Provided by the NSA, courtesy of former employee Edward Snowden
In another example of multi-dimensional clash among the Fourth Amendment, privacy, technology and the surveillance state, hidden microphones that are part of a broad, public clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the San Francisco Bay Area have been exposed.
The FBI planted listening devices at bus stops and other public places trying to prove real estate investors in San Mateo and Alameda counties are guilty of bid rigging and fraud. FBI agents were previously caught hiding microphones inside light fixtures and at public spaces outside an Oakland Courthouse, between March 2010 and January 2011.
The apparent goal of the feds was to catch the defendants in their impromptu conversations following court sessions.
One of the latest tools for violating our privacy and creating the American police state are license plate scanners.
This technology allows the police to cruise through a city at normal speed and photographically gather images of vehicle license plates, along with geolocation data. This is all stored, and can easily be used to create a record of everywhere your car has been. Coupled with cellphone and WiFi data being collected along with its own geodata, and tied to things like tracked credit card activity, emails and the now-ubiquitous public surveillance cameras, it is very, very easy for law enforcement to know where you are, where you have been and have a pretty good idea of what you were doing.
Run that same process for lots and lots of people, and you can also tell who spent time with who.
The Defense Authorization bill is supposed to be an opportunity for Congress to shape national defense priorities and share the responsibility with the president when it comes to foreign policy. Generally the president has significant authority to make his mark on foreign and defense policy and the authorization process for both the Defense and State Departments is the Constitution’s way to make sure the co-equal Legislative Branch of government is properly part of the process. Sadly though this is what was intended, current reality no longer resembles what was meant to be. Instead, Congress members abrogate their authority to set defense spending priorities to the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, and to special interests in their districts. The result is a mess that has very little to do with defending this country and a whole lot to do with enriching those in position to feed from the trough. This week the House will vote on the Defense Authorization Act for 2017. Today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report explains the process and previews the result:
There’s no past in Washington. There is no sense that actions taken today will exist past today, even though in reality they often echo for decades.
A video making the rounds online shows a fighter from a Kurdish group known as Kurdish Workers Party, or, more commonly, the PKK. Using what appears to be a Russian model shoulder fired portable air-to-air missile, the fighter is shooting down a Turkish military, American-made Cobra attack helicopter.
The attack helo is made by the United States and supplied to NATO ally Turkey.
Today is Nakba Day, the day set aside to remember the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian Arabs in 1948 in connection with the creation of the “Jewish State” of Israel. Over 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and villages, and many massacred, in an ethnic-cleansing operation that should shock the conscience. Hundreds of villages were erased and replaced by Jewish towns. The Arabs who remained in the Israeli state that was imposed on them by the UN and Zionist military forces have been second-class citizens, at best, from that time.
Since 1967 the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many of whom were refugees from the 1948 catastrophe, have lived under the boot of the Israeli government. Their day-to-day lives are under the arbitrary control of the Israeli government. Gaza is an open-air blockaded prison camp subject to periodic military onslaughts (the latest was last year), while the West Bank is relentlessly gobbled up by Jewish-only settlements and violated by a wall that surrounds Palestinian towns and cuts people’s homes off from their farms. For the Israeli ruling elite, the so-called peace process is a sham. Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now embarking on an unprecedented fourth term as prime minister, rejects any realistic plan to let the Palestinians go – that is, have their own country on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He insists that they must recognize Israel as the Jewish state, that is, as the state of Jews everywhere, even though it sits largely on stolen property (PDF) – which raises an interesting question: Is subjugation of the Palestinians an instantiation of Jewish values or is it not? If it is (as apparently most of its supporters believe), then what does that say for Jewish values? If it is not, then what does that say for Israel’s purported status as the Jewish State?
What would you do if armed men burst into your home in the middle of the night and screamed, "Leave or be killed?" For the over 800,000 Palestinians uprooted during the 1948 Palestine war, survival-and the threat of death-forced them into bitter exile.
Every year on May 15, Palestinians commemorate the "Nakba" or catastrophe. Scattered worldwide, in Israel, as well as in refugee camps in Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, Palestinians remember and mourn their forced displacement from their homes and lands in Palestine-while Israelis celebrate their 1948 conquest of Palestine as a "War of Independence."
In 1947, the Palestinians were the majority population and the major landowners. British mandate Palestine was populated by an estimated 1.3 million Muslim and Christian Palestinian Arabs and 640,000 Jews. The Palestinians owned 94% of the land and the Jews 6%. Nonetheless, the United Nations General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947 to recommend partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.