Archive for the ACLU / American Civil Liberties Union Category

CIA helped spy on US cell phone data [World Socialist Website]

Posted in ACLU / American Civil Liberties Union, CIA, Police State, USA on April 28, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zaida Green
30 March 2015

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) worked with the US Justice Department to develop a program to spy on US cell phone conversations and data, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

The CIA gave the US Marshals Service, part of the Justice Department, more than $1 million in spying equipment and “developed technology to locate specific cell phones in the US through an airborne device that mimics a cell phone tower,” according to the report. This is a violation of federal law, which separates foreign and domestic intelligence and prohibits the CIA from possessing any internal security functions…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/03/30/cias-m30.html

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CIA helped spy on US cell phone data [World Socialist Website]

Posted in ACLU / American Civil Liberties Union, CIA, Police State, US Government Cover-up, USA on April 7, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zaida Green
30 March 2015

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) worked with the US Justice Department to develop a program to spy on US cell phone conversations and data, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

The CIA gave the US Marshals Service, part of the Justice Department, more than $1 million in spying equipment and “developed technology to locate specific cell phones in the US through an airborne device that mimics a cell phone tower,” according to the report. This is a violation of federal law, which separates foreign and domestic intelligence and prohibits the CIA from possessing any internal security functions…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/03/30/cias-m30.html

GCHQ & NSA perpetrate massive theft of SIM card encryption keys: Snowden [The Intercept]

Posted in ACLU / American Civil Liberties Union, National Security Agency / NSA, Netherlands, NSA, U.K., USA on February 21, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

21 February 2015

by Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley

Full article link:  https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/19/great-sim-heist/

Original article headline:  “The Great SIM Heist:  How Spies Stole the Key to the Castle”

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Related article:  “European Lawmakers Demand Answers on Key Theft” – https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/20/gemalto-heist-shocks-europe/

 

 

Obama admin withholding 2,100 US military torture photos [RT]

Posted in ACLU / American Civil Liberties Union, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Iraq, Obama, Pentagon, Syria, Torture, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on January 7, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

So the Federal judge should be deliberating on these by this time, anybody heard anything? – Zuo Shou

October 22, 2014

The Obama administration has blocked the public release of disturbing torture photos out of concern they would endanger US troops. Now, a federal judge is giving the government until December to justify its actions.

In addition to the disturbing Abu Ghraib photos released in 2004, an estimated 2,100 images of US military personnel torturing and degrading detainees – possibly even more disturbing – may soon be released into the public realm.

Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein has given the US Justice Department until December 12 to defend its rationale for withholding each photograph on an individual basis. Hellerstein will then deliver his ruling on the future fate of the photographs after he conducts a review of the government’s case.

In 2009, President Obama denied release of the photographs on the grounds they would “further inflame anti-American opinion and … put our troops in greater danger.” The move by the president was supported by passage of the Protected National Security Documents Act, which gives the Secretary of Defense the power to keep any photographic images classified if it is believed their release would endanger Americans.

Marcellene Hearn, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the release of the photographs would shed some light on US military facilities abroad. “It’s disappointing that the government continues to fight to keep these photographs from the public,” Hearn said after the hearing, as quoted by the Guardian. “The American people deserve to know the truth about what happened in our detention centers abroad. Yet the government is suppressing as many as 2,100 photographs of detainee abuse in Iraq and elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, in a separate case, a Federal District Court earlier this month [2014 October] ordered the release of 28 videotapes reportedly showing the force-feeding of a hunger-striking detainee at Guantánamo Bay detention center, rejecting the government’s assertion that releasing the tapes would risk the lives of troops.

With the United States military conducting air missions in Iraq and Syria, this time to [allegedly] fight against militants of the Islamic State, there will be much greater incentive to keep the disturbing images classified so as not to inflame anti-American passions even more.

Article link: http://rt.com/usa/198056-abu-ghraib-obama-torture/

War Comes Home – The Excessive Militarization of American Policing [ACLU Report]

Posted in "War on Drugs" pretext, ACLU / American Civil Liberties Union, Pentagon, Pentagon, Police, Police brutality, Police State, US Government Cover-up, USA on September 24, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

June 2014

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing

Across the country, heavily armed Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams are forcing their way intopeople’s homes in the middle of the night, often deploying explosive devices such as flashbang grenades to temporarily blind and deafen residents, simply to serve a search warrant on the suspicion that someone may be in possession of a small amount of drugs. Neighborhoods are not war zones, and our police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies. However, the ACLU encountered this type of story over and over when studying the militarization of state and local law enforcement agencies.

This investigation gave us data to corroborate a trend we have been noticing nationwide: American policing has become unnecessarily and dangerously militarized, in large part through federal programs that have armed state and local law enforcement agencies with the weapons and tactics of war, with almost no public discussion or oversight.1 Using these federal funds, state and local law enforcement agencies have amassed military arsenals purportedly to wage the failed War on Drugs, the battlegrounds of which have disproportionately been in communities of color. But these arsenals are by no means free of cost for communities. Instead, the use of hyper-aggressive tools and tactics results in tragedy for civilians and police officers, escalates the risk of needless violence, destroys property, and undermines individual liberties.

This report provides a snapshot of the realities of paramilitary policing, building on a body of existing work demonstrating that police militarization is a pervasive problem. Analyzing both existing secondary source materials and primary source data uncovered through the ACLU’s public records investigation, this report examines the use of SWAT teams by state and local law enforcement agencies and other aspects of militaristic policing.2 As explained in the Methodology section, our statistical analysis included more than 800 SWAT deployments conducted by 20 law enforcement agencies during the years 2011-2012.3 SWAT was created to deal with emergency situations such as hostage, barricade and active shooter scenarios. Over time, however, law enforcement agencies have moved away from this original purpose and are increasingly using these paramilitary squads to search people’s homes for drugs.

Aggressive enforcement of the War on Drugs has lost its public mandate, as 67 percent of Americans think the government should focus more on treatment than on policing and prosecuting drug users.4 This waning public support is warranted, as evidence continues to document how the War on Drugs has destroyed millions of lives, unfairly impacted communities of color, made drugs cheaper and more potent, caused countless deaths of innocent people caught up in drug war-related armed
conflict, and failed to eliminate drug dependence and addiction. The routine use of heavily armed SWAT teams to search people’s homes for drugs, therefore, means that law enforcement agencies across the country are using this hyper-aggressive form of domestic policing to fight a war that has waning public support and has harmed, much
more than helped, communities…

Full PDF report: https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/jus14-warcomeshome-report-web-rel1.pdf

“US Spying Is Meant to Crush Citizens’ Dissent, Not Catch Terrorists” – Excerpts from Glenn Greenwald’s book ‘No Place to Hide’ [Washington’s Blog]

Posted in ACLU / American Civil Liberties Union, Black propaganda, FBI, George W. Bush, Iraq, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, Vietnam on May 26, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/spying-meant-crush-dissent-terrorism.html

* The Big Secret Behind the [NSA] Spying Program *

While many Americans understand why the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of U.S. citizens, some are still confused about what’s really going on.

In his new book, No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald writes:

The perception that invasive surveillance is confined only to a marginalised and deserving group of those “doing wrong” – the bad people – ensures that the majority acquiesces to the abuse of power or even cheers it on. But that view radically misunderstands what goals drive [US] institutions of authority. “Doing something wrong” in the eyes of such institutions encompasses far more than illegal acts, violent behaviour and terrorist plots. It typically extends to meaningful dissent and any genuine challenge. It is the nature of [this] authority to equate dissent with wrongdoing, or at least with a threat.

The record [of US history] is suffused with examples of groups and individuals being placed under government surveillance by virtue of their dissenting views and activism – Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement, anti-war activists, environmentalists. In the eyes of the government and J Edgar Hoover’s FBI, they were all “doing something wrong”: political activity that threatened the prevailing order.

The FBI’s domestic counterintelligence programme, Cointelpro, was first exposed by a group of anti-war activists who had become convinced that the anti-war movement had been infiltrated, placed under surveillance and targeted with all sorts of dirty tricks. Lacking documentary evidence to prove it and unsuccessful in convincing journalists to write about their suspicions, they broke into an FBI branch office in Pennsylvania in 1971 and carted off thousands of documents.

Files related to Cointelpro showed how the FBI had targeted political groups and individuals it deemed subversive and dangerous, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, black nationalist movements, socialist and communist organizations, anti-war protesters and various rightwing groups. The bureau had infiltrated them with agents who, among other things, attempted to manipulate members into agreeing to commit criminal acts so that the FBI could arrest and prosecute them.

Those revelations led to the creation of the Senate Church Committee, which concluded: “[Over the course of 15 years] the bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilate [sic] operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of first amendment rights of speech and association, on the theory that preventing the growth of dangerous groups and the propagation of dangerous ideas would protect the national security and deter violence.”

These incidents were not aberrations of the era. During the Bush years, for example, documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed, as the group put it in 2006, “new details of Pentagon surveillance of Americans opposed to the Iraq war, including Quakers and student groups“. The Pentagon was “keeping tabs on non-violent protesters by collecting information and storing it in a military anti-terrorism database”. The evidence shows that assurances that surveillance is only targeted at those who “have done something wrong” should provide little comfort…

The opportunity those in power [in the US] have to characterise political opponents as “national security threats” or even “terrorists” has repeatedly proven irresistible. In the past decade, the government, in an echo of Hoover’s FBI, has formally so designated environmental activists, broad swaths of anti-government rightwing groups, anti-war activists, and associations organised around Palestinian rights. Some individuals within those broad categories may deserve the designation, but undoubtedly most do not, guilty only of holding opposing political views. Yet such groups are routinely targeted for surveillance by the NSA and its partners.

One document from the Snowden files, dated 3 October 2012, chillingly underscores the point. It revealed that the agency has been monitoring the online activities of individuals it believes express “radical” ideas and who have a “radicalising” influence on others.

***

The NSA explicitly states that none of the targeted individuals is a member of a terrorist organisation or involved in any terror plots. Instead, their crime is the views they express, which are deemed “radical“, a term that warrants pervasive surveillance and destructive campaigns to “exploit vulnerabilities”.

Among the information collected about the individuals, at least one of whom is a “US person”, are details of their online sex activities and “online promiscuity” – the porn sites they visit and surreptitious sex chats with women who are not their wives. The agency discusses ways to exploit this information to destroy their reputations and credibility.

The NSA’s treatment of Anonymous, as well as the vague category of people known as “hacktivists”, is especially troubling and extreme. That’s because Anonymous is not actually a structured group but a loosely organised affiliation of people around an idea: someone becomes affiliated with Anonymous by virtue of the positions they hold. Worse still, the category “hacktivists” has no fixed meaning: it can mean the use of programming skills to undermine the security and functioning of the internetbut can also refer to anyone who uses online tools to promote political ideals. That the NSA targets such broad categories of people is tantamount to allowing it to spy on anyone anywhere, including in the US, whose ideas the government finds threatening.

Greenwald told Democracy Now yesterday:

People are aware of J. Edgar Hoover’s abuses. The nature of that series of events is that the United States government looks at people who oppose what they do as being, quote-unquote, “threats.” That’s the nature of power, is to regard anybody who’s a threat to your power as a broad national security threat.

***

There has already been reporting that shows that—the document, for example, in the book that shows the NSA plotting about how to use information that it collected against people it considers, quote, “radicalizers.” These are people the NSA itself says are not terrorists, do not belong to terrorist organizations, do not plan terrorist attacks. They simply express ideas the NSA considers radical. The NSA has collected their online sexual activity, chats of a sexual nature that they’ve had, pornographic websites that they visit, and plans, in the document, on how to use this information publicly to destroy the reputations or credibility of those people to render them ineffective as advocates. There are other documents showing the monitoring of who visits the WikiLeaks website and the collection of data that can identify who they are. There’s information about how to use deception to undermine people who are affiliated with the online activism group Anonymous…

Excerpted & edited by Zuo Shou

Original article title: ‘Spying Is Meant to Crush Citizens’ Dissent, Not Catch Terrorists’

Millions of US license plates tracked and stored, new ACLU report finds [Guardian]

Posted in ACLU / American Civil Liberties Union, Police State, US Government Cover-up, USA on August 2, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

– Alarming number of databases across US are storing details of Americans’ locations – not just government agencies –

17 July 2013

by Ed Pilkington

Millions of Americans are having their movements tracked through automated scanning of their car license plates, with the records held often indefinitely in vast government and private databases…

Full article link: http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/jul/17/million-american-license-plate-privacy-tracking

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

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See also “US government using license plates to track movements of millions” [World Socialist Website] – http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/07/18/aclu-j18.html