest movement on social media. The report also showed that FBI and DHS officials acknowledged that the protests they were monitoring were “peaceful in nature”.

“I’ve made peace with [the idea that] everything I’ve been doing has been watched since 2014,” Ms Elzie said. “Never have they shown up to my or my grandma’s house.”

Mr Sinyangwe echoed these concerns.

“This is certainly another step in terms of actively trying to dissuade protesters and activists from protesting or attending political events,” he said.

Saudi-9/11 links, 80,000 secret pages


This video from the USA says about itself:

9/11 Commissioner Leaks Details On Classified Report

13 May 2016

A former member of the 9/11 commission recently said the 2004 report didn’t make clear the extent of the evidence they had linking Saudi government officials to the terrorist attack. Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola (ThinkTank), Katie Halper, and Josh Zepps, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.””

Read more here.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

FBI holds 80,000 pages of secret documents on Saudi-9/11 links

14 May 2016

The American FBI has a secret cache of documents, more than 80,000 pages in all, concerning possible ties between the 9/11 hijackers and an upper-class Saudi family who lived in Florida and fled the United States two weeks before the suicide hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people.

A federal judge in Tampa, Florida has been reviewing the documents for more than two years as a consequence of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by a trio of online reporters—Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan and Dan Christensen. The review process has been extremely slow because of restrictive FBI rules on how many pages Judge William Zloch may access at any one time.

The existence of the document trove was revealed Friday in a front-page article in the US-based web publication the Daily Beast. The article identified the Saudi family as Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud, who was the daughter of Esam Ghazzawi, an adviser to a nephew of Saudi King Fahd. Ghazzawi owned the home in which they were staying in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida. The home was raided by the FBI after 9/11 but the residents had all departed in evident haste on August 30, 2001.

Visitor logs in the community, known as Prestancia, showed that the alleged ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammad Atta, had visited al-Hijji, along with two other 9/11 hijackers, Ziad Jarrah and Marwan Al-Shehhi.

Former Senator Robert Graham, co-chair of the joint congressional committee that investigated the 9/11 attacks, told the Daily Beast that he had never known of the FBI documents on the Saratoga home until they were uncovered by the investigative journalists. He later viewed a portion of these records and confirmed that they identified the three 9/11 hijackers as visitors.

Throughout this period, the FBI had denied that the al-Hijji family had any connection to the 9/11 attackers. The agency changed its story only when Graham said he would testify under oath about what he had read in the file of documents. At this point the FBI conceded the existence of 35 pages of documents.

When Judge Zloch ordered a further search for records, the Tampa office of the FBI came back with 80,226 pages of files marked PENTTBOM, which stands for “Pentagon/Twin-Towers Bombing” in FBI jargon. Judge Zloch has been reviewing these since May 1, 2014 and has given no date by which he expects to finish.

The al-Hijji family exited its Sarasota home, leaving behind three cars, an open safe and disarray that suggested a hasty departure. The security guards at the gated community noted their departure, but did not consider it suspicious until the 9/11 attacks two weeks later.

The FBI initially made only a perfunctory response and did not open a formal investigation until eight months later, in April 2002, “based upon repeated citizen calls” about the conduct of the family during their stay in the United States. One of the few documents released said that this investigation “revealed many connections” between a member of the family “and individuals associated with the terrorist attacks.”

The Daily Beast report adds to recent revelations of evidence of Saudi regime ties to the 9/11 hijackers that has been covered up by the US government under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Graham has actively campaigned for the release of 28 pages of material on the Saudi-9/11 connection comprising an entire chapter of the joint congressional committee report on the 9/11 attacks in which he participated. This material has been withheld for more than 13 years. On April 10, Graham was the main witness interviewed by the CBS program “60 Minutes” in a segment on the continuing cover-up of Saudi-9/11 connections.

In an op-ed column this week in the Washington Post, Graham reiterated his demand for release of the 28 pages, noting that President Obama had promised a decision on declassifying the material by next month. Graham denounced CIA Director John Brennan, who responded to the “60 Minutes” program by publicly opposing any release of the 28 pages.

Also Friday, the Guardian newspaper published an interview with a former member of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission appointed by President George W. Bush, who flatly declared that there was extensive Saudi involvement in supporting the hijackers. Of the 19 perpetrators, 15 were Saudi citizens, most of them having recently arrived in the United States when they seized control of four jetliners on September 11, 2001.

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a Republican, told the newspaper: “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government.” While only one Saudi consular official in Los Angeles, Fahad al-Thumairy, was implicated in supporting the hijackers, according to the official account, Lehman believes that at least five officials were involved.

Al-Thumairy was linked to the two hijackers who lived in San Diego before the 9/11 attacks, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, but he was deported rather than charged with a crime. The other five, whom Lehman did not name, “may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated. There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.”

Another former 9/11 commissioner, who spoke to the Guardian without direct attribution, recounted what the newspaper called “a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials—especially at lower levels of the government—were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the US.”

The 9/11 Commission director, Philip Zelikow, who later served in the Bush administration as senior counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, fired one staffer who protested over the suppression of the Saudi ties to 9/11 after she obtained a copy of the suppressed 28 pages of the joint congressional committee report. Zelikow and the commission members overruled staff protests on the soft-pedaling of the Saudi connection.

These press reports confirm what the World Socialist Web Site has long maintained: the official 9/11 investigations were a series of whitewashes aimed at concealing the role of the Saudi government and US intelligence agencies during the period leading up to the terrorist attacks.

There has long been evidence that sections of the US government were aware of the plot to hijack and suicide-crash airliners, but turned a blind eye because such an atrocity could be used to stampede American public opinion and provide a pretext for escalating US military interventions throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

The author also recommends:

The 9/11 cover-up continues
[3 May 2016]

Once again on Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks
[13 April 2016]

Saudi Arabian regime gripped by factional infighting amid mounting economic crisis: here.

United States secret court rubber stamps NSA spying


This video from the USA says about itself:

What is the FISA Court?

12 June 2013

Thom Hartmann talks with Shahid Buttar, Executive Director-Bill of Rights Defense Committee & civil rights attorney about the FISA Court and its role in surveillance in America.

From the New York Daily News in the USA:

U.S. spy court rejects zero out of 1,457 applications for surveillance in 2015

REUTERS

Updated: Saturday, April 30, 2016, 3:27 AM

The secretive U.S. Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court did not deny a single government request in 2015 for electronic surveillance orders granted for foreign intelligence purposes, continuing a longstanding trend, a Justice Department document showed.

The court received 1,457 requests last year on behalf of the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for authority to intercept communications, including email and phone calls, according to a Justice Department memo sent to leaders of relevant congressional committees on Friday and seen by Reuters.

The court did not reject any of the applications in whole or in part, the memo showed.

The total represented a slight uptick from 2014, when the court received 1,379 applications and rejected none.

The court, which acts behind closed doors, was established in 1978 to handle applications for surveillance warrants against foreign suspects by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and grew more controversial after 2013 leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The electronic surveillance often is conducted with the assistance of Internet and telecommunications companies.

Civil liberties advocates have long derided the court for acting as a “rubber stamp” for government surveillance operations.

The memo also stated that 48,642 national security letter (NSL) requests were made in 2015 by the FBI.

NSLs are a type of subpoena authority used to compel Internet and telecommunications firms to hand over customer data, such as web browsing history, email addresses and subscriber information.

One NSL often contains multiple requests for information, such as a sequence of emails believed relevant to an investigation.

The majority of NSL requests, 31,863, made in 2015 sought information on foreigners, regarding a total of 2,053 individuals, the memo stated.

The FBI made 9,418 requests for national security letters in 2015 for information about U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, regarding a total of 3,746 individuals, it showed.

The FBI also made 7,361 NSL requests for only “subscriber information,” typically names, addresses and billing records, of Americans and foreigners regarding 3,347 different people.

National security letters have been available as a law enforcement tool since the 1970s, but their frequency and breadth expanded dramatically under the USA Patriot Act enacted shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

They are almost always accompanied by an open-ended gag order issued by the Justice Department barring companies from disclosing the contents of the demand for customer data.

The government also made 142 applications to the surveillance court for access to business records, and it did not deny any of those requests, according to the memo.

United States FBI spying on activists


This video from the USA says about itself:

45 Years After COINTELPRO, FBI Continues to Monitor Activists

8 March 2016

Chip Gibbons, Legal Fellow, says over 60 national groups have signed onto a letter calling on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to investigate FBI and DHS’s monitoring of activists.

SPIES IN THE SKIES’ “Each weekday, dozens of U.S. government aircraft take to the skies and slowly circle over American cities. Piloted by agents of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the planes are fitted with high-resolution video cameras, often working with ‘augmented reality’ software that can superimpose onto the video images everything from street and business names to the owners of individual homes.” [Buzzfeed]

THE FBI GAINS THE ABILITY TO HACK MILLIONS OF COMPUTERS TODAY “Starting Thursday, a Department of Justice official will be able to go to a single judge, assert that a computer crime may involve millions of networked devices, and get a warrant that lets the FBI hack all of those devices.” [Michael McAuliff, HuffPost]

‘THE FBI IS INVESTIGATING BECAUSE I TWEETED A JOKE ABOUT FAKE NEWS’ Seriously. [Nick Baumann, HuffPost]

United States FBI, police spying on phones


This video from the USA says about itself:

Tim Cook | EXCLUSIVE Interview on Apple’s Privacy Decision

24 February 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook explained to ABC News anchor David Muir why he refused to create software that would help the FBI break into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters. “I think safety of the public is incredibly important — safety of our kids, safety of our family is very important,” Cook said. “The protection of people’s data is incredibly important, and so the trade-off here is we know that doing this could expose people to incredible vulnerabilities.”

SeaWorld is certainly not the only organisation spying in the USA.

US government case against Apple would create broad precedent to override phone encryption: here.

The assault on encryption and the drive to expand police state spying: here.

By Isaac Finn in the USA:

New York police used military-grade cellphone surveillance equipment over 1,000 times

25 February 2016

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has used a military grade cellphone surveillance device—known as a “StingRay”—over 1,000 times since 2008, according to documents obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) last November.

StingRays are briefcase-size machines that mimic cellphone towers and trick nearby cellphones into establishing a connection with it. The device can then be used to monitor communications from the phone and track the user’s whereabouts. Even when targeting a specific cellphone, a StingRay will gather information on other phones in the area.

Public discussion of the use of StingRays by local police departments has been limited due to a non-disclosure agreement between the FBI and the Harris Corporations, which manufactures the device. Under this agreement police departments—including the NYPD—are barred from referencing the use of StingRays, even when information gathered by the device is central to a prosecutor’s argument in a criminal case.

The NYCLU obtained documents last November about the NYPD’s use of StingRays as part of a Freedom of Information lawsuit, and received further information last week after appealing its initial lawsuit. This included a disclosure from the NYPD that it has used StringRays roughly 1,016 times between 2008 and May 2015.

Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU, stated, “If carrying a cell phone means being exposed to military grade surveillance equipment, then the privacy of nearly all New Yorkers is at risk.”

The NYPD has become infamous for its extensive surveillance system, which has included spying on Muslim communities, its policy of stop-and-frisk that has allowed the department to establish electronic and analog databases of millions of predominantly minority working class youth, and most recently its Community Policing program based on cultivating a network of informants in working class neighborhoods.

New York police also have admitted to using ZBV vans equipped with x-ray technology, allowing officers to see through clothing and other light barriers without the individual being aware he or she is being scanned.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton … stated last year that he would not talk about ZBVs, because, “It falls into the range of security and counterterrorism activity that we engage in.”

The NYPD also disclosed in the lawsuit that they had no written policy on using StingRays, but usually obtained a “pen register order” before using the device. The requirements for obtaining a pen register order are less demanding than the probable cause required for obtaining a warrant.

Mariko Hirose, the NYCLU lawyer that received the documents from the NYPD, explained to the New York Times, “The text of New York’s pen register law does not apply to StingRays, and for good reason. That law was intended only to authorize the use of the primitive devices of the past that capture outgoing and incoming phone numbers on a landline. We’re now living in a different technological reality.”

Last year, the Department of Justice shifted policies demanding that all use of StingRays, except in emergency circumstances, be required to obtain warrants. The FBI also is required to obtain warrants for the use of StingRays, though with an extremely broad definition of exceptions.

Both Federal and NYPD officials have made fraudulent claims that StingRays do not pickup bystander information, and are primarily used to track terrorists and violent criminals. Despite this, there have been multiple recorded cases of the NYPD using StingRays to track non-violent criminals, and at least one instance of the technology being used to locate a witness.

FBI Director James Comey admitted in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee last October that StingRays were placed in planes and used to monitor mass protests against police brutality in both Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland.

The US Marshalls revealed in response to a Freedom of Information Request filed by USA Today that it has deployed the technology to track 5,975 individuals over an unspecified period of time. According to USA Today a Baltimore Police detective testified last year that the police force had deployed its StingRay 4,300 times since 2007.

Based on a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), at least 60 law enforcement agencies in 23 states own StingRays. Many others may not be disclosing purchases of the device.

The New York State Police alone have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on StingRays and related equipment. In a separate Freedom of Information lawsuit last year, the NYCLU also uncovered that the Erie County Sheriffs office, in New York State, has used StingRays 47 times over the past four years, and only obtained a pen register order from a court once.

Ultimately, the wide-scale use of military grade surveillance equipment is part of police-state measures put in place to defend the wealthy elite from the working population. The ruling elite’s fear is particularly palpable in New York City, which is plagued by massive inequality and record-breaking homelessness.

FBI spied on Martin Luther King for ‘I have a dream’ speech


This video, recorded in 1963 in the USA, is called Martin Luther King | “I Have A Dream” Speech.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Martin Luther King was put under FBI surveillance after his ‘I have a dream’ speech

by Bethan McKernan

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr‘s 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington was a defining moment of the 20th century.

His message of equality and fairness inspired generations of people across the world – but also put him at the centre of the FBI’s surveillance operations.

Attorney-General at the time Robert F. Kennedy approved a wiretap and hidden microphone operation that bugged many of King’s conversations from 1963 until his assassination in 1968.

William Sullivan, then head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division, wrote in a top-secret memo at the time:

“Personally, I believe in the light of King’s powerful, demagogic speech that he stands head and shoulders over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses.

We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.”

The operation, which was not approved by a court or subject to any investigative oversight, was initially justified to try and prove King‘s suspected links to Communism.

Thank goodness unsupervised surveillance like that doesn’t happen anymore, eh?