Story 1: American People Leaving Both Democratic and Republican Parties In Search of A Party With Principles and Leaders With Integrity and Defenders of The United States Constitution — A New Direction For America — Videos
Five Finger Death Punch – Wrong Side Of Heaven
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Against the USA, Naked Communist Conspiracy Is Unfolding, NWO
1.U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2.U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
3.Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4.Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation
5.Extension of long-term loans to Russia & satellites.
6.Provide American aid to all nations regardless
7.Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
8.Set up East and West Germany as separate states under supervision of the U.N.
9.Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the U.S. has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
10.Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
11.Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. Demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.
12.Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13.Do away with all loyalty oaths.
14.Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
15.Capture one or both of the political parties.
16.Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17.Get control of the schools. Promote Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations.
18.Gain control of all student newspapers.
19.Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
20.Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
21.Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22.Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
23.Control art critics and directors of art museums.
24.Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech.
25.Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity 26.Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
27.Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible as a “religious crutch.”
28.Eliminate prayer or religious expression in the schools
29.Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30.Discredit the American Founding Fathers.
31.Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history
32.Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture; education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
33.Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of communism
34.Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
35.Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
36.Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37.Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38.Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat.
39.Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
40.Discredit the family. Encourage promiscuity, masturbation, easy divorce.
41.Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding to suppressive influence of parents.
42.Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use “united force” to solve economic, political or social problems.
43.Overthrow all colonial governments before natives are ready for self-government.
44.Internationalize the Panama Canal.
45.Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction over domestic problems and individuals alike.
CORPORATE FASCISM: The Destruction of America’s Middle Class
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — After reaching a more than two-year high in early 2015, Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the U.S. continues to fall. Twenty-six percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the nation in May, down slightly from 32% in January and February.
The latest data are from Gallup’s May 6-10 poll.
Satisfaction jumped nine points in January to 32%, a promising sign that Americans’ moods were improving after a year of lower figures throughout 2014, ranging between 20% and 27%. Since February, though, satisfaction has dipped only slightly each month, but these small drops have resulted in a six-point decline since the beginning of the year. Satisfaction remains below the 36% historical average for Gallup’s trend dating back to 1979.
The drop in Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going parallels the recent decline in economic confidence. Americans had a more positive outlook on the economy at the dawn of 2015, but these views, like satisfaction, have edged down in recent months.
Views of the nation’s direction have certainly been brighter in the past. Majorities of Americans were typically satisfied with the direction of the U.S. between 1998 and mid-2002 — including a record high of 71% in February 1999. But satisfaction declined steadily in the latter half of President George W. Bush’s presidency as the public grew disillusioned with the war in Iraq and the national economy suffered. This dip in satisfaction culminated in 7% of Americans, a record low, saying they were satisfied with the direction of the nation in October 2008 as the global economy collapsed and the U.S. stock market plummeted.
Satisfaction improved significantly during the first year of President Barack Obama’s term — reaching 36% in August 2009. It has not returned to that level since, ranging between 11% and 33% throughout Obama’s time in office.
Americans Still List Economy, Gov’t and Unemployment as Top Problems
Though the 14% of Americans who name dissatisfaction with government, Congress and politicians as the top problem facing the U.S. has fallen five points since April, it still remains the most commonly mentioned problem — a distinction it has held for six months.
The economy in general (12%) and unemployment (10%) have remained at the top of the list for several years. But mentions of these issues are down significantly from their recent peaks — the economy reached a high of 37% in 2012, and unemployment reached a high of 39% in 2011.
Race relations and racism (8%), immigration (6%), a decline in moral, religious and family ethics (6%), the state of the healthcare system (5%) and terrorism (5%) were also among the most frequently cited problems facing the nation.
After years of dysfunctional government, the economy and unemployment dominating Americans’ mentions of the top problem facing the nation, fewer mention these problems now than in recent years. Still, these three problems remain at the forefront of Americans’ concerns, and may be driving Americans’ high level of dissatisfaction with the nation’s direction.
Meanwhile, mentions of unemployment as a top problem have dipped as more U.S. workers report their workplaces are hiring and the unemployment rate as reported by the BLS declines. But unemployment still remains one of the most frequently cited problems.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 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 ±4 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.
Five Months Into GOP Congress, Approval Remains Low at 19%
by Andrew Dugan
Congressional job approval at 19%, essentially unchanged
Approval of GOP Congress similar among Republicans and Democrats
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressional job approval, currently at 19%, remains stuck near historical lows, despite a number of recent high-profile legislative achievements.
Over the past month, Congress has confirmed the stalled nomination of Attorney General Loretta Lynch and both chambers passed a bill that was signed into law regarding Medicare. Bills that would authorize limited congressional oversight on any international agreement with Iran and help victims of human trafficking passed the Senate with little or no opposition. The uptick in activity, though hardly historic, is notable compared with the past two Congresses. Those Congresses, marked by divided control of the two chambers, were known for their entrenched partisan gridlock and few legislative accomplishments. And Americans didn’t care for their inability to agree — they gave Congress its lowest approval ever over this time period. Gallup found in June 2013, six months into the previous Congress, that gridlock and ineffectiveness were the most frequently cited reason for Americans’ disapproval of Congress.
Several months into this new Congress, the accomplishments that have been realized could give one the impression that the gridlock is softening, particularly over the past month. But these achievements have had virtually no impact on Congress’s job approval compared with early April (15%).
And, of course, Congress is far from working perfectly now, even if the pace of work appears to have increased. Most dramatically, the Senate failed to overcome a Democratic filibuster Tuesday afternoon that would give the president enhanced authority in negotiating trade bills, though the May survey was conducted before this occurrence. Legislation authorizing the use of military force in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, proposed by the administration and which many members of Congress support, remains stalled.
GOP Congress Has Low Approval Among Republicans
A key reason the current 114th Congress appears to be having more legislative success than the two Congresses before it is that the House and Senate are now under one party’s control. Unified GOP control of Capitol Hill should, at least in theory, boost Republicans’ overall approval of Congress. But the expected “Republican rally” for Congress has yet to materialize — 21% of Republicans and Republican leaners approve of Congress, not much different from the 18% of independents and of Democrats who approve. Nor is Republican support notably higher than the 15% it reached in 2014, despite the decided Republican tilt of this year’s legislature.
After years of dysfunction, Congress is moving forward on key pieces of legislation. No longer shackled by split control — though still facing a president of the opposite party — the legislative branch is suddenly finding some areas of agreement. But even if it appears that the gridlock is easing, the overwhelming majority of Americans still disapprove of Congress. If Congress continues passing bipartisan legislation, more Americans might soften their stance. Still, it may be that Americans are largely not aware of or impressed by Congress’ recent legislative successes. Or it may be that the hit to Congress’ reputation over the last several years — evident not only in dismal job approval ratings, but also fallinglevels of trust and confidence — will take a long time to reverse.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 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 ±4 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.
On Social Ideology, the Left Catches Up to the Right
by Jeffrey M. Jones
31% say they are socially liberal, 31% socially conservative
This is the first time conservatives have not outnumbered liberals
Conservatives maintain edge on economic issues
PRINCETON, N.J. — Thirty-one percent of Americans describe their views on social issues as generally liberal, matching the percentage who identify as social conservatives for the first time in Gallup records dating back to 1999.
Gallup first asked Americans to describe their views on social issues in 1999, and has repeated the question at least annually since 2001. The broad trend has been toward a shrinking conservative advantage, although that was temporarily interrupted during the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Since then, the conservative advantage continued to diminish until it was wiped out this year.
The newfound parity on social ideology is a result of changes in the way both Democrats and Republicans describe their social views. The May 6-10 Gallup poll finds a new high of 53% of Democrats, including Democratic-leaning independents, describing their views on social issues as liberal.
Democrats were more likely to describe their views on social issues as moderate rather than liberal from 2001 to 2005. Since then, socially liberal Democrats have outnumbered socially moderate Democrats in all but one year.
Meanwhile, the 53% of Republicans and Republican leaners saying their views on social issues are conservative is the lowest in Gallup’s trend. The drop in Republicans’ self-identified social conservatism has been accompanied by an increase in moderate identification, to 34%, while the percentage identifying as socially liberal has been static near 10%.
These trends echo the pattern in Gallup’s overall ideology measure, which dates back to 1992 and shows increasing liberal identification in recent years. As with the social ideology measure, the longer-term shifts are mainly a result of increasing numbers of Democrats describing their views as liberal rather than moderate. That may reflect Democrats feeling more comfortable in describing themselves as liberal than they were in the past, as much as a more leftward shift in Democrats’ attitudes on political, economic and social issues.
Conservatives Still Lead Liberals on Economic Issues
In contrast to the way Americans describe their views on social issues, they still by a wide margin, 39% to 19%, describe their views on economic issues as conservative rather than liberal. However, as on social ideology, the gap between conservatives and liberals has been shrinking and is lower today than at any point since 1999, with the 39% saying they are economically conservative the lowest to date.
Currently, 64% of Republicans identify as conservative economically, which is down from 70% the previous two years and roughly 75% in the early years of the Obama presidency. During George W. Bush’s administration, Republicans were less likely to say they were economic conservatives, with as few as 58% doing so in 2004 and 2005. The trends suggest Republicans’ willingness to identify as economic conservatives, or economic moderates, is influenced by the party of the president in office, and perhaps the types of financial policies the presidential administration is pursuing at the time.
Democrats are also contributing to the trend in lower economic conservative identification. While the plurality of Democrats have consistently said they are economically moderate, Democrats have been more likely to identify as economic liberals than as economic conservatives since 2007. The last two years, there has been a 15-percentage-point gap in liberal versus conservative identification among Democrats on economic matters.
Americans’ growing social liberalism is evident not only in how they describe their views on social issues but also in changes in specific attitudes, such as increased support for same-sex marriage and legalizing marijuana. These longer-term trends may be attributable to changing attitudes among Americans of all ages, but they also may be a result of population changes, with younger, more liberal Americans entering adulthood while older, more conservative adults pass on. Gallup found evidence that population replacement is a factor in explaining changes in overall ideology using an analysis of birth cohorts over time.
The 2016 presidential election will thus be contested in a more socially liberal electorate — and a less economically conservative one — than was true of prior elections. Economically and socially conservative candidates may still appeal to the Republican Party base in the primaries, but it may be more important now than in the past for the GOP nominee to be a bit less conservative on social issues in order to appeal to the broader general electorate.
And while Americans are less economically conservative than in the past, economic conservatives still outnumber economic liberals by about 2-to-1. As a result, Democrats must be careful not to nominate a candidate who is viewed as too liberal on economic matters if their party hopes to hold the White House beyond 2016.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 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 ±4 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.
Hillary Clinton is not the only Democratic comeback candidate on the 2016 ticket. Senate Democrats are betting on the past to rebuild their party for the future.
BY JOSH KRAUSHAAR
One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama’s tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928. That dynamic has manifested itself in the Democratic presidential contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.
But less attention has been paid to how the shrinking number of Democratic officeholders in the House and in statewide offices is affecting the party’s Senate races. It’s awfully unusual to see how dependent Democrats are in relying on former losing candidates as their standard-bearers in 2016. Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold, Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, Indiana’s Baron Hill, and Ohio’s Ted Strickland all ran underwhelming campaigns in losing office in 2010—and are looking to return to politics six years later. Party officials are courting former Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to make a comeback bid, despite mediocre favorability ratings and the fact that she lost a race just months ago that most had expected her to win. All told, more than half of the Democrats’ Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates.
On one hand, most of these candidates are the best choices Democrats have. Feingold and Strickland are running ahead of GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Rob Portman in recent polls. Hill and Hagan boast proven crossover appeal in GOP-leaning states that would be challenging pickups. Their presence in the race gives the party a fighting chance to retake the Senate.
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But look more closely, and the reliance on former failures is a direct result of the party having no one else to turn to. If the brand-name challengers didn’t run, the roster of up-and-coming prospects in the respective states is short. They’re also facing an ominous historical reality that only two defeated senators have successfully returned to the upper chamber in the last six decades. As political analyst Stu Rothenberg put it, they’re asking “voters to rehire them for a job from which they were fired.” Senate Democrats are relying on these repeat candidates for the exact same reason that Democrats are comfortable with anointing Hillary Clinton for their presidential nomination: There aren’t any better alternatives.
For a portrait of the Democrats’ slim pickings, just look at the political breakdown in three of the most consequential battleground states. Republicans hold 12 of Ohio’s 16 House seats, and all six of their statewide offices. In Wisconsin, Republicans hold a majority of the state’s eight House seats and four of five statewide partisan offices. In Pennsylvania, 13 of the 18 representatives are Republicans, though Democrats hold all the statewide offices. (One major caveat: Kathleen Kane, the Democrats’ once-hyped attorney general in the state, is under criminal investigation and has become a political punchline.) These are all Democratic-friendly states that Obama carried twice.
If Strickland didn’t run, the party’s hopes against Portman would lie in the hands of 30-year-old Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who would make unexpected history as one of the nation’s youngest senators with a victory. (Sittenfeld is still mounting a long-shot primary campaign against Strickland.) Without Feingold in Wisconsin, the party’s only logical option would be Rep. Ron Kind, who has regularly passed up opportunities for a promotion. Former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett already lost to Gov. Scott Walker twice, and businesswoman Mary Burke disappointed as a first-time gubernatorial candidate last year. And despite the Democratic establishment’s publicized carping over Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, the list of alternatives is equally underwhelming: His only current intra-party opposition is from the mayor of Allentown.
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In the more conservative states, the drop-off between favored recruits and alternatives is even more stark. Hagan would be a flawed nominee in North Carolina, but there’s no one else waiting in the wings. The strongest Democratic politician, Attorney General Roy Cooper, is running for governor instead. And in Indiana, the bench is so thin that even the GOP’s embattled governor, Mike Pence, isn’t facing formidable opposition. Hill, who lost congressional reelection campaigns in both 2004 and 2010, is not expected to face serious primary competition in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Dan Coats.
Even in the two swing states where the party landed young, up-and-coming recruits to run, their options were awfully limited. In Florida, 32-year-old Rep. Patrick Murphy is one of only five House Democrats to represent a district that Mitt Romney carried in 2012—and his centrism has made him one of the most compelling candidates for higher office. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly rallied behind his campaign (in part to squelch potential opposition from firebrand congressman Alan Grayson). But if Murphy didn’t run, the alternatives would have been limited: freshman Rep. Gwen Graham and polarizing Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz being the most logical alternatives.
In Nevada, Democrats boast one of their strongest challengers in former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, vying to become the first Latina ever elected to the Senate. But her ascension is due, in part, to the fact that other talented officeholders lost in the 2014 statewide wipeout. Democratic lieutenant-governor nominee Lucy Flores, hyped by MSNBC as a “potential superstar,” lost by 26 points to her GOP opponent. Former Secretary of State Ross Miller, another fast-rising pol, badly lost his bid for attorney general against a nondescript Republican. By simply taking a break from politics, Cortez Masto avoided the wave and kept her prospects alive for 2016.
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This isn’t an assessment of Democratic chances for a Senate majority in 2017; it’s a glaring warning for the party’s longer-term health. If Clinton can’t extend the Democrats’ presidential winning streak—a fundamental challenge, regardless of the political environment—the party’s barren bench will cause even more alarm for the next presidential campaign. And if the Democrats’ core constituencies don’t show up for midterm elections—an outlook that’s rapidly becoming conventional wisdom—Democrats have serious challenges in 2018 as well. It’s why The New Yorker’s liberal writer John Cassidy warned that a Clinton loss next year could “assign [Republicans] a position of dominance.”
By focusing on how the electorate’s rapid change would hand Democrats a clear advantage in presidential races, Obama’s advisers overlooked how the base-stroking moves would play in the states. Their optimistic view of the future has been adopted by Clinton, who has been running to the left even without serious primary competition.
But without a future generation of leaders able to compellingly carry the liberal message, there’s little guarantee that changing demographics will secure the party’s destiny. The irony of the 2016 Senate races is that Democrats are betting on the past, running veteran politicians to win them back the majority—with Clinton at the top of the ticket. If that formula doesn’t work, the rebuilding process will be long and arduous.
Story 1: Breaking News — Tsarnaev Sentenced To Death — Bring Back Prompt Public Executions — Hillary Clinton’s War On Babies A Woman’s Right To Kill Her Baby In The Womb — We Need To Kill More Black Babies? — Black Genocide and Eugenics Through Planned Parenthood — Videos
Abortion — Killing Babies in The Womb
“it’s not enough to legalize the procedure.
Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced.
And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.’
~ Hillary Clinton
I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision,”
“I am really in awe of her, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from her life”
~ Hillary Clinton
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to death
Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death
Boston Marathon Bomber “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev” Gets Death Penalty!
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Eugenics, Planned Parenthood & Psychology, Mind Control
Sex Control Police State, Eugenics, Galton, Kantsaywhere, Mind Control Report
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PJTV — Forgotten Newsreel History: Margaret Sanger Declaring ‘No More Babies’
Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s Racist Founder
Dr Angela Franks- Planned Parenthood:Everything You Didn’t Know
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Beck Reveals Hillary’s Misinformation About Margaret Sanger (Eugenics) & Thomas Jefferson (Slaves)
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The “exterminator” Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger
VERY REVEALING Margaret Sanger Interview MUST SEE ! PLANNED PARENTHOOD
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American Eugenics movement, the truth is here, must see!
Scientific Racism The Eugenics of Social Darwinism
Harvest of Despair Soviet Communism engineered Ukraine Famine Genocide 1933)
USSR, The Genocidal Communist Empire (FULL video)
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BBC’s World at War- The Final Solution part 2
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Mao’s Great Famine HDTV great leap foward, history of china
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Hillary Clinton’s keynote address at the 2015 Women in the World Summit
The presidential hopeful made her sixth appearance at the Women in the World Summit with a keynote address that challenged viewers to be champions for change.
Tsarnaev sentenced to death
By Milton J. Valencia, Patricia Wen, Kevin Cullen, John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death Friday for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the terror attack on the finish line of the storied race that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Tsarnaev, 21, had been convicted last month in US District Court in Boston of 17 charges that carried the possibility of the death penalty.
The death sentence handed down Friday by the seven-woman, five-man jury came at the end of a lengthy, high-profile trial. Tsarnaev, who had taken a sharp turn from hopeful immigrant college student to radical jihadist, also was convicted in the murder of a police officer.
The April 15, 2013, bombing was one of the worst terror attacks in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.
Wearing a blazer and a collared shirt, Tsarnaev, as has been his habit for most of the trial, had no expression as a court clerk read the verdict sentencing him to death. The jury took 14 1/2 hours over three days to render its decision on the penalty.
Explore the evidence from the trial
A look at the witnesses, evidence, and key players in the trial.
Tsarnaev sentencing verdict form
Live updates from the courtroom
US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. will impose the sentence at a hearing where Tsarnaev’s victims will be able to confront him and he also has the option of addressing the court.
After the verdict was announced, O’Toole told jurors, at least three of whom wiped away tears, “You should be justly proud of your service in this case.”
Those in the courtroom included Bill and Denise Richard, parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester, the youngest victim of the attack. Despite the devastating impact on their family, the Richards had called for life in prison, rather than death, for Tsarnaev.
Federal prosecutors said Tsarnaev was a remorseless self-radicalized terrorist who had participated in the bombing to make a political statement. Defense attorneys, seeking to save Tsarnaev’s life, portrayed him as the puppy dog-like follower of his troubled, violence-prone older brother, Tamerlan, who became obsessed with waging jihad and died in a firefight with police.
The jurors decided Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death for the people he was found directly responsible for killing when he placed one of the two homemade pressure cooker bombs: Martin Richard and 23-year-old Boston University graduate student Lingzi Lu.
The panel also had the right to sentence Tsarnaev to death for the second bomb placed by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, which killed Krystle Campbell, 29, of Arlington. But the jury chose not to impose the death penalty for her death.
The jurors also decided against imposing the death penalty for the subsequent murder of MIT Police Officer Sean A. Collier, whom the defense argued was shot to death by Tamerlan, not Dzhokhar.
The response to the death sentence was immediate from some of the hundreds of people who were injured.
One of those who turned to social media to share their views was Sydney Corcoran, who was seriously injured along with her mother, Celeste, who lost both legs in the blast.
“My mother and I think that NOW he will go away and we will be able to move on. Justice,’’ Sydney Corcoran wrote on the Twitter account. “In his own words, ‘an eye for an eye.’ “
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement that the “verdict provides a small amount of closure to the survivors, families, and all impacted by the violent and tragic events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon.’’
“We will forever remember and honor those who lost their lives and were affected by those senseless acts of violence on our City,’’ Walsh said. “Today, more than ever, we know that Boston is a City of hope, strength and resilience, that can overcome any challenge.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted last month of 30 charges, including 17 that carried a possible death penalty, in the first phase of the two-phase federal death penalty trial.
The defense never contested his guilt, focusing instead on the second phase of the trial, in which the jury was asked to determine whether Tsarnaev should get life in prison without parole or a death sentence. Over 11 days of testimony jurors heard from more than 60 witnesses, most of them called by the defense in an effort to humanize Tsarnaev.
Tsarnaev did not testify himself during either phase, showing little emotion as he sat in the courtroom, leaving him an inscrutable figure to the jury that decided his fate.
But in a statement he wrote when he was hiding from police several days after the bombing, he said he had acted because the US government was “killing our innocent civilians. … We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.”
Prosecutor Steven Mellin, in his closing argument, cited a line from the note that said, “Now I don’t like killing innocent people, but in this case it is allowed.”
“These are the words of a terrorist who thought he did the right thing,” Mellin told jurors. “His actions have earned him a sentence of death.”
Defense attorney Judy Clarke suggested that Tsarnaev’s parents were emotionally, and later physically, absent from his life, and that Tamerlan had filled the void.
The root cause of the violence that erupted on Boylston Street on April 15, 2013, was Tamerlan, Clarke said.
“Dzhokhar would not have done this but for Tamerlan,” she said.
“We’re asking you to choose life,” she said. “Yes, even for the Boston Marathon bomber. It’s a sentence that reflects justice and mercy.”
The homemade pressure cooker bombs planted by the Tsarnaev brothers went off just before 3 p.m. at the race, a colorful rite of spring in which thousands of runners, including top competitors from around the world, stream down the course into the heart of the city.
In addition to the three people killed, more than 260 others were injured, including 17 who lost limbs. First responders and people in the crowd rushed forward to help, and the city’s renowned medical community saved lives that were hanging by a thread.
A massive manhunt followed that ended several days later in a violent, chaotic showdown. After authorities released their pictures, Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time, and his 26-year-old brother murdered Collier while he sat in his cruiser on the night of April 18, 2013, in an unsuccessful attempt to get a second gun.
When police caught up with the brothers in Watertown, just outside the city, in the early hours of April 19, the brothers hurled more deadly bombs and fired dozens of shots at police. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after being shot by police and run over by his own brother as he made his escape.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev slipped away from the legions of police who swarmed to the area as the governor, in an unprecedented step, urged residents of Boston, Watertown and other nearby areas to stay indoors and “shelter in place.” But Tsarnaev was ultimately captured later in the day, hiding in a boat stored in a Watertown back yard, where he had written the note explaining his actions. A stunned region breathed a sigh of relief.
People in Boston and beyond rallied together after the attacks, expressing sympathy and offering support to the bombing victims. At the same time, questions were raised and investigations launched into why the attacks weren’t prevented.
One mystery remaining at the heart of the case was how Dzhokhar Tsarnaev transformed from a hard-working teenager to a failing college student who joined a deadly terrorist plot.
“If you expect me to have an answer, a simple clean answer, I don’t have it,” Clarke said in her closing argument.
Tsarnaev arrived in America with his family when he was 9 years old. Jurors heard from his teachers in Cambridge that as a young boy, he was an A student, smart, popular, and kind. He became captain of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School wrestling team and went on to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and witnesses described him as a laid-back, and fun-loving college student.
But jurors also heard about Tsarnaev’s upbringing in a dysfunctional immigrant Chechen family that held to old cultural traditions that gave outsized rank to the oldest brother. And an expert on Chechnya described how that country’s struggles for independence became intertwined over the last two decades with the global jihad movement by Islamic militants.
When his parents returned to Russia in 2012, the jihad-obsessed Tamerlan was the only adult figure in his life, the defense said.
Prosecutors rejected the idea that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had influenced his young brother.
“These weren’t youthful crimes,” said prosecutor William Weinreb. “There was nothing immature or impulsive about them. These were political crimes, designed to punish the United States . . . by killing and mutilating innocent civilians on US soil.”
Governor Charlie Baker met reporters at the State House after the verdict, but refused to say whether he believed the death sentence was the right choice to have been made. Instead, he said, the verdict resulted from the persistence of the 12 jurors who were in court day after day and for 10 weeks.
“This was their call,’’ he said.
As a parent and husband, Baker said he was stunned by the “randomness” of the bombings. He also said that the region would be reminded about the bombings every April when the Marathon is held.
“I think it will be a long time before this event and all that came with it ever lands in my rear view mirror,’’ Baker said. “It changed the Marathon and thereby by definition, changed Boston as well.’’
He said that he hopes some closure, some healing will be forthcoming for anyone connected to the bombings.
Hillary Clinton Reaffirms Her Commitment to Women’s Rights
At Tina Brown’s Women in the World conference, the presidential hopeful spoke about the obstacles women still face in this country and abroad.
Today at Tina Brown’s Women in the World summit, presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the stage to reaffirm her commitment to women’s and girls’ rights, and outlined what will likely be her talking points on women, girls, and minorities as she travels the country trying to gain voter support in the coming months.
“It’s not just enough for some women to get ahead,” Clinton said, adding that all women need support, “no matter where you live and who you are.”
Clinton outlined issues facing women from birth through retirement, noting that “all the evidence tells us that despite the enormous obstacles that remain, there has never been a better time in history to be born female.” But when women enter the workforce, she said, they face a pay gap, which is particularly wide for women of color. She pointed to the recent Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision to assert that a woman’s boss should not determine what kind of health care she can access.Sexual assault on college campuses and in the military remains a pressing issue in need of legislative solutions, Clinton said. And she criticized discrimination in retirement benefits, saying, “When we deny women access to retirement that is secure, when we continue as we do to discriminate against women in the Social Security system, we are leaving too many women on their own.”
The way forward, Clinton said — and presumably what she will campaign on — is to embrace those who have long been marginalized in American society.
“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced as our colleagues and friends, not fired from good jobs because of who they love and who they are,” she said. Immigrants too, Clinton said, need protections and a path to citizenship. Striking a populist tone, Clinton highlighted economic inequality and the value of closing the wage gap — not just for women and their families, but for the U.S. economy as a whole.
Tina Brown’s Women in the World is a global conference, and Clinton emphasized her longtime advocacy for international women’s rights. She famously spoke at the 1995 Beijing conference on women’s rights, where she declared, “Women’s rights are human rights once and for all.” And at Women in the World today, she not only focused heavily on a domestic agenda centered on women’s rights, but mentioned her Beijing work, saying that when she gave her speech back in 1995, 189 countries came together to declare that “human rights are women rights and women rights are human rights, once and for all. And finally, the world began to listen.”
But, Clinton said, “Despite all this progress, we’re just not there yet. Yes, we’ve nearly closed the global gender gap in primary school, but secondary school remains out of reach for so many girls around the world. Yes, we’ve increased the number of countries prohibiting domestic violence, but still more than half the nations in the world have no such laws on the books, and an estimated one in three women still experience violence. Yes, we’ve cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”
Clinton announced her run for president earlier this month and is the presumptive Democratic nominee. But when she sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, she moved away from her women’s rights bona fides, staking out a more gender-neutral position.
Now, running again eight years later, Clinton may be more inclined to embrace her potentially historic role as the first female candidate for president from a major political party. A month before she announced her intent to run, Clinton gave the keynote speech at the anniversary gala of EMILY’s List, an organization that raises money for pro-choice female politicians.
The Women in the World speech focused on women and girls, handily avoiding any mention ofallegations of inappropriate relationships between governments Clinton dealt with at the State Department and her family’s nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation. Those allegations originated in a book called Clinton Cash written by a Republican consultant, and the accusations of unethical behavior are now being investigated further by several media outlets, including The New York Times and TheWashington Post.
The Women in the World conference runs through Friday and features a long list of female activists and celebrities, including actresses Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, Robin Wright, and Friedo Pinto; journalists Katie Couric, Poppy Harlow, Nora O’Donnell, and Mika Brzezinski; writers Tavi Gevinson, Jon Krakauer, and Janet Mock; and political leaders Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris.
Hillary Clinton’s remarks last week at the sixth annual Women in The World Summit raised eyebrows when she openly admitted her goal to steamroll conservative religious beliefs to clear the way for abortion on demand.
As the Daily Caller reports, “Clinton said, ‘it’s not enough to legalize the procedure. Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.’”
Hillary is right about one thing. Laws can’t simply be created, they have to be enforced, and you can’t enforce the progressive agenda fully unless you completely uproot the “deep seated cultural codes and religious beliefs” of society. Then, and only then, will the liberals secure their progressive dream.
That’s why progressives push so hard to “normalize” single motherhood, non-traditional families, transgenderism and remove all trappings of our Judeo-Christian faith heritage.
Law and morality cannot entirely be separated, because nearly all laws are based on moral standards: codes of right and wrong. Our Founders recognized this and made us “one nation under God” with certain rights endowed to us by our Creator.
Hillary’s progressive worldviews include the “woman’s right to choose” – death, actually. Death for the unborn. And primarily, death for unborn non-white babies.
But liberals’ credal commitment to abortion hides an appalling racial bias.
While progressives are quick to label conservatives as racists, they support a genocidal industry that targets and slaughters African American babies more than any other race. This industry is abortion on demand.
According to CDC estimates, an average of “1,876 black babies are aborted every day in the United States.” Also, in 2011, the CDC released a shocking report that “black women were 3.7 times more likely to have an abortion..than non-Hispanic white women.”
In 2012, black women were almost five times as likely to have an abortion as white women. Among white women there were 138 abortions for every 1,000 births. Among black women, there were 501 abortions for every 1,000 births.”
Right now, we’re seeing Baltimore erupt in anger over the tragic death of Freddy Gray. The current narrative is that policemen are rampantly killing young black men. In fact, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) even went so far as to say the recent deaths of unarmed African-American men at the hands of police officers make it feel like “open season” on members of his race.
No sir, it’s open season on babies of your race. Self-inflicted.
According to the FBI there were about 33 homicides each day across the United States in 2013. That’s right, only 33 – whatever their color. But 1,876 black babies are aborted every day. In other words, 5,685% more black babies aborted by their mothers every day then there are homicides in the entire nation.
Rep. Johnson, I hope those figures alarm you. And Mrs. Clinton, aren’t you interested in changing that “deep-seated cultural code?”
In the end, when political leaders like Hillary Clinton promote the destruction of human life through abortion, they are willfully aiding Margaret Sanger’s eugenical dream to purify the population.
Story 1: Hell On Wheels — Government Train Wreck Kills 8, Injures 200 Plus — Speeding At Over 100 Miles Per Hour in A 50 MPH Zone — Northeast Regional Train 188, from Washington to New York — Democrats Want More Money and Subsidies For Amtrak — Stop Subsidizing Silly Walks — $1 Billion Per Year For 44 Years in Subsidies To Amtrak — $45 Billion Total — Hell of A Way To Run A Railroad — Shut It Down — Videos
In an aerial photo, emergency personnel work at the scene of a deadly train wreck, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia, after a fatal Amtrak derailment Tuesday night, in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. Federal investigators arrived Wednesday to determine why an Amtrak train jumped the tracks in a wreck that killed at least six people, and injured dozens. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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Source: Amtrak train thought to be going twice as fast as it should have been
How do all seven cars and the engine of an Amtrak train jump the rails, sending passengers, luggage, laptops and more flying?
One possibility jumped ahead of all others Wednesday: speed.
Authorities haven’t said, definitively, what caused the derailment of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. But a source briefed by investigators said the train was believed to have been traveling in excess of 100 mph. That would be about twice the 50 mph speed limit for the curve it was in.
An official with direct knowledge of the investigation earlier said that authorities were focusing on speed as a possible cause, given the angles of the wreckage and type of damage to the cars. The recorder, or “black box,” discovered at the scene could be pivotal by showing just that, former National Transportation Safety Board official John Goglia said.
Peter Goelz, also once a top NTSB figure and now a CNN analyst, predicted that a definitive conclusion could come soon.
“I’m afraid that this train might be going too fast for this turn,” he said.
NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt has said only that his team will examine things such as the condition of the track and the train, how the signals operated and “human performance.”
Even if it’s determined the train was going too fast, that could be due to the engineer or a mechanical issue, like faulty brakes.
“You have a lot of questions, we have a lot of questions,” Sumwalt told reporters late Wednesday morning. “We intend to answer many of those questions in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Midshipman, AP staffer among the 7 dead
Whatever the cause, it doesn’t change the suffering that many experienced Wednesday — be they survivors dealing with physical and emotional trauma, or relatives of the seven people killed after a few frenetic, horrific moments. Some 238 passengers and five crew members were on the train when it crashed around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
One of those who didn’t make it was Jim Gaines, a father of two who worked as a video software architect for The Associated Press, his company said.
Another was a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman in full uniform heading home to New York on leave from the Annapolis, Maryland, school. A family member described 20-year-old Justin Zemser as a great person and genius whose death has left his parents “beside themselves.”
Hospitals have treated more than 200 others, at least half of whom have been released. That figure included eight in critical condition among the 25 wounded passengers at Temple University Hospital — the closest trauma center to the crash site — according to Herb Cushing, the hospital’s medical director.
He said many passengers were injured when other passengers or objects fell on them. One of those hurt is the train’s engineer, who received medical treatment and was interviewed by police, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said.
Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of more victims at the crash site.
“We are heartbroken by what we’ve experienced here,” Nutter said Wednesday morning. “We have not experienced anything like this in modern times.”
The miracle may be how some escaped relatively unscathed, given the severity of the derailment. A U.S. Department of Transportation representative told CNN that the engine and two cars were left standing upright, three cars were tipped on their sides, and one was nearly flipped over on its roof. The seventh one was “leaning hard.”
“It is amazing,” Nutter told CNN. “I saw some people last night literally walking off that train. I don’t know how they did it.”
FBI: No indication of terrorism in Amtrak train derailment01:08
The Washington-New York corridor is the busiest stretch for Amtrak nationwide. Hundreds of trains, carrying thousands of passengers, have made that trip in recent years, most of them rolling seamlessly from start to finish on a roughly 3½-hour journey.
That’s what seemed to be happening Tuesday night, passenger Daniel Wetrin told CNN.
“Everything was normal,” he said. “Then it was just chaos.”
Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy tweeted he was aboard the train when it crashed. “Helping others,” he said. “Pray for those injured.” Later he shared this photo that showed a firefighter inside the train.
Jeremy Wladis was in the very last car, eating, when he noticed the train starting to do “funny things. And it gradually starts getting worse and worse.”
Things started flying — phones, laptops. “Then people.”
“There were two people in the luggage rack above my head. Two women, catapulted (there).”
As she read a book in the second-to-last car, Janna D’Ambrisi said, she “felt like we were going a little too fast around a curve. The car she was in started to tip, and she was thrown onto another girl.
“People started to fall on us,” she said. “I just held on to her leg and sort of bowed my head and I was kind of praying, ‘Please make it stop.’ “
Fortunately, D’Ambrisi’s train car didn’t tip over and she made it out safely. She credited many people — including one fellow passenger who guided people with his shoes off — for stepping up.
“Everyone was just trying to help the people who were injured, who had blood coming out of their head, their noses, to help them sit down in the dirt away from the rails,” she said.
The locomotive was built by Siemens and delivered to Amtrak in 2014 specifically for its Northeast Corridor service, a Siemens official said. That makes it fairly new, which doesn’t rule out the train’s condition playing a role in the crash but seemingly makes it less likely.
One factor that can’t be discounted is where the crash happened.
Josh Earnest responds to Philadelphia train derailment03:09
“It’s an extremely heavily used stretch of track,” transportation analyst Matthew L. Wald said of the area. “They have trouble keeping it in a state of good repair.”
The derailment was Amtrak’s ninth this year alone, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, and while its cause has not yet been determined, some, like Wald, are already discussing the nation’s aging rail infrastructure.
Noting President Barack Obama’s commitment to upgrading the country’s infrastructure, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the Obama administration is “hard at work” trying to figure out what caused the crash, and that their thoughts and prayers are with the families of everyone affected.
“Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak is a way of life for many,” the President said later in a statement. “From Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia to New York City and Boston, this is a tragedy that touches us all.”
The Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least seven people, was traveling at a speed of at least 100 miles an hour, twice the speed limit on that stretch of track, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The train’s speed was recorded in the so-called black box data recorders that were recovered from the wreckage, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation, while emergency crews searched for more survivors and victims of a wreck that injured more than 200 people.
The recorders were taken to Amtrak’s operations center in Delaware to download information like the train’s speed, images from a video camera on the engine and a log of when the train’s operator used tools like the brake, throttle and horn, officials said at a news conference.
Passengers who emerged battered and bloodied described a chaotic, terrifying scene, with people thrown against walls, furniture and each other, and luggage and other loose items flying through the air and hitting people.
The wreck occurred as the New York-bound train made a sharp left turn at a rail yard called Frankford Junction, northeast of downtown, where multiple freight and passenger routes converge, and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor makes one of its sharpest turns.
The speed limit on that curve is 50 miles an hour, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, and on either side of the curve it is 70 m.p.h. That area, in the Port Richmond section of the city, does not have a safety system called Positive Train Control that can, among other features, automatically reduce the speed of a train that is going too fast.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter of Philadelphia, at a news conference, refuted reports that the engineer who was driving the train had refused to speak to investigators. “The engineer was injured, received medical care, and was interviewed by the Philadelphia Police Department,” he said.
“It is an absolute disastrous mess,” Mr. Nutter said of the scene. “Never seen anything like this in my life.”
He confirmed reports that the death toll had reached seven, with more than 200 people injured, and said that for now, the focus of emergency crews combing through the twisted wreck was “making sure that we are searching every car, every inch, thousands of square feet, to find individuals that may have been on the train.”
“We are heartbroken at what has happened here,” he said. “We have not experienced anything like it in modern times.”
By midday, the names of the victims began to trickle out. The United States Naval Academy confirmed that one of its midshipmen was among the dead, and family members identified him as Justin Zemser of Rockaway Beach, in Queens, a former student body president at Channel View High School.
“We’re not ready to talk yet. We are just grieving, and when we are ready we will be in touch,” said a relative, who did not want to be identified.
The Associated Press said that one of its employees, Jim Gaines, 48, a video software architect who lived in Plainsboro, N.J., was also killed.
Another victim was Rachel Jacobs, chief executive officer of ApprenNet, an education technology company in Philadelphia, whose co-workers spent most of the day Wednesday unsure of what had happened to her. A friend, Michelle Kedem, said she had received a text message from Ms. Jacobs’s family confirming her death.
Mr. Nutter said some passengers have not yet been found, but officials were still not sure how many. “We have not completely matched the manifest that we received from Amtrak with the patient or hospital records,” he said.
People trying to find loved ones congregated first at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, then at a temporary aid station the city set up at an elementary school, and finally at the Marriott Hotel downtown, where Amtrak opened a family center.
Philadelphia’s director of emergency management, Samantha Phillips, said, “Our hospitals treated over 200 patients last night and this morning.”
It jumped the tracks at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, tossing around the passengers and crew, as most of the train’s seven passenger cars tumbled onto their sides and crumpled. One car was particularly badly mangled, looking like nothing so much as a crushed and torn soda can. One car struck a steel utility pole, and a stretch of bent and twisted track could be seen near the wreckage, indicating the sheer force of the crash.
Passengers described a quiet ride turned suddenly chaotic and terrifying.
“The guy next to me was unconscious, so I just kind of picked him up and slapped him in the face and said ‘Hey buddy, get up, get up,’ and he came to,” said Patrick J. Murphy, a former congressman from Pennsylvania, who was on the train.
The engine pulling the train separated from the passenger cars, left the tracks, rumbled through a dirt area and came to rest diagonally across other sets of tracks.
After the crash, emergency workers carrying flashlights and ladders moved frantically from car to car helping passengers off the train, some bloodied, others dazed. Parts of the damaged cars were so badly mangled that firefighters had to use hydraulic tools to rescue people trapped inside.
Amtrak reported that 238 passengers and five crew members were supposed to be on the train, but officials cautioned that those figures were inexact; off-duty Amtrak employees could have been aboard without appearing on passenger manifests, and people who bought tickets might have missed the train.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board began to arrive before 5 a.m., said Robert Sumwalt, a board member, adding that they may be able to release more information on Wednesday afternoon. The F.B.I. was also investigating.
On Wednesday, a giant crane moved into position and began attempting to lift the damaged cars. The wreck severed Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, one of the nation’s busiest rail routes, and the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s commuter train line from Philadelphia to Trenton, stranding thousands of passengers and threatening to snarl travel for days or weeks to come.
Temple University Hospital received 54 patients from the wreck, including one who died overnight from a massive chest injury, Herbert E. Cushing, the chief medical officer, said Wednesday morning. He said that most of the patients suffered fractures from being thrown around the train, and that 25 remained in the hospital, including eight people in critical condition.
“There were lots of people from all around the world” among the injured, he said, including patients from Albania, India and Spain.
About 20 minutes before the crash, on the same line but a few miles away, “an unknown projectile” struck a SEPTA commuter train and damaged a window, an authority spokeswoman said. Mr. Nutter said that had “nothing to do with this incident.”
Amtrak service continued between Philadelphia and Washington on a modified schedule, but no trains were able to run between Philadelphia and New York.
The derailment took place in roughly the same area of track that was the site of one of the nation’s deadliest rail accidents. On Labor Day in 1943, a 16-car Pennsylvania Railroad Congressional Limited train carrying military service members on leave derailed near the same curve, killing 79 people and injuring 117.
Officials concluded that a hot journal box had burned off and caused an axle to snap, which sent the train catapulting off the track.
Congressional Republicans were elected on a platform of cutting spending, but taxpayers will continue to pay for Amtrak’s losses for at least 5 more years if a bill that just passed the House becomes law. Can’t Congress do better?
Amtrak has cost the government over $45 billion in subsidies over the last 44 years, allowing it to finance the upkeep of unprofitable routes, overstaffed trains, and the mismanagement of its food services.
The bipartisan Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 would subsidize Amtrak by an estimated $7 billion from 2016 to 2020. It passed the House by 316 votes to 101 votes on Wednesday and is now headed to the Senate and, presumably, President Obama’s signature. Amtrak has been operating without official funding authorization since the previous bill expired in October 2013.
Despite generous taxpayer subsidies, Amtrak has run operating losses every year since it began operating in 1971. Although these losses are declining, in 2014, the railroad reported what it described as a “strong” result, with an operating loss of only $227 million.
The operating loss is unlikely to continue to decline due to the losses in Amtrak’s long-distance routes, which bleed about $600 million annually. After factoring in depreciation and other expenses, Amtrak lost a total of $1.1 billion in 2014.
The railroad’s food and beverage service has been singled out in recent years by both government watchdogs and Congress for its wasteful use of government subsidies. Amtrak lost over $900 million from 2003 to 2013 on food services alone.
In a 2012 congressional hearing, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) noted that a $9 cheeseburger sold on an Amtrak train actually costs $16 after factoring in the services’ operating expenses, and the $7 shortfall is subsidized taxpayers. A 2013 Inspector General report found that employee-pass riders who are offered free trips on Amtrak also received complimentary meals, resulting in a $240,000 loss for the railroad in 2012.
A provision in the 2015 bill requires Amtrak to develop and implement a plan to eliminate the losses from its food and beverage in five years, but a similar rule passed decades ago failed to achieve savings. Amtrak was required by Congress to turn a profit from its food and beverage service in 1981, but the railroad never complied. A 1997 law went a step further by requiring Amtrak to operate subsidy-free by 2002, but losses continued, along with government subsidies.
The 2015 bill lacks an effective mechanism to force Amtrak’s food service to become solvent in an enforceable timeframe, thus allowing Amtrak to continue losing money without fear of losing its subsidies. The millions lost from its food services are dwarfed by the billions spent on labor costs and mismanagement of funds, and will continue as long as subsidies prevent accountability for the losses.
The $1 billion in annual subsidies have not covered all of Amtrak’s expenses, and the company has incurred an estimated $1 billion in non-federal debt. The 2015 bill authorizes $625 million in federal funds to pre-pay Amtrak’s non-federal debt as the railroad has been unable to renegotiate favorable terms to result in savings.
Amtrak’s largest expense is labor, salary, and benefits, which cost over $2 billion in 2014. Maintaining fully-staffed trains on infrequently-traveled routes has contributed to high labor costs, but the pay rate of Amtrak’s employees raise its costs substantially. The average onboard employee made $41.19 an hour on Amtrak in 2012, while railroads that contracted out services to private companies paid their employees $7.75 to $13.00 an hour.
Base pay may already be substantial, but regulations and poor oversight allowed employees to pocket $185 million in overtime pay in 2013. The management allowed employee misconduct and wasteful business practices to thrive, even as at the same time it hindered plans to make train stations accessible to the disabled to comply with the Americans with Disability Program.
Amtrak’s did not meet ADA’s goals due to lack of structure and a strategy, according to a 2014 IG report. Management activities took up 46% of the $100 million budget, $6.5 million was spent on unrelated projects, and an undetermined amount was shipped out of state on non-ADA projects.
The ADA program’s failure was rooted in a lack of vision, goals and objectives, and was compounded by a lack of accountability and decision making authority. The IG’s summation of the ADA program reflects problems inherent to Amtrak’s culture. Its promises of reform have never fully materialized into solvency, and its failure to follow congressional mandates never resulted in penalties. Amtrak has never made a profit because it doesn’t need to.
Privatizing Amtrak is the only option certain to prevent billions of taxpayer dollars from being wasted while providing the benefits that accompany competitive services. Congress should develop a plan to privatize the railroad and allow for private companies to compete for routes.
America has successfully privatized rail before, as freight railroads were once unprofitable enterprises subsidized by the federal government until the industry was deregulated and sold to private investors in the 1980s. The industry has thrived since routes were opened up to competition.
Amtrak has had 44 years to become solvent without success. Reducing labor costs can be an effective interim measure, but deregulating the passenger rail system is the best way to ensure improved service and lower fares for consumers. Cutting Amtrak’s subsidies and ending its monopoly is a responsible alternative to passing inneffective reforms.
Story 1: Part II, 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
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.
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The Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers–7 Whistleblowers speak at News Conference 04-27-15
Top NSA Whistleblower William Binney Exposes the Tyranny 3/20/15
NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post
Former NSA Head Exposes Agency’s Real Crimes
NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM
‘NSA owns entire network anywhere in the world’ – whistleblower William Binney
NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All: The Program | Op-Docs | The New York Times
William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)
Alleged NSA whistleblower warns of “turnkey tyranny” in U.S.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’
Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can “Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make”
NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Prevails in Unprecedented Obama Admin Crackdown
NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013
29C3 Panel: Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, William Binney on whistleblowing and surveillance
Everything We Know About NSA Spying: “Through a PRISM, Darkly” – Kurt Opsahl at CCC
FBI’s Patriot Act Abuse of National Security Letters and illegal NSA spying
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO)
The Lame Duck Show: Turn Key Tyranny Solutions
PBS Nova S36E11 The Spy Factory Full Documentary
Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets
Full Documentaries – National Security Agency Secrets – (NSA) Special Documentary
NSA can spy on 98 percent of the world
Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”
Glenn Greenwald on Domestic Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Controversy (2006)
Enemy of the State (1998) Predicts Edward Snowden’s Revelations
Enemy Of The State – The NSA Can Read The Time Off Your F**king Wristwatch!
Will Smith | Enemy of the State 1998 Movie Full HD
Ron Paul to Congress: DO NOT Extend the “PATRIOT” Act!
Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned
Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA?
(Good Will Hunting)
N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Is Illegal, Appeals Court Rules
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and JONATHAN WEISMAN
A federal appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that the once-secret National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal. The decision comes as a fight in Congress is intensifying over whether to end and replace the program, or to extend it without changes.
In a 97-page ruling, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a provision of the USA Patriot Actknown as Section 215 cannot be legitimately interpreted to allow the bulk collection of domestic calling records.
The ruling was certain to increase the tension that has been building in Congress as the provision of the act that has been cited to justify the bulk data collection program nears expiration. It will expire in June unless lawmakers pass a bill to extend it.
Thursday’s ruling did not come with any injunction ordering the program to cease, and it is not clear that anything else will happen in the judicial system before Congress has to make a decision about the expiring law.
It is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the program.
The data collection had repeatedly been approved in secret by judges serving on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, which oversees national security surveillance. Those judges, who hear arguments only from the government, were willing to accept an interpretation of Section 215 that the appeals court on Thursday rejected.
The court, in a unanimous ruling written by Judge Gerard E. Lynch, held that Section 215 “cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and that it does not authorize the telephone metadata program.” It declared the program illegal, saying, “We do so comfortably in the full understanding that if Congress chooses to authorize such a far-reaching and unprecedented program, it has every opportunity to do so, and to do so unambiguously.”
The House appears ready to pass a bill next week that would end the government’s bulk collection of phone records and replace it with a new program that would preserve the ability to analyze links between callers to hunt for terrorists but keep the bulk records in the hands of phone companies. That proposal however, has faced resistance from Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the Senate majority leader.
A similar bill died in the Senate in November after national-security hawks said it would be a gift to terrorists and Mr. McConnell urged Republicans to block an up-or-down vote on it with a filibuster. Mr. McConnell has urged a “clean extension” of Section 215 this time so the program can continue in its present form, and he said on Tuesday that he thought that was the “most likely” outcome.
But Alexander Abdo, who argued the case for the American Civil Liberties Union, praised the ruling.
“This decision is a victory for the rule of law that should spur Congress into action,” he said. “Modern technology has created tremendous opportunity, but it has also enabled surveillance on a scale inconsistent with free society. Today’s decision is an opportunity to redouble the defense of the constitutional principles that have made our nation what it is today.”
The appeals court sent the matter back to a Federal District Court judge to decide what to do next. The government could also appeal the ruling to the full appeals court, or to the Supreme Court. Parallel cases are pending before two other appeals courts that have not yet ruled.
Lawmakers who helped draft the bill that the House is about to pass, known as the USA Freedom Act, seized on the ruling as a triumph. Among them, Senators Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, said in a joint statement: “Congress should not reauthorize a bulk collection program that the court has found to violate the law. We will not consent to any extension of this program.”
But Mr. McConnell and Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, took to the Senate floor and gave no ground. Mr. McConnell blasted the House bill as “an untested, untried and more cumbersome system” that would neither “keep us safe or protect our privacy.”
“Section 215 helps us find a needle in the haystack,” he said. “But under the USA Freedom Act, there might not be a haystack at all.”
A senior Democratic senator suggested a compromise with Mr. McConnell, who has the power to decide which bills get brought up for a vote. The lawmaker suggested that Democrats might permit an extension of the existing statute for just a month in exchange for a promise by Mr. McConnell to allow a vote on the House bill in June.
Still, even if there were votes in Congress for a short-term extension of the existing statute to create more time for debating the USA Freedom Act, Thursday’s ruling would create a series of political and legal difficulties for keeping the program going in the interim.
The present FISA court order authorizing the bulk phone records program, issued in February by Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court, expires on June 1. To bridge any gap between the existing program and a new one, the Obama administration would have to ask the FISA court to reauthorize the program for another round and a FISA judge would have to agree to do so, notwithstanding the Second Circuit’s ruling that Section 215 gives the court no authority to order phone companies to turn over customer records in bulk.
The FISA court is not directly subject to the Second Circuit’s authority — it has its own appeals court — but when Judge Boasberg issued the last order for the phone program he noted the existence of the litigation challenging the legal interpretation the FISA court had adopted, as well as the legislation pending in Congress. He required the government to file any application to renew the program again by May 22.
In a statement, Edward Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the administration was still evaluating the ruling but reiterated that President Obama’s support for legislation that would transform the program is in line with the USA Freedom Act.
“Without commenting on the ruling today, the president has been clear that he believes we should end the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program as it currently exists by creating an alternative mechanism to preserve the program’s essential capabilities without the government holding the bulk data,” he said.
The bulk phone records program traces back to October 2001. After the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush secretly authorized the N.S.A. to begin a group of surveillance and data-collection programs, without obeying statutory limits, for the purpose of hunting for hidden terrorist cells.
Over time, the legal basis for each component of that program, known as Stellarwind, evolved. In 2006, the administration persuaded a Federal District Court judge serving on the FISA Court, Malcolm J. Howard, to issue the first of many court orders blessing the phone records component, based on the idea that Section 215 could be interpreted as authorizing it.
Many other judges serving on the FISA court have subsequently renewed the program at roughly 90-day intervals. It came to light in June 2013 as part of the leaks by the intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, setting off a debate both about individual privacy rights and about whether the FISA court’s secret legal interpretation was founded.
Multiple lawsuits were filed in different districts challenging the program as both illegal under Section 215 and as unconstitutional. Different district court judges reached opposingconclusions about its legality.
Thursday’s ruling, in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, is the first time an appeals court has weighed in. The ruling did not address the A.C.L.U.’s separate argument that bulk collection of records about Americans – regardless of the claimed legal basis – is unconstitutional.
It is not clear what other bulk data collection programs the government may have, although there have been some glimpses of others.
For example, it is known that the government also had a program between 2004 and 2011 that collected Americans’ email records in bulk – another component of the Stellarwind program. The government also recently acknowledged that the Drug Enforcement Administration collected bulk calling records between the United States and countries involved in drug trafficking from the early 1990s until 2013, using a similar legal theory.
In addition, the C.I.A. has used Section 215 to collect bulk records of international and foreign money transfers from companies like Western Union, although the government has not officially acknowledged that program.
HOW THE NSA CONVERTS SPOKEN WORDS INTO SEARCHABLE TEXT
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
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 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. The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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”. 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.
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. The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.
PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[Notes 1]PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN. It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). 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.” The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012. 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.
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. Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet” to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.
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. 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). PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC. 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. 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.
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. The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles. 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). 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.”
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. 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.
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. 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.”
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.
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. Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:
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.”
Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.” “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”
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.”
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.” “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”
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.”
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.”
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.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.” “[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.
“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.
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.
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. 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.”
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.” The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely. In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort. 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. 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” and the companies’ denials.
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. 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. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information. Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.
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.
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”.
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.
Response from United States government
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. 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.” 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.” 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.” 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. In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.
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.”
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.” 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).”
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.”
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.” 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.”
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.
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, and others said that they had not been aware of the program. 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,”
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”.
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.”
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.”
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?”
Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives
June 11 “He’s a traitor” (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.” “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.”
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,”
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,”
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”.
Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)
June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,
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,”
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.”
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.”
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).” 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.” 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.” 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.” They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.
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. 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.
If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it. A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.
Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive. 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. 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.
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.”
Involvement of other countries
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.
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.”
Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.
Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed the Business Insider article about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.
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.”
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.
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,” 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.”
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.” 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.” 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.
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. 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.” Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.” 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.” In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.
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; 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.” 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.
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.
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”.
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. 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”. The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style. 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.”
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.
Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin
The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”. 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.
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”.
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 saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.” 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.” 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. 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.”
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.”
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.” 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.
Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.
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.”
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.”
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.
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. 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. 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. A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.
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. 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. 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”.
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. Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.
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. SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman. SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.
Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. 
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.” 
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.” The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.
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. In 2006 the program was shut down, after having cost billions of US Dollars. Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.
The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.
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.”
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. 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. Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter. Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed. She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.
Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.
In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG) had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure. It had cost more than $1 billion.
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. Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.
In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun. 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.
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. 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, part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”. 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.
In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
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. It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian. 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.
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).
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.
Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian. The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS and Five Eyes). It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.
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.
The system has been reported in a number of public sources. Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001, and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States. 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.
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.
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.
The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic. During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication, and could be intercepted at great distances. 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.”
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. 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%. Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.” 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. 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.
The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report 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)
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
deactivated in 2008
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)
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.
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. 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 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.” 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.
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.
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. 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”.
Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings
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. A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.
PRISM: A clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) which can target customers of participating corporations outside or inside the United States
Main Core: A personal and financial database storing information of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data mostly comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, as well as other government sources.
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.
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):
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.
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, and “foreign intelligence information” was further defined in the amendment as information about:
an actual or potential attack or other grave hostile acts of a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power;
sabotage or international terrorism by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; or
clandestine intelligence activities by an intelligence service or network of a foreign power or by an agent of foreign power; or
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.’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Section 206: Roving surveillance authority
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 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).
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.
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.
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 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”.
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. It specifies what that provider must disclose to the government, 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.
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.
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. 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.
Section 213 (Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant) amended the US Code to allow the notification of search warrants to be delayed. This section has been commonly referred to as the “sneak and peek” section, a phrase originating from the FBI 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.
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. 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:
those suspected of being involved with international terrorism,
those undertaking clandestine intelligence activities
Section 215: Access to records and other items under FISA
This section is commonly referred to as the “library records” provision because of the wide range of personal material that can be investigated.
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”.
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, 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.
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. “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. 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”.
Section 216: Authority to issue pen registers and trap and trace devices
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.
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:
any officer or officers who installed the device and any officer or officers who accessed the device to obtain information from the network;
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;
the configuration of the device at the time of its installation and any subsequent modification made to the device; and
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:
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.
The following terms were redefined in the US Code’s chapter 206 (which solely deals with pen registers 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
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
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
the owner or operator of the protected computer authorizes the interception of the computer trespasser’s communications on the protected computer,
the person is lawfully engaged in an investigation,
the person has reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of the computer trespasser’s communications will be relevant to their investigation, and
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.”
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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:
any foreign entity or individual who is subject to any restriction for involvement in weapons of mass destruction or missile proliferation.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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”. 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.
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 for a similar part of the Act)
Section 224: Sunset
This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(November 2010)
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
Authority to share criminal investigation information : Authority to share Grand Jury information
Authority to share criminal investigation information : Procedures
Employment of translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Designation of judges
Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications
Clarification of scope
Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant
Modification of authorities relating to use of pen registers and trap and trace devices
Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism
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
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).
Story 1: 6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged — Obama’s National Police Force For The 21st Century! — Videos
We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.
Breaking News – Specific charges, profiles of Freddie Gray officers
6 Baltimore Cops Charged In Freddie Gray’s Death
Sheriff Clarke: Baltimore is “George Zimmerman, Duke Lacross all over again..”
SHARPTON CALLS FOR DOJ TO TAKE OVER POLICING
Judge Nap: Gov’t Cannot Be Confronted By Blue Wall of Silence in Freddie Gray Case
Napolitano: There’s a ‘Serious Absence of Leadership’ in Baltimore
Judge Nap: Arrest of Black Man Who Died From Spinal Injury ‘Unconstitutional’
DOJ Targets Racism in Police Forces – CNN.com
Will Police Departments Face Scrutiny After DOJ Ferguson Report?
Al Sharpton called to Baltimore by Mayor
Al Sharpton Calls For Nationalization Of Police In Wake Of Baltimore Riots (Limbaugh responds)
OBAMA RIPS US POLICE: Target Poor, African Americans
What They Won’t Tell You About Baltimore Riots
BALTIMORE RIOTS – Maryland Governor Activates 5,000 National Guard Troops. Martial Law Coming?
Bishop Jackson to Rev. Sharpton: ‘March Right Back to N.Y. & MSNBC’
Sheriff David Clarke: Al Sharpton Should ‘Go Back into the Gutter He Came From’
Baltimore Mayor Hand Picked by Obama for Task Force, Plan to Nationalize Police
BALTIMORE MAYOR NAMED IN OBAMA NATIONAL POLICE FORCE DOCUMENT. FALSE FLAG
Obama Civilian Security
Obama National Police Force
Heads Up! Obama Just Federalized Police Forces In 6 US Cities
Glenn Beck Digs into Obama’s Civilian National Police Force
President Obama Meets with the Task Force on 21st Century Policing
Radley Balko on the Militarization of America’s Police Force: VICE Meets
Gestapo Hitler’s Secret Police
LARKE: FREDDIE GRAY CHARGES ‘DUKE LACROSSE CASE ALL OVER AGAIN’
by IAN HANCHETT
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D) declared the charges brought against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray “George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again” and said “these cops are political prisoners,” offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob” on Friday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.
Clarke said of the charges, “it’s a miscarriage of justice. This neophyte prosecutor stood up there and made a political statement, Neil, and I say that because she’s chanting or voicing some of the chants from this angry mob. Her job is to tune that out. She said, I hear the voices. She’s not supposed to hear anything as she reviews this case that is not consistent with the rule of law and our system of justice. Look, I’m an experienced and a veteran homicide detective. I’ve had — I’ve participated in charging conferences. There is no way I have ever gotten a criminal charge within 24 hours after taking over all the reports and evidence to a prosecutor. A prosecutor who is thorough needs several days to sift through hundreds of pages of reports. They usually want to interview some of the witnesses themselves, in person, and they have to sift through all of the evidence, piece by piece, and they have to wait for some of the forensics evidence to conclude, to come back and that’s why I say on a minimum, three to four days. She just got this case yesterday. This is political activism. She’ll never prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, and I’m not going to silently stand by and watch my brother officers, offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob, just to appease this angry mob.” And that “she rushed this thing through.”
After his interview was cut off to carry a Fraternal Order of Police press conference live, he continued, “she knows she’s not going to be able to prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt. This is George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again. A politically active district attorney or state’s attorney, you can tell the emotion in her voice, she almost did this with glee. And that’s why I believe, like they [the FOP] do…she needs to remove herself from the case. I hope the state’s attorney general gets involved in this, and sees the error of her ways. The smart thing for her to do is recuse herself and name a special prosecutor.”
He added that “there may be and probably are, some civil torts here, but what little I know, and I don’t know all the facts, but I’m listening to the emotion in their voice, and listening to those political statements that she made at the end of that news conference, that’s political activism, it’s wrong, it’s probably in violation of her code of ethics as a lawyer. And again, I’m going to take my time with this, but I’m not going to sit idly by, and I want to call out to every law enforcement officer in the country to pay attention to this. Because, I see a pattern, at least demands from an angry mob, that we be offered up as human sacrifices. We don’t do that in our system of justice in the United States just to please an angry mob. And I sense from what I heard her say, Neil, that that’s what is going on here.”
Clarke concluded, “there are some things I find in this case — what little I know — that are problematic from a procedural standpoint, but Neil, it doesn’t make it criminal. These cops are political prisoners. I’m calling them political prisoners because this state’s attorney, stood up there and made a political statement at the end, talking about she hears the voices, and no justice and no peace.”
Being educated in social work and community organizing, I have long suspected that Obama’s deception runs much deeper than many may realize. I have argued in other articles that blacks in America are deliberately being impoverished so they can easily be called upon to protest against the system; after all, that is the job of the community organizer, to stir up hate and discontent. This isn’t really a far fetched idea seeing as though some of the most impoverished cities in the country have been governed by Democrats for decades. I wrote in my article “Critical Projection Theory,” that the real reason Democrats push the race card so much is to hide their true history as the real oppressor of minorities in America. Watching events unfold as they have, I have to say I am more convinced of this than ever before. Are we witnessing the Hegelian Dialectic at play here?
This week in New York, another white police officer was not indicted for the death of another black man, and protests have been called. This is the case where the police officer in question choked Eric Gardner to death on the sidewalk July 17th of this year. To be honest with you, after watching the video I find myself wondering why he wasn’t indicted. In my opinion this looks like a clear cut case of police brutality. Is it possible that the same communist agitators that flamed the Ferguson riots have manipulated events concerning the jury’s decision not to indict, in order to encourage more resentment? While it may seem like a far fetched idea, it is in fact, the way “psychopolitical operatives” (communists) operate. This could very well be an expert application of the Hegelian Dialectic at work;create the problem, cause a crisis and then offer the solution. In this case the solution Obama wants may be a nationalized police force.
It isn’t hard to come to this conclusion when you remember what Obama said about a civilian security force that is better funded and more “well trained” than the military. Alleged racism in the police precincts across the country gives Obama and his communist cohorts the perfect excuse. We even have the U.N. expressing concerns about racially charged police brutality in America. The facts about white police killing blacks, as Janna B. reported, matter little because their is an agenda, and that agenda is disarming America and creating a national gestapo.
Public Law 87-297, State Department Publication NO. 7277, which is called The Arms Control And Disarmament act, calls for the complete and total disarmament of America. In fact, the first target of this plan is the United States military. If you haven’t noticed, our military has been decimated over the past couple of years. The plan then calls for disarming the public. Is it possible that disarming the police forces is also on the agenda? There would have to be a level of “psychological disarmament” before police forces across the countries would accept being under federal control; however, once this was accomplished they would certainly lack any ability to push back against the enveloping arms of the federal leviathan.
While much of this seems like crazy speculation, you have to remember that a great deal of what Obama accomplished was at one point, considered to be the same. The man keeps pushing for more and more and honestly, the less the cowardly Republicans do to stop him, the more he will push. I realize that sometimes many people will think I’m reaching far out there to come to conclusions that may never come to pass. The truth is, I hope they are right; however, when I see the racial divide Obama has created, and videos that appear to represent his own personal army in training, I get a little concerned. Keep your eyes open America, the next two years promise to be the most trying.
Marilyn Mosby Charges 6 Baltimore Police Officers in Death of Freddie Gray
Maryland State Attorney for the city of Baltimore Marilyn Mosby announced on Friday morning that Freddie Gray‘s death in police custody was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, and that there is sufficient probable cause to file criminal charges against the six officers involved.
The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray will now face criminal charges ranging from murder to manslaughter to assault. The driver of the police van was charged with second-degree murder, while three officers were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Other officers were also charged with assault in connection with the murder.
Officers Charged In Freddie Gray’s Death, State’s Attorney Said Arrest Was Illegal
May 1, 2015 3:45 PM
City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby says Freddie Gray received his critical injuries in Baltimore police custody and has charged all six officers involved in his death.
The city state’s attorney outlined where they say the officers went wrong from the moment they arrested Gray all the way to the time they took him out of the van and realized he wasn’t breathing.
On April 12, when 25-year-old Freddie Gray first made eye contact with a city police officer and ran away, officers chased him down and arrested him at 1700 Pressbury Street.
Bystanders then began recording the arrest, watching as Gray was placed in the police van. The prosecutor faults the three arresting officers for not properly restraining or seatbelting Gray in the van, calling his arrest illegal to begin with.
“Lt. Rice, Officer Nero and Officer Miller failed to establish probable cause for Mr. Gray’s arrest, as no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray,” Mosby said.
The van made its first stop at Baker Street, where Gray was removed, put in flex cuffs and leg shackles and, again, not properly restrained. It is here prosecutors believe he was injured.
“Following transport from Baker’s Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being restrained, handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained by his feet inside the Baltimore Police Department wagon,” she said.
That van stopped again at the intersection of Mosher and Freemont Street. The driver got out and observed Gray, but gave him no medical aid—and Gray still wasn’t in a seatbelt. The van made a third stop at Dolphin and Druid Hill Street, where Gray said he couldn’t breathe and asked twice for medical attention.
“However, despite Mr. Gray’s request for a medic, both officers assessed Mr. Gray’s condition. At no point did they restrain Mr. Gray per BPD general order, nor did they render or request medical attention,” she said.
The van then headed to North Avenue and Pennsylvania, where it stops to pick up Donta Allen. At that time, Gray was already unresponsive, according to Mosby. The officers did not get him medical help; he was still not properly secured in the van. Finally, the van drove to the Western District Police Station, where officers first removed the other prisoner from the van, before realizing that Gray had stopped breathing and was now in cardiac arrest.
“The findings of our comprehensive, thorough, and independent investigation coupled with the ME’s determination that Mr. Gray’s death was a homicide which we received today, has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges,” Mosby said.
She charged all six officers in the death of Gray and said his arrest was illegal.
Mosby described the morning’s event:
She said Lt. Brian W. Rice along with Officer Garret Miller & Officer Edward M. Nero were on bike patrol when they made eye contact with Gray. Gray ran from Rice and Rice dispatched he was involved in a foot pursuit. Other officers got involved.
Gray surrendered to Miller and Nero and the officer handcuffed him behind his back, Mosby said. Gray asked for an inhaler because he “could not breathe,” but the officers did not get him medical attention.
They found a knife clipped inside his pants packet — the knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law, she said.
The officers then restrained Gray in a “leg lace,” and held him down until the transport van arrived, while he “flailed and screamed.”
The officers failed to find probable cause for Gray’s arrest, Mosby said. When the police transport van arrived, he was placed into the wagon driven by Officer Caesar B. Goodson, but without a seatbelt.
“At no point was he secured by a seatbelt while in the wagon contrary to a BPD general order,” she added. “Despite stopping for the purpose of checking on Mr. Gray’s condition, at no point did he seek nor render any medical assistance for Mr. Gray.”
Gray was then removed from the wagon at Baker Street, places flex cuffs on his wrists and leg shackles on his ankles — while they completed paperwork. He was then placed back into the wagon’s floor head first and stomach down — without a seatbelt.
“Following transport from Baker Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon,” Mosby said.
After leaving Baker Street, the officers stopped again to check on Gray’s condition, but they did not seek medical attention for Gray. Again, Goodson drove off without buckling Gray into the van.
The van stopped once again, this time Officer William G. Porter met up with Goodson and checked on gray. Gray asked for medical attention stating he couldn’t breathe. Porter asked Gray if he needed a medic and although Gray insisted he did, the officers allegedly placed him back on the bench and decided he did not need a medic.
Then Porter left to assist with another arrest on West North avenue and Goodson shortly followed with Gray in the back of the police van to help transport another suspect. When they arrived at that located they Sgt. Alicia White, Goodson and Porter saw Gray was unresponsive on the floor of the back of the wagon.
White spoke to the back of Gray’s head and was advised he needed a medic, but Mosby said she made no effort to determine his condition.
The officer did not get Gray medical attention until they returned to the Western District station.
Mosby said the officers are being charged with a number of counts of manslaughter, assault and misconduct. One officer will even be charged with a count of murder.
Officer Caeser B. Goodson, Jr. was charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of manslaughter by vehicle and misconduct in office.
Officer William G. Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Lt. Brian W. Rice was charged with involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
Officer Edward M. Nero charged with two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
Officer Garret Miller charged with two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
Sgt. Alicia White involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of the officers.
“To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man,” Mosby added.
The officers could face up to 20 years in prison for the charges. The driver — Goodson — could face up to 63 years in prison. They are expected to turn themselves in later today.
As groups take to the streets of Baltimore to celebrate the news, several officials reacted to the findings.
The Baltimore Police Fraternal Order of Police No. 3 issued a letter to Mosby Friday morning on behalf of the officers involved saying that the death was not the officers’ faults and they also requested a special prosecutor citing conflicts of interest with Mosby’s office.
“Each of the officers involved is sincerely saddened by Gray’s passing. They are all committed police officers who have dedicated their careers to the Baltimore City Police Department,” the letter states, “And that has been lost in all the publicity.”
“All death is tragic,” the FOP states. “And death associated with interaction with police is both shocking and frightening to the public.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings reacted to the charges filed against the officers in a press conference Friday afternoon.
“Let the wheels of justice roll, and it’s good that they are rolling, instead of standing still,” Cummings said. “”One of things that I’m determined to do and I’m hoping we’re able to do is make Baltimore a model for the nation.”
Gov. Larry Hogan who has been working from Baltimore this week due to the state of emergency also commented on Mosby’s findings:
“We finally get the process moving forward, but it’s a process. The criminal justice system is gonna work it’s way through, we believe in the criminal justice system. It’s just one component of what’s going on down here. There’s the Freddie Gray case, there’s the safety of the people of Baltimore, and then there’s the longer term issues,” Hogan said. “My role in the process is to try to keep folks safe.” … “I know emotions are running high. We want to keep the peace, keep the calm. We’ve got a lot folks out there demonstrating tonight and tomorrow and we want to continue to have the kind of success we’ve had over the past three days of keeping people calm.”
Hogan said he doesn’t have a timeline for when curfew will be lifted.
On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man, was taken into custody by the Baltimore Police Department for allegedly possessing a switchblade; however, Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby subsequently stated “The knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law”. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center. Gray died on April 19, 2015. His death was ascribed to injuries to his spinal cord. On April 21, 2015, pending an investigation of the incident, six Baltimore police officers were temporarily suspended with pay.
The circumstances of the injuries were initially unclear; eyewitness accounts suggested that the officers involved had partaken in unnecessary use of force against Gray while arresting him—a claim denied by an officer involved.Commissioner Anthony Batts reported that the officers did not buckle him inside the van when being transported to the police station—a report supported by a medical investigation which found that Gray had sustained the injuries while in transport.
On May 1, 2015, Baltimore prosecutors ruled that Gray’s death was a homicide, and that his arrest was illegal because the alleged switchblade was a legal-sized pocket knife. The prosecutors stated that they had probable cause to file criminal charges against the six police officers who were believed to be involved in his death. One officer was charged with second degreedepraved-heart murder, and others were charged with crimes ranging from manslaughter to illegal arrest.
Freddie C. Gray was the 25-year-old son of Gloria Darden. He had a twin sister, Fredericka, as well as another sister, Carolina. At the time of his death, Gray lived in the home owned by his sisters in the Gilmor Homes neighborhood. He stood 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) and weighed 145 pounds (66 kg).
Gray had a criminal record, mainly for misdemeanors and drug-related offenses. He had been arrested a total of 22 times in Maryland, primarily for possession and distribution of illegal narcotics. Gray had been involved in 20 criminal court cases, five of which were still active at the time of his death.
Arrest and death
Police encountered Freddie Gray on the morning of April 12, 2015, in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore, an area known to have high levels of home foreclosures, poverty, drug deals and violent crimes. According to the charging documents submitted by the Baltimore police, Gray attempted to flee “unprovoked” on foot, but police on bicycles chased and tackled Gray, found what they claimed was a switchblade in his pocket, and took him into custody at 8:40 a.m. Two bystanders captured Gray’s arrest with video recordings, showing Gray being dragged into the van by officers. A bystander with connections to Gray stated that the officers were “folding” Gray—with one officer bending Gray’s legs backwards, and another holding Gray down by pressing a knee into Gray’s neck. Another witness told the Baltimore Sun that they had witnessed Gray being beaten with batons.
According to the police timeline, Gray was placed in a transport van within 11 minutes of his arrest, and within 30 minutes, paramedics were summoned to take Gray to a hospital. The van made four confirmed stops while Gray was detained. At 8:46 a.m., Gray was unloaded in order to be placed in leg irons because police said he was “irate.” A later stop, recorded by a private camera, shows the van stopped at a grocery store. At 8:59 a.m., a second prisoner was placed in the vehicle while officers checked on Gray’s condition, and 27 minutes later the van made its final stop so paramedics could transport an unconscious Gray to the hospital. He was taken to the University of MarylandR Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in a coma. The statement of charges filed by Officer Garrett Miller against Gray accused him of possessing a switchblade. Miller wrote, “The defendant was arrested without force or incident.” Officers also reported “that he suffered a medical emergency during transport”. The media has suggested the possibility of a so-called “rough ride“—where a handcuffed prisoner is placed without a seatbelt in an erratically driven vehicle—as a contributing factor in Gray’s injury.
In the following week, according to the Gray family attorney, Gray suffered from total cardiopulmonary arrest at least once but was resuscitated without ever regaining consciousness. He remained in a coma, and underwent extensive surgery in an effort to save his life. According to his family, he lapsed into a coma with three fractured vertebrae, injuries to his “voice box”, and his spine “80% severed” at his neck. Police confirmed that the spinal injury led to Gray’s death. The attorney also disputed the claim that Gray had been in possession of a switchblade, and stated that it was actually a “pocketknife of legal size”. He died on April 19, 2015, a week after his arrest.
The Baltimore Police Department suspended six officers with pay pending an investigation of Gray’s death. The six officers involved in the arrest were identified as Lieutenant Brian Rice, 41 (18 years on the force), Sergeant Alicia White, 30 (5 years on the force), Officer William Porter, 25 (5 years on the force), Officer Garrett Miller, 26 (3 years on the force), Officer Edward Nero, 29 (3 years on force), and Officer Caesar Goodson, 45 (16 years on the force). On April 24, 2015, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said, “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.” Batts also acknowledged police did not follow procedure when they failed to buckle Gray in the van while he was being transported to the police station. The U.S. Department of Justice also opened an investigation into the case.
On April 30, 2015, Kevin Moore, the man who filmed Gray’s arrest, was arrested at gunpoint following “harassment and intimidation” by police. Moore stated to have cooperated with police and gave over his video of Gray’s arrest for investigation. He claimed, despite aiding in the investigation, his photo was made public by police for further questioning. The same day, medical examiners reported Gray sustained more injuries as a result of him slamming into the inside of the transport van, “apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van”. 
On May 1, 2015, the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office ruled that Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide, and that they had probable cause to file criminal charges against the six officers involved. Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney for Baltimore City, said that the Baltimore police had acted illegally and that “No crime had been committed” (by Freddie Gray). Mosby said that Gray “suffered a critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside the BPD wagon.” It was also ruled that the arrest of Gray was false imprisonment, because he was carrying a pocket knife of legal size, and not the switchblade police claimed he had possessed at the time of his arrest.
Officer William G. Porter: Involuntary manslaughter; second degree assault; misconduct in office
Lt. Brian W. Rice: Involuntary manslaughter; two counts of second degree assault; manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence); two counts of misconduct in office; false imprisonment
Officer Edward M. Nero: Two counts of second degree assault; manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence); two counts of misconduct in office; false imprisonment
Officer Garrett E. Miller: Two counts of second degree assault; two counts of misconduct in office; false imprisonment
Sgt. Alicia D. White: Involuntary manslaughter; second degree assault; misconduct 
As of May 1st, five of the six officers were in custody.
Response to charges
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said there was no place in the Baltimore Police department for those police officers who “choose to engage in violence, brutality, racism and brutality. Gene Ryan, president of the police union chapter said that despite the tragic situation, “none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray.”
Protesters at a police station near the site of Gray’s arrest on April 25
Public reaction to the death has drawn parallels to the response to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, as part of a larger string of controversial uses of force by police officers in the United States. As of April 30, 2015, 22 demonstrations had been held nationwide in direct response to Gray’s death or in solidarity with Baltimore.
On April 18, 2015, hundreds of people participated in a protest outside the Baltimore Police Department. Three days later, on April 21, 2015, according to Reuters, “[h]undreds of demonstrators gathered in Baltimore”, protesting Gray’s death.The next day, Gene Ryan, the president of the local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, expressed sympathy for the Gray family, but criticized the “rhetoric of protests” and suggested that “the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob.” William Murphy, attorney for the Gray family, demanded an “immediate apology and a retraction”. Ryan defended his statement two days later, while admitting that the wording was poor.Charles M. Blow of The New York Times, reminded of a column he wrote several years ago, said that comparing protests to lynch mobs was too extreme because it inflames racial tensions by belittling the significance of the history of lynching in the United States.
On April 25, 2015, protests were organized in downtown Baltimore, and the protests turned violent as protesters threw rocks and set fires. At least 34 people were arrested, and 15 officers were injured. On April 27, rioting and looting began after the funeral of Gray, with two patrol cars destroyed and 15 officers reported injured. Protesters looted and burned down a CVS Pharmacy location in downtown Baltimore.
At a press conference, Baltimore’s mayor announced there would be a citywide curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. School trips were canceled until mid-May, and Baltimore’s city schools were closed on April 28. In addition, both the University of Maryland campus in downtown Baltimore and the Mondawmin Mall were closed early.
Protests outside Baltimore also took place in other U.S. cities. In New York City, 143 people at Union Square were arrested on April 29, 2015 for blocking traffic and refusing to relocate. On the same day, outside the White House in Washington, D.C., nearly 500 protesters converged without an incident. In Denver, eleven people were arrested as protesters were involved in physical altercations with officers. Other protests in response to Gray’s death took place in cities including Philadelphia,Minneapolis, and Portland.
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Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On – What’s Happening Brother”
“What’s Going On”
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring somelovin’ here today – YaFather, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring somelovin’ here todayPicket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Ya, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going onIn the mean time
Right on, baby
Right onMother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
OhPicket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on
Ya, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on – Uh
Right on baby
Right on baby
Obama: Violence in Baltimore is ‘counterproductive…
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The Leftism of today’s college campuses will lead to the Fascism and Socialism of a Hitler or a Stalin. These Occupy-ers are essentially book burners.
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‘Thugs’ Riot in Baltimore Over Freddie Gray’s Death
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James Baldwin Debates William F Buckley 1965
In 1963, there was a noted change in Baldwin’s work with The Fire Next Time. This collection of essays was meant to educate white Americans on what it meant to be black. It also offered white readers a view of themselves through the eyes of the African-American community. In the work, Baldwin offered a brutally realistic picture of race relations, but he remained hopeful about possible improvements. “If we…do not falter in our duty now, we may be able…to end the racial nightmare.” His words struck a cord with the American people, and The Fire Next Time sold more than a million copies.
That same year, Baldwin was featured on the cover of Time magazine. “There is not another writer—white or black—who expresses with such poignancy and abrasiveness the dark realities of the racial ferment in North and South,”Time said in the feature.
Baldwin wrote another play, Blues for Mister Charlie, which debuted on Broadway in 1964. The drama was loosely based on the 1955 racially motivated murder of a young African-American boy named Emmett Till. This same year, his book with friend Richard Avalon, entitled Nothing Personal, hit bookstore shelves. The work was a tribute to slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Baldwin also published a collection of short stories, Going to Meet the Man, around this time.
In his 1968 novel Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, Baldwin returned to popular themes—sexuality, family, and the black experience. Some critics panned the novel, calling it a polemic rather than a novel. He was also criticized for using the first-person singular, the “I,” for the book’s narration.
By the early 1970s, Baldwin seemed to despair over the racial situation. He witnessed so much violence in the previous decade—especially the assassinations of Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.—because of racial hatred. This disillusionment became apparent in his work, employing a more strident tone than in earlier works. Many critics point to No Name in the Street, a 1972 collection of essays, as the beginning of the change in Baldwin’s work. He also worked on a screenplay around this time, trying to adapt The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley for the big screen.
While his literary fame faded somewhat in his later years, Baldwin continued to produce new works in a variety of forms. He published a collection of poems, Jimmy’s Blues: Selected Poems, in 1983 as well as the 1987 novel Harlem Quartet. Baldwin also remained an astute observer of race and American culture. In 1985, he wrote The Evidence of Things Not Seen about the Atlanta child murders. Baldwin also spent years sharing his experiences and views as a college professor. In the years before his death, he taught at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Hampshire College.
Baldwin died on December 1, 1987, at his home in St. Paul de Vence, France. Never wanting to be a spokesperson or a leader, Baldwin saw his personal mission as bearing “witness to the truth.” He accomplished this mission through his extensive body of work.
Homeland Security Working Overtime to Add ‘New Americans’ by 2016 Election
Sources at the Department of Homeland Security report to PJ Media that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is reallocating significant resources to sending letters to all 9,000,000 green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election.
President Obama’s amnesty by edict has always been about adding new Democrats to the voter rolls, and recent action by the Department of Homeland Security provides further proof. Sources at the Department of Homeland Security report to PJ Media that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is reallocating significant resources away from a computer system — the “Electronic Immigration System” — to sending letters to all 9,000,000 green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election.
This effort is part of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.”
PJ Media has obtained an internal “Dear Colleague” letter written by Leon Rodriguez, the “director and co-chair of the Task Force on New Americans.” The letter refers to a White House report called “Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents.”
Leon Rodriguez has a tainted history — not only was he a central player in the radicalization of Eric Holder’s Civil Rights Division, he also “undertook a purportedly illegal search” of a government employee’s computer in Montgomery County, Maryland. (Messy details are at the Washington Post.)
The Rodriguez letter states:
This report outlines an immigrant integration plan that will advance our nation’s global competitiveness and ensure that the people who live in this country can fully participate in their communities.
“Full participation” is a term commonly used to include voting rights. To that end, resources within DHS have been redirected toward pushing as many as aliens and non-citizens as possible to full citizenship status so they may “fully participate” in the 2016 presidential election. For example, the internal DHS letter states one aim is to “strengthen existing pathways to naturalization and promote civic engagement.”
Naturalization plus mobilization is the explicit aim of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.” Multiple sources at DHS confirm that political appointees are prioritizing naturalization ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Empirical voting patterns among immigrants from minority communities demonstrate that these new voters will overwhelmingly vote for Democrat candidates. If the empirical rates of support for Democrats continued among these newly naturalized minority voters, Democrats could enjoy an electoral net benefit of millions of new voters in the 2016 presidential election.
Other DHS sources report that racial interest groups such as La Raza (translated to “The Race”) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association have been playing a central and influential role in rewriting the administration’s immigration policies — both the public policies as well as internal and largely unseen guidelines.
One DHS official who disagrees with the administration’s policies told me DHS “intends to ‘recapture’ ‘unused’ visas from years past to grant more visas and LPR [green card] status. In addition to this ‘visa blizzard,’ the agency will allow folks to jam in applications during the blizzard, knowing that the visa applicant/beneficiary is not eligible for the visa.”
This means that DHS is not only rushing green card holders toward citizenship before the next election, but also jamming previous visa holders toward green card status. These policies and priorities add to the brazen public positions of the president toward enforcing immigration laws.
Bloods and Crips Team Up to Protest Baltimore’s Cops
Things are apparently so bad in Baltimore that even the city’s gang adversaries—along with the Nation of Islam—are joining forces.
Editor’s Note: Hours after this story published, the Baltimore Police Department issued a warning about a “credible threat” against law enforcement from gangswho they say have formed a partnership to “take out” officers. A police spokesman declined to say whether the threat is related to Freddie Gray’s death.
Before protests over Freddie Gray’s death turned chaotic, an unlikely alliance was born in Baltimore on Saturday: Rivals from the Bloods and the Crips agreed to march side by side against police brutality.
The alleged gang members are pictured on social media crowding together with Nation of Islam activists, who told The Daily Beast they brokered the truce in honor of Gray, who died last week after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody.
In one photo, a gang activist in a red sweatshirt crouches to fit into a group photo with rivals decked out in blue bandanas.
“I can say with honesty those brothers demonstrated they can be united for a common good,” said Carlos Muhammad, a minister at Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 6. “At the rally, they made the call that they must be united on that day. It should be commended.”
The detente was only a small part of the demonstration drawing 1,200 people to Baltimore’s City Hall, but it raised eyebrows among activists. Are things so bad that even Baltimore’s gang adversaries are joining forces to combat law enforcement?
“We can unite and stop killing one another, and the Bloods and the Crips can help rebuild their community.”
“We can unite and stop killing one another,” Muhammad told The Daily Beast, “and the Bloods and the Crips can help rebuild their community.”
DeRay McKesson, an organizer known for his work in Ferguson, also confirmed the street-crime ceasefire. He live-tweeted Saturday’s mostly peaceful demonstration, which later descended into clashes with police and smashed storefronts and cop cars, and alerted followers of a possible respite in gangland.
“The fight against police brutality has united people in many ways that we have not seen regularly, and that’s really powerful,” McKesson told The Daily Beast. “The reality is, police have been terrorizing black people as far back as we can remember. It will take all of us coming together to change a corrupt system.”
Still, it’s not the first time gangsters called a truce to focus on another foe. In August, the MadameNoire web publication reported on two former Bloods and Crips rivals in St. Louis—now protesting against police in Ferguson, Missouri—who held a sign in red and blue letters: “NO MORE CRIPS. NO MORE BLOODS. ONE PEOPLE. NO GANG ZONE.”
“Young black men are dying from the police and they are dying from the gangs too,” one activist said. “But this is a bigger problem, so we took it upon ourselves to focus our energy on making a better solution for the community we live in.”
On Sunday, Baltimore police announced that 35 people were arrested and six police officers were injured in demonstrations.
The unrest prompted a mayoral press conference on Saturday evening, when Gray’s twin sister Fredericka made her first public statements. “My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence?” she pleaded. “Freddie Gray would not want this.”
But before Fredericka spoke, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake thanked those who were discouraging violence—and even singled out Nation of Islam’s peacekeeping efforts.
“I want to also thank the Nation of Islam, who have been very present in our efforts to keep calm and peace in our city,” she said.
On Friday, authorities acknowledged that Gray, 25, should have received medical attention immediately following his April 12 arrest. Gray suffered deadly injuries during transport, though it’s unclear what happened. His spine was severed, he fell into a coma, and died a week later.
Funeral services will be held for Gray today. Muhammad told The Daily Beast he expects Bloods and Crips members to join Nation of Islam to support mourners.
“This is our part in helping to keep peace and to keep protesters in a situation where they’re not in confrontation with police,” Muhammad said.
The Baltimore Police Department said Monday that it considers threats to “take out” cops from the Bloods, Crips, and the Black Guerilla Family (among other gangs) to be a credible threat. “Law-enforcement agencies should take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their officers,” the a Baltimore PD press release said. KateBriquelet reports that the Bloods andCrips have quit fighting each other in order to team up and protest police in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/04/27/baltimore-pd-gang-threats-credible.html
As dusk comes to Baltimore, officials hope for peace but see angry protesters
Protests remained largely peaceful in Baltimore as dusk began to fall over the riot-racked city Tuesday, but police said they noticed an increasingly angry tone among demonstrators as thousands of police and National Guard troops readied to enforce a 10 p.m. curfew.
About 2,000 National Guard troops and more than 1,000 police officers have deployed to the streets of Baltimore, according to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. The city has been under a state of emergency after stone-throwing and arson erupted Monday hours after the funeral of a black man who suffered a mortal injury while in police custody.
“Maintaining law and order, protecting innocent lives and property is our No. 1 priority,” Hogan, who has temporarily moved his office from the Capitol in Annapolis to Baltimore, said at a televised news conference. “We’ve got a long night ahead of us.”
As darkness fell, Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told reporters that in one group of demonstrators that had gathered on the streets, “There has been an increase in the level of anger and frustration in the crowd, and that is starting to grow. … We hope for peace.”
In a late afternoon news conference, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the city had been relatively calm Tuesday, and she thanked residents and community leaders who helped clean up the debris from Monday night’s riots.
“Today I think we saw a lot more of what Baltimore is about,” she said. “We saw people coming together to reclaim our city.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said protests had been peaceful. Officers arrested a few looters on the east side of the city Tuesday morning and one or two demonstrators who were part of a large march that moved down Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.
“This is where we live. This is where we worship,” Batts said. “This is where our kids go to school, so don’t destroy it.”
Earlier, officials tallied the toll since unrest began Monday afternoon: 235 arrests, including 34 juveniles; 15 structure fires; 144 vehicles destroyed; and more than 20 police officers injured. At least one civilian was reported in critical condition, but no other details were given.
At the news conference, Batts said nearly all of the officers, some who suffered hand injures when deflecting rocks and bottles, had been treated and released. One was hospitalized overnight with a serious head injury but is expected to recover.
In earlier remarks, Kowalczyk said police would enforce a curfew, set to begin at 10 p.m. and run until 5 a.m., but would use common sense. Those seeking medical care and returning from work were exempt from the curfew, he said.
He defended the police response.
“When we deployed our officers yesterday, we were deploying for a high school event,” Kowalczyk said. “I don’t think there’s anyone that would expect us to deploy with automatic weapons and armored vehicles for 13- 14- and 15-year-olds.”
He added: “What we saw last night was a group of people take advantage of a situation, a very unfortunate situation, and use that to tear down their own neighborhoods.”
Hogan, the governor, said after touring the stricken areas earlier in the day, “This violence isn’t accomplishing anything. It’s counterproductive.”
He pledged that violence would be dealt with forcefully and that the city would not have to endure a repeat of Monday night.
“This is not the Baltimore we love,” the governor said.
As residents prepared for the start of the weeklong curfew, much of the city remained closed Tuesday. Schools and many businesses were shuttered, and the Baltimore Orioles postponed a second straight game against the Chicago White Sox. The Orioles and White Sox will play their regularly scheduled game Wednesday, but it was moved from the evening to the afternoon, and no fans will be admitted, Major League Baseball announced.
Camouflage-clad National Guard troops, armed with assault rifles, surrounded major public spaces such as City Hall and the Inner Harbor with a show of force that included heavy-duty military vehicles.
The governor said thousands of officers and troops were on the streets, with more expected. He thanked fellow Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey for sending 150 state troopers, among the dozens from surrounding cities and states.
Baltimore residents struggled to shake off the nightmarish violence that began hours after Freddie Gray was buried.
Baltimore police commissioner served in California, dealt with Oakland unrest
Gray died April 19 of a severed spine, a week after he was taken into custody by Baltimore police. Officials are investigating the events, which drew early small and peaceful protests that escalated over the weekend and turned Baltimore into a battle zone Monday.
At a Washington news conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Obama said the issues of relations between African Americans and police were larger than the looters, whom he condemned.
“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday,” Obama said. “It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement – they’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”
But the president also defended the right to protest and called for a broader discussion of how the nation deals with racism and police.
“We can’t just leave this to the police. I think there are police departments that have to do some soul-searching. I think there are some communities that have to do some soul-searching. But I think we, as a country, have to do some soul-searching. This is not new. It’s been going on for decades.”
Meanwhile, some parts of Baltimore tried to return to a semblance of normalcy.
Holding brooms and shovels from their own homes, Baltimore residents showed up in droves to clean up the riot debris: shattered windows, rocks, ashes.
On a sunny Tuesday morning, the mood was much more cordial toward police, who were repeatedly offered bottled water as they stood guard over damaged retail shops. But there was a pervasive feeling that the goodwill could sour at any time.
“The anger you saw is about decades of pain and abuse in our community,” said Megan Kenny, 38, an education provider in the city. “The movement isn’t going to end. I mean, how do you end racism?”
Kenny and her boyfriend, Paul Mericle, 31, who works for Baltimore public schools, took the opportunity of an unexpected day off to join residents along North Avenue to clean up debris.
“People have been up cleaning since before dawn,” Mericle said in the shadow of EZ Mart Tobacco and Convenience, which had been ransacked with shelves emptied.
Across the street, a big rig with a green trailer sat with piles of garbage bags as people with dust trays and snow shovels walked by.
Farther down the street, though, was a stark reminder of the tension. The CVS on North and Pennsylvania avenues sat smoldering as lines of county police stood with defensive shields. Opposite them was a crowd – one man with a bullhorn – talking about the death of Gray. As more residents began massing on the east side of Pennsylvania, police began handing out more shields out of a small trailer to the police.
“The violence isn’t over,” said a Baltimore police officer who was not authorized to speak publicly on the rioting. “We have a long way to go with the community here. We have a lot of wounds to heal.”
Rawlings-Blake spoke of healing as she toured the damage. She said public transportation would be up and running and that she was working to make sure that “most government services can operate normally.”
Speaking at the West Baltimore CVS, Rawlings-Blake said: “What happened last night means that more people are struggling…. We worked very hard to get CVS to come here.”
Hogan said state insurance officials would work on helping residents. As the rioting ended, questions have continued about whether the city and state moved quickly enough to stop the violence. The governor was careful not to assign any blame to city officials, whom he praised.
Hogan said the state had prepared to mobilize the National Guard and issue an emergency declaration on Monday afternoon as television broadcast the first images of the confrontation between teenagers and police. The formal declarations came about 6 p.m., seconds after they were requested by the city, he said.
Asked if the mayor should have called for help sooner, Hogan replied that he didn’t want to question what Baltimore officials were doing: “They’re all under tremendous stress. We’re all on one team.”
During comments as she toured the damaged areas of her city, Rawlings-Blake pushed back against her critics. “There are always going to be armchair quarterbacks that have never sat in my seat,” she told reporters. “This isn’t the first emergency that I’ve had to deal with, and I know you have to put in the work and manage the crisis on the ground.”
Batts, the police commissioner, said late Monday that the city simply didn’t have enough officers to maintain control of all the neighborhoods, as looting and fires spread from one end of the city to the other.
“They just outnumbered us and outflanked us,” he said. “We needed to have more resources.”
He said the extra manpower arriving late Monday and Tuesday would help the police regain control of neighborhoods and enforce a weeklong curfew. Batts said he was dismayed by scenes of Baltimore’s teenagers looting and burning.
“This is not protesting. This is not your 1st Amendment rights,” he said.
He praised one woman who was filmed smacking her teenage son on the head and pulling off his hood. “I wish we had more parents that took charge of their kids out there tonight.”
Story 1: Black Thug Gangs On Rampage in Baltimore — “A Space To Destroy” — Really — Arrest Them All — Failed Progressive Policies On Parade — Who Is Your Daddy? — Welfare State! — Videos
“It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Baltimore Mayor: We Give Protesters Space to Destroy | Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Press Conference
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Police targeted, stores looted in Baltimore riots
Rioters looted stores and pelted police with rocks in Baltimore on Monday after the funeral of an African American man whose death in custody has reignited outrage over US police conduct towards blacks.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in the port city of 620,000 and activated the National Guard as rioters prowled in small groups, ransacking shops and trashing police vehicles. Other cars were set on fire.
At least seven officers were injured in the violence, and police said one was “unresponsive.”
Local and state police in riot gear struggled to restore order as the rioters veered off in different directions, refusing to heed dispersal orders.
“We have seven officers injured during the course of this. They have broken bones; one is unresponsive,” Baltimore police spokesman Captain Eric Kowalczyk told reporters.
“You’re going to see tear gas… We’re going to use appropriate methods to ensure that we’re able to preserve the safety of that community.”
NBC affiliate WBAL reported there had been at least one arrest, and the Baltimore Orioles baseball team postponed its evening game against the Chicago White Sox.
– ‘Absolutely inexcusable’ –
Rioting erupted soon after Gray was buried — possibly spurred by a cryptic message on social media declaring an after-school “purge,” which is street slang for random acts of lawlessness.
Fear of unrest prompted the University of Maryland’s downtown campus, corporate offices and the city’s famous Lexington Market to shut down early.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the rapidly evolving situation by his newly sworn in Attorney General Loretta Lynch and city mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the White House said.
Thousands had converged on New Shiloh Baptist church in Baltimore’s poverty-ridden Sandtown neighborhood earlier Monday to pay final respects to Gray, who died on April 19 of severe spinal injuries apparently sustained during his arrest a week earlier.
His death was the latest in a string of high-profile confrontations between African Americans and police, including the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last year.
Gray’s grieving family had explicitly asked for no protests.
“Today of all days, the family was clear this was a day of sacred closure,” pastor Jamal Bryant of the city’s Empowerment Temple mega-church, who delivered the eulogy, told reporters as the violence spiralled.
“So for us to come out of the burial and walk into this is absolutely inexcusable. I’m asking every young person to go back home.”
– Weekend unrest –
On Saturday, 34 people were arrested, and six police officers injured, when violence erupted after an orderly rally for Gray outside Baltimore city hall.
In the hours before Monday’s riots, police announced they had received a “credible threat” that criminal gangs in Baltimore had “entered into a partnership to ‘take out’ law enforcement officers.”
At the funeral, Gray’s body was in a white casket next to a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap and a sign reading “Peace y’all.”
Crowds swayed to hymns at the service, chanting, “Justice shall prevail, peace will prevail” in the church, where a photo of Gray — who had a record of petty drug offenses, in a grim part of Baltimore notorious for crime, poverty and joblessness — was displayed among floral wreaths.
Supporters, many dressed in all white, filled the building’s 2,200 seats and hundreds of others stood, with the words “Black lives matter and all lives matter” projected on the wall.
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson denounced the “epidemic of murders in the country.”
“We have become too violent, too full of hate,” Jackson told reporters before the service. “We need training, employment, housing, access to health, a reconstruction project. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction.”
– Tensions high –
Tensions have been on the rise in Baltimore since Gray’s death, which his family’s lawyers say was caused when 80 percent of his spine was severed following his arrest.
Six officers have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of a police investigation that is to be submitted to state prosecutors by Friday.
The US Justice Department, which was already looking into Baltimore’s use of force, has also opened its own civil rights probe.
Police confirmed Gray requested medical help and an inhaler after he was detained and acknowledged that he should have received medical attention sooner.
They also revealed that Gray, contrary to policy, was not buckled into his seat in a police van, which made at least three unexplained stops on its way to the city’s Western District station, now the scene of nightly protests.
Gray’s arrest was caught on video by bystanders, and he can be heard howling in apparent pain as his limp body is dragged into the van.
Officers Injured, Baltimore Businesses Shut Down Amid Violent Riots
Several officers have been injured as a large riot continues to grow violent Monday afternoon in Baltimore.
Baltimore Police sprayed mace at rioters, but say a large group of teenagers is continuing to throw bricks, rocks and other items at officers.
WNEW’s Karen Adams reports police have arrested two people so far. The protests started in the area of Mondawmin Mall have spilled into nearby streets and neighborhoods.
Police say the group has refused to follow orders and the department is continuing to deploy resources into the neighborhoods near the mall. Officers are also using fire extinguishers to put out small fires that rioters started.
Sometimes a protest is just a riot camouflaged in self-righteousness. It might not start that way, and the actors might not think that it is. But nonetheless, sometimes it is.
A few miles from my apartment, the Miami neighborhood Liberty City has yet to shake the aftereffects of the 1980 riots that sprang from the acquittal of four officers in the killing of a black man. In California, neighborhoods and property values remain scarred from the Watts Riots in 1965 and the Rodney King Riots in 1992. More recently in Ferguson, Mo., the long-term consequences of a few nights of looting and burning are starting to be felt by residents and property owners.
What no one expected is what Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake admitted in a press conference on Sunday: that she asked the Baltimore Police Department to “give those who wished to destroy space to do that.”
“We work very hard to keep that balance [between free speech and destructive elements], and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate,” she said.
Overall, Baltimore police said 34 arrests were made during Saturday’s main demonstration, and six officers were allegedly injured.
Several downtown storefronts were smashed, and some police cars were damaged.
But overall, the most of the damage was cosmetic, and it might not cost the city or property owners a fortune to fix. Either that, or it might have been worth the calculation from city officials to sacrifice a little public property for the sake of allowing protesters to vent their anger, hopefully quelling unrest in the long run.
Despite her comments about creating a “space” for more destructive elements in protests, Mayor Rawlings-Blake expressed disappointment on Sunday night at the “outside forces” who she said were “inciting some of the ‘shut this city down’ sort of messaging,” according to the Baltimore Sun.
Then, she made a call for peace, which might not be too far away. Gray will be buried on Monday, and the Baltimore Police Department’s full report on Gray’s death should be released before next weekend.
It could be very well that protests in Baltimore have already reached their peak of violence and destruction. Considering how volatile the situation looked going into last weekend, if it all pans out, there could be a case for other leaders to handle widespread protests like this differently.
Because sometimes, punching the punching bag really does take your anger away. And on the flip side, telling you not to punch the punching bag can only make you angrier.
—Today, Howard Libit, Director of Strategic Planning and Policy, issued the following statement regarding Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s comments on the rights of protesters:
“What she is saying within this statement was that there was an effort to give the peaceful demonstrators room to conduct their peaceful protests on Saturday. Unfortunately, as a result of providing the peaceful demonstrators with the space to share their message, that also meant that those seeking to incite violence also had the space to operate. The police sought to balance the rights of the peaceful demonstrators against the need to step in against those who were seeking to create violence.
The mayor is not saying that she asked police to give space to people who sought to create violence. Any suggestion otherwise would be a misinterpretation of her statement.”
This clarification is regarding comments made by Mayor Rawlings-Blake during a recent press conference. The mayor’s original quote follows (emphasis and clarification added):
“I’ve made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It’s a very delicate balancing act, because, while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also [as a result] gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”
Death of Freddie Gray
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about a person who has recently died. Some information, such as the circumstances of the person’s death and surrounding events, may change as more facts become known. Initial news reports may beunreliable.
Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man, died of a spinal injury on April 19, 2015. A week earlier, police had taken Gray into custody in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Within an hour of his arrest, police had transported him to a trauma clinic, and he was in a coma.
The incident has led to protests in Baltimore. Six Baltimore police officers have been suspended with pay.
Freddie Gray was 25 years old, and had two sisters. As children, he and his sisters were found to have lead poisoning in their blood levels. According to a 2008lawsuit against a Sandtown-Winchester housing complex where Gray and his sisters lived, the lead poisoning caused medical, behavioral, and educational problems for the children. Terms of the settlement were not publicly revealed. At the time of his death, Gray lived in the Gilmor Homes neighborhood. He stood 5 feet and 8 inches tall and weighed 145 pounds. Gray had a criminal record, mainly for drug-related offenses.
Police encountered Freddie Gray on April 12, 2015, in an area of Baltimore a police spokesman said was known for drug deals and violent crimes. He ran; according to court documents Gray “fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence”. Police chased and tackled Gray, found a switchblade in his pocket, and took him into custody at 8:40 a.m.
Two bystanders captured Gray’s arrest with video recordings.
According to the police timeline, Gray was in a transport van within 11 minutes of his arrest, and within 30 minutes “units request paramedics to the Western District to transport the suspect to an area hospital.” He was taken to the University of MarylandR. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, in a coma within an hour of being taken into police custody.
The statement of charges filed by Officer Garrett Miller against Gray accused him of possessing a switchblade. Miller wrote, “The defendant was arrested without force or incident.” Officers also reported “that he suffered a medical emergency during transport”.
In the following week, according to the Gray family attorney, Gray died, was resuscitated, remained in a coma, and underwent extensive surgery in an effort to save his life. According to his family, he lapsed into a coma after his spine was “80% severed” at his neck, he had three fractured vertebrae, and his larynx was injured. He died the following Sunday, April 19, 2015.
Protestors at a police station near the site of Gray’s arrest
The Baltimore Police Department suspended six officers pending an investigation of Gray’s death. On April 24, 2015, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said, “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.” Batts also acknowledged police did not follow procedure when they failed to buckle Gray in the van while he was being transported to the police station.
By April 21, 2015, according to Reuters, “[h]undreds of demonstrators gathered in Baltimore” to protest Gray’s death.
On April 25, 2015, protests were organized in downtown Baltimore. Protesters marched from the Baltimore City Hall to Inner Harbor. After the final stage of the official protest event, some protesters became violent. They damaged at least five police vehicles, and several people shoved police officers and threw various objects at the police. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said most protesters were respectful but a “small group of agitators intervened”. Rawlings-Blake said of those who destroyed property while protesting Gray’s death, “… we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well…” At least 35 people were arrested, and six officers were injured.
A photographer for Baltimore City Paper, who filmed the protest, reported having been beaten by two police officers in riot gear. Thereafter, City Paper published a video on its website documenting the violence. A Reuters photographer with visible press credentials, who filmed the beating from a public sidewalk, was detained and received a citation for “failure to obey orders”.
On April 27, 2015, some lootings happened, some police vehicles put on fire and stones thrown into officers.
From 1990 to 1998, Rawlings-Blake served on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee, and in 1993, she served as the Annapolis lobbyist for the Young Democrats of Maryland.
In 1997, Rawlings-Blake began serving as an administrative law attorney with the Baltimore City office of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, which offers free civil legal services to Maryland’s low-income residents. She went on to serve as a staff attorney with theMaryland Office of the Public Defender in its Southern District (District 1, Baltimore City) from 1998 to 2006.
Baltimore City Council
In 1995, Rawlings-Blake became the youngest person ever elected to the Baltimore City Council. She represented the council’s District 5 from 1995 to 2004 and District 6 from 2004 to 2007 (following a redistricting of the council).
From 1999 to 2007, Rawlings-Blake served as vice president of the Baltimore City Council.
City council president
Rawlings-Blake became President of the Council on January 17, 2007, when then-City Council President Sheila Dixon became mayor. The Charter of Baltimore City states that, “If it becomes necessary for the president of the City Council to fill the unexpired term of the mayor…the City Council, by a majority vote of its members, shall elect a new president for the unexpired term.”
On June 14, 2007, Rawlings-Blake announced that she would seek a full four-year term as council president. Her platform included improving education and reducing crime in the city. Rawlings-Blake won the Democratic primary with 49 percent of the vote. In the general election, Rawlings-Blake defeated her only opponent with 82 percent of the vote.
Mayor of Baltimore
On January 6, 2010, then-Mayor Sheila Dixon announced, following her conviction for embezzlement, that she would resign from office, effective February 4, 2010. Per the Charter of Baltimore City, in the case of a mayoral vacancy, the sitting city council president shall automatically succeed the vacating mayor and serve the remainder of the term. Consequently, following Dixon’s resignation on February 4, 2010, Rawlings-Blake became mayor of Baltimore City.
Rawlings-Blake went on to seek a full term as mayor, and in November 2011, she was elected to her first full term as mayor, receiving 87 percent of the vote in the general election.
Rawlings-Blake has stated that her goal as mayor is to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families.
Political positions and policies
On February 6, 2013, Baltimore City released a 10-year fiscal forecast, which the City had commissioned from independent financial consulting firm Public Financial Management, Inc. (PFM) at Rawlings-Blake’s direction. The report outlined a number of fiscal obstacles facing the City in subsequent years.
To address the challenges outlined in the fiscal forecast, Rawlings-Blake presented Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan for Baltimore, the City’s first long-range financial plan. Among other major reforms, the plan outlined proposed changes to Baltimore City’s employee pensions and benefits system, City tax structure, and overall municipal operations. By implementing elements of this plan, Baltimore City has been able to extinguish $300 million from a cumulative budgetary shortfall forecasted at approximately $750 million.
At the time Rawlings-Blake took office, Baltimore City had approximately 16,000 vacant buildings, resulting from a half-century of population decline. In November 2010, in an effort to reduce urban blight caused by vacant structures, Rawlings-Blake introduced the Vacants to Value (V2V) initiative. The initiative’s strategies include streamlining code enforcement and disposition of City-owned vacant properties, offering incentives targeted at home buyers who purchase previously vacant homes, supporting large-scale redevelopment in deeply distressed areas, and targeting demolition to improve long-term property values.
In 2013, Baltimore Housing won the Urban Land Institute’s Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Awards for the V2V initiative. V2V has also been recognized by the Obama Administration, the Clinton Global Initiative, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, ABCD Network, and the Financial Times.
In 2015, Rawlings-Blake became the first mayor to appear in Chicago, saying “I am honored to be the first mayor to appear in Chicago—one of the most historic shows in Broadway history—and I want to reassure the cast and crew that I am already hard at work rehearsing my lines. I always love to show off the ‘razzle dazzle’ of Baltimore’s flourishing cultural scene, from expanding our Arts & Entertainment Districts, to growing Baltimore’s downtown theater corridor and all that jazz. I cannot wait to make my big debut in an amazing show like Chicago.” She appeared in a one night performance on March 4, 2015, as an ensemble performer throughout the night. The mayor later thanked the Nation of Islam for what she said was “for helping quash violence” despite NOI’s leaders calls to “Teach your baby how to throw the bottle if they can’t bite.”
Awards and honors
In in 2007 and 2011, Rawlings-Blake was honored by the Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women.
She is a recipient of the Fullwood Foundation Award of Excellence (2010), the National Forum for Black Public Administrators’ Distinguished Leadership Award (2012), the Maryland State Senate‘s First Citizen Award (2013), and the Baltimore Black Pride ICONS We Love Award (2013).
In 2014, Vanity Fair included Rawlings-Blake in its list of the Top 10 Best-Dressed Mayors.
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