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Another Republican Party Sellout of American People — Trade Partnerships and Agreements Will Be Used To Change Immigration and Visa Policies Through Trade In Service Agreement (TISA) and Pacific Union — Videos

Posted on June 24, 2015. Filed under: Articles, Banking, Blogroll, Business, Comedy, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Economics, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Fraud, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, Legal, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Radio, Tax Policy, Trade Policiy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Another Republican Party Sellout of American People — Trade Partnerships and Agreements Will Be Used To Change Immigration and Visa Policies Through Trade In Service Agreement (TISA) and Pacific Union — Videos

Unholy-Trinity-TISA-TPP-TTIP

Fast-Track-AuthorityTrans-Pacific-Trade-Agreement_issuebannerUS_visaUSA_Visa

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions: Trade Promotion Authority Legislation Is Not Good For Americans

.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, R., Alabama, on June 18, 2015, spoke on the senate floor to address his concerns on the Trade Promotion Authority legislation. He spoke at length and in a round about way said the legislation is seditious and treasonous.

Today, June 23, 2015, Sessions released the following statement after the passing of the TPA:

“Americans increasingly believe that their country isn’t serving its own citizens. They need look no further than a bipartisan vote of Congress that will transfer congressional power to the Executive Branch and, in turn, to a transnational Pacific Union and the global interests who will help write its rules.

The same routine plays out over and again. We are told a massive bill must be passed, all the business lobbyists and leaders tell us how grand it will be, but that it must be rushed through before the voters spoil the plan. As with Obamacare and the Gang of Eight, the politicians meet with the consultants to craft the talking points—not based on what the bill actually does, but what they hope people will believe it does. And when ordinary Americans who never asked for the plan, who don’t want the plan, who want no part of the plan, resist, they are scorned, mocked, and heaped with condescension.

Washington broke arms and heads to get that 60th vote—not one to spare—to impose on the American people a plan which imperils their jobs, wages, and control over their own affairs. It is remarkable that so much energy has been expended on advancing the things Americans oppose, and preventing the things Americans want.

For instance: thousands of loyal Americans have been laid off and forced to train the foreign workers brought in to fill their jobs—at Disney, at Southern California Edison, across the country. Does Washington rush to their defense? No, the politicians and the lobbyists rush to move legislation that would double or triple the very program responsible for replacing them.

This ‘econometarian’ ideology holds that if a company can increase its bottom line —whether by insourcing foreign workers or outsourcing production—then it’s always a win, never a downside.

President Obama, and allies in Congress, have won this fast-track vote. But, in exchange, they may find that they are losing something far greater: the trust of the American people. Americans have a fundamental, decent, and just demand: that the people they elect defend their interests. And every issue to come before us in the coming months will have to pass this test: does it strengthen, or weaken, the position of the everyday, loyal American citizen?”

TPA passes senate! (Traitors)

Victory for Obama as the Senate gives him the go ahead to negotiate Pacific Rim trade deal

ALERT: Senator Jeff Sessions Issues Dire Warning on TPP

McConnell Lauds the Advancement of Trade Promotion Authority

U.S. Senate Sells Out America!

Republican Senators Sell Out America!

Trade Promotion Authority

Senate advances fast-track trade bill for Obama

he Senate on Tuesday voted to advance President Obama’s trade agenda, approving a measure to end debate on fast-track authority.

The 60-37 motion sets up a vote on final passage on Wednesday. If the Senate approves fast-track or trade promotion authority (TPA), it would then be sent to Obama’s desk to become law.

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Fast-track authority would allow Obama to send trade deals to Congress for up-or-down votes. The White House wants the authority to conclude negotiations on a sweeping trans-Pacific trade deal.
Thirteen Democrats backed fast-track in Tuesday’s vote, handing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a major legislative victory. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) voted against the procedural motion.

The Democrats cast “yes” votes even though the trade package did not include a workers assistance program for people displaced by increased trade. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program was a part of the last fast-track package approved by the Senate in May, but became a key part of opposition to the package among Democrats in the House.

To move fast-track forward, the White House and GOP leaders in both chambers decided to break TAA away from fast-track and to try to approve both in separate votes.

After the Senate votes Wednesday on final passage for fast-track, it will take a procedural vote on a package that includes TAA and trade preferences for African countries known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

McConnell has promised both bills, as well as a customs and enforcement bill favored by Democrats, will reach Obama’s desk by the end of the week.

“If we all keep working together and trusting each other, then by the end of the week the President will have TPA, TAA and AGOA and Preferences on his desk — with Customs in the process of heading his way too,” he said on the floor.

The House has already passed fast-track but it must still vote on the package including TAA, which faces opposition from conservatives.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reiterated on Tuesday his pledge to vote again on TAA as soon as it clears the upper chamber.

“The House will consider TAA once it passes the Senate as part of a new trade preferences bill. And we are ready to go to conference on the customs bill. Our goal is to get TPA and TAA to the president’s desk this week and deliver this win for the American people,” he said in a statement.

The Senate vote to end a filibuster against fast-track appeared in doubt until the final moment as a group of pro-trade Democrats balked at McConnell’s decision to split it off from TAA, a move made necessary to circumvent opposition in the House.

Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Chris Coons (Del.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) refused to say publicly how they would vote.

McConnell’s margin for error shrank further when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is running for president, announced he would vote to block the bill, declaring in a Breitbart.com op-ed that it had “become enmeshed in corrupt Washington backroom dealmaking.”

Other Republican White House hopefuls, including Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, oppose fast-track.

Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, held talks with other pro-trade Democrats late into the evening Monday to address their concerns.

He delivered an impassioned speech in favor of the bill shortly before the vote, arguing that it would allow the United States to keep pace with China in the competition for Asian markets.

“This is our chance to set a new course. This is our chance to put in place higher standards in global trade on matters like labor rights and environmental protection, shine some real sunlight on trade agreements and ensure that our country writes the rules of the road,” he said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who co-wrote the trade bill with Wyden, argued the vast majority of global economic growth will take place outside of the United States over the next decade.

“If our workers, farmers, ranchers and service providers are going to be able to compete in these growing markets, we must have open access to these markets and fair trade rules to boot,” he said on the floor.

Opponents led by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) warned fast-track would cost thousands of American jobs and allow multi-national companies to evade U.S. law.

Brown reproached his colleagues for voting to give Obama fast-track authority while having little idea of the shape of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade accord that will receive expedited consideration in Congress as a result.

“We’ve gotten the worst of both worlds because we’re voting on TPA and we haven’t been able to see what’s in TPP,” Brown said before the vote.

The AFL-CIO waged a fierce lobbying campaign against fast-track for months.

“It will do nothing to prevent repeating the mistakes of failed trade policies that have contributed to stagnating wages, increasing inequality and the closure of more than 60,000 factories since 2000,” the union wrote in a letter dated Monday.

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other business leaders applauded the development.
“Today’s vote is an important step towards revitalizing our economy, creating more good American jobs, and reasserting our country’s global economic leadership,” Donohue said in a statement.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) missed the vote. McConnell said Corker would have voted “yes” if he had been present, while Brown noted that Lee and Menendez would have voted “no.”

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/245827-senate-advances-fast-track-trade-bill-for-obama

SESSIONS WARNS TPA WOULD CREATE ‘PACIFIC UNION’ AKIN TO EUROPEAN UNION

In a joint appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Wednesday,

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
80%

and

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

67%

warned against the passage of the so-called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) currently being considered by the Congress.Sessions argued it was more than just a framework for a process for the president of the United States to use in negotiating trade agreements, but instead was creating an economic union with wide-ranging powers.

“I’ve been there three times and I can tell you it is far more than a trade agreement,” he said. “It is a creating of an economic union. The congressional resource said it is a wide-ranging political and economic partnership that is created where the Sultan of Brunei gets one vote. The president of the United States gets one vote. Twelve countries – they have the ability to add other treaties and pass them. They have the ability to deal with climate issues, wage issues and environmental issues. There’s just no doubt about that.”

The junior Alabama senator went on to explain that he felt it was being kept secret because if the public were aware of this union, which he likened to the European Union, it would be stopped dead in its tracks.

“I think it’s because if the trade commission – if the international commission, the Pacific union that is being created here – were made public, it wouldn’t go anywhere. I just don’t think it has any chance – look, England found out after they joined the EU they can’t fox hunt anymore.”

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/06/10/sessions-warns-tpa-would-create-pacific-union-akin-to-european-union/

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Is Pope Francis The First Watermelon Pope? – Green On The Outside, Red On The Inside — Trying To Convert Catholics To The Religion of Anti-Scientists Alarmist Socialists — Skeptical Capitalist Heretics Unite — Pope Francis Wrong On Science, Wrong On Economics, Not An Authority — Good Intentions Are Not Enough — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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Story 1: Is Pope Francis The First Watermelon Pope? – Green On The Outside, Red On The Inside — Trying To Convert Catholics To The Religion of Anti-Scientists Alarmist Socialists — Skeptical Capitalist Heretics Unite — Pope Francis Wrong On Science, Wrong On Economics, Not An Authority — Good Intentions Are Not Enough — Videos

Galileo – “Faith can never conflict with reason” –

~Pope John Paul II – November 4, 1992

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60 Minutes on Pope Francis (Why the Pope is unlike any pontiff of modern times)

Socialism vs Capitalism: Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman – Is Capitalism Humane? (Lecture)

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Global Warming: A Religion of Anti-Science – Journalist James Delingpole

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Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson on the Global Warming Hysteria April, 2015

Freeman Dyson: A Global Warming Heretic & Denier

“…Professor Fred Singer presents the Report “Nature, not Human Activity, Rules the Climate by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change”‘(NIPCC) at CFACT’s International Climate Eco-Summit (I.C.E.), held on December 11, 2009 at the Center for Political Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark. …”

Richard Lindzen

Interview with Professor Richard Lindzen

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Richard Lindzen, Ph.D. Lecture Deconstructs Global Warming Hysteria (High Quality Version)

Roy Spencer

Global Warming / Climate Change Hoax – Dr. Roy Spencer (1)

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Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 1 of 6

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Fred Singer

Global Warming Debate – Dr. Fred Singer (1 of 2)

Global Warming Debate – Dr. Fred Singer (2 of 2)

Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change pt 1

Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change pt 2

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Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (1 of 5)

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Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (3 of 5)

Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (4 of 5)

Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (5 of 5)

MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN CARBON EMISSIONS ARE NOT WORTH THE MONEY 4 /14- Intelligence Squared U.S.

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The 97% Consensus? Global Warming Unmasked!

And yet it moves.

~Galileo Galilei

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Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens 2

Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens 12

Nova Galileo’s Battle For The Heavens

The Current Pope’s Advisor On Climate Change (Really?)

Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Climate change: state of play

UC San Diego Professor Advises Pope on Climate Change

How climate-change doubters lost a papal fight

By Anthony Faiola and Chris Mooney

Pope Francis was about to take a major step backing the science behind ­human-driven global warming, and Philippe de Larminat was determined to change his mind.

A French doubter who authored a book arguing that solar activity — not greenhouse gases — was driving global warming, de Larminat sought a spot at a climate summit in April sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Nobel laureates would be there. So would U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs and others calling for dramatic steps to curb carbon emissions.

After securing a high-level meeting at the Vatican, he was told that, space permitting, he could join. He bought a plane ticket from Paris to Rome. But five days before the April 28 summit, de Larminat said, he received an e-mail saying there was no space left. It came after other scientists — as well as the powerful Vatican bureaucrat in charge of the academy — insisted he had no business being there.

“They did not want to hear an off note,” de Larminat said.

The incident highlights how climate-change doubters tried and failed to alter the landmark papal document unveiled last week — one that saw the leader of 1 billion Catholics fuse faith and reason and come to the conclusion that “denial” is wrong.

It marked the latest blow for those seeking to stop the reform-minded train that has become Francis’s papacy. It is one that has reinvigorated liberal Catholics even as it has sowed the seeds of resentment and dissent inside and outside the Vatican’s ancient walls.

Yet the battle lost over climate change also suggests how hard it may be for critics to blunt the power of a man who has become something of a juggernaut in an institution where change tends to unfold over decades, even centuries. More than anything, to those who doubt the human impact of global warming, the position staked out by Francis in his papal document, known as an encyclical, means a major defeat.

“This was their Waterloo,” said Kert Davies, executive director of the Climate Investigations Center, who has been tracking ­climate-change deniers for years. “They wanted the encyclical not to happen. And it happened.”

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Papal advisers say Francis signaled his intent to draft a major document on the environment soon after assuming the throne of St. Peter in March 2013. His interest in the topic dates to his days as a bishop in Buenos Aires, where Francis, officials say, was struck by the effects of floods and unsanitary conditions on Argentine shantytowns known as “misery villages.”

In January, Francis officially announced his goal of drafting the encyclical — saying after an official visit to the Philippines that he wanted to make a “contribution” to the debate ahead of a major U.N. summit on climate change in Paris in December.

But several efforts by those skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change to influence the document appear to have come considerably later — in April — and, maybe, too late.

In late April, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, a free-market group that serves as a hub of skepticism regarding the science of human-caused global warming, sent a delegation to the Vatican. As a Heartland news release put it, they hoped “to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science: There is no global warming crisis!”

It was meant to coincide with the same April meeting that de Larminat was trying to attend. Heartland’s activists were not part of the invited contingent, either, Heartland communications director Jim Lakely said.

“It was a side event,” he said. “We were outside the walls of the Vatican. We were at a hotel — literally, I could throw a football into St. Peter’s Square.”

Seven scientists and other experts gave speeches at the Heartland event, raising doubts about various aspects of the scientific consensus on climate change, even as several also urged the pope not to take sides in the debate. It’s impossible to know how that influenced those in the Vatican working on the pope’s document — which one Vatican official said was at “an advanced stage.” But Lakely said his group did not see much of its argument reflected in the final document.

“We all want the poor to live better lives, but we just don’t think the solution to that is to restrict the use of fossil fuels, because we don’t think CO2 is causing a climate crisis,” Lakely said. “So if that’s our message in a sentence, that message was not reflected in the encyclical, so there you go.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/how-climate-change-doubters-lost-a-papal-fight/2015/06/20/86af3182-15ce-11e5-8457-4b431bf7ed4c_story.html

Read Pope Francis’s full document on Climate Change

n the 192-page paper released Thursday, the pope lays out the argument for a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change — a position bringing him immediately into conflict with skeptics, whom he chides for their “denial.” And you can also read 10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/18/read-pope-franciss-full-document-on-climate-change/

Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change

In his encyclical, read by a nun at the Vatican on Thursday, Francis focused on the harm climate change poses to the poor. CreditMax Rossi/Reuters

Francis has made it clear that he hopes the encyclical will influence energy and economic policy and stir a global movement. He calls on ordinary people to press politicians for change. Catholic bishops and priests around the world are expected to discuss the encyclical in services on Sunday. But Francis is also reaching for a wider audience, asking in the document “to address every person living on this planet.”

Even before the encyclical, the pope’s stance against environmental destruction and his demand for global action had already thrilled many scientists. Advocates of policies to combat climate change have said they hoped that Francis could lend a “moral dimension” to the debate.

“Within the scientific community, there is almost a code of honor that you will never transgress the red line between pure analysis and moral issues,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and chairman of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “But we are now in a situation where we have to think about the consequences of our insight for society.”

Francis has been sharply criticized by those who question or deny the established science of human-caused climate change, and also by some conservative Roman Catholics, who see the encyclical as an attack on capitalism and as political meddling.

Graphic: On Planet in Distress, a Papal Call to Action

Governments are now developing domestic climate-change plans to prepare for aUnited Nations summit meeting on the issue in Paris in December. The meeting’s goal is to achieve a sweeping accord in which every nation would commit to new policies to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. Many governments have yet to present plans, including major emitters like Brazil, which has a large Catholic population. The encyclical is seen as an unsubtle nudge for action.

“It gives a lot of cover to political and economic leaders in those countries, as they make decisions on climate change policy,” said Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation.

Catholic theologians say the overarching theme of the encyclical is “integral ecology,” which links care for the environment with a notion already well developed in Catholic teaching: that economic development, to be morally good and just, must take into account people’s need for things like freedom, education and meaningful work.

“The basic idea is, in order to love God, you have to love your fellow human beings, and you have to love and care for the rest of creation,” said Vincent Miller, who holds a chair in Catholic theology and culture at the University of Dayton, a Catholic college in Ohio. “It gives Francis a very traditional basis to argue for the inclusion of environmental concern at the center of Christian faith.”

Photo

Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas, left, and Cardinal Peter Turkson presented the 184-page papal encyclical on Thursday.CreditAndrew Medichini/Associated Press

He added: “Critics will say the church can’t teach policy, the church can’t teach politics. And Francis is saying, ‘No, these things are at the core of the church’s teaching.’ ”

Francis tapped a wide variety of sources in his encyclical, partly to underscore the universality of his message. He cites passages from his two papal predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and draws prominently from a religious ally, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He also cites a ninth-century Sufi mystic, Ali al-Khawas.

“This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church,” Francis writes. The Bible teaches human beings to “till and keep” the garden of the world, he says. “ ‘Tilling’ refers to cultivating, plowing or working, while ‘keeping’ means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving.”

His most stinging rebuke is a broad critique of profit-seeking and the undue influence of technology on society. He praises achievements in medicine, science and engineering, but says that “our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.”

Central to Francis’ theme is the link between poverty and the planet’s fragility. The pope rejects the belief that technology and “current economics” will solve environmental problems, or “that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth.”

“A huge indictment I see in this encyclical is that people have lost their sense of ultimate and proper goals of technology and economics,” said Christiana Z. Peppard, an assistant professor of theology, science and ethics at Fordham University in New York. “We are focused on short-term, consumerist patterns.”

Encyclicals are letters to the clergy and laity of the church that are considered authoritative. Catholics are expected to try to sincerely embrace their teachings. But more specific assertions in them can be categorized as “prudential judgments,” a phrase that some critics have invoked to reject Francis’ positions on issues like climate change or economic inequality.

Many conservatives will be pleased with the encyclical’s strong criticism of abortion, and its dismissal of arguments that population control can be an answer to poverty. However, Francis sharply criticizes the trading of carbon credits — a market-based system central to the European Union’s climate policy — and says it “may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.”

Above all, Francis frames the encyclical as a call to action. He praises young people for being ready for change, and said “enforceable international agreements are urgently needed.” He cites Benedict in saying that advanced societies “must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency.”

“All is not lost,” he writes. “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/world/europe/pope-francis-in-sweeping-encyclical-calls-for-swift-action-on-climate-change.html?_r=0

The Scientific Pantheist Who Advises Pope Francis

The scientist who influenced Laudato Si, and who serves at the Vatican’s science office, seems to believe in Gaia, but not in God.

By ILLIAM M BRIGGS Published on June 22, 2015

1.4K432641
William M Briggs

St. Francis of Assisi’s hymn Laudato Si’ spoke of “Brothers” Sun and Fire and “Sisters” Moon and Water, using these colorful phrases figuratively, as a way of praising God’s creation. These sentimental words so touched Pope Francis that he named his encyclical after this canticle (repeated in paragraph 87 of the Holy Father’s letter).

Neither Pope Francis nor St. Francis took the words literally, of course. Neither believed that fire was alive and could be talked to or reasoned with or, worse, worshiped. Strange, then, that a self-professed atheist and scientific advisor to the Vatican named Hans Schellnhuber appears to believe in a Mother Earth.

Gaia

The Gaia Principle, first advanced by chemist James Lovelock (who has lately had second thoughts) and microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, says that all life interacts with the Earth, and the Earth with all life, to form a giant self-regulating, living system.

This goes far beyond the fact that the Earth’s climate system has feedbacks, which are at the very center of the debate over climate change. In the Gaia Principle, Mother Earth is alive, and even, some think, aware in some ill-defined, mystical way. The Earth knows man and his activities and, frankly, isn’t too happy with him.

This is what we might call “scientific pantheism,” a kind that appeals to atheistic scientists. It is an updated version of the pagan belief that the universe itself is God, that the Earth is at least semi-divine — a real Brother Sun and Sister Water! Mother Earth is immanent in creation and not transcendent, like the Christian God.

What’s this have to do with Schellnhuber? In the 1999 Nature paper “‘Earth system’ analysis and the second Copernican revolution,” he said:

Ecosphere science is therefore coming of age, lending respectability to its romantic companion, Gaia theory, as pioneered by Lovelock and Margulis. This hotly debated ‘geophysiological’ approach to Earth-system analysis argues that the biosphere contributes in an almost cognizant way to self-regulating feedback mechanisms that have kept the Earth’s surface environment stable and habitable for life.

Geo-physiological, in case you missed it. Cognizant, in black and white. So dedicated is Schellnhuber to this belief that he says “the Gaia approach may even include the influence of biospheric activities on the Earth’s plate-tectonic processes.”  Not the other way around, mind you, where continental drift and earthquakes effects life, but where life effects earthquakes.

He elaborates:

Although effects such as the glaciations may still be interpreted as over-reactions to small disturbances — a kind of cathartic geophysiological fever — the main events, resulting in accelerated maturation by shock treatment, indicate that Gaia faces a powerful antagonist. Rampino has proposed personifying this opposition as Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.

Mother Earth gets the flu and instead of white blood cells and a rise in temperature to fend off the infection, it sends white ice and a decrease in temperatures. How? Geophysiologically! I remind the reader that our author, writing in one of the world’s most prominent science journals, does not use these propositions metaphorically. He proposes them as actual mechanisms.

Schellnhuber echoes the theme of a cognizant, i.e. self-aware, planet in another (co-authored) 2004 paper in Nature 2004, “Climbing the co-evolution ladder,” suggesting again that mankind is an infection, saying that mankind “perturbs … the global ‘metabolism’” of the planet.

Tipping Points

Schellnhuber, a one-time quantum physicist who turned his attention to Mother Earth late in his career, was also co-author of a 2009 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper “Imprecise probability assessment of tipping points in the climate system,” which asked select scientists their gut assessment about the arrival of various “tipping points.” Tipping points are a theme of Schellnhuber’s research (see inter alia this and this).

Tipping points are supposed moments when some doom which might have been avoided if some action had been taken, is no longer possible to avoid and will arrive no matter what. Tipping points have come and gone in climate forecasts for decades now. The promised dooms never arrive but the false prophets never quit.  Their intent is less to forecast than to induce something short of panic in order to plead for political intervention. When the old tipping point is past, theorists just change the date, issue new warnings and hope no one will notice.

One of the tipping points Schellnhuber asked about was the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, depending on what the temperature did. All of the selected experts (who answered the questions in 2004 and 2005) gave moderate (~15-25%) to quite high probabilities (50-80%) for this event to have occurred by 2015. The ice did not melt.

Schellnhuber Michelangelo Gaia

Schellnhuber presented more tipping points to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2014 in the co-authored paper, “Climate-System Tipping Points and Extreme Weather Events.” In that paper, Schellnhuber has a “scientific” graph with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Adam “flicking” a planet earth over a methane tipping point, such that the earth would roll down into a fiery pit labeled the “Warming Abyss.” Hell on earth.

The Problem of People

Schellnhuber is most famous for predicting that the “carrying capacity” of the earth is “below” 1 billion people. When confronted with this, he called those who quoted him “liars.” But he then repeated the same claim, saying, “All I said was that if we had unlimited global warming of eight degrees warming, maybe the carrying capacity of the earth would go down to just 1 billion, and then the discussion would be settled.”  And he has often said that this temperature tipping point would be reached — unless “actions” were taken.

The man is suspicious of people. In that same interview he said, “If you want to reduce human population, there are wonderful means: Improve the education of girls and young women.” Since young women already know where babies come from, and since this knowledge tends neither to increase nor decrease population, the “education” he has in mind must be facts about how to avoid the consequences of sex. Austin Ruse discovered a 2009 talk in which Schellnhuber said the earth “will explode” due to resource depletion once the population reaches 9 billion, a number that the UN projects in 2050. Presumably he wants earth to avoid that fate, so he mustsupport the population control that Pope Francis so clearly repudiated in his encyclical.

Bad Religion

Confirmation bias happens when a scientist manipulates an experiment so that he gets the outcome he hoped he would get. When Schellnhuber invites only believers in tipping-points-of-doom to characterize their guesses of this doom, his view that the doom is real will be confirmed. And when he publishes a paper that says, “Scientists say world is doomed” the public and politicians believe it. Scientists skeptical of the doom are dismissed because they are skeptics. This isn’t good science. It’s really bad religion, and a pagan one at that.

Global warming research is characterized by an insider’s club. If you believe, you’re in. If you doubt, you’re out. This is also so at the Pontifical Academies of Science where Schellnhuber was appointed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. The bishop locked scientists with contrary views out of the process, scientists he has repeatedly dismissed as “funded by the oil industry.” Given this, how likely is it that the Holy Father was fully aware of the views of the chief scientist who advised him?

https://stream.org/scientific-pantheist-who-advises-pope-francis/

Background Articles and Videos

An Honest IPCC Scientist Tackles ‘ClimateGate’

Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change

“…On June 2, as Congress debated global warming legislation that would raise energy costs to consumers by hundreds of billions of dollars, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released an 880-page book challenging the scientific basis of concerns that global warming is either man-made or would have harmful effects.

In “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC),” coauthors Dr. S. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso and 35 contributors and reviewers present an authoritative and detailed rebuttal of the findings of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on which the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress rely for their regulatory proposals.

The scholarship in this book demonstrates overwhelming scientific support for the position that the warming of the twentieth century was moderate and not unprecedented, that its impact on human health and wildlife was positive, and that carbon dioxide probably is not the driving factor behind climate change.

The authors cite thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and books that were ignored by the IPCC, plus additional scientific research that became available after the IPCC’s self-imposed deadline of May 2006.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) is an international panel of nongovernment scientists and scholars who have come together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change. Because it is not a government agency, and because its members are not predisposed to believe climate change is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, NIPCC is able to offer an independent “second opinion” of the evidence reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). …”

http://www.climatechangereconsidered.org/

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Story 1: American People’s Crisis of Confidence in Big Government And Out of Control Spending and Taxes — Abandoning Both Political Parties — The Coming Of A Third Independent Party — Toppling Two Party Tyranny — The Wealth Creators Will Lead The American Renaissance — Videos

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confidence in institutions

Free Market Revolution -The Solution to what Ails America Today

The mission of the Financial Policy Council Inc. (FPC), a research think tank and educational institution, is to formulate and promote sound public policy based on the principles of free enterprise and wealth creation as envisioned by the ideals of the American Founding Fathers.

Our goal is to ensure that America, the land of opportunity where freedom and prosperity have flourished, is not derailed by poorly formulated and reactive economic, fiscal and tax policy. In addition, our goal is to retain and reclaim America’s leading role in the global economic community.

Dr. Yaron Brook | Why Be Selfish? | Full Length HD

G. Edward Griffin – The Collectivist Conspiracy

Confidence In Institutions – GBTV

Matt Welch Tackles Two Party Tyranny on Stossel

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Milton Friedman on Classical Liberalism

Milton Friedman Speaks – Is Capitalism Humane?

Milton Friedman Speaks –

Myths That Conceal Reality

  • Americans’ confidence in presidency up four points, at 33%
  • Thirty-two percent have confidence in the Supreme Court
  • Congress retains the least confidence, at 8%

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ confidence in each of the three branches of the U.S. government remains low, with confidence in Congress and the Supreme Court near their all-time lows reached last year. Currently, 33% of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the presidency, 32% are this confident in the Supreme Court, and Congress is still well behind, at 8%.

Trend: Americans' Level of Confidence in the Three Branches of Government

While Congress has consistently received the lowest confidence rating of the three branches of government, the Supreme Court and the presidency usually track each other closely. This is apart from times when the incumbent president has been extremely popular, as in 1991 and 2002, or exceptionally unpopular, as in 2007 and 2008.

Gallup’s June 2-7 poll found confidence in the presidency rising slightly to 33% from 29% last year, which in turn was just four percentage points above the historical low of 25% in 2007. The uptick in confidence in the presidency this year is consistent with Americans’ higher job approval ratings of President Barack Obama since last fall.

Meanwhile, ratings of the Supreme Court and Congress, which had dropped to record lows in 2014, have barely moved.

Confidence in the Presidency in Obama’s Seventh Year Exceeds Bush’s

The president in office is not mentioned by name in the confidence in the presidency question, but Americans’ evaluations of the sitting president at the time are strongly related to how much confidence Americans place in the presidency as an institution.

Confidence in the presidency as an institution during each year of Obama’s presidency has generally been lower than the comparable year in the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. An exception is Obama’s first year, when Americans had greater confidence in the institution than in the first years of either Bush or Clinton. Also, in Obama’s current year in office, his seventh, confidence in the presidency is higher than the 25% found in Bush’s seventh year — the record low — but lower than the 49% in Clinton’s seventh year.

Americans' Level of Confidence in the U.S. Presidency, by Term Year

The highest confidence rating the presidency has ever received is 72%, in March 1991 during the administration of George H.W. Bush shortly after he had succeeded in pushing Iraq out of Kuwait in the Gulf War. However, by October of that same year, after the Gulf War was over, confidence in the presidency had dropped to 50%.

Average Confidence in the Three Branches Is Low, but Has Been Lower

The average confidence rating for the three branches of government combined is 24%, lower than most previous averages since 1991 and well below the high of 50% that year.

But the average of confidence ratings for the three branches of government has been lower — including in 2008 (23%) and 2014 (22%).

Trend: Average of Americans' Confidence Ratings of the Three Branches of Government

Bottom Line

Americans’ confidence in two of the three institutions that make up the U.S. government — Congress and the Supreme Court — remains near their all-time lows reached in 2014, while confidence in the presidency, although low, is up marginally compared with last year.

For Congress, low confidence in the institution is nothing new to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, who have also seen low job approval ratings in recent years. Individual members likely aren’t as interested in Americans’ collective opinions as they are in the views of the voters they must appeal to back home. But the public’s extremely low confidence no doubt weighs on Congress at some level.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, is not directly accountable to the public — and often defies public opinion completely. Although its unelected members serve indefinite terms, confidence in the court is not unsusceptible to a drop in confidence in government as a whole.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 2-7, 2015, with a random sample of 1,527 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/183605/confidence-branches-government-remains-low.aspx?utm_source=Politics&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

Americans Have Lost Confidence … in Everything

It’s not just Congress and the economy that have Americans concerned these days.

Stock image of the U.S. Capitol on the back of a U.S. $20 bill.

Americans expressed a lack of confidence in banks and Congress, among other institutions.

By June 17, 2015 | 7:20 a.m. EDT+ More

Americans have little confidence in most of their major institutions including Congress, the presidency, the Supreme Court, banks and organized religion, according to the latest Gallup poll.

“Americans’ confidence in most major U.S. institutions remains below the historical average for each one,” a Gallup spokesman said in a news release. Only the military, in which 72 percent of Americans express confidence, up from a historical average of 68 percent, and small business, with 67 percent confidence, up from 63, are currently rated higher than their historical norms. This is based on the percentage expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in these institutions, the Gallup spokesman said.

Only 8 percent have confidence in Congress, down by 16 points from a long-term average of 24 percent – the lowest of all institutions rated. The rating is about the same as last year’s 7 percent, the lowest Gallup has ever measured for any institution.

Kanishka Berashk currently lives in Kabul. His U.S. citizen wife asked the Supreme Court to force greater explanation for his visa denial.

Thirty-three percent have confidence in the presidency, a drop from a historical average of 43 percent.

Thirty-two percent have confidence in the Supreme Court, down from 44.

All in all, it’s a picture of a nation discouraged about its present and worried about its future, and highly doubtful that its institutions can pull America out of its trough. In a political context, the findings indicate that the growing number of presidential candidates for 2016 will have a difficult time instilling confidence in a skeptical electorate that they have the answers to the country’s problems.

“Americans’ confidence in most major institutions has been down for many years as the nation has dealt with prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a major recession and sluggish economic improvement, and partisan gridlock in Washington,” the Gallup spokesman said. “In fact, 2004 was the last year most institutions were at or above their historical average levels of confidence. Perhaps not coincidentally, 2004 was also the last year Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States averaged better than 40 percent. Currently, 28 percent of Americans are satisfied with the state of the nation.”

The Gallup spokesman added: “From a broad perspective, Americans’ confidence in all institutions over the last two years has been the lowest since Gallup began systematic updates of a larger set of institutions in 1993.”

Twenty-eight percent have confidence in banks, down from 40 percent.

Twenty-one percent have confidence in big business, down from 24 percent.

Twenty-four percent have confidence in organized labor, down from 26.

Twenty-four percent have confidence in newspapers, down from 32 percent. Twenty-one percent have confidence in television news, down from 30 percent.

The police also have experienced a drop in public esteem, with 52 percent of Americans saying they are confident in the police compared with 57 percent who have been confident in the police historically. Police have been widely criticized in recent months for abusive tactics toward African-Americans, which resulted in the deaths of several black men.

Forty-two percent express confidence in organized religion, down from 55.

“Americans continue to show lower levels of confidence in most of the major institutions central to U.S. society, with only the military and small business getting ratings in 2015 that are above their historical averages,” the Gallup spokesman said. “That speaks to the broader dissatisfaction Americans have with the state of the nation more generally over the past decade as the U.S. has faced serious economic, international and political challenges. Americans have tended to be more confident in U.S. institutions when the economy has been strong, such as in the mid-1980s and the late 1990s and early 2000s. Although Americans are now more upbeat about the economy than they were in 2008-2013, they are not yet convinced that the economy is good, given that their assessments of national economic conditions remain more negative than positive.”

AMERICANS LOSE CONFIDENCE IN EVERYTHING

Poll shows views turning negative on banks, government, religion, police, media

An explosive new Gallup poll shows Americans have lost confidence in almost every major institution – from the U.S. presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court to banks and organized religion.

“Americans’ confidence in most major U.S. institutions remains below the historical average for each one,” a Gallup spokesman said.

Only the military (72 percent) and small business (67 percent) have Americans’ increasing confidence, both of which are now rated 4 percentage points higher than their historical norms, according to the poll.

Congress – which plunged 16 points from its average of 24 points – is the lowest ranking institution at just 8 percent.

Just as numerous presidential candidates attempt to convince America that they have the answers to the nation’s problems, the poll shows only one-third, or 33 percent, of Americans have confidence in the presidency, a nosedive from the historical average of 43 percent.

Likewise, just 32 percent said they have confidence in the Supreme Court, which is down from an average of 44 just before the court announces its decisions on landmark issues such as same-sex marriage and Obamacare subsidies to states without insurance-exchange websites.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2015/06/gallup_2015.jpg

gallup_2015

“Americans’ confidence in most major institutions has been down for many years as the nation has dealt with prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a major recession and sluggish economic improvement, and partisan gridlock in Washington,” a Gallup spokesman said. “In fact, 2004 was the last year most institutions were at or above their historical average levels of confidence. Perhaps not coincidentally, 2004 was also the last year Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States averaged better than 40 percent. Currently, 28 percent of Americans are satisfied with the state of the nation.”

In 2004, President George W. Bush was re-elected and the U.S. transferred sovereignty and control of Iraq back to the Iraqi people.

At the beginning of 2004, the U.S. economy was booming. Four middle-class tax cuts were extended, including a $1,000-per-couple child tax credit, expansion of the lowest (10 percent) tax bracket, exceptions for the alternative minimum tax, and relief from the “marriage penalty” for two-income families. Another $140 billion in tax relief was granted to U.S. business. Unemployment dropped from 5.7 percent to 5.4 percent.

Regarding the latest poll numbers, the Gallup spokesman added, “From a broad perspective, Americans’ confidence in all institutions over the last two years has been the lowest since Gallup began systematic updates of a larger set of institutions in 1993.”

In the last two years, Americans have seen President Obama begin his second term of office. Amid an explosion of legalized same-sex marriage in numerous U.S. states, the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Americans witnessed the debt-ceiling crisis in October 2013, which resulted in the shutdown of the federal government and furlough of federal workers.

By 2014, the Obama administration had announced its plan to shrink the military budget to $522 billion and slash the Army to a size unseen since before World War II. The nation also saw Americans impacted by a West African Ebola outbreak and revelations that the Veterans Administration had covered up exceedingly long wait times for veterans seeking medical attention.

The year 2014 also saw the rise of terrorist group ISIS and racial riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and St. Louis after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in August. By 2015, riots had broken out in Baltimore, Maryland, over the shooting of Freddie Gray.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2015/06/Gallup_2015b.jpg

Gallup_2015b

According to the Gallup poll, 28 percent of Americans now have confidence in banks, compared to the historical average of 40 percent.

Twenty-one percent said they have confidence in big business, down from 24 percent.

Twenty-four percent have confidence in organized labor, down from 26 percent.

Twenty-four percent have confidence in newspapers, down from 32 percent.

Twenty-one percent have confidence in TV news, down from 30 percent.

Fifty-two percent have confidence in police, down from 57 percent.

Forty-two percent have confidence in organized religion, down from 55.

“Americans continue to show lower levels of confidence in most of the major institutions central to U.S. society, with only the military and small business getting ratings in 2015 that are above their historical averages,” the Gallup spokesman said.

“That speaks to the broader dissatisfaction Americans have with the state of the nation more generally over the past decade as the U.S. has faced serious economic, international and political challenges. Americans have tended to be more confident in U.S. institutions when the economy has been strong, such as in the mid-1980s and the late 1990s and early 2000s.”

While Americans are more confident in the economy than they were from 2008 to 2013, the Gallup spokesman said, “[T]hey are not yet convinced that the economy is good, given that their assessments of national economic conditions remain more negative than positive.”

http://www.wnd.com/2015/06/poll-americans-lose-confidence-in-everything/

List of political parties in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of political parties in the United States, both past and present.

Parties with federal representation

Current United States Congressional seats

Political Parties House of Representatives Senate
Republican Party 245 54
Democratic Party 188 44
Independent 0 2
Vacant 2 0

Congressional leadership of the House of Representatives

Position Representative
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R)
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R)
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D)

Congressional leadership of the Senate

Position Senator
President of the Senate Joe Biden (D)
President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch (R)
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R)
Minority Leader Harry Reid (D)

The Vice President of the United States has the additional duty of President of the Senate. Because the number of seats in the United States Senate is an even number (two senators per state), it is the Vice President’s duty as President of the Senate to cast a tie-breaking vote in the event that “they be equally divided”—an equal number of Senators voting both for and against a motion.

Parties with state representation

Political Parties State Lower Chamber Seats State Upper Chamber Seats
Republican Party 3,044 1,134
Democratic Party 2,344 832
Vermont Progressive Party 6 3
Working Families Party 1 1
Conservative Party of New York State 1 0
Independence Party of New York 1 0
Independent 13 3
Vacant 4 3
Total 5,411 1,972

Major political parties

A party that has “an independent state organization… in a majority of the states”[1] is listed as a major party. An “independent state organization” is not to be confused with the organization of an Independent Democrat or Independent Republican.

Political Party States* Founded in Former Titles International Affiliations
Democratic Party 50 + DC 1828 Progressive Alliance[2]
Republican Party 50 + DC 1854 International Democrat Union
Libertarian Party 48 + DC[3] 1971 Interlibertarians[4]
Green Party 36 + DC[5] 1991 Global Greens
Constitution Party 26[5] 1992 U.S. Taxpayers’ Party

Minor political parties

This listing of minor parties does not include independents.

Political Party Founded in Former Titles International Affiliations
America First Party 2002
American Conservative Party 2008
American Freedom Party 2010 American Third Position Party
American Populist Party 2009
America’s Party 2008 America’s Independent Party
Christian Liberty Party* 1996 American Heritage Party
Citizens Party of the United States 2004 New American Independent Party
Communist Party USA 1919 International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties
Freedom Socialist Party 1966
Independent American Party 1998
Justice Party 2011
Modern Whig Party 2008
National Socialist Movement 1974 National Socialist American Workers Freedom Movement World Union of National Socialists
Objectivist Party 2008
Party for Socialism and Liberation 2004
Peace and Freedom Party 1967
Pirate Party 2006 Pirate Party International (observer)
Prohibition Party 1869
Reform Party of the United States of America 1995 United We Stand America
Socialist Action 1983 Fourth International
Socialist Alternative 1986 Labor Militant Committee for a Workers’ International
Socialist Equality Party 1966 Workers League International Committee of the Fourth International
Socialist Party USA 1973
Socialist Workers Party 1938 Pathfinder tendency (unofficial)
United States Marijuana Party 2002
United States Pacifist Party 1983
Unity Party of America 2004
Workers World Party 1959

Regional parties

These parties are based only in states or certain regions and rarely, if ever, offer candidates for national offices. These are all parties that are unaffiliated with national parties. Each state has official state chapters of the major parties as well as some of the minor parties.

Alaska

Connecticut

Delaware

Hawaii

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

Northern Mariana Islands[edit]

Ohio

Oregon

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

U.S. Virgin Islands

Vermont

Wisconsin

Historical parties

The following parties are no longer functioning; they are listed in order of founding.

Non-electoral organizations

These organizations do not nominate candidates for election but otherwise function similarly to political parties. Some of them have nominated candidates in the past.

Political Party Founded in Former Titles International Affiliations
American Falangist Party 1985
American Nazi Party 1959 World Union of Free Enterprise National Socialists
American Reform Party 1997
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism 1991 Committees of Correspondence
Communist Voice Organization 1995
Democratic Socialists of America 1982 Socialist International
Freedom Road Socialist Organization (freedomroad.org group) 1985
Freedom Road Socialist Organization (frso.org group) 1985 International Communist Seminar
Fourth International Caucus(faction of Solidarity) 1995 Fourth International (USFI)
Greens/Green Party USA 1991
International Socialist Organization 1977
Internationalism 1970 International Communist Current
Internationalist Group 1996 League for the Fourth International
Internationalist Workers’ Group 2002 International Communist Tendency
League for the Revolutionary Party 1976 Communist Organization for the Fourth International
League of Revolutionaries for a New America 1993
News and Letters Committees 1955
Progressive Labor Party 1961 Progressive Labor Movement *
Refoundation and Revolution(faction of Solidarity) 2002 Trotskyist League Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA 1975 Revolutionary Union
Revolutionary Organization of Labor 1961 Ray O. Light International Communist Seminar, International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (International Newsletter), International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations
Social Democrats, USA 1972
Socialist Organizer 1991 Fourth International (International Center of Reconstruction)
Socialist Workers Organization 2001
Solidarity 1986
Spartacist League 1966 International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist)
The Spark 1971 International Communist Union
U.S. Marxist–Leninist Organization 1981
Workers Party 2003
World Socialist Party of the United States 1916 Socialist Party of the UnitedStatesSocialist Educational SocietyWorkers’ Socialist Party World Socialist Movement

See also

References

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States

Ambassador Terry Miller and Anthony B. Kim

Since its inception in 1995, the Index of Economic Freedom has chronicled hundreds of examples of government policy changes that have enhanced economic freedom, thereby promoting human progress and greater prosperity. As the Index has catalogued, nations with higher degrees of economic freedom prosper because they capitalize more fully on the ability of the free-market system not only to generate, but also to reinforce dynamic growth through efficient resource allocation, value creation, and innovation. Policies that promote freedom, whether through improvements in the rule of law, the promotion of competition and openness, or suitable restraints on the size and economic reach of government, turn out in practice to offer and advance practical solutions to a wide range of economic and social challenges that face the world’s societies.

The findings of the 2015 Index once again demonstrate the strongly positive linkages between economic freedom and various dimensions of human development. Many of the linkages are straightforward: Higher taxes, for example, reduce investment and hurt job growth. Others, such as the impact on economic growth from the promotion of property rights or the maintenance of a stable monetary system, are more intricate, multidimensional, and nonlinear.

Even in these cases, however, the evidence is strong that adherence to the principles of economic freedom is an unmatched strategy for promoting solutions to human problems and advancing overall well-being. No alternative systems—and many have been tried—come close to the record of free-market capitalism in promoting growth and improving the human condition.

Economic Freedom: Advancing Opportunity

Today’s successful economies are not necessarily geographically large or richly blessed with natural resources. Many economies have managed to expand opportunities for their citizens by enhancing their economic dynamism. In general, the overarching objective of economic policies must be to create an environment that provides the most opportunity for the widest range of activities that can lead to increased prosperity.

The Index results have shown that sustaining such economic dynamism is achievable only when governments adopt economic policies that empower individuals and firms with more choices, encouraging greater entrepreneurship.

It is noteworthy that despite recent policy missteps by many countries in responding to the global economic slowdown, which amounted to a political assault on capitalism in some places, the free-market system is not on the verge of breakdown. In fact, as the negative impact of regulatory and spending mistakes has become apparent, a greater number of people around the world seem to be realizing that the economic damage inflicted by the heavy hand of government—subpar growth, deteriorating entrepreneurial environments, and lower employment growth—is not inevitable, but rather the result of bad policy choices.

Even as the free market has been under challenge in countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Russia, and even the United States, many other governments around the world have acknowledged its superiority. Decades of evidence, some presented in the pages of this Index, are hard for even the most ideological governments to ignore. Not only does the free-market system remain viable, but many of its core features, such as private property rights, openness to trade and investment, and fiscal discipline, have entrenched themselves as the policy standard, any deviation from which requires strong justification.

Economic Freedom: Promoting Prosperity

In many respects, economic freedom is merely shorthand for an openness to entrepreneurial activity that increases opportunity for individuals to succeed in their endeavors. Chart 1 shows the close correspondence between economic freedom and entrepreneurial opportunity as measured by the Entrepreneurship and Opportunity sub-index of the Legatum Prosperity Index, which “measures a country’s entrepreneurial environment, its promotion of innovative activity, and the evenness ofopportunity.”

Given such a strong relationship, it should be apparent that a government’s most effective stimulus activity will not be to increase its own spending or increase layers of regulation, both of which reduce economic freedom. The best results are likely to be achieved instead through policy reforms that improve the incentives that drive entrepreneurial activity, creating more opportunities for greater economicdynamism.

Equally notable are the fundamental benefits that stem from the strong positive relationship between economic freedom and levels of per capita income. For countries achieving scores in the Index that reflect even moderate levels of economic freedom (60 or above), the relationship between economic freedom and per capita GDP is highly significant.

As indicated in Chart 2, countries moving up the economic freedom scale show increasingly high levels of average income. Economies rated “free” or “mostly free” in the 2015 Index enjoy incomes that are over twice the average levels in all other countries and more than five times higher than the incomes of “repressed” economies.

Economic Freedom: Antidote to Poverty

By a great many measures, the past two decades during which the Index has been charting the advance of economic freedom have been the most prosperous in the history of humankind. Those countries that have adopted some version of free-market capitalism, with economies supported by efficient regulations and open to the free flow of goods, services, and capital, have participated in an era of globalization and economic integration in which solutions to many of the world’s development problems have taken hold and generated real improvements in living standards.

The free-market system that is rooted in the principles of economic freedom has fueled unprecedented economic growth around the world. As Chart 3 illustrates, as the global economy has moved toward greater economic freedom over the past two decades, real world GDP has increased by about 70 percent, and the global poverty rate has been cut in half, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

Greater economic freedom has had a positive impact not just on the number of people in poverty, but also on the intensity of the poverty still experienced by some. Poverty intensity as measured by the United Nations Development Programme’s Multidimensional Poverty Index, which assesses the nature and intensity of deprivation at the individual level in education, health outcomes, and standard of living, is much lower on average in countries with higher levels of economic freedom. Chart 5 shows that the intensity of poverty in countries whose economies are considered mostly free or moderately free is only about one-fourth the level in countries that are rated less free.

The key driver of poverty reduction is dynamic and resilient economic growth that creates jobs. Not surprisingly, one of the most important goals of economic policy in almost every country in the world has thus been to increase the rate of economic growth.

As Chart 4 demonstrates, there is a robust relationship between improving economic freedom and achieving higher per capita economic growth. Whether long-term (20 years), medium-term (10 years), or short-term (five years), the relationship between changes in economic freedom and changes in economic growth is consistently positive.

Undeniably, countries moving toward greater economic freedom tend to achieve higher rates of per capita GDP growth over time. Whether in the short term or over the long run, the average annual per capita economic growth rates of countries that have grown economic freedom the most are at least 50 percent higher than those of countries where freedom has stagnated or slowed.

Economic Freedom: Societal Development and Democratic Progress

Growing economic freedom is unequivocally about more than financial success. Achieving greater overall prosperity that goes beyond materialistic and monetary dimensions of well-being is equally important. The societal benefits of economic freedom extend far beyond higher incomes or reductions in poverty. Countries with higher levels of economic freedom enjoy higher levels of overall human development as measured by the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, literacy, education, and the standard of living in countries worldwide. As Chart 6 shows, governments that choose policies that increase economic freedom are placing their societies on the pathway to more education opportunities, better health care, and higher standards of living for their citizens.

In some countries, government policies and actions concerning the environment have become more intrusive and economically distortionary. Many governments have pushed programs to tax carbon emissions and increase taxes on gasoline, organized non-transparent and sometimes corrupt exchanges for the buying and selling of carbon emissions, and provided subsidies for “clean” energy to politically favored firms. Such policies impose a huge direct cost on society, and they also retard economic growth—and all for uncertain environmental benefits.

Interestingly, the same free-market principles that have proven to be the key to economic success have also proven to deliver environmental success. Around the world, economic freedom has been shown to increase countries’ capacity for innovation and thus to improve overall environmental performance.

The positive link between economic freedom and higher levels of innovation ensures greater economic dynamism in coping with various developmental challenges, and the most remarkable improvements in clean energy use and energy efficiency over the past decades have occurred not as a result of government regulation, but rather because of advances in technology and trade. A virtuous cycle of investment, innovation (including in greener technologies), and dynamic economic growth has flourished where governments have trusted market forces and competition to spur efficiency. (See Chart 7.)

Greater economic freedom can also provide more fertile ground for effective and democratic governance. Debate over the direction of causality between economic freedom and democracy has become more controversial in recent years because of the multifaceted interaction between the two. Undoubtedly, achieving greater political freedom through well-functioning democracy is a messy and often excruciatingprocess.

However, the positive relationship between economic freedom and democratic governance is undeniable. (See Chart 8.) By empowering people to exercise greater control of their daily lives, economic freedom ultimately nurtures political reform by making it possible for individuals to gain the economic resources necessary to challenge entrenched interests and compete for political power, thereby encouraging the creation of more pluralistic societies.

Pursuit of greater economic freedom is thus an important stepping-stone to democracy. It empowers the poor and builds the middle class. It is a philosophy that encourages entrepreneurship and disperses economic power and decision-making throughout society.

Economic Freedom: The Key to Upward Mobility and Greater Social Progress

The massive improvements in global indicators of income and quality of life largely reflect a paradigm shift in the debate over how societies should be structured to achieve the most optimal outcome. Over the past two decades, this debate has largely been won by capitalism. However, fears that the immediate benefits of capitalism are fading has brought to the forefront concerns about economic mobility and economicfreedom.

At the heart of ensuring upward economic mobility is the task of advancing economic freedom so that dynamic and inclusive growth can meaningfully occur for ordinary people in a free society. Milton and Rose Friedman made a keen observation on the critically intertwined relationship between freedom andmobility:

[S]o long as freedom is maintained, it prevents … positions of privilege from becoming institutionalized. Freedom means diversity, but also mobility. It preserves the opportunity for today’s disadvantaged to become tomorrow’s privileged and, in the process enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a fuller and richer life.1

Economic freedom is critical to generating the broader-based economic growth that brings more opportunities for a greater number of people to work, produce, and save. In other words, ensuring greater economic freedom is directly related to preserving and enhancing dynamic upward mobility.

Also notable is that although some naysayers claim that economic and social progress has been limited in recent years as incomes in some countries have become more unequal as a result of economic freedom, the evidence does not support this contention. Instead, societies based on economic freedom are the ones that have demonstrated the strongest social progress.

As shown in Chart 9, countries that largely embrace economic freedom provide the environments that are most conducive to social progress.2 Countries that improve their competitiveness and open their societies to new ideas, products, and innovations have largely achieved the high levels of social progress that their citizens demand. It is not massive redistributions of wealth or government dictates on income levels that produce the most positive social outcomes. Instead, mobility and progress require lower barriers to entry, freedom to engage with the world, and less government intrusion.

Staying on Course

The 21st edition of the Index of Economic Freedom shows economic freedom once again on the rise, reaching the highest point in the Index’s 21-year history. Behind this record are stories of human progress and the achievements of countries and their citizens—literally billions of people around the world whose lives have measurably improved.

It is no coincidence that the increase of economic liberty over the past decades has coincided with a massive reduction in worldwide poverty, disease, and hunger. The link between economic freedom and development is clear and strong. People in economically free societies live longer. They have better health. They are able to be better stewards of the environment, and they push forward the frontiers of human achievement in science and technology through greater innovation.

A recurring theme of human history has been resilience and revival. The country profiles in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom include many examples of countries that have accelerated their economic and social progress in the face of difficult challenges and a sometimes harsh international environment. Their successes can be emulated by others. The Index of Economic Freedom charts not just one path to development, but as many as the ingenuity of humans can produce when they are free to experiment andinnovate.

The principles of economic freedom are a sure guide, but only a guide. What truly will matter are the creative solutions to pressing world problems that are certain to flow from people who are, in the words of Milton and Rose Friedman, “free to choose.”

1. Milton Friedman and Rose D. Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979).

2. The Social Progress Index defines social progress as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.

http://www.heritage.org/index/book/chapter-2

Country Rankings

Free

rank country overall change rank country overall change
1 Hong Kong 89.6 -0.5 4 Australia 81.4 -0.6
2 Singapore 89.4 0.0 5 Switzerland 80.5 -1.1
3 New Zealand 82.1 +0.9

Mostly Free

rank country overall change rank country overall change
6 Canada 79.1 -1.1 21 Luxembourg 73.2 -1.0
7 Chile 78.5 -0.2 22 Georgia 73.0 +0.4
8 Estonia 76.8 +0.9 23 Sweden 72.7 -0.4
9 Ireland 76.6 +0.4 24 Czech Republic 72.5 +0.3
10 Mauritius 76.4 -0.1 25 United Arab Emirates 72.4 +1.0
11 Denmark 76.3 +0.2 26 Iceland 72.0 -0.4
12 United States 76.2 +0.7 27 Norway 71.8 +0.9
13 United Kingdom 75.8 +0.9 28 Colombia 71.7 +1.0
14 Taiwan 75.1 +1.2 29 South Korea 71.5 +0.3
15 Lithuania 74.7 +1.7 30 Austria 71.2 -1.2
16 Germany 73.8 +0.4 31 Malaysia 70.8 +1.2
17 The Netherlands 73.7 -0.5 32 Qatar 70.8 -0.4
18 Bahrain 73.4 -1.7 33 Israel 70.5 +2.1
19 Finland 73.4 0.0 34 Macau 70.3 -1.0
20 Japan 73.3 +0.9 35 Saint Lucia 70.2 -0.5

Moderately Free

rank country overall change rank country overall change
36 Botswana 69.8 -2.2 64 Portugal 65.3 +1.8
37 Latvia 69.7 +1.0 65 Rwanda 64.8 +0.1
38 Jordan 69.3 +0.1 66 Montenegro 64.7 +1.1
39 Brunei Darussalam 68.9 -0.1 67 Trinidad and Tobago 64.1 +1.4
40 Belgium 68.8 -1.1 68 Panama 64.1 +0.7
41 The Bahamas 68.7 -1.1 69 Kazakhstan 63.3 -0.4
42 Poland 68.6 +1.6 70 Turkey 63.2 -1.7
43 Uruguay 68.6 -0.7 71 Ghana 63.0 -1.2
44 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 68.0 +1.0 72 South Africa 62.6 +0.1
45 Cyprus 67.9 +0.3 73 France 62.5 -1.0
46 Barbados 67.9 -0.4 74 Kuwait 62.5 +0.2
47 Peru 67.7 +0.3 75 Thailand 62.4 -0.9
48 Jamaica 67.7 +1.0 76 Philippines 62.2 +2.1
49 Spain 67.6 +0.4 77 Saudi Arabia 62.1 -0.1
50 Slovakia 67.2 +0.8 78 Samoa 61.9 +0.8
51 Costa Rica 67.2 +0.3 79 Madagascar 61.7 0.0
52 Armenia 67.1 -1.8 80 Italy 61.7 +0.8
53 Macedonia 67.1 -1.5 81 Croatia 61.5 +1.1
54 Hungary 66.8 -0.2 82 Kyrgyz Republic 61.3 +0.2
55 Bulgaria 66.8 +1.1 83 Paraguay 61.1 -0.9
56 Oman 66.7 -0.7 84 Vanuatu 61.1 +1.6
57 Romania 66.6 +1.1 85 Azerbaijan 61.0 -0.3
58 Malta 66.5 +0.1 86 Dominican Republic 61.0 -0.3
59 Mexico 66.4 -0.4 87 Guatemala 60.4 -0.8
60 Cabo Verde 66.4 +0.3 88 Slovenia 60.3 -2.4
61 Dominica 66.1 +0.9 89 Morocco 60.1 +1.8
62 El Salvador 65.7 -0.5 90 Serbia 60.0 +0.6
63 Albania 65.7 -1.2

Mostly Unfree

rank country overall change rank country overall change
91 Swaziland 59.9 -1.3 122 Kenya 55.6 -1.5
92 Uganda 59.7 -0.2 123 Guyana 55.5 -0.2
93 Namibia 59.6 +0.2 124 Egypt 55.2 +2.3
94 Lebanon 59.3 -0.1 125 Mozambique 54.8 -0.2
95 Tonga 59.3 +1.1 126 Malawi 54.8 -0.6
96 Mongolia 59.2 +0.3 127 Niger 54.6 -0.5
97 Bosnia and Herzegovina 59.0 +0.6 128 India 54.6 -1.1
98 Fiji 59.0 +0.3 129 Suriname 54.2 0.0
99 Benin 58.8 +1.7 130 Greece 54.0 -1.7
100 Zambia 58.7 -1.7 131 Bangladesh 53.9 -0.2
101 Sri Lanka 58.6 -1.4 132 Burundi 53.7 +2.3
102 Burkina Faso 58.6 -0.3 133 Yemen 53.7 -1.8
103 Côte d’Ivoire 58.5 +0.8 134 Maldives 53.4 +2.4
104 Gabon 58.3 +0.5 135 Mauritania 53.3 +0.1
105 Indonesia 58.1 -0.4 136 São Tomé and Príncipe 53.3 +4.5
106 Senegal 57.8 +2.4 137 Papua New Guinea 53.1 -0.8
107 Tunisia 57.7 +0.4 138 Togo 53.0 +3.1
108 Nicaragua 57.6 -0.8 139 China 52.7 +0.2
109 Tanzania 57.5 -0.3 140 Tajikistan 52.7 +0.7
110 Cambodia 57.5 +0.1 141 Liberia 52.7 +0.3
111 Moldova 57.5 +0.2 142 Comoros 52.1 +0.7
112 Djibouti 57.5 +1.6 143 Russia 52.1 +0.2
113 The Gambia 57.5 -2.0 144 Guinea 52.1 -1.4
114 Seychelles 57.5 +1.3 145 Guinea-Bissau 52.0 +0.7
115 Bhutan 57.4 +0.7 146 Cameroon 51.9 -0.7
116 Honduras 57.4 +0.3 147 Sierra Leone 51.7 +1.2
117 Belize 56.8 +0.1 148 Vietnam 51.7 +0.9
118 Brazil 56.6 -0.3 149 Ethiopia 51.5 +1.5
119 Mali 56.4 +0.9 150 Laos 51.4 +0.2
120 Nigeria 55.6 +1.3 151 Haiti 51.3 +2.4
121 Pakistan 55.6 +0.4 152 Nepal 51.3 +1.2

Repressed

rank country overall change rank country overall change
153 Belarus 49.8 -0.3 166 Central African Republic 45.9 -0.8
154 Micronesia 49.6 -0.2 167 Timor-Leste 45.5 +2.3
155 Lesotho 49.6 +0.1 168 Democratic Republic of Congo 45.0 +4.4
156 Ecuador 49.2 +1.2 169 Argentina 44.1 -0.5
157 Algeria 48.9 -1.9 170 Republic of Congo 42.7 -1.0
158 Angola 47.9 +0.2 171 Iran 41.8 +1.5
159 Solomon Islands 47.0 +0.8 172 Turkmenistan 41.4 -0.8
160 Uzbekistan 47.0 +0.5 173 Equatorial Guinea 40.4 -4.0
161 Burma 46.9 +0.4 174 Eritrea 38.9 +0.4
162 Ukraine 46.9 -2.4 175 Zimbabwe 37.6 +2.1
163 Bolivia 46.8 -1.6 176 Venezuela 34.3 -2.0
164 Kiribati 46.4 +0.1 177 Cuba 29.6 +0.9
165 Chad 45.9 +1.4 178 North Korea 1.3 +0.3

Not Ranked

rank country overall change rank country overall change
N/A Afghanistan N/A N/A N/A Liechtenstein N/A N/A
N/A Iraq N/A N/A N/A Somalia N/A N/A
N/A Kosovo N/A N/A N/A Sudan N/A N/A
N/A Libya N/A N/A N/A Syria N/A N/A

http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

United States

overall score76.2
world rank12
RULE OF LAW

Property Rights80.0

Freedom From Corruption73.0

LIMITED GOVERNMENT

Government Spending51.8

Fiscal Freedom66.2

REGULATORY EFFICIENCY

Business Freedom88.8

Labor Freedom98.5

Monetary Freedom76.6

OPEN MARKETS

Trade Freedom87.0

Investment Freedom70.0

Financial Freedom70.0

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QUICK FACTS
  • Population:
    • 316.4 million
  • GDP (PPP):
    • $16.8 trillion
    • 1.9% growth
    • 1.2% 5-year compound annual growth
    • $53,101 per capita
  • Unemployment:
    • 7.5%
  • Inflation (CPI):
    • 1.5%
  • FDI Inflow:
    • $187.5 billion

Embed This Data

The United States’ economic freedom score is 76.2, making its economy the 12th freest in the 2015 Index. Its score is 0.7 point higher than last year, with modest gains in six of the 10 economic freedoms, including control of government spending, outweighing a slight decline in business freedom.

Although the precipitous downward spiral in U.S. economic freedom since 2008 has come to a halt in the 2015 Index, a 1.6-point decline in overall economic freedom over the past five years reflects broad-based deteriorations in key policy areas, particularly those related to upholding the rule of law and limited government. Continuing to trail such comparable economies as Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Canada, America has been ranked “mostly free” since 2010.

The anemic post-recession recovery has been characterized by slow growth, high unemployment, a decrease in the number of Americans seeking work, and great uncertainty that has held back investment. Increased tax and regulatory burdens, aggravated by favoritism toward entrenched interests, have undercut America’s historically dynamic entrepreneurial growth.

BACKGROUND

President Barack Obama’s second-term efforts to expand government spending and regulation have been thwarted to some extent by Republican Party opposition in Congress. Economic policy leadership has devolved by default to the Federal Reserve, whose attempts to use monetary policy to stimulate economic activity have not restored robust growth. Implementation of the 2010 health care law, which has reduced competition in most health insurance markets, remains a drag on job creation and full-time employment. Overall, the U.S. economy continues to underperform, despite a private sector–led energy boom that has made the U.S. the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. The weak economic recovery and uncertain responses to foreign policy challenges, particularly in the Middle East, in Ukraine, and along the southern U.S. border, have contributed to a loss of support for the President and his party and Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress as a result of 2014 midterm elections.

RULE OF LAWVIEW METHODOLOGY

Corruption in government and the political process remains a concern. High levels of government spending and the expansion and complexity of the government’s regulatory agenda have increased opportunities for political favoritism and cronyism. The judiciary functions independently. Protection of property rights has been uneven, with instances of regulatory overreach by the executive branch requiring court adjudication.

LIMITED GOVERNMENTVIEW METHODOLOGY

The top individual income tax rate is 39.6 percent, and the top corporate tax rate remains among the world’s highest at 35 percent. Other taxes include a capital gains tax and excise taxes. Tax revenue is equal to 24.3 percent of gross domestic product, and government spending is well over one-third of GDP. Public debt exceeds the value of the economy’s annual production.

REGULATORY EFFICIENCYVIEW METHODOLOGY

The regulatory burden has been mounting. Since 2009, over 150 new major regulations have been imposed at an annual cost of more than $70 billion. As of 2014, 125 new regulations were in the pipeline. The labor market, primarily regulated at the state level, remains flexible. Subsidies for agriculture, health care, and renewable energy have bred economic distortions.

OPEN MARKETSVIEW METHODOLOGY

The average tariff rate is 1.5 percent. Tariffs on clothing are high, sugar imports face tariff-rate quotas, and petroleum and liquefied natural gas exports are restricted. Foreign investment in some sectors is capped. The financial market is well developed, but the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act has instituted more federal regulation, socializing the cost of financial risk-taking and increasing the likelihood of future financial crises and bailouts

http://www.heritage.org/index/country/unitedstates

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Nobody Does It Better Spying On People of The World — National Security Agency — Turnkey Tyranny Turned On The American People — NSA Budget $100 Billion Plus Paid By The American People — The Patriot Act Expires On June 1, 2015 — Both Republican and Democratic Parties Will Renew It! — Secret Security Surveillance State — Alive, Well and Growing — Videos

Posted on May 8, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Banking, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Data, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Films, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Middle East, Monetary Policy, Money, Music, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religious, Resources, Security, Speech, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weather | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government.  It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

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Most people realize that emails and other digital communications they once considered private can now become part of their permanent record.

But even as they increasingly use apps that understand what they say, most people don’t realize that the words they speak are not so private anymore, either.

Top-secret documents from the archive of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency can now automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored.

The documents show NSA analysts celebrating the development of what they called “Google for Voice” nearly a decade ago.

Though perfect transcription of natural conversation apparently remains the Intelligence Community’s “holy grail,” the Snowden documentsdescribe extensive use of keyword searching as well as computer programs designed to analyze and “extract” the content of voice conversations, and even use sophisticated algorithms to flag conversations of interest.

The documents include vivid examples of the use of speech recognition in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Latin America. But they leave unclear exactly how widely the spy agency uses this ability, particularly in programs that pick up considerable amounts of conversations that include people who live in or are citizens of the United States.

Spying on international telephone calls has always been a staple of NSA surveillance, but the requirement that an actual person do the listening meant it was effectively limited to a tiny percentage of the total traffic. By leveraging advances in automated speech recognition, the NSA has entered the era of bulk listening.

And this has happened with no apparent public oversight, hearings or legislative action. Congress hasn’t shown signs of even knowing that it’s going on.

The USA Freedom Act — the surveillance reform bill that Congress is currently debating — doesn’t address the topic at all. The bill would end an NSA program that does not collect voice content: the government’s bulk collection of domestic calling data, showing who called who and for how long.

Even if becomes law, the bill would leave in place a multitude of mechanisms exposed by Snowden that scoop up vast amounts of innocent people’s text and voice communications in the U.S. and across the globe.

Civil liberty experts contacted by The Intercept said the NSA’s speech-to-text capabilities are a disturbing example of the privacy invasions that are becoming possible as our analog world transitions to a digital one.

“I think people don’t understand that the economics of surveillance have totally changed,” Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told The Intercept.

“Once you have this capability, then the question is: How will it be deployed? Can you temporarily cache all American phone calls, transcribe all the phone calls, and do text searching of the content of the calls?” she said. “It may not be what they are doing right now, but they’ll be able to do it.”

And, she asked: “How would we ever know if they change the policy?”

Indeed, NSA officials have been secretive about their ability to convert speech to text, and how widely they use it, leaving open any number of possibilities.

That secrecy is the key, Granick said. “We don’t have any idea how many innocent people are being affected, or how many of those innocent people are also Americans.”

I Can Search Against It

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was trained as a voice processing crypto-linguist and worked at the agency until 2008, told The Intercept that he saw a huge push after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to turn the massive amounts of voice communications being collected into something more useful.

Human listening was clearly not going to be the solution. “There weren’t enough ears,” he said.

The transcripts that emerged from the new systems weren’t perfect, he said. “But even if it’s not 100 percent, I can still get a lot more information. It’s far more accessible. I can search against it.”

Converting speech to text makes it easier for the NSA to see what it has collected and stored, according to Drake. “The breakthrough was being able to do it on a vast scale,” he said.

More Data, More Power, Better Performance

The Defense Department, through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), started funding academic and commercial research into speech recognition in the early 1970s.

What emerged were several systems to turn speech into text, all of which slowly but gradually improved as they were able to work with more data and at faster speeds.

In a brief interview, Dan Kaufman, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, indicated that the government’s ability to automate transcription is still limited.

Kaufman says that automated transcription of phone conversation is “super hard,” because “there’s a lot of noise on the signal” and “it’s informal as hell.”

“I would tell you we are not very good at that,” he said.

In an ideal environment like a news broadcast, he said, “we’re getting pretty good at being able to do these types of translations.”

A 2008 document from the Snowden archive shows that  transcribing news broadcasts was already working well seven years ago, using a program called Enhanced Video Text and Audio Processing:

(U//FOUO) EViTAP is a fully-automated news monitoring tool. The key feature of this Intelink-SBU-hosted tool is that it analyzes news in six languages, including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, English, and Farsi/Persian. “How does it work?” you may ask. It integrates Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) which provides transcripts of the spoken audio. Next, machine translation of the ASR transcript translates the native language transcript to English. Voila! Technology is amazing.

A version of the system the NSA uses is now even available commercially.

Experts in speech recognition say that in the last decade or so, the pace of technological improvement has been explosive. As information storage became cheaper and more efficient, technology companies were able to store massive amounts of voice data on their servers, allowing them to continually update and improve the models. Enormous processors, tuned as “deep neural networks” that detect patterns like human brains do, produce much cleaner transcripts.

And the Snowden documents show that the same kinds of leaps forward seen in commercial speech-to-text products have also been happening in secret at the NSA, fueled by the agency’s singular access to astronomical processing power and its own vast data archives.

In fact, the NSA has been repeatedly releasing new and improved speech recognition systems for more than a decade.

The first-generation tool, which made keyword-searching of vast amounts of voice content possible, was rolled out in 2004 and code-named RHINEHART.

“Voice word search technology allows analysts to find and prioritize intercept based on its intelligence content,” says an internal 2006 NSA memo entitled “For Media Mining, the Future Is Now!

The memo says that intelligence analysts involved in counterterrorism were able to identify terms related to bomb-making materials, like “detonator” and “hydrogen peroxide,” as well as place names like “Baghdad” or people like “Musharaf.”

RHINEHART was “designed to support both real-time searches, in which incoming data is automatically searched by a designated set of dictionaries, and retrospective searches, in which analysts can repeatedly search over months of past traffic,” the memo explains (emphasis in original).

As of 2006, RHINEHART was operating “across a wide variety of missions and languages” and was “used throughout the NSA/CSS [Central Security Service] Enterprise.”

But even then, a newer, more sophisticated product was already being rolled out by the NSA’s Human Language Technology (HLT) program office. The new system, called VoiceRT, was first introduced in Baghdad, and “designed to index and tag 1 million cuts per day.”

The goal, according to another 2006 memo, was to use voice processing technology to be able “index, tag and graph,” all intercepted communications. “Using HLT services, a single analyst will be able to sort through millions of cuts per day and focus on only the small percentage that is relevant,” the memo states.

A 2009 memo from the NSA’s British partner, GCHQ, describes how “NSA have had the BBN speech-to-text system Byblos running at Fort Meade for at least 10 years. (Initially they also had Dragon.) During this period they have invested heavily in producing their own corpora of transcribed Sigint in both American English and an increasing range of other languages.” (GCHQ also noted that it had its own small corpora of transcribed voice communications, most of which happened to be “Northern Irish accented speech.”)

VoiceRT, in turn, was surpassed a few years after its launch. According to the intelligence community’s “Black Budget” for fiscal year 2013, VoiceRT was decommissioned and replaced in 2011 and 2012, so that by 2013, NSA could operationalize a new system. This system, apparently called SPIRITFIRE, could handle more data, faster. SPIRITFIRE would be “a more robust voice processing capability based on speech-to-text keyword search and paired dialogue transcription.”

Extensive Use Abroad

Voice communications can be collected by the NSA whether they are being sent by regular phone lines, over cellular networks, or through voice-over-internet services. Previously released documents from the Snowden archive describe enormous efforts by the NSA during the last decade to get access to voice-over-internet content like Skype calls, for instance. And other documents in the archive chronicle the agency’s adjustment to the fact that an increasingly large percentage of conversations, even those that start as landline or mobile calls, end up as digitized packets flying through the same fiber-optic cables that the NSA taps so effectively for other data and voice communications.

The Snowden archive, as searched and analyzed by The Intercept, documents extensive use of speech-to-text by the NSA to search through international voice intercepts — particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Mexico and Latin America.

For example, speech-to-text was a key but previously unheralded element of the sophisticated analytical program known as the Real Time Regional Gateway (RTRG), which started in 2005 when newly appointed NSA chief Keith B. Alexander, according to the Washington Post, “wanted everything: Every Iraqi text message, phone call and e-mail that could be vacuumed up by the agency’s powerful computers.”

The Real Time Regional Gateway was credited with playing a role in “breaking up Iraqi insurgent networks and significantly reducing the monthly death toll from improvised explosive devices.” The indexing and searching of “voice cuts” was deployed to Iraq in 2006. By 2008, RTRG was operational in Afghanistan as well.

A slide from a June 2006 NSA powerpoint presentation described the role of VoiceRT:

VoiceRT: Index/Search of Voice Cuts

Keyword spotting extended to Iranian intercepts as well. A 2006 memoreported that RHINEHART had been used successfully by Persian-speaking analysts who “searched for the words ‘negotiations’ or ‘America’ in their traffic, and RHINEHART located a very important call that was transcribed verbatim providing information on an important Iranian target’s discussion of the formation of a the new Iraqi government.”

According to a 2011 memo, “How is Human Language Technology (HLT) Progressing?“, NSA that year deployed “HLT Labs” to Afghanistan, NSA facilities in Texas and Georgia, and listening posts in Latin America run by the Special Collection Service, a joint NSA/CIA unit that operates out of embassies and other locations.

“Spanish is the most mature of our speech-to-text analytics,” the memo says, noting that the NSA and its Special Collections Service sites in Latin America, have had “great success searching for Spanish keywords.”

The memo offers an example from NSA Texas, where an analyst newly trained on the system used a keyword search to find previously unreported information on a target involved in drug-trafficking. In another case, an official at a Special Collection Service site in Latin America “was able to find foreign intelligence regarding a Cuban official in a fraction of the usual time.”

In a 2011 article, “Finding Nuggets — Quickly — in a Heap of Voice Collection, From Mexico to Afghanistan,” an intelligence analysis technical director from NSA Texas described the “rare life-changing instance” when he learned about human language technology, and its ability to “find the exact traffic of interest within a mass of collection.”

Analysts in Texas found the new technology a boon for spying. “From finding tunnels in Tijuana, identifying bomb threats in the streets of Mexico City, or shedding light on the shooting of US Customs officials in Potosi, Mexico, the technology did what it advertised: It accelerated the process of finding relevant intelligence when time was of the essence,” he wrote. (Emphasis in original.)

The author of the memo was also part of a team that introduced the technology to military leaders in Afghanistan. “From Kandahar to Kabul, we have traveled the country explaining NSA leaders’ vision and introducing SIGINT teams to what HLT analytics can do today and to what is still needed to make this technology a game-changing success,” the memo reads.

Extent of Domestic Use Remains Unknown

What’s less clear from the archive is how extensively this capability is used to transcribe or otherwise index and search voice conversations that primarily involve what the NSA terms “U.S. persons.”

The NSA did not answer a series of detailed questions about automated speech recognition, even though an NSA “classification guide” that is part of the Snowden archive explicitly states that “The fact that NSA/CSS has created HLT models” for speech-to-text processing as well as gender, language and voice recognition, is “UNCLASSIFIED.”

Also unclassified: The fact that the processing can sort and prioritize audio files for human linguists, and that the statistical models are regularly being improved and updated based on actual intercepts. By contrast, because they’ve been tuned using actual intercepts, the specific parameters of the systems are highly classified.

“The National Security Agency employs a variety of technologies in the course of its authorized foreign-intelligence mission,” spokesperson Vanee’ Vines wrote in an email to The Intercept. “These capabilities, operated by NSA’s dedicated professionals and overseen by multiple internal and external authorities, help to deter threats from international terrorists, human traffickers, cyber criminals, and others who seek to harm our citizens and allies.”

Vines did not respond to the specific questions about privacy protections in place related to the processing of domestic or domestic-to-international voice communications. But she wrote that “NSA always applies rigorous protections designed to safeguard the privacy not only of U.S. persons, but also of foreigners abroad, as directed by the President in January 2014.”

The presidentially appointed but independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) didn’t mention speech-to-text technology in itspublic reports.

“I’m not going to get into whether any program does or does not have that capability,” PCLOB chairman David Medine told The Intercept.

His board’s reports, he said, contained only information that the intelligence community agreed could be declassified.

“We went to the intelligence community and asked them to declassify a significant amount of material,” he said. The “vast majority” of that material was declassified, he said. But not all — including “facts that we thought could be declassified without compromising national security.”

Hypothetically, Medine said, the ability to turn voice into text would raise significant privacy concerns. And it would also raise questions about how the intelligence agencies “minimize” the retention and dissemination of material— particularly involving U.S. persons — that doesn’t include information they’re explicitly allowed to keep.

“Obviously it increases the ability of the government to process information from more calls,” Medine said. “It would also allow the government to listen in on more calls, which would raise more of the kind of privacy issues that the board has raised in the past.”

“I’m not saying the government does or doesn’t do it,” he said, “just that these would be the consequences.”

A New Learning Curve

Speech recognition expert Bhiksha Raj likens the current era to the early days of the Internet, when people didn’t fully realize how the things they typed would last forever.

“When I started using the Internet in the 90s, I was just posting stuff,” said Raj, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute. “It never struck me that 20 years later I could go Google myself and pull all this up. Imagine if I posted something on alt.binaries.pictures.erotica or something like that, and now that post is going to embarrass me forever.”

The same is increasingly becoming the case with voice communication, he said. And the stakes are even higher, given that the majority of the world’s communication has historically been conducted by voice, and it has traditionally been considered a private mode of communication.

“People still aren’t realizing quite the magnitude that the problem could get to,” Raj said. “And it’s not just surveillance,” he said. “People are using voice services all the time. And where does the voice go? It’s sitting somewhere. It’s going somewhere. You’re living on trust.” He added: “Right now I don’t think you can trust anybody.”

The Need for New Rules

Kim Taipale, executive director of the Stilwell Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy, is one of several people who tried a decade ago to get policymakers to recognize that existing surveillance law doesn’t adequately deal with new global communication networks and advanced technologies including  speech recognition.

“Things aren’t ephemeral anymore,” Taipale told The Intercept. “We’re living in a world where many things that were fleeting in the analog world are now on the permanent record. The question then becomes: what are the consequences of that and what are the rules going to be to deal with those consequences?”

Realistically, Taipale said, “the ability of the government to search voice communication in bulk is one of the things we may have to live with under some circumstances going forward.” But there at least need to be “clear public rules and effective oversight to make sure that the information is only used for appropriate law-enforcement or national security purposes consistent with Constitutional principles.”

Ultimately, Taipale said, a system where computers flag suspicious voice communications could be less invasive than one where people do the listening, given the potential for human abuse and misuse to lead to privacy violations. “Automated analysis has different privacy implications,” he said.

But to Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, the distinction between a human listening and a computer listening is irrelevant in terms of privacy, possible consequences, and a chilling effect on speech.

“What people care about in the end, and what creates chilling effects in the end, are consequences,” he said. “I think that over time, people would learn to fear computerized eavesdropping just as much as they fear eavesdropping by humans, because of the consequences that it could bring.”

Indeed, computer listening could raise new concerns. One of the internal NSA memos from 2006 says an “important enhancement under development is the ability for this HLT capability to predict what intercepted data might be of interest to analysts based on the analysts’ past behavior.”

Citing Amazon’s ability to not just track but predict buyer preferences, the memo says that an NSA system designed to flag interesting intercepts “offers the promise of presenting analysts with highly enriched sorting of their traffic.”

To Phillip Rogaway, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, keyword-search is probably the “least of our problems.” In an email to The Intercept, Rogaway warned that “When the NSA identifies someone as ‘interesting’ based on contemporary NLP [Natural Language Processing] methods, it might be that there is no human-understandable explanation as to why beyond: ‘his corpus of discourse resembles those of others whom we thought interesting'; or the conceptual opposite: ‘his discourse looks or sounds different from most people’s.’”

If the algorithms NSA computers use to identify threats are too complex for humans to understand, Rogaway wrote, “it will be impossible to understand the contours of the surveillance apparatus by which one is judged.  All that people will be able to do is to try your best to behave just like everyone else.”

Next: The NSA’s best kept open secret.

Readers with information or insight into these programs are encouraged to get in touch, either by email, or anonymously via SecureDrop.

Documents published with this article:

Research on the Snowden archive was conducted by Intercept researcher Andrew Fishman

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/05/nsa-speech-recognition-snowden-searchable-text/

 

Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act

EFF sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act in October 2011 for answers about “secret interpretations” of a controversial section of the law. In June 2013, a leaked FISA court order publicly revealed that “secret interpretation”: the government was using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect the phone records of virtually every person in the United States.

Prior to the revelations, several senators warned that the DOJ was using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to support what government attorneys called a “sensitive collection program,” targeting large numbers of Americans. The language of Section 215 allows for secret court orders to collect “tangible things” that could be relevant to a government investigation – a far lower threshold and more expansive reach than a warrant based on probable cause.  The list of possible “tangible things” the government can obtain is seemingly limitless, and could include everything from driver’s license records to Internet browsing patterns.

In response to a court order in our lawsuit, in September 2013, the government released hundreds of pages of previously secret FISA documents detailing the court’s interpretation of Section 215, including an opinion excoriating the NSA for misusing its mass surveillance database for years. In October 2013, the government released a second batch of documents related to Section 215, which showed, among other things, that the NSA had collected cell site location without notifying its oversight committees in Congress or the FISA court.

EFF’s lawsuit came after the DOJ failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on the interpretation and use of Section 215.  The suit demanded records describing the types of “tangible things” that have been collected so far, the legal basis for the “sensitive collection program,” and information on the how many people have been affected by Section 215 orders.

The lawsuit remains ongoing.

https://www.eff.org/foia/section-215-usa-patriot-act

Background Articles and Videos

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Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF’s Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl’s lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.

Speaker: Kurt Opsahl
EventID: 5255
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Language: english

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

Inside the NSA

Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales

AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic

For years the National Securities Agency, has been spying on each & every keystroke. The national headquarters of AT&T is in Missouri, where ex-employees describe a secret room. The program is called “Splitter Cut-In & Test Procedure.”

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All – Op-Docs: The Program

The filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

William Benny – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

‘After 9/11 NSA had secret deal with White House’

The story of Whistleblower Thomas Drake

Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013

Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower

The Truth About Edward Snowden

N.S.A. Spying: Why Does It Matter?

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet

AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-1/2

AT&T Whistleblower Urges Against Immunity for Telecoms in Bush Spy Program

The Senate is expected to vote on a controversial measure to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act tomorrow. The legislation would rewrite the nation’s surveillance laws and authorize the National Security Agency’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping. We speak with Mark Klein, a technician with AT&T for over twenty-two years. In 2006 Klein leaked internal AT&T documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the National Security Agency access to its fiber optic internet cables.

AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-2/2

Enemy Of The State 1998 (1080p) (Full movie)

Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.[1] The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[2] Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.[3]

The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity.[1] William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.[4]

There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.[4]

During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”.[2] One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.[1]

In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon.[5] The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_Wind_%28code_name%29

PRISM

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[1][2][3][Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN.[8][9] It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[10] The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.

A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.”[11] The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012.[12] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.[13][14]

According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum.[15] Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet”[16] to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.[17]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US

Details of information collected via PRISM

PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[1] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).[18][19][20][21] PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC.[11] Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017.[2][22] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[22]

PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden.[2][1] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[1][2] The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012).[23] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”[1]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[11] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[2][11]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally.[1] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[1]

Response from companies

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[2][1]

Initial Public Statements

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[2][24] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[25][26]

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

  • Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”[25]
  • Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”[25] “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”[26]
  • Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”[25]
  • Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.”[25] “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”[26]
  • Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”[27]
  • Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”[25]

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[13] The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[1] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[26]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[28]

Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.[29]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[30] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[31]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[32] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[32] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[32] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[32] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers”[29] and the companies’ denials.[32]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[32] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[32] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[32] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[33]

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000″ user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[34]

Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.[35]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[36]

Response from United States government

Executive branch

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[13] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[37] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[37] Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[37] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[38] In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.[39]

Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”[15]

On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[40][10] The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10]

The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[10]

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[41] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[41]

In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[42]

Legislative branch

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[43] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[44] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

  • June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”[45]

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.[46]
  • June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”[47]
  • June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”[48]

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

  • June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”[49]

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives

  • June 11 “He’s a traitor”[50] (referring to Edward Snowden)

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

  • June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.”[51] “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”[51]

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”[46]
  • June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”[52]

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  • June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.[46]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

  • June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,[53]

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

  • June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”[54]
  • June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”[45]

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

  • June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”[52]

Judicial branch

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.

Applicable law and practice

On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10] Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”[55] In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.”[55] When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”[55] They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.[55]

After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret.[55] The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.

If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.[55]

If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it.[55] A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.[55]

Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive.[55] In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order.[55] The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.[55]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”[56]

Involvement of other countries

Australia

The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[57]

Canada

Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[58]

Germany

Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[59]

Israel

Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[60] the Business Insider article[61] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[62]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.[63][64]

Domestic response

Unbalanced scales.svg
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[65] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[66]

Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”[67] Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.”[67] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[68]

In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case.[69] An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.”[69] Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”[69] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[70] In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.[71]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[72] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[72][73] George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.[74]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[75]

On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.[76]

International response

Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California.[77][78] When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”.[79] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[80] Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”[81]

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.[82]

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”.[83] He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.[84]

The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.[85]

William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism[86] saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”[86] David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.”[86][87] Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority.[87] The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”[82]

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[88]

Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.”[89] The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.[90]

Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.[91]

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”[92][93]

Related government Internet surveillance programs

A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”[94]

A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.[95]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29

ThinThread

ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun.[1] The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority.[2] The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.

ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections.[3] A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.[4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinThread

Trailblazer

Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail.[1][2] It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.

NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.

The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation.[3][4] The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.[5]

Background

Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens.[4][3] Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.[3]

In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000.[6][7][8] SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman.[9] SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.[10][11]

Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. [12][5]

The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” [13]

In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.”[5] The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]

In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule.[15] In 2006 the program was shut down,[3] after having cost billions of US Dollars.[16] Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.[17]

The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.[3]

Whistleblowing

According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”[3]

In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying.[3][18][19] A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy.[19] Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter.[19] Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed.[20] She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.[19]

Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.[3]

In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG)[19] had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure.[21] It had cost more than $1 billion.[8][22][23]

In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative.[18] Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.[3]

In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun.[24][17][25] Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.[17]

In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union.[3][18] None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.

In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917,[17][26][27] part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”.[24][17][28][18] The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.[3]

In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.[5]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AXwwSq_me4

Boundless Informant

Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities.[1] It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian.[2] According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.

Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.[3][4]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.

Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).[5][6][7]

NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.[8]

Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian.[1][9] The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.[10]

Technology

According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.[11]

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.[12][13][14][15]

The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”[16]

Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.[17][18]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boundless_Informant

ECHELON

ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement[1] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes).[2][3] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[4]

ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.[5]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.[6] Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[5] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[4] The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.[5]

Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:

  • the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
  • the National Security Agency of the United States,
  • the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
  • the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
  • the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
  • the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands

The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.[5]

Capabilities

The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[5] During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication,[7] and could be intercepted at great distances.[5] The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”[5]

The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber.[8] The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%.[5] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[9] Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.[5]

One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt.[5] A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.[5]

Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.[10]

Controversy

See also: Industrial espionage

Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes.[10] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[5][11] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[12] An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[13][14]

In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.[5]

Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.

Hardware

According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits.[citation needed] The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.[15]

Name

The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.”[5] The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).

Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK.[16] At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.[17]

Ground stations

The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report[5] lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:

Likely satellite intercept stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:

  • Hong Kong (since closed)
  • Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
  • Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)[18]
  • Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
  • GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
  • Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
  • Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
  • Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
  • GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
  • GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
  • CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
  • Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)

Other potentially related stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:

  • Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
  • BadAibling Station (BadAibling, Germany – U.S.)
    • relocated to Griesheim in 2004[19]
    • deactivated in 2008[20]
  • Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
  • Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
  • Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
  • Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
  • Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
  • Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

Room 641A

Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.[1][2]

Description

Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T.[1] The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic[3] and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.”[4] Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.[2]

The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.[1]

The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T.[5] Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.

Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.

Lawsuit

Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings[4]

More complicated diagram of how it allegedly worked. From EFF court filings.[3] See bottom of the file page for enlarged and rotated version.

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.[6] A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

A top secret document leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian in 2013, originally due to be declassified on 12 April 2038.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_government_surveillance_projects

Section summary of the Patriot Act, Title II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

President George W. Bush gestures as he addresses an audience Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Md., encouraging the renewal of provisions of the Patriot Act.

The following is a section summary of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title II. The USA PATRIOT Act was passed by the United States Congress in 2001 as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures gave increased powers of surveillance to various government agencies and bodies. This title has 25 sections, with one of the sections (section 224) containing a sunset clause which sets an expiration date, 31 December 2005, for most of the title’s provisions. On 22 December 2005, the sunset clause expiration date was extended to 3 February 2006.

Title II contains many of the most contentious provisions of the act. Supporters of the Patriot Act claim that these provisions are necessary in fighting the War on Terrorism, while its detractors argue that many of the sections of Title II infringe upon individual and civil rights.

The sections of Title II amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and its provisions in 18 U.S.C., dealing with “Crimes and Criminal Procedure“. It also amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. In general, the Title expands federal agencies’ powers in intercepting, sharing, and using private telecommunications, especially electronic communications, along with a focus on criminal investigations by updating the rules that govern computer crime investigations. It also sets out procedures and limitations for individuals who feel their rights have been violated to seek redress, including against the United States government. However, it also includes a section that deals with trade sanctions against countries whose government supports terrorism, which is not directly related to surveillance issues.

Contents

 [hide

Sections 201 & 202: Intercepting communications

Patriot Act Titles
Title I: Enhancing Domestic Security against Terrorism
Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures
Title III: International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-terrorist Financing Act of 2001
Title IV: Protecting the border
Title V: Removing obstacles to investigating terrorism
Title VI: Providing for victims of terrorism, public safety officers and their families
Title VII: Increased information sharing for critical infrastructure protection
Title VIII: Strengthening the criminal laws against terrorism
Title IX: Improved intelligence
Title X: Miscellaneous

Two sections dealt with the interception of communications by the United States government.

Section 201 is titled Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism. This section amended 18 U.S.C. § 2516 (Authorization for interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications) of the United States Code. This section allows (under certain specific conditions) the United States Attorney General (or some of his subordinates) to authorize a Federal judge to make an order authorizing or approving the interception of wire or oral communications by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or another relevant U.S. Federal agency.

The Attorney General’s subordinates who can use Section 201 are: the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, any Assistant Attorney General, any acting Assistant Attorney General, any Deputy Assistant Attorney General or acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division who is specially designated by the Attorney General.

The amendment added a further condition which allowed an interception order to be carried out. The interception order may now be made if a criminal violation is made with respect to terrorism (defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2332):

Note: the legislation states that title 18, section 2516(1), paragraph (p) of the United States Code was redesignated (moved) to become paragraph (q). This paragraph had been previously redesignated by two other pieces of legislation: the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996[dead link][1] and by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (see section 201(3)).[2]

Section 202 is titled Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses, and amended the United States Code to include computer fraud and abuse in the list of reasons why an interception order may be granted.[3][4]

Section 203: Authority to share criminal investigative information

Section 203 (Authority to share criminal investigation information) modified the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure with respect to disclosure of information before the grand jury (Rule 6(e)). Section 203(a) allowed the disclosure of matters in deliberation by the grand jury, which are normally otherwise prohibited, if:

  • a court orders it (before or during a judicial proceeding),
  • a court finds that there are grounds for a motion to dismiss an indictment because of matters before the Grand Jury,
  • if the matters in deliberation are made by an attorney for the government to another Federal grand jury,
  • an attorney for the government requests that matters before the grand jury may reveal a violation of State criminal law,
  • the matters involve foreign intelligence or counterintelligence or foreign intelligence information. Foreign intelligence and counterintelligence was defined in section 3 of the National Security Act of 1947,[5] and “foreign intelligence information” was further defined in the amendment as information about:
    1. an actual or potential attack or other grave hostile acts of a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power;
    2. sabotage or international terrorism by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; or
    3. clandestine intelligence activities by an intelligence service or network of a foreign power or by an agent of foreign power; or
    4. information about a foreign power or foreign territory that relates to the national defense or the security of the United States or the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.’.
    5. information about non-U.S. and U.S. citizens

203(a) gave the court the power to order a time within which information may be disclosed, and specified when a government agency may use information disclosed about a foreign power. The rules of criminal procedure now state that “within a reasonable time after such disclosure, an attorney for the government shall file under seal a notice with the court stating the fact that such information was disclosed and the departments, agencies, or entities to which the disclosure was made.”

Section 203(b) modified 18 U.S.C. § 2517, which details who is allowed to learn the results of a communications interception, to allow any investigative or law enforcement officer, or attorney for the Government to divulge foreign intelligence, counterintelligence or foreign intelligence information to a variety of Federal officials. Specifically, any official who has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, or evidence derived from this could divulge this information to any Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official. The definition of “foreign intelligence” was the same as section 203(a), with the same ability to define “foreign intelligence” to be intelligence of a non-U.S. and U.S. citizen. The information received must only be used as necessary in the conduct of the official’s official duties.[6]

The definition of “foreign intelligence information” is defined again in Section 203(d).

Section 203(c) specified that the Attorney General must establish procedures for the disclosure of information due to 18 U.S.C. § 2517 (see above), for those people who are defined as U.S. citizens.[7]

Section 204: Limitations on communication interceptions

Section 204 (Clarification of intelligence exceptions from limitations on interception and disclosure of wire, oral, and electronic communication) removed restrictions from the acquisition of foreign intelligence information from international or foreign communications. It was also clarified that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 should not only be the sole means of electronic surveillance for just oral and wire intercepts, but should also include electronic communication.[8][9]

Section 205: Employment of translators by the FBI

Under section 205 (Employment of translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation), the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now allowed to employ translators to support counterterrorism investigations and operations without regard to applicable Federal personnel requirements and limitations. However, he must report to the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee the number of translators employed and any legal reasons why he cannot employ translators from federal, state, or local agencies.[10]

Section 206: Roving surveillance authority

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978[11] allows an applicant access to all information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to perform electronic surveillance on a particular target. The assistance given must protect the secrecy of and cause as little disruption to the ongoing surveillance effort as possible. The direction could be made at the request of the applicant of the surveillance order, by a common carrier, landlord, custodian or other specified person. Section 206 (Roving surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) amended this to add:

or in circumstances where the Court finds that the actions of the target of the application may have the effect of thwarting the identification of a particular person.

This allows intelligence agencies to undertake “roving” surveillance: they do not have to specify the exact facility or location where their surveillance will be done. Roving surveillance was already specified for criminal investigations under 18 U.S.C. § 2518(11), and section 206 brought the ability of intelligence agencies to undertake such roving surveillance into line with such criminal investigations. However, the section was not without controversy, as James X. Dempsey, the Executive Director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, argued that a few months after the Patriot Act was passed the Intelligence Authorization Act was also passed that had the unintended effect of seeming to authorize “John Doe” roving taps — FISA orders that identify neither the target nor the location of the interception (see The Patriot Debates, James X. Dempsey debates Paul Rosenzweig on section 206).[12]

Section 207: Duration of FISA surveillance on agents of a foreign powe

Previously FISA only defined the duration of a surveillance order against a foreign power (defined in 50 U.S.C. § 1805(e)(1)) . This was amended by section 207 (Duration of FISA surveillance of non-United States persons who are agents of a foreign power) to allow surveillance of agents of a foreign power (as defined in section 50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(1)(A)) for a maximum of 90 days. Section 304(d)(1) was also amended to extend orders for physical searches from 45 days to 90 days, and orders for physical searches against agents of a foreign power are allowed for a maximum of 120 days. The act also clarified that extensions for surveillance could be granted for a maximum of a year against agents of a foreign power.[13]

Section 208: Designation of judges

Section 103(A) of FISA was amended by Section 208 (Designation of judges) of the Patriot Act to increase the number of federal district court judges who must now review surveillance orders from seven to 11. Of these, three of the judges must live within 20 miles (32 km) of the District of Columbia.[14]

Section 209: Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants

Section 209 (Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants) removed the text “any electronic storage of such communication” from title 18, section 2510 of the United States Code. Before this was struck from the Code, the U.S. government needed to apply for a title III wiretap order[15] before they could open voice-mails, however now the government only need apply for an ordinary search. Section 2703, which specifies when a “provider of electronic communication services” must disclose the contents of stored communications, was also amended to allow such a provider to be compelled to disclose the contents via a search warrant, and not a wiretap order. According to Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, this was done to “harmonizing the rules applicable to stored voice and non-voice (e.g., e-mail) communications”.[16][17]

Section 210 & 211: Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications

The U.S. Code specifies when the U.S. government may require a provider of an electronic communication service to hand over communication records.[18] It specifies what that provider must disclose to the government,[19] and was amended by section 210 (Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications) to include records of session times and durations of electronic communication as well as any identifying numbers or addresses of the equipment that was being used, even if this may only be temporary. For instance, this would include temporarily assigned IP addresses, such as those established by DHCP.[20]

Section 211 (Clarification of scope) further clarified the scope of such orders. 47 U.S.C. § 551 (Section 631 of the Communications Act of 1934) deals with the privacy granted to users of cable TV. The code was amended to allow the government to have access to the records of cable customers, with the notable exclusion of records revealing cable subscriber selection of video programming from a cable operator.[21]

Section 212: Emergency disclosure of electronic communications

Section 212 (Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb) amended the US Code to stop a communications provider from providing communication records (not necessarily relating to the content itself) about a customer’s communications to others.[22] However, should the provider reasonably believe that an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person then the communications provider can now disclose this information. The act did not make clear what “reasonably” meant.

A communications provider could also disclose communications records if:

  • a court orders the disclosure of communications at the request of a government agency (18 U.S.C. § 2703)
  • the customer allows the information to be disclosed
  • if the service provider believes that they must do so to protect their rights or property.

This section was repealed by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 — this act also created the Homeland Security Department — and was replaced with a new and permanent emergency disclosure provision.[23]

Section 213: Delayed search warrant notification

Section 213 (Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant) amended the US Code to allow the notification of search warrants[24] to be delayed.[25] This section has been commonly referred to as the “sneak and peek” section, a phrase originating from the FBI[citation needed] and not, as commonly believed, from opponents of the Patriot Act. The U.S. government may now legally search and seize property that constitutes evidence of a United States criminal offense without immediately telling the owner. The court may only order the delayed notification if they have reason to believe it would hurt an investigation — delayed notifications were already defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2705 — or, if a search warrant specified that the subject of the warrant must be notified “within a reasonable period of its execution,” then it allows the court to extend the period before the notification is given, though the government must show “good cause”. If the search warrant prohibited the seizure of property or communications, then the search warrant could then be delayed.

Before the Patriot Act was enacted, there were three cases before the United States district courts: United States v. Freitas, 800 F.2d 1451 (9th Cir. 1986); United States v. Villegas, 899 F.2d 1324 (2d Cir. 1990); and United States v. Simons, 206 F.3d 392 (4th Cir. 2000). Each determined that, under certain circumstances, it was not unconstitutional to delay the notification of search warrants.[26]

Section 214: Pen register and trap and trace authority

FISA was amended by section 214 (Pen register and trap and trace authority under FISA) to clarify that pen register and trap and trace surveillance can be authorised to allow government agencies to gather foreign intelligence information.[27] Where the law only allowed them to gather surveillance if there was evidence of international terrorism, it now gives the courts the power to grant trap and traces against:

  • non-U.S. citizens.
  • those suspected of being involved with international terrorism,
  • those undertaking clandestine intelligence activities

Any investigation against U.S. citizens must not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[28]

Section 215: Access to records and other items under FISA

This section is commonly referred to as the “library records” provision[29] because of the wide range of personal material that can be investigated.[30][31]

FISA was modified by section 215 (Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) to allow the Director of the FBI (or an official designated by the Director, so long as that official’s rank is no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) to apply for an order to produce materials that assist in an investigation undertaken to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. The act specifically gives an example to clarify what it means by “tangible things”: it includes “books, records, papers, documents, and other items”.

It is specified that any such investigation must be conducted in accordance with guidelines laid out in Executive Order 12333 (which pertains to United States intelligence activities). Investigations must also not be performed on U.S. citizens who are carrying out activities protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Any order that is granted must be given by a FISA court judge or by a magistrate judge who is publicly designated by the Chief Justice of the United States to allow such an order to be given. Any application must prove that it is being conducted without violating the First Amendment rights of any U.S. citizens. The application can only be used to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a U.S. citizen or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.

This section of the PATRIOT Act is controversial because the order may be granted ex parte, and once it is granted — in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigation — the order may not disclose the reasons behind why the order was granted.

The section carries a gag order stating that “No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section”. Senator Rand Paul stated that the non-disclosure is imposed for one year,[32] though this is not explicitly mentioned in the section.

In order to protect anyone who complies with the order, FISA now prevents any person who complies with the order in “good faith” from being liable for producing any tangible goods required by the court order. The production of tangible items is not deemed to constitute a waiver of any privilege in any other proceeding or context.

As a safeguard, section 502 of FISA compels the Attorney General to inform the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate of all such orders granted. Every six months, the Attorney General must also provide a report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate which details the total number of applications made for orders approving requests for the production of tangible things and the total number of such orders either granted, modified, or denied.[33]

During a House Judiciary hearing on domestic spying on July 17, 2013 John C. Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency, told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform “a second or third hop query” through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations.[34] “Hops” refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with.[34][35] NSA officials had said previously that data mining was limited to two hops, but Inglis suggested that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has allowed for data analysis extending “two or three hops”.[36]

This section was reauthorized in 2011.

Section 216: Authority to issue pen registers and trap and trace devices[edit]

Section 216 (Modification of authorities relating to use of pen registers and trap and trace devices) deals with three specific areas with regards to pen registers and trap and trace devices: general limitations to the use of such devices, how an order allowing the use of such devices must be made, and the definition of such devices.

Limitations

18 U.S.C. § 3121 details the exceptions related to the general prohibition on pen register and trap and trace devices. Along with gathering information for dialup communications, it allows for gathering routing and other addressing information. It is specifically limited to this information: the Act does not allow such surveillance to capture the actual information that is contained in the communication being monitored. However, organisations such as the EFF have pointed out that certain types of information that can be captured, such as URLs, can have content embedded in them. They object to the application of trap and trace and pen register devices to newer technology using a standard designed for telephones.

Making and carrying out orders

It also details that an order may be applied for ex parte (without the party it is made against present, which in itself is not unusual for search warrants), and allows the agency who applied for the order to compel any relevant person or entity providing wire or electronic communication service to assist with the surveillance. If the party whom the order is made against so requests, the attorney for the Government, law enforcement or investigative officer that is serving the order must provide written or electronic certification that the order applies to the targeted individual.

If a pen register or trap and trace device is used on a packet-switched data network, then the agency doing surveillance must keep a detailed log containing:

  1. any officer or officers who installed the device and any officer or officers who accessed the device to obtain information from the network;
  2. the date and time the device was installed, the date and time the device was uninstalled, and the date, time, and duration of each time the device is accessed to obtain information;
  3. the configuration of the device at the time of its installation and any subsequent modification made to the device; and
  4. any information which has been collected by the device

This information must be generated for the entire time the device is active, and must be provided ex parte and under seal to the court which entered the ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of the device. This must be done within 30 days after termination of the order.

Orders must now include the following information:[37]

  • the identifying number of the device under surveillance
  • the location of the telephone line or other facility to which the pen register or trap and trace device is to be attached or applied
  • if a trap and trace device is installed, the geographic limits of the order must be specified

This section amended the non-disclosure requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3123(d)(2) by expanding to include those whose facilities are used to establish the trap and trace or pen register or to those people who assist with applying the surveillance order who must not disclose that surveillance is being undertaken. Before this it had only applied to the person owning or leasing the line.

Definitions

The following terms were redefined in the US Code’s chapter 206 (which solely deals with pen registers and trap and trace devices):

  • Court of competent jurisdiction: defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3127(2), subparagraph A was stricken and replaced to redefine the court to be any United States district court (including a magistrate judge of such a court) or any United States court of appeals havingjurisdiction over the offense being investigated (title 18 also allows State courts that have been given authority by their State to use pen register and trap and trace devices)
  • Pen register: defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3127(3), the definition of such a device was expanded to include a device that captures dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information from an electronics communication device. It limited the usage of such devices to exclude the capturing of any of the contents of communications being monitored. 18 U.S.C. § 3124(b) was also similarly amended.
  • Trap and trace device: defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3127(4), the definition was similarly expanded to include the dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information from an electronics communication device. However, a trap and trace device can now also be a “process”, not just a device.
  • Contents: 18 U.S.C. § 3127(1) clarifies the term “contents” (as referred to in the definition of trap and trace devices and pen registers) to conform to the definition as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2510(8), which when used with respect to any wire, oral, or electronic communication, includes any information concerning the substance, purport, or meaning of that communication.

Section 217: Interception of computer trespasser communications

Section 217 (Interception of computer trespasser communications) firstly defines the following terms:

  • Protected computer: this is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(2)(A), and is any computer that is used by a financial institution or the United States Government or one which is used in interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States.
  • Computer trespasser: this is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2510(21) and references to this phrase means
    1. a person who accesses a protected computer without authorization and thus has no reasonable expectation of privacy in any communication transmitted to, through, or from the protected computer; and
    2. does not include a person known by the owner or operator of the protected computer to have an existing contractual relationship with the owner or operator of the protected computer for access to all or part of the protected computer

Amendments were made to 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2) to make it lawful to allow a person to intercept the communications of a computer trespasser if

  1. the owner or operator of the protected computer authorizes the interception of the computer trespasser’s communications on the protected computer,
  2. the person is lawfully engaged in an investigation,
  3. the person has reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of the computer trespasser’s communications will be relevant to their investigation, and
  4. any communication captured can only relate to those transmitted to or from the computer trespasser.

Section 218: Foreign intelligence information

Section 218 (Foreign intelligence information) amended 50 U.S.C. § 1804(a)(7)(B) and 50 U.S.C. § 1823(a)(7)(B) (both FISA sections 104(a) (7)(B) and section 303(a)(7)(B), respectively) to change “the purpose” of surveillance orders under FISA to gain access to foreign intelligence to “significant purpose”. Mary DeRosa, in The Patriot Debates, explained that the reason behind this was to remove a legal “wall” which arose when criminal and foreign intelligence overlapped. This was because the U.S. Department of Justice interpreted “the purpose” of surveillance was restricted to collecting information for foreign intelligence, which DeRosa says “was designed to ensure that prosecutors and criminal investigators did not use FISA to circumvent the more rigorous warrant requirements for criminal cases”. However, she also says that it is debatable whether this legal tightening of the definition was even necessary, stating that “the Department of Justice argued to the FISA Court of Review in 2002 that the original FISA standard did not require the restrictions that the Department of Justice imposed over the years, and the court appears to have agreed [which] leaves the precise legal effect of a sunset of section 218 somewhat murky.”[38]

Section 219: Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism

Section 219 (Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism) amended the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to allow a magistrate judge who is involved in an investigation of domestic terrorism or international terrorism the ability to issue a warrant for a person or property within or outside of their district.[39]

Section 220: Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence

Section 220 (Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence) gives the power to Federal courts to issue nationwide service of search warrants for electronic surveillance. However, only courts with jurisdiction over the offense can order such a warrant. This required amending 18 U.S.C. § 2703 and 18 U.S.C. § 2711.

Section 221: Trade sanctions

Section 221 (Trade sanctions) amended the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.[40] This Act prohibits, except under certain specific circumstances, the President from imposing a unilateral agricultural sanction or unilateral medical sanction against a foreign country or foreign entity. The Act holds various exceptions to this prohibition, and the Patriot Act further amended the exceptions to include holding sanctions against countries that design, develop or produce chemical or biological weapons, missiles, or weapons of mass destruction.[41] It also amended the act to include the Taliban as state sponsors of international terrorism. In amending Title IX, section 906 of the Trade sanctions act, the Taliban was determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism and the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices is now pursuant to one-year licenses issued and reviewed by the United States Government.[42] However, the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to the Government of Syria or to the Government of North Korea were exempt from such a restriction.[43]

The Patriot Act further states that nothing in the Trade Sanctions Act will limit the application of criminal or civil penalties to those who export agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to:

Section 222: Assistance to law enforcement agencies

Section 222 (Assistance to law enforcement agencies) states that nothing in the Patriot Act shall make a communications provider or other individual provide more technical assistance to a law enforcement agency than what is set out in the Act. It also allows for the reasonable compensation of any expenses incurred while assisting with the establishment of pen registers or trap and trace devices.[47]

Section 223: Civil liability for certain unauthorized disclosures

18 U.S.C. § 2520(a) allows any person who has had their rights violated due to the illegal interception of communications to take civil action against the offending party. Section 223 (Civil liability for certain unauthorized disclosures) excluded the United States from such civil action.

If a court or appropriate department or agency determines that the United States or any of its departments or agencies has violated any provision of chapter 119 of the U.S. Code they may request an internal review from that agency or department. If necessary, an employee may then have administrative action taken against them. If the department or agency do not take action, then they must inform the notify the Inspector General who has jurisdiction over the agency or department, and they must give reasons to them why they did not take action.[48]

A citizen’s rights will also be found to have been violated if an investigative, law enforcement officer or governmental entity discloses information beyond that allowed in 18 U.S.C. § 2517(a).[49]

U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2712 added

A totally new section was appended to Title 18, Chapter 121 of the US Code: Section 2712, “Civil actions against the United States”. It allows people to take action against the US Government if they feel that they had their rights violated, as defined in chapter 121,chapter 119, or sections 106(a), 305(a), or 405(a) of FISA. The court may assess damages no less than $US10,000 and litigation costs that are reasonably incurred. Those seeking damages must present them to the relevant department or agency as specified in the procedures of the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Actions taken against the United States must be initiated within two years of when the claimant has had a reasonable chance to discover the violation. All cases are presented before a judge, not a jury. However, the court will order a stay of proceedings if they determine that if during the court case civil discovery will hurt the ability of the government to conduct a related investigation or the prosecution of a related criminal case. If the court orders the stay of proceedings they will extend the time period that a claimant has to take action on a reported violation. However, the government may respond to any action against it by submitting evidence ex parte in order to avoid disclosing any matter that may adversely affect a related investigation or a related criminal case. The plaintiff is then given an opportunity to make a submission to the court, not ex parte, and the court may request further information from either party.[50]

If a person wishes to discover or obtain applications or orders or other materials relating to electronic surveillance or to discover, obtain, or suppress evidence or information obtained or derived from electronic surveillance under FISA, then the Attorney General may file an affidavit under oath that disclosure or an adversary hearing would harm the national security of the United States. In these cases, the court may review in camera and ex parte the material relating to the surveillance to make sure that such surveillance was lawfully authorized and conducted. The court may then disclose part of material relating to the surveillance. However, the court is restricted in they may only do this “where such disclosure is necessary to make an accurate determination of the legality of the surveillance”.[50] If it then determined that the use of a pen register or trap and trace device was not lawfully authorized or conducted, the result of such surveillance may be suppressed as evidence. However, should the court determine that such surveillance was lawfully authorised and conducted, they may deny the motion of the aggrieved person.[51]

It is further stated that if a court or appropriate department or agency determines that an officer or employee of the United States willfully or intentionally violated any provision of chapter 121 of the U.S. Code they will request an internal review from that agency or department. If necessary, an employee may then have administrative action taken against them. If the department or agency do not take action, then they must inform the notify the Inspector General who has jurisdiction over the agency or department, and they must give reasons to them why they did not take action. (see[49] for a similar part of the Act)

Section 224: Sunset

Section 224 (Sunset) is a sunset clause. Title II and the amendments made by the title originally would have ceased to have effect on December 31, 2005, with the exception of the below sections. However, on December 22, 2005, the sunset clause expiration date was extended to February 3, 2006, and then on February 2, 2006 it was further extended to March 10:

Title II sections that did not expire on March 10, 2006
Section Section title
203(a) Authority to share criminal investigation information : Authority to share Grand Jury information
203(c) Authority to share criminal investigation information : Procedures
205 Employment of translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
208 Designation of judges
210 Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications
211 Clarification of scope
213 Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant
216 Modification of authorities relating to use of pen registers and trap and trace devices
219 Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism
221 Trade sanctions
222 Assistance to law enforcement agencies

Further, any particular foreign intelligence investigations that are ongoing will continue to be run under the expired sections.

Section 225: Immunity for compliance with FISA wiretap[edit]

Section 225 (Immunity for compliance with FISA wiretap) gives legal immunity to any provider of a wire or electronic communication service, landlord, custodian, or other person that provides any information, facilities, or technical assistance in accordance with a court order or request for emergency assistance. This was added to FISA as section 105 (50 U.S.C. § 1805).

Notes and references

  1. Jump up^ See Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, section 434(2)
  2. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 201. Authority to Intercept Wire, Oral, and Electronic Communications Relating to Terrorism.”, page 7 & Patrick Leahy, Section-bySection Analysis, “Sec. 201.”
  3. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2516(1)(c)computer crime is a felony violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030.
  4. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 202. Authority to Intercept Wire, Oral, and Electronic Communications Relating to Computer Fraud and Abuse Offenses.”, page 8 & Patrick Leahy, Section-bySection Analysis, “Sec. 202.”
  5. Jump up^ 20 U.S.C. § 401a
  6. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2517
  7. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 203. Authority to share criminal investigation information”, page 8 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 203.”
  8. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2)(f) was amended to allow this change
  9. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 204. Clarification of Intelligence Exceptions From Limitations on Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Oral and Electronic Communications.”, page 9 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 204.”
  10. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 205. Employment of Translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”, page 9 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 205.”
  11. Jump up^ 50 U.S.C. § 1805(c)(2)(B)
  12. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 206. Roving Surveillance Authority Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.”, page 10 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 206.”
  13. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 207. Duration of FISA Surveillance of Non-United States Persons Who are Agents of a Foreign Power.”, page 10 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 207.”
  14. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 208. Designation of judges”, page 11 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 208.”
  15. Jump up^ A “Title III wiretap” is shorthand for Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which deals with wiretaps and was the law that created Title 18, chapter 19 of the United States Code (entitled “Wire Interception and Interception of Oral Communications,” it includes 18 U.S.C. § 251018 U.S.C. § 2520)
  16. Jump up^ Patrick Leahy, section by section analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, section 209. Accessed November 12, 2005.
  17. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 209. Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants”, page 11
  18. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2703
  19. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2703(c)(2)
  20. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications”, page 11 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 210.”
  21. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Clarification of scope”, page 11 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 211.”
  22. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2702(a)(3)
  23. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb”, page 12 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 212.”
  24. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3103a(a) states that “a warrant may be issued to search for and seize any property that constitutes evidence of a criminal offense in violation of the laws of the United States”
  25. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3103a
  26. Jump up^ For some analysis of section 213 of the PATRIOT Act, see: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 213: Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant”, page 12 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 213.”
  27. Jump up^ Section 402 of FISA (50 U.S.C. § 1842) and Section 403 of FISA (50 U.S.C. § 1843) were both amended
  28. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 214: Pen register and trap and trace authority under FISA”, page 13 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 214.”
  29. Jump up^ Carle, David (2011-01-26). “Leahy Renews Effort To Extend Expiring PATRIOT Act Authorities, Increase Oversight”. Press release from Senator Patrick Leahy‘s office (Washington). Archived from the original on 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  30. Jump up^ Mascaro, Lisa. “Congress votes in time to extend key Patriot Act provisions”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  31. Jump up^ Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted Under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
  32. Jump up^ Paul, Rand (2011-04-15). “Senator Rand Paul’s Letter of Opposition to the Patriot Act”. Archived from the original on 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  33. Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 215: Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act”, page 14 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 215.”
  34. ^ Jump up to:a b Ackermann, Spencer (17 July 2013). “NSA warned to rein in surveillance as agency reveals even greater scope”. The Guardian. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  35. Jump up^ Bump, Philip (17 July 2013). “The NSA Admits It Analyzes More People’s Data Than Previously Revealed”. The Atlantic Wire. RetrievedJuly 18, 2013.
  36. Jump up^ Cite error: The named reference McClatchy20130717 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  37. Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3123(b)(1)
  38. Jump up^ Mary DeRosa (undated), “Section 218, amending the FISA Standard, a summary by Mary DeRosa”, The Patriot Debates, accessed January 22, 2006
  39. Jump up^ Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, rule 41(a)
  40. Jump up^ The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 is defined in title 22, chapter 79 of the United States Code
  41. Jump up^ Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, Title IX, section 904(2)(C); corresponds to 22 U.S.C. § 7203(2)(C).
  42. Jump up^ Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, title IX, section 906(A)(1) 22 U.S.C. § 7205(A)(1)
  43. Jump up^ Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, title IX, section 906(A)(2) 22 U.S.C. § 7205(A)(2)
  44. Jump up^ This is defined in Executive Order No. 12947: “Prohibiting Transactions With Terrorists Who Threaten To Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process”
  45. Jump up^ This is defined in Executive Order No. 13224: “Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism”
  46. Jump up^ Defined in Executive Order No. 12978: “Blocking Assets and Prohibiting Transactions with Significant Narcotics Traffickers”; & the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act
  47. Jump up^ As defined in section 216 of the Patriot Act.
  48. Jump up^ Defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2520(f) and 18 U.S.C. § 2707(d)
  49. ^ Jump up to:a b Defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2520(g) and 18 U.S.C. § 2707(g)
  50. ^ Jump up to:a b 18 U.S.C. § 2712(b)
  51. Jump up^ 50 U.S.C. § 1845(g)

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_summary_of_the_Patriot_Act,_Title_II

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Story 1: Two Terrorist Islamic Jihadists Attack Garland Texas Curtis Culwell Center Where Mohammed Cartoon Contest Free Speech Event Was Ending — Suspect Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi Shot Dead — Don’t Mess With Texas — Videos

Posted on May 4, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Catholic Church, College, Communications, Coptic Christian, Corruption, Crime, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Ethic Cleansing, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Middle East, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Programming, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Religious, Resources, Rifles, Shite, Speech, Sunni, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Television, Television, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

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Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

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Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Story 1: Two Terrorist Islamic Jihadists Attack Garland Texas Curtis Culwell Center Where Mohammed Cartoon Contest Free Speech Event Was Ending — Suspect Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi Shot Dead — Don’t Mess With Texas — Videos

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

First Amendment

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.  It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Second Amendment

The Second Amendment has most recently been interpreted to grant the right of gun ownership to individuals for purposes that include self-defense.  At first it was thought to apply only to the Federal government, but through the mechanism of the Fourteenth Amendment, it has been applied to the states as well.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/second_amendment

Charlie-GETTY ORIGINALMahamud-Cartoon-Contestgarland-curtis-culwellgarland-texas-map-620x434 curtis_culwellspeakersfgddfdsadsfgarland-peopltwo killed shooting-garland-telton-simpsonnadir-soofitwo terroristTwo+Gunmen+Killed+Outside+Mohammed+CartoonBaggedpolice chiegProphet Cartoon Contest Shooting (7)afdiads american_freedom_defense_initiativeIslamofobia lexington adPamela Geller ubway adislam-ad

Garland Shooting: Inside Texas Community Center Moment of Attack at Muhammad Cartoon Event

Traffic cop praised for thwarting Texas attack

Garland Shooting: Inside Texas Community Center Moment of Attack at Muhammad Cartoon Event |VIDEO

Consistency is key | “Glenn Beck Radio Program”

Glenn it is Socrates. Do your homework!

Jihad Watch

http://www.jihadwatch.org/

Robert Spencer on Hannity’s Great American Panel, January 10, 2015: “Rise of Radical Islam”

Michael Coren & Robert Spencer – Jihad Watch – Jan 15, 2015

Two Gunmen killed at Muhammad Art Contest in Garland Texas identified as Jihad sympathizers

Shooting at Muhammad Cartoon Contest Garland, Texas: 2 Gunmen Killed, Officer Down -FIRST VIDEO

Garland TX Mohammed Cartoon Contest Shooting: First report

Garland Shooting: Elton Simpson, Nadir Soofi Suspects Attack Muhammad Carton Drawing in Texas |VIDEO

The Secret of The Muhammad Garland TX Shooting

Police won’t call Garland attack a TERRORIST ATTACK even though suspect was a wannabe terrorist

Pamela Geller Battles CNN Host over Garland Shooting: Why Is Media ‘Targeting’ Us? |FULL INTERVIEW

Muslim extremists attack Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas – TomoNews

Pamela Geller on anti-jihad ad

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: The Post American Presidency

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Jihad Candidate

Jerry Agar & Robert Spencer – France arrests 8 connected to Paris jihadist cell

Interview with Robert Spencer about Islam حوار مع الكاتب روبرت سبنسر

Pamela Geller on Sean Hannity, FOX news Discussing Islamic Hate Preacher at Yale

WAS THE TEXAS MOHAMMED SHOOTING A FALSE FLAG?

Robert Spencer on Why ISIS is Islamic

Lying Lunatic Left

Video: CAIR Rep on MSNBC’s ‘NOW with Alex Wagner’ to Discuss Shooting in Garland, Texas

SPLC Labels Muhammad Cartoon Group ‘anti-muslim’

FBI had known about suspected Texas shooter for years

By Adam Goldman and Mark Berman

One of the gunmen authorities say opened fire Sunday outside an exhibition of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad had previously been suspected of trying to fly overseas and wage violent jihad, according to court records.

He was identified as Elton Simpson, 30, of Phoenix, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. Law enforcement officials said Monday afternoon that the second shooter in the Texas attack was Nadir Soofi, 34, Simpson’s roommate.

FBI agents searched a Phoenix apartment Monday as part of the investigation into the shooting, which occurred Sunday evening in Garland, a city near Dallas.

The FBI had begun monitoring Simpson again recently. Authorities said Monday that they were still working to determine details about the two men and who may have instigated the plan. The FBI does not believe the shooting was directed by an international terrorist group, but is still investigating.

Police say the two gunmen drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center during a controversial art exhibition and, at around 6:50 p.m., opened fire with assault rifles, striking a security guard in the leg.

An officer who normally works on traffic was there as part of a heavy security detail for the event, and this officer shot and killed both gunmen using his duty pistol, said Joe Harn, a spokesman for the Garland police.

“Both those men died there on the street next to their car,” Harn said during a news conference Monday morning.

The gunmen had additional ammunition as well as suitcases in their vehicle, but no bombs or explosives were found, Harn said. They were also wearing some form of protective gear, he said.

While Harn would not say if police believed the shooting was directly connected with the event, he said the two gunmen intended to get inside the center and shoot people.

“We were able to stop those men before they were able to penetrate the area and attempt to shoot anyone else,” Harn said.

The guns recovered by authorities in Garland were being traced Monday by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Officer ‘probably saved lives’ in Tex. shootings(1:57)
Police planned security for months before a Texas event showing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, a police spokesperson said. (Reuters)
City officials said that Bruce Joiner was the Garland Independent School District security officer who was shot at by the two gunmen. Joiner was treated for an ankle wound and released, the city said in a statement.

The inflammatory event was hosted by a New York group that had promised $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting Muhammad. Drawing or otherwise depicting Muhammad is largely forbidden under Islam.
Authorities said there was considerable discussion on social media in the days leading up to the cartoon event, which prompted authorities to deploy heavy security. One tweet sent out on Sunday referred to taking a pledge of allegiance and referred to a #texasattack, but it was unclear whether the account belonged to either of the men involved.

Simpson was born in Illinois and converted to Islam at a young age, court documents show. The government began investigating him in 2006, recording conversations between him and a paid informant.

In May 2009, according a federal court document, Simpson told an FBI informant: “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother.” He added: “It’s time. I’m tellin’ you man. We gonna make it to the battlefield…it’s time to roll.”

Simpson was arrested by the FBI in January 2010 after a lengthy investigation. He was charged with lying to agents in connection with terrorism. Authorities suspected he was trying to fly to Somalia, but Simpson claimed at the time he had intended to travel to South Africa to go to school and study Islam there.

Following a bench trial, a judge dropped the terrorism enhancement, citing insufficient evidence. The judge, Mary H. Murguia, said in March 2011 that the government had failed to prove that Simpson intended to wage violent jihad in Somalia. Murguia reduced the charge to making a false statement to federal officials and sentenced Simpson to three years of probation. Authorities also returned his passport, which they had confiscated after his arrest.

Simpson’s lawyer described him as a very religious man who had converted to Islam.

“He didn’t seem to me to be any threat to anybody,” Kristina Sitton, Simpson’s lawyer, said in a telephone interview Monday. “He seemed to be very kind but entrenched in Islam. He wouldn’t shake my hand.”

She said that after he was sentenced to probation, Simpson called her saying that he had tried to board a domestic flight and was told he could not fly. Sitton said she believed he was on the no-fly list.
Soofi was a pre-med student at the University of Utah from 1998 to 2003, according to a spokeswoman for the school. He left the school in the summer of 2003 without having earned a degree, she said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/05/04/fbi-had-known-about-suspected-texas-shooter-for-years/?wpisrc=al_alert

Former terror suspect well known to the FBI is named as one of two gunmen shot dead by cops after attack on anti-Islam ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest near Dallas

  • Elton Simpson, 30, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34, were gunned down after shooting a guard in the leg outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas on Sunday evening
  • Simpson was convicted of lying to federal agents about traveling to Africa five years ago – but a judge ruled it could not be proved that he was going to join a terror group
  • Their Phoenix, Arizona home has been surrounded and a bomb squad is carrying out a search 
  • The American Freedom Defense Initiative event had offered a $10,000 prize for the best caricature of the prophet; local residents had expressed their concerns about the event but organizers said they were exercising free speech
  • The security guard who was shot, Bruce Joiner, was taken to hospital in stable condition and has been released 
  • One traffic officer shot both men dead and has been praised by cops for potentially saving many lives 
  • ISIS fighter claimed on Twitter that the shooting was carried out by two pro-ISIS individuals 

A former terror suspect has been named as one of the gunmen shot dead by police after the two attackers blasted an unarmed security guard in the ankle during an anti-Islam art contest in Texas on Sunday night.

Elton Simpson, 30, who was previously the subject of a terror investigation, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34, were armed with assault rifles when they were killed by a quick-thinking traffic officer after opening fire outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Dallas, at around 7pm.

The shooting unfolded as the American Freedom Defense Initiative held an event inside the building where caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were being displayed. Followers of Islam deem that any physical depiction of the prophet – even a positive one – is blasphemous.

Simpson, identified in court papers as an American Muslim, had been convicted of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia five years ago, but a judge ultimately ruled it could not be proved that he was heading there to join a terror group. He was placed on probation.

Soofi, named as the second gunman by the Washington Post, shared an apartment with Simpson at the Autumn Ridge complex in Phoenix.

On Monday morning, FBI agents and investigators could be seen cordoning off and searching the apartment, as well as a white van believed to belong to Simpson. Investigators are also reviewing computer records from materials found at the home.

Shot dead: Elton Simpson, pictured, was one of the two gunmen who stormed an anti-Islam event on Sunday evening in Texas

Killed: FBI crime scene investigators look at the bodies of the two killed gunmen outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas on Monday. Police killed the two men after they opened fire at an anti-Islam event on Sunday

Destroyed: Investigators destroyed some of the belongings found inside the back of the suspects' car, pictured, as a precaution

Destroyed: Investigators destroyed some of the belongings found inside the back of the suspects’ car, pictured, as a precaution

Investigation: Agents work on the scene near to where the men opened fire before they were shot dead by a traffic officer

Investigation: Agents work on the scene near to where the men opened fire before they were shot dead by a traffic officer

Search: Reporters gather near the home of Elton Simpson, one of the suspected attackers, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday morning

Search: Reporters gather near the home of Elton Simpson, one of the suspected attackers, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday morning

Raid: Police tape surrounds a vehicle, believed to belong to one of the two gunmen, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday

Raid: Police tape surrounds a vehicle, believed to belong to one of the two gunmen, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday

Probe: Investigators pull belongings from the back of the truck and carry items inside the complex on Monday morning

ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site

ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site

Investigators also searched the car that the two gunmen drove to the scene and found luggage and further ammunition inside. Some of the belongings were destroyed as a precaution but no explosives were found inside the vehicle, Garland Police Officer Joe Harn said on Monday.

On Monday, Simpson’s father said that he believes his son, who had worked in a dentist’s office, ‘made a bad choice’.

‘We are Americans and we believe in America,’ Dunston Simpson told ABC News. ‘What my son did reflects very badly on my family.’

Ahead of the attack on Sunday evening, several Twitter messages were sent out, and authorities believe Simpson was behind them. The last one was shared just half an hour before the shooting.

Followers of ISIS had been calling for an attack online for more than a week after learning that the competition in Garland would feature a ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest, with a prize of $10,000 for the best caricatur

After the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group reported that an Islamic State fighter claimed on Twitter that the shooting was carried out by two pro-Isis individuals.

In a series of tweets and links, a jihadist named as Abu Hussain AlBritani, which SITE said was British IS fighter Junaid Hussain, claimed that ‘2 of our brothers just opened fire’ at the Prophet Muhammad exhibition in Texas.

‘They Thought They Was Safe In Texas From The Soldiers of The Islamic State,’ added the tweet.

Other ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site, using the now-suspended account name @atawaakul, according to New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi.

He had posted a message earlier that said ‘the bro with me and myself have given bay’ah [oath] to Amirul Mu’mineen [ISIS leader Al Baghdadi]. May Allah accept us as mujahideen #texasattack’.

The contest was just minutes from finishing when multiple gunshots were heard.

The two suspects had pulled up in a vehicle before getting out and firing at a security officer, 57-year-old Bruce Joiner, who was employed by the independent school district. He was later taken to hospital in a stable condition and was released on Sunday evening.

Attack: The bodies of shooting suspects are seen next to their vehicle as it is searched for explosives at an anti-Muslim event in Texas on Sunday. The two men had got out the vehicle and opened fire, wounding a security guard in the leg, before they were shot by police

Attack: The bodies of shooting suspects are seen next to their vehicle as it is searched for explosives at an anti-Muslim event in Texas on Sunday. The two men had got out the vehicle and opened fire, wounding a security guard in the leg, before they were shot by police

Controversial: On Sunday, two heavily armed police officers can be seen securing art work following the shooting. The art competition, which was awarding $10,000 to the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, had been condemned by critics

Controversial: On Sunday, two heavily armed police officers can be seen securing art work following the shooting. The art competition, which was awarding $10,000 to the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, had been condemned by critics

An officer prevents two people from leaving the building as the area was placed on lockdown after multiple gunshots were heard

TAPES OF A TERROR SUSPECT: RECORDINGS SHOW SIMPSON’S INTENTIONS TO WAGE A WAR

Elton Simpson was well known to the FBI. In 2010, he was convicted of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia – although a judge ultimately ruled it could not be proved that he was heading there to join a terror group.

During the investigation, an FBI informant recorded their conversations, which showed Simpson talking about his intentions to fight for the Muslim way of life.

Court documents state: ‘Mr. Simpson said that the reward is high because “If you get shot, or you get killed, it’s [heaven] straight away”…. “[Heaven] that’s what we here for…so why not take that route?”‘

He added that in countries, such as Palestine, Iraq and Somalia, ‘they trying to bring democracy over there man, they’re trying to make them live by man-made laws, not by Allah’s laws’.

He went on: ‘That’s why they get fought. You try to make us become slaves to man? No we slave to Allah, we going to fight you to the death.’

In a recording from 2009, he told the informant that it was time they went to Somalia.

‘It’s time,’ he said. ‘I’m tellin’ you man. We gonna make it to the battlefield… It’s time to roll…

‘People fighting and killing your kids, and dropping bombs on people that have nothing to do with nothing. You got to fight back you can’t be just sitting down… smiling at each other…’

As the gunmen got out of their car with their weapons, one police officer – a tenured traffic cop – shot both men dead, Garland Police officer Joe Harn said at a press conference on Monday. The officer used his service pistol to shoot the men, who were carrying assault weapons.

‘With what he was faced with and his reaction and his shooting with a pistol, he did a good job,’ Harn said of the officer.

‘He did what he was trained to do, and under the fire that he was put under, he did a very good job and probably saved lives. We think their strategy was to get into the events center and they were not able to get past that outer perimeter.’

Randy Potts, a contributor for The Daily Beast, recalled how he was watching the speeches wrap up when a man wearing camouflage shouted: ‘Get inside the conference room now!’

‘The room was oddly quiet,’ he said. ‘A hush fell over the crowd of about 150, as if we were listening for something outside. Then a camo-clad security guard with a rifle got up on stage and announced that a cop and two suspects had been shot.’

He described how security surrounding the event was evident even as he drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center. The parking lot was surrounded by yellow tape and his ID was checked twice before he was allowed to enter.

Johnny Roby of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, had also been attending the conference. He said he was outside the building when he heard around 20 shots that appeared to be coming from the direction of a passing car.

Roby said he then heard two single shots before officers yelled that they had the car before he was sent inside the building.

The building, which had about 100 people inside, and surrounding areas were placed on lockdown by SWAT teams.

FBI bomb squad robots were then sent in to check the suspects’ vehicle, as the two bodies of the gunmen lay on the road beside it. The bodies were not immediately taken from the scene because they were too close to the car, which police feared had incendiary devices inside.

Shortly before midnight, police alerted media that a strong electronic pulse would be activated near the scene, presumably as part of the bomb squad’s work, and a loud boom was heard moments later, though police did not comment further on what was carried out.

The art event had been condemned by critics as an attack on Islam, but the organizers insisted they were exercising free speech.

Some Twitter users began posting about the shooting using a #JeSuisGarland hashtag, mirroring the #JesuisCharlie hashtag that became popular after January’s jihadist attacks in France. In that incident, gunmen killed 12 people in the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons of the prophet.

After the gunfire in Garland, those inside the building started to sing patriotic songs, including the national anthem and God Bless America, and said a prayer for the injured security guard after one woman pulled out an American flag from her bag.

Garland Police officer Joe Harn said on Sunday evening they had been monitoring the build-up to the event and had not received any credible threats.

During a press conference, he described how the shootout lasted only seconds. A large area around the Center remained blocked off late into the night.

Update: On Monday, Garland Police spokesperson Joe Harn praised the traffic officer who took down both of the attackers

Update: On Monday, Garland Police spokesperson Joe Harn praised the traffic officer who took down both of the attackers

Keeping calm: A policeman keeps members of the audience inside the auditorium after the shots were fired at the controversial event

Keeping calm: A policeman keeps members of the audience inside the auditorium after the shots were fired at the controversial event

At the ready: Members of the Garland Police Department stand guard inside the Curtis Culwell Center in the aftermath of the shooting 

At the ready: Members of the Garland Police Department stand guard inside the Curtis Culwell Center in the aftermath of the shooting

Safe: Attendees of the event were led off of a school bus into another building where they were questioned by law enforcemen

Safe: Attendees of the event were led off of a school bus into another building where they were questioned by law enforcemen

Two heavily-armed officers stand guard as police blocked off the street surrounding the scene in Garland, Texas

He said: ‘Because of the situation of what was going on today and the history of what we’ve been told has happened at other events like this, we are considering their car (is) possibly containing a bomb.’

Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the incident as a ‘senseless attack’ and praised the ‘swift action’ of Garland law enforcement.

Security guard Bruce Joiner was shot in the leg while standing outside the building. His injuries were not life-threatening

Security guard Bruce Joiner was shot in the leg while standing outside the building. His injuries were not life-threatening

The attack unfolded shortly after Dutch member of parliament and leader of the far-right Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, had delivered his keynote speech. There had been calls by members of Congress for him to be stopped at the border so he would not be able to speak.

‘We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of speech,’ he said during his speech shortly before the building was shut down. ‘That is our duty… Our message today is very simple: we will never allow barbarism, never allow Islam, to rob us of our freedom of speech.’

His remarks were met with a standing ovation. He then told the audience that most terrorists are Muslims, and ‘the less Islam the better’.

In 2009, he sparked controversy for showing a controversial film which linked the Koran to terrorism and has previously said the Netherlands is being taken over by a ‘tsunami of Islamisation’.

Pamela Geller, the organizer of the event and the leader of Stop Islamisation of America, wrote on her personal website after the attack: ‘This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?’

In a post in late March, she insisted that the event was necessary to fight back against what she described as ‘the jihad against freedom’.

It was set up by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and had been described by opponents as an attack on Islam. They booked the center a little more than a week after Islamic militants in France killed 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The Garland Independent School district, who own the cultural center, allowed the event to go ahead despite criticism from residents and local Muslims that it was a risk to public safety.

The group spent $10,000 on 40 additional security officers, aware of potential threats they may attract, while Garland Police officers were fully prepared to deal with any issues that arose.

Before the event, the New York-based organisation made the headlines for its sponsorship of anti-Islamic adverts which it paid to run on transit systems in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and San Francisco.

A picture taken from inside the event just before the attack showed Geller giving a check for $12,500 to Bosch Fawtin who won the event.

He told the Dallas Morning News he believed there would be no danger because of the high levels of security surrounding the event.

‘I had known it would be secure, but seeing it is a whole new thing,’ he said before the shootings.

Locals in Garland said they were upset with the exhibit being held in their town, and tried to convince the city council to intervene.

One resident, Dorothy Brooks, said that the event was like shouting ‘fire!’ in a theater – an oft-cited example of freedom of speech taken too far.

She continued: ‘I understand that participants have a right to express themselves with cartoons, but I regret that this will be happening in our city.’

Another, Lena Griffin, asked at a city council meeting: ‘Do we want to be involved with this type of rhetoric?’ It is not an issue of free speech but clearly one of public safety.’

Winner: Artist Bosh Fawstin (left) is presented with a check for $12,500 by Dutch politician Geert Wilders (center) and Pamela Geller (right) during a ceremony at the Curtis Culwell Center just before the shootings occurred 

Winner: Artist Bosh Fawstin (left) is presented with a check for $12,500 by Dutch politician Geert Wilders (center) and Pamela Geller (right) during a ceremony at the Curtis Culwell Center just before the shootings occurred

Proud: Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, center, poses for a photograph with officers who responded to the shooting

Proud: Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, center, poses for a photograph with officers who responded to the shooting

Pamela Geller, co-founder and President of Stop Islamization of America, also spoke just before the two gunmen opened fire 

Pamela Geller, co-founder and President of Stop Islamization of America, also spoke just before the two gunmen opened fire

Wilders, who has sparked controversy for linking the Koran with terrorism, speaks at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest

Scene: An aerial view shows the Curtis Culwell Center and the black car (seen center bottom) that was used by the two gunmen

Scene: An aerial view shows the Curtis Culwell Center and the black car (seen center bottom) that was used by the two gunmen

The event had already been the subject of disapproval from further afield, according to ForeignPolicy.com.

The site obtained a letter from congressmen Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) and André Carson (D-Indiana) sent to John Kerry and Homeland Security asking them to bar a speaker for the event from entering the United States.

Caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed have triggered violent protests in the past, including when the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 satirical cartoons in 2005, triggering deadly protests in some Muslim countries.

In January, just weeks after the Paris attacks, an event called Stand with the Prophet was held in the same center. Muslim leaders from across the world gathered to try and combat ‘Islamophobes in America’ who had turned Muhammad into an ‘object of hate’.

Geller spearheaded about 1,000 picketers at the event. One chanted: ‘Go back to your own countries! We don’t want you here!’ Others held signs with messages such as, ‘Insult those who behead others,’ an apparent reference to recent beheadings by the militant group Islamic State.

Mr Abbott said state officials are investigating, and Dallas FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont said that the agency is providing investigative and bomb technician assistance.

The Charlie Hebdo attack was followed by another a month later in Europe. A masked gunman sprayed bullets into a Copenhagen meeting in February attended by a Swedish artist who had been threatened with death for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

A civilian was killed and three police officers were injured in the attack, aimed at artist Lars Vilks, who stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a dog.

Denmark itself became a target 10 years ago after the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad. The images led to sometimes fatal protests in the Muslim world.

CONTROVERSIAL CARICATURES: WHY DEPICTING THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD IS BANNED BY MUSLIMS

It’s not mentioned in Islam’s holy book, the Quran, but the religion’s ban on depicting the Prophet Muhammad — even favorably — has run firm through the centuries.

Religious traditions built over the years have prohibited such depictions out of respect for Muhammad and to discourage idolatry, according to Muslim scholars and clerics. The ban is further rooted in a wider prohibition against images or statues of human beings.

There have been exceptions. A rich tradition of depicting Muhammad emerged in miniatures and illustrations for manuscripts from around 1200 to 1700. The art is mainly from Turkey and Iran, where pictorial traditions were stronger than in the Arab world. The paintings often show traditional stories from Muhammad’s life, such as his journey to heaven, though in some the prophet’s face is obscured by a veil or a plume of flame.

Shiites also differ from Sunnis by depicting Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali, revered by Shiites who see him as the prophet’s rightful successor. His image — and those of his sons Hassan and Hussein — are plentiful among Shiites, adorning posters, banners, jewelry and even keychains. For Sunnis, the ban on depictions extends beyond the prophet to his close companions and wives.

‘The Prophet Muhammad enjoys sublime and supreme status among Muslims and it is impossible to let a normal person depict or act the role of the prophet,’ said Iraqi Shiite cleric Fadhil al-Saadi. ‘There is no confirmed information about the shape or the features of the Prophet … So nobody should come up with a painting or an image of him. That would represent an insult to the status of the prophet.’

With no explicit text against depictions — or against images of humans in general — the prohibition comes from deduction by Muslim scholars and interpreters over the centuries from the collections of Hadeeth, or sayings and actions of Muhammad.

The prohibition against depicting humans and other living beings, which emerged from scholars as early as the 9th century, came from reported sayings of Muhammad, in some of which he refused to enter a room with such depictions or challenged their creators to breathe life into them. The presumption was that such art would suggest man can emulate God’s powers of creation — and there were worries that statues in particular could encourage idolatry.

Islamic tradition is full of written descriptions of Muhammad and his qualities — describing him as the ideal human being. But clerics have generally agreed that trying to depict that ideal is forbidden. That puts satirical — and obscene — depictions like those in the French magazing Charlie Hebdo far beyond the pale.

While no one knows Muhammad’s true appearance, followers of the relatively modern, ultraconservative Salafi movement in Islam seek to emulate him as closely as possible — including in what they believe to be his physical features and dress. Hardcore Salafis wear a beard without a moustache, let their hair grow long, line their eyes with kohl or wear robes stopping around mid-shin, contending that was the prophet’s manner.

The ban also extends to his wives, daughters, sons-in-law, the first caliphs who succeeded him and his closest companions. In fact, Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, the Sunni world’s foremost seat of religious learning, has complained when ‘Mohammed, Messenger of God,’ an epic 1970s Hollywood production, depicted the prophet’s camel.

There is a thriving production of religious TV series in the Arab world depicting the times of the prophet. But Muhammad and his companions are never themselves shown. At times, a white light stands in for Muhammad in the films or in movie posters — and when they are meant to be addressing Muhammad, the actors usually speak into the camera.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3066779/Police-officer-suspect-said-injured-shooting-outside-art-anti-Muslim-exhibition-art-depicting-prophet-Muhammad.html 

How Texas “Terror” Shooter Elton Simpson Avoided Prison In 2011

Wiretaps of Texas shooter Elton Simpson talking about jihad didn’t convince a federal judge that he was a potential terrorist

The attorney who once defended one of two men who opened fire at a “Draw Muhammad” event in Texas on Sunday says she was “shocked” to learn that he was involved in the attack. She says she has represented a number of people charged with terrorism-related crimes. Some of them are the “worst of the worst,” but Elton Simpson was “one of the good ones,” she said.

“He was always respectful to me and my staff—did everything he was supposed to do,” attorney Kristina Sitton told Vocativ.

According to Sitton, Simpson didn’t come from a Muslim family and didn’t convert to Islam until he was in high school. “He said he was running with a bad crowd in high school—smoking, drinking and stuff,” she said. “He said Islam got him away from that stuff.”

Sitton defended Simpson against charges that he made false statements to an FBI agent in 2010 about a trip he was planning to take to Somalia to study Islam. He was facing up to eight years in prison if federal prosecutors had been able to convince Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Mary Murguia that the trip was related to international or domestic terrorism. Ultimately, Murguia in 2011 sentenced him to three years probation for the false statement. According to federal court records obtained by Vocativ, the judge determined that the feds didn’t make their case—despite audio recordings of Simpson talking about “jihad” with an FBI informant.

The FBI began investigating Simpson in 2006 after he was found to be in contact with a man who authorities believe was attempting to set up a terror cell in Phoenix, Arizona. Investigators began recording conversations between Simpson and the informant, Dabla Deng. The federal government paid Deng $132,000 to befriend Simpson under the guise of being new to Islam and needing guidance.

Between March 2007 and November 2009, Deng recorded more than 1,500 hours of conversations he had with Simpson, during which the two discussed fighting non-Muslims and how getting killed while waging jihad made it possible to get to heaven “straight away.”

“[Heaven] that’s what we (sic) here for, so why not take [the jihad] route,” Simpson said during a conversation with Deng on July 31, 2007.

In another recording, from May 29, 2009, Simpson tells Deng: “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother,” before explaining, “we gonna make it to the battlefield…it’s time to roll.” On January 7, 2010, FBI agents contacted Simpson and specifically asked whether he “discussed traveling to, or are you planning to, travel to Somalia?”

Simpson said “no.”

“I thought [the case] was completely ridiculous, to tell you the truth,” said Sitton, who told Vocativ that she’s “not a bleeding heart — I’m a Republican.”

“They show up at his house and ask him about something that happened two years ago, and he says ‘no’ and then faces federal charges?” Sitton said that in the 1,500 hours of recordings with Deng, Simpson only mentioned Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization, twice.

Federal prosecutors wanted Simpson to receive the beefed-up sentence of eight years because, they argued, his crime of lying to federal authorities involved terrorism. But Judge Murguia—an Obama appointee on what is often considered to be the most left-leaning appeals court in the country—found that there was insufficient evidence that Simpson’s false statement to authorities involved international terrorism.

On Sunday, Simpson posted on Twitter: “May Allah accept us as mujahideen,” with the hashtag “#texasattack,” before he and another man drove to the “Draw Muhammad” event at a conference center in a Dallas suburb and opened fire. Both men were fatally shot by security.

Sitton says the narrative of the shooting is not representative of the client she describes as a kind, respectful young man who frequently tried to convert her and others to Islam. “He was always kind about it,” she said. “He would say, ‘the Koran says this and the Koran says that,’ but it was always respectful.”

She questioned the motivation of the organizers of the “Draw Muhammad” event, as images of the prophet are highly offensive to many Muslims. “I kind of wonder what this event was about,” she says. “It just seems like they want to provoke people.”

http://www.vocativ.com/usa/nat-sec/how-texas-terror-shooter-elton-simpson-avoided-jail-in/

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Rand Paul Running — Libertarian and Fiscal Conservative Republicans and Independents Will Vote For Him — Big Government Republicans, Neoconservatives and Progressive Democrats Demonize and Fear Him — Can He Beat Senator Ted Cruz? — Time Will Tell — Two Clues For Rand Paul — Videos

Posted on April 10, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Banking, Blogroll, British History, College, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, IRS, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Radio, Raves, Religious, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

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Story 1: Rand Paul Running — Libertarian and Fiscal Conservative Republicans and Independents Will Vote  For Him —  Big Government Republicans, Neoconservatives and Progressive Democrats Demonize and Fear Him — Can He Beat Senator Ted Cruz? — Time Will Tell — Two Clues For Rand Paul — Videosrand_paul

U.S. Senator Paul arrives with wife Kelley before announcing candidacy for president during an event in Louisville

Freedom lies in being bold.

Robert Frost

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Lao Tzu

Rand Paul 2016 Speech – Senator Rand Paul Announces Running For U.S. President |FULL SPEECH

One-On-One With GOP Presidential Candidate Kentucky Rand Paul America & Israel – Hannity

RAND PAUL Explains LIBERTARIANISM

Rand Paul: Republicans Can Only Win if “They Become More Live and Let Live”

Why is Rand Paul the right choice for America? Rand Paul 2016.

Three Clues For Rand Paul

FairTax: Fire Up Our Economic Engine (Official HD)

America faces one of the greatest perils to her future: our broken economic engine. A simple tune-up won’t fix the problem. The FairTax would fuel economic growth, investment, and job creation throughout the nation. Learn why the FairTax will fuel our economic engine and create jobs.

“The Case for the Fair Tax”

John E. Linder
Former U.S. Representative
Co-author, “The Fair Tax Book”

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Flat Tax vs. National Sales Tax

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How is the FairTax collected?

Why is the FairTax better than a flat income tax?

If people bring home their whole paychecks how can prices fall?

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Will the FairTax hurt home ownership with no mortgage interest deduction?

Krauthammer’s Take: Rand Paul is the 2016 Candidate Closest to Obama on Foreign Policy

Judge Napolitano: Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Gov’t is Dangerous

Ferguson and Napolitano – When “Fiscal” Conservatives Agree – Americas Debt Crisis

Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson and U.S. Federal Court Judge Andrew Napolitano would seem to be at odds on many topics. One they agree with is the spending of the U.S. government and the lack of fiscal responsibility. See how they explain the debt problem in the U.S. and the ways in which this crisis is harming america. Is the Obama administration oblivious, or not caring, when it comes to borrowing money to support social programs and defense spending? Will the Democrats and Republicans come together in time to defeat the massive overspending and budget deficit? See what these two men have to say.

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How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2

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The Secret To Rand Paul’s Success

Judge Napolitano: Rand Paul Can Lead Us To An Era Of Prosperity, Happiness & Small Government

Who is the ideal presidential candidate?

Transcript: Read Full Text of Sen. Rand Paul’s Campaign Launch

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul launched his presidential campaign in Louisville Tuesday.

I have a message, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We have come to take our country back.

We have come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank, the special interests that are more concerned with their personal welfare than the general welfare.

The Washington machine that gobbles up our freedoms and invades every nook and cranny of our lives must be stopped.

Less than five years ago I stood just down the road in home town in Bowling Green and said those same words. I wasn’t supposed to win, no one thought I would.

Some people asked me, then why are you running? The answer is the same now as it was then. I have a vision for America. I want to be part of a return to prosperity, a true economic boom that lists all Americans, a return to a government restrained by the Constitution.

A return to privacy, opportunity, liberty. Too often when Republicans have won we have squandered our victory by becoming part of the Washington machine. That’s not who I am.

That’s not why I ran for office the first time just a few years ago. The truth is, I love my life as a small-town doctor. Every day I woke up, I felt lucky to be able to do the things I loved. More importantly, I was blessed to be able to do things that made a difference in people’s lives.

I never could have done any of this, though, without the help of my parents who are here today. I’d like you to join me and thank my mother and dad.

With my parents’ help, I was able to make it through long years of medical training to become an eye surgeon. For me there is nothing that compares with helping someone see better. Last August I was privileged to travel to Guatemala on a medical mission trip together with a team of surgeons from across the U.S.

We operated on more than 200 people who were blind or nearly blind from cataracts. I was grateful to be able to put my scrubs back on, peer into the oculars of the microscope, and focus on the task at hand, to take a surgical approach to fix a problem.

One day in Guatemala, a man arrived and told me that I’d operated on his wife the day before. His wife could see clearly for the first time in years, and she had begged him to get on the bus, travel the winding roads and come back to our surgery center. He too was nearly blind from hardened cataracts.

After his surgery, the next day, his wife sat next to me. As I unveiled the patch from his eyes, it was a powerful emotional moment for me to see them looking at each other clearly for the first time years to see the face they loved again.

As I saw the joy in their eyes, I thought, “This is why I became a doctor.”

In that moment, I also remembered my grandmother, who inspired me to become an eye surgeon. She spent hours with me as a kid. We would sort through her old coin collection, looking for wheat pennies and Indian heads. But as her vision began to fail, I became her eyes to inspect the faintness of the mint marks on the old weather-worn coins.

I went with my grandmother to the ophthalmologist as she had her corneas replaced. I was also with her when she received the sad news that macular generation had done irreparable harm to her eyes.

My hope… my hope that my grandmother would see again made me want to become an eye surgeon, to make a difference in people’s lives.

I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been able to enjoy the American Dream.

I worry, though, that the opportunity and hope are slipping away for our sons and daughters. As I watch our once-great economy collapse under mounting spending and debt, I think, “What kind of America will our grandchildren see”?

It seems to me that both parties and the entire political system are to blame.

Big government and debt doubled under a Republican administration.

And it’s now tripling under Barack Obama’s watch. President Obama is on course to add more debt than all of the previous presidents combined.

We borrow a million dollars a minute. This vast accumulation of debt threatens not just our economy, but our security.

We can wake up now and do the right thing. Quit spending money we don’t have.

This message of liberty is for all Americans, Americans from all walks of life. The message of liberty, opportunity and justice is for all Americans, whether you wear a suit, a uniform or overalls, whether you’re white or black, rich or poor.

In order to restore America, one thing is for certain, though: We cannot, we must not dilute our message or give up on our principles.

If we nominate a candidate who is simply Democrat Light, what’s the point?

Why bother?

We need to boldly proclaim our vision for America. We need to go boldly forth under the banner of liberty that clutches the Constitution in one hand and the Bill of Rights in the other.

Washington is horribly broken. I fear it can’t be fixed from within. We the people must rise up and demand action.

Congress will never balance the budget unless you force them to do so. Congress has an abysmal record with balancing anything. Our only recourse is to force Congress to balance the budget with a constitutional amendment.

I have been to Washington, and let me tell you, there is no monopoly on knowledge there.

I ran for office because we have too many career politicians. I believe it now more than ever.

We limit the President to two terms. It’s about time we limit the terms of Congress!

I want to reform Washington. I want common sense rules that will break the logjam in Congress.

That’s why I introduced a Read the Bills Act.

The bills are thousands of pages long. And no one reads them. They are often plopped on our desks only a few hours before a vote.

I’ve proposed something truly extraordinary — Let’s read the bills, every page!

The bills are 1,000 pages long and no one reads them. They are often plopped on our desk with only a few hours before a vote, so I propose something truly extraordinary. Let’s read the bills every day.

From the time I was a very young boy I was taught to love and appreciate America. Love of liberty pulses in my veins not because we have beautiful mountains or white sand beaches, although we do, and not because of our abundance of resources. It’s more visceral than that. Our great nation was founded upon the extraordinary notion that government should be restrained and freedom should be maximized.

America, to me, is that beacon. We are unique among the nations that our — that our country stands for freedom. Freedom nurtured our country from a rebellious group of colonies into the world’s greatest nation.

When tyranny threatened the world America led the way to rid the world of Nazis and fascist regimes. Resolutely we stood decade after decade against Communism, the engine of capitalism finally winning out against the sputtering, incompetent engine of socialism.

We won the Cold War.

America and freedom are so intertwined that people literally are dying to come here. The freedom we have fostered in America have unleashed genius and advancement like never before. Yet our great nation still needs new ideas and new answers to old problems.

From an early age I worked. I taught swimming lessons, I mowed lawns, I did landscaping, I put roofs on houses, I painted houses. I never saw work though as punishment. Who always gave me a sense of who I am.

Self-esteem cant be given; it must be earned.

Work is not punishment; work is the reward.

Two of my sons work minimum wage jobs while they go to college. I am proud of them as I see them realize the value of hard work. I can see their self-esteem grow as they cash their paychecks. I have a vision for America where everyone who wants to work will have a job.

Many Americans though are being left behind. The reward of work seems beyond their grasp. Under the watch of both parties, the poor seem to get poorer and the rich get richer. Trillion-dollar government stimulus packages has only widened the income gap.

Politically connected crones get taxpayer dollars by the hundreds of millions and poor families across America continue to suffer. I have a different vision, an ambitious vision, an ambitious vision, a vision that will offer opportunity to all Americans, especially those who have been left behind.

My plan includes economic freedom zones to allow impoverished areas like Detroit, West Louisville, Eastern Kentucky to prosper by leaving more money in the pockets of the people who live there.

Can you imagine what a billion-dollar stimulus could do for Detroit or for Appalachia? I’m convinced that most Americans want to work. I want to free up the great engine of American prosperity.

I want to see millions of Americans back at work. In my vision for America, we’ll bring back manufacturing jobs that pay well. How? We’ll dramatically lower the tax on American companies that wish to bring their profits home.

More than $2 trillion in American profit currently sits overseas. In my vision for America, new highways and bridges will be built across the country, not by raising your taxes, but by lowering the tax to bring this American profit home.

Even in this polarized Congress, we have a chance of passing this. I say let’s bring $2 trillion home to America, let’s bring it home now.

Liberal policies have failed our inner cities. Let’s just get the facts straight. They have failed our inner cities. Our schools are not equal, and the poverty gap continues to widen. Martin Luther King spoke of two Americas. He described them as two starkly different American experiences that exist side-by-side.

In one in America, people experience the opportunity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the other America, people experience a daily ugliness that dashes hope and leaves only the fatigue of despair.

Although I was born into the America that experiences and believes in opportunity, my trips to Detroit, to Appalachia, to Chicago have revealed what I call an undercurrent of unease.

It’s time for a new way, a way predicated on justice, opportunity and freedom.

Those of us who have enjoyed the American dream must break down the wall that separates us from the other America. I want all our children to have the same opportunities that I had. We need to stop limiting kids in poor neighborhoods to failing public schools and offer them school choice.

It won’t happen, though, unless we realize that we can’t borrow our way to prosperity. Currently some $3 trillion comes into the U.S. Treasury. Couldn’t the country just survive on $3 trillion?

I propose we do something extraordinary. Let’s just spend what comes in.

In my vision for America, freedom and prosperity at home can only be achieved if we defend against enemies who are dead set on attacking us.

Without question we must defend ourselves and American interests from our enemies, but until we name the enemy, we can’t win the war.

The enemy is radical Islam. You can’t get around it.

And not only will I name the enemy, I will do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind.

We need a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests. But we also need a foreign policy that protects American interests and encourages stability, not chaos.

At home, conservatives understand that government is the problem, not the solution.

Conservatives should not succumb, though, to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.

I envision an America with a national defense unparalleled, undefeatable and unencumbered by overseas nation-building.

I envision a national defense that promotes, as Reagan put it, peace through strength.

I believe in applying Reagan’s approach to foreign policy to the Iran issue. Successful negotiations with untrustworthy adversaries are only achieved from a position of strength.

We’ve brought Iran to the table through sanctions that I voted for. Now we must stay strong. That’s why I’ve cosponsored legislation that ensures that any deal between the U.S. and Iran must be approved by Congress.

Not — not only is that good policy, it’s the law.

It concerns me that the Iranians have a different interpretation of the agreement. They’re putting out statement that say completely the opposite of what we’re saying. It concerns me that we may attempt, or the president may attempt, to unilaterally and prematurely halt sanctions.

I will oppose any deal that does not end Iran’s nuclear ambitions and have strong verification measures.

And I will insist that the final version be brought before Congress.

The difference between President Obama and myself, he seems to think you can negotiate from a position of weakness. Yet everyone needs to realize that negotiations are not inherently bad. The trust (inaudible) verify is required in any negotiation, but then our goal always should be and always is peace, not war.

We must realize, though, that we do not project strength by borrowing money from China to send it to Pakistan.

Let’s quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money to build some bridges here at home.

It angers me to see mobs burning our flag and chanting “Death to America” in countries that receive millions of dollars in our foreign aid.

I say it must end. I say not one penny more to these haters of America.

To defend our country, we do need to gather intelligence on the enemy. But when the intelligence director is not punished for lying under oath, how are we to trust our government agencies?

Warrantless searches of Americans’ phones and computer records are un-American and a threat to our civil liberties.

I say that your phone records are yours. I say the phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their damn business.

Is this where we light up the phones?

The president created this vast dragnet by executive order. And as president on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance.

I believe we can have liberty and security and I will not compromise your liberty for a false sense of security, not now, not ever.

We must defend ourselves, but we must never give up who we are as a people. We must never diminish the Bill of Rights as we fight this long war against evil. We must believe in our founding documents. We must protect economic and personal liberty again.

America has much greatness left in her. We are still exceptional and we are still a beacon for the world. We will thrive when we believe in ourselves again.

I see an America strong enough to deter foreign aggression, yet wise enough to avoid unnecessary intervention.

I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.

I see an America with a restrained IRS that cannot target, cannot harass American citizens for their political or religious beliefs.

I see our big cities once again shining and beckoning with creativity and ingenuity, with American companies offering American jobs. With your help, this message will ring from coast to coast, a message of liberty, justice and personal responsibility. Today begins the journey to take America back.

To rescue a great country now adrift, join me as together we seek a new vision for America. Today I announce with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I am putting myself forward as a candidate for president of the United States of America.

http://time.com/3773964/rand-paul-presidential-campaign-launch-speech-transcript/

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Alan Greenspan — The Map and The Territory 2.0: Risk, Human Nature, and The Future of Forecasting — Videos

Posted on February 9, 2015. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Music, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Alan_Greenspanthe map and terroritory 2.0Alan Greenspan The Map and The Territoryalan greenspan

Alan Greenspan: “I’m afraid (the US is) going to run into some form of political crisis

Greece Will Eventually Leave the Euro – Alan Greenspan Head of US Central Bank Eurozone Crisis

Alan Greenspan: Structure of the Oil Market Has Changed

Alan Greenspan on what’s wrong with the world economy – Newsnight

Alan Greenspan on Central Banks, Stagnation, and Gold

Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, joins Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor at the Financial Times, to discuss current trends in the global economy and solutions for addressing the financial crisis.

Alan Greenspan on Central Banks, Stagnation, and Gold

Alan Greenspan on Gold and The Federal Reserves inability to stop QE

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