British fake mobile phone towers to spy on the people


This 10 June 2015 Sky News TV video from Britain is about fake mobile phone towers for spying.

It looks like the British government is following the ‘good’ examples of the Rupert Murdoch empire and the United States FBI ..

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Fake mobile phone towers found to be ‘actively listening in’ on calls in UK

The London Metropolitan Police have refused to say who is controlling them or what is being done with the information they are gathering

Paul Gallagher

Wednesday 10 June 2015

More than 20 “intrusive” fake mobile phone towers that eavesdrop on public conversations have been found active in the UK, the first time the technology has been detected in the country.

The IMSI catchers, also known as Stingrays,

What a shame that such criminal devices are named after such beautiful fish

have been found to be operating in London, but the Metropolitan Police have refused to say who is controlling them or what is being done with the information they are gathering.

IMSI stands for International Mobile Subscriber Identity – a unique number that identifies users on their phone network.

The controversial surveillance technology, used by police forces around the world, is supposedly for catching criminals’ communicating by intercepting information on its way to the network.

It tricks mobile phones into thinking the Stingrays are phone masts, so that handsets connect to the tower and all the data flowing through them is collected – but the masts are unable to distinguish between criminals and everyone else.

A Sky News investigation located the masts using technology made by GSMK Cryptophone, a German security company, and found more than 20 of the rogue towers in three weeks.

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe would not confirm or deny that his force was using the technology, telling the channel that “the only people who benefit are the other side, and I see no reason in giving away that sort of thing”.

He said: “If people imagine that we’ve got the resources to do as much intrusion as they worry about, I would reassure them that it’s impossible.”

Stingrays are frequently used in the US by police to monitor suspects, though the use of them is inevitably subject to heated debate as they can eavesdrop on anyone’s calls, even without a warrant. The American Civil Liberties Union has called the towers “incredibly invasive”.

Scotland Yard was said to have bought some of the IMSI towers in 2009 and began using them last November, according to reports, although it is the first time evidence has been found that they are operational. Keith Bristow, the director-general of the National Crime Agency, said: “Some of what we would like to talk about to get the debate informed and logical, we can’t, because it would defeat the purpose of having the tactics in the first place. Frankly, some of what we need to do is intrusive, it is uncomfortable, and the important thing is we set that out openly and recognise there are difficult choices to be made.”

Read more: Snowden: Britain spied on Argentina over Falklands

Secret court: GCHQ spying on UK citizens unlawful

GCHQ’s launches ‘spook first’ training programme

Privacy group launches ‘Did GCHQ spy on you?’ campaign

Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said it was time police forces stopped pretending the IMSI towers didn’t exist, so the public could understand the legal framework behind them. He said: “This spying tool has featured in everything from The Wire to Zero Dark Thirty. Companies are selling them on the grey market to anyone who can pay. The only thing we don’t know is what the police are doing to protect people from their use by criminals, and when they use them, what legal frameworks ensures they’re properly used?

“In an urban space, thousands of people’s mobile phones would be swept up in that dragnet. What they do with that data, we don’t know. We know police have been using them for years, but this is the first time that it’s been shown that they’re being deployed in the UK.”

Tim Johnston, a barrister who specialises in surveillance law, told Sky News: “Because it’s neither confirmed nor denied, we simply don’t know on what basis they [IMSI catchers] are being used – if they are being used. We don’t know how they’re being overseen. We don’t know the statutory basis that’s being relied on, as a consequence we don’t know who – if anyone – is overseeing that use.”

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 11 June 2015

UK AN OUT-OF-CONTROL POLICE STATE!

THE revelation by Sky News of the ‘Stingray’ programme, where fake mobile phone towers are set up to capture people’s mobile calls without their knowledge, and that the same process can be used to plant material on their phones without their permission, is yet another confirmation that the UK is an out-of-control police state.

Here the ruling class feels so insecure that there are no limits on its spying and repressive actions against ordinary people, carried out under the guise of combatting the ‘toleration’ of terrorism, extremism and crime that Cameron and May are alleging.

In fact, this secret police state spying is a criminal activity that is being carried out by the capitalist state on behalf of a frightened ruling class against the working class and the middle class, the majority of the people.

Asked directly about the use of Stingrays, Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met Police Commissioner, said: ‘We’re not going to talk about it, because the only people who benefit are the other side, and I see no reason in giving away that sort of thing.’ The ‘other side’ are the millions who are being spied on. Workers will reject his arrogant, outside the law, rationalisations.

Keith Bristow, the director-general of the National Crime Agency, said: ‘Frankly, some of what we need to do is intrusive, it is uncomfortable, and the important thing is we set that out openly and recognise there are difficult choices to be made.’ He wants the state to have the right to spy on who it likes, as it likes, when it likes, without being brought to account.

The fake mobile phone towers, IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catchers (Stingrays), mimic mobile phone masts with the aim of tricking phones into logging on so that they can be used in any way that the state wishes. ‘With IMSI catchers, it’s very difficult for them to be used in a targeted manner,’ Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, commented. ‘In an urban space, thousands of people’s mobile phones would be swept up in the dragnet. What they do with that data, we don’t know.’

In November, The Times reported that the Metropolitan Police Service, the UK’s largest police force, was using Stingray technology, citing anonymous sources. According to The Guardian, the Metropolitan Police paid £143,455 for the surveillance equipment in 2009. Despite repeated Freedom of Information requests, the Met police will neither confirm nor deny that the force uses IMSI catchers.

The capitalist state is now able to remove an individual’s passport, to keep them out of the country, on the basis of ‘suspicion’. It is also able to relocate suspects to different parts of the country, a form of internment, on the basis of ‘suspicion’.

The same state is now putting questionnaires in front of Muslim schoolchildren, full of trick questions, to see if they qualify as ‘potential terrorists’ and, under the slogan that the UK is ‘too tolerant’, developing the capacity to spy on everybody, and jail people, after secret trials based on the state’s suspicions and ‘secret’ evidence that will never be made public.

With anti-union laws and strike bans ahead, along with an endless list of austerity measures, those who need watching as potential enemies of the state will number many millions. This will include a government, if Osborne has his way, and brings in new legislation, that makes deficit budgeting illegal.

However, the more that the state’s open dictatorship is built up, the greater will be the explosion of popular anger.

UK intelligence agencies should keep mass surveillance powers, report says: here.

About the USA, from daily The Guardian in Britain, 10 April 2015:

Stingray spying: FBI’s secret deal with police hides phone dragnet from courts

Non-disclosure agreement in Florida reveals chain of secrecy across US

Federal authorities maintain ‘totalitarian’ control over local law enforcement

Read the document: seeking case dismissals at the request of the FBI

ACLU challenges ‘stingray surveillance’ that allows police to track cellphones. Civil liberties activists asking federal court to disallow evidence obtained by technology that mimics a genuine cellphone tower: here.

United States Republican Jeb Bush, Mark Fiore animated cartoon


This satirical animated video from the USA says about itself:

Jeb Bush and Brotherly Love

28 May 2015

Jeb Bush has performed a valuable service with his recent missteps and flubs, he’s reminded the world of the baggage he willingly carries. I’m not tarring him with the same brush as George W. Bush just because they are brothers. Jeb has voluntarily staffed his foreign policy team with 17 people from his brother’s administration. (This is out of a foreign policy team of 21, mind you.) You can read more here.

JEB BUSH PUSHING LIMITS OF CAMPAIGN LAW ” Jeb Bush is under growing pressure to acknowledge what to some voters and a number of campaign finance lawyers seems obvious: He is running for president. The lawyers say Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor, is stretching the limits of election law by crisscrossing the country, hiring a political team and raising tens of millions of dollars at fund-raisers, all without declaring — except once, by mistake — that he is a candidate. Some election experts say Mr. Bush passed the legal threshold to be considered a candidate months ago, even if he has not formally acknowledged it. Federal law makes anyone who raises or spends $5,000 in an effort to become president a candidate and thus subject to the spending and disclosure restrictions. Some limited activities are allowed for candidates who are merely ‘testing the waters’ for a run.” [Eric Lichtblau and Nick Corasaniti, NYT]

JEB BUSH SHAKES UP CAMPAIGN TEAM “Jeb Bush shook up his staff on Monday a week before formally jumping into the 2016 Republican presidential fight, picking a veteran of party politics, Danny Diaz, as his campaign manager in what was seen as a surprise move. Diaz’ appointment was unexpected because Bush had believed to have penciled in another experienced political strategist, David Kochel, as his campaign manager when he hired him earlier this year.” [Reuters]

US PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Jeb Bush said yesterday that Washington should send thousands more troops to eastern Europe to face off against Russia: here.

2016 FAILURE TO LAUNCH The Washington Post examines how Jeb Bush has faltered in a GOP field he was supposed to lock down. [WaPo]

Yep, Jeb already lost the logo war.

HOWARD FINEMAN: THE BUSHES ARE BACK “In theory, the world’s oldest modern democracy should see a constant churn of names and faces in high places. In truth, political dynasties in America are common and, arguably, becoming more so at a time when Big Money — personal and corporate — means so much to the conduct of elections.” [HuffPost]

United States police racism, homophobia, pornography discoveries


This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

Miami Beach cops under investigation for racism

14 May 2015

Two high-level former Miami Beach police officers sent hundreds of racist, pornographic and crude emails to fellow cops, spurring a criminal probe. State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine held a news conference on Thursday detailing the inappropriate messages.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Miami Beach cops sent more than 200 racist, homophobic and pornographic emails, says senior officer

Probe launched amid concerns hundreds of criminal prosecutions could be jeopardised

Andrew Buncombe

Miami, Sunday 17 May 2015

Police in Miami have launched an inquiry after it was revealed that a handful of officers – some of them senior figures – allegedly sent hundreds of racist and pornographic emails, which included so-called jokes about President Barack Obama.

Reports said an internal investigation had revealed that the sending of the emails possibly jeopardised dozens of criminal cases in southern Florida in which the officers were witnesses.

Police Chief Daniel Oates said that two of the 16 officers were senior members of the Miami Beach Police Department and were alleged to be the main instigators. One has retired, and the other was fired on Thursday, he said. They were identified as former Major Angel Vazquez and former Captain Alex Carulo, CBS Miami reported.

“They were the primary purveyors of pornography and high volume of it. I was shocked and angry,” Mr Oates told a press conference.

Mr Vazquez has since retired, but could face a potential criminal charge for his alleged role in circulating an post-mortem photograph of Raymond Herisse who was shot by police in 2011 during the Memorial Day holiday, Mr Oates said.

Mr Oates said the probe revealed about 230 emails that were demeaning to African-Americans and women, or else pornographic in nature.

Many were depictions of crude racial jokes involving Mr Obama or black celebrities such as golfer Tiger Woods. One showed a woman with a black eye and the caption, “Domestic violence. Because sometimes, you have to tell her more than once.”

One of the racially offensive emails depicted a board game called “Black Monopoly” in which every square says “go to jail.”

Miami-Dade government prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle said about 540 cases in which the officers were witnesses are being reviewed to determine if they are tainted racially. Some charges could be dropped as a result, or prisoners could be freed from jail.

“These activities are a breach of trust. They are disgusting,” she said.

There has not yet been any public comment from the officers accused of sending the emails.

Mr Oates said the emails came to light in an unrelated 2013 internal affairs probe. Most of the messages spanned the years 2010 to mid-2012, and many of the officers involved apparently just received the offensive ones rather than forwarding them.

The case comes in the wake of another, similar scandal in the San Francisco Police Department involving officers exchanging racist and homophobic text messages.

It also comes amid a national debate about issues of race and law enforcement and the way some police treat black suspects.

A string of revelations by the Guardian newspaper have exposed widespread police torture by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) at a “black-site” detention facility known as Homan Square. Victims have described being detained illegally, without a lawyer, for hours or days, and being physically abused or sexually assaulted: here.

On Wednesday, an Illinois judge ordered the release of a Polaroid picture showing two Chicago police officers crouched, posing as hunters over an unidentified African-American man, who police have said was a “drug suspect.” Jerome Finnigan, the officer on the left, is holding a pair of antlers above the man, while the other officer, Timothy McDermott, holds the man’s head up. Both officers are posing with rifles and clearly instructed the man to stick his tongue out and roll his eyes back, creating the image of a deer that had been hunted and killed by the officers: here.

Bottlenose dolphins in Florida, new study


This video says about itself:

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

* Family: Delphinidae,

* Genus: Tursiops,

* Class: Mammalia,

* Order: Cetacea,

* Type: Mammal,

* Diet: Carnivore,

* Average life span in the wild: 45 to 50 years,

* Size: 10 to 14 ft (3 to 4.2 m),

* Weight: 1,100 lbs (500 kg),

* Group name: Pod,

**Did you know? Bottlenose dolphins have been observed to breach up to 16 feet (4.9 meters) out of the water, landing with a splash on their back or side.

More info here.

From Wildlife Extra:

Florida dolphins use their own forms of social media to choose their friends

Just like human beings, dolphins form highly complex and dynamic social networks, according to a recent study by scientists at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) at Florida Atlantic University.

The researchers studied the interactions between some 200 bottlenose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), a 156-mile long estuary located on Florida’s east coast.

They discovered how the dolphins mingle and with whom they spend their time. They may not have Facebook or Twitter but they do have association patterns as well as movement behaviour and habitat preferences.

The IRL lagoon is long and narrow and composed of three distinct water bodies; Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River. There are five inlets and one lock (Cape Canaveral lock) connecting the IRL to the Atlantic Ocean.

Researchers from HBOI have been conducting photo identification studies of IRL bottlenose dolphins since 1996, identifying more than 1,700 individual dolphins.

In their paper recently published in the journal Marine Mammal Science, the team found that individual dolphins exhibited both preference and avoidance behaviour – so just like humans, they have dolphins they like and associate with and ones they avoid.

The study also found that IRL dolphins clustered into groups of associated animals, or “communities,” that tended to occupy discrete core areas along the north-south axis of the lagoon system.

“One of the more unique aspects of our study was the discovery that the physical dimensions of the habitat, the long, narrow lagoon system itself, influenced the spatial and temporal dynamics of dolphin association patterns,” says Elizabeth Murdoch Titcomb, research biologist at HBOI who worked on the study.

“For example, communities that occupy the narrowest stretches of the Indian River Lagoon have the most compact social networks, similar to humans who live in small towns and have fewer people with whom to interact.”

In addition to providing a unique glimpse into dolphin societies, the study provides important insight and knowledge on how dolphins organise themselves, who they interact with and who they avoid, as well as when and where.

It also gives scientists and resource managers the roadmap needed to understand how dolphin populations perceive and use their environment, and how social networks will influence information transfer and potentially breeding behaviour and disease transmission.

Ku Klux Klan prison guards’ murder plot in Florida, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

25 June 2014

Ku Klux Klan (KKK), or just the Klan is the name of three distinct movements in the United States. They first played a violent role against African Americans in the South during the Reconstruction Era of the 1860s. The second was a very large controversial nationwide organization in the 1920s. The current manifestation consists of numerous small unconnected groups that use the KKK name. They have all emphasized secrecy and distinctive costumes, and all have called for purification of American society, and all are considered right-wing.

The current manifestation is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is estimated to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members as of 2012.

The first Ku Klux Klan flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. Members made their own white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities.

The second KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, and adopted a standard white costume (sales of which together with initiation fees financed the movement) and code words as the first Klan, while adding cross burnings and mass parades. The third KKK emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the Civil Rights Movement and progress among minorities. The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent reference to the USA’s “Anglo-Saxon” blood, harking back to 19th-century nativism. Though most members of the KKK saw themselves in holding to American values and Christian morality, virtually every Christian denomination officially denounced the Ku Klux Klan.

From News4JAX in the USA:

KKK murder plot highlights racism in prison

Author: Kent Justice, Weekend anchor, reporter

Published On: Apr 02 2015 10:35:12 PM EDT Updated On: Apr 03 2015 12:13:00 AM EDT

UNION COUNTY, Fla. –

A crime story filled with racism, corruption and undercover success has three Union County men under lock and key following a four-month investigation by local, state and federal agents.

All three men worked for the Department of Corrections Lake Butler facility where investigators believe that Thomas Jordan Driver, with co-worker David Moran, and with former guard in-training Charles Newcomb conspired to get revenge on an inmate by killing him.

The state has not named the target of the murder plot but they do identify all three men as known members of a specific group in the Ku Klux Klan.

Federal agents apparently infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in order to uncover and stop the plot before the three men could complete their deadly scheme with the final nail in the coffin being a staged murder scene that was supposed to be proof of the heinous crime.

“A lot of times in these cases, we have people come in and say we really didn’t mean it. But when the FBI staged this crime scene and these photographs were shown to each of these men, they were happy about it. They shook the source’s hand. The source even went to the point of asking them, “Is this what you wanted?” They each said yeah. They were happy about it. They were literally happy about it,” statewide prosecutor, Nick Cox, said.

Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke in direct and powerful terms concerning the joint effort to stop the murder plot.

“I’ll tell you, we will not tolerate nor will we ever remain silent over the violence of hatred embedded in prejudice in this country,” Bondi said.

Bondai and other experts tracking hate groups said that this case is shocking because three present or past corrections officers were involved, planning to kill the inmate when he was released, because he had fought with one of those officers. And disturbing because of their alleged ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

“To actually have three people involved with the correctional system plotting the murder of a former inmate who annoyed one of them, yes I think that’s fairly amazing,” Mark Potok, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. “It’s a very, very unusual case in this day and age. Historically of course, the prisons and Police Department, particularly in the Deep South, and that includes Florida, were filled with Klansmen. But that hasn’t been true for many years. It’s very unusual to come across these cases.”

Officials said the officers were tied to a specific group of the Ku Klux Klan, called the Traditionalist American Knights, whose imperial wizard made threats last fall during the upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri.

“In November he sent out a pamphlet in which he threatened to use “lethal force” against the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri if they in any way threatened his members. That got a lot of attention,” Potok said.

Potok says the KKK doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention in recent years because most members don’t operate out in the open and don’t operate in cities.

It is usually, he said, in rural areas and the larger group doesn’t initiate actions like the corrections officers are accused of.

“So what we see are people who act as lone wolves, that’s really the dominant thing that’s happening. They get tired of the hate groups which seem to never actually do anything other than rant and rave about their enemies. They take it upon themselves to one day walk out their door and start to kill,” Potok said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says racism is alive and well even though America has evolved in past 50 years from a civil rights standpoint, that prisons have become an ideal place for racism to survive.

“Many of the prisons are controlled, or at least partly controlled, by race-based prison gangs and it’s an environment in which racial hatred really flourishes. So it’s not terribly surprising when some of that rubs off on correctional officials,” Potok said.

Florida’s Department of Corrections has seen turnover at the top and down through the ranks in recent years, following complaints of racism and the mistreatment of prisoners.

Climate science illegal in Florida


This video from the USA says about itself:

Florida Bans The Phrases ‘Climate Change’ And ‘Global Warming’

16 March 2015

Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, discusses the move by Florida officials to ban the use of the term ‘climate change’.

Officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have been told that the words ‘climate change’ when used together has been banned, according to former and current employees including attorney for DEP’s Office of General Counsel Christopher Byrd. Byrd stated that along with climate change that the words ‘sustainability’ and ‘global warming’ were also banned.

Chief officials of the DEP refused to answer why. The policy went into effect after Florida Governor Rick Scott came to office.”

Decades ago, there was a lot in NATO countries’ media about people in the then Soviet Union who had been declared to be mentally ill. Political abuse of psychiatry, the media said. These people were not mentally ill; they just disagreed with the (Soviet) government. Such an outrage, of course, would never happen in the western ‘free world’ …

After the Soviet Union of decades ago … and after the censorship of science during George W Bush’s presidency in the USA … now, censorship of science in Florida, the state of George W’s little brother Jeb Bush, maybe Republican party candidate in the next US presidential election.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Florida employee ‘punished for using phrase climate change

In a complaint against the state, worker says he was accused of violating policy and instructed to get a mental health evaluation after mentioning climate change

Katherine Krueger in New York

Thursday 19 March 2015 18.05 GMT

An employee of Florida’s environmental protection department was forced to take a leave of absence and seek a mental health evaluation for violating governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on using the phrases “climate change” or “global warming” under any circumstance, according to a complaint filed against the state.

‘Unwritten ban’; that reminds me of Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, officially there is not any law banning women from driving cars. However, if Saudi women drive cars, then they get jail terms and whip lashes.

Longtime employee Barton Bibler reportedly included an explicit mention of climate change in his official notes from a Florida Coastal Managers Forum meeting in late February, during which climate change, rising sea levels and the possible environmental impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline were discussed.

On 9 March, Bibler received a formal reprimand for “misrepresenting that ‘the official meeting agenda included climate change’”, according to a statement from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), a nationwide non-profit that champions public employees’ rights and providers resources and guidance to whistleblowers using its network of members across the country.

Bibler was instructed to stay away from the office for two days and told he could return to work only after a mental health evaluation from his doctor verified his “fitness for duty”, the complaint said. In the letter to Florida’s inspector general, Candie Fuller, the state’s Peer director calls for a full investigation to the matter.

Bibler told the Miami Herald that he “didn’t get the memo” about the gag order, so when he introduced himself by congratulating other officials on the call for the “exciting” work they were doing to address climate change, the “reaction was mostly shock”.

News of the governor’s ban on the phrases first surfaced in early March, when the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting found that the ban came from the top after Scott took office and appointed Herschel Vinyard Jr as DEP director.

Guardian requests for comment from Scott, the Florida inspector general and the environmental protection department were not immediately returned on Thursday, but Scott and representatives from his office have ardently denied such a policy exists.

Scott has also long dodged questions about climate change with a refrain of “I’m not a scientist” and consistently misrepresented the state’s preparedness for rising sea levels.

Florida is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as 80% of the state’s residents live or work near the coasts and damage from recent storms, including hurricane Wilma, has caused billions of dollars in damage since 2005.

Republicans’ new climate strategy: just ban the words ‘climate change’: here.